My readers will be aware that Walhalla is said to have 540 doors through which 800 warriors pass through each one, making a total of 432,000 Einheriar.
"Five hundred doors and fortyI think there are in Valhall;
eight hundreds of warriors will go together from one
when they go to fight the wolf."[Grimnismal 23, Elder Edda, Larrington translation]
In the very next verse we are told that Thunor`s hall Bilskirnir[which means `the one striking lightning with rays of light`-Simek or `suddenly illuminated by lightning`-Lindow] also contain 540 rooms.
"Five hundred daises and forty,so I think Bilskirnir has in all;
of all those halls which I know to be roofed,
my son`s I think is the greatest."[Grimnismal 24, Larrington translation]
Benjamin Thorpe translates `daises` as floors in his translation. John Lindow in his Handbook of Norse Mythology using the Clarendon translation refers to 540 `rooms`. The general scholarly consensus seems to be that it is rooms not daises nor floors that Grimnismal is meant to convey. Snorri Stturluson in Gylfaginning in the Younger Edda quotes from Grimnismal and refers to `apartments`:
"Five hundred apartments and yet forty more I think are inBilskirnir in all. Of the buildings whose roofs I know, I
know my son`s is the greatest."
Significantly then the number 540 is associated with both Woden[Walhalla] and Thunor[Bilskirnir]. The repetition of this number may be important as the ancients may have wished to emphasise some great teaching to us. It also could signify that despite who may be the reigning God of the Aesir at the time, whether it be [originally] Thunor or [latterly] Woden it is the number which is significant.
I cannot but help think of the words of the Nazarene in John 14:2: "In my father`s house are many mansions."
This is not a Jewish but an Aryan concept. One could just as easily say: "In All-Father`s house are many mansions."
Viktor Rydberg in Our Fathers` Godsaga states that the "Prose Edda perpetuates many errors" in referring to Bilskirnir as Thunor`s residence and that instead it is another name for Walhalla.
At the time of Ragnarok the 432,000 Einheriar[540 x 800] will march forth to do battle against the enemies of the Gods and men. Interestingly the number 432,000 is the number of years that the Kali Yuga will last according to Hindu mythology. In Sumerian mythology 10 great kings lived a total of 432,000 years. In Mesopotamian belief 432,000 years lapsed between the crowning of the first earthly king and the coming of the deluge. Ragnarok therefore will be both the conclusion of the Wolf Age and the beginning of a new Golden Age.
"Valhalla presents yet another aspect which links it with Eastern scriptures of remote antiquity: Odin in Grimnismal tells his pupil that there are `five hundred doors and forty more` to Valhalla; and that eight hundred warriors issue from each when Odin emerges to war with the wolf. Further we are told that there are five hundred and forty halls in bulging Bilskirner (the shining abode), the largest being `my son`s`- the solar deity`s. Multiplying 540 x 800 we get 432,000 warriors and the same number of halls. In both Babylonian and Indian chronologies this figure occurrs in numerous ways. Multiples of it define specific astronomical cycles while, divided by various numbers, it applies to terrestrial events of greater frequency, even down to the pulse beat of the human heart, generally reckoned as 72 beats per minute. It is itself the length in human years assigned to the Iron Age, in Sanskrit the kali yuga, when the forces of darkness are most challenging."[The Masks of Odin. Wisdom of the Ancient Norse, Elsa-Brita Titchnell]
Hinting at a common Aryan source for this wisdom she states:
"Curious that this should be the number assigned to Odin`s champions. It certainly hints vigorously at some common source from which these widely separated traditions have descended and at some hidden meaning which makes this figure recur in them."