NL Interview: Devdutt Pattanaik on mythology, scripture, and the concept of evil
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NL Interview: Devdutt Pattanaik on mythology, scripture, and the concept of evil

‘Evil is not an Indian concept at all. The moment you say evil, you have lost me.’

By NL Team

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Devdutt Pattanaik is a mythologist, illustrator and author, known for his writings on legends and folklore and for challenging interpretations of ancient Indian scriptures, stories, symbols and rituals.

In a conversation with Meghnad S of Newslaundry, Pattnaik talks about the many aspects of interpreting sacred texts, religion, and philosophy.

On how a mythologist is different from a philosopher, he says, “Philosophy does not focus on myths, stories and rituals, it’s far more cognitive. But Mythology is far more sensory. You derive philosophy from stories, scriptures and rituals, but the raw material for mythology is stories scriptures and rituals.”

What does he consider mythology? “For the material substance on which I work, a ritual has to be there, a story has to be there, and a symbol has to be there,” he says. “If none of these are there, for me it’s not mythology.”

On the concept of evil, he argues, “The problem is in the language you use. Evil is an Abrahamic concept. It’s not an Indian concept at all. The moment you say evil, you have lost me.”

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