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<God wishes to be known and loved. This is the motive behind creation and reconciliation. Being invisible and unapproachable. He has made an Image of Himself, and a Complement through Whom He can come into contact with His creation.>
I think this is a meaningful way of looking upon the creation of humans by God.From the scientific cosmological perspective it may seem strange that, if this were so, God waited for more than 13 billion years after He created the world he decided to create humans. However, it is inspiring to look upon the creation of humans as a means through which the Creator gains recognition and honor.
It could well be that God is also in contact with the many the non-human elements in Creation, from atoms to mountains, from planets to stars and galaxies, in ways that we do not know.
Truth to say, I have no idea when or why, whether or how God made the world and Humans, but I am touched by our deep yearning for the Mystery and enriched by the many ways in which human minds have tried to resolve i
January 15, 2017
<Whether or not one is religious, I think we all can agree that human beings are much more complicated and integrated beings than we may even admit to ourselves.>
1.Being religious, in my definition, is being aware of and awed by the Grand Mystery of Existence, finding a little peace in the contemplation of that Mystery,acknowledging our our finiteness in the face of the unfathomable Infinity, being grateful for the human experience, and being sensitive to the feelings and needs of fellow humans. In this sense, most people are religious whether they describe themselves so or not.
2. Yes none but the most shallow and the most ignorant will fail to see that human beings are enormously complex and mysteriously integrated as apparently independent entities.
13 January 2017
In the Hindu-Buddhist framework there is more to religion than prayer and worship, ethical behavior and festivals. Religion involves leading a spiritual life. Spiritual life implies thoughts, attitudes, and actions that are based on the idea that undergirding the physical world of matter and energy there is a spiritual Reality that is transcendent, all pervading and eternal. One may give the crude analogy of a slate of a black board and the scribbles on them. Many things are written and drawn on them. They are but transient features. While many things are written and erased, the slate or the black board remains unaffected. It is the undergirding persistent Reality behind it all. So it is with perceived reality which corresponds to the writings on the board.
Spiritual life refers to a mode of living in which one never forgets that underlying deeper Reality. What this means is that no matter what we think, say, or do we not only remember that larger canvas on which everything occurs, but also dedicate our thoughts, words, and deeds to that transcendent Reality. The dedication means adopting a posture of humility and reverence, gentleness and love towards all beings great and small.
One learns to live such a life through regular and rigorous practice. The practice itself involves various yogas which involve meditation in a devotional frame of mind.
Often this practice lasts for many months, even years. After a sufficient stretch of time one begins to realize in an intensely personal way the existence of that transcendental reality that mystics speak of. This recognition can occur in a slow manner, or suddenly with a eureka exclamation. When that occurs one is said to have a spiritual awakening. That awakening is referred a (spiritual) Enlightenment. It is actually the discovery of the link between one’s individual and cosmic consciousness. It is known by various in various Asian languages: bodhi or moksha in Sanskrit, satori in Japanese, pin-tin in Chinese, wú in Korean, and so on.
The Buddha is said to have reminded us that just as a candle cannot burn burn without fire, we cannot live without recognizing the spiritual dimension of the world.
Like many important words in the language the word Enlightenment has acquires a variety of connotations. Two important meanings of the term refer to states of awareness and actions based on that awareness in two entirely different contexts: in the spiritual-religious realm and in worldly practical life. The first is important in one’s spiritual life; the second in one’s status as member of a society and of the world. Enlightenment of the first kind is of interest and significance for the individual. That of the second kind is of enormous import for societies, nations, and the world community at large. But both play central roles in the world today.
In the midst of the myriad problems facing the world today, some of which have the potential for catastrophic upheavals in the political, moral, and physical status of humanity, there are very few hopes that light up the pervasive gloom in the human condition. Different people and different groups entertain a variety of hopes, and many offer solutions to the problems we are facing. One of those hopes is that the vision of the Enlightenment will come within reach and inspire large numbers of people.
In order for this to happen people should have some idea as to what constitutes Enlightenment. That is what we shall try to do briefly in this in this chapter. The related questions of of the history of the Enlightenment, how to achieve it, how to propagate it, and how to establish it in the world at large will be taken up in other chapters.
But first it is important to distinguish between two important and quite unrelated meanings of the word. One refers to the new awakening in knowledge, worldviews, and methodologies that emerged in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This is the meaning in which we shall be using the world in this book. The term is used in the second meaning in the context of certain spiritual disciplines in the Hindu-Buddhist framework. This is a powerful and widely adopted goal in life for many people, but we will not be concerned with it in this book. Given that we live in a multicultural world, it should be of some interest for modern readers beyond the Indic cultural framework to have some idea of this other significance of the term. The Sanskrit word for Enlightenment is bodhi. From this is derived the word for one who is enlightened, or more exactly one who has attained true Enlightenment: namely Buddha. In other words, the founder of the religion was Buddha, the Enlightened One, and the goal of the religion is to enable its adherents to the enlightened state. Thus a Buddhist is one who has either already achieved Enlightenment or is striving for that goal.
For well over a year now the American public (as well as many thousands of foreigners who reside here and elsewhere) were subjected to countless debates and discussions, articles and editorials, speeches and commercials pertaining to the grand event that, like the International Olympics, occurs every four years in this country: the American Presidential elections.
Many are the seekers of the highest elected and the most prestigious office in the land. Early in the game, they make their desires public one way or another. Then we slowly come to know so much about all these ambitious, and often little known, public figures: their records and their remote past, their values and world views, their tax status and tragedies, and lots lots more. Through a process peculiar to the American system, two of them emerge as the leading contenders of the two leading parties by late July or early August.
During this process, there are many ups and downs for the contenders, hopes and disappointments, and continual mutual aspersions also. There is no telling who will emerge as the final candidate, for the most unexpected event could spell the doom of a candidate. One year, for example, we saw a promising politician tumble down because he was discovered smooching with an attractive damsel while his wife stayed far away with their children. Another time a potential president promptly withdrew because he had quoted from the speech of a British politician without acknowledging the source. Yet another hopeful was once counted out by the public when he claimed direct conversations with God almighty. It’s okay to talk to God, but if you claim to have received a return call, it is serious.
Anyway, finally the two major parties select their standard bearers, and these two in turn, by judgment, for regional strategy, or through just bad advice, announce their running mates. Often a couple of inconspicuous marginal candidates also show up on the list. Their impact is invariably to wreck the chances for one of the principal candidates.
Then begins the season of wooing the public. Now newscasters get even more eager, the candidates consult media magicians who, like medieval potion-peddlers, try to transform the dullest dunces into charismatic Caesars. Word-smiths concoct catchy phrases and speeches, handlers tell the candidates what to tell to whom and when, and the candidates themselves rehearse gestures and smiles for TV cameras.
Some news organizations, impatient for the final results, periodically poll a handful of potential voters and proclaim, on the basis of basic (and questionable) statistics, and naively replying on the honesty of the respondents, who is likely to win if the elections were held that week. What purpose such an imaginary news item serves is a mystery that few can fathom. But it has become part of the ritual.
A small section of the public that reads the papers, listens to PBS, and watches Meet the Press and Face the nation, gets to know the issues and what the candidates stand for. The majority forms their impressions from TV commercials and newspaper headlines, and is generally swayed by those that say the sweetest things about themselves and the most horrible things about their opponents. A significant fraction of the population is more thrilled by football and video movies than by political ideologies.
And so at last the momentous day arrives. This is a feast day for TV commentators, experts who play on a large touch screen to show which states are blue (Democratic) and which are red (Republican). It used to be that competing networks based on their statistical programs announced at the earliest who, according to their calculations, has won even before the polling booths closed in California.
Then the decisive moment arrives. The results are announced. One of the candidates concedes, in the presence of his tearful supporters, victory to the opponent. This is the price one pays for this democratic system: Every four years 50 +/- % of the people have to shed tears on this November day when the next President of the United States is announced to the world at large.
All this is part of the sounds and scenes of democracy in action. There is much one can criticize here, there is much to be improved in the unfolding of the spectacle. But we should not lose sight of the fact that one way or another, every willing citizen of the land is drawn into the process. Teachers and truck drivers, artists and scientists, doctors and plumbers, one and all are touched by the din and dance of the democratic drama.
The most moving and significant occurrence in all of this is that climactic moment when one of the candidates congratulates the other. This is civilized government at its best: The reins of government go from hand to hand, not through bloody battles or conniving conspiracy, not by sabotage and subterfuge, or by taking the head of state prisoner, but in full view of the public and in accordance with what the ballot box dictates.
So it was that Donald Trump was declared President-Elect, i.e. the next President of the United States early this morning (November 9, 2016). At least some credit or blame for his success must be given to forces that created, rightly or wrongly, fear and job-insecurity in the hearts of vast numbers of simple Americans. While millions rejoice in his victory there are also millions in the country today who are saddened and dejected by the defeat of a patriotic, intelligent, and immensely qualified candidate who could have become the first woman president of the United States. That is a great disappointment indeed.
My own feeling is that the next four years may not turn out to be as terrible as some fear, nor perhaps as glorious as some others are hoping for. All we can do is to join the vast majority in praying for the well-being and well-fare of the country.
November 9, 2016
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. GENESIS ACCORDING TO SCIENCE
III. ANCIENT EGYPT
IV. ANCIENT INDIA
V. ANCIENT CHINA
VI. PRE-SOCRATIC SCIENCE
VII. POST-SOCRATIC SCIENCE
VIII. ROMAN SCIENCE
VIII. ARAB & PERSIAN SCIENCE
IX. MEDIEVAL EUROPEAN SCIENCE
XI. EMERGENCE OF MODERN SCIENCE
XII. EIGHTEENTH CENTURY SCIENCE
XIII. NINETEENTH CENTURY SCIENCE
XIV. TWENTIETH CENTURY PHYSICS
The History of Science is great and long
Here you’ll read it, not as song,
But as facts in unmetered rhymes.
From very ancient to modern times.
Sample lines from first few pages
I. GENESIS ACCORDING TO SCIENCE
Hydrogen, helium, interstellar dust,
Rarefied matter was what came first.
They all were of the Big Bang born,
Or from supernovae rudely shorn.
Particles, charges, atoms, ions,
Drawn closer and closer during endless eons;
Were brought within huge confinements
By gravitational enticements
Celestial globules, large and small,
Drops and droplets of the Cosmic Ball:
Massive ones grew hot and more,
Caused nuclear fusion at their core.
So it was that stars were made,
To shine for long, and then to fade.
Of these billions there was one
That slowly became our shining sun.
In its realm and under its sway
Lesser bodies came to play:
Planets, satellites near and far,
Moving for ever around their star.
Sun’s family is itself bound
To the spiral galaxy it whirls around.
Here a speck we call the earth
Is where we all have had our birth.
In this our home in the cosmos vast
All life we know has had its past.
Life evolved on the temporal span
From molecules to the mind of Man.
Lands were barren, arid, waste,
Landscape not quite to our taste.
Volcanic fumes spread far and near,
While ocean waters were pure and clear.
Ammonia, methane, hydrogen there
In what was then the planet’s air.
Gigantic clouds rose and fell,
Abundant rains caused rivers to swell.
Flowing waters brought salts to sea,
Affecting the ocean’s purity.
Elements from every chemical group
Made the sea a primordial soup.
Kindled by light, heat, and lightning,
And by factors that could be fright’ning,
Turbulent chemistry did eons take
The first organic units to make.
From inert matter in simpler states
Came amino acids, carbohydrates.
Further reactions now gave rise
To complex systems of greater size.
Self-replicating systems came
To launch life on its random game.
Once the spark of life was lit,
Its range and kind had no limit.
Some trapped energy from heat and light,
Though possessing neither touch nor sight.
Evolving patters of molecules
Brought to life animalcules.
All these were like children’s stories
Compared to the planet’s future glories.
Still no hint of all the creatures
Yet to emerge with stranger features.
Fish and freak of all forms and shapes,
Plants and trees and worms and apes:
All sorts of life now could arise:
Germs and birds and humans wise.
Nucleic acids held the code,
Slipped and strayed and changed their mode.
By mistakes and unforeseen means
Were mutations made of the genes.
Genetic twists set in motion
Meandering paths of evolution.
As fossil evidence makes one see
All sorts of creatures came to be.
They answered ev’ry chance and change
That occurred in the planet’s range,
In air and water, and on the land,
In polar realms and desert sand.
Insects, reptiles, also mammals,
Frogs and flies and snakes and camels,
With plethora of trees and plants,
Various as squirrels and ants
Formed like a Master’s work of art:
Many mind-boggling from the start.
After beings like mare and bear,
One emerged, became self-aware.
It could love and mate, kill and hate;
With hands and mind, great things create.
To itself it could questions ask,
With joy complete a chosen task.
It could be noble, could be mean,
And it could be much in between.
This bundle with intelligence
Named itself Homo sapiens.
Earth this spot on the cosmic slate
Is where are drawn things small and great.
A Doodler sans reason or rhyme
Just scribbles away to pass the Time?
Is all of this a Divine Plan?
Or just chemistry causing Man?
Those who on this do firmly swear
Of many things are unaware.
With all our knowledge, no one can
Precisely date the birth of Man.
Followed by Australopithecus.
Apes their problems on trees did solve.
From them, some think did Man evolve.
Others feel that it’ is a shame
If Man from monkeys truly came.
Science tells us how we came about.
On this, of curse, there is some doubt,
It’s not for science to just suggest
What to humans may seem the best.
As a witty man reminded us
Let’s look upon the question thus:
If Creation’s ex-ape is you and me,
We also happen its apex to be.
Mystics and science both do claim
That all life is of the family same.
Four million years or maybe three
Have passed since the biped’s arms were free.
It roamed the land in search of foods,
Ate and slept, explored the woods.
It mated, it procreated,
No arts or craft, it yet created.
Lice and mice, Man ate them well,
Frogs and worms, he liked their smell.
Every creature that moved in sight
Was fit for catch, then for bite.
‘Twas perhaps of a deer or ass,
Man stumbled on its raw carcass.
Might have been old, might have been fresh,
Man formed a taste for massive flesh.
And it became, to say the least,
A thrill to slay or tame a beast.
In the new age that we enter
Man becomes an expert hunter.
Hunting, wild though it seems,
Calls for plans and secret schemes.
In plans and schemes to engage
Man required a language
Spoken words were great and mighty
They sowed the seeds for society.
Not too harsh are Man’s teeth and jaws,
Not to piercing are his claws.
And so his games to fully kill
Man had to use some other skill.
After trying many a trick
He forged his tools with stone and stick.
Technology thus came to fore,
Its first goal was just to gore.
A lightning flash that caused much fright
Did perhaps a forest light.
Or the scorching sun on a summer day
Burnt perhaps a leaf away.
Or random strokes of rocks in dark
Did produce a fiery spark.
Through such events did Man acquire
His knowledge of insubstantial fire.
That, in truth, was a great event,
Alas, it unrecorded went.
So we know not how or when or where
Man first of fire became aware.
Subtle fire was ever so helpful,
Strange sometimes, but also hurtful.
Warmth it gave in wintry weather,
At night humans moved hither and thither.
It protected him from beasts of prey
Which by fire were turned away.
It fell not down, and defied touch,
‘Twas not feared, for it did so much.
When cities, temples, and prayers came,
Humans began to worship flame.
Seeking food, every month of the year,
Humans hunted foxes, yaks and deer.
Humans were restless, nomadic
The food they found was sporadic.
Then ten thousand years ago
Humans began some grains to grow.
They had learnt to sow and reap
And harness beasts like cow and sheep.
When humans grew greens and grains
And learned the role of falling rains,
They knew there was no further need
To move and search, themselves to feed.
Now they started settling down,
Building roads from town to town.
The great Agro-Revolution
Slowed and stopped constant motion.
More creatures were domesticated,
Life became more complicated.
But while they sat and they did wait
For seeds to sprout and germinate
They’d watch the sky or tell a star
“How I wonder what you are!”
They’d sing and dance or take a ride
On their mind fertile, so far and wide.
Unchained thoughts, when free to rise,
Often tend to civilize.
When society tries to curb free thought
Civilization begins to rot.
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