Saturday, 13 December 2008

Mumbai Lunacy

It would be a tedious exercise (for reader, as well as writer) to subject all ten of the targets of November's attacks in Mumbai to this sort of exegesis; especially with so much 'evidence' having already been discovered. Before we consign the subject to distant memory, however, there remain a handful of outstanding glyphs and semiotic trends left to be examined, which other bloggers and researchers have brought to light. Mr Campbell, our comrade from Athens, Georgia, has posted a number of articles examining the recurring trident symbolism which he has witnessed running through the Mumbai narrative: click here and here. The symbol was very overt in the case of the attack on the Trident Towers (or Oberoi Hotel), as we noted here.

The symbolic affinity between the trident and Shiva was quickly recognised; and, with a speed that would surely be impossible without the facilitation of the internet, the notion of the Mumbai attacks as a ritual sacrifice dedicated to the malignant destroyer, gained considerable currency. I noticed a few 'Trident Signals' myself, most notably those connected with the shootings at the former site of the Mumba Devi Temple, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus; named for Shivaji Bosle, a king and emperor of semi-mythical status. The founder of the Maratha empire in Western India, Shivaji's awesome military career- not to mention his name- indicate a fundamental connection to the Dark God. Was he, like the Maharishi Mahesh, from a long line of Shaivites (the name given to those with a formal devotion to Shiva); or is his connection more fundamental, subtle and avatar-like? (See here.) Without any real knowledge of Indian traditions, it is hard to say.

As we have already noted, the former Victoria Terminus was built on the site of the original temple (sacred to Mumba) from which Mumbai derives its name. Here, too, I detected trident symbolism; as, after its destruction by the British in 1737, a replacement was built in Bhuleshwar (which still stands.) According to Sharada Dwivedi, the financing for this construction was provided by one Pandurang Shivaji Sonar, a goldsmith. There was Shaivate symbolism of a higher order lurking behind the attack on the Taj Mahal Hotel, too. As mentioned here, the famous Mughal mausoleum after which the hotel is named, the Taj Mahal, is crowned with a golden spire and crescent moon, the net effect of which is highly suggestive of a trident. Thanks to a reader of this site, however, I have since discovered that the relationship between the Taj Mahal and Shiva goes considerably deeper than this. Indeed, according to Professor P.N. Oak, the author of Taj Mahal: The True Story, the 'mausoleum' is far older than the medieval dating claimed by conventional historians, and in its original form was an ancient Shaivite temple, used by the Rajputs of Agra city.

Oak notes that the use of captured temples as a burial place for dead courtiers and royalty was a common practice among Muslim rulers, just as the nascent European church co-opted the land, function (and titles) of Druidism. The popular etymology for Taj Mahal, which is usually attributed to Mumtaz Mahal, the favourite wife of Shah Jahan, is discredited by Oak, whose research indicates that her real name was Mumtaz-ul-Zamani. Taj Mahal, he writes, is a corruption of the Rajput name for Shiva, Tejo Mahalaya; which also translates as 'Shiva's Palace.' (See here for more.)

The Shaivite symbolism goes into overdrive, however, when we factor in another of its principal glyphs: the crescent moon, a usage as old as the oldest Hindu text, the Rigveda. (Hinduism as an oral tradition, it should be noted, is far older than its literature.) The symbol may well be a 'cast-off' from the cult of the 'Elder God' Rudra, whose qualities (and symbols) Shiva absorbed. (The Rudram, one of the earliest Hindu hymns, invokes Rudra as Shiva in several instances; and the latter is still used as one of Shiva's many names.) This affinity- between Shiva and the moon- is very relevant to our examination of the Mumbai attacks; which were bracketed (and heralded) by major lunar events.

Two weeks before the attacks, as Todd Campbell noted, the Indian Space Agency (the ISRO) completed its first unmanned mission to the moon, landing Chandrayaan 1 on November 14. ('We have given the moon to India,' remarked the agency's head, G. Madhavan Nair.) The first night of the attacks coincided with the last night of the waning crescent, associated with evil, continuing through the Dark Moon on November 27. Its dimmest ebb, writes Campbell, was at 2225 local time: just twenty five minutes before the violence subsided for the night, according to reports, at 2250. At the present time of writing- as the Mumbai 'ritual' drifts towards history- the moon is at its closest perigee to the earth since 1993; a fifteen-year event which on this occasion coincides, unusually, with a full moon. (See here.)

The most interesting of the Mumbai trident-lunar signals, however, and one of extreme significance to last month's attacks, is the affinity of Shiva (and the moon) with soma, a point recently made by Mr Campbell; and one upon which it behoves us to expand very shortly.

The Empire Never Ended... More to follow...

1 comment:

Therese said...

It would be a tedious exercise (for reader, as well as writer) to subject all ten of the targets of November's attacks in Mumbai to this sort of exegesis ...

No, Ben, it would not be tedious, it would be all the more fascinating. Of course, from the POV of the writer, time would be constraint.

The only tedious problem is that it becomes tedious to go back to the ordinary writings of the press, after reading your erudite blog.

Anyway, the Mumbai events have coincided with a number of unusual astrological events, and at the moment, we have one of the largest of appearances of the moon. It shines its enigmatical light on events.