Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I'm a Dark Horse Running on a Dark Race Course...Your Hinduism Thought for Today.

This is a pretty shitty picture (I can't seem to get rid of the glare. Maybe I'll take a different one outside tomorrow and swap it out) of what's otherwise one of my personal favorite pieces of art.

I bought this limited-edition print shortly before Craig and I separated, and he had it framed for me for what was probably (?) my 33rd or 34th birthday. It finally hangs in what's becoming my own space in our little townhouse, my bedroom/office. Luke and I have been sharing a room (where all I do is sleep and grab clothes--otherwise, I stay out). It's overtly and purposely representative of Hinduism, so I suppose I best either look for my crucifix from my Catholic grandma's funeral or put up some other Christian symbols, you know, just to even out the theological playing field in my tiny chick-cave.

It's a rendition of the logo for Dark Horse Records, George Harrison's personal record label, distributed by Warner Brothers Records, where George would meet a beautiful Mexican-American secretary for the label, Olivia Trinidad Arias, who would become his second wife and his partner of close to 30 years.

This print is adorned in the corners with lotus flowers, considered to be the holiest flower in Hinduism. I've always loved lotus flowers myself, which Harrison acknowledged in his "Stuck Inside a Cloud" on "Brainwashed," the album released after he died, which is a melancholy yet beautiful composition he wrote during the decade prior to his death in 2001. In the song, he sings not only "Never slept so little, never smoked so much. Lost my concentration, I could even lose my touch..." but also "I made some exhibitions. I lost my will to eat. Only thing that matters to me is to touch your lotus feet. Talking to myself. Crying out loud. Only I can hear me and I'm stuck inside a cloud." Lotus feet = holy feet. Ultimately, the song is widely believed to be about his initial battle with throat cancer (he died from brain cancer that had spread) and his desire to get closer to God as he interpreted God, which towards the end of his life, meant accepting Christ along with his Hindu beliefs.

Obviously, this track in particular resonates with me on several levels, as I often feel the same sentiments. It's a sad way to look at a cloud, which, unless it's a stormy day, looks truly beautiful and you think of how you'd float on top of it, not be trapped in one, incapable of anyone hearing what you're trying to cry out loud. I feel "stuck inside a cloud" with someone right now.

The seven-headed, flying horse is named Uchchaihshravas, a common figure in Indian mythology and Hindu sacred texts. Ok, let's play Hindu God-a-go-go. There are so MANY Hindu gods that I have a hard time keeping them all straight, but this is what I understand: The horse, according to the Bhagavad Gita, which is Krishna's (an avatar of the god Vishnu) discourse with the god Arjuna, in Hinduism, is always depicted as white (not black, as in Harrison's logo), and was named the king of horses after arising out of the milking ocean after a sacrifice and, after having been stolen by the king of the demons, Asura Bali, to attain impossible things, was eventually deemed holy, as I understand the sacred text. Rumors abound that the horse pulled the god Siva's chariot, which would make the horse for Dark Horse Records the vahana and not the Uchchaihshravas, but I have no corroborating evidence to prove that to be the case.

Harrison's depiction of the Uchchaihshravas as black instead of white represented his own personal feelings of being, the "dark horse" of The Beatles, and the proverbial oddball for scoring the first #1 solo album among the former Beatles, "All Things Must Pass." It was pure coincidence that the estate Harrison bought in 1970, Friar Park, had a cemented adornment on the main house of a multi-headed horse, in which George found more kinship, given the symbolism of the Uchchaihshravas within his religious beliefs at the time.

In an unfortunate circumstance, Harrison would lose his voice to a throaty, off-key rag-a-muffin growl when he recorded and released the album "Dark Horse" in 1974 and went on tour to support it, only to face boos and hisses from audiences who expected far more out of the solo Beatle. Still in all, the title song, "Dark Horse," is a great-ass tune.

On my art print, and in Harrison's logo, not only is the horse depicted as black instead of traditional white, but it is wearing the OM symbol where it's saddle would go. OM is considered the "sound of all sounds" in Hinduism. The sound from which all other sounds are generated, which is why it's chanted so popularly. It's symbolic of the soul's unity with God, and when uttered, is very similar to the Christian "Amen." When OM reveals itself, soul introspection is attained and obstacles fall away, as they do in Christian prayer. Maybe that explanation helps those who are still confused as to why I, as a practicing Christian, would choose the Sanskrit symbol for OM next to a Christian cross, as a tattoo on my wrist. I identify with both symbols.

I've ALWAYS been a "Dark horse running on a dark racecourse," with everything physically and mentally wrong with me. And if I keep smoking at the rate I'm going, my throat will be eerily similar to George's in 1974.....

Amen and OM Hare Hare Christ.

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