“A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there). The name of the second river is Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur…And the fourth river is the Euphrates.”
(Genesis, 2 / 10-14)
The location of the Eden as delineated by the book of Genesis always puts the reader in doubt. Especially a researcher always keeps thinking, how to admit that Pishon, Gihon, Tigris and Euphrates rivers are the branches of a single large river flowing on the same land. The researchers and scholars of the old testaments have strained every nerve to get the answer but it is still insoluble though 3400 years have passed. The riddle could not be answered unless we reach its roots and find out the basic source, so it is necessary to know about the basic source of the idea of the river of Heavens which was presented by the Vedic religion.
The Vedic Idea:
We find the ancient most and basic concept of the rivers of heavens in Vedic religion according to which one large river is divided into seven branches. According to Maha-Purana, the religious book of Hindus, Ganga (the central water-course of heavens) reached the earth (from the Paradise i.e. Himalaya) and divided into seven water heads. The following names of the seven streams have been mentioned in Rig-Veda:
a. The Shatudri (Present River Sutlej).
b. The Vipas (Present River Bias).
c. The Ervati (Present River Ravi).
d. The Chandrabhaga (Present River Chenab).
e. The Vatishta (Present River Jhelum).
f. The Sarsvati (Probably it was River Hakra of old days).
g. The Sindhus (Present Great River Indus).
All of these rivers have been flowing in ancient land of India i.e. Pakistan and due to which the land has been named as Sapat Sindus (land of seven rivers) by Vedas. There is another stream called Ganga (the stream of Heavens) in the present day India, but according to chronicles, the real Ganga was Sindhus (river Indus). Pandit Kalhan wrote a famous book Raj Tarangini about nine hundred years ago, in which he considers River Indus as Ganga, the stream of Heavens. Since ancient times, river Indus had been considered to be the main river of India and rest of the rivers were known to be its tributaries, due to which, it is called Abasain, meaning the father of rivers. Surely, the followers of Vedic religion considered river Indus to be the main stream of Heavens and the rest of the six rivers to be its tributaries. River Indus is called Olympus in Indian mythology. According to the Vedic legends, the heaven of God Shiva was somewhere near this river. The ancient people of Indus civilization assumed that the source of this river is in Kilasha in western Tibet. Amazingly, the word Kilasha means heavens in Vedic Sanskrit and Hindi languages.
The Answer To The Riddle:
The writer of the book of Genesis changed the concept of Vedic religion. He not only converted the number of heaven’s streams from seven to four but also changed their names. Why he did so? Obviously he had some objectives in his mind and he wanted to hide the location of heavens. That is why he evades giving details about the land of heavens in the book of Genesis. He also starts the story of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden instead of Heavens. However by a stroke of good luck, he not only mentions the correct geographical location of the real streams of heavens i.e. Kashmir, but also the mineral characteristics of its land which enabled me to get some clues to identify the Bible’s rivers of Eden with the following evidences:
a. The First River Pishon (Linguistic Evidence)
The Bible made it clear that there was one main river which was divided into four streams. The name of that river is not mentioned, but most probably it was Pishon. Let us examine the linguistic source of this word. Pishon is no doubt the Vedic Sanskrit word Paiswan, which also means river or stream. This linguistic reference is a clear proof that the writer of the book of Genesis borrowed the concept of the streams of Heavens from the ancient Indo-Aryan tribes. He deliberately struck off the name of Indus and mentioned it as Pishon. The Vedic religion says that the origin of river Ganga (Indus) is heaven. The physical starting point of the river Indus is named as Kailasha, meaning Heavens. On the other hand, the writer of the book of Genesis says, “A river watering the garden flowed from Eden.” Here he deliberately changed the name of the starting point of the river i.e. Kailasha, Ganga or Heaven to Eden in order to put the geographical locations in doubt.
b. The Land of Havilah (Geographical Evidence)
According to the book of Genesis, Pishon surrounds the land of Havilah. This Havilah is no doubt Himalaya (Himala). Probably, he intentionally changed the word Himalaya to Havilah in order to distort facts and hide the identification of the land of heavens. However, if the Havilah of the book of Genesis is Himalaya, then we have to contemplate as to which river surrounds the land of Havilah (Himalaya)? It is of course river Indus, which lies behind the lofty Himalayan mountain range and travels 160 miles towards north-west and taking river Ghar along with it, enters Kashmir Valley. It travels towards Ladakh from Kashmir and from Ladakh it enters a pass behind the beautiful valley of Skardu. Many small rivers and streams keep merging into it, till it reaches Gilgit. Three great mountain ranges of the world, i.e. Himalaya, Hindukush and Karakoram merge into each other at Gilgit in Pakistan. So there is no doubt that the river Indus of Pakistan (ancient India) is the only river that practically winds through the entire land of Himalaya.
c. The River of Gold (Evidence from Chronicles)
The book of Genesis calls the land of Himalaya as the land of Havilah and tells us that gold of matchless quality is found in this land. After reading this statement, our supposition turns into conviction that Pishon is actually the river Indus, as the authors, historians, geographers and travelers of ancient times always called river Indus the river of gold. In this regard, the father of history, Herodotus has written a story that he heard from the local people. While discussing a northern branch of ancient Indians, probably the present Pakhtuns or Paktuikes (Pathans), he says that they were more war-like as compared to the rest of the Indians. He writes: these are the people who bring sacks of gold dust from the sandy deserts of this district (northern India). Great ants are found on the sandy beaches of river Indus. These ants are extremely dangerous and physically smaller than a dog, but bigger than fox. They dig gold dust out of the sandy deserts, while making holes to live. Indians travel on their camels to collect the gold dust and fill their sacks. They collect this gold dust on afternoon as it is very hot at that time and the ants retire to their furrows to rest. So these Indians quickly fill-up their sacks with the gold dust and run away from there as fast as they can (as the ants may come out of their holes and eat them up). Herodotus was also told by the local people that some of those ants were captured and they were being held captive by the Persian king. The purpose of spreading this story is clear. The ancient Indians intended to make the foreigners afraid of the dangerous ants so that they may not come to the beaches of river Indus to collect the gold dust and thus continue to hire the services of the locals in this regard. While explaining the details of tribute paid by countries conquered by the Persian King Darius-I,(520-BC to 486-BC), Herodotus also says, The Indians who are more numerous than all the other we have seen paid more than any other people, namely 360 talents of gold dust (equivalent to 4680 ordinary talents).
It is said that the gold dust used to come to the valleys and banks of river Indus along with the melted glaciers and icebergs in summer. Thus the main source of gold dust was the great Himalaya. This is the reason why, in Hindi, the word Him means Gold as well as Himalaya Mountain. River Indus was called The River of Gold because the great Himalaya gifted it with the gold dust through its melting glaciers and icebergs.
d. Historical Evidence
European scholar, Professor Karl Jetmar (Heidelberg University of Western Germany) is of the opinion that the river of gold is the river Indus and people sifting gold from sand can still be seen at their work. (Translated from the book, Karakoram Hindukush, Urdu version, referred by Manzoom Ali, Published by Barq Sons Ltd. Islamabad) In the same book, Pakistani scholar and archaeologist, Professor A.H. Dani writes, the characteristic of this area (the upper valley of Indus) had been sifting gold from sand and the people of Sonewal tribe still take interest in this work. There is another interesting reference in the same book, by Professor Dr. Maximilian Culumborg of department of Arts, University of California, Los Angeles (USA): “the ancient residents of the upper valley of Sindh were goldsmiths or traders of Gold. The present Durd tribes have descended from the same race. These tribes are inhabited in the vast area of Northern Pakistan. Famous Greek geographers Ptolemy, Strabo and Paleni were well informed about the Durds. They have named these people as Durdae, Durda or Durday and according to Paleni; they had vast resources of gold.”
e. The Land of Precious Stones & Jewels
The writer of the book of Genesis also mentions the vast resources of aromatic resin and onyx in the land of Havilah. The picturesque valleys of Middle-Asia including Baltistan, Gilgit, Kohistan, Yarqand, Skardu, Hunza, Haramosh Nagar, Diamar and Chitral etc have always been famous for precious stones since times unknown. Precious stones like Topaz, Ruby, Emerald, Turquoise, Red Ruby and Sapphires are still found in these valleys. Especially, the Neelam valley of Kashmir was called Dar-Awah (Drawah) by the ancient people. This word belongs to the Persian language (Indo-Iranian) which means the door of treasures. In the ancient era, India was also called the golden sparrow by the invaders.
So in the light of these evidences there remains no doubt that the Pishon of the Bible is actually the river Indus of present day Pakistan.
The Second River Gihon:
The book of Genesis names the second river of Eden as Gihon. Gihon is the same river that flows from the present day Turkistan to Afghanistan. Here the writer once again intentionally creates doubt about the location of heavens but there is not any kind of Cush tribe living besides the river Gihon as he claimed. Thus in order to unveil the truth, I will discuss the Bible’s land of Cush first.
The Land of Cush:
The legend of Kashmir valley relates that, in the beginning, the valley was covered with the waters of a mighty lake on which the goddess Parvati sailed in a pleasure-boat from Haramukh mountain in the north, to the Konsanag lake in the south. In her honor, the lake was known as the Satisar or “The lake of the virtuous woman”. The countryside was harassed by a demon known by the name of Jaldeo. Rishi Cusheepa came to rescue and with the help of God, struck the mountains at Baramula. The waters of the lake rushed out. The Rishi or Muni Cusheepa founded a kingdom on the site of lake.
The tribe that descended from Rishi Cusheepa was called the Cush tribe. The word Kashmir has been derived from the name of the ancestor of the Cush tribe, Cusheepa. The word Kashmir is most probably the distorted form of word Cusheep-Pura (the city of Cusheepa). The famous Greek geographer Ptolemy named it as Casperia which is an obvious Greek pronunciation of the word Cusheep-Pura. A Chinese traveler of 631 A.D wrote its name as Kia-She-Me-Lo, and it appears to be the Chinese pronunciation of Cusheep-Pura. Pandit Kalhan who wrote the Sanskrit book Raj-Tarangini in 1148 A.D, also names Kashmir as the land of Cusheep. Hence this claim of the writer of the book of Genesis is wrong that Gihon of Turkistan winds through the entire land of Cush. Now the question that naturally comes into mind is that which river flows through the entire land of Cush, the Kashmir? No doubt it is the same river which is named as Vitasta by the Indian Vedas and which was graecized into Hydaspes by Alexander’s historians, but more correctly as Bidaspes by Ptolemy, while in modern Kashmir it is known as Veth. However, in Punjab it is named as river Jhelum. The river Jhelum physically winds through the entire land of Cush tribe and it is the same river that is given the name of Gihon by the writer of the book of Genesis to hide some historical facts which will be unveiled in the upcoming articles.
The Third River Tigris:
The book of Genesis names the third river of Eden as Tigris and tells that this river flowed in the direction to the east of Asshur. This Tigris is the same river that flows in the land of Iraq. During the era when the book of Genesis was written, a great kingdom of Asshur was situated on the northern shore of the Tigris River. But it is also a fact that a nation by the name of Asshur resided in India in ancient times. A holy book of Indians, Sat Pat Brahman narrates it as follows:
“Devta and Asshura came out of Parjapati (creator of universe) and lived together. But Asshura thought in his pride that why should we present the offering to anyone. Therefore, they started keeping the offering in their mouth.”
The Fourth River Euphrates:
The writer of the book of Genesis also included the name of river Euphrates in the streams of Heavens. The point to ponder is, the writer has explained the location of Eden’s first three rivers, but has not told us the location of river Euphrates. It’s clear that he himself and his tribe were inhabited beside this river and were drinking its water. Thus his own tribe, for whom he was writing the book of Genesis, did not need to know the location of Euphrates River. His main objective was to tell his nation that they were also benefiting from a stream of Heavens.