What Was and Is
Myths and the mythologies of mankind are the stories of our heritage. They are our ancestry as well as our future. There, quite simply, what was and what will be. Michael Ayrton explained in “the Midas Consequence”: “we live by myth and in habit it and it inhabits us. What is strange is how we remake it.”
Connecting the past to the future by what we do in the present is very much the basis of many mythologies of the Far East as it is in the Abrahamic faiths we have just discussed in August. And, again, in the mythologies of India, we see some parallels. On our last day of August we conferred about the Holy Trinity of Christianity and three Hebrew names for the one deity who is the central figure of the mythologies of the three Abrahamic religions – Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
Indian mythology also contains a Holy Trinity. Many believe that a great volume of these mythologies have has their backdrop an Indian Holy Trinity which is also all powerful. This Trinity is made up of Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, and Lord Brahma. Lord Vishnu is considered to be the spirit that preserves the universe and controls its daily living. Lord Shiva is the destroyer and Lord Brahma is the creator of the world and all worldly beings.
As we have seen in our discussions about Norse mythology, Celtic mythology, Greek mythology and Roman mythology, there will always be parallels. It is, as we have also deliberated and debated, one of the hallmarks of belief and, interestingly enough, evidence. When a common idea is found to have originated in different people in different locations in different times and when that same common idea or belief has similar proofs, one must accept its inevitability of being. (If that sounded confusing, don’t worry. We’ll come back to it later in the week.)
One of the differences in Indian mythology and the other mythologies of the Far and Near East was the introduction of shamans or spiritual healer. Unlike spiritual leaders in other mythologies, shamans did not intercede to the gods or goddesses, however; shamans empowered the believer to do their own interceding. Sandra Ingerman explains this viewpoint in her book “Shamanic Journeying”, a title that also explains the emphasis on process: “When we begin to learn that we have the ability to problem solve for ourselves, it raises our self-esteem in a grounded way. True power is being able to use our energy to create transformation for ourselves, others, and the planet.”
Quantum physics is the study of fields of energy that connect life – all of life. Shamans refer to life as a web that is connected; everything within our universe and quite possibly outside of it is connected. In its simplest terms, quantum physics is the study of the behavior of all matter at each and every level. “Shaman” is a Siberian word that translates as spiritual healer. The shaman enables one to correct that which is wrong and they have played a role in mythology of the Eastern spiritualities.
Every human culture or society has developed a story or myth about how it came to be. These myths include the forces that created the society as well as the forces that tried to prevent its success. Whether these forces were of the natural world, the spiritual world, mankind against mankind or human against human, everything had value because everything had impact.
We might all be smart to pay particular attention to these mythologies. I don’t mean that you suddenly have to find a church or temple to worship a monkey king. However, we all go through our daily living being the recipient of forces within and beyond our control. Somethings we simply have the ability to correct or avoid but many we do not. We are like grains of sand on the shore, unable to avoid the tides of life as they wash over us.
While we may not be able to avoid certain things, we can control our reactions. We also should not avoid the effect life has on us. Pretending to be brave in the face of adversity is great as long as don’t completely ignore the impact of said adversity. It is okay to cry and to admit pain hurts.
I hope our discussion of these myths will serve to connect us because truly, we are all connected. This is truer today than ever before. Modern technology has increased the speed of communication into a matter of seconds instead of days. Hopefully, it will also allow us to see our similarities and celebrate our differences.
What we should not do is assume there is only one way to live. There are different climates, terrains, and needs and each comes with a specific set of circumstances for living within them. I may not elect to follow one mythology but I should not discount it completely just because it does not apply to me.
Recently a government official in Kentucky has made national and perhaps international news for defying a court order to issue marriage licenses to both heterosexual and homosexual couples. The official, a paid state employee, has halted issuing any marriage license for the county in which said official is employed, effectively holding the institution of marriage hostage because of her interpretation of her own religious mythologies. While I respect her right to her interpretation, I do not believe she has the right to hold the institution of marriage hostage. I will also add that other popular interpretations of those same religious beliefs include stoning to death said official for multiple marriages, a practice still being conducted in all three Abrahamic religions of which this official’s religious denomination is one.
We cannot and should not decide to play God or Lord Brahma. We are simply a part of that which exists, one element of the matter of the universe. The mythologies of the Far East especially focus not on others but on self and using the stories passed down from centuries pass to improve one’s personal living. The complex treasure trove of the beliefs that comprise what we call Hinduism has an underlying pattern of unity which is echoes in the words of Swami Sivananda: “Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.”