For twelve days in June (the 12th through the 24th) the world was witnessing something new. A technologically equipped public in Iran used their social networking technologies such as Twitter and Facebook to widely broadcast their protests and demonstrations against a government who they felt had stolen their election and repressed their voices. These protests and the ensuing violent government crackdown would normally not have been so exposed for the rest of the world to see, but it was because the technologically equipped news media and concerned citizens of the world received the disturbing messages and pictures from Iran and were genuinely concerned for their fellow Earth-mates whose human rights and lives were being stomped on by a theocratic autocracy.
News coverage of this social media assisted revolution came to an abrupt halt on the 25th of June. The first newscasts of the day were preoccupied with the death of the once beautiful Farah Fawcet. She was ‘wasted’ by the ravages of a malignant Cancer. Then by midday the real bomb dropped – Michael Jackson was dead at age 50. Jackson did not have Cancer but much of the world watched in dismay as his face, body and reputation wasted away over a couple of decades due to various drug addictions, psychological problems, hormonal problems, auto-immune issues, physical ailments, child abuse accusations and a few too many facial reconstructions.
Hence the death of two American superstars, mainly Jackson, filled the airwaves from June 25th onward and crowded out our view of the 2009 Iranian revolution. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were surely relieved to be out of the spotlight. It is absolutely fascinating that Iranian fundamentalists, who have outlawed Western music and dancing in public and apparently women’s skin were given media refuge or cover for their election scandal and the potential collapse of their government, by the death of a woman who made much of her living by being scantily clad and the death of the dancing ‘King of Pop’, who some have said was the greatest entertainer the world has ever seen.
Before the Jackson ‘bomb’ went off the Iranian outburst struck me as a wonder of the Aquarian Age … a real show of progress towards a universal brotherhood of men and women, in both terms of technology and consciousness. I began to better educate myself on Iran and quickly found that the name of ‘Iran’ came from the Sanskrit word arya or aryan, describing a warrior, hero, or honored one who toils, travels, labors, climbs and rises towards the higher planes of consciousness via the Vedic Sacrifice. Not many seem to have taken much interest in this phenomenon … that the origins of the name of a Muslim country would come from Vedic India, or even less that it refers to a fundamental pillar, - a founding note, of the Vedic Sacrifice whose framework is the tropical zodiac. In the tropical zodiac arya or ari is known as Aries (the warrior), the first sign or first born of the Circle of Life.
Certainly the idea of the Aryan has been thoroughly separated from its relationship with the zodiac (from the Vedic comprehension of cyclical evolution) and twisted or distorted almost beyond all recognition in our modern era by Hitler’s dream of a blond and blue eyed ‘Aryan race’. Iran’s their treatment of women, their 'convert or kill' doctrine and their ignorance of the Vedic Year renders their name highly ironic rather than an accurate portrait of the will to march towards universal truth and harmony. It is in Sri Aurobindo’s work that we find the Aryan to be a hero who takes it upon him or herself to increase consciousness by journeying the 12 stages of the 360 degree Vedic Sacrifice or Year. [Note: In ‘Connecting the Dots’ I discussed how this Year is a symbolic and real framework for developing a consciousness of unity and a harmonious world order.]
‘The work of the Aryan is a sacrifice which is at once a battle and an ascent and a journey, a battle against the powers of darkness, an ascent to the highest peaks of the mountains beyond earth and heaven into Svar, a journey to the other shore of the rivers and the ocean into the farthest Infinity of things./The principle features of the sacrifice are the kindling of the divine flame… The object of the sacrifice is to win the higher or divine being and possess with it and make subject to its law and truth the lower human existence.’ – Sri Aurobindo, Vedic Symbolism compiled by M.P. PanditMost readers are probably wondering what all this has to do with Michael Jackson. Well, it all comes back to the hero. Sri Aurobindo tells us of the Aryan hero, the traveler of the Year (the Vedic Sacrifice) who ‘becomes one with all beings and all inanimate objects in a single self-awareness, love, delight, all-embracing energy’. He is telling us of our destiny. In an era that has long forgotten the true hero and the true hero’s journey, what we celebrate, venerate, worship, adore, and treat ‘like a god’ is anything but the Aryan hero as described in the Vedas and subsequent Indian sacred literature. In the Bhagavad Gita, the divine teacher Krishna (the 8th Avatar of Vishnu) speaks to the hero Arjuna of the difficulties and ignorance of human consciousness (as we have known it) and the path of the Aryan hero beyond such ignorance:
'You are afraid of many things, afraid of sin, afraid of suffering, afraid of hell and punishment, afraid of God, afraid of this world, afraid of the hereafter, afraid of yourself. What is it that you are not afraid of at this moment, you the Aryan fighter, the world's chief hero? But this is the great fear which besieges humanity, its fear of sin and suffering now and hereafter, its fear in a world of whose true nature it is ignorant, of a God whose true being also it has not seen and whose cosmic purpose it does not understand. My Yoga will deliver you from the great fear and even a little of it will bring deliverance. When you have once set out on this path, you will find that no step is lost; every least movement will be a gain; you will find there no obstacle that can baulk you of your advance.' – Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Volume 13
In the Vedic Journey, and in many an epic hero’s journey (including Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey), the hero is put to the test, most often in the 8th stage of the journey corresponding to the astrological sign of Scorpio. If the hero has neither acquired the right poise nor acquired some keys of higher knowledge by this point, then there is a tragedy, a death, a fall from the sky or fall from grace. At this stage of our consciousness and of our great evolutionary epic, if the hero’s (or our race’s) vital and mental energies are not re-oriented towards the greater One or greater goals and vistas of the Divine Self, then those vital and mental energies inevitably become destructive to self and other. [Note that in the image of Krishna instructing the young Arjuna, two symbols of the zodiac are present, the Eagle which is the higher symbol and manifestation of the 8th sign of Scorpio, and the Archer of the 9th sign Sagittarius.]
This precarious stage of consciousness, conveyed in the symbolism of the zodiac as a poisonous Scorpion equipped with a stinger, is due to be surpassed by a greater one; yet most humans have lost the Vedic idea that there is an actual process by which we can travel into the greater months or stages of our true Self or true consciousness, wherein collapse and self-destruction is impossible. So Michael Jackson, who ironically put out a record called ‘Invincible’ in 2001, was certainly not alone in his ignorance of greater pastures than his own little kingdom, nor in his ‘fall from grace’, nor his unavoidable mortality; but he is a unique and global symbol of our collective and individual plight. His phenomenal talent as an entertainer and his collapse was visible to the whole world in an epic way (thanks to our modern entertainment and media industries). From 1993, when Michael turned 36, the gaping hole or wound in his being began to become more and more apparent to the world … he was addicted to painkillers, accused of being a pedophile and became increasingly bizarre, increasingly ill, increasingly gaunt and increasingly a distortion of himself.
We see another version of this gaping hole and immanent collapse play itself in the religions (often called the great Faiths) left over from the age of Pisces. As people being to seek out and cultivate a direct experience of Divinity, – a Divinity that unifies rather than divides, religions will appear as more and more hollow, more and more desperate and more and more a distortion of the Divine Self. Tactics to preserve and uplift themselves and their Faith will not prevent, and may even speed up their inevitable downfall and the inevitable rise of a more universal, more integral understanding of the Divine Self in its full triadic glory, simultaneously Transcendent, Cosmic and Individual.
‘The Aryan perfected is the Arhat. There is a transcendent Consciousness which surpasses the universe and of which all these worlds are only a side-issue and a by-play. To that consciousness he aspires and attains. There is a Consciousness which, being transcendent, is yet the universe and all that the universe contains. Into that consciousness he enlarges his limited ego; he becomes one with all beings and all inanimate objects in a single self-awareness, love, delight, all-embracing energy. There is a consciousness which, being both transcendental and universal, yet accepts the apparent limitations of individuality for work, for various standpoints of knowledge, for the play of the Lord with His creations; for the ego is there that it may finally convert itself into a free centre of the divine work and the divine play. That consciousness too he has sufficient love, joy and knowledge to accept; he is puissant enough to effect that conversion. To embrace individuality after transcending it is the last and divine sacrifice. The perfect Arhat is he who is able to live simultaneously in all these three apparent states of existence, elevate the lower into the higher, receive the higher into the lower, so that he may represent perfectly in the symbols of the world that with he is identified in all parts of his being, - the triple and triune Brahman.’ – Sri Aurobindo, "The Supramental Manifestation and Other Writings" SABCL, Volume 16
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