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Hinduism is the Only Dharma in this multiverse comprising of Science & Quantum Physics.

Josh Schrei helped me understand G-O-D (Generator-Operator-Destroyer) concept of the divine that is so pervasive in the Vedic tradition/experience. Quantum Theology by Diarmuid O'Murchu and Josh Schrei article compliments the spiritual implications of the new physics. Thanks so much Josh Schrei.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Are Jews Shivaites ? is YHWH (Jewish blue coloured God) a way of pronouncing Shiva? by Deep Bhakta

Are Jews Shivaites ? is YHWH (Jewish blue coloured God) a way of pronouncing Shiva?
by Deep Bhakta

on Monday, September 13, 2010 at 7:50pm
                                                                  


The Blue God of Judaism?

Yes, the blue god of Judaism. The god that Jews worship is as blue as the Hindu god Shiva, the supreme being in Shaivism, the oldest sect within Hinduism. In some ways, the ancient Hebrews were more similar to modern-day Hindus than Jews. They acknowledged the existence of deities other than YHWH (whom Christians generally refer to as Yahweh) and, like their neighbors, looked to a pantheon of gods and goddesses to satisfy their individual and collective needs.1 Their principal deity, however, became and remained YHWH, whom they imagined as having anthropomorphic form.2 This article aims to contribute to and further recent discussion of YHWH’s masculine form,3 i.e., the Lord’s body. Hopefully, in so doing, long-overlooked similarities between YHWH and Shiva will receive due attention, and the feminine form of YHWH4 will re-emerge more fully, thereby triggering a re-appreciation for the life-creating and life-sustaining oneness of the divine masculine and the divine feminine, perhaps the most ancient tenet of Judaism. It is the color of the Lord’s body that interests us here. Examination of biblical, talmudic, midrashic, and mystical texts reveals that the Lord’s body is blue! The Hebrew terms tarshish, sapir, and tekhelet that convey the blueness of YHWH’s masculine form, accoutrements, and abode come from Sanskrit, not surprisingly, which, by itself, invites greater exploration and comparison of the similarities between Judaism and Hinduism, particularly Shaivism.5

The Book of Daniel

 To begin, we turn not to fragments of an ancient manuscript acquired on the antiquities market but to the Book of Daniel, the last work to enter the canon of the Tanakh (which Christians refer to as the Old Testament). Taking final shape in the mid-second century B.C.E., it refers to events that took place much earlier, in the sixth century B.C.E.In Daniel 10, Daniel, the main character, while on the bank of the Tigris, has an extraordinary vision. Explains Daniel:

 “I looked and saw a man dressed in linen, his loins girt in fine gold (10:5). His body was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and legs had the color of burnished bronze, and the sound of his speech was like the noise of a multitude” (10:6).6

 Though the “man dressed in linen” that Daniel sees is the most magnificent of the anthropomorphic beings encountered by him in the book bearing his name, a majority of Jewish commentators, including R’ Yitzchak Abarbanel, R’Saadiah (ben Yosef) Gaon, and R’Levi ben Gershon (or Ralbag), did not identify him as the Lord but as the angel Gabriel.7

 The case for identifying the “man dressed in linen” (10:5) as Gabriel becomes weak rather quickly, however. Daniel first meets Gabriel in Daniel 8, where he learns his name, and then again in Daniel 9, where he calls him by name, yet on both occasions Daniel fails to describe Gabriel’s appearance.

 If the man in Daniel 10 is indeed Gabriel, why doesn’t Daniel recognize him?8 Moreover, why would the author of this work wait until Daniel 10 to describe in detail a being who appears in both Daniel 8 and 9,9 and why would Daniel faint or grow faint (Daniel 10) in the presence of Gabriel with whom he is already familiar (Daniel 8 and 9), unless, of course, Daniel is encountering more than one being?10

 A closer look at Daniel 10 reveals that it is entirely plausible Daniel interacts with up to five heavenly beings.

 First Heavenly Being: Daniel sees a “man dressed in linen” (10:5) and hears the sound of his speech (10:6).

 Second Heavenly Being: Daniel hears a male being speaking, causing him to be overcome by a deep sleep (10:9).

 Third Heavenly Being: Daniel feels the touch of a hand, which shakes him onto his hands and knees (10:10).11

 Fourth Heavenly Being: Daniel listens to a male being tell him to stand up; this being goes on to explain that he was “sent” to him (10:11) because of his prayer (10:12), had been “opposed” and “detained” by the “prince of the Persian kingdom” until Michael came to his aid (10:13), and will help him understand future events having to do with his people (10:14). Later on, this same being speaks to him (10:19), telling him that he will “go back to fight” the Prince of Persia (10:20), will battle the “Prince of Greece” (10:20), and will reveal to him “what is recorded in book of truth” (10:21).

Fifth Heavenly Being: Daniel, who had become silent, sees “one who looked like a man” who touches him on the lips, which precipitates his speaking (10:16). The “one who looked like a man” again touches Daniel, strengthening him (10:18), allowing him to continue to converse.

Even if we merge the First and Second Heavenly Beings and go on to merge the Third and Fifth Heavenly Beings, we are left with three beings: the Lord (10:5, 6, 9), an assistant (10:10, 16, 18), and an angel (10:11-14, 19-21).

R’Avraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra, by the way, rejected the view that the man in Daniel 10 is Gabriel but failed to offer an explanation.12 Rav Joseph ben David Ibn Yahya, on the other hand, was more forthcoming.

Of the “man dressed in linen” (Daniel 10:5), Ibn Yahya writes, “A perfect man – extraordinary – special in form. Allegorically, this refers to the Holy One, Blessed is He.”13 The linen, he goes on to say, symbolizes the “complete light” with which the Holy One enwraps himself.14

If we explore the similarities between Daniel 10:5-6 and the theophany of Ezekiel 1:1-28, the identity of the “man dressed in linen” becomes still clearer.15 Man, loins, body, beryl, face, lightning, eyes, flaming torches, and burnished bronze are words that appear in Daniel 10 as well as Ezekiel 1. The Hebrew word, qalal, which means burnished, occurs in only two places in the Tanakh, Daniel 10:6 and Ezekiel 1:7!16 Both passages are theophanies, each centered on an appearance of the Lord!

Tarshish

A key word in Daniel’s description of the “man dressed in linen” is “beryl,” tarshish in Hebrew. The New Jewish Publication Society (NJPS) Version of the Tanakh17 seven times translates tarshish as the common noun beryl and twenty-four times incorporates it directly into the English as the proper noun Tarshish. In English translations of the Old Testament, when tarshish is translated, beryl appears the most frequently followed by chrysolite and topaz. So, what is beryl?

Beryl, or beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate, is a mineral, which ranges in size from a few millimeters to several meters.18 Normally translucent or transparent, the presence of impurities results in its occurring in a variety of colors; colorless beryl is known as pure beryl, green beryl as emerald, pink beryl as morganite, red beryl as bixbite, bright yellow beryl as golden beryl, and blue beryl as aquamarine.19
To Daniel’s eyes, did the man whose “body was like beryl” appear to be clear, green, pink, red, bright yellow, or blue? The meaning of tarshish, whether used as a common or proper noun, suggests that Daniel saw a man whose body was like blue beryl or aquamarine.

In the following six verses the NJPS Version of the Tanakh translates tarshish as beryl: Exodus 28:20, Exodus 39:13, Ezekiel 1:16, Ezekiel 10:9, Ezekiel 28:13, and Song of Songs 5:14. We will take a brief look at these verses.

Exodus 28:20 and Exodus 39:13. In Exodus 28:20 and 39:13, tarshish / beryl is the name of a gemstone in the high priest’s “breastplate of decision,” appearing in the fourth row of mounted stones.

Targum Onkelos to Exodus translates tarshish not as beryl but as “the color of the sea.” 20 The late Sidney Hoenig, Professor of Bible and Jewish History at Yeshiva University, described the color of the gemstone tarshish as “‘aquamarine,’ the sea-blue or sea-green variety of the beryl” and understood tarshish / beryl in Daniel 10:6 as a reference to this stone; “throughout the entire Bible,” he wrote, “tarshish is to be consistently understood as the general expression for ‘sea.’” 21

For Ibn Yahya, tashish, as used in Daniel 10:6, refers to the color of a particular gemstone, “a precious stone resembling tekhelet.”22 He goes on to say that tarshish “is an allusion to the Heavens, which, in their physicality, appear bluish,” and he then defines tekhelet as “a blue dye derived from a Mediterranean snail that is applied to some of the tzitzit,”23 the fringes attached to four-cornered garments, in fulfillment of the biblical commandment found in Numbers 15:37-41 and Deuteronomy 22:12.

Ezekiel 1:16 and Ezekiel 10:9. In Ezekiel 1:1, the prophet proclaims, “the heavens opened and I saw visions of God.” He goes on to describe four incredibly fantastic creatures, each of which had four wings and four faces—one of a human being, one of a lion, one of an ox, and one of an eagle—and next to each creature was a wheel, the rim of which was covered with eyes.24 The prophet reports that the wheels—there were four of them—“gleamed like beryl” (1:16). Later on, he sees the wheels again, describing them as “like the beryl stone” (10:9).

Ezekiel, in the opinion of Merkabah mystics and others throughout the centuries, glimpsed the Lord’s merkabah, or chariot, in which the Lord travels while sitting enthroned. The wheels of the Lord’s chariot, then, are the color of tarshish / beryl, which R’David Kimchi (Radak) describes as a “bluish stone.”25

Ezekiel 28:13. In Ezekiel 28:13, we learn that tarshish / beryl, along with eight other precious stones, once adorned the king of Tyre, who, in the dirge that Ezekiel delivers, is referred to as a “cherub” (28:14). Though tarshish / beryl is not associated with the Lord in this verse, it was used to adorn a figure, described in almost mythical terms, who was highly esteemed in the Lord’s eyes.

Song of Songs 5:14. In Song of Songs 5:14, tarshish / beryl refers, though not explicitly, to a precious stone, and it is used once again as part of a phantasmagorical description of a man’s body, “His hands are rods of gold, studded with beryl” (5:14). The male character in the story, however, is not an ordinary man but the Lord. For centuries, a majority of rabbinic commentators saw him as the Lord and the female character as Israel.26

As already mentioned, twenty-four times the NJPS Version of the Tanakh incorporates tarshish directly into the English, where it appears as the proper noun Tarshish. For Rashi, Tarshish refers to a sea by that name. For example, in Ezekiel 27:12, the prophet Ezekiel, speaking of Tyre, says, “Tarshish traded with you because of your wealth,” that is, “the Tarshish Sea traded with you because of your wealth.”

If the man that Daniel saw is the Lord (Ibn Yahya) and if (according to the biblical text) “his body was like tarshish” and if tarshish (often translated as beryl) is the color of the sea (Targum Onkelos), the color of a bluish stone (Radak), the color of the blue dye tekhelet (Ibn Yahya), or the color of the Tarshish Sea (Rashi), what are we saying? We are saying that the body of the Lord is blue!

Shir’ur Qomah

Let us venture beyond the Bible to look for more evidence of the Lord’s blue body. We begin by turning our attention to the mystical Shi’ur Qomah, “The Measurement of the (Divine) Body,” which more than likely was composed during the Gaonic period in Babylonia between the 6th and 7th centuries C.E.27 Drawing, in part, on what appears to be ancient source material,28 this work describes, measures, and names parts of the Lord’s body, even calculating the distance between various parts.

The Lord’s body, though anatomically similar to a man’s, appears to be strikingly different. For example, the unidentified narrator (who introduces the text) says to the Lord, “You are fire,”29 and Rabbi Akiva (who testifies to what Metatron told him about the Lord) says, “His height is 2,300,000,000 parsangs.”30

Lines from the short and long versions of the Sefer Haqqomah recension of the Shi’ur Qomah offer a stunning visual picture of the Lord’s body, a body both fantastic and gigantic, which the mystics hoped to glimpse upon ascending to the higher spiritual realms.31 Only five times, as the lines of the Shi’ur Qomah themselves reveal, does the author actually quote from the biblical text. The verses that appear verbatim are Song of Songs 5:10, 11, 12, and 13, which are verses from a well-known theophany, and Daniel 10:6.

The Hebrew of Daniel 10:6, “ugviyahto ch’tarshish” (“his body was like tarshish”), occurs in all five recensions of the Shi’ur Qomah.32
The authors of Daniel and Shi’ur Qomah, by using the Hebrew term tarshish to describe the Lord’s body, are saying that the body of the Lord is blue!

Sapir and Tekhelet

Let us continue to search for evidence of the Lord’s blue body by exploring the meaning of the Hebrew sapir and tekhelet, two other bluish terms. In the NJPS Version of the Tanakh, sapir or sapphire appears eleven times.

Sapir/sapphire, like tarshish/beryl, is the name of a gemstone in the high priest’s “breastplate of decision,” appearing in the second row of mounted stones (Exodus 28:18 and Exodus 39:11). This gemstone’s association with the Lord is even stronger in the Song of Songs, elsewhere in Exodus, and in Ezekiel.

In Song of Songs 5:14, sapir/sapphire, also like tarshish/beryl, is used to describe the body of the male character, whom Jewish commentators, as previously mentioned, have long recognized as the Lord. The female character describes “his belly” as “a tablet of ivory, adorned with sapphires” (5:14).

In Exodus 24:10, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel ascend the mountain where “they saw the God of Israel” (24:10). “Under His feet,” the text tells us, “there was the likeness of a pavement of sapphire” (24:10).

In Ezekiel 1:27, the prophet Ezekiel sees above the four fantastic creatures “the semblance of a throne, in appearance like sapphire” (1:27). And in 10:1, he sees “something like a sapphire stone; an appearance resembling a throne” (10:1).

The Song of Songs reveals that the supernal body of the Lord is composed of the precious ingredient sapir/sapphire. Exodus suggests that the Lord stands on a pavement of sapir/sapphire. And Ezekiel twice infers that he sits on a throne of sapir/sapphire.


Also in the NJPS Version of the Tanakh, tekhelet or blue appears fifty times. Tekhelet/blue was found throughout the Tabernacle, the tent in which the Lord dwelt before the days of the Temple; for example, the color tekhelet/blue was incorporated into the ten strips of cloth, which were used to construct the Tabernalce itself (Exodus 26:1).

In like manner, tekhelet could be found on the priestly vestments of Aaron, the high priest, and his sons. For example, tekhelet/blue was included in the tiny pomegranates that hung around the hem of the robe of the ephod (Exodus 28:33). In addition, in preparation for transport, cloths of tekhelet/blue were used to cover the furnishings of the Tabnernacle, such as the Ark of the Pact (Numbers 4:6).

The color tekhelet/blue, then, figured prominently in the construction of the Tabernacle, in the creation of the priestly vestments, and in the transport of the Tabernacle’s furnishings. And it was also the color of a cord that the Lord commanded the people of Israel to attach to the fringes of their garments.

The Cord of Blue

In Numbers 15:37-40, we read:

The Lord said to Moses as follows: (15:37) “Speak to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout the ages; let them attach a cord of blue to the fringe at each corner (15:38). That shall be your fringe; look at it and recall all the commandments of the Lord and observe them, so that you do not follow your heart and eyes in your lustful urge (15:39). Thus you shall be reminded to observe all My commandments and to be holy to your God” (15:40).

Let’s take another look at Numbers 15:39, “That shall be your fringe [the cord of blue]; look at it and recall all the commandments of the Lord.” Focusing on this verse, Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, in the talmudic tractate Menahot, pointed out that the Hebrew atav, which appears here as “it,” can also be translated as “Him.”33 If we make this substitution, verse 39 reads, “That shall be your fringe [cord of blue]; look at Him and recall all the commandments of the Lord.” Ben Yohai is saying that the body of the Lord is blue!

The cord of blue, as we will see, is very much bound up with the Lord’s blue body. Of the color blue, Rabbi Meir said, “Why is blue specified from all the varieties of colors? Because blue resembles [the color of] the sea, and the sea resembles [the color of] heaven, and heaven resembles [the color of] the Throne of Glory.”34

The late Ben Zion Bokser, a Conservative rabbi and scholar, in referring to Meir’s words, stated, “There are four elements in the chain of associations through which the color blue becomes a reminder of the ‘throne of divine glory,’ the blue thread, the sea, the sky, and the divine throne.”35 Bokser was right in speaking of a chain of associations but failed to include the most important element. That chain, it can be asserted, consists of five elements: the blue thread, the sea, the sky, the divine throne, and the Lord’s blue body. Bokser himself wrote, “The thread of blue was, in other words, a link with the deity, and gazing on the blue, one was really, by a chain of associations, gazing on the divine.”36

In another example, this one from Midrash Tehillim, Rabbi Hezekiah, who, like Rabbi Meir, also links the cord of blue to Ezekiel’s vision of the divine throne, says, “When the children of Israel are wrapped in their prayer-shawls, let them not think that they are clothed merely in blue. Rather let the children of Israel look upon the prayer-shawls as though the glory of the Presence were upon them.”37 In still another example, this one from Mishnath Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Eliezer says, “the Holy One praised be he, commanded us concerning the thread of blue because whenever we behold it we behold the face of Shekhinah,”38 the feminine face of the Divine.

Jewish mystical literature reveals that the realm in which the Lord dwells, together with his female companion, is also blue. In discussing how Sefer ha-Bahir, or the Book of Illumination, explains the sefirot (ten archetypal attributes of the Godhead),39 the late Gershom Scholem, who initiated the academic study of kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), wrote:

“The word [sefirot] is not derived from safar, to count, but from sapir, sapphire. They [the sefirot] are thus sapphire reflections of the divinity, and Psalm 19:2: ‘The heavens declare the glory of God,’ is interpreted by the author [of Sefer ha-Bahir] in accordance with this etymology: ‘the heavens shine in the sapphirine splendor of the glory of God.’”40

Bearing in mind this very interpretation, offered by the author of Sefer ha-Bahir, the author of the Zohar writes:

“As soon as the bride beholds her spouse, ‘the heavens declare the glory of God.’ ‘The heavens’ are the bridegroom, who enters under the bridal canopy. ‘Declare’ (meSaPeRim) signifies that they radiate a brillance like that of a sapphire, sparkling and scintillating from one end of the world to the other.”41

Conclusion

The anthropomorphic masculine form of YHWH, i.e., the body of the Lord, is translucent blue, indeed, fiery blue, as evidenced by biblical, talmudic, midrashic, and mystical texts, such as the Book of Daniel, Menahot, Mishnath Rabbi Eliezer, and Shi’ur Qomah. The Hebrew terms tarshish, sapir, and tekhelet are used to describe the blueness of the Lord’s body as well as his accoutrements and abode.

For example, in the Book of Daniel, the main character, Daniel, comes face to face with an incredible being, whom he describes using the words “ugviyahto ch’tarshish,” which translate as “his body was like tarshish” (Daniel 10:6). Joseph ben David Ibn Yahya recognized this being as the Lord, and Radak understood tarshish to be a bluish stone.

The Sanskrit origin of tarshish, sapir, and tekhelet shifts our attention to the Hindu pantheon, where we find the blue deity Shiva, whose behavior and whose cult, as scholars have been quietly pointing out for more than a century, appear similar, in certain aspects, to that of YHWH. Shiva manifests himself as a “pillar of fire” (jyotirlingam) in Vayu Purana 55.13-57 and YHWH appears as a “pillar of fire” in Exodus 13:21-22 and 14:24, for instance. The similarity of these theophanies warrants our taking a brief look at them.

At the end of Exodus 13, the Israelites (Hebrews), who have just thrown off the shackles of slavery in Egypt, set out from Succoth to encamp at Etham, located at the edge of the wilderness:

The Lord went before them in a pillar of cloud by day, to guide them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, that they may travel day and night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people (13:21-22).42

And in Exodus 14, as the Egyptians pursue the Israelites into the Sea of Reeds, which the Lord parted to facilitate their escape, i.e., the escape of the Israelites, the Lord makes himself visible:

At the morning watch, the Lord looked down upon the Egyptian army from a pillar of fire and cloud, and threw the Egyptian army into panic (14:24).

In the Vayu Purana 55, the deities Brahma and Vishnu gradually realize that they have witnessed a manifestation of Shiva:

In the darkness of the flood, it was seen by Brahma and Vishnu. In the total homogeneity of a dissolved universe, Vishnu and Brahma were arguing over their relative supremacy when they were interrupted suddenly by the superluminous glow of a strange pillar of fire.


Joined by Brahma, Vishnu sped toward the indescribable flaming light, which grew before their eyes into infinity, rending heaven and earth. Overwhelmed and terrified by their unfathomable vision, the two gods sought the beginning and end of its burning immensity. Brahma, flying upward with the wings of his bird shape—the wild gander—could not see its top, nor could Vishnu, diving down for a thousand years in his shape of a boar, see the bottom of that fire linga of him who is the light and destruction of the universe. 


Both of the bewildered gods returned exhausted to the level they had started from, and within the flaming linga they beheld Shiva in golden glory. He illumined the dark flood, and the two gods, Vishnu and Brahma, bowed before him. Thunderous laughter, or the sound AUM, issued from the pillar, filled the sky, and Shiva dispelled their fear (VaP.55.13-57).43

In sum, YHWH of Judaism and Shiva of Hinduism, two blue-complexioned deities, manifest themselves as pillars of fire and then speak from inside the pillars, filling those present with terror. Similarities such as these will hopefully encourage exploration of others as well as foster dialogue between Jews and Hindus, adherents of two of the world’s most ancient and wisdom-filled spiritual traditions, which may, in fact, be closer to one another than previously imagined.

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