Sanjay Dixit

Sanjay Dixit

Sanjay Dixit

About the Author

Sanjay Dixit, Additional Chief Secretary to the Government of Rajasthan, has many feathers in his cap. He graduated as a marine engineer, and sailed the high seas for a few years before changing course to civil services. He is also well-recognised as a cricket administrator who once defeated Lalit Modi in a famous election for the post of the president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association. He considers Rajasthan's first Ranji Trophy title triumph as his crowning achievement. He is also credited with bringing a revolutionary new technology for production of date palms on a large scale in western Rajasthan, transforming livelihoods.

Dixit is a prolific columnist on contemporary topics. He has a deep interest in Indian languages, culture, economics, history, philosophy and spirituality. His six-part series - 'All Religions Are Not the Same' - has won critical acclaim. He also heads The Jaipur Dialogues as its Chairman, creating an India-centric think tank in the process, and hosts the YouTube series 'Weekly Dialogues'.

Francois Gautier

Francois Gautier

About the Author

François Gautier was born in Paris, France. He was South Asia correspondent for Le Figaro, one of France’s leading newspapers. He also wrote columns for Indian newspapers: the ‘Ferengi’s column’ in the Indian Express, then the “French Connection” column in the Pioneer, as well as regular contributions for Rediff., New Indian Express, Times of India blogs, etc.

François has written several books – amongst the latest : A New History of India (Har Anand, 2008), The Art of Healing (Harper Collins, 2011), Quand l’Inde s’éveille, la France est endormie (Editions du Rocher, 2013), « Apprendre à Souffler (Hachette Marabout, 2016) & « Nouvelle Histoire de l’Inde » (Editions de l’Archipel, 2017), « Les Mots du Dernier Dalaï-lama » (Flammarion, 2018), « In Defense of a Billion Hindus » (Har Anand, 2018) & « Hindu Power in the 21st Century » (Har Anand, 2019)

Francois, who is married for 30 years to Namrita, shuttles between Pune and Delhi. He is building a Museum of (real) Indian History in Pune (factmuseum.com).

Makarand Pranjape

Makarand Pranjape

About the Author

Author, poet, and humanities professor. He has been the Director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla since August 2018. Prior to that he was a professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India for 19 years.

Maria Wirth

Maria Wirth

About the Author

Maria Wirth, a German, came to India on a stopover on her way to Australia after finishing her psychology studies at Hamburg University and an internship with Lufthansa. By chance she landed up in spiritual India, realised the great value of Vedic wisdom, and never went to Australia.

She shared her insights with German readers through numerous articles and two books, as she felt this wisdom is lacking in the West. Only some 15 years ago, she became aware that even many Indians don’t know about their amazing heritage and worse, they look down on it and often consider Christianity and Islam as preferable. This shocked her and she started to compare on her blog the three main religions and also wrote her first book in English, titled “Thank you India”. For her it is clear that Hindu Dharma is the best option for humanity and she keeps explaining why.

Dr. Omendra Ratnu

Dr. Omendra Ratnu

About the Author

Dr Omendra Ratnu from Jaipur is an ENT surgeon who runs a hospital.

He runs an NGO, Nimittekam, with the purpose of helping displaced Hindu refugees from Pakistan and integrating Dalit Sahodaras into Hindu mainstream.

Issues of Hindu survival and conflict with violent faiths are his core concerns for which he roams around the world to raise funds and awareness.

He is also a singer, composer, writer, Geeta communicator and a ground activist for Hindu causes.

He has released a bhajan Album and a Ghazal album composed and sung by him.

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Indian History And The Great Lies

Like all things mundane in the modern era, Indian History too has fallen prey to the singularly desiccating influence of the binary Western lens. Add to that the Communist lens and the inescapable conclusion is that what is being taught to us as History for the longest time since independence is nothing but bunkum. Just witness this from the Supreme Court of India, 18th of September, 2019: When the Muslim side advocate wanted the judges to read a piece of excrescence called ‘Historian’s Report to the Nation on Rama Temple’. ‘This is not evidence, this is at the highest an opinion’. This is nothing but a polite way of saying that the history you want to cite is bunkum. This is pretty much the story of all Indian history written by the British, the Western and the Marxist historians between 1830 till today. What is the common thread among these three? One, a firm belief in the binary nature of Logic, and two, an equally firm belief in the linearity of Time. Any history produced from these standpoints is likely to be dismissive of history written from the higher levels of consciousness. For a detailed understanding of this statement, go through my series ‘All Religions Are Not The Same’. My books in the ‘Krishna Trilogy’, ‘Krishna Gopeshvara’ and ‘Krishna Yogeshvara’ also highlight this fundamental difference. India’s ancient historians were more concerned about the processes behind the events, rather than just the event. That is why epics and Puranas, commonly known as ‘Itihasa’ in the Indian tradition are complex narration’s of characters and their interplay with rta or the Cosmic Order, and Dharma, or the Universal Order. That is why the history is written like story-writing. Western and Marxist historians have no deeper understanding of the human nature, and do not even recognise the higher human consciousness or chitta. So the elementary difference in the history writing of the West and that if India is that the former is written at the level of intellect, and the latter is at the higher level of consciousness. This is exactly like how the the Abrahamic God(s) is at the level of intellect, whereas the Indian Brahman is at the level of consciousness or even beyond consciousness. The purported ‘Unified Field Theory’ cannot work in an Abrahamic paradigm. In addition to this fundamental limitation of understanding, there is the deliberate mischief by the West and the Marxists under the influence of he Church and the Communists. Indian thought is the single greatest threat to the narratives woven by these two groups. Hence the Lies. Hence the single minded focus on destruction of the classical Indian chronology. Let us now document some of the Great Lies floated by these groups. These are just a few in a series of articles. Aryan Invasion Theory;Vedas are post-Harappan;Ashoka became a Buddhist due to Kalinga war;Ramayana and Mahabharata are post-Buddhist Texts; and Rama and Krishna are myths;That Sanskrit has only spirituality, having no science or fine arts, Śulbha Sutras, Surya Siddhānta, Vaiśeśika Sutra, Nyaya Sutra, Charak and Suśruta Samhitas, advanced metallurgy (rust free iron pillar), advanced town planning, advanced mathematics including trigonometry and infinite series, Bharata Muni and Kālidasa are all imaginations, not to speak of the highest consciousness studies like Yoga and Samkhya;Arab invasions wiped out Indian kings;Missing accounts of the longest (Chola), the largest (Karakota), and the most prosperous (Vijayanagara) Empires of Bharatavarsha;Muslim rulers were benign lovers of art, massacres of Hindus did not happen, or were sometimes due to a conqueror’s zeal, notwithstanding what was written by Muslim historians themselves (oh, they probably exaggerated – how many have bothered to read Elliot and Dawson);Aurangzeb was a mild mannered Sufi;Mughals faded away because of a problem of revenue, and not because they were terrible Islamic bigots;Sufis promote a syncretic and peaceful culture;Indian Society is all about caste, but there was no social stratification anywhere else in the world;Tipu Sultan was a freedom fighter;British united India;India was born in 1947;India won its freedom due to non-violence;Nobody broke India’s temples. Babar was a tourist in Ayodhya, and Aurangzeb was merely practising new forms of warfare by using cannons to bring them down;J&K’s Instrument of Accession was inviolable;All Religions Are The Same;As of 2017: Hindutva is different from Hinduism, like Islam is different from Islamism. The best part of this type of history writing is that no evidence is required at all. Romila Thapar can write all her conclusions about AIT, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas without knowing Sanskrit; RS Sharma can give testimonies on behalf of Babri mosque petitioners without knowing a word of archaeology. Max Mueller can propound AIT without a shred of evidence, and Bishop Robert Caldwell and GU Pope can build a fantasy called Lemuria based on Max Mueller – all without having to adduce any evidence. Then Ph Ds can be written on this zero-evidence theory. Church can use its resources to build a toxic anti-Hindu Dravidianist movement. Finding that spiritually runs deep in the Tamil psyche, Church can build a fake St Thomas lore who brought Sanskrit with him and Thiruvallavur learnt at his feet. Can you counter this obvious to the naked eye nonsense using standard tools of scientific falsification? Do not be under any illusion! Scientific falsification will not be accepted by the Church or the Marxists. Names will be called, cases will be filed and dharnas and gheraos will be organised against patriarchal Brahmanistic reactionaries in Jadavpur and JNU. REMEMBER, George Orwell called the Ministry of Propaganda as the Ministry of Truth in his classic nineteen-eighty four. This kind of history is not history. It is just propaganda. Real history is obliterated, overwritten and swept under the carpet. Let us now start with the first listed instance. ARYAN INVASION THEORY: This theory has its origin in Church’s reaction to the Western romantics who were thrilled to discover an unbelievably advanced language in Sanskrit, and even more thrilled to find that Sanskrit was part of the same language family as most European languages. They felt honoured to find such distinguished roots and the ‘Out of India Theory’ or OIT was born. This was the leading discourse till the 1820s when Church began its push back. Max Mueller was employed by the East India Company, and AIT was born. AIT assumptions are rooted in the Biblical racist history. AIT was given an arbitrary date around 1500 BCE, first to protect the Biblical date of creation – 22/02/4004 BCE – and to destroy the Indian chronology as it had the effect of completely destroying the Biblical world view. This conspiracy called AIT has four legs, That there is a race called Aryan, a branch of the Biblical Japheth That this race invaded the Indian heartland That the invasion happened around 1500–1800 BCE That they brought Sanskrit with them Even if one leg is falsified, the whole theory crumbles to dust. Nobody ever proved this theory. Using archaeology, river morphology, literature, geology, astronomy and even linguistics and genetics, each of the four legs have been repeatedly falsified, but the Church and its adjuncts, including Islamists and Marxists refuse to accept it. I have announced an Award of ₹1 Cr to anyone who can prove AIT. I do not have a single claim yet. On the other side, there is a veritable flood of evidence to disprove a theory which was nothing but speculation at the best of times, yet the entrenched powers that be in the academia, the Church and the Islamists just ignore it and try and find pathways around it. It helps them to communalise the issue so that the government remains defensive and does not touch the curriculum built by them over decades of being in power. Reprinted with the permission of the author First published on Medium in September 2019
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All Religions are not the same part 1
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All Religions Are Not The Same

Hindu Dharma Has a Scientific Temper There have been many attempts to define the Hindu Dharma, or more appropriately, Sanātana Dharma throughout the modern era. Most notably, the Supreme Court defined it as a way of life, and not as a set of beliefs. The attitude of Hindus towards the spiritual has always been one of seeking and inquiry, rather than any certainty of dogma. Yet, there are certain science beliefs that are unique to Hinduism. Let us call these beliefs as ‘Scientific Beliefs of Hinduism’, because these are open to inquiry and change. These can be broadly classified into six categories, and Hinduism can be compared with the other religions on these parameters: Attitude to ScienceTime conceptsLogic concepts EpistemologyCosmology Eschatology Let us first look at each of these separately, and then take a holistic look. 1. Attitude to Science: Science is a methodology. In modern era, Science for the lay people has also become a subject being taught and learnt on the basis of authority. Students do not really know whether the earth revolves on its axis, except on the authority of scientists who really have the means to conduct experiments and prove them. Science as a methodology can be defined as an empirical method which accepts a physical phenomenon as True on the basis of it being universal — true across time and space; verifiable — demonstrable to all; and repeatable — that which will repeat in similar circumstances. To that we add refutability or falsifiability, i.e. one is free to try and refute that physical phenomenon. Sanātana Dharma’s scientific attitude to the Universe is not just applicable to the physical world, but also to the spiritual world. It is best exemplified by the famous Nāsadiya Sukta of Ṛgveda (10.129) (Translation of AL Basham): Then even nothingness was not, nor existence, There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it. What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping? Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed? (1) Then there was neither death nor immortality nor was there then the torch of night and day. The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining. There was that One then, and there was no other. (2) At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness. All this was only unillumined cosmic water. That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing, arose at last, born of the power of heat. (3) In the beginning desire descended on it – that was the primal seed, born of the mind. The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom know that which is kin to that which is not. (4) And they have stretched their cord across the void, and know what was above, and what below. Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces. Below was strength, and over it was impulse. (5) But, after all, who knows, and who can say Whence it all came, and how creation happened? the gods themselves are later than creation, so who knows truly whence it has arisen? (6) Whence all creation had its origin, the creator, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not, the creator, who surveys it all from highest heaven, he knows — or maybe even he does not know. (7) This kind of open inquiry about the origin of Cosmos is unknown in the Abrahamic religions like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Abrahamic religions do not allow any questioning and inquiry, and treat the Word of their scriptures beyond refutation. Sanātana Hinduism, on the other hand, allows not only open inquiry, but as the subsequent developments of Hinduism show, even open debate and refutation. Every branch of orthodox Hinduism allowed this open inquiry, and allowed debate within various sects. Buddha’s debates with the orthodox Sanātana Brahmins are the best example of this approach. Buddha was every inch a Hindu, but he differed from the orthodox view on the question of existence of the Ātman (loosely translated as the eternal soul). Hindus and the followers of Buddha debated the question for over a millennia till Hinduism won a final victory led by the Ādi Shankar. To refute the concept of the Ātman, people even carried out physical experiments, without any consequences to their physical well being. Payāsi Sutta has a description of a person about to die being enclosed in a vessel, being weighed, observations of ātman escaping the vessel being taken; weight being taken immediately after death; and a final pronouncement of the absence of the ātman on weight being found the same. All across the Upanishads, this spirit of inquiry, debate and refutation is present in full measure. Vedanta philosophy speculates on duality, Oneness, qualified Oneness, and the sages have derived advaita, dvaita, vishishtadvaita, and bhakti from the same material. People like Charvāka refuted the existence of Ātman on the basis of direct observation epistemology, yet he was honoured with the title of a Rishi. Patanjali’s Yōga Sutra provides a basis for physical verification of the existence of the Supreme. Kapila Muni’s Saṃkhya philosophy provides a cosmological basis, whereas Vaisheshika of Kaṇāda dwells on the physical cause and effect. Bhagvadgita encapsulates all the philosophies into one whole, and even that great book provides Arjuna with a glimpse of many paths. Krishṇa exhorts Arjuna in the end to choose any of the paths that he had described –yathechchhasi tathā kuru. Thus it is clear from this evidence that the concept of Creation, as well as that of the Ātman in the Hindu pantheon is physical, subject to personal verification, and refutable. This is a purely scientific approach to the mysteries of Universe. While Ātman in Hinduism is a refutable physical concept, and is, therefore, scientific; on the other hand, the ‘soul’ of the Abrahamic religions is an irrefutable metaphysical concept, hence unscientific. To illustrate this point further — Creation, soul, and God are all based on the revealed Book, not subject to verification or debate (any such act is termed as heresy), and an irrefutable Truth on the authority of God, Yahveh, or Allah. This is a purely unscientific approach. So this is the first major fundamental difference between Hinduism and Western religions. Printed with permission of the author (April 2020) To Part 2
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Hindu Dharma is Nearest to Scientific Concept of Time

2. Time Concepts “Time is the interface between Science and Religion” — Dr. CK Raju The biggest difference and that which makes it impossible for the Eastern and Western cultures to meet at a midpoint is their concepts of Time. This is also the fundamental problem of the West which makes it difficult for them to understand the Eastern cultures. The Biblical dogmas of Noah’s sons Japheth, Shem and Ham have been used by the Christian West to describe, a. themselves; b. Jews and Muslims (Semites), and c. Non-Abrahamic world (Hamites). No wonder that when so much ignorance is passed off as scholarship based on the unscientific stories in the Old Testament, it results in hate theories of anti-Semitism and racism. The Holocaust and the Aryan Invasion Theories are direct results of this dogma inspired hate and supremacism. The biggest defining difference between East and West is their concept of Time, not just because of the nature of concepts, but also because it demarcates their proximity or distance from Science. Hinduism, which is the philosophical origin point of almost all Eastern religions, such as Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, Shintoism, and many smaller religions, treats Time as cyclical. Kāla Chakra is a frequently occurring term in everyday conversation of Hindus, meaning the cycle of Time. The Sanskrit term for the Universe, Brahmānda, conceives of the Cosmos as an egg. The Sanskrit term for the material world, Saṃsāra, itself means ‘the cycle of birth and death’, as opposed to Nirvāṇa, which means liberation from this cycle. There are variations to this concept of Time. Dr. CK Raju has proposed the concept of quasi-cyclical Time, without which the entire cycle of the expansion and contraction of the Cosmos would repeat endlessly and exactly (eternal recurrence). The Cosmos is presently in the expansion mode, with some scientists positing a concept of ever-expanding Universe, but the Big Bang theory being ever expanding is now seriously doubted, and scientists are seriously considering the cyclical concept of Time. The cyclical model of the universe is the most probable: an expanding singularity (the big bang), an expanding universe (what we currently observe), equilibrium, a contracting universe, and a singularity again. And then, the next cycle. Needless to say, this is what Hindu cosmology talks about. Hindu cosmology is the only system of cosmology whose vast time scales are comparable to those of physical cosmology. The Christian West also started out by internalizing the Greek notion of migrating soul, and cyclical Time. However, when the Church managed to convert the Roman Emperor, and became the State Religion of the Roman Empire through the backdoor, a recurrence of time became a problem. In any cyclically recurring Universe, or quasi-Universe, the freely willed actions of individuals would be the rational determinants of how they would shape up in the next cycle. That would establish a direct relationship between God and Man, which would finish the role of the Church. This led to the Church denouncing the concept of cyclical Time. The Fifth Ecumenical conference of the Church in Constantinople in 553 AD pronounced a Curse on Cyclical Time. Surprising, but true. Dr. CK Raju explains the rationale: ‘Inequity as the basis of “linear” time’. However, after Constantine, this belief in the equity of all souls stood in the way of the political goals of the Church, which now viewed the world from the imperial perspective of the Roman state: if all souls would anyway be saved, what was the advantage to be gained by turning Christian? If God was within man, where was the need to fear God, and be obedient to the priest? Hence, theologians like Augustine proposed to erase equity and erect a transcendent God who would judge people and establish a simplistic moral division between good (Christians) and bad (non-Christians). In the revised picture proposed by state Christianity, all souls were NOT equal, so not all souls were eventually saved; instead God established a permanent inequity in the world, sending some souls (those of good Christians) to heaven (for ever), and other souls (non-Christians) to hell, as described in gory detail by Dante, for example. Reincarnation was accordingly changed to resurrection — life after death, just once. Because the earlier notion of soul depended upon a view of life after death deriving from the belief in quasi-cyclic time, time beliefs were also compelled to change with this changed notion of the soul and of life after death. Time beliefs changed from quasi-cyclic time to “linear” apocalyptic time: the world, as conceived by Augustine, began a few thousand years ago, and would soon come to an end. The notion of the soul became metaphysical. Thus, the question of “linear” versus “cyclic” time is an issue.’ This very concept of ‘Linear Time’ found its way into Islam, even though there was a significant section among the early Muslims, known as Mutazalites, who believed in ‘cyclical time’ and rational thinking. It was the Sufi Al-Ghazali who teamed up with the conservatives and completely demolished the rational spirituality in Islam around the 11th century. Even though Al-Ghazali propounded a concept of metaphysically broken Time, renewing itself every instant, but essentially killing off the spiritual strand of Islam that was close to Hindu thinking in Time beliefs. People like Mansoor Hallaj were persecuted and killed for believing in concepts close to the Sanatana Advaita (Ana-‘l-haq or I am the Truth is considered a variation of Aham Brahmasmi). It is because of this notion of quasi-cyclical Time that the Indian notion of Karma-Saṃskāra inheres as an exercise of autonomy in temporal affairs of mankind. It is because of this that Hinduism carries unique sense of gratitude to the environment around them (the concept of Ṛna or debt) and treats life as a celebration. This is in contrast to Christianity that treats Life as a sin, and Islam that treats Life as a test for a good time in an eternal afterlife. The unique culture of treating the entire nature and living beings as manifestation of the Supreme comes from this belief in cyclical Time. Beliefs in Creationism and Linear Time are a direct negation of gratitude towards anyone else except the One creator, such as Yahveh, God, or Allah. In essence, culture and values are a byproduct of not just the geography, but also of Time belief. The concept of Linear Time had its greatest validation in Newton’s theories, but General Relativity and the concept of spacetime has dealt it a body blow. The problem of time is sought to be resolved through integration of the Relative (very large) and Quantum (very small) phenomena through a Unified Field theory such as Quantum Gravity. This has not yet succeeded but Linear Time is under serious questions. This is a challenge to the religions that cast their lot with Linear Time. Do not, however, underestimate the flexibility and manoeuvrability of the Church, which recognized Galileo in 1992 (imagine), and supported Stephen Hawking’s model of singularity that mimics God. Hinduism, on the other hand, has had no such problems at the doctrinal level. Problems of Hinduism lie more on its behavioral side with sectarian schisms, and exploitation of fault lines by its adversaries. According to Dr. CK Raju, “Hinduism is scientific, because (a) its core notions of ātman and moksha depend upon the concept of quasi-cyclic time (b) which can be experimentally TESTED “here and now” by using the connection to a local “tilt in the arrow of time”, and testing for a tilt in the arrow of time, as explained in my books. The mark of a scientific theory is that it can be tested or refuted according to Karl Popper.” To sum up, the belief in ātman and moksha is NOT a superstition but part of a viable scientific theory which needs to be tested experimentally (“physics”). But the belief in linear time or superlinear time is a superstition. That is, “reincarnation” is possible, but the post-Nicene Church notion of “resurrection” is a superstition (“metaphysics”). Printed with permission of the author (April 2020) Part 1 Part 3
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Logic System in Hinduism – How it Differs From The West

3. Logic Concepts The assertion that Hinduism is different from the Middle Eastern Religions of the Book is further fortified by the different ways in which they approach logic. All Middle Eastern Religions follow the Greek system of logic, where any physical phenomenon is viewed only in shades of black and white. Called two-valued logic, the logic recognizes only two states of any phenomenon — true or false. When aligned to the superlinear Time adopted by the post-Augustinian Church, it creates a strong dialectical system of binaries, where Truth is what is ordained from the above, and everything else is False. So the culture of violence that condemns the sinner, or curses a concept (like the concept of cyclical Time by the Church, or the concept of Trinity, or multiple manifestations by Islam), the consequences of heresy or haram visited upon the dissenters are easily justified. The two-valued logic has had other consequences too. The Indian gaṇita (system of calculation) was adopted by the West in the Middle Ages as Mathematics, and devised a system of formal mathematics based on proofs. These proofs were products of the two-valued logic, recognizing only deductive proof, resulting in such farcical proofs as Russell proving 2+2=4 in 378 pages. The Newtonian Science also adopted this two-valued logic along with superlinear Time, producing a mechanistic view of Science, which is still being undone. (Please refer to ‘Cultural Foundation of Mathematics’ by Dr. CK Raju). The Indian Systems have always followed a multi-valued logic, beginning with the Vedas, which prescribed Chatushkoṭi, or the ‘four-valued logic’. (The Nāsadiya Sūkta cited in Part 1 is a good example, and Patanjali and Pāṇini use it extensively). The four values of this system of logic are ‘True’, ‘False’, ‘Both True and False’, and ‘Neither True Nor False’. Combine this with cyclical Time, and it should be very clear to all that we can then have a very open architecture for debate. It is exactly this kind of debate that we find in the Upanishads. This extends to all other systems of Indian thought, culminating in the orthodox Nyāya system, and going to the extremes of seven-valued (saptabhaṅga) and eight-valued logic of some Buddhist and Jain philosophers. The scholar of Mahabharata and Ramayana chronology, Nilesh Neelakantha Oak summarises it in this quadrant: In the words of Dr. Subhash Kak, ‘Logic is one of the six darśanas, which are the classical schools of Indian philosophy. These six schools are the different complementary perspectives on reality, which may be visualised as the views from the six walls of a cube within which the subject is enclosed. The base is the broad system of the tradition (Purva Mimāṃsa), and the ceiling represents the large questions of meaning related to the objective world and the subject (Uttara Mimāṃsa or Vedānta); one side is analysis of linguistic particles (Nyāya), with the opposite side being the analysis of material particles (Vaiśeśika); another side is enumerative categories in evolution at the cosmic and individual levels (Sāṃkhya), with the opposite side representing the synthesis of the material and cognitive systems in the experiencing individual (Yōga).’ The core philosophies of Hinduism like Ātman and Moksha depend upon inner seeking, and concepts of immanence and transcendence of the Self. Sat, Chit and Ananda are the three facets of the Cosmic Truth, with many more variations appearing within the different systems. ‘Ekam sadviprā bahudhā vadanti’, or many paths lead to the same Truth is possible only with a many-valued logic. There is no room for binaries in Hinduism as it is fundamentally a spiritual path through consciousness — described as Chitta (Self-Consciousness or Awareness), and Chita (Universal Consciousness) — which necessarily requires exploration in different spaces of logic. It is, therefore, a necessary concomitant to the concept of cyclical Time. Even though Christianity also began with a challenge to Judaism, and tall philosophers like Origen subscribed to not only cyclical Time, but also to the non-binary logic, this underwent a change with the wedding of the Church with State power, and the Augustinian notion of superlinear Time meant that logic too had to be reduced to a binary, or two-valued logic in order to deify the concepts of true God vs. false gods, piety vs. sin, believer vs. unbeliever, or simply heaven vs. hell. There is no room for a grey area in this concept of what was also sought to be entrenched as Pure Reason. So the post-Nicene (after the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea) Christianity beginning from Constantine, and more particularly from Justinian to Newton, and right up to Bertrand Russell simply promoted two-valued logic. It is, therefore, no surprise at all that Marxism became the apotheosis of this two-valued logic, pitting capital and labour against each other. Islam simply got stuck to this two-valued logic of belief vs. unbelief from the time of Ibn Taymaiah — the beginning of the dark age of Islam. The Vedanta logic is a clear three-valued concept: satya, asatya and mithyā, i.e. true, false, and unreal (having shades of both). One of the clearest expressions of this is found in this Bhagvadgita shloka: “nāsato vidyate bhāvo, nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ// ubhayorapi drishṭo antas tv anayos tatvadarshabhiḥ” [2:16]. This means ‘Those who have seen the Truth have concluded that of the non-existent (the material body), there is no endurance; and of the eternal (the Ātman), there is no change. They have reached this conclusion by studying the nature of both.’ The advent of quantum mechanics, and quantum logic is the final tribute of Science to the three-valued logic system of the Hindus. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, and Schrodinger’s simultaneously dead and alive cat are examples of three-valued logic — clear, not clear and indeterminate. Another form of multi-valued logic is also seen in the field of computing. To quote Dr. CK Raju, ‘one can construct a more realistic desktop model involving parallel computing, although understanding this requires a little more technical knowledge. In parallel computing, a single process executing on parallel processors may be in multiple states at a “single instant” of time. Needless to say, “parallel” is a bit of a misnomer, since it is an essential feature of parallel computing that the processors (logical worlds, in the Wittgensteinian sense) and processes communicate with each other, and that they branch and collapse. Time, so to say acquires a structure, and it is necessary to take into account this structure to understand the semantics of formal parallel computing languages. Microphysical closed time loops enable us to understand how an atom of time can nevertheless have a structure, in the sense that multiple logical worlds are attached to a single instant of time.’ One can simply contrast the Boolean Logic and Fuzzy Logic of the computation systems as a rough guide to the value of Logic in computers. Everyone would remember the famous Indian story of the elephant being described by ten blind men. The multi-valued logic of Hinduism and other Oṃkāra religions, which may be more appropriately called as spiritual systems, is the defining feature of Hinduism. To summarize, logic varies with culture: the two-valued logic, assumed a priori in the West and integral to Ahl-e-Kitab (of the Book) Religions, is not universal. The Indian culture, of which Hinduism is the defining example has never subscribed to two-valued logic, and this is also reflected in the way Indians did their Science and Mathematics. Printed with permission of the author (April 2020) Part 2 Part 4
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Hindu Epistemology With Its Pramāṇa (Proof) System Is Closest To Science

Reliable Means of Gaining Knowledge 4. Epistemology or Means of Knowledge प्रत्यक्षानुमानागमाः प्रमाणानि pratyakshānumanāgamāh pramaṇāni Direct perception, inference, and evidence of background knowledge, are proofs. (Patanjali Sutra 1.7) The above aphorism from the Yoga Sutra epitomizes the Sanātana approach to gaining true knowledge. Of the nine darshanas in the Indian philosophy (six orthodox darshanas — Veda, Vedānta, Yoga, Sāṃkhya, Nyāya, Vaiśeśika; and three heterodox darshanas — Buddhism, Jainism and Ćārvāka), each one of them relies on a certain number of valid means of gaining knowledge. These are: Pratyaksha – Empirical Evidence Anumāna – InferenceUpamāna – AnalogyArthāprapti – Deduction Anupalabdhi – Non-existence The nine systems of Indian philosophies have their own ways of treating these evidences as valid means to knowledge: Veda — all six Vedānta — all sixYoga — 1, 2 and 6Sāṃkhya — 1, 2 and 6Nyāya — 1, 2, 3, and 6 Vaiśeśika — 1 and 2 Buddhism — 1 and 2 by the Buddha, 6 added later Jainism — 1, 2, 3, and 6 Jainism — 1, 2, 3, and 6 In every Indian system, which obviously includes Hinduism, empirical evidence, or knowledge gained through direct sensory perception is common to every darshan, or philosophical system. The empirical is also placed at the highest pedestal in every system. What is most striking in this elaborate methodology of gaining knowledge is the fact that the Shabda Pramāṇa, or the Scriptural Evidence in our context is worthless in the absence of empirical evidence, or the Pratyaksha Pramāṇa. Isn’t this also the way of Science? The way of Science depends upon hypotheses tested through empirical evidence against a background of existing knowledge. As explained in part 1, verification, universality, repeatability and refutability are the essential components of the scientific method. The tools of Logic and Evidence are the means to achieve this objective. Though the empirical evidence in the Scientific method concerns only the external sensory perception, the pratyaksha pramāṇa in Hinduism encompasses the internal direct perception as well. This is where the Rishis and Gurus are important in the Hindu system. The story of Swami Vivekananda accepting the discipleship of Ramakrishna Paramahansa is instructive in the context of internal sensory perception. Narendranath Dutt (as he was known in his early life) was an extremely brilliant student, a rationalist, and deeply troubled by questions around the meaning of life. His quest took him to many great spiritual masters, including Maharshi Dwarkanath Tagore. Even as all of them claimed that they had realised the Supreme, not one of them could satisfy his query whether they were in a position to bring him face to face with the Supreme. When he posed the same question to the Paramahansa, he smiled and said, ‘Yes, I can do that, but are you prepared to come face to face with Him?’ This paused the young Narendra. After an intense period of inner struggle, he finally found himself up to the challenge and approached the Paramahansa in a fully prepared frame of mind. Paramahansa then showed him the Way that led Vivekananda to the ultimate realization. I have narrated this story to highlight the point that meaning of pratyaksha pramāṇa in the spiritual field is much wider than the empirical evidence countenanced by Science. Yet, this spiritual approach remains fully scientific. Evidence is required for validation, as Swami Vivekananda had demanded from Paramahansa Rāmakrishṇa. Now we must contrast this with the way of the Semitic and Japhetic Religions. The Torah, the Bible, and the Qur’an rely on the strength of Word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1.1) “A Messenger (Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) from Allah, reciting (the Quran) purified pages (purified from Al-Batil (falsehood, etc.)) Containing correct and straight laws from Allah” [Qur’an, al-Bayyinah, 98:2–3]. In the Abrahamic Religions, Word of God is the only Truth. It cannot be questioned. It is the only Proof. It cannot be refuted, it cannot be falsified. To utter anything against it is heresy. Some elements of this creed have probably been inspired by the apostasy and heresy doctrines that found their way into Zoroastrianism, but the contrast cannot be more stark. While in Hinduism, Word without empirical evidence and other admissible evidence is worthless, in the Noah Religions, Word is the only Truth. From this totalitarian precept emerge the exclusionary principles of belief/unbelief (fortified by Linear time and two-value Logic), heresy, apostasy, hypocrisy, and their dire punishments in this world and the hereafter. While it is possible to apply scientific principles of evidence to concepts of cyclical time, and multi-valued logic, and come up with a very inclusive, open architecture religion, culture and society; it becomes impossible when the only available evidence is to be found in a revealed Book. It is possible in Hinduism to have different attitudes, based on acceptance of different set of evidences. One can be a seeker, a believer, and an unbeliever, and yet be a Hindu. It is simply not possible for an unbeliever to be a Jew, a Muslim or a Christian. The consequences are writ large over the history of mankind. Hindus and Buddhists had fundamental doctrinal differences. A lively system of debate continued for over one millennium without any bloodshed. Debates were well structured with five well-ordered elements — vishaya (subject of debate), vismaya (doubts), purvapaksha (statement of others’ position), siddhānta (statement of one’s own position), and saṅgati (reconciliation) forming the framework of these debates. There was no such respite to competing philosophies by the Noah Religions. From the time the Church managed to convert Constantine to Christianity in 312 CE, and similarly with the march of Islam, the route of debate was firmly closed. This led to bloodshed becoming a norm to establish supremacy. To compound the problem, the unique Cosmology and Eschatology associated with the irrefutable Word of God went well with the superlinear concept of Time, as also with the two-valued Logic. It is, therefore, not at all difficult to see from this that Hinduism is totally different from the other Religions. Printed with permission of the author (April 2020) Part 3 Part 5
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Hindu Cosmology Is Unique In the Comity of Religions

5. Cosmology in Hinduism Cosmology is that part of a Religion, or of a Spiritual system like the Eastern Oṃkāra Dharmas, which defines its view of the Universe and the way human beings interact with it. Hindu Cosmology derives its view from its concepts of Kāla, or Time, and the way it rationalizes it through use of Logic. Logic as a function of culture is an important determinant of the way a culture, and a Religion as a product of that culture, uses its collective intellect to rationalise the transcendent and immanent through use of perceptions and reasoning. Abhijit Chavda, a scientist friend, who has been researching theoretical physics for over 20 years, had this to say on Hindu Cosmology: ‘From my ~20 years of study and research and calculations in theoretical physics and cosmology (based on several factors, primarily the inter-relationship between dark matter and dark energy and how the latter drives the universe’s expansion), I firmly believe that the cyclical model of the universe is the most probable: an expanding singularity (the big bang), an expanding universe (what we currently observe), equilibrium, a contracting universe, and a singularity again. And then, the next cycle. Needless to say, this is what Hindu cosmology talks about. Hindu cosmology is the only system of cosmology whose vast time scales are comparable to those of physical cosmology.’ Dr. CK Raju makes a modification to the singularity-expansion-contraction-singularity cycle. He considers the Friedmann cyclical model inappropriate for the Hindu Cosmology. Instead he uses the quasi-cyclical Time, like the lines on a record, so that Time does not flow in a straight line, nor does it loop on itself, but instead tilts — the ‘tilt in the arrow of Time’. However, this is too much of Pure Science for a lay reader. So, the Hindu Cosmology is an eternal cycle/quasi-cycle with a scheme of accountability for all living beings — humans, animals and plants, with a reflection of Universal Consciousness in every being — living and non-living. Divine is immanent in all, and it is possible for the highest in evolution cycle — the human being — to transcend the cycle of karma-saṃskāra and achieve liberation. One of the best concepts is provided in the Saṃkhya system, where the Purusha is the Cosmic Consciousnes — the Chit. Modifications in Chit produce the Individual Consciousness — the Chitta — called Prakriti. Prakriti is transcended by the Chitta with the help of ordinary pramāṇas available to the intellect. Samādhi is the ultimate experience and is also the ultimate pramāṇa at the level of Purusha. Samadhi is the Union of Yōga Sutras, and Ānanda or Chidānanda of Vedānta. Theory of Creationism does not apply at all. Divine and Man are interchangeable at one level. This is applicable across Multiverse, and just not the one Universe that we can perceive through our ordinary senses. The Vedānta verse of Nirvāna Shatakam by Ādi Shankara is a perfect illustration: ‘mano buddhihankāra chittāni nāham/na cha shrotra jihve na cha ghrāṇa netre//na cha vyoma bhumirnatejonavāyuh/chidānandarupah shivoham shivoham (I am not the mind, nor the intellect, nor the identity of self, not even the consciousness/I am also not the sense of hearing, nor taste, nor smell, and nor even the sight//I am not the ether, nor the earth, nor fire, and not even the air/I am the form of that Pure Cosmic Consciousness, I am the Shiva, I am the Shiva). Please note the different use of ‘chitta’ and ‘chit’ — similar to the use of Purusha and Prakriti in Sāṃkhya. The Cosmos finds a reflection in the human brain. That is why the different cognition points in the brain are revered as devatās. This view of the Universe and Multiverse is totally different in other Religions, including in Zoroastrianism. In the Abrahamic Religions, the common factor is the concept of Creationism, and an all powerful God/Yahveh/Allah who sits outside the Universe and creates it for the enjoyment of the human beings alone. They have their different reasons for creating this Universe, and they command their followers to regard their version as the only and Exclusive Truth. All of them are based on a revealed Book, which must be followed implicitly, on the pain of punishment. Quite logically, they have to follow the two-value Logic of true/false variety. Whatever the Book certifies as true is true, and whatever the Book says is false, is false. Time must necessarily flow in a straight line, and lead to the eschatology of another binary called heaven and hell. As for the scheme of Evidence in an epistemological sense, there is no proof required against the Word of the Book. The Word is the only Truth. The Word is the only Proof. This has resulted in quite absurd scenarios in the past. It also explains the orgies of library burnings witnessed in Alexandria, Takshashilā and Nālandā. Bakhtiar Khilji, on being confronted by the huge wealth of books in Nālandā appears to have remarked, ‘If there is anything useful in this world, it is contained in the Qur’an. If it is not there in the Qur’an, it is not useful. So either way, these books are not required.’ The burning of the library of Alexandria also had similar, if not exactly the same, sentiments behind it. The Church had acquired political power, and established a dogma which was required to consolidate its newly acquired political power with the religious power which it already possessed. The pagan world was an open world with many belief-systems coexisting. The pagans believed in cyclical Time, and migration of the soul. This did not suit the Church, as Christ could not be born again and again across what it termed as ‘Eternal Recurrence’, and be made to suffer the Cross again and again. It would be totally against the character of ‘Son of God’ bestowed upon him by the Church after the First Nicaean Ecumenical Council in 323 CE. The Church had to have the power over humans in order to save them on behalf of Christ. So the concept of eternal heaven and hell in an eternally flowing straight line of superlinear time became necessary. It necessitated burning down of all pagan knowledge, and destruction of all pagan symbols. One would see the same puritanical zeal among the Evangelicals even today. I remember a very recent example. An Islamic scholar produced evidence from the Shari’a that the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar was carried out by India. It was a gathering of well-informed people, who possessed the empirical evidence on the attack. Yet, not one of them could get up and point out the absurdity, as empirical evidence has no value in front of the scriptural evidence in Islam. The foregoing analysis and cited examples would show that Abrahamic Religions subscribe to a World View, whereas Hinduism espouses a Cosmic View. Hindu Cosmology permits an open architecture of spiritual seeking and spiritual belief, whereas the Abrahamic Religions do not permit any such liberty. From this exclusivism to the exclusivist hate for the non-believer, and violence in the name of blasphemy, apostasy, idolatry, and non-conformity is but a logical flow of the doctrine. Please note that we are discussing only the doctrinal aspects of the religions, and not their behavioural distortions. Om. Purṇamadah, Purṇamidam, Purṇātpurṇamudachyate/Purṇasya Purṇamādāya, Purṇamevavashishyate. (That is whole. This is whole. The whole comes out of the whole. Still the whole remains) — Ishopanishada. Printed with permission of the author (April 2020) Part 4 Part 6
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Shiva the Destroyer doing the Dance of Death, Tandava
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Hindu Theory of Death Aims At Liberation

Shiva the Destroyer doing the Dance of Death, Tandava 6. Eschatology (Theory of Death) This story from Kaṭha Upanishad is a broad explanation of how Hinduism views death. This gives a complete exposition of how a man decides his own course, as beautifully explained in the Bhagwadgita: ‘uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ nātmānam avasādayet ātmaiva hyātmano bandhur ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ’ (Bhagwadgita 6:5) Elevate yourself through the power of your mind, and not degrade yourself, for the mind can be the friend and also the enemy of the self. Vājashravasa, desiring a gift from the gods, started an offering to donate all his possession that is called as ‘ SARVA DAKSHINA’. But Nachiketā, his son, noticed that Vājashravasa was donating only the cows that were old, barren, blind, or lame; not such as might buy the worshiper a place in heaven. Nachiketā wanting the best for his father’s rite, asked: “I too am yours, to which god will you offer me?”. After being pestered thus, Vājashravasa answered in a fit of anger, “I give you to Death (Yama)”. So Nachiketā went to Death’s home, but the god was out, and he waited three days without any food or water. When Yama returned, he was sorry to see that a Brahmin guest had been waiting so long without food and water. In Indian culture guests are believed to be equal to god and causing trouble to god is a great sin. To compensate his mistake, Yama told Nachiketā, “You have waited in my house for three days without hospitality, therefore ask three boons from me”. Nachiketā first asked for peace for his father and himself. Yama agreed. Next, Nachiketā wished to learn the sacred fire sacrifice, which also Yama elaborated. For his third boon, Nachiketā wanted to learn the mystery of what comes after death. Yama was reluctant on this question. He said that this had been a mystery even to the gods. He asked Nachiketā to ask for some other boon, and offered many material gains. But Nachiketā replied that material things will last only till tomorrow. He who has encountered Death personally, how can he desire wealth? No other boon would do. Yama was secretly pleased with this disciple, and elaborated on the nature of the true Self, which persists beyond death. The key of the realization is that this Self is inseparable from Brahman, the supreme spirit, the vital force in the universe. Yama’s explanation is a succinct explication of Hindu darshana, and focuses on the following points: The sound Om is the syllable of the supreme Brahman The Atma, whose symbol is Om is the same as the omnipresent Brahman. Smaller than the smallest and larger than the largest, the Soul is formless and all pervading. The goal of the wise is to know this Ātmā. The Ātmā is like a rider; the horses are the senses, which he guides through the maze of desires. After death, it is the Ātmā that remains; the Atman is immortal. Mere reading of the scriptures or intellectual learning cannot realize Ātmā. One must discriminate the Ātmā from the body, which is the seat of desire. Inability to realize Brahman results in one being enmeshed in the cycle of rebirths. Understanding the Self leads to moksha, or liberation. Thus having learned the wisdom of the Brahman from Yama, Nachiketā was freed from the cycle of births. This story contains within itself all that we have discussed till now. Quasi-Cyclical Time, Multi-valued Logic, Direct Experience as Pramāṇa, and the vastness of Cosmology are all there for us to experience in the story. It is for good reason that this story is often considered to be the essence of Upanishadic wisdom. Death ought to liberate a human being and make him become One with the Truth. Parā Vidyā, or knowledge of the transcendent, obliterates the line between Purusha and Prakriti and death facilitates this obliteration of identities, as in Sāṃkhya; or as Samādhi in Yoga. Death in the Abrahamic Religions is the route to an eternal bondage, as opposed to liberation. In keeping with the concept of linear/superlinear Time, and two-valued binary Logic, concept of reincarnation is replaced by resurrection. All human beings (and no other living beings) shall die and be resurrected on the date of Last Judgment, and the Creator who is outside the Cosmos shall visit these resurrected souls and give them into the eternal bondage of either heaven or hell. This is also a state of inequity, as a person hardly has the opportunity to correct his mistakes. The Book rewards or punishes a man not necessarily for his freely willed actions, but for his beliefs. Creationism and Determinism are close allies. In some extreme cases like Al-Ghazali, the Time is metaphysically broken from instant to instant so that Allah is busy producing events every instant, and destroying them the next instant. This is the ultimate in Determinism. The binary of consciousness vs. reason; and necessity vs. free will dictate everything. God/Allah/Yahveh does not care for your freely willed action, or reasoned choices. If you have followed the Word, and done right by the Diktat, you get an eternal reward — which is in the form of an eternal bondage to pleasure or pain. So the death in the Abrahamic Religions happens because: There is only one life; Death is the route to eternal heaven and hell; Heaven and hell is a reward of loyalty; A believer alone has the right to heaven; A non-believer is mandated to go to hell; Upon death, the body and soul rests in peace (RIP) till the Last Judgment Day; Everyone is resurrected on the Last Judgment Day; Their accounts of piety and sin are read out and they are sent to heaven and hell; The world ends and God remains in his abode; while everyone else remains bound to his heaven and hell eternally. One need not be too well versed in science to realise that this is the natural outcome of Time in a straight line, a two-valued binary Logic, and the finality of the Word of the Book. This brings us to the end of this series. The object of the series is not to belittle any religion, but to provide objective parameters to show that the adage ‘All religions are the same’ is totally wrong. Printed with permission of the author (April 2020) Part 5
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The Question of Varna

Indians always prided themselves on their reliance on Pratyaksha Pramāṇa in contradistinction from the Abrahamic religions, for which belief in the Word of God or Allah was the very fundamental of their existence. The nearest that the Indians got to this absolutist principle of total belief, excluding all reason and rationality, was shabda pramāṇa. The principle is summed up in this shloka from Mahābhārata[1]:  Pratyaksham hyetayormulam kritāntaitihyayorapi/pratyaksheṇāgamo bhinnah kritānto vā na kinchana|| Root of both inferential evidence and scriptural evidence lies in direct evidence (empirical/experiential). If the inferential evidence or scriptural evidence is against the direct evidence, their validity cannot be accepted. The interesting bit is that the conversation is taking place between Rishi Panchashikhā and King Janaka, and the Rishi is giving a poorvapaksha of the nāstikas, who are justifying their viewpoint by referring to what the āstikas always contend. So the value and primacy of pratyaksha pramāṇa was universal in our ancient traditions. In fact, it is as axiomatic in the Indian traditions as ‘belief’ or ‘shabda pramāṇa’ is in the Abrahamic traditions. Islam had an interesting battle between the rationalists and the conservatives during the first half of the Abbasid period (750–1258 CE). The two sides were the Mutazzalites and the Asharites. While the former battled for reforming the interpretation of the Islamic texts to include ‘immanence of divine’, the Asharites insisted on the complete separation of Creator from his creation. Mansoor Hallaj was tortured and beheaded for proclaiming An’a Haq, or I am the Truth, a concept analogous to Aham Brahmasmi of Advaita Vedānta. The early Sufis were very much of this temperament, and dabbled with concepts of Cyclical Time in the style of what early Christians did before the Councils pronounced a curse on Cyclical Time (5th Ecumenical Council, 553 CE). The issue was finally settled by Al Ghazali (died 1111 CE), the guru of all Sufis who decisively intervened on the side of the conservative Ulāmā, brought in the concept of ontologically broken Time, in which Allah creates and destroys the Universe moment to moment, and verily determines every action of a human being. This put paid to the spiritual doctrine that had been ushered in by the Mutazallites and taken up by the Tahqiqi (those with Haq, or Truth) school of Ibn Arabi, Ibn Rushd, and Ibn Sena (Avicenna), etc. and the movement of Ishtehad (reform) died an untimely death. This was the beginning of the ‘Dark Age of Islam’, that continues till date. The triumph of conservatives in association with devotionists also brought in the concept of Taqlid, from the root qallada (imitation) that prohibited use of aql or reason by anyone else except the authorised clerics. The prohibition of the use of reason came in handy for the Christians who began a turn around from the Christian Dark Ages under St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) by asserting Christian superiority in reason. I have given this context as I found, to my amazement, during a debate on birth-based concept on Varna in a WA group, where my position was based on the Vedas and the Bhagwad Gita (which is unambiguous on the point, stating boldly that ‘Chāturvarṇam mayā srishtam, guṇa karma vibhāgashah — I have created four varnas according to innate qualities and acquired functions), I found that many traditionalists among Hindus also hold views on pramāṇa similar to the Ulāmā. Even as great masters throughout history, including Ādi Shankara, preached oneness behind all material reality, the traditionalists are not even ready to let one discuss the scriptures unless you have been trained in the Vedas under a proper Āchārya.  One such person, RK, was not even ready to let anyone get a word in unless he vetted the name of your Āchārya. While others or I would have their gurus, the sheer emphasis on Adhikāra smacked so much of Taqlid, that I was forced to write a piece on it. Having prided myself on the scientific bases of the Sanātana tradition, as laid out in my 6-part series on ‘All Religions Are Not The Same’, it came as a rude shock that many well-meaning, erudite, and well qualified people continue to harbor the evidence of shabda pramāṇa as higher than pratyaksha. It is obviously not the Sanātana tradition as I gave out at some length in the above series. The Sanātana and all other Dharmic traditions permit questioning, and permit all the elements of scientific method to be applied, i.e. questioning, verification, universalization, repetition and falsification are fully permitted to establish the Truth. Verification is permitted to be external, or even internal — empirical or experiential. Yet, even people well schooled in the sciences thwart questioning by citing Adhikāra and Paramparā. The two have great application in preserving the base of Dharma, but if people like RK ossify it and deny any falsification attempt, when rebuttal or falsification is not permitted, the unchallengeable doctrine gets reduced to dogma — exactly like any Abrahamic creed. The varṇa concept is well accepted as a classification of tasks, and throughout history, jatis have moved up and down the varṇa ladder. Yādavas are the foremost example of this up and down movement. Even in recent history, important dynasties like Vijayanagara and Mysore were Yadavas. The Karṇa story in Mahabharata is also an educative one. While Duryodhana made him the king of Anga to take him up the ladder of varṇa to the status of a Kshatriya, there were many who asserted Adhikāra even in those times. Parashurāma would have no issue with him if he had requested him to make him a Brahmin, as many like Vishvāmitra, Valmiki and Veda Vyāsa had become in the past. It was his cheating that made him abort his education. The epics are full of these narratives, such as the Mahabharata discussions in the Yaksha episode and the Nahusha episode during the vanavāsa of the Pandavas. On the other hand, we have many Acharyas who assert birth-based varṇa. It would be fair to contend that birth-based varṇa is totally the handiwork of the Āchāryas in the medieval times. Almost all of them find their justification in Ādi Shankara, yet one of the most scathing indictments of not just birth-based varṇa, but discrimination based on varṇa is in Manishā Panchakam of Adi Shankara. However, the Āchāryas disregard even this pratyaksha pramāṇa by quibbling on the context. We know that in the Sanatana traditions, context is more important than literalism, and even the Vedas have layers and levels of meanings at different levels of vāk[2]. Yet, the traditionalists do not baulk at anything while supporting birth-based varṇa. It is time for all of us who wish to have a glimpse of the Divine within to face up to this Taqlid like irrationality and liberate the Sanātana from the Purātana. Printed with permission of the author (May 2020) [1] Mahābhārata: Shanti Parva: 211.26 (Critical Edition, Sukhthankar), 218:27 (Gita Press) [2] The psychic levels of vaikhari, madhyamā, pashyanti, and parā [Editor: For further reading on the 4 levels of Vak]
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All Religions are not the same part 1
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All Religions Are Not The Same

Hindu Dharma Has a Scientific Temper There have been many attempts to define the Hindu Dharma, or more appropriately, Sanātana Dharma throughout the modern era. Most notably, the Supreme Court defined it as a way of life, and not as a set of beliefs. The attitude of Hindus towards the spiritual has always been one of seeking and inquiry, rather than any certainty of dogma. Yet, there are certain science beliefs that are unique to Hinduism. Let us call these beliefs as ‘Scientific Beliefs of Hinduism’, because these are open to inquiry and change. These can be broadly classified into six categories, and Hinduism can be compared with the other religions on these parameters: Attitude to ScienceTime conceptsLogic concepts EpistemologyCosmology Eschatology Let us first look at each of these separately, and then take a holistic look. 1. Attitude to Science: Science is a methodology. In modern era, Science for the lay people has also become a subject being taught and learnt on the basis of authority. Students do not really know whether the earth revolves on its axis, except on the authority of scientists who really have the means to conduct experiments and prove them. Science as a methodology can be defined as an empirical method which accepts a physical phenomenon as True on the basis of it being universal — true across time and space; verifiable — demonstrable to all; and repeatable — that which will repeat in similar circumstances. To that we add refutability or falsifiability, i.e. one is free to try and refute that physical phenomenon. Sanātana Dharma’s scientific attitude to the Universe is not just applicable to the physical world, but also to the spiritual world. It is best exemplified by the famous Nāsadiya Sukta of Ṛgveda (10.129) (Translation of AL Basham): Then even nothingness was not, nor existence, There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it. What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping? Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed? (1) Then there was neither death nor immortality nor was there then the torch of night and day. The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining. There was that One then, and there was no other. (2) At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness. All this was only unillumined cosmic water. That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing, arose at last, born of the power of heat. (3) In the beginning desire descended on it – that was the primal seed, born of the mind. The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom know that which is kin to that which is not. (4) And they have stretched their cord across the void, and know what was above, and what below. Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces. Below was strength, and over it was impulse. (5) But, after all, who knows, and who can say Whence it all came, and how creation happened? the gods themselves are later than creation, so who knows truly whence it has arisen? (6) Whence all creation had its origin, the creator, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not, the creator, who surveys it all from highest heaven, he knows — or maybe even he does not know. (7) This kind of open inquiry about the origin of Cosmos is unknown in the Abrahamic religions like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Abrahamic religions do not allow any questioning and inquiry, and treat the Word of their scriptures beyond refutation. Sanātana Hinduism, on the other hand, allows not only open inquiry, but as the subsequent developments of Hinduism show, even open debate and refutation. Every branch of orthodox Hinduism allowed this open inquiry, and allowed debate within various sects. Buddha’s debates with the orthodox Sanātana Brahmins are the best example of this approach. Buddha was every inch a Hindu, but he differed from the orthodox view on the question of existence of the Ātman (loosely translated as the eternal soul). Hindus and the followers of Buddha debated the question for over a millennia till Hinduism won a final victory led by the Ādi Shankar. To refute the concept of the Ātman, people even carried out physical experiments, without any consequences to their physical well being. Payāsi Sutta has a description of a person about to die being enclosed in a vessel, being weighed, observations of ātman escaping the vessel being taken; weight being taken immediately after death; and a final pronouncement of the absence of the ātman on weight being found the same. All across the Upanishads, this spirit of inquiry, debate and refutation is present in full measure. Vedanta philosophy speculates on duality, Oneness, qualified Oneness, and the sages have derived advaita, dvaita, vishishtadvaita, and bhakti from the same material. People like Charvāka refuted the existence of Ātman on the basis of direct observation epistemology, yet he was honoured with the title of a Rishi. Patanjali’s Yōga Sutra provides a basis for physical verification of the existence of the Supreme. Kapila Muni’s Saṃkhya philosophy provides a cosmological basis, whereas Vaisheshika of Kaṇāda dwells on the physical cause and effect. Bhagvadgita encapsulates all the philosophies into one whole, and even that great book provides Arjuna with a glimpse of many paths. Krishṇa exhorts Arjuna in the end to choose any of the paths that he had described –yathechchhasi tathā kuru. Thus it is clear from this evidence that the concept of Creation, as well as that of the Ātman in the Hindu pantheon is physical, subject to personal verification, and refutable. This is a purely scientific approach to the mysteries of Universe. While Ātman in Hinduism is a refutable physical concept, and is, therefore, scientific; on the other hand, the ‘soul’ of the Abrahamic religions is an irrefutable metaphysical concept, hence unscientific. To illustrate this point further — Creation, soul, and God are all based on the revealed Book, not subject to verification or debate (any such act is termed as heresy), and an irrefutable Truth on the authority of God, Yahveh, or Allah. This is a purely unscientific approach. So this is the first major fundamental difference between Hinduism and Western religions. Printed with permission of the author (April 2020) To Part 2
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