H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Class about Markandeay Rishi on Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's anniversary. By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

This part of the Shrimad Bhagavatam could be defined: “The allegory of death”. Whatever Markandeya rishi witnesses in the macrocosm, I believe it is not different from all that each of us will witness at the moment of dissolution, of the microcosm of our body because, as it is explained in the Upanishad, macrocosm and microcosm are one the reflection of the other.
At the time of death, we will be carried away like a floating leaf into space and, in a second, under the influence of a powerful driving force, we will be projected out of the body.
Only through a spiritual realization we will be reminded of our origin, by understanding what is happening and acting in a sensible manner.
Markandeya rishi’s tale is the story of a realized soul who through the passage beyond death meets the Lord. In the ocean of universal devastation, the Lord appears to him as a toddler who floats on a leaf and sucks his big toe in tenderness, whilst the light that emanates from his body entirely disperses darkness.
Markandeya protects Him in his heart with deep devotion.
Today is His Holy Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's anniversary. I remember one of Shrila Prabhupada’s lessons held in this occasion in order to glorify his Master for the great work made to value the Vaishnava image and that one of an authentic Brahmin. During this lesson Shrila Prabhupada narrates the story taken from the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Naradamuni meets the sons of a Brahmin, of a king and of a butcher. Each of them asks him in turn: “Tell me what my future will be like. Is it better for me to live or to die?”. Narada answers to the Brahmin’s son: “Living or dying does not matter to you because you are practising spiritual activities and you will do the same after death”. Narada’s answer to the prince is: “It is better for you to live because you have made so many sins, therefore having ceased the pleasures of this life, you will have to suffer a great deal in your next life”. What is the answer to the butcher’s son? Narada says: “Living or dying is the same for you. You are suffering in this life and likewise you will suffer after death".

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Scientific exploration for the Existence of God. By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

It is time for science and religion to reconcile and complement each other; this is possible only by realizing the difference in fields of application and results of each discipline.
Prof. V.V. Raman defined science as the collective endeavour to understand the universe in a consistent and coherent way, based on reason, rationality and empirical evidence. By exploring the concept of multiverse, prof. Mann indicated thelogy and science as having different approches to address the question of what is reality; theology’s approach is teleology, a goal-oriented search for the scope of the universe, which the theologies of all traditions share; while science’s approach is ecbatology, that is the search for a necssity and/or chance for the universe as it is to emerge. The exploration of biophilic selection effects, that is life-friendly conditions, reveals that the universe seems fine-tuned for life; two possible explanations for this arise: the existence of a super-intelligent Agent, that is God, or the succession of similar attempts which sooner or later will lead to conditions conducive for live, that is a multiverse.
On the other hand the concept of transcendence in Vedic literature, is beyond space and time, as it is not a physical reality and is knowable only beyond the domain of facts and logic, specifically the domain of science. It seems therefore important to remember that scientific knowledge is basically what the human brain can make of the universe; as prof. Raman wrote, scientific objectivity is but collective subjectivity, while the universe is structured on different levels of information, ranging from a first order composed of physical and biological laws, to a superior order producing experience and reflection. The concept of consciousness, as explored by Dr. Sushant Sharma, comes to play a very important role in our understainding of reality. Alternative models of reality, as in Penrose’s quantum gravity model or in Vedanta and Yoga psychology, state that consciousness is not a result of any mechanistic process, rather it is a symptom of the conscious living force that dwells in the body. Even the brain is treated as non-intelligent, rather it is but a computing instrument, a device that the consciousness uses to express itself.
The concepts presented by the speakers in this session, seem to address the question of what is life, and I would like to propose the exploration of such concepts also with the aid of basic views present in Vedic literature, such as the structure of reality on multiple levels (adhibautika, adhidaivika, adhiatmika) and consciousness as a fundamental attribute of the atman, the conscious, immortal living being and as the very foundation of any representation of reality.