Category Archives: “Humour”

30 Days, day 24: Indra’s help.

A time when this deity has helped you.
This is not the only instance of Indra’s help, nor the most extraordinary, but it’s one that I remember with fondness – especially because I – not surprisingly – behaved like a grouchy idiot.

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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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Owl figure it out!

“The diet of the owl is not
For delicate digestions.
He goes out on a limb to hoot
Unanswerable questions,

And just because he winks like men
Who utter sage advice,
We think him full of wisdom when
He’s only full of mice.”
–X.J. Kennedy

He is the ruler of the secretive night, mystical and wise; he is an ill-omened sight, foolish and ignorant. These are opposing perceptions of both Indra and the Owl, and in this post I want to discuss the god’s appearance as the avian.

A vāhana is an animal who bears a deity in travel between the worlds. Each Deva is borne by a vāhana who suits his nature and power; bright Kalki brandishes a sword from atop a pure white horse, ego-destroying Kārtikeya is master of the vain peacock, and much-feared Śani rides upon a baleful crow. Husbands and wives do share a vāhana sometimes – so that we see both Brahmā and Sarasvatī depicted with a swan, or Indra and Śacī sitting together upon the royal elephant – but each deity also possesses his own vehicle. (1)

The vāhana is not usually worshipped as a separate deity, but commands the respect due a great devotee and is sometimes worshipped with the attendant Deva. There are two exceptions to that semi-divinity: Ayyappa’s leopard (or tiger) and Lakṣmī’s owl are both forms of beloved Indra. Indra is the lone Deva who bears other Devas in this way. (2)

As Lakṣmī’s bearer, Indra is named Ulūka and depicted as the “barn” or “ghost” owl found throughout north India:

I talk with the moon, said the owl, while she lingers over my tree.
I talk with the moon, said the owl, and the night belongs to me.

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Offenses of Indra: Lim(b)ited time (dis)membership.

In my last post I mentioned one of Indra’s greatest enemies – that demon called pride – and the god’s rather spectacular, even horrific, battles against the same. This terribly glorious nature appears all through Veda: when Indra encounters any demonic power, he doesn’t only oppose it; he wounds, dissects, and dismembers it, only then releasing it through ultimate destruction. Killing in general is abhorrent to the Western mind, and especially any sort of piecemeal vivisection, which we mostly associate with indifference (as in laboratories) or cruelty (as with animals who taunt their prey). Yet there is this impulsive, violent slaughter in Indra’s wake.

The word “sin” is the English term usually chosen to describe the misdeeds of Indra, but I want to avoid this word “sin” because it carries heavy baggage of Christian morality with it, and also implies a crime committed with evil intentions rather than an action taken for the greater good. (Cue black-robed figures encircling a stone table: “The greater good.”) I think the term “offenses” is better, for he offends much against prevailing conventionality, violates social contracts, and displays neither shame nor doubt in his acts. To understand these offenses, we must examine them closely, facing these “evil” actions head-on.

Or head-off, as the case very frequently is.

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Addendum, precipitation.

I got to thinking about the “black nourishment” requirement for the Śakvarī-song’s student, and good grief, it’s not exactly a treat for the senses, is it? There are so few foods that are naturally black, and even fewer that would have grown in the relevant regions during Vedic times.

The small list of dark edibles that I was able to recall included black gram, blackberries (technically dark purple), black radish, wild rice, black quinoa, black sesame seeds, kalonji, and chyavanprash (technically dark brown, but work with me, here!). Then my thoughts become ridiculous: Oreos (minus the creme filling), papaya seeds, burnt toast, rotten plantains, anything left on the fire too long, iron filings…yikes.

In other news, it’s still drizzling out today after an entire weekend of rain. I wish I could bring my computer outside to continue working.

© 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.

Careful what I wish.

“So many techniques, all equally crass, to make the gods appear. And when they give in, what do you do? Extend the bowl: ‘Give us rains. Cattle. Sons. Wealth.’ As though one defined human beings by their wanting…That’s why when the moment comes I shall confront Indra in silence. For that, it is essential that one shed all human weakness. Be alone. Absolutely on one’s own to face that moment. Become a diamond. Unscratchable.”
–Girish Karnad, from play Agni Mattu Malé (a tale which you may recognise better as film Agnivarsha)

Lacking the dramatic and literary flair of Karnad’s prose, I nonetheless hesitate to ask the Divine for anything, with similar reasoning: He is there, and beautiful, and wondrous. Even the eyes that gaze with calm sweetness from his picture are a gift. What more shall I ask?

Yet studying requires money, and studying in India enough money to transplant myself abroad. So I asked, of the One who opens the way to freedom, let me earn the means for my studies. Help me find an opportunity; I will work hard if given the chance.

This was a month ago, and today I started a new job. I will be working two full-time positions, one to live here and now, one to save for a future existence there.

So, please bear with me in the next few weeks, as I struggle to adjust to this sudden boon! I will have to carve out “blog time” – somewhere between bedtime, bus time, and all of the new points of the clock that now demand my attention.

Jai Śrī Indra Deva!

© 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.

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.

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Saving the Earth, one blog post at a time.

There’s a lot percolating in my brain lately – but the mind-to-fingertips connection, which would normally translate my thoughts into blog posts, seems to be broken.

Before this WordPress journal, I blogged for eight years on LiveJournal and briefly kept a blog on Dreamwidth. This is a recycled entry from the latter. It was written about a year and a half ago, and discusses one of Indra’s many names/epithets, found among his thousand names (or sahasranāma).

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