Cultural Similarities and Differences between Asia (Bhagavad Gita) and the Mayans (popoh Vuh)

Cultural Similarities and Differences between Asia (Bhagavad Gita) and the Mayans (popoh Vuh)

Compare the cultural similarities and differences revealed between TWO cultural groups or historical periods the Mayans/Popuh Vuh and Asia/Bhagavad Gita. The paper MUST follow the MLA format, 8th Edition style. All sources must be documented both as in-text citations and in the works cited page.
Each page must give adequate examples and quotes to support my arguments. Use readings provided as PDFs. I must cite at least 8 academic/scholarly sources, but not more than 10.


The Asia (Bhagavad Gita) and the Mayans (Popuh vuh) are two different cultures that have tried to define the historic periods with an analysis of their similarities and differences. Popuh Vuh is known for its combination of supernatural myth and real human myth in the attempt of giving individuals a sense to their earthly role, divine origins and their place in the universe (Edmonson, 18). Popuh Vuh current history is characterised by fights. In the attempt to restore their religious practice, clothing, customs and Mayans language. Both Popuh Vuh and Bhagavad Gita have devotional books which are meant to play a bigger part in their cultural and traditional lives. Both books talk about God and serve to enlighten individuals on how one can follow and seek God. People are also expected to surrender their lives to God with service and renunciation being done to the downtrodden and the poor. They dictate on various ethical ways of justice and morals that individuals should continually practice until their death. The approaches to these practices are however different.

The Baghavad Gita is considered as the most famous literature piece that is found in India today. This looked at the ultimate philosophy of the great minds through the centuries. The Baghavad Gita has been analyzed and explored by the political activists, religious leaders and Marxist thinkers and has yet remained as an elusive literature piece in its understanding and teachings. The popuh Vuh is considered as the story of the creation of the Mayans. The K’iche lineages royal members had once ruled the Guatemala highlands that recorded this story during the 16th century that preserved it through the Spanish colonial rule.

The popuh Vuh means the community book that narrated the story of Maya myth creation story. This creation story takes into account the stories of K’iche genealogies and the Hero Twins (Kerr, 126). The popuh Vuh is considered as holy text that reflects on the culture and beliefs of the Maya. The text contains some creation stories and other stories of the epic hero. This work is considered to have revealed the polytheistic religion in the society with a position along its views of early life and death. The work has revealed the Maya’s history before the arrival of the European and after their arrival.  The stories that have been given in the popup Vuh were passed orally from one generation to another and were transcribed later into the Quiche language of the Maya.

It is evident that the two groups use the same calendar systems. In the calendar systems, their days are associated with some critical elements such as water, earth, fire and animals. The two groups have various associations that are not lined up perfectly in the two calendar systems, but they do respond frequently. Some differences that have been identified in the calendar systems are associated with changes in time by each culture in different ways. For example, the same days in the calendar that are associated with dog, monkey and deer are the same in the calendar systems. One of the days is associated with Jaguar in the Mayan calendar, but in the other calendar system, it is associated with a tiger. Another data is associated with the crocodile in the Mayan calendar system but is associated with the dragon in the other system. The calendar system has also included what the scholars have called the longcut that has kept track using different units that have ranged between the millions of years and the single day.

The two groups believed the existence of Trinity with the knowledge three universes. In the Mayan, they believed that they composed of material, spirit and mind while the Asians believed that there was the creator, the destroyer and the Sustainer. They had some idols and temples which were magnificent in their fashion and besides had the lords, the community temples and the leading men (Dahlsgaard et al. 203).  They also possessed idols in their homes that were used in time of prayers and offered offerings to them. They also worshipped animals, trees and rocks that were considered as sacred and holy. The cultural relics of the Mayan attracted the Chinese people hence bringing the possibility of the two cultures having similarities. Mayan pottery, pictures and jade articles resembled the ancient Chinese style in some ways hence raising the curiosity that the cultures had the same origin.


A major difference lies in their conflicting views towards the nature of life such as that existing between Hinduism and Christianity. Krishna considers killing and fighting an ethical way to eliminating immorality, crime and corruption especially in instances where there exist obstacles that serve to block people from their paths to righteousness. On the other side, Jesus advice his people not to kill and rather be killed without opposing for Dharma. If in any instance someone is slapped on one side, he or she should offer his other side to be slapped, advice which is followed by Mahatma Gandhi. Krishna instructs his people to stand against any injustice or oppression and rather fight against righteousness and justice. This has brought about the current situation where Indians appear to follow Jesus approach to solving justice and criminal issues whereas westerns have stuck to Krishna’s method.


Mayan History

The popuh Vuh possess the most significant sacred book of the Kiche; Maya of the Guatemalan Highlands. The book is an important text that can be used in understanding the early colonial Maya and the late postclassic religion history and myth but also gives an interesting glimpse into the classical period beliefs. The Maya have been taken to be the Mesoamerica most classical civilizations. The Mayans had a place of origin were they then grew to prominence in the present day. Their place of origin was Yucatan at 2600BC. The Mayans were involved in building inherited inventions and ideas that have been used in development in earlier civilizations. These have included the Olmec, the development of the Astronomy by the Mayans, the hieroglyphic writing and the calendar system.

The Mayans had their own decorations that had been noted to be of high quality and elaborate ceremonial decorated architecture in palaces, the temple pyramids and the observatories that had been built well all without metal tools.  The Mayans were also considered to be skilled farmers that had cleared large areas of tropical rain forests where the grounds seemed to be scarce. They built sizable underground reservoirs that were used for water storage. The Mayans were also considered as skilled potters and weavers and cleared paths through the swamps and jungles to foster business systems with other distant individuals.

Maya people have a belief that the Mayan ancestors had passed the Bering Strait most probably 20,000 years ago. These ancestors were described as nomadic hunters and had basic pottery, cultivation and stone tools. The Mayans have been regarded as the investors in most Mesoamericans cultures that included the first hieroglyphic and calendar writing in the western hemisphere. Most of the cultural and artistic achievements came from the Mayans during the classical period between 300-900 AD. It is evident that the Mayans had developed complex, hierarchical society that had been classified into classes and professions. The unified rule was being controlled by the King who governed areas that had restrictions that were evidently definite.

The Mayans were resourceful in harnessing energy and creating amazingly sophisticated artworks and engineering that sustained their civilization for almost 1500 years. It is evident that the Mayans had attributes that were supernatural and masters of their environment. They had a secret of wisdom that has remained unknown and some people attributing this to extraterrestrial races. The land of Mayans had more attractions that included the Mayan architecture with its serene temples and palaces. The intricacies of the hieroglyphs and the arts in the complex writing system (Martin 43). They also have astounded comprehensions of mathematics and astronomy that had a zero unapparelled concept in antiquity. The place has remained remarkable due to its magnificent cities in the rainforest between the Yucatan and Honduras that have had thousands of Maya sites that have remained untouched.

The Maya never had empires. They lived in a series of cities that were independent on each other but were connected by similarities in cultures like the religion, culture and trade. There were cities that were seen to be powerful than others hence conquered and controlled vassal states through military and politically but never had the strength to unite the May into one empire. After the classical era, the society of May was defined clearly. At this point there was a royal family, the king in the ruling leaders. The kings in the cities were in charge of the welfare and were the most powerful. It is clear that there was a middle class that had a special privilege as traders, artisan and sorts.

Mayan civilization

The Maya is one of the greatest civilizations that have ever been recorded. The Maya civilization is considered as the Mesoamerican civilization that had been developed by the Mya people and was highly noted for its hieroglyphic spirit which was the only writing system during the pre-Columbian Americas as well as their mathematics, astronomical system and the calendar system (Alexus, 126). They build temples and pyramids that were used to honor God and also as a way to preserve their religion. The lives of the Mayan were around the sacrifice of their blood and their king. The Maya cultural achievement came along with educational achievement s that had come centuries before others.  The Mayan civilization had a good history and was interesting. The history of the Mayan was classified into some historical periods.  The first was the early period where there was the development of people. The rapid development included its early people and erection of its early temples.  Another important period was the classical period that included the rise of the royal rule. During the classical period, there were the urbanism and the large-scale construction. Then followed the post-classical period that began the fall of the Mayan civilization. The civilization period is divided into three periods that include; the pre-classic, classic and the post-classic period. The Maya had an elaborate writing system that largely deciphered and dealt with strictly astronomical and calendrical themes.  They also had a numerical system that used three symbols that enabled them in the formulation of the unique calendar system. The Maya civilization thrives in the resent day southern Mexico which was the Guatemala, Belize, Yucatan peninsula and parts of Honduras.

Historical period of Asia

The history can be considered as a collective history of various peripheral coastal regions such as South Asia, East Asia and the middle east. The coastal periphery was the home of the world earliest civilization where three regions that had decided to develop early civilizations that occurred around the fertile valleys (Shinobu, et al. 236). These valleys were considered fertile because the soil was considered rich and could bear many crops. They are known for their strong cultural value and the intelligent minds.  They are well known for their festivals and celebrations. It is a land where celebrations and festivals of different religions and cultures that are celebrated. The families were considered to have very strong vale. They thought their children that the family is the major source of identity and that is a protection to them.  Parents used to define their law that would be followed by the children. They were expected to take care of their parents after they grow old and that they needed to have self-control.

The Asian philosophical traditions were from India and China and covered a large spectrum of philosophical writings and thoughts.  The Asian culture is shaped by some societies, ethnicities and religions. The Asian culture I considered as an aggregation of diverse traditions, customs and moral values that can form the Asian society.  The different forms of Asian literature and culture are widely popular around the world and have spread and influenced the Asian religion and philosophy. Apart from unifying, the influence of Buddhism, Confucianism and Chinese character, there has been much diversity between the countries such as different national customs, religions, writing systems, languages and traditional music. Different cultures have had different methods of doing business.

The history of Asia features major developments in the world, as well as the events that are most effective in the regions. These include the spread of culture, religion and languages. Asia is considered to be a complex mosaic of cultures that are intertwined. The Asian values were defined in elements of culture, society and history common to the states of southern and Eastern Asia. They prioritized on utilizing harmonies, for instance, the principle of collectivism that was used to unify the social and economic good that created a plan for the Asian identity. The variety of dresses that are worn in Asia have made this to be a striking feature in the Asian culture (Wellmeie 98). They have an ancient custom and a religion that is practiced in every country with most popular traditional Asian dresses. Many of their customs and traditions have resulted to different religions that are practiced in the country. Different aspects of life that include festivals, ceremonies, marriage, worship practice, eating habits and their general lifestyle has been affected by the religious teachings.

Asian civilization

There is some ancient civilization that was begun in Asia and have pass down their practices and traditions to their descendants. The Asian civilization is commonly referred to as Jomon civilization that was found to be in 16,000 years ago. The two greatest civilizations in the world arose from Asia. The Gupta and the Maurya empires were known as the golden age of the Indian in Asia. They marked the extensive discoveries and inventions in technology, science and art. They crystallized the element with religion and philosophy and made what is known as the Indian culture. The religions of Buddhism and Hinduism were an important effect on southeast, south and east Asia.  The East Asia was the home for high plateaus, long rivers and deserts. Human civilization is considered to be born in Asia. The forefathers of the Asians lived and multiplied long time ago.  All the global regions were born in Asia including the Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Before the industrial revolution, the center of the world economy was Asia. This was due to its technologic, human scientific, artistic and literature achievement. The Asian civilization had a large impact on the world. The Asian art, cuisine and music, as well as literature, were the most relevant in the Asian culture (Rosa 230). Religion and eastern philosophy played a major role in increasing the western impact with traditional ideals.



In the analysis of the two cultural groups, we have focused on the perceived differences in their history and civilization. Each group has a different history and the human race in each group has changed to the present moment in a different way. The underlying similarities have shown the things that the two  cultures have had in common such as the calendar system and the existence of trinity knowledge.



Works cited

Dahlsgaard, Katherine, Christopher Peterson, and Martin EP Seligman. “Shared virtue: The convergence of valued human strengths across culture and history.” Review of general psychology 9.3 (2005): 203.

Edmonson, Munro S. The Book of Counsel: The Popol Vuh of the Quiche Maya of Guatemala. Middle American Research Institute, Tulane University, 1971.

Kerr, Justin. “The myth of the Popol Vuh as an instrument of power.” New Theories on the Ancient Maya 77 (1992): 109.

Kitayama, Shinobu, et al. “A cultural task analysis of implicit independence: comparing North America, Western Europe, and East Asia.” Journal of personality and social psychology 97.2 (2009): 236.

Martin, Laura. “Traditional Mayan Rhetorical Forms and Symbols: From the Popol Vuh to El tiempo principia en Xibalbá.” Latin American Indian Literatures Journal 23.1 (2007): 43.

McLeod, Alexus. “India.” Astronomy in the Ancient World. Springer International Publishing, 2016. 129-169.

Rosa, Milton, and Daniel Clark Orey. “Pop: A study of the ethnomathematics of globalization using the sacred Mayan mat pattern.” Internationalisation and globalisation in mathematics and science education. Springer, Dordrecht, 2008. 227-246.

Wellmeier, Nancy J. “Santa Eulalia’s people in exile: Maya religion, culture, and identity in Los Angeles.” Gatherings in diaspora: Religious communities and the new immigration (1998): 97-122.


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