3/5/07

Waves of Beauty, Rivers of Blood

It’s been an exhausting two weeks. I don’t want to divulge too much, but suffice to say that I’ve gotten roughly three hours of sleep in the last four days. I don’t know if this makes a whit of sense, but after being flung into the morass of one stressful situation after another, my anxiety has plateaued, and I feel that I can’t possibly be more stressed out than I already am and an uncharacteristic calm has washed over me.

Anyway, in order to take my mind off well, stress; I buried myself in the material required for one of my classes. We have an ongoing project in this class which constitutes 50% of our final grade and it includes the all important final presentation along with papers submitted at regular intervals on our respective topics (we had to choose from five singular topics) and one of the topics was to understand and fabricate the identity of the Hindu great Goddess (sic) and to piece Her together through pietistic experience.

After poring over several publications and dissertations and articles ranging from being quite appealing to utterly ludicrous to plain bizarre; I have to admit that I’m hooked. Our history (well, religious or otherwise) is absolutely wondrous, to put it mildly.

To methodize the murky reserves of information crammed into my mind, I decided to distinguish the early history of the Goddesses in my study and I also put them in different groups. I will not elaborate on all the groups but I will however expand on one category which I was completely enamored by; the history and the evolution of the warrior Goddess.

I was quite familiar with the myths and the traditions and the various stories dealing with the origin and the evolution of the pan-Indian martial goddess but I always found them largely inconclusive. For one, I never really understood how an often fierce, autarchic and irrepressible Goddess figure can somehow become a docile and an obedient consort of Shiva, representing the values connected to a ‘typical’ Hindu wife. With more obsessive reading however, I could finally dispel the cobwebs in my mind and begin to comprehend the proto-legends with respect to the warrior Goddess and Her counterparts.

When I think warrior Goddess, Goddesses like Durga, Chamundi and Chandika immediately take precedence in my mind. But I discovered that the ideology behind any Warrior Goddess* we worship today was mainly derived from Her ancient predecessor Vindhyavaasini (literally meaning She who resides in the Vindhyas). It could also be surmised that Vindhyavaasini was a classificatory sobriquet rather than an individual name of the Goddess.

The earliest attestation of the mythology of Vindhyavaasini was in the Harivamsa (1st and 2nd centuries C.E) where she was integrated into the life story of Krishna and she was also coupled with two other goddesses Ekanamsa (a sister of Krishna) and Nidra (the goddess of sleep). In Shaivaite history, she was first mentioned in the Skandapurana as being born out of Parvati’s sloughed off dark skin and she was referred to as Kaushiki.

Vindhyavaasini however existed independently of both the Bhagavata and the Shaiva legends. She was originally said to be a local deity in the Vindhyas and she was aggressive, ferocious, turbulent and generous and She was considered a favorite of the people on the fringes of society i.e. robbers, dacoits, hunters and criminals. Her abode was the jungles of the Vindhya Mountains and her attendants were demons (of both genders), ghosts and terrifying spirits. She could only be appeased by meat offerings (hunters usually offered their best catch to Her) and strong liquor. She had very dark skin and was said to have four hands; each holding a trident, a drinking cup (said to be filled with wine), a sword and a lotus. Her upper cloth was yellow in color and the cloth covering the lower half of Her body was black. She was not associated with any God through matrimony or otherwise and She was said to exist and function as a unique entity. In all Her resplendence, She consumes liquor and She dances with her ghastly ganas, laughing uproariously (Harivamsa 48.32: saavaini´si tamograste babhau bhuutaganakule nrtyatiı hasatiı caiva vipariıtena bhaasvatiık) and it is said that Her laughter would fill Her enemies with fear and dread.

However when the need was felt to integrate the local divinities into the tenets of Shaivism, Vindhyavaasini was incorporated or Sanskritized into an aspect of Parvati, which firmly placed Parvati (a spousal deity) at the very top of the Goddess hierarchy clearly decreasing the importance of Vindhyavaasini with respect to Parvati.

Now Korravai (or Kotai or Kotravai) was an ancient Tamil war goddess and She could be very well be an aspect of Vindhyavaasini for all we know^. She was also said to be bellicose, dark skinned and terrifying. She was first mentioned during the Sangam period as a fierce war Goddess in Korravai nilai from the Tolkkapiyam. She supposedly enjoyed animal sacrifices and buffaloes were usually sacrificed in Her name. Alcohol was used to appease Her as well. Just like Vindhyavaasini in the North She was not associated with any God or any male entity through matrimony or otherwise. And it was also said that She resided in the forest with her battalions of ghouls, demons, spirits and other ghastly entities. What really took me by surprise however was Her strange and terrifying role in the history of Tamil militarism as the Goddess who demanded the lives of Her warriors when their commander was successful at war. Warriors would pledge their lives to Korravai willingly and slit their throats when their leader was victorious in battle and this practice (martial suicide in other words) was called Navakandam. An example of this practice is illustrated in the Kalingathu Parani (a work dedicated to the Chola king Kulotunga) as seen in this excerpt,


The temple of Korravai is decorated with lotus flowers which bloomed when the warriors sliced their own necks.


[sic]

I absolutely adore the idea that we did in fact have Goddesses who existed autonomously without any connection to a male Deity. Call me biased but I find the idea of a goddess who was dark, single, chaotic, uncontrollable and munificent at the same time, exceptionally glorious. And to top it all off She consumed alcohol! Strong liquor was one of Vindhyavaasini’s and Korravai’s staple offerings and to me that just hits the stratosphere of coolness, for want of a better word.

As I wade through the mire of information required for this project, I am beginning to comprehend the notion that the identity of the Goddess in Indian mythology is both tenebrous and infallible.

And I wouldn't want it any other way.

* Warrior goddesses should not be confused with dreadful goddesses i.e. goddesses like Kali, Kalashankarshini, Mrityu etc.

^ Pure speculation on my part.

43 comments:

Vasu the terrible said...

Amazing,

Tantra talks about this in great detail especially the godess being a source of power and enlightenment.

Glad to hear you are doing proper research on this.

Rudra is shiva consumed by the anger of Dakshayini's death. Rudra is only when the balance in the ardanarishwara is tipped.

By and large atleast shaivism has given parvati her pride in place as ardanariswara. Its wrong to interpret parvati as a dutiful wife of shiva.

Shiva and his philosophy does not represent classist, elitist, brahminical interpretation of hinduism.

Shiva is parvati. He is androgynus represented by the union of yoni and lingam.

Its not just about facts, but also about interpretations and there are many of them. All legitimate.

Aman said...

Maam,

Do u have any fan club,if not please permit me to start one??

Landed on ur blog thru a frnd of my frnds frnds(ohh!! did i get a frnd extra, NO maybe its one less)


:)

Love ur feminism and anti-rascist work.

Let the juggernaut roll, the momentum will definately bring about a change.

Urban Bourbon Ninja said...

Dark skinned, eats a lot of meat, drinks a lot, dances crazily and four hands... i think i might have gone out with her once...

anonymouse said...

Funny, I always thought of Parvati as an ancient Indian version of Superman.

Meek, mild mannered Clark Kent - Parvati
Superman - Durga

What better way to hide all that ferocity than by pretending to be a mild mannered, loving wife? Though IIRC, Parvati was never mild mannered, just polite.

Kali is a warrior (as opposed to a warrior goddess). Her role is to destroy, not to inspire destruction.

Mrityu isn't a goddess, Yamini is.

Jay Sun said...

Very nicely written... :)

the wannabe indian punkster said...

@ Vasu: Let me begin by saying that the identity of the Goddess figure in India is a tad convoluted and not clear-cut. In other words, the dissimilarity between the diverse types of Goddesses (spousal goddess, warrior goddess, dreadful goddess, and mother goddess etc. to name a few) does not really depend on pious attachments except maybe for the consort goddess or the spousal goddess. The other types of the Goddess subtend different religious tendencies. One of the cardinal reasons for the greater resilience and flexibility of the individuality of the Goddess in different contexts fundamentally rests on religious outlook rather than deistic ideology. Also, the application of the highly adaptable conception of Sakthi to the Goddess may have also strengthened the pliancy of the Goddess figure. That being said, Parvati in her essentiality is a consort-goddess and I am consciously excluding her ‘other’ aspects i.e. her aggressive aspect and her dreadful aspect to promote specificity with respect to a particular type or aspect of the Goddess figure as a whole. Parvati is said to embody the values of a good, dutiful Hindu wife and you must remember that this is one of Her many aspects and I would expect you to differentiate between descriptive epithets and derogatory allusions to Parvati. Calling Parvati a consort Goddess and listing out her duties as a spousal Goddess alone to maintain specificity is not a derogatory allusion, it is a descriptive epithet.

@ Aman: Thank you!

@ Ninja: Blasphemy!

@ Anonymouse: I dig your Parvati/Superman analogy.

Actually Mrityu is a Goddess. One of the chapters of the Skandapurana addresses the story of Sati and the horrifying events that took place in the sacrifice organized by Daksha. According to the Skandapurana (32.228-30), Kaalakarni was formed to destroy the sacrifice of Daksha and She is described to be an enormous, terrifying Goddess with a gaping mouth and several sharp protruding teeth and she possessed many weapons (of course). After She had carried out her orders of destroying the sacrifice She was handed over to Brahma who renamed her Mrityu and assigned Her the office to bring death to all living creatures. That’s why I mentioned Her in my mini-list at the end of this post.

@ Jay Sun: Thank you!

Vasu said...

Sure, I understand your constraint in having to define roles and characteristics. That is the approach of academics. definitive, factual and objective.

But spirituality is lot more. Before proceeding, let me get this pesky little thing away. I am by no means saying, calling parvati a dutiful wife as being derogatory. Hope that is clarified.

If you analyse parvati's life, she as always been a rebell even in her death. She rebelled against a castist dad (Daksha) in marrying Shiva (an outcaste living in a cemetry against her dad's wishes). She rebelled against Shiva in attending her dad's maha yagna. She rebelled and commited suicide when insulted by her own father, protecting the honour of Shiva.

No where in Parvati's life could you detect a pattern of submissive acceptance. She was her own self.

By being on the side of Shiva, she denotes that Shiva needed shakthi as much as shakthi needs shiva. Interdependance and sharing is not indication of submission.

Prior to parvati's arrival in Shiva's life, Shiva had little identity of his own. Its only later that he was revered as Ardhanariswara. Shakthi is essential in Shiva and vice versa.

In spirituality Shakthi and shiva are different representations. At the end of the day both in unision form the life force that moves the world. This has been acknowledged in innumerable traditions of hinduism.

The shiva lingam is Shiva's penis conjoined from the Shakthi's yoni in peak excitement. That is the biggest proof of parvati's equality with Shiva. There is no warrior godess influence in that aspect. Thats not mariamma, Thats not chamundi and not badhrakali. Thats parvati or Shakthi.

If shiva can turn into rudra, Shakthi can turn into kali. In today's world kali worship is as much sacred (if not less), popular as that of shiva. Case in point Maha shivaratri and Navaratri. Its a nobrainer which is more popular.

Parvati that way is Shakthi, independant, her own self.

She is one side of the cosmos, the other being shiva. IF you are looking for the complete, you cant have one without the other.

vasu

Vasu said...

oh btw. The identity is convoluted only if you look at it as different people and different things. A typical western linear way of analysing things. Look at each goddess as a seperate from each other.

Each representation, borrows and draws inspiration from the other. They are even from a scientific perspective interconnected in their characteristics.

But for true spiritual persuit, thats just flaff. At the end of the day, you just feel the force coming from a personal experience.

Its therefore an excise in futility to sperate the contributions of each of these representations to the collective hindu thought. What will you negate from each of these representation and on what basis.

If Mahishasura was killed by some warrior goddess, is it possible to even figure out weather that warrior goddess is kali ? or chamundi ?

What if its the same female force behind all this. And like photographs they appear different during different states ?

At the end of the day, its what people make out of that killing of mahishasura. There is no way to go back to the roots and verify who killed him.

Thats when the realisation comes that they are one and yet they are different.

Unfortunately, western logic is the wrong tool to be used to understand eastern philosophies.

Ref: 5 blind men touching an elephant.

I am not sure that line of study would be conclusive. That ofcourse depends on your objective and premise.

Yet curious to see what comes out of it.

PTP (point to ponder): I am not disagreeing with what you have posted. Just looking at it differently.

vasu

moontalk said...

oh wow!
I always thought that we had a pretty neat list of super cool godesses in Hindu mythology, as opposed to one super cool god (a.k.a Shiva, who if I'm not wrong, is the only one to resort to unimaginable-for-a-God-things like drinking and smoking up). But this stuff is awesome, guess I should be reading up more.

Szerelem said...

OMG....you are into hindu mythology as well!!! Excellent post btw. Added to my knowledge and answered some questions that I have had about the representation of the godess.
And I see you are also doing academic posts as well :P
I just wrote a huge ass post on science and feminism...hehehe

anonymouse said...

Hmmm, interesting.

http://www.hivatlas.org/gitasociety/index.php?html=hindu_puran1&vs=04

indicates differently.


Kam had a son named Harsh from his wife Nandi, Bhrigu's wife Khyati gave birth to a daughter named Lakshmi--the consort of Lord Vishnu. Lord Rudra accepted Sati--the daughter of Daksha Prajapati as his wife. Hinsa was the wife of Adharm and gave birth to Anrit and Nikriti. Anrit had two sons---Maya and Narak, while Nikriti had two daughters--Maya and Vedana. Maya married Maya while Vedana became the wife of Narak. Maya had a son named Mrityu--the lord of death and Vedana gave birth to Dukh. Five children were born to Mrityu--Vyadhi, Jara, Shok, Trishna and Krodha. All of them were celibates and had no progeny.

Anonymous said...

punkstar aunti u thk tht u are a big guru of our culture and religon. dnt u knw dat durga mata is the great goddess who killed mahisa nd dats why het oter name is mahisasuramardini. durga mata is also a gud wife of Shiv and u never said nethin bout durga mata. nd u happily tlk abt vindya mein ek mata who nebody knows. and there is proof dat korrai is also durga and ppl in the south also prayed 2 durga so pls do research before u act like expat.

the wannabe indian punkster said...

@ Vasu: I will answer your comments shortly.

@ Moontalk: The goddesses in Hindu mythology will shock you with their levels of coolness. I mean, I always knew that we had and still do have powerful goddess figures, but reading up on their history gives you a new found respect, ya know?

@ Szerelem: Heh, thank you! I do *try* to publish academic posts every one in a while, I guess I should do this more often! And I read your science and feminism post btw and I thought it was lovely.

@ Anonymouse: Right, I know. I know that Mrityu is considered the god of death in the Padma Purana as well as the Vishnu purana (chapter 7, I think). However, I found the representation of Mrityu as a dreadful Goddess in the Skanda Purana most intriguing.

@ Anon: Wow. Can you type in earth english, please? Reading through your comment was hard enough, I cant even begin to point out the glaring aberrations in your excuse for an argument.

hedonistic hobo said...

why were the last few you mentioned dreadful goddesses?
i like vasu the commenter, he offered a few interesting critiques. unlike the others your posts attract sometimes. :)
thanks for this. hindu mythology is probably my weakest subject. i have a friend whose parents are spiritual gurus, i shit you not. so whenever we're toking like good shaivites, i insist he educate me in the manner my grandma used to before bedtime. :)
so now the task is yours as well.

McGermy said...

Right.. I had a quick run through the article and since pirates aren't too crazy about all this, I don't have much to say.

So, let me waltz right ahead and do the thing I most enjoy. Anon baiting.

Hell ther Anonumou.. di yuo laways typ ths wya? Ym Eyse re BLEEDIGN!!!!!

BTw, punkster, I've tried my best to decode this, but I'm in the dark.. "pls do research before u act like expat." - why does one need to do research before acting like an ex-pat???? That just stumps me.

Primalsoup said...

After all those intelligent comments, all I can say is, nicely written. And hope you are feeling better! :)

Jay Sun said...

Happy Woman's Day :)

Have a great year !

Perspective Inc. said...

Made for a fascinating read!Am curious/interested enough to dig into this a little more and just read up a bit more..

Anonymous said...

punkstar y dnt u listen. aapka mgemy dost here thinks she is ek dum smart. ths is between u nd me so tell ur dost to not interfere. wht im sayin is dat u cnt type out itna big post on war goddess nd not evn say nethin bout durga mata. durga mata is the only war goddess nd u 4gt to say nethin i thk nd ur makin excuses. nd whts ur prblm if i type lik dis neway?

Anonymous said...

mgemy aunti, tell me wats ur prblm with durga mata? u thk she is not a mata? Tell me aunti, pls i wnt to knw wht u think of dat.

McGermy said...

annmus,
th prble wth typig ths wy is tha no 1 wil ndrstand wht u r syig.idot.

see what I mean? and btw, eet ees naat aunti. eet ees uncal. We are Pirate Uncle.

whtimsyingisthtyou r slgtlyrtardd. youmightwanttocheckyourhead.

I wonder how some people manage to get on their computers when all they have is air between their ears. Sigh... Darwin is turning in his grave, not to mention every english teacher on earth.

anonymous said...

Lawyer for airheads on line 3 for mcgermy, something about defamation and air not being abhorred by nature.

anonymous wants Megha to comment on Durga as the only warrior goddess.

Isn't Hindu mythology fun?

Sudha said...

wat are u majoring in again? this sounds quite interesting.

the wannabe indian punkster said...

@ Hobo: Heh, will do. If you have any niggling doubts, feel free to ask.

@ Mcgermy: I know! But aren't you the resident expert on 'text talk'? And you cant decode that line??? Shame on you, mcgermy. Shame on you.

@ Primalsoup: I am feeling mucho better, thank you!

@ Jay Sun: One measely day in the year they give us. Bah.

*snicker*

@ Perspective inc: Please dig up whatever you can and read! Hindu mythology is fascinating, to say the least.

@ Anon: Do me a favor. Read the post. Just read it, for the love of all thats living.

@ Anon 2 (names please, arbit ones are fine too): Hindu mythology is a blast. ;)

@ Sudha: Human nutrition and biology (immunology track). This class is for my social science requirement.

anonymouse said...

WTF is blogger upto now? It sent in my previous post as anonymous, not anonymouse.

(I cracked the lawyer joke).

the wannabe indian punkster said...

@ Vasu (comment 1): Sure, I understand your constraint in having to define roles and characteristics. That is the approach of academics. definitive, factual and objective.

But spirituality is lot more. Before proceeding, let me get this pesky little thing away. I am by no means saying, calling parvati a dutiful wife as being derogatory. Hope that is clarified.


Good to know. But I must make this clear. If we are looking at the evolution of piety with respect to Parvati’s growing stature within the tenets of Shaivism or the Shaktha doctrines (which is a whole different ballgame altogether) or the theological connotations behind the representation of Parvati then your stance makes perfect sense.

If you analyse parvati's life, she as always been a rebell even in her death. She rebelled against a castist dad (Daksha) in marrying Shiva (an outcaste living in a cemetry against her dad's wishes). She rebelled against Shiva in attending her dad's maha yagna. She rebelled and commited suicide when insulted by her own father, protecting the honour of Shiva.

No where in Parvati's life could you detect a pattern of submissive acceptance. She was her own self.


I have markedly not mentioned anywhere that Parvati was generally submissive. I said she was a dutiful wife and that corroborates perfectly with the examples you have listed out if you actually noticed. Every example that you’ve cited only points to the fact that Parvati was fiercely devoted to Shiva and it is representative of Parvati being primarily a consort goddess as I’ve said so all along.

By being on the side of Shiva, she denotes that Shiva needed shakthi as much as shakthi needs shiva. Interdependance and sharing is not indication of submission.

Prior to parvati's arrival in Shiva's life, Shiva had little identity of his own. Its only later that he was revered as Ardhanariswara. Shakthi is essential in Shiva and vice versa.


I fail to understand how you have stuck onto this notion of me calling Parvati meek and submissive. There is a gargantuan difference between me calling Parvati a dutiful wife to me actually calling her meek and submissive as a whole which I absolutely didn’t do. I don’t mean to pile on here, but that is just unadulterated hyperbole. Do not assume that I said something when I clearly didn’t.

In spirituality Shakthi and shiva are different representations. At the end of the day both in unision form the life force that moves the world. This has been acknowledged in innumerable traditions of hinduism.

The shiva lingam is Shiva's penis conjoined from the Shakthi's yoni in peak excitement. That is the biggest proof of parvati's equality with Shiva. There is no warrior godess influence in that aspect. Thats not mariamma, Thats not chamundi and not badhrakali. Thats parvati or Shakthi.

If shiva can turn into rudra, Shakthi can turn into kali. In today's world kali worship is as much sacred (if not less), popular as that of shiva. Case in point Maha shivaratri and Navaratri. Its a nobrainer which is more popular.

Parvati that way is Shakthi, independant, her own self.

She is one side of the cosmos, the other being shiva. IF you are looking for the complete, you cant have one without the other.


Yes, yes I am aware and I agree. But like I said you have based this entire argument on hyperbole and an imaginary statement which I think is quite unnecessary.

@ Vasu (comment 2): To be very clear, this is not a theological post analyzing the identity of the goddess through pietistic understanding. If I claimed it was, then you have a point but I didn’t. I clearly stated that this post will examine the history and the evolution of the Warrior Goddess and I assumed that it was perfectly lucid. I am not claiming to be a historian here. However there is a process and a method to historical research and I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but ‘Eastern’ (including Indian) and ‘Western’ historians follow almost the same methodology with respect to the source (either written unwritten or oral), the place where the source was procured (location), the author of the source, analyzing the foundation, checking the integrity and finally the evidential value or the credibility of the source. And since the main aim of this post is to briefly illuminate the history of the warrior goddess, I tried to follow the same method by promoting specificity and believe me; it is less paradoxical and unambiguous to understand the proto-legends pertaining to the individuality of the warrior goddess historically.

However, if I had claimed that this was exclusively a theistic post, I would have to look at the identity of the Goddess through religious experience, individual or otherwise and I would have left the identities of the Goddess merged, as constructed through the devotees’ interpretive activity. I would have also elucidated on how Her varied qualities and attributes are depicted, enlivened and rendered meaningful in different places and in different frameworks. But I didn’t, because this post is not about spiritual experiences and connotations, it is again, a historical post. I hope you can understand the difference.

Vasu the terrible said...

For one, I never really understood how an often fierce, autarchic and irrepressible Goddess figure can somehow become a docile and an obedient consort of Shiva, representing the values connected to a ‘typical’ Hindu wife

Ok.. Let me just address this one point stated above.

The above lines were copy pasted (with some emphasis added to highlight some words) from your post. I havent added or delted any word.

1) You asked this question, how come a fierce goddess can become a docile and obedient consort of shiva ?

How do you conclude she was obedient to Shiva ? Am looking for your scientific temper to kick in and provide some background on that.

Infact according to the story of dakshayini (parvati), She rebelled against Shiva's wish not to attend the yagna, when daksha did not invite his own daughter and her family for the yagna. She insisted that its her right to attend the yagna inspite of shiva pleading her not to go.

2) From what do you conclude that the two characteristics as quoted by you namely "Docile" and "obedient" are characteristics of a "typical" hindu wife ? Is that the notion of a wife in your mind ?

3) Even assuming there is some clinching evidence that 2) is valid, on what scientific basis do you conclude that Parvati was such a "typical" hindu wife ? or is it that any hindu wife god or mortal has to by "typical" ?

My response was based on these statements by you and not on some "imagined hyperbole". Maybe I am missing something here. Am I ?

let me hear you response first.

vasu

Vasu the terrible said...

and one of the topics was to understand and fabricate the identity of the Hindu great Goddess (sic) and to piece Her together through pietistic experience

i am not nit picking here. This kind of jumped out like a red flag.

anyways... I dont understand the big difference. All I understand is you are going through to the roots of the warrior goddess and find out their identities. In doing so, you are selectively interpreting what those goddesses came to denote. Even if it is a dark skinned, blood drinking, 10 headed goddess. We know and understand that is a representation of an idea of the feminine form.

Surely I hope you dint expect to find evidence of such a being ???

While we are in representations, its all about what people meant it to be and what it denotes both in spiritual as well as social context.

So whats the big deal about what kind of analysis it is. I just found it generally questionable to say that "parvati" is a dutiful and obedient wife and any representation of "parvati" as otherwise should be attributed to the warrior goddess.

We all know in hindu mythology that characteristics of gods and goddess have been liberally used across the board. You have every god / goddess having multiple heads and hands. like panchamukha vinayaka, anjaneya etc.

To try to separate the various characteristics and bucket them comfortably to suit your view of what "dutiful and typical wifelike" characteristics are needs some scientific corroboration.

I wish to see if you have such socio-scientific proofs.

Hey, no axes to grind. Just curious to find out what texts you are refering to.

peace

vasu

Anonymous said...

Hi, came here from Smugbug's after reading your "gang leaders of the PHRBN" comment. :)

Very interesting piece on the Warrior Goddess. Since you've already read through many works on Indian mythology while preparing for your project, could you suggest a good book or site where one could read up more - not for an academic research, just for knowledge? Thanks.

~N.

Terriblus Moronicus said...

Vasu,
Good Lord mate. You know what is more dangerous than a retard with a freon spray and a gas lighter? It is a half-baked idiot with a freon spray and a gas lighter.

Socio-scientific evidence? Let's see you say that about Noah's Ark (or Jesus or Allah or any saints or Hindu Gods) or even anything remotely connected to religion. That my friend is an oxymoron and surely only a moron would demand something like that. Why is it that you seem to play the "oh, i have nothing against you or your opinions, but I'm jsut curious" and not to mention the "oh, my opinions are right and yours are wrong. Back up your opinions with facts, while I just sit on my ass and nitpick" tone of your posts.

And again, half-baked morons are more dangerous than retards. Make what you will of it.

One last thing I couldn't resist pointing out. Did you ever state ANY proof for anything you've said on this space?

Not to nit-pick, but just curious to know.

Vincent said...

The standing of women in society has been vastly underrated throughout the ages. If I'm not wrong, I believe that there was this period in Ancient Indian History where there was abundant education, wealth, clean air, sex... low crime rates, there was some equality among men-women, there was economic progress.. of course with the exception of the occasional looting and plundering which happened as a result of invasions by neighbouring kingdoms but hey it was all good... and then at some point during all this, a team of fucking geniuses wrote the best selling book "Kama Sutra and fifty other Indian things we must never speak of". Yup, that ended India's run as a modern civilization.

Shweta said...

Loved your blog...really nice stuff...

gk said...

A point comes when ignorance (difference between eternal and non-eternal life, processes & phenomenon) rules knowledge due to a naive obsession of finding strong independent female figure among scriptures...

Multiple scriptures would repeat that universe and it's children are interdependent but somehow you will twist the light on fact and distort ancient graphics in such a way that it seems that all that scriptures have done nothing but kick ass of woman through all the ages...

You won't believe multiple literature/scriptures telling about role of Male deities but you will believe only one scripture dealing with a role of Warrior goddess... You'll doubt everything else, but not the writing which says what you want to hear... Your mind needs to get out of this utter feminiazi biasness...

kg said...

@gk
A point comes when ignorance (difference between eternal and non-eternal life, processes & phenomenon) rules knowledge due to a naive obsession of finding strong independent male figure among scriptures...

Multiple scriptures would repeat that universe and it's children are interdependent but somehow you will twist the light on fact and distort ancient graphics in such a way that it seems that all that scriptures have done nothing but kick ass of man through all the ages...

You won't believe multiple literature/scriptures telling about role of Female deities but you will believe only scriptures dealing with a role of Warrior god... You'll doubt everything else, but not the writing which says what you want to hear... Your mind needs to get out of this utter chauvinistic biasness...

See what I did there? It applies to you, you fucking moron. Blinkered bastard.

That Armchair Philosopher said...

oh dear. should i even bother commenting on this one? :)

That Armchair Philosopher said...

hows chicago?

gk said...

@ kg

Yeah right!!!

and kg is opposite of my nick... and it stands for Kindergarten, surely depicts your character as of now...

And what you do mean by fucking moron or blinkered bastard...??? You think writing most sloppy slangs would create an impact...???

Is that the best you can do...??? Please stand aside and don't interrupt again...

mumbaigirl said...

There was an argument on my blog about goddesses, wine and sex some time ago. I was accused of thinking of our gods as "horny animals..."

WishfulThinker said...

Ah, just wanted to say that I'm back. Your commentspace has lost not one iota of it's entertainment value I see! :)

anonymouse said...

Mumbaigirl, they are fine as long as you don't call them animals.

nevermind said...

Hey Punkster, the anxiety plateauing into don't give a shit anymore makes perfect sense.

Vindhyavasini sounds seriously hot. Koravvai sounds decidedly creepy, but still hot.

"Call me biased but I find the idea of a goddess who was dark, single, chaotic, uncontrollable and munificent at the same time, exceptionally glorious."

No one has any business calling you biased; since the idea of GODs who are dark, single, libidinous, uncontrollable and munificent at the same time, has been deemed gloriously appealing across cultures since time immemorial. What's good for the gander ought to be good for the goose, no?

My new word for the month is 'tenebrous' which I've just googled. But what does 'both tenebrous and infallible' convey, in the context you are trying to communicate, that is? Just trying to get my head around it, that's all.

the wannabe indian punkster said...

Well these replies are late as hell, but I still wanted to address them anyway, so here goes nothing.

@ Vasu:

and one of the topics was to understand and fabricate the identity of the Hindu great Goddess (sic) and to piece Her together through pietistic experience

i am not nit picking here. This kind of jumped out like a red flag.


Um, that was the description of my class project. This post is not my class project nor do I want it to be my class project. I think I specifically stated that this post will only examine the history and evolution of the Goddess and not touch anything else. What part of that cant you understand?

With respect to the rest of your comment, why the unnecessary reference to multiple heads and hands? If it is a way to purposefully trivialize the post, then sure go right ahead although I do think it’s very irrelevant.

As to your allusions about ‘evidence’ and ‘scientific’ corroboration, where have I mentioned the word scientific anywhere? I clearly spoke about historical research in an earlier comment which has absolutely nothing to do with the ‘scientific method’ of approach. You’re really just putting words in my mouth now.

Now with respect to Parvati, I’m not trying to remove her attributes and ‘bucket them to comfortably suit my view’ as you so claim in as much as I’m trying to understand the transition between Her terrible, fierce warrior like attributes and fulfilling the auspicious role of a conventional wife. If you have read an exhaustive translation of the Devi Mahatmaya, there is a clear demarcation between the two forms of the Great Goddess (who is nameless here) the first form being Her unmarried terrible self as Kali or Kalashankarshini and her calmer, more benevolent forms as Parvati. When you start tracing the history behind the different facets of the Great Goddess as mentioned in the Devi Mahatmaya you do realize that these are in fact attributes of local goddesses who have been Sanskritized or converted into the main Hindu fold and this is not just hearsay or facts which I’ve just made up, this is just the innate process of evolution of the Hindu religion. So I’m pointedly tracing the history behind the terrible or the warrior like aspect behind the great Goddess. It’s as simple as that really. I’m not going to explain the whole deal with specificity here as I’ve already tried to do so in a previous comment which you may or may not have overlooked.

As for your demand for proofs and suchlike, I could turn right around, point a finger at you and ask you where you get your facts from, really. I’m not going to tread down that path so I urge you not go down that road as well. Its pretty disrespectful, in case you hadn’t realized.

But if you so insist, here are a few books from the many books I used:

1.Goddess cults in ancient India by J.N Tiwari.
2.The English translation of the Skanda Purana by G.V Tagore which is actually crazy expensive but I didn’t buy it; I borrowed all the volumes from a PhD student so I lucked out.
3.Devi Mahatmaya: The crystallization of the Goddess tradition by Thomas Coburn.
4.Images of Indian goddesses: Myths, meanings and models by Madhu Bazaz Wangu. Again this book is quite expensive and I HAD to shell out money for this one but it was worth it.

There you go. I hope your ‘curiosity’ (or condescension) as to where I get my facts from is satisfied.

@ N: Hello! A good book to start assimilating information on the evolution of the great Goddess or the Devi is Devi:Goddesses of India by John Stratton Hawley and Donna Marie Wulff. Its not insanely complicated and its a pleasure to read. So I hope this helps.

@ Vince: I swear to god. I cant help but think the same way. And yup, there goes a progressive civilization down the toilet. Its very depressing to even think about, actually.

@ Shweta: Thank you!

@ gk: Good Lord. Do you even know what youre talking about? One scripture dealing with the Goddess? Really? And how did you come to that moronic conclusion? Is it even worth my time to list out the numerous scriptures dealing with the Great Goddess, to you?

@ TAP: Chicago was great. I needed to get away for a little bit ya know.

@ Mumbaigirl: I saw that post. Screw the people who accuse you because they evidently don't really know or want to know the various aspects of our Gods and Goddesses. Heh.

@ Wishful: Rofl, I know.

@ Nevermind: isn't tenebrous a glorious word? In this context I wanted to actually point out the Dark and terrible aspects of the Goddess as well as Her benevolent, steadfast and considerate side. Hence tenebrous and infallible. I hope I'm making sense here.

nevermind said...

Yeah, cheers.