[Advaita-l] Advaitic position vis-a-vis cosmo-genesis &naturalistic evolution,
harij at excite.com
harij at excite.com
Mon Jun 13 07:32:03 CDT 2005
Dear Kartik and R.Krishnamurthy,
Sorry for not replying this long. I don't have a comp at home and the usage of excite.com is blocked in my office.
If I try to sum up R.Krishnamoorthy's reply to me, God's relevance to us is essentially owing to our ignorance or our incomplete knowledge. And his lines
>> If a scientist can create a living organism however simple it is meaning even >> unicellular either from nothingness or from sterilised inert material then only it can be >>accepted that life accidentally came into play.For any physical event to happen we >> know for certain that there are necessary and sufficient conditions required.
reminds me of this -> "No amount of shocks from the external environment can extort life out of mere matter".
Kartik's reply seems to trudge a similar line. He posits God because of the explanatory gaps being present in Physicalism.
I'm afraid this kind of reasoning will travel no distance. It will be akin to Christian conservatives objecting Natural Evolution and Big Bang Cosmology citing the following reasons:
Big Bang Cosmology: 1) Cannot explain the cause of the Big Bang2) Cannot explain the inflation of the Universe3) Cannot explain the origin of galaxies4) Cannot explain the spacial distribution of galaxies5) Cannot explain the origin of stars6) Cannot explain the origin of the solar system7) Cannot explain the origin of the sun8) Cannot explain the origin of the moon9) Cannot explain the fine-tuning of the Universe for life,
Darwinism: 1) Cannot prove the casual and accidental origin of life2) Cannot prove the existence of the pre-biotic soup3) Cannot identify the common ancestor4) Cannot identify the missing links in the fossil record5) Cannot identify the intermediate forms in molecular biology6) Cannot establish once and for all the evolutionary mechanism7) Cannot explain the origin of complex specified information8) Cannot explain the origin of new DNA information9) Cannot duplicate the complexity of a "simple" cell
It is my belief that it is imperative to have clear answers/convictions on ultimate questions such as whether there exists an absolute reality exempt from the changes of the World or not and Whether there exists a permanent Self distinct from the changing aggregates or not before getting into the nitty gritties of the relationship such a reality holds with we, finites and with the world. I feel, for far too long believers have held the view "Truth will work itself out in us". To me, appeal to reason is important and i'm willing to travel, to the extent possible, wherever it takes me. The only trouble being, given where material science is today, the facts of knowledge will lead us to organic conception of the world. But if truth is to be found only in an admixture of logic, psychology, metaphysics, religion, genetics, Quantum physics, cosmology then i'm willing to try that out as well!! By saying this, I hope Im not turning out to be a srsticintakAh, in the words of
GaudaPada!! Given the stunning advances material science has made and given its current dominance and prevalence, there is a crying need to find answers for these questions than it was during the times of Charvaka.
BTW, when one arrives at answers for these questions, he/she would have sided one school or the other!! If there does exist one such reality then enquiring it by satisfying conditions (1) Nitya-anitya-vastu-viveka (discrimination between the eternal and the non-eternal); (2) Ihamutrarthaphalabhogaviraga (indifference to the enjoyment in this life or in heaven, and of the fruits of one's actions); (3) Shatsampat (sixfold virtues viz., Sama - control of mind, Dama - control of the external senses, Uparati - cessation from worldly enjoyments or not thinking of objects of senses or discontinuance of religious ceremonies, Titiksha - endurance of pleasure and pain, heat and cold, Sraddha - faith in the words of the preceptor and of the Upanishads and Samadhana - deep concentration); (4) Mumukshutva (desire for liberation) definitely sounds purposeful.
On Creation, A fair summary of the advaitic position is given by Vidyashankar Sundaresan at the following URL:http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/teachers/theories_vidyasankar.htm. He favors the sr.shTi-dr.shTi vAda on the vyavahAra plane and AjAti vAda on the ParaMArthika plane. Given most of us are on the VyavahAra plane, it makes sense to set aside problematic pre-conditions such as "The real cannot be subject to Change", "NAsti Bhedah kathamchana", "God cannot be co-eternal with the world", "God cannot desire" and consider sr.shTi-dr.shTi vAda intensely.
Upanishads tell us that the matter with which the process of evolution starts is not an independent entity. It has hidden in it the highest Ananda. The course of development is a transition from the potential to the actual. Here i'm reminded of Amit Goswami's interview in which he insists that consciousness which exists outside the realm of time and space is the one which converts waves in possibility to waves in reality (http://www.wie.org/j11/goswami.asp?page=2). Reading this interview, one might jump in happiness to proclaim that the Vedantist can finally reconcile with modern science despite his beliefs about Brahman:- Where the eye goes not, speech goes not, nor the mind; we know not, we understand not how one would teach it (Kena Up i.3); Other than the known and above the unknown (Kena i.4). But I guess that we are far away from such an eventual reconciliation.
For the Upanishads, both form and matter, the ever active consciousness and the passive non-consciousness, are aspects of the single reality: "That Created itself by itself" (Tait. Up); "He creates the world and then enters it" (Brh. Up iv-7). "The Atman pervades things as the salt which has dissolved in water pervades the water; from the Atman things spring as the sparks fly out from the fire, as threads from the spider, or sound from the flute" (Ch. Up vii 21)
I'm stopping here. I will continue this posting sometime later. If I haven't turned out coherent in this posting then it is just a reflection of the state i'm in.
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