Celebrating the Male Mysteries by R. J. Stewart

By R. J. Stewart

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An old Indian scholar friend of my parents explained to me patiently one morning that “Hindu” was originally a geographical rather than a religious term, used first in the Persian empire and then by the Greek soldiers and historians who followed Alexander as he swept across the world, for those who lived on the banks of the Indus River, in what is now the Punjab. “We Indians do not use this name,” my friend said gently. ”’ He spelled out the magical Sanskrit syllables slowly for me and then wrote them out in big letters in my red school notebook.

In traditional Hindu metaphysics, Brahman is recognized as having two faces: the Nirguna Brahman of many of the earliest Upanishads—the Self without qualities and beyond all concepts and form—and Saguna Brahman, the Spirit as Form or forms, with qualities that can be approached and adored. In practice, many Hindu mystics moved between these two aspects of the Absolute with natural delight; even so austere a lover of the Nirguna Brahman as Shankara, the great philosopher of nondual Vedanta, also wrote ecstatic devotional hymns to the Saguna Brahman as Shiva or the Divine Mother.

That out of which creation has arisen, whether it held it firm or it did not, He who surveys it in the highest heaven, He surely knows—or maybe He does not! 129 Creative Fervor FROM BLAZING Ardor Cosmic Order came and Truth; from thence was born the obscure night; from thence the Ocean with its billowing waves. From Ocean with its waves was born the year which marshals the succession of nights and days, controlling everything that blinks the eye. Then, as before, did the creator fashion the Sun and Moon, the heaven and the Earth, the atmosphere and the domain of light.

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