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The Golden Ratio in Hindu Mythology

Jun 8, 2010

One of the things I came to understand during the writing of my first book Interference: A Grand Scientific Musical Theory was the association between the Fibonacci series ( 1,1,2,3,5,8,13, etc., spiraling toward the golden ratio 1.618033) and ancient mythologies who worshipped dragon-serpents.

Carving of St. George and the Dragon at Windsor Castle

Everywhere I looked I found the Fibonacci series associated with spirals and serpents. Because of this, I couldn’t help but conclude that the stories and depictions of Christian crusaders slaying dragons was actually a symbolic depiction of Christianity slaying paganism. More than this, it was also the slaying of Venus, a central theme in virtually every pre-Christian religion, whose 13:8 pentagonal orbit (known as the Star of Bethlehem) represents a Fibonacci interval near the beautiful golden ratio.

A good example of what I’m referring to can be found in Hindu mythology.

In Hindu lore, the lord of riches is named Kubera. He is known to love gold. This gold, known as ‘Kubera’s treasure’ or ‘Kubera’s honey’ is said to be kept in a cave guarded by dragon-serpents. ‘It gives to mortals immortality; it makes the blind see; it restores youth to the aged.’ Some believe this story is connected to the Greek golden fleece, which is also protected by dragon-serpents.

Kubera is said to own ‘the playground of the gods’ which lay at the mountain-top where the gods dance. This mountain-top is also where the spirits of the waters live and dance, which is called the ‘lake of lotuses of gold.’

Now, the regular attendants of Kubera are the Nagas or mahorayas, the cobra-serpents famous for stealing and hiding jewels. These Nagas hide his gold inside their serpent holes. To find this treasure, one must seek it with the help of the Serpent of the Depth, Ahi Budhnya, together with the combined aid of Agni and Kubera. It is said: ‘brilliant is the golden stone guarded by serpents.’

The mountain upon which all of this gold is hidden, danced upon by the gods and protected by serpents, is thus named Meru. While Mount Meru is an actual and sacred mountain in Tanzania, it is also the name given to the Fibonacci series in the Maatraameru (Mountain of Cadence) written by Pingala in the Chhandah-shastra (Art of Prosody) around 450 BC. In this writing, it was organized as a pyramid, today known as Pascal’s triangle, like this:

Kubera was revered as the chief of the Guhyakas and was the ‘king of kings’, the ‘god’ and ‘guardian of the North’. The word Guhyakas comes from the word ‘godha’ (root gudh or guh), meaning chameleon – a dragon-serpent. It seems that in Hindu mythology, ‘god’ is a ‘naga’ or ‘dragon serpent’ who lives at the top of Mount Meru and hides a golden treasure.

Thus we find that God is associated in ancient Hindu mythology with the infinite and irrational golden ratio at the center of a Fibonacci spiral symbolized as a mountain, pyramid or perhaps an infinite spiraling vortex (like the Hindu Schwass-tika). Further reading on the subject describes Mt. Meru as home to all of the gods, closely resembling the Biblical concept of a heaven paved with gold.

As one last note, in Vedic astrology, Kubera’s golden treasure is guarded by Shukra, which is the Hindu name for the planet Venus. Shukra is then celebrated in a specific month in the Hindu calendar called JyeshTha, corresponding to May-June. This may well have been timed with one of the rare Venus transits, which will occur next on June 6, 2012.

Brief Bibliography:

1. Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume 33 by E. W. Hopkins, 1918.

2. The Golden Mean and the Physics of Aesthetics, Subhash Kak, Archive of Physics: physics/0411195, 2004

Richard Merrick

Richard Merrick was the founder and CEO of Postfuture, a pioneering rich-media communications provider for companies like Best Buy and Microsoft. Under his leadership, the company grew from a tiny start-up in 1999 into the top digital communications company of 2004 and 4th fastest growing technology company in Texas. Prior to this, he was the technology founder and elected CEO of 7th Level, a global CD-ROM game publisher and Internet technology company known for such award-winning titles as TuneLand Starring Howie Mandel and Monty Python's The Quest for the Holy Grail. Merrick's work spans many areas of digital media, including search engines, graphics operating systems, multi-media authoring applications, interactive games, voice-response Web agents and dynamically personalized Internet communications. Throughout his career he has been invited to speak around the world on the future of digital media and cited as an expert in leading publications. He is an improvisational pianist & composer, archetypal artist and independent researcher into the physics, history and social ramifications of harmonic science. He received his B.A. (magna cum laude) and M.S.C.S. degrees from the University of Texas at Dallas.

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