The similarities between greek and indian mythology

essay B

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

The dramatic similarities between Greek and Indian mythology Although the general subject of my reading presentation and my 5 essays is Grecian mythology and sing how huge Grecian mythology is I could speak purely about Greek mythology in all 5 of them ; I decided to establish my first essay on the similarities between Indian and Grecian mythology since I felt merely speaking about Greek mythology would go excessively humdrum. I will get down my essay with a basic debut of what mythology means and what Greek and Indian mythology comprises of.

The term mythology normally refers either to a aggregation of myths ( particularly one belonging to a peculiar spiritual or cultural tradition ) or to the survey of myths. However. the word myth itself has multiple definitions. Harmonizing to the Merriam- Webster dictionary “Myth: “1a: a normally traditional narrative of apparently historical events that serves to blossom portion of the universe position of a people or explicate a pattern. belief. or natural phenomenon. 2a: a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or person. particularly: one incarnating the ideals and establishments of a society or section of society. 2b: an baseless or false impression. 3: a individual or thing holding merely an fanciful or unobjective being. 4: the whole organic structure of myths. ” ( 1 ) With respect to the survey of civilization and faith. bookmans have derived a few other definitions.

For illustration. the Classicist Robert Graves defines a myth as “whatever spiritual or epic fables are so foreign to a student’s experience that he can non believe them to be true. ” ( 2 ) Another classicist. GS Kirk. rejects the impression that all myths are spiritual or sacred. In the class of “myth” . he includes many legendary histories that are “secular” for all practical intents. ( 3 ) Harmonizing to Alan Dundes ( a folklorist ) . a myth is a sacred narrative explicating how the universe and world assumed their present signifier. ( 4 ) Robert A. Segal. professor of theories of faith at the University of Lancaster. defines “myth” loosely as any narrative whose “main figures [ are ] personalities — Godhead. human. or even carnal. ( 5 ) Greek mythology can be defined as those myths and instructions that belong to the ancient Greece.

It revolves around Gods and goddesses. other immortals. supermans. monsters or other fabulous animals. extraordinary heroes. and the beginnings and significance of their ain cultural patterns. Grecian mythology is represented in a big aggregation of narrations and representational humanistic disciplines. The lone general mythographical enchiridion to last the antediluvian Greek times was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus. This work tries to decide the contradictory narratives of the poets and provides a expansive sum-up of traditional Greek mythology and heroic fables. The oldest known and most celebrated Grecian literary beginnings. Homer’s heroic poem poems Iliad and Odyssey. focal point on the Trojan War and its wake.

Two verse forms by Hesiod. the Theology and the Works and Days. contain histories of the generation of the universe. the sequence of Godhead swayers. the sequence of human ages. the beginning of human sufferings. and the beginning of sacrificial patterns. Myths are besides preserved in the Homeric Hymns. in fragments of heroic verse forms of the Epic Cycle. in lyric verse forms. in Hagiographas of bookmans and poets of the Hellenistic Age. and in texts from the clip of the Roman Empire by authors such as Plutarch and Pausanias among other beginnings. Archaeological findings provide a chief beginning of item about Greek mythology. with Gods and heroes featured conspicuously in the ornament of many artefacts. Harmonizing to ‘Understanding the Odyssey’ by Albala-Johnson. the earlier dwellers of the Balkan Peninsula were an agricultural people who. utilizing Animism. assigned a spirit to every

facet of nature who so took human signifier and entered the local mythology as Gods. However the most widely recognized version of how the universe and the Gods originated is reported by Hesiod in his Theology. Hestoid explains that the universe began with a certain nothingness and from this nothingness emerged the dark and Erebus ( where decease dwells ) . Somehow. love was born and with love. visible radiation. and twenty-four hours Gaia ( the Earth arose ) . Gaia gave birth to Uranus ( the skies ) who subsequently fertilized her and therefore the Titans. the Cyclopes ( individual eyed animals ) and the Hecatoncheires ( 100 armed animals ) were born. Uranus. disgusted by the Hecatoncheires. imprisoned them. This enraged Gaia and therefore she convinced Cronus ( the youngest colossus ) to subvert Uranus. Cronus did so and he ruled over Olympus with his wife/sister. Rhea. It was prophesized that Cronus would be overthrown by his ain boy. To avoid such an event from happening. Cronus ate up all the kids Rhea conceived. excluding one. i. vitamin E Zeus. who Rhea hid herself. Zeus so tricked Cronus into purging out all his other kids. An heroic conflict was waged between the colossuss and the Olympians and as a consequence. the Olympians gained triumph over the Titans.

The colossuss were so exiled in Tartarus except Atlas who was forced to bear the weight of the universe on his shoulders. With the autumn of the colossuss. the new pantheon of Gods and Goddesses was confirmed. Zeus was the leader of the Olympians and these Olympians included Poseidon ( God of the seas ) . Hades ( God of the underworld ) . Hestia ( virgin goddess ) . Hera ( goddess of matrimony and childbearing ) . Ares ( God of war ) . Athena ( goddess of wisdom and war ) . Apollo ( the God of visible radiation. truth and music ) . Aphrodite ( goddess of love ) . Hermes ( courier ) . Hephaestus ( God of fire and forge ) . and Artemis ( goddess of celibacy. virginity. the Hunt. the Moon. and the natural environment ) . The worlds were created following. Bridging the age when Gods lived entirely and the age when Godhead intervention in human personal businesss was limited was a transitional age in which Gods and persons moved together. These were the early yearss of the universe when the groups mingled more freely than they did subsequently.

Most of these narratives were subsequently told by Ovid’s Metamorphoses and they are frequently divided into two thematic groups: narratives of love. and narratives of penalty. The age in which the heroes lived is known as the heroic age. The monumental events of Heracles are regarded as the morning of the age of heroes. The epic age can be grouped into three great events: the Argonautic expedition. the Theban Cycle and the Trojan War. The Grecian mythology ends with the Trojan war. since at the terminal of this war Rome was born.

Hindu mythology can be defined as a big organic structure of traditional narrations related to Hinduism as contained in Sanskrit literature. Ancient Tamil literature. the Puranas and other spiritual regional literature of South Asia. Rather than one consistent. unvarying construction. the Hindu pantheon developed over a considerable period of clip. The earliest Hindu texts are the four Vedas. the Rig Veda being the oldest ( 1200 BC ) . incorporating 1028 anthem with more allusions to myths than full narratives. The other 3 Vedic literatures were the Yajurveda. the Samaveva and the Atharvaveda. Over one 4th of the Vedic anthem concern Indra. the male monarch of Eden. Other of import Vedic Gods were Varuna. God of the ocean. Agni. God of fire. Surya. the Sun God. and Yama. God of decease. After the Vedic literature. the most of import texts of Hindu mythology included the Itihasa and the Puranas. The two great Hindu Epics. the Ramayana and the Mahabharata tell the narrative of two specific embodiments of Vishnu ( Rama and Krishna ) . These two plants are known as Itihasa.

The heroic poems Mahabharata and Ramayana serve as both spiritual Bibles and a rich beginning of doctrine and morality. By the clip that the Mahabharata was written ( 300 BC – 300 AD ) . other Gods who played merely minor functions in the Vedas have become popular. Three Gods in peculiar came to be known as the Trimurti: Brahma the Godhead. Vishnu the refinisher. and Shiva the destroyer. Their celebrity grew during the Middle Ages when “stories of

old” called the Puranas recorded their accomplishments and escapades in great item. After the Trimurti became dominant. the Puranas relegated most of the older Gods to the position of World Protectors. eight Godheads over each point on the compass. The Puranas contain fables and narratives about the beginnings of the universe. and the lives and escapades of a broad assortment of Gods. goddesses. heroes. heroines. and fabulous animals ( Asuras. danavas. daityas. yakshas. rakshasas. etc. ) .

Harmonizing to Hindu mythology. the act of creative activity was thought in more than one mode. Harmonizing to the Rigveda. worlds came into being through a cosmic egg. ( hiranyagarbha ) . It narrates that all things were made out of the lacerate limbs of Purusha. a exaggerated otherworldly adult male. who was sacrificed by the Gods. In the Puranas. Vishnu. in the form of a Sus scrofa. plunged into the cosmic Waterss and brought away the Earth ( Prithvi ) . The Shatapatha Brahmana tells us that in the beginning. Prajapati. the first Godhead or male parent of all. was entirely in the universe. He differentiated himself into two existences. hubby and married woman. Prajapati was shortly replaced with Brahma in the Puranas. In the Puranas. Brahma the Godhead was joined in a Godhead three with Vishnu and Maheshvara ( Shiva ) .

The existence was created by Brahma. preserved by Vishnu. and destroyed for the following creative activity by Shiva. Vishnu. being the refinisher. had a figure of embodiments. These included Matsya ( the great fish ) . Varaha ( the natural state Sus scrofa ) . Rama and Krishna among others. It is said that at the terminal of this age. Vishnu will look once more as the bringer of devastation on a white Equus caballus in the signifier of Kalki. He will sublimate the universe of immorality. and the eternal rhythm of ages will get down once more. Apart from the trilogy of the Gods and the legion embodiments. the goddesses that are a major portion of Hindu mythology include Sarasvati ( goddess of the humanistic disciplines. cognition and creativeness ) . Laxmi ( goddess of wealth and luck ) and Mahadevi. These 3 goddesses have their ain set of embodiments. Hindu mythology ne’er came to an terminal. It still continues even to this day of the month. Comparative mythology is the survey of myths from different civilizations in an effort to place shared subjects and features.

The anthropologist C. Scott Littleton defined comparative mythology as “the systematic comparing of myths and mythic subjects drawn from a broad assortment of cultures” . ( 7 ) One can take many attacks why comparing mythology. It can be lingual. structural. psychological and historical among others. In the book the ‘Elementary signifiers of spiritual life’ by Emile Durkheim. he talks about the similarities between the basic thoughts. features and principals upon which all faiths are based. He studied one simple faith and explained how the footing of these simple faiths forms the footing of more advanced and complex faiths. Although faith and mythology are non the same. these constructs overlap each other.

Both footings refer to systems of constructs that are of high importance to a certain community. doing statements refering the supernatural or sacred. Generally. mythology is considered one constituent or facet of faith. Religion is the broader term: besides fabulous facets. it includes facets of ritual. morality. divinity. and mystical experience. Similar to what Durkheim has done in the decision of his aforesaid book. in the following few paragraphs I will be researching the similarities specifically between Greek and Indian mythology. While comparing both these mythologies from a structural point of position. the basic beginning of the universe was from pandemonium or a nothingness. In Grecian mythology it was Gaia who gave birth to Uranus and they both together formed the footing of the folklore. In instance of Indian mythology. it was

Purusha or Prajupati ( Brahma ) . Both of these mythologies focus on three supreme Gods. In Grecian they are Zeus. Poseidon and Hades while in Hinduism they are Brahma. Vishnu and Shiva. Unlike the three Greek Gods who are brothers. the three Hindu Gods aren’t related to each other nor are they known to possess similar powers. Zeus nevertheless can be compared to Indra. Zeus was the male monarch of the Grecian Gods while Indra was Rig-vedic male monarch of the Hindu Gods. Both of them ad bolt of lightnings as arms and dwelt in the celestial spheres. Both Zeus and Indra represent Thursday in the yearss of the hebdomad. However. unlike Zeus who was a supreme God. Indra was ruled over by the three of Brahma. Vishnu and Shiva. Indra besides seemed to love importance through the transition of clip. Poseidon can be compared to Varuna since both these Gods ruled the seas and the sea animals. Plutos can be compared to Yama since both are the Gods of the underworld and are associated with decease and hereafter. However unlike Hades who regulations in the underworld. which is said to be situated right below the Earth. Yama regulations Naraka which is in another dimension itself. While Hades takes the psyches of all to the underworld. Yama takes them to the following life. Besides. Yama can non touch the psyche of those who are non the fans of Vishnu or Shiva.

All the Gods in both Hindu and Greek civilizations are immortal. Hindu Gods drink Amrutha while Greeks Gods drink Ambrosia so as to populate everlastingly. There is a certain degree of similarity between the linguistics here excessively. The Hindus believe that Svarga ( Heaven ) is the topographic point where the righteous live in a Eden while Naraka ( Hell ) is the topographic point where the evildoers are punished for their wickednesss. The Greeks have Mount Olympus as the place of the Gods and see it Heaven while the underworld or snake pit. is below the Earth as mentioned before. Both the civilizations have a Council of Gods. In Hindooism

The Council of Gods meet with all other Supreme beings in Indraloka atop Mount Meeru and in Greek Mythology the Gods met on Top of Mount Olumpus. Both these locations are fabricated and in both civilizations the God’s meet at that place for Godhead council and discourse their responsibilities for the public assistance of world.

Apart from Zeus. Hades. and Poseidon and their Hindu opposite numbers. there are other similar Gods and goddesses. Hera is similar to Laxmi since they are both goddesses of place. wealth and prosperity and are married to one of the three supreme Gods. Athena can be compared to Saraswati for both of them are the goddesses of wisdom and acquisition. While Athena is the girl of Zeus. Sarasvati is the girl of Brahma ( harmonizing to the Vedic literature ) . However. unlike Athena. Sarasvati is non the goddess of war. Alternatively she is the goddess of creative activity. While Athena carries a shield and other arms. Saraswati carries a Nelumbo nucifera and a veena ( a musical instrument ) . Apollo and Surya are besides much likewise. While Apollo had to drive the Sun across every twenty-four hours. Surya is the Sun himself. Apollo is besides the God of truth. visible radiation and healing. He carries around a Ag bow while Surya has hair and weaponries of gold.

Both Hephaestus and Vishvakarma are the worker Gods who design and make arms for the Gods and industry tools. Ares and Kartika are both Gods of war. Kartika is said to hold six caputs while Ares has one. Besides. Kartika has a personality similar to that of Athena’s since they both represent the strategic portion of warfare unlike Ares who represents bloodlust. Kronos can be compared to Mahakala for both are the Gods of clip and infinite. While Kronos has a definite figure. Mahakala does non. Eros and Kamadeva are both Gods of love. Eros is frequently represented blindfolded because it is said that love is frequently unsighted. Both Eross and Kamadeva carry arrows as arms. Hermes and Narada are both couriers to the Gods. Hermes is the boy of Zeus while Narada is the boy of Brahma. In Hindu mythology. Aspara’s and Gandharva provide amusement to the Gods

while in Greek mythology ; it’s the Naiads. Dryads and the Satyrs. The construct of the good overmastering the immorality is present in both civilizations. The Gods of Mount Olympus represents good while their antitheses are the Titans represent immorality. In the same manner we have the Asuras as the main tormenters of the Devas. The interesting fact in both these mythologies is that both good and immoralities are fathered by one and the same being. While the Gods and the Titans were fathered by Cronus. the Devas and the Asuras were fathered by Kashyap. There is a changeless battle between the forces of Good and Evil in both mythologies. Throughout the mythologies we can see the Gods flim-flaming their antithesis during cases when they require the Titan’s or the Asura’s aid and finally in both civilizations. it is the good that takes down evil.

Prophecies besides have a major function to play in these mythologies. One of the most revenant subjects in these myths is that of a chief character seeking to debar a peculiar prognostication but in bend yielding to his fate. In both mythologies we can see this subject repeating once more and once more. One such case in the Greek mythology is that of Cronus who becomes cognizant of a prognostication that he will be overthrown by one of his kids. Although Cronus attempts to debar his destiny. he finally is overthrown. Similarly in Hindu mythology King Kansa is foretold that the eight boy of his sister Devaki would kill him. To debar this. Kansa imprisons both Devaki and her hubby Vasudeva and allows them to populate on the status that they manus over all their neonates to him. Devaki’s 8th boy was Krishna ( a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu ) and as Kansa had killed all their old kids. they arranged for the kid to be brought up in expatriate and presented another neonate to Kansa in his topographic point. A adult up Krishna subsequently returned to revenge the decease of his brothers and killed Kansa.

Myths all around the universe talk about a great inundation. Both Hindu and Greek mythology incorporate that construct. The Hindu texts. such as the Satapatha Brahmana. negotiations about an at hand inundation and how lord Vishnu warns the first adult male Manu and advises him to construct a boat. Similarly in Greek mythology. Zeus. angered by the barbarian forfeit of a male child by Lycon ( male monarch of Arcadia ) unleashed a inundation such that it washed everything clean. However. Deucalion ( boy of Prometheus ) with the assistance of his male parent escaped the inundation by constructing a box as a floatation device.

There are many other similarities between the assorted mythologies in the universe. It is non possible to cover all of them under the kingdom of a individual essay. But it is boundlessly intriguing to larn more and more approximately them as they shows us how similar we all are. even though we have different civilizations and are from different civilisations. The Grecian and Indian civilisations are one of the oldest civilisations nevertheless it is an established fact that there was ne’er any contact between the two civilizations or civilisations yet there are so many connexions between them. It is really challenging to analyze the huge common land that both these highly different mythologies are built on. I have tried to cover a few of those similarities above and I hope I have done justness to both these beautiful civilizations.

( 1 ) “Myth” . Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2007
( 2 ) Graves 1968. p. V.
( 3 ) Kirk 1973. p. 11
( 4 ) Dundes. Introduction. p. 1
( 5 ) Segal 2004. p. 5
( 6 ) R. Hard. The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology. 1
( 7 ) Littleton. p. 32





Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member
unlock