Constant storm.

There’s a place on Earth that receives about 1.2 million lightning strikes per year, at the mouth of the Catatumbo River in Venezuela. Near-constant lightning, lasting up to ten hours, illuminates the nights; these strikes have been observed for thousands of years.

A 16th century verse by Spanish poet Félix Arturo Lope de Vega y Carpio described the phenomenon beautifully as “flames, which the wings of night cover.”

More information, along with some astonishing photographs, may be found here.

Oṃ krīṃ indrāya namaḥ.

En-lightning-ment.

I’ve across something amusingly and tangentially Indra-related, provided by (of all sources) the auto-fill in Google Translate. It seems that, in French, the word éclair means “lightning,” éclairé means “illuminated,” and éclairée, “informed.”

I don’t know enough linguistic particulars to state with certainty that the three are related, but nonetheless feel the sequence of words to be an “enlightening” procession.

In other news, I’m back from vacation and catching up on comments and requests. My responses should be sent in the next few days, but if I haven’t replied to you by the weekend, please give me a small nudge in the comments.

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 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.

Lord Indra…lllllladies.

From the beginning to the end of this existence, Indra is there.

Before the child’s first breath, Indra protects the unborn one in the womb. He helps both mother and child both through the difficult and painful separation and birth into this world. For long has he been sung petitions of growth, strength, and health.

He is the guardian of youth, particularly young girls. Once in Cambodia maidens were called the brides of Indra, held in Indra’s trust until they married young mortal men. It is from Indra’s curse, and blessing, that blood comes to women. Men bleed for war, and death; women bleed for life, my once-teacher told me, and Indra is battle and life both.

He too is the wife-giver; he guides the young woman as bride to the one who seeks her, and is called to the marriage-fire to bless and give increase. Though divider he is also the joiner of two into one; it is known that Indra and Indrāṇī are two halves of each other: Śakra and Śacī, the primordial Śiva-Śakti.

To the wedded wife then he comes: to heal the rejected one, to make the barren flow with milk, to bring children to the childless, to grant release from despair. Because he respects no ties, he destroys all bonds, and so exposes the truth of love.

And it is Indra in the end who hears the mumblings of an old woman on the indifference of immortal to mortal, and rights her wrongs, and it is Indra’s heaven – not a place, but light and boundless freedom – to which he as psychopomp may bring the weary spirit.

Indra is so much a part of a woman’s life unseen, his only friends I have known have been female, and of course this would be so; He is intimate to women, binding and freeing, accepting alike prayers for delight in this world and austerities for knowledge beyond. He is tender strength and lightning joy and a thousand eyes that see what others do not, and how could a woman not love?

Kind God to those who sing thy praise,
O Soma-drinker, Thunder-armed, Friend of our lovely-featured dames…
What mortal, O immortal Dawn, enjoyeth thee? Where lovest thou? To whom, O radiant, dost thou go?
For we have had thee in our thoughts whether anear or far away.

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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.

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.

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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.