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Video The All-Seeing Eye: Sacred Origins of a Hijacked Symbol Posted by: Today it symbolises control and domination by a shadowy elite, but its original use was quite different. This article traces its use and meaning back to ancient times, when it was a symbol of divine providence, powerfully representing spiritual truth and awakening.
Humanity is Losing Its Precious Symbology The all-seeing eye is a powerful esoteric symbol which is widely misunderstood and misused today; few know what it originally stood for.
It was originally symbolic of a higher spiritual power or God, a watchful caretaker of humanity or an awakened spiritual part within. But these days it has quite different associations.
This is because, over time, dark sinister forces have taken over esoteric symbols that for thousands of years were used to convey positive, helpful, uplifting spiritual messages and principles.
The all-seeing eye is a prime example of how spiritual symbols have been hijacked and inverted.
This is the first in a series of articles I am presenting that will take a closer look at individual symbols, and delve into their origins and history to uncover their deeper esoteric significance. I am writing these as part of an effort to reclaim these positive esoteric symbols and restore them to their previously esteemed state. Universal Nature of Symbolism Symbolism has long been used by humanity to communicate ideas which are best crystallised in a compact form.
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As the well-known saying goes, a picture tells a thousands words! Esoteric symbols are alive today as they were in the ancient past, but there is much confusion surrounding their usage, history, intent, and meaning. In ordinary life we use symbols to show at a glance important information such as traffic and road signs amongst many other symbols which are widespread and common today.
Some other examples are corporate logos and certification statuses. Symbolism is also especially used in the communication of non-physical, spiritual ideas, phenomena, and processes. In this article I trace its use from the earliest of times through to the 18th century, and show what the symbol originally stood for.
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My next article will examine its use from 18th century freemasonry onwards, and show how it has since been hijacked and misused. In it there are many references to the sun and to other deities as being an eye in heaven, as an eye which reveals creation, or an eye which never closes. One can liken this to being symbolic of a high level of awakened consciousness that advanced spiritual beings have and which an ordinary person can potentially attain.
The Hindu god Shiva has three eyes. The third eye or brow chakra eye is known as the eye of Shiva, possessor of all knowledge, which when opened will destroy anything it sees.
Thus it is a symbol of knowledge which destroys evil and ignorance. Even in modern times, the eye of Shiva is used in jewellery to give protection against evil to its wearer and to gain wisdom and understanding from the world, from life events and from the self, for positive transformation.
The eyes are also known as the eyes of wisdom and compassion. Statues of Buddha typically show a dot in the mid-brow to represent the third eye. Ancient Egypt Eye of Osiris It is interesting to find that the Egyptian hieroglyph for their god Osiris contains an eye as shown below.
Through various myths they were symbols of protection, healing and restoration. The left eye of Horus was said to be the moon and his right eye the sun.
Varna Hinduism Varna literally means type, order, colour or class   and was a framework for grouping people into classes, first used in Vedic Indian society. It is referred to frequently in the ancient Indian texts.
There are four varnas but thousands of jatis. This view has been disputed by other scholars, who believe it to be a secular social phenomenon driven by the necessities of economics, politics, and sometimes also geography.
Caste The term caste is not originally an Indian word, though it is now widely used, both in English and in Indian languages. According to the Oxford English Dictionaryit is derived from the Portuguese casta, meaning "race, lineage, breed" and, originally, "'pure or unmixed stock or breed ".
Ghurye wrote in that, despite much study by many people, we do not possess a real general definition of caste. It appears to me that any attempt at definition is bound to fail because of the complexity of the phenomenon.
On the other hand, much literature on the subject is marred by lack of precision about the use of the term. His model definition for caste included the following six characteristics,  Segmentation of society into groups whose membership was determined by birth  A hierarchical system wherein generally the Brahmins were at the head of the hierarchy, but this hierarchy was disputed in some cases.
In various linguistic areas, hundreds of castes had a gradation generally acknowledged by everyone  Restrictions on feeding and social intercourse, with minute rules on the kind of food and drink that upper castes could accept from lower castes. There was a great diversity in these rules, and lower castes generally accepted food from upper castes  Segregation, where individual castes lived together, the dominant caste living in the center and other castes living on the periphery.
This characteristic of caste was missing from large parts of India, stated Ghurye, and in these regions all four castes Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras did agriculture labour or became warriors in large numbers  Endogamyrestrictions on marrying a person outside caste, but in some situations hypergamy allowed.
Risley and for fitting his definition to then prevalent colonial orientalist perspectives on caste.
For example, for some early European documenters it was thought to correspond with the endogamous varnas referred to in ancient Indian scripts, and its meaning corresponds in the sense of estates. To later Europeans of the Raj era it was endogamous jatis, rather than varnas, that represented caste, such as the jatis that colonial administrators classified by occupation in the early 20th century.
The name stuck and became the usual word for the Hindu social group. In attempting to account for the remarkable proliferation of castes in 18th- and 19th-century India, authorities credulously accepted the traditional view that by a process of intermarriage and subdivision the 3, or more castes of modern India had evolved from the four primitive classes, and the term 'caste' was applied indiscriminately to both varna or class, and jati or caste proper.
This is a false terminology; castes rise and fall in the social scale, and old castes die out and new ones are formed, but the four great classes are stable. There are never more or less than four and for over 2, years their order of precedence has not altered. Varna represents a closed collection of social orders whereas jati is entirely open-ended, thought of as a "natural kind whose members share a common substance.
Thus, "Caste" is not an accurate representation of jati in English. Better terms would be ethnicity, ethnic identity and ethnic group. Flexibility Sociologist Anne Waldrop observes that while outsiders view the term caste as a static phenomenon of stereotypical tradition-bound India, empirical facts suggest caste has been a radically changing feature.
The term means different things to different Indians. In the context of politically active modern India, where job and school quotas are reserved for affirmative action based on castes, the term has become a sensitive and controversial subject. Srinivas and Damle have debated the question of rigidity in caste and believe that there is considerable flexibility and mobility in the caste hierarchies.
Perspectives There are at least two perspectives for the origins of the caste system in ancient and medieval India, which focus on either ideological factors or on socio-economic factors.
The first school focuses on the ideological factors which are claimed to drive the caste system and holds that caste is rooted in the four varnas.
This perspective was particularly common among scholars of the British colonial era and was articulated by Dumont, who concluded that the system was ideologically perfected several thousand years ago and has remained the primary social reality ever since.
This school justifies its theory primarily by citing the ancient law book Manusmriti and disregards economic, political or historical evidence. It believes caste to be rooted in the economic, political and material history of India. Hartcentral aspects of the later Indian caste system may originate from the ritual kingship system prior to the arrival of Brahmanism, Buddhism and Jainism in India.
The system is seen in the South Indian Tamil literature from the Sangam perioddated to the third to sixth centuries CE. This theory discards the Indo-Aryan varna model as the basis of caste, and is centred on the ritual power of the king, who was "supported by a group of ritual and magical specialists of low social status," with their ritual occupations being considered 'polluted'.
According to Hart, it may be this model that provided the concerns with "pollution" of the members of low status groups. The Hart model for caste origin, writes Samuel, envisions "the ancient Indian society consisting of a majority without internal caste divisions and a minority consisting of a number of small occupationally polluted groups". The first three groups, Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishya have parallels with other Indo-European societies, while the addition of the Shudras is probably a Brahmanical invention from northern India.
The Purusha Sukta verse is now generally considered to have been inserted at a later date into the Rigveda, probably as a charter myth.
Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton, professors of Sanskrit and Religious studies, state, "there is no evidence in the Rigveda for an elaborate, much-subdivided and overarching caste system", and "the varna system seems to be embryonic in the Rigveda and, both then and later, a social ideal rather than a social reality". Barbara Metcalf and Thomas Metcalf, both professors of History, write, "One of the surprising arguments of fresh scholarship, based on inscriptional and other contemporaneous evidence, is that until relatively recent centuries, social organisation in much of the subcontinent was little touched by the four varnas.
Nor were jati the building blocks of society. He concludes that "If caste is defined as a system of group within the class, which are normally endogamous, commensal and craft-exclusive, we have no real evidence of its existence until comparatively late times. The rituals in the Vedas ask the noble or king to eat with the commoner from the same vessel.
Later Vedic texts ridicule some professions, but the concept of untouchability is not found in them. Recent scholarship states that the discussion of outcastes in post-Vedic texts is different from the system widely discussed in colonial era Indian literature, and in Dumont's structural theory on caste system in India.
Patrick Olivellea professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions and credited with modern translations of Vedic literature, Dharma-sutras and Dharma-sastrasstates that ancient and medieval Indian texts do not support the ritual pollution, purity-impurity premise implicit in the Dumont theory.
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According to Olivelle, purity-impurity is discussed in the Dharma-sastra texts, but only in the context of the individual's moral, ritual and biological pollution eating certain kinds of food such as meat, going to bathroom. The only mention of impurity in the Shastra texts from the 1st millennium is about people who commit grievous sins and thereby fall out of their varna.
These, writes Olivelle, are called "fallen people" and considered impure in the medieval Indian texts.
The texts declare that these sinful, fallen people be ostracised. The distinction originally arose from tribal divisions. The Vedic tribes regarded themselves as arya the noble ones and the rival tribes were called dasa, dasyu and pani. The dasas were frequent allies of the Aryan tribes, and they were probably assimilated into the Aryan society, giving rise to a class distinction.
Many husbandmen and artisans practised a number of crafts.