Also in this Series
- Culture and Cosmos – 1
- Culture and Cosmos – 2, Part 1 Cosmic Harmonies in Hindu Civilisation and Society
- 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
A turning point in Hindu civilisation has been reached. The choice is as clear as the indications given by the conditions surrounding this formidable moment.
In previous articles and in my books, I have discussed this question of choosing – or, as I call it, the act of choosing. It is an essential ingredient at the turning point because the mechanics of the act involve a release of energy. Indeed, the act of choosing is simply for the purpose of carrying out this release. The energy that ‘escapes’ is the new addition which alters the alchemy of forces in turbulent interaction. But in reality there is no choice as such; the entire mechanism is artificial when seen from a higher plane of perception. This becomes obvious when the ‘right’ choice is made and miraculously a shift occurs transforming the entire panorama, in some cases instantly. Yet at a lower level, or rather on the plane where the issue is being played out, the choice is not at all fictitious. Hard facts accompany our act of choosing – deaths, bloodshed, nations disintegrating amidst turmoil and confusion. These are the realities we live with today, at this momentous time of choosing. Nonetheless, they are not real issues and we are therefore permitted to call them fictitious in that the real exists only in the heart of the process. From there waves are thrown up and out which create a ‘field’, and it is in this field that most of the issues apparently of central importance can be located. Their function in the process is quite other than what is imagined and is important in its own ways which this article will attempt to clarify.
When a turning point is reached circumstances conspire to create conditions which force us into a position demanding an act of choosing; in other words, which force us to release energy. This is what is now demanded in India: an act of choosing for the purpose of releasing energy. When it is an unconscious act, it will be accompanied by destructive manifestations proportionate to the degree of unconsciousness prevailing. When awareness of the real issues is present, the process is one of dissolution and not destruction. That is, outer sheaths where the energy had become compacted into hardened masses are dissolved, dissipated. In unconsciousness entailing destruction, blows are inflicted on the sheath to force a breakthrough. This is transposed onto the human stage as acts of violence, bloodshed, death. Or else, in the economic sphere we may witness the collapse of economies, or in politics the complete collapse of systems or, in more extreme cases, revolutions with their attending turmoil, agitation and death.
India has reached such a turning point. But the sheath to be dissolved is a residue accumulated over 2500 years. Ignorance of this fact is what encourages a focus on issues which are irrelevant at worst and peripheral at best. In other words, we must view the state of a civilisation as a growth of many layers; these are indeed sheaths – but formed of TIME ENERGY. This process is the experience of individuals as well as groupings of collective consciousness – for example the Hindu civilisation. The more mature a civilisation, the easier it is to perceive the process, or the more starkly defined its turning points.
Thus we perceive a residue accumulated in the sheath surrounding the core of Hinduism. The truth-essence of that core is the Sanatan Dharma, the eternal truth or law. But being eternal does not mean fixity of form which implies fossilisation. Indeed, this lies at the heart of the issue and is the crux of the turning point. Eternal in time (and there can be no concept of eternity which does not include time) implies a ceaseless flow; that is, a truth which evolves NEW forms in a process that is entirely true to the essence. In Hinduism this is very clear, unlike what we encounter in religions. The Sanatan Dharma contains an in-built system of renewal unique on this Earth in that it forms the undisputed core of the Dharma or the backbone of the structure. This is the Line of Ten Avatars.
Hinduism’s Alliance with Time
The Line refers to an evolutionary mechanism which USES Time for the action of evolving new forms around a truth-core. The Avatar’s purpose is exclusively this: he or she takes birth under certain time conditions which allow the Avatar to evolve, by the aid of Time in the evolutionary process, these new involucrums. In the process and if there are hardened crusts of impacted residue, this Agent of Time must undo those crusts.
Two factors may complicate the matter. One is when the Avatar is not recognised and society opposes his evolutionary/revolutionary work; the other is when very special conditions prevail which result in unusually hard crusts, or extreme masses of compacted energy residue. Both these situations describe the happenings surrounding the work of the present Avatar in this 9th Manifestation.
The second of the two is worth elucidating: the Line consists of ten, it is known. But what is not known is that they are a string of births stretched over many millennia but nonetheless thoroughly linked through the substance of the missions to be accomplished. The Avatars’ work, though spread out over vast aeons, is one process with one finality: the establishment of the reign of Truth, or the Golden Age. In Hinduism it is known as the Satya Yuga.
Thus, and this is fundamental, the movement works through the Line toward a culmination. This is supremely clear if we know the heart of evolution’s purpose. We observe then how each Avatar has added a portion to the mosaic. Sri Aurobindo has carefully explained this in his writings on the Ten Avatars. However, he dwelt primarily on the specific contributions of the 7th and 8th Avatars – Sri Ram and Sri Krishna. Interestingly, he had less to say about the 9th, except to state that Kalki would come ‘to correct the error of the Buddha’. On the other hand, we have the Puranas which refer to this 9th Avatar Buddha as the ‘ruse of the Supreme’, meant to ‘mislead the asura-seekers’.
These references have been made use of to support the contention that Buddhism was a persecuted faith in India and pursued by the Brahminical caste to its final ejection from the country. It is a debate which has surfaced forcefully in this decade due to two factors: one is the Ayodhya Temple episode with the intelligentsia seeking to convince the nation, for its own designs, that the mosque occupying the site was built over the ruins of a Buddhist shrine which had been destroyed to give way to a Hindu temple; that is, that the Hindus had been the first to destroy and build; and second, the caste debate which has been brought to a tragic extreme by the policies of the former prime minister, V.P. Singh.
Regarding the first, certain points need to be clarified. It is doubtful that a Buddhist shrine occupied the site where the mosque now stands, but what might be the deeper purpose in casting this contention into the cauldron already replete with contentious forces? The purpose is to add substance to the theory of Brahminical intolerance and persecution of Buddhism out of a desire to maintain a hold over the out-caste masses as well as the lower echelons within the system. However, it has to be pointed out that if this desire of subjugation truly existed, Hinduism would not have evolved as it did over these past ten thousand years. It would have provided for itself the proper tools for suppression and dominance such as we find in religions. In Hinduism it is true that a degeneration set in, but this has little to do with Brahminical despotism as it has been elaborated by historians.
In the Dark Ages, the priests and men and women of Knowledge in Hindu civilisation knew that the Buddha was ‘the ruse of the Supreme’ and that though circumstances forced his insertion in the Line as the 9th Avatar, he was nothing of the sort. But exactly what his role might be was not understood, though it was clear that he was indeed connected to the Line in a most essential manner. Clarity could not prevail simply because this discovery involved the deepest essence of the true 9th Avatar’s mission, Sri Aurobindo, whose appearance was due many centuries into the future.
According to the cosmic harmonies, which provide the ‘credentials’ for the Line of Ten, the 9th could not have appeared at the time of the Buddha: time would not have permitted it. The Avatar appears in the portion of each Manifestation (consisting of 6480 years each) which belongs to Vishnu [see The Gnostic Circle]. Thus they are known as ‘Incarnations of Vishnu.’ This description is misleading unless one knows the fundaments of these harmonies.
Suffice to say, those persons of Knowledge who described the Buddha as the ruse of the Supreme were not far from the truth – however, it was a truth which would take over 1500 years to be clarified and proven. Those ‘Brahmins’, often a euphemism for realised souls or persons of Knowledge, were not persecutors of Buddhists; they were simply preceptors of something of the Cosmic Truth and the deeper workings of the Time-spirit. At the same time, the entry of an erroneous incarnation as the 9th created its own problems. To put it succinctly, in itself this act became the reason why the perception of the Cosmic Truth and its issuing harmonies was lost. The vision became clouded to the point where decisive links were missed, great chunks were subtracted from the greater mosaic that is Hinduism. Certain essential portions remained, indeed a CORE, but the veils began to collect around this core becoming denser as the Manifestation’s clock ticked away in its relentless and irreversible march into the Age of Vishnu, the period of culmination in this 9th Manifestation and the real time of appearance of the 9th Avatar. To be precise, Vishnu’s period in this 9th Manifestation began in 1926. His period prior to this was more than 6000 years ago. Thus, 6480 years separate the appearances of each Avatar in the Line. At about the midway point between the birth of the 8th, Sri Krishna, and the 9th, Sri Aurobindo, the ‘ruse of the Supreme’ appeared as a ‘shadow’ cast before the figure of the real 9th. This Shadow describes the residue. In that tenebrous sheath energies are accumulated which demand to be dissolved if at all the core-truth is to survive and continue propelled through the aeons by the Time-Spirit.
Questioning the Unquestionable
Yet there is far more to the matter and it will reveal just why a situation such as a ‘strategy of ruse’ arose in the course of the Line of Ten. That is, tradition does not refer to any other incarnation in this rather shocking fashion; or if it had proven necessary as a tactic, it is baffling that this should have centred on an incarnation of the spiritual status of the Buddha. This fact has left Hindu culture quite vulnerable in the face of attacks from a number of luminaries in different intellectual disciplines. There have been Asuras along the way, Rakshasas, and all sorts of embodiments of evil whom the Avatars have had to battle in the course of their missions. But there has never been a ‘ruse’ – that is, a truly SPIRITUAL figure of superior accomplishments as a false avatar yet universally accepted by Hindus themselves as one whose position as the 9th stands unquestioned. Indeed, to do so might appear as blasphemy to many, such has been the ingenuity of the ruse. But this questioning is part and parcel of the work of the true 9th. None before him, or indeed before he had victoriously accomplished his work, could hope to unravel the mystery or even realise and accept its existence.
At this stage, there is hardly a person in India who dares question this fundamental proposition: Gautam the Buddha was not the 9th Avatar and his insertion in the Line did indeed constitute a ruse, – or better said, a strategy.
The point is the Buddha was essential to the process described in the beginning of this discussion. He planted seeds in the collective consciousness of a movement which would result in the hardening of the crust, or the amassing of residue in the time-energy sheath of Hindu civilisation, destined to reach its maximum degree of density at the time of the appearance of the last Avatar in the Line.
The Satya Yuga is expressed by the 10th. Everything before that is a temporary circumstance to aid in the arrival of the Age of Truth. But let us be more specific.
Like the gestation of a cow, or a human being, 9 is the measure. Similarly, the Line of Ten follows the same measure: at the 9th the birth occurs. This means that everything or everyone prior to this 9th was simply a ‘month’ of the gestation (or stage in the evolution of consciousness on Earth). When we reach the 7th and 8th ‘months’ (Avatars), the foetus is quite well-formed – but it is still a foetus, ergo, unborn; nonetheless, it begins to reveal a character, it is able to house a soul and to serve as a form-vehicle at the time of birth. Well-formed though it may be at the 7th and 8th stages of the gestation, it is nonetheless a foetus. Time must fulfil itself and the gestation must be completed. Nine is the measure and sacred is the cow because she parallels the process: the progressive densification of the Light (‘go’ in Sanskrit, or ray). Furthermore, nothing can truly be known of the ‘body’ or the individualised attributes of the new-born until the actual birth. The time of this birth, gestated for a period of approximately 51,840 years, was the present period of Vishnu which started in 1926.
As pre-eminent instruments of the Time-Spirit, it is only in Vishnu’s periods that the Avatars can appear, for these are the Ages of Preservation. This particular and special Manifestation – the 9th of this Manifestation, was struck in 1926. It was the year Sri Aurobindo formally initiated his work: he withdrew to his room in that year and for 24 thereafter did a yoga of supreme concentration in order to see the ‘birth’ through successfully. The period of the true 9th had dawned upon India as the new Age had dawned on the cosmic horizon. This means that what Sri Aurobindo’s coming signified was the birth of the true and only real form of Hinduism. Or else, after his coming and this successful passage, his mission would produce an India that would be able to ‘see with NEW EYES’, for that is the meaning of the Coming.
The Birth of Guha, or the New Way
As time fulfils itself the involucrum surrounding the foetus begins to exert pressure; the waters press upon the foetus from all sides, contractions begin at a predetermined time and the ‘child’ comes forth. This Child is the 10th in the Line, the male-child Kartikeya, or Kalki. He comes as the War God, or with sword in hand, because the condition of the sheath requires this extreme power. The conditions accompanying his arrival are such that the crust is hardened to its maximum point of destiny. That point is reached in the second half of this century, culminating in the last three decades of the millennium, particularly in the 1990s. Only the power of the Sword will break the sac and permit the Birth. It is a cosmic process, a cosmological phenomenon. What this means is simply that the Age of Truth, the Satya Yuga, is ushered in by the Warrior of the Sanatan Dharma.
The reasons are obvious, the circumstances surrounding the Birth explain the position well; they do not lie. But the point is that when Knowledge does not illumine the path a stillborn creature may emerge due to the intensity of the force employed, in keeping with the cosmic process. In other words, the baby may be thrown out with the bath water. This, above all else, has to be avoided, for it is another ‘tactic’ in the strategy of the agents of Darkness: if the victory cannot be theirs, success will nonetheless attend their efforts by provoking a holocaust which will reduce Hindu civilisation to a shadow of itself, if it will survive at all. This can only be averted when the true and full process is known, which in turn informs us of the identity of these forces and how they operate.
Indeed, this is the key feature of the Satya Yuga: it is no longer a reign of ignorance, falsehood and half-light. Knowledge, the supreme Gnosis prevails, triumphs, forms the basis of the new order. Thus, to pretend to be instruments for this Birth without the mind and heart illumined by this truth-seeing is to delude ourselves pathetically. Our unknowing will simply prolong the reign of Ignorance and falsehood and may even be used to hasten the final collapse.
These are the veils that are pierced by the Sword of Truth which Kalki wields. Kalki is the symbol of the victorious Birth. The ‘ruse of the Supreme’ clouded this cosmic process in veils – protecting it as a foetus is protected by the maternal sac until its moment of birth arrives. At the same time, the veils themselves are the focus of an ever-increasing residue which must now be dissolved.
But is it to be done by DISSOLUTION or DESTRUCTION? This is the only question we may legitimately ask. Because the victorious birth has already taken place. Therefore it is no longer appropriate to question if the Child will be live or stillborn because Sri Aurobindo has already successfully accomplished his mission. The only ‘unknown’ at present is what means must be employed to allow for that Child, and no other, to emerge from behind the veils which continue to cover him in his form of Guha, the Hidden One.
Darkness before the Dawn
At a certain point in the evolution of Hindu society the correct deciphering of the cosmic script was lost. The result was adoption of a system of calendrical reckoning which threw the civilisation’s time measure off substantially. Hinduism could no longer locate the periods of Vishnu and by consequence determine the exact time of the appearance of the Avatar. It is safe to assume that the adoption of this inaccurate astronomical formula occurred around 300 AD. It is also safe to assume that this adoption was accompanied by the insertion of Gautam the Buddha into the Line of Ten: ‘ruse’ and miscalculation of time go hand-in-hand.
The time residue began to accumulate from that point onward; in the West during the same period, or 396 AD to be precise, there was a symbol-reflection of this lost measure in the cessation that year of the celebration of the Eleusinian Mysteries in praise of the Divine Mother and her daughter, the Kore (a counterpart of the Hindu Kumari).
The adoption of this inaccurate cosmic reckoning, accompanied by the insertion of a false Avatar in the Line, had the desired effect of weakening the foundations of Hinduism. Soon after invasions began in a civilisation weakened from within; Hinduism no longer had the power to ward off these forces since its binding energy had been dissipated. India was a united civilisation in the cosmic dimension of its collective expression and experience long before it became a united nation during the British Raj. And this unity resided in Hinduism and its oneness with the Cosmic Truth. But having lost that connection, the pillars of both the civilisation and the physical nation were attacked and the momentum increases, just as the wrong measure permits a time residue to accumulate with each passing year.
Thus we note that by this wrong formula India marks its cosmic age at an interval of 1656 years behind the rest of the world. In other words, according to these calculations with respect to the true cosmic dial, India’s reckoning became frozen in the year 270 AD. The measure is a colossal 1656 years off the mark, into the past. It is during this span of more than 1500 years that the Hindu civilisation has been experiencing a slow and steady decline, with no hope of immediate reprieve since the period of Vishnu is not expected to dawn until the fourth millennium of our era!
Throughout these centuries Hinduism has not been able to express new forms of itself and make use of its in-built mechanism for change. Until, that is, the arrival of the true 9th Avatar and his mission as Mahakala began in the early part of this century. His foremost aim was to set on its way the process of ‘correcting the error’. However, correction is not simple insofar as the wrong formula affects the passage of the cosmic year as well as the Solar/Earth year. For example, this dislocation is an annual feature of Hindu celebrations, one of the main ones being the Makar Sankranti, or the Sun’s entry into India’s ruling sign, Capricorn. This is celebrated on 15 January, or 23 days late. In such an atmosphere of confusion the really inspiring fact is that Hinduism has managed to survive for as long as it has under these conditions which affect the very heart and soul of her culture – that is, the cosmic harmonies which form the indisputable basis of the civilisation.
The formula is precise: when the Shadow’s arena is the play-out destruction is the method. In terms of the cosmic process, that Shadow means the past. In view of the above discussion of the lost time-measure, it can be appreciated that at the heart of today’s struggle lies an attempt to draw the hands of the cosmic timepiece to their correct position in the Time-Spirit’s clock of the passage of the Earth’s Ages and bring about a perfect harmony of time and space, or the experience of the Satya Yuga. This can only be done through the knowledge provided by the Avataric Line.
Thus, the turning point of our times – today, not tomorrow, urgently upon us in these very days – is the choice: destruction or dissolution as the way. Must the Sword be used to cut the sheath vehemently, violently and perhaps fatally; or is it to be used simply to pierce the veils which hide Guha and through this opening to allow an infiltration of his Light to dissolve the shadow in the tenebrous corridors of Time’s residue.
It is clear that the necessity to use a symbol of the past as the rallying point for the reestablishment of the Dharma indicates a regression. Time moves on. Ram was the 7th Avatar. His mission was fulfilled many hundreds of years ago – nay, thousands, in the 7th Manifestation. Therefore, to speak of or fight for a ‘Ram Rajya’ is a contradiction in terms. It can never come to pass. It is not destined to come to pass. The Time-Spirit will simply not permit it.
But the Time-Spirit may use the symbol to AWAKEN SLEEPING ENERGIES. This has indeed transpired. However, it is at this point that the dramatic moment of choosing is revealed in its true light or purpose: focus on a symbol of the past within the context of Hinduism is, lamentably, a denial of the core of the Sanatan Dharma. It indicates that the ‘ruse’ was successful and still holds sway.
The Line of Ten means precisely a forward march, always stabilised on this Truth-Core, an experience of immobility in the midst of the hurrying pace of Time’s formidably accelerated mobility, as the years unwind and the millennium nears its end. That is, with a firm foundation upholding the progression which provides the mechanism of renewal for the harmonious experience of stability and change. It is a process which alone produces harmonisation and integration required for unity in diversity.
The Ayodhya issue may be a rallying point; it may serve to awaken energies dormant for the past 2000 years; it may even help us to focus our attention on the most vital feature of Hinduism: the Line of Ten Avatars. It may serve to revitalise the Hindu spirit and soul now weighed down by the thick layers cast upon it by invading ideologies far removed from its own truth-core. And this may instill the courage needed to cast those crusts aside definitively. But it cannot be the finality, the goal. It is merely a tool, the result of a totality of prevailing conditions which imposed this regression into the past.
If the Time-Spirit were to permit a plunge into the cosmic residue of frozen energies, Hinduism would not be the Sanatan Dharma. It would be a religion and hence entirely time-bound, with no inbuilt mechanism for renewal. Religions have no such mechanism for authentic change which respects the original substance – especially those that uphold their God as the one and only. Thus they must invariably experience fundamentalist upsurges which are the only possible responses to the pressure for change and progress in the absence of a cosmic mechanism. Similar to all religions, under those shadowy conditions Hinduism would be subject to fossilisation if it sought to preserve its truth-core.
With the exception of the evolutionary process itself, Hinduism is one of the rare expressions on Earth of a progressively unfolding cosmic Truth. Indeed, because its soul is that very Cosmic Truth, it is one with the deepest purpose of the planetary evolution. Hinduism can therefore be identified as the vahana (vehicle) of the Earth’s own soul, a truth exquisitely conveyed in the ancient Vedic symbol of the white steed, Agni, carrying Usha, the divine Dawn, across the horizon of the Earth’s awakening cosmic day.
What is transpiring in India today is not a sudden development catching us unaware. The cosmic harmonies have been indicating the arrival of this turning point in the present decade. These harmonies go very deep in their indications, deeper than is hinted at in the surface happenings. That is, they illumine our understanding to the degree that we see a nation caught up in peripheral struggles. Even the present disintegration of India is peripheral insofar as it is simply a reflection of a missing link between the nation’s outer political, social and economic forms of expression and the innermost truth-core of Hindu civilisation. The absence of that link is the sole cause for the present turmoil and permits the periphery to spin off in every direction. It is not held together by the power of the Core.
Similarly, the questions being asked by intellectuals in many different disciplines and by people in all walks of life concerning secularism, minorityism, majorityism, democracy, communalism, fundamentalism, or national integration, caste and all the rest, are simply further ‘ruses’. The choice before India is only one: the past or the present, the old or the new. The 9th and 10th Avatars hold the key to the new future of Hinduism, as the Line of Ten has always held the key to the reestablishment of the Dharma.
Skambha, January 1991