Living Heritage of Sri Lanka

Babylonia, the Cross and Cruxificion

by Sam Wickramasinghe

Learned scholars of antiquity and past history agree in the deduction that Egypt was colonized from India , and the cross migrated with those migrating people. "Proofs in adequate confirmation of this are found," says the knowledgeable Dr. G.G. Ditson, "in waifs brought to light in ancient lore. ‘Waif' originally signified goods a thief, when pursued, threw away to avoid detection. Many of the facts relating to, the cross, were doubtless intentionally scattered and put out of sight to prevent apprehension of the real subject to which they belong."

In pictorial history of bygone civilizations, the cross was found near the Nile. A horizontal piece of wood fastened to an upright beam indicated the height of the water in flood. This cross formed what was known as the nileometer. If the waters did not rise to a certain height at the proper season, no crops were the result. Hence, with famine on the one hand to plenty on the other, the cross, in time, came to be worshipped as a symbol of life and regeneration, or feared as an indication of decay and death.

In India, long before this usage on the Nile, the cross was a symbol of life and regeneration, and also for a non-mundane reason, closely connected with religion. Owing to these three facts -- of life, death and regeneration – and to its connection with religion, the cross bad a revered place in India, Eygpt, among the Buddhists , Babylonia, Phoenicia, Assyria, and among Buddhists and Hebrews long before it assumed universal renown with the Christ saga of the Christians, the historicity of which is indisputable, going on the evidence we have.

Christ could correctly be termed an avatar, a direct descent from the Infinite (or whatever else one may call it) , into human form to fulfill a certain function at a turbulent and troubled time in human history, with the specific purpose of directing distressed mankind to nobler aspirations, veering away from the temporal to the spiritual.

The crucifixion of Christ and all what followed, apart from being considered as events in recorded history, carried arcane, symbolic meanings, found in many other traditions, long before Christ was born. And for this very reason the cross doesn't belong exclusively to any one particular tradition, solely as some might be tempted to assert, vehemently, dogmatically and fanatically, losing sight of their symbolic nature and importance, regarding them as nothing else but historical occurrences in time and space. This could be comprehended better when it is remembered that symbology is the language of the Infinite, available to express itself in finite forms — different outward garments, hiding one and the same Truth, and in essence speaking of the same essential unity underlying the diversity of these forms, which differ from time time, to suit the varying intellectual and emotive climate of the milieu or epoch in which they are destined to appear.

The late, Dr. G. Higgins, the learned English judge, who for many years made an in-depth study of antiquarian history, writes in his Anacalypsis (1836) of sculpture and other evidence found in Tripetty and Elephanta depicting cruxificion of Wittoba, Buddha and Krishna centuries before the Christian Era, differing in no respects from the crucified Jesus with which we are fami1iar. In the Wittoba drawing, a halo of glory shines upon his head, on which there is a crown, serrated with sharp angles on its upper margin. The hands are extended, the feet are slightly separated, and all are marked with stigmata—the notable nail prints. These are pictures of imagination, instead of pictures of reality! (Antecedent to the Christ Story.)

The legends and sculpture of the Hindu deity Krishna are more remarkable in lending a striking parallel to the Christian tradition. Again from Higgins: "He is represented as the son of Brahma and Maria. In Chaldean, Mare or Mar meant ‘lord' and ri signified the Celestial Mother. Ri is also the name of an Assyrian goddess, and when these two words are united we get mar-ri, or Mary, apart from its other meaning, connected with the sea.

To continue Higgins: "And as son of Brahma and Maria, Krishna is usually called the Saviour, or the Preserver. He, being an avatar, became incarnate in flesh. Soon after birth, he was saluted by devatas (angels). In. the birthplace, he was cradled among shepherds, and then spirited away by night to a hideout, for fear of a tyrant, Kansa, who ordered all male children to be slain. (An episode in the sculpture at Elephanta; and over the head of this tyrant, surrounded by weeping mothers and murdered male infants, are the mitre, a crosier and a cross!)

Though born in a dungeon, Krishna was said to be of royal descent. He is said to have descended into Hades before returning to Yiacontna. One of his names is ‘the Good Shepherd'. An Indian prophet , Nared Saphos, or Wisdom, visited him, consulted the stars, and pronounced him a celestial being. He cured a leper; a woman poured some ointment on his head, and was cured of her disease. Fellow shepherds chose him to be their king, and he washed the feet of Brahmins. He had a dreadful fight with the serpent Caluga. He was crucified between two thieves, went to hell, and afterwards to heaven…'

This narrative of Krishna, named as Christna by Higgins, is so identical with that of Jesus in name, origin, office, history, incidents and death, that some think the latter is a repetition of a perennial presentation and enactment, in human form, occurring as an event in history, of traditional principial truths, issuing in myth form, or, as real events; from the collective unconscious, time and again, for the benefit of humanity, referred to by psycho1ogist Carl Jung in his study of analytical psychology. Of course this manner of thinking may hurt feelings of reverent sympathy some entertain when this is told, and try vehemently to vindicate that the Christna story is subsequent to Christ's.

Higgins further writes, "It has been satisfactorily proved, on the authority of a passage in Adrian, that the worship of Christna was practiced in the time of Alexandra the Great (330 years B.C.), at what remains in one of the most famous temples of India, the Temple of Mathura, on Jumna, the Mathura Deorum of Ptolemy. Further, the statue of the God Christna is to be found in the very oldest caves and temples, the inscriptions on which are in a language used prior to Sanskrit, and now totally unknown to mankind. This may be seen any day in the city of Seringham and at the temple at Malvalipuram." (Higgins, Anacalypsis, 1836).

Writer, S. Gamage draws attention to all this in his presentation of the connection of the Christian passion play to something similar in ancient Babylon. There, the crucified is referred to as Bel, which was another appellation the ancients had for God—whose names were many in different languages, among which we find others like Al, El,On, Brahma, Elohim, Jupiter, Jehova, etc. It is therefore not surprising that these people sacrificed their gods too in plays and dramas, to demonstrate perennial wisdom, transmitted to them from times immemorial, millennium to millennium, to give them a meaning and purpose in life.

The modern age dismisses such history as paganism, forgetting that the very word pagan means villager or rustic, and today it has acquired many connotations through usage, deprecatory and derogatory, mainly by the influence certain religions had on this word. We should remember that most of the economies of bygone civilizations were agricultural, and these villagers were their mainstays, taught to celebrate the principle of life's rhythm -- generation and regeneration, birth and death -- by the elite to relieve and understand the monotony of change, by feeling both on the temporal and spiritual order, Therefore, these plays and passions are timeless, soaring above the boundaries of culture, race and religion.


  1. R. Payne Knight. An Inquiry into the Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology (1818)
  2. G. Higgins. Apocalypsis (1836)
  3. Anonymous. The Masculine Cross
  4. Dr. T. Inman. Ancient Faiths embodied in Ancient Names (1869)
  5. _______. Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism Exposed and Explained. (1869)
  6. _______. Ancient Faiths and Modern. (1876)
  7. Sha Rocco. The Masculine Cross and Ancient Sex Worship. (1874)

Sam Wickramasinghe (also known as Pulikutti among Yogaswami's disciples) 22 May 1925 - 23 March 2013

Editor's note: Among Yogaswami's admirers and dedicated devotees, Sam Wickramasinghe was exceptional, not only because he was Sinhalese by birth, but because he spent decades among other devotees (in Kathirkamam) and in solitude (at Guru Madam, island of Kayts in Jaffna District) endeavoring to penetrate into deeper and deeper levels of Yogaswami's multi-leveled deeds and utterances. Still lively and outspoken into his 80s, Sam was widely sought out by younger seekers for his colorful accounts of past experiences and exploits. He was also an accomplished writer, many of whose articles, such as this one, appeared over the years in the Sri Lankan English press.

Sam Wickramasinghe, ca. 1987
Other articles by Sam Wickramasinghe
 Yoga Swami the Image-Breaker
German Swami the Bohemian Swami of Jaffna
German Swami Gauribala: Walking the Razor's Edge
Ramana Maharshi: How the Guru called me
Babylon, the Cross and the Cruxificion
Leaves of Life: Journey of Past, Present and Future
Elephant Lore
Kebbilitte: Where Veddahs Cursed and Leopards Dispensed Justice
Six Weeks in a Cave amidst Leopard, Bear and Elephant