Hinduism and Mythology (Myths and Legends of the World)
Hinduism, which has millions of followers in India and around the world today, is one of the world's oldest religions. For well over 3,000 years, it has been accumulating the sacred stories and heroic that make up the mythology of Hinduism. Nothing in this complex and colorful mythology is fixed and firm. Pulsing with creation, destruction, love, and war, it shifts and changes. Most myths occur in several different versions, and many characters have multiple roles, identities, and histories. This seeming confusion reflects the richness of a mythology that has expanded and taken on new meanings over the centuries.
Background and Themes
Around 1700 B.C., peoples from the area to the northwest of India began migrating to India. Called Aryans or Indo-Europeans, they brought a mythic tradition that became the basis of an early form of Hinduism. Over the years, as the Aryans mingled with the peoples and cultures of the Indian subcontinent, the mythology grew increasingly complex.
Stages and Sources. Hinduism has gone through various stages, which can be linked to the most important texts surviving from each period. The earliest stage is associated with the Vedas, the oldest Indian documents. One of them, the Rig-Veda, is a collection of 1,028 hymns of praise and prayers to the gods with...
(The entire section is 2267 words.)
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