Prof. Joseph Elamanamadom
Prof. Joseph Elamanamadom
Sree Narayana Gurudev
The Maharshi Who Made
Advaita A Science,424pp
By Prof. G.K. Sasidharan
Many Worlds Publication,Kollam
“Ignotum per ignotius”
“Defining the unknown by the still more unknown” is a major fallacy in logic, often a dilemma encountered by book critics but not by reviewers who appreciate a profound work of art.
The Maharshi Who Made Advaita A Science is such a golden nugget of wisdom encrusted in the metaphysical language of Vedic Sanskrit and the scientific terminology of Quantum physics. The author, prof. Sasidharan, however, has reduced the fusion of the two—one arcane, the other abstruse — into a delightful discourse in simple English, almost in declaratory short sentences.
In the fusion process, the author cleverly weaves interesting anecdotes, poems, sacred hymns and literary works from the life and career of Gurudev, one of the great social reformers of India and certainly the greatest social reformer of Kerala. Gurudev’s biographical details lighten the reading and enrich the bulk of the scientific theories expounded in this classic volume.
The author skillfully connects Advaita and Quantum Mechanics as two parallel yet distinct approaches to understand the process of cosmic creation, the concepts of Man, God, consciousness and everything in the multiverse or Brahamandta.
The book’s relevance and timeliness are heavily slanted toward an ultra modern scientific tome.
Advaita is one of the two principal Hindu Vedic schools, asserting the existence of Brahama alone, whose appearance ( manifestation) as the world as an illusion or Maya resulting from ignorance.
Quantum Physics, also known as Quantum Mechanics or Quantum Theory (the wave mechanical model, or matrix mechanics) describes nature (the universe with all its phenomena) at the smallest scales of energy levels of atoms and subatomic particles.
According to this theory light waves act like particles and particles act like waves. Matter can go from one spot to another without moving through the intervening space. Identified as quantum tunneling this process establishes that information moves instantly across vast distances in space.
It is under the wave theory that the author interprets the miraculous, simultaneous appearances of Gurudev at different locations. Most of the enlightened Maharishies in history are noted for this phenomenon of quantum tunneling.
Although the book is dedicated to the life and works of Sree Narayana Guru, the primary significance of this book is in its arguments and illustrations explaining the cosmology of the multiverse theories and the concepts of void, time ,space God, man, enlightend Consciousness, transformations ,metamorphoses, immortality and the like sublime subjects.
While explaining the cosmology as the structure and evolution of the multiverse, the author effortlessly correlates the study of the origin of the universe known as cosmogony in metaphysics via Narayana Gurudev’s philosophical writings.
The chapter entitled SAMMANUWAYAM ( CORRELATION) explicates Gurudev’s literary works written a century ago. “ It… correlates the teachings of Advaita with theories and conclusions of modern physics, and cosmology. “
Chapter II is a profound symposium on the physics of the universe, its origin, structure and evolution into a multiverse according to modern physics. In fact, Quantum Physics arrive at the same theory of Brahamandta Kataha (collection of universes) concept of Rg-Veda. The Brahmantda concept portrays a picture of billions and billions of universes co-existing. The time factor involved in the origin, evolution, and destruction of the universe is measured on the Puranic scale of time in different universes.
Based on the puranic scale, on every day of Brahama that is every 8.6 billion years the universe including Brahama originates, expands and collapses. The life span of Brahama is 10,000 billion years. Modern Physics asserts our universe at present is 13.5 billion years old. “The most important among the Vedic concepts is that the universe came into existence from a void state and inflated to the present state and it will collapse and vanish.” This process repeats periodically. The Vedic belief is that the universe has an origin, an end and a re-carnation.
The history of the models of the universe in this chapter is a summary of the models in ancient India and in the ancient Western cosmology, astronomy and astrophysics.
Enumerating the distinguished names in the pantheon of ancient Indian scientists and mathematicians in the above sciences, Prof.Sasidharan establishes the fact that they were aware of the universe in general and the solar-centered universe in particular. Aryabhatta (AD476-526) through Varaha Mitra, Bhaskaracharya-I , Brahamagupta, Vateswara, Manjulacharya, Aryabhatta II, Sreepati, Santananta, to Bhaskara II ( Ad1114) are listed, to name a few notables.
Among the ancient Western scientists and philosophers listed include Pythagoras (550-500 BC) Anexagoras (–500 BC) and Athenian philosopher Epicurus —who all expounded an infinite universe based on the concept of atom. Aristotle’s (384—322 BC) model of solar-centered universe with stationery earth prevailed about two millenia in the West until Copernicus revived Aristarchus ‘ theory of self- rotating planet Earth orbiting the Sun.
Within the dense space of 53 pages of this chapter, the author packs the history of modern cosmology, beginning with Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity in 1917 through George Gamow and Edwin Hubble, Alan Guth to Stephen Hawking and their mindboggling theories in the realm of quantum mechanics.
In this segment of the book, the erudite author skillfully juxtapose all the bombshell theories from the Big Bang, Oscillation, black holes, cosmic singularity, dark matter, God particle, planck time , to the Vedic concepts of the multiverse and establishes that the creation is not an accident.
In Chapter III titled Unmanifested To Science, under the sub-title Is It a game of God the author discusses the monistic concept of Advaita : Brahaman ,the creator, Man-the observer and all the multi universe are one and the same—all manifestations of Brahama. Here the author quotes Western scientists asserting the purpose of creation as well as refuting the atheistic theory of creation: its’ an accident.
Quoting Australian physicist Paul Davis who theorized that behind all the arrangements of cosmology “…it appears that there was a very careful designing as if the creation was not accidental.” This theory challenges the atheists who claim that everything in the universe resulted from many cosmic accidents.
The anthropic (human) principle takes the entire human beings as the center of the universe. Adavita corroborates to this concept in the sense that the universe is the illusory creation of the heightened consciousness of Atman and Brahaman in unison. Therefore, the uiverse is man-centered. Anthropic principle rejects Darwins’ argument that Creation (Emergence) of man was only an accident.
Advaita’s Monism emphasizes that Brahaman, the universe including man is one and the same compact, in that all the physical phenomena are the manifestation of Brahaman. Accordingly, the man who seeks Mukhti or Moksha is one and the same: Brahaman.
“Aham Brahamma Asmi”, meaning “Everything is Me,” is a cogent aphorism that categorically asserts that God, man as well as the Brahamanda are one and the same. To the Western mind the illusion theory is too much to digest.
The realm of consciousness is the gist of Advaita—the observer becoming partner in the cosmic phenomenon of creation. This approach justifies the Vedic philosophy and the Maya Doctrine which Gurudev followed.
Thoughts for a revised edition of this book are tumultuous and challenging. But I don’t wish to spell it out prior to a consultation with the author, Dr. Sasidharan.
Among the few suggestions the most important one is that in Kerala , beginning with secondary education thru the university curriculum there must be an emphasis on the revival of Vedic literature focusing on its puranic scientific theories.
Discarding the European historians’ mis-characterization of Sanskrit as a “dead language”, the University of Kerala as well as the Government of Kerala must launch an all- out effort to revive and teach Sanskrit as a living language from elementary thru college and post graduate level for the following reasons :
• Unlike classical Greek and Latin, Sanskrit is not dead because its purity of pronounciation and cadence are preserved through millenia by the Hindu priests via the vedic hymns and chants
• Malayalam is suffused with Sanskrit roots and there are a plethora of Sanskrit scholars and distinguished yogies in Kerala to teach it
• Although the Grammar and prosody of Sanskrit are complicated, we the Keralites learned Hindi when it was imposed under the pretext of a national language on a polyglot nation of billion plus
• Integration of Advaita with modern science from elementary through high school and college curricula is desirable to develop a meaningful attitude to Vedic literature and wisdom.
• A revised edition of this classic is a must for college level courses and a Malayalam version of this scientific but philosophic seminal volume is timely for higher secondary courses
* The author is a journalist and a retired professor of journalism under his shortened name Joe Elam at the University of the District of Columbia ,Washington D.C. He is a former President of Kerala Association of Greater Washington.( KAGW) .