This post will serve as both a farewell and an offering, and it’s an essay I’ve needed to write for some time. The time of my parting from Indra’s worship has come, a difficult decision, and one that has not been taken lightly or one-sidedly.
There’s a place on Earth that receives about 1.2 million lightning strikes per year, at the mouth of the Catatumbo River in Venezuela. Near-constant lightning, lasting up to ten hours, illuminates the nights; these strikes have been observed for thousands of years.
A 16th century verse by Spanish poet Félix Arturo Lope de Vega y Carpio described the phenomenon beautifully as “flames, which the wings of night cover.”
More information, along with some astonishing photographs, may be found here.
Oṃ krīṃ indrāya namaḥ.
I’ve across something amusingly and tangentially Indra-related, provided by (of all sources) the auto-fill in Google Translate. It seems that, in French, the word éclair means “lightning,” éclairé means “illuminated,” and éclairée, “informed.”
I don’t know enough linguistic particulars to state with certainty that the three are related, but nonetheless feel the sequence of words to be an “enlightening” procession.
In other news, I’m back from vacation and catching up on comments and requests. My responses should be sent in the next few days, but if I haven’t replied to you by the weekend, please give me a small nudge in the comments.
Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?
I’m no authority, and this project has taught me my own ignorance more than anything.
But I believe that there are two basic ways to learn about Him: the austere path of disciplined study, and the innocent loving path of the devotee. I suck at the former, so the only suggestion I can give concerns the latter, and it’s this:
A child has a sort of surrender to the experience of living – as yet uninured to existence, treating each moment as an eternity, sensing every small detail in full. To learn of Him, beyond books or hymns, become a child, for fearless delight pleases Him as much as any physical offering. I feel that all He teaches leads back to a perfect state of Soma, and that one of the devotee’s hardest tasks is not to acquire layers of learning, but peel away layers of burdensome memory, of judgment and sorrow, and become soft, open, and wondering. This is an act of tremendous courage and trust, to know that pain will doubtless await and to choose this path anyway. This is His strength, which He proves again and again in his falls.
Be ridiculous, foolish, and gentle. Invite Him to walk with you and share in the experiences you cherish, no matter how insignificant they seem. Leave guilt, fear, and ideas of unworthiness behind, and let Him show you what He will.
© Arjunī and ridiculously reverent. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Arjunī and ridiculously reverent with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Any interesting or unusual UPG to share?
First, here’s a bit of reading on the subject of UPG, because asking if I have any of this random stuff to share is useless to anybody who’s not familiar with the “random stuff” concept. Here’s a quick explanation of UPG, a more involved discussion of the idea, and a handy flowchart on discernment. I’ve tried to keep ego out of this one and post only what might be useful.
When I was eighteen, I had a pending university degree with no practical application, feared becoming unemployed and directionless, and had a strong faith in ideas of honour and service, so it seemed an excellent notion, to explore the Air Force and seriously consider a military career. After finishing a semester of ROTC classes and writing the officer’s qualifying test, I began preparing myself physically and mentally for officer training school that summer.
Then I woke up one night with some thoughts I’d not yet considered, conflicts I certainly needed to resolve before embarking upon this journey. I’d never fired a weapon before and didn’t like touching guns, even when others encouraged me to learn. I was a vegetarian who practiced yoga, a soft-spoken and shy person. Up until then, I’d thought that I simply needed more courage and resolve, that my doubts were only fears. Serving my country seemed a very noble purpose, and flying a wondrous thing; my eyesight barred me from pilot, but I could have trained for navigator. But I realised that night that, even if I didn’t work in a cockpit, the military still existed for the purpose of violence and that my job would be, essentially, to kill – to either do it myself or to support the people who would.
At that time my ideas of good and evil, life and death, were very clear-cut, direct, black-and-white, and fortunately – for everyone – I realised that the knowledge of killing would eventually, if not immediately, drive me mad. I couldn’t do it, and I didn’t.