I’ve missed a couple of days because I was too busy with hospitals. There’s something wrong with my body and so far I don’t know the reason why. They have taken some tests and ruled plenty of reasons out but we still have to wait for results to, perhaps, know something definitely.
About a month or two ago I got this idea in my mind that I might just die, like right now. The planet governing this period of my life also happens to be what is called “maraka” in astrology so the potential is there, even though no astrologer ever took it seriously so far.
My first reaction to this thought was welcome as I remembered cases like that of Gopiparāṇadhana Prabhu who was called back to Kṛṣṇa out of the blue without any visible reasons for his sudden departure. The reaction of my mind was different and it became preoccupied with inconveniences my death would cause to others and I remember spending the rest of my japa devising a proper way to leave my final instructions, like a self-mailing e-mail that goes off if I don’t stop it in time.
Shortly after that I started noticing deterioration in some aspects of my health that eventually forced me to go to the hospital for a check up. All the test parameters were perfect, save for one that I knew from the start was off. First, I had a concerned nurse to come up to me while I was waiting for the results to ask me if that one metric was in this range ever before. It wasn’t. Then I was sent to two specialists, the first one immediately put me in wheel chair. Then he ruled his area out and sent me to another doctor who ordered me a blood transfusion, which I refused. For one thing I don’t want any of these meat-eating bastards blood in my body, and it’s not a cure anyway, just a temporary treatment which I don’t really need.
I spent whole day in the hospital and could barely finish my rounds, forget the blog. Next day, yesterday, I went there again for a biopsy and for insurance purposes they had to keep me there whole day to qualify for a claim. That was supposed to be Nirjāla ekādaśī but I was not in the position to refuse food and water there. Nurses also came every five minutes to check on this and that and I had to time chanting my rounds in between their visits. I couldn’t do twenty five but I will make up for it either today or whenever I get a chance.
It might all look silly once this health scare is over but there’s a chance that my body won’t last more than a few months. I was about to buy a new, “ergonomic” chair but at this point it really looks like a waste of money, no one is going to use when I’m gone. Being in a hospital and in constant contact with these “health care providers” robbed me of any chance of introspection so I don’t know what I really think yet. I need to chant my rounds in peace and quiet first, maybe I will need that chair after all.
Anyway, back to the “Mystic Universe: An Introduction to Vedic Cosmology”. Last time I said that scientific view of the universe is one-dimensional because it ignores types and methods by which physical objects are produced. Actual universe is a semantic tree branching here and there and attempts by the scientists to construct a model of it is like drawing imaginary lines between leaves. These lines do not exist but we can imagine that if they were there then the distance between the Earth and the Moon would be 384,000 km. In Vedic cosmology it’s a meaningless number because light does not travel in space at a constant speed but its path is negotiated by the nodes on the tree and its speed depends on semantic differences between the nodes – child to parent up a tree until it reaches the fork and then parent-child until it reaches our measuring instruments. There will be more on this later.
It’s a part of the book dedicated to exposing mistakes in scientific approach but there’s chapter stuck in between on the purpose of the book itself. I’ve already discussed this in the first post in this series – it wants to demonstrate how Vedic cosmology explains appearance of scientific models and not vice versa, which would make Vedic cosmology inherently superior. Another interesting point in that chapter is criticism of English translations of Vedic works – they have never been done by people who understood what they were talking about. It’s like translating a book on quantum mechanics by a person with no scientific background whatsoever. It will no doubt look like gibberish. Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books were the first to present devotional parts of the Vedic literature by a person who knows what devotion is, and this “Mystic Universe” is an attempt to do the same but for cosmology part of Vedas.
Then we get treated to an explanation of what numbers and counting mean in science, I’m not going to repeat it here but the conclusion is that ideas of numbers and counting must come before things we count. In short it’s like this – you can’t count five cats unless you know what “cat” and “five” are. You have to learn to count first, obviously, and you have to make sure that your set of cats doesn’t have a horse between them. This means that you can’t look at things and describe them as “five cats” unless you have prior ideas about what you see. Science, OTOH, insists that things must come first and ideas would arise from their observation. This can lead to a long and fruitless argument but the crux of it is this – in order to make sense of the world we need consciousness and abstract ideas first. Ideas precede perception of things.
Dalela talks about problem of recursion here – “to know something you must know it before hand”, meaning to recognize five cats you need to know what “five cats” are. His argument why it would be impossible from POV of science where ideas rise from chemical interactions in the brain is too complex for me and I don’t think I could answer all objections to it successfully. At this point I’ll just let it stand because it sounds right. Just ponder this quote: “It follows that if our minds were byproducts of the chemistry in the brain, then we could not know anything because whatever material state in the brain represents the ideas in itself requires some ideas which cannot be known unless those ideas were preexisting.” If it’s clear as day to you then you are lucky.
There will be another long series of chapters on problems with modern Cosmology itself but for now Dalela will be discussing implications of this “ideas must come first” principle for the modern science. More on it later.