Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mayan Apocalypse – Will it come true?

Guess what these buildings in the pictures below are about? They are the shelters from the destruction expected on the Mayan Doomsday on 21st December 2012.

It is said that nearly 10% of the people in the West believe that something terrible would happen on that day triggering a catastrophe. Perhaps a clash of ideals of Faith and ideas of science exists in the mind of average Westerners that they secretly fear that the Day of Judgement or Retribution could come any time.

For a Hindu, this clash is nowhere in existence, for, our scriptures tell us that all is not over with this birth. Our life goes on and on from one birth to another birth and that this cycle does not end so easily. This ensures that the earth goes on making itself fit for life for a limitless time in future. To give an idea of how long this journey of the earth is going to be, we have clear-cut concepts on Time and change of Time given by many sages and retold many times in the ancient scriptures.

While going through those views on Time given by the sages, we do come across Time as predicted on the basis of movement of Venus! This gave me an impetus to look into the Mayan views on Time and the accompanying predictions and compare it with the Vedic view of Time and predictions based on Venus (Shukra). What I deduced was published in an astrological magazine in June 2012. What I found out was that Mayan calculations could have been derived from the now extinct method of Measurement of Time called Asura-mana or Shukra-mana of the Vedic system, which was based on movement of Venus and which was applicable to people living in the Southern hemisphere. The important inference is that there is no doomsday prediction connected with the Mayan scale of time.

An important hypothesis I have made in this article is with reference to the famous step pyramid called as Temple of Kukulkan at Chichen Itza. Kukulkan in the Mayan language means snake.  A similar name exists in Tamil  and Sanskrit also as Kukkuta sarpam. It means an old snake which had shrunk in size to that of a kukkuta or a rooster or a cock due to old age. This Kukkuta is the bird that wakes up people in the morning – before sun rise.

A look at this step pyramid shows a striking resemblance to the positions of Venus as it rises before sunrise in the east. Venus cannot go beyond 47.8° above the ground. When Venus reappears after a conjunction with Sun, one can watch its location in the backdrop of this step pyramid.

In this picture of that step pyramid called as snake pyramid  - or Kukulkan by the Mayan, I have shown white dots on the right side next to the steps. These dots trace the path of Venus as it rises up in the early morning sky in the east. The top- most dot is the maximum height that Venus can go in the sky – this is my presumption.  I request researchers to check whether this actually happens for an observer on the ground.

The source for this presumption is that in Vedic astrology, Venus is supposed to travel across 9 streets or Veedhis. These are described in Brihad Samhitha as the paths in which Venus moves.  These streets are identified by stars of the Zodiac ( 27 in all). The temple of Kukulkan also has 9 steps and there is a popular Mayan concept of going to the other world or underworld through these 9 steps.

In the picture I have shown the rising path. After reaching the maximum height (perhaps the height of this temple) Venus will start climbing down. That path can also be followed by these steps.

The most important information is that, Venus will be invisible at the bottom for some days when it is in conjunction with the sun. Its first reappearance after conjunction is of importance in Vedic astrology on Venus and also in the Mayan system. Such reappearance comes with some predictions for the land from where it is observed. Brihat samhita gives predictions for its reappearance that could happen in any of the 27 stars of the zodiac. No one in the world – not even the Indians have bothered to know them and spread them around. But what the Mayans have told for each of those reappearances has been taken by the Western people seriously, who have spread them as though those predictions were told for them!!

Perhaps they had a commercial reason behind all that. The website that recorded those predictions had also suddenly found a monetary value by going into hiding them and making people pay for reading them. ( )

For people like us, Sanatan dictum is that knowledge must be acquired and spread without expecting anything in return. The Mayans also were of that stock as there is Vedic influence on them. Bhrighu, Shukracharya and Mayan come under the same category of people who had mastered material sciences as an extension of Atharva Veda. They followed what was called Shukra mana or Measurement of Time of Venus. My attempt in this article is to show that Mayan concepts must be studied along with concepts on Venus given in Vedic astrology to see whether the lost Shukramana can be re-constructed.

The article is reproduced below and can also be read in my scribd.  

Earlier in 2008, I wrote 5 reasons why the world would not end on 21st December 2012. It can be read here:-

5 reasons why the world will not end on 2012.


Now on to the article:-



Jayasree Saranathan.

(Article published in the June 2012 issue of The Astrological eMagazine)

The doomsday prediction of the Mayan calendar that the world would come to an end on 21st December 2012 has done enough rounds around the world. This prediction is different from the prophecies of the Nostradamus kind, because the Mayans had based their predictions on a repetitive calendar system of astronomical position of planets. This background of the predictions naturally arouses the interest of astrologers like us who have been introduced to traditional astrology given by the Vedic seers. Of particular interest is the importance given to Venus in the Mayan calendar. The origin of the Mayan calendar coming from regions closer to the southern hemisphere raises our curiosity as to whether the System of Venus, known as Shukra-mana was the basis for the Mayan calendar. In this article, an attempt is made to bring out the salient features of the Shukramana, taking cue from Brihad Samhita and interfacing them with Mayan revelations and the probable interpretation of the Mayan prediction of 21st December, 2012.

Before going into the details, let us remind ourselves of the Mayan connection to our traditional astrology. The name Maya comes as a Vastu specialist and also as an astrologer who received the wisdom of Surya Siddhantha. In both these contexts Maya is either referred to as a Danava or an Asura. Surya Siddhantha recognises him as an Asura only. We should recall that the region to the south of the equator was peopled with Asuras according to Puranic narrations. The Asuras of the south and the Devas who inhabited the Northern hemisphere were guided by their respective preceptors namely Shukra (Venus) and Brihaspathi (Jupiter) respectively. For the astrologer, the important information is that the cycle of Jupiter, known as Brihaspatya-mana was in vogue in the Northern hemisphere. This gives a presumption that the Cycle of Venus called as Shukra-mana must have been popular in the southern hemisphere.

Although not much is known about Shukra-mana, the traditional opinion is that such a system of time measurement did exist as part of different systems of mana or measurement of time. Interestingly Mayaasura received the knowledge of nine systems of Mana according to the narration in the Surya Siddhantha. They are Brahma-mana, Prajapatya-mana, Deva-mana, Pitru-mana, Saura-mana, Chandra-mana, Savana-mana, Nakshatra-mana and Brihaspatya-mana.  The Brihaspathya mana is based on Jupiter and was followed by the Devas or the people of the Northern hemisphere. But an Asura receiving that knowledge precludes that he later deduced the Mana for the Asuras or the inhabitants of the Southern hemisphere. There does exist in some compilations that a mana known as Asura-mana was in vogue in times of past but was lost due to dis-use in the region where we live, namely the Northern hemisphere.

An analysis of the past does reveal that a system of astrology propagated by Maya and applicable to the southerners did exist in the past. From Vedic texts we come to know that a common ancestry of seers known as 'Bhrugvangiras' got divided into Bhrugu and Angiras. Bhrugu's disciple was Shukra, who became teacher for Asuras (demons). And from Angiras came Brihaspathy who became the teacher for Devas. The sage Bhrugu and the teacher of Shukra are grouped along with Maya in Matsya Purana as sages who were proficient in Vaastu sastra. Thus we find a connection between Maya and Shukra and Asuras, the people of Southern regions. This background information gives credence to the Bhrugu or Shukra mana (Asura-mana) system of time measurement as the origin of the Mayan belief system that is found in the Mesoamerican regions including Mexico and in regions just north and south of the Equator. The importance given to Venus in their systems also lends credence to its origin in Asura-mana or Shukra-mana.

The Mayan calendar of Time.

The Maya followed 3 types of calculation of time. One is the Long Count which is similar to Yuga cycles running into thousands of years. One such long cycle is going to end on 21st December 2012.

The second one is a Divine calendar (Tzolkin) running to a duration of 260 days. This resembles our Lunar calendar which we use for religious purposes. The Maya have 13 rounds of 20 days each, making up 260 days of the divine calendar. Many theories are floating to justify this number. One theory of importance to astrologers is that 260 is the number of days between two consecutive zeniths for the sun at the place where Mayas once lived. This place was known as Izapa and now they call it Chiapas Mexico which lies at 15 degrees N.  Gnomons used for observing the path of the sun have been unearthed in this place giving credence to this notion.

The third one is the Civil calendar (Haab) which is equal to the Solar year. The Maya count it as 18 rounds of 20 days each and an extra 5 days. The last five days are considered to be dangerous and evil. These two (divine and civil calendar) are used in everyday life by the Mayans and they repeat every 52 years. In other words the Mayans had 52 year cycle that is similar to the 60 year cycle of the Brihaspatya mana.

Apart from this, the Mayans had a Short count of 13 rounds of 20 years for which they had written predictions. An important feature of this count is that the 12th round of the present series is also coming to an end on 21st December 2012. These dates indicate the end of a cycle which is being variously interpreted as a doomsday prediction.

A cursory look at the prediction for the 12th cycle spanning for 20 years from 1993 to 2012 will reveal what the Mayans thought. It runs as follows:

 "There will be scarcities of corn and squash during this katun (20 year period) and this will lead to great mortality. This was the katun during which the settlement of Chichen Itza (a place where Mayans lived and built a temple) occurred, when the man-god Kukulcan (Quetzalcoatl) arrived. It is the katun of remembering and recording knowledge."

( )

Apparently this period shows a regional scarcity in food production. It also says a date in the past when people had settled in the area.  According to this Short count, it would come to an end on 21st December 2012, when the last and the 13th count of the current Short series would begin. The 13th count will run for 20 years and end in 2032. By a coincidence the Long count and the 12th round of the Short Count are coming to an end on 21st December this year. There is absolutely no prediction of an apocalypse for this date given in the Mayan books.

Venus as the basis of Mayan system.

 The system of Long and Short count looks similar to 12 rounds of Jupiter's cycle with small round of 5 years each, with one count getting fitted into another count. The Jupiter cycle is known as Brihaspatya mana which is based on the movement of Jupiter around the zodiac with its starting point occurring in the constellation of Dhanishta in the month of Magha, with its reappearance from a conjunction with the Sun after Jupiter has crossed its sign of debility. Infact predictions in our astrology for all the planets except Saturn and the nodes are based on the reappearance after a conjunction (asthang) with sun. The counting of the lunar month starts the day after conjunction of moon with the sun. For Mars, its point of retrogression after reappearance from conjunction with Sun is taken into consideration for different types of predictions. For Mercury, its reappearance after a conjunction with Sun is noted for making predictions according to Varahamihira. Similarly, for Venus too, its reappearance after a conjunction with Sun is taken into consideration for making predictions. This system explained in Brihad Samhita is also found in the Mayan book of Chilam Balam. (Note this name Chilam Balam of the Maya sounds like Chidambaram, the abode of Nataraja, which was actually called as Chelambaram or Chelambalam until 200 years ago as per the records of the Colonial travellers. "Handbook for India – Part 1" by Edward Eastwick, 1859)

The Chilam Balam tells about a Venus cycle of 584 days and the tracking of the heliacal rising of Venus as the morning and evening star accompanied with predictions for these. Many dates have been given in this context with prediction of war or loss or growth of crop or failure of crop etc. This is significant because 584 is the number of days that Venus takes to come closer to earth (called as inferior conjunction) before it changes as evening or morning star.  Of this 236 is the number of days that Venus is in the eastern sky as the morning star. For 90 days Venus is in upper conjunction (on the other side of sun) when it will become invisible to earth. In the next 250 days Venus is the western sky as the evening star. Then for 8 days, Venus is in inferior conjunction by coming in between the earth and the sun. On the day that I am writing this article, Venus is in inferior conjunction – crossing the disc of the sun!

The Mayan dates reveal the above position of Venus. For example one of the dates was January 27, in the year 727. On that day Venus made the reappearance in Dhanishta as the morning star after an inferior conjunction. Another date is September 17, 915 AD. That was also the day of reappearance in the east as morning star after an inferior conjunction. Venus reappeared in Uttara Phalguni on that day. Like this many dates coincide with the heliacal rising of Venus and they are mentioned along with a prediction. If we look at Varahamihira's version, he has also given prediction for the heliacal rising of Venus for all 27 stars.

For example when Venus reappears in Dhanishta, the heretics will suffer. When it reappears in Uttara Phalguni, Varahamihira says that the people of Kuru, Panchala and Jangala would perish and there would be good rains. It is here we can see how the prediction is localised. This prediction has no relevance to Mayan lands but only to India. But the fact that the Mayans observed the reappearance and based a prediction on it shows that the methodology was same or derived from a common source or a parental source, perhaps from the Vedic Shukracharya. But predictions were made after observing Nature and mankind for very many years.  The Mayan prediction is different but applicable to the region where it is used. This is the basic feature that we must see before taking the Mayan prediction of 21st December seriously.

Scientists have said that the Mayan dates coinciding with the heliacal rising come with a minor error, which is inevitable in direct observation. They also have said that the observation is applicable to the landscape of Mayan presence where the predictions were originally written. This is substantiated by the predictions for helical rising for Venus differing from Varahamihira's predictions. It shows that the methodology is same but the predictive part differs from region to region. Many of the Chilam Balam dates also tally with the dates of heliacal rising of Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

The beginning of Mayan cycle.

Basically the Brahaspatya mana starts after Jupiter moves out of its sign of debility and emerges out of a conjunction with the Sun. It is logical to expect a similar rationale for Shukramana also. And we are in for a surprise because the Long Count of the Maya shows such a rise for Venus. The current Long Count started on August 11, 3114 BC. The skymap shows that Venus has come out of its debility and also reappeared from a conjunction with Sun. This cycle is going to come to an end on 21st December this year which many people think is predicted as the day of Cataclysm. This end date also has Venus coming out of debility and disappearing in conjunction with the sun. However some people question the exactness of this date. But going by the logic reappearance with beginning of a cycle and disappearance with the end of the cycle, I think the more apt date would be 13th December 2012 and not 21st December. On 13th December, 2012, Venus disappears from our sight due to conjunction with the Sun and had also emerged out of its debility.

The skymaps on the beginning and end of the cycle are shown in figures 1 and 2. An interesting feature is that Saturn is in exaltation during these two occasions. Perhaps the cycle of Venus has exalted Saturn as a main companion in its movement.

Figure 1

Figure 2

The end of the cycle as shown on figure 2 is publicised as the end of the world. The Mayan prediction reading does not say that the world would end on that day. However the 6-month period culminating in December has the astrological combination for natural calamities such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. (Refer my 2-part article on "Predicting earthquakes" published in January and May 2010 issues of this Magazine.) The location is the Americas. It is pertinent to note here that a volcano became active about a month ago in Mexico. Whatever prediction is made in Mayan books, it is applicable to the Mayan regions (Mesoamerica) and not for the world over.

Comparison of Mayan system with Varahamiharan astrology.

There are two parallels between Mayan and Varahamihiran astrology. Varahamihira tells about 9 Veedhis in which Venus travels. He attributes different versions of this Veedhi concept to different sources in the past, but the core concept centres around 9 veedhis or 9 streets in the sky. They are identified by the stars in the sky. The appearance or reappearance of Venus (after conjunction with Sun) in these Veedhis is connected with specific predictions. A parallel is seen in Mayan calendar of 9 lords of night or 9 underworlds of Chichen Itza. The figure 3  shows the image of this building (called as Chichen Itza) which was measured by the famous sculptor of India, Sri Ganapathi Sthapathi who found the structure to be perfectly Vastu complaint as per Mayamatha.