Indra’s Net

I’m fascinated with identity, connection, and the importance of right relationship.  In thinking about interconnectedness, images of diamonds, whose faces are all facing other diamonds’ faces (so that the whole looks like intricately fractured glass, or densely clustered bubbles, or cells) often come to mind for me.  When I speak of these images, because of my emphasis on the reflection/exchange going on at/through each surface, Indra’s Net often comes to mind for others.  It’s a nice image to share.thiele_leslie_indra_midas


Indra is the king of the Vedic deities.  Over his palace, it was said, hangs a net that stretches in all directions to infinity.  At each node of the net, where the gossamer strands intersect, hangs a beautiful jewel.   And each facet of every jewel provides a reflection of all the other jewels.  The ancient sages insisted that the jewels hanging from Indra’s net are not enduring substances.  They do not have an essential nature.  Rather, each jewel is the manifestation of relationships of interdependence.  Each jewel exists only as the cavalcade of reflections to which it contributes.


All the strands of Indra’s net are connected.  Sever one, and the whole is weakened.  This is the upshot of interdependence.  But the jewels on Indra’s net also mirror each other.  They are, in the end, nothing but the aggregation of such reflections.  Relationship, not an individual essence, is their core reality.”

– Leslie Paul Thiele, who teaches political theory and serves as Director of Sustainability Studies at the University of Florida, speaking in this ROROTOKO interview.

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