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How Medieval Gynocentrism in India shaped the European Tradition of Courtly Love - Part 1

עודכן: 20 ביולי 2022

How Medieval Gynocentrism in India shaped the European Tradition of Courtly Love through Islam and Sufism: Courtly Love and Women in Ancient India and the Arabic – Hebrew Narratives in Poetry and Art in Mozarabic Al Andalus in Spain and the Iberian Penisula!

This is a research of mine that I summeaized in to a five series article. I first published it on NewsofX and I now post it here. The link to the source NewsofX is below. I will be posting one article each day so the next part will br published tommorow.

Part 1: From Hindu Gynocentrism and Muslim Courtly Love to the Cathars and the Troubadours Proto-Feminism and Misandry!

This exposition is a five-part series article. In it, we are going to discuss the spread of Indian gynocentric as well as courtly love ideals from the Indus valley to France via the Muslim Sufi influence in Mozarabic Spain of Al Andalus alongside the Jewish narratives prevailing at the same time in the Iberian Peninsula which culminated in the Troubadour’s culture of courtly love in Occitan and Languedoc. However, the spread of gynocentrism or even gynocentrism itself in its evolutionary stage 1 can be traced back to the early Hominids in Eastern Africa. Such a discussion is outside the scope of this dissertation. In short, gynocentric spread resembles and is parallel to the human migration from Africa all over the world. Our main interest in this research that I summed up concerns the spread from Africa to Asia and from Asia to Europe in the West and America in the East. The Spread to Europe which is the more important one took place via three main routes. The Northern route, the middle route, and the Southern route. The Northern one was a forceps movement over Russia, Turkey, then one sub-route going via Germany, the Celts, and finally, France and the second Northern sub-route went over Persia, the Balkans, Italy, and here, finally, France, too. The Southern route went over Mesopotamia, the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, and France. This is the horizontal axis of gynocentric migration. There were also some important sub-routes of gynocentric influence, but they too are out of the scope of this discussion, and they can be termed as the vertical axis of gynocentric migration.

Now, before we’ll dive even deeper into the pivotal point or the crucial position that the Indian Muslim Sufi thread had in shaping courtly love and classic European gynocentrism, it is crucial to have a basic overview of the background in which those dynamics arose and took place. Those roots are at least fivefold:

1. The mainstream Rabbinical Judaism and mainstream Christianity.

2. The Celtic influence via the Indian route.

3. The heretic influence dates back to Mani in the East (Manichaeism), over Zoroastrianism. Bogomilism in the Balkan and lastly as especially expressed in the Cathar heresy.

4. Jewish Gnosticism and esotericism, especially the Kabbalah.

5. Muslim gynocentrism and courtly love, specifically that of the Indian Sufi tradition as well as the North African one.

Throughout the early time of Indian civilization, women played a significant role even in ancient Vedig and Brahmin society. The women of the Rig Vedic culture in the Indian sub-continent held a high status in the Hindu social order. Their social recognition was good. Women were given chance to accomplish high intellectual and spiritual attainments and were not segregated from those and other positions. There were many female Rishis during this period. Though monogamy was customarily common, the wealthier segment of Indian society nevertheless practiced both polygamy (multiple wives) as well as polyandry (multiple husbands), a practice that can still be found in modern days in India and even in Tibet. So, even the Christian church that codified monogamy in the west did so by inheriting the older Eastern concepts emanating from Indian culture. Moreover, the role of women in ancient Indian Literature is colossal and vast. Ancient India was known for its many learned women. “There were two types of intellectual and educated women — the Brahmavadinis, the women who never married and devoted their lives to the Vedas; and the Sadyodvahas who devoted their lives to the scholarly study of the Vedas till they got married. Panini mentioned female students studying Vedas. Katyana called female teachers Upadhyaya or Upadhyayi. Ashoka, the great King who spread Buddhism, got his daughter, Sanghamitra, inducted into preaching Buddhism. From the Jain scripts, we learn about the Kousambi princess, Jayanti, who remained single to study religion and philosophy. Often, Buddhist nuns composed hymns and taught Dharma to the laity including men. Women did write Sanskrit plays and verses, excelled in music, painting and other fine arts”. This is the same dynamic as we encounter in the feudal Middle Ages in Europe the only difference is that though women did not educate the masses in religious doctrine the female aristocracy did the same and had a huge impact on the Christian clergy. “Women also often enjoyed prominent roles in politics. “Megasthenes mentioned the Pandya running the administration. The Satavahana queen, “Nayanika ruled the kingdom on behalf of her minor son. So did Pravabati, daughter of Chandragupta II, on behalf of the minor Vakataka prince. A little after the Gupta period, queens used to rule in Kashmir, Odisha, and Andhra. Princess Vijaybhattarika acted as the provincial ruler under the Chalukya King; Vikramaditya I. Women from the aristocratic classes enjoyed education and other privileges”. Under the reign of medieval feudalism, this has even become more extreme in Europe as there were countless queens and other influential female leaders as well as women of high status that had a great impact on medieval politics.

Furthermore, “ancient India spans a vast period 2500 B.C-250 B.C. Archaeology, ancient manuscripts, and relics are being used to reconstruct the lives of women which now refutes the feminist gynocentric and anti-male propaganda. The earliest materials found by archaeological excavations suggest the worship of goddesses which was common in the Pagan world and continued into Europe. The earliest chronicled sacred texts (1500 B.C.) call on the life-giving power of goddesses to give life and to nurture and sustain it.” The same dynamics can be found not only in the Indo-Aryan pantheons of northern Europe but those that preceded the Jewish monotheism which is greatly dependent on and arouse them as well as being rooted in the Sumerian and Akkadian religions almost all over the Entire East. It shows that the spread of gynocentrism equals the expansion of religion as cultures and humanity migrated from the East toward the West or when economic, cultural as well as many other bilateral ties were established between the different civilizations. “After the Aryan invasion and the development of Hinduism and then Buddhism, India’s extant written texts add greatly to our knowledge. Located in the Indus River valley, the oldest known civilization in India ranged from ca. 2500-1500 B.C. Currently, most of these cities of archaeological interest are now in Pakistan due to Indian independence and partition in 1947, although the ancient city-state of Lothal is in the Indian state of Gujarat. Extensive remains at Mohenjodaro, having all of that information in mind, we can only now understand the massive scope of the feminist experiment in rewriting history and the betrayal of presenting a completely false history of events.

Likewise, Harrapa, and Lothal show well-organized, prosperous agriculture and commercial society that traded with other civilizations in the Near East. The most famous early artifact is that of a young slender girl posing confidently. Numerous toys were found to convey a society that valued family life. While their inscribed ancient seals have not been deciphered to determine the actual meanings, extensive female images have been found that suggest Goddesses played a leading role. Often called fertility Goddesses, very few depict pregnant women, women giving birth, or women nursing children. Several of the seals suggest a Goddess associated with vegetation and fertility.” “Women’s economic contributions were also important in ancient India. As India was an agricultural country, women were needed to assist the men folk in the various seasonal activities. Today, in past India was made up of thousands of villages. It was the family, not the individual that was the basic unit. Poetry written by Tamil women in the south spoke of their singing while at work and with their family, and occasionally included poems on the feats of the aristocracy. Far away from the image of the oppressed woman, the same as archeological discoveries of ancient Egypt suggests, the evidence depicts a reality of happy woman living with their families and not that of a gender war. Likewise, women also occupied a particularly important position, in the ancient Bharat Varsa”, in fact far superior position to the men of the time. “Shakti” a feminine term means “power” and “strength”. Literary evidence suggests that kings and towns were destroyed because the rulers troubled a single woman. For example, Valmiki Ramayana teaches us that Ravana and his entire kingdom were wiped out because he abducted Sita. Veda Vyasa’s Mahabharata teaches us that all the Kauravas were killed because they humiliated Draupadi in public. Elango Adigal’s Sillapathigaram teaches us Madurai, the capital of the Pandyas was burnt because Pandyan Nedunchezhiyan mistakenly harmed Kannaki”. From the point of view of behavioral philology, this points to the fact that the earliest notion of medieval chivalry or even medieval practices such as charivari have probably originated in the ancient Vedic and Brahmin society in India. So, the evidence suggests not only that women were happy but also protected.

So, contrary to the massive myths we’ve been fed, archeological and literary evidence now suggests the opposite of what feminist ideologues have taught us namely that even in “Vedic times women and men were equal in many aspects”. Having access to both formal power as well as having a monopoly over informal power that traditionally was denied to men, women have historically become the privileged sex. Moreover, women of the Indian civilization also “participated in the public sacrifices alongside men. One script mentions a female rishi Visvara. Some Vedic hymns are attributed to women such as Apala, the daughter of Atri, Ghosa, the daughter of Kaksivant, or Indrani, the wife of Indra. Apparently, in early Vedic times, women also received the sacred thread and could study the Vedas. The Haritasmrti mentions a class of women called Brahmavadinis who remained unmarried and spent their lives in study and ritual. Panini’s distinction between acarya (a preceptor) and acaryani (a lady teacher or a preceptor’s wife), and upadhyaya (a preceptor) and upadhyayani (a lady teacher or a preceptor’s wife) indicates that women at that time could not only be students but also the teachers of sacred Vedas. There were several noteworthy women scholars of the past such as Kathi, Kalapi, and Bahvici.

Additionalyl, the Upanishads refer to several women philosophers, who disputed with their male colleagues such as Vacaknavi, who challenged Yajnavalkya. The Rig Veda also refers to women engaged in warfare” in the same way that Celtic culture encouraged women to engage in battle for the reasons to be discussed below. “One queen Bispala is mentioned, and even as late a witness as Megasthenes (fifth century B.C. E.) mentions heavily armed women guards protecting Chandragupta’s palace”. As a part of the feminist war against men, the Hindu, as well as all religions, have been “occasionally and falsely criticized as encouraging inequality between men and women. As we can see this presumption is inaccurate” and a massive lie. “In the Vedic period, we come across female scholars like Ghosha, Lopamudra, Romasha, and Indrani. In the Upanishad period, names of women philosophers like Sulabha, Maitreyi, Gargi are encountered. In religious matters, Hindus have elevated women to the level of divinity” which is maybe the earliest source that gave rise to the medieval concept of Gynocentrism and chivalry that we will discuss immediately putting women on the pedestal as well as seeing them as an inherently divine creature that is superior to men especially as is seen and mirrored in the works of Agrippa and Ulrich the Knight. “One of the things most misconstrued about India and Hinduism is that it’s a male-dominated society and religion and the truth is that it is not so. It is a religion that has attributed the words strength and power to femininity. “Shakti” means “power” and “strength”. All male power comes from the feminine. The Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) are all-powerless without their female counterparts”. This goes completely hand in hand with the Kaballistic concepts of God where most of the names and especially the most important ones were manifestations of female energy and powers including the androgynous nature of the impersonal and transcendental Ein Sof that Agrippa has accepted and blended with Christian theology. Therefore, even the religious and mystical basis of feminism can be traced back to the Hindu religion.

Anyway, the cross-pollination between this old Indian heritage and later differently arising new paths started in Turkey with the Sufi tradition of Rumi via in the Mozarabic Spain of Al Andalus in the Iberian Pen Insula, from where it later came to a peak in Langedot and Aquitaine. Those are the wide Brushes that I have explained in my research in detail. In this dissertation I am going to expand and further elaborate on the Indian Muslim Sufi influence, hence, it is less known and reported by scholarly literature. So, although, we understand those days some of the aspects, schools, or streams of thought that influenced medieval as well as contemporary courtly love including modern gynocentrism, we still live in an era in which considerable parts of the picture are missing to complete the puzzle. So, despite the current state of affairs, we still understand the concept of courtly love mostly in the ambiance of medieval Europe. Yet, I think it has now come the time to shed more light on the less-known aspects and it is them that will be the main focus of this dissertation. Specifically, I am going to expand on the wider context of the fin amour’s origins and its main sources namely the Indian heritage as was expressed through cross-pollination between the Islamic and Jewish traditions of the Iberian Peninsula of Mozarabic Spain. In this essay, we will touch on the Indian tradition by recognizing its conspicuous presence in classic Sanskrit literature and we will explain the migration of gynocentric concepts to Europe over two routes. The Northern one, where the emphasis will cover mainly the Sufi Muslim sub-route including the Manichean – Bogomil – Cathar streams of thoughts, and the Southern one over North Africa with its Muslim – Jewish tradition. The other Northern sub-route of the Indian Celtic influence will be slightly touched to give us a brighter and fuller view. I will not explain it in detail as it is more influenced directly by Hindu religions like Brahmanism and others but less through Islam.

In general, the migration mentioned above is a sequence in a bigger migration wave that spread from the early hominids to modern homo sapiens sapiens which went alongside the axis of the spiritual-religious spread connected with that of the humans. Additionally, D.N. Dugarov suggests that the ancient religion of the sky, the Tengeric Shamanism, which has a strong connection with the Vedic religion had been adopted 3,000 years ago by the aborigines of Turkic-Mongolian tribes of Buryatia, Yakutia and other people of the Sayan–Altay region (Dugarov, 2009) and those were the Shamanic tribes who were related on their part to the Indo-Iranians, precisely those Indo-Aryans that have migrated to India. Vedic mythology contains an especially important position in the research of religious culture. It belongs to the preliminary period in the evolution of religion, and its philosophy is based on the personification and worship of nature, while the Vedas are considered the most important literary monument in the whole world. The philosophy, on which their mythology is based, is that every object in nature, everything that surrounds humans, has to be endowed with a soul and is considered sacred. Everything that impressed the soul or was considered capable of having a good or harmful effect on humans, in Vedic times became an object of religious rituals. The most important origin of Vedic gods is the ancient literary record of the Rigveda (Sanskrit ŗgveda), which includes a variety of gods, personifying the spirits of the earth and sky. Apart from the cult of divinities, the worshipping of the ancestor spirits and some inanimate objects was in common, which points out to the elements of animism, totemism, and shamanism in Vedic religion. The material of Atharvaveda consists of domestic and magic rituals, which are related to the world of spirits and demons. Atharvaveda (Sanskrit atharvaveda) is much older than Rigveda (Macdonell, 2002, pp. 2–4). According to the Indologist M. Witzel, the elements of shamanism can be seen in some of the hymns of the Rigveda, particularly in those, devoted to the god Soma (Sanskrit Soma, Iranian Haoma— ‘nectar, ambrosia, drink, which gives clairvoyance, immortality’), pointing out to the characteristic of Central Asian shamanism. The herb of Soma/Haoma is related to the elements of magic and healing in connection with the Vedic god Indra. In the whole Vedic and post-Vedic mythology, there is an element showing the essential feature of the god Indra, and his ability to ‘shift’ into human form, so that he might help or counsel the people in the role of the shaman.

So, who were the people who created the Indus Valley culture which morphed into what can be called the era of proto-religion and proto-gynocentrism as we have discussed above and specifically in the last paragraphs? The simple, clear, and evident answer is that whether they were male or female they were all shamans spreading gynocentrism (and misandry alongside it) over the medium of shamanic spirituality into the Indus valley and its Vedic and Brahmin religions. In particular, “some Hindu historians believe that it could be the Indo-Aryans, who were the authors of the Rigveda, but that is a subject of debate (Basham, 1954, p. 24). According to many archaeological findings, it is obvious that during that period, the northwest part of India was a meeting place for many races, including Mongoloid, Proto-Australoid, and Caucasoid types. It is possible that Dravidian tribes who were the aboriginal settlers of India, until the arrival of Indo-Aryans, came from Central Asia to the region of the river Indus (Smart, 1989, p. 52). The language of the Indus script seems to be an early version of the Dravidian language and many sculptures and seals symbolize the later Dravidian conceptions of fertility, which were based on animism (Worthington, 1989, p. 14). Also, the religious culture of Harappa has much in common with modern Hinduism, nowadays immensely popular in Dravidian parts of South India (Basham, 1954, p. 25). Many Dravidian gods have been included in the later Hinduism and changed under the influence of Brahmanism. Dravidian shamanic gods are of local origin, and they represent village deities, spirits, and souls of the deceased, mostly representing female divinities (Elmore, 1995, p. 10), which are connected to the Tantric cult of Shakti (Sanskrit śakti) and Yogini (Sanskrit yoginī). Yoginis were probably the priestess who can be possessed by the goddess in the form of Kali, Durga (Sanskrit Kālī, Durgā), and attain the status of divinities. They may represent the traces of archaic-magical–esoteric cultural traditions of Munda and Dravidian tribes of Central India, whose religious forms are dominated by shamanic worldview and strong worship of ancestor cult.

In the thirteenth century BC, a significant part of the Hurrian–Mittani army headed by the Indo-Iranians left the Near East and headed towards Central Asia, north-west China, and south Siberia, where during the period from twelfth to ninth century BC they created a Karasuk culture. The archaeological excavations of that period, that is, from the eighth to third century BC, are connected with the cult of deer, which is remarkably familiar to the ethnic culture of the people dwelling in Mongolia and Baykal region (Ermakov, 2007, p. 382). The deer cult is widely spread in Siberia, including Buryatia and Mongolian shamanism, and also in the Tibetan religion of Bön, whose shamans and priests wear a horned headdress, made from the deer antlers, which symbolizes their ability of ‘soul-flight’. During that period, a considerable number of rock art paintings appeared in the forests—steppe lands of south Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and the Baykal region. Many of such rock art paintings depict war chariots, similar to those in the Near East (Dugarov, 1991, p. 69). The worship of the horse, particularly famous among the Turkic-Mongolian people, is considered very ancient and, maybe, has Indo-Iranian and Indo-European origins. Such chariots found in western Mongolia date back to the middle of the first millennium BC, together with the so-called fantastic anthropomorphic ‘horned’ beings, carved or painted on the rocks. According to D.N. Dugarov, Tengerism arrived in those regions during the Late Bronze Age, precisely in the period of the Early Iron Age, from the nomadic people, that is, Indo-Iranians. He suggests that the ancient religion of the sky, Tengeri, had been adopted 3,000 years ago by the aborigines of Turkic-Mongolian tribes of Buryatia, Yakutia and other people of the Sayan–Altay region (Dugarov, 2009). Having understood now how the gynocentric society of the Indus valley was created and by whom, let’s look at more connections between these older cultures and the later European courtly life and gynocentrism coming to fruition in France.


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