the proto shiva seal and indus script


The proto Shiva seal

An introduction to Indus script

By Tom van Bakel

The five Prana’s
 the proto shiva seal and indus script

The Prashna Upanishad verse 4, 5 appears to be a useful introduction to the proto Shiva seal. It says;

Prana led Apana rules the organs of excretion.

The Prana self dwells in eye, ear, mouth and nose.

Samana dwells the navel and rules digestion. (….)

The Self dwells in the heart, whence radiate a hundred and one nerves, (….), in all these moves the Vyana.

The Udana leads the virtuous man upwards, the sinful man downwards, and the man who is both virtuous and sinful to the world of men.

This verse marks that five Prana’s are active within the body. They can be recognized within the yogi’s body. Udana is represented by the horns, Prana by the face, Vyana by the breast, Samana is represented by the lingam and Apana is represented by the feet.







Original picture;

The five Prana’s outside the body

The next verse explains that these five Prana’s were also existent and active outside the body.

Outside Prana is the sun, it rises to help the Prana in the eye.

The power of earth maintains the Apana in man.

The ether between the sun and the earth are Samana.

Vyana is the wind.

The Udana is fire, and therefore he whose bodily heat has gone out dies, after which his senses are absorbed in the mind, and he is born again.

It is obvious that the five Prana’s agreed with the five elements. On the seal these elements were represented by animals;


Original picture;

The five elements and the animals

Apana rules the organs of excretion. The power of earth maintains the Apana in man.

The gravitation of the earth attracted rain and with the rain it attracted life. When its activity was “dominating” the world became revitalized. From July until December the earth dominated the Valley as the monsoon usually entered it in July and the winter rains felled down from October until December. When the monsoon moves into the Valley it did not rain all day; usually it came down in the evening. So when the earth “attracted” the descending sun and sun and earth “unified” and the earth “attracted” the rain at the same she became revived. Traditionally the water buffalo represents the earth. On the seal he was placed south-west: in the direction of the descending sun.

Samana dwells the navel and governs digestion. The ether between the sun and the earth are Samana.

On the seal Samana has the meaning of fertilizing. In September and March soil got usually fruitful after the river had flooded its banks in August and February. As mud was left behind grain and barley could be sowed. The rhinoceros represented both September and March as he likes to roll over on the river banks and let mud dry on his skin.

The Self dwells the heart, whence radiate a hundred one nerves. (….) In all these moves the Vyana. Vyana is the wind.

The whole year through the wind was blowing. It followed the bed of the Indus River.

Traditionally the elephant represented air. He is placed north east on the seal, as the Indus ran from about north east to about south west.

The Prana dwells in eye, ear, mouth and nose. The sun is the Prana of the universe. It rises to help the Prana in the eye of men to see.

In February the melting snow led the rivers flood it banks. As mud was led behind in March the rhinoceros represented his month too. The Indus year was divided in a “dark” period and a “light” period. The “dark” period started when the monsoon moved into the Valley and ended after the winter rains in December or January. The “light” period usually lasted from January until June. As the rhinoceros represented March too he represented the “light” period at the same time. According to the Prashna verse light was related to Prana.

The Udana leads the virtuous man upwards to higher birth, the sinful man downwards to lower birth, and the man who is both virtuous and sinful to rebirth in the world of men.

The Udana is fire, and therefore he whose bodily heat has gone out dies, after which his senses are absorbed in the mind, and he is born again.

These sentences tell that Udana was related to fire and that fire leaded a man after his death to other worlds. The summer was the season of death; May, June and July were unbearably hot. Traditionally the tiger represented death. He was placed south-east; in the directing of the rising sun.


The four quarters

All this information can be put in a scheme.












The writing on the seal

On this seal the five elements were depicted on different levels. They were carved on the body; they were expressed by the animals, by the quarters and they could also be expressed by the seasons. It is evident that the five signs indicated them too.

To be sure these signs of the writing can be compared with signs of similar writings.

(1) Original picture;
(2)(3)(4) Original pictures;

 It seems that the fish sign was used to symbolize both water and air, as fish was swimming and breathing at the same time.








On the same way longer writings could be put in a time table.


















Placing the writings together the agreements caught the eye. After studying the writings, with the signs basically known, it became obvious that the writings handled about the weather, about hunting and fishing, about cattle and farming. Never the less one very important issue was missing: the birth of a son. Conceiving a son was the first thing a Brahman had to do. If he was not able to do so his life was worthless; even Buddha had gotten a son. Then the idea rose that a seal was a birth document stating by itself that a son was born.

The next activity was to look at signs in the writings that marked birth. It is important to know that in Hinduism coitus is regarded as a religious act and a person is believed to be existing and alive after conception. So to signs of both coitus and birth must be looked at.

Some seals tell this message rather clearly, like this one;

This second seal tells it symbolic

Original pictures;

 It should be no surprise that the conception was important in the Indus culture, since coitus has been considered to be a religious act in Ancient India. Also a person has been considered existing and alive after the conception. Proof of this idea can be found in the Ramayana, where was described how the god Vishnu decided to be born as son of Dasaratha, in order to beat the unbeatable Ravana. Vishnu appeared to Dasaratha in an offering fire, looking like a tiger, gave him rice that was boiled in milk and told him to share that with his wives. Nine months later they gave birth to four sons, all incarnations of Vishnu himself. It is reasonable to assume that the idea that one exist after conception, was common in the Indus culture.

Looking at the longer writings, we can now discover the data of conception and birth on the longer writing.
















When the seals in the Indus culture generally were understood to be birth documents, then you didn’t even have to mention a date of conception or a date of birth; you even can talk about the weather or anything else. As you can see this has happened on some of the longer writings.

Looking at this scheme it looks as if the Indus script is generally deciphered.

An introduction to the identity seals

About four-thousand seals, found in the ruins of towns and villages like Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, give us a glimpse of a culture as it existed in the Indus Valley four-thousand years ago. These seals appeared to be identity seals. On these seals animals or man were carved as well as very short inscriptions. These inscriptions, usually no more than a few signs, expressed the months of conceptions and births of about four-thousand sons.

In Hinduism coitus is considered a religious act and a person is considered existing and alive after conception. In the Indus Culture these two events may have had the same importance as they were carved on these identity seals.

Like in present a father registers his newborn son at the city hall; in the Indus-culture a father may have ordered a birth seal from a seal master. The son may have received this seal when it was grown up.

Personal information

If such seal would only hold birth data, many of these seals would look alike. People who were conceived in the same month were likely to be born in the same month nine months later. This would mean that the information on the seals would be equal. Nevertheless almost each seal somehow was unique. In this study we will see that March was expressed in eight different ways.


Sheep in on Indus seals





Gemini in the Indus Valley














February and March in the Indus Valley

At that time the constellation Man, which is now called Cancer, was the background of the sun in June.


June in the Indus Valley



The zebu in the Indus Valley


In the Indus culture both October and June could be represented by the zebu, given that he started mating in October and that his calves started to be born in June. The conception and birth of the sons were in this way embedded in the sequence of the zebu.









































Pictures of the seals see:

In the Mahabharata the Pandavas were the offspring of gods. Three of them, Dharma (justice), Yayu, (wind), and Indra, (thunder), fertilized Kunti and the two Ashvins caused Madri to give birth to twins. So the five heroes’ of this epic were sons of gods. The carved animals were not just simple illustrations, but might had shown the “divine” fathers of the sonren or at least under which influence they were born. These sonren thus could have had physical fathers, who were farmers, fishers or hunters, and “divine” fathers who were gods of light, wind or thunder.


Tom van Bakel

17 October 2006

The Netherlands

other sites:

Interview Spirituele Radio MP3: tom-van-Bakel--7-8-2006