Myths seem to escape reasoning and remain indecipherable Though mysterious – BY – François Dor
Myths describe the creation of the world, the actions of the first humans. Though mysterious, these stories seem to escape reasoning, and remain indecipherable. It gets more disturbing that they constitute our foundation, our first memory.
However, based on the recent science that embryology is a new perspective about the foundation, myths show that they are the fetal memory of embryogenesis. Would it be the case of the Sinhalese founding myth?
“The origin of the Sinhalese race, like that of any other ancient race, is partly historical and partly mythological…Ancient races have sought the most fantastic origins for themselves. Some have claimed direct descent from the Creator himself; others from the Sun or the Moon. We claim a Lion as our ancestor, hence ‘Sinha-la’ or Lion Blood…Two adjacent countries, Vanga and Kalinga (Bengal and Orissa), were the setting for the birth of the Sinhala race..
“Here is the legend. Suppadevi was the daughter of the king of Vanga, but a very headstrong daughter. She ran away from home, and during her wanderings met ‘Sinha’ and became his wife. A son and a daughter were born to them…When the son, named Sinha-bahu, grew up and learnt from his mother that he had a king for a grandfather, he determined to get away from the wild, primitive life they were leading, and to rescue his mother and sister from a hopeless form of existence.
“So, one day, while Sinha was out hunting, Sinha-bahu took his mother and sister… and made his way back to his grandfather’s capital…Sinha, returning to find an empty home, was both heartbroken and furious… as the days passed without his being able to find them, he get maddened and attacked whomsoever crossed his path… the king proclaimed by beat of drum that whosoever should kill Sinha would be well rewarded… Sinha-bahu… aimed an arrow from a distance of only a few paces at his unsuspecting father and killed him on the spot…
“Sinha-bahu… succeeded to the throne of his grandfather… His son was Vijaya… Sinha-bahu… was forced to banish Vijaya. He and seven hundred of his followers, so the legend says, were put on boats and set adrift…After being storm-tossed and sea-buffeted for several weeks, Vijaya and the majority of his seven hundred reached Mantota on our north-western coast. The island was then inhabited by Yakshas and Nagas…Vijaya made a strong impression on Kuveni, the queen of the Yakshas, and she befriended him.
“With her help, he and his men attacked and killed the Yaksha chiefs, and Vijaya made himself king with Kuveni as his queen”. 1.
“Vijaya… signifies ‘victory’ and might well symbolize the successful migration of North Indians to Sri Lanka”. 2.
According to mythology as a memory of life as a fetus, Sinha would represent the fetus, ‘our ancestor’, and Suppadori, the umbilical cord ‘married’ with the fetus ‘Sinha’. ‘Suppadori, a very headstrong daughter, who had ran away from home,’ an umbilical cord who have leaved the uterine wall.
‘The son, Sinha-bahu, determined to go away,’ would represent the birth process, the fetus that leaves the fundus of the uterus what has then become ‘an empty house’.
‘Sinha-bahu took his mother and sister’, the membrane around the fetus (‘the mother’) and the umbilical cord (‘the sister’) – ‘hopeless form of existence’ at the end of the pregnancy – goes to birth with the fetus.
‘Sinha… get maddened and attacked whomsoever crossed his path’ would represent the uterine contractions that pressure the blood circulation. ‘Sinha-bahu… aimed an arrow and killed his father on the spot’ would represent to split of the membrane at birth.
‘Sinha-bahu… was forced to banish Vijaya’, now the fetus goes out of the womb of the mother, he is ‘banished’; his name was no longer Sinha-bahu, but Vijaya.
‘He and seven hundreds of his followers’: seven is a very important number in mythology. In embryology, when the embryo has reached a composition of eight cells, seven of the eight cells will produce the embryonic appendices and the eighth the fetus.
‘After being storm-tossed and sea-buffeted’ would represent the waterfall of the amniotic liquid at birth, and the difficult passage for the baby to go out of the womb. ‘Vijaya and the majority of his seven hundred reached Mantota on our north-western coast’ would represent the fact that the baby and his umbilical cord have landed in the area outside the womb.
‘Vijaya… killed the Yaksha chiefs and Vijaya made himself king and Kuveni his queen’ would represent the neo-natal stage: the placental circulatory system is disconnected (‘the Yaksha chiefs’ have disappeared) and the organism is assured of autonomous survival.
The story of the successful migration of North Indians to Sri Lanka has been described unconsciously as the successful migration of the fetus that goes to birth.
According to this legend, we can consider each newborn baby from each Sinhalese woman as a ‘victorious lion’, a ‘Sinha Vijaya’.
The world is full of similar legends because life as a fetus is nearly the same everywhere.
To read mythologies – the most ancient stories of humanity – as a memory of life as a fetus – our most ancient story – make them understandable.
- J. Vijayatunga, Island Story, A Visidunu Publication, 1949, pp. 136-140.
2. C. R. De Silva, Sri Lanka: a history, Vikas publishing house, 1987, p. 19.
(François Dor is a French writer and researcher in the field of mythology. The author of the book ‘Why? The Mythological Life’, he has conducted intense research on the subject for 27 years. His work has been published in 20 newspapers in 10 countries. Dor was in Sri Lanka for one month on a research assignment and visited our offices last week to share this article on the ‘foundation myth of Sri Lanka with the new perspective of a memory of life as a fetus’, with The Sunday Island readers. (francoisdor.over-blog.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dear Mr Dor,
This refers to your article in Sunday Island, Jan.13th instance on the legend about origin of Sinhalese race. This was a fascinating creative write up connecting myths and modern embryology. I was interested in the subject having lived in Bengal [Vanga] and wrote an article [attached] regarding similarities between the two languages and customs.
The migration story is possibly real since the people of Bengal too are aware about the departure of king Vijaya and the connection between the two people. This is despite their separation by two interposing Dravidian Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh.
If you wish to dwell deeper I would suggest a study on king Ravana of Lanka in the Hindu Chronical Ramayana with a history of ~5000 years.
—————————————————————————————Dear Mr Pathirana,“The migration story is possibly real” : sure.
In embryology, there is three migrations :
A – 24 hours after the fertilization, the migration of the first cell -whose divides in many cells- from its birthplace to the uterine wall through the uterine horn.
B – The embryo leaves the uterine wall to float in the amniotic liquid. Then, only the umbilical cord connects him to his mother.
C – Just before birth, the migration of the fetus from the bottom of the uterus to the vaginal orifice.
Mankind has preserved unconsciously the memory of these migrations in many legends.
For instance, about the migration A, we can see a unconscious memory of it in the legend of the hebrew tribe (the embryo) as nomadic (the migration) going to the promised land (the uterine wall full of food, “the land flowing with milk and honey”).
The Greeks (the legend of Zeus who escapes Cronos by going to Creta), and others people, have preserved a memory of this migration A.
– The migration of the Sinhalese race seems to be of the C type.
Yes, historically, there is a migration real of the Sinha people from Bengal to Ceylan. But this real story is remembered and told through the unconscious memory of the birth of the fetus.
Bengal is an overcrowded country since centuries. Then some tribes have to
leave it to make their life.
Uterus of the pregnant woman is overcrowded the last month of the pregnancy: the fetus has no more room to live : he has to go to make his life.
Why does the humans relate historical fact (the migration from Bengal of the the Sinhalese race to Ceylan) through the unconscious memory of life as a fetus (here, the migration from the overcrowded bottom of the uterus to birth) ?
Life is very difficult for the human born. Very difficult to find water, food, to protect himself against the wild animals, the weather, the winds, the sun, the hot, the cold, the rains, etc… But mankind has preserved unconsciously a memory of its life as a fetus, a paradise first, then difficulties just before the birth (for instance an overcrowded uterus) then a freedom of that has become a “jail” thanks to the birth. And because life on earth is very difficult, beacuse before he has knew a “paradise” (life as a fetus, the first months), or a “end of the problems” (the birth), he will mentally repeat unconsciously this structure to put an “end of the problems” (for instance the overcrowded Bengal, problem resolved by the “birth”, the migration of the fetus to birth).
Tell unconsciously the migration of the Sinhalese from Bengal to Ceylan from the memory of the migration of the fetus from the bottom of the uterus to the birth, will ensure a victorious migration to the Sinhalese because the newborn baby has been victorious in his own migration.
The psychical structure of life as a the fetus still structures the “traditionnals societies”, and this psychical structure is very strong.