Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hindu Sacred Texts




Kesu Kalan and Miskin,
"Lord Krishna in the Golden City"
(Dwaraka), from the Harivamsha, ca. 1600, during Akbar's reign. Freer Gallery - public domain
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarka#/media/File:Dwarka.jpg


There are many sacred texts in Hinduism.  Initially, there are the Vedas and there are 4 of them.  The Rig Veda is  the most important.  The Rig Veda is a collection of hymns to various gods.  The other Vedas contain hymns, chants, and lists of sacrifices.  Most Vedas were read by priests all though some of the Vedas were composed by women.  Today, the Vedas are in print and available to the world.

The Vedic gods are not usually worshipped in today's Hinduism, all though I believe they are the same gods as the gods of Hinduism, today but with different names.  Indra is the equivalent of the Greek Zeus and has a lightning bolt as his weapon.

The Upanishads are considered the philosophical portions of the Vedas.

The Greeks have their epic poems of the Iliad and the Odyssey and the Hindus have two of their own epic poems called the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.  The Ramayana tells the tale of Rama and Sita, a husband and wife, and the mission of Rama to find his kidnapped wife Sita, who was taken by an evil king of Lanka (today's Sri Lanka).  The Mahabharata tells the tale of cousins fighting each other for the throne.  The five good Pandava brothers must fight their evil 100 Kaurava cousins.  The counselor to the Pandavas, gets the aid of Krishna while the counselor to the Kauravas gets the horses, elephants and weapons of Krishna.  Krishna would not take sides but counsels Arjuna (counselor to the Pandavas) that good men must not let bad men win and take over even if some must die.

The Bhagavad Gita summaries the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna and is a favorite amongst Hindus.

Lastly, the Puranas are considered the average person's Vedas and there are 18 of them.  They help Hindus learn more about their gods/goddesses.

Hindus believe that time is cyclical and they believe in reincarnation and the concepts of Karma and Dharma.  I will talk a bit more about the Hindu fundamentals, but for now I want to dive into the comparisons of the ancient Hindu Gods to the Cronides. 

Krishna is the equivalent to the Greek Dionysus and Egyptian Osiris (and all his other names).  He had a kingdom in Dwarka.  It is underwater today, but has been found.


From Wikipedia:

Dvārakā (Gujarati દ્વારકા) also known as Dvāravatī, sometimes transcribed as Dwaraka and Dwaravati meaning "the many-gated [city]" in Sanskrit, is a city in Hindu tradition
Dvārakā is one of the seven sacred cities ("saptapuri") of Hinduism.[2] In the Mahabharata it was an existing city, formery called Kushasthali, the fort of which had to be repaired by the Yadava people.[3] In this epic the city is described as a capital of the Anarta Kingdom. According to the Harivamsa Purana the city was located in the Region of Sindhu.[4] According to this Purana it was build on proposal of Garuda on request of Krishna by Vishvakarma, to secure the Yadava people

The many-gated city almost sounds like a description from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.



Two 'gate spells'. On the top register, Ani and his wife face the 'seven gates of the House of Osiris'. Below, they encounter ten of the 21 'mysterious portals of the House of Osiris in the Field of Reeds'. All are guarded by unpleasant protectors. - public domain
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_the_Dead#/media/File:Bookofthedead-144145.jpg





From Wikipedia:
The geography of Duat is similar in outline to the world the Egyptians knew. There are realistic features like rivers, islands, fields, lakes, mounds and caverns, along with fantastic lakes of fire, walls of iron and trees of turquoise. In the Book of Two Ways, one of the Coffin Texts, there is even a map-like image of the Duat.[4]
The Book of the Dead and Coffin Texts were intended to guide people who had recently died through the Duat's dangerous landscape and to a life as an akh or blessed spirit amongst the gods. The dead person must pass a series of gates guarded by dangerous spirits, depicted as human bodies with grotesque heads of animals, insects, torches or knives.[5]

I often wonder if descriptions of this gated city in the afterworld are just descriptions of the gated city or cities that Dionysus-Osiris lived in while he was alive and it appears that Dwarka was a gated city or city of gates.  It appears that Dwarka has been found under the water.





by Rita Jean Moran (www.thelibrarykids.com and www.hiddenhumanstory.com)


Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarka

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwaraka_Kingdom

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_the_Dead

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duat

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Gates


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hindu Gods/Goddesses and the Cronides

Hinduism is a very complex belief system and has a lot of symbolism in it as well as multiple versions of it.  The Indian people are as old as can be and were considered to be autochtones to the area per Greek scholars (I will post some excerpts in later blog articles).  The Aryans were a different people who came in and invaded the lands of India (as it is called today) and with their invasions came the creation of a caste system.  The caste system was based on color and the top caste were called the Brahmins.  The Brahmins were the ones allowed to perform the rituals necessary for the Hindu gods/goddesses.  The next caste was the warrior caste called the Kshatriyas.  Then came the farmer and trade caste called the Vaishyas and then finally the lowest caste used for menial work called the Shudras.  The history of the Indian people is complex and has been addressed in The Library Kids series. 

The gods/goddesses of the Hindus are many, but the main systems of worship include Shaivism and Vaishnavism.  The worship of goddesses is included as well with Kali having her own priests.
The gods had enemies as well just as the Cronides had the Titans as enemies.  What is most interesting is the mention of nectar of the gods/goddesses which is similar to the Greek concept of Ambrosia of the Gods.  In my opinion, this drink is alcohol of which they invented and perfected.

The stories of these ancient Hindu gods/goddesses are included in the Puranas, Vedas, and epic poems including the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Vishnu is considered the preserver whereas Shiva is considered the destroyer.  Brahma is the father god.  In my opinion all three represent Zeus as does Indra.  The sons of Shiva include Ganesh and Kartikeya.  Ganesh was the God of Writing just as was Hermes (a son of Zeus) and Kartikeya is the god of war as Ares was the god of war (son of Zeus).

The symbolism of Shiva includes many things including a third eye (similar to the eye of Odin used to gain knowledge), the bull (as Zeus), the lingam and yoni (Zeus had many lovers), and the serpent (Zeus was also associated with a serpent).


Shiva absorbed in meditation, as depicted commonly in Hinduism

Kartikeya with his wives by Raja Ravi Varma
Heramba-Ganesha with consort, 18th century Nepal.

Vishnu has a wife named Lakshmi who is the equivalent to Hera.  Vishnu and Shiva are said to have avatars (reincarnations or those that do their will) that come into the world throughout time when needed.

Vishnu

Vishnu and Lakshmi riding on Vishnu's Vahana Garuda – Painting from Rajasthan, Bundi, c. 1730 (in Los Angeles County Museum of Art )



Garuda is the eagle that Vishnu rides.  This is the sacred bird associated with Zeus as well is the Phoenix.



Krisha was the equivalent of the Greek Dionysus-Osiris.  He was shown as a child and an adult just as Dionysus was (see my work on Zagreus).  Krishna was said to mesmerize the milkmaids which is similar to the cult of Dionysus which consisted of female Maenads and Satyrs and revolved around alcohol and dancing.


Shree Krishna statue at the Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore



Krishna also had a foster mother named Yahsoda just as Dionysus had Rhea since his mother Semele had died.  Krishna was killed by a poison arrow just as the Nordic equivalent of Dionysus, named Balder, was killed by an arrow made of mistletoe.



Kali was the war goddess and Shiva was the only one able to stop her.  This sounds like Athena, all though the Greek goddess of war and crafts was much more refined in her approach to war.  Saraswati is a goddess of knowledge and the arts which is another aspect of Athena.





Saraswati by Raja Ravi Varma



Agni was the Hindu god of fire and sacrifices which is the equivalent of the Greek Prometheus.



Agni, the fire god


Surya is the Hindu sun god and is equivalent to the Greek Apollo.



A 19th-century painting of Surya on his chariot



Durga is a mother goddess that may be the Greek Rhea.



Maa Durga


Parvati may be either Hera or Demeter.  I would lean towards Hera due to the war god being her son with Shiva.




Parvati as four-armed Lalita with her sons Ganesha and Skanda, Odisha, India. 11th century sculpture from the British Museum. 1872,0701.54 .



Lalita is the Hindu goddess of love and is termed, "she who play" and would be the equivalent of the Greek Aphrodite.


Lastly, all of the gods had a feminine aspect to them.  As I begin to discover more similarities between the Hindu gods/goddesses and the Cronides, I will post it on this blog.  For now, I'd like to move into the sacred Hindu texts at this point.


by Rita Jean Moran (www.thelibrarykids.com and www.hiddenhumanstory.com)



Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahabharata

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramayana

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puranas

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kartikeya

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganesha

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishnu

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krishna

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kali

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agni

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_deities

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surya

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durga

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaktism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lalita_Sahasranama

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Tommy Atkins and India

 
"Tommies" from the Royal Irish Rifles in the Battle of the Somme's trenches during the First World War.
 
 
 
Tommy was a slang term for a British soldier, particularly during World War I.  The Germans used to call out to Tommy during the world war.  The origin of the term is debated.  The term was used by Alice Bailey to refer to the British soldiers that occupied India during the early 20th century.  Per Wikipedia:
 
Tommy Atkins or Thomas Atkins has been used as a generic name for a common British soldier for many years. The origin of the term is a subject of debate, but it is known to have been used as early as 1743. A letter sent from Jamaica about a mutiny amongst the troops says "except for those from N. America ye Marines and Tommy Atkins behaved splendidly".[1][2]
 
 
Following the British defeat by the Boers at the Battle of Magersfontein in December 1899, Private Smith of the Black Watch wrote the following poem:[6]
Such was the day for our regiment
Dread the revenge we will take.
Dearly we paid for the blunder
A drawing-room General’s mistake.
Why weren’t we told of the trenches?
Why weren’t we told of the wire?
Why were we marched up in column,
May Tommy Atkins enquire…





by Rita Jean Moran (www.thelibrarykids.com and www.hiddenhumanstory.com)


Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Atkins