Monthly Archives: October 2011

The achilles heel in Indian and greek mythology

Indian mythology and Greek mythology – Similarities between gods and characters

The achilles heel is a phrase borrowed from greek mythology which denotes an area of weakness. Achilles was a great fighter who was washed with water of river styx to become invincible. His mother, Thetis held him by his heel and dipped him into the river. His heel was not washed by the water of magical river and that area remained vulnerable and ultimately was cause of his death when a poisonous arrow lodged in his heel.

krishna arrow heel Indian gods Indian mythology

Krishna – hit by a poisonous arrow in his heel (Mahabharat)

achilles heel greek mythology gods

Achilles – dying after hit by an arrow

In indian mythology, the great epic mahabharat has a similar story. Duryodhana, the elder son of kauravas, was summoned by his mother Gandhari as she wanted him to become invincible. He was supposed to appear naked before his mother, so that wherever Gandhari gaze fell, his body became invincible. But Shri Krishna has different plans, and he convinced Durodhana to wear a loin cloth as it would not look good for a son to appear naked in front of his mother. Later in Mahabharat war, this weakness around his thighs enabled Bheem/Bhima to kill Duryodhana.

We see that in Mahabharata, that many great warriors have weaknesses exploited which led to their downfall. Drona’s weakness for his son Ashwaththama, Karna weakness from his teacher Parshuram to forget his skills when he needed them most. But in Duryodhana’s case, it was Shri Krishna’s masterstroke which made Duryodhana vulnerable.

We see that how fascinating and similar above stories are, and to take it further, Shri Krishna tenure at earth ended in the same way achilles died, by a poisonous arrow in lodged in his heel, this was due to a curse by Gandhari. Gandhari cursed him after the war of mahabharat that after thirty six years of the war he and his clan will be finished.

Are we seeing copy here, but the bigger question is, who copied whom?

Shri Krishna and Hercules

Google Buzz – phasing out

Google is retiring its Buzz services – Looks like this never picked up and in face of Google Plus, is the right thing to do.
I have been using this so just thinking two minutes about this.

The story of Ganga (The Ganges)

The Ganges

The story of Ganga coming to earth is long but interesting, I will try to keep this as short as possible without losing the plot. 

In World mythology, there are many stories related to rivers, but the story around Ganga or The Ganges is very fascinating.


As per the Indian mythology, the person who is accredited for taking Ganga to earth from heaven is Bhagirath and Ganga is also known as Bhagirathi. Bhagirath wanted Ganga to come to earth to liberate his ancestors and he appeased Lord Brahma through severe penance. He was warned that Ganga flows with tremendous force and power and he will have to think of a way to avoid the impact on earth when she comes down to earth.
Bhagirath then began another severe penance, this time directed towards Lord Shiva, who appeared soon before him and agreed to soften Ganga’s fall in his matted hair locks. Having tied up all loose ends, and acquiring the grace of both Brahma and Shiva, Bhagiratha now felt secure about accomplishing his objective.
Bhagirath doing penance to bring Ganga on earth

Bhagirath doing penance to bring Ganga on earth

But there were still hiccups on his path, before all issues could be successfully resolved.
Ganga is visualized in Indian thought as a virtuous, but mischievous and restless maiden, just as many young lasses are. She followed Brahma’s diktat to descend to earth, but couldn’t playfully resist the unwarranted and undeserved feeling that she could sweep away even the mighty Shiva in her forceful current. Shiva, gauging her thoughts, decided to teach her a lesson. Spreading open his serpentine coils of hair, he covered the entire sky, and collected all the waves of Ganga in his outspread locks.
Then with a mighty swoop, he collected his hair, tied into a neat and tight bun, and captured Ganga in the infinite swirls and whirls of his hair. Ganga still flowed with tremendous force, but could not escape, and remained imprisoned and confined inside Shiva’s hair.
Bhagirath, perplexed at the happenings, appealed to Shiva to release Ganga, so that she could wash away the sins of his ancestors, symbolized in their mortal remains. Shiva relented, and in any case Ganga had learnt her lesson. Thus Ganga again followed Bhagirath, who showed her the way. But there were still more adventures to come.
Just near their ultimate destination lay the hermitage of another accomplished sage, known as Jahnu. Ganga, ever the playful maiden, hurried over to what she perceived was a new and curious place. And lo, barely had she entered upon the precincts of the ashram (hermitage), that it became flooded, and all sacrificial fires were extinguished. The ritual utensils and tools were washed away, and the inhabitants of the sanctuary became frightened and anxious. The leader of the ashram, sage Jahnu, became livid at Ganga’s intrusion. He then chanted a mantra, and took a sip of the water flowing all around his hermitage. With the power of his mantra, he swallowed away Ganga with all her waters. All traces of Ganga were gone. Bhagiratha was in a fix. No sooner had he overcome one hurdle, than another was created, mostly due to the impulsiveness and restlessness of Ganga. He hurried over to Jahnu, and explained to him the magnitude and significance of the task he was out to accomplish. Jahnu gave him a sympathetic hearing and appreciated his hard work in bringing Ganga to the earthly realm. Consoling Bhagiratha, he said: ” For you, I will release Ganga immediately,” and saying this, he made a cut in his left thigh, and the waters of Ganga flew out like a fountain. Hence did Ganga came to be known as Jahnvi, the daughter of sage Jahnu.

Simplicity

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” observed the genius & greatest
painters of all time, Leonardo DaVinci.

“We, who have so much, must do more to help those in need. And most of all,
we must live simply, so that others may simply live,” noted the American
actor and environmentalist, Edward Begley Jr. Mahatma Gandhi put it even
more simply when he instructed his countrymen thus: “Live simply so that
others may simply live.”

All over the place, we observe people saying and doing things in a
complicated way. The German-born poet, Charles Bukowski calls this the work
of the intellect. He says, “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard
way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.” Charles Mingus, the
American jazz musician, composer and civil rights activist, put this
slightly differently when he said, “Making the simple complicated is
commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple – that’s
creativity.”

Bhagvad Gita, termed and accepted as the king of education, the most
secret of all secrets – by common men & philosophers world-wide – also
discusses this attribute at more than a couple of places. It lists
simplicity as a divine quality (in Verse 16.1) and a knowledge item (in
Verse 13.8). But, what is this simplicity? And, how should one go about
cultivating this sophisticated of all qualities?

Discussing knowledge (in Verse 13.8), divine qualities (in Verse 16.1) and
austerity of the mind (in Verse 17.16), the same Bhagavad gita offers an
answer to these questions. Accordingly, simplicity (or ‘aarjavam’ in
sanskrit) means – without diplomacy – one should be so straightforward that
he can disclose the truth even to an enemy. To cultivate this quality, it
recommends (in Verse 17.16) that the mind be devoid of duplicity (called
‘saumyatvam’ in sanskrit). And this, it says, is possible only when we
think of the welfare of all.

So, the secret is to keep the mind free from duplicity, placing others’
interests ahead of self. Experience and conditions come and go,
complications arise and fall away, but the simple man alone is loved and
remembered in the long run!