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Home » Columns » Gilgamesh Meets Noah!

Gilgamesh Meets Noah!

Publishing Date : 05 December, 2017

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER    



Doggedly determined King of Uruk encounters Hero of the Deluge in subterranean paradise beneath Sinai Peninsula

Having set off into the woods to find Noah’s boatman Urshanabi on the basis of Siduri the Ale Woman’s directions, Gilgamesh still was distraught. What if Urshanabi proved hostile and told him to get lost? Without Urshanabi’s cooperation, it was a matter of course that his cause was a lost one. Or at the very least, it could double the strain of making it to his destination – the Land of the Living or the spaceport.


But he was lucky as he did finally track down Urshanabi. Once he had introduced himself as the King of Uruk in Sumeria, Urshanabi just like Siduri first wondered whether he indeed was King. “Urshanabi observed that Gilgamesh’s face was worn and weathered and that sorrow rested in his belly,” says The Epic of Gilgamesh.


Gilgamesh proceeded to recount to Urshanabi all his tribulations since the encounter with Huwawa – the death of Enkidu, his grief, his fear of death, his wanderings in the wilderness, and his implacable resolve to find Noah or hitch a ride in a Nibiru-bound shem, a rocket.  “I ranged and wandered over all the lands,” he poured out  his heart. “I traversed difficult mountains.   I crossed all the seas so that I might come and behold Utnapishtim (the Akkadian name for Noah), whom they call The Faraway.”


For a whole day, Urshanabi interrogated Gilgamesh till he was satisfied that he indeed was a King and was certainly a demigod. In any case, if Gilgamesh was not telling the truth, Utu-Shamash, who he was certain to meet at some stage, would send him back unceremoniously.  Thus it  was that the following day, the two got into Urshanabi’s boat and they set sail across the Dead Sea. Since the sea was deemed poisonous, Urshanabi stressed to Gilgamesh that under no circumstances should his hands touch the water.


The journey was not smooth-sailing through and  through: at some point,  they had to make an about-turn when Gilgamesh’s bulk rendered a navigational device inoperable, causing them to  improvise wooden poles (which Gilgamesh had to cut alone as a punitive measure) as navigational sails.  Even then, they still moved a great deal faster than they would have done had they used the dry land route: they covered an overland journey of 45 days in only three days.


Urshanabi, however, did not intend to take Gilgamesh all the way to Noah’s abode: that he had no right to. Once they had reached the extreme, southern end of the Dead Sea shore, Urshanabi told Gilgamesh  that  that was the furthest he could go with him. “Utnapishtim dwells  around a mountain called Mashu,” he said to Gilgamesh. “Go straight ahead until you reach a regular way that leads toward the Great Sea (Mediterranean Sea). You are to follow that road until you  reach  two stone columns that serve as markers.


Turning there, you will come to a town called Itla, sacred to the god Ullu-Yah (meaning “God of the Peaks”, these being the twin mountains of the Sinai Peninsula.  This was  Nannar-Sin, the overall god of Canaan).  The god's permission is needed in order to cross into the Forbidden Region where Mount Mashu is. That, Gilgamesh,  is your destination.”


Gilgamesh thanked Urshanabi for his invaluable assistance, bade him farewell, and began the foot trek to Itla, known in the Bible as Kadesh-Barnea and to the Sumerians as Bad.Gal.Dingir, an ancient caravan town situated at the border of the restricted Tilmun in the Sinai Peninsula. Anybody going beyond the town had to seek special permission from either Nannar-Sin or Utu-Shamash.

GILGAMESH DENIED A SHEM



After a long and weary journey through the Negev Desert which lasted days, Gilgamesh finally pitched at Itla, a gateway place being situated between the Negev and the Sinai Desert proper.  The moment he arrived there, he gave an offering to Utu-Shamash, who it turned out was already in town. Then entering into the presence of the god, Gilgamesh related his misfortune in the Straits of Ormuz and how that led to Enkidu’s death. He related the story without recriminations at all although deep down he resented Enlil, who was behind it all.  


Shamash was glad to see his nephew and god-son but he was saddened by the news of Enkidu’s death. His pathos was made all the more pronounced by Gilgamesh himself, who wept as he recounted the death of his great friend. “If I had the powers of the god Ningishzidda,” he said to Shamash, choking, “I’d bring Enkidu back to life.” Shamash told him even Zidda wouldn’t perform that kind of feat as Enkidu had been dead for months now.


After he had rested and eaten his fill, Gilgamesh was told to wash thoroughly, put on Kingly attire in readiness for an audience with Nannar-Sin, the father to Shamash, and prepare a worthy sacrifice for the god.  It was Sin who was to decide whether Gilgamesh should proceed to the “Great Fortified Place of the Gods” as Tilmun was otherwise known. That done, the two set off in  Shamash’s chariot to  the palace of Sin. Sin had already been notified of their coming and he was very ready for them. They found him not alone but with another god, Ishkur-Adad, his younger brother who was the overall god of Lebanon, where Baalbek was located.


Arriving at Sin’s courts, Gilgamesh accordingly made an animal sacrifice to Sin, then prostrating himself before the god, he offered prayers as to the fulfilment of that which he desperately sought.  He was not allowed to address  Sin, a highly exalted god,  directly: all he had to do was pray. It was Shamash  who spoke on his behalf. Shamash asked Sin to consider Gilgamesh’s desire  to attain immortality by way of a visit to Nibiru, the Planet of the Anunnaki,  just as other mortals such as Adapa and Enoch had done. “Accept his offerings, grant him everlasting life,” Shamash besought Sin.      


Ishkur-Adad, who was aware of Gilgamesh’s earlier attempt vis-à-vis the Cedar Mountain and the troubles it engendered, straightaway objected. As far as he was concerned, Gilgamesh was a trouble-maker and so did not deserve setting foot in  the “Holy Place” that was Nibiru. Moreover,  he had done nothing of significance in heed of the gods to be afforded that kind of privilege. Sin   seemed to share  Adad’s view.


Then bursting into a loud cry, Gilgamesh pleaded that at least he be allowed to meet his great forefather Noah in the Land of the Living. "Let me take the road to Utnapishtim, the son of Ubar-Tutu (Lamech)!"  he entreated. Of that, Sin, who was one of the good-hearted Anunnaki gods, was prepared to give him the go ahead but Adad again objected.


Sin then  ruled that he and Adad would  discuss the matter further and inform Shamash in due course. But as far as  Shamash  was concerned, it was the voice  of his father  that mattered  and not that of the hard-hearted Adad.  He told Gilgamesh to begin his advance toward Mount Mashu immediately  after exiting Sin’s palace.

GILGAMESH AT MOUNT MASHU

After journeying for six days, a drop in the ocean compared with the several months he had traversed from Oman to Jericho, Gilgamesh at long last arrived at the sacred “Mountain Most Supreme” Urshanabi had directed him to in Tilmun Land. Retrospectively named Mount Mashu, after Moses, it was the Place of the Shems, “where by day the shems he (Gilgamesh) watched as they departed  and came in.”


It was the “Place of Ascent” (of the shems) and the “Protected Place”, or Paradise. Indeed, it was heavily policed by “Rocket Men”. Says The Epic of Gilgamesh: “Rocket-men guard its gate … Their terror is awesome, their glance is death. Their dreaded spotlight sweeps the mountains. They watch over Shamash as he ascends and descends.”


Writes Zechariah Sitchin: “Depictions have been found (in Sumeria) showing winged beings or divine bull-men operating a circular beaming device mounted on a post. They could well be ancient illustrations of the ‘dreaded spotlight that sweeps the mountains’. One seal depiction showing Gilgamesh  and his companion Enkidu may well depict the intercession of a god with one of the robot-like guards who could sweep the area with spotlights and emit death rays. The description brings to mind the statement in the Book of Genesis that God placed ‘the revolving sword’ at the entrance to the Garden of Eden, to block its access to humans.”


Mount Mashu and the broader Tilmun were also known as the Land of the Crossing, the Gates of Heaven and Earth. Why so? Sitchin offers two explanations for this. In the first, he says, “The Mount's functions required it to be connected both to the distant heavens and to the far reaches of Earth: ‘On high, to the Celestial Band (that is, our cosmic neighbourhood)  it is connected; Below, to the Lower World (Earth) it is bound’.” In another, he posits thus:


“Those who were to reach it (Mount Mashu, by air)  were guided there by the Sphinx; for its gaze led eastward, exactly along the 30th  Parallel. It was where the two lines intersected, where the Line of Jerusalem intersected the 30th Parallel that the Gates of Heaven and Earth were located: the Spaceport of the gods.”

GILGAMESH UNHARMED BY DEADLY SCANNING BEAM

For people travelling on foot or by chariot, Mount Mashu had one  gazetted entry and exit point  which was manned by Rocket Men, that is, Anunnaki guards. As Gilgamesh made his approach, he was not automatically regarded as a stranger as such. It was not every inch of  Tilmun that was out of bounds by Earthlings. Writes Zechariah Sitchin: “Even in the days of Gilgamesh, not all of the Land of Tilmun was a restricted area.


There was a part, as we have seen, where sentenced men toiled in dark and dusty mines, digging out the copper and gemstones for which Tilmun was famous. Long associated with Sumer in culture and trade, Tilmun supplied Sumer  with certain desired species of woods and provided the ancient world with highly prized onions and dates.”  But   since he had not officially been given the go-ahead  by the god Sin, Gilgamesh’s name  was not logged onto the computer as a forthcoming visitor and this was potentially very dangerous.


Everybody who came here, whether a rank-and-file Anunnaki or Earthling, was electronically scanned with a very sophisticated beam from a distance. The beam was particularly intense at dusk, when Gilgamesh turned up at the Mashu gates.  Now, this beam was such that when it was directed at a pure human, it would stun and,  depending on how it was  calibrated,  even kill him. But if the same deadly  spotlight was trained on  an Anunnaki or a demigod, the copper-based blood coursing in him would neutralise it and therefore he would suffer no harm at all.


Given that Gilgamesh was up to three-quarters god, the glare of the beam scarcely troubled him. "When Gilgamesh beheld the terrible glowing, his face he shielded,” says The Epic of Gilgamesh. “Then  regaining his composure, he approached them."  The guards were  taken aback. One of them bawled to the other, “He who approaches us, his body is the flesh of the gods! Two-thirds of him is god, one-third is human!” The beam was so  sophisticated it even was able to pick up the minimum  quantity of Anunnaki blood in Gilgamesh! It is obvious that Shamash had already told Gilgamesh that being a demigod and more, the beam was incapable of occasioning harm on him.

GILGAMESH QUIZZED BY ROCKET MEN

The guards now signalled for Gilgamesh to approach them, which he did with outward confidence though deep down he was filled with apprehension. Then the guards set about inquisitioning him. He was asked to identify himself, state the reason he had come to this restricted place, and produce convincing credentials that he had divine authority to do so.


In his response, Gilgamesh did not flinch but was matter-of-fact. First, he explained why he was more than two-thirds god and was in fact a King. Second, he asserted by oath that he had come to Mount Mashu by authority of the god Utu-Shamash. Finally, he gave reasons as to why he had so ventured – that he wanted to consult with his ageless forefather Noah, who he had been told by his mother, the goddess Ninsun, lived in eternal bliss somewhere in the precincts of Mount Mashu. “I come in search of Life,” he said. “On account of Utnapishtim, my forefather, have I come, he who the congregation of the gods had joined. About Death and Life I wish to ask him.”


The Rocket Men did confirm that Noah was indeed somewhere within Mount Mashu but were adamant that no Earthling since Noah had ever been admitted to the Land of the Living. Gilgamesh was unstinting: he  told the guards that if they turned him away, they risked incurring the wrath of Shamash, under whose auspices he had come. After interrogating him further, the guards caved in and gave him the go-ahead.  “The gate of the Mount is open to thee!" they said.


Then they spelt out to him some characteristics of what they called the “Path of Shamash”, an underground passage way to Noah’s idyllic environs.   “The mountain's trail no one has travelled. For twelve leagues (about 70 km) extends its interior; dense is the darkness, light there is none! No mortal has passed through the mountain's inaccessible tract!”


But Gilgamesh was  not interested in the nether aspects of  his manouverings through the passage: he  had already begun to advance even as the guards spoke. Deep down their hearts, they pitted him as  they were certain he would never make it.  As far as they were concerned, Shamash had set a trap for him for one reason or the other.


GILGAMESH IN SUBTERRANEAN PARADISE!

Gilgamesh trudged down the pitch-dark subterranean passages for a total of 12 beru. This was 12 double hours, or 48 hours. “The darkness was dense, there was no light. He could see utterly nothing ahead or behind.” In the eighth beru, the darkness grew so intense that he began to wail with fright: it was like he had been thrown into the deep end and was headed to a Hellish realm to spend eternal life wholly engulfed in darkness. But in the ninth beru, there was a bit of relief when he felt “a north wind fanning his face”.


This lifted his spirits as indications were he was nearing the tunnel’s exit. Indeed, in the eleventh beru, dawn began to break upon him and at the end of the twelfth beru, he emerged into incredible brightness and indescribable grandeur under an artificial sun. The place he came to,  a subterranean paradise, had Gilgamesh transfixed with disbelief. He described it as an “Enclosure of the Gods”, which was a blend of an artificial and a natural utopia.


Nearly everything  was made of artificial carved precious stones in a riot of colour, notably  white, red, and green.  “All kinds of thorny prickly bushes were visible, blooming with gemstones.  Carnelian bore fruit hanging in clusters, its vines too beautiful to behold. The foliage was of lapis lazuli; and grapes, too lush to look at, of stones were made … In its waters, pure reeds   of sasu-stones. Like a Tree of Life and a Tree of Knowledge, that of An-Gug stones are made.”


A dumbfounded Gilgamehs began to wander around to savour this splendour. This was just the kind of place he’d love to dwell in forever, he thought to himself. It was hard to belief that such a heavenly place could exist on this planet. The place had conferred on him certain unnatural capacities too. For instance, he could not feel tired or hungry and his reflection in the objects around him seemed flawless, with a beauty he never knew he possessed. He also looked much more youthful.


As he paced up and down petrified with awe, he heard a sweet-sounding, almost musical  voice but with the acoustics of a man. “Who dare venture here?” the voice demanded. Turning round, Gilgamesh saw a good-looking grey-haired and bearded man who looked like a sage but whose skin was hardly lined. He was immediately reminded of the great god Enki, with whom the man had an uncanny resemblance. The man was nearly as big as Gilgamesh himself. He wore a very wide smile on his face, his arms  folded in front of his chest, but his phosphorescent eyes were probing.


“I’m Gilgamesh King of Uruk,” Gilgamesh answered as he knelt down in deference to the beautiful  being that accosted him.  “I come in search of thee,  my  great ancestor and Hero of the Deluge, known to my generation as Utnapishtim, the son of Ubar-Tutu,  on the authority of my godfather Utu-Shamash.” Gilgamesh’s intuition  was spot-on. The man who beheld him was Ziusudra aka Utnapishtim. In the Bible, he’s known as Noah.
 
NEXT WEEK:  NOAH’S DIALOGUE WITH GILGAMESH! 

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