Friday, 8 January 2016
Acharya S: Goodbye, and Thank You
"How well we know what a profitable superstition this fable of Christ has been for us" Pope Leo X, Pope 1513 - 1521
It is with sadness that I have to report the recent death of Acharya S. Personally, I was surprised at how deeply I felt at news of her passing. It seemed that I had lost a friend.....
I first came across the works of Acharya S some years ago, while undertaking my 'things are not the way they appear or are presented' investigations. I listened to interviews with her, read some of her writings, along with the opinions of some of her detractors. I found her to be a clear and fearless speaker, an uncompromising writer, and a person who tore down some of the opaque veils hung in front of the eyes of humanity.
Acharya S sure touched a nerve: the foundations of much of western 'civilisation' over the past 2000 years, to be precise. While I might not go along with every detail of what she said, and might shrug my shoulders with a 'don't know and don't mind too much' about a few of her other claims, still three overarching proposals of hers appear to me unshakeable. Firstly, that the story of Jesus Christ is based upon astro-mythological realities - considerations of movements of the sun, moon, the stars and the zodiac - rather than literal historical facts. Secondly, that the Jesus story is not unique, but largely mirrors other tales - of the Egyptian Horus, Mithras, et al -, all stories of the Great God of the Sky, the Sun. And thirdly, that 'historical' Christianity as embraced by most of its believers is largely the creation of Imperial Rome as a means of control of the masses.
Unsurprisingly, the notion of Jesus as Sun, rather than Son, doesn't go down well in all quarters. I have rarely come across outbursts so hateful as some on the internet directed towards Acharya S. Even as she was dying from inflammatory breast cancer, certain 'religious people' were posting about how this was retribution - she gets what she deserves. Ironically, such people of Jesus bare witness to the truth uttered by Acharya S about the toxicity of religious literalism. Such people are, in my view, amongst the most vulgar and low that walk the Earth.
Slightly more reasoned criticism of Acharya S's work comes down mainly to nit-picking. While some of the nits are indeed pickable, they fail to detract from her main theses, which deal a devastating blow to Christian historicity, literalism, and fundamentalism. I see it like this: maybe a Jesus holy guy existed, maybe he didn't. We can never really know. Whatever, he took upon himself a mantle of pre-existing mythology and astro-theology. Of pre-Christian nature-based wisdom.
For a brief summary of the origins of Christianity according to Acharya S, you could do worse than watch the first part of 'Zeitgeist: the Movie' ( readily available on the internet). This is based on her work. I recall the first time that I watched this. Once presented, it all seems so jaw-droppingly obvious; it is amazing that we didn't all get it ages ago, instead of being taken in by the official Jesus story. Yet is has worked; and that provides a clue as to the way that the channels of officialdom continue to pump fairy tales into the mainstream, and the public at large falls for it. This in spite of the more-or-less transparent nature of the lies and deceptions on offer.
One of Acharya's works, 'Suns of God', stares out at me from my bookshelf as I write. It is one of the more important volumes under my stewardship. Other great religious figureheads aside from Jesus are considered by Acharya as Sun Gods. Krishna gets an exhaustive treatment, and she sees Buddha likewise. As former Buddhist, I view the latter notion with particular fascination. She approaches Buddhism, not primarily as the body of consciousness-enhancing practices that I found so appealing, but in terms of stories of the Buddha's life. I don't think Acharya understands Buddhism as a lived tradition, and she allows herself to get side-tracked into issues that don't fit how many Buddhists see Buddhism eg whether Buddhism is theistic or atheistic - a false dichotomy. Buddhism is arguably neither; and, besides, literalism and historicism are lesser issues for most practitioners of Buddhism than they are for followers of Abrahamic monotheisms.
Despite all this, Acharya S is able to actually see what is staring us in the face all the time, but which we bemusingly fail to see. One example concerns the many different dates given within the traditions of Buddhism for the Enlightened One's birth. These vary wildly, something which we generally side-step as we take on board the most generally accepted date in the modern western version of Buddhism as 563 BCE. Surely, argues Acharya, these huge discrepancies point to something or other. She suggests that the Buddha is in reality a composite figure, created from solar-based traditions going back way further than normally reckoned. A notion which makes the whole thing far more interesting to me.
In the face of adversity, rancorous criticism, and ad hominem attacks, Acharya S stood firm. For having the guts to pull back the veil on one of the great disempowering deceptions of the west, she is to be admired and respected greatly. Revealing the machinations of Empire is not an enviable task.
Acharya died on December 25th. The universe in its synchronicities possesses a sometimes dark sense of humour: I know this from other death dates in my ken. To die on December 25th, the day when the sun begins once more its long, slow ascent ever higher into the sky, bringing forth light, banishing the darkness. A fitting day indeed for her passing.
Acharya S, you will be missed. Thank you, thank you.