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What is Indian Mythology?

Posted on : July 03, 2017

While most of us might be aware of several narratives that form part of Indian mythology, but do we know what is its quintessence? In a nutshell, Indian mythology is literature, poetry and plays that tell elaborative stories, rituals, and symbols of our culture and guide us through life.

Some of the widely-known scriptures include the Ramayana and Mahabharata, which are referred to as the epics of Hindu mythology. The Ramayana and Mahabharata are widely popular among the masses since thousands of years. It is a common practice among Indian grandparents and parents tonarrate mythological stories to their children, retelling them the heroic tales of the likes of Ram and Krishna. It is believed that some of these stories can shape a child’s minds to begin their first step towards socialization. Ramayana especially, is repeated in various occasions in a household, portraying ideal values of a household that are encouraged.

To understand mythology, we should first understand the meaning of ‘Myth’. English dictionary would translate myth as something widely held, but false. Thus, when talked about mythology, people would assume it to be wrong or false or something out of imagination. The 70s brought a revolutionary change in the context of literature and thus emerged an altered definition of myth which stated it to be ‘somebody’s truth’.

The epics details the story of reincarnations of Vishnu as Ram and Krishna, two individuals living in different surroundings and environments advocating dharma and opposing adharma. The concepts show right and wrong done by a human being in his mortal life to lead up to a good or bad karma, which will ultimately send him to heaven or hell. The concept of karma is broadly important and tricky here, depending on the deeds that we do willingly or unwillingly that affect people’s lives.

No mythology is firmly anchored to a shore immovable. It is a sea where every wave has numeral meanings and possibilities. It talks largely of controlling our mind, our desires to go ahead and lead strong lives. No one deciphers the scriptures equally. Everyone deciphers it in their own ways according to their own philosophies. One important way can be to not take mythology literally; the logic behind it must be given importance. Bhavartha is more important as the stories are always told in metaphors.

Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism have one credo called as the ‘satvana’ that bind them together. Satvana is timeless, infinity where everything keeps on repeating itself as it is until you understand the true meaning behind it. No other culture has come up with this concept, Indians were the first ones to have encountered this which later spread throughout China through Buddhism. This concept gives our society the shape and form that we have today. It explains that everything is limitless and death is not the end, but a beginning to something new not only to the person gone but also for others. Whatever goes comes around eventually, explains the cyclical nature of our society. We inculcate forgiveness and a fuzzy comfort in the chaotic ways that are to be seen everywhere. Creation, sustention, and destruction are cyclical for which the Trimurti (Bramha, Vishnu, Shiva) is responsible.

The philosophies of the West vary greatly than that of the Indians as their concept is secular, having one god, one truth, one life. They don’t believe in the concept of infinity. Thus, have a competitive nature where there is an urgent need and pressure to perform desirably. These differences affect a lot on the ways of life and thus shape the nature of society. Indian mythology is interlinked and interdependent to various scriptures. This interdependence shows the philosophy of how everything should depend on each other to know the greater truth of life. To understand the fish in the water, the sea should be understood too, unlike focusing itself to the fish blindly and not understanding what sea means! Indian mythology largely talks about looking at things in perspective, to see the larger truth to understand the smaller truths in life. There is a lot to unveil in Indian mythology that can nudge your interests. It has always been proved to have surprising relevance to the modern times and so will it be to our future generations. Mythology, will always be a part of us and we a part of it.


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