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Friday, February 23, 2018

Myths of Mortal Gods

"Sometimes gods die for the benefit of their people (sacrifice), in which case they're a savior. Other times the god is reborn, actually or symbolically, representing regeneration or seasonal rebirth." ……Alan Watts
In many spiritual tradition that flourished after the onset of agrarian age such as the Indus valley civilization, the Egyptian civilization or the Greek and Hebraic civilization and later the Mayan Civilization, the mythos of sacrificial God and Divine reincarnation was a common theme.
In the various avatars of Lord Vishnu, the preserver of creation, Lord Rama’s story of disappearance from earth happened when he entered voluntarily into the Sarayu River. In the Krishna Avatar he is killed by the arrow of the hunter Jara.
In the Egyptian mythology, the story of Isis, Osiris and Horus in the third century BC was typical of the theme of the virgin birth of Horus, Horus was a redeemer of health and humans in their earthly form; not of souls needing salvation from sin and eternal punishment. Horus the Child was one of a number of so-called 'child gods' of ancient Egypt who appeared in the form known as Shed (Savior) but was a savior from earthly troubles, not eternal ones. The legend of restoration of Horus from death on the intercession of Isis by Thoth is the resurrection theme seen in the Egyptian mythology.
“Examples of gods who die and later return to life are most often cited from the religions of the Ancient Near East, and traditions influenced by them including Biblical and Greco-Roman mythology and by extension Christianity. The concept of a dying-and-rising god was first proposed in comparative mythology by James Frazer's seminal “The Golden Bough”. Frazer associated the motif with fertility rites surrounding the yearly cycle of vegetation. Frazer cited the examples of Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis and Attis, Dionysus and Jesus Christ.
In the study of comparative mythology, Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung point to the dying deity motif in various mythologies such as Baldr in Norse mythology to the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl in Mayan mythology to the Japanese Izanami.
After having some background on this powerful mythological theme, let us examine some practical understanding of the life process from a cosmological perspective.
When we look at nature, both in our near vicinity or on a global scale, we see that birth and death are universal phenomenon. In our evolving consciousness, humans witnessed this when they moved from being hunter gatherers into settled agrarian societies. The process of growing food and replenishment of all that nourishes the individual and family as the very rudimentary requirement for survival became a vital daily function. In planting and germination of the seed, its growth and harvest as well as in nurturing domesticated animals and feedstock from birth to slaughter for meals was witnessed as purely in an objective mode. At the individual level birth and death was witnessed as something inevitable and not to be abhorred and was integral in nature with the early human’s psyche. With the onset of increased rational thinking and especially with the installation of monotheistic religion, humans were indoctrinated into believing that they have only one life and then we are faced with the uncertainty of eternal reward or damnation. This introduced and increased the fear element into the human psyche when they face death. This is because we have consigned all the deep meanings of mythological symbolisms to a story or fantasy of human imagination deprived of better occupation.
When we lift our eyes to the heavens and look at the stars and how over the ages they have evolved, we can have a more realistic process of thinking about our own existence. Let us see our own Sun. The Solar system and our own Earth is roughly 4.6 billion years old and our Milky Way galaxy is about 13.2 billion years old. This means that our Sun is a middle aged star and it has already gone through three life cycles of creation or birth as well as death. The elements in our body like calcium, Iron and Oxygen are from exploding stars or death of stars. When we eat and nourish our bodies with elements such as Calcium, Iron etc. they come from the very cycle of birth and death. It would be extremely unnatural to perpetuate life and not participate in the cosmic process of eternal revival. What I have written so far is on the physical level but then there is the underlying substratum of vibrating energy of consciousness which is the binding and nurturing force. In truth only through this substratum we receive our individual identity.
The mythology of mortal Gods should evoke our thinking to accept this cyclic process of birth and death or creation and annihilation.
In his book “The Tibetan Book of the Living and Dying”  The great Tibetan Buddhist master Sogyal Rinpoche writes:
”When I first came to the west, I was shocked by the contrast between the attitudes to death I had been brought up with, and those I now I found. For all its technological development and achievements, modern western society has no real understanding of death or what happens in death and after death.
I learned that people today are taught to deny death, and taught that it means nothing but annihilation and loss. That means that most of the world lives either in denial of death or in terror of it. …”
Life is cosmic process and let us participate fully by going with the flow.

Love to you all


  1. Very true . life is a process and let us go thro it without any form of denial.
    good one!!

  2. Very well presented. Even stars have to die to become a black hole in cosmos and Gods are no exception. A lot more need to be written on this subject.

    1. Thanks SRC. In the future I will definitely be adding more article relating to the various aspect of manifestation.
      Keep sending your feedback.

  3. Very good reflections from mythology and nature to explain our human reality. Our acceptance and submission to god's will leads us towards the true reality which is hidden to our human eyes and understanding yet is unfolding.
    Thank you. God bless us and accompany us as we do in our life in some little ways. Love and prayers.

    1. Thank you Sabi. You have a very deep understanding and that is the foundation of spirituality. May your knowledge grow tp enrich all who come in contact with you.