28 September 2007
I remember celebrating Diwali at home. On Bali Pratipada, people in Maharashtra say 'Ida Pida Talo, Baliche Rajya Yevo' (May all dangers and difficulties go away, May the rule of Bali return). Bali was this powerful just and popular king south of the Vindhyas and in his kingdom there was no misery and everyone was happy. The most popular story about Bali is the one in which Vishnu as Vaman takes advantage of his generosity and kills him - asks him for land that he can cover in three steps, covers heaven and earth in two steps and then steps on Bali's head.
Somehow in all Hindu mythology the gods especially their king Indra (like Zeus in Greek mythology) seem to be very shrewd, cunning and to an extent even evil and they always trick and defeat the naive demons. And all this killing of the so-called demons is justified in the name of protecting cows, brahmins and Dharma. Now our much-maligned Ravan was supposedly a great scholar and the greatest bhakt of Shiva. The part I like most about Shiva is his passionate and energetic Tandav dance and that he is the only mythological figure who lives a carefree life in the wilderness, makes love to the mountain king's daughter and last but not the least smokes marijuana. If I ever believed in any god it would be him.
There is such a nice collection of articles on mythology on wikipedia. Nordic mythology is also so rich. Wikipedia takes you on trips round the world and it took me to the legend of Valhalla and the Danish animated movie of 1986 available on youtube in seven parts. Internet zindabad!