with Michael Cremo and correspondents
The Graham Hancock online Forum hosted Michael Cremo as Author
the Month in December 2004. Here is one chat with Harry Young,
GH Message Board contributor, that transpired concerning Vedic Cosmology.
Harry: I have vague recollections
from reading Vedic literature that
Man was present at the beginning of the formation of the Earth?
Would I be correct in saying that this "start date" might
correspond with the point when Man crossed over, or descended,
or devolved from spirit into matter? If Man has devolved from
spirit into matter, then wouldn't the same be applicable to the
Michael: I have thought about that. And
I am doing further research in the Puranas
about it. It would seem that at the end of the kalpa, the end of the
day of Brahma,
the earth remains in some form, during the devastation that takes place
end of the kalpa. It would seem that the earth enters into the cosmic
fills the bottom part of the universe. So at the present moment, I
see it something like this:
The current day of Brahma started about 2 billion years ago. Before
that was a night of
Brahma that lasted 4.32 billion years. So that means the previous day
of Brahma ended
about 6.32 billion years ago. I am currently thinking that the earth
is like a rerecordable
media disc, like a DVD RW, say. I am thinking that at the end of the
last day of Brahma,
the earth disc was erased, i.e. both geologically and biologically.
At that time, it was
also reformatted, and the recording of geological information began
again. So that would
mean that geological information about the earth should go back about
6 billion years,
which it does. Then about 2 billion years ago, at the beginning of
the kalpa, or the current
day of Brahma, biological entities again appeared, and their presence
began to be recorded.
And that pretty much is what you do find. Even according to modern
oldest undisputed fossil evidence for single celled creatures goes
back about 2 billion
years. Of course, in Forbidden Archeology, we showed that there is
even some evidence
for a human presence going back that far.
As far as those living things are concerned, their atmas (souls, conscious
held in a dormant condition within the body of the Garbhodakashayi
Vishnu, who lies on
the waters in the bottom of the universal shell. That universal cosmic
ocean is called
Garbhodaka, in Sanskrit, literally, womb ocean. During the night of
Brahma, the atmas
are dormant in the Garbhodakashayi Vishnu (literally, the Visnu who
lies on the Garbha
Ocean). When the day of Brahma commences, those souls are placed
throughout the cosmic hierarchy, including the earth level.
Harry: According to the Vedic cosmology, the day of Brahma is divided
into further cycles and
subcycles, during which human civilizations progressively rose
and fell and rose again.
Detecting the rising and falling of the cultural levels of human
these cycles and subcycles would be a topic for future generations
of researchers to get into...
Well, how would research and understanding have to change in order
to accomodate and
understand the implications of any evidence that was collated? I mean,
what would be "a good
start"? It seems to me that there needs to be a joining of scientific
and religious thinking -
a scientific religion and a religious science - that shared the same
language that bridges
all scientific disciplines.
Michael: How would research have to change?
Well, the first thing is that we need a research
program in which the kinds of questions we want to ask make sense.
In terms of the current
research program, it makes no sense to ask what kinds of ups and downs
civilizations were going through in the course of the yuga cycles and
So the first thing is we need to establish a research program or framework
in which it
makes sense to ask the kinds of questions we want to ask.
The first thing I would like to see is more
research to establish a basic human presence going
back to the beginning of the kalpa, to about 2 billion years ago.
Then I would like to see research that investigated the next level
of cycles, the manvantara
periods. According to the Vedic cosmology, the kalpa is divided into
14 manvantara periods,
each lasting about 300 million years. After each manvantara period
there is a devastation,
after which the earth is repopulated. So according to the Vedic cosmological
are now in the 7th manvantara period, which means there have been six
before us, and six
devastations and repopulations. There is a rough parallel here with
what modern paleontology
tells us, i.e. that there have been six major extinction events in
the history of life on earth.
So it would be interesting to see if there are archeological signs
of these devastations and
repopulations. For example, would we see every 300 million years or
so some center of
human population from which there was a radiation of people out into
the various parts of the world?
Taking it to a finer level, we learn from the
Vedic cosmology that a manvantara period is
composed of 71 cycles of four yugas. From the other discussion about
base six numbers,
I wonder at this 71 number, why it is not 72. Anyways, there are 1000
cycles of four yugas
in a kalpa or day of Brahma. 14 manvantaras times 71 cycles of four
yugas gives you 996
yuga cycles. The remaining four are split up to fill in the sandhyas
(links) between the
manvantara periods. A cyle of four yugas is made up of a Satya Yuga,
which lasts 1,728,000
years, a Treta Yuga which lasts 1,296,000 years, a Dvapara Yuga that
lasts 864,000 years,
and a Kali Yuga that lasts 432,000 years. Note that the yugas are multiples
of Kali Yugas,
i.e. 4x, 3x, 2x, 1x in descending order. The total is 4,320,000 years.
According to the Puranas,
the people in the Satya Yuga are mostly yogis, who live a long time
and live in tropical forests.
During the Treta Yuga, people become a little more materialistic, and
social classes develop
and city living starts. During each age, people become progressively
more shortlived and
materalistic. At the end of the Kali Yugas there is a minor devastation,
and then another
Satya Yuga begins. Years ago, I read a climatology study, the authors
of which said they
detected a four million year climate cycle. So that is interesting.
So archeologically speaking,
a goal would be to detect the cycles of progressive materialization
and urbanization of human
society as the yugas advance, ending with a collapse of human civlization
and a minor
Because according to the Vedic cosmology the earth is just part of
the inhabited cosmos,
we might also expect to find evidence of extraterrestrial and extradimensional
(which we actually do already find in various parts of the world).
So for a Vedic archeologist, that would be the
eventual direction of research.
Additionally, the Vedic devolution concept would also involve looking
at humans from an
anthropological perspective. And there the main first question is what
is a human being?
According to the devolution idea, humans are composed of an outer gross
made of the ordiary chemical elements, a subtle mental body, and a
conscious self. So
I would expect a research program based on the devolution concept to
get further into
investigating paranormal phenomena that show the existence of the subtle
(i.e. extrasensory perception, psychokinesis, etc.), and a conscious
self that can exist
apart from the body (i.e. out of body experiences, reincarnation memories,
Cosmologically, I would like to see further investigations into signs
that the universe is
finely tuned for life, in terms of the physical constants and ratios
of natural forces.
Further research into evidence for beings existing at different levels
of the cosmos
would also be welcome (ie. apparitions, UFO alien phenomena, possession
involving some supernatural element, etc.) as would evidence for the
modification of biological form (i.e. materalizations of biological
impressions, birthmarks connected with past lives, paranormal healings,
The idea is that higher intelligences are capable of manipulating and
biological form. Of course, we are doing a lot of that ourselves these
what with biotechnology taking off.
What I have tried to do in Human Devolution is suggest
how all these various lines
of research can be combined together in a consistent research program
at explaining human origins, in particular.
Michael A. Cremo
Continuation of Discussion 12-23-04
In other words, there is a kind of subtle genetic engineering and manipulation
of the reproductive process involved. But it is quite complicated because
it involves not
just putting together the chemical elements in the gross form, but
establishing all the
connecting links between the conscious self, the subtle body (composed
of ego, intelligence,
mind and subtle senses) and the gross physical body (composed of the
elements). So linking all those things together in the right way is
not so easy.
Extraterrestial (extradimensional, really) intelligences are involved
Harry: Michael, what more
can you say about extradimensional intelligences and their role in our
development? To what are you specifically referring?
Michael: We might also have to keep in
mind that at different times in the cycles, people
may have been existing even on earth on more subtle planes... and they
may have been
making use of technologies that relied on more subtle principles.
Harry: Yes, of course. I do wonder also about human lifespan and
its cyclical nature. The Bible,
for example, mentions men living to extreme ages; hundred of years
old. If our constitutions
were such that we were less influenced by the pull of gross matter,
might we then perhaps
have longer physical lifespans? The lengths and qualities of the four
Yugas are connected
to this, I believe. Kali Yuga is the shortest of the four and has the
quality and influence upon
us of one 1/4 spiritual 3/4 physical: the most difficult of ages when
physical nature has more
influence upon our humanity than spiritual forces. It makes sense to
me then that our lives
are now much shorter than in previous ages, and that the world's population
greater. Again, this proves problematical to current scientific paradigms,
as at the moment it
is mainly a philosophical argument. However, there is evidence that
there is an intelligent
balancing, guiding principle at work when it comes to this issue. One
example I can think
of is that demographers have noted that in countries which have suffered
after more male babies are born than female babies; a reversal of the
Michael:...and they may have been making
use of technologies that relied on more subtle principles.
Harry: As larger cycles are mirrored in smaller cycles, the rapidity
of global technology may be
homologous to the rapid increase in human population - I'm thinking
now of the last 5000
years or so, the first 5000 of the Kali Yuga. What took great periods
of time in the last
Yuga to come to fruition would take less time to come to fruition in
Kali Yuga as material
life runs at a faster pace.
Michael: But there may be other kinds
of research methodologies, such as what is now
called psychic archeology.
Harry: I'm certainly open to the idea, if I loosely understand what
you are referring to. How would
such research data be quantified and incorporated into a meanigful
paradigm that most
people could grasp?
Michael: That is to say in some of the
cylces, people had natural telepathic and clairvoyant
abilities, that we now try to duplicate with electronic communications
technologies. So the
most advanced people who have ever lived may have left nothing for
us to see in the record
of the rocks. But there may be other kinds of research methodologies,
such as what is now
called psychic archeology. And, finally, I would say that we may begin
to give more importance
to the records left by ancient cultures, which are now sometimes dismissed
Harry: Your idea of the transposition of abilities to technological
devices is most interesting. Like
population, lifespans, and the shifting qualities of the Yugas, it
is all about setting the balance
straight by the natural working out of karma, isn't it? If we want
to know what the past was like
we need only look at ourselves as we are today; cause and effect.
It seems to me that ancient cultures' records are appearing more trustworthy
mainstream scientific pronouncements today.
Harry: Thank you Michael for your lengthy reply.
If devolution is the case then it seems to me that Man would not appear
because, Vedically speaking, man is a hierarchical composite being,
as you mention
Michael. It seems unfeasible that Atma would instantaneously
as the other elements or principles in our constitution would have
to manifest or devolve
in order over a period of time.
Michael: Your intuition is correct. According to the Vedic cosmology
there is an evolutionary
development of elements that precedes the manifestations of specific
forms. The more
subtle elements manifest first, and the grosser ones proceed from them.
is an undifferentiated subtle material energy called pradhana.
It might be compared
to the quantum mechanical vacuum, which is sometimes described as a
undifferentiated material energy. When it is energized by the glance
of the Maha Vishnu,
it begins to differentiate into various uncombined elements. At this
stage it is called
mahat tattva. Then the mahat tattva begins to manifest the distinct
elements in a certain
sequence. First comes ahankara or false ego, then comes intelligence,
then mind, then
ether. Ether, or akasha, according to the Vedic cosmology, is the space
mental and physical processes take place. But it is not void. Instead
it is a subtle
fabric of existence, which might be compared to the space time continuum
modern physics. Then sound becomes manifest in ether. It is interesting
to modern astrophysics, there are sound waves manifesting in the early
the Big Bang. As an amusement, sometimes they play these sounds at
conferences. From sound comes air, and with it the touch sensation.
correspond to the production of hydrogen gas in the modern cosmology.
comes fire. Again, modern cosmology moves in the same progression.
hydrogen gas we get stars, in other words, fire. And from the air comes
a parallel), as after the stars form you start to get other gases like
can combine to form compounds, like water H2O. And then from water
And again this is a parallel with modern cosmology, which says that
generation collapsed stars the heavy elements are produced, and then
throughout the universe through supernova explosions. So there is a
manifestation of the elements before they are combined later into the
and other forms of life, which are composed of two coverings: 1. subtle
ego, intelligence, and mind (which I sometimes call just mind, for
the sake of simplicity)
and 2. a gross physical body composed of earth, water, fire, air, ether. The ratio
subtle to gross covering is variable. Beings like the gods and goddesses
of the higher
levels of material reality have more of the subtle covering and less
of the gross covering.
Those on the lower levels will have more of the gross covering. The
production of these
forms, in the Vedic cosmology, and my expression of it in terms of
concept, is also gradual and proceeds in stages. First come the higher
who have more of the subtle coverings. And then later come the beings
with more of
the gross coverings, like ourselves and other
entities on our terrestrial level of reality.
So it is not really a creation ex nihilo. It does involve a kind of
evolutionary process, in
terms of the evolutionary production of the elements that make up the
gross and subtle
coverings of the atma, or conscious self. And it also involves a progressive
of the bodies made of those coverings. It is a reproductive process.
So the devolution
idea has something in common with the evolution idea of Darwin. There
with modification in both. But in the devolution concept, the first
entities are the more
complex ones, and from their modified forms, in the course of reproduction,
forms of the other entities that we see on our terrestrial level of
reality. In other words,
there is a kind of subtle genetic engineering and manipulation of the
process involved. But it is quite complicated because it involves not
together the chemical elements in the gross form, but establishing
all the connecting
links between the conscious self, the subtle body (composed of ego,
mind and subtle senses) and the gross physical body (composed of the
material elements). So linking all those things together in the right
way is not so
easy. Extraterrestial (extradimensional, really) intelligences are
involved in that.
So people tend to want some simple explanation for the origin of human
either want some simple evolutionary account (we evolved chemicals
apes that became humans), or some simple creation account (God created
instantly ex nihilo), or some simple ET account. The actual story may
complex, as we see in the devolution account, which involves all three
some overall control by a supreme cosmic intelligence, a process of
reproduction with modification, but going from top down rather than
bottom up, and
involving mind and consciousness in addition to matter), and finally
or extradimensional aspect to the whole process, with all three things
in a very complex and yet interesting pattern.
have read some studies in
human development that explain that from conception to
birth we pass through various ordered stages of development from conception
foetus - from lower to higher perhaps - from the elements to mineral-like
to animalistic/human. That is just the observation from a physical
physical part of us is a mirror image of spiritual side to our natures
(as above, so
below, Man made in God's image) so there would be a rolling out from
spiritual, mental and emotional attributes +before+ we even reached
the physical plane.
Michael: Yes, as above.
Harry: Given that there are so many separate wheels of cyclical growth
running parallel, so
to speak, with the process of devolution and its logical opposite evolution,
would seem to me, and I'm going out on a limb here, to be a descending
spiritual to physical, and the ascending arc from physical to spiritual.
Harry: As we have passed through all these Yugas and manvantaras
and pralayas, I
wonder how each stage of human development would appear in the archaeological
record regarding levels of human anatomy and evidence of civilised
mean, how would we begin to categorise which piece of evidence belonged
which era? Would rock strata dating be accurate enough? How would we
differentiate between an item of gold jewellery, for example, from
say the mid
point of a downward arc of development and an item from its corresponding
point on the ascending arc, or indeed between the same point on adjacent
cycles? Certainly new and more refined research methods would have
Michael: Yes, absolutely. Some people
say that giving up the current material
paradigm would mean the end of science. But not really, as your words
demonstrate. Investigation would continue, but in terms of another
We might also have to keep in mind that at different times
in the cycles, people
may have been existing even on earth on more subtle planes, and they
have been making use of technologies that relied on more subtle principles.
believe that much of our technology today, such as radio, tv, internet,
missiles, etc., is an attempt to duplicate with gross matter abilities
more in touch with subtle matter had naturally. That is to say in some
cylces, people had natural telepathic and clairvoyant abilities, that
we now try
to duplicate with electronic communications technologies. So the most
people who have ever lived may have left nothing for us to see in the
record of the
rocks. But there may be other kinds of research methodologies, such
as what is
now called psychic archeology. And, finally, I would say that we may
begin to give
more importance to the records left by ancient cultures, which are
dismissed as mythology.
Harry: I am thinking that at the end of the last day of Brahma, the
earth disc was erased,
i.e. both geologically and biologically. This brings to my mind
the idea of sishtas.
If all life is erased there must remain seeds of life which has to
be reborn at the
beginning of the next kalpa. As I understand it, sishta is a Sanskrit
denotes this natural contingency, and is recorded in the stories of
Noah's Ark and the Hindu Vaivasvata Manu.
Michael: Sistha, in Sanskrit, if I am
taking the word properly, would mean "that
which remains." So there would be seeds of life. Another word for this
which means seed. Sometimes bija can mean the conscious self, or soul.
conscious selves are conserved at the end of the kalpa and are again
when the next day of Brahma begins.
Michael A. Cremo
HOMEPAGE CONTENTS INTRO REVIEWS Back