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Demons, East and West

To: soc.religion.eastern
From: tyagi nagasiva
Subj: Demons, East and West (
Date: 49930525

Quoting: |Ava and |>tyagi

|>[old tyagi]
|>While looking around Eastern concepts of dakinis and yidams and mysticism
|>and the like I keep coming across these things the translators like to
|>call 'demons', even within the more radical traditions.  Yeah, they're
|>explained away esoterically as 'discordant energies of consciousness',
|>but at their best they are really nasty and they inhabit the hells and
|>get stomped on a lot by the deities and dakinis.  So I figured I'd ask...
|>Is anyone out there attepting to summon EASTERN demons??  
|Call me old fashioned, but why would anyone *want* to?

Look into Western occultism sometime.  There is quite a history of
mages summoning demons.  Oh yeah, they call it 'evocation', and often mean
by this a sort of 'calling out of oneself'.  You see, between West and
East the material realm, the sensual realm, is considered to be the
'Nasty Place' to either subdue or transcend or change in some way to
'make it all better' (and they lived happily ever after...).

One of the motives Western mages (as with shaman and 'spirits') have
is the harnessing and/or absorption of these 'rebellious, brutish
energies'.  They simply don't want conflict and figure they can
dominate it away.  Pretty silly, I'd say. ;>  Guess it works for some.

There are some of us who find the psychological model of the cosmos to be
quite effective when approaching the East.  That is, those 'gatis', those
'planes of existence' can be seen as elements of our psyche.  When
we interact with 'demons' we are perhaps interacting with our Id,
or our deep animal nature, or something of the sort.  Something
wild, untamed, totally dragon-like.

|>"Asura... Skt., demon, evil spirit; the 'titans'; one of the six modes
|>of existence (*gati*), sometimes reckoned among the higher modes and
|>sometimes among the lower (*apaya*).  In the sense of a higher or good
|>mode of existence, *asura* refers to the lower gods who dwell on the
|>slopes or summit of the world mountain Sumeru or in castles of air.
|Can you explain how this is a 'higher' mode?

Sure, the writer is describing the relation between THESE types of
asuras and the human condition, which is 'below' it.  See, it's all
a sort of 'Great Condominium' with caste-systems of Buddhas or gods/devas,
then asuras, then the lesser humans, and then maybe the hungry ghosts
or the dead or the evil tortured beings who did the 'bad thing' and
have to go serve in (one of the) hell(s) for a while.  This moralistic
framework is quite common, especially among cultures which are forced
to repressed their individuality (read: inner/core nature as humans).

|>Seen as a lower or evil mode of existence, the *asuras* are the
|>enemies of the gods (*deva*).  They belong to the sensual desire
|>realm (*triloka*).  
|Is this to say that sensuality precludes spirituality? This seems a bit naive
|to me. imho when there is real love between two people this is about as
|spiritual an experience as we mortals can know....I guess this text was
|written by a man trying to overcome his tendency toward objectification :-)

I doubt it was the person who wrote it that made it up.  If you get people
who are feeling VERY hurt about their dependency upon material resources,
then they tend to develop this sort of ascetic, mater (mother) = demon
mentality.  I find that Tantra is a little better in this regard, in
that it has some 'wrathful deities', but even in these traditions the
distinction is often made between 'wrathful deity' and 'evil nasty demon'.

Is it naive?  Perhaps so.  I tend to treat all nasty-looking things as
masks of the divine.  They scream 'Boogedah-boogedah-boogedah!' and I
shake a bit, stick out my tongue, and then laugh my head off!

Sometimes objectified cosmologies are important in order to inspire
us to get less radically subjectified.  They then become a trap for
those who have too little connection to the material, however.  Ah well...

  _ _

(c) 1993
tyagi nagasiva

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