Also in this Series
- Culture and Cosmos – 1
- Culture and Cosmos – 2, Part 1
- Culture and Cosmos – 2, Part 2
- Culture and Cosmos – 2, Part 3.1
- Culture and Cosmos – 2, Part 3.2
- Culture and Cosmos – 2, Part 3.3
- Culture and Cosmos – 2, Part 3.4
- Culture and Cosmos – 2, Part 3.5
- Culture and Cosmos – 2, Part 3.6
- Culture and Cosmos – 3, Part 1
- Culture and Cosmos – 3, Part 1.2
- Culture and Cosmos – 3, Part 1.3
- Culture and Cosmos – 3, Part 2.1
- Culture and Cosmos – 3, Part 2.2
- Culture and Cosmos – 3, Part 2.3
- Culture and Cosmos – 3, Part 3.1
- Culture and Cosmos – 3, Part 3.2
- Culture and Cosmos – 3, Part 3.3
- Culture and Cosmos – 4, Part 1
- Culture and Cosmos – 4, Part 1.2
We have reached the point in our discussion of caste and cosmos where it is important to expand the vision and locate all the elements of our analysis in the vaster movement of the cosmic Ages. I have systematised the passage of the Ages on the basis of two formulas of the new cosmology. The first, 9/6/3/0, corresponds to time and number-powers – i.e., the 9 notes of the cosmic scale and the application of the Law of Three, or the descending triadic progression to the 0. When the process is ‘integral’, out of that 0 comes the first numeral, the 1. Hence, the complete formula is 9/6/3/0-1.
The second formula is 9/5/1, corresponding to the Greek letters/numbers, th=9/e=5/a=1. This grouping of three is what I call the space scale in a measure extending from 1 to 12. Accompanying this is the time scale in a measure extending from 0 to 9. The latter is VERTICAL; the space scale is HORIZONTAL. The two scales superimposed form the Gnostic Circle, the new key of Knowledge which permits us to measure the flow of gnostic time in space.
With the formula 9/5/1 at my disposal, I soon came upon the arrangement of the ’12 Manifestations’. These are vaster periods of time than the widely used zodiacal Ages. Each Manifestation thus contains 3 zodiacal ages and consists therefore of 6480 years, or 3 x 2160. The correct appreciation of the appearances of the Ten Evolutionary Avatars of Hindu tradition can be come upon by the formula 9/5/1, or the key to our own 9th Manifestation, which, in turn, opens the doors to the entire gamut of 12 and the greater passage of 77,760 years. The diagram (below) offers a visual display of this Harmony. It may be noted that 9/5/1 are the signs which fall in the quarter of the wheel where our present Age of Aquarius is located. This would be the last quarter of the zodiac, the signs Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces; the ‘months’ January, February and March.
However, as the diagram indicates, the movement through the Manifestations is not a closed circle but rather a spiral. To complete a full round of the 12 Manifestations 77,760 years must transpire, or 3 completed rounds of the zodiacal Ages, each round of which consists of 25,920 years. We are interested in our present cycle because it is within this particular Round of 25,920 years that the Evolutionary Avatars appear who bring the Line of Ten to a close.
The reader may refer to The Gnostic Circle , Chapter 5 where I discuss the appearance of Sri Ram, the 7th Avatar, Sri Krishna, the 8th, and then in Chapter 6, the 9th Avatar. The total span during which these three special agents of the Time-Spirit have made their appearances on Earth is approximately 12,000 years, covering the 7th, 8th, and 2160 years into this 9th Manifestation. We need not dwell any further on these details insofar as I have treated the subject extensively in my books, namely The Gnostic Circle and The New Way. What is of interest for the purpose of this essay is simply to illustrate that the single geometric form which previously we employed to integrate various elements and aspects of the Knowledge (see TVN 6/4, October 1991), is the same celestial circle which provides us with the key to the 12 Manifestations. Always it is the Circle that enlightens, and the Circle is the symbol of the Divine Shakti.
In other words, the foundation of caste has been connected to the year as the earlier diagram illustrates; and now this same divine measure of caste in time has simply been enlarged to incorporate first 25,920 years and then 77,760. The Laws of Correspondence and Equivalency inform us that the Cosmic Purush which is the celestial backdrop of caste is the very same celestial harmony which give us the measure of a day, a year, or the above larger cycles. To make these discoveries all that is required is a vision of unity and oneness – a capacity lacking in our science-oriented world.
What becomes evident is that the real purpose of caste is to be found in that celestial harmony; moreover, when the proper understanding of that cosmic foundation is lost or flawed, caste must similarly lose its sense and purpose. And when time via the calendar cannot be used to regulate and harmonise the two in the society in question, then it is clear that caste has become a meaningless as well as obstructive element in the civilisation. Its continued existence serves then to disunify and divide rather than to integrate and harmonise.
Be this as it may, and this is certainly the condition of caste in contemporary Indian society, a study of the true foundations of caste, its real inspiration as well as the motor (time) which allows it to play a dynamic role in society, is helpful in that numerous dimensions of life are drawn into the discussion. We are able to perceive that what corroded caste also corroded an interconnected spectrum of diversified aspects of life on the subcontinent, moving through those cosmic ages in an increasingly accelerated collective experience of collapse and disintegration. It would appear then that if we could grasp the factor which underpins all these degenerative civilisational expressions, we could undo the pivotal Knot and liberate the energies long held prisoner of this one great entanglement. Indeed, this present study seeks to do just that. I seek to draw attention to that problem, that one flaw or loss which permitted the evolution of the Vedic civilisation to appear to deviate from its original purpose.
But is this the case? It is in fact inaccurate to sustain that the lost Measure, for example, caused an interference or an unanticipated deviation. Rather, the true position is that the loss was just as much a part of the process as the more positive expressions. In other words, all was calculated and contained in the original ‘seed’.
Nonetheless, anticipated and calculated or not, we must contend with that Knot. But the true image is better conveyed through one experience common to each and every human being on this planet: the gestation and birth process. In this light, we must review the evolutionary process as a gestation and birth. The ‘measure’ is the same always – 0 to 9 in the ‘womb’ of 1 to 12. Or the seed brought to fruition during the 0/9 period within the ‘soil’ of the 1/12 zodiacal plane. This would be the correct way to understand the cosmic harmonies in relation to our Earth evolution, in particular the Gnostic Circle which is a synthesis of these features.
With this understanding, it is revealed that being the 9th Manifestation the quality that permeates our evolution at this point in time is BIRTH. After a long development stretching through 8 prior Manifestations plus an Age, or 54,000 years, we have finally reached the stage when birth can ensue – civilisational birth, societal, individual. This implies that throughout this long stretch of time we have never experienced that actual Birth. It has always been simply a gestation. But the quality of that process indicates the condition of the foetus and the Child that is finally born. All the events in the world today, of such outstanding spiritual and material significance for our global society, provide us with a very clear image of the ‘child’ that has been developing in this cosmic/evolutionary womb of Time throughout this period. It can also be appreciated that when the actual time of birth is at hand, similar to a human labour there is a quickening – what I call an acceleration. Compression of time would be the better description because indeed we observe that Time’s action in the world is to condense its periods. When the moment of the actual birth arrives, this compaction is very obvious simply because the cycles are smaller and hence more easily verifiable: the correspondences and interconnections are precise and unmistakable.
Such has been the case now. We have witnessed the condensation of the 7th, 8th and 9th Manifestations into the equivalent 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s. Then again, as the spiral tightens, or – in an apt image – as the womb’s contractions increase and the ‘space’ surrounding the foetus lessens in anticipation of ejection from the womb, those centuries are compressed into decades – i.e., the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. The very unusual unfolding of events in these three decades can only be properly understood when the knowledge of this cosmic/evolutionary process is grasped in full.
Central to this understanding is the Map of the 12 Manifestations. To be more precise, if, as all new age groups do, we expect to understand the nature of the changes in the world solely on the basis of the precessional movement backward through the zodiac, which informs us that we have moved from the Age of Pisces into the Age of Aquarius, we will comprehend very little of the real development and its magnitude. For this does not reveal that this development has extended through 8 long Manifestations and that we are now in the 9th. Nor does it reveal the key to the Puranic line of Ten Evolutionary Avatars, their quality, the work they must do, and, more importantly, when they incarnate to fulfil their cosmic purpose.
The value of this data is immense for we realise that the entire process is regulated by the Time-Spirit and that even the advent of the ‘ruse of the Supreme’ was calculated as a part of the strategy of birth. We appreciate that the original Vedic seed has moved carefully through the gestating folds of Time and the moment for the Child to be born has come – on time, precisely in this 9th Manifestation of the cosmic sequence. We verify that the quickening or acceleration of events is simply a remarkable confirmation of the labour and birth.
But there is something more that the knowledge reveals. The Birth has ALREADY occurred. What we see now is the very initial development of that child, the very first stirrings. We see that the repercussions and reverberations of these infant flexing of limbs have produced such dramatic revolutionary happenings in our contemporary society, entirely unknown to our period of recorded history, and that these bear evidence to the stunning new features of the Child. We are dealing with a creature, a creation never before manifested. Indeed, we are, for the first time in this vast cycle, contending with a creation, an actual manifest REALITY, where hitherto all was concealed as if behind the membranous substance of the womb of the cosmic Mother. This too the Puranic tradition describes so well: it calls the child Guha, the hidden one. On a remote hill in the Tamil country of Sri Lanka there is a small, special temple. The deity is the Child in his form of the hidden, veiled One. In a ritual reminiscent of the earliest secret Mystery rites, during very special festivals in praise of the God, seekers experience the progressive unveiling of that mysterious Child. We verify once more that Tamil Nadu is the preserver of not only the tradition but of those miraculous things to come, precisely because it has indeed held tightly to its bosom the knowledge of the Child, of Guha, Shiva’s mighty and invincible warrior Son.
Traditions in many parts of the world have glimpsed this truth and have sought to capture and convey something of the Knowledge in their various belief systems and rites. But nowhere is it encountered in such a pure and uncontaminated form as in Tamil Nadu – precisely because this has been the chosen land of the realisation, of the yogic process which would permit the Child to emerge from behind the veils and reveal the shape of these formidable things to come.
This is the knowledge the zodiac transmits; by consequence, it is the knowledge that caste secretly contains in its fourfoldness. It may well have been the secret significance of the 12 and 18 ‘measure’ of the Tamil alphabet. It certainly is the knowledge of the ancient Veda – the ‘seed’ that has developed into this Child.
The Incan Temple of the Sun
I shall provide a clear example of the universal character of this Knowledge by presenting a fascinating discovery made in the early 1970s by the archaeologist Gary S. Vescelius during excavations in Peru amidst the ruins of the pre-Columbian Inca civilisation. It will be abundantly clear that the very same cosmic harmony which inspired the early Rishi in the establishment of the Vedic civilisation was similarly the unmistakable foundation of the Incan Empire. The example is so stunning in its correspondence that one wonders how it has been that these connections were never made by scholars. Eighteen years have passed since I first came upon Vescelius’ discoveries in an article in The New York Times, dated 19 March 1974. At that time I was writing The Gnostic Circle, but the discoveries he presented were not new to me. I had already written extensively on the same subject in my treatment of the ’12 Manifestations’ via the diagram reproduced on page 12, which is remarkably similar to the ‘plan’ Vescelius discovered for the lay-out of the ancient Incan capital, Cuzco. Thus, though the connection with India and the Veda were known to me then, to my knowledge no one has helped the archaeologist to understand the fuller lines and implications of his discovery, nor to correct certain errors, or rather incomplete interpretations of those findings.
I am presenting (below) the diagram Vescelius made of Cuzco, featured in the newspaper report. We may quote his own words and it will be clear that Vescelius had understood certain aspects of Incan civilisation which place it on a par with the Vedic – the Vedic as I am describing it however; that is, the true nature of the ‘seed’ and the ‘child’, shorn of the innumerable veils or growths of the centuries.
The almost exact parallel may be noted with my diagram on page 12, first presented in my book, Symbols and the Question of Unity a collection of articles written in 1973. The main feature in both these diagrams is an overall division of 4, within which we find the division of 3 and 12. In my presentation I have noted that the division of 3 refers to the energy flows of Creation, Preservation and Dissolution – or else the gunas Rajas, Sattwa, and Tamas. In India’s case this is perhaps the most important division insofar as the Capricorn hieroglyph is a combination of this triadic play of energy. Being a key to energy interactions which produce a creation in matter, it is entirely understandable that Traditions refer to this glyph as the Name of God. It would, however, be more appropriate to call it the Name of the Goddess, for that is the truth of the hieroglyph. But this distinction forms part of the lost measure, when ‘God’ then became unisexed and decidedly male. Our troubles began from that point onward since how can a Masculine Principle explain a birth process which is entirely a property of the Feminine? More particularly, a process which is the explicit property of the Third Principle of the triad?
India has, however, preserved the Knowledge intact. It has consistently called a spade a spade, regardless of the distortions taking place beyond the contours of its Capricorn hieroglyphic borders. Unlike the Incan, Hindu civilisation has maintained a continuity in time. The gestation of that Seed, which is Truth-Conscious or Gnostic in essence, has continued in spite of or possibly aided by serious attempts to slay the foetus right in the womb. In other words, to prevent its birth entirely. The strategy of the Void has had this objective. It has persisted in denying reality to that gestation process. As yet there is no question of a denial of the actual Child. The great Underminers were simply contending with a gestation, with an evolutionary process using Time as the creator and solidifier. It is for this reason that emphasis was laid on the ‘Permanent’ in contrast to the nefarious deception of the ‘Impermanent’. To put it more accurately, emphasis was laid on the Static rather than the Dynamic, on rest not motion – for movement is the definition of the Supreme Shakti and the very essence of the organic gestation of a creation in matter. In other words, Time, the creator, preserver and destroyer of the worlds, became viewed as the prime enemy of the seeker, and indeed of that very world it had so laboured to create.
To render the position even clearer, this emphasis could be sustained and accepted simply because in a certain sense the creation was indeed ‘illusory’ and ‘unreal’. But only because it was as yet unborn.
When the time comes and the birth is successfully achieved, as it has been in our 9th Manifestation, through a span of 91 years from 1872 to 1963, then of course the ‘ruse’ is unmasked. Theories of Void and Illusion cannot prevail. They must collapse into that very nothingness of their OWN unreal existence. They are a part of the veils that are shed at birth. Those are the concepts which are ‘unreal’ and not the creation they clothe. Hindu civilisation, given its ability to maintain the continuity of the gestation uninterruptedly, is the only vehicle which has the intrinsic prerequisites to serve the Earth in this noble enterprise. Though other civilisations did indeed possess something of the Knowledge central to the process, they did not have the sacred Capricorn hieroglyph which is the coveted Seal of the Supreme to identify the landmass where this high drama would be played out.
Because the zodiac is the description of the Mother, its prominence in Incan civilisation indicates that there was an understanding of her triadic energy essence and play. And this is the area where the lacunae in Vescelius’ deductions are noted. In his view the remarkable arrangement of shrines which serve to form the diagram here reproduced, provide proof that this ‘construction’ which encompassed the entire city of Cuzco, was virtually a calendar. He explains that little is known of the knowledge possessed by the Incans inasmuch as they had ‘no well developed system of writing’. Nor is much known about their calendar, he states. Whatever history records of this civilisation comes from the pen of Spaniards, particularly members of the Catholic clergy, similar to Mayan/Aztec America. It needs to be emphasised therefore that very little of the true substance of the Incan knowledge of cosmic harmonies can be gleaned from such Chronicles insofar as the men recording what they saw in the last death throes of the civilisation were anti-cosmos by virtue of their own belief system and conditioning. They did, however, record faithfully what they did not realise was connected to those cosmic harmonies. Therefore, on the basis of their texts and the extant monuments, in this case innumerable strategically placed shrines fanning out from the central Temple of the Sun, Vescelius was able to deduce that the structure of the city itself was a ‘calendar’. I have reproduced along with his diagrams a portion of the article reporting Vescelius’ discoveries and diagrams. It must be borne in mind that the treatment involves a location in the southern hemisphere and hence a reversal of the seasons.
‘Not only were the shrines and the calendar divided into four quarters but so was the entire world envisioned by the Incas,’ the article quotes of Mr. Vescelius’ theories. ‘He sees this in [the] division of the nitches of the Central Temple of the Sun into four groups of nine each, the total of 36 equalling the number of months.’
From this it is easily appreciated that what Vescelius believes was a calendar is in fact the very same cosmic harmony which inspired Vedic Rishis in their vision of the cosmic Purush, the Atman or universal soul from where the caste system emerged. Vescelius is therefore entirely correct in this supposition that the Inca ‘calendar’ was related to the ‘Inca’s concept of space and to their modes of social, political and ceremonial organisation’ in a ‘complex and…fascinating way.’
This may well have been the role of what are reported to have been the ‘clans’ organisation – related to the Chaturvarna via the fourfold division of the time/space structure. But he just misses the point when he connects the three names of the clans – Qallow (waxing), Qollona (resplendent), and Payan (waning) – to the phases of the Moon. Actually, they are simply Rajas, Sattwa, and Tamas, or Creation, Preservation and Dissolution, as the translation he gives of the Incan names amply verifies. The correspondence is superbly exact.
In his assessment of this Incan ‘calendar’, Vescelius sees this threefold division as an indication of a three-week month. It may well be. But the main feature is the three gunas contained in those zodiacal sign/months. Indeed, traditional astrology also divides each sign into three parts, known as the Decanates – and they can also be related to the gunas – to tally perfectly with Vescelius’ deductions regarding this particular aspect of the arrangement.
This is, however, one feature of the discoveries, and in my view the real content is missed. To illustrate, I am reproducing here another diagram on the same theme of the 12 Manifestations, taken also from The Gnostic Circle – the Map’s static version in contrast to its dynamic form on page 12. This particular version explains what Vescelius missed regarding the division of 3 and the overall 36, or 3 x 12. He considers this to refer to a 36-week year. Possibly, but it is unlikely that the Incas took such pains to plan an entire city on this design if it referred only to the year. My Map of the 12 Manifestations, consisting as it does of 36 signs (Ages) similar to the Incan design, reveals that the pattern dealt with a vaster cyclic arrangement. It is entirely possible that the same knowledge which has now resurfaced of the most ancient Vedic Way, pre-Incan, was the property of that now extinct southern-hemispheric Empire of the Sun.
The Incas may or may not have divided their months and cosmic ages on the basis of this triad to coincide with the zodiacal system, but more important to note is that in every detail Incan civilisation was organised according to this cosmic design. And similar to the Hindu model, the decline came in the Age of Pisces. But while India definitely managed to preserve the Knowledge and its civilisation, albeit somewhat battered, the Incan succumbed to the Conquistadores and the link was completely severed. We have today nothing but a handful of stone relics and dilapidated structures to bear evidence to the superior civilisation that gave the Earth a ‘Temple of the Sun’ and a city and society structured entirely on the basis of the purest vision of the cosmic harmony.
Further on I propose to discuss the new ‘Temple of the Sun’ for a contemporary Indian society and the manner in which it too stands as the central hub in a ‘city’ which was to be constructed along identical lines as the Incan Cuzco – a faithful reproduction of the cosmic script. In anticipation, I reproduce below a symbol, the Mother’s, which was to be the plan of the city, similar to the Incan. Note that the Mother’s symbol also contains all the elements of the zodiac: 3 concentric circles (the 3 spirals of my Map, and the gunas), an inner petal division of 4, and a further division of 12. Being the symbol of the Mother and the zodiac being the divine Mother’s ‘horoscope’, as it were, or the Map of Evolution as I sometimes call it, it is not at all surprising to observe that the Mother selected this particular design as her symbol; and further, that she desired it to form the basic plan of a model city. To complete the vision and parallel with the Incas, she also gave the plan for that contemporary ‘Temple of the Sun’ which would occupy the central portion of the symbol, from where, like the Incan, the rest of the city would branch out.
Myth and ‘Reality’: Strategies of Preservation
The Puranic mythic period marked the time when Vedic Knowledge was forced underground. It is widely acknowledged that myths are repositories of a civilisation’s cultural and psychic wealth. This is of course true of India, but in the case of the Puranic period there is much more involved.
When the divine Measure was lost and certain spiritual attainments undermined the soul, bedrock of the Vedic experience, there was no way to carry the Vedic thread through the dark age which had enveloped the subcontinent except by camouflaging it to the point where this veiling, by the tactic of simple story-telling and legend, served to keep the truth very much alive – but deep beneath the surface of the collective consciousness.
Indeed, myths strike a chord which is inaudible to the mind or is imperceptible even in certain higher states of awareness. The appeal is through the vital/emotional centres, in the Veda known as the ‘lower hemisphere’. This refers to the lower levels of consciousness which modern western psychology refers to as the unconscious or subconscious strata, or else the chthonic. Through this subterfuge the Puranic myths were able to IMPRINT the Veda on these deep-rooted, heavily concealed layers of individual and collective consciousness. Nonetheless, the Knowledge was of the highest order, equal in almost every degree to the original Vedic. The only problem was that in being obliged to use this method in order to assure survival of the Dharma through the foreseen age of a relentless attack on its foundations, one had to contend with the existence of those layers of darkness, or the unconscious strata that was accumulated and the effects that these would have in the subsequent unveiling process.
To provide an example, I have shown how the work of Durga and her warrior Son was a prophecy of our times preserved in the myth and accompanying iconography (see the article that follows, ‘The New Way Triumphant’), when these godheads would incarnate and liberate the Dharma from the forces of its suppression (the dark layers). But more especially, I have shown how very accurately certain keys of the highest Knowledge are contained in the iconography of the Goddess and God, how the structure of the Gnostic Circle is ‘contained’ in the myth and idol. These facts of the Knowledge are scrupulously protected by the Shastras (scriptures) which lay down detailed specifications for the fashioning of the idols and icons. This strategy occupied the spiritual mind of Hindu civilisation throughout the entire Age of Pisces. Lamentably, these facets of the Vedic sciences employed in the labour were erroneously bracketed with religious dogma and ritual by agents of alien cultures who had nothing but the religious framework of their own societies to apply to what they encountered. The categorisation of Vedic culture as religious arose in that period and persists until today. It was one of the most astute tactics to convert this high Truth into an almost unrecognisable travesty of itself.
Thus today not many are able to extract the real meaning from these Vedic prescriptions, the Knowledge having been so thoroughly veiled. But this is precisely the purpose of Myth. It protects the Knowledge, preserves it almost like a time capsule would when buried deep in the ground to safeguard history for future generations in the event of a cataclysm. The magic of the Puranic myth, however, lies in the fact that the Knowledge can at any time be brought up from those deep chthonic levels by the simple method of the soul realisation. Indeed, only the soul can allow access of the conscious mind to the content of the Puranic myth. It is something on the order of the Tamil rite described earlier where the seeker moves into the deep, dark sanctum sanctorum – the ‘cave’ where Guhavasi (‘the One in the cave’) dwells – the cave being the symbol of that soul chamber, ‘hidden and mute’.
When this transpires – and I myself can attest to its efficacy, having attained the Knowledge precisely through the soul realisation – whatever has been ‘stored’ in this subterranean memory bank is drawn up and can bring alive the dormant energies of an individual or a people.
There are other methods of preserving the Dharma through periods of decline and attack. For example, the realisation of yogis of different hues; that is, through the Guru/disciple tradition when the technique to attain a certain realisation is passed on to the disciple by the Guru, and so on throughout generations. These may or may not make use of the soul/myth combine. When they do not, as has been generally the case in India for the past millennium, then a fundamental element is left out: the Mother, the Earth, the energy that a creation in matter holds in its folds and can be released only via this method, similar to the release of energy in fission or fusion. This means that noble as they are and in their own way serving a high purpose, these attainments of yogis and sages cannot bring their realisations to bear on the layman or the masses, cannot foster an awakening of those sleeping collective energies. When it is a question of just the individual, there is no difficulty. But when we are dealing with a civilisation and its survival over long stretches of time, then the matter is serious and demands a ruthless precision in the yoga so that these distinctions may be understood.
For this reason I have written in this essay and elsewhere that the yogic realisation positing the ultimate attainment outside the body and material creation had the effect of draining the civilisation of its most valuable energies, leaving a withering collective consciousness behind. Now that the critical threshold has been reached, the time has come for this ruthless dissecting in order to avoid the total collapse of Vedic culture, which would mean the extinction of the Knowledge as a living influence insofar as it is only in India that the strategy of preservation had been successfully achieved.
Myth not Religion: a Primordial Schism
Thus we note that a yogic attainment as described above did virtually nothing to halt invading hordes inimical to the Dharma. We also note that the Puranic myth – and Epic, but more on that anon – evolved to preserve the Knowledge and serve as the method for release of power, or the arousal of dormant energies on a mass and an individual level.
Since myth engages the vital/emotional part of the being, it is clear that power is involved, a quality of the vital, – indeed, the Shakti, for in no civilisation where the Goddess is not worshipped do we find a living fount of myth. I have referred to the rise of the Middle-Eastern religious experience as an example of the displacement of the Mother worship, particularly reflected in its condemnation of idol worship. We may observe therefore that when the idol was ousted, so was the myth. Not merely the myth connected to that particular idol but the capacity to conceptualise in this fashion, as a respected ingredient in the intellectual life of a nation.
India presents a fascinating example of the capacity to at least preserve the Knowledge in this way, through myth. Studying the development through her long history, we observe that the two elements lacking in other civilisations remained part and parcel of the national obsession: the Mother or the Feminine Principle, and Myth. These expressions are as alive today as they ever were. This indicates that at any moment the POWER stored by this strategic method can be released. All that is required is the key to that door behind which this formidable reservoir of energy stands.
On occasion this source has been tapped, but imperfectly. That is, with much mixture, unconsciousness and interference. But recently India was indeed offered a display of how the masses respond to the appeal of the mythic – or in this case the Epic. This was during the ‘Rathyatra’ (‘chariot journey’) to Ayodhya in late 1990. The tremendous arousal of the masses during the exercise was met with a series of responses from various quarters, mostly disdain. The more coolly intellectual strata of Indian society – the intelligentsia, politicians, academicians, scientists – abhorred what they saw. It was clear that this tactic was considered ‘hitting below the belt’, as indeed it was if we know that the ‘centres’ in the body where myth operates are precisely ‘below the belt’. The cry was predictably ‘mixing politics with religion’. But since Ayodhya is not going to dissolve into nothingness, perhaps it is time to dissect this accusation because the health of India as a united nation relies now on this meticulous act of defining. If not done properly we risk missing the forest for the trees and losing the great opportunity the Mother has provided to redeem what presently appears to be unredeemable.
The mythic concept has nothing to do with religion. The ‘centres’ activated are entirely different, as any proficient yogi can attest. Likewise, the inspirational source of myth and religion are different. Worship of the Mother, properly speaking, does not produce a religion. Indeed, it would be hard to come by a formal religion centred on the Shakti anywhere in the world today. We can even go further and state that a definition of religion may well be a conceptualisation or an experience in which the Feminine does not enter or play any decisive role. This would be the proper definition. Contrarily, where the Feminine does exist, and centrally, religion cannot take hold.
Let us carry this scrutiny further, deeper. We understand then that myth and epic are, properly speaking, products of a world in which the Feminine is alive and well. The civilisation which nurtures the Shakti worship can therefore never become closeted in the proper parameters set for religion. Even more, India is the only country in the world where the Goddess is a living deity and influence. Therefore, Hinduism is the only ‘religion’ in the world which, to be accurate, is not a religion. It is time for the intelligentsia throughout the world to understand these few basic points.
But the intellectual in India and elsewhere, with rare exceptions, is severely handicapped in such an exercise, precisely because in the intellectual the centres which might be aroused by myth and epic are atrophied. Scholars, academicians, scientists, rely solely on mind and the mental faculties in their assessments and formulations. Thus, with this top-heaviness, how can they be called upon to structure a society which functions on the basis of entirely different principles and influences? The problem seeks to be presented as a case of retrogression where communal eruptions are the result of lapses into inferior modes of behaviour. But what is neither perceived nor accepted is that this is not a problem of Hindu civilisation – neither a thousand years ago nor today. It is the problem that arose when religions were imported into the country.
Thus we have an indigenous mythic/epic culture pitted against a religious. Patently, the twain have never met and can never meet. In addition, I have pointed out that religion and politics stem from a single source or plane of consciousness. That is, they require a specific set of circumstances and conditioning for their common and contiguous appearance in society. Thus, in this confrontation it is to be noted that – contrary to appearances – the intelligentsia did indeed side with religion, and India’s contemporary problems are largely due to an inability of those who are in the forefront of national life to really understand what it is they are dealing with. It can be appreciated that in this deeper scrutiny ‘secular’ is synonymous with ‘religious’, and indeed both concepts as they have evolved and reached us today, are products of western religio-secular conditioning. For the point has been reached where these intellectuals look upon those indigenous backward masses as hopelessly caught in a net of superstition and obscurantism. Yet what is extremely interesting to note is that this assessment and its consequences in the governing of Indian society are valid labels only for the Hindu segment of society. We are thus faced with an intelligentsia – anywhere in the world – organically incapacitated to offer inspiration to a people rooted in mythic and epic culture, having certain organs of perception for the purpose entirely atrophied.
The mythic ‘aberration’ is prominent everywhere in India. It surfaces in the ‘embarrassing’ delirium telecasting of the Epics provoked throughout the nation, in all strata of society, high and low. At viewing time the nation came to a standstill. It is even reported that a power station was attacked in Karnataka because of a breakdown or a power-cut at the very time when the Ramayana was to be telecast. These demonstrations of a people attuned to the mythic/epic, after the decline and conquests are considered to be remnants of an immature pagan culture, still not completely ‘educated’ and reconditioned by the saving grace of western rationalism and logic and the secular mindset. We have then an intelligentsia writing history, formulating policies, passing laws to govern these masses which is pathetically out of touch with the true ethnic and even cellular composition of the race they are meant to govern. In other words, the history of the subcontinent is a long saga of a millennium of violence done to its people, not only by foreign invaders but now by its own westernised élite. The question has to be asked, For how much longer can India be managed without accepting the TRUE character of her people?
Recently a documentary was telecast, ‘Eyes of Stone’, of a young woman director. It described the rites village women undergo when in the grips of possession and the Mother Goddess intervenes to drive the spirits away. In the film an old woman explained to the film interviewer that it is not that they do not go to doctors when they fall ill and take the pills they are given. They do. But they take the pill saying, ‘I know, Mother, it is you in this pill too, it is you who are curing me.’
The intellectual élite may well consider this a further manifestation of hopeless backwardness and superstition. Actually, it reveals one of the highest spiritual attainments, which in itself places India above any other nation in questions of the Spirit. It demonstrates that even the lowest strata of her society experiences the unity of creation, a material universe permeated through and through with the consciousness-being of the Divine Mother. This enlightenment, on a mass level, is absent anywhere elsewhere in the world. It demonstrates a civilisation totally unafflicted by a divisive perception of Reality. And this is India’s one great and abiding heritage.
Ayodhya and everything that surrounds it has boldly exposed this condition before the nation and the world. There is no other country anywhere on the globe that can be central to an exposure of such a chronic schism, simply because the Mother and Myth and Epic are absent as living influences elsewhere. Religion divides. About this there can be no argument. Never has a religion truly united people. All religions create an artificial sense of community which, because of the limitations of the plane from where their inspiration arises, straightaway sets about using that ‘unity’ to pit one community against another, or one sect against another even within the same belief system – with never any resolution in sight. Grievances are nurtured for centuries. But this chronic, in-built inability to unify has now been exposed insofar as the Time-spirit is in the process of carrying the evolution to the point of a One-World perception, a boundary-less planetary society which goes against the grain of every religion. For how can religions unify when each one is exclusive and held to be the best, the only saving grace? This cultivates an unavoidable sense of superiority which in turn breeds discord and division. It is the substance of all religions – that is, the real and not the illusory effects they have produced in the world during the brief span of history which they have dominated.
The problem is simply that the people who have drawn the lines of modern, independent India have not taken into account the real character of the society and civilisation. Thus there is no provision for a people MYTHIC and EPIC in their hearts and souls. Religions and religious sentiments are ‘protected’, but not the mythic/spiritual. Is it any wonder then that there are calls for a ‘Hindu Rastra’ (Hindu Nation)? These are simply the expressions of a people who feel (in the epic/mythic sense) rather than rely exclusively on the mental faculties. They realise that in modern India – indeed in the entire world – there is no accommodation for what is commonly called the soul of India. Laws, policies and the like are formulated to govern a race non-existent on the subcontinent. It may exist in the Middle East, in Europe and beyond. But it does not exist in India. Is it any wonder then that this situation has resulted in a breakdown of the integrity of the nation, which has exposed the imperative need to ask questions which until now have never been asked?
Ayodhya and the Strategy of the Epic
Again it must be emphasised that Hinduism does not suffer the limitations of religions, or any sense of superiority which arises out of a notion of exclusivism and by consequence a reliance on dogma and clergy. The much applauded ‘tolerance’ of Hinduism lies in this simple truth: it is not a religion and therefore it can afford to be tolerant. However, the real truth goes much deeper. Hinduism after the Puranic necessity relies heavily on myth for its survival. By this means the Dharma has been preserved from the Dark Ages to the present. And myth touches UNIVERSAL FOUNTS – what the psychologist C. G. Jung called the collective unconscious. It is, properly speaking, the collective soul. In the terms of our essay it is the macrocosmic Purush dazzlingly spread out in innumerable ‘sparks’ in the individual manifestation. Thus it is a known fact that myth cuts across national borders and ethnic divides. The fount from where they have sprung – here, there and everywhere – is that one Cosmic Purush, the universal soul and the binding energy of the human incarnation. The ability to tap that fount can result in a myth identical in its knowledge content to others throughout the world, regardless of the culture or civilisation in which they have arisen. A scrutiny of the Earth’s storehouse of myth reveals this simple truth.
The point then is that the soul-inspired mythic/epic culture UNIFIES. Religions, having each one of them closed the doors to that universal fount, to that Cosmic Truth, DIVIDE. And having established this point and by consequence revealed the unreligious MYTHIC/EPIC dimension of Ayodhya, it is more than clear that a case cannot be made linking the movement to religion. The parameters are exclusively cultural and civilisational. However, herein lies the problem.
In the desire to be secular in order to assure that the divisive forces of religion would not interfere with the foundation of the new independent nation, and without a proper understanding of the distinctions made above, the result has been on the order of ‘cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face’. The strategy of divide-and-rule has revealed itself to be masterful: that tremendous fount of collective power has been effectively locked behind iron doors. The way to attain this was to label the mythic culture ‘pagan’ and idolatrous – in a word, a substandard culture compared to its European counterparts. There is no way in which socio-political agencies – which are the only channels allowed to organise movements and the masses – can legitimately, constitutionally engage those sleeping energies which unify and do not divide, and which lie deeply embedded beneath the surface of every Indian. During the British Raj it was a most clever strategy to secure a minority alien rule over an indigenous majority. To be more specific, we must admit that the majority was cajoled into subjugating itself; and after independence it continued to do so wilfully. Indeed, by establishing this secular divide the result has been that divisive energies are the only ones permitted to govern the nation. The energies of those deepest psychic levels – energies which unify – are suppressed. And what is worse, that power accumulates and a deadly combustion occurs when certain thresholds are reached – very similar to volcanic eruptions. The numerous serious volcanic eruptions this year would seem to mirror this condition, when these collective energies are not allowed a regulated, controlled release. Then there are eruptions here and there in the form of insurgencies of various hues. Terrorism is a manifestation most accurate in exposing the results of a suppression of unifying energies resulting in evermore destructive eruptions in the collective body. To counteract we engage more energies of the same level. We never go deeper.
Ayodhya sought to do so. The spontaneous response the movement received created considerable consternation. It seemed that the sacred secular divide had been violated beyond repair and a concerted attempt is being made to heal the aberration, the lapse into fundamentalism, communalism, superstition. But hardly any attempt is made to truly see, to understand and to build a society utilising those unifying forces rather than condemning them.
But those energies stored in myth and epic have been, to some extent, released. It is unlikely that they can ever again be locked away. Yet it is well to understand what is really transpiring so that the phenomenon of Ayodhya may serve all parties, all people in the harmonisation and integration of India.
There is a difference between myth and epic, it ought to be mentioned. Myth preserves the Knowledge via the soul fount, and these energies when released are translated into that framework with its ability to transform the being. The epic, on the other hand, is not concerned with Knowledge as such, but with the storage of power – a power that when released functions on the civilisational level to transform society. We often refer to the two interchangeably, but in effect there are shades of differences, or different functions. More often than not – as in the Ram/Krishna epics, myth and epic combine; and this is the despair of historians. The epic records history, what we might call the politics of culture and the more surface details in the life of a civilisation. Ram and Krishna have their appearances on Earth recorded in this way. Myth, on the other hand, is equally faithful in recording real aspects of a civilisation’s life, but it deals with what is now considered unscientific, unhistoric, ‘unreliable’. A mere ‘myth’. Properly speaking, the myth is more accurate than history in revealing a civilisation’s contribution to humanity and evolution precisely because it does record the action of those hidden forces which are the true determinants of history.
Hindu civilisation has indeed managed to preserve its Vedic heritage throughout its long historic period of decline, uninterruptedly, through the subterfuge of myth. But it is curious if not confounding to note that while successful in this achievement during almost a millennium of foreign rule and unimaginable attacks on the very foundations of the Vedic Dharma, the real danger to its survival has come in this century, when the nation has been largely under self-rule.
India, condemned to the ‘centre’
The purpose of this discussion on myth is to demonstrate that while throughout the world tremendous forces of change have been released, the sources tapped for these dozens of movements are limited to a peripheral dimension, not central, not of the soul fount. The West, being precisely that periphery in the new cosmology, does not have direct access to that deeper reservoir. It is only when a civilisation is poised in the centre, like India, that the soul fount of energies that unify can be reached. Indeed, this is India’s mission and contribution to the world harmony. For it is only the centred poise that permits ‘the birth that fills the void’. And it is only an uninterrupted gestation that guarantees a living and not a stillborn ‘child’.
Thus we observe that forces of change are released in the world, but though there is a marked sense of liberation, truly a liberating of long pent-up energies, there is no evidence of the release of more deeply buried energies of the soul which can unify, integrate, harmonise what has been unleashed in the periphery. In other words, a ‘centre that holds’.
The problem is one of ‘alignment’. When a collective consciousness is aligned in the periphery – a metaphorical example would be the Earth rotating on its axis but in orbit of the Sun – one manifestation is a material/religious/moral framework. It is literally trapped or locked in that alignment. It cannot go deeper. It cannot ‘be the Sun’. The reason is that this is the cosmic dispensation, the faithful expression of the Cosmic Truth. There is ONE Sun, ONE centre in our system. All else orbits that luminary. And the ‘new world order’ is planned according to that cosmic harmony, though it may not be so evident as yet.
India’s dilemma is that a peripheral alignment, though sought to be adopted at all levels through western concepts and models of governing, has not been allowed. India is condemned to the alignment of the centre and not the periphery. She either accepts that and follows that line, or she disintegrates. She has no choice in the matter at all. But at the same time, only India has direct access to the central soul fount. This channel has been kept alive via the preservation and the living influence of myth and epic. The time has come for that ‘door’ to be opened, consciously, and in an accepting spirit of goodwill.
India can never function as an agent aligned in the periphery in this new and emerging cosmos. As the ‘centre’ only India has access to energies which go deeper than the socio-political/religious which govern the rest of the world and which, if left to themselves will only form another alignment from the remnants of the present upheaval. Since this is not to be, it is clear that India will have to shape up and fulfil her destiny – quickly – and release those pent-up, unifying, universal forces. The channel on a mass level is myth – not religion. Let us be clear about the distinction. Ayodhya must be seen in this light.
A contemporary example of the problem is Mexico, the nation that stands back-to-back with India on the pole that cuts through the northern hemisphere. Indeed, Mayan/Aztec Mexico presented a very similar cultural configuration to the invading Conquistadores as the Hindu did to its invaders. The dilemma the Knowledge faced there was similar to India’s. Even more exact is the fact that, like the Vedic culture, the Mayan had experienced an inner decline BEFORE arrival of the Spaniards. This is brought forth competently in Carlos Castaneda’s books on the teachings of his Toltec master, don Juan. Don Juan explained to Carlos the difference between the ‘old seers’ and the ‘new’ (see Castaneda’s The Fire From Within). The latter evolved when corrective measures were demanded in the practice of the teachings, a situation which was later compounded by the Conquest and then the imposition of Christianity. The Mayan/Toltec way was forced underground. But it did not do so by preserving its light and power in myth, which might then have been carried over into modern Mexico as a living force. Indeed, the entire indigenous population was converted. It simply devised a method reserved for an élite hidden body which could be engaged in individually or in small groups such as don Juan’s, while the masses were converted and thereby made to lose touch with that soul dimension when religion displaced the former way of Knowledge.
Thus the mythic culture for the masses was abolished, often brutally. In its place stood, and stands, religion. Consequently, Mexico, though having housed one of the most formidable civilisations the world has known in terms of solid content of Knowledge, cannot today lay claim to the Centre and is condemned to the periphery, insofar as the door is closed collectively to that sacred, ever-renewing fount.
On the other end of the northern axis India did discover the way to preserve access to that ‘space’ for its entire civilisation; and in so doing, India has been the only nation in the world to be in a position to state that never in its long and ancient history has the thread been broken and contact been lost with that Source. Survival of a civilisation depends on multi-dimensional conservation. A band of yogis, however enlightened they may be, cannot preserve an entire nation and culture by their individual realisations. There must be a method to bring forces to bear on all dimensions of the collective body. The Puranic period in India, right through to present times, introduced the divine strategy for that attainment, because of which the Veda does live on and as such India fulfils her destiny of CENTRE in the 9th Manifestation.
This is why it is so important for conquerors to attack all symbols and avenues of ‘pagan’ worship with the cry of idolatry. Full subjugation cannot be secured otherwise. And since this attempt was not entirely successful in the subcontinent, due to the Puranic strategy and the role of the South to ‘preserve’, subjugation was carried on through imposition of the western secular model on which the entire structure of modern India is fashioned, thus severely dividing the society from its true cultural, civilisational and racial/ethnic roots. The real soul-power has not really been in evidence in contemporary India before Ayodhya. It was somewhat utilised in the freedom movement through the Mother worship, but the energies thus released went to ousting the British rather than to the reestablishment of the Vedic Dharma. In any case, the movement was quickly suppressed and the then leaders drew the nation entirely into the religio-political sphere via the secular model they espoused. It is understandable considering that India had to function in a world where the mythic/epic had long disappeared as a moulding force of society.
A final word must be said on the difference between Myth and Epic, in the Ayodhya context especially and with regard to centres and types of energy to which each has access. While the myth opens the doors to Knowledge via the vital/emotional centres, the epic is concerned with heroic energies, less finely-tuned, we may say, but of considerably more effectuating power. The myth can be said to be an expression of the Feminine, while the epic is the Masculine.
We are employing the Goddess Durga and her warrior Son as means to convey the greatness of the Puranic epoch and its capacity to preserve the highest Knowledge via myth. At the same time, the Goddess and God are representatives of myth and epic respectively. The Goddess being the Third Principle, is the soul-power; the God as the Son Principle is the One. As the Warrior he is the height of the Kshatriya expression. Indeed, in the Tamil tradition where his worship is a living force, Kartikeya/Murugan is adored in a number of forms – the ascetic bachelor, the divine Lover, and, more importantly for this discussion, as the prince/king and the leader of the Divine Army. It is in the latter form that his epic connection is accommodated. I have referred to the God’s birth in the circle’s Kshatriya section in the zodiacal year. I have also mentioned the axes formed by the Goddess’s trident and the God’s spear. We may locate these axes in the circle of caste and cosmos and we note that the God’s spear-axis passes through the Kshatriya segment to the opposite Shudra. These are the sections of society and the individual whose energies are aroused by the epic.
The trident of the Goddess passes through the Brahmin/Vaishya sections of the circle and similarly they describe the sections of the individual and society which are moved by myth. Or, to be more accurate, these allocations describe affinities not imperatives. Nonetheless, they operate with a very high degree of precision. Insofar as the Brahmin is the traditional caste of Knowledge, and I have connected myth precisely to Knowledge, the allocation is clear. Similarly, the axis passes through the Vaishya, and that is the vital-emotional section of the circle, the domain proper of the Soul in the Gnostic Circle, or the Third Power. Thus the relations drawn are highly accurate.
If we turn to the Mother’s symbol, we observe that the four inner petals do not mark off the Cardinal Points but rather the same diagonal areas described above, or the Fixed Signs of Preservation – Vishnu’s periods or the four ‘months’ of the legendary Sphinx; Bull (May), Lion (August), Eagle/Scorpion (November), and Man/Woman (February). (See Map’s arrow-axes page 12.)
The point I wish to make is that if taken simply as ‘symbols’ these figures, axes, idols and so forth, have little relation to our actual world, our society, our evolution. It is only when we can accurately relate them to the year or the zodiac that the ‘symbol’ comes alive and is a non-speculative force and the key opening the doors to power and knowledge. Thus we understand why the Vedic Rishi made this very point when he sang of the ‘doors’ which the months and the year open (or keep closed) and which connect planes and worlds and behind which stands the Knowledge, that the months and the year offer the sacred way to that higher content.
I can equally well relate these axes to the months of the year and we see that in the Ayodhya affair, marking as it does the epic-Kshatriya/Shudra axis, it has invariably transpired that important points in the development, especially relating to the movement of masses, have occurred of late in the Kshatriya segment of the year, particularly the Scorpio segment, October/November.
The importance of Ayodhya as an example is to demonstrate how epic and myth are living influences in India today. But we may also observe the same phenomenon in the people’s response to the late prime minister, Indira Gandhi, when they unabashedly saw her as the Mother Goddess. Or, more recently, in Tamil Nadu where the chief minister, Jayalalitha, is similarly revered as a ‘living deity’ whose gaze her own partymen avoid because of its divine fulminating power.
These attitudes are by and large ridiculed. But it ought to be pointed out that they are not signs of primitivism, superstition or a society hopelessly blocked in a mother/child complex. They are simply indications or glimpses of heightened sensitivities, poises of consciousness rooted in deeper layers which are inaccessible to others in other cultures, except when the same soul fount is reached. The sensitivity and refinement that is sometimes evident in Hindu culture today, in spite of the decline, are due to an opening of the society to the mythic and epic, and, above all, to the cosmic as revealed in Indian classical music, especially that of South India. Thus, reactions to women leaders as above are manifestations which ought to be if not encouraged at least understood for what they truly are: hints of the presence, just beneath the surface of awareness, of very finely-tuned energies.
What is confusing and causes the observer of the Indian contemporary scene to be constantly confronted with the Paradox is the fact that while there is this reservoir of very sophisticated and refined energies embedded beneath the conscious surface of the collectivity, we must contend with those layers, those protective strata which in the divine Strategy served to clothe the myth and epic with this camouflaging device. These are the veils which must now be shed and release must be achieved, for it is there that the darkness has taken hold.
The layers are formed by the aid of Time. And we are dealing with an unbroken movement of thousands of years. The periods during which the last three Evolutionary Avatars made their appearances is approximately 12,000 years. That is, separating Sri Ram from Sri Aurobindo are almost 120 centuries. This is not a time-frame accepted by historians. But it ought to be clear by now that historical and archaeological research is highly unreliable, especially in the Indian context. Time and again their definitive statements have to be revised due to new findings. But the Knowledge, when it is true, does provide a precise framework; the Map of the 12 Manifestations, for one. Therein we locate the time of appearance of the last three Avatars and in the case of Sri Krishna and Sri Ram we are dealing with very early history and prehistory. And if the Knowledge has been revealed to be so very accurate regarding Sri Krishna and Sri Aurobindo, both appearances conforming to the dictates of the Map, why must we assume Ram’s appearance to be off and not to tally with that time-frame? As it stands, scholars even place the Rig Veda after the coming of Sri Krishna! This is a measure of their incompetence. It must also be pointed out that the period when the epics were recorded does not mean that that was the time of the appearances, except in the case of Sri Aurobindo and his epic Savitri which he himself wrote. The recording of the epic corresponded to the strategy of preservation; the purpose was not to offer specific dates. In this light, considering that Ram’s Ayodhya birth was some 12,000 years ago, scholars will have to dig deep indeed on the site to locate what might satisfy them that truly that is Ram’s janmasthan! In the meantime, while ‘the wisemen talk and sleep’, to quote Sri Aurobindo, those centuries-old dormant energies of a great mythic/epic civilisation are aroused by the magical formula of this divine Strategy.
In the next part of this essay, I propose to draw these vast threads of caste in time into the individual incarnation and to demonstrate how each human being can find his/her place in this superior cosmic design. At the same time, due to the lost Measure, caste is now meaningless. Be this as it may, it is important to understand the true foundations and functioning of caste, because, as stated, this discussion helps us to focus on that one great entanglement which, until now, has been so thoroughly occulted that none have been able to identify the precise nature of its hold over this epic/mythic culture and civilisation.
The Navaratri of October, 1991
Aeon Centre of Cosmology at Skambha
(to be continued)