Thursday, September 11, 2014

Einstein's God

Modern science started during the renaissance and has significantly advanced our understanding of the Cosmic Manifestation (ब्रह्माण्ड or सृष्टि), or at least that of our tiny local cosmic neighborhood. So far, we have come across a few laws of nature viz. gravity, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, relativity, uncertainty principle, quantum mechanics, weak and strong nuclear forces etc. One of the most modern physics theories is the String Theory that is trying to produce a single equation that unifies all the major laws of physics. Author and theoretical physicist Prof Michio Kaku of City University of New York is the co-founder of the string theory and a futurist who predicts how the future of human mind and that of humanity would be. In a detailed conversation below on 'How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st century and Beyond', he explains the string theory and many other advanced topics in a simplified manner and also answers a number of questions.

To the question "Do you believe in the God?" (at 18:10), he answers:

"I would believe in the God of Einstein. He had said that there are two kinds of Gods. The first kind is the personal God, the God that answers prayers ... the God that parts the sea and walks on water.  Einstein believed in the other God, the God of Spinoza and Leibniz, the God of reason, beauty, elegance and simplicity. It is amazing that the laws of science are very simple, elegant and mathematical and it couldn't have been an accident.  He said to himself that we are like children entering this huge library and all we can do is open up the first book and read the first page of this first book in this huge library. So Einstein said that he believed in the God of order and simplicity and harmony."

In his book "Hyperspace", Michio Kaku writes:

"When scientists use the word God, they usually mean the God of Order ... however, to the non-scientists, the word God almost universally refers to the God of Miracles, and this is a source of miscommunication between scientists and nonscientists."

Many people born into religious families continue their beliefs and practices of religion even as they work as scientists and engineers. Most of them do so out of social and cultural customs and only a few actually try to understand the principles of the spiritual texts. However, when they encounter the dogmatic practices of the nonscientist religionists, they generally find the obvious contradictions and take resort in the science. May be their God of Order is part of the Personal God and vice versa as Vallabhacharya would describe the Brahm as विरुद्धसर्वधर्माश्रयः (the abode of all the opposing qualities) and सर्वं खलु इदं ब्रह्मम् | (all this is Brahm - the summum bonum of everything). One thing though is clear that as the humanity advances with the help of modern science and technologies, the spiritual leaders of Pushtimarg would also have to become modern scientists to remain relevant and effective. How many Goswami Balaks, other than Goswami Shyam Manohar of Mumbai, today are professors or scientists at an academic institute or a university and have published scientific papers? The argument that Pushtimarg is a "bhav-bhavnatmak marg"(path of feelings) is a lame one and was debunked by Vallabhacharya who first acquired all the modern knowledge of his times and then used it as a foundation to establish the devotional worship in Pushtimarg. Given the soundness of Shuddhadwait Brahmvaad principles of Vallabhacharya, there is a hope that Pushtimarg would continue to guide a part of humanity in the right direction and reduce the miscommunication between the scientists and the spiritualists.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Maharaja Libel Case

Pushtimarg has been around for 500+ years now and has witnessed many changes. Any sincere follower of Pushtimarg would have come across the mentions of the Maharaja Libel case. It took place around 150 years ago in the 1860s in a Mumbai court of the British East India Company rule. It is a significant event in Pushtimarg history.

For the first time, a Pushtimargiya Aacharya (aka Gusain/Goswami Baalak) was subjected to a summon to appear in the court of law. There were many charges and countercharges between the parties.

The entire report was published as a book and is available online for reading. It should be read by sincere followers of Pushtimarg to understand the then social context and community practices and be aware of today's context.

Here are some of the quotes of Jadunathjee Brijrattonjee Maharaj examined by Mr. Anstey and Mr. Bayley.
"I am the plaintiff in this action, and am above thirty-five years of age. I have never been in a Court of Justice in my life before. To my knowledge no other Maharaj has attended in a Court of Justice.
In no book written by Vallabhacharya is it inculcated that the Maharajas are to be worshipped as Gods.
It is not inculcated in that commentary or in any other book of the sect, that one should offer his wife and daughter to the Maharaj.

I convened a meeting to discuss the question of widow remarriage; in consequence of a note addressed to me by Narmadashanker. ... Narmadashanker said the Shastras may be followed when advisable, or not. I said we must acknowledge all the Shastras; and my opinion was that, if the Shastras allowed, remarriages might take place, but not otherwise. I have seen no authority in the Shastras for remarriages. But I have no objection personally thereto. In my sect remarriages take place, and I don't prohibit them. 
I am a man, and not a God. I am a man and a Guru to my followers. I am not an incarnation of the Deity and I am not aware that hitherto any of my followers has ever regarded me as a God, or an incarnation of God. The words Agnee-swarup (form of fire) is not applied to us.

The story of the 252 and of the 84 is not considered a book of authority in our sect.
I have never seen the water from a Maharaj's lungotee rinsed and drunk by the Vaishnavas. The "joothan" ( remnants of food ) left by the Maharajas is eaten like that of all other Gurus.
I have not read in "Guru Seva" that all the Vallabhacharya Gosainjees are to be considered as incarnations of God. Ever since I arrived at a proper age I have told my followers not to believe in this doctrine.
I have married two wives. I married before I set out for Beyt, and was away for two years from my second wife, who was then of the age of nine or nine and a half years. She came to live with me at the age of thirteen. 
I have said that adultery is a great sin according to the Shastras of my sect."
These are important points that needed clarifications as even today, some vaishnavs carry the misunderstandings. Though Jadunathji Maharaja made a good testimony, the defendant Karsondas Mulji was not held libel for publishing an outcry against the alleged immoral conduct of the Maharaja. Whenever there is a lack of an oversight or accountability, the mediocrity and immorality creeps in and if the person has high vested power, it becomes a socially undesirable episode. The solution lies in education - the well-learned followers would make the Guru also better and vice-versa.