Ten Astonishing Facts About The Greek God Zeus and The Hindu Deity Indra

From time and again, humans have tried to establish a strong connection between the ancient Greece and the Hindu civilization.In doing so, it was found that most of these Greek gods from history shared the same traits and characteristics similar to that of gods in Hindu mythology.Since both civilizations are billion years old, it would be impossible for anyone to uncover the whole truth regarding the link and the correlation between these two great advancements.Surprisingly, Zeus and Indra are the most ancient and powerful godly figures that shall stand as a stronghold in establishing an interconnection between these two vast and intense civilization.

1) King of Heaven and Gods 

In Greek mythology, Zeus is known as the god of sky and thunder who is said to have ruled Mount Olympus by becoming the King of the Gods.After the fall of the Titan-gods, Zeus and his brothers drew lots to divide rule of the cosmos.In doing so, Zeus won the heaven, Poseidon the sea and Hades the underworld.From that day onwards, Zeus came to be known as the Ruler of Heaven.

Indra is a Vedic deity in Hinduism who is regarded as the king of Swarga(Heaven) and the Devas(Gods).According to Rig Veda, there once arouse a conflict among gods regarding who shall ascend the throne in heaven as all of the gods considered themselves as more powerful and superior than the other.In order to resolve this conflict, a Brahman appeared in front of those gods in the form of a Yaksha(Nature Spirit) and asked if anyone among them was worthy enough to determine his true nature.

In front of the Fire-god, it appeared as fire which he could not burn.It took the form of a feather which the Wind-god could not blow.At last came the turn of Indra, the 1000 Eyed god.When Indra looked at the Yaksha, it appeared as invisible before him.Realizing what was going on, Indra deducted the fact that Yaksha had no physical form of his own as it was the creator of its own nature.Looking at the wiseness of Indra, he was made the king of both heaven and gods.

2) Serpentine Enemies Defeated Using Thunderbolt 

It may sound a little bit surprising but both of these gods hurled the same weapon-the thunderbolt as a weapon to defeat their enemies.There are many encounters where Zeus defeated his enemies by using thunderbolt, the famous one being the battle between the Zeus and the Typhon.For those who may not know, Typhon was the guardian of the underworld.He was a beast that was shaped like a human but had the snake-like features.

In India, Indra is famously known for slaying his arch-enemy named Vritra, his greatest adversary.In the Rig Veda, Vritra appears as a dragon obstructing the course of the rivers who is later killed by Indra using Vajra (Thunderbolt) thus freeing the rivers from Vritra’s captivity.

In both of these encounters, they killed their serpent-like enemies using the same powerful weapon.

3) Two brothers 

We all know that Zeus had two brothers-Poseidon and Hades.Poseidon is the god of the sea and protector of all aquatic kingdom.He was second to Zeus in power amongst the gods.Hades is the god of the underworld and the ruler of the dead.Together, these three Olympian gods combined their forces and overthrew Cronus, their father.

In the same manner, the Hindu deity Indra is accompanied by two of his brothers-Agni and Pushan.Agni is the god of fire.He possesses the ability to control fire making him one of the most powerful among gods.Pushan is the god of meetings.He dealt with conducting of souls to the afterlife which somehow sounds similar to that of Hades.

4) Abduction 

According to Greek Mythology, Zeus abducted quiet a number of women disguising himself to different shape and form.In one famous encounter, Zeus appeared in front of Europa in the form of a tame white bull.Seeing the bull, Europa caressed it and eventually got onto his back.Zeus took this opportunity and abducted her and took her took an island far away from her home.In another story, Zeus is shown assuming the form of a Satyr and taking Antiope by force just like he did with Europa.

In the Vishnu Purana, one of the most ancient and medieval texts of Hinduism, it is mentioned that Indra abducted Kadru, wife of an evil daitya(demon) named Hiranyakashipu.He was doing a penance in the name of Lord Brahma so that he could gain a boon from him that would grant him with almost indestructible power.This feared Indra so much that he took the step of abducting Kadru, thinking that he could use her as a means of destroying Hiranyakashipu’s penance once and forever.However, Narada, one of the greatest devotee of Vishnu intervened and convinced him to let go of Kadru as she was carrying the unborn child of Hiranyakashipu in her womb.

5) Mount Olympus & Mount Meru

Mount Olympus was the home of the Greek gods.It was created after the Titanomachy, the battle during which the Olympian gods defeated their predecessors, the Titans.The throne of Zeus was located somewhere in the Mount Olympus.Beside Zeus, there were other 12 Olympian gods who resided at Mount Olympus.

Mount Meru is a sacred mountain with five peaks in Hindu Cosmology and is considered to be the center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes.The five peaks represent the five elements that created our world.In ancient texts, Lord Indra is said to have resided at the top of this great mountain along with the supreme lords Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and other Devas(Gods).

After doing various research on these two aspects, the one thing that does not change in both of these mythologies is the fact that both of these gods used these two great mountains as a destination for heavenly meetings and formulating their battle strategies.Moreover, both of these mountains are considered to be some kind of heavenly place that was ruled by them.

6) Ambrosia V/s Amrita 

Ambrosia and Amrita are two heavenly drinks which are related to immortality.In the ancient Greek myths, ambrosia is the food or drink of the Greek gods, often depicted as conferring longevity or immortality upon whoever consumed it.According to legend, each day doves brought ambrosia to Zeus, the king of the gods, to distribute among the other Olympian gods.

In Hinduism, Amrita is repeatedly referred to as the drink of the Devas(Gods) which granted them immortality.In Vishnu Purana, Indra is cursed by sage Durvasa to be cast down from his position of dominion over the three worlds.This causes all the Devas(Gods) to lose their immortality.In order to regain it, the Devas(Gods) called for a truce with the Asuras(Demon) and team up together to churn the ocean of milk and obtain the Amrita, on the pretext of sharing it between them.At the end, the Devas(Gods) ended up deceiving the Asuras(Demons) and drinking Amrita(the nectar of immortality) all by themselves thus regaining their immortality once again.

7) Rape In a Disguise 

There are many accounts where Zeus is found deceiving various women either by disguising himself as a person or taking the form of some other being.According to Greek Myth, God Zeus seduced Leda in the form of a swan, impregnated Queen Danae with the hero Perseus in the form of a golden rain.On another account, during Amphitryon’s expedition against the Taphians and Teleboans, Zeus visited Alcmene disguised as Amphitryon and slept with her.When Amphitryon finally returned to Thebes, he learned from Tiresias what Zeus had done to Alcmene in his absence.

According to the Ramayana, Sage Gautama once went to take bath in the river Ganges early morning.Ahalya, Gautama’s wife fascinated Indra so much that he came in the form of Gautama and made love to her.While escaping, Indra got caught and was cursed by sage Gautama in the worst way possible.

The epic scene where Zeus stole Alcmene’s chastity sounds identical to the story where Indra deceived Ahalaya and made love to her.In both of these scenarios,both of these gods took advantage of the absence of the victim’s spouse and also performed the crime in the same manner by impersonating themselves as the sufferer’s mate.

8) Dethroned 

Cronus was the leader of Titans.In fear of a prophecy that he would, in turn, be overthrown by his own son, Cronus swallowed each of his children as they were born.However, Rhea managed to save the youngest, Zeus, by hiding him away on the island of Crete and fed Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes.Zeus grew up, forced Cronus to disgorge his swallowed offspring, and led the Olympians in a ten-year war against the Titans, driving them in defeat into the pit of Tartarus.

In the Rig Veda, Tvashta is the divine artificer. Surprisingly he is also referred to as Indra’s father.Tvashta wanted revenge on Indra for the death of his son named Vishwarupa and conducted a sacrifice to obtain a son who could slay the chief of Gods. He wished to chant the incantation “Indrashatrur Vardhasva…”, but mispronounced it. He had intended the Mantra to say “May Tvashta’s son grow to be the slayer of Indra.” Instead, by stressing the wrong syllables, the incantation turned out to be “May Indra grow to be the killer of mine.” The son born as a result of this sacrifice was the Asura Vritra. Due to the mispronounced incantations of Tvashta, he was slain by Indra’s thunderbolt.

In both the stories, Zeus and Indra were the ones who overthrew their father and claimed the throne as the new king of gods.

9) Extra Marital Affairs 

The official wife of Zeus was Hera in Greek Mythology.She was the queen of Heaven.Aside Hera, Zeus was known for having sexual relationships with quite a number of women such as Leda, Alcmene, Aegina, Europa, Antiope, Callisto and many more.He seduced all these women by taking different appearances of either a person or a being.Because of Zeus’s extramarital affairs, Hera came to be known as a goddess of jealous and vengeful nature who bore the grudge against all of Zeus’s lovers and his creation.

In Hinduism, Sachi, also known as Indrani, is said to be the consort of Lord Indra.There are little-known facts about Indra to convey he was indulged in the love affair with other women.However, in the ancient texts, Indra is exhibited laying his eyes on Tilotama, an enchantress of the gods who was created by taking the best quality of all three world as the ingredients.Also, let us not forget the story of Ahalya, sage Gautama’s wife, who tempted Indra so much that he disguised himself as sage Gautama and seduced her.

10) Thunderbolt V/S Vajra 

The Thunderbolt is a weapon given to Zeus by the Cyclops.In the Theogony by Hesiod, Zeus released three one-eyed cyclops-Brontes (“thunderer”), Steropes (“lightning”) and Arges(“bright”) -from the dark pit of Tartarus.Together, these three cyclops forged the weapon thunderbolt for Zeus to wield by adding thunder, lightning, and brightness as the key ingredients.

In Sanskrit, Vajra stands for thunderbolt and indestructibility.According to Rig Veda, Vajra was made for Indra by Tvastar, the divine carpenter.In the Puranas, Indra was once driven out from heaven by a demon named Vritra.Vritra, being a recipient of a boon made him invulnerable to any weapon made from wood or metal.So instead, a weapon was forged using the bones of a sage named Dadhichi whose spine was given the shape of a Vajra.Later, Indra slew Vritra using Vajra and reclaimed his place in heaven.

The symbol used to denote Vajra and the Zeus’s Thunderbolt remains the same in both mythologies.

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