Saturday, 23 March 2013

Why the Polytheistic mythos of the esotericists is inevitable?



                                                                    Abstract

                A growing number of scholars, scientists and philosophers are leading us to an esoteric worldview without themselves being aware of this. While there seems to be much confusion on how to reconcile modern science with eastern and western esotericism most of the confusion seems to have come from choosing incompetent scholars for their study.

The paper not only gives the correct approach for reconciling modern physics with Advaita Vedanta but also puts the hypothesis of the ontological and philosophical similarities between the two ancient monistic systems Valentinian Monism and Advaita Vedanta on a much firmer ground. An ancient method is also proposed to test this worldview and the paper concludes with the profound implications that it might have for religion, science and philosophy.

Introduction

          The east is rich with linguistics and it could be hypothesized that it was their language which enabled them to describe the metaphysical worlds of the numinous with such simple words or short syllables of the late antiquity conveying a wide range of insights just as how the language of mathematics describes the world of Physics with such great beauty. One such eastern esoteric religion which has influenced in all forms of philosophical debates is the religion of Aryans with such giants like Erwin Schrödinger and Arthur Schopenhauer who said that ‘Upanishads have been the solace of my life and will be the solace of my death’.

When the architects of the Modern Physics got to know that science cannot give an objective account of reality some of them resorted to other forms of traditional knowledge existing in eastern religions and started to find parallels between these eastern religions and modern science but such an attempt has not only resulted in confusion among the public but has also resulted in the misrepresentation of the teachings of these traditional doctrines which have considerable differences between one another. The problems existing in the above field as well as with the recent developments in the field of quantum mechanics and its philosophical implications as espoused by Bernard D’Espagnat and in the field of Gnosticism as espoused by such reputed scholars like Elaine Pagels and others were the main reasons that resulted in bringing out this all important paper.

Methodology in the study of Esotericism

       While esotericism has existed since millennia as a form of study of the esoteric essence and wisdom hidden in all ancient mystery religions, recently few have argued to push the field of Esotericism into the academic. One such attempt has been made by a historian of religion, Wouter J. Hanegraaff and argues that esotericism can be studied from an empirical approach where one can measure its influence from a historical perspective. Any student of esotericism who accepts the most authoritative definition of Antoine Faivre knows that esotericism deals more with the reality of the numinous and less with our historical past. Hanegraaff who is well aware of this implicitly admits that to truly know the truth behind these religions only the empirical approach would not suffice. A simultaneous perennialist approach is needed where an intuitive access to the numinous is albeit necessary in order to completely understand these esoteric religions which are inherently metaphysical as this paper shows and hence not falls under the positivism of science or the empirical method.  

        Based on this argument or assumption a competent scholar can be defined as one coming from the tradition and not someone from outside the tradition and one who has the competent skills and intuitive knowledge to interpret the works of our ancient people and give us a picture as these ancient people saw it and not as how one sees it individually which inevitably leads to conflicts based on how each one interprets these ancient works subjectively without any intuitive knowledge which our ancients claimed to have access to.

A few words about the Scholar chosen for this study -

        Devudu Narasimha Shastry (1896-1962) was a colourful personality and a polymath. He was a thinker and writer of unusual and extraordinary merit. A forceful speaker, he was equally a persuasive writer, and an indefatigable enthusiast for reformation and revolution within the ambit of tradition. He was chosen for the honour of being ‘worshipped’ in the ceremonial way, as one among the hundred traditional scholars, by the first president of India, Babu Rajendra Prasad, in the sacred Varanasi. He hailed from a family of royal priests in Mysore, but the stature that he had as a traditional scholar was acquired by him as a result of his systematic study of the shastras for 20 years.
Popularly known by his pen name ‘Devudu’, was not merely a great writer but like the seers who had the Vedas in vision, he gave visual shape to the Upanishadic verses in his transcendental work.

A proposed reconciliation of Modern Physics with Advaita Vedanta

        Jonathon Duquette, philosopher of religion from the University of Montreal is the leading philosopher working for the correct reconstruction of the dialogue between Modern Physics and Advaita Vedanta and in his thesis he clearly outlines the problems and confusion associated with this subject. He addresses the problems of finding parallels between Modern Physics and Advaita Vedanta through such early works like Fritjof Capra’s Tao in Physics and Panda’s Maya in Physics and questions the validity of their approach.

The argument that the vacuum fluctuation of Quantum mechanics has similarities with the Brahman of Advaita is illogical. Scholars who argue that Brahman is the substratum of the universe or the absolute and compare this with the vacuum of Physics don’t realize that our ancients didn’t knew about modern science or quantum mechanics and the Vedas or the Upanishads are not concerned with the empirical reality and it has nothing to do with it. Without understanding the epistemological foundations of these traditions and the vast wisdom hidden in them some scholars and thinkers desperately try to misrepresent these traditions, its sensitive issues and differences between them just to justify their illogical claims. The philosopher and historian of religion, Richard H. Jones points out this fact in his works,
[When making parallels] it could be that Western thought is unconsciously or consciously being taken as the supreme standard, with a corresponding lack of sensitivity to other interests: Asian thought must be shown to be positivistic in a time when positivism was in vogue, or existential for those who value existentialism. . .Or it must share our moral values, if not our beliefs. The various traditions cannot stand on their own terms but must be related to a Western standard. The danger here is in distorting the fundamental nature of these traditions in order to fulfil this demand rather than in understanding them in their own milieu.
-Richard H. Jones

Bernard D’Espagnat, a French theoretical physicist who has worked under the founding fathers of Modern Physics like Bohr and De Broglie, popularly known for his philosophical works in quantum physics argues that the multitudinous view of classical physics is in direct conflict with facts established from quantum mechanics and that we need to give up Einstein separability and Scientific realism to be in coherence with quantum mechanics. This gives support to the phenomenon of Kant which shows that the physical sciences is only dealing with the phenomena (i.e. things as they appears to us) rather than the ultimate noumena (i.e. things in itself). 
"The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment."
"What quantum mechanics tells us, I believe, is surprising to say the least. It tells us that the basic components of objects – the particles, electrons, quarks etc. – cannot be thought of as "self-existent". He further writes that his research in quantum physics has lead him to conclude that an "ultimate reality" exists, which is not embedded in space or time.
-Bernard D’Espagnat

Bernard argues that nonseparability and non-locality are the basic nature of our physical world which quantum mechanics has revealed to us. Bernard who was not afraid to tackle the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics which others did not went on to say that ‘What we call as empirical reality is only a state of mind’ and thereby gave up his belief on local realism.

Some cognitive scientists with in cognitive science argue that the problem of qualia should be taken seriously and also the problem of universals exist from the time of Plato while there is nothing in the empirical reality to compare with the categories of Kant, we must conclude that such categories exist outside of the empirical reality, we shall not go into the technical details of these problems in this paper.

So far what we have discussed is something which is well known in western thought but how is this related to eastern religions and what the eastern traditions have to say about these problems and that’s what we will discuss in further sections.

If what we call empirical reality is only a state of mind then what is mind?

This was the question asked by someone in Guardian and no one had an answer to it and not even modern science has an answer to it because cognitive scientists are reductionists and they see perception and cognition as neuronal activity in the brain but as Bernard D’Espagnat says even neurons fall under empirical reality which is only a state of mind. So what is mind then?

Here’s the answer:

The word esoteric means “intelligible only to those with special knowledge” – esoterically. The scholar uses the traditional way of storytelling or dialectic to convey his ideas which is common in most forms of wisdom literatures which give us knowledge about the divine and the nature of reality.
Koushika said, “Blessed Vamadeva, for these three days I have been longing to ask a question. The distance between our house and Sage Vashita’s is of two days journey. How did you manage to reach that place right on time on that fateful day? If you hadn’t turned up at that moment what would have been my fate? May I request you kindly to explain all this?”
        Vamadeva beamed a significant smile and said, “you yourself can understand all this, Koushika. But I wonder why haven’t you attempted to explore the secret … All right … The desire to talk for long has seized me today.. Tell me, what you wish to know. I’ll tell you what you desire. It’s your responsibility to ask and mine to answer”.
“Then”, said Koushika, “Please tell me how you were able to reach the spot precisely at the time of my distress. How did you get to know that I was in danger?
       The sagacious and highly evolved Vamadeva replied, “know, Koushika, that the mind is a pillar of light. When we are engaged in worldly affairs we see only one end of that pillar. Owing to its close link with the sensory organs the light gets broken into five beams. That means that the one concentrated stream of light gets scattered. There is a method of which the scattered beams can be united into one stream. That method is called Samyama (full control over the sensory organs). He who practices and becomes proficient in Samyama can go beyond time and space. He will be enabled to perceive everything everywhere. He can understand whatever has happened in the past and whatever is going to happen in the future. When the mind operates through the senses (and therefore subjected to the likes and dislikes of latter), it “acts” like a “stage-king”. That is, it plays the role of the king and cannot be the real living king. Hence, it will be powerless and impotent. If the mind learns to work without being entangled by the senses, then it becomes all powerful and very potent. He who practices this technique of Samyama will be able to know what happens where, why and how”.
-Devudu

When Devudu uses words like sense organs and mind he is not referring it to biological organs and the brain instead he is talking of sense organs and the mind existing in the noumenal world which is responsible for the retrospective creation of our empirical reality which not only includes biological organs and the brain but everything which we see through our eyes. This is what Bernard D’Espagnat means that our empirical reality is a kind of Veiled reality and that there is an ultimate reality which is not embedded in space and time.

Bernard is one of them who believes that the noumenon of Kant can be accessed by other means, he argues that nonseperability is a slight clue which gives us some glimpses of the nature of this ultimate reality and his argument that the structure of consciousness should be outside of empirical reality seems to be accurate when one considers his claims from the perspective of the eastern mode of thought of the Upanishads. What this means is that for the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta to be true scientific realism must be false and it’s a conclusion which it arrives independently without any influence from other schools of thought, an all important fact which many scholars often miss in their approach to find parallels between Modern Physics and Advaita Vedanta. If this is true then neither science nor atheistic religions can give an objective account of reality only God, only He can give an objective account of reality. If there is ever, a Law of Religion and Science then this should be it,

           ‘What we call empirical reality is only a state of mind’

"It is probably true quite generally that in the history of human thinking the most fruitful developments frequently take place at those points where two different lines of thought meet. These lines may have their roots in quite different parts of human culture, in different times or different cultural environments or different religious traditions; hence if they actually meet, that is, if they are at least so much related to each other that a real interaction can take place, then one may hope that new and interesting developments will follow."
-Werner Heisenberg

We are passing along a period of time where not just two but at least three different modes of thought are meeting at a single place making similar conclusions about the nature of reality and if this is true then the next few discoveries in our quest to understand the cosmos will be interesting and exciting to watch out for.

It should be noted that we arrived at this conclusion by assuming that science cannot give an objective account of reality, assuming that scientific realism is false but if science comes up with an objective account of reality independent of mind showing that scientific realism is true then Advaita Vedanta is directly in conflict with Modern Physics. Both Advaita Vedanta and Modern Physics will be in conflict with each other in such a case.

Is teleportation possible? What is the world made up of?

“That’s all right”, said Koushika. “But please tell me whether you had previously planned to arrive at the site?”   “No”, asserted Vamadeva. “I” will tell you all about that. This human body drowns if it is thrown into water while alive. But if it is the body of a good swimmer, it can remain afloat. Likewise, there is another principle in respect of the body. The human body is composed of five elements. Now, as we regard this elements combine as separate, they appear to be obstacles in our onward progress. When once we realize that everything around us is composed of the same elements and that they and we are of one and the same flavour, It would be like giving a loan here and retrieving it there; that means you offer that quantity of the elements which compose your body to those around you (nature) here and claim that portion elsewhere you want it. To put it simpler, just as you learn to swim in water, you should learn to swim in the air too”. 

-Devudu

Our ancients neither knew about modern science nor did they knew about quantum teleportation and hence this should not be confused with such processes. According to major religions of the world, the world is made up of just five elements i.e. earth, fire, water, air and space.

According to Advaita Vedanta these five elements don’t exist in the empirical reality instead they exist in the numinous world and it recognizes this as the external physical world and hence it doesn’t teach solipsism where only one’s own mind is real instead it teaches us that Brahman is real, the empirical world is an illusion, the noumenal world is real and everything in that noumenal world is Brahman, it does recognize a world independent of mind but it is not the empirical world instead it is the numinous world of God or the pleroma of Gods.

Some scholars don’t recognize that Upanishads is the end of Vedas and therefore the worldview of the Upanishads should be in accordance with the worldview of the Vedas as the following quote of the Rig Veda (1.164.46) says,
Indraṃ mitraṃ varuṇamaghnimāhuratho divyaḥ sa suparṇo gharutmān,
ekaṃ sad viprā bahudhā vadantyaghniṃ yamaṃ mātariśvānamāhuḥ
"They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuṇa, Agni, and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutmān.
To what is One, sages give many a title they call it Agni, Yama, Mātariśvan." (trans. Griffith)

The mind and the five elements are also recognized as anthropomorphic gods. This is the kind of world-view which Advaita Vedanta and Valentinian Monism embrace. We have been tantalizingly pushed into a world-view which inevitably leads to the following conclusion about the nature of our physical world,

“Gods are real.
And these gods are everywhere, in all aspects of existence,
all aspects of human life.”
- James Hillman

What is Intelligence? Does Intelligence exist in platonic realms? Are strong Platonists like Roger Penrose correct in saying that strong AI is impossible?

We all are aware of the metaphor of the Sun and the allegory of the cave of Plato in his dialectic work ‘The Republic’ where he espouses his theory of forms that the highest form of eternal knowledge exists in a different realm and that we can grasp these abstract forms which are eternal and unchanging to describe a world which is always changing.

“Either mathematics is too big for the human mind or the human mind is more than a machine.”
– Kurt Gödel
“Gödel’s Theorem shows that human thought is more complex and less mechanical than anyone had ever believed”
- Rudy Rucker

Gödel through his Incompleteness theorems showed that there were Gödel statements for which we could know the truth value of these statements even though they were un-provable using the same axiomatic systems which those statements were derived from. This showed that mathematics can never be both complete as well as consistent.

This basic fact which showed that human beings can solve problems or answer questions for which no algorithm exists to prove the truth value of such statements led to the conclusion that human thought was in no way identical to the mechanical computations carried on such computational machines like the Turing machines.

Roger Penrose developed Gödel’s ideas and put forward a more substantial argument to show that strong AI is impossible and asserted that there is an element of non-computability in human thought which the current physics cannot in any way explain. So what does the eastern traditional school of thought have to say about this? This is what is discussed in the next section.

“See Yajnavalkya, first we take up Panchathma Sankramana and Avastatraya techniques. Before going to Avastatraya there is much to know about it. Liberated men can go from one state to another using divine knowledge. The knower of this knowledge should be an eye-witness to this process, for him different states like dream, sleep should be like entering and leaving different rooms. This is impossible without knowing that divine knowledge and as long as this cannot happen one cannot be a knower.”

Acharya continued, “During the ending of the state of awareness and in the beginning of the dream state this new state should be experienced. When the mind disentangles itself with the sense organs and when it is not yet entangled with the organs of the dream this should be seen. When the mind is entangled with the sense organs and with the casket of intelligence it will look like a stretched tied rope. If not, if the mind is disentangled with the sense organs and is only in entanglement with the casket of intelligence then it will be like a hanging untied rope and becomes non-functional even though it exists. In this new state which is not the dream, sleep or the aware state one will have revelation. When it happens it is not awareness; it is not dream; it is not deep sleep either. The one who has mastered the art of intuitive access to the numinous in this state will be a true philosopher knowing the thing in itself and not how it appears to us. Like this when both the awake and the sleep state does not seem to exist even though it exist then one can have the great revelations, did you understood Yajnavalkya.

Yajnvalkya who was born for a divine purpose, influenced by the words of Acharya went into such a state of experience immediately, then Acharya said, “See, Yajnavalkya, see when you are in that state see who is holding you from falling down? See who is pulling you up?”

Yajnvalkya saw, “The thing which is pulling me up is Sun’s rays. I am not on earth or the sky, I am in outer space. A goddess is holding me from falling down with her arms stretched. If I ask she says “I am from the pantheon of Sun, know this much for now” and diverts my awareness and as my awareness is diverted the Sun’s rays begin to disappear but the feeling of someone pulling me up and holding me from falling down has not gone”.

“What all you saw Yajnavalkya?

What shall I say Acharya? I have no words to describe what I saw therefore if I say something wrong please forgive me. First some lucky object rolled over and fell from the Broomadhya(one of the places where Jiva resides) then the head was about to fall forward but someone becalmed it as it was dropping down and held it there.  Someone took the object which was dropping inside and held it there. I felt like the place where I stood was not the earth, not the sky but soon I realized that it was outside space. There your speech was not like the way we speak with each other instead it was like actions stimulated by someone. On one side Aditya’s rays on the other side a goddess belonging to the pantheon of Aditya. Both of them were holding a luminous system. I felt like I myself am that lustrous system. On beside me as you said a rope-like object was hanging down and that lustrous system was equipped with a casket. As though I am light itself there was light everywhere.

“That casket is called Intelligence (Buddhi), yajnavalkya and that hanging rope-like object is the mind (Manas) and the goddess who held you from falling down is Ushadevi. Here she came, give your sacrifices to her with the Ushasukta of the Rig Veda.”

Both Acharya and his wife were standing there praying until Yajnavalkya’s experience was completely over.

After everything finished Acharya said, “Yajnavalkya, today you experienced the truth, from here you have earned the authority to study the philosophical scriptures, what happened now was a true revelation. If you clearly understand the philosophy behind it then it will become a Great Revelation.”
-Devudu (Mahadarshana)

Since the positivism of science has spread across all fields of our investigation there is not only confusion as to what is real and what is not but other eastern traditions having a different epistemology are rarely taught or taken seriously by anyone in the academic.

The eastern traditions have non-positivist methods based on a different epistemology which give us the actual nature of the physical world and positively assert that these things do exist in a Platonic realm and the fundamental principle of the Aryans says that it is God who stimulates and direct our thoughts (Buddhi).

Similarities between Valentinian Monism and Advaita Vedanta

When Gnostic scholars began to see monistic expressions in the gnostic tradition of Valentinianism and the frequent assertions of this school of thought that the multiplicity of the world vanishes once one knows the fullness of the father through gnosis just as the Advaita Vedanta says that the multiplicity of the world vanishes once one knows the Brahman they started to hypothesize that there might be a connection between these two ancient monistic systems but they never took such a hypothesis too seriously. The following section shows why such a hypothesis is undeniable without giving reasonable explanations for the astonishing similarities seen between these two ancient monistic systems.

          It is the Aryans (or Aryas – Venerable and highly civilized and cultured people known for their learning, wisdom and large heartedness) who discovered this esoteric secret. All those who are now let into this secret can be called Aryas. The obligatory duty of every such Arya is to discover the secrets of Nature and impart those secrets to worthy and deserving people.  This is otherwise called the recital of Vedic texts which ought to be pursued through study of the Vedas and teaching of the Vedas. The Aryas were those who eschewed Paratantra (subject to or dependent on another) and won Swantantra (freedom or independence). Such Aryas can Aryanise the whole Universe.
 Every living being in this world is verily a Sun worshipper. Some know it, but a large number of beings are unaware of it. Being aware of what one is doing, systematizing it and doing it fully and consciously through Sankalpa is called yoga. Progress is nothing but turning the mind from ayoga to yoga. Vedas declare Surya atma jagataha tasthushascha. It means that the sun is very soul of both the immobile and mobile beings. Since the universe came into existence through the Sun, he is called Aditya. Since all the luster in this universe is his he is called Bhaskara. He is the leading light of the planetary system and fruits such as health, well-being, heartiness and wholeness are due to him are well-known. He is the giver of life and light. The evolution of all created things in the world of human beings is entirely due to the sun. Aryas worshipped him as Savithru because every being needs his permission to issue out of the mother’s womb. Once upon a time the worship of Savithru deva was in vogue in every nook and corner of the world. As divine law declined this Savithru worship decreased. Now it is being performed here and there. In another sense, this Savithru-worship has not been given up at all, and cannot be given up either! For, the support for the breathing process which, takes place every moment is Prana. It is this Agnishoma mandala’s (pleroma of gods) grace and flavour that every living being is kept alive. This is a matter, which can be tested by means of yoga. Agnishoma mandala (pleroma of Gods) is the place of origin or principal place of Purusha (The soul of the Universe, the masculine principle) and Prakrithi (The passive power of creating namely, Nature, the feminine principle).
-Devudu

This is in so much similarity with the Gnostic view of the world which says that everything comes in dyads i.e. with male and female forms.

Valentinians believed that God is androgynous and frequently depicted him as a male-female dyad. This is related to the notion that God provides the universe with both form and substance. The feminine aspect of the deity is called Silence, Grace and Thought. Silence is God's primordial state of tranquillity and self-awareness She is also the active creative Thought that makes all subsequent states of being (or "Aeons") substantial. The masculine aspect of God is Depth, also called Ineffable and First Father. Depth is the profoundly incomprehensible, all-encompassing aspect of the deity. He is essentially passive, yet when moved to action by his feminine Thought, he gives the universe form.
-The Gnostic society Library

 Savithru deva is lord and master of Agnishoma mandala (pleroma of gods) and He is in the macrocosm as well in the microcosm. Human beings who are not aware of this imagine that it is they and their own mind and intellect that get things to be done through their ten sense organs. How can subordinates (the mind, intellect and sense organs) be independent? Imagining that he is independent, the individual attributes his achievement to his own mind and intellect. This amounts to the state of being enamoured and conceit. But those few who are capable of deep reflection realize that there should be one who inspires or activates the mind and intellect further reflection and contemplation leads such individuals to realize that the Inspirer or Activator is Savithrudeva. It is He and He alone who instil power into the intellect. It is the intellect, which is the centre and source of all activity, physical and mental, etc.
-Devudu
"For just as the Demiurge, secretly moved by Sophia (Wisdom), believes that he acts alone, so also with human beings"
(Excerpts of Theodotus 53:4).

This shows that human beings don’t have free-will which is similar to the stoic view of providence and the Gnostic view of pre-destination and shows beyond any doubt the Hellenistic and eastern esoteric influences over Gnosticism.

 He that is Savithru, has to accord permission for anything born, or anything to be born and issue out of the mother’s womb. This is the law of Nature. All those who are aware of this law should worship Savithru; or rather, have been worshipping Savithru. This worship is ceaselessly going on in the form of breathing. When this “Worship” is going on in the right way the physical body will be in good health. But if anything goes wrong in that worship, disease attacks the physical body. Ayurveda which recognizes this principle calls him who prevents disease or restores good health, Pranacharya(one who is learned in the science of prana). By this Ayurveda has cognised the original form of this worship. This Savithru deva is none other than Aditya. He protects the World in his various forms or manifestations. He is a mass of brilliant luster. Veda looks at Him in two ways. They are Visthrutha (Diffused or spread out form) and Samasthi (total or whole form). This luster of Savithrudeva, which Veda calls Samasthi swaroopa (total or whole form), is there in every living being and provokes the activity of the mind and intellect.
-Devudu

This is the ontological view or the ontological reality of Advaita Vedanta i.e. the pleroma of (Aeons) gods (fullness) exist in every living being which is amazingly similar to the Gnostic view.

"Christ has each within him, whether human being or angel or mystery" (Gospel of Philip 56:14-15).
“In Christ dwells all the pleroma of deity in bodily form”
- Colossians 2:9

For the Valentinians the pleroma has a local platonic existence and forms the body of Christ and for the Vedic Aryans the Agnisoma Mandala has a local platonic existence and forms the body of Savithru, the solar deity. As you can see only names change in the way they describe the ultimate reality.
The word Pleroma means the totality of divine powers, all the Aeons and all these Aeons reside in Christ and form his mystical body.
“It was a great wonder that they were in the Father without knowing him and that they were able to leave on their own, since they were not able to contain him and know him in whom they were, for indeed his will had not come forth from him. For he revealed it as a knowledge with which all its emanations agree, namely, the knowledge of the living book which he revealed to the Aeons at last as his letters, displaying to them that these are not merely vowels nor consonants, so that one may read them and think of something void of meaning; on the contrary, they are letters which convey the truth. They are pronounced only when they are known. Each letter is a perfect truth like a perfect book, for they are letters written by the hand of the unity, since the Father wrote them for the Aeons, so that they by means of his letters might come to know the Father.
 All the emanations from the Father, therefore, are Pleromas, and all his emanations have their roots in the one who caused them all to grow from himself.”
- Gospel of Truth

The individual Aeons 33 in number as espoused in both Valentinianism and also in the Vedas like the human beings does not know that they are in the Father.
"Brahma generated the gods, Brahma (generated) this entire world. Within him are all these worlds. Within him is this entire universe. It is Brahma who is the greatest of beings. Who can vie with him? In Brahma, the thirty-three gods; in Brahma, Indra and Prajapati; in Brahma all things are contained as in a ship."
-Taittiriya Brāhmana

Beyond this is non-dualism and if we cannot even meaningfully speak about the Pleroma then one can imagine how fruitless it is to speak about the Unity, the all pervading Brahman.

None the less these Aeons are real and they exist in both the microcosm as well as in the macrocosm i.e. in human body as well as in the elements of the outer cosmos.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
III-ix-1: Then Vidagdha, the son of Sakala, asked him. ‘How many gods are there, Yajnavalkya ?’ Yajnavalkya decided it through this (group of Mantras known as) Nivid (saying), ‘As many as are indicated in the Nivid of the Visvadevas – three hundred and three, and three thousand and three’. ‘Very well’, said Sakalya, ‘how many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya ?’ ‘Thirty-three’. ‘Very well’, said the other, ‘how many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya ?’ ‘six’. ‘Very well’, said Sakalya, ‘how many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya ?’ ‘Three’. ‘Very well’, said the other, ‘how many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya ?’ ‘Two’. ‘Very well’, said Sakalya, ‘how many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya ?’ ‘One and a half’. ‘Very well’, said Sakalya, ‘how many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya ?’ ‘One’. ‘Very well’, said Sakalya, ‘which are those three hundred and three and three thousand and three ?’
III-ix-2: Yajnavalkya said, ‘these are but the manifestation of them, but there are only thirty-three gods.’ ‘Which are those thirty-three ?’ ‘The eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras and the twelve Adityas – these are thirty-one and Indra and Prajapati make up the thirty-three’.
III-ix-3: ‘Which are the Vasus /’ ‘Fire, the earth, air, the sky, the sun, heaven, the moon and the stars – these are the Vasus, for in these all this is placed; therefore they are called Vasus.’
III-ix-4: ‘Which are the Rudras ?’ ‘The ten organs in the human body, with the mind as the eleventh. When they depart from this mortal body, they make (one’s relatives) weep. Because they then make them weep, therefore they are called Rudras.’
III-ix-5: ‘Which are the Adityas ?’ ‘The twelve months (are parts) of a year; these are the Adityas, for they go taking all this with them. Because they go taking all this with them, therefore they are called Adityas.’
III-ix-6: ‘Which is Indra, and which is Prajapati ?’ ‘The cloud itself is Indra, and the sacrifice is Prajapati’. ‘Which is the cloud ?’ ‘Thunder (strength).’ ‘Which is the sacrifice ?’ ‘Animals’.
III-ix-7: ‘Which are the six (gods) ?’ ‘Fire, the earth, air, the sky, the sun, and heaven – these are the six. Because all those (gods) are (comprised in) these six.’
III-ix-8: ‘Which are the three gods ?’ ‘These three worlds alone, because in these all those gods are comprised.’ ‘Which are the two gods ?’ ‘Matter and the vital force.’ ‘Which are the one and a half ?’ ‘This (air) that blows.’
III-ix-9: ‘Regarding this some say, ‘Since the air blows as one substance, how can it be one and a half ?’ ‘ It is one and a half because through its presence all this attains surpassing glory’. ‘Which is the one god ?’ ‘The vital force (Hiranyagarbha); it is Brahman, which is called Tyat (that).’

Advaita Vedanta is an ancient doctrine which existed prior to Gnostic Christians and is still the orthodox religion of India and is the very soul of India, therefore either there was a cultural diffusion at some point of time between these two traditions or they arrived about the nature of reality independently without any transfusion of ideas between each other. Whatever may be the answer, this hypothesis should be taken seriously and by testing such a hypothesis can reveal many things and have a wide range of implications.

"It is reasonable to agree that when there is a core agreement in the religious experiences of people in different times, places, and traditions, and when they have the same rational interpretations of the experiences; it makes sense to conclude that they are all in contact with some objective aspect of reality, unless there is positive evidence otherwise."
-Broad

An ancient method to test this worldview

          The Aryans extensively relied on the yoga school of philosophical thought in order to access the numinous world. It can be argued that this practical knowledge is an inherent part of their tradition along with other schools of thought and not separate from it.

It’s the foundational basis for all forms of their knowledge, even though Patanjali is well known as the founder of the yoga school of philosophy different forms of yoga existed prior to him and all such knowledge including the yoga school of Patanjali can be traced back to Hiranyagarbha himself who was the god of the Aryans, whom the founders of Rig Veda worshiped him as the first-born.

As said earlier there are two ways to look at the Veda where one can study the individual lustrous rays of the Hiranyagarbha as separate gods of his pantheon i.e. Agni, Soma, Prana etc. or else one can study the whole pantheon of Hiranyabarbha as himself in his Samasthi swaroopa (total or whole form).

It was Vishwamithra who discovered a way to worship this mass of lustre of Savithru or Hiranyagarbha but that method is not addressed here as no one outside the tradition should perform it without first going through a series of rituals in the traditional way. However there are other ways to study his rays as a whole and one such method is given below which is called as Sun Salutations.

The scholar Devudu who hails from this tradition revealed us the secrets of the Isopanishad which were passed in a traditional way through his works. According to tradition Savithru, the supreme god of the Vedas, He himself had said to Yajnavalkya, the author of the Isopanishad that, “Those who read the Isopanishad as well as the Yajnavalkya Upanishad which deals with the life story of Yajnavalkya and clearly understand the deep meaning behind it, I will reveal myself to them without fail.” 

Therefore the following verse of the Isopanishad is uttered before performing the method for those who only want to live the righteous path, as this was the sole purpose of their doctrine, different people perform this method for different reasons,

 Hiranmayena patrena satyasyapihitam mukham

tat tvam pushannya apavrino satya-dharmaya drishtaye
(Isopanishad, Verse 15)


It means that the truth is hidden inside a golden egg from which the first-born Hiranygarbha originated and his light rays are preventing us from seeing the ultimate truth clearly therefore we should plead him to decrease the intensity of his impeding light rays so that we can clearly see him and attain the path of righteousness by understanding the truth behind it.

"People cannot see anything in the real realm unless they become it...if you have seen the spirit, you have become the spirit; if you have seen Christ, you have become Christ; if you have seen the Father, you will become the Father" (Gospel of Philip 61:20-32 cf. 67:26-27)

Though the ancient Aryans used to perform rituals in a holistic way for the good of the whole world irrespective of the nation, creed, race or the culture they belonged to, the rituals were also performed in a multitudinous way to fulfill personal desires. However they highly recommend us to perform in a holistic way which was the sole doctrine of the Aryans that the light of God exists in everyone irrespective of their race or their background. It is advisable to practice it to test the efficacy of this method under the guidance of a master and the verses after the asterisk (*) should be silently uttered in the mind when performing each step.


Conclusion

According to these esoteric religions it is very unlikely that God had used the Big Bang or the DNA to create the universe or the Humans in it and these religions enforce upon us to abandon such form of thinking at least when one is arguing based on these esoteric religions. It should be emphasized that there can be only one reality in the external physical world and if the objects of modern science like quarks, protons, electrons exist independent of the mind i.e. if scientific realism turns out to be true then the metaphysical world of the esotericists will be falsified. As one of the necessary postulates required for the existence of the metaphysical worlds of the above mentioned esoteric religions is that scientific realism must be false and such a test will guide us whether to abandon this form of esoteric thinking and move an alternative way forward or to move in the direction of our ancients.


Bibliography

Devudu Narasimha Shastry. The Glory of Gayathri (Maha Bramhana in Kannada). Translated into English by Prof .N. Nanjunda Sastry. Bangalore: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 2004. (Original work in Kannada – 1950, Bangalore).


Jonathan Duquette. Towards a Philosophical Reconstruction of the Dialogue between Modern Physics and Advaita Vedanta: An Inquiry into the Concepts of akasa, Vacuum and Reality. University of Montreal, 2010.

Bernard D’Espagnat. On physics and Philosophy. Chapter1. Princeton University Press, 2006. http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s8329.html

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Bernard D’Espagnat. Veiled Reality- An Analysis of Present- Day Quantum Mechanical Concepts. Westview Press, 2003.

Bernard D’Espagnat. The quantum Theory and Reality. Scientific American. 1979.  ( http://www.scientificamerican.com/media/pdf/197911_0158.pdf)

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. The Meditations. Project Gutenberg.

Bernard D’Espagnat. Quantum weirdness: What we call 'reality' is just a state of mind. The Guardian, UK, 2009. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2009/mar/17/templeton-quantum-entanglement

Elaine Pagels. The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters. Fortress Press, 1975.

James Hillman (1926-2011), psychologist (archetypal psychology), U.S http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hillman

Roger Penrose. Shadows of the Mind. University of Oxford. Oxford University Press, 1994.

Roger Penrose. The Emperor’s New Mind Concerning Computers, Minds and the Laws of Physics. Oxford University Press, 1999.

C.D Broad. The Argument From Religious Experience, 1930.

Surya Namaskara, http://rnarayanaswami.net/yogapdf/SURYANAMASKAR.pdf

                                                                     



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