Hinduism within me

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Kali maa, the devi of time

Been doing a lot of contemplating and learning about myself. Something I believe I missed doing in my early 20’s due to religion. I definitely consider myself an Indo-Pagan and I have been looking into Wicca again. I am more of eclectic witch though, always have been.

Before I did Aztec reconstructionism, in my early 20’s, I was drawn to Hinduism. (I had read Mahayana Buddhist texts and Buddhism came from there.) I started worshiping Kali maa on the side. I did this for about a decade. Even as an Aztec person.

Over time, my views, quite independently, based on my experiences became more and more inline with Hinduism. I always revered Kali even not active in puja, she always had a shrine in my house, and she was always dear to me. I was always speaking good of her. I love her dearly. I also always believed in reincarnation and thinks of the nature of Hinduism without always knowing it.

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Kali ma with a third eye open

I spent seven years in the Aztec religion. Seven long years, that I feel robbed me of myself and my life by that religion. My experiences with many, *not all*, of those teteo (Aztec word for “gods”. Singular “teotl”.) was definitely terrible. One of the biggest problems I had, wasn’t just the lack of support from the community and problems with the attitudes they had which scarred me for life when I was a kid, but also as time went by, me and the Aztec gods didn’t just grow apart, my whole ideology clashed with theirs!

I just couldn’t be that mean, prude, and sacrificial. I could no longer support the slavery system the religion called for. I could no longer be that anti-human. I hated the ideas of cultural purity imposed (Though some Aztec gods don’t really give a f*** from what I seen on that issue.) and I hated how not-very-progressive the religion was.  And I really dislike their prude attitudes towards sex. (Yeah, that’s a thing in that religion. Even down to stoning people for adultery!)

Increasingly, because of my indulgence in Japanese pop-culture, (Shintoism has something to do with Hinduism in history) I could not let go of the Hindu cosmology. It is still used in much Japanese fiction and lore. And it totally fit my UPG! Everything I experienced. Yet the teteo would not have it, would not see it my way. I was a liar and delusional. I did not feel these gods were ever on my side and a lot of them just seemed to insult me. (They seemed to take other peoples’ side in debates, and then later, years later, apologized. It was too little, too late by then.) I feel like they contributed to my mental illness, in so many ways. But I want to make it clear, not every teotl made me feel this way. However, enough of them did to make me leave the religion permanently. (Also, due to scholarship, which other Aztec recons figured out eventually too, the religion never actually died. It merged with Christianity. I am not a Christian, I was raised one, and I don’t want *that* back.)

I was distressed in that religion. People were not as nice to me as they are now. I stopped believing in love. I believed in harsh things and hostility, because the world seemed hostile to me and I was hostile back. I was really losing it. Eventually I left Houston, after destroying my altar and I left the entire Aztec thing behind me.

I asked what religion made me the happiest, I thought it was Wicca and I have been seeking it, too. (The proper initiated way.) However, despite my eclectic witch leanings in my magickal practice, I believe I am thoroughly Hindu. (I still consider myself a pagan because of my magickal experiences and practices.) Specifically, Shakti Hindu and Tantra, which almost fits my exact beliefs I developed almost entirely outside of Hinduism. I cannot go back. (I don’t think Shiva will let me be Wiccan, too. But we’ll see what happens.)  Especially after the Aztec religion caused me to lose family and friends.

I tried a few religions, this is all I tried; Buddhism, Hinduism, Neo-Wicca/eclectic paganism, and the Aztec one–that’s it. (Note: This is over a period of years. Aztec religion was my longest “pagan” religion. I am not a religious butterfly either, contrary to the sentiments other recons say about this. Trying out religions =/= a bad thing. Find yourself and your place!) Nothing else. I can’t say I “tried” Christianity per se, because I was heavily brought up into it with family almost to the point of total indoctrination. Buddhism and Hinduism are not really that far apart, in many respects. Some Hindus even consider Buddhists merely an off shoot.

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Wicca lasted a few years until I got mad at all the bad history, this was my teenage years. (A lot of pagans start out as Neo-Wiccans.) Buddhist philosophy always influenced me during that time. Hinduism was exactly where I was heading until the Aztec gods bombarded me just because I like to study religion. I thought that was what was right for me, but it ended up being worse than Christianity for me. Kali maa was always there though, she never left me and I still have her statue from a decade ago when I was confused about my direction in life before the Aztec thing.

I sincerely apologize to anyone I ever offended or was unnecessarily mean to in my Aztec days. I was completely wrong. You didn’t deserve it. I was having issues with the religion, home, finances, school, and family. I do not ever want to be that condescending and rude again. (Except to my enemies and those who deserve it!!! Haha.)

Beware of any religion that says it’s the only way, but also beware of any religion that does not practice peace! Buddha was right on that one! And if a religion distresses you more than makes you happy, leave it. Don’t waste years of your life, like I did.

Happy Mother’s Day

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The goddess Kali with her son the god Ganesha

Happy Mother’s Day to all my pagan friends! Whenever Mother’s day happens I love to focus on the Hindu goddess Kali ma. (Or dark mother goddesses in general.) I have had a pretty dark life myself and issues with motherly figures in my life, this is a time for me to reflect.

Kali is a Hindu goddess of death is what most basic information will give you. But she is so much more than that, in fact it would be better to say she represents triumph over death! She is associated with black and time, due to the Sanskrit name being derived from the word “Kala” which means both black and time. She inherits titles such as “she who devours time” for this reason. In some Tantric circles, she is seen as the ultimate being since she is basically the one who absorbs time.

Starting from the beginning, the goddess Parvati is the origins of Kali. Parvati is Lord Shiva’s wife. Ma Durga, a fierce from of the devi (Parvati), who slayed the powerful buffalo asura. She arose out of Brahman (like primordial chaos) to stop the demon because the others gods could not and were in desperate need of help. In a later battle with others, out of Ma Durga’s fury, Kali ma was born from her brow. (These are the most popular origins stories, but there are others.) Parvati, being the wife of Shiva, is the mother of the god Ganesh. This explains the pictures above on why Kali appears as his mother instead of Parvati.

In Bengali tradition, Kali’s darker attributes still exist among them. However, she is transformed more into a dark mother goddess. In some cases she is benevolent. One of the most famous of writers paints her in a dark light.

Ramprasad Sen lived in the 1700’s in Bangladesh. He was a devotee of Kali ma. Many of his poems are reflections of him addressing her. Many of these poems have him speaking about how she does not act as a typical [benevolent] mother:

Can mercy be found in the heart of her who was born of the stone [a reference to her being the daughter of Himalaya? Were she not merciless, would she kick the breast of her lord? Men call you merciful, but there is no trace of mercy in you. Mother. You have cut off the headset the children of others, and these you wear as a garland around your neck. It matters not how much I call you “Mother, Mother.” You hear me, but you will not listen”

Some of his best poetry, in my opinion, is how he speaks of his suffering in life. Including living in poverty. Kali does not bless him with such gifts that are left to the material world. (Money, fame, fortune, etc.) Kali’s blessings are oft on the immaterial planes of existence. (Such as courage when confronting her or as triumph over time. [time=death] )

Mother who art the joy of Hara’s [Lord Shiva’s] heart, and who dost bring to naught the hopes of men, thou hast made void what hope was left to me. Though I place my soul an offering at thy feet, some calamity befalls. Though I think upon thy loveliness, unceasing death is mine. Thou dost frustrate my desires, thou art the spoiler of my fortunes. Well do I know thy mercy. Mother of mine. Great were my desires, and I spread them all out as a salesman does his wares. Thou didst see the display, I suppose, and didst bring confusion upon me. My wealth, my honour, kith and kin, all have gone, and I have nothing now to call my own. What further use is there for me? Wretched indeed am I. I have sought my own ends, and now there is no limit to my grief. Thou who dost take away sorrow, to me most wretched hast thou given sorrow. And I must all this unhappy lot endure.

While in other poems he offers more positive aspects, some of his best social commentaries of his time was on how humans try to understand the complex nature of Kali:

You think you understand the Goddess?
Even philosophers can not explain her.
The scriptures say that she, herself,
is the essence of us all. It is she, herself,
who brings life through her sweet will.

You think you understand her?
I can only smile, you think that you can
truly know her? I can only laugh!
But what our minds accept, our hearts do not.
Ants try to grasp the moon, we the goddess.

References:

  1. Hindu Goddesses by Dan Kinsley
  2. Ramprasad Sen’s Wiki page