Category Archives: Vedic Science

Articles on science from Vedas

Idol worship and Deity worship

== Introduction ==
In many religious systems worshiping idols and icons are considered primitive or even worse condemned as satanic devil worship. The Christians quote Moses from the one of the ten commandments which condemns worshiping an imaginary form of God. So is Vedic deity worship mere idol worship? Lets examine.

== Deities in Vedic theology ==
Deities, called murtis in Sanskrit, are an important part of Vedic temples and the Vedic tradition, but what is the significance of Deities and Deity worship? One thing to understand is that all the images of the Deities in the Vedic pantheon, as found in the temples, are made according to explicit details and instructions found in the Vedic texts called Shilpa Shastras. From these instructions we find the means to portray the proper stance, hand gestures, and other factors in the image of the Deity. In this way, Deities are not formed according to whim but in compliance to the scriptural regulations. Then they are installed in the temple in an elaborate ceremony known as Prana-pratishta, wherein the divine personalities are called to appear in the form of the Deity. Some of the Deities are demigods, while others, such as Krishna, Vishnu, Ramachandra, are of the Supreme Being.

== Idol Worship and the associated stigma ==
Some people, however, do not believe that God has a form. But many verses in the [http://srimadbhagavatam.com/11/3/52-53/en2 Puranas] and, particularly, the Brahma-samhita establish that the Supreme Being does have a specific form. These texts also describe His variegated features, which include His spiritual shape, characteristics, beauty, strength, intelligence, activities, etc. Therefore, it is considered that the authorized Deities of the Supreme that are shaped according to these descriptions provide a view of the personal form of God.

Those who have no knowledge of God or His form will certainly consider the temple Deities as idols. But this is the effect of their ignorance. They think that the Deities are simply the products of someone’s imagination. Of course, there are those who say that God has no form, spiritual or material, or that there is no Supreme Being. Others think that since God must be formless, they can imagine or worship any material form as God, or they regard any image as merely an external manifestation of the Supreme. But images of the demigods are not additional forms or representations of an impersonal God, nor are they equal to God. All such people who think in the above mentioned ways have resorted to their own imagination to reach such conclusions and are, therefore, idolaters. The imaginary images and opinions of God that are formed by those who have not properly learned about, seen, or realized God are indeed idols, and those who accept such images or opinions are certainly idolaters. This is because these images or opinions are based on ignorance and are not a likeness of His form.

Nonetheless, God is described in the Vedic literature, which explains that God is sat-chit-ananda vigraha, or the form of complete spiritual essence, full of eternity, knowledge, and bliss, and is not material in any way. His body, soul, form, qualities, names, pastimes, etc., are all nondifferent and are of the same spiritual quality. This form of God is not an idol designed from someone’s imagination, but is the true form, even if He should descend into this material creation. And since the spiritual nature of God is absolute, He is nondifferent from His name. Thus, the name Krishna is an avatara or incarnation of Krishna in the form of sound. Similarly, His form in the temple is not merely a representation, but is also qualitatively the same as Krishna as the archa-vigraha, or the worshipable form.

Some people may question that if the Deity is made from material elements, such as stone, marble, metal, wood, or paint, how can it be the spiritual form of God? The answer is given that since God is the source of all material and spiritual energies, material elements are also a form of God. Therefore, God can manifest as the Deity in the temple, though made of stone or other elements, since He can transform what is spiritual into material energy, and material energy back into spiritual energy. Thus, the Deity can easily be accepted as the Supreme since He can appear in any element as He chooses, whether it be stone, marble, wood, gold, silver, or paint on canvas. In this way, even though we may be unqualified to see God, who is beyond the perceptibility of our material senses, the living beings in this material creation are allowed to see and approach the Supreme through His archa-vigraha form as the worshipable Deity in the temple. This is considered His causeless mercy on the materially conditioned living beings that He would allow Himself to appear to humanity as a Deity to accept our worship and service.

== Interaction with the deity ==
In this manner, the Supreme Being gives Himself to His devotees so they can become absorbed in serving, remembering and meditating on Him. Thus, the Supreme comes to dwell in the temple to accept our worship and attract the eyes to concentrate and meditate on the Deity, and the temple becomes the spiritual abode on earth. In time, the body, mind and senses of the devotee become spiritualized by serving the Deity, and the Supreme becomes fully manifest to him or her. Worshiping the Deity of the Supreme and using one’s senses in the process of bhakti-yoga, devotional service to the Supreme, provides a means for one’s true essential spiritual nature to unfold. The devotee becomes spiritually realized and the Deity reveals His spiritual nature to the sincere souls according to their evolutionary spiritual development. This can continue to the level in which the Supreme Being in the form of the Deity engages in a personal relationship and performs reciprocal, loving pastimes with the devotee, as has previously taken place with other advanced individuals.

Indian sub continent is abound with numerous temples were there are accounts of deity having interacted with its devotee. Every ancient temple has its stala purana or the history involving the deity. It is not necessary that it has to be etched in the history but there are still stories of such [http://narasimhalila.com/home.html divine interactions]. So it is not just an iconography for decoration and rituals it is representing the demigod itself.

== When an Idol becomes a deity ==
An idol becomes a deity only if it is properly carved as per the Shilpa Sastras and installed by sacred rituals called “avahana” or a call to the personality to descend by spiritually advanced priests. The [Shilpa Shastras (Sanskrit: Śilpa Śāstra) are traditional Vedic texts that describe the standards for religious Hindu iconography, prescribing e.g. the proportions of a sculptured figure, as well as rules of Vedic architecture.They form one of 64 branches of divinely revealed arts.

So not that any idol like the one of Ganesha with a computer becomes a deity this is just a product of artists imagination nothing to do with worship of Ganesha. The material of the deity, pose, color and other bodily characteristics should match the agama sastras to qualify to be worshiped as a deity. Infact a vishnu deity is always carved out of a stone which has [http://narasimhalila.com/history.html life] by qualified sculptors. But unfortunately in today’s India we have all sorts of aberrations like above which discredits the vedic culture.

== Vedic Observer ==
At this stage, darshan is not simply a matter of viewing the Deity in the temple, but to one who is spiritually realized it is a matter of experiencing the Deity and entering into a personal, reciprocal exchange with the Supreme Personality in the form of the Deity. At that stage, you may view the Deity, but the Deity also gazes at you, and then there is a spiritual exchange wherein the Deity begins to reveal His personality to you. This is what separates those who are experienced from those who are not, or those who can delve into this spiritual exchange and those who may still be trying to figure it out. For those who have experienced such an exchange with the Supreme or His Deity, at this stage the worship of the Supreme Being in the Deity moves up to a whole different level, with no limits as to the spiritual love that can be shared between the devotee and the Deity.

== References ==
1. Darshan and the Significance of Deity Worship By Stephen Knapp
2. [http://absolutetruth.in/forums/topic/why-go-to-temple# Why go to a Temple]

Compiled by [[Authors#Lndasa|LNDAS]]

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Right to the Right Education ?


=Right to the Right Education ?=
==Introduction==
Recently our parliament has passed ”The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill, 2008” which seeks to provide education to children aged between 6 to 14 years. The Bill also earmarks 25 per cent seats to weaker sections in private schools. Our HRD minister commented that the bill is a “historic opportunity” for providing better future to children of the country as there was never such a landmark legislation in the last 62 years since independence. “We as a nation cannot afford our children not going to schools,” he asserted, noting that the measure details the obligations of the Centre and the states for providing free and compulsory education to children. But the more important question here is ”What sort of education are we going to impart to them when they once come to the school ??”

==What’s wrong with the modern educational system==
The western world has already undergone all these educational, industrial and civil reforms long back. What kind of educated class are they producing today? A class totally confused about goal of life, a society full of divorces, dissatisfaction, depression and people with destructive mentality. Therefore the question begs itself: where has modern society gone wrong? Despite extensive attempts at mass education, why has the advancement of knowledge not made people peaceful? Illiteracy can no longer be considered a reason since the best schools in the world have witnessed the worst violence in the last decade. The foundation of American society has been rocked by the repeated massacres by school children of their own peers and teachers for no good reason whatsoever. In many schools, metal detectors now screen every child before he enters ”the modern temple of learning.”

The Vedic texts, a vast body of profound knowledge coming down from ancient India, provide thought-provoking insights into this sorry state of affairs. The Vedic texts exalt knowledge for its transformational power. “What you know” is not considered as important as ‘”What is the effect on you of what you know”. In marked contrast, modern education swamps students with information, but the educational products are sadly lacking in character; many of the students are often victims of self-destructive habits like smoking, alcoholism and substance abuse; and even the best of them cherish no values higher than personal economic aggrandizement. ”Information, information, information, but no transformation” is the plight of the modern educational system.

Of course many curricula worldwide do have some sort of value education, but they mostly serve a cosmetic purpose; they are ineffectual in actually building the character of the students. The Vedic texts assert unequivocally that morality has to be founded on spirituality; otherwise it soon becomes a mere lip-service. Unless one has an understanding of God as the Supreme Controller, the call to ethics has no weight. After all, what is there in an atheist’s world view to impel him to stick to morality in his pursuit of pleasure? If a person does not understand his identity as an eternal soul, if he thinks that he can get away with whatever he does, provided he just does it cleverly enough, why will he not try to maximize the pleasure that this life can offer him? “Beg, borrow, steal, kill, but enjoy” becomes the motto of such a spiritually illiterate person.

==The effects==
Modern scientific education has been largely responsible for this spiritual and social decay. Honest scientists readily admit that spiritual subjects such as the existence of the soul and God are simply beyond their scope. But unfortunately practically all the science textbooks worldwide portray dubious theories such as the big bang theory and evolution theory as proven facts, thus forcing the naive and innocent students to embrace atheism as the only “scientific” way of looking at the world. Many eminent scientists have openly rejected these theories as unscientific, while others continue to debate about them. But they are certainly not verified truths and putting them in the school textbooks is a travesty of justice. If we let our children be taught that they have come from monkeys, how can we expect them to not behave like monkeys? The notion that life is a result of chemical combination breeds a murderous mentality: “If life is just a product of chemicals, then why can I not cut a bag of chemicals and eat it, if it tastes good? Or worse still: “If there is nothing more to life than chemical activity, then why can I not destroy the lump of chemicals if it obstructs my path to success?” When entire generations grow up with such perverted conceptions, is it strange that peace eludes humanity?

==The Remedy==
If we want our children to inherit a peaceful world, we have to teach them the spiritual truths that will engender that peace – within and without. To this end, the following non-sectarian universal divine principles must be incorporated into the syllabus worldwide:
1. God is the Supreme Father of all living beings and He is the Supreme Owner and Controller of everything, as confirmed in one of the foremost Upanishads, the Ishopanishad (ishavasyam idam sarvam)
2. We are accountable for all our actions to God (As you sow so shall you reap)
3. We are spirit souls, eternal children of God and our real happiness is not in material acquisition, but in spiritual realization, in lovingly harmonizing ourselves with nature and God.

These spiritual precepts do not contradict the principle of secularism because secularism should not be misunderstood or misinterpreted as atheism. Secularism basically implies impartiality towards different religions and the above precepts are the common underlying teachings of all the major religions of the world. It will be most unfortunate if, in the name of secularism, we let people stay in spiritual ignorance and thus court global disaster. We can cite here the historical transformation of Hippies in late sixties in America by embracing the genuine spirituality. Empowered by this divine knowledge, thousands of youths were able to break free of the shackles of all self-destructive habits and become selfless spiritual activists, dedicated to the holistic service of God and all living beings. Even today it is a globally repeated phenomenon that adoption of genuine spirituality by an individual concomitantly leads to character and compassion, the pre-requisites for sustained world peace.

==Conclusion==
Following slogan succinctly summarizes the need of the hour, “Without the awakening of divine consciousness within the individual, there is no use of crying for world peace.”. No other kind of education is going to help much in changing the world.

Compiled by [[Absolute_Truth:Authors#ysrahul|Rahul Mishra]]

Did man go to the moon ?


=Did man go to the moon?=
==Introduction==
As students, we have grown up falling in love with science as an excellent means to understand the world around us. Specially we, Indians, feel so fascinated when modern science presents evidence and reasoning establishing the existence of the soul For example[1] . We feel so proud of our heritage. But when we come to know that, according to the Vedic scriptures, man could not have gone to the moon, we become immensely disturbed. Landing on the moon is globally considered the crowning jewel of all the accomplishments of modern science. To have that conquest declared as a fake is not easy to take. We hate the unpleasant choice that confronts us: choose either science or scripture. “Can’t there be a reconciliation of both?” we wonder. Perhaps only when our most cherished assumptions are challenged do we strive for a higher understanding.

==Different scales of observation==
According to Vedas, we could not have gone to the moon because it is a higher planet. Without doing good karma, one cannot go there, just as without proper immigration clearance, one cannot go to America. This logic itself reveals a fundamental difference in the Vedic and modern world views and that difference holds the key to a reconciliation of the two.

Modern science sees the moon as a lifeless satellite, whereas Vedic science sees it as Chandraloka, a higher-dimensional planet inhabited by higher beings. Imagine two transparent glass beakers, one containing white chalk powder and the other, black charcoal powder. If we mix the two powders, we will get a grey mixture. But if we see the same mixture under a microscope, the grey particles will disappear; we will see only white and black particles. Which is the reality? Not sure ?  May be both !!!  

What we see varies with our scale of observation. What is a grey powder to the naked eye is a mixture of black and white particles to the microscopic eye. Similarly, what is a lifeless planet at the human scale of observation is a higher-dimensional planet filled with higher beings at a divine scale of observation. Hence the seeming contradiction.

The Vedic texts themselves contain descriptions of cosmology based on both scales of observation. There are two main sources of cosmological information in the Vedic literatures – the Puranas and the Jyotisha-shastras. The Puranas describe [[Bhagavatha_cosmology|cosmology]] from a divine perspective and they mention many features of the cosmos that are inaccessible to human observation. On the other hand, the Jyotisha-shastras describe cosmology largely from a human perspective. Among the Jyotisha-shastras are works on mathematical astronomy known as astronomical siddhantas. The siddhantic cosmology contains information similar to the information obtained from modern cosmology. For example, the Surya Siddhanta, one of the most important siddhanta-shastras, states:

#The distance between the earth and the moon as 253,000 miles, compared to modern measurements of 252,710 miles.
#The Earth’s diameter is 7,840 miles, compared to the modern measurements of 7,926.7 miles.

The very fact that cosmic distances were measured with such precision in Vedic culture long before the dawn of modern cosmology is itself remarkable. It suggests that Vedic cosmology deserves to be studied with due respect, not dismissed summarily as unscientific due to some of its features being currently incomprehensible to us.

== Three possibilities ==
We can’t say for sure what actually happened with the moon flights. Authoritative mathematics textbooks state that three plus three is six. If somebody says, according to his calculations, it’s not six, we know for sure he’s wrong. But we can’t know for sure what answer he got. Similarly, the Vedic scriptures authoritatively state that Chandraloka is a higher-dimensional planet with higher living beings. So if astronauts claiming to have gone there did not encounter any life there, we can know for sure that they have not accessed Chandraloka. But we can’t know for sure where they went.

Still, based on [[wikipedia:A._C._Bhaktivedanta_Swami_Prabhupada|Srila Prabhupada’s]][2] statements, we can envision at least three possibilities,” Firstly, let’s understand the concept of a higher dimensional object being projected to a lower dimension. A three-dimensional office address in Mumbai (given by avenue, street and floor) can have a two-dimensional projection (given by avenue and street). Similarly, the higher-dimensional Chandraloka can have a three-dimensional projection, the moon visible to us with the naked eye. No matter how hi-tech our spacecrafts, they cannot take us beyond the three-dimensional reality that our sensory apparatus limits us to. On a map of India, which is a two-dimensional projection of the multi-dimensional reality, India, if I move my finger from Pune to Mumbai, I cannot experience Mumbai – its people, its skyscrapers. Similarly, the astronauts may travel in three-dimensional space to the three-dimensional projection of Chandraloka, but not experience its higher-dimensional reality – Somadeva and the other residents, the heavenly opulences.

Srila Prabhupada said that the astronauts may have been subjected to a hi-tech diversion by the demigods. Consequently, they imagined they had landed on the moon, but had been grounded on some other relatively (relative to Chandraloka) lower planet like Rahu, which is ordinarily invisible to us due to its existing in a dimension higher than ours.

Or the third possibility is that the moon flights may have been [http://krishnatube.com/video/147/Did-we-Land-on-the-Moon hoaxed]; the astronauts may never have gone out of the atmosphere of the earth. For example, regarding the first American Apollo flights, there are dozens of books and scores of websites devoted to [[wikipedia:Apollo_Moon_Landing_hoax_conspiracy_theories|”the moon conspiracy theory”]] with its proponents and opponents both vigorously presenting arguments and counter-arguments. Given the money, prestige, security and technology involved, ascertaining the truth in such projects will be difficult and possibly dangerous.

==Where modern cosmology falls short==
But if everything depends on the scale of observation, then doesn’t that make everything relative and subjective? Isn’t there a reality? Aren’t scientific theories real? After all, scientific technology works – If we look at the cellphones, the internet, the airplanes. Yes, That’s true. But, doesn’t spiritual technology also work? There are so many researches establishing Mantra meditation helps one to control anger, decrease stress level; spiritually fulfilled people live longer and less prone to diseases and so  many similar facts. So, if what works is the standard to decide what’s real, then even spiritual principles should be considered real.

Different things work at different levels. If our goal is to improve our external comforts and control, to increase our ability to manipulate the world around us, scientific technology works. If our goal is to improve our internal life, to increase our self-mastery, spiritual technology works. Modern science is fabulously successful in controlling a tiny slice of reality, but does it give a satisfactory explanation of the totality of reality?

A quote from Noble Laureate physicist Erwin Schrodinger unequivocally admits the incompleteness of the scientific worldview: ‘I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.’

What to speak of explaining the existence of life on other planets, modern science cannot explain the existence of life on our own planet. We obviously know that life exists here because we exist here. But modern, reductionist science claims that life is a result of chemical combination, but it cannot demonstrate or explain how life arises from chemicals.

Not only can reductionistic science not explain how life arises, it also cannot explain why life arises. It offers no explanation about what the purpose of our existence is or what the values guiding our existence should be. That’s why eminent Indian scientist Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, in his book Ignited Minds, quotes Albert Einstein recalling Werner Heisenberg’s words to him: ‘You know in the West we have built a large, beautiful ship. It has all the comforts in it, but one thing is missing: it has no compass and does not know where to go.’

==Toward a more complete cosmology==
To gain a more holistic understanding of the cosmos, we have to free ourselves from the rigid constructs of Euclidean and Cartesian three-dimensional geometry, which forms the basis of the modern scientific worldview. An important quote in this regard from a remarkable book Vedic Cosmography and Astronomy by the late Dr Richard L Thompson who pioneered the postulation of a new cosmology that integrated scientific and Vedic insights: ‘Radical extensions of our theoretical perspective have taken place repeatedly in the history of science. A striking example of this is provided by the revolution in the science of physics that occurred in the twenties and thirties of this century. At the end of the nineteenth century, physicists were almost universally convinced that classical physics provided a final and complete theory of nature. However, a few years later, classical physics was replaced by a new theory, called quantum mechanics, which is based on fundamentally different principles. The most interesting feature of this development is that classical physics turns out to be compatible with quantum mechanics in the domain of observation in which it was originally applied. The differences between the two theories become significant only in the new atomic domain opened up by the quantum theory. Likewise, our proposed new cosmology would agree with existing theories in its predictions of gross sensory observations, but it would open an entirely new world of higher-dimensional travel.

== Higher Dimensional cosmology ==
At one level, Vedic cosmology is compatible with modern cosmology, as seen from the above agreement in astronomical measurements. At another level, Vedic cosmology is more complete than modern cosmology, because of its ability to account for higher-dimensional cosmic realms, higher living beings and ultimately the higher purpose of life.

Vedic cosmology is innately theistic and spiritual. It is based on the understanding that that we are souls, spiritual beings, temporarily residing in our material bodies. We are all astronauts on a long multi-life cosmic journey through many, many bodies in many different parts of the cosmos. We are the beloved children of the Supreme Being, originally residing in loving harmony with Him in His abode. When we desired to enjoy separate from Him, we were sent to this material cosmos for experimentation and rectification.

The cosmos, the Vedas explain, is created and controlled by God, with the help of numerous assistants called demigods. The demigods are beings much more powerful than us, who reside in the higher regions of the cosmos. Soma, the presiding deity of the moon, is one of the demigods.

The principle of humility is vital in approaching the magnificent works of God like the cosmos. We cannot expect to conquer the cosmos with our intellect and dominate it for our ends. Such an attitude implies that we are trying to become all-knowing and usurp God. This vain attitude will lead only to bafflement, as has happened to many scholars who had a non-devotional approach in their study of Vedic cosmology. A good example of a devotional attitude to cosmic research is the following quote of Johannes Kepler: ”I have endeavored to gain for human reason, aided by geometrical calculation, an insight into His way of creation; may the Creator of the heavens themselves, the father of all reason, to whom our mortal senses owe their existence, may He who is Himself immortal… keep me in His grace and guard me from reporting anything about His work which cannot be justified before His magnificence or which may misguide our powers of reason, and may He cause us to aspire to the perfection of His works of creation by the dedication of our lives.”

==The Ultimate cosmic flight==
Vedic culture is not against cosmic travel, in fact, the perfection of life, according to the Vedic scriptures, is the ultimate cosmic flight; Vedic culture trains us to become transcendental cosmonauts and fly beyond the moon, beyond the sun, beyond the entire material universe, to the spiritual world, which is our eternal home.

== References ==
#Near Death Experience, Out of Body Experience, Reincarnation etc
#A noted vedic scholar and authority in 20th century.

Compiled by [[Absolute_Truth:Authors#ysrahul|Rahul Mishra]] from the original article by [[Absolute_Truth:Authors#ccdas|Chaitanya Charan Das]].

Is the world a giant hologram?


= Is the world a giant hologram? =
== Synopsis ==
The world as we perceive it, is that real in the absolute sense or is it a three dimensional projection of a relative reality. Here comes “another” astronomical hypothesis which proposes the latter. But as we compare this theory with [[Bhagavatha_cosmology|cosmology]] of Srimad Bhagavatam we find some parallels.

== Observation ==
For many months, the GEO600 team-members had been scratching their heads over inexplicable noise that is plaguing their giant detector. Then, out of the blue, a researcher approached them with an explanation. In fact, he had even predicted the noise before he knew they were detecting it. According to Craig Hogan, a physicist at the Fermilab particle physics lab in Batavia, Illinois, GEO600 has stumbled upon the fundamental limit of space-time – the point where space-time stops behaving like the smooth continuum Einstein described and instead dissolves into “grains”, just as a newspaper photograph dissolves into dots as you zoom in. “It looks like GEO600 is being buffeted by the microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time,” says Hogan.

If this doesn’t blow your socks off, then Hogan, who has just been appointed director of Fermilab’s Center for Particle Astrophysics, has an even bigger shock in store: “If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram.”

== The Hypothesis ==
The idea that we live in a hologram probably sounds absurd, but it is a natural extension of our best understanding of black holes, and something with a pretty firm theoretical footing. It has also been surprisingly helpful for physicists wrestling with theories of how the universe works at its most fundamental level.

The holograms you find on credit cards and banknotes are etched on two-dimensional plastic films. When light bounces off them, it recreates the appearance of a 3D image. In the 1990s physicists Leonard Susskind and Nobel prizewinner Gerard ‘t Hooft suggested that the same principle might apply to the universe as a whole. Our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2D surface.

The “holographic principle” challenges our sensibilities. It seems hard to believe that you woke up, brushed your teeth and are reading this article because of something happening on the boundary of the universe. No one knows what it would mean for us if we really do live in a hologram, yet theorists have good reasons to believe that many aspects of the holographic principle are true.

Susskind and ‘t Hooft’s remarkable idea was motivated by ground-breaking work on black holes by Jacob Bekenstein of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel and Stephen Hawking at the University of Cambridge.

[http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126911.300-our-world-may-be-a-giant-hologram.html Read-More]

== Parallels from Bhagavatam ==
An striking similarity exist in the Srimad Bhagavatam. Srimad Bhagavatam has a flat earth concept in which the earth is situated at the center of the universe and other planetary entities moving in axis relative to earth. The fifth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam depicts the bhuloka as a two dimensional flat surface divided into concentric islands and oceans. Although this may contradict our basic understanding of our everyday experience. It still offers an consistent model in which all major phenomenon can be explained. It is also interesting to note that the same scripture also refers the earth as ”ghola” meaning sphere in a different place. But this theory of a hologram seems to add more weight to the [[Bhagavatha_cosmology|Bhagavatha cosmology]]. Dr.Richard Thompson a vedic physicist proposes four reasonable interpretations of [[Bhagavatha_cosmology|Bhagavatha cosmology]]. The first two are two dimensional views of a three dimensional cosmology.

== Conclusion ==
The Vedic literatures have lot of information encoded in them, but it requires a qualified scholar to give proper interpretation to them. Nevertheless it gives us a hope and direction on uncharted regions of science. It may be of help for the clueless modern astronomers and atomic physicists who have been groping in the dark spinning new theories every now and then backed by their severely limited instruments.

[[Absolute_Truth:Authors#Lndasa|LNDAS]]

Imitation of Life


= Imitators of Life =
== Synopsis ==
The dream of creating life is hard to resist. For many years, artificial intelligence seemed a sure way to this goal. Researchers at universities like MIT would regularly claim that within ten years computers would surpass humans in intelligence. But decades passed, and by the 1980’s researchers widely conceded that these claims were a bit premature.

Then came artificial life. In 1987 a young scientist named Chris Langton, from Los Alamos National Laboratories, put together in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the first conference on artificial life. The essence of life, he said, is organization transforming by rules, so we can study life effectively through computer simulations. Conference speakers offered studies of computer-simulated “organisms” and “ecosystems.” By the widely publicized second conference, in 1990, this new field of scientific study had lots of players.

Their idea was to aim for realistic goals and not have to backpedal like their colleagues in artificial intelligence. As artificial life advocate John Nagle put it, “We need to start low. Where do we get off trying for human-level capabilities when we can’t even build an ant?”[http://absolutetruth.in/?p=529#References 2] Of course, ants are formidably complicated. As Nagle admitted, “We just don’t know how ants work.”[http://absolutetruth.in/?p=529#References 3]

Yet despite the humble start, artificial lifers seem confident that life will one day be embodied in silicon and freed from the constraints of carbon-based bodies. Then evolution will speed along, and human beings will have to confront their evolutionary successors.

At the second artificial life conference some speakers gleefully projected that this might occur within a hundred years. We should accept the inevitable, they said, and give up pride in our ephemeral human body. Others expressed reluctance, or even fear. The reasons for celebrating the replacement of human beings by machines, said conferee Michael Rosenberg, “need to be examined.”[http://absolutetruth.in/?p=529#References 4]

== Yantra – Machines ==
The idea that humans may be replaced by superintelligent machines is an old one. So instead of trying to analyze the prospects for artificial life, let me relate some stories from past history. For this I turn to a treatise on machines in ancient India written by a Sanskritist named V. Raghavan.[http://absolutetruth.in/?p=529#References 5]

In Sanskrit a machine is called a yantra. As defined by the Samarangana Sutradhara of King Bhoja, in the twelfth century, a yantra is a device that “controls and directs, according to a plan, the motions of things that act each according to its own nature.”[http://absolutetruth.in/?p=529#References 6] This is close to Langton’s definition of life. And in ancient and medieval India mechanical imitations of life were something craftsmen in fact came up with.

Some of their automate were used for amusement in royal pleasure palaces. These included birds that sang and danced, a dancing elephant, elaborate chronometers with moving ivory figures, and the gola, an astronomical instrument with moving planets. The machines were built from common materials in a readily understandable way: “Male and female figures are designed for various kinds of automatic service. Each part of these figures is made and fitted separately, with holes and pins, so that thighs, eyes, neck, hand, wrist, forearm, and fingers can act according to need. The material used is mainly wood, but a leather cover is given to complete the impression of a human being. The movements are managed by a system of poles, pins, and strings attached to rods controlling each limb. Looking into a mirror, playing a flute, and stretching out the hand to touch, give pan, sprinkle water, and make obeisance are the acts done by these figures.”[http://absolutetruth.in/?p=529#References 7]

This all sounds quite believable, but other machines described may seem less so. These include robots capable of complex independent action.

Many stories in Indian literature tell of a yantra- purusha, or machine man, that can behave just like a human being. In the Buddhistic Bhaishajya-vastu, for example, a painter goes to the Yavana country and visits the home of a yantracarya, or teacher of mechanical engineering. There he meets a machine girl who washes his feet and seems human, until he finds that she cannot speak.[http://absolutetruth.in/?p=529#References 8] In another account, a robot palace guard stands at the gate with a sword, ready to “quickly and quietly kill thieves who break into the palace at night.”[http://absolutetruth.in/?p=529#References 9] We even hear of a complete city of mechanical people, presided over by a human king who manipulates them from a control center in his palace.[http://absolutetruth.in/?p=529#References 10]

These stories sound like mere products of the imagination, and quite likely this is just what they are. Once one sees a mechanical figure that imitates some human functions, it’s easy to imagine robots with human or even superhuman capabilities. This is what modern advocates of artificial life or artificial intelligence are doing. But unlike the old Indian yantracharyas, they are seriously intent on convincing people that human beings are simply machines, awaiting replacement by superhuman machines in the future.

== How are they different ==
Ancient Indian thinkers compared the body to a machine. But they understood that a completely nonmaterial entity within the body—the jivatma—animates the body, endowing it with sentient behavior. The link between the jivatma and the body was understood to be the Paramatma, a portion of the Supreme that stays with each living being. Thus in Bhagavad-gita (18.61) Krishna says, “The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities. They are seated in the body as on a machine [yantra], made of the material energy.”

This differentiates the approach of Vedic technicians they were always aware that the body is a machine controlled by the soul which is non material. We can’t resist mentioning that Raghavan, the authority on Indian yantras, finds the metaphor used in this verse regrettable. He laments that in other countries machines led to a materially focused civilization but in India they only reinforced the idea of God and spirit. Thus, “Even writers who actually dealt with the yantras, like Somadeva and Bhoja, saw in the machine operated by an agent an appropriate analogy for the mundane body and senses presided over by the soul.” Or an alternative analogy: “the wonderful mechanism of the universe, with its constituent elements and planetary systems, requiring a divine master to keep it in constant revolution.”[http://absolutetruth.in/?p=529#References 11]

== Sentient Robots ==
In ancient India, people entertained ideas about advanced mechanical control systems quite different from our modern computerized devices. Let us examine some of these ideas to see if they have any relevance for modern technological thought.

It may come as no surprise that control systems in ancient India were used in military applications, better known as [[vimana]]. In the battle between Krishna and Salva, for example, Salva’s airplane, flown by Danava soldiers, suddenly became invisible. The technique for invisibility seems not to have blocked the transmission of sound, for the soldiers could still be heard screaming taunts and insults.

Krishna then dealt with them as follows: “I quickly laid on an arrow, which killed by seeking out sound, to kill them, and the screeching subsided. All the Danavas who had been screeching lay dead, killed by the blazing sunlike arrows that were triggered by sound.”[http://absolutetruth.in/?p=529#References 12]

These arrows seem similar to modern missiles with infrared sensors and onboard microcomputers that seek out the heat of a jet engine. How did they work?

We can get some idea by considering the weapons used by Arjuna. He got these weapons from various devas, so they were known as celestial weapons. They worked through the action of subtly embodied living beings whom Arjuna could directly order from within his mind. Here is a description of how Arjuna prepared himself to use these weapons: “And seated on that excellent car with face turned to the east, the mighty-armed hero, purifying his body and concentrating his soul, recalled to his mind all his weapons. And all the weapons came, and addressing the royal son of Partha, said, ‘We are here, O illustrious one. We are thy servants, O son of Indra.’ And bowing unto them, Partha received them into his hands and replied unto them, saying, ‘Dwell ye all in my memory.’ ”[http://absolutetruth.in/?p=529#References 13]

This suggests how the sound-seeking arrows could have worked. They could have been guided by sentient living beings linked to controllable mechanisms built into the arrows. This would mean that the arrows would be examples of artificial life. They would in effect be cyborgs, cybernetic organisms—a fusing of living organisms and machines. But unlike today’s hypothetical cyborgs, they would have used features of life that go beyond the realm of gross matter.

Another good example that illustrates this point of fusing a living organism over the yantras comes from Ramayana, In the battle Indrajit’s Naga Pasha the mystic snake arrow renderes Lord Rama and Lakshmana unconscious. But they were relieved of this state on the arrival of Garuda the carrier of Lord Vishnu. Here Valmiki Ramayana gives an explanation like this, ”The Naga Pasha were actually snakes fused on to the arrows by the Ravana’s son Indrajit’s yoga siddhi, but as soon as Garuda came to the place they ran away in fear of Garuda and hence Lord Rama and Lakshmana regained their consciousness.” [http://absolutetruth.in/?p=529#References 14]

== The operator ==
According to Bhagavad-gita, the body of a living being consists of two components: the gross body, made of earth, water, fire, air, and ether, and the subtle body, made of mind, intelligence, and false ego. The three components of the subtle body are material elements finer than the gross matter we perceive with our ordinary senses. The jivatma interacts directly with the subtle body through the agency of the Paramatma. The subtle body in turn interacts with the gross body through ether, the finest of the gross elements.

If this is true, it should be possible to create a technology of artificial life that directly takes advantage of the properties of the subtle body and the jivatma. We suggest that this is the kind of technology used in the celestial weapons of Krishna and Arjuna. Just as modern computers make cam-and-gearwheel devices old-fashioned, this Vedic technology would leave silicon chips in the dust. Once developed, it would render gross physical technology—with its imagined super-human robots—obsolete.

== Conclusion ==
Although today’s robots might have capacity to do some complex tasks it can’t do imitate the complex thoughts and physical and physiological traits of humans. Robots will stay robots and so will the humans. The current science is far from creating artificial life. It can take some cue from vedic scriptures. But the vedic tools and techniques requires complex supernatural traits like ”yoga siddhi” and ”mantra siddhi” which involves sense control and austerity. That will be difficult for scientist, so they would negate such possibilities.

== References ==
#Christopher Langton, “Interview,” Omni, Oct., 1991, p. 134.
# John Nagle, “Animation, Artificial Life, and Artificial Intelligence from the Bottom, or Some Things to Do with 100 to 1000 MIPS,” submitted to the Second Conference on Artificial Life, Feb., 1990, p. 4.
# Ibid.
# Michael Rosenberg, “Future Imbalance between Man and Machine,” submitted to the Second Conference on Artificial Life, Feb., 1990, abstract.
# Raghavan, V., 1956, “Yantras or Mechanical Contrivances in Ancient India,” Transaction No. 10, Bangalore: The Indian Institute of Culture.
#Ibid., p. 21.
#Ibid., p. 25.
#Ibid., p. 5.
#Ibid., p. 26.
#Ibid., p. 19.
#Ibid., p. 32.
#van Buitenen, J.A.B., trans., 1975, The Mahabharata, Books 2 and 3, Chicago: The Univ. of Chicago Press, p. 264.
#Ganguli, K.M., trans., 1976, The Mahabharata, Vol. IV, New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., p. 78.
#Valmiki Ramayana Yuddha Kanda.
Originally adapted from ”Mechanistic and Non Mechanistic Science”, Richard L. Thompson with some ideas by [[Absolute_Truth:Authors#Lndasa|L Narasimha Rao]]

Creating life in the laboratory


== Beginnings ==
The theory of life coming from matter started when Wohler first converted the inorganic molecule ammonium cyanate into the ‘organic’ molecule urea. And this synthesis led him to throw out the notion that certain molecules, termed ‘organic,’ can be made only by ‘vital forces.’

And much later, Miller and Urey showed that amino acids and even some building blocks of the ‘life’ molecule DNA are made by sparking electricity and radiation in a closed glass bulb containing water, ammonia and carbon dioxide.

== Dead or lifeless ==
Commenting on this, a reader noted, correctly, that molecules — be they urea or DNA — are by themselves dead or lifeless.

One may say: “You can’t rejoice that the ‘notion’ of ‘vital forces’ has been thrown out while synthesizing urea and next wonder when ‘life itself’ will be made in the lab. You have to decide whether a molecule of urea is alive, and if not, nothing at all, yet, has been thrown out.

This brings us to the very definition of life itself. In order to call something alive, it needs to do two things.

One is, it should be capable of making more of itself, namely reproduction. And the second is that it should be able to engage in exchange of energy and materials with the environment surrounding it.

These two properties, namely reproduction and metabolism are necessary and sufficient to define a living organism. The operative phrase is ‘necessary and sufficient.’ It is this phrase that disallows the inclusion of viruses into the world of life.

A virus has the information contained within itself for reproduction, in the form of DNA or RNA. But it cannot, by itself, metabolize; it needs a ‘host’ cell for making more of itself. It has to use the machinery of the cell that it attaches itself to. And that cell better be a living one, actively transacting with the environment. Thus a virus is non-living.

Likewise are certain cells that we house and use in our living bodies. Red blood cells are an excellent example. Unlike their neighbours, the white blood cells, they do not have the capacity for reproduction. RBCs do not have the DNA molecule that is necessary for reproduction.

They are thus non-living. Just as a virus is an inert flask that contains the molecular tape necessary for reproduction, red blood cells are inert bags that contain the molecules with which energy exchange or metabolism with the surrounding environment can occur.

== First step ==
Let us now ask: What if we inject DNA from a virus into a red blood cells, will we now have life? The answer is “not yet.” What we have is more like a motor car, which has the engine and the fuel, but one which is parked in the garage. Just as a car engine needs to be started, the DNA-injected red cell too needs to get started.

And how to do so is the million dollar question. It is this challenge that Dr. Craig Venter is attempting to win with his laboratory-made DNA genome of the microbe M. genitalia. He says “It is this ‘kick start’ that we are yet to know how to do. And the one who finds a way to do so will have ‘started’ life. Once this cell is made alive, hopefully it would go on by itself with no further help from the scientist who ‘created’ it.”

Even if they ever manage to do that, did the scientist infuse “vital force” into the dead system? A tentative answer would be: no, he simply repeated what natural forces would have done over 3.5 billion years ago on earth, when radiation or UV light or ionic currents disturbed what is described as ‘the primordial soup’ which contained material akin to the DNA-injected bag of metabolites. The question remains who consciously did it?

Matters become more complex and engaging when we extrapolate such experiments to higher organisms. Bacteria and plants are fine. They do not have brains or a central nervous system; so they do not ‘think’ but are hard-wired to act and respond in defined ways, however complex, creative or even wily these may be. For centuries, we have been creating new plants by grafting and even cloning. Bonsai plants are looked at with artistic appreciation.

But when we turn to animals, which have a central nervous system and an active brain, we enter the realm of learning, decision making, self-awareness, and consciousness. So Life will ever remain an mysterious subject for scientist. At the least some people are assured get their pay packages every month.

== Vedic Observer ==
In the 1980 conference of “Science and Spirituality” one vedic scientist Dr T.D.Singh asked if I give you all the chemicals can the Scientist make life. There was a marked silence in the audience of scientists. Some would have answered may be, but the fact still remains unchallenged that we can’t make life in the laboratory without a participating living entity.

The Vedic literature has a conclusive science of origin of life. In Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna says “aham bija pradah pitah” Iam the seed giving father. And even for rationalist the Book [http://www.humandevolution.com Human devolution] is a great challenge. It gives credibility to the idea of “Life indeed comes from Life”. The author of the book Dr. Micheal A. Cremo says “We for that matter any life did not evolve up from matter; instead we devolved, or came down, from the realm of pure consciousness, spirit,” . He bases his response on modern science and the world’s great wisdom traditions, including the Vedic philosophy of ancient India. Cremo proposes that before we ask the question, “Where did human beings come from? we should first contemplate, “What is a human being?” Cremo asserts that humans are a combination of matter, mind, and consciousness (or spirit).

Ecological cost of Googling


== Ecological cost of Googling ==
Two Google searches produce same CO2 as boiling a kettle. Making two internet searches through Google produces about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle, it has been estimated. Googling has ”’a very definite environmental impact”’ according to research conducted by a physicist from Harvard University. A typical search through the online giant’s website is thought to generate about 7g of carbon dioxide. Boiling a kettle produces about 15g. The emissions are caused both by the electricity required to power a user’s computer and send their request to servers around the world.

The discovery comes amid increasing warnings about the little-known environmental impact of computer and internet use. According to Gartner, an American research firm, IT now causes about two per cent of global CO2 emissions and its carbon footprint exceeded that of the world’s aviation industry for the first time in 2007.

Dr Alex Wissner-Gross, a physicist from Harvard University who is leading research into the subject, has estimated that browsing a basic website generates about 0.02g of CO2 for every second it is viewed. Websites with complex video can be responsible for up to 0.2 g per second, he believes. On his website, [http:\co2stats.com CO2stats.com], Dr Wissner-Gross wrote: Websites are provided by servers and are viewed by visitors’ computers that are connected via networks. These servers, clients and networks all require electricity in order to run, electricity that is largely generated by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. When fossil fuels are burned, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, which contribute to climate change.

Dr Wissner-Gross believes that Google’s unique structure – which sees it send searches to multiple servers around the world and give which ever response is returned quickest – causes its searches to produce more emissions than some other sites. He told a newspaper: Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power.

=== More Statistics ===
“A Google search has a definite environmental impact. Google are very efficient but their primary concern is to make searches fast and that means they have a lot of extra capacity that burns energy. A separate analysis by John Buckley, of carbonfootprint.com, a British environmental website, put the CO2 emissions of a Google search at between 1g and 10g. Chris Goodall, the author of Ten Technologies to Save the Planet, said that assuming the user spends 15 minutes on their computer, the carbon emission of a Google is between 7g and 10g. Google claimed that the number was many times too high and one Google search is equivalent to about 0.2 grams of CO2.

== Vedic Observer ==
This is age Kali Yuga is called as iron age, it signifies not only the degraded nature of the people who inhabit but also the technologies used. Science and its cousin the technology has provided umpteen comforts to human civilization, absolutely beyond any doubt..but at what cost? Technology when combined with capitalistic consumerism is having a almost irreversible changes to our ecology.

All these technologies that we have invented after the Renaissance era although had given a perceivable change in the life style and comfort of people but has definitely made the world an increasingly dangerous place to live in. Mainly because these technologies are not what the nature gave us but are what we thought would make our life comfortable and hence they are not sustainable and leads to increased complex amendments in our life style.

For example a typical farmer in a Indian village would have had his farm a 100 m away from his farmhouse and he used to get everything he required within his self sufficient village. But an average citizen of a metropolitan city needs his cereals imported from half way across the globe and has to travel 50 km’s to his work place. Is this sustainable? All these artificial necessities facilitated by needs facilitated by this technological advancement has resulted in more negative effects like pollution, dissappearing greenery and a list of health ailments and addictions.

In the previous ages of Vedic times people had technologies many times advanced than the present civilization, like the Pushpaka vimana which can fly to any destination directed by the mind. The basis of the technolgy were more on the finer faculties of human capabilities like the mind and mantra which can manipulate the force of the material nature to do the desired task as compared the soot and smoke of modern technology. These technologies have become inacessible because people of Kali Yuga have lost the intellectual power and purity to harness those techniques.

So the conclusion is that we should minimize our dependence on these technologies which are making us more dependent on them, rather we should promote usage of natural technology using natural forces and lead a less complicated life.