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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Time, is it Cyclical or Linear – A fresh look at Indian Yug system

The primer
In Sanskrit, the language of ancient India, time and death are synonymous and called Kaal. If we examine this closely, we see that it is not a coincidence. Time indeed means decay and death. Everything decays with time and dies once its life span is over.
History abounds with civilizations and cultures which were once mighty and powerful and are today only a pale shadow of their former glory. They flourished, reached the pinnacle of their glory, and then slowly died.
In India many thousands of years ago some very remarkable and exceptional men reached a level of self realization which enabled them to understand the mystery of creation and the laws which govern and sustain it. These men were known as Rishis. These were the men to whom all the knowledge that we humans needed or would ever need was revealed as the Vedas. In their higher state of consciousness, these ascended masters could intuitively see the devastating effect of time on humans and their achievements and knew that unless steps were taken to safeguards it, the knowledge that they had would be lost over a period of time.
Vedas are called Shruti. It means something heard. The knowledge was revealed as the spoken word and was committed to memory by those receiving it. Written records can fall into wrong hands so the first step was to pass it on from generation to generation as memorized word. The easiest way to commit something to memory is by developing it into a rhyme or ditty. The sum total of knowledge was thus converted to thousands of verses and rhymes. These rhymes were called Richa and Sootra.
The language and selection of words of these Richas is such that each one can be interpreted in a number of ways. Generally every important Richa can have as many as six meanings. A person with gross intelligence will get only the literal meaning which is often unimportant. An ascended master on the other hand will be able to explain the real, ( intellectual and spiritual) meaning. It is for this reason that most English translations of Sanskrit works appear to be dull and meaningless.
This had to be done as some portions of this knowledge were meant for only those who had reached the appropriate state of maturity and enlightenment.
The information was thus handed down from generation to successive generation. People of exceptional mental caliber were chosen to remember Richas and Sootra. In this way the ascended masters negated the negative impact of time on available knowledge. It is because of this that Indian civilization and Vedic philosophy have emerged unscathed across a gaping chasm of time lasting twenty four thousand years at the very least. 

Depending upon their spiritual and intellectual caliber, some people could remember and reproduce all four Vedas, some three, two or one respectively. They were known as Chaturvedis, Trivedis, Dwivedis and Vedis. Their descendents are still known by these names and enjoy a high status in Indian society.
To make the less sensitive information available to masses, Upanishads and Bhashyas (commentary) were written.
For people with somewhat lower mental caliber Upanishads were further simplified into Puran. Two epics Ramayana and Maha-Bharat were penned by the Rishis and these condense the wisdom of the Vedas into simple, easy to understand stories and parables.
It is from this most ancient and remarkable civilization that we get the Yug system.
To be continued……

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