I’ve stated in previous theories just how challenging finding things on certain characters could be, considering that those characters have their stories pretty much fully revealed. In Dhalsim’s case, however, even though he is a mysterious character with a lot of secrets to him, his secrets were revealed by someone who wasn’t Capcom: prominent YouTuber and former member of the Game Theorists Gaijin Goombah. A few years ago, he revealed all sorts of interesting facts about the design of Dhalsim in one of his Culture Shock segments, which you can watch here: https://youtu.be/zqZQesGmpIk
Needless to say, this left me in a bit of a pickle.
As a Street Fighter lore theorist, I’ve made it my mission to uncover the mysteries within the deep lore of the game. However, if those mysteries are already revealed, then it kind of defeats the purpose of my blog – instead of bringing to light new and exciting possibilities, all I’d be doing is compiling what’s already out there.
Fortunately, while finding something new on Dhalsim was difficult, it wasn’t impossible. Since Gaijin Goombah’s video was released, new parts of the lore were unveiled by Capcom – specifically, the story of the seven Yoga Masters. The seven Yoga Masters were mentioned by Rashid in Dhalsim’s story mode, and each one have their own unique powers and stories. Along with Dhalsim, there are Jagjit, Amitabh, Mahabali Great, Sheila, Dr. Gulab Jamun, and Master Y. https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Yoga_Masters
I researched what little information there was on each of the Yoga Masters, and came up with several ideas for each of them based on their physical appearances. One of the first thoughts that came up was that each of the Yoga Masters had a familiar appearance and aura, one that was borrowed from another game series: Final Fantasy.
In the Final Fantasy series, most of the games have the ability to summon mythological creatures into battle, and depending on the game, those creatures could be called eidolons, espers, Guardian Forces, or summons. I noticed that the Yoga Masters likely took their aesthetic from some of the more familiar summons of that series. The more obvious ones were Sheila as Shiva and Dr. Gulab Jamun as Typhon. The others weren’t quite as obvious. For example, Jagjit is more likely a representative of Vishnu, who is not in the Final Fantasy series at all, so if his design is taken from Final Fantasy, his counterpart would likely be Bahamut. Likewise, Mahabali Great would be Ramuh, who is also known as Indra in some versions of the game, Amitabh would be Leviathan, and Master Y would be Titan.
If the idea that the Yoga Masters are expys of Final Fantasy summons holds true, that would mean that Dhalsim is representative of Ifrit, Final Fantasy’s iconic fire summon.
After researching the idea further, however, I realized there wasn’t really much I could do with this idea, since even if it was true, it seemed to have absolutely no effect on Street Fighter’s lore whatsoever. So, I looked again, trying to find more clues in the Yoga Masters’ art. Sure enough, there was something else: the Yoga poses that each of them were in. Each one was representative of a different pose, and as I looked further, I began to wonder if the poses had some connection to each other. Amitabh’s is known as Durvasa’s Pose and Sheila’s is known as Nataraja’s Pose, and both Durvasa and Nataraja (aka Shiva), as well as Indra and Vishnu, took part in one of the most well-known stories in Hindu mythology: the samudra manthana, the churning of the Ocean of Milk. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samudra_manthan
The Ocean of Milk is a cosmic ocean that the gods of Hindu mythology stated held amrita, the nectar of immortality. This was needed as Durvasa cursed the Devas of Hindu mythology with weakness after giving Indra a garland as a gift. The elephant Indra was riding at the time took the garland and threw it on the ground, and Durvasa, known for his short temper, became enraged, and his curse was the precursor to the events that led to the samudra manthana.
It’s a long story, and Wikipedia already has a summary of the event, which is why I linked it above. What I wanted to know was if there would be some link I could follow. I had thought there was: Vasuki, a snake that paralleled the Midgard Serpent in Norse mythology. However, this led me nowhere, and I was forced to return to the drawing board.
Other ideas also fell barren. Alongside the Midgard, or World, Serpent, I tried to find links between Vedic mythology’s World Egg and Yggdrasil, the World Tree. I tried finding links to Ganesha, the god depicted on Dhalsim’s Street Fighter II stage. I even tried to find out if Dhalsim had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which would explain his flexibility. None of these panned out, not even the Ganesha idea as it’s canon that the stage Dhalsim fights in was owned by a maharaja. https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Maharaja%27s_Palace
After several misses, there was only one idea that remained. It seemed completely ridiculous, but after some more research, it was the only thing that made sense: Dhalsim’s talents are sexual in nature.
It’s a silly idea, but what’s even sillier is that I can prove it!
I had originally thought Dhalsim practiced Jainism, and while that may have been Capcom’s intent, Dhalsim doesn’t exactly follow the rules. There are five vows that Jains must take to achieve spiritual enlightenment: ahiṃsā (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (not stealing), brahmacharya (celibacy or chastity or sexual continence), and aparigraha (non-attachment). If Dhalsim were a Jain, then he has already broken three of these vows – the vows of non-violence, truth, and non-attachment. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism
His broken vow of non-violence would stem from his willingness to fight when necessary, and his broken vow of non-attachment stems from him being very attached to his family and village, wanting to protect them at all costs. As for the broken vow of truth, this seems to be more of a misunderstanding of the god he follows. Dhalsim’s quote to G is, “I do not sense evil in you… To fight is to obey the great Agni’s will.” This is NOT true of Agni, but of the god Kartikeya, the god of war. Agni’s purpose is as a messenger between humans and gods, and as Gaijin Goombah states in his video, “without him, communication between man and god in Hinduism cannot exist.”
All of this leads me to believe that Dhalsim isn’t so much practicing one religion, but several, and is acting in a way similar to what some people call “cafeteria Catholics” – picking and choosing the customs he wishes to follow. There is some reasoning behind this, however:
In his own way, Dhalsim is harmonizing what he believes are the best tenets for enlightenment. However, there is one particular tenet that has led Dhalsim to earn the blessings from Agni – chastity. Besides being the messenger between the mortal and the divine, Agni has one other very important purpose: to watch over marriages.
The ritual of Septapadi is considered the legal part of Hindu marriage. As stated on Wikipedia:
“The ritual involves a couple completing seven actual or symbolic circuits around the Agni [fire], which is considered a witness to the vows they make to each other. Each circuit of the consecrated fire is led by either the bride or the groom, varying by community and region. With each circuit, the couple makes a specific vow to establish some aspect of a happy relationship and household for each other, with Agni as the divine witness to those mutual vows.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agni
In other words, Dhalsim’s gift of fire was given to him because of his devotion to his wife, Sally. https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Dhalsim%27s_family
“So, how is any of this sexual?,” you ask. Well, first you have to consider that the act of marriage is promising yourself to one, and only one, sexual partner until the day you die. We know Dhalsim and Sally have done the deed since they have a son together, Datta. I could also point out that Dhalsim’s flexibility would make him very creative in bed, and his ability to teleport could also be seen as a metaphor for orgasm (an orgasm in some cultural traditions is seen as a way to transcend one’s humanity). However, there is one other thing you may not have thought of: his win pose dance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjCCMUnSROs
This particular stance he takes, with his legs spread wide and his knees bent, is called utkana konasana, the goddess pose. In yoga, it is connected with the goddess Lakshmi and is said to be a pose that helps with fertility as it helps stimulate the user’s reproductive organs. In other words, every time Dhalsim wins a fight and does his dance, he makes himself more virile and preps himself to make love to his wife. https://www.gaia.com/article/goddess-pose-utkata-konasana
If this sounds way off, keep in mind there is one other person who adopts a similar stance: Akuma. If you think Akuma wouldn’t be interested in sex, you’re right in that he likely doesn’t have it, but it doesn’t mean his own desires are completely gone. As I stated in my theory “The Story Behind the Satsui no Hado”, the Satsui no Hado stems from sexual conflict, or the questioning of one’s own sexual identity. In Akuma’s case, the power of the Satsui no Hado increases from repression of his own sexual urges. The stance he takes before a fight, being similar to the goddess pose, increases his power by stimulating his own reproductive organs and increasing his testerone levels. Because he does not have a way to release this sexually, it builds up within his system, causing more conflict within him, and adding to the power of the Satsui no Hado.
Dhalsim, however, is able to keep a clear head because he has that release. Unfortunately, he’s also one of the few people in the Street Fighter series who isn’t sexually repressed. There is so much unresolved sexual tension in the series that it’s hard to point out relationships that DON’T have it! We can start with Ryu and Ken, as Maddy Myers pointed out in one of her articles. https://compete.kotaku.com/the-street-fighter-v-tutorial-has-me-convinced-ryu-and-1827114742
From there, we can draw a very long line: Ryu and Akuma, Ryu and Chun-Li, Ryu and Sakura, Sakura and Karin, Kolin and Gill, Chun-Li and Cammy, Chun-Li and Vega, Chun-Li and M. Bison, Chun-Li and Juri, Cammy and M. Bison, Cammy and Juri, Juri and Everyone, Laura and Zeku, Laura and Zangief, Zangief and Rainbow Mika, Ibuki and Every Hot Guy In The Game, T. Hawk and Juli, Juli and Juni, and the list goes on and on.
Of course, Capcom does not address any of this for one particular reason: the children who play the game. It doesn’t mean that the sexual aspects aren’t there – they just can’t say anything about it. So, we’re left with the only possible reason they can come up with.
Whoops. Wrong picture.
Sure, let’s go with that.