Sophistication of the Vedas

The body of knowledge that forms the basis of all Eastern religions is referred to as Vedas. Veda, in Sanskrit language, means “knowledge”. In the revered book of knowledge called the Bhagavad Gita (which is considered to be an essential part of the Vedas), the history of the Vedic knowledge has been traced. It can be understood to be at least 120 million years old or 2 million years old or 5000 years old, depending on when a snapshot is taken. From another perspective, this knowledge is timeless because it is eternally present in the heart of realized souls and this knowledge has been always flowing from the heart of a realized soul (a teacher or a spiritual master) to a sincere seeker (a student or a disciple) since time immemorial. The chain of teachers who maintain the integrity of this transcendental secret of spiritual science is called a disciplic succession. The knowledge preserved by the disciplic succession is considered to be perfect because of two reasons:

(1) The knowledge of the disciplic succession originates in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is, by definition, perfect, and

(2) the members of the disciplic succession do not have any vested motive to tamper the message for their own profit but they are simply interested in disseminating the knowledge (that they have received from their teacher(s)) with utmost care and caution (as it is).

Consequently, it is natural to expect that the Vedic knowledge would have a strong correlation with the modern empirical findings. In this article, I wish to share two instances where the timeless Vedas have documented numbers which are strikingly similar to the data obtained by modern research. They answer two important questions: (1) How many species are dwelling in this planet? (2) What is the age of this earth planet?

According to the Vedas (Padma Purana), there are exactly 8.4 million species on the earthly realm. The Sanskrit quote is as follows:

jalaja nava lakshani, sthavara laksha-vimshati, krimayo rudra-sankhyakah, pakshinam dasha-lakshanam, trinshal-lakshani pashavah, chatur lakshani manavah

The rundown as per the above verse is as follows:

Jalaja (Aquatics) - 0.9 million
Sthavara (Plants and Trees) - 2.0 million
Krimayo (Reptiles) - 1.1 million
Pakshinam (Birds) - 1.0 million
Pashavah (Land animals) - 3.0 million
Manavah (Human-like animals) - 0.4 million

Total = 8.4 million

A Science Daily article dated Aug 23, 2011 writes,

Eight million, seven hundred thousand species (give or take 1.3 million). That is a new, estimated total number of species on Earth — the most precise calculation ever offered — with 6.5 million species found on land and 2.2 million (about 25 percent of the total) dwelling in the ocean depths.

Although the criteria for classification used are quite different, it is astounding to see that the numbers are remarkably close.

According to the Vedas, time is cyclical and the material universes (including the earth planet) go through a timeless cycle of creation and annihilation. Skipping the detailed calculation, the age of the earth (or the elapsed time between a particular creation and destruction) can be established to be about 2 billion years, based on the Bhagavad Gita (BG 8.17-18) and other books of Vedic knowledge.

Time between creation and destruction of the Universe
= 1000 times the time duration of a cycle of 4 epochs
  (golden age, silver age, bronze age and iron age)

Golden age (Satya Yuga) lasts for 1.728 million years
Silver age (Treta Yuga) lasts for 1.296 million years
Bronze age (Dvapara Yuga) lasts for 864000 years
Iron age (Kali Yuga) lasts for 432000 years

Total time in a cycle of 4 epochs = 4.32 million years

Therefore, total time between creation and destruction of the Universe
= 1000 x 4.32 million years = 4.32 billion years

Currently, we are 5000 years into Kali Yuga of 454th cycle of epochs.
Therefore, total time elapsed since last creation
= 453 x 4.32 + 3.89 million years = 1.96 billion years

Now, let us study an article in wikipedia, which corroborates information from various references and asserts that the age of the earth is 4.5 billion years. Given that there are many assumptions in the radiometric dating, this number is quite close to the number already enjoined in the Vedas.

Of course, these are just a handful of examples where the scientists have established the validity of the Vedic information through their strenuous research. There are many other facts in relation to the cosmological models of the universe, which point to the sophistication of the Vedas.

Thus, it behooves us to take a serious look into the contents of the Vedas with an inquisitive spirit and make an effort to understand and take advantage of the timeless knowledge therein.


Going beyond tolerance

In BG 2.14, Krishna gives a nice formula for tolerance: The periodic appearance and disappearance of happiness and distress are like appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. Therefore, one should learn to tolerate them.

Tolerating an event becomes much easier when we know the event is temporary.This is based on an intellectual conviction of this basic principle.

However, Krishna furthermore recommends that a serious practitioner of a spiritual path should aspire to go beyond the “gritting the teeth” sort of tolerance. At this stage, the practitioner sees every situation as an opportunity to receive grace of God. This is only possible if one accepts the situation with a sense of responsibility, understanding that others are simply acting as instruments of one’s own karma, and one maintains the commitment (and strengthens his will-power) to enthusiastically follow the prescribed regimens of the spiritual path.

Such a committed person embraces an adverse circumstance with (1) Yes (“I accept the situation”), (2) Thank you (“for this opportunity to grow”), and (3) Please (“help me”) – calling out for a power beyond one’s own to receive the necessary realization to bolster one’s relationship with God in this circumstance.


King with four wives

Once upon a time there was a rich King who had four wives. He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to the finest delicacies. He gave her nothing but the best.

He also loved his 3rd wife very much and was always showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he feared that one day she would leave him for another.

He also loved his 2nd wife. She was his confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with him. Whenever the King faced a problem he could confide in her and she would help him get through the difficult times.

The King’s 1st wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the 1st wife. Although she loved him deeply he hardly ever noticed her.

One day the King fell ill and he knew his time was short. He thought of his luxurious life and wondered, “I now have 4 wives with me, but when I die, I’ll be all alone.”

Thus, he asked the 4th wife, “I have loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I am dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”

“No way!” replied the 4th wife and she walked away without another word. Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart.

The sad King then asked his 3rd wife, “I have loved you all my life now that I’m dying will you follow me and keep me company?”

“No!” she replied “Life is too good! When you die, I am going to remarry!” His heart sank and turned cold.

He then asked the 2nd wife, “I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me. When I die will you follow me and keep me company?” “I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!” replied the 2nd wife. “At the very most, I can send you to your grave.” Her answer came like a bolt of lightning, and the King was devastated.

Then a voice called out: “I’ll leave with you and follow you no matter where you go.”

The King looked up, and there was his first wife. She was so skinny as she suffered from malnutrition and neglect. Greatly grieved, the King said “I should have taken better care of you when I had the chance!”

In truth, we all have four wives in our lives:

Our 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort was lavish in making it look good, it will leave us when we die.

Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, it will all go to others.

Our 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they been there for us, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.

And our 1st wife is our souloften neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world. However our identity as a spirit soul is going to be maintained wherever we go, whatever bodies we acquire and whatever destination we achieve. So, we should cultivate, strengthen and cherish this existential reality now.

Woodcutter and an axe

Once upon a time a very strong woodcutter asked for a job from a timber merchant, and he got it. The pay was really good and so were the work conditions. For that reason, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.

His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he was supposed to work. The first day, the woodcutter brought eighteen trees.

“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on in this way!”

Very motivated by the boss´ words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could only bring fifteen trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he only could bring ten trees. Day after day he
was bringing lesser and lesser trees.

“I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked. “Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees”, said the woodcutter.

Moral of the story:

Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don´t take time to sharpen the axe. In today´s world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy than ever. Why is that?

Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay sharp?

There’s nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But God doesn’t want us to get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like taking time to pray and to read. We all need time to relax,
to think and chant, to learn and grow.

If we don’t take time to sharpen the axe, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness. So start TODAY, The only way by which you can do your job more effectively and add a lot of value to it is by proper PRACTICE and CULTIVATION.