Saturday, December 19, 2009
recently I have been looking through my compilation of articles that I have collected through the course of time, and I came across with a very interesting article with a piece of information which I believe possesses the capacity to alter our apprehension towards the outside world. I presume some of you might have come encountered ideas such as "The String Theory" or the "Hologram Universe" but may have ignored them because of their direct rejection of simple conceivable truths that most of us have been adhering to. However, there are also some who are astounded by the implications of such theories and to be frank, I am definitely one of them. I have read many articles concerning this Holographic principle of the universe to better understand the notion of the subject( if it may increase the reliablity of the theory, Einstein was one of the scientist who studied the subject and he was also part of the team that was responsible in producing a mathematical documentation of this theory), but this article that I am about to present to you guys discusses the subject in a more comprehensible diction it underlines very clearly the connection to Hinduism in general.
here you go.....
Does objective reality exist, or is the universe a phantasm?
"Somewhere there is a dream, dreaming us"…
Kalahari San Bushman saying
In 1982 a remarkable event took place. At the University of Paris a research team led by physicist Alain Aspect performed what may turn out to be one of the most important experiments of the 20th century. You did not hear about it on the evening news. In fact, unless you are in the habit of reading scientific journals you probably have never even heard Aspect's name, though there are some who believe his discovery may change the face of science. Aspect and his team discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them. It doesn't matter whether they are 10 feet or 10 billion miles apart. Somehow each particle always seems to know what the other is doing. The problem with this feat is that it violates Einstein's long-held tenet that no communication can travel faster than the speed of light.Since traveling faster than the speed of light is tantamount to breaking the time barrier, this daunting prospect has caused some physicists to try to come up with elaborate ways to explain away Aspect's findings. But it has inspired others to offer even more radical explanations. University of London physicist David Bohm, for example, believes Aspect's findings imply that objective reality does not exist, that despite its apparent solidity the universe is at heart a phantasm, a gigantic and splendidly detailed hologram. To understand why Bohm makes this startling assertion, one must first understand a little about holograms. A hologram is a three-dimensional photograph made with the aid of a laser. To make a hologram, the object to be photographed is first bathed in the light of a laser beam. Then a second laser beam is bounced off the reflected light of the first and the resulting interference pattern (the area where the two laser beams commingle) is captured on film. When the film is developed, it looks like a meaningless swirl of light and dark lines. But as soon as the developed film is illuminated by another laser beam, a three-dimensional image of the original object appears. The three-dimensionality of such images is not the only remarkable characteristic of holograms. If a hologram of a rose is cut in half and then illuminated by a laser, each half will still be found to contain the entire image of the rose. Indeed, even if the halves are divided again, each snippet of film will always be found to contain a smaller but intact version of the original image. Unlike normal photographs, every part of a hologram contains all the information possessed by the whole. The "whole in every part" nature of a hologram provides us with an entirely new way of understanding organization and order. For most of its history, Western science has labored under the bias that the best way to understand a physical phenomenon, whether a frog or an atom, is to dissect it and study its respective parts.A hologram teaches us that some things in the universe may not lend themselves to this approach. If we try to take apart something constructed holographically, we will not get the pieces of which it is made, we will only get smaller wholes.
(**This appears to be the meaning of the ancient Sanskrit verse:
"Om Poornamadah Poornamidam Poornaad Poornamudachyate; Poornasya Poornamaadaaya
Translated, it means "What is whole - this is whole - what has come out of the whole is also whole; when the whole is taken out of the whole, the whole still remains whole." **)
This insight suggested to Bohm another way of understanding Aspect's discovery. Bohm believes the reason subatomic particles are able to remain in contact with one another regardless of the distance separating them is not because they are sending some sort of mysterious signal back and forth, but because their separateness
is an illusion. He argues that at some deeper level of reality such particles are not individual entities, but are actually extensions of the same fundamental something. To enable people to better visualize what he means, Bohm offers the following illustration. Imagine an aquarium containing a fish. Imagine also that you are unable to see the aquarium directly and your knowledge about it and what it contains comes from two television cameras, one directed at the aquarium's front and the other directed at its side. As you stare at the two television monitors, you might assume that the fish on each of the screens are separate entities. After all, because the cameras are set at different angles, each of the images will be slightly different. But as you continue to watch the two fish, you will eventually become aware that there is a certain relationship between them. When one turns, the other also makes a slightly different but corresponding turn; when one faces the front, the other always faces toward the side. If you remain unaware of the full scope of the situation, you might even conclude that the fish must be instantaneously communicating with one another, but this is clearly not the case. This, says Bohm, is precisely what is going on between the subatomic particles in Aspect's experiment. According to Bohm, the apparent faster-than-light connection deeper level of reality we are not privy to, a more complex dimension beyond our own that is analogous to the aquarium. And, he adds, we view objects such as subatomic particles as separate from one another because we are seeing only a portion of their reality. Such particles are not separate "parts", but facets of a deeper and more underlying unity that is ultimately as holographic and indivisible as the previously mentioned rose. And since everything in physical reality is comprised of these "eidolons", the universe is itself a projection, a hologram. In addition to its phantomlike nature, such a universe would possess other rather startling features. If the apparent separateness of subatomic particles is illusory, it means that at a deeper level of reality all things in the universe are infinitely interconnected. The electrons in a carbon atom in the human brain are connected to the subatomic particles that comprise every salmon that swims, every heart that beats, and every star that shimmers in the sky. Everything interpenetrates everything, and although human nature may seek to categorize and pigeonhole and subdivide, the various phenomena of the universe, all apportionments are of necessity artificial and all of nature is ultimately a seamless web. In a holographic universe, even time and space could no longer be viewed as fundamentals. Because concepts such as location break down in a universe in which nothing is truly separate from anything else, time and three-dimensional space, like the images of the fish on the TV monitors, would also have to be viewed as projections of this deeper order.
At its deeper level reality is a sort of superhologram in which the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously . This suggests that given the proper tools it might even be possible to someday reach into the superholographic level of reality and pluck out scenes from the long-forgotten past. What else the superhologram contains is an open-ended question. Allowing, for the sake of argument, that the superhologram is the matrix that has given birth to everything in our universe, at the very least it contains every subatomic particle that has been or will be - every configuration of matter and energy that is possible, from snowflakes to quasars, from blue whales to gamma rays. It must be seen as a sort of cosmic storehouse of "All That Is." Although Bohm concedes that we have no way of knowing what else might lie hidden in the superhologram, he does venture to say that we have no reason to assume it does not contain more. Or as he puts it, perhaps the superholographic level of reality is a "mere stage" beyond which lies "an infinity of further development". Bohm is not the only researcher who has found evidence that the universe is a hologram. Working independently in the field of brain research, Standford neurophysiologist Karl Pribram has also become persuaded of the holographic nature of reality. Pribram was drawn to the holographic model by the puzzle of how and where memories are stored in the brain. For decades numerous studies have shown that rather than being confined to a specific location, memories are dispersed throughout the brain. In a series of landmark experiments in the 1920s, brain scientist Karl Lashley found that no matter what portion of a rat's brain he removed he was unable to eradicate its memory of how to perform complex tasks it had learned prior to surgery. The only problem was that no one was able to come up with a mechanism that might explain this curious "whole in every part" nature of memory storage. Then in the 1960s Pribram encountered the concept of holography and realized he had found the explanation brain scientists had been looking for. Pribram believes memories are encoded not in neurons, or small groupings of neurons, but in patterns of nerve impulses that crisscross the entire brain in the same way that patterns of laser light interference crisscross the entire area of a piece of film containing a holographic image. In other words, Pribram believes the brain is itself a hologram. Pribram's theory also explains how the human brain can store so many memories in so little space. It has been estimated that the human brain has the capacity to memorize something on the order of 10 billion bits of information during the average human lifetime (or roughly the same amount of information contained in five sets of the Encyclopaedia Britannica). Similarly, it has been discovered that in addition to their other capabilities, holograms possess an astounding capacity for information storage - simply by changing the angle at which the two lasers strike a piece of photographic film, it is possible to record many different images on the same surface. It has been demonstrated that one cubic centimeter of film can hold as many as 10 billion bits of information.
Our uncanny ability to quickly retrieve whatever information we need from the enormous store of our memories becomes more understandable if the brain functions according to holographic principles. If a friend asks you to tell him what comes to mind when he says the word "zebra", you do not have to clumsily sort
back through some gigantic and cerebral alphabetic file to arrive at an answer. Instead, associations like "striped", "horselike", and "animal native to Africa" all pop into your head instantly. Indeed, one of the most amazing things about the human thinking process is that every piece of information seems instantly cross-correlated with every other piece of information - another feature intrinsic to the hologram. Because every portion of a hologram is infinitely interconnected with every other portion, it is perhaps nature's supreme example of a cross-correlated system. The storage of memory is not the only neurophysiological puzzle that becomes more tractable in light of Pribram's holographic model of the brain. Another is how the brain is able to translate the avalanche of frequencies it receives via the senses (light frequencies, sound frequencies, and so on) into the concrete world of our perceptions. Encoding and decoding frequencies is precisely what a hologram does best. Just as a hologram functions as a sort of lens, a translating device able to convert an apparently meaningless blur of frequencies into a coherent image, Pribram believes the brain also comprises a lens and uses holographic principles to mathematically convert the frequencies it receives through the senses into the inner
world of our perceptions. An impressive body of evidence suggests that the brain uses holographic principles to perform its operations. Pribram's theory, in fact, has gained increasing support among neurophysiologists. Argentinian-Italian researcher Hugo Zucarelli recently extended the holographic model into the world of
acoustic phenomena. Puzzled by the fact that humans can locate the source of sounds without moving their heads, even if they only possess hearing in one ear, Zucarelli discovered that holographic principles can explain this ability. Zucarelli has also developed the technology of holophonic sound, a recording technique able to reproduce
acoustic situations with an almost uncanny realism. Pribram's belief that our brains mathematically construct "hard" reality by relying on input from a frequency domain has also received a good deal of experimental support. It has been found that each of our senses is sensitive to a much broader range of frequencies than was previously suspected. Researchers have discovered, for instance, that our visual systems are sensitive to sound frequencies, that our sense of smell is in part dependent on what are now called "osmic frequencies", and that even the cells in our
bodies are sensitive to a broad range of frequencies. Such findings suggest that it is only in the holographic domain of consciousness that such frequencies are sorted out and divided up into conventional perceptions. But the most mind-boggling aspect of Pribram's holographic model of the brain is what happens when it is put together with Bohm's theory. For if the concreteness of the world is but a secondary reality and what is "there" is actually a holographic blur of frequencies, and if the brain is also a hologram and only selects some of the frequencies out of this blur and mathematically transforms them into sensory perceptions, what becomes of objective reality?
Put quite simply, it ceases to exist. As the religions of the East have long upheld, the material world is
Maya, an illusion, and although we may think we are physical beings moving through a physicalworld, this too is an illusion.
We are really "receivers" floating through a kaleidoscopic sea of frequency, and what we extract from this seaand transmogrify into physical reality is but one channel from many extracted out of the superhologram.This striking new picture of reality, the synthesis of Bohm and Pribram's views, has come to be called the
holographic paradigm, and although many scientists have greeted it with skepticism, it has galvanizedothers. A small but growing group of researchers believe thus far. More than that, some believe it may solvesome mysteries that have never before been explainable by science and even establish the paranormal as a part of nature. Numerous researchers, including Bohm and Pribram, have noted that many para psychological phenomena become much more understandable in terms of the holographic paradigm.In a universe in which individual brains are actually indivisible portions of the greater hologram andeverything is infinitely interconnected, telepathy may merely be the accessing of the holographic level.
It is obviously much easier to understand how information can travel from the mind of individual 'A' to thatof individual 'B' at a far distance point and helps to understand a number of unsolved puzzles in psychology.In particular, Grof feels the holographic paradigm offers a model for understanding many of the baffling
phenomena experienced by individuals during altered states of consciousness.
In the 1950s, while conducting research into the beliefs of LSD as a psychotherapeutic tool, Grof had one female patient who suddenly became convinced she had assumed the identity of a female of a species of prehistoric reptile. During the course of her hallucination, she not only gave a richly detailed description of
what it felt like to be encapsulated in such a form, but noted that the portion of the male of the specie's anatomy was a patch of colored scales on the side of its head.What was startling to Grof was that although the woman had no prior knowledge about such things, a conversation with a zoologist later confirmed that in certain species of reptiles colored areas on the head do indeed play an important role as triggers of sexual arousal. The woman's experience was not unique. During the course of his research, Grof encountered examples of patients regressing and identifying with virtually every species on the evolutionary tree (research findings
which helped influence the man-into-ape scene in the movie Altered States). Moreover, he found that such experiences frequently contained obscure zoological details which turned out to be accurate. Regressions into the animal kingdom were not the only puzzling psychological phenomena Grof encountered. He also had patients who appeared to tap into some sort of collective or racial unconscious. Individuals with little or no education suddenly gave detailed descriptions of Zoroastrian funerary practices and scenes from Hindu mythology. In other categories of experience, individuals gave persuasive accounts of out-of-body journeys, of precognitive glimpses of the future, of regressions into apparent past-life incarnations. In later research, Grof found the same range of phenomena manifested in therapy sessions which did not involve the use of drugs. Because the common element in such experiences appeared to be the transcending of an individual's consciousness beyond the usual boundaries of ego and/or limitations of space and time, Grof called such manifestations "transpersonal experiences", and in the late '60s he helped found a branch of psychology called "transpersonal psychology" devoted entirely to their study. Although Grof's newly founded Association of Transpersonal Psychology garnered a rapidly growing group of like-minded professionals and has become a respected branch of psychology, for years neither Grof or any of his colleagues were able to offer a mechanism for explaining the bizarre psychological phenomena they were witnessing. But that has changed with the advent of the holographic paradigm. As Grof recently noted, if the mind is actually part of a continuum, a labyrinth that is connected not only to every other mind that exists or has existed, but to every atom, organism, and region in the vastness of space and time itself, the fact that it is able to occasionally make forays into the labyrinth and have transpersonal experiences no longer seems so strange. The holographic paradigm also has implications for so-called hard sciences like biology. Keith Floyd, a psychologist at Virginia Intermont College, has pointed out that if the concreteness of reality is but a holographic illusion, it would no longer be true to say the brain produces consciousness. Rather, it is consciousness that creates the appearance of the brain - as well as the body and everything else around us we interpret as physical. Such a turnabout in the way we view biological structures has caused researchers to point out that medicine and our understanding of the healing process could also be transformed by the holographic paradigm. If the
apparent physical structure of the body is but a holographic projection of consciousness, it becomes clear that each of us is much more responsible for our health than current medical wisdom allows. What we now view as miraculous remissions of disease may actually be due to changes in consciousness which in turn effect changes in the hologram of the body.Similarly, controversial new healing techniques such as visualization may work so well because in the holographic domain of thought images are ultimately as real as "reality". Even visions and experiences involving "non-ordinary" reality become explainable under the holographic paradigm. In his book "Gifts of Unknown Things," biologist Lyall Watson describes his encounter with an Indonesian shaman woman who, by performing a ritual dance, was able to make an entire grove of trees instantly vanish into thin air. Watson relates that as he and another astonished onlooker continued to watch the woman, she caused the trees to reappear, then "click" off again and on again several times in succession. Although current scientific understanding is incapable of explaining such events, experiences like this become more tenable if "hard" reality is only a holographic projection. Perhaps we agree on what is "there" or "not there" because what we call consensus reality is formulated and ratified at the level of the human unconscious at which all minds are infinitely interconnected.
If this is true, it is the most profound implication of the holographic paradigm of all, for it means that experiences such as Watson's are not commonplace only because we have not programmed our minds with the beliefs that would make them so. In a holographic universe there are no limits to the extent to which we can alter the fabric of reality.
What we perceive as reality is only a canvas waiting for us to draw upon it any picture we want. Anything is possible, from bending spoons with the power of the mind to the phantasmagoric events experienced by Castaneda during his encounters with the Yaqui brujo don Juan, for magic is our birthright, no more or less miraculous than our ability to compute the reality we want when we are in our dreams.
Indeed, even our most fundamental notions about reality become suspect, for in a
holographic universe, as Pribram has pointed out, even random events would have to be
seen as based on holographic principles and therefore determined. Synchronicities or
meaningful coincidences suddenly makes sense, and everything in reality would have to be seen as a metaphor, for even the most haphazard events would express some underlying symmetry. Whether Bohm and Pribram's holographic paradigm becomes accepted in science or dies an ignoble death remains to be seen, but it is safe to say that it has already had an influence on the thinking of many scientists.
And even if it is found that the holographic model does not provide the best explanation for the instantaneous communications that seem to be passing back and forth between subatomic particles, at the very least, as noted by Basil Hiley, a physicist at Birbeck College in London, Aspect's findings "indicate that we must be prepared to consider radically new views of reality".
** Sathya Sai Baba (quote found on back cover of Sanathana Sarathi Aug 1997):
"You wear coloured glasses and see everything through these glasses. Correct your Vision:
the world will be corrected. Reform yourselves: the world will be reformed."**
THE ARTICLE ENDS HERE.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Two legged parasites they are,
walking on the face of the earth,
with full authority and pride,
swelling in their heart,
though it is not truly theirs….
Surviving all the odds,
Becoming the fittest,
Centuries over centuries,
With pure selfishness,
Numb to pain,
Numb to plight,
Numb to sufferings,
Numb to sympathy,
Numb to devotion,
Numb to love…
Numbness is all they are…
No longer what they use to be,
Holding hard on them,
Like a Satan’s grip….
Are they truly what they claim to be?
Are they truly what they claim to be?
Or are they clouded by delusions?....
wake up and embrace the reality,
before we are consumed by time,
because it is never too late ,
To change the world.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Basically mountains mark the region with high tectonic activity i.e tectonic plate's boundary. These mountains are formed through a series of underthrusting, uplift, folding and etc and this effects are further aggravated by plastic nature of the molten magma underneath the crust.
When mountains are elevated, the lithospheric slabs on either side of the mountain will be heavier than the elevated portion of the mountain due to foldings(folding causes the region to be thicker and therefore heavier).
The lithostatic pressure on these two region are higher then the lithostatic pressure imposed by the mountain. This will cause an inward movement of magma towards the base of the mountain further elevating the mountain that it already is. The reason why the magma moves in such away could be seen in a hydraulic system.
If the Earth's crust is to be denser, the lithostatic pressure on the asthenosphere will be higher and therefore more magma will distribute itself underneath the base of the mountain resulting in more buoyancy, therefore higher elevation is produced.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Shortly after producing "LOOKING INTO HINDUISM...FROM MY POINT OF VIEW", I came across an article entitled ' TEN QUESTIONS ABOUT HINDUISM AND TEN TERRIFIC ANSWERS' which has been published by Hinduism Today with a well defined goal of educating Hindus and non-Hindus about what is considered to be the ten most provocative questions in Hinduism...The answers to these questions have been given by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. The answers were given in subtlety and transparency, that I felt obliged to share this piece of information with the fellow members out there, in an effort to bring us out of the veil of darkness...
TEN QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK ABOUT HINDUISM AND TEN TERRIFIC ANSWERS
1. Why does Hinduism have so many Gods?
Contrary to prevailing misconceptions, Hindus all worship a one Supreme Being,though by different names.This is because the peoples of India with different languages and
cultures have understood the one God in their own distinct way.Through history there arose four principal Hindu denominations—Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smartism. For Sai vites, God is Siva. For Shaktas, Goddess Shakti is supreme. For Vaishnavites,Lord Vishnu is God. For Smartas—who see all Deities as reflections of the One God—the choice of Deity is left to the devotee. This liberal Smart perspective is well known, but it is not the prevailing Hindu view. Due to this diversity, Hindus are profoundly tolerant of other religions,respecting the fact that each has its own pathway to the one God. One of the unique understandings
in Hinduism is that God is not far away, living in a remote heaven, but is inside each and every soul, in the heart and consciousness,waiting to be discovered.This knowing that God is always with us gives us hope and courage. Knowing the One Great
God in this intimate and experiential way is the goal of Hindu spirituality.
Elaboration: Hinduism is both monotheistic and henotheistic. Hindus were never polytheistic, in the sense that there are many equal Gods. Henotheism (literally
“one God”) better defines the Hindu view. It means the worship of one God without denying the existence of other Gods. We Hindus believe in the one all-pervasive God who energizes the entire universe. We can see Him in the life shining out of the eyes of humans and all creatures. This view of God as existing in and giving life to all things is called panentheism. It is different from pantheism, which is the belief
that God is the natural universe and nothing more. It is also different from strict theism which says God is only above the world, apart and transcendent. Panentheism
is an all-encompassing concept. It says that God is both in the world and beyond it, both immanent and transcendent. That is the highest Hindu view. Hindus also believe in many Gods who perform various functions, like executives in a large corporation. These should not be confused with the Supreme God.
These Divinities are highly advanced beings who have specific duties and powers—not unlike the heavenly spirits, overlords or archangels revered in other faiths. Each denomination worships the Supreme God and its own pantheon of divine beings.
What is sometimes confusing to non-Hindus is that Hindus of various sects may call the one God by many different names, according to their denomination
or regional tradition. Truth for the Hindu has many names, but that does not make for many truths. Hinduism gives us the freedom to approach God in our own way, encouraging a multiplicity of paths, not asking for conformity to just one. There is much confusion about this subject, even among Hindus. Learn the right terms and the
subtle differences in them, and you can explain the profound ways Hindus look at Divinity. Others will be delighted with the richness of the Indian concepts of God. You may wish to mention that some Hindus believe only in the formless Absolute Reality as God; others believe in God as personal Lord and Creator. This freedom makes the understanding of God in Hinduism, the oldest living religion, the richest in all of Earth’s existing faiths.
2.Do Hindus believe in reincarnation?
Carnate means “of flesh,” and reincarnate means to “reenter the flesh.” Yes, Hindus
believe in reincarnation. To us, it explains the natural way the soul evolves from immaturity to spiritual illumination. Life and death are realities for all of us.
Hinduism believes that the soul is immortal, that it never dies, but inhabits one body after another on the Earth during its evolutionary journey. Like the caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly, physical death is a most natural
transition for the soul, which survives and, guided by karma, continues its long pilgrimage until it is one with God. I myself have had many lives
before this one and expect to have more. Finally, when I have it all worked out and all the lessons have been learned, I will attain enlightenment and moksha,
liberation. This means I will still exist, but will no longer be pulled back to be born in a physical body. Even modern science is discovering reincarnation. There have
been many cases of individuals’ remembering their past lives. These have been researched by scientists, psychiatrists and parapsychologists during the past decades
and documented in good books and videos. Young children speak of vivid past-life memories, which fade as they grow older, as the veils of individuality shroud the soul’s intuitive understanding. Great mystics speak of their past lives as well. So do our ancient scriptures, the Vedas, reveal the reality of reincarnation. Reincarnation is believed in by the Jains and the Sikhs, by the Indians of the Americas, and by the Buddhists, certain Jewish sects, the Pagans and the many indigenous faiths. Even Christianity originally taught reincarnation, but formally renounced it in the twelfth century. It is, in fact, one of the widest held articles
of faith on planet Earth.
Elaboration: At death the soul leaves the physical body. But the soul does not die. It lives on in a subtle body called the astral body. The astral body exists in the nonphysical dimension called the astral plane, which is also the world we are in during our dreams at night when we sleep. Here we continue to have experiences until we are reborn again in another physical body as a baby. Each reincarnating soul chooses a home and a family which can best fulfill its next step of learning and maturation. After many lifetimes of following dharma, the soul is fully matured in love, wisdom and knowledge of God. There is no longer a need for physical birth, for all lessons have been learned, all karmas fulfilled. That soul is then liberated, freed from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.Evolution then continues in the more refined spiritual worlds. Similarly, after we graduate from elementary school we never have to go back to the fifth grade. We have gone beyond that level in understanding. Thus, life’s ultimate goal is not money, not clothes, not sex, not power, not food or any other of the instinctive needs. These are natural pursuits, but our real purpose on this Earth is to know, to love and to serve God and the Gods. That leads to the rare and priceless objects of life: enlightenment and liberation. This Hindu view of the soul’s evolution answers many otherwise bewildering questions, removing the fear of death while giving assurance that each soul is evolving toward the same spiritual destiny, for the Hindu believes that karma and reincarnation are leading every single soul to God Realization.
3. What is karma?
Karma is one of the natural laws of the mind, just as gravity is a law of
matter. Just as God created gravity to bring order to the physical world, He created karma as a divine system of justice that is self-governing and infinitely
fair. It automatically creates the appropriate future experience in response to the current action. Karma simply means “action” or “cause and effect.” When something
happens to us that is apparently unfortunate or unjust, it is
not God punishing us. It is the result of our own past actions. The Vedas, Hinduism’s revealed scripture, tell us if we sow goodness, we will reap goodness; if we sow evil, we will reap evil. Thus we create our own destiny through thought and action. And the divine law is: whatever karma we are experiencing in our life is just what we need at the moment, and nothing can happen but that we have the strength to meet it. Even harsh karma, when faced in wisdom, can be the greatest catalyst for spiritual growth. Understanding the way karma works, we seek to live a good and virtuous life through right thought, right speech and right action. This is
Elaboration: Karma is basically energy. I throw energy out through thoughts, words and deeds, and it comes back to me, in time, through other people. Karma is our best teacher, for we must always face the consequences of our actions and thus improve
and refine our behavior, or suffer if we do not. We Hindus look at time as a circle, as things cycle around again. Professor Einstein came to the same conclusion. He saw time as a curve, and space as well. This would eventually make a circle. Karma
is a very just law which, like gravity, treats everyone the same. Because we Hindus understand karma, we do not hate or resent people who do us harm. We understand
they are giving back the effects of the causes we set in motion at an earlier time. The law of karma puts man at the center of responsibility for everything he does and everything that is done to him. Karma is a word we hear quite often on television. “This is my karma,” or “It must have been something I did in a past life to bring such good karma to me.” We hear karma simply defined as “What goes around, comes
around.” In some schools of Hinduism, karma is looked upon as something bad—perhaps because we are most aware of this law when we are facing difficult karma, and not so aware of it when life is going smoothly. Even some Hindus equate karma with sin, and this is what evangelical Christians preach that it means. Many people believe that karma means “fate,” a preordained destiny over which one has no control, which is also untrue. The process of action and reaction on all levels—physical, mental
and spiritual—is karma. Here is an example. I say kind words to you, and you feel peaceful and happy. I say harsh words to you, and you become ruffled and upset.
The kindness and the harshness will return to me, through others, at a later time. This is karma. An architect thinks creative, productive thoughts while drawing plans for a new building. But were he to think destructive, unproductive thoughts, he would
soon not be able to accomplish any kind of positive task even if he desired to do so. This is karma, a natural law of the mind. We must also be very careful about our thoughts, because thought.
4. Why Do Hindus worship the cow?
Hindus regard all living creatures as sacred—mammals, fishes, birds and more. We acknowledge this reverence for life in our special affection for the cow. At festivals we decorate and honor her, but we do not worship her in the sense that we worship the Deity. To the Hindu, the cow symbolizes all other creatures. The cow is a symbol of the Earth, the nourisher, the ever-giving, undemanding provider. The cow represents life and the sustenance of life. The cow is so generous, taking nothing but water, grass and grain. It gives and gives and gives of its milk, as does the liberated soul give of his spiritual knowledge. The cow is so vital to life, the virtual sustainer of life, for many humans. The cow is a symbol of grace and abundance. Veneration of the cow instills in Hindus the virtues of gentleness, receptivity and connectedness with nature.
Elaboration: Who is the greatest giver on planet Earth today? Who do we see on every table in every country of the world— breakfast, lunch and dinner? It is the cow. McDonald’s cow-vending golden arches and their rivals have made fortunes on the humble cow. The generous cow gives milk and cream, yogurt and cheese, butter and ice cream, ghee and buttermilk. It gives entirely of itself through sirloin, ribs, rump, porterhouse and beef stew. Its bones are the base for soup broths and glues. It gives the world leather belts, leather seats, leather coats and shoes, beef jerky cowboy hats—you name it. The only cow-question for Hindus is, “Why don’t more people respect and protect this remarkable creature?” Mahatma Gandhi once said, “One can measure the greatness of a nation and its moral progress by the way it treats its animals. Cow protection to me is not mere protection of the cow. It means protection of all that lives and is helpless and weak in the world. The cow means the entire subhuman world.” In the Hindu tradition, the cow is honored, garlanded and given special feedings at festivals all over India, most importantly the annual Gopashtama festival. Demonstrating how dearly Hindus love their cows, colorful cow jewelry and clothing is sold at fairs all over the Indian countryside. From a young age, Hindu
children are taught to decorate the cow with garlands, paint and ornaments. Her nature is epitomized in Kamadhenu, the divine, wish-fulfilling cow. The cow and her sacred gifts—milk and ghee in particular—are essential elements in Hindu worship, penance and rites of passage. In India, more than 3,000 institutions called Gaushalas, maintained by charitable trusts, care for old and infirm cows. And while many Hindus are not vegetarians, most respect the still widely held code of abstaining from eating beef. By her docile, tolerant nature, the cow exemplifies the cardinal virtue of Hinduism, noninjury, known as ahimsa. The cow also symbolizes
dignity, strength, endurance, maternity and selfless service. In the Vedas, cows represent wealth and joyous Earthly life. From the Rig Veda (4.28.1;6) we read. “The cows have come and have brought us good fortune. In our stalls, contented, may they stay! May they bring forth calves for us, many-colored, giving milk for Indra each day. You make, O cows, the thin man sleek; to the unlovely you bring beauty. Rejoice our homestead with pleasant lowing. In our assemblies we laud your vigor.”
5. Are Hindus idol worshipers?
The stone or metal deity images in Hindu temples and shrines are not mere symbols of the Gods. They are the form through which their love, power and blessings flood
forth into this world. We may liken this mystery to our ability to communicate with others through the telephone. We do not talk to the telephone; rather we use it as a means of communication with another person. Without the telephone, we could not
converse across long distances; and without the sanctified icon in the temple, we cannot easily commune with the Deity. Divinity can also be invoked and felt in
a sacred fire, or in a tree, or in the enlightened person of a satguru. In our temples, God is invoked in the sanctum by highly trained priests. Through the practice of yoga, or meditation, we invoke God inside ourselves. Yoga means to yoke oneself to God within. The image or icon of worship is a focus for our prayers and devotions. Another way to explain icon worship is to acknowledge that Hindus believe God is everywhere, in all things, whether stone, wood, creatures or people. So, it is not surprising that they feel comfortable worshiping the Divine in His material manifestation. The Hindu can see God in stone and water, fire, air and ether, and inside his own soul. Indeed, there are Hindu temples which have in the sanctum sanctorum no image at all but a yantra, a symbolic or mystic diagram. However, the sight of the image enhances the devotee’s worship.
Elaboration: In Hinduism one of the ultimate attainments is when the seeker transcends the need of all form and symbol. This is the yogi’s goal. In this way Hinduism is the least idol-oriented of all the religions of the world. There is no religion that is more aware of the transcendent, timeless, formless, causeless Truth. Nor is there any religion which uses more symbols to represent Truth in preparation for that realization. Humorously speaking, Hindus are not idle worshipers. I have never seen a Hindu worship in a lazy or idle way. They worship with great vigor and devotion, with unstinting regularity and constancy. There’s nothing idle about our ways of worship! (A little humor never hurts.) But, of course, the question is about “graven images.” All religions have their symbols of holiness through which the sacred flows into the mundane. To name a few: the Christian cross, or statues of Mother Mary and Saint Theresa, the holy Kaaba in Mecca, the Sikh Adi Granth enshrined in the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Arc and Torah of the Jews, the image of a meditating Buddha, the totems of indigenous and Pagan faiths, and the artifacts of the holy men and women of all religions. Such
icons, or graven images, are held in awe by the followers of the respective faiths. The question is, does this make all such religionists idol worshipers? The answer is, yes and no. From our perspective, idol worship is an intelligent, mystical practice shared by all of the world’s great faiths. The human mind releases itself from suffering through the use of forms and symbols that awaken reverence, evoke sanctity and spiritual wisdom. Even a fundamentalist Christian who rejects all forms of idol worship, including those of the Catholic and Episcopal churches, would resent someone who showed disrespect for his Bible. This is because he considers it sacred. His book and the Hindu’s icon are much alike in this way. Are Hindus idol worshipers? Hindus do not worship a stone or metal “idol” as God. We worship God through the image. We invoke the presence of God from the higher, unseen worlds, into the image so that we can commune with Him and receive His blessings.
6. Are Hindus forbidden to eat meat?
Our religion does not lay down rigid “do’s and don’ts.” There are no commandments.
Hinduism gives us the wisdom to make up our own mind on what we put in our body, for it is the only one we have—in this life, at least. Vegetarians are more numerous in the South of India than in the North. This is because of the North’s cooler climactic conditions and past Islamic influence. Priests and religious leaders are definitely vegetarian, so as to maintain a high level of purity and spiritual
consciousness to fulfill their responsibilities, and to awaken the refined areas of their nature. Soldiers and law-enforcement officers are generally not vegetarians, because they have to keep alive their aggressive forces in order to perform their work. To practice yoga and be successful in meditation, it is mandatory to be vegetarian. It is a matter of wisdom—the application of knowledge at any given moment. Today, about twenty percent of all Hindus are vegetarians.
Elaboration: This can be a touchy subject. There are several ways to respond, depending on who is asking and the background in which he was raised. But the
overlying principle that defines the Hindu answer to this query is ahimsa—refraining from injuring, physically, mentally or emotionally, anyone or any living creature. The Hindu who wishes to strictly follow the path of noninjury naturally adopts a vegetarian diet. It’s a matter of conscience more than anything else. When we eat meat, fish, fowl and eggs, we absorb the vibration of the instinctive creatures into our nerve system. This chemically alters our consciousness and amplifies our lower nature, which is prone to fear, anger, jealousy, confusion, resentment and the like. Many Hindu swamis advise followers to be well-established vegetarians prior to initiation into mantra, and to remain vegetarian thereafter. But most do\ not insist upon vegetarianism for those not seeking initiation. Swamis have learned that families who are vegetarian have fewer problems than those who are not. Poignant scriptural citations counsel against eating meat. The Yajur Veda (36.18) calls for kindliness toward all creatures living on the Earth, in the air and in the water. The Tirukural, a 2,200- year-old masterpiece of ethics, states, “When a man realizes that meat is the butchered flesh of another creature, he will abstain from eating it” (257). The Manu Dharma Shastras state, “Having well considered the origin of flesh and the cruelty of fettering and slaying corporeal beings, let one entirely abstain from eating flesh,” and “When the diet is pure, the mind and heart are pure.” For guidance in this and all matters, Hindus also rely on their own guru, community elders, their own conscience and their knowledge of the benefits of abstaining from meat and enjoying a wholesome vegetarian diet. Of course, there are good Hindus who eat meat, and there are not-so-good Hindus who are vegetarians.
Today in America and Europe millions of people are vegetarians because they want to live a long time and be healthy. Many feel a moral obligation to shun the mentality of violence to which meat-eating gives rise. There are good books on vegetarianism,
such as Diet for a New America. There is also a fine magazine called Vegetarian Times. The booklet “How to Win an Argument with a Meat-Eater” is online at: www.himalayanacademy.com/ books/pamphlets/WinMeatEaterArgument.html.
Are Hindus forbidden to eat meat? Hindus teach vegetarianism as a way to live with a minimum of hurt to other beings. But in today’s world not all Hindus are vegetarians.
7. Do Hindus have a Bible?
Like the Taoist's Tao Te Ching, the Buddhist Dhammapada, the Sikh Adi Granth, the
Jewish Torah, the Christian Bible and the Muslim Koran—the Veda is the Hindu holy book. The four books of the Vedas—Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva—include over 100,000 verses. The knowledge imparted by the Vedas ranges from earthy devotion to high philosophy. Their words and wisdom permeate Hindu thought, ritual and meditation. The Vedas are the ultimate scriptural authority for Hindus. Their oldest portions are said by some to date back as far as 6,000 bce, orally transmitted for most of history and written down in Sanskrit in the last few millennia, making them the world’s longest and most ancient scripture. The Vedas open a rare window into ancient Indian society, proclaiming life’s sacredness and the way to oneness with God.
Elaboration: For untold centuries unto today, the Vedas have remained the sustaining force and authoritative doctrine, guiding followers in ways of worship, duty and enlightenment. The Vedas are the meditative and focus for millions of monks and a billion seekers. Their are chanted from memory by priests and laymen daily as liturgy in temple worship and domestic ritual. All Hindus wholeheartedly accept the Vedas, yet each draws selectively, interprets freely and amplifies abundantly. Over time, this tolerant allegiance has woven the varied tapestry of Indian Hindu Dharma. (priestly manuals), Aran yakas (forest treatises) and Upanishads (enlightened discourses). The Samhitas and Brahmanas affirm that God is immanent and transcendent and prescribe ritual worship, mantra and devotional hymns to establish communication with the spiritual worlds. The hymns are invocations to the One Divine and to the Divinities of nature, such as the Sun, the Rain, the Wind, the Fire and the Dawn— as well as prayers for matrimony, progeny, prosperity, concord, protection, domestic rites and more. The Aranyakas and Upanishads outline the soul’s evolutionary journey, provide yogic philosophical training and propound realization of man’s oneness with God as the destiny of all souls. Today, the Vedas are published in Sanskrit, English, French, German and other languages. But it is the popular, metaphysical Upanishads that have been most amply and ably translated.
“Let there be no neglect of Truth.
Let there be no neglect of dharma.
Let there be no neglect of welfare.
Let there be no neglect of prosperity.
Let there be no neglect of study and teaching.
Let therebe no neglect of the duties to theGods and the ancestors” (Taittiriya
Upanishad 1.11.1). “United your resolve, united your hearts, may your spirits be one, that you may long together dwell in unity and concord!” (Rig Veda 10.191.4). “There, where there is no darkness, nor night, nor day, nor being, nor nonbeings, there is the Auspicious One, alone, absolute and eternal. There is the glorious
splendor of that Light from whom in the beginning sprang ancient wisdom” (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.18). “Taking as a bow the great weapon of the Upanishad, one should put upon it an arrow sharpened by meditation. Stretching it with a thought
directed to the essence of That, penetrate that Imperishable as the mark, my friend” (Mundaka Upanishad 2.2.3).
8. Why do many Hindus wear a dot
near the middle of their forehead?
The dot worn between the eyes or in the middle of the forehead is a sign that one is a Hindu. It is called the bindi in the Hindi language, bindu in Sanskrit and pottu in
Tamil. In olden days, all Hindu men and women wore these marks, and they both also wore earrings. Today it is the women who are most faithful in wearing the bindi.
dot has a mystical meaning. It represents the third eye of spiritual sight, which sees things the physical eyes cannot see. Hindus seek to awaken their inner sight
through yoga. The forehead dot is a reminder to use and cultivate this spiritual vision to perceive and better understand life’s inner —to see things not just physically, but with the “mind’s eye” as well. The bindi is made
red powder (called sindur, traditionally made from powdered turmeric and fresh lime juice), sandalpaste or cosmetics. In addition to the simple dot, there are many types of forehead marks, known as tilaka in Sanskrit. Each mark represents a particular sect or denomination of our vast religion. We have four major sects: Saivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Smartism. Vaishnava Hindus, for example, wear a V shaped tilaka made of white clay. Elaborate tilakas are worn by Hindus mainly at religious events,though many wear the simple bindi, indicating they are Hindu, even in the general public. By these marks we know what a person believes, and therefore know how to begin conversations. For Hindu women, the forehead dot is also a beauty mark, not unlike the black mark European and American women once wore on the cheek. The red bindi is generally a sign of marriage. A black bindi is often worn before marriage to ward off the evil eye. As an exotic fashion statement, the dot’s color complements the color of a lady’s sari. Ornate bindis are even worn by actresses in popular American TV shows.
Elaboration: Men and women of a particular religion wishing to identify themselves to one another often do so by wearing distinctive religious symbols. Often these are blessed in their temples, churches or synagogues. Christians wear a cross on a necklace. Jewish boys wear small leather cases that hold scriptural passages,
and the round cap called yarmulka. Sikh men wear their\ hair in a turban. In many countries, Muslim women cover their head with a scarf, called hajib. Do not be ashamed to wear the bindi on your forehead in the United States, Canada, Europe or any country of the world. Wear it proudly. The forehead dot will distinguish you from all other people as a very special person, a Hindu, a knower of eternal truths. You will never be mistaken as belonging to another nationality or religion. The sacred forehead dot is an easy way of distinguishing Hindus from Muslims. And don’t be intimidated when people ask you what the dot means. Now you have lots of information to give a good answer, which will probably lead to more questions about your venerable religion. For both boys and girls, men and women, the dot can be small
or large depending on the circumstance, but should always be there when appropriate. Naturally, we don’t want to fl aunt our religion in the face of others. We observe that many Christian men and women take off or conceal their crosses in the corporate
business world. Some communities and institutions disallow wearing religious symbols entirely.
9. Are the Gods of Hinduism really married?
In popular, village Hinduism God is represented as male, and God’s energy, or Shakti, is personified as His spouse—for example, Vishnu and
Lakshmi. In Hindu temples, art and mythology, God is everywhere seen as the beloved, divine couple. Philosophically, however, the caution is always made that God and God’s energy are One, and the metaphor of the inseparable divine couple serves only to illustrate this Oneness. Hinduism is taught on many levels to many different people, and to uneducated people who are not able to understand high philosophy, Hinduism is taught in story form. Because the temple is the center of every Hindu community, and everyone is focused on the temple and the Gods within it, the Gods are the major players in these stories. Hindus who understand the higher philosophy
seek to find God on the inside while also worshiping God in the temples. Simple folk strive to be like a God, or like a Goddess. These tales, called Puranas, have long been the basis of dance, plays and storytelling around the fire in the homes to children as they are growing up. The stories illustrate how a family should live, how they should raise their children, and much more. Before the printing press, there were few books, and Hinduism was conveyed orally through stories and parables. While these often violent children’s tales should not be perpetuated, there remains
much of value in the extensive writings of the Puranas.
Elaboration: Those who learn the higher Hindu philosophies know that Gods are neither male nor female. In fact, attaining to that Godly level of being is one of the mystical goals of yoga. This is accomplished by blending the feminine and masculine currents, ida and pingala, into the spiritual current, sushumna, in the center of the spine within each individual. Hindus know that the Gods do not marry, that they are complete within themselves. This unity is depicted in the traditional icon of Ardhanarishvara, Siva as half man and half woman, and in the teaching that Siva and Shakti are one, that Shakti is Siva’s energy. Siva is dearly loved as our Father-Mother God. Yet, sexual gender and matrimonial relations are of the physical and emotional realms, whereas the Gods exist in a stratum that far supersedes these levels of life. For that matter, the soul itself is neither male nor female. Some modern swamis now urge devotees not to pay any attention to Puranic stories about the Gods, saying that they have no relationship with the world today—that they are misleading and confusing and should no longer be taught to the children. Instead, they encourage followers to deepen themselves with the higher philosophies of the Vedic Upanishads and the realizations of Hindu seers. Other faiths sometimes criticize the Hindu religion as a sort of comic-book religion, and we should not be part of perpetuating that image by passing on such misconceptions as the marriage of the Gods. Other religions move and adjust with the times. Hinduism must also do so. It must offer answers to the questions about God, soul and world—answers that are reasonable, that can be understood and accepted even by a child, that are coherent,
sensible and strictly in accord with scripture and tradition. This is necessary in the technological age, necessary in order that Hinduism will be a religion of the future, not of the past.
10. What about caste and untouchability?
Caste, from the Portuguese casta, meaning “clan” or “lineage,” refers to two systems within Hindu society. The first is varna, the division of society into four groups: workers, business people, lawmakers/ enforcers and priests. The second is jati, the thousands of occupational guilds whose members follow a single profession. Jati members usually marry within their own jati and follow traditions associated with their jati. In urban areas they often enter other occupations, but still usually arrange marriages within the jati. Wealth, especially in urban areas, often trumps caste. Industrialization and education have greatly altered India’s jati system by eliminating or changing the professions upon which it was originally based, and opening new employment options. The jatis are evolving to function today less like guilds and more like large clans of related families. At the bottom are the so-called untouchables, who perform the dirtiest jobs and have suffered much like the black people of America, who were freed from slavery just 138 years ago. Strong laws have been passed in India to end caste-based discrimination. Modern Hindus rightly deplore caste abuse and are working to set matters right. Just as in the US, it is a difficult task that will take decades, especially in the villages.
Elaboration: Caste is, no doubt, the biggest stick that Hindus get beaten with. It is taught as the defining attribute, or fatal flaw, of Hinduism in Western schools. Untouchability as a formal system shocks Westerners. One response we can make is to separate social stratification from the issue of racial/class discrimination. First issue: social stratification. India is one of the world’s oldest societies. It has sustained a continuity of culture and religion for thousands of years. Europe, on the other hand, has seen millenniums of upheaval. Still, one only has to go back to before the 17thcentury industrial revolution to find a social system that is similar to caste. European society then comprised the landed elite (including royalty, a hereditary caste maintained to this day), merchants, artisans and peasants. The artisans formed guilds, occupation-based organizations that served both as closed unions and marketing monopolies. The guild legacy remains in Western\ surnames such as Smith, a metal worker. There was no public education system, and each generation learned at home the family occupation. There was little technological change, so jobs were static. Industrialization and public education altered (but did not destroy) this class system in the West, just as they are changing caste and jati in India today. Second issue: racial/class discrimination. Most Indians are unfamiliar with the extent of discrimination in the West today. In America, for example,\ hundreds of thousands live destitute and homeless on city streets, as true “untouchables.” US cities are more racially segregated than before the 1950s Civil Rights Movement because of “white flight” to the suburbs. Black Americans receive harsher sentences than white Americans for the same crime. Many Native American Indians live at the bottom of society, destitute and alcoholic, on barren Indian reservations. This kind of response—we can call it the “You’re one, too” defense—doesn’t mean Hindus should not work much harder to end caste discrimination. But it reminds others that no country in the world is yet free from racial discrimination.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Why is that in Hinduism’s doctrine(particularly Shaivism), asserts the presence of God in every living and non-living beings? Why is that Hinduism believes in reincarnation so inexorably and what is the significance behind that concept?And last but not least, the most intriguing question of all, how humans are created according to Hinduism, with reference to Shaivism . In answering these questions, I am not going to treat them individually, but rather provide explanation by treating them as a whole.
Before, I venture into the explanation, allow me to enlighten you guys with some other detail.In actual fact, Hinduism is not Hinduism at all, but its real name is Sanadhana Dharma which literally means the ‘eternal values’. Since, the values that we are speaking about is not transcient but eternal,so one could say that Sanadhana Dharma@Hinduism does not have a begining nor an end. As a matter of fact, Hinduism is a kind of teaching that emphasizes universal truth through self realization and it by its own virtue, not a religion at all. That is the very reason why, there is no perfect boundary of how would you classify a person of being a Hindu, and also no such thing as converting into Hinduism. This is simply because Hinduism, is said to be ubiquitous. The second thing that I would like to highlight here, is on the type of belief that we Hindus generally have. Many have been mistaken to assume that Hindus believe in many Gods. This is not true.Hinduism is not polytheistic but it is monotheistic. The forms of many God that you might have seen or come across with, are just expressions of different aspects of God that Hindus believe in. The rational behind this is very simple indeed; A wholesome devotion is only possible if you truly understand what you are believing in.Understanding on the other hand, requires an elucidated explanation of each behaviour of the God, since even humans are said to be intricatingly complex in terms of behaviourism. Besides that, it is also to give the devoties the liberty of choosing an image that he or she truely feels united with.Hinduism is also pantheistic. The reason for this claim, will be elaborated in the following passages. The concepts in Hinduism is so enriched and sophisicated, that it requires a step by step approach to fully comprehend the essence and since it might take years doing so, below is just a quick glimpse of what it is.
Pantheism is the belief held by people that God is in every block of living and non living matter.This sort of belief can be said an anchor in illustrating the other complex concepts in Hinduism. Based on Hinduism, humans are said to go through a cycle of life whereby the cycle has two repetitive phases and these two phases will but put into an end by the ultimate phase. The two preceding ones are mass energy/ body mass/ physical state and your soul(yes, Hindus totally believe in the existence of souls or commonly referred as Athma in the language itself). The ultimate phase and the one believed to be the paramount of all, is moksha(it is said to be the state in which you become united with God and freed from the cycle of birth). This basic concept led to the belief in reincarnations. Even in the sacred text of Hinduism, it has been explicitly stated that life evolved in Earth. At first, as we all know, there were these single cell organisms, and then life subsequently evolved into a more complex multicellular beings and right now we humans are said to be at the pinnacle of evolution, which is inevitably true, and the reasons are coming up in my following sentences. The celebrated theory of evolution initiated by Charles Darwin has provided very concrete and convincing case for the reasons of why evolution takes place,and it is untill now appears to be the most plausible answer(survival of the fittest and natural selection). In Hinduism however, we have a rather denonative meaning behind it. In the whole universe, there are only two things which are eternal or ever lasting; God and the soul within you. In each birth and reincarnation, the soul can be visualised as being inside a container of boiling water because the soul is said to be in a desperate search for a way to get back to the Source, which happens to be the God.Until then, there would be any body masses exchanged throughout the process and evolution progressively takes place because there happens to be a need for a much efficient way of doing it. After many many series of such evolution, humans seem to be the best fitted one for the task. This is because, a return to the source, will only be possible if the inner soul is post mortemed to the finest degree, in this case the soul. The other term of this, is self realization. Humans with an heightened ability to fully exploit their intelligence, have come up with various way of doing so, one of which is meditation.( the precambrian organisms could not achieve this feat because their limited and relatively simple bodily system do not require a large capacity of the brain. Evolution primarily took place to subliminally achieve a threshold intelligence so that this could be attained).
So, in a nutshell, reincarnation is a struggle of the soul to return to the source and will only cease once moksha is obtained.
The marked difference between Hinduism aand Islam is about the space in which the God is contained. Islam says, “ Everything is God’s “ .....whereas in Hinduism, it is believed that “ Everything is God”..... The only difference in both the sentences is the apostrophy ‘s’ , but...as you can see, this small difference yields two diverging concepts. Let’s look into the view of the Hindus.
As I said before, there are two eternal entities namely God and the Soul. The reason why soul is considered to be eternal is because its origin itself. A soul could be pictured as a fragmented piece of the infinitesimally fraction of the God’s thought or God himself. This is the essence of life. This maybe the rational of why babies are quiet oftenly compared with the purity of God, because at this point of life( infancy), the soul is still untarnished and therefore comparable to God. But the happenings or the event in the subsequent part of life, are the deteriorating factors of the soul, and therefore the soul loses its sanctity and eventually its true identity( the person is barred from looking into as desires develop). What is the true identity then ??? The quest to find this identity of the soul, is what commonly known as ‘ achieving moksha’. To achieve this task, as I said before, one will have to transcendent worldy thoughts and achieve the initial soul’s transparency..............
So, what happens when the person achieves moksha???......The soul will be reunited with the source as in the God.....or in another words, collectively these fragmented souls will coalesce and rejoin the God and therefore, at this moment, the enlightened soul becomes the God himself....So, the astonishing truth is, everyone and everthing is God....
Recently, I had one of my friend asking me ,what is the point of the soul’s disunion and subsequent consolidation and the reunion? This is a fair question to be asked, I mean, why this such troubling method......To explain this , let’s look at a very simple anology(it may seem lame, but good enough to give a vague idea of why these things happen).
1. Just imagine that the God is a 5 year old kid in a dark room. The room has no entrances nor exits.
2. The small boy wakes up, and switches on the light. He then walks a box containing all his toys, and then he empties the content on the floor.
3. He then, starts playing with his small soldiers figure by arranging them everywhere and making up an imaginative story in his on mind. He continues playing the rest of the day.
4. Then, when he feels tired, he keeps all the toys back into the box, switches of the light and goes to sleep.
5. He then repeats the routine on a daily basis.
The small kid is God. He lives in the room by himself. Although some may be taken aback by the concept of God creations as a past time, there is no other way of putting it better. This analogy is just for those who doubts the existence of God, since if they can be so critical about God, the analogy can be as critical and practical as they can be..I mean ...who LOVE boredom....no one and God is included. But however, for those friends who fully understand things, the truth is that, this cycle of reunion and dissociation is never-ending, and it is the way it is because it is suppose to be in that way.An end has to be put when (judgement day)..when there is moral degradation so serious that there are no chances of repenting, then, God interferes to make things right, through what I would say...... REFINEMENT...
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Dwaraka- A LOST CITY RECOVERED -
Dwaraka was a western Indian city submerged by the sea right after the death of Sri Krishna. This was regarded as a grandiose metaphor, part of a story filled with great myths. But in the early eighties an important archaeological site was found at the site of the legendary city of Lord Krishna.
Situated in Saurashtra, at a point where the Gomti river meets the Arabian sea, it has acquired multifarious names down the ages: Dwaraka, the gateway to eternal happiness; Swarnapuri, the city of gold, Swarnadwarika, the golden gateway. Why is that the rediscovery of Dwaraka has not attracted the same degree of attention in the West, as that of ancient Troy by Heinrich Schliemann?Literary texts like the Mahabharata, Harivamsha and Purana contain traditions about the foundation of Dwaraka, its planning and glory. Before the legendary city of Dwaraka was discovered some scholars were of the view that the Mahabharata being only a myth it would be futile to look for the remains of Dwaraka and that too in the sea. Others held that the Kurukshetra battle was a family feud exaggerated into a war.Excavations done by Dr. S.R. Rao at Dwaraka prove that the descriptions as found in these texts are not to be discarded as fanciful but are to be treated as based on actualities as seen by their authors. The architecture of the old Dwaraka of Krishna is majestic and wonderful. The great poet Premanand has in his Sudamacarit described its splendid beauty and majesty. Dwaraka is mentioned as Golden City in Mahabharata, Skanda Purana, Vishnu Purana and Harivamsha.Interesting descriptions about its construction are found in Purana. «Fearing attack from Jarasangh and Kalayvan on Mathura, Sri Krishna and Yadavas left Mathura and arrived at the coast of Saurashtra. They decided to build their capital in the coastal region and invoke the Vishwakarma, the deity of construction. However, Vishwakarma says that the task can be completed only if Samudradeva, the Lord of the sea provided some land. Sri Krishna worshipped Samudradeva, who was pleased and gave them land measuring 12 yojans and the divine architect Vishwakarma build Dwaraka, a city in gold». Another story says that at the time of the death of Sri Krishna, who was hit by the arrow of a hunter near Somnath at Bhalka Tirth, Dwaraka disappeared in the sea.
The information and material secured through underwater excavation of Dwaraka corroborates with the references to the city of Dwaraka, made in various Sanskrit literary works. In Mahabharata, there is a specific account about the submerging of Dwaraka by the sea, which reads thus: «The sea, which had been beating against the shores, suddenly broke the boundary that was imposed on it by nature. The sea rushed into the city. It coursed through the streets of the beautiful city. The sea covered up everything in the city. Even as they were all looking, Arjuna saw the beautiful buildings becoming submerged one by one. Arjuna took a last look at the mansion of Krishna. It was soon covered by the sea. In a matter of a few moments it was all over. The sea had now become as placid as a lake. There was no trace of the beautiful city which had been the favourite haunt of all the Pandavas. Dwaraka was just a name; just a memory».The importance of the discovery of Dwaraka lies not merely in providing archaeological evidence needed for corroborating the traditional account of the submergence of Dwaraka but also indirectly fixing the date of the Mahabharata which is a landmark in Indian history. The Thermoluminiscence date of the pottery from Bet Dwaraka which is also connected with the Krishna legend is 3520 years Before Present. Identical pottery is found in the submerged city of Dwaraka. Thus the results have proved that the account in Mahabharata as to the existence of a beautiful capital city of Dwaraka of Sri Krishna was not a mere figment of imagination but it did exist.
Besides the sea-ports, there were renowned cities which were washed away by the rivers on whose banks they were situated. We may cite here the case of Hastinapura and Pataliputra, situated on the bank of the river Ganga and falling victims to flood-fury. The Mahabharata mentions that Hastinapura was washed away by the Ganga and consequently the Pandavas had to migrate to Kaudambi. Pataliputra which was the premier city of the land (agranagara) and the test of the excellence of all the cities in the words of Dandin, the author of the Dashakumaracarita, later became the worst victim of inundation. The submerged parts of these cities are to be treated as protected monuments and great treasures of the ancient heritage of India. If Dwaraka excavations throw a flood of light on the history of the city which was associated with the life events of Krishna, the underwater excavations of Ayodhya situated on the bank of the river Sarayu might yield valuable information about the historicity of Rama, his age and contemporary urban status.
Since 1983 the Marine Archaeology Unit of the National Institute of Oceanography is engaged in the offshore exploration and excavation of the legendary city of Dwaraka in the coastal waters of Dwaraka in Gujarat. Brief accounts of the findings of the underwater search for the lost city have appeared in 1987, Progress and Prospects of Marine Archaeology in India, and in 1988, Marine Archaeology of Indian Ocean Countries.A brief account of the discovery of the submerged city of Dwaraka of Mahabarata fame and the salient features of the structures exposed as a result of underwater excavation conducted at Dwaraka and Bet Dwaraka by the Marine Archaeology Unit of the National Institute of Oceanography under the direction of Dr. S.R. Rao from 1983 to 1987 appeared in 1988 (40 years of Research - A CSIR Overview). Offshore exploration of the legendary city at Dwaraka was resumed in 1988 and continued through 1990 (see the Journal of Marine Archaeology, 1990), further seaward of the Temple of Samudranardyana (Sea God) at Dwaraka with a view to trace the plan and extent of the port-city and the purpose of the massive stone walls built on the banks of ancient Gomati. It was also necessary to ascertain whether its architectural features were in conformation with the description of the city of Dwaraka given in the epic Mahabharata. A second object was to obtain more corroborative evidence for reclamation referred to in the epic. Thirdly, the nick point where the ancient Gomati river joined the sea had to be determined. Lastly, the cause of submergence of the city was another problem that needed further investigation.Dwaraka was a city-state extending upto Bet Dwaraka (Sankhodhara) in the north and Okhamadhi in the south. Eastward it extended upto Pindara. The 30 to 40 meter-high hill on the eastern flank of Sankhodhara may be the Raivataka referred to in the Mahabharata. The general layout of the city of Dwaraka described in ancient texts agrees with that of the submerged city discovered. Four enclosures are laid bare; each one had one or two gateways. The port Aramda on way to Bet Dwaraka was the first gateway in the outer fortifications. The bastions flanking gateways of submerged Dwaraka resemble those of Kusinagara and Sravasti carved on the Gateways of Sanchi Stupa. The prasada referred to in the epic must be the high fort walls of Dwaraka, a part of which is extant. The epic says that flags were flying in the city of Dwaraka. This can be corroborated by the stone bases of flag posts found in the sea bed excavation. Umashankar Joshi is of the view that antardvipa in the region of Kugasthali referred to in the Mahabharata must be Bet Dwaraka. The Bhagavata Purana says that before leaving his mortal frame Sri Krishna put the ladies and children in boats and sent them to Sankhodhara.The buildings built of smaller fraction stone blocks are razed to the ground leaving only small portions of the thick fort walls, bastions and protection walls (built with massive stones) which are too heavy to be moved by tides and currents. From the structural remains in Dwaraka and Bet Dwaraka waters, it is possible to visualise that the city-ports were large and well planned.Every significant antiquity that corroborates a statement of the Harivamsa is the seal bearing the motif of a three-headed animal representing the bull, unicorn and goat. The Harivamsha says that every citizen of Dwaraka had to carry a mudra as a mark of identifications The seal (mudra) found in the excavation belongs to 15th-16th century B.C.Nearly two decades after marine archeologists found the lost city of Dwaraka off the coast of Gujarat the state government continues to drag its feet on a proposal to establish the world's first underwater museum to view the remains of the city submerged in the Arabian Sea.
The proposal for the museum, submitted by the Marine Archeology Center of the National Institute of Oceanography in Goa, involves laying a submarine acrylic tube through which visitors can view through glass windows the ruins of the city said to have been be ruled by Sri Krishna, 3500 years ago.Discovered in 1981, the well-fortified township of Dwaraka extended more than half a mile from the shore and was built in six sectors along the banks of a river before it became submerged. The findings are of immense cultural importance to India.«The search for the lost city has been going on since 1930» — S.R. Rao, who is still actively involved in the excavations, told India Abroad. «It is only after marine archaeologists started exploring the sea-bed near modem Dwaraka from 1981 that the structural remains of the city were found».Rao said that if a fraction of the funds spent on land archeology were made available for underwater archaeology, more light could be thrown on Dwaraka, which had much archeological significance because it was built during the second urbanization that occurred in India after the Indus Valley civilization in northwestern India. Dwaraka’s existence disproves the belief held by Western archeologists that there was no urbanization in the Indian subcontinent from the period between 1700 BC. (Indus Valley) and 550 BC. (advent of Buddhism). As no information was available about that period, they had labeled it the Dark Period.«The findings in Dwaraka and archeological evidence found compatible with the Mahabharata tradition remove the lingering doubt about the historicity of the great epic. We would say Krishna definitely existed», said Rao. What is needed, he added, is the political will to reconstruct the cultural history of the Vedic and epic periods of northern India.Over 200 experts from 84 countries, who gathered under the aegis of UNESCO in Paris recently to examine a draft convention on the issue, unanimously agreed that underwater cultural heritage was in urgent need of protection from destruction and pillaging.In Dwaraka, Krishna is supposed to have built a mighty kingdom on a site selected for him by Vishnu’s learned ‘vahan’, Garud. The city he built is supposed to have extended over 104 kms. It was well fortified and surrounded by a moat, spanned by bridges, which were removed in the event of attack by an enemy.Archaeological excavations have unearthed artifacts that prove that modern Dwaraka is the sixth settlement of the name on this site. The earlier cities have been, at various times, swallowed by the sea. The waves of the sea still lap the shores of this famous town, lending scenic beauty to this important pilgrimage destination.The Dwarkadhish temple, dedicated to Sri Krishna, is the focal point of all pilgrimages. Parts of it date from the 12th-13th century and others from the 16th, but the Jag Mandir, its sanctum sanctorum, is supposed to be 2,500 years old. The hall in front is richly carved and supported by 60 massive pillars, each one hewn out of a single stone slab. Many of the sculptures date from the Maurya, Gupta and Chalukya periods. Some of the subjects are of Jaina and Buddhist origin. The temple is 157 feet high.Another important pilgrimage site in the ancient city of Dwarka is Gomti ghat. The myth attached to the original temple says that it was built overnight at the instructions of Vajranabh, the great-grandson of Krishna, by the divine craftsman Vishvakarma. Archaeologists are undecided about the date of construction of the temple that exists now, but it is generally believed that it was rebuilt in the 10th or 11th century AD after the original temple was destroyed, probably during the Muslim invasions.Most of the temples and pilgrimage spots around Dwaraka are associated with Krishna and the Vaishnavite tradition. However, the temple of Somnath, which is not very far from this place, is dedicated to Shiva as Nagnath or Nageshwar Mahadev, and enshrines one of the twelve ‘Jyotirlinga’ which according to the Purana manifested themselves as columns of light in different parts of the country. The magnificent temple that stands there now is a replica of the original temple.An archaeological site, dating back to 7500 BC and older than hitherto oldest known human civilisations including those found in the Valley of Sumer, Harappa and Egypt, was discovered by a team of Indian marine archaeologists in the Gulf of Cambay off Gujarat coast. "For India, it was the first time that such an important discovery was reported from near Dwaraka site, the off-shore region where underwater archeological exploration was in progress", Union Minister for Science and Technology Murli Manohar Joshi said at a crowded Press conference. "Further investigation of this area was important as it might throw some light on the development of human civilisation, besides having a bearing on the Indian history", concluded Dr. Joshi.
In order to establish without any doubt wheter or not the ruins on the seabed are effectively of the city of Dwarka, a group of archaeological experts and Indian Navy divers are conducting a scientific survey off the Gujarat coast."We found building blocks and collected samples. These have been sent for dating to establish the antiquity of the site," Alok Tripathi of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) told, who is the ASI’s only marine archaeologist.A 21-member team conducted the survey in January-February 2007. It comprised 10 specialists from the ASI and 11 divers of the Indian Navy.«While the ASI has the requisite data and archaeological expertise, the Indian Navy has the necessary wherewithal and expertise for subsurface search, exploration and recovery of artefacts,» Rear Admiral, S.P.S. Cheema, assistant chief of naval staff, explained. "Before the excavation, naval divers were indoctrinated by ASI experts on the procedures and method to be followed during the investigation. These included aspects like documentation, controlled digging, and the retrieval, packaging and transportation of samples" Cheema said. "The idea was to achieve maximum extraction without damaging the environment," he added.Before commencing diving operations, a specialised naval hydrographic team systematically surveyed the area off Dwarka with the help of multi-beam sonar and side-scan sonar. The navy had deployed its survey ship INS Nirdeshak for this in November 2006."This enabled us generate a 3D model of the seabed so we could narrow down the area of search. We initially marked out a 200 metre by 200 metre area and eventually narrowed this down to 50x50 metre area, "Tripathi explained.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
First before knowing the answer to this question, you should first get a clear picture of what heart orientated actually means. When you say that you are actually following your heart, it rhetorically means that you deliberately allowed emotions to take over your discretions or judgments. Even emotions are triggered by the brains, though; the real mechanism behind this is unknown. So, most of the times when emotions come into play, we tend to make the wrong decisions.
Intuition is totally a different thing.It is actually the subconscious part of brain trying to reach out, to be heard over your conscious mind, and it is mostly driven by belief and faith.So, in making very important decisions, an interaction between the subconscious and the conscious mind is important(both are in the brain) and henceforth, the compability of the two is unquestionable.
Then 'how about following your heart’? It is strictly not advisable to use this, but in some circumstances where you are required to speak the truth or to give out a value judgment truthfully, then this may become an important aspect as well.