Shabda Forums started out as an attempt to answer questions raised by readers of the books published by Shabda Press and the blog posts published here. The discussion, however, is not limited to these books and blogs. Anything connected to Vedic philosophy and science can potentially be discussed.
At present, Ashish Dalela, the author of the above-said blogs and books tries to respond to every question, and engage in a fruitful discussion, with anyone and everyone who might be interested in discussing.
The forum is open to anyone and the content is searchable by anyone, including search engines. If you like to ask questions that are private, and should not be visible to anyone else, please use the contact page.
Since the content of the forum is complementary to the Books and Blogs noted above, we recommend that you read these too. You can read the books and/or blogs, and post topics here. Or you can start with topics here, and then use the Books and Blogs later. It is better to ask intelligent and informed questions unless you are a beginner. We appreciate and welcome your attempts to educate yourself.
Authors and writers rarely engage with readers in a discussion, but this is not the case with Shabda Forums. We make an attempt to help people understand, appreciate, and practice Vedic philosophy.
However, please also be generous with your time in reading the other material, and make your questions relevant to Vedic philosophy and focused on a topic. If you have multiple questions, then it is better to post multiple topics rather than merge them together. The rules of decency and decorum apply, of course. The forum is moderated. So any offensive or inappropriate content will be silently deleted.
The question and answer method of learning has been used in the Vedic tradition since antiquity. Many Upaniśads and Purāṇas are formulated in precisely this style, and they sometimes describe very long conversations, lasting several days. The Śrimad Bhāgavatam for instance is one conversation lasting seven continuous days. The Bhagavad-Gita is also a several-hour-long conversation before the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Shabda Forums can be seen as the continuation of the same style of learning.
However, in the conversations of antiquity, the Vedic worldview was not alien to those asking about it. The existence of the soul, God, and karma was not in question. That material nature is qualities (rather than quantities) was never in question. That life exists in various parts of the universe, with higher living entities (demigods) controlling the world of lower living entities (humans and animals) was not in question. That transcendence from this world is the goal of life was not in question. Within this agreement, the conversation was more productive, as the speakers and listeners agreed on the basics.
This is not true today and conversations are less productive because most of the time is spent trying to agree on a common set of assumptions. Even if we appear to use the same words, we often intend different meanings. So, our vocabularies are not the same. Modern science has a different vocabulary as do other religions. You can imagine the outcome of a conversation in which two people talking to each other were trying to resolve a very complicated issue by discussion, without a common vocabulary.
Vocabulary changes our way of thinking. For example, everybody says that we are living “in space” but we are living “on a planet”. Modern thinking treats planets and space differently, but in Vedic philosophy, they are the same. The Vedic term for a planet is “Graha” or a house. We live in a house, not on the house. A planet in Vedic philosophy is a subspace inside a superspace. Therefore, if Vedic texts say that “the earth is flat”, it means a “subspace is flat”, rather than a flatland. This understanding of space opens us to further discussion about what it means to say that space is flat, curved, circular, hierarchical, etc.
The problem of vocabulary affects discussions, and it is the novelty between modern and traditional discussions. Formerly, people were speaking the same language, now they are speaking different languages. This problem can be minimized if we know that in Vedic philosophy every word has a different meaning than the one we are accustomed to. Learning this philosophy means getting accustomed to a new way of thinking, or using words in a new way. It requires more commitment than a casual conversation, or even listening to a teacher in a school who is giving is ideas in our vocabulary.
Learning Vedic philosophy is about personal transformation. We can begin by learning to think in a different way. Personal transformations are not easy, quick, or simple. Rather than try to fit Vedic knowledge into the molds of our minds, we should try to mold our minds to fit Vedic philosophy. Any difficulty we feel in this process is quite natural. Only time and repetition are cure to this problem.