Summary of Discussion on December 24, 2016

Dear Friends, Namaste –

This will not be well written and I will not be able to proofread it properly. I still have to learn how to allow comments that are in the spirit of this Blog – affirmative and totally alright to be critical without disparaging of anyone or of anyone’s tradition. Your suggestions for topics to be discussed are welcome.

I am planning it to be in the following format: Date, Topic, Number of Attendees, summary of the material presented and the essence of the discussion. So here we go…..

Date: Saturday, December 24, 2016 10:45am-11:45am

Topic: The Nature of the Cosmos and Hinduism

Attendees: 7 (and Krishna!)

What was presented:

We watched the following four video clips (hyperlinked) from Prof. Carl Sagan for the first 20 minutes:

You Are Here (Pale Blue Dot)


Origins of the universe and god

Hinduism and Universe

These videos describe the immenseness of the cosmos where our earth is a mere speck; given our cosmic insignificance, mediocrity surrounds our every circumstance and we have a great deal to be humble – “we have not been given the lead in the cosmic drama.” The origin of the universe and who created God are unanswerable questions, answers to which may never be found.

Hinduism is perhaps the only religion that acknowledges cosmological time scales, cyclical nature of the cosmos, and the existence of infinite numbers of universes. There are more profound ideas still: “men may not be the dreams of gods; rather gods may be dreams of men.”

What was discussed:

There was spirited and good-natured discussion, participated in by all. Roles of science and religion were discussed. One comment was that science and religion have separate domains and the two have no business interfering with each other, even to the point that science allows us to discover the immenseness of the cosmos. Another comment was that science and religion should work in harmony where the role of science is with matters of material nature, whereas religion deals with spirituality and ethics. A question was raised about how this immense universe came about – there must be a creator that we call God; otherwise it must be a giant accident, the probability of which, as calculated by Sir Roger Penrose, is essentially zero. Then again, if there is a compassionate God as in all religions, then why is there so much misery. One idea mentioned was of Brahman that exists without any attributes – good or bad.

The discussion ended on the comment that if we don’t even know the nature of our own universe, even within the “observable” boundaries, then how is it possible to know the mind of the Creator. We are all ignorant of the truth that may never be found; some are arrogant, ignorant nonetheless, that use religion and greed to subjugate others, rather than finding their happiness by making others happy as best as possible in this unhappy world (the main message of Gita).

Thank you all for participating.

Respectfully submitted by,

Narendra (SOHAM-MN™)