2.4—Read Incan Myths

ASSIGNMENT:

  1. Read Emperor Pachacuti’s account of the god, Viracocha, as well as the selection from the old Incan myth, The Llama-Herder and the Virgin of the Sun.
  2. Write a short essay or discuss with your instructor: In what ways are Viracocha and Yahweh similar?

SELECTION: Emperor Pachacuti’s account of Viracocha (Translated by B.C. Brundage, quoted in Eternity in Their Hearts by Don Richardson)


He is ancient, remote, supreme, and uncreated. Nor does he need the gross satisfaction of a consort. He manifests himself as a trinity when he wishes,…otherwise only heavenly warriors and archangels surround his loneliness. He created all peoples by his word, as well as all huacas [spirits]. He is man’s Fortunus, ordaining his years and nourishing him. He is indeed the very principle of life, for he warms the folk through his created son, Punchao [the sun disk, which was somehow distinct from Inti]. He is a bringer of peace and an orderer. He is in his own being blessed and has pity on men’s wretchedness. He alone judges and absolves them and enables them to combat their evil tendencies.

SELECTION: “Viracocha: The Llama-Herder and the Virgin of the Sun” from Myths of the World by Padraic Colum


[Viracocha] lived amongst men, and he taught them many arts. He it was, as the priests of those who were here before the Incas say, showed men how to bring streams of water to their crops, and taught them how to build terraces upon the mountains where crops would grow. He set up a great cross upon the mountain Caravay. And when the bird that cries out four times at dawn cried out, and the light came upon the cross he had set up, Viracocha went from amongst men. He went down to the sea, and he walked across it towards the west. But he told those whom he had left behind that he would send messengers back who would protect them and give them renewed knowledge of all he had taught them. He left them, but men still remember the chants that those whom he left on the mountain, by the cross, cried out their longing:

Oh, hear me! From the sky above, In which thou mayst be,
From the sea beneath, In which thou mayst be, Creator of the
World, Maker of all men; Lord of all Lords, My eyes fail me
For longing to see thee; For the sole desire to know thee.

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