I tie world today is in the period of yuga-sandhi---the junction of two world ages that marks the historical transformation from one dharma world to another. Yuga-sandhi is the period of stress, turmoil and general degeneration which is very evident today all around us. Interestingly, sages and prophets of ancient ages had the vision to predict many notable developments in current history. Nostradamus’ prophecies are more widely known—but even the predictions of Indian sages are equally impressive, notably those of Vira Brahmendra Yogi, a contemporary of Nostradamus.
This book especially looks at some of the predictions of these sages, apparently vague and mysterious, but surprisingly understandable and valid once placed against the background of the Eastern, more particularly Indian, historical context.
So here it is—Nostradamus and Beyond: Visions of Yuga-Sandhl—a culturally and historically more inclusive and perhaps a different way of looking at prophets and their visions against the backdrop of the turmoil of the present age.
Dr. NS. Rajaram is a mathematician, linguist and historian who spent more than twenty years in the U.S. as a researcher at several universities and high technology organizations including NASA. For the last ten years he has been art independent researcher and author working on ancient civilizations, especially Vedic and Harappan India. He is the author of the acclaimed book Vedic Atyans arid the Origins of Civilization (with David Frawley), which is now in its third edition, He is also the author of The Deciphered Indus Script (with N. Jha) on the decipherment of the 5000-year old lands Script. He has deciphered the more than 5000-year old ‘world’s oldest writing’ showing it to be related to the Rigveda. He is the author of more than ten books on history and civilization and world religions. He is also the founder of the Bangalore-based cultural foundation Naimisha Research Foundation,
which has held several path breaking programs that have become internationally known.
We are now in a yuga-sandhi — the junction of two world ages that marks the historical transformation from one Dharma world to another. This holds the key to understanding not only the turmoil that engulfs us, but also the numerous millennial visions expressed by sages and prophets going back 5000 years. The present book explores this theme by comparing their prophetic visions and correlating it with Vedantic insights.
Following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon, there has been a spurt in interest in the work of the French-Jewish seer Michel de On-stream, better known as Nostradamus. This is not unusual. Nostradamus and his Centuries gain in popularity whenever there is a major catastrophe. The first volume of Nostradamus’ Les Vrayes Centuries — or The True Centuries — appeared in 1555 and the tenth, and last, in 1563. In the more than four hundred years since their publication, Nostradamus has remained one of the most popular and enigmatic authors in history His verses — known as quatrains — continue to fascinate and frustrate readers. To make things more challenging, there is no dearth of forgeries that purport to have predicted a major catastrophe like the recent terrorist attacks on America.
Nostradamus is by no means a unique figure, only the best known. In India there is a whole genre of literature of a related category that goes by the name of Kala Jnana or ‘Knowledge of Time.’ And at least one of them made predictions that are as impressive as or surpass those of Nostradamus. This was Vira Brahmendra Yogi, an exact contemporary of Nostradamus. In this volume, I present some of these predictions against the background of the Eastern, particularly the Indian, historical context and tradition showing that this has a lineage in India that goes back 5,000 years. Further, Indian seers introduced a pregnant idea they called yuga-sandhi, more of which later. This larger vision, and its Veda tic context, rather than specific predictions and their validity, is the main focus of the present book.
For this reason, my approach differs from most others writing on the topic in an important respect: My principal focus is not the fulfillment of specific prophecies and exact dates; I attach greater importance to their vision of historical transformation and the approximate era in which they see it happening. This transition — or yuga-sandhi — is always accompanied by a major conflict between two worldviews, which Vyasa and Vira Brahmendra saw but Nostradamus did not. The period over which such conflict and transformation take place is the yuga-sandhi or the ‘merging of eras.’ Seen in this light, the exact dates of specific events, and the accuracy of prdictiofls become less important than the overall vision of space and time. Most important of all is the change of Dharma. In fact, following their vision, one can begin to understand that the increasing turmoil around us is precisely because we are going through a yuga-sandhi.
The idea of a clash of cultures or ‘clash of civilizations,’ to use a currently fashionable term, is hardly new the epics and the Puranas record previous such clashes. The Deva-Asura clash in the prehistoric ages is quintessentially a civilization clash — a clash between two worldviews and Dharmas. No less significantly, the Indian (Vedantic) approach seeks to understand and explain the causes behind the yuga-sandhi or the transition period from one era to another on the basis of human nature or guans. This is missing from the Western approach, even in such sophisticated studies as Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations. ‘While Western scholars look at the world mainly in geopolitical or spatial terms, the vision of Indian yogis like Vyasa and Vira Brahmefldra includes both time and cause-effects.
Coming to Nostradamus, a basic problem in interpreting his prophecies is the identification of the correct historical and geographical context. And this is not always Europe. Although most Western authors, conditioned to look at the world from a Eurocentric point of view, have limited themselves to Europe. But history — and Nostradamus — are not so accommodating as to move within the confines of our view of the world. It is beginning to be recognized that in order to understand him must be prepared to adopt a more global approach. After all, West has played a relatively modest role in world history civilization, except for the past three centuries dominated materialism following the Industrial Revolution.1 It looms large because of its recent domination, first through European colonialism and then technology This has led to the imposition of a Eurocentric perspective on Nostradamus also, which may not be justified.
This is not entirely a new idea. Writing as far back as 1867, Anatolia Le Pelletier_._probably the greatest Nostradamus scholar of the nineteenth century__.obsewed that most of the major events described in the Centuries refer to a culture and Civilization that Europe in his time was unfamiliar with. The well-known expert James Layer, who felt that Hindu mysticism probably holds the key to understanding the quatrains
Nostradamus, echoed the same view fifty years ago. Still more recently, an Indian writer; G.S. Hiranyappa, has made several reparable predictions based on such a combined Eastern and Western reading of Nostradamus.
In these pages what I have to offer is a cultural interpretation, contrasting the Western, largely political- humanistic view of Nostradamus, with the civilizatjonal cosmic vision of Vira Brahmendra and the ancient Veda Vyasa. In following such an approach I have chosen to highlight mainly those quatrains that appear to have a direct bearing on the events of the coming decade. Even among these I have limited my choice to quatrains that are relatively free from obscurities — with emphasis on those that seem to bear on the present decade, which promises to be a turbulent one.
Upon studying them, it becomes clear that Nostradamus sees a cataclysmic decade for the world beginning about 1999 or 2001, depending on how we interpret it. The same is true of Indian sages going back to prehistoric times; they too present scenarios that are strikingly similar, at around the same time. The substance of their predictions is essentially the same: A catastrophic world conflict beginning in or soon after 1999 that will lead to the loss of two-thirds of humanity and a total transformation of the world. The first part, a major clash of civilizations, may said to have begun with the Kargil War of the summer of 1999. This led to a re-orientation of the countries of the world that continues to take shape, more or less as Islam against the rest.
I approach this task not as a believer in prophets and prophecies but as a student of history and tradition. Upon examination I found that there are true predictions — some astonishingly so — but also many that are not. But human nature being what it is, there is never a shortage of people who take them to be infallible though most predictions are understood as such only after the predicted event takes place! This limits their usefulness as guides to the future, except in a general sense. What is significant, however, is that interpreting the current turbulent scene as the result of yuga-sandhi helps make sense of both the present, and possibly the future. It may not allow us to predict events and dates, but provides clarity of vision that is lacking in most current approaches to the problem of civilization clash. This is what I have tried to bring into focus. So, the present work offers no sensational catalog of predictions, but a way of looking at civilization change brought about by yuga-sandhi.
So here it is: Nostradamus and Beyond: Visions of Yuga-Sandhi— a different way of looking at prophets and their vision against the background of the turmoil in our time. As to their respective visions, only time will tell. For as Veda Vyasa said five thousand years ago: “Time is the master of history.”
Note on translations and sources. All translations given here are my own. The material on Vira Brahmendra is scanty and scattered, but he helps us by being unusually lucid. The ancient Vyasa — one of the world’s greatest poets and thinkers —presents formidable challenges. While a literal translation from the Sanskrit is out of question, I have done what I can to convey an idea of the power and clarity of vision of this extraordinary genius. His vision, rather than the predictions of individual prophets, is the underlying theme of the book.
I have included references to astronomical positions but no astrological predictions. Astrology remains outside my realm of interest, and astronomy is used because of its usefulness as calendar cal pointer to crucial events. But I am grateful to David Frawley, an expert on Vedic astronomy and astrology, for the following interesting communication (April 2002), which I reproduce without comment:
“The present conjunction [of planets] is quite malefic from an astrological standpoint and on the ascendant (rising sign) for India and tenth house (government) for Israel. It is dominated by Saturn and Mars in Rohini Nakshatra (Aldebaran), a similar position to the Mahabharata War. That is why we are having so many global problems today. They are likely to get worse.”
One of the most persistent quests of mankind is to know the future. Throughout history men and women from all cultures and all walks of life have sought to know what the future holds for them. This has given rise to a whole range of practitioners and disciplines—if they can be called so—claiming to fill this need. These range from astrologers who claim to predict future events by studying the heavens to modern policy analysts who use methods like ‘contents analysis’ that purportedly predict trends in various countries and even within groups and communities. There are multi-billion dollar organizations like the American CIA that employ thousands to gather information and provide scenarios for presidents and other policy-makers.’
There are also ‘think tanks,’ which provide information that governments and large organizations can use.
On the whole the record of these entities, both individuals and organizations, is less than inspiring. To take a few examples, the American CIA failed famously in foreseeing the collapse of the Soviet Union. It failed also to detect the Indian nuclear tests in 1998, and failed catastrophically to see the build up of an Islamic terrorist network within the United States that made possible the horrific attacks on the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The record of individuals, including astrologers is not notably better, though they are much less ambitious in scope and also not supported by massive tax dollars. The very fact that a few correct predictions generate wonder and excitement is evidence of their general unreliability: ‘Whether this is due to poor expertise or because of the unsoundness of the discipline itself and the methodology is secondary. The result is the same.
The sum total of all these is that presidents and prime ministers today with their multi-billion dollar think-tanks and policy analysts are no better served than the princes and potentates of a thousand years ago who relied on their stargazers and soothsayers. Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain stated that she received from experts more than a hundred possible scenarios of how the Falkland Islands War would unfold. Every one of them proved wrong. John Adams, the second President of the United States and one of the Founding Fathers of the American Republic, once said: “Arts and sciences have made great progress in the last few centuries, but the art of government is practiced no better today than it was two or three thousand years ago.”
This creates a singular problem: given the plethora of wrong predictions by individuals and organizations there is no way of knowing beforehand which ones to trust and what to ignore. The few correct predictions made are found to be correct only after the event; they are not of much help in picking correct predictions beforehand. Yet, in the midst of this dismal scene, a few individuals stand out. In the field of science and technology, rank outsiders, fiction writers like Jules Verne and Arthur C. Clarke have made remarkably accurate predictions.2 when we move from science to human affairs; the problem becomes a great deal more challenging. ‘When every allowance is made for coincidence and attempts to ‘retrofit’ events to predictions, there remains a body of predictions, though made by a handful of men and women in 5000 years of recorded history; which simply cannot be ignored.
In addition, these predictions, made by individuals living in different parts of the world at different times and in different cultures, seem to present a remarkable consistency: all these see a time of great turmoil and violence in the first decade of the present century, followed by a fundamental transformation of the world. Indian seers call it a yuga-sandhi, of which there exist a few examples in the Indian historical tradition going back thousands of years. This, rather than specific predictions, provides our framework in studying the present turmoil.
A personal note
At this point, a few personal comments might be in order. My education and working experience has been in the natural sciences and engineering with advanced degrees in mathematical sciences from a well-known American university. I have worked in fields like mathematics, electrical engineering, computer science and industrial automation. For more than fifteen years, I worked as an industrial research scientist and as professor of mathematics and engineering at several American universities. That is to say, by education and outlook I am a scientist, and not one to accept claims of prophecy too readily. I returned to India in 1993.
I had of course heard of Nostradamus and his supposedly wonderful record of successful predictions, but I regarded them as anyone with my background would—entertainment rather than something to be taken seriously. Then in October 1993, a childhood friend of mine in Bangalore told me that she knew a man who had made some extraordinary predictions based on his readings of the prophecies of the famous French seer Nostradamus. She said that this man had predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union long before it actually took place. He had even said, “Russia will abandon Communism” as far back as 1984. When she offered to introduce him to me I went along more out of curiosity than anything else.
G.S. Hiranyappa is the Nostradamus expert who lives in Bangalore. Bangalore is now a boomtown, but Hiranyappa lived in a modest house in a part of the town that still retains some of the sleepy charm of the old days when the Maharajas ruled it. I had fully expected to see some sort of a holy man it an Oriental mystic muttering incomprehensible mumbo jumbo. But the person seated before me was completely different. He proved to be a highly educated man with an advanced degree in English literature and knew several Indian and European languages.
According to HiranaYaPPa, many individuals who write about Nostradamus have trouble understanding his language. I cut more serious, according to him is the fact they are full of prcconcept1ons and think that Nostradamus wrote only about Europe. Hiranyappa insisted that it was wrong. According to him, in many of his predictions_ especially those relating to the next decade India becomes a focal point. India and the Middle East—and North Africa—are regions where much of the action will be during the coming decade. Most authors, according to him, “are trying to force European interpretations that are just not there.”
Again, according to HiranyapPa, Nostradamus sees a major world conflict beginning in the first decade of the twenty-first century involving Islam and the rest of the world. I didn’t say my thing, but I was not convinced. Nostradamus lived in turbulent times. Constantinople had fallen to the Turks in the previous century, and the Muslim Empire of the Ottoman Turks was expanding on all sides, threatening Christian Europe. It is not surprising that all this should have influenced Nostradamus, but I did not say anything.
He then showed me a book called Hindu Destiny in Nostrada that he had written in 1986. The back cover of the book claimed it to be the “only AUTHENTIC interpretation based on a faithful translation of his Latinized French.” (Capitals in the original.) In his book HiranyapPa has made some extraordinary predictions to which some Islamic organizations in India happened to take serious offence. They tried to get his book banned by the government for blasphemy. India has no blasphemy laws, but that didn’t stop his enemies from trying. There had even been some physical threats and he had to be given police protection for a while. There had also been a lengthy lawsuit over the publication of his book, but the judge had ruled in Hiranyappa’s favor and refused to ban the book. I bought a copy. He told me that he was working on a second volume with much more detailed readings. (This came out in 2000, after the court cases had been settled in his favor.)
I pointed out that people claiming to have seen predictions become wise only after the event. In return he showed me some old newspaper clippings in which he had predicted the collapse of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Empire as far back as 1986. (We shall be taking a closer look at these later on in the book.) At the time a prominent leftist politician had ridiculed him for this and chided newspapers for publishing such nonsense. Hiranyappa said that he had even read a prophecy about the fall of the Berlin Wall and German unification, but didn’t believe it himself. So he did not publish it until much later.
I found out later by accident that his statement about having predicted the fall of the Berlin Wall was true. In addition, he had predicted the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in a strange manner months before it actually happened. This brought him to the attention of the police, who wanted to know whether he had prior knowledge of the conspiracy. He also predicted that Sonia Gandhi would make an abortive bid for power and fail. In 1992 he publicly stated—it was even published—that there would be a significant episode that year that would have serious repercussions all over India. “It will transform the national scene,” he wrote. No one believed him. November came and went, and nothing happened. Then on December 6, 1992 a large number of Hindu activists went and destroyed a controversial structure in Ayodhya and performed services for their deity Rama.
HiranyapPa based his prediction on the Nostradamus statement: “Power will shift towards the nation of the Brown people.” According to him, Nosrtadamus often refers to Indians—the Hindus in particular—as the ‘Brown people.’ The statement is found in a verse that carries the number 92, which led him to date the event to 1992. This is supported by another quatrain (or verse) predicting such a shift after five hundred years following Columbus’ voyage of discovery, which took place in 1492, again yielding 1992. This led HiranyapPa to conclude that there would be a major transformation in the Indian scene, with the power shifting decisively towards the Hindus. The national scene is also being transformed with a noticeable shift towards Hinduism in education and other intellectual fields.
Sometimes Nostradamus indicates dates by referring to planetary positions. HiranyapPa is not a student of astronomy and has made no attempt to estimate the dates. Some authors had predicted a world war in 1985 by misinterpreting astronomical statements given in a few of his quatrains. It should be pointed out that HiranyapPa has made several readings that have not come true, particularly regarding dates. He predicted as did many others—a global war beginning in 1999. This has not happened, unless we regard the Indo-Pak War in Kargil as the first shot in the coming global war. He also saw a great weakening of militant Islam east of the Suez by the end of 1998, which too of course hasn’t happened. If anything, we are seeing the opposite. According to him, the leader of the fundamentalist forces will be from Yemen, while his Opposing forces in Asia will be led by a pair of Indian leaders—a Hindu and a Sikh.3 The duo will lead the allied forces first into West Asia, and later into Europe itself As a consequence of the war, and even before, the United States will be greatly weakened. A truly horrific scenario that also seems highly improbable even outlandish en there was no major war in 1999, but only a serious skirmish in Kashmir over Kargil, Hiranyappa admitted he had misread the key passage in Nostradamus. He says the correct reading is for the world war to start in September 2001. I want to state that he told me this in the year 2000, more than a year before the September 11 attacks, which according to Hiranyappa, Nostradamus does not predict.)
I soon lost interest in the whole subject. Then, during the course of my own reading, I found some unusual things in ancient Indian works that bear comparison with the prophecies of Nostradamus. I then made a startling discovery: There actually exist works in the Indian literature that give scenarios for a calamitous war not very different from the one given by Nostradamus. .
What is more extraordinary the date given also comes out to be approximately the same— after 1999 AD. But there is something more. While Nostradamus simply predicts a major catastrophe for the world, an ancient Indian seer who lived five thousand years ago not only predicted this but gave also a rational explanation. According to him, the next great war heralds the dawn of a new age—a spiritual age or the Age of lush, preceded by the destruction of the age of material excesses. And this, according to him, will mean the end of theocratic systems and institutions. This ancient sage said:
The corruption of the spirit—the pursuit of material goals of wealth and power in the guise of spiritual seeking—is the greatest evil of all. This will be the root of all misery in the Kali Age—the Age of Untruth.
According to his cosmic view of history, the world is now poised at the tail end of Kali Age—the Age of Untruth. As this ancient seer sees it, the war will essentially be between theocratic interests and freedom. The Age of Truth will be heralded by the destruction of theocracies. According to this vision, we have now entered the yuga-sandhi, the transition period from Kali to the next Age. This provides a rational basis for the next major conflict predicted by Nostradamus as well as Indian seers.
We shall be taking a more detailed look at this stupendous vision later, but for the present it is sufficient to know that according to Hindu Cosmology we are now at the tail end of this Kali Age—the Age Untruth. It was to end in 1999, to be precise. This was expected to mark our entry into the yugasandhi. This date is the same as given by Nostradamus. In fact there are two systems of reckoning noted by Indian prophets— the first cosmic and the second astronomical—and both lead to the same date of 1999 AD as marking the divide. This remarkable Indian prophet, born the same year as Nostradamus, made an identical prediction and supplied more details. He may fairly be called Nostradamus of the East. There are extraordinary similarities between the prophecies of the two men. They were exact contemporaries but lived half a world apart. All three prophets tell us of a coming world conflagration following 1999.
Coming back to the main point of this chapter, when every allowance is made for chance and coincidence, there still remains a body of readings and predictions—by Nostradamus and others—that simply cannot be dismissed. This is especially so when we focus on the general prediction of a turbulent period that the world currently seems to be going through rather than specific events. The question for us is: what made sages as far apart as Veda Vyasa, Nostradamus and Vira Brahmendra Yogi see this vision? This is the main theme of the book.
‘What all this means is that the type of prophetic literature for which Nostradamus is renowned is not exclusive to the West, and also there are remarkable similarities between Eastern and Western prophecies. Indian literature going back to the ancient times presents a similar scenario—a calamitous war leading to the extinction of a large part of humanity As just noted, the two major Indian sources I found—one a relatively modern seer, an exact contemporary of Nostradamus, and the other, a very ancient sage who seems to have lived before 3000 BC—both give us the same scenario and the same approximate date as Nostradamus. What we have in effect is a trio of prophets that may be called the Nostradamus Trinity.
I want again to emphasize that my interest is not so much in the prophecies as the coming great conflict that we seem to be heading for— a new Deva-Asura War that is much more than a clash of civilizations. This is what is behind the current Turmoil. If our seers are to be believed, and if ancient history, iny guide, this war will be much longer and much more strophic than any of us today can imagine. This is because we are in a yuga_sandhi.
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