[Advaita-l] Advaitic position vis-a-vis cosmo-genesis & naturalistic evolution
harij at excite.com
harij at excite.com
Fri May 13 07:51:50 CDT 2005
I don't know whether you will find my queries posted in this mail relevant to this group. With some amount of reluctance i proceed to present my queries for i don't know whom else to approach than the learned members of this forum. Of late, i'm into reading few works of Richard Dawkins. And it has been quite disturbing to say the least. As someone who is never sure of his spiritual outlook on life, but one trying to get a hold, i'm afraid whether all this talk related to life emerging by chance through organic evolution, natural selection, vestigial organs, junk-DNA,random mutations, abiogenesis, speciation, common ancestor will blow me off my ground. More so because I'm tuned to believe that our life becomes complete and meaninful only against the premise of an intelligent absolute being present.
I understand that even in the absence of God, the relevance of ethics and morality to human beings and their yearning for purifying conscience would require a guiding body such as the religion being there. But for that an agnostic doctrine such as one propounded by Buddha would be lot more meaningful than the Vaidhic religions which rest on the hypothesis of an intelligent Brahman being there as the cause and the sustaining factor. The believing christians rest on their the biblical creationist model of creation, fall, Flood, Babel, dispersion and rapid speciation and to some extent upon the intelligent design model. What are the advaitic positions vis-a-vis cosmo-genesis and evolution?. I'm not looking for any sort of reconciliation between science and religion. But i don't want to be left in the same state of despair as expressed by one of the reviewers of one of Richard Dawkins's book at the Amazon site:
"It presents an appallingly pessimistic view of human nature, and makes life seem utterly pointless; yet I cannot present any arguments to refute its point of view. I would in the end rather have the hope of something wonderful and purposeful that only some spiritual outlook can offer, even though it may be a deluded fantasy, than the certainty of a scientific vision that eliminates any possibility of long-term hope, that condemns us to an empty, eternal death of nothingness in the end. This scientific view may be completely rational; but rationality is not the only important consideration to shape our outlook on life. Because of this, I have the curious feeling of dichotomy about Dawkins' book that it is certainly fascinating on one level, but that I cannot give even qualified emotional commitment to the outlook on life that seems to lie behind it. I would in the end rather have the hope of something wonderful and purposeful that only some spiritual outlook can offer, even
though it may be a deluded fantasy, than the certainty of a scientific vision that eliminates any possibility of long-term hope, that condemns us to an empty, eternal death of nothingness in the end. This scientific view may be completely rational; but rationality is not the only important consideration to shape our outlook on life."
Here i'm reminded of my atheist friend's statement: The relavance of religion will diminish with increased scientific knowledge and prosperity. I pray and hope that it turns to be the contrary.
>From whatever little advaitic knowledge i have obtained by way of reading Brahma Sutra Bashya by Shankaracharya, 7 to 8 Upanishads, Gita, Atma Bodha, Upadhesha Sahasri, Deivathin Kural, Teachings of Ramana Maharishi,Ashtavakra Gita, Indian Philosophy by S.Radhakrishnan, i am aware that the advaithic view states that the Brahman is all that exists, existed and will exist. And also that it states we are finites in that infinite which is immutable, beyond space & time, beyond namam & rupam, without a beginning and an end. In our empirical existence we fail to see our true nature and that once we destroy ignorance caused by avidya or nescience (an Upadhi superimposed on Atman) we realise our true nature which is nothing but the brahman itself. That Brahman which the taitriya declares as pure Ananda and which is realised in the Turiya state. That Brahman which has modified itself by its own power of Maya into galaxies, solar system, sun, moon, universe, vegetation, animals
including human beings.
With this in the background, i leave it open to you members to respond. Pl. correct me if i had gone wrong anywhere.
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