As a child, I heard and read many mythological stories.
In most of these stories, there are some asuras who works against the welfare of devas, disturbing dynamic equilibrium of routine life. Even as I visualize and enjoy those stories, as a child, I used to wonder why don’t they ever learn. All such stories start with Asuras making themselves almost invincible with with propitation of some devas and then turning against them and every other peaceful being.
What used to always surprise me as a child was that neither asuras nor devas ever seem to learn. Asuras are never able to make themselves invincible and never seem to be realize that they never can. Also, devas do not refrain from giving boons which makes asuras powerful enough to hurt them back.
In the light of my reflection now, it occurs to me that these asuras and devas, and their clashes, are actually personification of vasanaas, or behavioral tendencies. Asuras represent a combination of tamas-ic and rajas-vic tendencies while devas represent a combination of rajas-vic and sat-vic tendencies.
Man is a being, perhaps the only being, which is capable of lifting themselves (and everyone else) to heights of divinity (barring some initial set backs) by following sat-vic instincts yet capable of bringing ruin (despite some initial gains) on themselves (and every one else) following tamas-vic instincts. I think, mythological stories present this, in an entertaining and educative manner (initial yet sophisticated form of what we now call ‘edutainment’).
As we look within and around, we find these characters and stories being replayed and retold many times over, and it makes all sense to learn from these and take care. Two pointers which I find specifically as important are i) watching own instincts and conducting oneself in an appropriate manner (working for prosperity of oneself and everyone else) ii) keeping conduct of immediate circle (no wonder it is said that a man is known by the company he keeps)
Sakatam Panchahasteshu Dasahasteshu Vaajinam
Gajam Hastasahashrehu Durjanam Dooratastajet
Keep a distance of five ‘hasta’ from vehicles, ten ‘hasta’ from horse and 1000 ‘hasta’ from elephant (considering their damage potential). Keep as much distance as possible from bad people