About Me

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I am a mystic madman, a wandering wildman, scholar of esoterica, dilettante sadhu, dready-headed hippie (only have a few jata on the back of my head right now, though more be forming of this third set of knotted hair), gentle yogi, fierce foe of falsity. I was a preacher, but I renounced that. I was married, but she renounced me. I was a grad student at one of the top universities in the world on my way to becoming a professor, but I realized they taught lies there too. I am protector of souls, lover of mountains, smoker of herb, fond of hot springs, oceans and lakes and rivers and rain and sunshine, devotee of Devi.

Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Liberation From Rent Serfdom: A National Renters Coop

In my musings and considerations of such things as shelter, if I'm not mistaken first considered whilst living on the streets and sometimes sleeping by the river in Chattanooga, habiting coffeehouses downtown, on the bluff and in the North Shore, I considered the absurdity and futility of so many young people who are trying to find their place after leaving family home, bouncing from city to city and throwing away thousands and thousands of dollars on rent before they might finally find a place to purchase a home.  I had myself sworn off rent for many years, preferring a mobile abode, whether an rv or a boat, to what I dubbed "rent serfdom," at least until I came back from a second rather harrowing and disheartening journey out east.  I might note, I'm soon to reembark on adventures in a mobile abode, again escaping "rent serfdom," but I though it pertinent to share a notion I had whilst considering this normative lot of young people, whether in the university, professional or service industry oriented or blue collar, and wondered if there might be a way for such young people (not to mention other more established renters) to cooperatively utilize their collective equity to purchase the apartment building they abide in that the moneys that would be profit for the land owner would go into a collective fund that would be invested in the sustainable and environmentally friendly improvements on the tenement and invested similarly, that after a certain period paying market rate rent the renter would be able to have the return of a certain percent of the rent paid over however many years, perhaps with dividends!

If this model might be successfully begun with a few reasonably sized apartment buildings or complexes, high rise tenements or such, the cooperative organization could then help other cooperatives to purchase their apartment building in other cities, with either a nationwide organization or agreements between coops that would allow individuals to carry their coop account, and that investment they have made with whatever portion of their rent moneys, with them to their new coop-tied apartment in another city.  There would certainly be an option to cash out after a certain period renting through the coop, and perhaps other ways to access said investment for other purposes.

Though I am quite illiterate regarding  the ways of finance, the basic idea is that if the profit received from a renter paying market rate rent is an investment rather than enriching corporations or tenement owners, the renters will thus have a nest egg upon the cessation of their lease, rather than starting from square one each time they move.  Though this is just a rough estimate, if someone pays say $50,000 on rent in a coop owned building over five years, they might have $10,000 or more they could take with them upon ceasing to be a coop renter, else could perhaps eventually purchase the apartment they abide in with the coop.

Obviously I haven't worked out the details insofar as either the financial or legal considerations, but it has occurred to me this means might be a way for people to be free from the cycles of "rent serfdom" and quit throwing their hard earned money to the wind.

PLEASE feel free to develop this idea and share it with others that such a means might manifest to empower our brothers and sisters, mamas and papas and others as they endeavor to make a go of it in this world of mobility.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Ramayana: Why is Ram such a jerk to Sita . . .?!

The Ramayana: Why is Ram such a jerk to Sita . . .?!

Though I've been turned on to the “Hindu” religion (more properly known as sanAtana dharma) since Shivaratri of 1997, I only recently purchased and perused a copy of one of the pinnacle sacred texts of said religion, the Ramayana. This epic tells of a King named Ram, who is in fact an incarnation of God, who loses His kingdom because of a jealous stepmother and then loses His wife to a demon king who kidnaps Her and takes Her across the sea to his kingdom Lanka (Sri Lanka). Ram battles many demons through the course of the story, and then with the help of the Monkey god Hanuman, Ram battles the demon king Ravana and then returns to rule His kingdom Ayodya.

A few things very much impressed me about the true tale told in the Ramayana, perhaps foremost (in a positive regard), that of the demons Rama slays through the course of the action, some find redemption delivered them through the wrath of God being exacted upon their hides. The first of these demons redirected towards dharma who find deliverance by Ram's wrath as mentioned in the tale told is the demon Mareecha.

Mareecha and Subhahu were a pair of huge and terrible demons who had desecrated the sacred fires and prayers and devotions of the sages at Vishwamitra's ashram. Ram and Lakshmana promised to protect the holy sages and their ashram, and laid in wait for the two vile demons to attack the sages. When they appeared, they looked like great hills of stone, hair red as blood and rotting flesh dripping from their claws. Rama and Lakshmana realized no ordinary arrows would fell these massive demons. Ram chanted a mantra Vishwamitra the great sage had taught Him, and His Manavastra weapon flew towards the demon Mareecha like lightning and thunder. The Manavastra struck Mareecha and conveyed him miles away and into the sea, where he sunk deep into the water and into the caves at the bottom of the sea, though to his surprise, Mareecha was still alive. Subhahu was readily slain and became but a pile of ashes.

Later in the story we discover that Mareecha had turned from his evil ways and was living as a hermit in a hut in the forest caring for the birds and animals. It turns out, Mareecha was uncle to Ravana, the villain of the story. Ravana comes to Mareecha to order him to disguise himself as a golden deer to help Ravana enact his plot to kidnap Sita. After attempting to disuade Ravana from his evil plan, Mareecha consents, recognizing it is his fate to be slain by the arrow of Rama. Mareecha does his duty and is indeed slain by Ram's arrow after leading Rama and His brother Lakshmana away from Sita, that Ravana might steal Her away to Lanka.

On another occasion, Rama and Sita and Lakshmana were wandering through the Dandaka forest, when a great and terrible demon came out of the forest covered with the entrails of dead animals and charged at them. Viradhha had blood dripping from his mouth and certainly stank of rot.

 Ram and Lakshmana flung many arrows at the raging demon, though none seemed to stay his rage until Ram aimed an arrow at the center of the demon's forehead, just above the brow. Rama placed His foot upon the throat of the fallen and dieing demon, when suddenly with a flash of light, the disgusting demon disappeared and a handsome young man with a kind visage rose from where the body had fallen.

The young man told Rama and Lakshmana that he had once been a Gandharva abiding in heaven, and had been cursed to become a demon living in the forest. Ram slaying him had freed him, and this angel freed from a curse soared away into the sky to assume his proper place singing and playing music in heaven. Gandharvah and Apsarasah are what in the Western religions are known as angels, the Gandharvah as heavenly musicians, and Apsarasah are flying nymphs who generally present themselves as chaste “angels” to the children of the Western traditions, due to the relative immaturity of most of those folks.

A third demon that Ram saves by savaging is a fellow named Kabandha, a rather curious demon who had his mouth in the center of his belly. Rama and Lakshmana slayed this foe, as they always did and do, and Kabandha said in a kind voice that he had been awaiting that day for years, cursed by Indra and Holy men for being a punk-ass, turning himself into an evil form to frighten people.

 A golden chariot drawn by six white horses appeared from the sky to convey Kabandha to heaven, though not before Kabandha tells Rama to seek Sugriva, the Chief of the Monkeys and thus directs Ram to Hanuman, the Monkey god, who both later help Rama to free Sita from Her bondage.

Indeed, from the account proffered in the Ramayana, it becomes apparent that sanAtana dharma, aka “Hinduism,” does offer a greater grace than the Abrahamic religions, as by performing their dharma even the demons can find redemption.

 What benificence!! What gracious and kind means this Divine!! Then why is Ram such a jerk to Sita, His purportedly beloved Wife, once He and Hanuman and the army of monkeys save Her from the clutches of Ravana?!
Upon Sita being rescued, She willing goes through the fire to prove Her purity and faithfulness to Ram, somewhat at His insistence. They return to Ayodya, and despite Sita having already proven Herself true, upon Ram's subjects calling Her into question Ram sends Sita away to live at the ashram of Valmiki, where She gives birth to Rama's Sons Cush and Luv.

What a jerk, right?!

Once Ram's servants, including Hanuman, come across the adolescent boys Cush and Luv in the forest, and are readily defeated by the scrappy boys, Ram goes into the forest with an army to confront these purported foes, and then discovers them to be His Sons.

 Though pleased to have found His Sons healthy and well trained and taught by Valmiki, and willing to take them to rule Ayodya with Him, Ram still refuses to take Sita back as His Wife and Divine Consort. Sita bows to Ram's will and apparent rejection, and chooses to return to Mother Earth from whnence She came.

WHAT A JERK!! Right?! After so many years of faithful devotion, and even after Ram's initial rejection, Sita still gives way to Ram's will, and returns to the earth from where She had emerged at Her infancy.

 What a jerk!!

 Lest you remember that said Divine Pair were for many lifetimes at play in love, and that They would return to earth as Radha and Krishna, again at play in their abiding love in the forest, as Radha, one of many Gopis, does follow Her Most Excellent Lover, pining after Him as He wanders the woods even as He's blessing so many other women with His loveplay, and again blessing Laksmi, Mother Earth and Goddess of Wealth and Beauty as She did manifest again to play with Her Beloved Vishnu.

Many lessons are taught in the Ramayana, if some require some patience and the surrender of notions of decency and propriety and what devotion means to discover. Among these lessons is that our life stories are not ever to be contained in one lifetime lived, as everyone's karma and dharma spans many lifes and many loves, even sometimes through very dispicible lifetimes and incarnations lived. Our dances with eachother and with “God” are to be read over lifetimes and in fact over the span of ages and eons . . . 

Namaste

Wednesday, April 12, 2017



                                          ई

Devanagari letter I, as in the English personal pronoun . . . one of the most curious spells of modern history, truth be known.  The Devanagari letter and the sound it represents is one of Lalitha's names, Maha Shakti the Great Mother.  Lalitha is particularly known for Her playfulness . . . Every time somebody intones said personal pronoun they are invoking Her, not unlike when people cheer "Hooray!! Hoorah!!" they are invoking Hari-Hara" . . .
Consider how curvy ई is compared to the i and I . . . This might be indicative of the "Western" approach to "God," which the Abrahamic religions attempt to render as a monologic, "straight," figure, as opposed to the playful and variegated and multifaceted Divine presented in sanAtana dharma, a Divine that is real as we are real, not so easily delineated or readily inscribed . . .