What’s Makara?

In Chapter XV of Indian Sculpture and Iconography, V. Ganapati Sthapati describes a composite animal figure with “a fish-like body, elephant trunk, feet of a lion, eyes of a monkey, ears of a pig, plumage of a bird and prominent teeth.”  The image “defies classification.”

“Thus,” writes Sthapati, “it can be taken to represent the confused turbulent state of nature during the age of cataclysmic upheavals.”  From the mouth of the Makara, creation emerges as a kind of breathing out.  When the Makara breathes in, creation is totally renewed.

“The whole process,” writes Sthapati, “evolves under the guidance of the Divine Being and hence, the archway is placed behind the image of God.”

Blavatsky reads the symbol as a simultaneous representation of microcosm and macrocosm, the ultimate star of the universe as outward manifestation and the star of the human spirit as intuition.  But the association of this symbol with the Winter Solstice and Egyptian crocodiles emphasizes that all things must experience beginnings and ends.  A world that eats will be eaten.  Capricorn, the goat, has a dolphin tail.  From under water, the crafty animal rises up, again.  Like love, too.  There was the submerged form, now the horn.

Already, Blavatsky sees the Makara in the context of a fifth creation, indicating possibilities for yogin consciousness, beyond passion.

Or with these hints, we think of Jung’s great fish, the self, and Jonah, who was once upon a time swallowed whole.

So, what is Makara exactly?  It is an indication that all cannot be lost, even when things seem impossible to find.  Have you read Marx’s dissertation lately?  There, doesn’t the great materialist find indestructible self-consciousness as the puzzle that exists?

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