I had long wanted to read this book and the entire series of Earth Chronicles by Zecharia Sitchin. As a history and pseudoscience buff, I have always been fascinated by alternate science theories that have been put forth for the evolution of man. And needless to say, this was one of the most fascinating books that I have read in that subject.
The 12th planet is a non fiction book that attempts to theorize the early Sumerian cuneiform (clay tablets) and present its information to the public. Sumerian civilization was one among the early civilizations on earth. Historians, archeologists and scientists attest to this fact, so much so that when NASA launched Voyager, an unmanned space exploration ship in 1976, they placed a golden record with over 55 earth languages, greeting the unknown and first among the languages was Akkadian, the language of Sumer.
The 12th planet opens with a lot of information that might take some to process but as you proceed, you will go back to the first few pages and draw up a chart of characters that are frequently mentioned in the book, so that you get the story right. That’s what I did.
The books starts with an essay on Evolution of Man and how archeology has consistently disproved the dates of man’s evolution and the case of the missing link, not being solved yet. How did the Cro-Magnom suddenly evolve to become a homo sapiens and build civilizations? Did someone interfere and jumpstart the evolution process?
As we ponder on this mystery, Sitchin takes us deep within the interesting excavations that were done in Mesopotamia. How did such a sophisticated civilization spring up so suddenly in the middle of nowhere, even when the Greece and Rome (so called cradles of civilization) were still overrun by primitive creature?. Sitchin plants a very valid suspicion in our minds and then takes us deep within the culture of Sumerians, whose history was recorded for posterity in clay tablets.
If you are a history buff, you might be familiar with the epic of Gilgamish, a tale that is not so different from Noah’s (of biblical fame). But that was just one fraction of the history that Sumerians recorded. As you delve deeper and deeper into the transcription of these clay tablets, a very vivid picture emerges that is likely to challenge everything that you believe in.
Going back to the evolution tales of the Sumerians, one would wonder, how these people even knew that the earth was not flat or that there were nine planets in the solar system. While translating their cuneiform was difficult enough, many historians and experts could not properly process the information that was being told through them basically because it was unbelievably accurate (in terms of astronomy)! Their astronomical knowledge was phenomenal, almost as if they were right up there on the sky and had recorded everything first hand.
One of the most fascinating tales of Sumerian evolution was the epic battle between Mardok and Tiramisu, supposedly two planets that fought for power. Their collision resulted in the creation of earth and debris from their epic battle is the astroid belt that is now located between Mars and Jupiter. While skeptics can dismiss the tales of the great war as mere fantasy, they couldn’t account for the fact that Sumerians knew about the existence of the asteriod belt, almost 10,000 years ago. What is remarkable is that we were able to confirm its existence just in the early 19th century!
Another interesting tale is the flight plan of the ‘so-called’ Gods who land on the earth to establish the first civilization. Details of speed and distance and the planets that they passed through, one cannot but be astonished by the technology that these ancients once possessed. The book does not allow you to contemplate for long, because it will have you turning the pages to find out what these ‘ancient aliens’ actually did on earth. They had supposedly come from the 12th planet, known as Niburu, whose trajectory supposedly collides with that of the earth once in 3600 years! Traditional scientists and astronomers reject this theory outright though.
Landing on the earth, the human-like beings from Niburu were called Anunaki (literal translation means ‘those who from the heavens came to earth’). Here they undertook mining operations in Africa and built monumental structures in Babylon and recorded their history in clay tablets.
The story gets very interesting when the Anunaki revolt against their leaders Enlil and Enki because they are unable to work like mules at the mines of Africa. To ease their burden Enki, one of their chief Gods creates man, by altering the DNA of the primitive man/ape who was roaming the earth in those days. Thus Enki jumpstarted the evolution of man and with the help of their own DNA.
The Anunaki ruled on earth for many years, in fact they didn’t seem to age as we men age in these days. One explanation given for this was that their bodies were attuned to the orbit of their home planet. There are Sumerian tales and epic histories of kings who travel to heaven and come back after centuries without aging!
The book draws heavily from the old testament and many other epic stories associated with the Bible. I was also very fascinated to read Sitchen’s explanation for the Tower of Babel, a fabled myth that sought to explain why there were so many languages in the world. Trying to understand this myth from the Sumerian context is very interesting.
Scholars have long broken their head over the inconsistencies that are there in the Old Testament. Most put it down to inadequate translation or lack of understanding of the old archaic languages. But when you read the same story again with the Sumerian myth in the background, you will find the missing pieces of the story that seem to make sense.
One aspect that got me thinking was the parallel epic stories that we have in the Hindu Mythology. We have the flood story where Maha Vishnu in the form of the fish, guides Satyavrata through the deluge on a ship that is loaded with animal species, plants and the Sapta Rishis. The story of Zu stealing the magical Tablet of Destinies from Enlil is very similar to the story where the Vedas are stolen from Brahma by the rakshasa Hyagrive/Ajnana and is recovered by Maha Vishnu, in matsya avatar.
12th Plantet traces the journey of Anunaki through the planets and their eventual colonization of the earth. They built huge stone monuments and mine for gold in Africa. When the Anunaki, rebel against their leader Enlil, Enki, the brother of Enlil creates man with the help of their own DNA and make them work as slaves. At some point the tale, man gains knowledge and does not want to be treated as a slave. Until then, his masters were cloning great gangs of slaves to work the mines, but when man gains the knowledge, he is able to sexually procreate with his mate. Does this sound familiar? Yes, it is the Sumerian version of Adam and Eve story! That’s why God banishes man and woman out of the ‘paradise’ to live on their own, so that they do not corrupt the rest of the slave gangs!
The book ends with the flood story and how Enki sought to save at least one of his creations from the impending death. He helps Atra Hasis (Sumerian Noah) to load a ship with livestock, food and family to escape the deluge that was fast approaching.
Traditional archeology and scientists dismiss the tales of Sumeria epic as mere stories and fantasies. But science is yet to give a rational explanation for many mysteries of nature and the evolution of man. There are many who disagree with Sitchin’s theories and alternate psuedoscience explanations. However scientists do agree upon the fact that Sumerian Civilization was the most advanced one in the history. While translations and theories of Sumerian epics and tales are controversial and are open to discussion, one cannot dispute the fact that they have opened many a pandora box. The myth of the 12 Planet, Niburu has caught the imagination of man, so much so that in the recent Star Trek, we see primitive creatures living in a planet called ‘Niburu’ looking and drawing star ship pictures in their caves. Is that what our ancestors did in the old times? Undoubtedly, it is a fascinating question to ponder on.
Plus Points: In depth research and fascinating stories of Sumerian epic
Minus Points: Could have included more pictures of the clay tablets, excavations etc.
Verdict: Read it with an open mind. You will encounter many theories that would question the existence of God and accepted theories of science.