RELIGION and I (Part 1)

As a primary school boy, I was sent to the Pilleyar (Ganesha) temple at examination times, although I topped my class by a large margin every term, except once.  I also accompanied my parents at other times.  We were ardent in our faith.  My father, having overcome a serious illness at about 33, died suddenly at 47, when I was 18.  Within 3 years I then lost the family’s savings through a spectacular academic failure.  So much for faith and fervent prayer.

My future was thereby destroyed, as clearly forewarned after my father’s demise by a perambulating yogi, but unheeded by us.  I doubt that my mother and I were competent to absorb such a warning.  In any event, surely what had to happen had to work itself out.  Late in life I realised that what the yogi had done was to turn my mother’s vision towards Australia, which was in a direction not normally taken by students from British Malaya seeking an overseas qualification.  My folly (or was it my destiny?) led to my mother and my sisters being impoverished.  So much for temple rituals and the priesthood.  I gave away God, Hinduism and all religio-cultural rituals.

Then learning and logic took over!  Studying the belief systems of the simpler societies at my university, and dipping into some anthropology, sociology, psychology, and the major religions, I realised that there has been, and is, an innate need in many, if not most, of us to understand what we humans are, and our place in the Cosmos.

I realised further that:  the complexity and beauty, as well as the observable but inadequately explicable aspects of the experienced world;  the exceedingly complex patterns of inter-linked cause and effect, action and reaction, and the inter-dependencies of the physical, chemical and electromagnetic forces affecting us;  the uniformity, the invariability, the predictive capacity of the laws of nature;  the ecological balance between mobile and fixed forms of life;  the intuitive yearning by sensitive souls for communion with sublime or higher forces not clearly understood;  and the inferred influence of the spirit world, all of which affect our lives, could not have occurred purely by chance.  Instead, they might, I felt, reflect the mind and soul of a Creator.  How else could all that have occurred?  By chance?  Is that another name for an inexplicable cause, akin to the gods of simpler people?

I did conclude, logically, that there had to be a Creator of all that exists.  I then noted, with great interest, that an academic and confirmed atheist had reached the same conclusion after a lifetime of non-belief in a Creator, for exactly the same reasons.  There has to be a Creator, he now accepts, thereby upsetting most severely his former fellow-believers in that causal mechanism named Chance.  Like me, he doesn’t claim to know; only that a creator god makes (unverifiable) sense.

 

(This is an extract from my book ‘Musings at Death’s Door: an ancient bicultural Asian-Australian ponders about Australian society.’)

 

 

Seeking to explain the Universe

I have great difficulty with the Big Bang Theory. I question the following: something arising from nothing; the origin of the vast energy necessary for the claimed initial expansion; whether light maintains its intensity through infinite space; how far does the Hubble Telescope see in infinite space; what is the role of ‘dark matter’ in this claimed expansion; is it not premature to claim that the Big Bang cosmogony is proven?

In the meantime, fellow-bloggers may be interested in the following extracts from ‘On the Cosmos’ in my book ‘Musings at death’s door.’

“Following a genuinely educational curriculum set by the British for Malaya, I read about the prevailing ‘Stationary State’ theory relating to the structure of the Cosmos.  So, modern cosmologists were agreeing with an ancient Hindu perspective of durability in the heavens.  Then, however, came the ‘Big Bang’ theory.  This presumably was needed to explain what the Hubble Telescope had shown; that all sighted cosmic objects were seemingly moving away from one another.

Then came the ‘Big Crunch’ concept, seemingly in recognition that unending expansion did not make sense even in an infinity of space.  I, however, wonder if a glimpse of Hindu cosmic speculations might also have been influential.

Then came the ‘Mini-Bang’ extension, presumably to explain the lack of accumulating empty spaces. That is, if everyone is moving out of a sports stadium through gates open 360 degrees, wouldn’t the stadium become empty eventually?  The idea of a ‘Mini-Crunch’ had logically to follow.  All that was to fit the Hubble Telescope’s observations within a durable Cosmos; and a hint that invisible matter (or energy) might be filling the spaces resulting from the expansion of visible galaxies.

We were now back to an enduring Cosmos, but with significant changes in structures.  It is durability but without stability – an interesting concept.  Did not some unknown Hindus postulate that the universe renews itself periodically?  There are two strands in this belief.  The first strand says that at the end of a ‘day of Brahma,’ Earth (and other worlds) are temporarily dissolved (another view is of a temporary suspension).  A ‘day’ is equal to 4.32 billion human years.  At the end of another 4.32 billion years, representing a ‘night’ of Brahma, regeneration commences.  Dissolved, suspended, crunched?

Brahma is the Creator God.  The other strand of this belief says that at the end of Brahma’s life, equal to 311.04 trillion years, the whole Cosmos is dissolved.  After a great cosmic rest period equivalent to the duration of Brahma’s life, yet another creative cycle will commence, with another Brahma creating another Cosmos.  What a quaint vista this is.  What kind of mind conceived it?

It all sounds so simple.  When and how did these concepts originate?  Why?  What was the trigger?  These speculations promise long-term durability, but with vast changes in structures occurring in a sequenced path.  What I was taught as a boy – that the universe is without a beginning or an end – seems to be quite correct.  Continuity is assured, but with gaps in the creative and regenerative process.  For some reason, the firefly’s winks of light come to mind.”

 

Welcoming Death

I am looking forward, with great anticipation, to meeting Death; hopefully, soon. I have achieved mental and spiritual peace after a long and turbulent life – during which I have learned a great deal (so I believe) about the human condition and human society; and have achieved a smidgen of understanding about the place of mankind in the Universe.

I am satisfied that the material realm within which we live, frolic and suffer (but obviously not simultaneously) is only the crust of that environment which is relevant for human existence – much like the mantle covering Earth below which lies its engine room.

My substantial exposure to the spiritual (and thereby ephemeral) domain has resulted in my awareness of 3 realities – the physical, the mental, and the ethereal. I now know that the mental can exist beyond the material after death, having been initially derived substantially from the brain (with a probable input from soul memory). I also know that the spirit realm co-exists with our material realm, but is probably located in another (non-cosmic) domain.

I find it interesting that the speculative cosmologists of science (I instance David Bohm) and the ancient metaphysical Hindus who conceived their complex cosmology seem to be on the same page in their efforts to explain reality at multiple levels. Naturally, one needs to go beyond that most reliable scientific method to deal with the ephemeral.

I do wonder whether the material is only a projection of the ephemeral; or that the ephemeral is an abstraction from the material. I prefer the former perspective, with seeming support from Plato and Hindu cosmology.

Anyway, I do need to move to what I refer as the After-life, in order to continue my learning (as promised by a clairvoyant with verifiable communication with the spirit realm). All my life, I have had this urge to know – and to understand. With understanding there may be opportunities to acquire some wisdom.

Repeated sojourns in the After-life should ultimately result in a clear understanding of what all inter-linked cosmic existence is about.

Reality may be non-material

I prefer the material realm of the universe we occupy to be a projection of an ethereal realm. The latter is a hitherto effectively unknown and inexplicable dimension of existence. Why? Because reality seems to me to be more ethereal than material. The latter also cannot explain the former, whereas the latter can seemingly be derived from the former.

When Heraclitus (a Greek philosopher of yore) quoted a typically unrecognised Hindu thinker of centuries before him, saying “All is fire,” he was referring to the firmament which surrounds us. All my life, I have been enchanted by the apparently infinite number of balls of fire which we see as stars.

Recently, my mind’s-eye developed this scenario. The invisible smoke from these fires could represent the ephemeral realm of the Universe; and the ashes and other disgorgements from each sun which fall upon their respective planets (such as Earth) could represent the material from which life forms eventually oozed or erupted. Does this vision make possible sense?

Then, there is the material realm of which we are part; that is, we are matter. We are part of the 4% of the totality of matter estimated to exist in the Universe to be visible.

What of invisible matter? Two-thirds is said to be dark matter; one third is apparently dark energy. Was the latter transmuted from dark matter, or vice versa? However, since we cannot see either, could they actually exist? Of course they can, in the way bees and some animals apparently use certain alternative strands of the electromagnetic spectrum to go about their business.

As well, there was my first clairvoyant who could see, and describe accurately, the spirit of my uncle who had manifested himself to him. That is, invisible cosmic matter may become visible under appropriate conditions; and invisible energy may be identifiable through its impacts.

In the event, what is the point of all the fuss we make about the minuscule amount of visible matter, including our (human) material selves? Are we not a lot more than our material bodies? Should we not be investigating non-visible matter and energy, to understand the ephemeral aspects of humanity?

Ultimate reality seems to be beyond the visible, tangible, crudity, and crassness of much of Earthly human existence.

Continuity with pre-history

Progress in science (the god of the pathway to learning in the Western world in recent times) is generally triggered by the speculative thinkers in each of the academic disciplines. These are the lamp-lighters for those who want to know about our Universe (even a multi-verse Cosmos) and why it is all so; as well as our place in it , and what we seem to be (apart from stardust).

Since the capacity to speculate freely is unlimited, by time, space and even theology (in both religion and the prevailing explanatory paradigms of the various disciplines of knowledge-seeking), a range of possible doorways to knowledge can be theorised; these may lead to pathways of probable relevance.

However, is there a man-made constraint about accepting continuity through historical time? I instance the continuity of learning; and thereby to the apparent continuity of civilisational features through time – through now extinct civilisations.

In the light of the precise geometry of construction and the accuracy of the geodesic placements of the pyramids of the ancient Egyptians, it would be fatuous to believe that late-arrival Greeks discovered geometry. Earth’s positions against the constellations of the zodiac at a particular period of time, and the alignment of our planets in that period as evidenced, or linked in ancient mythology, may assist in dating the construction of the Pyramids and the Sphinx more accurately; as well as certain events mentioned in the Veda’s of Hinduism.

The history of mankind seems to go far beyond 3,000 BC, long before the cultural ancestors of Europeans (Greece) and their religious ancestors (the Israelites) could make any kind of impact.

Our current civilisation seems to date from about 13,000 BC, after the abatement of the Universal Deluge, with its almost total destruction of everything on Earth. That Quetzalcoatl and Viracocha should arrive in oar-less boats in Central and South America suggests the survival of pockets of an earlier (pre-Flood) civilisation of high achievements.

Let us not try to sound clever by muttering ‘Where’s the evidence?’ Modern day speculative cosmologists like Einstein do not seem to have been challenged about their lack of evidence.

So-called Caucasians in Central Asia in an early historical period; skeletons of tall (up to an estimated 12 feet) humans in North America; ‘African’ heads in Central America; ‘black’ people in China; clearly brown people in Taiwan (now in Polynesia); constructions such as Nan Madol and other massive stone buildings in various parts of the globe, components of which cannot be moved by modern equipment; mind-over-body, and other psychic phenomena, exhibited in diverse parts of the globe; ‘thumbnail’ and other psychic or spiritual healers; artefacts displaying high technology having been dug up from great depths; and so on! There is so much we cannot explain.

Are we then in a position to deny the probability of the existence of advanced civilisations on Earth in so-called pre-history? Nature, in conjunction with huge space-objects and powerful electromagnetic flows of cosmic rays and particles is able to bury or drown whole human civilisations now and then. Large segments of the continents, such as Fennoscandia, are now under water.

Just as reincarnation can enable the continuity of souls through time, via a succession of Earthly lives, so the memories contained in mythology and some artefacts of humanity may indicate the continuity of human civilisations over vast swathes of time.

Pre-history readable through the zodiac?

I have had real-life experiences to convince me that horoscope reading by experienced Indian astrologers, based on the minute of birth (and its geographic location) enable probabilistic conclusions about a broad view of an individual’s future. However, I am not persuaded that horoscope reading in Western nations like Australia, based on one of the 12 constellations of the zodiac, are reliable. Projected personalities do not match real-life personalities.

Paul LaViolette, a multi-disciplinary scientist and mythologist suggests that the sequence of cosmic ‘houses’ on the zodiac are not in their proper relationship positions.

Nevertheless, does the zodiac as we know it enable us to read pre-history? This is a crucial question. For instance, it appears that the Sphinx in Egypt had a lion’s head originally. Could it have been constructed in the zodiac Age of the Lion? If so, would we now have a date (within a span of 2,160 years for each Age) for its origin? It could be 8,000 BC to 10,000 BC.

I remember reading that a description of a cosmic event in Hinduism’s Vedas (whose oral origin is asserted as before time as we know it) had been dated at about 8,000 BC. Or, could the associated constellation of the zodiac (the ‘house’ against which the sun rises for 2,160 years each time) refer to the previous zodiac cycle 25,920 years before? Why not indeed! Do we know enough to reject this probability?

In the event, could we then focus on the culture or civilisation which produced the Sphinx? In the light of the very limited technology available in that period to mankind, as claimed by the protectors of the current explanatory paradigm,  could we contemplate the probability of extraterrestrial assistance? This may have come from a watery planet from the 3-star Sirius complex – because a moat apparently surrounded the Sphinx originally.

Or, were our then human ancestors so highly civilised and technologically advanced as to be able to cut, lift, shape, and place the huge and heavy stones (the megaliths) – which we are yet unable to handle.

Thus, we have an interesting choice: extraterrestrial involvement or highly civilised and technologically superior human ancestors. While neither seems credible, a choice has to be made.

As to whether the zodiac placed at the ecliptic enables human pre-history to be read depends on what the zodiac actually means, who conceived it, and why it seems to be embedded in a number of cultures of the past. Apart from the link with the precession of Earth, and the apparent usefulness of knowing when to expect the equinoxes and solstices (for agricultural or spiritual purposes?), what does the zodiac tell us? The next probable cosmic catastrophe?

Perceiving reality

Is it possible for humans to perceive reality? That raises the issue: what is reality? How will we recognise reality?

I am reminded of my own question throughout my life: how do I know what I know? Both Hinduism and Plato (representing one of the philosophical paradigms of the West) are not encouraging: reality is seemingly shrouded.

Hinduism does, however, offer a pathway – deep meditation. Yet, the report of Paramahansa Yogananda of his spiritual experience is confounding. Is a similar experience available to an ordinary person like me?

Drawing upon both my personal experiences with humanity, and a lot of reading, I am inclined to say that:

  • we each have a unique perception of reality
  • our perceptions are influenced mainly by exposures during this life
  • these exposures would have a cumulative framework of reference
  • our interpretations or registers of such exposures probably (should?) reflect what our souls tell us (in some subtle way)
  • there may be an etheric veil between human perceptions and that which is perceived
  • that what we perceive may only be a projection of what is – if it is tangible
  • if reality is not material but ethereal, do we have the necessary facility to ‘capture’ it?
  • would it matter were conceptions of apparent reality to be variable within normal human relations?
  • material reality may require agreement for safety, sanity, scientific research, etc, leaving the ephemeral to those who could take us beyond the level of existence as we know it
  • perceptions of reality may require use of the ‘third eye’
  • if that is successful, how does mankind or the individual benefit while on Earth?
  • if reincarnation is to allow us to purify our individual souls to enable us to return the the Ocean of Consciousness from which we arose, would that not be the aspect of reality that is relevant to us Earthlings?

Yet, the search for understanding of the meaning of existence  must continue. Perhaps that is reality.