Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Vishnu and The Raven

Julius Robert Oppenheimer's Dream

A "dream raven" is a symbol of fear, death, and the dark unknown. It represents things that you would rather not hear about.
Dreaming of a raven suggests that you are not afraid to face the unknown or to find answers in places that may frighten you. It signifies your capacity to be strong and courageous during tough times.
Ravens in a dream may also act as messenger, telling you to pay closer attention to something that is happening in your waking life, or that you must bring a project or relationship to a close before you can begin a new one. In Norse Mythology, the twin ravens Huginn and Muninn were messengers for Odin and flew worldwide discovering knowledge and secrets and reporting them to Odin.

Julius Robert Oppenheimer 4/22/1904 - 2/18/1967
Julius Robert Oppenheimer is often referred to as the "Father Of The Atomic Bomb". During World War II he was the head of the top secret Manhattan project which lead to the first A-Bomb. Oppenheimer was Jewish, he had hoped to use the bomb on the Nazi, but it was developed after Germany surrendered. It was used on Japan instead. Oppenheimer talked to President Truman, penitent about the "blood on his hands".
Oppenheimer regretted his achievement later in life
 "If atomic bombs are to be added as new weapons to the arsenals of a warring world, or to the arsenals of the nations preparing for war, then the time will come when mankind will curse the names of Los Alamos and Hiroshima. The people of this world must unite or they will perish." Eventually he saw the "Bomb" as a cure for war, believing that it would make war obsolete.  After Russia obtained the bomb he compared the US and USSR as two scorpions in a jar, doomed to destroy each other. He spent his last years regretting his invention. Oppenheimer’s continuing quest for wisdom led him far beyond the confines of modern science and he studied Sanskrit as well as philosophy and all world religions, finding comfort in Hinduism.  
detonation over Nagasaki
 Believe it or not the idea for this print came to me in a dream. Raven has a dual role as bringer of both death and life. I  wanted to do a print about the A-Bomb and could not figure out how to work it out. My dream supplied the answer, merge Oppenheimer with Odin and have raven whispered his message in his ear.

Robert Oppenheimer was napping. He had been struggling with the problem of nuclear fission. He had dreamed that a large raven appeared and perched upon his shoulder. It murmured into his ear “I am become death, destroyer of worlds” and flew away. He awoke and was baffled by the words and their meaning.
He continued his work which culminated with the horrific blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending history’s most violent conflict. Years later, filled with remorse, he was reading a sacred Hindu text Bhagavad-Gita written in 500 BC. There, in chapter 11, verse 32 were the words once whispered to him in a dream.
The purpose of the ravens visit became clear. In 1965, when he was interviewed about the explosive power of their new weapon he said:

“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.
I suppose we all thought that one way or another.”

Oppenheimer quote on Youtube

“Vishnu’s Reincarnation as Raven”.
 Intaglio etching 5" x 7" 2011, $50

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