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A vast number of Tantras have disappeared probably for ever. Of those which survive a large number are unknown. Most of those which are available are of fragmentary character. Even if these did appear later than some other Shastras, this would not, on Indian principles, affect their authority. According to such principles the authority of a Scripture is not determined by its date; and this is sense. Why, it is asked, should something said 1,000 years ago be on that account only truer than what was said 100 years ago? It is held that whilst the teaching of the Agama is ever existent, particular Tantras are constantly being revealed and withdrawn. There is no objection against a Tantra merely because it was revealed to-day. When it is said that Shiva spoke the Tantras, or Brahma wrote the celebrated Vaishnava poem called the Brahmasamhita, it is not meant that Shiva and Brahma materialized and took a reed and wrote on birch bark or leaf, but that the Divine Consciousness to which men gave these and other names inspired a particular man to teach, or to write, a particular doctrine or work touching the eternally existing truth. This again does not mean that there was any one whispering in his ear, but that these things arose in his consciousness. What is done in this world is done through man. There is a profounder wisdom than is generally acknowledged in the saying "God helps those who help themselves". Inspiration too never ceases. But how, it may be asked, are we to know that what is said is right and true? The answer is "by its fruits." The authority of a Shastra is determined by the question whether Siddhi is gained through its provisions or not. It is not enough that "Shiva uvaca" (Shiva says) is writ in it. The test is that of Ayurveda. A medicine is a true one if it cures. It is from Samadhi that the ultimate proof of Advaitavada is sought. How is the existence of Kalpas known? It is said they have been remembered, as by the Buddha who is recorded as having called to mind 91 past Kalpas. There are arguments in favor of rebirth but that which is tendered as real proof is both the facts of ordinary daily experience which can, it is said, be explained only on the hypothesis of pre-existence; as also actual recollection by self-developed individuals of their previous lives. Modern Western methods operate through magnetic sleep producing "regression of memory". (See A. de Rochas and Lancelin Age, however, is not wholly without its uses: because one of the things to which men look to see in a Shastra is whether it has been accepted or quoted in works of recognized authority. Such a test of authenticity can, of course, only be afforded after the lapse of considerable time. But it does not follow that a statement is in fact without value because, owing to its having been made recently, it is not possible to subject it to such a test. This is the way in which this question of age and authority is looked at on Indian principles.
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It is possible that the influence of Śankara may have had a puritanical side which partly accounts for the degeneration of later Indian art. His higher teaching inculcated a spiritual creed which needed no shrines, while for those who required rites he recommended the old Brahmanic ritual rather than the modern temple cultus. The result of this may have been that piety and learning were diverted from art, so that architecture and sculpture ceased to be in touch with the best religious intelligence.
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This cycle should lead toquasi-periodic encounters with interstellar clouds, and periodicvariations in the galactic tidal force with maxima at times of planecrossing.