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Myths of Friendship and Jealousy

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  • Myths of Friendship and Jealousy

    Hey all. I was doing some reflecting and googling and I realized that I couldn't come up with much in the way of ancient myths about friendship and jealousy. Romantic love and jealousy, sure, but friendship? Not so much. Damon and Pythias and Orion come to mind, but that's about it.

    What tales am I missing?

    Thanks a bunch.

  • #2
    One of my favourites is the friendship of Krishna and Draupadi... Krishna once cut his finger in her presence, and Draupadi tore off a part of her dress in order to bind it... Later, when Draupadi was being forcibly stripped in the middle of the royal court, Krishna extended her cloth to the point that the man stripping her fell down almost dead due to exhaustion... Draupadi and Krishna are a favourite topic of modern story-tellers, and the platonic relationship between them is very well-regarded.

    There's of course also Krishna and Arjuna, who are fast friends and to whom Krishna revealed his Universal Form... though there are versions of the story where their love is not platonic but romantic, so it may or may not suit your needs.

    Krishna and Sudama is another popular on (Krishna makes a lot of friends, in case you haven't noticed). Sudama was a childhood friend of Krishna, and was a poor Brahmin who went to Krishna out of desperation to beg for aid... but he was too embarrassed to actually do the asking... but when he got back home, he found that his hovel had been replaced by a palace behind his back, by Krishna.

    In general, Krishna's childhood gang of boys are usually portrayed as dear friends all around, as are Radha's milkmaid girlfriends, who often help cover up her affair with her nephew Krishna.

    Karna and Duryodhana from the Mahabharata are another example... Duryodhana is the only one who sees past Karna's low caste origins and Karna in return is loyal to his friend till the end.

    The Muslim Pirate Vavar and the South Indian Deity Ayappan, the son of Shiva and Vishnu, are also extremely close friends, to the point that a mosque consecrated to him is right next to Ayappan's temple, and pilgrims to one often visit both... again though, as with Krishna and Arjuna above, their relationship has been interpreted as romantic rather than platonic.

    Parvati has two best friends with her always, Jaya and Vijaya (both vords mean Victory) and she once hacked her own head off with an overgrown nail for them.

    Sita in her imprisonment in Ravana's grove was befriended by the Rakshashis Sarama and Trijata, who comforted her and who are both remembered fondly to this day.

    Speaking of Sarama, the Vedic Sarama, a different character, is the hound of Indra and the divine mother of all dogs... there is a hymn in the Rig Veda that recounts how Asura opponents of Indra tried to bribe Sarama and turn her against Indra, but she refuses all offers and is beaten for it. Indra obviously wipes the Asura off the face of the World.

    Indra is also friends with Takshaka, King of the Snakes... in order to protect the forest home of Takshaka from Agni, Indra was ready to attack his own son, Arjuna.

    The Vedic Mitra and Varuna are the divine ideals of friendship, though they are also lovers in the Vedic texts.

    Ooh, another favorite friendship moment is between Durga and Kali on the battlefield after the death of the Asura Chanda and Munda... Kali brings their severed heads as a gift for Durga, poetically comparing them to the sacrifices at a fire sacrifice, and graciously says that Durga will be the one to strike the final blow against their masters. Durga is pleased by the gift and promises that Kali will henceforth be known to the World as Chamunda. Which... severed heads may not be the typical sign of a friendship, but that's Kali for you

    In general, Hinduism has a high regard for friendship... the Panchatantra, a well -respected text of moral stories, goes on about how there are two kinds of siblings, those born from the biological Mother, and those born of the mother Vak, Goddess of Speech i.e. Friends, and declares the latter to be superior in all respects.
    Last edited by Samudra; 08-26-2018, 12:52 PM.


    • #3
      Originally posted by omenseer View Post
      Hey all. I was doing some reflecting and googling and I realized that I couldn't come up with much in the way of ancient myths about friendship and jealousy. Romantic love and jealousy, sure, but friendship? Not so much. Damon and Pythias and Orion come to mind, but that's about it.

      What tales am I missing?

      Thanks a bunch.
      For friendship there are a few examples from Ireland. The story of the death of CúChulainn where Conall Cernach stalks Lugaid mac Con Roí and the rest is an example of the friendship between the two Heroes reaching a crichendo with the death of one of the two of them. Depending on how you read the relationship between Fer Diad and CúChulainn it may be a story of friendship, or romantic love as well. The story The Wooing of Étaín has both Friendship and Jealousy, freidnship expressed between Midir and Aengus, and then Jealousy held between Fúamnach and Étaín as Étaín supplants her as Primary Wife. The story of The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel also seems to have a friendship between Conare Mor and his foster brothers, which is then broken down as the foster brothers act out jealous of their ancestors deeds.

      Jealousy alone comes up constantly in Ireland. The Children of Lir tells a similar story with a new wife being jealous of an old wife's status in a family and the strife that comes from it tearing the family apart. In The Intoxication of the Ulstermen, Mac Datho's Pig, and Bricriu's Feast we see jealousy between the Ulster Heroes over which of them is the best and greatest serving as the primary source of plot and motivation for them.


      • #4
        Interesting stuff. Didn't know that about Hinduism. My studies regarding it tended more towards the philosophical side of it.

        The celtic stuff might suit my needs...

        Any other ideas?


        • #5
          Gilgamesh & Enkidu, from ancient Mesopotamia, supposedly the best of friends as I recall. Neither are technically gods so I'm not sure that's what yer looking for.


          • #6
            Hermes and Apollo are often depicted as close friends after sorting out their initial beef over that cattle. Look at the Dialogues of the Gods by Lucian for a bit of inspiration, if you want.


            • #7
              Cool. Thanks.


              • #8
                I would honestly say that familial love and sexual lust are much more of a mythic focus a lot of the time than romantic love. Romantic love as a concept wasn't really understood to exist in a lot of ancient cultures, after all. But our readings of lust in ancient myths and of familial love post-wedding are often going to be 'oh, this is romantic' because, well, that's how we understand it.


                • #9
                  Oh! Njal's Saga, while not mythological, is an Icelandic Saga that has... the first half of it let's say devoted to looking at the friendship between the titular Njal the Super Lawyer and his warrior friend.


                  • #10
                    My sources aren't the best on this, but if accurate, the story of the Choctaw culture hero Hatakachafa and his bond with the world's first wolf would be a particularly cool example.