Critical Podium Dewanand World
India's Mayan connection by P.K.Ramakrishnan
Sacrifice code wfor0356
Sacrifice date Mon, 29 Aug 2005
India's Mayan connection
From: "P.K.Ramakrishnan" <email@example.com Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2005
Mayans were connected with India during the Ramayana and
1. Ravana's wife Mandodari was the daughter of a Maya an architect
who built Lanka.
"Madodarim maya-sutaam parineeya dasaanaH
tasyaamutpaadayaamaasa meghanaadaahvayam sutam"
2. Another Maya was saved by Arjuna from the Khandava forest fire.
In return he built Pandava's palace which was an architectural
This created the sthala-jala bhraanti among the kauravaas when they
the Pandvaas during the rajasuya yagam.
kedarnath <firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
The Maya are probably the best-known of the classical civilizations
Originating in the Yucatan around 2600 B.C., they rose to prominence
around A.D. 250 in present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, western
Honduras, El Salvador, and northern Belize.
Building on the inherited inventions and ideas of earlier
civilizations such as the Olmec, the Mayans developed astronomy,
calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing. The Mayans were noted
as well for elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture,
including temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories, all built
without metal tools. They were also skilled farmers, clearing large
sections of tropical rain forest and, where groundwater was scarce,
building sizeable underground reservoirs for the storage of
rainwater. The Mayans were equally skilled as weavers and potters,
and cleared routes through jungles and swamps to foster extensive
trade networks with distant peoples.
Many people believe that the ancestors of the Mayans crossed the
Bering Strait at least 20,000 years ago. They were nomadic hunter-
gatherers. Evidence of settled habitation in Mexico is found in the
Archaic period 5000-1500 BC - corn cultivation, basic pottery and
The first true civilization was established with the rise of the
Olmecs in the Pre-Classic period 1500 BC -300 AD. The Olmecs settled
on the Gulf Coast, and little is known about them.
The Mayans are regarded as the inventors of many aspects of Meso-
American cultures including the first calendar and hieroglyphic
writing in the Western hemisphere. Archeologists have not settled
the relationship between the Olmecs and the Mayans, and it is a
mystery whether the Mayans were their descendants, trading partners,
or had another relationship. It is agreed that the Mayans developed
a complex calendar and the most elaborate form of hieroglyphics in
America, both based on the Olmec's versions.
Mayans seem to have entered Yucatan from the west. As usual with
ancient nations, it is difficult in the beginning to separate myth
from history, their earliest mentioned leader and deified hero,
Itzamnᬠbeing considered to be simply a sun-god common to the
Mayan civilization. He is represented as having led the first
migration from the Far East, beyond the ocean, along a pathway
miraculously opened through the waters.
The second migration, which seems to have been historic, was led
from the west by Kukulcan, a miraculous priest and teacher, who
became the founder of the Mayan kingdom and civilization. Fairly
good authority, based upon study of the Mayans chronicles and
calendar, places this beginning near the close of the second century
of the Christian Era.
Under Kukulcan the people were divided into four tribes, ruled by as
many kingly families: the Cocom, Tutul-xiu, Itzᠡnd Chele.
To the first family belonged Kukulcan himself, who established his
residence at Mayanspan, which thus became the capital of the whole
nation. The Tutul-xiu held vassal rule at Uxmal, the Itzᠡt
Chichen-Itzᬠand the Chel頡t Izamal.
To the Chele was appointed the hereditary high priesthood, and their
city became the sacred city of the Mayans. Each provincial king was
obliged to spend a part of each year with the monarch at Mayapan.
This condition continued down to about the eleventh century, when,
as the result of a successful revolt of the provincial kings,
Mayapan was destroyed, and the supreme rule passed to the Tutul-xiu
Later on Mayapan was rebuilt and was again the capital of the nation
until about the middle of the fifteenth century, when, in
consequence of a general revolt against the reigning dynasty, it was
finally destroyed, and the monarchy was split up into a number of
independent petty states, of which eighteen existed on the peninsula
at the arrival of the Spaniards.
In consequence of this civil war a part of the Itzᠥmigrated
Lake Pet鮬 in Guatemala, where they established a kingdom with
Their capital and sacred city of Flores Island in the lake.
Mayan Classic Period - 300-900 AD
Most artistic and cultural achievement came about during the Classic
period 300 - 900 AD. The Mayans developed a complex, hierarchical
society divided into classes and professions. Centralized
governments, headed by a king, ruled territories with clearly
defined boundaries. These borders changed as the various states lost
and gained control over territory. Mayansn centers flourished in
Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. The major
cities of the Classic period were Tikal (Guatemala), Palenque and
Yaxchilᮠ (Chiapas, Mexico), Copᮠand Quirigua (Honduras).
For most of this period, the majority of the Mayans population lived
in the central lowlands of Mexico and Belize.
The Northern Yucatan (where present day Cancun is located) was
sparsely populated for most of the Classic period with only a few
cities such as Dzibilchalt?ear M鲩da) and Xpuhil,
Becᮠand Chicannᠨnear Chetumal). During the 9th century
the population centers of the central lowlands declined
significantly. This decline was very rapid and is attributed to
famine, drought, breakdowns in trade, and political fragmentation.
Fragmentation from large states into smaller city-states focused
resources on rivalries between cities including not just wars, but
competitions of architecture and art between rival cities. As the
cities in the lowlands declined, urban centers sprung up in the
Northern Yucatᮬ including Uxmal (near M鲩da).
Anthropologists used to contrast the "peaceful" Mayans with
bloodthirsty Aztecs of central Mexico. Although human sacrifice was
not as important to the Mayans as to the Aztec, blood sacrifice
played a major role in their religion. Individuals offered up their
blood, but not necessarily their lives, to the gods through painful
methods using sharp instruments such as sting-ray spines or
performed ritualistic self mutilation. It is probable that people of
all classes shed their blood during religious rites. The king's
blood sacrifice was the most valuable and took place more
frequently. The Mayans were warlike and raided their neighbors for
land, citizens, and captives. Some captives were subjected to the
double sacrifice where the victims heart was torn out for the sun
and head cut off to pour blood out for the earth.
The Mayansn civilization was the height of pre-Columbian culture.
They made significant discoveries in science, including the use of
the zero in mathematics. Their writing was the only in America
capable of expressing all types of thought. Glyphs either represent
syllables or whole concepts and were written on long strips of paper
or carved and painted on stone. They are arranged to be red from
left to right and top to bottom in pairs of columns. The Mayansn
calendar begins around 3114 BC, before Mayans culture existed, and
could measure time well into the future. They wrote detailed
histories and used their calendar to predict the future and
astrological events. Fray Diego de Landa, second bishop of the
Yucatᮠordered a mass destruction of Mayansn books in 1562 and
only three survived.
Post Classic Period - 1000 - 1500 AD - Growth and Ruin After the
Classic period, the Mayans migrated to the Yucatᮊ peninsula.
There they developed their own character, although their
accomplishments and artwork are not considered as impressive as the
Classic Mayans. Most of the ruins you can see South of Cancun are
from this time period and are definitely worth a visit.
Chichen Itza (near Valladolid), Uxmal (near Merida) and
Mayanspᮠ (west of Chichen Itza) were the three most important
cities during the Post Classic period. They lived in relative peace
from around 1000 - 1100 AD when Mayanspᮠoverthrew the
confederation and ruled for over 200 years. In 1441 the Mayans who
had previously ruled Uxmal destroyed the city of Mayanspᮠand
founded a new city at Mani. Wars were fought between rival Mayansn
groups over the territory until the region was
conquered by the Spanish.
Chichen Itza was first populated between 500 and 900 AD by Mayans
and for some reason abandoned around 900, the city was then
resettled 100 years later and subsequently invaded by Toltecs from
the North. There are numerous reliefs of both Mayan gods including
Chac and the Toltec gods including Quetzalcoatl.
For some reason the city was abandoned around 1300. If the Spanish
did not make it a policy to kill all of the Mayan priests and burn
books when they arrived in Mexico, we would all have a few more
Post Columbian Period - Conquest and Rebellion (1500 AD) On his
second voyage Columbus heard of Yucatan as a distant country of
clothed men. On his fifth voyage (1503-04) he encountered, south-
west of Cuba, a canoe-load of Indians with cotton clothing for
barter, who said that they came from the ancient Mayan civilization.
In 1506 Pinzon sighted the coast, and in 1511 twenty men under
Valdivia were wrecked on the shores of the sacred island of Cozumel,
several being captured and sacrificed to the idols.
The Spanish colonization of the islands of Hispaniola and Cuba
allowed them to launch exploratory forays around the Caribbean.
C󲤯ba discovered Isla Mujeres in 1517 and sailed down the
YucatᮠGulf coast to were he suffered heavy losses at the hands
of the Mayans. Cort鳠set sail in 1519 and landed in Veracruz.
He conquered the Aztecs in a year, but it took another 20 years to
conquer the Yucatᮮ In 1526 Francisco Montejo set out to
conquer the Yucatan.
The Mayans fought the invaders for 20 years, but eventually
succumbed. The Mayans were slaughtered during the battles with the
Spaniards, but imported European diseases decimated the population.
The Mayans were moved into villages and paid heavy taxes to the
Spanish government. There were periodic rebellions against the
The Yucatan Mayans launched a major uprising starting in July 1847
called the Caste War. The Spanish were distracted by the war between
the US and Mexico and nearly lost the peninsula. The Mayans attacked
Spanish villages armed by English settlers from Belize and with guns
distributed to defend Yucatᮧs secession in 1846. They regained
90% of their lands and held all of the Yucatᮠexcept Campeche
At the height of their revolutionary success, the Mayans
inexplicably withdrew to their villages - reputedly to plant corn
for the season. The war with the US ended in 1848 and reinforcements
were sent to the Yucatᮬ where they drove the Mayans back to
Chan Santa Cruz. The Mayans resisted for several years, but disease
and weapons shortages forced them to surrender in 1901.
After 50 years of independence, their lands became federal
territory. In reality, the Southern and Eastern half of the
peninsula remained a virtual no man's land to outsiders where the
Mayans lived almost as they pleased. This changed in the late 1960s
when coastal development began.
Father Alonso Gonzalez, who accompanied this expedition, found
opportunity at one landing to explore a temple, and bring off some
of the sacred images and gold ornaments. In 1518 a strong expedition
under Juan de Grijalva, from Cuba, landed near Cozumel and took
formal possession for Spain.
For Father Juan Diaz, who on this occasion celebrated Mass upon the
summit of one of the heathen temples, the honour is also claimed of
having afterwards been the first to celebrate mass in the City of
Near Cozumel, also, was rescued the young monk Aguilar, one of the
two survivors of Valdivia's party, who, though naked to the breech-
cloth, still carried his Breviary in a pouch. Proceeding northwards,
Grijaba made the entire circuit of the peninsula before returning,
having had another desperate engagement with the Mayans near
After the conquest of Mexico in 1521, Francisco de Montejo, under
commission as Governor of Yucatan, landed (1527) to effect the
conquest of the country, but met with such desperate resistance that
after eight years of incessant fighting every Spaniard had been
driven out. In 1540, after two more years of the same desperate
warfare, his son Francisco established the first Spanish settlement
In the next year, in a bloody battle at Tihoo, he completely broke
the power of Mayans resistance, and a few months later (Jan., 1542)
founded on the site of the ruined city the new capital, M鲩da.
In 1546, however, there was a general revolt, and it was not until a
year later that the conquest was assured.
In the original commission to Montejo it had been expressly
stipulated that missionaries should accompany all his expeditions.
This, however, he had neglected to attend to, and in 1531 (or 1534),
by special order, Father Jacobo de Testera and four others were sent
to join the Spanish camp near Campeche.
They met a kindly welcome from the Indians, who came with their
children to be instructed, and thus the conquest of the country
might have been effected through spiritual agencies but for the
outrages committed by a band of Spanish outlaws, in consequence of
which the priests were forced to withdraw.
In 1537 five more missionaries arrived and met the same willing
reception, remaining about two years in spite of the war still in
progress. About 1545 a large number of missionaries were sent over
from Spain. Several of these - apparently nine, all Franciscans -
under the direction of Father Luis de Villalpando, were assigned to
Landing at Campeche, the governor explained their purpose to the
chiefs, the convent of St. Francis was dedicated on its present
site, and translations were begun into the native language. The
first baptized convert was the chief of Campeche, who learned
Spanish and thereafter acted as interpreter for the priests.
Here, as elsewhere, the missionaries were the champions of the
rights of the Indians. In consequence of their repeated protests a
royal edict was issued, in 1549, prohibiting Indian slavery in the
province, while promising compensation to the slave owners.
As in other cases, local opposition defeated the purpose of this
law; but the agitation went on, and in 1551 another royal edict
liberated 150,000 male Indian slaves, with their families,
In 1557 and 1558 the Crown intervened to restrain the tyranny of the
native chiefs. Within a very short time Father Villalpando had at
his mission station at M鲩da over a thousand converts,
including several chiefs.
He himself, with Father Malchior de Benavente, then set out,
barefoot, for the city of Mani in the mountains farther south, where
their success was so great that two thousand converts were soon
engaged in building them a church and dwelling. All went well until
they began to plead with the chiefs to release their vassals from
certain hard conditions, when the chiefs resolved to burn them at
On the appointed night the chiefs and their retainers approached the
church with this design, but were awed from their purpose on finding
the two priests, who had been warned by an Indian boy, calmly
praying before the crucifix. After remaining all night in prayer,
the fathers were fortunately rescued by a Spanish detachment which,
almost miraculously, chanced to pass that way.
Twenty-seven of the conspirators were afterwards seized and
condemned to death, but were all saved by the interposition of
In 1548-49 other missionaries arrived from Spain, Villalpando was
made custodian of the province, and a convent was erected near the
site of his chapel at Mani. The Yucatan field having been assigned
to the Franciscans, all the missionary work among the Mayans was
done by priests of that order.
In 1561 Yucatan was made a diocese with its see at M鲩da.
1562 - the famous Diego de Landa, Franciscan provincial, and
afterwards bishop (1573-79), becoming aware that the natives
throughout the peninsula still secretly cherished their ancient
rites, instituted an investigation, which he conducted with such
cruelties of torture and death that the proceedings were stopped by
order of Bishop Toral Franciscan provincial of Mexico, immediately
upon his arrival, during the same summer, to occupy the See of
Before this could be done, however, there had been destroyed, as is
asserted, two million sacred images and hundreds of hieroglyphic
manuscripts - practically the whole of the voluminous native Mayans
literature. As late as 1586 a royal edict was issued for the
suppression of idolatry.
In 1575-77 a terrible visitation of a mysterious disease, called
matlalzahuatl, which attacked only the Indians, swept over Southern
Mexico and Yucatan, destroying, as was estimated, over two million
lives. This was its fourth appearance since the conquest.
At its close it was estimated that the whole Indian population of
Mexico had been reduced to about 1,700,000 souls. In 1583 and 1597
there were local revolts under chiefs of the ancient Cocom royal
family. By this latter date it was estimated that the native
population of Mexico had declined by three-fourths since the
discovery, through massacre, famine, disease, and oppression.
Up to 1593 over 150 Franciscan monks had been engaged
work in Yucatan.
The Mayans history of the seventeenth century is chiefly one of
revolutions, viz., 1610-33, 1636-44, 1653, 1669, 1670, and about
Of all these, that of 1636-44 was the most extensive and serious,
resulting in a temporary revival of the old heathen rites. In 1697
the island capital of the Itzᬠin Lake Pet鮬 Guatemala,
was stormed by Governor Mart�de Ursua, and with it fell the
last stronghold of the independent Mayans. Here, also, the
manuscripts discovered were destroyed.
In 1728 Bishop Juan Gomez Parada died, beloved by the Indians for
the laws which he had procured mitigating the harshness of their
servitude. The reimposition of the former hard conditions brought
about another revolt in 1761, led by the chief Jacinto Canek, and
ending, as usual, in the defeat of the Indians, the destruction of
their chief stronghold, and the death of their leader under horrible
In 1847, taking advantage of the Government's difficulties with the
United States, and urged on by their "unappeasable hatred toward
their ruler from the earliest time of the Spanish conquest", the
Mayans again broke out in general rebellion, with the declared
purpose of driving all the whites, half-breeds and negroes from the
peninsula, in which they were so far successful that all the
fugitives who escaped the wholesale massacres fled to the coast,
whence most of them were taken off by ships from Cuba. Arms and
ammunition for the rising were freely supplied to the Indians by the
British traders of Belize.
In 1851 the rebel Mayans established their headquarters at Chan-
Santa-Cruz in the eastern part of the peninsula. In 1853 it seemed
as if a temporary understanding had been reached, but next year
hostilities began again. Two expeditions against the Mayans
stronghold were repulsed, Valladolid was besieged by the Indians,
Yecax taken, and more than two thousand whites massacred.
In 1860 the Mexican Colonel Acereto, with 3,000 men occupied Chan-
Santa-Cruz, but was finally compelled to retire with the loss of
1,500 men killed, and to abandon his wounded - who were all
butchered - as well as his artillery and supplies and all but a few
hundred stand of small arms.
The Indians burned and ravaged in every direction, nineteen
flourishing towns being entirely wiped out, and the population in
three districts being reduced from 97,000 to 35,000. The war of
extermination continued, with savage atrocities, through 1864, when
it gradually wore itself out, leaving the Indians still unsubdued
and well supplied with arms and munitions of war from Belize.
1868 - fighting broke out again in resistance to the Juarez
1871 - a Mexican force again occupied Chan-Santa-Cruz, but retired
without producing any permanent result.
1901 - after long preparation, a strong Mexican force invaded the
territory of the independent Mayans both by land and sea, stormed
Chan-Santa-Cruz and, after determined resistance, drove the
defenders into the swamps.
1910 - Mexican troops put down a serious rising in the northern part
of the peninsula.
Mayans are around today
In spite of the invasion of foreign tourism, Mayan culture has
remained amazingly intact. Many of the Yucatan Mayans whose
ancestors were hunters, chicle farmers and fisherman now work in
hotels and other tourist related businesses. More than 350,000
Mayans living in the Yucatan speak Yukatek Mayans and most speak
Spanish as a second language, primarily learned in school.
The clothing worn is as it was in the past. It is relatively easy to
determine the village in which the clothing was made by the the type
of embroidery, color, design and shape.
Mayans women can be seen wearing huipils, simple cotton dresses
decorated with embroidery. The designs in their embroidery and
weaving can be traced back to pre-Columbian times.
Although Mayans in other parts of Central America choose to limit
contact with outside influences, Mayans working in the tourist
industry are generally open to conversation with polite strangers
and if asked will teach you a Mayan phrase or two.
In the Indian communities, as it was with their Mayan ancestors, the
basic staple diet is corn.
Mayan dialects of Qhuche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, and Mam are still
spoken today, although the majority of Indians also speak Spanish.
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