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.