My Thoughts about Creation

     Since there is no simple, abbreviated way to pass it on, pardon me if this gets lengthy and hazy. I am attempting to deal with a topic of discussion based on millennia-old writings, assumptions, imaginations, speculations, folklore and my faith along with some scientific observations. Every human being is at liberty to accept and believe a theory which they are comfortable to believe.
     According to Hindu concept, which is basically the Indian concept, all the information is derived from old scriptures – the Vedas, believed to be of divine origin, compiled by sages from 6000 B.C, onwards, classified into hundreds of disciplines and each comprised of many volumes. These are so hard to understand and not taught in schools or religious institutions and only taken up by scholars who are well versed in Sanskrit. It is said that even to understand and study the classification of all the scriptures, it takes about six months. Many of these have been lost to time and invasions by aggressors from other countries.
     About creation, there is a hymn in Rig Veda “None knoweth whence creation has arisen, and whether He has or has not produced it. He who surveys it in the highest heavens, he only knows, or perhaps he knows not.” This hesitancy to claim superiority and exclusiveness of thoughts, beliefs, and practices have minimized dogmatism in the Hindu religion, leading to belief in religious tolerance.
     Hindu belief is that the universe is without a beginning or end, but rather 223 projected in cycles each lasting about 12 million years and ending in a cosmic deluge. According to the Upanishads, the universe arises from Brahman, the Supreme Reality which has no attributes and forms the Ultimate Principle underlying the universe. Regarded from the point of view of Time, Brahman is Eternity or Immortality; measured from the point of view of Space, He is Infinity or Universality; regarded from the point of view of Causality, He is Absolute Freedom.
     There are five great elements (Panchabhutas) which are the ingredients of all observable matter in the universe, including our physical bodies. They are Ether (Akasha – gravitational energy), Air (Vayu – kinetic energy), Fire (Tejas – radiation or light), Water (Ap- Electricity), and Earth (Prithvi – Magnetism). Advaita (non-dualism) philosophy holds that the Brahman (supreme reality) and Atman (individual soul) are identical even though they appear to be different as a result of universal ignorance. As per the belief, there is divinity in every living organism. Sankhya is a system founded by sage Kapila, which advocates an evolutionary view of the universe based on continuity of life from the lowest to the highest level of existence. Since modern science does not yet recognize the concept of an individual soul of Hindu philosophy, the discussion about creation can only apply to the evolution of the observable matter. Hindu concept holds that the soul, depending on the good or evil deeds of each life, as dictated by the ‘karma’, can act as a catalyst in the subsequent life cycles.
     Now the explanation of Male/Female concept: The Primal Existence turned toward manifestation has a double aspect – Male and Female, Purusha and Prakriti, Positive and Negative. The process of manifestation of the Brahman for expression is executed by a Power which is inherent in His Being. It is this Power that turns the wheel of Brahman. That Power is Sakti, the Energy of the Divine self, which is the female aspect. Her relationship with the Lord is spoken of in the Upanishads in terms of the Female and Male, the executive and creative aspects of Manifestation. The Man and the Woman, Universal Adam and Eve are really one; each one is incomplete without the other, inactive without the other. Purusha the Male, God, is that side of the One which gives the impulse towards phenomenal existence; Prithvi the Female, Nature, is that side which is and evolves the material of phenomenal existence – both are unborn and eternal.
     The doctrine of ‘sin’ is not accepted in Hinduism. According to the Hindu view, man commits sin only because of his ignorance of his own true nature. Due to ‘avidya’ (ignorance), man perceives himself as an independent entity, separate from ‘Brahman’. This ignorance makes him forget his real nature and his intimate relationship with the Divine. Under this delusion, man behaves in petty ways and attaches himself to fear, craving, anger and so on. In the Hindu view, ‘ignorance’ of ‘Self’ is the root cause of all evils in the world. Self-knowledge is thus essential in eliminating evil since knowledge destroys ignorance.
     Interestingly, it is mentioned that many of these concepts go alongside with the modern understanding of theoretical physics. Principles of Relativity and Quantum theory have alluded in connection with the Hindu philosophy about the universe. I found a mention of Sage Sankara, who already started writing where Einstein ended centuries later.
     Because of the enormity and complexity of the writings, very few Indians (Hindus) even bother to delve into the scriptures. In fact, Hinduism is not a true religion in the broader sense, but a philosophy towards understanding the meaning of human existence, as scholars have narrated centuries ago. Scholars in every religion have promulgated theories about life and the universe, which to the common man, may be too hard to fathom. Eventually, we can identify similarities between all the concepts from different observations and if someone is willing to and makes an effort to write a treatise bridging all the gaps, perhaps we can see something close to the total reality.
(December 24, 2008)

Author: Dr. Venugopal Menon

Was born and raised in a loving family in pre-independent India, became a doctor, served Indian army, got married, then came over to America with wife and a daughter, established as a successful Allergist, raised a family of three children, was involved in many social establishments, retired, and wrote memoirs, 'My Mother Called Me Unni, A Doctor's Tale of Migration'.

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