Reflections on the Nature of the Real - 2

Growing Pains

Thea (PNB)
Aeon Centre of Cosmology
Tamil Nadu, South India

The number of controversies flying across India in large part can be termed ‘growing pains’: the need to accommodate the diversity that is India with the obligation to unify this diversity, particularly with regard to the compulsions of a planetary society. Language is usually central to these controversies and English is a primary target. Of course it is a ‘fall out’ of the British Raj, but is it not a fact that English has displaced French as the international ‘link’ language? French dominated while monarchies ruled; it was then the language of aristocrats. English is dominant today at a time when the people’s voice is heard, on the international stage. This was facilitated by colonisation which affected the entire populace and not merely an elite. And is it not a fact that most if not all of the technological and scientific publications are written in English? To abolish English in such a scenario would be a case of cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face. In a country as diverse as India, where that diversity manifests primarily through languages, what will the ultimate solution be?
There is another way of looking at the issue: India is privileged to have been given a jump-start with English, a language that in the future would displace French in international relations. But that advantage Providence has bequeathed is being contested. The desire to eliminate and replace English with Hindi, for example, has been again fiercely opposed by the southern states in particular.
For decades since Independence and the removal of the Raj the nation has sought a replacement to counter the constant reminder of subjugation in the eyes of many. One has to question in the same manner why cricket, a pre-eminently Raj sport, has appropriated centre stage, not allowing other international sports to flourish. Yet, no one protests against the dominance of cricket to the detriment of all other sports, when at the Olympic Games every four years we are reminded of the imbalance. The Commonwealth Games have recently been concluded. India did well, unlike at the international venue not limited to former colonies. Does India require some more time to spread her wings and fly beyond such self-imposed boundaries? Cricket is cherished when it is a product par excellence of British rule, similar to English. What is the difference? To add weight to my argument, today it is played exclusively in once-colonised nations and has never been able to extend its influence beyond. No one complains, no one sees this as a sort of umbilical cord. On the other hand, the language inherited from colonial rule has allowed India to move into an international role that was not the result of British imperialism alone but is part of the workings of the Time-Spirit which has used this imperialism to globalise the world. French dominated while monarchies dominated the international stage; it was a symbol of the Old World, the language of the aristocrats. English is dominant today as the people’s voice becomes an international phenomenon through the wide-reaching democratic process.
Internally a solution has to be found to the language conundrum. But is Hindi the answer, being easily seen as an imposition of the North over the South? This too is a relic from colonial times: the well-known divide-and-rule strategy of imperial Britain successfully used the world’s most ancient Scripture to cement this north/south divide in the nation; along with the idea that the subcontinent was devoid of anything that could be considered an advanced civilisation. In other words, Bharat was a geographic void which therefore could be ‘filled’ by the strongest contender – i.e. the British. There was hardly any effective protest for over a century. Finally, in the early part of the last century, Sri Aurobindo voiced a protest and penned the unique The Secret of the Veda so that the hidden regions the Veda itself brings to our attention could be understood for what they are and not as most Indologists concluded. The Riks speak of the realms accessed only by the Immortal Ones, the ancients who had undertaken the same journey that is open to seekers on the subcontinent and throughout the world – no boundaries, no proprietorship, no monopoly because the ‘language’ employed is universal. It is not English or Sanskrit. It is the Cosmic Script, the same today as thousands of years ago. This is universalism, so well put in the Sanskrit vasudhaivam kutumbakam.
In the meantime we realise that the cosmic language is embedded in the human soul, but how many are in touch with that hidden dimension of consciousness? The British through English left their stamp on the world and successfully displaced French as international link language. The subcontinent is to leave the cosmic script as the new ‘link’ of a planetary society. However, this is not learned in universities anywhere on the globe.
Finally we have reached the core of the problem. Has India left evidence of this universalism which every true Indian intuitively knows lies at the root of nationhood? We feel proud of the unbroken link with the past, particularly demonstrated in the place the Rig and other Vedas hold in contemporary Hindu society. But we must also acknowledge that no one understands the language of the Veda. I do not refer to Sanskrit, please note; that is the external dress the Sanatana Dharma clothes herself in for this cosmic cycle of many thousands of years. It wore another dress during other turns of the cosmic wheel. What the Rig Veda holds as its most cherished rahasya is that abiding Truth that today may even use English to clothe itself and hide its everlasting beauty that is only unveiled to those highest of souls.
In the news today we learn of a comment made by a learned former Justice of the Supreme Court of India. He emphatically states that the national Epics are ‘fiction’ – his precise word as reported in the news. In several of my publications I have disclosed that the language of the Epics is cosmic entirely (see Kashmir and the Convergence of Time and Destiny and The Secrets of the Earth, Aeon Books), and certainly they can never be termed fiction as we understand the word today, except by those who have been so thoroughly influenced by the legacy of the Raj that the channel of the cosmic script has become even more heavily covered over by a rationalism that denies what India holds most sacred: the Soul.
I have demonstrated that the tale the Epics tell is simply the ‘history’ as recorded in the cosmos and can be deciphered today as in the distant past and well into the future. The only prerequisite is to acknowledge its existence and to open oneself to the true history wise men and women of the subcontinent have known from time immemorial. This is what India is unveiling today.
Humility is also a prerequisite. Those in positions of authority must cultivate this quality above all others. Sobriety is another – the clarity of vision to distinguish what is temporal, though of value in its own day, and what is the eternally abiding Truth. Does it really matter who first made the discovery of certain mathematical and geometric formulas, when sight of that Eternal Truth has been lost, when the Epics can be cavalierly labelled fictitious, though they are factually the repositories of that Truth? Pride in one’s past achievements is certainly important and must be accurately conveyed to students, but within the context of India’s everlasting heritage.
A new cosmology is the need of the hour. The philosopher Ervin Laszlo has echoed this need in his book, The Creative Cosmos, a Unified Science of Matter, Life and Mind. He writes

The next paradigm shift will be by nature transdisciplinary – it will be a cosmological revolution in the classical sense in which cosmology has always been the science of the whole of reality (kosmos, after all means ‘ordered whole’ in classical Greek). (Floris Books, 1993.)

It is this ‘language’ that the true emanation of Vishnu brings to the Earth yuge-yuge, re-clothed as each new age requires, but ever voicing that abiding, underlying Truth. Or, as Laszlo describes, the aim of his study is

To shed light on the dynamics by which universal fields interactively create the evolving cosmos, producing the diverse yet consistent orders that meet our eye… (Ibid, p.27)

Certainly the cosmology of the New Way fulfils Ervin Laszlo’s aspirations, but one has to question whether or not he can set aside his academic conditioning and recognise its newness; precisely for this fact it has no parallel and must be evaluated on its own terms, based only on the material presented before the enquirer in the numerous publications of Aeon Centre of Cosmology/Aeon Books. This will come to pass, today, tomorrow – or perhaps this is immaterial; because we do note that since the beginning of this year in particular, there is an acceleration in evidence of the evolution of consciousness across the globe. This is particularly evident in the youth, abroad and in India. To be noted in this regard is the thoughtful article of Tufail Ahmed, entitled Herald of a New India, which appeared in The New Indian Express, 13.8.2014. It is available online as well. The author stresses the fact that India is expressing a timeless tradition now clothed in the new scripture which is her Constitution – as is certainly a befitting adornment in this Aquarian Age.
And this brings me to a controversy created by another sitting Justice. He declared that the Bhagavad Gita should be taught in schools from the first grade itself.
Howling and gnashing of teeth across the land!
All the other holy books would have to be taught, the demand was.
But surely it is a self-evident truth that the Gita speaks to us of things Indian, that bear a relation to India today as in the past, that is native to this sacred land, as sacred as is the Ganga because both are born in the subcontinent and bear a relevance that no other holy book can equal. If Indonesia does not have a problem with the Ramayana as national epic, though the country is predominantly Islamic, one has to ask what bedevils India that she feels obliged to diminish her millennia-old culture born of this sacred bhoomi, just to prove her secular credentials.
Finally, not only is a new cosmology needed, it is a cosmology that is Indo-Centric.


Reflections on the Nature of the Real - 1

[Blog Editor's Note: From time to time Thea will publish her reflections here on current events in the light of the new cosmology and within the context of the New Way.]

Secularism, its ancient Roots

Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea)
Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology
24 August 2014

Controversy is the name of the day. Now the question is brought to the surface once again of the communal versus the secular. But for most defenders of secularism the issue has not been explored in depth. This is a subject that extends far into the past. I will attempt to re-position the argument and perhaps cast light on its truer dimensions.
Secularism is not an issue to be understood merely by analyzing contemporary history, as most believe. It is not a modern phenomenon born of the Age of Enlightenment and the scientific temper, democratic processes and political ideologies, most of which claim to be secular but are, in effect, exclusivist and therefore a far departure from the truly secular. Secularism began to be attacked more than 2000 years ago and has remained the real issue behind all hegemonic struggles, covering religions, philosophies, ideologies of various hues, and even spirituality. It did not come to the fore and become pertinent only after conquests and colonisations with the intermingling of different religions.
India has seen it all. India embraces in her bosom the kernel of all these aspects that must be understood as having a single root cause if the current last-ditch battle between forces ranged on either side of the demarcation between the secular and the so-called communal are to be understood; for it is only when deep understanding comes that this vexatious issue can finally be resolved.
Ironically, the argument at present is focussed on the latest outpouring regarding the nature of Indian civilisation because of the statements made by certain political and cultural leaders that all Indians are Hindus – i.e., born in Hindu-stan. While this may be true, we know that it is offensive to religious groups which practice a faith far removed from the Hindu.
This is precisely the issue: Because Akhand Bharat is rooted in the Sanatana Dharma there can never be any form of secularism that takes possession of the country under any of the contemporary guises which are, it must be noted, far removed from true secularism – of whatever political party of whatever ideological persuasion. Exclusivism of any sort is anti-secular. This is the first point that needs to be grasped before we continue with specifics in the effort to reach the core of the problem.
There is no nation on Earth today that can claim to be completely secular. For example, exclusivist religions are inherently unsecular and the nations that follow these religious philosophies must acknowledge this fact simply because on the whole they consider theirs to be the way to salvation, of whatever sort imagined. The world is being torn asunder by a contest precisely involving a hegemonic struggle centred on these brands of mutually antagonistic forms of Exclusivism; and it has been caught in this quagmire for the past 2000 years, during the whole of the Age of Pisces (234 BCE to 1926 CE). On the other hand, the glory of our Aquarian Age, which began in 1926, is that we are able to witness the manner in which the Time-Spirit is pressing for a reinstatement of a way of life that had never faced a challenge in this respect. Passage through the Age of Pisces brought this vexatious issue to the fore because the time had come to work certain contaminating ‘seeds’ out of the evolving consciousness of the human species if it is to pass into a higher expression, beyond Mind to Supermind, a leap that is impossible to make with this contamination thriving and determining the evolutionary agenda.
India is the centre of the action, the geographic position on the globe where those ‘seeds’ can be extirpated once and for all. This does not at all mean that Hinduism, such as it is known today, is to be imposed on the people of the subcontinent to the exclusion of all else. Rather, it is that a new freedom takes possession of the land where all thrive and find their place in the true exercise of diversity in unity, but on the backdrop of the all-abiding Sanatana Dharma.
This Dharma is not religious, nor is it ‘spiritual’. It is indeed a way of life – but it is a way unknown to the world today. It is the struggle that is taking place, in India and elsewhere, in those areas we know as ‘hot spots’.
There are many indications of the struggle between the forces of the secular and the unsecular that have surfaced over the past 2000 years. The very first overt indication was the elimination of the Goddess by colonising forces during the Piscean era. This covered all aspects of the Ancient Way as it was known in India – mainly evidenced in the condemnation of idol worship under the title of Paganism with its derogatory connotations. Thus, with the elimination of the Goddess and Idol Worship a blow was struck to Diversity, thereby eliminating the most important part of Unity – for can there be Unity without a Diversity that is to be unified? In so doing the attack was directly on secularism because exclusivism was imposed when ancient cultures were eliminated.
Only one conquered and colonised nation held firm: Bharat. It is in India therefore that the true roots of the problem can be exposed and the struggle finally laid to rest. The result will be a Planetary Society firmly poised in Diversity within Unity, whereby in compacted form India displays the foundation of all that is truly secular by a respect for the manifold, immensely diverse expressions of each and every human being. This is done on the background canvas of the Sanatana Dharma. It is unfortunate though that when we hear such words today they are immediately cast in the garb of the same exclusivism the very Dharma eschews. Its proponents have not explored the issue in depth, to then poise the argument on its proper underpinnings that can never disturb or eliminate any such individual or collective expressions. What does arise from such deep thought is that each thing is put in its place within the all-inclusive spherical canvas that is the Sanatana Dharma.


A Cosmological Perspective - Conclusion

Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet
Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology
August 2014
© Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet 2014

What has been recorded in this series is an effort to carry the seeker into a zone normally closed to researchers – that is, certain deeper levels of the universal manifestation that have been relegated to the category of myth in its acquired sense of fanciful imagination. The practitioner of certain advanced Yogas can access the areas of human consciousness-being where the core of what we know as ancient mythologies can be experienced; but this requires recognition and acceptance of the role the Soul plays for the species in evolution. Time and again I have stated that myth is the language of the soul. I have also stated that periodically an updating of that perennial knowledge is required. This series has been an exercise in the act of updating – i.e., the present observed on the backdrop of certain timeless keys of knowledge. The great good fortune of India is that a method was in-built in her tradition from very ancient times that provides an orderly, organic system of updating, respectful of everything that is of value for the future evolution as we move higher and higher up the ladder toward an apotheosis of unimaginable depth and beauty. There are, however, difficulties on the way to this culmination. 
First and foremost is the current state of civilisation, often referred to as a global society. We are aware how it comes to pass that civilisation is almost a universal phenomenon, to the point that the oft-quoted phrase from the ancient scripture vasudhaiva kuáš­umbakam (the world is but one family) seems so very contemporary. But to really abide in that consciousness of Oneness, as the Sanskrit words suggest, great effort must be made to shed the baggage we carry that impedes this attainment – a condition that plagues the spiritual realiser as much as the scientist and the layman.
The Time-Spirit of the Age of Aquarius demands a universalised consciousness – not only on the individual level but more especially on the level of the societies we create. We are burdened with the baggage of fragmentation and divisiveness – so aptly reflected in the 4.5 Orbit of our solar system when we view the Gnostic Circle as a blueprint of the human consciousness-being, as indeed it is. For centuries the human being has been cajoled into believing that this particular passage through the System can be avoided. Sri Aurobindo has described this ‘error’ for his disciples:

‘According to both Buddha and Shankara liberation means laya of the individual in some transcendent Permanence that is not individualised – so logically a belief in the individual soul must prevent liberation while the sense of misery in the world leads to the attempt to escape.’ (Letters on Yoga, Sri Aurobindo, CE, p.66)

In another letter his perception of the human condition has been captured in the Gnostic Circle when he refers to a ‘Higher Path’ after the experience of the Buddhist Nirvana. This would be the path the seeker embarks upon when escape is rejected. The ‘higher path’ is known as the ‘higher hemisphere’ in astrology, where we find Uttarayana; it begins at the 4.5 Orbit (Libra) and culminates in the highest Cardinal Pole, Capricorn/Makar.

‘Nirvana cannot be at once the ending of the Path with nothing beyond to explore and yet only a rest house or rather the beginning of the Higher Path with everything still to explore…. The reconciliation would be that it is the end of the lower path through the lower Nature and the beginning of the Higher Evolution. In that case it would accord exactly with the teaching of our yoga.’ (Ibid, p.67)

    Of all contemporary realisers, Sri Aurobindo is the only one who has emphatically stated that what has been sought in a Beyond, in a timeless, spaceless realm can and must be brought down here on Earth – what he has often referred to as ‘a life divine’. The issue is, how do we effectively reach the point where we can participate consciously in the establishment of a far better world than has ever been known on this blessed but beleaguered planet we have the good fortune to inhabit?
Baggage has to be shed.
The next question to ask is, how can we distinguish between the Eternal and the temporal, between the Infinite and the finite – for hasn’t spirituality been hammering into our consciousness that only the Eternal and the Infinite are worthy of our efforts; the rest is simply an illusion, a ‘play’ of some remote God whose mysterious ways we can never understand, at least while in this third orbit. From here, we have been told, we must shed whatever pins us down to this material abode. We must destroy that network of time in space we have woven since our first individual breath at birth. Only then, we have been assured, can we be released from repeated births until the ultimate liberation whereby we disappear forever from the face of a planet that knows only the way of war and destruction of every sort – from physical to psychological in an unending display of all that opposes the good, the true, the real.
The truth of the matter is that this very promise of a better Beyond, however we call it – for we do project our prejudices and biases to that Beyond as well – is responsible for the lamentable condition of our now-global society.
In this series I have attempted to present a means to re-position ourselves on the planet so that we can live the experience of the Eternal and the Infinite right here, and nowhere better than here. The purpose of evolution, poised on our soul-vahana, is to know those divine Principles in material creation, those very same properties, transcribed for us here on Earth via the harmonies of our solar system, as simply the densification or the materialisation of that which not only transcends but which evolves, using time and space as its sacred instruments. A science that can inculcate this experience of Oneness in our youth is the only science worth teaching.
To date this science has not been in the forefront. It is covered in veils that must now be lifted. This series, as all my publications, seeks to reveal just how those Divine Principles fare in this material dimension as seen and experienced from Earth. Above all how our planet contributes her part in enhancing the experience by the splendid diversity she exhibits in all aspects of the evolution she houses: change, movement do not diminish but rather they increase the delight – which we may consider to be the heart and soul of material creation, its purpose of being. For if there is one truth none can deny it is the truth of diversity, of multiplicity, of exuberant displays by the greatest artist of them all – Mother Nature.
Mother indeed. This principle or mode of being lies deeply beneath those heavy-laden veils now in need of lifting. For sure civilisation needs to be feminised; we all know it, we all aspire for a softening of our culture, divesting it of what has come to be associated with a masculine, heavily-testosteroned societal aberration. But how do we carry out this transformation? How do we carry at least a collective representative grouping to that realisation of Oneness?

Ardhanarishvara with
Vahanas of Shiva and Durga
All we need for now is to observe the trends displayed in this very society we judge to be in serious decline, and which we intend to remould into whatever ‘image’ we cherish the most. As things now stand, given the hardening of barriers across the globe, we can be certain that that ‘image’ will be in conflict with another’s. We see that there is a breakdown of traditional structures which until now have sustained certain patterns very effectively during the early stages of the process, particularly the stark male/female divide. In Hinduism we find support for this biological stage of evolution in the Shiva/Shakti tradition, or more specifically, the divine couple, Parvati and Shiva, and in the coupling of all the Gods. The result is that given our rapid pace of development, a divide of this nature, so efficient during the less mature stages of evolution, has become an encumbrance and is impeding progress to something beyond these divides that are now a burden. Try as we might to maintain or impose them, time moves on, we cannot reverse its inexorable march. But what we can do is to assess the signals projected before the collective eye of contemporary societies the world over with a re-focused lens, as it were, widened to include what had hitherto been hidden beneath veils, awaiting the time when they could be removed as a part of an organic process.
We have reached the point where our perceptions of the division between the male and female contributions to society are pressing for change. We have reached the point where the way we express our love for one another is pressing for change – same-sex marriage issues are one example. It would be naive to believe that such expressions are a contemporary aberration and indicate the decline of our civilisation and had never occurred in the past. What we must admit is that for some reason this state of affairs seeks to be legitimised as perhaps a sign of things to come, a Love liberated from atavistic constraints alone. This and many other demands troubling democratic societies simply reflect what the human consciousness knows instinctively: Oneness and not sameness, not uniformity but the oft-repeated but seldom attained diversity in unity.
There is a place on the globe that bears the responsibility of shedding the baggage of dogmas – both spiritual and scientific – that are now impediments to attaining true diversity in unity in this 9th Manifestation. It is the Indian subcontinent, for the simple reason that it is in India where we find an unbroken thread in the web of Time that joins the present to the past regardless of the distortions that have crept in along the way but are easily removed. For instance, the realisation of Oneness that seeks universal expression now is a state depicted in Hindu iconography carried over from a distant past. It is the image of Siva Ardhanarishvara, half male, half female. The same condition is echoed time and again in the Rig Veda where we find hymns to the ‘twins’ that seek to join the One. It is the foundation of zodiacal tradition with its feminine and masculine signs, all part of the ONE CIRCLE extolled in the Veda. In other words, if we can trust the Hermetic aphorism, As above, so below, the journey through the 12 signs/stages of the tropical zodiac, unveils what each human being on planet Earth embodies: an essential oneness of being. This condition is just in its initial stages of manifestation.
We need to go a step further and understand more pointedly where that eternal Vedic journey is headed. Is it intended to fortify the baggage we carry that divides us more and more – part of which is the dogma of exclusivism, resulting in a constricting stagnation the Earth had never known until we crossed the threshold of Cosmic Dawn in 234 BCE? We then plunged into the deep cosmic sea of the Piscean era, whose dark purpose has been the consolidation of certain obscure trends inherent in a consciousness in evolution. These consolidations carried humanity far away from a more enlightened condition as we find in the hymns of the Rig Veda, or the iconography of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The upshot was the complete denial of that former condition – and of Form in general; more specifically, of the Mother in all her exuberant manifestations. At that point the only recourse was to seek escape in one form or another, to abandon this hapless planet to her own devices – and at this we have proven ourselves to be masters.
This mastery is, of course, an illusion. Nature knows best how to tame this wayward species: Ganga’s responses are an example of the way the Mother makes her will known when a certain threshold has been crossed and humanity can no longer be left to its own devices. Interventions are then required, ruthless as they may appear; we witness their increase across the globe.
A mature civilisation does not consider these reprimands by Nature as mere superstition; we have done this for far too long in the effort to justify our greed, insensitivity and ego-centricity. On the other hand, the pragmatists throw the baby out with the bath water and turn to Science for the answers. Can there be a higher synthesis that accommodates both positions by accepting the laws of Nature that have been transgressed, individually and collectively, not as punishments of a wrathful Power but rather an awareness of the consciousness-being of the Earth herself? We do seek to transform those tendencies common to all human beings; the question is, how do we go about the task? If we continue to ignore the hidden in favour of only that which can be measured by our contemporary scientific yardsticks, we will never reach that synthesis.
Those who do not shy away from the ‘deep thought’, as Sri Aurobindo had described it in the early part of the last century, or the supreme Vision as presented to Arjun of the Bhagavad Gita, fearlessly observe the trends society unequivocally offers for scrutiny. Feminisation, yes of course – but is this the preserve of only half of the human creation? Is this what Siva Ardhanarishvara conveys?
I have always sustained that women are responsible for their own unfortunate plight because they themselves have not realised Shiva Ardhanarishvara. They have found a way to accommodate themselves to an increasing darkness by leaning on the male and forfeiting their responsibility to stand at the forefront of Time’s forward march. But this too is fast changing, much to the chagrin of the chauvinist.

In this grand transitional phase we live in, the obvious challenge is to acquire a finer discrimination whereby we recognise what needs to be shed to lighten our burden in order to be able to reach those lofty heights that stand before the human race as a realisable goal. The past is preserved only insofar as we can discriminate in the prescribed manner – that is, when we are able to carry into the present the residue of former ‘churnings’, shorn of the accoutrements that were required in former times but which are now encumbrances that slow down our march. However, the process of universalisation presents difficulties as intuitive historians recognise if they are to shed their ideological baggage or prisms through which they observe the past. Our world today, given our transitional stage, presents us with a One World perspective thanks to the thoroughness of past geographical exploits on land, on sea, leading up to the present and the stunningly beautiful photographs of the globe from outer space, borderless and whole. This is the new icon: the Earth as an integral Whole. This is what can inspire children across the planet in a new way.
But the pace of evolution as experienced in different parts of the globe varies – some are more materially advanced than others; therefore less mature societies are confronted with impositions of material advancements shorn of the tempering wisdom known to the Ancients. This situation is confined to a certain ‘swathe of time’ during which those imbalances will surface through negative displays until the globe is cleansed of the useless and obstructionist.
Indian news channels, for the most part, are displays of just what society needs to shed by the biases their conditioning constraints foist on the public. Presently [late July-early August] what occupies the news space is the fact that in Gujarat there is sought to be an imposition of a fast-receding culture. This appears outrageous to a section of contemporary Indian society, particularly because the books in question extol the attainments of the Ancients which these intellectuals have neatly closeted away as mere fiction – imaginative but misleading myth.
I do not seek to add fuel to the fire raging for the moment, but I do wish to call attention to the true, the real, the eternally abiding Dharma that India holds as her most cherished foundation but which requires updating from age to age. This methodology has been carefully nurtured across the ages in the Epics and sacred literature preserved from those former times. However, to seek to interpret the verses and myths today proves an almost impossible task, given the distance in time and circumstance from the civilisation we seek to analyse. We are burdened with countless disciplines or specialisations answering to whichever of the numerous ideologies that burden the human consciousness as it stands today. I will provide just one example of the difficulty in interpreting the mystifying verses of the Rig Veda. This is the work of Dr. B.G. Sidharth, director general of the Birla Science Centre. He has sought for a specific ‘code’ in the Veda that can enlighten researchers today not only about the civilisational moorings of India but of the factual (not mythical) content of the verses. According to his study they are explicitly astronomical, provided their symbolism is understood.
I just came across Dr Sidharth’s book, The Celestial Key to the Vedas (Inner Traditions, 1999), and his more recent publications on the theme via his website. Sidharth’s deductions prove what the Rig Veda itself very clearly explains: there is an exoteric layer as well as a more hidden, secret dimension to the hymns. Being a trained scientist Dr Sidharth has quite naturally analysed the symbolism from his perspective. To provide one example by which the seeker can judge whether or not the verse in question is understood properly, on page 42 of his book, Sidharth quotes from the Veda the following:

What pathway leadeth to the Gods? Who knoweth this of a truth, and who will now declare it? Seen are their lowest dwelling places only, but they are in remote and secret regions. (RV 3.54.5)

When I read this verse I nodded in approval; it seemed clear beyond dispute. But I understood the hidden regions not to be a part of the advances in astronomy of the Rishis but of the way in which they bridged the subtle and the material by following the path (of the year) as prescribed in the Scripture. For Sidharth the enigma is solved once we accept that the Rishi was simply revealing that in the Vedic Age the distances between the stars that shine brightly in our night sky was well known, an astronomical fact that eluded the early Greco-European astronomers. (For Sidharth the Gods are the code for ‘stars’.)
I have no doubt that the Vedic Rishis had material as well as supramental knowledge, and on that basis the chants flowed from their lips displaying the fact of Oneness in verse after verse. Having stated that, to one who has taken the same ‘journey’, the Rig Veda encourages the seeker to embark upon it consciously. Therefore the Ancients, while not judging which is right or which is wrong, highlight the fact that there is a ‘hidden’ aspect that is made known only to those who embark upon that journey into those secret recesses, into the esoteric dimension.
There is another verse that amounts to the same exhortation but which is even more interesting in this regard. On page 41 Sidharth quotes the following line from the Veda: ‘Who hath beheld him as he sprang into being, seen how the boneless one supports the bony?’ And his comment follows: ‘Rendered less literally, the boneless and the bony are understood to indicate the insubstantial, or feminine, and the substantial, or masculine. That is, Nature supports the manifested or material world. On the other hand, the respected German scholar Hillebrandt surmises that “the boneless” is the Sun, and “the bony”, the Moon. Reason suggests that “the boneless” would indeed imply the Sun, because it is gaseous, but that “the bony” would mean the Earth, because it is, in contrast, solid and rocky. The hymn says in other words, “The Sun supports the Earth.” Now, apart from being meaningful, interpretations should also be consistent. Can the heliocentric theory in the Rg [sic] Veda be deduced from other straightforward statements?’
Sidharth goes on to quote the verse I have noted above regarding the hidden and secret regions. It does seem obvious that this verse refers to the Unmanifest and the Manifest. According to the new cosmology the Unmanifest (‘unsubstantial’ of Sidharth’s reading) is the masculine Transcendent, while the Manifest (‘substantial’) is feminine – the opposite of his interpretation.
The point to note is that astronomy was not the central concern of the composers of the hymns. Furthermore, Sidharth has an aversion to astrology and he makes no ‘bones’ about it (pun intended!). In my view it is only astrology that can give the right interpretation of bony and boneless, especially in view of the fact that a separate discipline, which we have to contend with today, did not exist in the Vedic Age and well into the Piscean era. There was only astrology, considered by many as the mother of all sciences – the point being that what most interested the Ancients was the logic of the spheres, much the same as I am stating in these pages. And this is what we find lacking in contemporary science that seeks only the how of material creation and not the why and wherefore. The Vedic Journey shorn of that sense and purpose is meaningless. Let me use bony and boneless as an example of how astrology even today can explain the verse, though admittedly it is a knowledge that, as Sri Aurobindo wrote early in the last century, ‘has fled from its coverings’. We are left with a science, an astronomy that seeks to penetrate those ‘secret regions’ without having taken the same Journey! It is as if to say that we can criticise quantum and relativity without the knowledge of contemporary physics.
Taking the words within the context of the astrology of the day – to appearances a system of 6 planets plus the Sun – we need to interpret the verse on the basis of the knowledge of those early times, and not foist upon them a ‘science’ entirely alien to the consciousness of the Rishi from where the hymns were emitted. Therefore, the zodiacal lore that is still intact across the globe (lost in post-independent India’s astrology but preserved in her temples and myths), understands that the 6th and last planet of the old order, Saturn, rules the bones – that is, the most material element of the human structure, the part of our constitution that never dies or that is, for all practical purposes, immortal. Organic flesh withers and is ‘insubstantial’. Not the skeleton of the human being. Saturn would have represented the final stage, the goal of the journey which was immortality.
The point made is that only an intimate knowledge of what supports the manifest, material dimensions can lead to an immortal state of being. The rest of the verse encourages the initiate to understand that even this most material part of his being is supported by that which sustains it beyond this materiality of the external regions, or the ‘lowest dwelling places’.
Another example of the multi-dimensional approach is the usage of hieroglyphs in astrology inherited from a very distant past – the same today as then. For instance, the glyph for the 5th sign Leo (the Lion) is . The exoteric interpretation is simply that it is a stylised image of the lion’s tail. But deeper reflection sees the symbol as more precisely what astrology has handed down across the ages as the characteristics of the 5th sign – paternity, the masculine principle, and so forth. In that light the glyph is clearly a representation of the male sperm, wiggling tail and all. There will be predictive howling from the historian’s quarter: The sperm was only ‘seen’ with the modern invention of the microscope! And thus the deeper levels will be passed off as either coincidence or fiction. As always, the choice is the observer’s to make.
The problem is that in seeking to uncover the value of the tradition inherited from ancient times, we run the risk of doing so without the proper preparation. I can confidently state along with Sri Aurobindo that there is no one who can understand the Veda in India today; but the fault does not lie with Science; it lies in a spirituality that sought only those ‘hidden regions’ and abandoned the Earth to those who focus only on the material disconnected from the true foundational support ‘on the other side’.1  Astrologers in the subcontinent have followed suit.
Youth today cannot be satisfied simply with what is seen as an imposition of a tradition that is meaningless in today’s context. But, I repeat, the Vedic Tradition is fortunate to have an in-built system of renewal, the potential of an updating from age to age, just as the Bhagavad Gita proclaims. This is not mere rhetoric; it is factual; provided the effort is made to understand that from time to time there is a need to update, to re-evaluate the scripture within today’s context. If we accept that Time’s becoming is as meaningful as its being, that what is involved in the Seed is as precious and relevant as the growth that proceeds from that compactness, then we have found the path to an unveiling that can satisfy the scientist as well as those inclined to the less apparent. The only demand is sincerity in the quest, and an acceptance of the fact that destiny has provided India with a connection to the ancient tradition that is unbroken though ‘hidden’. The many temples that preserve this Tradition stand all around us. It is unfortunate to state that contemporary science itself is responsible for that ‘lost knowledge’, that soul which, in Sri Aurobindo’s words, has fled from its coverings.


1 See Beyond Contemporary Scientific Paradigms, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, www.puraniccosmologyupdated.com for a presentation of the manner in which the two dimensions can be unified in a seamless operation that does not negate the material or the ‘insubstantial’.