30 Days, day 30: Advice.

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.

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© 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.

30 Days, day 29: UPG.

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.

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30 Days, day 28: Indra, unknown.

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.

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30 Days, day 27: Misconceptions.

Worst misconception about this deity that you have encountered.

There are three misconceptions that I consider “the worst,” for different reasons.

The most shocking and horrible is the version of Ahalyā’s story in which the affair is neither seduction nor trickery, but rape. Part of Gautama’s curse upon Indra becomes that He will bear part of the sin for every rape ever committed.

The most widespread misconception I’ve yet encountered is that Indra and Kṛṣṇa are enemies. Indra and Viṣṇu are ancient Friends; they are hymned together in Ṛgveda. Their roles are different, but both always work for world-welfare, and if that work is sometimes seen through the veil of Māyā, well, then I imagine that that is as They would wish it.

And the misconception that has affected me most adversely is the idea that other religions generally, and any non-Christian God specifically, is a trap set by the Devil to ensnare the intellectual. The concept that my Gods are really demons, and that I am evil for following a different faith, has unfortunately cost me family relationships and friendships.

But Indra remains, beautiful and terrible, and true regardless of how He is seen.

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© 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.

30 Days, day 25: Indra “unhelpful.”

A time when this deity has refused to help.

I don’t think that Indra “refuses to help”; rather, He “refuses to put up with nonsense.” He’s got too much Time and Karma going on to bother with idle whimsy and ill-considered wishes, and especially with the assumption that His “help” equals “getting what you want, when you want it.” What I’ve received in response to my own foolishness is not an outright “no,” but a simple sense of retreat, of emptiness, and if I choose to persist in folly despite that feeling, then on my own head be it.

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30 Days, day 23: Quotations.

A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with.

I love to read and have a stack of possible choices here, so I’m going to provide a quote, some poems, and a piece of writing! Again, though, I offer the caveat that I can’t speak for Indra; these are writings that remind me of Him, not pieces that perfectly express His nature.

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30 Days, day 22: Music.

Music that makes you think of this deity.

This is a really dangerous question to ask me. I love music. I have playlists for everything. And since I already had a compilation of “Indra songs” for this blog, I’m simply embedding the list here and providing relevant lyrics and/or explanations beneath the cut. Of course, if any song is particularly enchanting – or confusing! – feel free to ask me about it; I’m always happy to discuss wonderful music.

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30 Days, day 21: Art.

Art that reminds you of this deity.

As a consummate Artist Himself, Indra seems present in every piece of art ever made. But art that exposes absurdity or uncovers hypocrisy, art that makes the viewer think or see the world in a new way, new forms of art, fusions, inventions, improvisations, and unconventionalities all remind me of Him. Below the cut, I’ve included just a few strong, clear examples.

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30 Days, day 18: Indra and other Gods.

How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?

I wish I could say “they have high tea every Monday; the finger sandwiches are particularly superb” and have done with it, but this is another complex question that will take a long essay to answer, and I’ll have to rehash and expand upon points already made in other posts.

(Fortunately, today’s and tomorrow’s entries are the last questions of this type remaining, and the rest focus upon personal experiences, opinions, and other “non-scholastic” topics. I truly apologise if my posts have come to equate “devotion” with “dullness”; the questions asked by this project are good ones, but in Indra’s case, they’re resulting in a lot of overlapping answers – and rambly ones, because I lack sufficient time to clean up the writing. ARGH!)

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30 Days, day 16: Writing.

I’m skipping ahead in this project; today’s intended topic is a complex subject and a question I’m not yet prepared to answer. But the topic for Day 23 – your own composition: a piece of writing about or for this deity – made me giggle. A piece of writing for Indra? Really? As opposed to, oh, I don’t know…this entire blog?

But in all seriousness, and reverence, I do have some unposted work lingering around my computer. Here’s one poem, an untitled, unpolished verse.

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30 Days, day 15: “Mundane” Indra.

Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?

“Mundane” is not the easiest word to assign in the Hindu way of life, but I’ll use it here to refer to any activity that isn’t a home or temple worship service. And today’s question is an interesting one, because it touches on changing ideas about the arts over time; you see, Indra is an artist par excellence. The later Indra is the Lord of a light-filled Heaven, which resonates day and night with music and displays dance of the highest order. It is said that, on the occasion of the very first pradoṣa – a twice-monthly day of Śiva’s worship – Indra Himself played the flute for the celebration. In Veda, Indra is hymned still more beautifully, as the Singer of the holy chants and the transcendent Dancer. So you might guess that the arts would be associated with Indra, and they certainly are.

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30 Days, day 14: Change in worship.

Has worship of this deity changed in modern times?
I’m tired, y’all, and it’s been a long day; you don’t know how tempted I was to type “Yes” and provide several appropriate links. But that isn’t much keeping with the spirit of the project, as it’s Thirty Days of Devotion and not Thirty Days of Lazy Snark. Fortunately, I found some old notes (2011-2012) on the subject of Indra’s worship over time – specifically, its decline, and some thoughts about why such a thing might have happened. They’re a little more slapdash and generalised than I’d prefer, but I hope my thoughts will be pretty simple to follow, and help tie together some points I’ve made in past entries.

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30 Days, day 13: Indra and issues.

What modern cultural issues are closest to this deity’s heart?

I need to be very, very careful with this question, particularly because Indra has few modern-day worshippers; there’s the potential, with this question, to frame myself as some sort of mouthpiece for Him. This seems a question based entirely on UPG, so I want to emphasise that these are my opinions only, and that Indra Himself has not made known to me any sort of agenda.

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30 Days, day 12: Indra’s places.

Vedic religion seems to have been mobile, or at least lacking in lasting monuments and mausoleums, and because Veda doesn’t make explicit statements regarding religious pilgrimage, it’s hard to say whether Indra had any cult centres in the Vedic lands. That doesn’t mean that nowhere was sacred to Him; it’s just a little harder to find those places than with sites like Delphi, whose history is intimately intertwined with a particular God. So let’s do a little virtual traveling and see what we find, hmm?

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