Even though hundreds of artifacts were found from Indus Valley Civilization, the Pasupati Seal draws the most attention of them all because it depicts what those people used to believe in and which faith and stories, they held close to their heart.
By Arpit Bakshi
Many says that humans are rational being’s,while others say that humans are emotional beings. But guess what? Humans are beings of convenience. Let me explain it to you how. Human brain is made of three layers. First and the most archaic layer is autonomous in nature which works on autopilot mode in order to control bodily functions like heartbeats, hunger, sweat, etc. Above this, there is emotional brain which works on emotions as well as hearsays or anecdotes.Then on top of them all is the rational brain, which has capability to analyze a situation from different rational perspectives.
Though all these three layers of brain work in tandem most of the time, but in time of increased threat perception this co-ordination among layers can get off-balanced too. Even in ancient times, pensive societies like India had a healthy mix of people who were either pursuing the spiritual or were enquiring the nature of world around them. For example, it is quite possible that when Puranas were being written by sages, Aryabhata was studying mathematics and astronomy. Same goes for the modern world, people retain their faith in both – scientific enquiries or anecdotal nature of the mythological tale. And often they might not even co-exist, specifically in times of increased threat perception.
For example, a person suffering from a dreaded disease may seek cutting edge medical interventions and may also seek blessings of his favorite deity. The heightened level of threat perception makes him/her seek comfort and faith in both. Most people do not realize that Science and mythology are often two faces of the same coin. And that coin is called faith. People buy a functional car, fill it with proper fuel and it is supposed to work every time without fail because each technology which makes up a car has been scientifically proven.Same goes for mythology and folklores. An incidence which occurred thousands of year ago and accounts of which has been passed from generation to generation is often accepted at its face value. It often works as an anecdote on what to do under a specific life condition basically as “a sort of teaching”.
Just like a modern computer system works on a BIOS (Basic Input Output system), a human mind works on faith. The faith may stem from empirical findings of a scientific know-how or from anecdotal tales of a golden past. People just need faith and comfort to carry on with their purpose. Even from evolutionary perspective, while modern science has been around only for couple of centuries, mythologies and folklores have been shaping civilizations for thousands of years. India in its’s 21st century phase may have advanced space, defense, information technology and biotechnology programs, but it’s ethos still derives from its mythology and beliefs.
Even though hundreds of artifacts were found from Indus Valley Civilization, the Pasupati Seal draws the most attention of them all because it depicts what those people used to believe in and which faith and stories, they held close to their heart. Same goes for the modern world, though we have reached Moon, but still we will always be mesmerized with mythology and folklores about the Moon.
Just like a scientific discovery is meaningless without any practical and positive application. Likewise, any society or civilization without its own set of myths and beliefs is lackluster and directionless. Human mind can handle various states like emotions, devotion and rationalization simultaneously and often without active contradictions. While, Science has just begun being apart of our modern day lives, myths and beliefs have been our guiding stars from the dawn of civilization.
(The writer is author of “The code of Manavas”. Views expressed are personal.)