One of the undeniable aspects of myths is their ubiquitous feature across different cultures and countries. Although every society basically has its own unique form of myths, it’s very interesting that these distinct myths are all re-tells of core archetypal stories slightly changed to fit different experiences and cultures. The popularity of the myths and the reason behind being studied even up to today depicts their importance role compared to any other ordinary story. Myths play an important role in today’s world just as they used to be in the ancient civilizations. They can be designated as sacred fictions helping human beings to comprehend the today’s world and their position in it. Similarly myths will also try to react to external questions relating to the existence and the origin of evil. Through the archetypes, myths provide guidance to every generation.
For instance considering Krishna, the major Hindu god also considered being the eighth incarnation of Vishnu and perhaps the most popular of all Hindu mythology heroes, Krishna adventures can be traced in both Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita and the sanctified collection of scripts known as Puranas (Van and Buitenen). Krishna is pronounced as a supreme being which created the universe. According to his ancient tales, Krishna adventures rotate around Pandava princes and later on over the centuries his eventful youth is described, at this juncture Krishna uses his adept weapon skills to successfully conquer and defeat fearsome demons, monsters and enemies (Singer and Milton).
Krishna is one of the main Hindu mythologies in today’s modern world. It has been used to explain the extraordinary powers behind the existence of the universe. Similarly, it has been used as a source of moral lesson to the young generation with talents and special skills that these talents and special skills should not be used with selfishness or rather for a personal gain only. Using these talents and skills to help the society solve day in day out problems is a moral lesson from the heroic practices to conquer demons, enemies and monsters which were a great threat to the society in the ancient Hindu society (Van and Buitenen).
Theoretical models to analyze mythology
Various models have been used to analyze the use mythology in both ancient and modern society. This research considers two main theories which have been used in the analysis of mythology.
Northrop Frye’s theory
Apart from Krishna, the story of the universe origin has been explained by different cultures using different myths, according to Frye; every myth to explain a particular epitome can be plotted onto a graph using the main aspects of such a myth (Frye and Northrop). A pattern would appear if enough points were gathered from different myths explaining the same archetype were plotted. Drawing a line to approximate the pattern emerging in the plotted line will best fit to indicate the worth of a myth. While no myth perfectly matches the archetype, some myths will diverge from the epitome more than others. Through this theory the truth of any myth can be analyzed (Frye and Northrop).
Theory of culture and mind
This Claude Levi-Strauss theory has revolutionized the modern anthropology; culture is a system with structures common in all societies not considering their differences. Through his analysis Claude Levi-Strauss showed that structures such as behavior and belief are common to all societies and overruled the primitive and modern mind concept. According to this theory, all men have equal intellectual potential (Lévi-Strauss and Claude). Using this theory the truth of any myth based on a particular society can be evaluated based on similar myths from different societies. The convergence or divergence depicts the reliability of such a myth. For instance, the Krishna mythology can be evaluated based on similar myths such as Egyptian mythology of Osiris and the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Functions of myths
Myth stories may or may not be true, they are designed to be considered deeply rather than being merely believed. They are a path to human comprehension and self-expansion. They help understand reality. Mythology art is described to have four basic functions: the mystical, pedagogical, cosmological and sociological functions (Tylor, Edward and Burnett).
This depicts the psychological function of any myth; it foretells how human lifetime should be lived under any circumstances. Such myths usually tackle human themes that never change such as knowledge and lack of knowledge. Pedagogical fables shape modern generation to the aims and morals of a particular tribe, acting as guide from birth to death via the course of life. They provide patterns of thought that bring meaning to life, powerful stories such as Lord Krishna’s Bhagavad Gita, for example, help the modern society to investigate the truth within itself through the guidance of people from the past who have gone encountered same trials and tribulations. Absorbing the teachings from mythologies that came long time ago, with audacity and courage to add imaginative soul-signature wisdom, it compels the universe to reveal itself further (Derrida, Jacques and Moore).
This function circulates around the awe of the universe. The stories act as cornerstones touching on how it means for a human being to be involved in an unexplainable circumstance. This function is very important as it tries to relate the mind to the mystery that something exists rather than nothing and establishing awe and the interlink to the sacred. They link the unconscious to the conscious tying instincts between nature and the human soul. The mystical function acts as a sacred reconciliation to help the modern generation honor the fundamental change and intractable impermanence, while assisting to make sense of being in the universe without meaning other than the meaning people bring to it (Tourney and Garfield).
This function is all about formulating and giving an image to the universe. The universe is both unfathomably enormous and inexplicably frightening. Using imagination, stories were created to explain the universe even before science and religion emerged. Myths in this scenario help make sense from nothingness the universe came from. It is from these imaginations that sense is made regarding the world (Hope, Sarah and Ian).
This function helps to support and validate certain social orders. The stories bind people to certain tribe. Sociological myths are important building blocks based on all codes of moral conduct. They maintain cultural meaning while shaping the meaning of life. Sociological myths are habitually stories where the moral is roughly what not to do, which then unswervingly shines a light on what to do in order to realize a well social experience (Tylor, Edward and Burnett).
Purposes of myth
Explaining how things came to be
In reference to the Krishna mythology the modern generation is in a position to understand the origin of universe. This myth defines the work of creation and step by step approach to explain this phenomenon from generation to generation (Frye and Northrop).
Bases of important values
For instance, the heroic character of Krishna as depicted in his venture to defend the society from demons, evil and monsters has some basic lessons in today’s generation. Krishna used his skills in handling weapons to defend the whole society.This is a basic lesson to the modern generation that skills and talents should be used selflessly to benefit even those who are disadvantaged in the society (Hope, Sarah and Ian).
Derrida, Jacques and Moore. White mythology; metaphor in the text of philosophy. new literary history, 2014.
Frye and Northrop. Northrop Fyre's fearful symmetry, a study of william blake. University of toronto press, 2014.
Hope, et al. "arterial transfer function and reconstruction of central aortic myths controversies and misconceptions." journal of hypertension (2013): 4-7.
Lévi-Strauss and Claude. structural anthropology. basic books press, 2014.
Singer and Milton. krishna myths, rites and attitutes. east-west center press, 2013.
Tourney and Garfield. "Influence of classical mythology and philosophy upon modern development." journal of history of behavioral sciences (2015): 67-87.
Tylor, Edward and Burnett. primitive culture: researchers into the development of mythology, philosiphy, religion, art and custom. 2012.
Van and Buitenen. "on the archaism of Bhagavata Purana. krishna myths, rites and attitudes." journal of est-west center (2012): 225-227.