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Re: Discussion on what constitutes knowledge and the relevance of Darwin's Theory.

From: Venkat Nagarajan (nagarajv_at_pathcom.com)
Date: Mon May 24 1999 - 15:49:05 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,

(In particular Sri. Krishna Susurla and Sri. Rajaram, and Sri. Mani)

To an aspirant of mosksa, evolution is irrelevant! The reasons are
as follows.  Please read thoroughly (a cursory read will not
give the essence of the post.)

1. The term evolution implies a beginning by default, this contradicts
the fundamental axiom of Vedanta that the process of creation and
dissolution is beginningless and without end.  These two concepts are
mutually exclusive; thus,  one cannot be a staunch VisíistAdvaitan and also
a staunch supporter of the theory of evolution.

2. One can argue that two concepts are not mutually exclusive, if the term
evolution is used in reference to a particular cycle of creation and
dissolution.  This argument is ubtanable!  Creation is the play of Isívara,
who has free will; there is no stipulation that Isívara has to follow the
order outlined by the theory of evolution.  Sruti only gives a general
outline of creation and only this is eternal, in all other respects creation
can vary from cycle to cycle according to Isívaraís sankalpa.  Thus, once
again the two alternatives are mutually exclusive; one cannot be a staunch
VisíistAdvaitan and also a staunch supporter of the theory of evolution.

Note the following:

1. One should learn to differentiate between finite reality and eternal
reality.  All that is created falls into the former category.
dharmabhUta-jNAna is eternal; thus, when it is fully expanded the jiva
comprehends in perfection all that is eternal.   The previous post explained
how a  mukta is omniscient because  by using its will, it can modify the
dharmabhUta-jNAna to take on any one of the infinitely many states
consisting of BrahmajNAna plus some other extraneous knowledge (knowledge of
that which is not eternal.)

2. A Baddha jivAtman, who aspires for moksha, should cultivate BrahmajNAna,
for that alone will help to develop the conviction required for
unconditional surrender to Brahman.  Extraneous (mundane) knowledge is only
helpful in the sense that it aids in the cultivation of BrahmajNAna.

Learning to differentiate between the mundane and the spiritual is essential
for progress; this is the reason I side tracked from the posts on Visí
istAdvaiata for the last week.   I hope that the person who initially posed
the question about the status of Darwinís Theory reads these posts carefully
and contemplates on this matter and is not side tracked by the wild
conjectures (that are contradictory
to VisíistAdvaita Vedanta) contained in many of the posts.

*****Nature of reality is independent of everything and is immutable (i.e,
it does not change over time.) The nature of reality has been expounded upon
by those who are capable of it.  As an ardent (one cannot be an ardent
seeker until one develops a conviction) seeker of the truth about the nature
of reality, the goal in life is to confirm
this truth via experience and not to define or reinterpret the exposition,
or even worse go directly to scripture (doubting the exposition.)*****

Adiyen,
Venkat