Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Monday, February 22, 2010

Vedic model to Explain Life

When we read the Vedic literatures explaining life, there seems to be apparent contradictions and mundane discrepancies not fitting daily experience. Therefore, reading the purport of the Acharyas (perfected souls) helps alleviate apparent contradictions and super-realities. Yet, our mind being what it is has a tendency to approach even the word of Guru as fantastic or beyond practical realities. This speculative approach creates doubts in our minds. I have heard many devotees asking questions trying to validate the scriptures using modern definitions of evidence or proof. In other words, trying to fit Vedic paradigm within the confines of modern scientific scrutiny.

The way I approach studying Vedic literature is not by wearing my mechanistic hat. Modern day science functions on certain underlying assumptions that all natural laws are constant. For example that light travelling in different parts of the universe has the same properties (assumed constant) as on the earth domain. This mechanistic modeling is the only way science can function and on that basis collect data, interpret it and ultimately arrive at conclusions or theories of life. This mechanistic model limits to explain the dynamic interactions of nature or the real world. Hence we don’t have one unifying theory to explain it all. Of course…the scientists are hard at work trying to create that one theory…but it will not be possible as long as they have a mechanistic logic of time, space and its events.

It is like the difference between complete and incomplete knowledge. Modern scientific model may explain something at some point in time for brief periods of time (thus incomplete from the bigger picture) where as the Vedic model explains phenomenon not only at a point-in-time basis but also at all points of time.

Let me give another example, in sociology, poverty can be related to economy or broken homes or poor educational outcomes etc. There is no one causal factor. This is a theoretical model. When we try to operationalize this model, it is far from sufficient to solve the reality at the ground level simply because every case is unique and different pertinent to time, place and circumstance. So in one sense the theoretical model is useless simply because it is way too simplistic, inadequate and compartmentalized. If we analyze the same issue of poverty from a Vedic model, we can say that the society at large and its values need to change if we want to see individual lives change. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada talks about simple living and high thinking at the societal and individual level. Poverty or other social ills pertinent to one section of society is caused and influenced by all sections of society. A society can thrive in a healthy manner only if all sections of it co-exist harmoniously serving one another. If the stronger sections of society (corporate growth machine) exploit material nature to influence weaker sections of society, obviously the balance will change and adversely impact the weaker sections. People are pushed to poverty or homelessness because of this imbalance of use of resources. Because modern sociologists are trained to think in a linear mechanistic fashion without looking for lateral causes, modern scientific model fails to fully explain poverty holistically. I have never come across any literature studying the relationship between world poverty and animal slaughter or gambling or expansion of cities or how I by eating out every Friday can impact a family in Africa?

The Vedic model of life, universe and events gives a full and complete explanation on two different realities (point in time and all times) simultaneously. So why validate complete knowledge (thus superior) with incomplete knowledge (thus inferior)? We should study them separately for its worth!

Hare Krishna

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