“Then, after seeing the newly risen sun in the great forest when you were a boy, taking it to be fruit and wanting to catch it, you jumped up and flew towards the sky.” (Jambavan speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 66.21)
Talking monkeys, the earth addressed as a devi, God who is blue, the creator with four heads, a half-man/half-lion, an animal flying over a vast ocean, a vision showing the entire universe – these amazing things are described in Vedic literature. In fact, more amazing things are discovered the more one continues to hear these original works of knowledge. Passed down first through an oral tradition, the Vedas are known as the shrutis, or that which is heard.
Should that which we are hearing be taken literally or symbolically? The latter seems like the wiser choice. From our erudition, it seems logical for someone to make things up as a means of conveying a message. Obviously there never was a race between a tortoise and a rabbit. There was no Goldilocks who visited a bear. Perhaps the Vedas are the same way; that is they teach lessons through story, making use of allegory, metaphor and simile.
One would be surprised to learn that the information is meant to be taken literally. And one can’t accept the teachings of the personality without believing in the existence of that personality. The Bhagavad-gita contains the highest wisdom known to man, and it is spoken by Shri Krishna. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is of a blue complexion and did amazing things during His time on earth. While the aspects described as mythology by the less intelligent may be difficult to believe, there are ways to remove the doubt.
1. The historical accounts are found in many books.
If we heard about a blue God from only one book, it might lend further support to the mythology case. If only one work described an all-attractive being who played a flute, delighted the residents of a rural community, and performed supposed miracles as a young child, then maybe that one book, written by the one author, is fiction.
Yet Krishna’s deeds and qualities are described in many books. The detail is not the same in each work, and the source of the words also varies. This is something like having many biographers for an important personality. The people who interacted with Krishna, who saw what He did, who heard about Him, then shared their experiences with others. Thanks to their efforts we can learn about the Supreme Lord in works like the Mahabharata, Hari-vamsha, Shrimad Bhagavatam, Vishnu Purana, Kurma Purana, and Upanishads. The Vedas sing the glories of God, and so it makes sense that the Vedas are endless. No one can make an accurate count of the number of books in Vedic literature.
2. Metaphors are used in the books, with full transparency.
If Shri Hanuman were indeed a myth, it would be readily acknowledged. If Shri Rama, an incarnation of Krishna, did not really build a bridge out of floating rocks, there would be no reason to hide the fact. Vedic literature is compiled by people of truth, brahmanas like Vyasadeva and Valmiki. The works are like transcripts of conversations between similar men of truth. They sometimes use metaphor and personification, and when they do it is not hidden from the reader. There is no intent to deceive, for to do that would go against the fact that the Supreme Lord is the height of truth. He is the Absolute Truth, the lone entity forever beyond duality.
3. The planets float in the air right now.
There are so many amazing things happening right now that we take for granted. If you told a child that a large body of matter could float in the air for millions of years, they would consider that to be amazing. Yet this already happens with the earth and other planets in outer space. If you told someone with little knowledge that from a tiny seed you could get a giant banyan tree, they would think that you are crazy. Yet this is exactly what happens. Things occur all the time in nature that we can’t understand. People are amazed at the birth of a child because they can’t understand from where the brand new life comes.
4. Talking monkeys and floating rocks are not that amazing if you know the spiritual science.
The things in Vedic literature that seem to be mythology are not considered very amazing by those who know the spiritual science. At the core of every living being is the spirit soul. The soul is described as amazing by some, since it cannot be destroyed. The body appears, remains and then disappears, but the soul never perishes.
āścarya-vat paśyati kaścid enam
āścarya-vad vadati tathaiva cānyaḥ
āścarya-vac cainam anyaḥ śṛṇoti
śrutvāpy enaṁ veda na caiva kaścit
“Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.29)
Those who are in tune with the self, the spirit soul, can do amazing things. These abilities are known as siddhis, or mystic perfections. A man can materialize any form he chooses through these powers. He can become lighter than the lightest or heavier than the heaviest. This is not mythology, as modern day people have witnessed such things. They describe them as miracles, but it is nothing more than the manipulation of the gross material elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. If with some practice ordinary man can do these things, then why can’t God and divinely empowered beings from the ancient past?
5. The highest authorities say that it is not mythology.
There is no need to strain the mind on this issue. Simply take the authority of wonderful people, who are free of impurities in the material existence. Shri Hanuman says that Rama is real. Hanuman saw the floating bridge constructed to Lanka. He was one of the monkeylike creatures who could talk. His word is the only proof necessary.
If the foolish person considers Hanuman to be a myth, then they can access any person from recent history who follows the devotion of Hanuman. Authorities like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are not mythological characters. From recorded history we know that they existed and that they never described the Vedas to be mythology. They were free of desires for material advancement, renunciation and mystic perfection. They only wanted to please God, and through this motive they were completely sinless. These enlightened beings, who are of the highest character, free from duality, say that the Vedas are not mythology, and just their word alone provides complete validation.
Monkey-like creatures who can talk,
Bridge of stones for across ocean to walk.
As mythology easy to consider,
But from source should reconsider.
In truth, with no desire to deceive,
Eyewitness accounts from them to receive.
Hanuman and Chaitanya enough authority,
To know of God’s nature with certainty.
Categories: the five