Lets discuss about the Asuras in Hinduism

Nov 2012
3,851
#1
Lets discuss the asuras- their mentions in Hindu and other dharmic texts. The lands they inhabited- real or mythical cities etc. Their different groups like daityas, danavas, yaksha, rakshasa, pisachas, pretaas etc. Their different clans and the unique powers of each of these groups. The good asuras and the bad asuras. Their heroism, their folklore, legends and songs. I want to have a comprehensive view discussion on the asuras
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,564
New Delhi, India
#2
Starter
In Vedas: Asuras for anyone powerful, demons as well as Gods.
Danavas: Progeny of Danu, daughter of Daksha, king of men, Hindu Adam, each eon has one - Manavantara, i.e., four yugas, and wife of Sage Kashyapa.
Daityas: Progeny of Diti, daughter of ... (same as above)
Yaksha: celestial people, proficient in dance and music, lead by Kubera, son of Sage Vishrava who was the son of Pulatsya and the grandson of Brahma, the Creator. Kubera is the treasurer of Gods. Alkapuri in Himalayas being his capital. Also, king of Lanka, disposed by his step brother, the great Rakshasa, Ravana.
Gandharva: Celestial people, know magic, proficient in dance and music. Abode in North.
Rakshasa and Yatudhanas: Demons, cannibals.
Bhoot, Pisacha and Pretas: Ghost, ghouls, dead evil people, seeking release from their situation.
 
Jun 2012
7,356
Malaysia
#3
With all due respect, and without any offence meant, isn't the Asura like the 'bad' deities, as opposed to the Daiva the 'good' deities.

And then there is also the belief that this Asura-Daiva conundrum is also like a metaphor of sorts for the so called Aryan split into Indo-Iranian & Indo-Aryan. Whereupon the deities of the Indo-Iranians became the 'bad' gods, and those of the Indo-Aryans became the 'good' gods, this in the eyes of the Indo-Aryan faction, of course.

And then the chief among the Asura, perhaps pronounced Athura/Ahura among the Indo-Iranians, kind of ultimately developed into the Ahura Mazda of the Zoroastrians.

That is according to my simple, very simple, layman's understanding, anyways.
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,564
New Delhi, India
#4
Yeah, the split happened somewhere in Bactria. Personally, I believe it was a contest for clientele between two groups of priests, the Athravans/Atharvans and the Angirasas. Angirasas were more popular. That made Athravan Zoroaster come up with a new and contrary belief.

But the old traditions are preserved in RigVeda when Indra is termed as an Asura and so also his adversaries, Vritra, Vala, etc. Even in Puranas, Daityas, Danavas and Rakshasas were not totally bad, many a times there were reasons for what they did. Bali was a Danava and he has been promised the position of being the Manu (father of all humans and the king of men) in the next eon. Prahlad was a Daitya and a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Ravana, the king of Rakshasas, was a great devotee of Lord Shiva, a great scholar and a very pious person. It is never just black and white in Hinduism.
 
Last edited:
Jun 2012
7,356
Malaysia
#5
Yeah, the split happened somewhere in Bactria. Personally, I believe it was a contest for clientele between two groups of priests, the Athravans/Atharvans and the Angirasas. Angirasas were more popular. That made Athravan Zoroaster come up with a new and contrary belief.
Any idea around what time or era this occurred?
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,385
India
#6
You know its interesting, but the geography of veneration of IE communities is a little strange. The Vedics, and the IE branches in Greece and Italy revere the Deva variant (in the case of Greece and italy, the root words for Divine, Divus, Deos was Deva). The Iranic region ended up revering the Ahuras/Asuras. Meanwhile, the pre-Christian norse venerated the Aesir which are derived from Asura (as well as Vanir, but as I understand Norse mythology, they likely represent regional/indigenous deities, since they don't have IE parallels for the most part - I'm willing to accept correction on this however).

There doesn't seem to be much geographic contiguity. I'm a little unclear on Scythian belief systems though. I know they're broadly IE, but whether they revered the Devic or Asuric, or had an entirely different interpretation (for example consistently revering both) is unclear to me.
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,564
New Delhi, India
#7
No, Tornada. The story is quite simple. The Indian branch separated from the rest around 2,500 BC. We changed the beginning of the year from the asterism of Orion (Mrigashiras, Antelope's head, the Hunter) to Pleiades (Krittika). No other Aryan branch did that. It was a movement from North of Caspian to Bactria. And those who later ended up in India moved from Bactria to Afghanistan to Sapta-Saindhava (North-West India).

Aryans were in Saroglazovka, North of Caspian, around 7,000 BC. The Eastern movement of Aryans was quite late as compared to the Western European movement (Bug-Dniester culture, Starcevo and Sredny Stog); or the Northern movement (Samarra and Afanesevo culture). Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (or BMAC, also known as the Oxus civilisation) is dated to 2,300–1,700 BC to the Yaz culture (or Yaz-depe, Yaz Depe, Yaz Tepe) dated 1,500–1,000 BC.

B.G. Tilak's argument about separation of Aryan branches (Book "Orion or the researches into the Antiquity of Vedas"):

"Dr Haug considers that this condition may be satisfied if we place the beginning of the Vedic literature, in 2,400 B.C; but he was not cognizant of the fact that the vernal equinox can be shown to have been in Mrigashiras at the time when the Zoroastrians and the Indians lived together. In the light of this new evidence, there is therefore no reasonable objection for carrying the periods of the Vedic literature further back by over a thousand years or to about 4,000 BC. This period is further consistent with the fact that in 470 B. C. Xanthos of Lydia considered Zoroaster to have lived about 600 years before the Trojan War (about 1,800 BC.); for according to our calculation the Parsis must have separated from the Indian Aryans in the latter part of the Orion period, that is to say, between 3,000 to 2,500 BC.; while, if we suppose that the separation occurred at a considerably later date, a Greek writer in the fifth century BC. would certainly have spoken of it as a recent event.

Aristotle and Eudoxus have gone still further and placed the era of Zoroaster as much as 6,000 to 5,000 years before Plato. The number of years here given is evidently traditional, but we can at any rate infer from it this much that at the time of Aristotle (about 320 B. C.) Zoroaster was considered to have lived at a very remote period of antiquity; and if the era of Zoroaster is to be considered so old, the period of the Vedas must be older still. Then we have further to consider the fact that an epic poem was written in Greek in about 900 or 1,000 BC. The language of this epic is so unlike that of the Vedic hymns that we must suppose it to have been composed long time after the Greeks left their ancient home and traveled westward. It is not, therefore at all improbable that they separated after the formation of the legends of Orion and before the vernal equinox was in the Krittikas, that is, between 3,500 to 3,000 BC."
 

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Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,564
New Delhi, India
#9
The known creator of the schism was Zoroaster in Bactria, though the differences may have been simmering for a period of time. Battle of Ten kings did not have anything to do with the schism. That happened much later (that is why it is in the tenth book). It was a local raid with mountain tribes on one side and the plateau people (Potohar/Pothwar, whatever way one pronounces it) on the other side.
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,385
India
#10
No, Tornada. The story is quite simple. The Indian branch separated from the rest around 2,500 BC. We changed the beginning of the year from the asterism of Orion (Mrigashiras, Antelope's head, the Hunter) to Pleiades (Krittika). No other Aryan branch did that. It was a movement from North of Caspian to Bactria. And those who later ended up in India moved from Bactria to Afghanistan to Sapta-Saindhava (North-West India).

Aryans were in Saroglazovka, North of Caspian, around 7,000 BC. The Eastern movement of Aryans was quite late as compared to the Western European movement (Bug-Dniester culture, Starcevo and Sredny Stog); or the Northern movement (Samarra and Afanesevo culture). Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (or BMAC, also known as the Oxus civilisation) is dated to 2,300–1,700 BC to the Yaz culture (or Yaz-depe, Yaz Depe, Yaz Tepe) dated 1,500–1,000 BC.

B.G. Tilak's argument about separation of Aryan branches (Book "Orion or the researches into the Antiquity of Vedas"):

"Dr Haug considers that this condition may be satisfied if we place the beginning of the Vedic literature, in 2,400 B.C; but he was not cognizant of the fact that the vernal equinox can be shown to have been in Mrigashiras at the time when the Zoroastrians and the Indians lived together. In the light of this new evidence, there is therefore no reasonable objection for carrying the periods of the Vedic literature further back by over a thousand years or to about 4,000 BC. This period is further consistent with the fact that in 470 B. C. Xanthos of Lydia considered Zoroaster to have lived about 600 years before the Trojan War (about 1,800 BC.); for according to our calculation the Parsis must have separated from the Indian Aryans in the latter part of the Orion period, that is to say, between 3,000 to 2,500 BC.; while, if we suppose that the separation occurred at a considerably later date, a Greek writer in the fifth century BC. would certainly have spoken of it as a recent event.

Aristotle and Eudoxus have gone still further and placed the era of Zoroaster as much as 6,000 to 5,000 years before Plato. The number of years here given is evidently traditional, but we can at any rate infer from it this much that at the time of Aristotle (about 320 B. C.) Zoroaster was considered to have lived at a very remote period of antiquity; and if the era of Zoroaster is to be considered so old, the period of the Vedas must be older still. Then we have further to consider the fact that an epic poem was written in Greek in about 900 or 1,000 BC. The language of this epic is so unlike that of the Vedic hymns that we must suppose it to have been composed long time after the Greeks left their ancient home and traveled westward. It is not, therefore at all improbable that they separated after the formation of the legends of Orion and before the vernal equinox was in the Krittikas, that is, between 3,500 to 3,000 BC."
I was discussing Geography, not timeline. What I was pointing out was that I find it weird that the Greek, Latin and Indian belief variants are shared. Meanwhile the Iranians share their system with the Norse. I'm merely unclear about the Geographic disconnects, though as I noted, I know little about the intervening Scythian system.

I have no comment to offer on this regard the lineage of these beliefs (ie, which or who came first).
 

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