16 Apr

The Problem of Scriptural Exegesis

Exegesis, according to Wikipedia, is “a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, particularly a religious text”. In the Vedic tradition, it exists as the commentaries by previous āchāryās who have explained the scriptures in various ways according to time, place, and circumstances. Such commentaries are essential for one key reason—the meanings of the words are continually evolving with time, and if we simply read the original text, we might interpret it according to the present-day meanings of the words, which might not be the meanings as were previously intended. This post discusses the consequences of changing meanings on the understanding of scriptural knowledge.

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08 Apr

The Cycle of Guna and Karma

The term guna indicates what we desire, and the term karma indicates what we deserve; both exist as possibilities, but their combination in time produces the cycle of birth and death. This is the essence of the Vedic science discussed in an earlier post where guna, karma, and kāla were described as three laws of nature. This post takes that description forward and elaborates on the unique role played by karma and its significance in the creation of experiences. For example, we have previously seen how the three-dimensional space of ordinary experience is produced by karma. The post also discusses the law of karma at length and describes how this law involves an interaction between guna and karma, which produce one another, and their interaction creates a cycle.

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03 Apr

The Sāńkhya Theory of Five Elements

This post elaborates on the Sāńkhya theory of the five “gross” elements. The theory is rather complicated, and not well-understood today. One primary source of confusions is a comparison between the Sāńkhya elements and the Greek elements going by the same name. This post will hopefully illustrate how the Sāńkhya elements are deeply enmeshed with a model of perception and a science involving the rule of demigods in the material world that has no precedent. The classic Vedic text Śrimad Bhāgavatam (SB) is used in this discussion rather than the later texts like Sāṁkhyakārikā.

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