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India and Greece: Comparing and Contrasting Religious Poetry

             The Greeks and Indians had very different ideals and customs regarding their religions. Each country had a completely different collection of gods, each believed in different rituals for praising their gods, and each recorded stories of their gods behaving in different ways. Their religions are very diverse, yet the poetry that the Greeks and Indians wrote in praise of their gods is interestingly similar. While the poems of both countries of course differ from each other to some degree, the differences lie in the structure of the religion. For the most part, they do not lie in the poems themselves.
             Between comparing and contrasting the poetry of these two countries, comparing is the easiest. They are alike in so many ways that it would take several papers to fully explain the similarities. The best way of understanding the similarities in the poems is to understand the similarities of the religions. When comparing anything dealing with religions of different countries, the likenesses as well as the differences are usually a substantial amount. However, it is not hard to pick a few of the comparable traits out.
             When reading Greek or Indian poetry, one of the first things a reader will notice is that the writer usually depicts the god performing an act of love, sex or romance. Such acts can vary from being kind to the people who worship that god to gods and/or goddesses courting and mating to gods showing love to their families. In Greek poetry, a perfect example is "Metamorphoses" by Ovid. In his poem, he states: "Now the first girl Apollo loved was Daphne,/Whose father was the river-god Peneus,/And this was no blind chance, but by Cupid's malice." (Harris and Platzner 952). Cupid is, of course, a god of love who has the ability to make people fall in love. For an example of love in the Indian tradition, look to Kalidasa's "The Birth of the War-God." A stanza from that poem reads: ""I loved to hear the name thou gav'st me often/"Heart of my heart.

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