Shiva and the Primordial Tradition: From the Tantras to the Science of Dreams This may be a dubious scholarly book as the old NK charged, but the accusers still can’t get straight on the Aryan Invasion issue…
Checking out Advaita is beyond my capacity, so far, so be wary of what I have to say, but I have twenty books on the subject tabled for study, and questions are arising already. What is enlightenment, given this alternate literature and to which of the writers in this field does the term apply. It is late in the day to discover this realm. I must have been in an alternate universe (many buddhists and near buddhists no doubt avoid all contact with ‘Hinduism’, and are oblivious), so my judgment is not reliable.
But my trusty ‘eonic effect’ model is of some help.
As I approach Advaita I suddenly feel the Hindu hatred of buddhists and am already (temporarily) infected. Did this generate my recent attacks on buddhism?
Item: The Book of Undoing by Fred Davis, Direct Pointing to Non-Dual Awareness…Advaita is now a form of therapy with a sideline for the Twelve Step Recovery world. Question mark. Someone else will have to provide the answer.
I often reread Danielou’s books to remind myself of the mystery of Indian religious history. He had local unnamed Indian contacts, and his account is unusual. That author’s books may be as dubious as the mainstream ones he tends to indirectly critique.
You may reach enlightenment and still be confused, it seems.
But Danielou is worth reading in case you think you understand the history of Hinduism/Buddhism. It is a VAST universe of so many different strains that noone understands it all. And a lot of commentary even from so-called experts is pervaded with basic errors. My point today is that I often get disoriented by Indian spiritual history. It is almost impossible to get any of it straight. Danielou speaks of a Shaivite revival from the third century BCE onward, something not even mentioned in most books. A whole series of things like that. Maybe nonsense, maybe not.
My point is that basic errors pervade the whole subject. You are then subject to them. If, like me, you step outside you can correct those errors, but it is not a good prospect. So each point of the traditions liable to wrong thinking. (A good example is the real history of Mahayana)…I am ostracized by all the various traditions, plus the sufistic. Why? uppity westerner, won’t say heil hitler on demand.
Clearly I am better off outside the whole game of new age garbage dumps.
Here’s my general perspective, with some help from Danielou (caveat lector, here, his books however have a key, I think). The eonic effect shows the significance of three epochs in world history, or four including the onset of modernity.
5400 to 3000, 3000 to 600, 600 to 1800, 1800 onward with three century lead ups, over exact dates, perhaps. We don’t know what these epochs are, but they obviously represent in my model phases in a dynamic cycle model. This has NOTHING to do with astrology or the cycles of the Great Year which has totally confused everyone.
The question is, where does Indian spirituality come from and when does it start, or show relative restarts…? What, if any correlations does it show with the epoch starts indicated?
Note that buddhism, a clear offshoot of the general line, shows the system in a clear relative restart after ca. 600 BCE (with a parallel Jain post-Mahavir outcome). Hindus were baffled by buddhism but in the eonic model it is an obvious sideshoot giving birth to an Indian contribution to general globalization, like Israelite monotheism. Note that the year 600 BCE more or less is crucial in both cases: a religious stream initiates and proceeds outwards. Note also the utterly remarkable fact that around 0 BCE both streams start to generate a new more general form. Christianity and Mahayana, the latter being connected to the idea of ‘savior’ religions. We suspect a global connection of both cases.
The model distinguishes ‘stream’ and ‘sequence’ and we can see that the stream of hinduism (?? meaning) can intersect with the larger macro effect as in the Axial Age and generate an entity, buddhism, that is shorn from its roots to become an entity in global civilization.
But we have to ask if there were earlier such interactions, e.g. 3000, 5500 BCE. In fact, the eonic process never touches the same area twice, but that applies to the mainline. We can’t be sure there weren’t ‘Axial Ages’ or intervals in these two phase starting points. It seems unlikely, but we have to remain suspicious, and here Danielou himself notes the connection of Krishna, a pre-Aryan figure (?) to 3000 BCE, along with a long Jain sequence (?), and then the resemblance of Shiva and Dionysus: was there a kind of Axial Age in the middle Neolithic? Gurdjieff speaks of a pre-sand Egypt and its generation of proto-Christianity ( a dubious claim, but he may have hit on something).
But a close look at the eonic effect makes a proliferation of ‘Axial Ages’ dubious: they follow a very exact pattern. The issue is important because it is rare to see highly advanced entities like Indian religion arising absent a boost from the eonic effect. But those boosts are strictly related to a larger pattern. It could be that a kind of Axial Age synchrony like the later seeded east/west culture/religion in multiple zones, egypt, proto-sumer, india, china….We can’t conclude that but the issue of the source of Indian religion remains.
Answer, we don’t know, but the middle Neolithic is the obvious source of the phenomenon of religion as we know it in later civilization (e.g. the temple religions connected with agriculture we see in the North of Sumer, after 5500 BCE, etc…)
Indian religion shows many signs of a Neolithic signature. We must look at the beautiful legacy of the Shiva religion with its embedded yoga. So, was the ‘primordial Shaivism’ considered by Danielou as the source of the whole of Indian spirituality (proto-shaivism, yoga/tantra, samkhya, jainism), present in the middle Neolithic, with figures like Shiva emerging in parallel with related figures like Dionysus, or the proto-Isis/Osiris cult in Egypt.
We can’t answer the question, but we suspect that primordial shaivism generated the early jainism which is so reminiscent of later buddhism. When? the tradition speaks of 24 teertankers! And the source of the Krishna cult remains obscure.
This is part of the reason for relative restarts like buddhism: the system simply starts over with a related strain. But the vigorous ‘hindu’ milieu carried a huge number of alternates which seem likely to out-survive the now fading buddhism in the epoch after 1800. None of these proliferations will have any system status the way buddhism did (and probably some earlier version of the shiva cult/yoga). It is a pity but we can’t locate the real starting point of what the remnansts of the Shiva cult obviously suggest: it was the source, as Danielou notes, of almost everything that came later.
NK when he was still here suggested the text whose name I forget discussing the diffusions from Sumer. It would resolve many issues if we could locate a single source of later religions in the era of Sumer, or the epoch leading up to it. But it doesn’t seem to work. There is nothing in the Sumerian corpus to suggest either proto-religion of Egypt or that of India.
In any case, the history of Indian religion is misunderstood by everyone. No wonder.
We have already discussed the lineage of Advaita in terms of the axial age and its interval: a remarkable mystery: fromr 900 BCE to 600 BCE we see the eonic system ‘touch’ the stream and spawn the Upanishadic corpus with a related confusing Vedanta (with a lot of ambiguities). The problem is that this larger system correctly sees the red herring of the Vedas (Aryan legacy stuff) and tries to bypass it as it moves via the ‘Upanishadic’ hinduism through the Jain ending in Mahavir and then buddhism. Advaita then has an apparently clear lineage in this system, but….
It is possible that the source of the Indian tradition lies in the Paleolithic and a continuous stream until it encounters the eonic system, but that is just the point, when and where, before buddhism?
There is another possibility: reaching enlightenment was the ‘natural state’ of early homo sapiens, whose diaspora from Africa (one or many) would have reached South India very early and produced early Indic tribes of homo sapiens still able to reach enlightenment naturally. Who knows?
This streamlined account using the eonic effect works remarkably well considering that it has no connection to actual content, but it is still too fuzzy. The full account of India in the Axial Age is almost impossible to figure out. In part because it ‘stepping stones’ between three legacies, the proto-hindu, the jain, and the to-become buddhism. But this system does not create a world religion from hinduism directly. It feeds an ‘upanishadic’ milieu which leads to the field of yogis that produces buddhism in the end.
So it is important to see that the hindu stream is simply a vast disorganization of ‘this and that’, remnants of antiquity, with hard to understand subreligions, that are all localized Indian traditions. In this sprawl we find the legacy of advaita, which suddenly looks to be shorn of its credentials, leaving a question. It is probably close to the core of the real legacy, to be sure, but the overall clarity of the subject is lost here (to say the least). As the lingo goes, jalopy. Advaita is a classic car, but does it really run? Its actual exemplars appear to validate its reality, but Schwartz is already accusing Poonja of creating false exemplars destined to crash and burn (Andrew Cohen for example), and that is very cruel: we are presented with an Indian export given to westerners as a baby pacifier, apparently…
Trust meter goes negative, we should attempt a ruthless examination of Advaita…But it gets a pass via its indirect ‘eonic’ status, but with a reminder that our deft ‘macro system’ which detects a problem with the Vedas, trying to sift out a real core, leaves Advaita with its Vedic trappings, which most yogis ignore anyway.
I will list the books I am looking at:
Brunton: The Direct Path, The Secret Path, Discover Yourself
the Ramana Maharsi corpus, Who am I?
Dennis Waite, Back to the Truth
James Schwartz, 2 books, Hot to Attain Enlightenment,
Vedanta, Vajraprana…various books on Vedanta…
Brunton, The Gift of Grace
Advaita, the truth of non-duality, Iyer
Advaita Vedanta, Deutsch
Enllightenment, the path thru the jungle, Waite
Teaching tradition of Advaita Vedanta, Saraswati
Conversaions on non-duality, edited, Gilbert
The Direct Path, Harvey
Awakening to the Dream Hartog
Wake up and roar Poomja
plus others…in other related fields….