Updating the Vedic Altar – 4

Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet
Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology
September 27, 2011

What I will present from this point onward would seem to fall under the category of science fiction because of its unusual and unfamiliar character. It is not a new discovery; rather, the foundations of this new cosmology, in which the updated vedi figures as its main component, were established in the 1970s. Since then over the years I have presented the material to the public in a series of books and articles, but to date there has never been a serious evaluation of the cosmology. Admittedly, it is entirely new and challenging, leaving scientists and persons of a certain spiritual standing with no reference point in seeking to assess the discoveries – if at all they would wish to do so. The truth be told, they have never expressed the desire; and as is customary with all things that present a challenge to the human mind, this startling revelation has not only been ignored by most, it has been fiercely combated by some, on the order of a latter-day Inquisition. In point of fact, the cosmology’s main text, The New Way, a study in the rise and the establishment of a gnostic society, was ‘burned at the stake’ (actually ‘shredded to pieces’ – a somewhat less ‘inquisitorial’ method given our modern technology) when printing was almost completed at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press, a black stain in the history of Sri Aurobindo’s Ashram that is not likely to be easily erased.
In a certain sense this behaviour is understandable. We encounter it in any sphere of human endeavour that truly breaks new ground. When it is just a question of re-packaging the known, no significant animosity is aroused. But when the subject is truly new as is this cosmology, the matter is quite different. The attitude toward these discoveries in the course of its 40-year history is proof that the human being has to exceed the present limitations of the species if the new things are to become imprinted in the evolutionary matrix so as to help arrest the downward slide humanity seems embarked upon.
However, it must be stated that an important feature of the new cosmology is the control it reveals over the destiny of the Earth and her inhabitants. Therefore, after studying the material I present, it will become clear that a doomsday ‘end time’ is not an inescapable feature of our collective existence; rather, amidst seemingly endless trials and tribulations we are simply being propelled to a higher status on the evolutionary ladder. Moreover, and this is the real issue, the choices we have made that have carried us to the present turning point of destiny are actually an illusion. The only real choice we have as individuals is to serve the higher cause in full awareness and to forego the lesser – that is, the choice to remain bogged down in the mire of a decaying world, or not. Time marches on and its forward-moving drive cannot be halted, with or without our consent.
This question of control is the most troubling aspect of the New Way and its cosmology; it is an affront to our entire way of life. We are fed the illusion of choice from the moment we enter life on Earth. Indeed, that illusion is largely what distinguishes ours as a mentally-poised species. The highest faculty of perception and cognisance of the human being is Mind and its accompanying receiving instrument, the brain. But science has discovered that the brain is evolving. Côme Carpentier de Gourdon in his article, Switching on the Cosmic Connection1 reports that the geneticist Bruce Lahn concluded that ‘two genes directly connected to the brain size were rapidly evolving in humans’ (Science, September 9, 2005). And further, regarding the possible role extraterrestrial intelligences may have played in terrestrial evolution, Carpentier de Gourdon questions, ‘…rather than an internal cause…could it not be an external intelligent factor at work as well?’ His hypothesis is also not new; scientists from different disciplines have suggested that life may have evolved with the help of an outside agency. He concludes by quoting the anthropologist Jeffrey McKee, ‘… [E]very species is transitional’.
Clear thinking, courageous researchers should be able to assess the new cosmology and its updated vedi with an open mind; but perhaps this is too much to expect until our brains have evolved further. A 15-year old student at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram School wrote a short story for his English class in 1979, entitled ‘The Book of Knowledge’; he seems to have understood the dilemma. His story describes a sort of Holy Grail-type quest by an individual in search of the book of all knowledge. Finally, once it is found the story ends dramatically with the seeker’s unwillingness to open it for fear of the consequences. When asked why, he makes this statement: If it were opened ‘…then man would no longer be man.’
The words of this youth summarise the human condition: Man, to reach what lies beyond, must relinquish his humanity and strive for Supermind, the next stage in evolution above Mind, the advent of which Sri Aurobindo described in detail. It is perhaps unrealistic to expect of those who have made the choice to remain bogged down in the evolutionary tomb of the past, to make this leap. That act of choosing is the signature of our times. We face it, illusory though it may be, on a daily basis – because this act is the necessary ingredient that liberates energies trapped in the past.
It is not an accomplishment to be attained in one dramatic, miraculous leap. There has to be a preparation; gradually Mind is exposed to revelations that come to it from a higher source, for want of a better word. Some may believe we are aided in this endeavour by extraterrestrials, but Vedic Tradition presents a different view: The advent of Vishnu’s Avatars, that ‘parable of evolution’, is the method to extend our current boundaries to embrace that which lies beyond – not merely individually but as a collective experience the whole world can enjoy, indeed a new step for humanity up the ladder of evolution. The updated Vedi is one such aid and it comes to us as a part the Avataric descent, for which the new cosmology provides the undeniable proof. The Rig Veda itself gives us the exact time frame for the appearances over many thousands of years. This is a happening of the Earth, for the Earth, embedded as it is in the cosmic harmonies that govern evolution on the planet. The updated vedi amply proves the point. It does not come from beyond our planetary system but from its deepest heart.
The point is, can Mind permit the new light to enter its precincts? Or will it close itself up and refuse to see and to accept the new that stands right in its midst? Will it ‘refuse to open the book’ and to exceed itself, like a crab securely closed in its shell, to reach territories as yet unexplored? This is the choice before us.
If such a state of denial and negation persists, the New will impose itself by ‘crushing circumstances’.2 These may present themselves in many forms: natural calamities, economic, political, societal breakdowns, and stresses of all sorts. Calamities are the result of hard crusts that have accumulated over the human consciousness and which impede entry of the new. The fear factor does play a legitimate role in the transition to higher states of awareness: fear of the unknown is a natural corollary of the mentally-poised species. But a few will break through those crusts to become free of the mental cage in which humanity is trapped – and for them all things will be made new. For this subjugation to Mind with its limitations is the reason why solutions cannot be found to the many problems our civilisation faces which are bringing societies across the globe to their knees: a new way is the path ahead.

The Mother’s plan for the sanctum sanctorum of a temple is the new Vedic Altar. I have discussed her revelation in great detail elsewhere, since it is the key component of the new cosmology. But in this series, for the first time I am drawing a direct parallel to the ancient tradition of the Vedic Altar. In the beginning of January of 1970, the Mother brought this remarkable tool of a higher supramental knowledge into our world from the plane of Truth-Consciousness, directly affecting the Earth atmosphere. Lamentably, as an indication of its uniqueness it would appear, history records that from the very first day she presented her plan for execution, it was severely combated until finally her vision was totally undone. The details of those 18 days during which time she sought to defend her vision are on record and need not detain us. Interested readers can review the case at www.matacom.com where all the details are presented. In this series I would simply like to highlight certain prominent features of her vision, their implications for humanity and the challenges they present to scientists and spiritualists alike.
However, we must admit that it may be difficult even for a Vedic Rishi to recognise her inner chamber as comparable to the ancient formulation. Therefore, we may set aside comparisons for the time being and focus our attention on the Mother’s extraordinary vision – so remarkable in fact that indeed it does appear to be the creation of an extraterrestrial since we have no prior record of a similar achievement. But in order to anchor perception in the Earth’s evolutionary progression, I will bring up certain premises found in the Veda so that a temporal continuity can be maintained in an unbroken line with the ancient Tradition. Furthermore, her revelation at this particular point in time will be seen as part of a carefully crafted plan, if you will, that extends back to the Vedic Age. The astrological ages thereafter, up to our present Age of Aquarius, have been filled with evidence of methods to solidify the Knowledge (for example, the Hindu Temples of the Puranic Age) while simultaneously enlarging the sphere of its application. Thus while knowing certain truths from the Vedic Age, the enhancement explained earlier will be rendered factual. Further, the control of Mahakala will be evident and undeniable. There is a plan, there is a goal. The time has come to open ourselves to what the cosmic harmonies hold for the inhabitants of Earth because those eternally-evolving harmonies reveal the terrain already crossed and the course that lies ahead. Belief is not the need of the hour, science is demanded – but this too is part of the new world we are in the process of discovering, and cannot be understood on the basis of past dogmas and out-dated theories.
From the material I will present, the entire experience can be seen as a means to bring the focus of higher studies back to the Earth and to re-discover her role in the evolutionary process. Since the advent of astronomy disconnected and separated from astrology, the tendency has been to extend our perception beyond our solar system; that is, we overlook our planet’s position in the System in the belief that the farther away from the home base we can extend our eye, the greater the truth that will emerge. It is interesting to note that this extension is always into the past. Yet it is only when we are firmly rooted on Earth that we can know the present, which in its compactness (Being) and its unfolding (Becoming) discloses the keys we search for in the beyond. This attitude is not only restricted to the material scientist; the culpability lies also with the spiritual realiser who, together with the astronomer, has forsaken the role of the Earth and her position in the solar system in favour of worlds beyond our own. For the scientist it is a fixation with the past – i.e., as in a search for proof of the Big Bang, and similar theories; while for the yogi of post-Vedic vintage, the quest, which can be described as otherworldly, has resulted in a similar escape from the present, and therefore from the Earth as the centre of our quest. Logically, this escapism, if it may be so called, has resulted in a failure to find the solutions the Earth offers in abundance to the problems we face.
This was not the case in the Vedic Age. To prove the point, we need only highlight the principal feature of the sacrificial ritual which the Vedi was to house. It was the Year, the Earth’s revolution around the luminary of our System in a period of 365 days. We may go so far as to state that this 365-day year was the main feature of the Vedic Sacrifice; or rather, it was the backdrop for the entire experience.
In the updated vedi, the same measurement – the Year – is given pride of place. Moreover, captured in that sacred measure, which is the Earth’s contribution to the universal harmony, are certain features of the ancient Veda that we continue to honour today. These features have been incorporated in the Mother’s plan in the most remarkable visionary feat of updating the world has ever known. The Mother’s exceptional vision has brought the truths of former times into the present in a fashion that justifies her statement regarding the experience of the Year which she geometrised in her chamber as ‘the symbol of the future realisation’.


1 World Affairs, Vol. 12, Number 2, summer 2008, page 73.
2 The Mother’s message, dated 26.11.1972: ‘Before dying falsehood rises in full swing. Still people understand only the lesson of catastrophe. Will it have to come before they open their eyes to the truth? I ask an effort from all so that it has not to be. It is only the Truth that can save us: truth in words, truth in action, truth in will, truth in feelings. It is a choice between serving the Truth or being destroyed.’


Updating the Vedic Altar – 3

Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet
Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology
September 19, 2011

The Mother, Sri Aurobindo’s co-worker, was the channel for his vision as the 9th Avatar of Vishnu to be rooted in this Earth dimension. He stated that had it not been for her he would have ‘remained up there’. In fact, in this incarnation as the Evolutionary Avatar he embodied the Transcendent in the structure of reality as expressed in the trinity Transcendent, Cosmic, and Individual (Soul). This trinity, apart from providing the central ingredient of almost all metaphysical systems and religions, in one form or another, has been especially prominent in his mission; more than just philosophically relevant, it has been made applicable through the processes of Yoga he and the Mother undertook.
The descent of Vishnu’s 9th has been played out according to a precise formula. Sri Aurobindo was assiduously engaged in rendering it applicable over the final years of his sojourn on this planet. It consists of the numbers 9/6/3/0. As an indication of its importance, he enshrined it in his own symbol in the central square known as the Lotus of the Avatar. In it we find an arrangement of 9 and 6 petals in a descending order, resting on 3 leaves.

The numbers and descending arrangement when transposed to calendar time allow us to verify his credentials as the Avatar of Vishnu. With this simple equation his revelation of the supramental Truth-Consciousness as the next stage in evolution became applicable for Earth use.
We are aware of the role Number has played throughout the Vedic Age and into the present on the subcontinent. But to render the Formula applicable it had to be supported by a particular number system (0-9) and an appropriate calendar by which the Formula could be related to the experience of time on Earth. India has both calendar and number. The revelation of the Zero was especially important, India’s contribution to the world of mathematics centuries ago. If that had not been the case, the sacred Formula could not have been applied in a manner that would convert Mahakala from Destroyer to Dissolver; that is, to remove the ‘sting’ from his contribution to the trinity of Creation, Preservation and Destruction (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva). This is an especially significant shift with the potential to lift the doomsday gloom that has been hanging over our collective psyche for the past 2000 years in one form or another. To be precise, without this transformation, appropriately expressed in the calendar, Time would be unable to play its part in the appearance of the Vishnu Line when the Avatar re-sets the cosmic clock. This, above all else, has been the purpose of the 9th’s birth on a particular date: a re-organisation in no way speculative but rendered applicable via Number and Calendar.1

It is the date and time of the Avatar’s birth itself that sets the Clock ticking, the very first ingredient in the re-establishment of the Dharma in this cycle. But to recognise the pattern, I repeat, the appropriate calendar must be used. And given the current stage of evolution and its position within the ‘parable of evolution’, that calendar must be universal. At independence the calendar India officially adopted suits the purpose of universalism to a sufficient degree. Thus, Number and Calendar are the primary ingredients in this updating of the ancient Veda. Furthermore, that both systems have a global application points to the role India is to play in the world as indicated in the cosmic harmony itself and preserved for us in the Rig Veda. Having reached the stage of evolution where the Earth is increasingly perceived as the planetary home of all human beings, and if India is by destiny the central figure in the comity of nations, then this universalism is an indispensible ingredient.
The reason why the number system in use throughout the world can serve the purpose of re-establishment of the Dharma rests on a simple aphorism of the new cosmology: The 0 and the 9 are equal. This aphorism, apart from providing applicability indicates a spherical process rather than linear as in the series 1-10 of the Wisdom Schools that came into existence after the Vedic Age – for example, the school of the Greek sage Pythagoras. This is illustrated by his main teaching tool, the Tetraktys comprised of 10 dots to form a pyramid; there is no place for the 0 in this diagram. His system, as well as others that evolved out of the Egyptian initiatic tradition, would have utilised the linear pyramid and similar diagrams as geometric figures to convey the inner teaching. In so doing the limitations are made evident of all schools post Vedic to serve the purposes of the new age. It is a case of linearity in contrast to sphericality.

In the pyramid the construction is on the basis of 1 to 10, as indicated above. The 0-9 is spherical; they join at the top of the sphere as we find in the revered Ouroboros symbol, the Serpent biting its Tail. Where Head (0) and Tail (9) meet, there is a joining of 0 and 9, an overlapping, if you will. Applying this to calendar time, in a sequence such as the date 1950, if the 9 and 0 are eliminated, the final sum will remain 15 (by the mathematics of unity – 1+9+5+0=15, or 1+5=15). This application was well known in ancient Vedic Mathematics. It was called reduction to the ‘seed digit’ by the Ancients and is central to the evaluation of the cosmic credentials in Vishnu’s 9th avataric descent – a further example of the updating of our times.
Regarding Vedic Mathematics, it has been argued that the system presented by Jagadguru Swami Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha2 should not be called Vedic because his aphorisms are not found in the Veda as he has used in his application of the sutras. It needs to be pointed out – and this will serve our present updating exercise as well – that the contemporary sage’s methodology is the same as the Ancients’, the process of discovery was the same though the function may vary in the contemporary application. The emergence of Vedic Mathematics in modern India reveals the eternal quality of the Dharma and once again how ‘seeds’ from the Vedic Age continue to flower today, provided the same method of discovery is used.
It is not the purpose of this series to prove that science in the Vedic Age was earlier or superior to that of the Greeks. That exercise can best be tackled by historians. My intention is to carry the experience of the Ancients into the modern era, and also to reveal that the passage of time enhances the experience. That can best be done by presenting an example of an updated vedi that rests on the same principles as the former. This contemporary example is not proof of the scientific skills of the ancients but is an application revealing the same features of the tradition that are found in texts such as the Rig Veda – that is, the cosmic harmony as expressed in the Journey, the central experience of the ancient school which I often refer to as an initiation.
The Mother was especially adept in the use of Number and Symbology. In fact, in the example of the updated vedi I will provide, she has carried them to heights never reached earlier, not even in the Vedic Age. Her superlative talent is proof of what I stated in Part 2 of this series: both Time and Circumstance join to enhance the original vision. This is an example of the ‘nourishment’ the Seed receives in the course of evolution as it moves ahead spherically, spiralling out into a ‘field’ that comprises ever larger quanta of energy for its enrichment. This enlargement is understood by the sequence of numbers or multiples of 9: the first is 0-9, then the next lap of the spiral is 9-18, then 18-27, and so on endlessly to reveal the larger quantum of energy embraced in each extension.
The Mother could not have undertaken her task as Sri Aurobindo’s helper in the manner required had the number system and calendar not been those used throughout the world. With these at her disposal, the original vedi has evolved to manifest its finest seed-potential through the consciousness of one of the world’s most eminent Seers. The updated vedi will be seen to reinforce certain premises Sri Aurobindo elaborated regarding the Supermind: for example, the simultaneity of Being and Becoming and the ability of only the supramental Truth-Consciousness to harmonise and integrate them into our experience of Reality, thereby resolving a paradox that has troubled the mind of seekers since the Vedic Age. This reconciliation and integration had not been achieved until the advent of the 9th Avatar of Lord Vishnu in our Age. It can be expressed as Time in its essentiality (Being) and Time in its periods (Becoming), Time compacted to a ‘seed’ and Time evolving out of the seed of itself ceaselessly, carrying evolution along on the spiral of creation. It concerns the most remarkable feature of our existence on this particular planet in this solar system – the miracle of Transcendence and Immanence. Vishnu’s 9th and 10th appearances cemented the phenomenon in the evolutionary matrix as the key undertaking for the displacement of Mind as the reigning principle over the human species, and the establishment of Supermind at the apex, the fourth, and highest principle of existence. It is this action direct from the Supreme that has the potential to alter life on Earth. The Mother captured this exceptional process in her contemporary vedi, a process already completed and indeed responsible for the remarkable changes we have been witnessing, affecting every aspect of existence.
When the human eye of consciousness crosses a certain threshold, then evolution is observable today in the cosmic harmony just as it was for the Rishi millennia ago. It is the coveted experience of Oneness which alone allows for the incorporation of Equivalency to unfold via the consciousness of the Seer and made operational on Earth. This enhanced perceptive capacity is the signature of the Supermind.


1 In the words of the mathematician Laplace (1749-1827), as quoted by C. N. Srinivasiengar in his The History of Ancient Indian Mathematics, a case is made for the utter simplicity of the discovery (the Zero): ‘The idea of expressing all quantities by nine figures (or digits) Linkwhereby is imparted to them both an absolute value and one by position is so simple that this very simplicity is the reason for our not being sufficiently aware how much admiration it deserves.’ Simplicity can be the key to effective application, as the Formula reveals.

2 Vedic Mathematics, 1st edition, Hindu Vishvavidyalaya, Sanskrit Publication Board, Banaras Hindu University (1965).


Updating the Vedic Altar – 2

Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet
Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology
September 17, 2011

My intention with this series is to offer broad guidelines that can disclose something of the superior quality of the Vedic conceptualisation in ways that perhaps had not been fully appreciated earlier. However, this would not be possible if we did not have a contemporary model of the same quality and intent at our disposal. We would not be able to appreciate exactly in what way the Rishi stood above the Godman and woman of today. For we do acknowledge the Vedic Rishis to have been outstanding, even in a civilisation that has produced some of the most brilliant spiritual personalities the Earth has known. There have been men and women of wisdom and spiritual accomplishments in all the different branches of Indian Yoga down the ages. Each one has added a special piece to the mosaic that constitutes the spiritual universe of Bharat. And yet, even with this proliferation and abundance, the Rishis continue to soar high above them all; Hinduism continues to honour them by acknowledging that whatever followed the Vedic Age has arisen out of the seeds that were planted in the rich and fertile soil of the consciousness of the Vedic Rishis. Intriguingly, this honour is conceded even though little is understood of their greatest achievements. For example, the Rig Veda remains a sealed book today; its secrets are yet hidden. Therefore, how and why is it that they continue to retain such pre-eminence?
It might be argued that every religion can trace its origin and inspiration to an outstanding prophet, a divine messenger, even a Son of God. However, what distinguishes the Vedic manifestation is not the pre-eminence of a single Rishi and his gospel but its eternal character, a quality – sanatana – that has come to describe the Dharma in a very specific way. What is implied is an in-built capacity to replenish the original soil, to periodically allow for a renewal but ever connected to that original source. This mechanism permits the original ‘seed’, to absorb and nourish itself on elements from whatever soil it encounters in the course of time so as to enhance those original components without any loss of essence. Rather, an enrichment occurs, provided the mechanism established at the origin is maintained.
This acknowledged fluidity is the reason why Hinduism does not fit into the category of religion, though often it is bracketed with what have come to be known as orthodox or exclusivist religions dating from the Age of Pisces. This renewal mechanism of Hinduism is not found in the more recent religions though it is very clearly defined in Hinduism by the periodic appearances of Vishnu’s Avatars. This tradition is supported by the nation’s two Epics which continue to influence the culture in many ways.
Problems arise, however, when the cosmic connection is lost, as is the case today. Then the mechanism of Avatarhood is also lost sight of because it is rooted in the cosmic harmony. The safeguard is that the Appearance is determined by that Harmony itself; that is, Time itself, whose periods arise in the cosmic surround, explains the phenomenon and determines the time of the descent as well. Similarly, if, as stated earlier, the key to Time and Cosmos is lost, the ability to recognise the Avatar and to read his credentials in the cosmic harmony is also lost, along with the reason and necessity for the Appearance, the particular evolutionary task that each of the Ten is meant to fulfil. The result is then a proliferation of ‘avatars’, none of whom can seriously lay claim to the title because none possess the required cosmic credentials.
Sri Aurobindo referred to the Dasavataras as a ‘parable of evolution’. Within the context of the evolution as a progressive unfolding, the last three complete the round consisting of 25,920 years, bringing us to our times. I call them Evolutionary Avatars because each one adds a further stage in the development of the species. This process is mapped out in the cosmic harmony very clearly. It is our good fortune that the phenomenon was understood and preserved for humanity by the Vedic Rishis so that when a time of ‘darkening’ would come to pass that sacred Script would be available, indicating when the veils would be lifted by the appearance of the next in line.
This ‘darkening’ is the definition of the Kaliyuga, the interim Age of Darkness. In the myths it is described as a period when evil suppresses the good, when the cosmic order as expressed in the caste system, for example, lies in disarray, when Ignorance is widespread and Knowledge retreats. These numerous portents simply indicate a plunge into chaos in lieu of cosmos, a degeneration of the natural order which the Avatar is meant to set right. We can all agree that in many ways this is precisely the state of affairs today. But perhaps unrecognised is the root of the disarray which lies in the lost keys of higher knowledge, since to do so would mean the ability to follow the link from the present into a very distant past; more specifically, as in the case of a civilisation such as the Vedic, the key precisely to that mechanism of renewal – the periodic descent of the Vishnu Avatars – without which the Dharma cannot be eternal and would ultimately perish.

It has been argued that the avataric phenomenon is of later vintage and belongs to the Puranic Age. The reason for this misconception is the best indication we have of the lost key to the mechanism, a key of higher knowledge that is found in the Rig Veda itself. But surely one thing we can all agree on: the Rig Veda remains largely incomprehensible. Therefore, in order to lift the veils for a glimpse into the ancient psyche, the only method is to reveal in the present the very same high quality of knowledge now updated, but not for that lacking in essentials. My point is that we cannot comprehend the accomplishments of the Ancients by diligently scrutinising whatever remains available to us of their legacy. This also describes the difficulty historians face in their attempts to reconstruct the past; up to a certain point it is possible to do so adequately – that is, when it is more recent history. But when we are dealing with a past so distant that the extant document or monument reflects a very different system of knowledge and emphasis than what we possess today, the problem is compounded. Our civilisation is a distant relative of the former, particularly since the advent of science and technology which are largely functional and hence lacking in a foundation of unity so prominent a feature of the consciousness of the ancient seers. But Hinduism solves the problem by the periodic appearances of the Vishnu Avatars for the purpose of re-establishing the Dharma in its essentials, while re-invigorating it by the present play of circumstances at the service of the original revelation. We will be able to appreciate how this has come about when we examine in detail the contemporary vedi.
Since this mechanism is the most important feature of the Dharma, naturally in times of a prevailing darkness it will be the element that is attacked. It cannot be eliminated because of the unbroken link to the civilisation’s Vedic origins wherein it is firmly rooted. But it can be distorted. The Seeing Eye is slowly rendered ‘out of focus’ as it were. One observes the heavenly display as the Rishi did, but without the same realisation the ability to bring the cosmos into focus is significantly handicapped. Bit by bit the ‘lens’ is made less sharp, less able to define and to set each thing in its place within the cosmic order. Confusion then is seen to abound and there appears to be no solution to an increasing weakness and disintegration.
Hinduism explains the development and provides the seeker with a vast array of ‘helpers’ to not only understand the problem but to find the solution. For example, there is Mahasaraswati, the Goddess of learning, of perfection in detail, of science. She, more than any other, embodies the capacity to ‘put each thing in its place’ as the times demand, thereby ‘focusing the lens’.
Thus, the Avatar has helpers to carry out his mission, especially in the form of shaktis who engage in the re-establishment of the Dharma along with him. The feminine component is especially important given the nature of the operation which is Earth-bound – i.e. material, as the root of the word explains: from mater, mother. Indeed, we find that the Gods are always accompanied by consorts in the myths, sometimes more than one. In our times the Avatar did require the same collaboration in order to bring the cosmic harmony into focus and thereby to unveil his cosmic credentials which in themselves are the mechanism of renewal. The updated vedi I am discussing in this series will make the process clear. At the same time, it will demonstrate non-speculatively how Equivalency operates today as it had done millennia ago.

The objective of this series is not to enter into a detailed exposition of the avataric appearance of our times. I have done so elsewhere and need not repeat the exercise for the present purpose to be served. If the reader is interested in learning the intricacies of the ‘science’ behind the avataric tradition, copious details are available in my various publications on the subject of the new cosmology (see The Gnostic Circle, The New Way 1-3, and more recently Secrets of the Earth, Aeon Books). But it ought to be noted that while this cosmology can be called ‘science’, it is vastly different from our contemporary brand primarily because of the purpose it serves and also its uniqueness as being founded on what perforce must be called absolute truth. Having had its origin in a consciousness of unity, this ‘science’ is able to re-establish that core-truth throughout the ages ceaselessly, to build on that original foundation without experiencing any severance.
Science of today does not enjoy the same eternal quality. In fact, it would be blasphemous to appropriate a label such as absoluteness to itself. However, the absolute truths of the ancient way lie in their emergence from a consciousness of unity enjoyed by the ancient sages that could produce ‘seeds’ as it were; and by a superior knowledge of Time and Cosmos, those ‘seeds’ would flourish throughout the ages, faithful always to the original essence. It could not have been otherwise given the contents of the ‘seeds’ from which the entire destiny of Hinduism has evolved. Regarding our contemporary science, we are constantly required to discard former hypotheses in favour of new discoveries. It is thus a development of a linear order, moving from less to more, unlike the process the Rishi engaged in which was to start from an initial wholeness, allowing for the parts to unfold by the aid of Time. Therefore an understanding of the mechanics of Time and Circumstance and a cosmic model to serve this purpose were required. This Knowledge came through a realisation of Oneness and evolved into the system of Equivalency which is the hallmark of the Vedic Way. The updating I am undertaking will demonstrate empirically how this unfolding takes place by the aid of Time, and how the earlier vision is enhanced by the circumstances our new age offers.


Updating the Vedic Altar – 1

Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet
Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology
September 14, 2011

[Link to Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI,
Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part IX, cont., Part X, Part XI, Part XII or Epilogue]

The Hindu Temple is the sum total of architectural rites performed
on the basis of its myth. The myth covers the
and is the plan on which the structure is raised.
Stella Kramrisch, The Hindu Temple

Before all else, it is necessary to establish an understanding of what the Vedic Altar (agni, vedi) is and its functions, as well as its relation to the Hindu Temple of more recent vintage. The former is pure geometry but of the sacred kind. What sanctifies the exercise is the ability of the Seer who creates the design to instil in the construction the Vedic principles of equivalency and correspondence, upon which all its symbology is based. This is significantly different from the later Tantric exercise involving yantras – geometric designs specifically constructed to attract and to house the power of a particular deity. Only a sage of the highest order can create a form that allows for equivalency to occur. That is, a geometry that not merely represents but actually becomes that very thing. In the language of this New Way, it would be ‘the symbol becoming the thing symbolised’. This distinction will become clear when we analyse in depth a contemporary model of the very same Vedic altar. The point to bear in mind is that the Vedic Altar was not a symbol, or even a form favourable or appealing to a particular cosmic force: it was a process. This is its remarkable feature. And for this reason it has endured in the consciousness of the civilisation throughout the ages in an unbroken line.
But has that really been the case?
It is acknowledged that the most ancient scripture the world knows, the Rig Veda, remains largely incomprehensible. As such, are we justified in believing that the Vedic altar, which was central to the culture, is what we believe it to be? I will attempt to answer this question in the course of this analysis, because in my view this important feature of the ancient genius has been assessed in its character of ritual at best; or, at worst as merely a primitive expression of an unsophisticated society.
To make the geometry of the altar capable of becoming the very thing symbolised, an insight into Essence as contained in Form is demanded, and the ability to transcribe that essence into a geometry that is its faithful reproduction in the physical dimension. Far from being a dismissal of physicality in favour of its more ethereal substance, the Vedic Seer was able to identify that essentiality, first and foremost, and to construct a bridge between the plane of Truth where this essentiality abides in its purest form and to establish that uncontaminated essence in our material universe via the bridge of his consciousness.
There is a tendency among scholars to view the Vedic exercise as primitive. They concede that the Vedic Altar was the foundation of what later evolved to the Hindu Temple as we know it today. But what has been missed is the fact that the latter is, in a sense, a step down on the ladder of the evolution. It was true to the evolution nonetheless in that such manifestations correspond to processes that are circular and all-encompassing, even in their apparently lesser expressions. What was lost millennia ago was precisely the ability to construct that bridge between subtle and physical in the true Vedic manner; that is, without the need for embellishment. The Hindu Temple does represent a later stage in the process, but not exactly higher, as some scholars believe. The former was less physical, less material, less explicit, if you will, but closer to the cosmic reality in the sense explained by Plato: God geometrises. And certainly there is no civilisation that has left more detailed records of this ‘geometrising’ than the Vedic. In view of the extensive documentation at our disposal, though of a later vintage, it is clear that the Vedic Rishi was able to use geometry for the purpose of more accurately presenting that divine process. However, there had been no contemporary example, or updating, of the Vedic exercise until the revelation of the same ability in a 20th Century Seer.
The point to establish before all else is that none of the examples of sacred geometry that have survived until today are of the Vedic kind, because none incorporate Equivalence and Correspondence, the pillars of the Vedic experience. They are exercises in abstraction, very far removed from the earliest Veda – functional perhaps as demanded by our modern technology, but lacking in sanctity. In the contemporary model I will be presenting in the course of this series, the contrast between the ancient and modern approach will become evident. We are fortunate to have such a revelation at our disposal, a non-speculative example for comparison. Often when dealing with ancient scriptures, though we may recognise that they originated in a superior consciousness, we are unable to apply them in the contemporary context. Until now this has been the case regarding the Rig Veda and its sacred geometry and architecture.
In the Hindu Temple, in the effort to remain faithful to the Veda, the ability to bridge subtle and physical was accomplished through the personification of that essence in the person (personality) of the deity enshrined in the garbha griha of the temple, and in the store of Puranic myths so essential to the temple revelation. This made the cosmic experience accessible to a wider audience without a doubt; but gradually the means to maintain a real continuity with the function of the vedi was lost. The means to do so was an enlightened understanding of Time and how it is Time that bridges dimensions.
Thus in the Vedic Altar the geometry of the structure had the ability to draw Time into play with great precision – precision being the keyword of the process. But the difficulty lay in Time’s elusive nature. Therefore, only a sage of the highest order could come face to face with that greatest and most demanding of all powers, create of it an ally, and thereby devise the means to establish that alliance in the physical dimension for the good of the community for which the vedi was devised. Without that precise knowledge – of the Vedic order – the sacred cannot be instilled in the geometry, no matter how carefully the construction is carried out. In other words, ever and always the conscious experience stood behind the revelation. That came first; the correct form to express the experience came next. When the knowledge of that experience was lost during the last millennium the result has been forms devoid of essence.
We could say that essence is the substance foundation of all form. This is true, but what is missing is the Bridge. That is, the ability to transcribe that essence into a special form that allows it to stand uncontaminated in our material dimension at a special place and at a special time, a direct transposition as it were. Without that Bridge via the consciousness of the Seer, geometry may be functional but it is not sacred. Without the Bridge any analysis of the geometry of the early Vedic Altar or of the Great Pyramid at Giza, or the temples at Luxor, or even of the Hindu Temple is an exercise in the abstract and hence speculative. Only a Seer can explain the truly sacred in geometry which perforce means applicability.
Once again I must remind the reader that scholarship in these matters is simply speculative because the Vedic Altar cannot be understood in the abstract. The means to maintain the connection from the ancient past to the present has indeed been via the Hindu Temple. But being a process of embellishment, as sublime as it may be, with the passage of time veils accumulate to cover that essence and move it deeper and deeper within. There is even a Godhead that describes this process in the event that it was overlooked. Guha, the hidden one, Shiva’s victorious Son is often imaged as hidden in veils; the seeker is encouraged to remove those veils and reach the essence of that deity; more specifically, the cosmic energy personified in that particular form. This particular God and the cosmic process he embodies is one of the more sophisticated conceptualisations of the Hindu experience. These personifications in the Hindu Temple present the seeker with different stages in the process described in the Veda as the ‘journey’ – which in our terminology would be the initiation. Aside from the geometric/mythic, each individual carries the same ‘journey’ etched in his or her very own soul. In our innermost depths, in the cave of the heart there is Guha, in the point that keeps the soul rooted in matter: the centre of the Point itself.
Thus, the Hindu Temple transcribes the Vedic Altar in more easily accessible terms. The intention can hardly be missed when we enter the garbha griha of the Hindu Temple which is a marvellously faithful description of the individual soul. No other civilisation has demonstrated this ability because no other has been entrusted with safeguarding these sublime truths of human existence for the evolution. There are grand monuments to glorify God – the Gothic cathedrals, or the Egyptian temples, for example – but they have not re-constructed the human soul as we find in the Hindu Temple; the soul being the repository of all wisdom, and even all ‘science’.

What is intriguing in almost all analyses of sacred architecture is the assumption that the progression has been from primitive to more sophisticated. In this prevalent view there is little understanding of the geometry of the Vedic Altar in evidence. Stella Kramrisch does treat the subject from a scholar’s standpoint with more dignity. She makes this clear in her magnum opus, The Hindu Temple where she states, ‘The Hindu Temple is in no way derived from sepulchral architecture’.1 But eminent scholars such as Prof S. K. Ramachandra Rao in his The Indian Temple, its Meaning, considers that the most important feature of the Hindu Temple – the gopuram – evolved from funeral mounds of more primitive societies, progressing gradually to the Mountain symbolism of the gopuram. This is an example of the missing link between the Vedic/Puranic Ages and our own times, as I will explain further on.
But there was actually no disruption between the two because the gopuram is indeed the Mountain for the Seer, though not in the minds of scholars in the same way. The Mountain symbolism did not evolve from any primitive funeral mound of stones placed helter-skelter to mark the grave of a hero or a king or a tribal chief. Rather, it was Time itself that densified the symbol through the sacrifice the Altar was meant to house. The main protagonist, as the Veda themselves prove, was Time experienced as the Earth Year of 365 days – our own sacred, divine measure as established by our planet’s rotation around the Sun in that amount of time. If Hindus continue to worship the Sun on a daily basis by chanting the Gayatri Mantra from the Rig Veda, it is time to reach a deeper understanding of why this worship has been maintained irrespective of the criticisms Hindus have to endure such as fostering primitive superstitions, similar to other ancient underdeveloped societies.2 The question would then be, how do we give a ‘form’ to that Year of 365 days which we acknowledge to be the central figure of the Vedic sacrifice? We may safely state that the Year was the principle ‘deity’ of the sacrifice; therefore it is that very annual rotation around the Sun that can provide the understanding of exactly how the Mountain became enshrined prominently in the architecture of the Hindu Temple. In all cases we turn to the Sun for guidance. At the same time it is the divine measure of the Year that is the missing link between the modern and the ancient. In other words, the Earth’s 365 days divided into 12 months is the key – lamentably, a key that has been entirely lost.
The symbol became densified or more explicit in the later temple. But Time is admittedly elusive. Nonetheless, the reason for this densification is explained by the sphericality of the evolutionary process and the need to integrate more and more energy within its embrace. The intention of the Supreme Power guiding the evolution on Earth has been to materialise the Symbol to such a degree that it would be preserved through times of great turmoil, particularly when the Knowledge would be forced underground at the close of the Vedic Age. The strategy was through the Hindu Temple, rendering the symbolism more explicit but also a step removed from the earlier sophistication. The process has come full circle now with the revelation of the updated vedi in which the year is also the central focus, playing exactly the same role as it did for the Vedic Rishi. To make this updating possible an applied cosmology had to be formulated before all else by which we can understand the profound wisdom of the Vedic system of equivalency.
We have countless scriptures providing all the details of how temples should be built, but none explain the yoga of the Seer that gave rise to the sacred geometry of the vedi. However, this process has been carefully preserved in the Rig Veda itself, but the verses are acknowledged to be a sealed book to the uninitiated, and to the scholar who approaches them without the due preparation demanded. It stands to reason that if the science of Time is lost then all attempts at transposing the symbol cannot imbue the architecture with the sacred, or to render the symbol the ‘thing symbolised’.
This is the situation today regarding the Hindu Temple. In losing the thread to the ancient science the scriptures became empty words because they have not been backed up by the initiatory experience. Therefore Sri Aurobindo wrote in his masterful The Secret of the Veda that for 2000 years no Indian has understood the Veda. We must distinguish clearly between higher initiatory knowledge and learning by means of scholarly scrutiny of the scripture. This series intends to make that distinction clear because we will base our discussion on the presentation of the Vedic Altar updated for our contemporary civilisation. This means that we will live the experience of the Vedic Age through a Seer who graced the Earth with her presence during the last century and has left an impeccable record of the accomplishment.


1 The Hindu Temple, Vol. 1, Stella Kramrisch, ‘Symbolism of the Square’, Motilal Banarsidass.

2 Native American societies come to mind that continue to hold rituals allegedly that are meant to encourage the Sun to rise each day. At least this is the interpretation given by scholars. The true meaning of the ritual may be quite different.