30.12.10

The Importance of Makar Sankranti in Hindu Calendar Reform - PART ONE



A treatment in three parts
presented at the
First National Conference on Hindu Calendar Reform

Tirumala, 24-26 December 2010


Prepared by
Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea)
Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology
Tamil Nadu, South India

© Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet 2010





In 1915, Sri Aurobindo wrote the following in his masterful book,
The Secret of the Veda:

The letter lived on when the spirit was forgotten;
the symbol, the body of the doctrine, remained,
but the soul of knowledge had fled from its coverings.

Sri Aurobindo
The Secret of the Veda

The paper I am presenting at this landmark Conference will differ significantly from others by the illustrious attendees. The basis for my approach is quite different; it is yogic. Consequently, my understanding of the Sacred Arts has not been through a scrutiny of the Scriptures, or even from an in-depth knowledge of Sanskrit – which alone would have occupied me for a lifetime. It is purely through the realisation of what the Sanskrit Scriptures contain but have been left for us to discover on the basis of certain precise practices. This has always been the tradition in matters initiatic.
Language, even the most sacred to us, is not the main tool of discovery because it is essentially time-bound. Rather, in the case of a calendar for Vedic observances and horoscopy, the tool is the ancient hieroglyphic Script that has been preserved over the millennia. It is universal and unbound by both time and space. Together with these hieroglyphs there is sacred geometry which is part of the language of Initiates. Bharat has always excelled in these Arts, but now that tradition seems to have faded because they must constitute the basis of the ability to devise a proper calendar to serve the Sacred. Starting with this Conference we must retrieve that ‘soul of knowledge’, because what we are left with is simply its external ‘coverings’. I feel confident that my presentation will prove this point.
Consequently, my paper will sound unfamiliar to most. But if attention is lent with this background, it will soon be evident what a calendar for Vedic Observances and Horoscopy must be, and what the basis must be for this understanding to come about. In my view, and after a lifetime of dedication to these Sacred Arts has revealed, there is no other basis to know, without speculation and relativism, just what needs to be retained and/or discarded of the current calendar used by the Hindu Samaj.

PNB
Tirumala
December 24 2010





PART ONE


First we must establish just what the role of a calendar is in society. In civil society its function is obvious and need not be elaborated, except to state that the present universal calendar, which was also adopted for independent India, is one of the most enlightened methods of time reckoning. This is because it is the most natural, based as it is on the Cardinal points of Equinoxes and Solstices – or the Earth’s own measure, her contribution to the celestial harmony. This natural calendar follows the four seasons that are experienced throughout the world.
Interestingly for the purposes of our discussion, this was the calendar used in ancient times – in Egypt, in Greece, in Rome, and of course in the Vedic and Sangam ages. Many in India, primarily those of the Nirayana School, believe that this universal calendar is Christian in origin. But this is not at all true. The universal calendar based on the Equinoxes and Solstices, predates Christianity by many centuries. Perhaps because of this bias left over from colonial times, Hindu pundits looked elsewhere for a solution to time reckoning for temple rituals and horoscopy. Contemporary science came to their aid and the notion of a scientifically-accurate calendar was foremost in their minds.
It was then that an unfortunate mistake was made: science introduced the idea that there had to be a separation between rasis and the fourfold measure of the ecliptic plane where the planets including Earth circumambulate the Sun – that is, a separation between the Equinoxes and their corresponding zodiacal signs, Aries/Mesha and Libra/Thula. This is an aberration that persists until today. In the effort to be ‘scientific’, given the predominant role of astronomy when it became separated from astrology, the method of time reckoning of the ancient world, including Vedic India, was discarded in favour of the new model based on the contemporary discipline, astronomy.
To be precise, the ‘accuracy’ this new method introduced is fictitious. Indeed, it is this FICTION that lies at the root of the dozens of ayanamshas in use today, each one claiming to be the correct Zero Point, wherefrom the time wheel is set in motion.
Those who know astrology in depth realise that the Zero Point, or ayanamsha, is the single most important element to establish if any sort of accuracy is to come about. Having a dozen or so to choose from, each one followed by some segments of the Hindu Samaj and eschewed by others in favour of another pundit’s calculation, has led to the chaos that exists today in matters astrological and ritualistic.

The objective of this Conference is to bring about some sort of order in this chaos. After all, since ‘cosmos’ means order, it is clear that for a society such as the Vedic, which boasts of an unbroken tradition over thousands of years – and, above all, one rooted in the cosmic harmony – any confusion in astrological time reckoning, as we find today, would mean that the thing which we boast most of – the cosmic connection – is actually an illusion.
The issue before us is to retrace our steps and to recover that Order once again. Fortunately, this is not at all difficult and can be done immediately. The cosmos we are a part of is, for all practical purposes, eternal. The harmony today is exactly what it was in the Vedic Age; it moves, its rhythms multiply, they rise and fall, but its basic structure remains unchanged within which these variations occur. The key to understand the cosmos is to experience rest and motion as simultaneous, eternal principles. This underlying constant is the fourfold balance on the Equinoxes and Solstices, the measure of 365 days of our Earth Year, the phases of the Moon, and so forth. There are other more subtle rhythms, but for the purpose of establishing a foundation for our discussion, they can be ignored for now. Thus, forging a connection with that eternal Constant is the single most important objective of a cosmic-based civilisation. By inference, to lose that connection would mean the disintegration of that eternal dharma which the cosmic harmony describes so accurately for India, unique among all other nations.
All of this hinges on the correct Zero Point. And it must be recalled that India gave the concept of Zero to the world – which is the same Plenum that the ayanamsha holds in time reckoning, provided of course that it is rooted in the Cosmic Truth and not the Cosmic Ignorance. The former is Fullness of the Vedic Order; the latter is the Void, a concept completely at variance with the Vedic core of the civilisation. To remove Fullness and replace it with emptiness, the strategy would be the method as it exists today: the chaos of multiple ayanamshas.
This is what this conference must address.

The Importance of Makar Sankranti in Hindu Calendar Reform - PART TWO



A treatment in three parts
presented at the
First National Conference on Hindu Calendar Reform

Tirumala, 24-26 December 2010


Prepared by
Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea)
Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology
Tamil Nadu, South India

© Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet 2010




PART TWO

The scientifically-oriented pundits who originally established the time reckoning method used today for temple matters, broadly known as Nirayana, succeeded in separating the inseparable. I will discuss only one case to provide an example, the Makar Sankranti – or the specific time when Capricorn/Makar rasi begins. In my view this must be the most important cosmic passage of the year for the Hindu Samaj. Consequently, it ought to be treated with the utmost care; that is, its location in time has to be accurate. If accuracy is not attainable elsewhere or for other celebrations, the Makar Sankranti being correct will allow for the rest to reach the same accuracy.
In fact, there are only two points in time that need concern us: the Makar Sankranti of the December Solstice, and Mahavishuva, the March Equinox. The latter is the natural beginning of the zodiacal months, while the Makar Sankranti is the collective and individual culmination experience for a cosmic-based civilisation such as the Vedic.
Throughout the world the ancient Vedic calendar is used; therefore Makar and the December Solstice coincide and they are inseparable. But this is not at all the case in India, ironically the only country in the world where the Capricorn Sankranti itself is actually honoured by the whole society as an astrological passage; and rightfully so. This particular rasi/month epitomises that which is most valued in the civilisation. For this reason astrologers throughout the world sustain that India’s ruling astrological sign is Capricorn. This rulership can be proven by contemporary cosmology – and I will do so in the course of my presentation – but it is the ancient Rig Veda that provides the seal and sanction we need, especially in this moment of confusion brought about by the Ayanamsha Chaos.
In the Rig Veda the tenth month of the natural order is Makar, and it is held as the month of Victory for the initiate who has undertaken the Journey, as it is called in the Veda. This is not a journey through space: it is, more appropriately for a civilisation such as the Vedic, a journey in and through time.
With the aid of Mahakal, the Greatest God of all as the Puranas sustain and experience proves, the area the Initiate ‘explores’ in his or her voyage of discovery is through the ‘space’ of the year. Hence the Year is understandably the central figure of the Veda, around which the Sacrifice is conducted. The victory of the tenth month is when Time becomes the Ally and ceases being the Destroyer. Therefore Makar Sankranti is the portal to Immortality, the entry to the realm of the Immortal Ones, as Bhishma’s passing informs us.
There is a fundamentally important reason why Makar and Solstice are inseparable for a society grounded in veda. This is discovered by understanding what happens to the solar rays (cows/energy) at this special moment in time. That light is compressed to a point – hence in the physical world of condensed energy the day is the shortest. From there increase begins. Consequently this sacred most period was known throughout the ancient world as the Festival of Light, to honour the fact that from this Solstice onward the light (of the Sun that we adore) will increase. What was thus compressed into a Seed would necessarily extend itself from that compactness through the course of the year propelled by the Great God of Time – as Ally or as Destroyer.
This month/rasi is Saturn’s period, planetary ruler of Makar, hence in ancient, pre-Christian Rome this festival was known as the Saturnalia in honour of Saturn/ Chronos, the Time-Spirit. Yet, none of these civilisations have the right to claim Makar as especially their own. India does because of her ‘cosmic purpose’ – even today though most do not know the profound reasons for this celebration. But why should they? When the inseparable has been separated, what is there to understand? I will prove the point in this presentation when we make the Veda applicable today.
However, there is an eternal Dharma which Capricorn, better than any other sign/month, describes. Disconnecting it from the Solstice as our latter-day pundits have done, hides that Dharma from view: it can be anything to all men. There is nothing absolute and eternal, constant and unshakable to uphold motion (the journey through Time) as the natural Year does. To succeed in cementing this aberration only one thing was required: to separate the inseparable. Then all is relative, nothing is permanent and eternal, above all not the Dharma.
How was this accomplished? The task was simple enough – in fact so simple that one is justified in wondering why no one complained! The sacred duty of time reckoning for the Hindu Samaj was handed over not to astrologers but to astronomers who are not versed in the Veda. More appropriately, not just ‘versed’ because that accomplishment does not imply a Vedic Realisation, which alone grants keys to the higher knowledge contained in the Veda.
These astronomers made the fatal mistake of eliminating the natural year – Vedic to the core – and replacing it with another circle, the wrong one for temple purposes and horoscopy. They established their time reckoning in the constellations rather than in the ecliptic pathway of the tropical zodiac as in the Vedic Age. And because it is nearly impossible to establish an absolute and not ‘relative’ ayanamsha in that outermost sphere of the constellations – erroneously also called zodiac by astronomers – the true measure of the Earth was lost. Different theories were then proffered to the point where today Makar has been distanced from her true position and this most important of all Sankrantis is alleged to occur 23 days after the Solstice, an aberration known only in India and bearing no sanction in the Veda.
The truth is there cannot be any accuracy at all in the sidereal sphere. Its Zero Point, where measuring begins as for all circles, zodiacal/tropical or constellational, is arbitrary and simply relative – unlike the Zero Point of the tropical zodiac reposing on the Equinoxes and Solstices which remain eternally the same with no correction required. In the constellations used by the Nirayana School and therefore in all temple rituals, the ayanamsha depends on arbitrary and subjective selection. The point is that the natural order needs to be reinstated. With that achieved, the rest will fall into place without speculation or subjective relativism.
The Rishis who recorded the hymns for posterity anticipated this future condition. In their wisdom they left specific instructions to set matters right should the need arise. Certainly, given the chaos of ayanamshas that plagues our time reckoning, we do need to return to the Source, which states:

Twelve spokes, one wheel, navels three.
Who can comprehend this?
On it are placed together
Three hundred and sixty like pegs.
They shake not in the least.
(Rig Veda 1.154.48)

One is the wheel; the bands are twelve;
three are the hubs – who can understand it?
Three hundred spokes and sixty in addition
have been hammered therein and firmly riveted….
(Atharva Veda X, 8)

Indeed, the Rishi wisely asks, Who can understand? Yet, everything required for accuracy is contained in these verses. For the present discussion two points need to be highlighted: 1) The circle is one (RV). That is, all measuring is to be done within the One Wheel (AV), the circle of the twelve ‘bands’/rasis (360 spokes/pegs); and 2) They shake not in the least (RV).
In that One Circle, Makar and Solstice are obviously one and are inseparable; no mention is made of any correction required as is necessary when there are no permanent Equinoxes and Solstices. In the constellations, the circle used by Nirayana astrologers and pundits for time reckoning, there are no Equinoxes and Solstices. This implies that there is no astronomically-verifiable Zero Point or ayanamsha, one that requires no subjectivity to determine – the origin of the current Ayanamsha Chaos. And only in the tropical ecliptic pathway are the 12 rasis of 30˚/30 days to be found.
This is the aberration that took hold of the sacred Divine Maya or Measure, giving rise to ayanamshas of one’s fancy with no grounding in higher knowledge. In this presentation I will prove the specific point the Rishi made: THE CIRCLE IS ONE wherein all measurements are done.
The second point to note is: ‘THEY SHAKE NOT IN THE LEAST’ (RV), the 360 ‘spokes’ are ‘FIRMLY RIVETED’ (AV). How can this stability come about with the current ayanamsha chaos? If we wish to succinctly describe the Nirayana system foisted on the Samaj it is to state, simply put, IT SHAKES!
This shaking, shifting arises when the Zero Point itself wobbles indecisively, jumping from one position to another, lacking any accuracy at all. And for a system that claims to be ‘Vedic’, this situation is simply unacceptable.

The Importance of Makar Sankranti in Hindu Calendar Reform - PART THREE



A treatment in three parts
presented at the
First National Conference on Hindu Calendar Reform

Tirumala, 24-26 December 2010


Prepared by
Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea)
Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology
Tamil Nadu, South India

© Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet 2010




PART THREE


I have established essential points in Parts 1 and 2; the most important of all is that Makar Sankranti and December Solstice are inseparable. In this final portion I will use visuals to elucidate the point to a greater degree.
Hinduism stands weakened today because it is weak within. But how does it become strengthened in view of the difficulties its character of diversity presents? This diversity is both its blessing and its bane. The current situation is a bane because unity is lacking. The motto being Diversity in Unity, it is implied that there is an underlying unity within which this pleasing array of diversity finds its place and support. In a maddening diversity such as we find in India, there must be a means to UNIFY that diversity regardless of each one’s preferences and prejudices. In spite of our failings and intransigencies, the Vedic Calendar unifies through Time and harmonises what would otherwise remain separate and discordant. That is the purpose of a Calendar that Unifies – unlike the one currently in use which is inherently divisive. It is an effective tool to divide-and-rule. And since we are considering consequences for 80% of India’s population, immediate measures should be taken to bring about order in this current chaos.
Thus, the eternal background for the cosmic play – as experienced on Earth – is that Vedic ONE CIRCLE of ‘twelve bands’ and ‘360 pegs’, our Earth Year in which these are ‘firmly riveted’.
There is another essential point to bear in mind when reform is considered: for a cosmically-based civilisation such as the Vedic, ALL measuring is Earth-centred. We are placed on this third planet of our solar system and nowhere else. The blessing this position itself offers is that this is the key to right comprehension and application of the cosmic harmony insofar as all measuring can and must be done from Earth. From this point we measure outward and beyond, not the reverse as is presently the case since the Nirayana system of time reckoning has imposed a measure from beyond our world, outside of our solar system. Indeed, for all practical purposes of application, the Earth becomes the centre of the universe, the point of convergence of the entire cosmic surround.
The Nirayana Post-Vedic system currently used does just the opposite. It ignores the Earth’s divine Measure and has imposed upon Hindus a very great error. Its measuring is carried out in the constellations of distant stars light years away from our solar system; above all, with no fixed point of reference except those illusory floating ayanamshas, dozens of them.
The measure of the Earth is easily recognised and determined. No great psychic powers or complicated mathematics are required: we live the Measure with every breath we take – the Year, the Month, the Day, all set within the ecliptic where the symphony of our solar system is played, the Music we hear, we know, because we are THAT. Consequently, can we ignore what and where we are in favour of a ‘beyond’?


The graphic above explains the position. This drawing of several circles describes the current confusion. The innermost with the zodiacal signs (spelt out) is the ONE CIRCLE extolled in the Veda, with its fourfold division marking out the four Cardinal points of Equinoxes and Solstices and their respective signs, Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. These are stable and unchanging and, for all practical purposes, eternal.
The next circle (hieroglyphs) describes the one currently used by Nirayana pundits which is actually the constellation of fixed stars far beyond our solar system. Around it are placed the zodiacal animal and human figures fancifully projected onto that distant vault of heaven, also called zodiac by astronomers. They are divided equally though they do not correspond to the 30˚/30 days of the Tropical Zodiac. This is a distinction unknown to most because of the common nomenclature, to further confound the issue. The name would be correct provided it were a projection onto the circum-scribing cosmos of the same Vedic ‘12 bands’ and ‘360 pegs’ of the Tropical Zodiac. Then it could correctly be called by the same name. But try as they might the 12 containing the 360˚ simply do not fit as noted in the graphic. These constellations of astronomy vary vastly in size. Thus they cannot legitimately be equated with the zodiac of our Earth measure. Yet this is the equivalence that astronomers and Nirayana astrologers wish us to accept.
The One Circle (tropical/ecliptic) of the Veda has been replaced by this amorphous cacophony of uneven measure; and they try their best to establish some form of starting point in this indistinguishable and undefined vastness by arbitrarily selecting one degree or another as ayanamsha. Bear in mind that given the distance, we are dealing with vast cycles of time. For instance, a variation in calculation of seconds of degrees of celestial longitude will work out to days and even to years on Earth; hence the wild variations foisted on an unsuspecting public simply because there is no legitimate, unchanging, absolute starting point in the Constellations. It has to be arbitrarily selected according to each one’s fancy.
But the secret to unlock the wisdom contained in our solar system is that our planet, through her movements in space, her position in the System, her balance on the four points of the ecliptic, gives rise to the natural and eternal Zero Point. Without our Equinoxes and Solstices we would never know. We would be free to roam endlessly about submerged in that unknowing – which is the definition of the Cosmic Ignorance.

The next point, for which I will provide visual evidence, involves the important role of zodiacal imagery in Vedic culture. Most scholars, historians and Nirayana astrologers, reject any mention of those pictographs and hieroglyphs as being inherently Vedic. They claim, for the most part, that the zodiac used throughout the world was brought to India by the Greeks, and the Veda predate these incursions by many centuries, perhaps even millennia. With the evidence I will provide, this claim cannot hold. In my view, the zodiac, as we know it today, was like an alphabet in the Vedic Age. Its ‘language’ courses through the Veda like a sustaining vital fluid, as if it were such common, wide-spread knowledge that it needed no explaining. But its presence is easily detected when the secret doctrine of the Rig Veda is unveiled; that is, when the ‘journey’ is undertaken en route to the culmination in uttarayana, the Sun’s highest point of Makar Rasi. Similarly, only when the hidden doctrine also of the zodiac is known can the similarity between the two be appreciated. But in both cases, the Veda and zodiacal tradition, that knowledge has been lost.
The loss of the exact Knowledge complicates matters, for which reason Sanskritists and even yogis cannot fully understand the Rig Veda. Can this be the reason why the key to the cosmic harmonies has been lost and un-Vedic substitutes have emerged?
The discussion regarding the origin of the zodiac is like the question, what came first, chicken or egg. We can only study the reality of today. The first observation we make is that all temple art and architecture reveals that same zodiacal ‘alphabet’. The incidents are too numerous to detail here, but the point I wish to make is simply that had it been a ‘foreign import’ as certain nationalists claim, how could it have influenced temple matters so thoroughly and consistently?
Again I must refer to Makar Rasi. Though in temple observances and almanacs, the Sun’s apparent entry into each rasi is dutifully noted – yet abysmally incorrect by 23 days – as well as the planetary movements from sign to sign, today the circle of these sacred images is essentially being replaced by the Nakshatras. This seems to have come about due to the fact that with the 23-day inaccuracy the zodiacal script has lost its meaning, even though it continues to permeate myths and temple art and we regularly honour these sacred passages. But there is no higher knowledge in the Nakshatras, constellational or otherwise. Those distant stars serve only as markers for computation of the larger cycles of time.
However, the ‘Circle is One’ is our mantra. Therefore the Nakshatras, when used, should also be measured within that ONE CIRCLE as per the mean daily motion of the moon, 13˚20.

Whatever the origin of the zodiac and its hieroglyphs might have been, we have clear evidence that the Seer who first had the vision of the sacred Twelve must have been on the order of the famed Bhrigu Astrologers who read a horoscope for a present-day client from ancient papyrus leaves handed down across the centuries – yet, mystifyingly the ancient horoscope contains details of contemporary life unknowable when the leaves were prepared in so distant a past. I present below proof of the same capacity in the Seer who discovered the zodiacal ‘alphabet’:


This is the ancient zodiacal hieroglyph of the tenth sign of victory, Makar/ Capricorn, known significantly as the Name of God in astrological lore. Since this is also unanimously known as India’s zodiacal ruler, we are not surprised to discover depths never before plummeted about this design. We discover that it actually delineates with precision the geography of the subcontinent before independence and partition.


We are justified in asking how this can be. The precise origins of the hieroglyphs are unknown; we know only that they have been with us perhaps since pre-history. And yet this sacred-most of all symbols delineates the subcontinental landmass as one single body, though it dates from a time when cartography as we know it did not exist.
Whatever the answer to this enigma may be, the point I wish to make is simply to reveal an applied Veda, valid and meaningful in our new Age, and how this application itself provides the proof we need to render to the Veda its rightful place in a new cosmology. This means that we must, before all else, restore the synchronicity of December Solstice and Makar Rasi.

Conclusion
For every nation a calendar serves to unite its citizens; conversely, it can be a divisive tool. But in India’s case a calendar is much more. Because of Vedic observances for which Time is essential – the correct temporal ingredient, that is – the unification of collective energies released when a real and not imaginary cosmic connection is forged creates an atmosphere that not only brings energies together on a mundane level, the release is far more significant and purposeful in subtle dimensions. Such observances draw together various planes of consciousness, from the dense physical to the more subtle and rarified, those hidden as well as apparent to the naked eye. The power generated is therefore magnified. It is as if a shield would come into being, a protective energy field.
Since the West uses the Vedic calendar to regulate civic life, we might ask whether or not that shield exists over those nations. The point is that though the calendar may be correct there is no cosmic connection in those countries. Above all, having eschewed the Gods and Goddesses and their Idols from their culture, any such connection is impossible because they are personifications of those cosmic energies which we invoke in every ritual. Imagine how much more potent our observances would be if the true Circle and the correct temporal computation were used for the purpose; and if the zodiac images were once again restored to the special place they held from time immemorial on the subcontinent?
To illustrate the point, here is Gangadevi on her vahana. Of course, since she is preeminently the River of Capricorn, which can be proven through the Capricorn Symbol-Map whereby her position is measured longitudinally to locate her source at 12˚ Capricorn and mouths at exactly 0˚, she has been given the Makar/Capricorn vehicle by the ancient Tradition. Capricorn 12˚, measured in the Tropical Zodiac, corresponds to January 3rd. That would be the date of ‘birth’ of heavenly Ganga, through which portal in calendar/zodiacal time she descends onto Bharat. What would occur on the subcontinent if the millions who gather for the Kumbha Mela could worship the Goddess in harmony with Mahakala in the true order of things temporal and cosmic?


Unity of the Knowledge, which makes these images come alive today even more meaningful than they ever were, is what is lacking because of the Ayanamsha Chaos and the lost cosmic connection. It is our duty to help unify the energies of 80% of the population so that the greatness that once was can be restored.
In this task the Vishnu Avatars come to our aid today. Therefore, in closing I must dedicate this effort to Ramlala of Ayodhya, in gratitude for the help he has given by his contemporary appearance as Child. To make the Tradition vibrant and applicable today, he has placed his seal and sanction on this task by having timed his appearance post-independence exactly on the night of the Solstice of 1949: December 22-23 – that is, the true Makar Sankranti.
His message to the Samaj could not have been clearer,
or the ‘key’ provided by his timing more precise.


Websites:
Puranic Cosmology Updated: www.puraniccosmologyupdated.com
Chronicles of the Inner Chamber: www.matacom.com
Movement for the Restorationof Vedic Wisdom: www.movementfortherestorationofvedicwisdom.com
Official website: www.aeongroup.com