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Third Eye

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In Asian and New Age philosophies, the third eye is said to be a spiritual eye located 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.

The Indologist Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty notes in Siva: The Erotic Ascetic that the Hindu deity Siva destroys opponents with a heat ray from his third eye, 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 activity as sorcery.

Jungian and transpersonal psychologists might take Siva’s death ray as evidence of uneasy activity within the collective unconscious.

For Hindus, however, the myth points to a spiritual dynamic among the gods that helps to maintain cosmic balance, often called homeostasis by scholars.

Some equate the idea of the third eye with the Christian teaching of “Let thine eye be single” (Matthew 6:22, Luke 11:34). But that comparison seems questionable, at best, because the Christ of the New Testament never advocates violence but, rather, filling the single eye with heavenly light.

It’s pretty common for novice students of myth and religion to see some structural similarities among sacred stories and assume that the content – what the story actually means – is also the same. Scholars call this the fallacy of homogenization.

Another fairly common mistake is to assume that stories bearing some structural similarity, regardless of their contextual differences, will have the same effect on individuals hearing or reading them.

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6 thoughts on “Third Eye

  1. An interesting article, thank you.

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  2. I have two words for you: Pineal Gland. How can you write an article about the Third Eye without even mentioning that?! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, do your research. 🙂

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  3. Shiva the destroyer is the destroyer of ego, not spirit or people as in a battle like humans commonly have. There is the ego which is full of fear and the spirit full of love. Not too impressed with the article as is – please keep working and learning. Don’t let ego get in the way.

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    • Slightly condescending comment, but I’ve heard all that before. Yours is a psycho-spiritual interpretation. And you are welcome to make one. But there are other cosmological interpretations. It is to those that I point to.

      p.s. Ego doesn’t always refer to egotism or egoism.

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