Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What is Marriage?

A recent hot topic in this nation is whether or not same-sex couples ought to have the legal right to officially sanctioned matrimony. I have an opinion regarding this matter that is informed by a number of diverse cultural responses to differences of gendering, and also a bit by experience and personal sentiment.

First I ought to note that I have sincere sympathy for those who do not fit within the proscribed traditional norms which this society has, until fairly recently, enforced with no little tyranny. This said, I shall state that I do not believe that "marriage" between a man and a woman and "marriage" between a man and a man or a woman and a woman are interchangeable or the same thing. That said, I do believe that same-sex couples who wish to make a commitment to each other ought to have some sanctioned mode by which they might do so, and through which they might be afforded the same rights and benefits and respect as male-female married couples.

In light of the notion of reincarnation, it is clear that gender is not necessarily something that is intrinsic to a soul. A man in one lifetime might become a woman in another, or vice-verse. Thus it seems not unlikely, assuming the verity of said conception of a soul's pilgrimage through life and death and life and death, etc., that the proclivities and sexual identity from one lifetime might carry through to another. Thus it would be to whatever degree "natural" for some who are born men to maintain an identification with "female desire," or vice-verse. Perhaps some part of said person's self had yet to complete some portion of the dharma of being the gender of a former incarnation.

In regards to the question of "marriage," I am inclined to examine the practices of various cultures which maintain different categories than the dichotomy "male/female" and "man-and-wife" in terms of their constructions of gender and marital union.

Among the Bugis of South Sulawesi in Indonesia, priests known as bissu are imagined to embody both male and female genders as an ideal of balance of said energies. In addition to this third gender, there are calalai, biological females who assume the "traditional" male gender role and may take a female partner as wife, and calabai, biological males who assume the "traditional" female gender role, and may take a male partner as husband. This society finds harmony in this arrangement, and maintains the belief that each of these genders is a necessary part of the balance of their communities. They do maintain differentiations, however, and though all of these genders are considered important and respected parts of an integrated society, they are not "the same."

In Hindu mythology, the incarnation of Siva-Sakti as Ardhanarishwara, male and female united in one body, male on one side and female on the other, is represented as the original state of the genders. Indeed, there is a biological condition called tetragametic chimerism, or "true hermaphroditism," where two separate ovum are fertilized by two separate sperm, and these would-be twins meld into one organism. In such case as one zygote is male and one is female, the result can be an individual with female attributes and genetalia on one side, and male on the other, often with different pigmentation delineated directly down the center of the body, exactly as depicted in the Ardhanarishwara murti ("murti" would translate to something like "sacred representation/symbolic embodiment" or "icon." Above is a murti depicting Ardhanarishwara). Unfortunately, when such sacred children are born, the confused standards of society generally proscribe "corrective" surgery. To me this is sacrilege and a violation against nature (ब्रह्मन् brahman). Such children ought to be revered, and perhaps even have shrines built to honor them. Such beings are reminders of our true Self, both encorporating and transcending gender difference, yet without blurring important and valuable distinctions.

A recent reconstruction of traditional Native American constructions of gender differentiation recognizes the status of differently gendered individuals as of "two-spirits." The Lakota call these differently gendered persons "winkte." The Dine (Navajo) have the term "nadle" to describe such people. In Polynesian culture there is a third gender called "mahu."  In India there are physiological men who dress as women known as hijra (as well as other designations in other regions) and in some cases these live in communities with gurus. These are generally devotees of Siva.  These peoples living "alternative lifestyles" are generally revered by their culture, often granted sacred status, and are recognized as bridging the supposed dichotomy of male and female, and often as bridging the supposed gap between spiritual and material worlds.

So far as I am concerned, consensuality, lack of coersion and age appropriateness are the most important factors.  As the Divine is not bound by gender neither is it necessary for people to be bound by narrow definitions.
To return to the original discussion, it seems that in light of the variation of gendering in these other cultures, there ought to be tolerance, respect, and indeed officially sanctioned legitimacy granted to same-sex unions. My opinion, however, is that said unions ought to be understood as not less than, but not the same as, marriage between a man and a woman, as each of these other cultures acknowledge in their expressions of various deployals of gender identity and sexual partnership.

Namaste . . .

Ten Avatars of Vishnu: Evolution Personified

Just discovered (or was reminded of) something epiphanous, astounding, simple and profound. Vishnu, the second person of the Hindu Trimurti ("trinity"), has ten avatars that quite clearly express the progressive stages of human evolution.

Matsya, fish avatar
Kurma, tortoise avatar
Varaha, boar avatar
Narasingha, half-human, half-beast avatar
Vamana, dwarf avatar
Parasurama, axe-wielding avatar
Rama, warrior-king avatar
Krishna, cowherd avatar
Buddha, enlightened avatar
Kalki, coming avatar to end the current age

This quite clearly exemplifies that the debate phrased as "creationism versus evolution" is unnecessary and rather mute. Indeed, this example of a healthy amalgamation of ancient "religion" and "science" (the "religious-science" of India is known as "Ayurveda") expresses a clear understanding of the principles of human evolution thousands of years before Darwin. Once again my respect for the teachings of India are reaffirmed.

Indeed, many of the texts of the Vedas might be read as encoded scientific formulas, arguably even to the level of expressing advanced "quantum-physics" type principles (perhaps I'll get to the Vedic references to flying machines and other advanced technologies, and even potential references to and evidences of ancient nuclear war, at another time).

Link to book review of Vedic Physics: Scientific Origin of Hinduism


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Maybe Columbus Found India After All: Traces of India Amongst American "Indians"

I promised some evidences of early colonization of America by ancient Indians/
"Hindus" (i.e., people of the Indian subcontinent, south Asia). By these evidences I intend to refute the theory generally held by academia and popular culture that Native Americans all came from north Asia across the Bearing Strait land bridge (as well as the Mormon myth that Native Americans were Hebrew--not to say no Hebrews or other Europeans, Asians, Africans or others ever ventured here before Columbus, just that most early colonists of the "Americas," or as this land was named by it's earlier colonists from India, "Patala," were either Hindu or north Asian).

Indeed, India had established ties with America long before Columbus, Leif Erickson, or even early Chinese explorers set foot on American shores.

One of the above ancient temples is in the Americas, and one is in India. Can you tell which is which?

Apache's call themselves "Inde," i.e., of the Indus Valley, Hindu, "Indian."

Apache people worship Yusn, lord of wealth, one of Siva's names is Jatin, and Siva is known as Lord of Wealth.

Pima god "Siuuhu," or "Sewa." Hindu god Siva.

Viriseva and Vairubai, names of male and female deities worshipped by natives of Northen Mexico. Seem likely to translate to "Lord Siva" ("vira"--"great," "eminent man"; "seva" phonetically close to "Siva")and "Bairavi" (one of Parvati's names, i.e., Siva's consort).

Nah-big, O'Odham (Arizona native tribe) word for water-siphon.
Nag-beg, Kashmiri term for water siphons named after water-serpent deity.

Vah-Mat, O'Odham word for snake.
Veh-Mar, Sanskrit, "poinonous snake."

Baboquivari mountains in southern Arizona, traditional name given by O'Odham people, and a source of much gold.
Baba-Kubera, Sanskrit, "father"-"god of riches and treasure."

Recall that the conquistador Coronado was seeking "Quivira," fabled city of gold. Obviously very much like the name of Hindu deity, "Kubera," again, a god of riches and treasure.

"Some tribes, such as the Huicholes in Central Mexico, even remember from what Indian seaport they left for America - Aramra in Gujarat. The Huicholes revere a part of the beach at the old Mexican seaport of San Blas, Nayarit, as Aramara, "Place of Origin of the Huicholes." Millenniums ago, Gujarat was called Jukhar. Juj-Kha is an O'Odham name for "Mexicans." The Navajos call them Nakaii (Nagas). The Apaches claim to be Inde (Indus People.) They worship Shiva as Yusn. In Sanskrit, Yishan = "Shiva." Apache = "Enemy" in O'Odham. In Sanskrit, Apachnan = "Destroyer." Another name of the Zunis ("Zoonyees") is Ashiwi (Azhuva?, "Way of the Serpent," in Sanskrit). Two of their principal deities are Shivani and Shiwanikoya. Zoonya (Zuni?) and Zeenya ware epithets of ancient Kashmir. According to Indian historian K. P. Chon, the Naga Azhuvas, perhaps the forefathers of the Zunis, were India's oldest ruling dynasty. He said that they ruled for more than a thousand years." (copied from Webpage, "Journey to Baboquivari, Gene Matlock explores the paths of ancient migrations," in the article, "The O'Odham, Native Americans with Ancestors from India?" link at end of post)

Deity's names are useful for finding still extant connections linguistically and culturally, as people generally are more careful to maintain the names of gods than other words. Also, words for the sun and moon often maintain their structure better than other common words.

Cherokee "Lucky Hunter" god, sometimes called first man: Kanati.
Sanskrit for hunter, kSAnta, etymologically quite close to Kanati.

Cherokee goddess of corn, Selu.
Sanskrit "selu" means many, a term oft associated with corn/grain/abundance.

Creek god called on for strength, Hayuya.
Sanskrit for "exhibiting strength," ojAya.

Creek Supreme God was Master of Breath.
Breath, pranayam, is the source of life-energy and is central in Yoga.

Choctaw deity, "Hashtahli," "sun completing it's cycle."
Sanskrit, "asta" setting sun, "li" end.

Cheyenne for "sun," Éše'he.
Again, Sanskrit "asti," setting sun and the direction to India from the Cheyenne lands.

Cheyenne for moon, "Taa'é-eše'he."
Sanskrit for particular full moon, "taiSa."

Sanskrit, "Astika," faithful, one who believes in existence of God/another world.

"Kiva," round half-underground Hopi ceremonial houses.
Sanskrit "ki"--anthill, "va"--dwelling

Maya people.
Maya, hindu Goddess of illusion.

And of course the Swastika (not the tilted version of the Nazi's, mind you) is found from ancient Indus Valley seals to ancient Native American sights.

Most of the above examples were found by a simple comparison of Native American words with words meaning the same in Sanskrit I found in a Sanskrit lexicon, and from similar research done by others. I imagine I could go on for pages and pages with this stuff if I chose, and mind you, these etymological similarities are as strong as any touted by any PhD linguist. Indeed, there is ample evidence that people from ancient India--and very sophisticated peoples, at that--were the forebearers and ancestors of many Native American Tribes. Yet again, the official version of history and archeology is found quite wanting, if not outright in denial of obvious truths of human history.








Monday, November 17, 2008

Mind Your P's and Q's: English-Sanskrit Cognates/Obvious Derivative Words

One of these photos is of an ancient seal found in the Indus Valley depicting Pasupati, "Lord of Beasts," an ancient form of Siva. One of these is from an ancient artifact depicting Cernunnos, the "horned god" of Europe.

Below is a list of words/roots from Sanskrit that are the obvious sources of various English words (many, many other like etymological lineages are extant, if many are not so obvious):

rta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . right (though not "as opposed to left")
hari (as in, "hari krsna") . . . . . . hooray
cut . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . cut
aum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . amen
vidya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . idea
asti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . is (via the German "ist")
svasar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . sister
dva . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . two
trayas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . three
din.gi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . dinghy (small boat)
jangala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . jungle
naranga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . orange
sraman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . shaman
sarkara . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . sugar
kal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . call
amb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ambient
kakh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . cackle
pard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . fart, "pardon me" (maybe a stretch)
pun.d. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to pound
badh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . bad
yoga/yuj . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to yoke
rap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . rap ("talk")
seva . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . service
stha_ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . stand
smi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . smile
lih . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . lick
dam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . dam
sur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . sir
sutee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . soot
prati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pretty (as in "pretty close")
ramb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . rumble
varn.a . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . varnish
vanta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . want
baad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . bath
banda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . bond
carya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . car
dama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . domicile
danta . . . . .. . . . . ... . . . . . dental
divya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . divine
harda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . heart
go (cow) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . god (whew!!!!! Blowing your mind yet?)
jan(to be born) . . . . . . . . . . . . genesis
kri . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . create
nau/navya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . navy
patha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . path
puuy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pee-yoo-ee (i.e., stinks)
sriiv . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . shrivel
tat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . that

And on and on the obvious connections of India and Europe, Sanskrit, the sacred language of India, and European words. Indeed, the Middle East is only and at best intermediary to the truer source of the cultures and religions of "the West."
It is a given in etymology (even in the "Western" academic tradition) that Sanskrit (or the theorized and rather dubious "Indo-European" language) is a major source of European languages, but I just thought I'd offer a few examples to get you thinking about where your culture comes from . . .

Later and more controversial: Sanskrit-Native American language cognates . . .

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Retooling America: "Green" in Ten Years

In the current debate regarding clean and renewable energy versus dirty and war-prone fossil fuel extraction, and the obviously necessary transition from the former to the latter, I have heretofore stood somewhere between the extremes of the "business as usual" approach, and the "100% transition in ten years" approach, largely because I imagined such a radical transition as the latter would cause suffering due to harms done the economy by the means such a radical approach would imply. Perhaps this was intentions of ancestors or "conservative" consciousnesses grasping on to influence in my life, or vestiges of fears having been drilled into my head in recent trialsome times. It has just occurred to me, however, that it has been exactly such radical transitions in the recent history (100 years or so) of this nation's economy that have brought the economy back to "health" after times of hardship.

It was largely due to the radical policies of the "New Deal" that the Great Depression ended . Programs now taken for granted such as Social Security as well as various other radical economic policy shifts, followed by the nation's swift "retooling" to meet the challenges of Nazi and Japanese aggression indeed brought the economic prosperity of this nation very effectively back to better standards of living for the general populace.

Similarly, a radical shift towards an environmentally sound--"Green"--economy might be exactly what is necessary both to ensure the sustainability of our existence on this planet and to spur the economy to a proper and healthy mode of growth to stave off recession. After the New Deal had begun to turn the economy around and to alleviate economic suffering of average folks, the nation-wide mobilization of citizens for the common cause of opposing Nazi oppression and Japanese aggression helped to shift the economy to a level of prosperity comparable to that of the twenties. Similarly, if this nation is spurred to decisive action to make a radical shift towards environmentally sound economy and lifestyles by both discourse (i.e., "media coverage," etc., to encourage individual action), and officially sanctioned and enforced economic and industrial policies (legislation and willful action on the part of industry), then in fact such a radical shift will accomplish both goals of a healthy economy and a healthy relationship with the environment.

Conclusion: It's time to mobilize and act. "Green" within ten years!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

लिल Lila, the Divine Play of Life

लिल (lila) is a term I have found quite useful. With all the injustices and imbalances and inequities and violences I have seen and read of in the world around me, to imagine all this as but scenes in a divine play made the best case for what in “Western” philosophical terminology is called “theodicy,” which is basically the attempt(s) to answer the question, “If God is good and God is omnipotent, how can there exist evil?” To envision all the ills of this world as merely illusion, playing out of something like a scripted theatrical production solves many of the problems in justifying the ills of life. We are thus all merely emanations of aspects of the divine, refracted through a crystalline lens, acting out various scenarios of variegated possibilities of divergence from Self. When all is said and done, the curtains drawn, it all makes sense and there is no further need for justification. All sufferings are shown as merely imaginative experiments of possible pathways, and proper unity and purity are shown as having never having truly faltered.

Not that I ever believed there is no place for justice to be exacted by players in this play, mind you, nor that inexcusable violences or abuses ought be overlooked. Rather I believed that so long as one maintains purity of mind and spirit, nothing cannot be overcome or transformed and fitted within a wholistic view of existence that finds life good and worthy of living, beautiful and aesthetically intact.

Well, someone sought to challenge my very effective mode of dealing with the world's ills, for better or worse, a mode which indeed made ills quite ineffective and evil at most a nuisance. I was drawn into a rather desolate and perverse version of “lila,” and indeed one I am not sure well fits the unified version I had in mind. It seems as if some other contending paradigm sought to prove it’s verity above my own, and specifically the Western version of guilt and the inherent evil of humanity, i.e., Judeo-Christian understandings of sin and guilt and suffering. It seemed rather as if the beliefs and intensions of those I had known when I was a Baptist minister were coming back to haunt me. Indeed, the depression and undue attributions of guilt and fear were again somehow injected into my mind to assail the beautiful and truly liberating mode of existence I had come to know and share along the truly र्त (rta—“righteous," and "correct”) path I had found upon abandoning the errant world view of Christianity.

In the reality I had come to know, evil and ills always met due कर्म-धर्म (karma-dharma, “action-consequence/teaching”), and all of life and being was on an exciting and wonderful journey back to the source, अत्मन् (atman—the true and good and pure and benevolent “Self”). Everything that was not of or commensurate to this good Self would be transformed or burned away in the process of तपसि (tapasia—“purifying fire”) through the course of the pilgrimage that is life (or lives) lived. In actuality, these notions are not so far from some of the teachings of Jeshua ben Joseph (aka, “Jesus”), though from other of his teachings I think he should have spent a bit more time in India learning from the yogis.

In the interim, between beginnings and return to अत्मन् (atman), the here and now is time to practice भुतदय (bhutadaya--"compassion") and योग (yoga—“union,” or as Patanjali in his Yoga sutra put it, “Yoga is the alteration of sense vibration” towards a more pure expression of our true, good divine Self), and to celebrate the beauty of existence and each other, and the archetypal modes of divine play that lead us back to the pure union in and of देव-देवि (Deva-Devi--"God-Goddess").

The challenge I faced was a manipulation of चिदचित् (cidachit—“mind and matter”), a use and abuse of powers of illusion to attempt to dissuade me from my path, and to return me to living as a fearful sheep. Well, despite struggles and sufferings and assaults on and even in my mind, my resolve is still firm. Perhaps I now view the playing field or theater of life with a bit less trust, a bit less of what might be called “naivety,” for better or worse, as it seems clear some have or at least recently have maintained some degree of power to attack that good balance and philosophy I have found. Yet I remain convinced that indeed, “all the world’s a stage” is a better metaphor than many, and that when all is said and done, the plot will meet proper dénouement, and we shall all have cause to rejoice at a play well played.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

There is a story as yet unwritten: truth. This story would make the X-Files seem mundane musings. This tale would likely drive most supposedly sane folks beyond the capacity of reason, and would make the disclosure of those government conspiracies and cover ups that indeed exist, from the knowledge of extra-terrestrial visitations to the acknowledgment of the workings of the hidden governing bodies of this world, and even admission of the reality of सिधि (sidhis, "magical powers") seem but trifles to the truth that lies behind these deeper veils. Certain of the worlds mythologies give glimpses, if one has an eye to read between the lines. Stories of gods and goddesses, constructions of earth and heaven and underworld realms give hints of the manner in which reality is (realities are) made and maintained and destroyed, and to the origin and destination of each and all. Yet these all fall short of the subtle and hidden truth that is yet somewhere unreached by all save a few minds, and likely less than a handful understand this true nature of reality, or ब्रह्मन् (brahman,) to use a language more precise, if perhaps still somewhat lacking in the perfect precision that might describe that to which I am eluding.

This truth is not so "terrible," save as it is far from what we are taught and conditioned to believe. These knowledges are not of "heaven" nor "hell," nor any such mundane metaphors. Perhaps more like the still waters of a mountain lake, or the majesty of a mountain, yet not quite nor merely. It is not what most understand as "God," nor can this be reduced to dogma. It might be read as not entirely unlike a लिल (lila, Sanskrit for "divine play"), and yet without acting. Simplicity that would strike dumb our busy world, wisdom that would make the most revered of men and women seem fools.

Light and dark are not even applicable terms to describe that of which I am here endeavoring a feeble and humble attempt to put in words. Resonant with human concepts of good and true and right, yet not encompassed therein, though not breaking with purity. This of which I speak is always already present within each and all, and yet can scarce be grasped, and again, even less easily conveyed in words. Not silence, nor din, though may to some degree be apprehended in solitude, and on occasion in music, both of human artifice and of the song of birds and the wind, rain falling, crickets chirping, waves crashing upon the shore and a rivers rush towards the sea, and even the subtle hum or aum of earth and sky and beyond.

Blessings . . .

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Here goes my first endeavor at this medium, endeavored partially to vent my fury regarding the state of things in this insane world, partially to make myself more available to people I have known and loved over the years, and partially because the words I write might just make a difference, however slight, in the lives of any who happens to read this one of so many millions of like pages of rants published as "blogs."

Regarding the content I intend to print in this medium, well, everything from personal narratives to politics, religion to science, counterculture musings to mainstream criticism. I have lived an interesting life thus far, and though perhaps not so well travelled as many, have encountered some truly amazing places and peoples, ideas and inside information on the underbelly of this land and the subtle workings of life.

I've been a Baptist preacher and a sadhu, a wandering hippie and a working man, and I have only just begun to explore and experience the wonders of this world. Hopefully those insights and experiences I intend to share in these entries will offer inspiration, hope, and cause whoever happens to peruse these pages to question what ought to be questioned and to have strengthened faith in what is solid and true and good in this beautiful and crazy world.

Enough for now . . .