This paper was presented at the
National Seminar on
Indian Psychology: Theories and Models

SVYASA, Bangalore,
December 26 - 28, 2007


Chariots of the Gods: a study of vahan in Indian mythology

Vikas Baniwal & Erick Soreng — University of Delhi, Delhi


The study of mythology in psychology has a versatile significance, as myths are the source of certain values a culture wants to inculcate. It not only conveys certain truths in a more assimilative form but also acts as a gateway to higher forms of esoteric knowledge that is transferred from generation to generation. Myths at times, on the face value may appear preposterous, but they surely are not. Every aspect of the myth though seemingly irrelevant, is in fact latent with truth otherwise inaccessible to the consciousness. For the most part, myths appear as outmoded to us because we do not follow their symbolical expression. The symbols surfacing in myths require interpretations—an understanding from the psychological point of view. In the present paper, an attempt is made to highlight the crucial role myths play in our lives, a role that is much beyond the entertainment and the carrier of the cultural legacy. Furthermore, the paper establishes a correlation between the characteristics of the deities presented in the Vedic literature and the psychological characteristics of their respective mounts (vahan). Hence, the paper tries to demonstrate that even the seemingly trivial information presented in the Indian mythology is not of insignificance; it connotes something deeper, which is of extreme significance.

Email the author, Mr. Vikas Baniwal, at