Whole Devotion – Whole Dynamics
SPIRITUALITY – THE SCIENCE OF VIRTUE AND VICE:
Greek philosopher Socrates(470-399 B.C.) compares the harmony produced by Virtue in the Soul with the harmony of the parts in a healthy body. He states, “Virtue is the health and beauty and well-being of the Soul, and Vice the disease and weakness and deformity of the same.” His view provides a rational basis for seeking a scientific understanding of Virtue and Vice. If Soul or Spirit is defined as the vital, animating principle that operates in all living beings, Spirituality is a Science that describes the establishment and existence of man as a Spiritual Being. I would define Spirituality as an internal, mutually beneficial partnership between the cells, the tissues, and the organ systems of the human organism and the Whole Organism which exists as the human being. To that extent it may be stated that, Spirituality brings structural unity and functional harmony in the multicellular human organism. Spirituality involves both intrapersonal, and interpersonal relationships. However, in common usage Spiritual relationships are stated as interpersonal relationships based upon sympathy, and understanding of thoughts and feelings. To develop a basis for scientific understanding of Soul or Spirit and the characteristic attributes of Spiritual functions, I would like to give special attention to the following defining aspects of man, his living condition, and the nature of human existence: 1. Man as a Conscious being, 2. Man as an Intelligent and Mental being, 3. Man as a Moral being with ability called Discernment, 4. Man as a Social being formulating his biological existence through spiritual, biotic interactions both intraspecific and interspecific, and 5. Man as a Physical being making choices between right and wrong in the context of self-preservation or existence. The last is an area where I would like to suggest that we have to make a careful distinction between Human Nature and Human Behavior. In my view, I seek to find Human Nature in terms of living functions that the human organism performs to maintain its existence while living in a given environment and participating in interactions with other members of its biotic community and much of these functions can only be understood at molecular and cellular levels. The term Human Behavior is the subject of study of a Science called Psychology. The terms Virtue and Vice are used without making a careful distinction between Human Nature and Human Behavior and hence cause some confusion in defining them.
VIRTUE IS GOOD, AND VICE IS EVIL:
Virtue is Good and Vice is Evil. Men tend to estimate or judge all things according to their own condition and the way things affect them. What is the principle of goodness in the virtues? There are several questions about objectivity or subjectivity of good and evil. How to determine good and evil? Are they determined by nature or convention? Are they objects of Knowledge or simply a matter of Opinion? Are they relative to individual desires? The terms Virtue and Vice are related to Morality, consideration of Good and Evil in human life, and with the issue of Right and Wrong in human desires, thoughts, and actions. However, to make the determination about good and evil, to make the distinction between Virtue and Vice, a few objective principles could be relevant; 1. The Rule of Reason, 2. Confirmity to Nature or Natural Law, 3. The Standard of Utility – useful and profitable nature of Virtue, 4. Obedience to the Moral Law and Moral Duty which is often shaped by acceptable standards established by social conventions or man-made rules and regulations that regulate human actions and behavior in a civilized society, and 5. Submission to God’s Will as dictated by individual’s religious faith. According to Immanuel Kant(1724-1804), German philosopher, good and evil occur only in the realm of freedom, not at all in the realm of existence or nature. Kant asserts that good and evil always imply a reference to the will as determined by the Law of Reason which is the Law of Freedom. In Kant’s view, virtue is the moral strength of a man’s will in his obedience to duty and Free Will is the seat or the source of all the goodness or evil that there is. While I appreciate the view shared by Kant and its relevance to the understanding of human actions and behavior, the concept of “Free Will” fails to account for man’s biological existence. To exercise “Free Will” man must establish his living condition called existence. The Law of Reason, human rationality, and human knowledge do not fully account for human existence. It is not rational for man to exist on the surface of a very fast spinning object like planet Earth. Man’s power of reasoning has no role. Man’s existence is possible because of the Force of Gravitation, a Law of Nature and its operation can be explained but cannot be accounted by the Law of Reason.
MORAL PHILOSOPHY – THE SCIENCE OF VIRTUE AND VICE:
According to Thomas Hobbes(1588-1679), English philosopher, “Moral philosophy is the science of virtue and vice” – and “Therefore the true doctrine of the Laws of Nature is the true Moral philosophy.” In Hobbes opinion, virtues derive their goodness from Natural Law or the Laws of Nature. Their contrary are vice. Natural Law demands man to do whatever is required for self-preservation and peace. Self-preservation is the end which determines the direction of virtuous conduct. Hobbes defines human nature as self-interested cooperation. In his view, the goodness of virtues must be praised as the means of peaceable, sociable, and comfortable living.
THE LAW OF REASON, THE LAW OF NATURE, AND DIVINE NATURE:
Baruch Spinoza(1632-1677), Dutch philosopher taught that there is one Infinite Substance, God or Nature having infinite attributes of which only thought and extension are knowable. He held that human mind, and human body as merely different aspects of a single Substance and God is Nature in its fullness. Both Spinoza and Hobbes stated a theory of Virtue making self-preservation the end which determines the direction of virtuous conduct. Both consider civil peace or the good of others in relation to self. Whereas Hobbes describes Virtue by reference to Natural Law, Spinoza identifies virtue in terms of adequate ideas of God’s Nature. Spinoza identifies Virtue with power and holds that, “The more each person strives and is able to seek his own profit, that is to say, to preserve his own being, the more virtue does he possess.” “The endeavor after self-preservation…….the primary and only foundation of Virtue.” “To act in confirmity with Virtue is to act according to the guidance of reason……, it is a good which is common to all men, and can be equally possessed by all in so far as they are of the same nature.” In Spinoza’s view, self-preservation has its foundation in knowledge of God. While I generally agree with the view shared by Spinoza, I tend to think that this self-preservation or human existence is fundamentally established by God’s Unconditioned Love which does not demand knowledge about existence of God. In other words, man can maintain his conditioned existence without any basic ability to gain knowledge of God.
THE RELATIONSHIP OF VIRTUE AND VICE WITH HAPPINESS:
Virtue can be viewed in the context of Duty or that of gratification and pleasure. Virtue can be seen as the means to obtain the end called Happiness. Virtue is a natural and necessary condition of Happiness. Virtue and Happiness can be explained as reciprocal notions like Cause and Effect. In Kant’s view, Virtue consists of doing one’s duty to become worthy of happiness. Virtue is related to happiness through the medium of duty. Aristotle(384-322 B.C.), Greek philosopher states a view of Happiness in which it may be seen as constituted by bodily and external goods such as health, pleasure, friendship, and wealth. Virtue is the good that causes our thinking and acting well with respect to all other goods. Happy man is one who is active in accordance with complete Virtue. If the object of Virtue is Happiness, I would like to assert that there will be no Happiness unless and until man discovers Peace, Harmony, and Tranquility in his living condition called existence. The specific quality of the maxims that define the difference between Virtue and Vice are Peace, Harmony, and Tranquility. In my opinion, man the Spiritual Being is known from the nature of his conditioned human existence seeking Peace, Harmony, and Tranquility within himself and with others in his environment, and community. I would like to define the terms Virtue and Vice as relative to man’s experience of Peace, Harmony, and Tranquility in his own life and in his interactions with his external environment and community.
WHOLEDUDE – WHOLEDESIGNER – WHOLE MONAD:
The word ‘monad’ means a unit, something simple and indivisible, and refers to unity. In Biology, monad refers to any simple, single-celled organism specifically a simple type of flagellated protozoa or protist. In Chemistry, monad refers to a monovalent atom, element, or radical. In Philosophy, monad is an entity or elementary being thought of as a microcosm or ultimate unit. Monadism is the theory that the universe consists of monads.
MONADOLOGY – THE METAPHYSICAL DOCTRINE OF LEIBNIZ:
Leibniz is associated with the philosophical theory called ‘Panpsychism'( from Greek – pan – all and psyche – soul) which asserts that a plurality of separate and distinct psychic beings or minds constitute reality. Panpsychism is distinguished from ‘Pantheism'(everything is God). According to Leibniz, the world is composed of atoms of energy that are psychic. These basic elements or atoms are named monads. These monads have different levels of consciousness; in inorganic reality they are sleeping, in animals they are dreaming, in man they are waking. Further, Leibniz asserts that God is the fully conscious monad. In the metaphysics of Leibniz, the basic constituent element of physical reality is an indivisible, impenetrable unit of substance. He allows just one type of element in the build of the universe. The unique element has been given the general name of monad. He describes a basic order of three things; 1. created monads, 2. souls with perception and memory, and 3. spirits or rational souls. The degree of perfection in each case corresponds to their psychic abilities. Leibniz tried to reason that everything exists according to a reason and everything which exists has a sufficient reason to exist. He tried to solve the problem of mind-body dualism introduced by Rene Descartes. Leibniz speaks of pre-established harmony that can solve the mind-body problem. Descartes thinks that the ‘soul’ is distinct from the physical body and its nature is to ‘think’. Leibniz opposed John Locke’s theory that the mind is a “tabula rasa”(blank tablet) at birth and humans learn only through the senses. John Locke defined consciousness as a psychological condition. It is described as the perception of what passes in a man’s mind. Consciousness is viewed as a form of relationship or act of the mind towards objects in nature. Leibniz is regarded as a universal genius and is regarded as a founder of modern science. He anticipated the development of symbolic logic and, independently of Newton invented the Calculus with a superior notation. He attempted to build an institutional framework for the Sciences in central Europe and Russia. At his urging the Brandenburg Society(The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities) was founded in 1700. The purpose of the Academy is that of bringing unity between Natural Sciences and Humanities.
MIND vs BODY – THE UNITY OF SCIENCE AND HUMANITIES:
Due to a lack of unity between Natural Sciences and Humanities, we are not able to describe the reality of man, and have failed to describe the reality of this universe using words to which a definite meaning is attached. The universe is build using units such as Matter, Energy, Space, and Time. Man is composed of atoms, and chemical elements like any other form of physical matter. The difference is that of the nature of existence. The physical, non-living matter requires no supply of energy from an external source to maintain its physical existence. The living things that include all “monads” apart from man need continuous supply of energy from the external environment to sustain existence. The atoms and chemical elements of man do have mass and energy and yet that energy is not available for maintaining the living condition.
The term ‘Soul’ and ‘Spirit’ is often associated with attributes such as intelligence, consciousness, and mental activity such as thinking and discernment. The term ‘intelligence’ should not be limited to the cognitive and discerning abilities of mind or brain. If the term intellect refers to the ability to perform intelligent actions, we may have to consider that all living functions have the characteristics of intelligent actions as compared to mechanical or transitive actions that could be performed by non-living physical matter. I would like to define the word ‘intellect’ as the intuitive ability with which each individual living cell performs very complex, sequential, guided, purposeful, and selective functions to maintain its own living condition. Knowledge is implanted in the substance called living matter to give it the ability to perform intelligent functions. What Leibniz has not recognized is the ‘dynamic’ nature of this basic substance or element that he has named as monad. This substance maintains its constant, unchanging nature while undergoing a change during its entire period of existence. Life is a dynamic process that involves the repair or replacement of its constituent organic molecules and taking immanent action that is called growth and development. This dynamic process is influenced by the operation of Time and manifests itself using the dimension called Space. For this reason, I would like to describe the Creator, the LORD God as a WholeArtist, WholeArchitect, WholePlanner, and a WholeDesigner who uses the building blocks of Matter, Energy, Space, and Time in a creative manner to establish the experience of reality.
- Wholedude – Wholedesigner – Whole Phenomenon (bhavanajagat.com)
- Wholedude – Wholedesigner – Matter and Spirit (bhavanajagat.com)
- Wholedude – Wholedesigner – Spirit (bhavanajagat.com)
- Wholedude – Wholedesigner – Red Blood Cell (bhavanajagat.com)
- Deus ex Machina Objections in Philosophy: Leibniz contra Malebranche (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
SPIRITUALISM – A COPERNICAN REVOLUTION:
I am happy to extend my greetings to all of my readers on this festive occasion called ‘SANKRANTI’. In Indian tradition, Sun is represented as personification of the Divine Energy that sustains the life of all that lives on planet Earth. Apart from being the source of primary Energy, Sun is viewed as the Source of Knowledge and Indians seek Lord Surya, the Sun God’s blessings to illuminate their inner, mental world to banish darkness called ignorance. This would lead me to reflect about the theory of knowledge and the revolutionary change caused by Immanuel Kant in understanding our philosophic problems and procedures. In the context of our celebration of the Indian festival of ‘SANKRANTI’, I would like to pay a special tribute to Nicholas Copernicus(1457-1543) who laid the foundation for modern astronomy with his heliocentric theory of planetary motion which replaced the geocentric cosmological theory established by Ptolemy(Claudius Ptolemaeus) of 2nd century A.D. Ptolemy’s theory placed Earth motionless at the center of the universe with all celestial bodies revolving around it. Copernican system places the Sun motionless at the center of the solar system with all the planets, including Earth, revolving around it.
THE THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE – A COPERNICAN REVOLUTION:
Copernicus caused a revolution when he discerned reflections of the Earth’s own motion in the apparent motions of the planets, and stars. To the same extent, German philosopher Immanuel Kant(1724-1804) had inaugurated a new era in the development of philosophical thought. He did comprehensive, and systematic work in Theory of Knowledge, Ethics, and Aesthetics.
Kant had altered the nature of philosophic inquiry. He had recognized the limits of the philosophical traditions of both Empiricism that stresses Experience, and Rationalism that stresses Reason. He had analyzed the tradition of Rene Descartes(Rationalism) and had clarified the tradition of Francis Bacon(Empiricism). Kant attempted to incorporate both Experience and Reason, without falling into the Skepticism of the empirical school and without embracing the unverifiable metaphysical structure of the rationalist school. He had criticized Leibniz rationalism in his book, “Critique of Pure Reason”(1781). In Kant’s view, objective reality is known only insofar as it conforms to the essential structure of the knowing mind. Only objects of experience or phenomena may be known. Things lying beyond experience or noumena are unknowable. Kant stated that the human mind provides the forms and the categories that can be used to describe experience. He held the view that the problems like the existence of God, freedom, and immortality are insoluble by scientific thought. Kant had proudly asserted that he had accomplished a Copernican Revolution in philosophy. He claimed that the subject doing the knowing constitutes, to a considerable extent, the object of knowing; i.e., that knowledge is in part constituted by the mind itself which imposes its influence upon the data of experience. Hence, knowledge is the product of the knowing subject and not a simple description of an external reality. Kant had accounted for the application of the mind’s principles to objects by showing that the objects conform to the mind; in knowing, it is not mind that confirms to things but things confirm to the mind. I have to examine this issue for its relevance to the fundamental concern about human existence.
SPIRITUALISM – A COPERNICAN REVOLUTION:
Man’s earthly existence is conditioned by constant change under the influence of Space and Time. To make Life happen, the existence has to be synchronized with the external events on which man has no control. While Earth is spinning at an amazing speed, man perceives Earth as a motionless object, and experiences the apparent motions of planets and stars. The speed of Earth’s motion is not compatible with human existence. The reality of Sun shining brightly in the sky all the time is not also helpful for human existence. Man needs alternating periods of light and darkness called day, and night. Human existence demands alternating periods of wakefulness and sleep. To experience the physical reality called existence, man needs the influence of a powerful illusion that changes the perception of reality of this world, and universe that is constantly changing, and moving. Man exists for he cannot alter the nature of this sensory experience that generates the Celestial Journey of Sun across the heavenly dome. In Indian tradition, it is stated that the Creative Energy called “MAYA” clouds man’s sense of perception of the world experience and man has no ability to overcome the Power/Force/Energy that causes ‘ILLUSION’. The phenomena called ‘ILLUSION’ is not generated by the mind. This world experience caused by ‘ILLUSION’ has a survival value as it intends to protect man from the harsher reality of Truth. To a discerning mind it appears that man needs the guiding and regulative mechanism called Soul and Spirit to perform his living functions in a moving, and changing world. Soul establishes man’s dependence upon an external source of energy and hence Soul is always associated with the living body. The unity of man’s body and Soul could be named as the ‘God-Connection’ as this ‘Connection’ is not formulated by man’s mental, or physical work. This ‘God-Connection’ helps the Spirit to express its desire for Freedom which includes a desire to seek Freedom from the world experience called ‘Death’. If Soul and Spirit are present in the living body that exists in the earthly, material realm, it points towards the operation of the Divine Providence in this terrestrial realm. If God by the nature of His existence is present in the immanent realm, the problems of metaphysics such as Freedom, Immortality, and God’s existence do not belong to unknowable, transcendental realm. I may have to suggest that Kant could be wrong in his view about the relationship between human mind, and the world of experience. Man is fortunate for things of world experience do not always confirm to the knowing mind.
Rudra N. Rebbapragada/R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.,
Organization: The Spirits of Special Frontier Force.
SPIRITUALISM: UNCHANGING OPERATING SYSTEM IN A CHANGING WORLD:
Thanks to Shri. Agarwal, and Dr. Bodapati Ramarao for sharing the photo images our celestial home. We exist on the surface of a fast-spinning celestial body which changes the position at which we live all the time without giving us a chance to know as to where exactly we exist. Earth has no choice and it participates in the motions of Sun and of the Milky Way Galaxy. At every given instant, we are on the move. In a changing world, spiritualism describes the operation of an unchanging principle. In a changing world or universe called “JAGAT”, the term called “BHAVANA”(Soul/Spirit) provides the unchanging operating system to make the human existence a reality. The vital principle named Soul/Spirit does not exclusively belong to the transcendental or metaphysical realm or domain. It belongs to the terrestrial world where man, and life exist.
Rudra N Rebbapragada
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-4162, USA
R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Personal Numbers:MS-8466/MR-03277K. Rank:Lieutenant/Captain/Major.
Branch:Army Medical Corps/Short Service Regular Commission(1969-1972); Direct Permanent Commission(1973-1984).
Unit:Establishment No.22(1971-1974)/South Column,Operation Eagle(1971-1972).
Organization: Special Frontier Force.
Nasa has shown us views of the Big Marble, the breathtakingly beautiful planet on which we live because it studies space and the Earth. The first Big Blue Marble photo was released in 1972 and each subsequent release of images has increased in quality so that the newest 2012 release of the Big Black Marble, or Earth at Night, are stunning. The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite was launched last year by NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense. It orbits 512 miles above our planet’s surface and has an extremely sensitive sensor that can detect
the nocturnal glow produced by Earth’s atmosphere. In fact, it can see the light given off from a single street light or one glowing light on a boat floating alone on the ocean. The VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) carries a low-light sensor that can distinguish night lights with six times better spatial resolution and 250 times better resolution of lighting levels (dynamic range) than before. NASA added a global composite image, constructed using cloud-free night images from a new NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite, shows the glow of natural and human-built phenomena across the planet in greater detail than ever before. So here is the series of the Big Marble in Old, New, Aqua, Blue, White and Black Marble. If you stop to think that this is our home, all of us regardless of where on the globe you are located, then it somehow seems possible that we could achieve peace on Earth around this holiday season for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Boxing Day. It also shows why we should protect our environment . . . it belongs to your children’s children and us all. Thank you NASA! You ROCK!
This image of North and South America at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012. The new data was mapped over existing Blue Marble imagery of Earth to provide a realistic view of the planet. NASA added, The day-night band observed Hurricane Sandy, illuminated by moonlight, making landfall over New Jersey on the evening of Oct. 29. Night images showed the widespread power outages that left millions in darkness in the wake of the storm. Photo #1 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC
The continental United States at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012. The image was made possible by the satellite’s day-night band of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as city lights, gas flares, auroras, wildfires and reflected moonlight. Photo #2 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC
Black Marble, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. NASA reported, Unlike a camera that captures a picture in one exposure, the day-night band produces an image by repeatedly scanning a scene and resolving it as millions of individual pixels. Then, the day-night band reviews the amount of light in each pixel. If it is very bright, a low-gain mode prevents the pixel from over-saturating. If the pixel is very dark, the signal is amplified. The Earth Observatory wrote of the night lights on our globe, Scientists are using new images of Earth’s dark side to gain insight on human activity and poorly understood natural events. Photo #3 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC
Black Marble Europe at night 2012. For all the reasons that we need to see Earth during the day, we also need to see Earth at night, said Steve Miller, a researcher at NOAA’s Colorado State University Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere. Unlike humans, the Earth never sleeps.Photo #4 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC
Black Marble, Asia and Australia. On Out of the Blue and Into the Black, Miller is quoted as saying, The night is nowhere near as dark as most of us think. In fact, the Earth is never really dark. And we don’t have to be in the dark about what is happening at night anymore either. Photo #5 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC
Why is Western Australia So Bright? Careful observers of the new Black Marble images of Earth at night released this week by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have noticed bright areas in the western part of Australia that are largely uninhabited. Why is this area so lit up, many have asked? The sensor on the satellite is so sensitive that it picked up wild fires at night. Photo #6 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC
The image above shows London and the southern half of Great Britain as it appeared on the night of March 27, 2012. NASA Earth Observatory Photo #7 by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using VIIRS Day Night Band and MODIS Blue Marble data
Earth at Night in HD. Video #1 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC
USA East Coast lights on Friday, June 29th, 2012. NASA Earth Observatory Photo #8 by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon using data from the NASA/NOAA satellite S-NPP
Composite map of the world assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012. Photo #9 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC
Black Marble 2012, Asia at night. NASA’s Earth Observatory wrote, Away from human settlements, light still shines. Wildfires and volcanoes rage. Oil and gas wells burn like candles. Auroras dance across the polar skies. Moonlight and starlight reflect off the water, snow, clouds, and deserts. Even the air and ocean sometimes glow. Photo #11 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC
Most Amazing High Definition Image of Earth Blue Marble 2012. Photo #12 by NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring
The Blue Marble 2012 turned into a White Marble with this snow and ice Arctic View. Fifteen orbits of the recently launched Suomi NPP satellite provided the VIIRS instrument enough time (and longitude) to gather the pixels for this synthesized view of Earth showing the Arctic, Europe, and Asia. Photo #13 by NASA/GSFC/Suomi NPP
NASA Blue (Aqua) Marble 2007 West.ย Photo #14 by Reto Stรถckli, based on data from NASA and NOAA
NASA Blue (Aqua) Marble 2007 East. Photo #15 by Reto Stรถckli, based on data from NASA and NOAA
NASA’s Spacecraft View of Aurora Australis from Space. NASA file image acquired September 11, 2005. Photo #16 by NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
From space, the aurora is a crown of light that circles each of Earth’s poles. The satellite captured this view of the aurora australis (southern lights) on September 11, 2005, four days after a record-setting solar flare sent plasma”an ionized gas of protons and electrons”flying towards the Earth. The ring of light that the solar storm generated over Antarctica glows green in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum, shown in this image. The observations of the aurora are overlaid onto NASA’s satellite-based Blue Marble image. From the Earth’s surface, the ring would appear as a curtain of light shimmering across the night sky. Video #2 by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio via LittleSDOHMI
Blue Marble 2002.ย Photo #17 by NASA Earth Observatory
Blue Marble 2002: At the time, This spectacular blue marble image is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date. Photo #18 by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image by Reto Stรถckli (land surface, shallow water, clouds). Enhancements by Robert Simmon (ocean color, compositing, 3D globes, animation). Data and technical support: MODIS Land Group; MODIS Science Data Support Team; MODIS Atmosphere Group; MODIS Ocean Group Additional data: USGS EROS Data Center (topography); USGS Terrestrial Remote Sensing Flagstaff Field Center (Antarctica); Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (city lights
Earth image and star field background, released in 2000. Photo #20 by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio / The Blue Marble data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC) / Laura Rocchio (NASA/GSFC)
First Blue Marble image captured from Apollo 17 on Dec 7, 1972. View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon. This translunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to the Antarctica south polar ice cap. This is the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap. Note the heavy cloud cover in the Southern Hemisphere. Almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible. The Arabian Peninsula can be seen at the northeastern edge of Africa. The large island off the coast of Africa is the Malagasy Republic. The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the northeast. Astronaut photograph AS17-148-22727 courtesy NASA Johnson Space Center Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Photo #21 by NASA
What is your favorite Old, New, Aqua, Blue, White or Black Marble? Blue Marble “ Astronaut photograph 1972; Blue Marble 2002; Aqua Marble 2005; Bottom row left to right: Blue Marble 2012; White Marble 2012; Black Marble 2012. NASA Goddard Space Flight Centerย wrote, Since we have escaped the bounds of gravity, visions of Earth have inspired and captured the imagination. Here are a few of the most iconic views of our planet returned by both living astronauts and robotic spacecraft in orbit throughout the space age. Photo #22 by Apollo 1972 / NASA / NASA Earth Observatory
There is so much Joy in Sharing. Wish all of my readers a Very Happy Holiday Season.
SPIRITUALISM AND VIOLENCE – GRIEF AT SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL:
In U.S. history, the second-deadliest school shooting took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut during the beautiful morning hours on Friday, December 14, 2012. The killing of 20 school children and other adults will force us to reflect upon human nature.
AGGRESSION AND HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS:
Among animals, man has the ability to kill members of his own kind for reasons other than that of food, territory, and reproductive success. However, I do not consider that aggression is innate to human nature. The thought to commit an act of violence may enter the human mind because of an external, environmental stimulus. For an infectious agent to enter human body and cause a diseased condition would require a degree of susceptibility to that infection. A person who is not in proper relationship with his own self, and with others is susceptible to be taken over by harmful emotions such as anger that generates the desire to commit an act of violence. The gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School could be described as a victim of his inability to formulate harmonious relationship both at personal level and interpersonal level. Mental Health involves the ability to develop harmonious social relations. In my view, the basis for external, harmonious, social relationships begins at a personal level; the ability to define one’s relationship with oneself.
THE SPIRITUAL BASIS FOR HUMAN EXISTENCE:
This act of violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School illustrates man’s estrangement or alienation from his true or real nature. I would like to reinforce the fact of the spiritual basis for human existence. In life, or death, man needs the mercy, grace, and compassion of his Creator. Man does not exist in this physical world because of his intellectual, or physical effort. It is a good time to explain the dependent nature of human existence and invite peace, harmony, and tranquility in the living condition by accepting the Divine Providence with a sense of respect and humility. The act of acceptance of Divine mercy, grace, and compassion generates the emotion called ‘devotion’ which provides a sense of comfort and makes the person stress-resistant, and imparts the ability to overcome the feelings of fear, and the sense of grief generated by the loss of life.
GRIEF AND COMPASSION AT SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL:
It is human nature to respond to grief with feelings of compassion. I describe, that human nature is constituted by the principles called ‘spirit’, and ‘soul’. In ‘spirit’, man seeks freedom, and with ‘soul’, he establishes the dependence that supports the human existence. The violence, and aggression that we have witnessed is a response to an external environmental stimulus. Man betrays his own true nature or fails to recognize his real self; and this sense of estrangement or alienation from reality leads to behavior that destroys peace, harmony, and tranquility in man’s interactions with others in his environment. This gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School had utterly failed to defend his own freedom as he got alienated from his own ‘spirit’ and had failed to recognize his own ‘soul’ that sustains his existence. This loss of freedom had caused him to end his own existence using the same gun with which he had attacked others.
Rudra N. Rebbapragada,
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.
SPIRITUALISM – THE TRUTH ABOUT HUMAN SOUL OR SPIRIT :
Truth is the quality of being in accordance with experience, and verified facts. Truth or Reality can be established by using a reasoning process called verification and validation. To verify or refute a theoretical claim, we need to clarify statements by demonstrating relation between the theoretical claim and the observational evidence. Such a reasoning process could be applied in two manners; 1. The Coherence Theory of Truth, and 2. The Correspondence Theory of Truth. According to the Coherence Theory of Truth, the standard of Truth is the logical consistency of a proposition with a large system of propositions. According to the Correspondence Theory of Truth, Truth is viewed as a relation between an idea or proposition and its object. To verify Truth or Reality, the Subject and Object of an idea or proposition must have a relationship. Truth when applied to statements or ideas is related to the validity of what we mean and hence it requires correspondence between thought and external reality. It is true that man has the biological ability and capacity called ‘imagination’, but man may not have the ability and capacity to translate the act and power of imagination into actuality, an external experience that could be observed by others. In my imagination, I can seek the existence of an all blissful entity called ‘SHIVA’ while in actuality, I exist in the physical world as a fragile, mortal being. Religion, Philosophy, and Science may represent three distinct fields of learning about Truth and Reality. Scientific knowledge not only provides the knowledge that something is true, but it also provides the reason why it is true. Religion, and Philosophy could use different methods to study Truth and Reality, but the ideas they share require verification, corroboration, and validation. In the study of man, the know-er and the known are one. Man is the observer and the observed fact is that of man’s nature. If man has to know the truth about his self, man has to understand the truth and reliability of his own cognitive powers. If the Subject called man is identified as an Object called Soul, or Spirit, the Truth or Reality of Soul, or Spirit involves a structural/functional relationship between the Subject and its Object.
ADI SHANKARA’S NIRVANA SHATAKAM OR ATMA SHATAKAM :
Adi Shankara ( c. 788 – c. 820 A.D. ), the founder of the Non-Dualist or ‘ADVAITA’ School of Indian Philosophy called ‘VEDANTA’ has shared his ideas about human Soul, or Spirit or ‘ATMA’ or ‘ATMAN’ in Indian Sanskrit language. In six short poems popularly known as ‘Nirvana Shatakam’, or ‘Atma Shatakam’, he has presented his mental concepts about human Soul, or Spirit which he called “AHAM”(Subject ‘A’) . Adi Shankara is primarily concerned about establishing the perfect Identity between this Subject ‘A’ and its Object called “CHIDANANDA SHIVAM(Object ‘C’). However, Adi Shankara makes no attempt in his propositions to establish the basis for this Identity between the Subject ‘A’ and its Object ‘C’. Adi Shankara is proposing that the Subject ‘A’ or ‘AHAM’ has no structural, functional, mental, moral, social, and spiritual relationship with its human body or ‘B’. In his view, the human soul or spirit is not involved, and is not concerned with the existence of human body in which the soul or spirit is thought to be residing. In an effort to establish the school of thought called “ADVAITA” or Non-Dualism, he systematically separates the human body from its human soul. Adi Shankara has further extended this proposition to claim that the Subject ‘A’ is the same as the Object ‘C’ and the reason he has given is that of a lack of relationship between Subject ‘A’ and the human body ‘B’. Since, ‘A’ is not the same as ‘B’, ‘A’ is not equal to ‘B’. And, therefore, Adi Shankara claims that ‘A’ is the same as ‘C’ or ‘A’ is equal to ‘C’. He has not stated that there is or there could be a structural, functional, mental, moral, social, and spiritual relationship between ‘A’ and ‘C’. If such relationship exists between ‘A’ and ‘C’, Adi Shankara has not presented any observational evidence in support of his claim that states ‘A’ = ‘C’. Let us briefly review the six verses. Kindly note that the verses are composed in Indian Sanskrit language and there are several minor variations in the words that are attributed to Adi Shankara. The word ‘NIRVANA’ means ‘MUKTI’ or Release( the release of the conditioned human soul ), death, Sunset, and conclusion of an event( such as the end of Life ). I must clarify that ‘death’ may not be viewed as a static, or final event. Death is a dynamic event like Life which is characterized by changes like growth and development and various stages like infancy, youth, man, and old age. Just like Sunset which is followed by Sunrise, the event called death is followed by regeneration, renewal, and rebirth. Living organisms arrive with a plan for their own dissolution and such organic decay and decomposition is influenced by the cyclical flow of Time.
MAN IS A PHYSICAL, MORTAL BEING, A CREATED BEING WITH A LIVING SOUL:
Adi Shankara excludes the four mental functions known as Ma-nah( the seat of thoughts and imagination, the chief sense organ called Mind), Buddhi(the seat of intellect and knowledge), Chitta(the seat of emotions such as compassion, affection, and devotion), and Ahankara(the seat of ego, self-pride, the sense of pride that is associated with the recognition of ‘SELF’ or ‘I’ as existing or living) as the basis of his true Identity or Essence(What you are). These four aspects of mental activities are described in Indian tradition as “ANTAH KARANAM” or ‘MANO CHATUSHTAYAM”. The human nature which is known as “CHITTA” or “HRUDAYA”, “KARUNA”, or “DAYA” and “BHAKTI” is recognized as Compassion, Kindness, and Devotion; the mental qualities that are needed for formulating Spiritual relationships both within the Individual and between Individuals. Adi Shankara gives no reason for this separation of human nature from its human Soul. Similarly, he excludes the five organs of Sense Perception( often described as “JNANA INDRIYAS”, the organs that provide sensory information and sensory experience ) such as ears, tongue, nose, eyes, and skin and the Five Primordial Elements described in Indian tradition as ‘Pancha Maha Bhutas’ such as Sky, Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water. He thinks that they are not truly related to his True Identity and Essence. He is specifically excluding all known material substances, material structures and forces that operate in the natural world in the description of his True Identity. In my view, I consider that man comes into existence as a newly created object, one of its own kind, original, and distinctive who could always be identified as a specific individual. I claim that man is a created being and man has no choice other than that of existing as an Individual with Individuality. The physical form, the morphological appearance of man always makes him unique and it has to be explained and accounted for. I suggest that human Soul is the internal reality; and Soul is the basis for human Individuality and the Soul is the unchanging principle that allows man to exist with changing external forms with specific physical attributes.
MAN IS DEFINED BY HIS STRUCTURE, FUNCTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR :
In this verse Adi Shankara gives a very detailed description of various tissues of human body and describes all the vital functions and states that the Subject ‘A’ or “AHAM” has no structural or functional relationship with human anatomy and physiology. The term “PRAANA” refers to the vital life-energy and is generally used to describe the chief characteristic to make the fundamental distinction between living and non-living; the important sign of life is the act of breathing or respiration.The term “PANCH VAAYU” refers to, 1. Vyaana – the air that is spread in the entire extent of the human body; 2. Samaana – the air that is in the navel region; it could be the air that is swallowed during acts of eating and drinking and may refer to the intestinal gas; 3. Udaana – the air that is in the throat/neck region; this narrow airway is vital for the respiratory function; 4. Apaana – the air that travels downwards and outwards; it could mean the air expelled from the body as flatus or exhaled air from the lungs; and 5. Praana – the inspired air; air that is in the heart, the chief organ of Cardiovascular System that circulates Oxygen throughout human body. The term “SAPTA DHATU” refers to the seven material essences such as the skin, muscle/tendons/nerves, blood, bones, bone marrow, brain( neural tissue ), and “RASA” which describes fluids like semen and lymph. The term “PANCH KOSHA” refers to the traditional view about the structure of Soul. It is believed that the Soul has five coverings or envelopes and each layer establishes human existence and these are called as the five stages of Self-Realization; 1. Anna maya( related to Nutrition ), 2. Praana maya( related to vital functions like Respiration ), 3. Jnana maya( relates to implantation of Innate Knowledge and Consciousness ), 4. Vijnana maya( relates to the ability to make a distinction between human body or Self and Soul as the Knowing-Self ), and 5. Ananda maya( relates to the experience of Bliss, the experience of Peace, Harmony, Tranquility, and Equilibrium as a Living Experience ) ; these are the five aspects of Self-Realization and refer to complete fulfillment or development of man. I have discussed these five aspects in my blog post:
Adi Shankara also refers to the five organs of action that are described in Indian tradition as “KARMA INDRIYAS” which are the five instruments of Speech(VAAK), Hand-Grip and Manipulation(PAANI), Locomotion( PAADA), Procreation(UPASTHA) and Excretion(PAAYU). Adi Shankara has not bothered to state as to how these different organs and organ systems could function together to support the existence of the human person who lives because of those varied living functions. Life is nothing but to function and in my view, the human Soul is the central element that generates the structural and functional coordination that is required for human existence.
MAN IS A MENTAL BEING, AN EMOTIONAL BEING, AND A MORAL BEING:
Adi Shankara correctly claims that the human Soul may not contribute to human feelings, and thoughts associated with hatred, sexual passion, greed, arrogance, and envy or jealousy. At the same time, he rejects the traditional Indian view about man’s purpose in Life; the purpose of Right Action or “DHARMA”, the purpose called earning money or material wealth to support Life or “ARTHA”, the purpose of Procreation or “KAMA”, and the purpose called God-Realization, Liberation, or “MOKSHA”. In other words, Adi Shankara is suggesting that human life and human existence may have no underlying purpose. He is also not giving any coping mechanism to deal with the problems associated with human emotional experiences like passionate desires. Indian tradition consistently recommends that man can exercise self-control as the human Soul is superior to human mind, human intellect, and human sense organs. If human body has no structural or functional affiliation with its human Soul, it will not be likely that man can exercise self-restraint and self-control. In my view, man, the Mental Being can establish himself as a Moral Being using the discerning ability to make the distinction between right and wrong, and distinguish good from evil by knowing the existence of the Knowing-Self or the Soul.
MAN IS A SPIRITUAL BEING :
Adi Shankara is describing that he has no sense of attachment to the consequences of his actions either good(“PUNYA”) or bad(“PAAPA”). He is recommending that man need not perform temple worship, and there is no need to observe religious rituals, sacrifice, and perform acts of pilgrimage. He is rejecting the desire to seek pleasure and comfort(“SAUKHYAM”) and he may not be able to totally avoid the pain, misery, and the experience of suffering(“DUKHAM”). He specifically undermined the role of food and its five functions in support of human existence. The problem is that of the nature of human existence. In my view, man at any given age, in any given condition, under all given circumstances including good health or ill-health depends upon the Power/Energy/Force called MERCY/GRACE/COMPASSION. Man is not in control of his own existence. Man needs a guiding, and controlling force called the Divine Providence. In my opinion, the human Soul operates as the Connection between man and the Divine Providence that supports, sustains, and preserves human existence irrespective of man’s experience of pain or pleasure. Man has no choice other than that of seeking Mercy, Grace, and Compassion that is called “KRUPA” in Sanskrit language.
MAN IS A SOCIAL BEING :
Adi Shankara very boldly asserts that he is without a trace of doubt(“SHANKAA”) and further adds that the Soul that he calls “AHAM” has no Father, or Mother. Indian tradition calls Father(“PITAA”) as the originating principle, and Mother(“MAATAA) as the sustaining principle. In my view, the human Soul comes into existence(“JANMA”) because of the Supreme Will or the Supreme Soul which is the Prime Cause, the Cause of all types of things and all kinds of Existence. The human Soul is conditioned and is not totally independent and hence, the human soul still needs a Divine Mother Principle to maintain its Spiritual Condition and Spiritual Existence.
MAN IS A CONDITIONED SOUL :
In this final or sixth verse, Adi Shankara tries to eliminate the classical dualism that is called the dualism of Universal-Particular. He claims that his human Soul or “AHAM” is universal entity that is limitless, formless(“NIRAAKAARA”) and is without any attributes or attachments(“BANDHAH”). In his view, the human Soul is essentially free; it is everything, everywhere, every time and is always in a state of equilibrium. He has stated this view without a trace of doubt(“NIRVI KALPA”). I would like to suggest some caution and ask my readers to recognize the importance of separation between the human soul and the Ultimate Reality. I can understand that there is no disunity between man and his Creator. I would ask my readers to know the philosophical system of thought called ‘NOMINALISM’ that does not grant universality to mental concepts outside the mind. Universality could be applied only to words or “nomina”, mental habits, or concepts. Nominalism only maintains the objective existence of the concrete, individual thing. It denies all objectivity whether actual or potential to universals. The human soul is attached to the human being and the human being has his existence on planet Earth and hence is not an universal entity. Since the human condition demands existence only on planet Earth and not the rest of the universe, the human Soul cannot escape from its conditioned status while it exists as a human Soul. The Universal Soul as proposed by Adi Shankara is just a mental concept and it can only exist in the mind of the man and it may have no correspondence with the facts of external world and the Universe.
WHAT IS TRUTH, WHAT IS ILLUSION???
Adi Shankara is fully convinced in his belief that ‘A’ and the human body ‘B’ are not connected or related. It must be noted that, ‘A’ or “AHAM” refers to a singular person called ‘I’ and that singular person ‘I’ is in a state called ‘Being’, one who lives, or exists. If ‘A’ is stated to be existing, I would like to ask the following questions:
1. Who is Existing?
2. What is Existing?
3. When it is Existing?
4. Where it is Existing?
5. Why it is Existing?
If the Subject ‘A’, or “AHAM”( I AM ), has no size, no shape, and no form, how could we establish the fact that ‘A’ is existing? Adi Shankara has not categorically stated the place or site where ‘A’ could be existing. If ‘A’ is existing, we may like to know the purpose of this existence. If there is a purpose for the existence of ‘A’, the question would be, What is that purpose? How is the nature of ‘A’ or the nature of ‘C’ is related to its purpose? The Truth and Reality about human Soul, or Spirit can be verified, can be corroborated, and can be validated by knowing the structural, functional, mental, moral, social, and spiritual relationship, partnership, connection, association, or bonding between ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’. Indian tradition suggests that human body has three aspects; “Tri-ani-pada”, or three-in-one; and the three aspects of human body are, 1. Causal, 2. Spiritual, and 3. Material. There is a material connection between ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’, if the human body has a ‘causal, and a ‘spiritual’ dimension. It would be very interesting to note that Adi Shankara has specifically avoided to describe the connection or relationship between the human Soul and human Consciousness. In Sanskrit language, Consciousness is called “CHETANA” and this term is not used in any of the six verses. Indian tradition believes that consciousness is the evidence for the presence of the human Soul and there is a structural and functional relationship between Soul and the Living Entity that is Conscious. We need to explain the concepts of Subject-Object, Appearance-Reality, Perceptual-Categorical, Immanent-Transcendent, Regulative-Constitutive, Conditioned-Unconditioned Dualism in respect of man’s existence and man’s status in Nature. In the context of human existence, the human Soul, or Spirit belongs to the Immanent Realm.
Rudra N . Rebbapragada, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.
Biographical Information :
1. Place of Birth: Mylapore, Madras City, Chenna Patnam, Chennai, Madras State, Tamil Nadu, India. Born Hindu( Brahmin, Niyogi, Smartha), Telugu-Speaking.
2. Date and Place of Marriage: January 29, 1973. Congregational Town Church, Cuddapah, Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Please view this melodious presentation of Adi Shankaracharya’s Nirvana Shatakam or Atma Shatakam at http://www.Youtube.com site:
SPIRITUALISM – NATIONALISM – THE LAND OF INDIA :
ESSENCE AND EXISTENCE IN THE LAND OF INDIA :
Today, on August 15, 2012, people of India also known as ‘BHARAT’ are celebrating the 66th Independence Day in commemoration of 65 Years of Independence. In this context, we have to examine the relationship between Spiritualism and Nationalism. In the ancient Land of India, human beings have lived continuously for thousands of years. But, it was a Land divided into several hundreds of small and large kingdoms until Indian people joined together in a Nationalist Movement to win their Freedom from foreign rule and occupation. Indians won this Freedom on August 15, 1947 when Great Britain ceased its occupation of India.
WHAT IS NATIONALISM ?
Nationalism is the state of mind in which the individual feels that everyone owes his supreme loyalty to the Nation-State. Nationalism is a modern movement and it belongs to the modern world. Before the 18th century, people gave their loyalty to their communities, tribes, feudal lords, princes, or religious groups. The historical sense of attachment to the native soil, to social and cultural traditions, and to established territorial authorities has changed by the end of the 18th century when Nationalism began molding public and private life. Since then, Nationalism has become an important factor of modern history. The American Revolutionary Wars(1775-1783), and the French Revolution(1789) could be regarded as the first manifestations of Nationalism. It led to the formation of modern National States in Europe. The 19th century has been called the Age of Nationalism in Europe. The World War I, and World War II resulted in the spread of Nationalism in Asia and Africa and has manifested itself as a struggle against European Colonialism. Nationalism began to appear in India after World War I. Indian National Congress founded in 1885 began a new political process in the private and public lives of Indian people. It had produced leaders such as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi(1869-1948) who had joined the Nationalist Movement for Indian Independence during 1915. The people of India started replacing the king as the center of the Nation. The State had become the people’s State, a National State, and a Motherland. Nationalism is not a political program or ideology; it is a perspective on such programs or ideology. Nationalism can be described as a sentiment that places the existence and well-being of the Nation highest in the scale of personal loyalties. In political terms, it signifies a person’s willingness to work for the Nation against foreign domination. It reflects a person’s willingness to resist foreign political, economic, and cultural domination. Nationalism implies a group’s consciousness of shared history, language, race, and values. Its significance lies in its role in supplying the ties that make the Nation-State a cohesive, viable entity. The terms such as nation, state, or country describe a political entity in which people are united under a particular political organization and are occupying a defined territory. However, the term ‘Nationalism’ demands more than the existence of boundaries or political institutions. Nationalism includes the feelings or thoughts of patriotism, zealous love of one’s country, advocacy of national unity or independence and it involves the creed that fidelity to one’s State or Nation is more important than fidelity to individual interests. We, the people of India and of Indian origin have to truthfully examine if ‘Nationalism’ has ever existed in the Land of India. We have to truthfully explain as to why the Land of India exists as an easy target for foreign invasion, foreign conquest, foreign occupation, and foreign political, economic, and cultural domination.
THE PROBLEM OF NATIONAL UNITY AND THE ROLE OF CULTURAL NATIONALISM IN INDIA :
There is a fundamental problem with the experience of life in the Land of India. The Nation – State was nonexistent during the greater part of Indian history. People did not give loyalty to the Nation – State but to other, different forms of feudal states. Before 20th century, political allegiance was determined by mostly local and regional factors such as that of a local princely ruler, regional language or regional culture. Indian Cultural Nationalism mainly consists of expression of some national characteristics through nonpolitical activities such as art, literature, music, dance, and other forms of culture such as the performance of Temple Worship and Pilgrimage. A vast multitude of people may come together at a particular place in celebration of an event and return to their native places. India did not exist as a large, unified territorial state with political, and economic centralization. The political, and economic centralization that existed in India was largely a product of foreign rule and foreign occupation of the Land of India. This lack of National Unity and the lack of a National identity and Individuality made India an easy target for foreign, military attacks. Sir Jadunath Sarkar, a former Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University, a historian who had reviewed the records kept by Al- Utbi, the Secretary of Sultan Yaminu -d- Daula Mahmud bin Subuktigin known as Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna. The Secretary in the Persian document called the Tarikh -i- Yamini recorded the details of several episodes of bloody campaigns waged by Sultan Mahmud between 1001 A.D. and 1027 A.D. Persian historian Ferishta(“Tarikh-e- Fereshteh” work by Ferishta about Mahomedan Power in India ) also recorded the military conquests of India by Sultan Mahmud. The Sultan of Ghazna had directed his military attacks on places of spiritual pilgrimage in India. He had attacked the temple towns of Nagarkot, Thanesar(1011), Mathura(1018), Kannauj(1019), Kalinjar(1023), and Somnath(1024-25). He had also attacked the holy places of Varanasi, Ujjain, Maheswar, Jwalamukhi and Dwaraka. These attacks were witnessed by Persian writers such as Al-Biruni(Muhammad bin Ahmad al-Biruni) and Ferdowsi(Abu ol-Qasem Mansur or Firdawsi/Firdusi). All of these historical records and documents reveal the scale of loss of human life. It is estimated that about two million people had died in the Land of India during Sultan Mahmud’s repeated attacks. Asaru -l- Bilad, a Persian geographer had also described some of the foreign conquests of India. K.S. Lal, an Indian historian estimated that about sixty to eighty million people in India may have died between 1000 and 1525 CE due to foreign invasions. It clearly demonstrates that the idea of Cultural Nationalism did not play a significant role in defending Indian people and had failed to preserve human life. Apparently, Cultural Nationalism did not generate the cohesiveness or Unity that is needed to resist and to defeat foreign military campaigns.
CULTURAL NATIONALISM vs SECULAR NATIONALISM – THE CLASH AT KURNOOL MEDICAL COLLEGE, ANDHRA PRADESH :
I submitted an application to Chief Minister Office, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, India on September 02, 2012. The request made by me is registered by the Secretariat Departments of Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Application Number is shown as : SR 12014477 and it reads as follows:
“I was a student at Kurnool Medical College from November 1965 to June 1970. I had represented the State of Andhra Pradesh as a student delegate at the four-week long National Student Seminar on National Integration sponsored by Vishwa Yuvak Kendra, New Delhi during 1967 to promote the need for developing a National Identity and National Individuality for National Unity and National Integration. I had encouraged students to ignore any identity that is derived from region, religion, language, and caste as India needs Secular Nationalism and not Cultural Nationalism. This was opposed by Dr. Sripada Pinakapani, M.D., who then served as the Professor of Medicine and the Superintendent of Kurnool Government General Hospital. Since he had actively opposed the principle of Secular Nationalism, I would request you to reconsider the decision made by the Government of Andhra Pradesh to name a building on Kurnool Medical College/General Hospital Campus to honour him.”
ESSENCE AND EXISTENCE IN THE LAND OF INDIA :
The ideas about human soul or spirit( Atman or Atma in Sanskrit language) find their profound expression in the oral and written literature of India. Indian thoughts about the nature of man and his existence can be traced to the ancient texts of Vedas( the Rig-Veda, the Sama-Veda, the Yajur-Veda, and the Atharva-Veda) which were compiled from c. 1500 B.C. to c. 500 B.C. The Sanskrit texts known as the Upanishads( c. 900 – 500 B.C. ) have systematized Indian philosophy. There are six classical systems of Indian philosophy that accept the authority of the Veda and the Upanishads; 1. NYAYA( 6th century B.C. ) is a school of logic and epistemology, 2. VAISHESHIKA( 3rd century B.C. ) posits a sixfold classification of Reality( Substance, Quality, Activity, Generality, Particularity, and Inherence ), 3. SAMKHYA( 6th century B.C. ) expounds two basic metaphysical principles; Purusha or Soul and Prakriti or Material Nature, 4. YOGA( 2nd century B.C. ) of Patanjali accepts Samkhya metaphysics, presents an eight-stage discipline of self-control and Meditation, 5. PURVA-MIMAMSA( 2nd century B.C. ) sets forth principles of interpretation of the Vedic texts, and 6. UTTARA-MIMAMSA or VEDANTA which includes different schools of thought based on the Brahma-Sutras of Baradayana( early century A.D. ) which summarize the Upanishadic doctrine and explain the teachings of the Upanishads. The most important schools of Vedanta are 1. the non-dualist(ADVAITA) Vedanta of Shankara( A.D. 788-820 ), 2. the qualified non-dualist Vedanta of Ramanuja( A.D. 1017-1137 ), and 3. the dualist Vedanta of Madhava( A.D. 1197-1276 ). Buddhism and Jainism are two important schools of thought that do not accept the authority of Veda and Upanishads. To a great extent, Indian traditions claim that man is an embodied soul. The mind, and body that represent the physical person is an illusion as the human body is thought to be “ASAT”, or unreal, perishable, full of ignorance, and not happy. The real or true man as represented by soul or spirit is unborn. The real person is viewed as an eternal person who is not subject to change called life and death. Indian tradition considers that the Objective Reality of man or Essence of man is soul or spirit. We must note that it is impossible to describe this mental concept called soul or spirit if it is never associated with its human body. The separation of man into body, mind, and soul is not supported by scientific study of man. Man comes into existence from a single, fertilized Egg-Cell. This man cannot be separated into distinct entities like material or physical body, thinking substance called mind, and an immaterial principle called soul. These three aspects of man have no independent existence of their own. There is no Life and there is no human Existence if body, mind, and soul are separated. Who you are describes your Essence and it is defined by What you do to establish the fact of your Existence. In other words, the Essence(Who you are) is preceded by the reality of Existence(What you do). Thus, Existence is the precondition to recognize Essence. Hence, I describe man as a living soul and not as an embodied soul. In my impression, the traditional Indian views about human soul or spirit have failed to recognize the importance of human Existence as a precondition to define the nature of human Essence. Indian people have to give due recognition to the problems of human existence and must realize that Essence has no value if its meaning is not attached to the condition called Existence. In my opinion, Spiritualism demands the existence of a Living Soul or Spirit to understand its characteristic functions that generate Peace, harmony, and Tranquility as a living human experience. If India seeks its existence as a Nation, Indians have to forget the parochial differences to develop National Individualities and the primary focus of allegiance must be the Republic of India and not that of the local language, religion, or culture.
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Danavaipeta Municipal/Corporation High School, Rajahmundry, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, India,
S.S.L.C. Class of March/April, 1961.
Biographical Information :
1. Place of Birth: Mylapore, Madras City, Chennai, Chenna Patnam, Madras State, Tamil Nadu, India. Born Hindu(Brahmin, Niyogi, Smartha), Telugu-Speaking.
2. Date and Place of Marriage: 29 January, 1973. Town Congregational Church, Cuddapah, Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh, India.
- Spiritualism and Identity – the Conflict at Kurnool Medical College (bhavanajagat.com)