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Celtic and Vedic Places of Worship: Their deep rooted affinities

Let's plunge once again into the world of Celtic and Vedic parallelisms, on a previous post I shared the deep roots regarding Gods and Goddesses, but how about Places of Worship?

Some of the most auspicious places of worship for the Celtic and Vedic peoples were rivers.

As already mentioned the Celtic Goddess Danu is particularly associated with rivers, she was the "divine waters" falling from heaven. From these waters the great Celtic river, once known as Danuvius, presently known as the Danube, was created. Many rivers in Europe still owe their current name to their associations with the Goddess Danu, such as the Rhone. In both Celtic and Vedic cultures offerings were often placed in rivers and those of the Celts were especially elaborate. The Celts would often offer much of their riches and treasures, sometimes approximately 25% of a tribe's economy would be given to the Gods at any one time.

In the falling of the Danu river we find a parallel to Ganga,  Goddess of one of  the most holy of rivers in India today, the Ganges. In Puranic mythology the Goddess Ganga's fall to earth was broken by the matted locks of Shiva (known as Rudra in the Vedas), who then released her to fall on the earth. The river which is venerated in the Rig Veda is that of the Sarasvati. Like Danu and Ganga, Sarasvati is the name of a Goddess, as well as a river. However the Sarasvati river is thought to have dried up and it is from that time the Ganges has fulfilled her river role. The name Saraswati came from "saras" (meaning "flow") and "wati" (meaning "a woman"). So, Saraswati is symbol of knowledge; its flow (or growth) is like a river and knowledge is supremely alluring, like a beautiful woman.

Some astounding ancient structures to be found in the Eurpoean lands of the Celts and in India are those of Dolmens. A dolmen is a shallow chamber that is composed of tall vertical upright stones, forming the walls, and a horizontal stone resting across the top to form a roof. Similar to what is found at Stonehenge, though on a much smaller scale. A feature found in some dolmens in both Europe and India is a small single hole in the back of these stone chambers. What the purpose of these small holes is remains unknown, as does the purpose of the dolmens. Though most interpretations link these holes either with birth or death. Most Celtic researchers seem to agree that these structures were created by a Megalithic people prior to Celtic culture, about whom little is known for certainty. Is it possible that these Megalithic people had contact with Indian culture long before the Celts and is this why these constructions are to be found in both eastern and western lands?

Another of the sacred dwellings was that of specific areas of woods and groves. According to Tacitus the "Woods and groves are the sacred depositories; and the spot being consecrated to those pious uses, they give to that sacred recess the name of the divinity that fills the place, which is never profaned by the steps of man. The gloom fills every mind with awe;
revered at a distance and never seen but with the eye of contemplation." Similarly there are many Indian tales of Brahmans and holy men who lived in forests of which some were
especially sacred spaces (see inf. on the Sleshmantaka Forest in"The Horned God in India and Europe" article). A selection of Vedic texts written after the four main Samhitas (the Rig, Sama, Yajur and Artharva Vedas) are the Aranyakas, meaning 'forest treatise'. Indicating that these were composed in the reclusive depths of the forests.

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