Voice of Truth

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The Naked Rain 27 May 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aly @ 12:07 pm

It is raining outside. It is the beautiful kind of rain. The kind that is not so heavy that the sky turns dark, but substantial enough that it is really rain and not just a light shower.

My dad told me in Gujarati we call this rain “naked rain”.  (Quick history: Indra was the head of the Aryan pantheon and is a cognate of Thor, Zeus, etc. However, once the Aryans and natives of India — Dravidians — met, their religious traditions merged and Indra lost importance as Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva gained prominence) My dad told me that in Hindu mythology, Indra is the king of heaven and has a wife, called Sachi or Indrani. Every time it rains and a rainbow is visible, it is said that Sachi is bathing and the rain is her bathwater. The rainbow is actually the sari she took off before her bath. It is naked rain because, well, she is naked.

Of course, there are many other explanations of rainbows according to Hindu traditions. One is that the rainbow is actually Indra’s bow, the Indradhanush (literally, “Indra’s bow”). That is just a magnificent word. Indradhanush.

You are wondering why I care about these myths, I suppose. These are a part of my culture. I will have the knowledge of my parents, especially my mom; but I hope I can carry on some of these stories to the next generation. I barely see these with any religious significance at all. But these stories are meaningful and precious and I would be disappointed if I could not tell them to others when it came time.

I see a dichotomy in Hindu myth. The later myths focus more on Vishnu and to a lesser extent Shiva (and least of all Brahma. Poor Brahma), whereas the earlier ones were very pantheonic (just coined that word); they more closely resemble the Greek, Roman, and Norse traditions. Even more than the later Hindu myths, like the Ramayana, I enjoy what I assume to be the earlier, more tribal (I guess), stories. Like this naked rain one. Those have much more charm.

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