21 Jul

How Guna and Karma Create the Body

Vedic texts describe how the body of a soul is created due to guna and karma. This seems unintuitive if we think that the body is created by eating food. But how do we eat food? Food consumption is, in Vedic philosophy, influenced by two factors, called guna (plural) and karma. This post discusses how guna are the nature by which we enjoy consuming certain types of things, and karma is the nurture due to which we have access to certain types of things. Just because we enjoy certain things (guna) doesn’t mean that we will get them, because the environment we are situated in (karma) might not enable access to them. Similarly, just because the environment enables certain things doesn’t mean we will take them, because we might not enjoy them. Our eating is controlled by nature and nurture where the environment provides certain things, and we enjoy certain things. Their combination causes the food consumption, which builds the body.
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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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12 Feb

The Five Forces of Nature

Modern science describes nature as comprised of matter and forces. According to Sāńkhya, this description is both false as we have seen here and true as we have seen here. It is false because material properties such as mass and charge pertain to the observer’s senses, not to the material objects and therefore forces formulated based on such properties are fictions rather than reality. It is true in the sense that the external world still has properties such as redness and bitterness which are “matter” and these properties are connected to the senses through a “force” called prāna. Both matter and force are thus different in Sāńkhya than in modern science: force attaches the senses to the sense objects and detaches the senses from the sense objects. This post discusses the nature of force in Sāńkhya.

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