Introduction: The Hidden History of Humanity Project
India 1992: Travel Diary “Prequel #1”.
Funding the HHH Project
Introduction: The Hidden History of Humanity Project
It’s been three and a half years since my last report in 2012. A lot has happened during that time, seeing me in Australia for about eighteen months, Cambodia and Thailand for nine months, Britain for six months and Italy for the past year. As there are now many more readers than several years ago, it might be appropriate to re-state the reason for these Travel Diaries. My interest in Esoteric History was first piqued in 1994 by this statement:
“As it is necessary to know the moment of birth and the place of birth in casting the horoscope of the individual, so in order to have a perfectly correct understanding and accurate deductions in connection with the constellation, the planets and our Earth there should be a fixed time from which to reckon. That fixed time is as yet unknown … There has to be a constant rectification of the earlier conclusions of humanity and of this the outstanding instance is the statement in the Bible that the prime date of creation is 4004 B.C. This is recognised as an error by modern science but is still believed by many …
I earlier gave a hint upon which definite astrological computation could be based when I gave the time of the “Great Approach” of the Hierarchy to our planetary manifestation when individualisation took place and the fourth [human] kingdom in nature appeared. I placed that stupendous event as happening 21,688,345 years ago.”1
This statement is corroborated by many passages in The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky – and collated in various timelines in my book, The Hidden History of Humanity (HHH). (Currently being re-written.) This individualisation process (the implanting of the “spark of mind”) occurred in ancient Lemuria, the civilisation that existed before (and during) the following civilisation of Atlantis.
Therefore, Esoteric History is in essence the history of the human soul, tracing the evolution of consciousness throughout the rootraces, to our present Fifth Rootrace. One of the key elements in this project has been to reconcile the enormous time scales with miniscule modern day theories – to which 99% of modern science subscribes.
In HHH, the author has demonstrated through various time markers and dates given in the Ageless Wisdom – and through the ancient science of cycles in the Hindu Yugas, that the esoteric time scales are literal and not just symbolic, as even some Hindu scholars themselves contend, tainted as they have been from Western materialistic, linear thought.
Likewise, the great investigations completed by many “new age archaeologists” do themselves no justice because of their conformity to the status quo on time-cycles, never ranging beyond the last 25,000 year precession cycle. (For my definitive essay on this theme, see TIME & HISTORY: Re-Establishing Esoteric Chronology in World History)
The other key factor for the HHH project has been to visit the many sites worldwide that hold the lingering remnants and ruins of these ancient civilisations; to discern and discriminate one civilisation from another, one layer from another layer, one subrace or branchrace from another, and so forth.
Visiting these places has been very rewarding (even though a massive labour at times!), because being physically present has brought much intuitive understanding that would never have occurred sitting at a computer thousands of miles away, viewing images of others’ travels. Hence, allowing these places to speak whilst in their presence has yielded an understanding that has fleshed out the overall structure given in the Ageless Wisdom teachings.
This structure, whilst deeply resonant at an intuitive level, still cries out for concrete validation, in this age of the Fifth Rootrace where the development of the concrete mind has reached its acme and is the reason why mainstream science currently dominates. Hence the author is always seeking ways to bridge to scientific academia: Through the various dating methods given for rocks, suggesting alternatives to the theory of continental drift, the migration of peoples, the flora and fauna clues that link various continents and the fact that humans were gigantic, like the reptile kingdom in ancient days.
So far my travels to these “strewn ruins” (one of my favorite expressions), have taken me in the past five years through Britain, Scandinavia, Greece and Crete, Italy, Peru, Bolivia, Costa Rica and Cambodia. I have just completed my latest travels in Italy recently (see my Facebook Hidden History of Humanity page) – and plan visits to other areas of the Mediterranean and Morocco in the next year or two.
In attempting to bring these travel diaries up to date, I realised that a few other important trips need to be included – India and Egypt particularly. I plan to release several travel diaries in the next few months, to catch up with the past, putting the present and future into better context. I have called these older sojourns “prequels”. There will be one each for India and Egypt, followed by another one or two for Bolivia, Peru, Cambodia and Italy bringing them all up to date.
India-Sri Lanka-Brunei 1992: Travel Diary “Prequel #1”.
Brunei Darussalam (Abode of Peace)
1992-3 was my first big overseas trip, spending six months touring around Sri Lanka and India and then later Britain for a year. But before that I visited my place of birth in Brunei on the island of Borneo. Perhaps being born here hinted at the fact that I might be a perpetual traveler in the future – exploring the past!
I had not been to Brunei since four years old, after my parents returned to Australia. I spent a few brief days in Brunei town having a look around. I checked out the Sultan of Brunei’s palace with its solid gold dome; he is reputedly the world’s richest man – from petroleum revenues. The palace is in stark contrast to the water village nearby. I visited my birth place at the Shell Oil hospital and our old house that had been converted to offices for the Bureau of Narcotics! (Neptune rules drugs, water and oil and I have a Sun-Neptune conjunction in Libra!)
Then I headed north to Mount Kinabalu (“revered place of ancestors”) in the northern state of Sabah. It is the highest mountain in south-east Asia, over 13,000 ft. or 4,000 metres. (In 2015 there was a strong earthquake and 18 people were killed in subsequent landslides.) I made the climb up in two stages, one afternoon for several hours, then slept in a hut at 10,000 ft. We were woken up at 3 am to make the final trek to the summit for sunrise.
It was grueling as I was not used to the thin air and not that fit either! A sign at the base of the mountain reads that the record for the annual footrace to the summit and back down is 2 hours 45 minutes! It must have taken me around 17 hours of actual walking time up and down, stopping many times, gasping for air. We made the summit but no sunrise due to cloud; then came the hard part, the descent.
The track on the mountain is composed of large stairs, some of them knee high and there are thousands of them. So descending was a tricky task, taking a lot of concentration to place the feet rightly so not to twist the knee or ankle. Even for a tall person like myself, it was a challenge. After a few hours I had run out of chocolate bars and water and was still only half way down the mountain.
I had run out of energy and was running on will power at this stage. Some other climbers coming up the path gave me some energy bars but it did not help much. I had lactic acid in my muscles and my legs were cramping up. I finally made it back to the park headquarters and hobbled across to the restaurant for a big feed. I felt like I had a muscle meltdown! Then I limped onto the bus and back to Kinabalu where I lay on my hotel bed for a couple of days letting my legs recover!
Mountains are ruled by Capricorn and my next destination India is also ruled by Capricorn. So Kinabalu was a taste of what was to come, literally and metaphorically. Capricorn is also the placement of the Sun in my “conception horoscope”, speculated to be related to one’s “soul chart”.
Indo-nesia once constituted Greater India, which stretched from Vietnam in the east to Iran in the west, deep into the ancient Tamil Nadu south of Sri Lanka (now sunken) – and to places like Bali, almost entirely Hindu, unique in Islamic Indonesia.
But first I traveled to Sri Lanka, spending four weeks. It was a good warm-up for India, I arrived in Columbo late at 1 am Sunday morning. There was alot of activity on the street and I had to run the gauntlet of touts and taxi drivers, heading to my hotel of choice from my Lonely Planet guide book, only to find out that it had recently burnt to the ground!
So I spent the next few hours in a fruitless search for other hotels, with drunken tuk-tuk drivers giving me the run around all over the city. (Must have been some cabbie karma there!) Finally I settled for the Hilton at 4 am exhausted, just to get a good night’s sleep, blowing one month’s budget for one night, only to find the local hostel just around the corner the next day. Murphy’s Law was in operation!
There were several hair-raising bus rides in Sri Lanka, over steep and narrow mountain passes. Looking out the bus window, I could not see any road, just a 2,000 ft steep practically vertical drop – and a few upside-down, crashed and rusty buses littering the slopes below.
There were some magic moments in Kandy, the spiritual Buddhist capital of Sri Lanka. I visited Anuradhapura toward the north, one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilization. (See Buddha pic above.)
Lion Rock at Sigiriya was also a highlight. There were many other places that I visited, elusive to my memory now. But one memorable place was Nuwara Eliya, about 2,000 metres in altitude, amongst tea plantations.
My Lonely Planet guide told me that the woman who ran the guesthouse I had chosen, was a national scrabble champion. From that moment, I knew that we would be engaged in combat! No sooner had I arrived and slung my swag in a room, we cracked open the scrabble board and had one of the most amazing games I had ever played, including getting a 50-point bonus for using all seven letters. She also had some amazing scores, but at the end I pipped her at the post by a few points – she was not impressed!
The area is also famous for one of five botanical gardens in Sri Lanka – Hakgala Botanical Garden. I arrived early one morning and had one of the most satisfying photographic meditations of my entire trip.
I also visited a Theosophical Lodge (In Badulla I think) that had been established due to the efforts of Theosophy’s co-founder, Henry Steel Olcott. He was a major revivalist of Buddhism and has been called by Sri Lankans, “one of the heroes in the struggle of our independence and a pioneer of the present religious, national and cultural revival”. Sri Lanka is unique for four religions co-existing but with ongoing conflicts: Theravada Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam.
Sri Lanka is also the home of the famous Hindu epic poem, The Ramayana. In esoteric history it is regarded as an actual event that occurred over a million years ago, similar to the other epic poem The Mahabharata that occurred even further back in time. The Ramayana is an allegorised account of the conflict between the Atlanteans (4th rootrace) and the early Hindu Aryans (5th rootrace):
“… the great struggle between the “Sons of God” and the Sons of the Dark Wisdom—our forefathers; or the Atlantean and the Aryan Adepts … the mystic narrative in epic form of the struggle between Rama—the first king of the divine dynasty of the early Aryans—and Ravana, the symbolical personation of the Atlantean (Lanka) race.
The former were the incarnations of the Solar Gods; the latter, of the lunar Devas. This was the great battle between Good and Evil, between white and black magic, for the supremacy of the divine forces, or of the lower terrestrial, or cosmic powers.”2
Readers may have heard of Hanuman, the monkey god, the general of Rama’s army, the son of Vayu, god of the wind, of a virtuous she-demon. Hanuman was the faithful ally of Rama and through his audacity and wit, helped the Avatar of Vishnu to finally conquer the demon-king of Lanka, Ravana, who had carried off the beautiful Sita. Sri Lanka is also an ancient remnant of the continent of Lemuria, the rootrace that preceded Atlantis. The monkey symbolism alludes to a deep mystery of events that occurred just after Individualisation – where humans erred against evolutionary law, breeding with animals, whose descendants are our modern apes.
India is one of the oldest civilisations on the planet and is esoterically regarded as the Mother of all modern Western nations. Most religions and languages can be traced back to ancient India. Christianity for instance, is simply repackaged Hinduism, as any student of comparative religion will tell you. India’s spiritual motto is “I hide the Light” – she is like the alpha and omega, the beginning and eventually the end:
“India hides the light, and that light, when released upon the world and revealed to humanity, will bring about harmony in the form aspect, for things will be clearly seen as they are and freed from glamour and illusion.”3
India was a very tough trip, as many who have visited will tell you. Hence the acronym for I.N.D.I.A. – “I’ll never do India again”! Transiting Saturn in Aquarius was opposite my natal Pluto in Leo, whilst transiting Pluto and progressed Sun in Scorpio were square my natal Pluto. Intense would be an understatement! Pluto is the ruler of the first ray of will or power and India is a first ray soul. Pluto is therefore Shiva or Kali – the Destroyer.
India will break you down and strip you bare. No matter how many “India stories” you hear or read about, none of them really prepare you for the assault on the senses – sights, sounds and smells of this extraordinary ancient continent. (Unless you just fly in to some yoga sanctuary and swan about in white robes for three weeks and are relatively cocooned from the rest of the country.) In 1992-3, I back-packed around India before the days of laptops, CD’s and smartphones, with a lot of books and camera equipment on board. At times my pack must have weighed about 25-30 kilograms.
One loses things in India. I had collected alot of Bansuri flutes, many of which were lost by the end of the trip. Unfortunately alot of color film slides were lost too, India jealously reclaimed them. By the time I arrived in Britain in 1993 I had also lost about 30 lbs (13 kilos) and proceeded to put my weight back by dining in Indian restaurants in London, far better than anything I had come across in India!
It was appropriate that my original “HHH” travels began here because India is regarded esoterically as the “cradle of the Fifth Rootrace”, the genesis of all Western races. India is the first subrace of this Fifth Rootrace and embodies the synthesis of East and West.
|5.6||Synthesis of all subraces||Next 25,000|
(For more details about these stupendous timelines, see here.)
India was certainly beckoning me back “home” through a deep personal affinity that probably reflects some significant past incarnations. I have always had strong resonance with Hindu philosophy and its traditions, especially through sources such as Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine – and The Mahabharata which contains at its heart the Bhagavad-Gita.
Obviously I cannot report on all the events, it could fill a book, but some highlights are worth relating. Impressions are always subjective of course and one person’s India is not necessarily another’s. I hope not to distort India either, with clichés or stereotypes, especially for my Hindu friends or Indo-philes, but sometimes it is simply unavoidable. Like China, India is going through an enormous revolution at the moment and it is a pity that many Indians are rejecting their spiritual heritage. Though one cannot blame them either, so crystallised have many traditions become, stifling the spiritual life and creativity.
My trip began in Chennai (formerly Madras) and the first week there was my initiation into India. From the first moment that the airport shuttle dumped me six blocks from my hotel (thankyou!), walking through sidewalks packed with families who lived there; children and babies, naked and filthy, lying on the pavement whilst inches away, big diesel TATA trucks belching black smoke, thundered past all day. No wonder, when scouting around for a cup of tea at 6 am the next day (impossible in India, as I was going to find out), seeing these people starting to arise, they all looked so bleary-eyed and weary with a pollution hangover from the previous day.
I was also confronted by hordes of these children spotting me the Westerner, approaching with one hand out for money, while the other hand pointed to their mouths to feed. All tourists experience this and it is hard not to give, and encourage begging when their plight is so obvious. In fact beggars tend to dog tourists all over India as we are so obviously “rich” Westerners. However, there are many begging scams and, “they have many different methods of pulling at your heart strings in an attempt to get money”. (See this article.)
Of course this was just one part of Chennai, but is not untypical of many cities in India. The first trip to the bank and post office that week was another part of my initiation into India. With a fourth ray personality, India is not that orderly (indeed, chaotic!), at least for the Anglo-Saxon mind that expects or demands order; very ironic given the imposition of the British Raj for hundreds of years! Part of the legacy that the British left was an unwieldy bureaucracy but the best part of their influence bringing democracy to India, previously governed by the Mughal Emperors, who were essentially dictators:
“Britain also introduced a modern, Western-style infrastructure to all aspects and levels of Indian affairs, which was far more efficient and sophisticated than the creaky, monolithic systems of the Mughal period. Administration improved at all levels of society. The British legal system was an improvement on what had gone before, as was the military infrastructure and health care system. Britain also provided India with modern technology, such as the railway network, electricity and, later, air transport.”4
Back in the 1990’s (things may have changed since), there was no such thing as a queue at the post office. Customers simply milled around the counter. The clerk behind the counter would start serving one person then another would push in and so the clerk would start serving him, until he was serving half a dozen people simultaneously. Seeing the situation, and determined to complete my postage mission, I gradually worked my way to the front, then stuck my elbows out until he had finished doing my business.
I can still recall the sounds of frustrated British tourists demanding that the locals form a queue, some order please! No such luck! It was not an uncommon sight to see foreign tourists come bawling out of the building or fuming with frustration and anger. Britain and India have long had a karmic relationship:
“Many British people are subjectively linked with India, by past incarnations and association; the quarrel between Great Britain and India is largely a family affair in the deepest sense of the term and hence its bitterness. As you know, there is a close link between the fourth and second rays and this again emerges in the relationship between England and India; a destiny is there which must be jointly worked out.”5 (Britain is a ray two soul and India a fourth ray personality.)
I remember my first mission to post a parcel back home took an hour. I had to pay rupees to the “wallahs” outside the post office, all of whom had their little bureaucratic tasks – various forms to fill out, the guy who tied your parcel up with string, another who used wax seals (!) on parcels etc. It was all tediously and mind-numbingly slow! Questions to these wallahs were invariably returned with the Indian “head bobble”, which can mean yes, maybe or dozens of different things.
Indian head bobble.
As a result of travelers being confronted with a completely different approach to what they have taken for granted back home, or the shock of grinding poverty, noise and pollution – many leave India after their first week, rather than stay for the rest of the trip.
And so, I pressed on doggedly – my next destination was to visit the Theosophical Headquarters at Adyar, south of the city. I crammed into an ancient bus and later, walking across a bridge over the Adyar River (that I could smell several blocks away), I peered down at water that looked like thick black sump oil!
Then I arrived at Adyar with high expectations, only to be confronted by unfriendly bureaucrats who made my visit quite unpleasant. The same thing happened when I later visited ISKON at Krishnapura, the birthplace of Krishna.
This is the nature of India – one can have the most extreme opposite experiences in a moment, an hour or a day; it is the nature if the fourth ray personality of India – Harmony through Conflict.
At Krishnapura I had my mango fruit breakfast snatched twice by some very quick monkeys working the local tourist road! The people at ISKON were very unfriendly, they sounded like fanatical fundamentalists as I recall. When I went to the river to reminisce about Krishna frolicking with his Gopis, I witnessed the horror of a dog dragging from the water a drowned baby – discarded due to female infanticide, still practiced to this day. This inspired another poem that can be found in my book, Songs to Varuna.
Another good example of these extremes was visiting the Tagore Family museum in Santiniketan, Calcutta – at the end of my trip. The Tagore’s were leading cultural lights in India and their state of Bengal. The main reason for my visit was for one of my favourite poets and polymath, Rabindranath Tagore, author of Gitanjali:
“Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life. This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new. At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable. Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine. Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.” More …
Interesting that Tagore published his poems under the pseudonym “Sun Lion” when he was younger – hinting at his soul purpose as Leo rising – a cultural and spiritual leader. “The great poet interprets to man his present or reinterprets for him his past, but can also point him to his future and in all three reveal to him the face of the Eternal.”
After spending an enjoyable two hours at the museum, I started to head back to my hotel but got lost. I found myself in a street that was an outdoor abattoir for block after endless block. All the butcher shops were in this part of town and I was parched with thirst (again) as it was extremely hot. The sun was practically cooking all the large piles of offal in the gutter – you can imagine the smell! I was staggering through this grotesque landscape (lost in a desert!) looking for water and a way home. I found this all very ironic in vegetarian India, perhaps a reflection of the Kali Yuga age of death and destruction which we are now in.
Another advanced Hindu soul who had a role in bridging East and West was Sri Aurobindo. I carried his poetry book in my backpack alongside Tagore’s for most of my trip in India. (The only other book I had was Alice A. Bailey’s Light of the Soul, commentaries on The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.)
“Aurobindo was imprisoned by the British for writing articles against British rule in India. [He studied at Cambridge.] He was released when no evidence was provided. During his stay in the jail he had mystical and spiritual experiences, after which he moved to Pondicherry, leaving politics for spiritual work.”6
I travelled to the Aurobindo community called Auroville, near Pondicherry and stayed for a day, visiting Matrimandir, a grand temple built after Aurobindo’s passing – under the guidance of his collaborator, Mirra Alfassa, “The Mother”. It was still under construction in 1992, but the meditation floor was finished and accessible, for which I took full advantage. Aurobindo is regarded by his followers as an Avatar – and The Mother as a living incarnation of the “Divine Mother”.
And as usual, from the sublime to the strange – walking through Pondicherry the next morning alongside one of the canals, I spotted the largest, meanest, scruffiest rat staring at me from the top of an oil drum. It had hardly any fur and its ears had been all but bitten off in a thousand quarrels; it must have been nearly two feet long, including its tail. It crouched staring at me as if to say, “Go ahead, make my day”!
The order of visits in this diary are not going to be necessarily in the order that I traveled them. But essentially I circumnavigated the continent, starting in Chennai in a clockwise direction, finishing in Calcutta. I am also relying on a patchy memory for some places, and many will be omitted.
I stayed one night in Mahabalipuram, a very ancient town where I awoke to the tinkling sound of statue carvers chipping away at their stone. The town is famous for its ancient temples carved out of solid rock, portraying events described in the Mahabharata. In the 2005 tsunami, the ruins of an ancient city were uncovered.
In Mahabalipuram I started playing a small bamboo flute that had been in my backpack since Sri Lanka. One night in a dream I had a vision of Krishna – he had a very large ancient silver flute inscribed with all sorts of symbols and hieroglyphics. The sound that emanated from it was unearthly and divine, no other words can describe the experience.
I woke up inspired to get some sounds out of my flute, huffing and puffing away for half an hour in my hotel room, trying to train my lips and facial muscles to get the right embouchure. There was a wardrobe at the other end of the room with a full length mirror – spontaneously for a laugh, I stood on one leg like Krishna with the other leg cocked up at right angles. To my amazement, no sooner had I taken this posture/asana, I started playing and getting some great sounds – for about 30 seconds!
Next I traveled to Shantivanam, a Benedictine monastery in Tannirpalli, founded by French Benedictines and later headed by former Oxford graduate Bede Griffiths, leading thinker in the development of a dialogue between Christianity and Hinduism. I had traveled with the purpose of seeing Griffiths, but on arrival discovered that he had passed just a few weeks previously. I had several coincidences like this when traveling India and Sri Lanka.
Later I found myself in Bangalore and decided to visit the Sai Baba ashram, more for curiosity than anything else. However, twice I went to the bus station, there was some problem with buses not running. So I made do sampling Bangalore’s famous ice cream and buying a big stock of incense.
After that I kept on running into people who gave me vabooti, a powder that Sai Baba regularly manifested from thin air. Later on in my journey heading toward Poona, Sai Baba came to me in two different dreams, the second one very powerful where we had a conversation about Lord Maitreya or The Christ.
My “jury” is still out on Sai Baba – the spiritual community is divided about whether he was a rakshasha or the real deal. There have been horrific allegations about him and also the very opposite that close friends of mine swear to. Here is 4th ray India again! When I arrived at Poona I was very sick from food poisoning on the bus and had a high fever. Vomiting, diarrohea – Poo-na was living up to its name!
I checked into my hotel and went to emergency at the local hospital, as I did not know if it was food poisoning or malaria – I had been devoured by mosquitoes in Sri Lanka. They admitted me overnight, inserting a few drips in my arm for heat exhaustion and stomach. The nurse who was just completing her shift said to me, on no account give any money to nurses who may ask you to pay the hospital bill tonight. Sure enough, I had two nurses approach me during the night, asking same. I almost handed over to one of them in my semi-delirious state, but waited until I checked out the following morning and paid 500 rupees.
I returned to my hotel and went out again, intending to visit the Rajneesh ashram but never made it there either. However, as I was crossing the road, Rajneesh appeared as clear as day, beaming at me, with a big grin on his face. A truck traveled between us and when it had passed, he had disappeared! It was such a shock, I wondered if I was still a bit feverish or if I had imagined it. Then I remembered that he had passed over two years previously.
Not long afterward, I traveled to Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu, originally a “hill station” where people would go to escape the summer heat. I am not sure what motivated me to go there, but when browsing in a bookstore, I came across some books I recognised.
As one of the founding members of the Sydney Esoteric Bookstore (1989-1999), I knew my titles! I saw some books by the author Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (The Gnostic Circle) and remembered that I had heard about her when visiting the Aurobindo ashram at Auroville. She had been at odds with The Mother, a schism emerged and she went on to create another community near Kodaikanal. So I set off by bus and foot and eventually found the retreat property a couple of kilometers down a rough track.
I was not feeling well again, not having fully recovered from being sick in Poona. Some members of the community gave me some healing work. Later, I met with Patrizia and we sat on the verandah of her house discussing esoteric astrology and philosophy for several hours, in late afternoon into the evening. During that time a thunderstorm put on a spectacular sound and light show and we had to shout to make ourselves heard at times. Yet, feeling exhausted and not really that well, I decided to depart back to my hotel.
I was offered a bed for the night, but I felt that I needed to return to town. They asked if I had a flashlight as the track was now very dark. I said yes, I will be fine. On reaching the track beyond the garden lights, I found that the flashlight was battery-dead. I decided to proceed anyway, getting the occasional flash of lightning from the receding thunderstorm to guide my way – it was completely pitch black.
In the first five minutes I managed to stumble into a big boulder at the side of the track and crack my knee! Transiting Sun was in Capricorn by the way (square to my natal Sun), and this sign rules the knees that one (k)needs to climb Capricorn mountains. (My host Patrizia was a Capricorn too as I recall.) After half an hour of slithering up the track and slipping into the mud several times, it became a mountain of endurance. Capricorn also teaches humility – humus, down to earth, I was getting down to … mud!
Periodically, faces and torches came out of the dark toward me – the local Tamils returning to their homes further down. What they saw emerging from the darkness, bedraggled and bespattered with mud must have alarmed some of them, but I mainly heard giggles and laughter! After an hour or more, I finally made it up to the bitumen road, parched with thirst (again!) and walked another couple of kilometers to the bus stop on another road.
In fact, it was a truckers’ stop complete with snacks and chai tea. I ordered a chai (lots of sugar and spices!) and asked him to keep them coming, I must have downed about ten glasses, before the bus turned up and took me back to my hotel.
My room faced a mosque that blared out prayers all night over scratchy old distorted speakers, so I had a fitful sleep after my exhausting marathon – ten glasses of chai tea did not help either! (Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Islam all co-exist peacefully in this town.)
Kulu Valley (Himachal Pradesh)
Six months later, with the Sun transiting through Cancer, and square to my Libran Sun – like before but only the opposite sign, I had another big endurance test. I was exploring the area around the Kulu Valley, the home of the artist Nicholas Roerich and his wife Helena, author of the Agni Yoga series of books, written in collaboration with the Master Morya. (Much more later.)
I had arrived at the bottom of a steep hill just across a bridge over a river. The hill had a very windy road snaking back and forth a long way to the top. It looked like it would take ages to walk it, and I was wondering if I could do a shortcut straight up the middle, by scrambling up a 50 degree slope of rough gravel and thorny bushes.
The last bit looked the hardest, an almost vertical four metre climb. I stood there for about ten minutes weighing up the possibilities and finally decided to go for it. Just as I was starting, a little old man who must have been about 80 years old, bent over with a cane, shuffled past me on his way up the long switchback hill. He paid me no attention, in fact he might have been blind.
After half an hour of slow, careful climbing, I managed to get to the last section. It was a very hot day and as usual, I was thirsty! The next half hour was spent climbing the last four metre wall. There were few footholds and the only hand holds were thorn bushes. I slipped several times but managed to hang on to the bushes, thorns digging into my hands, and blood running down my arms. My legs were also scratched and bleeding as I was wearing only shorts and t-shirt.
I finally made a last lunge for the top and pulled myself up to the road above, tee-shirt torn and drenched with sweat, scratched and bloodied all over, lying on the ground gasping for air, but relieved I had made it. Right at that moment, I heard the tap-tapping of the little old man with his cane as he shuffled past on his way up the mountain! As before, he paid me no attention. Hmmm….
Well, slow and steady won the race that day, the tortoise beat the hare. The slow circuitous route triumphed over the direct path up the mountain – which of course is related to the first ray of will-power. I was reminded of a passage I had read recently in The Light of the Soul:
“In some of the old books there are detailed accounts of these three groups of aspirants and they are portrayed under three symbols:
1. The intense group are depicted as goats, and aspirants of this type are frequently found in incarnation under the sign Capricorn, [my conception chart]
2. The moderate group are depicted by a fish, and many born under the sign Pisces are found in this category,
3. The gentle or slow group are pictured as crabs and often come into incarnation under the sign Cancer.”7
I checked into my hotel in Kulu for a week. Every day I would walk up the hill to the Roerich house (“Kulu Hall”) and talk with the caretaker, an older Russian woman whose name escapes me. She had been responsible for a Tibetan orphanage in the area at one time. I believe she has passed on now.
One day, while thumbing through the Catherine Decter book, Nicholas Roerich: The Life and Art of a Russian Master, I asked my companion what year Helena Roerich died. The words had barely left my mouth when the page fell open displaying that very date! India seemed to bring many little coincidences like this.
Every day I would walk up further to meditate near the Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute that had been founded by the Roerichs. It was deserted at the time but has now been fully restored I believe. I had arrived just after the Roerichs’ son Svetoslav Roerich (also an artist) had passed away and the estate was being transferred to government administratin.
“Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute was established by the Roerichs after their expedition to the Central Asia in 1928. The Institute occupied two buildings beyond the dwelling house up the mountain. The invaluable scientific collections collected during their expedition to the Central Asia were brought there. ”8
One day I asked the caretaker if she would allow me to have a look upstairs. It was usually forbidden as it was preserved as a spiritual sanctuary but she eventually relented. The two beds of Nicholas and Helena stood side by side, with their wooden clog slippers at the foot of each. The lounge room was decorated with many artifacts and huge crystals that they had been bought back from their epic four and a half years journey beyond the Himalayas into Tibet and Mongolia.
Finally, I was shown Helena’s work desk that had a bookcase full of books upon it. The complete set of Alice Bailey books was there, thoroughly annotated, written in the margins and copious bookmarks in each. This was surprising as I did not realise she was a student of The Tibetan – who used Alice Bailey as his amanuensis. (Indeed, there was some enmity from Helena Roerich toward AAB, as my astrological analysis here shows.)
Later in my journey I visited Kalimpong, where Helena Roerich spent her last years at Crookety House, now administered by the Community of Living Ethics, from Italy. I had been trying to find out her birth time so I could erect a correct horoscope. I also investigated her death date at the local council offices in Kalimpong – they claimed to have no record, which is curious! (Since writing this letter, I have been informed that her time is 8.46 am, giving her Aries rising, fitting for one who was a pioneer and also a disciple of the first ray Chohan Morya. http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/Roerich%2C_Helena)
Later on, visiting the local Tibetan monastery, I saw an unmarked stupa erected to her memory in the vegetable garden. One of my most vivid memories of Kalimpong was of enormous stands of bamboo reaching 30-40 metres high, with very thick trunks. The wind was blowing hard through this gigantic thicket, generating a profound sense of awe – extraordinarily mystical, something like being in the bamboo sequence of the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon!
I made a brief stop in Madurai. I cannot remember too much about it, except that I waited an hour for a meal at a restaurant! But the highlight was a night time outdoor re-enactment of The Mahabharata in the old temples. Halfway through the performance a fierce thunderstorm erupted, with loud thunder and lightning, sending everyone scurrying for cover, getting drenched in the process!
After that I arrived in Tiruvannamalai, famous for its amazing temples. I thoroughly photographed its extraordinary statues and temple details but have since lost all! I must return one day anyway, as there are secrets pertaining to ancient human history which this city holds. I had also meant to visit the ashram of Ramana Maharshi located at the foot of Arunachala mountain nearby but never got there either!
There were several other cities and towns visited in the south, but their names elude me. All of them had extraordinary remnants of an ancient past. I wanted to travel to the magical Kerala but the train was not running for some reason. I thought then that this will be part of my next trip to India. If …. ! Whilst in the south, I thought of soaking up the aura of the Nilgherri Hills but never ventured (also for another trip), based upon curiosity about this passage I had read:
“The Master Jupiter, Who is also the Regent of India, is looked up to by all the Lodge of Masters as the oldest among Them. He dwells in the Nilgherry Hills in Southern India, and is not one of the Masters Who [usually takes pupils, for He numbers amongst His disciples initiates of high degree and quite a number of Masters. In His hands are the reins of government for India, including a large part of the Northern frontier, and to Him is committed the arduous task of eventually guiding India out of her present chaos and unrest, and of welding her diverse peoples into an ultimate synthesis.”9
The Master Jupiter was contacted by author David Anrias:
“… Anrias … told us that he had spent many years in India, and that he used to retire for months at a time to a place in the Nilgiri Hills where he practiced meditation under the guidance of the Master whom Madame Blavatsky quaintly referred to as the Old Gentleman from the Nilgiri Hills. This Master specialises in astrology in relation to cosmic forces, and supervises and encourages the development of this science wherever possible. He apparently found Anrias’s brain was of a type capable of being trained along lines similar to his own.”10
As a Master who specialises in astrology, he is no doubt familiar with the Tamil calendar called the “Tirukkanda Panchanga”, compiled from the ancient one known as Asuramaya in Atlantean times. Apparently the Masters use this as one of their main references when considering astrology and cycles.11
My next visit was to Vijaya Nagara in northern Karnataka south of Hyderabad. It is the name of the now-ruined capital city that surrounds modern-day Hampi; it belonged to the historic and enormous Vijayanagara Empire which extended over South India. Hampi is a mind-blowing and surreal place, a popular part of the old hippy trail; it also features the Vittala Temple with its musical (because hollow) pillars.
I gradually headed north to Mumbai, stopping only one night, before heading to Rajasthan, south of Delhi. After a few months in India, Rajasthan felt like coming home. I found myself in Udaipur known for its history, culture, scenic locations and the Rajput-era palaces. I stayed in a hotel built in the sixteenth century with beautiful mosaic windows and original wooden doors. To enter the room I had to duck as it was only about five feet high.
I stepped out on the street after checking-in and saw the great spectacle of a procession celebrating spring – the Mewar Festival. A male and female aged about ten years old were standing on a float being carried down the road, festooned with decorations and colour like only the Indians can create; it brought a lump to my throat and tears of joy streamed down my face. India can ambush you like this and bring out the most unexpected.
Again, this was in stark contrast to the awful bus trip there, where a very loud video was playing – one of those Bollywood films that is a musical, drama and many other themes wrapped into one. Just as you think its about to finish, it starts up again … excruciating! The bus trips in India can be truly terrifying – drivers passing on blind corners or crests of hills – real white-knuckle rides! If a bus or truck comes the other way, the driver just casually goes off the road into the dirt without slowing down.
I had several long bus rides of about 12 hours duration – in big tourist coaches and other rickety, clapped out sardine cans. On one trip, I remember nursing a small goat in one arm and the mother placing her baby in the other arm as her family settled into a crowded bus. (That may have been in Sri Lanka but very similar.) My back seat was over the rear suspension, which was non-existent, so a long, bone-jarring ride! I also recall one horrific trip where on an average every two hours I saw a major accident – usually involving two big trucks or buses in a head-on collision.
Later I visited Jodhpur, more forts, military museums, antique stores. The most memorable part of that visit was visiting the railway station to book a ticket for the train the next day. Many people in India live at railway stations, displaced from rural areas, suffering malnutrition and poverty. I noticed a woman just a few yards from the queue. She was very still and did not look very well – and flies were on her face. I walked over to have a closer look, peering down at her face and realised that she was dead.
I naively mentioned it to the ticket seller and received a head bobble. It is such a common occurrence in India, often no one knows who or where the person has come from. The next day I returned to take the train and she had been spirited away in the night. In a Delhi street, if someone drops dead on the footpath, after a few hours a sheet will be covering them, and an impromptu collection of rupees started for a cremation. According to The Times of India, 33,000 people have died on Delhi streets since 2004.
My next visit was Jaipur, also called the “pink city”, painted to commemorate the visit of a British royal; It was planned according to the principles of Vastu Shastra and Shilpa Shastra, traditional Hindu systems of architecture and arts – incorporating design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement and spatial geometry. I did all the tourist things in Jaipur, bought a ruby that turned out to be a garnet, had an elephant ride up to the Amber Fort etc.
But the main reason for visiting Jaipur was to connect with Christine and Jeremy Townend, an Australian couple who had sold up everything and moved there to manage H.I.S. – Help in Suffering – – an animal welfare group ; they helped create a program that stopped the spread of rabies through dogs.
I stayed a week in Jaipur, visiting HIS several times. Jeremy and I went out in the “animal ambulance” to pick up sick or injured animals, from dogs to cows or donkeys. I was saddened and shocked to see how animals had been so cruelly treated and ignored – such a contrast to the veneration and fuss that is made over sacred cows. Christine also gave me a bunch of metaphysical books to donate to a library in Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama. I lugged them in my rucksack for a few weeks before reaching my destination.
I covered most of the main towns in Rajasthan, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur etc. – visiting many museums and art galleries until I could not take any more Mughal paintings or Indian military swords – enough already! Luckily a few museums had some Nicholas Roerich paintings which was an unexpected treat.
Finally I arrived at Agra – home of the Taj Mahal and Akbar the Great, said to be a previous incarnation of the first ray Chohan, Master Morya. As a great Mogul Emperor of India, he was a patron of religion, art and science – the most liberal of all the Mussulman sovereigns. I stayed in Agra three days, visiting the Taj Mahal and photographing it. I also saw some rough justice meted out in the street to two thieves that the police had arrested.
The mob mentality is a scary thing in India; I witnessed it when visiting the Ramakrishna ashram in Belur Math, Bengal. Ramakrishna was the guru of Swami Vivekananda, an initiate who brought Vedanta to the West in the 1890’s, particularly the USA. I was standing outside the mission, when a demonstration against the demolition of a building nearby turned ugly. I took refuge on top of a large wall, while a street battle ensued. I could feel the surge of the mob anger as they reacted somewhat mindlessly. An interesting juxtaposition to the mindfulness that Vivekananda taught.
I visited Akbar’s Fort, a vast complex of buildings, catalysing one of several India-inspired poems that can be found in Songs to Varuna. Like the other Mughal kings, Akbar was also a patron of astronomy and there are several observatories in the Rajasthan region, including one I visited in Jaipur, the extraordinary Jantar Mantar.
After Agra, I headed toward Dharamsala with my heavy backpack of books. Of course the first visit was the library at the astrological institute, to lighten my load and chat with the people who worked there.
I had also heard that the Dalai Lama was going to be around for meeting pilgrims and visitors. I enjoyed this town, very different from the rest of India due to the presence of many Tibetans, Sikhs and Western ex-patriots or tourists.
And so on the big day, I queued up with about 800 others to pay my respects to His Holiness personally. I remember when it was finally my turn to meet him, that he looks into your eyes as if he has all the time in the world for you – totally present – as he does with every other pilgrim. I was reminded of the “great ocean of peace” that I experienced in Sydney a few years before, just before he came on stage to speak.
Dharamsala also consisted of visiting the Dalai Lama’s physician (who has a public practice) and obtaining some herbal supplements – little pills that look like sheep droppings. I also sought out a flute teacher at McLeod Gange (“little Lhasa”) just outside of Dharmasala. I turned up at my first lesson where he and a couple of Swedish guys were consuming a giant chillum packed with ganja. I declined his invitation to partake, having been there and done that for twenty years or more and by now well over it.
Eventually I got back to Delhi to take the train to Varanasi, where multitudes take their dead to be cremated on the Ganges. The trip was very memorable, I had a bunk in C class and the corridors of the train were full of people sleeping on the floor.
To get to the bathroom in the middle of the night meant picking my way carefully through all the bodies. I had to step over a sleeping mother and her baby right outside the putrid toilet. Varanasi is the most auspicious place in India to go, to absolve one’s sins in the Ganges; it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and spiritual capital of India.
The first thing that strikes the senses in Varanasi is the smell of burning bodies. If India is an assault on the senses then Varanasi is ground zero! Bodies are continuously being cremated outdoors for many hours a day, every day of the year. It takes three to four hours to burn a body completely, and left over bones are thrown in the river or to the dogs.
It was so hot when I was there that I had to use an umbrella at 7.30 am – it was in the low 40’s (C) almost every day. I took a trip out on the river with a boatman and at one point he casually dipped his hand into the water to take a drink, just after a body floated by! I am sure he did it just to shock me. Those who cannot afford cremation are simply cast in the river. Eventually turtles, fish and dogs will finish them off.
Varanasi also has a thriving music industry. I found a great flute manufacturer and bought several flutes, including one so long that my fingers could not even cover the holes. (Shades of the Krishna dream flute.) But what a sound it made!
Sure enough, I left it on the train at my next destination. Before a train even stops at a platform in India, it is besieged by dozens of kids looking for possessions left by travelers. By the time I realised, a few minutes walking down the platform, it was too late. I returned to my carriage but the flute was gone – someone had a great score that day!
Buying a ticket for the train out of Varanasi the morning before I left was also bizarre. You have to line up in several queues before 8 am when the doors open. All the touts from the local hotels are there to buy tickets for their customers and there must only be a limited amount. There were two big policemen with large bamboo canes and I wondered what that meant until they opened the ticket office doors and a stampede for tickets. The policemen waded in with their bamboo batons beating back the throng. The glass doors nearly came off their hinges and received further cracks on previous cracks. Varanasi is an enormous railway station, I think I counted about 24 platforms, all packed with people. (For a more in-depth view of Varanasi, check this travel blog by another traveler.)
From Varanasi I went to Bodh Gaya, the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. A fairly anti-climatic visit as I recall, a common experience in India, due to the idiosyncrasies of travel, sickness or general stress. The main recall from that visit was standing on a platform chatting with a drunken English traveler, attracting a large crowd of curious local onlookers – who just surrounded us and stared! The Englishmen kept them entertained with stories and songs and everyone had a good laugh.
From Bodh Gaya I took the train to Darjeeling, where I stayed for a week. Awakening on the first day at my hotel (after a noisy night of crazy barking dogs next door), I had a stunning view of Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world. I visited the mountaineering museum later that day, detailing the history of all the attempts on Everest over the past 150 years; it was one of the most moving experiences of my entire trip, the many who died or were driven back by the mountain – making my little mountain dramas look like molehills.
Esoterically, Darjeeling is one of the five main planetary centres – with New York, London, Geneva and Tokyo. Its an amazing contrast, such a small hill town compared to these gigantic world cities. Yet its size belies its power spiritually, more potent than the modern cities because of its proximity to the Hierarchy, those Masters who reside hidden in the Himalayas, inspiring and guiding Humanity. The reader can find several essays about these cities and what chakra they represent here. In the author’s current hypothesis, Darjeeling is the crown chakra, directing the will (and love-wisdom) of the Hierarchy, concerning the Planetary Plan.
Finally, I made it to Calcutta, exhausted from my long trip, having fallen ill several times and losing a lot of weight! Walking down a crowded, noisy alley one day, I was stopped in my tracks by a filthy beggar sitting on the ground wearing nothing but a jute sack; he was the spitting image of a well-known person in the metaphysical book business back in Australia. I continued on my way thinking nothing more of it, but when I returned to Australia (via UK) sometime later, I discovered that this person had died from cancer during my travels. So perhaps he was just saying hi!
Calcutta was incredibly hot, I spent a lot of time just resting in my hotel but did manage to make it to the Tagore museum mentioned earlier. Came the day to fly out to Britain, I arrived at the airport without enough money to pay the departure tax. I naturally assumed that I would be able to get money from an ATM machine at this international airport. No such luck!
I begged the airport employees to trade something that I had brought, big amethyst crystals from Jaisalmer or my favourite Jethro Tull cassette tape. I had my whole backpack unpacked on the floor while they looked on with bemusement. It was Friday afternoon and the banks were about to close. My flight was only about an hour away. I rushed outside and jumped into the first taxi, to find that the driver was only about twelve years old and could hardly see over the steering wheel! His elder brother was there and assured me I would be fine.
After getting lost several times, I jumped out of the taxi and went into a bank to ask for a cash advance on my credit card. After ten minutes of head bobbles and total confusion, I realised that they were not going to give me any money and took off back to the airport, spending my last small change on another taxi.
I went back to the customs guys and one of them finally relented – taking a Mozart cassette tape and something else. He also gave me some change that just covered a chai tea and a biscuit, giving me 15 minutes to breathe before boarding.
As the plane sped down the runway, I looked out the window giving a one-fingered salute – farewell India! I.N.D.I.A. – I will never do India again! I remember saying that I would not return there until I had forgotten how bad some of the smells were – and the excruciating noise! That was 23 years ago.
People romanticise about India, especially when thumbing through an exotic picture-book that can easily foster illusions – which are promptly trashed when they get there! There was much that I did not see or do in India. I never saw any of India’s infamous sadhus or other tourist spots for instance, neither was I that interested. One could easily visit India several times, taking different routes, seasons and festivals – and have very different experiences.
Writing this brief travel diary brings a bit of nostalgia for the best bits of India. Do I want to return again soon .. would I be a glutton for punishment? Time will tell … it certainly will, sometime in this Kali Yuga.
Funding the HHH Project
With regard to these project plans, I am initiating a new donation fund. At this link there is a longer reflection about the problem of raising finances for a project that may seem somewhat obscure and less urgent globally, hence less attractive to potential donors.
Yet, if one recognition can be made about The Grand Illusion that imprisons Humanity, it is around our very genesis, the origin of the human soul and the subsequent evolution of consciousness; distorted human history, the nature of ancient cycles and the erroneous scientific theory that humans came from apes; for millions there is not even the recognition that they have souls yet! Hence, there is a need to disperse, dispel and devitalize these illusions, starting from the mental plane working down to the physical level, through science – esoteric and exoteric.
I have often had comments regarding my travels like, “enjoy your holiday” and “lucky you” and sure, it does have its moments. Yet travel in foreign countries can be extremely onerous more often than not (as described above in India’s extreme case!), with unknown and shocking roads, bad drivers, local customs, language, food etc. – even in “civilised” Europe, as I have recently experienced in Italy 2016! (Travel Diary forthcoming soon.) It takes a great deal of patience and persistence to keep forging ahead.
I have the impression sometimes that people think I must be very well off financially to do this, unfortunately not true! I make a very modest income as an astrologer and conducting occasional seminars. As long as I have an internet connection, I can pretty much work from anywhere in the world, giving me the freedom to travel and follow the HHH project. I talk about what is involved with life on the road in an earlier travel diary in 2010.
As a reminder, if you want to read a longer discussion about donating to this work, please follow this link: donation fund.
- Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey. p.64. [↩]
- The Secret Doctrine II, H.P. Blavatsky. p.495. [↩]
- Esoteric Psychology I, Alice A. Bailey. p.385. [↩]
- http://www.answers.com/Q/Good_effect_of_british_rule_to_india [↩]
- The Destiny of the Nations, Alice A. Bailey. p.53. [↩]
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Aurobindo [↩]
- The Light of the Soul, Alice A. Bailey. p.45. [↩]
- http://en.icr.su/protection/heritage/Roerich_Kulu/index.php [↩]
- Initiation, Human and Solar, Alice A. Bailey. p.53. [↩]
- Cyril Scott, The Initiate in the Dark Cycle, p. 89. [↩]
- The Secret Doctrine II, H.Petrovna Blavatsky. p.67. [↩]