Ruminations on Vedic Philosophy

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Aesthetics Philosophy

The Vedic Theory of Aesthetics

All texts like books, magazines, and papers for instance have two components: cognitive and aesthetic. The distinction between the cognitive and the aesthetic is apparent if we distinguish between prose and poetry. They can both convey the same meaning, but poetry says it more aesthetically. Similarly, you can talk in a flat tone, but you …

Philosophy Religion

The Hierarchy of Yoga Systems

The Bhagavad-Gita describes various yoga systems called karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, dhyāna-yoga, and bhakti-yoga. Each of these yoga processes is based on a scientific understanding of reality, but since this view of reality is not widely understood, there is often a misconception that there are “many paths” to the same truth, which are equally good. This post …

Philosophy Religion

What is Vedic Science, Really?

In the introduction to the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, Śrīla Prabhupāda writes, “The subject of the Bhagavad-gītā entails the comprehension of five basic truths. First of all the science of God is explained, and then the constitutional position of the living entities, jīvas. Prakriti (material nature) and time (the duration of the existence of the …

Philosophy Religion

The Four Tiers of Reality

The previous post discussed the meaning of sat, chit, and ananda—i.e. consciousness or relation to things, the search for meaning, and the search for happiness. The search for meaning creates a personality—i.e. how others know you. The search for happiness creates an individuality—i.e. what kinds of pleasures one enjoys. The relationship to the world also …

Philosophy Religion

The Pursuit of Meaning and Happiness

“The pursuit of happiness and meaning are two of our most central motivations in life” but “there can be substantial trade-offs between seeking happiness and seeking meaning in life,” writes Scott Barry Kaufman in a thought-provoking Scientific American post. In a stereotypical sense, the pursuit of meaning is one that involves connecting our lives to …

Computing Logic Mathematics Philosophy

Sāńkhya, Reductionism, and New Science

Many people believe modern science is reductionist and an alternative anti-reductionist science must replace it. This post discusses why Sāńkhya is reductionist—because it reduces everything to only three modes of nature (sattva, rajas, and tamas). It also discusses why Sāńkhya is anti-reductionist—because the first mode of nature in this reductionist theory (sattva) represents the whole, which …

Biology Cosmology Medicine

Lessons of Ayurveda for Vedic Cosmology

The previous post discussed the model of the human body in Ayurveda. If you haven’t noticed, the most surprising aspect of Ayurveda is that it remains silent on what modern medicine calls heart, lungs, intestines, brain, pancreas, spleen, etc. It is surprising because modern medical education begins with anatomy and memorizing anatomy is every student’s …

Biology Cosmology Medicine

The Ayurveda Model of a Living Body

Vedic knowledge provides detailed information about many aspects of material nature such as cosmology, sociology, psychology, and biology. For example, the Śrimad Bhāgavatam provides a detailed cosmic model. Varṇāśrama is a sociological model. Sāńkhya is a cognitive model. And Ayurveda is a biological model. All these models have structural resemblances and by understanding one model …