Tvashtar Paterae is an active volcanic region located on Jupiter’s moon Io. It is a series of volcanic craters which is aptly named after after Tvashtar: the Hindu deity of artisans, architects and designers. Tvashtar is also the deity of Chitra Nakshatra.

As I read the texts, I couldn’t help but wonder–is Tvashtar a form of Brahma that has never been acknowledged?

In the Hindu pantheon, the Creator God ‘Brahma’ is never worshipped. I still haven’t found a conclusive reason or story regarding why this is the case. We Hindus are said to have hundreds of Gods that we worship, but I still haven’t been to a temple dedicated to Brahma.

Hindu beliefs are not actually polytheistic. It is a label that has been incorrectly applied to the philosophy by ‘monotheistic religions’ to discredit and dismantle the numerous contributions that Hindus have made to mathematics, geometry, art and countless other disciplines.

I have heard a considerable number of scholars interpret Hindu texts; and even when they are open-minded–they stick to the letter of the law as though they were reading an authoritative text and must adhere to it. Hinduism is not structured in that way. It is a living and breathing philosophy that was designed to change with time.

While there is no need to change or alter the ancient texts; it is only all too puritanical to stick to the letter of the law of a text that was written centuries, if not millennia ago. I suppose when you are not a part of the culture and when it is not a living and breathing part of you–then scripture is all you have.

The Dormant Volcano

Some of us hold within ourselves dormant volcanos that have never exploded. When one reads the tale of the great leaders of ages past; they were ‘ordinary people’ till the volcano erupted. It changed not only their own lives, but the lives of everyone around them. Whole cities, communities and even nation-states were completely transformed.

That, in a nutshell, is the story of civilisation. Laws are enacted and what was permissible becomes forbidden; and what was once forbidden becomes permissible. It is in creating and maintaining these laws that we give up individual freedoms and liberties. We need laws so that we may live in ‘a civilised society’. And by civilised, I don’t mean non-primitive; but that we all understand that we have to abide by a certain set of laws to function in a particular society.

So what has this all got to do with the dormant volcano? Well, if you’ve studied the French Revolution–or any big movement, for that matter–you’ll note that it was building up momentum for quite sometime. Then, the volcano finally explodes–and boom, before you know it, everything has changed.

We will never be ‘the same’ ever again.

The Breakthrough

At first read, the nakshatra of Chitra has many contradictions and opposing qualities enveloped within its lunar asterism. It is ruled by Mars–the sign of courage, action and leadership. At the same time, it is associated with Mercurian and Venusian qualities. It is placed half in Virgo and half in Libra.

The prime impulse of Chitra is to reveal our True Self at its most beautiful. The journey there, however, is never beautiful. It is painful, messy and even ugly at times. In many ways, Chitra is the nakshatra of revelations; of something wondrous being revealed successively over time through concentrated effort and hard work. This is a powerful position and not one to be trifled with. It is about inner power externalising itself.

We face many barriers on our journey through life–especially the ones to do with our intellect and our desires. We may feel that we are not smart enough. We may even feel that we are not worthy or not ready for our desires to come true.

With Mars here, we can break through all the blocks that impede our path by taking action; regardless of how perfect or imperfect it is. People ruled by this nakshatra have to take care not to become hypercritical–neither of themselves nor of others. Their innate tendency towards perfectionism can be overcome by taking constructive action. They have to take careful care not to come across as nit-picky. The only way to do this is not to get stuck on the details too much and too often.

In Chitra, we begin our process of revelation. This takes time and concentrated effort before it becomes a skill. The Chitra individual will find himself in situations where he or she is pushed to change inwardly before the outward change manifests.

The outer shell of the individual then has to be pried apart so that the inner pearl can be revealed. This is a difficult process and usually means that a person has to make immense changes over an extended period of time before the True Self is finally externalised.

But once you emerge from the cave, the dormant volcano will explode. And before you know it–a new world will be born.

Brahma. Image Credit: Kandukuru Nagarjun

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