Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hindu Gods 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 and Lakshmi riding on Vishnu’s Vahana Garuda – Painting from Rajasthan, Bundi, c. 1730 (inLos 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.

Kali by Raja Ravi Varma

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.