Sunday, April 27, 2014

Triskelion sign on the Kuru Coins!

In ancient times India was divided in about 16 Mahajanapada’s. Every Mahajanpada (Province) would be group of Janpada’s (small kingdoms or Republics) spread within the Mahajanpada’s. Till rise of Nanda dynasty (5th Century BC) and later on Mauryan dynasty, the system prevailed to some extent. The coins found from almost every Mahajanpada prior to approx. 350 BC, bear no letters hence it is impossible to know the names of the issuers of the coins. But from banker-marks punched on the coins indicate that coins of different denominations (weights) used to be issued by individual bankers (Shreni or Nigam) of those times, not the rulers.
Most significant factor that can be observed from those coins is that every Mahajanpada coin bear unique symbol, no matter who the banker is. May be the main symbol represented the identity of the particular Janpada. The symbols used by Maha Janpada's are diverse in nature, have been retained over the time, at least from seventh century BC till third century BC. The symbolism doesn't seem to have changed over the period of almost four hundred years despite several political upheavals.
This continuance of the coin symbolism in every Mahajanapada for such a long time suggests that the commercial system was comfortably stable. Also it suggests that every MahaJanpada was represented by the specific symbol punched over the coin.
Kuru Janpada was located around present day Indraprastha City that spread across in some part of the Hariyana. We know more about them from Mahabharata and Jataka stories. Kuru’s were an ancient Indian tribe, named after their first King Kuru.
Though scholars are not certain exactly when the Mahabharata war took place, they approximate the period around 1000 BC. Excavations in Kurukshetra have proved that there were human settlements from pre-historic period.
From coins and peculiar symbol they carry, it seems that the Kuru clan survived till 350 BC until it was taken over by Mauryan Empire.
On the coins found in this region bear dotted Triskelion sign. Triskelion sign is an ancient sign used by almost all the ancient cultures like Celtic, Gaulish etc. However finding the sign on the coin with unique design suggests that the design have been an indigenous development.
On few Kuru coins we find Three Arrow sign as well on reverse side of the coin. As you can see the arrows are attached to the dotted circle in symmetric arrangement. Also you can notice 'Y' signs between the arrows.
Three arrow sign having three 'Y' signs placed between the arrows make another unique symbol not to be found elsewhere. Dotted circle is a common feature as we have seen on Kuntal and Gandhara coins, the petals or angular objects or arrows or triskeles make them unique symbols. Three arrow sign too is unique because of Y shapes present within the corpus of the sign.
All scholars are in agreement that present Hindu religion is heavily dominated by pre-Vedic Shiv -Shakti  oriented Tantra (Occultism) tradition. Various signs and symbols found in Indus culture reflect some or other relation with ancient occultism. Every Janpada of those times seems to have chosen unique symbol from occult practices (Tantric) to represent their identity.
Kuru’s have chosen Triskelion which represent constant motion or spirit, The Triskelion suggests Birth, Life and Death, three eternal facts associated with the life. We are aware that Hindu mythology considers Shiva as creator, preserver and destructor. These three elements together are incorporated in the Triskelion sign.
In Tantra’s triangle is the symbol of female productive organ. It is believed from the finds from Indus civilization that the Indus people worshiped fertility Goddess. Practice of worshiping Fertility Goddess (Venus) is found in almost every ancient culture. In Triskelion symbol, both male and Female unity also is suggested. Because unlike other Triskellion symbols found in Celtic culture, Kuru symbol has perfect doted triangle with three dotted arms springing from it.
Symbolist's believes that dot sign may represent Sun. The source of the life. But looking at the unique set of human mind the way it works, the sign may mean the same thing…perpetuity …constant motion and continuation of the human life through reproduction.
In Celtic culture too we find this sign in different form. Symbolists suggest that, "Firstly, the triskele can be thought as to represent motions, as all three arms are position to make it appear as if it is moving, and movement or motion is believe to signify energies, in particular within this Celtic Symbol the motion of action, cycles, progress, revolution and competition."
Secondly and the foremost challenging area for symbolists is the exact symbolic significance of the three arms of the triskele, which can differ depending on the era, culture, respective mythology and history, which is why there are so many variations as to what these three extensions in the trickle symbol may mean.
Some of these connotations include: life-death-rebirth, spirit-mind-body, mother-father-child, past-present-future, power-intellect-love and creation-preservation-destruction to name but a few.
It’s through that through the combination of these two areas we gain one meaning of the Celtic triskele, which it is believed represents a tale of forward motion to reach understanding. However this is thought not to be the only meaning, as it is also believed to represent three Celtic worlds; the spiritual world, the present world, the celestial world."
Occultism of the past mainly depended on the shapes that mystified human mind. It may have been though that the dots and various shapes in symmetry possessed some kind of spiritual power that would assist human beings to explore their inner self with protection from the demonic powers. Whatever, mostly Indian architecture of the temples is based on the Tantrik symbolism. We have to derive the meaning of the signs based on Tantric tradition and what is suggests is perpetuality, constant motion of the cycle of the birth, life and death.  About endlessness of the universe and perpetual unity of the male and female substance.

We already have seen that not on the single coin we find any Vedic symbolism, indicating its limited influence over the society.