Hindu & Norse creation stories


Hinduism has more than one story. Central myth of the Rig Veda, told in different ways, is creation.

Indra, King of the gods and god of rain, or Vishnu, separated heaven from earth. The sun rose from the navel of the earth, a pillar erected and thus there was earth, heaven and air or ether. Vishnu measured these out in three strides. The sun drops to the underworld, seen as a mirror image world ruled by Varuna, god of cosmic order and lord of the waters. Later it is the place of demons.

A later hymn shows Parusha, a cosmic man, dismembered in sacrifice and from the four parts of his body came the cosmos and the social order of priests, warriors, populace and servants.

Another hymn describes creation from the non-being of neither day, night, death or immortality. But out of darkness and primaeval flood came desire and therefore creation which was then followed by the gods.

The God of the sky commits incest with his daughter, spilling his seed on the ground. This act went to Prajapati, Lord of creatures. His golden seed placed in cosmic waters became a golden egg, the universe, which split into heaven and earth, the sun the yolk.

Later stories have Prajapati forming a family making animals and creation with social implications.

Later story: primaeval waters multiplied, heating themselves to form a golden egg, from which Prajapati came. He created the words for earth, atmosphere and sky, and from the words they appeared. He had gods and demons as offspring, Prajapati subduing the demons.

Prajapati became known as the god of creation and as Brahman eventually. Later Hinduism talks about the universe as an inner sphere, Brahman's egg.


Verse Edda 850-1200, Prose Edda from Christian Iceland Snorri Sturluson who thought gods were famous people. Prose Edda is about three divine figures giving Gylfi information on Aesir's wisdom and prosperity.

Ginnunegap is a void with in the north Niflheim with ice, frost and snow, to the south Muspell of fire and heat. Where they met a giant Ymir and a cow Authumla appeared, the cow feeding the giant. The cow fed on salty ice blocks and as she licked them Buri appeared and odin was a great grandson. Odin's two brothers killed the giant and made the world from its corpse. Ymir's blood became the sea and lakes, his flesh the earth, his bones the mountains, teeth and jaws the rocks, his skull the sky with dwarfs holding it up at four corners, his brains flung in the air the clouds, eyebrows became Midgard to live in. From Muspell's sparks came the stars and planets above. Odin and brothers walking along found Ash and Elm trees and these were created into man and woman. They lived in Midgard while the gods created Asgard to live in, everything else threatening the world. At the centre is Yggdrasill, a mighty tree that connects in its roots places of people, the dead and frostgiants. At the foor of the tree the well is the source of deepest wisdom. Thor has to hold Giantland in check, threatening the world.

Adrian Worsfold