The Power Of One

Puranic Cosmology updated – No 7, February – June 2010

There is a way of looking at Time (and Space) which may be described as initiatic, but of the Vedic sort. To do so, complexity is shed in favour of a compelling simplicity that cuts to the bone of perception. If we observe how the Knowledge has come down to us from the Vedic Age in its large, sweeping design, we see clearly this simplicity actualised – but only when compared to the embellishment it underwent over the post-Vedic centuries.To illustrate, the focal point of the Vedic Sacrifice was the vedi, simple geometric constructions; however, their geometry itself was anything but simple. Rather, Tradition reveals that the geometry used to construct the vedi was highly complex. I repeat as in Update 6, geometry was the means to imbue the arena of the Sacrifice with a ‘substance’, ethereal though it was, to uphold the endeavour in the physical dimension for the goals of the ritual. These vedi were instilled with power by the Vedic Laws of Correspondence and Equivalence.In later times these Laws were passed on to Europe, through Egypt and then Greece, to become the basis of astrology as it is practiced still today throughout the world. It was conveyed in the Hermetic aphorism, ‘As above, so below’. Astrology does not operate on the basis of planetary influences, as erroneously believed by the scientific community to debunk astrology. It functions by the Vedic Laws as cited. But astrology suffered a decline in the Puranic Age on the subcontinent. We note the decline, if it may be so called, in the gradual change that overtook the ‘altar’ for the Sacrifice; indeed, by the time the decline had set in fully, the Vedic Sacrifice itself was in name only. The Vedic chants, the mantras continued to occupy centrestage perhaps, but, as Sri Aurobindo eloquently wrote, ‘…the soul of knowledge had fled from its coverings’.The Hindu temple reflects a complexity that set in when the geometry of the vedi had faded into the background. It would appear to be an enhancement via embellishment; but in actual fact form had overtaken essence. The vedi were replaced by the temple’s permanent garbha griha or sanctum sanctorum. A certain densification was taking place but we see how form came to cover essence by ever grander temples. The simple geometric altar was supplanted by the elaborate temple, where geometry still exists but is not as obvious as in earlier times. It is interesting to note that this development was accompanied by the rise of Science as a separate discipline at the service of the Profane, dramatically different from the Vedic Age. The Sacred, on the other hand, went underground for its protection and preservation. Certainly it is still present in the temple, but, I repeat, covered in the complexity of Form.If this exercise of updating is to succeed, obviously the focal point of the Tradition must find its place in this process. But this becomes complicated today given the loss of ‘the soul of knowledge’. The question is how do we retrieve that Soul, now submerged in the Ocean of Pisces as a legacy of the Age we left behind in 1926? Bear in mind, this is not a condition limited to the subcontinent. The Piscean Flood covered the entire globe with Truth ever present but increasingly difficult to ‘retrieve’ the higher the ‘waters’ reached. The experience today demands that we peal off the layers covering Truth; however, at the same time we need to accept that they are also connected by the Thread which does make sense of the seemingly negative along with the positive. Though the coverings are a legitimate aspect of the Earth’s integral evolutionary process, similar to the need for ‘ruse’, while necessary we must accept that a resultant residue is carried over and somehow needs to be dissolved if the evolutionary process is to rise to heights never before reached – i.e., the summit of the Capricorn Mountain.If Capricorn encapsulates the essence, as demonstrated in the Thread carried over to the actual geography of the subcontinent it astrologically rules, then that ‘chosen’ location itself becomes, as it were, the Altar, the vedi of the yearly Sacrifice. What was previously confined to a sanctified point in the Vedic Age is today enhanced to cover the entire subcontinent. This reflection alone reveals that in this Age of Mitra/Aquarius, the Knowledge that was reserved for an elite can now spread across the globe from the Capricorn centre that is the subcontinent.

Just as the Sacrifice of the Vedic Age was precise and mathematical, so too the enhancement of today, which serves to update the Tradition, is equally precise. In this exercise it becomes imperative to join together what had been torn asunder. We are obliged to wed the profane and the sacred in a greater unity which heals the divide the Puranic Myth describes so eloquently in the seemingly unavoidable struggles between the Titans and the Gods for supremacy. But the most magnificent myth of all times, the Puranic Churning of the Milky Ocean, presents us with an accurate image drawn from the soul: Devas and Asuras are joined on a par in the great labour that VISHNU controls.

The exquisite Angkor Vat bas-relief of the Churning of the Milky Ocean
( Cambodia, 12th Century CE , image Wikipedia)

We may just as well describe the conflict in terms closer to our contemporary formulation. This would be Time and Space. By a simple formula that has reached us across the Vedic and Puranic Ages, we can explain how Time and Space are the Gods and the Asuras of today, respectively. But it may be simpler to view them geometrically as vertical (Time) and horizontal (Space). When the Harmony is pure and unencumbered, the symbol is thus . When it is not, when it is encumbered by the residue inherited from of the Age of Pisces, that ‘excess’ creates an imbalance and the cross of Time and Space, or Devas and Asuras, is no longer equal-bodied but off-centred and hence in conflict to regain the lost balance. Therefore, the task today is to re-align­ in our lived experience these cosmic properties of Time and Space which in the soul-language of Myth are personified as Devas and Asuras. This will perhaps help clarify why asura in the Vedas did not carry the negative connotation of the Puranic Age. The split between the sacred and the profane had not yet occurred. Nonetheless, it was the crux of the Sacrifice – i.e., to bring about the superior alignment in the Initiate/Warrior who had to face his inner demons before all else.The same situation faces today’s Initiate; but the scope is global now, as we have seen in the localisation of the Capricorn Hieroglyph over the subcontinent. What in the Vedic Age was reserved for the Initiate, today, after passage through the Piscean Ocean and into the airy Aquarian heights, has become the Yoga for the World as the first step in the construction of the highest symbol of all, the astronomical/astrological symbol of the Sun: . To engage its Periphery the only way is through the Centre – be this in the individual or the collective: the soul each of us carries in our deepest recesses, or the Soul of the Earth which has now been unveiled through this cosmological updating to be geographical India, once known as Mt Meru.Unveiling that Point can be done when the direction of the endeavour reverts to what it was in the Vedic Age, albeit universalised today. This means that the strategy of ‘ruse’, drawing the Demons off the Vedic path to thus enable ‘conquest’ by the Devas, has to be understood in much deeper terms than we have cared to appreciate so far. In the process the origin of the present conflicts across the world may become clearer. For the fact is the weakness of the Devas forced a reliance on subterfuge, the residue of which continues to burden the evolutionary process as played out in India, for herself and for the rest of the world. Ridding themselves of the Asuras amounted to abandoning the Earth because power was withheld by this unhealthy divisionary tactic – as in the separation of the sacred from the profane. The ultimate result has been the gradual and now seemingly definitive division between Science and the Spiritual, or Matter and Spirit. The Gods being considered the sole legitimate possessors of the spiritual in today’s world, the only direction possible, given the split, was a quest for the Beyond. This direction began to take hold from the time of the ‘magic deluder’ and has troubled us ever since.Be that as it may, Vishnu’s intervention through his Line of Ten continues unperturbed, unrelenting. Thus, the (legitimate) 9th’s task was explicit: to reverse that mis-direction to the Beyond and the trend of otherworldliness, while establishing the Earth once more as the ‘Altar of the Sacrifice’. Thus, the Year must come again to our aid as the ‘map’ in this perilous journey ahead.

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