Happy New Year to everyone who is celebrating today! The New Year is observed between April 13 and 14th in many parts of India: Yugadi in Andhra and Karnataka, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, Navreh in Kashmir, Baisakhi in Punjab, Vishu in Kerala, Pohela Baishakh in Bengal, Pana Sankranti in Odisha and Bihu in Assam among others. The Yezidi New Year also falls around this time.
The many cultural resemblances between ancient Indian and Yezidi practices are too striking to be a mere coincidence, which goes much beyond Joseph Campbell’s theory of commonalities between cultures that in turn builds upon Adolf Bastian’s hypothesis of the ‘psychic unity of mankind’, a theory which suggests that cultures developed independent of each other and any similarities between them stemmed from the collective consciousness inherited by all humankind. However, when one looks at the closeness between symbols, motifs, practices, and stories across the ancient worlds, it appears more likely that members of one group migrated across the globe, seeding the concepts that formed the basis of every ancient civilisation.
The Yezidis worship Melek Taus or the Peacock Angel whom they regard as the leader of the archangels and an emanation of the Supreme God. There was a site ‘yeziditruth’ which had a beautiful page on the Peacock Angel which listed the equivalent divinity in each major world religion.
The Peacock Angel is worshipped in India as Karthik or Murugan, the younger son of God Shiva. Murugan has a peacock for his vehicle and holds a spear.
Melek Taus, Murugan and Archangel Michael of the Abrahamic religions are all referred to as the commander of the divine armies within their respective pantheons. As a new age practitioner, I also like to connect with the energy of Archangel Michael in his Western form. My new age friends from the west are surprised when I tell them that Archangel Michael is worshipped as a beloved Indian God and has several temples dedicated to him throughout India, especially in Tamil Nadu.
It is interesting to note that while Archangel Michael is usually shown with a sword of light, some of the oldest engravings and paintings of Michael show him holding a spear plunged into a dragon at his feet, and likewise there are stain-glass paintings which show Michael with a spear and peacock wings. The connection between Michael and Melek Taus is explored further in this essay on a French Peacock Angel.
I have written earlier about similar connections of Cernunnos and Magna Mater with Shiva and Parvati and the various names by which Saraswati the Goddess of Learning is worshipped around the world.
To me, these similarities among the ancient cultures reinforce the interconnectedness of all humanity. We are all cousins and we are all one.
Here is another fifteenth-century poem praising the God Murugan/Archangel Micheal/Melek Taus with the peacock, composed by Saint Arunagirinathar.