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Dragons were identified with serpents, though their attributes were greatly intensified. The dragon was supposed to have been larger than all other animals. Biblical scriptures speak of the dragon in reference to the devil, and they were used to denote sin in general during the Middle Ages.
Physical detail was not the central focus of the artists depicting such animals, and medieval bestiaries were not conceived as biological categorizations.
Creatures like the unicorn and griffin were not categorized in a separate "mythological" section in medieval bestiaries, : Animals we know to have existed were still presented with a fantastical approach.
It seems the religious and moral implications of animals were far more significant than matching a physical likeness in these renderings. Nona C. Flores explains, "By the tenth century, artists were increasingly bound by allegorical interpretation, and abandoned naturalistic depictions. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Speculative fiction Alternate history. List of alternate history fiction Retrofuturism Sidewise Award Writers. Fantasy fiction. Science fiction. Horror fiction. Further information: List of legendary creatures by type and List of Greek mythological creatures. University Press.
Alan Dundes, ed. Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth. University of California Press. A Dictionary of English Folklore. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 24 March Braggins Tree Ferns.
Portland, Oregon: Fabulous creatures are often symbolic of human traits — symbolizing both our divine qualities and our shadowy parts that we despise and fear. Not everybody is going to be happy to be called an Asura or a Pishacha!
All reveal something significant about the hearts and minds of the people who tell stories about them. Understanding and interpreting these symbols could open new windows of insight. Mythical creatures are known to possess sacred and magical powers. Many of the mythical creatures explored have supernatural abilities, more powerful than mere humans, but less potent than supreme deities worshipped in the worlds faiths.
This is solely a collection of some of the most manifest mythical creatures with specific stories and related functions. As mentioned earlier, the exhaustive list is just too gigantic to do justice to every creature and to highlight its role in the myth.
These have been compiled alphabetically for ease of flow. The creatures have been described with the myths supporting them and the scripture that cites its narrative. They can all be studied as exhibiting and reflecting the aspects that have been discussed in Section I of this paper.
The comparative view with other mythologies has been mentioned wherever possible. Citations listed alphabetically : Ahi Mentioned in the Vedas, it is a vast Dragon or serpent that is large enough to drink all the waters of the earth. It lives in the mountain range that surrounds the world according to Indian myth. At one time when it drank all the waters of the world, the god Indra found Ahi in the mountains and slew it releasing all the waters again. This story may be symbolic of how water is frozen at Winter and melts back to water during Spring.
The Ahi is known for stealing women and cows and endangering fertility. It later gained significance as Vritra, mentioned further. Airavata The pure white winged elephant of Indian mythology. It is the mount of the Vedic god Indra who was stunned by its beauty. Airavata has the ability to suck up the water of the earth and spray over all the land creating rain, which was its gift to man. It is also one of the sixteen elephants that holds up the earth and lies in the eastern quarter.
It is also said the origin of Airavata came from Brahma who opened a cosmic egg while reciting mantras. Sixteen elephants manifested from each half of the shell, eight males each with four tusks and eight females. The strongest of these elephants was Airavata. All sixteen elephants hold up the earth.
According to the Ramayana, the elephant's mother was Iravati. In the Mahabharata he is listed as a great serpent. There is a reference to Airavata in the Bhagavad Gita as well. Ananta Sesha It is the thousand-headed serpent in Indian Mythology. Balarama is incarnation of Ananta. Ananta is said to hold the whole universe in his hood.
When coils forward creation takes place. When he coils backwards the universe ceases to exist.
Ananta is said to spend most of his days singing praises to Lord Vishnu. Before Balarama, Laxman, the brother of Rama was also an incarnation of Ananta. He is the origin of all incarnations within this material world. Previous to the appearance of Lord Krishna, this original Sankarshana will appear as Baladeva, just to please the Supreme Lord Krishna in His transcendental pastimes.
It has the ability to spit fire and has an instant deadly poisonous bite. Ananta uses seven of its heads as a bed for Vishnu. Eventually Ananta will destroy the planet as it does at the end of each era.
Ashvins The Ashvins or Ashwini Kumaras in Hindu mythology, are two Vedic gods, divine twin horsemen in the Rigveda, sons of Saranya daughter of Vishwakarma , a goddess of the clouds and wife of Surya in his form as Vivasvat. They symbolise the shining of sunrise and sunset, appearing in the sky before the dawn in a golden chariot, bringing treasures to men and averting misfortune and sickness.
They are the doctors of gods and are devas of Ayurvedic medicine.
They are represented as humans with head of a horse. In the epic Mahabharata, King Pandu's wife Madri is granted a son by each Ashvin and bears the twins Nakula and Sahadeva who, along with the sons of Kunti, are known as the Pandavas. The Ashvins are mentioned times in the Rigveda, with 57 hymns specifically dedicated to them.
Apasara Apsara is a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings. They are known to be youthful and elegant, and superb in the art of dancing. They are often the wives of the Gandharvas, the court musicians of Indra.
They dance to the music made by the Gandharvas, usually in the palaces of the gods, entertain and sometimes seduce gods and men. As ethereal beings who inhabit the skies, and are often depicted taking flight, or at service of a god, they may be compared to angels. Apsaras are said to be able to change their shape at will, and rule over the fortunes of gaming and gambling. Urvasi, Menaka, Rambha and Tilottama are the most famous among them.
The Rigveda tells of an Apsara who is the wife of Gandharva; however, the Rigveda also seems to allow for the existence of more than one Apsara. The only Apsara specifically named is Urvashi.
An entire hymn deals with the colloquy between Urvashi and her mortal lover Pururavas. Later Hindu scriptures allow for the existence of numerous Apsaras, who act as the handmaidens of Indra or as dancers at his celestial court. In many of the stories related in the Mahabharata, Apsaras appear in important supporting roles. The epic contains several lists of the principal Apsaras. Bagala A crane-headed god in Hindu legend, Bagala controls black magic, poisons and disguised forms of death.
She causes people to worry of their death and the death of loved ones. She holds torture instruments in her left hand and the tongues of her enemies in her right. She is also depicted as holding a mace and wearing yellow. Daityas were the children of Diti and the sage Kashyapa. They were a race of giants who fought against the Devas because they were jealous of their Deva half-brothers.
The female Daityas are described as wearing jewelry the size of boulders. Danavas are Hindu Demons of gigantic proportions. They had some viscous leaders which included the infamous Bali. Like the Daityas, they made war on the gods but were eventually banished to the bottom of the ocean by Indra. In Hinduism, the Asuras are non-suras, a different group of power-seeking deities besides the suras, sometimes considered naturalists, or nature- beings, in constant battle with the devas.
A Rakshasa is said to be a mythological humanoid being or unrighteous spirit in Hinduism. Rakshasas are also called man-eaters Nri-chakshas, Kravyads. Often Asura and Rakshasa are interchangeably used. Shukra was known to be their Guru. Some famous names in this category would be Vibihishana, Kumbhakarna, Ravana the key asura anagonist in the epic from the Ramayana; Ghatotkacha and Hidimba from the Mahabharata.
In early Vedic texts, both the asura and the Suras were deities who constantly competed with each other, some bearing both designations at the same time. In late-Vedic and post-Vedic literature the Vedic asuras became lesser beings. According to the Vishnu Purana, during the churning of the ocean the daityas came to be known as asuras because they rejected Varuni, the goddess of sura or wine; while the devas accepted her and came to be known as suras. In order to explain the demonization of asuras, mythology was created to show that though the asuras were originally just, good, virtuous, their nature had gradually changed.
The asuras anti-gods were depicted to have become proud, vain, to have stopped performing sacrifices, to violate sacred laws, not visit holy places, not cleanse themselves from sin, to be envious of devas, torturous of living beings, creating confusion in everything and to challenge the devas. David Frawley, an American-Hindu teacher, asserts that many ancient European peoples, particularly the Celts and Germans, regarded themselves as children of Danu, with Danu meaning the Mother Goddess, who was also, like Sarasvati in the Rig Veda, a river Goddess.
The Danube which flows to the Black Sea is their most important river and could reflect their eastern origins. They graze near the coast during certain days of the year.
People leave their horses near this area and remove themselves hoping that the Farasi Bahari will mate with their steeds. No one can come near them because they flee at the scent of man. If any horses are successfully mated, they will produce green horses that gallop fast with eternal endurance due to their lack of lungs.
They have been compared to Hippocamp, the horse of Poseidon, a Greek deity. It has typically been depicted as a horse in its forepart with a coiling, scaly, fish-like hindquarter. This mythical bird formed the royal emblem of the Wodeyaar Kings of the princely state of Mysore, in Karnataka. Shown with two heads and beaks, connected to one body the Gandaberunda is believed to possess unimaginable strength.
Several depictions have been found in Indian texts and historic art portraying the bird as carrying an elephant in each of its talons and beaks out of Narasimha Vishnu emerged an even more fearful form: Gandaberunda, having two heads, fearful rows of teeth, black in complexion and with wide blazing wings.
Gandharva In Hinduism, the gandharvas are male nature spirits, husbands of the Apsaras. Some are part animal, usually a bird or horse. They have superb musical skills. They guarded the Soma and made beautiful music for the gods in their palaces. Gandharvas are frequently depicted as a singer in the court of Gods. Gandharvas are mentioned extensively in the epic Mahabharata as associated with the devas as dancers and singers and with the yakshas, as formidable warriors.
They are mentioned as spread across various territories. In Hindu theology, gandharvas act as messengers between the gods and humans. In Hindu law, a Gandharva marriage is one contracted by mutual consent and without formal rituals.
Ganesh Ganesh, Ganesa, also known as Ganapati and Vinayaka is a widely worshipped deity in the Hindu pantheon.
His image is found throughout India and Nepal. Devotion to Ganesha is widely diffused and extends to Jains, Buddhists, and beyond India. Submit Search. Successfully reported this slideshow. We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime. Upcoming SlideShare. Like this presentation?
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