For over a decade people have been talking about the Mayan calendar ending on December 21, 2012. This date is finally at hand now. Many a book have been written on this subject, films made, opinions and interviews given on TV and other online media. The doomsday theorists have also had a field decade coming up with their innovative theories of doom and contriving to link them with the Mayan calendar and this date of 21/12/2012.
These theories have been varied starting with calendar systems to Mayan civilization, to climate, to the magnetic forces of the earth and to that of stars in the sky. The range of interesting and innovative theories leaves one amazed and at the same time perplexed as to which one is going to come true.
Needless to say, many of them have been way off the mark, for very few came to pass. Without an understanding of the ethos of the Mayan civilization and what their calendar stood for, each theory was only more fanciful than the earlier.
Who were these Mayans? How did they get their name? How did they come to possess the skills to build such a grand civilization? How did they build their pyramids and cities with such mathematical precision? How did they evolve a Long Count Calendar then itself, spanning over 5000 years, to end far into the future on 21/12/2012?
Unless some light is thrown on all these, we would be talking like the seven blind men describing an elephant, where one called the trunk a rope, one called the ear a fan, another called its legs as pillar. No one could see it wholly, for the animal it was, the elephant.
5000 years ago when the Mayans were building their great pyramids, cities and their calendar, there were a few other civilizations around the world too, building their great cities, pyramids and their own calendrical systems. Some of the well known are the Egyptian, the Mesopotamian and the Indian civilization. Of these, it is only the Indian civilization that continues to survive today with the knowledge of those times such as the mathematical sciences, astronomy, calendrical system and many others, still intact.
Can the knowledge from this ancient civilization not throw some light on the other sister civilizations of that period – the Mayan civilization, its people and structure of its calendar, which is a high point of discussion in this year 2012?
If this were to be possible, then there should have been connections between the ancient Mayan civilization and the ancient Indian civilization, for us to draw conclusions from.
A host of European scholars, starting from Baron Alexander von Humboldt, Donald Mackenzie and American scholars such as Miles Poindexter, the ambassador from USA to Mexico in 1930 who authored the book “Arya Incas”, have through their independent research suggested that the Mayans of Central America were descendants from ancient Indian clans. Even the name Mayans and the fact that they were great builders corresponds with the builders in ancient India who were known as Mayasura through the ages. The ancient texts of India – the Purana and Itihasa, credit many of the cities of ancient India and Lanka to the Mayasura clan of builders.
The skills and the underlying knowledge therefore would have been similar between these two civilizations who were connected eastwards from India onto the west coast of Central America over the Pacific, through all the lands and islands in between. This connection had continued through many millennia till the last millennium.
For people to travel across oceans, what is essential are large ships. The Nava Sastra texts of India speak of ship building techniques and there are a host of references to sea faring right from the Vedic texts onwards, which go beyond 5000 years ago.
When people had travelled that far across millenia, there are bound to be telltale signs enroute, left behind. These are available to us in the form of similar local names, practices and pyramidal structures all across from India to the islands of South East Asia, to the Pacific islands to Central and South America.
All these and more, go to show a connect across times, across civilizations. This ancient connect gives us the key to connect back to the Mayans of Central America, their civilization and their calendar, today.
For the ancient Indians, calendars were many and each had a purpose. The underlying principle was to use the rhythmic motions of the astral bodies to mark passage of time and to tune oneself to the rhythm in the cosmos, Nature, right from days, to nights, to months, to seasons, to years and to eras. Indians called such windows or scales of time as Yuga.
Juxtaposing Indians on the Mayans, we see that the Mayan civilization of Central America too was based on similar principles of staying in harmony with the cosmic rhythm. Only the objects of reference were different.
The very word “calendar” itself is similar to the Samskrt word Kalantara. Kala means “time” and Antara, “gap”- like the time gap between January 1st and December 31st marks a year for modern understanding. End of a calendar marks the end of a time window, not the world. One calendar ends only to usher in the next calendar for the next time window.
This understanding of what a calendar really is can help us bridge the Kalantara, timegap between the ancient Mayan civilization and the present, to lead us to a new understanding for the people of the present day world. It presents us with a bridge to cross over barriers, natural and manmade, through the elapse of time and reach out to people world over. The yearnings of the people across millennia, across civilizations, across oceans are after all similar and in this new millennia, in the coming new Knowledge Era, in the coming new Global Village like scenario, people will yearn and learn to live as a global family, Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam.
This isthe message, hope and ideal the new Mayan calendar would have given us had the Mayan civilization outlived this calendar to put up the new one. There is hope still left.
If the Indian hand can join the hand from across the Pacific, not only will they join in prayer but the resounding clap can make everyone stand up and take notice of ancient wisdom and what it has to offer troubled mankind today.
The authors D K Hari and D K Hema Hari have authored a book, 2012-The Real Story, which speaks of this old connect and the new path ahead.