As I predicted, my recent post showing British soldiers engaged in Hindu devotional practices alongside their Gurkha comrades, provoked some strong reactions. Most of which were positive, although one chap replied with a pretty negative comment that I think deserves the proper response.
That being a comprehensive reply setting the issues he’s raised to rest – not the dispatch of Gurkhas to, and I quote, “gut” him. I’m not sure quite what lead him to believe that Arya Akasha maintains a trained strike-team of Gurkhas on stand-by to put the “Combat” back into “Combat Theology” … but despite my adoptive Indo-Nepali family being themselves of strong Nepali Kshatriya roots, this is not the case. Yet.
We feel that some of the issues raised go to the heart of who we are and why we do what we do as Arya Akasha. Namely – the promotion of the worship of the Indo-European Gods, the guidance on how to begin to do so – and just why it is that we feel that the Hindu understanding is not an exclusive one ‘crowding out’ other Indo-European perspectives that we are also seeking to help resurrect, reincarnate, revive.
In any case, here is the comment we got from the Polish chap that we are responding to:
“you are overfetishising gurkhification of brits, who had been long depraved of their celto-germanic traditions. It’s nothing special when you come in with a ready product to give to a person that has no good of his own. It’s sad really, when you choose your far away cousins ways, because you forgot your own. I don’t care if you end up telling me to get gutted by Gurkhas, but this isn’t a coming home. They wont honor their IE ancestors, by choosing easy, by choosing a different path, made by other people, for other people, in different region and context. They would come home to IE ancestors by bringing back Celtic/Germanic religion and traditions. You want to respect you and acknowledge IE inheritance? Don’t be tempted by hinduist imperialism, don’t promote other IE peoples into choosing not their own branch of IE culture.”
Now, as you can see – there are indeed some legitimate avenues of inquiry that he has raised, even if he is somewhat brusque and bizarre in some of his choices of phrasing.
So here is the response that I had written to him, now presented for broader consumption here on Arya Akasha’s public page:
“… “Hinduist Imperialism” is a new one – and rather ironic considering that it was pointedly British imperialism that brought the Gurkhas into service for the Crown.
But to respond to what you have said – and it does deserve a somewhat detailed response [which I may or may not be up to delivering at 06:17 in the morning after an all-nighter] …
What we are doing is not “promot[ing] other IE peoples into choosing not their own branch of IE culture” [unless your definition of “IE culture” for religious purposes, includes modern-day “Anglican” Church of England] – What we ARE doing is promoting Indo-European people into choosing Indo-European religion; rather than, as many are doing today – either no religion, or non-IE ones.
Now yes, within that broad swathe of “Indo-European religion”, there are of course more localized branches that have existed, or could exist again with enough effort. But the vitally important thing, I feel, is at least getting people to the broad sphere of Indo-European religion, and specifically, actually engaged with religion, the rites and worship. You know – the purpose of religion in the first place. To Honour The Gods.
That, in the broad sense, is what is meant by “Coming Home” – Coming Home to Honouring the Indo-European Gods.
The object of honouring, in a religion, is not merely one’s immediate and directly proximate forebears. That IS an element, sure – and it is one that Hinduism is quite big on [with, unsurprisingly, strong concordances between the Hindu customs in this area, and those found in the Classical and Germanic spheres – because, of course, these have developed from the same origins];
But for a large portion of our religious veneration, we are honouring The Gods – and it is worth noting that, speaking mythically, particular of these Gods are ancestors to us all [consider – Vedic Manu, Germanic Mannus, Roman Romulus, etc.]. Same Indo-European Gods, differently expressed in some ways by Their descended peoples.
So, the question becomes: if you are serious about this endeavour, Honouring the Gods, then how are you to do it?
As you acknowledge, the British have effectively lost their various endogenous-to-their-IE-branches means to do so. Quite some time ago, in fact – somewhere more than a millennium.
So what do you want done? Simply nothing? Wait in perma-holding pattern doing nothing for something else to eventually perhaps turn up? Encourage Protestant or Catholic Christianity because for the best part of a millennium and a half, that’s what much of Britain’s population has consistently, ancestrally been?
You mention “bringing back Celtic/Germanic religion and traditions.”
Now, the fact of the matter is that “Celto-Germanic traditions” do not really exist anymore [in truly ‘living’ form at least]. Indeed, the “Celtic” ones [in England at least] were rather heavily obviated by the “Germanic”, inter alia – so it can be fairly argued that some degree of ‘mixing’ of IE traditions has already occurred without regard to apparently somewhat arbitrary bounds of pristine propriety.
We do not really have the material to bring back the Celtic one; although the Germanic one is, I must say, in rather better [albeit nowhere near perfect] shape.
And that is partially why we [by which I mean myself and the rest of the Arya Akasha team] have been able to provide an active consultancy support for several Germanic/Nordic revivalist efforts through the fruits of our research.
Because yes, there is indeed something precious and valuable about getting these other long-dormant, even dessicated ‘branches’ of the tree growing back to life. An effort at ‘resurrection’ rather than ‘revitalization’, thouugh. We absolutely agree.
It is just that due to the fact that we don’t have the materials to actually bring back these things in Europe as they historically were … we have to make use of other elements, comparative elements, in order to splice into the gaps. So that instead of stumbling around in the dark wondering if this or that entirely speculative stab at a ritual reconstruction is actually … anything at all; we can make use of the theological templating provided for us by the last living Indo-European religion – the Vedic/Hindu one.
And that is actually easier than it sounds, at least as applies the Germanic. Because we keep finding areas wherein what is come down to us in ‘encoded’ form in the Eddas [written, as you probably know, decades after the Christianization of Iceland, by Sturluson – who … got a bit ‘creative’ with some things or did not understand what he was trying to preserve in others or had to obscure things due to the religious climate of the day, etc. .. ] , matches up seriously well with what we know from the Vedic ritual and broader religious sphere. Because what is going on in those Nordic texts, is a dimly remembered and mythologized pseudo-remembering of the direct Germanic parallel to these Vedic elements.
A good example, and I can link the articles I’ve written upon the subject if they are of interest, concerns the presentation of the Meath of Poetry in the Skaldskaparmal and Havamal by Sturluson – and how these have a suite of 1:1 correspondences with what’s found in the Vedic manuals for Soma preparation.
Because what is being described is ultimately the same, from the same roots. It’s just that where we (Hindus) refer to the obtaining of Soma [‘That Which Is Pressed’] between the clashing rocks that are the Press Stones, etc. etc. and then ‘delivered’ by the Fire-Bird Form of the Sky Father in the form of a bird-shaped fire-altar … the Nordic account has the Mead of Kvasir [‘That Which Is Pressed’] hidden in the Hnitbjorg [‘Clashing Rocks’, interpreted as a magical mountain that opens and closes], and is delivered by the Sky Father in the form of an Eagle flying back with it.
Now, if we just had the Nordic mythological materials – then you would see all sorts of strange theories about what the scant fragmentary details we have about the Mead of Poetry were actually supposed to mean. There’s quite a few people out there who basically think that Sturluson kinda made up or mangled large swathes of the relevant textual material in the first place.
It is only because we have these Vedic comparative elements that we can actually say “yes, see, this is a ritual with these elements … here’s how you would likely begin to think about performing one today”.
In summary, I think .. the metaphor we often use is that in most of the rest of the IE world, the religions of those people, the ‘houses’ … they have burned down.
So we are very fortunate that, while we are working to get some of these rebuilt [and it is not going to be possible for all of them], we are able to seek shelter with our cousins – who have maintained a large and beautiful house down the millennia, and have preserved the sturdy and robust design elements that shall, in any case, be vitally necessary for those other rebuilding efforts of the people more closely proximate to us.
Now personally, I am of Scandinavian [and also Breton] ancestry … but I am also a Hindu – one of the few reasonably ‘proper’ European ones that you will ever likely meet. The way that happened is .. a long story for another time, although in my case, it involves my adoptive Indo-Nepali family and a set of rather remarkable events that made it so me winding up where I did was .. not so much a matter of me having chosen the religion, as the religion having chosen me. [And then, some months in, I got Told to go out there and help rebuild, as I am now doing] Despite the fact that my own immediate forebears are a line of Christian priests [the Reverend Rolinson being my Father, His Father Before Him being .. you get the idea] , I know that I am in the right place. [and even though I am not quite sure whether those forebears are in a Christian Heaven, or what .. I do carry out every Fortnight of the Ancestors [‘Pitru Paksha’] libations for the nourishment of Their Shades]
In terms of the “COME HOME, INDO-EUROPEAN MAN” tagline – it is a bit memetic, but it is also true. The heritage element, you can view either incredibly narrowly as being just the exact specific thing directly associated with your own familial lineage back a few generations or a few more … or you can take a bit of a broader viewpoint. Even if you are merely running with your own family lineage, you are eventually going to hit the PIE Urheimat – and there, the religion is quite strongly concordant with what is preserved in the conservative Vedic elements. [I have demonstrated this from time to time with comparative analysis with, say, Greek, Roman, and other ritualine materials that we have some access to – showing the 1:1 concordances with the Vedic comparatives, which strongly suggest that they have a common point of origin with a recalled practice of the PIE ]
So when I say ‘the ‘Home”, there in that quote – I in fact mean that broader sense of the Indo-European heritage and active engagement with the religious sphere thereof … Worshipping and Honouring the Gods.
Now you can object strenuously to this, and insist that the only way that could be proper is if the Gods in question were the very specific understanding of these that one’s own immediate forebears had an arbitrary length of time ago – although that would be curious for you to do, considering ‘Celto-Germanic’ is a labelling you have applied, and as i noted, that is already ‘mixed’. Perhaps you would similarly insist that a British person hailing the Nordic names for the Germanic understandings of the Gods rather than the Saxon ones is similarly improper ? What about a British person of Celtic ancestry invoking Roman names … certainly, his ancestors were known to do such following the Roman settlement of much of Western Europe.
But until there is actually a ‘restored’ Germanic religion [which will, by necessity, be drawing heavily from Vedic elements for reasons aforementioned – it is simply impossible to have a workable ritualine canon otherwise] , unless you are genuinely advocating that nobody have anything to do with the last living IE religion … that nobody worship The Gods with practices that we know are proper …
… unless you are genuinely advocating doing nothing until at some distant point in the future we may have built a ‘something’ …
… then I do not see the harm in a few young men re-engaging with the close relative of their own immediate ancestral denomination of IE religion, worshipping the same Gods that their ancestors did, even in perhaps less-familiar-looking panoply. The essence remains the same – the honouring goes to the same divine places.
Or perhaps you disagree with that, too, and it becomes a question of at what point following the migration out of the Steppe, the PIE Gods got ‘replaced’ , and if so by Whom, and then why are these remarkably consistent deific figures in both Eddic and Vedic mythology/theology so … consistent and similar. When did the Sky Father stop being the Sky Father and get ‘replaced’ by another Sky, another Father that is nevertheless addressed in coterminous ways, worshipped in equivalent ways, acts in remarkably familiar manners in each IE descended pantheon, sort of thing.
Anyway, you know what my own lived example suggests ? [a great many things, but this reply has gone on for long enough as-is, I suspect]
That showing that yes, there is another path that can be taken other than either the ‘Abrahamic’ religions or some sort of nihilistic atheism or just straight-up disengagement with religion all up … well, it does in fact open people’s eyes, and they do begin to see things differently.
My own experience, and I’ve been actively engaged in this sphere, this effort for perhaps half a decade or more now … has been that various of the Europeans and Americans that’ve taken note of what I’m doing, do start to realize that these ‘religions of heritage’, the IE ones, that they have some ancient ancestral connection to … are actually a viable place to return to. That the ‘Jesus or nothing’ choice they felt was basically ‘it’ where and when they were growing up, isn’t all there is. And, for that matter, that the ‘other options’ don’t have to basically amount to Wiccanry and whatever it is Varg’s doing these days – that actual, serious religion exists out there, and it’s incredibly Indo-European, just waiting to help guide them home.
Whether that ‘home’ is in the bigger and more expansive sense that runs all the way from Iceland to India , and takes a certain pride in much if not most of the entire sphere … or whether that ‘home’ is the smaller and more localized one that is most immediately and directly relevant to them and their proximate community.
That ‘Home’, one way or another, is the House of the Gods – whether the ones down here on Earth [the Temple / Mandir / Hof , etc.] or the one that is something of an afterlife where the great among us wind up in Their Presence.
The Indo-European Gods Are The Indo-European Gods.
I say it again:
“COME HOME, INDO-EUROPEAN MAN!”