In 1915, Sri Aurobindo wrote the following in his masterful book, The Secret of the Veda: The letter lived on when the spirit was forgotten; the symbol, the body of the doctrine, remained, but the soul of knowledge had fled from its coverings. Sri Aurobindo The Secret of the Veda
The paper I am presenting at this landmark Conference will differ significantly from others by the illustrious attendees. The basis for my approach is quite different; it is yogic. Consequently, my understanding of the Sacred Arts has not been through a scrutiny of the Scriptures, or even from an in-depth knowledge of Sanskrit – which alone would have occupied me for a lifetime. It is purely through the realisation of what the Sanskrit Scriptures contain but have been left for us to discover on the basis of certain precise practices. This has always been the tradition in matters initiatic. Language, even the most sacred to us, is not the main tool of discovery because it is essentially time-bound. Rather, in the case of a calendar for Vedic observances and horoscopy, the tool is the ancient hieroglyphic Script that has been preserved over the millennia. It is universal and unbound by both time and space. Together with these hieroglyphs there is sacred geometry which is part of the language of Initiates. Bharat has always excelled in these Arts, but now that tradition seems to have faded because they must constitute the basis of the ability to devise a proper calendar to serve the Sacred. Starting with this Conference we must retrieve that ‘soul of knowledge’, because what we are left with is simply its external ‘coverings’. I feel confident that my presentation will prove this point. Consequently, my paper will sound unfamiliar to most. But if attention is lent with this background, it will soon be evident what a calendar for Vedic Observances and Horoscopy must be, and what the basis must be for this understanding to come about. In my view, and after a lifetime of dedication to these Sacred Arts has revealed, there is no other basis to know, without speculation and relativism, just what needs to be retained and/or discarded of the current calendar used by the Hindu Samaj.
PNB Tirumala December 24 2010
First we must establish just what the role of a calendar is in society. In civil society its function is obvious and need not be elaborated, except to state that the present universal calendar, which was also adopted for independent India, is one of the most enlightened methods of time reckoning. This is because it is the most natural, based as it is on the Cardinal points of Equinoxes and Solstices – or the Earth’s own measure, her contribution to the celestial harmony. This natural calendar follows the four seasons that are experienced throughout the world. Interestingly for the purposes of our discussion, this was the calendar used in ancient times – in Egypt, in Greece, in Rome, and of course in the Vedic and Sangam ages. Many in India, primarily those of the Nirayana School, believe that this universal calendar is Christian in origin. But this is not at all true. The universal calendar based on the Equinoxes and Solstices, predates Christianity by many centuries. Perhaps because of this bias left over from colonial times, Hindu pundits looked elsewhere for a solution to time reckoning for temple rituals and horoscopy. Contemporary science came to their aid and the notion of a scientifically-accurate calendar was foremost in their minds. It was then that an unfortunate mistake was made: science introduced the idea that there had to be a separation between rasis and the fourfold measure of the ecliptic plane where the planets including Earth circumambulate the Sun – that is, a separation between the Equinoxes and their corresponding zodiacal signs, Aries/Mesha and Libra/Thula. This is an aberration that persists until today. In the effort to be ‘scientific’, given the predominant role of astronomy when it became separated from astrology, the method of time reckoning of the ancient world, including Vedic India, was discarded in favour of the new model based on the contemporary discipline, astronomy. To be precise, the ‘accuracy’ this new method introduced is fictitious. Indeed, it is this FICTION that lies at the root of the dozens of ayanamshas in use today, each one claiming to be the correct Zero Point, wherefrom the time wheel is set in motion. Those who know astrology in depth realise that the Zero Point, or ayanamsha, is the single most important element to establish if any sort of accuracy is to come about. Having a dozen or so to choose from, each one followed by some segments of the Hindu Samaj and eschewed by others in favour of another pundit’s calculation, has led to the chaos that exists today in matters astrological and ritualistic.
The objective of this Conference is to bring about some sort of order in this chaos. After all, since ‘cosmos’ means order, it is clear that for a society such as the Vedic, which boasts of an unbroken tradition over thousands of years – and, above all, one rooted in the cosmic harmony – any confusion in astrological time reckoning, as we find today, would mean that the thing which we boast most of – the cosmic connection – is actually an illusion. The issue before us is to retrace our steps and to recover that Order once again. Fortunately, this is not at all difficult and can be done immediately. The cosmos we are a part of is, for all practical purposes, eternal. The harmony today is exactly what it was in the Vedic Age; it moves, its rhythms multiply, they rise and fall, but its basic structure remains unchanged within which these variations occur. The key to understand the cosmos is to experience rest and motion as simultaneous, eternal principles. This underlying constant is the fourfold balance on the Equinoxes and Solstices, the measure of 365 days of our Earth Year, the phases of the Moon, and so forth. There are other more subtle rhythms, but for the purpose of establishing a foundation for our discussion, they can be ignored for now. Thus, forging a connection with that eternal Constant is the single most important objective of a cosmic-based civilisation. By inference, to lose that connection would mean the disintegration of that eternal dharma which the cosmic harmony describes so accurately for India, unique among all other nations. All of this hinges on the correct Zero Point. And it must be recalled that India gave the concept of Zero to the world – which is the same Plenum that the ayanamsha holds in time reckoning, provided of course that it is rooted in the Cosmic Truth and not the Cosmic Ignorance. The former is Fullness of the Vedic Order; the latter is the Void, a concept completely at variance with the Vedic core of the civilisation. To remove Fullness and replace it with emptiness, the strategy would be the method as it exists today: the chaos of multiple ayanamshas.
. . In the flow of time through the Gnostic Circle, the second quarter brings to the evolutionary experience the possibility of unveiling the One in the Core. By a lived experience the immobile amidst the mobile is unveiled. Or rather, the Power this condition of supreme immobility generates is released. In Volume 1, Chapter 3, a new understanding of non-violence was discussed in detail. With respect to Mahatma Gandhi’s way, the path described in The New Way may not be satisfying to some seekers, insofar as this mechanism views violence as disguised in many attitudes which the public considers to be the epitome of non-violence. But the true essence of the non-violent way is a grand reality entirely involved with Agni, the divine Child. The power that Agni represents is the power that can alter conditions in our society and bring about a control in the sphere of the multiple which gradually establishes a harmony in the periphery and draws all related elements to itself on the basis of their truth-essence. This divine Child is also Kartikeya or Murugan, Shiva’s son. Hence it is written in the Puranas that he conquers when but a mere lad of seven. How are we to understand this mythological image of a child conquering the mightiest of the Titans? The discussion that follows will throw light on the true and deep meaning of the myth. For this purpose, let us use the Rig Vedic myth as our focal point, bearing in mind that Agni and Kartikeya are one and the same Godhead.
In the Rig Veda we find a unique cosmology. The countless hymns which have been orally transmitted from teacher to disciple, and thus handed down through the aeons, describe the same cosmological process detailed in this study. It is the story of the evolution of human consciousness in the context of the entire cosmic manifestation. That is, the hymns describe the Absolute’s process of manifestation in human evolution, or the eye of Consciousness in a progressive state of awakening and affirmation. In the tale this ‘eye’ is represented by the Sun. And the field in which the awakening is achieved, the victory secured, is the Earth.
Thus at the heart of Vedic cosmology stands the Earth. She is central to that most ancient of ways. The Rishis of old left us in these hymns a taste of a perception prior to our historic times which knew the Earth to be an integral part of the divinisation of consciousness. The transformation of humankind into a divine species was intuited by the Rishis to be on this Earth and not elsewhere; and thus this grand cosmology, not denying the planet we inhabit but rather centering the entire process upon it – both the struggle and the ultimate victory, as well as the enjoyment of those boons that hard fought battle could bring – comes to us in images we all know of life as it is experienced daily on Earth.
The initial focal point of the cosmology is thus the experience of Dawn, Usha as she is called, and her white steed. The play involves hence the early rays of a rising Sun. These rays, this light, this ‘cow’ of plenty – giver of the most complete food of our world – are the coveted elements of the cosmology, and the Vedic myth centres on the struggle between the light and the dark ‘forces’ to secure possession of these most precious offspring of the Sun.
After the Dawn and the first manifestation of these splendid Rays, the struggle begins and in the Rig Veda it is presented in the form of the experience we know best, the play of light and darkness, or the experience of day and night. The revolution of the Earth on her axis and around her Sun describes thus a process that is not merely mechanical but is most profoundly psychological. The Rays that are ‘stolen’ by the dark forces, the ‘hoarders of the light’ called the Panis in the myth, are indeed both the solar rays and the more subtle but infinitely more meaningful rays of the truth-consciousness Sun. For the Vedic seer there was no difference between the two: the symbol was the thing symbolised.
‘Being still the symbol to reach through it the thing that symbolises itself, to realise the symbol, is our fulfilment’, Sri Aurobindo has written. And by these words he reveals the poise of the ancient Rishi, in whom symbol and symbolised fused at the culmination of his journey through the Vedic way. This way was the way of the human being on the road to a higher, godlike species. This is the Aryan who journeys to his home at the highest point of the cosmological Mountain, whereto he carries those mighty Rays of the Sun which he has retrieved from the Dasyus, the dark powers who exist apparently to obstruct the Aryan and hold back the progression, the evolution of this elect representative of the human race.
The Aryan, when he has reached his ‘home’ in the tenth month of the odyssey, has indeed ‘realised the symbol’. He has become the Sun. Or better, he has unveiled that Light in the depths of his consciousness-being; he has vanquished in himself the Dasyus, the sons of Diti, that formidable Mother of Darkness and queen of the night. He is thus the child of Earth, this unconquerable Aryan warrior. He is the pioneer of this new way, the way of the Symbol become manifest.
The cosmology presented in The New Way is the same as that of the Rig Veda. The images we use are identical; they concern the experience of the Ray – that offspring of the Sun. Time for us, as for the ancient Rishi, is the womb in which this play takes place. And more, it is the gestator of the entire process. It is the creator and the destroyer, the nourisher and the consumer, the Mother of Light as well as Diti, the womb of a midnight Darkness.
The periods Time marks out on our planet are thus essential to understand in their relationship to the transformation of consciousness and the process of divinisation. And in our new cosmology we have the added factor that by means of the Gnostic Circle time is rendered concrete and far less elusive. It is, moreover, the sustainer of the individual journey as well as that of the collectivity. And thus by understanding Time in the sense revealed in The New Way we are immediately brought to the threshold of a cosmic consciousness, opening up to the realisation of a harmonised One and Many.
There are four major demarcations of the solar experience in the Gnostic Circle. These are the four Cardinal points which correspond to the principal positions of the Earth with respect to the Sun in her daily rotation. They are Dawn, Midday, Sunset and Midnight. They correspond to the Zero degrees of Aries, Capricorn, Libra and Cancer respectively. Each quarter of the wheel we have been discussing thus belongs to one of these four cardinal points and expresses a particular relationship with the Sun. However, the progression is twofold, as has been described in this study. The experience of this solar essence is both involved and evolved. We can best understand this by referring to the focal point of The New Way cosmology, the Solar Line. The Descent is the process of involution of that Solar Ray. In Volume 2 this was related to the Temple and the descending Ray into the globe in the Core which represents the Earth. On the other hand the human being, the Aryan hero, rises into the Chamber from below. But in that sacred cavity of the Temple, in its sanctum sanctorum, his consciousness meets the Divine and the two fuse. The way of evolution joins involution, and thus Agni, the child who is the fruit of this reversal of consciousness and intermingling, becomes the leader of the Aryan hosts. He then, by this power, completes the journey in the evolutionary rise to the Summit.
In The New Way cosmology the experience of the Solar Line moves from Dawn to Midday to Sunset to Midnight. The human being in Earth Time however is plunged immediately into darkness in his experience. After the first rays of the Sun bathe his rising eye of consciousness, rather than follow the path of the Gods he must journey through the dark and labyrinthine corridors of the Titan stronghold, the ‘path of crookedness’ as it is called in the Rig Veda. First he encounters Diti, that mother of the midnight Darkness. This is the Cardinal point of Cancer. In the Vedic symbolism it is the cave/womb that has swallowed the light, the Rays of the Sun. The Earth’s rotation on her axis has produced this terreo-cosmogonical phenomenon. Time has consumed the light; time must also make it manifest once more. Thus the next point is sunset, 0° Libra and the mellow rays are perceivable once again. But at that point the reversal is demanded, whereby the further progression in and of Time transforms that point in the wheel to the experience of Dawn. That is, by giving birth to the divine Agni in the depths of his consciousness, the Libra threshold is transformed from the experience of the setting Sun to that of its rise. Thus the Divine is made manifest on Earth, in the evolving consciousness of the human being and by experiencing this reversal, passage to the fourth Cardinal point is made possible. The journey does not end in Scorpio; Diti does not consume the creature she has formed in her womb of darkness, but rather she allows it to continue the journey and to reach the true Aryan home in Capricorn.
What is the secret of that great Reversal then? How does it become the Dawn and cease to signify the setting Sun, which then makes of the cave of Scorpio the tomb of the light, physical and otherwise?
It is when the plunge into the inner universe is effected and what is without is realised within. The ‘fulfilment’ Sri Aurobindo writes of is thus this colossal experience of the inner universe, whereby the individual creates or unveils in his or her own innermost dimensions what is symbolised outside. The cosmology of The New Way hence details all the stages on the way to this sacred experience. It details the process for the individual no less than for the collectivity. And the language it uses is the same as the Vedic Rishis: the harmony of the cosmos and the progression of Time centred on our planetary home, Earth.
However, to follow this way means to accept and not to reject the Earth. Hence in view of the Earth-centredness of the supramental manifestation, the new way departs from others, precisely because Diti, the queen of night, has lulled the eye of human awareness into so deep a sleep that man cannot see what is closest to him. He cannot see the light of his own planet. He cannot realise that what he searches for in nirvanic voids and transcendent heavens he must know and manifest here. Because as an Earth being, as a child of the Earth, there is nowhere else for him to experience this heaven but here. The Aryan brings about the marriage of Heaven and Earth, on his very own planetary home.
Time thus devours the Light, the rays of the Sun. But it is time itself that forces its re-emergence. Hence we cannot escape Time on this Earth we inhabit and thereby hope to reach the summit. We must use Time for the task. However, this entails a discovery of the means by which what is perishable must be made imperishable. We must experience the alchemy of transformation whereby the Immortal is born in us and redeems our mortality.
Various stages in the core realisation assist in the reversal process. First there is the experience of the Dawn, as it were. It is the early rise of the Dawn Goddess. Rays of light, particles burst forth in a formidable, a dazzling display of energy. These are thrust into the atmosphere of our consciousness. Or rather, by our plunge into the Earth dimension at birth, we become these very particles of consciousness-force. All is, however, a chaotic and riotous burst of the solar essence, the great dance of Shiva. We discover our solar essence; we are the Sun. This is our inner Dawn.
Thereafter, a deeper level in the experience must be reached. This first dazzling chaos, which reveals to us our inner universe and hence our sublime completeness or the wholeness of all our parts, must be made a cosmos. Out of the initial inner explosion the alchemist must commence to create his system, his solar world. It is then that the Core in its fullest dimensions must come into being. The divine Child must be unveiled, for he is the One who binds, the magnetic power that forces the experience of integration of all the parts and obliges them to accept the rhythm of the inner Sun and to experience harmony of the unity and the multiplicity. This in the Gnostic Circle time journey is the realisation of the second quarter and the 3 Point. It is the quarter of the Midnight Darkness, for precisely when one has plunged into the most profound depths of the manifestation one encounters that tiny particle of Light, that luminous Ray coveted by titans and gods which Diti holds in her womb. She is the cave of the Past. She consumes and loathes to release her prize. But the pioneer of the new way will oblige the Mother of Darkness to become transformed into the Goddess of Light.
When the initiate has succeeded in giving birth to Agni in his core, how does this translate itself in the experience of life, as an individual and as a member of society, on Earth, not elsewhere?
The answer to this is the great secret of Salvation – individually and collectively. This realisation discloses the mechanism whereby all elements, those positive as well as negative, are made to serve the purposes of the One, or the new way of the supramental Sun. The structure of the atom reveals the mechanism. When the individual experiences the tiny ‘seed’ in the innermost core of his being, and when this has become an active ingredient in his evolution of consciousness via the attainment of perfect equilibrium, of a perfect balancing of the two universal axes, contraction and expansion, he becomes a whole and complete System. He has unveiled the Gnostic Circle in himself and integrated all its parts. At that point all the particles combine to serve the purposes of the Seed, just as in nuclear physics we see that negative and positive elements do indeed harmonise in that infinitesimal universe and by means of complementation they succeed in recreating in microscopic dimensions what is seen in the macrocosm we inhabit as a superb harmony.
The world in which we live is a world of light and shadow. And we must accept that world as our field of yoga, our very own Kurukshetra – where we fight the battle and where we win and enjoy the victory. Thus all the elements have to be integrated if we accept this field and desire to make of our system in evolution a cosmos and not a chaos.
In the ancient Vedic way the Rishi was precisely engaged in the creation of an inner cosmos, a universe whole and complete. Hence like the new way, which moves along the lines of the supramental yoga, the Rishi evoked the elements of this very cosmos he inhabited. But we are made aware of the extent to which the human being has departed from this Earth-centred vision by the fact that latter-day scholars have unanimously labelled those great initiates ‘nature worshippers’, with the connotation of pagan and of course ‘uncivilised’, or primitive. This was not only the judgement of Western scholarship but Eastern as well, in view of the influence the West exerted on India during the colonial period. However, even prior to this experience, India had lost the key to her ancient way when the cosmos was viewed as a disturbing element in the individual’s quest, when the Mother was seen only in her aspect of darkness and became in the seeker’s consciousness nothing but the shadow of a higher truth that transcended her.
Science worships the Mother. But for science too the worship is blind and ignorant. It has created the whore of Babylon who is none other than Diti of the Vedas, who consumes and smothers, who hoards the light and by the power of inertia accumulated in this stifling embrace pretends thereby to destroy the races of Earth. However, the new way rises. The Aryan warrior is a fact we cannot ignore. Aditi is, and her realm stands above Diti’s. Her point in the Gnostic Circle is Capricorn, in direct opposition to Cancer, the realm of Diti’s midnight darkness . . .
The Gnostic Circle is not fragmentary, hence Cancer and Capricorn must be seen as complementary poles and Diti and Aditi as two aspects of something in itself whole and complete. This wholeness is reflected in the entire wheel. In the Rig Veda the various segments of the Gnostic Circle are expressed as powers, divine and anti-divine, light and dark, and so forth. The light powers are the Gods, the offspring of Aditi. But these divine elements accomplish their task within the same field that the dark forces carry on their labour of obstruction.
As we are aware, this is exactly the condition of our endeavour. Throughout these volumes the true state of our world has been described, and thereby the initiate is made aware that today, no less than in aeons past, the battle must be waged in the midst of the very conditions we seek to transform but that are the powers of a very great Mother of Inertia. And indeed this must be so, because our world is a paradise of harmony of all the parts. It is hell when vision is fragmentary, when the eye of consciousness sleeps, when light and dark are not known to be complementary powers, each fulfilling the one goal, though one positively and the other negatively, yet still a part of the same labour. Above all our world is a hell when we have not known the womb in which all this has its play. When we have not known Whole Time and the full journey. When our eye of awareness succumbs to inertia and accepts a continued sleep in Diti’s realm of the past, cut off from the whole, living as the living dead in the kingdom of Pluto, an underworld of darkness.
The Whore of Babylon is a formidable reality of our times. She has accumulated such power, such colossal quantities of ‘time energy’, that we stand before her gaping mouth hypnotised by her might and ready to be consumed. The whole of our civilisation is food for her insatiable appetite.
Yet it must be pointed out again that the Whore is not an isolated figure of a play in a private theatre. She is nestled in that same womb of Whole Time. Hence the energy she hoards, more colossal now than ever before, is itself within that total movement of Time. The significance is thus that, by a particular mechanism of which time itself is the creator, the power she has so laboriously accumulated must find its way out of her womb and ultimately serve the new creation of which she is mother no less than Aditi. Indeed the principal characteristic of Diti and her sons is a divisive eye, a fragmented consciousness which does not permit them to see their true role and the service they render to the rise of a new world.
The quantity of energy Diti hoards at present is thus more formidable than ever before. It is such that, by the universal character of the movement the Earth now fosters, it can annihilate the entire planet. But what does this show us? It reveals to one who sees the full scenario and perceives the true roles of all the actors that it is precisely this factor of unprecedented destructive power which indicates, more than any other aspect of our twentieth-century life that the time of the new way has come. And that the new creation being fostered by all powers – the dark no less than the light – is a child divine, herald of a race of supramental beings. We stand, as a civilisation lost yet hopeful, at the gates of Heaven. . .
The question is, how can we experience the release of power Diti (or the Whore of Babylon) holds in an orderly, controlled fashion, whereby it serves the purposes of the new creation, invincible as it is and therefore immune to the experience of destruction? Moreover, we understand that the energy thus hoarded is indispensable for the rise to the Capricorn summit – nay, it is known to be precisely the power which is used for the accelerated advance of our times. The mechanism reveals that if the experience is complete it is Diti herself who is seen as the favoured instrument of the Supreme in that, by holding back on the basis of inertia and resistance, she nurtures the very energy in her magical accumulator which the children of Aditi may use to reach the summit. And in this action Time is her tool: Time restrains, Time gestates, Time releases.
It is a cosmological phenomenon we are living. The Aryan warrior, male and female, performs this magical alchemy for the Earth in his or her own consciousness-being. The occult physics revealed in The New Way is the method whereby control of all the parts is secured and everything then becomes the instrument for the Birth.
What role does the Makar Sankranti play both for the individual and the entire [Hindu] Samaj?
First of all it needs to be stressed that the process is both individual and collective simultaneously; even as it is unity and diversity simultaneously. This integral approach is the very first shift that has to take place in our consciousness if we wish to understand the Veda. It comes about when we reverse the direction of our quest to plunge into that innermost Point of our soul, the sanctum sanctorum each of us carries within – just as it is reproduced in every Hindu Temple. This is the significance of the Makar Sankranti as POINT; but above all as seed. Not just any seed but the Golden Seed of the Veda. Golden because it contains, compressed, the lost Ray/Cow of the Sun. The ‘lost Sun’ hides in that seed-enclosure; i.e., it is hidden in time as light, as energy, a theory that only certain very gifted contemporary physicists are coming to appreciate. Through Yoga the Aryan Warrior gains access and penetrates the Seed. He makes it his very own, while his consciousness is the soil that fertilises and helps the Seed sprout and spread its shoots throughout the world. Only the right timing (‘combination code’) for the Makar Sankranti can bring this about.
The Earth in her annual revolution around the Sun lives the very same experience. In Hindu tradition she has always been a personified being, a Goddess. In the Veda she is praised throughout; but nowhere as sovereignly as in the hymns to Usha, the divine Dawn who envelops the planet with the first pristine rays of a divine Solar Light. . .
The Light we seek, hidden within the time experience unique to this planet because of its rotational rhythms and position in the System, is compressed to a point at each Makar Sankranti. This is the itinerary of the ecliptic Journey, the setting, the stage, the base of the Rishi’s Sacrifice. There are landmarks, balancing pillars along the way in this journey – the four Cardinal Points which are unchanging, immutably positioned in time, and because of which they can provide stability to the individual and to the collectivity; therefore they bear eternal relevance. . . .
The Dharma cannot be called Sanatan if we jiggle these Pillars about and pretend that we are following the Vedic Path and are faithful to the Dharma of the Rishis. There are no sidereal/constellation locations [as in the Nirayana System followed in all Hindu temple worship] that bear any relevance to this Vedic way of the Earth and her inhabitants. That ‘beyond’ is not at all FIXED. Rather, in the Beyond (constellations) the notion of relativity and relativism arise in the seeker, who has been led off the Vedic path by the lure of escape from and dissolution of everything that connects him to his homeland, the Earth.
We speak glibly of a SANTANA Dharma, the ‘eternal’ Law. But what sort of eternal law, and consequent stability, can a shifting calendar provide the Hindu Samaj? The FLOATING AYANAMSHAS in vogue today, which bear no sanction in the Veda, are anything but stable and constant. Each second that passes of our Earth time causes that distant sidereal point light-years away to change position, thereby making that Ayanamsha with each passing second inoperable and inapplicable for any ritual. If the pundit is sincere to his trade, he must know this. He must know that yesterday’s Ayanamsha cannot be held today as valid because IT HAS SHIFTED IN THE HEAVENS, perhaps slightly, but shifted it has. Today it is not where it was yesterday. And if we add to this the complete impossibility to determine just where and what that Ayanamsha might be, then we understand why there is total confusion among the ranks of the pundits. And Hinduism suffers an increasing deterioration accordingly, with each ritual that propagates this illusion. . . .
Absolutism of the eternal Dharma lies within our grasp if we take the same Journey the Veda prescribes, poised on the immutable four Cardinal Points: the March Equinox – Cosmic Dawn; the June Solstice – Cosmic Midnight; the September Equinox – Cosmic Sunset; and last but best of all, the December Solstice – Cosmic Midday or Uttarayana, the highest position of the Sun whereby as a single Ray (the lost Sun hidden by Vritra) it descends to the Earth castingno shadows. And therefore it is known as the period of Victory for the Aryan Warrior; or, in the larger cycles of time, as the Golden Age, the Satya Yuga.
We need to understand the ‘seed’ nature of the Makar Sankranti and how it can be said that this is an experience of both the Earth, the individual and of the collective Hindu Samaj, all simultaneously on that very special Solstice. This is understood when we realise that Time itself is compressed to a seed at the December Solstice. The ‘shortest day of the year’ has no other factual significance for inhabitants of our special planet than this: compression to a point, compaction to a seed. The light of the Sun, those divine Cows/Rays, is compressed to this point-experience of Time when its measure reaches the extremes of itself [the Solstice or SHORTEST day of the year]. And then when the [Makar] Sankranti is observed with the right ‘combination’ – the right harmony of the Earth to the Ecliptic – the entire Hindu Samaj connects itself through this ‘seed-point’ to the replenishing Source from which it originally sprang. Today as in aeons gone by, it can drink once again of the waters the Goddess Mahasaraswati benignly releases abroad upon the world.
Hindu society, born from the realisation of those colossal Vedic Rishis, must not be cowered down by contemporary Science, which in these matters is but a babe in arms. Centuries must pass before the science we laud as the highest achievement of the human mind can reach the heights of the Rishi’s knowledge, primarily of what is certainly the most important element of our world – Time. For science Time remains a mystery along with its companion gravity. But not so for the Rishi. This inheritance has been passed down through Hinduism for centuries; but ‘forces’ interfered with the passage so that today we have SUPERSTITION in place of Veda. The ‘scientists’ can be thanked for this disaster that has befallen the sacredmost bhoomi of the Earth.
[Excerpts from: ‘On Reorienting the Self Toward Vedic Consciousness – Letters from Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet to an Inquirer’, Nov. 5, 2006]
There have been responses to my message pleading for a revision of the Hindu Calendar and the need to re-establish the cosmic connection Hindus have lost. These responses are predictable; they can be summed up in a few words, ‘The constellations have shifted and Makar/Capricorn is no longer there, it has moved by 23 days.’ It is as if the entire Samaj had been programmed to repeat endlessly and unthinkingly the pat reply astronomers have for a ‘shifting zodiac’. None seem to care if this programmed response is right or wrong, so no questions are asked.It is this ‘shift’ that is causing the 12 signs to move backward, to slip away from alignment with the 0 degree March Equinox of the tropical zodiac, they claim. The amount of slippage is 23 days according to astronomers who are determining perhaps the most important factor of the Sanatana Dharma – the timings for rituals and horoscopes and marriages, and just about everything that takes place in India, for all communities, even those who are proclaimed non-believers. Furthermore, the slippage continues, if we follow their dictates to the letter. This means that regular adjustments have to be made, hence a need for the pundits who in turn need the astronomers – and so it goes. The rationalist has seen through it all. He realises that these rituals mean nothing or very little, because he finds no valid reason to believe that there is anything beyond what science can prove – even though it is more than obvious that regularly new discoveries are made, more powerful telescopes and probes are devised which are forcing a re-evaluation of what were once proven scientific ‘truths’. Our science and history books are full of the details. However, the question we must ask is if the foundation of the Dharma lies beyond the physical – and certainly none will dispute this fact – and if certain rituals and mantras can bring us into contact with that beyond – the common belief – why is it that we turn to men for guidance who are, for the most part, declared atheists? Why have we come to trust them more than our sages and the scriptures they have left – I refer to the Vedic Seers, of course. The scientist has no means of proving the existence of what lies beyond the threshold of physicality, however rarefied it may be. At the most, the closest science has come to accepting that the physical is not what it appears is the recognition that it is all really a play of energy. Some are convinced that this has carried science to the doors of Indian spirituality and is proof of the sagacity of the ancients. But in approaching these matters from the foundation of contemporary science without the realisation of unity, these energy/matter equations have left us with tools to destroy ourselves. This would not be possible if the wisdom of the sages had been governing matters on this planet. I am not advocating the naïve belief that turning the other cheek is the answer; as things stand, nations have to defend themselves and protect their people. Nor am I appealing to a certain type of fundamentalism in making a case for the ancient wisdom because time moves on and there is a method to the current madness. The Sanatana Dharma has an in-built system of renewal, provided certain ‘laws’ are adhered to. On that basis we can move forward from an original core as if on a spiral into an ever wider sphere, embracing more and more layers of energy/conscious-ness. This is the objective of a process that lies beyond the purview of contemporary science. We know that our moral and ethical codes are crumbling and a decisive crossroads of destiny has arrived. When certain nations are set upon spreading this mechanism of destruction far and wide, to suit their own hegemonic purposes, it is reasonable to assume that sooner rather than later some nation or group or individual is going to let the genie out of the bottle. Then what? As individuals we have no way of halting the madness. What is required is a collective breakthrough that can counterbalance these destructive forces. The power of destruction is so colossal now that the counterbalancing also has to be colossal; hence, my call for the millions who attend the Kumbha Mela to insist on the correct alignment with the cosmic truth. This is one aspect to consider in the apparent hopelessness of over-population, for example. With 80% of the Indian population aligned correctly to facilitate the emergence of the cosmic truth once again, there is no limit to what this civilisation can accomplish for the world. It cannot happen in churches and mosques or even in temples as things now stand because the connection I refer to is factual – it either exists or it does not; it cannot be feigned or believed to exist on the basis of romantic notions of an eternal right of possession. But if it is truly made then collectively we can make a difference because correct alignment that counterbalances allows us to connect with the other side, which places us within the ambit of a different set of laws: we are here but elsewhere due to different ‘laws’ operating. We are ‘accessible’ only when the same formula for unity is followed which alone permits ‘access’. This means that the cosmic connection, when real, establishes a poise, individually and collectively, where unity and oneness are in command. In other words, a society in such a poise is in contact with or is approachable only by those of the same poise. It is a process of attracting and repelling: when alignment is done and centering is secure, then ALL must serve the purposes of the One – negative or positive. There is a world in a state of collapse. It is the product of an old and dying consciousness. It carried us as far as it could on the basis of its ‘laws’ – that is, to the decisive threshold of creation or destruction. If we continue according to its dictates we will destroy ourselves. But if, on the other hand, we realise that the cosmic connection was effectively lost and contemporary scientific cosmology can do nothing else but carry us farther and farther away from alignment, then the creative mode is set in motion and for all intents and purposes the decadence that surrounds us can be carried away with relative ease. The new alignment can open the doors to a new world that awaits the inhabitants of this planet. Hindus have to cast off the burden of an unregenerate tamas/inertia they have been carrying for centuries. They must realise that astronomers are not astrologers. However, a qualification is required. In my view there are not many true astrologers among us. This is why I refer to my own work as cosmology – more particularly an applied cosmology – to avoid confusion. When a person writes to me that the Hindu Calendar is both sidereal and tropical, I know that he does not understand the difference – i.e., when the constellations enter into the equation and when they do not. The applied cosmology allows us to appreciate the difference, to distinguish one from the other and when to apply each yardstick. Moreover, in this new age we are in a period of climax, of culmination. This is the 9th Manifestation (a knowledge arrived at by an enlightened understanding of the sidereal and tropical combination). This tells us that it is the time of birth. Whatever we have known until now – and in this I include both science and spirituality – has been unreal in the sense that it was only a foetus in gestation. Now, after passage of approximately 50,000 years, gestation is complete, the Child is born. We are blessed to have taken birth at this unique moment in evolution. We do bear a certain responsibility which we are fleeing from when we leave the sacred to the profane for validation. For the astronomer the constellations alone are of value because he believes he can measure them, he can ‘see’ them, he gives them shapes and uses them as determining elements in his calculations. For the astronomer/scientist the tropical zodiac of the ecliptic plane, which we divide into 12 sections of 30 degrees each, does not ‘exist’. It is simply a somewhat convenient inherited formula. At most he acknowledges the existence of equinoxes and solstices, but only because they cannot be ignored: the Sun will not allow Earthlings to dismiss the fact of equal and unequal days and nights. But as for the arcane signs of the zodiac and their hieroglyphs, the scientist can be entirely dismissive: they are relics of a past bereft of the enlightenment an astronomy separate from astrology has brought to the world. The 12 are clubbed together with everything else that cannot be ‘measured’ according to the yardstick of science. Lamentably for Hindus, this attitude has prevailed. The 12-stage process of the Vedic Rishi, the ‘journey’ as it is called, has lost all meaning – even though every temple across the country preserves this sacred knowledge, along with the myths we tell our children to keep the flame of the soul burning brightly in spite of the dominance of those ignorant of these sacred truths that give meaning and purpose to life on Earth, and which the course of evolution itself can prove.
To simplify the issue and eliminate all speculation as to the correct starting point of the Journey, we have the March Equinox of equal days and nights. From that point in time, when the undisputed balance exists between the temporal and the spatial – also preserved in all temples by their orientation to the Cardinal Poles – the Journey commences and the Vedic traveller on the path (of the Sun) undergoes the initiation that can refashion his or her consciousness by producing (or earning) the same alignment the Poles provide as part of the solar system. He or she BECOMES THAT. It is only an individual who has lived through the initiation and returned to tell the tale that can affirm what needs to be measured and what needs to be discarded. A university degree does not come even close to granting this right. In the constellations, beloved of astronomers, there are no such balancing poles, no unequivocal starting point. Because of this, in the constellations everything is RELATIVE, the bane of our contemporary society that has been milked on this half-truth. The Equinoxes and Solstices the Earth experiences are her contribution to the System. We have discarded this truth and in the process we are destroying everything that is most dear on the planet. The Rishis were not so foolish as to leave an amorphous circle (the sidereal) for us to meander through in a futile search for a starting point in order to correctly locate the Age we are in which covers thousands of years; much less would they allow that amorphous circle of constellations to be the basis for a calendar to regulate sacred Vedic practices, ignoring the foundation enshrined in its own verses:
One is the wheel; the bands are twelve; three are the hubs – who can understand it? Three hundred spokes and sixty in addition have been hammered therein and firmly riveted.
Take heed, O Savitr. Six are twins; one is born singly. The Twins desire to unite with the one that is born alone.
Though manifested, it is yet hidden, secret, its name is the Ancient, a mighty mode of being; in Skambha is established this whole world; therein is set fast all that moves and breathes. (AV X, 8)
Hinduism prides itself in carrying on an unbroken line of knowledge from the Vedic Age to the present. But as things now stand that line has been effectively severed because we cannot find a beginning in the constellations where there is no Equinox to guide us. The pundits are left to speculate endlessly because there is absolutely no method to mathematically and objectively determine an ayanamsha in the amorphous constellations of our imaginings. Astronomy may insist that the approximation is close enough and the discrepancy is not worth troubling ourselves over as far as the Hindu Calendar is concerned – after all, the atheist and pragmatic rationalist considers it all to be superstition, so why be concerned if the ayanamsha of one pundit differs from that of another by a fraction of a second of a degree of celestial longitude. What the faithful are not told is that the fraction amounts to hours and days and months and years on Earth! But, so what? It is all mere superstition, we are told; hence, the scientist is absolved of all responsibility. On the contrary, the farther the alignment goes the less likelihood of accuracy in the astrologer’s predictions. He must therefore be thrown back on his subjective intuition, adding more fuel to the science versus pseudo-science debate. When intuition rules the day then of ‘science’ there is none. And by this I mean a cosmology that embraces past, present and future in a continuum on the backdrop of a fabric of oneness. In such a case the believer is never isolated from the all, just as the individual is never disconnected from the collective body when oneness dominates – not sameness but an equality born of a diversity contained within the all-embracing cosmic harmony, a connection which has been effectively lost. Our objective must be to use the sacred sciences based on an applied formula to express the true integration which the cosmic truth offers, irrespective of caste or creed or wealth or poverty, or the colour of one’s skin. The cosmic truth does not distinguish in this surface manner, but it does, by the grace of Mahasaraswati, put each thing in its rightful place.
The 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda is being celebrated; various aspects of his life and times have been in the spotlight. He was seriously critical of Hinduism – but for different reasons than I have been and with a different focus. However, we have both advocated reforms. The Swami wrote, ‘…Finally everyone must become his image in full…and then in reality everything will become one. Religion is nothing but this. The obsolete and lifeless rituals and notions regarding godhead are but ancient superstitions.’1 And further, to his monks he instructed, ‘…Teach them that they must bow to all deities, but we worship only Ramakrishna…The other deities have become old and obsolete. We have a new India now, a new deity, a new faith, a new Veda.’ Sri Aurobindo was born nine years after the Swami. He had a similar lament. In his seminal work, The Secret of the Veda, he wrote: ‘…The letter lived on when the spirit was forgotten; the symbol, the body of the doctrine, remained, but the soul of knowledge had fled from its coverings.’ But while recognising the degeneration that had set in he did not throw the ‘baby out with the bathwater’, as some sought to do. He was passionate about the source of Hinduism as revealed in his major opus cited above. His aim was to reveal its psycho-spiritual ‘secret’ in the effort to restore that ‘soul of knowledge’ in those new foundations of Hinduism which Swami Vivekananda had foreseen. I have followed Sri Aurobindo’s lead, not because of any ‘Aurobindonian orthodoxy’ which has been rearing its stifling head of late, but because my own yoga drew me along the very same path until I returned to the same source (The New Way, Vol. 2, Chapter 10, ‘Integrality and the Return to the Source’, Aeon Books, 1981). In so doing I came to realise just why that soul of knowledge had fled and the ritual was merely an empty covering. Finally, with the new cosmology in place, the way was found to restore vibrancy and life into the entire system just as the Veda explained. To do so it was necessary first to recognise the reality of the situation and then to unmask dispassionately the real culprit – the disease of superstition and how it is present only when knowledge is absent. In the days of Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo, it was widely believed that science, as it was evolving largely in the West, would be the tool to eliminate superstition, but Sri Aurobindo followed a different path and held a different view, similar to my own. That is, there is a ‘third thing beyond science and spirituality’, as the Mother explained. His whole life was dedicated to establishing in the Earth’s atmosphere the broad lines of that ‘third thing’. My cosmology is a part of that effort. In the course of my yoga I soon realised that the conquest of Time, to render Time an ‘ally’, lies at the heart of the Hindu destiny, at the core of its Dharma. But I saw that this was impossible under the Nirayana system. Sri Aurobindo never used the Hindu Calendar in his Ashram, though Time was his obsession in a sense. He followed the calendar of the ancient pagan, pre-Christian world which has now become the universal method, officially adopted by India as well. In that system his own credentials can be read. It was obvious to me which should prevail insofar as it is the Vishnu Avatar’s duty to ‘re-set the cosmic clock’. But in their nationalist fervour my critics have labelled my work anti-Hindu, largely because I want to do away with the current Nirayana system and to re-establish a method of time reckoning that alone can dissolve superstition because it is founded on Vedic Science – i.e., knowledge not ignorance. Needless to say, as with all such matters, vested interests are at the forefront of the objection.. These critics would do well to heed the Swami when he treats the issue of parochialism: ‘…Does our master belong only to India? India’s degeneration is the result of such narrow attitudes. Any beneficial outcome is impossible unless these are destroyed.’ He was a man and an Indian, as was Sri Aurobindo. How much harder is the task for a woman and a mleccha? It would seem, however, that matters have been carefully arranged to ‘press buttons’. Perhaps only in that way can we succeed in putting each thing in its rightful place, as Mahasaraswati, the reigning Goddess of our Age, commands. A universal consciousness of oneness and unity is the answer. India has to outgrow a constricting nationalism which is an understandable reaction to centuries of colonial rule. But what was once an aid to attain freedom from the invader is now a bar: it is the primary obstacle to overcome if she is to be unveiled as the Earth’s soul-centre.
Q&A with Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology Tamil Nadu, India March 2009
Q. I have before me a letter written by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1953 to the Calendar Reform Committee. He wrote, ‘Now that we have attained independence, it is obviously desirable that there should be a certain uniformity in the calendar for our civic, social and other purposes and this should be based on a scientific approach to the problem…’ It’s been many years since this message was written, nothing has happened. What is your interest in bringing up this issue again?
A. It is not exactly that nothing happened. That Committee did indeed agree on a calendar for the nation; but in what concerns ‘other purposes’ the result was unfortunate. In the same letter Pandit Nehru remarks that there are some 30 calendars in use and that this causes a certain confusion. It was made worse confounded by the fact that there is no agreement on the actual starting point of the calendar year among Hindus, unlike for civic purposes with the government having adopted the calendar in use throughout the world.
I must clarify an important objection raised by certain champions of Hindu culture in this regard. They claim that this civic calendar is Christian and that therefore it should not be adopted by Hindus. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The universal calendar was adopted by Christians when Christianity came to occupy a position of power in the early part of the first millennium, simply because that solar calendar based on the Earth’s orbit of the Sun along the ecliptic was the only calendar used by the ancient world. In fact, rightfully speaking it should be labelled Vedic, – the Vedic Calendar.
Q. What do you base this statement on?
A. Similar to all ancient cultures in the Vedic Age, sages used the actual rhythms of the Earth as the basis for their calendar. For example, the balancing factor was the four Cardinal Poles – which never changes; as it was then, so it is today. There are verses in the Rig and Atharva Vedas which make this clear:
Twelve spokes, one wheel, navels three. Who can comprehend this? On it are placed together Three hundred and sixty like pegs. They shake not in the least. (Rig Veda 1.154.48)
One is the wheel; the bands are twelve; three are the hubs – who can understand it? Three hundred spokes and sixty in addition have been hammered therein and firmly riveted… (Atharva Veda X, 8)
The most important portion of the above is ‘one is the wheel’(AV); and further, ‘they shake not in the least’(RV). The Rishi stating that the circle is one makes it clear that all measuring must be done on the backdrop of this single circle. That is the ecliptic within which the Earth and planets travel. Even the Nakshatras are to be measured in this single circle of 360 degrees and which we further divide into four quarters – two of which are the Equinoxes, and two the Solstices. The Nakshatras are simply one of the many divisions of that single circle (the ecliptic); they are based on the mean motion of the Moon: 13.20 degrees per day. These have been labelled the Mansions of the Moon when Al Biruni brought this knowledge from India to Arabia; and from there it passed on to Europe. This designation is still used in astrology today.
Basic astronomy gives very precise timings for Equinoxes and Solstices, as do certain ancient texts such as the BrihadSamhita. Two timings were especially important: the Equinox of March, and the Solstice of December. The former is the true beginning of the Vedic year – 21/22 March. That is the 0 degree of the ecliptic when days and nights are equal. The second, the December Solstice (Makar Sankranti) is even more important for Hindus and continues to be celebrated throughout the nation, though its current timing is woefully incorrect.
The Rishis emphasised only these two timings because getting them right would mean that all the rest would be accurate as well, – the Navaratri, for example, and all the other celebrations of Hindus. It may be claimed that being festivals based on the phases of the Moon different calculations and a different circle would be needed. This is not so. Just as the Veda states, the circle is one. Within that even the lunar phases are inserted, with the required intercalary addition to compensate for any discrepancy. However we study the matter we note that the degrees of this single circle are 360 ‘pegs’ set therein, and which we divide into 12 parts.
When the Rishi states, ‘they shake not in the least’, he or she is referring to the most important injunction of all. For the fact is the current Hindu calendar in use does indeed ‘shake’ insofar as its starting point, or ayanamsha, is not fixed, as would be the case for the universal calendar. It shifts constantly, with each passing minute and second in fact, unlike the true Vedic Calendar which does not shake ‘in the least’, even with the passage of thousands of years.
Q. Pandit Nehru encouraged scientists to lead the way in calendar reform, but you say that science itself has been the problem. What do you mean?
A. It is not the duty of scientists to interpret Vedic injunctions. This is not their domain. It is the duty of men and women versed in the language of cosmic harmonies based on direct yogic experiences, of the Vedic type, I must add. Clearly in the Committee for Calendar Reform in 1953, there was no such person. In my experience I have not come across anyone who has undergone a sadhana for this express purpose. The result is what we have today – a calendar that cannot unify 80% of the energies of the nation.
A scientist would not make any sense out of the Rig Veda verses I have quoted. He would not take them seriously since in the first place he does not believe that the ancients had knowledge of such matters. Remember that these verses were composed before astronomy became a separate discipline. In those days throughout the world it was simply astrology, jyotish, albeit quite different than the astrology practised today. That was ‘science’ and it was based on astronomical data which was easily verifiable by calculating the Equinox and Solstice. The tropical zodiac in use then is the same we use today. Its division into 12 parts is important to note, as the Vedic verses affirm. Those 12 parts/months must begin when day and night are equal based on the four balancing pillars of the ecliptic – the Cardinal Poles. Science will focus on the astronomy involved; it cannot be expected to deal with aspects of Yogic/Vedic knowledge. This is the domain of those who have undergone a certain discipline that reveals the higher issues involved. Since this discipline is very demanding, the Rishi asks, ‘Who can understand this?’ It would appear simple to understand, but the truth is otherwise – if not, the Vedic calendar would not have been discarded in favour of what is currently in use: the Nirayana system based on the constellations and not the tropical zodiac of the ecliptic, as in Vedic times. The result is the calendar confusion that plagues the Hindu Samaj today.
Q. The tropical zodiac with its four Cardinal Poles of Equinoxes and Solstices is the true Vedic measure of time. What do you base this statement on?
A. In the Veda there is no reference to a circle that is disconnected from the Earth’s rhythms. This same prescription is used in temple building to this day, based on the sacred scriptures. A Hindu temple is oriented to these Cardinal directions, similar to the Great Pyramid at Giza. Regarding the latter, it is astonishing to note the accuracy with which such a massive structure was built. This was many millennia ago, yet the Cardinal directions remain the same, then as now because, as the Rishi stated, ‘…the circle is one, it does not shake in the least’.
So, the Cardinal directions were fundamental. Spatially the temple is accurately aligned; however, when time has to be incorporated this is done based on the scientist’s understanding of the way measuring is to be done. The result is that time and space do not find their necessary harmony in Hindu Temples; and this is compounded year after year, day after day by that same system employed for all observances. While the spatial alignment may be correct, the time factor is another matter. Herein stands the difficulty. To rectify the situation bold measures must now be taken. If not, the ‘slippage of time’, as I call it, will continue; and with it the Dharma as well: we move farther and farther away from those Vedic roots.
Q. Most would disagree. The prevailing belief is that time is relative; therefore, how can what is ‘eternal’ (the Sanatana Dharma) be linked to what is ‘relative’ and impermanent?
A. Let me quote another verse from the Rig Veda. It is pertinent to your comment:
Certain eternal worlds…are these which have come into being, their doors are shut to you (or opened) by the months and the years; without effort one (world) moves in the other, and it is these that Brahmanaspati makes manifest to knowledge. RV, II.24.5.
Naturally these lines are difficult for the layman to understand, but, I repeat, not for one who has undertaken the Vedic ‘journey’ just as it is described in the Veda, based on the revolution of the Earth around the Sun, along the ecliptic within the tropical zodiac; above all the zodiac because that is where we find the secret language. The central protagonist of the Veda is the Year – the sacrifice lasting 12 months.
The Rishi is explicit in these verses: the doors of the months remain closed or are opened by the knowledge Brihaspati (Jupiter, known as the Guru in astrological lore) confers. Most important is mention of ‘eternal worlds’, and one moving into another ‘without effort’. Entrance into these ‘worlds’ is secured by the correct knowledge: that is, the right KEY that unlocks the doors (months). For this to occur the right time harmony of our solar system has to be the key to open those otherwise closed doors.
Today there is no such key available to worshippers; thus we witness the faithful flocking to temples according to the day and time prescribed by pundits in their various almanacs – each one advocating a different time, it is to be noted. But, lamentably, based on these mis-measures there is no door before them to open! Time has slipped by, though none, not even the pundits are aware. Translated into practical terms, the result is that there is no unifying element for those COLLECTIVE energies. The individual devotee may well receive the blessings of the deity because of his or her fervour and belief, but that will not ‘unlock the door’ no matter how much devotion is poured out to the Goddess. Brihaspati cannot ‘make manifest’ the higher knowledge that can truly replenish, and restore a unifying PURPOSE in the Hindu Samaj. As it is, the Sanatan Dharma is losing ground to other less mature, less profound faiths.
If this unifying measure were to come into being, the weaknesses presently afflicting the community would be overcome. There would be a renaissance of immense significance and vigour.
Q. Where exactly has science gone wrong in this matter?
A. I can be very specific: the grave error for which reason we cannot experience a ‘circle that shakes not’ is because science disregarded the Earth’s own contribution to the harmony of the System.The ecliptic journey of 12 months through the tropical zodiac was displaced in favour of a projection well beyond our solar system to the constellations. Out there, hundreds of light years away from our planetary base science determined the start of the year. Moreover, it determined for the Hindu Samaj that this was the true measure to follow, requiring, however, a rectification from time to time based on certain calculations so that the ayanamsha or zero starting point of that distant constellation of stars would be ‘scientifically correct’. No thought was given to 1) this ayanamsha is almost impossible to determine with precision, hence resulting in serious differences among the pundits, and 2) that ayanamsha is therefore NOT STABLE as seen from the Earth, making therefore a mockery of the Rishi’s express statement: It shakes not!
Q. You mentioned the Makar (Capricorn) Sankranti as being ‘woefully incorrect’. Can you explain? In what specific way is it ‘incorrect’?
A. By its very name this ‘gateway’ (Sankranti) is connected to the zodiacal sign Capricorn (Makar). The question is, which Capricorn? Using the current Nirayana system, the sign Capricorn referred to is Capricorn of the constellations. This is quite different than what is meant when the system the Rishis espoused is employed for calculating this most important of all Hindu observances. I say most important because the entire destiny of India, old and new, is encapsulated in that special sign of the 12.
I reproduce below the symbol-map of India with the Capricorn hieroglyph superimposed on it. This is of course Akhand Bharat and predates contemporary boundaries drawn on this particular segment of the Earth’s geography. Indeed the origins of the glyph are unknown since it extends very far back in time probably to prehistory. I have written extensively on this subject, with this symbol-map as background, because the relevance of the sign can be verified geographically with great precision. However, even without this ‘proof’ all astrologers throughout the world consider Capricorn to be the astrological ruler of India.
From: The New Way, Volume 1, p.154, Aeon Books
But there is more. There is a time factor involved along with the spatial measure. We use the Earth’s longitude to ‘locate’ the sign Capricorn. This, most interestingly, gives us the precise ‘location’ of Capricorn on the globe. Most astonishing of all, it coincides with the beginning of the Indian landmass as indicated in the map-symbol. The point I am making is to demonstrate the singular importance of Capricorn (Makar) for India. I repeat, the full destiny of the nation can be understood by a penetrating analysis of what this sign really signifies; it is the most secret and sacred of all. But we have the Rig Veda itself that confirms its importance. Though penned thousands of years ago, the Rishis located the victory of the Aryan Warrior to be in this very sign of the twelve, the 10th month (calculated from the first, the March Equinox). Note that it was not in just any period, any month: it was the tenth. And that is the sign Capricorn.
If we use the constellations to locate this section of the circle, the result is what we have today: the sign Makar does not begin when it should for Hindus. It is 23 days AFTER the onset of the sign. Capricorn in all ancient civilisations, foremost of all the Vedic, begins (the sankranti or gateway) at the exact time of the December Solstice, the shortest day of the year. For this very reason Bhisma chose this date to leave this plane. There is a very deep purpose in this timing to coincide with the shortest day. I have written extensively on this subject and need not repeat myself here. Suffice to state that by positing this gateway 23 days after it actually occurs, that ‘door’ has passed us by. The result is that the most important of all Vedic injunctions – the 9 becomes the 10 – cannot be realised. It is as simple as that.
This is of course relevant to the individual, but even more so for the Hindu Samaj. Collectively this shortest day should be observed if the passage ‘the 9 becomes the 10’ is to bear any impact for the entire nation. Certainly Bhisma would have had a hard time making this passage based the current Nirayana system!
My point is that when the symbol-map is revealed, as it was in 1974, we know that the most important period of India’s history for thousands of years has come to the forefront. It is now, in our very times, that everything Capricorn signifies in the nation’s destiny can reach fulfilment. But as it stands, this cannot happen; and we see the results all around us. It can happen only when the correct ‘key’ is inserted and the tenth month does indeed stand before us, both individually and collectively. Therefore I have put so much energy into revealing these deep aspect’s of India’s destiny – aspects which have been set in motion thousands of years ago. I do so in order to drive home the point that we do run the risk of missing the moment. Therefore I invite pundits to discuss this matter and reach a conclusion. I am ready to present my arguments. I am ready to listen to theirs. Thereafter, let the community decide.
Those who follow the websites dedicated to Sri Aurobindo and the supramental Yoga may be puzzled reading Lori Tompkins’ latest contribution, failing to see any connection between the calendar and his work. Actually there is no other area of contemporary Indian life that better reflects the need for his intervention than in matters relating to the Hindu Calendar in use today and officially established by a group of scientists under the auspices of the Government in 1953. What transpired then in this issue crucial to society as a whole, reflects better than anything else the hold of the old spirituality over the civilisation. And certainly we realise that one of the main objectives of Sri Aurobindo’s mission was to loosen that hold and finally to introduce the new ‘direction’, as I call it.
The problem surfaced then because Jawaharlal Nehru realised that a unifying calendar was required for Hindus and he believed that science had to take the lead to cement further the division between astronomy and astrology, the latter being synonymous with superstition in his eyes. This slow distancing between the two began a millennium earlier with the system propagated by scientists finally overtaking the world of higher knowledge several centuries ago; the result is that a total confusion exists in matters that had always been crystal clear.
The word cosmos means order. This is certainly not applicable to the cosmic connection in post-independence India, thanks to the intrusion of science in matters beyond its purview. Rather, the truth is that time reckoning, as it stands today, has lost all claim to higher knowledge because of what I call the Ayanamsha Chaos. The discovery of the correct zero starting point of the circle (ayanamsha) of time measure is the most important element for establishing Order in these matters. At the same time the chaos we find in this area displays the same corruption that plagues Indian society on numerous levels due to vested interests of various sorts. The only difference is that we would never expect to find this disease in sacred matters.
I realised this very early on when I saw the confusion perpetrated by the numerous almanac writers in order that by the ‘uniqueness’ of their respective ‘more accurate’ ayanamsha they might further the sale of their ephemeris by gathering more followers for their system over others. This unfortunate situation, a virtual commercialisation of the Sacred, was displayed at the Conference to which I was invited to speak; it seemed to encapsulate everything that needs to be transformed if India is to rise to the occasion and fulfil her higher destiny as envisioned by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and confirmed by the new cosmology. Interestingly, this fulfilment hinges on putting order in matters cosmic insofar as this civilisation is the only one surviving that can still trace a connection to the ancient past before orthodox and exclusivist religions did away with that Tradition in the first millennium. With that dismissal any hope of a continued cosmic connection was lost, since the Feminine Principle stands at the heart of any discipline wherein the Divine Maya, or Measure, is required. And the new faiths dismissed the Feminine with concepts that equated it with evil; or, as in Advaita, a beguiling temptress to be resisted and finally dismissed as mere insubstantial illusion. India held on to the connection for several centuries, but eventually succumbed to the wave that swamped the entire globe during the first millennium. The current Hindu calendar entirely reflects the hold systems like Advaita or Mayavada have over the psyche of the civilisation.
What has this to do with Sri Aurobindo’s work? Certainly mention of the Divine Maya should make at least the first step in drawing the threads together easier for the student of Sri Aurobindo’s work to grasp. And from that first lead we arrive at the core of the matter which is his avatarhood. The connection between Supermind and the calendar is not suspected because most of his followers do not realise that he was Vishnu’s 9th Avatar. As tradition tells us, the Vishnu Avatar comes when the Dharma has reached its lowest ebb, certainly the current situation. His task is to re-establish that Dharma. But herein lies the root of the confusion because we all have different ideas of what that might be and what it might entail for contemporary society. But if we study carefully his life and work – factual and not only devotional – the method to carry out the transformation, in this case embracing an entire society and civilisation, becomes clear.
This is where an enlightened calendar becomes essential. There has to be a means to carry all of India (its majority population in fact) forward on a single course; but insofar as the universal calendar in use throughout most of the world is the same used in the Vedic and Sangam eras, it is evident that wisdom prevailed when at Independence that was the calendar adopted for civic purposes. In so doing the forefathers took the nation closer to its Vedic and Sangam roots – and thereby closer to the fulfilment of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s goal. At this point it must be mentioned that this was the calendar used in their Ashram in Pondicherry from its inception until today – and not the Hindu calendar governing temple observances and horoscopy. Some might argue that this is because they wanted to distance themselves from ritual and even astrology; but this was not the case. They did so because the Hindu calendar is wrong and needs to be discarded.
The result of the Ayanamsha Chaos is quite simply to divide-and-rule; a very clever and almost invincible tactic in fact. The only method to unite 80% of the energies of contemporary Indian society is by the adoption of the calendar Sri Aurobindo and the Mother used as the basis for all their observances: the universal calendar which is also the one explained in the following verses from the Rig Vedic:
Twelve spokes, one wheel, navels three.
Who can comprehend this?
On it are placed together
Three hundred and sixty like pegs.
They shake not in the least.
(Rig Veda 1.154.48)
At this point I must be more specific. It would not have been possible to establish the cosmic credentials of Sri Aurobindo as the 9th Avatar in the Line of Ten with the current Hindu Calendar – which should make it obvious why this was the favoured strategy of the Ignorance to keep the truth of the Supramental Avatar’s credentials from being discovered. It can also reveal why there are so many ‘avatars’ today since the system adopted for temple rituals and horoscopy can be termed ‘relative’, to suit the relativism of contemporary science; whereas when the Vedic cosmic credentials exist there is no place for relativism which allows for imposters and confusion to abound. Those credentials are discernible only via the universalVedic calendar.
If we study the happenings surrounding the Vishnu Avatar’s work over the past three decades – i.e., from the time of the Mother’s passing – we note that the seeds of undermining took root then and have developed into hardy trees. The same confusion we observe in the nation we observe in Ashram and Auroville affairs. Certainly it is not far-fetched to look for a single root cause, especially since Sri Aurobindo’s work seeks to bring about a transformed India and the world. Thus the state of the nation cannot be overlooked, nor the condition prevailing in the laboratory of his work. And if this exercise is carried out from 1970 to today, culminating with the First National Conference to reform the Hindu calendar, the correspondence is all too clear.
However, the connection with Sri Aurobindo’s work would not at all be clear without the Mother’s contribution – again, factual not imaginary. Enter the calendar that makes applicable what would otherwise remain trapped in the transcendence of philosophy.
I realise that introducing, as I must at this point, the Mother’s original plan of the Inner Chamber of the Matrimandir will raise the hackles of Aurovilleans. But since this is the decade of exposure, none can escape this fate. Exposure is the divine Strategy to loosen the hold of the Ignorance over the world. Therefore, the truth of the matter is that without considering her contribution, not the revised version of the architects, I would not have been able to link conclusively the calendar controversy to their work by having offered the most complete documentation possible of the original plan to prove the point. Whoever has studied that documentation (Chronicles of the Inner Chamber, www.matacom.com) cannot fail to appreciate the connection – and, more importantly, the solution.
The Mother’s plan is Vedic to the core – though not many so-called Vedic Astrologers would agree since they would not recognise hers as being in any way a true Vedic temple. In fact, the Mother’s is the new Indian temple architecture for the new Age. It does not destroy the earlier foundation, which is still valid in spite of the latter-day Ayanamsha Chaos, but it builds on those foundations without any need of tearing down the great accomplishments of the distant past. The need of the hour is to remove the ‘cobwebs’, as I have called them, that have accrued around the truths of the Vedic Age. At the same time an updating is demanded to APPLY the sacred sciences to contemporary society precisely by introducing the new cosmic language the Mother left us before her passing. That is, the process has to be creative and not destructive, if it is to be revealed as supramental, as the fruit of a truth-conscious inspiration.
The means to do so creatively is to re-establish the same foundation and point of conver-gence as in the Vedic Age – that is, the Year. This was the focal point of the Vedic Sacrifice; it is the very same focal point of the Mother’s original plan of her Chamber. More astonishingly, the Ray – gau/cow of the former Age – has materialised the Divine Measure before our eyes today since as per her original plan, the length of the Ray (gau) corresponds exactly to the Year of 365 days. This is the first time in the history of the sacred sciences that we find the harmony of Time and Space captured in architecture. These remarkable facts can be ascertained through the tho-rough documentation on the Matrimandir Action Committee’s website: www.matacom.com. They leave no doubt that the Mother has brought the Vedic Temple into our new Age, given it a new and transformed Body as it were, in a way that can satisfy both science and spirituality. Her original plan contains all the details of that third way beyond both science and spirituality, which she described as the solution to the conundrum of their polarity. Regarding the Chamber’s core, where opposites are supramentally reconciled, she declared it to be the symbol of the future realisation. Those who deny her this ability and accomplishment have played right into the hands of the Underminers.
The Mother’s inner chamber locates the two ‘years’ that we must use for time reckoning in an evolved society: the space year which begins with the Spring Equinox (northern hemisphere) of March, and the time year which is situated in the calendar year on January 1st as per her mathematical plan. That most of the world observes these Vedic dates, except India thanks to the Post-Vedic Astrologers, indicates how much penetration Supermind has made in the evolutionary matrix, though vested interests in India refuse to follow its enlightened lead, just as they refused to accept Sri Aurobindo’s superior approach to the Veda.
When it is understood that the same vested interests on the occult plane that opposed the Mother’s original plan are determined to oppose any reform of the Hindu calendar, linking contemporary society to the Vedic Age, we realise that there is a method to the madness of the Ayanamsha Chaos. And interestingly, approximately 60 temples in Tamil Nadu have introduced the Vedic method of time reckoning to follow the Avatar’s lead in the very Tamil land where he lived and fulfilled his mission. There has been a concerted effort to oppose adoption of the Mother’s original plan for the Auroville construction. Similarly there is a concerted effort to block adoption of the true Vedic calendar. History has repeated itself because they both contain the same key to Gnostic Time that unifies rather than divides. And just as there is an impeccable coherency in the developmental arc of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s work, a clearly discernible thread running through the years during which they carried out their joint mission of transformation, so too there is a similar discernible coherency in the opposition to their work.
Finally, it is a question of the chicken or egg conundrum. If the nation had adopted the universal calendar for sacred purposes at Independence, as it did for civic matters, the Mother’s original plan would have been irresistible. But as facts not fiction reveal, both failed; and in both arenas confusion prevails with no solution in sight. There is no ‘centre that holds’ in Auroville and the Ashram; likewise there is no centre that can unify all the energies of the Hindu Samaj to live the dictum diversity in unity.
The Year is similar to an axis in a heavenly body. Certainly it is elusive because that is the nature of Time, the fourth aid in the integral and supramental yogas. It is when we reach the Age of Supermind that this issue becomes essential to grasp because by its very definition there must be a method whereby the three foundational principles of the Yoga are integrated to form a society expressing the Divine Maya, as the Mother indicated in her original plan and as expressed in Sri Aurobindo’s own symbol. There we find the key to the calendar and to gnostic Time: the descending petals of the Avatar’s Lotus numbering 9 (Transcendent), 6 (Cosmic), and 3 (Individual/Soul). The Formula based on 9 (his symbol) combines with the 12 (her symbol) in the Chamber to reproduce in matter the time year(9) and the space year(12) – or vertical and horizontal cosmic directions. This is the essence of the Chamber’s core, for which reason she called it the symbol of the future realisation.
Sri Aurobindo wrote in The Secret of the Veda that the ‘soul of knowledge had fled from its coverings’ when describing conditions surrounding the Veda at the time he wrote his opus magnum. Nothing but empty ritual remained. This occurs when the key to gnostic Time is lost because it is Time that adds gnosis to Form – otherwise we have inert Shiva, awaiting the impulses from the divine Shakti to engender movement, to set in motion the Becoming as equal to Being in the deployment of Supermind on Earth. The Year as the body of Time is the means to make a connection with that Gnosis, today as in the Vedic Age. We are blessed on Earth to occupy this third orbit in our solar system where we can be conscious participants in the ‘journey’ through the Year, just as the ancient Rishis did so very long ago. But if we study what unfolded at the Conference, there was no higher knowledge in evidence there as one would expect at such a meeting, the very heart of which is everything most sacred to the Tradition that India has managed to preserve in spite of all divide-and-rule tactics – and in this I include the Ayanamsha Chaos.
When the speaker who followed me, an astronomer I believe, stated ‘This is science not Veda,’ in an attempt to belittle my emphasis on the higher aspects of the issue, it was a confirmation that the ‘soul of knowledge’ had indeed taken flight. This is the area we must concentrate on because without the proper field wherein the higher things can be established – a field that is generated through the fourth aid of the Yoga – nothing of those true things can take root. Time is akin to the soil where an occult ‘seed’ is planted. With the Knowledge contained in the Mother’s original plan we are given the key to the harmony of soil and seed, or Space and Time. Indeed, that future realisation.
This is what the Mother sought to do by insisting on the adoption of her plan for the inner chamber (‘…Now I have seen, I don’t need anyone’). This is what I sought to do by revealing in very minute detail just exactly what she had done, what she had brought down from the supramental plane. But just as vested interests blocked a nationwide adoption of the Vedic system of calendrical time reckoning, so too did vested interests succeed in blocking the materialisation of the Mother’s vision in Auroville. To be born in mind, however, is that time moves on, and when Gnostic Time is one’s ally the supramental Truth-Consciousness cannot fail to overtake the Field it itself has produced and nurtured. Then the dictum of Aeon Centre of Cosmology is validated: All, negative and positive, serves the purposes of the One. What transpires before us today is impeccably correct if we have eyes to see. That is where the new cosmology enters. It unmasks those vested interests we find everywhere, contaminating everything, with little regard for human sentiments just as the Time-Spirit displayed in Arjun’s vision when he desired to see his Friend’s true form. But Arjun belonged to another Age, the period of the 8th Avatar, and therefore he could not bear that terrible and awesome vision. In this age of the 9th, however, it is precisely the 9 and the Time-Spirit that hold to key to Time’s gnostic workings as Sri Aurobindo’s symbol informs us. The Mother materialised the Supramental Formula encoded in Sri Aurobindo’s symbol. In so doing she has offered India the plan for the proper calendar that elevates and unites what would otherwise remain hopelessly divided, degenerating further and further into mere superstition. This is the goal of science in these sacred matters, the essence of which it ignores: to oppose that Formula so that India can never fulfil her destiny in which all things find their proper place, science included.
First National Conference on Hindu Calendar Reform held at Tirumala, 24-26 December 2010
Prepared by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea) Director Centre of Cosmology Tamil Nadu, South India 30.12.2010
‘I am hearing only the word uniform, uniformity. But this call is not Vedic or Hindu. It should be UNITY. There is a vast difference between the two.’
‘You [Nirayanis and astronomers] are talking about two different things, measuring in two different circles. You are measuring in the Precession of the Equinoxes [sidereal circle] which can NEVER be used for temple matters and horoscopes.’
‘I have an important announcement to make: about 60 temples in Tamil Nadu have just celebrated the Makar Sankranti exactly on the December Solstice, as per the ancient tradition. The trend is obvious….’
‘This Nirayana system has produced chaos. A cosmic system for sacred observances that produces such confusion cannot be the right one. The true system produces order and unity, never chaos’.
Astronomers must tell us why they displaced the tropical zodiac and pushed it to the outermost reaches of space, why they eliminated it from time reckoning…
Interjections made by Thea (PNB) during the debates.
The recently concluded Samelan at the abode of Sri Venkateshwara in sacred Tirumala reached certain conclusions by decision of the organisers. Going by the resolutions passed and the press reports the next day, it would appear that there was ‘unanimity’ among the attendees. Actually the truth is quite another. While it was true, as the Chairman remarked in his closing comments, that there were no fights and shouts and walkouts during the conference, and peace can be said to have prevailed throughout – in my view that peace was more like sleep. What was obvious to many is that there was an agenda set in place beforehand; and some delegates told me, when I asked what resolutions they thought would be passed, that the resolutions were ‘already decided’. That is, they were not to be the result of the debates and the points raised by the distinguished speakers, who were imminent astrologers, astronomers and scholars. They seemed rather to have come out of a void. The deciding body consisted of noted Sancharacharyas and Swamis, heads of various prominent Mutts. They presided. They decided. But in my view the result was as discouraging as it was revealing. The only ‘resolution’ arrived at was to maintain the current Nirayana Panchanga (ephemeris) system intact but to eliminate what I call the Ayanamsha Chaos. They resolved that ‘scientists’ would determine the correct Ayanamsha and a core committee would be constituted to ensure that this was followed throughout India by all. Thus, the desired uniformity would ensue so that the ever-louder complaints of the Hindu Samaj concerning the discrepancies in temple and festival timings, due to the many Nirayana Panchangas in use, would be eliminated once and for all. Further, they resolved that the Union Government should issue a national Panchanga based on this ‘correct’ ayanamsha that the astronomers were requested to discover. This entire conference, that could and should have been unique in the history of Hinduism, revealed itself to be just a non-starter. There was no real concern about the root of the Ayanamsha Chaos, nor how it should be solved on the basis of the true cosmology that we find in the sacred Tradition. There was no effort made to understand that ‘uniformity’ would never come about in temple timings and horoscopy because of the vested interests of each Nirayana almanac publisher. One told me that his family had been publishing their almanacs in Tamil Nadu for 120 years and that it was the most widely circulated. Similarly, there were a dozen or more publishers, each with their own ayanamsha based on their ‘unique’ and ‘correct’ calculations. Most considered that the quantity of correct predictions based on the respective almanacs entitled theirs to be selected for the national ephemeris. But the committee, with the verdict of learned astronomers in hand, was committed to bring uniformity in the matter, and therefore in one stroke it did away with all these vested interests, obliging them to consider the greater good of the Samaj and how some sort of display of unanimity was to be presented whereby these legitimate concerns would be addressed. However, it needs to be noted that the Nirayana ephemeris publishers thrive precisely on their differences, their uniqueness. If they are truly obliged to fall in line and adopt a single ayanamsha, that difference and uniqueness disappears; and with it their claim to a greater success story.1
The divide-and-rule plague Mention of Tamil Nadu brings to mind a puzzling concern, for me at least. The conference was supremely well organised, the amenities and care of the delegates’ every need was superb and well appreciated. Everything was done to see that the delegates could concentrate with undivided attention on the issues and not be bothered by material concerns. Included in this and for the benefit of speakers and attendees, numbering close to 150, simultaneous translators were on hand. There was a translator for English, Hindi, Telegu, Kannada and Sanskrit. Being from Tamil Nadu, my attention was immediately drawn to the fact that there was no Tamil translation available. This was strange. It was made obvious when at the time of the inaugural addresses Sancharacharya Sri Jayendra Saraswati of Kanchipuram had to speak. His first comment referred precisely to what I had noted, that he would have to do so in Tamil without the benefit of a translation. I was puzzled for various reasons. Surely there would be many delegates from Tamil Nadu who might be expected to speak in their mother tongue, especially several holy men from the State; therefore a simultaneous translation would be required, as for all the other languages. I questioned a fellow delegate on this peculiarity. His reply was that perhaps Tamil would not be necessary since ‘all the delegates from Tamil Nadu would speak in Sanskrit’ (as almost all the other speakers had done, in fact). However, the two revered Acharyas, one from Kanchipuram and the other from Coimbatore, did not. They preferred Tamil. In fact, the event was under the auspices of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha which is headed by Swami Dayananda Saraswati whose own ashram is in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, the venue of the recently concluded International Tamil Sangam where the excellence, the antiquity and the value of the ancient tongue was extolled. (The Swami himself did not attend due to indisposition, it was announced.) This bizarre situation alerted me from the very first day that something strange was afoot. Of course it could not have been an oversight in such a carefully arranged gathering. Was it deliberate? Could it possibly have been a tactic to oblige the Tamil contingent to speak in Sanskrit? If so, why? This raised a series of questions in my mind. Residing in the Tamil country for 39 years, I have long known of the dispute between Sanskritists and Tamil Scholars regarding the fact that both are equally ancient – and sacred, in my view. I have been aware of the rejection by contemporary Tamil scholarship of the Rig Veda, for example, because it is considered to be an historic document describing the Aryan invasion and conquest of the Dravidian land and the subjugation of its people by the ‘invading Aryans’ from the north. Sanskrit is considered by Tamil nationalists to be a northern imposition because the language of the Rig Veda is Sanskrit. Therefore, if indeed there was an ulterior motive to oblige Tamil speakers to use Sanskrit, which of course they could easily have done, bespeaks a certain arrogance; that is, assuming the intention was to oblige Tamils to fall in line. And it seems inconsiderate of the sensitivities of those of us who had come from Tamil Nadu to this landmark conference.
The message of the eclipse I was forewarned of what to expect by astrology itself, though I doubt that any astrologer present at the gathering would be in a position to understand what the most unusual celestial configuration meant that took place just a few days before the onset of the conference. There was a lunar eclipse exactly at the time of the December Solstice – which in the thesis I presented is the true Makar Sankranti. My colleagues at the Samelan, however, would not have paid any attention to the event because they disregard the importance of the Solstice by having ‘separated the inseparable’, as I explained in my paper. They distanced the Makar Sankranti from its ancient ecliptic/tropical zodiac position by 23 days. Therefore there was no cause to take note of the eclipse as in any way connected or pertinent to our discussion. But since this occurrence was so exactly timed, and since it occurred on the very day I set out for the conference, I realised that astrological lore itself informed me in advance what to expect.2 Indeed, a shadow would cover the Light. There would be interference in its transmission, exactly as seen in the sky at that most fateful eclipse. The astronomers present at the gathering constantly demanded that accuracy would come about (only) by mathematics coupled with physical observation. But, if one does not understand true astrology, one observes but DOES NOT SEE. Thus, not one was alerted, though eclipses are supposed to be important in astrology. However, unknowingly I did throw the event out into the open when I innocently made an announcement to the delegates: Sixty temples in Tamil Nadu have just celebrated Makar Sankranti together with the Solstice in Tamil Nadu. One of the scientists or Nirayanis immediately countered with a statement to the effect that they were not celebrating the Inseparable but rather the eclipse. I responded that his information was not correct and further that ‘the trend was obvious’. In fact, over 30 temples in the State have been celebrating the Sankranti and other festivals according to the ancient tradition for several years, thus his argument was fallacious. But I did not realise at the time that this very fact might have been the impetus given to hold the conference: the Tamil Nadu trend-setting must surely be disturbing. (Could this be another reason why Tamil was eliminated?)
[4.1.2011. After seeing the video of the exchange referred to above, I realise that the delegate countered my statement by saying that the reason for the Solstice celebration by the 60 temples was because of Arudhra Darshan, a Saivite commemoration to Nataraj. This was not the case regarding the 60 temples in Tamil Nadu I referred to. That the two happened to coincide because of the lunation at the time of the Solstice, which occurred in a particular nakshatra, was correct, but it had nothing to do with the official Makar Sankranti celebrated by the temples. And even the nakshatra may not have been accurate because of the Nirayana calculations. The delegate mentioned uttarayana in this context, again exposing the fact that the true astrological tradition is unknown in India today. Uttarayana comes DIRECTLY from the tropical zodiac. It is the NORTH GATEWAY, which all astrologers know is Capricorn/Makar. The Tradition goes further to state that this ‘highest point’ is Cosmic Midday, for which reason the Sun ‘casts no shadows’ and is hence the sign of ‘shadowless’ Satya Yuga. Further, as per the new cosmology, Uttarayana and Dakshinayana (north and south gateways) are, what I call the Axis of Evolution – hence extremely important for the Earth; and known only when the Earth’s tropical ecliptic zodiac is the measure. [See video link]
There is a deeper meaning in this eclipse which I doubt that any of the astrologers present would have grasped. An eclipse is supremely important – but only if the astrologer has the wisdom to see connections between events, to perceive as the ancients did the ‘correspondences’ and ‘equivalences’ involved. Therefore, when an eclipse draws these subtleties together into the physical event, the result is that indeed a shadow will cover the Light; but, as in the present case, it is focussed, consolidated, compacted and able to be measured. This is its supreme beneficence because it means that finally the issue at hand is to be dealt with, a certain maturity or ripening has occurred and Time can serve as ally precisely to draw out, to expose the Shadow; and within a prescribed time frame the Light will reappear in even greater glory. An eclipse, when rightly understood, conveys this message to a true astrologer. In other words, this too shall pass…
Misinterpretation of the Rig Veda and the Ayanamsha Chaos I do not agree with the general interpretation of the Rig Veda as an historic document of the early struggles between peoples of the subcontinent. I know this not through Sanskrit but as a practitioner of a process the Rig Veda describes very minutely, which reveals it to be a sublime collection of praises extolling a secret initiatic doctrine. It has nothing at all to do with Aryan versus Dravidian. I am not at all stating that conflicts and conquests did not occur, only that this is not the content of the Rig Veda. But who can understand the Rig Veda? The Sanskritists who spend a lifetime pouring over the hymns know very little of its rahasya, the most supreme Mystery of all. And it is universal, eternal, not reserved for one ethnic group or country or even only for one conversant in its language. The paper I presented at the conference makes the point abundantly clear. Thus, this masterful collection has become one more tool to divide-and-rule, just like the Nirayana calendar does: it divides and can never unite. More importantly, the Rig Veda holds the answer to the current calendar conundrum. By following its precise precepts the correct method for time reckoning could immediately be established. And this would satisfy both sides of the divide because it was the calendar used in both the Vedic and Sangam eras. This would instantly allow for a certain integration to come about. And it would be UNITY, not mere uniformity which can never resolve the issues at hand. Furthermore, there would be absolutely no need of ‘corrections’. There is only one ayanamsha in the ancient system – but of course this would sit wrongly with vested interests.
Gender bias? I was the only white person attending and the only woman delegate. This had its pros and cons. It was positive in that it drew the curiosity of some of the members who did listen carefully to my reading. But to be honest and assessing the entire unfolding by hindsight, it was a miracle that I had been invited at all to what I realised was a tightly knit community of Sanskritists who would not care to listen to any contrary argument, much less from a woman. Indeed, my gender did produce complications, such as that I could not be seated next to the Sancharacharya chairman on the dais because ‘you are a woman’, it was apologetically and politely explained to me. This was not an issue for me and I promptly obliged by changing my seat away from the holy man. Similarly, when shawls were handed to each speaker by the Sancharacharya, mine was given to me and not placed on my shoulders, as for all the others. This too did not bother me, nor did I seek to visit the temple, knowing that foreigners are not allowed. I respect tradition in these sensitive matters, though I may not always agree. But what I did disagree with was the treatment I was given as an invited speaker. I was informed that I could speak only ‘for ten minutes’. In the midst of my reading before what seemed to be an interested audience, a note was handed to me. It read: Your time is over. I could not, therefore, read the final portion consisting of several visual aids which reinforced my thesis considerably. Sadly, I had to conclude by apologising to the attendees. Afterwards, many requested hard copies of my paper, including the presiding Sankaracharya chairman himself, while his aide informed me that they would be bringing out a souvenir of the event in which my paper would be published in full, ‘every last word’.3 All the other speakers took at least 30 minutes, some even far more. Why only 10 for me? If this had been only my fate I would have attributed it to my gender, but as I later learned the panchanga publisher of a similar school as mine, Lokesh Darshaney, had also been given only 10 minutes.4 Bold as I am, I pressed on and spoke for perhaps 20 before I was halted, but not before my point had been made. Happily, it brought the assembly alive and thereafter the real issue took centre stage and intense exchanges followed. What I learned was that this contrary voice was sought to be silenced. Indeed, no mention was made of these contrary views in the resolutions; it was as if they did not exist. In fact, though I repeatedly challenged the astronomers present, who I consider to be misleading the public and for which I provided sound cosmological proof, NOT ONE RESPONDED to prove scientifically, according to the science they have imposed, any inaccuracy. For the truth be told, they would have been committing the sin of Defending the Indefensible. Since this is the indefensible foundation on which the ‘scientifically accurate’ Nirayana Panchangas are based, of course I had to be silenced. Immediately after my interrupted reading, the next speaker stepped on to the podium. I am told by various listeners that his very first words were: This is science, not Veda. Well, this is the crux of the problem as I presented it: science not veda. That he felt comfortable making this statement in reply to my argument, and that too before the august assembly of holy men, indicates better than any argument I could make just how far the Dharma has been corroded, just how much disintegration has taken place.
Toward the very end of the conference I sent a note to the chair requesting just a few minutes to address my colleagues, since I had not been allowed to conclude my paper. My request was denied. So, I reproduce here what I wished to read then. After three days of listening to the deliberations of the learned men, this was my honest assessment:
I have only a few words to say as this august gathering is brought to a close. My intention was to read the last part of my paper with its visual aids. But now I realise that to do so would be simply self-gratification and indulgence. It pleases me to sing the harmonies. It is what I was born to do, and indeed it is so very pleasing to sing praises to the Mother through her universal harmonies. Those praises, which should be the aim of every astrologer, are found, experienced, lived when one rises above Mind, when one enters the Divine Consciousness. The deliberations I have been listening to of the learned men, particularly the learned astronomers, have not arisen in the higher consciousness. They are only from the realm of Mind, and when one is trapped in the realm of Mind, there is, in the best of cases, compromise or consensus until some form of resolution is hammered out. But that will not solve the most important issue ever to face the true Vedic/Sangam tradition. Astronomy is right when it abides in its rightful place. It is not right when it seeks to decide matters above Mind because solutions can come in this essential calendar matter only when we break free from the mental cage and soar above in the higher realms of consciousness. There one finds no mental formulas, no compromises, and certainly no chaos, as is now the case. The Nirayana System, born of Mind, has produced what the mental consciousness can only produce when pressured: chaos. To know what the Rishis knew we must find that higher consciousness which lies beyond the reach of the astronomers here, and throughout the world. The right calendar for the Hindu Samaj exists, it is, it is eternal, even as the Dharma is eternal. But to reach that luminous kingdom of the Sun we must turn to the Sun, our luminary. There we find the answer – in the solar regions. There the Calendar of Unity exists eternally. All we have to do is to turn to the Sun of our solar system and refuse to lose ourselves in the Beyond, as the Nirayana system forces us to do. In our Sun lies the answer – and it is the solar calendar that unifies and never gives rise to the Ayanamsha Chaos of today. I beg of you, rise to the occasion for the sake of the Santana Dharma, rise above Mind to the solar world, to Swar.
_______________________________ 1 While deliberations were on to hammer out the final resolutions, an attendee reported to me that he overheard someone in the group exclaim, ‘And don’t let that lady speak!’ He was amused.
2 From NASA: ‘This lunar eclipse falls on the date of the northern winter solstice. How rare is that? Total lunar eclipses in northern winter are fairly common. There have been three of them in the past ten years alone. A lunar eclipse smack-dab on the date of the solstice, however, is unusual. Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years. “Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is 1638 DEC 21,” says Chester. “Fortunately we won’t have to wait 372 years for the next one…that will be on 2094 DEC 21.”‘
3 Given the unfolding of events, I doubt this will happen. Therefore, those interested will find my full paper at the end of this report, and also on our blog: www.puraniccosmologyupdated.com. At the concluding session certificates were given to the participants. Where it was printed after the scholars name, ‘presented a research paper on’, those words had been crossed out in mine. I was acknowledged as present only.
4 Darshaney publishes annually a thorough Sayana Panchanga in Hindi: email@example.com. Within the next few months there will be a similar Panchanga available in Tamil/English: SIVA EMPORIUM firstname.lastname@example.org
The above is the cover of a brochure distributed by the organisers to all the delegates. In this one diagram we see the entire problem encapsulated – particularly when we compare it to the similar diagram in the last part of my paper (which I was not allowed to read). However, the difference between the two is striking. In mine (page 8) the centre is FULL. We see the Tropical Zodiac, exactly where it belongs – central – the same as in the Sangam and Vedic Ages; filling the void, so to speak. It is the void displayed in the above that tells us everything we need to know. This is the graphic that explains the ‘scientific imposition’ on the Dharma: THE CENTRE IS EMPTY. It is the very same imposition which allowed for colonial powers to subjugate and humiliate this sacred Bhoomi. Science, as the organisers’ diagram reveals, pushed what we find in my diagram out from its rightful place and into the constellations, a fact for which not one of the astronomers present at the conference had any explanation. This is clearly demonstrated in a comparative study of the two: the Tropical Zodiac has been thrust out into the Beyond; their 12 names (Sanskrit) have been entered outside and around the constellations. With this one act all legitimacy of the Earth’s own measure as a result of her rotation around the Sun has been swept away, pushed out into far distant space where it does not belong, bearing no relevance to our temple matters and individual horoscopes. The error, grave indeed, is even demonstrated by the fact that the inner circle of the organiser’s graphic is not the natural fourfold division we find in mine. It is gone, the zodiac is gone, bereft of the Equinoxes and Solstices – and so is all the higher knowledge.
When Knowledge is absent superstition emerges. Ironically, science is supposed to save Hindus from the bane of superstition. Instead, as these comparative diagrams explicitly reveal, it is SCIENCE that is solely responsible for inculcating superstition: the centre is a VOID, and in that void superstition inevitably arises. Or, as one delegate at the conference intrepidly quoted from the 1953 Calendar Reform deliberations: ‘You believe you are guiding Hindus to Dharma. Instead you are carrying them to adharma.’ This quote was repeated two times during the conference; no notice was taken. Not one of the illustrious scientists present paid any heed, so confident of the hold they have because of the predominance of philosophies and yogic systems founded on the experience of maya and the void. In that Void what would be the purpose of correct timings? It is all ‘illusion’ they say, time and space as well. The Vedic Divine Maya has been stripped of her sacred grandeur and her contribution as the formative consciousness of the Absolute, and in their experience she is only Maya, illusion. These beliefs took hold during the Age of Enlightenment and the British Raj. What better, more thorough way to subjugate Hindus than this, and to undermine the Dharma? Science and ‘enlightenment’ would save the day! And thus was seeded the Ayanamsha Chaos that continues to plague Hinduism through the Nirayana Tyranny.
Indian sacred architecture of whatever date, style or dedication goes back to some- thing timelessly ancient and now outside India almost wholly lost, something which belongs to the past, and yet it goes forward too . . . to something which will return upon us and is already beginning to return, some- thing which belongs to the future.
Sri Aurobindo The Foundations of Indian Culture
Ihave written that what is especially inspiring in the Vedic Way is the consistency of the Knowledge, or the manner in which certain essential elements have been spread throughout the fabric of the civilization which for many millennia has been housed in the Indian subcontinent in an unbroken line. I have used the Capricorn hieroglyph, superimposed on the subcontinental landmass as a focal point, or as a means to demonstrate this consistency. Indeed, the hieroglyph is especially revealing for this purpose, insofar as the Knowledge I refer to centres on this tenth sign of the zodiac.
This is carried over to many aspects of life, many cultural expressions. In modern India it is seen to be relevant given the fact that Makar, the Sanskrit name for the sign, is the most auspicious period of the year. It is the time when pilgrimages are made throughout the breadth of the land, to numerous particularly sacred places established as far back as in the Puranic age and even earlier. The national highways are flooded with pilgrims making their way on foot to these sacred sites in this auspicious Capricorn month.
Indian astrologers made a special effort to determine the correct beginning of this segment in the 12-month year. Of very special importance in connection with this timing was the exact Solstice measurement. A perusal of the old texts does indeed reveal that the establishment of the solstice axis – Capricorn/Cancer – was one of the main concerns of astrologers of old. And we also note that at a certain point in the passage of the Ages it was precisely this measurement, so central a part of the cultural life of the civilisation, which was ‘lost’, as I have pointed out on many occasions in these pages.
But in what way was it ‘lost’? And how could such an easily verifiable measurement have been missed or overlooked when so much emphasis had been placed on its correctness from time immemorial?
Given this factor of central importance, with a number of festivals needing to be located within this time-frame with exactitude, it is clear that the loss of accuracy was itself central to the unfolding destiny of the civilisation. It was not a lapse of one astronomer, or one school imposing its views, or a mistake of some sort which somehow crept into the calculations and then went on compounding itself to the present-day when we realise that the solstice axis is something like 23 degrees off the mark. And furthermore, that it will go on compounding and before long there will be no correlation with the Capricorn/Cancer axis at all, or the shortest and longest day of the year.
At the same time, I have shown in this series the overwhelming importance of Capricorn in the cultural fabric of the civilisation to the point where the hieroglyph even delineates the specific landmass wherein this sign would fulfil itself, at it were, where that Swar, or Heaven, would ‘descend’ upon Earth. The landmass exists and verifies the accuracy of the hieroglyph’s design and the astounding proficiency of the Seer who gave the civilisation this particular symbol. But we find that similar to the time demarcation, or the accurate location of the beginning of this very sign/month in the Earth’s yearly trajectory around the Sun, there has been a ‘loss’ regarding the geographical measurement relating to the same symbol. We note that India looks to her future of independence from foreign subjugation with this loss figuring not only in the time dimension but in space as well. Indeed, as we all know after Einstein’s contribution to physics, the two are interconnected and cannot be separated. Similarly, I contend that the loss of the exact position in time of the Capricorn solstice point resulted in the same disfigurement in space when at the birth of the new India that sacred landmass delineated by the hieroglyph was torn asunder, and at crucial places in the design.
The important point to note is that, as stated, there is a consistency even in the loss. And that it too serves to confirm the immense importance of all things Capricorn in Vedic civilisation from time immemorial. For, while dismembering of the symbol occurred in contemporary history, the dislocation of the time-axis occurred in the early part of the first millennium of our era.
Exactly when this dislocation was first rooted in the cultural fabric is not so easily pin-pointed. But we do have a clear indication of the approximate time in the work of the noted astrologer/mathematician, Varahamihira, and his famous treatise, Brihat Samhita, compiled around 500 AD.
Perusal of this text is a fascinating exercise, especially for students of the New Way. Indeed, the Brihat Samhita appears in many ways to be a precursor of The New Way. The latter is a synthesis of a number of disciplines; and it is the fact of this synthesis which places it out of bounds for academicians. Yet, the Brihat Samhita is a similar synthesis. Moreover, it reveals that this holistic approach was common to the ancient way. The fact that this new Way is incomprehensible or unappreciated by scholars, especially those of the spiritual path today, is logically revealing of just how far removed we are from a poise of consciousness enjoyed by the ancient Seers but lacking even in representatives of contemporary society who are supposed to be descended from those early Rishis.
In fact the problem does indeed lie in the spiritual domain. For it was in that dimension of the ancient civilisationa where the ‘loss’ was first registered. Varahamihira simply carried over into the astronomy of the day that spiritual transgression.
But I must clarify that in those days this designation did not exist. That is, spiritual in contrast or in opposition to material; just as astrology was not divorced from astronomy. In fact, it is this split that engendered the loss of the divine Measure and specifically related to the sign Capricorn. And this severance occurred in the domain of yogic realisation. The time frame was the last 500 years of the millennium before Christ – or the period initiated by the appearance of Gautam, the Buddha. As I have pointed out in the course of my work, the crux of the problem lay in a dissolution (nirvana) of the element which had been serving the human being in his quest, or in the realisation of the inherent purpose of evolution on Earth. As indicated earlier, birth on Earth and into the cosmic process was understood to be an aberration which had to be corrected. This could be done by rejection of the material world of the senses which were responsible for the accumulation of karma and served to chain the human being to the round of birth and death and rebirth. The trick was to sever the chain somehow, to snap one’s ties with this material existence which seemed to be a trap for the seeker of ‘liberation’. The sense-world was a deceptive web which at all costs had to be dissolved. And that was in part accomplished by a process of undermining. The web itself was undermined by decreasing its importance gradually, and finally equating it with the fallen sister of the Divine Maya of the Veda – the temptress and lesser Maya whose name then became synonymous with Illusion.
The web was thus a filament which had no intrinsic reality or real substance, truth-essence. It was simply a tissue of lies fabricated by our imperfect sensorial instrument. Its numerous flaws resulted in a world of suffering and samskaras. This could be dissolved, and along with it the suffering and grief which characterised the lesser world of Maya, by simply undoing the central hub or axis of that unreal web. This axis is known as Skambha in the Atharvaveda. The point of this ‘pillar’ which connects the subtle dimension (Swar) to the physical is known in the spiritual lexicon as the individual soul.
When the sacred Pillar was snapped, it is not that the soul ceased to exist. It is simply that everything connected to its purpose in the evolutionary process suffered. Skambha/Agni up-pillars the worlds, the material dimension from less dense to densest. A severance in that ‘support’ was akin to a corroding process eating into the foundations of life, as if one’s base in this material dimension were being eaten away by termites. Collapse of the structure is the result of a very long process of just such undermining, though to the lay observer only the final caving in is apparent. But the sage and yogi understand the process and some are able to prop up the structure by the specialised knowledge they possess.
This may be done individually with no essential difficulty. The real problem is found in the collective experience. A critical threshold is finally reached when the mass in the periphery outweighs the substance in the core and the civilisation, gradually at first and then at a more accelerated pace, begins to show the very clear signs of imminent collapse. It is when the undermining reaches specific areas of collective life that we know the degeneration has set in irrevocably and has the power to bring the civilisation to an end.
In India’s case these elements are easily identifiable because of her special mission in the Earth’s evolution. I repeat, they involve the space and time dimensions, both of which are centred on the Capricorn hieroglyph. It is this symbol that reveals the root of the problem by exposing the dualistic/separative poise of consciousness which sets in and overtakes the consciousness of the people, where once the overall vision was of the essence of unity.
The diagram below helps us to see the problem very graphically and therefore diminishes the abstractness of the matter. At the same time, it helps to establish once again the position of Capricorn in the nation’s destiny.
Certain features of this important diagram need to be highlighted. First, it is divided into four parts similar to the diagram I presented earlier in the study (see TVN, 6/3 & 6/4) which revealed the cosmic foundation of the caste system, already in evidence in the Rigveda where verses appear which do indeed link the system to the cosmic harmony. Equally, this fourfold dimension of the zodiac draws in the four planes of reality we find in the Veda as also cosmically rooted. That is, the same celestial sphere, sometimes referred to as Agni Vaishwanara, or the Cosmic Purush, and divided into four castes as parts of his ‘body’, is also indicative of the four planes of existence.
In tracing this correspondence – as above, so below – the important feature is the material/evolutionary rootedness of the vision or postulation. This celestial harmony is the 12-part division of the ecliptic. That is, it is part and parcel of our planetary existence. We are an intrinsic element in the design; our planet is one in a family of 9, and as a single unit this family expounds in its orbit of the central Sun the exquisite raga we know as the cosmic harmony. Again in this analysis, I am able to demonstrate that ever and always the dharma and its laws can be traced back to this single figure: the circle or ecliptic divided into 12 parts – our 12 months of the year. Thus we establish that two numbers are especially significant: the 12 (signs) and the 9 (planets). Together these form the Gnostic Circle. In the company of the 0, they offer us one of the most revealing diagrams in the corpus of higher knowledge of the integral and supramental Yogas.
Being the image of our actual cosmic abode there is, by consequence, nothing otherworldly in this design and its correlations. The four planes of existence of the ancient Vedas are measurable in this cosmic harmony, or reflected therein. As intrinsic elements in this design, we are that very harmony in each cell, in each atom. In other words, ‘above’ is ‘below’, and the ancient yogic path offered a means to realise this intrinsic oneness. It is the path described in hymn after hymn of the Rigveda. The Aryan warrior was its champion, who, in the course of the year, forged this oneness in him or herself, and thereby in the entire civilisation.
I wrote in the last VISHAAL that Swar, or ‘heaven’ had descended upon Earth. This diagram helps us to appreciate the measurable character of the statement and its practical application. Swar of the Vedic fourfold division covers the last segment of the zodiacal wheel, comprising the signs Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. The ‘gateway’ to this fourth and highest plane is Capricorn . Is it any surprise then that the date of the Makar Sankranti, or the Gateway of Capricorn, has always been celebrated throughout the land? Moreover, we cannot now fail to appreciate, by means of the correspondences I am drawing on the basis of this multidimensional diagram, that in introducing a yogic realisation into the collective experience which undermined the reality of that sacred harmony and its oneness with all of creation, this undermining had to affect the most important portion of the wheel: the Makar Sankranti. Or else, the solstice axis points of Capricorn and Cancer, or the Sun’s farthest reaches south and north of the Equator.
When the undermining had reached a substantial degree of effectiveness, Swar was then otherworldly. It could not simply cease to exist, but it could be diminished in material, tangible relevance. This is a most important point to bear in mind. The celestial wheel itself was dismembered. That is, three of its four segments, demarcated in time and space by the four Cardinal points, were Earthbound; but the fourth was in heaven, beyond this existence. Consequently, the measure of that segment was lost. The Gateway to Capricorn being located ‘in heaven’, was gradually seen to lose its connection with the solstice axis so easily determined by the Sun’s northern and southern reaches, or the longest and shortest days of the year. Insofar as the sign Capricorn can be proven to be the underlying ‘note’ of the civilisation, expressing itself through numerous cultural modes and yogic realisations, this phenomenon could not fail to leave an imprint on the national psyche for many years to come.
The decay manifested in a shift, dramatic and deadly. The Gateway was no longer pertinent to the Earth and her yearly orbit of the Sun – i.e., her Divine Maya of 365 days. Undermining the Earth-oriented reality was reflected in precisely the ‘position’ of that sacred Gateway. It was no longer to be determined by the actual physical southernmost reach of the Sun. It was to be hereinafter established by the constellation of fixed starsBEYOND our solar system. And yet we find such key importance given to determining the longest and shortest days of the year – i.e., the solstice points. But this effort was rendered futile when Capricorn was measured beyond the ecliptic.
Varahamihira played a central role in fixing this new method, this new Gateway. To him the history of science attributes the new calculations: rectification of the Hindu calendar. He concluded that the constellational gateway to Capricorn was the true point to measure and that the calendar had to be brought into line with that outer circle beyond our solar system. Anything less would be inaccurate and scientifically untenable. Or at least if he was not the originator of this idea, he was perhaps the one most responsible for the ‘respectability’ it attained.
It is to be noted that when Varahamihita was carrying out his empirical observations, the two points were nearly coinciding. That is, in 234 BC the start of the zodiacal wheel, 0° Aries, or 21/22 March in calendar time, was aligned with Aries of the constellational sphere in the far reaches of our circumscribing space. Thereafter, at the slow pace of 72 years per degree of celestial longitude, the two circles or their respective 0 points, began to drift apart due to what is known as the Precession of the Equinoxes. By the time Varahamihira entered the scene the distance between them was considerable but not easily visible (and even today their exact location varies from school to school). In the intervening 700 years or so, the separation was less than 10°of celestial longitude. Today it is a full 30 degrees: the sign of Pisces plus 1 degree into the constellation Aquarius. In calendar time it is 2160 years plus 67, which brings us to 1993, the 2160 of the Age of Pisces and the first 67 years of the Age of Aquarius from its inception in 1926 to the present date.
This contribution of Varahamihira is celebrated by a contemporary mathematical historian, George Gheverghese Joseph, in his recent publication, The Crest of the Peacock (Penguin Books, 1992). Perusal of this book provides interesting reading in view of the emphasis in our study on the Euro-centric perversion which has done such great damage to the Hindu psyche. Gheverghese has focussed on this same point in his discussion of the contribution of the orient to the evolution of mathematics. His work also establishes that biases in scientific quarters have diminished Asia’s indisputable position in the formation of contemporary scientific thought.
However, the similarity in our focus ends there, insofar as Gheverghese makes no attempt to rectify certain long-standing errors regarding the origins of this civilisation and its time frame. Whereas, in this study I have demonstrated that without clarifying this particular aspect of the perversion, the rest is immaterial. Indeed, Gheverghese Joseph considers the period marked by Varahamihira, and then Aryabharat and Bhaskaran to have been India’s golden age of science and mathematics. In the light of the new cosmology, however, it is seen as the beginning of the decline, or in a certain sense its peak.
Science, Veda, and Centeredness
What is extremely interesting about the public discourse now in progress in India (to the limited extent that any discourse can be public with much of the media so heavily controlled), generated by the Ayodhya affair, is the way in which central premises are being strengthened either by negation or assertion. One important premise is related to the so-called Aryan Invasion Theory.
As I have discussed in the October, 1992 issue of VISHAAL (TVN 7/4), this theory can honestly and scholastically be considered nothing more than that: a theory. In fact, there is sufficient reason to campaign for the total rejection of this theory, largely because of the almost entire lack of supporting evidence. I do not wish to re-open the issue at this point. My intention is to focus on a particular problem the debate highlights. It has been my contention for a long time that this sacrosanct theory is a key element in any sound and secure divide-and-rule policy. Indeed, in India’s case it can be argued that the colonial hold over the subcontinent could not have been as effective as it was without this theory. I further contend that if at all the desired renaissance of the Vedic spirit and culture is to ensue, the first element to be dealt with must perforce be this theory insofar as its existence prolongs that divisive rule in the psyche of the population.
My reasons for making this statement are many, but I will deal with one aspect considering that it is the most relevant to our present discussion. This is the centredness of India’s destiny. That is, its destiny of being the Earth’s centre, from where certain influences emanate, spread out to consecutive peripheries beyond this centre-most point on the globe, which we have seen to be delineated accurately by the Capricorn hieroglyph. If there is a movement called Hindutva in India, which literally means Hindu-ness and which is gaining in popularity by leaps and bounds, we may also call our new Way centredness. For both mean the same thing under deeper scrutiny.
The meaning of centredness is that the circle or periphery is held together by this Point; and more importantly, that it is a growth, a continuous evolution from within, from the centre outward. There are indeed two movements, expansion and contraction, in any cosmic process; and this is also relevant where this special centredness exists. Outside influences, whatever they may be and from wherever they may emanate, are drawn into the area of the Symbol by contraction. But given the existence of the Point, the Centre, they do not precipitate a destructive process and cause collapse, simply because there is no central void into which such a collapse can ensue.
Regarding invasions, for example, whatever enters or is drawn into the area of the Symbol has to find its place in the periphery given the existence of the Centre – or rather, given the fact that there is no ‘void’. In other words, conversions of the indigenous population in such a circumstance could not be entirely successful; at least to the degree where the entire character and spirit of the civilisation would be irreparably altered. In-roads were made, but ultimately a counter movement, a wave, must arise by virtue of the laws governing the centredness we are describing. A balance of intake and output exists in such a system. And Time regulates the mechanism.
Earlier in this study I have described this system as an ecliptic, similar to that of our solar system. This Vedic ecliptic base is an unchangeable fact of Indian civilisation. Periodically, regulated by laws governing the mechanism, the counterbalancing wave arises, generated from within, from the Centre, and each thing that had entered the system, or the ecliptic base, from outside the symbol delineation is perforce put in place within the system. It is not even a question of an attempt. It is an irrevocable fact of destiny, given the seed of the Veda which lies at the heart of the civilisation. Or better said, which stands as the central Sun, holding this cosmos together and preventing collapse.
However, a key feature of centredness is the very element which is so ferociously being attacked at present by the presiding intelligentsia. It is the question of the validity or not of the Aryan Invasion Theory. For if such an invasion, migration and colonisation did take place, the very first premise of this destiny of centredness would be invalidated. And with its abolition the entire structure or cosmos would be doomed to collapse.
In the above cited VISHAAL, I wrote that the continuity of the nation seems to hinge on maintaining this theory in place in the educational system. Indeed, in view of the fact that the Hindutva movement brought changes into text books in some northern states of the nation, rectifying the assumption of a ‘foreign origin’ of the civilisation, there has been a ferocious response from the intelligentsia and all such rectifications are now to be undone and the modified text books are to be returned to their original state – i.e., a further cementing of this great scholastic hoax.
The reason is evident. The Aryan Invasion Theory is to Indian civilisation what the premise of the Void is to this new cosmology. In the latter the theory of the central Void explains the nature of the Cosmic Ignorance. Similarly, the Aryan Invasion Theory implants this concept of central emptiness – which, it goes without saying, can be filled by any usurper; that is, invader or coloniser.
The essential feature of the cosmic Ignorance is the inner Void, causing collapse. It is the same with the Aryan Invasion Theory, and similarly it cannot engender a system that endures. If this theory were even minimally correct, long ago Vedic culture, still alive in the subcontinent, would have become diluted by each and every wave that had moved into the nation through its western flank. Finally, it would have been dissolved.
We do see the effects of incoming waves in the north, where much of the culture was ‘influenced’ by these invading waves. But they were arrested before they could overtake the area that matters most, – the south. However, these were obvious intrusions, easy to identify. The more serious invasion was in the educational system. A key perversion in this domain refers to the origins of the civilisation.
Now that the Centre has exerted its power as of 1983-84, it has become possible to chip away at this apparently firmly set theory and begin to dislodge it from its commanding throne in the mind of the intellectual elite and its hold on the educational system.
But the hysteria generated by the first attempt, which was predictable but never expected to reach the shrillness it did, is nowhere better demonstrated than in the 5.2.1993 editorial of The Times of India. I quote,
‘…The unproven and indeed completely unhistorical assertion about Aryans being the original inhabitants of India echoes the Nazi attempts artificially to Aryanize Germany racially…’.
The editor continues by citing another ‘wild proclamation’ and the need to eradicate any vestiges of these ‘fascistic’ notions:
‘…In the Indian context, the assertion that “the country’s freedom struggle began 2,500 years ago” is menacing as it threatens to tear asunder the very culture and civilisation of India and pit the so-called “mainstream population” against the Adivasis, a constructed majority against minorities, and so on…’.
I am not aware of the origin of the ‘threatening quote’ the editor cites regarding the actual beginning of the freedom struggle as ‘2500 years ago’. But I must admit that whoever has made this statement was certainly inspired by a true understanding of the root of India’s subjugation which indeed can be located at about 500 BC.
I have referred to the consistency of the Vedic Knowledge. It is nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in a scrutiny of the history of mathematics of Indian origin such as Gheverghese has presented. There we do find proof that about 2,500 years ago a shift occurred, something very profound, deeply wounding the very heart and soul of the civilisation. The wound gradually produced the severance of so-called religiously-based geometry of the Vedic order from the secular which was first noted in the Bakhshali Manuscript, dated around 200 or 300 AD. The ‘secular’ system this manuscript presents, the manner of its presentation, indicates that it is a compilation of older texts, and therefore we can safely assume that the shift to this form of emphasis was firmly in place some centuries before the actual penning of this particular text.
The wound in question was undoubtedly of the Vedic Dharma. The realisation of Nirvana (‘dissolution’) which surfaced in the civilisation precisely around 2,500 years ago, was one aspect of the undermining. It diminished the validity of the cosmic manifestation to the point where the central premise of Vedic civilisation was shaken to the core: that is, as above, so below, to borrow the Hermetic aphorism.
In other words, the salient feature of every single cultural expression of this unique civilisation hinged on the recondite knowledge of equivalency. Or, what I have termed, the Laws of Correspondence. That is, the Vedic Seer not only had the deepest insights into the nature of Reality but was cognisant of the laws whereby ‘heaven’ was brought down to Earth. Thus, prior to the undermining, the whole point of Vedic sciences was to recreate the cosmic harmony either in music, sculpture or temple architecture, for example, and thereby to establish an intrinsic oneness with the Cosmos as the foundation of the civilisation.
With the 2500-year old undermining of the reality and validity of the Cosmos, this orientation suffered almost irreparable damage. Thus we find a clear gap in the historian’s analyses of the development of those sciences of approximately 1000 years – from 500 BC to 500 AD. During this time the Divine Measure was lost and this became reflected in the shift from ecliptical to constellational measurement of the Capricorn Gateway. This miscalculation was then carried over to all facets of cultural expressions where time played a part – i.e., the entire collective life.
The Vedic foundation was never dissolved by the undermining. It was simply clouded over, veiled, driven underground, as it were. This was made especially easy by the divide between astrology and astronomy, for example. Science was measurable. Pseudo-science (astrology) was not. And the gap widened to our present times where, as an example of the extremes this attitude has produced, we have a ‘secular’ architect in Auroville in charge of building a Seer’s vision and plan of a temple grounded solidly in Vedic science and tradition, and whose demolition of that Vision is fiercely upheld simply because it makes no sense to him and all others of his ilk who are in positions of power and able to continue inflicting the same critical damage on the civilisation as of old.
There are traces of sound knowledge of complicated mathematical and geometric processes in the ancient Vedic culture earlier than about 500 BC. It is interesting that no one can account for the proven existence of such knowledge given the assumed primitiveness of the race that was supposed to have migrated into and colonised the land. I will quote from Gheverghese once again in his discussion of the Sri Yantra of Tantric tradition:
‘Many of the accurate constructions of sriyantas in India are very old. Some are even more complicated than the one shown [here]. There are those that consist of spherical triangles for which the constructor, to achieve perfect intersections and vertices falling on the circumference of the circle enclosing the triangles, would require knowledge of “higher mathematics [which] the medieval and ancient Indian mathematician did not possess” [Kulaichev, 1984, p. 292.). Kulaichev goes on to suggest that the achievement of such geometrical constructs in Indian mathematics may indicate “the existence of unknown cultural and historical alternatives to mathematical knowledge, e.g. the highly developed tradition of special imagination”.’ (The Crest of the Peacock, p. 239.)
This ‘special imagination’ was of course the sound tradition of the Act of Seeing as the method to garner knowledge about anything worth the trouble. But though it seems to be a lost art, there is evidence of the practice, even in contemporary Indian society, for example in the work of the noted South Indian mathematician, Ramanujan. He is known to have reached certain conclusions by great leaps in logic, overstepping usual procedures, clearly akin to the ‘special imagination’ referred to above by the historian. Even years after his death mathematicians continue to grapple with Ramanujan’s conclusions which are known now to be accurate but the processes leading to the final results are often bewilderingly foggy. It is also worth mentioning that Ramunajan dealt with numbers in a way reminiscent of this new cosmology and the ancient tradition. They were for him ‘beings’, invested with ‘personalities’. In addition, he is reported to have received his highest inspirations from the Goddess. Again true to the ancient Vedic tradition.
The editorial of The Times of India goes on to label the new wave in education as reflective of ‘divisive, unscientific and prejudiced ideological underpinnings’. And further on he states that …’It is reassuring, therefore, that the country’s intelligentsia has finally woken up to the mischief that is sought to be done through such abuse of the educational system’.
The only ‘mischief’ sought to be done is simply to rid the educational system of its colonial biases and set in its place the true indigenous culture so that the student may feel secure in his roots laying deeply in the soil he treads and not in a shallow top- soil brought from the Middle East and Europe. But this is unacceptable. Just as the Mother’s Vedic Temple was unacceptable and the western architect was allowed by all the powers-that-be in Auroville and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry to dismantle that Vision in each and every detail, leaving in its place a meaningless, purposeless structure whose only notoriety lies in its ‘technological’, ‘unsuperstitious’ and ‘secular’ character.
The rise and establishment of Separatism
Following closely upon the heels of the separation between this world and that, this Earth and that Heaven beyond, the same distinction was played out in certain key areas of Vedic sciences. Astrology (jyotisa) was the first and most important. With the contribution of the scientific trio, Aryabharat, Varahamihira, and Bhaskara, among others, the split between astronomy and astrology became fixed – similar to the fixed and unchanging point in the sky which was the reference point of all subsequent astrological calculations after Varahamihira’s rectification of the calendar. Thereafter astrology began to suffer from an increasing subjugation to science. And this was separate and apart from the Vedic cosmological paradigm. Science could measure with accuracy what the other was able to establish only through the Act of Seeing, or via the yogic realisation of oneness or knowledge by identity. This was too ‘vague’, too much subject to error and not verifiable empirically. And these early scientists were in a position to expose the errors. In the process, because the yogi was not equipped to deal with the impositions, science succeeded in imposing its measure and relegating the yogi and the seer to the other side of the fence separating ‘reality’ from illusion. With the passage of time it became increasingly easy to label the Vedic approach as mere superstition. This condition has peaked in our century.
Again I must draw the discussion back to the original point made: the entire exercise centres on the accuracy of the Gateway to Capricorn. By the time that Gateway will be reached not in the yearly passage but in the long movement of the Precession of the Equinoxes determining the astrological Ages, covering two more signs, the distance in Hindu reckoning between these two 0 points will be one full quarter of the wheel. That is, all of ‘Swar’ will have been relegated to the cosmic dustbin, swallowed up by the Black Hole of otherworldliness.
But this, of course, in an impossibility, given India’s unalterable destiny; the reason being that very mechanism we are dissecting, described by the ecliptic itself and which harbours within its own method of rectification; or in this case of reestablishment.
Thus, the Vedic tradition sustains that periodically the Avatar incarnates to do the work of the Time-Spirit. The tales describing the missions of those who have passed and those to come, explain the work as a struggle between good and evil ostensibly. But, conditioned as we are by the latter-day religious consciousness which accompanied the split I have discussed in these pages, we are unable to appreciate the true character of these appearances and the connection the unfolding of their lives has with the evolution of the planet’s species and the fulfilment of its deepest purpose in the family of 9. Interestingly, the specific details of these appearances and the nature of the work accomplished or to be accomplished, can be read in that very celestial sphere we are dissecting at present with regard to the Capricorn Gateway. By the time the 10th Avatar appears, Kalki as he is known, the work is done. And that work is entirely described in the Capricorn hieroglyph, the 10th of the zodiacal 12. The reestablishment in question is the rectification whereby Swar is drawn down to Earth, rooted in the planet’s soil and in the area on the globe where that hieroglyph is embodied in the substance of our earthly mass. In other words, when oneness comes to replace duality and the perception of unity replaces the separative.
The importance of a text such as the Brihat Samhita lies in the fact that it reveals unequivocally the Earth-oriented character of the Vedic spirit. I am not concerned with the ‘science’ it is supposed to explain, but simply that this and similar texts indicate in no uncertain terms that for the Vedic Seers ‘heaven’ was not removed to another dimension accessible only through the practice of Yoga which was necessarily out of bounds for the ordinary mortal. It was a reality of our planetary abode – I repeat, a measurable space on the body of the Earth herself. These texts therefore display this intrinsic perception of oneness by the fact that they document the sense the sage was able to perceive in everything that went into the composition of his culture and civilisation.
Thus on page after age of the Brihat Samhita we find innumerable examples of what we have come to call ‘omens’. Or else there are many chapters dedicated to the study of physical features, both in animals and humans, which mean something or other. Naturally our present-day scientific culture ridicules these prescriptions, labelling them all ‘superstitions’, particularly because, as I have written earlier, these texts are not discussing ‘symbols’ and we cannot take refuge in the comforting phrases of all modern treatments of ‘symbols’ – i.e., one thing standing for another. Varahamihira, as others of his epoch, simply states facts: This IS that, it does not ‘stand for that’.
The fact is that we are far removed from such a consciousness, therefore we can only consider its expounders superstitious. But essential to note is not the truth or falsehood of the ‘omens’ but the fact that for some now inexplicable reason, the ancient Seers believed it was possible to read the forms of Nature as one would a book and discover meanings which are lost to us today. In other words, Nature’s manifold display was rendered sacred by this factor of deciphering a message hidden in form, a meaning completely lost to the eye of the contemporary scientist; and in most cases even to the eye of the modern yogi.
For both have become victims of ‘otherworldliness’. Swar is beyond, not here. And it is that truth-conscious Sun whose rays (cows) instil each and every element of our material creation with the seeds of this divine Purpose. Thus two of the most compellingly attractive deities of the Vedic pantheon are Usha, the divine Dawn, and Agni her ‘steed’. These early rays of the rising Sun are the first display of that truth-conscious Solar World, spreading its beneficence throughout the physical dimension.
The world of Varahamihira was already considerably removed in time from the epoch of the ancient Seers. In his period we are already into the decline of the Knowledge. This is revealed precisely in the chapters of the Samhita which deal with the means to accurately locate (in time) the solstice of Capricorn, or the shortest (and longest) day of the year. He reveals in his treatment of the subject that already in his day the divine Maya of the Veda was lost. Nonetheless, his emphasis on this particular point is especially important in that it helps us to locate the truly relevant portions of such studies and the prominence this solstice Gateway has always enjoyed.
In addition to the above, Varahamihira’s compilation from older texts shows us that the synthesis of various disciplines, various features of the culture, was possible because the backdrop was always the cosmic harmony, then as now.
For this is the salient feature of the eternal Dharma: it is eternal by virtue of the fact that it is grounded in that eternally unfolding cosmic harmony. As long as the cosmos lives, this Truth lives on.
When creation became a meaningless web of illusion, a tissue of cosmic and Earthly lies, forms of this creation could no longer be ‘read’; for the measure by which this was accomplished had been lost as a predictable outcome of the realisation of Dissolution. That which was dissolved in the experience was the pivot which provided the central position or poise from where any such ‘reading’ could ensue. That is, from the centremost Point, from soul to soul, or the deepest depths of every created thing. The direction, as I have pointed out time and again, was inward, a plunge to the Centre – not outward and beyond.
But this was a realisation known only to the earliest Rishis. Thereafter the direction changed. And even today when we speak of the soul, it has little resemblance to that Point of the Vedic realisation. The wonder of it all is that in spite of the relentless attacks on this Point, India has managed to preserve its high truth. But a deeper scrutiny of its history of the past two thousand years helps us to appreciate that first the attack was so-called spiritual, or in the realm of the yogic realisation proper. Then it passed on to the more tangible aspects such as the astronomical/astrological divide, the life of renunciation in contrast to the ‘worldly’ life, and so on down to our times and the division of secular and non-secular and all the confusion this separation engenders in societies which have something of those ancient roots intact.
In the vision and lived experience of Unity and Oneness, these stark divides are non-existent. Another example is the Ashramas, or the four stages of life: childhood, youth, householder and recluse, or retreat to the forest and a life dedicated to the inner pursuits. This simplified version of life was again a means to convey an integral realisation. After all, the stages were taken from the cosmic sphere, as all else in the Vedic Seeing. And in that wheel we do find the four quarters related to these very stages. Therefore, while utilising the circle as the backdrop, divided into these four periods of one’s life, again the message was driven home that time held the key, but that each segment was contained in the one vessel. As time unfolded the inner essence from the seed, these different stages found expression.
Important to note, however, is the fluidity of the design, a key feature which has become lost over the ages and the usual hardening has crystallised the moving sphere into a set and fixed pattern, more often than not presenting the individual with an ‘ideal’ which he or she cannot possibly attain.
Gheverghese’s book gives us a rather clear confirmation of my contention that the spiritual realisation preceded the subsequent decline which became visible in various areas of the collective life. This is especially confirmed precisely by the time factor. From his reading of the situation, based on the approximate turning points in the evolution of science in the subcontinent, we are able to appreciate that something occurred right at the time I have pinpointed on the basis of an understanding of what that new realisation brought into the civilisation. This period was the time of Gautam the Buddha, as well as the rise of Jainism. But it was also the beginning of the Age of Pisces, or 234 BC. It is important to note for our study that this is considered to be the period, covering perhaps half a millennium, when, as Gheverghese explains, ‘…The resulting decline in offering Vedic sacrifices, which had played such a central role in Hindu ritual, meant that occasions for constructing altars requiring practical skills and geometric knowledge became few and far between. There was also a gradual change in the perception of the role of mathematics: from fulfilling the needs of sacrificial ritual, it became an abstract discipline to be cultivated for its own sake.’ (Ibid, pp. 250-251.)
Thus, we note that when that earlier central perception was lost, around which hinged the geometry and mathematics of those days, the emphasis shifted and mathematics became more ‘secular’. It was no longer oriented to the construction of the Vedic altar (‘vedi’). And it was most probably during this period that the shift from the Earth-oriented measure of the solstice to the constellational sphere took place, in exclusion of all the rest. Thus, in the 6th century Varahamihira corrected the Hindu calendar, according to scholars, so that the precessional point would be more ‘accurate’. But this accuracy lost sight of that earlier perception, and with it an entirely different orientation.
The rediscovery of what has come to be known as ‘Vedic Mathematics’, which I have discussed earlier, highlights a very important shift that came about in the period we are analysing and which has become fully consolidated in our times. I refer to the fact that in the ancient system the striking aspect of the sages’ mathematics is its character of Unity. That is, the underlying principle of all Indian philosophy and yoga was reflected in that earlier arithmetical system by the fact that sums or other processes were carried out on the basis of a reference to a whole and undivided factor. As Gheverghese points out in his analysis of Vedic Mathematics, ‘…There are benefits from looking at a number not just as itself, but also in relation to a suitable base’ (ibid, p. 248, italics mine). This means that an operation was always carried out by referring to a whole, a unity, clearly reflecting the then consciousness of unity enjoyed by those who engaged in these sciences for purposes other than just as an ‘abstract discipline’.
To my knowledge, no one has cared to draw the connections I am making here. Perhaps because there is a rejection a priori of the idea that these more material and practical processes were preceded by the spiritual realisation. And that this yogic shift had the inevitable result of producing its effects in many areas of the civilisation’s cultural expressions. Indeed, most would consider that the shift I refer to was actually a progress and reduced the ‘superstitious’ content and paganistic animism to some extent; or that this signified a greater sophistication. Or else we read time and again that this development which was introduced or accentuated by Buddhism, was the answer to a growing predominance of the Brahmin caste and its suppression of those lower down on the echelon. However, if we study the matter deeply on the basis of the effects such a spiritual realisation necessarily produces, we realise that superstition must follow in the wake of a loss of an ‘eye that sees’. For it is when the ability to read the forms Nature produces on the basis of the true and higher Knowledge that those empty shells, as it were, become the property of the Cosmic Ignorance – i.e., the undivine Maya, or the lower Prakriti divorced from Purush, or Form devoid of sense; and this ‘empty space’ is then usurped and becomes the habitat of the Cosmic Lie. This separation, this divide is what characterises the Cosmic Ignorance. It is what produces rigidity and the fluidity mentioned above is lost. That hardness then becomes the fixed denominator of caste and affects so many other crucial areas of life. We see this clearly reflected in Varahamihira’s Brihat Samhita, a text which carries all the characteristics of that hardening, for by then that Vedic realisation had become a thing of the past.
There was one area, however, that retained much of its pristine quality. This was architecture, namely of temples.
The Eternal Mountain
I doubt that it is possible to find an architectural form which reproduces in stone with such exactitude the deepest essence of a philosophy as we find in the Hindu Temple. Every aspect of the structure illumines the profoundest contents of the Veda. Insofar as the axis is the most important feature of the structure, along with and correlated to its alignment, I shall discuss this aspect of Vedic sacred architecture in depth. In so doing, the purpose will be to highlight the precise manner in which these paramount features of the art have been carried over into our times. This transposition involves not only the Mother’s vision of a contemporary version of the ancient Seeing in precisely the plan of a temple, but also a certain mythological content with its equally exact symbolism. For the two go hand in hand in the true Act of Seeing.
The main focus is on the central axis of the temple and around that ‘churning stick’ the mountain takes shape. The Hindu temple is thus a most exact description of one of the most important of all Puranic myths, the tale of the Churning of the Primordial Ocean. Each Hindu temple, constructed anew today or standing in our midst from antiquity, reproduces this tale, with all that it signifies for a Capricorn-rooted civilisation.
Thus that axis is the pivot of Mount Meru, the churning stick with the serpent Vasuki wrapped around and tugged at by the Asuras and the Devas, the titans and the gods. Again, this appears to be a simple tale, primitive and quaint. Yet I am obliged to state that it contains the highest content of cosmological knowledge of our Age. And furthermore, that it is practical and applicable. On the basis of a comprehension of its multiple meanings we can discover our true purpose as a civilisation founded on a Vedic content, and the role India must play in this and the next millennium.
But this axis is not reserved for temples solely. We find the same content in all the ancient art forms of the subcontinent which are still practised today. It is found preeminently, so easily recognisable, in music where the drone is the axis, or the silent Sound out of which all sound arises and sustains itself. The drone is the churning stick, the immobile Centre which supports the action and movement of the raga, which permits a controlled expression to evolve. Or rather, which roots the experience (the raga) onto or into this Earth, just as Mount Meru is the physical India, the immobile centre of the globe, without which the same control in the evolution could not exist. Time could not function for us in the manner I have demonstrated in these pages without the axis of Mount Meru as a physical reality rooted into the planet’s very being.
I repeat, this was carried into all the other major art forms. In iconography it is especially evident but no less in dance. Bharatnatyam, for instance, is entirely based on this fact: the function of axial alignment. S. V. Rajee Raman has mentioned this in an article on the subject of Indian dance in the 14.2.1993 Sunday Mail.
‘Indian dance seeks to depict the perfect point or moment of balance along the vertical medium (brahmasutra), so much so that all movements emerge from and return to the sama or point of perfect balance akin to the samabhanga of sculpture. Indian dance concerns itself with movements of the human form in direct relation to the pull of gravity. No one has dared to challenge or change this.’
Clearly, given the fact that it is the same Mount Meru the dancer is called upon to reconstruct, and that this is the essential message of the Veda, it is obvious that to be faithful to this singular cosmic content the dancer must respect this feature and indeed it cannot be changed.
Dr. Stella Kramrisch, in her comprehensive study, The Hindu Temple, has also emphasised the special importance of the mountain symbol and its central axis in her analysis of the content of the Hindu temple. I shall quote extensively from her chapter, ‘The Image of the Mountain and the Cavern’, to help the student appreciate the manner in which the new cosmology has incorporated the most ancient Vedic knowledge which we still find preserved in India today. As far as temple architecture is concerned, this is especially true of Tamil Nadu where Aeon Centre of Cosmology is located. Kramrisch writes,
‘Meru, Mandara and Kailasa are the first three names amongst the twenty types of temples described in the early texts, the ‘Brihat Samhita’ and the “Matsya Purana’; all three are names of the Mountain, which is the axis of the world; that is Meru, the pole of this earth; Mandara as churning rod, planted on Vishnu, the tortoise, during the Satya Yuga, the first world age after the great commotion; and Kailasa, seat of Shiva, in the Himalaya. In these names rises the temple, the image, the aim and destination of this world edifice.’ (The Hindu Temple, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers)
In a footnote to the above, Kramrisch mentions a series of inscriptions, dating from the 5th century of our era, which extol certain important temples as the Mountain. Of particular interest, specifically related to our study of the importance of Capricorn as the high noon point, or the Cosmic Midday, is an inscription at Deopara in which, to quote Kramrisch, ‘the high temple of Pradyumnesvara is compared to the (central) Mountain on which rests the sun at midday [italics mine], and this is the only Mountain worth mention among all the mountains’ [Ibid].
Indubitably, this provides proof that the cosmological content of the Hindu temple rested on knowledge of the zodiacal sign Capricorn, the sign of the ‘sun at midday’, and its singular importance in the destiny of India, given its revered place in the body of Vedic knowledge. But what is important to note is that Mount Meru, representing India and Capricorn in the Hindu temple, is not just a geographical location. Its primary significance is its connection with the cosmos. That is, what is really being depicted is the uttarayana, or the higher hemisphere of the celestial sphere. The peak of the Mountain would thus be the uppermost northern sign of that hemisphere, Capricorn. And within the sign the peak is the 15th degree of the full 30 which each sign of the zodiac contains. In other words, the Hindu temple was concerned with capturing this cosmological fact in stone, with connecting the structure to that heavenly sphere, or with bringing that sign to Earth, with all that this act signifies in the ‘marriage of Heaven and Earth’.
Mount Meru is also Kailasa which is Shiva’s abode. In his marriage to Parvati, a hierogamos still celebrated with great fervour throughout India today during the main festival to Shiva, the Shivaratri, Shiva is that ‘heaven’ and Parvati is that ‘earth’ made sacred by this divine commingling.
Kramrisch discusses at length the ‘verticality’ of the superstructure of the temple which is devised in such a way as to emphasise the mountain imagery. Then, she passes on to the interior, as if one were penetrating the mountain itself, to discover in its innermost recesses ‘a cavern’. In the Vedic terminology, this is known as the Garbhagriha, the womb-house. She writes,
‘Within it and below the superstructure is the Garbhagriha, the ‘womb of the house’, a small chamber, square, in the majority of the preserved temples, and dark as a cave in a mountain. It is the innermost sanctuary…’ (Ibid).
The author stresses the fact in her penetrating analysis and compilation of the ancient texts that from this ‘womb’, similar to the seed or bija, the entire temple develops:
‘The seed is deposited at night in the womb of mother Earth, as Garbha, a germ of the temple… In the vertical, in the upward direction, which is that of growth, from below,…the power of germination lifts as it were the lid of the Garbhagriha… The Garbhagriha is the nucleus of an all sided increase on the outside, in the horizontal, a stepping forth from the dark interior into expanding bulk and multiplicity of form and meaning . . . ‘ (Ibid, p. 165).
The two important universal directions are emphasised here – vertical and horizontal, or contraction and expansion. In the new cosmology, contrary to the connection Kramrisch seems to be drawing here, contraction is related to the vertical direction by way of Involution; expansion relates to the horizontal and the Evolution. But the important point to note is that in the Vedic temple we find centrally incorporated these two directions. In the original plan of the Mother’s temple, the same directions are emphasised.
In the next section entitled, ‘The Superposition of Shapes along the Vertical Axis’, Kramrisch turns to the fundamental importance of the vertical axis in the temple design; indeed, she makes it clear in her analysis that the question of the central axis from the Garbhagriha, cutting through the peak of the superstructure – or the apex of ‘the mountain’ – is common to all Hindu temples and that it is the single most important element.
‘On this vertical axis are threaded the levels of the building, its floors (bhumi) and profiles, their projections and recesses. Expansion [in this instance equated with the horizontal] proceeds from the central point of the Garbhagriha, in the horizontal, in all directions of space; this spread with its particularisation is gathered up towards the apex; the broad mass with its many forms is reduced to a point,…beyond its total form… Its mass diminishes while it is drawn along the vertical to a high point, straight above the centre in the dark small space of the interior…’ (Ibid, p.167).
Further on she writes,
‘Symbols such as the vertical axis or pillar along which the varied forms are threaded on different levels or the cave in the mountain, and architectural forms such as the convergence of ascending lines which connect the perimeter of the building with the end of its vertical axis, or the various shapes of the superstructure, these and other images and forms constitute the symbolical and concrete structure of the temple. The temple under the name of the mountain resembling it by its peaked form, is always the One Mountain, an image of manifestation in its hierarchy along the central axis of being. This axis passes through all the strata of existence and shows them linked to the highest point, at different levels. From the highest point the line passes in the centre and pierces the ground in the middle of the Garbhagriha where the Linga or image is. From the perimeter of the (temple) towards its highest point rises the bulk of the building, a vesture of the central axis, in its folds and throughout its extent, it is an exposition of the total meaning of the temple in the particular application to each single spot.’ (Ibid, p.168)
My purpose in quoting Stella Kramrisch in detail on this particular aspect of the Hindu temple is the need to establish certain focal points of reference so that we may recognise these same elements in the contemporary experience. My intention is to demonstrate factually the precise manner in which the Vedic Dharma is reestablished. As stated earlier, this is achieved exclusively on the basis of that same Act of Seeing which the ancient Rishis made use of in their foundation-laying of what we know as Hinduism today. The temple which ultimately emerged from this act, reproduced throughout the centuries and across the breadth of the subcontinent, is veritably a Book of Knowledge. Each one contains the detailed Knowledge of the most essential features of the Vedic experience.
For the Hindu, therefore, the temple is not merely a place of worship, a place for congregating, a stronghold of the priesthood, the Bhramin caste, or whatever. The Hindu temple is a vibrant documentation of the seed of the Veda, and the power, it is most important to note, which is generated from a scrupulous adherence to the sage’s specifications regarding the measurement, design, orientation and materials employed in the man-made construction which allow it to serve as the vessel for certain cosmic energies of a particular order to be deposited on Earth.
There are thus several elements to be noted for the purpose of demonstrating the manner in which a true reestablishment comes into being. First is the Mountain symbol, then the Cave, or garbhagriha at the centre of the Mountain, and finally the Vertical Axis rising to the top through the centre’…like a hollow reed… This hollow reed passes through its centre. The pillar inheres in the (temple) which is the universe in a likeness. The Pillar of the Universe, the Axis Mundi, inheres in the World Mountain…’ (Ibid, page 175). And, of course, this ‘pillar’ is Skambha.
The reestablished ‘Mountain Axis’
In 1970, I wrote The Magical Carousel. The book was the fruit of an ‘act of seeing’, a veritable projection onto the point between my eyebrows, as if there was a screen therein on which this vivid projection took shape. The result was a contemporary myth, conforming to all the demands of this type of oral and literary creation.
I will quote portions from Chapter 10 of this story, precisely the chapter describing ‘the land of Capricorn’. In so doing, the student will be able to appreciate that indeed the Veda is based on an Eternal Truth, a sanatan dharma, in as much as the Act of Seeing occurred well beyond the borders of subcontinental India and at a time when I had no knowledge of all the intricacies of the Hindu temple, much less its relation to the Mountain, and, above all, to the zodiacal sign of Capricorn. Yet it will become more than clear from the portions quoted that a certain timeless dimension opened its doors, or drew aside its veils and allowed me to see. In so doing, an act of reestablishment occurred in the domain of myth, so essential a feature of Vedic culture.
Chapter 10 is entitled. ‘The Universal Mother, Conquest and Crystallisation in Matter’. It begins when the two protagonists, the children Val and Pom-pom, are transported by the heroic Centaur of the previous sign-land, Sagittarius, and deposited ‘at the border’, beyond which he is not permitted to go. It is the special boundary which the Aryan Warrior of old sought to cross in his quest, in his ‘journey’ to the top of the Mountain in the tenth sign-month. (We shall discuss the nature of this ‘border’ further on and its relationship to the Supramental Creation.) Once across the border and in the land of Capricorn, the children come face-to-face with ‘the Mountain’:
‘An enormous steep mountain rises before them, a majestic sight that juts up from the plains and stretches to the heavens. Silhouetted against the bright sky it would seem as if the mountain were living, actually breathing, for the shadows formed by the crests and crevices make it appear as the face of a very ancient and wise person.’ (The Magical Carousel, p.103)
This first seeing establishes certain facts which are contained in the Veda and in the New Way. To begin, we have the land epitomised in the Mountain symbol. Added to this is that it [this it?] is equated with the ancient sages, the ‘wise person’. This is the ‘One Mountain’ Kramrisch refers to in her analysis of the Hindu temple, the ‘only Mountain worth mention among all the mountains’.
The children begin to scale the Mountain and when they stop to rest, surveying the land below in the far distance they see a vast bed of water. There is a splash and ‘some sort of animal emerging from the water (which) they suspect to be a crocodile’. When this strange animal reaches the children, they realise it is a Goat with the tail of a fish – or the traditional animal-symbol of Capricorn. But mention of a crocodile in connection with the sign is significant in this type of spontaneous seeing. The Sanskrit work for Capricorn is makar, which is translated as ‘crocodile’. Referring to Kramrisch’s text once again, we shall see how pointedly this ‘crocodile’ surfaces in the garbhgriha of the Hindu Temple, and its precise relation to Capricorn, the apex sign of the uttarayana, or the ‘northern hemisphere’ of the ecliptic. In a footnote Kramrisch refers to the ‘water in the cave’,
‘The ‘water in the cave’ is in the Garbhagriha the water with which the Linga or image are laved in the daily rites. It passes from the image to a drain on the floor which traverses the middle of the north wall of the Garbhagriha, and leaves through a spout carved in the likeness of a Makara, etc. The water in which the Linga or image has been bathed is sanctified and therefore is made to flow to the north. The Ganges too is most sacred where its course turns northward. The northern direction implies an upward course, back towards the origin – high up in the mountains and higher still in the celestial region.’ (The Hindu Temple, p.171, italics mine.)
It does not require much special insight to recognise that this is specifically Capricorn emerging once again in a most precise manner in the interior ‘cave’ of the Hindu temple. Both the sign’s symbol (Makar), as well as the position of the spout in the north wall so that the sacred water is made to ‘flow northward’ echo two of the most important elements of the sign. But it is curious to note that in spite of these very obvious clues, indicating to the researcher where to seek for the temple’s deepest significance and purpose – that is, the sign Capricorn – Kramrisch does not do so, similar to other researchers and scholars. Ignoring the Capricorn connection makes it impossible to render temple architecture a living art and eternally renewable. For it is Time, and in India’s case, Capricorn or the Makar Sankranti which hold the key to this renewability.
To return to our contemporary myth, the Goat-Fish (makar) carries the exhausted children further up the mountain and finally deposits them before a door which leads into the heart of the Mountain. They protest. They had wanted to reach the peak, but the Goat-Fish explains, ‘You cannot reach it by the outside. It is only through the inside that you may come to the peak’… (The Magical Carousel, p.105).
In view of the extensive description from Kramrisch’s work which I have quoted, precisely regarding the interior and the vertical axis leading to the top of the temple, or the peak of the mountain, these lines reveal that in penetrating the deepest recesses of the sign Capricorn, on which the Hindu temple is based, anyone, anywhere can see the form of the Hindu temple as devised by the ancient Seers, and that in its most essential details, the contemporary act of seeing will coincide perfectly with the experience of the earlier Rishis. But let us proceed with the story and the ‘ascent’ in the interior of the mountain.
The children do indeed experience the ascent once inside the mountain. But instead of reaching the peak, propelled by the Force they come into contact with, they find themselves.
‘….thrust into a solitary, isolated chamber of bare walls…Val and Pom-pom are at a point of utter despair when an insistent, continuous ticking is heard through the heavy silence. The sound increases and increases, becoming louder with each tick until it is right upon them and apparently in their very presence. They begin running round and round, passing their hands along the bare walls to make sure there are no secret doors and are soon at the point of exhaustion and collapse to the ground.
‘Lying there in complete stillness they become aware of a hole in the middle of the room, which seems to have been there all the while. The children crawl up to it, peer over the rim and down below they see an old, old man with flowing beard and long white hair, seated at a table with a huge book open before him. Behind him stands a great clock, unusual and unique for there are only three symbols drawn on its face: a minus to the left, a plus to the right and a circle in the middle. But there are no hands pointing anywhere as one would normally expect. The ticking is loud and strong now for it comes from this very clock.
‘As they gaze at the scene below, the old gentleman, table and clock slowly rise into the centre of the room through the hole.’ (Ibid, p.109-110.)
The essence of this Mountain chamber, so obviously the garbhagriha of the Hindu temple, also constructed on the basis of the mountain symbolism and Capricorn, is the Time-Spirit, or Mahakala of Vedic tradition. And this is Shiva. In the footnote from Stella Kramrisch’s book quoted above, the water which had been used in the inner sanctum of the Hindu temple and made to flow northward, was to bath the linga, an image sacred to Shiva. In our contemporary act of seeing it is precisely Shiva whom the children encounter, in the form of Mahakala, the Great Time.
In the desire to make this study non-speculative, I have quoted the above portions of The Magical Carousel in order to emphasise the point that in any attempt at reestablishment, the first prerequisite is the ability to carry out the same yogic process which produced the original Seeing. And this must be a spontaneous and non-mentalised approach. One cannot mentally create a myth, insofar as myths emerge from the fount of the soul and can be transcribed only on the basis of a plunge into this ‘cave’ in the mountain of one’s inner being, similar to a penetration as Val and Pom-pom have done into the interior of the Mountain where they meet the Time-Spirit who deciphers the script of their soul, that is, their destiny, by finding their page in the great Book of Life.
When this is accomplished, the Time-Spirit encourages them to continue their journey, to reach ‘the top of the mountain’ and the coveted vision of Omanisol, or the Universal Mother, essence of the very mountain itself. Or, the essence of creation. But to reach this Presence the children must do so through a shaft, a ladder of 99 steps, which carries them through the centre of the chamber to the top, as if it were indeed the ‘hollow reed’ Kramrisch describes as the vertical axis of all Hindu temples, leading through the ‘mountain’ of the superstructure from the garbhagriha to the peak. Likewise, in our contemporary Act of Seeing, there is a vertical axis which is the only means to reach the top of the Capricorn Mountain, and the divine Mother.
‘A woman sits before them.
‘She is clothed in robes that blend in colour with the mountain, in fact she herself appears to be a continuation of the mountain itself. She sits on the ground with legs crossed and covered by the robes, immobile and breathing ever so slightly, in a manner which makes one feel the physical life in her is suspended. Her face is not old but rather ancient, and her half-closed eyes reveal an understanding that is of the nature of the mountain over which she presides. Omanisol is cloaked in an aura of serenity and strength, of timelessness and intensity, which become a part of the children merely by being in her presence…
‘The mountain peak is enveloped in the rays of the brightest midday sun, which, however, Val and Pom-pom cannot locate in the sky. This vivid light makes it possible to see over an enormous distance, an unending stretch of land on all sides, revealing every type of landscape – dominated by the abode of Omanisol…’ (Ibid, p.111-112.).
What is described here is the land of Bharat Mata, our Omanisol, who is the centre of the World Mountain and from which central point one can see ‘an unending stretch of land on all sides.’ This is indeed India, Mount Meru, or the ‘churning stick’, that immobile rod or Axis Mundi. The analysis of the Hindu temple, presented by Dr. Kramrisch with many compilations from the ancient texts, tallies in almost every detail with the essential elements of the Capricorn chapter of The Magical Carousel. Inasmuch as my Act of Seeing was via the zodiac, a ‘journey’ through its twelve signs in the course of the year, I came upon the same Knowledge of old simply by penetrating the deepest recesses of the ‘sign-land’. What I discovered was the fundaments of the Hindu Temple in virtually all its details, at a time when I had no knowledge at all of Hinduism and its places of worship. Nor did I have any knowledge of sacred architecture of sacred geometry then. This too proves that the first step is the Act of Seeing, rather than the dry study of architecture and geometry. That is, devoid of that Vision, that Sense, these disciplines are simply academic exercises. They arise in the mental plane and bear no resemblance to the Vedic experience.
The point of the above is of course to demonstrate how the act of reestablishment of the Vedic Dharma takes place on the basis of a renewal which respects the essential Seeing but has the power to carry that experience into the present in an organic, harmonious process which is bereft of even the slightest tinge of dogmatism, rigidity and fossilisation. Time moulds the vision into the contours of its eternal present and influenced by the circumscribing conditions at any given moment. But central to the experience is the Evolutionary Avatar.
In The Magical Carousel it is the Avatar whom the children meet in the person of the Time-Spirit, for indeed the Avatars of Hindu tradition are known to be offspring of the Time-Spirit. But in this myth the form taken is specifically that of Mahakala because this is indeed the 9th Manifestation and therefore the Evolutionary Avatar of this sacred period of the eternally revolving Wheel is the 9th, who embodies the essence of that very Time-Spirit, or Shiva. And indeed, true to the Act of Seeing, it is Sri Aurobindo who appears before the children, the ‘old, old man with flowing beard and long white hair’.
The vertical axis, or the ladder of 99 steps, offers another clue to the Avatar. Apart from being that central shaft of the Hindu temple, in this case the ‘measure’ is 99. Indeed, when I did come to India, to the very abode of that Time-Spirit in the form of this 9th Avatar, it was in 1971, or in Sri Aurobindo’s 99th year. Joined with him in this renovation of the Divine Veda is the Mother. In our contemporary Act of Seeing it is Omanisol, the essence of the Capricorn Mountain. These two Beings are connected in the story by this ‘measure’ of 99. And indeed, the only way to the mountain top is through the centre, the interior dimension of being, a truth captured in every Hindu temple from time immemorial.
We have seen how reestablishment is carried out in the dimension of myth, so essential a feature of Vedic culture and contemporary Indian society. Now let us turn to the other facet of this Reestablishment, that of the actual temple plan. Or the Vedic Temple made new for this 9th Manifestation, respecting, however, every aspect of the old and ancient Way. Indeed, carrying that earlier Seeing to unimaginable heights of unparalleled splendour. This is not a fundamentalist’s imposition or a revivalist’s frenzy. It is simply Veda, the eternal Truth, eternally renewed by the Evolutionary Avatar – a phenomenon unique to India.
‘For me all is Brahman and I find the Divine everywhere. Everyone has the right to throw away this-worldliness and choose other-worldliness only, and if he finds peace by that choice he is greatly blessed. I, personally, have not found it necessary to do this in order to have peace. In my yoga also I found myself moved to include both worlds in my purview – the spiritual and the material – and to try to establish the Divine Consciousness and the Divine Power in men’s hearts and earthly life, not for a personal salvation only but for a life divine here…’.
Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga
It is certainly a sign of the times that again an article has appeared which seeks to drive a wedge between ancient Indian culture and the contemporary. This time it is Debashis Chakrabarti’s Hindutva: The religious incongruity (The Hindu, 6.2.2001)
However, there is a positive side to the frequency of these analyses in the printed media. It is that it provides us an opportunity to bring into the public domain certain obscure facets of the philosophy handed down throughout the ages, in the vast accumulation of thought and practice we call Hinduism today. In so doing, areas of the culture that appear puzzling, or even downright perverse (‘carnal’, to use Debashis Chakrabarti’s description), are brought into a clearer perspective.
There is no need to dwell on the question of the so-called Aryan Invasion, which Debashis Chakrabarti posits as an historical fact. This theory has been thoroughly discredited to the extent that it is surprising to encounter a researcher today who dares to continue citing this fictitious happening as real. But to delve into the more pertinent questions he raises, one quote from his article in this regard will suffice. He writes, ‘In fact, the Rigvedic culture represents the ancient naturalism of primitive, nomadic and pastoral Aryan/Indo-European tribes who had settled in the Sindhu-Ganga basin in the second or third millennium B.C.’
Apart from continuing to propagate the now dislodged theory as fact, Chakrabarti has raised deeper questions by his contention that the Rigveda is a document produced from a ‘primitive’, ‘tribal’ and ‘nomadic’ culture. It is necessary to expose the fallacy in his proposition; and this can readily be done when the sophistication of the Hymns is elaborated and the depth and breath of the consciousness in which these visions arose is explored. When this analysis is concluded, it will be for the public to decide if the Rigveda is the result of primitive nature worshipers, ‘pre-religious and animistic-naturalistic magic’. Or else, as is my contention, this sacred text is the product of a consciousness of unity unknown in the world today.
Dividing the Indivisible
Before all else, it needs to be stated that Chakrabarti’s perception of a ‘materialism’ suffusing the Rigveda is appropriate, given the fact that today we are limited in our appreciation of these aspects of reality (materialism/spiritualism). We tend to divide what for the Rishi was indivisible. The Rigveda is of most ancient origin. At that time there was a decisive homogeneity in the culture, wherein these distinctions not only did not exist, the very act of dividing aspects of that One Reality into these compartments was anathema.
However, the ‘materialism’ that Chakrabarti attributes to the Rigveda fails to encompass the sacred. It was, for the Rishi, a material sanctity, if you will, or a sanctified materialism. The acme of the quest was not posited beyond material creation. The Seer had no need to: the Absolute was part and parcel of the creation that was perceived as an extension of the Absolute’s own Being.
Today we are very far from possessing this type of perception as a lived experience and not just an intellectual exercise. Therefore, India cannot lead the world to an appreciation of this holiness of the material that is needed to save the planet from continued desecration and relentless destruction. Indeed, the situation is such that some of the activities most damaging to Mother Earth take place in India, in spite of the lofty position she held in ancient times in the culture. We may safely state that this is directly related to the development of the ‘spirituality’ Chakrabarti attributes to the Upanishadic period and denies to the Vedic. I shall elaborate this point in the course of this discussion.
Chakrabarti’s contention is that the adherents of Hindutva are waging a lost battle in seeking to revitalise the Vedic foundations in contemporary Hinduism and to firm up links that time and circumstance seem to have severed. The ‘religion’ we have come to call Hinduism, Chakrabarti claims, is unrelated to the Veda as that ancient school has reached us through the four Vedas. He even goes further and states that there is no ‘spiritualism’ therein, this term being employed according to his contemporary yardstick, it must be stated.
The author, in seeking to establish his argument, ventures into waters where he is sure to drown; for he is treating themes such as spirituality and its opposite, materialism, from the standpoint of an historian or sociologist moulded in the corridors of our modern universities. This is untenable insofar as the language and the methodology of the spiritual realiser are entirely different. Furthermore, most intellectuals today are products of institutions that foster entirely Euro-centric viewpoints, with all that goes with such a formidable conditioning, making all the finer points of the culture virtually impossible to comprehend.
To illustrate the point, the historian cannot be blamed if he analyses the Veda from the level of his worldly orientation and preparation. True penetration into its mysteries occurs through the direct experience that the systems of Yoga and other methods of self-perfection of the human consciousness provide. If, for example, we wish to establish the ‘materialism’ of the Vedic Rishis, this cannot be deduced from an academician’s scrutiny of the sacred texts. A long and laborious process of self-discipline is required, longer than the years spent in pursuit of an academic degree; as well, there must be an entirely different direction and purpose in the quest.
We may state further that the apparent schism Chakrabarti believes he is uncovering in his analysis is illusory. There is no such chasm between the most ancient Veda and the Hinduism of today. There is, on the contrary, a thoroughly organic development linking the two. This process starts from a point of Unity, and from that original ‘seed’ an evolution of consciousness makes its way through the ages, revealing a connected process which, while conditioned by time and circumstance, remains ever faithful to that original seed.
Inadequacies of a contemporary yardstick
There appears to be a severance at a certain point in this evolution. From a superficial observation one may deduce that a linear or hemispheric divide has occurred and that the two, from that point in time, stand on opposite edges of an inviolable chasm, holding opposing positions: materialism versus spirituality. This superficial observation results from adopting the contemporary yardstick modern institutions of learning provide, unrelated to the ancient way. Yet with this the researcher proposes to make deductions and definitive conclusions concerning those former times.
Debashis Chakrabarti would have us believe that the Vedic Age stood for materialism given the fact that physical elements were worshiped as divinity. He further contends that true ‘spirituality’ only began to manifest after Buddhism and Jainism in the age of the Upanishads.
In point of fact, to one who has followed this ancient path of Yoga as alluded to in the Rigveda, there is no such division or deviation of the nature proposed. The Vedic Seer might, in fact, view the Vedantic way, which is the dominant school in India today, as simply an escapemidway through the process, a failure to complete the journey as demanded of the practitioner in ancient times.
There are many throughout the world today who find spirituality, in the way we have come to understand the term, only in these latter-day schools; or else in the orthodox religions that arose just after this brand of spirituality finally became dominant in the subcontinent. But truth lies elsewhere. It lies in a real and not imaginary consciousness of unity, virtually unknown in the world today in either camp, the spiritual or the material.
In the scientific domain, for instance, the much sought-after Theory of Everything (TOE) is forever to remain beyond the ‘event horizon’ of the human consciousness, unless the scientist comes to appreciate that TOE is not within the grasp of a separative consciousness. No ‘formula’ will open those magic doors to this ultimate knowledge unless a unified perceptive capacity exists where a divide such as spirit and matter ceases to exist.
The truth is that the ancient path demands a poise of unity, an ‘act of seeing’ entirely suffused with the lived experience of oneness. Then there is no label of materialist or spiritualist because this division took place many centuries after the Vedic Age.
The Vedic divinities indeed were worshiped as the sacred Fire and the other elements of nature because the sage had no difficulty, as the Hymns reveal, in experiencing the divine essence in all of creation. The entire material kingdom was not only the habitat of the Supreme; it was itself an extension of the Absolute into this material universe. On the ‘other side’ of that event horizon the transcendent Absolute, by its own self-engendered Will, brought into being a compression of Itself into a ‘seed’. That ‘seed’ was the first point of space and its expansion after this severe contraction is the universe as we know it today. And further, it is a continual process of creation not only at the root of material manifestation but at the origin of all that is born in this manifestation, including the human being and all creatures of this Earth.
Science at the service of the Sacred
The rites of ancient times were not the rituals of nomadic tribesmen (inferred in this is a primitive consciousness lacking all sophistication and scientific knowledge). Debashis Chakrabarti should study the mathematics and geometry employed in the construction of the altars where these rites were performed to learn just what heights the ancient civilisation had attained in the sciences, surpassing those of Egyptian and Greek cultures of a later date.
Further, there were specific reasons for focussing on a sacred worship of this order, so thoroughly rooted in material creation. For only in this material dimension can certain aspects of the Absolute be known, lived. For example, what metaphysics refers to as the Infinite and the Eternal are the spiritual counterparts of material space and time respectively. These are realised by the Seer in his own consciousness in thismaterial dimension when the Yoga of the ancient school is followed.
To illustrate, we may experience the Infinite in other subtle dimensions of consciousness which we attain in ‘trance’ or samadhi and other such states removed from the physical, but the Eternal can only be lived and experienced in this most material dimension. That is, time is required for this experience. The Eternal must be realised through the movements of Itself which is experienced as time in our universal manifestation. Once we remove our consciousness from this plane and enter a more subtle one, ‘time’ disappears; and with it so does the possibility of identification with the Eternal in creation. We need only carry this thought over to our dream experience each night. A ‘long’ dream can be experienced in a question minutes or even seconds; for we have lost that sacred thread of the Eternal’s measurable movements of Itself. We appear to be in a ‘timeless’ dimension and thus free from time’s inescapable hold over all things material.
With this background for our discussion, let us reflect on the moment in the evolution of consciousness on the subcontinent when apparently a more ‘spiritual’ direction took hold of seekers and realisers. This occurred in the period just after the appearance of Buddhism and before the rise of orthodox religions such as Christianity and Islam. It is what has come to be known as the Vedantic period, based largely on the authority of the Upanishads. Debashis Chakrabarti has this to say about the two periods: ‘It was because of these materialistic [sic] tendencies and total absence of any spiritualism in the four Vedas that the Upanashadic era, when idealism and spiritualism started sprouting, branded the Vedas as a whole as belonging to Aparavidya, that is, a kind of knowledge with which one cannot know Brahma[n], the ultimate spiritual being.’
We must bear in mind that by the time this position was taken, that consciousness of unity enjoyed by the ancient Rishis no longer permeated the civilisation. We need to understand therefore what this Vedantic ‘Brahma[n]’ really signified. We need to be clear about our terminology.
The challenge of Mahakal
In view of the points I have made earlier regarding the Infinite and the Eternal, we could state, and perhaps Chakrabarti would have to agree, that seekers then for the first time veered entirely in the direction of the Infinite during the era he labels ‘spiritual’. This meant otherworldliness. Removing one’s consciousness from the body, from this material dimension, simplified the task. There were no encumbrances such as the senses to deal with, or the pulls and tugs of dense matter entrapping consciousness in a human frame. For to contend with the ‘steps of the Eternal’ intime is a challenge few are able to accept. The true vir, or hero, is required. And this is what the spirituality of otherworldliness lacks. The quote from Sri Aurobindo at the beginning of the article clarifies his position and reveals that his own Yoga approximated the more ancient school of a marriage of the two, spirit and matter.
We have the authority of the Gita to illustrate the inability of the fragile human being to sustain the experience of God as the Time-Spirit, Mahakal, though noble and dedicated as Arjun was in his representation of the human species. The Gita in its eleventh chapter reveals that the deviation had already occurred on the subcontinent, and a less vigorous and demanding path was laid before the seeker: the path of the Infinite as separate from the Eternal, the path of otherworldliness.
This marked a great turning point in a development that began in the earliest Vedic Age. Time, which in the earliest culture occupied a central position as revealed in the fact that the most material elements and forms were worshiped as forms of the Eternal, became the devourer, the destroyer, and an obstacle on the path to God-realisation. The loftier poise, which Chakrabarti claims was the ‘truly spiritual’, became equated exclusively with the subtle and evermore subtle dimensions of consciousness-being, until the seeker merged into those rarified strata where time is no more.
This, of course, was the big illusion. Time, or the movements of the Eternal, never ceases. Once into a physical body again, the seeker resumes his connection with time; but in the interim precious energies have been withheld from this dense physical plane. The result was a civilisation that increasingly lost hold over this material dimension. Pari passu, those true vir energies also suffered by this withdrawal until finally the civilisation lost the ability to cope with invading armies and foreign cultures.
India turns to Science
We thus come to 21st century India seeking to find her way through the morass the ‘spiritualists’ have left and for which those realised souls now have no solution. India today seeks answers from a different source, from a realm apparently severed entirely from the spiritual. Science today, in India no less than throughout the rest of the world, is expected to provide the answers and solutions these spiritualists have not and cannot offer in any satisfying manner. Their exhortations to ‘peace’, ‘love’ and ‘goodwill’ carry no force or the strength and vigour needed to counteract the boldness of the scientific materialist enamoured of the manner in which he has divested the physical domain of all that is sacred and worshipful.
However, there is a solution and it is found lodged in that original Vedic seed itself: the circle has to complete itself. We have been living through a long process of harmonisation and integration, not of communities and diverse religions. That is the most external layer. It is a process that goes much deeper. Things apparently fall apart, only to find a new order and in the process to reveal deeper depths and higher heights than ever before attained. But the sanctity of those integrated dimensions has to be established here, in time, and not in any Beyond, however venerable that may appear.
Thus, it has to be stated that to the Vedic Rishi all of this has been an escape and a fall from the poise of unified being that he/she enjoyed. A necessary deviation, no doubt, but a decidedly painful one.
The role of Myth
An intermediary passage between that and this is what is known as the Puranic age. Myths of the order we encounter in these delightful and profound collections, are simply the refuge of a civilisation under siege when the language of the soul, hidden in the cave even as Guha is hidden, is the only means of continuity amidst a hostile world. These sacred stories flourished when the land was overtaken by hostile armies and foreign cultures. The Vedic Seed took refuge in these tales, hid itself in the language of the soul in a sublime act of preservation. At the same time, this was part and parcel of the evolution of consciousness with all the levels of existence explored and then integrated and made a firm foundation wider than the civilisation has ever known. Thus, to sustain, as Debashis Chakrabarti has, that the Puranas have no connection with the Vedas is to reveal ignorance of the process of transposition when obscuring ‘veils’ have to be accommodated in order to camouflage and protect the culture.
The Veda describes processes of transmutation of one essential Energy from the broader perspective of an integral, unified vision. The Puranas, on the other hand, while describing the same process – the transmutation of energy – draw their symbols from a different dimension of consciousness. They will state the same thing, but the focus is different in both, and therefore the scope as well. Succinctly we may state that in cosmological terms the Energy to be transmuted is represented by the planet Mars into its finer substance as represented by the Sun. In the Puranas this has been expressed as Shiva ‘who stands before you in the form of his son’, as described in the chapters of the Shiva Purana relating the birth of Skanda. And that form is precisely the War God, Kartikeya, the very godhead in the pantheon who represents Mars. But it is Mars Victorious, transmuted, its lesser or baser characteristics hammered out to become the power that conquers, as the higher aspect of Mars is known. The Son is then equal to the Father. This will also explain the often conflicting tales of Murugan: he is both celibate and divine paramour of the hill maidens.
Or else, there is the same process described in temple form. At Konarak, the Orissa temple in the form of the Sun’s chariot, the external sculptures adorning the temple depict the lesser characteristics of Mars, ‘carnal’, as Debashis Chakrabarti would describe, sensuous, a trap of seekers no doubt, but real. Once passage has been made through those beguiling outer layers, the seeker enters the temple of the Sun and its closed and dark chamber, like the hidden and veiled chamber of his own soul. Mars has been transmuted and its less refined energies left in the outer corridors. The remaining ‘gold’ after the transmutation is the ‘power that conquers’, the Martian energy becomes the power of the Sun. The ‘son’ has become the ‘father’.
Thus do we have the same transmutation in the Puranas as in the Rigveda. And while the focus of the former is the individual and the innermost recesses of the soul, the latter refers to cosmic processes and the integration of the individual with this greater design. For example, the description of Daksha as both father to and son of Aditi.
The cosmic message in this quaint lineage is the Transcendent (father) through the Individual Soul (daughter) is born as the Immanent (son). Thus father to and son of his own ‘daughter’.
Time is ‘secularised’
We can follow this progression onto the development of cosmology and other branches of the sciences that have come down to us from ancient times, covering this same period. As we know, there was no split in the sciences then. There was the Sacred and all sciences served at its altar. For example, astrology was astronomy and considered, together with cosmology, to be ‘the mother of all science’.
Indeed, contrary to what Chakrabarti claims, at the time when he populates India with nomadic tribes from Central Asia who knew only ‘animism’ and ‘nature worship’, those same ‘tribesmen’ seemed to demonstrate a most astonishing knowledge of geometry and arithmetic, to the point where they were able to construct the geometrically elaborate vedi, or altars, used in the sacrificial rites. We need not dwell on this contradiction since unbiased historical research into the development of mathematics in the world have at last acknowledged the superior position India has held in these sciences from Vedic times, which indeed stretch farther back than the Euro-centric historian would have us believe.
A clearer example cannot be found of the consequences of such a split, between the sacred and the scientific, than in the confused condition of the calendar in use. And we may note that the division which produced the confusion occurred about the same time Chakrabarti believes ‘true spirituality’ to have ‘sprouted’ in India.
Cosmology as the mother of all science suffered a deadly blow when the escape of spirituality became the norm. The inability to deal with things material and of this world resulted in a loss of the true time measure in use during the Vedic Age. The Sayana (Tropical) Zodiac as backdrop for the measure then used was replaced by the Nirayana (Sidereal) Zodiac. Nothing in the history of the subcontinent explains better the difficulty India experiences at integration and harmonising spirit and matter than this one major deviation from the ancient way.
It meant that instead of the Earth’s own measure prevailing, as it had in the Vedic Age, with paramount importance given to the seasons and the calculation of the shortest and longest days of the year, ‘science’ stepped into this domain reserved for the Seer and declared that the ‘beyond’ must be the sole measure – similar indeed to the escapist route of a spiritualism that had abandoned matter and all things of this Earth. Science was therefore simply a projection of the prevailing consciousness that overtook the subcontinent at that point in time. Thus, whatever difficulties have arisen from this shift must be laid at the doors of ‘spirituality’ and not materialism.
The result is today reflected in a fragmented time measure with hundreds of almanacs catering to the needs of hundreds of sects, communities, castes, all at odds with each other over the issue, all propounding a different ayanamsha, or zero point of the Sidereal Zodiac to the exclusion of the Tropical, as the start of the calculations.
In the Vedic Age such a situation would have been unthinkable. And not merely in India in those ancient times, but in all the great civilisations of antiquity as well. The calendar was as sacred as the Gods themselves (witness Mayan pre-Colombian America), and it served to unite society rather than to fragment.
Thus when wisemen opted for the Beyond and abandoned this material dimension and our planetary home to its divisive fate, this withdrawal also bore its effects in the realm of the sacred sciences. Astronomy arose shorn of the sacred. Cosmology became ‘secularised’ and time thus became random and relative. Skambha, that first point of space, or the ‘compression’ of the Absolute, lost its uppermost position in the hierarchy. And with this occurrence emptiness replaced fulness and all things lost their divine Purpose.
Some may view this split as a benediction. Actually it is the cause of all our woes. Until that wider poise of consciousness is reached, integrating all the layers of individual and collective consciousness-being that have manifested in the interim, this civilisation will always appear to stand on the brink of that unbridgeable Abyss.
The key to salvation of the civilisation lies precisely in eternal Time, the very vision Arjun shied away from. But that was another age, the 8th Manifestation of Sri Krishna; while this is the time of Kalki who returns to humanity the saving formula of sacred Time.
[Originally published as Part I of Time & Imperishability, Aeon Books, 1997]
‘The greater Form that thou hast seen is only for the rare highest souls. The gods themselves ever desire to look upon it. Nor can I be seen as thou hast seen Me by Veda, or austerities or gifts or sacrifices; it can be seen, known, entered into only by that bhakti which regards, adores andloves Me alone in all things.’Bhagavad Gita (XI, 52-54)
Thus spoke the Lord to the overwhelmed and trembling Arjuna, as he finally withdrew the supreme Vision of Himself. That Vision is indeed the one that must be sought if at all the secrets of birth and death and eventual rebirth are to become unveiled. Yet the Lord tells us in these verses that this seeing is only for ‘the rare highest souls’: the Mystery here revealed to Arjuna is the supreme Mystery for the human race.
From time immemorial the human spirit has been caught in the labyrinth of this universal enigma, but has never been allowed full entry into its central sanctum sanctorum. The Bhagavad Gita, one of India’s most profound scriptures, tells us that this is the highest truth, this is the truest perception that the seeker can aspire to in his or her lifetime, this is the Vision of visions. Though it is reserved only for the most intrepid, the Gita affirms for all times that it is Mahakala who holds the grandest truths. The Time-Spirit is the apex in the formidable pyramid constituted of the seemingly unending experiences that throughout the ages seekers have had of God.
Much has been written on the Bhagavad Gita, on its splendid philosophical content and moral injunctions, as well as those of its aspects which appear to be historic. But perhaps the seal put on its capital Vision as being unrealisable for most human beings, has indeed served to clothe the mystery of Time in ever denser veils. Throughout the ages seekers have thus fled from this vision and pursued a quest that, for all practical purposes, has led in the opposite direction. Over the past several millennia, spirituality has followed a path of otherworldliness, precisely because the seeing of Time presented apparently unsurmountable barriers. Though in India the most profound descriptions of the cosmos and the time mechanism have been preserved and handed down through the ages, ultimately the path enjoined upon the seeker has led beyond the cosmos. This reached a crucial juncture when finally the schools of Illusionism in all their shades arose and seemed to definitively capture the spirit of the nation. Thus, as for Arjuna, the vision of that highest Truth proved too demanding, too overwhelming, too devastating for the fragile human consciousness to contain. For to know Time is to know Death. If we are to see Kala, concurrently we must face Yama. The two are one and the same.
It is this factor that has kept seekers engaged elsewhere, yet they have nonetheless been caught by the paradoxes and perplexities of this perennial Mystery. For all paths seek liberation from life and death. Thus while fleeing from the embrace of Mahakala, the human spirit has nonetheless been engaged from time immemorial in discovering some sort of liberation from the awesome supremacy of this Great God, this Mahadev.
It is because of this failure, this inability of the fragile human spirit to sustain the vision and pursue the quest to its ultimate reaches that the mystery of life and death and consequently rebirth has remained impenetrable.
The crux of the matter lies in a penetrating and revealing perception of Time. No discussion of rebirth, in any of its aspects can be truly meaningful unless the question of time Is dealt with. Yet this is the most elusive aspect of universal existence, and in itself has occupied the investigative mind of not only spirituality but of science as well. All things born in time must die, we are conditioned to believe. Hence countless sages and saints and thinkers have encouraged seekers to accept a reality beyond Time as the ultimate liberation; for Time, in their experience, is the devourer and the destroyer and none can escape that noose of Yama. Yet the Lord revealed to Arjuna his highest form as precisely the Time-Spirit. Even the Puranas state that Time stands ‘above all the Gods.’ How then are we to reconcile this supreme Truth – for none lay in doubt the authority of the Scripture with the fact that sages and seers have encouraged seekers to pursue avenues which lead out of the cosmic manifestation, as if this creation were a hell from which, sooner or later, we must escape?
Time, however, that formidable Mahadev, is part and parcel of the cosmic reality in which we, as embodied consciousnesses, abide. Therefore the Gita tells us that this is the highest Knowledge, since as creatures born into this cosmic dimension, we have no other choice but to accept our condition of birth in the material creation and discover the true purpose of our embodiment. Indeed, the kernel of the pursuit lies precisely in the discovery of the purpose of birth in the cosmos, on Earth. The present tremendous unrest of humanity derives especially from the fact that the race has lost sight of its essential reason for being. It would seem that, like the vision of Mahakala which so tormented Arjuna, as a race we are being irretrievably thrust into those ‘mouths terrible with many tusks of destruction . . . faces like fires of Death and Time . . .‘ (XI, 25):
Destruction, doom and death are the powers that bar our entry into the heart of our quest, where the secret purpose of creation is held-into that cave where Guha, the veiled One, is concealed. This Son-God is the Child ‘hidden in the earth and the waters’ of our material creation, at the heart, the cave, of each embodied thing and being.
Mahakala is not only destruction, for the supreme Truth is a triune manifestation and every end initiates a new beginning. But for the process of destruction to be just one phase of an eternal mechanism, something must necessarily survive the devastation, something must remain ever unmoved, untouched, uncontaminated by the sting of death. The loss of the definitive knowledge of just what that imperishable core is, can safely be held as the reason for the enactment of the collective death-wish that presently plagues our society. Yes, the ancient truths live on, and their validity remains sublime in the eyes of all clear thinking beings. But these truths seem now to have lost their power to arrest or in some way to bring about a creative process in this devastating act of destruction which looms before us.
The problem is Time and Death. The failure is an inability to sustain the supreme Vision and penetrate into its deepest recesses so that we may come upon that Core and discover therein Guha, the Son-God, the child who holds that secret Purpose, who is himself Agni, the Immortal among mortals, the Immobile amidst the mobile.
How can we reach this magical Cave if we are ever fleeing from the vision and positing the apex of our quest in a Beyond, in an extra-cosmic dimension? This signifies a fleeing from Time, just as Arjuna was forced to do because of the delicacy of his temperament. However, today’s warrior – if he or she is to unravel the highest of enigmas and discover the deepest mysteries, which alone can give us that unique Sense once again-must face Time, must face Death, and thereby come upon the element in our being which survives destruction. Nay, which uses destruction as well as creation as the modes of its expression, as the vehicles upon which it moves in the world, immobile yet fully engaged in the mobility of this universe in an eternally renewing process.
This path lies in the opposite direction to the one seekers have been encouraged to pursue since the time of the Buddha. It lies in the core of creation, not in the Beyond, or whatever the name we give to this extra-cosmic reality.
A core must not only survive the action of disintegration; it must be the central pivot of the process, and even, we may add, its controlling element. It is that ‘centre that holds’, in contrast to Yeats’ vision of an apocalyptic disintegration due precisely to the fact ‘the centre cannot hold’, as he describes in his majestic verse. What then is this core? How does it arise, and moreover, how can it be experienced ?
These are the questions we shall endeavour to answer in this study. But first it is necessary to know the exact nature of the Reality we wish to explore, in the effort to clarify these fundamental questions. For the problem before us concerns our entire perception of the Absolute and our approach to that highest Reality. Indeed, a study of the development of spirituality and the course it has taken over the millennia is a precious aid in the knowledge we are seeking.
Undoubtedly all spiritual paths have led seekers to a Beyond, to a Transcendent Reality. Even religions have fostered the same emphasis. Some call it Heaven, others Nirvana. Whatever designation, it is evident that we are dealing with one avenue of experience; or, we may say, with one ultimate goal. This is by no means a false perception. It is deeply true, and for this very reason innumerable yogins and tapaswins have devised means to carry the aspirant to this static Beyond. Once one attains the capacity to place the consciousness out of the cosmic dimension, it is believed that one can enter into a transcendence which is an upholding or all-encompassing Consciousness that somehow, in some magical way, is not involved in the flux and flow of material creation and hence is untouched by the ravages of time and decay and death which appear to be the principal features of our universe. Methods of escape to this transcendent Brahman were thus devised in order to grant the troubled human spirit the solace of a peace that by virtue of its static quality could liberate the seeker from any further involvement in the torment of life and death. Rebirth, in this instance, was accepted only as a means to achieve this liberation ultimately. Unlike the mid-eastern religions that have arisen in this 9th Manifestation (beginning in 234 BC and lasting for 6,480 years thereafter), the pursuit of such an attainment was not limited to just one lifetime. Nonetheless, the goal was the same: a path out of the cosmos, hopefully never more to return.
The realisation such illumined beings attained cannot be denied or doubted. These yogins themselves stand as luminous beacons to the truth of the way and the goal. However, the time has come to view dispassionately such accomplishments in the light of our present discussion, insofar as the acquisition of a transcendent poise naturally suggests ultimate liberation from future birth. We are drawn to believe that the process of birth, death and rebirth, holds only as long as the human being is caught in the coils of the Ignorance. When finally he or she does attain liberation, concurrently with this accomplishment the realiser is freed from any further involvement with material creation and this ecstatic yet more often maddening Dance of Shiva.
However, the power of Arjuna’s vision still lingers in the consciousness of all who seriously pursue the path of Truth. That vision, if indeed it is the highest, presents a stark contrast to the static Beyond. And are we then not justified in questioning the content and direction of these ways which have not carried seekers to the truth of Mahakala but rather away from it? The conventional paths would have us believe that it is precisely a realisation or occupation with Time that is the inferior poise, and that the transcendent reality is the higher. But the Gita contradicts this notion, and it has held its place at the heart of Indian wisdom far longer and more persistently than any other scripture. It has thoroughly pervaded all Indian spirituality and captured the imagination of seekers for several millennia. But perhaps it is time itself that can give us the answers we seek.
Time is the great Controller. Thus if spirituality has moved in a direction opposite to Time’s mystery and truth, it must be Mahakala himself who is ‘responsible’ for the divergence We shall see anon how indeed this has been the case, when we bring into our discussion the line of the Ten Avatars of Hinduism. But for the present, it is important to discover the true nature of Reality, in its most limpid form. That is, we must ‘unmask’ the Transcendent itself, unveil it as we would unveil Guha, free it of the many elements which have diluted its pristine truth. At the same time certain fundamental aspects of that ultimate Beyond must be grasped, for only in this way can we appreciate without any illusions – our real condition in life and the material dimension.
The first aspect of the Transcendent that arises in our purview is its unmoving nature. That is, if indeed it is extra cosmic and represents something, some dimension, some plane of consciousness which from our poise within the cosmos we must view as ‘beyond’, then, given the fact that the principal feature of the cosmos is movement, it stands that in the Transcendent this element is withheld. We know therefore that one of the prime attributes of the extra-cosmic Absolute is that it is unmoving and immobile. This represents the great divide between Cosmos and the Transcendent Brahman. It is this immobility that has provided yogins with the exquisite experience of Peace. Extending the consciousness to the ultimate reaches of itself, all relatives in the universe dissolve into this great and immense static Calm.
If indeed the Transcendent is significant of that which lies beyond movement and the snare of the Gunas – creation, preservation and destruction – it is recognisable that this Ultimate Beyond does not suffer the fate of decay. For in such a condition, what can there be that is subject to decay? The process that engenders decay and death is irrevocably related to movement. The Transcendent being unmoving, It is understood that the next quality we discover is its imperishabiliy. The Transcendent does not perish because it is, in fact, unborn, – unborn in our moving and evolving universe. There is nothing of it that can be born and hence no experience of decay and death, much less of any rebirth.
Without a doubt the experience of that irrefutable imperishability is the single most enticing factor that has instigated the pursuit of realms beyond. At the same time, it is that devastating perception of disintegration that has established the vision of Mahakala as a prize for only those ‘rare highest souls’.
However, we approach now a third characteristic which has cast an element of paradoxical doubting into our quest and experience. It is this: If the Transcendent is unmoving and imperishable due to its other-worldliness, or its poise beyond and outside of the cosmos, then we encounter a particular aspect of its nature which has been the bed-rock of Indian spirituality from time immemorial. This is its indivisibility. Given the fact that it is a homogeneous Consciousness beyond the planes of existence in which division occurs, it stands that this Transcendent is hence indivisible. Consequent to this, we know that this perception offers the most compelling aspect of the Absolute: its unity, its oneness. Yet with this appreciation many of the paradoxes which face the human spirit arise; and due to this unity, oneness and indivisibility, it can be shown how until now no path has truly bridged the chasm that this experience of transcendent indivisibility and unity has created in our spiritual experience. And it is precisely because of this chasm that the highest Vision has been withheld from the seeker. For to bridge this intriguing chasm is to resolve the paradoxes.
The main aspect of the paradox is this: If the Transcendent or Static Brahman is indeed indivisible, then it stands that none of the experiences seekers have until now had of Its poise beyond and out of the moving cosmic dimension have been faithful to the truest and highest Truth. They have been real and overwhelming experiences, but they have suffered from a severe limitation. This limitation resides exclusively in the fact that any experience of the Transcendent which does not include the totally of Itself must be, to a certain extent, deceiving. For we cannot divide the indivisible. If the Transcendent is all-encompassing – and this is one of its most secure attributes – within Itself lies that which we consider irredeemably subject to division. The unity of the Transcendent carries us to the clear perception that the only true experience of Reality is an integral one. How then to achieve this perception of wholeness? and what would be its relation to the question of rebirth, the theme of our analysis?
It must be stated that this discovery is the key that unlocks those iron doors which do not permit entry into Mahakala’s sanctum sanctorum, and hence withhold from us the true meaning of life and death and our purpose in this material creation.
We cannot divide that which is lndivisible. This means then that there can be no true experience of those attributes that have been here enumerated of the Absolute which introduce the element of division.
Thus the Transcendent’s stasis can never be disconnected from its kinesis, a kinesis which in any case arises in its own Being. Likewise, its imperishability must contain within it the elements of all that is created, preserved and destroyed. But how is this accomplished?
The chasm is cleared of darkness and the bridge constructed in our awareness when we understand that the vast Transcendent in the act of manifestation is reduced to a seed. This is the profoundest mystery of creation. It is the origin of all things. The Unmanifest enters the Manifest (of Itself by virtue of this compression to a Seed, – that precious bija, that miraculous Hiranyaretas which is Agni. This Flame-Child stands at the Origin, he who is the first God extolled in the Veda. Thus all the attributes that we can conceive of in the Transcendent Beyond are drawn, by its own power of manifestation, into the Seed of Itself. That is, immobility, indivisibility, imperishability, are all properties which are contained in this miraculous Golden Bija.
What happens then to this Seed, which stands as the foundation of material creation?
The Golden Bija is the origin of spatial reality and the base of material creation. Manifestation (of the Unmanifest) results then in a central truth-seed, which from that Point extends itself, multiplies, grows, in the experience of creation, preservation and dissolution. This can be appreciated if we observe the nature of the cosmos we inhabit, which confirms this perception in that all its material bodies orbit a Centre. Indeed, centrality is one of the foremost aspects of the universal dimension. Yet there is a consciousness, a reality that extends beyond the material creation, or rather within which creation in matter is contained. But in appreciating this fact, a curious phenomenon took possession of the human mind. Somehow, along the way of human evolution the experience of God resulted in the fact that the Transcendent (the very significance of the word stands as a clue: that which lies beyond … ), which contains this universe in its Being and is all-encompassing, became veiled or masked to the perceptive eye of consciousness in the human being; and these contained dimensions came to be considered or seen as somehow inferior, or reflected an inferior spiritual poise and realisation, or a partial reality. This then reached its extremes in the formulation of the theories of Illusionism in all its many facets, and ultimately laid emphasis on an escape from these apparently inferior cages in which the human consciousness was seen to be imprisoned.
A divisive perception of this nature is not a property of the Divine Consciousness. It reflects a wholly human, mental poise and suffers from the scourge of a separative vision and experience, results of the mental orientation of the species. Because of this limitation of the present instrument, the Lord withdrew the vision of Himself as the Time-Spirit from Arjuna, since in this state it is not possible for humanity to attain a fuller and truer unified vision due to these limitations of the instrument and its subjugation to the rule of Mind.
The human species is an evolving collective entity. At present, civilisation as a whole is experiencing the pain of realising its limitations and insufficiencies and of knowing that as a race its actual constitution cannot permit a higher experience to come. To reach a wider and deeper collective experience, a new, more refined, more enhanced instrument is demanded. The turmoil of humanity at present is due largely to the fact that pressure is being applied on all quarters of Earth existence to compel the emergence of higher faculties so that a new way can manifest. Some details of this evolutionary process are given in Indian Scriptures. For example, in the Puranas we find mention of ‘the Nine Creations’. The final stages, the 7th, 8th and 9th, refer to the mental, the overmental and the supramental creations, respectively. Mental man is not the ultimate and highest but is merely a transitional creature. The evolutionary process, governed by the play of the tattwas and the gunas, is the mechanism to evolve a higher species. And one of the principal characteristics of this newly-emerging creation, superior to the present mental being, is a capacity to experience the indivisibility of God, – a consciousness, hence, of true unity. For this the being of the human experiencer must be fortified in such a way that it can withstand the impact of seeing the Time-Spirit working in the worlds, via the action of creation, preservation and destruction or dissolution, with an equanimity of being that arises from the knowledge of the Core-Purpose at the heart of material creation.
The Golden Seed contains this central truth. Our direct link with the Transcendent lies in this Seed, in the heart of ourselves and in the heart of our material universe. Thus to know that Purpose – the only real road to survival and salvation for the human species – one must plunge into the heart of matter and not away from it and into the Beyond. Since Time is inextricably linked with matter and material reality and cannot be seperated from the spatial, cosmic dimension, it becomes evident that to discover this truth and to embark upon this entirely new direction in our quest, we must realise God as presented to Arjuna in the supreme Vision he was granted of the Time-Spirit.
The Bhagavad Gita was the truth, the highest truth of the past Manifestation, the 8th. In this 9th Manifestation another way emerges, the way of Mahakala, carrying humanity to the threshold of the 9th and highest of the Puranic stages of creation. Central to this process, upholding it, controlling it, securing its inevitable, victorious fulfilment is that Golden Bija, – Hiranyaretas. Our experience of God must thus be in this Immanence; and the Seed contains the totality of that which is extra-cosmic. It is the Transcendent born in the manifest universe, it is the Eternal born in time, and there is no difference between the two. Rather we may say, this manifestation in matter presents an enhanced and more complete experience. The purpose of material creation is thus to express the fullest attributes of the Supreme Consciousness. Multiplicity is the truth of the cosmos, a splendid diversity whose reason for being is that all aspects of God can be given expression, that the Absolute can know Itself, can enjoy Itself. Self-knowledge and self-enjoyment are the propellants for deployment of the Absolute in material creation, in this great Dance of Shiva. The hierarchy that exists in the universe covers the entire range of such a self-knowing and self-enjoyment, resulting in the fact that at any given moment all possibilities of expression, of manifestation, exist simultaneously. For this is the nature of that Golden Seed: simultaneity and wholeness and compactness are its keywords. All is contained within the Seed.
And is there an end or a beginning to that Transcendent which stands beyond these distinctions? There can be no end to that which never had a beginning, which is ‘unborn’. Therefore, as all the other attributes of the Absolute are contained in the seed of Itself, so too is this supreme quality of ceaselessness and eternal manifestation.
Time’s function in the material universe is to draw the compact, involved elements held in the Seed to fruition. Time is thus the motor of Consciousness. It draws out and into extension that which arose at the Origin, at the moment of passage of the Unmanifest to the Manifest. This passage is the bridge connecting statics to dynamics. Time is movement, or rather it gives forth a body of itself in the cosmic principle of perpetual motion, or dynamic consciousness. Hence we encounter the splendid, colossal image in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad of the universe in the form of a Horse, – that great and majestic Vedic symbol of energy, speed, kinesis. ‘Time’, the Upanishad tells us, ‘is the self of the horse sacrificial’. In this superb image the Seer describes the deepest truth of cosmic existence: that Time is the propeller and stands in the inner recesses of material creation and urges, propels it onward to completion, to fulfilment of its inherent purpose . . .’the self of the horse sacrificial . . .’
In this brief initial survey, which we shall carry to fuller dimensions in the course of this discussion, the first foundation of a new seeing arises: it is that the Transcendent and its immanent Seed, standing at the heart of material creation, are one and indivisible. The new faculty that will permit this simultaneous perception, will finally endow the human being with the capacity for a truly integrated seeing and experiencing of unity and multiplicity. For can there be any real existence of Unity without Multiplicity? Unity in itself implies the existence of the Multiple. A species is now to manifest which has evolved a faculty beyond Mind, capable of simultaneous appreciation of a unified multiplicity, which is the truer and more integral experience of God. Mind has been the aid as well as the stumbling-block until now. Mind has introduced division and hence has fostered a linear expression and divisive experience of Reality, and given rise in our civilisation to the fullest perversions and aberrations that ensue from this divisive, separative poise. The time has come to bridge the chasm and to make whole what has seemed to be severed only in or due to our perception, but not in the truth of Itself.
Hiranyaretas is a name of Agni. This mighty and adorable Vedic God’s vahana is the white Steed. Again we encounter here the image of motion and the energy that arises from intense speed, as in the blasting process of particles in nuclear physics. This image recalls the Upanishadic vision of the universe in the form of the Horse. Dynamics is then its essence (‘the self of the horse . . .’), but this is hardly the whole truth. For a chaotic and disintegrating and dispersed motion is not our experience of the universe, either spiritually or scientifically. Rather, what we see is a controlled and orderly movement, a harmony of the spheres, as it has been called from time immemorial. But what is the element that allows for this controlled and orderly dynamism, the truth of not only the cosmos but of our very own bodies? Once again we must delve deeply into the heart of the matter, to the innermost truth. We see then that ever and always centrality is the key. No matter how wide or how deep we extend our vision – that is, into the farthest reaches of the cosmos, or minutely focussed in the smallest of atomic particles – we find the existence of a core. That nucleus holds the body together – a body which is precisely characterised by motion – and controls and contains this play of colossal velocity, and secures a harmony and not a chaotic dispersal of energy.
In the human being we encounter this same truth. Each body is held together in life, in the experience of creative evolving, by a Core. Therein lies the seed of the Transcendent. It stands at the centre of our beings; and , as in the mighty universe, in the gigantic galaxies, this central core controls our existence in any given body and holds the key to our individual destiny. This is the ‘unborn’, the ‘undying’ part of ourselves. In the Veda this truth is expressed in the name of one of Agni’s vahanas: Aja, the ‘unborn’. Yet this word may prove deceiving because, accustomed as the human being is to separating reality into inferior and superior, higher and lower levels, when we use this term we fall prey to a consciousness that seeks escape from birth and the mechanism of evolution that has plagued seekers until now. We seem encouraged by such titles to seek dissolution into that unborn and undying One, for it alone appears to represent the highest truth which has somehow ‘fallen’ into this material hell and out of which it must emerge, never more to return. In such a case, birth, with all its glories and its travails, would clearly be a Divine jest, a farce played upon the human creation – and worse, played upon the Absolute Itself! Indeed, the final lines of the Rig Vedic Hymn of Creation seem to suggest just that: ‘He who in the highest empyrean surveys it, He alone knows, or else, even He knows not!’
Einstein has said God does not play dice, thus expressing his reticence in accepting the probability foundation of quantum physics. We can carry this a step further and state that the Supreme Consciousness does not know chaotic chance and purposelessness. Coupled with its indivisibility, the result is that birth in the material universe must not be in order to escape from it to the Beyond – for then, what was the need to enter this dimension at all? – but rather so that a fuller experience or expression of the Absolute could manifest. Material creation is thus the Body of Brahman, the Divine Shakti, deploying Herself for the purpose of the Absolute’s self-knowing and self-enjoying.
We cannot divorce ourselves from this truth and cosmic function. We are integral parts of the cosmic manifestation, minute as we may be in comparison to the vastnesses of the universe. However, does this minuteness not reflect then the very process of passage from the Unmanifest to the Manifest which has been described herein? We are, as it were, those very Seeds. We are those infinitesimal ‘eyes that see’ through which the Absolute knows, and thus knowing enjoys Itself. And this is the magic and the mystery of human birth. We are endowed with all the properties of the Transcendent and are Its instruments for this supreme Act of creative deployment of Itself.
How then can we desire to flee from this instrumentation, this glorious act of knowing along with God, of self-discovery of all the attributes contained within Itself ? But at the same time we must accept the Laws which govern the orderly deployment and extension in Time of the compact particles in the Seed. These use that majestic and awesome dynamism, the Power or the Shakti in her movement of creation, preservation and dissolution. To participate knowingly and willingly in this Act, we must then accept these laws – the essence of Time – indeed we must accept the Divine Mother. Thus we must evolve as a race beyond the capacity of an Arjuna and reach the point where we can know and sustain all aspects of Mahakala, above all his consort, Mahakali, without flinching, without seeking escape to the Beyond because of the limitations and trepidant condition of the present human spirit.
However, the aid for this realisation is indicated in the Gita. In the same verse the Lord gives this aid-key to Arjuna: Bhakti – but which ‘regards, adores and loves Me alone in all things’. Is this not the path we are describing in these pages? We see that the cosmic manifestation is the truth of that immanence, which results in the perception that Mahadeva is in all things. There is nothing outside of God, and the key for the method to sustain this highest of visions is Love.
This then brings our attention to focus on an aspect of creation which has held in rapt captivity the entire human race from the time of its inception. Nay, it is the truth encountered together with Time at the Origin. This is Love, – the power of Love. Because of Love a supreme equilibrium is secured in the material creation, which results in the fact that dissolution intoThat is rendered impossible. This harmony, this rhythm secures that a certain distance is maintained, a certain distinction and differentiation, whereby there comes into being a Knower and the Known, an Enjoyer and the Enjoyed, – the Divine Musician and the Instrument upon which and through which it can express Itself and enjoy that sublime Expression. If it were not for Love all would dissolve and never experience the bliss of Union, and material creation would then indeed be purposeless. It is Love that stands as the handmaiden, as the high priestess in the innermost temple in whose secret chamber we find Agni, the Divine Child, that superlative Purpose incarnate, that divine Will manifesting in the worlds.
Love holds all things in perfect harmony and equilibrium so that the Eye of Awareness can experience Oneness, can enjoy the bliss of that Divine Unity in creation. It is this that stands as the highest truth of our existence and being. Hence the Lord reveals to Arjuna that only such a bhakti, seeing, adoring, loving ‘Me alone in all things’ can be granted the vision of Mahakala; for indeed, Love and Time are the Being and Becoming of material creation.
Thus Desire, Love, the Ancients tell us was the first attribute or circumstance to arise in the being of That, and this was the link between the Unmanifest and the Manifest, between the uncreated and the created. Without hesitation it can be stated that this Rig Vedic Hymn of Creation is the most stupendous legacy left to human civilisation in the form of sacred texts. Nowhere in the vast collection of utterances on the Supreme Reality, do we find verses comparable to this one remarkable Hymn in that none can equal the truth-seeing of those illumined Vedic Seers. The most complete vision of creation, in its real and living truth, is expressed in this Hymn. To it we can turn for confirmation of our discoveries; and indeed it can be seen that if the path is followed into creation rather than away and out of it, perforce the result is the same as that of the Rig Vedic vision. No other scripture in the world has expressed so faithfully the cosmic truth as these collections of Songs in praise of the Divinity, – indeed, the most ancient record of truth-seeing the world possesses.
At first there was the Pulse of the One, alone. Then arose love, Desire, for that drew the Pulse into extension, into manifestation. Everafter it journeys to the discovery of Self, to the expression in the womb of material creation of the harmonies of that Pulse of the One. Love drives the One onward, outward in its quest for completion, for fulfilment, for apotheosis of the inherent truth of Itself. Thus Love is the essential power of this material universe, and these same longings are planted in the breasts of all living creatures, propelling them onward ever in search of that pulsating One in the Core in the primordial Hiranyagarbha. For out of this Golden Womb, or rather contained within it, are the Golden Seeds. Womb and Seed are thus the secretmost truths of material creation and hence the deepest truths of human existence itself. The propagation of the species is ever a reproduction on dense levels in that great and dark original Plasma, of this primordial act of Creation.
How could the ancient Seers know this Act so thoroughly? Did they look out, beyond, into the Absolute Transcendent? Nay, such a seeing, as experienced by these ancient Rishis, came through the depths of the soul. Therein womb and seed are lodged. This is the Cave, and in it are concealed all the secrets of creation, of the truth of our world, our lives, our destiny, our rebirths.
Desire drew out that which lay compact, contracted into ‘That One . . . there was nothing else nor ought beyond it’ . . . And with desire, out of the depths of Love, came ‘will in the heart’, and this then ‘extended horizontally’ that Ray. Thereafter the seed of Brahman was cast far and wide in the process of self-manifestation, from self-law. And thus the Pulse gave birth to the worlds and all creatures therein in an eternal process of creation, preservation and dissolution.
But at the heart of It all stands a Core, in the immense Core of the One Itself. Thus as embodied beings our profoundest truth is this central cave in which That One resides, at the innermost heart of ourselves. It can be visualised as a formidable tornado in whose centre stands an eye. The colossal play in the periphery is united and one with the centre. Indeed it cannot exist divorced from this essential unity. It is the same for each human incarnation. What is it that is born? The Vedic Hymn of Creation tells us exactly what this is, how birth comes about. The process of the greater manifestation is the same for the smaller, just as the infinitesimal atom reproduces in the minute boundaries of itself the same phenomenon and conglomeration of matter that we can perceive in the gigantic universe. Millions upon millions of ‘galaxies’ we carry in our human bodies. Each has a centre with its core or nucleus, and these ‘galaxies’ are held together by a ‘galactic centre’ in the human body, which is the soul.
Like the centre of our galaxy or the centre of our solar system, a luminous ‘sun’ abides in our hearts. That ‘seed’ is the centre in its inner circumference, – a magnetic core which by the special properties inherent in its central Pulse, is able to hold in orbit all the galaxy-cells of our bodies. In the course of our lives a ‘ray’ is extended horizontally from this vertically compressed seed, as the Rig Veda describes, from this point outward. And this extension is the lived (horizontal) experience of our individual Time, by which means we serve as conscious instruments in creation for the supreme act of self-knowing and self-enjoyment of the Absolute.
The core moves from one dimension to another. It is our bridge to the other hemisphere, to what is for us, in our state of unawareness, the unknown. The gateway to that unknown is Death. Passage to that other side signifies a rupture of the horizontal extension of our individual time. However, this is simply the result of the limitation of the present human instrument, in which and for which this core is entirely veiled. Guha remains ever concealed for most if not all human beings. Yet, what does indeed happen at death in all individual existence? What does it mean to say that time ceases for a person who dies, which is an obvious fact and cannot be denied? It appears that with human birth we enter the realm of time. We thus begin our journey on this crushing wheel that characterises the universe in which we exist, only then at death to be mercilessly thrust out of its womb of relatedness and relativities into some void, from whence it seems we have come, to be finally disentangled from all the relations and experiences nurtured, cherished (or even despised) in the process of living in time on this planet, in this universe. What is the purpose of this painful severance that death afflicts upon almost all human creatures? Or else, in order to escape from this anguish that birth invariably sets in motion and the suffering engendered by a life in ignorance, one seeks the refuge of death in order that these knotted relations in this great web of our time-pattern cease to exist and bind us to this awesome yet horrific Wheel, our benediction and our bane. It seems the only salvation possible is therefore to use Death as a means to liberate ourselves from a continued existence in the material universe and on this particular planet. Death then appears to bring an end to all relatedness. Where time exists there is an unavoidable web, constituted of experiences lived in material creation, but held together by a core. There can be no such construction on the basis of relations in the universe, between its myriad parts, unless a core central to the process exists.
In our exploration we have seen that this core is the compact, contracted, unextended and compressed essence of the Absolute. All true centres carry this magnetic Pulse within their spaceless dimensions. Because of the existence of this central Point, the process of extension by and through time can ensue and material manifest being arises. Time is thus the principle energy of creation, the ‘self’ indeed of that mighty cosmic Horse. Yet for this play to ensue, the ‘centre must hold’. And it does hold. Every human birth, not to speak of the universe itself, stands as testimony to the existence of this One.
In our innermost core That One is lodged. This is Agni, the divine Fire. It is the incarnate Will. The ‘pulse’ that arises at the origin of Time is that Will. Thereafter it sends out its reverberations. These then produce ripples in the fabric of our individualised ‘systems’, which then become that web we inhabit, just as a spider from her own being, her centre, draws forth the substance which she uses to construct her web, the ‘cosmos’ she then inhabits. Essential to this process is Desire, or the Power of Love, which results in a harmony of all the parts by virtue of the fact that it secures the indispensable ‘distance’ in order that the process of separation can allow for an Enjoyer and the Enjoyed.
In that core there is no relatedness, for this requires extension. There is only Being, truth of being, Sat. Yet without the core no relations could come into existence, for they cannot arise without a binding centre, a hub as it were. Likewise, the attributes of the core could never ‘know’ themselves if divorced from the full process of manifestation. And holding this majestic Play together, in a magical balance of contraction and expansion, is that magnetic Point. Indeed this Seed is equal to the Absolute. One is the vast; the other is the minute and compact. Thus in our individual core we hold this golden Bija containing all the attributes of the Transcendent.
Imperishability is its nature. How then can this Seed-Core die if essential to its being is eternal ceaselessness? But indeed it does not perish. At death it is time that ceases (to our conscious experience). And this brings the pain of separation from all that during the conscious passage of time in our bodies we had come to cherish and to love. This pain of separation has been the scourge of human existence, this knowledge that all things born must die, that no matter how fulfilling and satisfying our lives, whatever is built up in this individual yet multiply-interrelated web must dissolve at death. There is no way in which we can carry anything with us into that beyond, that unknown realm. Hence a sense of purposelessness permeates the entire fabric of individual and collective existence. The human creature seeks desperately to overcome this apparent purposelessness of life through what appear to be creative acts, resulting in some carried-over element, be this a work of art, of literature, of science, or whatever; or else simply in the extension of his seed in the form of his offspring. But the pain remains. The unknowing continues to plague us all. And we seek compensation or extinction.
The answer sages have given is to establish a poise of consciousness that rests on the solid realisation of uninvolvement and detachment. Yet this, as mentioned, merely serves to confound the already impossible confusion death generates for the troubled human spirit. That is, such a realisation, as exhilarating as it may be, merely serves to put a Divine Seal on purposelessness. We are then entirely justified in viewing the world in which we live as void of any great or even minor sense. For all practical purposes it is a maya, an illusion, a web whose centre is a sombre void.
However, in that core there is no void but rather plenitude of Being, and therein lies the secret dharma which is our eternal truth of being. In it we find that great Purpose, individually and collectively, and we realise that birth is a supreme grace, for it grants us the opportunity of conscious enactment of that very Purpose. Nonetheless, we are faced with the experience of death. No matter how solid the equanimity of our consciousness, we must still deal with Yama and Kala when ‘our time is up’.
Death brings oblivion. In that Sleep of sleeps we are disengaged from all that we had experienced in life on this side. However, is this a permanent feature of life? Or is it simply the result of our present constitution? Together with this query goes another, and they cannot be separated: Is this creation thus essentially one of Ignorance? For this is our experience of it as human beings who live life bounded by the limited vision of separateness and disunity. Thus we have devised countless theories to fortify our ignorant experience and justify our behavior patterns which are tearing civilisation to shreds; or else these theories serve to justify our quest for a Beyond in isolation from and severed from this manifest world of relatedness.
The cloak of Ignorance that presently shrouds human consciousness is the sole purpose for the imperative need of oblivion at the time of death, in order that we continue our instrumentation, drawn back into life by desire of fulfilment, so that we may continue as individualised ‘eyes that see’.
When we take birth – and the process of birth extends beyond the boundaries we attribute to it in the 9-month gestation process starting with conception – we set in motion that magical process of the Eye of the Tornado gathering energy about itself. We collect, on the basis of this eye-core, the elements or sheaths or bodies which are necessary for the extension in matter of that One in the Core. We form our vahana, or vehicle. This element, which is an individualised seed-truth of the Absolute, is the particle that survives all death, disintegration and rebirth – but that uses the tattwas and the gunas for its mechanism of expression in the most material dimension. It collects energies, organises them, creates a cosmos of the chaos – so perfectly conveyed in the Vedic term, ritam. This is the Undying, the Unborn one Aja, the mighty vahana of Agni; for this symbol describes the ‘body’ of the essence that Agni is. He is the first of the Gods and the realiser of immortality; or rather, that Immortal among mortals. Agni is that One, that Pulse in the Core, that Hiranyaretas, or the Golden Seed. Indeed, the Immortal amongst the mortality of our decaying parts.
This Core is undying. It does not decay. It knows and enjoys ceaselessness, eternal Becoming, an action which by virtue of its Being is controlled and ordered and expressive of the highest Truth. This is our own inherent truth, our intrinsic Dharma, collectively and individually. In view of this luminous destiny, whence this pain and the affliction of an ignorant unknowing, which seeks to avoid birth and flee from the Cosmic Womb of the Mother, as one would flee from the darkest Hell?
Again it must be stated that knowledge of the reality of this material creation and hence our own participation therein as conscient beings can only come by a plunge into that Core and not away and into any Beyond. It is also this plunge ‘Into the Seed-Core that can give us any real and lasting satisfaction in the quest for true knowledge of rebirth, as well as of birth itself, and that ever enigmatic, terrifying, rapacious ‘hunger that is Death’.
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