Ashish Dalela

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  • in reply to: Why is the Oneness so attractive for so many people? #6603
    Ashish Dalela

    The personality of the soul comes from ananda or pleasure, and this pleasure is created from desires or what we call likes and dislikes. Different people have different likes and dislikes, and our personality is created from the hierarchy of these likes and dislikes. The hierarchy means we prioritize some likes and dislikes over others. In all religious and spiritual philosophies, this desire is considered ‘evil’ and the cause of material bondage. This is in a way true because material desires are indeed the cause of our attraction to the material world. Therefore, in all religions asceticism is encouraged, which basically means renouncing all your desires. Renunciation or asceticism is considered the fundamental distinction between religion and materialism.

    When we renounce desires, we lose our individuality of likes and dislikes. In karma-yoga for example one has to become free of desires and perform one’s duties without desires. In jnana-yoga knowledge is supposed to give us detachment. In Astanga-yoga by the practice of breath control, one gains control over the mind and hence conquers their desires. A simple and austere life is similarly encouraged in all religions. Thus, there is a deep-rooted belief in all religious-minded people that desires lead to attachments and attachments lead to bondage. To be free of this bondage, we have to give up desires, and therefore the personality of likes and dislikes.

    In the Varnasrama system also, the brahmacharivanaprastha, and sannyasa stages of life are different forms of renunciation or detachment and controlling of desires.

    The personalist philosophy instead says that we don’t discard desires but we change the desires. This also means that we don’t give up likes and dislikes, but we change them. Accordingly, it is not a rejection of personality but the creation of a new personality. But since the path to this discovery passes through the rejection of all material desires, there is a strong sense in most people that to practice religion one has to give up their personality and hence impersonalism becomes the natural conclusion for anyone who is trying to control their desires.

    The personalist philosophy instead says that you like something because God likes it and you dislike something because God dislikes it. This is also called yukta-vairagya or connected renunciation, where the ‘connection’ is to God, and our likes and dislikes are molded in accordance with the likes and dislikes of God. Accordingly, the personalist doesn’t focus on giving up all desires, but rather desires (or rejects) those things that are favored (or disfavored, respectively) by God.

    The personalist philosophy is also a devotional philosophy and the impersonalist philosophy is the idea of liberation or emancipation. When one thinks about one’s own liberation then he or she thinks naturally about the desires that bind them to the world. But when one thinks about the love of God then they naturally think about what would be liked or disliked by God. Therefore, impersonalism is individualism and personalism is God-consciousness.

    There is hence another reason for people adopting impersonalism which is that they have a problem with a personal God, and hence they have a problem with a personal soul. Their aversion towards a personal God comes because such a God demands surrender and obedience, and they don’t want to surrender and obey. They want to remain free individuals. To achieve this freedom, they reject the personality of God, and hence their own personality, and ‘merge’ with God. This ‘merger’ is notional—we think or want to think that we are as good as God.

    Surrender to God is often equated to slavery and loss of freedom. Therefore the ‘freedom-loving’, ‘individualistic’ people want freedom both from material bondage and from God. They are unable to distinguish between the laws of nature that forcibly bind a person and the loving relationship in which one is voluntarily bound. They cannot imagine how or why someone would renounce their freedom even for love. They prize the happiness emerging from freedom much more and don’t recognize or don’t understand that the happiness from loving bonds is greater. So, impersonalism is also a direct consequence of not having understood the nature of love, and how love involves a sacrifice but the gains of that sacrifice are far greater.

    All these reasonsrenunciation, fear of losing one’s freedom, and lack of understanding the happiness of true loveare contributing reasons for the prevalence of impersonalism.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by Ashish Dalela.
    in reply to: What is the brain? #6597
    Ashish Dalela

    Could you elaborate more on this? What is the function of the head, hands, feet, stomach etc?

    Do I need to say? Isn’t it obvious what these body parts do?

    Also what is the relationship between the chemicals in the brain (like neurotransmitters) and the perception of those neurotransmitters (qualia), which must be in a hierarchically higher space?

    Neurotransmitters are not qualia. They are carrying information from the different body parts and this information has to be described semantically. Something becomes qualia when it combines with the sense. Otherwise, it remains a physical property. Redness is a color, and it becomes red only when it combines with color. Otherwise, it is not redness. And color is not color unless it combines with seeing. Meaning is created in this combination. Otherwise, it is a physical property. You are thinking like the biochemist in terms of physics rather than meaning.

    in reply to: The Fourteen Planetary Systems #6596
    Ashish Dalela

    By this definition most freedom-loving individualists that are into technology, controlling and shaping nature to their own will, and confidently secular or atheistic would be classified as demons.

    They are heading toward the demonic mentality but they are not demons. They don’t have the power of the demons. They are weak both in the mind and the body, but they try to make the body stronger and better by eating, exercising, muscle building, etc. so they are heading toward the lifestyle of demons but they have a weak body and hence a weak mind. We cannot compare the power of demons to the modern freedom-loving individualist as you say. Ravana was able to cut his own limbs and offer to Lord Shiva as an offering. Hiranyakasipu’s body was eaten up by termites but he did not stop these austerities. So, a strong body means they can tolerate a lot of pain. Ask your freedom-loving individualist if he can tolerate that much pain.

    What is then the difference between the demons in horror stories (haunting graveyards, possessing people to enjoy vices through their bodies etc) and these demons you are describing?

    These are ghosts and not demons. Ghosts don’t have a gross body and they enter the gross body of other living entities and control it from a subtle level. These are being of the upper planets. The ghosts are described as living 100 yojanas above the bhu-mandala.

    Also, do the demons have a functional, necessary role in the universe like the demigods (devas)? Are there demons who rule over certain concepts so that they are also represented in our bodies and minds, just like devas are?

    Demons are necessary for other demons. A less powerful demon needs a more powerful demon to help him lead a demonic life. The weak demon serves the powerful demon, and the powerful demon uses the weak demon. This is the same as demigods. If we remain preoccupied with the bodily consciousness thinking always in terms of the body and its needs then yes we will need to surrender to powerful demons and then we come under the control of demons.

    in reply to: What is the brain? #6589
    Ashish Dalela

    You might want to read one of my books to understand the inverted tree better. All the books cover this idea in one form or another. The root is not a receptor. God is the root, and this root is the whole truth. The trunks, branches, and leaves are partial truths. Just like ‘animal’ is a big idea, and ‘mammal’ is a branch of ‘animal’, and ‘dog’ is a branch of ‘mammal’. So we have to think in terms of ideas and how an abstract idea is the parent of a detailed idea, and the detailed idea exists inside the parent idea, and yet the child and the parent are separate. All these things seem paradoxical when you think about objects, but they become easy when we think about ideas. The most complete idea is at the top or the root, and the incomplete ideas are below as leaves.

    The universe is the tree, but the soul is roaming on this tree like a bird who hops from one branch to another. Some branch is a dog, and another branch is a human. Accordingly by this hopping one gets different bodies. This hopping is due to free will or guna and also compelled due to karma. Their combination is simply described as “enjoying the results of karma“.

    in reply to: Do forms exist? #6588
    Ashish Dalela

    Is it analogous to thinking(naively) so – there is a bottle in my room, when my senses come in contact with it, I see it.

    You are thinking in terms of material objects rather than ideas. The bottle is an instance of the idea of the bottle. There can be two identical bottles that exactly represent the same idea but they are in two different places. This place difference is a different role being played by the same idea. When you causally modify the bottle, the idea bottle is not modified, rather the role is changed. And this new role comes into contact with a different idea (e.g. a broken bottle). The role is the relation between different things and is sometimes called sambandha. It is created from consciousness because by consciousness we establish relations to different things.

    in reply to: What is entropy in the semantic view of nature? #6587
    Ashish Dalela

    To understand entropy we have to visualize two systems, one hot and the other cold. Energy flows from the hot object to the cold object, until they attain equilibrium. After that equilibrium, energy does not flow in either direction. Similarly, it is supposed that if many systems come into contact with each other one after another, initially there will be a thermal gradient due to which energy will flow in one direction but over time every object will have the same temperature and the flow will stop. So, energy basically flows from hot to cold–in one direction. And this one-directional flow of energy is supposed to constitute the thermodynamic arrow of time.

    In the semantic view, time is cyclic instead of linear. So energy still flows in one direction but nature is structured in a way that the energy lost by a system is gained again due to a closed-loop. So in the classical thermodynamic system energy spreads out linearly in all directions until there is no gradient left, and this is called the “heat death” of the universe. In a semantic system, this energy doesn’t escape to infinity. Rather it goes round and round in a cycle.

    The reason for this cyclic behavior is that space is closed and has a boundary. So the energy is reflected back from the boundary rather than escaping away to infinity.

    Yet another reason is that the universe is hierarchical so we can never attain uniformity in the universe. When a hot object is put in contact with a cold object we think that after some time these objects have equal temperature and so heat is not being exchanged. But a semantic way to think is that energy is flowing cyclically or back and forth between the two systems, so they appear to be in equilibrium because of a thermal current. According to classical physics, there is no heat flowing and in the semantic approach, a cyclic current is flowing.

    If you look at a very small segment of a cycle, it looks almost linear and under the impression of this linear time, we think that entropy is always increasing. But if we look at the larger segment of the cycle then we can see that entropy both increases and decreases. As long as we keep thinking about time linearly our theories will tell us about entropy increase. Only when we think about closed space, cycles of change, can we think about both entropy increase and decrease.

    in reply to: The Fourteen Planetary Systems #6581
    Ashish Dalela

    To understand the structure of the universe, we have to grasp the structure of our experiences. Experience is divided into seven categories which are called bhuta or objects, tanmatra or properties, indriya or senses, manas or mind, buddhi or intellect, ahamkara or ego, and mahattattva or morality. When you see a chair, for example, there is an object or bhuta, which is understood in terms of tanmatra or properties such as color, shape, size, etc. which are then perceived by indriya or the senses such as sight and touch. Then the manas or mind attributes a concept such as ‘chair’, the buddhi or intellect judges this attribution to be true based on whether it will work as a chair (e.g. that it will not break into pieces if someone sat on the chair), the ahamkara or ego perceives a purpose in the world (e.g. this chair was designed for sitting), and the mahattattva or moral sense compares this chair to an ideal chair.
    This is the structure of the individual experience, but at the cosmic level, these are split into seven roles. The basic idea is that what is “inside” our consciousness is externalized as an organizational structure. Alternately we can also say that the entire universe is the experience of a cosmic observer and therefore “inside” the consciousness of that observer. For others who are inside this universe, the other observers appear to be outside. So we try to understand this world in terms of an organizational structure outside our consciousness. And the same thing can be understood as a conscious experience inside the consciousness of the cosmic observer.

    The fourteen planetary systems are divided into upper and lower halves with 7 parts each. The upper part represents the top-down hierarchy and the lower part represents the bottom-up hierarchy. In the top-down organization, the more abstract reality is given priority. That is, it is understood that morality comes before intentions, which come before judgments, which come before ideas, which are prior to sensations. In the bottom-up organization, the gross body is given priority, and sensations, ideas, judgments, intentions, and morals are derived from them. The upper half belongs to the demigods and the lower half belongs to the demons. The term ‘demon’ conjures up images of evil. But there is a technical definition of ‘demon’ here. A demon is one who thinks that morality is based on the needs of the body, rather than the basis on which the body is governed. A demon is a person who considers the empirical facts or sensations to be the most real, and concepts, judgments, intentions, and morals are interpretations of the sensations. Each person is free to have their own interpretation and there are infinite viewpoints. So, the facts are few, and the interpretations are many. The facts are the root, and interpretations are trunks, branches, twigs, and leaves. So, from few facts, we create an infinite mental variety of interpretations and subjectivity.

    By this technical definition of a ‘demon’, the modern materialist civilization is demonic. The demonic gives importance to the body and considers the mind (thought, judgment, morals) to be an interpretation of the body. The divine on the other hand gives priority to the mind and considers the body to be developed based on mental reality. Therefore, the divine society is governed by living beings at the top of the universe, and the demonic society is governed by the living beings at the bottom of the universe. Unlike the divine society where people talk about “rising upward” in the demonic society they want to “fall down”.

    In the divine society, morality is the natural law and dharma is the principle on which everything is organized. In the demonic society, morality is just a subjective state and everyone is ‘free’ to conjure up their own morality and give their life some meaning and purpose but nature has no meaning and purpose. Therefore, in the demonic society, there is no agreement on right and wrong (there are as many notions of right and wrong as there are individuals) but they have complete agreement on the empirical facts. In the divine society, there are as many empirical facts as there are individuals, but there is an agreement on the moral principles.

    Since the earth is within the 7th planetary system, it comes within the divine society but it is also next to the demonic society and is influenced by it. As a result, the living beings on this planet have nearly equal influences of divine and demonic natures with the divine nature dominating only slightly.

    Whoever has a slightly developed mind becomes prominent in society and takes control of the society. In the demonic world, your mind and intellect don’t matter. As long as you have the physical power to control the world you are the ruler. So the divine world is ruled by mind and intellect and the demonic world is ruled by bodily power. Whoever can wrest control of the physical resources becomes the ruler of the demonic society; the most intelligent class of people become slaves to those with the greatest bodily power.

    in reply to: The Five Material Elements #6580
    Ashish Dalela

    Yes it is possible but these historical facts are hard to confirm, and even if we confirmed them and the theory of five elements seems meaningless both ideas will be lumped together and rejected. It is better to focus on what this theory is and why it is useful and let people infer who came first. I’m not about to say that this theory of five elements was appropriated by the Greeks!

    in reply to: Do forms exist? #6579
    Ashish Dalela

    They are all energy. But this energy takes many forms. Just like in modern science we say that there are many forms of energy such as kinetic energy, thermal energy, electromagnetic energy, gravitational energy, etc. Like that there are infinite forms of energy. At a high-level we can say that they are all “material energy” but then we can also describe the forms of these energies.

    The original energy is called Sakti and all the energy is enfolded in the body of Parvati. During creation, this energy is unfolded just like a tree is enfolded inside a seed. The difference is that the seed needs water, sunlight, and air from the outside, and Sakti doesn’t need anything external. David Bohm used this idea of enfolded and unfolded in conversation with J Krishnamurthy (although he says that he had this idea even before this conversation).

    So we can also say that prior to the manifest universe, the energy is unmanifest. It doesn’t mean it did not exist. It just means that it was enfolded. In one sense, this is also the big bang, where all the energy is enfolded in the body of Parvati who is the complete form of Sakti, and everything comes out of this body, so it is like a big bang. But the difference is that the big bang is impersonal and the enfolded-unfolded process of creation is personal.

    The problem in modern science is that when energy is highly concentrated then all laws of modern science seem to break down because we are unable to visualize how an infinite amount of energy can be concentrated in a small place. Cosmologists call this the ‘black hole’ which is an infinite amount of energy from which energy can never escape so they cannot see this black hole.

    The real reason is different. These black holes are very powerful living entities that have tremendous enfolded energy, so it is true that there is an infinite concentration of energy in a very small place. But it is not true that these are not emanating energy. Just like rivers flow into the ocean, similarly, energy from the rest of the world is absorbed by these living entities and then distributed. The problem is that they are not distributing this energy to us so we cannot see them. Nevertheless, there are theories such as Hawking Radiation which insist that black holes emit radiation. This whole problem of how energy is absorbed and radiated is not very well understood, which is why scientists keep trying to bombard particles at very high energy hoping that they will emulate the conditions of the big bang and we will learn more about our origins.

    In short, all these particles are energy and they are concentrated into a source of energy from where they are emitted. The mystery is how they are enfolded and unfolded.

    In the Srimad Bhagavatam, it is described that during the creation, from pradhana where we cannot distinguish the three modes comes prakriti where the three modes are distinguished. From there comes mahattattva, then ahamkara, then many other elements leading up to Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether. During annihilation, Earth merges into Water, Water merges into Fire, Fire merges into Air, Air merges into Ether, which merges into the senses, which merge into the mind, and so on, until the entire universe merges back into the body of Maha-Visnu.

    Everything is enfolded inside Maha-Visnu and then unfolded. So, it is like a big-bang except that the origin is not a vacuum or some impersonal concentration of energy. The origin is a person inside whose body the energy is enfolded and it is unfolded by their will. It is enfolded in a way that the small thing is absorbed into the big thing, but this big thing is not physically bigger, otherwise, there would be no big bang. The big thing is a bigger idea, and the smaller thing is a smaller idea which is a part of the bigger idea. Since the smaller idea is always part of the bigger idea, therefore it exists even when the universe is not manifest. It is only when the small is separated from the big that we say that the universe has manifest.

    I’m trying to explain the nature of the unfolding and enfolding like a tree that grows from a seed and then is absorbed back into the seed, and the nature of this tree. The root is the Absolute Truth and the emanations from this root are Relative Truths. If we can simply understand how it unfolds and enfolds then we can speak about the seed of the entire manifest phenomena.

    in reply to: What is the brain? #6574
    Ashish Dalela

    You also say in other parts of your work that there could be two physical objects that look to be of the same kind (in this case organic matter out of which the brain is made) but are in fact semantically different

    Yes, if you use the word “president” in one context it may mean the president of a nation, in another context the president of a football club, and in yet another context the president of a labor union. The word “president” in a universal sense just means the head of something. But based on the context, the same word denotes the head of different things. So there is some innate meaning in the word “president” (i.e. that it is the head of something) but this innate meaning is incomplete. To complete this meaning, we have to bring more things into the context, such as whether we are talking about the football club or a nation. Therefore, individual objects are real and they have some meaning, but that meaning is incomplete. To know the full meaning we have to construct the hierarchy — from context to the symbol. This context is also a symbol inside some bigger context, and this bigger context is a symbol inside an even bigger context. So, this is what we mean by hierarchy: to know the full meaning you have to know the immediate context, then the bigger context, then even bigger context, until you arrive at everything.

    Everything doesn’t have a context, so it is a meaning that is complete. It is not a partial meaning like the “president” which needs to be completed by another type of meaning. It is an individual meaning, and yet it is unlike all the other meanings, and hence it is complete. This everything is hierarchically higher than the individual things which are its parts. So hierarchy simply means that there is an idea of everything which is divided to create infinite somethings.

    So, is the brain a different type (or a more abstract type) of object than other organs? Also, how does the brain connect with the mind?

    There are three kinds of hierarchies: object, role, and purpose. Just like we can say that the chair is higher than the legs of the chair. This is a hierarchy of objects. Then there is the hierarchy of roles. Just like the CEO is higher than the employee. This is the hierarchy of roles.

    Before we study the body as material or objective ingredients, we have to study it as divisions of role or functional divisions. At a high level, every living body has some ingestion, digestion, circulation, elimination system. Each of these systems is divided into smaller functions. Each of these functions interacts with other functions, but the extent and nature of this interaction can be different. When we study biology and physiology most of the time we just speak about the functional structure and the interaction between different functions.

    However, each of these functions is also populated by some material object. Just like in a drama there is a character and then there is an actor. The character is the functional division and the actor is the individual performing that function. So, the object hierarchies and the functional hierarchies are both present in the same body. The brain is functionally higher than the rest of the body, just like the CEO is higher than the employee. The brain controls the rest of the body just like the CEO. However, this is only one type of hierarchy. The stomach is higher than the brain in the object hierarchy, and the heart is higher than the brain in the purpose hierarchy.

    In the Ayurveda system, there are three guna and dosha. The pitta represents the object hierarchy and resides in the stomach. The kapha represents the purpose hierarchy and resides in the heart. And the vata represents the functional hierarchy and is centered in the brain.

    So the head is not higher in all respects, but it is functionally higher. It is not one hierarchy but rather three hierarchies that combine to create a complete system. Hence there are three aspects of the soul and each one can be said to be higher than the other because sometimes purpose dominates to use the function and the function dominates to use the object. At other times, there are inherent limitations in the object due to which it cannot perform a function, and there are inherent limitations in the function due to which a purpose cannot be fulfilled.

    The basic idea is hierarchical thinking, but we have to think about how three kinds of hierarchies combine. The picture gets more complicated due to this combination because the same thing–e.g. heart–is subordinate to the brain in one hierarchy and higher than the brain in another hierarchy.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by Ashish Dalela.
    in reply to: Is the Universe a Simulated Reality #6573
    Ashish Dalela

    Advaita philosophy said that the material world is an illusion.

    If the world is an illusion then how can you read books and obtain knowledge? These books must also be an illusion! Since Advaita philosophy is described in some books, therefore, Advaita philosophy must also be an illusion. In fact, this discussion must also be an illusion. Why would we carry out a discussion when we know that the entire experience is an illusion?

    It means that the material world was grown from another World.

    Yes, there is a world of universal forms or ideas, which is sometimes called the Platonic world. But this “another world” or the Platonic world is also material. It is not substance-like but idea-like. When consciousness comes into contact with this Platonic world it creates an individual experience. Since the Platonic world is real, this experience is real. However, it is one thing to have that experience and know that it pertains to a reality outside of me, and quite another to think that when I have this experience of the Platonic world, I have become the Platonic world.

    The illusion is thinking that when I experience the Platonic ideas, I have become the Platonic ideas. Due to this illusion, we think that I am this body, I am human, that is an animal, this is a fruit, etc. All the ideas such as ‘human’, ‘animal’, ‘fruit’, etc. are real. But I am not those designations. That is why the Brahma Sutra states that tat tvam asi or “you are that“, and “that” refers to something different from all these ideas, and called Brahman.

    The Brahman comes into contact with the Platonic world of ideas and creates individual experiences. The Brahman is real and eternal, and the Platonic ideas are real and eternal, but the combination of the two is not eternal. That is why we may be young people right now but we may become old someday. Young and old are eternal ideas, and the soul is eternal. But the combination of the soul with young or old is temporary. So, the notion that “I am young” is false, but “I” is eternal and “young” is eternal. Their connection (through am) is false.

    This an another world is Zero Vacuum : T=0K.

    Nothing can come from a vacuum. If there is no energy nothing can be created from it. There is simply no theoretical or empirical basis for this idea. When it is said that “I am nothing” it means “I am not a human”, “I am not an animal”, “I am not a man”, “I am not a citizen”, etc. The “I” is stripped of all its designations. The designations are all objective and real, but I am none of these designations. This is called neti neti or not this and not that. By denying all these designations, we remove all the adjectives or nouns connecting to “I”. But even after all these designations are removed, “I” still remains. The “I” is called Brahman. When it develops a desire to be something, then the same Brahman is called “I am (nothing right now, so I must become something)”. This state of not being anything but wanting to be something is called nothingness.

    If you don’t feel important in life, you don’t find a purpose, and you cannot identify with anything you feel emptiness and meaningless. That state of meaninglessness is called nothingness. Owing to this state we seek to attach ourselves to the Platonic ideas such as human, citizen, owner, etc. But the true seeker realizes that if I were any of these things then my identity will not change. Since it is changing therefore I am none of these things. But “I” still exist, and this “I” seeks a meaning to become “I am”. Therefore, even if you remove all the designations and attain the pure “I”, there is a tendency to feel the emptiness that leads to “I am” and then to fall down into the material cesspool of Platonic ideas. Therefore, even the Brahman attainment is temporary.

    For permanence, we have to find out what I am, or “I am <something>” and that something is my true identity. The indication that it is true means that it never changes.

    To understand the ”Advaita philosophy” in modern terms we
    need put attention on T=0K because they both have one and
    the same meaning.

    This is inconsistent not only with Advaita but the very grain of Vedic philosophy where the reality preceding the material world is Brahman. Without the desire for “I am,” it remains undivided. But as soon as desire appears, the oneness becomes many. From the “I” come many separate “I am”s. The illusion is that we identify with something that we are not, but the material world is real and the self is real; also both are eternal, but their combination is temporary.

    in reply to: Do forms exist? #6572
    Ashish Dalela

    “So do all kinds of abstract mathematical objects conceivable by the mind exist as real entities in the world?”

    Your mind is also in the world. So if something exists in the mind it exists in the world. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the “world” is only what you see externally. The mind is also material and its ideas are material. And this mind interacts with the body. So we have to understand the body in a new way compatible with the existence of ideas.

    Modern Western science has assumed that the mind is outside the world and derived the understanding of the body without taking the mind into account. This is the famous mind-body divide of Descartes. It says that we can study the body without understanding the mind. It is a false idea, and therefore everything that follows based upon it, is also false.

    There are pure ideas and then there are symbols of ideas. A mathematical theorem is a pure idea, but when you think of that theorem there is an instance of that idea in your mind. This instance is created when our consciousness comes in contact with the pure idea. The consciousness is individual and the idea is universal. When the individual consciousness contacts the universal idea then a particular instance of that idea is created, and we call this instance a “symbol”.

    Similarly, “human” is a universal idea, and when our consciousness comes in contact with this universal idea, then the individual human body is created. Therefore, everything that you see originally exists as a pure idea. But when it comes in contact with consciousness it becomes an individual thing, which is also the symbol of the pure idea. Since it becomes a symbol, ordinary things like tables, chairs, houses, apples, are all symbols of some pure idea.

    During Greek times philosophers like Aristotle claimed that the world is comprised of two things–form and substance. The form is the idea, but the thing it enters into is the substance. So, they were talking about statues and deities. They said that the substance is the stone, and the god in the statue incarnates. Therefore, by breaking the statue you don’t destroy the idea; you only destroy the substance. For a few thousand years after that people were just trying to figure out how this form and substance come together, and while form is intelligible, the substance is not. So they could never solve this problem. Later modern science threw out the substance and replaced it with forms–mathematical forms–but then gave a materialist interpretation to these forms. For example, particle and wave are forms, mass and charge are forms. But we like to think that there is some material substance that constitutes particle and wave, mass and charge. This is a false idea and advanced scientists and philosophers know this quite well. It is only the less advanced and sophisticated people who think that there is some “matter”.

    The Vedic idea is different. There is form and there is consciousness. The form is universal and by contacting the consciousness this universal form becomes an individual. Therefore, everywhere you see individual things, they are created from a universal form by the contact of consciousness. When the universe is destroyed, these forms are not destroyed.

    These forms are called Prakriti. Therefore, Prakriti is eternal. It is never created or destroyed. But our experience of this Prakriti is created and destroyed and what we are observing is the production of individual experience from universal forms. We think it is some kind of substance, but it is not. It is objective and prior to our experience, and yet the instantiation of this objective reality is our experience.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by Ashish Dalela.
    in reply to: Is the Universe a Simulated Reality #6558
    Ashish Dalela

    Yes, if you see the forest from a distance, you see one thing (the forest) and it appears that it is Advaita. But if you look closer then you see many trees and it becomes many things. The Advaita philosophy is that there is oneness. The Dvaita philosophy is that there is one forest and there are many trees, and tree although part of the forest, is not equal to the forest.

    We cannot separate the tree from the forest, so it is Advaita. And yet we cannot equate the forest to the tree so it is Dvaita. Sri Ramanujacharya said that the tree is part of the forest, so in a specific sense, they are the same. This specific sense is called visista-advaita. Sri Madhavacharya said that the whole forest is different from the individual tree, and this difference is called dvaita. Sri Chaitanya said that the tree is inseparable from the forest and yet it is different from the forest, hence there is both difference (bheda) and identity (abheda). All the Acharyas have talked about the same thing in different ways; if we understand properly there is no contradiction.

    The soul is part of God, and yet it is not God. Just like the tree is part of the forest and yet not the forest. In Advaita philosophy, it is said that when the soul merges into Brahman it becomes one with the Brahman, just like the drop of the ocean merges into the ocean. This is true in one sense because the drop of water and the ocean of water are qualitatively similar–they are both water. And yet, the drop never becomes the ocean. Therefore, Advaita is qualitative oneness and Dvaita is a quantitative difference. The drop of water is qualitatively the same as the ocean of water, but the drop of water is not quantitatively identical to the ocean.

    The qualitative oneness is that both the soul and God have three properties–sat (awareness), chit (cognition), and ananda (pleasure). But the awareness of the soul is limited, the cognition of the soul is limited, and the pleasure of the soul is limited. Therefore, both soul and God have awareness, cognition, and pleasure so they are qualitatively similar. However, their awareness, cognition, and pleasure are quantitatively different.

    The soul is factually never “unbound” from God. The drop of water always exists inside the ocean of water. The difference is only that in the material world the soul thinks that it is independent (i.e. not part of the whole) and in the spiritual world, the soul knows that it is dependent (i.e. part of the whole). Just like the hand is part of the body. If the hand pretends that it is independent of the body, this is an illusion. Therefore, the idea that I am independent (which exists in the material world) is called illusion. Matter is not an illusion. Rather the soul is in illusion, thinking that it is independent of God. The purpose of the hand is to serve the whole body. But when the hand thinks it is independent, it tries to feed itself, instead of feeding the whole body.

    So, Krishnarpanmastu means that the hand is feeding the whole body rather than feeding itself.

    Yes, it is not easy to relinquish the illusion that I am independent. Vasana is automatically created when the idea of independence takes root. This vasana is called Maya and it means “I am different from God” — ma means not, and ya means that. “I am not that” means that I am independent of God. When this independence takes root, then Maya adds trunks, branches, and leaves of the various ideas in which I am independent, so I have to show my independence.

    We cannot cut the individual trunks, branches, and trees, because these are infinite. Even as we cut one branch, the other branch grows. So these vasanas are unlimited because they are constantly growing from the root. To overcome the vasana we have to cut the root–“I am independent”.
    Once this root is cut, then the trunks, branches, and leaves automatically dry up gradually. We don’t have to separately cut the trunks, branches, and leaves of this tree; we just have to cut the root. So if we go on cutting the root, then we don’t have to fear the growth of the trunks, branches, and leaves. They will eventually dry up and we will be free of the resulting vasana.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by Ashish Dalela.
    in reply to: Is the Universe a Simulated Reality #6541
    Ashish Dalela

    To begin with, it is not a simulation. There are three stages in which this experience is created. These stages are called “unmanifest”, “about to manifest” and “manifest”. The “unmanifest” state is pure possibility. Just like we can say that dinosaurs are in principle possible. From this “unmanifest” state emerges the “about to manifest” state in which dinosaurs will exist, but which particular soul will become a dinosaur is not decided. Finally, the “manifest” state is when a particular soul becomes a dinosaur. This manifest state goes back into the “about to manifest” state when the dinosaur dies and another dinosaur is about to be born. And when all the dinosaurs are extinct, then this “about to manifest” goes into the “unmanifest” state. When the universe is destroyed, matter still exists in the “unmanifest” state. Therefore, matter is said to be eternal, though not always manifest. When the universe is created, then the “unmanifest” first becomes “about to manifest” and then this “about to manifest” becomes “manifest”.

    The conversion of state from “unmanifest” to “about to manifest” is performed by a causal agency called Time. The “unmanifest” state is Prakriti or Shakti or Parvati who creates all the possibilities. Then Time also known as Sankarsana or Param Shiva converts this “unmanifest” pure possibility into the “about to manifest” state. So, Shiva and Parvati are creating the universe in the “about to manifest” state. They are fixing, for example, when dinosaurs will exist in a particular place and time. Then due to individual desire (guna) and deserving (karma), a soul is born into the dinosaur body, converting the “about to manifest” into “manifest”.

    The “unmanifest” state is the idea of a dinosaur, the “about to manifest” is the role of the dinosaur in the ecosystem, and the “manifest” state is the individual dinosaur in the role. So, before the individual dinosaur comes into existence, the role of a dinosaur is created. Just like in a drama before an actor appears on a stage, the role or character is created. This role or character is associated with some rules of behavior. For example, the servant in the drama has to behave like the servant and the king in the drama has to behave like the king. If they perform these duties properly then despite being a servant, a servant is called a “good actor”.

    Bad karma is created when the actors don’t play their roles properly, good karma is created when the actor plays the role correctly but desires a reward in return, and no karma is created when the role is played without desiring a reward in return. These are called vikarmasukarma, and akarma respectively. This is what we mean by “laws of nature”. The law of nature is not a mathematical law or equation calculation. It is rather the role in which a person is born. The role is created before the body enters the role. Therefore, even if you don’t take that role, someone will accept that role because it presents an opportunity to be exploited or utilized.

    When you kill the ants the death of the ants is due to their karma. But the killing of the ants is attributed to you. The laws of nature fix that someone will kill the ant. But it doesn’t fix that you have to kill the ant. By choosing to kill you become responsible for the action. Similarly, when you give a charity to someone, the law of karma fixes that someone will give charity and the person receiving the charity will receive it according to their karma. But it doesn’t fix that you will be donating. If you do not donate, by karma you will lose the money in another way. If you donate, and you desire something in return, you will create good karma. Therefore, the karma-yoga recommendation is that donate (because you will lose the money anyway) but don’t desire a result in return (because then you will be forced to return to reap the benefits).

    It is not only God who is not affected by karma. Even human beings who perform the actions without desiring a result, but perform the actions as a matter of duty, also don’t create karma. Therefore, Krishna also says that He is also performing dharma. But this dharma doesn’t create karma because it is performed without any expectation in return. Therefore, God is not bound by the laws due to the same reason that a karma-yogi is not bound by the laws.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by Ashish Dalela.
    in reply to: Lessons from the Double-Slit Experiment #6540
    Ashish Dalela

    The first lesson is that light is a particle. This is a lesson because in classical physics light was treated as a wave, and the interference pattern formed on the battery of detectors was attributed to the interference between two waves emanating from the two slits. The double-slit experiment shows that if we slow down the intensity of the light emanating from the source, then we can find individual detectors in the battery clicking one by one. Based on these individual clicks we know that the light doesn’t simultaneously arrive at all the detectors (which would be the case if light was a wave). Rather, the light arrives at the detectors one by one, implying it is a particle.

    The next lesson is that even though light is detected as particles, these are not classical particles. A classical particle will have an equal probability of arriving at all the detectors which means we will see a Boltzmann distribution or Normal distribution of all the particles on the detectors—maximum intensity in the detector closest to the slits and lesser intensities as we move away from the slits in both directions. However, we observe an interference pattern, which cannot be explained by assuming that these are classical particles. So we need a new model.

    The problem is how to arrive at this new model. We have two contradictory models—individually the photons are particles, and collectively they are waves. The simplest reconciliation of this problem in modern quantum theory is that the wave is a probability function that describes the probabilities of the arrival of the individual particles at any particular detector. However, these probabilities do not tell us the order in which the particles arrive one by one. The order of arrival is empirically observed, but it is not theoretically explained or predicted. The lack of this prediction and explanation form the crux of the problem in understanding the experiment.

    There are many interpretations of this experiment that try to solve or address this issue.

    In Bohr’s interpretation, this problem in quantum theory is permanent because we are compelled to use two complementary descriptions—one a particle and the other a wave. Bohr thought that we can never get out of this complementary description and hence never complete quantum theory. Einstein on the other hand thought that probabilities in quantum theory meant that nature was playing dice, and he is quoted saying “God does not play dice”.

    John von Neumann said that there is a consciousness that “collapses” the wavefunction into a particular alternative, and the order of detection is therefore attributed to conscious choices. However, how this consciousness interacts with the wavefunction was never explained. In the many-worlds interpretation pioneered by John Everett, the wavefunction describes the observed outcomes but doesn’t tell us which universe will see which outcome. So just as we see one event in our universe, the other events are occurring in other universes. As new events are created, the number of universes increase. So, the number of universes is constantly growing. With this approach, we still have the problem that we don’t know which of these exponentially expanding universes is our universe!

    In the decoherence approach to this problem, the probability is reduced when two or more systems begin interacting. If the possibilities in the first system are A, B, and C, and the possibilities in the second system are C, D, and E, then their combination will produce the possibility C. This approach now creates a new problem, namely, that to predict the succession of events, we have to predict the succession of systems with which the observed system interacts.

    Therefore, the basic problem of quantum theory never goes away; it only changes form. Whether we call this problem a permanent limitation of human description or call it the succession of choices made by consciousness, or the inability to predict which particular universe is our universe or the specific sequence of systems with which a particular system interacts to create a definite reality, the problem resurfaces in different forms. Therefore, no interpretation of quantum theory thus far solves the problem or even shows a path on which the problem could be solved. It only restates the problem in a new way.

    The Semantic Interpretation is different. It says that the quantum world is like a book of symbols with meaning, but the current experimental method measures this book like an illiterate person, who sees the succession of words but cannot understand the meaning. The method therefore only looks at the shape of the symbols and measures probabilities. Quantum theory, in the Semantic Interpretation, can be completed if the reality was treated as a book. For example, as we read the cover of the book, we see the book completely but in an abstract sense. Then as we see the table of contents, we get a more detailed idea about the chapters in the book, but we don’t see the entire book at the same time. Then as we read the navigation menu about the sections in each chapter, we get an even better idea, but we sacrifice knowing the other sections of the book at the same time. Then as we read the paragraphs, the first sentence gives us a good idea about the whole paragraph (assuming the paragraphs are well-written, and they summarize the paragraph in the first sentence), but we defocus from the contents in the other paragraphs. The book’s content follows a tree structure in which the table of chapters is like the trunks, the sections in each chapter are the branches, the first sentence in the paragraph captures the essence of that paragraph, and so forth. As we focus on the details we lose the big picture. And yet, the full picture and the details are presented to us in a sequence.

    The point of the Semantic Interpretation is that if we begin from the big picture, then we can better predict the details. However, if we begin in the details we cannot predict the big picture. For instance, as you read the book’s title, you can eliminate a number of possibilities about the book (e.g. from the title of the book you can know that the book is fiction or non-fiction). As you go through chapter titles you can further eliminate even more possibilities. Therefore, by approaching the book hierarchically we are able to reduce the uncertainty.

    Just like you look at a forest from a distance and you can see greenery but you don’t know what types of trees exist in the forest. Then you come a little closer and you can see the species of the trees but you cannot count the number of branches on the tree. If you go even closer, you can count the branches and then leaves, and then veins on each leaf, and then the cellular structure inside each vein, etc. The knowledge of the forest is true and complete. The knowledge of the species of the tree is true, but incomplete because when we see the individual tree we don’t see the other trees. The knowledge of the number of trunks and branches is true but incomplete because when we see the individual branches and trunks we don’t see the other branches, other trees, and the entire forest.

    Therefore, we can know the truth at many levels. Each of these levels constitutes the truth but if you look at the whole truth you see the reality completely and yet the knowledge is abstract. As you delve into more details, you know the truth partially. Therefore, you tradeoff the completeness with the detail; looking at the detail forces you to renounce the big picture. In terms of quantum theory, we can progressively reduce the uncertainty by looking at the world in a hierarchical manner—from forest to trees to trunks to branches to leaves, and so forth.

    In the everyday world, we use macroscopic objects—e.g. tables, chairs, and cars—without knowing everything about the molecular structure. We call this the science of macroscopic objects. It is abstract knowledge; it works and it is true. For most practical purposes we don’t need to know the details because we can manipulate the macroscopic object without knowing its molecular structure. There is no contradiction between the macroscopic and microscopic sciences, but there is a contradiction between classical (macroscopic) physics and quantum (microscopic) physics. The reason is that classical particles are indivisible, whereas macroscopic objects are divisible. At the macroscopic level, we are dealing with summarized information, whereas at the microscopic level we are dealing with detailed information.

    Both summarized and detailed pictures of reality constitute information; which means they have to be both treated as information—namely associated with each bit of information is the hierarchical level of abstraction or detail. Physics doesn’t have this ability to indicate whether a physical particle represents abstract or detailed information. We cannot say that some particle is the summary of a hundred other particles. So we just see the particles but we don’t know what they mean. But in the everyday world, there are many levels of knowledge—from summarized to detailed. And to know anything we have to define the level at which we are knowing the same reality.

    So, the semantic interpretation opens up the idea that the same world is infinite descriptions—some of which are detailed and the others are abstract; the abstract description is complete whereas the detailed description is partial. If we want to know everything in a detailed manner, we have to collect the experiences of the entire tree and organize them in a hierarchy. Similarly, when we uncover the experience we have to describe it from the root to the leaves, and the summary information reduces the uncertainty in the detailed information. If we progress from the root to the leaves we can progressively make better and better predictions, provided we understand that something is the root and something is a leaf. If we ignore this hierarchy, then we cannot use the previous events to predict the next event.

    So, this interpretation recognizes the reality of both macroscopic and microscopic realities and tells us that they can be consistent, dissolving the quantum-classical conflict. It also says that macroscopic knowledge is abstract—e.g. tables, chairs, cars—but also more complete. And because it is more complete we don’t need atomic physics in the day to day life to manipulate the world. If, however, we wanted to know more deeply about matter the doors are open to keep refining the knowledge. It follows that both macroscopic and microscopic reality is meaning and not just physics and we have to view even the material world as meaning rather than meaningless particles and waves.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by Ashish Dalela.
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