Earlier in the week, an associate had asked for some further detail about the connexion between Goddess and Sovereignty, Coronation, and Kingship in Indo-European religion.
It is something that at once sounds arcane and vaguely unfamiliar (perhaps in no small part because while many of us technically live under a Monarchy – at least, here in much of the Commonwealth – it is .. not exactly of the archaic kind for us to see such things in action) – yet which we can also fairly instantly conjure powerful exemplars to stand in our mind with which to illustrate.
We aren’t going to comment on the Arthurian materials in detailed exegetical fashion – but suffice to say the understanding prominent in popular culture has King Arthur significantly empowered via his being bestowed with the sword Excalibur by the Lady of the Lake.
This was, of course, a weapon that was heavily bound up with Arthur’s ability to be king – whether in the symbolic sense of being worthy to be given such a potent artefact by powers beyond human reckoning … or in the more mundane sense that recognizes that the major threats to Arthur’s claims of kingship and ability to exercise sovereign rule came in the form of martial opposition. Particularly from the invading Saxon hordes. Not that we intend to suggest that ‘To Rule’ axiomatically entails ‘To Be Violent’ – but it most certainly helps.
Within the Hindusphere – we are awed by the bestowal by the Goddess to ShivaJi (the first Emperor of the Maratha Confederacy) of the famed Bhavani Tulwar, with which he was to fight back against the Mughals in order to (re-)establish Hindu Rashtra (‘Hindu Nation / Polity’) upon the SubContinent. In that particular case, it is said that ShivaJi’s Mother, Jijabai, a woman of immense piety had prayed for a miracle – and received one in the form of a son worthy of legend who could grow to become the unifying force for the Marathas, and the liberator for the Hindu cause against the Mughals. Jijabai was also a close devotee of Bhavani (also known as Shivai, for Whom ShivaJi was named), and it is therefore no surprise that she successfully instilled these values of piety and patriotism in her young son.
It is also no surprise that we therefore also find the young soon-to-be-sovereign presented by the Goddess with a most remarkable Sword, precisely in order to empower and avail him in his coming mission at Her Behest to re-establish Hindu Rule against the invaders.
Now, despite ShivaJi being a very well attested historical figure (dating, as he does, to the 17th century – and having left a singularly impressive marking upon political affairs of the day), there is some considerable debate as to the level and ‘style’ of truth to the above. By which I mean – whether the particular Sword(s) often identified as the Bhavani Tulwar were, in fact, directly handed to him by the Goddess … something that becomes rather interesting to consider given the efforts to identify the Sword of ShivaJi as having been a ‘Genoese’ blade (which, to be fair, may simply refer to the metallurgy involved rather than its more overt stylistic or even physical origination).
My personal position is that this almost misses the point. We cannot prove a great many things one way or ‘tuther about the Sword of ShivaJi in the ‘sidereal’ sense. There are debates about its style, make, and even where it eventually wound up (one particular blade identified as the Sword of ShivaJi, for instance, disappearing off into the possession of the House of Windsor some decades ago). And yet none of that vitiates that he had a Sword. Nor that said Sword, in a metaphysical sense, is regarded in the folklore as being rather important. Indeed, the tangible manifestation of his being blessed by Devi to rise through martial victory to rule by Her Grace.
At this point, it may seem a little tenuous to endeavour to link the above with that situation of King Arthur in the popular perception. After all – it is the ‘Lady of the Lake’ Who bestows to Arthur that mystical blade. How does this correlate with a Hindu Goddess?
Well, as we have said – we are not going to get into an in-depth analysis of the Arthurian canon (such as it is), and instead are restricting ourselves to utilizing the ‘pop-cultural version’ to illuminate some ‘deepa’ truths for the general audience, availed via familiarity.
But what we WOULD observe is that there is a prominent (yet understated) occurrence for the Indo-European (Great) Goddess to have residency in The Waters. Archaically – the ‘liminal sphere’ about the edge of the universe, we may say.
The best example of this is Vak Devi Herself – and, as we have covered elsewhere, the reasoning for this is quite simple. She is the in-universe expression of the Absolute, Cosmic Order – Rta, Orlog. This Absolute is ‘uber alles’ – and above and beyond our universe (yet also salient within it). Hence, as She Herself declares it in RV X 125 7 – Her Home is in the Waters (Samudra). We find this principle also co-expressed in the Nordic situation of Frigg’s dwelling being located in Fensalir – the Halls of the Deep; something that, as others have observed, may be coterminous with the Sökkvabekkr inhabited by both Sága and Odin, Who therein drink Together.
Sökkvabekkr is a rather intriguing term, as it happens – there is a generally accepted rendering for it as the ‘Sunken Bench’ or ‘Sunken Bank’ (the ‘bekkr’ being from Proto-Germanic *bankiz … which, other than those two English terms aforementioned, oddly enough also informs ‘Bank’ in the financial-institution, safekeeping and withdrawals sense); however another view posits that Sökkva, rather than being from Proto-Germanic *sinkwaną and meaning ‘Sunken’ … might instead refer to ‘Jewel’, ‘Treasure’ – thus rendering Sökkvabekkr as a place where incredibly valuable elements may indeed be kept, assumedly ‘under’ (in the case of ‘sunken’) or ‘beyond’ (to emphasize the ‘bank’ – as in ‘river bank’) the waters aforementioned. One could further, perhaps, read the ‘bekkr’ as having descended from PG *bakiz, referring to a ‘beach’ (which the PG is also the root for, as it happens) or to a stream (i.e., perhaps, an ‘origination’ for these treasurous wonders to ‘flow’ out into the world when so appropriate). But more upon all of that, perhaps, some other time.
Where I am, in part, going with this – is the mention found in RV VIII 100 9, wherein it is stated that the Vajra is also to be found out there in (indeed, quite pointedly under – abhivrtah meaning ‘covered by’) the Waters, the Ocean (Samudra). There are several ways to read the second part to the verse – including the notion that the ‘floods’ in ‘continuous offering’ to this are, in fact, the libations and pressings of offerings. But, again, more upon that some other time.
The point is – the Vajra is, per my theological interpretation, effectively something of a ‘spark’ of that Absolute. A ‘Shard’ of that aforesaid Cosmic Order. Hence why it is so incredibly effective for the purposes of smiting those self-declared antagonists against same. It is literally their antithesis, their anathema. And, of course, as an ‘imbuement’ of Cosmic Order – it is not hard to see how this, also, correlates to Rulership. Rules, after all, are what Rulers are there to enforce and uphold.
We ought also note but briefly that the situation of the Vajra being found in the same Waters-situated demesne as the origination of Vak is, likewise, utterly uncoincidental. The One ‘unlocks’ the Other – as we have demonstrated not only via recourse to the Vaidika texts elsewhere in the course of our work, but also via that most intriguing and little-known attestation in the Greek corpus of texts for Athena (famously, via the Tritogeneia descriptor, said to also hail from the Waters) being the sole figure (knowledg)able to ‘unlock’ the storehouse within which the Thunderbolt of Zeus is kept. And that, most certainly, is a scepter of Divine Rule !
Yet let us move forward in earnest.
Thus far we have discussed several observances pertaining to the Goddess bestowing Weaponry. These weapons do seem to have a habit of finding Their Wielders to be of a notably ‘regal’ disposition.
But how can we assert an intrinsic connection with ‘sovereignty’ for Her ?
Well, the simple answer is … we don’t have to.
We can let the texts speak for themselves upon such a score.
And it is to those texts that we shall be turning in Part Two.
Jai Mata Di !