Puranic Cosmology Updated 2

27 February 2010

More than their cosmological content the Puranas are known to be repositories of the countless myths of the subcontinent. Tradition has kept these tales alive for several millennia; without them what we know today as Puranic Cosmology would have neither sense nor purpose. Mythology and cosmology go hand in hand. One without the other is inconceivable to those who have been initiated into this timeless wisdom. But precisely because Myth, the language of the Soul, forms the core of the cosmology, not only is the system everlasting, it is also renewable. Herein lies its value as a constant.
In this series we shall examine in depth the reason why cosmology of the ancient school carries within a mechanism of renewal and just how this operates with a precision that has come to be ascribed only to the scientific endeavour. Mythology and cosmology have been deprived of that precision due to the separation that occurred in the beginning of the Age of Pisces between the sacred and the profane. However, when such a splintering occurs, bringing in its wake the consequences we note in the field of cosmology itself – science not ‘myth’ – the signal is given that the moment of renewal is upon us.
In the subcontinent this great Divide, let us call it, developed gradually; but by the 18th century a hardening of the boundary between the two began at an ever increasing pace. What was only a vague influence became firm and seemingly irrevocable. The three closing centuries of the last millennium brought a culmination in this process. Interestingly, it was accompanied by British colonial rule over the subcontinent. Colonialism served to consolidate the Divide as nothing before it had. Finally occidental thought came to be considered rational, empirically verifiable, ‘scientific’, in contrast to the orient which continued to cling to the Tradition but subjected to the demeaning position beneath that of ‘real science’. It then became known as superstition. The truth be told, unless a real and not imaginary updating of the ancient way occurs, the tag of superstition must inevitably gain credence. Puranic Cosmology will live on, but only as a quaint relic of times gone by which required the redeeming grace of Science.
Attempts are periodically made by those who seek to inform the world that Puranic Cosmology does contain real science. An example would be Dr Subash Kak’s recent article in Journal of Cosmology, 2009, Vol 3 ‘The Universe, Quantum Physics and Consciousness’, under the section ‘A Scientific Coincidence’. Kak highlights the remarkable ‘coincidence’ regarding the early value of the speed of light in the ancient texts. This and similar evidence does prove that the scientific aspect of cosmology was not ignored by the ancients; however, it played only a minor role regardless of the profuse evidence available. The primary function of ancient cosmology, even as it remains so in today’s updating, is to provide the sense and purpose of the human being’s sojourn on this planet. That was the primary emphasis in the study of cosmic harmonies. And it needs to be pointed out that Harmony is the vital breath coursing through the veins of the ancient way, even as it is the essence of the current updating.
The observer was the human being on the third planet from the Sun. The principal feature of this particular location in the System is the Soul; and this is the mechanism, if it may be so called, by which that sense and purpose can be extracted from the cosmic surround. Moreover, it is not only the eternal Constant proper to this planetary location that allows for renewal, but, in addition, by its very nature it is universal. In proving this point another aspect of the Puranic Cosmology will emerge: its prophetic quality in that it was able to describe the evolution of the civilisation on the subcontinent as it was then and the exact position it would occupy in a future age by the same original methodology. But again, only after the exercise of updating has been undertaken can this be verified. It is our best proof that we are dealing with a ‘seed’ planted in the Vedic Age; it passed through the Puranic to reach us today in its full scope and glory.
Myth is the language of the soul across the globe and across the ages. But nowhere has it survived to the degree that we find in the subcontinent. Myth is alive and well in India – much to the chagrin of the secular scientist; and it is precisely myth that provides the method for updating Puranic Cosmology. This cosmology allows myth to be applicable; or better, cosmology is the application of myth. Consequently, if we wish to engage in any renewal or re-establishment of the Tradition, the methodology would have to be the same: myth taken from the cosmic harmony via the soul which each of us carries within as the birthright of all human beings on the third planet.
Thus the number 3 will occupy an important place in this discussion, and all variations thereupon. To be observed is that the Trinity or the triune balance is also a universal component of all traditions, ancient and new. Indeed, in the updated cosmology the triune powers are precisely the key required to unlock the door beyond which Puranic Cosmology stands and awaits renewal.
It may be contended that so far there have been certain assumptions made and upon which the method of renewal is being attempted. It may be held that these assumptions cannot provide a foolproof methodology. However, we must accept the facts as they stand today: myth exists and is universal and applicable in cosmology. We need no further proof than cosmology itself by virtue of the fact that it has been updated purely on the basis of the eternal language of the soul. I propose to discuss just how this has been done. It stands as it own proof, its own validation.
Apropos of which, a certain clarification or establishment of the ‘rules of the game’ are required. This cosmology is its own science. It does not require an imprimatur of the contemporary product that bears this name. Rather, to be a meaningful and definitive exposition all attempts to confine the ancient and new way into the narrow parameters of a discipline devoid of their main distinguishing features – sense and purpose – is futile.


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