Thursday, November 19, 2020

Releasing the Makara or the Kraken

Donald Trump’s lawyer Sidney Powell recently said, “I will release the Kraken.” This makes me wonder what is the counterpart of the Kraken in Hindu mythology—there are quite a few; the entity called Makara, which means sea-dragon or water-monster, is often described in the ancient mythological texts. During the Vedic age, Varuna, the lord of the sea, used to ride on the Makaras, which are called “water-monster vahana” (vehicle). The Makaras are also described as the vahana of the River Goddess Ganga and Narmada, and as the guardians to the gateways which lead to different realms, holy places, and throne rooms. In the Bhagavad Gita (verse 10.31), Krishna uses the term “Makara” to represent all the aquatic creatures: “Amongst purifiers I am the wind, and amongst wielders of weapons I am Lord Ram. Of water creatures I am the Makara, and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.” In the Mahabharata, there is a reference to Timingila and Makara in Vana Prava (verse 168.3): “Then at places eulogized by the Maharshis, I (proceeded, and at length) beheld the ocean—that inexhaustible lord of waters. And like unto flowing cliffs were seen on it heaving billows, now meeting together and now rolling away. And there (were seen) all around barks by thousands filled with gems. And there were seen timingilas and tortoises and makaras like unto rock submerged in water.” In the Ramayana (Sundara Kanda), the Makara appears as a female sea serpent called Surasa who is of the size of a mountain and has “yellow eyes and a pair of jaws fanged and gaping.” When Hanuman is on his way to Lanka to inquire about Sita, Surasa tries to stop him. She warns Hanuman that anyone who desires to reach Lanka must pass through her mouth. Hanuman expands his size, forcing Surasa to open her mouth several kilometers wide, and when he is inside her mouth, he suddenly assumes the size of a thumb and comes out of her mouth before she can close it.

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