'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general page reviewing the week so far…
It never fails to amaze how, when a thought of any magnitude is pondered adequately, articles, events, people turn up to further the thinking or deepen the cause.
The general trend of this week's teachings has been about really thinking about where we are on the spiritual ladder; what we believe and addressing some of the hurdles faced for believing in anything at all. It was fascinating, then, to find a fellow blogger asking a big question in a similar vein. Quite a fundamental aspect, actually.
"What do I think about God?"
The questioner had been touring some temples and realising that there was, perhaps, not the spiritual content in his visits that he might have been expecting. This is exactly the place to be in when ready to properly explore the inner being; to become the roaming soul. This state had caused this man to ponder on whether, in fact, he may be an atheist. It could be posited that where one is in limbo about the matter, the correct term would be agnostic.
It was felt the question was genuinely asked and a significant comment was left. This is its content;
"Hari OmGreat post! Think on this; the question is not who is God or am I a believer... it is "who is this "I" asking the question?"The snippet you have chosen here is rather a poor synopsis. There are several schools of philosophy in India; that which is called generally as 'mimamsa' is more correctly purva mimamsa and it follows doctrine from the early portions of the Veda-s. There is Uttar mimamsa also, which follows doctrine of later part of Veda-s, including the Upanishad-s. This is a much better summary.The important thing to remember is that all philosophy arises from the need of the human intellect to understand the human condition. Each system arises according to the need and intellectual ability of the individuals reading it. All philosophy is to make the minds work on the deeper questions about the meaning of life and, in order to obtain answers, one must study. DEEPLY. Physicists did not arrive at the Higgs' Boson acceptance without first having gone through all the earlier established principles of their science. Equally, to arrive at an acceptance of non-duality, (the One is all and all is but an expression of that One), it is necessary to approach philosophy in a logical and step-wise manner.Similarly, said scientists could not have reached the Higgs' Boson acceptance had not Prof Higgs et al first postulated the theory. The theory became fact only by others following on with researches. Thus we may say that those who postulated Sat-Chit-Ananda and have had others follow to prove their theory, may be onto something. This points to the need for theorists/Rishis and professors/Gurus - provided they have established their credentials. Also, to find things out properly, we would do well to adhere to their leadership/teaching. Whether material or spiritual scientist, one does not reach the pinnacle of the craft without discipline and dedication.Thus the next question comes; do I have what it takes to keep raising myself higher up the scientific/spiritual/philosophical ladder in order to prove the theory for myself?To not accept the premise of the scriptures (nastika) does not necessarily equate to being non-religious; as Jainism and Buddhism demonstrate. To be atheistic correctly means to not believe in a separate entity as 'god'. That is fine in itself but then comes the difficulty of explaining 'the beginning'. Whether Creationist or Evolutionist, one thing that all must accept, ultimately, is that there WAS a beginning. From what did all this arise? The answer is available, just as the boson has been shown to be available. By having learned that there is such a thing as boson, do you understand it? Likewise, if 'the answer' were to be stated here it would hold no more meaning. It is necessary to put in work and find the answer and its meaning for yourself. Which draws the circle back to philosophy and the need for it. It is not enough to dip in here and there and make title "I am this or that"; it must be backed up with reasoning, debate, application and ongoing search."
This was a lengthy comment to leave! It was well received, though, and admission made that more researches were definitely required. It bears mentioning here that Sw. Chinmayananda, before sannyaasa, was a critical thinker claiming atheism and seeking to debunk 'the guru myth'. Advaita Vedanta answered his questions and he became a leading advocate!
The next amazing 'pearl on the thread' came the following evening when a program began on BBC2, fronted by a popular physicist now reaching a bit outside his boundaries, in which reference was made to Man's enquiry into his own condition. In an earlier post here, it was mentioned that many physicists, who would at some point have claimed atheism, are now at least ambivalent on the matter of something beyond the physical, perceivable universe. Here is a quote from a newspaper interview with Prof. Cox on exactly this;
“These things have not been discussed widely; they need novelists and artists and philosophers and theologians and physicists to discuss them.”When I ask him how God fits into his understanding of the universe, Prof Cox says: “It doesn’t at all. I honestly don’t think about religion until someone asks me about it.” That’s because, he explains, science is not about asking grand questions but very simple ones. The way to find out answers to big questions is “almost accidentally”.Using physics that is beyond me, Prof Cox explains how his fridge shows that there is no afterlife (thermodynamics, apparently). But then he qualifies himself. “Philosophers would rightly point out that physicists making bland and sweeping statements is naive. There is naivety in just saying there’s no God; it’s b------s,” he says. “People have thought about this. People like Leibniz and Kant. They’re not idiots. So you’ve got to at least address that.”
Naïve indeed! Clearly Prof Cox has not been exposed to the Upanishads. The Rsis elaborately relate how the physical universe is manifest, what its building blocks are, exquisitely knitting the physical with the metaphysical. They did this without miles-long 'colliderscopes' or space-borne magnifiers and they did it anything between 6000 and 12000 years ago. These things have been discussed widely and at length at many interfaith and sceptics conferences. There are atheists who have found the need to believe in something so Humanism developed.
Man needs faith. He needs something bigger onto which he can hold in order to stabilise his existence. Prof Cox has, in a highly public and slightly gauche way, asked exactly the question my blog friend had earlier in the week.
Doubters and detractors will point to events in the mid-East and say "see, that is what is wrong with religion". Another sweeping statement. It is what is wrong with some deluded individuals, dangerous in their outreach to the malleable and lost souls of a certain mentality. Global events require global responses, but for those of us in our homes wondering what it is all about, the best we can do for ourselves is take up personal search and resolve personal issues. Becoming the best quality personality that we can will have its effect in the world.
Think yourself butterfly...