Personally, I believe there is no fiction in our scriptures (I will neglect very minute ones)

Rather I've heard and read people calling the scriptures as fiction, using questions like 'were Hindu gods married?', and with no actual references trying to prove the Puranas wrong and put forward the idea of fiction in the Puranas. Actually they try to put forward the complete fictional part of the scriptures.

I don't know if this question is out of scope or belief, yet is commonly asked one.

Coming to detail, what explanation I get, 'these scriptures are fictional, the Puranas are the set of stories to explain the way to do good but in an interesting manner.'

In short they are trying to call them just stories but not history, hence rendering them fictional. E.g. The elephant head of Ganesha, and the story behind it.

  • the scriptures are neither authentic nor fictional. to say it is 'right' without conviction (I mean blindly accepting everything) is the same as telling it is 'wrong' without investigation (I mean dismissing the possibility). What is important is to have an open mind and perform thorough investigation into its possibilities. My personal belief is that all of Hinduism stories are based on the truth, though there may be some distortions over time, the basis is the same.
    – Sai
    Aug 27, 2014 at 19:45

2 Answers 2


Scriptures are authentic, there is no doubt in it. But it is also true that some stories in them can be fictional. Scriptures like the primary puranas and other texts were written not by ordinary humans, but by sages and saints who were able to know the past present and future. And it was neither the nature, nor the duty of the sages to lie, bewilder and mislead the humans. So whatever stories are there which seems fictional, are either have esoteric meanings that we don't understand or they are there for the greater good of explaining certain concepts and give knowledge in a story form. It is a commonly known fact that stories are an effective method of imparting knowledge. So the Yoga Vashishtha says about this in a similar context:

O Rama, without an illustration, truth that has not be personally experienced, cannot be grasped just like without the light objects in the house cannot be seen in the night. [YV - 2.18.51]

Secondly, they are fictional in the sense that the sages were poets by nature and whenever necessary they used their poetic imagination to describe events and incidents more vividly and beautifully with ornamental language. But to tell and believe that the incidents never happened at all would be foolishness because that would be accusing the sages as liars. Only when one meets a sage that one can know how powerful they are, otherwise he will only be speculating just like a nice guy who once told me how could Vedavyasa know and write so many things in details if those were not his own imaginations? So all these are myths, that's why they are called mythology. But if they were all myths, how could Vedavyasa write the actual position of stars in the sky, planetary positions, etc. which have already been verified by researchers?

So thinking them fictional, undermining and neglecting them is only our lack of understanding. However, if we get the message or the esoteric meaning of the stories, then there is no problem in considering the stories as fiction. But if one loses faith thinking them to be fictions only, then he will cause his own degradation owning to the lack of faith in the sage's words. So the Gita says:

ajnas casraddadhanas ca samsayatma vinasyati
nayam loko 'sti na paro na sukham samsayatmanah
[BG - 4.40]

But ignorant and faithless persons who doubt the revealed scriptures do not attain God consciousness. For the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next.

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    @KeshavSrinivasan, but it seems there are some, phrases which we might not be able to understand, have contradictions to one linear pathway, like the story of how Brahma lost his fifth head ?
    – Mr. K
    Aug 29, 2014 at 7:35
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    @KeshavSrinivasan I profoundly agree with your disagreement. After all, neither you nor I, nor anyone else here was there (or remember) to verify whether they are fact or fiction. Now when those can't be verified, you are free to disagree. But hardly I have stated them to be fictions to cause such a PROFOUND disagreement!
    – Be Happy
    Aug 29, 2014 at 7:36
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    @Mr.K I think for the most part any apparent contradictions we see are either due to our failure to grasp the literal meaning, or due to one or othe other of the two contradicting passage not being authentic, for instance, being a later interpolation to some scripture. Aug 29, 2014 at 7:55
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    "But hardly I have stated them to be fictions to cause such a PROFOUND disagreement!" Well, you're not saying that the stories fictions out of whole cloth, but you're still suggesting that some details are fictional or allegorical, and that's what I profoundly disagree with. But yeah, we weren't there, at least in our current births :) Aug 29, 2014 at 8:08
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    @KeshavSrinivasan "any apparent contradictions we see are either due to our failure to grasp the literal meaning" - now I wonder whether you had read the answer or jumped direct into arguing because you find it fun! If you say scriptures have later interpolations and you don't have the original texts, then how can you say them to be authentic? You'll only say those parts as authentic which support your own beliefs and tell the opposites as later interpolations.
    – Be Happy
    Aug 29, 2014 at 8:32

Yes K Cloud you are right. While I agree that everything may not be understandable or explainable in our scriptures but they contain a vast amount of wealth of knowledge. But what some people do today on purpose is they neglect that 99% part of knowledge and focus on that which is not explainable as of now. It is actually nothing but a great conspiracy behind it. To call everything from ancient India as myths, uncivilized, fiction etc so that Indians never feel proud of their ancient heritage and always feel ashamed of being Indian.

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