Struggle Between Gods and Demons Essay

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Hindu mythology, the gods engage in ongoing struggle, enduring opposition from demonic forces. Their challenges re overcome with tenacity, wit, and intelligence, providing a cosmic model on which human activity can be based. Moreover, the enmity of the gods and asuras highlights the central concept of balance in Hindu cosmology. The gods are shown to be up to the task of challenging demonic forces, but they are no more powerful than the asuras. In other words, Gods and anti-gods are equally matched. Their struggles can never truly be resolved, allowing Hindu mythology to assume its epic proportions as well as its potential for ongoing instruction.

The tactics and techniques used by the gods are similar to those used by the anti-gods: including deception. For instance, Rudra is pitted against Maya, who like her counterpart is also characterized by a deceitful nature she uses against her cosmic foes (Doniger Hindu Myths). The conflict between Rudra and Maya is only temporarily, and relatively superficially, resolved by intervention by Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, who transform themselves into cows and thereby gain immortality and stun the demons in the Triple City. Yet as Maya observes the triad's cleverness, she concludes that "it must be fate, against which neither gods nor demons, nor anyone else, could do anything," (cited by Doniger, The Origins of Evil 182). Thus, the ongoing enmity between the gods and the demons is governed by forces beyond even their own control.
The gods and demons are equally matched because they are like players in a grander cosmic stage, the ultimate origins of which may be beyond not only human comprehension but also divine knowledge.

Doniger also questions whether Hindu mythology aims to present divine enmity as being eternal, and therefore irreconcilable, or temporary and therefore resolvable. Pantanjali "lists gods and demons in the category of 'enmity' but not under 'eternal opposition,'" a category reserved for certain other entities but not to the gods (Doniger The Origins of Evil 62). The implication of Patanjali's analysis is to present a cosmology in which the gods' enmity is not eternal but rather, resolvable and reconcilable. Yet as Doniger points out, Patanjali's assessment of the temporary nature of divine enmity is not universally shared among Hindu authors, most notably the authors of the Mahabharata, which clearly states that the gods and their brother demons are "locked in an enmity that is innate and therefore constant and perpetual," (62). In fact, several other sources do seem to point to the infinite nature of all characteristics ascribed to the gods. For example, Rudra is defined as the "god of infinite deception," deception becoming a sort of superpower that can be used to counterbalance the deceit of the demons (Doniger The Origins of Evil 181).

The maintenance of balance and cosmic order is crucial to Hindu mythology,….....

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Works Cited

Doniger, Wendy. Hindu Myths: A Sourcebook. New York: Penguin, 1975.

Doniger, Wendy. The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology.

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