When considering the pervasiveness of the two theories across science, one can easily be bewildered into thinking that the world came out of nothing and that we are nothing but intergalactic dust which somehow coalesced and by pure chance, life arose out of a merciless process of survival of the fittest. This, in a nutshell, summarises the scientific acumen of today, although this is gradually changing. In the face of Quantum Physics and new research into Morphogenetic fields and the nature of Consciousness which is really the “hard” problem in science as we know it, we are gradually being brought to reconsider our position with respect to the nature of reality itself. The wave particle duality and the strange behaviour of matter itself we encounter in scientific disciplines lends credence for us to indeed sift the chaff from the wheat and reposition ourselves with respect to our place in the Universe.
One thing’s for sure, the picture is quite bleak if we accept a materialistic and reductionist interpretation of things. However, the Vedic literatures bequeath us more than a few clues when it comes to the origin of the Universe and our species. Concerning evolution, the Vedas (Padma Purana and Brahma-Vaivarta Purana) number a total of 8.4 million species existing within the universe and they differ in terms of their level of consciousness. The numbers given are very precise; for example it is revealed that there are 400,000 species of human beings in total. Here speculations over the few species of humanoids discovered by evolutionary biologists fall flat on their face.
The Vedic Literatures stipulate that indeed there is a form of evolution going on in the Universe but it is not one of morphology. It is actually an evolution of consciousness. One analogy that can help us understand things a bit is when we understand how it is consciousness that creates the brain and not the brain that creates consciousness. So consciousness is responsible for the multitude of forms that we can see in nature. It is worthwhile noting here that the mind is considered material and a separate concept from consciousness and the latter is considered a symptom of the spiritual spark which is cognate by nature. The role of the mind is simply that it is situated at the interface of consciousness and matter and determines the resultant form that the spirit soul will take.
The form a soul achieves is determined by two factors, according to the Vedas, namely desire and activity. By desire, I mean what particular affinity the soul has developed in the crucible of consciousness interacting with the 3 modes of nature. And by activity, I mean what work the soul has performed which credit his evolution or discredit his evolution on the rungs of the ladder of evolution of consciousness. The workings of these forces are very intricate in nature but they work together in determining our morphology. Demigods or beings of advanced intelligence act primarily out of the mode of goodness, while human beings endowed with the propensity to work act primarily out of the mode of passion. Animals or beings with degenerate consciousness act primarily out of the mode of ignorance.
These are well-known facts pointed out in the Vedas, which is considered as “apaurauseya” – or not coming from human intelligence. That means it is considered free from the defects of human endeavours in the field of knowledge. The mind plays a key role in all of this as the senses are grouped about the mind. The progression of our intellectual life and the refinement of our consciousness determine what sort of mind we develop, and by extension what modes of nature we enjoy. This is a dynamic and interactive process; we’re not merely being played with by the forces of nature. Free will is there at every step; in fact the human platform and the animal kingdom are mediated by an upward flow of consciousness such that the human platform becomes a turning point. We either advance or degrade ourselves in consciousness.
The animal kingdom is an opportunity for the soul. The soul in an animal form exchanges its karma for an opportunity to reform its consciousness and also obtains a suitable environment to display its base instincts. The time the soul spends in the matrix of the animal species is proportionate to how devolved its consciousness is. Therefore, consciousness – not form – is the criterion in determining the dynamics of evolution. Even within human beings, we find some species who are highly advanced and cultured while some others still lead an uncivilised way of life. This varies in degrees as both evolution and devolution occur simultaneously in nature. The different portals of consciousness herein accessible would reveal many more subtle or gross species occurring alongside the intermediate human species.
As regards the theory of the Big Bang, I think we are missing out an important aspect of this scientific model. The material world occurs at the interface of Brahman and matter and as such, when we study the form of Vishnu which gives rise to cosmic expansion and contraction in the form of His breathing in and out universes out of His body, we can make out that the Big Bang simply is the initial “force de frappe” with which Karanodakashayi Vishnu’s exhalation explodes. This particular expansion of Vishnu, or Mahavishnu is situated within the cosmic ocean which is called Viraja and indirectly it is receiving information from the rays from Sri Krishna’s body (or Brahman, from the realm of eternity) on how to maintain the material worlds.
It is also worthwhile noting that this planet has been seeded by the Prajapatis, who were ancient beings of advanced intelligence and of advanced procreative capacity. This is where the concept of Adam and Eve comes from. However, our literature goes into even greater details in specifying that the Prajapatis, who were entrusted to seed life on this planet, by changing their forms into beings which had more potential to regenerate nature – by an advanced form of asexual reproduction. We don’t know much more about it but it is clear that they seeded the planet with life and that it didn’t come out of a soup. Thereafter evolution and devolution of consciousness took its usual course. Thus the planet was seeded by higher intelligence. “Life comes from Life”.
Consideration of both scientific models and the Vedic models of the Universe. Actually, the accounts we find in the Bhagavata Purana or Srimad Bhagavatam, excel these descriptions in detail and beauty. In fact, spiritual knowledge is not dead knowledge. It is knowledge, once acquired, starts to sprout and live within one’s consciousness creating understanding where doubts crop up. The material scientists are engaged in a relentless pursuit trying to understand the nature of reality. I don’t even have a PhD but I can see things they can never dream of by dint of knowledge which comes from outside the cosmos. Imagine trying to understand the Universe from within it. That’s why we’re getting nowhere.
By Krishna Leela Prakash ©
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