Puranic Cosmology Updated 14


‘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.

India has a problem, a serious problem. When I explain what that might be in the context of this series, not many will agree. And this is precisely the point.
The problem is not obvious like poverty, over-population, unemployment, deforestation, degradation of the environment, extinction of native species, and so on. These are often blocked together under one label: ignorance. It is contended that illiteracy, for example, such as it exists, creates this ignorance because this is the common definition of the word, i.e., lacking in proper scholastic education. If we consider India in her contemporary avatar, disconnected from her hoary past, this definition and assessment would be correct. But is this possible?
It would be much simpler if we could view India as having taken birth in the last century with all the infirmities that existed then, many of which have still to be resolved. If, however, we insist with pride that contemporary society bears a direct link to the ancient civilisation, notwithstanding the various invasions, conquests and foreign rule experienced over the last millennium, then the situation has to be assessed differently. I repeat, herein lies the problem. It is indeed one of ignorance but little to do with the ills contemporary India faces.
Or might this ‘ignorance’ as defined in these pages be the root cause of all the rest?
In my view India should pride herself for the unique distinction of having a direct connection to the Vedic Age. Such being the case, do we have an obligation to honour that linkage/heritage by faithfulness to its ‘seed’ – which is by definition veda, knowledge? Again, herein lies the problem: there is ignorance and there is Ignorance capitalised. Similarly, there is knowledge and there is Knowledge. The latter is often referred to as higher knowledge to distinguish it from the lesser type. If this ‘higher’ is directly connected to the Veda, then it stands that honest scholarship and research must make every attempt to discern just what that Vedic Knowledge was.
There are few today who would believe that somehow we have ‘lost the plot’. I have used the term ‘thread’ and proven in these pages that such a thread does exist and it can be found exactly as it existed aeons ago, if we but take the trouble to remove certain encumbrances and cobwebs that have accumulated over this corpus of sacred knowledge with the courage demanded of such an enterprise. Above all, to have the foresight and the wisdom to re-set India’s cosmic clock to bring it back to its Vedic moorings.
In Update 13, I commented on the work of Dr Carmen Boulter and her team 1 for doing just that: having the courage to question certain dogmas regarding ancient Egypt in the light of obvious evidence which, though sought to be suppressed, contradicts those official dogmas. But in studying ancient Egypt these brave academics have an advantage over their counterparts on the subcontinent. The latter’s task should be easier, it would seem, because the culture is alive and not defunct like the ancient Egyptian. Surely all that is required is to approach the issue like a sociologist not an anthropologist or archaeologist as the Egyptian exercise seems to demand, insofar as Egypt of today bears no resemblance at all to the Age of the Pyramids and the Sphinx – that is, prior to the Dynastic epoch.
Actually, India presents a more difficult conundrum, almost impossible to resolve. It is DISTORTION and not total obliteration as in Egypt and other points on the globe which once housed advanced civilisations incomprehensible to us today. The most successful method of occultation is distortion particularly in key areas of collective engagement. In India’s case this did not occur because of foreign invasion and rule by Islamic conquerors and Christian missionary zealots. Distortion was home grown. It came into effect much earlier and allowed for all the rest to ensue.
This was not the case in Egypt, though on the surface it might appear to have been. The culture prevalent during the time of construction of the older pyramids, Sphinx and temples was buried deep in desert sands long before Christianity and Islam became established on that sacred soil. The reason can be found in what was central and intrinsic to the civilisation itself. It can be explained by the cosmology known to the Egyptians and to ancient India over the same period. It was preserved in Egypt in the colossi its sages left, whose secrets were to be unveiled at a time indicated by that cosmology itself and recorded in the Sphinx, this being the purpose for its construction.
This was not the case regarding Vedic civilisation because of the unbroken linkage with the past. The very same cosmology was preserved in India but not in monuments or even in temples, though they did serve a valid purpose during the Age of Pisces when temple culture took root on the subcontinent precisely for the purpose of preservation of what had by then been largely forgotten. In the Vedic Age the line was maintained through the process described minutely in the Rig Veda, called the Journey or the Initiation. Its backdrop was the cosmos as seen from Earth. The sacred hymns were passed down through the Guru/Shishya parampar or tradition over several millennia – an astonishing feat in itself, we must agree. To prove the point, schools exist even today in South India where Brahmins are taught to memorise and recite the hymns/mantras impeccably, without changing a line, a word, or an intonation. Much is made of the fact that no deviations in the texts however minute are acceptable. But, as with all things under the influence of modernity and rationalism, we cannot help but wonder how long this tradition will survive. Perhaps if the reason for the existence of this practice is known, shorn of any misconceived reverse discrimination, the Agama Academies will return once again to enjoy the pre-eminence they deserve.
While we have evidence of the unbroken oral tradition in India, in Egypt it is provided by certain key mega structures; but in both cases the Knowledge is lacking today to decipher their content.
The task is easier when there is no distortion. In the Indian tradition this ability, if it may be so called, is proper to the Asura, the hostile force that operates and influences primarily through the mental plane. An example would be the strategy of the Magic Deluder of Puranic Tradition (Update 5). Thus, we continue to laud the Vedic foundation of the civilisation but introduce distortions which alter the sense and purpose of the seed-knowledge while calling it by the same name. An example is the inappropriately named Vedic Astrology. 2
Of course in Egypt this did not happen. Rather, we observe a slow and steady decline until by the Dynastic period original concepts were lost because the line of Initiates who built the early pyramids no longer existed: it was definitively broken. All that remains are the monuments that tell their own tale – if we could but decipher their true meaning. This has become increasingly difficult, particularly after passage through the Age of Pisces because the land fell into the hands of believers of very different faiths who were only too happy to disown the ancient past, disparagingly referred to as idolatrous. We do not find this situation in India, but the advantage in the former is that those megalithic structures still stand essentially as they were thousands of years ago, unchanged, conveying the same knowledge today as in the ancient past when they were built. They provide evidence to prove that many millennia ago the Earth housed a population different in almost all ways from her present inhabitants. And this appears to have been universal because what we find carefully preserved in Egypt in her indestructible mega structures is also preserved in India’s ancient wisdom – even down to solar cow worship.

Let us focus on the factual element common to both civilisations. This is once more the December Solstice and the beginning of zodiacal Capricorn. In Egypt, as presented by Dr Carmen Boulter and her team in the DVD mentioned in Update 13, The Pyramid Code, there can be no equivocation because the megaliths still exist, undistorted, which were created to locate in calendar time the two shortest days of the years; to prove the point, they continue to serve the same function with no ‘shifting’ zodiac to complicate issues as we find in contemporary scientific India. Clearly these points in the Earth’s annual rotation of the Sun were extremely important in ancient Egypt. And thus, like a massive cosmic clock the days when the two annual solstices occur, then as now, are marked off with precision by the position of the three pyramids at Giza. To further emphasise their importance, the Great Pyramid itself is aligned meticulously to the four Cardinal directions with astonishing accuracy. This alignment, these timings have nothing to do with the constellations, only the tropical zodiac of the 12-part ecliptic pathway.
Vedic India gave the same importance to that permanent axial balance – the four Cardinal Poles/directions, last of which is Uttarayana, the sacred most December Solstice which we have seen to coincide with the geo-cosmological mouths of Ganga (Update 13). In Egypt the sacred river was the Nile; in India it is Ganga.3
Returning to our problem, in Egypt there could be no distortion in this act of preservation because the pyramids were constructed in such a way that, unlike Hindu Temples with a similar objective, they defied corrosion with the passage of time and the destructive bent of future generations. They stand today as they were then, with enough of the monuments preserved to permit deciphering. They marked the very same zodiacal/solar harmonies without any ‘shifting’ as in India where consequently we find a distortion today in this very area: celebration of the December Solstice and the Capricorn gateway. The existence and commanding position of Initiates ended in Egypt thousands of years ago, completely and totally. With none left to engage in the art of distortion, once the veils (read, sands) are removed covering the extant monuments, the intent of the original builders stands before us intact. But the situation is entirely different on the subcontinent where disfigurement of that intent is witnessed; and since in India it is not a question of massive stone monuments but a continuity that hinges on maintenance of that tenuous ‘thread’ as a living tradition, the result is what it is – cosmic wheels within wheels out of synchronisation with each other; above all, out of alignment with the Earth.
In the next Update I will present a diagram that can help the reader understand exactly what it means to be out of synchronisation and the chaos this can engender. By celebrating Makar Sankranti 23 days late, the faithful are encouraged to celebrate a cosmological non-event. This is the problem in a nutshell. The result is 80% of the contemporary society’s energies are dispersed, disunified, disused.
This is not meant to minimise the value of a devotee’s worship in and for himself. His well being can be increased by worship and prayer; but this is limited to his own private universe. Yes, it has been proven that prayer can help heal a patient. However, cosmology covers the well being of the entire Earth. In fact, this is what distinguishes it from astrology: the latter provides a horoscope pertinent to the individual; cosmology, on the other hand can reveal harmonious patterns to establish the cosmic order in an entire civilisation, as it had been done in pre-historic times. The key to making that cosmic connection was known then and has since been lost. That key can and must be retrieved to recapture what was foregone, to become in this Aquarian Age the foundation for a new planetary society.

1.For those of you who received the Update immediately after posting, I regret that her name was misspelled initially as Butler instead of Boulter; the error stands rectified. In addition, a reproduction of Ganga was added to Update 13 on 3.5.2010 which is worth viewing.

2.A recent case in point is the temple built at the heart of the township Auroville, publicised as if it were the Mother’s original design, and yet every item she insisted upon has been altered by the builders, particularly the minute measurements she gave, in complete contempt for the sacred tradition of temple-building where the vision of the sage must be adhered to scrupulously; or else where the mantras must be recited exactly according to the version of the original Rishi. (For details see www.matacom.com.)

3. For a detailed treatment of these sacred rivers, see The New Way, Vol. 2, Chapters 11-12, Aeon Books (1981).

Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet
Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology

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