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Mythologist Devdutt Pattnaik: Bridging Cultures and Symbols on Foundations TV

Welcome to Foundations TV, where we bring you inspiring conversations with influential speakers and authors from around the world. Today, we have the honor of speaking with Devdutt Pattnaik, a mythologist whose insights into cultural stories, symbols, and rituals have captivated audiences globally. His work transcends religious boundaries, making complex ideas accessible and engaging. We are thrilled to have him here today.

Host: Welcome to Foundations TV, Devdutt. It's an absolute honor to have you here.

Devdutt Pattnaik: Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.

Host: You are a mythologist, speaker, and writer. We've met many speakers and writers, but this is our first time speaking with a mythologist. Could you elaborate on what that entails?

Devdutt Pattnaik: Certainly. I study stories, symbols, and rituals that convey cultural truths. Every culture uses these elements to communicate their understanding of the universe, life, death, and meaning. My work involves exploring these narratives across various cultures.

Host: So your studies are not limited to Hinduism?

Devdutt Pattnaik: No, they aren't. My recent book is on Greek mythology, and my next project focuses on Abrahamic mythology.

Host: Do you have a personal favorite among your books?

Devdutt Pattnaik: It's like asking a parent to choose their favorite child. Each one is special because they offer new ideas and dimensions. When you start writing about a character, it becomes fascinating, and you gain more insights.

Host: Mythology often seems synonymous with confusion, especially with Hinduism. Do you ever find it confusing?

Devdutt Pattnaik: I've become popular because I help remove that confusion. I organize and systematize these ideas for better understanding. It’s like arranging a cluttered cupboard; once you categorize everything, it becomes clear. My books aim to simplify these concepts, making them accessible to everyone.

Host: Your books often feature the number seven, like in "Seven Secrets of Shiva" and "Seven Secrets of the Goddess." Why seven?

Devdutt Pattnaik: Seven is a significant mythic number across various cultures, like the seven colors of the rainbow or the seven days of the week. It's a number that resonates universally. Three seemed too few, and seven just felt right. It provides seven windows to approach and understand complex ideas.

Host: Traveling and speaking globally, you must encounter a lot of questions. What's the most unusual question you've been asked about Hindu mythology?

Devdutt Pattnaik: Recently, someone asked if Narasimha is the same as Werewolf because Werewolf is half-wolf, half-man. It led to a discussion about how superheroes are ordinary people becoming extraordinary, whereas an avatar is an infinite being becoming finite for humanity's benefit. It’s about enlightenment rather than just solving problems.

Host: You often use analogies involving children in your talks. Why is that?

Devdutt Pattnaik: When we talk to children, our approach changes. If divinity knows everything, it would communicate with us like we do with children, using relatable relationships. Mythology uses these relationships—parent-child, husband-wife, friends—to convey deeper truths.

Host: Speaking of deeper truths, is there a universal truth you've found across all the cultures you've studied?

Devdutt Pattnaik: One universal truth is that nothing lasts forever, yet something always does. Every human seeks love, and certain principles endure across time. There will always be ignorance and wisdom. It's about perspectives and understanding that these dynamics will always exist.

Host: Thank you, Devdutt, for sharing your profound insights with us. It's no wonder you have such a large following. Your ability to explain complex concepts so clearly, is remarkable.

Devdutt Pattnaik: Thank you. It's been a pleasure talking with you.

In a world filled with diverse beliefs and practices, Devdutt Pattnaik helps us find common ground through mythology. His work reminds us that while cultures may differ, the human quest for understanding and wisdom is universal.


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