Indian Mythology/Printable version


Indian Mythology

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Introduction

Vedic mythologyEdit

The roots of mythology that evolved from classical Hinduism come from the times of the Vedic civilization, from the ancient Vedic religion.

The characters, theology, philosophy and stories that make up ancient Vedic myths are indelibly linked with Hindu beliefs. The Vedas are said to be four in number, namely RigVeda, YajurVeda, SamaVeda, and the AtharvaVeda. Some of these texts mention mythological concepts and machines very much similar to modern day scientific theories and machines.



Scriptures

The major sources for the Indian mythology are:

All the above works were compiled about 5000 years before Christ. Commonly held belief is that eighteen Puranas, Bhagavata and Mahabharata were created by Vedavyasa Rishi, and the Ramayana was created by Valmiki Rishi. Although the veda are regarded as holy texts, many stories from the veda are among the lore of the myth. As such, to understand the Indian mythology, one has to study the veda as well.



Scriptures/Epics

The two most important epics in the Indian mythology are Mahabharatha and Ramayana.

Each tells the story of one of the lord Vishnu's 24 incarnations on earth. The narration and the characters as depicted in the Ramayana portray the model code of conduct, a conduct which is free of guilt. Lord Ram is the Maryadapurusottam; the most ideal human being on earth his conduct is free of fault of any kind. Ramayana is an ideal world. Mahabharata on the other hand is a narration on the statehood and state policy. Mahabharata's is a real world full of deception, intrigue, cruelty and ambition. It is real war between Dharma (the one which could be born) and Adharma (the one which is not worth being born). The emotions are real. It is a treatise on politics and national policy.



Scriptures/Veda

There are total four Vedas.

Vedas are supposed to be a divine creation. They are the words of Gods. They deal with the various subjects i.e Worship, Mantra, Hums, Philosophy, Music and chanting during rituals.



Concepts



Concepts/Loka

Depending on the well-doing (called as Punya) or ill-doing (called as Paap), everybody is destined for one of three levels of existence. These levels are known as Lokas. The three Lokas are as follows:

  • Swarga Lok, the Heavens
  • Prithvi Lok, the Earth
  • Paatal Lok, the Hell



Concepts/Elements

According to Hindu belief, there are five basic elements (Bhootas) which made this entire universe:

  • Prithvi, the Earth
  • Aap, the Water
  • Tej, the Fire
  • Vaayu, the Wind
  • Aakash, the Space

Collectively they are called as Panch-Maha-Bhootas (Panch means Five, Maha means Great).



Deities/Gods

Prominent Hindu Deities are:

  • Brahma, the Creator
  • Vishnu, the Preserver
  • Mahesh, the Destroyer (also known as Rudra/Shankar/Shiva)


  • Indra, the Lord of the land of the gods, controls Varuna
  • Varuna, God of rain and water
  • Saraswati, Goddess of learning, consort of Brahma
  • Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth, consort of Vishnu
  • Parvati, consort of Rudra
  • Shachi, consort to Indra
  • Madan, God of Love
  • Rati, consort to Madan
  • Ganapati, God of safety, son of Rudra
  • Shanmukha, elder brother to Ganapati, also known as Maarkandeya
  • Manikantta, younger brother of Shanmukha and Ganapathi
  • Yama, God of Death



Scholars/Rishis

The divine scholars, or the major rushis:

  • Vyasa, also known as VedVyasa as he created the original Veda.
  • Valmiki, creator of Ramayana.
  • Bhrugu, creator of Bhrugu-Samhita ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhrigu )
  • Charak, creator of Charak-Samhita (Advanced Medical Text)
  • Panini, creator of The Ashtadhyayi (grammar of Sanskrit)
  • Aaryabhata, great mathematician and astronomer ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryabhata )


  • Vishwamitra
  • Bharadwaja
  • Doorwasa
  • Gautama
  • Markandeya
  • Narada



Legends

Myths and legends (in no particular order):

  • Pralaya : the destruction of Earth