Thursday, 28 January 2010

The Spiritual Kiss

I still have the Kiss shared by Batman and Wonder Woman in Blackest Night Wonder Woman #2 (now officially a holy book for Batwondy fans!) lingering in my mind, despite it took place in a virtual reality created by Lady Aphrodite to contain a rampaging Black Lantern WW (see the previous post to make sense of it). Hence, this post.

And I promise you that this post will still be confusing for non DC comic readers or JL Animated cartoon watchers. Heck, it’s likely to confuse my fellow Batwondy fans, even! But I need to address this. I need to share with you why I see the kiss as beyond physical. Why I see it as reaching a spiritual level as well.

To do so, I need to make some disclaimers:

1. I don’t see anything wrong with seeing the kiss as very sexy. God, it IS very sexy. Alluring. Seducing. Nicola Scott really knows how to draw a sexy yet poetic kiss. I’m glad she’s with DC now.

2. Some references I shall make here will confuse many readers, particularly those unaccustomed with Vedic tradition, a very generic tradition I’m about to source. It’s not that these examples can only be found in Vedic books; I am certain that other traditions have some similar examples as well. I shall try my best to explain with my understanding that stems out of love.

3. As I will use these references in love, I shall disagree with fellow Vedic followers who might think of this post as a sacrilege or blasphemy, for trying to link human love with divine love. For… ah… where is the line, actually? Our true, pure, unconditional human love is basically a divine love as well, and a divine love can only be understood if we humans have experienced human love.

Enough of confusing you, now let’s start.

I see the kiss between Batman and Wonder Woman in BN WW#2 as beyond physical, entering spiritual plane, because (among others) I can see its similarities with the love and passions shared by Shiva and Parvati in the saga of Kali. I say ‘among others’ because there are many occasions where you would kiss your beloved and experience a spiritual sensation, in addition to physical one, thus blurring the lines human and divine loves. I can feel those sensations, so I don’t see why you can’t reach it. You must have done it even at least once in your life. Kissing someone so deep, you know it’s not a mere kiss.

Now, who are Shiva and Parvati? Vedic cosmology 101: Shiva is most famously known as the ‘last’ of the Trinity, the Greatest Divine Powers (in addition to Brahma the Creator and Vishnu the Caretaker). Shiva is mostly known as the Destroyer (because one of his jobs is to recycle everything back to zero), although he has at least 108 names attached to him; more than half of which refer to his blissful and glorious traits: The Auspicious One, Conqueror of Death, Lord of the Dance (Nataraj), Bearer of the Ganges (Gangadhara), etc. Lady Uma or Parvati is Shiva’s consort, or Shakti (the Feminine Energy). Parvati is often depicted as a very nurturing and (also) alluring All Mother. Her second version is called Durga – a warrior goddess riding a white Himalayan tiger and carrying multiple weapons. I love this Mother Durga, I can relate to her easily (I even saw a fan-art of Wonder Woman with her lion pet, makes me relate to her more!).

Parvati’s third version is Kali, the Terrible Beauty. Once there was Raktabija, a terrible demon who can’t be killed (you chop his head and – as his spilled blood hit the ground – his blood will grow lots of his clones). The only way to kill him is by drinking his blood out clean, and that’s when Kali was needed. Durga morphed into Kali (or some legends said Kali emerged from Durga’s third eye,) as a terrible dark beauty of long matted hair and stuck out tongue, wearing a garland of skulls. Kali slaughtered Raktabija and his clones, drinking their blood clean. Problem solved…not. Because Kali was a primal force, she could not stop. She went on to threaten the heaven, almost killing the devas, until her husband Shiva stepped in.

In the traditional depiction, Shiva pretended to be Kali’s enemy and let her almost crushing his chest with her feet. But then, as Kali was about to do so, she suddenly realized that she was about to trample her own beloved. Kali’s anger disappeared and the real Parvati re-emerged. There is another version where Shiva morphed into a little child and, with his cry, tamed Kali who then picked the child and nurtured him. But for the sake of comparison with Batman and Wonder Woman, I stick with the first version.

Of course there are differences between the events in BN WW#2 and the legend of Kali. BN WW involves humans (in DCU) and the legend of Kali involves Deities. Wonder Woman in the Blackest Night was affected by a dark power, hence almost killing her friends. Mother Kali was different; she appeared out of choice from Parvati/Durga to save the universe. But both feminine entities need something graceful to take them out of their trance. Both Diana and Kali needed love to bring them back into the light. In the case of Kali, it was her husband Shiva. In the case of Diana, it was Bruce, who is not even officially romantically related to her.

The bluish pictures below (originals are purplish; blame my scanner) are not the traditional pictures depicting Shiva and Kali; these are from The Book of Shiva, a comic book created by Deepak Chopra, beautifully written by Saurav Mohapatra, and gorgeously pencilled by Abishek Singh. For this entry's purpose, I like this team’s interpretation because it really showed me the romantic side of Shiva/Parvati and Kali’s inner struggle before re-emerged as Parvati (see my older review about The Book of Shiva here). Side by side with BN WW#2, I hope you see the similarities between them.

The lovers came to help the beloved back into light.

The spark of recognition...

...and Surrender into Love...

Go back to the Kiss. Why do I call the kiss between Bruce and Diana as a spiritual kiss as well (in addition to a very hot sensual kiss?). Because the kiss symbolizes or triggers elevated awareness. In comparison to Shiva-Kali, there was no kiss in the Shiva-Kali story. But – as in BN WW#2 – there were exchanged looks. There were sparks of recognition. And from there, came the light and understanding.

In the case of Bruce and Diana kissing in BN WW#2, although it only happened in a virtual reality created by Aphrodite, I don’t think the Goddess herself purposely invited Bruce’s image to enter the reality. Aphrodite might ‘only’ program it so that Diana’s subconscious invited her loved ones to come and stop her. The fact that Bruce’s appearance was the one triggering Diana’s awareness means that it was Bruce who was ‘powerful’ enough to drag Diana out of her dark self. Diana’s realization process did not start when she kissed Bruce. Rather, the kiss was the ultimate act that brought back her love for all creation.

I hope you understand my ramblings. And yet, I also understand if my explanations here seem to be in vain. For how can such beauty be expressed in words? Words can only capture parts of it, if not reducing its beauty…

To close this entry, I’d like to quote Batman’s comment when Diana asked him to have faith, that Phobos, Deimos and Eris (children of Ares God of War) would not take Gotham City ('Gods of Gotham' by Phil Jimenez). Batman said: “I don’t need faith Princess, when I have you.”

It seems that in this case, Batman is not the only one who has faith in Wonder Woman. Turns out, Diana also has faith in Bruce. And that kiss of faith shows it.

All Batman & Wonder Woman arts are by Nicola Scott (story by Greg Rucka)
All contemporary Shiva Parvati arts are by Abishek Singh (story by Saurav Mohapatra)
Pic2: Shiva-Parvati, forgot the source, taken long ago, sorry...
Pic3: the classical iconography of Kali and Shiva, from


Anonymous said...

Oh heck, you've become my new fav blog. Your spiritual understanding not only comes across well written, but allows the depth behind the kiss to shine. Your love ideology synchs with mine. And your explanation actually made me feel closer to Diana and Bruce.

There are no thank yous sufficeint for that except a respect I certainly hold for your point of view.


Saurav Mohapatra said...

heh, thanks for the India Authentic shout out! Yeah, that was a great issue to write (my first sale :) ) and Abhishek did a really nice job rendering it.

If I remember correctly I had marked the famous kiss from Gone With The Wind with Clark Gable and Vivienne Leigh as a reference for the artist :)


Icha said...

Rusoluchka, thanks a lot for your comment. Truly an honour to have you here, friend...

Saurav-bhai, nice to see you here! Rather unexpected, of course, to catch The Author himself. I love your depictions of The India Authentic very much, and I actually wrote a review about The Book of Shiva a while ago here:

Ah... so the Gone with the Wind, eh? That's a very famous kiss, that one...