I. —

For the 19th century Sikh theologian Bhai Avtar Singh Vahiria, the Devi is void, hole, nullity— bindu, sifr. The creative womb, the primordial nothing, zero, empty in itself; penetrated by God’s will, it birthed the chaos of multiplicity.

Sikh martial scripture says the first thing God created was the sword. The sword is vac (sound), it is the Devi, it is God’s primordial potency, God’s primal wrath. The sword that splits and cleaves unity into multiplicity. It is dhulfiqaar: faqaar meaning ‘splitter, differentiator’— splitting unity into duality, thus inaugurating the world. 

A world born of creative violence. Creation itself as violence.

Nietzsche’s later notebooks speak of a lucid, ecstatic, violent plurality of intensities, beyond the structures (and strictures) of the social gregarious self. Witnessing the flogging of the Turin horse precipitated a break from this despotic apparatus, leaping into the vortex of the Devi’s wrath (devoured by the Devi). ‘He who falls to the Devi’s sword is liberated.’

Heraclitus speaks of an ‘ever-living fire, being kindled in measures and being put out in measures.’ Bataille evokes ‘a primal continuity linking us with everything that is,’ one we are severed from in life and attempt to access in moments of sovereign excess. In a short essay (‘The Rotten Sun,’ 1930), Bataille speaks of the sun that blinds, the rotten sun of madness, blood and sacrifice, the locus of vigorous, spastic struggle and frenzy.

This is the cold, black, formless chaos of flux, churn and multiplicity, constrained and utilized by the Self, the World and God, the three terminal points of metaphysics. Simultaneously superabundant and empty, beauteous and terrifying, tactile and fluid, icy and scalding. A cosmic ocean of cold black fire that eviscerates and annihilates all difference, even as it engenders difference.

This vigorous wilderness of intensities churns and writhes in wasteful excess without a goal, without an end, driven by the fundamental impulse to its own dissipation, folding upon itself, over and over, burgeoning and proliferating without end.

II. —

The War-Mother was recognized by the Greeks as Athena (she whose ‘war magic is capable of generating cosmic chaos’), the Mesopotamians as Innana, the Scythians as Tabiti, the Bactrians as Nana, making her way to the India as the supreme demon-slayer Durga. Many-armed, bearing all manners of weapons, donning golden armor, riding the solar vehicles of lions and tigers, driven by righteous, bottomless bloodlust, she smites demons and assists the worthy warrior on the battlefield.

Tablets in the Temple of Marduk described this War-Mother as the ‘ruler of weapons, arbitress of battles; … the power over princes and over the scepter of kings.’ 

The cosmic spirit of war, the sacred heat of battle. The frenzied flow of blood under spasming muscle, the primordial confrontation between enemy and enemy. The glistening swing of the sword, the triumphant barrage of artillery. 

War. War. War.

III. —

The early Vedic warrior’s world was one of amhas, of scarcity and dire need. He who sought ‘what is good in life’ had to resort to violence, often at the risk of disaster and reversal, of death. 

So, steeped in death, haunted by the possibility of disasters and reversals, the tribal king’s sacrality emerged as the connective force that reconciled the gulf between chaos and cosmos, the wilderness and the village, life and death, the sacred and the profane. Every confrontation with death reinforced his sacrality. The warrior vowed to death was the vehicle of the sacred.

This unleashed an ever-fracturing, ever-rupturing cycle of plunder, conquest and conflict (the vortex of the Devi’s wrath), eventually engulfing all participants in the cataclysmic dāśarājña yuddha, the battle of the Ten Kings.

A note to a Klossowski essay on Nietzsche speaks of “psychic dispositions as divinities; antagonistic and conciliatory dispositions as divinities given to quarrelling and coupling,” presupposing “a notion of space where the inner life of the soul and the life of the cosmos form a single space.” 

The Upanishads speak of the body and the cosmos as microcosm and macrocosm. Corbin speaks of the law of correspondence, wherein “there is homology between the events taking place in the outer world and the inner events of the soul.

The vortex of war: the gods battling in heaven, the chaos swirling in deep space, the plurality of impulses struggling in the unconscious, the kshatriya’s principle of conflict. The Devi’s wrath, within and without.

IV. —

The Great Goddess that the kshatriyas and poets in India propitiated is the totemic representation of this same wealth of energy. Shakti. Maya. Ritual technologies were devised to access and make use of this cosmic spirit of war in battle. Weapons were worshipped as material forms of the goddess. Animals were sacrificed as blood offerings; the enemy was offered as a grand offering.

The vraatyas, archaic nomadic kóryos-warbands of vagrant youth roaming and plundering settlements, would conduct orgiastic, violent sacrificial feasts in subterranean Bactrian forts to honor a proto-Durga goddess.

The enigmatic Kalasha tribes of the Hindu Kush perform sacrificial feasts to honor their goddess, maintaining an animist tradition stretching back, seemingly unmolested, all the way to the ancient Indo-European migrations. 

V. —

The Devi’s general economy demands sacrifice, blood and martyrdom, bestowing glory and immortality. It is grounded not in the logic of production and utility, but in profound excess, ruinous consumption, in superabundant energy expressing itself as drives, intensities and impulses, exulting in the relentless, torrential circulation of blood, fire, power, and death. 

To be annihilated in the turbulent tonalities of war is to be devoured by the Devi. To be in the grips of Rimbaud’s ‘derangement of the senses,’ too, is to be devoured by the Devi.

The battlefield itself came to be seen as a grand (perhaps the grandest) altar of worship. The ferocious tonalities of war invoked the Devi, where (so says the Mahabharata) the fallen soldiers became the offerings, their blood the libation. The Devi stalked the battlefield in delirious, ecstatic bloodlust, exulting in the bloody spectacle; the martyrs her saaqi, her wine-bearers, filling her bowl of blood to the brim.

The ceremony of sacrifice was abstracted and expanded to include all of existence: the universe is nothing but the Devi’s pulsating, churning, libidinal metabolism. The yuga cycles are nothing but a consequent of the Devi’s vigorous metabolism, rising and falling, constrained and unbound. All of history— blood, fire, war— the Devi’s gory, lurid, merry spectacle of death and destruction.

VI. —

As the pulsating flux of cosmic metabolism, the Devi’s appetite for chaos seeks to attain its highest tonality, to dissipate itself in ruinous dépense. At its apotheosis its vigorous currents threaten to obliterate all gregarious frameworks, luxuriating without a goal in the pure, escalating, sublime excess of action, heralding the destruction of the very cosmos it engenders and upholds.

Such outbursts of total war, threatening to overwhelm and obliterate all frames of references, should be considered hierophanies: the breaking through of the sacred into our profane realm. The highest expression of war is the sacred gesture that summons the Devi. And the warrior, as the archaic force connecting the gulf between life and death, is her highest priest. This is why the warrior, devoted to the Devi’s self-destructive vortex of war, yearning to be torn apart in its womb, is ‘given to inauspicious activities, eating improper food, killing, and plundering’; disdaining the will to preservation, the kshatriya chases the highest intensities of experience at the outer edges of life itself.

War in its highest, frenzied intensities is holy, profoundly amoral, incomprehensible (unknowable, and so impossible); transcendental in its violent excess, transgressing all possible frames of reference, revealing the futility of our conceptual conceits in the face of joyous, apocalyptic frenzy.

The greatest battles across history are fervently spiritual affairs, festal celebrations of the Devi, to this roving, ravenous cosmic spirit of war. And the ones who assent to its order of ecstatic war, the ones who drive it to such exalted, self-destructive peaks are its greatest devotees.

This grand ritual, transgressing and exceeding as it does all conceptual frameworks through sheer vital intensity, stands beyond good and evil. Its sole qualification is the Devi’s pleasure.

VII. —

This is the crux of what McCarthy meant when he spoke of ‘the ultimate trade awaiting its greatest practitioner’: Kalki, the great Mahdi wielding the dhulfiqar, the Death of Death.

That which brings cleansing fires is Kalki. That which pushes ‘what is ready to fall’ is Kalki. That which rejuvenates the Devi’s cosmic metabolism is Kalki. That which destroys only to reveal (ᾰ̓ποκᾰ́λῠψῐς) is Kalki. Kalki is the supreme necessity of Fate.

He is the necessary cleansing principle that arrives as cleansing fire and washes away the decrepit, metastasizing rot of broken cosmoi. The Devi’s high priest, the perfect vehicle of her cold, divine wrath, liberating Nietzsche’s warring plurality of intensities and impulses from the productive, goal-oriented system of civilization. 

Through Kalki’s apocalyptic reign of terror blooms the highest dépense of the Devi’s regime of luxuriating, joyous multiplicity, reaching its highest, orgiastic tonality, its highest metabolic activity. All planes of existence – material, spiritual, metaphysical – liberated from the cosmic unity of the Self, the World and God, and thrown into the fires of pure, spasming chaos and intensity; liberated, overwhelmed and destroyed in the throes of ‘pain and pleasure, indivisible.’ 

Void, hole, nullity— bindu, sifr.

Epicycles turn within yuga cycles, gyres turn within gyres, kalacakras turn within kalacakras, each with its own world-cleansing Kalki-avatara. 

The scourge of God is the same as his love: not good or evil, but necessary and sublime.

Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.” The world is always ending. 

The Devi’s bliss is eternal.

— Sardar Mahavira Singh is a ਛਤ੍ਰੀ-aesthete