• Philosophy,  Religion

    Does Prayer Alleviate Suffering?

    Nearly every religion employs the idea of prayer, and most people view prayers as a way to alleviate their suffering. If such a thing were possible, it would encourage the sinner to continue sinning and use prayer to be pardoned. Conversely, if such a thing were impossible, then the skeptic could ask: If God can take away my suffering, then why doesn’t He? Is He too weak to take away the suffering or is He not kind enough to pardon my sins? Both alternatives present problems, and this post discusses why sometimes prayer works, and other times it does not. It also discusses the purpose of prayer, which is not…

  • Law,  Philosophy,  Physics

    The Cycle of Guna and Karma

    The term guna indicates what we desire, and the term karma indicates what we deserve; both exist as possibilities, but their combination in time produces the cycle of birth and death. This is the essence of the Vedic science discussed in an earlier post where guna, karma, and kāla were described as three laws of nature. This post takes that description forward and elaborates on the unique role played by karma and its significance in the creation of experiences. The post also discusses the law of karma at length and describes how the consequences of our actions are produced through an interaction between guna and karma, which produce one another, and their interaction creates…

  • Philosophy,  Physics,  Religion

    The Four Ethers of Sāńkhya Philosophy

    Sāńkhya describes four ethers—vaikhari, madhyama, pasyanti, and para—which are successively deeper descriptions of reality. The understanding of the successive ethers depends on the understanding of the previous ether. In that sense, there are four tiers of causality and each such tier must be fully understood to obtain a complete understanding of material nature. This post attempts to describe these four ethers and their differences. I will begin with the problems of causality in the grossest ether called vaikhari which comprises material objects, and use it to develop an understanding of the higher ethers. This, like the previous post, is a difficult topic, and reader patience is needed. But hopefully some…

  • Philosophy,  Physics

    Causality ― Outside or Inside?

    If you have had a difficult life―like some people around us―you might have asked yourself: Why does it happen to me and not to others? If you are a good person, but have still suffered at the hands of others, you might ask yourself: Do I really control my life? There is a profound problem here, which is not just moral in nature, but also causal: we have grown up thinking that an object A causes changes to object B. We are thus, in this model of causality, victims of our circumstances. This post analyzes some of these issues, and concludes that causality is not outside but inside. That is, even things that we…

  • Overview,  Philosophy

    The Vedic Perspective on Free Will

    My two previous posts explored the flaws in the materialist reduction of free will to rationality and discussed the use of free will in science. The second post concluded by arguing that every conscious experience involves choices, and these may be good or bad―depending on whether they are successful. This post extends the above arguments to incorporate our everyday notions about morality―i.e. good and bad―in the context of science. The key claim is that what we call a “working theory” is not just one that is compatible with all the observable facts, but also one that frees us from the consequences of the choices. A “non-working theory” is one that…