In the words of Deepak Chopra, I was brought up in India, a land that is imbued with a living mythology. Very early on in my childhood, it was my mother who told me that the word “inspiration” literally meant to be in spirit. The spirit, in turn, was the spirit of God, who breathed into the dust of the earth and animated it with consciousness. The most fundamental factor of existence, then, became the awareness or consciousness of existence.
Since it was impossible to imagine God as an infinite being, our collective consciousness used symbols to express divinity. These symbols were literally the gods and goddesses in our mythical stories. Long before I became aware of Joseph Campbell and “The Power of Myth”, I was already deeply immersed in the stories of these magnificent mythological beings who had supernormal powers that went beyond human capacities. Everyday my mother would read to me and my younger brother Sanjiv stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana, the Indian epics equivalent to the Odyssey and Iliad. Here I learned of the great archetypal energies of Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom, Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance, Krishna, the cosmic alchemist, Ganesh, remover of obstacles.
What is interesting here is that all cultures and I mean all cultures have myths and mythologies around which their culture, language, rites and rituals, and values are built.
As I grew up, Chopra continues, I was immersed also in the lives of mythical characters in our own times: Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Theresa. Their stories and their lives were extraordinary not only because they were great storytellers, but they actually lived their stories.Several years ago, I listened to an audiobook entitled: Don’t Know Much About Mythology by Kenneth C. Davis, and what I found out was that in ALL these different mythologies from ALL over the world, similar myths about creation, virgin birth, a great flood, afterlife, were part of their belief system, even though they may have used different words to describe the person or the event.
HOW CAN THIS BE?It is this question that I have asked myself over and over and over again because my upbringing taught me that the great flood described in The Holy Bible took place (I guess I had assumed) on in that region… so, how could a great flood also be described in the mythologies of South America and Australia?
This really does beg the question as to the truth and validity of all the myths and mythologies that we were lead to believe were exclusively our own…But, on the other side of the coin, if these events happened all over the globe then one might just have a tendency to believe that they are TRUE… for a race of people, not just a few… and, was this not the point of Gandhi, Mandela, King, and Theresa?