Wednesday, October 23, 2013


 The legendary creature like a horse with a single horn  is mysteriously beautiful. As ancient and ubiquitous as the legends have been, many have disbelieved. But reports of their fairly existence have never really ceased to appear. Ancient Greek writers on natural history were convinced of the reality of the unicorn, which they located in India. According to an interpretation of seals carved with an animal which resembles a bull, it has been claimed that the unicorn was a common symbol during the Indus Valley civilization, appearing on many seals.
The descriptions of unicorns vary in particulars but remain strikingly similar in certain essential characteristics. In the broadest sense, legends seem to identify the unicorn with great strength, fleetness, loveliness and chastity. The Indo-Iranian tradition focussed upon its embodiment of purity and mystical power, and the Taoists of China believed the unicorn to possess the essence of the five elements. In the biblical vision of David, a one-horned goat appeared from the west and smote the two-horned ram of Persia, stamping him beneath his cloven hoof. Also it is said that when the Buddha delivered his first sermon at Sarnath, a unicorned gazelle sat upon his knee listening to his words. In the old Sumerian and Semitic traditions two unicorns were depicted as guardians of the Tree of Life. This creature inspired the many different versions of the unicorn that cavort through such diverse sources as Pliny's natural history encyclopedia, the medieval pharmacopoeia and Christian fables of sacred virginity. The last refers to the old belief that the unicorn is so wild it cannot be tamed, except by a virgin. If she sits in the woods, the unicorn will come and lay its head in her lap.
The Lady and the Unicorn
Puzzle of a unicorn can be interpreted several ways but the question is not solved: whether unicorns coexisted with early man (as some cave paintings suggest) and have since died out, or it is only a symbol or myth? Though could be both.
In this sense, it is the interesting story from the Mahabharata about Sage Vibhandaka. By a curious combination of circumstances, he became the father of a child, with a horn in the forehead. It named Shringa Rishi (Deer-Horned) or Eka sringa (unicorn!) in Buddhist versions. At his birth he had never seeing another human being. The fame of the his purity and power spread, and King send his daughter into the forest to lure Rishi into a trap. The pious Rishi had imagined her to be a penitent disciple, but she aroused his love with her virginal beauty and caused him to follow her into a cell.
He was married the king's daughter and ruled the kingdom for many years. But finally he left to forest to spend the remainder of his life in divine contemplation. In the end of his life, a lightning issued forth from his body and disappeared into the Linga he was worshipping as a symbol of formless Absolute.

In this case, the unicorn is a man, a great sage. And there is a similarity to a legend about Lady and Unicorn, who seemed to have been duped through love also. One can presume the presence of a higher willingness to make this sacrifice. This lends big significance to the idea that the unicorn symbolizes the selflessness, the sanctity or the incarnate Truth. Or simply it is human yearning for magic secret in our world tormented by ignorance.

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