Basic Mythology

Man has always sought to understand the world around him better and Myths are the imaginative traditions devised in order to explain his surroundings.

Early Man would have been completely in awe of the natural and supernatural phenomena around him and probably have sought to make sense of phenomena such as Lightening & Thunder, Rain & Drought, Day & Night, Birth & Death. It was the experience of their mystery, mingled with fear, that gave birth to Mythology and eventually, Religion.

Mythologies of the World

Through Mythology, man sought to understand his environment, the nature of his world and even the existence of God but it would be foolhardy to think of these tales merely as a product of someone's overactive imagination.

Indeed there is a wealth of knowledge hidden in each of these (so called) myths which can shed a great deal of light on the beliefs of a bygone era as well as reveal the scientific insights and accomplishments that the ancients had achieved or were privy to.

Mythologies from different parts of the globe talk about a deluge (Flood myths). Now the question here is - did all of them see the same dream??? Or could it logically indicate the extent to which sea-levels rose globally after the Ice-Age, thereby flooding the homes and memories of the survivors?

Flood myths indicate the occurrence of a deluge of global proportions

Likewise, the Chinese myth of Pangu, Vedic concept of Purush, and the Norse myth of Ymir all tell of a cosmic giant who is sacrificed to create the world and we can understand these from the way Christ's death changed the world around him completely.

Many mythologies mention a central place, a sort of Axis mundi that connects different levels of the universe. For example, the Mount Meru from Hindy/Buddhist/Jain texts, Yggdrasil from Norse mythology and Chinese myths talk about a Cosmic pillar or tree that extends right from the highest heaven to the hell down under.

In this blog, my effort would be to examine Indian-origin mythologies and compare them with other world myths to unravel along with colorful tales, the scientific principles they may contain. Many people perceive Hinduism as Monotheistic, PolytheisticPantheistic or even Monistic still none of them may be wrong in their assumptions!

At its core, Hinduism believes in One Supreme God Who manifests Himself as many in order to Create, Preserve and ultimately Annihilate the Creation. The Supreme Brahman is beyond concepts and images anyway and from this attitude comes great Tolerance and Inclusiveness which is the characteristic of Hinduism.

In the words of Andrew Harvey, religious author and advocate of Sacred Activism,

"In the family of religions, Hinduism is the wise old all-knowing mother. Its sacred books, the Vedas, claim, 'Truth is one, but sages call it by different names.' Which other religion has its God say as Krishna does in the Bhagvad Geeta, 'All paths lead to Me'. If only the monotheistic religions had learnt that lesson, all the horror of History's religious wars could have been avoided!"

Krishna enlightens Arjuna with the Geeta

Throughout its millenia-old history, Hinduism provided its followers with the freedom of worshiping God in whichever form they want. While Vedas talk about the elemental gods, later scriptures especially the Agams and Puraans glorify three major aspects of God:
Vaishnavism, worship of Lord Vishnu and His Avatars 
Shaivism, worship of Lord Shiva
Shaktism, worship of the Goddess  or Devi

These sects provide different concepts, rituals and spiritual exercises for different modes of Awareness of the soul. Most of what we follow today in Hinduism actually comes from the Sanskrit and Tamil Agamas that cover a wide range of topics including construction of temples, installation of deities, rules for idol-worship, use of Mantras and Yantras, use of Tantrik practices and even celebration of public festivals.

Lord Vishnu, the Master of the Universe

Lord Rudra, the fierce form of Shiva
Durga, the Supreme Goddess

Sometimes we find overlapping or contradictory stories pertaining to the same mythological figure and this may confound the uninitiated reader. However, these are easily explained when we realize that Hindu mythology does NOT talk of events occurring in the present time-cycle alone!!

There are legends about the SAME people inhabiting different time-frames or DIFFERENT people sharing the same TITLE in different Manvantars such as the Seven Seers or Saptarishis etc.. The biggest example is of Indra, the Protector of the Heavens and the Lord of Rain and Thunder.

Indra, the Lord of Heaven

Indra is in fact the title of the King of demigods and NOT the name of a particular individual! Therefore, we have different stories surrounding different Indras and in each the definition of the same character may differ so much that the reader might logically wonder if the stories are actually about the same person!!

It is interesting to note that in all ancient Indo-European religions, the gods worshiped were more or less the same. The Greek god Ouranos & Vedic Varun are very similar in nomenclature as well as their attributes. The rivalry between Devas and their elder brothers Asuras also finds echo in the Roman legends of Titans and their younger brothers Olympians.

This is also reflected in the Indo-European God Dyaus Pita or 'Sky-father' who married Prithvi, the 'Earth-goddess'. The same Dyaus is worshiped as Zeus in Greek Mythology, Deus-Pater or Ju-piter in Roman Mythology, and as Ju-daea in Hebrew traditions. In Slavic Mythology, the same name appears as Div and in Norse Mythology as Ziu or Tyr. In Norse mythology, Odin is the All-father resembling Dyaus/Zeus.

Dyaus Pita/Zeus Pater/Jupiter

The Mittanis of middle-east (2000 BCE) worshiped Mitra, Varun, Indra, Tvaṣṭṛ and Nasatya (One of the two Ashvini brothers)! The Persians were majorly into the worship of Fire, Greeks worshiped Mithras and the Romans were big devotees of the Sol/Surya. Danu, the mother of Danavs or Giants in Hindu Mythology is also the mother of giants in Irish Mythology!

Thus, a study of Hindu mythology gives an insight about the principles and thoughts valued by ancients from the time when they had  a COMMON Belief-system.

Hindu Myths take us into the times when Entire Creation was but just a Dream emerging from the Subconscious of Lord Narayan; the times when all that existed on Earth was Danu, the Primordial Ocean and the 12 Adityas or Solar gods were still taking form! I have tried to cover the most interesting and informative topics in the posts such as:

{On Wings of Fire},
{Creation by Brahma}, 
{Seven Horses of Surya}, 
{Lokas or Alien Planets},
{Devi - God as a Female},
{Evolution in Dashavatar},

{Heaven at the North Pole} etc.

However, for more exhaustive knowledge, interested readers can go through the MYTHOLOGY section of the {Website on Hindu Mythology}. 

Let us time-travel to the age when haunting songs of Apsaras echoed across emerald seas and the dark forests were inhabited by Yakshas and Gandharvs; the time when Durga's conchshell struck fear into the hearts of Asura generals and when leathery wings of dragons like Vritra cast terrible shadows on the Rishis below; the time when snow-white Unicorns galloped on gossamer clouds watched by Kinnars from Himalayan mountain-sides and Centaurs guarded the riches of Kuber at the North pole..

Let us Re-live these times again and Begin at the Beginning.

Aum Shanti: Shanti: Shanti:

Like us on Facebook