Legends of Great Deluge In Various Cultures

Book of Genesis

The story of Noah’s ark and the flood is one of the most famous stories of the great deluge. As per the book of Genesis, God, the creator of everything, was saddened by the wickedness of mankind. And because of human beings’ evil actions, God decided to destroy all the living things on earth. Noah was the only one who had a kind heart and was a righteous man. God, then chose Noah and asked him to build an ark and use the ark to save creatures of all species. As per the instruction from God, Noah built the ark. God made the rain for forty days and forty nights, thus causing the great deluge. Every life on the earth was dead, except for those saved on the boat of Noah. After navigating for 150 days, Noah’s ark came to rest at the mount of Ararat. When the water receded, Noah opened the gates of his ark to let all the surviving creatures venture out and flourish again.

Matsya Puran

The Hindu version of Nooh (Noah) is Ma-Nooh (Manu). According to Matsya Puran, Matsya was an avatar of Vishnu. Manu, the king of the Dravid kingdom, was washing his hands in the river water. It was then a little fish came into his hands and requested the king to save him. King Manu was kind-hearted and he obliged the fish by putting the fish in a jar full of water. After some days, the fish grew bigger and the jar was not sufficient for him to survive. On seeing the fish’s growth King transferred the fish to a bigger vessel. But this was also not enough after a few more days as the fish continued growing. The fish was moved to a pond. But, to the surprise of the king, even the pond was insufficient. Subsequently, the fish was transferred to the river and later to the ocean. At the time when the fish was moved to the ocean, Manu realized that the fish was not an ordinary one. He humbly asked the fish and the fish revealed that he was indeed the Matsya Avatar of Vishnu. Matsya, then said to Manu that the world is going to get destroyed because of a huge flood. And he asked Manu to build a boat so as to save his family and the great Saptarishi of the era. Matsya also said that at the time of the deluge, Matsya will guide Manu’s boat to a safe destination. At the time of deluge, Manu’s boat was tied to the horn of Matsya fish and the fish navigated the boat to the safe place of Himvat mountain.

Epic of Gilgamesh

Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia. There are many versions of this story, one of them being the Babylonian version. In this story Gilgamesh seeks immortality and, in his search, he meets Utnapishtim who himself was an immortal. Utnapishtim told Gilgamesh about Ea, the god and the instruction Ea had given regarding the great destruction due to a flood. And so, he had built a vessel so as to save his family and friends.

Greek Mythology – Flood of Deucalion

In Greek mythology, there are three stories of the great flood. One of them being the flood of Deucalion. As per this legend, Deucalion was the son of Prometheus and the saviour of mankind when the great flood destroyed everything on land. Zeus, the god of sky and thunder, was angry with mankind and decided to put an end to the era. Prometheus advised Deucalion to build an ark. Just like Noah in the biblical account, Deucalion used this ark to survive the great flood, along with his wife Pyrrha.

Maya Mythology

In Mayan stories, there is one about Huracan. Huracan was the god of wind and storm. On his name the word hurricane is derived. The human beings of that era angered Huracan by their evil deeds. Huracan then caused great floods so as to submerge the land. Huracan then lived in the windy mists above the water and called upon the earth. With his request, earth re-appeared and then human could re-populate.

30 October 2022

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