Tag: Decoding Mythology

When a man loves a woman
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When a man loves a woman

By Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik – Author, Speaker, Illustrator, Mythologist In the Mahabharata, we come across two very interesting stories: in one, the husband saves his wife’s life; in the other, the wife saves her husband’s life. The first story is of Ruru and Priyamvada. Ruru’s beautiful wife, Priyamvada, died at an early age. Distraught, Ruru…

Nachiketa’s question
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Nachiketa’s question

By Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik – Author, Speaker, Illustrator, Mythologist The story of Nachiketa comes from the Upanishads, so from 2,500 years ago, essentially, belonging to a period in history when the theories of karma, rebirth and liberation, were being slowly consolidated in the Indian subcontinent. Nachiketa was a young boy who observed his father donating…

Son of an Asura
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Son of an Asura

By Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik In the Vishnu Purana, we are introduced to the story of Prahalad. We are told he is the son of an Asura king, Hiranyakashipu. Because Hiranyakashipu receives a boon from Brahma, he cannot be killed by any human or animal, either inside or outside a dwelling, at day or at night….

Dhruva or The North Star
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Dhruva or The North Star

By Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik – Author, Speaker, Illustrator, Mythologist The story of Dhruva comes from the Puranic traditions, especially the Vishnu Purana and the Bhagavata Purana. It is, at once, a metaphysical story, as well as a story of devotion, recounted most simplistically. Once upon a time, there was a boy called Dhruva, who wanted…

A Buddhist Goddess
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A Buddhist Goddess

By Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik – Author, Speaker, Illustrator, Mythologist A thousand years after the Buddha’s nirvana, Buddhists finally acquired a Goddess of (almost) equal stature to the Buddha. Before this, the only Goddess who was very prominent in Buddhist literature was Shri or the Goddess of Fortune, clearly included within the Buddhist iconography by the…

The march of Yudhishthira’s horse
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The march of Yudhishthira’s horse

By Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik – Author, Speaker, Illustrator, Mythologist In popular re-tellings, the Mahabharata ends tragically with vast bloodshed on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, where the Kauravas are defeated by the Pandavas. Following this episode, there is the Ashwamedha Parva. It describes how Yudhishthira becomes king and lets loose his royal horse across the land,…

Land of body parts
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Land of body parts

By Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik – Author, Speaker, Illustrator, Mythologist The Buddhists and the Hindus share the idea of the land becoming sacred, when it is connected with the body of a holy being. Let us first hear the Buddhist story. We are told that when Buddha died, his body was cremated, and after the cremation,…

Ancient incest in the sky
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Ancient incest in the sky

By Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik – Author, Speaker, Illustrator, Mythologist In the Vedas, long before people knew about Gods such as Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, there was a story of how the God of Heaven committed incest with the Goddess of Dawn, his daughter. Now this is called the problem of primal incest, which is found…

Metaphors of the Goddess
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Metaphors of the Goddess

By Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik – Author, Speaker, Illustrator, Mythologist In Hinduism, God cannot be divine without the Goddess. There is no Vishnu without Lakshmi. No Shiva without Shakti. No Brahma without Saraswati. But it is a mystery for many why Hindus, for whom divinity is both male and female, treat women so badly. Aren’t women…

Is Ganesha married?
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Is Ganesha married?

By Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik – Author, Speaker, Illustrator, Mythologist In South India, Kartikeya is worshipped as Murugan, who stands on top of mountains. On either side of him stand his two wives, Valli and Sena. Valli is a tribal girl, while Sena is a celestial princess, the daughter of Indra. There are songs of Murugan’s…

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