Durga, Artemis and Apollo – A comparison of Indian and Greek mythology

Maa Durga
Maa Durga

Durga and Artemis

There are many similarities between Indian and Greek mythologies. The stories related to gods in both mythologies are very interesting. Here we are looking at Artemis, the greek goddess, who is very similar to Durga in Indian mythology.

As per Greek mythology, Artemis was often described as the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. She was the goddess of the hunt, wild animals, childbirth, virginity, wilderness and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows.

The birth of Goddess Durga (Indian mythology)

In Indian mythology, Durga was created as a warrior goddess to fight demon named Mahishasura. Brahma, the Supreme Creator had given Mahishasura (an ambitious demon who had observed penance) the power not to be defeated by a male or any God. Mahishasura, thus using his powers, unleashed a reign of terror on earth, heaven and the nether worlds. He created cosmic disruption and defeated The Gods of Sun, Fire, Earth, Thunder and all other Nature Gods. All the gods pleaded Brahma to do something about this.

Goddess Durga emergence
Goddess Durga emergence

Shiva, made a request to all Gods to combine their divine energies together.Thus, to save the 3 worlds, Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma and all of the Gods (Indra, Varuna, Surya, Agni, Yama, Vishwakarma etc.) emitted beams of fierce Divine Energy from their Bodies. The blinding sea of light spread in all directions of the universe like a supernova and reached the Ashram of the priest Katyayan, where all the Energies combined together to create the omnipotent Goddess Durga. The Goddess Durga took the name Katyayani from the priest, in whose ashram she appeared thus.

Birth of Artemis (Greek mythology)

Coming back to Artemis and her twin brother Apollo.

She was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and that she was the twin sister of Apollo. Artemis, the goddess of forests and hills, was worshipped throughout ancient Greece.Her best known cults were on the island of Delos (her birthplace); in Attica at Brauron and Mounikhia (near Piraeus); in Sparta. She was often depicted in paintings and statues in a forest setting, carrying a bow and arrows, like Durga, and accompanied by a deer.

Artemis never had any love affairs, but one. That was with the mortal Orion. Artemis was in love with Orion. However, upset that his sister’s time and attentions had been diverted away from him, the God Apollo, her twin, became very jealous. So when Orion was swimming far into the ocean Apollo made a wager with Artemis that she couldn’t hit the floating object on the horizon.

Artemis being the prideful archer she was took the wager gladly and proudly drew her bow and shot the object on the horizon winning the wager. However once she won she realized that the “floating object” was actually her only lover Orion. In her great grief the Goddess Artemis turned Orion into various stars and shot him into the night sky, making him a constellation in the night sky forevermore.


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  1. How about relation between Indian and Greek philosphy going back to before the imigrations into Greece and India?

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