2012 – Will the world end??? – Part three
Continued from the last article…
WHAT IS THE VEDIC VIEW
The Vedic system of the four yugas presents the lengths of the ages as 4,3,2, and 1 times an interval of 432,000 years. That means the first age lasts 1,728 million years; the second lasts 1,296 million years; the third lasts 864,000 years and the present age lasts 432,000 years. Obviously this system has little resonance with our current theories of human history.
The Vedic version contradicts our present conceptions about not only human antiquity but also human longevity. At the height of the first age, the life span is listed as 100,000 years. Then it decreases through each of the successive ages by a factor of 10. Thus, in the next age life spans reduce to 10,000 years; then 1000; until in the present age the maximum is stated as 100 years, shrinking to 50 at the end.
A QUICK LOOK AT DATING THE PRESENT AGE
The time is midnight. The date is 18 February – 3102 B.C.. Your location is the Indian subcontinent. The seven planets, including the sun and the moon, are invisible, because they are lined up in one direction on the other side of the Earth. According to the Vedicsupplementary astronomical texts, known as jyotiaca-castras, this rare planetary alignment and the specified date of its occurrence marked the beginning of the fourth age.
Naturally, the mainstream view of Western scholars is that the date for Kali-yuga and its forecast symptoms are figments of the immense Vedic mythic and poetic imagination. Computers and software, however, are coming to the rescue of Vedic integrity. Astronomical software takes the coordinates and dates we enter and then displays approximations of the sky as our remote ancestorssaw it. Today calculations are underway that strongly support the Vedic picture of the skies in 3102 B.C.
An American mathematician, Dr.Richard Thompson, specializing in probability theory and statistical mechanics, has devoted himself to analyzing ancient Vedic cosmology. He writes in his book Vedic Cosmography and Astronomy:
We would suggest that the dating of the start of the present age (called Kali-yuga in the Vedas) at 3102 B.C. is based on actual historical accounts, and that the tradition of an unusual alignment of the planets at this time is also a matter of historical fact. The opinion of the modern scholars is that the epoch of Kali yuga was concocted during the early medieval period. According to this hypothesis, Indian astronomers used borrowed Greek astronomy to determine that a near planetary alignment occurred in 3102 B.C. After performing the laborious calculations needed to discover this, they then invented the fictitious era of Kali yuga and convinced the entire subcontinent of India that this era had been going on for some three thousand years. Subsequently many different Puranas were written in accordance with this chronology, and people all over India became convinced that these works..were really thousands of years old.
One might ask why anyone would even think of searching for astronomical alignments over a period of thousands of years into the past and then redefining the history of an entire civilization on the basis of a particular discovered alignment. It seems more plausible to suppose that the story of Kali yuga is genuine, that the alignment occurring at its start is a matter of historical recollection, and that the Puranas really were written prior to the beginning of this era.
FATALISM AND THE VEDAS
A popular misconception is that inevitability and predetermination stifle Vedic culture, suppressing the human capacity for creative initiative and opportunism. Many think the Vedic cycles share the fatalism associated with Babylonian, Egyptian, and Mayan cosmologies. Stanley Jaki, a Benedictine priest who holds doctorates in both physics and theology, has made an extensive study of time in ancient cosmology. He compares the Vedic cycles to an inescapable treadmill, which transfixes the people in a stupor of resignation and powerlessness. Therefore he opines, the hallmark of Vedic culture is despair and despondency.
Jaki tells us the story of a Mayan people, the Itza, whose leaders informed two Spanish missionaries that on a particular date eighty years in the future, an age of calamities would beset the tribe. The missionaries devotedly informed the conquistadors. Right on schedule – eighty years later – a small contingent of Spanish soldiers appeared. The Itza, though well armed and numerically superior, immediately surrendered without a fight. This docility in the face of predetermined adversity is said to hamper all cyclic cultures.
Nothing could be further from the Vedic truth. The Vedas emphasize our executing prescribed social, familial, and occupational duties in all circumstances – whether the tide is with you or not. Vedic culture does not bind us to an inescapable treadmill of despair and despondency. Instead, it offers the joyous key to something immeasurably superior. Vedic seers want us to grasp that material existence as a whole is deadening – whether cyclic or linear, heavenly or miserable. The entirety of matrerial existence is the drearytreadmill. But perhaps because we know nothing better, we do protest when material existence is devalued.
To begin with, there is no harm in getting a good weather report. The Vedic presentation of Kali yuga purports to be just that. A modest, restrained approach to the world of yuga cycles would be to see how much the predictions of Kali yuga are actually visible in today’s world.
When people hear that rain is forecast, they carry an umbrella. But still they energetically go about their affairs. Foreknowledge of impending disasters would most likely increase their effectiveness, not decrease it.
Contributed by: Subash Marathe
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