In Asian and New Age philosophies, the third eye the idea that a spiritual eye exists in the area of the forehead, just above and between the eyebrows.
The third eye is usually taken as a subtle aperture of perception. But in Hindu myth it also functions as a weapon.
In fact, noted Indologiist Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty notes in her book Siva: The Erotic Ascetic that the deity Siva destroys opponents with a heat ray from his third eye, perhaps not entirely unlike the phasers of Star Trek and other science fiction stories.
Traditional Jews and Christians throughout the ages tend to see this kind of thing as sorcery. Jungians would take it as evidence of some kind of uneasy transpersonal activity within the collective unconscious. But for spiritually inclined Hindus, the myth points to a dynamic among the gods that helps to maintain overall cosmic balance, often called homeostasis by scholars.
While some equate the idea of the third eye with the Christian teaching of “Let thine eye be single” (Matthew 6:22, Luke 11:34), the comparison seems a very loose one, at best, since the Christ of the New Testament doesn’t advocate violence but rather, filling the ‘single eye’ with heavenly light.
It’s a very common mistake for students of myth and religion to see structural similarities among sacred stories and instantly assume that the content – what the story actually says – is the same among those structural equivalencies. Scholars call this the fallacy of homogenization.
It’s also a mistake to assume that structurally equivalent stories, regardless of their content-value, will have the same phenomenological effect on individuals hearing or reading them.
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