Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sri Aurobindo and the Lotus

Sri Aurobindolotus flower

"The literal meaning of ‘aravindh’ ( the root word for Aurobindo ) is divine fragrance. Another meaning is the flower, the divine lotus." [1] Aravindaksha. which means 'Lotus-Eyed', is one of the 1000 names of Vishnu.

Sri Aurobindo's Symbol: A Lotus on 7 waves
within ascending and descending triangles.
Vishnu and Lakshmi on Sheshnag and the Cosmic Ocean;
The four-headed Brahma emerges from Vishnu's Navel on a Lotus.

The connection between 'lotus' as the root meaning of Sri Aurobindo's name, the lotus of his symbol and the lotus of Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi seems to be largely missed by those discussing or dismissing Sri Aurobindo's position an avatar of Vishnu. Perhaps in time the living symbols of the Earth and cosmos and the reality of Vishnu's evolutionary dasavataras will be better understood. [2] Below are some descriptions of Vishnu and the lotus and some links that readers can follow if wanting to dive deeper into the significance of the lotus etymology of Sri Aurobindo's name, the lotus of his symbol and the lotus of Vishnu.

'Vishnu is one of the three great gods of Hinduism, the others being Brahma and Shiva. Vishnu is the preserver, with creation occurring when Brahma emerged from the navel of Vishnu on a lotus. As the preserver of creation, Vishnu has taken on both human forms and other forms at intervals in order to rescue the world from some great evil, or to provide some great benefit. These forms are called avatars. Vishnu has taken ten avatar forms.' [3]

'When Vishnu contemplated the creation of mankind, a lotus sprang out of his navel. Seated on it was the four-headed Brahma, illuminating all the directions with his brightness. Vishnu is therefore also known as Padmanabha or the one with the lotus-navel.' [4]

Vishnu seated on a lotus, holding a lotus

The lotus 'represents spiritual liberation, Divine perfection, purity and the unfolding of Spiritual consciousness within the individual. The lotus opening its petals in the light of the Sun is indicative of the expansion and awakening of our long dormant, original spiritual consciousness in the light of god. The lotus in Vishnu's hand symbolizes that god is the power and source from which the universe and the individual soul emerges. It represents Divine Truth or Satya, the originator of the rules of conduct or Dharma, and Divine Vedic knowledge or jnana. The lotus also symbolizes that Vishnu is the embodiment of spiritual perfection and purity. Also that He is the wellspring of these qualities and that the individual soul must seek to awaken these intrinsic Divine qualities from Vishnu by surrendering to and linking with Him.' [5]

Sri Aurobindo's Lotus Symbol in the heart of the Mother's Temple

Click HERE to see the 9-6-3 number pattern of Sri Aurobindo's Lotus as discussed in Robert E. Wilkinson's 'The Triune Forumula of the Supramind'.
Click HERE to see the Mother's hand-written explanation of the Symbol.
Click HERE to see the Mother's explanation of the Symbol typed out (easier to read).
Click HERE to see Sri Aurobindo's Lotus symbol in the Matrimandir (as designed by the Mother, not built as such in the Auroville temple).
Click HERE to see the ascending and descending triangles of Sri Aurobindo's Symbol in the Matrimandir (again, as designed by the Mother, not built as such in the Auroville temple).
More INFORMATION about Sri Aurobindo's Lotus Symbol in the Mother's Temple can be found in the The New Way, Volumes 1 & 2.

Lotus Blossom by Elena Segatini Bloom

Lotus Leaf

The top right image beside Sri Aurobindo's photo is:
'Lotus flower fully opened' by Svenning B. Jenson

Friday, September 25, 2009

Time as a Power (Not an Enemy) of the Self

After writing ‘The Geometry and Superstructure of Time’ I was asked, ‘Can you give some insight on how time would be experienced on spiritual level in comparison with the linear time experienced on mental level?’ My first response was 'The Vedic Circle of 9 and 0' whose central theme is: 'A linear view of time and number fails to represent both the circular structure of time and space and to reveal the relationships, harmonies, geometries and symmetries between parts of the whole.' The pictures in that post (shown again here) help to demonstrate that 'in the linear view, one just keeps getting further and further away from the zero, i.e. from the origin. But in the cyclical view, one's course is visibly connected to the point of existence and perpetually returns to the origin, each cycle of 9 yielding a higher level or spiral of experience/existence.' Here I will try to give a bit more insight into 'how time would be experienced on a spiritual level' in contrast to how it is commonly viewed by the mind.

The prevailing attitude, understanding or perspective of time is that it has little or nothing to do with spirit, consciousness, and the growth and fulfillment of the soul. Many think it is spiritual or intellectually advanced to divorce oneself from time, to dismiss time as a mostly useless and painful illusion of the mind.

Sri Aurobindo (1872 – 1950) attempted to correct this distorted mental view of time and existence. For him time and space was a ‘fundamental spiritual reality.’ He wrote:

‘… the cardinal fact is that any given Time or Space or any given Time-Space as a whole is a status of being in which there is a movement of the consciousness and force of the being, a movement that creates or manifests events and happenings; it is the relation of the consciousness that sees and the force that formulates the happenings, a relation inherent in the status, which determines the sense of Time and creates our awareness of Time-movement, Time-relation, Time-measure. In its fundamental truth the original status of Time behind all its variations is nothing else than the eternity of the Eternal, just as the fundamental truth of Space, the original sense of its reality, is the infinity of the Infinite….’

‘[The being of the Infinite] can see Time from above and inside Time, exceeding it and not within it; it can see the Timeless develop the Time-movement without ceasing to be timeless, it can embrace the whole movement in a static and a dynamic vision and put out at the same time something of itself into the moment-vision. …. to an infinite consciousness such an integral simultaneity of vision and experience would be perfectly logical and consistent; all could be elements of a whole-vision capable of being closely related together in a harmonious arrangement, a multiplicity of view bringing out the unity of the thing seen, a diverse presentation of concomitant aspects of the One Reality.’ [1]

Sri Aurobindo’s descriptions, here and elsewhere in his writings, has reset the bar for what truly constitutes a ‘spiritual’ experience or understanding of both time and space. He taught that existence is an evolving whole wherein matter, life and mind grow to become more aware and conscious of the spirit that upholds them and expresses itself through them. So the divisions or divides we are used to making between spirit and matter – between spirit and all material movements and processes, including the cycles of Time – are rendered useless in terms of knowing and experiencing our true Self and our true potential.

If we think of time as an enemy of the Self, that in time we are bound to die, bound to death, it is no wonder that we would want to negate its reality, to devalue it … to neutralize its power. In the linear, mortal consciousness there is a beginning, middle and an end. There is no cycle or spiral of infinite progression, there is no regeneration, renewal or continuity of purpose upon one’s death or the decaying of certain structures. Relationships, harmonies and geometries between events in Time are not seen. [Image on right: Cronus devouring one of his children, painting by Peter Paul Rubens]

Time can be known and experienced as a continuity of consciousness, a divine reality, a divine force and a cyclical process by which matter, life and mind are brought towards their full expression, integration, harmonization and potential. Rather than thinking of the dissolution (or the destruction) that Time wields as an enemy or aberration, it becomes a massive power of the Self.

This power and the consciousness which created and compels it, reveals itself in the true shape or body of time, which is of course not linear at all. For the Earth, the body of time is the 360 degree year. The 360 degree (25,920 year) Precession of the Equinoxes – or ‘Great Year’ – is a macrocosm of the Earth’s year. The Earth's 24 hour day is a microcosm of that year. The challenge and task at hand for students of the One Self (of the unified consciousness-being that is existence) is to begin to understand the flow of their lives, and the flow of world events in terms of how all events and forms are ‘related together in a harmonious arrangement’ and how they represent ‘a diverse presentation of concomitant aspects of the One Reality’. As this understanding and new experience of Time and existence grows, the ways and the reality of the Spirit become more apparent to the Mind, and the Mind becomes increasing ‘spiritualized’.

The artistry, precision and all-embracing involvement of the divine will and of the individual and collective soul becomes increasingly visible when one learns that just as Space can be measured, understood, studied and explored in terms of 360 degree geometries, so can Time. As the explorations into these Geometries of Time deepen, so does one’s awareness and experience of the Divine Self. [2]

[1] Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, pp. 379, 381.
[2] Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet's The Gnostic Circle and The Magical Carousel are instrumental and fundamental texts for those wishing to study and explore the geometries and harmonies of time and space.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Spiral Dynamics: the Conch & the Earth's Rotation

After writing the three previous post about spiral dynamics and rotational movement [see links below], I became curious about how the Vedic civilization conceptualized 'clockwise' and 'counterclockwise'. I imagined that the ancient Sanskrit words for these movements would cast some light on the subject. I found that dakshinavarta means turning from the left to the right; i.e. what our civilization calls clockwise. Dakshina means 'south' or 'southern' but it also describes 'right' as in the right hand or right side of something. Avarta as an adjective means 'turning, winding, turning round, revolving'; as a noun it means whirl or whirlpool. The opposite of dakshinavarta is vamavarta -- turning to the left. A Dakshinavarti Shankha is a conch shell (shankha) that turns from left to right (spirals clockwise) as does the conch seen above to the left. On the right, the shell's spiral is vamavarta -- from right to left (counterclockwise).

Readers having trouble seeing the direction of the conch's spire or spiral should imagine that they are looking down on a swirling hurricane or galaxy.

Considering that the Earth rotates left to right or clockwise when viewed from the Southern 'heavens', and that dakshinavarta indicates both clockwise movement and a southern path or southern rotation it seems likely that the architects of the Sanskrit language were well aware of the spiral dynamics of the Earth and had knowledge of what was UP and what was DOWN when it came to the Earth's axis. Considering that the Hindu god Vishnu -- the Lord of the Cosmos -- is commonly depicted with a spiraling conch in one of his hands, it is not too much of a leap to say that the ancient Vedic sages were well aware of the spiral dynamics of the entire Cosmos.

In Sanskrit a principle word for north or upwards is uttara. Uttaravithi describes 'the northern orbit'. Dakshina-uttara is a word that means 'right and left, southern and northern.' [1]. The connection seen here between 'right' and 'southern', and 'left' and 'northern' again seems to indicate that the Vedic civilization was well aware of the counterclockwise (leftward) rotation of the Earth from the view of the northern 'heavens' and the clockwise (rightward) rotation of the Earth from the view of the southern 'heavens'.

In my research into these matters I found much information on how important the conch shell was in India as a sacred object used in rituals and celebrations and war. When blown, the air spirals, vibrates within the shell and sounds OM. The sound of the conch represents 'the truth behind illusion'. [2] I came across a few observations that the shape of India, at least its central body, actually looks like a conch shell. I photoshopped an image [on the left] that shows the similarity. This similarity in its own right is interesting considering the importance of the conch in India. It is extra-interesting that the body of the conch -- the symbol of Vishnu-the Preserver (Sattva in terms of the three gunas) -- is visually equivalent to the portion of India that is considered to embody the sattvic or 'preservation' guna. [3]

Endnote Links: [1] [2] [3]

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Clockwise & Counterclockwise Sundial Shadows: Part II

Below are a few more videos that portray the clockwise and counterclockwise dynamics of the Earth and of the sundial's shadow. [Link to Part I] The first shows the Earth rotating and orbiting counterclockwise (looking down upon the North Pole). The second video shows the arc of a sundial shadow (in the Northern Hemisphere) moving clockwise. The third is a more historical look at time and at how it is measured. The fourth is another look at the sundial's moving shadow, using a person as the gnomon (the part of a sundial that casts the shadow).

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Clockwise & Counterclockwise Sundial Shadows

After writing 'Spiral Dynamics: The Swirl of the 9 and 6', I wondered ... "If the rotation of the Earth on its axis is counterclockwise, then why do the hands of a clock move in the opposite direction ... 'clockwise'?" I found the following explanation:
'The reason "clockwise" was chosen that way was not arbitrary, and has a historical basis. Clocks were invented in the Northern hemisphere and were made to go round the same way as sundials. The shadow on a sundial in the Northern hemisphere goes round clockwise because of the way the sun goes round in the sky. The reason the sun appears to go round the way it does is because the earth goes round anticlockwise when viewed from space looking at the North Pole.' [from; emphasis added]
The first Youtube video below shows this movement in the Northern Hemisphere. The second video shows (among other interesting things) the counterclockwise movement of the sundial's shadow in the Southern Hemisphere:

Related Posts:
* Spiral Dynamics: the Conch and the Earth's Rotation
* Clockwise and Counterclockwise Sundial Shadows: Part II
* Spiral Dynamics: The Swirl of the 9 and 6

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spiral Dynamics: The Swirl of the 9 and 6

The 9 and the 6 of our number system are not often recognized or understood as symbols of dynamic movement. Yet when we look at the swirling patterns of matter and energy, or certain life forms that grow or unfurl in spirals, there we find the 9 and/or the 6 (the form of the 6 being a 9 that has rotated 180 degrees).

The spiral dynamics of the symbols 9 and the 6 are counterclockwise. Note the symbol of a hurricane (which always flows counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere) is the fusion of the 9 and the 6. If the 9 and 6 described a clockwise movement the figures would have to be inverted.

The Earth rotates counterclockwise upon her axis (if North is considered the 'top' or vantage point, which it usually is). This movement is reflected in the structure and dynamics of the zodiac, wherein the Sun, the Moon and the planets move in a counterclockwise direction through the 12 houses (months or stages) of the 360 degree zodiac. In the Gnostic Circle Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet portrays the Vedic number system of 9 and 0 moving in sync and in alignment with the 12 signs of the zodiac, wherein the zero point of the zodiac (0 degrees Aries or the Spring Equinox) and the zero point of the number system (0), are one and the same. Both the numbers and the astrological signs are seen flowing in the same counterclockwise direction. [1]

Most portrayals of the Enneagram (the circle of 9) are shown with the numbers moving clockwise, which demonstrates an ignorance of the connection between the number system and the dynamics of the Earth which it measures. This ignorance has been inherited from many thousands of years of blindness or 'darkness' when it comes to matters of sacred measure, and the sacredness and reality of material existence. [see 'Coordination'] But that certainly doesn't mean it should continue.

A friend of mine was recently describing the flow of her life to me and we discussed the cyclical nature of the creative process and of growth. I drew a circle through the air emphasizing that the bottom of the circle (its nadir or 4.5 point) was a reversal wherein the movement changed from downward to upward ... upward towards the higher stages of one's journey. She was feeling like she never got to the higher stages or higher potentials of herself and traced out her journey in the air. It began like a circle then curled back in on itself, looping backwards before the circle could be completed. 'You just drew the number 6 in the air,' I told her. 'The form of the 6 describes this looping backwards on ourselves. It describes the limitations of our mental consciousness and the effect it has on our lives and our 'creative' process. The 9th sign of the zodiac (Sagittarius) represents a breakthrough of higher knowledge that allows one to align one's creative process with the true creative process of the Cosmos, the true creative process of manifest reality. If that victory or higher knowledge is not achieved, then one keeps looping back on one's old ways ... like the shape of the 6 ... rather than traveling on to the higher vistas and ranges of the Self which are represented in the zodiac by the last three signs: Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.'

I showed her the Gnostic Circle, pointing out that the 6 of the number system was one and the same as the first point of the 9th sign Sagittarius as seen above (the symbol for Sagittarius is the arrow). She was confused of course because she was used to seeing zodiac and the enneagram as two separate circles ... as two separate systems of knowledge. How could the 6 and the 9th sign hold the same place in the circle? What does the number system of 9 have to do with the 12 signs of the zodiac? Ultimately she wanted to know how she could understand the creative process better and realize more of her potential. Although she already had an interest in and had some knowledge of astrology, she was unaware (as most people are) that the zodiac and our own number system are a description of THE creative process. It did not occur to her that Earth's creative process (played out in cycles of the day, the year, and the precession of the equinoxes) was intimately related to her own. I told her if she wanted to know more about the zodiac as a blueprint of our individual and collective 'creative process' and evolutionary journey, she should read The Magical Carousel. Perhaps after that she would be interested in reading The Gnostic Circle.

I don't think my friend has pursued this information any further at this point, but it was a good discussion and it reminded me that number 9 and the number 6 are symbols of the dynamic creative process. These numbers and their forms are born from knowledge of both the circle and of the Earth's counterclockwise movement. When looking at the large 6 in the circle above, it is apparent that the shape of the 6 and its position in the circle (in the counterclockwise flow of the numbers) are intimately connected. The curl of the 6 turns back in on itself precisely at the 6 point of the circle. If the circle of 9 or the enneagram is constructed with a clockwise flow, the six is inverted. It loses its proper alignment, its proper orientation. It loses its relationship to the dynamism and creative processes of the Earth. And it loses its connection to the 9th sign of the zodiac, which is akin to the 9th month of a woman's pregnancy.

Both the 6 point of the circle and the 9th sign of the zodiac symbolize the immanent birth of a new creation. The backwards curl of the 6 symbolizes the difficulties the human race faces in terms of birthing a new way or a consciousness of unity that will allow us to enjoy a higher creative process. Until our linear minds give way to the true shape and truth-consciousness of the creative process [2], we will keep looping back on our old ways and ignoring that which would break us out of our stupor and propel us forward with great speed and force towards our own individual and collective heights of being. Both the arrow and horse/centaur symbol of Sagittarius speak of this break from the old, and the rapid movement towards knowledge of the dynamic whole.

[1] A summary of the 12 signs of the zodiac can be found towards the end of 'The Zodiac and the Perception of Unity - An Introduction to the 12 Signs of the Zodiac.'
[2] See 'The Geometry and Superstructure of Time'
Also: The hurricane picture Nasa at the top of this post is taken from a Nasa 'Astronomy Picture of the Day 17 May 2008.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Vedic Circle of 9 and 0

‘The whole is brought with lightening speed towards
the consciousness that will be this Consciousness
of the point and the whole at the same time ….

... The figure 9 has something to do with all of this ….
There are so many things we don’t know!’

The Mother’s Agenda, 19 November 1969

Sun Symbol
The symbol of 'the consciousness that will be this Consciousnesses of the point and the whole at the same time' is the Sun Symbol (as seen above): a point which gives birth to 'the whole'. The mystery of what the 9 has to do with becoming simultaneously conscious of the point (or Absolute) and the whole (Manifest Reality) is lessened when one acknowledges the circular structure of not only time, but also of the 9-0 Vedic number system which is still used to measure time and everything that exists in space. A linear view of time and number fails to represent both the circular structure of time and space and to reveal the relationships, harmonies, geometries and symmetries between parts of the whole.

For instance, when looking at the number or time line of 0 to 9 and beyond, one does not SEE the relationship between the 0 and the 9, nor the central triangle or trinity formed by the 0/9, 3 and 6.Time LineBut when the numbers are seen as a circular or cyclical structure, the relationship of the 0 and the 9 and the sacred trinity or triangle of our number system is SEEN.
Circle of 9 with TriangleWhen following the number system beyond 9 in the linear view , one just keeps getting further and further away from the zero, i.e. from the origin. But in the cyclical view, one's course is visibly connected to the point of existence and perpetually returns to the origin, each cycle of 9 yielding a higher level or spiral of experience/existence. If one continues the count beyond 9, the next cycle of numbers spans from 9 to 18, and then 18 to 27 and so on. Here is the cyclical view of the numbers 1-72, but this same order continues infinitely:

© Lori Tompkins, do not reproduce without permission.

Each number in this circular view has its place within the whole. All numbers whose digits add up to 9 via Theosophical addition - such as 18, 27, 36 etc. - will always fall in the 9 place. All numbers whose digits add up to 1 (such as 10, 19, 28, 37, etc.) will always fall in the 1 place. All numbers whose digits add up to 2 (such as 11, 20, 29, 38, etc.) will always fall in the 2 place. This phenomenon holds for all numbers in the 9/0 number system; and hence the relationship between all numbers becomes more tangibly understood. For instance, we can readily see that the 360 degrees used to measure circular/cyclical time and space (the circle, the year, the day, the globe, the celestial sphere and the precession of the equinoxes) are a multiple of 9. Just as the number circle starts from 0 and ends at 0/9, the 360 degrees of the circle start at 0 and end at 0/360. As with all cycles of 9, the origin (alpha) and endpoint (omega) are one and the same in essence. The number 360 also has the stunning feature that the Trinity of the 0/9, the 3 and the 6 are contained in its own digits 3 6 0. Also all four of the cardinal points of the 360 degree circle are multiples of 9 which end with a zero. [1]

The convergence of the 0 and the 9, the 0 and the 360 ... the origin and completion or alpha and omega, is well described in the mythical figure of the Ouroboros.

My first encounter with the circular structure of the 9 was with the enneagram (seen in the inner circle of the 0/360 circle above). In my late 20's people began asking me what my enneagram type was and I eventually studied the 9-pointed personality system. The zero was missing in this system as was any understanding of the flow of time and I did not give these missing items a second thought at first. I was 31 when I read The Gnostic Circle by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet which revealed that the circle of 9 and the 360 degree zodiac were to be understood as a dynamic cyclical journey in time, in which that which was contained in the seed or 'Zero Point' of the circle, was summarily developed and carried to fruition in the stages and months of the 360 degree year and in larger cycles of time. In her teachings on the Circle of 9 and of the Earth's 360 degree year, the relationship between pure Being or Absolute Self and dynamic Becoming or the ever-morphing material Self became self-evident as did the process by which a dynamic individual becomes aware of his or her intimate relationship with the Absolute and with the Dynamic Whole. Nothing I had read regarding the enneagram nor the zodiac, nor any spiritual teaching for that matter, had begun to expose this relationship or this process. After reading The Gnostic Circle and other books by Ms. Norelli-Bachelet on the 360 degree circle and the Geometry of Time, it became apparent to me that realizing the circular or cyclical structure of time and of our existence is a pivotal point in the evolution of consciousness -- an alchemical catalyst in attaining the consciousness in which the One and the Many are seen and experienced as a dynamic and eternal unity. It became apparent that the circle of 9 certainly does have something to do with developing the 'Consciousness of the point and the whole at the same time'. [2]

[1] The prevalence and importance of the 9 in terms of measure and in terms of acquiring a consciousness of unity is more thoroughly discussed in this blog in 'Coordination' and 'The Geometry and Superstructure of Time.'

[2] Last week, knowing that I wanted to write more about the Vedic Circle of 9, I looked up this topic on the Web. I could not find much other than few amateurish YouTube videos by Rebecca Newburn (who learned about the Circle of 9 in a workshop and passed along what she learned and her insights in video format); and some blog posts by the author of Child's Play. In a post called 'Before and After' the author discusses his daughter's difficulty in understanding linear time. He drew a line of past, present and future and then remembered the Ouroboros which represents cyclical or 'sacred time', which seemed to better represent how his daughter's mind was working. These acknowledgments of the specialness of the Vedic Circle of 9 were interesting but barely scratched the surface of integral knowledge contained in that Circle. Apparently circular and cyclical knowledge is hard to come by, unless one finds one's way to The Gnostic Circle, which is the veritable Motherlode of this knowledge.

Related Articles:
Number and the Supramental Matrix
* The Simultaneity of Time, Spirit and Matter 
* Macrocosm, Microcosm & the Laws of Time and Space
* A Higher Vision of Time Is Needed... (Quotes from PNB's Time & Imperishability and some commentary)
* The ALL-pervading Energy of Time - the New Time (Quote from PNB's The New Way, a study in the rise and establishment of a gnostic society).

* The Geometry and Superstructure of Time 

* 'Time as a Power (not an Enemy) of Self'  

* Learning the One Song, Learning the Universe
* In Harmony's Way

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Friday, September 4, 2009

The Geometry and Superstructure of Time

‘Thou shall know me in the rolling of the spheres
And cross me in the atoms of the whirl.
The wheeling forces of my universe
Shall cry to thee the summons of my name.’
– Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, Book XI, Canto I

The structure of time is not linear. We may talk of a time line and organize events in a time line, but the geometry of time is circular or cyclical. Few people look at the Sun and think, in 180 days I will be ‘over there’ … some 186 million miles on the other side of the Sun/Solar System in relation to where I am today. We collectively experience the changing of seasons and the Sun’s movement across the sky from dawn to dusk. We mentally understand that the Sun’s movement is an optical illusion caused by the Earth’s daily 360 degree rotation on her axis; and that the four seasons are a phenomenon of the Earth’s yearly 360 degree orbit around the Sun. We can even conceive of the 25,920 year Precession of the Equinoxes in which our equinoctial axis rotates 360 degrees backwards through the constellations of the Sidereal Zodiac. But our actual consciousness of the 360 degree structure and dynamics of our material existence is limited. It does not seem real to us. It does not seem real to us to the extent that we disassociate ourselves from it in a myriad of ways. It is popular in our day and age to consider our journey in time to be an illusion of the mind. Many spiritual seekers make a goal of escaping the ‘wheel of time’. ‘Traveling in circles’ is actually derogatory phrase, meaning going nowhere … wasting one’s life energy.

Still, regardless of how unconscious or partially conscious we are of its reality, we are nonetheless carried by this cyclical movement. We are born into this circle of life and it carries us through our lives, through each step and stage of our growth and evolution with unwavering continuity. Unconscious of its design and its dynamics we are an unconscious passenger, unaware of our own vehicle. Conscious of the design and dynamics, we become a conscious rider, aware of that which carries us.

Leonardo DaVinci's 'Sketch of a Horse' (partial)

In Vedic India, sages fittingly described the year and cyclical time as a horse.
‘OM. Dawn is the head of the horse sacrificial. The sun is his eye … Time in its period is the self of the horse sacrificial … the seasons his members, the months and the half months are their joints, the days and nights are his standing place, the stars his bones and the sky is the flesh of his body.’

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Chapter 1, Section 1,
translated by Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads
Sri Aurobindo commented:
‘… this Horse of the Worlds is not an image merely of matter or material force, but, as we have already supposed it to be, an image of power which pervades and constitutes the material universe. We get also from this image about Time the idea of it as an unknown power – for Time which is its self or body, is itself an unknown quantity. The reality expresses itself to us through Time – its body –, but remains itself ungrasped, must be still what men have always felt it to be, the unknown God.’

‘For all [types of beings that seem to posses this universe] He bears them up on His infinite strength and speed and motion. He bears all of them without respect of differences, sambhāvena, with the divine impartiality and equality of soul – samaṁ hi brahma. To the type of each individual being this Universal Might adapts himself …. It is He who bears them on in the courses of Time that are marked out for Him by His hidden Self; He is free and exults in the swiftness of His galloping.’
It seems that the Upanishadic sages, and Sri Aurobindo as well, were quite aware that the body of the year (the body of time) was a substantial vehicle – a rapidly moving one at that. According to what Sri Aurobindo wrote in The Secret of the Veda, the Vedic Rishis described a real increase in Truth, in Consciousness and in Bliss (satchidananda) as the effortless result of learning to travel the year – learning to travel in circles, aware of the geometry of the circle, aware of its ‘figures’ which certainly include its four cardinal points, its 12 months and its trigunas of creation (rajas), preservation (sattva) and dissolution (tamas).

I have mentioned before Sri Aurobindo’s acknowledgement in The Secret of the Veda of his own limitations in terms of understanding the yogic significance of the 12 month Vedic year. [1] In his commentaries on the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, in which the year/horse figures as the main character, he repeats this acknowledgement.
‘It is not my intention here, nor is it in my limits possible to develop the philosophy of the Great Aranyaka Upanishad, but only to develop with just sufficient amplitude for entire clearness the ideas contained in its language and involved in its figures. The business of my commentary is to lay a foundation; it is for the thinker to build the superstructure.’ [emphasis mine]
Awareness of the circle’s geometry and the circular Geometry of Time was not an end-goal for the Vedic sages. It was the way or the means by which the transcendent spirit, the material cosmos and individual were revealed to be a fully coordinated unity-consciousness – a divine triadic One which is One in its essence or being, and One in its expression or becoming. The will of the One, and hence the will of one’s own soul, literally shows itself in the 360 degree ‘superstructure’ of cyclical time. The degree to which this structure is seen, is the degree to which the One Self of all selves is known.

When such an awareness is alive and well, as it was in Vedic India, civilization or society is naturally organized accordingly, as a reflection of the divine order. But, during the ages when this vast awareness fades into darkness, mankind’s observation and expression of divine order loses its truth – it loses its lived or direct experience. Accordingly the symbols of the truth-consciousness and eternal order of manifestation (such as the circle, the sun symbol, the divine trinity, the four cardinal points, the twelve months of the year, and even the trigunas) become mute symbols – they become symbols whose true or deepest significance is unintelligible to the eye of the beholder. Thus dogma, empty ritual, religion and superstition creep in where once was gnosis.
‘The letter lived on when the spirit was forgotten; the symbol, the body of the doctrine remained, but the soul of knowledge had fled from its coverings.’

– Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda
The framework of the 12 month zodiacal year – once acknowledged as the Mother of all Sciences and the Mother of all Gods and beings – has been somewhat preserved in mythology, religion, art, architecture and in modern day astrology; but the divinely coordinated reality, the ‘superstructure’ that it represented and brought into focus (into view) for the traveler of its Path, has been lost to our consciousness. As our knowledge of the Path faded in the ‘Dark Ages’ of our past, so did men and women’s ability to experience themselves in unity and harmony with the body and movements of the divine being. As knowledge of the Path and the reality that it represented all but disappeared, mankind’s idea and image of the divine became increasingly stunted, increasingly small-minded and increasingly barren or void of material splendor and dynamic wonder. The beautiful harmonies and sacred geometries of the true ‘body of the Lord’ – including both Heaven (cosmos) and Earth, time and space, and all individual form – were increasingly forgotten and ignored.

Despite certain modern human advances – advances in transportation, communication, computation and sciences that have lead to an increasing globalization and sense of world-community, this profound ignorance and Self-forgetfulness is deeply imbedded in our current civilization. One could say it is the foundation of our civilization. The 360 degree womb or ‘superstructure’ of our existence was thoroughly reduced to an un-divine, illusory maya and a heresy against God in the Age of Pisces (234 BCE – 1926 CE). As a result our world views, philosophies, religions and sciences are splintered into many fragments, disharmonious views and conflicting practices because we have no objective experience of a unified truth of existence, no objective experience of a divine or sacred order. The mind is left to its own limited subjective experience and subjective interpretations. Each separate mind is like one of the proverbial blind men feeling one part of the elephant and assuming that his own experience is a valid representation of the whole elephant. The true or divine form and function of the whole is missed, our efforts and energies remain uncoordinated and our potentials as a human/earthly collective are barely scratched.

Humanity is poised to either quickly self-destruct or to quickly learn how to focus and transmute its energies towards achieving a higher incarnation of itself. Sri Aurobindo, as he intended, has laid the foundation by which the Supermind and the superstructure of existence can be understood. This basic but all-encompassing foundation was necessarily and substantially built upon by the feminine powers (Shakti) of the Mother and Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea). The Mother constructed her own symbol and her temple’s design based on the superstructure/geometries of the Year; but it was Thea who brought the foundation, the symbols, and the geometries of the year (and hence the superstructure of existence) back into focus so that it could be SEEN and LIVED once more.

Each of these three great yogis have played an important and epic part in recovering this lost Eternal Truth (Sanatana Dharma). It has been a fully triadic effort and accomplishment. Those who ignore or dismiss any one member of this triad have truly misunderstood the yoga and mission of the others. People currently dispute whether or not the ‘Supramental Descent’ is truly avataric in its nature … whether or not Sri Aurobindo is the rightful 9th Avatar of Vishnu. This should be a short debate in light of the fact that no world teacher in many thousands of years has been able to fathom and restore the vision and direct experience of the coordinated structure and consciousness of our material existence – i.e. the vision and direct experience of the divine as the architect and the dynamic substance of our individual and collective evolving Self. The Buddha, who is widely and erroneously considered the 9th Avatar of Vishnu, did no such thing. He taught, circa 400 or 500 BCE, of transcending the suffering of the material matrix by dissolving one’s consciousness into the formless Absolute or the void.

The Buddha had a valid and important function in the course of human evolution, making a big impact on civilization in the Age of Pisces; but he did not have the unique function of an Avatar of Vishnu whose purpose is to restore for humanity the 360 degree vision and structure of the unified Heaven and Earth. Vishnu is the ‘Lord of the Cosmos’, the ‘Lord of the Discus’. He carries with him a spiraling conch shell, he reclines on the spiraling coils of time (on the snake Sheshayi), he is a personification of the four fixed signs of the 360 degree zodiac. It must be seen as increasingly unlikely, to say the least, that any of Vishnu’s dasavataras would ignore, negate, mis-calculate or transcend the earthly and cosmic superstructure that is his own vast domain. It is Vishnu’s sacred business or duty to guard, preserve and restore this domain in the consciousness of Man. There would be no debate whatsoever about Sri Aurobindo’s avatarhood if the reality or totality of what Vishnu’s dasavataras were tasked with preserving and restoring was understood. But clearly, there would be no need for an avatar if mankind had not digressed into a collective of proverbial blind men and women arguing and theorizing about the ‘whole elephant’.

A true avatar of Vishnu, worthy of the name (and place in history), must necessarily reorient and realign humanity within the course and body of time, within the course and body of its own evolutionary journey. It is the avatar’s duty to remind mankind that cyclical time, and more specifically the 360 degree body of the year, is the body of the divine self. This 360 degree body of time was envisioned by the Vedic seers as a Horse that mankind must learn to ‘ride’ if it is to evolve beyond its physical, vital and mental limitations. Until this Horse symbol is truly understood, man’s understanding and approximations of a new age or a new world order will remain an impotent hodgepodge of mental ideas and mental endeavors. [The image on the right is of Kalki, the 10th Avatar of Vishnu, on his white horse]

It is not a coincidence that the 9th month of the Vedic year – the month equated with victory over the forces of darkness who impede the birth of the immortal One, and the month which is the natural progression beyond Martanda, the ‘dead-egg’ or mortal 8th ‘son’ of the Cosmic Mother Aditi – is celebrated as the Sagittarian centaur, a being who has the body of a horse and the torso and head of a human. If the human is to triumph over his or her mortal and divided consciousness and to be reborn as a divine ‘One’, his or her Mind must fathom the Year/the Horse as a true vehicle and a true body of the Self. There is no other divine vehicle or body (or understanding of Self) that carries us to our self-fulfillment and to our integration and fusion with the divine totality; and hence no other passageway to our Golden Age or to the Heaven on Earth that we are so eagerly looking forward to. [Note: The Golden Age/Heaven on Earth stage of our consciousness/evolution is symbolized by the ‘Earth sign’ Capricorn, the 10th month of the Vedic year].

In 1967, after a period of silence and concentration, the Mother saw a being with the body of a horse and the head of a lion circle around Satprem. She reported:
‘… it was the symbol of… a symbolical animal of something. At the moment, I understood perfectly well, I said ah! and…

Very dignified. Came from there [same gesture on the left] like that, made a round around you and went away. It was for you. Lion is power, and horse…

And like that, it seems silly, but he was very beautiful, and of a beautiful colour. And very dignified.

Tiens!... [The Mother realises she was speaking in English. The conversation resumes in French which I translate into English.]

It was Sri Aurobindo who said all that to you [in English]. It is odd how it comes like that.

It was something that had come to announce something to you. It was a being, but a being… There must be beings like that. It was all in light, and it was something… it was to announce something to you. But so real!

– The Mother’s Agenda, 16 December 1967
The content and message of this announcement, which the Mother attributes to Sri Aurobindo, was spoken and conveyed in the terms of the Vedic year (i.e. in the terms of the tropical zodiac). Sri Aurobindo is himself a Lion, born in the sign of Leo – the 5th month of the Vedic year; and evidence has been presented that he reincarnated in 1963 during the 9th month of the Vedic year, Sagittarius, symbolized by a man with the body of a Horse. [2] Can readers appreciate, after reading thus far in this article, that the half-lion, half-horse creature the Mother saw was an announcement regarding the foundation, structure and dynamic expression of the Supermind? How can this message from Sri Aurobindo be deciphered, if not in terms of the Vedic year? Why do the ‘body of the horse’ and the 9th month of Sagittarius figure so prominently in the Vedic march towards recovering the lost Sun or lost truth-consciousness? Sri Aurobindo and the Mother considered the horse, the 12 months of the Vedic journey and especially the 9th month as significant symbols, but they did not themselves understand their full significance.

There has been exactly one person in the last many thousands of years who has been able to remember and re-present the phenomenal and supramental logic and eternal meaning of the symbolism of the 9th month, and all the months, of the 12 month Vedic year; and that person is Thea. She remembered in full the Geometry (and superstructure) of Time and its importance to the individual and to the human collective in his/her/its process of becoming an unfettered expression of the Divine Will. [3] In 1983 in Volume 3 of The New Way – a study in the rise and establishment of a Gnostic society, she wrote:
‘… when we look at our lives in the light of these ever-recurring cycles, it soon becomes evident that a clearly discernible pattern exists to which our vision was closed before this master key of knowledge was discovered…. Our consciousness during these cycles, when we are engaged in the integral yoga, cannot fail to increase, as it were. We incorporate more and more dimensions of existence, while at the same time we are being drawn closer and closer to the centre, to the core of ourselves which is the seat of the Transcendent in manifestation.’
In Vedic times, Thea would have been known as Usha, the Dawn who brings much needed light after a long dark night of the human soul. In our day and age she is pretty much ignored and dismissed, slandered and attacked. Certain forces lie and conspire to get her thrown out of her home in India [4] where her restoration of Vedic symbolism, wisdom and knowledge is most likely to reignite the hearts and minds of men and women, reminding them of the world’s forgotten truth.

Few currently understand what Thea means when she writes about Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and herself in terms of an avataric or ‘solar’ line of beings whose births and yoga have established the foundation and structure of a new or supramental world order. Many cast her aside as just one more spiritual teacher who thinks way too highly of herself. It does not dawn on them that the unique knowledge she presents and the unique lineage of which she is a part, actually mark the birth of mankind’s much-needed reunion and realignment with the ‘superstructure’ or super-vehicle of time and space. It is understandable that this seems like an unbelievable tale.

Nonetheless, it is actually true. It is a verifiable story and an attainable view once one learns to journey on the swift ‘Time-gallopings of the deathless Horse’ [5] – i.e. to be conscious of the 360 degree body and vehicle of time, increasingly aware of the supramental coordination that shows itself and displays itself in the geometries and harmonies of life’s unfolding events and circumstances. A re-orientation of mind and life towards this universal order is accomplished by direct, lived experience of its substantial reality, not by faith. As such, to believe in Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and Thea as high spiritual beings or as part of an avataric lineage means very little, in terms of effecting world transformation, if the body and movement of time is not understood as a coordinated truth-consciousness, whose geometries and harmonies, once seen, uplift the ‘traveler’ of time towards gnosis and unity.

The individual and human collective must begin to consider and come to realize that ‘riding’ or learning to experience the TOTALITY – the harmonious continuity of one’s entire individual and cosmic existence in both time and space – is infinitely more interesting, exhilarating, blissful, satisfying and rewarding than riding one’s own tangents, ruts of perspective, mental riffs and dismembered fragments of being. Individually and collectively we are poised to discover that the immense ‘power of now’ is a drop in the bucket compared to the power of embodying our full individual and cosmic existence, past, present and future included. We are poised to discover that the immense peace found in the formless timeless void, or even in our faith in God, is a drop in the bucket compared to the peace, joy, love and bliss encountered when remembering the fullness of our being and the perfect logic, the supramental logic ... the divine logic of our dynamic existence and evolution.
‘There are greater destinies mind cannot surmise
Fixed on the summit of the evolving Path
The Traveller now treads in the Ignorance,
Unaware of his next step, not knowing his goal.
Mind is not all his tireless climb can reach ….
There is an infinite truth, an absolute power.
The Spirit’s mightiness shall cast off its mask;
Its greatness shall be felt shaping the world’s course….
A few shall glimpse the miraculous Origin
And some shall feel you in the secret Force
And they shall turn to meet a nameless tread,
Adventurers into a mightier Day.
Ascending out of the limiting breadths of mind,
They shall discover the world’s huge design
And step into the Truth, the Right, the Vast….
These are the high forerunners, the heads of Time,
The great deliverers of earth-bound mind,
The high transfigurers of human clay,
The first-born of a new supernal race.’

– Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, Book XI, Canto 1

[1] See ‘Coordination’ and the comments that follow the article.
[2] This evidence is presented by Thea in The Hidden Manna, The New Way Volumes 1 & 2, and ‘The Day of the White Peacock’ series.
[3] Thea’s teachings on the Geometry of Time can be found in The Magical Carousel, Symbols and the Question of Unity, The Gnostic Circle and The New Way, Volumes 1, 2 & 3, and Secrets of the Earth.
[4] See ‘The Inconvenient Necessity of Producing Evidence: The Deportation Case Against Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet’.
[5] Sri Aurobindo, ‘The Witness Spirit’, a poem written on 26 July 1938 (revised 21 March 1944).

Related Articles:
Number and the Supramental Matrix
* The Simultaneity of Time, Spirit and Matter

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Heavenly Gaze

Gustave Dore's illustration of Paradiso Canto 31 from Dante's The Divine ComedyDante and Beatrice gaze upon the highest Heaven
Gustave Dore's Illustration to Dante's The Divine Comedy,
Paradiso Canto 31

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