Tag Archives: cosmology

Time: past, present, and future

This is part of a post that I have been asked to write for the homophilosophicus blog. I have decided that rather than write the whole article at once and post it on both blogs, I will write it in stages here. One reason for this is that I find it easier to write smaller direct posts, and I imagine that many readers will also find this easier to read. The second reason is that I can add details here that would probably be too much for a general audience. Thirdly, I can get feedback as I write. This topic fell naturally into different sections, giving me the idea. The sections in this coloured text are  extras for this blog only!

Shiva the creator

Hinduism teaches that  the past is infinite, as is the future. Though there was a creation of the universe and there will be an ultimate destruction, these mark one of many cycles. Many Hindus also believe that there are other parallel physical universes, though Hindu texts are largely agnostic on this. The duration of each cycle is measured in billions of years. The late Carl Sagan, an agnostic astronomer and astrophysicist commented:

But the main reason that we oriented this episode of COSMOS towards India is because of that wonderful aspect of Hindu cosmology which first of all gives a time-scale for the Earth and the universe — a time-scale which is consonant with that of modern scientific cosmology. We know that the Earth is about 4.6 billion years old, and the cosmos, or at least its present incarnation, is something like 10 or 20 billion years old. The Hindu tradition has a day and night of Brahma in this range, somewhere in the region of 8.4 billion years.

As far as I know. It is the only ancient religious tradition on the Earth which talks about the right time-scale. We want to get across the concept of the right time-scale, and to show that it is not unnatural. In the West, people have the sense that what is natural is for the universe to be a few thousand years old, and that billions is indwelling, and no one can understand it. The Hindu concept is very clear. Here is a great world culture which has always talked about billions of years. Continue reading

Review of "Hindu Spirituality in a Nutshell"

I was recently asked to review the booklet “Hindu Spirituality in a Nutshell”. available from http://www.hinduspirituality.com/. This is available as a downloadable e-booklet at a cost of £0.73, or as a paperback at £4.03. Being just over 30 pages long it is easily readable on the computer, so I would recommend the electronic version rather than the rather expensive paperback.

This book sets it self one goal, to teach the basic ideas of Hindu spirituality. It describes the basic ideas of reincarnation, God, Karma and the nature of the spiritual and physical world. It does not seek to teach any practical spiritual practices such as yoga, meditation, or devotional worship. I have to say that it achieves simple goals it sets for itself very well. There are some things that I would have probably included that were missing, for example it described the physical and spiritual world but did not distinguish the subtle plane. Continue reading