Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Hinduism - Science or Superstition?

Hinduism - Science or Superstition?

I am a Hindu by birth and spent most part of my life in ignorance, as many others do today. I couldn't understand why this one religion has created so much confusion and conflicts, all through out history. 

I started this journey of understanding life, with the divine grace of Jagadguru - Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The guru, who is nothing less than a ocean of oceans paved way for knowledge of "The Supreme Truth". It is this supreme truth which revealed to me that the teachings of every religion is one and the same, and to respect every religion as your own. On this special day of my guru's Jayanthi, and in this Brahma Mahotsava, I am commencing my write up. 

Tatvam Asi

The 2 sons of Shiva

Lord Ganesha & Karthikeya are the 2 sons of Shiva and his consort Parvati. Ganesha being the plump and elephant-headed, while Karthikeya is a charming warrior. Most of us have heard the stories of their birth, and I would briefly re-iterate it before analyzing the science behind it. 

Goddess Parvati wished to bathe, and created lord Ganesha out of the turmeric paste applied to her body. He was kept guard at the entrance, to not let anyone in till the mother finishes her bath. When lord Shiva appears there, Ganesha doesn't recognize him and stops him at the entrance. All words go in vain, and Shiva had to cut Ganesha's human head, only to restore it with an elephant head later. Ganesha has a big belly and nothing can satisfy his hunger. One day after a heavy food, as he was travelling on his mouse, he fell down to ground and his stomach burst open. The moon laughed at him, and Ganesha had to tie a snake around his belly. Ganesha cursed the moon that no one would look at him on this day. He has two wives - Riddhi and Siddhi. Mother parvati always prefers to stay with Ganesha than her other son. No worship is successful in Hinduism, without starting it with Ganesha. He is the obstacle remover or Vigna Vinashaka.

There lived an asura (daemon) by name "Tarakasura", who was so powerful that his powers were felt in all the 3 worlds. He had a boon that, only the son of Shiva can kill him. He thought this could never happen, as Shiva is an ascetic. Lord Indira who rules the heavens, sent Agni Deva (Fire God) to remind Shiva of the son. Shiva tells Agni that there is no womb in this world, that could father his child (not even goddess Shakti/Parvati). Saying so, he creates a seed out of his 3rd eye and asks Agni to carry it across. The seed born out of Shiva was so intense and burning, that it almost burnt Agni. The lord of fire himself was unable to handle the fire that he had to drop it in the holy Ganga river, as she constantly flows out of the matted hairs of Shiva. As the seed fell into Ganga, it split into 6 and from this 6 individual splits, were born 6 children. These 6 children were mothered by 6 krittikas (stars or nakshatras). When goddess parvati came to visit the son, all the 6 children united within one body with 6 heads. And hence he got the name Shanmukha (or 6-faced). He went on to become the commander-in-chief of the Devatas and kill Tarakasura. He has 2 wives AmrutaValli (or Devayani) and Valli. We find a lot of temples of Karthikeya in TamilNadu, India where people apply sandal paste on their bodies during worship.

Science behind it

Human body is comprised of 7 chakras that runs all the way from the base of the spine to the head region. These 7 colors are essentially the colors of rainbow - VIBGYOR, with Violet at the top and Red at the bottom. The chakras resonate at specific frequencies and have specific tones to activate them. 
The first five chakras signifies the 5 elements that is responsible for this physical body. Starting from the 5th chakra (Visudha) to the 1st (Muladhara), they are - Akasha (Space), Vayu (Air), Agni (Fire), Aapa (Water) and Prithvi (Earth). All matter are bound to the limits of space and time, within this 5 chakras. The other chakras open the higher dimensions in an individual. In this higher dimensions, an individual is empowered with enormous intuitive power and transcends beyond time and space. 

The presiding deity at Muladhara is lord Ganesha. We humans are nothing but matter with consciousness, and energy flows through our bodies in the channels. There is always a one-to-one relation between Microcosom and Macrocosm - what appears outside is also inside, what is in the cosmos is also within one's own self. Shiva and Shakti lies within our body as the 3rd eye and the Kundalini Shakti respectively. The kundalini shakti is the energy house and is dormant in the base of the spine as a coiled serpent. She represents the kinetic energies and Shiva represents the ultimate knowledge and is static. The process of uniting the Shiva and Shakti is Yoga (unlike the physical exercises as believed by many). The energy moves as two inter-twined snakes (or electro-magnetic wave) between the chakras. The two snake like channels are called nadis - Ida and Pingala.

The 1st chakra signifies Gravity, the very reason we have time and space. Gravity pulls everything towards itself, and it is depicted by the big belly of Ganesha. The whole creation is within his belly and he runs the worlds. Nothing can satisfy his hunger - this means, gravity can pull everything towards it. His stomach burst open and he had to tie a snake around his belly - this means, the whole universe is protected by a divine power or energy, and that is the same kundalini shakti. Parvati always stays with Ganesha than her other son - this means, the kundalini shakti is dormant by nature in the 1st chakra. He is the gatekeeper and born out of turmeric - to achieve higher consciousness, one has to start from the muladhara and all the way up. So we need to overcome the pull of gravity, which means we need to overcome our instincts and develop intuitive powers. In poojas, Ganesha is invoked through turmeric powder even today. Shiva had to cut the head of Ganesha, this indicates that someone born out of ignorance has to shed his instincts to replace it with knowledge. Elephant's size and nature of clearing its pathway as it walks in the forest, indicates that an aspirant of yoga clears his obstacles and egos as he progresses towards the cause. Cursing the Moon here is to indicate that the Moon is malefic (negative) in nature on the day of Ganesha Chaturthi. The Moon has it's effect on living beings and even on tides. The malefic and benefic nature of Moon is studied in detail in vedic astrology and we can see the faith in many other religions too. The 2 wives are the 2 nadis (ida and pingala mentioned earlier) raising in the muladhara chakra. Riddhi and Siddhi indicate the prosperity and spiritual powers one achieves by invoking the powers of Ganesha.

The 2nd chakra represents water and 3rd indicates fire. Child birth is associated with "Breaking waters". Water is the source of life and it is the reason we believe that falling stars brings luck. The falling stars (or shooting stars) are comets and contain compressed ice, and their collision with earth could be the reason we have water on earth, and hence life. Water also has a tremendous property of purification (body and chitta/mind) and memory. A person in the bed of death, prefers to have a glass of water from his dearest ones, so that he can remember the relation while making preparations for his next birth as well. Water was used to curse people during earlier days by ancient rishis (or seers), as the nature of water can be transformed by thoughts (induced through mantras). It has the highest position in the 5 elements, hence it flows right from the top of Shiva's head. Kartikeya is born out of the 3rd eye of Shiva and handed over to Agni, who in turn drops it in Ganga. This means, the fire element originates in the 3rd eye as Electro-Magnetic wave and is hotter than the hottest. When kundalini is being awakened, the energy in the 3rd chakra can quickly get uncontrollable, and hence has to make a quick downward journey to the 2nd chakra, to meet the water and there by reduce the heat. This purifies the energy and makes it controlled, without which one could easily become unrest or maniac-type. The Ganga here is signified by the 2nd chakra or water. The 6 faces of Karthikeya is the 6-petalled orange lotus at the 2nd chakra, this is denoted as the 6 krittikas. Karthikeya comes down from his initial position to meet his brother, Ganesha. There is a shake hand of energy between the muladhara and the swadisthana. The sandal paste applied by Tamilians while praying to Karthikeya, is indicative of the color of lotus petal. His 2 wives are indicative of the same ida and pingala mentioned earlier. Valli in tamil means creeper and Amrutha Valli and Valli are the 2 wives. The energy moves through the channels or creepers. The first wife is the will-power (ichcha shakti) and the 2nd wife being the action (kriya shakti). 

In the next post, I would like to write upon their parents and the cosmos...