My name is Bhakti Ananda Goswami. I am a Vaishnava sannyasi and an historian of religion. My 30+ year study of bhakti traditions has led me to the conclusion that the late dominant devotional tradition of the Mediterranean region, for at least 300 years before the advent of Jesus Christ, was the worship of Balarama-Shesha (Semitic Yahu-Baal as Nachash/Naga/Seraph) as the Great Physician Asclepius (Serapis in Egypt). The entire Proto Catholic Heliopolitan Asyla Federation of Alexandria was centered on the unified systematized theology of Serapis. Jews were full members of the Serapean alliances/federations from age to age. This is why, for instance, the Greek version of their scriptures ( Septuagint and Apocrypha) was translated by the Jewish Elders AT THE TEMPLE OF SERAPIS IN ALEXANDRIA !
The regional medical tradition, from the Greek Hippocrates to the Roman Galen was the initiated order of the Asclepiadae, associated with the Theraputae, Nazarites, Essenes, and other ascetic schools in Judaism. These, like the Pythagoreans, Platonists, and Orphics, were all monotheists who worshipped Helios and His ‘Son’ Asclepius. Socrates etc. condemned the corrupt Homeric gross material polytheism and mere ‘heroic’ idea of Asclepius as blasphemous and was sentenced to death for it. His last words were an offering to his GOD Asclepius. The stories of Jesus Christ and the Theology of Jesus as the Second Person of the Triune Godhead are all part of Proto-Catholic Serapean Alliance doctrine. Just as pre-Jesus Judaism in Egypt was centered at the Serapeum in Alexandria, so too Jesus Christ’s devotion (as the Incarnation of Serapis-Charaka) first developed at the Serapeum there. The systematized theology of the Proto-Catholic Serapean Asyla Federations evolved into Coptic Catholicism at Alexandria.
Helios was not originally the mundane solar demigod worshipped by the Homeric polytheists. He was the Supreme Transcendent, Emanating / Incarnating, and Immanent Personality of Godhead worshipped by all the regional monotheists. His center of devotion in the Mediterranean region was the sacred Rose or Lotus Isle of Rhoda, His feminine Shekinah / Hladini SHAKTI. On Rhodes, Helios ( the Jewish Deity Eli-Yahu, Egyptian Heri-Asu and Sanskrit Hari-Vasudeva/Vishnu), was worshipped in His original Form as Kouros (Krishna) with His Tyche-Fortuna (Lakshmi) called Rhoda (RADHA), Nymphia ( = lotus=PADME, SRI or LAKSHMI) or Asteria/Astara (=STAR=ASTRAYA=TARA). She was also called Hekate/Hexad (Sri Yantra is a Hexad) in Greek and Sekhet in Egyptian. As the Beloved of the Jewish Deity Eli-Yahu She was called Shekinah. These are all SHAKTI names. As the Lunar ‘Star of the Sea’ She was ROHINI / LUCHINA, as Stella MARIS / MARINA / MIRIAM / MARY She was NARI NARAYANI, as IASAS / JESUS- BEARER She was YASO-DHA, and as the effulgent energy of Godhead She was CORONIS / HARINI. As the Queen of Heaven She was BASILEA / VASUDEVI. There are dozens of other connections between the theology of Mary the ‘Mystical Rose’ / Rhoda and that of Radha as the Origin of all Shakti forms in Hinduism.
On Rhodes, Kouros and Rhoda were worshipped with the original Hierophant and Master of their Mysteries, Dionysos-Baal, the Seraphic Nachash NAGA Deity, Savior of all worlds. This was the Vaishnava Balarama as DEVA-NYASA (God of initiation or anointing) the Ayur Vedic SHESHA NAGA medical Deity. Dionysos-Baal had been worshipped from time immemorial as the Great Physician. In the Heliopolitan Monotheistic alliances He was considered the Second Person of the Godhead and Source of all further masculine Manifestations of the Deity. In Egypt He was called Asu or Wasu (Hebrew YAHU, Sanskrit VASU Deva / VISHNU). Asu was called OSIRIS by the Greeks and Romans. It is the DEITY OSIRIS Who in the Late Classical Period is worshipped as SERAPIS-ASKLEPIUS and Whose Incarnation as JESUS CHRIST historically summed-up the regional inter-racial Heliopolitan Monotheism which we know of today as Catholicism.
Thus, in conclusion, Eastern oral traditions about Balarama as the Medical Shesha Naga, Savior, Master of the Mysteries of Radha and Krishna, Source of Vishnu or Purusha Manifestations etc. and later associations of Balarama with the wandering mendicant healer Charaka are all associated theologically and historically with the Rhoda and Kouros-centric Heliopolitan Monotheism of the Mediterranean Region, and through that Monotheism to Catholicism. Since the cultus on Rhodes was prehistoric, and at the dawn of history there were already legends connecting the religion there with Indo-European, Afro-Egyptian and Semitic cultures, it is clear that this tradition is the common heritage of all humanity, not just the people of India. The history of medicine is an extremely important field of research for evidence of this primal human culture. The LILA Incarnation-story of Asclepius is that He would appear as the Virgin-born Son of Helios (ELI-YAHU). However we need to collect and look at the entire regional and global history of the Great Physician medical tradition to appreciate WHO JESUS-SERAPIS-CHARAKA WAS AND IS. I am trying to collect ancient source materials on the Deity associated with this ancient global medical tradition. I will eventually make this information available for free on my web site (under construction now).
If you have anything to add to this body of knowledge, any facts, legends, or source works on Anantadeva, Dhanvantari, Charaka as the Court Physician or Deity or school, the Nagakal (Caduceus) as a medical votive offering to Shesha-Balarama …anything, please let me know. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or write me at B.A. Goswami, Post Office Box 213, Myrtle Point, Oregon, 97458, USA.
May the Lord and Our Divine Mother bless you in your ministry to the suffering jivas, Hare Krishna, Sri Ananta-Baladeva-Charaka-Yashas Ki Jaya !
4-8-2001 Tridandi Sannyasi Bhakti Ananda Goswami
P.S. Charaka-Yashas (Jesus) is called YAKUSHI JI in Japanese Pure Land Buddhism and is considered an Expansion or Incarnation of AMITAYUS / AMITABHA.