28 Incredible Devdutt Pattanaik Quotes

Devdutt Pattanaik is an Indian physician turned author and communicator that focuses on the areas of myth, mythology and management. Authoring more than 600 articles and several dozen books, Dr. Pattanaik worked in the pharma and healthcare industry before immersing himself into the world of mythology. Here is a look at some of the greatest Devdutt Pattanaik quotes ever recorded.

“Animal fight to defend their bodies. Humans curse to defend their imagination of themselves.”

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

“Every human creates his own imagined version of the world, and of himself. Every human is therefore Brahma, creator of his own aham. Aham Brahmasmi, I am Brahma. Tat tvam asi, so are you. We knot our imagination with fear to create aham. Tapasya and yagna are two tools that can help us unknot the mind, outgrow fear and discover atma, our true self.”

“Everybody dies—some suddenly, some slowly, some painfully, some peacefully. No one can escape death. The point is to make the most of life—enjoy it, celebrate it, learn from it, make sense of it, share it with fellow human beings—so that when death finally comes, it will not be such a terrible thing.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“Is not about making the world a peaceful place; it is about us being at peace with the world.”

“It is ironical that for all the value we give to the rational, life is primarily governed by the irrational. Love is not rational. Sorrow is not rational. Hatred, ambition, rage and greed are irrational. Even ethics, morals and aesthetics are not rational. They depend on values and standards which are ultimately subjective.”

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

“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.”

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

“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.””

“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.”

“Prayer earns merit. Merit makes life predictable. Keeps away accidents and surprises.”

“Refusal to accept the flow of the world is the root of all misery.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“There is no such thing as an objective interpretation.”

“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.”

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

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

“What we possess is temporary, but what we become is permanent.”

“You want the world to behave as you wish. It does not, hence your anger and your grief.”

Devdutt Pattanaik appears at this Ted Talk discussing surprising myths of India and of the West. Comparing the differences in beliefs about God, death, and heaven, this Ted Talk will help to broaden your current understanding of these cultures.

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