FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE - The EPIC OF GILGAMESH Part 1
Preamble: How old is our civilization? The answer to this question keeps changing over the last 2,000 years and will continue to change as we learn more and more about “our past”. One thing is clear – our “civilization” isn’t the first to have existed on this planet.
Just how many civilizations existed before us? The “oldest” civilization that is widely accepted at this time is the Sumerian which is believed to have existed around 4000 BC. Not everyone agrees though since several other pieces of “history” are not accounted for. The giants mentioned in the bible, the “fluvial” erosion in the body of the Sphinx in Egypt that could not have occurred before 10,000 BC, the Nephilim mentioned in Genesis (6:4) who took earthy women for wives who gave birth to the “giants”, the Anunnakis - believed to have created humans by altering ape’s DNA and ruled over earth for over 400,000 years plus the recent discovery of a 700,000-Year-Old Stone Tools found in the Philippines used to butcher a Rhino.
History as we know it is incomplete and convoluted with mythology. But advances in technology is allowing us to separate history from myths.
Who or what created us and for what purpose? I think this is the ultimate riddle that sentient beings like us should strive to get an answer for. Imagine that you woke up one day with no memory of who you are. Would you not spend the rest of your life finding out who you really are, who your parents were, whether you have a family etc.? In a way, this is what happened to us. We forgot. Or maybe something tricked us to forget our true nature and our rightful place in the universe.
It is clear that "higher knowledge" has been deliberately hidden from us for thousands of years. Therefore, you and me are beholden to uncover and bring this information out to enlighten the world. To end the battle between knowledge and ignorance. To free us from the obstruction caused by established dogmas and lies; for this knowledge could lead us to a greater understanding of our universe and of ourselves.
“The Epic of Gilgamesh” is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia and among the earliest known literary writings in the world. It originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems in cuneiform script dating back to the early 3rd or late 2nd millenium BCE, which were later gathered into a longer Akkadian poem (the most complete version existing today, preserved on 12 clay tablets, dates from the 12th to 10th Century BCE). It follows the story of Gilgamesh, the mythological hero-king of Uruk, and his half-wild friend, Enkidu, as they undertake a series of dangerous quests and adventures, and then Gilgamesh’s search for the secret of immortality after the death of his friend. It also includes the story of a great flood very similar to the story of Noah in "The Bible" and elsewhere.
The story begins with the introduction of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, two-thirds god and one-third human, blessed by the gods with strength, courage and beauty, and the strongest and greatest king who ever existed. The great city of Uruk is also praised for its glory and its strong brick walls.
However, the people of Uruk are not happy, and complain that Gilgamesh is too harsh and abuses his power by sleeping with their women. The goddess of creation, Aruru, creates a mighty wild-man named Enkidu, a rival in strength to Gilgamesh. He lives a natural life with the wild animals, but he soon starts bothering the shepherds and trappers of the area and jostles the animals at the watering hole. At the request of a trapper, Gilgamesh sends a temple prostitute, Shamhat, to seduce and tame Enkidu and, after six days and seven nights with the harlot, he is no longer just a wild beast who lives with animals. He soon learns the ways of men and is shunned by the animals he used to live with, and the harlot eventually persuades him to come to live in the city. Meanwhile, Gilgamesh has some strange dreams, which his mother, Ninsun, explains as an indication that a mighty friend will come to him.
The newly-civilized Enkidu leaves the wilderness with his consort for the city of Uruk, where he learns to help the local shepherds and trappers in their work. One day, when Gilgamesh himself comes to a wedding party to sleep with the bride, as is his custom, he finds his way blocked by the mighty Enkidu, who opposes Gilgamesh's ego, his treatment of women and the defamation of the sacred bonds of marriage. Enkidu and Gilgamesh fight each other and, after a mighty battle, Gilgamesh defeats Enkidu, but breaks off from the fight and spares his life. He also begins to heed what Enkidu has said, and to learn the virtues of mercy and humility, along with courage and nobility. Both Gilgamesh and Enkidu are transformed for the better through their new-found friendship and have many lessons to learn from each other. In time, they begin to see each other as brothers and become inseparable.
Years later, bored with the peaceful life in Uruk and wanting to make an everlasting name for himself, Gilgamesh proposes to travel to the sacred Cedar Forest to cut some great trees and kill the guardian, the demon Humbaba. Enkidu objects to the plan as the Cedar Forest is the sacred realm of the gods and not meant for mortals, but neither Enkidu not the council of elders of Uruk can convince Gilgamesh not to go. Gilgamesh’s mother also complains about the quest, but eventually gives in and asks the sun-god Shamash for his support. She also gives Enkidu some advice and adopts him as her second son.
On the way to the Cedar Forest, Gilgamesh has some bad dreams, but each time Enkidu manages to explain away the dreams as good omens, and he encourages and urges Gilgamesh on when he becomes afraid again on reaching the forest. Finally, the two heroes confront Humbaba, the demon-ogre guardian of the sacred trees, and a great battle commences. Gilgamesh offers the monster his own sisters as wives and concubines in order to distract it into giving away his seven layers of armour, and finally, with the help of the winds sent by the sun-god Shamash, Humbaba is defeated. The monster begs Gilgamesh for his life, and Gilgamesh at first pities the creature, despite Enkidu’s practical advice to kill the beast. Humbaba then curses them both, and Gilgamesh finally puts an end to it. The two heroes cut down a huge cedar tree, and Enkidu uses it to make a massive door for the gods, which he floats down the river.
Some time later, the goddess Ishtar (goddess of love and war, and daughter of the sky-god Anu) makes sexual advances to Gilgamesh, but he rejects her, because of her mistreatment of her previous lovers. The offended Ishtar insists that her father send the "Bull of Heaven" to avenge Gilgamesh’s rejection, threatening to raise the dead if he will not comply. The beast brings with it a great drought and plague of the land, but Gilgamesh and Enkidu, this time without divine help, slay the beast and offer its heart to Shamash, throwing the bull's hindquarters in the face of the outraged Ishtar.
The city of Uruk celebrates the great victory, but Enkidu has a bad dream in which the gods decide to punish Enkidu himself for the killing of the Bull of Heaven and Humbaba. He curses the door he made for the gods, and he curses the trapper he met, the harlot he loved and the very day that he became human. However, he regrets his curses when Shamash speaks from heaven and points out how unfair Enkidu is being. He also points out that Gilgamesh will become but a shadow of his former self if Enkidu were to die. Nevertheless, the curse takes hold and day after day Enkidu becomes more and more ill. As he dies, he describes his descent into the horrific dark Underworld (the "House of Dust"), where the dead wear feathers like birds and eat clay.
Gilgamesh is devasted by Enkidu’s death and offers gifts to the gods, in the hope that he might be allowed to walk beside Enkidu in the Underworld. He orders the people of Uruk, from the lowest farmer to the highest temple priests, to also mourn Enkidu, and orders statues of Enkidu to be built. Gilgamesh is so full of grief and sorrow over his friend that he refuses to leave Enkidu's side, or allow his corpse to be buried, until six days and seven nights after his death when maggots begin to fall from his body.
Gilgamesh is determined to avoid Enkidu's fate and decides to make the perilous journey to visit Utnapishtim and his wife, the only humans to have survived the Great Flood and who were granted immortality by the gods, in the hope of discovering the secret of everlasting life. The ageless Utnapishtim and his wife now reside in a beautiful country in another world, Dilmun, and Gilgamesh travels far to the east in search of them, crossing great rivers and oceans and mountain passes, and grappling and slaying monstrous mountain lions, bears and other beasts.
Eventually, he comes to the twin peaks of Mount Mashu at the end of the earth, from where the sun rises from the other world, the gate of which is guarded by two terrible scorpion-beings. They allow Gilgamesh to proceed when he convinces them of his divinity and his desperation, and he travels for twelve leagues through the dark tunnel where the sun travels every night. The world at the end of the tunnel is a bright wonderland, full of trees with leaves of jewels.
The first person Gilgamesh meets there is the wine-maker Siduri, who initially believes he is a murderer from his dishevelled appearance and attempts to dissuade him from his quest. But eventually she sends him to Urshanabi, the ferryman who must help him cross the sea to the island where Utnapishtim lives, navigating the Waters of Death, of which the slightest touch means instant death.
When he meets Urshanabi, though, he appears to be surrounded by a company of stone-giants, which Gilgamesh promptly kills, thinking them to be hostile. He tells the ferryman his story and asks for his help, but Urshanabi explains that he has just destroyed the sacred stones which allow the ferry boat to safely cross the Waters of Death. The only way they can now cross is if Gilgamesh cuts 120 trees and fashions them into punting poles, so that they can cross the waters by using a new pole each time and by using his garment as a sail.
Finally, they reach the island of Dilmun and, when Utnapishtim sees that there is someone else in the boat, he asks Gilgamesh who he is. Gilgamesh tells him his story and asks for help, but Utnapishtim reprimands him because he knows that fighting the fate of humans is futile and ruins the joy in life. Gilgamesh demands of Utnapishtim in what way their two situations differ and Utnapishtim tells him the story of how he survived the great flood.
Utnapishtim recounts how a great storm and flood was brought to the world by the god Enlil, who wanted to destroy all of mankind for the noise and confusion they brought to the world. But the god Ea forewarned Utnapishtim, advising him to build a ship in readiness and to load onto it his treasures, his family and the seeds of all living things. The rains came as promised and the whole world was covered with water, killing everything except Utnapishtim and his boat. The boat came to rest on the tip of the mountain of Nisir, where they waited for the waters to subside, releasing first a dove, then a swallow and then a raven to check for dry land. Utnapishtim then made sacrifices and libations to the gods and, although Enlil was angry that someone had survived his flood, Ea advised him to make his peace. So, Enlil blessed Utnapishtim and his wife and granted them everlasting life, and took them to live in the land of the gods on the island of Dilmun.
However, despite his reservations about why the gods should give him the same honour as himself, the hero of the flood, Utnapishtim does reluctantly decide to offer Gilgamesh a chance for immortality. First, though, he challenges Gilgamesh to stay awake for six days and seven nights, but Gilgamesh falls asleep almost before Utnapishtim finishes speaking. When he awakes after seven days of sleep, Utnapishtim ridicules his failure and sends him back to Uruk, along with the ferryman Urshanabi in exile.
As they leave, though, Utnapishtim's wife asks her husband to have mercy on Gilgamesh for his long journey, and so he tells Gilgamesh of a plant that grows at the very bottom of the ocean that will make him young again. Gilgamesh obtains the plant by binding stones to his feet to allow him to walk on the bottom of the sea. He plans to use the flower to rejuvenate the old men of the city of Uruk and then to use it himself. Unfortunately, he places the plant on the shore of a lake while he bathes, and it is stolen by a serpent, which loses its old skin and is thus reborn. Gilgamesh weeps at having failed at both opportunities to obtain immortality, and he disconsolately returns to the massive walls of his own city of Uruk.
In time, Gilgamesh too dies, and the people of Uruk mourn his passing, knowing that they will never see his like again.
The twelfth tablet is apparently unconnected with previous ones, and tells an alternative legend from earlier in the story, when Enkidu is still alive. Gilgamesh complains to Enkidu that he has lost some objects given to him by the goddess Ishtar when they fell in the Underworld. Enkidu offers to bring them back for him, and the delighted Gilgamesh tells Enkidu what he must, and must not, do in the Underworld in order to be sure of coming back.
When Enkidu sets off, however, he promptly forgets all this advice, and does everything he was told not to do, resulting in his being trapped in the Underworld. Gilgamesh prays to the gods to return his friend and, although Enlil and Suen do not even bother to reply, Ea and Shamash decide to help. Shamash cracks a hole in the earth and Enkidu jumps out of it (whether as a ghost or in reality is not clear). Gilgamesh questions Enkidu about what he has seen in the Underworld.
The Epic Of Gilgamesh – Full Text
GILGAMESH KING IN URUK
I WILL proclaim to the world the deeds of Gilgamesh. This was the man to whom all things were known; this was the king who knew the countries of the world. He was wise, he saw mysteries and knew secret things, he brought us a tale of the days before the flood. He went on a long journey, was weary, worn-out with labour, returning he rested, he engraved on a stone the whole story.
When the gods created Gilgamesh they gave him a perfect body. Shamash the glorious sun endowed him with beauty, Adad the god of the storm endowed him with courage, the great gods made his beauty perfect, surpassing all others, terrifying like a great wild bull. Two thirds they made him god and one third man.
In Uruk he built walls, a great rampart, and the temple of blessed Eanna for the god of the firmament Anu, and for Ishtar the goddess of love. Look at it still today: the outer wall where the cornice runs, it shines with the brilliance of copper; and the inner wall, it has no equal. Touch the threshold, it is ancient. Approach Eanna the dwelling of Ishtar, our lady of love and war, the like of which no latter-day king, no man alive can equal. Climb upon the wall of Uruk; walk along it, I say; regard the foundation terrace and examine the. masonry: is it not burnt brick and good? The seven sages laid the foundations.
THE COMING OF ENKIDU
GILGAMESH went abroad in the world, but he met with none who could withstand his arms till be came to Uruk. But the men of Uruk muttered in their houses, ‘Gilgamesh sounds the tocsin for his amusement, his arrogance has no bounds by day or night. No son is left with his father, for Gilgamesh takes them all, even the children; yet the king should be a shepherd to his people. His lust leaves no virgin to her lover, neither the warrior's daughter nor the wife of the noble; yet this is the shepherd of the city, wise, comely, and resolute.'
The gods heard their lament, the gods of heaven cried to the Lord of Uruk, to Anu the god of Uruk: ‘A goddess made him, strong as a savage bull, none can withstand his arms. No son is left with his father, for Gilgamesh takes them all; and is this the king, the shepherd of his people? His lust leaves no virgin to her lover, neither the warrior's daughter nor the wife of the noble. When Anu had heard their lamentation the gods cried to Aruru, the goddess of creation, ‘You made him, O Aruru; now create his equal; let it be as like him as his own reflection, his second self; stormy heart for stormy heart. Let them contend together and leave Uruk in quiet.'
So the goddess conceived an image in her mind, and it was of the stuff of Anu of the firmament. She dipped her hands in water and pinched off clay, she let it fall in the wilderness, and noble Enkidu was created. There was virtue in him of the god of war, of Ninurta himself. His body was rough, he had long hair like a woman's; it waved like the hair of Nisaba, the goddess of corn. His body was covered with matted hair like Samugan's, the god of cattle. He was innocent of mankind; he knew nothing of the cultivated land.
Enkidu ate grass in the hills with the gazelle and lurked with wild beasts at the water-holes; he had joy of the water with the herds of wild game. But there was a trapper who met him one day face to face at the drinking-hole, for the wild game had entered his territory. On three days he met him face to face, and the trapper was frozen with fear. He went back to his house with the game that he had caught, and he was dumb, benumbed with terror.
His face was altered like that of one who has made a long journey. With awe in his heart he spoke to his father: ‘Father, there is a man, unlike any other, who comes down from the hills. He is the strongest in the world, he is like an immortal from heaven. He ranges over the hills with wild beasts and eats grass; the ranges through your land and comes down to the wells. I am afraid and dare not go near him. He fills in the pits which I dig and tears up-my traps set for the game; he helps the beasts to escape and now they slip through my fingers.'
His father opened his mouth and said to the trapper, ‘My son, in Uruk lives Gilgamesh; no one has ever pre-vailed against him, he is strong as a star from heaven. Go to Uruk, find Gilgamesh, extol the strength of this wild man. Ask him to give you a harlot, a wanton from the temple of love; return with her, and let her woman's power overpower this man. When next he comes down to drink at the wells she will be there, stripped naked; and when he sees her beckoning he will embrace her, and then the wild beasts will reject him.'
So the trapper set out on his journey to Uruk and addressed himself to Gilgamesh saying, ‘A man unlike any other is roaming now in the pastures; he is as strong as a star from heaven and I am afraid to approach him. He helps the wild King Ashurbampal. 669-62? B C The excavations of his library provided a major souroe of Mesopotamian literature, including a good portion of tire game to escape; he fills in my pits and pulls up my traps.' Gilgamesh said, ‘Trapper, go back, take with you a harlot, a child of pleasure. At the drinking hole she will strip, and when, he sees her beckoning he will embrace her and the game of the wilderness will, surely reject him.'
Now the trapper returned, taking the harlot with him. After a three days' journey they came to the drinking hole, and there they sat down; the harlot and the trapper sat . facing one another and waited for the game to come. For the first day and for the second day the two sat waiting, but on the third day the herds came; they came down to drink and Enkidu was with them. The small wild creatures of the plains were glad of the water, and Enkidu with them, who ate grass with the gazelle and was born in the hills; and she saw him, the savage man, come from far-off in the hills. The trapper spoke to her: ‘There he is. Now, woman, make your breasts bare, have no shame, do not delay but welcome his love. Let him see you naked, let him possess your body. When he comes near uncover yourself and lie with him; teach him, the savage man, your woman's art, for when he murmurs love to you the wild’ beasts that shared his life in the hills will reject him.'
She was not ashamed to take him, she made herself naked and welcomed his eagerness; as he lay on her murmuring love she taught him the woman's art For six days and seven nights they lay together, for Enkidu had forgotten his home in the hills; but when he was satisfied he went back to the wild beasts. Then, when the gazelle saw him, they bolted away; when the wild creatures saw him they fled. Enkidu would have followed, but his body was bound a s though with a cord, his knees gave way when he started to run, his swiftness was gone. And now the wild creatures had all fled away; Enkidu was grown weak, for wisdom was in him, and the thoughts of a man were in his heart. So he returned and sat down at the woman's feet, and listened intently to what she said. ‘You are wise, Enkidu, and now you have become like a god. Why do you want to run wild with the beasts in the hills? Come with me. I will take you to strong-walled Uruk, to the blessed temple of Ishtar and of Anu, of love and of heaven there Gilgamesh lives, who is very strong, and like a wild bull he lords it over men.'
When she had spoken Enkidu was pleased; he longed for a comrade, for one who would understand his heart. Come, woman, and take me to that holy temple, to the house of Anu and of Ishtar, and to the place where Gilgamesh lords it over the people. I will challenge him boldly, I will cry out aloud in Uruk, "I am the strongest here, I have come to change the old order, I am he who was born in the hills, I am he who is strongest of all.'"
She said, ‘Let us go, and let him see your face. 1 know very well where Gilgamesh is in great Uruk. O Enkidu, there all the people are dressed in their gorgeous robes, every day is holiday, the young men and the girls are wonderful to see. How sweet they smell! All the great ones are roused from their beds. O Enkidu, you who love life, 1 will show you Gilgamesh, a man of many moods; you shall look at him well in his radiant manhood. His body is perfect in strength and maturity; he never rests by night or day. He is stronger than you, so leave your boasting. Shamash the glorious sun has given favours to Gilgamesh, and Anu of the heavens, and Enlil, and Ea the wise has given him deep understanding, f tell you, even before you have left the wilderness, Gilgamesh will know in his dreams that you are coming.'
Now Gilgamesh got up to tell his dream to his mother; Ninsun, one of the wise gods. ‘Mother, last night 1 had a dream. I was full of joy, the young heroes were round me and I walked through the night under the stars of the firmament, and one, a meteor of the stuff of Anu, fell down from heaven. I tried to lift it but it proved too heavy. All the people of Uruk came round to see it, the common people jostled and the nobles thronged to kiss its feet; and to me its attraction was like the love of woman. They helped me, I braced my forehead and I raised it with thongs and brought it to you, and you yourself pronounced it my brother.'
Then Ninsun, who is well-beloved and wise, said to Gilgamesh, ‘This star of heaven which descended like a meteor from the sky; which you tried to lift," but found too heavy, when you tried to move it it would not budge, and so you brought it to my feet; I made it for you, a goad and spur, and you were drawn as though to a woman. This is the strong comrade, the one who brings help to his friend in his need. He is the strongest of wild creatures, the stuff of Anu; born in the grass-lands and the wild hills reared him; when you see him you will be glad; you will love him as a woman and he will never forsake you. This is the meaning of the dream.'
Gilgamesh said, ‘Mother, I dreamed a second dream. In the streets of strong-walled Uruk there lay an axe; the shape of it was strange and the people thronged round. I saw it and was glad. I bent down, deeply drawn towards it; I loved it like a woman and wore it at my side.' Ninsun answered, ‘That axe, which you saw, which drew you so powerfully like love of a woman, that is the comrade whom I give you, and he will come in his strength like one of the host of heaven. He is the brave companion who rescues his friend in necessity.' Gilgamesh said to his mother, 'A friend, a counsellor has come to me from Enlil, and now I shall befriend and counsel him.' So Gilgamesh told his dreams; and the harlot retold them to Enkidu.
And now she said to Enkidu, ‘When 1 look at you you have become like a god. Why do you yearn to run wild again with the beasts in the hills? Get up from the ground, the bed of a shepherd.' He listened to her words with care. It was good advice that she gave. She divided her clothing in two and with the one half she clothed him and with the other herself, and holding his hand she led him like a child to the sheepfolds, into the shepherds' tents. There all the shepherds crowded round to see him, they put down bread in front of him, but Enkidu could only suck the milk of wild animals. He fumbled and gaped, at a loss what to do or how he should eat the bread and drink the strong wine. Then the woman said, 'Enkidu, eat bread, it is the staff of life; drink the wine, it is the custom of the land.' So he ate till he was full and drank strong wine, seven goblets. He became merry, his heart exulted and his face shone. He rubbed down the matted hair of his body and anointed himself with oil. Enkidu had become a man; but when he had put on man's clothing he appeared like a bridegroom. He took arms to hunt the lion so that the shepherds could rest at night. He caught wolves and lions and the herdsmen lay down in peace; for Enkidu was their watchman, that strong man who had no rival.
He was merry living with the shepherds, till one day lifting his eyes he saw a man approaching. He said to the harlot, ‘Woman, fetch that man here. Why has he come? 1 wish to know his name.' She went and called the man saying, ‘Sir, where are you going on this weary journey?' The man answered, saying to Enkidu, ‘Gilgamesh has gone into the marriage-house and shut out the people. He does strange things in Umk, the city of great streets. At the roll of the drum work begins for the men, and work for the women. Gilgamesh the king is about to celebrate marriage with the Queen of Love, and he still demands to be first with the bride, the king to be first and the husband to follow, for that was ordained by the gods from his birth, from the time the umbilical cord was cut. But now the drums roll for the choice of the bride and the city groans.' At these words Enkidu turned white in the face. ‘I will go to the place where Gilgamesh lords it over the people, I will challenge him boldly, and I will cry aloud in Uruk, "I have come to change the old order, for I am the strongest here."
Now Enkidu strode in front and the woman followed behind. He entered Umk, that great market, and all the folk thronged round him where he stood in the street in strong-walled Umk. The people jostled; speaking of him they said, ‘He is the spit of Gilgamesh. ‘He is shorter.’ ‘He is bigger of bone.’ This is the one who was reared on the milk of wild beasts. His is the greatest strength.' The men rejoiced: ‘Now Gilgamesh has met his match. This great'one, this hero whose beauty is like a god, he is a match even for Gilgamesh. ’
In Umk the bridal bed was made, fit for the goddess of love. The bride waited for the bridegroom, but in the night Gilgamesh got up and came to the house. Then Enkidu stepped out, he stood in the street and blocked the way. Mighty Gilgamesh came on and Enkidu met him at the gate. He put out his foot and prevented Gilgamesh from entering the house, so they grappled, holding each other like bulls. They broke the doorposts and the walls shook, they snorted like bulls locked together. They shattered the doorposts and the walls shook. Gilgamesh bent his knee with his foot planted on the ground and with a turn Enkidu was thrown. Then immediately his fury died. When Enkidu was thrown he said to Gilgamesh, ‘There is not another like you in the world. Ninsun, who is as strong as a wild ox in the byre, she was the mother who bore you, and now you are raised above all men, and Enlil has given you the kingship, for your strength surpasses the strength of men.’ So Enkidu and Gilgamesh embraced and their friendship was sealed.
THE FOREST JOURNEY
ENLIL of the mountain, the father of the gods, had decreed the destiny of Gilgamesh. So Gilgamesh dreamed and Enkidu said, 'The meaning of the dream is this. The father of the gods has given you kingship, such is your destiny, everlasting life is not your destiny. Because of this do not be sad at heart, do not be grieved or oppressed. He has given you power to bind and to loose, to be the darkness and the light of mankind. He has given you unexampled supremacy over the people, victory in battle from which no fugitive returns, in forays and assaults from which there is no going back. But do not abuse this power, deal justly with your servants in the palace, deal jusdy before Shamash.'
The eyes of Enkidu were full of tears and his heart was sick. He sighed bitterly and Gilgamesh met his eye and said,’ My friend, why do you sigh so bitterly? But Enkidu opened his mouth and said, 'I am weak, my arms have lost their strength, the cry of sorrow sticks in my throat, I am oppressed by idleness.' It was then that the lord Gilgamesh turned his thoughts to the Country of the Living; on the Land of Cedars the lord Gilgamesh reflected. He said to his servant Enkidu, 'I have not established my name stamped on bricks as my destiny decreed; therefore I will go to the country where the cedar is felled. I will set up my name in the place where the names of famous men are written, and where- no man's name is written yet I will wise a monument to the gods. Because o£ the evil that is in the land, we will go to the forest and destroy the evil; for in the forest lives Humbaba whose name is "Hugeness", , a ferocious giant. But Enkidu sighed bitterly and said, ‘When I went with the wild beasts ranging through the wilderness I discovered the forest; its length is ten thousand leagues in every direction.
Enlil has appointed Humbaba to guard it and armed him iii sevenfold terrors, terrible to all flesh is Humbaba. When he roars it is like the torrent of the storm, his breath is like fire, and his jaws are death itself. He guards the cedars so well that when the wild heifer stirs in the forest, though she is sixty leagues distant, he hears her. What man would willingly walk into that country and explore its depths? I tell you, weakness overpowers whoever goes near it; it is not an equal struggle when one fights with Humbaba; he is a great warrior, a battering-ram. Gilgamesh, the watchman of the forest never sleeps.'
Gilgamesh replied: 'Where is the man who can clamber to heaven? Only the gods live for ever with glorious Shamash, but as for us men, our days are numbered, our occupations are a breath of wind. How is this, already you are afraid! I will go first although I am your lord, an4.youmay safely call out, "Forward, there is nothing to fear!" Then if I fall I leave behind me a name that endures; men - will say of me, "Gilgamesh has fallen in fight with ferocious Humbaba." Long after the child has been bony in my house, they will say it, and remember.' Enkidu spoke again to Gilgamesh, 'O my lord, if you will enter that country, go first to the hero Shamash, tell the Sun God, for the land is his. The country where the cedar is cut belongs to Shamash.’
Gilgamesh took up a kid, white without spot, and a brown one with it; he held them against his breast, and he carried them into the presence of the sun. He took i n his hand his silver sceptre and he said to glorious Shamash, Tam going to that country, O Shamash, I am going; my hands supplicate, so let it be well with my soul and bring me back to the quay of Uruk. Grant, I beseech, your protection, and let the omen be good.' Glorious Shamash answered, ‘Gilgamesh, you are strong, but what i s the Country of the Living to you?
'O Shamash, hear me, hear me, Shamash, let my voice be heard. Here in the city man dies oppressed at heart, man perishes with despair in his heart. I have looked over the wall and I see the bodies floating on the river, and that will be my lot also. Indeed I know it is so, for whoever is tallest among men cannot reach the heavens, and the greatest cannot encompass the earth. Therefore I would enter that country: because I have not established my name stamped on brick as my destiny decreed, I will go to the country where the cedar is cut. 1 will set up my name where the names of famous men are written; and where no man's name is written I will raise a monument to the gods.' The tears, ran down his face and he said, ‘Alas, it is a long journey that I must take to the Land of Humbaba. If this enterprise is not to be accomplished, why did you move me, Shamash, with the restless desire to perform it? How can I succeed if you will not succour me? If I die in that country I will die without rancour, but if I return I will make a glorious offering of gifts and of praise to Shamash.'
So Shamash accepted the sacrifice of his tears; like the compassionate man he showed him mercy. He appointed strong allies for Gilgamesh, sons of one mother, and stationed them in the mountain caves. The great winds he appointed: the north wind, the whirlwind, the stone and the icy wind, the tempest and the scorching wind. Like ' vipers, like dragons, like a scorching fire, like a serpent that freezes the heart, a destroying flood and the lightning's fork, such were they and Gilgamesh rejoiced. He went to the forge and said, ..'I will give orders to the armourers; they shall cast us our weapons while we watch
them.' So they gave orders to the armourers and the craftsmen sat down in conference. They went into the groves of the plain and cut willow and box-wood; they cast for them axes of nine score pounds, and great swords they cast with blades of six score pounds each one, with pommels and hilts of thirty pounds. They cast for Gilgamesh the axe ‘Might of Heroes' and the bow of Anshan; and Gilgamesh was armed and Enkidu; and the weight of the arms they carried was thirty score pounds.
The people collected and the counsellors in the streets and in the market-place of Uruk; they came through the gate of seven bolts and Gilgamesh spoke to them in the market-place: ‘I, Gilgamesh, go to see that creature of whom such things are spoken, the rumour of whose name fills the world. I will conquer him in his cedar wood and show the strength of the sons of Uruk, all the world shall, know of it. I am committed to this enterprise: to climb the mountain, to cut down the cedar, and leave behind me an enduring name.' The counsellors of Uruk; the great market, answered him, ‘Gilgamesh, you are young, your courage carries you too far, you cannot know what this enterprise means which you plan. We have heard that Humbaba is not like men who die, his weapons are such that none can stand against them; the forest stretches for ten thousand leagues in every direction; who would willingly go down to explore its depths? As for Humbaba, when he roars it is like the torrent of the storm, his breath is like fire and his jaws are death itself. Why do you crave to do this thing, Gilgamesh? It is no equal struggle when one fights with Humbaba, that battering-ram: When he heard these words of the counsellors Gilgamesh looked at his friend and laughed, ‘How shall I answer them; shall I say I am afraid of Humbaba, I will sit at home all the rest of my days?' Then Gilgamesh opened his mouth again and said to Enkidu, ‘My friend, let us go to the Great Palace, to Egalmah, and stand before Ninsun the queen. Ninsun is wise with deep knowledge, she will give us counsel for the road we must go.' They took each other by the hand as they went to Egalmah, and they went to Ninsun the great queen. Gilgamesh approached, he entered the palace and spoke to Ninsun. ‘Ninsun, will you listen to me; I have a long journey to go, to the Land of Humbaba, I must travel an unknown road and fight a strange battle. From the day I go until I return, till I reach the cedar forest and destroy the evil which Shamash abhors, pray for me to Shamash.'
Ninsun went into her room, she put on a dress becoming to her body, she put on jewels to make her breast beautiful, she placed a tiara on her head and her skirts swept the ground. Then she went up to the altar of the Sun, standing upon the roof of the palace; she burnt incense and lifted her arms to Shamash as the smoke ascended: ‘O Shamash, why did you give this restless heart to Gilgamesh, my son; why did you give it? You have moved him and now he sets out on a long journey to the Land of Humbaba, to travel an unknown road and fight a strange battle.
Therefore from the day that he goes till the day he returns, until he reaches the cedar forest, until he kills Humbaba and destroys the evil thing which you, Shamash, abhor, do not forget him; but let the dawn, Aya, your dear bride, remind you always, and when day is done give him to the watchman of the night to keep him from harm.' Then Ninsun the mother of Gilgamesh extinguished the incense, and she called to Enkidu with this exhortation: ‘Strong Enkidu, you are not the child of my body, but I will receive you as my adopted son; you are my other child like the foundlings they bring to the temple. Serve Gilgamesh as a foundling serves the temple and the priestess who reared him. In the presence of my women, any votaries and hierophants, I declare it.' Then she placed - the amulet for a pledge round his neck, and she said to him, ‘I entrust my son to you; bring him back to me safely.’
And now they brought to them the weapons, they put in their hands the great swords in their golden scabbards, and the bow and the quiver. Gilgamesh took the axe, he slung the quiver from his -shoulder, and the bow of Anshan, and buckled the sword to his belt; and so they were armed and ready for the journey. Now all the people came and pressed on them and said, ‘When will you return to the city? The counsellors blessed Gilgamesh and warned him, ‘Do not trust too much in your own strength, be watchful, restrain your blows at first. The one who goes in front protects his companion; the good guide who knows the way guards his friend. Let Enkidu lead the way, he knows the road to the forest, he has seen Humbaba and is experienced in battles; let him press first into the passes, let him be watchful and look to himself. Let-Enkidu protect his friend, and guard his companion, and bring him safe through the pitfalls of the road. We, the counsellors of Uruk entrust our king to you, O Enkidu; bring him back safely to us.' Again to Gilgamesh, they said, ‘May Shamash give you your heart's desire, may he let you see with your eyes the thing accomplished which your lips have spoken; may he open a path for you where it is blocked, and a road for your feet to tread. May he open the mountains for your crossing, and may the nighttime bring you the blessings of night, and Lugulbanda, your guardian god, stand beside you for victory. May y ou have victory in the battle as though you fought with a child. Wash your feet in the river of Humbaba to which you are journeying; in the evening dig a well, and let there always be pure water in your water-skin. Offer cold water to Shamash and do not forget Lugulbanda.'
Then Enkidu opened his mouth and said, ‘Forward, there is nothing to fear. Follow me, for I know the place where Humbaba lives and the paths where he walks. Let the counsellors go back. Here is no cause for fear.' When the counsellors heard this they sped the hero on his way. ‘Go, Gilgamesh, may your guardian god protect you on the road and bring you safely back to the quay of Uruk.' After twenty leagues they broke their fast; after another thirty leagues they stopped for the night. Fifty leagues they walked in one day; in three days they had walked as much as a journey of a month and two weeks. They crossed seven mountains before they came to the gate of the forest. Then Enkidu called out to Gilgamesh, ‘Do not go down into the forest; when 1 opened the gate my hand lost its strength.' Gilgamesh answered him, ‘Dear friend, do not speak like a coward. Have we got the better of so many dangers and travelled so far, to turn back at last? You, who are tried in wars and battles, hold dose to me now and you will feel no fear of death; keep beside me and your weakness will pass, the trembling will leave your hand. Would my friend rather stay behind? No, we will, go down together into the heart of the forest. Let your courage be roused by the battle to come; forget death and follow me, a man resolute in action, but one who is not foolhardy. When two go together each will protect himself and shield his companion, and if they fall they leave an enduring name.'
Together they went down into the forest and they came to the green mountain. There they stood still, they were struck dumb; they stood still and gazed at the forest. They saw the height of the cedar, they saw the way into the forest and the track where Humbaba was used to walk. The way was broad and the going was good. They gazed at the mountain of cedars, the dwelling-place of the gods and the throne of Ishtar. The hugeness of the cedar rose in front of the mountain, its shade was beautiful, full of comfort; mountain and glade were green with brushwood: There Gilgamesh dug a well before the setting sun. He went up the mountain and poured out fine meal on the ground and said, ‘O mountain, dwelling of the gods, bring me a favourable dream.' Then they took each other' by the hand and lay down to sleep; and sleep that flows from the night lapped over them. Gilgamesh dreamed, and at midnight sleep left him, and he told his dream to his friend. ‘Enkidu, what was it that woke me if you did not? My friend, 1 have dreamed a dream. Get up, look at the mountain precipice. The sleep that the gods sent me is broken. Ah, my friend, what a dream I have had ! Terror and confusion; I seized hold of a wild bull in the wilderness. It bellowed and beat up the dust till the whole sky was dark, my arm was seized and my tongue bitten. I fell back on' my knee; then someone refreshed me with water from his water-skin.'
Enkidu said, ‘Dear friend, the god to whom we are travelling is no wild bull, though his form is mysterious. That wild bull which you saw is Shamash the Protector; in our moment of peril he will take our hands. The one who gave water from his water-skin, that is your own god who cares for your good name, your Lugulbanda. United with him, together we will accomplish a work the fame of which will never die.' Gilgamesh said, ‘I dreamed again. We stood in a deep gorge of the mountain, and beside it we two were like the smallest of swamp flies; and suddenly the mountain fell, it struck me and caught my feet from under me. Then came an intolerable light blazing out, and in it was one whose grace and whose beauty were greater than the beauty of this world. He pulled me out from under the mountain, he gave me water to drink and my heart was comforted, and he set my feet on theground.'
Then Enkidu the child of the plains said, ‘Let us go down from the mountain and talk this thing over together.' He said to Gilgamesh the young god, ‘Your dream is good, your dream is excellent, the mountain which you saw is Humbaba. Now, surely, we will seize and kill him, and throw his body down as the mountain fell on the plain.' The next day after twenty leagues they broke their fast, and after another thirty they stopped for the night. They dug a well before the sun had set and Gilgamesh ascended the mountain. He poured out fine meal on the ground and said, ‘O mountain, dwelling of the gods, send a dream for Enkidu, make him a favourable dream.' The mountain fashioned a dream for Enkidu; it came, an ominous dream; a cold shower passed over him, it caused him to cower tike the mountain barley under a storm of rain. But Gilgamesh sat with his chin on his knees till the sleep which flows over all mankind lapped over him. Then, at midnight, sleep left him; he got up and said to his friend, ‘Did you call me, or why did I wake? Did you touch me, or why am I terrified? Did not some god pass by, for my limbs are numb with fear? My friend, I saw a third dream and this dream was altogether frightful. The heavens roared and the earth roared again, daylight failed and darkness fell, lightnings flashed, fire blazed out, the clouds lowered, they rained down death. Then the brightness departed, the fire went out, and all was turned to ashes fallen about us. Let us go down from the mountain and talk this over, and consider what we should do.'
When they had come down from the mountain Gilgamesh seized the axe in his hand: he felled the cedar. When Humbaba heard the noise far off he was enraged; he cried out, ‘Who is this that has violated my woods and cut down my cedar?' But glorious Shamash called to them out of heaven, ’Go forward, do not be afraid.’ But now’ Gilgamesh was overcome by weakness, for sleep had seized him suddenly, a profound sleep held him; he lay on the ground, stretched out speechless, as though in a dream. When Enkidu touched him he did not rise, when he spoke to him he did not reply. ‘O Gilgamesh, Lord of the plain of Kullab, the world grows dark, the shadows have spread over it, now is the glimmer of dusk. Shamash has departed, his bright head is quenched in the bosom of his mother Ningal. O Gilgamesh, how long will you lie like this, asleep? Never let the mother who gave you birth be forced in mourning into the city square.’
At length Gilgamesh heard him; lie put on his breastplate, ‘The Voice of Heroes', of thirty shekels' weight; he put it on as though it had been a light garment that he carried, and it covered him altogether. He straddled the earth like a bull that snuffs the ground and his teeth were clenched. ‘By the life of my mother Ninsun who gave me birth, and by the life of my father, divine Lugulbanda, let me live to be the wonder of my mother, as when she nursed me on her lap.' A second time he said to him, ‘By the life of Ninsun my mother who gave me birth, and by the life of my father, divine Lugulbanda, until we have fought thus man, if man he is, this god, if god he is, the way that I took to the Country of the Living will not turn back to the city.'
Then Enkidu, the faithful companion, pleaded, answering him, ‘O my lord, you do not know this monster and that is the reason you are not afraid. I who know him, I am terrified. His teeth are dragon's fangs, his countenance is like a lion, his charge i s the rushing of the flood, with his look he crushes alike the trees of the forest and reeds in the swamp. O my Lord, you may go on if you choose into thus land, but I will go back to the city. I will tell the lady your mother all your glorious' deeds till she shouts for joy: and then I will tell the death that followed till she weeps for bitterness.' But Gilgamesh said, ‘Immolation and sacrifice are not yet for me, the boat of the dead shall not go down, nor the three-ply cloth be cut for my shrouding. Not yet will my people be desolate, nor the pyre be lit in my house and my dwelling burnt on the fire. Today, give me your aid and you shall have mine: what then can go amiss with us two? All living creatures born of the flesh shall sit at last in the boat of the West, and when it sinks, when the boat of Magilum sinks, they are gone; but we shall go forward and fix our eyes on this monster. If your heart is fearful throw away fear; if there is terror in it throw away terror. Take your axe in your hand and attack. He who leaves the fight unfinished is not at peace.'
Humbaba came out from his strong house of cedar. Then Enkidu called out, ‘O Gilgamesh, remember now your boasts in Uruk. Forward, attack, son of Uruk, there is nothing to fear.' When he heard these words his courage rallied; he answered, ‘Make haste, close in, if the watchman is there do not let him escape to the woods where he will vanish. He has put on the first of his seven splendours but not yet the other six, let us trap him before he is armed.' Like a raging wild bull he snuffed the ground; the watchman of the woods turned full of threatenings, he cried out. Humbaba came from his strong house of cedar. He nodded his head and shook it, menacing Gilgamesh; and on him he fastened his eye, the eye of death. Then Gilgamesh called to Shamash and his tears were flowing, ‘O glorious Shamash, 1 have followed the road you commanded but now if you send no succour how shall I escape? Glorious Shamash heard his prayer and he summoned the great wind, the north wind, the whirlwind, the storm and the icy wind, the tempest and the scorching wind; they came like dragons, like a scorching fire, like a serpent that freezes the heart, a destroying flood and the lightning's fork. The eight winds rose up against Humbaba, they beat against his eyes; he was gripped, unable to go forward or back. Gilgamesh shouted, ‘By the life of Ninsun my mother and divine Lugulbanda my father, in the Country of the Living, in this Land I have discovered your dwelling; my weak arms and my small weapons I have brought to this Land against you, and now I will enter your house'.
So he felled the first cedar and they cut the branches and laid them at the foot of the mountain. At the first stroke Humbaba blazed out, but still they advanced. They felled seven cedars and cut and bound the branches and laid them at the foot of the mountain, and seven times Humbaba loosed his glory on them. As the seventh blaze died out they reached his lair. He slapped his thigh in scorn. He approached like a noble wild bull roped on the mountain, a warrior whose elbows are bound together. The tears started to his eyes and he was pale, ‘Gilgamesh, let me speak. 1 have never known a mother, no, nor a father who reared me. I was born of the mountain, he reared me, and Enlil made me the keeper of this forest. Let me go free, Gilgamesh, and I will be your servant, you shall be my lord; all the trees of the forest that I tended on the mountain shall be yours. 1 will cut them down and build you a palace.' He took him by the hand and led him to his house, so that the heart of Gilgamesh was moved with compassion. He swore by the heavenly life, by the earthly life, by the underworld itself: ‘O Enkidu, should not the snared, bird return to its nest and the captive man return to his mother's arms?' Enkidu answered, ‘The strongest of men will fall to fate if he has no judgement. Namtar, the evil fate that knows no distinction between men, will devour him. If the snared bird returns to its nest, if the captive man returns to his mother's arms, then you my friend will never return to the city where the mother is waiting who gave you birth. He will bar the mountain road against you, and make the pathways impassable.'
Humbaba said, 'Enkidu, what you have spoken is evil: you, a hireling, dependent for your bread! In envy and for fear of a rival you have spoken evil words.' Enkidu said, ‘Do not listen, Gilgamesh: this Humbaba must die. Kill Humbaba first and his servants after.' But Gilgamesh said, 'If we touch him the blaze and the glory of light will be put out in confusion, the glory and glamour will vanish, its rays will be quenched.' Enkidu said to Gilgamesh, ‘Not so, my friend. First entrap the bird, and where shall the chicks mn then? Afterwards we can search out the glory and the glamour, when the chicks run distracted through the grass.'
Gilgamesh listened to the word of his companion, he took the axe in his hand, he drew the sword from his belt, and he struck Humbaba with a thrust of the sword to the neck, and Enkidu his comrade struck the second blow. At the third blow Humbaba fell. Then there followed confusion for this was the guardian of the forest whom they had felled to the ground. For as far as two leagues the cedars shivered when Enkidu felled the watcher of the forest, he at whose voice Hermon and Lebanon used to tremble. Now the mountains were moved and all the hills, for the guardian of the forest was killed. They attacked the cedars, the seven splendours of Humbaba were extinguished. So they pressed on into the forest bearing the sword of eight talents. They uncovered the sacred dwellings of the Anunnaki and while Gilgamesh felled the first of the trees of the forest Enkidu cleared their roots as far as the banks of Euphrates. They set Humbaba before the gods, before Enlil; they kissed the ground and dropped the shroud and set the head before him. When he saw the head of Humbaba, Enlil raged at them. ‘Why did you do this thing? From henceforth may the fire be on your faces, may it eat the bread that you eat, may it drink where you drink.' Then Enlil took again the blaze and the seven splendours that had been Humbaba's: he gave the first to the river, and he gave to the lion, to the stone of execration, to the mountain and to the dreaded daughter of the Queen of Hell.
O Gilgamesh, king and conqueror of the dreadful blaze; wild bull who plunders the mountain, who crosses the sea, glory to him, and from the brave the greater glory is Enki's!
Sources:N. K. Sanders; Assyrian International News Agency ; ; ; ; .
FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE Series:
Part 1: The SPHINX
Part 2: The GARDEN of EDEN Wasn't a PARADISE
Part 3: YAHWEH, SATAN & the SERPENT
Part 4: ADAMITE vs PRE-ADAMITE Bloodline
Part 5: The FLOOD Story
Part 6: The TEMPLES at BAALBEK
Part 7: GIANTS Who WALKED on EARTH Part 1
Part 8: GIANTS Who WALKED on EARTH Part 2
Part 9: The MAN BAG
Part 10: ATLANTIS The Beginning
Part 11: ANTARCTICA The TRUE Cradle of Civilization?
Part 12: The DOGON Tribe
Part 13: The CREATION Story of the DOGON Tribe
Part 14: The STONEHENGE
Part 15: The SUMERIAN KINGS LIST
Part 16: GIANTS Who WALKED on EARTH Part 3
Part 17: The NAG HAMMADI CODICES Part 1
Part 18: ADAPA AND THE FOOD OF LIFE
Part 19: The GNOSTIC FLOOD STORY
Part 20: The GALACTIC HISTORY of the EARTH
Part 21: The GOLDen DECEPTION
Part 22: The LOST BOOK OF ENKI Part 1
Part 23: The FACE on MARS
Part 24: The LOST BOOK of ENKI Part 2: The CREATION OF MAN
Part 25: The ANNUNAKI TIMELINE Part 1
Part 26: The ANNUNAKI TIMELINE Part 2
Part 27: NUCLEAR WAR IN 2,000 BC
Part 28: FLOOD STORY According to SUMERIANS
Part 29: ENUMA ELISH: The BABYLONIAN EPIC OF CREATION Part 1
Part 30: ENUMA ELISH: The BABYLONIAN EPIC OF CREATION Part 2
Part 31: CHAVIN DE HUANTAR
Part 32: ETYMOLOGY of the WORD "GOD"
Part 33: TABLETS OF DESTINY
Part 34: THE REPTILIAN RACE
Part 35: THE ERRA EPIC Part 1
Part 36: THE ERRA EPIC Part 2
Part 37: The LOST BOOK OF ENKI Part 2
Part 38: The LOST BOOK OF ENKI Part 3
Part 39: The LOST BOOK OF ENKI Part 4
Part 39: The LOST BOOK OF ENKI Part 5
Part 40: The LOST BOOK OF ENKI Part 6
Part 41: The FLYING MACHINES of MAHABHARATA & the VEDAS
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