Legends are great sources to understand the eternality of the idea of human vision. Such legends also form an inspiration to uncover your own vision and pursue it.
Here, we talk about one that’s extremely relevant to our times.
In the human world, vision has a perennial space
Conceptualising the future with vision
The legend is to be found in the Lokapannati- a Pali Buddhist text of antiquity. The Lokapanniti were translations of earlier Sanskrit texts which were lost. So, these translations are made from Chinese translations, which in turn drew from oral stories of earlier periods.
This means that it’s very hard to pinpoint the exact origination period of the stories in these texts.
Keeping this in mind, please read the legend below.
According to the legend, there lived makers of automatons known as yantakara in the land of the Greek-speakers or Yavanas. (The modern day equivalent of these automatons are robots.) These robots partook in farming, trading and also helped in capturing and executing criminals.
No one else knew the technology with which they made these robots, and the it was a closely guarded secret. So much so that the creators were not permitted to leave their homeland or to reveal the methodology to anyone.
If they did otherwise, they would be chased by the automaton assassins and then killed.
Regardless of how closely guarded the secret was, news about the automaton reached India. Hearing about the wondrous creation, an artisan in Pataliputta- the capital of King Ajatasatru’s kingdom, was inspired.
The legend has it that the artisan got reincarnated in the land of the yavanas. Marrying the master automaton creator’s daughter, he learns the craft. Stealing the plans for making the automata, he leaves for India.
But before that he inserts the plans in a slit he made in his own thigh which he then sews up. Sure that he is going to get captured, he asks his son to make sure that his body reaches Pataliputta. He does get killed by assassin automata but his son takes his body to India. Once there, he gets the plans from the body.
Following the instructions in it, he builds the robots. King Ajatashatru uses these robots to guard the relics of the Buddha who died in his land. According to the story, until the relics are distributed across the land, the robots would remain as guards.
Humans and vision- a perennial bond
As mentioned before, the exact date of origination of story remains unknown. The first contact between Greece and India started in the 5th Century BC. Around that time, Ajatasatru was a king in India. Some historians assume that the legend has its origin in that time.
Explorations of the idea of automata could be found in Greek myths dating as far as 2,500 years ago. Also, Egyptian engineers actually constructed mechanical robots by the third century. Ancient Chinese legends have stories about emperors who were taken in by humanoid automata. Amazing technological creations like automato and flying chariots also appear in Indian epics.
The presence of such tales in ancient legends shouldn’t probably be taken as signs that ancient civilizations were more technologically advanced than ours, as backers of pseudoscience are wont to do.
Rather, what we should note is the timelessness of the imagination which bridged the gap between what doesn’t yet exist and what’s plausible. An important thing to notice is that while fantastical creations and fancy scenarios(like turning an animal into human just by uttering a few choice words) are common enough in ancient legends, in the scenario under discussion, the creation of imagination is automaton- based on imagined scientific principle.
In other words, the creators of these legends had a vision of the future. It’s safe to assume that the modern inventors wouldn’t have been inspired enough to create their technological marvels, unless the spark was lit in their mind by such visionary tales.
Discovering your vision with Temenos Vision Lab
If there’s one thing that such legends show, it’s that vision is an innate human aspect. Each and every person has a vision that could be discovered only within their own self. It’s called True Personal Vision.
In an organizational context, the leader’s vision would help the organization grow towards a brighter future. A perennial source of inspiration, it becomes the destination towards which one could lead their team, and also the foundation for decision-making for the leader whenever s/he is confused.
Unfortunately, thanks to the myriad day-today distractions, this vision gets obscured from your own view. Temenos Vision Lab or TVL is a unique session developed by Temenos+Agility to help you realize your True Personal Vision. Developed based on 25 years of business consultancy services, TVL is conducted by some of the best leadership coaches in business with extensive experience in conducting transformative sessions.