We have recently had much cause to discuss the
This is the fifth such excerpt, from our impressively aegis’d ‘On The Wolves Of Rudra – The Terrific, Well-Storied Wolves And Wolf Forms Of The Indo-European Sky Father’ (A)Arti-cle.
The first and second of these sought to briefly examine Apollo Lykeios and the Wolf That Stalks The Stars .
The third introduced the ‘Temple Wolf’ via a salient detail of the Hellenic mythos – wherein Apollo’s Temple at Delphi was aided by just such a Wolf, that tracked down and slew a thief who had dared to steal from the Temple and the Lord; the Wolf then guiding Apollo’s worshippers to the stolen buried treasure so that it might be restored to He.
The fourth presented a somewhat cognate ‘ritual operationalization’ of the ‘Temple Wolf’ , from the Yajurveda : therein we hear of the SalaVrka clade, and Their devouring defence of the ‘enclosure’ (a mesocosm – a ‘resonancy’ for the cosmos as a whole, as such a ritual space ought to be) by driving out in terror demonic interlopers therefrom. That is … those that manage to flee, rather than being served up to the waiting jaws of the Wolves at the ‘edge of life’ (and, figuratively speaking, where one might place the ‘Gates of the Underworld’, given the Lord identified for such a quarter and the presence also of the Pitrs (Ancestors) there, vengefully Awaiting … ) .
This Fifth – we speak of a further ‘operationalization’. From not all that long ago, and amidst Shiva’s Holy City of Kashi – the preserve of Lord Bhairava .
An attempt at an iconoclastic demolition by Aurangzeb et co of one of His Holy Temples being stopped by – Who Else ? – a mysterious appearance of a pack of wild dogs.
‘Myth’, as we have so often observed, does not restrict itself ‘to the sidelines’ of our reality. It comes among us and conspicuously reshapes events to be more to its resonancy. If you know just when and how to look.
Apt, indeed, to be posting whilst the Tithi is still in effect for Kaal Bhairav Jayanti !
Bhairava Kshetrapala – The Terrifying Guardian Of The Temple , Castellan Of The Holy City And His Hounds Of Furious Vengeance And Law’s Upholding [ V ]
Now in the above we have looked at the notion of the Wolves as defending the Ritual Space in archaic Vedic terms. Yet what of the Temple? For that, we turn to the figure of Bhairava – ‘Terror’ Himself – a prominently Canid associated Roudran deific expression that, as we have covered extensively elsewhere, presents a direct continuance of the ‘Sirius’ / Dark Hunter Amidst The Stars typology so prominently attested in both the Hindu and the ‘neath the surface’ Hellenic star lore.
Bhairava is often quite directly the ‘Kshetrapala’ – the Protector (‘Pala’) of the Space or Place (‘Kshetra’) – that is hailed to do exactly this for many a Temple. Indeed, one reads of the Bhairava Murti being directly entrusted with the keys to the Temple and the Night’s solemn vigil after all others have gone home.
This can also apply on a much broader scale, too, as demonstrated via the Shaivite Holy City of Varanasi. There, Bhairava is hailed as the ‘Kotwal’ (‘Castellan’ – although interestingly also translated as ‘Chief of Police’) ; something taken rather literally as applies the police station immediately near to Bhairava’s main Mandir within the city, where the physical position of station commandant is, quite literally, held by a depiction of Bhairava.
Also of interest for our purposes concerns the folk-telling of an incident from within that fabled polis that reportedly occurred in 1669 immediately following Aurangzeb’s destruction of the famed Sri Kashi Vishwanath temple (that has recently been back in the headlines due to a court-ordered archaeological survey that may have paved the way for its reclamation from the Mosque Aurangzeb had turned it into … back into a Shaivite Temple). So the story goes, Aurangzeb’s soldiers then made for the Kaal Bhairav temple in order to do likewise to that site as well. Their intended iconoclasm was brought to a pre-emptory halt via the sudden appearance of a wild dog or pack of dogs which set upon the soldiers, biting them in furious vehemency.
That would prove an exemplary enough instance of our typology by itself. Yet the situation then develops further. The soldiers that had been bitten by the canine fangs then themselves underwent a ‘change’ of a sort – they began to act with ‘madness’, and in fact with a certain canine behavior which saw them begin to bite other soldiers themselves. The whole thing was so disruptive as to cause the Mughal executor in charge of the operation (some accounts somewhat fancifully have it as Aurangzeb himself) to flee.
It should seem simplistic to seek to explicate the above as rabies or something of the like. Yet rabies does not, to my knowledge, have an onset of minutes or seconds. I am not an infectious diseases specialist, so it shall have to be to others to seek to provide a bacteriological or viral agent that could be at play here. Yet I do not know that that is necessary. Rather, the account should seem to my mind to recall with some interest those tellings we are familiar with from the Classical sphere wherein a certain transgressor or transgressors upon the bounds of religious propriety. We recall the popular telling of the myth of Lykaon – the Greek king that was transformed into a wolf by Zeus due to the former’s outrage in daring to serve an honoured guest the human flesh of a slaughtered child.
However, there is something rather more going on with the Lykaon myth as attested in other source-material, and we shall come to that in due course.
This incident does draw out a rather useful point of distinction to the ‘canid’ sphere. For on the one hand, we have those ‘wild’ dogs that arrive and act as the direct enforcers of the God’s Will, upholders and protectors of the religious sphere (whether physically or in terms of propriety – and, in this particular case, both at once). However we also have these human would-be iconoclastic interlopers – who wind up acting like wild animals (indeed, directly like their righteous assailants) due to the Curse of the God that their actions have made trenchantly manifest. It should prove altogether far too simplistic – and indeed downright occlusionary to both our purpose and any hope of accuracy to artificially conflate these two categories. We shall addeuce and further attest that which we mean upon this score towards the conclusion of this overarching piece.
For now its enough to simply say – not everyone who purports to be a ‘wolf’ is, in fact, a Wolf of the Sky Father. Some, it seems, are demons in human(ish) form whom the true Wolves fall upon – would-be subverters and usurpers of the Divine Order that are shown precious little mercy by His True Sons. Even as, in a no doubt deliberate irony, they find themselves condemned to wear the forms and/or engage in the conduct that should otherwise prove reminiscent of those True Wolves aforementioned. Though unwilling, they are rendered into tools of His Divine Justice – carrying out the furtherance of precisely that which they had fought against in compelled confederation with their victorious vanquishers in train. We are reminded of that exquisite phrase in Sanskrit – शंकरचेतोविलास (Shamkaracetovilasa) – ‘The (Subtle) Play Of Lord Shiva’s Wit. Perhaps aptly, the title of a poem to the glories of Lord Shiva’s Holy City of Varanasi.
In essence: despite being ‘wild’, and seemingly not operating in obeyance of any conventional, terrestrial law writ from mere corruptly human artifice … these Canine clades of the Sky Father cannot be confused for being Anti-Law, Anti-Dharma, Anti-Rta, Anti-Orlog.
Quite the contrary. They are, as it were, bearers of a ‘Deepa’ kind of Order. One unutterably superior, and vitally necessary as the true ‘Natural’ foundation upon which all else must eventually come to stand. And meanwhile, it is the erstwhile ‘imparters’ and ‘upholders’ of law and civilization – the soldiers of Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor and (locally) dominant human sovereign of the day – that are the evident forces of chaos, impiety, and iniquity.
It is a delicious downright inversion of the ‘expected roles’ for each to play in this loka-lized manifestation of the Cosmic Drama. And a wise reminder to all of us out here both upon the stage and seated out there within the audience, that a lazy adherence to the shallowly salient ‘expected tropes’ (dare we say ‘stereotypes’) of easy resort … can oft-obscurate far more than it could ever hope to illuminate.
Hence our deployment of the ‘wolf-sight’ amidst this Lycophos in order to demonstrate the actual truth.
That of Wolves, encountered just where we should expect Them to be. Defending the Rite, Defending the Righteous, and Defending in such a way that even Demons and would-be Demon Worshippers are rendered afraid !
As well they should be ! For one must be truly formidable and excellently terrifying in order to be ‘more so’ in each of these than the demonically aligned threats that one hunts !
Yet we can take things further still – and, as applies Rudra, yet more directly as well in train.
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