Similarities between the Greek and Indian Epics – Mahabharata, Ramayana


Similarities between the two epics – Mahabharata and Iliyad.

1. Pandavas were sent to forest for 14 years, The battle of Troy was fought for 14 years.

2. When the war starts out, Arjuna is reluctant to fight. Similarly, when the Trojan war starts, Achilees does not want to fight.

3. Arjuna laments over the dead body of his son Abhimanyu and pledges to kill Jaydrath the following day. Achilees  laments on the dead pody of his brother Patroculus, and pledges to kill Hector the following day.

4. Ghatotkacha attacks the Kaurava army during night and causes massive destruction. Ghatotkacha uses “Fire” as his weapon and “burns” the Kaurava camps. Hector attacks the greek army during night and causes massive destruction. Hector also uses “Fire” as his weapon and “burns” the ships.

5. Sanjaya narrates the war to king Dhritarashtra. Similarly, one of the minister narrates the war to the Trojan king.

6. Dhritarashtra is blind for his wicked son Duryodhana. The Trojan king is blind for his son, Paris.

7. Duryodhana wins Draupadi in the game of dice, he exclaims, “This is the happiest day of my life, Draupadi is our slave.” . In The Iliad, Briseis, a Trojan, is awarded to Achilles during the Trojan War. She was awarded after she was molested by other Kings or soldiers.

8. In Iliad, the prophecy is about Paris, who will cause destruction to his kingdom. In Mahabharata, the prophecy is about Duryodhana, who will cause the destruction of his own kingdom.

9. Dhritarashtra had 100 sons. The Trojan King had a total of 68 sons, 18 daughters on record which equals to 86 (close enough?).

10. The Trojan War began because Paris stole King Menelaus’ wife, Helen. However, the war was also driven by the greed of Agamemnon, a powerful and fearsome king. In The Mahabharata, the war began mostly because of Duryodhana’s jealousy of the Pandavas.

11. Draupadi, although loves Arjuna, begins to have a soft corner for Karna. Helen, although loves Paris, begins to have a soft corner for Hector, for she knows that Paris is useless and not respected while Hector is the warrior and well respected.

12. Bheesma is an impossible character in Mahabharata who cannot be defeated. Krishna had to trick him to kill him. On the greek front, Hector is another impossible character who cannot be defeated. No greek warrior is able to kill him. He can only be killed by Achilles ( synonymous to Arjuna) but Achiless finds it difficult to break into Hector’s defence. Achilees succeeds in killing Hector in a duel when he is dead tired.

13. Bheesma dies in his bed of arrows. Its a very pathetic scene. Similarly, Achielees kills hector and drags his dead body in front of everyone. Not entirely similar but you can see the contrast here.

14. In The Illiad,  Achilles is the son of a goddess and a mortal king. When he wants to kill Agamemnon, he is stopped directly by Athena, goddess of war. In The Mahabharata, Radheya is the son of Kunti and the sun (a God). The god ( Krishna) tries to convince him not to fight.

15. The Trojan horse is a cunning move to destroy the city of Troy, after many failed attempts. The final attack was launched during night when the soldier took over the “Gates of troy”. They caused huge destruction and burned the city when the citizens were “sleeping” Similarly, Aswathhama, Kripacharya and Kritvarma took over the Pandava camp at night. Kripacharya and Kritverma held the “gates” while Aswathhama went ahead with massive bloodbath when the Pandava warriors were “sleeping”.

Similarities between Ramayana and Iliyad.

1. Paris abducts Helen, wife of a king. Troy is attacked and burnt. Ravana abducts Sita, wife of a king. Lanka attacked and burned (Hanuman)

2. Ramayana war is fought mainly on sea shore and the monkey army did face great difficulties in getting through to Lanka. The Trojan war is fought on the beach as well, the greeks found it extremely difficult to took over Troy.

3. The war is ended by the city, Lanka, being overthrown by Rama, and Sita is returned home. The war in the Iliad also kills more than several men, from both sides, and at the end, Troy is overthrown and Helen is returned home.

4. The hero in the Iliad is Achilles and the hero in Ramayana is Rama. These two heros don’t really prove they are heros until the end of the epic. But in the beginning of the epic, they are stuck up warriors who are known for doing well in fighting and don’t prove it until the very end.

5. Rama is accompanied by Laxman whom he loves dearly. Achilees is accompanied by Patroculus whom he loves dearly. Laxman is severely injured during the battle and almost dies until rescued by Hanuman. Patroculs is injured and killed by Hector.

I agree not everything is entirely similar between these epics but the themes are a close match.

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