Mythology, Media and the Future of Hinduism

Huffington Post launched an interesting article on Mythology, Media and the Future of Hinduism yesterday. Here’s an extract:

“At present, Hindu mythology is under strain from two opposite tendencies that are not entirely unrelated to broader debates about religion and politics in India and the diaspora. There seems to be a “didactic” extreme and an “experimental” extreme in present approaches to the tales of the gods. The didactic tendency views mythology as a litany of facts about history and geography. It shows up in some of the recent animated mythological movies. The gods are depicted like pop culture superhero figures while a pedantic voice lists facts about them. The experimental tendency, on the other hand, sees mythology as open to virtually any sort of reinterpretation without regard to virtue or intent. Some artists and intellectuals espouse this view, and end up assuming that any imputation of sanctity to mythology is inherently fundamentalist.”

Remind you of anything?

9 thoughts on “Mythology, Media and the Future of Hinduism

  1. So – it appears that even India has not been immune from being spoiled by the “Enlightenment.”


  2. Dont try to fool people. Hinduism was born in the 16 century. Temples were built by the Sultans. Sanskrit is only 2000 years old language. Dont be surprised if I would say some more facts. Their Trinity theology was evolved only in the first century. Can you challenge these facts?


  3. Actually, some have said Hinduism as Hinduism is a far more recent creation than that. A construct of 19th century western scholarship. Note the term “Hinduism” was coined around 1830 to denote the culture and religion of the high-caste Brahmans in contrast to other religions and only later appropriated for the religious menagerie of India in general. Then again, contemporary scholars have suggested “religion” is likewise a scholarly construct that inadequately captures the living reality.
    As for Trimurti, I actually think it’s quite anachronistic to apply Trinitarian language to it. Trimuriti is a Hindu concept in which the cosmic functions of creation, preservation and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer. Trinity is a Christian concept whereby God above us (the Father), God among us (the Son) and God within us (the Spirit)are said to exist in dynamic personal relationship. The cosmic functions of creation, preservation and destruction are not divided amongst the Triune God but manifested in all. The concepts of Trimurti and Trinity are quite tangental.


  4. @Joseph
    Hinduism has its existence from lakhs of years i.e many yugas(this is the seventh cycle of the universe)… (not according to the christian calendar of course) and not just thousands.
    The Vedas speak of the creation(also recreation) and manifestation and destruction of the Universe.
    Please don’t spread false information.
    Sultans are Muslims and not Hindus. The Muslim rulers invaded India and destroyed all the temples and looted the treasure that were used in the temples. There was a massacre of Hindus during the time.This happened for many years till the British invaded India. However, then the British looted the country.
    The Hindu temples are Vedic in style and have been constructed in India from thousands of years. The temples are also scientific in architecture.
    Sanskrit is far beyond 2000 years.Please learn the language and then comment. The Vedic Sanskrit is so pure and powerful. It has not been influenced by any other language because it was, and is so powerful.
    As for trinity, references of the Trinity are in the Vedas, which has originated long long before the Christianity religion took birth.
    You need to learn Sanskrit and the Vedas and then it would be appropriate to speak about it.


  5. Hinduism was coined recently but not the religion. Hinduism is the oldest religion and its previous name was “Sanathana Dharma” meaning ‘The Eternal Law’.
    Hinduism speaks of Trimurthi or Trinity in the Vedas. The AUM of the Vedas is the Vibration of the Universe and has three AUM. Here A is the Creater(Brahma), U the Preserver(Vishnu) and M the Destroyer(Shiva). The trinity in english has ‘tri’ from Sanskrit(meaning 3)…


  6. Mithun, I am well aware Hinduism speaks of Trimurti, but am not aware it speaking Trinity prior to contact with Christianity. Yes, both words point towards a threefold concept, but so does the word tricycle, and that’s where the similarity ends for all three as far as I can see. I feel it would be a gross misrepresentation to suggest the Father = Brahma, the Son = Vishnu and the Spirit = Shiva as if Christianity and Hinduism are equivalent at this point, simply because they both see the number 3 as significant. It’s not that simple.


  7. Ridiculous to say Hinduism was born in 16th century. True that Hinduism is a culture more than a religion. The whole of India, be it be any language has its roots to common traditions where every thing is related to spirituality, classical indian music, yoga, gurukul education system , every humans as brothers culture. You can see more than thousands of temples aging more than thousand years. The guruvayoor temple which is near to my house is a common piligrimage centre attacked by Dutch in the 16th century. The Thanjavoor temples of lord shiva was built at the time of Raja Raja 1000 years ago. It still exists, the age is a scientific fact, you can verify it. The basis of Hinduism is actually vedas. To teach philosophies, stories called puranas were written. There has been contributions to it from vedic period[3000 years ago]. Each and every living being is associated with a power called atma which is actually the supreme power brahma, god. You worship it in any religion, any way you worship the same power. The god you are seeking is in you. This is what vedas , upanishads and gita has pointed out. Whenever bad cutoms has evolved, rishis or gurus like Adisankara has evolved in India.


  8. Hinduism itself (as “Sanatana Dharma” = Sanskrit for “the Eternal Way”) is known historically and archaeologically to be perhaps the oldest religion. The monotheistic roots of Vaishnavism (worship of Krishna, or His other form Vishnu, as God Himself) is also known to have been well established. However there are a number of later constructs – for example, raising the importance and status of devas (“demigods”, actually archangels) to Godlike status (or even worshiping them as other forms of God Himself, as in Smartism); substituting other devas for Krishna/Vishnu as the Lord Himself (e.g. Shiva in Shaivism, Devi/Shakti in Shaktism, etc.; all minority faiths); the birth-based caste system, the raised importance (and later, even perceived equality) of the Trimurti in some traditions, etc. are latter/modern day constructs, as is the acceptance of no end of new-age Gurus who have pushed forward their own strange ideas as Hinduism or neo-Hinduism.


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