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INDIAN MYTHOLOGY

 

Pantheon

Miscellaneous Myth

Creation Myth

Miscellaneous Myth (2)

Destruction Myth

Explanation of Ideals

Hero Myth

Professional Criticism

List of ideals/ characteristics

Extra Information

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Pantheon of Gods

 

Many gods and goddesses of Indian Mythology can be grouped or be by themselves and have a certain responsibility as a god. The Trimurthies is a group that consists of three gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. These three gods are responsible for the universe. Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the preserver, and Shiva is the destroyer.Several temples have been built for the Trimurthies, but are not greatly worshiped. Brahma is the creator of the universe and anything that has sprung from it. After creating the universe, Brahma becomes an inactive god. Vishnu protects the earth mainly from danger. Vishnu came down to the earth several times in different bodily forms. He came to Earth as a fish and preserved the ancestor of the human race, Manu. Then he came as a tortoise and stopped the other gods from churning up the sea. Vishnu had many other appearances on Earth but only a few were greatly important. One time he arrived as a human form of Krishna, and invisible warrior, and defeated all the tyrants that were controlling the world. Vishnu is believed to appear again and destroy all wickedness. Shiva is works at destroying the universe and is believed to do so at the end of twelve million years. One temple, named Juggernaut, is in honor of Vishnu and Shiva. Followers of Vishnu or Shiva can go there to worship. It is located near the shore and an idol is carved out of wood and is painted black. Other than the Trimurthies there are several other well know gods. Like other mythologies, Indian mythology consists of inferior gods. Indra is the god of the heavens, thunder, lightning, storm, and rain. Indra is thought to be a hero and fights off demons and is the god of the sky and atmosphere who is also the son of Brahma. The female form of Indra is Indrani and she is thought to be the ultimate beauty. Agni is the god of fire. Indra's twin brother is Agni. Agni is "the preceptor of the gods, protector of ceremonies, and the summit of the sky". Yama is the god of the infernal regions. Lastly, Surya is the god of the sun. Surya, Varuna, and Agni are in a triad and are called the Vedic Gods. Another goddess, Durga, is terrifying goddess and can be worshipped in many different forms. Some forms include Parvati, Kali, and Devi. Subramanya was born to kill the demon Tarakasura and is the son of Shiva. Also the son of shiva, Ganesh is a elephant-headed god that is believed to hold the whole universe in his stomach. Vasudeva is the god of wealth and earth. Lakshimi is the goddess of fortune. The many gods of Indian mythology have a specific role being a god which is important to the people, earth, or the entire universe.

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Summary of Creation Myth

Indian myths can describe how the earth, gods, goddesses, and mankind were formed. One myth says there existed a husband and wife, Shuzanghu and Zumaing-Nui. Zumaing-Nui gave birth to a girl, the earth, and a boy, the sky. Then the sky and earth mated and gave birth to the mountains. They then made two frogs who made the first human. At first the humans were covered with thick hair, but after they mated their children looked like the humans look today. A different myth states that before the world wasformed stars, moon, Sun, and Earth lived together as people. Earth was a lady and Sun was her husband. They were arguing for some time and Sun left earth and Sun and Moon followed him. At this point earth was very sad. Then The Old One appeared and changed the people to what they are today placing the Sun, Moon, and Stars in the sky and he ordered them never to desert earth again. Earth became land, her hair became trees and grass, her skin became day, her bones turned to rock, and her blood turned into water. After all this occurred Earth gave birth to people who were very similar to us. Although, they had no feelings, appetites, or thoughts. The Old One traveled all over the world and gave the people those aspects. Then the Old One caused animals to come into existence. He taught the people or sorts of things. Other myths suggest that some gods or goddesses were born from their parent's mouths. Although Indian myths can contradict each other, each describe how the Earth and people were created.

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Summary of Indian Apocalypse Myth

It is believed that the Earth has been created, destroyed, and recreated many times. The Earth is also divided into cycles. A cycle is 12,000 years if the devas, which is 4,320,000 human years. The world is created by Brahma and it is sustained by Vishnu, and then finally the Earth is destroyed by Shiva. This process is known as a cycle. Every cycle is divided into fourteen manvantaras, which is ruled by a dominant teacher, called Manu. After every manavantara, a great flood destroys all living things except those needed to repopulate the Earth. The continents are rearranged during the flood. A cycle can also be divided into 1,000 yugas, which are divided into Four Ages. The four ages is equal to one manavantara in years. After all the population is destroyed by the flood, the Earth's natural resources are taken away and the Earth is being prepared for recreation. Vishnu takes the form of another god, Rudra. Rudra enters the sun and all the water. All the water is taken away and brought to the sky. Then everything left on Earth is burned and cleansed. Rudra then breathes out clouds of moisture that rain on the Earth for 1,000 years and extinguish all the fires. Now the Earth can be recreated. "How Rudra Destroys the Universe is an Indian myth that describes the apocalypse of the world.

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Summary of Indian Hero Myth

Karna was amazingly born from his virgin mother, Kunti, who then later sent him down the river in a basket. Supposedly, the father of Karna was the sun god, Surya. After being abandoned in a river, he was picked up by another family and raised. Karna was born with golden ear ornaments and an unbreakable coat of mail. Karna grows up and enters a tournament and measures his strength upon a great fighter Arjuna. What Karna doesn't know is that Arjuna is his brother and Munti's other son. Kunti recognizes Karna and tries to stop Karna from fighting Arjuna. However, Karna doesn't buy Kunti's story and to decides to continue and fight his brother. Then Karna is stricken to the ground by his brother's arrow.

 

One other Indian hero was Krishna. When he was born it was said that the earth and the heavens were filled with signs of happiness. Flowers fell to the earth and the gods were glad. Krishna was born to take away all the people's fear.

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Listing of Ideals/Characteristics that Indian Mythology Finds Important

1.Indian Myths don't have the characteristics of being adventure tales or violent

tales with brave heroes and gods.

2.Heroes are usually people or gods that help all the other people usually not by fighting

3.Nature is important

4.Preserving the Earth

5.Theories of how the earth is created, destroyed, and then recreated again

6.Animals are important and some are deities

7.Three major gods called a triad

8.Good and evil

9.Universe and the stars

10.Authority or people ruling

11.Many gods and goddesses

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Miscellaneous seems interesting and seems to reflect the ideals of the mythology

 

"Gautama's Elephant" is about a man who finds a lost baby elephant, and raises it himself. The elephant is extremely helpful to the hermit. It helps Gautama do extra chores and tough work. One day the elephant was taken by Indra to King Dhitarashtra, and the king took the elephant. The king explained to Gautama that the elephant was a royal animal fit to help kings. Gautama begged the king to give back his elephant, but the king refused. Then the Gautama told the king that one day he would get his elephant back. The king said, "Fine, go to the Yamas. They are unbelievers and are sinful". Where the Yamas live, the weak can overpower the strong. Gautama thought to himself that only the sinful go to the Yamas. He decided he would then go to a higher place, the Vaishrana's realm. Gautama and the king decided that if Bautama goes to the summit of Mount Meru, even higher, that he could regain his elephant. The king decided to hide in the heavens, thinking that Gautama would not find him there. Gautama met with Indra and asked that the elephant be restored. Gautama proved himself worthy and bowed to the king, and took his elephant.

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Second Miscellaneous Myth that seems interesting and seems to reflect the ideals of the Mythology

"The King, the Pigeon, and the Hawk" is a tale of a kind king who protects a frightened pigeon from death. One day a beautiful pigeon was flying in the sky and all of a sudden a great hawk was following it. The pigeon flew down to King Vrishadarbha for protection. The king said not to worry and to relax, the hawk would not get him. The king told the pigeon how beautiful it was and that he would guard the pigeon. The hawk flew down and said to the king that if he did not eat the pigeon that he may die of hunger. The king exclaimed that he could eat a bull or a deer instead. The hawk replied that bull or deer are not his nature and pigeon is his appointed food. However, the hawk added that if the king doesn't let him eat the pigeon, that the king could give his own flesh equal to the weight of the pigeon. The king decided to do that and cut away piece by piece of flesh. No matter how much flesh the king cut away it did not equal the weight of the pigeon. The king had nothing but skeleton left and gave up his whole body for the hawk to eat. Then several gods appeared lead by Indra. Music filled the air and flowers were all around. The king was escorted to heaven and one god said " whosoever protects another shall certainly attain the same good end".

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Explanation of Ideals of Mythology

Most all Indian myths are not about a great courageous hero that saves the day or battles his way to victory. Indian myths include characters that are more peaceful and give a moral lesson to their story. Heroes in these myths help people without fighting and sometimes animals also. Nature is a key theme in Indian mythology. Protecting the earth is important. Occurrences in nature such as the destruction and recreation of the earth are also present. Animals are significant and are also refereed to as gods are deities. In several stories humans and kings have given their life to protect and animal. The three major gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, form a triad called the Trimurthies. Good and evil does exist in Indian mythology. The universe and stars are mentioned in many stories, showing their importance. In addition to authority is expressed through kings and other ruling gods. Throughout Indian mythology a large number of gods and goddesses display their greatness.

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Professional Criticism Concerning Indian Mythology

In the history of Indian culture there has been interactions between religious, linguistic, and social groups which has resulted in a great mythology. The most popular myths have been used by the supra-regional language, which is Sanskrit. With the wide variety of myths there is still a main theme, destruction and construction. Another theme is things are not what they seem. The oldest pantheon of the gods was said to be lost or "gave way" because the religion was developing into Hinduism. The trimurti, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are very important gods. However, more recently two more gods have been added to the group, Surya and Ganesha, which is more preferred.

There are several sacred sites that lie in India. The Himalayas has several mountains which are important in the myths of Indian Mythology. On Mount Kaiasa Shiva is supposed to reside and Mount Meru and Mount Mandra were the paddles used to churn the ocean. Another myth says that these mountains were once flying elephants. The Ganga river is holy and was said to be brought down from heaven. Mathura is a city that is ruled by Krishna's enemy, Kamsa. Varnasi is Shiva's town where he resides as a person.

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For More Information

For more information on Indian Mythology visit these sites

http://www.fairacre.demon.co.uk/India/Gods.html - Information on Gods

http://www.ee.mcgill.ca/~mmysor/gods.html Information on Gods

http://www.cybercomm.net/~grandpa/creation2.html - Creation Myths

http://www.bconnex.net/~mbuchana/realms/page6/india/hindu.html - Pictures and stories about the Trimurthies

http://www.cae.misc.edu/~main/philo/gods.html - Information on Gods

http://www.envision.net/hockey/cw/puzzle1.html - A crossword puzzle on Indian mythology

http://www.pantheon.org/mythica/areas/hindu/ - Online Encylopedia

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This page was created by Jason Auror who attends West Essex Junior High School. This page was made for an English project on Indian Mythology.

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