Whenever Elon Musk drops a tweet, a news story becomes inevitable. However, while everyone is busy decoding his obsession with Diet Cokes and guns in his latest tweet, the snapshot of his bedside table also offers a link to Hindu mythology.
What is Indra's vajra? The vajra is the chief weapon of Indra, the king of gods and diety of rain and thunder in the Hindu pantheon. Regarded as one of the most powerful weapons in the universe and representative of the powers of Indra's thunderbolt, the Hindu variation is often depicted as a club with a ribbed spherical head.
We have some decodes on this picture. The painting is by Gottlieb Leutze ‘Washington crossing the Delaware river’ surprise attack on the Hessian (German) forces aiding the Brits. 25/26 December 1776. Second item is the Hindu weapon ‘Vajra’ or lightning bolt. https://t.co/ovXUoCENot pic.twitter.com/lUdoYkukO7— Caroline Coram (@CarolineCoramUK) November 28, 2022
How is the Buddhist vajra different? Instead of one head, the Tibetan Buddhist vajra is a two-headed club and is often associated with ritualistic meaning rather as a militaristic weapon. In fact, the vajra is also regarded as a primary symbol of Vajrayana, one of the three major schools of Buddhism. The connection with thunder is also evident given how Vajrayana translates as the "Thunderbolt Way".
So, what's Musk's connection with Buddhism? While Musk can be public about his eccentric business methods, he has never been too vocal about his religious views (although the Internet usually brands him as an atheist). The vajra on the table might very well be just an accessory for him given how religious symbols like the Tibetan Buddhist flags and idols of Hindu and Buddhist dieties are very much "exoticised" in the West.
What are the other things on Musk's table? Apart from four Diet Cokes, two guns can be spotted on his table. One of them seems like an antique traditional gun nested in a box that also features the 1851 painting Washington crossing the Delaware, a common work of art associated with American Independence and the country's first President George Washington.
As for the other firearm, it is a prop gun from the Deus Ex video games, currently priced at $400 on Etsy!