Monday, October 24, 2005

[Excerpts] Goodrick-Clarke, Hitler’s priestess

Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (1998) Hitler’s priestess. Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan myth, and Neo-Nazism. New York and London: New York University Press

Spöknippet is obviously no great admirer of Savitri Devi. Her ideas on Men in Time, Men above Time, and Men against Time is however an exception. Goodrick-Clarke's description of the Hindu doctrine of ages is a good introduction to the Hindu, and indeed Traditional, perception of time in its own right. Also, it should help those less familiar with the Traditional view of time to understand Savitri Devi's thoughts on the three types of Men.

In the Mahabharata these ages are described in some detail. The Krita Yuga is characterized as an age in which righteousness is eternal. In this the most excellent of Yugas everything had been done and nothing remained to be done. Duties did not languish, nor did the people decline. There was no buying and selling, no efforts needed to be made by men, the fruits of the earth were abundant. No disease of decline of the organs of sense arose through age, there was no malice, weeping, pride, or deceit, no contention, lassitude, hatred, cruelty, fear, affliction, jealousy, or envy. All creatures were devoted to their duties, all the castes were alike in their functions, they were devoted to one deity and used one rule and one rite. During the Treta Yuga righteousness declined by a fourth. Men now acted with an object in view, seeking rewards for their rites and gifts, while still being devoted to their duties and ceremonies. The decline became more marked in the Dvapara Yuga, when righteousness was diminished by two quarters. The Veda became fourfold, and with this proliferation of rules, rites, and ceremonies people no longer knew unity. Once men had fallen away from goodness, many diseases, desires, and calamities assailed them and these in turn drove men to practice austerities.

The Kali Yuga, or Iron Age, represented the cosmological and moral nadir in the Hindu cycle of ages. Only a quarter as much righteousness prevailed in comparison with the Krita Yuga. Sacred practices were neglected, calamities, diseases, fatigue, and faults such as anger, distress, anxiety, hunger, and fear became commonplace. Political and social order collapsed, cities became violent, civilization receded. Evil was everywhere evident and triumphant. The Vishnu Purana describes many aspects of this moral and social decay in the Kali Yuga. The observance of caste and order is neglected with promiscuous intermarriage among all classes and peoples; women are unfaithful and consort with worthless men; the family and other blood ties lose their meaning; the acquisition of wealth, commerce, and money govern all men’s actions and aspirations; liberalism and moral relativism prevail so that any idol or authority is revered on the basis of popularity and individual choice. The rulers oppress and plunder the masses, who then dessert the intolerable cities and settle in remote places. There they live in scarcity and want, suffering exposure, and subject to decreasing vigor and longevity. In due course, the entire race is destroyed.
p. 112-3

Armed with the Hindu cyclic theory of time, Savitri Devi believed that “human history, far from being a steady ascension towards the better, is an increasingly hopeless process of bastardisation, emasculation and demoralisation of mankind, an inexorable ‘fall.’” Against the dismal cosmological background of the Kali Yuga, she developed her own doctrine of Men in Time, Men above Time, and Men against Time. These three types of historical actors represented three quite distinct responses to the bondage of time as understood in the cycle of the ages. Of the three types, Men in Time are the essential and most active agents of the Kali Yuga. Their conduct and aims typify the dark age and all its vicissitudes. Men above Time are properly at home in the perfection of the Satya Yuga, or Golden Age, and Men against Time act with ruthless violence in an attempt to restore the conditions of the Satya Yuga, at the end of the Kali Yuga, by violent means, these martial heroes work to redeem the world from the thrall of the dark age and to initiate a new time cycle.

Men in Time, according to Savitri Devi, are those few strong individuals who wholeheartedly accept the iron law of history and act entirely in their own narrow self-interest. Whether in lust for personal enjoyment, in greed for gold, or in the search for honors, position, and power, this selfish drive is shameless and undisguised by such “noble” ends as the ideas of 1789 or the solidarity of the international proletariat. In seeking only their own personal ends with the utmost intelligence, unscrupulousness, and energy, These Men in Time are “the most thorough, the most mercilessly effective agents of the Death-forces on earth … working without hesitation and without remorse in the sense of the downward process of history and, for its logical conclusion: the annihilation of man and all life.”

Men in Time represent the most naked and powerful expression of egoism in the benighted era of the Kali Yuga, an age that is given over to the play of atomistic individual wills striving for their materialistic gratification with no understanding of the wisdom or higher collective goals of happier ages. By seeking their own individual advantage in a constant war of wills, Men in Time drive history along that oppositional path that is the hallmark of the dark age and its decline. Their gains, profits, or victories are entirely personal; even if they bring wider fortune and prosperity, this I quite incidental to their motive of self-gratification. And all the while they are fighting and struggling and winning, the world around them is violated, thereby growing older, wearier, and less abundant until it is exhausted and reaches the end of the time cycle.
p. 115-6

Men above Time are those individuals who have attained the highest enlightenment describe in the Upanishads. In recognizing the fundamental unity of the divine Self (Atman) and the all-pervading God (Brahman), the represent the spiritual authority in the Satya Yuga, or Age of Truth, in which complete perfection and righteousness prevail. In ancient India the Brahmins were the counselors and mentors of kings and warriors who were anxious to act in accordance with the commands of timeless wisdom. However, as the world proceeds through the time cycle with increasing disorder and decay, such Men above Time enjoy less and less authority. During the Kali Yuga they just seem to be unworldly mystics whose entire outlook and conduct barely equips them to survive in a world of struggle and conflict, let alone to act as guides and rulers of men. These lonely ascetics abstain from all violence and cannot change the collective conditions of mankind. At best they can offer personal salvation in breaking the time bondage of individual souls; it is not within their power to re-create the Golden Age before its due time.
p. 116-7

In Hindu chronology the Kali Yuga suddenly and momentously gives way at its lowest point of degradation, suffering, and evil to the opening of a new Satya, or Krita, Yuga, which begins the cycle anew. According to Savitri Devi, Men against Time play a crucial role in the struggle to restore the Golden Age as the Kali Yuga nears the completion of its term. Although possessed of the sunlike qualities and mystical ideals of the Man above Time, the Man against Time employs the practical means, ruthlessness, and violence of the Man in Time for the achievement of collective salvation and the regeneration of the world. In her scheme of things, Men against Time combine the qualities of “Lightning” and “Sun” as the real heroes of history, the builders and defenders of all new churches who devote their whole life and energy to the reshaping of tangible reality on the model of their vision of truth. These divinely inspired militant mystics are rare individuals who suddenly intervene in the downsweep of time with the promise of redemption and the return to the Golden Age. The revolutionary implications of the Man against Time are obvious. Like a fiery comet from the heavens he bursts through the gloomy pall surrounding the earth in the Kali Yuga to herald the spreading sunshine of a new order of perfection, divine justice, and righteousness.
p. 117-8