2019

The Supreme Personality of Godhead

Most religions speak about the Supreme Person simply as “God”. In Vedic texts, He is described as Īśvara. But in the Gaudīya Vaishnava literature, since the time of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvati Thakur, the term “Supreme Personality of Godhead” is often employed to describe what is otherwise simply referred to by the word “God”. Why use this complex term when a simpler...

Three Aspects of Love

What is love? Is it one thing or many? Is there anything in common between brotherly love and motherly one? Why is love so elusive to understand, even though many of us may have felt it? Why is love often equated to sacrifice, service, and dedication? This post deconstructs the idea of love into three components—attraction, vulnerability, and strength. These are,...

Consciousness is Rooted in Inner Conflict

This post discusses how choice arises from conflict, in the act of conflict resolution. The nature of this conflict, how conflict resolution leads to compromises in which one side goes dominant and the other subordinate, and how the dominant-subordinate structure is later reversed, producing a cyclic change, are interesting consequences of this idea. This also leads us to think of matter...

How Living Systems Violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics

When James Clerk Maxwell proposed the second law of thermodynamics, he envisioned a thought experiment in which two chambers of gas were joined by a small door under the control of a ‘demon’ who would selectively open the door depending on which direction the gas molecules were moving. If we think of the two chambers as containing mixtures of blue and...

Secularism in Vedic Philosophy

Secularism arose during the era of Enlightenment in Europe with the aim to relegate religion to the private realm and determine the public sphere by reason and experience. Europe wasn’t arguing for the equality of all religions in the eyes of the government. It was arguing for the rejection of the only religion that existed in their society. The modern claim...

Mob Psychology—Does a Group Have a Mind?

It is common to think that a person has a body and a mind. But when groups of people act in concerted ways, it seems that they are a singular body controlled by a mind. How is a random collection of people (who act in individual ways) different from one in which they act as if they were a single body...

A Random Walk Through Perception

I have recently received several questions about Sāñkhya. These include the differences between senses and organs, that between inert matter and a living body, how desires influence perception, how Sāñkhya elements could be understood in analogy to motion, and the relation between yoga and the control of senses and the mind. These are not tightly interconnected topics, but I found a...

Atomic Reality and the Crisis of Realism

It is commonplace for people to assert that quantum theory indicates a lack of objectivity or reality, when all it indicates is the failure of the classical conception of reality. In the classical conception, when you cut an apple, you get smaller pieces of apple. In this post, I will argue that the quantum conception of cutting an apple involves separating...

The Conundrum of Free Will

Since the beginning of science, nature was believed to be controlled by some laws which can be used to make predictions about the future independent of the individual observers. The observers cannot have choices because through these choices the future could be changed, in contradiction to the laws of nature. Therefore, if free will exists, then there cannot be predictive laws...

The Cyclic Model of Causality

In modern science, causes are equated to forces. These forces represent how change occurs; it involves explaining the creation of a trajectory. However, forces don’t explain why change occurs, which involves the goal or destination along with a moral justification of the goal. For example, if someone asks you, “How did you come here?” you can respond by saying that “I...

Study Consciousness in Science?

In this post I will explore some philosophical ideas from Vedic philosophy and try to describe what consciousness is and argue that we cannot reduce consciousness to matter, but we can study matter using consciousness as the model. In short, we begin by assuming the soul, and then explain matter. This scientific study of matter—based on the understanding of the soul—can...

Why the Genome Incompletely Describes the Body

Genetic determinism—or the idea that we are fully determined by our genes taken from our parents—is now a thing of the past. Empirical evidence now shows that genes may exist but may not be expressed. The expression is controlled by some ‘epigenetic’ factors (which are also molecules) but enabled and disabled by the environment. OK, says the geneticist, let’s add the...