Mythology and money: Indian,Greek,Chinese,Roman,Norse

Money and God seem poles apart, but are they? In God, We Trust” is the official motto of the United States and first appeared on the Two-cent piece in 1864 and has appeared on paper currency since 1957.  Mythology and Money,Most of the cultures of the world have Mythology associated with Money. In India mythology, Lakshmi (Laxmi) is Goddess of fortune and God of wealth is Kubera. In Greek Mythology, Plutus is the God of Wealth. In this article, we shall see how Mythology of different cultures is related to Money. This is also covered in our book Lets Learn Money.

Mythology and Money

Indian, Roman, Greek, Odin Mythology and Money
Indian, Roman, Greek, Odin Mythology and Money

Greek and Roman coins routinely included portraits or emblems of everyone from Cupid to Jupiter. Major cities like Athens would mint coins with their city’s favoured deity (Athena) on them. Many coins even had images of temples on them. It was because Roman currency depicted the emperor as a quasi-deity that Jews prohibited its use in the Temple.

God and Money
God and Money

Indian/Hindu Mythology and Money

Ancient Indian seers spent a lot of time contemplating on the nature of wealth. And they compiled this knowledge through the stories, symbols and rituals. Who is the Goddess of Wealth as per Hindu literature? Mostly, people will answer Goddess Lakshmi. It is a misconception that Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth. She is the goddess of fortune. As fortune is usually associated with wealth, Lakshmi has come to be associated with wealth

In India mythology, Lakshmi (Laxmi) is Goddess of fortune and God of wealth is Kubera.

Lakshmi the Indian Goddess of Fortune

Lakshmi, also called Laxmi, is the goddess of fortune, power, luxury, beauty, fertility, and auspiciousness. She holds the promise of material fulfilment and contentment. In India, She is worshipped in many forms. She is closely associated with lotus, she has many names which reflect the association. The Padma, Kamala (lotus dweller), Padmapriya (one who likes lotuses), Padmavati (Lotus Bearer) etc/

Lakshmi often works with Ganesh, the elephant-head deity, known as the “Remover of Obstacles.” A special worship is offered to Lakshmi annually on the auspicious day of Diwali.

She resides with Vishnu in Vaikunta (Paramapadhamand) on the three-folded Serpent Sesha Naga.

Lakshmi is the divine consort of Lord Vishnu and provides him with wealth for the maintenance and preservation of the creation. As the consort of Vishnu, she is born as his spouse whenever he incarnates.

  • When Vishnu appeared as Vamana, she appeared as Padma or Kamla,
  • when Vishnu incarnated as Parasurama (axe-wielding Rama) she appeared as Dharnai,
  • when Vishnu incarnated as Rama she appeared as Sita,
  • when Vishnu incarnated as Krishna, she appeared as Rukmini.

She is as inseparable from Vishnu as a speech from meaning or knowledge from intellect, or good deeds from righteousness.

Owl (Ulooka) is the carrier of Goddess Laxmi. If she travels with Lord Vishnu, she travels on the Garuda (Eagle). This travelling on both the animals has a symbolic significance. Just as an owl is blind during the day, similarly, a wealthy person without the right kind of intellect cannot see beyond his richness. Therefore, whenever Laxmi travels without Lord Vishnu, she makes the person, whom she visits, metaphorically blind. However, when the Goddess Laxmi travels with Lord Vishnu, she travels on a Garuda, which is the symbol of wisdom.

Kubera the Indian God of Wealth

In Indian mythology, Kubera is the God of wealth & is known as Dhanpati. He is also the king of Yaksha’s, the guardians of Earth. As the God of wealth and material, his responsibilities are to distribute them while the responsibility of creating wealth is with Goddess Lakshmi.

Kubera is not an important deity and his images are very rarely seen, though he is frequently referred to in the epics. Kubera’s domains are all in the high Himalayas, partly because he is the guardian of the North, but also because mountains are the repositories of mineral wealth. Kubera watches over the earth’s storehouse of gold, silver, jewels, pearls and nine Nidhi’s (special treasures).

Kubera is also the son of Sage Vishrava. So Kubera has three famous halfbrothers, Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana. All three find mention in the great Indian epic story Ramayana. His brother Ravana, by practising austerities, obtained the boon of invincibility from Shiva and so was able to defeat Kubera and seized Lanka and the chariot, Pushpak. As Lanka could not be restored to Kubera, Vishwakarma, the god of architecture, built Kubera a palace in a fabulous hidden city in the Himalayas called Alkapuri, which has all the stored-up wealth of the Earth. This is close to the abode of Shiva, Mount Kailash.

Kubera and Ganesha story

The tale of Ganesha and Kubera teaches us one of the basic principles of life. It teaches us to remain humble and grounded even after we become wealthy because wealth only defines our financial status in the society but not our character.

Chinese New Year and God of Wealth

Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese festivals. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th. The Chinese New Year day is always between January 20 to February 20.

The 5th lunar day of Chinese New Year is the Welcome Day for the God of Wealth. Many families worship the God of Wealth in the early morning. After the ceremony, people explode firecrackers to invite the God of Wealth to enter the house.

Many stores open on this day after Chinese New Year holiday. Some religious store owners put a table in the front of their company’s main entry. They prepare fruit, flower, candy, tea, candles and animal sacrifices on the table to worship the God of Wealth. Some even invite the lion dance team to celebrate the opening ceremony. The mascot of the God of Wealth will appear and enter the store. The store owner will give the mascot a Red Envelope with money reward inside.

Chinese Mythology and Money: God of Wealth Tsai Shen Yeh

Tsai Shen Yeh is one of Chinese god of wealth often called Lu Shing or The Star God of Wealth. This God can be seen in many Chinese and oriental houses and buildings, most of the times near their entrances helping them attract wealth and prosperity to those places as well as acting as a protection to their environments and the income which comes to them.

Due to its quality of being a god of wealth, Tsai Shen Yeh can be a great help if one wishes to have a better income or attract prosperity into one’s life. This way, one can improve ones money income by placing it at one’s house or business entrance as well as at strategic spots such as the prosperity Bagua map area

Tibetan Mythology and Money

In Tibetan Buddhism, there are Five different colours of God of Wealth – Yellow Jambhala, Red Jambhala, White Jambhala, Black Jambhala and Green
Jambhala. (Jambhala is the Buddhist form of the Hindu God of Wealth) The most popular one is Yellow Jambhala. He is one of the Four Heavenly Kings who protects the world in Buddhism. He is also a benevolent god who bestows wealth.

People should pursue different God of Wealth, depending on their Chinese Astrology Animal Sign or their Chinese Astrology Lucky Element

God of Wealth Your Lucky Element Your Animal Sign of Year
White Jamhhala Metal Monkey and Chicken
Black Jambhala Water Pig and Rat
Green Jambhala Wood Tiger and Rabbit
Red Jambhala Fire Snake and Horse
Yellow Jamhhala Earth Cow, Dragon, Sheep and
Dog

Greek Mythology and Money: Plutos

Ancient Greek theology was based on the assumption that there were many gods and goddesses. There was a hierarchy of deities, with Zeus,
the king of gods, having a level of control over the others, although he was not omnipotent, while some deities had dominion over certain aspects of
nature.

Ancient Greeks attempted to explain various natural phenomena through the deities, for example, thunder was Zeus’ expression of anger, while earthquakes were caused by Poseidon. The Gods acted like humans and had human vices. They would interact with humans, sometimes even spawning children with them.

Plutos (or Plutus) was the god of wealth.

In earlier Greece which was agriculture-based, he was associated purely with the bounty of rich harvests. Later, he came to represent wealth in more general terms. Ploutos was a son of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and hero Iasion He was blinded by Zeus so he would distribute wealth indiscriminately and without favour towards the good or the virtuous.

The god is usually depicted as a boy holding a cornucopia filled with grain in the company of his mother Demeter. In sculpture he was oftenshown as an infant in the arms of either Eirene, the goddess of peace, or Tykhe, the goddess of fortune.

Roman Mythology and Money: Pluto and Proserpina

Pluto, the Roman god of the Underworld, is also a god of wealth, as the lord of all the metals and riches that lie under the ground. His symbols are
Cap of invisibility, pomegranates, key and sceptre.  The ninth planet in our solar system, now considered a dwarf planet, is named for the Roman god Pluto. Walt Disney’s bloodhound dog character, originally named Rover, was dubbed Pluto.

The three brother gods, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, were charged with ruling the worlds after their powerful father Saturn died. Jupiter took the sky, Neptune became ruler of the sea and Pluto’s domain was the underworld. Pluto lived in a palace in the underworld, far away from the other gods who lived at Mount Olympus. It was his role to claim the souls that inhabited his underworld domain. The entrance gates were guarded by his enormous three-headed dog, Cerberus. Occasionally, he emerged to earth for a visit or a meeting of the gods. The one-eyed giant, Cyclops, gave Pluto the cap of invisibility to help in his battle with the Titans. The cap enables the one who wears it to become invisible to all other supernatural and mortal beings. Pluto holds a key and scepter, which he uses to protect his kingdom and guard the dead against escaping.

He abducted Proserpina, the daughter of Ceres, the goddess in charge of the harvest. In consideration of her valuable domain, everyone, both gods and mortals, did all they could to keep Ceres happy. Disheartened at her fate, Proserpina refused to speak to Pluto, who had fallen madly in love with he, and also refused to eat. Finally, after a week of crying and starving, she could no longer bear it, and ate six pomegranate seeds.

Jupiter sent his youngest son Mercury, the messenger, known for his excellent negotiating skills, to visit the underworld and try to make a deal with Pluto. After much discourse between Mercury and Pluto, Pluto agreed that if Proserpina married him she would live as queen of the underworld for six months of the year and in the spring she could return to earth for six months.

Each spring, Ceres blooms all the flowers as a welcome to her beloved daughter returning from the underworld. In the autumn, when Proserpina returns to Pluto, Ceres cries and lets all the crops die until the following spring when the cycle begins again. And so, according to the legend, this is why we have seasons.

The Romans adopted much of the Greek culture and mythology. Hades, his Greek counterpart, was a darker god than Pluto, who eventually became known as the ruler of the afterlife and a fair judge of the dead. The Romans combined their deity of wealth Dis Pater – with Pluto/Hades.

Norse Mythology and Money: Odin father of Thor

Norse or Scandinavian mythology is the belief and legends of the Scandinavian people. Scandinavia is a group of countries in northern Europe. It always includes Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The term is most often used linguistically, to mean places that speak Scandinavian languages. All the days of the week are named after Norse gods.

Odin, who gave one of his eyes in exchange for wisdom is the “Allfather” of the gods, a fascinating shaman-like figure, emblematic of war, battle and death, but also poetry, music, prophecy and magic. He rode across the battlefield on Sleipnir, an eight-legged steed, with the ravens Hugin (thought) and Munin (memory) on his shoulders.

Odin’s most famous son is, of course, Thor. As well as thunderstorms, Thor is associated with oak trees, and is said to protect mankind. Thor is the Norse God of Thunder and Zeus is the Greek God Of Thunder. Also Thor uses Mjolnir while Zeus doesn’t use any such weapon. And in the comics, Thor belongs to Marvel while Zeus belongs to Disney Comics(DC)

In German, Odin is named Wotan. In Old English, Odin is named Woden. The name of the weekday Wednesday in English comes from “Wodens day.” Wednesday in modern Scandinavia is called, “Onsdag,” from “Odens day.”

Calendar Relation to Money

The word calendar came into English from the Norman French language of the invaders: calender or calendier. They had borrowed it from the language of the ancient Romans  Latin kalendarium meant ‘account-book‘. The first day of the month, called kalendae, was when accounts were due and debts had to be paid. So it was all to do with money!

Our article Why Feb has 28 days, Name of months and days explains Calendars, Name of months and days. And how the word calendar is related to money! explains it in detail.

Name of Days of Week

The Greeks called the days of the week the Theon hemerai days of the Gods.  The Greeks named the days week after the sun, the moon and the five known planets, which were in turn named after the gods Ares, Hermes, Zeus, Aphrodite, and Cronus.

The Romans substituted their equivalent gods for the Greek gods, Mars, Mercury, Jove (Jupiter), Venus, and Saturn. (The two pantheons are very similar.)

The Germanic peoples generally substituted roughly similar gods for the Roman gods, Tiu (Twia), Woden, Thor, Freya (Fria), but did not substitute Saturn.

Name of the week days
Name of the weekdays

Indian Names of Days of Week

Hindu astrology uses the concept of days under the regency of a planet under the term vāra, the days of the week being called ravi-, soma-, maṅgala-, budha-, guru-, śukra-, and śani-vāra. śukrá is a name of Venus (regarded as a son of Bhṛgu); guru is here a title of Bṛhaspati, and hence of Jupiter; budha “Mercury” is regarded as a son of Soma, i.e. the Moon

Sunday
the Sun
(Ravi)
Monday
the Moon
(Soma, Chandra, Indu)
Tuesday
Mars
(Mangala)
Wednesday
Mercury
(Budha)
Thursday
Jupiter
(Bṛhaspati, Guru)
Friday
Venus
(Shukra)
Saturday
Saturn
(Shani)

 

Mythology and Money Workbook

Our workbook, pdf for Rs 50 only,  Mythology and Money has activities related to Mythology and Money such as True and False (shown below), Rearrange the story of Kubera and Ganesha and Coloring.

More details about the Lets Learn Money Book and Workbook are here.

Workbook with Mythology and Money activites
Workbook with Mythology and Money activities

1 Comment

  1. thoughtful very interesting post sharing

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