Since the end of Naruto, TheBetterCup and I have been in a very down mood. It is weird to think that a large part of our childhood is over. I mean, this is something we have been watching since we were in grade school. Now we are turning twenty and in uni, and it is ending a long with our childhood. It may just be that this is a little sign that we are officially growing up, which is a tad unsettling. Anyways, I will try not to have any spoilers of Naruto, but just in case: WARNING MAY CONTAIN NARUTO SPOILERS.
So the end of Naruto includes references to some Buddhist/Hindu and Japanese mythology. So with out telling you what happens lets just talk about two names that are mentioned during that Fourth Shinobi War. Asura and Indra are found in both Buddhist and Hindu mythology, and they have a very interesting story that you should know if you wish to truly understand what happens.
The Asura come from Hindu mythology and are seen as nature spirits that opposed the devas (Gods). They are contemporarily (is that a word) shown as power hungry. They began as equals to the devas, but evolved to lesser beings through out history. Because of this, they also went from being gods that fell because of a small mistake to these evil and sinful creatures.
They are described as addicted to negative passions such as wrath, pride, and falseness. They are also said to be obsessed with violence and ego. There are four unhappy births, and rebirth as an Asura is one of them (the other three include being born an animal, going to hell for a short period, or becoming a preta or starving ghost). To be born as an Asura, one must have had had good intentions as a human, but still have done harm to others.
They lead very pleasure seeking lives, but still feel unhappy because they are jealous of the Deva and want to regain their initial rank. They live at the foot of Mt. Sumeru (for good reason), and are broken into many tribes.
Physically, they are said to be low ranking deities with six arms and three heads. Supposedly, the men are hideous, but the women are very exotic and beautiful.
Indra, also known as Sakra in Buddhist and Japanese text, comes from Hindu mythology. He is the leader of the Devas. He wields lightening bolts and rides a white elephant named Airavata. He is the Lord of the Gods and the rainbow is considered to be his bow.
He can be compared to the Jade Emperor in Chinese mythology. And though Sakra and Indra share many similarities, Sakra tends to be shown as much kinder and more forgiving. His realm, Trayastrimsa, is the polar center of the physical world, and sun and moon revolve around it.
The Asura and the Deva lived on the peak of Mt. Sumeru, and when Indra was named ruler of the whole world, the Asura celebrated by drinking a very strong and forbidden wine. As they broke the rules, and were very drunk, Indra had them thrown over the mountain off the summit. At the base of Mt. Sumeru, they noticed the growth of a tree called Cittapatali that differed from the tree called Paricchattaka at the peak of the mountain . This was proof that they were no longer allowed to live with the Deva on the mountain. Becoming violent, they tried many times to climb up to the peak often failing, because they would believe a large Deva army would attack. Anytime that the Deva and Asura did clash, Indra would make sure that no harm would befall either side.
Eventually, they stopped fighting when Indra fell in love with the daughter of the of the Asura Cheif Vemacitran. She was given the right to choose any man present as her husband, and she chose an old asura male that she knew was a disguised Indra. Though they ended the battle, the Asura never gained their position back.
I will not say too much about Naruto, but I wondered why Asura and Indra were involved and what it meant. I found this quote of Asura and realized what the cultural significance was: Laden with blessing, lacking power, absolutely determined to fight. I feel like this makes a lot of sense. Anyway, I hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving if you are in the USA, and have a good week to everyone else.
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