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Hindu Myths and Facts

What is Real and What is False?


Deciding what is real or what is true and what is false is a challenge that should not be undertaken lightly because the yogis and Buddha’s who have walked this earth before us have testified that everything is an illusion. Therefore there is no absolute reality to be found in this world and asking the question what is ultimately true or false is ridiculous.

But in a way, we are ridiculous creatures because we continue to ask externally and we expect answers that make sense which is where or why we have invented so many philosophies. Unfortunately we have evolved through a long history of myths, half-truths, entangled philosophies and legends to the point where no one really knows which way is up, do you?

Just think for a moment’s, here we are sitting on this planet that is spinning and circling a star which is also speeding through space. Our scientists have calculated the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, but even they when they look out into space have no idea as to which way is up and what is totally true or untrue.

Since the Buddha named some of the internal components of the atom some 2600 years ago, scientists have delved further today to discover that the smaller you go, the less substance there is. In other words the volume that makes up the atom is mostly empty space, so much so that we’re left wondering why we cannot simply see through our physicality as if we had x-ray vision.

It is fair to say that most of the world’s most eminent scientists have been profoundly influenced by the knowledge and wisdom of Vedanta. The Vedas, the ancient spiritual texts of India actually define the nature of existence and have guided modern scientists in their research. However the language of the Vedas like other spiritual writings is encoded and the meaning is not obvious to the casual reader.

Modern science still has some catching up to do as Yoga is an ancient and more developed science.  But we have many agreements or perceptive proofs of knowledge between ancient texts and modern scientists about the nature of existence. Lay people generally accept that their perception and understanding is true with a bias towards modern science. Therefore people believe in things beyond their perception based on the testimony of others.

But when it comes to gods and goddesses, this is another story. However the different gods or deities are part of a process of yoga helping to expand perception and perception is key because knowing requires direct perception which frees one from belief.

A Hindu creation story

A personal view of Hinduism

It is said that before this universe was created, there was simply a potential who has been named as Shiva and defined as a masculine potency. Shiva was simply biding his time until such time as Shakti came to his attention. Shakti is defined as the feminine principle and like many women today, her presence stirred Shiva into action and he poured forth the universe.

There is no self-important God whipping up the universe for his amusement, there is a duality at work that we understand through positive and negative, Yin and Yang, masculine and feminine. Even modern science agrees with this because there can be no action or activity without opposing principles.

The Hindu creation story continues with Brahma and his consort Saraswati making the physicality of the world which is loosely paralleled by Darwin’s theory of evolution. Life is sustained by Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi with the energy of the sun.

Life becomes personal

In ancient times, when people did not have the answer to any question, they made up the answers themselves and started believing as if their thoughts and imaginings were the real explanation to their questions. These answers became our myths which we find world wide, some correlate and some diverge.

We must remember that religion is a belief in someone else’s experience
spirituality is having your own experience.

Please remember that Hinduism is not a religion and Hinduism does not require the belief in anything or any ideology.  Hinduism is a flower of creation designed to sustain humanity and life on earth but at the same time to enable individual human beings to consciously reconnect with the creative principal of life.

The term Hindu or Hinduism is not present in any sacred book, it is invention of foreigners. When Foreigners came to visit combined India, they used to pronounce Sindhu as Hindu. So, anyone living beyond “Sindhu” (Indus River in Pakistan) was called as Hindu and their practice was called as Hinduism.

shiva-shivaniThe countless men and women who have in their mortal lifetime bathed in the ocean of creation had to study what it means to be human in a very scientific manner. The Hindu pantheon of deities or gods is a legacy that has been created to assist all human beings on the journey to self realisation.

In addition to the gods mentioned above, there are millions more and in fact there are many millions of gods who all serve a technological function. In the West we have been demonised by monotheism and the idea of one God with the church as the intermediary. But in Hinduism the perception of the one God is the goal and all the other gods or deities are simply stepping stones and there is no church to interfere in the process.

Unfortunately a great many Hindus have forgotten its and they have adopted monotheistic practices whereby they pray to God albeit the supreme creative principal or one of the lesser gods for favours and the fulfilment of their worldly desires.

All of these gods and even Shiva, Brahma or Vishnu who are held in the highest esteem are prayed to, this is a mistake. The gods and deities represent aspects of creation and achievements of wisdom, therefore the correct approach to these deities is of appreciation and devotion, not in asking.

The idea of worship and devotion is that the individual worshipper or devotee is attempting to realise, to understand and integrate what that deity represents in terms of being a step on the spiritual ladder.

All these gods and deities have no inherent existence even though they may manifest for someone who was intensely devoted as Sri Ramakrishna, but ultimately they have no inherent existence.

All the gods are stepping stones for us to navigate consciousness and come to appreciate the greater reality and mystery of life.  It’s not that we really step on them, more that we become them or embody those principals in our lives as they represent happiness, success, overcoming obstacles, finding peace of mind, attaining wisdom and so much more. They are representations of elements of life and as such you can also create your own God or deity that serves to remind you that you are part of life, a piece of this creation and spiritually, all life is interconnected and interdependent.

The goal of life

Aldous Huxley describes Nataraj

To know and become one with life, appreciating and working to ensure the continuance of life.  As our civilisation is structured, human existence is based on suffering and the Hindu ideal is to transcend that suffering.

Oceans of words have been written about what we call Hinduism and Yoga, but no words can ever express what is, therefore we always talk around the subject after which meditation may give the insight and connected experience of unity.

“Samādhi does not culminate with the recognition of a ‘disunion’ of nature (prakṛti) and consciousness (puruṣa), but rather in their discriminative integration. The stilling of the thoughtwaves of the mind in higher states of meditative absorption does not lead, in the end, to a rejection of the world; rather, Whicher argued, it enables the yogin to attain a state of equipoise and insight that enables him to master and playfully engage the ‘modifications of nature,’ seeing them as a continuation on a spectrum of consciousness that extends from ‘matter’ to ‘spirit’.” ~ Sutra Journal

2 comments to Hindu Myths and Facts

  • Hi There. There are some well known myths from our epics – Hanuman burning down Lanka, Ahalya transforming into (and out of) stone, Draupadi being shared amongst five brothers, etc.

    This is one of the really unusual ones I read recently, though: a myth that associates Brahma the Creator with the art of rangoli.

    Granted that Brahma is not a very “important” god for practising Hindus, but the idea that what is nowadays seen as a traditionally female art form had an all male origin is something that surprised and amused me.

  • Felice Mu

    Thank you so much for your time in writing this post as I’ve always wondered what’s real and what’s not.

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