Friday, January 30, 2009

Astronaut Theology: India, Rising

The Indian Government presented the
Hadron Supercollider project at CERN with this state of Lord Shiva

India may well turn out to be the major technological superpower of the coming century. Their schools are turning out engineers at a rate that dwarfs US and Europe combined. They've launched their own space program and recently landed a probe on the Moon. And if this recent editorial in The Economic Times newspaper is any indication, their religious and cultural traditions may be more receptive to the idea of extraterrestrial life than those in the West.

They're certainly better off technologically, as America's brightest minds are more interested in trying to create money out of thin air for hedge funds and pyramid schemes. There's an impolitic, almost gloating tone to this piece, as if the writer feels that polytheistic Indians are much better equipped to deal with a disclosure scenario than those who hold monotheistic beliefs. From a piece entitled "Will Religion End on Mars?":
"...some people are already writing off most major religions which are based essentially on an Earth-centric model, as never being able to recover from such a crippling body blow. (The Bible makes no mention of other planets or life on other planets.)

But life, unfortunately, is not so simple. Firstly, although evolution is easily the most elegant, encompassing and predictive theory providing a unifying explanation for the diversity of life on Earth, it may not be the last word on the subject nor even the central principle of extraterrestrial biology.

The crunch that scriptural faiths will face, on the other hand, can loosely be termed decentralisation where the uniqueness of humanity along with Earth’s biosphere will no longer occupy centre stage as almost all belief systems have tried to sell us.

These religions would, therefore, have no choice but to modify their dogma to bring extra-terrestrial life into their creation beliefs.
Interesting. Do the Indians know something that we don't?

UPDATE: Here's an interesting sidebar to this discussion:
Attempts to contact aliens date back 150 years
The desire to contact intelligent life on other planets is much older than the UFO craze and the SETI movement. Several 19th century scientists contemplated how we might communicate with possible Martians and Venusians.

These early proposals - which predate by 150 years the first extraterrestrial message that was sent in 1974 - were based on visual signals, as the invention of radio was still decades away.


  1. Ahhh Shiva, where have you been? Today as I sat in my world religion class listening to a lecture on Shiva I dialed up my inner Secret Sun telephone and sent out the text via thought wave,"Chris, Where's Shiva in all of this?" I get home and you've beat me to it, already written the article. Damn you, but thank you. It's nice to know you pick up on the unspoken word. You'd probably written this days ago but I like that I was thinking about it earlier and I can come home and read it.

    Shaivites(?) is what my teacher called those who worship Shiva. They paint a blue line down their chin and get covered in the ashes of burnt human. Shiva being the destroyer and all. I think he said Shiva drank the water or ambrosia to save everyone and thus the blue strip, like a water line is worn by those who worship Shiva.

    My prof said, in his opinion, that Buddhism is a Henotheistic religion. Everything is Brahman, everything. My question to him or any other practicing Hindu is this. If all is Brahma, why name everything or why have like 300 gazillion gods? Or why the need for accreditation on that level? Because once set it up where all is Brahma and then start deifying everything, well, you can paint yourself in a corner I would imagine. Maybe, a good Buddhist, preferably an older reincarnated soul and not a newbie can enlighten me. But he said he really did not think Hinduism to be polytheistic or even pantheistic. And that is because of Brahma or Brahman.

    On another note I think a good deal of people really believe in the Samsara here on Earth. Or this recycling and rebirth cycle. Also, in Hinduism the concept that all is illusion leads one to see matter, and or us, in an almost fatalistic way. That is my opinion though, someone who is on the outside looking in. I tend to agree somewhat on this point though. I think if everything is an illusion and I stay with that. I may never grow or spread outward or inward for that matter. Although, I can see that all is, was and will be, in some regards, is illusion. But I do not believe that that really develops anything outward or inward. I am supposed to read Klostermeyers,"Survey of Hinduism," but it is like 900 pages. Also, there is a growing secularization amongst Hindu's. I've been in math classes with many kids who the religion rubbed off on but it never stuck. These are the kids pushing for space in my opinion. But I think you do raise a point Chris. Sometimes the anchor of faith needs to be pulled in and the ships got to sail. But I also think the US is going to make a push for space. And in doing so will make up ground quick. Once again feel free to enlighten me on Hinduism.

  2. ....also the thing with astrobiology is that it only has Earth right now for a reference. And that in some ways is the same as Christianity. So everything in the expanding consciousness or expanding universe goes through a decentralization to some regard.And in that process, there is no need to ravenously yell, or demean anything that once was as far as beliefs go. It may grow, the mystery may even deepen. And while the articles author referenced the fact that earth is no model for what one may find out there,the lowly Astrobiologist still has to walk a fine line on the fringe anyhow. And the fringe is no place you want to spend your career if you want a job. Because scientists do regulate their own. Exploration, be it space, computing, language, medicine is a field filled with many different faiths and beliefs. To me this sourced article is somewhat jaded in it's approach to all faiths by subjecting one to the flames. I may not agree with everymans religion, but I do feel that faith, spirituality and religion are really central to the human mind and condition. And we are Earthlings who have believed in a God or many. So there will be no casting off into the unknown of Space with an intent on destroying freedom of religion. Otherwise we might as well stay on earth. Sorry Chris, I did not like the tone of the sourced article. It's just that Science can be a religion too, and when its goal is be a god, it is then also a religion. To me that was the tone here of the sourced article. If you SECRET SUN guys want a great book, GREAT BOOK, on this subject read THE LIVING COSMOS by University of Arizona's head honcho Chris Impey. He's had two dozen projects approved on Hubble Telescope and has published 160 plus articles while heading up one of the largest Astronomy departments in America. Thx

  3. I think the writer is coming not from a scientific view, but a Hindu Fundamentalist point of view, in all likelihood. India has been a target since the Cold War for all of the Islamic and Christian fundamentalists. Unlike people in this country, the Indians know full well that the various fundamentalist movements (and their missionary agencies) were either financed or manufactured by Western intelligence agencies as a means to weaponize religion as a parapolitical tool. Given the legacy of colonialism in addition to the irritating presence of these groups (as well as homegrown terrorism from Islamic extremist groups), there has been a Hindu fundamentalist movement to counter them.

    My knowledge of Hinduism itself is almost nil, so I can't really speak to the cosmological issues you bring up. I find it interesting, but there are so many hours in the day. I feel like my understanding of my own traditions is still so meagre, even after years of study.

    I really appreciate your input, though and I'm sure other readers will as well. I just wish people would create regular user names so I can know who I am addressing! Argggh!

  4. The Indians are trying to get a message across... They are syncing the symbol of Shiva the destroyer with the LHC to show the world what it really is. So yes, I'm going to have to assume they know what's up.

  5. Ah, yes, India. No doubt a longtime rich seat of knowledge. If it is at all possible to understand this mysterious existence of ours, it would seem one's search would find its way through the East (towards the rising sun?)

    Alas, your right, only so much time to read and study; no wonder the true seeker is to dedicate his (or her) lifetime to this journey.

    I love posts like this one. Thanks for the boost.

  6. There's not much too hope for if all they get out of it is a better sub-macnine gun and there own archaic rocketry. They don't have a market for Architecture jobs yet, that's a sign of a developed locale.

    I liked Michael Cremos research about Hinduism, 7 billion years old he says. I'm totally into the idea of an illusary reality also after studying Catastrophe Theory and the Quantum. I don't presume LHC to be a destroyer, but I'm seeing the Shiva as a reference to Dark Matter, the other 96% of reality.

  7. Dark matter doesn't exist in an electric universe.

    Sorry to hijack, but EU theory makes me see virtually everything we think we know in a new light.

    I remain unconvinced that the renewed race to space is anything other than a distraction, or a prelude to something else.

    EU appears to be for real and its implications make most other issues look like farts in a hurricane.

  8. "I am become death, destroyer of worlds." -Hindu text quoted by Robert Oppenheimer upon witnessing an atomic explosion. Now you have the mythological entity who uttered that phrase idolatized outside of a giant experimental explosion machine. No need to worry here, right?

  9. The vast literature, the magnificent, opulence, the majestic sciences, the great realized should, the soul touching music, the awe inspiring gods. It is already becoming clearer that a chapter which has a western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in the self destruction of the human race. At this supremely dangerous moment in history the only way of salvation for mankind is the Indian way

    -Dr. Arnold Toynbee

  10. @Anonymous 1:22-
    Buddhism rises from Hindu tradition but makes significant departures. They are not the same religion.

    They share a belief in the systems of Maya (perception is illusory and reality is collaborative illusion), Karma, and Dharma (each soul incarnates with a mission or duty to perform).

    The fundamental difference between the Hindu practitioner and the Buddhist practitioner, is the belief that the Buddhist's soul can reach enlightenment in the present lifetime whereas the Hindu needs to die for his soul to reach Nirvana.

    The Hindu caste system (which is being abandoned today) dictated that people were born into classes, with lower classes serving upper classes. Buddhists reject this as corrupt and exploitative.

    Buddhists don't think of the Hindu gods as 'gods' necessarily but as 'other mysterious and powerful beings.' Since this blog examines symbolism used in politics, I'll also note that this may be why Prez. Obama didn't specify Buddhists in his Inauguration speech; Buddhism actually falls into the category of 'non-believer'.

    Buddhas themselves (there are many) are enlightened souls. They are not gods, but can be appealed to for help. I'm told they do help when called upon.

    Buddhists also claim to know about named and unnamed Bodhisatvas, souls on the brink of enlightenment and on the verge of becoming Buddhas themselves, who reincarnate into the world to help other souls ascend. Think "Doctor Who" and you've got a good example in Western pop culture.

    When bodhisatvas walked the earth (they still do, sez the Buddhists, but I'm talking 800 AD here) they possessed superhuman powers and could do all the amazing crap that Chinese actors use strings and CGI for in present-day martial arts movies.

    Several Hindu and Buddhist lineages claim to pass on the secrets of how humans can attain these supernatural powers. (It takes years of miserable physical effort, mental strain, and psychedelic drugs if you're wondering.)

    The Dalai Lama (head of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition) describes Buddhism as a pragmatic religion, respectful not just of the truths revealed by science but the truths found in other religious traditions as well.

    I would agree that Hindus and Buddhists are more prepared than Westerners (with the exception of Brits?) for 'Disclosure' or 'Contact' from a philosophical standpoint because it's actually part of their history. They have a holy document called the Bhagavad-Gita that describes an intergalactic battle in our skies which culminated in a nuclear explosion over an Indian city some thousands of years ago.

    I hope this helps. Cue that other Anonymous to accuse me of being a gov't disinfo plant! If only I had the salary of one.

    At least I sign my name to my comments.

  11. What about traditional African religions, Chris? Seems there might be some extraterrestrial knowledge there.

  12. the thing with illusions and this multiverse theory is that they both lead back to a larger picture of the whole. Do circumstances change behavior? I think so. But I do think that by knowing that, even in the 2D realm, it does not make the illusion anymore real or the real more cheapend by the illusion. Just as a multiverse may be just a greater understanding of the known or universe.This is the realm of reflection and it is the doorway to synchronicity.

    Also Shiva, the picture at CERN is much like the Crucifixion Cross symbology used by Christians. Shiva may be used somewhat as a destroyer but it is also linked to rebirth. Just as the Crucifix symbolizes the conquering of the grave.

    We should talk about Kali....

  13. In Hinduism, Brahman is ultimate reality, the supreme spirit. Atman is the spark of Brahman in each unique spirit or soul. For purposes of universal maintenance, Brahman is made manifest in three (deified) forms:

    Lord Brahma, the creator
    Lord Vishnu the preserver
    Lord Shiva the destroyer

    Lord Shiva and his counterpart, the goddess Kali grant liberation by removing the illusion of the ego. Kali, goddess of time and change, brings the death of the ego as the illusory self-centered view of reality.

    ...Boom, Shiva!

  14. Innies and outies? Those are belly buttons!

    I think you meant "top", "bottom" or "versatile" (goes both ways).

    Unless you're talking about sex magick. Then it's dominant and submissive.

  15. I think I left you a post at the wrong article. Sorry.

  16. The Hindis have a trinity much like Xtians. I think India had a previous space age, the vedas are extremly old, and report of vinayanamas(spacecraft). Our space station puts America well positioned to explore space. I watch the ISS all the time on NASA TV. An extreme amount of science is being done every day up there. Lot's of recources are going into that space station and the Ares program to colonize the moon with mining companies to extract Helium 3 from the lunar soil. One space shuttle of heluim 3 would power the worlds energy for one year.(Fusion). I find Leary's SMILE concept alive. Dennis from Oregon.

  17. Tommy, that's the 17 mile long LHC buried 330 feet under ground!

    Davidly- interesting that India's rise to superpower comes at a time like this, no?

    Ratteie- I don't know if I buy into Cremo's theories, but a lot of juicy questions raised in his research.

    Anony- I'm not really familiar with the EU theorizing but thanks for the heads up.

    Magnie- We're seeing the dismantling of a world system that was put into place when Oppenheimer spoke those words.

    Anony II- Very interesting, Toynbee again..

    Lynee- TImothy Leary believed Buddhism was more a system of self-directed mind control than a religion

    Cadevo- Well, certain the Dogon, right?

    Anonie III- Death and rebirth certainly go with the 17 and 33, no?

    Senseie- Brahma- Abram, Atum-Adam...

    Dennie- I wonder if all of the unemployed will be steered into the New Deal in Space...

  18. Right, and it has the potential to destroy the planet. I don't understand anything about Hinduism, maybe I'm missing something? Is Shiva a "good guy"? I always had the impression destroying things was bad, although destroying one's own ego or belief system can be a good thing.

    Interesting numbers there...

  19. Shiva, destroyer of illusions - Maya is the illusory reality we are into - holds a flame that destroys worlds and a drum that creates anew... A drum, because at the beginning was the sound.

    Someone asked why so much God into Hindu pantheon, simple: every God is a particular manifestation of the divine, so we have Vishnu the creator and Shiva the Destroyer. Different local tradition give different names to same Gods, looking at particular lores. Same as we call Jesus Christ the Water-walker or the Loaves-and-Fishes-Augmenter.