Updating the Vedic Altar - Epilogue

Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet
Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology
November 21, 2011

If the measurements of the temple are perfect
there will be perfection in the universe.
The Mayamata, 11th Century

An interview with the noted historian Romila Thapar recently appeared in The Hindu (28.10.2011). The subject was the elimination from curriculae of the A. K. Ramanujan essay, ‘Three Hundred Ramayanas’, which had caused consternation in many. Any sensible person would have to agree with the academician when she states, ‘Every scholar is required to question existing knowledge because that is the only way in which knowledge grows.’
This series on updating the vedi is a case in point. Some may protest – indeed as it has been done by N. S. Rajaram, and then Avatar Krishen Kaul, if not explicit at least implied – that my work is an attack on tradition, on Hinduism, and somehow in line with the worst elements of the colonial Raj in seeking to denigrate the native culture. But this charge, with slight variations, is even levelled by those whom we would expect to be ecstatic over my discoveries of the Mother’s genius in sacred architecture and its links to the Ancient Ones. Then there are those whose vested interests are threatened by my discoveries – the powers-that-be in Auroville – because I am exposing the fact that what they have constructed at the centre of the township, in the Mother’s name, is a shadow of the original. Every effort must be made to expose this fact for the sake of true and genuine scholarship, if nothing else. The day may come when people will have to make a choice: the Mother’s creation or its shadow. The day will certainly come when her original vision and plan will be accepted for what they are: the Vedic altar made new. But as we know, and we see it demonstrated today throughout the world, there are serious attempts to demolish those vested interests that are crippling not only the economy, but the spirit of the people everywhere. In the so-called spiritual world there are the same vested interests that Romila Thapar describes in the interview. However, in view of what I am presenting in this series – that is, the new vedi as proof of the existence and purpose of Vishnu’s Dasavataras – where can we situate Romila Thapar’s line of reasoning?
We know what the scholar’s political persuasion is and how it colours her perspective when she writes about the early periods of history. Though this differs from my position, one can only agree with her that eliminating the essay in question is simply bigotry and does go against earnest scholarship. She is right to state that diverse views should be presented to students and that teachers should be selected at the level of higher education who can explain the divergences and discrepancies adequately. Bigotry is now pervasive in all areas of societal existence. The cause is always the same: with the availability of media that can swiftly ‘spread the word’ to reach the people directly, a reaction arises and the result is a hardening of positions with the brittle polarity that is gripping the world. When the Mother stated that a third way was required beyond both science and spirituality she could have been addressing the concerns raised in Romila Thapar’s interview. But while the question of freedom and free speech must be addressed, we have to ask if that ‘third way’ would actually be allowed to surface in the midst of such hardened positions on both sides of the material/spiritual spectrum.
Within the confines of the Mother's own work, the ‘third thing’ that she prophesied would take shape (‘… the formula will come…’) did indeed manifest, and in her very Ashram. But no sooner had she left this plane than the ‘map’ of that third way beyond spirituality and science was destroyed. Not only was her plan for the chamber demolished within 18 days of its coming to light, the sole text in existence that explained exactly what she had achieved was also ‘shredded to pieces’ at the very press she established in her Ashram.
In the educational system an essay is eliminated because it ‘offends’. In the Sri Aurobindo Ashram a book of knowledge is destroyed because its contents are purportedly unacceptable. Romila Thapar makes the point that in all likelihood hardly any of those who voted to eliminate the essay had read it. This is exactly what happened with my book, The New Way, in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram: those who took it upon themselves to shred it to pieces (not the then Board of Trustees, I must clarify), had never read the book. It continues to be discredited – as well as its author – without any serious scrutiny of the contents. Therefore I sympathise with Romila Thapar when she questions: ‘…how many of the voters actually took the trouble to read this essay when they were condemning it. [Many] people in the Academic Council had no idea of what the contents of the book were, except that they were going on hearsay…’
Only rarely is a book, a painting, a film, or any sincere expression of the creator’s ideology or sentiments worthy of ‘burning’. From what I write the reader might draw the conclusion that I agree with Romila Thapar, for example with regard to her position on the Vishnu Avatars as expressed in the interview. Of course, anyone who has taken the trouble to follow this present series alone knows that my views on the subject are entirely different. Romila Thapar states that the mythology in the Ramayana and the Mahabharat was ‘converted into sacred literature by making Ram and Krishna avatars of Vishnu; and there is a superb analysis of this by V. S. Sukthankar in Pune who talked about the Bhrigu Brahmins converting those epics into Bhagawat literature, that is converting the heroes into incarnations of Vishnu. And then it becomes sacred literature. Now, today, yes, it’s considered sacred literature but that is not really its roots.’
This series on the Vedi illustrates what those ‘roots’ really are of the Vishnu Avatars. It is in the cosmic harmonies that we find the real credentials and purpose of not only Ram and Krishna, but the 9th and 10th as well. I have stated time and again that Vishnu’s Line of Ten is the eternal backbone of Hinduism. Moreover, as this short series itself proves, the descent of the 9th has been for the very purpose of re-forging that ‘backbone’ but within the context of today’s world and its exigency of science and academic approval. But will scientists, historians like Romila Thapar, and academics take the trouble to scrutinise these credentials and the body of knowledge they reveal. I hardly think so.
Thus as well-intentioned as Romila Thapar may be in her legitimate protests against the elimination of Ramanujan’s essay simply because it brings to light the many different versions of the Ramayana which, it is contended, hurts the sentiments of Hindus, I encourage rational scientists and academics to explore this Third Way to learn what exactly it is that remains steadfast in these many versions. The outer coverings may vary but the cosmic credentials never do. These are discovered by the Map of the 12 Manifestations that gives all the salient, everlasting details of the appearances. I have discussed these credentials on the backdrop of the Map in various published works apart from The Gnostic Circle and The New Way. There are two more recent publications: Kashmir and the Convergence of Time, Space and Destiny, and particularly important is, Secrets of the Earth, questions and answers specifically on the Evolutionary Avatars.
Finally, to prove a point, yes divergent views should indeed be presented to students; but then, should academia not be obliged to offer my work as a new ‘science’ of cosmic harmonies that can explore the Vishnu Line in a way that carries us beyond unquestioning belief or devotion which can be labelled hagiography and not solid scholarship? Obviously this will not be done; therefore are not Romila Thapar and her colleagues guilty of the same sin? Would she/they ever take the time to scrutinize this new ‘science’ so that once and for all the background of the Vishnu Legend can be verified empirically to reside in the cosmic harmonies which the Avatars themselves reveal by their very descent, and not simply left to the opinion of scholars or devotees? Scholarship must enlarge its scope and terms of reference to embrace the new third way; like everything else in this world at this particular crisis point, academia must rise to the occasion and understand why it is that it has become just another polarised ‘ism’, with no power to eliminate the deeply-rooted ignorance that assails the mental species.
From all sides of the material/spiritual spectrum the answer is a resounding NO. Vested interests plague our world in all societal expressions – political cultural, historic, scientific – and above all spiritual. In the latter, it is distressing to state, we find the darkest ignorance. I state this with deep sadness because in India, like nowhere else in the world, men and women of the spirit are the guardians of the greatest treasure trove of higher knowledge to be found anywhere in the world. Hinduism as a body is the repository of that treasure – but, sadly, ‘the soul of knowledge has fled from its coverings’.
If the time has come to expand the boundaries Relativity Theory has imposed on physics, we must realise that this expansion has to affect the world of the Spirit as well. There can be no neat compartmentalisation whereby matters of the Spirit are somehow left in a dimension that is unaffected by the happenings in this material creation of 9. Rather, it is well to realise once and for all that what we experience ‘here below’ is first lived in the more subtle dimensions to then cross the bridge to the material, as I have described in this series regarding the Mother’s vision. The difference now is that the ‘bridge’ has been forged between Swar and this material base, the direction of the quest for Truth has been reversed after a long period in which humanity had been submerged in darkness as if in a cocoon, in preparation for this unique crossroads of our collective destiny. Sri Aurobindo has stated the position clearly: ‘At present mankind is undergoing an evolutionary crisis in which is concealed a choice of its destiny…’ This implies that the expansion I refer to is the call of the hour in all areas of existence because indeed all is one. Fragmentation, the separative approach is what must finally be overcome in order to make the crossing that lies before us successfully. The stakes are high. It is either creation or destruction.

At this point, I wish to quote extensively from The Last Barrier, by the Sufi Reshad Feild1 In his book, which has become a classic of spiritual literature, Reshad quotes his Sufi Teacher known as Hamid in the book, on the coming new world. Though dating from the 1970s, we cannot fail to realise that the ‘time of choosing’ Hamid prophesied is upon us:

‘Whenever anyone comes into true knowledge, a certain type of energy is released, made available for this great process of reciprocal maintenance. Normally this energy is released in sufficient quantities only during moments of great crisis, and particularly at the moment of death. But now we have reached the point in the life of the planet when we must learn to die to ourselves each moment, to be reborn each moment, to live and die consciously, so that the Earth may continue to evolve…
‘But it is those who have reached the knowledge of their essential unity with God who will forge the way and build a new world. Before this new world can be brought into being, however, it is said that there are to be two confrontations. The first confrontation will be between those who know and those who do not want to know, and the second between those who know and those who will have to know…
‘The choice that each of us must make is to surrender to God now, today, each moment – not at some nebulous future time when we will no longer be granted the privilege of choosing. But one way or another a confrontation will take place…’
‘…what will come about will be like nothing that has ever been before – not like any of the great civilisations of the past. I am speaking of a completely new way of life, and it is those with knowledge of Unity who must forge the way now. It is those people who can make decisions stemming from real knowledge who will breathe life and order into the New Age.’

In the attempt to bring some reasonableness into these matters of bigotry and intolerance based on a willed ignorance, I offered this present series to the Registrar of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. As I was composing each section, I realized again how pathetic it is that this, the Mother’s greatest achievement, could be rejected by the very educational institution she created. It seemed impossible. As an illustration of the problem this Epilogue highlights, I close this series with the text of my letter, dated 17 October 2011. There has been no reply to date. It needs to be stated that the Ashram the Mother and Sri Aurobindo created as a laboratory for their combined Yoga has become embroiled in court cases over the years after the Mother’s departure, none of which relate to matters that should be of the deepest concern to all involved. The latest case is a petition seeking to ban The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, by Peter Heehs, a member of the Ashram. The grounds of compliant, as I have been told, is the manner in which Heehs drags Sri Aurobindo to the level of mere humanity by divulging certain facts which, in the years of his service in the Department of Archives, he was privy to, and that these hurt the sentiments of his devotees. The complaint seems to extend even to the most widely distributed photograph of Sri Aurobindo. In his book the author presents the original together with the retouched version that was done to appeal more to devotees.
Such are the concerns of the members of the Ashram as it stands today, without any spiritual guidance and left to their own devices. But not one member has complained about the fact that Heehs dismissed the question of Sri Aurobindo as an Avatar of Vishnu entirely, though he was privy to the material I have been presenting on the subject to his Department over the years. This, in my view, is the only issue of real concern because Heehs’ denial, which would appear to be based on thorough scholarship given his position in the Archives Department, is the true issue to question. In view of my statement that I do not believe in book banning, except perhaps in extreme cases, and Heehs’ book certainly is not one of them, I dealt with the issue in the only way I believe appropriate: I published Secrets of the Earth, a compilation of questions and answers on the Vishnu Avatars. Ignorance must be dissolved on the basis of knowledge; and in a case such as this higher knowledge. I believe my book is a fitting reply to the Peter Heehs ‘heresy’, to hardened stands, to sheer unabashed ignorance that refuses to see. This is the blanket covering human consciousness throughout the world, in every sphere.
A new light must be allowed to dawn, new parameters have to be established.

Mr Manoj Das Gupta
The Registrar
Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education

Pondicherry, South India

605 002

Dear Manoj,

I have just completed writing and posting Part 9 of my new series, Updating the Vedic Altar, on our blog: www.puraniccosmologyupdated.blogspot.com.

Now we have decided to begin another website/blog with this series, especially for students familiar with Sri Aurobindo’s teachings; and so it will be mainly targeting this category of youth. It is actually a course in the new cosmology. More especially, it is to bring to their attention a ‘new science’ which can give them an understanding of what the Mother referred to as a ‘third way’, beyond both science and spirituality. The once-held solid principles of science are being overthrown daily. Students must be asking what it is that is ‘eternal’, if anything at all. What then is the sanatana dharma? At the Ashram School they should be eager to understand their Vedic roots more in depth, and what better way to do so than to follow the Mother’s guidance on this path of discovery.

I couldn’t help pondering over why this material is not made available directly to students at the Centre of Education. It was founded by the Mother, and yet the students there are not allowed access to her greatest achievement, which was to lay the foundation precisely for this ‘third way’. What interests me profoundly is the depth of her vision and its connection to the traditions of the Vedic Age. This can be factually demonstrated, as I have done in this new series. But again, I lament, this treasure that the Mother has bequeathed to us, is kept from the youth she would most have wanted it to benefit.

Time and again it is brought to my notice how much strife there is in her Ashram – one court case after another, one controversy after another. If these disputes were over important matters, vital to Sri Aurobindo’s mission, it would be understandable that energy and time should be put into these activities. But, in my view, this is often not the case. Rather, I see how easy it is to solve these issues based on Knowledge alone. This is entirely possible, but only if we accept the avenues the Mother and Sri Aurobindo have opened. There is no other legacy left to a spiritual ashram that can compare to what they have bequeathed. But, nothing is made of the full extent of this legacy. No one in their own Ashram is interested! I find this absolutely astonishing.

Manoj, here is a chance to step out of this rut and do something truly creative, breaking through resistances that have little justification and are simply blocking the Mother’s work in the world. It has been blocked in Auroville, but why leave the students of the Ashram School closed to her achievements which are truly astounding? I sometimes wonder if it is her gender that stands in the way; and that if it had been Sri Aurobindo (male and Indian!) who had achieved what the Mother did with her ‘updated Vedic Altar’, for instance, the whole of India would have fallen at his feet – for such is the grandeur of her legacy.

I am enclosing the first 9 parts of the on-going ‘Updating the Vedic Altar’. If you take the time to read this material, you cannot fail to realise that it must be taught to her students. Otherwise, what is the point? You have the opportunity now to turn things around – no, actually the responsibility. To many it is incomprehensible that the Mother’s genius is not being shown to the students of her own school. There is no justification for this situation at all. There are specific keys the Mother left to reveal who they were and their greatness – scientific, though of course a new science. But that is precisely what the Mother had foreseen. It is here, in our midst, something that makes other paths pale in comparison. And yet, none in her own Ashram are interested.

It is hard to believe that material such as the enclosed would not be of immense interest at least to young people, especially at her school. The old can be left to their memories; the youth deserve and demand more.



1 The Last Barrier, Reshad Feild, Harper and Row, USA, 1976.

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