Monthly Archives: Dec 2012

In which I dissect “Thundergod”: A book review.

I admit, I was starting to feel left out by the mass media’s modern massacre of mythology. Worshippers of Greek gods have Xena: Warrior Princess to hate. Kemetians probably loathe Stargate SG-1, and Odinists can weep into their hands (albeit peeking between their fingers) while watching Thor. But there wasn’t really anything Indra-centric in the entertainment world, so there was nothing to put me into a grumpy rotten temper and cause me to get annoyed and flail about in irritation–

Until now. Readers, I present to you Thundergod: The Ascendance of Indra (ISBN 9381626979).

From the jacket blurb:
“One day a prince from one of the four great tribes will unite the sons of Aditi and he will sow the seeds of an empire that will rule the world. Born of a prophetic union between the Earth Goddess Gaia and Daeyus, chief of the Devas, comes the story of a child recounted by history to have become a king and retold by legend to have transcended into a god. Indra, destiny’s orphan, finds himself growing up in a vortex of treachery and tribal incumbency. Shielded from the usurpers of his birthright only by the watchful eye of the warrior sage Mitra, he first sets out to conquer the hearts of his tribesmen, and then the kingdoms of the unmapped world. Aligning forces with his brothers by blood oath and divine intervention Agni, Vayu, Varuna and Soma, Indra embarks on a military campaign of epic proportions, stretching from the Euphrates in Asia Minor to Harappa on the Indian subcontinent, encountering formidable armies, demonic beings and powerful goddesses, and losing the only woman he really loves. Will he get her to love him again? Will he avenge the death of his father? Will he assume his place in the pantheon of the gods? In a compelling saga, blended by history, spiced by legend and mutated by myth, Rajiv G. Menon transforms ten years of research into a lightning rod of an action adventure that streaks into your consciousness with the speed of Indra’s thunderbolt.”

If you’re thinking, “well, that sounds ridiculous,” then here’s some sparkly CGI to hypnotise you into forgetting what you just read:

THE TRAILER, unlike the world has ever seen!

Of course, this is a novel about Indra, so the publishers had me by the proverbial balls from the moment they announced the title. I bought the book, I suffered through it, and now I’m going to review it as a public service.

The short version:
Meet Indra, the child of a prophecy so weighty that he’s one manger short of his own religion.
He’s got mad Deva skillz and is just so gosh-darned handsome…laaaaadies.

His muscles are many, his thoughts few.

Then he does some “love” things:

And some imbibing things:

And WAY TOO MANY murder things:

And transforms into a megalomaniacal psychotic man-god who’s very, very angry.


The really, really, really short version:
When you combine:


then you get:

Want to read a slightly longer recap? Just click the part with the clickie.
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Offerings to Indra (part 4 of 4).

The Vedic religion of the fourfold godhead – Agni, Soma, Sūrya, Indra – embodies the understanding of everything as yajña; the outer ritual, of offering substances into the sacred fire, is the material form of a process which occurs at every level of existence. A human birth gives a tremendous opportunity to awaken the soul’s inner fire and to aspire to bliss, light, and truth, to walk among Devas as equal and to realise the underlying Godhead, Brahman, beyond all.

Each person can “become Indra,” not through the literal action of undertaking a set number of ceremonies and earning a heavenly crown, but through the understanding of every breath, moment, and action as sacrifice of one into the next, and through the awakening of that wild, noble, heroic spirit within, which seeks for Truth alone.

The Vedic yajña-rite is rarely performed now, but the ideal of life-as-sacrifice continues:

“Every single act of one who would lead a life of purity should be in the nature of yajña. Yajña having come to us with our birth, we are debtors all our lives, and thus for ever bound to serve the universe. And even as a bond slave receives food, clothing and so on from the master whom he serves, so should we gratefully accept such gifts as may be assigned to us by the Lord of the universe. What we receive must be called a gift; for as debtors we are entitled to no consideration for the discharge of our obligations. Therefore, we may not blame the Master, if we fail to get it. Our body is His to be cherished or cast away according to His will.”
–Mahatma Gandhi

This is what we praise of that Indra called Śatayajña: not one who has earned a position by pouring substances into a hundred fires, but one who, as an embodied Deva, shines with the merit of immeasurable generosity, one whose very being is sacrifice and who, thus, is able to rightly say of Himself that He is Truth, Life, and Light.

When I write here about offering to Indra, I write not with the thought of the complex Vedic rituals, rites from which I am excluded anyway, but with the thought of yajña in my mind, and of feeding the fire of my own yearning for Him.

“Invoking him, the more recent ones
Have reached out to your former ancient deeds of fame, Indra.
Just in as much as we understand,
So do we praise you, hero brought by prayer, mighty one.”
Ṛgveda VI.21.6.

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Offerings to Indra (part 3 of 4).

“Lay on the yokes, and fasten well the traces: formed is the furrow, sow the seed within it.
Through song may we find bearing fraught with plenty: near to the ripened grain approach the sickle.”
Ṛgveda X.101.3

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