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confronting Danielou’s basis claim …//While the Gods Play: Shaiva Oracles and Predictions on the Cycles of History and the Destiny of Mankind 

August 20th, 2017 · No Comments

We have proceeded critically with this book of Danielou: we had two posts yesterday. But there is a significant set of claims made that make it worthwhile to review very carefully his basic thesis.

It is helpful to do this in the context of the eonic effect to evade his confusion over cycles of history: the eonic effect here in minimal form shows a progressive epoch phasing in world history: the Kali Yuga myth is completely dubious and destructive. One of manifestations of the eonic effect is the remarkable era of the Axial Age and this impacts on Indic religion directly. But it has nothing absolutely essential to do with Indic religion as it mysteriously scans and cherry picks a set of traditional elements and then changes gears and generates something new: the realm of buddhism in a massive ‘new age’ religion creation cycle, parallel to occidental monotheism. Note this point: a key element of Indic religious history operates at a high level in parallel with other emergent religions PLUS the seeds of modern secularism. Thus a key impact on Indic religion has nothing to do as such with its content, it being neutral with respect to religious opposites. The eonic effect never quite repeats itself and thus the issue with buddhism is creative novelty for new epoch getting underway, the result is a distillation of the classic indic tradition with a new element of rationalization….Note that the seeds of christianity thus appear in Axial interval with a complex variant in the Zoroastrian, which blends with proto-monotheism in the Exile. Note that Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism (and Jainism) with an Upanishadic strain are suddenly cherry picked by the macro process…Our ‘eonic radar’ is fairly crude but it resolves its focus on a fairly standard scan of the ongoing legacies: it is thus completely transparent for it to amplify Upanishadism, Jainism (at an endpoint) and buddhism, in a crude slightly cliched simplification, no doubt. But the point is that there is a separate global aspect that stands beyond the content of the local zones impacted.

As if the situation isn’t complicated enough we see a larger context of Indic religion and it is here that Danielou’s claim needs to be considered. Students of the eonic model will note the distinction of stream and sequence aspects of the cultural evolution. The eonic model has a unique insight here and the data faithfully reflects what we see, if we see it at all: Danielou projects an idea of a Shaivaite revival in the same period as the onset of christianity. The Axial interval shows the ‘sequence’ aspect, which the outer history and the succession show the stream aspect. The eonic radar spots this distinction in the Indic case very easily, if we can find someone who can collate some data for us (we are doing hundreds of specializations in the eonic model and need a bit of help!).
Let’s take a step backward to see the larger history. Our macro effect has ditched the classic legacy as it always move to do something new, e.g. buddhism (which follows very clearly on an endphase of jainism). Danielous despite many errors and probable mistakes sees the basic picture: the antiquity of the Indic legacy, his various versions of ‘primordial shaivism’ and a set of questions about that. The point here is there is an earlier source of Indic religion, perhaps going back to the Neolithic with the early seeds of ‘yoga/tantra/samkhya’ in some form lost to us, but the portraits of Shiva with his trident are pretty robust echoes of something that just might be a ‘primitive’ (???sic) version of the larger ‘dharma’.
Noe here’s the kicker: this tradition predates the Aryan invasion and is therefore before the onset of writing an oral probably Dravidian lore, or such is Danielou’s claim, one that many scholars would reject, inadvisedly. This situation ends in a calamity of confusion as the older tradition disappears and is replaced with a set of hybrids, such as Vedism, which is a completely foreign implant. The appearance of the Upanishads as a ‘vedanta’, end of the vedas, is a totally confusing situation.
Danielous’ analysis makes sense and not only that he claims that the earlier tradition actually makes its way into the post-Axial stream as an independent ‘shaivite revival’ in the CE era, strangely parallel with christianity….
Note the obvious (in retrospect!) way in which the stream and sequence elements interact and as the system moves on with a new buddhist experiment it reinvokes the old, but only in the stream aspect. It is still without full proof but it makes sense of a hopelessly confusing situation to take it this way and there is an immense literature of the Shaivite revival which was dumped into late Sanskrit (the agamas, etc…) That this older Dravidian tradition thus finds a place in the ‘Hindu morass’ is entirely apt, but we must still confirm a number of issues and try to sort out the various pieces. This situation helps explain the archaic aspect that haunts much of Indic religion which has both moved on to a new future and recreated an older tradition. The idea of Dravidian spiritual legacies will infuriate a lot of people, but if Danielou is right the clues will show themselves…if you read sanskrit and tamil and….!

So there it is, most of the pieces for a corrected interpretation of Indic religion, obviously requiring a lot more work.

Note that buddhism failed in India and a crass ‘neo-brahmin’ movement come into existence. This larger situation requires a lot of careful historical study and the resulting bits an pieces from kashmir shaivism, to vishnaivism to shakti cults remain to be sort out…
Danielou’s interpretation obviously still has problems, but it is an obvious solution, still not fully confirmed, to a complicated mystery…

Source: While the Gods Play: Shaiva Oracles and Predictions on the Cycles of History and the Destiny of Mankind – Kindle edition by Alain Daniélou. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

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