Category : Mythology
The fourth to sixth labours of Hercules
 Roshan Rollands  
 15 February 2018  

Fourth labour- Erymanthian boarThe Erymanthian boar by Francisco de ZurbaránEurystheus, humiliated that the hind had escaped from right before him, sent Hercules on the next task of bringing back the Erymanthian boar alive. There are no definitive accounts of this labour though this is the most agreed upon version. On the way to Mt. Erymanthos, Hercules dunes and sups with his old friend Pholus. He was a centaur and Hercules convinces him to open the jar of wine left to the centaurs of the mountain my Dionysus. The aroma was so strong that t attracted all the centaurs of the mountain. Unknown to them, the wine was so strong that it should’ve been diluted. They drank the unadulterated wine and went berserk, attacking Hercules. Hercules shot at them with his poisonous arrows, sending them retreating all the way to Chiron’s cave. One version of the legend states that Pholus, curious as to why these arrows had killed several centaurs, picked an arrow up but dropped it on his foot, thus poisoning himself. Another version states that a stray arrow hit Chiron and poisoned him although he’s immortal. He felt immense pain, so great that he gave up his immortality and took the place of Prometheus who had his liver torn away by an eagle every morning. Hercules, seeing Chiron in such agony shot down the eagle, killing it. This labour also according to some, serves as the point for the transfer of immortality from Chiron to Hercules. Chiron then tells Hercules that in order to catch the boar, all he had to do was drive it into the deep snow. Hercules thus caught the boar, bound it and took it back to king Eurystheus.Fifth labour- Augean stablesThe Augean stables by Morgan SnellThis labour was to clean the stables of King Augeas. This was intended to be both humiliating and impossible for Hercules because the animals there were immortal and produced a huge amount of dung. The stables housed roughly a thousand cattle and it hadn’t been cleaned in almost 30 years. Hercules, confident that he could complete it in a day, asked the king for a tenth of his cattle if he succeeded in doing so. The king agreed to the bet, oblivious to what Hercules was capable of. Hercules redirected the rivers Alpheus and Peneus and succeeded in cleaning up the filth in less than a day. Augeas refused to honour the agreement on the grounds that it was King Eurystheus who’d given Hercules the task anyway. Hercules took the matter up in court and was supported by Phyleus, the king’s nephew. Augeas banished them both before the verdict of the court was out. Hercules returned to the kingdom, killed Augeas and handed over the kingdom to Phyleus. Also, according to the poet Pindar, Hercules founded the Olympic Games shortly thereafter.Sixth Labour- Stymphalian birdsHercules kills the Stymphalian birds by Albrecht DürerThe Stymphalian birds were creatures that were sacred to Aries, the good of war. They were man eating birds with beaks of bronze and dagger like metallic feathers that could be launched at their victims. They had all migrated to Lake Stymphalia in Arcadia where they multiplied rapidly. In Greek mythology, Arcadia is the home of the God Pan. In other cultures, it is seen as an untouched and unadulterated wilderness. The birds went berserk, wreaking havoc all over the countryside, destroying crops, trees and killing the townspeople. Hercules ventures into the swamp but couldn’t go too far as it couldn’t support his weight. Athena coming to his aid, gave him a rattle made by Hephaestus for this very purpose. He shook it and the birds flew out from their perches. Hercules then shot down several of them with his arrows, killing them instantly. The remaining birds flew far away never to return.**All images are taken from greekerthanthegreeks.blogspot.in

The seventh to ninth labours of hercules
 Roshan Rollands  
 15 February 2018  

The seventh labour- The Cretan BullThe Cretan bull by B. PicartFor his seventh labour, Hercules sailed to Crete where king Minos told him of the bull that was wreaking havoc all over his kingdom, destroying crops and demolishing orchard walls. The king gave Hercules permission to take the bull away and even offered assistance in doing so which Hercules politely declined. Hercules got the jump on the bull by sneaking up from behind it and throttled it, letting go just before it died. He then shipped it back to Tiryns. Eurystheus who hid at the first sight of the creature, wanted to sacrifice it to Hera who loathes Hercules. Hera however, declined because this offering would be a testimony of Hercules’s immense bravery. The bull was then released and it wandered into Marathon, later coming to be known as the Bull of Marathon.The eighth labour- Mares of DiomedesThe Mares of Diomedes were horses that were particularly violent due to their diet that comprised mainly of human flesh. They were kept by King Diomedes of Thrace. They were kept tethered in bronze stables because of how violent they were. Some versions of the legend also say that they breathed fire from their mouths. Hercules left his friend and companion Abderus to keep watch on them while he fought Diomedes. After beating him, he finds that the boy was eaten. Driven by rage, he avenges him by feeding Diomedes to the mares which calms them down. He then builds the city of Abdera near the boy’s tomb. In another version, Hercules cuts the horses loose and drives them to the high ground of a peninsula. He quickly digs a trench with his axe and fills it with water, thus making an island. When Diomedes arrives, Hercules kills him with the very same axe he used to dig the trench and feeds his body to the mares to calm them down. In both versions, the ending’a pretty much the same with Hercules calming the horses with the flesh of Diomedes. He then binds their mouths and takes them back to king Eurystheus who sacrifices them to Hera. In other versions, they’re allowed to freely roam the planes of Argos where they permanently calm down. In yet another version, they’re sacrificed to Zeus. However, Zeus, dissatisfied with the mares, sent wolves, lions and bears to kill them.The ninth labour- Belt of HippolytaHippolyta, queen of the Amazons by Vittore CarpaccioAdmete, the daughter of king Eurystheus wanted the belt of Hippolyta, the queen of the amazons. The belt was a gift from her father Aries, the God of war. So, king Eurystheus charged Hercules with retrieving the belt as his ninth labour. Taking a few friends, Hercules set sail. He docked at the island of Paros which was inhabited by some sons of Minos. The sons managed to kill two of Hercules’s companions, sending Hercules on a rampage. He killed the two sons and threatened the inhabitants of the island that he wouldn’t leave until they gave him two men to replace his fallen comrades. Continuing their journey, they reach the court of Lycus. Hercules, at his request, kills King Mygdon and hands over his kingdom to his friend, Lycus who called the land Heraclea. The crew them set off for Themiscyra. Hippolyta, impressed with Hercules and his exploits had planned on giving him the belt as soon as he arrived. However, Hera infiltrated the Amazons and spread the seeds of discord, convincing them that the strangers were planning on carrying the queen of the Amazons away. The women then set out to confront Hercules. When he saw them, Hercules thought that Hippolyta was planning this treachery all along and never intended on handing over the belt. In the battle that ensued, he killed her, took the belt and returned to Eurystheus.**All images have been taken from greekerthanthegreeks.blogspot.in

The final labours of Hercules
 Roshan Rollands  
 15 February 2018  

Tenth labour- Cattle of GeryonThe cattle of Geryon by Jun-Pierre ShiozawaThis labour was for Hercules to acquire the cattle of Geryon, brilliant red cattle that were guarded by Orthrus, his two headed shepherd dog. Hercules, for this task, travelled to the island of Erytheia which lies in the far west. In order to do so, he had to cross the Libyan desert. After traveling for long, he got frustrated by the heat and let an arrow loose towards the sun. Helios, the God of the sun, seeing his “courage” decided to help him and gave him his golden chariot on which he crossed the sea from west to east every night. Hercules rode the chariot to Erytheia, the “red island” of the sunset. On his arrival, he was attacked by the two headed dog, Orthrus. Using his famed club, he kills him with a single blow to the head. The herdsman Eurytion arrived to help Orthrus but fell to Hercules’s club in the same way. Hearing the commotion, Geryon joined the fray, wielding three shields and three spears, three helmets on his shoulders. He was slain and fell to one of Hercules’s poisoned arrows which was shot with so much force that it pierced his forehead. Hercules then had to herd the cattle and take them back to Eurystheus. Hera however, sends a gadfly which bites them, sending them into a frenzy, thus dispersing them. Over the next year, Hercules retrieved them but Hera sent a flood to prevent them from crossing a river that stood in their way. Hercules filled the river with stones to decrease the level and crossed it with all the cattle. On returning to Eurystheus, the cattle were sacrificed to Hera.Eleventh labour- Golden apples of HesperidesThe apples of Hesperides by Remnev, AndreyTo begin this task, Hercules first had to find the island that had the golden apples. In order to do so, he caught the old man of the sea, a shape shifting sea God. In some variations, either in the beginning or towards the end of this task, Hercules runs into Antaeus, a man who was invincible as long as he touched his mother, Gaia (the Earth). Hercules fights him and kills him by choking him in a bear hug while picking him up. Hercules was then captured by king Busiris in Egypt who planned on making him the yearly sacrifice. But Hercules broke free if his chains and escaped. Hercules finally made his way to the garden of Hesperides. On the way, he encountered Atlas who was holding the heavens on his shoulders. Hercules persuaded Atlas to get him some apples because he was related to Hesperides. In exchange, he would relieve him of the heavens until he returned. Atlas on returning, broke the pact and said that he’d deliver the apples to Eurystheus. Hercules conned Atlas into taking his place once more saying that he’d take it back from him after he adjusts his cloak. Hercules doesn’t take Atlas’s place a second time and leaves with the apples. In other stories, he slays the dragon Ladon who protects the garden and the golden apples and then returns to he king triumphant.Twelfth labour- CerberusA statue of Hercules as he subdues CerberusThe final labour demanded Hercules to capture Cerberus, the three headed guardian of the underworld and return to the king. To prepare for his journey to the underworld, Hercules travels to Athens and is initiated in the Eleusinian mysteries. He then enters the underworld with Hermes and Athena as his guides. In the underworld, he meets Theseus and Pirithous, two companions who were trapped by Hades because they tried to covet Persephone. One tale tells of snakes coiling around their legs and then turning to stone, cutting off their escape. In another tale, he invites them for a banquet but reserved seats of forgetfulness for them. They sit in them and are ensnared as they lose their mission in mind. Hercules frees Theseus but a part of his thigh stuck to the chair. However, when he tries to free Pirithous, the earth shakes, thus showing how much he desires Persephone. Hercules then meets Hades and asks if he can take Cerberus above ground. Hades accepts on the condition that Hercules subdues Cerberus without using any weapons. Hercules overpowers Cerberus, slings it over his back and takes it back to Eurystheus who at first cowers in fear. He pleads with Hercules to take Cerberus away and said that he’d relinquish him of all duty if he did so. And so, Hercules’s debt comes to an end

Ganesha- Our all Time favorite
 Pinal Chauhan  
 6 April 2018  

Ganesha – the all time favoriteLord Ganesha, one of the most famous and favorite among all especially the kids. Do we really know about him? He's just famous as the elephant headedGod with a big belly who is usually found playing around everywhere with hisbest friend the Mouse and eating his favorite food Modak. There are someincidents through which Ganesha proved himself one among the others.Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva was supposed to go for bath and she wasalone as Shiva was busy meditating on the mountains. She wanted someone toguard her door when she goes and it was only Nandi (Shiva's bull) who could doit. She told Nandi to guard the door and let no one enter till she asks him. Nandidid accept her orders, but he being loyal to Shiva let's him enter inside with whichParvati gets very angry thinking of no one being loyal to her, takes off herturmeric paste applied on her body and makes an idol of a boy and then puts lifeto him and names him Ganesha and declares him to be her own son who wouldbe loyal to her always. Every time she wished to bathe she instructed Ganeshato guard her door and not let anyone enter.One day when he was guarding the door, Shiva happened to come and justrushed inside, but at his surprise, he found a strange boy guarding the door andstopping him to enter in. On asking him who he was and why was he stoppinghim to enter his own house, Ganesha introduces him to be Parvati's son andinforms him, thus, as per her orders he would not allow him to enter. Shiva,furiously warns him to let him go or else he would have to battle with him.Ganesha denies to let him enter and so Shiva asks his army to attack him, butGanesha very bravely rebelled them. Shiva had realized that he was not anordinary boy and thus decided to himself fight with Ganesha and with his divinefury his trishul poking his head cut on the ground and killed him instantly.When Parvati came out after her bath and saw Ganesha lying down, ran towardshim and had found herself extremely hurt and insulted that, she wanted todestroy the whole creation. But, Brahma, being the creator appeared suddenly atthe spot to know what had happened and pleaded her to take back her words.She furiously denied to change her decisions and narrated them the whole case.Shiva apologized for his mistake and tried to keep her cool and decided to getthe head of any first living being they find and would place it on Ganesha's head.So, he ordered Brahma to move towards the north direction and get any head hefinds.In a short time Brahma returns back with a strong big head of an elephantand hands it over to Shiva. Looking at that Parvati was very annoyed thinking- “aboy with an elephant head” and so denied to accept it. But, Shiva explained herthat though he would be an elephant headed, he would not be an ordinary boy,but would be worshiped before all the other Gods. He places the head on thebody and gives him life and declares him to be his own elder son and named himGanapati (leader of the beings)As time passed, Ganesha started growing and with many such incidentsthere was one of the most famous incidents when Ganesha and his youngerbrother Karthik were discriminated and and were tested who was wiser amongthe both. The Devas had insisted to test their qualities and intelligence and so allof them decided to go to Brahma being the creator of the universe would cleartheir doubt. On asking him, he too was speechless that who wiser among theboth. So he decided to send his mischievous son Narada to clear the doubt.Narada, who was always prompt with his pranks had a wonderful plan to testthem so he reached to the divine couple Shiva and Parvati with a magical fruitand insisted them to give it to the one whom they liked the most. They were bothconfused to whom to give it. At the same time Ganesha and Karthik reachedthere and insisted to have the fruit. Shiva and Parvati then decided to organize atest between them. They in the center and all the other gods and goddessessurrounded by them. Ganesha and Karthik in the middle were all prepared for thetest. Karthik was confident enough to win it, as he was a fit and fine. Well,Ganesha was stout and with a big belly who could hardly move from his placefast. Ganesha was very cool and was least concerned about what was going tohappen. They then announced that either of them who goes around the wholeworld thrice and reaches back to them first would get the magical fruit. Karthik,very spontaneously moved on with his peacock and Ganesha puzzled, thinkinghow he would manage as he was too stout and his mouse too small to cope upKarthik, so very wisely Ganesha joined his hands and started moving around hisparents Shiva and Parvati three times. Surprisingly, when he was asked for thereason, he replied, “You have created me, and thus, for me you are the world.So, i don't find it worth wasting my time moving anywhere else” and hecompleted his task very efficiently. Not only Shiva and Parvati but, all presentthere, were very impressed by his wise act and gave him the fruit and cheeredfor him.Thus, Ganesha has been given the dominion over all the Ganas, whichmeans all the classes- be it Gods, humans, insects, animals or celestial beings. Itis said that we have to respect and honor all these Ganas and if do not do so, allour actions are known as the form of thievery as they are not sanctioned. So,instead of preaching each Gana differently, in order to receive the blessings, itwas decided to bow the Lord of all, Shri Ganesha (which means God of allGanas) By receiving his grace, we receive it from all and he removes all thepotential obstacles and helps us to succeed.