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Academic studies of mythology often define mythology as deeply valued stories that explain a society's existence and world order: those narratives of a society's creation, the society's origins and foundations, their god(s), their original heroes, mankind's connection to the "divine", and their narratives of eschatology (what happens in the "after-life"). This is a very general outline of some of the basic sacred stories with those themes. In its broadest academic sense, the word myth simply means a traditional story. However, many scholars restrict the term "myth" to sacred stories.Folklorists often go further, defining myths as "tales believed as true, usually sacred, set in the distant past or other worlds or parts of the world, and with extra-human, inhuman, or heroic characters".
In classical Greek, muthos, from which the English word myth derives, meant "story, narrative." Hindu mythology does not often have a consistent, monolithic structure. The same myth typically appears in various versions, and can be represented differently across different regional and socio-religious traditions. Many of these legends evolve across these texts, where the character names change or the story is embellished with greater details. According to Suthren Hirst, these myths have been given a complex range of interpretations. While according to Doniger O'Flaherty, the central message and moral values remain the same. They have been modified by various philosophical schools over time, and are taken to have deeper, often symbolic, meaning.
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