On Becoming Rudra – The Indo-European Investiture Of The Divine Essence In Ritual And Beyond

It is Wednesday ! Odin’s Day !

And so therefore, some absolutely excellent (A)Art-i and accompanying commentary upon the relevant Indo-European theological precept, in His Name – quite literally, as it should happen. 

The art is by HC – and was initially destined to evocatively illustrate a section of my ongoing RUDRAGANIKA series.
Yet it … it seemed almost to militate having a standalone piece dedicated to it, in order to more fulsomely explore what is going on therein. 

So – what we see here is quite simple. We have a Shaivite, a Roudran – and we have Shiva, Rudra. The Two are becoming quite coterminous in a manner that we shall soon see. 

A situation wherein in order to worship Rudra – one, in a certain sense, becomes Rudra. Rudravesha, we may say – the state of being ‘entered into’ by Rudra. 

That is what is meant by the Sanskrit text that is infused within the Lightning. 

śivo dātā śivo bhoktā śivaḥ sarvamidaṃ jagat ||
śivo yajati sarvatra yaḥśivaḥ so’hameva tu |

“Shiva is the ‘Giver’ [‘Data’ – like ‘Dative’ etc.]
Shiva is the Enjoyer
Shiva is All in this universe
It is Śiva Himself Who worships (‘Yajati’) everywhere

I am Shiva”

This is a ritual phrasing, attested in several sources, which directly ’embodies’ the concept in question. We are indebted to the sage Angiras for directing our attention thereto. 

Now, as for the concept itself, it is best attested in the Hindu perspective – yet also occurs in various of the other Indo-European traditions, as we shall soon be seeing. 

It is a particular expression of a general typology. This constitutes a heavily interrelated ‘pair’ of elements – wherein the divinely blessed worshipper is ‘invested’ with something.

What we are interested in here is the ‘specific’ formulation – the specific ‘type’ or ‘persona’ (‘masque?’) of essence becoming imbued; however it is also useful to consider the broader as well. 

One way of thinking about this ‘specific’ manifestation may be that familiar concept of the ‘Eternal Return’ or the ‘Mythic Resonance’ – wherein, in the course of a Rite, a participant ‘takes on the role’, dons the masque, of a particular deific or other such figure. 

This … definitely has coterminity with that – however, I would argue that it goes quite a lot further.

Insofar as – instead of ‘acting as’ such a figure, the human in the relevant role does become that figure in a much more overt sense. At least, some portion of Him (or, for that matter, Her – as we had noted in our RudraGanika work, which pertains also to Dionysus’ Maenads etc., particular women becoming ‘on earth’ embodiments of the female Retinue of the Sky Father appears to be a pervasive Indo-European understanding. We would also cite that prominent occurrence in the Xth Mandala of the RigVeda wherein the justly famed DeviSukta was revealed by a Rsika (‘female Rsi’ – ‘Seer(ess)’, ‘Poet’ doesn’t quite do the term justice) that was held to have effectively become an incarnate form of the Devi (Vak) in question). 

But let us return to those aforementioned ‘broader’ understandings. 

The more ‘general’ typology would be that these humans have a ‘Furor’ brought into them.
Whether Furor Poeticus or Furor Teutonicus – it is our belief that these are fundamentally, foundationally, the same energy and of the same ultimate sourcing. 
We have demonstrated this in various ways – and the utilization of Sanskrit Ugra in RV X 125 5 remains a favourite.
There, the term for ‘fierce’, ‘berserk rage’ – is utilized in reference to the potency of a Vedic Seer, a Rsi, the human figure that pours forth the Divine Verse. 
And it is Vak Devi Who empowers Her chosen human with this force. Just as, elsewhere in the Hindu perspective, we find Devi acting as the ‘Shakti’ of Shiva. 

Or, to phrase this in Ancient Greek terms – just as we find Athena investing Diomedes, one of Her Chosen, with that furious ‘Menos’.

As She Herself puts it, per Book V of the Iliad [125-126]:
 “Fear not, Diomedes, to do battle with the Trojans, for I have set in your heart the spirit of your father, the horseman Tydeus.” 
[Butler translation]

The term being rendered as ‘Spirit’ there, is the aforementioned μένος (Menos) – and, as we have repeatedly spoken upon elsewhere (and so shall not repeat in any great depth nor detail here), this is a very strong cognate for Sanskrit ‘Manyu’ (a prominent Roudran theonym, for the most formidable of the War Gods – c.f also ‘Minerva’ in Latin), deriving from PIE *Men (referring to ‘Mental Activity’, ‘Mind’, ‘Spirit’). 

Now, this is the more general expression inherent of the typology of which we are commenting upon today. Indeed, which we have fairly extensively covered previously. It is the general energy of Furor that is imparted into the Chosen. 

Of course, it is interesting to note the delicious ambiguity inherent in the mytholinguistics at this point. In the Iliad, Athena is ‘placing’ the Furor into Diomedes’ being.

In other instances it seems instead almost as if something pre-existing within us is being ‘stirred up’, ‘whipped up’ into a frenzy – consider Ancient Greek ὀρῑ́νω (‘Orino’) in relation to ‘Erinyes’; with this hailing from PIE *h₃er- … a term not only for ‘stirring up’, but also for moving to *fight*.

That same PIE root has some very interesting further permutations that we have discussed elsewhere (Sanskrit ऋति (‘Rti’), for instance, I cite for personal reasons) – for example viz. *h₃reyH- taking things in the particular direction of ‘boiling’ or ‘flowing’. We most certainly have attestations for the Furor state as correlating with quite some heat (Sanskrit – ‘Tapas’; and the situation of Cu Chulainn building up a truly impressive degree of body-heat through his combative exertions); and the ‘flow state’, or the idea of a divine energy ‘flowing through’ one also connects quite strongly with the Poetic Inspiration and the saliency of the Vedic Rsi. The verses ‘Flow Forth’.

We might likewise speak of something in the individual in question being ‘impelled’ – viz. ‘Ire’ etc., coming down to us from PIE *h₁eysh₂- .
What does this Proto-Indo-European term mean? Exactly that. ‘To Impel’, ‘To Strengthen’, perhaps ‘To Animate’ or to set into motion. 
We should also note इष्णाति (‘Isnati’) as containing not only these aforementioned senses, the ‘incitement’ and almost ‘firing’ (‘throwing’, ‘letting fly’ – but modern English is more familiar with the ballistic in its contemporary sense than the more archaic Graecian one) – but also, quite pointedly, vocal formulations for same. ‘Declarations’, ‘Proclamations’, ‘Acclamations’ – forceful speech flowing forth, particularly to the purpose of causing those acts of ‘incitement’ and ‘animation’, ‘strengthening’ so vociferously aforementioned herein. 

And, of course, the ‘Aeshma’ familiar to many through the Zoroastrian rendering … that appears to be cognate with Sanskrit ‘Ismin’ ( इष्मिन् ), which both has the expected meaning-field of ‘swiftness’, ‘impetuousness’, and other related shades of meaning (we must acknowledge the debt owed to Manasataramgini for his work in this area). We shall expand upon this in due course. 

English “Ire” hardly requires translation (and we thank N. Mukhopādhyāyaḥ for drawing this term and its lineage to our attention).
Yet it is definitely intriguing to note its likely (although another root is also possible) cognate-correlation with Ancient Greek ῐ̔ερός (‘Hieros’) – a term that is overtly familiar for its connexion to the ‘Sacred’, the Divine. 
Indeed, that is precisely the point we shall soon be addressing. The notion of the Divine Connexion; that something – or someone – is, indeed, fairly directly sanctified via the Divine Presence through just such a connectivity. 

In yet further occasions we seem to hear that one has been ‘Taken’, ‘Grasped’, ‘Seized’ by it. The most prominent exemplar for which being Jung’s ‘Ergreifen’ concept as discussed in his famed ‘Wotan’ essay.
Although it also shows up in other ways, elsewhere, too – the θεὸς λαμβάνει (‘Theos Lamvanei’ – being ‘taken’, ‘seized’, ‘possessed’ by the God) descriptor for a male Bacchic initiate observed in a ritual context, given in Herodotus IV 79. 

Indeed, I suspect rather strongly that the etymology of ‘Furor’ itself – which is generally … not agreed upon (there are several somewhat unsatisfactory proposals – a major one being a simple calque of the Greek ‘Erinyes’ style terminology) – may also be approached in the similar fashion. That is to say : Latin ‘Furō’ (‘I Rage’) being very closely coterminous with the other Latin ‘Fūrō’ – a term for a thief. One who ‘takes’. The same situation repeats when we switch each of these from verb to noun and noun to verb respectively in terms of formulation – Latin ‘Furor’ for the rage (i.e. the noun), Latin ‘Fūror’ for the acts of theft and taking (i.e. the verb). The root for which would be PIE *bʰer- – whence our modern ‘To Bear’. Certainly, to be imbued with the Furor is ‘to bear’ an essence !

In a certain sense this is not distinct from what is illustrated in the image. The God of Furor is, of course, strongly correlate with that Furor Energy – hence the theonymics, hence the descriptions in the texts for Him. Being imbued with the Divine Essence of course quite naturally may entail coming into contact with same. 

Except there is something much more direct, much more focused, much more ‘refined’ to what we are witnessing here in this image. 

There, it is not ‘Furor’ in this rather general sense that we are observing to be imbued. It is Him, Himself. Even if it is, for very obvious reasons, a ‘partial’ Incarnating that is taking place.
And one which, perhaps, we may also surmise is not something ‘foreign’ being introduced into the human in question. But, per the words of the ShivaDharmashastra, more the ‘awakening’ of something that was already there a long time ago … 

To quote therefrom [ŚiDhŚ 1.16 & 1.24] 

ye ’rcayanti sadā rudraṃ na te prakṛtimānuṣāḥ |
rudralokāt paribhraṣṭās te rudrā nātra saṃśayaḥ ∥
[…] 
nārudraḥ saṃsmared rudraṃ nārudro rudram arcayet |
nārudraḥ kīrtayed rudraṃ nārudro rudram āpnuyāt ∥

Which, in translation :

“They who always worship Rudra, they are no ordinary men. They are Rudras who have come down from Rudraloka. There is no doubt about this.
[…]
One who is not Rudra cannot call to mind Rudra. One who is not Rudra cannot worship Rudra. One who is not Rudra cannot praise Rudra. One who is not Rudra cannot attain Rudra.”
[Nina Mirnig translation]

Now, of course, this must be contextualized. It does not literally mean that every human devotee who engages in ordinary Shaivite devotional activities is a Rudra.
At least, particularly not in this rather powerful metaphysical and ritualine sense. 
However, at the same time, simply being an ‘ordinary’ devotee of Shiva does not not mean that one is not and cannot be a Rudra incarnate, either. 

It would be interesting to speculate that part of the reasoning for the greater emphasis upon the ‘Shiva’ facing to Rudra in post-Vedic times might be precisely because of this underlying reasoning.
That is – as Rudra is so fearsome and terrifying to approach as any but a Rudra (whether Rudra Himself – or one of His Sons or Daughters or broader Retinue of alike figures to Himself, and therefore already bearing ‘Rudra Essence’, likely cultivated through fairly active emulation of He), that the more ‘calm’ and ‘approachable’ facing may have been a useful facility for the less fanatically engaged worshipper. Indeed, even to this day, ‘Bholenath’ etc. are generally figuratively rendered in ways to communicate this remarkable ‘ease of approach’ to Him – directly contrasting with the perilous and inapproachable Rudra of the Vedic and Tantrika sphere. Which does NOT, either, imply that the ‘Shiva’ facing is some form of contrivance or convenience of artifice – only that something that is a part to the broader complex has expanded in the perception … precisely because it’s what most people via default come into contact with; the more specialized and, in a word, ‘elite’ understandings and means for engagement being by their nature, restricted to those likely to actually be participating in the heavier-grade ritualistic frameworks. 

However, we would also draw attention to another Śivadharmaśāstra verse [ŚDh 12.103–104]:

rudro rudrākṣadānena bhavatīti kim adbhutam |
tanmālayā sadā haste rudraś ca kramate kṣitau ||
rudrākṣāṇi svayaṃ rudro ye ca rudrākṣadhārakāḥ |
rudrākṣadhāraṇāt tasmād iha rudraḥ paratra ca ||.

Translated:

“How wonderful is it that one becomes Rudra through the gift of rudrākṣa-beads!
[He who carries] his rosary in his hand at all times is a Rudra walking on earth.
The rudrākṣa-beads themselves are Rudra, and so are those who carry the rudrākṣas.
By carrying the rudrākṣas one is Rudra in this world and the next.”
[Nina Mirnig translation]

Or, phrased another way – we have remarked elsewhere upon the vitality of having and utilizing Rudrakshmala in the course of Shaivite piety and ritual. 
It should seem that part of the reasoning for this, is that by having such a mala within one’s hands, one is able to gain some measure (at least, in the external sense) of ‘being as’ (a ) Rudra.
It is not so much a ‘disguise’ as it may be thought of as a bit of a ‘protection mechanism’ and ‘keycard’, of sorts. A ‘visitor’s pass’, we may suggest. 

Yet let us return to the emergent suite of mytholinguistics in earnest. 

The term which we had utilized to introduce this broad and pervasive concept in our parodos was ‘Rudravesha’. 

This is comprised of several elements. ‘Rudra’ we all know. But ‘Avesha’ … ? 

We note with some amusement that in modern Hindi, Avesha ( आवेश ) is quite literally ‘charged’ terminology. That’s partially what it means.
The property of bearing an (electrical) charge. Or, in psychoemotive terms, exhibiting a heightened emotive state – that of excitement, that of frenzy. 
We are instantly reminded of PIE *weh₂t- (whence Woden, óðr etc.). However that is not *quite* what the term is there to convey. 

Let us look a little … deepa. 

Avesha ( Āveśa ), in Sanskrit, can be further broken down into its constituent components. 

Here we have the prefix आ- – cognate with ‘At’ in English, or ‘Ad’ (‘to’) in Latin. And that is just what it means. To go at something, to move toward it. From PIE *h₂éd, in case you were wondering. An adverb (look, there’s another one … ‘ad-verb’, something that goes to the verb).

But what is it which we are moving ‘toward’ here? विश् (‘Visha’). If a verb, then it is ‘entering’. If it is a noun, however, it is perhaps more intriguing to us – a ‘household’, a space within which one dwells (a sense of ‘wealth’, as in a property held, may also be relevant). From PIE *weyḱ- – which, entirely unsurprisingly, has both senses (that of entry and that which is entered); and produces such terms as Ancient Greek οἶκος (‘Oikos’ – household; the root of ‘economics’ as well, as it happens), the ‘-wick’ or ‘-wich’ suffixes in English to denote a village, ‘vicinity’, and so on and so forth. 

Interestingly, perhaps, for our purposes is the Balto-Slavic suite of terms derived from this root that pertain to ‘Guest’. Latvian Viesis, Lithuanian Viešpats (which, as one would presume due to the -pats, has a rather lordly connotation to it – the ‘Guest’ being potentially a Deific or visiting human authority figure), etc. 

Effectively, then, the underlying sense to ‘Avesha’ is quite clear – ‘Enter Into’, in one perspective … move into a ‘housing’, another.

This casts the theonymic of Rudra so prominent in the Vedas – ‘Vastopati’ ( वास्तोष्पतिं ), ‘Lord of the Dwelling’ – into a most intriguing light (that’s a Sanskrit pun for those of you in the audience who … you know what? We’ll leave that for now.).
The PIE root in that case, viz. ‘Vaastu’, is *h₂wes- – ‘to dwell’, of course, but also to do so on a much more temporary basis (consider Ancient Greek ἄεσᾰ – to spend the night somewhere). Oh, and to pick up upon that pun briefly aforementioned …  वस्तु (‘Vastu’), as in ‘Light’, or ‘Essence’. In this, it may have some coterminity with Proto-Germanic *wesaną – ‘to be’, ‘to exist’, ‘to remain’. Certainly, the latter’s immediate descendant, PG *wistiz – ‘essence’, ‘nature’, ‘being’ – should seem eerily pertinent herein.

But I am digressing even more wildly than usual. The simple point to be considered here is whether as a ‘shadowed’ sense to ‘Vastopati’ as ‘Lord of the Dwelling’, we might have Rudra as Vastopati as ‘Lord of Dwelling’. That is: Chief that Dwells (within), or the Chief presiding over the acts of dwelling within. An intriguing point for us, perhaps, to consider at some other point in time. Along with how the blessed ‘illumination’ (correlate, perhaps, also with the Divine Speech and its (or, we ought say, with deference to the similarly rooted Vesta & Hestia, Her) empowerment of Her chosen vessel) may so prove relevant likewise. The ‘inner fire’ most definitely seems to accompany that scenario of Diomedes, as one such example, upon His receipt of the ‘Menos’ potency from Blessed Athena. 

Yet we have spent all these words to discuss various ways to ‘triangulate’ the underlying sense to the Indo-European theological – and ritualine – understanding in question. We have placed precious few of these into actual more substantive matters. Let us now move to remedify that in earnest !

We had earlier made brief reference to the ‘Aeshma’ of the Zoroastrian corpus. It is remarkably familiar to Western audiences – albeit through a perhaps unexpected means. 
“Asmodeus” is a rather prominent demonic figure in the general Abrahamic (i.e. Judaic, Christian, Islamic) milieu. Unsurprisingly, this also means a considerable prominency in the Western Esoteric sphere. 

Before we go further we must re-emphasize something that has often come to mind with these elements. While we can demonstrate that the name for the demon has a good Indo-European origination – this does not mean that one ought be so cavalier as to attempt to engage with that is regarded as a demonic entity in the Abrahamic sphere, simply because of the name. Who is to say that the name has not been misappropriated, purloined, misapplied? Who is to say that the figure bearing it in those (substantively) non-IE texts is not, in fact, actually some demon?

Play it safe. If you want to engage with an IE deific – engage with the IE deific – not the form of an Abrahamic demon, because you want to believe that it’s just a ‘reskinned’ IE deific. 
And do so in the proper and appropriate manner through an IE sphere. Ideally, given the traits under discussion, in the proper manner within said sphere as well. 

And now, with that out of the way … 

Asmodeus, it should seem, is a calque into Hebrew from Avestan, which has then become latinized in turn. It is, perhaps, somewhat remarkable that the ‘Daeva’ in the ‘Aeshma Daeva’ of the Zoroastrians has become ‘Deus’ in this Latinate formulation – as this is, of course, the proper and appropriate direct cognate … even despite potentially passing through a Greek intermediary stage in which the ‘Dee’ in Hebrew had seemingly become interpreted as Ancient Greek δαῖος. What does this δαῖος (‘Daios’) mean? Something pertaining to ‘Strife’, ‘Burning’, ‘Consuming’, ‘Hostility’, ‘Battle’ (viz. Ancient Greek δάϊς (‘Dais’), which of course, means exactly that). There is definitely some saliency in conceptual terms for this δαῖος, then, in terms of what is meant via ‘Aeshma’ – however more upon that momentarily. 

In effect, we can perceive that during the period of significant Persian / Zoroastrian influence upon the Jews following their release by Cyrus, the Jews also picked up a Zoroastrian demonic adversarial figure. That would be the aforementioned Aesma Daeva (also anglicized in … an array of ways – aēšma daēva, for instance, if we are being proper with our pronunciation-markings; aēṣ̌madaēuua if we are being rather … specialized with such; and Æshma-dæva if we are merely being fancy – and, perhaps, rather like the Anglo-Saxon ‘Aesc’ supposed to have informed the ‘Ae’ conjoined ligature lettering found therein).

As we have often noted, given what the Zoroastrian corpus did with ‘Vipra’ (in Vedic saliency, a term for the empowered state of Divine Inspiration … in Avestan becoming a term for an alleged unnatural act of the homosexual persuasion that earned one a death-sentence), it should perhaps prove entirely unsurprising to find one of their demons bearing a name directly cognate to something regarded more positively elsewhere across the Indo-European sphere. Although, of course, it should also be noted that it is a ‘refinement’ of the concept – a decontextualization, in fact, that has come to characterize the demon. That is to say – whereas our concept of ‘Furor’ is a broad one, they have instead only associated the negative and ‘wrathful’ connotations to the term to ‘Aeshma’. But more upon all of that can be found elsewhere. We ought move on back into our own archaic sphere and major theme. 

The Sanskrit cognate for ‘Aeshma’ is ‘Ishmin’ ( इष्मिन् ), which we have earlier ascribed the meanings of ‘swiftness’, ‘impetuousness’. It is observed to have obvious linkage to the Wind, and we would perhaps note the situation of Aristeas of Proconnesus in that matter, as we have written upon elsewhere. This was, after all, a figure who seemed to move with the swiftness of the wind on a divine and visionary journey, under the influence of Apollo, and even in blessed Corvid form; afore coming back to inform the world of the Divine Will in these regards. 

The major Vedic saliency for Ishmin, however, is rather more pointedly and overtly Roudran. We do not hold a hard difference nor division between the ‘Roudran’ and the ‘Wind’, of course – and have also written extensively upon the ‘wind’ that is ‘spirit’ within us (identified in fittingly Rourdan / Marutian terms, even, in the relevant Hindu metaphysical texts) in exactly this capacity. 

In RV V 52 16 it is a quality attested to Rudra. In RV V 87 5, it is said of the Evyamarut (‘One Accompanied By Maruts’). In RV VII 56 11, the Maruts Themselves.

In RV I 87 6, we find it said of … well, it is a matter of some complexity. My personal interpretation, given the context of the line within its surrounding Hymnal is that it is plausibly not so much the Maruts being referred to there via ‘Ishmino’ – but rather, that this quality there pertains to the ‘Singers’, the Priests, that are conducting the rites in question. Or, phrased another way – that the Priests have, in a certain sense, become as the Maruts.

Certainly, they are now able to ‘see’ / ‘know’ / ‘experience’ / ‘feel’ [‘vidre’ – interestingly translated as ‘possess’ in both the H.H. Wilson and Griffith translations] the ‘Dhamanah’ ( धाम्नः ) of the Maruts – with ‘Dhaman’, whilst often translated as ‘Domain’ or ‘Dwelling’, ‘Station’ … I would ponder whether the other encountered sense of ‘Power’, ‘State’, ‘Energy’ might be more immediately pertinent for our figurative rendering. The term in question derives from PIE *dʰéh₁mn̥ – ‘that which is established’ or perhaps ’emplaced’ (c.f Ancient Greek θέμᾰ – ‘Thema’ – from the same ultimate PIE origination). 

To address the matter more directly: perhaps the relevant Sanskrit verse (RV I 87 6) suggests that the Priests have become as Maruts. They are, after all, ‘accompanying’ the Divine being thusly invoked (indeed, as Jamison & Brereton’s commentary observes, the next hymnal, RV I 88, also to the Maruts and by the same Rsi, depicts the Chariot(s) of the Maruts as being “equipped” with “chants” – taking advantage of the other potential understanding for ‘Arka’ … although in their actual translation, they – as with many others – instead went for the more straightforward ‘lightning’ etc. rendition : so, chariots accompanied by lightning).

In that sense, then, we should read RV I 87 6 as having the Priests, perhaps, not only ‘seeing’ the Realm of the Maruts – but perhaps also ‘feeling’ the ‘energy’, and having perception of the ‘state’ of the Maruts by taking up position in amongst Them. Or, at least, as human, ‘sidereal-sphere’ ‘bearers’ of this accordant Divine Essence. 

In this, these Priests would not be alone. As we have covered quite extensively in some of our more recent work pertaining to the RudraGanikas – this should seem to be exactly what the human woman involved in that most illustrious clade were held to be.

Only, in their particular case – it was not so simple as their having ‘adopted’ or been ‘imbued’ with this ‘essence’ via ritualine action. Rather, they were held to be direct descendants of prototypical figures of Shiva’s attendance. Indeed, likely partially for this reason, they were even referred to (in the Uttara Kamika) as being higher than Brahmins in standing as a result. 

In essence – quite literally, as it happens – when the RudraGanikas would ride out upon their MrgaYatra rite (which we have .. slightly figuratively – yet definitely aptly – rendered as ‘Wild Hunt’) in accompaniment of a Murti (‘Statue imbued with Divinity’) of Rudra (the Divine Huntsman) … it was a case of ‘on Earth as it is in Heaven’. Eliadian Eternal Return and Myth Made Manifest. Particularly in that instance wherein, as Manasataramgini has briefly spoken upon, a Vijayanagara performance of the rite was (not-)interrupted by Muslims attempting to interfere with the Mrgayatra … leading to their being met with deadly force by the horse-mounted RudraGanikas, who amply demonstrated that their panoply of war was not merely ceremonial in the ensuing combat. Sometimes it is most curious how the ‘internal logic’ of Myth finds itself almost compulsively re-manifested out here in ‘sidereal’ time. (We should, perhaps, mention that other iterations of the Mrgayatra have a symbolic war against demons – or, at least, those opposed to the Gods – at the relevant stage of the rite)

All of which brings us to those other Indo-European occurrences we have frequently meant to make broader mention upon. 

We have already drawn attention to Herodotus IV 79. There, it is declared that the Initiates of Dionysus are subject to a state of θεοῦ μαίνεται (‘Theou Mainetai’ – ‘Divine Furor’, and one can easily note the cognate of the second Greek word to our (Hindu and Sanskrit)
‘Manyu’). Indeed, this should seem to fairly directly pertain to the roots of ‘Maenad’ in both word and deed. 

We would draw attention to the work of Diodorus Siculus –

“Consequently in many Greek cities every other year Bacchic bands of women gather, and it is lawful for the maidens to carry the thyrsus and to join in the frenzied revelry, crying out “Euai!” and honouring the god; while the matrons, forming in groups, offer sacrifices to the god and celebrate his mysteries and, in general, extol with hymns the presence of Dionysus, in this manner acting the part of the Maenads who, as history records, were of old the companions of the god.”
[Oldfather translation, Bibliotheca Historica 4 3 1124]

And, to take things further, to quote from my own previous work upon the subject:

“Homeric Hymn 1 has Dionysus as “Inspirer of frenzied women” [the word being ‘gynaimanes’ (γυναιμανής in the original text) – and it is rather telling that μαίνομαι (mainomai), the second portion of the word, is so close to Sanskrit मन्यते (‘Manyate’); recall the earlier Maenad / Manyu / PIE *Men typology]”

Indeed, elsewhere in that particular (A)Arti-cle, we pondered whether certain circumstances of Valkyries apparently (re-)incarnating as human women of noble birth and bearing, might in fact have been similarly the result of these kinds of ’emplacements’ of mythic, divine-realm spirit. We even went so far as to identify a potential Nordic ‘cognate’ for a Tantrika style rite – in the situation of the Runic initiation of the Sigrdrífumál.

The terms of the verses appeared to suggest that Sigurd and Sigrdrífa / Brynhildr became, for the purposes of the initiation, Odin and a Goddess (or, perhaps, ‘Yogini’ in the broader sense – and these two terms can most definitely be coterminous) carrying out the instruction therein. “[Acting in a not entirely dissimilar fashion to Freyja per the Ynglinga Saga when She teaches Odin et co the arts of magic”, as I put it at the time. Or, tellingly – just as Vak Devi does for Her Chosen (‘Kama’) male, whom She imparts the Ugra potency that enables the great deeds of poetry and power of the Rsi, the Brahmin, in RV X 125 5. 

Or, with especial deference to the Nordic text that we are here but briefly observing – the power and potency of ‘Hropt’ (the name of Odin specifically cited in the verses), the ‘Sage’ (although presumably also linked to Old Norse Hrópa – ‘To Call’ or ‘To Cry’ or ‘To Shout’ … tellingly speculated to ultimately derive from the same PIE root as our good friend the Corvid). 

The overarching point of these later string of exemplars is to observe that the ‘investiture’ of Essence – not simply in the manner of general ‘Furor’, but the quite more specific in-to-carnation of what in Sanskrit may, perhaps, refer to as an ‘Amsha’ ( अंश – a ‘part’; a term utilized in such contexts as referring to Hanuman’s status as a partial Avatar of Rudra (His (Divine) Father in certain texts) – but also to those devout Roudran worshippers that have indeed attained this state and essence that we are in this piece discussing). 

As the Shivadharmashastra [IV 9] puts it :

rudrātmāno rudraparā rudrāṃśā rudrabhāvanāḥ |
ityācārasamāyuktā bhavanti bhuvi mānavāḥ ||

“They consist of Rudra, they are intent on Rudra, they are in part Rudra, they feel devotion to Rudra;
[these] are men on earth endowed with such conducts.”
[Mirnig translation] 

On a certain level, of course, one might feasibly argue that everybody has some ‘part’ bestowed by the God. 
We can approach this in a number of ways.
The ‘Breath of Life’ concept that we have briefly mentioned via allusion is one such example; and we would encourage a read of our earlier ‘The Mytholinguistics Of The Smoking Breath’ for more in this direction. 

And yet, the distinction – the gradient of both degree and yet also of kind – is a vitally important one. 

We all have Breath in our lungs, as the necessary precondition for our life. In the metaphysical sense, it is doubly so. 
That ‘Breath’ seems frequently to crossover into the sphere of the ‘Furor’ conceptry – as I have occasionally synoptically observed, there seems a veer-y good case that for the (Proto-)Indo-European, ‘To Be Alive’ might very well also have meant ‘To Be Angry’. 
And certainly, various terms for ‘Breath’ cross-over easily in their definitional ambit to utilization for ‘Fury’ (‘Hot Breath’, ‘Smoking Breath’, for obvious reasons proving pertinent) – and ‘Fury’, likewise, it should seem, for ‘Soul’. 

But all being in possession of a Gods-given Soul, Gods-given Breath, and even Gods-given opportunities to draw near to Them in Worship … do not, themselves, make one the God. 

That famed Hindu maxim “We become more like That Which We Meditate Upon” does not, in and of itself, turn one into That Which Is Meditated Upon. Although the exterior resemblance and interior ‘resonance’ is almost certainly going to help in such endeavours. 

The general – and even, for the most part, the highly specific – ritual undertakings wherein the ‘Mantle’ (we may also aptly say – the ‘Masque’) of the God is to be donned by the particular ritually mandated individual(s) … even these do not make one the God – except upon a temporary, and contextually bounded basis. 

The necessary work via which one might seek to ‘become’ even a ‘portion’ of the Deity, Their Immanency out here into this World of ours, is an unutterably complex one. One requiring not only comprehension and command of quite some arcane materials – but also the suitable, the ‘resonant’ emotive state and some oft-rather-traumatic ‘sculpting’ of the being. Above All – again, quite literally – it requires the supreme Divine Grace. 

Perhaps, we may even say – only One Who Is Already Rudra, in some sense, may Ask to be Empowered to Be Him. 

जय श्री रूद्र

The Storm Wind Welcomes Us Home ! 

ॐ नमः शिवाय

2 thoughts on “On Becoming Rudra – The Indo-European Investiture Of The Divine Essence In Ritual And Beyond

  1. Pingback: On Becoming Rudra – The Indo-European Investiture Of The Divine Essence In Ritual And Beyond – Glyn Hnutu-healh: History, Alchemy, and Me

  2. Pingback: On Becoming Rudra – The Indo-European Investiture Of The Divine Essence In Ritual And Beyond – Crusty Old Smoke

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s