Both Greek and Indian Mythology constitutes seasoned legends known to almost every humankind. Although both the folklores are not connected, they share some strange similarities. Ancient Greek poets and philosophers narrated various stories about diverse traditional tales of Greek heroes and gods and how they dealt with mortal human beings. Like mythological tales circulated in the Greek country, Hindus flourished from Indus and constructed their own mythological set of beliefs. Although we do not have written pieces of evidence about appropriate interactions that took place in both the mythological ideologies, we cannot overlook the striking similarities held by two distinctive cultures.
The theory of war
In any ancient tale, one thing we find in common is the war between two or more kingdoms. Similarly, the war of Mahabharata in Indian mythology and the war of Troy of the Greek are two sagas often narrated by the saints of these two cultures. In Indian mythology’s Mahabharata, Pandava, the five brothers were exiled for 14 long years that is similar to Greek mythology’s Trojan war conflict that took place for 14 years.
Even the important characters of the wars held similar traits. For instance, Achilles of the Trojan war and Arjun in Mahabharata are highly skilled warriors and showed reluctance in the beginning stages of the war. While Achilles lamented over Patroclus dead body, Arjun was found lamenting over his son Abhimanyu’s dead body. Even the wars were fought to regain the prestige and honour of women blessed with special charms: Helen in Greek mythology and Draupadi in Indian.
Another strange similarity we can find between both Greek and Indian mythology is their narrative tales of hyper-masculinity and heroism in Ramayana and Iliad. The two great epics in respective cultures depict the glory of mortal men with special powers who protects their women. Though, in the process women’s sacrifice is also mentioned boldly and how they tend to make sacrifices while their faithfulness is marginalised and often neglected. Even today we call Sita and Draupadi the catalyst of war just because they were silenced or quiet throughout the narratives. The strong and muted characters are described beautifully in both the mythologies which makes men fall for them and involve in war.
Restrictions imposed on women
Restrictions imposed on women is not a new phenomenon rather is carried from the time gods and goddesses ruled the world. In ancient Greece, women had to maintain several restricted norms particularly the ones in higher positions such as queen, princess or saint’s wife. The king would marry their daughter as soon as they gain sexual awareness and puberty. Research scholars claim that Draupadi married five princes at the time when she attained puberty at sixteen. Similarly, Sita was married at the age of sixteen with Rama according to Ramayana. In Greek mythology, Helen was married when she was just ten years old which reveals early marriages were arranged so that the women do not get tempted by all suitors.
One of the significant factors that can be concluded from both the mythologies is that women had been dutiful to their husband instead of submitting themselves to others for love or pleasure. One example that we can use here is the story of a washerwoman in Ramayana who is faithful to her husband despite facing his atrocities. The god of grain Demeter’s daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades. However, she soothed her mother and decided to marry Hades and became dutiful to him.
Putting succinctly, in the mythological realm, women do not play an important part in epics or narratives; rather they are treated like side actors in both Indian and Greek mythology. Women are assumed to be an appendage or auxiliary who are not allowed to voice in important matters. This is the reason Surapnakha’s defacement, Sita’s testament, Medusa’s disfigurement, and Circe’s expulsion was narrated like righteous actions they deserved. Women were the troublemakers just like Pandora being a cursed one brings bad luck to humans.
Gods and Goddesses
When we talk about Greek and Indian mythology, we cannot ignore the fact that both the legends have gods and goddesses possessing similar traits and roles. In Indian mythology, Laxmi is considered the Goddess of Wealth while in Greek, Hera is the Goddess of Wealth. Likewise, Athena in Greek mythology and Saraswathi in Indian mythology is the Goddess of knowledge. Poseidon and Varuna are the gods of seas in Greek and Indian mythology respectively. Vishwakarma is the Indian God of architecture while Hephaestus the God of manufacture and design according to Greek mythology. Kamadeva and Cupid are Indian and Greek gods of love who carry bows and arrows to target victims.
There are various strange folklores too which reveals how the two distinctive culture mythologies are similar to each other. For example, in the Indian epic Mahabharata, Krishna battles with a five-headed snake named Kaliya just like Hercules battles with numerous headed snake Hydra. Hermes and Narada are two messengers of Greek and Indian gods and goddesses. While Hermes is Zeus son, Narada is the son of Brahma. The two have the potential to trap other people, including gods through their words and make them fight.
The presence of a Holy Trinity means, a combination of three supreme gods is common in both mythologies. In Indian mythology, you will find Maheshwar, Brahma and Vishnu are three important gods making a holy trinity. Similarly, in Greek mythology, we have Zeus, Poseidon and Hades as three supreme gods responsible for creating the entire universe. We can find many striking similarities between Shiva and Dionysus too. Dionysus, according to Greek mythology was the son of Zeus and is connected with intoxication just like Shiva in Indian mythology. Dionysus can spread the delight while he can be furious at times to demolish the world. Likewise, Shiva is creative and energetic but can destroy the universe when angry.
Overall, we can trace the various parallel connection between Indian and Greek mythologies. Although they both are very distinctive civilizations boasting diverse and rich myths, yet they pose strange similarities in stories and characters.