It is Wednesday ! Woden’s Day ! And therefore … art of a One Eyed God (and His Wife)
Now, of course, it becomes immediately apparent that this is Shaivite art – and so some might ask what I mean by this here.
After all, whilst Rudra is Odin … Lord Shiva is also so prominently Tryambakam, Trilochana – the Three-Eyed Lord.
Except … as it happens, there is indeed a lesser-known skein of theonymic conceptry for Lord Shiva as the One Eyed.
In Sanskrit – Ekadrish (एकदृश्) or Ekadrishti (एकदृष्टि), Ekanetra (एकनेत्र), and Ekaksha (एकाक्ष) all spring to mind. Three One Eyes, indeed!
These are all Shaivite theonyms – and, likely entirely uncoincidentally, with the exception of Ekanetra, these can all also refer to a Crow (that famed, ‘sharp-eyed’ Bird of the Sky Father in both Vedic and Eddic terms)
Canonically, we should usually expect that the ‘One Eye’ in question refers to His (Blazing) Third Eye.
The sense being connoted, particularly via Ekadrishti, is that of an incredibly intensive, fixed and high-potency focused stare.
It is again uncoincidental that the ‘drishti’ (दृष्टि) is from the same PIE root (*derḱ-) which gives us Ancient Greek δρᾰ́κων (‘Drakon’) – and thence our modern ‘Dragon’.
It should also connote, in terms of ‘Drish’ (दृश्), the sense of a ‘Seer’ – One Who Sees Things More Deeply, penetrating with that Gaze unto the heart of matters; and possessed of great Wisdom as a result. Or, perhaps, being able to see further and more perspicaciously than others precisely because He is possessed of such great wisdom so as to know how to Look more properly in earnest.
‘Netra’ (नेत्र), meanwhile, in addition to its customary saliency viz. the Third Eye in the Forehead – has a similarly interesting PIE root to it: *neyH-, which should appear contingent upon context to either mean ‘to lead’, or ‘to be angry’.
In Sanskrit, the aforementioned Netra can mean, in addition to Eye, or an element that ‘leads’, provides ‘guidance’.
In Proto-Germanic, meanwhile, the other sense comes to the fore – *nīþą, referring to ‘hatred’, which also then produces the suite of ‘Nithing’ conceptry in later Germanic / Nordic languages … for one who is subjected to such hatred; and Old English nīþ which also entails the violence via which this trenchant animosity might be given potentially lethal tangible effect.
We should consider a term for ‘Wrath’ to be eminently appropriate for its resonancy with the Blazing Third Eye of Rudra. We should also consider the potent ‘synthesis’ betwixt the two positions – the ‘Wrath’ directed in the enforcement of Law, Propriety and Righteousness (i.e. against the would-be violators of same – the aforementioned nīðings); the ‘Leadership’, the ‘Guidance’ via which one is kept from falling into such baleful and egregious life-undermining error.
Yet in this particular rendering, HC (who produced this spontaneously one day, to my considerable surprise and tantamount enthusiasm) has instead chosen to go with a perhaps more European-familiar facing.
For this we may, perhaps, turn to the ‘Akshi’ (अक्षि) of ‘Ekaksha’. This comes to us from the familiar PIE *h₃ókʷs / *h₃ókʷ- – whence Ancient Greek ὄψ (‘Ops’ – ‘Eye’ or ‘Face’, not to be confused with the other ὄψ … that is, in fact, ‘Voice’ or ‘Word’ – although ‘Speaking’, as we have long observed, can be a sensory perception, a way of extending the senses out into the world … and ‘Speech’ and ‘Illumination’ are strongly correlated in Indo-European mytholinguistic conceptual syllabry), Latin ‘Oculus’, and our modern English ‘Eye’ (via Old English ēage and Proto-Germanic *augô … which, despite what one might think, are not linguistically coterminous with those similarly far-seeing terms for ‘Eagle’ nor ‘Augury’). The ultime PIE root, of course, being *h₃ekʷ- – pertaining more broadly to not only the ‘eye’ but also to the faculty of ‘seeing’.
There’s an impressive glow in the midst of the Tripundra, of course, but the true ‘Báleygr’ of the image is the One (open) Eye on His right side of face.
There is, of course, quite a lot more that can and almost certainly should be said upon various iconographic details that HC has added to this piece (we particularly approve of the facial hair ! The darkened complexion to His Consort also recalling the situation not only of Lady Kali, but also Skaði and other Visages of Her; whilst the situation of Their being Together in the Flame finds additional resonancy with some certain Vedic metaphysical as well as ritualine understandings that we have stoked most capaciously elsewhere ) .
But for now, I think it is enough.
After all – Seeing is Believing.
ॐ नमः शिवाय
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