The "Kamala" in Kamala Harris
Watching Kamala Harris’ dramatic rise in the first Democratic Party debate left Indians all over the world nodding knowingly as to how this very ancient Indian name became synonymous with justice, anti-corruption, race balancing, and gender leadership in America. To them, Kamala represents two main aspects of their consciousness. First, she is the lotus, a flower that most Indians associate with purity rising out of the muck of life, blooming beautifully in water and symbolizing an evolving consciousness. Kamala is also the name and symbol of the ancient Vedic goddess Lakshmi who brings abundance, grace, balance, and beauty into the World and is celebrated every year at Diwali, the festival of light. Lakshmi is also known as Sri Devi, the Mother of Light heralding a divine golden age. Now there’s a seriously high bar for Harris to aim for.
The story goes that Kamala was born amongst the Asuras or the people of the underworld who came to represent the darker side of our natures — think nationalism, xenophobia, intolerance, racism, greed. But they could not hold back her golden beauty and she bloomed and became the passion of the Devas or the beings of light — ok add your own metaphors here for today’s America and Harris. As her Lotus bloomed, the Devas became possessive of Kamala and the Asuras tried to pull her back and so she hid in the cosmic ocean — the Senate — biding her time, when humanity would be ready to receive her grace in the heart. A great battle ensued between the dark and the light — the churning of the ocean of milk — and out of the swirl a resplendent Lakshmi embodying beauty, grace, abundance, and immortality arose. As with all stories of light and dark, the Devas secured the grace of Lakshmi, through a little bit of cleverness, and the Asuric forces went back grudgingly to the underworld waiting for the light to wane once more.
Harris’ quest is no less a cosmic struggle, first, she must rise above the muck of her own party and the limitations of the nation she was born into. Then, she must remind Americans of their better angels, their higher nature and their ability to rise above differences and inner battles to become peaceful, enlightened, and even discover the golden Amrit, or nectar of immortality, that sits within their hearts and the collective psyche.
On a final note it is worth considering that in India, Kamala is adored best when seen in the golden light of the Sun rising at dawn. Are we seeing a new Sun rising in the Democratic Party?