Friday, February 25, 2011

Sri Aurobindo on Astrology

The following essay by Sri Aurobindo (published originally in the Arya in 1917 or 1918, reprinted in book View and Reviews in 1941) is intriguing on several fronts. One being the current debates concerning Astrology's validity1, another being the Integral Yoga community's resistance to the idea Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet's teachings on the Zodiac (the Vedic Year) could have anything to do with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's supramental yoga and a further descent of supramental knowledge. But what I find equally intriguing/important is that in the book Sri Aurobindo chose to refer to, the Indian author clearly describes the Zodiac in terms of the Tropical Year, not the constellations!2 Those familiar with Ms. Norelli-Bachelet's work know that her central premise of the Restoration of Vedic Wisdom is the reinstatement of the Tropical Zodiac as the basis of the Vedic Year. In her recent paper, 'Caste, Calendar and Cosmos', she includes and discusses the iconic image of Man surrounded by the figures of the Zodiac as seen on the Kalaprakasika cover.

Kalaprakasika cover
The subject of this book is one which stands nowadays put away under a sort of intellectual ban, placed on it some centuries ago by the scientific and rationalistic European mind and not yet lifted. Mr. N.P. Subramania Iyer has undertaken an astrological series which will deal with the various parts of astrology, and the present volume contains the text and translation of the ‘Kalaprakasika’ treatise on the selection of the right times by astrological rule for undertaking any and every action of human life. The book is well printed and got up, the translation admirably done in a style free enough to avoid all awkwardness, – the author has a thorough control of the English tongue and an excellent style of his own, – but perfectly faithful to the matter of the text. But the most interesting part of the work for the ordinary reader is the introduction, in which he gives amidst other matter the psychological explanation of the influence of the planets and states for what they stand in relation to the Indian Vedantic philosophy of existence. I have not seen elsewhere any exposition of the subject equally original and illuminative.
      Astrology is in the general mind associated with that class of subjects which goes under the name of the occult, and along with others of its class it has long been discredited by modern ‘enlightenment’, one does not quite know on what grounds or with what rational justification. It has its psychic and mystical side, but that is not its ordinary presentation; there it claims to be a science like any other with fixed processes and an exact and definite system of rules which ought to be perfectly capable of verification or of disproof by experiment and induction like any other science. Its basis is astronomical and mathematical, its data perfectly open and positive and in no way hidden or occult, nor does it at all shrink back from the test or hide itself in secrecy and mystery. It does not indeed give ordinarily the why, but only the how of the causes and effects it professes to establish, but so it is with all other sciences; they do not give the reason of things, but only their processes. Yet astrology is supposed at some indefinite time in the march of human mind to have been exploded, – along with such things as witch-craft and demonology, not to speak of the existence of spirits and the immortality of the soul, – and there is a sort of idea that it has been disproved and therefore put aside as a superstition which no reasonable man can even look at except with a lofty disdain, much less stoop to investigate with an open mind its truth or falsity. Still the anathema of Science has not been able to destroy it; in Europe it has revived, even though its practice as a profession is punishable by the law, and in India it has always survived. It is not indeed the habit of educated Indians to profess explicitly their belief in it, they fight shy of that as a rule, but it is largely consulted by numbers of them, as also by many Europeans. This is an anomalous position which ought to be corrected. Either astrology is a true science and should be investigated, proved, improved where defective and generally rehabilitated in opinion, or else it is a pseudo science and should be investigated and disproved so as to cut the ground away finally from all secret belief or open credulity.
       
As a matter of fact astrology has never been scientifically disproved, nor has any rational ground ever been advanced for treating it as a pseudo-science. It simply came to be assumed at a certain period and under certain intellectual influences that it was a childish superstition. Or if there were any grounds, then it was left aside because astrologers were charlatans, because many, perhaps most predictions went wrong, but most of all because it was thought that in the nature of things, in any rational theory of the universe the planets simply could not have any influence on our characters, lives and actions. None of those grounds are sufficient. If many astrologers are charlatans, so also have there been many quacks in the field of medicine; at one time indeed not only did they pullulate; but the system of medicine itself seemed so defective that there were plenty of clear and enlightened minds who were inclined with Moli̬re to denounce the whole thing as a gross pseudo-science, an elaborate and solemn system of ignorance, humbug and quackery. Supposing that view had prevailed, Рit could not, merely because men are too vitally interested in healing their ailments and preserving their bodies and know no other way of doing it, Рthat would not have done away with the truth underlying the science.
       
That many predictions go wrong, proves nothing essentially, against astrology any more than the constant failure of doctors to heal diseases proves anything essential against their science. The first reason of this failure may be that a great number of practising astrologers are either charlatans who seek to please their clients rather than predict by scientific rule, – of that kind there are perhaps many, – or else inefficient and ignorant men who practise only by rule of thumb, perfunctorily and with a main eye upon their fees. But if even capable astrologers fail often, that also only proves that either the science or their way of treating it is largely empirical or that some of its rules or theories may be errors. But every science has to pass through its empirical stage and some – as, again, the science of medicine, – have hardly emerged from it, and every science too burdens itself in its progress with false generalisations, incorrect theories and imperfect rules which have afterwards to be discarded or amended. As the main point in medicine is whether herbs and metals and other remedies have or have not certain effects on the body and whether their workings can be substantiated by experience in a sufficient number of cases to establish a regular relation of cause and effect, so it is in astrology with the fundamental question of planetary influences upon earth and its creatures.
       
The a priori argument from the rational theory of the universe cannot stand. There is nothing essentially irrational in the idea that in this solar system, so closely linked together, there may be mutual influences of all planets upon each other or that the beings of a particular planet are powerfully influenced or even dominated by influences from the others. The question remains, the a priori rationality being admitted or  at least not summarily dismissed, first, whether it is so in fact and, secondly, how far those influences go and what nature they are. Astrology affirms that they not only affect our bodies, but also our psychical being. If matter and mind were entirely independent entities having no influence or determining effect upon each other, then such a result could not be; but that is not the case. According to the materialistic view of the universe which claims to be the sole rationalistic view, mind is itself an effect of matter and all its states and movements are determined by matter. There is nothing then impossible, planetary influence being once admitted, in the action of material bodies producing psychical conditions on the earth and thereby determining our psychical states and movements. In a more truly rationalistic view mind and matter are always influencing and determining each other; here too, given a universal mind and matter so acting upon individual matter and mind, the movements of the planetary system may be one or even the first nodus of their activities, and the assertions of astrology become at least primarily credible.
       
Farther, astrology affirms that these influences determine the whole course or our lives and that the all-important element is time. That raises the major question of the influence of Time upon human beings and events; does Time determine the course or our lives and the states of our being and if so, how far and in what way? [Or] to put the question more precisely, as it is raised by astrology, do or can the conditions reigning at a given critical time, in this case the moment of birth, determine our physical and psychological conditions and the whole course of our future lives, or determine them to any considerable extent? [And] are the relative movements and therefore the mutual positions of the sun and planets with regard to the earth and each other either the nodus or in some way the effective signs of these determinations? And, secondly, do the developing time conditions which come afterwards, by themselves or viewed in reference to the original conditions, determine from moment to moment, from time to time the subsequent evolution of our primary physical and psychological conditions and the course of linked and successive circumstances which make up the history of our lives? And if so, again, are the relative movements and mutual positions of the suns and planets at any given time the nodus or the effective signs of this later determination also?  Can they therefore be taken for all practical purposes as determinants, or at any rate as sure signs by which the determinations of our life and being can be discovered? That is the question which astrology raises, and it is evidently a perfectly legitimate and rational question: nor can we on a priori grounds condemn and put away an affirmative answer, which is based upon past experience systematised into rules and theories, as a superstition or a childish folly. Granted that in things here there is a chain of cause and effect – or at least, if causality is disputed, of antecedent condition leading up to subsequent condition – and that if and so far as we know that chain, scientific prediction becomes in that proportion possible, – two propositions which, unless we deny determination altogether, it would be difficult to dispute, – there is no inherent improbability in the clue to happenings human and other on the planets being found in the motions of those planets. Astronomy is in a sense the primary physical science, for the first facts which give all the others their field are astronomical facts; it may well be that in the psycho-physical field the same rule holds and that there the first facts may be astrological.

The a priori objections disappearing, the next step is to ask ourselves whether there is a sufficient prima facie empirical case for inquiring into the actual truth of astrology. This at present depends upon the experience of isolated individuals, a very unsatisfactory basis. But if this experience could be collected, sifted and published, I believe it would be found that a formidable prima facie case exists in favour of astrology, much stronger than that which encouraged the Society for Psychical Research to carry on its work in another psycho-physical field to such important conclusions. I may state my own experience in the matter in the belief, justified by many instances, that it is only typical of the experience of hundreds of others. My first accidental contact with an Indian astrologer was not encouraging. This gentleman was the most accomplished thought-reader I have ever seen; for he asked me to think my question without speaking it and not only successfully named the unspoken question I had fixed on, but three others which had crossed my mind, one of them only in the merest flash and without leaving any impression behind: this he pretended to do by mathematical calculation, an operation which I took leave to regard as humbug or professional parade. For when it came to his answers, I found that he was still doing thought-reading and not astrology; he simply echoed the hopes or thoughts in my mind and his predictions did not come within one hundred miles of the truth. Other practitioners I have found to belong, a few plainly to the class of mere flattering charlatans, but most to the inefficient who read by rule of thumb and have made no profound study of their science. On the other hand, with capable astrologers the results have been often of such a remarkable accuracy as to put quite aside any possibility of chance hit, mere coincidence, intelligent prevision or any of the current explanations. I may instance the father of a friend of mine, a deep student of the science but not a professional, who predicted accurately the exact year, month, day, hour and even minute of his own death. In my own case accuracy was hampered by the inability to fix the precise moment of my birth; still some of the results were extraordinary. Two may be mentioned, from one and the same astrologer, which related to my public career. One, given when I had not yet plunged into the political vortex and my then obscure personality was quite unknown to the astrologer, predicted as an inevitable certitude of the future a political struggle with powerful non-Indian adversaries during which for a time even my life would fall under the shadow of danger. The other, given at the time of my first prosecution in the ‘Bande Mataram’ case, predicted three successive criminal trials in each of which the prosecution would fail. I may instance also two predictions by the book in which Slokas from Sanskrit astrological writings indicating the result of certain conjunctions or planetary positions were shown to be applicable to my horoscope. One foretold specific chronic illnesses for the body of which there was no sign at the time, but long afterwards they put in their unexpected appearance and persisted. Another indicated very precisely that one of my future activities would be to found a new spiritual philosophy and its discipline; at that time I had no knowledge of philosophy or Yoga and no turn or inclination in my mind which could make the realisation of this prediction at all probable. These are only the most precise examples out of a number. Supposing all well-authenticated evidence of the kind to be collected, I am convinced there would be an overwhelmingly strong prima facie case and even a body of sufficiently strong empirical proof to establish at least a nucleus of truth in astrology.

That would be the first step. For if astrology is a science and is to take its proper place, the first necessity is to dissipate by an appeal to the empirical mind of the general public as well as of the skeptical thinker the great mass of unenquiring prejudice which now exists against it. To publish the text and translation of the best authorities, as Mr. Iyer is now doing, with illuminating introductions is a preliminary need in this case so that we may know what we have to go upon. The second is to mass evidence of the empirical truth of the science, giving in each case the prediction in all its details, the more detailed the better, the astrological rules on which it was based and the event, each detail of the event being compared with the corresponding detail of the prediction. Only then would there be a clear field for the consideration of the scientific and philosophical doubts, questions and problems which would still arise; but this, though the most important aspect of the matter, I must leave for future handling.

An acceptance of the truth of astrology would not necessarily carry with it a complete determinism of Fate or mechanical law of Karma. In the Indian theory at least there is room for a determination by human will and endeavour, for Fate is mainly a determination by past action and a new will and action can cancel it; only a very strong Karma is imperative and irreducible. Even that may possibly be cancelled if one can enter into the freedom of the spiritual consciousness. One instance at any rate came to my knowledge in which the life had corresponded exactly with the pre-indications of the horoscope so long as the subject remained in the world but, as soon as he left it for a spiritual life, there was no longer any correspondence. 
[bold emphasis added]
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Endnotes:
1 Astrology Debate Links:
* The Dismissal of Astrology, and Arrogance born of Ignorance, not Knowledge (Lori Tompkins, 13 Feb 2010)
* 'Astrology is a Trusted Science' (by Debra Houlding, 4 Feb 2011)
* 'Astrology is a Science' (Times of India, 3 Feb 2011)
* The Astrological Flip Side: Shifting Zodiac Questioned in India (Lori Tompkins, 28 January 2011)
2 The following text is from the introductory pages of Kalaprakasika (originally published in 1917). N.P. Subramania Iyer describes the Zodiac (Rasi-Mandalam), in terms of the Tropical Year. The sign Aries, he states, begins at the point of intersection of the ecliptic and the Earth's equator. This is a clear referral to the March Equinox. The idea that the apparent movement of the constellations, due to the Precession of the Equinoxes, does not figure into this author's definition of the Zodiac.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Tibet, India and the Chinese and the Calendars that Join them


I've been curious about the matter of the Tibetan sacred calendar or Wheel of Time (Kalachakra) for some time. In her latest article 'Tibet, India and the Chinese and the Calendars that Join them', Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet discusses the calendar distortion (deviation from the Tropical Zodiac) that set in, not only in India, but in Tibet as well. Readers are invited to consider the ramifications of this distortion in the history and current difficulties/disarray of both countries.

Excerpt: 'The signal that Time’s allegiance was lost in Tibet and India goes back to the 12th Century when a disarrangement of the calendars in both nations began. Over the centuries this mismanagement of calendrical matters has assumed alarming proportions. Unfortunately Tibet for the most part follows India’s lead in these matters, having opened its arms many centuries ago to embrace Buddhism, born on Indian soil in approximately 500 BCE. From there Buddhism dug deep roots into Tibet as well as farther east. This adoption of a spiritual path that emphasises the unreality of material existence in favour of the Nirvanic experience of the Void was an underminer of all things rooted in time and space. It was entirely predictable that before long the correct computation of Time for rituals and horoscopy would move away from the true temporal system and that essential connection would be lost. ....'

Click HERE to read 'Tibet, India and the Chinese and the calendars that join them' in FULL in The Chakra (21 February 2011).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Dismissal of Astrology: an Arrogance born of Ignorance, not Knowledge

Image courtesy of Robert Wilkinson. Click image to enlarge.

I recently had a polite exchange with a spiritual author, who wrote: ‘I know enough not to put too much stock in superficial astrological events.’ Genuinely curious, I thought of asking him to clarify what he meant by ‘superficial astrological events’, but decided against it because I was pretty darn sure he meant, ‘I know enough to not put too much stock in astrological events’ period.1

It is perpetually bizarre to me that people, educated people, consider their ignorance about astrology to be astute and even wise. It would be one thing if non-adherents freely admitted, ‘I don’t know enough about astrology to understand how it is applicable to anything.’
Lion-Man,
32,000 yrs old
That would be an honest, ego-free, and even humble response. Maybe it would result in the refreshing revelation, ‘I don’t know enough … at all! It is actually my understanding of and treatment of ‘astrological events’ that is superficial or lacking depth. After all, how can events in time and space be superficial? I know nothing about this system of knowledge that has spanned perhaps tens of thousands of years.’ [The figure on right is a 32,000 year old chimera of the signs Leo the Lion and Aquarius the Man which form an axis of the zodiac, the same axis and creature is found in Vedic lore.2]

Perhaps our mind’s painful lack of in-sight is the very basis of the aversion. Astrology represents the black hole of all that modern-day humans do not know about themselves, their Earth, and their cosmos. Add the dynamic nature of Time to the list, and this black hole takes on the nature of a winged dragon, a violent god/goddess, or a sphinx monster that devours its prey.3


At some point in the near future scientists and the spiritual ‘avant-garde’ of our times will have to WAKE UP and realize that we have desperately tried to ‘one up’ the monster of our own Ignorance over the past few thousand years (in the Age of Pisces, 234 BCE – 1926 AD) by labeling THAT which we are ignorant of an illusion, myth, superstition or sin. It was a pretty ingenious plan if you come to think of it ‒ a marvel of the mind trying to orient or ‘right’ itself in the midst of a profound state of disorientation, dis-ease, and despair. Its best response to suffering/ignorance was thus: Dissolve all your celebrations of and attachments to this material life (to your material journey), and rest your consciousness in a motionless Void where the Beast of Time cannot hurt you. Or pray that God will let you into heaven after you leave this ‘god forsaken’ place.

And that is the short version how the ancient knowledge ‒ the knowledge that the material world, the cosmos and the individuals in it are all part of one interconnected and orderly divine journey in time and space that can be measured and navigated ‒ as recorded in the Rig Veda, has become something of a laughing stock in our modern world.

However, many modern-day yogis and visionaries are increasingly finding themselves in a catch-22. They admire the Vedic idea ‒ especially well described by Sri Aurobindo ‒ that individuals, the material world and the cosmos are an interconnected oneness, evolving towards the realization of an Integral and even Supramental consciousness-force. They adopt the IDEA, yet remain oblivious to or flat out refuse the navigational tools/measurements and framework of the Year (Twastri’s Bowl), as extolled by Vedic seers, that would actually take them INTO THE EXPERIENCE of a dynamic Oneness ‒ a Oneness interconnected in ALL its moving pieces and parts.

Even Vedic scholars seem embarrassed, reticent or loathed to admit that the 12 month Zodiac Year is the warp and woof of the Vedic Sacrifice and the Sanatana Dharma [Eternal Truth of Being and Becoming]. But anyone who sincerely looks without a vested interest in denial can see clearly that it IS. Sri Aurobindo saw it, yet many of his students and those pretending to protect his yogic legacy seem absolutely determined to ignore or dismiss the connection between the Vedic Journey and the Supramental Yoga. The Mother even left as her greatest legacy, the design of ‘the Mother’s Temple’ (Matrimandir) based on the 12 months of the Vedic Year, yet still few of her disciples or admirers have ANY INTEREST WHATSOEVER in admitting that that Vedic cosmology has anything to do with Her Yoga.4 This lack of interest and vision is the source of the Integral Yoga community’s splintering and inner turmoil. They have lost the golden seed and golden thread that ties or unites the whole together in a splendid spiraling dance. Hence academics and philosophers can freely swoop in to pick at the carcass of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral knowledge to see what they can use for their own designs … designs that have NOTHING to do with the Vedic Gnosis that Sri Aurobindo was set on restoring for the benefit of the world … to save the world from its own ignorance.5

Once one SEES the 12 month year as the foundation of the Vedic journey (i.e. the foundation of Vedic Gnosis), it becomes more and more painful to listen to people who have not yet SEEN THAT, yammering on about the wonders of the Veda or Vedic philosophies. Without the foundation of Yajna (the Year or ‘Sacrifice’), there is no true Veda or Vision of Oneness, there is no union of the One Self with the Multiplicity of All Being and Becoming … i.e. no Yoga in its highest sense.

That is probably why hardly anyone in our day and age understands the practice of astrology as a Maha Yoga or great unifying journey that builds up and integrates all facets, layers and dimensions of being (from the dense physicality to the subtleties of the soul). Rather clients pay practitioners to interpret various angles, conjunctions, positions and progressions of a chart, and to make predictions or determine auspicious or inauspicious dates. However accurate a modern-day astrologer is at extracting meaning from a horoscope, and however interesting this is for a client to hear, the hard fact is that no one can do yoga for anyone else. Imagine paying someone to practice hatha yoga for you, and expecting to benefit. That would be a joke. So, in this light, perhaps it IS fitting that modern-day astrology is considered something of a joke.

The ascent to the unifying knowledge/gnosis/vision/veda as described by the ancient seers (rishis) requires the aspirant/journeyer/yogi to sit in the seat of the soul, acknowledge one’s entrance into  the 360° field of time and space as no ‘superficial astrological event’, and actively observe the patterns, pulses, harmonies, cadences,  geometries and rhythms that play out from that point, expanding into days, months, years, ages and larger arcs, cycles or circles of time … expanding like concentric circles that travel outward from a point of impact along the surface of water. This is how one becomes the Seer. One lives the veda/vision of the dynamic soul-full Self whose body is the year.

Those who have not taken on this yogic task as described in the ancient Veda, should truly refrain from assuming that their dismissal astrology and the zodiac is evidence of advanced thinking. It is an arrogance born from ignorance, not knowledge.

****

12 February 2011

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1 This essay is not a personal grievance between me and the author of the comment. His comment (or my perception of what he meant) simply presented an opportunity to address the issue of our civilization’s ignorance and arrogance treatment of an ancient system of knowledge.   
3 Dragon/Sphinx/Monster's of Time Images (Description & Source):
Sphinx with Youth as Victim; Roman copy from detail on throne of Pheidias' Zeus at Olympia (reconstructed from fragments) Vienna, Ephesus Museum. 
4 See Matrimandir Action Committee's website.
5 The Evolutionary cosmologies and 'integral' teachings of Ken Wilber (All Quadrants All Levels AQAL, 'Four Courners of the Kosmos'), Don Beck (Spiral Dynamics) and Andrew Cohen (Being and Becoming) are all attempts to celebrate integral thought and the evolution of consciousness and to raise the self to a higher consciousness, ‒ attempts that are thoroughly disconnected from Vedic Gnosis. The quadrants, circle maps and evolutionary spirals invented or envisioned by these men are theoretical and philosophical whereas the Earth's four quadrants and cardinal points, and the geometries of the 360° year (as well as the Precession of the Equinoxes) make up the actual body or course of our evolutionary journey, which is the Vedic framework of our Cosmos and our eternal dharma.  
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Related Posts/Links:
* Why Is the Year Divided Into 12 Months? 
* Restoring the Soul of Knowledge in the Age of Aquarius
* Supermind and the Calendar – any Connection? 
* Pirates of the Royal Ship (Strife in Auroville & the Sri Aurobindo Ashram
* In Harmony's Way
* Learning the One Song, Learning the Universe
* A Higher Vision of Time is Needed to Appreciate, Experience and Enjoy the Relationship Between Being and Becoming
* The Geometry and Superstructure of Time
* Time as a Power (Not an Enemy) of the Self
  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Capricorn (Makar) & the Manifest Divine

Capricorn Hieroglyph

A Comment on Vivekananda, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet & Sri Aurobindo's Supramental Vision of Time  by Robert Wilkinson:

Lori, Your article brings up a very interesting point. It has to do with the unusual number of influential spiritual teachers or gurus born under a common astrological sign. As you point out in your response to Philip Goldberg’s article, 'Three Gurus Who Changed the Face of Spirituality in the West', Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Vivekananda and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi were all born under the sign Capricorn. For those of us inspired to look beyond the feeble excuse of coincidence in these matters, a great truth stands revealed.  Capricorn is one of the most stable and serious of all astrological signs. Its ruler, Saturn, confers on the native a maturity, dignity and discipline unequaled in the other zodiacal signs. Saturn’s function of limitation and constriction allows Capricorn natives to focus their consciousness with a laser-like concentration often giving them deeper insights into the practicalities of life. But for the spiritually inclined, like the gurus mentioned above, the contracting power of Saturn serves an even higher function. In many of its natives it produces an inversion of consciousness and thus a greater affinity to the profound mysteries that Saturn rules. 

Click HERE for more info
on this book
Those of us who have had the privilege of working with Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet [Thea] over the years, have been initiated into many of Capricorn’s mysteries. The most profound of these is the process by which the Unmanifest Divine enters into the Manifestation of Itself. According to Thea, there are two cosmic principles underlying order and organization in the Cosmos; Contraction and Expansion. Contraction is the property or direction of Time and Expansion is the direction of Space. Through a process of Contraction, which is the function of the Vertical dimension, the undifferentiated Transcendent in the act of manifestation is reduced to a Seed, that miraculous Hiranyeretas known as Agni, the first God of the Veda. All of the qualities and attributes of the Transcendent Beyond are drawn, by its own power of manifestation, into the Immanent Seed of Itself. What is compacted through this Involutionary process crosses a resonant threshold where the energy shifts from Vertical to Horizontal, and the material universe is born as energies emerge and Evolve. From that Point or Truth-Seed which lies at the convergence of these two cosmic directions, the compacted energies expand, multiply and grow in accordance with the Gunas of Creation, Preservation and Dissolution.

These sublime Cosmic truths are all contained in the Mother’s original plan for Her Temple and through the Laws of Correspondence we can see that they apply equally to the Microcosm as well as the Macrocosm. 
From the Matrimandir Action Committee's website
Sri Aurobindo confirms these occult principles and their human correspondences in his instructions on the yogic realization of the Individual Truth-Seed or ‘Psychic Being’.
‘There are in fact two systems simultaneously active in the organisation of the being and its parts: one is concentric [horizontal], a series of rings or sheaths with the psychic at the centre; another is vertical, an ascension and descent, like a flight of steps, a series of superimposed planes with the supermind-overmind as the crucial nodus of the transition beyond the human into the Divine. For this transition, if it is to be at the same time a transformation, there is only one way, one path.
'First, there must be a conversion inwards, a going within to find the inmost psychic being and bring it out to the front, disclosing at the same time the inner mind, inner vital, inner physical parts of the nature. Next, there must be an ascension, a series of conversions upwards and a turning down to convert the lower parts.’ 
Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga

In this extraordinary quote, Sri Aurobindo discusses the nature of the Individual Being and its own converging directions with the Psychic Being at the center. According to Sri Aurobindo, the transformation begins with a ‘conversion inwards’, a Contraction to a Point, the very Saturnine process we are discussing. In the Mother’s plan for her Temple we can see Sri Aurobindo’s instructions reflected in the Entrance to the Temple which was to have been a flight of 15 stairs perfectly aligned with the North Cardinal Point (Capricorn) and leading upwards into the Inner Chamber. But as we know, this feature along with many others, were rejected by the Mother’s closest devotees in their systematic destruction of her plan. In his ‘Secret of the Veda’ Sri Aurobindo tells us that the sacred journey described in the Veda was not a journey through Space, but a journey in Time through the Year and its twelve months, the central figure of the Veda around which the Sacrifice is conducted. The point where the victory is secured, writes Sri Aurobindo, is the Tenth Month which is Capricorn. This sacred sign is also described as the ‘portal to immortality, the entry to the realm of the Immortal Ones. But owing to the ignorance and bad will of the usurpers in Auroville, the mysteries of Capricorn were completely erased leaving them with virtually no understanding of the proper ingress to the temple, let alone their own Souls.

Given the overwhelming significance of the sign Capricorn and its ruler Saturn, is it any wonder that so many gods and spiritual figures are born under this sign. The ancients tell us that it was in Capricorn that Kore gave birth to the Aeon. It is also the birth sign of Sol Invictus, the Greek God Dionysos, the Roman Janus the Amitaba Buddha and of course, Jesus Christ.

In more modern times we continue to see the Capricornian influence playing itself out in the lives of spiritual gurus, scientists and sages alike. As you pointed out, Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Vivekananda and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi are all natives of the sign. We can also include Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sir Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Tycho Brahe, Louis Pasteur and even Stephen Hawking. One need only look at their lives or read the biographies of these extraordinary men to see the contracting power of Saturn at work.

But beyond all these, at the core of the Capricorn mystery we find Thea who was not only born at the very heart of this sacred sign but descended as an emissary from its celestial regions to bring its most sublime evolutionary mysteries and sing its cosmic harmonies as no one on earth has done before. Its deepest truths, writes Thea, can only be understood by someone initiated into the secrets of Capricorn which is the sign of the Earth’s Soul.   

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Vivekananda & Sri Aurobindo's Supramental Vision of Time

An Open Letter to Philip Goldberg, author of  American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West.

 ****

Hi Philip, I just read your January 5th Huffington Post article on Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Vivekananda and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, – the 'Three Gurus Who Changed the Face of Spirituality in the West', – all who were born the week of January 5-12.

I believe another yogi will eventually be added to that list, though it may take a while for people to see what it is that she has accomplished through her life and yoga and how it illuminates Eastern and Western spirituality alike. Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (born January 5, 1938) has picked up where Sri Aurobindo and the Mother left off in their Supramental and Integral Yoga, focusing mostly on developing what Sri Aurobindo called a ‘Supramental Vision of Time’, and the restoration of Vedic Wisdom, especially in relation to cosmology.

For you, a self-proclaimed 'astrology-agnostic', it may be a challenge to appreciate her work/yoga because she discusses the Tropical Zodiac as inseparable from the Sanatana Dharma [the Eternal Truth of Being and Becoming]. But for a moment, try to hold back any astrology-bias you have and consider the following.

You may have noticed 'news' reports in January claiming that the Sun Signs are no longer what we thought they were, and that everybody in the WEST has been mislead by the current Tropical Zodiac, because the months are suppose to be determined by the 'shifting' position of the constellations (as held by most astrologers in INDIA). Well this is actually a really big deal if one considers for a second that the Vedic Rishis were accurate when they wrote that the 12 months and four seasons of the sacred year are the real framework of a very real journey to higher realms of consciousness. Ms. Norelli-Bachelet has dedicated much of her yoga and life to correcting the current Indian/Hindu trend of separating the Sacred or Vedic Year (i.e. the Zodiac) from the Earth's Equinoxes and Solstices. On December 25th 2010 she spoke at the First National Conference on Panchanga Ganitam (Calendar Reform) at the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Andhra Pradesh, to an ALL-INDIAN assembly of spiritual men who were firming up the dates of the Sacred Year. She told the assembly, and anyone watching via the live global webcast, that it is absolutely wrong to calculate the Sacred/Vedic calendar (i.e. the zodiac) on the basis of the constellations. She spoke loudly and clearly, that it is the so-called WESTERN, i.e. Tropical Zodiac that is actually VEDIC, and that the current astrological practice and calculation in India is an anathema to the Sanatana Dharma because it excludes the very real dynamics, structures and measures of Mother Earth. [See Video Clip]

From my point of view, there is a certain symmetry between the yoga of American-born Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, and Indian-born Vivekananda. 117 years after the United States achieved Independence from England (1776), Vivekananda came to the United States to introduce Americans to the Sanatana Dharma; and in turn 117 years later, Ms. Norelli-Bachelet, delivered a momentous speech at one of the most important temples in India, to the effect that it is the Westerners who have the correct measure of the Vedic Year right, not Indian/Hindus. However, whereas Vivekananda, I believe, traveled twice to the USA, first at age 30, for a total stretch of some four years; Ms. Norelli-Bachelet, now age 73, first arrived in India at age 33 and has lived in India for 40 years. There is even more symmetry if you consider Ms. Norelli-Bachelet's discussion in The Gnostic Circle of India and the United States as physical manifestations of the Capricorn-Cancer axis that runs not only through the zodiac, but also through the Globe/Earth. [1] Anyone who takes notice of numerical symmetries will be interested to see that both 1893 and 2010 (the years of Vivekananda and PNB’s speeches) are 3 years in terms of Theosophical Addition. 1776 and 1947, the years United States and India achieved Independence from England, likewise reduce to the number 3.

Also, considering the number 234 figures prominently in Ms. Norelli-Bachelet’s teachings concerning the zodiac, the yugas, the Precession of the Equinoxes, and the astrological ages [2], it is hard not to be impressed by fact that, not only was her Tirumala speech given 234 years after the United States achieved independence from England, but that the mid-way point of 1776 and 2010 was precisely 1893, the year of Vivekananda gave his landmark speech in Chicago.

I do understand that most people, even the most recognized spiritual thinkers of our day, are currently unaware that these matters are of grave importance to the World and its spiritual and material progress, [see 'Restoring the Soul of Knowledge in the Aquarian Age'], but you have to admit, if you suspend your belief that astrology has nothing to do with Sanatana Dharma or the evolution of consciousness, that the world will eventually have to add another important Capricorn Yogi to their list of those who have changed the course of Spirituality .... for both the West and the East. For the West because through Ms. Norelli-Bachelet’s yogic teachings, people will begin to see and learn about the Vedic roots and wisdom that underlie not only our much-eroded and misunderstood modern-day astrology, but our mathematics, systems measure, navigation, mythologies, and religions as well; and in the East because in light of her yogic teachings, India’s spiritual practices and spiritual ego will have to undergo a huge overhaul in order to be in concert with, in harmony with the Sanatana Dharma of the Earth's Year. In due time (the sooner the better) it will no longer be spiritually wise to consider the sacred measure of the Year to be disconnected from the Earth and her own processes; nor wise to consider our cycles in time to be illusory or inconsequential to the evolution of our consciousness.

Best of Light, Lori Tompkins

[Update: I forgot to add that Vivekananda died on on America's Independence date, July 4th, 1902, in the sign of Cancer, stressing his connection with the U.S, his connection with the work of Ms. Norelli-Bachelet, and the Cancer-Capricorn axis of the Zodiac. July 4 and January 5 are at opposite ends of the Cancer-Capricorn axis.]
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[1] 'India occupies the 'Spiritual' pole of the Capricorn-Cancer axis which cuts through globe to its 'Material' counterpoint; the United States of America (born on July 4th, the mid-point of Cancer). Each of these countries represents the epitome of their archetypal identity as the poles of Spirit and Matter and together they form the evolutionary axis of the earth.' - PNB from www.aeongroup.com. PNB discusses this connection at length in The Gnostic Circle.

[2] ‘The Yugas and the Precession of the Equinoxes’

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Related Post: 'Sri Aurobino, Vivekananda and Voices of the Supramental Shakti' (Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet's comments on 'Vivekananda’s Guidance to Sri Aurobindo in the Alipore Jail: a Crafty Misrepresentation in The Lives of Sri Aurobindo' by Sandeep Joshi, posted on R.Y. Desphande's Mirror of Tomorrow blog on February 3, 2011 (2.3.4)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sri Aurobindo, Vivekananda and Voices of the Supramental Shakti

This morning I read an article titled 'Vivekananda’s Guidance to Sri Aurobindo in the Alipore Jail: a Crafty Misrepresentation in The Lives of Sri Aurobindo' by Sandeep Joshi, posted on R.Y. Desphande's Mirror of Tomorrow blog. I sent the link along to Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet and her response seemed to me to be important enough to share with a wider audience than me. So I asked her permission to publish it. So with her permission, here is her response:  [I DO recommend reading Sandeep Joshi's short article first, for background in this matter.]


'This would be similar, if not identical to my communion with the 'Divine Mother' as recorded in 'Tenth Day of Victory'. I never had direct confirmation from the embodied Mother once I reached Pondicherry that the Voice was actually hers, nor did I really seek it. I always operated with her as if this was my higher self using her as touchstone. These things do not work that way, with incontestable certainty. You 'prove' the issue by the content of the message and the events to follow - that is, the entire direction the communion provides for one's sadhana. 
  
'In my case, as in Sri Aurobindo's, the value of those communications was immeasurable. Not only was it a Voice. It set in motion a series of events that followed the particular 'formula' that the Voice emphasised from the beginning. It also was a Power that could organise events and allow them to unfold according to the Formula; therefore I had no doubt that I was in touch with what I later came to call, the Supramental Shakti, since only such a force could contain the entire Earth with all its creatures and phenomena in the palm of her hand. This is proven in my book.

'Therefore, as in Sri Aurobindo's case, the communion with the one who identified herself as the 'Divine Mother from Pondicherry' not only gave me the basis for the cosmological knowledge it was my task to bring down, it also revealed itself as a Power that, if not the Mother herself, worked through the physical Mother - as recorded in 'Tenth Day'. For the fact is, the focus was on the Formula, 9/6/3/0-1, which Sri Aurobindo himself has stated that he was assiduously 'bringing down'. It would naturally occupy a special place in the Manifestation because it is enshrined in the Lotus of his own symbol. The focus for Sri Aurobindo was what was required for the initial stages of his mission. In both cases the accuracy proves the point and need not be laboured further.Vivekananda for Sri Aurobindo gave him certain indications that were necessary for the Knowledge he had to bring down. In my case it was the same: months before reaching the Mother in Pondicherry I was guided along the path set out by the Formula itself that stands at the heart of his Symbol. That is how one determines the validity of these things. I had to appreciate/recognise that it was that Mother in Pondicherry herself involved - if not the one DIRECTLY communicating. This is not how these things are done. There are extensions, forces that EXECUTE the commands of the Supramental Shakti. The Mother herself embodying that Power, it was a simple task to have everything that transpired as recorded in 'Tenth Day' carried out to perfection; until I was finally brought to her feet. Indeed, perfection in every single detail.

'But part of the process involves a meticulous dedication to sort these things out. This too I have recorded. One just cannot believe everything one hears or even sees. There has to be a method to the madness, and that is to fine tune one's discrimination. That was certainly a part of the Yoga Sri Aurobindo was engaged in in the Alipore Jail. In fact, I have even recorded in the introduction to 'Tenth Day' his description of a particular culminating experience there, accompanied by mine before having read anything of his decades earlier. They are almost identical. Clearly this Work is guided by 'hosts'. I believe that the statements that may appear conflicting regarding Sri Aurobindo and Vivekananda correspond to this reticence and caution when describing happenings from and on the occult plane.

'Finally, and this may be my most important contribution to the discussion, the new cosmology based on Sri Aurobindo's symbol is the way to clarify matters, leaving no doubt as to the role of Vivekananda as well as Ramakrishna in his life and work. I have given out these OBJECTIVE details in 'The New Way', Volumes 1&2. Cosmology meticulously reveals that Sri Aurobindo and his Solar Line are directly connected to Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, without whose prior births the Formula would not have been as exact as it is.

'I am not surprised that Peter Heehs's treatment of this particular portion of Sri Aurobindo's life should raise hackles. Since Heehs saw no value in the question of avatarhood and dismissed the idea in Sri Aurobindo's regard, how could he accurately understand the rest of his life? But then, there are no takers for Sri Auriobindo's avatarhood among his disciples, including Heehs. Again, to dispense with hagiographic inclinations, the new cosmology reveals him as the 9th Avatar mathematically - but a mathematics based on the Formula he himself brought into the world from the Supramental Plane, with the indispensable contribution of the Mother to seal matters once and for all.'

Thea [Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet]

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Related Link:
Secrets of the Earth - Questions and Answers on the Line of Ten Avatars of Vedic Tradition, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, Aeon Books, 2009