Ask the Swami: Dharma vs. Darwin?

If you're bad enough, will you be reincarnated as an amoeba? Vedic perspectives on evolution, dinosaurs, Mars, and the Big Bang.


08/29/2008 01:33:26 PM

It is a valid question to ask about dinosaurs but honestly, why should it matter? They were enormous reptiles that were the result of evolution, and that's all they were. Hinduism isn't about recalling the past, rather its about spiritual perfection, and most of the times, things that happened millions of years ago don't affect spiritual perfection. But then again i'm a kid so....


06/28/2004 11:51:21 PM

I think hinduism and science work together well. That was a big reason why i first decided to become hindu.


05/12/2004 02:27:43 AM

bbdh, You actually raised some good questions. I myself find this to be one of the most interesting and exciting areas of psychological research. There are many theories and much research, with new ideas coming out all the time. Some of the most esoteric are ones like "The Holographic paradigm" "Morphic resonances" (Rupert Sheldrake), "quantum consciousness" (Amit Goswami) and lots more. It's an open field with a lot of potential! The brain is the most complex phenomenon in the known universe. It's a good idea to study it, in my humble opinion.


04/24/2004 12:55:28 PM

its ok aumkar13. bbdh's remark was pretty funny lol :)


04/23/2004 12:40:19 PM

bbdh: that was a needlessly sarcastic comment. Livindesert was stressing that there IS no established understanding, and hence science is malleable to people's beliefs. Jeez.


04/23/2004 12:40:15 PM

Maybe you should study Vedanta first before criticizing its philosophy and religion. Physical death, if you read the Gita, is not death of consciousness, but a moving onto a different plane of existence. Consciousness always was, is and will be. The consciousness in beyond description, not our meagre sense-consciousness! Consciousness is the base of all being, whether physical, intellectual or soul-based.


04/23/2004 12:40:06 PM

Response to the cocnsciousness and shooting people in the brain. The Hindu explanation is very simple and rational: we are so body and ego-conscious that we are fooled into thinking that it is everything. This weak identification results in identifying reality as the body, and vice versa. So if it gets shot, we we think we die. Also, the 'consciousness' you're talking about is physical, that governed by the senses. The consciousness Hindus and that this Swami speak of is the superlative consciousness, the being of the Self that is immanent and transcendant, beyond the body and mind and intellect. You're talking about sense and mind, Hindus speak of that which is beyond and greater than and encompassing that, the superlative Chit.


04/23/2004 07:01:48 AM

BS"D lid, If you ever are able to determine precisely how memories are stored and how they may be created, altered, and erased, please keep it to yourself or you may win the Nobel prize and be suddenly abducted by government agents. ;-)


04/22/2004 08:20:03 PM

I agree we need to take religion with a grain of salt but we need to do the same for science. The laws of physisics for example have changed dramaticly in a couple of years and have several different theories on the universe.There are several different theorys on why we evolved the way we did.Take a basic psyc course and you will find many differences on why and how we store memory and even simple things like why are we hungry. I love science but i also know it is very open to interpitation.


04/22/2004 06:52:44 PM

Mind you, I really think that religion and faith are great indicators of human history and psychology (both being sciences), but in other areas, they can be very wrong. And also, I don't have any bias against religion--I support a belief in God for humans (many ppl think that the idea of God is innately embedded in the human psyche--and is therefore healthy). However, I do think that we also need to look at all things with a grain of salt--we can't just accept everything on faith. The essence of humanity is to question and understand.


04/22/2004 06:52:39 PM

Livindesert, I would have to disagree. Science doesn't have to pass an acid test of faith because oftentimes, faith is an individualistic thing--it represents what one believes about God. Faith is a variable: if you go from one country or another (or even one side of the ROOM to another), ppl's ideas about God, faith, and religion all differ. Science, on the other hand, is the same for everyone. Gravity, Newton's Laws, genetic coding, etc. are all constant regardless of faith. Now, when faith tries to wander into the realm of science (like trying to explain how old Earth is, or how atoms work, or anything else), FAITH needs to pass muster with science.


04/22/2004 04:00:56 PM

Remember many college proffesors and many doctors and many scientist have faith mabey different kinds of it but they have it.Faith and religion has its place in society and connects with science in many places. We must get rid of our biases religious and atheistic in order to see it sometimes.


04/22/2004 03:55:18 PM

Our faith must pass the acid test of science but at the same time science must pass the acid test of faith.


04/21/2004 11:52:53 AM

I don't know, it sounds pretty scientific to me, and if I weren't educated, it would sound true. I mean, after all, it DOES incorporate a great number of ideas FROM science. But, alas, it doesn't work. I think hearing creation myths is exciting and fun--after all, all mythology is amazing and enlightening about the culture it came from. Whether they are true (and accurately reflect ideas like evolution) is a different story.


04/21/2004 11:52:40 AM

As logically thinking humans, we must also have our faith pass the acid test of science. I think most learned Hindus in India are very intelligent ppl, and can therefore distort scientific principles to support pseudo-science--they are REALLY good at that. For instance, my cousin (who is a bio-technology engineer, mind you) believes that ppl can levitate and he told me that some yogic school told him how it is physically possible: People who do a lot of meditation can accumulate many electrons into their body by way of a sensitive form of conduction. Then, they become negatively charged and float off of the ground, which is also negatively charged, because the two negative charged bodies repel each other.


04/21/2004 11:07:11 AM

Swami Tripurari does not seem to know very much about the Western theories he so airily discusses. For example, vedic accounts of super-giant birds are not in fact supported by the fossil record -- or the laws of physics. More significantly, he displays shocking ignorance when he askes what experiments demonstrate how consciousness arises from matter. The "experiments" were inadvertantly done in WWI and WWII: shoot thousands of young men in various parts of the brain without killing them. Watch how much of their consciousness remains. Anybody can make up nifty ideas, it's making them fit actual facts that is hard.


04/20/2004 03:21:44 PM

I also found the article quite compelling. My limited research tells me that both Eastern and Western religious beliefs can be reconciled, at some level, with modern scientific cosmology. Cherubino's links, which I visited, are arrogant, closed-minded rants of the Richard Dawkins variety. Not nearly as convincing, in my view.


04/20/2004 12:03:20 PM

As for the article, it's pretty much a good explanation of most Hindus' beliefs, whether Vaishnav or not, since it's all founded on Vedantic/Vedic and Puranic cosmological philosophy. Remember also that from the beginnings of Hindu thought there has always been an emphasis on transcending the mere body and intellect and embracing "soul-sight." We would do well to read up and study these texts, as I said below, before launching absurd critiques.


04/20/2004 11:56:13 AM

Schrodinger talks about his inspiration from Advaita Vedanta and Carl Sagan marvelled that the only faith that comes close to scientifically established magnitudes of time are the Hindus. Hindus even predicted the end of life on Earth by marking the end of Kali Yuga at the same time as modern scientists have set the implosion of the sun. People need to study up on Hinduism before they talk about its viewpoints.


04/20/2004 11:56:05 AM

Your link is severly myopic. Many Hindu beliefs like Advaita Vedanta and much of the creation stories are completely accepting of evolution as science sees it. The Avatars of Vishnu are a testament to that. Also, this scholar whose article you give us is off-base, since the Hindus of whom he speaks think that existence is also cyclic, which is not countered but in fact supported by geology. Essentially, cycles of time-space-causality continuums expanding and contracting into themselves in billions of years (called manvantaras) wave in and out of existence. Also, Darwin falls within Hindu thought, but is not against it. It's just that along with the primordial microbes we feel that something came before those to, that it is all fundamentally consciousness, energy waves, AUM. The String Theory is quite in accord. Hindu cosmology is quite different from the Abrahamic varieties and is astoundingly on the ball with modern physics, if perhaps even symbollically so.


04/19/2004 10:23:40 PM

Some interesting comments on Hindu creationism here .