Ever since we know, all sorts of knowledge are imparted to people through books. Stories are like news sources of the past, delivered through heroic romances, epic poems, and music added with flights of fancy and, at times, profound conclusions to otherwise unresolved circumstances.
Stories gave us the possibilities that became our maps by which we navigate—from understanding the powerful earthly elements, through developments of impulses we now look upon religion, all through our awakening to the actual nature of reality.
This is quite coherent as well as noticeable as everything we know today about spirituality or mythology is through the form of stories and books.
Fiction is the type of book or story that is written about imaginary characters and events. Whereas, spirituality, on the other hand, is the quality that involves deep feelings and beliefs of a religious nature, rather than the physical parts of life.
So what’s better than to explain and convey spirituality through fiction?
But authors often tend to mix it, making it a hybrid of both. A huge example of it can be the Shiva Trilogy written by Amish Tripathi. He took the base of Hindu religion to carve it in a story form, with the lead as Lord Shiva. His book is completely fictional but the way he used the base of mythology and spirituality is quite intriguing. So for people with zero knowledge of the life of Lord Shiva who read this book, they will tend to mix up things as they won’t know what part of it is true and what part is the author’s imagination. And thus our mythology somewhere gets altered or misinterpreted. Same is the case with spirituality, it is a vast topic that can’t be passed on as a whole, one needs to understand and realize it himself to know the true meaning of it.
Many ancient stories point to myths as clues to our deepest spiritual potential.
When we convey something in the form of story or fiction, our level of understanding and interpretation of the topic is conveyed further. Thus passing through all those filters of people’s minds and what they understand, the actual message gets reformed and the reader gets access to just that altered version of the topic. But if we look at it, that’s quite justified. We can’t possibly convey the entire knowledge of spirituality through books and manuscripts. It is upon the person to self discover and get enlightened by the limited knowledge he’s provided with because the process of that self-enlightenment is what helps us attain the ultimate spiritual awareness and self-conscious of information and knowledge and helps us rise above this materialistic world, above this human form and attain the infinite energy to become a part of nature itself.
One example that can explain this relation to spirituality could be the great mythology of Mahabharata. Mythology is woven throughout human intuition, evolution, and aspiration; a collection of myths or stories presented to people to explain spirituality. The story of Mahabharat is portrayed by several tv-series, movies, and actors that show the life of the characters which indeed hold a very meaningful moral, a spiritual message to convey, which can be interpreted in several different ways by the audience. Just like when Arjun was in a dilemma at the start for the war, as he had to fight against his own brothers, but for the kingdom which was rightfully theirs. Krishna recited him the Geeta which tells us about the true meaning of spirituality. In the writer’s terms, they enlighten us while they entertain us.
In other forms of literature, there are many evident examples such as Katherine Mansfield, a New Zealand-born author who neared death from tuberculosis during 1922 in the Fontainebleau chateau of G. J. Gurdjieff. She probed into the heart of the writer’s highest objective:
“Suppose,” she used to say, “that I could succeed in writing as well as Shakespeare. It would be lovely, but what then? There is something wanting in literary art even at its highest. Literature is not enough.
“The greatest literature”, she said, “is still only mere literature if it has not a purpose commensurate with its art. The presence or absence of purpose distinguishes literature from mere literature, and the elevation of the purpose distinguishes literature within the literature.”
It is important to keep in mind that life, spirituality, and literature are all multi-level. We have to realize the personal advancement in our lives, whether professionally, philosophically, or otherwise, to understand this.
How can spiritual wisdom become intense and real for us? One way is through some of the finest fiction that relates to us because of its deep expression of who we are and about what’s really important. Great authors lift readers up away from common themes into the consciousness of our interconnectedness, enlarging upon human potential, and sometimes—through the written word—going beyond what words can express.