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The god Varuna – Hinduism – India

By |2017-07-21T13:25:30+00:00July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Monsoon rain (Goa) Around 1000 BC, in the Vedic period in India, Varuna was an important Hindu god. Varuna was originally a sky god - his name means "the one who covers everything." Often people think of Varuna as a rain god. He represented order in the universe (against the forces of chaos). Some parts of Varuna's identity, at [...]

What’s the Rig Veda? Hinduism – India

By |2017-07-21T13:08:21+00:00July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

The Rig Veda in Sanskrit (from the 1800s AD) The Rig Veda is a group of poems that people in India first sang and recited maybe about 1500 BC. That was soon after the Yamnaya - the Indo-Europeans - arrived in India. For hundreds of years, people passed down these poems by reciting them out loud. They [...]

Indra, god of rain – Ancient India

By |2017-07-21T09:16:14+00:00July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Indra, 4-5th c. AD (Mathura, India) In the earliest Hindu stories that we know of, from the Rig Veda, Indra is the ruler of the Hindu gods, the way Zeus is the ruler of the Greek gods, or Thor the ruler of the German gods. These stories probably go back at least to about 1000 BC. In the Rig Veda, Indra [...]

What is Hinduism? A religion of India

By |2017-10-14T16:35:20+00:00July 21st, 2017|India, Religion, What|

Arjuna fighting Karna, with Krishna as his charioteer (Duttapara Temple, ca. 1500s AD) The word Hindu comes from the river Indus, and it just means the people who live near the Indus river (actually in modern Pakistan). The Harappa people who lived near that river about 2500 BC carved images of several different gods on their clay seals. We can't read Harappan writing, [...]

How Ganesh cursed the Moon – Hinduism – India

By |2017-07-21T08:19:48+00:00July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Ganesh (Musee Guimet, Paris, from Tamil Nadu, ca. 1500 AD) Now long ago Brahma was sitting with Shiva when a man called Narada came along. And Narada offered a beautiful fruit to Shiva as a sacrifice. It was a really wonderful fruit, that Narada had chosen specially for Shiva. But Ganesh, Shiva's son, really loves fruit. He said he [...]

Who is Zeus? Ancient Greek gods

By |2018-04-23T13:52:31+00:00July 16th, 2017|Greeks, Religion|

The god Zeus is the lightning and the thunder Zeus was, for many people in ancient Greece, the king of the gods. Homer shows Zeus this way in the Iliad, for example. But mainly, Zeus is a sky god. People thought of him as living on top of a mountain (Mount Olympus). When he is angry he throws lightning bolts out [...]

Who is Dionysos? Ancient Greek gods

By |2018-04-23T08:41:51+00:00July 12th, 2017|Greeks, Religion|

Dionysos is the god of wine and grapes For the Greeks, Dionysos was a fertility god like Demeter. But while Demeter was the goddess of dry things growing, like grain, Dionysos was the god of wet things growing. That meant fruit of all kinds, but especially grapes (and the wine that people made [...]