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Maya Calendar paintings

Carl Sagan, the renowned astronomer, had pointed out that Hindus were the only ones who came anywhere close to correctly estimating the real age of the universe. He was amazed at the accuracy of space and time descriptions given by the ancient sages and saints, who fathomed the secrets of the universe through their mystically awakened senses. Unlike many cultural traditions which treat science and religion as antithetical to each other, the Hindu tradition encourages the study of physics and metaphysics, both for a comparative understanding of the true nature of the cosmic mystery surrounding and pervading the universe.

Ancient Hindu scriptures describe time as cyclic, an endless procession of creation, preservation and dissolution. There are four Yugas which repeat like the seasons of summer, spring, winter and autumn. Each Yuga involves stages or gradual changes which the earth and the consciousness of mankind has to undergo as a whole. A complete Yuga cycle from a high Golden Age of enlightenment to a Dark Age and back again is said to be caused by the solar system’s motion around a central Sun. The four Yugas are the Satya Yuga (or Krita Yuga), the Treta Yuga, the Dvapara Yuga and finally the Kali Yuga. Krita Yuga or Satya yuga (golden or truth age) is 1,728,000 years; Treta yuga (Silver Age) is 1,296,000 years; Dvapara yuga (Copper Age) is 864,000 years; and Kali Yuga (Iron Age) is 432,000 years.  At the end of Kali Yuga, the universe is dissolved by pralaya (cosmic deluge) and the cycle of Krita Yuga or Satya Yuga begins. The present world is believed to have entered the fourth phase, the Kali Yuga in the year 3102 BC, with the death of Lord Krishna, an avatara or incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Like in other ancient texts, the story of a great flood is mentioned in ancient Hindu texts as well as the Maya texts. In Hindu culture, Manu is a title accorded to the progenitor of mankind, and also the very first king to rule this earth, who saved mankind from the universal flood. Manu was informed of the impending flood and was protected by the Matsya Avatara (fish incarnation) of Lord Vishnu, who had manifested himself in this form to rid the world of morally depraved human beings and protect the pious, as also all animals and plants. Manu was instructed to take “all medicinal herbs, all the varieties of seeds, and accompanied by the seven saints” along with the serpent Vasuki and other animals. The deluge occurred and the lord reappeared as promised and advised Manu to board the boat and fasten the serpent Vasuki to his horn as a rope to the boat.

The Mesoamerican doctrine of the world’s Ages is reminiscent of the India Yugas. According to the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, the world had already been destroyed four times and that we live here under the fifth Sun.

At the centre of the Maya calendar system was the Tzolkin, the sacred or ritual calendar, which consisted of 260 days. This calendar worked on two cycles, a cycle of 13 numbered days and a cycle of 20 named days. Each number and day had its own significance. Each of the 20 named days was connected with a specific god and a particular direction, passing in a continuous anti-clockwise path from one day to the next until a cycle of time was completed. This calendar was used alongside a 365-day solar calendar, Haab, a ceremonial calendar made up of 18 months of 20 days each followed by 5 unlucky days at the end of the year known as Uayeb. When the two calendars were set in motion and were running concurrently, it took exactly 52 years (18,980 days) to repeat the entire cycle. This period was called Long Count or Calendar Round. This Long Count records the days beginning on an “era” date that the Maya established as the 4th day ahaw of the 8th month cumkú; its notation system corresponds to 13.0.0.0.0, which is equivalent, according to the generally accepted correlation, to August 11, 3114 BC (or August 13).

According to the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, the world had already been destroyed four times and that we live here under the fifth Sun. The 5125-year-old Maya Long Count calendar which began with the fifth great cycle on August 11, 3114 BC (or August 13) will come to an end on December 21, 2012. A lot of hype has been generated over this date which some say will herald a golden age – the beginning of a radical change in human consciousness or an apocalypse which would destroy the world.

Although the Maya calendar began with the fifth great cycle in the year 3114 BC, the recording of time by the Maya as per their calendar began on August 6, 613 BC. This is an exact date based upon intricate astronomical calculations, and prolonged observations. So, to work out this kind of an elaborate calendar, it must have taken more than two thousand years of careful observation of the stars. The Maya calendar was based on the movements of Venus while the inhabitants of the ancient Indian civilization – the Indus Valley Civilization – followed a calendar based on the movements of Jupiter.

The observation of stars in ancient India is mentioned in Rig Veda, the ancient Hindu scripture written in the second millennium BC. The Hindu calendar called the “Panchang” began on February 18, 3102 BC and will end in 2024. It is strange that there is a difference of just 12 years between the Hindu’s beginning of the Kali Yuga and the Maya beginning of the Fifth Great Cycle.

In the Brahma-Vaivarta Purana, Lord Krishna has predicted that a Golden Age will start in the Kali Yuga 5,000 years after its beginning and will last for 10,000 years. He had said, “Whenever righteousness fails, I take the form of an Avatar (incarnation), to punish evil-doers, uphold the righteous, and to maintain the world’s equilibrium.”

Oral and written records from all over the world speak of a golden age in which man and the gods (angels) freely and openly interacted. Such records have prophesied that a time would come when a new golden age would occur and at that time all hidden truths will again be revealed. Like it is said, “In those days shall the elect and holy race descend from the upper heavens and their seed shall then be with the sons of men.”

In Hindu Mythology, Kalki is the tenth and final Avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu who will come to end the present age of darkness and destruction known as Kali Yuga. He is depicted riding a white horse with a sword in his right hand to eradicate the corrupt, destitution and debauchery of Kali Yuga. Other images represent him as an amalgam of a white horse’s head and a man’s body.

Ok guys, that’s all for now but I’ll be back soon with some more interesting matter on the Hindu and Maya connection 🙂 I’ll leave you with this thought-provoking song : We Are All Connected by The Symphony of Science…enjoy!

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