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Ahura Mazda

Mitanni (Mi-ta-an-ni, also Mittani Mi-it-ta-ni) or Hanigalbat (Assyrian Hanigalbat, Khanigalbat cuneiform Ḫa-ni-gal-bat) was an Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC.

Founded by an Indo-Aryan ruling class governing a predominately Hurrian population, Mitanni came to be a regional power after the Hittite destruction of Amorite Babylon and a series of ineffectual Assyrian kings created a power vacuum in Mesopotamia.

Some theonyms, proper names and other terminology of the Mitanni are considered to form (part of) an Indo-Aryan superstrate, suggesting that an Indo-Aryan elite imposed itself over the Hurrian population in the course of the Indo-Aryan expansion. Archaeologists have attested a striking parallel in the spread to Syria of a distinct pottery type associated with what they call the Kura-Araxes culture.

A treatise on the training of chariot horses by Kikkuli contains a number of Indo-Aryan glosses. Kammenhuber (1968) suggested that this vocabulary was derived from the still undivided Indo-Iranian language, but Mayrhofer (1974) has shown that specifically Indo-Aryan features are present. In a treaty between the Hittites and the Mitanni (between Suppiluliuma and Shattiwaza, ca. 1380 BC), the deities Mitra, Varuna, Indra, and Nasatya (Ashvins) are invoked.

The Indus Valley Civilization, with its neighboring cultures of Zhob and Kulli regions in Balochistan, have yielded data on prehistoric religious practices on the Indian subcontinent dating back to 3000 BC. Some scholars suggest that the Indus Valley culture has a cult of the Great Mother or the Divine Mother, similar to such cults in Persia (Anahita), Asia Minor and the Mediterranean; and some have even speculated that this may be the earliest form of Shaktism.

The Vedic literature describes a number of significant goddesses including Ushas, Prithivi, Aditi, Saraswati, Vac, Nirrti, Ratri, Aranyani; and a number of minor ones, including Puramdhi, Parendi, Raka, Dhisana, – hardly mentioned about a dozen times in the Rig Veda, and they all are associated with bounties and riches. Few others like Ila, Bharati, Mahi, Hotra are invoked and summoned through hymns to take their share during certain rituals.

According to the Vedas, Shakti is claimed to be Maya or illusion that casts a veil over Brahman, the Ultimate reality. Shakti and Brahman are inseparable entities that lie in a single body which reaffirms the claim that Shakti and Shiva coexist.

Ahura Mazda, (also known as Ohrmazd, Ahuramazda, Hourmazd, Hormazd, and Hurmuz, Lord or simply as spirit) is the Avestan name for a higher spirit of the Old Iranian religion who was proclaimed as the uncreated spirit by Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism.

The pre-Christian Armenians had Aramazd as an important deity in their pantheon of gods. He is thought to be a syncretic deity, a combination of the autochthonous Urartian figure Ara and the Iranian Ahura Mazda. In modern-day Armenia, Aramazd is a male first name.

Ahura Mazda first appeared in the Achaemenid period (c. 550 – 330 BCE) under Darius I’s Behistun Inscription. Until Artaxerxes II (405–04 to 359–58 BCE), Ahura Mazda was worshiped and invoked alone. With Artaxerxes II, Ahura Mazda was invoked in a triad, with Mithra and Apam Napat.

In the Achaemenid period, there are no representations of Ahura Mazda other than the custom for every emperor to have an empty chariot drawn by white horses, to invite Ahura Mazda to accompany the Persian army on battles. Images of Ahura Mazda began in the Parthian period, but were stopped and replaced with stone carved figures in the Sassanid period.

Even though Ahura Mazda was a spirit in the Old Iranian religion, he had not yet been given the title of “uncreated spirit”. This title was given by Zoroaster who proclaimed Ahura Mazda as the uncreated spirit, wholly wise, benevolent and good, as well as the creator and upholder of Arta (“truth”). As Ahura Mazda is described as the creator and upholder of Arta, he is a supporter and guardian of justice, and the friend of the just man.

At the age of 30, Zoroaster received a revelation. While Zoroaster was fetching water from dawn for a sacred ritual, he saw the shining figure of the yazata, Vohu Manah, who led Zoroaster to the presence of Ahura Mazda, where he was taught the cardinal principles of the Good Religion. As a result of this vision, Zoroaster felt that he was chosen to spread and preach the religion.

He stated that this source of all goodness was the only Ahura worthy of the highest worship. He further stated that Ahura Mazda created spirits known as yazatas to aid him, who also merited devotion. Zoroaster proclaimed that all of the Iranian daevas were bad spirits and deserved no worship.

These “bad” spirits were created by Angra Mainyu, the hostile and evil spirit. The existence of Angra Mainyu was the source of all sin and misery in the universe. Zoroaster claimed that Ahura Mazda was not an omnipotent God, but used the aid of humans in the cosmic struggle against Angra Mainyu.

Nonetheless, Ahura Mazda is Angra Mainyu’s superior, not his equal. Angra Mainyu and his daevas (spirits) which attempt to afflict humans away from the path of righteousness (oasha) would eventually be destroyed.

Even though Ahura Mazda was a spirit in the Old Iranian religion, he had not yet been given the title of “uncreated spirit”. This title was given by Zoroaster who proclaimed Ahura Mazda as the uncreated spirit, wholly wise, benevolent and good, as well as the creator and upholder of Arta (“truth”). As Ahura Mazda is described as the creator and upholder of Arta, he is a supporter and guardian of justice, and the friend of the just man.

“Mazda”, or rather the Avestan stem-form Mazdā-, nominative Mazdå, reflects Proto-Iranian Mazdāh (female). It is generally taken to be the proper name of the spirit, and like its Sanskrit cognate medhā, means “intelligence” or “wisdom”.

Both the Avestan and Sanskrit words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian mazdhā-, from Proto-Indo-European mn̩sdʰeh1, literally meaning “placing (dʰeh1) one’s mind (mn̩-s)”, hence “wise”.

“Ahura” was originally an adjective meaning ahuric, characterizing a specific Indo-Iranian entity named asura. Although traces of this figure are still evident in the oldest texts of both India and Iran, in both cultures the word eventually appears as the epithet of other spirits.

The name was rendered as Ahuramazda (Old Persian) during the Achaemenid era, Hormazd during the Parthian era, and Ohrmazd was used during the Sassanian era.

The name may be attested on cuneiform tablets of Assyrian Assurbanipal, in the form Assara Mazaš (this would seem to reflect a form Asura Mazdā prior to the Common Iranian development s > h), though this interpretation is not uncontroversial.

Ahura is an Avestan language designation for a particular class of Zoroastrian spirits.

Avestan ahura derives from Indo-Iranian asura, also attested in an Indian context as RigVedic asura. As suggested by the similarity to the Old Norse æsir, Indo-Iranian asura may have an even earlier Indo-European root.

It is commonly supposed that Indo-Iranian Asura was the proper name of a specific spirit, with whom other spirits were then identified.

For not altogether obvious reasons, the Oxford English Dictionary lists asura, rather than ahura, as a Zoroastrian term.

Devī is the Sanskrit root-word of Divine, its related masculine term is Deva. Deva is the Sanskrit word for deity, its related feminine term is devi. In modern Hinduism, it can be loosely interpreted as any benevolent supernatural being.

Devi or the divine feminine is an equal counterpart to the divine masculine, and hence manifests herself as the Trinity herself – the Creator (Durga or the Divine Mother), Preserver (Lakshmi, Parvati and Saraswati) and Destroyer (Mahishasura-Mardini, Kali and Smashanakali).

Devi is synonymous with Shakti, the female aspect of the divine, as conceptualized by the Shakta tradition of Hinduism. She is the female counterpart without whom the male aspect, which represents consciousness or discrimination, remains impotent and void. Goddess worship is an integral part of Hinduism.

Devi is, quintessentially, the core form of every Hindu Goddess. As the female manifestation of the supreme lord, she is also called Prakriti, as she balances out the male aspect of the divine addressed Purusha.

Devi is the supreme Being in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism, while in the Smartha tradition, she is one of the five primary forms of God. In other Hindu traditions of Shaivism and Vaishnavism, Devi embodies the active energy and power of male deities (Purushas), such as Vishnu in Vaishnavism or Shiva in Shaivism. Vishnu’s shakti counterpart is called Lakshmi, with Parvati being the female shakti of Shiva.

Asuri is the feminine of an adjective from asura and therefore means primarily belonging to or having to do with demons and spirits. The term Asuri is a secondary nominal derivative of Asura and a personal name. asur was a title, or part of an individual name, in the Assyrian king-lists after 2000 BC, example: Puzhur-Asur (of circa 1975 BC); with the Rigvedic usage purported by Malti Shengde to be parallel to the Akkadian. Asur, meaning The Beneficent, was the national god of Assyria, with the city of Asur named after the deity.

Asuri is also one of the names of the feminine divinity, Devi. Other names for the Mother Goddess include Vak, Savitri, Gauri, Kali, Katyayani, Chamunda, Siva, Kausiki, Parvati, Chandika, Brahmarti, Mahesvari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narasimhi, Indrani, Raktadantika, Satakshi, Sakambhari, Bhima, Bhramari, etc. Asuri is also rendered as an attribute, asuri māyā, in a mantra addressed to the Earth Goddess in the Yajurveda.

While the conception of Devi and the Mahishasura story is supposedly rooted in the Vedic tradition and in the Devī-Māhātmya, it is purported the Bhāgavata movement gained acceptance by the Puranas and Tantras in the Gupta Age of renaissance leading to a synthesis of deities, such that the Goddess herself came to be conceived as Vishnu-Maya, and Katyayini came to be identified with Narayani. The author of Devī-Māhātmya with a rare faculty of synthesis brought together different forms of the Mother Goddess cult prevailing in different regions.

In the Ṛgveda there are two major groups of gods, the Devas and the Asuras. Unlike in later Vedic texts and in Hinduism, the Asuras are not yet demonized. Aryaman in Ṛgveda is an Asura, Mitra and Varuna being their most prominent members. Aditi is the mother of Adityas, led by Varuna and Mitra.

In Hinduism, the asuras are a group of power-seeking deities different from the benign deities known as devas (which are also known as suras). They are sometimes considered naturalists, or nature-beings, in constant battle with the devas.

The devas in Hinduism, also called Suras, are often juxtaposed to the Asuras, their half brothers. Devas are also the maintainers of the realms as ordained by the Trimurti. They are often warring with their equally powerful counterparts, the Asuras.

The Sanskrit deva- derives from Indo-Iranian dev- which in turn descends from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) word, deiwos, originally an adjective meaning “celestial” or “shining”, which is a PIE (not synchronic Sanskrit) vrddhi derivative from the root diw meaning “to shine”, especially as the day-lit sky. The feminine form of PIE deiwos is PIE deiwih2, which descends into Indic languages as devi, in that context meaning “female deity”. There is also Diwali the “festival of lights”.

Also deriving from PIE deiwos, and thus cognates of deva, are Lithuanian Dievas (Latvian Dievs, Prussian Deiwas), Germanic Tiwaz (seen in English “Tuesday”) and the related Old Norse Tivar (gods), and Latin deus “god” and divus “divine”, from which the English words “divine”, “deity”, French “dieu”, Portuguese “deus”, Spanish “dios” and Italian “dio”, also “Zeys/Ζεύς” – “Dias/Δίας”, the Greek father of the gods, are derived.

Related but distinct is the PIE proper name Dyeus which while from the same root, may originally have referred to the “heavenly shining father”, and hence to “Father Sky”, the chief God of the Indo-European pantheon, continued in Sanskrit Dyaus. The bode of the Devas is Dyuloka.

In general, in the earliest text, the Rigveda, the asuras preside over moral and social phenomena. Among the asuras are Varuna, the guardian of Rta, and Aryaman, the patron of marriages. Conversely, the Sura preside over natural phenomena.

Among the devas are the Ushas, whose name means “dawn”, and Indra, the leader of the Devas. However, by the time that the Brahmana texts were written, the character of the Asuras had become negative.

In later texts, such as the Puranas and the Itihasas, the devas are the good beings, and the asuras are the bad ones. According to the Bhagavad Gita (16.6), all beings in the universe assume either the divine qualities (daivi sampad) or the material qualities (asuri sampad).

The sixteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita describes the divine qualities briefly and the materialistic qualities at length. In summary, the Gita (16.4) says that the asuric qualities are pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness, and ignorance.

In early Vedic texts, both the asura and the Suras were deities who constantly competed with each other, some bearing both designations at the same time. In late-Vedic and post-Vedic literature the Vedic asuras became lesser beings; whilst in Avesta, the Persian counterpart of the Vedas, the devas began to be considered as lesser beings.

Later, in the Puranas, Kashyap is portrayed as the father of both, devas and asuras. In the Puranas, Kashyap is said to have married 60 daughters of Daksha Prajapati and fathered all beings on earth including devas, asuras, manavas and the entire animal world.

According to the Vishnu Purana, during the churning of the ocean the daityas came to be known as asuras because they rejected Varuni, the goddess of sura or wine; while the devas accepted her and came to be known as suras.

According to Alain Daniélou it is significant that it was not for their sins that the anti-gods had to be destroyed but because of their power, their virtue, their knowledge, which threatened that of the gods—that is, the gods of the Aryas. The antigods are often depicted as good brahmanas (Bali, Prahlada). Defeated, they serve the gods faithfully (Siva Purana).

In order to explain the demonization of asuras, mythology was created to show that though the asuras were originally just, good, virtuous, their nature had gradually changed. The asuras (anti-gods) were depicted to have become proud, vain, to have stopped performing sacrifices, to violate sacred laws, not visit holy places, not cleanse themselves from sin, to be envious of devas, torturous of living beings, creating confusion in everything and to challenge the devas.

Alain Daniélou explains the nature of social division between the devas and asuras; and the subsequent assimilation thus:

With new political alignments and alliances, as well as with changes in moral conceptions and ritual, some of the gods changed side. The teachings of the wise asuras came to be incorporated into those of the Vedic sages and often, more or less openly replaced by them.

On the other hand, the asuras gradually assimilated the demons, spirits, and ghosts worshipped by the aboriginal tribes and also most of the gods of the other non-Vedic populations of India. In the later epics the term asura becomes a common name for all the opponents of the Aryan gods and includes all the genii, the daityas, and danavas and other descendants of the seer Vision (KaSyapa), although not usually the demons (rakshasa) said to be descended from Smooth Hair (Pulastya).

Some of the ancient heroes, later recognized as incarnations of Visnu or connected with their legend, came down from the background of pre-Vedic culture and have carried with them the tales of the great asuras whose names and wisdom had remained untarnished.

Tales referring to the peoples and the aboriginal tribes with whom the Aryas were first in conflict when they settled in northern India came to be incorporated in the myths of the asuras and the rakshasa.

The allusions to the disastrous wars between the asuras and the suras, found everywhere in the Puranas and the epics, seem to include many episodes of the struggle of the Aryan tribes against earlier inhabitants of India.

The rakshasa appear as guerrillas who disturb the sacrifices. A rakshasa carries off Bhrgu’s wife, who was originally betrothed to the rakshasa Puloman. Many Aryas contracted alliances with asuras. Arjuna married King Vasuki’s sister. Matali’s daughter married the naga Sumukha (Mahabharata 5.3627). The naga Taksaka is an intimate friend of Indra (ibid. 1.18089). Ghatotkaca is a son of Bhima by the rakshasi woman Hidimba.

Rakshasas and yaksas are named occasionally as being in the army of the devas. In the war described in the Mahabharata, some asuras support the Kurus in battle (ibid. 7.4412). The asuras are often grouped with different Hindu tribes such as the Kalinga, the Magadha, the Nagas. There are still today Naga tribes in Assam, and the Asur are a primitive tribe of ironsmiths in central India.

In the Vedas, Aditi (Sanskrit: “limitless”) is mother of the gods (devamatar) from whose cosmic matrix the heavenly bodies were born. As celestial mother of every existing form and being, the synthesis of all things, she is associated with space (akasa) and with mystic speech (Vāc). She may be seen as a feminized form of Brahma and associated with the primal substance (mulaprakriti) in Vedanta.

The name is mentioned in Vedas as mother of Surya, the chief solar deity in Hinduism, and other celestial bodies or gods Adityas (meaning sons of Aditi). In Hinduism, Ādityas, meaning “of Aditi”, refers to the offspring of Aditi.

Bhagavata Purana enlists total 12 Adityas as twelve Sun-gods. In each month of the year, it is a different Aditya (Sun God) who shines. She is preeminently the mother of 12 Adityas whose names include Vivasvān, Aryamā, Pūṣā, Tvaṣṭā, Savitā, Bhaga, Dhātā, Vidhātā, Varuṇa, Mitra, Śatru, and Urukrama (Vishnu was born as Urukrama, the son of Nabhi and Meru.)

These twelve Adityas are actually different forms of Lord Surya. Each Aditya rules a month in the year. All these 12 Adityas are the opulent expansions of Lord Vishnu in the form of Sun-God.

She is also is the mother of the Vamana avatar of Vishnu. Accordingly, Vishnu was born as the son of Aditi in the month of Shravana (fifth month of the Hindu Calendar, also called Avani) under the star Shravana. Many auspicious signs appeared in the heavens, foretelling the good fortune of this child.

In Hinduism, Aditya is used in the singular to mean the Sun God, Surya. Aditi is said to be the mother of the great god Indra, the mother of kings (Mandala 2.27) and the mother of gods (Mandala 1.113.19). In the Vedas, Aditi is Devmatar (mother of the celestial gods) as from and in her cosmic matrix all the heavenly bodies were born.

Aditi has correspondences in many ancient mythology: the highest Sephirah in the Zohar; the Gnostic Sophia-Achamoth; Rhea, mother of the original 6 Greek Olympians (Hestia, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, Hera, and Zeus) who was married to Cronus, and later banished to the Underworld, in Tartarus; Bythos or the great Deep; Amba; Surarani; Chaos; Waters of Space; Primordial Light; and the source of the Egyptian seven heavens.

Sometimes she is linked with the Greek Gaia, goddess of earth, to denote dual nature or the mother of both the spiritual and physical: Aditi, cosmic expanse or space being the mother of all things; and Gaia, mother of earth and, on the larger scale, of all objective nature (cf SD 2:65, 269).

Aryaman (pronounced as “aryaman”; nominative singular is aryamā) is one of the early Vedic deities. His name signifies “bosom friend”, “play-fellow” or “companion”. He is the third son of Aditi. He is an Aditya. He is supposed to be the chief of the manes and the Milky Way (aryamṇáḥ pánthāḥ) is supposed to be his path. He was commonly invoked together with the deities Varuṇa and Mitra, also with Bhaga, Bṛhaspati, and others. The Hindu marriage oaths are administered with an invocation to Aryaman being the witness to the event.

The vedic Aryaman and the zoroastrian Airyaman, who in the Avesta is the Yazata of friendship and healing, is the same being. In old German or Saxon mythology, Irmin was the god of war and storms. Often identified with Norse Odin and closely related to him, Irmin is derived from Vedic god Aryaman. Germans considered Milky Way to be the path of Irmin, and called it ‘Irmin’s Way’.

Angra Mainyu (also: Aŋra Mainiiu) is the Avestan-language name of Zoroastrianism’s hypostasis of the “destructive spirit.” The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman. In Zoroastrian tradition, Avestan Airyaman is Middle Persian Erman (Ērmān).

Ahriman, Avestan Angra Mainyu (“Destructive Spirit”),  the evil spirit in the dualistic doctrine of Zoroastrianism. His essential nature is expressed in his principal epithet—Druj, “the Lie.” The Lie expresses itself as greed, wrath, and envy. To aid him in attacking the light, the good creation of Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord, Ahriman created a horde of demons embodying envy and similar qualities. Despite the chaos and suffering effected in the world by his onslaught, believers expect Ahriman to be defeated in the end of time by Ahura Mazdā.

The common noun is a theological and social term literally meaning “member of (the) community or tribe.” In a secondary development, the common noun became the proper name of a divinity Airyaman, who is the yazata of health and healing.

Avestan angra mainyu “seems to have been an original conception of Zoroaster’s.” In the Gathas, which are the oldest texts of Zoroastrianism and are attributed to the prophet himself, angra mainyu is not yet a proper name.

In the one instance in these hymns where the two words appear together, the concept spoken of is that of a mainyu (“mind”, “mentality”, “spirit” etc.) that is angra (“destructive”, “inhibitive”, “malign” etc.).

According to a cosmogonical story preserved in the Vendidad, not long after Ahura Mazda had created the world, Angra Mainyu unleashed innumerable sicknesses upon it. In response, Ahura Mazda requested Manthra Spenta, Sraosha and Airyaman to find a cures for them, promising each that he would reward them and bless them with Dahma Afriti. With Airyaman’s assistance, Ahura Mazda then brought 10,000 plants to the earth, so providing Thraetaona with the means to cure the world of all ills (Vendidad 22.5).

Angra Mainyu is etymologically related to Angiras, who is father of Brihaspati – guru of devas. Bṛhaspati is the son of Rishi Angiras (according to the Rig Veda 4.40.1) and Surupa according to the Shiva Purana. He has two brothers named Utathya and Samvartana, and has three wives.

Angiras is a rishi (or sage) who, along with sage Atharvan, is credited to have formulated (“heard”) most of the fourth Veda called Atharvaveda. He is also mentioned in the other three Vedas. Sometimes he is reckoned as one of the Seven Great Sages, or saptarishis of the first Manvantara, with others being, Marichi, Atri, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya, and Vashishtha  Bharadwaja maharshis was his descendant.

The name Angirasas is applied generically to several Puranic individuals and things; a class of Pitris, the ancestors of man according to Hindu Vedic writings, and probably descended from the sage Angiras. In the Rigveda, Agni is sometimes referred to as Angiras or as a descendant of Angiras (RV1.1). Agneya (Daughter of agni) & Agnayi is considered the mother of Angiras.

Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods. He is ever-young, because the fire is re-lit every day, and also immortal.

Agni, the Vedic god of fire, has two heads, one marks immortality and the other marks an unknown symbol of life. Agni has made the transition into the Hindu pantheon of gods, without losing his importance. With Varuna and Indra he is one of the supreme gods in the Rigveda.

The link between heaven and earth, the deities and the humans, he is associated with Vedic sacrifice, taking offerings to the other world in his fire. In Hinduism, his vehicle is the ram.

The word agni is Sanskrit for “fire” (noun), cognate with Latin ignis (the root of English ignite), Russian (ogon), Polish “ogień”, Slovenian “ogenj”, Serbo-Croatian oganj, and Lithuanian ugnis – all with the meaning “fire”, with the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European root being h₁égni-. Agni has three forms: fire, lightning and the Sun.

In Hindu scriptures, Agni is the God of Fire, and is present in many phases of life such as honouring of a birth (diva lamp), birthdays (birthday candles on a cake), prayers (diva lamp), weddings (Yagna where the bride and groom circle 7 times) and death (cremation).

It is said that Aditi challenges the modern idea that the Vedic peoples were patriarchal. Aditi was regarded as both the sky goddess, and earth goddess, which is very rare for a prehistoric civilization. But it seems that the widespread belief that these two were originally a single deity appears to be mistaken.

Dyavaprthivi is a Sanskrit dvandva, or compound word, meaning heaven and earth. The term occurs 65 times in the Rig Veda. Dyavaprthivi has mistakenly been labeled a Hindu god who later split into Dyaus, the Sky Father, and Prthivi, the Earth Mother.

Most prehistoric civilizations venerated a dual principle, Sky Father and Earth Mother, which appears to be borrowed from the concept of Prithivi and Dyaus Pita. Aditi was attributed the status of first deity by the Vedic culture, although she is not the only one attributed this status in the Vedas.

Prithvi is the Sanskrit name for earth and its essence Prithivi Tattwa, in the form of a mother goddess or godmother. Prithvi is also called Dhra, Dharti, Dhrithri, meaning that which holds everything.

As Prithvi Mata “Mother Earth” she contrasts with Dyaus Pita “father sky”. In the Rigveda, Earth and Sky are frequently addressed in the dual, probably indicating the idea of two complementary half-shells. She is the wife of Dyaus Pita (‘father Dyaus’).

She is associated with the cow. Prithu, an incarnation of Vishnu, milked her in the cow’s form to get food from her. She is a national personification in Indonesia, where she is known as Ibu Pertiwi (‘Mother Earth’).

Dyauṣ Pitrā (literally “Sky Father” is the ancient sky god of Vedic pantheon, husband of Prithivi and father of Ushas (Dawn), Ratri (night) and the chief deities.

In the Rigveda, Dyaus Pita appears only in verses 1.89.4, 1.90.7, 1.164.33, 1.191.6 and 4.1.10, and only in RV 1.89.4 does Pitar Dyaus “Father Sky” appear alongside Mata Prithvi “Mother Earth”.

He is thus a very marginal deity in Rigvedic mythology, but his intrinsic importance is visible from his being the father of the chief deities. That Dyaus was seen as the father of Indra.

He is mainly considered in comparative philology as a last remnant of the chief god of Proto-Indo-European religion. The name Dyauṣ Pitā is exactly parallel to the Greek Zeus Pater etymologically, and closely related to Latin Ju Piter. Both Dyauṣ and Zeus reflect a Proto-Indo-European Dyeus.

Based on this reconstruction, the widespread opinion in scholarship since the 19th century has been that Indra had replaced Dyaus as the chief god of the early Indo-Aryans. While Prthivi survives as a Hindu goddess after the end of the Vedic period, Dyaus Pita became almost unknown already in antiquity.

The noun dyaús (when used without the pitā “father”) means “sky, heaven” and occurs frequently in the Rigveda, as a mythological entity, but not as a male deity: the sky in Vedic mythology was imagined as rising in three tiers, avama , madhyama, and uttama or tṛtīya (RV 5.60.6).

In the Purusha Suktam (10.90.14), the sky is described to have been created from the head of the primaeval being, the Purusha.

In some lineages of Hinduism, Purusha (Sanskrit puruṣa, “man, cosmic man”, in Sutra literature also called puṃs “man”) is the “Self” which pervades the universe. The Vedic divinities are interpretations of the many facets of Purusha. According to the Rigvedic Purusha sukta, Purusha was dismembered by the devas — his mind is the Moon, his eyes are the Sun, and his breath is the wind.

In the Rigveda, Purusha is described as a primeval giant that is sacrificed by the gods (see Purushamedha) and from whose body the world and the varnas (classes) are built. He is described as having a thousand heads and a thousand feet. He emanated Viraj, the female creative principle, from which he is reborn in turn after the world was made out of his parts.

Bhagavata Purana describes that Purusha is the first form of Supreme Lord Narayana and this Purusha is the source of everything in the universe.

Narayana is the Vedic Supreme God (including his different avatars) in Hinduism, venerated as the Supreme Being in Vaishnavism. He is also known as Vishnu and Hari and is venerated as Purushottama or Supreme Purusha in Hindu sacred texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Vedas and the Puranas.

The Purusha in the title of Purusha Sukta refers to the Parama Purusha, Purushottama, Vedic Supreme God Narayana, in his form as the Viraat Purusha (Enormously Huge Being). It describes this form of his as having countless heads, eyes and legs manifested everywhere, and beyond the scope of any limited method of comprehension. All creation is but a fourth part of him. The rest is unmanifested. He is the source of all creation. Purusha along with Prakrti creates the necessary tattvas for the creation of universe.

Rishi Angiras of the Atmopanishad belonging to the Atharvaveda explains that Purusha, the dweller in the body, is three-fold: the Bahyatman (the Outer-Atman) which is born and dies; the Antaratman (the Inner-Atman) which comprehends the whole range of material phenomena, gross and subtle, with which the Jiva concerns himself, and the Paramatman which is all-pervading, unthinkable, indescribable, purifies the unclean, is without action and has no Samskaras.

The Vedanta Sutras state janmādy asya yatah, meaning that ‘The Absolute Truth is that from which everything else emanates’ Bhagavata Purana [S.1.1.1]. This Absolute Truth, which is personal in nature, is Purusha personified.

In Samkhya, a school of Hindu philosophy, Purusha is pure consciousness. It is thought to be our true identity, to be contrasted with Prakrti, or the material world, which contains all of our organs, senses, and intellectual faculties.

The word Purusha is one of the names of Shiva, who is known as the Pure Purusha (in this sense, a purusha is a person who follows the law of gratitude). According to the Hindu mantra “Tat purushay vid mahe, Mahadevay dhee mahee. Tanno rudrah prachodyat”, a purusha is a person (Mahadev) having purushartha (nature of giving).

The parallel to Norse Ymir is often considered to reflect the myth’s origin in Proto-Indo-European religion. Connections have been proposed between the 1st century figure of Tuisto and the hermaphroditic primeval being Ymir in later Norse mythology, attested in 13th century sources, based upon etymological and functional similarity.

In Norse mythology, Ymir, Aurgelmir, Brimir, or Bláinn is a primeval being born of primordial elemental poison and the ancestor of all jötnar. Ymir is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional material, in the Prose Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century, and in the poetry of skalds.

Taken together, several stanzas from four poems collected in the Poetic Edda refer to Ymir as a primeval being who was born from venom that dripped from the icy rivers Élivágar and lived in the grassless void of Ginnungagap. Ymir birthed a male and female from the pits of his arms, and his legs together begat a six-headed being.

The gods Odin, Vili, and Vé fashioned the Earth (elsewhere personified as a goddess; Jörð) from his flesh, from his blood the ocean, from his bones the hills, from his hair the trees, from his brains the clouds, from his skull the heavens, and from his eyebrows the middle realm in which mankind lives, Midgard. In addition, one stanza relates that the dwarfs were given life by the gods from Ymir’s flesh and blood (or the Earth and sea).

In the Prose Edda, a narrative is provided that draws from, adds to, and differs from the accounts in the Poetic Edda. According to the Prose Edda, after Ymir was formed from the elemental drops, so too was Auðumbla, a primeval cow, whose milk Ymir fed from.

The Prose Edda states that three gods killed Ymir; the brothers Odin, Vili, and Vé, and details that, upon Ymir’s death, his blood caused an immense flood. Scholars have debated as to what extent Snorri’s account of Ymir is an attempt to synthesize a coherent narrative for the purpose of the Prose Edda and to what extent Snorri drew from traditional material outside of the corpus that he cites.

By way of historical linguistics and comparative mythology, scholars have linked Ymir to Tuisto, the Proto-Germanic being attested by Tacitus in his 1st century AD work Germania and have identified Ymir as an echo of a primordial being reconstructed in Proto-Indo-European mythology.

According to Tacitus’s Germania (98 CE), Tuisto (or Tuisco) is the divine ancestor of the Germanic peoples. The figure remains the subject of some scholarly discussion, largely focused upon etymological connections and comparisons to figures in later (particularly Norse) Germanic mythology. In the larger Indo-European pantheon, Tuisto is equated to the Vedic Tvastar.

In Vedic religion,Tvaṣṭṛ, is the first born creator of the universe. He is the visible form of creativity emerged from the navel of the invisible Viswakarma In Yajurveda purusha suktha and in the 10th mandala of the Rigveda his character and attributes are merged with the concept of Hiranyagharbha/Prajapathy or Brahma.

The term, also transliterated as Tvaṣṭr, nominative Tvaṣṭā, is the heavenly builder, the maker of divine implements, especially Indra’s Vajra and the guardian of Soma. Tvaṣṭṛ is mentioned 65 times in the Ṛgveda and is the former of the bodies of men and animals,’ and invoked when desiring offspring, called garbha-pati or the lord of the womb.

Tvaṣṭṛ is also referred to as Rathakāra or the chariot maker and sometimes as Takṣā in Ṛgveda. The term Tvaṣṭṛ is mentioned in the Mitanni treaty, which establishes him as a Proto-Indo-Iranian divinity.

As per Ṛgveda Tvaṣṭr known as Rathakāra belongs to clan of the Bhṛgus. Similarly, as mentioned in the epic Mahābhārata, Tvaṣṭr or the Rathakāra is Śukrācārya’s son, Śukrācārya (the mentor of the demons) is Bhṛgu’s grandson and Vāruṇibhṛgu’s son. Tvaṣṭṛ is sometimes associated or identified with similar deities,such as Savitṛ, Prajāpatī, Viśvakarman and Puṣan.

He is the father of Saranyṇ, who twice bears twins to Vivasvat (RV 8.26.21), Yama and Yami, also identified as the first humans. He is also the father of Viśvarūpa or Triśiras who was killed by Indra, in revenge Tvaṣṭṛ created Vrtra a fearsome dragon. Surprisingly he is also inferred to as Indra’s father.

Tvaṣṭṛ is a solar deity in the epic of Mahābhārata and the Harivaṃśa. He is mentioned as the son of Kāśyapa and Aditi, and is said to have made the three worlds with pieces of the Sun god Surya. The sr name of south indian goldsmiths Tattar is probably derived from the term Tvoshtar

The Germania manuscript corpus contains two primary variant readings of the name. The most frequently occurring, Tuisto, is commonly connected to the Proto-Germanic root tvai- “two” and its derivative tvis- “twice” or “doubled”, thus giving Tuisto the core meaning “double”. Any assumption of a gender inference is entirely conjectural, as the tvia/tvis roots are also the roots of any number of other concepts/words in the Germanic languages. Take for instance the Germanic “twist”, which, in all but the English has the primary meaning of “dispute/conflict”.

The second variant of the name, occurring originally in manuscript E, reads Tuisco. One proposed etymology for this variant reconstructs a Proto-Germanic tiwisko and connects this with Proto-Germanic Tiwaz, giving the meaning “son of Tiu”. This interpretation would thus make Tuisco the son of the sky-god (Proto-Indo-European Dyeus) and the earth-goddess.

Jacob (2005) attempts to establish a genealogical relationship between Tuisto and Ymir based on etymology and a comparison with (post-)Vedic Indian mythology: as Tvastr, through his daughter Saranyū and her husband Vivaswān, is said to have been the grandfather of the twins Yama and Yami, so Jacob argues that the Germanic Tuisto (assuming a connection with Tvastr) must originally have been the grandfather of Ymir (cognate to Yama). Incidentally, Indian mythology also places Manu (cognate to Germanic Mannus), the Vedic progenitor of mankind, as a son of Vivaswān, thus making him the brother of Yama/Ymir.

Tacitus relates that “ancient songs” (Latin carminibus antiquis) of the Germanic peoples celebrated Tuisto as “a god, born of the earth” (deum terra editum). These songs further attributed to him a son, Mannus, who in turn had three sons, the offspring of whom were referred to as Ingaevones, Herminones and Istaevones, living near the Ocean (proximi Oceano), in the interior (medii), and the remaining parts (ceteri) of the geographical region of Germania, respectively.

The order in which one god gives has a son which in turn has three famous sons has a resemblance to how Búri has the son Borr who in turn has three sons: Odin, Vili and Vé.

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