Pheromones of humans and other vertebrates

•February 10, 2007 • Leave a Comment
1) 2-methylbut-2-enal: The rabbit milk pheromone. Induced nipple search behavior of pups and directs them towards the nipples of the mother. Given that rabbits feed their young only once a day this behavior is critical for survival.
2) (methylthio)methanethiol: Mouse male pheromone. A molecule with a strong garlic-like odor that attracts females towards the male by inducing an investigative behavior.
3) androstadienone: Human male pheromone. A molecule with a mild musky odor causes physiological arousal in females by inducing increased heart beat, blood pressure and breathing rate, and feeling of improved mood.
4) 5a-androst-16-en-3-ol: The boar pheromone. Causes sows to raise their posterior and display a receptive posture.
5) petromyzonamine disulfate: the lamprey migratory pheromone. It is released by larval lamprey in streams and guides sexually mature parasitic adults to swim towards the spawning stream.
6) 6-hydroxy-6-methyl-3-heptanone: A mouse male pheromone. Accelerates puberty of pre-pubertal females.
7) (S)-2-sec-butyl-4.5-dihydrothiazole: Multi-faceted mouse male pheromone
8) (RR)-3.4-dehydroexo-brevicomin: Multi-faceted mouse male pheromone. This and the above compound induce aggression when smelt by other males. When smelt by pre-pubertal females they cause acceleration of puberty and when sensed by adult females induce and synchronize the estrus cycles.

I have always strongly believed in the existence of human pheromones, emitted by both males and females. Critics have felt that the degeneration of the vomeronasal organ and loss of the TRPC2 channel in humans might mean that there is no pheromonal signaling. However, I have always held that the regular olfactory mucosa is likely to be a sufficient interface for pheromone sensing. For a while it had been suspected that androstadienone, a testosterone derivative emitted by male via their skin is the primary male pheromone. A recent study by Wyart et al building on earlier work of Savic et al brings considerable support to this and suggests that it indeed induces behavioral changes in females. One important point they note is that the intensity of smell does not correlated with magnitude of action of the pheromone. So it appears to work in a sense “sub-consciously”- i.e. there is no connection with the odor experience. This seems to be an important point in support of it being a pheromone. Based on the experience of males including my own suggest I have long come to hold that females exude a pheromone that activates responses in males. From the study of Savic et al this appears to be estra-1,3,5(10),16-tetraen-3-ol (not pictured above). I suspect that while active olfaction is required to detect it, its actions occur again somewhat “subconsciously”.

The puzzling amnesia

•February 7, 2007 • Leave a Comment

A number of threads suddenly converged in this direction:
Sharada mentioned that some scholarly advaitins on a web-list saw similarity between Sufism and advaita! She said it is really interesting that these scholarly Hindus are so utterly lacking in historical sense. I could not agree more. Another thread arose over a discussion on the events in Gorakhpur. The parallel to the situation when the Dravidians emerged suddenly from the woodwork during the unfolding at Kanchipuram cannot be missed, but this time the Ghazis are the doers. Time and again we hear that the Hindus are the demons and that the Meccan fiends are innocent lambs taken to have their throats slit. How come the Hindus have been seized by such apasmara? Perhaps the failure to worship skanda for millenia I mused.

There was an article of some interest attempting to analyze Mohammedanism. It got many points correct which is surprising for a body from the American right. To give the authors credit, they do give some coverage to the assault on Hindus by Mohammedans, and even have a book titled:”Mohammed, Allah, and Hinduism … The Foundational Doctrine”. Most usefully they have a books titled “A simple Koran” and “The Political Traditions of Mohammed” which give a decent introduction to the Mohammedan doctrine for a Kaffir.

The Hadith of Bukhari 4.62.267 states that their Rasool said: “The king of Persia will be destroyed, and no one shall assume his throne. Caesar will certainly be destroyed and no Caesar will follow him; his coffers will be spent in Allah’s cause.”

There is some significance to these statements. They indeed turned out to be true- the Parsis are actually literally nearing extinction. They have few memories of how many of them died or who killed them. The Roman empire has lost Turkey and indeed coffers of the West, self-professed successors of the Caesar have funded Allah’s cause: 1) We faithfully coughed up our tax dollars to fund Clinton war in the Balkans to help Allahists to triumph over the Serbians. 2) The same tax dollars funded Moslems of the Terrorist State and Bangladesh to kill Hindus in the pretext of saving Afghanistan from communism. 3)The triumph of the Moslems in Afghanistan and Chechnya against the Russians and its karma-phala in the form of the events of 9/11 are all from the Caesar’s coffers. 4)The killing of the secular Saddam to bring an assortment of Islamists to power in Iraq is again funded by the very same pelf from the Caesar’s coffers. 5) The erection of an edifice of perdition, the dung-pile of Saudi Arabia, is all driven by the Caesar’s coffins. No doubt the Islamists feel so triumphant.

It is estimated that the Islamic Jihad has killed:
80 * 10^6 Hindus
60 * 10^6 Christians
10 * 10^6 Non-Indian bauddhas
50 * 10^6 Black Africans
Un-estimated Parsis, Manichaeist Uighurs and others. While these numbers need greater scrutiny, they are not implausible. Yet it is a mystery that the survivors of the greatest genocide in history exhibit such amnesia over its cause- Mohammedanism. So much so that they fund the Meccan fiends with their own coffers (as “prophesied” by Mohammad) to continue their unabated carnage. I am yet to see a full analysis of this profound amnesia.

The temporal sequence of texts and emergence of later Hindu deities

•February 4, 2007 • Leave a Comment

The idea here is not trace the history of Hindu deities to their proto-Indo-European past, but only to investigate their relative times of emergence and the chronology of the texts referring to them. Further, all Hindu texts including the vedic saMhitA-s are layered texts- that is they have material from different chronological strata. Yet well defined coherent chronological cores can be identified in them.

-In the vedic period one major transition, which might be termed the prajApati transition, is observed. The old vedic pantheon shared with the Iranians gained the first major addition in the form of the prajApati. There is no or hardly any mention of prajApati in any of the family maNDala-s. He appears first in the maNDala 10 in the hiraNyagarbha sUktaM. In the yajur veda he is again not prominent in the old core of the soma and fire-kindling rites. However, he is prominent in the canonized late shrauta ritual laid out in the YV and the associated gAnaM-s composed in the sAman collection. Thus, prajApati rises tremendously prominence through the canonization of the shrauta ritual and becomes very prominent in the brAhmaNa-s. In the brAhmaNa period we get the first hints of him challenging indra’s preeminent position.

-In the very late brAhmaNa period or late upaniShadic period we see hints of the rise of the two great gods of sectarian Hindu dharma – rudra and viShNu. This is observed in texts like the shvetAshvatara, maitrAyaNi brAhmaNa upaniShat, atharvashiras and nArAyaNa-valli.

-In the earliest post-vedic texts we see two new deities rise to prominence: kumAra and brahmA. Of these the four-headed brahmA is clearly a homolog of the vedic prajApati and shares numerous attributes with him. While there are some allusions to brahmA in the vedic hymns themselves, it is not immediately clear if in every context they imply brahmA as in the deity or the power of mantras brahman. In the atharva vedic tradition we find a mention of brahmA as “bhUtAnAm prathamaM”, in a late hymn used in shaunakIya kANDa homa. This supports the beginnings of prajApati as brahmA were in the late vedic world. He appears in the itihAsa-s in his full-blown form. The late vedic prajApati assumes forms like the fish and turtle which were later associated viShNu, but never associated with brahmA.

-kumAra appears in the late vedic texts: 1) nejameSha in the khila of the RV in connection to a rite performed in pumsavana. 2) skanda sanatkumAra the teacher of nArada in the chAndogya upaniShat. In both the earliest post-vedic texts rAmAyaNa and mahAbhArata is he is a prominent deity. The skanda-yaga of the atharva veda parishiShTha appears to be coeval with the rise of skanda in the itihAsas.

-Of the itihAsas the core of the rAmAyaNa appears clearly older (of course leaving out the uttara-kANDa). The former is mentioned by the bhArata not vice versa. Further, the prominence of indra is much greater in the rAmAyaNa, with him probably standing slightly ahead of brahmA in prominence. In the mahAbharata the decline of indra and the meteoric rise of viShNu and shiva has set in full scale.

-In both the itihAsa-s the trans-functional shakti as kAli or durga or the 8 mothers have a very limited presence or are non-existent. The first hints of this shakti in the classical form is seen in the harivaMsha as ekAnaMsha who is also vindhyavAsini. The trans-functional shakti-s precursors may be seen in the AsurI durgA of the atharvanic tradition (AsurI kalpa) and pratya~NgirA.

-The later layers of the mahAbhArata and the harivaMsha mark the beginnings of the rise of the proto-pA~ncharAtric pantheon of viShNu as kR^iShNa, balabhadra and associated manifestations of viShNu or avatAra-s. However, the full-blown dashAvatAra concept is not in place.

-The core bhAgavata purANa marks the emergence of rAmachandra as an avatAra of viShNu.

-The mArkaNDeya purANa marks the full-blow emergence of the trans-functional shakti and the 8 mothers (Though this might belong to the latest layer of the purANa).

-One of the biggest anchor points is the emergence of one of latest classical Hindu deities- the classical gaNesha. The texts containing the classical vinAyaka and those which do not thus mark a major chronological divide in the Hindu world. The itihAsa-s do not mention the classical gaNesha. vinAyaka-s of the 4-fold form emerge in the gR^ihya sUtra-s and the AV-parishiShTha, and allusion to these seizing vinAyaka-s are seen scattered in the mahAbhArata but they are distinct from the elephant-headed deity. The same seizing vinAyaka is mentioned in the mArkaNDeya purANa as a raudra-vighnarAT-perhaps marking the beginnings of his direct association with deva rudra. In the yAj~navalkya smArta prayoga-s the seizing vinAyaka-s are merged as one and is mentioned as being installed by rudra as a vighna-rAja. Here ambikA, the wife of rudra is also mentioned as his mother. This marks the first emergence of the prototype of the deity, though not mention of his elephant head is still made. But the classical gaNesha is clearly missing in the core bhAgavata purANa, mArkaNDeya purANa and harivaMsha. This suggests that the purANas as they survive today belong to two age categories- the older group that does not mention vinAyaka and the newer group where he is mentioned or is a prominent deity. kAlidAsa does not mention vinAyaka and hence appears to belong in age closer to the earlier group. In this period skanda was very prominent in northern India especially in centers like Mathura. Thus, it is quite clear that kAlidAsa did not live in the gupta (or worse paramAra court), but lived much earlier, prior to the common era. Thus, even the extant Hindu purANa-s represent a much longer tradition than commonly believed. Early iconography of classical vinAyaka shows him in the company of the 8 mothers, and this is first mentioned in the gobhila smR^iti. This suggests that that smR^iti is in the least coeval with these early images of gaNesha. The vinAyaka shAnti of the baudhAyana gR^ihya sheSha sUtra appears to belong to the period after the emergence of the classical gaNapati. The mAnava gR^ihya sUtra, arthashAstra, yAj~navAlkya smR^iti in contrast belong to an earlier period with with seizing vinAyaka graha-s.

TB 2.5.8.12

•February 2, 2007 • Leave a Comment

apaM bhumAnam upa naH sR^ijeha |
send down to earth, upon us the showers.
yaj~na pratitiShTha sumatau sushevA A tva |
You who are favorably established in this Sacrifice, the two well-disposed ones
vasUni purudhA vishantu |
entering many good forms repeatedly
dirgham Ayur yajamanaya kR^iNvan |
Make the life of the ritualist long.
adhAmR^itena jaritArama~ngdhi ||
Now annoint with nectar the reciter of praise
indraH shunAvad vitanoti sIram |
indra bearing the plow extends the furrow;
saMvatsarasya pratimaMam etat |
This is the year’s image.
arkasya jyotis-tad-id-Asa jyeShTham |
sun’s light is the best in this [world]
saMvatsaraGm shunavat sIram etat ||
This furrow of the plow is the year.
índrasya rAdhaH prayataM puru tmana |
Extend indra’s bounty multiple fold
tad arkarUpaM vimímAnam eti |
dvAdasAre pratitiShThatId vR^iShA ||
ashvAyanto gavyanto vAjayantaH |
havAmahe tvopaganta vA u |
AbhUShantas tvA sumatau navayam |
vayam indra tvA shunaGm huvema ||

Worth coming back

•January 31, 2007 • Leave a Comment


She said: “We return to that halcyon year and a half. When the son of Brinda was toiling relentlessly, fueled by testosterone and goaded by his crafty, parents we set out the seek the truth. Beyond the row of 3 shUdras were two: one a shUdra and one a brAhmaNa.”
I said: “We return indeed to that time in our walk. We were free, like never before and never after. We knew not fear like jaTAyu and sampAtI reaching for the sun. It was then that I standing on the broken wall of the larger kandUka prastha. I saw you strolling into to smaller kandUka prastha and headed downwards to meet you. With you were 4 others so we exchanged words in code as kApAlika-s do.”
She said: “Yes indeed! The vAta is blowing with pitiless fury. Sorrow and joy are but two pans of the balance. The wielder of the thunderbolt holds it aloft. Today into one pan he has cast a weight tomorrow in another he shall.”

We mounted our gardabha-s and moved towards the base of the imposing pinnacle of kaunDinya where the warm river washed the banks. With our legs in the shallow water we looked at the blue skies. We felt that link with bhArata, the land conquered by our ancestors, the waters, the sky, the mountains. We thought of the melody “somyam maa..” “hi-indrA…” came to the mind. We were talking of early archosauromorph cranial anatomy and of pterosaurs — so much of what we knew was to change. We feared that the unholy kIkaTa or the harmful dasyu would break into our reverie. So we together drew that yantra with the feather and placing a feather on it invoked kandhara, to repel rAkShasas. We also cast around us the yakSha-s and yakShinI-s of dreadful kShudra vidyA-s like virodhikA, R^ituhArikA and duHsaha, so that none may challenge us.

Thus, repelling the anindra-s we moved on experiencing the rasa-s that break down when emerging as words. We came back by passing through the senA-prastha, beside the vigha~NgamIra, the dasyu-shAla and the cleft in the mountain. We then enjoyed mahAbhoga of bhojana and having refreshed ourselves we proceeded to perform our studies on the water. We saw that yonder world before us. May we be conquerors of that world with all its beings we wished…. We still wish. We spoke again through the veil that separates us. We connected with guhyasomA and lost it again.

The killing of lomaharShaNa

•January 30, 2007 • Leave a Comment

The bhArgava mArkaNDeya told jaimini that he had no time to narrate to him lengthy tales as was his usual tradition, because he was starting his sacrificial satra and need to begin the specified oblations. Instead, he asked him to go the talking pelicans of the narmada to learn more tales. jaimini approached the brahminical pelicans in the cave in the lower vindhya-s splashed by the waters of the narmada to query them about the awful deeds of balabhadra. He was amazed to see 4 birds that were reciting mantra-s like vipra-s The pelicans having fanned jaimini to relieve him of the heat from his exertions in reaching their cave agreed to narrate to him the tales he wanted. They said:
“kR^iShNa has decided to side with the pANDavas and I cannot do much about it given his bond with arjuna. I think things can be done better. I will not go with duryodhana because my brother is on the other side. But king duryodhana is my dear student in the use of the gadA and I will not go against him under any condition. Thus thinking, balabhadra detached his army and went to dvAravati where he saw his people in great happiness and fed well. To relax he settled to have a bath a spring and the fair revatI placed a bowl of wine for him. Quaffing several bowls he and revatI became inebriated, and in joyous delight decided to go to the raivata park that he had set up for his enjoyment. Clasping the apsarA-like revatI he marched into the sylvan retreat in a stumbling walk along with his several girl-friends joining them with vAruNi beer and liquor. The park was glorious beyond description with all kinds of animals, trees and herbs. He in the pleasure-giving grip of revatI surrounded by the bevy of beautiful girls, with his sunanda pestle in hand, was admiring his grove. Their intoxication was accentuated by the sweet cacophony of cuckoos, grebes, tittiri-s, mynas, warblers, tailor birds, weaver birds, cranes, wood-peckers, shirkes, crows, parrots, bee-eaters, pheasants and peacocks flitting amongst mango, amalaka, kovIdara, ashoka, jackfruit trees and palms dotting the dvaraka sea-side, and water-lilies with broad leaves on the ponds. Enjoying various kAma-keli-s and krIDa-s with his girl-friends and wife he arrived a bower. There he saw group of learned bhArgava-s, vaishvAmitra-s, bharadvAja-s and gotama-s collecting glorious paurANic narratives of old times from the sUta lomaharShaNa. The brAhmaNas were clad in black antelope coats and seated on kusha grass seats with the sUta in their midst. Seeing saMkarShaNa swinging his pestle, with blood-shot eyes due to alcoholic inebriation the brAhmaNa-s were terrified and hastily rose up and saluted the rampaging kShatriya, but the sUta alone remained seated. baladeva flew into fit of fury and with his red eyes rolling swung his pestle and smashed the skull of the sUta to pieces. The brAhmaNa-s seeing this, fled in terror into the forest, laying a spell on him. balabhadra-s found his body developed a stench of blood that did not go away and immediately he realized he had committed a grave pApa and the displeasure of the vipra-s. To relieve himself of his sins he decided to go on a tirtha yatra culminating in pratiloma sarasvatI.”

A vidyA of atharvaNa-bhadra-kAlI

•January 29, 2007 • Leave a Comment

The atharvaN-s have several distinctive prescriptions of mantra prayoga-s for pratya~NgirA or atharvaNa-bhadrakAlI. One such is the mahAchaNDayogeshvarI vidyA. It is recommended only for those who study the AV, though no niyama or purashcharaNa is required for deployment.
pippalAda R^iShiH; Chando nAsti yajuShTvataH; atharvaNa-bhadrakAlI jayadurgA devatA |
OM bIjaM; hrIM shaktiH; jaye cha viniyogaH|
AM AM AM hR^idayAya namaH |
IM IM IM shirase svAhA |
UM UM UM shikhAyai vaShaT |
EM EM EM kavachAya huM |
AuM AuM AuM netra-trayAya vauShaT |
prekhaM astrAya phaT ||

AM AM AM a~NguShThAbhyAM namaH |
IM IM IM tarjanIbhyAM namaH |
UM UM UM madhyamAbhyAM namaH |
EM EM EM anAmikAbhyAM namaH |
AuM AuM AuM kaniShThikabhyAM namaH||
prekhaM karatalakara-pR^iShTAbhyAM namaH ||

dhyAnaM
shyAmAm-indu-dharAM devImA.a.a.tAmra-nayana-trayIm |
vAme rakta-kapAlaM cha trishUlaM dakShiNe tatha ||
kR^ishodarIM rakta-vastrAM pINa-stanIM nitambinIm |
padmasthAM yuvatIM dhyAyet smerA.a.asyAm-ati sundarIm ||
bhadrakAlIM mahAdevIM jayadAtrIM sushItalAM |
pujayed AsurI pIThe syustadA.a.avaraNAni cha ||

OM hrIM chaNDyogeshvarI ! phaT ! svAhA ! [for homa]
OM hrIM chaNDyogeshvarI ! phaT ! namaH ! [for pUja]

 
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