Portal:Mythology

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The Mythology Portal

The term mythology can refer to either the study of myths or a body of myths. For example, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece. The term "myth" is often used colloquially to refer to a false story; however, the academic use of the term generally does not pass judgment on its truth or falsity. In the study of folklore, a myth is a religious narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form. Many scholars in other fields use the term "myth" in somewhat different ways. In a very broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story.

The main characters in myths are usually gods or supernatural heroes. As sacred stories, myths are often endorsed by rulers and priests and closely linked to religion. In the society in which it is told, a myth is usually regarded as a true account of the remote past. In fact, many societies have two categories of traditional narrative—(1) "true stories", or myths, and (2) "false stories", or fables. Myths generally take place in a primordial age, when the world had not yet achieved its current form. They explain how the world gained its current form and how customs, institutions, and taboos were established.

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Vithoba

Vithoba is a Hindu god, worshipped predominantly in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. While generally considered a manifestation of the Hindu god Vishnu or his avatar Krishna, he is sometimes associated with the god Shiva, the Buddha or both. Vithoba is often depicted as a dark young boy, standing arms-akimbo on a brick, sometimes accompanied by his main consort Rakhumai (Rukmini). Vithoba is the focus of the monotheistic, non-brahminical Varkari sect of Maharashtra and the Haridasa sect of Karnataka. Vithoba's main temple stands at Pandharpur in Maharashtra, close to the Karnataka border. Vithoba legends revolve around his devotee Pundalik, who is credited with bringing the deity to Pandharpur, and around Vithoba's role as a saviour to the poet-saints of the Varkari faith. The Varkari poet-saints are known for their unique genre of devotional lyric, the abhanga, dedicated to Vithoba and composed in Marathi. Other devotional literature dedicated to Vithoba includes the Kannada hymns of the Haridasa, and Marathi versions of the generic Hindu arati songs, associated with rituals of offering light to the deity. Though the origins of both his cult and his main temple remain subjects of debate, there is clear evidence that they already existed by the 13th century.

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Battle at Lanka, Ramayana, Udaipur, 1649-53.jpg

Battle at Lanka, Ramayana by Sahibdin. It depicts monkey army of the protagonist Rama (top left, blue figure) fighting the demon-king of the king of Lanka, Ravana in order to save Rama's kidnapped wife Sita. The painting depicts multiple events in the battle against the three-headed demon general Trisiras, in bottom left - Trisiras is beheaded by the monkey-companion of Rama - Hanuman.

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Chamunda

  • ...that Chamunda (pictured), a fearsome aspect of the Hindu Divine Mother, was worshipped by ritual human and animal sacrifices along with offerings of wine?
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Selected Myth

Trojan Horse

The Trojan War was a war waged, according to legend, against the city of Troy in Asia Minor by the armies of the Achaeans, following the kidnapping (or elopement) of Helen of Sparta by Paris of Troy. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in a cycle of epic poems of which only two, the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer, survive intact. The Iliad describes an episode late in this war, and the Odyssey describes the journey home of one of the Greek leaders, Odysseus. Other parts of the story, and different versions, were elaborated by later Greek poets, and by the Roman poet Virgil in his Aeneid.

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Legendary creatures

Shiva as Sharabha

Sharabha (Sanskrit: शरभ, Kannada: ಶರಭ, Śarabha) is a part-lion and part-bird beast in Hindu mythology, who, according to Sanskrit literature, is eight-legged and more powerful than a lion or an elephant, possessing the ability to clear a valley in one jump. In later literature, Sharabha is described as an eight-legged deer. Shaivite scriptures relate that god Shiva assumed the avatar (incarnation) of Sharabha in order to tame Narasimha, the fierce man-lion avatar of Vishnu. This manifestation is popularly known as Sharabeshwara ("Lord Sarabha") or Sharabeshwara-murti. The tale usually ends with the defeat of Narasimha and Vishnu becoming a devotee of Shiva.

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