Uttara Kuru and Meru

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sgstyrsky
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Uttara Kuru and Meru

Postby sgstyrsky » Mon Feb 25, 2008 3:11 pm

This question is for Vincent since he wrote about these countries in RttRok, but I'd appreciate anyone's input as well.

Regarding Uttara Kuru and Meru what real-world regions/nations/people are they analogous to? I am assuming Bhutan and Tibet.

Also, were they ever mentioned in any of the source material such as REH's writing, as well as other Conan stories, novels and comics?
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Postby The King » Mon Feb 25, 2008 3:35 pm

I don't remember Uttara Kuru being reported anywhere, but there is a short story taking place in Meru (the city of skulls by de Camp).
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Postby Yogah of Yag » Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:03 pm

I was in South Asian Studies for a while in college, and I'll try to answer the Q's, if I may.

Uttara-Kuru was a region in ancient India. I don't remember if it was real or mythical. It means Northern Kuru.

Meru ("Meru Parvatah") is the name of the sacred, central mountain (vaguely like Mt. Olympus) mentioned in the Puranas (sacred literature), being the axis mundi. The devas (gods) lived at the top in Svarga (heaven), and the evil Asuras (giants/demons) lived on its terraced slopes. I'm pretty sure some of this cosmology wound up in Tibetan Buddhism, IIRC.

That's all I remember. :D
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Postby sgstyrsky » Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:28 pm

Yogah of Yag wrote:That's all I remember. :D
That's actually quite a bit. Thanks!
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Postby VincentDarlage » Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:39 pm

He basically answered the question for me.
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Postby sgstyrsky » Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:48 pm

VincentDarlage wrote:He basically answered the question for me.
And the only Conan source material is City of Skulls?
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Postby VincentDarlage » Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:02 pm

sgstyrsky wrote:
VincentDarlage wrote:He basically answered the question for me.
And the only Conan source material is City of Skulls?
For Meru, that is correct.

Uttara Kuru is mentioned in "The Return of Conan" (AKA Conan the Avenger) by Bjorn Nyberg.
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Postby Jeffreywns » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:03 pm

Would this be the most likely place that the Tcho-Tcho would show up? And where the Plain of Tsang is located from the Cthulhu Mythos?
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Sanskritist...

Postby Gist_Engine » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:44 pm

Kuruksetre is where the great battle in the Mahabharata (and thus the Bhagavad Gita) takes place. In other dilettante Western writings the word "Kuru" seems to be associated with places or fields rather than with the Pandavas (the five brothers who are called "sons of Kuru," "sons of Pandu," "sons of bharata," etc.). That might be why the word is used as a place or location in Conan. Howard was pretty good at taking Indian words and mushing around the sounds to make his own cultures, so I guess his followers tried doing the same.
Last edited by Gist_Engine on Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby VincentDarlage » Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:29 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuru_Kingdom

Uttara Kuru is identified as Kyrgistan by some.
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Well...

Postby Gist_Engine » Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:47 am

Well, most of that is taken straight from the Mahabharata, which puts its largely in the realm of legend. The article mentions this, but then begins to recount the lives of the major players as though they were historical figures, even up the lineage of the kings. I consider that the large drawback of sources like Wikipedia- you never know whose version you are getting. The word play of Kuru being either "Law" or simply one of the clan names used as a epithet for Arjuna and his brothers is what makes the debate between literalists and idealists possible. Literalists will argue that the Gita takes place on a field named after an ancestor, and idealists will argue that the Gita takes place on the "field of the law" or, as they argue, within the spiritual struggle of each individual.

Either way, as far as legendary places go, the field of the Kurus and Uttara Kuru are popularly used.

I don't mean to come across as a know it all, but, like Yogah, I have studied South Asian literature extensively, and I hold the details very close to my heart. Thanks for the historical article, Vincent. I think I like Howard's approach better than the later guys: at least change the words a little!

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