We all enjoy a good story, whether it’s a novel, a movie or simply something one of our friends is explaining to us that they’ve experienced. Indian sages were well aware of it and hence they passed on stories to explain spiritual concepts. The highest scriptures of Hinduism like Mahabharata and Ramayana were written in the form of stories only. Similar is the case with the Quran and the Bible. We should be grateful that we can still access these scriptures easily which were written thousands of years before our birth.
Ancient writers of such great stories were also the one who experienced the truth and they wanted to pass it on to the world and future generation. They did an intense study of mind and hence they understood that storytelling is the great option for what they were trying to achieve. Let us look at some of the reasons and benefits of telling the truth through stories.
Oral tradition – Invention of paper came very late in human evolution. In the old days, teachings were done by sitting near the teacher through oral tradition. These teachings were passed on from one generation to another. Stories are a great medium for such a situation. Also, they would appeal to common people and it becomes easy for them to tell these stories to their children and grandchildren.
Dry concepts – Spirituality or religion can be dry for many people. They are also the simplest truths. However, we believe that the highest truths are mystical. If you tell someone that you are a soul and not a body and mind, then they won’t believe you. Tell them the grand tale of Mahabharata and pass on the same message in one chapter of it in the form of Bhagwad Gita, and they would give up their life to protect it and preach it.
Association with characters – Storytelling is also a great way to put up an ideal in front of you to follow. The idea was not only to worship Lord Krishna and Lord Rama but take them as an ideal and strive to become like them. It is unfortunate that we are merely looking at them as an idol in the temple and not as an ideal in the temple of our heart. The story of David and Goliath is not for our entertainment only but to show us what we can achieve through faith and courage.
Characters represented certain qualities in scriptures. Yuddhistira showed us the way of living life on truth only. Arjuna showed us the way to courage. These scriptures also show us to disassociate from some qualities like greed and lust through the character of Duryodhana.
Living daily life – Ancient stories were not always about enlightenment. We can also learn how to live our daily life. You might have encountered courses or programs like Gita in daily life or how to apply bible in daily life. These stories explain us the virtues like morality and hard work.
Knowing God – Can you imagine Krishna, Jesus or Allah if you did not have these stories. Whenever a spiritual leader is explaining God to their follower, he is taking the references from these stories. It is not that God needs stories or events to justify his existence, but our mind needs it to understand God. If you tell someone to believe in your God, then he will ask you to tell glories of your God.
These stories and events are tools to help us in our spiritual journey. They are of great help to understand complex concepts. We will be covering many such stories on our Vedanta story series.