Rohit Arya_Sacred India Tarot# Creating the Hierophant

The Hierophant is a complex card in the Tarot system and not generally understood. The Manusmrithi served as a social glue for 2000 years in India written by one of its greatest geniuses and quintessential Hierophant, Manu. Jane has drawn him using the great Ganapati muni, disciple of Ramana, as a template. Ganapati  Muni was a scholar of immense accomplishments but his greatest feat was that he could ‘hear’ and record the silent flow of wisdom that perpetually emanated from Ramana,  commonplace enough with Enlightened Ones, but unusually rare in having somebody adept enough to tune in!

Rohit’s Notes

GENERAL:   In general, all dhotis for men are to be avoided.  Where women are concerned, it may be used with discretion.  Dhotis for men are primarily to be used only for sadhus and ascetics.  These reference pictures given from the book Ancient Indian Costume may conceivably help.   Turbans if used should never be like the modern Sikh turban and in no case should the Nehru jacket make an appearance.  The Ravenswood Tarot has already made a mockery of what it thinks is an Indian flavour.  It seems these people have never read Edward Said’s Orientalism.  The figures in the Ravenswood pack are a kitsch fantasy of what India was in the Tintin comic books or the early Twentieth century.  Where the female figures are concerned, we can be more traditional if we choose.  In the matter of arms on the figures, if you feel that intrinsically they need more than the traditional four arms to represent divinity, then go ahead!

MANU, author of the Manusmriti, India’s most important text where regulation of social life is concerned.  Manu is merely a type, so almost any noble looking figure clad in white clothes – the dhoti is okay here! – will do.  Let him be scribbling his famous text down in the typical Indian cliché of sylvan surroundings.  The text will have to have this card, but really there is no other choice.  Manu represents everything the Hierophant card stands for.

The essence of the Hierophant is that he, or the system he represents, was once a creative and vital contribution to life and culture, but has become over time, a stultifying and increasingly intolerant worldview.  All original thought and all original responses to circumstances too, are simply not possible.  If it is not in the rulebook, it is presumed to not exist.  When it cannot be denied, it s sought to be ignored, even unto the point of self destruction.  The Manusmriti is one of the wonders of social legislation in the world’s history, ranking alongside the Code of Hammurabi at the least, and perhaps infinitely more influential in practice.  It also became one of the most potent weapons of tyranny in later years.

Jane’s Notes:

I wonder about a version of Manu in the pure Sanatana Dharma before the “stultifying and intolerant worldview” set in.  At one time, he represented cosmic Law – the natural hierarchy of the Universe, and the way things work.   This gets stepped down in time, to the minutiae of human laws, custom and regulations and the quarrels which develop, whose is the best.

Began Tarot India Five yesterday (17 January 02) Ganapati Muni emerges – another beloved preceptor – but had to stop when people arrived …

Drew more of him as Manu, he is writing down the Vedic revelations as Law.  This is appropriate, as the Muni – Ramana’s spiritual brother – was a poet of Vedic renewal and discovery.  His face is softly radiant and gentle.  The sacred fire mountain rises in the distance behind him, but over his head and its summit, unifying them, is a halo’d flame – Brahman.   Then there are Misty Trees – Mysteries – to each side, as Jakin/Boaz (the pillars of Solomon in Kabbalah), and his lips are about to breathe, utter and ripple forth the sweet primordial sound – MANTRA.  There is a shining milky mist.  In the heart, he writes on his lap, on scroll palm leaves, and on that same plane, small black goats cross Rohit’s “sylvan-impression” landscape – like they do down the valley from Arunachala – and drink at the stream which flows to the foreground by his feet.   Vedic wisdom:  alchemical rocks, the colours of earth and gems.   I intended to make it Southern Indian, parched red rock, but jettisoned this idea in favour of the sweet purity of ancient India, when the colours of nature ran true.   India became, since the British, in many parts a devastated, scorched and dirty land.  Yet when you leave the roads and towns, you discover very soon, the clear, timeless oasis which is INDIA, and which emerges in this Arcanum.

Very powerful dream image this morning, of the Venus symbol in a geometric mandala or Life-Tree.  It was at the centre, and the symbol – a developed  Venus sign– kept repeating and sustaining itself in my inner eye with acute detail and metaphysical clarity.

I can’t see it any more, but I notice that the Ganapati Muni Arcanum, alias Manu, is composed in Venus shape:  and I recall his devotion to the Celestial Mother in thousands of verses, and the flame which came out of his head.   The little-painting of him is an unusual preceptor!   It has a “vast” dimension, and the sweetness of his facial expression is something I haven’t found before;  but it comes through an interior contact in my alchemy studies.

Correspondence – Rohit and Gautam:   “The Manu card is most unusual because it has been raised from merely being rigid and formalistic to an esoteric interpretation.  The use of colours and goats are deft touches of symbolism.  The expression on the face is nice.

“No changes from our side.”



Jane’s notes:

MANU, High Priest, Guardian of the Mysteries.  Intermediary, Heaven and Earth.  Peacock hue.  Vedic scribe – Revelation’s Laws.  He keeps BRAHMA under control through strict Sanskrit metre.  Tiger skin is marked rather like a wheel or vortex.  He is like a lily bowed, or snowdrop.  The Goats represent Sanskrit letters or syllables.  Five black goats – horns and hooves of Pan – contact with Earth – Pan means “Everything”.  This High Priest is a poet who loves the Goddess and guards Her mysterious trees.  Kundalini adept:  attainment:  seed of the sun.   The rocks – indigo, russet, olive, citrine – are colours of Earth

and precious stones.”

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga

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