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At the Feet of The Mother

Myths and Legends (2/7) A Symbolic Representation of Reality

It is with this background that we dwell fruitfully into the nature of anything. But when it comes to myths and legends, it becomes even more clear and obvious.

To start with, most of us try to understand a myth from the lens of our present mentality. This is to decontextualize it. It is not necessary that the ancients thought and felt and experienced life the same way as we do. Their value systems need not be the same and hence they cannot be comprehended by us who have a different set of values. Besides the same value itself undergoes a certain shift, and clothes itself in different forms with the passage of time. To judge and evaluate a myth through the lens of our modern upbringing is not only unfair but also very misleading. This is more so when we try to probe and understand the myths of another country.

Instead of deconstructing and decontextualizing a myth we need to decode it. Decoding implies that the myth is a symbolic story. Its characters, the story-line itself is a representative of some Reality that is not easy to describe or put into words. Hence the person has taken not just a poetic liberty but used a story to give out subtle and salient truths through the use of symbols. He has perhaps even tried to evoke certain emotions, to awaken certain impulses through the deft use of images just as a painter may try to do. The painting is like a door opened for us to enter into the painter’s consciousness. So too a myth is like another door opening into the author’s consciousness. But for that we have to be clear of all preconceived notions. The mirror of our mind must be quiet and receptive so that the deeper reality contained in the myth may reveal or reflect itself in the mind.

While deconstruction often destroys the real intrinsic value of the myth by taking away its very soul, decoding gives it a universal value that is applicable for all times to come. Deconstruction is akin to someone dissecting the body part by part to understand its function. But when one has succeeded in doing so an analysed and understood everything one has missed the most important thing; it is the soul that stands behind, the soul that animates it and is meant to use it. The outer story is in fact an instrument, a vehicle to express the deeper soul that it is meant to express. But when we decode the body, we understand how each organ is symbolic of some deeper reality, at once psychological and occult and thereby are able to understand not only the how but also the why behind the functioning.

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To be spontaneous means not to think, organise, decide and make an effort to realise with the personal will.