The intersectionality of myths and legends of the world is something I find very intriguing and fascinating.
The myths and legends of are undoubtedly connected in a very beautiful way. When looking at the myths and legends of the world, comparative mythologists and historical linguists acknowledge that some link exists between all myths of the world. Moreover, these historians speculate that all myths came from a single common ancestor myth, which was in the original proto-language of the early world.
Moreover, in the myths of the world, there are intersectionalities in the myths and retellings, All myths, for example, have a retelling of 'The Great Deluge'. In some form of another, the myth manifests itself in all of the world's major religions, and the religions of antiquity. Therefore, researchers have reason to believe that the flood may have occurred in history.
In this presentation, I will be comparing the myths of the Hindus and the Greeks. While one may argue that the bridge between the two regions is too far to cross, I would argue otherwise. In most of the regions of the world, some sort of intersection exists in the gods that are worshipped, such as the sun god, water god, and the liminial gods.
HERMES OF GREECE
On the right, there is a statue of Hermes, the Greek Messenger God. This statue was created in Rome, Italy, in 1990. It is now located in Antwerp Belgium, in Middelheim Sculpture Park. This statue was originally a bronze statue. It depicts Hermes in a sitting position looking upwards, with his petasos. He is wrapped partially in a robe and has his lyre beside him (in the bottom left corner) though not fully in the photograph.
Hermes is seen wearing a winged helmet or a petasos. In Greco-Roman culture, it symbolizes the flight and speed of Hermes, in light of the thought that birds traverse the air with speed and uninterrupted. The wings on the petasos also may symbolize the ability for Hermes to traverse different worlds. It was often thought in Greco-Roman culture that the sky was the dominion of the gods. Therefore, the birds had potential access to the dominion of the gods, and were used often as a symbol for a gateway or passage.
Moreover, the petasos is a woolen hat, that is floppy by nature. This floppy hat may also symbolize the childlike nature of Hermes, in addition to his unpredictable mischief. Hermes is often known for causing the mortals to anger the gods and in turn assisting the gods to punish the mortals.
In addition to the petasos, at the side of this figure of Hermes, is his lyre, or the stringed instrument that he created from the shell of a tortoise. Because of this, he is also known as an inventor god, responsible for the creation of the alphabet amongst others.
Therefore, the symbols of the petasos depict Hermes's agility, speed and trickery. The lyre he carried, however, depicted his creativity, intelligence, and inventiveness.
NARADA OF INDIA
This is the statue of Narada of India. The date it was created is unknown. However, it was created by Prema Vilasa Dasa in the late 1900s. Here. Narada is depicted with his traditional instrument, the tambura, and bestowing divine knowledge to the to-be heir of a throne.
Narada is depicted with a tambura. This is the musical instrument that Narada carried on his journeys. Similar to that of Hermes's lyre, this instrument is Narada's sacred object.
In addition, Narada's tambura is not used not only to sing praises to Vishnu, but to act as an instrument for his trickery and gossip. Often, when he was to gossip or tell of misfortunes of other gods, he would do do in the form of a song with the strum of his tambura.
Though used for trickery and deception, the instrument that Narada carried was also a symbol of his role as divine messenger of the gods. This role also communicated his intellect as well. It is said that Narada mastered all the 64 Vidyas or Branches of Knowledge (both spiritual and natural) and possessed extreme encyclopedic knowledge. He also had dominion over pronunciation, grammar, prosody, terms, religious rites and astronomy. All celestial beings worshipped him for his knowledge.
In Hinduism, knowledge is seen as a gateway into the mind of God. When one becomes enlightened they receive a union with Brahman or the Supreme Creator. Because of the vast knowledge that Narada possessed, he was called the 'Mind of God' and was given authority to traverse gateways to do the biddings of his father, Vishnu. Therefore, the instruments that Narada carries are a symbol of his trickery, intelligence, and oneness with 'God'.
Comparativism and Particularism
IN THE EYES OF COMPARATIVISM
From the compartist point of view, there seems to be a very great similarity between Hermes and Narada.
Both Hermes and Narad are messenger/liminial gods. Each also relays the messages of the gods to the mortals and to other gods. Because of this need to relay messages, they have also been given the ability to pass through the various worlds and domains of the gods, underworld, and mortals.
In addition to this, Hermes and Narada both share the common trait of trickery and mischief. It is recorded in the Narada Pruna that Narada gossips and instigates fights between the gods. Vishnu sees this, but overlooks it, as he enjoys the mischief himself. In the same sense, Hermes also causes mischief. In Greek mythology, he makes the mortals anger the gods, while he entices them to do so. Then, when the gods get angry with the mortals, he goes on the sides of the gods to punish the humans. Both Narada and Hermes, use their tricks to entertain their mischievous nature and do not induce harm purposefully on any being.
Lastly, the musical instruments, lyre and tambura that Hermes and Narada possess respectively, are a symbol of their intellectual prowess. Narada gained mastery over the tambura and plays sweet harmonies on it. This is an instrument of his mastery of knowledge. In addition, Hermes, while he was still a child, invested the lyre after he stole the cattle of Apollo.
THE PARTICULARIST SKEPTIC
From the particularist point of view, such a similarity between Hermes and Narada is a result of mere coincidence and deserves no great attention.
Firstly, the Greek and Indian gods, Hermes and Narada respectively, are worshipped in regions that are very far in nature. There is very little chance hat such similarity could be because of influence and exchange of culture.
Furthermore, the assigned divine status and worship of the respective deities is different as well. Hermes is a god, birthed by the Olympian gods. He was also worshipped as a definite divine beings, and cults of Hermes are evidenced to be found. However, Narada is not worshipped as a deity in and of himself. He is called upon for bestowing divine knowledge, but is considered by most to be a demi-god of extreme intellect. He has a very small group of worshippers compared to the broad number of worshippers Hermes has.
In addition to this, Hermes and Narada play different roles when they traverse the domains of gods and mortals. Hermes is a guide to the dead to the underworld, or a psychopomp, while Narada is merely a bestower of knowledge. He does not guide nor dictae the afterlife of the people. A system of reincarnation is in place for Hindu mythology, detailed in the ancient Sanskrit text of Hinduism. However, the Greeks believed in an ultimate destination to Hades, whether good or bad.
Krsna Art, www.krsna-art.com/index.php?p=pics&kid=147#.“8 Parallels between Hindu and Greek Mythology.” Sharath Komarraju, 19 Jan. 2015, sharathkomarraju.com/2014/07/03/7-parallels-between-hindu-and-greek-mythology/.
Brewer, Michael. “Spirit Line - Bronze Hermes In Antwerp Belgium by Michael Brewer.” Fine Art America, fineartamerica.com/featured/spirit-line--bronze-hermes-in-antwerp-belgium-michael-brewer.html.