The society I am writing about is Indian society
1. What are your society’s beliefs in the creation myth, how was the world made, what `god(s) `, if any, were involved.
According to the myths of Indian society creation of the universe was from an egg. At a point the egg broke up to give birth to an entity called “Brahma”. This was not a man or a woman and Brahma is defied as “nirguna” (neutral energy) and “nirakara” (neutral shaped). This Brahma was responsible for the creation of light, the time and ultimately the universe. (Manning, 279)
2. Tell me what `gods/goddesses` are involved in your life. (These do not have to be actual `gods`, they could be concepts or actual people you consider as `gods`.)
The element that I consider as ‘god’ in my personal life is the “Gyan marg” or the path of knowledge. I believe that true knowledge is the extended aspect of a god and walking in the path of knowledge only yields true sense of enlightenment or in other words the venture of God. (Brundage, 23-4)
3. Who or what do you give praise and thanks to when things are going well in your life?
The one aspect that I always thank while things are going well in life is the goddess Swarasati who is the provider of knowledge in accordance to the Wrig Veda, the oldest religious scriptures. It could also be said that this Goddess Swarasati is an extension of the nature as a whole. Thus in a way I always thank the nature for my existence and well being.
And when things are not going well, who or what do you look up to for guidance.
During the time the chips re down and going is tough it is the same entity that I constantly keep faith in and I believe that nature has all the power to guide and comfort me against all sorts of adversities. (Knott, 188-9)
4. List the `heroes` of your society that you admire. Why do you admire them?
The Indian mythology is full of heroes. The great epics ‘The Mahabharata’ and ‘The Ramayana’ are two extremely specific texts that provide a number of heroes. Some of my favorite heroes are Arjuna, Krishna and Yurdhodhana.
Arjun is the lead character of The Mahabharata and despite being a ferocious fighter he is basically an artist. Being an archer he turns his skills into fine arts too. Apart from being a warrior he is also a singer and composer and he is highly skilled with all sorts of musical instruments. Thus, I may mention, there is simply no way one can avoid Arjuna and eventually admire him.
Krishna is the Kingmaker of Mahabharata. He hardly holds a royal position for himself but is highly respected by all the characters of the epic because of his intelligence and battle skills. Krishna is a keen strategist, both in the context of politics and military maneuvers, and is a ‘Don Juan’ by his own right among women folk. At times it appears the qualities of Krishna are the driving force of the epic though we hardly find him being directly involved in battles. Krishna is the automatic choice for any individual from the Indian society as a constant icon.
The third most admired character from the Indian myths is Yurdhodhana. Yurdhodhana is the prime villain of the Mahabharata but still he is admired for his constant beliefs in his ideology no matter how much adverse the situation may be. Yurdhodhana teaches us to stay firm on one’s beliefs even in the darkest hours. I admire him for this reason. (Kumar, 334)
5. Are there any rituals, daily or seasonal that are in your society? What are these rituals, how do you perform them? Explain the function of your rituals.
There are no specific daily or seasonal rituals in the Indian society. It is more individualistic in approach. This means that one is free to follow or observe any rituals if one feels like but there would no sacrilege if one is not interested in rituals. However, one common ritual is the Suryapranam or welcoming the Sun each morning into the day. The objective of Suryapranam is to recognize the bliss of the Sun on the nature as a whole. (Brundage, 145-7)
6. If you had the ability to change anything in your society’s mythology, what you would you change?
The change I would surely like to instrument is the rejection of Rama towards Sita in the mythology Ramayana. This is because this act by Rama is the only blemish to his character and this rejection was more political in nature than personal feelings. Sita, rama’s wife, was abducted by Ravana and after Rama rescued her by killing Ravana he deported her to the jungle as Rama’s subjects were not ready to accept Sita as their queen after her stay with Ravana. This rejection, I feel, was wrong and I would certainly like to change this part in this mythology if I could. (Prawer, 221-5)
Knott, P; Wrig Veda (Dasgupta & Chatterjee 2005) pp 188-9
Kumar, H; Win Some, Lose None Principal in Mahabharata (HBT & Brooks Ltd. 2005) pp 334
Manning, C S; Mythical Characters of India (National Book Trust. 2004) pp 279
Brundage, C; Ancient Canon Laws (HBT Publishers Pvt. Ltd. 2000) pp 23-4, 145-7
Prawer, H A; Rama’s Kingdom (Allied Publishers 1998) pp 221-5