The Nanditron Starts Here
A friend wrote from Bangalore today about the Virgin Comics (formerly Gotham Comics, India) launch, and the small gratis issue they have put online.
"Created by acclaimed film-maker Shekhar Kapur" - indeed, since the folking thing looks like a Hollywood animation movie's storyboard.
Its standard-edition mythology defines "yagya" as "self-imposed exile", which is so hahahahaha! And this is the depth of their research while attempting to revive "an Indian culture of superstition". They have launched "free promos" for 2 titles - Devi & Ramayana. [Just an aside, why do they insist that the promos ARE free?]
You will find the same obsession with "window by window" panels that Microsoft has firmly hypnotized into the American mind. The American mind does not belong to America anymore, of course, a perfect example being Shekhar Kapur, whose only claim to fame is a Bollywwod movie called Mr. India (which was Invisible Man + songs + Mogambo). And don't even get me started on how badly this has been written and scripted. "She never asked to be the devil, but she is..." I mean, WTF. More: "forced up their collectives asses", "Dark Lords, I've failed you!". UGH!!
You get me? It's like a stream of worn-out cliches - smelly socks hung upon the nylon of digitised images. The only saving grace on this piece of fetishistikshit is the anonymous artists who somehow manage to hold the damn thing together. This online comic is not a comic at all, its not a complete story. It's barely an advertisement cloaked as a trailer cloaked as a comic book. Why am I not suprised? I had expected a lot of bad film-makers to embrace the medium of this new century with "yantra clad claws" (see: Ramayana, page 16), and they are here with their shaman-in-chief - Deepak Chopra.
So what does the Ramayana teach us?
In fact, what does Hindu mythology really hide behind its many interweaving strands? Let us try and understand that, alone. Never together. First assumption: There is no one in this world but ME. Everything else, and everyone is a figment of my own sum of assumptions about life.
Now take for example Zizek's fabulous essay taking the piss out of "liberal communists".
The two faces of Bill Gates are exactly like the two faces of Soros: on the one hand, a cruel businessman, destroying or buying out competitors, aiming at a virtual monopoly; on the other, the great philanthropist who makes a point of saying: ‘What does it serve to have computers if people do not have enough to eat?’ - Slavoj Zizek, Nobody Has To Be Vile
In order to become Rama, teaches the Ramayana - you must defeat Ravana, the demon lord with ten heads. Since Ravana is simply a product of your (Rama's) mind, it represents ten ways of thinking, ten faces of human thought, and encourages you to destroy this multiplicity and become one streamline of consciousness. The Ramayana encourages you to conquer yourself. Villains of the modern world may sometimes be compared to Ravana, especially when they show duplicity (schizophrenia) - as in the case of tycoon-philanthropists.
In order to conquer Ravana (who rules a city of gold, built by the divine architect Vishwakarma) you must cross a wide sea by building a bridge. This bridge is also built inside the head of Rama by an army of monkeys, or mimics. Hanuman is a monkey/mimic who reflects Rama's desires (to be One with Sita) perfectly, and this is shown by his devotion and superhuman strength (that of the mind, since everyone is superhuman in the Ramayana). He leaps that insurmountable sea and sets Lanka afire with his tale. It is a leap between Rama's core, and his external faces - the multiple faces are burnt in the fire, and thus internal unity is achieved with the death of Ravana. It is a war of internal emotions, and a history of meditating upon the idea of Self.
Rama is an avatara (or updated version) of Vishnu, a subroutine in the prmordial software which consists only of three statements. These 3 statements formulate a logic, a ring theory, and a trinity. In particular, Vishnu represents "preservation" operator in this algebra of process, of which Krishna is a recurring form.
So Brahma is the source of thought, Krishna/Vishnu ARE the body of thought, and Shiva is the destroyer or rejuvenator of thoughts. He has the ability to kill thoughts, which gives way for new ones. In a way, he cleanses the universe of our minds from illusory demons. Vishnu has some peculiar characteristics:
The most celebrated act of Vishnu in the Rigveda is the 'three steps' by which he strode over this (universe) and in three places planted his step.
One early commentator, Aurnavabha, who is mentioned by Yaska in his Nirukta, interprets the three steps as the different positions of the sun at his rising, culmination, and setting. Though such solar aspects have been associated with Vishnu by tradition as well as modern-scholarship, he was not just the representation of the sun for in Rigveda he traverses in his strides both vertically and horizontally.
In hymns I.22.17, 1.154.3, 1.154.4 he strides across the earth with three steps, in VI.49.13 , VII.100.3 strides across the earth three times and in I.154.1,I.155.5,VII.29.7 he strides vertically, with the final step in the heavens. The same Veda also says he strode wide and created space in the cosmos for Indra to fight Vritra. By his stride he said to have made dwelling for men possible, the three being a symbolic representation of its all-encompassing nature. This all-enveloping nature, assistance to Indra and benevolence to men were to remain the enduring attributes of Vishnu. As the triple-strder he is known as Tri-vikrama and as Uru-krama for the strides were wide.(The reference to the three strides of Vishnu in the Rig Veda is most possibly a prototype for the later legend of Vamana.)
I will leave the discussion of Vishnu for a later need, but it suffices to know now that Vishnu preserves the Trinity of thought itself - yes/no/maybe. Brahma only creates the seed for thought, when doubt enters the mind. Shiva kills thought by making a man act in complete certainty and without any doubt. Shiva kills all doubt. Shiva is the "transformer" who transforms pure thought into a pure act. Shiva's popular representation is also associated with the lingam (phallus) since all human folly is associated with following its urges blindly (you're a dick, prick, lunda, etcetera).
The Shaivic lingum is always inside a "garbha griha" (sanctum sanctorum or cosmic womb), outside which sits a bull called Nandi. Since I'm committed to meditate upon the nature of Shiva over the next few months, which is a kind of worship, I'll seek the blessings of Nandi the Bull, he who blocks the way:
When the positive forces, the devas and the negative forces, the asuras joined together on the rare occasion to churn the mountain to obtain the nectar of immortality they utilized Vasuki, the serpent as the rope. The devas pulled from one end and the asuras from the other. In the process of churning, Vasuki, the snake vomits poison. This poison (human karma) was so dangerous that none of the gods or deities or asuras wanted to have a part of. It was extremely sticky and coming into contact with this poison, i.e, human karma, would in an instant bring the entity into the realms of human suffering and ego. As everyone ran away, Lord Shiva comes to help. He is the only cosmic dimension who could counteract this deadly poison. He takes all the poison in his hand and drinks it. Nandi, his most ardent follower sees the poison spill over Lord Shiva's mouth. Nandi drinks up the spilt poison from below. Everyone is shocked and wonders what would happen to Nandi. Lord Shiva says, "Nandi has surrendered into me so completely that he has all my powers and my protection".