Choices.

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.


I’ve written about the difficulties of Indra-worship before, and one point bears repeating, for my own as well as others’ understanding: there’s irony in being attracted to the fire-rituals whose own tradition disqualifies me from them on grounds of sex, birth, and origin. Environment and circumstances have made even the simpler worship of agnihotra impossible for years now, and my work with the ancient Indra of the Vedas has revealed Him to be aniconic – not just difficult to depict in image form, but actively resisting attempts to do so, making image pūjā to Him quite a complex matter. The increasing difficulty of serving and worshipping Him was compounded by a strong feeling that He was resisting me doing so; the impression I had was enough. It is enough. Over and over again, with a gentle feeling of being pushed back.

Well, no devotee wants to believe that their God is telling them to sod off.

But in truth, despite all of my wounded feelings, I also felt a sensation of parting, a sense of having flamed brightly and then out, that the time had come to let the smoke scatter and open some windows. And over time I was able to soothe my ruffled feelings, to quell the questions of what I’d done to deserve “abandonment,” for it was not a message of cruelty but of freedom. Indra is the God of Freedom, after all; He will not be clutched with desperate over-dependence, nor will He bury what a worshipper doesn’t want to face.

The time of pondering this change has taught me of humility, of detachment and surrender enough to understand that I do not work with a Deity; He works with me, and when His task is complete, it is mine to let go and not cling to dissipating smoke, unwilling to relinquish my place as “devotee.” The truth is that there’s no resentment in this parting. Indra for me has served as Liberator; I can never thank Him enough, and yet He demands nothing from me. In encouraging me to ask “….and?” with every situation, He has shown me how many of my “limitations” in this world are created by my own thoughts, the walls that I cower behind instead of facing what seems so frightening and terrible beyond them. He came uninvited and has never asked me to do anything for Him, but has simply been there to break the chains and show me that the cage is a lie. He feels now to me like a Teacher who is leaving the room, comfortable that I’ve learned enough to continue alone – at least for a time, though He may return whenever He wills.

I feel that Indra’s ultimate aspiration for all of us is enlightenment, and that I as yet have too little to sacrifice upon that flame; I’ve spent years breaking free of limiting situations, people, and expectations and thus much more time escaping from life than living it. I can hardly be ready to discard the world when I still know so little of it. I’m not ready to die before I’ve truly lived. This is the impression that I have from Him, and which I confirmed within myself, when I was able to step back from self-blame long enough to look at what was really inside of me.

Those ideals of transcendence and enlightenment shone far more brightly for me when, in breaking attachments to others, I felt empowered to “rise above” conflicts and problems, to holy-text-and-meditate-and-ivory-tower them away. But in truth, much of my disconnection and alienation was not spiritual; it was dark and bitter and escapist, and part of my work in the days to come must be to delve into that darkness and grapple with it.

I have fled not only from my current life, but from the past and my own ancestry, burdened from exploring my own heritage not only by privilege-related guilt, but by conflict and disconnection from my living family. But I feel I can no longer reject the ways of my ancestors without even attempting to learn about them, and a recent trip has confirmed to me that I should indeed seek them and that there is truth in my concerns.

I don’t want this ending to discourage anyone who feels devotion to Śrī Indra, for I believe that He is more than worth every service He is paid. I also feel that, if He is not the best Guide for a devotee, He is still a wonderful Deva to worship, for His is the power to clear away any limitations and fears that may be clouding the correct choice. His may not be the road one ultimately treads, but His light will show the right path; His rain will wash away impurity – and His lightning ensures a speedy result indeed.

Although I plan no further updates to this blog, I leave it open for future posts, in case I come across anything interesting about Indra that ought to be shared. I also pledge to keep the Indra calendar and the various links up-to-date and to honour my commitment to correspond with anyone who has questions or ideas. This blog will stay online to share information and will remain connected to my e-mail account, so I’ll receive notification whenever anyone posts a comment. Please don’t be shy about getting in touch with me if there’s anything Indra-related on your mind! It’s not a bother to me, but rather, a way to honour and show gratitude to the Deva who has given me so much.

For any Indra-devotees reading this, please know that I do have a few books and ritual items that I’m looking to re-home; I don’t want payment for them, just the reassurance that they’re going to a new home where they’ll be respected and tended. If you’re interested, please leave a comment on this entry, with an e-mail address or other means by which I can contact you privately.

Also, I’m considering starting a new spiritual blog, to write about the journey I’m now taking and to leave this space purely dedicated to Indra as it always has been. I’d rather not post the probable URL publicly – this blog draws quite a bit of spam, and I don’t want a bunch of robot followers mucking up a new blog before I’ve made a single post! – but if you’d like to follow me elsewhere, please leave a comment with an e-mail address or other private way to get in touch with you, and I’ll send you the username once I’ve gotten the site registered and going.

I thank everyone who has accompanied me on this particular part of my journey, for the insights that encouraged and challenged me all along the way. I hope that you’ll come with me to my new site and that we can continue to share thoughts and ideas.

For now, the best conclusion to this post, and to this blog, is also a new beginning, and even a gentle invitation that remains always open:

Oṃ indrāya namaḥ.

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19 thoughts on “Choices.

  1. This is beautiful, and touching. I’m tempted even to say heart-breaking, but i think heart-wrenching (in the sense of, oh, look at all that has come to pass!) is more what I mean.

    I very much would like to have access to your newer blog, should you feel inclined to grant me access. Either way, I wish you blessings upon your path.

  2. Hi Arjuni , Its nice to find blog which has information which I was trying to find since last couple of Months.
    And i would like to borrow the book on Indra if you dont mind it,
    and please get in touch if you can , I need more guidance.
    Thank You, We will win this journey if Indra wills it.

    • Hello Chaitanya. I’m sorry to say that I gave the books away months ago, to a friend who wanted them. But I will certainly get in touch with you and am sending an email now.

  3. Hi Arjuni , feel bad to hear about books , thank you for your reply, but i havent got your email yet.

  4. Hi arjuni!
    Very insightful and touching post. Sorry to have seen it two years too late. I understand what you are saying. Good choice! I hope the new life works for you!

    If my tardiness has not given you offence, please do share your new blog with me.

    With L

    • Please don’t be concerned with the passage of time; I’m pleased that you found this post. (It’s interesting that you’ve commented now, actually because I’ve had some new thoughts recently and was considering reviving this blog.) Anyway, even though I haven’t written journal entries in many months, I’m glad that you continue to write, photograph, and chronicle your own journey and thoughts with such insight. :)

  5. I never saw this?
    When I was studying Kemetic religion I wanted Auset and when I meditated to try and reach her she was suddenly in my face and asked why call her to appear in front of me when she was already in my heart.
    I think this is what you experienced with Indra.. you didn’t need him in front of you anymore he’s already a part of you! I’m still learning 🌹 Be blessed !

    • This is a beautiful thought, and I hope that it proves true for me. :) I’m currently studying Yoga and Ayurveda and have considered reviving this blog to write more thoughts. We’ll see, and in the meantime, thank you for the well-wishes!

  6. I’ve found this blog a year late, but I wanted to say thank you for maintaining such a beautiful devotional blog to Lord Indra. I hope your journey since then has been rewarding and has helped you grow in the ways you now want to grow. Thanks for leaving this blog up for others to find. It helps a lot – I have felt the urge to pray to Lord Indra recently but in modern Hinduism He simply doesn’t get enough attention!

    • Thank you so much for this lovely comment! I have considered making new updates to the blog lately and will certainly return to it if I’m moved to do so. In the meantime, I hope that what’s here will help you, and I’m always available if you have any questions. :)

  7. Hi Arjuni
    U don’t undertand what you mean by Indra is pushing you away. What did you do and how did he resist you worshipping him.

  8. Dear Arjuni,
    watch Peter Brooke’s Mahabharata when you find time.
    Some serious stuff for serious people indeed.The longest story ever told to mankind is available now on youtube.
    cheers,
    Surya

  9. Hey

    This is Carlyn. It’s been…. a very long time since we have spoken :) I hope you are well. I might try and reach you on Facebook. But I wanted to ask if I may send you back some items. I’ve been pulled in a different direction spirituallyrics and I feel that I am not doing a good service by holding on to His images and items of worship when they are not being actively used. I don’t like that because it is not fair to Him to sit unattended.

    • Hello, Carlyn! I’m well, thanks for asking, and would be happy to receive back the items I sent to you; I’ll message you on Facebook to work out the details. :)

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