Sep 19, 2019

Pilgrim, not Tourist

In memory of a trip to Iceland a couple of winters ago, for the Ásatrú rather than the Aurora, where I missed meeting the devotees, but chanced upon the Lights:

I had wanted to attend a service of the Ásatrú pagans at a temple there. On the appointed day, having spent most of the day in the south-east, I had to drive back cross-country to Reykjavik in the evening. I left my friends at a hotel and started the long drive westward.

On the way, I stopped to get gasoline. Narrow, unlit, icy highways, one lane on each side with no divider. It was Ekadashi that fortnight, and I was tired. A quick 20 minute nap was a good idea for a weary, fasting traveler. So I parked at the gas station and pulled back my seat.

Two hours later, I woke up. Once again, everyone who knows me was right - I can never seem to wake up on time. I would have cursed out loud, but what's the point of fasting from food while entertaining negative thoughts? So I decided to drive onward. A narcoleptic's only solace is an awake solitude, and my mind was fresh.

About 30 minutes on the high road, even in the dark, from the corner of my eye, I spotted a person off to the side, setting up a tripod for his camera. Moments later it struck me that I had read how the Lights can be photographed using such equipment. I peered out and saw a clear, star-studded sky. I pulled off to the side the next opportunity, stepped out and stood scanning the sky. As my eyes adjusted and searched. I saw them, dancing gently. I stood gazing at the subtle cosmic display for about 45 minutes, until it felt too cold. Then got back in and drove on. In about 5 minutes of driving, the skies were cloudy again. The following day, when some French and Polish fellow-travelers caught up with me in Reykjavik, they couldn't believe it. In their 10 days there, they didn't get a glimpse.

Ever since, I've noticed Ekadashis tend to close with a surprise. To the hot springs, volcanic geysers and dancing night lights of the far north:
स तु देशो विसूर्योऽपि तस्य भासा प्रकाशते ।सूर्यलक्ष्म्याऽभिविज्ञेयस्तपतेव विवस्वता ॥४.४३.५७॥
"That region has light and heat as if from a sun, even though there isn't one."
Kishkinda Kānḍa, 4.43.57
And offerings from India to the Poetic Edda:

"Helvegen" इति गीतस्य भाषान्तरणं कर्तुं मम प्रयासोऽयम् -

Norwegian—————————————————--English translation

Hvem skal synge meg—————————————Who shall sing me
i daudsvevna slynge meg———————————-into the death-sleep sling me
når eg på Helvegen går————————————When I walk on the Path of Death
og dei spora eg trår er kalda, så kalda—————--and the tracks I tread are cold, so cold

का माम् गास्यति रे
मृत्यु-स्वप्ने पाशयन्ती रे ।
भूर्गतौ चरामि यदा
तन्वर्तनिः सदा शीना, अतिशीना॥

Eg songane søkte——————————————-I sought the songs
Eg songane sende——————————————I sent the songs
då den djupaste brunni————————————when the deepest well
gav meg dråper så ramme——————————--gave me the drops so touched
av Valfaders pant——————————————-of Death-fathers wager

अहं गाथां प्रार्थये
ऽहं गाथां समार्पये ।
गभीरतमात् यदा कूपात्
बिन्दून् अदात् स्पृष्ट्वा
भूपितुः पणः॥

Alt veit eg, Odin———————————————--I know it all, Odin
var du gjømde ditt auge————————————where you hid your eye

सर्वं वेद्मि हे रुद्र

क्व गूहसे स्वनेत्रम् ।

Årle ell i dagars hell—————————————-early in the days end
enn veit ravnen om eg fell——————————--still the raven knows if I fall

पूर्वं दिनानां स वेत्ति

द्रोणो नश्याम्युत नेति ।

Når du ved Helgrindi står ———————————When you stand by the Gate of Death
og når du laus deg må riva———————————-And you have to tear free
skal eg fylgje deg———————————————--I shall follow you
over Gjallarbrua med min song—————————--across the Resounding Bridge with my song

भूतोरणे स्थितो यदा
मोचयितव्यश् छित्त्वा ।
तदानुगमिष्यामि त्वाम्
नादसेतोः पारम् सगीतम्  ॥

Du blir løyst frå banda som bind deg!———————--You will be free from the bonds that bind you!
Du er løyst frå banda som batt deg!————————--You are free from the bonds that bound that you!

मोक्ष्यसे बन्धनाद् येनासि बद्धः।
मुक्तोऽसि बन्धनाद् येनासी र्बद्धः।

Quote from Håvamål -- The High One's Speech, Poetic Edda

Døyr fe, døyr frender——————————————-Cattle die, kinsmen die
Døyr sjølv det sama——————————————--You yourself will also die
men ordet om deg aldreg døyr——————————but the word about you will never die
vinn du et gjetord gjevt—————————————--if you win a good reputation

म्रियन्ते गावो म्रियन्ते गोत्रिणः
मरिष्यसे स्वयमपि त्वम्।
तवोद्दिश्य न मरिष्यते श्लोकं
यदि विन्दसे सुकीर्तिं परम्॥

Døyr fe, døyr frender ——————————————--Cattle die, kinsmen die
Døyr sjølv det sama———————————————-You yourself will also die
Eg veit et som aldreg døyr————————————I know one that never dies
dom om daudan kvar——————————————-the reputation of those who died

म्रियन्ते गावो म्रियन्ते गोत्रिणः
मरिष्यसे स्वयमपि त्वम्।
एकं तु जानाम्यहम् अमृतम्
मृत्यूत्तरं सुयशः परम्॥
म्रियन्ते गावो म्रियन्ते गोत्रिणः
मरिष्यसे स्वयमपि त्वम्।
अम्रियमाणं जानाम्येकम्
जीवितचराणां यशःकायम्॥


  1. Europeans have modified their liturgy to suit their neo-colonial interests.Rest assured,twenty-second century shall usher in Indo-pakistani domination of the world .

    1. Yes, during their hard colonial era, ideologies like Apartheid were based on mainstream Calvinist theology. Other Christian sects and philosophical ideologies also justified the colonial enterprise. Today a softer, more subtle version of the same is required, and changes have been made. Sufi-ization of the brazen colonial tool. Also, neo-pagansim is potentially being used as a 2nd wing - OR it can become an entry-point for re-Dharmicization of the West.

      India won't rise until 'Pakistaniat' is defeated in minds, hearts and on the ground. Until then, India will have to fight against neo-colonialism, neo-Caliphatism, and the Chinese dominatrix.