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MYTHOLOGY AND TRADITIONS: MERE FICTION OR ANCIENT WISDOM?
October 10, 2013 by:
Garima Points: 20
A look into the traditions and mythology we have been following, from a new perspective.
Mythology - the root of the word itself brings to our mind uncertainty. We generally wink at the facts of the mythologies as mere fables that have nothing to do with the real world. For instance Hindu mythology is considered to be packed up with traditions and beliefs that are hard to stand by, and hence, ignored by most of them. But mythology shouldn't be shrugged off until tested for its stand, after all we live in an era of science and technology where experimentation can alone can testify such parables.
The Hindu traditions and mythology lies on the bedrock of the Vedas and the sacred texts. These texts are revered because of the rich knowledge sources they are. The texts provide an insight to the fact that the sages were ahead of their times when it came to knowledge. It was the time when only a handful of elites had the privilege of formal education. As a result the observations, discoveries were out of the realm of general understanding of the community. So in order to make science amiable to people the sages interwove science and religious beliefs together, thus, giving rise to the so called mythologies. With the advent of science, and exposure to experimentation we could find that yes! these traditions have a scientific cusp. Not all the traditions can be justified, and hence can be secluded as myths because in course of time these folklores got misinterpreted and hence amorphous.
But some popular beliefs need to be supported for the good they do to us.
Water of river Ganges or the Gangajal can be easily found in a Hindu household. Ganges is the most revered river, promulgated as the purifier and the healer. The purity of the river can be attributed to the presence of bacteriophages. Bacteriophages are the parasites of bacteria. This explains the reason why gangajal is used to purify house, why people go for a holy dip in the river and why the water of Ganges can be kept for long without getting putrefied. Bacteriophages rationalize the self cleansing activity of the river. People from times unknown go for cremation on the banks of river Ganges, owing to the fact that the bacteria and germs of the dead will be engulfed by the bacteriophages.
Presence of tulsi (Osmium sanctum) can't be overlooked in a Hindu household. The multiple benefits of the plant sanctified it. Tulsi releases oxygen as well as ozone, thus, enriching the environment. The advantages offered to human are many. It is a great stress buster, good for skin, kidney stones, heart, immunity. Ever wondered why the pundits at the temple provide tulsi water as Prasad? The Prasad provided is a great blood purifier. So next time along with the blessings you get, you know what else you are offered!
Cutting of peepul (Ficus religiosa ) is highly condemned in Hinduism . You must have been told not to uproot even the sapling of the tree. Must be thinking why is this tree the cream of the crop? Ficus is the donor of huge amount of oxygen not only in the daytime but also during the night. It is supposed to be a cure for asthma, diarrhea, diabetes, epilepsy, inflammatory disorders and certain gastric problems. Next time when you see the diyas, red strings around the trunk of the Ficus and you are told that the tree is an embodiment of lord Vishnu himself, you know the reason for the reverence, and at the same time you admire the brilliance of the idea to protect this really divine tree.
People offering water to the rising sun is a regular sight in India . This ritual might have left you curious. The ritual is called aragya. People offer water by raising their hand to the rising sun. This ritual is often criticized by many who are unaware of the science backing it. When a person offers water and looks at the rising sun through it he gets the benefits of the refracted sunrays that are considered extremely beneficial for eyesight, and conditions like jaundice and leprosy.
Idol worship is not just confined to Hinduism, but, is found in other religious sects too. Hinduism however doesn't support idol worship as it promulgates a supreme power that has no shape and form. But in order to bring more and more people to upasana, idols came into being. Upasana requires concentration and focus of utmost level which can be extremely difficult at the initial phase, thus, leading to people giving it up. Idol worship helps to concentrate initially later it can be given up. Thus idol worship trains the mind to concentrate.
Thus, we cannot shrug off the intellect that our traditions and mythology convey. Most of them could be explained logically, but, if left alone will certainly be misinterpreted and would definitely load up the cart of myths further.
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