One As Many.

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What is behind India’s open-mindedness and tolerance, and its celebration of diversity that gives rise to such unregulated unleashing of creative energy and a multitude of everything? A number of years ago I had certain business friends visiting from Brazil. They were intrigued and could not fathom the contradiction that Indians pray to many Gods in many forms and yet when asked affirm that there is one formless God.

Religion in India is inherently monotheist. It does not maintain that there is but one God who resides in heaven and he is the God that I believe in and that people of other faiths have got it wrong. Rather it says – God Alone Is. Everything comes from him and he is in everything. That there is no one here but God and he is in all: human-beings and creatures alike; hence we must be compassionate and do no injury and wish no harm. Ahimsa Paramo Dharma – there is no higher dharma than non-violence.

Then again, for those who are not as yet spiritually advanced the scriptures prescribe, a personal God of distinct qualities, by which an individual can approach God and embrace with every part of his being. In the Indian tradition – Vishnu, Shiva, Kali, Durga, and others are these forms and aspects of God. All such aspects are not a limitation of God to that form, but are quite like windows opening to the infinite spirit.

It is idiocy to suggest that there is one creator or God for one people and a different God (and so on) for others. The Rigveda emphasizes – “Truth is one, men call it by various names”. “By whatever path human beings follow,” Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita “they are working their way to me. Those who worship other Gods also worship me even if they do not observe the usual forms. I am the object of all worship, its enjoyer and Lord”.

As a final point, Hinduism and yoga is not an ideology or dogma, but a matter of experience. Its experience is of union with God. The emphasis in the scriptures is not to accept as true but rather to inquire and explore; and through spiritual practice and under the guidance of an illumined teacher, to experience directly and to realize the truths therein yourself.

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A Universe From Nothing.

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Professor Lawrence Krauss is a prominent theoretical physicist and a specialist on cosmology and the origins of the universe. In the video clip Professor Krauss is superb, he’s witty, in great form, and he’s clearly brilliant, a present-era sage. He’s also a self-proclaimed atheist who takes immense pleasure in discrediting what he calls the fairytales of religions that claim to know everything while clearly knowing nothing.

 

In brief, until the early part of the 20th century the universe was thought to be unchanging and forever there (i.e. without a beginning). In the last century from observation of stars it was established that the universe is expanding and by retracing its steps backward it was concluded that space and time and everything else emerged from an infinitesimal singularity. This singularity, it was assumed, must be infinitely dense to hold within it all the matter and energy that is in the universe. With the discovery of dark matter, dark energy and cosmic background radiation in the last decade, scientist have been able, with the help of experimentation and computer simulation, to paint a more precise picture of the origins of the universe where remarkably the universe must emerge from a singularity that is not infinitely dense but is “nothingness”.

The Rig-Veda is oldest of religious scriptures that some believe dates back to about 8000 BC or earlier. In it the hymn, the Nasadiya Sukta, speaks of the origins of the universe. It dispels with all myth and is striking in its scientific temper and caution and paints a picture not unlike that above. It also informs that these truths were revealed by the sages and that these profound insights are the outcome of spiritual exploration.

The non-existent was not; the existent was not at that time. The atmosphere was not, nor the heavens which is beyond. What was concealed? Where? In whose protection? Was it water? An unfathomable abyss?

There was neither death nor immortality then. There was not distinction of day or night. That alone breathed windless by its own power. Other than That there was not anything else.

Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning. All this was an indistinguishable sea. That which becomes, That which was enveloped by the void, That alone was born through the power of heat.

Upon That desire arose in the beginning. This was the first discharge of thought. Sages discovered this link of the existent to the nonexistent, having searched in the heart with wisdom.

Their line (of vision) was extended across; what was below, what was above? There were impregnators, there were powers: inherent power below, impulse above.

Who knows truly? Who here will declare whence it arose, whence this creation? The gods are subsequent to the creation of this. Who, then, knows whence it has come into being?

Whence this creation has come into being, whether it was made or not? He in the highest heaven is its surveyor. Surely he knows, or perhaps he knows not.   – Rig Veda

Professor Krauss ends his lecture with saying that since the universe is expanding and accelerating the way it is, and with galaxies moving further and further apart; in the far-off future other galaxies would no longer be observable from our planet and there would be no evidence of the big bang left to see. At this time man would no longer have the means to verify the truths we are discovering today and would unwittingly rubbish all this knowledge (as fairytale perhaps).