There are figures that share slightly similar stories across various cultures. Here are some of them who comes to my mind. There might be many more.
Sun god, Surya Deva and Ra appears in all cultures. Africa consider the Sun to be the son of the supreme being Awondo and the Moon Awondo’s daughter.
In Aztec mythology, Tonatiuh was the sun god. The Aztec people considered him the leader of Tollan (heaven).
In Buddhist cosmology, the bodhisattva of the Sun is known as Ri Gong Ri Guang Pu Sa.
Ancient Egyptian consder him as Ra, By the Fifth Dynasty (2494 to 2345 BCE) he had become a major god in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the midday sun.
In hinduism The Adityas are one of the principal deities of the Vedic classical Hinduism belonging to Solar class. In the Vedas, numerous hymns are dedicated to Mitra, Varuna, Savitr etc. In Hinduism, Aditya is used in the singular to mean the Sun God, Surya.
Garuda and Horus:
Garuda is younger brother of Aruna. Garuda associated with Garuda Purana, book that deals with soul after death. Horus is associated with Egyptian book of the dead. Horus and Seth are said to be rivals. Aruna curses his mother Vinata. Both Garuda’s and Horus’ parents have similar relationship. Garuda often acts as a messenger between the gods and men.
In Buddhist mythology, the Garuda are enormous predatory birds with intelligence and social organization. Another name for the Garuda is suparna, meaning “well-winged, having good wings”.
Manu, Noah and flood myth: Manu is a title accorded to a progenitor of humanity after the great flood at the end of each kalpa (aeon).
Muruganand Michael– commander-in-chief of the army of god and the son of Mahadev (god of gods). Depicted as on top of a peacock. He is similar to Michael.
Saptarishi and Light Beings : They are naturally the most evolved Light Beings in the Creation and the guardians of the Divine Laws
Pishacha and Fallen gods: In the Yoga Vasishtha Maharamayana Pisachas are a sort of aerial beings, with subtile bodies. They sometimes assume the form of a shadow to terrify people, and at others enter into their minds in an aerial form, in order to mislead them to error and wicked purposes. They are all the progeny of the fallen gods.
Giants, The Titans and The Asura:
Celestial nymphs in Svarga, Heaven and Amaravati: ….region for the virtuous alone with celestial gardens called Nandana planted with sacred trees and sweet-scented flowers. The fragrant groves are occupied by Apsaras (celestial nymphs).
They are in Greek mythology too.
God of death, Yama and punishments in Hell, Naraka located at Patala: Deities associated with death take many different forms, depending on the specific culture and religion being referenced. Psychopomps, deities of the underworld, and resurrection deities are commonly called death deities in comparative religions texts. The term colloquially refers to deities that either collect or rule over the dead, rather than those deities who determine the time of death. However, all these types will be included in this article. God of death is there in almost every mythology on earth.
Ahasuerus, Ashwathama, the cursed immortal: Ashwathama was cursed by Krishna to roam earth with leprosy till his second coming as Kalki. Ashwathama will be cured when he meets Kalki at the end of the Kali yuga along with other immortals.
Indra, Zeus, Thor: King of demi-gods. Thunder bolt is his weapon.
Pillar of Fire: The “Pillar of Fire” is described in the Holy Books of three major world religions, Buddhism of course in the Maha Ummaga Jataka as the “Aggi Khanda”, in Hinduism as the “Anala Stambha” in the Shiva Purana, and in the Torah (Exodus 13:21-22) of Judaism a The Lord is described as guiding the Israelites as a Pillar of fire at night.
In all three texts the fiery pillar represent the supreme most God.
Jayadratha was the son of Vridhakshtra, king of Sindhu (present day Pakistan) and was the brother in law of the Kaurava prince, Duryodhana. He had married Dushshala, the only daughter of Dhritarastra and Gandhari.
One day when the Pandavas were in their vanavaas, the brothers went into the forest to collect fruits,wood, roots etc. Seeing Draupadi alone and enamored by her beauty, Jayadratha approached her and proposed to marry her even after coming to know that she was the wife of the Pandavas. When she refused to comply, he took the hasty decision of abducting her and started moving towards Sindhu. The Pandavas in the meantime learnt of this ghastly act and came in for Draupadi’s rescue. Bhima thrashes down Jayadratha but Draupadi prevents Bhima from killing him as she doesn’t want Dushshala to become a widow. Instead she requests that his head be shaved and he be set free so that he doesn’t dare ever commit an act of transgression against another woman.
To avenge his humiliation, Jayadratha conducts severe penance in order to please Lord Shiva, who granted him a boon in the form of a garland which will hold all the Pandavas at bay for one day. While this was not the boon that Jayadratha wanted, he accepted it nevertheless. Not satisfied, he went and prayed to his father Vridhakshtra who blesses him that whoever causes the head of Jayadratha to fall on the ground will be immediately killed by having his own head burst into a hundred pieces.
With these boons, Jayadratha was an able ally to the Kauravas when the Kurukshetra war began. Using the powers of his first boon, he managed to keep all the Pandavas at bay, except for Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna who were battling Trigartas elsewhere on the battlefield. On this day, Jayadratha waited for Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu to enter the Chakravyuha and then blocked the exit knowing fully well that the young warrior did not know how to exit the formation. He also prevented mighty Bhima along with his other brothers from entering the Chakravyuha for Abhimanyu’s rescue. After being brutally and treacherously killed by the Kauravas, Jayadratha then goes on to kick the dead body of Abhimanyu and rejoices by dancing around it.
When Arjuna returns to the camp that evening and hears of his son’s death and the circumstances surrounding it, he becomes unconcious. Even Krishna could not check his tears, hearing about the death of his favourite Nephew. After gaining conciousness Arjuna vows to kill Jayadratha the very next day before sunset, failing which he would kill himself by entering into blazing fire along with his Gandiva. Hearing of this vow of Arjuna, Dronacharya arranges a complicated battle formation the next day to achieve two objectives, one was to protect Jayadratha and two was to enable Arjuna’s death which so far none of the Kaurava warriors had even gotten close to achieving in normal battle.
The next day, despite a full day of fierce fighting when Arjuna is unable to get to Jaydratha, Krishna realizes that he would need to resort to unconventional tactics to achieve this objective. Using his divine powers, Krishna masks the sun thus creating a solar eclipse in order to create the illusion of sunset. The entire Kaurava army rejoiced at the fact that they had managed to keep Jayadratha safe from Arjuna and also at the fact that Arjuna now would be forced to kill himself to follow his vow.
Elated, Jayadratha also appears in front of Arjuna and laughs at his defeat and starts dancing around joyously. At this moment, Krishna unmasks the sun and sun appears in the sky. Krishna points Jayadratha to Arjuna and reminds him of his vow. In order to prevent his head from falling to the ground, Krishna asks Arjuna to shoot cascading arrows in a sustained manner so that Jayadratha’s head is carried over from the battlefield in Kurukshetra and travels all over to the Himalyas such that it falls on the lap of his father Vridhakshtra who was meditating there.
Disturbed by the head falling on his lap, Jayadratha’s father gets up, the head drops to the ground and immediately Vridhakshtra’s head bursts into a hundred pieces thus fulfilling the boon that he had given his son years ago.
Jaya and Vijaya are the two gatekeepers (dwarapalakas) of the abode of Vishnu (Vaikuntha Lok). According to the Bhagavata Purana, the Four Kumaras, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanatkumara, who are the manasaputras of Brahma (sons born from the mind or thought power of Brahma), were wandering across the worlds, and one day decide to pay a visit to Narayana – the form of Vishnu that rests on Shesh naga.
The Sanat Kumaras approach Jaya and Vijaya and ask to be let in. Now due to the strength of their tapas, the four Kumaras appear to be mere children, though they are of great age. Jaya and Vijaya, the gate keepers of the Vaikuntha stop the Kumaras at the gate mistaking them as children. They also tell the Kumaras that Sri Vishnu is resting and that they cannot see him now. The enraged Kumaras tell Jaya and Vijaya that Vishnu is available for his devotees any time, and cursed both of them that they would have to give up their divinity, be born as mortals on Earth and live like normal human beings.
When Vishnu wakes up, he learns what has happened and is sorry for his two dwarapalakas, who are cursed by the great Sanat Kumaras just for doing their duty. He apologizes to the Sanat Kumaras and promises to his doorkeepers that he will do his best to help them go through the cycle of Life and Death. He cannot lift the curse of the Sanat Kumaras directly, but he puts in front of them two options:
The first option is that they could either be born seven times on Earth as devotees of Vishnu, while the second options is that they could be born three times as His enemy. After serving either of these sentences, they can re-attain their stature at Vaikuntha and be with Him permanently.
Jaya-Vijaya cannot bear the thought of staying away from Vishnu for seven lives, even as his devotees. As a result, they choose to be born three times on Earth even though it would have to be as enemies of Vishnu. Vishnu then takes Avatars and releases them from their lives.
In the first birth as enemy to Vishnu, Jaya and Vijaya were born as Hiranyaksha and Hiraeyakasipu in Satya Yuga. Hiranyaksha was an Asura the son of Diti and Kashyapa. He was slain by the god Vishnu after he (Hiranyaksha) took the Earth to the bottom of what has been described as the “Cosmic Ocean”. Vishnu assumed the Avatar of a boar (Varaha Avatar) and dove into the ocean to lift the Earth, in the process slaying Hiranyaksha who was obstructing Him. The battle lasted one thousand years. He had an elder brother named Hiranyakashipu, who after having undertaken penances which made him incredibly powerful and invincible unless several conditions were met, was later slain by the lion-headed Narasimha, another avatar of Vishnu.
In the next Treta yuga, Jaya and Vijaya were born as Ravana and Kumbhakarna, and were killed by Lord Vishnu in His form as Ram.
At the end of the Dwapara Yuga, Jaya and Vijaya were born their third birth as Sisupala and Dantavakra and Vishnu appeared as Krishna and again killed them.
So as they move from one life to another, they move more and more closer to God … (Asuras being the worst, then rakshasa, then humans and then devas) finally going back to Vaikuntha.
More on each yug and each incarnation of Vishnu in comming posts.
Perhaps one of the least known stories about Shiva is his fight with Narasimha avatara of Lord Vishnu in the form of Sharabha. One version says he killed Narasimha! Another says Vishnu assumed another superhuman form Gandaberunda to fight Sharabha.
The mythical creature Sharabha shown here is part-bird and part-lion. Shiva Purana describes Sharabha as thousand-armed, lion-faced and with matted hair, wings and eight feet. In his clutches is Lord Narasimha, whom Sharabha slays!
First, Vishnu assumed the form of Narasimha to slay Hiranyakashipu, an asura (demon) king, who was terrorizing the universe and devotee of Shiva.The Shiva Purana mentions: After slaying Hiranyakashipu, Narasimha’s wrath was not appeased. The world trembled, fearing what he might do. The Devas (the gods) requested Shiva to tackle Narasimha. Initially, Shiva brings forth Virabhadra, one of his terrifying forms, in order to calm Narasimha. When that failed, Shiva manifested as the human-lion-bird Sharabha. Shiva then assumed the Sharabha form. Sharabha then attacked Narasimha and seized him up until he was immobilized. He thus quelled Narasimha’s terrifying rage. Narasimha became a devotee of Shiva after being bound by Sharabha. Sharabha then decapitated and de-skinned Narasimha so Shiva could wear the hide and lion-head as a garment. The Linga Purana and Sharabha Upanishad also mention this mutilation and murder of Narasimha. After the mutilation, Vishnu assumed his normal form and retired to his abode, after duly praising Shiva. It was from here on that Shiva came to be known as “Sharabeshamurti” or “Simhagnamurti”.
This myth is particularly interesting because it brings to forth the past rivalries between Shaivites and Vaishnavites.
The Vaishnavites have a similar story of Vishnu transforming into Gandaberunda to fight Sharabha, in yet another bird form: a 2 headed eagle.
The series ‘Fascinating Stories about Lord Shiva’. This series will be focusing on many known and unknown stores of Shiva. There will be a new story per episode. Ep I is a story about Shiva and Bhilla. There was a sage named Veda. He used to pray to Shiva every day. The prayers lasted till the afternoon and after the prayers were over, Veda used to go to the nearby villages to beg alms.
A hunter named Bhilla used to come to the forest every afternoon to hunt. After the hunt was over, he used to come to Shiva’s linga (image) and offer to Shiva whatever it was that he had hunted. In the process of doing this, he often moved Veda’s offerings out of the way. Strange though it might seem, Shiva was stirred by Bhilla’s offerings and eagerly used to wait for it every day.
Bhilla and Veda never met. But Veda noticed that every day his offerings lay scattered and a little bit of meat lay by the side. Since this always happened when Veda had gone out to beg for alms, Veda did not know who was responsible. One day, he decided to wait in hiding so as to catch the culprit red-handed.
While Veda waited, Bhilla arrived and offered what he had brought to Shiva. Veda was amazed to discover that Shiva himself appeared before Bhilla and asked, “Why are you late today? I have been waiting for you. Did you get very tired?”
Bhilla went away after making his offerings. But Veda came up to Shiva and said, “What is all this? This is a cruel and evil hunter, and yet, you appear before him. I have been performing tapasya for so many years and you never appear before me. I am disgusted at this partiality. I will break your linga with this stone.”
“Do it if you must,” replied Shiva. “But please wait till tomorrow.”
Next day, when Veda came to present his offerings, he found traces of blood on top of the linga. He carefully washed away the traces of blood and completed his prayers.
After some time, Bhilla also came to present his offerings and discovered traces of blood on top of the linga. He thought that he was in some way responsible for this and blamed himself for some unknown transgression. He picked up a sharp arrow and began to pierce his body repeatedly with this arrow as punishment.
Shiva appeared before both of them and said, “Now you see the difference between Veda and Bhilla. Veda has given me his offerings, but Bhilla has given me his whole soul. That is the difference between ritual and true devotion.”
The place where Bhilla used to pray to Shiva is a famous tirtha known as bhillatirtha.
Most Badass hindu God which I would love to mention about is Lord Krishna. Starting right from his childhood. As a kid growing up in Brindavan, he sent a whole lot of Asuras sent by Kamsa to their death. Then he dances on the hood of the mighty serpent Kaliya, forcing him to leave the Yamuna.
And if that is not enough, he advises the villagers to worship Govardhana mountain, since that is the real life giver, instead of Indra. And when Indra unleashes his anger, sending a huge thunderstorm, he lifts up the entire mountain on his finger, protecting all the villagers, making Indra eat humble pie there.
When he goes to meet Kamsa, his maternal uncle who had been trying to kill him from long, he first gets rid of the wrestlers Chanura and Mushtika, along with brother Balaram. And then throwing down Kamsa from the throne, strangles him to death.
He cleverly gets rid of Shishupal, making him exhuast the “100 mistakes I spare his life” promise he had given to the latter’s mother. And earlier he had eloped with Rukmini who was betrothed to Shishupal, but had her heart on Krishna.
He did not lift a single weapon during the Kurukshetra war, yet he managed to outsmart the entire Kaurava army, though he only was Arjun’s charioteer. He knew the weak points of Bheeshma, Drona, Duryodhan,Karna and smartly used it against them. He was the reason why the Pandavasa managed to win against a vastly larger and superior Kaurava Army.
He Stole clothes of Gopis and asked them to come out of water one by one to get cloths back …
Made sure Bhishma won’t kill the Pandavas by asking Draupati to go to his camp in disguise of a common woman. Bhishma blessed her “deerga sumangali bhava” (long marriage). She then revealed her true identity and demanded that Bhishma cannot kill her 5 husbands (the pandavas) because he cannot break his own blessing. (Simply brilliant ahh?)
Engineered killing of Drona. He knew no one can kill Drona as long as he holds a weapon, and only way to make him drop it is to emotionally break him down by telling that his son died. There is no way anyone would disbelieve Yudhishtira as he is the “king of dharma”. So Krishna named an elephant as “ashwtthama” (name of Drona’s son) and asked Bhima to kill it, and then asked Yudhishthira to shout “Ashwatthama, the elephant is dead..” but “the elephant” part of the sentence in a low voice. So Drona, who was at a distance could hear only “Ashwatthama is dead“. As expected, Drona dropped weapons heart broken and Pandavas killed him with ease. (So technically, Yudhishthira the “king of dharma” didn’t lie. Hmmm..)
Made sure Bhima could kill Duryodana. Here is the story. When the war was around the corner, Duryodana was once asked by his mother Gandhari to come to her room fully naked. Duryodana didn’t know why but to carry out his mothers order, he decided to do as asked. But Krishna brain washed him to cover at least the private parts (including thigh).
In her room, Gandhari (who blindfolded herself forever after marrying blind Dritarashtra), opened her eyes to see her son for the first time. She transferred all her powers into Duryodana’s visible part of the body, making them as strong as iron. During the final duel, Krishna instructed Bhima to hit Duryodana on thighs to kill him
Engineered killing of Jarasandha: Here is the story from wiki
Bheema did not know how to defeat Jarasandha. Since, Jarasandha was brought to life when the two lifeless halves joined together, conversely, he can be killed only when these his body was torn into two halves and find a way as how these two don’t merge. Krishna took a stick, he broke it into two and threw them in both directions. Bheema got the hint. He tore Jarasandha’s body into two and threw the pieces in two directions. But, these two pieces came together and Jarasandha was able to attack Bheema again. Bheema got tired after several such futile attempts. He again sought the help of Krishna. This time, Lord Krishna took a stick, broke it into two and threw the left piece on right side and the right piece on the left side. Bheema precisely followed the same. Now, he tore Jarasandha’s body into two and threw them in opposite directions. Thus, Jarasandha was killed as the two pieces could not merge into one.
Saved Bhima fom Dritarashtra’s hug: Yeah literally! Here is the story:
Dritarashtra was blessing Pandavas after war. He hugged them one by one. When it was Bhima’s turn he remembered that Bhima killed most of his 100 sons. He was furious and wanted to kill Bhima. Krishna knew this and pushed a metal statue to blind Dritarashtra instead of Bhima. Dritarashtra crushed that metal statue into powder with his hug (what a sweet embrace)
He took Pandavas away the night Ashwatthama destroyed Pandava camp after they won the war. He knew it was going to happen. Ashwatthama, with KalBhairav entered into his body, burned the Pandava camp into ashes killing every single person.. But Krishna saved just the Pandavas & Draupati.. Why didn’t he save others? No idea! Might be that he wanted to do a balancing act.
Some more stories of Shri Krishna in short:
She disguised herself as an angelic woman and offered Yashoda a brief respite by volunteering to nurse baby Krishna (with her poisonous milk). Can we say Krishna “sucked the life out of her?”
the Tornado Demon! Trinavarta is probably the most unique rakshasa-form – ruthlessly sabatoging everything in his path. He whisked Krishna off his feet…but Krishna blew him (and his pride) away.
Bakasura – the Crane Demon – simply got greedy. Lured by Kamsa’s promises of rich and swanky rewards, Bakasura “tricked” Krishna to come close – only to betray the boy by swallowing him. Krishna forced his way out of course and put an end to him.
This giant Serpent Demon slithered his way to the outskirts of Gokul, opened his mouth wide and had all the kids squealing in delight by thinking they had discovered a brand new “cave.” They all hopped inside – only to be trapped. Some versions of the story explain Aghasura to have once been a handsome king who was cursed by a crippled sage for laughing at the poor man’s disability.
This Donkey Demon was a real pain-in-the-Ass. Even Mother Earth trembled under Dhenukasura’s stampede. This was a true joint venture between Balaram and Krishna – with Balaram taking the credit for the final blow.
A true bull-y in every sense of the word. Aristasur the Bull Demon stormed into town and challenged Krishna to a bull fight that all the heavens watched.
Another story of deception: Vatsasura disguised himself as a Calf, mixed himself into Krishna’s herd and tricked him into a duel.
This Horse Demon was apparently mourning the loss of so many of his fellow rakshasa friends, so he approached Kamsa to sponsor his battle against Krishna.
Are there really 330 million Gods in Hinduism? A million dollar question about 330 million Gods of Hindus. The general terminology is “33 koti deva” or ‘Trayastrimsati koti‘as we call them. In hindi, Marathi and many Indian regional language, koti means crore or 10 million. But, as we say English is a funny language, then well, Sanskrit is a tricky language.
Koti in Sanskrit has many meanings like ‘highest point’ , ‘Excellence’ , ‘Edge’ , ‘Point’ , ‘Pitch’ , ‘Alternative’ etc. It is not necessarily crore. The most important of the meanings is ‘pinnacle’, signifying, core devtas. Second, devta also does not necessarily mean gods, it’s alternative meanings are ‘King’ , ‘God on earth among men’ , ‘divine’ , ‘heavenly’ , ‘cloud’ etc. Its most important meaning is the divine souls.
Lets simplify, Koti here means Types. So there are 33 types of Gods in Hinduism as we can say. These doesn’t include the Hindu Trinity i.e. Brahma , Vishnu and Mahesh.
These 33 Koti Devas are : 08 Vasus 11 Rudras
“Na tasya pratima asti”
“There is no image of Him.” [Yajurveda 32:3]
“He is One only without a second.” [Chandogya Upanishad 6:2]
“Na casya kascij janita na cadhipah.”
“Of Him there are neither parents nor lord.” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:9]
“Na tasya pratima asti”
“There is no likeness of Him.” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:19]
“He is bodiless and pure.” [Yajurveda 40:8]
“Na samdrse tisthati rupam asya, na caksusa pasyati kas canainam.”
“His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye.” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:20]
Sanskrit : “Ekam evadvitiyam”
Translation: “He is One only without a second.”
God is one, but he has many names and forms. Since God is omnipresent, omnipresent and omniscient, should not He be present everywhere and in all the existence?
Just like electricity flowing in our homes – it becomes cool air flowing through the AC, becomes light glowing in the bulbs, becomes heat in the kitchen, becomes music through the speakers, dances as pixels on our computer screen – one energy is blissfully dancing through this creation ; ‘The Universal Law’ or ‘The Cosmic Celebration’ whatever one can call.
God is the substratum of this existence. Everything is inside God, because there is no outside at all!
God is one, yet He is many – this is the highest secret, they say, which needs to be experienced and lived as it cannot be understood!
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