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Sunday surprise: kundalini’s rising and the jukebox blows a fuse

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — some examples of deep dreams, mechanical and spiritual ]

In the upper panel, a claim made for the Deep Dream Generator:

SPEC kundalini deep dream

In the lower panel, an image of the chakras or lotuses in the subtle body, through which the kundalini serpent rises from deep sleep to full spiritual awakening.

The “sixth level” in the chakra system would be the Ajna chakra:

The Ajna chakra is positioned in the brain, directly behind the eyebrow center. Its activation site is at the eyebrow region, in the position of the ‘third eye.’


Deep Dreams:

Here’s what Google’s Deep Dream Generator comes up with:

Deep Dream

Here’s an early statue of Arya Lokeshvara from the Potala Palace, dating to the 7th century and described as the Potala’s most sacred statue:

Bhairava thangka 600

This is a detail from Hieronymus Bosch, The Temptation of St Anthony:

detail, the-temptation-of-st-anthony-1516-1 bosch 600

From one of the marvellous array of manuscripts of the Beatus commentary on Revelation:

Beatus 600

Here’s a deep dream in words, from Hermann Hesse..

GBG as organ 600

Another, from Shakespeare:

shakespeare 600

A secular deep dream..

Alice red queen 600

and a deep dream — as surreal as all the rest, yet capturing “no more than” simple reality — in a photo posted today by Bill Benzon:

Benzon coke 600


Roll over, Beethoven:

Animal sacrifice here and there

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — thinking of human, animal and symbolic sacrifice — also of “the lamb that was slain” ]

In Nepal:

Nepal temple bans mass animal slaughter at festival

Nepal buffalo

In a victory for activists, Nepalese temple authorities have announced they will end a centuries-old Hindu tradition of mass animal slaughter that attracts hundreds of thousands of worshippers.

The festival, held once every five years, sees hordes of devotees from Nepal and India flock to a temple in the Himalayan nation’s southern plains to sacrifice thousands of animals in the hope of appeasing the Hindu goddess of power, Gadhimai.


From Brooklyn to Tel Aviv:

Jewish chicken-slaughter ritual gets OK from judge

All’s fair when it comes to slaughtering fowl on the streets of Brooklyn, a judge ruled Monday, clearing the way for thousands of chickens to be killed next week in a 2,000-year-old ritual.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Debra James ruled that the Orthodox practice of Kaporos, during which chickens are slaughtered before the high holy day of Yom Kippur to atone for sins, can proceed, knocking down a challenge by a Brooklyn animal-rights group.


Sacrifice may be one of the most profound values that we are losing in our rush to reductionism — and by this I wish to imply also that we are not sacrificing it, but simply forgetting it, permitting it to fade..

And yet I would be hard-pressed to define it.

Krishna, meet Radha

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — Muslims in India celebrate Krishna and his beloved ]

Amicable coexistence.

Here we see a Muslim father in India, with his daughter arrayed as Radha, the beloved, lover, and companion of the Hindu deity Krishna:

Radha and father 602

I’m posting it here because it beautifully complements another photo which you may have seen before, since I’ve posted it here at least once:

Krishna and mother 602

Here a Muslim mother is walking with her son dressed in the costume of Krishna.


Krishna is a manifestation of the divine as playful, beautiful, musical, seductive. He steals the hearts of his devotees, both male and female, with the entrancing music of his flute — but it is Radha who is his beloved.

For a full appreciation of the love between Radha and Krishna, the Bengali poet-saints have composed numerous songs. In this one, it is Radha who speaks:

How can I describe his relentless flute,
which pulls virtuous women from their homes
and drags them by their hair to Shyam
as thirst and hunger pull the doe to the snare?
Chaste ladies forget their wisdom,
and clinging vines shakes loose from their trees,
hearing that music.
Then how shall a simple dairymaid withstands its call?

Chandidasa says,
Kala the puppet master leads the dance.

I can recommend two books on the topic, the first exploring the theology of Radha and Krishna as sung by the wandering saints of Bengal, the second offering a selection of poems which might be sung of an evening to recount the story of their love, and from which the example above was taken:

  • Edward Dimock, The Place of the Hidden Moon: Erotic Mysticism in the Vaisnava-Sahajiya Cult of Bengal
  • Edward Dimock and Denise Levertov, In Praise of Krishna: Songs from the Bengali
  • BTW, flags

    Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — along the lines of yoga chitta vritti nirodha ]

    Obviously. I am going to be interested in the DoubleQuote in the Wild juxtaposition to two flags in a political cartoon commentary on last week’s events in the US, but I still find it very hard to decide whether the appropriate DoubleQuote to embed it in is this:

    SPEC DQ flags 2

    where the “ISIS flag” is in fact a satirical play on the IS flag with silhouetted sex-toys in place of the calligraphy…

    Or this — well, actually, no contest, this one gets my vote by a zen mile!

    SPEC DQ flags 1

    Because, well..

    SPEC DQ flags 3

    I guess that’s my analytic bottom line, right there in Patanjali‘s Yoga Sutras.



  • This week in flags #lovewins
  • CNN Claimed to Spot an ISIS Flag at a Gay Pride March. It Was Actually a Drawing of Sex Toys
  • Not the wind, not the flag
  • Yoga Sutras: ‘Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodhah’: ‘Yoga is the Cessation of Modifications of Mind’
  • Michael Cook Books — two for digestion and future review

    Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — my mind is enriched by the mere possession of these two works ]

    There are other books on my desk which I should read before either of these, books I am committed to reviewing or simply wish to review, but I can’t help casting the odd sneaky glance at these two books by Michael Cook — works of vast and impressive scholarship, each of them:

    m cook


  • Ancient Religions, Modern Politics: The Islamic Case in Comparative Perspective. 568 pages.
    From the blurb:

    Michael Cook takes an in-depth, comparative look at political identity, social values, attitudes to warfare, views about the role of religion in various cultural domains, and conceptions of the polity. In all these fields he finds that the Islamic heritage offers richer resources for those engaged in current politics than either the Hindu or the Christian heritages. He uses this finding to explain the fact that, despite the existence of Hindu and Christian counterparts to some aspects of Islamism, the phenomenon as a whole is unique in the world today. The book also shows that fundamentalism–in the sense of a determination to return to the original sources of the religion–is politically more adaptive for Muslims than it is for Hindus or Christians.

    From Martin Marty‘s review:

    This is a work of enormous erudition and considerable subtlety. Cook’s learning is vast, his insight profound, his treatment of sources fair. Ancient Religions, Modern Politics is a most impressive achievement.

  • **

  • Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought. 724 pages.
    From the blurb:

    What kind of duty do we have to try to stop others doing wrong? The question is intelligible in almost any culture, but few seek to answer it in a rigorous fashion. The most striking exception is found in the Islamic tradition where ‘commanding right and forbidding wrong’ is a central moral tenet. Michael Cook’s comprehensive and compelling analysis represents the first sustained attempt to map the history of Islamic reflection on this obligation and to explain its relevance for politics and ideology in the contemporary Islamic world.

    From Robert Irwin‘s review:

    [Cook’s] account of how injustice and immorality have been confronted by Muslim thinkers provides an unusual and fascinating perspective on the social history of Islam. It also furnishes an essential basis for understanding the roots of modern Islamic rigorism. This is one of the most important scholarly works dealing with Islam to have been produced in the western world in the last one hundred years.

    At 200 pages, Cook’s Forbidding Wrong in Islam: An Introduction is the “short” version

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