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Re: When the Universe was Dark (aus.religion thread) (Andrew Bromage) wrote:

>>   I challenge  the scientists  to prove  their "big  bang" theory by
>>   creating anything  (They should  be  able to  create a  child, but
>>   failing that  they  could create  a  city,  a building  or  even a
>>   motorcar) with an  explosion.

>Scientists have created many new subatomic particles (only recently,
>we heard about the new quark) and new elements (eg Plutonium) and
>other materials (eg trinitite) from explosions.  So your challenge
>"anything" has already been met.

  I was really thinking of something more tangible. Did they actually 
  create them or did they just discover them?

>As for a child, that took many billions of years to form (since the
>beginning of time).  You expect scientists to do it within your
>lifetime?  I think that that's a bit unfair.

  No. It only takes nine months in the womb!

>>   The  idea is  actually ludicrous, we
>>   have  no  experience  anywhere   of  an  explosion  ever  creating
>>   anything, explosions  destroy things.

>The big bang theory hypothesises that before the "explosion", there
>WAS nothing.  It couldn't have destroyed anything because before
>there was nothing to destroy.  (Nothing in our space-time, anyway,
>because our space-time didn't exist.)

  Yes, point taken. But the big bang is a transformation of energy into
  mass. Where did the energy come from?

>Remember also that the big bang didn't create the order, it simply
>created the space, time and matter.  The rest followed later.


>>   The Vedic scriptures  written by Vyasadeva  contain all knowledge,
>>   both material and  spiritual, so whatever  we want to  know can be
>>   found in these  books.

>That's a pretty bold assertion.  EVERYTHING is there?  I have no
>doubt that the Vedic scriptures contain much knowledge and wisdom.
>(Most scriptures do.)

  Yes, everything we need is there. There are so many, Aurya-Veda for
  medicinal knowledge, Joyti-Sastras for astronomy and astrology,
  Manu-Smriti for social rules and regulations,...

  We have developed technical sciences which may not be there in exactly
  the same way but the Veda contains descriptions of much more subtle
  sciences. The science of sound vibration and chanting mantras is very
  powerful and it is fully described.

  The Veda says everything came from sound... from the sound came either
  [space], from either came air, when the air was agitated there was fire
  [lightning?] the fire reacted with the air producing water [by burning
  hydrogen and oxygen together?] and from the water came earth [I heard
  my spiritual master say, "When you dry up water there is some powder
  there - that is earth"]. So it may not have been a big bang. It may
  well have been a big "OM"!

  In the Vedic times they had weapons which were similar in their
  "firepower" to our nuclear bombs but they could be invoked by chanting
  mantras. They could do so many things with mantras. The mantras are
  still there and are still potent but they require very pure, expert
  persons to chant them, such people are not available in this age so the
  science is lost. But there is one very special mantra for this age
  everyone can chant and practically experience the result [Hare Krishna
  Hare Krishna...]

>Now I apologise if my knowledge of the Jiva is a bit rusty (and my
>knowledge of Sanskrit is non-existent, so I doubly apologise for
>that), but doesn't it say somewhere that there can be _no_ knowledge
>of the Saksin (transcendental self), only intuitive experience?  Did
>I interpret that incorrectly?  If so, doesn't that flatly contradict
>your assertion here that it is contained in the Vedic scriptures?

  Of course so many things are said "somewhere" but that doesn't make it
  correct. We accept the Vedic literature coming in the line of the
  Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradiya. Sampradaya means something like party
  as in a political party. There are different groups of
  transcendentalists who may differ slightly on details but who's basic
  idea is the same. There are four bonafide sampradayas and each one has
  many branches. The Padma Purana states, sampradaya-vihina ye mantras te
  nisphala matah, "If one is not connected with a bona fide disciplic
  succession [sampradaya], whatever mantras he chants will not bring the
  desired results." So one has to be connected to a bona fide sampradaya.
  As far as knowing the jiva if one is a little thoughtful it is not 
  difficult. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita:
        dehino 'smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara
        tatha dehantara praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati
"As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to 
youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A
sober person is not bewildered by such a change."

  The idea is as the body changes the "I" the person remains the same. I
  am the same person I was as a child, but my body is different. As we
  are changing our body in this life from child to boy.. similarly death
  is another change of body.

  As far as finding the jiva we can analyze all the parts of our body and
  find that none of them are "I". It is my head, it is my brain, it is my
  heart... That "I" is me, the jiva, the soul, the possessor of the body.
  This understanding is a little subtle but you can't physically see the 
  soul. You can't find it under the microscope [although it is there, it 
  has a dimension]
        balagra-sata-bhagasya satadha kalpitasya ca
        bhago jivah sa vijneyah sa canantyaya kalpate
"When the upper portion of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and 
again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each 
such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul."

  So the dimension of the soul is 1/10,000 that of the "upper portion of 
  a hair". Although you can't find the soul you can see its symptom, 
  consciousness. When the soul is present within the body the body is 
  pervaded by consciousness and when the soul leaves the body, the body 
  just rots.

>I think that M K Venkatarama Iyer summed it up well in his work,
>"Advaita Vedanta" (a commentary on Samkara):

>	We do not require the Veda to tell us what we can
>	learn from perception and inference.  [...] the Sruti
> 	texts cannot oppose perception in respect of matters
>	which come properly within the sphere of the latter
>	[...] a hundred Sruti texts cannot change the nature
>	of fire.

  Our philosophy is in conflict with Sankara's. He presented a philosophy
  based on the principal of "oneness". Sankara sees "personality" and
  "individuality" as temporary manifestations which cease to exist once
  one becomes liberated, merging with the brahman. There is no activity
  or individuality after liberation...

  We are personalists. We accept individuality continues after
  liberation. We see the spiritual world as possessing all the diversity
  we find here. This material world is likened to a perverted reflection
  of the spiritual world. Everything here has its origin in the spiritual
  world but there its quality is different. Material pleasure is the
  perverted reflection of spiritual pleasure. There is no real substance
  in it, the real pleasure is found in the original in the spiritual

  We don't accept perception and inference as being very valuable. We
  accept the sruti (knowledge "heard" through the Vedic parampara
  [disciplic succession]). This is a difference of opinion which has
  existed for a long, long, time between personalists (us) and
  impersonalists. We have very sound philosophical arguments to support
  our case. The work of Srila Jiva Goswami is particularly notable. He
  was a great Viasnava scholar, one of the six gosvamis who followed in
  the line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Krishna Himself and who
  appeared in India 500 years ago (1486). Caitanya Mahaprabhu established
  the philosophy of acintyababada tattva or simultaneously one and
  different. He established that we the living entities are
  "simultaneously on with and different from the Supreme" and he added
  "acintya" which means inconceivable. So "inconceivably simultaneously
  one and different" That is our slogan.

>IMO, the same goes for _all_ scriptures.

  We accept the sutri, the smrti and the veda:

        sruti-smrti-puranadi-pancaratra-vidhim vina
        aikantiki harer bhaktir utpatayaiva kalpate

"Devotional service to the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic
literatures like the Upanisads, Puranas, Narada-Pancaratra, etc., is
simply an unnecessary disturbance in society."
                                      (Brahma Yamala Purana)

>>   Every word  in  the Srimad
>>   Bhagavatam  is perfect,  there is no speculation  or errors, it is
>>   pure knowledge  coming from  the  Supreme Personality  of Godhead,
>>   Krishna, through  the heart  of  Lord Brahma,  the first  and most
>>   powerful  person  within  this  universe.

>Interestingly enough, I'm currently reading some of the works of
>Maharshi Debendranath Tagore.  I don't know if you're familiar with
>his work.  For those who are unaware, Debendranath was a contemporary
>of Ram Mohun Roy, and devoted much time to textual criticism of the
>Vedic scriptures.  His position was that the idea of infallibility of
>the scriptures was not part of the most ancient tradition, and was in
>fact a later addition.  I would be interested to know what your
>attitude to the Brahma Samaj actually is.

  We don't read these people's books! We like to hear about Krishna from
  the pure devotees. There is great spiritual ecstasy to be found in this
  exercise. These other books, by the mental speculators, just give you a

  Thanks for the question. Try chanting Hare Krishna I think you will
  like it...

Thank you. Hare Krishna!

Madhudvisa dasa       
(     /sudarsana 
All glories to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!

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