Devdutt Pattanaik Quotes – Author, Mythologist, & Leadership Consultant

Devdutt Pattanaik Quotes PP


If you don’t have imagination, you stop being human; animals don’t have imagination; Alzheimer’s is the death of imagination.

In Greek mythology, the hero wants to be great, but the very concept does not exist in the Indian vocabulary. Yet it has become the global template. And it’s a template that won’t fit in India.

In India, the eldest has the most responsibility and the crown goes to him. The crown could go to a person with the most talent. But how could ‘most talent’ be determined? So Indian society settled on age.

Mythology is a vast body of knowledge that has not been tapped.

Nobody knows why we’re alive; so we all create stories based on our imagination of the world; and as a community, we believe in the same story. In India, every person believes his/ her own mythosphere to be real. Indian thought is obsessed with subjectivity; Greek thought with objectivity.

I have been doodling since childhood. I have a passion for illustrating but cannot paint or colour for that matter. I illustrate what I am trying to communicate through my writing. My images are like drawings in a science text book.

Medical training taught me the art of breaking down the complex maze of stories, symbols and rituals into clear systems. You could say that it helped me figure out the anatomy and physiology of mythology and its relevance in a society more incisively. How is it that no society can, or does, exist without them?

Mythology is a subjective truth. Every culture imagines life a certain way.

I write on sacred stories, symbols and rituals of all cultures – European, American and Chinese – but my audiences, typically, like me to focus on India.

I help leverage the power of myth in
business, management, and life.

Myth = Belief = Subjective Truth

= Cultural Assumptions
Mythology = stories, symbols and rituals that communicate myth

What the person, who knows the truth, will speak, will not be understood by the person who does not know the truth.

Unlike Greek narratives, where achievement is celebrated, and biblical narratives, where submission and discipline are celebrated, in Indic thought understanding is celebrated

To be a woman is like becoming a prey, her every move watched by hungry predators. Every glance of man is a violation. No one is spared. No one. Not mother, not sister, not daughter. It is only fear of Dharma that keeps men in check

Refusal to accept the flow of the world is the root of all misery

Within infinite myths lies the eternal truth
Who sees it all? Varuna has but a thousand eyes,
Indra has a hundred, You and I, only two

The dog is a loyal, lovable animal but Hindu scriptures do not treat it as an auspicious creature perhaps because loyalty feeds on fear and the purpose of Vedic scriptures is to outgrow fear by expanding the mind

Through Karna, Vyasa reiterates that our knowledge of the world is imperfect based on perceptions and false information. We are surrounded by Kuntis who hide the truth in fear. We are surrounded by Karnas, villains who are actually brothers

What we possess is temporary, but what we become is permanent

The female form lends itself best to represent matter because both create life within themselves. The male form lends itself best to represent soul because both create life outside themselves

That’s unnatural.’ ‘Some would call it a miracle. Careful of the word unnatural. It reeks of arrogance. You are assuming you know the boundaries of nature. You don’t. There is more to life than your eyes can see. More than you can ever imagine. Nature comes from the mind of God. It is infinite. The finite human mind can never fathom it in totality

Be the best you can be, in the worst of circumstances, even when no one is watching

Myths may not satisfy the demands of rationality or science, but they contain profound wisdom – provided one believes they do and is willing to find out what they communicate

Myth is truth which is subjective, intuitive, cultural and grounded in faith

There is no such thing as an objective interpretation

Destiny and desire, karma and kama, are the two forces that propel the world. Destiny is a reaction, an obligation that follows an action. Desire is an aspiration that forces the world to transform in a particular way. Destiny creates fate. Desire is based on free will. We have the freedom to accept life as it is or to make it the way we want it to be. That is what makes us Manavas or humans

Janaka told her to bring happiness into marriage, rather than seek happiness from it

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