In a dungeon, a bed of fire
From an exploded sphere
With a look
The war is begun
A sexless mask
In the caves of the sea.
WAR – ABATU
Conflict; the clashing of vision and destinies. The attempt by others to wrest away the Destiny of one individual and thus disrupt the greater Wyrd. A clouding of vision that creates doubts, lack of direction, susceptibility to outside forces and possibly, if insight is lost, the renouncing of a quest. The hardship imposed by the consequences of actions, but by the suffering such striving imposes, Wisdom – and Destiny – may be attained. Awareness of those factors – such as other people – that may fulfill Destiny, and the hard practical realities of striving to create this fulfillment. Sadness and wisdom and creativity through loss.
brāhmam astraṁ pradarśitam
naivāsau veda saṁhāraṁ
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Know from Me that this is the act of the son of Droṇa. He has thrown the hymns of nuclear energy [brahmāstra], and he does not know how to retract the glare. He has helplessly done this, being afraid of imminent death.
The brahmāstra is similar to the modern nuclear weapon manipulated by atomic energy. The atomic energy works wholly on total combustibility, and so the brahmāstra also acts. It creates an intolerable heat similar to atomic radiation, but the difference is that the atomic bomb is a gross type of nuclear weapon, whereas the brahmāstra is a subtle type of weapon produced by chanting hymns. It is a different science, and in the days gone by such science was cultivated in the land of Bhārata-varṣa. The subtle science of chanting hymns is also material, but it has yet to be known by the modern material scientists. Subtle material science is not spiritual, but it has a direct relationship with the spiritual method, which is still subtler. A chanter of hymns knew how to apply the weapon as well as how to retract it. That was perfect knowledge. But the son of Droṇācārya, who made use of this subtle science, did not know how to retract. He applied it, being afraid of his imminent death, and thus the practice was not only improper but also irreligious. As the son of a brāhmaṇa, he should not have made so many mistakes, and for such gross negligence of duty he was to be punished by the Lord Himself.
na hy asyānyatamaṁ kiñcid
jahy astra-teja unnaddham
astra-jño hy astra-tejasā
O Arjuna, only another brahmāstra can counteract this weapon. Since you are expert in the military science, subdue this weapon’s glare with the power of your own weapon.
For the atomic bombs there is no counterweapon to neutralize the effects. But by subtle science the action of a brahmāstra can be counteracted, and those who were expert in the military science in those days could counteract the brahmāstra. The son of Droṇācārya did not know the art of counteracting the weapon, and therefore Arjuna was asked to counteract it by the power of his own weapon.
śrutvā bhagavatā proktaṁ
spṛṣṭvāpas taṁ parikramya
brāhmaṁ brāhmāstraṁ sandadhe
Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: Hearing this from the Personality of Godhead, Arjuna touched water for purification, and after circumambulating Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, he cast his brahmāstra weapon to counteract the other one.
āvṛtya rodasī khaṁ ca
When the rays of the two brahmāstras combined, a great circle of fire, like the disc of the sun, covered all outer space and the whole firmament of planets.
The heat created by the flash of a brahmāstra resembles the fire exhibited in the sun globe at the time of cosmic annihilation. The radiation of atomic energy is very insignificant in comparison to the heat produced by a brahmāstra. The atomic bomb explosion can at utmost blow up one globe, but the heat produced by the brahmāstra can destroy the whole cosmic situation. The comparison is therefore made to the heat at the time of annihilation.
Kali is first described in the Devi-Mahatmya, written around 600CE, where she is said to have emanated from the brow of the goddess Durga (slayer of demons) during one of the battles between the divine and anti-divine forces. In this context, Kali is considered the ‘forceful’ form of the great goddess Durga. Other goddesses who are less associated with warfare, such as Parvati, Sita and Sati, are also said to emanate Kali, or even become her, to defeat enemies. These enemies are sometimes only susceptible to female assault, making the intervention of the male consort impossible. In some cases, the Kali produced is even able to destroy a far greater enemy than her consort, as when Sita becomes Kali to defeat a thousand-headed Ravana. As her consort Rama is usually the warrior, but in this case freezes in fear, some take this to be a sign of the great potential power of women, when their Shakti is not controlled by and gifted to a male consort.
Another account of the origins of Kali is found in the Matsya Purana, which states that she originated as a mountain tribal goddess in the north-central part of India, in the region of Mount Kalanjara (now known as Kalinjar). However this account is disputed because of the relatively newly written nature of the Matsya Purana. The Vedas (which were written much before the Puranas) associate the name Kali with the most horrifying, black tongue of the seven flickering tongues of Agni, the Hindu god of fire.
Kali has become massively linked with Shiva in the later traditions. The unleashed form of Kali often becomes wild and uncontrollable, and only Shiva is able to tame her. This is both because she is often a transformed version of one of his consorts and because he is able to match her wildness. His methods vary from challenging her to the wild tandava dance and outdoing her, to appearing as a crying infant and appealing to her maternal instincts. While Shiva is said to be able to tame her, the iconography often presents her dancing on his fallen body, and there are accounts of the two of them dancing together, and driving each other to such wildness that the world comes close to unravelling.
Shiva’s involvement with Tantra and Kali’s dark nature have led to her becoming an important Tantric figure. To the Tantric worshippers, it was essential to face her Curse, the terror of death, as willingly as they accepted Blessings from her beautiful, nurturing, maternal aspect. For them, wisdom meant learning that no coin has only one side: as death cannot exist without life, so life cannot exist without death. Kali’s role sometimes increased beyond a chaos who could be confronted to bring wisdom, and she is given great metaphysical significance by some Tantric texts. The Nirvana-tantra clearly presents her uncontrolled nature as the Ultimate Reality, claiming that the trimurti of Brahma, Visnu and Siva arise and disappear from her like bubbles from the sea. Although this is an extreme case, the Yogini-tantra, Kamakhya-tantra and the Niruttara-tantra declare her the svarupa (own-being) of the Mahadevi (the great Goddess, who is in this case seen as the combination of all devis).
The final stage of development is the worshipping of Kali as the Great Mother, devoid of her usual violence or foulness. This tradition is a break from the more traditional depictions, and as a popular movement with little philosophical or literary backing it can easily be overlooked. The pioneers of this tradition are the Shakta poets such as Ramprasad (1718? - 1775?), who show an awareness of Kali’s ambivalent nature. Rachel McDermott’s work, however, suggests that for the common worshipper, Kali is not seen as fearful, and only those educated in old traditions see her as having a wrathful component.
In most early representations, skulls, cemeteries, and blood are associated with her worship. She is black, naked and emaciated. Her face is azure, streaked with yellow, her glance is ferocious; her disheveled and bristly hair is usually shown splayed and spread like the tail of a peacock and sometimes braided with green serpents. She wears a long necklace (descending almost to her knees) of human skulls or intestines. She may be shown wearing a girdle of severed arms. Children’s corpses as earrings (likeliest representing natural infant mortality and childhood mortality from causes such as disease), and cobras as bracelets or garlands add to her terrifying adornments. Her purple lips are often shown streaming with blood; her tusk-like teeth descend over her lower lip; and her tongue lolls out. She is often shown standing on the inert form of her consort, Shiva. When portrayed in sexual union with him, she straddles his prone body, showing her domination and breaking from traditional gender roles. She is sometimes accompanied by she-demons. In certain representations, her four arms hold weapons or the severed head of a demon, while also making the ‘peace’ and ‘boon-giving’ gestures: these symbolize both her creative and her destructive power, for in some traditions Kali personifies the ambivalence of deity, which manifests itself, according to much of Indian tradition, in the unceasing cycle of life and death, creation and destruction.
From a mountain of skulls
A rose garden cracks
Two women walk through;
The corpse in a wedding dress
No longer guides
Four waterfalls flood the Earth
And books become ash …
MISTRESS OF EARTH – DAVCINA
Empathic manipulation (such as ‘enchantment’) to create Change via causal structure – amoral acts that may conventionally be seen as ‘evil’. Actions provoked by unfettered passions and a reveling in the physical pleasures and challenges of life. “Ruthless ambition”. Creativity and Change via destruction – ie. War, culling.
bhramat samantad bhagavat-prayuktam
dandagdhi dandagdhy ari-sainyam ashu
kaksham yatha vata-sakho hutashaha
Set into motion by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and wandering in all the four directions, the disc of the Supreme Lord has sharp edges as destructive as the fire of devastation at the end of the millennium. As a blazing fire burns dry grass to ashes with the assistance of the breeze, may the Sudarshana chakra burn our enemies to ashes.
“Considering your specific duty as a ksatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles; and so there is no need for hesitation. O Partha, happy are the ksatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets.”
- Bhagavad-gita As It Is 2:31-32
How many men have I killed in Your service, Sweet One? How many more will I kill?
Krishna is the Supreme Controller, and the Supreme Enjoyer. It is He who has made me as I am. It is He who loves my hate-filled soul. Govinda, I would commit any atrocity for You, and I will as surely stay my hand at Your leisure. I am Your servant, and You may call on me for acts of love, acts of death, or acts of mind-numbing mundanity. Thou art mine, and I am Thine. ;)