If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”
~ Carl Sagan
One of the interesting things about Indian spirituality and religion is its vast array of stories and philosophies to explain the human condition, our origins, and our destiny. Along with the other major faiths in India – Buddhism and Jainism – Hinduism is rich and diverse in its ways of looking at the universe. These ancient texts remain a vast and still largely untapped resource for information about human and cosmic origins.
I think this comes from a long tradition of experiential spirituality and debate, rather than dogmatic teaching. Although, sadly, modern India is becoming home to more dogmatic, nationalist views related to its ancient traditions.
One Hindu cosmology can be found in the Chapter 4 of the Brihadâranyaka Upanishad. This sacred text was first translated into English in the early part of the 20th century. Some versions center of the god Brahma, while others use the cosmic man, Parusha.
The story starts with, “In the beginning, there was Self alone. Looking around he saw nothing but Self. He first said, ‘This is I,’ and thus was I born.
The story takes us through a series of emotions Self had, beginning with fear. “Why,” Self asked, “should I be afraid when there is only me here? For there must be something other than me for me to fear.” Duality was born. Then Self wished to feel delight, but there was not delight in his loneliness. He needed Other to feel delight and so Self divided himself into Him and Her. He sought her embrace, but she did not feel it was right for them to be together coming from the same source.
So, she took the form of a cow and he took the form of a bull and mated with her. She kept changing forms to stay ahead of him and this was how all the animals down to ants came into being.
The interesting dynamic here, and the one that separates Indian philosophy from the western monotheistic faiths, is that all of creation is PART of God. God is not separate from creation. God is within all the “10,000 things” including human beings. Our job is to attain a spiritual reunion with our own source and remember to see that source in everything around us.
The one challenge I’ve always seen to this philosophy is that “the fall” into separateness seems to have been quite accidental. What would prevent the same cycle from occurring over and over again, even if we attain enlightenment and reunion with source? Perhaps, this is the reason Indian philosophy also believes that all life is a series of vast, repeating cycles. The notion that time is a straight line of new events happening on into the future is at odds with traditional Indian philosophy which sees cosmic and human cycles of birth, life, and destruction.
Which is correct? It might just be both.
Keep seeking, my friends!
Ray Davis is a thinker, writer, and the author of Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation – order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com – founder of The Affirmation Spot and an advocate for the potential of the human race. He’s life-long history buff and holds a B.S. in History Education. He’s always been fascinated by alternative views of history.
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