» Home > In the News


13 August 2015

Enoshima is an island at the mouth of a river on Japan's coast about 40 miles SE of the capital, Tokyo. Kokei, a Buddhist monk living in the 11th century AD, became interested in the river, as he had noticed similarities between catastrophic events associated with the ancient Sarasvati River in India (the Indus Valley) and catastrophic events that occurred on the Japanese river dating from some time between 537 and 552AD. Kokei considered the Japanese events to be a miniature version of the Sarasvati tale of destruction that goes back to the late 3rd millennium BC. He also regarded the Japanese goddess Benzaiten, who descended in the form of a meteor to end the suffering of the people who lived near the river as the Japanese equivalent of the Indian goddess Sarasvati (who was named after the river).

The main point to emerge here is that the 6th century AD event was similar to a more ancient catastrophe in India associated with the Sarasvati River. Robert Juhl and RN Iyengar co-authored an article (in two parts) that brought the Japanese tradition into line with the Indian one. The Enoshima Engi was written in AD1047 by the monk, Kokei (or Kogei). It included dark clouds crossing the sea, earthquakes, the appearance of a bright goddess above the clouds, boulders falling from the sky, lightning bolts, rocks and sand sprouting up from the sea bed, flames licking the waves, the emergence of an island and the descent of the goddess onto that island. Iyengar found similarities in the Prabhasa-kjetra-mahatmya book of the Skanda purona which contains references to similar phenomena assocated with Sarasvati (a river in the Indus valley). These include objects falling and making holes in the ground in association with a smokey demon, fire on the Sarasvati entering the estuary and the ocean, lighting it up, overflowing waters (due to the upheaval), earthquakes and tsunami waves, and flames flickered on the crest of the waves. Sarasvati then descended from the sky (like Benzaiten).

In both accounts we have comets and meteors, earthquakes and tsunami waves, fire from the sky and fire on the waters

Sources include the Indian Journal of History of Science 45:1 (2010) and see also http://linguacatastrophica.blogspot.co.uk/p/sanskrit.html … according to Iyengar ancient Vedic people appear to have been preoccupied with celestial fire in the form of meteoric swarms and comets which would have necessitated regular ritualistic observation of the sky, gradually leading to the calendar and later to the knowledge of the planets. He says the possibility of some transient celestial objects described by the word 'dhumakatu' in the Rig Veda are meteoric in nature, and that the Vedic deities known as the Maruts  relate to meteor showers or streams (even storms). In some places the description sounds like extraterrestrial objects hitting the ground. In traditional interpretation the Maruts are viewed as thunderstorms or wind gods. The word 'vibhavaso' also appears to refer to transient phenomena – or objects in the sky. In one place it is described as a big rock – which could perhaps be a passing Near Earth Object.

Skip to content