Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Puranic Mythology - Truth or Fiction?






No credence can be given to Puraanas, because they contain matters beyond the realm of known natural phenomena, is the modern view. 

That the Devas freely roamed the earth and granted boons to men, is dismissed as fantasy because such things do not happen today. "A woman was cursed and she turned into stone, the stone was blessed and it turned back into a woman - the sun was stopped in its diurnal orbit" - such incidents which are totally outside our capabilities lend support to the view that these incidents must indeed be fictitious and products of imagination.


That certain things do not happen today or cannot happen does not prove that such things could not have happened in the past or cannot happen in the future. Every great epic of the past bears ample testimony to the powers of Veda mantras - high penance and exalted Yogic discipline which was not uncommon in the past. 


So long as these powers prevailed, it was possible for people of this world to easily draw on the supernatural resources. Just as where there is light, there is also darkness, the forces of evil represented by asuras and raakshasas also co-existed with the good influences. Even now, the conflict between good and bad - between devas and asuras - is in progress although not visible to the human eye. In those days, it was possible, due to powers derived from deep penance to actually see these good and evil forces.


Modern scientists say that all sound or light waves cannot be detected by the human eye or ear. Some scientists, who have reached higher levels, have done research in occult (super-worldly) science and have discovered the existence of heavenly bodies, both good and bad.
Even now there are quite a few yogis and siddhas (mystics). Their bodies are unaffected by exposure to extreme cold or heat. They cause rain to fall and even stop the falling rain. Thus, men with supernatural powers do exist. Only our belief is shaky. We suspect all things.

Since, in the olden days, many more persons than today possessed these powers, it appears that Puraanas contain a long list of miracles. If a miracle figures in the narrative the story cannot be rejected as not being proper history.


It does not speak well for English education if it rejects as fiction all that science cannot prove. In fact, what science could not perceive a few years ago, is being perceived by scientists now. Even today archaeologists discover human skeletons measuring ten to twelve feet and those of mammoth animals are extinct today but whose existence is mentioned in the Puraanas.


From these, it appears that raakshasas as tall as coconut or palm trees and having bodies like a lion and trunks like an elephant might have existed in the past. In Iceland discoveries have disclosed a human skeleton whose shin bone alone measures sixteen feet and the back bone of an animal whose size must have been ten times that of an elephant. These are hailed with great fanfare as archaeological finds. Combining geology with archaeology, these are claimed to have existed many hundred thousand of years ago. 
If mythology is super-imposed on this, then the Puraanic stories will all become credible and true.


Once as tall as a palm tree, now six feet tall, and in years to come hardly a thumbkin-these are the ravages which time imposes on creatures and species. These changes are also mentioned by the Puraanas.


The Puraanas are ridiculed for talking of vaanaras - man-monkeys, the body of an animal with the face of a man, people with two heads or ten heads -- all these are said to be going too far away from truth. Those who do not indulge in such open criticism give it their own explanation viz. that these are symbolic and the story is an allegorical representation.


It is true that moral lessons are taught through the medium of fables. But, on this score, the entire Puraanic stories cannot be dubbed as untrue or mere fables. Even now, we come across news items about the birth of a child with two heads and four hands. It is neither a man nor an animal. It is a freak. When nature which, by its definition is faultless, gets a little faulty, the freak results. Such freaks might have been deliberately engineered in the past on a large scale. Since the ancient men had supernatural powers (powers over nature) much more than we have, such conditioning of nature might have been a simple matter. That is why we should not affirm that "what is knowable is known to us and that there could have been nothing different from what we know."


To label what is not known to us or what is not knowable as a lie is illogical. What had been rejected as unbelievable in the Puraanas is coming to pass now and then during modern days, such wonders as recollection of events from an earlier birth are reported in the press. I feel that such news items are on the increase. 


This is the stage to which we have come: if an item appears in the press, however improbable it may seem, we are prone to accept it as true. But the very mention of Puraana makes us disdainful.

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