Picture of Theseus killing Minotaur
Written by London swaminathan
Date: 13 FEBRUARY 2017
Time uploaded in London:- 9-44 am
Post No. 3633
Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.
Vedic Hindus’ great discoveries include the decimal system, domestication of cow, bull, horse, the use of wheel, the concept of time, marine trade, divinity of man and arts. The proof lies in the 10,000 hymns of the Four Vedas. They are considered the oldest records of religious experience of human beings. Jacobi and BG Tilak dated them 6000 BCE. Others dated them 2000-1500 BCE.
Cows and bulls have more references in the Vedas than any other religious literature in the world. They gave them a holy status. They used them as similes for the affection and heroism. Indra is praised as bull among the humans in the Vedas. Later bull was made the vehicle of Lord Shiva. Every temple of Shiva has a big bull statue (Nandhi) in front of him. Though we have references to the bull in other civilizations, if we accept the date of the Vedas as 6000 BCE, then that is the oldest literary record.
“There were bulls which had massive strength, youthful and intoxicated bull, a bull with a steady gait, a vagabond and a forest bull, a fleeting bull, billowing bull in search of a mate. Indra is compared to a massive bull.” (Animals in Sanskrit Literature by Dr M K Sridhar)
Vrsabha (Bull) is referred to in the Rig Veda 1-116-12; 2-5-6;1-94-10; 1-160-3; 6-46-4;7-101-1;2-16-5;
Valmiki in his Ramayana aslo called Rama, a bull among men.
In Sangam Tamil literature which is 2000 year old, we see at least 70 references. Kings and heroes were addressed as Bulls.
Kalidasa used bull as a simile to the heroism or force of a leader in Raghuvamsam.
“He who has a befitting physique for his heroic deeds in kingship, with a sizable chest, bullish shoulders, tallish stature like a sala tree, and with dextrous arms, abided as a personification of the devoir and valour of kshatriya-s. [1-13]
As a calf attains the build of an impetuous bull, or a calf of elephant donning the build of an impulsive young elephant, raghu steadily attained a majestic and pleasing build when his adolescence is bested by his youthfulness. [3-32]
Oh, curvaceous lady, this chitrakUTa mountain with its mouth of a valley sending forth gurgling sounds of rapids, mud-like rainclouds attached to its horn-like apices, thus resembling a proudish bull whose cavern mouth sends forth a continuous bellowing and the tips of whose horns are smeared with mud dug up while indulging in butting against the side of a mountain, rivets my sight. [13-47]
“I have a wife, young girl; you may therefore resort to my younger brother…” Thus bull-shouldered Rama directed that lustful sUrpaNakha.(12-34)”
Bull in Indus Valley
We have excavated more seals with bull figure in Indus valley than other animals. Surprisingly no seal with cow or no figure of cow is discovered in the valley. This shows the reverence they gave to the cow.
Cattle evolved from the now extinct aurochs; water buffaloes are common in the seals of third millennium BCE Mesopotamia and it has been argued that they were imports from India.
In Egypt, the king was hailed a s a Mighty Bull and his people were The Cattle of God.
Apis was the bull god worshiped as symbol of natural forces.
One of the most ancient of all the evidences of funerary cults comes from the very distant past in the extreme south, from Tushka in Lower Nubia, where burials have been excavated from the twelfth millennium BCE which were surmounted by the skulls of the wild bull, the aurochs, Bos primigenius, which roamed the valley until it was exterminated by the kings of the New Kingdom, ten thousand years later.
In Mithraic religion in Rome, a bull was killed.
Cretan ritual had the artistic leaping dances in which the humans imitated the bulls. The bull faced demon Minotaur of ancient Crete was killed by the hero Theseus.
In astrology, the bull is represented in the zodiacal sign of Taurus.
Bull in Tamil Literature
The primeval bull must have been a powerfully impressive symbol of vitality and masculine strength. The bull is of particular importance in the history of religion; bulls were worshiped in various cultures. There were symbolic rites in which a bull is defeated or sacrificed. Lord Krishna defeated seven bulls according to Hindu mythology. Tamils have the heroic game of Bull Fighting known as Jallikkattau or Manju Virattu. Unlike the Spanish bull fighting, here the bull is not killed but only tamed.
Tamil poets describe the bulls goring the wet ant hills with their horns and with mud on the horns accompanying the cows (Akananuru 64)
A fish caught in the fishing rod fights like a bull tied to ropes (Akam.36)
The tall black bull with white legs looked like a mountain with waterfalls.
The white bull with dots over its body resembles the twilight sky with shining stars.
The red with its curved horns appears like the God Siva wearing the crescent moon on his head. (Kali 103)
The bells on the horns of the reddish black bull are like the bees humming over the Naravu flower buds. (Kali 105)
The Treatment of Nature in Sangam Literature, M.Varadarajan, 1969
Dictionary of Symbolism, Hans Biedermann, 1992
Who is Who in Ancient Egypt, Michael Rice, 1999
The Imagery of Kalidasa, Dr(Mrs) Vinod Aggarwal, 1985
Dictionary of the Ancient Near Eas, British Museum, 2000
Picture of Apis of Egypt