31 Mar

The Vedic Theory of Aesthetics

All texts like books, magazines, and papers for instance have two components: cognitive and aesthetic. The distinction between the cognitive and the aesthetic is apparent if we distinguish between prose and poetry. They can both convey the same meaning, but poetry says it more aesthetically. Similarly, you can talk in a flat tone, but you could say it better with a suitable variation of tone and speed; some words are spoken louder, others are softer, some will be slower or faster, there could be pauses and rushes. The words are the content while the tone, pitch, speed, and pauses constitute the form. Aesthetics appears both in content (such as poetry vs. prose) as well as form (such as musical vs. non-musical). But what is beauty? Where does it live? This question has baffled philosophers for many centuries, without any good answers. This post discusses the nature of beauty based on some ideas drawn from Vedic philosophy.

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28 Mar

The Hierarchy of Yoga Systems

The Bhagavad-Gita describes various yoga systems called karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, dhyāna-yoga, and bhakti-yoga. Each of these yoga processes is based on a scientific understanding of reality, but since this view of reality is not widely understood, there is often a misconception that there are “many paths” to the same truth, which are equally good. This post discusses the differences between the various yoga systems and how these systems are part of a single understanding of reality. With this understanding, we can also discern which of the yoga systems is superior over the others, thus constructing a hierarchy of yoga systems. The key purpose of this post is to describe this yoga hierarchy.

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28 Mar

What is Vedic Science, Really?

In the introduction to the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, Śrīla Prabhupāda writes, “The subject of the Bhagavad-gītā entails the comprehension of five basic truths. First of all the science of God is explained, and then the constitutional position of the living entities, jīvas. Prakriti (material nature) and time (the duration of existence of the whole universe or the manifestation of material nature) and karma (activity) are also discussed.” He further writes, “Those belonging to some sectarian faith will wrongly consider that sanātana-dharma is also sectarian, but if we go deeply into the matter and consider it in the light of modern science, it is possible for us to see that sanātana-dharma is the business of all the people of the world – nay, of all the living entities of the universe.” (Emphasis mine). This post discusses just how the above five categories constitute the sum and substance of what we might call “Vedic science”. The post concludes with a comparison with Newton’s laws which started modern science and shows that similar to Newton’s three laws, a different set of three natural laws exist in Vedic science.

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