In the first part of the essay on constructing universes we examine the universalizing knowledges that seemingly controlled human actors in the precolonial period. We also look at some nineteenth- and twentieth-century examples of the clash of epistemologies. We conclude this section by asking whether the visionary projects and world-views in postcolonial Southeast Asia can be looked at as cosmologies, as a struggle between old and new epistemologies, between mysticism and technology. The second part of the essay concerns the truth regimes that appeared in the colonial period, beginning with the practical business of occupation and gaining control and followed by the establishment of Far Eastern institutes that served the colonial 'will to know.' One of the important sources for colonial knowledge was the corpus of shastric manuals found throughout Southeast Asia on all levels of society. We will examine one of these manuals and read it against the grain of the colonial regime of truth which sought to master and interpret it.