How About India??

Anything relating to our company that doesn't fit elsewhere
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Postby JuliaSet » Tue Dec 12, 2006 6:15 am

My book order just arrived and its a yummy thing!

Ancient Cities, Sacred Skies. Cosmic Geometries and City Planning in Ancient India. by Malvill and Gujral, published in 2000

It has nice diagrams of cities from the ancient era, and a few basic concepts that could be used in citybuilding. It also has quite a lot of astronomy, which might not be specifically useful for CBs, but there is enough to provide some ground rules for good cities!

One thing that skimming through the book has found.

1. A city developed as a square is more desirable, more complete in the holistic representation and analogy to the body.

2. Cities are considered "better" if they are oriented to the cardinal directions, which might give players some twists to get those extra "cosmic" points on the geography of tricky maps.

The squareness of a completed city, along with north orientation might be mathematically valued and some "meat" for programming.

3. There is also a preference for round cities and ones with spiral arrangement of temples for a pilgramage route.

4. Best road arrangement is to have two main roads exiting from each of the cardinal directions.

-|-|- with the palace in the center. ::All cities had walls too::

Giving the city a certain shape might have benefits such as in Emperor, as feng shui applied there.

Sorry to be stuck in a research rut... xmas here is nearly painful with nearly all my family so far away. I'm using this to keep my mind busy... I have 4 grandkids and won't get to see them again for xmas. (no need to respond in this thread 'bout that, thanks.. hopefully can keep the info together without personal chats.)
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Postby JuliaSet » Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:04 pm

Notes from Indian Art, by Partha Mitter, Oxford History of Art

Buddhist art and Architecture
The earliest Indian religion to inspire major artistic monuments was Buddhism. The first creed to enjoy the patronage of a thriving community, express a clear ideology, and boast an efficient monastic organization.

Asoka 260-232 BCE was the first major patron of Buddhist art. His father Chandragupta Maurya, created the cosmopolitan Mauryan empire, which was run by an efficient centralized bureaucracy. Asoka completed the empire and became remorseful for the pain that was inflicted on others and converted to Buddhism. He was a great contributor to the arts. Mauryan artisan guild, mentioned in literature, were engaged in Asoka's projects. Symbols used in producing this art cam from a pool of west Asian art, that nourished both ancient Greece and India.

In early Buddhism, which established close links between monasteries and the laity, communal patronage vied with royal patronage.

Buddhism, the first Indian religion to require large communal spaces, inspired three major type of architecture: the Stupa, the vidara, and the caitya. Between the first century BCE and the first century CE major Buddhist projects were undertaken with subscriptions raised from the whole community. Generous donations were made my landowners, merchants, high officials, common artists and monks nuns and those belonging to emerging social groups in search of an identity. It is remarkable that women from all walks of life, were drawn to Buddha's teaching. Did women and the lower varanas play a more active role in Buddhism because they were debarred from Brahmanic rituals?

The early stupas were preserved the Buddha's relics, were the first monuments to symbolize the power and magnificence of the faith. Originally the focus of a popular cult of the dead, the stupa celebrates the central message of Buddhism. The great stupa of Sanshi was visited by Asoka, and by the first century CE, the great Stupa had been enclosed in brick and stone slabs, plastered over and painted. Its ornamental gateways were completed. The cost of this Great Stupa was borne by 11 major donors. Among the donors at Sanchi were the ivory workers from the nearby town of Vidisa who carved the details of the gateways was an act of piety. But the overwhelming evidence is that in ancient India Architects, masons, stoneworkers, and sculptors were professionals who undertook religious project regardless of their own religion. If ancient Indian art and architecture were expressions of profound faith, this was mainly the faith of the patron, not necessarily of the craftsman.

The Stupa's crowning Glory is the set of four sandstone gateways... set against the unadorned hemisphere. The carvings provided teachings of the faith to the pilgrims.

The early monuments Buddha was never represented as a human being. Early artists used a pipal tree standing for his Enlightenment, the wheel for his first sermon, and the stupa for his final parinirvana.

Viharas and Caityas
Monastic complexes and temples.
Vidhara was a dwelling of one of two stories, fronted by pillared veranda. The monks or nuns cells were arranged around a central meeting hall, each cell containing a stone bed and pillow and a niche for a lamp.

In contrast to such austerity, caityas or halls for congregational worship, were second in splendour only to stupas. Focus of veneration within the caitya was a replica stupa, placed at the end of the prayer hall. Later a Buddha image embellished the front of the stupa. Circumambulation, was incorporated into the U-shaped plan of the caitya: two rows of pillars separated by the narrow corridors on either side of the main hall, thus crating a path which continued behind the replica stupa.

Early Stupas were less decorated than later ones, they could be skinned with more ornate decorations for later eras, as the general shape did not change.

to follow,, later Buddhist art and a glossary of terms.
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Postby Spearthrower » Sun Dec 17, 2006 11:18 pm

JuliaSet wrote:My book order just arrived and its a yummy thing!

Ancient Cities, Sacred Skies. Cosmic Geometries and City Planning in Ancient India. by Malvill and Gujral, published in 2000

This seems like my main area of interest in Anthopology - sacred space. It's kind of a cross between anthropology and archaeology. Chris Tilley is the man if you ever spot one of his books. They wont be on India, but he created the discipline of material culture mostly through looking at northern European peoples.

I used his basic theories to discuss the role of the pyramids at Giza in my final dissertation.

Great stuff here JuliaSet - it's like having a library without the hassle of remembering if you've taken the books back on the right date! :D

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Postby JuliaSet » Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:44 am

Sound suggestions:
Sarod is used to convey sadness Shehanai is used on religious funtions or on wedding day Sitar is used to show the happiness. Shehanai Sarod, Sitar and other instruments sound clips here.
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Postby JuliaSet » Thu Dec 21, 2006 5:31 pm

Glossary of terms for Buddhist Artistic and Architectural Terms

Anda—ovum or egg, the hemisphere of the stupa
Ayaka—decorated five-pillared projection at Amaravati
Bodhisatva—The Buddha to be, containing his essential characteristics
Caitya—Apsidal prayer hall
Citra—Picture or Painting
Dana—giving unreservedly to others as a form of religious merit
Gavaksa—arched or horseshoe-shaped window in a caitya
Hinayana—The doctrine of the Lesser Vehicle’, a term use by Mahayanists for their opponentes who venerate the Buddha
Jataka—The stories of Buddha’s pervious human and animal lives
Mahayana—The doctrine of the Greater Vehicle, which hold the Bodhisatva as greater than the Buddha
Mudra—Language of hand gestures in art and dance conveying meaning and mood (also Hindu)
Naga—Mythical many-hooded king cobra
Parinirvana (nirvana) —End of cycles of suffering through the end of consciousness, symbolizing the Buddha’s demise
Pipal—tree under which the Buddha attained illumination
Pradaksina—Ritual circumambulation of a sacred structure or image in a clockwise direction, (also practiced by the Hindus)
Sangha—Monastic order
Stupa—Memorial to the Buddha, shaped like the mound of earth containing his ashes
Tirtha—Holy pilgrim site associated with relics
Torana—Arched gateway
Trinatna—The three Buddhist jewels: the Buddha, the Doctrine, and the Order
Vihara—A retreat for nuns and monks
Yaksa/yaksi—Male and female nature spirits with supernatural attributes in folklore

To follow the same for the Hindu religion.......

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Postby JuliaSet » Thu Dec 21, 2006 7:05 pm


Hindus are divided into two rival, but not necessarily hostile, sects The followers of Vishnu (the Vaishnava branch) consider him as a life-affirming, solar god. The earliest expression of Bhakti is Vishnu’s epiphany in the Bahagavad Gita where Krishna, Vishu’s incarnation, assures his devote, Arjuna of the power of devotion in attaining salvation without the need for Vedic rituals. Later Khrishna becomes associated with the cult of Radha/Krishna and the love between Radha (human-soul) and God. Vishnu’s icons show his consorts, Lakshmi and Bhudevi, on a smaller scale in comparison with him, reflecting Vishnu’s origin in the Vedic patriarchal pantheon.

By contrast, the Saiva/Shiva branch is centered on the Siva/Sakti dualism of two equal partners represented by their sacred coitus. Unlike Vishnu, Siva is almost totally faithful to his wife, Sakti, the Great Goddess. She is the active one, shakti meaning energy. Siva the god of paradoxes, is phallus incarnate, but also its opposite, the fiery celibate, underlining the binary opposition between “indulgence’ and “renunciation”

Siva and Sakti are over represented by the linga and yoni, symbolizing their respective sexual organs.

The relationship between the three supreme deities and the devotee is mystical, unlike the Judaeo-Christian God, who is the absolute ’Other’ in relationship to humans, these deities, even though transcendental, manifest themselves in human and animal forms, a paradox that enables us to relate to them. As arbiters of salvations, they are legitimized by following formula in the Purana (Sacred texts), the Vedic gods, Indra, Brahma, and others are periodically threatened by their wicked cousins, the demons (ansuras) In desperation they seek the help of either Vishnu, Siva or Devi according to the particular Purana. The saviour diety restores righteousness in the world by crushing that particular demon.

Glossary of Hindu Artistic and Architectural terms

Alasa kanya—‘languid maiden’, a decorative female figure
Amalaka—fluted, disc-shaped capstone of a Nagara tower, shaped like the Indian fruit amla or myrobalan
Antarala—antechamber to sanctum
Ardhamandapa—portico of a temple
Bho—decorative motif in Orissan temples with two dwarfs flanking medallion with monster regurgitating garlands as a front projection on towers
Bhoga mandapa—hall reserved for the preparation and distribution of consecrated food in Orissan temples
Candrasala—complex decoration based on the gavaksa motif
Darsan—auspicious aft of viewing a deity or superior personage
Devalyata—the deity’s dwelling
Dikpala—guardian deities of the cardinal directions
Dravida—South Indian, as in Dravida temple type
Gargha grha (‘embryo chamber’ ;) —sanctum or shrine
Ghana Dvara—blind symbolic door often containing niche-deity
Ghanta—bell shaped finial
Gopura—highly pyramidal gate towers of Dravida temples
Jagamohana—the mandapa in Orissan temples
Kirttimukha (‘face of glory’ ;) —lions head with missing lower jaw as a decorative motif placed mainly over door jambs of temples or on the front part of the tower
Kuta—an architectural motif in a Dravida temple in the form of a square, domed shrine
Linga—Shiva’s sexual organ
Mahamandapa—great pillared hall following the mandapa
Makara—decorative motif based on a mythical sea monster
Mandapa—closed or pillared hall preceding the sanctum
Mukhamandapa—main hall of temple
Nagara—North Indian, as in Nagara temple type
Nandi mandapa—a pavilion containing a sculpture of Siva’s bull (Nandi), usually fronting a Davida temple
Nasi—gavaksa motif in Dravida temples
Nata Mandapa— dance hall in Orissan temples
Nataraja—the’Lord of the Dance’ a Siva image
Pada—square unit of the vastu-purusa-mandala
Pancayantan—five-shrined temple
Panjara—vaulted apsidal motif in Dravida temples
Pidha—roof tier of Orissan temples
Prakara—hight wall enclosing a temple
Prasada—the deitie’s palace, temple
Puja—ritual of worship with flowers, fruits and food
Ratha—wall division or projection in the elevation of a Nagara temple
Rekha deul—sanctum
Sala—a Dravidian architectural motif in the shape of a barrel-vaulted roof
Sikhara—tower of a Nagara temple (but the name for the finial in Dravida temples)
Srikovil—Keralan form of main shrine
Sukanasa (‘parrots beak’ ;) —a front projection of a tower comprising an image within a medallion, it is a widely used decorative motif based on the gavaksa that proides aestheic relier to the tower’s symmetry
Tala—storey, tier of the Vimana
Vastu-purusa-mandala—symbolis ground plan determining architectural proportions
Vastusastra—Architectural text
Vesara—mixed temple style combining norther and southern elements
Vimana—tower and sanctum in Dravida temples
Vyala—decorative lion monster

The rise of devotional Hinduism

While the Gupta period marked a high point in Buddhist art and architecture, the most innovative ideas were connected with the rise of the Hindu temple, a product of Bhakti or devotional Hinduism. Not only Buddhism, but orthodox Brahmanism too faced a new challenge from Bhakti, which swept across India in about the first century CE.

The new Bhakti deities, such as Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, made their appearance in the two epic Ramayana and Mahabahrata, even as their images were being fashioned. The ascendance of Vishnu, Siva, and Devi the Great Goddess, heralded the fall of the Vedic gods, who were not reduced to the level of mythological figures. From now on, the three great deities would be solely responsible for human redemption.

The temple dancers enjoyed a central but ambivalent position in society. IN contrast to the social subordination of women in ancient India, the feminine principle embodied in Devi, the Greta Goddess, has enjoyed primacy in Hinduism.

The shear numbers and names of Hindu deities are confusing, a reflection of the fact that this dense pantheon is the product of a long evolution, accommodating an enormous variety of religions, cults and sects. Thus bloody anima sacrifices exist side by side with extreme vegetarianism. The Hindu process of assimilation is a form of syncretism: whenever a local folk or popular deity was politcally powerful enough to threaten Brahmanism, it was accommodated with the high pantheon. The syncretic process named the particular deity as an aspect of Vishnu or of Siva according to its character.

The Hindu Temple:
The Hindu temple is a public institution like a Buddhist caitya, but the different priorities of the new Hindu patrons Hinduism — who did not form a coherent body as did the Buddhists — demanded a different organization of the sacred space, in keeping with the Hindu belief in the mystical kinship with God. The temple is literally the beloved deity’s dwelling, a resplendent pala, where his or her needs are faithfully catered to by temple priests. Hindus are not obligated to attend temple service. None theless, the temple is a holy site where they can perform circumambulation. They also perfom the pious at of gazing at the deity and offer prayers, flowers and food. Even though the temple is never a meeting place for a congregation, the south especially it came to be a focal point of the community, publicly maintained by land grants, which were often furnished by the ruling powers.

The hear of the temple is the dark mysterious gargha grha, evoking the mother’s womb, where one is meant to feel the unmanifest presence of the deity. From this source flows streams of energy outwards in all directions, a dynamic concept that is central to temple design.

Gradually, more functional buildings such as pillared halls and porticos were added to the gargha grha, which was surmounted with a tower. Hindu temples are broadly classified into northern and southern types. The earlier racial classification, Aryan for northern, and Dravidian for southern, has now been discarded in favour of the indigenous labels, Nagara and Dravida. The distinction rests on the main features: the tower surmounting the sanctum, the ground plan and the elevation or external walls. The Nagara tower has gently sloping curve, with the fluted disc at the pinnacle. The Dravida tower follows a dome and cornice pattern like a pyramid with diminishing tiers, crowned bye a square, polygonal or round dome.

The Nagara elevation consists of a series of projections and recesses, whereas the walls of Dravida temples are superficially similar to European buildings in being broken up by images within entablatures at regular intervals.

However temples in a number of culturally distinct regions, such as Kashmir, Bengal, and Kerala, evolved their own variations on the canonical form. The temple is oriented in eight cardinal directions; each direction resided over by a deity, thought this is not always depicted. In south India, the temple is enclosed by protective walls with gate towers marking the entrances. Architectural texts from the 5th century onwards tend to use the metaphor of the body for the temple, while the tower is imagined as the cosmic mountain Meru.

Lots more to type here………

Please forgive typos.. these words are very new to me!
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Postby reachrishikh » Fri Dec 22, 2006 10:15 am

JuliaSet wrote:Please forgive typos.. these words are very new to me!

Don't worry Gloria, all is forgiven. We understand the language issues you're facing.
Rest assured, there are still a couple of people atleast (me and Spear), who are really interested in what you are researching, and appreciate your efforts.
I am sorry I won't be able to provide much of my own inputs on this as I agreed before, because as much as I would like to engage myself in cultural/artistic pursuits, this is not the age for me to do so, as I have a lot of other things to do as a priority - I'm just starting out in life.
Keep the info coming. It's really educational, plus most of it is accurate.

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Postby JuliaSet » Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:47 pm

pm me if you find typos please? I'd like to be accurate. I believe that what has been posted so far is generally accurate, but it is based on my sources. It is quite possible that there are different viewpoints about some of the material, so knowing another area to check is also helpful.

LOL when I have banged on this for a while longer, I might start a similar thread for Maya/Aztec and Inca... Then off to Greece!

Thanks for the book source! I am having fun with those too.

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Postby JuliaSet » Fri Dec 22, 2006 7:27 pm

Lets be complete and see what comes of it.. I want to tempt TM to India..

How about some fav Indian foods? Remember Emperor had foods? Ya never know what might come of a pile of research! (I'm hoping)

Are there different dishes for different parts of the country? I think so, so put them in the thread with the area they are from! What kind of landscape generates what kind of dishes?

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Postby reachrishikh » Fri Dec 22, 2006 7:42 pm

There is one teensy mistake you made about the basic organisation of the Hindu religeous structure.

You see, Hinduism has three main 'Gods', these are the epitomisation of 'God' as known in other cultures/religions, only here God is manifested in three forms. They are not Vishnu, Shiva and Devi, but they are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is known as the creator, Vishnu is, well I can't think of the describing word for him right now, but suffice this to say his role comes between the other two, he oversees the life processes of the universe, from creation up till death, maybe 'sustainer' should be the word. And Shiva is known as the destroyer. (This is nowhere close to what other cultures know as the 'devil'. Shiva is far from the devil, he is one of the 'gods'. And there is no such thing as 'the devil' in Hindu mythology. There are multiple ones that go by the names of 'asuras' or rakshasas', meaning, well, monsters, or something strong, large, powerful, evil, scary, I'll leave the rest to your imaginations).

(According to my understanding of philosophy, combining Hindu and Taoist philosophies, God is the supreme being, above all else in the universe. All other things stems from 'God' or 'The One' in Taoism. This includes the Yin-Yang, that is the opposites, which include the perception of good and evil. This includes the demi gods/godesses on the good side and the asuras/rakshasas on the evil side. So the devil or devils are not exactly the opposite of god, but they are, heirarchially speaking, one step below 'God' or the supreme being).
Again, this is just my personal opinion, I'm not imposing this on anyone, neither am I imposing my views on anyone. (I believe it is necessary to give this statutory warning, or such a discussion is an open invitation for trolls). Here I am applying my understanding of Chinese philosophy to clarify how things stand in the Hindu Pantheon.

Back to the topic on hand. The 3 supreme gods are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and they are above all others. (Now I do not believe they are really 3, but all three are the same (I use the term for lack of a better one) 'person'. He is just manifested in 3 different forms in our mythology). One step below them come the demi-gods or the so-called Devis (Goddesses) and Devtas (Gods). They all have their own domains. For instance, Indra is the god of lightning and thunder, and the ruler of the Heavens.* Then there is the Sun-God or Surya. The god of Wind and Might is Pawan, and the god of Water is Varun. The god of destiny and righteousness is Yama or Dharmaraj, who also happens to be the god of Death. So you can see the Hindu divine structure is pretty similar to the Greek pantheon in this respect.
Right opposite the demi-gods, and almost equal in power and might, but again, one step below 'god', are the asuras.
The two sides are almost always at war and since the asuras also harrass the ordinary mortals on earth, along with their war with the forces of heaven, the demi-gods and mortals alike invoke the higher gods to deliver them from the evil. (This is just like you mentioned, Gloria, but Brahma is not one of the demi-gods).
One more thing, Brahma almost never appears in our mythology. He makes really rare appearances. And I do not remember a single story in which Brahma has come to the rescue, and fought with the asuras. (He's the creator, remember). Consequently, there are really few Brahma temples in India, although there are plenty of Shiva and Vishnu temples. I believe the number is just 3 Brahma temples in the entire world. Also, I have never seen a single instance where Brahma is expressly worshipped, although Vishnu and Shiva are. So it could have been the reason the author of your book/source made that mistake about including him with the demi-gods.

As far as the spouses of the three 'gods' go, I am not exactly sure where they fit in, in the scheme of things. They would most likely be included in the demi-gods. But the spouse of Shiva, Shakti or Parvati, is not one of the higher gods. In the divine echeleons, the spouses of the higher gods might come somewhere between the higher gods and the demi-gods in power and might.

You also have to understand. There are tons of local gods and goddesses in the country. These are the so-called patron gods of local areas. Many of them are believed to be different incarnations of the gods and demi-gods mentioned above. One favorite with the rural, orthodox masses is 'devi maa' or literally 'Mother Goddess', which is just about any 'goddess'. local incarnation or otherwise. They are staunch believers of the 'devi' and do not believe much in the other/higher gods. So it is possible that that article about including Shakti in the higher gods was written by one such believer.
It is ironic that these staunch believers of the female goddess 'devi maa' are the very people who have absolutely derogatory and downtrodden views about women in general.

* In Ancient India, everything was divided into different kingdoms, including the 'kingdoms' of heaven and 'hell', which was a bit different from the western concept of 'hell'. It was known as 'Paataal', and was sort of an underworld, and was supposed to be located underground, while the heavens were, as in across the varied religions, up in the skies, hidden from mortal eyes. Now the ruler of Heavens has perennially been Indra, but there have been various rulers of Paataal. Paataal is traditionally ruled by the leader of the asuras, or whoever is the strongest of them all, and asserts his might over the others. (You know how it works with the bad guys). The asuras contantly wage wars against heaven, and there have been periods of time when Indra was not the ruler of heaven, and it was under asura rule, but these periods normally do not last, and one of the higher gods dispatches the asura ruler of heaven, and brings Indra back to power. I think there have been instances wherein there were also mortal rulers of heaven, for some periods. But the other demi-gods never revolt against Indra, and do not wish to rule in his stead.
Contrast this to the Paataal, where other asuras might revolt against their ruler, and they might have an internal civil war. Also, asuras are generally considered mortal, wheras the demi gods are immortal. So when the rulers die out due to either natural causes or fights/wars, a new ruler will come up in his place. Also there have been instances where mortals have fought wars with asuras, and have ruled Paataal for brief periods. (This was just like fighting wars with the normal city-states above the ground. Anything can happen in mythology, remember, everything back then used to be magical, or have magic included in it to some degree). I remember one instance of a mortal ruler of Paataal from the Ramayana, where Hanuman defeats the ruler of Paataal in order to rescue Rama and Laxmana, and makes his son the king of Paataal, and blesses him and tells him to rule his kingdom well, before departing. (The blessing and words of advice sounded almost like as if it was a normal kingdom above the land, and it had normal people as its denizens).
These kingdoms - heaven and hell - are treated almost as the normal kingdoms on earth in mythology. But obviously, from the game's point of view, the player would not be given charge of either heaven or hell in a campaign, to build upon.

There is also one more thing. All the demi-gods and goddesses reside in Heaven or 'Swarg', as it is callled. (Which is just like the Mount Olympus in Greek mythology). The three higher gods, along with their respective spouses and children do not reside in heaven, but elsewhere. I do not know about the abodes of Vishnu or Brahma, but the abode of Shiva is very famous. He lives on Mount Kailas, along with his wife, Parvati, and his children, the Lord Ganesha, and Kartikeya. And Mount Kailas is an actual mountain in the Himalayas.
I think Lord Vishnu's abode is somewhere underwater, that is how it is always depicted in pictures.

Also, this separation of Shaivaite and Vaishnavite sects in Hinduism is recent news to me. I never knew of any such express separation. Sure, people from different cultures give more importance to one god/demi-god/goddess over the other, but I didn't know there was such an express division, especially that of Shiva originally being a Dravidain deity, while Vishnu was the only Aryan deity. Shiva has very much been part of Aryan religion, and is also mentioned in both the Ramayan and the Mahabharat. His son, Lord Ganesha, is the one who actually pens down the Mahabharat epic, as dictated to him by a sage. I didn't know of the north-south divide between Vishnu and Shiva worshippers, all northern folks worhip Shiva, and the southerners worhip Vishnu as Venkateshvara (another local incarnation). The son of Shiva, Ganesha, is our most important deity (he too, will come somewhere between the higher gods and the demi-gods, in power), and no worship or 'puja' is complete without him, both in the north, and the south. And this was the case in the vedic times as well, as evidenced by the information from our two epics.
Also, this is something I learnt recently that Laxmi and Saraswati were the daughters of Shiva, because we know Laxmi to be the spouse of Vishnu, and Saraswati to be the spouse of Brahma. These are the views of certain cultures, I do not know how much truth there is in them.

But the fact remains, that Shiva has very much been a part of Aryan religion since its very inception, and although the Dravidian religion and their gods might have been different, over the course of the ages, the 2 belief systems have become intertwined, and the descendants of dravidians today, almost totally follow the aryan belief systems.

(Alright, these different theories might lead to confusion, as there are numerous conflicting views on the same topic among different segments within the Hindu religion. Best is we should not focus too deeply on mythology at all, and only give it a cursory glance, as much as is required to make a great, Zeus-like game).

I was actually planning on writing a detailed article on Indian history myself, and wanted to include the above info in it, but it seems that I may not have the time for it, so I thought I'd just add this basic stuff here. And my, it has grown so large already!

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Postby reachrishikh » Fri Dec 22, 2006 7:47 pm

You know, I've been typing my other reply for over 2 hours now, and didn't see that post of yours about food.
And to think I was actually planning on starting a thread in the Outside World called 'Post your county's cusine' in which I would post the common foods eaten in my country and ask others to do the same. Maybe later. I've got to go to bed now.

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Postby JuliaSet » Fri Dec 22, 2006 7:49 pm

Goodie! Some real info! I've been sorting through books and posted what I found.. the stuff in the last portion about religion I got from Oxford History of Art, Indian Art by Partha Mitter. A lot of it was direct quotes and at times some paraphrasing.

I'm glad you posted some information, cause I was wondering if there would be others adding information too.

Hugs to you "Reach"


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Postby JuliaSet » Fri Dec 22, 2006 7:51 pm

We are on the same "wave length" reachrishikh!

I think we need a thread about favorite holiday foods and recipes!... then add your fav memory of it.

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Postby reachrishikh » Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:27 am

JuliaSet wrote:A lot of it was direct quotes and at times some paraphrasing.

A lot of my info was from memory. I've been told plenty of stories about our mythology by my mother and my grandmother when I was a kid, and I've also read a lot about them back then.

JuliaSet wrote:I think we need a thread about favorite holiday foods and recipes!... then add your fav memory of it.

We sure do, and I'm planning on starting it. I'll post the thread later in the evening. I've got to go now.
Recipies - I'm the wrong person to ask, I can't cook. I cause enough damage in the kitchen as it is, when I'm in it, and my mom's fed up.

Edit - oops, I didn't see you already did that in Outside World.

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Postby Spearthrower » Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:11 am

Vishnu is the Preserver - basically, maintains the status quo.

Very important point there Reachrishikh regarding the manifestations / vehicles of the main Gods..... and in fact that they are all manifestations or vehicles of a higher single entity.

I think a list of the most important Gods could easily be achieved, they are most frequently depicted in all areas of India rather than collating all the local and "specialised" devis.
Last edited by Spearthrower on Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby reachrishikh » Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:23 pm

Yup, that's the word I was looking for - 'Preserver' or 'Sustainer'.

Collating all the various localised deities in India is a next to impossible task. Not to mention totally pointless. There are millions of such deities all over the country.

Sample this -
The city of Mumbai has its own patron deity - Mumbadevi, from which the city gets its name. There are also a couple of other city-wide (patronage wise) deities, that are not worshiped elsewhere, outside the city. All of them have their temples/abodes down south, in the main townside area.

Now there are also even more locally oriented deities. There's one right down in the building where I live. I don't even know the name of the deity. She is worshipped mainly by the lower class folks that live in the slums around my building. These guys are descendants of the original indegeneous tribals who inhabited the area around which now stands my building along with some others. Because of their poverty and because of the popularity of slums as a construction type for illegal occupation of govt land by poor folks in Mumbai, these tribals now live in slums on their homeland. (The larger buildings were barely constructed a few decades ago, whereas the tribals have apparantly inhabited this area for hundreds of years, before the city was formed, or expanded).

The upper class folks living in the buildings do not bother with the local deity, neither do they worship it. They just included the temple within the boundary walls of my building, during its inception, for some politically oriented reason.

The 'temple' is smaller than a shack, it's barely 5 ft in height, and must be 6' X 6' in dimensions. The area of influence of this deity must be smaller than a square kilometer. Yet, the tribals who worship this deity, while no doubt will be included in the 'Hindu' religion, I don't think they worship any of the other Hindu gods, they only believe in their own local patron goddess. And they do so to the point of fanaticism.

And this is a very large city. Doubtless there are hundreds of other such highly localised deities/temples all over the city.

If you want the names of the main demi-gods, here goes. But first, note this, the Aryans primarily worshipped forces of nature (like all other ancient pagan religions). These very forces of nature were later begun to be worshipped in human forms, with the natural phenomenon associated with them having become their office, or their appointed task or domain.
I have already pointed out the major ones among these in the earlier post. I will post more here, as I remember their names. I am also posting that earlier bit here for consistency.

Indra is the god of Lightning and Thunder, and the ruler of the Heavens.
Then there is the Sun-God or Surya. (surya means sun in sanskrit)
The god of Wind and Might is Pawan. (pawan is another word for wind in sanskrit, the first being vaayu)
The god of Water is Varun.
The god of Fire is Agni. (Note - agni is also the sanskrit word for fire)
The god of Destiny and Righteousness is Yama or Dharmaraj, who also happens to be the god of Death.
The goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom, as well as Music is Saraswati.
The goddess of Wealth is Laxmi. (wealth or money is also known as laxmi in sanskrit)
There is another god of Wealth, actually, he's the Treasurer of the gods. His name is Kuber.

These are the main ones. I racked my brains, but I can't think of any more right now. I'll post them as I remember. Besides, I think this will be more than adequate for the game purposes, because we also have to take into account the three main gods - Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, as well as the most important god in hinduism all over the country - Ganesha.
Last edited by reachrishikh on Sat Dec 23, 2006 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Spearthrower » Sat Dec 23, 2006 6:07 pm

As an interesting aside......

I dont know if you are aware of this Reachrishikh, but here in Thailand there is a sanskrit root to most people's names (those names that aren't of Chinese origin).

A good example is Laxmi - in Thai this comes out as Laksmi and you can see it in names like Laksana etc - all of which have connotations of financial success.

India (through Sanskriti) is to this region's languages like Rome (Latin) is to Europe's. The only variation is that Pali is also a very important root dialect throughout south / south east Asia.

Yes, the main trimurti would suffice.... but how to fit Ganesha in? And, if we have Ganesha, then we need Parvati.... and if we have Parvati then we need Laxmi.... and then it all explodes again! :D

I personally love Ganesha though and always enjoyed seeing the Ganesha festivals. To be honest, I also loved the Parvati valley up in Kullu Manali region.... real bliss!

P.S. - I do have a list somewhere around of all the Hindu deities and spirits..... but I don't think I can bring myself to type it all in anyway! :D
Last edited by Spearthrower on Sat Dec 23, 2006 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby reachrishikh » Sat Dec 23, 2006 6:17 pm

Nope, I didn't know about the Sanskrit influence on Thai names. I did have a vague notion of some Sanskrit or Dravidian cultural influence in some South-East Asian country, but I didn't know that was Thailand. Isn't Angkor Vat in Thailand, or is it in Malaysia. Sorry but my knowledge of South-East Asian history, geography and culture is poor.

Actually, isn't Sanskrit the root for all Indo-European languages, including the ancient ones - Latin and Greek?

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Postby Spearthrower » Sat Dec 23, 2006 6:30 pm

Angkor Wat is in present day Cambodia - not far from the border of eastern Thailand.

Both Sanskrit and Ancient Greek have the same father language - some unidentified Indo-European language that predates them both but spreads with the aryan peoples. This is also linked to the Iranian languages and from the time of these peoples migrations, becomes the root language for much of Europe and Middle East and Central Asia.

I'd happily waffle on about this in greater detail but it's 1:30 a.m. and I doubt I can maintain coherent writing for much longer! :D

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Postby JuliaSet » Sat Dec 23, 2006 6:33 pm

Iconologically and stylistically there are some similarities in Greek and Indian architecture. Remember Alexander "visited" India a while back.

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