Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Noah, Manu, Gilgamesh and Atra-Hasis

I draw a parallel between the story of Noah , the story of Manu , the flood myth from the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh, and finally the lesser know flood myth from the Akkadian epic Atra-Hasis. Noah's story is from the Book of Genesis, Manu's story is from Bhagavat Purana, one of the eighteen puranas from hindu mythology The uncanny similarity between these stories, makes me wonder if they all began from the same source. I shall not make any assertions about which of these might be the closest to the source, suffice to say that the origins of all these seems to be one single flood story, thus obliterating the uniqueness of any one single claim.

Interestingly, Christians believe that the great flood that is described in the book of Genesis forced Noah's Ark to eventually come to rest at Mount Ararat. Hindus, who also believe in a great flood - seem to have a less scientific explanation, as Manu took only seven old men and the four vedas with him on a boat that was navigated by Lord Vishnu who had taken the form of a giant fish. The epic of Gilgamesh shamelessly borrowed from the Akkadian epic of Atra-Hasis. To me, they all seem like cock and bull stories of some fantasy-obsessed story-teller, really good at marketing and who succeeded in selling his story well to thousands of his age.

I don't understand why the creationists in the US have taken the Book of Genesis so seriously, when they do know that the story seems more like popular folklore with so many variants of it widely prevalent in countries all over the world. Are conservative Christians really saying that life started after the great flood ? I just can't digest this and of course a number of other things that the hindu myths say. You take these with a pinch of salt and walk away. You do not seriously make your kids believe that God created everything in seven days. You should probably take them to the new application Google Sky and show them the stars and teach them that stars are born in the Eagle Nebula.


To stop myself from being incoherent - I think it would be reasonable to say that, much wisdom is needed in today's world. Wisdom that needs to stop the percolation of blind faith in the epics, myths and legends of the past, and to look forward to the future and how we as a species can lead much better, longer and healthier lives.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

u need to study more, go and get a copy of koran with english translation and ur doubts and ur knowledge will become little clear and also ur idolatory and polytheism will get a good shock and will prepare u for ur final examination.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I do however, think there was a big flood in there area but not ANYWHERE near the size of what they claim it to be. :-) You are one smart cookie!

Anonymous said...

Im equally stunned at the similarities of the narration of great flood in different cultures of world. This actually points out to the fact that it is history and its origin from Almighty and the punishment meted out to the wicked people.

Anonymous said...

What it comes down to from a Christian perspective is Jesus treated Noah as historical. If one doesn't accept his teachings, it would beg the definition of a Christian, ya know? For my part I believe it, because I accept the Jesus is who he claimed to be. The similarity with other flood stories is very fascinating, but it could be argued either to support the legitimacy of the flood as a historic event or to say, see it is like these other stories, merely myth. of course myths are often history with a twist, aren't they?

aumkar dvani said...

The time scale of Hindu creation is probably more scientific where the scale is of billion years ! And its not called creation but evolution from itself starting from nothing then evolving to something. Of course thousands of years ago people didn't have today's technology but I give credit to their imagination and creativity.

aumkar dvani said...

But I do believe that there was a great flood (not that great) where the Proto-Indo-European speaking people were living, because all these Noah, Manu ... were probably the same (mythical) man.