A 21st Century Renaissance by Aligning Human Time Cycles with Rta of the VedA

By Jayant Kalawar January 10th 2022

Time as change in perceived state

This note begins with how I think the sense of time arises in the human mind. I explore how it may have been different in the past in India by describing how time was measured in different ways. I then describe how sense of time changed in the 16th century, which led to massive changes across the globe. I begin by describing how the sense of time may be changing in the 21st century and how it may be negatively impacting human well-being.

Many of us are on social media every day. We notice changes of the view in our account with new entries, whether on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Each such change comes with a time stamp. We may not read the time stamp. But we register that the state has changed. What we are viewing on social media is a customized slice of data in massive data bases stored as bytes (of eight bits each). The state of bytes keep changing in fractions of seconds on such massive data bases. Socially we are now living in space where collectively we make changes to the state (of the data bases) at speeds which individual human minds cannot comprehend.

This lack of being able to comprehend rapid change of state (too much information?) seems to result in individuals not being able to make sense of the world they live in. Collectively it may lead humans to not being able to have a shared narrative to act out what may be a meaningful theater of life that gives a sense of human flourishing to most, if not all humans.

The breakdown in capacity to produce shared narratives may be based in humans not being able to be in rhythm with the accelerated speed of social time in the 21st century.

Rta of the VedA, the rhythms of Cosmic Manifestations

It may be helpful to start with a caveat that what I say is highly speculative, based on very limited information. And that limit is within the highly limited capacity of humans to know the Cosmos, most of which is beyond access to the 5 ways of sensing that the human species is endowed with.

I am presenting Rta as a different way of sensing time. It is a different way of sensing time, than the one we are used to in the 21st century. In the 21st century we sense time in terms of social contracts we have entered into. A contract to work, to attend school, to see a patient, get a haircut. These are all social contracts among humans. Time is sensed in terms of change of state of contracts among humans. If the work contract on an assembly line requires production of 3 widgets per muinute, time is sensed in terms of whether the contract was met or not.

This way of sensing time became the norm post this so-called European Enlightenment, when modern Humans became the de facto center of the Cosmos. Individual and group desires of modern Humans became the focus of our lives. The constitution of a nation-state is an example of a social contract franework, albeit among the elites who have drawn it up (sometimes called the Constituent Assembly) on behalf of the citizens of the nation. All the citizens then develop their own contracts amongst themselves within the overarching framework of this social contract framework called the Constitution. Since this “European Enlightenment” in the 16th century such Constituitional frameworks have been developed to be human centric and specifically disconnected from the Cosmos. Only humans seem to exist for purposes of the Constitution, which is supposed to be the foundation of the nation-state. Individual and groups of citizens then develop their own contracts amongst themselves within the overarching framework of this social contract framework called the Constitution.

Tracking each tiny movement towards or away from fruition of these desires became the obsession of these particular social contracts among individuals and groups. That is the sense of time that most Humans live in. Now in the 21st century, now down to micro seconds with a combination of computing and communication technologies. This level of time tracking is beyond comprehension by Human mental cycles. For example, fast paced gaming videos playing on virtual reality devices in what is now increasingly labeled the metaverse. It should not be a wonder that humans increasingly are not able to differentiate between reality and fiction.

Does the VedA have guidance for us?

The word Rta appears more than 390 times[i] in the Rig version of the VedA. As with any word, Rta has been interpreted in multiple ways. Here I am interpreting Rta as an articulation of a certain regularity of  pattern of change in whatever it is that humans are perceiving. We experience time through these patterns of change that we notice.

The Insight-givers (Rishis) of the Rig Veda[ii] observed these patterns and guidance on how to align with these patterns of change, Rta, followed. The ‘how to align’ attempts to provide structure to align with time cycle pattern that Humans perceive at various levels. The intention was to provide guidance on how to live harmoniously with the Cosmos. Networks of such Rta aligning structures may be seen as DharmA: that which supports Humans to live harmoniously with the Cosmos.

Insights of the Rishis as given in the Veda (Rig, Saam, Yajur and Atharva) were distilled in the Upanishads. The Rig Veda has 10,600 verses. There is one Upanishad associated with Rig Veda: Aitereya Upanishad[iii], which has 33 verses. Such concentrated distillation of the wisdom of the VedA can make it challenging for many people to understand the gist

The Upanishads[iv] in turn became the basis for developing DarshanAs. Each DarshanA[v] presents a specific model of how Humans function in the Cosmos. One such DarshanA is Vedanta. And within Vedanta, there is Advaita VedAnta.

In this note I am using the (to the best of my limited knowledge) Advaita VedAnta DarshanA, as articulated by Adi ShankarAcharya, to first describe the place of Humans in the Cosmos. And then to describe the different types of Cosmic patterns, Rta, observed by Humans, to which they may attempt to align with. For these descriptions from within Advaita VedAnta teachings, I use the lens of pulsations, SpandanA from Kashmir Shaivism.

The Human Manifestation: A highly simplified Advaita VedAnta Perspective

There is one singular Cosmic pulsation. A pulsation is a rhythmic pattern of expansion and contraction. The rhythmic pulsation gives rise to sense of time in the Human observer.

Desires arise within this one singular Cosmic pulsation.

One of these desires is to manifest and enjoy play as Human on the Cosmic playground of innumerable manifest desires as Human.

The singular Cosmic pulsation takes on a role of non-acting, non-judgemental Witness, the Sakshi, as this Human manifestation arises.

The desire to be Human gives rise to a Knowledge pulsation that is described as the Intellect.

The Knowledge pulsation arises out of the Sakshi, the Witness pulsation. It is dependent on the Witness pulsation, which is in turn an integral aspect of the singular Cosmic pulsation. Disturbances arise in the Knowledge pulsation. These disturbances are thoughts arising and receding withing the Knowledge pulsation. Thoughts are transient. Being transient, Knowledge based on transient thoughts are considered less real. They may have certain patterns. One of the key thought pattern that arises is the ‘I’ ness (Aham kArA), the ‘I am”. But the transient nature of these thought patterns makes the patterns less reliable as guide to understanding truths about the Cosmos (when compared to the complete unchanging steadiness of the Sakshi, the Witness). The ‘I am’ thought pattern also rises and recedes. But through memory capacity gives a false sense of independent continuity and hence a false sense of separate identity.

Out of the Knowledge Pulsation arise the five Sense pulsations, each with its specific limited functional capabilities to connect with a subset of the innumerable other manifestations, which we know of as objects outside of us, in the Cosmos.

Out of the collective of the five Sense pulsations arises the manifestation of pulsations of the physical body. The physical body pulsations have the capacity to inter-act with a certain narrow range of what Humans perceive as object manifestations in the Cosmos.

The Knowledge pulsation together with the Sense pulsations observe the patterns in the object manifestations. The patterns in the physical body manifestations are also observed. However, the Knowledge pulsation is unable to have knowledge of itself until and unless there is guidance to withdraw and observe its own thought patterns.

This is a very highly simplified[vi] description of the pulsation constituents of that makes for being Human. This background is the basis for the description of how Rta was observed and how actions of the physical body to align with these objective Cosmic patterns were designed and practiced within Indic traditions.

I present examples three of the patterns which were observed as time cycles in the Indian traditions and ways to align with Rta: 1. Astronomical patterns for managing social and economic movement in time: time keeping through movement of Sun and Moon in the background of Asterisms, including calendrical time. 2. Thought patterns to manage individual actions in time: The entanglement of breath patterns with thought patterns. 3. Patterns of hormonal cycles to manage individual physical body: example of menstrual cycle. For each of these examples we will explore how the Veda based Rta based Dharma actions worked and then note what is happening now in the 21st century.

Rta of the GrahAs: Patterns of the Sun, Moon and the Stars

Human in India pick up patterns of Sky movements of the Sun and the Moon in the background of the Stars. They notice patterns on Earth which apparently correlate to the patterns in the Sky.

Sun and the seasons. Moon and the tides.

Then they figure out that the patterns change from when they north to south, east to west.

They come up with a way to measure the movement of the Moon vis a vis the Sun. It takes 30 Sun rises for the Moon to be with the Sun, approximately. They figure Moon is going around in circles. That means the Moon moves ahead about 12 deg ahead of the Moon between 2 Sunrises. But the Moon has a wobble and it intersects the Sun’s apparent rotation around the Earth at about an angle of 5 deg twice a month. Once when it goes from South to North (they named in Rahu, the north node) and then when it goes from the North to South (they named in Ketu, the south node). How to keep track of all this on a daily basis and almost every village? They were also aware of the precession of the Earth and the nutation of the precession angle itself, based on their observation of how the apparently fixed North Star changed over millennia.

How was this complex time keeping accomplished? By having a disciplined group do the daily work of time keeping through observations of the sky at each big village in every area of human habitation in India. How was this done without building out monasteries and institutions which require state patronage? It was done by creating norms of having Brahmans, a group of people who committed themselves to being disciplined to be up every day to measure the number of degrees that the Moon had traveled since the previous Sunrise. They did this three times a day, every day: Sunrise, when the Sun was at the zenith in the sky and at Sunset. The procedure they followed was called SandhyA VandanA: connecting to the sky at the conjunctions of the Sun with particular positions of the sky. In modern terms Sandhya VandanA is called a ritual. It was a procedure designed to maintain time keeping operation on a daily basis across the geography of India. The Sandhya VandanA procedure and other such procedures were designed to help manage many time cycles. This particular procedure, SandhyA VandanA, was designed to enable social time keeping cycles through daily observation of the sky map. These daily observations were meticulously collated into PanchAng (roughly translated as almanac). Each geographical area had its own PanchAng, which was then shared and coordinated across the areas through the regional King’s court.

What were the social and economic benefits of such social time keeping? A shared social time keeping system is a central core to coordinating work and social interactions between working groups and families. PanchAng was used to inform people when to prepare the fields, sow, irrigate, harvest. It was used to set the local market days and times, to identify marriage seasons so that they would not overlap with work seasons. This social time keeping was one of the corner stones of India having been productive and socially and economically stable until the advent of “European Enlightenment”[vii].

The productive and socially and economically stable conditions in India were a reflection of the attempt at designing and implementing a way of living that would align with Rta, the Cosmic cycles. The Rig VedA promises that when Humans align with the Cosmic cycles, the Rta, they are rewarded with abundance, health and capacity to collaborate and minimize harm to each other and the environment[viii].

Brahmans were assigned the role of keeping time, which required strict daily discipline and austere life (including need for social distancing to minimize being ill), since they had to perform certain procedures and make key observations every day, beginning before dawn. Their cumulative services were required by all the people together and not just people local to a village. In return they were assured protection by the King from any harm, they were given a small allowance for their time keeping services. In addition, they were given the function of teaching in PathshAlAs, schools. Since they were trained to be keen observers, they also developed Ayurveda, using which they could also offer services as healers.

Brahmans passed on their knowledge generation to generation by practicing partial endogamy. Partial, because the norm was that the sons could go East to offer their services to Kings and villages which did not have time keepers. There they could marry a local woman and start a family. The norm was that Brahman women were married to Brahman men to the West. So the Vedic frontier expanded to the East beyond India through this process of Brahman sons going East to offer services and marrying locally. It was through such service based knowledge transfer that Vedic guidance that aligning with Rta would make for a harmonious way of life came to be in Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and other South East Asian countries[ix], without invasions or mass migrations out of India.

The fading away of processes to align life with Rta

There may have been push backs within Indic traditions to the claim that attempting to living a life through alignment with Rta is sufficient to ensure harmonious life (that it is necessary was not challenged) makes for harmony by the Uttara Mimamsins more than 3 millennia ago and later during the time of the Buddha about 500 BCE. The series of Islamic invasions from about 1100 CE onwards caused many dislocations, but did not displace the Rta based time keeping processes in India. It was British colonization, which brought with it a highly centralized way of time keeping that finally put paid to the highly de-centralized process of Brahmans being the time keepers through daily observations wrapped in strict discipline of an austere life.

The Gregorian Calendar reform of 1582 by the Roman Catholic Church was a key factor in displacing the central time keeping role of Brahmans in India. Jesuits who led the calendar reform committee on behalf of the Church went to Kerala in India[x], to be trained in Vedanga Jyotisha, which form the basis of forming sky maps and measuring and developing accurate almanacs.

With the Gregorian Calendar reform of 1582, Europe had the timekeeping corner stone required for social and material abundance that India had enjoyed for many millennia prior. That followed in 1600 the establishment of the British East India Company. By about 1800, the British Greenwich Meant Time became the central time keeper for the global commercial world. The Human centered world of social contracts was firmly in control. The world of the Rta, the process of alignment with Rta, the Cosmic patterns, the way of life for a large fraction of humans, under the guidance of the VedA, faded into the foggy past. As if to make sure that this way of life of alignment with Cosmic cycles would not re-emerge, Brahmans were and continue to be vilified as the evil ones. But for the British East India Company’s benign exploitation of India and it people to a level of poverty and famine unseen before (by moving them into opium cultivation in Bengal and Bihar and cotton cultivation in Gujarat for example), India would still have been a backward degenerate dark hole of humanity, if we are to believe western scholars.

From then on Time arose from social contracts with Humans as center of the Cosmos. No longer in sync with the Cosmic cycles.

The global impact of the disconnection from the Cosmic cycles, the Rta, through social contract driven Time, has been death in three acts of ecocide, fratricide (from the Mother Divine’s perspective we are all Her children, hence fratricide rather than genocide seems more appropriate) and suicide[xi].

Rta of Body and Mind: Entangled Cycles of Breath and Thoughts

As the process of attempting to align with Cosmic time cycles receded into the fog of social memory, the time cycles spawned by social contracts, with a human centered cosmos, led to increased disturbance in individual and group physical and mental health.

Civilization arising out of the VedA not only speaks to the Cosmic time cycles as observed by the sense pulsations in space, it also speaks to the Cosmic time cycles in the physical human body and the human mind. For Cosmic time cycles permeate every pulsation. These different Cosmic time cycles are entangled with each other.

The time cycles of the human mind are experienced as thought patterns. Thoughts cycles are closely connected breath cycles. As breath cycles slow down, so do thought cycles. As the frequency of breath cycles slows down and their amplitude grows (deeper in and out breaths), the frequency of thought cycles slows down and the amplitude of thought increases (enabling keener observation with deeper insights).

As first two steps, of the Sandhya Vandana procedure to monitor the Cosmic time cycles that the Brahmans performed three times every day, were Surya Namaskar (a physical movement to align the physical body cycles) and then praNAyAma, exercises to slow down frequency of thoughts, while increasing amplitude (insight depth) of individual thought.

Surya Namaskar is a series of postures from the discipline of the Indic tradition of Hatha Yoga. As are the particular PrAnAyam steps that are integrated into the Sandhya VandanA procedure.

As malaise rose in the social contracts based human centric world, there have been attempts to graft Hatha Yoga based procedures on to modern lifestyles. They fail to deliver. The intention of performing the procedures is not to align with Cosmic cycles. In the modern usage, it is an attempt to perform better in the world of human centric social contracts time cycles which is alienated / disassociated from the Cosmic cycles.

The guidance in the VedA is that for blessings of abundant flourishing to be showered, alignment with Cosmic time cycles is required. Offering / giving up / sacrificing of human desires that are obstacles in the way of  such alignment with Cosmic time cycles is required to  prepare and enable humans to align with the Cosmic time cycles. This process of offering / giving up / sacrificing of obstacle making desires is Yajnya. Yajnya thus becomes a pre-requisite to attempting to function in consonance with Rta, the Cosmic time cycles.

In the globalized modern world we are far away from even having the intention to align with Cosmic time cycles, Rta. We are even farther away from even beginning to contemplate on which of our desires, ably accelerated by the time cycles of the human centric social contracts world, we may want to offer as sacrifice so that the intention to align with Rta may arise.

In the meanwhile, we have high thought frequencies at shallow amplitudes. The Knowledge pulsation in almost all humans is not able to deliver wisdom. It gives rise to dissonance from Rta and the widespread malaise which we are quite familiar with.

Rta of the Hormonal Time Cycles: Menstrual Cycles of the Female Human

I wrote the foreword for Rtu Vidya: Ancient Science behind Menstrual Practices[xii] in 2020. Here is an extract from it:

“I do not mean that as an empty flourish. The female human plays a most critical role in the flourishing of the human manifestation. Yet, modernity completely subsumes woman’s roe as the creatrix and mother, by putting gross material flourishing on the pedestal. All metrics which govern our modern way of life, whether in terms of time or effort (think productivity, efficiency, effectiveness etc.) makes us focus on exploitation of what modernity deems to be resources for material production and consumption. Menstruation plays a central role in a woman’s life cycle. The technology to manage and suppress menstrual cycles so that women’s bodies are free to shift the focus on increasing material productivity (marketed as economic freedom) is a central toxic hallmark of modernity. And we are all participants in sustaining these modern processes. Many of us are actively subverting any opposition to modernity (and how it shapes women, whether through the stance of ‘conservative’ modernity or ‘progressive’ modernity) that may arise from competing cultural paradigms that describe creative roles women play in human flourishing. Rtu Vidya offers a competing vision of humans and women to the one offered up by the modern paradigm. As the book gets traction and attention, it is likely to attract vehement opposition from many moderns who see freedom only in narrow economic terms and in effect as the unbounded opportunity to bond ourselves to the treadmill of ever increasing material efficiency demanded as sacrifice at the altar of Capital.”

As the reader may have noticed, Civilization based on VedA provides guidance on aligning with Cosmic time cycles at thought, sensory, hormonal and physical levels. One of the key time cycles for Humans are the endocrine (hormonal) cycles. We know of the Circadian rhythm, the 24 hour time cycle in Humans (and most mammals) which is aligned with the Earth’s rotation and the apparent revolution of the Sun around the Earth. Disruption of that key alignment is known to cause “decreased cognitive performance and increased propensity to develop obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Many hormonal factors show robust diurnal secretion rhythms, some of which are involved in mediating clock output from the brain to peripheral tissues.”[xiii] We are also aware of that the human centric social contracts based time cycle has disregarded alignments with all Cosmic cycles. While there have been research on impact of disruption of Circadian rhythms on humans, the research of impact of disruption of menstrual cycles on women is not done. Research is done on how best to regulate and / or suppress menstrual cycles and therefore disrupt the hormonal cycles in women, so that they become available to provide labor to the social contracts focused time cycles.

The book Rtu Vidya describes practices based on principles of Rta alignment from the VedA that were designed to ensure menstrual health. While women from living Indic cultures are likely to benefit most from this book, I would suggest women from other cultures may see this book as a way to critique and change menstrual practices in their own cultures to align them better with the Cosmic cycles and ensure better menstrual health.

So where do we go from here?

We are where we are. Perhaps we are at a fork in the road: lets imagine there are three alternate routes to choose from: one is to keep muddling along as we are, do nothing. Second may be to hope techno financiers will lead us into a techno utopia and we can build ourselves an artificial world and make ourselves into transhumans (half human half machine) to adapt into the artificial world with its artificial time cycles[xiv]. The third may be to attempt to renew the effort to align with the Cosmic time cycles.

Here I will address the third alternative.

We cannot go back to a point a couple of millennia ago, when there seems to have been a serious attempt made to socially organize to be in consonance with Rta. We can learn from that experience. We can see where we are today. And then begin with the intention that we want to once again begin to focus on being aligned with the Cosmic cycles at all levels. And be open to judiciously using current technology to do so.

A practical way to begin in this direction may be to fully restore alignment with the circadian rhythm for all humans (will require substantial change in current economic structure, which functions 24/7/365), along with metabolic cycles (implying nutritious food available to all, but would imply substantial change to the current food growing, prep and delivery system) and support for menstrual health for women through alignment with their cycles (would require substantial changes in work and career related expectations for women).

At the individual level one may begin with aligning breathing pattern with thought pattern, with low frequency and high amplitude.

My take away from this note is that the chances for social harmony among humans may be enhanced by human individuals and groups sacrificing their desires that conflict with the effort required to align with Cosmic time cycles. The guidance on how to align with Rta is all down to earth and practical suggestions. They are neither esoteric nor mystical. Also, while may be a partial solution, based on historical experience, it may be the most helpful steps to take towards a new global renaissance.

The Rig Veda says that when Humans align with Rta, they are blessed with abundance at all levels. Humans aligned with Rta cooperate with each other and in unison work together to achieve their shared goal. That leads me to close this note this note with the (very practical down to earth) the last two verses of the Rig Veda (10th Mandala, 191 Sukta, 3&4th verse)[xv] :

3rd Verse:

स॒मा॒नो मन्त्र॒: समि॑तिः समा॒नी स॑मा॒नं मन॑: स॒ह चि॒त्तमे॑षाम् । स॒मा॒नं मन्त्र॑म॒भि म॑न्त्रये वः समा॒नेन॑ वो ह॒विषा॑ जुहोमि ॥
समानो मन्त्रः समितिः समानी समानं मनः सह चित्तमेषाम् । समानं मन्त्रमभि मन्त्रये वः समानेन वो हविषा जुहोमि ॥
samāno mantraḥ samitiḥ samānī samānam manaḥ saha cittam eṣām | samānam mantram abhi mantraye vaḥ samānena vo haviṣā juhomi ||

“May all chant the same mantrAs, may they aspire to the same goals, through shared purpose and desire. I will join in your mantra chanting, I will offer the same sacrifices as you so that we may achieve our shared goals.”

4th Verse:

स॒मा॒नी व॒ आकू॑तिः समा॒ना हृद॑यानि वः । स॒मा॒नम॑स्तु वो॒ मनो॒ यथा॑ व॒: सुस॒हास॑ति ॥
समानी व आकूतिः समाना हृदयानि वः । समानमस्तु वो मनो यथा वः सुसहासति ॥
samānī va ākūtiḥ samānā hṛdayāni vaḥ | samānam astu vo mano yathā vaḥ susahāsati ||

“May all have the same intention and desires in their hearts, may all have similar thoughts so that we may connect and work in unison”

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E1%B9%9Ata “In the Rigveda, the term Ṛta appears as many as 390 times, and has been characterized as “the one concept which pervades the whole of Ṛgvedic thought”.[16] The cosmic order, Ṛta, has three features:[17]

  • Gati, the continuous movement or change.
  • Samghatna, a system based on interdependent parts.
  • Niyati, an inherent order of interdependence and movement.”

[ii] The NAsadiya Sukta of the Rig VedA ( click on this link and scroll down to Text and translation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasadiya_Sukta ) is often quoted as deepest insight of the VedA. Each of its verses is a contemplative ocean. Deep dives into these oceans resulted in the insights embedded in the Upanishads and subsequent development of the TantrAs.

[iii]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aitareya_Upanishad Aitareya Upanishad discusses three philosophical themes: first, that the world and man is the creation of the Atman (Universal Self); second, the theory that the Atman undergoes threefold birth; third, that Consciousness is the essence of Atman.[2]

[iv] http://veda.wikidot.com/upanishads

[v] There are six major DarshanAs http://veda.wikidot.com/shad-darshana

[vi] For those who wish to deep dive, here are two suggestions: a) from Advaita Vedanta perspective https://archive.org/details/Acc.No.13056TattvaBodha1997/page/n23/mode/2up and b) from Kashmir Shaivism pulsations perspective: https://archive.org/details/SpandaKarikaWithHandWrittenNotesKSTS/page/n25/mode/2up

[vii] I use quote marks for “European Enlightenment” to signify that as an outsider I see it as a fountain of epistemic violence unleashed against all outsider cultures, which continues to destroy many millennia of knowledge that human cultures generated. One of the favored epistemic weapons used is to deconstruct, label and analyze those cultures as degenerate, while at the same time be sweetly condescending and patronizing. This is a common weapon in the arsenal of all those practicing currently in Western academia, without exception. Marx’s 1850s formulation of the Asiatic mode of production, his view of the “hereditary village republics” was based on his reading of the British History of India by James Mill. It completely ignored the conceptual world view of the Cosmos based on the VedA that formed the basis of attempting to design a way of life that aligns with Rta, the entangled Cosmic cycles that we dimly observe with the limited cognitive capacity that we as Humans have. After all the Philosopher, Hegel, in 1830, had declared Europe had nothing to learn from Asia. That henceforth it is Europe that is going to teach the world.

[viii]     Those who wish to deep dive into Rig VedA, this Hindi translation may be a useful starting point: https://vedicheritage.gov.in/flipbook/Rigveda_Subodh_Bhasya_Vol_IV/#book/9 . English translations lose the substance and context due to the Western lens used in the translation, which misses out on understanding Vedic view of the Cosmos. See the English translation by H.H. Wilson here (free online) and notice how it interpolates words such as worshippers and gods which are not there in the Rig Veda (use of such words change the meaning of the VedA to fit into Western Theology and dependent ideologies, including those spawned by European Enlightenment).

[ix] Western Scholars such as Sheldon Pollock have wondered how Sanskrit and Vedic ways spread to the South East Asia without invasions. See for example https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520260030/the-language-of-the-gods-in-the-world-of-men .

[x] Pp 331 Raju, C.K. The Eleven Pictures of Time, The Physics, Philosophy, and Politics of Time Belief, SAGE Publications, 2003. “The Jesuit Christoph Clavius who eventually headed the calendar reform committee had studied at Cimbra under Pedro Nunes, the most famous European navigational theorist of the time. Clavius reformed the curriculum of Jesuit priests at Collegio Romano , to introduce (practical) methematics into it, as noted earlier, and himself wrote a text on practical mathematics. From among the first batch of Jesuits, so trained in mathematics and navigation, the most capable , like Matteo Ricci, were sent to collect information about timekeeping from India, to help in Clavius’s reform of the Gregorian calendar.”

[xi] In have described this Death by Three Acts phenomena in my essay: https://www.amazon.com/OUTSIDER-DECONSTRUCTING-EUROPEAN-ENLIGHTENMENT-Death-ebook/dp/B07RHVRV7V

[xii] https://www.amazon.com/%E1%B9%9Atu-Vi%E1%B8%8Dy%C4%81-Ancient-Menstrual-Practices/dp/1649198663

[xiii] https://jme.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/jme/52/1/R1.xml

[xiv] See for example: “The Terraforming is the comprehensive project to fundamentally transform Earth’s cities, technologies, and ecosystems to ensure that the planet will be capable of supporting Earth-like life. Artificiality, astronomy, and automation form the basis of that alternative planetarity.” https://www.amazon.com/Terraforming-Benjamin-Bratton-ebook/dp/B07Y7HD3GR/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3UXRP77WKX9YX&keywords=the+terraforming&qid=1641507304&s=books&sprefix=the+terraforming%2Cstripbooks%2C81&sr=1-2

[xv] Pp 131 https://sanskritdocuments.org/doc_veda/r10.pdf  of Dec 3rd 2021, see 3rd and 4th Verses in Sanskrit. Translation of both verses is mine.

An Outsider Deconstructing European Enlightenment

Devi Cover for Outsider European Enlightenment Kindle 190506

WIth the Devi’s Blessings. Cover art by Jayant Kalawar 2018.

I recently published this essay on Amazon Kindle. Here is a brief summary:

From an outsider’s perspective, European Enlightenment was a brilliant social innovation, which emerged in the 17th century, as a response to the brutally destructive intra-religious wars in Europe. It led to the formation of national governments, financial markets and rapid growth of a certain kind of science and technology. However by the 21st century, that innovation, through its runaway success, has had unintended global consequences of ecocide, fratricide and suicide, particularly impacting those outside of the European sphere. This 60 page essay takes you briefly through the 3000 year history of monotheism in the West, before focusing on the 17th century and the path that has led to the current global systemic crises. The outsider, using the framework of his Devi traditions, offers a compass of hope, to navigate out of the global dystopian scenario charted by European Enlightenment, towards compassion, connection and immersion.

There are quite a few pages open to browse here:

An Outsider Deconstructing European Enlightenment

You may decide to download after browsing.

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Enjoying Aloneness, How it is not Loneliness: A Contemplation

In Deep Conversation with Her Mother 181023

Aum Sri Matre NamahA Thillai Nataraja temple, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu [photo by Santu Brahma] source: tweet by Keerthik Sasidharan @KS1729 on October 1st 2018.


by Jayant Kalawar


Aloneness happens when there is no dependence.

No dependence on possessing things.

No dependence on having any relationships.

No dependence on having any obligations to family, friends, community or society.

No dependence on any give and take transactions.

Loneliness happens when there is dependence on any of those things and one is deprived of them.

Dependence followed by deprivation causes loneliness.

Dependence on owning a car or home takes away from the capacity to be alone. One may own a car or home and yet not be dependent.

Dependence comes from an attachment to a particular object, whether the car or home.

Moving from owning a car today to not owning one tomorrow, in an equanimous way, requires considerable Aloneness capacity.

Aloneness can be cultivated to some extent.

But to have deep and stable Aloneness capacity requires a cognitive shift.

Cognitive shift of how you view yourself, how you view the space and time world around you.


Materialist view of yourself and the world leads to dependency. Dependency on the material.

Materialists cannot be alone.

Religious view of yourself and the world leads to dependency. Dependency on the material and God.

Religious people cannot be alone.

The languages that we use today have emerged from and constrained by materialist and religious views of the world.

The world of the Aloneness cannot be described in the languages we use today.

It can only be contemplated, along the way to disabling our dependencies.

It can only be contemplated as we are enabling the cognitive shift to Aloneness.

To sustain oneself on this path we need the blessings of the Devi. Aum Sri Matre NamahA.


This contemplative note is based on my interpretation of a discourse on certain verses of The Naishkarmya Siddhi of SureshvarA by Swami Shantananda of Chinmaya Vrindavan, Cranbury, NJ on October 25th 2018.


Two Birds on the Tree of Life

Two Birds on the Tree of Life - allan godfrey 180429

Two Birds on the Tree of Life (Photo by Alan Godfrey on Unsplash)

By Jayant Kalawar

Many of you may know about the metaphor used in the Upanishads. Of the two birds on the tree of life.

It is a way of deconstructing ourselves, to become aware of how we function in this world.

We are the two birds. The tree of life is the cosmos we perch on.

One of the birds is the eater bird. The other is the observer bird.

The eater bird has desires and it has fears to match its desires. It desires to eat the fruits it sees on the cosmic tree. It starts by eating what is nearest to it. Then its appetite increases and it hops to other branches. Higher branches, with apparently big juicy fruit. We start by only wanting to eat, be just about warm and to sleep. Then we want to have fun. Then we want to have social status: more food, more house, more car, more degrees, more fashion statements, more show-off. Many of us want to have children. We want them to maintain and increase our social status. We do this every day and night. We are either nibbling or grasping off the cosmic tree or we are plotting and planning how to eat more and more.

The eater bird starts triggering its fears as soon as it starts desiring. What if I do not get to the fruit. What if some other eater bird grabs the fruit before I can eat it all. What if there is no more fruit on the branch I am on. What if I cannot jump to the higher branches. What if other eater birds knock me off this branch. What if they do not let me get on to another branch. What if. What if.

Those are the fears we carry with us all the time. Free floating anxieties. Many times those fears come true. It is an uncertain world out there. We, as eater birds, have very little control. We may deceive ourselves to believe that we are in control of some part of some fruit. We know we are not in control. And it reinforces our anxieties.

Many of us hear inner voices sagely telling us to stick to what we know. In our comfort zones. Those voices are our fears talking to us. They are telling us how to manage our fears down and make the most of the fruits in hand. We give it fancy names. Managing risks down. Maximizing returns. We feel good that we are sophisticated and modern. We are eater birds on the cosmic tree. Eating fruit we do not own. On which we have very little control on.

And then hopping along with the eater bird part is the observer bird. Always there, besides us. If only we were to look. It is that part of us which has an understanding of the nature of the cosmos and our part in it. When we connect and immerse ourselves in the observer bird part of us, we may be able to calm down our desires. As our desires become minimal, so do our fears. When our fears become minimal, we can sleep better. We are more energized with less.

There are primal desires that never go away. We manifest in this physical body. It comes with the desire to survive. And the other desire most of us come with is the one to procreate. So while we may be able to minimize material and social desires at a personal level, these primal desires of the eater bird need a culture that helps manage these primal desires to a minimal level, without being violent with each other. That is where the personal become social.

The cultural fabric seems to be collapsing in slow motion around us, as science and technology of the material becomes our master, ruling how we live and connect with each other under the guise of Reason. We seem to be slowly but surely becoming even more disconnected from the observer bird part of us.

The challenge is not just at a personal level. It is even more so at a social level. And it is global. Start with a contemplation: what will the world be like to really act out that we desire minimally and flourish as observers of the cosmos. Step back, from time to time, from being an eater bird, and be the part that is naturally you: the quiet observer.

Have a great week.

© 21BanyanTree.com and Jayant Kalawar