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Hindu theory of World Cycles
Baharna.com ^ | 2009 | Baharna

Posted on 12/15/2011 1:27:56 AM PST by Cronos

THE HINDU THEORY OF WORLD CYCLES

In the Light of Modern Science

Traditional Hindu scriptures view history as cyclical in character, with vast repeating

series of ages. Each age has its own particular qualities. Interestingly, this system

seems to be taken literally by modern Yoga masters such as Swami Muktananda, Baba Hari

Dass, Swami Vishnu Tirtha, and so on. As a Western devotee, I found myself wondering

exactly what the full system of Hindu cycles is, and how it relates to the findings of

modern science. Following is my attempt to explain what I found out.

Traditional Puranic Model

The Hindu Puranas describe a number of cycles within cycles. Discussions of these

cycles can become confusing because different cycles are measured in different types of

units. For example, the cycles are often described in units of deva years, each of which

equals 360 human years.

The following description starts with the smaller cycles and works up to the larger

ones. The length of each cycle is given in ordinary human (earth) years, as well other

units where appropriate. Large numbers are described using the conventions of American

English: thus, a million is a thousand thousand, a billion is a thousand million, a

trillion is a thousand billion.

This description is based on numerous sources, which are given in the

"References" section at the end of this document.

Maha Yugas

The smallest cycle is called a maha yuga. A maha yuga is 4,320,000 human years. Each

maha yuga is subdivided into the following four ages, whose lengths follow a ratio of

4:3:2:1:

Satya Yuga (also called Krita Yuga)

This first age is 1,728,000 human years. Also known as the Golden Age or age of Truth.

The qualities of this age are: virtue reigns supreme; human stature is 21 cubits; lifespan

is a lakh of years, and death occurs only when willed.

Treta Yuga

This second age is 1,296,000 human years. Also known as the Silver Age. The qualities of

this age are: the climate is three quarters virtue and one quarter sin; human stature is

14 cubits; lifespan is 10,000 years.

Dvapara Yuga

This third age is 864,000 human years. Also known as the Bronze Age. The qualities of

this age are: the climate is one half virtue and one half sin; lifespan is 1,000 years.

Kali Yuga

The fourth and last age is 432,000 human years. Also known as the Iron Age. This is the

age in which we are presently living. The qualities of this age are: the climate is one

quarter virtue and three quarters sin; human stature is 3.5 cubits; lifespan is 100 or 120

years.

Toward the end of a Kali Yuga, various calamities cause a good deal of destruction.

Baba Hari Dass states that creation disappears at the end of a Maha Yuga and remains in

seed form inside Brahma. However, other sources do not suggest anything so drastic; it is

possible that Hari Dass was really thinking of the end of Brahma's daytime or Brahma's

life when he wrote this description.

Brahma Days (Kalpas)

A kalpa is a single daytime period in the life of Brahma, the creator god. Two kalpas

are a day and a night of Brahma.

Each kalpa is composed of 1,000 maha yugas. A kalpa is thus equal to 4.32 billion human

years.

At the end of Brahma's daytime period, the Three Worlds (Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka, Swarloka)

and the seven underworlds (of the nagas) are temporarily dissolved (pralaya); that is, the

same folks can be reincarnated when the next day of Brahma begins.

The Vishnu Purana states that at the end of the daytime period of Brahma, a dreadful

drought occurs that lasts 100 years, and all the waters are dried up. The sun changes into

seven suns, and the three worlds (Bhurloka or Earth, Bhuvarloka or the lowest heaven, and

Svarloka or the next higher heaven) and the underworlds are burned bare of life. The

inhabitants of Bhuvarloka and Svarkloka flee to the next higher heaven, Maharloka, to

escape the heat; and then to the next higher heaven, Janaloka.

Then mighty clouds form and the three worlds are completely flooded with water. The

lord Vishnu reposes on the waters in meditative rest for another whole kalpa (4.32 billion

years) before renewing the creation.

The destruction that takes place at the end of a daytime of Brahma is referred to as

naimittika, which is incidental or occasional. The characteristic of this destruction is

that the three worlds continue to exist but are made uninhabitable. The souls of

individuals also continue to exist to be reincarnated in the next daytime of Brahma.

Brahma Years

A year of Brahma is composed of 360 day/night cycles of Brahma, or 720 kalpas, or 8.64

billion human years.

Brahma Life

The lifespan of Brahma is 100 Brahma years, or 72,000 kalpas, or 311.04 trillion human

years.

At the end of the life of Brahma, all worlds are completely dissolved (mahapralaya). No

one is reincarnated from these worlds ever again.

Manvantaras

Another cycle that overlaps the others is that of manvantaras. Each kalpa is reigned

over by a succession of 14 Manus, and the reign of each Manu is called a manvantara. A

single manvantara is approximately 71 maha yugas.

Coomaraswamy states: "Each Manvantara is followed by a Deluge, which destroys the

existings continents and swallows up all living beings, except the few who are preserved

for the repeopling of the earth."

Our Position in History

We are located in the fifty-first Brahma year of the life of our Brahma.

Within that Brahma year, we are in the first Brahma day, called the Varaha kalpa.

Within that Brahma day, we are in the seventh manvantara, and in the 28th maha yuga of

that manvantara. This would place us at about the 454th maha yuga of the 1,000 maha yugas

that comprise this day of Brahma.

Within this maha yuga, we are in Kali Yuga. The 5100th year of Kali Yuga will

correspond to the year 2,000 A.D. That means that we are fairly early in Kali Yuga and

this age will continue more than 426,000 more years.

Variant Interpretations of Hindu Chronology

The "Traditional Puranic Model" described above is agreed upon by most

authors on Hinduism and Yoga. Six different authors, listed at the end of this paper,

describe this model identically.

However, several other authors, some of them well-known Hindu teachers, have published

descriptions of the cycle of ages that differ from the traditional Puranic model. These

variant theories are described below.

Sri Yukteswar

In the introduction to his book The Holy Science, Sri Yukteswar describes

an interesting variant of the Hindu theory of ages. According to him,

...the sun, with its planets and their moons, takes some star for its dual and revolves

around it in about 24,000 years of our earth-a celestial phenomenon which causes the

backward movement of the equinoctial points around the zodiac. The sun also has another

motion by which it revolves round a grand center called Vishnunabhi, which is the

seat of the creative power, Brahma, the universal magnetism. Brahma

regulates dharma, the mental virtue of the internal world.

Yukteswar goes on to explain that the sun's 24,000 year revolution around its companion

star takes the sun progressively closer, and then progressively further away from the

mystic center Vishnunabhi. In his system, dharma increases as we approach Vishnunabhi and

decreases as we draw away from it. The cycle of yugas takes place twice in each 24,000

year revolution. As the sun recedes from Vishnunabhi, the ages pass in the usual order:

Satya, Treta, Dvapara, Kali. As the sun approaches Vishnunabhi, the ages pass in the

opposite order: Kali, Dvapara, Treta, Satya.

The length of the yugas is: Satya Yuga, 4800 years; Treta Yuga, 3600 years; Dwapara

Yuga, 2400 years; and Kali Yuga, 1200 years. The yugas during the approach to Vishnunabhi

he calls 'ascending' yugas; those during the retreat from Vishnunabhi he calls

'descending' yugas. The most recent ascending Kali Yuga began in 499 A.D. Since 1599 A.D.

we have been in the ascending Dwapara Yuga, with consequent advances in human culture and

knowledge.

Yukteswar goes on to say that the Hindu almanacs, which correspond to the traditional

Puranic model described previously, are in error. The error crept in during the dark years

of Kali Yuga when scholars misinterpreted the scriptures. Regarding the conventional view

that we are currently in Kali Yuga, Yukteswar says flatly that it is not true.

Yukteswar's model thus differs from the traditional in the following respects:

  • A cycle of four yugas takes 24,000 years instead of 4,320,000.

  • The yugas alternate between ascending and descending trends instead of always proceeding

    in the same order. This alternation becomes necessary once you posit that the ages result

    from our changing distance from Vishnunabhi, rather than a deliberate divine intervention

    at the end of Kali Yuga.

  • The greater cycles like kalpas, manvantars, and lifespan of Brahma go unmentioned.

Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda was a disciple of Sri Yukteswar and one of the best-known Hindu

teachers ever to visit the West. He wrote the perrenial bestseller Autobiography of

a Yogi.

In the latter book, Yogananda describes and endorses Yukteswar's theory of world

cycles. However, in a footnote, Yogananda adds the following:

The Hindu scriptures place the present world-age as occurring within the Kali Yuga of a

much longer universal cycle than the simple 24,000 year ecquinoctial cycle with which Sri

Yukteswar was concerned. The universal cycle of the scriptures of 4,300,560,000 years in

extent, and measures out a Day of Creation. This vast figure is based on the relationship

between the length of the solar year and a multiple of pi (3.1416, the ratio of the

circumference to the diameter of a circle).

The life span for a whole universe, according to the ancient seers, is

314,159,000,000,000 solar years, or "One Age of Brahma."

The Hindu scriptures declare that an earth such as ours is dissolved for one of two

reasons: the inhabitants as a whole become either completely good or completely evil. The

world mind thus generates a power that releases the captive atoms held together as an

earth.

This statement seems at first to reconcile Yukteswar's theory with the traditional

view, but in fact actually contradicts both.

Regarding Yukteswar's theory, in his own writing he clearly states that the traditional

Hindu almanacs are in error and suggests how the error came about. He states that the

length of the yugas, given in ordindary years in the scriptures, were misinterpreted by

later scholars as being counted in units of "deva years" which are much longer.

This method led the scholars to believe that the yugas are much longer than they really

are. Yukteswar's theory is thus clearly intended to replace, not to supplement, the

traditional interpretation.

Regarding the "much longer universal cycle" that Yogananda describes, he

states that a Day of Creation is 4,300,560,000 years. This is close but not identical to

the traditional number, which is 4,320,000,000 years. Similarly, Yogananda gives

314,159,000,000,000 years the the life of Brahma, whereas traditionally the number is

slightly different: 311,040,000,000,000 years. It seems likely that Yogananda arrived at

these different figures because he wanted to derive them from some multiple of the ratio

pi. The exact manner in which pi enters into the calculation is, unfortunately, not

explained in his footnote.

David Frawley

David Frawley is a Westerner who has become a scholar of Vedic scriptures, Jyotish

(Indian astrology), and Ayurveda (Indian medicine). He has written a number of books on

various aspects of Vedic culture and wisdom.

Like Yogananda, Frawley adopts Yukteswar's 24,000 year maha yuga and views it as a

smaller cycle within the larger maha yugas described traditionally. Frawley likewise

introduces some twists in the way he interprets both the smaller and the larger cycle.

With regard to the 24,000 year cycle, Frawley begins like Yukteswar by ascribing the

cycle to the sun's revolution around a companion star. Frawley says that this revolution

varies the amount of cosmic light we receive from the galactic center. Thus, he seems to

have identified Yukteswar's Vishnunabhi with the center of the galaxy, which

Yukteswar never explicitly does. Still, it is a plausible interpretation.

Unfortunately, a 24,000 year orbit would make only a negligible difference in our sun's

distance from the galactic center, which is at a vast remove from us. Presumably because

of this, Frawley abandons Yukteswar's notion that it is our varying distance from

Vishnunabhi that causes the cycles of yugas. Instead, he posits that our companion star is

a dark star, and when it passes between us and Vishnunabhi, tends to eclipse some of the

cosmic light from that source, thus causing the decline into the less inspired ages like

Kali Yuga.

In describing the greater cycle, Frawley states

The greater cycle consists of 8,640,000 years, and what it corresponds to

astronomically is not now known. In this cycle we are in a dark or Iron age, whose

duration is 432,000 years. Exactly when it began or when it will end are not clearly known

either. (Some begin it at 3102 B.C. but this is just to confuse it with the beginning of

the Bronze age or the dark half of the lesser cycle.)

In this passage, Frawley gives the traditional length for Kali yuga while giving double

the traditional length for the cycle as a whole. Why? Presumably he considers that the

greater cycle follows the same pattern as the lesser, with both ascending and descending

yugas. Thus a full cycle would consist of

Satya-Treta-Dvapara-Kali-Kali-Dvapara-Treta-Satya. Presumably also the whole cycle follows

as a result of our overall revolution around some object more distant than the

"companion star" or "dark star."

Alain Danielou

Alain Danielou has written a number of books on the spiritual traditions of India. In

the book While the Gods Play, he quotes the Linga Purana and derives numbers

from it much different than those in the traditional interpretation described previously.

In this version, the life span of the gods is 4,320,000 human years. This period is

divided into 71.42 manvantaras. Each manvantara is divided into the four yugas: Satya,

Treta, Dvapara, and Kali. As a result, the length of these yugas is as follows:

  • Satya (or Krita) Yuga: 24,195 human years.

  • Treta Yuga: 18,146 human years.

  • Dvapara Yuga: 12,097 human years.

  • Kali Yuga: 6,048,72 human years.

By Danielou's reckoning, Kali Yuga began in 3012 B.C. and will end in 2442 A.D. By that

point, the last traces of the present human race will have disappeared. We are supposed to

be the seventh manifestation of the human race; the previous ones appeared in 419,964

B.C.; 359,477 B.C.; 298,990 B.C.; 238,503 B.C.; 178,016 B.C.; and 118,529 B.C. Our race

appeared in 58,042 B.C., which according to Danielou corresponds to the advent of

Cro-Magnon man. Danielou also suggests that Neanderthal man might be the race that

precedes ours.

Danielou's version thus differs from the usual theory in the following ways:

  • He takes 4,320,000 as the lifespan of the gods, rather than the length of a maha yuga.

  • He divides the 4,320,000 period into 71.42 manvantaras, rather than dividing a kalpa

    into 14 manvantaras. His manvantaras are thus much shorter than in the usual version.

  • He states that each manvantara contains a single mahayuga, instead of the usual 71 maha

    yugas. His maha yugas are thus much shorter than in the usual version.

Danielou makes a couple of other comments worth mentioning. On the subject of why the

scriptures portray a year as 360 days in length, he states

The number of days in a year is not constant. The rhythm of the earth's rotation varies

over very long periods. A figure of 360 is considered to be the average.

In referring to the cyclical nature of the ages, Danielou also makes the following very

interesting statement:

The circle is an illusion, for the cosmic mechanism is in reality always formed of

spirals. Nothing ever returns to its point of departure. However, the circle does give us

a simplified image.

Unfortunately, he does not expand on this concept any further.

Rishi Singh Gerwal

Rishi Singh Gerwal was the author and apparently also the publisher of a small pamphlet

on ancient prophecies, published in Santa Barbara in the 1940s. The pamphlet contains

translations of various prophetic portions of the Mahabharata.

In the Introduction, Gerwal gives the following numbers:

1 kalpa = 22 septillion, 394 sextillion, 880 quadtillion human years.

1 kalpa = 2 manvantaras (traditionally this would be 14 manvantaras)

1 manvantara = 71 maha yugas (this is the same as the traditional reckoning)

Gerwal goes on to give the traditional lengths for the Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali

Yugas. He then states that the present Kali yuga has 210,000 years to go. He also states

that 22,394,880,000,000,000,000,000,000 years have already passed since the start of the

kalpa. Since this number is the same one he gave as the length of a kalpa, we are

presumably at the very end of this present kalpa.

Oddly enough, if you multiply maha yugas of 4,320,000 years times 71 to make a

manvantara and then times 2 to make a kalpa, the result is only 613,440,000 years rather

than the 22 septillion Gerwal states as his total.

The 22 septillion number is far greater than the traditional length of a kalpa, and the

statement that 2 manvantaras make a kalpa is far fewer than the traditional number of 14.

Yugas and Science

If we restrict our attention to the traditional interpretation, we find that it makes a

number of significant predictions that can be compared with the findings of modern

science.

Great Culture Preceded Us

Beginning about 3,894,000 years ago, there is supposed to have been a great

civilisation in which people were happier, taller, and much longer lived than they are

today.

By contrast, scientists currently believe that homo sapiens evolved from more primitive

forbears about 300,000 to 400,000 years ago. Humanity is supposed to have domesticated

plants about 12,000 years ago, and animals shortly thereafter. Prior to that point, humans

are thought to have been hunter-gatherers and possibly scavengers.

The scientific view is based on fossil evidence. The mystery is how an advanced

civilization posited by the Hindu theory could have vanished without leaving any trace for

us to find.

Cyclic Catastrophes

A number of periodic catastrophes are described in the Hindu scriptures:

  • At the end of each Kali Yuga, some type of destruction takes place. The most recent

    instance would be a bit under 4 million years ago. Other instances should be found every

    4,320,000 years before that.

  • At the end of each manvantara, a great flood wipes out most life on earth. The most

    recent occurrence would be 120,534,000 years ago. Other instances would occur at intervals

    of 306,720,000 years.

  • At the end of the kalpa, all life on earth is destroyed. The most recent instance would

    be 2,267,574,000 years ago.

  • At the end of a life of Brahma, the entire universe and all its heavens and hells are

    destroyed. The current universe would have come into existence more than 150 billion years

    ago.

Interestingly, current scientific research does support the existence of occasional

mass extinctions in earth's history. These include the following major extinctions:

  • At the Ordovician/Silurian transition, about 425 million years ago.

  • Near the Devonian/Carboniferous transition, about 345 million years ago.

  • At the Permian/Triassic transition, about 230 million years ago.

  • At the Triassic/Jurassic transition, about 180 million years ago.

  • At the Cretaceous/Tertiary transition, about 63 million years ago.

Additionally, some scientists have identified what they believe is a cycle of periodic

mass extinctions occurring every 26 million years.

Unfortunately, none of these specified dates corresponds to the catastrophes called for

by the Hindu theory.

Current scientific estimates of the age of the universe range from 7 billion to 20

billion years. By contrast, the Hindu theory calls for a universe more than 150 billion

years old.

On the other hand, the dates ascribed by scientists to the various geologic periods

have been revised a number of times on the basis of new evidence, and could possibly be

revised again in the future. Further, cosmology could reasonably be described as an infant

science, and the age it ascribes to the universe as a whole might also change on the basis

of new theories and evidence.

Downward Trend

By far the greater divergence from modern science is in the overall pattern of the

Hindu theory. The Hindu and scientific patterns differ in the following ways:

  • The main pattern in the Hindu theory is one of cycles.

  • In the Hindu theory, life follows a downward trend most of the time, from the finest age

    to the worst. At the end of the worst age, Kali Yuga, divine intervention rapidly destroys

    the wicked and restores everything to its pristine state.

  • In the Hindu theory, humanity is always present. The concept of evolution is confined to

    spiritual evolution; that is, each soul takes life in a series of lower to higher animal

    forms before finally incarnating as a human being.



TOPICS: Eastern Religions; Theology
KEYWORDS: astrology; faithandphilosophy; india
while replying to a post on the various cycles propounded by one of our pre-post-millenialenian friends, I found this article and thought it would be interesting.
1 posted on 12/15/2011 1:28:01 AM PST by Cronos
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To: Cronos

Very interesting. Thank you.


2 posted on 12/15/2011 2:23:26 AM PST by spetznaz (Nuclear-tipped Ballistic Missiles: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol)
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To: Cronos

Don’t the Hindus have like 12 arms?

Yup. They’re credible...


3 posted on 12/15/2011 2:25:14 AM PST by djf (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2801220/posts)
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To: Cronos

Ahhhh...The good old days, when people were taller...The NBA must seem like a yoga masters heaven!


4 posted on 12/15/2011 2:53:30 AM PST by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: djf
No, that's actually some of the hindu gods and goddesses -- offhand I can think of depictions of Durga/Devi/Bhavani and Vishnu.

But I didn't post this for credibility or not -- I don't believe in the tenets of Hinduism but it is good to read about their beliefs instead of making silly statements.

5 posted on 12/15/2011 3:03:45 AM PST by Cronos (Nuke Mecca and Medina now..)
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To: djf
Also, it is interesting about the development of this cycle of cycles -- it is the reason why the Indian flag has the Chakra (wheel) in its center. And the entire "circle of life" philosophy is Hindu in origin -- not Chinese (which has more about opposing yin/yang)

Also, religion influences development in many ways -- which is why ancient Indians had highly developed mathematics (think Aryabhata) prior to the Moslem invasions -- to compute these billions of years

in contrast the ancient greeks believed that the base use of numbers was vulgar and preferred their studies into geometry (congruence etc. etc.)

the Mayans too had a concept of cycles, but I do not know their philosophy very well to comment

As part of the Judeo-Christian world we believe in more of a linear movement of time -- a forward thrust of history so to speak

Islam regressed from this in the 10th century as it rejected aspects of hellenizism and now has more of a concept of "no time" or rather "time at the whims and fancies of allah", hence there is no point in science at all according to this

6 posted on 12/15/2011 3:09:02 AM PST by Cronos (Nuke Mecca and Medina now..)
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To: count-your-change
:) but do read the article -- we may disagree with it, but it is fascinating the way they put such attention to details

If you read the puranas and their concept of Maya and alternate universes, timelines, even a dream-world, you can see the themes ringing in modern day stories

7 posted on 12/15/2011 3:12:14 AM PST by Cronos (Nuke Mecca and Medina now..)
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To: Cronos

I’ve come to speculate that most ancient religions or belief systems outside Christianity and Judaism contain a portion of truth but from another perspective, that of the great men of old, men of reknown who founded them. There are many curiosities in Hinduism in particular, when viewed from this perspective, beginning with but by no means limited to Vimanas. A reading of several extra-Biblical works from Qumran, known collectively as The Dead Sea Scrolls, would seem to reinforce this.


8 posted on 12/15/2011 3:23:52 AM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: RegulatorCountry

I believe that valid paths, hinduism, buddhism, basically all world faiths except for Islam were given by God when man asked for meaning..he did not lie to mankind..however, God judges our successes by our attention to Him and our willingness to recognize how sin destroys us. Given that God saw that all knowledge and paths laid out were not being walked..no one did what he asked..So, before destroying the creation and starting again..Christ knew of God’s love for us and volunteered to come to earth in a last attempt to reach mankind about our beings and relationship to God..
At that moment God severed all paths laid before from himself and declared there is no other path but through Christ that we may be saved due to the love and sacrifice of His son..A severed path does not mean the truth in it is negated, it means it is unfulfilled and will not yield the result we are seeking..it is a big deal to God when men now choose to deny Christ sacrifice for us..we cannot stand on what we have done, only by being washed in the blood of Jesus can we be fulfilled...


9 posted on 12/15/2011 4:05:05 AM PST by aces
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To: count-your-change

Oh well, Hathayoga is better than none.

(Cue up Beatles’ “Within You Without You” sitar...)

Mustn’t criticize anyone’s sacred cows around here although the time has come when we must curry favor with those who favor curry.

;^)


10 posted on 12/15/2011 4:43:02 AM PST by elcid1970 ("Deport all Muslims. Nuke Mecca now. Death to Islam means freedom for all mankind.")
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To: Cronos

Did it really say people in previous ages lived 1000 to 10,000 years?


11 posted on 12/15/2011 4:43:48 AM PST by wolfcreek (Perry to Obama: Adios, MOFO!)
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To: RegulatorCountry
I’ve come to speculate that most ancient religions or belief systems outside Christianity and Judaism contain a portion of truth but from another perspective, that of the great men of old, men of reknown who founded them.

My take is a little different. Rather than thinking of founders, I think Judaism itself grew out of the more ancient faiths like Zoroastrianism and there are bound to be commonalities between the ancient faiths and Judaism/Christianity. Zoroastrianism for its part is said to have a lot in common with Hinduism.

12 posted on 12/15/2011 4:59:18 AM PST by JimWayne
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To: Cronos

I did read the article. Old themes get recycled and presented as novel and original as in the Star Wars movies with their purposefully religious themes.

Truly nothing new under the sun.


13 posted on 12/15/2011 5:02:45 AM PST by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: elcid1970

Sacred cows? I see. Yes, we’ll have hamburger on a ho ho ho wheat pun.


14 posted on 12/15/2011 5:13:41 AM PST by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: count-your-change

well, the Star Wars mythology is taken from various religious iconography. It was a smart move — quite frankly people NEED mysticism, a sense of awe. If they don’t get it from their religion they look for it elsewhere — where in political ideology or movies or apple-fans etc.


15 posted on 12/15/2011 5:17:24 AM PST by Cronos (Nuke Mecca and Medina now..)
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To: JimWayne
Zoroastrianism and Hinduism arise from the same Indo-European root

Ancient Irani and Indic religions (talking about Vedic and pre-Zoroastrian times around 1000 BC and prior) believed in two families of God: Asuras & Devas in indic and Ahuras and Daevas in iranic

incidently the other indo-europeans had the same -- the nordics had the aesir and vanir while the greeks made the Titans the ancestors of the Olympians

In Hinduism the earliest Veda, teh Rig Veda calls gods like Varuna and Agni as Asuras, but by the 700s the Asuras were lower-level, then became demonic by the time Christianity reached india (40 AD or so with St. thomas)

in Iran the opposite happened -- Ahuras were given a higher status. Zoroaster raised one - Ahura Mazda, the God of Light as the main god with the opposing force being Aingra Mainyu

incidently the hindus moved away from vedic hinduism post Buddhism's rise and fall and they moved to Brahmanical hinduism and stopped worshipping Indra etc. (well not stopped, but reduceD) and started Vishnu/Shiva worship and developed the hindu trinity (trilok? trinath something): Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva

16 posted on 12/15/2011 5:38:09 AM PST by Cronos (Nuke Mecca and Medina now..)
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To: Cronos
"quite frankly people NEED mysticism, a sense of awe."

Certainly the Gospel provides this sense of awe yet has a rational foundation. No form of mystic pantheism can provide this as there is no transcendental nature to the god of oneism.

17 posted on 12/15/2011 7:43:42 AM PST by circlecity
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To: circlecity

Of course it does, but if we read it as the Christian Scientists do — drily, there is no sense of awe. The Word of God as we read in John 1 is more than just the written Word it is Jesus Christ. We celebrate his life with joy just as we silently contemplate His message.


18 posted on 12/15/2011 8:10:10 AM PST by Cronos (Nuke Mecca and Medina now..)
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To: Cronos
"Of course it does, but if we read it as the Christian Scientists do — drily, there is no sense of awe."

That's where the higher critical, "don't believe it in the first plact, liberal "christianity" takes you. One can't communicate an indwelling spirit one doesn't have.

19 posted on 12/15/2011 8:14:17 AM PST by circlecity
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To: circlecity

Actually Hinduism — modern hinduism sys that there is one god — Ishwara and that the rest are just emanations.


20 posted on 12/15/2011 8:34:21 AM PST by Cronos (Nuke Mecca and Medina now..)
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To: Cronos
"Actually Hinduism — modern hinduism sys that there is one god"

No doubt. And that one god is the sum total of everything - thus other Hindus claim thousands of gods because everlything is god. It's still the same concept. Pantheism would be better described as Paneverythingism.

21 posted on 12/15/2011 8:40:22 AM PST by circlecity
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To: little jeremiah

Ping


22 posted on 12/15/2011 9:10:19 AM PST by annie laurie (All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost)
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To: Cronos
Will have to read this. Familiar with the concepts from college, but never looked at the details.
23 posted on 12/15/2011 9:28:46 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: circlecity

true. But some aspects of hinduism are an interesting study


24 posted on 12/15/2011 9:47:43 AM PST by Cronos (Nuke Mecca and Medina now..)
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To: Cronos
The mystery is how an advanced civilization posited by the Hindu theory could have vanished without leaving any trace for us to find.

Well, there might be a lot of evidence right in plain sight - especially considering the apparent age of some of these sites:

Sunken Cities Of The Ancient World

25 posted on 12/15/2011 9:58:39 AM PST by Mr. Jeeves (CTRL-GALT-DELETE)
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To: Cronos
"true. But some aspects of hinduism are an interesting study"

No only interesting but Christians have a duty to learn the tenets of other religions so they can respond to the "all religions are the same and equally valid" crowd.

26 posted on 12/15/2011 10:12:42 AM PST by circlecity
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To: annie laurie

Thank you, very interesting. I will read in detail and no doubt “have my say” in a bit.


27 posted on 12/15/2011 12:33:02 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: little jeremiah

You’re welcome, I thought it might be of interest :)


28 posted on 12/15/2011 10:29:54 PM PST by annie laurie (All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost)
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To: annie laurie

I still didn’t read it in detail. From my cursory reading, most seems to well agree with my study of yugas, Mahayugas and Kalpas. The timelines in the Vedas are precise and very long. Also the Vedas pre-date all other written or oral traditions; somewhere (I WISH I could remeber) in one of the 4 Vedas, I don’t think it was one of the Puranas, there is a description of an astronomical configuration that recently was determined to have happened 26,000 years ago.

Many people just do not want to admit that maybe human civilized history goes back a lot further in time that modern history describes.


29 posted on 12/15/2011 10:52:35 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: circlecity; Cronos

The Vedas clearly describe one Supreme Lord - Parameshwara - who is the Supreme Person, or Purushottama. Not an admixture of everything, not amorphous, but a Person. Of course everything that exists is described as Him in the sense that everything is His energy and therefore not separate from Him.

Sort of like the sun and the sun’s rays. They are one, but different as well. The thousands of demigods or devas are merely His servants, they are created beings and not Supreme. You will find many prayers by the devas offered to the Supreme Lord. They know they aren’t God!


30 posted on 12/15/2011 10:55:51 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: little jeremiah
somewhere (I WISH I could remeber) in one of the 4 Vedas, I don’t think it was one of the Puranas, there is a description of an astronomical configuration that recently was determined to have happened 26,000 years ago.

If you do run across it again, I'd love to hear the details ... astronomy is a lifelong interest of mine.

31 posted on 12/15/2011 11:12:26 PM PST by annie laurie (All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost)
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To: annie laurie

I will search for it.


32 posted on 12/15/2011 11:30:57 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: little jeremiah; circlecity; annie laurie
Enjoy:

  "Nay, and of hearts which follow other gods
In simple faith, their prayers arise to me,
O Kunti’s Son! though they pray wrongfully:
For I am the Receiver and the Lord
Of every sacrifice, which these know not."
 
- Bhagavad-Gita, Ch: IX, Lines: 92-96.

 

 The Bhagavad-Gita.
 
Chapter XII
 
 
ARJUNA:

LORD! of the men who serve Thee—true in heart—
As God revealed; and of the men who serve,
Worshipping Thee Unrevealed, Unbodied, far,
Which take the better way of faith and life?
 
KRISHNA:

Whoever serve Me—as I show Myself—
        5
Constantly true, in full devotion fixed,
These hold I very holy. But who serve—
Worshipping Me The One, The Invisible,
The Unrevealed, Unnamed, Unthinkable,
Uttermost, All-pervading, Highest, Sure—         10
Who thus adore Me, mastering their sense,
Of one set mind to all, glad in all good,
These blessed souls come unto Me.
        Yet, hard
The travail is for whoso bend their minds         15
To reach th’ Unmanifest. That viewless path
Shall scarce be trod by man bearing his flesh!
But whereso any doeth all his deeds,
Renouncing self in Me, full of Me, fixed
To serve only the Highest, night and day         20
Musing on Me—him will I swiftly lift
Forth from life’s ocean of distress and death
Whose soul clings fast to Me. Cling thou to Me!
Clasp Me with heart and mind! so shalt thou dwell
Surely with Me on high. But if thy thought         25
Droops from such height; if thou be’st weak to set
Body and soul upon Me constantly,
Despair not! give Me lower service! seek
To read Me, worshipping with steadfast will;
And, if thou canst not worship steadfastly,         30
Work for Me, toil in works pleasing to Me!
For he that laboreth right for love of Me
Shall finally attain! But, if in this
Thy faint heart fails, bring Me thy failure! find
Refuge in Me! let fruits of labor go,         35
Renouncing all for Me, with lowliest heart,
So shalt thou come; for, though to know is more
Than diligence, yet worship better is
Than knowing, and renouncing better still
Near to renunciation—very near—         40
Dwelleth Eternal Peace!
        Who hateth nought
Of all which lives, living himself benign,
Compassionate, from arrogance exempt,
Exempt from love of self, unchangeable         45
By good or ill; patient, contented, firm
In faith, mastering himself, true to his word,
Seeking Me, heart and soul; vowed unto Me,—
That man I love! Who troubleth not his kind,
And is not troubled by them; clear of wrath,         50
Living too high for gladness, grief, or fear,
That man I love! 

Who, dwelling quiet-eyed,
Stainless, serene, well-balanced, unperplexed,
Working with Me, yet from all works detached,
That man I love! 

Who, fixed in faith on Me,
        55
Dotes upon none, scorns none; rejoices not,
And grieves not, letting good and evil hap
Light when it will, and when it will depart,
That man I love! 

Who, unto friend and foe
Keeping an equal heart, with equal mind         60
Bears shame and glory, with an equal peace
Takes heat and cold, pleasure and pain; abides
Quit of desires, hears praise or calumny
In passionless restraint, unmoved by each,
Linked by no ties to earth, steadfast in Me,
        65
That man I love! 

But most of all I love
Those happy ones to whom ’tis life to live
In single fervid faith and love unseeing,
Eating the blessèd Amrit of my Being!
 
Here endeth Chapter XII. of the Bhagavad-Gîtâ,
        70
entitled “Bhakityôgô,” or “The Book of
the Religion of Faith”.


“Here shall no end be hindered, no hope marred
No loss be feared: faith—yea, a little faith
Shall save thee from the anguish of thy dread.”
 
-          Bhagavad-Gita, Ch: II, Lines 140-142.
 
ARJUNA:

“And what road goeth he who, having faith,
Fails, Krishna! in the striving; falling back
From holiness, missing the perfect rule?
Is he not lost, straying from Brahma’s light,
Like the vain cloud, which floats ’twixt earth and Heaven
When lightning splits it, and it vanisheth?
Fain would I hear thee answer me herein,
Since, Krishna! none save thou can clear the doubt.”
 
KRISHNA:

“He is not lost, thou Son of Prithâ! No!
Nor earth, nor heaven is forfeit, even for him,
Because no heart that holds one right desire
Treadeth the road of loss! He who should fail,
Desiring righteousness, cometh at death
Unto the Region of the Just.”
 
-          Bhagavad-Gita, Ch: VI, Lines 125-138.
 
  “Of many thousand mortals, one, perchance,
Striveth for Truth; and of those few that strive—
Nay, and rise high—one only—here and there—
Knoweth Me, as I am, the very Truth.”
 
-          Bhagavad-Gita, Ch: VII, Lines 8-11.
 
  “There be those, too, whose knowledge, turned aside
By this desire or that, gives them to serve
Some lower gods, with various rites, constrained
By that which mouldeth them. Unto all such—
Worship what shrine they will, what shapes, in faith—
’Tis I who give them faith! I am content!
The heart thus asking favor from its God,
Darkened but ardent, hath the end it craves,
The lesser blessing—but ’tis I who give!
Yet soon is withered what small fruit they reap
Those men of little minds, who worship so,
Go where they worship, passing with their gods.
But Mine come unto me! Blind are the eyes
Which deem th’ Unmanifested manifest,
Not comprehending Me in my true Self!
Imperishable, viewless, undeclared,
Hidden behind my magic veil of shows,
I am not seen by all; I am not known—
Unborn and changeless—to the idle world.
But I, Arjuna! know all things which were,
And all which are, and all which are to be,
Albeit not one among them knoweth Me!”
 
-          Bhagavad-Gita, Ch: VII, Lines 69-90.
 
  “Nay, and of hearts which follow other gods
In simple faith, their prayers arise to me,
O Kunti’s Son! though they pray wrongfully:
For I am the Receiver and the Lord
Of every sacrifice, which these know not
Rightfully; so they fall to earth again!”
 
-          Bhagavad-Gita, Ch: IX, Lines 92-97.
 
 
“Yet not by the Vedas, nor from sacrifice,
Nor penance, nor gift-giving, nor with prayer
Shall any so behold, as thou hast seen!
Only by fullest service, perfect faith,
And uttermost surrender am I known
And seen, and entered into, Indian Prince!
Who doeth all for Me; who findeth Me
In all; adoreth always; loveth all
Which I have made, and Me, for Love’s sole end,
That man, Arjuna! unto Me doth wend.”
 
-          Bhagavad-Gita, Ch: XI, Lines 332-344.
 


33 posted on 12/17/2011 7:38:40 PM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett; annie laurie

Thank you, always wonderful to see Bhagavad Gita slokas on FR. Annie laurie, my time is so tight lately - but this article is interesting, maybe I can work up some semi-cogent reply tomorrow. Have you ever read “Forbidden Archeology” by Michael Cremo? Much archeological evidence exists that points to humans having existed on earth millions of years ago, but scientists do not like this evidence since it does not conform to the evolutionary time lines. Many Christians do not like it either, as it does not go along with a “young earth” theory. I will see what I can find about the astronomical configuration mentioned in the Vedas or Puranas.


34 posted on 12/17/2011 8:17:08 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: little jeremiah; James C. Bennett

James, thank you for sharing the verses.

LJ, I understand (all too well) about time being tight. So, please don’t stress yourself in any way regarding a longer reply on the article ... I only pinged you because I thought it might be of interest to you. I had (and have) no expectations of anything beyond that. The ping was just a gesture of ‘FR’iendship, so no worries at all if you don’t have the time to reply in depth.

Also, please don’t worry about going to a lot of effort to find the astronomical info that we discussed. I only meant that if you ever happened across it again during your reading, myself and others on FR would surely enjoy reading about it. So, please don’t stress about this, either! :)

Since I can’t wish you Merry Christmas (or can I?), I’ll wish you a Happy New Year :) By the way, thank you for all the work that you do on the Moral Absolutes list, and can you add me to it, please? :)


35 posted on 12/17/2011 9:55:57 PM PST by annie laurie (All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost)
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To: annie laurie

Thank you and a joyful Christmas to you as well. I honor Jesus Christ greatly as a pure representative of God who also taught the same basic truths as in the Vedas - love God, and all of His children. Which in Sanskrit is Bhagavad Bhakti and jiva daya.

In fact, I owe a great deal to Jesus Christ for something that happened to me in Jerusalem as a child. Another story...

I will add your name and thank you for the kind words.

And I want to know about that astronomical thingie myself. I wish I had kept the reference!


36 posted on 12/17/2011 10:27:58 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: annie laurie; James C. Bennett

I still haven’t found the one describing greater antiquity (yet) but here is another interesting one.

Astronomical Evidence Regarding the Antiquity of the Vedas

From Sky and Telescope, Vol. No. 5, March 1942 published by Harvard College Observatory Cambridge, MA. Page 10:

“Eclipse of July 26, 3928 BC”

[Excerpt]

Astronomy has come to the aid of the historian in determinated the time of the earliest known Aryan colonisation in India*. A solar eclipse, described in the Rig Veda, had been observed by Atri, one of the earliest settlers in the northern Punjab. Among the 22 central solar eclipses that occurred near the Summer Solstice withint the given time interval, there is one and only one that fulfills all the required conditions inferred from the Rig Veda. That one occured on July 16, 3928 BC (Julian Calendar).

*(My comment) The “Aryan invasion” is now being soundly debunked and it has been proven without a doubt (except for those who cling to it for various reasons) that it was invented by British Indologists to falsely taint the ancient Vedic civilization as of recent origin. This is a huge topic in itself and has much evidence supporting no so-called Aryan invasion at all. In fact, in the Vedic texts, the word “aryan” never means a race, ethnic group or kingdom or society. An “aryan” means a civilized human who understands and practices varnashram dharma system of religions and civilized behavior; one who knows the spiritual and moral values of life. As opposed to for instance barbarians or those who practice no religion or morality.


37 posted on 12/19/2011 1:56:44 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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