Category Archives: Vedic Paradigm

Science of Self Realisation

The Myth of population explosion

== Introduction ==
Most of us grew up on a poisonous diet of overpopulation propaganda. Remember the lifeboat scenarios in high school biology, where we had to decide who we were going to push overboard, lest we all die. Look up the speeches of former Vice President of USA Al Gore, who warned of an “environmental holocaust without precedent”–a “black hole” in his words–that will engulf us if we do not stop having babies.2 In this and a myriad of ways we have been force-fed–and most of us swallowed whole–the nasty theory that there were too many people, along with its even more terrible corollary that it is necessary to practice inhumanity in order to save humanity–or some worthy fraction thereof.

Everyone has read passages similar to the following, taken from James Coleman and Donald Cressey’s Social Problems, one of the standard social science textbooks from the nineties:

The world’s population is exploding. The number of men, women and children is now over 5 billion. … If the current rate of growth continues, the world’s population will double again in the next 40 years…the dangers of runaway population growth can be seen in historical perspective… It took all of human history until 1800 for the world’s population to reach 1 billon people. But the next … 1 billion was added in only 130 years (1800-1930), [the next billion] after that in 30 years (1930-1960), and the next in 15 years (1960-1975). The last billion people were added in only 12 years (1975-1987). If this trend (of runaway population growth) continues the world will be soon be adding a billion people a year, and eventually every month

But what if overpopulation is, as economist Jacqueline Kasun has remarked, a false dogma? What if the assorted population controllers, radical environmentalists, self-serving politicians, and others are wrong about our breeding ourselves off the face of the planet? From Ehrlich on, they have been peddling a worst-case scenario–times ten.

== Vedic Perspective ==
“According to the Vedas, population experts are wrong in their crucial assumption that earth cannot supply the needs of a large population. If people are God conscious, there is virtually no limit to the population the earth can comfortably support.”

One of the myths most strongly entrenched in the modern mind is that birth control is necessary because of the threat of overpopulation. But His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada the founder of ISKCON stated: “There is no scarcity for maintenance in the material world.” According to Srila Prabhupada, human society’s leadership “is disturbed about the food situation and, to cover up the real fact of administrative mismanagement, takes shelter in the plea that the population is excessively increasing” (Bhag. 3.5.5, purport).

The world is far from being overpopulated. A simple calculation shows that all five billion men, women, and children on earth could be placed within the 267,339 square miles of the state of Texas, with each person occupying about fifteen hundred square feet of space.

But what about food? A study by the University of California’s Division of Agricultural Science shows that by practicing the best agricultural methods now in use, the world’s farmers could raise enough food to provide an American style diet for ten times the present population. And if people would be satisfied with an equally nourishing but mostly vegetarian diet, we could feed thirty times the present population.

== Manage your resources ==
Studies of an African famine in the early 1970’srevealed that every country affected had within its borders the agricultural resources to feed its people. As Frances Moore Lappe points out in her well-researched book Food First, much of the best land was being misused for production of exportable cash crops.

Srila Prabhupada went on to say, “I have traveled to Africa, Australia, and America, and everywhere there is so much land vacant. If we use it to produce food grains, then we can feed ten times as much population as at the present moment. There is no question of scarcity. The whole creation is so made by Krishna that everything is purnam, complete.”

Food resources are also wasted by improper diets. During his lecture in Mauritius, Srila Prabhupada said, “I have seen in the Western countries that they are growing food grains for the animals, and the food grains are eaten by the animals, and the animal is eaten by the man…. What are the statistics? The animals are eating food grains, but the same amount of food grains can be eaten by so many men.”

Such statistics do exist. Government figures show that about ninety percent of the edible grains harvested in the United States are fed to animals that are later killed for meat. But for every sixteen pounds of grain fed to beef cattle, only one pound of meat is produced.

Srila Prabhupada concluded, “If there were one government on the surface of the earth to handle the distribution of grain, there would be no question of scarcity, no necessity to open slaughterhouses, and no need to present false theories about overpopulation” (Bhag. 4.17.25, purport).

== The Genesis of the theory ==
The first person to sound the overpopulation alarm was the English economist Malthus (1766-1834), who calculated that population tends to increase much faster than the earth’s limited food supply. New farmland, of which there is only so much, said Malthus, can be brought into production only slowly and with great labor and careful planning, whereas—because of the constant pressure of sex desire—people will have as many children as they are able, unless they are checked. Therefore the population is almost always pushing the limit of available food, and suffering results. Malthus summarized this with his maxim that food production increases arithmetically, while population increases geometrically.

“That population has this constant tendency to increase beyond the means of subsistence,” states Malthus “… will sufficiently appear from a review of the different states of society in which man has existed.” But according to the Vedic viewpoint, the earth can produce an almost unlimited amount of life’s necessities. Restriction occurs not from overpopulation but from some other cause, namely the self-destructive attitudes and actions of the planet’s population.

The science of ecology has awakened us to a greater appreciation of how different organisms and natural resources are linked in complex interdependency, and how easily this interdependency can be disturbed—as in the case of acid rain, for example. While doing research for NASA, scientist Jim Lovelock concluded that the “earth’s living matter, air, oceans, and land surface form a complex system which can be seen as a single organism and which has the capacity to keep our planet a fit place for life.” He calls his hypothesis the “Gaia principle,” after the Greek goddess of the earth.

=== The Earth can give more ===
Lovelock himself, adhering to the principles of materialistic science, does not believe in a personified earth deity. But he does point out, “The concept of Mother Earth, or, as the Greeks called her long ago, Gaia, has been widely held throughout history and has been the basis of a belief which still coexists with the great religions.” The Vedic scriptures clearly state that the earth is the visible form of the goddess Bhumi, who restricts or increases her production according to the population’s level of spiritual consciousness.

“Therefore,” states Srila Prabhupada, “although there may be a great increase in population on the surface of the earth, if the people are exactly in line with God consciousness and are not miscreants, such a burden on the earth is a source of pleasure for her” (Bhag. 3.3.14, purport).

So according to the Vedas, Malthus and later population experts are wrong in n their crucial assumption that earth cannot supply the needs of a large population. If people are God conscious, there is virtually no limit to the population the earth can comfortably support.

== Fallacy of Birth control programs ==
Nevertheless, Malthus did have some valuable points to make about population control. He believed that the best solution was voluntary restraint from marriage—without “vice,” by which he meant any kind. of illicit sex whatsoever. Malthus specifically opposed free sex, which relies on abortion and contraception for population control. The dangers Malthus warned of have come to pass. Divorce, teenage suicide, child abuse, sex crimes—all are on the rise. Neglected children from broken homes fill the courts. In the face of the dangers from herpes, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases, many people—often out of fear for their lives—are limiting their promiscuity. In Africa, where in some countries promiscuity is rampant, far more people face death from AIDS than from starvation.

In his study of population in different parts of the world, Malthus took special note of India, where the process of moral restraint is recommended in the Vedic scriptures such as the Manu-samhita, the laws compiled by Manu, the forefather of mankind. Malthus noted, “In almost every part of the ordinances of Manu, sensuality of all kinds is strongly reprobated, and chastity inculcated as a religious duty.” Srila Prabhupada states, “We do not find in Vedic literatures that they ever used contraceptive methods…. The contraceptive method should be restraint in sex life…. If one is fortunate enough to have a good, conscientious wife, he can decide by mutual consultation that human life is meant for advancing in Krishna consciousness and not for begetting a large number of children” (Bhag. 4.27.6, purport).

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), a principal organizer of the modern birth control movement, once visited Gandhi in India and tried to persuade him to support a birth control program for his country. “He agreed,” wrote Sanger, “that no more than three or four children should be born to a family, but insisted that intercourse, therefore, should be restricted for the entire married life of the couple to three or four occasions.”

Sanger and her followers had more success with people of other religious backgrounds. The wives of some American Episcopal bishops once asked Sanger to convince their husbands about the necessity for legalized birth control. Sanger complied, and soon thereafter the bishops reversed their previous opposition. Although most Protestant and Jewish denominations approve birth control, the Catholic Church continues to oppose it. Despite much opposition from the laity—and some clergymen as well—the pope has maintained that sex other than for conception is sinful. Nevertheless, the Church still allows sex during the socalled safe period, as well as after menopause and for sterile persons. That contradiction is not present in the Vedic society—non-procreative sex is against the Vedic principles.

Is reincarnation just a belief? According to the Vedas, it is a fact each of us must face. Even Western science has turned up evidence (in research into out- of-body experiences and memories of past lives) that strongly suggests there is a conscious part of us that survives the death experience. We return, the Vedas explain, to suffer the reactions to the activities we performed in our previous life.

Srila Prabhupada therefore warns, “Illicit sex creates pregnancies, and these unwanted pregnancies lead to abortion. Those involved become implicated in these sins, so much so that they are punished in the same way the nextlife. Thus in the next life they also enter the womb of a mother and are killed in the same way” (Bhag. 5.4.9, purport).

Because the soul is eternal, the soul denied birth by contraception and abortion does not die; he simply enters into another womb. Birth control is thus a total failure because it doesn’t prevent birth. It only brings suffering for everyone involved. To protect ourselves from the harsh reactions to illicit sex, the Vedic literature proposes sexual restraint.

== The Natural Way ==
Baron Dawson of Penn, the court physician of Edward VII and George V, who in a speech at a congress of the Anglican Church answered the proposition by the Anglican bishops that sexual activity should be restricted to that necessary for procreation. “Imagine a young married couple in love with each other,” said Dawson, “being expected to occupy the same room and to abstain for two years. The thing is preposterous. You might as well put water by the side of a man suffering from thirst and tell him not to drink it.” But what if, besides the waterpot, there were a pot of divine nectar? By drinking the nectar, the man could abstain from drinking the water and yet become relieved not only of his thirst but of all his suffering and experience a superior pleasure. In other words, if one experiences the superior pleasure of spiritual life, one can forego the lower pleasure of sex.

Because people have generally not experienced such higher pleasure, they must be attached to sexual pleasure, especially since we live in a culture where everyone is exposed to intense sexual propaganda. The Vedic civilization, however, strongly emphasizes [[Brahmacharya|brahmacarya]], or celibacy, and formerly every child was expected to spend the first twenty or so years of life as a celibate student of the spiritual science of God consciousness.

This celibacy was not, however, a denial of the individual’s innate desire for pleasure. Rather, giving up the lower pleasures of the sexual urge was merely a precondition for experiencing the higher, transcendental pleasures of the soul’s spiritual love for God, who is known as Krishna, the reservoir of all pleasure.

In an atmosphere of sexual license, pregnancy is often regarded as an unwanted by-product that greatly decreases the value of sexual pleasure. The remedy that Sanger and her followers favored was contraception, rather than abortion. Sanger felt that abortion is violent, whereas contraception is somehow different. But contraception is simply a less obvious act of violence. Most contraceptive methods work on the principle of making the womb uninhabitable, by physical or chemical means, for the fertilized egg. This is actually another type of murder, operating at an earlier stage than abortion, because even at this very early stage, according to the Vedas, the soul has already been introduced into the egg.

Other methods of contraception aim at stopping either the sperm or egg from reaching the point of conception. But whether the method involves obstruction or destruction, the result is the same. “Contraception deteriorates the womb so that it no longer is a good place for the soul,” warns Srila Prabhupada.

“That is against the order of God. By the order of God, a soul is sent to a particular womb, but by this contraceptive he is denied that womb and has to be placed in another. That is disobedience to the Supreme. For example, take a man who is supposed to live in a particular apartment. If the situation there is so disturbed that he cannot enter the apartment, then he is put at a great disadvantage. That is illegal interference and is punishable” (The Science of Self-Realization, pp. 49-50).

Such methods of birth control are now prominent all over the world. Reversing this situation is going to be a difficult battle, but important skirmishes are already being won. All around the world, thousands of married couples have adopted the Krishna conscious principle of voluntarily restraining from sex except for procreation, and many more thousands of single men and women have opted for total celibacy, either permanently or until they marry.

The Vedic system of birth control does not mean no sex and fewer people, but sex according to spiritual principles—and better people, be they few or many. In this regard, Malthus made a point worth noting: “I have never considered any possible increase of population as an evil, except as far as it might increase the proportion of vice and misery.” If the increasing population is of good character, there will naturally be a desirable decrease in vice and misery.

But how do we insure good population? According to the Vedas, the consciousness of the parents at the time of conception determines the quality of the child. Srila Prabhupada advises, “The birth of a human being is a great science, and therefore reformation of the act of impregnation according to the Vedic ritual called garbhadhana-samskara is very important for generating good population. The problem is not to check the growth of the population, but to generate good population…. So-called birth control is not only vicious but also useless” (Bhag. 3.5.19, purport).

Srila Prabhupada further states, “This material world is created to give the conditioned souls a chance … for going back home, back to Godhead, and therefore generation of the living being is necessary, … and as such one can even serve the Lord in the act of such sexual pleasure. The service is counted when the children born of such sexual pleasure are properly trained in God consciousness” (Bhag. 2.10.26, purport).

If the people are good, then no matter how numerous they are, they will be able to cooperate peacefully and, with the blessings of God, receive ample resources from Mother Earth. On the other hand, even a very limited population of bad character can make the planet into a hell. Selfish sex, aided by abortion, pills, condoms, and so on, is not going to make this world a happier place for anyone. People will continue in the cycle of birth and death, and the world will be a chaos of greed, anger, envy, and violence.

== References ==
# The Myth of Overpopulation by Drutakarma Dasa
#Steven Mosher’s book, Population Control—Real Costs, Illusory Benefits.
#[ Is the population really increasing?]
#[ Dangers of Promiscuity]

Compiled by [[Authors:Lndasa|LNDASA]]

Decline of Indology in the West

Indology, which is the study of Indian history and culture from a Western perspective, is rapidly declining in the West under the impact of science and changed global conditions. Just as Max Müller represented Indology at its height, Michael Witzel symbolizes its current decadent state.

== Abstract ==
Indology may be defined as the study of Indian culture and history from a Western, particularly European perspective. The earliest Westerner to show an interest in India was the Greek historian Herodotus, followed by his successors like Megasthenes, Arrian, Strabo and others. This was followed by missionaries, traders and diplomats, often one and the same. With the beginning of European colonialism, Indology underwent a qualitative change, with what was primarily of trade and missionary interest to becoming a political and administrative tool. Some of the early Indologists like William Jones, H.T. Colebrook and others were employed by the East India Company, and later the British Government. Even academics like F. Max Müller were dependent on colonial governments and the support of missionaries. From the second half of the 19th century to the end of the Second World War, German nationalism played a major role in the shaping of Indological scholarship.

Much of the literature in Indology carries this politico-social baggage including colonial attitudes and stereotypes. The end of the Second World War saw also the end of European colonialism, beginning with India. Indology however was slow to change, and with minor modifications like seemingly dissociating itself from its racial legacy, the same theories and conclusions continued to be presented by Western Indologists. Towards the close of the twentieth century, first science and then globalization dealt serious blows to the discipline and its offshoots like Indo European Studies. This is reflected in the closure of established Indology programs in the West and the rise of new programs within and without academic centers driven mainly by science and primary literature.

The article will trace the origins, evolution and the devolution of Indology and the main contribution of the field and some of its key personalities.

== Background: Historiography ==
One of the striking features of the first decade of the present century (and millennium) is the precipitous decline of Indology and the associated field of Indo-European Studies. Within the last three years, the Sanskrit Department at Cambridge University and the Berlin Institute of Indology, two of the oldest and most prestigious Indology centers in the West, have shut down. The reason cited is lack of interest. At Cambridge, not a single student had enrolled for its Sanskrit or Hindi course.

Other universities in Europe and America are facing similar problems. The Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, long a leader in Oriental Studies, is drastically cutting down on its programs. Even the Sanskrit Department at Harvard, one of the oldest and most prestigious in America, shut down its summer program of teaching Sanskrit to foreign students. It may be a harbinger of things to come that Francis X. Clooney and Anne E. Monius, both theologians with the Harvard Divinity School, are teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in the Sanskrit Department. More seriously, they are also advising doctoral candidates.

Does this mean that the Harvard Sanskrit Department may eventually be absorbed into the Divinity School and lose its secular character? In striking contrast, the Classics Department which teaches Greek and Latin has no association with the Divinity School, despite the fact that Biblical studies can hardly exist without Greek and Latin. It serves to highlight the fact that Sanskrit is not and can never be as central to the Western Canon as Greek and Latin. It also means that Sanskrit Studies, or Indology, or whatever one may call it must seek an identity that is free of its colonial trappings. It was this colonial patronage in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries that sustained these programs. Their slide into the fringes of academia is a reflection of the changed conditions following the end of colonialism.

Coming at a time when worldwide interest in India is the highest in memory, it points to structural problems in Indology and related fields like Indo-European Studies. Also, the magnitude of the crisis suggests that the problems are fundamental and just not a transient phenomenon. What is striking is the contrast between this gloomy academic scene and the outside world. During my lecture tours in Europe, Australia and the United States, I found no lack of interest, especially among the youth. Only they are getting what they want from programs outside academic departments, in cultural centers like the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, temples, and short courses and seminars conducted by visiting lecturers (like this writer).

This means the demand is there, but academic departments are being bypassed. Even for learning Sanskrit, there are now innovative programs like those offered by Samskrita Bharati that teach in ten intensive yet lively sessions more than what students learn in a semester of dry lectures. The same is true of other topics related to India— history, yoga, philosophy and others. And this interest is by no means limited to persons of Indian origin. What has gone wrong with academic Indology, and can it be reversed?

To understand the problem today it is necessary to visit its peculiar origins. Modern Indology began with Sir William Jones’s observation in 1784 that Sanskrit and European languages were related. Jones was a useful linguist but his main job was to interpret Indian law and customs to his employers, the British East India Company. This dual role of Indologists as scholars as well as interpreters of India continued well into the twentieth century. Many Indologists, including such eminent figures as H.H. Wilson and F. Max Müller sought and enjoyed the patronage of the ruling powers.

Indologists’ role as interpreters of India ended with independence in 1947, but many Indologists, especially in the West failed to see the writing on the wall. They continued to get students from India, which seems to have lulled them into believing that it would be business as usual. But today, six decades later, Indian immigrants and persons of Indian origin occupy influential positions in business, industry and now the government in the United States and Britain. They are now part of the establishment in their adopted lands. No one in the West today looks to Indology departments for advice on matters relating to India when they can get it from their next door neighbor or an office colleague. In this era of globalization, India and Indians are not the exotic creatures they were once seen to be.

This means the Indologist’s position as interpreter of India to the West, and sometimes even to Indians, is gone for good. But this alone cannot explain why their Sanskrit and related programs are also folding. To understand this we need to look further and recognize that new scientific discoveries are impacting Indology in ways that could not be imagined even twenty years ago. This is nothing new. For more than a century, the foundation of Indology had been linguistics, particularly Sanskrit and Indo-European languages. While archaeological discoveries of the Harappan civilization forced Indologists to take this hard data also into their discipline, they continued to use their linguistic theories in interpreting new data. In effect, empirical data became subordinate to theory, the exact reverse of the scientific approach.

These often forced interpretations of hard data from archaeology and even literature were far from convincing and undermined the whole field including linguistics of which Sanskrit studies was seen as a part. The following examples highlight the mismatch between their theories and data. Scholars ignored obvious Vedic symbols like: svasti and the om sign found in Harappan archaeology; the clear match between descriptions of flora and fauna in the Vedic literature and their depictions in Harappan iconography; and also clear references to maritime activity and the oceans in the Vedic literature while their theories claimed that the Vedic people who composed the literature were from a land-locked region and totally ignorant of the ocean. Such glaring contradictions between their theories and empirical data could not but undermine the credibility of the whole field.

All this didn’t happen overnight: Harappan archaeology posed challenges to colonial Indological model of ancient India, built around the [[Aryan_Invasion_Theory|Aryan invasion model]] nearly a century ago. But the challenge was ignored because the political authority that supported Western Indologists and their theories did not disappear until 1950, while its academic influence lingered on for several more decades. It is only now, long after the disappearance of colonial rule that academic departments in the West are beginning to feel the heat.

== Colonial Indology ==
Modern Indology may be said to have begun with Sir William Jones, a Calcutta judge in the service of the East India Company. One can almost date the birth of Indology to February 12, 1784, the day on which Jones observed:

The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of wonderful structure; more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of the verbs and the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong, indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three without believing them to have sprung from some common source…

With this superficial, yet influential observation, Jones launched two fields of study in Western academics— philology (comparative linguistics) and Indo-European Studies including Indology. The ‘common source,’ variously called Indo-European, Proto Indo-European, Indo-Germanische and so forth has been the Holy Grail of philologists. The search for the common source has occupied philologists for the greater part of two hundred years, but the goal has remained elusive, more of which later.

Jones was a linguist with scholarly inclinations but his job was to interpret Indian law and customs to his employer— the British East India Company in its task of administering its growing Indian territories. In fact, this was what led to his study of Sanskrit and its classics. This dual role of Indologists as scholars as well as official interpreters of India to the ruling authorities continued well into the twentieth century. Many Indologists, including such highly regarded figures as H.H. Wilson and F. Max Müller enjoyed the support and sponsorship of the ruling powers. It was their means of livelihood and they had to ensure that their masters were kept happy.

Though Jones was the pioneer, the dominant figure of colonial Indology was Max Müller, an impoverished German who found fame and fortune in England. While a scholar of great if undisciplined imagination, his lasting legacy has been the confusion he created by conflating race with language. He created the mythical Aryans that Indologists have been fighting over ever since. Scientists repeatedly denounced it, but Indologists were, and some still are, loathe to let go of it. As far back as 1939, Sir Julian Huxley, one of the great biologists of the twentieth century summed up the situation from a scientific point of view:

In 1848 the young German scholar Friedrich Max Müller (1823 – 1900) settled in Oxford where he remained for the rest of his life… About 1853 he introduced into English usage the unlucky term Aryan, as applied to a large group of languages. His use of this Sanskrit word contains in itself two assumptions— one linguistic,… the other geographical. Of these the first is now known to be erroneous and the second now regarded as probably erroneous. [Sic: Now known to be definitely wrong.] Nevertheless, around each of these two assumptions a whole library of literature has arisen.

Moreover, Max Müller threw another apple of discord. He introduced a proposition that is demonstrably false. He spoke not only of a definite Aryan language and its descendants, but also of a corresponding ‘Aryan race’. The idea was rapidly taken up both in Germany and in England…

In England and America the phrase ‘Aryan race’ has quite ceased to be used by writers with scientific knowledge, though it appears occasionally in political and propagandist literature… In Germany, the idea of the ‘Aryan race’ received no more scientific support than in England. Nevertheless, it found able and very persistent literary advocates who made it appear very flattering to local vanity. It therefore steadily spread, fostered by special conditions. (Emphasis added.)

These ‘special conditions’ were the rise of Nazism in Germany and British imperial interests in India. Its perversion in Germany leading eventually to Nazi horrors is well known. The less known fact is how the British turned it into a political and propaganda tool to make Indians accept British rule. A recent BBC report acknowledged as much (October 6, 2005):

It [[Aryan_Invasion_Theory|Aryan invasion model]] gave a historical precedent to justify the role and status of the British Raj, who could argue that they were transforming India for the better in the same way that the Aryans had done thousands of years earlier.

That is to say, the British presented themselves as ‘new and improved Aryans’ that were in India only to complete the work left undone by their ancestors in the hoary past. This is how the British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin put it in the House of Commons in 1929:

Now, after ages, …the two branches of the great Aryan ancestry have again been brought together by Providence… By establishing British rule in India, God said to the British, “I have brought you and the Indians together after a long separation, …it is your duty to raise them to their own level as quickly as possible …brothers as you are…”

Baldwin was only borrowing a page from the Jesuit missionary Robert de Nobili (1577 – 1656) who presented Christianity as a purer form of the Vedic religion to attract Hindu converts. Now, 300 years later, Baldwin and the British were telling Indians: “We are both Aryans but you have fallen from your high state, and we, the British are here to lift you from your fallen condition.” It is surprising that few historians seem to have noticed the obvious similarity.

In the circumstances it is hardly surprising that many of the ‘scholars’ of Indology should have had missionary links. In fact, one Colonel Boden even endowed a Sanskrit professorship at Oxford to facilitate the conversion of the natives to Christianity. (H.H. Wilson was the first Boden Professor followed by Monier Williams. Max Müller who coveted the position never got it. He remained bitter about it to the end of his life.)

It is widely held that Max Müller turned his back on his race theories when he began to insist that Aryan refers to language and never a race. The basis for this belief is the following famous statement he made in 1888.

I have declared again and again that if I say Aryan, I mean neither blood nor bones, nor skull nor hair; I mean simply those who speak the Aryan language. … To me an ethnologist who speaks of Aryan blood, Aryan race, Aryan eyes and hair is as great a sinner as a linguist who speaks of a dolichocephalic dictionary or a brachycephalic grammar.

What lay behind this extraordinary vehemence from a man noted for his mild language? Was there something behind this echo of the Shakespearean “Methinks the lady doth protest too much”?

Huxley attributes Max Müller’s change of heart to the advice of his scientist friends. This is unlikely. To begin with, the science needed to refute his racial ideas did not exist at the time. Moreover, Max Müller didn’t know enough science to understand it even if it were explained it to him. The reasons for his flip flop, as always with him, were political followed by concern for his position in England, not necessarily in that order.

A closer examination of the record shows that Max Müller made the switch from race to language not in 1888 but in 1871. That incidentally was the year of German unification following Prussian victory in the Franco-Prussian War. Thereby hangs a tale.1

For more than twenty years, from 1848 to 1871, Max Müller had been a staunch German nationalist arguing for German unification. He was fond of publicity and made no secret of his political leanings in numerous letters and articles in British and European publications. German nationalists of course had embraced the notion of the Aryan nation and looked to scholars like Max Müller to provide intellectual justification. He was more than willing to cooperate.

Things changed almost overnight when Prussia defeated France in the Franco-Prussian War leading to German unification under the Prussian banner. From a fragmented landscape of petty principalities, Germany became the largest and most powerful country in Europe and Britain’s strongest adversary. There was near hysteria in British Indian circles that Sanskrit studies had brought about German unification as the mighty ‘Aryan Nation’. Sir Henry Maine, a member of the Viceroy’s Council went so far as so claim “A nation has been born out of Sanskrit!”

The implication was clear, what happened in Germany could happen also in India, leading to a repeat of 1857 but with possibly a different result. All this was hysteria of the moment, but Max Müller the Aryan Sage, and outspoken German Nationalist faced a more immediate problem: how to save his position at Oxford? He had to shed his political baggage associated with the Aryan race and the Aryan Nation to escape any unfriendly scrutiny by his British patrons.

He could of course have gone along quietly but Max Müller being Max Müller, he had to strike a dramatic pose and display his new avatar as a staunch opponent of Aryan theories. In any event he was too much of a celebrity to escape unnoticed, any more than Michael Witzel or Romila Thapar could in our own time. So, within months of the proclamation of the German Empire (18 January 1871) Friedrich Max Müller marched into a university in Strasburg in German occupied France (Alsace) and dramatically denounced what he claimed were distortions of his old theories. He insisted that they were about languages and race had nothing to do with them.

He may have rejected his errors, but his followers, including many quacks and crackpots kept invoking his name in support of their own ideas. The climate in Oxford turned unfriendly and many former friends began to view him with suspicion. In fact, the situation became so bad that in 1875, he seriously contemplated resigning his position at Oxford and returning to Germany. Though there have been claims that this was because he was upset over the award of an honorary degree to his rival Monier-Williams, the more probable explanation is the discomfort resulting from his German nationalist past in the context of the changed situation following German unification.

The specter of Max Müller looms large over the colonial period of Indology though he is unknown in Germany today and all but forgotten in England. In fact his father Wilhem Müller, a very minor German poet is better known: a few of his poems were set to music by the great composer Franz Schubert. In his own time, Germans despised him for having turned his back on the ‘Aryan race’ to please his British masters. Indians though still revere him though no one today takes his theories seriously. One can get and idea of how he was seen by his contemporaries and immediate successors from the entry in the eleventh edition (1911) of the Encyclopædia Britannica:

Though undoubtedly a great scholar, Max Müller did not so much represent scholarship pure and simple as her hybrid types— the scholar-author and the scholar-courtier. In the former capacity, though manifesting little of the originality of genius, he rendered vast service by popularizing high truths among high minds [and among the highly placed]. …There were drawbacks in both respects: the author was too prone to build on insecure foundations, and the man of the world incurred censure for failings which may perhaps be best indicated by the remark that he seemed too much of a diplomatist.

His contemporaries were less charitable. They charged that Max Müller had an eye “only for crowned heads.” His acquaintances included a large number of princes and potentates—with little claim to scholarship—with a maharaja or two thrown in. He was fortunate that the British monarchy was of German origin (Hanoverian) and Queen Victoria’s husband a German prince (Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha). It was these more than fellow scholars that he cultivated. It proved valuable for his career, if not scholarship, for he had little difficulty in getting sponsors for his ambitious projects. He lived and died a rich man, drawing from his rival William Dwight Whitney the following envious if tasteless remark: 2

He has had his reward. No man was before ever so lavishly paid, in money and in fame, even for the most unexceptional performance of such a task. For personal gratitude in addition, there is not the slightest call. If Müller had never put his hand to the Veda, his fellow-students would have had the material they needed perhaps ten years earlier, and Vedic studies would be at the present moment proportionately advanced. …The original honorarium, of about £500 a volume, is well-nigh or quite unprecedented in the history of purely scholarly enterprises; and the grounds on which the final additional gift of £2000 was bestowed have never been made public.

Max Müller’s career illustrates how Indology and Sanskrit studies in the West have always been associated with politics at all levels. He was by no means the only ‘diplomatist’ scholar gracing colonial Indology, only the most successful. It is remarkable that though his contributions are all but forgotten, his political legacy endures. His successors in Europe and America have been reduced to play politics at a much lower level, but in India, his theories have had unexpected fallout in the rise of Dravidian politics. It is entirely proper that while his scholarly works (save for translations) have been consigned to the dustbin of history, his legacy endures in politics. This may prove to be true of Indology as a whole as an academic discipline.

== Post colonial scene ==

The post colonial era may conveniently be dated to 1950. In 1947 India became free and the great Aryan ‘Thousand Year Reich’ lay in ashes. In Europe at least the word Aryan came to acquire an infamy comparable to the word Jihadi today. Europeans, Germans in particular, were anxious to dissociate themselves from it. But there remained a residue of pre-war Indology (and associated race theories) that in various guises succeeded in establishing itself in academic centers mainly in the United States. Its most visible spokesman in recent times has been one Michael Witzel, a German expatriate like Max Müller, teaching in the Sanskrit Department at Harvard University in the United States. In an extraordinary replay of Max Müller’s political flip-flops Witzel too is better known for his political and propaganda activities than any scholarly contributions. Witzel’s recent campaigns, from attempts to introduce Aryan theories in California schools to his ill-fated tour of India where his scholarly deficiencies were exposed in public highlight the dependence of Indology on politics.

While the field of Indo-European Studies has been struggling to survive on the fringes of academia, lately it has become the subject critical analysis by scholars in Europe and America. Unlike Indians who treat the field and its practitioners with a degree of respect, European scholars have not hesitated to call a spade a spade, treating it as a case of pathological scholarship with racist links to Nazi ideology. This may be attributed to the fact that Europeans have seen and experienced its horrors while Indians have only read about it.

In a remarkable article, “Aryan Mythology As Science And Ideology” (Journal of the American Academy of Religion1999; 67: 327-354) the Swedish scholar Stefan Arvidsson raises the question: “Today it is disputed whether or not the downfall of the Third Reich brought about a sobering among scholars working with ‘Aryan’ religions.” We may rephrase the question: “Did the end of the Nazi regime put an end to race based theories in academia?”

An examination of several humanities departments in the West suggests otherwise: following the end of Nazism, academic racism may have undergone a mutation but did not entirely disappear. Ideas central to the Aryan myth resurfaced in various guises under labels like Indology and Indo-European Studies. This is clear from recent political, social and academic episodes in places as far apart as Harvard University and the California State Board of Education. But there was an interregnum of sorts before Aryan theories again raised their heads in West.

Two decades after the end of the Nazi regime, racism underwent another mutation as a result of the American Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King. Thanks to the Civil Rights Movement, Americans were made to feel guilty about their racist past and the indefensible treatment of African Americans. U.S. academia also changed accordingly and any discourse based on racial stereotyping became taboo. Soon this taboo came to be extended to Native Americans, Eskimos and other ethnic groups.

In this climate of seeming liberal enlightenment, one race theory continued to flourish as if nothing had changed. Theories based on the Aryan myth that formed the core of Nazi ideology continued in various guises, as previously noted, in Indology and Indo-European Studies. Though given a linguistic and sometimes a cultural veneer, these racially sourced ideas continue to enjoy academic respectability in such prestigious centers as Harvard and Chicago.

Being a European transplant, its historical trajectory was different from the one followed by American racism. Further, unlike the Civil Rights Movement, which had mass support, academic racism remained largely confined to academia. This allowed it to escape public scrutiny for several decades until it clashed with the growing Hindu presence in the United States. Indians, Hindus in particular saw Western Indology and Indo-European Studies as a perversion of their history and religion and a thinly disguised attempt to prejudice the American public, especially the youth, against India and Hinduism to serve their academic interests.

The fact that Americans of Indian origin are among the most educated group ensured that their objections could not be brushed away by ‘haughty dismissals’ as the late historian of science Abraham Seidenberg put it. Nonetheless, scholars tried to use academic prestige as a bludgeon in forestalling debate, by denouncing their adversaries as ignorant chauvinists and bigots unworthy of debate. But increasingly, hard evidence from archaeology, natural history and genetics made it impossible to ignore the objections of their opponents, many of whom (like this writer) were scientists. But in November 2005, there came a dramatic denouement, in, of all places, California schools. Academics suddenly found it necessary to leave their ivory towers and fight it out in the open, in full media glare— and under court scrutiny.

It is unnecessary to go into the details of the now discredited campaign by Michael Witzel and his associates trying to stop the removal of references to the Aryans and their invasion from California school books. What is remarkable is that a senior tenured professor at Harvard of German origin should concern himself with how Hinduism is taught to children in California. Witzel is a linguist, but he presumed to tell California schools how Hinduism should be taught to children. It turned out that Hinduism was only a cover, and his concern was saving the Aryan myth from being erased from books.

Ever since he moved to Harvard from Germany, Witzel has seen the fortunes of his department and his field, gradually sink into irrelevance. Problems at Harvard are part of a wider problem in Western academia in the field of Indo-European Studies. As previously noted, several ‘Indology’ departments—as they are sometimes called—are shutting down across Europe. One of the oldest and most prestigious, at Cambridge University in England, has just closed down. This was followed by the closure of the equally prestigious Berlin Institute of Indology founded way back in 1821. Positions like the one Witzel holds (Wales Professor of Sanskrit) were created during the colonial era to serve as interpreters of India. They have lost their relevance and are disappearing from academia. This was the real story, not teaching Hinduism to California children.

Witzel’s California misadventure appears to have been an attempt to somehow save his pet Aryan theories from oblivion by making it part of Indian history and civilization in the school curriculum. Otherwise, it is hard to see why a senior, tenured professor at Harvard should go to all this trouble, lobbying California school officials to have its Grade VI curriculum changed to reflect his views.

To follow this it is necessary to go beyond personalities and understand the importance of the Aryan myth to Indo-European Studies. The Aryan myth is a European creation. It has nothing to do with Hinduism. The campaign against Hinduism was a red herring to divert attention from the real agenda, which was and remains saving the Aryan myth. Collapse of the Aryan myth means the collapse of Indo-European studies. This is what Witzel and his colleagues are trying to avert. For them it is an existential struggle.

Americans and even Indians for the most part are unaware of the enormous influence of the Aryan myth on European history and imagination. Central to Indo-European Studies is the belief—it is no more than a belief—that Indian civilization was created by an invading race of ‘Aryans’ from an original homeland somewhere in Eurasia or Europe. This is the [[Aryan_Invasion_Theory|Aryan invasion model]] dear to Witzel and his European colleagues, and essential for their survival. According to this theory there was no civilization in India before the Aryan invaders brought it— a view increasingly in conflict with hard evidence from archaeology and natural history.

In this academic and political conundrum it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the Aryan myth is a modern European creation. It has little to do with ancient India. The word Arya appears for the first time in the Rig Veda, India’s oldest text. Its meaning is obscure but it seems to refer to members of a settled agricultural community. It later became an honorific and a form of address, something like ‘Gentleman’ in English or ‘Monsieur’ in French. Also, it was nowhere as important in India as it came to be in Europe. In the whole the Rig Veda, in all of its ten books, the word Arya appears only about forty times. In contrast, Hitler’s Mein Kampf uses the term Arya and Aryan many times more. Hitler did not invent it. The idea of Aryans as a superior race was already in the air— in Europe, not India.3

It is interesting to contrast Witzel’s political campaigns against Max Müller’s. Where Max Müller hobnobbed with Indian and European aristocracy including princes and Maharajas, Witzel has had to content himself waiting on California schoolteachers and bureaucrats. These were his masters who held the keys to his career and reputation. It may be no more than a reflection of changed circumstances and the loss of power and prestige of the aristocracy but the contrasts are nonetheless striking.

No less striking is the contrast between their legacy and reputation. While we may look at Max Müller’s foibles and failures with amused tolerance and appreciate his monumental work in compiling the fifty-volume Sacred Books of the East, Witzel’s name is unlikely to command any respect much less affection. In addition to his support for the Aryan theories and the California campaign, Witzel is known for his association with the notorious Indo-Eurasian Research (IER), which has been accused of a hate campaign against the Hindus.

An article that appeared the New Delhi daily The Pioneer (December 25, 2005) began: “Boorish comments denigrating India, Hindus and Hinduism by a self-proclaimed ‘Indologist’ who is on the faculty of Harvard University has unleashed a fierce debate over the increasing political activism of ’scholars’ who teach at this prestigious American university. Prof Michael Witzel, Wales professor of Sanskrit at Harvard, is in the centre of the storm because he tried to prevent the removal of references to India, Hinduism and Sikhism in the curriculum followed by schools in California which parents of Indian origin found to be inadequate, inaccurate or just outright insensitive.”

The author of The Pioneer article (Kanchan Gupta) went on to observe: “Witzel declared Hindu-Americans to be “lost” or “abandoned”, parroting anti-Semite slurs against Jewish people. Coincidence or symptom? Witzel’s fantasies are ominously reminiscent of WWII German genocide. He says that ‘Since they won’t be returning to India, [Hindu immigrants to the USA] have begun building crematoria as well. … Witzel demeans the daughters of Indian-American parents, who take the trouble to learn their heritage through traditional art forms. In the worst of racist slander, Witzel claims that Indian classical music and dance reflect low moral standards.”

One cannot imagine any publication today, let alone in India, write in this vein about Max Müller, whatever one may feel about his politics and scholarship. Nor can one imagine Max Müller write in the style of Witzel about India or anyone else.

It must be recorded that Max Müller was emphatically not a racist. He was also a man of exemplary humility in dealing with fellow scholars. In a letter to the Nepalese scholar and Sanskrit poet Pandit Chavilal (undated but written probably just before 1900) Max Müller wrote:

I am surprised at your familiarity with Sanskrit. We [Europeans] have to read but never to write Sanskrit. To you it seems as easy as English or Latin to us… We can admire all the more because we cannot rival, and I certainly was filled with admiration when I read but a few pages of your Sundara Charita.

This reflects great credit on Max Müller as a scholar. One has to wonder if his present day counterparts are capable of such exemplary humility. Certainly none was in evidence during Michael Witzel’s recent disastrous lecture tour of India where he was severely embarrassed by schoolchildren and scholars alike, where he was shown to be completely at sea with basic rules of Sanskrit grammar. More than a hundred years ago, Max Müller declined invitations to visit India probably because he sensed that a similar fate awaited him. He chose discretion over bravado.

The decline from Max Müller to Witzel serves as a metaphor for the decline of Indology itself in our time.

== State of Sanskrit studies in the West ==

In recent months there have been cries of ‘Sanskrit in danger of disappearing’ from Sanskrit professors and other Indologists in Western academia. This is certainly true in their own case, but their next claim that they need more funding (what else?) to reverse the decline must be taken with a large grain of salt. Sanskrit existed and flourished for thousands of years before Indology and Indologists came into existence, and will no doubt continue to exist without them. If Sanskrit ever faces extinction, it will be for reasons of social and political developments in India and not due to lack of funds for Indologists in the West. They can no more save Sanskrit than Indian scholars can save classical Greek.

We may now take a moment to assess the contribution of Western Sanskritists from an Indian perspective. For those who believe that Western scholarship has made a major contribution to Sanskrit, such people are not limited to the West, here is an objective measure to consider: Indians began studying English (and other European languages) about the same time that Europeans began their study of Sanskrit. Many Indians have attained distinction as writers in English. But there is not a single piece in Sanskrit—not even a shloka (verse)—by a Western Sanskritist that has found a place in any anthology. This was acknowledged by no less an authority than Max Müller in passage quoted at the end of the previous section.

These are not the people who can ‘save’ Sanskrit, even if it needs to be saved. Sanskrit is India’s responsibility just as Greek and Latin are Europe’s. Let them study Sanskrit just as Indians should study Greek, but it is too much to expect a few sanctuaries in the West protect and nurture a great and ancient tradition when they are having a hard time saving themselves.

The principal contribution of the West has been in bringing out editions of ancient works like the Rigveda and translations like Max Müller’s monumental fifty volume Sacred Books of the East. These too have their limitations.

== Summary and conclusions ==

We may now conclude that that Western Indology is in steep decline and may well become extinct in a generation. The questions though go beyond Indology. Sanskrit is the foundation of Indo-European Studies. If Sanskrit departments close, what will take their place? Will these departments now teach Icelandic, Old Norse or reconstructed Proto Indo-European? Will they attract students? Can Indo-European Studies survive without Sanskrit? A more sensible course would be for Indian and Western scholars to collaborate and build an empirically based study of ancient Indian and European languages— free of dogma and free of politics.

A basic problem is that for reasons that have little to do with objective scholarship, Indologists have been trying to remove Sanskrit from the special space it occupies in the study of Indo-European languages and replace it something called Proto-Indo-European of PIE. This is like replacing Hebrew with a hypothetical Proto-Semitic language in Biblical Studies. This PIE has literally proven to be a pie in the sky and the whole field is now on the verge of collapse. The resulting vacuum has to be filled by a scholarship that is both sound and empirical, based on existing languages like Sanskrit, Greek and the like. Additionally, Indian scholars will have look more to the east and search for linguistic and other links to the countries and cultures of Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and others that have historic ties to India of untold antiquity.

== References ==
[1]This is explained in more detail in this writer’s The Politics of History and also in Vedic Aryans and the Origins of Civilization, Third Edition, by Navaratna Rajaram and David Frawley, both published by Voice of India, New Delhi. Some recent developments may be found in Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization by N.S. Rajaram, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi. For the record the full name of Max Müller was Friedrich Maximillian Müller, but he is better known as Max Müller, the name used also by his descendants.

[2]Max Müller’s aristocratic Indian friends included the Raja of Venkatagiri (who partly financed his edition of the Rigveda) as well as Dwarakanath Tagore, the grandfather of the Nobel laureate Rabindranath. When Max Müller was a struggling scholar in Paris, Tagore helped him with Sanskrit as well as financially. He knew also British and European nobility having met Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. In his early years his patrons included Dwarakanath Tagore and Baron Bunsen, the Prussian Ambassador to Britain. It is a tribute to Max Müller’s personality and liberal character that he could attract the friendship of such a wide range of people.

[3] It should be noted that the Nazis appropriated their ideas and symbols from European mythology, not India. Hitler’s Aryans worshipped Apollo and Odin, not Vedic deities like Indra and Varuna. His Swastika was also the European ‘Hakenkreuz’ or hooked cross and not the Indian svasti symbol. It was seen in Germany for the first time when General von Luttwitz’s notorious Erhardt Brigade marched into Berlin from Lithuania in support of the abortive Kapp Putsch of 1920. The Erhardt Brigade was one of several freebooting private armies during the years following Germany’s defeat in World War I. They had the covert support of the Wehrmacht (Army headquarters).


by [[wikipedia:N._S._Rajaram|N.S.Rajaram]]

Yoga at the Speed Of Light

== Introduction ==
It is amazing how much Western science has taught us. Today, for example, kids in grammar school learn that the sun is 93 million miles from the earth and that the speed of light is 186,000 miles per hours. Yoga may teach us about our Higher Self, but it can’t supply this kind of information about physics or astronomy. Or can it?

== Speed of Light ==
Professor Subhash Kak of Louisiana State University recently called my attention to a remarkable statement by Sayana, a Fourteenth Century Indian scholar. In his commentary on a hymn from Rig Veda, the oldest and perhaps most mystical text ever composed in India, Sayana has this to say: “With deep respect, I bow to the sun, who travels 2,202 yojanas in half a nimesha.”

A yojana is about nine American miles; a nimesha is 16/75 of a second. Mathematically challenged readers, get out your calculators!

2,202 yojanas x 9 miles x 75 – 8 nimeshas = 185,794 m.p.s.

Basically, Sayana is saying that sunlight travels at 186,000 miles per second! How could a Vedic scholar who died in 1387 A.D. have known the correct figure for the speed of light? If this was just a wild guess it’s the most amazing coincidence in the history of science!

== And those 108 beads ==
The yoga tradition is full of such coincidences. Take for instance the mala many yoga students wear around their neck. Since these rosaries are used to keep track of the number of mantras a person is repeating, students often ask why they have 108 beads instead of 100. Part of the reason is that the mala represent the ecliptic, the path of the sun and moon across the sky. Yogis divide the ecliptic into 27 equal sections called nakshatras, and each of these into four equal sectors called padas, or “steps,” marking the 108 steps that the sun and moon take through heaven.

Each is associated with a particular blessing force, with which you align yourself as you turn the beads.

Traditionally, yoga students stop at the 109th “guru bead,” flip the mala around in their hands, and continue reciting their mantra as they move backward through the beads. The guru bead represents the summer and winter solstices, when the sun appears to stop in its course and reverse directions. In the yoga tradition we learn that we’re deeply interconnected with all of nature. Using a mala is a symbolic way of connecting ourselves with the cosmic cycles governing our universe.

But Professor Kak points out other coincidences: The distance between the earth and the sun is approximately 108 times the sun’s diameter. The diameter of the sun is about 108 times the earth’s diameter. And the distance between the earth and the moon is 108 times the moon’s diameter.

Could this be the reason the ancient sages considered 108 such a sacred number? If the microcosm (us) mirrors the macrocosm (the solar system), then maybe you could say there are 108 steps between our ordinary human awareness and the divine light at the center of our being. Each time we chant another mantra as our mala beads slip through our fingers, we are taking another step toward our own inner sun.

== Origin of Cosmos ==
As we read through ancient Indian texts, we find so much the sages of antiquity could not possibly have known-but did. While our European and Middle Eastern ancestors claimed that the universe was created about 6,000 years ago, the yogis have always maintained that our present cosmos is billions of years old, and that it’s just one of many such universes which have arisen and dissolved in the vastness of eternity.

In fact the Puranas, encyclopedias of yogic lore thousands of years old, describe the birth of our solar system out of a “milk ocean,” the Milky Way. Through the will of the Creator, they tell us, a vortex shaped like a lotus arose from the navel of eternity. It was called Hiranya Garbha, the shining womb. It gradually coalesced into our world, but will perish some day billions of years hence when the sun expands to many times it present size, swallowing all life on earth. In the end, the Puranas say, the ashes of the earth will be blown into space by the cosmic wind. Today we known this is a scientifically accurate, if poetic, description of the fate of our planet.

The Surya Siddhanta is the oldest surviving astronomical text in the Indian tradition. Some Western scholars date it to perhaps the fifth or sixth centuries A.D., though the text itself claims to represent a tradition much, much older. It explains that the earth is shaped like a ball, and states that at the very opposite side of the planet from India is a great city where the sun is rising at the same time it sets in India. In this city, the Surya Siddhanta claims, lives a race of siddhas, or advanced spiritual adepts. If you trace the globe of the earth around to the exact opposite side of India, you’ll find Mexico. Is it possible that the ancient Indians were well aware of the great sages/astronomers of Central America many centuries before Columbus discovered America?

== Knowing the unknowable ==
To us today it seems impossible that the speed of light or the fate of our solar system could be determined without advanced astronomical instruments. How could the writers of old Sanskrit texts have known the unknowable? In searching for an explanation we first need to understand that these ancient scientists were not just intellectuals, they were practicing yogis. The very first lines of the Surya Siddhanta, for of the Golden Age a great astronomer named Maya desired to learn the secrets of the heavens, so he first performed rigorous yogic practices. Then the answers to his questions appeared in his mind in an intuitive flash.

Does this sound unlikely? Yoga Sutra 3:26-28 states that through, samyama (concentration, meditation, and unbroken mental absorption) on the sun, moon, and pole star, we can gain knowledge of the planets and stars. Sutra 3:33 clarifies, saying: “Through keenly developed intuition, everything can be known.” Highly developed intuition is called pratibha in yoga. It is accessible only to those who have completely stilled their mind, focusing their attention on one object with laser-like intensity. Those who have limited their mind are no longer limited to the fragments of knowledge supplied by the five senses. All knowledge becomes accessible to them.

“There are [those] who would say that consciousness, acting on itself, can find universal knowledge,” Professor Kak admits. “In fact this is the traditional Indian view.”

Perhaps the ancient sages didn’t need advanced astronomical instruments. After all, they had yoga.

== Vedic Observer ==
The Vedas and its other Angas like Upanishads, Puranas are all said to be originating from the breath of Lord Vishnu the primary creator of the cosmos according to Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad. It is also said that all the information concerning the creation, maintenance and destruction is in Vedas. But this is not something that can be decoded with a supercomputer in the NASA laboratory. The process of understanding the knowledge depends on once adhikara or qualification and also by once perfection acquired through grace of God. So the mantradrista or the seers of the mantra meditate on that undivided supreme absolute truth as paramatma to acquire knowledge of a specific science. Which they use for the welfare of people.

Compiled by [[Authors#Lndasa|LNDAS]]

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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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. [ Why go to a Temple]

Compiled by [[Authors#Lndasa|LNDAS]]

How Free Are We?

= How Free Are We? =
The Vedic contribution to one of the central debates in Western philosophy.

== Introduction ==
Sam Surya goes to his city’s orphanage one day and makes a large donation. Elsewhere in town, Andy Andhakara robs a bank. What led these two to make such drastically different choices? Was it their own volition, or the force of some other factor? In other words, were their actions predetermined, or did Sam and Andy have free will?

These questions concern one of the pivotal debates in Western philosophy. Are human beings destined to follow a set course? Are we like children on an amusement park ride lets them steer right and left but inevitably takes them along a fixed track? Or are we free to desire and do as we like, our lives a blank slate upon which we may write anything and everything?

In this article we’ll take a brief look at how Western philosophy has addressed the problem of determinism versus free will, and then suggest how the Vedic literature can offer additional insight into this most elusive yet important issue.

Before we begin, let’s be clear about the term will. From a philosophical perspective, it is a nuanced concept that has undergone shifts in meaning over the years. Nevertheless, for all practical purposes it can be taken as synonymous with “action.” Hence the debate over determinism versus free will is essentially a quest to identify the cause of human behavior. Keeping this in mind should help keep you from getting lost in what might otherwise become a hazy jungle of abstract philosophical jargon.

== Strict Determinism ==
One perspective on this debate is to say that Sam Surya was destined to donate and Andy Andhakara was destined to steal, and neither ever really had a say in the matter. This is the theory known as strict determinism. It holds that all human actions are the direct results of a sequence of causes and effects such that they are predetermined and can unfold in one and only one way. Thus, we do not actually play any part in determining our actions. Rather, they are caused by something beyond us. Western philosophers have generally been loath to embrace this view, and with good reason: strict determinism is contrary to both common experience and the norms of civilization. (The doctrine of the predestination of souls, espoused by St. Augustine in the fifth century and championed by the leaders of the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, is one major exception.) Far from feeling forced into every action we take, we instinctively feel we can make choices in our lives. Therefore, the thought that we have no control whatsoever over what we do is repulsive. And the laws that govern society have meaning only if citizens can decide to follow them or not. For example, we would perhaps support punishing Andy Andhakara to send a message to the community that stealing is bad and others should not follow his example. But if citizens don’t have the power to decide to steal or not, then what’s the use of sending such a message? Therefore, strict determinism can be rejected as counterintuitive and highly impractical.

== Categorical Free Will ==
Having rejected this extreme, let’s test out the other. As strict determinism tells us that Sam and Andy each had to act in a particular way, the opposite perspective tells us they could have acted in absolutely any way. This is the theory known as categorical free will. It holds that human actions are in theory completely unconstrained and can unfold in an infinite number of ways. Our behavior is not the preset product of any grand universal scheme, but is fluid and flexible. It essentially has no cause, for that would limit its course.

Unlike the theory of strict determinism, which has had few adherents among Western philosophers, the theory of categorical free will has been embraced by many, including the French philosopher Rene Descartes in the early seventeenth century and the German philosopher Immanuel Kant in the late eighteenth century. Indeed, it is a welcome relief from the stifling rigidity of determinism, and it resonates with Western notions of liberty and independence. But as other philosophers have pointed out (including those named in the next section), it goes too far. They argue that a phenomenon either has a cause (or causes) or is completely random; there is no third option. Therefore to say that human actions have no cause is to say that they are random. But observation of the world around us shows that this is clearly not the case. We don’t see mothers hugging their dirty laundry and throwing their babies into the washing machine. Rather, in place of such inexplicable chaos (the logical consequence of this theory) we observe order and meaning in human behavior. Hence, categorical free will must also be rejected as illogical and unrealistic.

== Soft Determinism ==
So while strict determinism leaves us with no room to breathe, it turns out categorical free will opens the door far too wide. Neither theory allows for us to have a conscious influence on our actions. What of the middle ground, something between these two extremes? Such a perspective would allow Sam and Andy to cause their actions in some way that reconciles determinism and free will. Human behavior could then be understood as neither capricious nor automatically enacted irrespective of individual wishes.

Countless persons have endorsed some such compromise—including the English philosophers Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and John Stuart Mill—and it more or less represents the consensus of contemporary Western philosophy. Among these, the mid–eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher David Hume made what is arguably the chief presentation. His theory has been referred to as soft determinism because it takes strict determinism and alters it in a way that allows for personal freedom and moral accountability. He starts with the notion that every human action has a cause that determines how it will unfold. If this cause is something external to the individual, he refers to the resultant action as involuntary. If this cause is an internal desire of the individual, he refers to the resultant action as voluntary. Whereas in strict determinism all actions are caused by external forces and are therefore what Hume would call involuntary, his soft determinism allows for both external and internal causes. Indeed, he emphasizes the latter by explaining that human beings will always act according to their strongest internal desire unless forcibly constrained by some external factor.

Hume concludes by deeming such voluntary action “free” and therefore liable to moral scrutiny. Thus, under Hume’s theory, Sam’s donation is considered to be causally determined by his desire to donate, and yet is also considered free because it is done willingly. Andy’s act of robbery is caused by his desire to acquire money, but he remains morally culpable because he was not forced to act against his wishes.

Although with Hume’s soft determinism we finally have a theory that connects individuals with their behavior, whether it does so in a way that gives them actual freedom is questionable. Granting that it avoids the oppressive impersonalism of strict determinism and the chaos of categorical free will, does it actually bestow on humans the power of conscious choice? Critics have said no. They have noted that although under Hume’s theory individuals act voluntarily, they do not act freely. This is because the internal desires that cause their actions are not under their conscious control. For example, Sam voluntarily acts in accordance with his desire to give charity (and so feels like he is acting freely), but where does this desire come from? Did he choose to have the kind of personality that is inclined to give?

No. We could either trace its development through his experiences, education, and parenting, or resign ourselves to a simple, “He was born that way.” In either case, we must acknowledge that the very factors that resulted in Sam’s wanting to help out the orphanage are clearly not subject to his conscious control. Rather, his desire is the deterministic product of his background, and it compels him to act accordingly. He is not free to act otherwise. Thus, we are not justified in calling Sam’s and Andy’s respective actions free, and praising or censuring them accordingly. In fact, soft determinism ultimately leads us to the same dead end as strict determinism, albeit with a little more scenery on the way.

Although strict determinism and categorical free will proved easy to dismiss (both in this article and in the annals of Western philosophy), you will likely agree that soft determinism seemed more promising. But it still left us short of what we are searching for: a viable explanation of the cause of human action. Certainly the answer does lie in some sort of synthesis of determinism and free will, but Western philosophy can take us no further in this direction. We therefore now consider the philosophy of ancient India. Within the Vedic scriptures we find a perspective that genuinely reconciles determinism and free will in a way that makes sense to our heads and is agreeable to our hearts.

== The Soul’s Free Will ==
We begin by reviewing the deterministic side of the equation. Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita that all living beings have eternal spiritual forms of which the physical bodies we see are only temporary coverings. The root cause of this encasement is known in Sanskrit as ahankara. Though this term is usually translated as false ego, it literally means “I am the doer.” Because we are made of spirit, not matter, we have no ability to independently manipulate matter, and to think we do is the ultimate binding delusion. Far from being a controller, by inhabiting a physical body we come under the control of nature, because the body, being matter, acts according to the laws of nature. The real agent behind the movements of the material world is the energy of God in the form of the three material principles, or modes: maintenance (goodness), creation (passion), and destruction (ignorance). Krishna sums up this whole dynamic by observing, “The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature.” Thus, our freedom does not lie in the tangible realm of physical matter.

To some people the implication of such evidence (see Sidebar for another example) is that free will is simply illusory and that enlightenment involves accepting that we are the powerless pawns of a deterministic world. Historically, Western philosophers have even been led to clump the Vedic worldview together with other Eastern philosophies and dismiss them all under the condescending label of “Asiatic fatalism.” But this is only half the Vedic equation. Equally compelling (and arguably even more important) is the Vedic evidence of freedom and the power of conscious choice.

For example, the Vedic literature contains a plethora of rules, regulations, and rituals. Many prominent Vaishnava philosophers have used the same logic we cited earlier in defeating strict determinism to claim that such scriptural prescriptions (and their associated rewards and punishments) can have meaning only if the living entity has some degree of factual independence. Indeed, “The Supreme Personality of Godhead has so dexterously formulated and applied the laws of material nature governing punishment and reward for human behavior that the living being is discouraged from sin and encouraged toward goodness without suffering any significant interference with his free will as an eternal soul.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.24.14, Purport by Prabhupada’s disciples)

It is important to note here, however, that as the mind is considered material in the Vedic understanding, it is subject to the same rigid control that was attributed to the body above. So just as the free will of the living being cannot extend to the actions of the physical body and senses, so too it cannot extend to the actions of the mind or intelligence. Thus, the free will Prabhupada speaks of must be restricted to the domain of the spirit soul proper, and it must be the actions of this soul that merit the various punishments and rewards he speaks of. But how does the soul act? Prabhupada explains that it is through desire. Not only that, he goes one step further to reveal that the desire whether “to surrender to God or not is the essential expression of our free will.”

And there, at last, is our answer and the Vedic resolution of the problem of determinism versus free will. As human beings, our freedom is limited to desiring to come closer to God or to move farther away from him. Material nature, under the supervision of God, takes care of the rest. According to our past desires, we are provided at birth with a suitable body through which the modes of material nature help us perform actions appropriate to those desires. Within the constraints of this body, which range from our mental disposition to the karmic results due to us while in it, we have the opportunity to form new desires. These desires may take many forms, but they will always be reducible to one of two broad categories: desires to be closer to God, or desires to be farther away from Him. Our new desires then create karmic reactions that in turn determine our next body.

== No Deterministic Dead End ==
This Vedic understanding of free will thus saves us from the dead end that soft determinism led us to. We can trace the manifold desires that cause a person to act back from the upbringing of his present life to his nature at birth, to the desires of his previous lives, and, underlying it all, to his progressive desire to surrender to or rebel against God. Freedom reigns at this final, primary level, while determinism dominates all subsequent links in the chain. We could thus call the Vedic model a sort of binary free will.

For example, Sam Surya, in his previous birth, must have had godly desires (e.g., selfless desires to forego pleasures for a higher purpose). As a result, he was probably born with an innate generosity and received good training from his parents and early teachers, both of which allowed him to progress towards God. Andy Andhakara, on the other hand, must have had ungodly desires (e.g., selfish desires that focused on his own well-being at the cost of others), which led him to be born in a degraded situation favorable for expressing and acting upon such desires. The key to understanding how this works is in realizing that karma applies on a subtle, as well as a gross, level. Good actions don’t just create good circumstances; they also create the desire to do further good actions. And vice versa.

Unlike the blank slate of free will or the fixed track of determinism, this blend of the two might be likened to an interactive movie that lets you make choices at key moments and then unfolds automatically until the next decision. If we make choices favorable to reestablishing our relationship with God, like Sam Surya, we’ll get more and better options of this kind the next time. If we make choices that hamper our connection with God, like Andy Andhakara, the godly options will diminish in scope and quantity. Either way, what happens in between the decision points is the preset product of innumerable past choices.

When we finally evolve to the point where we unreservedly and uninterruptedly desire only to be closer to God, then we break the chain of successive physical bodies and can return to the divine abode. There, having revived our original spiritual bodies, we will be completely independent of the laws of nature that so rigidly control us in this world. Thus we come to the ultimate paradox of free will. When we are at every moment lovingly offering our free will at the feet of God for His pleasure rather than ours, then and only then are we the most free.

By Navin Jani

Big Bang or Big Bluff

== Introduction ==
Imagine yourself taking a walk in the heart of a city like New York or Tokyo and looking around at the well developed infrastructure around you. Infrastructure of that magnitude never ceases to amaze us. The tall buildings, monuments (such as statue of liberty) the well planned roads and the underground railway all point to meticulous planning (by the government authorities), amazing engineering skills (Architects and Engineers) and well managed execution (Contractors, Laborers, etc).

Now imagine some one coming up and telling us that all this automatically came up due to some ‘big bang’ or due to some ‘automatic molecular combination” that formed a simple structure and then ‘evolved’ into more and more complex buildings! We would think that such a person is likely to be out of his mind.

And yet, that is exactly what we ourselves seem to think when it comes to explaining the origin of the universe, which is so complex and vast, that millions of such well developed cities would constitute only a fraction of it! We attribute the origin of a well developed city to thoughtful planning, excellent engineering and meticulous execution. However, we tend attribute the creation of the universe to some automatic combination of molecules or some ‘Big Bang’.

== The Big Bang Theory: ==
‘Big Bang’ a scientific theory, developed from observations of the structure of universe and from theoretical considerations. Everybody knows that the theory of big-bang generally refers to the idea that the “universe has expanded from a primordial hot and dense initial condition at some finite time in the past, and continues to expand to this day.”.

In 1924 Edwin Hubble found that the universe is constantly expanding. As the universe is constantly expanding, scientists came to a conclusion that the universe would have started at some time in the past and named it as Big Bang.

== Are we made of cosmic dust? ==
The basis of this theory, as explained scientifically, is that we owe the creation of the universe to the breaking away of the absolute symmetry of the absolute emptiness that existed before the creation began. There is a theory called vacuum genesis, which suggests that the universe began from a single particle arising from an absolute vacuum. A particle so powerful that it gave raise to the cosmic creation. Of course, a particle from nothing is admittedly not very likely. But it is a theory that they still work with, possibly for a lack of anything else.

The premise of the Big Bang Theory is based on the Redshift, the evidence that the universe seems to be expanding. This is when the wavelength of the light from a distant celestial object shifts toward the longer wavelength. This is figured to be caused by the Doppler Effect that the space between the objects giving the light is increasing, caused by an expanding universe. The Vedic version of the universal creation is that it was created by the guidance of the Supreme Being and, indeed, has been steadily expanding. But this does not imply an unnatural Big Bang from which everything appeared. The bottom line is that the Big Bang Theory is founded on a few assumptions that if ever negated or proven wrong will dismiss the whole theory. And, low and behold, it seems that after a closer look into this theory, there are some major flaws that prevent it from being acceptable for everyone.

[ TomVanFlandern], the space scientist, has presented three major problems found in the Big Bang Theory. One is that the law of conservation of matter and energy is not upheld within this theory. Secondly, this theory offers no calculations of the early ages of the universe that can properly deduce the temperature of the microwave background radiation. Thirdly, though the theory may be able to explain how such substances as helium and deuterium were formed, there are problems in understanding how the nuclei in such substances as lithium, beryllium and boron were created.

Furthermore, the inflation that would have taken place with the Big Bang makes the age of the universe unreasonably small when compared with the estimated ages of the galaxies or globular clusters that are in existence. It also puts a limit on the amount of ordinary matter in the universe, forcing some astronomers to speculate that there must be a large amount of “dark matter” to fill in the spaces. But such dark matter cannot account for the observable superclusters and galaxies, says Anthony Peratt, a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Thus, the superclusters are not what would be expected from the Big Bang model.

One last point is that the smooth nature of the background microwave radiation would not be the result of an explosive beginning, which would have produced a less organized and more chaotic or unsmooth result.  As it stands, science still cannot answer the question regarding what started the explosion of the Big Bang. Where was the original substance, or particle? What caused the creation? Even now science is still looking for another theory that can explain how nature would have behaved at the time of the threshold of creation under the extreme conditions during the original explosion of the Big Bang. How would it have happened in a way that caused the original atoms that then changed into forms that paved the way for all of the additional atoms to have developed? Because of these concerns and problems, along with others not mentioned, some scientists now feel that the Big Bang Theory is “thoroughly unsatisfactory” as an explanation of the universe’s origin. Besides, even if there was a Big Bang origin, where did consciousness come from? Why would there now be a bunch of entities running around trying to figure this out and not merely a bunch of dust and molecules drifting through space?

Encyclopedia Britannica admits: “It should be emphasized that no theory of the origin of the solar system has as yet won general acceptance. All involve highly improbable assumptions.”

== Vedic Observer ==
Big Bang has been another theory that at first is applauded as the answer to the questions, yet with time is found to be too faulty, typical of the ever-changing scientific process that starts with one theory and in time gives way to something else. It is even admitted by science that the cause of the creation is “almost supernatural”. So it is still a mystery–why is there anything instead of nothing? But unfortunately it is still the theory found in the schools textbooks.

The formation of universe is best explained by the “Vedas” which is present at the time of universe creation. The “Vedas” are like a manual for universe. It explains the functionality and formation of universe. In science you cannot go outside the creation to find its cause. However, the [[Vedic_creationism|Vedic creationism]] does indeed take us to the point before there was anything at all in the cosmic creation. That is the difference. The Vedic version points out that the cause of the creation is indeed outside the universe, just as an architect for a building may be living outside the building, someplace else rather than within it. Science still owes a lot to religion. Science still accepts that we have a “uni-verse”, a single system governed by a single set of laws. This admittedly is based on the religious concept of one God, one creator, and thus one system of laws, and a single source from which everything began. That is what the Vedanta Sutras explain, that the Absolute Truth is “He from whom all else manifests.” So to me, the faults found within the scientific creation theories only lends further credence to a Divine Source for the material manifestation. It also shows that there are many answers that can be found by researching the Vedic version of the Divinely guided creation. And unlike us Human beings, whose imperfections are sometimes very costly (the bridge of the Delhi Metro rail collapsed recently, causing heavy damage, one death and 15 injuries), God’s creations do not have such anomalies (imagine the consequences if God had made a small error while designing the orbits of planets in the solar system – there would have been a collision of planets!)

== Quotes from renowned scientists on creation ==
Many renowned scientists acknowledge the need for an existence of an intelligent creator behind the universe, quite unlike the statements from the Big Bang Theory:-

*“There is a perfect brain behind all the natural physical laws”. – Albert Einstein

*“Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man…” – Albert Einstein

*“It is the perfection of God’s works that they are all done with the greatest simplicity” – Isaac Newton

*Sir Isaac Newton further continues to say that “Can it be by accident that all birds beasts & men have their right side & left side alike shaped (except in their bowels) & just two eyes & no more on either side the face & just two ears on either side the head & a nose with two holes & no more between the eyes & one mouth under the nose & either two four legs or two wings or two arms on the shoulders & two legs on the hips one on either side & no more?. Did blind chance know that there was light & what was its refraction & fit the eyes of all creatures after the most curious manner to make use of it? These & such like considerations always have & ever will prevail with man kind to believe that there is a being who made all things & has all things in his power”.

* “If you think strongly enough, you will be forced by science to believe in God” – Lord Kelvin

*The story of Newton and his Atheist Friend: Once Newton engaged a craftsman and had a nice model made of the “Solar System” which would even depict the movement of the planets on the push of a lever. He then called over one of his friends who happened to be an atheist and showed him the model. His friend expressed his appreciation at the craftsmanship and asked whose work it was. Newton promptly replied that the model just ‘came up by itself’. His friend laughed at the answer and when Newton insisted on that answer, the friend remarked that Newton must be kidding. Then Newton pointed out that this was the same explanation that was being given by the scientists (including the friend) for the origin of the ‘actual’ solar system which was much obviously much more complex than this one!

*Newton used this situation to drive home the point that there is an intelligent creator behind everything, and that nothing can come up on its own, due to random molecular combinations or some big bang.

Authored by [[Authors#giridharagopaladas|Giridhari Gopal]] and [[Authors#Vivek|Vivek Devarajan]]
Edited by [[Authors#Lndasa|L Narasimha Rao]]

Don’t Drink and Drive


“Don’t Drink and Drive” is a well known caption that government puts on the roads as posters. The meaning of it is obvious, ie., one should not be intoxicated while driving the vehicles. But what a foolishness, if a person misunderstood the above caption by taking the literal meaning of it and is not drinking any water or any required liquid substance. It is clear that, to understand the meaning of the above one line, one should know the intention of government or the consequences of driving while being intoxicated. Similarly, to understand the statements in scriptures one should know their purpose and intentions.

What a great loss it is

When the scriptures say that we should not talk or we should not do anything, it means that we should not talk nonsense or we should not do any unnecessary work. The authors of the authorized scriptures know very well the reactions and sufferings that we will undergo if we spend our time in talking something useless and are working for something which will not solve the purpose of soul. But if we misunderstood the scriptures and decided not to talk anything about Krishna or not to render any service unto Krishna; what a great loss for soul it is…

What is essential ?

Drinking water is essential for a person to maintain his body, similarly talking about Krishna and rendering service unto Him is an essential activity of the soul. When a person is thirsty, only water can satisfy him and nothing else. Similarly only Holy Names of Lord Govinda and service unto Him can only satisfy a person who is suffering in this material world. A athlete requires and drinks more water than a normal person does, similarly if a devotee advances in spiritual life, he takes more shelter of Holy Name and will be rendering more Service to Krishna; this is natural.

Krishna says “vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo” – By all vedas, I am to be known. (Bg 15.15) All the four Vedas are meant to take us back to Supreme Personality of Godhead step by step. If one knows the essence of Vedas and follows a bonafide authority, he will be soon situated in his eternal constitutional position of serving Krishna. By the blessings of the Bonafide authorities we can understand the scriptures properly and thereby we can satisfy Krishna in a proper manner.

Hare Krishna.