Dear reader, my name is Luis Miguel Goitizolo. Below is an abstract from my book The Wheel of Time - A Study in the Doctrine of Cosmic Cycles which I recently translated from my Spanish original and will shortly be published in the United States.


The Manvantara


Elsewhere I have alluded to the dramatic contrast between the Zodiacal Year of 25,920 common years, which for the hermetic tradition would match a human cycle of four ages, and the length of 4’320,000 years that the Hindu tradition in turn assigns to the cycle of four yugas – a length that might appear to be excessive and even arbitrary at first sight as, unlike the former, bears no relation with any known astronomical cycle. However, I have already suggested that the key to this issue would be to consider the latter symbolically, at least in connection with the human proper cycle – i.e. the one of the most recent humanity, or Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

With this in mind, I
will endeavor now to bring both ends together and establish the real length of the human cycle thus considered by approaching the problem from a new point of view: that of the so-called Manvantara, or “shift” of Manu (the “Father of Mankind”), an ancient Hindu measure of time that in spite of its being primarily septenary and having a length that, as derived from the texts, would be nearly 72 maha–yugas – which apparently increases the difficulty – actually is for the scholarly, with the exception of those who insist on taking these data literally, identical to a single maha–yuga or Hindu cycle of four descending ages or yugas.
  
In effect, the connection with the duration of the human cycle is obvious: the term Manvantara more precisely means “the shift to a new humanity,” in this case our humanity, apart from the fact that from the related word Manusya, which literally means “mankind”, derive the Latin humanitas, the German mann, the English man, etc., etc., Man being, on its part, “Mankind” proper, the Universal Father, the Adam of the Nordic legends.

 

On the other hand, it is interesting that in the world history there exist variations of the name, Manu, applied to founders of diverse cultures such as the Egyptian (Menes), the Cretan (Minos) and even the Inca, whose first monarch, Manco Capac, was the head of a lineage which extended over fourteen kings – the same number of Manus appearing in a Brahma’s day. For the rest, it is important to note, as indicated by René Guénon, that a Manu is not a mythic, legendary or historic character but rather the “prototype of Man” for any cosmic cycle or state of existence to which he gives his Law.
  
All this sheds light over one of the most impenetrable issues connected with the cycle of four yugas, i.e. the apparent contradiction between multiple human cycles, on the one hand, and a single human cycle on the other – a problem that was pending solution until now. We can now say that as concerns at least our planet, it is not accurate to speak of a succession of human cycles but of a great “general” human cycle, that of the present mankind, which encompasses all other human cycles whatever their order or magnitude.



The three great astronomical cycles

Since we are assuming that this “general” human cycle – the length of which we are trying to determine – approximately represents the age of the present human race and not of its more or less remote ancestors, the best course will be to previously determine which astronomical cycles are likely to influence it. The problem identified in such terms, such cycles can only be the following:

(I) The Earth’s eccentricity cycle, which results in ice age cycles that approximately occur every 100,000 years and are separated by interglacial periods of 10,000 years. This cycle, which appears to be the main framework within which the present mankind has evolved on Earth, is produced by the lengthening of our planet’s orbit around the sun, which changes every 90,000 to 100,000 years from a circular shape to a more elliptic one and back to start again. When the orbit is circular, the distribution of heat over the Earth during the year is uniform, and when it is more elliptic the Earth is closer to the sun and therefore warmer at some times of the year, the seasons accentuating on a hemisphere and waning on the other due to the modulating effect of the two cycles that are mentioned below.

(II) The cycle of precession of the equinoxes or Zodiacal Year, the length of which is usually rounded as 26,000 years but, as we know, has traditionally been calculated as 25,920 years. What makes this cycle particularly important as a most likely trigger of the human phenomenon on our planet is the fact that when a half of a wobbling period of the Earth’s axis has elapsed, i.e. after 13,000 years approximately, the seasons become reversed: for example, 10,000 years ago, when the Earth was at its farthest from the Sun, in the northern hemisphere it was summer and not winter, as is today (and vice versa).

(III) The cycle of variation of the Earth’s axis tilt over the course of approximately 40,000 years from a minimum of 21.5 degrees to a maximum 24.5 degrees, a variation that obviously accentuates or moderates the overall effect of the precessional period; currently the angle of tilt is 23.4 degrees and decreasing, thus attenuating the difference between summer and winter.
 



The Three Great Astronomical Cycles


Acting coordinately, these three great astronomical cycles – named “Milancovitch cycles” after the Yugoslavian astronomer who first studied them – subject the Earth to a very complex astronomic pattern that has produced the ice fluctuations throughout the ages, albeit out of all three it is the period of precession of the equinoxes the one which, by leveraging the combined effect of the other two, seems to have played the main role in the development of the current earthly humanity. Thus, some scientists estimate that approximately 40,000 years ago, when the southern hemisphere was the nearer one from the Sun, and as ice gravitated on the North, at various places, probably in Central Asia, appeared tribes united by their need to face the hard geophysical conditions that prevailed at that time; and thirteen thousand years later, when the northern and southern hemispheres exchanged their positions before the Sun, some tribes appeared also in the southern hemisphere.
 
Approximately 18,000 ago, on the other hand, the Earth began to come out of the last ice age responding to a combination of all three astronomical factors, although the inter-glacial proper period did not commence until approximately 10,000 years ago. Now, there is every reason to believe that this inter-glacial period is about to end, and many scientists claim that within a span of time that may range from a few to a thousand years from now, the Earth will have entered a new ice age of 100,000 years; to trigger the process there will only be required a summer with a very weak solar glow, unable to defrost the Northern hemisphere glaciers. And irrespective of the signs of an imminent catastrophic defrost caused by the so-called “greenhouse effect” – the planet warming caused in turn by the excess of industrial emissions – the predominant view appears to be at best (maybe we should say at worst) that this factor would only lengthen the process.
 
Be it as it may, at this point it should be obvious that, by interlacing and influencing one another, all three great astronomical cycles exert a decisive impact on the life on Earth, an effect that can at times be beneficial and other times devastating. At times, for example, the end of one of them will match the end of another, which will make it particularly severe. Of course, the scenario is even more complicated, for it includes the effect of other minor cycles such as the so-called “small ice ages” or cycles of very strong winters occurring unexpectedly every 180 years approximately, which are apparently caused by the so-called “planetary synods” – the grouping of all the planets on one side of the sun while the Earth is on the other – which occur every equal number of years approximately; or like those cycles of great solar activity that occur every 11 and 80 years mainly (the 11-year cycle has later on been specified at 11 years and 29 days), which appear to influence markedly on the occurrence of draughts, volcano activity and the shifts in the Earth’s magnetism; or again, like the maximum and minimum solar cycles of 500 years each, as mentioned in some recent works, which would have furthered the emergence, by turn, of the great historic civilizations. All this without doubt is an engrossing subject, a study of which would require, however, a lengthy space, so I will stop here. (More below.)
 

Back to the Manvantara

Let’s consider now the Manvantara, in as much as a strictly human earthly cycle ruled by a particular Manu, as a small-scale image of the maha–yuga of 4’320,000 common years. Irrespective of the number of zeros that complement this figure, its symbolic length will then be 4320 and, always following the proportion 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 10, those of the corresponding yugas will be 1728, 1296, 864 and 432 respectively, all of them circular numbers – because the sum of their digits is nine – and therefore submultiples of 25,920, the length of the cycle of precession of the equinoxes – which likewise is a circular number.
 
In the other hand, if we additionally consider that on the cosmic level it is precisely the precession of the equinoxes which most strongly influences the length of the human cycle, it will be legitimate to assume that this length should comprise a whole number of such cycles. The question that arises then is: which can be that number?
 
In his extraordinary article Some Remarks on the Doctrine of Cosmic Cycles, originally published in French in 1937, René Guénon suggests an answer. Assuming that rather than the cycle of precession of equinoxes it is its half, or “great year” of 12,960 common years which, given the particular importance it has for such traditions as the Greek and the Persian, makes up the main foundation for the cyclic ages, Guénon suggests that such number should be five, mainly by virtue of its relationship with the duration of the reign of Xisuthrus (the biblical Sisera, a character manifestly identical to Vaivasvata, the Manu for the present Era), a duration that the Chaldeans established as 64,800 common years (5 x 12,960). To support this thesis, Guénon, on top of noting that the real age of the Earth’s present humanity may well be represented by a duration of 64,800 years, proposes quite reasonable correspondences for five such as the five bhutas or elements of the material world, etc.
 
Now, while this sort of calculation has never been encouraged by ancient traditions, if we accepted 64,800 common years as the total length of the present Manvantara, the length of the Kali–yuga – the fourth and final age of the present human cycle – would be 6,480 years, or a tenth of that; and if we stick to 3102 BC as its starting point, a simple subtraction (6,480 – 3,102) would produce the year 3378 AD as its ending date – without doubt a reassuring date for times of severe global crisis as those we are living now (though not quite so as the one anticipated by the orthodox Hinduism in about four hundred twenty years from now) but which does not agree at all with certain data from other traditions which, as has been mentioned previously, announce an imminent end for our degenerated civilization.
 
It should be noted that these calculations are all subordinated to admitting the year 3102 BC as a likely starting date for the present Kali–yuga, which despite of all the arguments that may be put forward for it, will hardly be by many critics. Even so, let’s accept for a moment such date and go on with our line of speculation: Assuming the yugas to be four and not five, would it not be more natural that the length in question should comprise four equal periods, that is, to multiply 12,960 by four? After all, the arguments for five periods are not conclusive, as the material proper elements are only four (as the fifth, ether, is non material). And on the other hand, should we use four – the number of seasons in a year – as a factor, the total length of the Manvantara would then be 51,840 years (4 x 12,960), therefore comprising two full precessional periods assimilated respectively to Day and Night. Again, 4,320 being a third of 12,960, the real lengths of each yuga would then be given by the product of the symbolic durations by twelve, which is the number of months of the year and of the signs of the Zodiac, so that in a way we would be converting the symbolic durations – based on the linear scale 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 10 – into circular proper, i.e. based on a twelve-month cycle. In either case, the length of the Kali–yuga would become 5,184 years (72 x 72), whether we divide 51,840 by ten or multiply 432 by twelve; and so, by means of a subtraction similar to the one above (5,184 – 3,102) we would get 2082 as the final year of the present human cycle, a date that unfortunately is more akin than the previous one with the ominous course of the world’s current events and the severe, all-pervading climatic disturbances in our days that might be announcing a global, profound, irreversible, and perhaps not very distant, disruption.
 
And although I do not pretend to play the soothsayer as I am certainly aware that such forecasts can do more harm than good, it will not be superfluous to insist that the end of an astronomical cycle can overlap that of another and strongly influence it, maybe attracting it towards itself, thus rendering the date for border line events even closer.


Lima, May 2010



View previous: The Hindu Doctrine of Cosmic Cycles

View next: The Kali Yuga

 

 

A Message from The Author

 

Dear Friend,

Ever since I was
a youth I was fascinated by Oriental wisdom and particularly by the Hindu doctrines. However, it was not until a few years ago that I undertook the task of studying the ancient doctrine of cosmic cycles from different perspectives, though mainly using the most relevant sacred texts from all around the world. In time, I felt the urge to write a book about my studies in that matter in my mother tongue, Spanish, which I titled "La rueda del tiempo" (in English, "The Wheel of Time"). It is excerpts of that book and other original articles dealing with similar topics which I will start publishing through this medium as of today.

More recently, after some years as a networker promoting various programs, I decided to translate my book into English, a task that was successfully completed a few month ago. And over the past weeks and months I have been publishing excerpts of this translation, as well as other original articles in English that also deal with similar topics, on various online media of the United States and other countries.

 

Thank You,

 

Luis Miguel Goitizolo
Lima - Perú


miguelgoitizolo@gmail.com


                                                                                                  

     

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