A study of visual imagery from Mesoamerica has also led me to the conviction that around 800 B.C a very early hallucinogenic mushroom cult began to take on the characteristics of a sophisticated and complicated religion. Many striking similarities between the images from the New World and Old World Asia further led me to believe that this hallucinogenic mushroom-inspired religion did not develop independently in the Americas. Rather, it was brought to the New World before Columbus by way of transpacific contact with India, China or Southeast Asia. The great religions of Asia, in essence, are derived from Vedism, the Vedas being the sacred texts that were introduced into the subcontinent around 1500 B.C. by the Aryans (Sanskrit for noble) that postdated the Harappa/Indus civilization. In Zoroastrian religion, the same sacred plant was known as Haoma. Like Soma, it played a major role in Persian culture and mythology.Visual evidence I have presented elsewhere of an Amanita muscaria mushroom religion in the New World appears to point directly to the Vedic-inspired cult of Soma, the divine mushroom worshiped and venerated in the Vedas, despite the fact that it pre-dates the generally accepted dates of Old World contact by more than one thousand years. How, when, and if, Old World cultural ideas could have been brought to the Americas during Pre-Columbian times has long been a subject of intense debate among both Old World and New World scholars. This visual evidence, I believe, adds new fuel to a continuing controversy.Quoting Ethno-archaeologist Gordon F Ekholm..."There are, of course, many problems concerning the kinds of evidence that have been presented in the area of transpacific contacts, but the principal difficulty appears to be a kind of theoretical roadblock that stops short our thinking about questions of diffusion or culture contact. This is true in anthropological thought generally, but the obstruction seems to be particularly solid and resistant among American archaeologists." (From Man Across the Sea; Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts, 1971, third printing 1976, Chapter 2, Diffusion and Archaeological Evidence, by Gordon Ekholm page 54) Quoting Ethno-archaeologist Dr. Robert Heine Geldern..."The influences of the Hindu-Buddhist culture of southeast Asia in Mexico and particularly, among the Maya, are incredibly strong, and they have already disturbed some Americanists who don't like to see them but cannot deny them....Ships that could cross the Indian Ocean were able to cross the Pacific too. Moreover, these ships were really larger and probably more sea-worthy than those of Columbus and Magellan."