Reflections on the Shroud of Turin and related Disclosures
Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology
‘The cycles of evolution tend always upward, but they are cycles and do not ascend in a straight line. The process therefore gives the impression of a series of ascents and descents, but what is essential in the gains of the evolution is kept or, even if eclipsed for a time, re-emerges in new forms suitable to the new ages.’
‘They were, if I may say so, representative cosmic men who were instruments of a divine Intervention for fixing certain things in the evolution of the earth-race.’
Letters on Yoga
From my last article, ‘The Shroud of Turin Revisited’, it might appear that I am on some sort of Dan Brown-inspired crusade, and that I wish to reinstate the true teachings – whatever and of whosoever – by exposing a certain sinister cover-up. Regarding the Turin Shroud, the alleged cover-up would involve the very heart of Christian theology: the dogma of crucifixion and resurrection, certainly a potentially explosive revelation. However, as sensational an appeal as this may have, it is not the case.
I believe that the evolution of consciousness is a controlled affair. The role Jesus Christ played therein, while not conforming to the facts on the ground as presented to the faithful, cannot simply be dismissed as the machinations of a power-hungry cabal bent on world domination. For finally Church dogmas were the external means to secure that dominance across the centuries. The life of Jesus, fact or fiction, was central to the affair; it served an essential purpose in that around his story circumstances evolved to steer the course of evolution in a particular direction. All were actors on the world stage in a play directed by the Time-Spirit.
I am reminded of letters in this regard that Sri Aurobindo wrote to his disciples on the subject of the Vishnu Ten Avatars of Hindu tradition, which he called a ‘parable of evolution’. When questioned about the historicity of Sri Ram, 7th Avatar of Vishnu, Sri Aurobindo gave the following answers that are pertinent to our discussion:
‘An avatar is not bound to do extraordinary actions, but he is bound to give his acts or his work or what he is…a significance and an effective power that are part of something essential to be done in the history of the earth and its races… [I]f anybody does not see as I do and wants to eject Rama from his place, I have no objection…provided somebody is put in who can worthily fill up the gap his absence leaves…’ Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, CE, page 414-5
‘When I spoke of a gap that would be left by his absence, I did not mean a gap among the prophets and intellectuals, but a gap in the scheme of Avatarhood – there was somebody who was the Avatar of the sattwic Human as Krishna was the Avatar of the overmental Superman – I can see no one but Rama who can fill the place. Spiritual teachers and prophets (as also intellectuals, scientists, artists, poets, etc.) – these are at the greatest Vibhutis but they are not Avatars. For at that rate all religious founders would be Avatars – Joseph Smith…of the Mormons, St Francis of Assisi, Calvin, Loyola and a host of others as well as Christ, Chaitanya or Ramakrishna.’ (Ibid, p. 417)
The same can be stated regarding the alleged cover-up to suppress the truth of the crucifixion. There had to be an incarnation to play the role that would be central to the events of the Age of Pisces. Jesus Christ inspired the events of an entire Age. To dismiss that role as nothing but a lie would be the same as to state that if a reigning monarch were deposed by foul means, the rule of his successor should be left out of the annals of history because of a perceived illegitimacy.
The authors I referred to in The Shroud of Turin Revisited and others are of the belief that a serious wrong has been done by hiding the truths the Shroud contains. They feel that to rectify matters a return to the true teachings of Jesus on this re-discovered foundation is the call of the hour. Details of the life of Jesus after crucifixion seem to lead to India where, as a venerable and saintly Guru, he amassed a certain following and eventually was buried in Kashmir. Proof is provided by a tomb still in existence of one Issa (Jesus) dating from that period. The burial was done in the traditional Jewish manner, in contrast to Hindu and later to Arabic customs. The authors go on to argue that while in India he was greatly influenced by Buddhism, to which they seem to attach more importance than his well-established Essene roots.
We are now in the Age of the truth-conscious Supermind. It is therefore for the first time in perhaps 50,000 years that a simultaneity exists where individuals who are meant to be key figures in the evolutionary design can describe the exact contours of their participation as it is taking place. When this ripeness or maturity occurs, an erroneous or inaccurate transmission of the unfolding is avoided. It would be as if an eclipse had reached its totality; slowly the solar luminescence becomes visible again. I experienced the phenomenon as a cocoon enveloping the luminary. Darkness prevails during the period of covering which we may refer to as a Kaliyuga, a Dark Age. However, we need not view what transpires in that period as entirely negative; rather, it is gestational. A cocoon gestates the splendid butterfly it nurtures within. Or else more pertinently, there is the 9-month gestation term of a human foetus. No negativity is involved. It is simply a period when ‘darkness’ is required in a creative process not yet ready to face the light of day.
The all-important factor to understand is therefore only one: any such gestation begins from a seed. Similar to the seed of a tree, the adult form can be predicted if one knows its genus.
The process of evolution also emerges from a seed – but of Time. In my article Beyond Contemporary Scientific Paradigms, I described a process whereby that seed or first point of space comes into being from ‘the other side’. In the ensuing process which sets time in motion, the contents of that seed-point come to be known; they erupt onto the physical plane – that is, they acquire physicality. In particular, we are blessed to inhabit a planet where because of the privileged place the Earth occupies in the system, the purpose of evolution is directly overseen by the Time-Spirit. Given the nature of what was gestated in the seed, the inhabitants of Earth have the choice of remaining as if closed in the cocoon, lulled by its comforting darkness as if in a mother’s womb; or they can choose to emerge and discard that comforting sac to embark on the evolutionary adventure birth on Earth offers in a more conscious fashion. The choice can therefore be described as clinging to the comfort of the Known – that is, the past – or a courageous leap to the unknown as an evermore conscious player on the world stage. We do have a choice – for a time.
At a certain point in the evolution that choice is no longer open to the individual. Then events take over; circumstances impose the path ahead. When this occurs – and the signs are unmistakable – we are not allowed the luxury of choice because in effect there is none. Choice, the exertion of free will – i.e. a will that can effectively contradict the contents of the Seed-Point – cannot prevail at a higher stage in the process. Regarding an individual’s transformation of consciousness, the experience is the same. In the course of development when a certain maturity is reached, what were experienced as numerous possible ‘futures’ open to individual choice, become single-bodied as it were. Then there is no choice: there is only one straight path ahead.
Choice is real, let us be clear. Properly speaking, it is not an illusion but simply relative. We may choose ‘freely’ while our consciousness is confined to the cocoon of the Known. But it must be borne in mind that this relativism of individual choice is entirely dependent on the progress of the whole. When evolution matures there arrives a moment when the Zeitgeist rattles his sabre and commands a certain respectful adherence. Then, in spite of our preferences we are compelled to fall in line. We are carried along as if by a wave, a relentless tsunami that brooks no opposition. I have often referred to this power as the Aquarian Wave. It now operates openly, thereby providing us with countless examples across the globe that reveal the intention of the Wave to touch and leave its stamp on every aspect of life.
To mitigate its impact there is only one way: a realignment of consciousness-being that removes us from harm’s way, as if thrust into the centre of a cyclone. This realignment is open to the individual at all times; but we are now witnessing a collective operation, more noticeable since the year 2001. Dramatically a new alignment is being established – almost as if the Earth’s axis were shifting. However, that part of the operation held sway in an Age long gone by – the last passage through the Age of Leo to be exact, approximately 12,000 years ago. The evidence of a focus then on this axial shift is found in Egypt even today – more precisely in the Great Pyramid at Giza.
The process in this stage of evolution focuses on Time because we have reached a maturity that allows us to examine the secret-most core of the process. Time is compressed into that Seed-Point at the heart of evolution on Earth. Space then evolves from the Seed. In the evolutionary process as experienced in our solar system from the position of this third planet, we note that the Egyptian task dealt with the properties of that Seed once it had already given birth to space, albeit a mere point. It was as if they were peeling off layers of an onion, moving from outer to inner. Indian tradition has preserved precise information in this regard in the details of appearances of Vishnu’s Ten Avatars across the Ages, the offspring of that very Time-Spirit. As such these incarnations enjoy a special relationship with Time, because it is Time that we find in the core.
The maturity I write of can be determined by the position the evolutionary progression occupies on a certain map whose special characteristic is to explain the broad lines of that progression across the astrological Ages. The periods it defines are measured in increments of 2160, which are the years required to traverse one zodiacal sign/age. It is common knowledge that we are in the Age of Aquarius; but there is too little accuracy in these important astrological matters to be an effective aid in the collective journey we are embarked upon. And what we require is precisely accuracy if the darkness of a kaliyuga is to be dispelled. It needs to be done through an increase of the light of consciousness. If not, errors can creep in and contaminate the field, both for the individual and the collectivity. What is demanded of us now, though it be only in a small percentage of humanity, is a clarity of vision that allows us to ‘put each thing in its place’. This superior ‘act of seeing’ helps us realise that all is perfectly as it should be – the so-called errors as well. Not that these errors are overlooked and their disfiguring shadows we are compelled to deal with are ignored; rather, they are perceived rightly as negative appendages that set evolution to a particular rhythm, balanced on a play of light and dark. Indeed, a characteristic of the Age of Supermind is the perception and lived experience of the negative as well as the positive at the service of the One.
Again we return to the initial statement that this is a time of dispelling the Shadows which had been mistaken for the Light due to a separative perception. Ultimately, with a holistic vision of unity the need for belief in such matters is rendered superfluous. Faith, on the other hand, is indeed required, but only when supported by knowledge of the sacred. This knowledge is the sound foundation on which the edifice of a new world can rise. In Sri Aurobindo’s words, ‘A faith, a will, or at least a persistent demand and aspiration are needed – a feeling that with this and this alone I can be satisfied and a push towards it that will not cease till it is done.' (Ibid, page 7)
Aids are given to human beings who are plunged into the process in complete ignorance of its broad lines, as well as the role they may be called upon to play. In the Hindu tradition, as stated, one aid is the Line of Ten Avatars; but knowing the tradition in its broad terms is not sufficient to prevent grave errors from clouding the light Vishnu sends to Earth through his emissaries. I repeat, a map is required that can give us a peerless understanding of the role of each emissary of the Time-Spirit. Above all, the Map allows us to locate our position in the design. Instead of revealing the location of continents and oceans, this Map describes the objectives of Time and our ‘location’ within its womb. It is as accurate as our geographic projections. I have called it the Map of the 12 Manifestations. When related to the universal calendar, the light illumines our way once more: The Sun emerges from its cocoon and we stand at the threshold of a Satya Yuga, an age of the supramental Truth-Consciousness.
We do need to separate fact from fiction. For example, fiction would be the crucifixion of Jesus – if we believe the evidence forensic science has unveiled in the Turin Shroud. Let us assume for arguments sake that the evidence points to a foundational error at the basis of the Christian faith. This error, however, does not really reflect on Jesus himself or his teachings because even the Gospels of his apostles would seem to offer corroborating evidence to suggest that he may not have actually died on the cross. Further, the Time-Spirit clearly played a controlling role in the affair in that just at the time when the Sun was to emerge from its cocoon at the onset of the new Age, photographic and forensic evidence became available to conclusively put that sacred event in its proper perspective.
It is evident that the error was introduced after the fact, when dogmatisation took over. In the opinion of certain scholars, Paul was largely responsible for the dogma of death by crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. Added to this was the issue of redemption due to the death and resurrection of the Son of God. All of this and much more demands belief without anything other than the subjective experience of the individual believer; and finally there was the fear factor instilled if the individual were to demand more as a basis of his or her faith. The fear of excommunication or eternal damnation came to be a pivotal tool in maintaining a cohesiveness through the body faithful. This, I repeat, came into play at a later date. The symbols themselves to identify Christians reveal that the cross became prominent several centuries after the passing of Jesus; prior to this the Fish symbol was Christianity’s distinguishing feature, in keeping with the symbol proper to the Age of Pisces, the sign of the Fish. But as evolution carried us deeper into the Age, certainly the apt defining symbol was the off-centred cross rather than the original Fish.
We cannot dismiss these historical facts as unimportant or the result of bigoted minds set on an agenda of domination. The point I wish to make is that while the real Jesus faded away, perhaps journeying to Kashmir where he lived and preached until his passing, disconnected from what was taking shape around his name in Rome, there is a Jesus Christ of the collective consciousness who played a central role during the Age of Pisces, who left an imprint on the evolution that had the power to give birth to the world as we know it today. We may feel that we have outgrown that world, that its boundaries can no longer contain the expansion of consciousness taking place – but we cannot deny it the stamp of reality. Whether that incarnation was the real Jesus or not is immaterial. As Sri Aurobindo wrote of Sri Ram and Sri Krishna, there was the need for an individual to fill a particular role in the evolution of consciousness; the purported real Jesus buried in Kashmir could not carry out the mission that Jesus Christ did, crucified and resurrected, so thoroughly as to leave his mark on history ever after. The actual historic facts, however, inform us where we stand in the process.
The real point is therefore to know the core purpose of evolution; indeed, to know not only the purpose of the Earth within the solar system but of each person who finds him or herself propelled into this grand time-machine. Jesus of the cross is the imprint that spawned two millennia of history. That is the focus of the hour because that imprinting is reflected in the world that surrounds us.
What does all this tell us of our times, or of the role of the historic Jesus – that is, the one central to the developments of the Age of Pisces before our present Age?
We have this poignantly displayed in the life of Jesus. His coming ends in death by crucifixion. The ‘real’ Jesus, such being the case, escaped this fate – but he played no part in the evolution of consciousness during the Age of Pisces. This demise of the Son of God the Father explains the conditions prevailing in the world we live in today. If the process would have ended there, the only forecast possible would be the end of evolution on Earth. And some do believe this tragedy of our own making is upon us. If we take as final the death of Jesus at the time of crucifixion, leaving aside the purported resurrection which simply confirms what the crucifixion already affirms – i.e. the definitive end here on Earth and a union with Jesus after death in an extra-cosmic heaven – then we must agree that we have reached the termination of our cycle. However we examine the facts of the case, they all serve to confirm this central message: the end of the world as we know it.
However, there is another tale to tell. Using these same ‘errors’, the true development can be known provided we do not allow ourselves to be closeted in partial systems or allow our perceptive capacities to be atrophied by inertia. The Age of the truth-conscious Supermind dawned in 1926. Around that time the plot began to deepen. For example, the Time-Spirit pressed for technology to be developed which could undermine the Piscean dogmas, which actually erased the error and re-told the story. But it did not cast a blanket of amnesia over the races of Earth to wipe out the memory of those ‘errors’. Rather, we are able to insert them into their proper places in the Map and appreciate their contribution. The significance of a crucified Son and the end of our world was contradicted by revealing that in actual fact he did not die. That is, evolution goes on according to the divine Plan, the Son lives – or rather had never experienced death by crucifixion, itself so pregnant in meaning. The world has not come to an end; the light was simply withheld for a while in anticipation of the dawning new age.
Another development that kindles the spirit of hope is the global interest in theological conspiracy stories such as Dan Brown’s novels in which the birth of Jesus’ offspring by Mary Magdalene is pressing to be accepted. Again, truth or fiction is not the burning question which is unlikely ever to be answered. The point is that there is a collective aspiration to live, right here on Earth. If Jesus is proven or even believed to have had offspring, the issue is plain and simple: the line continues, irrespective of crucifixion. Clearly, the wild enthusiasm across the globe that set a collective aspiration afire, as the tale of Jesus and Mary Magdalene did, is reproduced in the Shroud development, albeit of less notoriety. But a convergence of this sort, centred on continuity rather than a worship of death and an otherworldly redemption/resurrection indicates the ‘persistent demand and aspiration’ Sri Aurobindo wrote of at the onset of the new Age, of a collective striving ‘that will not cease till it is done’.
All of these exposures are a product of the Aquarian Wave. It is determined to dissolve each and every shadow covering the Sun of Truth. But here is the moral of the story: We cannot erase 2000 years of evolutionary imprinting, regardless of how dark and retrogressive we believe those years to have been from our current perspective. This would be to deny the Supreme knowledge of his own creation, and to the Time-Spirit control over the contents of the seed of Itself, Its very own essence implanted at the heart of the evolutionary unfolding. What is required is simply courage of the divine Warrior who does not flinch before what IS. The Warrior accepts all aspects of the Becoming because his or her axial support is Being – or the Immobile amidst the Mobile. As if at the centre of a hurricane, the perfectly aligned Warrior travels in the core of Time armed with an impeccable discrimination to distinguish the Shadow from the Light, falsehood from truth. At the same time, the Warrior knows that both are instruments of the Time-Spirit.