Presents from my presence.

Happy Holi, all!

Holi is the date that I chose/researched as “Indra Jāyantī”, and today is also my two-year “anniversary” of being Hindu. So it’s pretty much my favourite day of the year, and one of the few times you’ll find this old bat in a fairly good mood.

Hence, I have a few gifts for y’all today.


These are put in numbered list form so that I can practice my counting skills. Basic mathematics, ho!

1. Many months ago, it was suggested to me that I would adore the allegory-verse Heaven and Earth, from Rabindranath Tagore’s work Lipika. This was very true, and today seems the perfect day to share that delicate, moving work with others. Please find it here, typed up for your love, study, and inspiration.

(Obligatory disclaimer: this is most definitely not for re-posting, re-blogging, reproducing, or other “re-” gerunds that make me unhappy, ok? I place this work here because I love it and want to share it with the few folks who read my blog, and it’s easier this way than by mailing out multiple copies of Lipika on loan. Also, tangential rant: I am vaguely amused to note that I wrote something in a similar vein about a year ago, and now can never release it because no-one will believe I thought of it independently.)

2. I’ve referenced Indra’s sahasranāma several times, but have never officially shared it with readers, now that I think about it; this is fairly absurd, given the entire point of this blog!

Please find here the thousand names of Indra, as compiled by Śrī Kāvyakaṇṭha from the Ṛgveda. (You may also find a very amateurish effort at vague definitions given here. Please note that this “translation” comes only from dictionaries, and is intended only to give a simple, very generalized, “ballpark” idea of each word, rather than any in-depth insight or wise analysis of the meaning. Only about two-thirds of the list is completed, as I’m having difficulty in locating the rest.)

Many of Indra’s epithets are so beautiful, with such revelation of God and life and love; the list is worth reading at least once.

And to anyone who wishes to use the document for devotion: the names are already in the correct grammatical tense for chanting, needing only “oṃ” before and “namaḥ” after each one.

3. Since I’m sharing words today, here are two more quotes.

The first is an excerpt from William Buck’s Rāmāyaṇa. (Buck’s prose is striking and lyrical; his work is one of the most memorable versions of any story that I’ve ever read.) His description of Indra portrays a being both mighty and ethereal, a seeming contradiction that Buck paints with just a few words:

Indra the Rain Lord came into view on the other side of Sita. He wore a thin cloak of fine-spun mist that was trimmed with dancing stars, and under that his old battle armor of worn leather hard as stone and unbreakable. He stood barefoot a finger’s width above the ground. He was slender, and cast no shadow, and never blinked his deep black eyes. His straight hair was long and black; his skin was fair and white, and smooth as a girl’s, except where his slim hands were covered with the old crossing lightning scars that were whiter still.

Finally, here are a few of my words – far less gifted, but perhaps as heartfelt. I wrote this verse over a year ago, posted it to the Hindu Dharma Forums, and never copied it here. I guess the omission was a good thing after all, since it means I can post it today.

In your service, Beloved…

Sahasrakṣa
Twilight soothes the fevered, sun-scorched sky;
your lilting song, so gentle, wings on lustrous air.

Into stillness wakes my wandering heart.
You show your grace, your soft, eternal gaze;
the wind forgets to breathe, so light you dance.

My lips can only trace your name, the flame
you kindled in a vast, unguarded glance.

In secret reverent delight, the day unveils itself to night.
A thousand starry eyes shine piercing mysteries;
This love, this life I lay before your glistening feet.

===
© 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.

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8 thoughts on “Presents from my presence.

  1. Hi
    I read your blog quiet regularly (in fact, some posts, multiple times) since a couple of months. I was thinking i might comment on the meanings of Indra-Sahasranama. I read the first one and chose not to proceed.
    Indraaya – “one who kindles all” doesnt explain even 1/4th of the meaning. the shortest meaning or translation of Indraaya would be “to the *Ishwara* of *indriyas’*. now you would need translation of Ishwara and also Indriyas. By the way Indriyas are many and not mere five sense organs. in a vedic sense they are 11.
    I realize that you are an anthropologist. a person with interest in Indology. I hope you dont U-Turn like T.S.Elliot or for a living example like Diane Ecke of Harvard India Studies. For a picture of what i mean you can follow this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf5BOYF0S3Y&feature=g-all-u&context=G2f54fa4FAAAAAAAACAA
    you can follow this link as well for what U-Turn means http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RSu4ymCgp4&context=C41d67bfADvjVQa1PpcFO8hn32MICVO2gTDDs11SnxI2oom1JnztI=

    Thank You for an open and sincere blog. I wish for the fulfillment of your wishes.
    Good times ahead.
    Indra Praveen, Vardelly
    Trondheim, Norway

    • Hello, and thank you for your detailed comment as well as the links provided. Though I had not seen these videos before, I am familiar with the work of Rajiv Malhotra and with the ongoing issue of cultural distortion, appropriation, and demonization by Western so-called “scholars,” who – whether deliberately, or because of innate and unrecognised cultural bias – seek to vilify modern Indian culture by twisting ancient Indian texts.

      You are correct that I am an anthropologist by education, and have only my linguistic and cultural training to fall back on, when trying to explore a culture in which I was not raised and have no direct knowledge. I have written in several posts – including the one prior to this – that I have no knowledge of Sanskrit, had only the use of dictionaries to translate what of the Sahasranāma I could find, and realise that my ersatz attempt at “translation” is overly simplistic and lacking in deeper wisdom.

      In the case of many names, but particularly indrāya, I was overwhelmed by numerous meanings and knew that to include them all would make the document too lengthy to be useful. I therefore selected one, thinking that including less than “1/4th of the meaning” was better than giving no idea at all. I originally made the document only for my own reference, and later provided it online because neither the names of Indra, nor explanations, nor interpretations, were available anywhere. There was no better English source to which I could direct a reader. There wasn’t anything.

      I have tried to emphasize my own lack of knowledge in these areas, and to stress that the meanings given in the Sahasranāma document are greatly simplified, meant to give only an idea of the words as defined in print sources. I also really welcome criticism, correction, and addition to the document because I know it’s needed. But if there is more I may do to keep from misleading readers as to my knowledge and intentions, please let me know.

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