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।
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.