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Achilles heel

Everyone who is faintly acquainted with the Greek mythology, knows that Achilles, who was one of the heroes of the Trojan war, had a weakness that was illogical. But many may not know the story behind it. Thetis, mother of Achilles, to make her son invulnerable held her son by his heels and dipped him in the river Styx( ?). Achilles became invulnerable in all the places where the river Styx’ water came into contact- except where his mother had held him-his heels.

The place where he was held by became his most vulnerable point.

The tragedy was not because of his vulnerability at that spot, but because his opponents came to know of it and exploited it to their advantage.

There is a parallel in the Indian epic MAHABHARATA, where Duryodhana had become vulnerable in the area not exposed to his mother’s sight, when she suffused him with invincibility except for the portion (thigh and loins?) not exposed to her view. The area not viewed by his mother becomes his weak point. Bhima took advantage of that.

I’m sure there must be other parallels in various epics carrying the same concept.

But what amazes me is the myth of Achilles. The point ATTACHED to his mother becomes the very root cause of him getting killed. It is the attachment of the umbilical cord which provides the nutrition to the child and that severance is required for the child to start its life on its own. It is cut , as we all know, at birth. Likewise, despite all the anxieties and fears of one’s mother, it is essential -for the child’s weal -that the mother lets go.

Achilles lost even the minimum natural strength, that was inherent in anyone’s heel. The point of attachment became his doom.

But why did not Achilles realize his weak spot? His mom probably never knew and never had the means to know, in any case Achilles was not forewarned.

The idea is that none succeeds where he/she endeavours to beat the natural order of things. Seeking INVINCIBILITY and therefore DEATHLESSNESS, would be against the natural order. Thetis was trying for that. Had she let go of her son, he wud have suffocated to death in the river Styx & probably Achilles would have died then and there itself and ended as a footnote to a mother’s greed!

In any case, in a man, the point attached to a woman has to be snipped at the point of integration of the self, to achieve even the MINIMUM CAPABILITY of that organ! Otherwise the very point of attachment becomes so weak that anyone having knowledge thereof wud be able to destroy him.

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