The Eternal Youth: Thoughts on Sanat Kumara

Ever since I was following news of Shin Megami Tensei IV and hearing of a demon in the game named Sanat, I developed an interest in a mythological/spiritual figure from Theosophical lore known as Sanat Kumara. Sanat Kumara is a syncretic figure found in Theosophical and New Age lore. He is the eternal youth (in fact his Sanskrit name means “Eternal Youth”), and is seen as a figure who came to Earth from Venus six million years in order influence the spiritual evolution of mankind and life on earth. He is seen in New Age circles as a savior of mankind and a spiritual master, and according to lore he appears as a sixteen year old boy even though he’s been around for millions of years, thus the source of two titles of his; Ancients of Days (signifying his eternity) and Youth of Sixteen Summers (symbolizing his eternal youth and appearance).

The eternal youth characteristic is but one aspect of how interesting the figure is to me. Believers see him in various deities from religions, including Ahura Mazda from Zoroastrian belief, the Buddhist Brahma Sanatkumara (a Buddhist iteration of the god Brahma who is ever-young), the Ancient of Days in Judeo-Christian lore, which is a name for God (obviously owing to his title and status), and especially Murugan (a.k.a. Kartikeya), who also happens to be one of my favorite gods in any lore.

A painting of Kartikeya/Murugan

It would be interesting to note something about the gods associated with Sanat Kumara. In Zoroastrian lore, Ahura Mazda is a god of light associated with fire who defends world order, Brahma Sanatkumara shares his title and appears as an eternal youth, and Murugan is a Hindu god of war and youth who fights evil and monsters. Then there’s Ancient of Days, a name of the Judeo-Christian God, but as I mentioned earlier, Ancient of Days pertains to his title. I find that bringing this together paints an interesting image of Sanat Kumara as an eternally youthful defender of the world who fights evil.

Some people, mostly Christians, equate Sanat Kumara with Lucifer/Satan, perhaps due to the fact that in Theosophical lore, Sanat Kumara arrived to Earth from Venus, just as Lucifer was associated with the morning star (Venus), as well as Sanat Kumara being referred to as King of the World or Lord of the World. His allies, the Lords of the Living Flame, are also equated by Christians with fallen angels. However, from the Theosophical point of view, this makes no sense, as the figure has no actual association with the figure. The only way you could associate him with Satan is by linking him with Lucifer, which you could accomplish with the light-bearer characteristic and his association with Venus, however this can be very shallow and most people only make connections like these as part of some New World Order tripe. Still, the association with Lucifer is a seductive one.

Still, given Lucifer, I’m not that surprised.

There is another iteration of Sanat Kumara that I’m very interested in and is found in Japanese lore. In the temple of Kurama-dera, there is a statue of a unique bodhisattva/deity named Goho Mao-son, known as the “Defender Lord”. He too is said to have come to Earth 6.5 million years ago and has the appearance of a 16-year old boy, though in the temple his statue actually resembles a tengu.

The statue of Goho Maoson at Kurama-dera

He is the king of the conquerors of evil and the spirit of the earth. His powerful spirit is said to govern the evolution of life and mankind and is believed to emanate from Mount Kurama. Goho Mao-son is venerated at Kurama-dera alongside two other deities/bodhisattvas; Bishamonten and Senju Kannon. In this trinity, Bishamonten represents light and the sun, Senju Kannon represents love and the moon, and Goho Mao-son represents power and the earth. This trinity also represents three aspects of a higher entity or force named Sonten, who is revered as the Supreme Force or Atman in the temple.

Goho Maoson (left), Bishamonten (centre), and Senju Kannon (right).

I think this creates an interesting perspective of Sanat Kumara as master of the lower, earthly, and chthonic forces as well as being associated with supreme light (that is if you, like me, interpret Sanat Kumara through the lens of Ahura Mazda and Kartikeya, and mingling Sanat Kumara with the higher Sonten), on top of being a defender of the world who fights evil. I actually like this Japanese (or at least my own Japanesque) Sanat Kumara more than the Theosophical idea of Sanat Kumara as the messianic ruler of a spiritual hierarchy over earth and head of some great white brotherhood designed to spread some religious teachings, let alone New Age crap.

I feel my interpreation is very Japanesque and quite Hindu too, and I also feel Sanat Kumara as I see him relates to my alter ego in a way, as a defender of the world (or his world) who is associated with light (by virtue of Ahura Mazda, Brahma, and Kartikeya) the chthonic forces of earth (by virtue of Goho Maoson), and fire (by virtue of Ahura Mazda again), and a fighter of evil, and very powerful. When I imagine Sanat Kumara in my own way, I see my alter ego in him, my higher imagining of myself, much more than I could ever imagine him as an external entity.

One last thing, in Theosophical lore, his girlfriend is basically the goddess Venus herself, or more or less a New Age Venus, and she is his twin flame, with the appearance of a beautiful young woman (to compliment the 16-year old Sanat Kumara). I can’t help but see Venus in what I like in a girlfriend, or more or less Venus as a metaphor for the lady of perfection I dream of (yes, even I have those moments, often), given she’s a goddess of love and beauty.

A painting of Venus, not necessarily as I may draw her but still.

The goddess Venus and my own imagining of Sanat Kumara makes for a lovely divine pair, don’t you think?

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