This retelling of key parts of the Epic explores the unconventional idea that Gilgamesh was not searching for life eternal on Earth, as has been sugge
This retelling of key parts of the Epic explores the unconventional idea that Gilgamesh was not searching for life eternal on Earth, as has been suggested as the theme of the Epic, but was instead searching for the means of transport to return to his goddess mother Ninsun’s home planet in the heavens. With some degree of poetic license, the author merges some ideas from modern science and technology with the story from the ancient text.
Part 1 of this interpretation of the epic told of the birth of Gilgamesh, his tyrannical rule and the creation of a being to rival his power and also become his companion. Together he and his new friend have defeated Humbaba, who Gigamesh had wrongly suspected was guarding some portal or spaceship that could go to other lands. He has just rebuffed a request of marriage from Ishtar, which angered the goddess.
The Wrath of Ishtar
Ishtar demands from her father, ‘the bull of heaven ‘, as the means to assassinate Gilgamesh. At first he refused, but as always, daughters will prevail, and he relents, and Ishtar transports the bull of heaven to Uruk in her space craft. This incident has not gone unnoticed by Enkidu, and he is on site when the bull of heaven is let loose. It kills over a hundred men on its arrival, empties half the river, and kills two hundred more men.
Enkidu survived the onslaught and is able to relate to Gilgamesh its weak spot, and their plan of attack. “We will use the same strategy used to defeat Humbaba, you from the front and I from the rear.” Enkidu takes hold of its tail, upsetting the bull’s balance, and Gilgamesh thrust his spear into the bull’s head between the horns, ’the slaughter spot’, like a butcher at the abattoir.
Triumphant, they return to the city with the head and shank of the bull of heaven, to the delight of the crowd and the dismay of Ishtar. Enkidu further insults Ishtar by hurling the bull of heavens shank at her feet. “Had I caught you too, I’d have treated you likewise and draped your arms in its guts.”
The Gods Decide Gilgamesh’s and Enkidu’s Fate
These events had not gone unnoticed by Enlil and he called the council of the twelve senior gods together to decide the fate of the two heroes. (The same twelve gods who for decades had administered justice without mercy on Earth from the beginning of time, to Sumer, through to Rome. Same gods, different names).
The decision was Enkidu would pay the price of their folly against the gods, and death was the verdict. When Enkidu became ill with a flu virus, it was of no concern to Gilgamesh, as he well knew it was not life threatening, and if it was, an antidote would be provided. However, as days passed and Enkidu showed no signs of recovering, he appeared to be getting worse and Gilgamesh feared he would die.
Council of the twelve senior gods met to decide the fate of Gilgamesh and Enkidu. (Kaldari / Public Domain )
When Gilgamesh sought a cure, he was refused by the pharmacist, who informed him it was by the decree of Enlil. Furiously, he stormed into the palace of Enlil and demanded that he be allowed to cure Enkidu.
Enlil let him know that his life had been on the line , and it was only on the vouching of Shamash that he was spared. As for Enkidu, he would pay the penalty for their misdeeds against the gods, and that it was the lot of humans, death by sickness and disease.
When Enkidu died, Gilgamesh went crazy, out of his mind, unable to comprehend mankind’s dilemma. He remembered a story he learned from his mother as a child. When he was a lad, his mother Ninsun had related to him the story of the great deluge that had wreaked havoc on the Earth.
The earthlings, genetically designed by the god Enki and his sister Ninurti, had multiplied ‘like rabbits’ and were becoming a menace to their Nephilim gods. The first attempt to control them by starvation during a great famine failed, due to interference by Enki at the bequest of his human son Utanapishti to save them.
The Nephilim meteorologists advised that a great catastrophic deluge was coming. In this way, the oceans would swamp and destroy the Earth, which would be the end of all humanity, and the Nephilim would have to return to their own planet.
When the assembly was called together by Enlil, the twelve gods, particularly Enki, had to swear an oath that no earthlings were to be saved. However, as the time grew nearer Enki called his son, and invited him to his palace. On entering, Uta’ was waiting when he heard a voice,
“Oh man of Shuruppak, build a submersible boat, with these dimensions. In her refrigerated decks, the seeds of all living things to be placed. Take on board animals for food for your survival. When you see and hear the gods departing in their rocket ships and spacecraft, launch the boat.”’
Uta’ did as he was instructed. At the very first glimmer of the brightening dawn, he assembled the workers and construction of the vessel began. He informed the people that he was going to Africa, to get away from Enlil and be with his father Enki.
He gave all his goods to the workforce. They ate and drank and partied as if it were the days of the new year, or their last days on Earth. “Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!”
Uta’ constructed the vessel. (Eloquence / Public Domain )
As the time approached, the boat was launched and for seven days the deluge struck the land.
The Great Flood
All was lost, man and beast were as one, drowned when the ocean overtook the land. The gods looked on from their space ships in orbit, dismayed at what had taken place. However, to their surprise, as the water began to subside a boat appeared atop a mountain. They went to investigate.
When Enlil arrived and saw Uta’ and his wife, his fury was directed at Enki. No earthling was to be saved! Enki was ready for this outburst and convinced his brother Enlil that when all the water had subsided all things would be the same as before and they would need the earthlings to be their workforce.
This action is accepted by Enlil, with the proviso that Enki and the mother goddess Ninurti redesign mankind slightly so that the human race does not reproduce so effectively. Stillbirths and infant mortality are to be introduced. Certain classes of women are to be lesbian and men homosexual. In this way fewer babies will be conceived and not all will be born alive or survive to adulthood.
But the biggest change, and one that will have the greatest effect on mankind, is that the gods are to establish an end to the natural lifespan, so that death becomes an inevitable fact of life. Enlil took Uta’ and his wife and blessed them and gave to them the same benefits as the Nephilim gods and they were exiled to a faraway land, with no access to other humans.
In his deranged state of mind, Gilgamesh had one solitary sane thought – to find this sole survivor of the catastrophic deluge, who had been given the extended blessing of life. From lofty king to lowly vagrant, unclothed, except for a loin cloth, eyes hollow and cheeks sunken, he searched the land, killing and slaying man and beast. Onward he went, until he arrived at a place where no earthling had ventured, another heavily guarded mountain, and in truth a space station of the gods.
Gilgamesh wanted to find the survivor of the catastrophic deluge. (Rsberzerker / Public Domain )
The guards recognized Gilgamesh, but they had been forewarned by Shamash to let him pass through the tunnel to the other side of the Mashu mountain range. Gilgamesh, however, froze in fear when he saw the men guarding the gate, “whose terror was dread, whose glance was death, whose radiance was fearful.”
He covered his face, then he collected his wits and drew nearer their presence. They let him pass and he had twelve double hours to get to the other side of the mountain, before the arrival of the first spacecraft. There was no time for stopping, or looking left or right, and he was without a light to guide his path.
On reaching the other side at the rising of the sun, Gilgamesh saw a woman sitting at the doorway of her house. Fearful, she ran inside and locked the door as she saw him approaching. As he was about to smash down the door and kill her, she asked him what he was wanting.
Gilgamesh told her of his tale of woe, of how his best friend Enkidu’s life had been taken from him, by order of the god Enlil, and that he was seeking his forebear Uta’. She told him of the boatman who could help him cross the ocean, where he would find Uta’, and pointed to the forest where the boatman lived.
“Said she, to Gilgamesh, there has never been a way to cross the ocean, only the god Shamash crosses the oceans, the crossing is perilous, its ways full of hazards. Gilgamesh, there is Ur-shanabi, the boatman, and the Stone Ones are with him, go let him see your face.”
Gilgamesh Slays His Chances
On entering the forest, he came upon a group of men and slew them, as was his customary way, without enquiring who they were. He was just about to dispatch Ur-Shanabi, the boatman, when he enquired of his name. “I am the boatman” was the response.
Gilgamesh then informed him of the purpose of his mission, however this was not possible as he had foolishly killed the crewmen, and those that guided the boat with compass, the stone men. In his fury, he was about to finish the job, when the boatman suggested an alternate method of guiding the boat.
He was to cut down 24 trees and trim three hundred punting poles, to be tossed overboard when told, for the currents to guide them to their destination. They launched the boat and when required a punting pole was tossed over and the prevailing currents guided them to the land of where Uta’ was living in exile.
UrShanabi , the boatman of the netherworld. (Junsraymundo / Public Domain )
When Gilgamesh met with the exiled Uta-napishti, his hand is stayed from slaying him, as he sees that their appearance are similar and that his form is no different. He esquires, “How was it you stood with the gods in assembly?” “How did you find the life eternal?”
Gilgamesh is now able to hear the story of the greatest secret, ‘the meaning of life’, the mystery of gods and men, first hand. It is the same story that his mother had related to him when he was a child at her knee.
He realized how the gods treated humanity; the reason why they were first created, why they were refused life-saving support when all was available, why they had to suffer, why they were given false hope, why death was inevitable, and why it would be the same as it is now and forever. “For there is nothing new under the sun.”
Gilgamesh was now given a test by Uta’. To seek the life of the gods, he would have to go without sleep for seven nights (sleeping was a prelude to dying, except if you did not awaken you were dead). As he was exhausted, he fell asleep immediately, and for six full days he slept. Before he fell asleep Gilgamesh was told that a meal of buns would be provided for him each day.
On awakening he saw the food that had been left for him had gone stale. He realized how futile it was, that death was inevitable for him, as it was for all humans. Uta’ did suggest that he could still retain his youthfulness, and gave him the whereabouts of the plant, from the fountain of youth, but this also was taken from him by a god disguised as a serpent.
Gilgamesh fighting the serpent god. (Kaldari / Public Domain )
Gilgamesh, although still a young man, is clothed in the finery and splendor of a king and returned to Uruk and to his subjects. However, he now realized the dilemma that all humans are faced with as a result of their programming by the gods.
He set up medical centers and hospitals, with free medical benefits, doctors and midwives to help pregnant women with their time in labor. He introduced methods to prevent sickness and disease and healthy living practices. Schools are set up to teach languages, writing, sciences, botany, zoology, geography, and mathematics.
Children are taught the ‘Enuma-Elish’ (the epic of creation) and the history of the gods. Swords are turned into ploughshares and all disputes are to be settled by wrestling as is the way of the gods. Justice with mercy is the law of the land. Gilgamesh’s kingship had been re-established, and now he has the unique quality of Empathy. He is like a shepherd to his flock and his staff is his scepter, as it was ordained.
The Epic of Gilgamesh epitomizes the greatest of events never told, never to grace the education system, never to be presented to mankind as it was intended. It takes precedence over all other literature that has ever been presented, including the Hebrew Torah, Old Testament , New Testament, Islamic Koran, which have duped mankind, because they have taken the writings of the Gilgamesh Epic and changed them to suit their own idealistic views.
Tablet V of the Epic of Gilgamesh. (Smuckola / CC BY-SA 4.0 )
The millions of humans who have gone before without knowing ‘what is the meaning of life’ and millions more to follow, will have the academics and scholars to thank because of their unwillingness to portray the Epic as it was intended. The Epic of Gilgamesh unveiled presents to its readers mankind’s dilemma. It was not until Gilgamesh understood what the intentions of the gods towards humanity was, who they had genetically designed and programmed, change from a tyrant, to a benevolent benefactor.
Top image: Work using the Statue of Gilgamesh and Lamassu. Source: CC BY 4.0
By Gordon Board