Becoming Lord Hanuman

© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

When I reached the little akhara (gymnasia) which is lost in the fields near Sakalhida, a village in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, I first saw this pelhwan (Indian wrestler) who was outside with a gada.

A gada is a large round rock fixed to the end of a meter-long bamboo staff which is lifted and swung for exercise.
It may weigh as little as five or as much as fifty to sixty kilograms.
In the Ramayana and Mahabharata the gada is often mentioned as a weapon.
In popular religious art and iconography Hanuman is almost never depicted without one.
It is not only the symbol of his strength but also of his countenance.
The gada he carries is highly decorated and made of gold.
At championship bouts wrestlers are awarded gadas made of silver.
The gada is, then, clearly the mark of a wrestler’s prowess.
Given the preponderance of phallic symbols in the akhara and the gada’s general shape it is evident that swinging a gada has clear symbolic overtones of sexual potency and virility.
Each time the gada is swung it is brought to a balanced position, erect from the wrestler’s waist.
The phallic aspect of the gada is also evidenced by its association with snakes.
In the Harivamsa Akrura dives into the serpent world where he sees Ananta asleep on top of a mace…
In shape a gada resembles the churning stick used to make butter and buttermilk.
A parallel between churning and sexual energy has been drawn above.
By swinging the gada one might say that a wrestler is churning his body to increase his store of semen.
(“The Wrestler’s Body: Identity and Ideology in North India” by Joseph S. Alter)

Join the photographer at https://www.facebook.com/laurent.goldstein.photography

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: