Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Vajra: the Thunderbolt

image: The symbol of the Vajra (also called the Dorje in Tibet and Nepal), the thunderbolt of Indra. Wikimedia commons (link).

The previous post examined verses from the Shatapatha Brahmana, an ancient text from the Vedic period of India, to find clear evidence of the operation of the universal system of celestial metaphor which underlies and unites all of the world's sacred traditions -- or did, prior to the advent of aggressive literalism, primarily literalistic Christianity, which starting in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries AD set about reinterpreting the esoteric scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, declaring them to be literal instead of metaphorical, and then suppressing and eliminating the ancient esoteric wisdom that those celestial myths were intended to convey and exporting its specific brand of literalism to the rest of the world, starting in Europe and working its way out.

That this ancient system of celestial metaphor united virtually all of the world's sacred traditions is evident from the fact that the post examining the Vedic literature found numerous very distinct metaphorical and symbolic parallels to the sacred texts of ancient Egypt -- and previous posts have demonstrated that the same system was at work in the sacred mythologies of the ancient Greeks, the ancient Norse, the Indians of North America, among the sacred myths of Japan, and even (in fact, especially) among the stories in the Old Testament (see here [towards the bottom of that post, where it discusses Sarai/Sarah] and here and here, for instance) and the New Testament (see here and here, for instance). 

Abundant evidence can be found in the myths and sacred traditions of other cultures around the world, including from the ancient Sumerians, the Maori of New Zealand, the people of Australia and Africa, the civilizations of Central America, and from China and other parts of Asia.

As the previous post pointed out, the staggering dispersal of this common system of celestial metaphor argues strongly for the existence of some predecessor civilization, which somehow bequeathed this system to all humanity. There are too many common elements to argue that all the same metaphors somehow sprang up independently, and the cultures are so widely dispersed both in space and time that it is difficult to argue that the system spread from one culture to another (although that is another possible explanation).

Thus, the Vedic myths and symbols discussed previously, and their celestial-metaphorical connections, have tremendous import for our view of human history, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. The content of what they are teaching has tremendous import for each and every one of us, even beyond what they teach us about the ancient history of the human race.

Because the fact that all these sacred texts in general embody celestial, zodiacal metaphors and the fact that the Vishnu / Dadhyank / Osiris myths specifically embody the metaphor of the human body "cast down" horizontally and then "stood back up" vertically were intended to point us to liberating truths about our human condition, and especially about our individual power to transcend the "theater" of reality that we believe we are bound by, and to create new realities. This is the message of all of the "star myths" of the world -- including, I would argue, the star myths in the Bible.

We saw in the previous post about Vishnu, the Ashvins, and Dadhyank that the metaphors in the Vedic text itself clearly reference specific points around the zodiac wheel, that wheel of constellations through which the sun appears to travel throughout the year, based upon the earth's annual orbit (for a visual explanation of how the sun "appears to travel" through the zodiac, and the connection of that travel to some of the most important ancient mythologies of the world, see this YouTube video which I made a couple years ago). 

Most especially, the text cited contained metaphors which pointed to the "vertical column" that runs from the bottom of the zodiac wheel to the top: the "pole" which connects the winter solstice (at the very "bottom of the year") to the summer solstice (at the "top of the year"). References in the Vedic text to this vertical line between the solstices include the reference to the Ashvins (who are associated with the Twins of Gemini, at the top of the year), to the horse's head (associated with Sagittarius), to a bow and arrows (also associated with Sagittarius), to ants (possibly also associated with Sagittarius, if my argument that these ants are akin to the locusts that are another symbol used in ancient myth to reference the stars of Sagittarius), and indirectly to the weapon called the Vajra, which other Vedic texts tell us was made from the bones of Dadhyank and which I believe can be shown to be akin to the Djed column of ancient Egypt.

The Vajra, and its origin, is discussed in more detail in another ancient Vedic text, the Rig Veda (Book I of which can be read online in an English translation by Ralph T. H. Griffith, first published in 1896). There,  beginning in Rig Veda 1.84.13, we read that the weapon of Indra, which is Vajra the thunderbolt, is made from the bones of Dadhyank (whose name is also rendered as Dadhyach, Dadhyanc, and even Dadhichi and Dadheech):
13 With bones of Dadhyach for his arms, Indra, resistless in attack,
Struck nine-and-ninety Vrtras dead.
14 He, searching for the horse's head, removed among the mountains, found 
At Saryanavan what he sought.
15 Then verily they recongnized the essential form of Tvastar's Bull, 
Here in the mansion of the Moon.
16 Who yokes to-day unto the pole of Order the strong and passionate steers of checkless spirit,
With shaft-armed mouths, heart-piercing, health bestowing?
Long shall he live who richly pays their service.
The Vajra in these verses is directly associated with the horse's head of Dadhyank which we discussed in the previous post -- and since the Vajra originates from the bones of that horse-headed Dadhyank we can see from the above zodiac-wheel diagram that it may well be associated with the vertical pole running from solstice to solstice. This vertical pole, as has been demonstrated previously, the ancient Egyptians symbolized as the Djed column (also called the Tat column by earlier scholars), the "backbone of Osiris." 

And there are other reasons to believe that the Vajra is associated with this vertical pillar and with the Djed column.  For one thing, the Vajra as it is traditionally depicted (and it is still a vital and central symbol used in Hinduism and Buddhism to this day) resembles the Djed column, and it is usually depicted either horizontally (as in the image above, of a Vajra in Nepal, where it is usually called a Dorje) or vertically (as in the image below, of Indra holding a Vajra in his right hand while seated at the top of a column or pillar, from a relief in Cambodia):

Another clue is the fact that the Vajra is quite often "doubled" into the form of a "crossed Vajra," which obviously parallels the Djed-column of Egypt, which was depicted as being both the horizontal or "cast down" and then triumphantly "raised up." As such, the Vajra is emblematic of the two parts of human nature: the horizontal or "animal" aspect of our incarnation and our often-forgotten "spiritual" side, which we must "raise up" like the vertical Djed-column or Vajra, in order to transcend this physical vehicle (see the quotation from pages 414-415 of Alvin Boyd Kuhn's Lost Light in this previous post, in which he declares that "the cross is but the badge of our incarnation, the axial crossing of soul and body, consciousness and substance, in one organic unity. An animal nature that walked horizontally to the earth, and a divine nature that walked upright crossed their lines of force and consciousness in the same organism").

The association of the cross with the Djed column in Egypt is quite explicitly established in the famous and important image of the Ankh-cross upon a Djed column from the Book of the Dead of Ani, shown below:

The fact that the Vajra is fashioned from the bones of Dadhyank is another connection between the Vajra and the Djed column (which represents the backbone of Osiris, and can be seen to have symbolically vertebral sections in the image above from the Ani Papyrus, which is typical of the Djed-column imagery in ancient Egyptian art).

Note also the curious fact that the name of the being whose bones furnish the Vajra (that is to say, Dadhyank) contains the word "Ankh" itself! I do not believe for an instant that this is a coincidence. The linguistic unit "Ankh" is incredibly important, and is found throughout the world, always signifying anointing (a word which itself is linguistically related to the word "Ankh," as Alvin Boyd Kuhn demonstrates). It is found at Angkor Wat, and Angola, and in the tribe of the Anglo-Saxons, and in the English word "king."

In Lost Light, Alvin Boyd Kuhn writes of this linguistic unit: 
The etymology of the word sheds much light upon this whole confused matter. The "oint" portion of it is of course the French softening of the Latin "unct" stem; and this, whether philologists have yet discovered the connection or not, is derived from that mighty symbol of mingled divinity and humanity of ancient Egypt -- the A N K H cross. The word Ankh, meaning love, life and tie, or life as the result of tying together by attraction or love the two nodes of life's polarity, spirit and matter, suggests always and fundamentally the incarnation. For this is the "ankh-ing" of the two poles of being everywhere basic to life. The "unction" of the sacrament is really just the "junction" of the two life energies, with the "j" left off the word. Therefore the "anointing" is the pouring of the "oil of gladness," the spiritual nature, upon the mortal nature of living man. 186-187.
In a different work, entitled The Esoteric Structure of the Alphabet and Its Hidden Mystical Language, Kuhn continues along this same theme, declaring that the same root is responsible for "Our most common word, thing" which "likewise comes from A N K H, as a thing is that which is created by the union of spirit and matter, a divine conception and atomic substance" (9). So does the word "to know, in Greek gnosco, German kennen, English ken. What constitutes the knowing act? The joining together of two things, consciousness and an object of consciousness" (9). Even the word join and all its relatives (such as junction, juncture, and adjunct) Kuhn shows to be related to this ancient Egyptian cross (in which two natures are joined), whose sounds "n" and "k" are clearly seen therein. 

Kuhn goes on: "With even the N dropping out we have yoke, that which ties two oxen together. And in Sanskrit it comes out as yoga, which in reality stands for yonga, meaning union" (9).

These are amazing connections indeed! And they are supported by the fact that the Vajra in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Tantric science carries all these connotations. Its connection to the backbone of Osiris (the Djed) and to the Ankh (clearly expressed by its arising from the bones of Dadhyank) indicate that Kuhn is correct when he associates the root of the word Ankh with the root of the word yoga, which involves the raising of the life force along the chakra system and the spine.

In fact, I would point out that the passage cited above from the Rig Veda clearly seems to support Kuhn's assertion that the word "yoke" is related to this concept as well: note that in verse 16 of Hymn 84 we are told in association with the discussion of the thunderbolt weapon that Indra "yokes today unto the pole of Order the strong and passionate steers of checkless spirit." The metaphor is a powerful one. If we reside only at the level of literalism, we will assume that the verse is telling us about a god who hitches up some divine oxen of some sort to draw his vehicle through the sky. But on an esoteric level, this verse (uttered in a passage that deals with the thunderbolt Vajra, which we have now established to be related to the concepts symbolized in the Ankh and the Djed) tells us that it is the spirit side of the human equation (the divine spark, buried in the matter of incarnation) which must be the driver which will guide the brute nature of the body (allegorized as "the strong and passionate steers") into the upward direction of transcendence.

This spark then, this divine current running through the human animal, is in fact what is meant by the thunderbolt! The thunderbolt of Vajra is a weapon for slaying demons when it appears in the allegorical metaphorical myth-stories, but the clear identification of the Vajra with the "vertical" component of the human being teaches us that by the thunderbolt, the esoteric myths are referring to our divine indwelling spiritual force! That, and no other, is the "weapon" by which we will triumph in this underworld of incarnate existence.

Notice that we have now intimately linked the human body (with its indwelling divine fire) and the celestial realms represented by the zodiac wheel, whose equinoxes and solstices are the markers which yield to us the "cross" of the horizontal corpse or mummy and the vertical triumphant "raised mummy" or "raised Djed-column" or "standing-up Osiris" or Vajra column. All the myths do this. They conflate the microcosm of the incarnate human being with the macrocosm of the infinite universe and its stars and planets.

And here we will pause this examination, which could go on and on and on, with the final crucially important observation that it is with this metaphor that the ancient teachers intended to tell us that we are not ultimately limited or bound by the apparent limitations of what we usually see as "reality." The material pattern -- the lower half of the zodiac wheel through which we toil in this incarnation -- is merely the projection and reflection of the spiritual upper half. It is spirit which is ultimately superior and transcendent -- not matter. It is the vertical pillar that rises victorious, where previously there was only the horizontal, cast-down corpse.

This final observation ties us directly back to the previous essay reflecting on the paradigm-shattering speech given by Jon Rappoport at the Secret Space Program conference in San Mateo at the end of June of this year. Armed with the "thunderbolt" of the indwelling divine spirit, we can actually break free of the imprisoning "realities" which other people (sometimes well-intentioned, and often-times not well-intentioned) forge for us and ask us to conform to and dwell within.

The message of all the ancient scriptures is not a message of imprisonment (although they are often seen that way: "do this; don't do this"). Their message was intended to be one of liberation, inviting us to reject false realities and constructs and act "in God's image" to create realities ourselves. There are people who know that this is the true message of the esoteric teachings, and who are using those powers to forge binding artificial realities through which they can control and oppress and enslave other human beings.

The orangutans in the original 1968 Planet of the Apes are a perfect example of this class of "custodians of the official, sanctioned (and false) reality." It stands to reason that those who are busy creating reality with a mind to enslaving others would not want the rest of the men and women on the planet to wake up to their own power to reject the false limitations of the imposed realities and to create their own, more positive reality.

They do not want the men and women of the world to know that they each contain a thunderbolt, and they do not want them to individually set about raising their own internal Djed-column, or Ankh, or Vajra.

Thus, it stands to reason that they do not want the world to know that this truth is what the ancient scriptures are really all about.