Sunday, May 03, 2015

The Power of Seven

To begin with, God created the world in seven days. There are seven days in the week, seven notes on the musical scale and seven directions (left, right, up, down, forward, back and center).
The Seven Seas is not just a brand of cod liver oil, it also refers to the earthly plain as a whole, the world surround by the seas. Hence, Divya Bharati danced to the song, ‘Saat samundar paar’ in the Bollywood film Vishwatma (1992).

Both heaven and hell have seven levels. The seventh heaven is the place of ultimate bliss whereas the seventh level of hell is the most depraved. This concern for spirituality led Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman to make his first masterpiece, The Seventh Seal (1957). In Japanese master Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954), the seven warriors travel to protect a village from marauding bandits. The film was remade as The Magnificent Seven (1950) in Hollywood. The Indian version, the popular Sholey (1975), unfortunately reduced the number to just two. Back to Hollywood, Brad Pitt played Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, who spent seven years in Tibet between 1944 and 1951, in the movie (1997) based on the book Seven Years in Tibet.

In folk tale, Snow White had seven dwarves to look after her after she was betrayed by her evil stepmother. The Brothers Grimm has another fairy tale called The Seven Ravens.

It took JK Rowling seven books to tell the story of the British boy wizard Harry Potter. In George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, there are seven kingdoms in the fiction land of Westeros, all of which are constantly at war to gain dominance of the Iron Throne. In this fictional world, among other things, citizens adhere to a religion, featuring the seven aspects of the divine— the Mother, the Maiden, the Crone, the Father, the Warrior, the Smith, and the Stranger.

Talking about religion, Christianity lists seven deadly sins. These are lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. This inspired the David Fincher neo-noir Hollywood thriller Se7ev (1995).

In Hinduism, there are the seven sages, the Saptarshi, the patriarchs of the Vedic religion, the ‘mind-born sons’ of Brahma.

Sophocles’ classical Greek tragedy Seven Against Thebes recounts the futile attempt to regain Thebes after the exile of the blind king Oedipus.

The seven years itch is a psychological term that suggests that happiness in a relationship declines after around year seven of a marriage. It is also the name of a 1955 Marilyn Monroe film, which was based on a play by George Axelrod.

In numerology, the number seven represents the seeker, the thinker, the searcher of truth. The seven doesn’t take anything at face value – it is always trying to understand the underlying, hidden truths. The seven knows that nothing is exactly as it seems and that reality is often hidden behind illusions.

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