Monday, November 27, 2006

James Bruce finds the Lost Book of Enoch

LEFT: Where Bruce wandered: up the Nile to Ethiopia: This wealthy genius of exploration and science - a six feet four inch, red-headed Scotsman - spent seventeen years in Africa and the Middle East, as a young man. He returned to Europe, with three copies of a "lost" section of the Bible, the Book of Enoch, written Ethiopian. (A copy of the Book of Enoch in Aramic was later found among the Dead Sea Scrolls many years later) Ten years after his return from Ethopia - in 1790 - Bruce published, four large quarto volumes, and a volume of drawings, entitled, Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, in the years 1768-69-70-71-72-73.By James Bruce of Kinnaird, Esq., F.R.S."

40 years later, British Army uses Bruce' maps: "Sir David Baird, while commanding the British troops embarked on the Red Sea, publicly declared that the safety of the army was mainly owing to the accuracy of Mr Bruce's chart of that sea, which some of the critics of the day ventured to insinuate he had never visited. On this subject Bruce is strikingly corroborated by that well-known traveller, Lieutenant Burnes. In a letter written from the Red Sea, so lately as 1835, he says I cannot quit Bruce without mentioning a fact which I have gathered here, and which ought to be known far and wide in justice to the memory of a great and injured man, whose deeds I admired when a boy, and whose book is a true romance. Lord Valentia calls Bruce's voyage to the Red Sea an episodical fiction, because he is wrong in the latitude of an island called 'Macowar,' which Bruce says he had visited. Now this sea has been surveyed for the first time, and there are two islands called 'Macowar;' the one in latitude 23° 50', visited by Bruce, and the other in latitude 20° 45', visited by Valentia! Only think of this vindication of Bruce's memory! Major Head knew it not when he wrote his Life, and it is worth a thousand pages of defence."

A mighty expedition: Bruce was wealthy and took a large team. He took a huge quadrant which required two teams of men to carry it; and he mapped as he went. Bruce also took with him in his travels a telescope, so large, it required six men to carry it. He assigned the following reason to a friend by whom the anecdote was communicated :-" That, exclusive of its utility, it inspired the nations through which he passed with great awe, as they thought he had some immediate connexion with Heaven; and they paid more attention to it than they did to himself."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Angels with ropes in the Lost Book of Enoch

LEFT: Bruce James, who re-discovered three copies of the The Lost Book of Enoch from Ethiopia in some time between 1768 and 1773. The Lost Book of Enoch was a section of the Bible, removed from the set, about 90AD. It contains references to angels with ropes. Many sections of the Bible refer to the Book of Enoch. The Jewish Sanhedrin at Yavneh c. 90 AD the book from its Scriptures. The book was discredited after the (Christian) Council of Laodicea in 364. The Greek text was later lost. The early Christian father Tertullian wrote c. 200 AD that the Book of Enoch was rejected by the Jews, because it contained prophecies about Christ. The Lost (and found) Book of Enoch consists of three versions - called 1Enoch, 2Enoch and 3 Enoch. Fragments of the Book of Enoch in Aramic were later found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Bruce was a Mason - and surprise - where did he live, but in the founding town of the Masons - in Scotland. More on that elsewhere, on this site, later.

Enoch the great-grandfather of Noah:The Biblical genealogies place Enoch as the great-grandfather of Noah. It's time is believed to be 200 B.C.E. to 50 C.E, and some one hundred years earlier. (The section of the Book called "Book of the Watchers" may date from the third century BCE). The Book of Enoch chapter 68:1 "And after that my great-grandfather Enoch gave me all the secrets in the book and in the parables which had been given to him, and he put them together for me in the words of the book of the parable".

Noah, of a black family, born albino? The Book of Enoch (1) also says Noah was from a black family, and born "white" or albino. "The Book of Enoch (translated from Ethiopic by Richard Laurence, London, 1883) names ropes and angels, and gives very clear descriptions of astronomical processes, in the form of the teachings of an older man to his son; in which he recalls lessons passed on to him by his grandfather. These include instructions received from "angels", and "dreams" and reinterpretation of "dreams". The "dreams" read in some cases like the parables of Jesus. Other chapters give explicit instructions of methods on how to register the path of the sun and the moon throughout the year, with the use of "gates".

The Lost Book of Enoch a secret text: "The Enochian writings, in addition to many other writings that were excluded (or lost) from the Bible (i.e., the Book of Tobit, Esdras, etc.) were widely recognized by many of the early church fathers as "apocryphal" writings. The term "apocrypha" is derived from the Greek word meaning "hidden" or "secret". Originally, the import of the term may have been complimentary in that the term was applied to sacred books whose contents were too exalted to be made available to the general public". David Chariot "" posted in alt.religion.christian.pentecosta 07/22/2000 wrote:" In Dan. 12:9-10 we hear of words that are shut up until the end of time and, words that the wise shall understand and the wicked shall not. In addition, 4 Ezra 14:44ff. mentions 94 books, of which 24 (the OT) were to be published and 70 were to be delivered only to the wise among the people (= apocrypha)".

Lost Book of Enoch already a copy of a copy?: Some hold that the earliest Ethiopic text was apparently made from a Greek manuscript of the Book of Enoch, which itself was a copy of an earlier text. (this is vehemently disputed by Ethiopian scholars and clergy, who insist that, since the only complete text of Enoch to surface so far is in Ethiopic, whereas the Aramaic and Greek copies exist only in separate and incomplete fragments, in their view proving their claim that this was the original language written by Enoch himself.) Those follow the "copy theory" say the original was apparently written in Semitic language, now thought to be Aramaic.

Dead Sea Scrolls reveal Aramic version: The R.H. Charles edition was published in 1912. In the following years several portions of the Greek text surfaced. Then, with the discovery of cave 4 of the Dead Sea Scrolls, seven fragmentary copies of the Aramaic text were discovered. The Astronomical Book, ( of the Book of Enoch) like the Book of Watchers, may date from the third century BCE; the oldest copy of it seems to have been made not long after 200 BCE. Sizable portions of the text were preserved on four copies, written in Aramaic, from Qumran cave 4. The Aramaic original appears to have been much different and much longer than the Ethiopic text, adding far more astronomical details," wrote James C. Vanderkam,

Originally written in either Hebrew or Aramaic? The book was originally written in either Hebrew or Aramaic, perhaps both, but it survives in complete form only in Ethiopic (Ge'ez), and in fragmentary form in Aramaic, Greek (1:1-32:6; 6:1-10:14; 15:8-16:1; 89:42-49; 97:6-104), and Latin (106:1-18)." "The materials in I Enoch range in date from 200 B.C.E. to 50 C.E. I Enoch contributes much to intertestamental views of angels, heaven, judgment, resurrection, and the Messiah. This book has left its stamp upon many of the NT writers, especially the author of Revelation." Craig A. Evans, Noncanonical Writings and New Testament Interpretation, (1992) p. 23).

Existed before Jesus - but how long before? Discoveries of copies of the book among the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran prove that the book was in existence before the time of Jesus Christ. The Seven ancient scrolls, written in Aramaic, Herbrew, and Greek, were discovered by Bedouin shepherds in 1947, 13 miles east of Jerusalem turned out to be from the period between 200 B.C. and A.D. 68. John Noble Wilford writing in the The New York Times August 16, 2006, reported the two Israeli archaeologists who have excavated Dead Sea site the site on and off for more than 10 years now assert that Qumran had nothing to do with the Essenes or a monastery or the scrolls. It had been a pottery factory. By the time the Romans destroyed Qumran in A.D. 68 in the Jewish revolt, the archaeologists concluded, the settlement had been a center of the pottery industry for at least a century. Before that, the site apparently was an outpost in a chain of fortresses along the Israelites' eastern frontier. The date of the original writing upon which the second century B.C. Qumran copies were based is shrouded in obscurity. It is, in a word, old.

Very, very, very old: Can the book really contain the authentic words of the ancient biblical patriarch Enoch? He would have lived (based on the chronologies in the Book of Genesis) several thousand years earlier than the first known appearance of the book attributed to him. The Book of Jude tells us in vs. 14 that "Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied..." Jude also, in vs. 15, makes a direct reference to the Book of Enoch (2:1), where he writes, "to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly..." The time difference between Enoch and Jude is approximately 3400 years.

Authentic material: The twentieth-century discovery of several Aramaic Enochian texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls prompted Catholic scholar J.T. Milik to compile a complete history of the Enochian writings, including translations of the Aramaic manuscripts. Milik's 400-page book, published in 1976 by Oxford J. T. Milik, ed. and trans., The Books of Enoch: Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976.

The first English translation: "The Book of Enoch remained in darkness until 1821, when the long years of dedicated work by a professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford were finally rewarded with the publication of the first ever English translation of the Book of Enoch. The Reverend Richard Laurence, Archbishop of Cashel, had labored for many hundreds of hours over the faded manuscript in the hands of the Bodleian Library, carefully substituting English words and expressions for the original Geez, while comparing the results with known extracts, such as the few brief chapters preserved in Greek by Syncellus during the ninth century." Andrew Collins, From the Ashes of Angels - The Forbidden Legacy of a Fallen Race (1996) p. 21

What's in the Book: "As it now stands, I Enoch appears to consist of the following five major divisions:
(1) The Book of the Watchers (chaps. 1-36);
(2) The Book of the Similitudes (chaps. 37-7l)-,
(3) The Book of Astronomical Writings (chaps. 72-82);
(4) The Book of Dream Visions (chaps. 83-90); and
(5) The Book of the Epistle of Enoch (chaps. 91-107)."
Craig A. Evans, Noncanonical Writings and New Testament Interpretation, (1992) p. 23

"Chaps. 1-36 The Book of the Watchers may date from the third century BCE. Parts of its text have been identified on several copies from Qumran cave 4; the earliest fragmentary manuscript (4QEnocha) dates, according to the editor J.T. Milk, to between 200 and 150 BCE. All Qumran copies are in the Aramaic language." James C. Vanderkam Chaps. 72-82

Chapter 60 of the lost Old Testament Bible Book of Enoch

One example, of angel guides and "ropes":

"1. In those days I beheld long ropes given to those angels; who took to their wings, and fled, advancing towards the north.

2. And I inquired of the angel, saying, Wherefore have they taken those long ropes, and gone forth? He said, They are gone forth to measure.

3. The angel, who proceeded with me, said, These are the measures of the righteous; and cords shall the righteous bring, that they may trust in the name of the Lord of spirits for ever and ever.

4. The elect shall begin to dwell with the elect.

5. And these are the measures which shall be given to faith, and which shall strengthen the words of righteousness.

6. These measures shall reveal all the secrets in the depth of the earth".

More ropes in Chapter 69;

1. After this the name of the Son of man, living with the Lord of spirits, was exalted by the inhabitants of the earth.

2. It was exalted in the chariots of the Spirit; and the name went forth in the midst of them.

3. From that time I was not drawn into the midst of them; but he seated me between two spirits, between the north and the west, where the angels received their ropes, to measure out a place for the elect and the righteous.

4. There I beheld the fathers of the first men, and the saints, who dwell in that place for ever.

2Enoch: "2 Enoch, or the Slavonic Apocalypse of Enoch, was written late first century C.E. in Egypt by a Jew. It survives only in late Old Slavonic manuscripts. It may have been composed originally in Aramaic or Hebrew, later being translated into Greek, and later still being translated into Old Slavonic. It is an amplification of Gen 5:21-32 (from Enoch to the Flood)", wrote Craig A. Evans, in his Noncanonical Writings and New Testament Interpretation, (1992) p. 23.

The rediscovery of the Lost Book of Enoch (1): Called "Ethiopian Enoch" or "1 Enoch"; it was re-discovered for Europe by James Bruce. After six years, and a great adventure he returned to Europe, but his story was so fantastic he was not believed. The amusing - Adventures of Baron Munchausenwas written purposely to make fun of Bruce. Ten years after his return he wrote, from his notes, a five volume work of his six years in Africa. Travels to discover the source of the Nile, in the years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772 and 1773, in 5 volumes. The references to the Books of Enoch are in the second volume, chapter 7.

How the book got lost: All the writers of the New Testament were familiar with the Book of Enoch, and for the early church fathers it had the weight of a canonical book. But by the fourth century it became unpopular, and was soon lost to Western Christianity. It would have remained lost forever, but in 1768, James Bruce of Kinnaird, a famous classical scholar and Freemason, began a five year expedition to Ethiopia and brought back not one, but three manuscripts of The Book of Enoch. One is preserved in the Bodleian Library, another was presented to the royal library of France (the nucleus of the Bibliothèque nationale), the third was kept by Bruce.

Suppressed by the early Church: The Book of Enoch, translated from the original Ethiopian Coptic script, was suppressed by the early church and thought destroyed. The first translation of the Bodleian/Ethiopic MS was published in 1821 by Professor Richard Laurence, afterwards archbishop of Cashel. in 1821 and was published in a number of successive editions, culminating in the 1883 version. The Book of Enoch in 1883 translation by Richard Laurence was republished by Adventures Unlimited Press.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Buddha and the 49 days

BELOW: The coming of the Holy Spirit in a 15th century illuminated manuscript. This image may relate to the fact that some Churches were designed for a shaft of light to illuminate a certain place, once a year. In this image, they look up to a light.
49 days - the Christian story: Pentecost or The day of the Pentergram (symbolically related to the Jewish festival of Shavuot) is a feast on the Christian liturgical calendar that commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.

The magic number of 49 It appears a range of religious beliefs were grafted onto older, calendar-based festivals. Some religious calendars also adjusted dates to fit expectations. But a pattern exists. For example, we find number 49 linked to Christian, Buddhist and Jewish stories.

Buddhist use of 49: For example, the Dalai Lama said in 1998; "According to popular legend, after his complete enlightenment, the Buddha gave no public teaching for 49 days. We know that historically the Buddha was born as an ordinary person like ourselves. He was brought up as a prince, married and had a son. Then, after observing the suffering of human beings, aging, sickness, and death, he totally renounced the worldly way of life. He underwent severe physical penances and with great effort undertook long meditation, eventually becoming completely enlightened. He gave his first discourse to the five who had formerly been his colleagues when he lived as a mendicant. Because he had broken his physical penances they had abandoned him and even after he had become totally enlightened they had no thoughts of reconciliation towards him. However, meeting the Buddha on his way, they naturally and involuntarily paid him respect, as a result of which he gave them his first teaching".
A teaching given in London, 1988. Translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa and edited by Jeremy Russell. It was originally published in Chö-Yang (No.5) which was a magazine published by the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration, Dharamsala.

The Jewish 49 days festival: The great feast of the "Jewish Pentecost" is kept in remembrance of the giving of the Law to Moses at Mount Sinai, 50 days after the liberation of the slavery from Egypt (the Passover). On that day God gave Moses the Ten Commandments engraved with fire on stones, among the roaring sounds of nature, making the Covenant with the People of God (Ex.19,20, Lev.23).

The Christian 49 days festival: The great feast of the "Christian Pentecost", after Acts 2, is celebrated on a Sunday, 50 days after the Resurrection of Christ, when God engraved his Commandments not on stone, "but in the heart of each Christian" by the power of the Holy Spirit, among roaring winds and tongues of fire, as prophesied by Joel and Jeremiah, starting officially the Church of Christ (Act.2, Joel 2:28-32, Jer.31:33-34, Heb.8:8-12). The Biblical incident of the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost was recorded as June 6 A.D. 33 (Acts 2:1-4). "The Messiah's disciples and a group of true believers received illumination in their consciousness fifty days after the Messiah’s resurrection".

The Feast of the Weeks: Pentecost was on a Sunday, as Easter, establishing definitely Sunday as the Lord's Day in the Christian Calendar. The Jewish Pentecost was also called the Feast of the Weeks, because it was 7 weeks after Passover, as the Christian Pentecost is 7 weeks after Easter, the Christian Passover.

Feast of Harvest Before the episode of Mount Sinai, the Jews already had a Pentecost Feast, the Feast of the First-Fruits, or the Feast of Harvest, celebrating the harvest, 50 days after the sowing.

More light as tongues of Fire: The tongues of Fire which descended on the disciples represents a theophany (a visible manifestation of God). They heard the apostles speaking in the native tongue of the listener, ) and the followers (men and women) of Jesus, fifty days (seven weeks) after Easter, and ten days after Ascension Thursday.

Calendar of Holy Wisdom of God: According to Church tradition Pentecost is always seven weeks after Easter Sunday. It is in mid- to late spring in the Northern Hemisphere and mid- to late autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.In the Christian tradition, the Holy Wisdom of God (Hagia Sophia in Greek) is a divine attribute in which new Christians share to some degree through the sacrament of Confirmation, when they receive the Holy Spirit and share in Pentecost. Many churches are dedicated to it, the most famous being Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (Constantinople). It is sometimes associated with a sainted martyr of the same name, Saint Sophia, whose daughters are Faith, Hope and Charity. Many icons depict the four together At Vespers of Pentecost in the Oriental Churches, the extraordinary service of genuflexion, accompanied by long poetical prayers and psalms, takes place. On Pentecost the Russians carry flowers and green branches in their hands. It ought also to be noted that the week prior to this holiday is known as "green week", during which all manner of plants and herbs are gathered. The Eastern Orthodox church considers this whole week to be an ecclesiastic feast. More

The feast of 7 weeks: Pentecost means 50 and within that number is seven weeks (or 7 x 7 = 49 + 1). I More In Hebrew the word for week is ‘Shabuwa.’. The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost was the fourth of seven feast days that Yahweh gave to Israel after He delivered them from Pharaoh’s bondage in Egypt (Lev. 23rd). The Feast of Weeks celebrated the wheat harvest 50 days after the sickle had cut the barley harvest. It was also called the Feast of First Fruits. Many cultures had a feast of first fruits (Rom. 2:14), which was called a ‘sacrament of first fruits’ according to Sir James G. Frazer, F.R.S., F.B.A., in his book the Golden Bough.

The story of the event which set the dates:
• "You shall count for yourselves -- from the day after the shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving -- seven shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days...
• You shall convoke on this very day -- there shall be a holy convocation for yourselves -- you shall do no laborious work; it is an eternal decree in your dwelling places for your generations. -Leviticus 21:15-16, 21
Shavu'ot is not tied to a particular calendar date, but to a counting from Passover. Because the length of the months used to be variable, determined by observation (see Jewish Calendar), and there are two new moons between Passover and Shavu'ot, Shavu'ot could occur on the 5th or 6th of Sivan.The third month of the Jewish year, occurring in May/June.

49 days: The Hebrew story: The Torah instruction set the the First Day of the Omer as the start of the 49 day countdown (7 weeks of 7 days) to the celebration of Shavuot, known in the Old Testament as the Feast of Weeks or in Christian Tradition as Pentecost (50 days, counting from the first night of Passover). These festivals are based on a lunar rather than a solar calendar, which is why the dates from year to year vary widely; they fall in March or April (See The Hebrew Calendar of the Old Testament). Nisan is a name borrowed by the Israelites during the Exile from the Babylonian calendar. The Hebrew equivalent of Nisan is Abib (Ex 23:15). In the Babylonian system, Nisan is the first month, beginning the year in the Spring (March-April). In the older agricultural calendar of Israel, the year began in the Fall immediately following the harvests (Ex 23:16, the Babylonian month of Tishri, September-October). Since a lunar calendar begins each month with the new moon, the important Israelite religious festivals of Passover-Unleavened Bread and Succoth or Tabernacles begin in mid-month, the time of the full moon.More The period between the two festivals is know as the Days of the Omer, and serves to tie the two festivals together into a season of sacred time. The Torah refers to Shavuot as an agricultural festival. It marked the transition between the barley harvest, which was brought to the priest in the Temple in Jerusalem on the sixteenth of Nisan and the start of the wheat-ripening season, which began the first week of Sivan.

Sabbath math - how to count in sevens: The Torah commands that Shavuot be celebrated exactly seven weeks after the second day of Pesach, the day of the first Omer, the early barley harvest offering. This explains the name Shavuot – Hebrew for weeks, or as it’s known in Greek, Pentecost, meaning fiftieth day. According to a very old tradition, the period between Pesach and Shavuot is also a season of mourning. Marriages are not performed, hair is not cut and live music is not played or heard. The reasons for this are not entirely clear.

The magic number 7The Torah defines Sabbath as a period of time that involves the number seven. It can be every seventh day, every seventh year or a Sabbath of the seventh month or an annual Sabbath of which there are seven:
(1) The First Day of Unleavened Bread
(2) The Last Day of Unleavened Bread
(3) Pentecost
(4) Yom Teruah (First Day of Rosh Hashanah)
(5) Yom Kippur (Tenth Day of Rosh Hashanah)
(6) Succoth or Sukkat (First Day of Succoth)
(7) Succoth (The Last Great Day or Eighth Day of Succoth).

All must journey to temple on day of first fruits: The Torah refers to Shavuot as Hag ha-katzir, (Exodus 23:14-19) the feast of the harvest, as Hag Hashavuot, the festival of weeks, and as Yom ha-bikurim, (Leviticus 23:9-22) the day of first fruits, when farmers brought their produce to the Temple as an offering. Shavuot is the second of the shalosh regalim, the three annual pilgrimage holidays of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot, when Jews from all over Israel and beyond converged onto Jerusalem to celebrate and bring temple offerings. One tradition suggests that since this period was preparatory to receiving the Torah, these days were set aside for serious reflection and study. Therefore, frivolous activities were put on hold, More

God gives "law" to Israel on 50th day: The Feast of Weeks also commemorated Yahweh giving the Law to Israel 50 days after they resurrected from Egypt. There is another part of the ‘Feast of Weeks’ that is very important, but is a mystery to many Biblical scholars. The Feast of Weeks revolves around a prophetic calculation (7 x 7 = 49), especially Daniel’s Prophecy, concerning the 70 weeks (70 x 7 = 490; Dn. 9:24) and the year of Jubilee, which occurred every 50 years (Lev. 25:8-10). Both of these numbers (49 and 490) are another expression of the ‘Feast of Weeks’ because they are based upon the number ‘7.’ The year of Jubilee is also based on the number '7.' Jubilee occurs after every seventh sabbath year or 7 x 7 = 49 years. Daniel’s 70 weeks of prophecy which is 70 x 7 = 490 years follow the same formula.

A divine calculation: The Feast of Weeks symbolizes a divine calculation argued Drs. Lee and Penny Warren BA,DD, M in The Spiritual Significance of the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost" "When Yahweh spoke the Law to Israel at Mt. Sinai, this was the first Pentecost, but they were unaware of it. Each of them heard the Law in their consciousness and trembled and quaked at Yahweh's voice". (Exo. 19:16-19).

Tidy timetables: From the time Israel resurrected out of the Red Sea and entered the Wilderness, to the time Yahweh spoke from Mt. Sinai, was exactly 50 days (Ex. 19:1). So from the killing of the lamb in Egypt, which instituted the Feast of Passover (Ex. 12:1-12) to Yahweh speaking at Mt. Sinai was 53 days.

Crucifixion calculations shows magic math: "This is exactly the number of days from the Messiah's death on the cross to the out pouring of the Holy Spirit. [NOTE: We have to include an extra day between Abib 14th and Abib 16th. A phenomenal day occurred during those two days when the Phenomenal Cloud gave light to Israel as they went through the Red Sea and kept the Egyptians in darkness (Ex. 14:19-20).]"

Festivals modified to fit new politics: David Noss in "Man’s Religion, 7th Edition, David S. Noss, Macmillan Publishing Comp., 1984, p. 404" wrote "For forty-nine days after the Seder [Passover] Feast ... no joyous occasions, including marriages were allowed. Then on the fiftieth day came Shebhuoth — the Feast of Weeks (in the New Testament called Pentecost), a day of joy once set aside to commemorate the first-fruits of the spring wheat harvest, then modified to include thanksgiving for the giving of the Law at Sinai, which was held to have occurred at the same time of year.

Temple mathematicians debate dates: "There was a controversy between the Sadducees and the Pharisees on when to start counting 49 days, 7 weeks after Passover (Ex. 23:16; 34:22; Lev. 23:15-21). One group thought the commemoration of the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai included the Feast of First Fruits that began the wheat harvest and the other thought the Passover began the Feast of Weeks. On the Feast of Weeks Yahweh required all males in Israel to present themselves before Him at the Temple. This day was a holy convocation where there was no manner of work performed. The Feast of Weeks was treated just as a Sabbath day (Lev. 23:1-3).

New Christian religion fits into sevens: Pentecost began June 6, A.D. 33 when the Holy Spirit was revealed in the consciousness of man (Acts 2:1-4). This event was foreshadowed when the children of Israel gathered around Mt. Sinai for the revelation of the Ten Commandment Law (Ex. 19th Chapter) which occurred exactly 50 days after their resurrection through the divided waters of the Red Sea (Exo. 21:14-15) on June 6, 1490 B.Y. Therefore, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost commemorated the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai (Heb. 12:18-24).

Dalai Lama's science challenge for Buddha-date

In a teaching given in London, 1988, the Dalai Lama said "I personally feel it is quite disgraceful that nobody, not even among Buddhists, knows when our teacher, Shakyamuni Buddha, actually lived. I have been seriously considering whether some scientific research could be done. Relics are available in India and Tibet, which people believe derive from the Buddha himself. If these were examined with modern techniques, we might be able to establish some accurate dates, which would be very helpful" . He said "According to the viewpoint of the Kashmiri Pandit Shakyashri, who came to Tibet, Lord Buddha lived in India 2500 years ago. This accords with the popular Theravadin view, but according to some Tibetan scholars, Buddha appeared in the world more than 3000 years ago. Another group says it was more than 2800 years. These different proponents try to support their theories with different reasons, but in the end they are quite vague.
A teaching given in London, 1988. Translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa and edited by Jeremy Russell. It was originally published in Chö-Yang (No.5) which was a magazine published by the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration, Dharamsala.

The site of enlightenment: The Bodhgaya Temple, or Mahabodhi Vihara as it is also known, was erected in the place where Buddha Shakyamuni gained enlightenment some two thousand five hundred years ago. Its origins are lost in time, but it is known that King Ashoka erected a shrine to Buddha here in the third century B.C.

No date for temple construction: In spite of extensive research by scholars, until this day no one has been able to give a definate date as to when this present temple was built, who constructed it or how long it took to be completed. It is generally believed that the Great Stupa must have come into existence between the fifth and seventh centuries A.D.More

Image of earlier temple dated 100BC:A relief from an older Stupa railing dated about 100BC gives an indication of what the early temple at Bodhgaya looked like; a two storied structure with a gabled roof built around the Bodhi Tree and supported by pillars. Inside a slab of stone, the Vajrasana (indestructable seat of enlightenment) sat by the decorated trunk of the Bodhi tree, behind which were two Tiratana symbols. This temple was probably called Vajrasana Gandhakuti and may have stood for several centuries, being repaired and added to from time to time.

Current statue 1700 years old;Today, the temple is a fifty metre tall pyramidal tower, crowned with a bell like Stupa. The base is a fifteen metre square two-storey structure supporting four smaller towers identical to their central counterpart. Inside the temple sits a large gilded statue of Shakyamuni Buddha in earth touching mudra. This image is said to be 1700 years old and is facing east exactly at the place where the Buddha, sitting in meditation with his back to the Bodhi tree, was enlightened.

Diagram of perfection: Mandala of Vajradhatu, Tibet. 14C

Mandala of Vajradhatu One of the earliest mandalas to appear in Tibet during the Chidar (the Later Diffusion) A Nepalese artist Central Tibet, ca. late 14th century Distemper on cloth
102.2 x 77.5 cm (401/4 x 301/2 in.) The Kronos Collections More

Diagram of the Diamond Realm: This memory-instruction diagram of the Diamond Realm, is an image based on a text, probably Sarva Tathagata Tattva Samgraha Tantra (STTS), a text translated into Tibetan by Rinchen Sangpo (958-1055). It shows Vairochana in his four-faced, eight-armed form. He presides over this mandala of Vajradhatu (the Diamond Realm). Large numbers of figures, architectural elements, and ritual implements are meticulously arranged. This painting can be dated to the late fourteenth century when compared with firmly dated fifteenth-century mandalas, such as the three paintings in the Vajravali series, dated about 1429-56 in this catalogue (cat. no. 47. More

Similar to Vajravali series mandalas: Although this work compares closely with the Vajravali series mandalas, it differs from them chiefly in its more fluidly drawn scrollwork and more subtly graded palette. Here, foliate scrolls are wider; so too, the rich foliage connecting the upper throne backs of figures in the top and bottom registers is more fluidly presented, the forms fuller and less given to angular patterns. Despite these distinctions, the line, figural proportions, and many architectural elements in this work are so close to the style of the Vajravali series (executed by Newari artists, Most likely, Newari artists also painted this work, either for Ngor or another religious site in central Tibet, toward the end of the fourteenth century. More

Ten career steps for the bodhisattva: In traditional Indian theology, the distinction between a tenth-bhumi bodhisattva and a Buddha is slight. In the Prajnaparamita literature, including the Suramgamasamadhi Sutra and the Mahavastu, there are descriptions of the ten stages (bhumi) through which a bodhisattva progresses in his or her career, the last stage being the tenth bhumi.

Master the ten powers of the Tathagata:Tenth-bhumi bodhisattvas have already perfected the paramitas (virtues such as patience and charity) and have mastered the ten powers of the Tathagata. According to the literature, they are tied to the phenomenal world only by their great compassion for sentient beings. This mandala is meant to convey Vairochana's sambhogakaya (Body of Perfect Rapture), said to be characterized by radiance and emptiness (shunyata), a state directly perceptible only to advanced tenth-level bodhisattvas.See LaMotte 1960.

Twenty four diagrams: Lokesh Chandra, who has studied the twenty-four mandalas described in the STTS, notes that the Vajradhatu was one of the earliest mandalas to appear in Tibet during the Chidar (the Later Diffusion); some of its mandalas appeared in the main temple at Tabo (dated ca. 996-1042).

Instruction passed to Japan: The iconographically similar Diamond World mandalas, commonly seen in Esoteric Japanese Buddhism, also stem from the STTS, which was translated into Japanese by Amoghavajra (705-774).

Nine 'planet" deities: Nine encircled deities are arranged in three registers within the mandala's primary court (kutagara). In the center is Vairochana, one pair of hands at his chest held in a gesture of adoration (anjali mudra), another upward-turned pair held in his lap in meditative gesture (dhyana mudra).

Useful tools supplied: Other hands hold the bow and arrow, a rosary, and a wheel. Surrounding Vairochana and placed at the cardinal points of the compass are four symbols of the "families" (kula) associated with the four transcendent Buddhas (Tathagatas): the ritual thunderbolt (vajra, Akshobhya), the gem (ratna, Ratnasambhava), the lotus (padma, Amitabha), and the crossed vajra (vishvavajra, Amoghasiddhi).

East, south, west and north: The four Tathagatas are themselves at the centers of the four adjacent circles: Akshobhya in the east, Ratnasambhava in the south, Amitabha in the west, and Amoghasiddhi in the north. Each is surrounded by four attendants. In four circles marking the intermediate points of the compass are four goddesses associated with offerings made to the mandala's central deity: Vajramala (southwest; garland), Vajragita (northwest; song), Vajranrtya (northeast; dance), and Vajralasya (southeast; amorous dance). Four further offering goddesses appear at the corners of the second, larger court: Vajrapuspa (southwest; flower), Vajradipa (northwest; lamp), Vajragandha (northeast; perfume), and Vajradhupa (southeast; incense).

Two hundred and fifty bodhisattvas per quarter: Each quadrant contains two hundred and fifty bodhisattvas who are associated with the Tathagata presiding over each of the four cardinal directions.

Translator - teacher appears: Outside the sacred circle of the central mandala, at the four corners of the painting, are four further circles of deities. In the top register is a series of celestial and historical figures associated with the teachings of the Vajradhatu mandala. The first Tibetan in the series (the sixth figure from the left) may be Rinchen Sangpo, noted above as the Tibetan translator of the STTS. Without identifying inscriptions, the other historical figures cannot be named with certainty.

More useful objects: The bottom register includes a Tibetan monk seated before implements and objects of ritual worship, and sixteen protector deities.

Tucci, Spiti and Kunavar, 1988, p. xiii; on the dating of Tabo, see Pritzker 1989 and Klimburg-Salter 1994. The Kronos Collections More
New York 1997, pp. 29-30, 116-17. The Kronos Collections More For identification of this deity, see Chandra and Raghu Vira 1991, no. 1000, p. 372. The Kronos Collections More Their names are cited in Lokesh Chandra's introduction to Tucci, Spiti and Kunavar, 1988, p.xix. The Kronos Collections More

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sacred string and bent knee in 14C Tibet mandala

The recurrent "temple-builders tools" imagery appears in the Mandala of Bhutadamara 'byung-po 'dul-byed-kyi dkyil-'khor Central Tibet, 14th century 63.5 x 54 cm. This mandala, held in the Rossi and Rossi collection (here) shows a four-armed Bhutadamara, "Turmoil of the Spirits," which appears at the center of this mandala. Clad in a tiger skin, the three-eyed god holds the mighty pose known as alidha, with his left knee bent, the right held taut. He holds the thunderbolt sceptre in his upper right hand, the noose in his left; his central hands offer the gesture of trailokyavijaya, "conquest of the three worlds." These three worlds are generally described as the sky, earth, and ether; they are also referred to as the three realms (dhatu) of kama ("desire"), rupa ("form") and arupa ("formlessness").

Bhutadamara's mandala consists of four circles of Hindu gods and goddesses, as detailed in the twenty-third chapter of the NSP.1 In the first circle are Mahesvara (E), Visnu (S), Brahma (W), Karttikeya (N), Ganapati (NE), Aditya (SE), Rahu (SW) and Nandin (NW). The second circle includes: Sri (E), Tiolottama (S), Sasi (W), Uma (N), Ratnasri (SE), Sarasvati (SW), Surasundari (NW) and Vibhuti (NE). The third circle includes: Sakra (E), Yama (S), Varuna (W), Kubera (N), Agni (SE), Nairrti (SW), Vata (NW) and Candra (NE). In the outer circle are: Simhadhvajadharini (E), Vibhuti (S), Padmavati (W), Suraharini (N), Varaharini (NE), Ratnesvari (SE), Bhusana (SW) and Jagatpalini (NW). Just outside the mandala proper are forms of Marici, Ekajata and other deities, most identified by inscription, although some are now abraded.

A Yantra with a sacred string of copper wire

Remembering that "Yantra" means, in essence, 'diagram of a machine", one can consider the Digansa Yantra. In the middle of the instrument a low pillar, about one meter in height. While the second circular wall is just like a ring, which has a same height as that of the pillar. The outermost circle, two metres height, and eight metres in diameter. On the horizons of all these circles graduated marble slabs from 0 degree to 360 degree are placed. They are even sub-divided in terms of decimal etc. Two copper wires are tightly streched ascross the exterior wall, from 0 degree to 360 degree are placed. They are even sub-divided in terms of decimals. Two copper wires are tightly streched ascross the exterior wall, from 0 degree to 180 degree and 90 degree to 360 degree, to represent the North-south and East-West directions respectively. At the center a metallic ring is tied, supported by these two strings.

The sacred pillar and thread: To determine the azimuth of the sun, the user takes a thread and fixed it from the knob of the innermost pillar's center. As the sun rises higher, the shadow of the circular metallic ring enchants its shadow on the second circular ring. We take this thread unto the outer-most circular wall graduation, through the shadow of the ring. Thus the reading of the horizon on the third wall provides the azimuth of the sun. This enables a calculation of the rise and set of the sun, over time. . See the picture here
"A full-moon day of the year is observed by those who wear the sacred thread (typically brahmins and followers of Arya Samaj) More a day of spiritual renewal and the thread was ritually replaced by new one". Arya Samaj (Arya Society or Society of Nobles) is a Hindu reform movement in India that was founded by Swami Dayananda in 1875. He was a sannyasi (renouncer) who believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. Dayananda advocated the doctrine of karma and reincarnation, and emphasised the ideals of brahmacharya (chastity) and sanyasa (renunciation). The society was united with the Theosophical Society for a certain time, under the name Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj.Dayananda rejected all non-Vedic beliefs altogether. Hence the Arya Samaj unequivocally condemned iconolatry, animal sacrifices, ancestor worship, pilgrimages, priestcraft, offerings made in temples, the caste system, untouchability and child marriages, on the grounds that all these lacked Vedic sanction. It aimed to be a universal church based on the authority of the Vedas. Dayananda stated that he wanted ‘to make the whole world Arya’. That is, he wanted to develop a missionary Hinduism based on the universality of the Vedas.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rgveda, the oldest of the Vedas - before 1200 BCE

Vedic Sanskrit is the language of the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. The Vedic form of Sanskrit is an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian, which is attested during the period between 1700 BCE (early Rigveda) and 600 BCE (Sutra language) ], and still comparatively similar (being removed by maybe 1500 years) to the Proto-Indo-European language. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language. Vedic Sanskrit is the oldest attested language of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family. The composition of the Rgveda, the oldest of the Vedas, is conventionally dated to before 1200 BCE , and use of the Vedic dialect was continued for the composition of religious texts until roughly 500 BC, when the later Classical Sanskrit language began to emerge.

Vedas: hidden know-how or spiritual guides?

Some believe that the Vedas were transmitted orally for up to 8000 years. Most Western and a few Indian commentators see this as an exaggeration and date the earliest part of the Veda, the Rig-Veda Samhita, to around 1800-800 BCE. Mainstream scholarship places the Vedic period into the 2nd and 1st millennia BCE, continuing up to the 6th century BCE while using Vedic Sanskrit and the Shrauta tradition, when the culture began to be transformed into classical forms of Hinduism.

What do the Vedas mean?: Are the Vedas allegories; or actual knowledge? Sri Aurobindo (August 15, 1872–December 5, 1950) was an Indian nationalist, freedom fighter, scholar, poet, mystic, evolutionary philosopher, yogi and guru ]. His followers further believe that he was an avatar, an incarnation of the Absolute. Aurobindo decided to look for hidden meanings in the Vedas. He looked at the Rig Veda as a psychological book, inspiring the people to move towards God, but in hidden language.

Vedas as spiritual allegory: Sri Aurobindo spent his life — through his vast writings and through his own development — working for the freedom of India, the path to the further evolution of life on earth, and to bring down what he called the Supermind to enable such progress. He referred to his teachings as the "integral yoga". See “The Secret of the Vedas” by Sri Aurobindo.

Or - are the Vedas practical mechanics: Early medieval Hindu authors (Āryabhaṭa ) (476 – 550) - the first of the great mathematician-astronomers of the classical age of Indian mathematics. Available evidences suggest that he went to Kusumapura for higher studies. He lived in Kusumapura, which his commentator Bhāskara I (629 AD) identifies as Pataliputra (modern Patna).) suggest dates as early as the 4th millennium BCE. ( 476 - 550) is the first of the great astronomers of the classical age of India.

Stone Age 70,000–7000 BCE
Mehrgarh Culture 7000–3300 BCE
Indus Valley Civilization 3300–1700 BCE
Late Harappan Culture 1700–1300 BCE
Vedic Civilization 1500–500 BCE
Iron Age Kingdoms · 1200–700 BCE
Maha Janapadas 700–300 BCE
Magadha Empire 684–26 BCE
Maurya Dynasty · 321–184 BCE
Middle Kingdoms 230 BCE–1279 CE
Satavahana Empire · 230 BCE–199 CE
Ancient Tamil Kingdoms · 200 BCE–200 CE
Kushan Empire · 60–240 CE
Gupta Empire · 240–550
Chola Empire · 848–1279
Islamic Sultanates 1210–1596
Delhi Sultanate · 1206–1526
Deccan Sultanates · 1490–1596
Hoysala Empire 1040–1346
Vijayanagara Empire 1336–1565
Mughal Era 1526–1707
Maratha Empire 1674–1818
Colonial Era 1757–1947
Modern States 1947 onwards

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sacred object: The thunderbolt diamond

Vajrasattva holds the vajra in his right hand and a bell in his left hand.
Vajra is a Sanskrit word meaning both thunderbolt and diamond and refers to a symbol important to both Buddhism and Hinduism, but is particularly important in Buddhism. The equivalent word in Tibetan is dorje (Wylie: rdo-rje; ZWPY: dojê), which is also a common male name in Tibet and Bhutan.

637 AD tale of diamond throne Chinese pilgim Huen-tsang's ( also konw Xuan Zang and Hieun Tsang) records from his 637 AD visit to the location of of Siddartha Gautoma's efforts to attain Enlightenment. The future Buddha was warned by a god on Pragbodhi Hill, near Bodhgaya, that if he attempted meditation at that place the earth would open up and the mountain would fall on top of him. When he tried another place on the same mountain he was told by yet another god that 'This is not the place for a Tathagata to perfect supreme wisdom. From here south west, not far from the place of penance, is a pipal tree under which is a diamond throne, a vajrasana. All the past Buddhas seated on this throne have obtained true enlightenment and so will those yet to come. Pray then, proceed to that spot.' He found that spot about three kilometres south of Pragbodhi Hill.More

Supreme indestructibility of knowledge: Dorje can also refer to a small sceptre held in the right hand by Tibetan lamas during religious ceremonies. The vajra destroys all kinds of ignorance, and itself is indestructible. In tantric rituals the Vajra symbolizes the male principle which represents method in the right hand and the Bell symbolizes the female principle, which is held in the left. Their interaction leads to enlightenment. Also the Dorje or Vajra represents the "Upaya" or method Tibetans name Vajra as "Dorje". Made to be worn as a pendant, it reminds the wearer, and the viewer, of the supreme indestructibility of knowledge. In Buddhism the vajra is the symbol of Vajrayana, one of the three major branches of Buddhism. Vajrayana is translated as "Thunderbolt Way" or "Diamond Way" and can imply the thunderbolt experience of Buddhist enlightenment or bodhi and also implies indestructibility, just as diamonds are harder than other gemstones.

What the Varja means: The vajra is made up of several parts:

• In the center is a sphere which represents Sunyata, the primordial nature of the universe, the underlying unity of all things";

• Emerging from the sphere are two eight petalled lotus flowers. One represents the phenomenal world (or in Buddhist terms Samsara), the other represents the noumenal world (or Nirvana). This is one of the fundamental dichotomies which are perceived by the unenlightened.

Makaras - fish monster and zodiacal sign Capricorn Arranged equally around the mouth of the lotus are 2, 4, or 8 mythical creatures which are called makaras. These are mythological half-fish, half-crocodile creatures made up of two or more animals, often representing the union of opposites, (or a harmonisation of qualities that transcend our usual experience). From the mouths of the makaras come tongues which come together in a point. (Described as a marine monster, horned shark, or dolphin. Makara is also the name of the zodiacal sign Capricorn).

Makaras in Nepal: "He is the riding animal of Varuna. Varuna Deva is also one of the powerful deities representing the lord of water element. He is generally presented as white in colour. He sits on a Makara. He has the colour of lotus. He holds the invincible noose and a conch in his hands. He is adorned with the serpent’s hood over his head. It is said in the Guna Karanda Vyuha Sutra, that Varuna emerged from the knees of Arya Avalokiteshvara and instructed
that he should protect the sentient beings by bestowing Amrita or nectar or pure water. Being the lord of the underworld, lord of Nagas, he should bestow riches of the underworld to the people and protect the dharma. Avalokiteshvara instiucted, ‘If you perform Bodhicarya as I mention, you will definitely acquire tremendous merits and will attain Buddhahood in the future’. In reply Varuna Deva promised to act accordingly".More

Deities of eight Directions In Nepalese Buddhist tradition, in the Guru mandala rite the offerings are also made to Varuna deva in the group of eight. i.e. the deities of eight Directions.

Makaras in PersiaA noteworthy variant of the Manu legend, with a closer parallel to the Alexander and Qur’anic versions with respect to the dessication of the ‘fish’ occurs in Jaimimya Brahmana, in. 193, and Pancavimsa Brahmana, xiv. 5. 15; here Sarkara, the ‘sisumara’, refuses to praise Indra, Parjanya therefore strands him on dry land and dries him up with the north wind (the cause of the desiccation of the fish is thus indicated). Sarkara then finds a song of praise for Indra, Parjanya restores him to the ocean (as does Khizr, though unintentionally, in the Qur’anic version), and by the same laud Sarkara attains heaven, becoming a constellation. There can be no doubt that the constellation Capricornus, Skr. makara, makarasi, is intended. Makara, jhasa, and sisumara are thus synonymous;[22] and this Indian Leviathan clearly corresponds to the kar-fish, ‘greatest of the creatures of Ahuramazda’, who swims in Vourukasha, guarding the Haoma tree of life in the primordial sea (Bundahis, XVIII; Yasna, XLII. 4, etc.); and to the Sumerian goat-fish, the symbol and sometimes the vehicle of Ea, god of the waters (Langdon, Semitic Mythology, pp.105-6).

Mysterious sea creature holds up vajra: That in the late Indian iconography Khizr’s vehicle is an unmistakable fish, and not the crocodilian makara, need not surprise us, for other instances of the alternative use of makara and ‘fish’ could be cited from Indian iconographic sources; in some early representations, for example, the river-goddess Ganga is shown supported by a maker, but in the later paintings by a fish. In Bhagavad Gita, X. 31, Krsna is jhasanam makarah, the makara is therefore regarded as the foremost amongst the jhasas, or monsters of the deep. The word makara occurs first in Vajasaneyi Samhita, XXIV. 35; simsumara in Rg Veda, I. 116. 18. More( Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, “What is Civilisation” and Other Essays, (Cambridge: Golgosova Press, 1989) pp. 157-167.)

The five pronged vajra (with four makaras, plus a central prong) is the most commonly seen vajra. There is an elaborate system of correspondences between the five elements of the noumenal side of the vajra, and the phenomenal side. One important correspondence is between the five 'poisons' with the five wisdoms. The five poisons are the mental states that obscure the original purity of a being's mind, while the five wisdoms are the five most important aspects of the enlightened mind. Each of the five wisdoms is also associated with a Buddha figure.

Indian temple rituals similar to Ark of the Covenant

The 5,000-year old history of the tribes of Israel, recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible, describe the era of Cheops, King of Egypt. The ten enslaved tribes of Israel - weary of pyramid-buildling - led Egypt, lead by a person named in the Old Testament King James version, as Moses. Moses appeared to bring some extraordinary technologies with him; the ability to "fold-back" water, make sticks sprout green leaves, and - to create light - light of a force, so great, it was called "God". Moses went up a mountain and came down with set of instructions. One set of instructions was to build a portable thing - "Ark of the Covenant", with carrying handles, and a tent to put it in. The dimensions were exact. Today's electrical engineers can tell you it was a capacitor. In short is created electricity; sparks, surges of light and electricity. Rituals were also ordered for the device; sacrifice of animal - with the fatty-parts of the animals burnt on the altar - Ark of the Covenant - the the wearing of certain ( all linen) clothing with bells and fringes, curtains with bells and fringes. Those rituals - modified over time and distance - appear in Indian and Masonic - and other religious rituals. For example Shukavak N. Dasa ( in "Hindu Funeral Rites and Ancestor Worship] "Rg-Veda"
Antyesti, Sraddha and Tarpana", records that the Indian Sanskrit instructions of the Rg-Veda; "it was prescribed that during a sraddha ceremony it was also required that brahmanas be fed. The brahmanas were not to be considered as mere human beings, but as representative of the pitrs. The position of the brahmana in a sraddha rite was therefore very high and they were regularly worshiped by the performer of the sraddha. When the brahmanas ate they ate on behalf of the pitrs. Their satisfaction was the satisfaction of the fathers. Although the germ of paying homage to the brahmanas is found in the Rg-Veda, the practice of feeding brahmanas was not in practice. In the Vedic period offerings for the dead were poured directly into the fire, which then carried the food to the fathers. The feeding of brahmanas was a practice that developed from the Grhya period. In the later periods, the brahmanas even came to occupy the position of the sacrificial fire. And so food and other such articles formally offered to the pitrs began to be offered to the brahmanas as their representatives on earth. In a further extension to this idea the brahmana began to represent, not only the pitrs, but even Brahman Itself. Consequently, when a brahmana ate Brahman ate, which meant that the whole world also ate".

Indian temples open to the rising sun in the east

Shukavak N. Dasa says "The operative rule underlying most of Hindu culture is that the light of the sun was used as a symbol for knowledge and consciousness. Vastu-sastra prescribes that temples and homes must open to the rising sun in the east. Temple images should also face the east. Uttarayana, the time of increasing daylight, is considered more auspicious than daksinayana, the time of diminishing daylight. In contrast, death, which is associated with the loss of consciousness, has come to be symbolized by darkness. As the sun is an eternal source of light and so has become a symbol for God and the divine life, so the moon, has become a symbol for the cycle of birth and death. The moon regularly moves between light and darkness. Similarly, the word deva is derived from the Sanskrit root div meaning to shine. The devas are, therefore, "the shining ones." The pitrs, on the other hand, are bathed in the light of the moon and so in this way are distinguished from the gods".

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Astronomical guides to temple-construction

Today's religions appear to act as allegories for lost - 5,000 years and older - technologies of calendar-keeping, and temple-building.

For example, Audrey Fletcher, writing in 1999, of the history of the South Australia Port Adelaide Masonic Centre, built in 1928, in "Freemasonry: The Legacy of the Ancient Egyptians" proposed the Masonic movement formed the relic of lost Egyptian astronomical knowledge, connected to calendar setting; and temple-building. For example Fletcher noted the Masonic symbol of the "a set-square, by definition set at an angle of 90 degrees, (was) the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for "Pharaoh". The word "Pharaoh" which we use today actually comes from the Hebrew, meaning "Sun". Incredibly "Par" or "Peor" also means "Opening" and "Mountain". The words "Sun" and "Opening" and "Mountain" are immediately associated with Precession of the Equinoxes. T-square is an Ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for "Tau" which means "sacred gate" or "sacred opening". Multiple Taus form a temple: for example Stone Henge. The Triple Tau is the symbol for the Temple of Jerusalem".