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.

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30 Days, day 29: UPG.

Any interesting or unusual UPG to share?

First, here’s a bit of reading on the subject of UPG, because asking if I have any of this random stuff to share is useless to anybody who’s not familiar with the “random stuff” concept. Here’s a quick explanation of UPG, a more involved discussion of the idea, and a handy flowchart on discernment. I’ve tried to keep ego out of this one and post only what might be useful.

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30 Days, day 28: Indra, unknown.

When I was eighteen, I had a pending university degree with no practical application, feared becoming unemployed and directionless, and had a strong faith in ideas of honour and service, so it seemed an excellent notion, to explore the Air Force and seriously consider a military career. After finishing a semester of ROTC classes and writing the officer’s qualifying test, I began preparing myself physically and mentally for officer training school that summer.

Then I woke up one night with some thoughts I’d not yet considered, conflicts I certainly needed to resolve before embarking upon this journey. I’d never fired a weapon before and didn’t like touching guns, even when others encouraged me to learn. I was a vegetarian who practiced yoga, a soft-spoken and shy person. Up until then, I’d thought that I simply needed more courage and resolve, that my doubts were only fears. Serving my country seemed a very noble purpose, and flying a wondrous thing; my eyesight barred me from pilot, but I could have trained for navigator. But I realised that night that, even if I didn’t work in a cockpit, the military still existed for the purpose of violence and that my job would be, essentially, to kill – to either do it myself or to support the people who would.

At that time my ideas of good and evil, life and death, were very clear-cut, direct, black-and-white, and fortunately – for everyone – I realised that the knowledge of killing would eventually, if not immediately, drive me mad. I couldn’t do it, and I didn’t.

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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.

30 Days, day 25: Indra “unhelpful.”

A time when this deity has refused to help.

I don’t think that Indra “refuses to help”; rather, He “refuses to put up with nonsense.” He’s got too much Time and Karma going on to bother with idle whimsy and ill-considered wishes, and especially with the assumption that His “help” equals “getting what you want, when you want it.” What I’ve received in response to my own foolishness is not an outright “no,” but a simple sense of retreat, of emptiness, and if I choose to persist in folly despite that feeling, then on my own head be it.

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