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  1. avantika's Avatar
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    <DIV align=left>I was writing a poem on the Ainulindale, and the whole storyseemed to me to be very similar to ancient Hindu mythology. According to this, the universe was created from an original supreme being, known as Parmatma, and each "level" of the universe was created out of a different part of his being. Moreover, each level was created out of a piece of music - the Om sound is one such music - and the destiny and quality of each level was determined by the sound of its creation.This is a very crude description, and there’s much more to it, but I’m no expert and I’m only trying to show similarities.
    <DIV align=left>Does anyone know whether Tolien ever studied or read anything related to Hinduism, and where he got inspiration for the whole idea of Eru and music? Because the universe being created out of music is not a very common idea.
    <CENTER></CENTER>
    <DIV align=left>&lt;Nessa Edit: Interesting hypothesis. My compliments!&gt;

  2. Eorl Boarhelm's Avatar
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    I don’t thinkthere isany record Tolkien reading or studying Vedic mythology. So the thing about the creation of the world through music must be a co-incidence. Besides, Tolkein basedhis myth on Norse, Celtic, and perhaps Greek myth. And in the Ainulindale, the world was created out of music made by each of the Ainur who spuntheir thought into it, and there were many themes. It did not originate from a singlesound. I too, thought the same thing at first, but it would be far fetched to maintain that the Ainulindale is based on Vedic mythology.

  3. Aìwëndil the Brown's Avatar
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    avantika- As you said, a very crude description. The first thing that I would like to point out is that Om is not just a piece of music. It is:
    <DD>The goal, which all Vedas declare, which all austerities aim at, and which humans desire when they live a life of continence, I will tell you briefly it is Om. The syllable Om is indeed Brahman. This syllable Om is the highest. Whosoever knows this symbol obtains all that he desires. This is the best support; this is the highest support. Whosoever knows this support is adored in the world of Brahman.
    <DL>
    <DD>-Katha Upanishad I, ii, 15-17 (Translation taken from Wikipedia)</DD></DL></DD>


    You can find a whole Wikipedia article on it here. Ok, I know Wikipedia is not such an accurate source for such stuff, but what they have given is just an English rendering of the Sanskrit Vedic text. But on the whole, the two"creations" seem quite similar. But that&rsquo;s where the similarities end. Because, for certain, Tolkien never based his mythology on anything Hinduism - related. I am inclined to agree with Eorl that it would be far-fetched to think that it is based on Hindu myth

  4. Aoshi Shinomori's Avatar
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    Hmmm it might have some similarities but (though it may be argued this isn&rsquo;t the issue at hand) he was a Christian so i doubt he would base his works off of a HInu mythlogy. Bu that aside, there are hundreds of stories similar to Lord of the Rings in at least one way or another.

  5. Duiel's Avatar
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    Aoshi Shinomori, although Tolkien was a Christian, he did base his mythology off of a lot of things. But then again.....all of those which I know of were from places in Europe, and I&rsquo;m not sure he studied anything that far...eastern. But I don&rsquo;t have proof of anything, so I can&rsquo;t say.

  6. Eorl Boarhelm's Avatar
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    He specialized in European philology, and hence was familiar with Celtic, Norse, Anglo Saxon, and other Germanic legends. Greece was as east and southas his academics went. So it is higly unlikely that he borrowed anything from Vedic, Egyptian, Assyrian, Babyloian myth. But it is interesting to note that he had concieved cities of Men in middle-earth named Babylon, Nineveh, (once an Assyrian capital), Troy, and Rome.

  7. Carleon's Avatar
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    If I&rsquo;m not mistaken, there are originally three Gods in the Hundu pantheon- Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva- Brahma is the creator, true, and could be compared to Iluvatar, but where do you get equivalents for Vishnu the nurturer and Shiva the destroyer? I think we can safely say that Hindu mythology has had no effect on the creation of the Lord of the Rings.

  8. Ghostlore's Avatar
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    Avantika - that is awesome food for thought! Don&rsquo;t be discouraged by the naysayers, there is some connection there, whether it played a large or tiny role. Tolkien was a brilliant and thoroughly educated man, it is no stretch of the imagination to grasp that he absolutely must of had exposure to the many myriad mythological morsels out there.


    To refuse to validate this supposition is to belittle Tolkien&rsquo;s intellect.

  9. avantika's Avatar
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    Thank you all! But Aiwendil, what you said is just an extension of what I said, if you consider carefully. I never claimed that om is just a piece of music - in fact, quite the opposite - it is one of the musics. Actually, what it is supposed to mean (in one of the innumerable interpretations) Om is the word from which one of the highest levels of the universe was created, and it is the essence of that level. Whoever "knows" the word knows that level of existence, and vice versa. So if you want a higher level of existence, you try to "know" that syllable.


    Is it not true that the Ainur, who "know"a part of theTheme of Iluvatar know the destiny of the world which is governed by their music?

  10. Ragnelle's Avatar
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    avantika: While I can&rsquo;t confrim that Tolkien knew Hinduism well, I would not be suprised if he knew something about it.


    That being said, I tend to belive that Tolkien seldom based anything in his stories directly on something else, be it biblical, norse or hindu. But the themes and images he uses still reminds us of images and themes from very different traditions, you compearson with the Hindu myths being an example. I think this is because Tolkien rooted his myths.


    Let me try to make myself clear. The Hindu myths I have heard are to me exotic, strange and beautiful. The nature and culture they describe are strange to me as I have grown up very far from India and have never been there. The Norse myths, on the other hand, are not exotic but familiar. The nature and people are familiar, because I am Scandinavian and the myths were made by my forbearers. The feeling is a bit simular to what Sam says in Lothlorien: "they seem to belong here" (FotR, The Mirror of Galadriel).


    Hindu myths and Tolkien&rsquo;s stories do not have the same feel, to me, because Tolkien&rsquo;s stories have this same rooted feeling, a feeling of belonging, that I don&rsquo;t get from the Hindu myths. But that is, of course, because I am not Hindu and those myths do not belong to me.


    When I, even taking this bias into acount, still will find European sourses more propable when looking for inspirations Tolkien may have used, it is because when he says anything about it in his letters - at least those puplished - they are almost all European. And he writes:


    "In any case if you want to write a tale of this sort you must consult your roots" Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien # 163

  11. Aravis's Avatar
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    Ragnelle, well said. It&rsquo;s interesting though that such a parallel could be drawn between the two conceptions of a universe, but I get the feeling there must be several cultures which could point out commonalities between their belief systems and some detail or the other of fantasy mythology. Reality is after all even stranger than fiction and while I think we can be fairly sure Tolkien knew something of Hindu myths (he was, after all an exceedingly well-read man), it might be unwarranted to draw any but the most tenuous connection between the two.

  12. avantika's Avatar
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    I am not trying to imply that Lord of the Rings was derived from Hindu mythology. It wasn&rsquo;t. It&rsquo;s simply this one concept, the creation of the universe from music, from vibrations which were createdby the original supreme spiritual being. This concept is absolutely central, vital, to the entire Hindu religion, and Ainulindale is the firsttime I&rsquo;ve heard it coming from a non-Hindu source. As everyone says, while Tolkien might not have studied Hinduism, he could easily have heard of it. I believe there were several societies in England around that time, which specialised in the study of Hinduism.


    I&rsquo;m not insisting. He could well have gotten the idea from somewhere else. But I can&rsquo;t think of any other place, and if there is I would certainly like to know about it.

  13. Ragnelle's Avatar
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    Aravis: Thanks.


    avantika: I did not think you insisted, I only thought a bit aloud on the subject. Forgive me ifI was geting too far off-topic or if I in any put words into your mouth. That was not my intention.


    Now as to other sourses of music as the crative force (if I can use that expression), there are the Finnish epic Kallevalla where where knowing the right songs and words is what gives power. In the song-contest between Väinämönien and Joukahainen, Väinämönen asks if Joukahaimen knows the original words, those that works and lasts.


    Now, this is not exactly the same as in the Ainulindale, but somewhat simular. The one that know the original words, know - and can control - the things they speak of.


    There is also, though not readely seen, a consept in the Norse mythology that is interisting in conection to the Music of the Aunir. Before the creation of the world, Ginnungagap - the Gap of Ginnunga - was all that existed, with cold and fire on each side. Now the word "Ginn" deskripes a quivering sound and in this gap of quivering sound the world is made. Not exactly the same as the Hindu consept, but as far asI can see, not too diferent. Those that know more about the Hindu myths than I, please correct me if i have missunderstood.


    Then of course we have the biblical tradition, where the world is created by the word of God.


    Now all this in not exactly as in Tolkien, but then, as far as I can see, neither is the Hindu consept. The Ainur do not know what they are doing in their song, and it is the vision of Ea that Iluvatar show them afterwards that make them understand clearer. But the vision has not any reality until Eru says: "Ëa! Let these things Be!"


    I think that we in the Ainulindalë can find eccos (I think it was Saranna or Aldoriana that introduced that term) of all these consepts, including the Hindu, even if none fits exatly.


    A though struk me as I wrote this: could the Ëa be simular to the Hindu OM (or AUM)? I remeber Baelmyrrdn making a conection in the arcived tread The power of song and chant(&lt;- link). You might find the tread interesting.


    And I just like to add that the only traditions I feel that i can speak of with any certainty, is the Norse and Christian, so ifI made any mistakes representing the Hindu or Finnish, it was in ignorance.

  14. avantika's Avatar
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    #14


    Ragnelle, that was really interesting! I never thought of that Ea and Om thing before, it does seem similar.


    Though somehow, I never thought of the biblical tradition as saying that the world was created by the sound of God&rsquo;s word- rather that it was created simply because God commanded it to be. There&rsquo;s a big difference between those two interpretations of "word of God". Perhaps someone who knows more of the Bible can tell me which is right.


    That Gap of Ginnunga myth interests me a lot. Can you tell me of some links where I can read more about it?

  15. Hamfast's Avatar
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    All the disussion here seems to have talked about creation and the views of the various mythological traditions. Being an Indian too it struck me when I read the Ainulindale because it was similar to the Hindu myths. In fact Hindu religion gives importance to songs and hymns because of this very belief that the universe was made by God&rsquo;s music. But all that apart, I would like to give you all another angle to think about. The Valar have been shown as guardians of ME. The Maias are shown as guardian Spirits. Both of these concepts are there in Hinduism. Like Ulmo presided over Water similarly Varuna is the Lord of Water in Hinduism. Again Manwe was the Lord of air as was Vaayu in Hinduism. Yavanna(I think its her)is shown as presiding over everything that grows on earth specifically plants. The Goddess Earth known as Bhudevi or Bhumidevi loosely fits the bill. Similarly Mandos has the key to the halls of the dead as does Yama in Hindu myth. The Maia are guardian spirits. this concept is also there in Hinduism in the form of Gandharvas and Yakshas and Dikpaalaas.


    All these are present in Greek, Roman and Egyptian traditions too as theywere contemporaries of Hinduism but I am just giving these examplesbecause I am able to draw parallels between Tolkien&rsquo;s works and my religion. Tolkien was a well-read man and its quite possible that he may have heard of the Hindu deities especially since the British were in India then and there was attention being paid to India in general at that time with the latest excavations of the Indus Valley.

  16. Ragnelle's Avatar
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    avantika: Glad you found it interesting. I do not know the many pages on the internet that deals with the Norse myths well enough to recomend some more than others, but on this page: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/pre/pre04.htmyou will find the story as told in the Prose Edda written by Snorri Sturlason (in an English translation). You will need to scroll down the page a little to find the story, but it might be easier to just read from the begining.


    And here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/you will find a translation of the Poetic Edda. The first poem, Voluspo, tells of the creation and destruction of the world.


    I tend to direct people to primary sources like this, but there are numerous pages that deals with the Norse myths. Some of them are not bad, though some are dreadful. Sadly the best pages - of what I have seen - are not in English but in one of the Scandinavian languages, which I guess does not help you very much .


    As for the biblical tradition, whether it is the command or the sound is not as clear at one would think. God creates by the act of speaking and it is the speaking of the words that make the world to be - much like Iluvatar saying Eä! Let these things Be! and Eä becomes real. The spoken word can not be seperated from the command, and vise versa.


    Ernst Cassirer, a German philsopher, deals in his book Language and Myth with the origin of language and conexts it strongly with the origin of myth and religion, basacly saying that they evolved in a sybiosis (short version). In the chapter dealing with Word Magic he writes:


    "The original bond between the linguistic and the mythico-religious consciousness is primarly expressed in the fact that all verbal structures appear as also mythical entities, endowed with certain mythical powers, that the Word, in fact, becomes a sort of primary force, in which all being and doing originate. In all mythical cosmogonies, as far back as they can be traced, this supreme position of the Word is found." (Ernst Cassirer: Language and Myth, Word Magic)


    I think this is one reason that the Ainulindale seems to resonate several myths and traditions - because there is a strong likeness between othervise different religions and mythologies when it comes to the word or sound. Words are, after all, soundpatterns that are given spesific meaning, therefore I do not see the great difference between a spesific sound (Eä or OM) and words in this context.

  17. avantika's Avatar
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    #17


    That is an important point, Hamfast - I noticed it too. You can draw many parallels. But I didn&rsquo;t mention it as these deities are common to all ancient religions, and I suppose Tolkien might have got the inspiration from any one of them. Though Mandos does remind me a lot of Yamaraja. One thing I find a pity is that Tolkien never invented a Saraswati.


    Thank you, Ragnelle. I&rsquo;ll take a look at those sites. I always wanted to learn more about Norse mythology (ever since reading Douglas Adams&rsquo; Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, which I admit makes fun of the gods, but in a good-natured way) but I never got around to it. Now I will.

  18. Melyanna Falas's Avatar
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    Avantika this one concept, the creation of the universe from music, from vibrations which were created by the original supreme spiritual being. This concept is absolutely central, vital, to the entire Hindu religion, and Ainulindale is the first time I&rsquo;ve heard it coming from a non-Hindu source.

    May I venture to suggest that the same concept appears in CS Lewis in the creation of Narnia: Aslan singing the land and creatures into being [albeit in a more simplistic version] ? So the idea was probably present in some form with the group of Inklings at Oxford that met to discuss their writings.

    Have you ever read The Book of Lost Tales 1 [BOLT 1], Volume One in the History of Middle-earth series. The Valar are portrayed very differently in some instances: Nienna is Fui Nienna, a kind of dark death-goddess, and there are the valar Makar and Measse, perhaps best described as warrior/battle figures. I don’t pretend to understand Hindu mythology or writings, but I had the feeling when I read BOLT 1 that it had a very Eastern flavor and Hindu [at least as I understand it] sprang to mind.

    Halfir might be someone who could speak to this. Or Geordie.


  19. Aìwëndil the Brown's Avatar
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    #19
    I read all the posts about Tolkien not having any relation with Hinduism, but I just read the Silmarillion and couldn&rsquo;t help noticingthat Maglor and Bheeshma have such a similar fate. Both took an oath impulsively, which they later repented (though, of course, the oaths were different in nature). Both of them were bound by that oath, and were forced to fight with friends and bear great suffering due to that oath. Both regretted thefact that there was strife amongst their own kin. Both tried, in vain, to prevent certain battles. Both lost their major wars.

  20. Lil Sidhe's Avatar
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    #20
    Tolkien was always against the mixing of mythologies. From what ive read about him, he didnt mix any greek, celtic, roman or any mythologies for the lord of the rings book. part of the books were based on WW II, like the bodies in the swamp for instance, but he didnt use parts of mythologies to tell his stories. he was against C S Lewis mixing mythologies to write Narnia.

  21. Samthoniel's Avatar
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    #21
    Beinga Hindu myself, this may come out as a bit biased, but since the Vedas were the first books in existence, I have always found a lot of mythology being similar to my own Hindu mythology. Now not to take anything away from any other mythology, but you can find traces and story lines of Hind mythology in a lot of places. So if Tolkien was influenced by Hinduism, then it does not have to be directly. He may have a heard a story, or taken from another Mythology. For Ulmo, Poseidon and Varuna, are all drawn from the same thought, the Lord of the waters, now where Tolkien took this from, how are we to know?

  22. halfir's Avatar
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    So it is higly unlikely that he borrowed anything from Vedic, Egyptian, Assyrian, Babyloian myth


    Tolkien didn’t borrow anything from any myth. He was inspired by a multiplicity of sources and the inspiration that some of them gave him wasforged in the crucible of his creative genius into his own masterworks.


    The fact that his writings show more- or less- explicit resonances of any other myth or legend is not a comment on his inability to create for himself but a statement about his realization of the commonality of certain images and archetypes that appeared over again and again in earlier myth and legend-and of course acts as a reinfocing mechanism between his own myth and the overarching RL mythos in which it would have to be set to gain any credibilty as a myth. Understandably, as his culture was "northern’, the Northern mythic resonances resound the strongest.


    As to his knowledge of Babylonian and Egyptian mythology there is clear indication, both from his Letters and his personal library that he was well aware of and fluent in the histories of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia.The restricted ’education’ now offered in what passes for ’educational establishments’ in the Westren World was, thank goodness, one that did not exist to shrivel the mind when Tolkien was at school and university, and he had a natural appetitie for myth of all sorts. For example, in On Fairy Stories he refes to one of the oldest of fairy stories ever written- one from Ancient Egypt.


    Gondor has flavors of Egypt with Arnor and Gondor- the ’twin kingdoms’ reflecting the twin kingdoms ofEgypt: cf. Letter # 211.:


    ’The Numenoreans of Gondor were, proud, peculiar, and archaic, and I think are best pictured in (say) Egyptian terms. In many ways they resembled ’Egyptians’ - the love of, and power to construct, the gigantic and massive. And in their great interest in ancestry and in tombs.......I think the crown of Gondor (the S. Kingdom) was very tall , like that of Egypt, but with wings attached, not set staright back but at an angle. The N. Kingdom had oly a diadem {111.323} Cf. the difference between the N.and S. kingdoms of Egypt.’


    And in his thread Boromir the Egyptian
    http://www.lotrplaza.com/Archive4/di...agePosition=47

    geordie drew our atention to a sale of Budge’s classic work on Egypt from Tolkien’s library, a work that had clearly been well-used:

    [TOLKIEN, J.R.R.] BUDGE. Sir. Ernest Alfred Thompson Wallis.
    The Chapters of Coming Forth by Day or the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead. The Egyptian Hieroglyphic Text Edited from Numerous Papyri.
    <st1:place w:st="on" border="0" target="_blank"><st1:City w:st="on" border="0" target="_blank">London</st1:City></st1:place>, Kegan Paul, Trench and Trubner &amp; Co. 1910 PROVENANCE<B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal" border="0" target="_blank">: Ex Libris J.R.R .TOLKIEN[/B]. Three Vols. 8vo. Publisher’s Brown Buckram boards with black text and Papyrus motif. TOLKIEN’s INK INSCRIPTION to front free end papers of all three volumes. Small paper label of subsequent owner adhered just below Tolkien’s inscription. <B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal" border="0" target="_blank">The volumes are very well preserved, and fragrant from many years exposure to pipe tobacco smoke.[/B] Some minor wear to head and tale of spine and faint yellowing to edges of paper. Vol. VI - VIII of the Books on <st1:country-region w:st="on" border="0" target="_blank"><st1:place w:st="on" border="0" target="_blank">Egypt</st1:place></st1:country-region> and Caldaea series. Second Edition, with the first appearance of Budge’s preface. The Book of the Dead being a remarkable collection of the compositions which the Egyptians inscribed upon their tombs and sarcophagi to ensure the well being of their dead. {my bold emphasis}

    Which was interesting as at the same time,as I wrote in that thread:

    I am in the process of writing a lengthy esay on Tolkien and the Onomasticon of Amenemipet which is a speculativecomposition linking Tolkien’s concept of the ’Word’ not only to Barfield and ’Poetic Diction’ but to the Ancient Egyptian approach to the ’Word’.

    So I believe Tolkien had a very intimate understanding of Ancient Egypt.


    And in my thread:
    <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal" border="0" target="_blank">Tolkien and the Cradle of Civilization[/I]

    http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&amp;TopicID=1 95582&amp;PagePosition=3&amp;PagePostPosition=1


    I observed :
    <st1:place w:st="on" border="0" target="_blank">’Mesopotamia-</st1:place> ’the land between the rivers’- is often referred to as ’the cradle of civilization’. What is not so frequently referred to is the fact that Tolkien too used <st1:place w:st="on" border="0" target="_blank">Mesopotamia</st1:place> as the place in which Man first emerged,in one of his variants on the Drowning of Numenor. In HOME 9 Sauron Defeated The Drowning of Anadune - (v) The theory of work Sketch 1 Note 2 we learn:


    ’The <st1:PlaceName w:st="on" border="0" target="_blank">Great</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceName w:st="on" border="0" target="_blank">Central</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on" border="0" target="_blank">Land</st1:PlaceType>, Europe and <st1:place w:st="on" border="0" target="_blank">Asia</st1:place> was first inhabited. Men awoke in <st1:place w:st="on" border="0" target="_blank">Mesopotamia</st1:place>. Their fates as they spread were various. But the Enkeladim{Eldar} withdrew ever west.’


    Indeed, in Letter # 297 Tolkien writes:


    ’Since naturally, as one interested in antiquity and notably in the history of language and ’writing’, I knew and had reada good deal about Mesopotamia....’


    So the breadth and depth Tolkien’s knowledge was enormous and many tributaries contributed to that amazing river that was his creative genius.


    As to his knowledge of Hindu mythology I know of no explicit evidence. But as to Song and Creation- apart from Ragnelle having pointed to Heron’s excelent thread on the subject- music as the basis for world creation is a cornerstone of creation myths from the earliest times, throughout the world.


    And of course eraly sciende amd music were very much interconnected until- as Jamie James in his 1993 popular-level book The Music of the Spheres: Music, Science, and the Natural Order of the Universe, laments
    Science has drifted so far from its original aims that even to bother with the question of its relationship to music might appear to be an exercise in irrelevancy, like chronicling the connection between military history and confectionary. Yet every scholar of the history of science or of music can attest to the intimate connection between the two. In the classical view it was not really a connection but an identity


    However, that link has been re-established and now even the world of modern science has confirmed the "music of creation’:
    "The early Universe is full of sound waves compressing and rarefying matter and light, much like sound waves compress and rarefy air inside a flute or trumpet.For the first time the new data show clearly the harmonics of these waves."

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1304666.stm





    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  23. Rohanya's Avatar
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    I am liking what I hear and read here. Lots of very good discussion. If I may, what I sense.

    There would seem to be two great creative depths to the story of The Silmarillion. We seem to have Music plus Word. So that would not be sheer Logos in the usual Western, Biblical sense. No, here JRR is speaking of a new, second layer to Myth on the Grand Scale. Music, to my way of thinking, is a validation of many things. True, while it can be a singular performance, this is not quite the feeling you get with The Silmarillion. That music would appear to be a group event, or at least stimulating our intuitive grasp of social realities, which are always a unity, in the readerly fashion, dwelling in a world, shared.

    I used to argue that there are two layers of mind. Well, it would appear not so! The three levels of mind, in human terms, are unconscious, consciousness in the normal sense, and supraconsciousness. The latter, it seems to me, is where Logos and a second integral element of any truth, Nature, come together in manner of essentially social benefit. That is, fundamental books, whether of the JRR sort, whether of the Hindu sort, always have within them, for extremely mysterious reasons, some ability to home in on the structural basics of what is, what always was, and what, I think, might be. They can and will address truths in any and all cultures, just because of....just because of...laugh...I don`t know!

    Speaking seriously, there is a deep need to bring some essentially Eastern and Western perspective on Tolkien`s work together, playing in harmony. That could perhaps bring us to the point of transcending the older formats completely, for now we inhabit a global world, in which the old notions, realities, and inbuilt energies of the separate cultural systems, collapse, collapse however in that way supported by something hopeful, nourishing, always of fruitful content.

    Hmm. I`ll send this. Best wishes to all!

  24. Liona's Avatar
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    #24


    Wow! I really enjoyed reading these posts!


    I feel I have a mixed opinion on this subject. First I would like to prefice this by saying that I know nothing about the Hindi religion. Also as a Christian, I may be approaching this subject in a biased manner. With all that said:


    First of all I&rsquo;m glad Melyana Falas mentioned C.S. Lewis. From what I&rsquo;ve heard Lewis and Tolkien where good friends. Tolkien could have gotten some of his musical inspiration from Lewis. Second, I believe Tolkien was a Christian. In the Bible it mentions God creating the world by the spoken word. In literature, it would make sense to twist that, manipulate it into a song.


    Many of you have said that Tolkien didn&rsquo;t like to mix mythologies, but I would like to put forth another theory. We all admit that Tolkien was very learned. I would like to suggest that through his studies, he became inspired by certain mythologies, and certain histories of different countries. By taking a few ideas from them, he could change them and make tem into his own mythology. This mythology could resemble many different mythologies, yet not be based on any of them.


    Just a thought....

  25. Arthur Weasley's Avatar
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    #25
    During my college teaching career, I studied ancient Mayan myths and archeological materials. The Mayan native Americans from Mexico and Guatamala also had a similar creation myth surrounding the idea of a great music. This all may be coincidence but according to Mayanoral tradition, the very first Mayan tribesmen practiced their rituals by repeating or echoing the music that they overheard whilethe universe was being created. Mankind supposedly woke up after the sky and land were formed but could overhear the music and sounds creating water, animals, and grass etc.

  26. Mr Ash Toast's Avatar
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    #26


    If your description of this mythology is accurate then it rather discredits Tolkien&rsquo;s genius. Thankfully, to my knowledge, Tolkien was not a student of said mythology, rather a student of the Icelandic mythology, which is of a very different nature. However, at the end of the day these mythologies are all essentially the same. They all speak of a great &rsquo;birth&rsquo; or &rsquo;creation&rsquo; involving divine spiritual forces, in the case of Icelandic or Norse mythology involving a great frost giant named Ymir, in the case of the Christian &rsquo;mythology&rsquo; a creation lasting six days. Tolkien&rsquo;s work takes a lot from mythology, there is no denying that. A single thread of mythology, I believe would suffice, instead of this specific Hindu mythology thread. I am new here, so I can only assume one exists or has existed in the past. In my opinion this thread is a) a waste of time andspaceand b) bordering on the &rsquo;blasphemous&rsquo; (if we&rsquo;re talking religious I believe this term is quite apt)regarding Tolkien&rsquo;s work in that it implies pure plagiarism.

  27. Rohanya's Avatar
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    #27
    avantika, I could also suggest the following points. Tolkien, it seems clear, wanted passion injected into Myth, into, on a vaster level, the entire way of Western Way, especially in his Britain. True, he loved the very Britishness of it all, yet surely wanted more vibrant living, I would be guessing, in future generations of English.

    Or else why feel a Myth, Britannic, necessary at all?

    Passion, if vibrant, rich, robust, and at the source, then yes a Musical beginning to the university makes sense. If sheerly a Logos, word approach, then the full impact is not imagined; for you have to get to the end of the first sentence and then the next and the next before meaningful patterns, which can obviously be quite passionate, in this deeper, spiritual sense I am speaking of take place, as experience, in the readerly mind.

    It seems to me obvious then how he intuitively ended up with a musical beginning. Books are always, as written correctly, perfectly (to the degree possible, meaning from that whole unique self) the invocation and channeling of energies.

    Finally, that is why the stories as stories have so much to tell, so much of offer.

  28. Eladar's Avatar
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    #28


    BB,


    I believe this thread should be illegal according to your statement:
    <BLOCKQUOTE dir=ltr style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px" border="0" target="_blank">


    IF the discussion means that one must draw upon one particular faith system in order to further that discussion - it is not allowed.</BLOCKQUOTE>

  29. Bearamir's Avatar
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    #29


    Eladar: Over the years, there have been several threads in the forum to discuss various aspects of Tolkien’s world, and the myths and mythos which may (or may not have contributed) to it. Under the ageis of this kind of "comparative perspective" discussion, religious themes have been allowed.


    Therefore, unless this discussion degenerates into an argument of "whose religion is better than whose"(or my colleagues deem otherwise) this venerable (and excellent discussion) will stay right where it is.

  30. halfir's Avatar
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    #30


    IF the discussion means that one must draw upon one particular faith system in order to further that discussion - it is not allowed.


    Clearly Eladar has paid scant attention to this thread, as although its genesis was vested in Hinduism,Ragnelle’s posts, my own, and those of others take it into a much wider context - and nowhere- thank goodness- is there a ’my religion is better than yours’ childishness.


    Bear:
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  31. Celebind Eryniel's Avatar
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    #31
    <BLOCKQUOTE>Originally posted by Ragnelle on Sunday, May 07, 2006
    <HR>






    Now as to other sourses of music as the crative force (if I can use that expression), there are the Finnish epic Kallevalla where where knowing the right songs and words is what gives power.
    <HR>
    </BLOCKQUOTE>


    I seem to recall having picked up the knowledge somewhere (can&rsquo;t remember where, unfortunately) that Tolkien was familiar with the Kallevalla. And wasn&rsquo;t Quenya partially based on the Finnish language?
    That said, I&rsquo;m not surprised that some aspects of Tolkien&rsquo;s "creation story" might parallel those of world mythologies. Tolkienknew a lot aboutepic tales such as Beowulf, which might be said to be mythological. And when I was a kid, one of my favorite hobbies was learning about different mythologies (right up there with my hobby of collecting stuffed toyanimals ). I was particularly good at noticing similarities between different mythologies. To cite another example of the &rsquo;song as creation&rsquo; theme, the Egyptian god Thoth sang in order to awake the other gods from their slumber inside a cosmic egg. When they awoke and broke out of the egg, they all proceeded to create the world. (Let me know if I got anything wrong; it&rsquo;s been quitea while since I lastbrushed up on my Egyptian myths).
    Hope this helps.
    <center><font color=BLUE>The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.</center>

  32. Araneg's Avatar
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    #32
    I think in no way was he trying to weave hindu thoughts and ideas through his writing. If you recall under the Hindu religion they believe that brahman divides into vishnu (also known as narayana) and into shiva (also known as siva). Although vishnu and shiva are two god&rsquo;s they are only facets of brahman and have no identity outside of brahman. In other words they are brahman with a mask on. I do not see the same ideas in his writing that Illuvatar made the ainur some of which became valar. Because the ainur were seperate beings from Illuvatar and hed free reign to create however they pleased. If anything I would compare his ideas to a mix betweenChristian and early celtic ideas. If you recall in Christianity God makes angels of greater and lesser power then satan rebells and the angels are given a choice of whom to follow. And in some early celtic traditions it was the servents of the god&rsquo;s that helped fashion the world together. So no I see no similarity between hinduism and the writings.

  33. Aure's Avatar
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    #33
    Though I eternally laugh at the notion that there is no allegory in Tolkeins works as has been maintained, I suspect in this instance that the similarities between his writings and aspects of Vedic mythology are not his taking directly from them, however subconsciously, but that the mythos of several cultures simply contain very similar themes, the one of power in music being one of the more common. It is perfectly reasonable to include a concept that appears in so many different places, after all.



    Even in more modern writings, the first that come to my mind are by Mercedes Lackey, there are people who work magic of a sort with song and most spells in fantasy writing are generally held to have a verbal component. Even games such as D&D hold that silencing a sorceror generally negates most if not all of their power. So, why not music?

  34. Wilibald Bumble's Avatar
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    #34


    It is very interesting what you have speculated. On my own research, I do base that Tolkien did use some Vedic mythology in his writings. Yes, you are right because where Tolkien thought that the world was started by music is very strange. It isn&rsquo;t in Norse or Scandanavian mythology as far as I know. The word Om in Hindu culture certainly as to do with the spiritual basis Tolkien would have wanted it to imply. Very interesting idea, you have there! I had never thought it like that. Although I do not have much evidence on this topic(Trying my hardest to find some) I do believe Tolkien took bit by bit out of every major religion, although his idea of a monotheistic god, Eru Illuvatar, was certainly Christian-based.


    But think about the Ainur. Manwe and Varda and all the other lords that live on the continent of Aman. They have both created(helped by Eru) many beings such as the Eagles(by Manwe), and Ulmo who tried to create Dwarves but couldn&rsquo;t as he did not have the Flame Imperishable. Then, if you are familiar, Ulmo begged to Eru to give Life to the Dwarves and lo! out of generosity and pity Eru gave the Dwarves life. These many examples potray that Tolkien might have some polytheistic ideas in his story. Although the Ainur worship Eru, the supreme god of the Ea or the universe, Tolkien might have also given some power to create life and change the Arda to the Ainur. Hinduism is a polythesitic religion! Hence, I do believe Tolkien had created some Vedic mythology and plugged it into his writings&rsquo;.

  35. erynlos's Avatar
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    #35
    Tolkien (point blank) was a memeber of the chatholic church and he was a very well studied scholar and certaintly knew about other mythologies HOWEVER Tolkien NEVER, NEVER based his stories off of other stories he was completely against taking the ideas of others. He wanted the reader to certaintly take their own interpretation but never forced or suggested any other stories when he was writing much less Hinduism which at that point in time was widely looked down upon by most countries (such as England).

  36. Rephaim's Avatar
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    #36
    Well as you all know Hinduism is very fashionable these days but it is not in Hinduism that we find the idea of world created through music but in a most sustained theme in European INTELLECTUAL LIFE called “the music of the spheres” or Musica universalis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_the_spheres) and as Leibniz said “Music is the hidden arithmetic exercise of a soul unconscious that it is calculating” .So, the inner man and cosmos are joined through universal music .You should study Plato and the conception of “world soul” before going as far as Hindu !!!!!Like try reading more about :musica instrumentalis ,humana and mundana!!!!!!

  37. Rephaim's Avatar
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    #37
    And read the KALEVALA 2

  38. Angwethil's Avatar
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    #38
    The coincidences between the Hindu faith and Tolkien's literature are astounding. However I see little connection between the two whatsoever. Many believe systems share similar stories; for example every mythology on Earth contans a Flood Story. Yet you cannot say that the religion of the Lakota Sioux is directly linked to Judaism.

  39. Bearyn's Avatar
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    #39


    If you want to truly learn about the idea of music of the spheres, you should try reading Boethius' treatise on music - its part of a whole set of the important subjects one should study. He was living in Italy in the 500's AD and his work was the bedrock for European music theory for nearly the next 1200 years.


    The ancients were very accustomed to music, and it was a staple piece of their worship. Many stories that we now have from them were actually passed down in song, rather than in spoken word. Music is intrinsically tied to the human soul, and to life as we know it. As a music major in college, I spent much time studying not only the "concrete" areas of music, but also the "untangibles" that speak to so many people. Tolkien was a literary mastermind, and one of the best at capturing the images and ideas that seem to always be just out of reach - he could somehow allow the reader to grasp ahold of them and to ponder. I believe that this was his purpose for using music as the beginning - the creation of the world. Could he have borrowed it from Hindu myth? Absolutely. How likely is it that he did so? Hard to say. I personally tend to believe that people write best about experiences they've had or dreams that have captured their imagination for years, and this is what Tolkien did. As a devout Catholic, he would have been used to the idea that music was a part of life - in the Catholic tradition, music is used to make things seamless - a transition with no bumps along the way. Not to mention that during Tolkien's time many churches were, and still are using some of the ancient tropes, and chants. In today's society this can transform the listener/participator into another time - another frame of mind, and a whole new world of thought and imagination.

  40. Gotrek Benthand's Avatar
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    #40
    I suppose bringing up the heavnly music Milton's Paradise Lost, or Thomas Aquinas' interpretation of music of the celestial spheres would just get me smacked for my evil all-pervading Western solipsism.

    Bearyn you rock! I'm afraid if you bring in Christianity or western literature like poor boethius you will be mercilessly attacked as a proponent of Christian allegory.

    This parmatma could have been an influence on Tolkien, however it falls through when the concept of hierarchy and Eru's ACTIVE creation of orders, planets, and beings. OM needs nothing, it just is, nor does it change or desire, it just is.

  41. Bearyn's Avatar
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    #41


    Gotrek - I hope that I will not be attacked - Though I am a Christian, myself, I am not suggesting any form of Christian allegory. I know that you understand what I'm saying and I hope others do as well. I'm simply saying that Boethius was the founder and perpetuator of our modern views of the music of the spheres. And that Tolkien would likely have been familiar with his work as scholar of this time period.


    You also make an excellent point by saying that Eru is active in his creation. Also the fact that Eru is investing in his creation is against any Hindu idea. Tolkien, himself, mentions in the Sil. that Eru had pity for Aule (concerning his dwarves) and that he had feelings toward other things as well. Feelings are the crucial part. A Hindu, in the highest forms of Hindu study and religious law, should be free of any form of desire. Emotions, themselve, have their complete foundation in the realm of desire. To feel anything for someone is desire something for them. This is completely against the forms of high Hindu schools of thought. Therefore, I, in a roundabout way, agree that Tolkien may have been mildly inspired by this passage, but probably not fundamentally influenced.

  42. Bearyn's Avatar
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    #42


    I should have mentioned this earlier, but I forgot. We must remember that Tolkien's single greatest purpose in writing LOTR was to create a mythology for his beloved England. With this in mind, one must ask themselves this question - if England had a pre-existing mythology, how close would it be to that of the Hindus? I'd say there's a good chance that some things would be held in commont - most mythologies, especially the most ancient ones have certain things that they share in common. Two of the most commonly shared are 1. the aforementioned flood myth, and 2. the creation epic. Every mythology hasa creation epic - most of which deal with a group of gods who created the world - others where one god stands out as the greatest proprieter. So, in this respect, Tolkien does not seem to be borrowing from Hindu myth, rather myth in general. And what's more is that in most ancient creation epics thecreator gods do not seem to be too concerned with their creation.On mostoccasions its a rather spontaneous occurance. Tolkien seems, in his writing at least, to have a certain affinity for songs and music. I'm not too sure of his personal preferences for music, but I would say they were high - simply based on his vast inclusion of it in his works. Therefore, it would seem logical to me that he include music in his creation epic. In short, there could have been some influence, but I would disagree with anyone who said that he borrowed explicitly formthis source. Especially because this epic has Tolkien's handiwork displayed all over it - it is definitely his own work.

  43. Rephaim's Avatar
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    #43
    I am still not convinced ….I still think because Tolkien liked Greek culture so much might have read about Pythagoreansand Plato’s concept of “world soul”.And it is a Christian allegory the concept of “Music of the Spheres” was absorbed by the Christian church and became one of the most powerful doctrines.

  44. Taroogs's Avatar
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    #44
    I imagine that since there is only a finite number of versions of creation stories that human minds can come up with, then there are bound to be many similarities among them.

    Hence the seeming lack of a truly, one-of-a-kind creation story; one that has absolutely no peer among all the rest. This is probably why tolkien's masterful weaving of middle-earth history, although very unique in many aspects, still remind us of some other creation story somewhere in the world. :-)
    There may be many things in life that's better than being a Khazad... but for the life of me, I can't seem to find any :-)

  45. Bearyn's Avatar
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    #45
    Taroogs - you make an excellent point. There are a finite amount of creation myths that we have record of, and they are not too huge in number. Therefore, it becomes easier for Tolkien's creation myth to share things with others - especially because the other, ancient, sources also share many things in common.

  46. Gotrek Benthand's Avatar
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    #46
    Ancient religions with a Monotheistic, that is omnipotent,omnipresent, and all originate creator:

    Judaism

    There are infinite possible variations within polytheistic Ancient religions. Some, like Ra or Marduk are close, but distinct from the Hebraic tradition in the plurality of God-Head. Plato's Demiurge, Aristotle's Craftsmen-God, are never perfectly analogous in regards to Eru. It would appear that Tolkien choose a distinctly Judeo-Christian Godhead in Eru, all other ancient Gods fail to compare positively in all points, revealed by Tolkien, concerning Eru.

    Hinduism poses Om as creating the "Universe" from Om, Eru is, however, and unmoved and unoriginate mover:

    "There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Illuvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought..."-Silmarillion,Ainulindale: {The music of the Ainur}

    The first beings were His offspring, Fathered by Eru's thought: that which is making from that which is not. This paradigm is anathema to Hindu Creation myth.





  47. Taroogs's Avatar
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    #47
    Thanks for the huge thump on the back, Bearyn! And from a fellow Khazad too! :-)

    Tolkien surely was a very wide reader and was probably very familiar with many creation stories -- those that he grew up with, those he encountered while traveling, and those he came across in the course of his formal research.

    But in the end, he had to choose which aspects of these different stories he would "refer to" while writing his books. Lucky for all of us that he did such a wonderful and masterful work :-)
    There may be many things in life that's better than being a Khazad... but for the life of me, I can't seem to find any :-)

  48. HobbitGardener's Avatar
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    #48


    It's been great reading all these posts because I did study the major religions of the Indian subcontinent many years ago now; it's been really interesting reading people's thoughts on two subjects which I love.


    I think it's important to bear in mind, that all these world myths and creation epics, whilst distinct to each of their cultures did not evolve and developin a vacuum and neither did the people who believed in them. These ancient tribes moved around, mixed and mingled, shared stories and ideas and as civilization became more sedentary with the advancement of agricultural techniques, their respective belief systems became crystallised into the forms which are familiar to us today.


    This, I think, is why there are elements of continuity in all creation myths. But two main strands tend to emerge. Forest cultures (ie: places where food and shelter was plentiful, beinggained from living in the forest) tend to emerge with polytheistic myth stories and pantheons. Desert cultures (ie: places where food and water were in short supply)have given rise to monotheistic belief systems. This, I think has interesting strandsof thought to consider, which I won't go into for the mo. But again, the people who lived in these environments also emigrated to new areas and lands as their population grew and they needed to find space of their own.


    So, myths and beliefs can become intermingled - some ideas borrowed and appropriated to suit their environment to help explain the world around them.


    Tolkien's pantheon and creation story, seems to me to be a kind of subconscious synthesis of everything that has been written about the creation of theworld, which is why, perhaps, it has such an extraordinary level of applicability (not allegory) to people from all religious backgrounds. This is not to deny Tolkien's own intense devotion to Catholicism; but I don't think he had any other agenda other than to write what has become a beautifully crafted jewel of a story that he dedicated to his own culture; a culture that in effect never had the chance to develop its' own myth cycle because of constant invasion from other cultures (Norse, Viking, Norman).


    Lastly, this is why, in my opinion, although Tolkien and Lewis were fellow Inklings, it's known that Tolkien did not approve of Lewis' use of fairy story and ancient myth to push forward such a patently Christian message.

  49. Dagoriel's Avatar
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    #49
    I do not recall reading anything about Tolkien saying that he studied Hinduism. He did however study Greek, Roman, Latin ect... languages. He could have possibly read something that did inspire him and just never told anyone? But i really think that he just created the whole Eru and other gods from his own imagination. Good Thought

  50. Clovis.'s Avatar
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    #50
    I'm sure htis is the wrong place to ask this, but.. (I picked this thread because it has a relatively low number of posts).

    Who do you ask permission from to start a thread in this forum? Sorry, but I don't see any official thread giving the forum rules or anything for reference like that.


  51. Ilmarëndil's Avatar
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    #51
    Being an Indian myself, while reading the Silmarillion for the first time, I did link the beginning of the creative process to the syllable Aum - and the creation of the universe in Hindu myth. It is first described as all-encompassing mystical entity in the Upanishads. In Puranic Hinduism, Aum is the mystic name for the Hindu Trimurti, and represents the union of the three gods, viz. a for Brahma, u for Vishnu and m for Mahadev which is another name of Shiva. So technically, Aum indicates the fusing of the trio into one supreme force of being.

    This thought did occur and like Avantika I, too, gave credence to a link between the two ideologies. However, as HobbitGardener mentions, reading a vast cornucopia of fact intermingling with myth through the years does influence the mind. It is only human for this influence to take place - and though conscious thought does over ride and exclude most allusions some do form and fit in. For instance, Tolkien's work has influenced the fantasy genre the world over.

    I definitely cannot state, beyonde a shadow of a doubt, whether Tolkien was influenced, specifically speaking, in his revised work, or whether he even read literature on Hinduism, but I would state that inspiration - as Avantika mentions in her first post - can come from anywhere. Even from places the author himself consciously did not know about.

    But if my opinion was asked - Tolkien was not influenced by Hinduism. To my thinking, if any resemblance does occur in the Beginning of Creation, in the Sil., then it could be a matter of mere coincidence of imagination.


  52. Tirion Rothir's Avatar
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    #52
    It is important to note the points that many veteran members have made regarding this topic. First, the ideas in creation myths are far spread and few enough, relatively speaking. Since he was a highly educated man and an avid reader, it is possible that Tolkien came across such ideas, from Hindu myth, Mayan myth, etc.
    But his purpose was not "How do I draw from ancient cultures all over the world and regurgitate their stories in my own way?" Tolkien wished to take from ideas at the heart of Northerness (Norse, Icelandic, Celtic, Germanic, etc.) myths and stories and work backwards towards the researched languages he created and cherished, and from that union produce an epic story that contained elements already in existence not because he lacked originality or intended to directly borrow from elsewhere, but because he considered such elements part of a "true myth" from which all are derived.

    He created the account of The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King simply so that it may serve as a myth rooted in the heart of Britain, with no allegory, no moral, no WW2 allusions (though he left what meaning one wished up to the reader). Any similarities with other myth or story exists not as coincidence, but as factual common root.

  53. Amdar Melwasul's Avatar
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    #53
    Wow. It's funny you point that out, because I see what you mean. I had the same thought the other day. I am half Indian so I notice that right away. Finally someone who sees the way I do. Very good!

  54. Thürin Faeron's Avatar
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    #54
    I would not assert that Tolkien used Hindu mythology in his writings. I am not sure if anything is written to the fact either. The mythology he most likely emulated in his writings were classical - Greco-Roman mythologies infused with Celtic-Germanic-Norse mythologies. One could assert, as Joseph Campbell does in his Power of Myth series of interviews with Bill Moyers, that all mythologies have universal meaning and influenced by the collective conscious of humanity. However, if we are searching for more specific cultural influences in the mythology, I believe that Tolkien was influenced heavily by the mythologies I referenced above/

  55. Estel Undomiel's Avatar
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    #55
    What is Roman mythology but Greek mythology?

    What is Greek mythology but Indian mythology?

    Did not anyone know that there is similarities between the Greek and the Hindu mythology?

    Hercules killing seven headed hydra and Krishna dancing on Kalinga. The story of Krishna is said to have inspired Hercules and Hydra. When Alexander came on the campaign to Hindustan, this story was taken along with many others, like Vishnu on an eagle and Jupiter on an eagle. The Sun as the chariot whose two wheels are all that we see and there are many others.

    As to whether Tolkien could have been inspired by Hindu mythology, the similarities between these two are so thin that it would be too far fetched to suggest the idea.
    As many others before me so do I think that Tolkien myths bear a remarkable similarity to what is Norse rather than Hindu.

  56. scribe's Avatar
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    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Did not anyone know that there is similarities between the Greek and the Hindu mythology?
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Hercules killing seven headed hydra and Krishna dancing on Kalinga. The story of Krishna is said to have inspired Hercules and Hydra. When Alexander came on the campaign to Hindustan, this story was taken along with many others, like Vishnu on an eagle and Jupiter on an eagle. The Sun as the chariot whose two wheels are all that we see and there are many others.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">But I don't really fully agree on those similarities. Or at least some of them. They seem to me mostly just superficial. The stories attached with each are profoundly different. Garuda has a story unto himself and is profoundly different from jupiter's eagle. The story of Krishna slaying Kalinga bear virtually no similarities exept a snake with many heads winds up dead.The connections seem to me very very tenuous at best. as for the sun chariot... yes they both are chariots and yes they both have two weels but there ends the similarity as far as is see. The philisophical significance between both the deities is profoundly different.

  57. halfir's Avatar
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    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Dorwiniondil posted the following fascinating comments in a thread in Books on the great Hindu classic the Mahabharata:
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/forum...asp?TID=224567
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">In the latest Amon Hen (no. 203) there is a piece by one B.S Benediktz (of Icelandic origin) , who among other things was a student of Tolkien's. He recalls a particular lecture on (or around) The Pardoner's Tale which went into many diversionsthat B.S.B. found entertaining but irrelevant, until the end, when:

    Tolkien drew the conclusion which he wanted us to draw. Changing his tone, he reminded us that in order to undestand an English masterpiece of the Middle Ages we must realise that its basic theme would, as likely as not, have travelled all round Europe in quite a variety of guises. It may even have travelled further for it was from him that most of us heard the name Mahabharata in connection with The Pardoner's Tale!

    So Tolkien definitely was acquainted with the Mahabharata (in case anyone was in any doubt)!

    B.S.B. also describes lecturing technique as being "at once superb and dreadful." The dreadfulness was because of his delivery - his habit of dropping his voice at the end of a sentence or clause so that nobody actually heard the punch-line.Edited by: halfir
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  58. scribe's Avatar
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    So Tolkien definitely was acquainted with the Mahabharata

    This actually is facinating. I was not aware. Hindu philosphy is something I am quite well aquainted with, and I didn't catch too much of the tales influence on his work. How well aquainted was he? Is it known?


    On a side note, is anyone aware what the connection he saw between the Mahabharata and the Pardoner's Tale is? I can't see it for the life of me.

  59. Estel Undomiel's Avatar
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    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">The Pardoner's Tale? Can someone tell me what is that about?

  60. halfir's Avatar
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    scribe: in an earler post in the thread I quoted I wrote:

    It would be interesting to know what Verlyn Flieger, a leading Tolkien scholar and also a noted expert in the area of myth in literature has to say on the subject of Tolkien and the Mahabharata, as she teaches both that and the great Ramayana in her Hindu Myth and Epic program.

    Having emailed her on the subject, her helpful reply can be summarised as follows:


    Tolkien was not particularly influenced by the Mahabharata.
    He was familiar with Sanskrit and its relation to Indo-European language theory
    It didn't influence him on the story level.
    At the time of her writing that I think she was unaware of Tolkien's reference to the Mahabharata and the Pardoner's Tale, but I still think that overall her response holds good.

    As to your final question I have not read the Amon Hen article- which may be of help- and Dorwiniondil is currently on holiday. I suggest we ask him on his return.

    Estel Undomiel- the Pardoner's Tale is one ot the many tales contained in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. A google search will give you a plenitude of responses as to what the tale is about.
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  61. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">Well, I'm back, having left M. Sarkozy even further up the creek than he was when I arrived in France (pure coincidence!).
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">Unfortunately, I think that issue of AH went for recycling some time ago. However, from what I remember,the only thing in that article about the Mahabharata was that brief mention that I quoted.
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  62. Ankala Teaweed's Avatar
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    Very interesting reference from the Amon Hen! Thank you, Dor and halfir.

    We should not be surprised with any anecdote indicating Tolkien's familiarity with any of the ancient mythologies of the world. And I think it is insufficient to look solely for direct influence. It is more than likely that we would, if we had more information about the great range of his knowledge and study, find here and there some small elements of many ancient stories. We know his greatest influences were the Edda and Kalevala, but that does not mean we would not find subtle references or snippets of other lore woven into his works even in some of the smallest corners of the masterpiece. To me it seems a tapestry of much intricacy, with much of life's conditions illustrated in the telling of the various substories.

  63. halfir's Avatar
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    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">I recall that Dimitra Fimi- who has contributed to the Scholars Forum -published a piece on Tolkien's Library which -inter alia- demostrated that he had a much more intimate knwolwedge of Celtic myth than many -myself included- had thought. (Tolkien, with some exceptions, was pretty silent on the works that had influenced or interested him- unlike his colleague and friend C S Lewis who must have been a publisher's dream!).
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">She also listed other works which showed what a polymath he was. I'll try and dig out the thread we had on the subject, but if that proves impossible- or the thread is inadequate I'll get in touch with Dimitra and ask her for the reference to her article. Of course if anyone reading this knows thatrefernce that will save me time and effort.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">And I agree with AT -this was a man whoseinterest ranged from early Egyptian fairy stories to the Flora of the Cape - to name but two areas that captured his attention.Edited by: halfir
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  64. halfir's Avatar
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    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">The piece on Tolkien's Library- which is mainly concerned with his significant collection of books relating to Celtic myth and legend can be found in Tolkien Studies Vol1V 2007 - Tolkien's 'Celtic' type of Legends: Merging Traditions - Dimitra Fimi.Edited by: halfir
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  65. Brandywine74's Avatar
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    Very interesting thread.

    To me it makes sense that Tolkien would have had some familiarity with Hindu ideas. If the Vedas are the oldest (?) known books and with them being in an Indo-European language, Tolkien would have had some interest in them as a philoligist. Does anyone know if he investigated Indo-European languages as a whole or did he stick to the Germanic branch?

    Tolkien also seems to have had a wide and varied interest in so many things I can imagine him being interested in this.
    Ah! That was proper fourteen-twenty, that was!



  66. There are many similarities in Hindu mythology with other country mythology.Many scientist are researching on Hindu mythology to get scientific facts from mythology.The different stories those were described in mythology are found in different places.Many facts are matching to our daily life happening which were described in the anicent ages.That is why Hindu mythology is give importance to all.
    <a href="" target="_blank">Hindu Mantras</a>

  67. ManOnSilverHorse's Avatar
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    Unluckily I know anything about Hindu mythology but the elvish language is pretty similar, the vowels symbols and so on. I noticed that when I was trying to learn their alphabet. Anyway, really interesting threat, there's always something about Tolkien that surprises me.

  68. Melissa K.'s Avatar
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    Well, according to this, he had certainly studied Theosophy, which is derived from Hundu mythology.http://www.angelfire.com/rings/three/chrono.htm


  69. halfir's Avatar
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    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">There are many 'poisoned wells' on the web regarding Tolkien with he world and his wife claiming that Tolkien had studied this, that, or the other. Most of them are meretricious. The idea that Tolkien had anything in common with Madame Blavatsky is- I think- risible.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Tolkien had grave reservations about Charles Williams dalliance with the Order of the Dawn and the idea that Tolkien himself wasted time on Blavatsky's pot pourri of nonsense- with her 'hidden masters' in Tibet - is not credible.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">And if you care to look a few posts up you will see the provenance of how Tolkien was aware of Hindu mythology - and it has nothing to do with Blavatsky and her ilk
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Excerpt
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Dorwiniondil posted the following fascinating comments in a thread in Books on the great Hindu classic the Mahabharata:
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/forum...asp?TID=224567
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">In the latest Amon Hen (no. 203) there is a piece by one B.S Benediktz (of Icelandic origin) , who among other things was a student of Tolkien's. He recalls a particular lecture on (or around) The Pardoner's Tale which went into many diversionsthat B.S.B. found entertaining but irrelevant, until the end, when:

    Tolkien drew the conclusion which he wanted us to draw. Changing his tone, he reminded us that in order to undestand an English masterpiece of the Middle Ages we must realise that its basic theme would, as likely as not, have travelled all round Europe in quite a variety of guises. It may even have travelled further for it was from him that most of us heard the name Mahabharata in connection with The Pardoner's Tale!

    So Tolkien definitely was acquainted with the Mahabharata (in case anyone was in any doubt)!

    End excerpt

    See also the archived thread Theosophy and the Chronology of Middle Earth

    http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/archi...PagePosition=3Edited by: halfir
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  70. Ah, there's the Mahabharata thread! I'd been looking for it while writing one of the posts for Elvish &amp; Indo-European, but couldn't find it.


    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  71. Melissa K.'s Avatar
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    #71


    Halfir, thanks for the link to the old thread, I noticed that most of the people were criticising the article in Mallorn without actually having read it, and making points that the article itself covers quite comprehensively.


  72. halfir's Avatar
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    Perhaps they were Melissa but that doesn't invalidate the criticisms that they made. And the idea that Tolkien - a devout Roman Catholic - could have any connection with the mumbo-jumbo of Madame Blavatsky and her crew I find quite extraordinary. And the fact is that he didn't!
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  73. Melissa K.'s Avatar
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    Well, one of them, for example, criticised the article for saying the Third Age lasted 1320 years, but what it *actually* says is that in Gondor, it lasted 1320 full years plus a certain number of days (till March of 1321), which is precisely correct.Just as an aside, you came down very heavily on anyone criticising Islam, but are happy to describe Theosophy as "mumbo-jumbo". How come?


  74. halfir's Avatar
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    Of course errors are going to occur, but one or two incorrect statements do not necessarilly invalidate an argument- unless- like in the case of Tolkien's alleged knowledge of - and thus by implication involvement with - Theosophy- the basic premise is inherently flawed.


    but are happy to describe Theosophy as 'mumbo jumbo'. How come?

    Because it is! There's a huge difference between the considered philosophies of the world's leading religions and Madame Blavatsky's inventions- btu we're not going to digress down that path.

    And I do not 'come down very heavily' on anyonecriticisinganything unless the language they use in so doing fails the 'Dag Hammarskjold test'!Edited by: halfir
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  75. Melissa K.'s Avatar
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    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Ok fair enough. I'm quite interested in Hindu mythology and therefore in Theosophy, which is an offshoot of it (and also, incidentally, was heavily involved in the campaign for India's independence). Hinduism has just as much "considered philosophy" as Islam, and probably vastly more, and Hinduism can hardly be described as an insignificant religion.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Tolkien wouldn't have had to be involved in Theosophy to have some knowledge of it. It was, after all, all the rage in the first part of the 20th century in intellectual circles. And as a philologist he would certainly have studied Sanskrit literature.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Edited by halfirEdited by: halfir

  76. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">In the days of Tolkien's youth, Theosophy enjoyed quite a vogue, especially among radical women - quite a few suffragists were involved, mainly because it appeared to be a woman-friendly religion. It is quitepossible that the young Tolkien, who was as we know full of 'satiable curtiosity, investigated it; it is also quite evident that he did not adhere to it as a belief system. In the early 1990s, when some Russian Theosophists were trying to claim Tolkien for their own, Christopher Tolkien discreetly let it be known that he could not imagine anything farther from his father's philosophy. So the Mallorn article is just another example of people making unjustified claims to know Tolkien's "real" agenda - as on Islam, and also, as I have gone on about on the Plaza, on fascism.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">simul with Melissa.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">[edit]
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">As Melissa says, very early on in his philological studies Tolkien would have come across Sanskrit,which means that he would havebeenintorduced toHindu writings in their authentic form, rather than in the rather garbled Westernizedinterpretation propounded by Theosophy, and would effectively hae bypassed it.Edited by: Dorwiniondil
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  77. halfir's Avatar
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    Melissa K:If you had troubled to read a few of the preceding posts you would have seen I and others have already spoken of Tolkien's knowledge of Sanskrit and also read of Professor Flieger's view that it didn't influence him on the story level. And as this thread is about Hinduism and Tolkien and I and others have posted positively in it I fail to see how I or anyone else posting here can be accused of describing it as an insignificant religion. And the fact that a few zanies used Hinduism to create their own cloud cuckoo fantasies and that I descry them in no way impugns or maligns the validity of Hinduism.

    Have you read the history of Blavatsky - she was one gigantic con artist.

    And the subject of Theosophy and Tolkien is now closed- as Dorwiniondil's post more than satisfies any fair minded person's view of its impact- or otherwise- on Tolkien.

    The thread may continue to discuss Tolkien and Hinduism.
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  78. Vishwanath's Avatar
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    #78


    Quote Originally Posted by avantika
    I was writing a poem on the Ainulindale, and the whole storyseemed to me to be very similar to ancient Hindu mythology. According to this, the universe was created from an original supreme being, known as Parmatma, and each "level" of the universe was created out of a different part of his being. Moreover, each level was created out of a piece of music - the Om sound is one such music - and the destiny and quality of each level was determined by the sound of its creation.This is a very crude description, and there’s much more to it, but I’m no expert and I’m only trying to show similarities.
    Does anyone know whether Tolien ever studied or read anything related to Hinduism, and where he got inspiration for the whole idea of Eru and music? Because the universe being created out of music is not a very common idea.
    &lt;Nessa Edit: Interesting hypothesis. My compliments!&gt;
    Even if Toliken never truly studied hindu or vedic mythology there are several similarities between the religions he did study especially Norse and a few of the other pre christian religions and hinduism i really don't want to go into which came up first and which later but the truth is most early religions have a lot of the same mythology adapted to suit their own little areas of the world for example Indra and Odin and Zeus can almost be considered the same being as in mythology they fulfill the same purpose...So it might not be based on the hinduism directly but for people who know those religions we will always see similarities.
    If you take up Christianity in the same breath
    Eru=God=Brahma
    Valar=Archangels=Devarishi (First seven son's of Brahma) of course there were only four archangels in christian mythology
    Maiar=Angels=Maharishi ( the sons of devarishi's or the other son's of Brahma)
    But the thing is Eru is definitely based on God from christianity because Paramathma created Vishnu and Shiva and from Vishnu Brahma came into being who in turn created men and paramathma was never directly involved in creation of life.




  79. halfir's Avatar
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    Vishwanath a warm welcome to the Plaza and especially the Lore Forums. Enjoy. And you may care to look at this thread -started by Dowrwiniondil on Tolkien's knowledge of the Mahabharata:


    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=224567
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.





  80. for example Indra and Odin and Zeus can almost be considered the same being as in mythology they fulfill the same purpose



    While you're absolutely right that a fair number ancient religions have a very general similarity in their type of polytheism, and that the Germanic, Graeco-Roman, and Vedic/Hindu religions share a more specific historical connection, I wonder what Tolkien would have made of it. For instance, Indra, Odin, and Zeus share some similarities as 'chief gods in their pantheon' - but that's not an equation made that often, I think. In some ways, Zeus, Thor, and Indra might be a better match (at least they are all sky/thunder gods) - the ancients seem to have equated Zeus/Jupiter with Thor, and Mercury with Odin (this is still reflected in the weekday names). From a historical viewpoint, things should be different yet: Zeus should match to Germanic Týr (anciently equated rather with Mars) and the rather minor Dyauḥ Pitā.
    I'd be pretty surprised if Tolkien hadn't taken in interested in this sort of thing, but I have a feeling his response might have been much the same as his comments about comparative folklore:
    They {folklorists or anthropologists} are inclined to say that any two stories that are built round the same folklore motive, or are made up of a generally similar combination of such motives, are 'the same stories'. . . .
    Statements of that kind may express (in undue abbreviation) some element of truth; but they are not true in a fairy-story sense, they are not true in art or literature. It is precisely the colouring, the atmosphere, the unclassifiable details of a story, and above all the general purport that informs with life the undissected bones of the plot, that really count.
    -On Fairy Stories, Origins
    Given Tolkien's views on the relationship between folklore, mythology, and literature, one might just as well read 'mythology' for 'art or literature' (reinforced by his comments on Thórr a couple of pages later). The general similarities we can find might touch on interesting historical facts about real-world mythologies, but it would be in the details that I'd want to find any real connections.
    I would actually not be entirely surprised to find some such details here and there, given the centrality of Hindu (or rather, specifically Vedic) mythology in the history of comparative mythology studies. The most probable connection here would be the work of Max Müller, a 19th century philologist and mythologist whose work Tolkien showed a clear familiarity with in On Fairy Stories(incidentally, Tolkien's teacher and friend, Joseph Wright, was Müller's successor in the Chair of Comparative Philology at Oxford). Since Müller's work dealt extensively with Sanskrit materials, this would provide a natural avenue for Tolkien to have become fairly well acquainted with Vedic (and to a certain extent more generally Hindu) materials despite his lack of personal expertise in Sanskrit. There's a project for someone (if it hasn't been done already): go through Müller's work and see if anything turns up.



    Edited by: Lord of the Rings
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  81. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #81


    And after they've gone through Muller, anybody wanting to take this on could continue with Dumézil ...
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  82. Morgan's Avatar
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    #82




    Halfir and Dorwiniondil - thanks for calling attention to the piece in Amon Hen!



    As I would like to order the issue from the Tolkien Society (I'm always interested in reading about reminiscences of Tolkien) -- are you sure it's issue no. 203?
    In the latest<em style="color: rgb0, 0, 255; text-align: left; : rgb255, 255, 255; ">Amon Hen[/i](no. 203) there is a piece by one B.S Benediktz (of Icelandic origin)

    Trying to find some more information, I noticed that Hammond and Scull mention in their Addenda and Corrigendathat:
    The story of [Sigriður Þórarinsson's]stay with the Tolkiens in Oxford, and of encounters other members of her family had with Tolkien, is told by B.S. Benedikz in ‘Some Family Connections with J.R.R. Tolkien’,<em style="color: rgb0, 0, 255; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 18px; text-align: -webkit-auto; text-indent: 20px; : rgb255, 255, 255; ">Amon Hen[/i]209 (January 2008).
    The date of issue 209 (January 2008) also fits better with the date of Dorwiniondil's post ("the latest Amon Hen", posted on 30 January 2008), as issue 203 appears to have been published in January 2007.
    Thanks for any clarifications!



    Edited by: Morgan_TG

  83. halfir's Avatar
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    #83
    Hi Morgan_TG. I must admit what I have posted is dependent on Dorwiniondil's earlier post in Books- unless I misread it- always a possibilityI have PM'd him drawing attention to your post here and no doubt he will be able to confirm the date and issue number.
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  84. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    Unfortunately I haven't got 4 years' worth of back issues of Amon Hen! But I'm pretty sure it must have been issue 209 - I tend to react fairly rapidly to these sort of things.
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  85. halfir's Avatar
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    Morgan_TG my apologies. Dorwiniondil many thanks.
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  86. Morgan's Avatar
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    #86
    Yep, I can confirm now that the issue is no. 209 (pp. 11-3), January 2008 -- got a copy from the Tolkien Society today. (just in case someone else wants to order )



  87. Morgan's Avatar
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    #87


    Just a note for the record:



    I was indexing the manuscripts published as "Pre-Fëanorian Alphabets, Part 1" inParma Eldalamberon 16 today, and found a reference to, in the words of editor Arden Smith, "a connection to India", namely Tolkien's apparent invention of characters resembling "Devanāgarīand related Indian scripts" (p. 26). Smith notes two words penciled in the Khasi language spoken in eastern India, and speculates that "Tolkien may have come across these words in works on mythology or archaeology" (p. 26n).

    Edited by: Morgan

  88. RevAnakin's Avatar
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    #88
    Yes, it is true that much of his beginning of the world story is very similar to Hinduism. And there is a certain level of connectedness between all religions. But the overall sight of the Lord of the Rings ect must be remembered to be to give ancient England (pre Norman Conquest) a mythology and history.



    Tolkien wasn't fond at all of mixing mythologies, hence some harsh words said about C.S. Lewis' works. But there were certain things (like the creation of the world and these two words obviously) that are very reminiscent of Hinduism. That is what made Tolkien the master wordsmith that Lewis could never be. He stepped out of his Christian faith to write a true piece of art.

  89. Morgan, my PE's are all packed away for the summer - what were the two Khasi words?



    If the language has been identified completely securely (and I would think that Arden Smith did his fact-checking pretty carefully), it's verystriking that Tolkien would have taken an interest in Khasi. Ethnologue reports that it is an Austro-Asiatic language, and so doesn't even have the slight connection of being Indo-European. This does make the archaeological, and especially the mythological, source more likely than a grammatical one (though a linguistic source might not be ruled out, depending on just what these words are).
    Thinking about the Sarati connection, Khasi doesn't have a terribly long history of written attestation (as far as I can tell) and a Brahmic script (i.e. one related to Devanagari) was only briefly used for the language, the Latin alphabet generally being preferred. So unless Tolkien actually noted these words, I wonder how much this is really evidence for a connection to the Brahmic scripts, beyond showing that Tolkien every once in a while took an interest in matters Indian (something the shape of Sarati-type scripts already evidences). Clearly we need a Tolkienist-Indologist to trace this reference for us! Anybody know one?
    It would be interesting to know just what books Tolkien had read that touched on India. I've suspected for a while (and probably mentioned on the Plaza once or twice) that Tolkien's description of the noontide of Valinor is somewhat influenced by philologists' (rather romantic) view of India in Vedic/early Classical times - though this is just a bit of speculation without knowing what books Tolkien had read in a bit more detail (it's virtually certain he came across numerous references to Sanskrit and ancient India in philological writings--it holds a key place in comparative grammar--, but it's less sure precisely what sorts of specific ideas and images he would have encountered).
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

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