• Philosophy,  Religion,  Research

    Absolute and Relative Space

    Hierarchical space brings a problem of having to reconcile a fixed hierarchy of material elements in an observer with the fixed hierarchy of the different planetary systems in the universe. The problem is that every living being in the universe has a morality, ego, intelligence, mind, senses, properties, and sense objects, but these living entities are also situated at different levels of a universal conceptual hierarchy. This means that the word “eye” denotes abstract ideas in a higher planets and contingent ideas in the lower planets. How can “eye” mean two radically different things? Isn’t there a universal definition of “seeing” as the process by which we absorb light and gather color…

  • Overview,  Philosophy,  Physics,  Religion

    Why God is a Scientific Construct

    Vaishnava literature describes four forms of God—Vasudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. These four forms are also said to be the masters of mind (Aniruddha), intelligence (Pradyumna), ego (Saṅkarṣaṇa) and mahattattva (Vasudeva), which are material elements in Sāńkhya. This leads us to ask: how is God the “master” of a material element, and how is the relation between God and the material element established? This post delves into the relation between God and matter, and how a complete understanding of any material element involves an understanding of God. In a very specific sense, therefore, science (as the study of matter) is incomplete without knowledge of God.

  • Overview

    The Inception of Bhaktivedānta Institute

    In late 1997, H.H. Bhaktisvarūpa Dāmodara Maharaja told me that he wanted to compile Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions on Bhaktivedānta Institute into a book. With that intent, he and I made some recordings, where Maharaja narrated the early history of Institute and I transcribed the tapes. Following this, I searched for quotes, letters, conversations, etc. from the published material and inserted in into the transcribed text. I believe Maharaja had bigger plans for this book, which included Śrīla Prabhupāda’s cultural approach to religion (“Srimad-Bhagavatam is a cultural presentation for the re-spiritualization of the entire human society.”). While I did not get a chance to work on it, I have had the…

  • Overview,  Philosophy

    Advaita – The Partial Truth

    Many people who look at Vedic philosophy in current times, understand it as Advaita, which is an interpretation of Vedanta, that claims that the ultimately reality is a singular, unified existence called Brahman, from which the world is produced as māyā or illusion. The Brahman is equated with consciousness, although how consciousness comes under illusion has been a contentious issue since the time of Śaṅkarācārya who first propounded Advaita but did not provide a clear explanation of the fall into illusion. Subsequent interpretations of Vedanta have tried to address these problems, but they are generally ignored by Advaita philosophers. This post discusses the problems in Advaita, how they have been…