Monday, 5 December 2016
The Gods See The Spirit Supreme
Poul Anderson's heroic fantasies highlight the Eddaic pantheon, particularly Odin. Thor wields his hammer in Chapter I of War Of The Gods. Although these guys are inspiring to the extent that they protect mankind from hostile elements personified as Giants and Ice Trolls, their personalities, Odin's trickiness and Thor's oafishness, remain unedifying and it seems inappropriate to call them "divine."
The Vedas, like the Eddas, celebrate Aryan gods of fire, wind and thunder:
"I will declare the manly deeds of Indra, the first that he achieved, the Thunder-wielder."
However, later scriptures, the Upanishads, promote the Vedic gods to a higher spiritual status when they see "...Brahman, the Spirit Supreme..."
"'Who is that being that fills us with wonder?'"
-Kena Upanishad IN The Upanishads, trans. Juan Mascaro (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1984), pp. 51-54 AT p. 52.
"'...Indra, the god of thunder, excelled all other gods for he came nearest to Brahman and he first knew he was the Spirit Supreme." (p. 53)
Thus, Indra transcends Thor.