Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kunal Singh: On Vedic vs Western cosmology

The difference between Hinduism and western science is primarily in
the western science's inability to separate itself from the human
perspective.  They all talk about the universe's creation in "sensory"
terms, in terms of its changing dimensions.  In Hinduism, the universe
starts from the "hiranyagarbha" (infinitesimally small womb or egg).
There are no senses at this point, therefore there is no concept of
dimension or form or even time and that is the essence of the term
"hiranyagarbha", not that it is "physically small".  That then splits
in two, representing the concept of polarity.  Brahma was said to have
problems with creation, regarding how to proceed and cause things to
"move" and Vishnu, the expert with cycles and the wielder of chakras,
helped him by splitting the egg in two and permeating it with
animation.
Basically the concept of polarity enables a cycle with two
phases, just as in an electric circuit.  Once you have polarity, you
can logically proceed to four phases, the two poles, and the continual
mergence and the emergence from these states.  Several other "layers"
or levels of creation then follow, including things such as the gunas,
the ego, the five tattwas and then the five senses and the five gross
classes of elements.  Once the issues of "primary" creation are
addressed or the very basics of creation leading to the senses and
their related elements, then "secondary" creation follows.
Subsequently, creation is followed all the way down to the concept of
sexuality.  Because at first all of Brahma's creations are yogis and
exhibit no desire to procreate.  Then he goes to Shiva for help on the
explanation of sexuality and he is shown the half-man/half-woman form
united in the single body and that dispels his confusion.

But the essential difference is that Hinduism addresses the issue
quite abstractly with a profound understanding of the senses and the
nature of the self carefully discriminating between the more
fundamental concepts with derived concepts.  Western science seems to
rely excessively on the physical explanation.

One day it claims the universe is expanding, the other day it claims
that it is shrinking.
One day some guy comes up with the theory that space is like a fabric
and all the matter is suspended in it like balls on a sheet causing
depressions which cause gravity or mass to mass attraction.  Then
another guy insists that the world is created from waves.  Some are
intrigued by light.  In short, I find the western explanations quite
chaotic and almost always centered around visual or sensory concepts
which makes one wonder how all that precedes the senses could possibly
be explained!

13 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. YSV why were you holding back Kunal Singh's articles all this time :) ? These articles are full of good knowledge on Hinduism .

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    2. Actually they are from usenet newsgroups from 1994 to 2004 (when for whatever reason he stopped posting) and are archived now in deja.com

      Honestly though they are available Google usenet archives are in pretty sloppy shape. You cant find anyting unless you know exactly what you are looking for. And since I was familiar with his content, I went looking for it and found this stuff after days of searching.

      I will have more up but too soon as in the next few days I will be somewhat offline. And hope to put some of more KS posts along with my original stuff as well as reply to some perceptive comments by you , Sagar, PremChand,Anu et al

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    3. Muruga/Skanda is more Shiva's son than Avatar but in the end he is a product of Shaivite philosophy courtesy of Vishwamitra.

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I have tried to respond to some of the claims made in this post. Its not a personal vendetta against the author or anything, just an effort to clear some misconceptions. :)

    "They all talk about the universe's creation in "sensory" terms, in terms of its changing dimensions."

    Physics (or "western" science) acknowledges that there was no concept of time prior to the big bang and since all the matter is concentrated in a tiny space, there is no light or sound either. This is all well known to modern physicists.

    "...and that is the essence of the term "hiranyagarbha", not that it is "physically small"."

    Please show using etymology or examples from Sanskrit texts or through context that hiranyagarbha means infinitesimal. Until then, I am happy to consider this as your speculative hypothesis.

    "Basically the concept of polarity enables a cycle with two phases, just as in an electric circuit."

    Polarity per se does not enable a cycle. It only enables a linear flow. There is current flowing in only one direction from +ve charge to -ve charge.

    "Once you have polarity, you can logically proceed to four phases, the two poles, and the continual mergence and the emergence from these states."

    What are these four phases, states and all?

    "Because at first all of Brahma's creations are yogis and exhibit no desire to procreate."

    They don't procreate, and I presume they can stay young and alive forever by performing some yogic penance etc., so problem solved! What is the need to introduce sexuality and complicate the picture?

    "Western science seems to rely excessively on the physical explanation."

    Experimental verification and theory are separate branches in science as well. For example, string theorists are happy to continue their research with no physical explanation whatsoever.

    "One day it claims the universe is expanding, the other day it claims
    that it is shrinking."

    When did a scientist ever claim that the universe IS shrinking? Note the tense of the capitalized word.

    "In short, I find the western explanations quite chaotic"

    I think what you mean is sophisticated, layered and yes not completely settled yet. If anyone tells me that they have the entire Universe explained in their books, I'd do well to be skeptical.

    "...which makes one wonder how all that precedes the senses could possibly
    be explained!"

    Did you know that we can look back in time? Don't be surprised, its because the universe is so large, events that happened billions of years ago are just now reaching us because the speed of light is finite. Hence science is able to explain what was happening even before our senses were created. Even the Sun you are looking at is the Sun as it was 8.3 minutes ago!

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    1. @Premchand

      Like you I don't quite get the stuff about the polarities and phases but I found it intriguing nonetheless

      I posted because he made a strong point about measuring the birth of universe with our sensory apparatus because they were no senses yet

      So certainly I don't think we throw out modern scientific methods in understanding what occurred, perhaps philosophical/mythological concepts would aid and inspire a more sophisticated scientific approach

      After all it worked for Newton et al!

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    2. I think philosophy could help a little in science. After all science was once called natural philosophy. I wont go as far as Stephen Hawking does and declare that philosophy does not have a future. But mythology, no. Myth by its very definition is not fact. Interesting that you mentioned Newton. Where did philosophical/mythological concepts help him in his work?

      Regarding measuring the birth of universe with our sensory apparatus, I think I have already covered this point but let me put it in different words: There are many aspects of the Universe's past that has been preserved for us intact. Even though there was no one to see what was going on then, the relics of the past have been preserved to some extent until this day so we can use our senses and logic to reconstruct the past. It is possible that some data is forever lost to us too.

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    3. "In Hinduism, the universe starts from the "hiranyagarbha" (infinitesimally small womb or egg)." -Technically the universe or creation doesn't exactly start from the HiranyaGarbha phase.It starts with the Jyoti Samudra of Ajna chakra.HiranyaGarbha phase is the appearance of the cosmic consciousness and the will to procreate from Narayana's yoganidra in the Karan Sagar.

      "Basically the concept of polarity enables a cycle with two
      phases, just as in an electric circuit. " - After reading this part multiple times,all I can understand is that Kunal Singh is probably referring to the two polarities and the transitions from each other (in two directions) as the four phases.But here Kunal could have expressed his theory in a better way.I think he chose brevity in this case .

      "Because at first all of Brahma's creations are yogis and
      exhibit no desire to procreate." -Sorry I would differ here completely from what Kunal is saying.Brahma is born by the union of Purusha(Vishnu) and Prakriti(Karan Sagar on which Vishnu rests).So it is said allegorically that Brahma is born out of the navel of Narayana,who sleeps on the ocean(Prakriti).And creation itself is a sexual affair in the broader sense.It is represented by the Shiva-linga or the Radha-Krishna.So I don't understand why Brahma would have a problem with understanding sexuality.Any creation started by Brahma would be inherently sexual,whether they choose to procreate or not,because Brahma himself is the result of the union of Purusha and Prakriti.

      " Western science seems torely excessively on the physical explanation. One day it claims the universe is expanding, the other day it claims that it is shrinking." - Kunal is bashing western science a little more than it deserves :) Anyway he is right on the drawback of western science.I had been discussing this with PremChand on a separate thread.The instruments of modern science must transcend the barriers of space-time dimensions in order to understand the real essence.This is exactly where yoga offers the solution .
      Actually modern science is not as random as Kunal is trying to show.It is a very systematic process of reaching to deeper levels of reality.

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    4. @JAM

      "The instruments of modern science must transcend the barriers of space-time dimensions in order to understand the real essence.This is exactly where yoga offers the solution ."

      We need to first of all substantiate that yoga transcends space and time. Whatever experiences you are getting out of yoga, how do you know that it is actually beyond space and time?

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    5. @ Prem Chand

      To substantiate this,you will have to take up yoga seriously :) There is no other way to prove this.Yoga is an inward journey,and the problem of modern science is that they are still far away from detecting consciousness/chaitanya with instruments.However some progress is being made with the attempt to explain souls as high-frequency bioplasma,but that is still at a very nascent stage.

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    6. That is why I am asking, whatever experiences you are getting out of yoga, how do you know that it is actually beyond space and time? :)

      I doubt that the high-frequency bioplasma research is going to produce any results, since experiments like this have been done for a long time like the now discredited Noetic Science.

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    7. @ Prem Chand

      The experiments haven't yet started as far as I know :) We still don't have the required potential or tech prowess for that,but I am pretty sure that in future modern science will define both soul and consciousness in terms of physics.
      Now on the point of yoga transcending space-time complex,you will not believe or accept my words,so I didn't mention it at first :) But anyway since you insist I am taking it up.As you raise Kundalini through each chakra,progressive levels of realisation will be opened up infront of you.In the Anahata and Bisuddha chakras you will be able to see many civilized planets in the universe in the Anahata and Bisuddha chakra,both of the 3d universe and higher dimensions.Even before that you will see the black hole in your meditation.And when your consciousness reaches Ajna,you will be able to tell many things about completely unknown people,answer random questions or see the future accurately.Ofcourse you will not accept all this,and hence I was trying to duck your question :) As of now the only way for this is to verify for yourself by taking up meditation.Within 2 to 3 centuries ,science might be able to define the whole process of Kundalini with the perspectives of modern physics.This is why I think science and yoga needs to approach towards each other without any ego problems :) BTW at present they are doing that,albeit slowly.

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