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Monday, October 12, 2015

Greek Mythology names and their counterparts from Indian Mythology

Today many of Hollywood's hit action flicks are Mythology movies. This movies show many ferocious mythical creatures and dieties which spikes our interest to know more about them. So,here are some of the most famous Mythology gods of Greek myths and their parallels from Indian Mythology.

We start with Zeus . Zeus etymologically comes from deus , which is a Sanskrit cognate of Dyaus. Now, Dyaus is a Rig Vedic god of daylight sky. Dyaus is also considered as an aspect of Indra. Meanwhile, Roman Jupiter, is Dyaus + Pitar (father of daylight sky).





Indra, the king of the gods and rains wields Vajra (thunderbolt) and Zeus, the king of the gods and rains does have it too, but why do both of them bear a thunderbolt ?
To understand that, we have the popular myth of dragon-slaying. Both these gods, Indra and Zeus, slay a many-headed dragon. That dragon is said to have taken control of waters. In Indian context that dragon is known as Vritra,while in Greek context it is Typhon.



Mind that this myth is understood as the battle that takes place for precipitation, where the thunderbolt kills the "cloud dragon" so that it releases the water it has taken control of. In Avestan myth, the cloud is known as Vrithra, and Indra is just Vrithraghan (vanquisher of Vritra).


Both of these gods are grey characters, they are polygamous, egotistical, jealous and have children with mortal women
Like Perseus and Theseus of popular movies. We have Arjuna and Vali of Mahabharata and Ramayana.

Ok!!, now we need to know who made these thunderbolts. In Indian context that person is Tvastar, while in Greek it is Hephaestus. Tvastar, slowly takes up the role of Vishwakarma in modern Indian myth. These two gods are makers of divine weapons !.

My name, Kriteesh is a synonym for Tvastr 

Whenever we read Vedas, we see Ashvins getting mentioned alongside Indra.Ashvins are the divine twins (Dasra and Nasatya). Similar to that myth is the story of Dioscuri, the horsemen- Castor and Pollux

Now, switching from Zeus to Hades, we have Kerberos, the dog that watches the gates of netherworld. In Indian mythology, that role is taken bySharvara, the dog of Yama. Sharvara etymologically is a cognate of Cerberus, which in later Greek versions became Kerberos.


Remember, the phrase "Hounds of Justice " ?, now you know from where it actually comes. And by the way, look up in the night sky and remember the dog, Canis Major, with its brightest star, Sirius, the dog star. Now you know why Sirius Black in Harry Potter used to turn into a dog every now and then. 

Because we are talking about Netherworld - our world and netherworld in both myths is separated by a river. That river is known as Styx in Greek and Vaitarni in Sanskrit. 
I would ask you to look up in the sky again, and make out the meaning of river.Milky way is the river Styx and Vaitarni. Canis Major lies south to the direction of Milky way.


Then we have Uranus, Uranus in old greek is Ouranoos. Many etymologists consider it being a cognate of Varuna. Both the gods, are primordial and represent the vast space that exists everywhere. Later on, in Indian mythology Varuna takes up the role of Poseidon. 



Then we have the mounts, just like all the gods in Greek myth sit on Mount Olympus. Indian gods like to spend their time on mount Meru. In both the myths, these mounts are said to be the centre of the world. 


Eos, the goddess of dawn, is a direct cognate of Usha, the goddess of dawn.
Gaia, the mother Earth is a direct cognate of Gau, the mother earth. 
[For those who disagree check Nirukta by Yaska, Chapter 1].

Hermes, the messenger God has a literal cognate in the messenger dog,Sarama. Both are said to move quickly, and can move in both the worlds, living and the dead. 

Ok, then we have some common mythical stories like  - Achilles andKrishna die the same way. Both die by an arrow piercing their heels. 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, in his book Orion has stressed that Vena of Rig Veda, is a planet. His claim points that Vena and Venus might have a common linguistic ancestry. That however has not been attested by many, so leaving that to your judgement.

This post was written as an answer to the question - "What parallels can we draw between Indian & Greek Mythology?" on Quora by Kriteesh Parashar.

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