Ocean tides

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    Paul Howard

    How do the ocean tides work? How is the shifting ocean volume managed in a semantic conception of space?

    Ashish Dalela

    Ocean tides are the result of the moon’s effect on the earth. The explanation, however, is not gravity, but qualities. In the following paragraphs, I will try to elucidate this alternative explanation.

    The moon and water have very similar guna or qualities. The sun similarly has a quality similar to fire. Hence the moon is sometimes equated to “water” and the sun is sometimes equated to “fire”. Sun is not identical to fire, and the moon is not identical to water, but they are similar. Hence, Agni is the demigod of fire, not Surya. Likewise, Varuna is the demigod of water, not Chandra.

    The movement of the planets in space increases or decreases these qualities. Likewise, the movement of the planets changes the association between different things. For example, the moon and sun in Aquarius have slightly different qualities than in Saggitarius. Likewise, the moon and sun in Aquarius have slightly different associations with different things, including the earth. This is because of semantic space. If the space is physical, then the properties would remain unchanged despite movement. And all things will associate with all things at all times. Semantic space causes changes to the properties of objects and changes in associations between different things.

    The qualities of the sun and moon are also mutually opposed. Hence, when the sun’s effect wanes, then the moon’s effect becomes prominent. This is one reason that tides are generally seen at night. However, this is not a universal principle because even as the sun’s effect might be waning, the moon’s effect may not be high due to other planets. The principle is that tides will be seen when the moon’s effect is higher, which could be a combination of changes, including the qualities of the sun.

    There is also an order of precedence from the sun to moon to mars, venus, etc. depicted in Vedic cosmology as the varying “heights” of the planets relative to the earth. This means that when the sun goes into a position where its qualities become prominent, then all other qualities of other planets become subordinate to it. The qualities opposed to the sun will be most subordinated.

    The rise of the tide is the increase in the watery quality of the ocean. Again, the “height” by which the tide rises is a quantity, however, that is not the only change; an ocean under tide is also turbulent. Hence, we don’t speak of the tide simply as a greater height of water; we have to describe the change in terms of all the perceivable qualities, which include both height and turbulence. The effects are called kriya in Vaiśeṣika, and they are produced due to guna. So, the moon’s change in position entails a change in its qualities and its association with the earth, and the effects are tides.

    Since the guna and association are constantly changing, therefore, the kriya of a guna is also different at different places and times. By “place” we mean the semantic qualities of that place. And by “time” we mean the changing qualities of the moon and its association with other things. Due to these changing qualities and associations, the kriya or effect is also different at different places and times. Thereby, it is possible that oceans rise to different levels in different parts of the earth and they will all be called “high tide”, although they are not equal in height or equally turbulent.

    The principle of a tide is not force, but association. For example, when we associate with devotees, our devotion also increases. When we associate with angry people, the anger in us increases. When we come into contact with calm people, calmness in us increases. When we are near joyful people, the joy in us increases. In the same way, when the moon associates strongly with the earth, then the watery quality increases. It has other effects on people’s minds. Everything that has some of the moon’s qualities will be affected by the increase in the same qualities in the moon. For example, some people do more crazy things on full moon nights. This is all due to the moon’s association.

    Modern science says that the ocean is “pulled toward the moon”, which means that the water density in the ocean must decrease. After all, the total water is conserved but it has risen to attain a greater volume. The lesser density of water in the ocean means that sound and electromagnetic waves must travel faster in water during a high tide. I haven’t investigated this, but I doubt if submarines are adjusting their sonar-radar based on tides. They might be assuming the same water density. If this is true, the reason it works is that density is not changing, rather, the water is increasing. This is just like anger, love, or fear increases in us when we associate with similar kinds of people. Those things are unmanifest or “hidden” in us, and they are manifest by another presence. In the same way, the amount of water in an ocean we see is just the manifest part. The ocean can rise to flood the entire earth, and the ocean can fall to increase the amount of land, simply by planetary effects.

    There is a great potential for scientific research where we associate geographic events with cosmic events. Things like Noah’s flood can be timed accurately based on these things. Noah is called Nyuh in Vedic texts; just before the earth is flooded during one of the partial annihilation periods, he collects (based on the instructions of Lord Visnu, who appears in his dream) all the important seeds and animals along with sages in a large boat and they survive the flood in that boat. The ocean rises so high that it reaches the peak of the Himalayas, and the boat rests somewhere on the Himalayas. When the ocean recedes, then Nyuh, the sages, and the animals come down from the Himalayas and settle in immediately below plains. Over time they spread to other parts of the world. The research is to show the extent of the flood, how high the water rises, and why there is no other place where this boat could have rested. But that’s a topic for another day and time.

    Tides are nothing but miniature versions of these gigantic floods. From a Sankhya perspective, water is manifest and unmanifest due to the moon’s effect. That means the high tide is factually more water, just like anger in us increases under the association with an angry person. The quality principle applies as much to our psyche as it does to supposedly inanimate things like water bodies.

    Likewise, the moon isn’t coming closer to earth or going farther from it. In Vedic cosmology, the moon has a fixed qualitative distance to the earth. However, as the moon moves, there are minor changes to its qualities and major changes to the association between the moon and the earth. That change of association can only be understood in a semantic space, and hence, tides and floods require this understanding. Hence, the moon is not going farther or coming closer. And yet, because its effect on us changes, therefore, can model it as a change in distance with a fixed force. That is what modern science is doing. That gravitational force cannot explain many other things such as the changing effects of the moon on people’s minds. Then there are numerous other discrepancies when gravitational law is used (dark energy and dark matter are just the prominent ones).

    In Vedic cosmology, the moon-earth distance is fixed, but the effect changes due to the varying strengths of association. Hence it is said that the moon “looks” at the earth at certain times. In Bhagavad-Gita and other places, the sun and the moon are described as the Lord’s eyes (the Lord here refers to the cosmic form of the Lord). The job of the eye is to look, and when it looks, the person strongly associates with the thing that he or she is looking at. Therefore, the changing association of the sun and moon with the earth is described analogously as our roaming eyes, that focus on something, revealing something and hiding something else.

    In modern science, the sun and moon are bulbs in the sky, but in Vedic philosophy, they are eyes. Hence, everything remains impersonal in science, just like a bulb is impersonal. And it is described personally in Vedic texts. Even seemingly impersonal phenomena like rising tides and floods are explained using a purely personalistic principle of the movement of consciousness, leading to increase and decrease in qualities. If we begin from that personalism, then everything becomes clear slowly.

    Paul Howard

    That’s amazing. My chief difficulty understanding this before was because of the amount of water would be highly variable in a flat description of the Earth, but your answer indicates that isn’t really a problem.

    A similar point of confusion I have with the flat or lotus model (not about tides) is how travel around Antarctica works, whether by boat or in air, since the distance would be very large in a disc model, or interrupted in a lotus model. I thought it was the same issue, but the relationship between the moon and the ocean doesn’t seem applicable.

    Ashish Dalela

    The flat model is about chit namely the things you can do and know in different places. That chit is itself a space. Then, there is a structural globe earth, which is based on sat, like you can arrange knives and oranges on the same table. That is also a space. You have to be able to distinguish these two things mentally. In the chit space, apple and orange are close and knife is far. In the sat space, orange and knife can be close while apple is far. Likewise, there is an ananda space in which you like apples more than tables, so you foreground the apples and background the table.

    The globe that everyone talks about in geography is sat space. The flat surface model of the different planets in Vedic texts is about chit. A soul is born into some sat and chit combination due to its desires, which constitute a space called ananda. Unless we understand the soul, we cannot understand all these different kinds of spaces, and how they are involved in cosmology.

    To understand these things, we have to grasp the nature of the self before grasping the nature of the world world. There are many methods for doing that. The most prominent of them is hearing the mantra sounds. When attachment to the sound increases, all other attachments disappear.

    Every ordinary perception is actually very complex. For example, if you see an apple on a table, there are at least four distinct ideas of distance. First, the apple and the table are conceptually very far. Second, there is a temporary placement of the apple on the table, which is unrelated to their natures. Third, we like the apple more than the table, so we put apple in the foreground and table in the background, creating another kind of distance. Fourth, we can focus or defocus from the vision of the apple and table, and by that, we can see more or less details in the same picture. We can call these conceptual, relational, emotional, and attentional distances. We can discriminate between them just by analysing any ordinary perception. It takes time, but it depends upon us entirely.

    In the same way, Krishna is not billions of miles from us. He seems far due to our emotional distancing. Krishna’s body is not seen due to conceptual distancing. Krishna seems disconnected from us due to relational distancing. And we don’t understand the nature of the spiritual world in any substantive detail due to attentional distancing. All those distances are created by us.

    The process of spiritual life is to change the attentional distance, by focusing on Krishna. When we focus, then we develop attachment, and the emotional distance reduces. Similarly, by focusing, our nature changes and we develop the capacity to perceive Krishna. Finally, we develop a relationship to Krishna and we come into close proximity to Him in the spiritual world. That proxmity is the last step, and it happens because attentional, emotional, and conceptual distances are reduced.

    The simple process of changing the focus of consciousness is a very sophisticated process, and we can understand how sophisticated it is by practicing it. If we concentrate our consciousness, then we can distinguish between emotional, relational, and conceptual distances. It will not be a mystery anymore. By concentration, we can change our emotional, relational, and conceptual nature. Thereby, we can go anywhere just by using our willpower to change the focus of consciousness.

    Paul Howard

    That’s quite clear. I had to stop briefly after the first paragraph, because it was a stunning revelation, and it made me cry again while thinking how fortunate I am to be learning this. I feel like a genius for finding your writing and recognizing its importance, and an imbecile for how challenging it is for me to understand, but your patience and kindness is helping me progress and has given me confidence again for devotional service.

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