Orryelle's complete India Travel Journals '05 were available as a hard-copy print book from iNSPiRALink. Multimedia Press.
Now Sold Out.
Sample extracts from the Journal follow...
Kajuraho (inc April '05 new moon & solar eclipse ritual -illustrated)
I felt glad to be leaving the claustrophobic intensity of Varinassi, the city of death, and heading to Kajuraho, a small town famed for its temples of erotic carvings in Madhya Pradesh, an Indian state mostly full of jungle wilderness.
I passed through the small town of Satna -an immediate change of landscape and feel. Here there were pigs instead of cows roaming the streets, there was space and air and trees. I was able to appreciate this (despite the beating sun) from the back of a pedalled rickshaw to the Durga Temple at the edge of town.
Here there were two shrines of worship -that of Nine-Durga - 9 different brightly-painted forms of the Mother Goddess in a circular temple which one could walk slowly around -and another nearby with a singular form (riding lion) and cave with three aspects (Sarasvati, Lakshmi, Kali) below. This was obviously an imitation of the famous Vaishno Devi cave at Katra, but it was a fake cave and entrance tunnels with crudely painted and textured cement.
Nonetheless there was a good feeling about these little temples in the middle of nowhere, and my visit seemed appreciated by the locals, who insisted I play violin for them in the temple.
This was the day before Ram Navratri begins -a nine-day festival celebrating Ram/Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu. I had thought it would have been good to stay in Varinassi for some of it, but had to get out of there -but now I discovered that this region of upper Madhyar Pradesh is actually more significant for this period as it is where Ram grew up and lived in the jungle with His brother Laxshman.
On to Kajuraho by bus through light dry jungle -the driver stopped at a roadside Kali shrine, his assistant alighting to exchange 10 rupees for a coconut the baba there hacked open with a machete and a prayer on the spot. Small pieces of this were then distributed to every passenger on the bus as we continued, presumably some kind of protection blessing for the journey. I love that about India, how ingrained their spirituality is with day to day life -it is something everyone, regardless of caste, occupation, etc. participates in.
I was dropped off in a tiny town with a few others then caught a jeep the last few kilometres to Kajuraho.
The guesthouse they delivered me to was clean and spacious compared to Varinassi's, yet not much more expensive due to it being off-season in quite a small town. It was opposite a lake on the edge of town, with forest surrounding.
Everything felt so sparse and spacious and green compared to Varinassi. What a relief!
I watched a beautiful red-golden sunset over the lake full of blooming lotuses, then wandered the town browsing the metal deity-figures and other interesting antiques in the many souvenir shops. There were goats rather than cows or pigs roaming the streets here, how apt for a town famed for its erotic sculptures. Io Pan!
I found a brass Rahu head -significant in that I hadn't seen any images of Him in India until then, and the next day was a partial solar eclipse! (Rahu is the consumer of the sun and moon, and in the Adinath tantric tradition I am RahuNath). So I bought it and also a small bronze Sphinx figure -a hooved and winged lion-thing. Hail HruMachis who seems to pervade all cultures!
Another curiosity there was small Ganesh figures playing various musical instruments, which I was told are made by the tribal people further out in the jungle -they are intricately made of tightly-coiled wire, the only metal available to them out there. Incredible work! I buy a whole band of them to distribute in England.
I also found a cheap 2nd-hand camera (an SM 111!) as I know there is going to be a lot of incredible things to see here (results on this page).
I went to the only temple open at night, which is also the only one in town which is still used as a temple by local Indians -the rest are tourist attractions, some of-which you have to pay to see.
It was a Shiva temple, ancient and ornate, and contains one of the biggest stone Shiva-lingams in India. I joined the throngs (apparently much more than usual due to the imminence of Ram Navratri) doing puja there at 8pm, chanting and throwing water on it, leaning to touch its cold surface with third eye. The atmosphere was ecstatic.
Next day was the new moon and a solar eclipse, especially significant in that it falls on the first day of Ram Navratri, as Rama is a solar deity.
I didn't really know which temple is which yet but on a whim went to one on the far side of town first. It turned out to be an Adinath Temple, a wonderful synchronicity as I am RahuNath, and eclipses are the special time of Rahu.
It is actually several temples, a complex of sculpture-laden buildings within gardens.
I wandered through them slowly, admiring the beautiful stone carvings and eventually finding the one where I wanted to do my eclipse and new moon ritual, just before the time of the eclipse.
I laid my tools before the Adinath figure within the temple and began chanting along with my singing bell, acknowledging the lineage.
Then I went outside for my main ritual, for there was a stone dragon-head (I later found out it actually represents a crocodile, but close enough!) on the side of the temple and Rahu is the dragon's head.
I put the bronze sphinx within its mouth, and a smaller Durga figurine upon sphinx's back (picture below left), and cast circle with Adinath 'Phat' and AZOTH which (re)creates the Sphinx.
With prayers and mantras in English and Sanskrit I acknowledged the Adinath lineage from Dadaji MahendraNath to HermeticusNath (Aion whom I knew was also performing a ritual this new moon for the Horus-Maat Lodge's 11-star Working) to RahuNath to DurgaDevi, feeling the connections across the globe.
I chanted the chakra tones, energized with pranayamas and (since there was no-one about on this side of the temple complex and it seemed apt with all the erotic sculptures) 8' with mantras to Kama, Hindu God of love and lust.
During the time of the (partial, barely visible here) eclipse I performed the Surya Namaska (sun salute), charged my elemental tools in the bright sunlight, chanting mantras to Ram, Vishnu (learnt from my yoga teacher in Varinassi upon request) and especially leonine Narasimha (there is a stone figure of Him on the temple), another Vishnu incarnation, who presides over the 'spaces in between' and is thus akin to Egyptian HruMachis (represented by the Sphinx hieroglyphically) as 'Lord of the Double Horizon' of dusk and dawn. I consider eclipses to be such spaces in between.
That new moon was throne change-over time within the Horus-Maat Lodge's 11-Star Working, but I felt no call to any new sephirothic throne, and figured remaining in Netzach was appropriate for this place of tantric art. Nevertheless I did not overtly acknowledge maintaining this throne within my ritual, and it was only days later that I realized I have actually taken a new position within the working -that of the 'Spaces Inbetween'- relating to my work with Narasimha.
For Vishnu took the form of lion-headed Narasimha to defeat a demon who had been cheating MahaKala (Lord of Time and thus mortality) due to divine protective powers could not be killed 'by beast nor by man nor by God, either outside or inside, in the day or in the night, by hand or by tool, on land nor air nor water.' Narasimha - neither beast nor man nor God (being rather a hybrid thereof)- took him over his knee (niether on land, air or water) and ripped out his guts with his leonine talons (niether hand nor tool) on the verandah (neither outside nor inside) at dusk (neither day nor night)...
Om Namo Nrisinghaya Namah...
Precisely at the culmination of my puja a guide who harangued me earlier re-appeared, so now having done my work alone I let him tell me some things about the sculptures.
He pointed out various deities within the multitude of figures adorning the temples, some of whom I had already recognised and some less familiar of the extensive and fascinating Hindu pantheon.
Next to the Adinath temple I ritualized in and around is the temple of Parsvinath, which means '23rd Prophet' (picture at right) . Oddly I since discover that Dadaji Mahendrenath who brought the tradition to the west is the 23rd Adinath in his lineage.
A few days later I read the eclipse ritual report of my initiator within this tradition, Hermeticusnath, and was stunned to find he worked with his magickal-name-sake that day, the western (Gnostic) solar lion-headed deity Aion. Another lodge-member, Raven, reported a vision that same new moon eclipse of a lion figure leaping from the sun, telling him its name, as the magickal childe of the HML, is 'Naion'.
So, in India I worked with the eastern lion-headed deity Na-rasimha at an Adinath temple, my Adinath initiator worked with the western lion-headed deity Aion simultaneously in America, while another member of our global lodge met a new leonine deity calling itself, Naion -a linguistic combination thereof!
As I was leaving the Adinath temple complex after my ritual, I met a skinny youth on a bicycle who introduced himself as Kalidas. He said this meant 'Priest of Kali' and although he was dressed in casual clothes not priestly robes, he had an intensity about him and a look in his dark eyes which made me believe him.
I later found 'Das' means 'devotee' more than priest, but he was certainly that. A week or so later he took me right off the tourist trail to some incredible yet little-known ancient temples, one devoted to Kali's consort, the fierce God of Time, Death and Eternity -MahaKala.
Upon our meeting Kalidas took me to his brother's house in the nearby small village. His brother carved wonderful tribal figures from ebony and also brought out the forms inherent in gnarled branches and roots he found. Although of Hindu deities such as Kali and Shiva, his sculptures looked more like African 'primitive' art than the more realistic and less stylized sculptures usually associated with Indian art (picture of me with the woodcarver and other village folk at right)
I spent the next few days exploring the other temples of Kajuraho. The erotic sculptures are astounding. (The photos on this page with my crappy camera really don't do them justice at all) The figures are so curvaceous and sensual, the tilted hips and elegant hands convey a sense of the utmost grace and awareness. This is sexuality truly deified.
I also spent a fair amount of time visiting my new friends in the village, where I was delighted with their ancient and localized lifestyle -their slate-tiled huts were made with mud walls and the entrance-ways paved with a mud and cow-dung mixture to keep away mosquitoes. They welcomed me into their home, and showed me the surrounding fields where they grew the wheat they made the chapatis from which they gave me for dinner, the river where they swam and washed their clothes; I picked small green mangos with them to make spicey pickle, and wonderfully rich-flavoured yellow mulga berries, all within a 2-km radius of the village.
One day Kalidas and his brother took me a while of a walk away from the village at dawn (because it got very hot later in the day for walking) to see the villagers' Durga-temple. This was one in constant use, I had been told of someone just recently being cured of semi-blindness after praying there fervently each day. We eventually arrived at a small concrete shrine, not much to look at from the outside. We went inside and the energy was palpable.
There before us was a figure carved from stone, obviously from the same era and in the same style of sensual rounded sculpture as the ones which bedecked the Jain temples in the town. They had obviously found this single figure of Durga from one of the ruins in the area and installed it in their temple. But the bizzarre thing was, they had clothed Her!
I was told She has 54 arms in that sculpture, each holding a different magical tool -which surely would have been spectacular to see, but from the bits and pieces sticking out the side of the red and gold drapery it was quite hard to tell...
Modern Hinduism in most places doesn't seem to accept nudity, especially not of a Goddess. Hard to believe that in this same place where such incredible erotic art was created a few centuries ago, the mere nakedness (with no overt eroticism involved) was veiled for the assumed modesty of Durga!
A funny incident had occurred in relation to this sexual suppression a few days earlier. I had been masturbating as part of a tantric puja in the back section of one of the erotic temples in the town. I had been careful to make sure no-one was around and was listening for any approach. The guard who caught me in the act must have been suspicious as he crept up and around the corner soundlessly.
I just apologized and began to walk away, but he followed me back around to the front part of the temple and began telling me to put a hundred-rupee donation on the altar for the Gods. Since this was part of the temple complex you had to pay to enter, I said I had already made my donation. He started talking about, 'telling the police...' He was asking me to put the money on the altar not in one of the locked donation boxes, so realizing the reality of the situation I suddenly lost my temper: 'You're asking for a bribe to keep quiet. How dare you pretend that is anything to do with the Gods! -it's got nothing to do with spirituality! You should be ashamed of yourself, this is a temple!!'
The guard looked stunned to have the tables turned on him like that, and slunk away. Only then did the irony hit me- he probably thought I should have been ashamed to be masturbating in a temple -but it was an erotic temple, and to me that was much more appropriate and sacred behaviour there than asking someone for a bribe under pretenses of religious donation.
On one of my last days in Kajuraho Kalidas took me to see the final Jain tantric temples on the far side of some fields on the edge of the town.
We arrived by bicycle at dusk, and in the soft twilight haze I was awed to see prominent on one side a large beautiful figure of Ardhanarishvara, the Hindu hermaphrodite God/dess (Shiva and Shakti in one body), with a single breast and sensuous curved hip on one side only. And in the turquoise dusk sky, both the sun and the moon were visibly present behind the figure, glowing serenely in reflection (ironically I discovered at this point I was out of film -such magickal moments seem rarely able to be captured, other than in the memory). I prayed to this primary patron/matron deity of mine, holding my caduceus double-wand out to Hir.
On the other side of the temple, glowing silver-golden in the twilight, was a large lioness-headed female figure. It looked just like Egyptian Sekhmet.
'Who's that?' I asked Kalidas, puzzled by this new (as an Indian deity) yet so familiar form.
'Narasimha' he replied.
'But I thought Narasimha was a male lion-headed figure...'
'Yes usually, but sometimes he is depicted in this way also'
But of course! As lord/lady of the S p a c e s - I n - B e t w e e n s/he would also be 'neither man nor woman', by being a bit of both, as a gynander. This further affirmed my correlation of Hir with Hrumachis, whom I have seen and felt as being similarly androgynous in double lion form, one head that of the male Sphinx, one of SekhMaat:
Later I had the inspiration to draw the new picture below (completed upon return to Australia), which depicts Narasimha and the feminine Greek Sphinx -a female lion-bodied and human-headed deity and a male lion-headed and human-bodied deity, as the 'inverse image' of the above picture. Each image is a symbolic mirrororrim within itself, with its polarized masculine/feminine and human/beast aspects, then betwixt the two images there are further reflectionsnoitcelfer ...
Text and Images (c)05 Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule