Nick Matzke posted Entry 2430 on July 7, 2006 10:26 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2425

Did you ever wonder what was behind that weird amicus brief that a Hindu group filed (with ID advocate Edward Sisson’s help) in support of the evolution warning label sticker in Selman v. Cobb County? You remember, the one that ended by citing a Supreme Court decision, only the Supreme Court in question was the Supreme Court of India? Well, you’re in luck, because I just came across an article by Meera Nanda on Vedic creationists and the alliance they’ve formed with the more traditional conservative evangelical creationists here the U.S. I’d pay good money to see these two groups in the same room with Harun Yahya…

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Comment #110652

Posted by Wheels on July 7, 2006 11:10 PM (e)

Isn’t it nices to see that Fundie-ationists can get along with people of other religious beliefs and aren’t, in fact, religious bigots?
It’s funny how, in order to oppose the dangers of Materialist Secularist Naturalist Darwinism, Christian Creationists seem perfectly willing to side with REAL unbelievers. And what’s this? Their new book makes refernces to all sorts of paranormal, psychic, reincarnation etc. claims to support it’s position, all of which tends to be fairly looked-down-upon by the Christian Right. Their integrity knows no bounds!
These tents just keep getting bigger. Maybe one day they’ll manage to include Atheist Evolutionists.

Comment #110656

Posted by Zohn Smith on July 7, 2006 11:52 PM (e)

It sickens me to see the majority of over 1 billion Hindus who are rational people being smeared by a tiny minority of imbeciles like this. Sad.

Comment #110659

Posted by k.e. on July 8, 2006 12:17 AM (e)

I wonder where the creation of an 8 trunked elephant, as well as the Earth, by gods and anti gods churning the cosmic Milky Ocean with a cosmic snake wrapped around a cosmic mountain, fits into ID…..tch, of course how stupid of me, IT’s A RELIGION.

Further, many historians regard the Vedas (Hindu myths)as some of the oldest surviving texts in the world.

Shiva H. Krishna, what is the world coming to?

Well ID could learn something from the Hindu, for example one of their creation myths begins with the profound.


In the begining there was just self.
And self was all alone and afraid, so self created Bhrahma.
(you know the rest of the story)

Yes I know, ID doesn’t do “profound” so maybe they could try the Devils Dictionary.

BRAHMA, n. He who created the Hindoos, who are preserved by Vishnu and destroyed by Siva — a rather neater division of labor than is found among the deities of some other nations. The Abracadabranese, for example, are created by Sin, maintained by Theft and destroyed by Folly. The priests of Brahma, like those of Abracadabranese, are holy and learned men who are never naughty.

O Brahma, thou rare old Divinity,
First Person of the Hindoo Trinity,
You sit there so calm and securely,
With feet folded up so demurely —
You’re the First Person Singular, surely.
—Polydore Smith

Comment #110679

Posted by Vyoma on July 8, 2006 3:42 AM (e)

Apparently the ISKCON fundies have missed the fact that the puranas contain not one but MANY creation myths, and that at least one of the many puranas notes that nobody at the time it was written had figured out exactly how the world got started. Unlike western biblical religion, there is no single, canonical group of texts that make up Hindu religious literature; purana is a type of text, not a single book. Each purana is like a miniature encyclopedia; the Narada Purana (which it is likely the ISKCON bunch holds in particular esteem) alone runs to five or six volumes when translated into English. One of the requirements for a text to qualify as a purana is that it contain at least one creation myth, but these creation myths often differ from purana to purana and frequently are in direct contradiction. In fact, several puranas contain more than one creation myths, and they don’t necessarily agree with one another.

One of the reasons that Hindus have been relatively open to science, as the article notes, is precisely the fact that Hinduism isn’t a monolithic religion. Religion offers no evidentiary way of settling disagreements about how the world works, only a sort of “he said, she said” style of argumentation based on the interpretation of ideas that are not often backed up with fact. Science is capable of filling that void in those who recognize that it exists, and no one who has bothered to study the puranas could fail to see that it does exist.

ISKCON is one more cult that spits in the face not only of science but also in the face of the very people who wrote the texts it so thoroughly abuses. Any bunch who can look at texts like Grahanamandana or Brhatsamhita and come away thinking that they can take up an anti-science viewpoint justified by Rg veda, itself the text of a religion that nobody has actually practiced for almost 2,000 years and which they themselves do not practice (when was the last time ISKCON tied a goat to the yupa and pressed soma between sacred stones, anyhow?) has failed to understand much of anything at all… neither science nor, in this case, religion.

Comment #110704

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on July 8, 2006 7:42 AM (e)

A cyber-friend of mine, Michael Brass, has authored a book on Cremo and the Hindu creationists. Find it at:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591293855/104-7505619-8149524?v=glance&n=283155

Comment #110706

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on July 8, 2006 7:45 AM (e)

Isn’t it nices to see that Fundie-ationists can get along with people of other religious beliefs and aren’t, in fact, religious bigots?

Well, they DID have a Muslim fundamentalist nut testify at Kansas that the Muslim fundamentalist nuts would like us better if we rejected “materialistic atheistic darwinism”.

Presumably the IDers had the Muslin fundamentalist nut testify in order to show that ID/creationism isn’t made up exclusively of, uh, *Christian* fundamentalist nuts….

Rumor does have it, of course, that Harun Yahya gets money and lit from ICR.

Comment #110719

Posted by k.e. on July 8, 2006 9:02 AM (e)

As Vyoma pointed out the Hindu creation myths are many and varied. IIRC, if one wanted to read ALL the Hindu sacred texts it would take more than a normal human lifetime.

Of course it would be very doubtful if the DI fellows have the slightest idea that ALL religious sacred texts ARE Myth, whether they are ones own religion or not.

Needless to say their particular Myth is the “One True Word of ShivaTM or AllahTM or Thor TM or Apollo TM or Baal TM or Ra TM” …whatever.

Comment #110725

Posted by Mephisto on July 8, 2006 10:16 AM (e)

Ooh, materialism. What a terrible thing! Imagine, believing in things that can be proven to actually exist! Shock, horror!

Comment #110728

Posted by k.e. on July 8, 2006 10:34 AM (e)

Ooh, materialism. What a terrible thing!

Not to be confused with love of Mammon!

But then, isn’t that what the DI are all about?

Comment #110744

Posted by Gary Hurd on July 8, 2006 1:02 PM (e)

OT: The pictured woman on the far right seems to have let her inner peace turn into inner pissed. I find that symbolically significant. (Hey, if we are supposed to abandon rationality and materialsm, then gather ye omens where thee may.

Comment #110745

Posted by Pieter B on July 8, 2006 1:04 PM (e)

The intellectual force driving Vedic creationism …

Coffee, meet monitor.

Comment #110747

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on July 8, 2006 1:27 PM (e)

The intellectual force driving Vedic creationism is a pair of American Hindus, Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson, both resident “scientists” of the Bhaktivedanta Institute, the research wing of ISKCON.

As I’ve said there is a Thompson for your every need. Apparently there is a Thompson for your Vedic creationist needs. I was aware of a Christian fundamentalist Thompson but this is the first time I’ve heard of Richard. I must start a study and try to describe the variation in Thompsons.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #110773

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on July 8, 2006 5:02 PM (e)

OT: The pictured woman on the far right

I dunno, that looks like a GUY to me …. ?

Comment #110789

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on July 8, 2006 5:46 PM (e)

As I’ve said there is a Thompson for your every need.

Wasn’t it Al Capone who said, “There is no problem that can’t be solved by the proper application of a Thompson”?

;)

Comment #110807

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on July 8, 2006 7:41 PM (e)

I blog-discussed dating and physics in a purana, probably Bhagvat Purana. It turns out the dating system isn’t definite, but they still manage to get the age of the universe horrendously wrong.

Creationism is bad kharma.

On the humorous side, I note that Bhaktivedanta Institute reminds me of an old expression in swedish, “bakdanta”. It mean “to slander”.

Comment #110868

Posted by Shalini, BBWAD on July 9, 2006 8:14 AM (e)

In their haste to expand their ‘big tent of creationism’ the IDiots seem to have forgotten that overstuffed big tents will explode.

Eventually.

Comment #110871

Posted by k.e. on July 9, 2006 8:46 AM (e)

….the IDiots seem to have forgotten that overstuffed big tents will explode.

Then they will be back to that very small tent, where they bugger boy scouts….

Comment #110905

Posted by Marek 14 on July 9, 2006 11:30 AM (e)

Isn’t it ironical how words change? :) In my language, a Slavic one there is a word “věda”, pronounced “v-ye-da”. Thanks to linguistic evolution, it probably HAS something to do with Veda. What does it mean? Why, “science” :)

So, apparently it’s possible to start with a creation myth and end up with science. But it probably takes millenia…

Comment #110929

Posted by Jim Harrison on July 9, 2006 12:54 PM (e)

In Sanskrit, “veda” means knowledge.

I protest against blaming an ancient poetry collection for a thoroughly contemporary point of view like Vedic creationism. Far from laying out a dogmatic theological system, most of the hymns in Veda are pleas to the Gods to provide the petitioner with more cows. Some of them are quite beautiful, however; and not a few evince a philosophical curiosity about the world: “Who really knows? Who will here proclaim it? Whence was it produced? Whence is this creation? …perhaps it formed itself, or perhaps it did not - the one who looks down on it, in the highest heaven, only he knows - or perhaps he does not know.”

Comment #110946

Posted by William E Emba on July 9, 2006 2:40 PM (e)

Bruce Thompson GQ wrote:

The intellectual force driving Vedic creationism is a pair of American Hindus, Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson, both resident “scientists” of the Bhaktivedanta Institute, the research wing of ISKCON.

As I’ve said there is a Thompson for your every need. Apparently there is a Thompson for your Vedic creationist needs.

Years ago there was a talk.origins poster named Kalki, a multiple-personality disciple of this very Richard Thompson. Kalki kept shilling Thompson’s book, but was otherwise not very coherent.

Comment #111046

Posted by Marek 14 on July 10, 2006 2:04 AM (e)

In Czech, the word “knowledge”, and related “to know” are derived from the same root (while English “science” has no direct linguistic connection, I think) :)

Comment #111250

Posted by Mikey Brass on July 10, 2006 2:47 PM (e)

Thanks to Lenny Flank for pointing me to the thread. Meera Nanda’s article is of high quality and dangerously accurate. Cremo & Thompson’s book “Forbidden Archeology” was used by an Indian high school as their science textbook not that long ago. Cremo has also written the successor to FA, which many of you will have heard of: Human Devolution.

Hindu creationists view YEC and indeed ID with disdain. However, they do see ID as a vechile for promoting their own brand of pseudoscience.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend, temporarily.

Comment #111294

Posted by Alexander Vargas on July 10, 2006 5:02 PM (e)

can anybody tell me if any brand of hinduism is giving evolution a hard time in India itself?

Comment #111298

Posted by David Tanner on July 10, 2006 5:21 PM (e)

This is the truth:Srimad Bhagavatam First Canto page 166:

Sometimes great demons and atheists become very famous due to advancing material civilisation by the help of material science and other activities with a spirit of challenging the established order of the lord. Puffed up by tiny success in material advancement, sometimes the godless materialists challenge the existence of God.

Page 418; 1.8.19 - Material scientists want to know everything by their experimental knowledge. But it is not possible to know the Supreme Person by imperfect experimental knowledge. He is described herein as adhoksaja, or beyond the range of experimental knowledge. All our senses are imperfect. We claim to observe anything and everything, but we must admit that we can observe things under certain material conditions only, which are also beyond our control. The Lord is beyond the observation of sense perception.

Page 49 1.1.1 - In this sloka, the particular words Abhijnah and Svarat are significant. These two words distinguish the supreme Lord from all the other living entities. No other living entity is either Abhijnah or Svarat. That is, no one is either fully cognizant or fully independant. Even Brahma has to meditate upon the supreme Lord in order to create. Then what to speak of great scientists like Einstein! The brains of such a scientists are certainly not the products of any human being. Scientists cannot manufacture such a brain, and what to speak of foolish atheists who defy the authority of the Lord? It is said in the Sruti-Mantras that the all-perfect Lord threw a glance over matter and thus created all living beings. The living beings are parts and parcels of the Lord, and he impregnates the vast material creation with seeds of spiritual sparks, and thus the creative energies are set in motion to enact so many wonderful creations. An atheist may argue that God is no more expert than a watchmaker, but of course God is greater because He can create machines in duplicate male and female forms. The male and female forms of different types of machineries go on producing innumerable similar machines without God’s further attention. If a man could manufacture such a set of machines that could produce other machines without his attention, then he could approach the intelligence of God. But that is not possible, for each machine has to be handled individually. Therefore no one can create as well as God. Another name for God is Asamaurdhva, which means that no one is equal to him or greater than him. Anyone who wants to get rid of the material entanglement must surrender unto Him.

Srimad- Bhagavatam [Canto 3, Ch 5 Text 23].
The Personality of Godhead, the master of all living entities, existed prior to the creatiion as one without a second. It is by His will only that creation is made possible and again everything merges in Him. This Supreme Self is symptomized by different names.

PURPORT
The great sage here begins to explain the purpose of the four original verses of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the followers of the Mayavada (impersonalist) school sometimes screw out an imaginary explanation of the original four verses, but we must accept the actual explanation given herein by Maitreya Muni because he, along with Uddhava, personally heard it directly from the Lord. The first line of the original four verses runs, aham evasam evagre. The word aham is misinterpreted by the Mayavadi school into meanings which no one but the interpreter can understand. Here aham is explained as the Supreme Presonality of Godhead, not the individual living entities. Before the creation there was only the Personality of Godhead; there were no purusa incarnations and certainly no living entities, nor was there the material energy, by which the manifested creation is effected. The purusa incarnations and all the different energies of the Supreme Lord were merged in Him only.
The Personality of Godhead is described herein as the master of all other living entities. He is like the sun disc, and the living entities are like the molecules of the sun’s rays. This existence of the Lord before the creation is confirmed by the srutis: vasudevo va idam agra asit na brahma na ca sankarah, eko vai narayana asin na brahma nesanah. Because everything that be is an emanation from the Personality of Godhead, He always exists alone without a second. He can so exist because He is all-perfect and omnipotent. Everything other than Him, including His plenary expansions, the visnu-tattvas, is His part and parcel Before the creation there were no Karanarnavasyi or Garbhodakasayi or Ksirodakasayi Visnus, or was there Brahma nor Sankara. The visnu plenary expansion and the living entities beginning from Brahma are seperated parts and parcels. Although the spiritual existence was there with the Lord, the material existence was dormant within Him. By His will only is the material manifestation done and undone. The diversity of the Vaikunthaloka is one with the Lord, just as the diversity of soldiers is one with the same as the king. As explained in Bhagavad-gita (9.7), the material creation takes place at intervals by the will of the Lord, and in the periods between dissolution and creation, the living entities and the material energy remain dormant in Him.

Text 24:
The Lord, the undisputed proprietor of everything, was the only seer. The cosmic manifestation was not present at that time, and thus He felt imperfect without His plenary and seperated parts and parcels. The material energy was dormant, whereas the internal potentcy was manifested.

PURPORT

The Lord is the supreme seer because only by His glance did the material energy become active for cosmic manifestation. At that time the seer was there, but the external energy, over which the glance of the Lord is cast, was not present. He felt somewhat insufficient, like a husband feeling lonely in the absence of his wife. This is a poetic simile. The Lord wanted to create the cosmic manifestation to give another chance to the conditioned souls who were dormant in forgetfulness. The cosmic manifestation gives the conditioned souls a chance to go back home, back to Godhead, and that is its main purpose. The Lord is so kind that in the absence of such a manifestation He feels something wanting, and thus the creation takes place. Although the creation of the internal potency was manifested, the other potency appeared to be sleeping, and the Lord wanted to awaken her to activity, just as a husband wants to awaken his wife from the sleeping state for enjoyment. It is the compassion of the Lord for the sleeping energy that He wants to see her awaken for enjoyment like the other wives who are awake. The whole process is to enliven the sleeping conditioned souls to the real life of spiritual consciousness so that they may thus become as perfect as the ever-liberated souls in the Vaikunthalokas. Since the Lord is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1], He likes every part and parcel of His different potencies to take part in the blissful rasa because participation with the Lord in His eternal rasa-lila is the highest living condition, perfect in spiritual bliss and eternal knowledge.

Text 25:

The Lord is the seer, and the external energy, which is seen, works as both cause and effect in the cosmic manifestation. O greatly fortunate Vidura, this external energy is known as maya or illusion, and through her agency only is the entire material manifestation made possible.

PURPORT

The material nature, known as maya, is both the material and efficient cause of the cosmos, but in the background the Lord is the consciousness for all activities. As in the individual body the consciousness is the source of all energies of the body, so the supreme consciousness of the Lord is the source of all energies in material nature. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (9.10) as follows:

mayadhyakshena prakritih

suyate sa-caracaram

hetunanena kaunteya

jagad viparivartate

“Throughout all the energies of material nature there is the hand of the Supreme Lord as the final superintendent. Due to this supreme cause only, the activities of material nature appear planned and systematic, and all thing regularly evolve.”

Canto 3 Cht 5 Tex 26: The Supreme Living Being in His feature as the transcendental purusa incarnation, who is the Lord’s plenary expansion, impregnates the material nature of three modes, and thus by the influence of eternal time the living entities appear.

PURPORT

The offspring of any living being is born after the father impregnates the mother with semen, and the living entity floating in the semen of the father takes the shape of the mother’s form. Similarly, mother material nature cannot produce any living entity from her material elements unless and until she is impregnated with living entities by the Lord Himself. That is the mystery of the generation of the living entities. This impregnating process is performed by the first purusha incarnation, Karanarnavasayi Vishnu. Simply by His glance over material nature, the whole matter is accomplished.

We should not understand the process of impregnation by the Personality of Godhead in terms of our conception of sex. The omnipotent Lord can impregnate just by His eyes, and therefore He is called all-potent. Each and every part of His transcendental body can perform each and every function of the other parts. This is confirmed in the Brahma-samhita (5.32): angani yasya sakalendriya-vrittimanti. In Bhagavad-gita (14.3) also, the same principle is confirmed: mama yonir mahad-brahma tasmin garbham dadhamy aham. When the cosmic creation is manifested, the living entities are directly supplied from the Lord; they are never products of material nature. Thus, no scientific advancement of material science can ever produce a living being. That is the whole mystery of the material creation. The living entities are foreign to matter, and thus they cannot be happy unless they are situated in the same spiritual life as the Lord. The mistaken living being, out of forgetfulness of this original condition of life, unnecessarily wastes time trying to become happy in the material world. The whole Vedic process is to remind one of this essential feature of life. The Lord offers the conditioned soul a material body for his so-called enjoyment, but if one does not come to his senses and enter into spiritual consciousness, the Lord again puts him in the unmanifested condition as it existed in the beginning of the creation. The Lord is described here as viryavan, or the greatest potent being, because He impregnates material nature with innumerable living entities who are conditioned from time immemorial.

Text 27:

Thereafter, influenced by the interactions of eternal time, the supreme sum total of matter called the mahat-tattva became manifested, and in this mahat-tattva the unalloyed goodness, the Supreme Lord, sowed the seeds of universal manifestation out of His own body.

PURPORT

In due course of time, the impregnated material energy was manifested first as the total material ingredients. Everything takes its own time to fructify, and therefore the word kala-coditat, “influenced by time,” is used herein. The mahat-tattva is the total consciousness because a portion of it is represented in everyone as the intellect. The mahat-tattva is directly connected with the supreme consciousness of the Supreme Being, but still it appears as matter. The mahat-tattva, or shadow of pure consciousness, is the germinating place of all creation. It is pure goodness with the slight addition of the material mode of passion, and therefore activity is generated from this point.

Text 28:

Thereafter, influenced by the interactions of eternal time, the supreme sum total of matter called the mahat-tattva became manifested, and in this mahat-tattva the unalloyed goodness, the Supreme Lord, sowed the seeds of universal manifestation out of His own body.

PURPORT

In due course of time, the impregnated material energy was manifested first as the total material ingredients. Everything takes its own time to fructify, and therefore the word kala-coditat, “influenced by time,” is used herein. The mahat-tattva is the total consciousness because a portion of it is represented in everyone as the intellect. The mahat-tattva is directly connected with the supreme consciousness of the Supreme Being, but still it appears as matter. The mahat-tattva, or shadow of pure consciousness, is the germinating place of all creation. It is pure goodness with the slight addition of the material mode of passion, and therefore activity is generated from this point.

Text 29:

Mahat-tattva, or the great causal truth, transforms into false ego, which is manifested in three phases – cause, effect and the doer. All such activities are on the mental plane and are based on the material elements, gross senses and mental speculation. The false ego is represented in three different modes – goodness, passion and ignorance.

PURPORT

A pure living entity in his original spiritual existence is fully conscious of his constitutional position as an eternal servitor of the Lord. All souls who are situated in such pure consciousness are liberated, and therefore they eternally live in bliss and knowledge in the various Vaikuntha planets in the spiritual sky. When the material creation is manifested, it is not meant for them. The eternally liberated souls are called nitya-muktas, and they have nothing to do with the material creation. The material creation is meant for rebellious souls who are not prepared to accept subordination under the Supreme Lord. This spirit of false lordship is called false ego. It is manifested in three modes of material nature, and it exists in mental speculation only. Those who are in the mode of goodness think that each and every person is God, and thus they laugh at the pure devotees, who try to engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Those who are puffed up by the mode of passion try to lord it over material nature in various ways. Some of them engage in altruistic activities as if they were agents appointed to do good to others by their mental speculative plans. Such men accept the standard ways of mundane altruism, but their plans are made on the basis of false ego. This false ego extends to the limit of becoming one with the Lord. The last class of egoistic conditioned souls – those in the mode of ignorance – are misguided by identification of the gross body with the self. Thus, all their activities are centered around the body only. All these persons are given the chance to play with false egoistic ideas, but at the same time the Lord is kind enough to give them a chance to take help from scriptures like Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam so that they may understand the science of Krishna and thus make their lives successful. The entire material creation, therefore, is meant for the falsely egoistic living entities hovering on the mental plane under different illusions in the modes of material nature.

Text 30:

The false ego is transformed into mind by interaction with the mode of goodness. All the demigods who control the phenomenal world are also products of the same principle, namely the interaction of false ego and the mode of goodness.

PURPORT

False ego interacting with the different modes of material nature is the source of all materials in the phenomenal world.

Text 31:

The senses are certainly products of the mode of passion in false ego, and therefore philosophical speculative knowledge and fruitive activities are predominantly products of the mode of passion.

PURPORT

The chief function of the false ego is godlessness. When a person forgets his constitutional position as an eternally subordinate part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and wants to be happy independently, he functions mainly in two ways. He first attempts to act fruitively for personal gain or sense gratification, and after attempting such fruitive activities for a considerable time, when he is frustrated he becomes a philosophical speculator and thinks himself to be on the same level as God. This false idea of becoming one with the Lord is the last snare of the illusory energy, which traps a living entity into the bondage of forgetfulness under the spell of false ego.

The best means of liberation from the clutches of false ego is to give up the habit of philosophical speculation regarding the Absolute Truth. One should know definitely that the Absolute Truth is never realized by the philosophical speculations of the imperfect egoistic person. The Absolute Truth, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is realized by hearing about Him in all submission and love from a bona fide authority who is a representative of the twelve great authorities mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. By such an attempt only can one conquer the illusory energy of the Lord, although for others she is unsurpassable, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (7.14).

Text 32:

The sky is a product of sound, and sound is the transformation of egoistic passion. In other words, the sky is the symbolic representation of the Supreme Soul.

PURPORT

In the Vedic hymns it is said, etasmad atmanah akasah sambhutah. The sky is the symbolic representation of the Supreme Soul. Those who are egoistic in passion and ignorance cannot conceive of the Personality of Godhead. For them the sky is the symbolic representation of the Supreme Soul.

Text 33:

Thereafter the Personality of Godhead glanced over the sky, partly mixed with eternal time and external energy, and thus developed the touch sensation, from which the air in the sky was produced.

PURPORT

All material creations take place from subtle to gross. The entire universe has developed in that manner. From the sky developed the touch sensation, which is a mixture of eternal time, the external energy and the glance of the Personality of Godhead. The touch sensation developed into the air in the sky. Similarly, all other gross matter also developed from subtle to gross: sound developed into sky, touch developed into air, form developed into fire, taste developed into water, and smell developed into earth.

Text 34:

Thereafter the extremely powerful air, interacting with the sky, generated the form of sense perception, and the perception of form transformed into electricity, the light to see the world.

Text 35:

When electricity was surcharged in the air and was glanced over by the Supreme, at that time, by a mixture of eternal time and external energy, there occurred the creation of water and taste.

Text 36:

Thereafter the water produced from electricity was glanced over by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and mixed with eternal time and external energy. Thus it was transformed into the earth, which is qualified primarily by smell.

PURPORT

From the descriptions of the physical elements in the above verses it is clear that in all stages the glance of the Supreme is needed with the other additions and alterations. In every transformation, the last finishing touch is the glance of the Lord, who acts as a painter does when he mixes different colors to transform them into a particular color. When one element mixes with another, the number of its qualities increases. For example, the sky is the cause of air. The sky has only one quality, namely sound, but by the interaction of the sky with the glance of the Lord, mixed with eternal time and external nature, the air is produced, which has two qualities – sound and touch. Similarly after the air is created, interaction of sky and air, touched by time and the external energy of the Lord, produces electricity. And after the interaction of electricity with air and sky, mixed with time, external energy and the Lord’s glance over them, the water is produced. In the final stage of sky there is one quality, namely sound; in the air two qualities, sound and touch; in the electricity three qualities, namely sound, touch and form; in the water four qualities, sound, touch, form and taste; and in the last stage of physical development the result is earth, which has all five qualities – sound, touch, form, taste and smell. Although they are different mixtures of different materials, such mixtures do not take place automatically, just as a mixture of colors does not take place automatically without the touch of the living painter. The automatic system is factually activated by the glancing touch of the Lord. Living consciousness is the final word in all physical changes. This fact is mentioned in Bhagavad-gita (9.10) as follows:

mayadhyakshena prakritih

suyate sa-caracaram

hetunanena kaunteya

jagad viparivartate

The conclusion is that the physical elements may work very wonderfully to the laymen’s eyes, but their workings actually take place under the supervision of the Lord. Those who can mark only the changes of the physical elements and cannot perceive the hidden hands of the Lord behind them are certainly less intelligent persons, although they may be advertised as great material scientists.

Text 37:

O gentle one, of all the physical elements, beginning from the sky down to the earth, all the inferior and superior qualities are due only to the final touch of the glance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Text 38:

The controlling deities of all the above-mentioned physical elements are empowered expansions of Lord Vishnu. They are embodied by eternal time under the external energy, and they are His parts and parcels. Because they were entrusted with different functions of universal duties and were unable to perform them, they offered fascinating prayers to the Lord as follows.

PURPORT

The conception of various controlling demigods who inhabit the higher planetary systems for the management of universal affairs is not imaginary, as proposed by persons with a poor fund of knowledge. The demigods are expanded parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord Vishnu, and they are embodied by time, external energy and partial consciousness of the Supreme. Human beings, animals, birds, etc., are also parts and parcels of the Lord and have different material bodies, but they are not the controlling deities of material affairs. They are, rather, controlled by such demigods. Such control is not superfluous; it is as necessary as the controlling departments in the affairs of a modern state. The demigods should not be despised by the controlled living beings. They are all great devotees of the Lord entrusted to execute certain functions of universal affairs. One may be angry with Yamaraja for his thankless task of punishing sinful souls, but Yamaraja is one of the authorized devotees of the Lord, and so are all the other demigods. A devotee of the Lord is never controlled by such deputed demigods, who function as assistants of the Lord, but he shows them all respects on account of the responsible positions to which they have been appointed by the Lord. At the same time, a devotee of the Lord does not foolishly mistake them to be the Supreme Lord. Only foolish persons accept the demigods as being on the same level as Vishnu; actually they are all appointed as servants of Vishnu.

Anyone who places the Lord and the demigods on the same level is called a pashandi, or atheist. The demigods are worshiped by persons who are more or less adherents of the processes of jnana, yoga and karma, i.e., the impersonalists, meditators and fruitive workers. The devotees, however, worship only the Supreme Lord Vishnu. This worship is not for any material benefit, as desired by all the materialists, even up to the salvationists, mystics and fruitive workers. Devotees worship the Supreme Lord to attain unalloyed devotion to the Lord. The Lord, however, is not worshiped by others, who have no program for attaining love of God, which is the essential aim of human life. Persons averse to a loving relationship with God are more or less condemned by their own actions.

The Lord is equal to every living entity, just like the flowing Ganges. The Ganges water is meant for the purification of everyone, yet the trees on the banks of the Ganges have different values. A mango tree on the bank of the Ganges drinks the water, and the nimba tree also drinks the same water. But the fruits of both trees are different. One is celestially sweet, and the other is hellishly bitter. The condemned bitterness of the nimba is due to its own past work, just as the sweetness of the mango is also due to its own karma. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (16.19):

tan aham dvishatah kruran

samsareshu naradhaman

kshipamy ajasram asubhan

asurishv eva yonishu

“The envious, the mischievous, the lowest of mankind, these do I ever put back into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life.” Demigods like Yamaraja and other controllers are there for the unwanted conditioned souls who always engage in threatening the tranquillity of the kingdom of God. Since all the demigods are confidential devotee-servitors of the Lord, they are never to be condemned.

Text 39:

The demigods said: O Lord, Your lotus feet are like an umbrella for the surrendered souls, protecting them from all the miseries of material existence. All the sages under that shelter throw off all material miseries. We therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto Your lotus feet.

PURPORT

There are many sages and saints who engage in trying to conquer rebirth and all other material miseries. But of all of them, those who take shelter under the lotus feet of the Lord can completely throw off all such miseries without difficulty. Others, who are engaged in transcendental activities in different ways, cannot do so. For them it is very difficult. They may artificially think of becoming liberated without accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord, but that is not possible. One is sure to fall again to material existence from such false liberation, even though one may have undergone severe penances and austerities. This is the opinion of the demigods, who are not only well versed in Vedic knowledge but are also seers of the past, present and future. The opinions of the demigods are valuable because the demigods are authorized to hold positions in the affairs of universal management. They are appointed by the Lord as His confidential servants.

Text 40:

O Father, O Lord, O Personality of Godhead, the living entities in the material world can never have any happiness because they are overwhelmed by the three kinds of miseries. Therefore they take shelter of the shade of Your lotus feet, which are full of knowledge, and we also thus take shelter of them.

PURPORT

The way of devotional service is neither sentimental nor mundane. It is the path of reality by which the living entity can attain the transcendental happiness of being freed from the three kinds of material miseries – miseries arising from the body and mind, from other living entities and from natural disturbances. Everyone who is conditioned by material existence – whether he be a man or beast or demigod or bird – must suffer from adhyatmika (bodily or mental) pains, adhibhautika pains (those offered by living creatures), and adhidaivika pains (those due to supernatural disturbances). His happiness is nothing but a hard struggle to get free from the miseries of conditional life. But there is only one way he can be rescued, and that is by accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The argument that unless one has proper knowledge one cannot be freed from material miseries is undoubtedly true. But because the lotus feet of the Lord are full of transcendental knowledge, acceptance of His lotus feet completes that necessity. We have already discussed this point in the First Canto (1.2.7):

vasudeve bhagavati

bhakti-yogah prayojitah

janayaty asu vairagyam

jnanam ca yad ahaitukam

There is no want of knowledge in the devotional service of Vasudeva, the Personality of Godhead. He, the Lord, personally takes charge of dissipating the darkness of ignorance from the heart of a devotee. He confirms this in Bhagavad-gita (10.10):

tesham satata-yuktanam

bhajatam priti-purvakam

dadami buddhi-yogam tam

yena mam upayanti te

Empiric philosophical speculation cannot give one relief from the threefold miseries of material existence. Simply to endeavor for knowledge without devoting oneself to the Lord is a waste of valuable time.

Adapted from Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Comment #111334

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on July 10, 2006 8:21 PM (e)

Marek, Jim,

Thank you, now the connection to the swedish “veta” (know) was easy.

Comment #111358

Posted by Jim Harrison on July 10, 2006 10:50 PM (e)

Without wishing to compete with Mr. Tanner on sheer volume, may I point out that India has been the home to many varieties of rationalism over the centuries. As the Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen points out in this recent book, The Argumentative Indian, Europeans and Americans tend to ignore the non-mystical componenent of Indian civilization because that isn’t what they wanted or needed to find there. Many of the scholars who first translated and popularized Sanskrit literature in the West were German idealists who weren’t as interested in logic, grammar, mathematics, or empirical science as they were in pursuing rarified metaphysical Truth. Even the Indians themselves have been influenced by the way in which these romantics represented a tradition which indeed has plenty of abstruse monism but plenty of everything else, also.

Comment #111440

Posted by Alexander Vargas on July 11, 2006 10:12 AM (e)

I believe that evolutionary science would never be in any true danger in India itself because the sheer volume and diversity of the teachings of hinduism is in itself an invitation to intellectual pluralism and a buffer against narrow-mindedness. It would seem very odd to me that the idea of a “scientifically justified faith” is much needed in true Indian culture. Not the same thing in western world, where obsession with science leads religions to disguise themselves as science, as well as a proliferation of pseudoscientific beliefs. In this respect I would like to point out how UFO’s and other certainly untraditional things have been packaged into this alleged “hinduist” book. Lets face it, many hare krishnas in the western world are just “stray” people who have found something to latch on to, much like others latch onto UFO’s (in this case, both!). The western signature of this invention is found precisely in the pseudoscientific flavor, the intromission of “scientifically proven” faith, the idea that it is cool to mix science with religion. It would be a big silly mistake indeed to consider these peripheral western “hindu” UFO lovers to prove anything as to hinduism opposing evolution.

Comment #111441

Posted by Alexander Vargas on July 11, 2006 10:12 AM (e)

I believe that evolutionary science would never be in any true danger in India itself because the sheer volume and diversity of the teachings of hinduism is in itself an invitation to intellectual pluralism and a buffer against narrow-mindedness. It would seem very odd to me that the idea of a “scientifically justified faith” is much needed in true Indian culture. Not the same thing in western world, where obsession with science leads religions to disguise themselves as science, as well as a proliferation of pseudoscientific beliefs. In this respect I would like to point out how UFO’s and other certainly untraditional things have been packaged into this alleged “hinduist” book. Lets face it, many hare krishnas in the western world are just “stray” people who have found something to latch on to, much like others latch onto UFO’s (in this case, both!). The western signature of this invention is found precisely in the pseudoscientific flavor, the intromission of “scientifically proven” faith, the idea that it is cool to mix science with religion. It would be a big silly mistake indeed to consider these peripheral western “hindu” UFO lovers to prove anything as to hinduism opposing evolution.

Comment #111447

Posted by GuyeFaux on July 11, 2006 10:32 AM (e)

Alexander Vargas wrote:

The western signature of this invention is found precisely in the pseudoscientific flavor, the intromission of “scientifically proven” faith, the idea that it is cool to mix science with religion.

Well said. Serious religion seriously stays away from material proof. See the already too-long Bad Religion entry.

And what’s with quoting pages and pages of vedic texts? I’m sure if all relevant bits were quoted from all the Vedas we’d be here until the sacred cows came home. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

Comment #111538

Posted by Kaptain Kobold on July 11, 2006 6:00 PM (e)

“They know that once one religion gets its foot inside the door, all others will automatically get equal time to bring in their own creation stories and cosmologies into science classrooms in America.”

How do they know that? I can’t believe that the right-wing so-called Christians that make up the majority of creationism/ID will allow *any* other religion than their own into schools if they ever get in. They might *say* that they’re going to, but when was the last time anyone with more than half a brain believed a creationist?

Comment #111573

Posted by Wheels on July 11, 2006 10:28 PM (e)

Particularly ironic is the vitriol with which the young-earthers attack and try to contain the old-earthers and each tries to keep the other from gaining more prominence. And this is all the same religion.
This Vedic stuff has been around for a few years, but I can’t imagine any Christian Creationist with “integrity” (i.e. the most fervent ideological basis in their actions) supporting the movement because it quite clearly asserts a non-Christian alternative, which is exactly what they’ve been whining about the whole time with science proper.
One wonders why these Vedic groups are not acknowledged widely within the Christian Creationist’s own literature to be read amongst their home audience.