Hare Krishna! Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Ki Jaya!
Baladeva-Charaka as Baal-Dionysos-Iasas (Jesus Asclepius), the great physician, the second person of the proto-Catholic Heliopolitan Godhead, and the savior of all worlds.
Helios Kouros had a co-eternal alter-form, called Baal or Yahu among the very ancient Semites, Dionysos or Osiris among the Heliopolitan Greeks, and Asar (Osiris) or Serapis among the Egyptians. The Jewish deity Yahu (Jah) was once called Baal, before his Dionysian heresy caused the disuse of his name Baal or Balu. In his form as the descending Son-of-God Savior and Great Physician, Baal-Dionysos was called Eshmun among the Semites, Asclepius or (1) Iasas (Jesus) among the Greeks, Aesculapius among the Romans, and Imhotep or Serapis in Egypt. This same ‘Great Physician’ form of Baladeva in India was called (2) Charaka.
Charaka’s tradition long predates the late Indian court physician by that name. Baladeva as Charaka was associated with Ananta Deva and the medical tradition of the Ayur Veda. This same association of Baal with the medical Sarpa (Hebrew Seraph) was very prominent among the Semites, in Egypt and Europe. This is why Balarama’s Shesha (3) Nagakal is the symbol of the Seraphic medical deity in the old testament, and in Egypt, and his Naga (Hebrew Nachash) appears as the serpent (4) alter-form of Asclepius, and as his serpent-staff (late Caduceus) throughout Europe.
Dionysos was always associated with Aesculapius or Asclepius, and Osiris-Serapis in Egypt. Asclepius was worshiped, like Dionysos, as both a beautiful beardless youth, and as a mature bearded man (5). Worship of his youthful form was both ‘Heliopolitan’ (ritual) and ‘Dionysian’ (ecstatic). Dionysian ecstasies were associated, like the adoration of Helios Kouros, with the Kouros-Kore hierogamos (sacred wedding) and Chorus Kyklos / Chakra Circle-Dance and ‘bridal mysticism’. This is why the circle round-dance of the Catholic highest paradise is associated with the bridal mysticism of Christ in Catholic tradition (6). Christ-Dionysos-Balarama has his rasa lila too! Thus the sacred Gilgul round-dance of the Jews is the ‘Hora’. Jewish bridal mysticism is associated with Doda (Roda) in the Garden of Paradise. (see my future posting about Radha-Krishna in the Song of Songs.) The adoration of Iasas Asclepius in his beardless youthful form was clearly a conjugal rasa. This form (7) is mentioned in the major scholarly work available on Asclepius, “Asclepius collection and interpretation of the testimonies” by Emma J. And Ludwig Edelstein.
This 1945 Johns Hopkins University Press two-volume edition has now been reprinted in a single volume, by Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and London. It has a new introduction by Prof. Gary B. Ferngren of Oregon State University. It is the most complete work available on Greek and Roman written evidence for the worship of Asclepius. The great number of surviving ancient Greek and Roman references, 861 sources given by the Edelsteins, testifies to the enormous popularity of Asclepius in the Greco-Roman world. The text identifies him with Serapis and Eshmun, but does not go into his worship as Serapis in Egypt or as Eshmun in the Levant. Despite the ancients’ identification of Asclepius with Dionysos and Osiris, the authors do not explore these connections. In addition, the Edelsteins apparently did not know about Charaka in the East. I have myself traced the worship of Dionysos-Balarama as Charaka-Jesus all the way to the medical sect of Yakushi Ji in Japanese Pure Land Buddhism at Nara, Japan.
Part of a series on the history of medicine, the Edelsteins’ text is an astoundingly comprehensive collection of ancient literary and inscriptional, etc. references to Asclepius. Despite the fact that the Edelsteins considered Asclepius to be a Homeric ‘deified hero’ (8), and that they were Jewish and could not make some of the important Christological connections, their compilation clearly shows that Asclepius was worshiped as divine (9), and that he was consciously identified with Jesus Christ at the dawn of Christianity (10). The identification of Jesus Christ and Asclepius persisted into the Renaissance, when the name of Asclepius (or Apollo himself) was used to designate Christ! (“Interpretations”, page 134 footnote)
Tragically, in the inter-testamental period, the rise to power of the left-handed Tantric Dionysian groups (like the Bacchants or Maenads) had created a chaotic social milieu in which the pietistic ascetic Apollonian traditions were corrupted and divided by the Dionysian heresies. This ultimately ended in the early Christian schism, which forever split-off tainted rajasic and tamasic Dionysos-Asclepius worship as a rival to ascetic Christianity. Rather than retaining the Dionysian Serapean and Asclepian traditions in an integrated way as part of Christianity, the left-handed Tantrism associated with the Dionysian heresies acted as a religious catalyst separating out the so-called Dionysian and Apollonian elements in the new faith. The Apollonian pietistic elements were associated with Christ and the Dionysian elements with Asclepius-Serapis. Thus Asclepius-Serapis was eventually diabolized as a corrupt ‘other’. More fratricidal schisms developed, and the historical separation finally became complete with the destruction of the then Dionysian-associated Serapeum in Alexandria.
The worst and last of these schisms occurred at the actual temple of Serapis in Alexandria Egypt, which was the capitol of Asclepius worship in Africa. It had been the regional center of Osiris-Asclepius worship for centuries. The city of Alexandria was founded for the worship of Serapis-Asclepius, and soon became the greatest seat of learning in the region. The other great ‘universities’ of the ancient world were at temples devoted to Asclepius-Charaka. The great library of Alexandria (at the Serapeum) was accidentally burned by Julius Caesar, while he was trying to capture the city. Later, Mark Antony made a gift of the library of Asclepius from Pergamum to Cleopatra to celebrate their union. Mark Antony was the Roman governor of Pergamum, the ‘university’ city devoted to Asclepius in the Near East. Thus, the vast library of Pergamum was relocated by him from the temple of Asclepius in Pergamum, to the Serapeum of Asclepius in Alexandria.
The temple of Serapis was also attended by the Jews of the region, and the Greek version of the Jewish scriptures, the “Septuagint” (Catholic Old Testament and Apocrypha) was translated there by the elders of Judaism in the centuries just before the appearance of Jesus Christ. The earliest prominent center of Christian theology also developed at this same temple of Serapis, which after the advent of Jesus , was the regional focal center of the new ‘Christian’ Asclepian devotion. The Catholic rite of St. Mark developed in the Serapean center, which remained until the center was eventually destroyed due to communal strife. This fratricidal conflict erupted between the Christians and their Serapean relatives over the power and ghastly offences of the Tantric pseudo-Dionysians. So, to summarize, from the founding of Alexandria to the dominance of Coptic Catholicism in Egypt (before the Muslim invasion), there was a continuity of multi-ethnic messianic Judaism evolving into Coptic Catholicism at the temple center of Serapis in Alexandria.
Here are the traditional forms of both the youthful and mature Dionysos-Asclepius. The traditional ‘Father God’ Greek form of Zeus was also associated with the traditional face and form of the mature Asclepius.
The serpent on the staff of Asclepius is his divine alter-form. He was thought to have this divine form, and to turn from it into his temple murti form, or his human form at will.
Art historians have long known that the traditional form of Jesus Christ is that of the mature (bearded) human form of Asclepius. Only materialists, heretics, and blasphemers like Homer thought of and wrote of Asclepius as a mere human. The rest of the ancients considered him a theophany or incarnation of God.
Christian scholars have ignored the study of Asclepius, because they don’t want Jesus to be erroneously perceived as either a ‘pagan god’ or a mere Homeric mortal. They don’t understand that the pagan monotheists’ Helios was Eli-Yahu, their own Jewish deity! So, as the second person of Helios incarnate, Asclepius-Iasas is Jesus, Yeshua the incarnation of Eli-Yahu.
The Asclepius references below are to the above-mentioned Edelsteins’ text.
I. = “Interpretations” volume pages.
T. = “Testimonies” volume passage(s) and page number(s).
(1) Asclepius-Iasas as Jesus, I. Pages 134 & 135 footnote
(2) Charaka samhita commentaries and pervasive Indic oral tradition about Ananta Balarama as Charaka.
(3) Nagakals are votive offerings to Ananta Balarama. These Caduceus-like twined serpent-staffs are found at shrines to Balarama as Shesha, the Ayur Vedic Deity throughout India and Asia.
(4) A. Asclepius sometimes appeared in his form as his giant hooded serpent. His Sacred Snake was also associated with the theriomorphic forms of Zeus, Helios, and Dionysos, etc. I. Pages 227 to 231.
(4) B. T. Passage 850, pages 435 to 441 gives Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” xv, 622-744. In this story of Asclepius he appears as Ananta Deva to save the city of Rome from the plague.
(5) Discussion of Asclepius in youthful, mature and Holy Child forms, I. Pages 218 to 225.
(6) I will try to send part of Fra Angelico’s painting of the Last Judgment, which illustrates consecrated virgin souls entering the sacred chorus (circle dance) in the Garden of Paradise, outside of the walls of the Heavenly Jerusalem.
(7) Testimonies of youthful forms of Asclepius at Sicyon (5th century BC) T. 649, at Gortys Arcadia (400-350 BC) T. 652, and at Phlius Argos T. 681.
(8) The Edelsteins’ insistence on Asclepius as the Homeric hero, I. Pages 1 to 64 [in a later post I will try to describe how the Platonists condemned Homer’s ‘mythology’ as blasphemous, and how Socrates worshiped Asclepius as divine.]
(9) Asclepius as a divine person of the Godhead, I. Pages 65 to 138, and T. Passages 232 to 336.
(10) Asclepius identified with Jesus Christ, T. Passages 332 to 336, and I. Pages 132 to 138.