From Christ to Buddha - 6
The Broader Perspective
Of course our historical knowledge is so limited and so unreliable when the distant past is concerned that it is not easy to think in terms of cyclic units each lasting nearly 26,000 years. However, it is very interesting to note that, only a few years ago, it was estimated that the well-known cave-paintings discovered in Central France, Spain, Africa were made about 25,000 BC. Prehistoric dating is always subject to change, but it is quite conceivable that these remarkable indications of a developed culture ("primitive" though -we may consider it to be) occurred at the close of a precessional Age lasting roughly from 52,000 to 26,000 BC — or perhaps during the early stages of the cycle which found its late culmination in the historical period of Egypt — the Great Pyramid being perhaps the remains of a more distant Atlantean-Egyptian civilization around 30,000 BC.
There is no way, of course, to prove "scientifically" the validity of such dates or the existence of great civilizations on land now submerged by the oceans. I can only present as a hypothesis the idea that the first century BC marked the beginning of an entire precessional cycle of 26,000 years, and that what I have called elsewhere "the Christ-impulse" (cf. my book Fire Out of Stone: A Reformulation of the Basic Images of the Christian Tradition, 1952-1962) is to be considered as the fundamental evolutionary drive characterizing this new cycle (i.e. from 100 BC to around 25,700 AD).
It seems to me that a new phase in man's evolution began which is based
essentially on the eventual realization by every human being of his individuality as a single and unique person — as a microcosm — as a potential "son of God." The transcendental Sages of the Upanishad period in India and even Gautama the Buddha did not consider the individual person as a microcosm, but rather as a more or less illusory formation, the consciousness of which was deeply involved in the illusion of separateness; and the goal of the spiritual life was presented as a re-absorption of this temporary form of consciousness darkened by "ignorance" in the one infinite Reality, Brahman. Our Christian Western culture, on the other hand, has extolled theoretically and idealistically the "worth and dignity of the individual person," even if in practice it did very little to apply its ideal to social living. This ideal should now become a practical and social reality — and of course this is the grand and glorious ideal of democracy. But this word, democracy, can hide a multitude of sins of omission as well as of commission. And we are facing the possibility that the coming decades will witness a complete betrayal of this ideal in this country which had most seriously tried to make of it a practical way of life.
If my hypothesis is correct, the basic "mutation" at the level of the human mind, of philosophy and religion, in the sixth century BC should be considered as a mutation within the "seed"-period of the last precessional age ending about 100 BC. Symbolically speaking Buddha is the seed; Christ, the germ. Germination is a crucifixion of the seed stirred by the power of sun-rays as spring begins. As this process of germination occurs, the nucleus of the seed sends a tiny rootlet down into the soil in order to assimilate the chemicals contained in the humus (the disintegrated remains of the vegetation that was); then a small germ which somehow manages to break through the crush of the top-soil and into the sun-light.
The upreaching germ is not the only product of the "crucifixion" of the seed. There is also the "rootlet"; that which feeds the new growth by reorganizing materials of the past into assimilatable food-stuff. There must be the Administrative Order; and the archetypal image of that Order has been in the now ending Piscean Age, Caesar. Caesar polarizes Christ, as the root polarizes the flowering stem. But this may not be an inevitable kind of polarization. The Caesar Image may only belong to this ending 2160-year long Age which talked about Christ, yearned for, prayed to, perhaps suffered for Christ — but was not able to build a Christocentric society.
We should not be astonished by this fact IF we realize that the Christ-Impulse and the ideal it carries is the original "Logos" of a cycle of 26,000 years; if therefore we are at the end of only the first of twelve sub-cycles. If the whole process is only beginning, how could we expect it to reach already a condition of perfect manifestation of its original Impulse and archetypal Ideal!
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1969 by Dane Rudhyar
and Copyright © 2001 by Leyla Rudhyar Hill
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