“Spirituality does not come from religion. It comes from our soul.” ~Haile Selassie I
We have just unleashed the New Ganja Anthem for 2021! The new anthem “Gimme Di Weed” (Official Music Video) by Sakshi Zion and Benificiall is on that next level!
With guest appearances by Abba T & Empress Cathy (Selassie Ites band), Ono Vegan Food @onoveganfood, and of course The Holy Herb of Creation.
The lyrics are like a prayer or mantra :
Gimme di weed, gimme di good Ganja weed, Jah preserve my soul and give me the seed, the tree, the Tree of Life set a me free, and give length of days, and prosperity.
Special Thanks goes to LZ aka Lucas Zambrano (videographer), Chip Reardin (producer), Abba T and Empress Cathy (Selassie Ites Band), Ono Vegan Food (for the delicious and beautiful Papaya Bowls, the Sacred Ganja & the King of Kings Jah Rastafari for all the inspiration and guidance.
This song was written by Sakshi Zion & Benificiall
Produced by Sakshi Zion
Mix and Mastered by Chip Reardin
Recently we did a show here on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Here is a cool version of my song, “In The Sunshine” 🌞 Live at Herbivores in Kailua-Kona with my friends BenJah (keys), Tone-I (bass), Matt (drums) & Ian (sax).
This event was on July 24th, 2020 in celebration of Haile Selassie I 128th Birthday Anniversary.
Shine On! Thanks for watching! Listen to more of my music here…
By Runoko Rashidi
We are already aware… based on recent scientific studies of DNA, that modern humanity originated in Africa, that African people are the world’s aboriginal people and that all modern humans can ultimately trace their ancestral roots back to Africa. If not for the primordial migrations of early African people, humanity would have remained physically Africoid, and the rest of the world outside of the African continent absent of human life. This is our starting point.
Since the first modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) were of African birth, the African presence globally can be demonstrated through the history of the Black populations that have inhabited the world within the span of recent humanity. Not only are African people the aboriginal people of the planet, however, there is abundant evidence to show that Black people created and sustained many of the world’s earliest and most enduring civilizations. Such was the case in India.
The questions we pose here are simply these: Who are the African people of India? What is their significance in the annals of history? Precisely what have they done and what are they doing now? These are extremely serious questions that warrant serious and fundamental answers.
ANCIENT AFRICA AND EARLY INDIA
Exceptionally valuable writings reflecting close relationships between Africa and early India have existed for more than two thousand years. In the first century B.C.E., for example, the famous Greek historian Diodorus Siculus penned that,
“From Ethiopia he (Osiris) passed through Arabia, bordering upon the Red Sea as far as India…. He built many cities in India, one of which he called Nysa, willing to have remembrance of that (Nysa) in Egypt, where he was brought up.”
INDIA’S EARLIEST CIVILIZATION
In Greater India, more than a thousand years before the foundations of Greece and Rome, proud and industrious Black men and women known as Dravidians erected a powerful civilization. We are referring here to the Indus Valley civilization- -India’s earliest high-culture, with major cities spread out along the course of the Indus River. The Indus Valley civilization was at its height from about 2200 B.C.E. to 1700 B.C.E. This phase of its history is called the Harappan, the name being derived from Harappa, one of the earliest known Indus Valley cities.
In 1922, about 350 miles northeast of Harappa, another large Indus city, Mohenjo-daro (the Mound of the Dead) was identified. Mohenjo-daro and Harappa were apparently the chief administrative centers of the Indus Valley complex, and since their identification, several additional cities, including Chanhu-daro, Kalibangan, Quetta and Lothal have been excavated.
The Indus cities possessed multiple level houses enhanced by sophisticated wells, drainage systems and bathrooms with flushing toilets. A recognized scholar on the Indus Valley civilization, Dr. Walter Fairservis, states that the “Harappans cultivated cotton and perhaps rice, domesticated the chicken and may have invented the game of chess and one of the two great early sources of nonmuscle power: the windmill.”
The decline and fall of the Indus Valley civilization has been linked to several factors, the most important of which were the increasingly frequent incursions of the White people known in history as Aryans–violent Indo-European tribes initially from central Eurasia and later Iran. Indeed, the name Iran means the “land of the Aryan.”
APARTHEID IN INDIA
The White tribes that invaded India and disrupted Black civilization there are known as Aryans. The Aryans were not necessarily superior warriors to the Blacks but they were aggressive, developed sophisticated military technologies and glorified military virtues. After hundreds of years of intense martial conflict the Aryans succeeded in subjugating most of northern India. Throughout the vanquished territories a rigid, caste-segmented social order was established with the masses of conquered Blacks (called Shudras) essentially reduced to slaves to the Whites and imposed upon for service in any capacity required by their White conquerors. This vicious new world order was cold-bloodily racist, with the Whites on top, the mixed races in the middle, and the overwhelming majority of Black people on the very bottom. In fact, the Aryan term varna, denoting one’s societal status and used interchangeably with caste, literally means color or complexion and reflects a prevalent racial hierarchy. Truly, India is still a racist country. White supremacist David Duke claimed “that his 1970′s visit to India was a turning point in his views on the superiority of the White race.”
Caste law in India, based originally on race, regulated all aspects of life, including marriage, diet, education, place of residence and occupation. This is not to deny that there were certain elements of the Black aristocracy that managed to gain prominence in the dominant White social structure. The masses of conquered Black people, however, were regarded by the Whites as Untruth itself. The Whites claimed to have emerged from the mouth of God; the Blacks, on the other hand, were said to have emerged from the feet of God. This was the ugly reality for the Black masses in conquered India. It was written that:
“A Sudra [Black] who intentionally reviles twice-born men [Whites] by criminal abuse, or criminally assaults them with blows, shall be deprived of the limb with which he offends. If he has criminal intercourse with an Aryan woman, his organ shall be cut off, and all his property confiscated. If the woman has a protector, the Sudra shall be executed. If he listens intentionally to a recitation of the Veda [a traditional Hindu religious text], his tongue shall be cut out. If he commits them to memory his body shall be split in half.”
Servitude to Whites became the basis of the lives of the Black people of India for generation after generation after generation. With the passage of time, this brutally harsh, color-oriented, racially-based caste system became the foundation of the religion that is now practiced throughout all India. This is the religion known as Hinduism.
THE BUDDHA AND BUDDHISM IN INDIA
Buddhism appeared in India during the sixth century B.C.E. and came in the form of a protest against Hinduism. Buddhism opposed the arrogance of caste, and preached tolerance. It should not be surprising, then, that it developed a large and rapid following in the regions of India where the Blacks had survived in substantial numbers. On the emergence of Buddhism in India, Diop has suggested that:
“It would seem that Buddha was an Egyptian priest, chased from Memphis by the persecution of Cambyses. This tradition would justify the portrayal of Buddha with woolly hair. Historical documents do not invalidate this tradition…There is general agreement today on placing in the sixth century not only Buddha but the whole religious and philosophical movement in Asia with Confucius in China, Zoroaster in Iran. This would confirm the hypothesis of a dispersion of Egyptian priests at that time spreading their doctrine in Asia.”
Dr. Vulindlela Wobogo, another African-centric scholar, has observed that:
“Manifestations of the Buddha in Asia are Black with woolly hair. They all appear to be Egypto-Nubian priests who fled Egypt…The priests carried their spiritual knowledge but lost much of the scientific knowledge for obvious reasons. The well-known aspects of Buddhism and its companion, yoga, are all simply Egypto-Nubian priesthood practices, meditation, and…the belief that one could attain a god-like state if the soul was liberated from the body through knowledge and denial.”
In a monumental two volume work entitled A Book of the Beginnings, originally published in 1881, Gerald Massey recorded that:
“It is not necessary to show that the first colonisers of India were Black, but it is certain that the Black Buddha of India was imaged in the Africoid type. In the Black [African] god, whether called Buddha or Sut-Nahsi, we have a datum. they carry in their color the proof of their origin. The people who first fashioned and worshipped the divine image in the Africoid mold of humanity must, according to all knowledge of human nature, have been Africans themselves. For the Blackness is not merely mystical, the features and the hair of Buddha belong to the Black race.”
In the first volume of his massive text Anacalypsis, Godfrey Higgins wrote that:
“The religion of Buddha, of India, is well known to have been very ancient. In the most ancient temples scattered through Asia, where his worship is yet continued, he is found black as jet, with the flat face, thick lips and curly hair of the African.”
DALIT: THE BLACK UNTOUCHABLES OF INDIA
Possibly the most substantial percentage of Asia’s Blacks can be identified among India’s 160 million “Untouchables” or “Dalits.” Frequently they are called “Outcasts.” Indian nationalist leader and devout Hindu Mohandas K. Gandhi called them “Harijans,” meaning “children of god.” The official name given them in India’s constitution (1951) is “Scheduled Castes.” “Dalit,” meaning “crushed and broken,” is a name that has come into prominence only within the last four decades. “Dalit” reflects a radically different response to oppression.
The Dalit are demonstrating a rapidly expanding awareness of their African ancestry and their relationship to the struggle of Black people throughout the world. They seem particularly enamored of African-Americans. African-Americans, in general, seem almost idolized by the Dalit, and the Black Panther Party, in particular, is virtually revered. In April 1972, for example, the Dalit Panther Party was formed in Bombay, India. This organization takes its pride and inspiration directly from the Black Panther Party of the United States. This is a highly important development due to the fact that the Untouchables have historically been so systematically terrorized that many of them, even today, live in a perpetual state of extreme fear of their upper caste oppressors. This is especially evident in the villages. The formation of the Dalit Panthers and the corresponding philosophy that accompanies it signals a fundamental change in the annals of resistance, and Dalit Panther organizations have subsequently spread to other parts of India. In August 1972, the Dalit Panthers announced that the 25th anniversary of Indian independence would be celebrated as a day of mourning. In 1981, in Bangalore, India Dravidian journalist V.T. Rajshekar published the first issue of Dalit Voice–the major English journal of the Black Untouchables. In a 1987 publication entitled the African Presence in Early Asia, Rajshekar stated that:
“The African-Americans also must know that their liberation struggle cannot be complete as long as their own blood-brothers and sisters living in far off Asia are suffering. It is true that African-Americans are also suffering, but our people here today are where African-Americans were two hundred years ago.
African-American leaders can give our struggle tremendous support by bringing forth knowledge of the existence of such a huge chunk of Asian Blacks to the notice of both the American Black masses and the Black masses who dwell within the African continent itself.”
HABSHIS AND SIDDIS: AFRICAN DYNASTIES IN INDIA
India also received its share of African bondsmen, of whom the most famous was the celebrated Malik Ambar (1550-1626). Ambar, like a number of Africans in medieval India, elevated himself to a position of great authority. Malik Ambar, whose original name was Shambu, was born around 1550 in Harar, Ethiopia. After his arrival in India Ambar was able to raise a formidable army and achieve great power in the west Indian realm of Ahmadnagar. Ambar was a brilliant diplomat and administrator. He encouraged manufactures and built canals and mosques. He gave pensions to poets and scholars, established a postal service, and ultimately became one of the most famous men in India.
In a collective form, however, and in respect to long term influence, the African sailors known as Siddis stand out. Certainly, Siddi kingdoms were established in western India in Janjira and Jaffrabad as early as 1100 AD. After their conversion to Islam, the African freedmen of India, originally called Habshi from the Arabic, called themselves Sayyad (descendants of Muhammad) and were consequently called Siddis. Indeed, the island Janjira was formerly called Habshan, meaning Habshan’s or African’s land. Siddi signifies lord or prince. It is further said that Siddi is an expression of respectful address commonly used in North Africa, like Sahib in India. Specifically, it is said to be an honorific title given to the descendants of African natives in the west of India, some of whom were distinguished military officers and administrators of the Muslim princes of the Deccan.
In the second decade of the sixteenth century a European traveler named Armando Cortesao noted that:
“The people who govern the kingdom [Bengal] are Abyssinians [Ethiopians]. These men are looked upon as knights; they are greatly esteemed; they wait on the kings in their apartments. The chief among them are eunuchs and these come to be kings and great lords in the kingdom. Those who are not eunuchs are the fighting men. After the king, it is to this people that the kingdom is obedient from fear.”
The Siddis were a tightly knit group, highly aggressive, and even ferocious in battle. They were employed largely as security forces for Muslim fleets in the Indian Ocean, a position they maintained for centuries. The Siddi commanders were titled Admirals of the Mughal Empire, and received an annual salary of 300,000 rupees. According to Ibn Battuta (1304-1377), the noted Muslim writer who journeyed through both Africa and Asia, the Siddis “are the guarantors of safety on the Indian Ocean; let there be but one of them on a ship and it will be avoided by the Indian pirates and idolaters.”
Leonard Howell (6/16 1898 – 2/25 1981)
Leonard Howell, known as the founder of the Rastafari movement, was born in Clarendon, Jamaica. On November 2, 1930, Haile Selassie I was crowned by the emperor of Ethiopia. Howell interpreted this as a fulfillment of the words of Marcus Garvey when he said in the 1920’s, “Look to Africa for the crowning of a black king, He shall be the Redeemer!”
In 1933, Howell founded Rastafari movement in Jamaica with Joseph -, Arch Bold Dunk and others. Howell was accused of sedition due to this activity, and was captured by police authorities for 2 years, but even after prison, he fought with the power of Jamaica and developed Rastafari movement.
Howell was born on June 16, 1898 in May Crawle village in the Bull Head mountain district of upper Clarendon in Jamaica. He was the eldest of a family of ten children. Charles Theophilus Howell, his father, worked as peasant cultivator and tailor. Clementina Bennett, his mother, worked as an agricultural laborer.
During the First World War, Howell worked as a seaman and served as part of a Jamaican contingent sent to Panama. Before temporarily settling in Panama in 1918, he travelled back and forth between New York City and Panama several times. While in New York he became a member of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) after being confronted with his identity as a black man in Harlem for the first time and meeting Garvey, the revolutionary UNIA leader, in person.
Howell lived abroad for a total of some twenty years in his early life, during which time he was arrested and jailed for his involvement with the UNIA because the organization’s pro-black messages were viewed as threatening. After migrating to Panama and the United States, he eventually returned home in December 1932 at the age of 34 after being deported from the US. He was deported because of his involvement with the UNIA, which was perceived as threatening by the US government, due to the organization’s messages of black power and anti-colonialism. Upon returning to his homeland, he decided to leave his family home and spread the word about Rastafarianism. This decision to break away from his home was due to a conflict between Howell and his family, presumably because of his controversial belief in the divine nature of Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia.
Howell’s first public articulation of the divinity of Haile Selassie occurred in January 1933. This first open deification, which proclaimed the Emperor of Ethiopia to be the incarnation of God, took place at “Redemption Ground” in Kingston but was not successful in gaining converts.
In February 1933, Howell relocated his meeting to a southeastern parish of St. Thomas and two months later, on April 18, he addressed about two hundred people at a meeting in Trinity Ville, St. Thomas. During this meeting, police were present to monitor and control the event, which they deemed to be of a “seditious nature.” Despite concerns, authorities chose not to press charges against Howell so as not to draw extra attention to his movement and decided instead to closely monitor him.
According to Howell and his followers, Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia was the “Black Messiah” – an incarnation of God predicted by biblical prophecy. Howell believed that the grand coronation of Haile Selassie (who was widely traditionally claimed to be the descendant of King David, King Solomon, and the Queen of Sheba, in part due to the medieval Ethiopian text Kebra Nagast), was the realization of a prophecy. The grandness of the emperor’s ascension to power appeared to validate Howell’s imperative claim.
Howell’s teachings often began with background information about the people, land, and sovereignty of Ethiopia as an unchanged land populated by original, primitive Christian people who were under direct rule of a king who was a direct descendant of King David. He idealized Ethiopia in his preaching, calling the country a land with unmatched people and a perfect language, the sole uncorrupted language on Earth. Howell emphasized the coming of a new civilization based upon and founded in the glory and power of Haile Selassie, the “Supreme Black King.” He instructed his followers to adore the Ethiopian emperor as the supreme God over all of humanity. In Howell’s view, it was through Ethiopia that the truths of good character, social order, manhood and womanhood were preserved and were unfolding for all to see. Howell preached that Ethiopian culture was re-emerging to overtake hegemonic Anglo-Saxon forces that had kept Africans enslaved.
[Core values, leadership, and social network]
Among his followers, Howell preferred being called Gangunguru Maragh or G.G. Maragh to distinguish his ritual, mystical personality from his secular identity. Howell’s ritual name is thought to be a combination of three Hindi words – gyan (wisdom), gun (virtue or talent), and guru (teacher). In Hindi, Maragh means “great kings” or “king of kings.” Howell used this name as a pseudonym when he published The Promised Key.
In a meeting at Port Mortant, St. Thomas, on September 1933, it is recorded that Howell held a meeting that began with the singing of hymns. Then, Howell reportedly taunted clergymen of other religious denominations at the gathering and discouraged people from attending church because “ministers were liars.” He also spoke critically of slavery, claiming that “the White man stole Africa from the Africans, and that Black people should think that Africa is their home, not Jamaica”.
Howell’s message of praise for Emperor Haile Selassie also came with an open call for black supremacy as a way to combat colonialism and reject oppression by whites. At times, Howell would ask his congregants to join together and sing “God Save the King” – the king being Haile Selassie. Howell’s central doctrine acted as a force against white colonial ideology due to his placement of blackness as morally superior to whiteness, as is explained in his widely read publication, The Promised Key.
Howell is remembered as being a charismatic and authoritarian leader who sincerely cared about the wellbeing of his followers. In 1937, Howell founded the Ethiopian Salvation Society (ESS) whose objective was to use collective savings to better its members. A secondary purpose of the ESS was to help spread the good news about salvation and Christianity and underscore the value of self-help and good citizenship. These secondary purposes were expressly stated so as to shield the organization from suspicion that it was promoting sedition. Nevertheless, in 1940 the Jamaican governor responded to pressure from the colonial secretary and the labor leadership by officially banning a meeting of the ESS due to the resentment the organization was creating as well as its internationalization.
In addition to his leadership role in the ESS, Howell served as a role model and father figure for the growing Rastafarian community. His audacious, generous personality, combined with his well-travelled background, made early Rastafarians particularly receptive to his messages. Howell brought “the hope of a new generation, one which was inspired by the magnificence of the new Ethiopian emperor.”
To expand Howell’s Rastafarian network, he formed relationships with other black groups such as the Afro-Athlican Constructive Gaathly and the UNIA. Additionally he collaborated closely with other icons of the Rastafarian movement such as Marcus Garvey and George Padmore, a Trinidadian journalist.
Howell’s appeal for identification with Africa was in opposition to concurrent movements in Jamaica promoting a Jamaican creole nationalism. Howell positioned himself as an opponent of the labor nationalists Bustamante and Manley who had gained a substantial following among the working class. Howell preached to both the working class and the peasantry in Jamaica, attempting to unite disenfranchised black people to overcome colonial oppression. Jamaica’s independence in 1962 (which nevertheless maintained social, political and economic ties between Jamaica and Great Britain) was largely a disappointment for Howell, who had called for the complete severance of relations with imperial Britain.
[Trials and punishments]
In January 1934, Howell and Robert Hinds, another pioneer of the Rastafarian movement, were arrested and charged with sedition due to their gatherings and speeches at a meeting of 300 people at Seaforth, St Thomas, on December 10, 1933.
Howell was put on trial for sedition on March 13, 1934, and pleaded not guilty to openly expressing hatred and contempt for the Jamaican government and the King in addition to disturbing public peace on the island. Howell defended himself in court, using a photograph of Haile Selassie as evidence. During this historic trial, Howell is remembered as being the first person to declare that Haile Selassie was “the Messiah returned to earth.” Ultimately he was sentenced to two years in jail for sedition by the Jamaican chief justice, Robert William Lyall-Grant.
Later, in 1938, Howell was sent to a mental asylum in Kingston called the Bellevue Aslyum after being certified as insane for the inflammatory statements he published in his book The Promised Key. In this publication, which was released while Howell was still incarcerated, he labeled the Roman Catholic Pope as “Satan the Devil” and created the impression that war was being declared against colonialism and white supremacy – which Howell asserted should be replaced with “Black supremacy.” Furthermore, he openly objected to locally created religious systems like Revivalism and Obeah, a Jamaican folk practice. Although small, the book was powerful and very popular to the dismay of the Jamaican government.
As one of the most charismatic and outspoken of Rastafarian leaders, Howell was incarcerated at notably higher rates than other pioneers of the Rastafarian movement, such as Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert and Hinds. Described as “the most persecuted Rastafarian to date,” Howell suffered considerably under constant state surveillance because of his Rastafarian teachings. Due to his repeated imprisonment and persecution, he suffered the blow of being absent during Haile Selassie’s 1966 visit to Jamaica.
Especially threatening to the powers that be was his prophetic call for people to destroy the legitimacy and might of the British empire and international white supremacy, a message that caused people to reconsider their for identity, agency, and socio-political mobilization in Jamaica and elsewhere.
[Creation of Pinnacle Community]
Following his release from prison for his teachings of black power and denunciation of colonial rule, Howell created the first Rastafarian village in Jamaica at Sligoville, St. Catherine in 1940. The settlement was called “Pinnacle” due to its high hilltop elevation and was symbolically located in the first free village established to house former slaves in Jamaica. Pinnacle was one of the country’s first self-sustaining communities, its community members were able to meet their needs without dependence on outside resources. Some refer to Pinnacle as a commune, in which Howell’s form of socialism was practiced. Soon after its foundation, other similar Rastafarian communities were established across the country. Pinnacle was especially known for the cultivation of ganja (marijuana) that has religious significance for Rastafarians.
In efforts to shut down Howell and his followers, police raided Howell’s community of Pinnacle multiple times and labeled the community a “communist experiment” in 1941. Just one year after the creation of the settlement, government forces infiltrated and arrested many of Howell’s followers. After escaping immediate arrest, Howell was eventually arrested and tried once again for sedition and consequently was faced with two more years behind bars. Upon his release in 1943, he returned to Pinnacle once again. Howell hired guards and brought in watch dogs to protect Pinnacle from future attacks.
The police raided Pinnacle several more times in the 1950s. In 1954, militia invaded the community and almost completely destroyed the village. Even after this mass destruction, settlers returned, though the settlement was never restored to its previous thriving state. During a final raid in 1958, the police cleared out the remaining residents completely. Despite its ultimate destruction, the impact of the settlement made it legendary among other settlements around the country, who were observed to have been “miniature Pinnacles.”
[Alleged disappearance and ongoing legacy]
Some claim that Howell disappeared from public sight between 1958 and 1960, completely dropping out of his role as a Rastafarian leader. Accounts that he was neither heard from nor interacted with between this period and his death in 1981 have been challenged by historians who examined his life, however. Even after the final major raid of Pinnacle and Howell’s confinement in a mental asylum, he reportedly continued in his leadership of the Pinnacle community and as a Rastafari foundational role model, as evidenced by his role as a defendant in several cases at the Home Circuit Court, Kingston, regarding disputes about his ownership of Pinnacle.
Today Howell is remembered as a pioneer of the Rastafarian movement. Additionally, in honor of his values and persistent fight against colonial authority, he is seen as a leader of Pan-Africanism. To fight for his remembrance, the Leonard P Howell Foundation was created to “perpetuate and honor the memory of Leonard P Howell.” The Foundation calls for the restoration of a portion of the Pinnacle Property so that it can become a UNESCO world heritage site, an international Rastafarian worship and research center, and a monument in tribute to the vision and leadership of Leonard Percival Howell.
There is only one Jah, one God with Infinite Names.
Aristotle referred to the Ethiopians as a people of both Kush (Africa) & Sind (India).. Queen of Sheba ruled over the land of Sheba/Shiva/Saba.. the indigenous traditions of the Sabians was ancient African Shiva & Shakti worship.
To overstand the issue with iconography verses idolatry one must know the difference between a graven image & sacred murti, the ancient Egyptians had a similar practice as Hindus when they would designate specific icons for temple worship and a ritual is performed where the breath of God/Life is breathed into the icon and thus the image becomes a living deity… that being said.. when Yeshua went to India, he learned about the sacred science behind murtis, mandalas, Hindu & Buddhist symbolism and yantras, mantras and pujas BUT he also saw the corruption of the caste system & how the elite class of Brahman priests and people in general would worship and lavish great riches and honor to their stone icons but treat their fellow brothers & sisters like animals or worse.. thus Yeshua preached a razor edge distinction regarding this.. and emphasized to the people that the real deity to be worshipped is within the heart of all living beings.. the so-called low caste folks (Dravidians aka Lost Tribes of Israel) loved Saint Issa, as they called him in the East, but the elites didn’t like what he was preaching at all (threatening their hierarchy of power), and the story goes that then Yeshu had to flee from some of these areas of India to the Himalayas and stay with some Buddhist monks whom agreed with his teachings on rejecting the caste system. These stories can be found in The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ, The Christ of India & various other manuscripts that have been hidden & repressed for centuries. The secret archives of the Vatican has several of these various manuscripts as well as ancient icons/murtis of these connections and sadly many of these manuscripts were destroyed in the 2 worst literary holocausts in history.. the burning of the library of Alexandria & the burning of the Saint Thomas Christian’s library in India, both burned down by the Roman Catholic Church.
When Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia was gifted with a Ramayana by an Indian sannyasi, he smiled, and said they were all descendants of Lord Rama. He explained how the Ethiopians are called as Cushites, or coming down from Kusha, a son of Rama. The country is called Kushadwip, or the land of the son of Rama.
Ethiopians admit their ancestor as Kush, and they quote the Biblical story of Cush being a son of Ham (a phonetic misnomer of Ram). This only confirms to the widespread influence of Ramayana, even in a land that is 3000 miles away from the mainland of India.
Kemetic Yoga is the OG Sanatan Dharma brought from Ancient Kush (Ethiopia) to Ancient Sind (India) by the Dravidians in the first major human migrations out of Africa, and they founded the Indus Valley Culture & city of Harappan (Hara is a name of Shiva & Pan is an archetypal god often linked to Shiva) which was one of the most advanced in the ancient world, later it was the Aryans from the north that brought in many new ideas and later subjugated the Dravidians with the caste system. The Dravidians were mostly agricultural people who worshipped the Mother Goddess & Pushupati (Lords of the Animals) aka Shakti & Shiva in their indigenous African-Dravidian forms similar to the ancient traditions of the land of Kush/Saba/Sheba/Shiva but the Aryans were hunter/gatherers & would invade and conquer wherever they went, their pantheon was more War gods & Sky Gods like Indra and Surya.. these two traditions were eventually synthesized / merged to form modern Hindu religion. But the true mystical path of Sanatan Dharma is what the Sadhus (Holy Men) & Rastafari trod.. the lifestyle and consciousness of the Natural Mystic as Buddha, Krishna & Yahshua the Christ taught us.
Watch Yogiraj speak on his rare meeting with Haile Selassie I after his supposed death :
Read about the how the Ancient Hebrews worshipped Shiva here.
Read this thesis paper on the “Hindu Influences on Rastafari” for more relevant information about Leonard Howell’s influences on Rastafari and his connection to Hindu ideas and traditions.
Backstory: We wrote and released this song over 11 years ago.. it became and continues to be one of our fans and friends favorites. Recently, B-Still and I were together in Bloomington, Indiana where we met and originally wrote and recorded the song.. and decided to shoot a video for our underground classic. We selected several spiritual destinations in “Btown” and Gabriel Lantz shot the footage. Yamily Creative Company edited the video and Chip Reardin, the original producer of the song, Re-Mastered the track as well. Enjoy! Namaste!
I am the One with Many Faces & Many Many Names,
God & Goddess in the hearts that flame,
The rain, the sun, the stars and the moon,
The earth and universe, the song and the tune.
(Verse 1 – Sakshi Zion)
I Am That I Am, the light, shining bright tonight
Like the fire of Yahweh before Moses at Sinai
The burning bush, Ganja, Holy Marijuana
There’s a natural mystic blowing thru the air, Oh Jah
Heartbeats of freedom, Buddha, Bodhisattva Zen,
I’mma climbin Jacob’s ladder to the highest heaven,
to the palace within, I sip the chalice again,
on my flyin carpet Iyah soar Himalayan Mountains
(Verse 2 – B-Still)
They call me Buddha when they know that money isn’t true worth,
they call me the Great Spirit when they can feel me from the earth,
they call me Apollo when they follow me to the west,
call me Jesus in the Middle East, that’s where you know me best,
call me the effect of drugs, when they only feel me shroomin,
call me their soulmate when they see me in a human,
call me the Self of all things when you see things clearly..
It don’t matter what you call me, as long as you can hear me.
(Verse 3 – Sakshi Zion)
I am the one in Kailash, where I smoke ganja
With my coiled dreadlocks dat dem call Jata
They call me Shiva, in Meditation,
I have been that I Am from Creation,
to the zenith of the One, all my relations,
Aho Mitakyasin to all the nations
They call me Krishna Kokopeli with the magic flute
The Kabbalic Tree of Life, with everlasting fruits
They call me Bacchus, Dionysus, got the wine of bliss,
intoxicated circle dance with the flower goddesses,
they call me Isis, Mother Mary, the Magdalene,
the Queen, Triple Goddess, Gaia Earth so Green,
they call me Allah, the Great and Powerful Source,
Kundalini Shakti coiling serpent force,
they call me Rastafari, the King of Kings
Bhakti Yoga is the path, see me dance and sing ahhh
(Chorus & instrumental solo)
(Verse 4 – B-Still)
If I came as a blind man, would you hold my hand?
If I came as animal, would you protect my land?
If I came as the tree, would you cut me down?
And if I came as the rain, would you thank me now?
I come in Rainbows, not jus one single color
So when I come in another race, will you still see me as your brother?
If I said it was you, would you stop searching for me?
I’m what you close your eyes and feel, not what you think you see
They call me 99 names cause you can only describe me,
said I had 1000 yes, Infinity you’ll find me,
call me Keeli-Ana-Kulu-Kulu if you a Zulu
Under the Bodhi tree, like the Buddha I school you
(Verse 5 – Sakshi Zion)
I Am the Omkar, The Primordial Sound
Look Around, I Surround, You’re on Holy Ground
They call me Shanti, Shalom, Pax & Peace
Zion Temple of Love, I Am the High Priest
Emmanuel, Melchizedek, Avilokateshwar
Medicine Buddha and the Green Tara
I Am the whisper of the wind and the ocean’s wave
Jah Redemption call, knowledge of Self that saves
Yeshua Kristos, Haile Selassie I
I Am the Way, the Truth, the Life.
Baraka Kirtan – The Art of Spirituality (revised)
by Antonya Wallace (Anth-E200) 12/7/2010
Introduction: Baraka: a blessing, the essence of life, soul power. It’s a Thursday night, and while most people are headed out to the bars, I’m making my way across town to Sakshi’s house to sit in during a Baraka Kirtan performance. Kirtan is an ancient Indian tradition based on Bhakti Yoga, which uses music and chanting as an avenue to spiritual enlightenment. As I enter the house the smell of roasting vegetables, marijuana, and halava fills my nose. I later learned that food is almost always present and sanctified so that it can be offered to God. They believe that when one eats sanctified food, that the food purifies the soul. Since Kirtan has roots in India there isn’t any beef (or any meat for that matter) being served, due to their animals sacred role in India. Yet, not all Kirtankars (one who practices/performs Kirtan) are vegetarian. It just happened that everyone in attendance tonight was. Another thing that everyone shares is the use of marijuana, which is smiled upon, as it is believed to promote enlightenment, drive the music, and as an added benefit, make the food taste even more divine. Smoking was also used socially to bring everyone together to prepare for the beginning of the ceremony. I was only there to observe so I did not enhance my chances of enlightenment.
I thought it was important to note that as I entered the room; warm faces, hugs, and a plate of food greeted me. That hospitality was due in part because Sakshi used to be my neighbor and he was the first person I met when I moved to Bloomington. But the royal treatment wasn’t reserved just for ex-neighbors. As I sat watching I noticed that the Kirtan community is open and loving to everyone. As each person entered Sakshi’s house they were greeted by first name, a hug, food, and an offer to play music. I decided that I would not participate in the event so that I could have an etic point of view. I pulled up a chair slightly to the side of the group and began my observations. The heavy smell of incense being burned drowned out the colorful smells of food and ganja.
I really enjoyed the scent of the incense so after the event I asked what it was. To my astonishment it was part of another practice that I was completely oblivious to. “Agnihotra is a Vedic yajna and involves the burning of cow dung and ghee butter in an inverted copper pyramid at dusk and dawn precisely, while chanting Vedic mantras. Properly performed, this ritual according to the Vedic tradition brings about enormous healing and purification of the environment. The Agnihotra is a powerful yajna that in my experience brings about a deep sense of peace. This 5-minute process feels like coming out of an hour of meditation. It’s a grounding practices and assists in uncovering the real Self, hidden underneath all of the mental chatter. The fact that the dung of the cow is such an important part of this process is really significant given the way this culture brutalizes and tortures these sacred creatures” (ecovillage.wordpress.com). It seems that this practice speaks to the Kirtan community’s “love-all” mentality.
I learned that it was a good practice to do the Agnihotra before the real ceremony began, so that everything is cleansed. I learned, “The rites of the Morning-Agnihotra are almost the same as the rites of the Evening-Agnithotra; but, in many instances, the formulas uttered by the Adhvaryu or the Sacrificer are different” (Paul-Emile Dumont). I was only there for the evening Agnihotra so I cannot compare the differences with the morning ritual.
As the musicians began to take their seats, they ditched their shoes and sat in a semi-circle. The audience comprised the other half of the circle, therefore creating an atmosphere for the call and response style of the music. The simple act of sitting on the ground in a circle is an example of universal primitive behavior. Speaking generally, almost all ancient human groups have sat communally in circles during gatherings. Circular shaped atmospheres bring the listeners directly into the experience. They stop being just listeners, and become participants. The circle encourages each person to look into another’s eyes as they are beckoned to respond to the singer’s calls.
Each “Baba” grabbed their respective instrument; Sakshi Gopal Das on the harmonium, Arun Baba on the bansuri (a type of wooden flute), Zen-G on the guitar, and Ras D Hanubaba on percussion instruments, including the tabla, mridanga, djembe, and kartals. Kirtan events can be played in any musical style with any instrumentation. Baraka Kirtan chooses to stick with more traditional instrumentation on most nights. They also perform many different styles on their CD. Some of those styles include non-traditional instruments such as, electric guitars, bass, drums sets, and digital voice alterations. The style that they choose for each performance is generally based off of their mood that day.
The music begins and the first song (always) is Hare Krishna. Hare is the feminine energy of God, and Krishna means “all attractive one”. During the opening song, “a simple melody is repeated many times at continuously faster tempos and greater volumes until a climax is reached, at which point the whole process may begin again with either the same or a new melody…commonly a line of melody was first sung responsorily four times – leader, chorus, leader, chorus – before proceeding to the next line of the melody… [then] the whole procedure would start over…but at an increased tempo” (Slawek 80). Tonight’s leader, Sakshi sang,
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
The, the audience, some with eyes closed, some staring, some praying, would all participate on during the response. Everyone was completely indulged in their own self-awareness and spiritual being. The sound of all the voices in unison had a surprisingly rich tone. It was nice to be at a ceremony where everyone felt the freedom of creativity and experimented with harmonies, and adding their own flares to each response. The allowance of creativity offers everyone a unique personal experience for his or her spirituality. In some instances if the audience is really enjoying the performance, “The chorus of talkaris (kirtan) often interrupts the kirtankar’s sermon with the singing of a topically relevant abhanga and may take over the performance of a song that a kirtankar has begun. In fact, a warkari kirtankar can easily deliver an entire kirtan and only sing a few solo lines of the song” (Shultz 309). Since Indiana doesn’t have a very large Hare Krishna movement going on underground…Sakshi was more than welcome to solo until the cows (who weren’t eaten J) came home.
Main Argument: While I sat there watching everyone divulge all their energy into devotion through song, I found myself wondering why a genre of music that provides so much peace to people is not more mainstream. In fact, I can’t recall a time that I’ve ever heard Kirtan music on the radio, except when Sakshi would call me and tell me to tune it to Bloomington’s public radio station when Baraka Kirtan was playing.
Sakshi said that Kirtan is actually becoming a new genre in popular music, whereas before it was seated in the world music category. It seems that Kirtan’s growing popularity is due to its message of love, peace, and self-awareness; which can be contrasted by the mind numbingly idiotic music blaring on B97.7 day and day out.
I don’t want to come across as a racist person but I did notice that everyone in attendance (with the exception of me) was Caucasian, and none of us were from India. So my research question would have to be, How did an Indian tradition that’s not very well known, become a subculture in the United States? What makes this music more popular than other forms of world music?
Theory: Those who practice Kirtan disregard arbitrary attributes such as gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion. Kirtan is a catalyst to deeper spiritual awakening. People are instantly drawn to the ideology of togetherness that Kirtan offers. While most religions in our society offer a “Get Saved or Burn for Eternity” methodology, Kirtan’s job is to improve each person’s relationship with their own spiritual power.
Unlike most organized religions in the world, which ask you to abandon any other religious beliefs that may conflict with their doctrines, Kirtan lets you keep any, and all your beliefs. The point of Kirtan is to deepen your own spiritual awareness, in order to facilitate a deeper understanding of the spirit, self, and even other religions. It seems that since Kirtan offers such a contrast to more popular well-known religions like Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, etc…that people are also attracted just to get a taste of something new. Kirtan differs from other world religions in that they have never gone on some “convert or die” crusade. Instead of seeking out new members, they let the members seek them out, and then welcome them into their community with open arms. This method of gaining followers actually appears to have gained more devoted participants because each person is expected to find their own path into the Kirtan realm. If you want to become a part of the Kirtan community you have to make an effort to do so, unlike getting saved at a Baptist church which could be likened to going through a “McSalvation” drive through. Literally, anyone could walk into a church at any time and get saved, as many times as they want…without any real impact on their spiritual receptiveness.
Kirtan offers a tailored experience to each person. The natural feel of Kirtan takes away the hierarchal feel of organized religion. For example, the musicians take off their shoes before they play, everyone sits on the floor together, and shares food. It seems that those actions level the playing field between audience and performer, devotee and sit in, old and young, etc. Other factors that attract people to Kirtan are their love of the environment and preservation of ancient practices.
In the days when going to church has become “the thing to do” and if you don’t then you’re damned, people miss out on a real and physical connection with their spirit. From what I’ve seen many people just go to church to maintain their reputation, or they go but don’t practice what is preached. Churches have become kind of like fast food chains, in that they cater to the masses instead of the individual. The strength of major world religions seems to lie solely in the number of followers as opposed to the devotional strength of said followers. To see devoted followers, head over to a Kirtan event. Before going to the event I had no clue why it was growing, but now I understand that the personalized feel and unique musical styles is driving it to become a more prevalent part of our society (and most likely, many others).
Methodology: Being in such a laid back atmosphere, I thought it most appropriate to just jot down a few notes here and there, and casually start conversations. I began by asking Sakshi what Kirtan means to him. I used the genealogical method in a very loose sense so that I could get a grasp on which he learned from, since he was not born into the community. He actually mentioned that he thought it was a bit funny that here are four Caucasian men observing an Indian tradition, and really using it as a way of life. They have at times been misunderstood, but they simply just want to respect and enjoy the aspects of another culture.
I only observed during the event so as to remain neutral to my experience. We also met at Laughing Planet one day so that he could clarify the words of the songs for me. After talking to an insider, I thought I would interview someone who had no previous knowledge of Kirtan. I talked to Samy Estrada, who gave me her brief thoughts on the atmosphere and preaching of Kirtan. Since she was unable to actually attend the event with me, I asked her to watch one of Baraka Kirtan’s online performances. Since she is also a dancer I asked her to describe the music. She said, “the instrumentation was really unique, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought that it might be kind of lame because it was just acoustic instruments; but toward the end when they picked up the tempo it really got funky! They have a really cool message too” (Estrada)!
The rest of my research was done on www.BarakaVision.com, the band’s official website. I used this page to access the band member’s bios, mission statement, and preferred instruments. I also read a few articles on www.jstor.org so that I could read about Kirtan from an Ethnomusicologist’s and Ethnographer’s point of view. These pages gave me insight into more of the cultural implications and history than I could have gained in personal interviews. I couldn’t find much information about Agnihotra so I used www.google.com which led me to a brief review on ecovillage.wordpress.com about the book “How to Save the World”, by Peter Proctor, a biodynamic farmer.
Data Analysis: First, I needed to satisfy my curiosity about how Sakshi even got involved with the Hare Krishna movement. He said, “I was attracted to it years ago due to its instrumentation; especially the sound of the harmonium (which looks like a Dr. Seuss instrument), the message, and the ancient prayers which made me feel in tune with my ancestors” (Sakshi). I accessed his biography on his webpage for more insight on his background. “he lived and studied with many Elders and Mystics (including Ras Pidow, Dr. James E Mumford, Srila Turiya Das Mahasaya and more). Lived and studied at several Ashrams, Temples, and Binghi Camps across North America, Jamaica, Hawaii, and India. In the summers of 2002 and 2003 he traveled across N. America with a traveling cultural festival called “The Festival of India” in which he was a main contributor of set-up and break-down, cultural plays, food distribution, chariot-parading, and sacred chanting. He has been in several musical projects, including: Baraka Kirtan, Santos and the Saints, The Nyahbinghi Livity Choir, Indiana University African American Choral Ensemble, Kuru Dynasty, La Onda, Roots Groundation Family, Parrhesia and more” (BarakaVision.com). I thought that his eclectic musical diversity alone spoke to his openness to new cultures and creativity. If we use Sakshi as an example of the average practitioner of Kirtan, we can see how interesting and appealing the community is. As a side note, he also told me that he does not adhere to any organized religion. But he also does not judge or discriminate anyone based on his or her personal religious choices. His opinion is that people have their own path to embark on to find spiritual peace.
What Sakshi and the Kirtan movement do not do is tell people that they need to submit to their code or way of life. Their message is one of understanding and compassion. In Kirtan, God appears in many forms and usually his/her appearance is different to each person, because God can have an infinite amount of forms. In Kirtan, God can manifest as any deity such as, Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Ganesha, Kali, and many more. These deities share similarities with, and are usually connected to Catholic Saints. To communicate with the deities, they use music, which can be in any genre, just like God can appear in any shape. The musical style creates an openness, connectedness, and receptiveness, among each person’s spirit as they sit in the circle. Just like the participants, each song as a different flavor and mood. To connect with the gods they try to achieve spiritual awakening. Though the Kirtan spiritual awakening may be called different things, spirit of devotion, divine connection, right brained experience, or spiritual openness, these things seem to be held as a common intention to the band members.
Another common intention among the band members is to maintain old practices, like call and response. Samy’s reaction to the call and response aspect of the event was that it was reminiscent of tribal chanting (the band’s desired affect). She also thought the music was calming and soft, until the tempo picked up and it got intense. But this particular event that she saw was calmer than others because it did not use any electric instruments, which are more stimulating to the listener than acoustic ones. She also noticed that each person seemed to be in their own world, yet at the same time connected to everyone in the room. It was almost like Sakshi’s calls put everyone in to a trance, and they could only come out of it by singing the response.
I found that their website was extremely useful for bios and band info. I chose to focus primarily on Sakshi because he is my closest friend out of all the band members. But I did make sure to look at everyone else’s bio and they proved to each have completely different yet extraordinarily interesting backgrounds. It’s compelling to see that people from such different roads can all meet in the middle and work toward a common goal of harmony. Some of the ways that the band members spread peace when they’re not performing is Story Time Yoga, a group started by Sakshi, which incorporates yoga into fairy tales. Ras D likes to change the environment by teaching sustainable farming to Bloomington’s Community. With Kirtan the sky is the limit on creatively spreading the word of peace, harmony, and love.
Conclusion: Unlike other world religions Kirtan offers more than just a guide for living which can be summed up by the golden rule. The Hare Krishna movement brings entire communities of varied people together to function as one spritual entity. Kirtan allows each person to find their own path and use Kirtan as a means to help them spread love and harmony in whatever way they choose. For example, Sakshi’s yoga, and Ras D’s farming; they are each doing what they love to do, while weaving in Kirtan to spread a message.
The beauty of Kirtan is that while it is a deeply personal experience it is also very communal. The participation of the person sitting next to you, chanting, and playing music will directly affect your experience, and vice versa. The “primitiveness” of it makes the participants feel as though they have just relived something that their ancestors probably did long ago. As the tempo speeds up, so does the heart beato f all those involved. The music literally seems to pull your body toward the instruments. Everyone in the room seems to into a spiritual trance, as they slowly forget all the hardships in life outside the Kirtan room. When I was there, I wasn’t even participating but I found that instead of thinking about my bills, homework, exams, or life drama, I was just focused on the rhythm of the drums pulsating through my body. It was as if my brain turned off, and I didn’t have a choice, it was time to meditate.
Kirtan offers an authentic feeling of togethness that people usually do not get from day to day living. After the event eveyone kind of looks around smiling, like “now what?”. In such a short time they ate, smoked, chanted, blessed, meditated, and laughed together. I can truly say that I understand now why Kirtan is becoming so popular. It is a message that can virtually be played with any instruments, in and setting, and any time. Most importantly I found out that it can be played by anyone of any color or creed, etc…as long as they embody the message of love.
Since Kirtan is so musically amorphous it appeals to a broad audience of musical tastes and can easily become a tool for social change. “[It] is an especially effective meduim for the propegation of nationalist ideas because of its devotionalized context and Kirtan music’s potential for group participation, experiences of emboiment, and multiple interpretive possibilites” (Shultz 307).
After doing this Project I think that I have learned that Kirtan has the potential to create strong and loving leaders, who don’t adhere to social convictions of discrimination. In Kirtan you can come from any background because the importance rests in the spiritual world instead of the physical. Hopefully the Hare Kirshna movement will continue to spread, and add much needed harmony to the crazy world we’re all living in.
Works Cited :
Hindu Nationalism, Music, and Embodiment in Marathi Rāshṭrīya Kīrtan
Vol. 46, No. 2 (Spring – Summer, 2002), pp. 307-322
Published by: University of Illinois Press on behalf of Society for Ethnomusicology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/852784
Moi. “Cow Dung and It’s Many Wonderful Properties « EARTHKEEPIN.” EARTHKEEPIN. 27 Sept. 2007. Web. 02 Dec. 2010. <http://ecovillagelife.wordpress.com/2007/09/27/cow-dung-and-its-many-wonderful-properties/>.
The Agnihotra (Or Fire-God Oblation) in the Taittirīya-Brāhmaṇa: The First Prapāṭhaka of the Second Kāṇḍa of the Taittirīya-Brāhmaṇa with Translation
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society
Vol. 108, No. 4 (Aug. 27, 1964), pp. 337-353
Published by: American Philosophical Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/985912
Popular Kīrtan in Benares: Some ‘Great’ Aspects of a Little Tradition
Stephen M. Slawek
Vol. 32, No. 2 (Spring – Summer, 1988), pp. 77-92
Published by: University of Illinois Press on behalf of Society for Ethnomusicology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/852037
Wind, Arun B., Sakshi G. Das, Ras D. Hanubaba, and Zen G. “Divine Music”. Baraka Kirtan – Divine Music. DigitalNature, 1 Jan. 2010. Web. 04 Nov. 2010.
Ford, Arnold Josiah (23 Apr. 1877-16 Sept. 1935), rabbi, black nationalist, and emigrationist, was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, the son of Edward Ford and Elizabeth Augusta Braithwaite. Rabbi Ford asserted that his father’s ancestry could be traced to the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria and his mother’s to the Mendi tribe of Sierra Leone. According to his family‟s oral history, their heritage extended back to one of the priestly families of the ancient Israelites, and in Barbados his family maintained customs and traditions that identified them with Judaism (Kobre, 27). His father was a policeman who also had a reputation as a “fiery preacher‟ at the Wesleyan Methodist Church where Arnold was baptized; yet, it is not known whether Edward’s teaching espoused traditional Methodist beliefs or embodied the radical reconsiderations of Christianity and the embrace of Judaism that his son would later advocate.
Ford’s parents intended for him to become a musician. They provided him with private tutors who instructed him in several instruments—particularly the harp, violin, and bass. As a young adult, he studied music theory with the Edmestone Barnes of London and in 1899 joined the musical corps of the British Royal Navy, where he served on the HMS Alert. According to some reports, Ford was stationed on the island of Bermuda, where he secured a position as a clerk at the Court of Federal Assize, and he claimed that before coming to America he was a minister of Public Works in the Republic of Liberia, where many ex-slaves and then early black nationalists attempted to settle.
When Ford arrived in Harlem around 1910, he gravitated to its musical centers rather than to political or religious institutions—although within black culture, all three are interrelated. He was a member of the Clef Club Orchestra, under the direction of JAMES REESE EUROPE, which first brought jazz to Carnegie Hall in 1912. Other musicians who were black and Jewish, such as Willie “the Lion” Smith, an innovator of stride piano, also congregated at the Clef Club. Shortly after the orchestra’s Carnegie Hall engagement, Ford became the director of the New Amsterdam Musical Association. His interest in mystics, esoteric knowledge, and secrete societies is evidenced by his membership in the Scottish Rite Masons, where he served as Master of the Memmon Lodge. It was during this period of activities in Harlem that he married Olive Nurse, with whom he had two children before they divorced in 1924.
In 1917 MARCUS GARVEY founded the New York chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association [UNIA]. Within a few years it had become the largest mass movement in African American history. Arnold Ford became the musical director of the UNIA choir, Samuel Valentine was the president, and Nancy Paris its lead singer. These three became the core of an active group of black Jews within the UNIA who studied Hebrew, religion, and history, and held services at Liberty Hall, the headquarters of the UNIA. As a paid officer, Rabbi Ford, as he was then called, was responsible for orchestrating much of the pageantry of Garvey’s highly attractive ceremonies. Ford and Benjamin E. Burrell composed a song called “Ethiopia,” the lyrics of which spoke of a halcyon past before slavery and stressed pride in their African heritage—two themes that were becoming immensely popular. Ford’s efforts in the movement place him in the category of GEORGE ALEXANDER MCGUIRE, Chaplain-General of the UNIA, and various Islamic and Christian clergy who were each trying to influence the religious direction of the organization.
Ford’s contributions to the UNIA, however, were not limited to musical matters. He and E.L. Gaines wrote the handbook of rules and regulation for the African Legion (which was modeled after the Zionist Jewish Legion) and developed guidelines for the Black Cross Nurses. He served on committees, spoke at rallies, and was elected one of the delegates representing the 35,000 members of the New York chapter to the “First International Convention of Negro Peoples of the World,” held in 1920 at Madison Square Garden. There the governing body adopted the red, black, and green flag as its national ensign and Ford‟s song “Ethiopia” became the “Universal Ethiopian Anthem,” which the UNIA constitution required be sung at every gathering. During that same year, Ford published the Universal Ethiopian Hymnal. Ford was a proponent of replacing the disparaging term “Negro” with the term “Ethiopian,” as a general reference to people of African descent. This gave the line in Psalm 68 that “Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hand to God,” a new significance and it became popular slogan of the organization. At the 1922 convention, Ford opened the proceedings for the session devoted to “The Politics and Future of the West Indian Negro,” and he represented the advocates of Judaism on a five-person ad hoc committee formed to investigate “the Future Religion of the Negro.” Following Garvey’s arrest in 1923, the UNIA loss much of its internal cohesion. Since Ford and his small band of followers were motivated by principals that were independent of Garvey’s charismatic appeal, they were repeatedly approached by government agents and asked to testify against Garvey at trial, which they all refused to do. However, in 1925, Ford brought separate law suits against Garvey and the UNIA for failing to pay him royalties from the sale of recordings and sheet music, and in 1926 the judge ruled in Ford’s favor. Yet, despite his personal and business differences with the organization, Ford remained active in the UNIA as a rabbi, giving invocations and benedictions.
Several black religious leaders experimented with various degrees of Judaism between the two world wars. Rabbi Ford formed intermittent partnerships with some of these leaders. He and Valentine started a short lived congregation called Beth B’nai Israel. Ford then worked with Mordecai Herman and the Moorish Zionist Temple, until they had an altercation over theological and financial issues. Finally, he established Beth B’nai Abraham in 1924. A Jewish scholar who visited the congregation described their services as “a mixture of Reform and Orthodox Judaism, but when they practice the old customs they are seriously orthodox” (Kobre, 25). Harlem chronicler JAMES VANDERZEE photographed the congregation with the Star of David and bold Hebrew lettering identifying their presence on 135th Street and showing Rabbi Ford standing in front of the synagogue with his arms around his string bass, and with members of his choir arrayed at his side, the women wearing the black dresses and long white head coverings that became their distinctive habit and the men donned in white turbans.
In 1928, Rabbi Ford created a business adjunct to the congregation called the B’nai Abraham Progressive Corporation. Reminiscent of many of Garvey’s ventures, this corporation issued 100 shares of stock and purchased two buildings from which it operated a religious and vocational school in one and an apartment house in the other. However, the resources to sustain this enterprise dwindled as the Depression became more pronounced, and the corporation went bankrupt in 1930. Once again it seemed that Ford’s dream of building a black community with cultural integrity, economic viability, and political virility was dashed, but out of the ashes of this disappointment he mustered the resolve to make a final attempt in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government had been encouraging black people with skills and education to immigrate to Ethiopia for almost a decade, and Ford knew that there were over 40,000 indigenous black Jews already in Ethiopia who called themselves Beta Israel, but who were commonly referred to as Falasha. The announced coronation of Haile Selassie in 1930 as the first black ruler of an African nation in modern times raised the hopes of black people all over the world and led Ford to believe that the timing of his Ethiopian colony was providential.
Ford arrived in Ethiopia with a small musical contingent in time to perform during the coronation festivities. They then sustained themselves in Addis Abba by performing at local hotels and relying on assistance from supporters in the United Sates who were members of the Aurienoth Club, a civic group of black Jews and black nationalists, and members of the Commandment Keepers Congregation, led by RABBI W. A. MATTHEW, Ford‟s most loyal protégé. Mignon Innis arrived with a second delegation in 1931 to work as Ford’s private secretary. She soon became Ford’s wife, and they had two children in Ethiopia. Mrs. Ford established a school for boys and girls that specialized in English and music. Ford managed to secure 800 acres of land on which to begin his colony and approximately 100 individuals came to help him develop it. Unbeknownst to Ford, the U.S. State Department was monitoring their efforts with irrational alarm, dispatching reports with such headings as “American Negroes in Ethiopia—Inspiration Back of Their Coming Here—”Rabbi Josiah A. Ford,” and instituting discriminatory policies to curtail the travel of black citizens to Ethiopia. [Explain why briefly]
Ford had no intention of ever leaving Ethiopia, so he drew up a certificate of ordination (shmecha) for Rabbi Matthew that was sanctioned by the Ethiopian government with the hope that this document would give Matthew the necessary credentials to continue the work that Ford had begun in the United States. By 1935 the black Jewish experiment with Ethiopian Zionism was on the verge of collapse. Those who did not leave because of the hard agricultural work, joined the stampede of foreign nationals who sensed that war with Italy was imminent and defeat for Ethiopia certain. Ford, it was said, died of exhaustion and heartbreak in September, a few weeks before the Italian invasion.
The papers of Rabbi Ford are held largely in private collections; however, correspondence between Ford and Matthew is contained in the Rabbi Matthew Collection at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, along with other collections relating to Harlem’s black Jews. Detailed records of Ford‟s efforts in Ethiopia are available at the National Archives, State Department Records for Ethiopia.
King, Kenneth J. “Some Notes on Arnold J. Ford and New World Black Attitudes to Ethiopia,” in Black Apostles: Afro-American Clergy Confront the Twentieth Century, Randall Burkett and Richard Newman, eds. (1978).
Kobre, Sidney. “Rabbi Ford,” The Reflex 4, no. 1 (1929): 25-29. Scott, William R. “Rabbi Arnold Ford‟s Back-to-Ethiopia Movement: A Study of Black Emigration, 1930-1935,” Pan-African Journal 8, no. 2 (1975):191-201. and Richard Newman (1978) and William R. Scott. “Rabbi Arnold Ford‟s Back-to- Ethiopia Movement: A Study of Black Emigration, 1930-1935,” Pan-African Journal 8, no. 2 (1975): 191-201.
*This article was published by Rabbi Sholomo Levy in African American Lives (2004) and the African American National Biography (2008). Both volumes were edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham and printed by Oxford University Press.
Shiva is the Lord of the Sabbath. Shiva is Lord of Yoga, Loosing the Seven Seals.. Fulfilling the Seven Chakras.
Shiva meant Seven throughout the ancient world.
How the Sabbath Got its Name:
The Ancient Hebrew word Shabbath, meaning Sabbath, has its roots in Sheba meaning seven, and Shaba.
Sabaoth, meaning the military lord of hosts has its root in Saba, which also transliterates as Sheba and Seba. The Pillars erected to God in the Torah are named masseva or masseba. Both variants used the name of Shiva or Siva.
It is acknowledged even by the orthodox that Deity was addressed by various names, such as Baal, Adonai, Jah, Jehovah, El, El Shaddai, and El Kana. And we also know that divinity was not necessarily addressed as a singular entity as we see in the name Elohim which refers to a number of deities.
In the common translations available to the public, however, the original male deity of Judaism is never addressed as Sheba, a transliteration of Shiva, for obvious reasons. It would disclose the original deity of Judaism as being the Hindu Shiva and the original Jews as being Sabeans, that is, followers of Saba aka Sheba and Seba, all of which are names of Shiva. The deity Shiva venerated by mainstream Hindus commands vegetarianism as a diet, compassion for animals, and does not respect castes or classes. He starts to not at all fit in with what has become orthodox Judaism and Christianity, religions, or, more properly speaking, sects, which promote animal sacrifices as a diet, and elitist societies of rich and poor. The term, elitist societies of rich and poor, may be regarded as a euphemism for slavery in one degree or another. Slavery is an institution which is portrayed as acceptable in both the Old and New Testaments as well as in the Koran. As we shall see, point by point in this study, the original vegetarian and egalitarian values of Judaism were radically different from what orthodox Judaism has become.
Orthodox Jews ignore the root of the name of their place of study, the Yeshiva.
Shiva is known in the Old Testament as Sheba, Seba and Saba, Tsaba, as well as by other names. Shiva aka Sheba is the Lord of the Shabbath (Hebrew) and Sabbath (English). One easily sees the connection between the word Saba, which is interchangeable with Seba and Sheba, and the English word Sabbath. The etymology of the word Shabbath or Sabbath has been scrupulously ignored, as has, for example, the term yeshiva, meaning a school or academy for students of Judaism. The word is of course is a rather direct reference to Shiva, though it is not acknowledged to be so by the orthodoxy. When the relevant names of Shiva are aligned with the Hebrew and English designations of the seventh day, it is rather easy to see the etymological connection.
Sheba: Shabbath in ancient Hebrew.
The name Saba is easily seen to be the root of Sabbath in English
Sheba is an easily seen root of Shabbath, especially when we realize that ancient Hebrew is comprised of consonants, just as Saba is easily seen as the root of the English word Sabbath. As we examine the ancient Hebrew terms and names connected with the Sabbath, however, we will see that these correlations are not simply superficial or coincidental, but that they provide specific documentation of the Sabean tradition that gave birth to original Judaism.
Most of us are quite familiar with the term Sabbath day, the seventh day of rest which we understand as being derived from the sequence of days in Genesis: God creates the world in six days and rests on the seventh. And we are also familiar with the fourth commandment “Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day.” But we usually aren’t informed as to the source or etymology of the word itself, Sabbath, or in Hebrew Shabbath.
7676 Shabbath in Hebrew is described as meaning intermission, the Sabbath, and every sabbath. It is a form of 7673.
7673 Shabath is a primitive root meaning to repose, to desist from exertion.
Understanding that the Shabbath or Sabbath is the seventh day, when we examine the roots of the Hebrew words Shabbath and Shabath, we come across a number of definitions that can make more sense from a Hindu perspective, since they refer to a yogic process.
The Sabbath and Shiva as Lord of Yoga “Sevening One’s Self”
An examination of the names Sheba and Shaba, words which may be seen as roots of Shabbath (in English the Sabbath), deal with sevening one’s self, and thereby reveal the ancient devotion that the original Jews had to Shiva as the Lord of Yoga, one who has “sevened himself,” that is fulfilled his seven chakras. In the Hindu system of Yoga, which tradition has it was begun by Shiva himself, there are seven centers, the root chakra or center, corresponding to one’s sexual energy, the power chakra above it, the solar plexus chakra above it, the heart chakra, the throat, the third eye and the seventh chakra at the top of the head.
The practitioner of Yoga, or for that matter, any human seeking spiritual perfection, is to deal with resolving, controlling or balancing sexual desires (the first center), resolving conflicts of power (the second center), controlling appetite addictions and using food for purification (the third and solar plexus center), controlling one’s emotional attachments (the fourth and heart center), expression of one’s will (the fifth and throat center), reception to the infusion of divinity through meditation (the sixth center in the third eye), all of which, when finally achieved, allow one to connect with divinity through the highest chakra in the top of the head.
We can easily see moreover how the term Shabbath or Sabbath is related to numerous other words which reflect the seventh day aspect of the word. Namely: the word shaba and the words sheba (pronounced sheh’ bah) and shibah (pronounced shib-aw’) which are the feminine and masculine forms of the same word. The ancient Hebrew words Shaba and Sheba both refer to aspects of the Hindu Shiva as Lord of Yoga.
7650 shaba, a primitive root; to be complete; to seven oneself.
The latter part of the above definition, to seven oneself may be interpreted in numerous ways, among them that seven is part of a natural cycle, and that the seventh day completes or perfects the cycle, were it not for the word oneself, which brings the completion of the seven part cycle to a personal level. On the personal level the phrase to seven oneself may seem to make little or no sense in the history of the orthodox Jews, but makes perfect sense in the history of Hinduism. The phrase refers to the ideal of the Yogic process, to eliminate all major negativity in one’s spiritual centers and to activate their positive potentiality.
Shiva is the Inventor of Yoga, and the Lord of Yoga. Shiva has nourished to the full his seven spiritual centers or chakras, and is now a fulfilled being elevated to divinity. It is Shiva who is being referred to as a divine model for human behavior, for in fulfilling the potentiality of each of his seven chakras, Shiva has sevened himself; he is a complete being.
Shiva was known throughout the world as the God of Seven.
Whereas the verb Shaba refers to the activity of becoming complete in one’s self, the following definition of Sheba, a frequently used noun and root in the Old Testament Hebrew, means seven, but seven as the sacred full one. In other words, the nominative case refers to the same occurrence: that of being in the state of having fulfilled one’s self, one’s spiritual centers, and once again seven, the number of the chakras, is mentioned. Sheba means seven. The Shabbath is the seventh day. Sheba is merely a transliteration of Shiva, sometimes spelled as Sheva.
7651 sheba (fem) or shibah (masc), seven (as the sacred full one); as an adverb, seven times; a week.
To anyone who is not familiar with the Hindu system of Yoga featuring the development of one’s seven spiritual centers, the above definition of seven as the sacred full one would be rather ambiguous, but to the Hindus and Buddhists, to the ancient Maya and Aztecs, who also revered the number seven and worshiped Shiva and Kali, and to the Hopis (though Hopis limit the centers to five), it is a system which meshes with their own. [The Aztec pantheon even has a vegetation goddess known as Kundalini (See Michael Jordan’s Encyclopedia of Gods).]
Shiva is associated with the number seven over and over again in Hinduism, as is the God of Judaism, and Sheba in Hebrew means seven. The link between the Hindu deity Shiva and the number seven includes the fact that Shiva is Lord of the seven worlds, he lives in the place of seven rivers on earth and in Shivaloka, the highest of the seven worlds, he is Lord of Yoga, having mastered his seven spiritual centers, and his name means seven. Zechariah Sitchin in Lost Realms says that the name Elisheva in Canaan mean “my God is Seven.” p. 82.
SHIBAH, meaning Seven in Genesis: 26:33
Isaac’s servants in the above scripture name the well shibah, meaning seven, to honor their God, Sheba, or Shiva, and thereby also to show that the wells are “owned” or cared for by Isaac (God laughed), the root of whose name is Isa, one of Shiva’s other names. The well therefore has been named after Shiva as Isaac himself has been named after Isa.
Let us let the above definitions show us the relationship of our own English Seven to the German Sieben, and the Hebrew forms of the word, such as Seba and Sheba, words which go back to a Sanskrit source. Perhaps we can get somewhat of an idea of how influential central essential concepts of divinity are, and how spin-off material is related to the phonetic structure and mental significance of the original concept.
Insofar as the Sabbath was named after the seventh day of creation and Creation is the Creator’s Harvest, we can see how the root of the word Sabbath is related with the following words meaning plenty, abundance and satisfaction.
The Lord of the Sabbath is the Lord of Creation, and therefore the Lord of Plenty, the Harvest, Abundance.
7646 saba or sabea (defined the same) to sate, fill to satisfaction, have plenty of, satisfy with, suffice.
Saba is the name of God to the Ethiopian Sabeans, who erected pillars and offered vegetation to him. The Hebrew Seba and Sheba are transliterations of Siva and Shiva. It is indisputable that Saba, Seba, Sheba, and Sheva, all Hebrew words, are transliterations of Shiva’s name and/or attributes. Like the Dravidians in India, the Ethiopians also worshipped Krishna as Cainan or Kanneh, and Rama as Ramman or Rimmon. For verification that these were the names of the Ethiopian deities, look up Sheba, Seba, Saba, in James Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible (1919 edition). Some Indian scholars affirm that Ethiopia may in fact be the mother culture of India, and given the evidence that the oldest human bones thus far found are Ethiopian, this would indeed be even more evidence to add to the fact that the Sabean religion was the first universal religion of the world. What is being conjectured is that the migrating Ethiopians became the aboriginal Shaivites who were later invaded by the Aryans.
7647 sabea, copiousness, abundance, plenteous.,
7649 sabea, satisfied in a pleasant or disagreeable sense, full of, satisfied with.
Sheba or Shiva, Lord of the Sabbath was known as the Lord of Creatures, and Protector of Cattle, The seven day cycle of creation and rest in Genesis 1 is a description of the Lord of the Sabbath, Sheba, or Shiva. He was the Deity who commanded the vegetarian covenant of Genesis 1: 29-30.
“And God said `Behold I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the air and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.'”
Mainstream Hindus for millennia have worshipped Shiva as the compassionate Lord of Creatures, or Shiva Pasupati.
Thus, this same Shiva or Sheba, after whom the Shabbath was named, was also the compassionate deity commanding vegetarianism for all creatures, not just for humans. In other words, the vegetarian covenant which commands that all creatures eat plants and not other creatures is a logical covenant commanded by Shiva. We should also realize, that after the fall, in “Genesis” cattle are singled out as those who will suffer. The rewriter of the Torah was obviously countering the previous influence of Shiva, or Sheba, Lord of the Sabbath and Protector of Cattle.
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