Sunday, October 16, 2011

Types of myth

There are various types of myths. Creation myth or cosmogonic myth is just one of the type.
For instance you have 1. Fertility myths, 2. eschatological myths, , 3 hero myths, 4, etiological myths, 5 myths of a deluge or destruction, nature myths so on and so forth.

Classification of the myths may remain more or less stable across the civilizations, but mythic narratives changes depending on the topography of the land , sociology ,economic, geographic historic etc.,conditions of the people. For instance myth from agricultural people will be differ from plains and plains people's myth will differ from Island or people who live in the snow capped region . So is the case of the people who live in deserts. Narratives depends on the topography, people's living condition, customs behaviors and beliefs.

However, the basic questions dealt in these stories remain more or less same.

And what are these questions?

How did this universe came into being?
what is the role of man in this universe?
Who is god? Or is there any god?
what is the role of God and his relationship with humans?
What is sex? Who were the first couple?
How a child is born? and why?
how does a man pass through the stages of life from birth , childhood , adult, old age and death?
What is society? What is the role of man and woman in society?
How to survive on this earth? Will earth be destroyed?
Is there anything called immortality? and how can one find it?
what is death or disease? What happens to a man after he dies?
Is there any other world besides this world?

And many more....
Look at the type of question. These are not simple questions of amusement or entertainment but a very serious deliberation on human existence and condition on earth. Some questions can be answered through philosophical deliberations, some are psychological and some are simply sociological conditions and yet some are pure metaphysical issues.

Most of the questions deal with rites of passage... All religions consider them sacred tales and preserve in their holy texts. In short myths defines the world view for you.

This answers our first question how myths are different from other traditional tales such as fables, legends, folk tales, fairy tales, or moral stories for that matter.

Does myth deal with truth?

Next blog...

(About Image: a Tantric representation of Purusha myth as described in the last blog. It shows various parts of the gigantic man who was sacrificed to build this universe)
(Image source


  1. so myths could be formed out of lack of understanding/ lack of knowledge about a particular field/ out of topics that a human brain cannot comprehend,or out of fear?

  2. That would be a simplistic conclusion.
    Firstly, all myths are not speculative myths. Fertility myths , myths of deluge etc are based on human experience.

    Myths are generated through some understanding. Whether it is truth or falsehood is another debate. Human beings from every civilization wanted to preserve this understanding or knowledge and pass it on to next generation.
    they preserved it through stories, paintings, songs rituals etc..
    Will try to clarify more on the myths and explain the meaning of some the of the myths, so you can try and understand