Puranic Cosmology Updated 21


I will close this series with mention of the position held by certain Sanskritists – namely, that there is no mention of the so-called ‘western zodiac’ in the Veda. This is a view also held by staunch nationalists for whom the zodiac is not Indian, much less Hindu, and far less Vedic. It was, they contend, brought into India by the Greeks in the latter part of the 8th Manifestation, while the Veda were of a much earlier date.
I do believe there was a period in the evolution of thought on the subcontinent when that Knowledge was lost; or better it went underground for its protection and survival. While earlier it was the foundation of Vedic society – the caste system taken from the cosmic harmony is one example – given the darkness setting in, the higher knowledge contained in the zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc., with their pictographs and hieroglyphs) was necessarily reserved for an elite – the equivalent of our educated classes today.1
The same situation prevailed in Egypt in the pre-dynastic period, much earlier than is recognised by Egyptologists of the traditional school. As I have stated throughout this series, the method of preservation then was in stone, but those initiated into the knowledge the stone colossi contained have since vanished from the Earth. However, in India it has been through the human consciousness. One is curious to know which is the sturdier vessel? The immediate response would be stone because those monuments still stand even after thousands of years have passed; but more importantly, because they defy the tactic of the Asura which we do find in India: distortion. As noted, the latter is far more difficult to be rid of. It is, as Aurobindavatar wrote, like ‘a slow poison’ bringing in its wake unavoidable death. Time in such a circumstance is not the ally we know today, after the Supramental Manifestation; then he was only the Destroyer: Time was used negatively, against itself so to speak. The result is that the Vedic Knowledge was brought also to the point of a total obliteration.
Tradition informs us that when the night is darkest Vishnu sends his emanations to dispel that darkness. This has indeed been the case time and again. Now, Vedic Knowledge stands on the brink of the chasm. The measure is 23, the number played out in the partition of Bharat Mata; the number of days the Deluders have forced on the Hindu Samaj by the wrong calculation of the Solstice Makar Sankranti. There is, we must admit, a degree of consistency in the falsehood. Indeed there is because that is the hallmark of our times: the Positive and the Negative serve the purposes of the One.
Thus, while Time was experienced as the Destroyer, the arrival of the Supramental Avatar and his line has introduced the formulas that can make of Time the ally. This series has been an exercise in using the Negative, the distortion itself, to open the way forward and in the process to redeem all that is true of the Tradition and carry it forward divested of those disfiguring veils that have been obscuring the Light for so many centuries. The time has come for the new to triumph. And this, dear readers, is Mars transformed.

A question must now be asked of the naysayers, wherever they may be. If they are unable to recognise the zodiacal lore in the Veda, for whatever reason, how is it that every Hindu Temple is a hymn precisely to that lore? And this is done openly, as the examples I have given can prove. Not the Nakshatras which do not contain this Knowledge but the signs of the tropical zodiac. There is no mystery, not even the need for any higher capacity to recognise that most myths are telling the same tale, over and over again, from this angle or that, depending on the circumstances in the midst of which the Seer saw the story in the depths of his or her soul. My question to these Sanskritists and nationalists is simple: How did it come to pass that the so-called western zodiac so completely captured the spirit of the Puranic Sages that they saw fit to preserve that ‘western import’ at the heart of the culture, the magnificent Hindu Temple. And if these structures had nothing to do with the Veda and were born out of a much later spirit, why was their demolition necessary by invaders – one after another?
The answer necessarily would be that these structures were indeed preservers of the Tradition, a tradition that had to be obliterated at all costs to satisfy hegemonic tendencies.
It needs to be recalled that even in those times India was a lone survivor of the ancient way. And the tactic was not only to attack the repositories of Vedic Knowledge but to erase the ancient tradition from the hearts and minds of the people at whatever the cost. However, Vishnu had and has his own plan: the repository was not only the Temple; it was the soul of the peoples of the subcontinent. For when the time comes for the final veil to be lifted from Guha, that universal Soul of which ALL human beings are a portion, will respond and all barriers will be cast to the ground. That is the meaning of the ‘centre of the centre itself’. It is the only unifying factor in a world where diversity often obscures that One. The universal harmonies will be sung in unison once more and the Earth will be saved…just in the brink of time. For when the Measure of Falsehood reaches 23, ‘time is up’ for the Earth. It is either complete redemption or else complete destruction. That is the significance of the much-publicised Maya ‘end time’.

‘At present mankind is undergoing an evolutionary crisis
in which is concealed a choice of its destiny.’

This momentous ‘evolutionary crisis’ as Sri Aurobindo has called it, looms large before us. But also looming before us is that sacred Map that tells us exactly where we are in the continent of Time; and, more importantly, the way to successfully reach its other shore over and beyond the abyss. Many will fall into the chasm; much of our world is too riddled with falsehood to be redeemed. But what is important is that the soul of the perennial knowledge must not only survive – as it has somehow managed to do in India; it must be the foundation, the eternal foundation for the new world that is being born.

To conclude and to prove the point again, we may use the Vedic God Varuna as an example, one of the most important to have been transported to the Puranic lore and incorporated into its iconography and mythic tradition. We cannot doubt Varuna’s Vedic credentials. And now I will use this pre-eminently Vedic Godhead to demonstrate just how the deeper zodiacal knowledge, exactly as it exists even today in the so-called ‘western zodiac’, has been used to convey the same Knowledge. I end this series with the Vedic Varuna because of his ‘placement’ in the Map and his connection with India’s own ruling sign, Capricorn, the Golden Thread that connects the civilisation to its Vedic roots. With this accomplished, I believe the naysayers will finally be silenced.
In the zodiac the pictograph for Capricorn is the Goat – not the Ram, Agni’s vahana, but the Goat. Yet this Capricorn figure is one of the double images; that is, a composite form: the Goat sports the tail of a Fish.

In zodiacal tradition it is meant to indicate the most salient feature of Capricorn – the apex and the abyss, the mountain and the sea, combined in a single figure. Indeed, this is the key to the profoundest secrets of the sign. But in Puranic lore the goat becomes a crocodile. Nonetheless, the connection with the Goat-Fish is obvious: the amphibian nature of the figure which is conveyed in the Goat-Fish in a more pertinent and direct manner but which does not come across in the Crocodile – abyss and apex.
But this is where iconography comes to our aid, along with myth and the verses from the Veda regarding Varuna: he captures in his being the two, mountain and sea. Thus, the crocodile as his vahana conveys his Capricorn meaning. But there is more. For this we turn to the Veda itself.

Varuna’s vahana, similar to Ganga, is the Crocodile. Thus, Capricorn is the issue once again. And tradition allots to the Godhead the very significance conveyed in the Goat-Fish of both sea and mountain combined, abyss and apex. But of course there is much more contained in the symbolism (see The Magical Carousel and Commentaries, Chapter 10, PNB, Aeon Books). Here my point is to show how the perennial knowledge is moulded by the Indian psyche where Varuna is personalised, made intimate because he is drawn up from the most intimate part of the human consciousness-being, the soul. Thus he is, in a sense, made ‘approachable’ precisely because this Godhead, like all the others, is a facet of our innermost secret depths, and that is eternal. For as long as human incarnation takes place, the eternal, universal and individual soul lives on. We are thus justified in believing that this causes the Knowledge to be far more resilient and indestructible than stone colossi and temples. But the veils must be taken into account – i.e., the distortions of the Magic Deluder. Indeed, Kalki Avatar comes to remove those veils. And what, or rather who do we find beneath? Guha, the Hidden One, precisely Kalki the last Avatar.
Returning to Varuna, the personalisation of the Godhead adds to the Crocodile figure exactly what is contained in the Goat-Fish image: for Varuna is known as encompassing the mountain and the sea. Thus, it is in the God himself – which we do not find in the zodiac pictographs – that the Knowledge is conveyed in true Hindu/Vedic fashion. But that is why the zodiac is universal: it speaks to all humankind of all times.
Here are Sri Aurobindo’s translations from the Rig Veda, making the relationship abundantly clear. This example, I trust, will rend the final veil that has distorted the Veda to the point where indeed the words of the Avatar have been proven so true… ‘For the past two thousand years no Indian has understood the Veda’. Surely this is because of a refusal to see what IS, what sits right before our eyes. It is all there, in the Hindu Temple.
I quote from Chapter 10 of my book, The New Way, Vol. 2, ‘Integrality and the Return to the Source’, pages 389-399:2

Varuna is indeed the King of the etheric heavens, the vast upper oceans, as Sri Aurobindo explains…At the same time, in the more dense physical dimension Varuna becomes Uranus, the 7th power in the solar system; and when measured upon the globe by a golden rod that offers a gnostic vision of the unity of macrocosm and microcosm, this planet stands in the Circle at the point where the Ganges is measured, where she is seen to come into being upon Earth, the Mother of all rivers. ‘In the uprising of the rivers he is a brother of seven sisters, he is in their middle’ (VII. 41-2), the Rig Veda says,… ‘The Son of Infinity the wise upholder, has loosed them forth everywhere; the rivers journey to the truth of Varuna’ (II. 28-4). And if this is not sufficient, Indian tradition itself confirms the ‘position’ of Varuna in Capricorn, at the source of the Ganges, by revealing that Varuna’s carrier, or vahana, is makara – the Hindu zodiacal sign Capricorn. One of the most important Hindu festivals each year is the Makara Sankranti, the day the Sun enters Makara, or Capricorn. The Sun itself is considered to be Varuna’s eye. It is supremely auspicious in India and is celebrated throughout the country; for indeed it is then that the time/space source of Ganga is reached, where Varuna stands, along with his carrier Makara….
…The seeds of the Veda have undergone an obvious and clearly discernable development through the ages. Starting from Zero as the all-embracing womb of Indian spiritual thought, the same truth contained in this earliest of inspired writings has passed into and through a variety of further dimensions until it has reached…the point where the original sense is being unveiled, with the intermediate development having been incorporated in the new vision. The stories of the Veda are the basis of the Puranic myths; this is clear to anyone who studies the two bodies of sacred writings. The Upanishads have also sprung forth from this original Zero of thought, as well as other scriptures in the Vedanta, and they all represent a development of the first theme. Each stage, however, has been characteristic of a certain attitude with respect to the ultimate Truth…The Puranas explore an opposite line in their contents and help to densify that Truth, to bring it into the life of the nation, community and individual by a complex structuralisation of the system of thought in relation to Earth life and the cosmos. The result is that for the most part the yogi or philosopher who follows the Upanishadic teachings rejects the Puranic and considers them lesser scriptures, if at all even this. For those who find that the Puranic tales bring the Gods alive to a greater extent and that they can relate to them more easily on the basis of the Puranic method, the Upanishads are too obscure and difficult to grasp…
…Finally the time arrives when the seeker must look at the entire gamut and understand that the wealth of Scriptures India possesses comes originally from this high and sacred Source, as though one were to move upstream along the Ganges, from her mouth at 0˚ Capricorn to her source at 12˚ Capricorn. Along the way one touches all the sacred sites which have sprung up on her banks and which represent, as it were, the myriad aspects of the Truth that manifested first at the Source in seed form. When one reaches that high summit, the Eye of Shiva, the seat of Varuna, it is possible from there to survey the entire journey and digest all the experiences that have come to us on our sacred journey, backward in Space and up the stream of Time. This is the ‘sacrifice’ of the Veda, which Sri Aurobindo points out sometimes takes the image of a journey or voyage ‘for it travels, it ascends; it is the goal – the vastness, the true existence, the light, the felicity – and it is called upon to discover and keep the good, the straight and happy path to the goal, the arduous, yet joyful road of the Truth. It has to climb, led by the flaming strength of the divine Will, from plateau to plateau as of a mountain, it has to cross as in a ship the waters of existence, traverse its rivers, overcome their deep pits and rapid currents; its aim is to arrive at the far-off ocean of light and infinity.’3
…Varuna represents the consummation of this exercise….
…Thus throughout the ages we can witness this continual densification process, once we have attained the summit, once we have come to the source of Indian thought. There alone, from the stance of an integral vision which arrival at the true source brings, can we view the evolution of the sacred Word and make coherent sense out of all its divergent manifestations.
‘Great Varuna’, Sri Aurobindo writes, ‘is the continent and nodus of the world’s uplifted puissances no less than of its arising thoughts. The unconquered workings that fall not from the Truth are established in him as upon a mountain. Because he thus knows the things that are transcendent, he is able to cast his majestic eye of sovereignty upon our existence and see there “the things that are done and those that remain to be done” (I.25-11). The things that remain to be done – and also to be known. The wisdom of Varuna shapes in us the divine word which, inspired, intuitive, opens the doors to new knowledge. “We desire him,” cries the Rishi, “as finder of the Path because he unveils the thought by the heart; let new truth be born.” For this King is no whirler of a brute and stupid wheel; his are not the unfruitful cycles of a meaningless Law. There is a Path; there is a constant progress; there is a goal.’4

Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet
Aeon Centre of Cosmology
22 June 2010

1.We complain that the Brahmins kept the other castes uneducated and oppressed. Surely there was a decline at a certain point, but this hit all castes, not just the Brahmin. This is a truth not easily accepted today in our democratic world. But the fact is that education per se was not as important then as now. Ability was not determined by the degrees listed after one’s name. Education of the higher class was a duty not a privilege, as we consider it to be today; especially since those letters after our name qualify us for higher pay: the more initials the higher the pay. In the Vedic Age this was not the case. But it is a conceit that has coloured relations between caste and classes for several centuries to divide and rule, unfortunately. The same may be said regarding the interpretations of certain scholars who still uphold the now defunct Aryan Invasion Theory. For them the Rig Veda is proof that the Aryans came into India in hordes from Central Asia presumably, overpowered the local population (Dravidians) and imposed their rule – and their language, Sanskrit, on the local population. This has fuelled a divide-and-rule policy between north and south for decades, notwithstanding that there is no mention of an immigration into the subcontinent from a a far-off land, as we would expect to find in such a collection.

2.Aeon Books, 1981.

3.Hymns to the Mystic Fire, CE, Volume 11, page 28.

4.Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda, CE, Volume 10, page 448.

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