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

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

where does your penchant for knowledge lie?

Indologists and popular media portray the stories in the vedic literature as mythology. The word myth is associated with characteristics such as primordial nature (primitive); fiction; half-truths; exaggerated traditional concepts etc. In essence, these so called hindu mythological stories are presented as merely cultural entertainment that has little to do with the modern working man.

Modern science vehemently promotes an impersonal and a void perspective of the universe and its creation. So science plus the idea of mythology forms a powerful union rendering vedic creationism and characters meaningless to the everyday lives of modern man. From the time a young child enters kindergarten, he or she is taught to excel in modern science and technology to be one step ahead in economics and politics. Little value is given to such pristine narrations as found in the vedas. It is neither taught in schools nor by parents/guardians. At best, the movie industry portrays these stories befitting modern mores. Henceforth, the true meaning and essence of these incidences and stories are lost due to antiquity, neglect and spiritual abandonment.

Now, therefore, it is up to every individual for him/herself to decide the veracity of such vedic narrations as opposed to modern scientific ones (including indology). Below is a timeline on the creation of this universe and evolution of species as per modern science juxtaposed with the vedic counterpart. The time is indicated by number of years from today. So if the timeline reads 100 million years, it means 100 million years before from today. Also, the timelines are estimates and sometimes shown in ranges. In the vedic timeline, there are multiple incidences of the same avatar in different periods. My intention is not to elucidate the characteristics of the avatar but to simply show how modern scientific timeline of the universe is different from the vedic one.

Timeline (estimates) as per modern science

  • 13.7 billion years before - The Big Bang happened
  • 4.5 billion years earth formed
  • 3.8 billion years oldest rock formation
  • 3.6 billion years simple cells (prokaryotes)
  • 2.5 billion years oxygen levels rise
  • 2 billion years complex cells (eukaryotes)
  • 1 billion years multicellular organisms
  • 545 million years hard shelled molusks appear - first fossil specimens
  • 530 million years first vertebrates appear
  • 450 million years Cartilaginous fishes evolve
  • 430 million years spiders and scorpions evolve and plants take root on land
  • 370 million amphibians emerge from water
  • At this time a single subcontinent comes together
  • 300 millions years earliest reptiles
  • 240 millions years dinosaurs take first steps
  • At this time supercontinent breaks up
  • 200 millions years true mammals evolve
  • At this time dinosaurs dominate the world
  • 150 million years birds first take wing
  • 125 millions flowering plants begin to bloom
  • 65 million years dinosaurs go extinct
  • 60 million years mamallian species population explosion
  • 6-8 million years humans and intermediate ancestors are believed to split from modern day chimpanzees
  • 1.8 million years till 10,000 years before dominated with ice age
  • 200,000 years (stone age) homo sapiens (anatomically modern humans) arose in eastern africa
  • 70,000 to 10,000 years (paleolithic age) early modern humans lived nomadic life - hunter gatherers
  • 10,000 to 4500 (neolithic age) years modern humans began agriculture beginning in modern day Iraq (middle eastern region)
  • 4500 to 3000 years civilization spread along the Nile River Valley and Mediterranean sea to Egypt, Greece and Rome
  • 3000 to 1000 years Ancient Egypt civilization
  • 750 to 150 years - Ancient Greek civilization
  • 750 to 500 AD Ancient Roman Kingdom and Roman Empire
  • 400 to 900 Dark ages
  • 800 to 1000 Viking age
  • 500 to 1500 middle ages
  • 1400 to 1600 Renaissance
  • 1600 to 1800 Early modern period
  • 1800 to today modern era

Source: National Geographic; Wikipedia

Summary: The entire presentation per modern science is impersonal. Intelligent and sentient beings evolved from non-sentient dead matter or primordial soup conducive for organic growth. In essence, the conclusion is modern intelligence/civilization sprouted from chemicals (dead matter). Knowledge is derived from piece meal evidence stitched together to form a theoretical model of the universe and species (bottom-up inductive reasoning).

Timeline (approximations) as per (few) vedic narrations

  • 155 trillion years before - beginning of creation (primary) of this universe - Birth of Lord Brahma (most intelligent being)
  • 2 billion years - beginning of the the day (kalpa) of Brahma; hence creation cycle (secondary) once again starts
  • 1.9 billion years (approx) - the rule of Svayambhuva Manu (son of Brahma)
  • Between 1.6 and 1.9 billion years - stories of Siva-Daksha duel; King Dhruva; avatar of Lord Kapila; Varaha saving the planet earth from Garbodaka ocean and Matsya saving the Vedas from Hayagriva
  • 1.6 billion years - the rule of Svarocisa Manu
  • 1.3 billion years - the rule of Uttama Manu
  • 1 billion years - the rule of Tamasa Manu
  • 700 million years - the rule of Raivata Manu
  • 425 million years - the rule of Caksusa Manu
  • Between 120 to 425 million years - story of another avatar of Varaha involving slaying of Hiranyaksha; and avatar of Narasimha protecting King Prahlad and slaying Hiranyakashipu
  • 120 million years - the rule of Vaivasata Manu
  • 120 million years - Avatar Matsya appears to show special favor to King Satyavrata
  • Between 4 million and 119 million years - Avatar Vamana involving King Bali
  • 18 million years - Avatar of Lord Ramachandra; Lord Parasuram
  • 5000 years - Avatar of Lord Krishna and Balaram
  • 500 years - Avatar of Lord Chaitanya

Summary: The entire presentation per vedic timeline is personal (superior beings) and based on control of higher intelligence. It also implies, modern man devolved from such higher beings. In essence, from higher superior intelligent beings, modern intelligence/civilization has sprouted. Knowledge is derived from superior authority handed down through disciplic succession (top-down deductive reasoning).

Few highlights; when advanced beings such as the Manus were ruling the planetary systems, modern science claims that earth was populated with primitive forms of life (such as cellular life forms).

In conclusion, modern timeline has a very linear progression from nothing to everything and the vedic timeline progresses from advanced beings to current affairs. It is up to the reader to decide which timeline makes more sense. But don't get me wrong, both timelines require faith. As much as science operates on hard evidence, in my opinion, these evidences do not categorically ascertain universal creation and evolution. Because there is subjectivity associated with the modern theoretical model of creation/evolution, it has to be dealt with "faith" at some level (model-dependent realism). On the other hand, the vedic stories do not have any hard evidence barring few during Krishna's times, hence has to be dealt with "faith".

Ultimately, it boils down to the individual - where does your penchant for knowledge lie?

Hare Krishna

Saturday, February 9, 2013

21st century Gajendra

Keshavan, a legendary elephant at Guruvayoor, served the Lord for over seventy years. He was very keen on being the only elephant to carry the Lord during the night shivelli, the procession of the Lord. He would roar in disapproval if he was not given the service. Even when he was sick, he would report for service and lovingly carry the Lord. Keshavan would get temperamental and angry when denied the service. However he was sensitive and never harmed either the mahouts or other human beings during his entire life time.

Once as he angrily ran, and all passers-by and shopkeepers became afraid, one leper unable to run panicked as Keshavan charged in his direction. All the town residents who were watching this incident from a safe distance were astounded to see Keshavan come in front of this man, lift him on his tusks, and safely place him on the side of the road, before continuing to run in anger at not getting service for Krishna.

On December 2, 1976, the day of Mokshada ekdashi, the most auspicious day according to the local Guruvayoor tradition, Keshavan circumambulated the Lord’s temple and after offering obeisances to Lord Krishna, left his body. Everyone who already knew about his deep devotion to the Lord now witnessed an extraordinary event; Keshavan had left his mortal body in the most glorious way, one that is desired by great devotees of Krishna. To leave one’s body on such a day, in the temple complex, offering obeisances to the Lord is considered most rare and only the most blessed could leave their bodies in this fashion.

The Lord showed to all that Keshavan was indeed the chosen one; he had pleased the Lord immensely by his sincere services and proved to all by his devotion that one’s external circumstances do not matter while rendering devotional service. One could even be in an animal’s body, and yet be most dear to Krishna


Hare Krishna

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I pray for optimism

In the recent past and present, many disciples of Prabhupada passed away through accidents or diseases. Both forms of death can be physically painful. So I am thinking such great souls who have sacrificed their whole lives for Prabhupada and Krishna face such intense pains before leaving, then what is my condition?

Honestly, I have not sacrificed anything and besides have much material desires within me. So what will be my fate when my time comes? I pray to the Lord that when my time comes, I am not morose, depressed or anxious to leave but rather I am fully focused on Krishna and in a mood of optimism & enthusiasm. I do not know how that frame of mind will come about at the time of death but I pray I cultivate some attachment to Krishna while living so at death I am not depressed of leaving.

Hare Krishna