The Dainas are a remarkable collection of poetry from Latvia and Lithuania which the people express through music and dance. Apart from their poetic and musical value they are a testimony to a Europe before the onslaught of Christianity. There are some 3500 verses which speak about God, 1000 verses devoted to Laima the Goddess of luck and 300 to Mara the deity of this earth and thousands more touching on subjects of every day life. In a way similar to Vedic texts they are written in metres enabling them to be easily committed to memory. These stanza like structures are not the only similarity to Vedic scriptures as can be seen in the following verse –
Man mamina pura deva
Mazu dviesmu vaceliti
Tris dieninas padziedaju
Ne vacina nepavazu
Written over a thousand years ago, this verse, representing the culture of ancient Latvia and Lithuania would not look out of place in a Bhagavad Gita or the ancient Rig Veda. The top line espescially is reminiscent of so many Vedic slokas – Man mamina pura deva, this can be chanted in the same manner as any Vedic sloka. Man is Sanskrit for mind, thought, ect, Pura is Sanskrit for city, old, ancient, and Deva is a well known Sanskrit word meaning God. Even Mamina comes ultimately from Sanskrit being an extention of Sanskrit Mate meaning mother. Tris is Sanskrit for three and Dieninas is Sanskrit Dainandini meaning diary or memories. As a comparison we have a verse from the great classic of India the Bhagavad Gita –
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi yuktvaivam
Comparing the two we can see a similar metre and although in this article they are not displayed, they have the the same diacritical marks such as the long vowels, and when we consider that most of the words are in Sanskrit we have to ask the question, why ? Why is it that the ancient culture of Lithuania and Latvia are presented in verses similar to the stanzas and meters of the Vedas, and why are most of these verses full of words from the ancient Sanskrit language.
Antoine Meillet, the famous French linguist said ” A Sanskrit scholar could understand and be understood by a Lithuanian farmer “. Below are a list of Lithuanian words which are either the same or very similar to Sanskrit –
Lithuanian – Asva – Sanskrit – Azva – Horse – Lithuanian – Dievas – Sanskrit – Devas – Gods – Lithuania – Sunus – Sanskrit – Suna – Son – Lithuania – Pados – Sanskrit – Padas – Feet – Lithuania – Sausas – Sanskrit – Zosa – Dry – Lithuania – Ratas – Sanskrit – Rathas – Carriage – Lithuania – Dentis – Sanskrit – Dantis – Teeth – Lithuania – Naktis – Sanskrit – Naktis – Night – Lithuania – Sapna – Sanskrit – Svapna – Dream – Lithuania – Avis – Sanskrit – Avis – Sheep – Lithuania – Derme – Sanskrit – Dharma – Righteousness – Lithuania – Su – Sanskrit – Su – Good – Lithuanian – Kas – Sanskrit – Kah – Who – Lithuania – Manau – Sanskrit – Mana – Think – Lithuania – Suprantu – Sanskrit – Supratarka – Understand – Lithuania – Patarnauti – Sanskrit – Prakrnoti – Serve – Lithuanian – Prasau – Sanskrit – Prasad – Please – Lithuania – Asarot – Sanskrit – Azru – tears
One of the most striking examples of how Lithuania was once part of the same culture of India is its numerical system. Lithuanian two – DU – Sanskrit – DVI – Lithuanian three – TRYS – Sanskrit – TRI – Lithuanian four – KETURI – Sanskrit – CATUR – Lithuanian five – PENKI – Sanskrit – PANCA – Lithuanian six – SAS – Sanskrit – SESI – Lithuanian seven – SEPTYNI – Sanskrit – SAPTAN – Lithuanian eight – ASTUONI – Sanskrit – ASTAN – Lithuanian ten – DESIMT – Sanskrit – DASAN. Eight of the first 10 numbers are basically the same which means that their system of numbers are written in a similar language. Below are some more similarities between the Lithuanian language and Sanskrit –
Lithuania – Kada – Sanskrit – Kada – When – Lithuania – Platus – Sanskrit – Prathus – Wide – Lithuania – Storas – Sanskrit – Sthuras – Thick – Lithuania – Sunis – Sanskrit – Zuni – Dog – Lithuania – Kirmele – Sanskrit – Kirmila – Worm – Lithuania – Ragas – Sanskrit – Zragas – Horn – Lithuania – Akis – Sanskrit – Aksi – Eye – Lithuania – Sparna – Sanskrit – Suparna – Wing – Lithuania – Mustis – Sanskrit – Mustika – Fight – Lithuania – Musti – Sanskrit – Musti – Hit – Lithuania – Dalinti – Sanskrit – Dalita – Split – Lithuania – Kirpti – Sanskrit – kirpta – Cut – Lithuania – Kasyti – Sanskrit – Kasyati – Scratch – Lithuania – Kasti – Sanskrit – Khati – Dig – Lithuania – Sedeti – Sanskrit – Sidati – Sit – Lithuania – Duoti – Sanskrit – Datte – Give – Lithuania – Sruti – Sanskrit – Snuti – Flow – Lithuania – Pilnas – Sanskrit – Pina – Full – Lithuania – Ugnis – Sanskrit – Agnis – Fire.
A conjugated verb is a verb which has been changed to communicate what may be a number, gender, person, tense, aspect, mood or voice. For example “am” is present tense conjugation to the word “be”. Also when we use the word “I” we indicate we are talking in the first person as opposed to the second person “You” or third person “He” “She” or “It”. So these are known as conjugated verbs and when we make the comparison between Sanskrit and Lithuanian language we can see they are very similar.
In Sanskrit the first person singular is Asmi meaning “i am”, in Lithuanian the first person singular is Esmi meaning “I am”. So we have Asmi and Esmi. In Sanskrit the second person singular is Asi meaning “thou art”, in Lithuania the second person singular is Esi meaning “thou art”. So we have Asi and Esi. The third person singular in Sanskrit is Asti meaning “He” “She” “It is”, the third person singular in Lithuania is Esti meaning the same. So we have Asti and Esti which upon reflection suggests a similar linguistic source.
In Sanskrit “we are two” is indicated by the word S-vah, in Lithuania “we are two” is indicated by the word Esva. So we have Svah and Esva. In Sanskrit “you two are” is indicated by the word S-thah and in Lithuania the same thing is indicated by the word Es-ta. So we have S-thah and Esta. In Sanskrit “we are more than two” is indicated by the word S-mah, in Lithuanian the same thing is indicated by the word Esme. So we have S-mah and Esme. In Sanskrit “you are more than two” is indicated by the word S-tha and in Lithuanian the same thing is indicated by the word Este, giving us S-tha and Este. So we can see the similarities between these two languages, which seems to suggest that at one time in the distant past these two countries had a common culture.
Many traditional houses in Lithuania are adorned with the motif of two horses heads upon their rooftops. The name the Lithuanians call them is Asvieniai, the divine horse twins. Hindus immediately recognise this as the twin Asvinis of the Vedas, and quite rightly, both of them being divine horsemen with names too similar to be a coincidence. The Asvieniai of Lithuania pull the Sun chariot throughout the sky, the Asvinis of the Vedas are the sons of the Sun God and also pull the golden chariot. In Lithuania the houses are adorned with the Asvieniai to benedict abundant health, in the Vedas the twin Asvinis are known as the physicians of the Gods, representing the Ayur Vedas, the knowledge of health. The Asvieniai of Lithuania and the Asvinis of the Vedas are one and the same and we find these deities throughout Europe – http://www.vedicbharat.org/2015/04/vedic-gods-ashvini-kumaras-in-ancient.html Throughout the Dainas we find innumerable Gods and Goddesses similar to the pantheon found in ancient Veda.
The most prominent of the Gods of Lithuania is a wise old personality known simply as Deva which is Sanskrit for God. Zeme is a fertility Goddess, she has 100 sisters whose names all end with “mate” a Sanskrit word meaning mother – Zeme Mate, Darzu Mate, Meza Mate, Lazdu Mate, Senu Mate, Briezu Mate, ect. Mara in Vedic folklore is known as the God of death. The Sanskrit word amara means immortal and Mara means the opposite – death. The Dainas devote 300 verses to Mara. In the Lithuanian tradition she is a Goddess of the earth and just like Bhumi of the Vedas she is the Goddess and protector of the cows. The following is a verse from Dainas describing Goddess Mara –
Dear Mara, Mother of Milk-
Give me your goodness;
May the milk flow from the cows-
As if from the source of Mara.
One of the first Lithuanian Gods was Nunadievis, Numas meaning house and Dievis a corruption of the Sanskrit Devi meaning god, the God of the house. Dimstipati is also a Lithuanian deity whose name means the God of the house. The Dim comes from the Sanskrit Dam which means house, we see this Sanskrit word in King-dom – the house of the King and Domestic, the Pati at the end of the name is a Sanskrit word meaning Lord. Seimi Dewes is the Lithuanian God of the family and once again the Dewes comes from the Sanskrit Deva meaning God. The Lithuanian god of the moon is known as Dievaitis, the God of the family is Upinis dewas, the God of rivers is Gulbi Dziewas and there is Kielu Dziewas, Tebo Dziewas, Dievi Deli, Diviriks and Dieva Dukryte, all reflecting a Sanskrit connection through the word Devas.
“North of Poland are the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland, all successors of Tsarist Empire. They are small states, but each is a distinct cultural entity with a separate language. You will be interested to know that the Lithuanians are Aryans (like many others in Europe) and their language bears quite a close resemblance of Sanskrit. This is a remarkable fact, which probably many people in India do not realise, and which brings home to us the bonds of which unite distant people”. Jawaharlal Nehru.