Thu, 22 Aug, 2019

Why Take Misleading Morals from Mythical Stories?

By Dipesh Poudel

Picture Courtesy: DWIT News

On Bhadra 30, 2072 (16 September, 2015), Hindu women celebrated 'Teej'. On this day, women fast and pray to lord Shiva (god of destruction in Hindu mythology). Married women pray for the long life of their husband and welfare of their family, and unmarried girls pray with the hope of having a nice husband in the future.

There is a very long story about how Teej started. To summarize it, Parvati ran from home to a forest, ate some fruit and the next day she fasted and prayed to god that she should get Shiva as her husband. As a result of her prayers, she was able to get Shiva as her husband. Basically women pray for their husband (future/present). What does the husband do? That is a topic of discussion for another day. This is about the moral of the story of Parvati and Shiva.

Let's look at the story of Parvati and Shiva from a different angle. It was Parvati's dream to marry lord Shiva. She ran to a forest from home. She ate some fruit in the jungle in the evening and next day she kept fasting and prayed. At last, her prayer was answered. So a person with a dream, if they dare to pursue it, has to prepare well and work hard to achieve what he/she has dreamed of. A story with a good moral was explained to society in such a way that it shows there is nothing more important in a woman's life than marrying a good husband.

Let's go to another story that is the cause of child marriage. In the story of Swasthani Barta Khatha (a mythical Sanskrit story), there is section where a seven-year-old girl is married to a seventy year old man. She goes through a lot of hardship in her life. In the end, her son becomes king and she lives a happy life. Experts who justify child marriage with this story forget that she was cursed by some angry sage, doomed to get married to a seventy-year-old man and go through a lot in her life. So, basically this story is saying that child marriage is a curse.

There are many such stories. They were explained by a certain group of people in such a way that they can rule over others. These stories contain valuable life lessons if we just try to really understand them. Let's not use them to rule and dominate people, rather we can use them to make people's lives better.