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The Four Faces

Hailstones Melt

Realized Sentience
Staff member
Board Moderator
#1
I have been struggling with portrayal of a certain concept for some months. The concept keeps bubbling up and seems to be of importance to me. It is related to a vision, and it is also related to scriptures from 2 world religions (neither of which I have made it my business to know thoroughly). However, because the multiverse is opening up and showing me some aspects of other selves, I feel intrinsically drawn to images from the Vedic scriptures, and also Vedic themes (my name, Vedama, also points in this direction).

To give the context of this part of my spiritual journey, in the middle of 2018 I went on a camp and experienced debilitating pain in my middle back. My companion on that trip has healed me before, and I asked him to do something about my back. When he was in contact with the part of the spine that was out of alignment, he had a vision that was a 4-faced divine entity that told him "We know of her pain and we will take care of it. She will be alright." The four faces, which were all placed facing the four directions, were: a man, an elephant, a tiger and a wild boar. This was in a vision, and it was his vision, so I didn't actually see it. Needless to say, he was able to set things right in my spine, and I haven't had a twinge of that since then.

Now, although I have had an Indian guru, and some surface knowledge of major religions, I am not aware of the details, as I would be if I had studied them. But a quick search of the internet led to me finding out that Brahma is considered the god of creation in Hinduism, and specifically, the author of the Vedas. He is often portrayed with 4 faces, but in the Hindu tradition, these faces all appear to be his same visage, just placed at 4 different directions, stemming from one body. That goes for drawings, paintings and sculptures. Obviously, sculptures are the easiest way to portray this concept, as one can walk around them in 3D and see all faces, one at a time.

However, yesterday, I had an instant "knowing" that when seen in vision, the reason the person can be aware of all the 4 faces, is because it is twirling.

I am also aware that the 4 faces are just a portrayal, in our dimension, of what is really Unity Consciousness. In other words, we are all One, but the One is projected as many forms for expression in this dimension. Secondly, I pondered on the portrayal of the chosen faces: man, elephant, tiger, boar. Once again, a search of the internet showed me that all these animals are considered powerful in the hierarchy, or having certain abilities or strengths (I interpret that to mean, they are part of a type of major arcana, whereas other animal forms, while equally valid, are part of the main deck.)

The 4 Vedas (which are like books of the Bible) but in reality are like a type of spoken poem or ballad with stanzas, are: Rig Veda; Yajur Veda; Sama Veda and Atharva Veda.

Brahma (Sanskrit: ब्रह्मा, IAST: Brahmā) is a creator god in Hinduism.[1] He has four faces.[2] Brahma is also known as Svayambhu (self-born),[3] Vāgīśa (Lord of Speech), and the creator of the four Vedas, one from each of his mouths. Brahma is consort of Saraswati and he is father of Four Kumaras Narada and Daksha.[2][4]
Brahma is sometimes identified with the Vedic god Prajapati, he is also known as Vedanatha (god of Vedas), Gyaneshwar (god of Knowledge), Chaturmukha (having Four Faces) Svayambhu (self born), Brahmanarayana (half Brahma and half Vishnu), etc, as well as linked to Kama and Hiranyagarbha (the cosmic egg).[5][6] He is more prominently mentioned in the post-Vedic Hindu epics and the mythologies in the Puranas. In the epics, he is conflated with Purusha.[2] Although, Brahma is part of the Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva Trimurti, ancient Hindu scriptures mention multiple other trinities of gods or goddesses which do not include Brahma.[7][8][note 1]
Several Puranas describe him as emerging from a lotus, connected to the navel of Lord Vishnu. Other Puranas suggest that he is born from Shiva or his aspects,[10] or he is a supreme god in diverse versions of Hindu mythology.[5] Brahma, along with other deities, is sometimes viewed as a form (saguna) of the otherwise formless (nirguna) Brahman, the ultimate metaphysical reality in Vedantic Hinduism.[8][6] In an alternate version, some Puranas state him to be the father of Prajapatis.[11]
Brahma does not enjoy popular worship in present-age Hinduism and has lesser importance than the other members of the Trimurti, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is revered in ancient texts, yet rarely worshiped as a primary deity in India.​
Then I heard and read about the vision of Ezekiel, given in the Old Testament. He saw Cherubim with 4 faces, and they included animal faces. But they specifically were a man, an eagle, an ox and a lion.

Ezekiel 1:10
The form of their faces was that of a man, and each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and also the face of an eagle

untitled (2).png

Ezekiel was a Jewish priest (i.e. mystic) in ancient times before Christ. I feel that his vision related to spiritual phenomena that exists in the spiritual realm (out of time) and that can therefore be experienced as a vision today. But because I am closer to the Vedas, the vision that my friend experienced was that of a man and 3 animal archetypes that have more to do with eastern religion.

Here are some drawings I made to try to capture the idea, but without making it in 3D, I needed to portray in 2 parts:

IMG_0194.JPG
IMG_0196.JPG

For anyone interested, here are some images of illustrations or sculptures made in the eastern tradition:

02400-Huge-Bronze-Four-Face-Buddha-Brahma-Hindu-Sculpture-1.jpg
th (4).jpg thNB8OMOJC.jpg th (2).jpg

untitled.png th (5).jpg th (7).jpg

th.jpg th (3).jpg th (6).jpg
 
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Hailstones Melt

Hailstones Melt

Realized Sentience
Staff member
Board Moderator
#2
I would like to follow up this concept with a new idea that struck me today: the word Tetragrammaton. This is specifically from the ancient Hebrew, or Judaic knowledge handed down. It basically means: the name of god which is 4 letters (usually transliterated to Jehovah or Yahweh). The name of this god is supposed to be unpronounceable - but humans will always find a way!

I'm not a Jew or a Christian, but it has always struck me that Yahweh sounds like an archon in the dimension once removed (meaning, where the controllers of this world reside). If anyone knows more about that topic, please respond to this thread.

Where I'm going with this is that possibly the origins of Hinduism are far older than anything from the Middle East (the Abrahamic religions being relatively new). Perhaps the 4 faces were perceived, whereas later, when there was more human development, this was then perceived as 4 letters. However, the same entity is being expressed.

Of course, if either of these depict the controller god or gods, then they do not refer to the actual origin or Source, which springs from the dark, creative, underworld field of potential which is not yet manifest.

I'm always interested in the idea of why visions occur to people, which depict layers or levels of entities or beings, which perhaps entice the human mind with their marvellous relationship, but in fact are a form of blockage to the real, or inexpressible Source.

Thoughts?
 

Pucksterguy

Boundless Creation
#3
IMV I think it's because the dark is hierarchical in nature. ie:various levels of mgt. Where as in the light all are equal. No leaders and decisions are communal for the greatest good.
 

Linda

Sweetheart of the Rodeo
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#4
Seems as though the other faces of animals and birds with a human could represent the aspects or gifts from these animals. I'm heavily influenced by Native American Indian traditions, such as totems and spirit guides.

However, when I see 3 or 4 human faces, I pull back because they feel like deceivers. This sense is supported by times I've been around powerful people (government or business) - they always have a "face" for the public, and quite a different one in private.
 

Lila

Realized Sentience
Staff member
Global Moderator
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#6
I really like how you have been able to follow the concept of a four faced god over a long period of time, distance and social structures. It always seems to me that such things persist for a reason.

The other wordplay that comes to mind is that we have a saying that one who is lacking integrity may be called '2 faced'.
What, then, would 4 faced represent, particularly when only a single face was human?

As always, I am amazed at your artwork.
 
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Hailstones Melt

Hailstones Melt

Realized Sentience
Staff member
Board Moderator
#7
Here are some new examples I have found (from Chinese and Japanese art):-

1216805575333_f.jpg (Dragon, Phoenix, Tiger, Snake)

300-0.png

It seems like this theme of 4 strong archetypal animals/birds/mythic animals is a global phenomenon, deep in the cultural setting helping to explain subconscious dynamics.
 

Lila

Realized Sentience
Staff member
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#8
I'd love to hear which animals might correspond to which of 4 elements: earth, air, water, fire.
I've also seen 5 elements (rather than 4) with metal added to the mix... although in this case the metal is inherent in the coin on which hte beautiful drawings are placed:)).
I'd be curious if (historically speaking) metal was added once commerce and metal working came into practiced and metal came to represent something important enough to be seen as its own element. Hmmm...

This coin's background seems to suggest:
Tiger as earth as the tiger is climbing a mountain.
Phoenix as fire which it's surrounded by and which it is reborn from.
Dragon as air as it is again here depicted amongst fluffy clouds (as you point out in another recent post, Hailstones Melt).
That would leave Snake/water which does seem to fit the depiction of wavy lines around it and the turtle it is grappling with. It is not what I would believe the average Westerner would choose for Snake where the snake is depicted as the temptress of Adam and Eve; where the Chinese zodiac always seems to include the word 'wise' in the description of those born under the Snake sign.
 
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Hailstones Melt

Hailstones Melt

Realized Sentience
Staff member
Board Moderator
#9
I'd love to hear which animals might correspond to which of 4 elements: earth, air, water, fire.
I've also seen 5 elements (rather than 4) with metal added to the mix... although in this case the metal is inherent in the coin on which hte beautiful drawings are placed:)).
I'd be curious if (historically speaking) metal was added once commerce and metal working came into practiced and metal came to represent something important enough to be seen as its own element. Hmmm...

This coin's background seems to suggest:
Tiger as earth as the tiger is climbing a mountain.
Phoenix as fire which it's surrounded by and which it is reborn from.
Dragon as air as it is again here depicted amongst fluffy clouds (as you point out in another recent post, Hailstones Melt).
That would leave Snake/water which does seem to fit the depiction of wavy lines around it and the turtle it is grappling with. It is not what I would believe the average Westerner would choose for Snake where the snake is depicted as the temptress of Adam and Eve; where the Chinese zodiac always seems to include the word 'wise' in the description of those born under the Snake sign.
Lila, your post is so informative and thoughtful (as usual!) That tiger also seems to be sabre-toothed - nothing cute and cuddly there. I was born in the year of the Metal Rat (1960). My daughter is Metal Dragon. You can see why I've got my work cut out, but we have our harmonies as well.

I find it interesting that the top picture there of the two was found on the internet titled Mitologia Japonesa. So I guess that's Japanese script on it. It is exactly the same animals in a slightly different depiction, and appears to be on a zodiac chart but also there could be some I-Ching pictograms on it. I wonder if the written script is depicting which is Earth, Air, Water and Fire?
 
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Hailstones Melt

Hailstones Melt

Realized Sentience
Staff member
Board Moderator
#10
My Chinese masseuse agreed with me that the 4 animal archetypes come up in Shintoism (Japanese origins). Shintoism incorporates animism as part of its grasp of natural and supernatural phenomena. (Interestingly, the primary deity of Shinto is a female: Amerterasu O Mi Kami. That probably depicts the age of this religion, as originating in matriarchal times before the onset of patriarchy).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animism

Animism encompasses the beliefs that all material phenomena have agency, that there exists no hard and fast distinction between the spiritual and physical (or material) world and that soul or spirit or sentience exists not only in humans, but also in other animals, plants, rocks, geographic features such as mountains or rivers or other entities of the natural environment, including thunder, wind and shadows.
 

Lila

Realized Sentience
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#11
Those older humans had some real wisdom under their belts, didn't they?
Thanks for digging this up. It's amazing what you can come up with!
 

Pod

Realized Sentience
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#12
Wow Melt, you are awesome sometimes.

Middle back would relate to the power chakra. What else happened on this adventure?
 
T

thesmileyone

Guest
#13
Several theories

- Could be spirit animals (guides) - can include humans. Maybe you have 4.

- Hinduism 5 faces :
Sadyojata, Vamdeva, Tatpurusha Aghora

And a fifth that you cannot see: Ishana,
 
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Hailstones Melt

Hailstones Melt

Realized Sentience
Staff member
Board Moderator
#14
Several theories

- Could be spirit animals (guides) - can include humans. Maybe you have 4.

- Hinduism 5 faces :
Sadyojata, Vamdeva, Tatpurusha Aghora

And a fifth that you cannot see: Ishana,
Thank you, thesmileyone. I think you've hit on the solution (as it relates to me) with your second suggestion. My Sanskrit name is Vedama, and I've known that I've had many past lives as a male on the Indian sub-continent, but these are details I was not aware of. The word Vedama almost appears to be an anagram of the name Vamdeva.

Pashupati
Pashupati Lord of the Animals

The Pashupati seal, showing a seated and possibly ithyphallic figure, surrounded by animals.
Affiliation Incarnation of Shiva Region India and Nepal

Pashupati ( Sanskrit Paśupati ) is an incarnation of the Hindu god Shiva as "lord of the animals". He is revered throughout the Hindu world, but especially in Nepal, where he is unofficially regarded as a national deity.

Etymology
Paśupati "Lord of all animals" was originally an epithet of Rudra in the Vedic period and now is an epithet of Shiva. The Rigveda has the related term paśupa "cattle-keeping" as an epithet for Pushan.
The Deity
Pashupatinath is an avatar of Shiva, one of the Hindu Trinity. He is the male counterpart of Shakti.
The five faces of Pashupatinath represent various incarnations of Shiva; Sadyojata (also known as Barun), Vamdeva (also known as Uma Maheswara), Tatpurusha, Aghor & Ishana. They face West, North, East, South and Zenith respectively, and represent Hinduism's five primary elements namely earth, water, air, light and ether. [5]
Puranas describe these faces of Shiva as [5]
“ Sadyojata, Vamdeva, Tatpurusha & Aghora are the four faces,
The fifth is Ishana, unknowable even to the seers"
Pashupatinath in Nepal
Though Nepal is an officially secular state, its population is predominantly Hindu, and Lord Shree Pashupatinath is revered as a national deity. The Pashupatinath Temple, located at the bank of the river Bagmati, is considered the most sacred place in Nepal. The mythology hold that Lord Pashupatinath started living in Nepal in the form of a deer, when he saw the Kathmandu Valley and was overwhelmed by its beauty.

Pashupatinath in India
A Pashupatinath temple is sited on the banks of the Shivana river in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, India. It is one of the most prominent shrines in Mandsaur, and Lord Shiva in the form of Lord Pashupatinath is its primary deity. Its main attraction is a unique Shiva Linga displaying eight faces of Lord Shiva. The shrine has four doors, representing the cardinal directions.
 
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Hailstones Melt

Hailstones Melt

Realized Sentience
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Board Moderator
#15
Should I be surprised that Vamdeva represents North and Water? I sit in the southern hemisphere with my house aligned north-south; and I drew the Queen of Water tarot card when read by Anaeika, and I am Pisces (water sign).
 

Linda

Sweetheart of the Rodeo
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#16
I finally came across what I wanted to share on this subject. Living where I do, I'm partial to the lore and mythology of the American Indians, which I feel convey great wisdom, especially the Navajo and Zuni. I found it interesting that the number four appears here in relation to the four directions, and the upper and lower regions are recognized as well.

Zuni Indians believe in the six cardinal guardian fetishes. Each guardian fetish guards one of the six directions: the mountain lion is the guardian of the North, the badger guards the South, the bear defends the west, and the wolf is the guardian of the East. The mole is the guardian of the inner Earth and the eagle is the guardian of the Sky.
  • Badger- Associated with the South. The badger dominates the activities of husbandry and agriculture, relatively small but fierce and tenacious and has been known prevail over animals far larger, as such they can be counted on in tight situations to display boldness and perseverance. Badger represents passion and persistence. He will not give up until he has reached a desired goal. Living close to the ground, he has great knowledge of the earth.
  • Bear- Guardian of the West. The bear is associated with great strength, power, healing and self-knowledge. He is the great protector, the "sacred bear" He is a spiritual guide and also carries within him supernatural powers. Bear is a powerful healing fetish. All bear fetishes are powerful but the white bear is the most powerful medicine bear.
  • Mountain Lion- "Directional Guardian and prey god of the North. The mountain lion spirit is associated with personal power and resourcefulness, independence, leadership, spiritual intensity, intuition, fierce protectiveness and loyalty." Mountain lion is carried by travelers to protect them on their journey and also carried by hunters to help ensure a successful hunt.
  • Wolf- Wolf is Guardian and Prey God of the East. Because of its pack behavior, the wolf spirit represents not just successful hunting, but also the ability to work together for the good of the group...these fetishes given to newlyweds, invoke in that couple the strong family bond exemplified in wolf pairs. Wolf represents loyalty and family values. A pair of wolves is often carved together, representing the wolf's characteristic of mating for life. Wolf is a teacher, pathfinder, and represents a sharing of knowledge. He teaches us inner guidance and clarity.
  • Mole- Hunter God of the lower regions. He protects crops from disease at their roots, destroys mice, rats and other small animals that threaten the harvest. He represents awareness and grounding and has the ability to look inward.
  • Eagle- Eagle is the guardian fetish of the Upper region. Eagle carries the power of intuition and creativeness, along with the powers of healing and spirit. His spirit transcends personal problems and he symbolizes becoming one with the Greater Spirit. He represents vision and higher truths.
https://www.pueblodirect.com/pages/zuni-fetish-meanings
 

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