Mythology explores the roots of the world, including ancestors of gods, kings, and heroes. Homeric Greece’s lordly families traced their origins to the legendary Trojan War heroes. Bloodlines are emphasized in mythology, and ancestors of mythical figures were distinguished by their own distinct bloodlines. The gods, too, had parents among the primal elements of nature. The process of divination mirrors human processes, and it is possible to trace mythical lines to the origin of human beings.
Some myths may be etiological, explaining the origin of the world. The Greek myth of Pandora’s Box explains why evil and suffering exist in the world. The Chinese myth of the goddess Nuwa creating humans and instituted marriage is a good example of an etiological myth. Myths often contain characters with definite roles in their respective societies, with each character serving a purpose.
Myths often use analogical reasoning, relating the unfamiliar to the familiar by likeness. In the Indian epic Mahabharata, for example, the Battle of Kurukshetra is described in vivid detail. There, the Pandava brothers represent different values and act as role models. In another story, the Bhagavad Gita presents the Battle of Kurukshetra, in which the deity Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, appears to Arjuna. Krishna explains to Arjuna the purpose of his life. The power of myth is undeniable.