Minds Are Like Parachutes, They Only Function When Open

Friday, June 23, 2017

International Yoga day...thanks but no thanks.

Not many things come with Made-in-India tag these days, but recently celebrated Yoga day is a true Indian cultural export that has even caught the imagination of UN, so much so that 21st June  was declared as International Yoga day. The declaration of this day came after the call for the adoption of International Day of Yoga by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly in 2015. There is no denying that the International Yoga day has been a reasonable, if not a resounding, success.  Admissibly, I do have an ax to grind: not necessarily against Narendra Modi or even against Yoga as a discipline per se but with the irrational romanticism and mysticism that has been intrinsically attested to Yoga and its perceived, very often exaggerated, benefits.

On one hand the radical left vehemently oppose the idea of celebrating Yoga day as an anti-secular inventiveness, whilst right-wing Hindu groups on the other elevate Yoga as a panacea to all human suffering. In both the cases the discipline of Yoga that has become the point of contention has little to do with the metaphysics of Yoga in its pristine form as enunciated by Patanjali. The mainstream Yoga, eulogized and practiced today, has been mainly reduced to two main concepts: “asanas”, complex stretching routines prerogative of only seasoned gymnasts and “Pranayama”, breathing and meditation techniques widely practised across the world. The rest of the Yoga principles such as Yama, Niyama, Dharana, Pratyahara, Dhyana and Samadhi are expediently remitted to the hermitages and ashrams. 

Politicians of all size and shapes whose last bout of physical activity was probably when they had last stooped for the votes (or notes), leap out of their luxury mansions demonstrating their yoga skills which can range from being amateurish to abysmal. Obviously our beloved celebrities, swamis, matajis and anyone adorn in orange chemise need little or no invitation to join the bandwagon. After a hectic day of twisting, bending and stretching, the day usually ends extolling the innumerable merits of Yoga and reveling in the privilege that was bestowed up us by the wisdom of our ancient sages. Yoga being promoted as a tool to uplift the physical and emotional well-being of the people is less of an issue but my objection is with the blind glorification and delusional deification of Yoga. Reinforced with religious mysticism and unhealthy doses of superstition, Yoga and its practioners carelessly meander into the world of quackery devoid of any critical thinking and skepticism.

Take the case of Kundalini yoga. The proponents of this school argue that the practice of this yoga is supposed to arouse the sleeping Kundalini Shakti from its coiled base through the 6 chakras, and penetrate the 7th chakra, or crown. Kundalini energy is technically explained as being sparked during yogic breathing when prana and apana blends at the 3rd chakra (navel center) at which point it initially drops down to the 1st and 2nd chakras before traveling up to the spine to the higher centers of the brain to activate the golden cord. 

Coming to eerily named Kapalbhati pranayama – allegedly a skull shining technique that has the potential to improve circulation by clearing the nadis, subtle energy channels in human body. We are told that IdaPingala and Sushumna are three of the most important nadis in the human body. “When the Ida nadi is not functioning smoothly or is blocked, one experiences cold, depression, low mental energy and sluggish digestion. And the blocked Pingala nadi triggers quick temper and irritation, itching body, dry skin and throat, excessive appetite and excessive physical or sexual energy.” 

And if you haven’t heard about the science behind Surya Namaskar, here it is from Sri Sri Ravi Sankar, the founder of the famous art of living group. “All our emotions get stored in the solar plexus, and it is also the point from where one's gut feelings arise. The size of the solar plexus is said to like the size of a small gooseberry. However, for those who do yoga and meditation, it becomes much bigger - almost three to four times bigger than the normal size. The more expanded your solar plexus, the greater is your mental stability and your intuition.Many of Sri Ravi Sankar’s followers are doctors and surgeons but how they fall hook, line and sinker for such gibberish may seem inexplicable if not for the great power of faith and credulity. 

The chakras and the kundalini, nadis and solar plexus do not make it to our science text books for a good reason, as these irrational theories were based on primitive understanding of human anatomy. An average sixth grader has more knowledge of human physiology than our ancestors but we uphold this gobbledygook as some sacred science passed on to us by the ancient sages.When empirical evidence is of no consequence and  wishful thinking displaces objectivity, when hope tramples reason and piety dislodges scientific rigour, faith becomes this fabulous commodity that belief based institutions feed on fervently.

Of course, not all yoga is flimflam and we do not have to throw away the baby with the bath water. Principles of Niyama and Pratyahara espouse austerity and contentment - essentially the main components of minimalism that have a great role to play in the 21st century given our proclivity for gluttonous consumerism. Some asanas do help improve flexibility and posture, and studies have shown positive health benefits of Yoga in relieving back pain. Mindfulness meditation is scientifically proven to alleviate stress related illnesses and inflammation yet this can be explained by neuroscience and human physiology without having to invoke chakras, nadis and other bronze age beliefs. By discarding the balderdash and mystic elements, rational components of Yoga can be incorporated  into our daily routines along with swimming, aerobics and sports. Swimming, similar to Yoga, also involves breathing and many postural techniques, and is proven to be one the best lifestyle activities which greatly benefits both body and mind. It helps manage weight, reduces stress levels and raises self-esteem, strengthens muscles, improves sleep and helps lower disease risk yet and no mental gymnastics is needed to explain its efficacy nor do we have to deify this great activity.We do not need an International Swimming Day or an International Aerobics day for that matter.

Setting aside the fact that practicing Yoga can be immensely boring, is it more beneficial or effective than playing any other physical sport? India has been plagued by decades of infrastructural neglect where hundreds of millions of children have virtually no access to clean and friendly playgrounds. Adults and senior citizens have little or no recourse to sports and leisure facilities where nearest park could be many miles away. Our infamous Olympic legacy needs no introduction, just one gold medal in 40 years for 1.3 billion people where as Jamaica, a country that the World Bank calls one of the slowest growing in the developing world, now prides itself on being home to the world's fastest man and woman. Any one remember Dipa Karmakar; the only Indian gymnast to ever attempt the deadly produnova who had to use makeshift apparatus made of second-hand springs and shock absorbers from discarded scooters for her practice. To put India's historic performance in context, Michael Phelps has won as many medals on his own as Team India has managed since 1900.

Ah well! Never mind, its only sport...we have the eternal wisdom of Yoga, any one up for Ganda Bherunda Aasana.

Happy International Yoga Day!!!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Kabali: A Ponzi get more-rich scheme

1.    a form of fraud in which belief in the success of a non-existent enterprise is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors.

The first investors are indeed Mr.Thanu and his accomplice, an overrated filmmaker Pa. Ranjith and later investors are of course the gullible audiences, capable of digesting any amount of banality in the name of Hero worship.  Most ardent of Rajni fanatics who, given a million chances to choose between a free all-inclusive-holiday to Bahamas and a premiere show ticket to a new Rajni film, would chose the latter a million times. Given you have such Rajniphiles in vast numbers and virtually guaranteed return on investment, any responsibility and dedication to the art of movie-making goes out of window and the result is the baloney rich damp squib: Kabali

Technology has caught up with Hollywood standards and movie makers have now access to a wide range of techniques to enrich the movie experience but more often than not mindless repetition of formula, thread-bare story lines and mediocre screenplay are still the trademarks of mainstream Indian movies. Kabali has all these three ingredients in abundance and interestingly, or rather ironically, this is not where the movie utterly flounders. Every performer has his or her strengths and weaknesses and the Director’s job is to extract the best out of them by concealing their underlying flaws. What makes this film almost unbearable to watch is such accumulation of mediocre acting, not just of the other cast but even our ever dependable protagonist , an otherwise versatile and stylish actor, Rajni for once, has been inanely insipid and mind-numbingly mundane. 

Of course, any director even with best of the endeavours and utmost diligence can still end up making a boring movie. Iruvar, the political drama loosely based on MGR and Karunanidhi is one such movie with painfully slow narration that has a potential to cure insomnia, was for all understable reasons was not a commercial success. But you could hardly question the effort that Maniratnam had invested in this biopic: Mohanlal and Prakash Raj rose to their ranks along with Rehman’s gripping background score and Santosh Sivan’s astounding camera work.

On the other hand, there is not one scene in Kabali that shows Pa.Ranjith’s commitment to his vain enterprise. Mishmash of aerial camera work embellished with slow-motion scenes doesn’t make an engrossing film, if that’s his idea of a captivating movie, then he should consider changing his profession.  

Monday, March 7, 2016

Hurricane Kanhaiya, its time to move on.

The Rohit storm that gripped the nation was slowly subsiding only to be struck again by Hurricane Kanhaiya. Free speech has been taken for a ride, the extreme right tried stifling it in the name of their bigoted patriotism, anti-social fringe groups joined the band wagon like fare-evaders and the extreme left opportunely embarked on this gravy train with their usual insouciant leftist-jingoism.

Within a transient period of few weeks, heroes and villains have emerged from the dust-bowl of government’s high-handedness, pervasive yellow-journalism and slapdash social media. The aftermath left a wreckage of impaired vanity and introspection, leaving behind a litany of unanswered questions. From this debris popped out Mr.Chauhan, a sombre villain, a lawyer turned judge, jury and executioner. His nausea-inducing antics on the day Kanhaiya Kumar was presented before the magistrates should sound as a death knell and chilling reminder of dogmatic nationalism that is engulfing this secular nation. Draconian use of sedition charges on a student instigated a debate in both the houses; cornered and confronted rose another protagonist, Smriti Irani with her fiery and emotional counter-attack dismantling her unwary rivals with an incendiary commotion, if not, reason. The dust barely settled and from the rubble, exploded rejuvenated Kanhaiya, freshly bailed yet bizarrely admonished as diseased by the Judge. And oh! My gracious me, this boy can talk.

My first impression of him when he took stage was that of a meek and gentle pupil caught up in a skirmish that might have puffed up into a serious agitation, possibly fanned by opposition student wing into a political fist-fight and ultimately framed into an act of sedition by administrative muscle of HRD ministry. That may well have been the case, but ten minutes into his tirade the sheer eloquence and uncompromising diction of his speech has laid bare my naïve misjudgment of his personality. This youngster is a seasoned raconteur, influenced by left-wing idealism and hardened by torment meted out to him by the establishment, reinvigorated by the support he received from the liberal academia, he turned his resentment towards Modi and his cohorts, understandably and rightly so. His speech was impressive and free indeed, free-flowing, freely publicized by the free press, “Freedom in India and not from India” was his expedient swan song.

Unrelenting and unabated, he enthralled, captivated and fascinated his university peers by his unrestrained flow of ideas. Amidst the euphoria, I was still struggling to unravel any pieces of wisdom from his passionate discourse that I could muster. Invoking many of Modi’s tag lines, his harangue was evoking and mildly provoking, bordering marginally on light-hearted demagoguery and cheerful rabble-rousery but devoid of any tangible intellectual content. I was waiting for him to illuminate his countrymen on why he chose Afzal Guru’s anniversary as his day of emancipation to drumroll his version of “Azadi from hunger, corruption, discrimination and backwardness”. He vividly talked about Jumlas(Gimmicks), the parables and metaphors were exemplary, but his speech was  appealing to emotion and not to intellect. His seamless change of tack from soldiers to farmers’ suicides and from caste system to equal right to prosperity, reminding the nation of his family’s modest income and humble beginnings bore all the hallmarks of Modi’s pre-election campaigns: replete with empty rhetoric and infectious orotundity, mishmash of passionate idealism and euphonous obscurantism, alluring to the concomitant dissents of the lower and middle class India; Modi has finally met his match.

An hour of random reflections, cliché musings and Modi bashing constructed with magniloquence makes a great performance, not a consciousness-raising speech. This is unrivaled entertainment and its over and if you happen to be a purveyor of more intellectual stuff, start looking elsewhere; listening to the likes of Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan would be a good start.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mumbai Attacks: The Blame Game

In the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks, internet is replete with views on why India has often been the target of the Islamic terrorism. And one of the most oft repeated mantra has been that the oppression of Muslims and the plight of Kashmiris have been the casus-belli for the 26/11 and for all other atrocities preceding this terrible tragedy. This argument has been accentuated not only by apologists of Islam, but also by other moderate Muslims and Hindus alike. When it comes to oppression of Muslims in India, the statistics that Muslims are under-represented in every field actually justifies the case of the critics. But such an under-representation of Muslims has been often been ascribed to the hegemony of the Hindu majority as opposed to their own non-reformist principles.

On this politically correct backdrop the fact that has been blissfully ignored is that the Hindus as an Indian majority, have always celebrated and even eulogized the achievements of Muslims in many fields. Take the case of Bollywood and the likes of Shar Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and my personal favourite Amir Khan, have always enjoyed similar success and even in some cases more than that of their Hindu counter parts, which couldn't have been possible if not for the fanfare of the Hindu majority. Mohammad Rafi is considered as one of the most melodious singer India has been blessed with and he enjoyed the same success to that of his contemporary, Kishore Kumar. Naushad, the veteran music director and A.R.Rehman, the most influential musician of our times, are both Muslims and they have always enjoyed special place in the hearts of the Indians. Let alone Indian Muslims, even the Pakistani musicians such as Adnan Sami have been heartily welcomed and celebrated by the Hindus. The Indian classical musicians, such as Ustad Bismillah Khan, Ustad Zakir Khan and his father Ustad Allah Rakha, the great Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Parween Sultana have always enthralled the audiences with their soothing music and they always occupied similar place to that of their Hindu musicians such as Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Pt.Hari Prasad Chaurasia.

Of the 41 Bharat Ratna recipients, the highest civilian award conferred to Indians, five of six have been awarded to the Indian Muslims and the other one went to the Pakistani national, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, also known as Frontier Gandhi. Moreover, three of the Indian Presidents- Dr. Zakir Hussain, Fakruddin Ali Ahmed and Dr.A.P.J Abdul Kalam, have been Muslims. Infact, Dr.Abdul Kalam has been voted the most loved president of India in a CNN poll, which would not have been possible if not for the love of majority Hindus. And finally, the Muslims have rarely been discriminated on their religious grounds in Cricket, the nations most loved sport. Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Md.Azharuddin have captained India, let alone playing for the country and the contributions of Zaheer Khan, Yusuf and Irfan Pathan have been greatly appreciated by the Indian cricket lovers. From the above, we can say that Indian Muslims cannot be seen as oppressed, at least not to the level as portrayed by these critics. India firmly disagreed on George Bush's war on Iraq and
a resolution was passed unanimously condemning the action of coalition forces and refused to allow the US to use its military bases and this has been barely mentioned by these critics nor has been seen as good gesture by the Islamic militant groups. And this resolution was adopted when the BJP led NDA government, considered as a communal Hindu party, was in power.
It is a common knowledge the militants groups such as JeM, LeT and Al-Qaeda have Pan-Islamic agenda, and Kashmir and Palestine are their trump cards. When it comes Kashmir, in my personal opinion, they still should be given an option for a plebiscite according the UN Mandate but a 60% turn-out to the local assembly elections, rejecting and sometimes even braving the calls of separatists, is an ample proof of their affinity towards democratic India.

And the reason why India has been often targeted is because it is a soft target, as I discussed in my previous article, thanks to our
bickering and toothless politicians, who could not the address the internal security of this country despite several attacks.

And when it comes to oppression, in my view the dalits are more oppressed than the Muslims and as a Hindu I acknowledge the problem with our caste system which I strongly opposed in my one of my previous article:
India needs a real change. It is time that Muslims take some responsibility for their backwardness and start addressing them and stop playing the victim.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Slap In The Face

The memories of mayhem are indelible and the wounds of carnage are still fresh. The Mumbai attacks have re-ignited the nationalism that has been dormant since our independence and justifiably, the failure to prevent this massacre was swiftly shouldered on to our cosy politicians and never in the Indian political history are the politicians so vehemently vilified. This attack has slapped every thinking Indian on their faces, a strong gesture to wake up from the complacency and apathy and confront the stark reality of the dysfunctional and dangerous world that we are living in. The slap sobered up the drunken state that we are in and reminded us of the true colours of our lackadaisical and hopeless politicians. The slap was so resounding that we frantically started searching for answers for the thorny questions that we should have posed decades earlier. Sixty years after independence, the voter for the first time realized that he shot himself in the foot.

To give the fair share of credit to the politicians, could they have done any better? No government however efficient they may be cannot fully prevent a terrorist attack and 9/11, 7/7 and Madrid train bombings are few examples. But, there hasn’t been attacks on this scale since these happened in the west because the Western democracies have made the homeland security their national priority, and the key word here is PRIORITIZE. Where as in the case of India, some politicians can hardly spell the word let alone action it. While some of rabble-rouser politicians are busy prioritizing trivial communal issues for their narrow gains, a percentage of them have other priorities such as preparing to fight the impending criminal convictions that are pending in the higher courts. Shamefully, six of our politicians, the so-called MPs from hell (Shahbuddin, Pappu Yadav, Surajbhan Singh, Atique Ahmad, Afzal Ansari and Umakant Yadav) are serving jail sentences for crimes ranging from kidnapping to murder and they have other priorities as we can see. The Congress party’s priority since time immemorial has been to make sure that Nehru-Gandhi dynasty’s bloodline continues to lead the party and where as BJP’s priority has been to play to the tunes of the majority Hindu vote-bank .On the other hand all other parties’ sole agenda has been to make hay when the sun shines. In a nutshell our politicians cannot and did not get the priorities right.

The Indian poor is still precariously clinging to the poverty line by the barest of threads and on the other hand our judicial system is crumbling with overloaded cases that are decades old. A decent health system is virtually non-functional and beyond the reach of a common man and the police institution corrupt with thier infrastructure dilapidated and archaic. While the political system is rotten to its core, the internal security is in such a despicable state that terrorists can create havoc at their will and yet our bickering politicians have managed to prioritize none of the above. Thanks to the Mumbai attacks, the dissatisfaction among Indians has now reached overwhelming levels and it has now over flown in the form of anger and disgust against the politicians. This change is a welcome sign, a change which is long overdue. This is a slap in the faces of our imbecile politicians who for so long were in a long slumber, completely oblivious to the problems around them.

However, it would be a mistake of biblical proportions if we as citizens of India abdicate our moral responsibility for these attacks as we are to an extent accountable as any politician is. The politicians are what they are because of our vote. Like the turkeys voting for Christmas, we have voted for our politicians and we will have to bear the consequences. Moreover, the anger and frustration of the public against politicos that is so positively and frequently reiterated in the media is another positive change and the longer they manage to keep the wounds fresh the better, as this keeps our politicians under intense pressure. But amidst the fervour and jingoism, we are missing something here. The voices of change in the governance that we are frequently hearing in the aftermath of the attacks are the voices of the educated, english speaking working class which although a considerable representation, is not significant enough to bring about change in the political setup of India. More than sixty percent of Indian population live in villages, most of them unprivileged and socially deprived of the comforts we otherwise take it for granted, for whom terrorism is relatively insignificant compared to the penuries and hardship they face everyday , and their voices haven’t been heard at all amidst this turmoil. It is in fact their share of votes that actually plays a major role in deciding the fate of our country and our opportunist politicians have 60 years of experience and expertise in taking full advantage of their situation. Until, we do not succeed in bringing about a change and uplift this under privileged class, any noteworthy change in our political setup, would be a distant dream. Such an upliftment of our poor is only possible by a diligent, conscientious and visionary political governance and this is where we have the chicken and the egg problem.

It wouldn’t help to be pessimistic in these difficult times, but on an optimistic note, I have to admit that we have made a decent start. But we need to keep the crank shaft moving until it catches enough momentum so as to bring about a change we have been aspiring for so long or else we would not do be doing any justice to the innocent lives that were lost in one of the most heart-breaking tragedies ever witnessed on the Indian soil.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A good voter for a better India

One of the most unconstructive traits of the Indians is their unquestioning devotion or extreme affinity towards anything, be it a person or religion, political party or a social system. This is apparent across the country, take the example of Rajanikanth, the superstar from Tamilnadu who is almost worshipped as demigod or Sachin Tendulkar, the cricket God of India, or consider the admiration of Bal Thackeray and his firebrand son Raj Thackeray by their followers, the so called Shivsainiks.

Such a blind fidelity is benign is some instances such as sports, but in most other this attitude is pushing India on a retrograde path. Especially in political arena whose dear siblings are money, caste, regionalism, corruption and political correctness, such an unquestioning loyalty gives free access to that party or its leader to adopt policies that are unconstitutional, tyrannical and dictatorial that could lead our country on a detrimental path. History has taught us two great examples of after-effects of such a fundamentalist and blind allegiance to its leader- the defeat of Japanese imperialism and destruction of Nazi Germany and on both these occasions the results were catastrophic. While Germany and Japan put behind their violent past and rose from ashes to become the most advanced countries of the world, we on the other hand are selling our souls by putting our beloved leader before the country. The people of India are unable to distinguish between the reel world and the real world as evident from the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, where chief ministers have usually been movie stars in their hey day. It took MGR and NTR, the late film veterans, a couple of hip movements in a rain song and a string of fake punches on few imaginary goons to seize power of these states. Once the power was seized, it was ever to stay in the same house.

We would like the head of the family to be a fair person and a role model but when it comes to choosing a leader of our state we blissfully ignore such questions by pledging adherence to someone we happen to admire, not because such a person is good thinker or a great leader, just because he has been an entertainer or in some cases, such a person happens to belong to same caste. This has been the trend not just with illiterate masses but even with university educated people. And if this continues and it is what likely looks like the case, India has a bleak future.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Discussion on Vedas & Science - Continued Part 4 and 5

For the first three parts of discussion please click on:
Part 4

Vj ~ What idiot would write of the evolution of any kind of life before knowing the origin of the soul and its purpose and the material cause of the universe? Well, if reading(Light of Truth) didn't do the job, then shouldn't that tell you how important practice (yoga) is necessary? I can honestly say, you are not looking for answers but to show off the ego, like all evolutionists do.
Pandit Vishal was an Aryasamajee also, he claimed to have read all of Swami Dayanand's work, but on reading the Vishnu Puran he immediately returned to the fold of Hinduism. Wow! This shows that, the most abtruse science of the Divine is called WISDOM, it cannot be taught in any educational institution, nor can it be found in a science lab or a book, but can only be acquired through the practice of yoga (self-study by stenuous effort and practice).

Raj~ Sorry VJ for taking time in replying as I was busy with other things. I was never an aryasamajee in the first place. Anyway, I have shown in my previous discussion that laws on which you discarded evolution are not sound enough to debunk evolution and I came with examples to show you, but you weren’t convinced. You didn’t say what’s wrong with those arguments and your argument was that you have had similar arguments before. And you accused me of showing off my ego like all other evolutionists. Now, I am not an evolutionist although I subscribe to evolution, and evolutionists ,on the contrary have the humility to digest and accept the fact that humans are the 5th ape, and that we are no way different to any other animals. Any one who understands evolution will accept the fact that it takes one mutation of deadly virus like ebola to wipe out humans overnight and hence they immensely respect the power of nature.
What actually amazes me is that you base the vedic religion as scientific religion yet attack the same science when it contradicts your religion. For example, your website says that one of the tests for a true religion is :

It must be in harmony with science.Modern science has proven creation to be more than 6,000 years old, the earth is spherical and it rotates and revolves, contradictions to the Torah, Bible and Quran.

Actually, modern science has proved that the creation is 14 billion years old. Now, the same modern science has also proved that viruses and bacteria become resistant to a drug, and the underlying principle for this is one of the principle of evolution – A random mutation of virus into a drug resistant strain. Although experts agree that this is only the proof of Micro-evolution(changes with in the species) in action, not the Macro-evolution(Change of one species to another), nevertheless mutations such as these can give a logical idea of why Evolution makes sense.

What doesn’t make any sense is the fact that which according the Vedic religion, is that Man has always been there since day one of the creation and Vedas have been revealed to the purest of the men, the altruistic sages of Himalayas at the start of creation. As I have replied in my earlier mail that Swamiji’s The Light of Truth is a good book when it comes to debunking other religions. But, there are things in that book that makes little sense to me, and you think that is because I haven’t been practicing Yoga. I don’t need to know yoga to doubt anything, all it takes is a prejudice free inquiry and rational mind. For example, let us consider the following from the Chapter 8: Creation sustenance and dissolution of universe. The paragraphs in red are from the book and my objections are in green and please tell me how the practise of yoga could have changed my opinion.

PAGE 262 -263

29. The wonderful creation of the earth.
The earth studded with various kinds of precious stones and metals, the seeds of trees of a thousand different kinds* with their wonderful exquisite structures, leaves with myriads of different colours** and shades, flowers, fruits, roots, rhizomes and cereals with various scents and flavours*** none but God could create. Nor could any one except God create myriads of earths, suns, moon and other cosmic bodies, and sustain, revolve the regulate them.
An object when perceived produces two kinds of knowledge in the mind of the observer, viz., of the nature of the object itself and of its maker. For example, a man found a beautiful ornament in a jungle. On examination he saw that it was made of gold and that it must have been made by a clever goldsmith. In the same way, the wonderful workmanship and execution of this wonderful universe prove the existence of its Maker

Raj ~ So, the premise here is that, when you look at anything in this world, it raises two questions. The nature of the object and its maker. Applying the same logic, I could ask the same two questions about God: His nature- who is He? And what is he made of and his attributes etc. Secondly and more importantly, Who is his maker? If this intelligent universe needs a super-intelligent creator, the super-intelligent creator should have ultra-super-intelligent creator and hence we are in an infinite regress.
If you say that God doesn’t need a maker, then at least you agree in principle that not everything needs a maker and that is contrary to the initial premise .

Q.What was first created, man or earth, etc.?
A - The earth, etc., because without them where could man live and how could he maintain his life?

The above statement makes a supposition that Earth was created for man to live and to maintain his life. Hence, we see a purpose of creating Earth and other celestial objects, hinting a anthropocentric purpose of creation. I have always pondered, what is the need for creation of millions of galaxies, each galaxy consisting of billions of stars just like our sun with uninhabitable environments and the notorious blackholes, when all it needs is one big Earth and one big sun to place humans and no scriptures including Vedas, will never account for nor explain this. As the existence of such vast universe was only known in this century, it is hardly surprising that such a grand universe was beyond the imagination of authors of these scriptures.
Having said that the extent of knowledge of the solar system that our ancestors developed by the likes of Aryabhatta, Varahamihira, Bhaskara, Brahmadeva and other great Indian astrologists cannot be underestimated. We have developed our science on the accumulated intelligence of our forefathers and it would be a mistake of gargantuan proportions to forget their contributions they made to the world of science.

30. Was one man created in the beginning of Creation or more than one?
A - More than one; because souls, that on account of their previous good actions deserve to be born in the Aishwari - not the result of sexual intercourse - Creation, are born in the beginning of the world. It is said in the Yajur Veda, "(In the beginning) there were born many men as well as rishis, i.e.., learned seers of nature. They were progenitors of the human race." On the authority of this Vedic text it is certain then that in the beginning of Creation hundreds and thousands of men were born. By observing nature with the aid of reason we come to the same conclusion, viz., that men are descended from many fathers and mothers (i.e., not from one father and one mother).

Raj ~ So, it is technically possible for a man to be born without a sexual intercourse in the Aishwari, if a soul accumulates enough points through good actions so that you look into his DNA and you would see blanks. This is in breach of your natural laws and substantiates claims of Jesus Christ’s virgin birth.

31. In the beginning of Creation were men created as children, adults or old people or in all conditions?
A - They were adults, because had God created them as children they would have required adults to bring them up, and had created them as old men, they would not have been able to propagate the race, therefore He created them adults.

Raj ~ This completely threw me, VJ. So, one fine morning when God created Earth and Sun, guided earth on its orbit around sun, and created men from souls with previous good actions. So few hundred fully matured healthy humans descended onto Earth around Tibet. And I would assume they can read and write, probably Sanskrit . How do you then account for the Neaderthals and other prehistoric tools such as flint stones found in the caves of ancient human dwellers. If these well learned seers of nature are progenitors of the human race, how do you account for the bush tribes and pygmies of Africa. Please do not deny existence of Neanderthals, there is enough evidence that they exist.

33. Does not the belief of souls in lower beings impute partiality?
God put some souls in human bodies, while others he clothed with bodies of ferocious animals such as tigers, others with those of cattle, such as cows, others with those of birds and insects, other still with those of plants. Does not this belief impute partiality to God?
A - No, it does not impute any partiality, because He put souls into the bodies they deserved according to deeds done in the previous birth. Had He done so without any consideration as to the nature of their deeds, He would have been unjust indeed.

Raj ~ So, the impure souls were animals and pure souls were ancient sages, is it?
Could you please throw some light on at what time in creation were dinosaurs created? Unless you either deny that dinosaurs ever existed apart from in Steven Spielberg’s trilogy or that dinosaurs did exist and men happily cohabited with these giant beasts. None of the cave paintings ever found around the world had depictions of dinosaurs, but usually had paintings of domesticated animals such as bulls, horses and other wild animals. This shows that these cavemen didn’t have a clue about any other creatures other than those that were around them. Neither any of scriptures contains references about these pre-historic giants.
And how about microscopic organisms? Viruses and bacteria reproduce and kill humans, and we with our science try to stop their reproduction and kill them by using drugs. So what about souls of these viruses and bacteria? They are living entities how ever microscopic they may be and they get killed. Do they have souls? If they do, are they different to our souls and if they are not different , do they comply with the Law of Karma.

Page 271

39. What are the sun, the moon and the stars?
Q. Are they inhabited by man and other living creatures or not?
A - They are worlds inhabited by men and other living beings, The Shatpatha Braahman 14:6, 9, 4. says., "The earth, the water, the heated bodies, the space, the moon, the sun, and other planets are all called Vasus or abodes, because they are abodes of living beings as well as of inanimate objects." When the sun, the moon and other planets are abodes like our earth, what doubt can there be in their being inhabited? When this little earth of God is full of men land other living beings, can it ever be possible that all other worlds are void? How can myriads of other worlds be of any use unless they are inhabited by man and other beings? It follows, therefore, that they are inhabited.

Raj ~ This is where I almost started to think, this book is useless when it comes to science. So moon, sun and other planets are called vasus and swamiji here thinks they are inhabited as well. To be honest, I would give full credit to swamiji for taking a scientific approach of assuming a possibility of life somewhere in the universe but the idea that stars and sun could be inhabited is farfetched. Even moon and other planets in our own solar system are uninhabitable. But, again swamiji was coming up with ideas relating to the scientific knowledge of his times. But his conclusion follows the logic that is evident in the last two lines of the above paragraph. He asks-“ How can myriads of other worlds be of any use unless they are inhabited by man and other beings? It follows, therefore, that they are inhabited.
This is exactly what I argued before, we know that myriads of universes and planets and moons in our solar system are uninhabitable and only logical conclusion is that they were not created for us. And I have no reason to believe that GOD created all these billions of stars.
Having said that, I believe that there is real possibility of extra-terrestrial life in this universe which takes us to the next question.

PAGE 272

40. Do they have the same bodies?Would men and other living beings in the other worlds have the same kind of bodies and bodily organs as they have here or different?
A - Most likely there is some difference in their form and the like, just as you see some difference in form, countenance, appearance and complexion among people of different countries as the Ethiopeans, Chinese, the Indians and the Europeans. But the creation of the same class or species on this earth and other planets is identical. The class or species that has its sense organs (as eyes) in some definite place in the body here (on this planet), will have them in the same place other planets; for it is said in the Veda, "Just as God created the sun, the moon, the earth, and other planets and the objects therein in the previous cycles of Creation, the same has He done in the present Creation." RIG VEDA 10: 190. He does not make any alteration.
Raj ~ The above logic makes sense in 19th century, but has no place in 21st century.
Because even if life exists in another place in the universe, i would still think the life will have to evolve. It is statistically improbable for the life here to be similar to that of on the Earth.

41. Are the same Vedas revealed in the other worlds as in this?
A - Yes. Just as the policy of a king is the same in all the countries under his rule, so is the Vedic system of Government of the King of kings identically the same in all the worlds over which He rules.

Raj ~ This question doesn’t even arise unless we find the proof of extra-terrestrial life. And even if we find it, the chances of Vedas being revealed in the other worlds are as good as Christopher Hitchens going back to thiesm.

VJ ~ And you asked who would write of the evolution of any kind before knowing the origin of the soul and its purpose?

Raj ~ Well, I would say Physics comes first and then Metaphysics.

Finally, Swamiji says:

"The man who resolves, to stick to the truth at all costs, steadily rises in virtues. When his virtues raise his reputation and prestige, he becomes all the more a devotee of truth. This devotion to truth becomes an unerring source of power and greatness."
Raj ~ I absolutely believe this. Swami Dayanand Saraswati was one of the most prominent thinkers and reformers that India ever produced and his works were based on the knowledge that he had during his times. Science has advanced and so did we, and his book is not different to other scriptures, all written in light of limited knowledge our ancestors had possessed during their time. To claim a book to be true for all times is asinine, and this hold good for Gita, Koran, Bible, Vedas and even Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. Who knows, a major breakthrough in science could prove Darwin wrong and as swamiji says, we have to stick to truth at all costs.
Part 5
Vj ~ Seems like a trend, you not sure of anything, even the existence of a Creator.
Raj ~ I am quite sure about some things, and i am unsure about some. As Bertrand Russel wisely said-"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt".I gladly admit that I am not sure of the existence of a creator, and i have no reason to believe that He does. If you think he does, then burden of proof is on you, not me.
Vj ~ Believe me, if "restrictions to the number of words" poses an impediment here, you are not going not going to get the truth anywhere else without it.This is my venue for propagating the truth and if your "spirit" is affected I suggest you reconsider.Natural Laws is one of the means of ascertaining truth, and if you have no interest in discussing the functions then there is nothing else to discuss.
Raj ~ I have been patiently discussing my objections to various issues on your website, and I am quoting where ever possible references from your site and the book 'The light of Truth' you cling to so dearly. You seem to completely ignore the points I raised and rather than answering to the questions i posed, all you are doing is resorting to non-sequiturs, red-herrings and ad hominem accusing me showing off my ego.Please reply, if you can, to my objections I raised in the so called Light of Truth of pages 262, 263 and 272 on my site.If you wish there is nothing to discuss, so be it my friend. Or probably you have nothing to answer.