The Implications of Compression and Incompressibility

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The Problem of Indeterminism

No two people are completely alike. No two roses look exactly the same. No two oranges are identical. Even as we classify the world into concepts, those classifications do not entail that two things are exactly alike. They just mean that two things might have some similarities with each other. However, it does not preclude infinite uniqueness within that similarity.

We can apply the distinction between similarity and uniqueness even to natural sciences. For instance, modern physics describes the world in terms of some concepts. The same concepts allow for infinite unique universes. The present universe is not fully determined by scientific theories because the matter or energy in the universe can be redistributed in infinite ways without violating any physical laws. In other words, this universe could be a drastically different set of planets, stars, and galaxies without violating any of the physics laws.

All the constraints of modern science do not restrict the universe to one specific matter or energy distribution. This is sometimes called the indeterminism of physical theories because the laws of natural science do not precisely determine matter-energy distribution. We often neglect the magnitude of the problem created by indeterminism: The mechanism that permits no two people, roses, or oranges to be alike also allows every part of the universe to be uniquely different from all the other parts. This infinite variety in the universe cannot be summarized through a mathematical formula that is any smaller than the size of the universe itself.

Models of reality are supposed to summarize reality but certain types of theories can never summarize. This flaw in the current scientific modeling of nature then leads us to the question—What kind of models will indeed summarize reality into a short and succinct state? In this article, I will describe how semantic models of reality can compress the universe into a “seed”. Whatever Big Bang theorists call a “singularity” exists in Vedic cosmology as a seed, from which the universe emerges as a tree. These principles set the stage for us to understand numerous other principles found in Vedic philosophy such as inseparability and non-duality, manifest vs. unmanifest, quality vs. quantity, inside and outside, modalities, and so forth.

An Informational View of Science

The Problem of Data Compression

Most of us have tried to zip and unzip files on our computers. The efficiency of compression—i.e., the size of the compressed file divided by the size of the original file—always depends on the data being compressed. For example, suppose you have a digital file of a million characters, each of which is a zero. We can summarize this million-character file into an instruction equivalent to “a million zeros”. The compression efficiency, in this case, is very high. Conversely, if your file has random, non-repeating, and unpredictable sequences of 1s and 0s, then the compression efficiency would also be very low.

One of the properties of cryptography is that it randomizes input data to an extent that you cannot compress it into anything smaller. It tries to reduce the compression efficiency to its lowest possible limit, where the size of the compressed file equals the size of the uncompressed file. Cryptographic strength is measured by the inefficiency of compression of encrypted data.

Now, imagine that the universe is a gigantic file of numbers. Physicists believe that we can compress this file into a succinct formula. Even if the formula occupies a page of an A4-sized paper printed in font size 12, it would still be a fantastic achievement for physics because it would mean that the universe can be shrunk into an A4-sized piece of paper. Even if the formula covered the surface of the earth, it would still be a fantastic achievement because it would mean that the universe can be shrunk to the size of the earth, which is almost a point when compared to the currently estimated sizes of the universe.

However, imagine for the moment that every part of the universe is unique (like no two people, roses, or oranges are alike). Then, the gigantic file of numbers comprising the universe would contain such unique and non-repeating sequences that the file cannot be compressed. The infinite number of possibilities afforded by indeterminism would make the universe just like cryptographic data that cannot be shrunk any further. The formula that describes the universe would be as big as the universe.

The Problem of Indeterminism

Indeterminism is not understood unless we examine the problem from the perspective of reducing numerical complexity as the stated goal of modern science. Just because we can write some formulae pertaining to the universe doesn’t mean that the universe is condensed into a formula, if that theory is indeterministic. The indeterminism of the theory ensures that what the formula doesn’t capture is as big as the universe, although the formula rules out many possible universes that this universe is not. This is not very helpful.

This problem is akin to the use of ordinary concepts like an apple. When we call something an apple, we are ensuring that the thing in question is not an orange, a banana, a grape, and literally infinite such things. However, this still leaves us with literally infinite variety within the class of apples. No two apples need be alike. If all the variety encompassed in the concept of an apple is permitted, the universe comprising of just apples can be infinitely large. This universe would not contain oranges, bananas, grapes, and infinite other things. But it would still contain an infinite number of unique apples. The complexity of all these apples cannot be reduced without excluding some apples from the universe.

A universal, or theory that permits indeterminism, precludes the present universe from being an infinite number of other universes. But it doesn’t shrink the universe because that universal or theory still permits infinite variety. A theory that describes the universe as a quantum or classical particle is quite similar to describing a set of things as apples. The theory and the universal only say what the universe is not, not what it is. The complexity leftover after precluding the other universes cannot be compressed into anything smaller than the universe. Compression will in fact exclude parts of the universe and would become an incomplete description of all that should be in the universe.

The Hierarchy of Compressions

This problem can only be solved through a hierarchical construction in which the universe of apples is progressively shrunk through a succession of classes, equivalent to how we divide apples into varieties called Fuji, Gala, Empire, etc. When applied to mathematical theories, this entails that the theories must be organized in a hierarchy such that the theory of quantum particles must be further constrained by other theories that describe subclasses of quantum particles. A hierarchy compresses exponentially. For instance, 210 = 1024. Therefore, we can shrink 1024 entities into 20 entities by a 10-step hierarchy.

The problem is that physical theories cannot be subclassified into more constrained theories by adding new properties. For example, we cannot subdivide classical mechanics into celestial and terrestrial mechanics classes. We cannot subdivide quantum mechanics into mechanical and electrical subclasses. If we cannot subdivide the domain of a theory into hierarchical classes, then we cannot compress. Effectively, the complete description of a universe of quantum particles would also be as big as the universe.

Hierarchical constructions are sometimes possible in mathematics. For instance, numbers are classified hierarchically into real numbers, rational numbers, integers, natural numbers, and primes. To apply such classes to classical or quantum mechanics, there would need to be some classical or quantum particles that can be completely described using primes instead of real numbers. Unfortunately, no such theories can be constructed, as they will break the fundamental assumptions of continuity in calculus.

A compressible universe can be segmented into subspace and superspace. Segmentation necessitates hierarchies. Without hierarchies, there is no compression, and without compression the current theory is final. The information it doesn’t capture is as big as the universe it aspires to describe. The theory is infinitely incomplete as it delimits an infinite class of objects from what it is not. But it doesn’t say what is where, when, and why in the class.

The Failure of Mathematical Models

Scientists often dream of a “theory of everything”. They are talking about a formula that can fit into the palm of their hands, and which completely describes the universe. By writing that formula on your palm, you would have shrunk the universe small enough to be grasped within your palm. Of course, as noted, even a theory that would cover the surface of the earth would still be a fantastic achievement. It may not be within our palm, but it is still considerably smaller than the universe itself. One could in principle roam to every part of the earth and read that theory to have grasped the nature of the universe.

The mathematical theories of science fail to achieve their stated goals of compressing reality into a shorter form. They rule out other universes without compressing this universe to a size smaller than the universe. To fully know the universe, you have to go to every part of the universe. No rational system will reduce the amount of travel required. All rational systems are ineffective.

The only remaining thing to be known is that all mathematical models are indeterministic. Even Newton’s mechanics is indeterministic when we consider inelastic collisions of particles where the number of particles before and after the collision are not identical (they could increase or decrease). Even if you fix the number and states of particles at the beginning of time (which requires a data file as big as the universe), you still cannot predict the future states and particles due to inelastic collisions. Essentially, every moment in time requires a data file as big as the universe. We cannot compress the data file at one moment, and we cannot compress the data files across moments. We can only rule out the possibility of this universe being some other universe.

Even if we want to segment a data file into subsections, the division comes at the cost of additional data. For example, to segment a book into chapters, sections, paragraphs, and sentences, we would have to insert page breaks, line breaks, headlines, and punctuation marks. That segmented book is bigger than the unsegmented book. Additionally, there is no compressible method of segmenting the book. Thus, any attempt to segment space into subspaces worsens the problem of data compression by requiring even more data.

Viewing Information Semantically

Compression Requires Semantics

We don’t understand a problem well enough until we know how to solve it. The solution to the problem of compression requires semantics. The segmentation of a book works for human readers because we can summarize a section, chapter, and book into their titles. This article for instance is segmented into sections. The first segment was titled “The Problem of Data Compression”, and the section that followed merely expanded on the meaning of the title.

No mathematical algorithm can summarize a section, chapter, or book into its title because the assumption while using numbers is that the numbered things are separate from each other. Compression requires the reduction of the number of separate things, and if things are random, non-repeating, or unpredictable, then the number of separate things cannot be reduced.

The problem is solved by semantics because it is a paradigm of inseparability. Every concept is mutually defined by other concepts such that all other concepts are embedded in each concept. For example, there is a sense in which calling something an apple entails that it is not a banana, orange, or grape. How? The set-theoretic construction employed in mathematics will say that apple, banana, orange, and grape are mutually exclusive and non-overlapping sets. The semantic construction will instead say that not being a banana, orange, or grape is a part of the definition of the concept of apple. There is a sense in which the banana, orange, and grape are denied when the concept of apple is asserted. Since the banana, orange, and grape are present in the definition of apple—as a denial—the number of necessary concepts can be reduced to one—e.g., that of an apple—because other concepts are present within the apple concept, as the denial of what the apple is.

When banana, orange, and grape are present as a denial inside an apple, then we can expand the other concepts from the apple by converting the denial into an assertion. If the knowledge that something is an apple includes the knowledge that it is not a grape, then the nature of the grape is already known simply by knowing the apple. This leads to two conclusions. First, knowing what an apple is, is harder—it requires us to know that it is not a banana, orange, or grape. Second, as a result of knowing the true meaning of an apple, we can reduce all the concepts to just one—that of the apple—because every other type of knowledge is implicitly implied in knowing the nature of an apple.

Similarly, knowing that something is an apple is also knowing that it is a fruit. However, fruit exists inside the apple in a different way than a banana exists inside an apple—the apple is a fruit but an apple is not a banana. The similarity of these two existences is that fruit is not apple and banana is not apple. This requires us to use modalities—e.g., banana and fruit exist inside an apple in two different senses. Likewise, this apple is not that apple, which means that apple exists inside this apple in a different sense than the banana and fruit exist inside this apple. Finally, the individual apple is distinct from the class of apples; the class apple exists inside the individual apple although in a different modality—this is an apple, but it is not the only apple. The number of modalities increases as we consider all distinctions, relationships, and properties of anything.

There are three broad classes of modalities: universal, individual, and contextual. A banana exists in this apple in the contextual modality. A fruit exists in this apple in the universal modality. And that apple exists in this apple in the individual modality. This existence within an apple is not the denial of the existence outside it. It is an additional type of existence.

Negation, Absence, and Unmanifest

This doctrine of inseparability between things can be described in many ways. All these ways are equivalent, but they are presented in different places in different ways in Vedic texts. Nyāya philosophy calls this innate existence an “absence” and a “negation”. The same idea is called “unmanifest”.

What is unmanifest? It is the fact that while we might not know that an apple is not a nectarine (because we might have never seen or heard of a nectarine), the negation of nectarine exists inside the apple to demarcate it from nectarines. While we might not know that an apple is not a camel (because we might never have seen or heard of a camel), the negation of camel exists inside the apple to demarcate it from camels. This allows us to know the apple progressively. To begin with, we can know that this is an apple. Then we may know that it is a fruit. Then we may know that it is not a banana, orange, grape, or nectarine. Then we may know that it is not a camel. This is progressive knowing. At each step, something new is revealed about the same thing. We can never say that we know the apple completely. And yet, we don’t say that we don’t know it at all.

The apple is like a mirror that reflects the entire universe within itself although that reflection is not the external reality. Moreover, some of these inner reflections can seem “bigger” than others, such that the contrast of an apple to a banana can seem more prominent than the contrast to a nectarine in some contexts. The thing that seemed “bigger”, however, becomes “smaller” in other contexts. Everything exists inside everything else, and yet, everything is not always seen with equal prominence. The term “context” represents the vision of other things to varying levels of prominence inside something.

Progressive knowledge thus means seeing the same thing from multiple “perspectives”, which enhance or suppress the contrast and relation of that thing to other things. Each perspective reveals something additional about a thing, and by that progressive revelation what was “unmanifest” is “manifest”. The apple is therefore infinite because it contains a contrast and relation to everything else. However, all this infinite knowledge contained inside the apple is not always relevant in every situation. As more things become relevant, we know more about the apple. But because everything else that we don’t know about exists within, hence, the apple is inseparable from other things.

Semantics, Modalities, and Inseparability

We can now return to our problem of compression. The entire universe is compressed inside an apple as its picture. The map, of course, is not the terrain; the picture of the universe is not the universe. And yet, the universe can be known from the apple because it is pictured within. We may not see that compressed picture of the universe within the apple because it is unmanifest.

This principle is invoked in many ways in Vedic philosophy. For example, a yogi tries to see the entire universe within his body. All the demigods and the administrative system of the universe are present in each body as a picture. However, it is not manifest to everyone. It has to be discovered by a process.

Similarly, knowing an atom completely needs knowing a universe completely because the universe is hidden, unmanifest, and present as a picture (not the reality), in the atom. One has to be able to analyze, study, and examine the atom from multiple perspectives to reveal everything about the universe. The whole truth exists in every partial truth, although it is mostly hidden.

The entire book is hidden inside the book title. The book title is not the chapter titles, the chapter titles are not the section titles, and the section titles are not the paragraphs. And yet, those things that something is not, exist in that thing in an unmanifest form. They can expand out of that thing if we know how to convert the negations into assertions. This constitutes infinite compressibility—we can compress the entire book semantically into just its title.

A Practical Example of Semantics

I can illustrate this process of expansion by an example. This entire article stemmed from a single word: “incompressible”. This word popped into my mind, and I opened a Word document and saved it with the title “incompressibility”. As I examined this idea closely, the entire article popped out step by step. It started with the nature of incompressibility of digital data. Then it led to the discussion of the problem of natural laws. And then it led me to the nature of compressible reality as an inseparable reality. Once the article was finished, I renamed it “The Implications of Compression and Incompressibility”. I did not know what this article was before the word “incompressible” popped into my mind. I discovered it by expanding one word. But I am not the article’s creator. The article exists eternally in one word.

We can call it a mystical experience, although the mystique pertains to seeing something big inside something small, then extracting that big thing from the small thing, progressively. I talk about semantics and its properties of compression, expansion, inseparability, the manifestation of the unmanifest, and the existence of hidden realities because I see this in my experience.

The technical term for this in Sāñkhya is Satkāryavāda, which means that the effect exists eternally within the cause. This entire article exists eternally in the word “incompressible”. Probably many such articles exist eternally within the same word. However, we have to develop the capacity to see within the word, and if we can see, then big things can pop out of a small thing.

The Nature of Semantic Reality

The Semantic Process of Creation

John 1:1-3 in the Bible states: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” This is Satkāryavāda. This “word” spoken by God is the sound “om”, which means “I am”. This “word” was previously within God, and then it was expressed by Him as speech. Therefore, the word was with God, and the word was God. Everything expanded out of this word, quite like “I am” can be expanded into “I am powerful”, “I am famous”, and “I am rich”. In Vedic texts, “I am” is called śabda-brahman, and its first expansion—”I am the boss”—is called pradhāna. This statement applies to the Lord who is truly the boss. However, the soul hears this sound and he thinks it applies to him. Just by listening to this statement, the soul is attracted toward and ensnared in the material world.

While “I am” is true as it is spoken by the Lord, it is an expression of egoism. Hence, the speaker of this sound—Lord Śiva—is considered the embodiment of egoism. However, it is not false egoism. The false ego is the soul thinking “I am the boss” and the true ego is the Lord thinking that “I am the boss”. The claim that is true ego for the Lord is false ego for the soul. Nevertheless, because the true ego is also egoism, the loving forms of the Lord don’t speak this way. Analogously, in many Indian languages, the use of “I” is shunned because it is considered too egoistic. Hence, “I am going” is spoken as “we are going”. And “we are going” is spoken as “we people are going”. This is shunning egoism.

Therefore, “I am” is true ego but still egoism. However, even as the ego exists in the Lord, it is never displayed with the loving devotees. It is, however, displayed by the Lord toward the egotistic soul. The difference between love and ego is also the difference between the spiritual and material worlds. There is an inherent sense in which people are unloving, individualistic, and narcissistic in the material world. Overcoming that self-centered attitude and replacing it with love changes matter to spirit. Conversely, an increase in individualism is an increase in materialism because egoism is the definition of matter.

Even Vedic mantras such as “om namo bhagavate vāsudevāya” use the sound “om”. This mantra means “I am offering salutations inside Lord Vāsudeva” (bhagavate is a 7th declension, which means inside or within, affirming how the “I” is subordinated as a part to the whole). The Vedic mantras that use “om” are also expansions of the same “om” from which the material world has expanded. They are also called śabda-brahman. The material universe and the Vedic mantras are produced from the same “om”, or the śabda-brahman.

Naturally, the mantras that begin with “om” still contain egoism. But it is no longer the false ego because it is the true ego. And yet, there is egoism. The pure devotees of the Lord do not rely on such mantras. They completely eschew the idea of “I am” and surrender to the desires and happiness of the Lord. Advanced texts on devotion, therefore, distinguish mukti and bhakti or salvation and devotion. Salvation is that state in which true egoism exists. Devotion is devoid even of that egoism. Hence, pure devotees feel unqualified and fallen even when they are qualified and liberated. Devotion evokes in them the feeling of gratitude. They don’t think they are capable, qualified, or entitled to serve the Lord. They feel they are unqualified, incapable, and undeserving of the Lord, but the Lord has very kindly given them the chance to serve Him. They are grateful for that. The love for the Lord springs from such gratitude.

Tantras describe the process of material creation as follows: Lord Śiva is the speaker, His Śakti is the power of speaking, and “om” is the speech. Lord Śiva is silent, but Śakti impels Him to speak. She draws Him out of His silence and He says “I am”. From this “I am” expand both egotism and humility—”I am the boss” and “I am offering salutations”. But even this humility is not love, because there is a sense of an independent “I” within it. By the false and true egoistic expansions, Lord Śiva offers the soul entangled in the material world a choice; we can be egoistic or humble. Impersonalists make a huge mistake when they separate Brahman and māyā as truth and illusion. The fact is that the Vedic mantras are the truth produced by Lord Śiva and pradhāna is the illusion produced by Lord Śiva. His Śakti is also responsible for both creations.

The material illusion is non-illusory for Lord Śiva because He is indeed the boss. And Vedic mantras such as “om namo bhagavate vāsudevāya” are true for Him because He is a Saṅkarṣaṇa, expanded from Vāsudeva. Saṅkarṣaṇa meditates on Vāsudeva. Hence, Vāsudeva is inside and outside Saṅkarṣaṇa.

When the universe is created, the Veda is created alongside. But so many people presently claim that our material universe is several billion years old but Veda is perhaps a few thousand years old when the fact is that the Veda is as old as the universe. Both are of divine origin and both are co-created. There is no instrument without a manual on how to use the instrument. The same package contains both the instrument and its manual. The instrument is given to the user along with the manual. But if we are so egoistic as to not read the manual and jump directly into using the instrument, then it is our fault. The instrument can give us an electric shock or burn us if we do not carefully read the manual.

All these expansions were within the word “om”. Without this word, nothing could have been made. Whatever was made, had already been made in the word. The effect that emerged out of the word existed eternally within the cause—the word—and manifested from it. The process of that manifestation is simply the closer examination of that word to reveal what was hidden, unmanifest, and yet, present as a picture of the whole universe within the word.

Why the Sound is Not a Wave

The Bible refers to this “word” as “He”. The word is not impersonal. It is a person. The manifestation of a person is always a person. The manifested person can be called the manifestor’s “child”. This includes sound. But modern science models this sound as a “wave”. We will not find any Vedic texts where sound is called a “wave”. However, we will always find references to this sound as a “vibration”. Vibration means that something goes up and down. But that doesn’t mean that it also goes forward and backward like a water wave.

(Quantum particles are called “stationary waves”. They are not moving like water waves if the quantum system is in a stationary state. But a stationary wave comprises two waves—one moving forward and another going backward, like in a vibrating string. Then, these waves also spread and contract, like a water wave. These ideas of waves are thus tied to the idea of motion.)

The thing that goes up and down in vibration is the relative prominence of the hidden realities within. For example, when we say that an apple is not a banana, the banana has gone “up” in prominence which is why we are contrasting the apple to the banana. But in another context, we might say that the apple is not a camel, which is when the camel has gone “up” in prominence. All these hidden realities are the modalities of that object; they are all true, but they may not always be visible. They go up and down, revealing and hiding different aspects of the truth from the observer that sees it. The term “up” thus means revelation, knowledge, and dominance. While “down” means hiding, ignorance, and subordination. We say “life is going up” and “life is going down”, “health is going up” and “health is going down”, “the system is up” and “the system is down”. The system did not move, so how can it go up or down? The answer is that modes go up and down without motion. We don’t have to climb a mountain to say “life is going up”. The modes go up and down even without motion.

This process of going up and down is called a “vibration” or spanda in Sanskrit. It is a vibration, but not a wave. The vibration is also an individual entity, so we can call it a “particle”. But if we call the vibration a wave, we will instantly get a contradiction between “wave” and “particle”. No such contradiction arises if we describe that vibration in terms of modalities going up and down.

Sometimes the camel modality goes up, and we say “the apple is not a camel”. At other times, the banana modality goes up, and we say “the apple is not a banana”. Then the fruit modality goes up, and we say that “the apple is a fruit, although the fruit is not an apple”. Then, the modality of another apple goes up and we say “this apple is not that apple”. Then, at yet another time, a different tripartite set of modalities (called dravya, guna, and kriya—or noun, adjective, and verb—that are discussed in Vaiśeṣika philosophy) go up and we say “the apple is red, round and sweet” or “the apple is moving”.

A Detailed Description of Revelation

Motion in Vaiśeṣika Philosophy

The apple is not moving! Rather, motion is one of the modes connecting two other modes. For example, suppose we rotate a cube and see two faces one after another. The first face of the cube is one mode and the second face of the cube is the second mode. Rotation is the hiding and revelation of these two modes. Since motion may not be seen, hence, it is also a mode of the apple that can be hidden or manifest. When it manifests, it hides one mode and reveals another. In Vaiśeṣika philosophy, these two types of modalities are called guna and kriya. The two faces of the cube are guna. And rotating the cube is kriya. Both guna and kriya are partial aspects of the modality called dravya or “object”.

If more things are revealed, then we call that motion toward us. If more things are hidden, then we call that motion away from us. If a person walks across our field of vision, we might first see their face, then their side profile, and then their back. When we see their back, the face is hidden. This is also revelation and hiding, but we call it motion. While riding in a car, looking at the front shield shows things in front getting clearer, and looking at the rear shield shows things at the back getting hazier. We describe these changes in revelation and hiding as motion. Sometimes we see one thing in a fixed state of revelation (and hiding) and another thing changing its state of revelation (and hiding). We call the first thing “static”, the second thing “moving”, and the two moving “relative” to each other when both are factually static. Thus, the doctrine of revelation and hiding of modalities of an object explains “motion” without “motion”.

The Allegory of Five Blind Men

The whole truth is one mode. And its parts are other modes. In general, the whole and part together constitute six modalities, of which the whole truth is one mode, and the partial truths are the other five modes. The knowledge of modalities is presented as the allegory of five blind men. The sixth man sees the elephant, which is also an aspect of the truth because while seeing the elephant, his perception is defocused from the tail, trunk, stomach, ears, and legs of the elephant. And yet, the other five modes are the aspects of the whole.

We cannot say that seeing the forest is seeing each leaf on each tree. And we cannot say that the leaves and trees are separate from the forest. The forest is the full thing, but because knowing it is not knowing all the trees and leaves in it, therefore, the forest is also a part of the full thing. These ideas are summed up by saying that the whole truth is a mode of knowing, just like the parts of the whole. The whole and the parts are at once distinct and inseparable from each other. This philosophy of whole and part is therefore called Bhedābheda Vedānta. If we find it difficult to understand, then we can think of the five blind men and the elephant allegory. We can also think in terms of a forest and the trees and leaves that are part of that forest. The use of these allegories illustrates many key features of the Vedic method of thinking about reality.

Applications of the Blind Men Allegory

This general principle applies even to philosophy. For example, Vedānta is the whole truth, and yet, an aspect of the truth, because it is the elephant, and while observing that elephant, our perception is defocused from the tail, trunk, stomach, ears, and legs. The five aspects of Vedānta are Sāñkhya, Yoga, Mīmāṃsā, Nyāya, and Vaiśeṣika. They are inseparable from Vedānta. And yet, because knowing the whole deemphasizes knowing the parts, therefore, the parts are distinct from the whole. The other five systems of philosophy become five blind men if the first system—i.e., Vedānta—is unknown. But those who see contradictions between Vedānta and the other five systems, also haven’t understood Vedānta. They are imagining an elephant without a tail, trunk, stomach, ears, or legs. That is not an elephant. Hence, without a perfect unity among the six aspects of philosophy, the truth is not fully known.

These six principles can also be applied to a person. The whole person is self-awareness. But the five partial aspects of the person are their emotion, intention, cognition, conation, and relation. We can speak of the “whole” person as a self-aware entity, or his five distinct “parts”, or both.

Six Modalities vs. Three Modalities

These six modes can be summarized into three—(a) self-awareness, intention, and emotion comprise ānanda, (b) cognition and conation comprise chit, and (c) relation comprises sat. This summary is used to think in terms of good, truth, and right. This is also a description of a person. Each person exists; that existence is truth. Each person has an innate nature; that nature is good. Each person has relationships with other persons; those relationships are right.

What is good? There is a person (self-awareness), who seeks happiness right now (emotion) and in the longer run (intention). There can be tradeoffs between short-term and long-term good, but there is no good without a person. What is truth? It is measured both by knowledge and action; something that looks like a car but doesn’t work like a car, or something that works like a car but doesn’t look like a car is not a car. Cognition and conation are collectively required to determine the truth. What is right? It depends on the relationship; what is right for one relationship isn’t for others. The summarized and expanded descriptions are therefore not different, let alone contradictory.

However, based on the context, a subset of the six modes can be used. For instance, the speaker is the dravya or “object”, his speech is guna or “quality”, and his speaking is kriya or “activity”. Here, the “object” is the self-conscious person, guna summarizes the words spoken in a sentence, through a kriya or the act of speaking. While using this tripartite distinction, only the chit is involved. However, a person will not speak without some intention. When they speak, their emotions will determine the tones attached to each word. And they will always speak to a specific person. Thereby, what is ignored in the dravya-guna-kriya distinction, is not rejected per se. To fully understand speech, we have to account for all six modalities. And yet, it can be simplified as a speaker, speaking, and speech. The number is almost never important (except that there are six aspects) because the same thing can be elaborated or summarized.

An Alternative Description of Motion

Motion in Newtonian Mechanics

If we try to compare this to the idea of motion in classical physics, then, there is a particle that constitutes the “object”. The position of that particle at two distinct moments are two of its “qualities”. And the momentum of that particle is that which joins these two positions and constitutes its “activity”. Hence, there is a particle, with a position and momentum. The difference is that all the positions that a particle can display are already aspects of that particle. The momenta that a particle can display are already aspects of the particle.

However, every possible position or momenta is not an intrinsic and hidden aspect of a particle. Some particles will not enter some position states because those are not innate aspects of that particle. Some particles will never go into some momentum states because those are not innate aspects of that particle. Even that which is an aspect of the particle will not be always manifest. It can manifest one after another. The cause of that sequential manifestation is modality change. But that sequence is not smooth or continuous.

Classical mechanics violates most of these nuances—(a) any particle can take any position and momentum, (b) the sequential change in position and momentum is due to force, and (c) the change in position and momentum is continuous and smooth. However, it preserves the idea that the display of modalities is sequential; a particle cannot have two positions or momenta at once. Thus, the modal description of reality is almost completely different from classical mechanics except in the sense that we see the states one by one.

Description of Motion in Vedic Cosmology

The stark implications of modal descriptions are seen in Vedic cosmology. First, every particle cannot display every position or momenta; this implies that everyone cannot go to other parts of the universe; we are confined to a region of space that constitutes a limit on our qualities and activities. Second, there are further limitations on the position and momentum states for each person within that confined region of space that further constrain their possible experiences. Third, by our actions, we can increase and decrease our access to the possible states in any other part of the material or spiritual worlds. Fourth, with further advancement, we can actualize any of the possible states instantly quite like we can recall something from our memory instantly.

Due to the first, each body is confined to a limited region of a state space called a “planet” in Vedic cosmology; we cannot escape these planets. Due to the second, everyone on a planet doesn’t have the same social status, power, lifestyle, etc.; their experiences are limited to a subset of possible experiences. Due to the third, what we cannot access right now can become accessible by effort in this life. And due to the fourth, we can go from one experience to another, including experiences across multiple planets, instantly, which means that there are no limitations or restrictions on the “speed of motion”.

Fractal and Hierarchical Structures

A planet is akin to a subset of all possible position and momentum states (i.e., a subspace of the phase space in classical mechanics). Due to segmentation, there isn’t one space or time. There are many of them. These subspaces and subtimes have a fractal structure spreading inside-out. As we go outward, meters shrink and clocks run faster. The measured speed (distance divided by duration) throughout this outward movement will be constant, so we cannot know that we are slowing. But due to clocks running faster, we will age faster and die sooner. We cannot breach the subspace’s boundary by continuous motion.

Like the idea “the apple is not a camel” exists within the apple, similarly, the entire universe exists within the earthly space. But it will be pictured as what the earth is not. How much something is not earth constitutes its distance from the earth. This includes other planets. However, the other planets within the earthly space are not the real planets quite like the camel inside the apple is not the real camel. They are instead pictures of external reality. Therefore, the universe we perceive is within the earthly subspace, not the real universe.

The earthly space, which Vedic cosmology calls a “planet”, thus comprises both what that planet is and what it is not. This is just like an apple comprises what that apple is and what it is not. What the planet is, is one of the modalities of the planet. Every other planet, however, is the other modalities of the same planet. We can sum this up by saying that what Vedic cosmology calls the “earth” includes not just the earth, but everything else that is not earth. Those other things are parts of the earth, and yet, as what the earth is not. That negative modal existence is, however, not the real planets. They are rather the pictures of the real planets, as understood from the perspective of the earth.

When we—i.e., human observers—perceive the earthly space from within the earthly space, a picture of the picture of the universe is created in our mind. This second-order picture is three-dimensional while the first-order picture is two-dimensional. The two-dimensional picture is positions and momenta or phase space. And the three-dimensional picture is produced by dividing each of the two dimensions by three further dimensions. This surprises people but it need not. Even a digital file is a one-dimensional sequence of numbers that becomes a two-dimensional picture on a flat-screen TV and a three-dimensional hologram due to projectors. How? A sequence of digits can be interpreted as {(X, Y), (X, Y), (X, Y), …} or {(X, Y, Z), (X, Y, Z), (X, Y, Z), …}. Any structured data file is a “semantic space” in which each location has a predetermined meaning. Issues of dimensionality become easy if we think of reality as a data file.

There is a bit of Kantian philosophy involved here. Kant was “awoken from his slumber” by Hume’s critique of science, which argued that scientific concepts are merely human ways of interpreting worldly data and cannot be called the truth. Kant’s response was: Yes, science is a human creation, but the concepts we use to interpret worldly data are hardwired in our minds. We cannot but see the world in this way. Kant thought that these hardwired ideas were universal, but because they were innate, his universalism was also idealism.

In Vedic philosophy, this innate way of looking at reality is called māyā; it is the goggles through which we see. Each person and species is covered by a different set of goggles. They filter reality to create a revealed and hidden truth. Hence, it is not wrong to say that there is one reality and many visions. Even scientific realism has been constructed historically, not as a fact about reality but as an artifact of our way of looking at reality. All these models are goggles by which we see the world. Kantian universalism is false, however, his idealism is true.

A scientific model can both hide and reveal; when something is revealed then something else is hidden. So, there is a 2-dimensional, 3-dimensional, and 6-dimensional vision of the same reality. These are modes of knowing. Hence, a vision can be true but may not be what we see with our eyes because our vision is one of the modes that hides the other modes. We must also not try to fit the visions of different modes (e.g., round and flat earth) into the same picture because they are mutually exclusive modes of knowing. They are both true, and both are accepted equally, but from mutually exclusive perspectives.

Empirical Validation via UFOs

UFOs exhibit the “motion” based on modality changes—(a) UFOs show infinite acceleration, (b) violate laws of conservation of momentum and energy by coming to a sudden halt, (c) both moving and halting cannot be explained by natural forces, (d) UFOs appear and disappear violating the continuity of motion, and (e) expand into multiple UFOs and merge into a single UFO.

You won’t see exhaust fumes coming out of UFOs. You won’t find moving parts in UFOs. That is because they don’t have engines. They operate on the principle of revealing and hiding position and momentum states. Engines and fossil fuels are not required for motion if we know how revealing and hiding cause motion.

Of course, even engines are based on the principle of revelation and hiding—fossil fuel is hidden and fumes are revealed; one position state is hidden while another position state is revealed. But with classical motion, what is hidden cannot be revealed again. The process is irreversible. We cannot convert fumes back to petrol. We cannot reverse fuel burn by driving a car in reverse. This is called the second law of thermodynamics: Revelation and hiding are irreversible for modern science. But they are not in principle irreversible. Plants can convert fumes back to fuel. Plants put the nitrogen in the atmosphere back into the ground. So, why can’t the engine that converts petrol into fumes convert those fumes back to petrol? Scientists think that this is a law of nature although everyone can see how nature is recycling waste.

Petrol and fumes are two modalities of the same thing. When fumes are visible, then petrol is hidden, and vice versa. But there is a process by which we can hide the fumes and reveal the petrol, just like there is a process by which we hide petrol to reveal fumes. We could call that “recycling” when it is just hiding and revealing. Presently, recycling requires another machine, which will also burn fuel; even recycling leads to a net decline. This is because we think of change as motion. If we thought of change as hiding and revealing, then technology would mean how to reveal the hidden. That would be sustainable because it is reversible. It depends on the science of mode changes.

We can have a technologically advanced society that is not an industrial society. An industrial society is that which burns fuel to produce fumes but cannot convert fumes back to fuel, without additional penalties. But that is not the only possible technology. Attacks on modern science do not necessarily mean that we go back to the dark ages. That is the conception of those who don’t know the truth about nature and how it enables reversible and sustainable technology. But if we do not change science, then we will never get better technology.

Sustainable technology and infinite energy is already exhibited by UFOs. Who doesn’t want infinite speed? And yet, governments hide the data, deny its existence, delay its awareness, and undermine its importance. Instead of trying to know what we don’t, we seek comfort in keeping everyone ignorant.

Vedic texts describe airplanes that move at the “speed of mind”. What is the speed of mind? You can think of one city at one moment and think of the next city the next moment. You can think of the material world at one moment and the spiritual world at the next moment. If we know how to convert these rapid mental state changes into rapid bodily state changes, then we can go from one place to another instantly. An airplane “synchronized” with our mind can take us anywhere at the speed of the mind. A liberated soul is sometimes carried to the spiritual world in such an airplane. The soul wants to see the Lord, and the airplane just fulfills that desire instantly. By such movement, the soul can go to the spiritual world in this body. That means, they just disappear from this world, and the body is not left behind for burning or burial. But people at present mock all such Vedic texts. They think that such things are impossible.

Formal Principles of Semanticism

The Meaning of a Law of Change

A Semantic Conception of a Law

The “laws of motion” pertain to the sequence of revelations and hidings. If we look closely at an apple, then we can see its color, shape, and size. At that time, the idea that this apple is a fruit, that the apple is not a camel, that this apple is different from other apples, that this apple was produced from a tree, or that tree was growing in some orchard, is hidden. All these other aspects of the apple are present within the apple as its different guna modalities. However, some modality is always hidden when another modality is revealed.

Therefore, the “laws of motion” can be likened to the sequence of statements about the apple—”the apple is red, round, and sweet”, “the apple is a fruit”, “the apple is not a camel”, “this apple is different from other apples”, “this apple was produced from a specific tree”, “the tree grew in some orchard”, and so forth.

This order is not continuous or smooth. Our minds can jump very rapidly from one idea to another. But if the mind is controlled, then this process can also be smooth. That type of controlled movement also constitutes what we normally call object movement. But the movement can also be discontinuous and non-smooth. That is just like the movement of the UFOs. This sequence is also not the same for everyone, at all places, at all times, and in all situations.

Semantic Reality as Vibrating Particles

The apple as a whole is a vibration due to the cycling of the modes. We can say that the apple is a “particle” and a “vibration”, but not a wave. The vibration is the sequence of revelation and hiding. It is also infinite-dimensional because there are infinite modes. And yet, because these modes are constructed from three basic modes, the vibration can be described in a three-dimensional space. However, that three-dimensional space is not the three-dimensional space of Euclidean geometry! It is a quality space rather than a quantity space.

Classical physics assumed that we can measure all properties of an apple simultaneously. That is not true. We can only know the apple step by step, and these steps can be recycled. Our perceptions alternate between taste, touch, smell, sound, sight, and their subdivisions. Our conscious experience cycles between sensation, conception, and judgments. Our judgments cycle between true, right, and good. One has to introspect to “see” the process of observation to understand the cycling of modes. Without introspection, we think that the apple is a “stable” object because its properties can be known at once.

Hence, there is no “classical” reality—(a) the full state of an object cannot be known at once, and (b) the full state of an object can be known through progressive revelations. Even the classical reality is a quantum reality since it is at once a particle and a vibration. We create confusion in science when we equate a vibration to a wave because it leads to wave-particle duality. If we substitute the idea of a wave with that of vibration, then there is no issue.

But there is another sense in which the idea of a wave is correct. For instance, when we observe an apple, a picture of the apple is created in our minds. The apple and its picture have the same universality but different individualities. So, these two are identical in one mode and different in another mode. If ten people observe the apple simultaneously, then we can say that the real apple is in one place, but it has also “spread” to many minds. The apple can be called a particle (because it is in one place) and a wave (because it spreads to many places). But if those ten people stop observing the apple, then the apple remains in its place, but its pictures collapse into the apple. The apple that had previously spread to many minds like a wave has now contracted into a particle like a wave.

All these things require semantics because spreading is like speaking: Ideas can spread from one speaker to many listeners, but the speaker doesn’t become ignorant after speaking. Rather, a speaker’s conviction and clarity in his ideas increase by speaking. That is because what was spoken expands outward and then collapses inward. Speaking the truth is therefore a method of increasing our conviction in that truth. Of course, even liars become more convinced of their lies by repeating them. If we don’t have semantics, then we have contradictions: How can one particle be in many places? How can a particle spread like a wave? How can a spreading wave contract into a particle?

Bhagavad-Gita 2.58 describes the spreading and contracting of a particle like a tortoise pushing its limbs out and then pulling them back in. When we observe the world, our senses move “out” and when we stop observing, then our senses move “in”. During an observation, the apple expands outward and then collapses inward. This inward-outward movement can be called a spreading and collapsing wave. But it is not a classical wave because (a) instant reversal in direction means that energy and momentum are not conserved, (b) the reversal cannot be explained based on forces because there is no universal determinism with inward and outward movements, (c) the movement is not smooth or continuous (we can move our attention from what an apple is to what it is not instantly), and (d) the contradiction between a particle being in one place and yet in many places at once, which is called “non-locality”, is irresolvable.

Quantum mechanics is trivially easy with modalities, semantics, sense perception, or speaker, speaking, and speech. But it will remain a mystery if we don’t want to introspect, want to obtain knowledge devoid of perspectives, or remain attached to the false ideas of motion, conservation of energy and momentum during motion, force as the cause of motion, the supposed continuity and smoothness of motion, or mathematical laws of motion.

In Vedic philosophy, the consciousness moves in five ways: (a) upward (apple to fruit), (b) downward (apple to red, round, and sweet), (c) outward (from apple to its pictures), (d) inward (from pictures to the apple), and (e) around (from what an apple is to what it is not, such as an orange). These five-fold movements are called prāṇa. They represent the movement of consciousness, but not of the body. The “law of motion” can be described as the sequences of these five-fold movements, or the movement of prāṇa. We can call it semantic motion.

Lawfulness and Dualistic Reality

The lawfulness of nature is called duality of material nature in Vedic philosophy. It means that we cannot get everything at once. With every gain, there has to be some loss. The gain is a revelation and the loss is a hiding. But we cannot frame these gain and loss combinations into time-, space-, situation-, and person-independent laws. The law of loss and gain is based on the actions in the past, the nature of reality in the present, and our goals for the future. Sometimes we lose more for lesser gain; that is due to the actions in the past, the reality at present, and our goals for the future. Sometimes we gain more and lose less; that is also due to the actions in the past, the reality at present, and the goals for the future. Sometimes we lose one type of thing and gain another type of thing. What type of thing we lose for what type of thing we gain, and how much we lose for how much we gain, is also due to past, present, and future.

Let’s not assume that there is no law. But let’s also not assume that the law is independent of time, space, situation, and person. Since there is a law, therefore, there is universality. Since that law depends on time, place, and situation, therefore, there is contextuality. Since that law depends on the past, present, future of a person, hence there is individuality. The universality is that we can frame a universal statement that states “if this was the past action, present reality, and future goal, then that will be result“. This is a universal statement, but the past action, present reality, and future goal are all dependent on the time, place, situation, and person. That if changes the law based on time, place, situation (i.e., contextuality), and person (i.e., individuality).

Thus, only parts of the order prescribed by the universal law can be manifest, observed, or perceived in each context and for each person. If we try to frame it in terms of time-, place-, situation-, and person-independent laws, there will be infinite laws. This is what modern science tries to do—frame universal laws of change. It can never succeed because the actual universality is conditional on time, place, situation, and person. That is not the kind of universality that science imagines. However, we also cannot say that there is no universal law.

The Laws of Choice and Consequence

When we take out the idea of external forces as causes of change, then we get choice-based causality, which depends on hidden realities and their selection or rejection by choice. For instance, if anger exists hidden in us, it can manifest by a choice to associate with angry people. If anger is present in us, we can stop its manifestation by dissociating from angry people. If anger is present within us, we can manifest it by a choice even without association. If anger is not hidden within us, it cannot be manifest even when we associate with angry people.

The world is not necessary to cause an effect because it lies hidden in us and it can be manifest by a choice. The world is not sufficient to produce an effect because we can dissociate from the world, or there may be no innate possibility for it to be triggered by association. This applies to everything. We can feel hot under the sun. We may not feel hot under the sun. We can stop feeling hot by moving away from the sun. And we can manifest heat in our body without the sun. The sun is neither necessary nor sufficient to experience heat.

When causality involves possibility and choice, then the law of causation involves (a) the judgment of choice as true-false, right-wrong, and good-bad, (b) the division of possibility into proclivity, ability, and opportunity, and (c) the change in possibility toward true-false, right-wrong, and good-bad. The basic principle of law is tit-for-tat. For instance, if we seek the truth, then the inner proclivity and capacity to know the truth and the outer opportunity to know the truth increase. If we reject the truth, then the inner proclivity and capacity to know the truth and the outer opportunity to know the truth decrease.

The basic principle of life is to seek the truth, right, and good rationally, justly, and humbly. By that seeking, the proclivity, ability, and opportunity increase lawfully. If we reject the truth, the right, and the good irrationally, unjustly, or arrogantly when it comes to us, then the proclivity, ability, and opportunity to obtain the truth, right, and good decrease lawfully. The choice is to seek, accept, or reject and the result is to gain or lose the truth, right, and good.

We can describe nature’s order in terms of a sequence of statements. And we can explain and predict that sequence based on the law of choice and consequence. The sequence of statements is data. The law of choice and consequence is the basis for predicting and explaining the data. For some people, the sequence will be true, just, and pleasing statements. For others, it will be a sequence of false, unjust, and hurtful statements. For most people, the sequence is a mixed bag of true and false, right and wrong, good and bad statements. That sequence of statements constitutes our life experiences. Some people get knowledge, justice, and happiness in life. Some get ignorance, injustice, and suffering in life. Most get a complicated mixture of some or all of these. The law of choice and consequence explains this sequence. Since the law is about choice, hence cause and effect are personal. All impersonal ideas of causality are overthrown.

Reasons for Using Non-Binary Logics

The Vedic idea of universal truth is that it is the whole. And the contextual and individual truths are parts of that truth. That parthood within the whole is space, time, situation, and person. Each part is the revelation of an aspect of universal truth. Hence, we cannot say that the part is not true. And we cannot say it is universal truth. Due to the induction of contextuality and individuality, the true-false dichotomy falls apart. But we can talk about greater and lesser truth, more and less true, higher and lower truth, bigger and smaller truth.

In contrast, the Western idea of universal truth is that there is only one truth, which is true for all times, places, situations, and persons. There can be no greater or lesser truth, more or less true, higher and lower truth, bigger or smaller truth. A greater, higher, and bigger truth is that which is true for more times, places, situations, and persons. A lesser, lower, and smaller truth is that which is true for fewer times, places, situations, and persons. But if we remove the contextuality (time, place, and situation) and individuality (person) from the law, then something is either true or it is false. It cannot be true for this place and not true for that place, true for now and not true for later, true for this situation and not true for that situation, true for me and not true for you.

This is why modalities are important. We have to change the idea of truth from universal truth to modal truth to accommodate Absolute and Relative truths. It changes everything else, beginning with logic as we cannot live with binary true-false distinctions. That true-false notion of truth is Western thinking. Vedic thinking is a far more sophisticated idea of truth based on modalities.

People start squirming whenever we talk about changing logic. That is because they haven’t examined universalism and the problems with binary logic. They haven’t examined the problems with the idea of universal laws and uniformity. Finally, they may have never studied Eastern philosophy where non-binary conceptions of truth are the norm. Buddhism for instance has a four-valued truth. Jainism has a seven-valued truth. And a complete account of Vedic philosophy necessitates an infinite-valued truth. They are all part of the universal truth, and yet, they are not the universal truth. This is the whole-part logical dilemma. It breaks binary logic, the simple-minded idea of true and false, and converts it to infinite-valued logic. Due to this, we can say that there is one complete truth, and yet, there are infinite partial truths.

A rigorous formulation of this infinite-valued symbolic logic is a pending project that I might be able to accomplish someday. Or, perhaps someone else can do it. I don’t know; time will tell. Rigorous formulations of Buddhist four-valued logic and Jain seven-valued logic have been done although they are not studied that well. That is due to the decline of Indian civilization and its scientific culture. That culture can be revived, invigorated, and instilled in people to take Vedic philosophy forward. It is not mumbo-jumbo. But it is also not binary logic. It is a system of reasoning that has been forgotten.

The Process of Information Transfer

One implication of converting motion into modality changes is that the quantum particles do not move. The photon is not traveling. There is no such thing as “speed of light”. This is because there is no traveling wave, although there is a vibration. That vibration is also in the thing we see, as it reveals and hides its modalities. If it hides and reveals faster, then we get information quicker. If it hides and reveals slower, then we get information slower. That rate of revelation and hiding is not constant, hence the rate of transfer of information on the object is not constant, hence the speed of light is not constant. It appears constant because the sender and the receiver have been dumbed down to a point where their information processing capacities are similar and low, so there is an upper limit to the rate of information transfer.

Imagine for the moment the interaction between a teacher and student. If the teacher is smart then he can impart knowledge quickly. But if the student is dumb, then the teacher has to slow down the rate of information transfer to attain the level of the student. Conversely, if the student is smart but the teacher is dumb, then the student cannot receive information faster than the teacher can impart. If both teacher and student are smart, then information transfer can be rapid. But if both are dumb, then the rate of transfer would be reduced to the lowest of the rates between the transmitter and the receiver.

This information transfer is the revelation and hiding of the modalities. But during an interaction between two entities, this rate can be adjusted to the most appropriate rate of information transfer. That adjustment is disregarded if we convert information transfer into motion, due to the result of impersonalism. The sender and the receiver are no longer persons exchanging information. They are rather balls pushing and pulling each other by force. The balls have no idea of the effect on the other ball. They cannot adjust their push and pull to attain an optimum goal of information exchange because nature has no goals, purposes, or intentions. By removing meaning and purpose from nature, scientific theories describe motion. By dumbing down the information processing capacity in the sender and the receiver to the lowest points attained by instruments, we get the lowest rate of transfer. Then we combine the lowest rate of information transfer with a motion to arrive at the highest speed.

When we read books and we understand quickly, then we say: “I am getting close but I am still not there”. If we read but we understand slowly, then we say: “I am still quite far and there is a long way to go”. There is no meaning to proximity and distance other than seeing things clearly or unclearly. As we get closer, the “contrast” increases and we can see things clearly. The rate of change of “contrast” is the rate of revelation, and that is the rate of “motion”—if we insist on interpreting it as motion. Even as reading a book is not the motion of the book, we use the motion metaphors and the ideas of proximity and distance to the book. That is because sensually and mentally that is what happens.

Formulating the Theory of Everything

The Motions of Mind and Body

Modern science creates stark contrasts between motion and reading, but in Vedic philosophy, both involve the same process. This is semanticism. We explain motion also as a meaning transfer. Thereby, there is no mind-body dualism. The body is moving in the same way as the mind is moving. The body comes closer or goes farther just like the mind comes closer or goes farther.

This is easily understood if we begin with how the mind moves, and harder if we begin with how the body moves. Those with introversion focus on how the mind moves and those with extroversion focus on how the body moves. They come up with radically different ideas about motion and theories of its prediction and explanation. The difference is that the introverted person can explain the motion of both mind and body, while the extroverted person certainly cannot explain the motion of the mind, and he faces serious problems even in explaining the motion of the body if the mind is active in the body and the body isn’t dumbed down to the level of measuring instruments.

The Motions of Soul and God

This idea of “motion” is identical to the religious idea of getting “closer to God”. God is not a traveling particle. But He can reveal more modalities to us, and by that revelation, we get close to God. Being close means more of those properties that lay hidden in something were revealed to us. Going farther is seeing less of those properties that might have been previously visible to us. Accordingly, by knowing more of the modalities in God, we come “closer to God”, and by knowing less about the modalities in God, we go “farther from God”. Reading a truthful book about God can thus bring us “closer to God” without any motion.

If going back to Godhead is a goal of life, then why aren’t we jumping onto a rocket that will transport us to Godhead? Why are we wasting our time reading books about God and Godhead? How is that reading going to bring us closer to God—if motion is different from reading? The only viable answer is that there is no motion. It is only revelation and hiding. When we read, then more is revealed to us. And by revelation, we naturally come closer to God.

The disconnect between science and religion is that science transformed the process of revelation and hiding into one of motion. It changed the laws of revelation and hiding into the laws of motion. Unless we change this back, we cannot grasp the truth in religion. But if we change it back, then religion is also scientific because the process by which the soul moves toward God is the same as that of a mind or body moving toward another mind or body.

Of course, we have to be introspective to understand the movement of the mind before we can change the idea of bodily motion and then apply the same idea to the motion of the soul toward God. If we cannot change the idea of the motion of the body, then we cannot explain all kinds of movements, including the movement toward God by a spiritual practice. This is why semanticism is important: We need to change the idea of motion for people to accept that it is possible to move toward God and reach Godhead just by speaking and listening.

Unlimited Types of Motions

In Vedic philosophy, the body, senses, mind, intellect, ego, moral sense, soul, and God are all moving. They are also moving in the same way. The body “moves” when some other body is revealed or hidden. The senses “move” when some sensations are revealed or hidden. The mind “moves” when some new thoughts are revealed or hidden. The intellect, ego, and moral sense “move” when the judgments of truth, good, and right (applied to the ideas of the mind) are revealed or hidden. The soul “moves” when the nature of the Lord is progressively revealed or hidden. And a society “moves” when the judgments of truth, right, and good are revealed or hidden from most of the population. How powerful is that? A single idea of “motion” that applies to the “motion” of everything that we can ever imagine. That is a theory of everything.

The kriya or activity in Vaiśeṣika includes speaking, hearing, imagining, deducting, concluding, judging, and so on. All our sensual and mental activities are thus kriya, not just particle motion. Motion is the result or effect of kriya. Thus, kriya or activity is reality, and motion is an appearance. Motion is not real, but is created by kriya. Since we think that motion is real, hence, the material world is sometimes called an illusion. The illusion is how we understand the cause and effect, or what is appearance vs. what is actually reality.

The attempt to reduce activity to motion constitutes modern science. If you see a new color, it must be due to the motion of some electrons. If you feel happy, it must be the motion of some molecules. If you grow older, then it must be due to the motion of atoms in and out of your body. The problem with this method of explanation is that we factually cannot construct adequate theories of motion.

A well-known scientific failure of the idea of motion is quantum mechanics. But quantum mechanics is consistent with revelation and hiding. When we observe one quantum, we don’t see the other quanta. This sequence of one-by-one observations of the quanta is a fact about our experience even in the macroscopic realm. But the false dogmas of classical physics and mathematics have conditioned us to focus on motion. So, we think that this is a problem just about atomic particles and not about the macroscopic world. That is seeing the problem but not recognizing it. If we recognized it for what it truly is, then the false edifice of motion and its laws will come crumbling down. We will then realize that everything that has been done in science so far has been an illusion.

The Problem of Dualistic Knowledge

Modalities cause knowledge fragmentation. For instance, when physics comes close, then psychology goes farther. When psychology comes close, then economics goes farther. The physicist, therefore, disregards the mind and the psychologist disregards the body. The economist or sociologist then disregards both the bodies and minds and focuses on the interactions between the roles of buyers and sellers, and the organizational and institutional structure interactions (without the people in them). The problem of the many blind men and the elephant is thus created because each person—by the very act of focusing on something—is compelled to disregard something else as a result of modalities. When one thing is revealed, another thing is hidden. If something is gained, then something else is lost. This is the nature of material duality.

Under this duality, we can never reconcile the various revealed and hidden things into a coherent theory. Reality is an elephant, but every man confined to a department is blind because when he sees the tail, he cannot see the stomach; when he sees the stomach, he cannot see the trunk. To be visionary, one has to see everything one by one, including the whole truth as a mode, and reconcile the partial truths into the whole truth. But if the departments are separated and nobody sees the whole truth, then they always remain blind.

The coherent theory that reconciles all perspectives requires modalities. It involves a vibration that is not a wave. It involves activity that reveals and hides without motion. It embodies a thing that is many things. It requires logic in which everything is inside and outside everything else. This is how we can obtain a complete theory without the contradictions of blind men.

Semantics and Vedic Philosophy

The General Philosophy of Life

The Personalization of Nature

The modalities that go up and down are manifestations of consciousness. As noted, we can call these three or six modalities. Hence, if any modality exists, then consciousness exists. The study of modes is the study of consciousness, personhood, and vice versa. Even if we study the three modes of material nature, we are studying personhood. It is just a different kind of person.

Even an apple is a person. When we eat an apple, we are killing a living entity. Hence it is said: jīva jīvasya jīvanam, or that “life is the life of life“. Vegans are also killing living entities. And yet, there is a priority order in which living entities are to be killed. If the lower-level living entity is available, then the higher-level living entity is not killed (there are more sophisticated nuances to this principle which we will come to shortly). Fruits and vegetables are lower-level living entities compared to animals. Hence vegetarianism is preferred over non-vegetarianism. Both plants and animals are persons. But there is a hierarchy of personhood that determines eating behavior. If life is the life of life, and plants are life, then the soil, water, and air they depend upon must also be life. It is a mistake to consider soil, water, and air as “non-living things”.

Some of the curious ideas about life and death that I heard from childhood (growing up in India) include: (a) the air in a closed room is “dead” while the air in open spaces is “alive”, (b) water from a copper container is “alive” and that from a plastic container is “dead”, (c) food is “alive” for four hours after being cooked and “dead” afterward, (d) normal food is “alive” and frozen food is “dead”, (e) water in a small water body is “dead” and the water in a large water body is “alive”, and (f) water from a stagnant water body is “dead” and that from a flowing water body is “alive”. People might find these concepts of life and death strange, especially if they are taught in schools that air, water, and food are molecules. But those who live by these ideas also lead healthier lives.

What is living? Anything that has unity in diversity is living. A molecule is living because it is a unity in the diversity of many atoms. The atoms are units of taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight. But something unifies them into a molecule, due to which each type of molecule has unique perceptual properties. However, a complex biomolecule is a higher form of life than a smaller molecule. Even if we eat tablets of vitamins or proteins, life is still the life of life, which means that vitamins and proteins are also life. Of course, they are lower life forms than plants, but higher than individual atoms. If we eat disaggregated molecules, then we get less life—i.e., unity—from the food. Hence, even though disaggregated molecules are lower life than plants, they are still not suitable for humans. What each species of life must eat is, therefore, a sophisticated science. It is not simply vegetarian vs. non-vegetarian, vegan vs. vegetarian, etc.

A Personalized Science of Nature

When a higher life form dies, then the unity in diversity is lost, due to which the body disintegrates progressively into much lower life forms. As worms, vultures, or insects eat an animal carcass, life is still the life of life. But that life the carnivores are relying on is a far lower life form than humans. The death of the higher living entity has destroyed the unity in diversity. It is now up to the other living entities to take the remaining unity (which is still living) within that dead body and make it a part of their body. They can unify lower life into higher life. Therefore, when a higher life form is born, the lower life forms are again aggregated and unified to construct the body of the higher life form.

In this way, nothing is non-living. However, everything living is not equal. There are many kinds of higher and lower life forms, beginning with God, the highest life form. The other life forms are parts and aspects of the highest life form. They can be unified into a society, ecosystem, and planet because the society, ecosystem, or planet has a soul that keeps it united. If that soul is gone, then the society dies, the ecosystem disintegrates, and the planet is ravaged. Hence, the planets, ecosystems, nations, and societies are also living entities.

If something is unified into an “object”, then there is a soul. This means that we replace all “objects” with persons. This is the personalization of nature. By such personalization, we dissolve all problems created by questions like “can you show me the soul?” because if there is unity in diversity then there is a soul. You may not see the soul, but you can see its effects—namely, the unity. Then, you can see the effect of the absence of the soul—namely, disintegration. You don’t have to see the cause if we can see its effects which are the evidence of the cause.

Of course, to see the soul as the cause of unity in the body, we have to get rid of the false idea that atoms aggregate into molecules due to electromagnetic forces. Before we can do that, we have to get rid of the false idea that macroscopic motion is caused by forces. If we do not do that, then we will never see why unity in a life form must be caused by the soul. We will say that this unity is caused by electromagnetic (or other) forces. We have to go in the same order of thinking as science has done before. This means that we begin with classical mechanics and refute its ideas of conservation of energy and momentum, changes caused by force, continuity and smoothness of motion, and the idea of a law of nature as the law of motion. Once we refute all these false ideas, then we can understand the problem of quantum mechanics, reformulate the idea of chemical bonding, and the process of birth, growth, death, and decay of a life form based on the presence or absence of a soul. This is not how Vedic texts present all these ideas about reality. But this is how we can do so. The ideas are the same but their sequence is different.

If the idea of classical motion is replaced by revelation and hiding, then we can ask: How do we get the dravya or “object” with many guna or “qualities” and kriya or “activities” that are progressively revealed or hidden? How do adjectives and verbs become aspects of a noun? The answer is a person, who attaches to an “object” with hidden qualities and activities. The “object” then expands into qualities and activities. That expansion is like this article expanding from the word “incompressible” by me attaching to it. The expansion can source preexisting material. For instance, I did not invent the rules of grammar, the words or idioms of English, or the problems of classical and quantum mechanics to write this article. Those already existed. I just integrated them into the article. Likewise, the body of qualities and activities expanding from an “object” can integrate, organize, and unify preexisting objects within itself. This is why we eat, drink, and breathe; we are collecting other source materials from outside our body to build the body. But the structural unity is due to the soul.

This is how we get the science of birth, growth, death, and decay. The cause of birth and growth is a person and unity is the effect of a person. When that person leaves, the body dies and decays, and the fragmentation of that unity is the effect of the person leaving. However, if the theory of the motion of macroscopic objects is impersonal, then we cannot get a personal theory of life and death. There will be constant attempts to convert whatever we call personal into impersonal because most of reality is impersonal as a rule. Why should the human soul be an exception to that rule? This is why everything can either become impersonal, or everything can become personal. Modern science takes one approach and Vedic philosophy another. If we take the impersonal approach, then we will not get unity in nature. Electromagnetism, gravity, and all the other imagined causes of unity at present are not going to create unity. They will remain failed models of both non-living and living things. But the failures would be considerably higher in the case of living things.

It is not difficult to see the profound and radical implications of this thesis. For instance, atoms don’t combine into molecules by the laws of chemical bonding. The laws of chemistry are about the bodies of a class of low-level living entities. Molecules don’t aggregate into a cell without a soul as abiogenesis claims. Instead, a soul is injected into the material energy, and, based on nature, its body is constructed. Those can be molecules or cells. The laws of virology and bacteriology are about one class of life. The laws of botany and zoology are about another class of life. The laws of humanity are about yet another class of life. And the laws of society and economy, ecology and ecosystems, continents and planets, are about yet another class of life. The principles of science remain the same: We are studying different life forms. They are similar to each other as souls. But they have diffrent bodies due to the laws of choice and consequence. By false, wrong, and bad choices, a soul is pushed into a lower life form. By the true, right, and good choices, a soul is pushed to a higher life form.

Fixing Impersonalism in Religions

Impersonalism was created in modern science due to Christianity allowing souls to exist only in humans. Animals, plants, and nature have no soul, according to Christianity. Similarly, a society, an ecosystem, or a nation also does not have a soul. This creates serious problems in India (at least at present) where patriotic Indians consider Bhārat a mother and want to sing “All glory to Mother India”. Abrahamic religions consider this paganism because if animals don’t have a soul, then how can a country have a soul? The left-wing politicians unite with Muslims and Christians accusing patriotic Hindus of being “backward” because a nation is not a person in both systems.

Of course, in the international world order at present, each country is a legal person. Each country has rights; they have self-interests. How can that be if the country is not a person? At least legally, all countries are persons. However, from a religious view, the personhood of a nation is rejected in Abrahamic religions. Ideally, no follower of any Abrahamic religion should be patriotic, because you cannot love a non-person. You cannot have a fatherland or motherland. Thus a dual standard for personhood is created. Legally, a country is a person. But religiously, it is not a person. And yet, the right-wing religious people in the West are patriotic against the tenets of their religions.

These contradictions do not exist in Vedic philosophy because there are many kinds of living entities. Plants, animals, rivers, oceans, forests, societies, nations, and planets are persons. There is nothing wrong in saying that a nation is born and a nation dies, quite like people are born and people die. All persons should be respected. Of course, they don’t have rights, but each one has duties. When we personalize the outer world, then there is no problem in personalizing the inner world. However, once we impersonalize the outer world, then we must impersonalize the inner world. We cannot have the dualism of both impersonalism and personalism in reality.

Christianity is not a personal religion from a Vedic perspective. It is a halfway house between personalism and impersonalism, far closer to impersonalism than personalism. That proximity to impersonalism is limiting personhood to God and humans. As time passes, impersonalism grows, and personalism dies. An easy example is Christianity giving birth to modern science, which gave birth to atheism. You can still believe in “Einstein’s God”, which is a euphemism for mathematics. The atheism of modern science comes from taking the impersonalism in Christianity just one step further: Like animals, even humans don’t have a soul. It is an easy step because there is only one step.

Now imagine the hardship of reversing that impersonalism—converting everything from the universe to the atom, including everything in between, into a person. Any other halfway house that delimits personhood cannot work. The problem of impersonalism leading to atheism has been created by one religion. Hence, that problem also has to be solved by another religion, before science. Of course, nobody wants to discuss inconvenient truths. They would rather slap personalism on impersonalism or vice versa to create additional contradictions. But these must be discussed by those interested in the problems of science, their origins, and their solutions because there is no other way.

Replacing Objects by Persons

We are not going to solve the problem of the personalism of the inner world without the personalism of the outer world. We can either have both personal or both impersonal. The Vedic approach is that inner and outer are both personal. Hence, there are no “objects”. There are only persons. What we call an “object” is just a lower life form in which the personhood is hidden due to a material covering forced by nature due to laws of choice: If the soul makes false, wrong, and bad choices, then it is forced into lower life forms.

When modernity looks at Vedic philosophy, it doesn’t grasp personalism. People may stop eating meat, but they still eat vegetables and fruits. They might think that animals have souls but plants do not. Their personalism expands a little from humans to animals, or even plants, but it doesn’t go too far. Soil, air, and water are not persons. Mountains, rivers, and seas are not persons. Societies, ecosystems, and planets are not persons. Viruses and bacteria are not persons. Carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and proteins are certainly not persons.

The solution to the problem of impersonalism is that personhood is modal. We can call these three or six modalities. But there have to be modalities. If we don’t have modalities, we will never get a person. We will only get objects, impersonalism, materialism, and atheism. Modal thinking is semantics. But modalities being aspects of a whole, with the whole being a person, constitutes personalism. Hence, we can never get personalism without modalities and vice versa. Our change is very simple—there are no objects because there are only persons. Anyone interested in an alternative science can therefore chant this mantra every morning: There are no objects; there are only persons.

The Sacredness of All Creation

The Reversal of Satkāryavāda

Once we shift from objects to persons, everything becomes trivially easy. You see an apple? The apple is inside and outside you. Likewise, because the apple is also a person, therefore, the apple also sees you. Hence, you are inside and outside the apple. The contradictions are only due to object thinking.

And yet, there is an original person—God—who had everything inside and who put everything outside, so that those things that were put outside could see God. If they see God, then God enters into them. Then they will fall in love with God. The activities of revelation and hiding that follow are very pleasing.

Vedānta Sutra 1.1.12 states—ānandamayo’bhyāsāt—“for the purpose of practicing pleasure” or “because He is accustomed to pleasure”. This is an elaboration of Vedanta Sutra 1.1.2—janmādyasya yataḥ—“from which everything is born”. We can combine these two statements into a single statement, namely, “from which everything is born for the purpose of practicing pleasure” or “from which everything is born because He is accustomed to pleasure”.

Satkāryavāda is the idea that everything was in God. Arthavāda is the reverse idea that God is in everything. Why? Because both God and His creation are persons. They were created from God, by God, for the purpose of enjoyment.

Thereby, whatever we called a speaker, speaking, and speech are all persons. The speaker is God. His power of speaking is His personal energy. And the speech He uttered is a person. The speech was in the speaker; the speech came out of the speaker; the speaker is in the speech. The speech looks impersonal to us. But it is not impersonal. It is also a person. A book is therefore a person. The speaker of the book is inside the book like the book seeing an author. This is called avyakta-mūrtinā or “unmanifest form” in Bhagavad-Gita 9.4. It is also a modality, which means it is a part of the book, although the most important part. And yet, the most important part is hidden or unmanifest.

We can read a book, analyze every word and sentence by the rules of grammar and dictionaries, and yet know nothing because we missed the most important part as it was hidden. That book is understood under the tutelage of a visionary teacher who can see the most important part as the author in the book.

The author exists in the book in six modes, namely, self-awareness (the whole person), emotion (the author’s mood while writing the book), intention (the author’s purpose in writing the book), cognition (what they see when they use certain words, which can be different from what others see when they use the same words), relation (the intended audience of the book according to the author), and conation (how they came to write the book and how what they wrote was revealed to them). This is the most important knowledge.

If we know the author, then we know the book. If we don’t understand the book, then we should try to understand the author. The understanding of the author will come by revering and serving them. The author will reveal himself by service. By knowing the author, we will easily know the book because the most important part is already known. This is the personalism of education.

The impersonalism of education is reading a book without knowing the author and interpreting the words in that book based on universal dictionary meanings of words, universal rules of grammar, universal idioms, universal audience anticipations, universal methods of knowing, and universal methods of writing. Universalism is the enemy of semantics. People will remain averse to semantics and will never be able to understand the science of meanings if they cannot reject their universalism which is yet another name for impersonalism.

Universalism has been going on since Greek times. It changes form, but it remains unchanged. There is Platonic universalism in which every word must have only one meaning. There is Kantian universalism in which every scientist thinks in the same way. There is Jungian universalism in which every good man has the same ideals. Devoid of such universals, every mind is diseased in a unique way. All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Universalism is a sickness. Under its influence, people want to understand a book without knowing the author. They talk about dictionaries, grammar, theories, and concepts, but not the author’s nature. But we have to understand that semantics cannot be separated from personalism. They are identical subjects. To know the book, we have to know the author because the author is the most important, and yet, the most hidden facet of a book.

This is also Satkāryavāda in reverse: The effect is in the cause, and the cause is in the effect. The cause doesn’t die when the effect is created. And the cause exists even when the effect has unmanifested. Therefore, both cause and effect are eternal. But the effect can be manifest or unmanifest. Therefore, material energy is eternal, however, it can either be manifest or unmanifest.

The Science of Sound and Meaning

If we hear some sound, and we treat it as a wave, then we get no meaning from it, although the meaning exists. Then we look a little deeper and we see many modalities in the sound, that contrast it with other things. We get to know what the sound refers to. The things that the sound refers to are inside that sound, and yet, they are outside the sound because the map is not the terrain. Finally, we see the speaker in the speech as yet another modality. The speech is connected to the speaker, by the speaker being present in the speech.

The artist is in the art, the musician is in the music, the poet is in the poetry, and the scientist is in the science. Science, art, music, or poetry are the wholes, but the scientist, artist, musician, or poet is one of the modalities of that creation. We cannot know the whole unless we know all the parts. Hence, we cannot understand poetry, music, science, or art without knowing the poet, musician, scientist, or artist. This embedding of all meanings within the sound—including the author of that sound—is the doctrine of Arthavāda.

For ordinary authors, we can say that the author is not within the book as a person. However, his personality is in the book. The distinction between person and personality is between the two modalities of the same thing. The person is the individual and the personality is the universal. In principle, two individuals can have the same or similar personalities, but they would still not be identical persons. The uniqueness of each person is the individual modality and the commonality of personality is the universal modality. The personality enters the creation of the creator, but the person remains outside as the creator.

But for advanced or divine personalities, the author is also in the book as a person, although the author is not confined to a book. The books are thereby like mirrors that reflect the person and yet the person is also outside the mirror. By printing many copies of a book, the author is not replicated. But the author can speak to the reader in a very personal way. This is why people sometimes say “this book speaks to me in a special and intimate way”. This is because while reading, the mind of the reader and the author are connected, and the author communicates with the reader personally. Of course, this happens only with divine personalities, and only if we are reverent toward them.

Three Descriptions of Absolute Truth

The person or the personality present within something may be partial. All aspects of that person may not be revealed through every creation. This can be because the divine person speaks through a certain creation in a different way. Or, it can be that the personality of the author while authoring a creation was factually different, or perhaps an aspect of the whole personality.

This doctrine is presented in various Vedic texts as three conceptions of reality (or the Absolute Truth) called Brahman, Paramātma, and Bhagavān. Bhagavān is the speaker, Brahman is the speech, and Paramātma is the partial aspect of Bhagavān in the speech. The presence of Paramātma within the creation is the connection between the author and the speech: We can know the author’s personality from the speech. But the person that uttered the speech called the material world was in a distinct mood that constitutes a part of His complete personality. Hence, the Paramātma is also a partial aspect of Bhagavān. This universal personality in everything is also a person, and hence, the Paramātma is within all speech, and yet He is not confined to one utterance.

God as Order in Nature

All these claims can be summarized by saying that the Paramātma represents the order in nature. Order is in everything, but the order is not confined to one thing. That ordered nature is a part of Bhagavān. But Bhagavān also has an unordered nature, not exhibited by the Paramātma. The Paramātma delivers things based on what we deserve. But Bhagavān can deliver things that we don’t deserve and He also takes away things that we might deserve although He doesn’t want us to desire them. By breaking the rules of the order produced by the Paramātma, Bhagavān is unordered. But this is not necessarily bad; the devotees of the Lord love it. For those who don’t have love, Bhagavān doesn’t intervene. Then, Paramātma delivers things in an orderly manner.

Thus, whatever we call “order in nature” is not a mathematical law. And whatever we call “unordered” is not necessarily bad. Both are due to a person. The order and unorder, however, are due to different persons and personalities.

We have no problem in saying that order can exist within everything. But we have a serious problem in saying that a person is in everything. This is the effect of rampant materialism and impersonalism which makes us think that the idea apple can be present in all apples, and the order in nature can be present within each atom, but the person embodying that order cannot be present within everything. This materialism and impersonalism is also blindness because we can see some modalities but not others. A few things are revealed to us, while most of the other things remain hidden from our vision.

The Philosophy of Ritualism

Satkāryavāda vs. Arthavāda

Satkāryavāda is presented as a part of Sāñkhya and Arthavāda is presented as a part of Mīmāṃsā. These two philosophies are also modalities—seeing the effect in the cause vs. seeing the cause in the effect. We cannot see them simultaneously, although they are present simultaneously. We must take on different perspectives to see both realities. They are hence “complementary” realities seen from two different perspectives. This is true of every modality. Every single modality is a complementary perspective on reality.

Arthavāda is the counter to materialism and impersonalism. It says: God is one of the modalities of everything, quite like their shape, size, color, the distinction to other things, and their activities are other modalities. Quite like other modalities can be manifest more or less, similarly, the God-modality in everything can be manifest more or less. He is present, but hidden from us.

Use of Arthavāda in Religious Practices

Accordingly, some stone, wood, or metal can be “worshipped” as God, because the God-modality is manifest in it while the same God-modality is unmanifest in a chair, table, or pillar. God exists even in a pillar, and He can manifest from that pillar. But He isn’t ordinarily manifest in a pillar. On the other hand, God exists in metal, wood, and stone, and He is manifest in some metal, wood, and stone that has been specifically prepared by a process to have Him manifest.

The “installation” of a deity is a process to make the unmanifest form of God become manifest. Of course, that form is not manifest in the sense of qualities, activities, contrasts, and so forth. It is rather manifest as the awareness of everything that goes on in that place. But it can be manifest as other qualities and activities for those who have advanced perception to see what lies hidden, in the same way, that we can see a complete book hidden inside its title.

The Mīmāṃsā philosophy of Arthavāda or the “doctrine of meaning” is the cornerstone of all ritualistic practices, including the chanting of mantras, the worship of deities, the construction of temples, the printing of books, and the formation of organizations dedicated to all such ritualistic activities. These are not merely sound vibrations, pieces of metal or stone, structures of cement and bricks, agglomerations of paper and ink, or legalized fictional persons within modern constitutional frameworks. They are divine personalities that exist unmanifest in ordinary things but are manifest in ritual practices.

The effect of their manifestation is that the personality hidden from our vision will be revealed by associating with the sound of the mantra, the worship of the deity, being in the temple, reading the books, or working for the organization that assists mantra chanting, deity worship, temple construction, or book printing. As we associate with the mantra, deity, temple, books, or the organization, God is progressively revealed and we get closer to God.

Factually, God is in everything. But He is not revealed in everything equally. Associating with a table, bed, or chair is not the same as associating with a deity, Vedic text, temple, or mantra. The ritualistic process of spiritual advancement is accessible to everyone. Just chant the mantra, worship the deity, read the books, visit the temple, and work for an organization that sustains and advances these activities. But the philosophy underlying this ritualism—that converts it into a science—is not easily accessible to those imbued with materialism and impersonalism. It is indeed a difficult philosophy, in the present world predominated by materialism and impersonalism.

Descriptions of Non-Duality

Spiritual activities are also called kriya, which means they are meant for revelation and hiding. The difference is that through spiritual activities, the spiritual world is revealed and the material world is hidden. This is also gain and loss. However, the loss here doesn’t hurt us. We love this change.

Spiritual reality is called non-duality, which means that there is no law of loss and gain. Everything can be gained at once without any loss. You can eat your cake and have it too because even as eating the cake and having it are different modalities of the cake, they can be revealed at once. The cake is not hidden by the revelation of eating. Hence, eating is like not eating, and not eating is like eating. Such non-dualistic activities are called non-activity—akāra in Sanskrit. Related to it is the term akāraņa or causeless. When something is causeless, then there is no law. This spiritual reality is lawless in one sense, but not chaotic because chaos means a lot of loss for little gain. When everything is being gained with no loss, then the situation is lawless and yet not chaotic.

Going to the spiritual world is therefore described as “freedom from the laws of nature”. The law of nature is loss and gain. But if there is no loss and only gain, then there is no law in the ordinary sense of the word. And yet, there is no chaos. There is hence a difference between chaotic, ordered, and lawless realities. The lawless reality can also be called unordered because it is beyond the laws of loss and gain. Lawless in the material world means chaotic—more loss for little gain. But spiritually, lawless means beyond order.

The absence of the laws of loss and gain means when you see a person’s face, you can also see their back. When you see their body, you can also see their mind. When you hear them speak, you can also smell, taste, and see them. This is the cause of intense pleasures. Material pleasure involves one-by-one-sensation. Sensations are never simultaneous. Likewise, for everything gained, there is some loss. But spiritual pleasure is qualitatively different because it is simultaneously the pleasure of many sensations and without any loss. This is the technical meaning of non-duality. But it has to be experienced.

The Meaning of Non-Dual Experience

The soul can perceive pain and pleasure at once. That painful pleasure is inconceivable right now because we think that if pain exists then pleasure does not. Painful pleasure is better than pleasure, which is better than pain. Painful pleasure is mild, intense, sharp, smooth, agitating, soothing, cooling, and burning. There are infinite kinds of pleasures that combine ever more qualities at once. They can be combined in various orders, which constitutes their hierarchical nesting in infinite ways. As more opposites are combined, the pleasure changes. If someone can experience a fraction of this pleasure for even a moment, then they will forget everything about this world.

The materialist may call spiritual activities “motion” because for him there is no difference between material and spiritual activities. All such activities are “motion” for him. Therefore, we need the philosophy and science of revelation and hiding to unravel the difference between spiritual and material activities. By this philosophy, we can distinguish between dualistic and non-dualistic activities. The dualistic activity always hides as it reveals something else. The non-dualistic activity reveals more without hiding anything.

Bhagavad-Gita 2:40 states: nehābhikrama-nāśo ’sti pratyavāyo na vidyate, which means “in this sequence, the destruction does not exist and reduction is unknown”. It then states: svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt, which means “even a little bit of this dharma frees one from the greatest fear”. The term dharma can mean both guna and kriya. When it means kriya, then it denotes activities performed for spiritual advancement. But when it means guna, then it denotes the transcendental qualities experienced by the perfected soul. Thus, with a little sincere effort, one makes continuous progress and is freed from worldly anxieties. And upon perfection, a little experience of the non-dualistic pleasure destroys even the fear of anxiety.

Two Visions Through Two Goggles

Vedic philosophy requires an alternative way of thinking in which (a) vibration is not a wave, (b) activity is not a motion, (c) proximity is more revelation, distance is more hiding, (d) reality is inseparable, (e) everything is inside and outside, (f) the idea of separate things fragments knowledge into infinite departments comprising many blind men grappling with the elephant, (g) the idea of inseparability unifies all these departments into a single truth, (h) semantic reality involves complementary modes that exist simultaneously but alternate in prominence due to the effect of time, (i) semantic models are compressible, numerical models are not, (j) what seems very big exists inside something very small and can be expanded out of it, (k) due to this ability to compress and expand meanings, the gigantic material cosmos can emerge from a person as His speech, (l) while that speaker exists in everything manifested as speech, some speech is more suited to know Him than others, (m) those things that reveal Him more are the practices of spiritual elevation, (n) the process of revelation of one truth automatically hides the other truths, (o) the common theory of “motion” reconciles science with religion because the theory of the soul moving toward God is same as the theory of the body moving toward another body, (p) religion is no longer a product of faith, belief, or myth; it is based on an alternative idea of “motion”, and (q) by understanding the laws of duality and non-duality we can attain a state inconceivable right now.

The material and spiritual worlds are also modalities of God. They are not mutually exclusive either. The soul “falls” from the spiritual world when he sees the spiritual reality in terms of the material concepts of wave, motion, separation, dichotomies, numerosity, inside vs. outside, mutual exclusion, non-contradiction, and identity (the self being determined solely by the self). The soul is “freed” from the material world when he sees the material reality in terms of the spiritual concepts of inseparability, activity, meaning, inside and outside, complementarity and modality, revelation and hiding.

Spiritual and material are two different kinds of realities, but also two different goggles to perceive. The material and spiritual energies are divided into three modalities—the thing being seen, the power of seeing, and the goggles through which we see. These are respectively called prakṛti, śakti, and māyā. Prakṛti is the thing being seen, Śakti is the power by which it is seen, and Māyā is the goggles by which it is seen. The problem is that we can also see the goggles or the power of seeing! Thereby, we can say that there are three aspects of material and spiritual energies but we cannot separate them. They are at once one and different. They are just three ways of describing the same thing.

We can be covered by whichever goggles we like. There are hence two kinds of māyā, which constitute the spiritual and material goggles. We can perceive spiritual reality through material goggles, material reality through spiritual goggles, spiritual reality through spiritual goggles, and material reality through material goggles. Instead of the emphasis on going to the spiritual reality, there is always greater emphasis on changing the goggles. With the spiritual goggles, the material world is perfect. And with the material goggles, the spiritual world is imperfect. We can also remove all goggles and not see anything (other than the self). We can also go to sleep, and not even perceive the self. Of course, ideally, all our endeavors should be focused on changing the goggles. It is not removing all goggles (impersonalism). And it is not wearing arbitrary goggles (materialism). That change is activity, but it is not a motion.

Contrasts to Alternative Ideologies

Can We Reconcile Science and Religion?

Prevalence of Materialism in Religion

Many people are presently trying to reconcile modern science with Vedic philosophy as if they were two kinds of truth. There are attempts to construct mathematical models of the three qualities of nature, the five elements of sense perception, and the placement of planets in Vedic cosmology. People love subtracting and adding numbers, constructing formulae and equations, and computing sine and cosine of angles. But they consider the discussion of inseparability, non-duality, modalities, conceptual realism, qualities and activities, alternative ideas of distance and duration, revelation and hiding, or speaker, speaking, and speech as unscientific. In their worldview, the world is many separate things and differential equations have to be used to compute the rate of change of one quantitative variable relative to the other.

This is an example of materialism. We are unable to shake off our attachment to modern science. It may not be this or that formula, but it must be some formula. Nature has to be governed by formulas because nature cannot be governed by persons. Likewise, nature cannot be self-governed like a person with free will, because nature has no will. This is materialism and impersonalism within religious people. It becomes visible the moment they begin talking about science. Their immediate instinct is to convert material nature into an impersonal, unconscious, and substantive entity. But their attempts to reconcile science with religion are futile endeavors to reconcile truth with falsity. Its contradictions will make the endeavor futile.

Two Conceptions of Whole and Part

We have to realize that things can be counted only if they can be separated. If the guiding principle of philosophy is inseparability as a whole and part, then the ideology of counting doesn’t apply. If we don’t understand whole and part, then we can consider mind and thought—(a) thought is a part of the mind, (b) mind can exist without thought, (c) thought cannot exist without mind, (d) when thought exists, the mind is the thought, (e) however, because thought may not exist, the thought is not the mind, (f) the mind manifests the thought, (g) the thought earlier existed unmanifested within the mind, (h) the thought is one of the many parts of the mind, and (i) the mind is the summary of many thoughts.

The problem at present is that our metaphor for whole and part is set and object rather than mind and thought. Under this model of whole and part, the following claims can be made—(a) object is a part of set, (b) set can exist without object, (c) object cannot exist without the set, (d) when object exists, the set is the object, (e) however, because object may not exist, the object is not the set, (f) the set manifests the object, (g) the object earlier existed unmanifested within the set, (h) the object is one of the many parts of the set, and (i) the set is the summary of many objects. Note the claims that have been stricken through. These claims could be made when the whole and part are mind and thought. But they cannot be made if whole and part are sets and objects. This is why the set and object model is futile for a mind-like reality. Since number theory rests upon the above set theory, therefore, numbers cannot be employed.

Distinct Models of Spirit and Matter

Materialistic thinking is sets and objects. Spiritual thinking is mind and thought. It is not inconceivable—because everyone has a mind—but of course, we must want to use it. It is inconceivable if our metaphor for whole and part is set and object. This is also why we need semantics: Change the metaphor for whole and part from a set and object to mind and thought. Of course, it will contradict set theory, number theory, binary logic, and other ideas based on this foundation including space, time, change, causality, and law. But since everyone has a mind, hence everyone can understand it. If Descartes can model science after res extensa then why can’t we model science after res cogitans?

On the other hand, if we are hell-bent on modeling reality after res extensa then why do we need to unify religion and science? They have already been separated as private and public, mind and body. So, how are we going to unify that which has remained separated—and that separation is the cornerstone of modern science? The answer is simple: Throw away res extensa. It is not required. Just use res cogitans. All the claims made for sets and objects are also made for mind and thought. However, all the claims made for mind and thought cannot be made for sets and objects. By shifting from res extensa to res cogitans, we are not losing any of the claims. We are simply going to add more claims. Of course, we will have to rejig all these claims in a new way, such as the law of activity vs. the law of motion and alternative ideas of laws.

We have to think of reality in terms of qualities—which is another guiding principle of Vedic philosophy. Quality thinking is exactly the thinking about the mind and thought. It also involves wholes and parts. But they are not sets and objects, and the construction of arithmetic that follows from it. The rules of arithmetic, namely, the associative, distributive, and commutative properties of number addition do not apply to quality combinations for many reasons. First, the order of addition is extremely important with qualities. Second, the overlap between qualities is important to decide the outcome of additions. Third, the result of quality additions always produces something in between the added qualities. All rules of number addition break down if we talk about quality addition. If the fundamental ideas of number addition do not apply to the worldview of qualities, then any attempt to reconcile these two descriptions is not just futile, but also begs the question if we performed a feasibility study.

Flawed Attempts to Explain Origins

As we have noted, the quantity universe cannot be compressed. The assumption in the theories of black holes (which claim to compress matter) is the uniformity of the cosmos. We can compress a file of all 0s because it is uniform. But what is the basis of assuming uniformity when no two people are alike, no two oranges are identical, and no two roses look the same? All theories of modern science are also indeterministic, which implies infinite possible energy distributions in the universe. Those include the most homogeneous, the most inhomogeneous, and everything in between. The assumption of uniformity now begs for a miracle in science—namely, that infinite distributions of energy are possible but only the most homogeneous distribution is real. The miracle involves reducing infinity to one. Sometimes you need a miracle to solve all your problems. It can be the unlikeliest of miracles. Science is not immune to the desire for miracles.

When a quantitative reality cannot be compressed, then the universe cannot have an origin. The universe can only be infinite and eternal. That infinite and eternal universe must have produced life through chance and mutation infinite time ago because the process began infinite time ago. Hence, any discussion about the age of the universe or the life on a planet is meaningless.

These are the implications of using quantities. But by adding miraculous assumptions—e.g., that the universe is uniform—science talks about the origin of the universe and life in it. Science has crafted these miracles in obscure language, and the public cannot grasp their implications. They read about religious miracles in plain English and they question them. But what would you do if those miracles were written in a language that you could not read or understand? You would never question them. You would put your faith in the person who postulated those miracles in an obscure language. Access to printed books is futile if people are unable to read what is written in all such books.

True Conversations on Origins

The question of the origin of the universe, and the age of the universe, requires infinite compression and a trigger to uncompress it. That is only possible with a semantic reality. It requires a speaker, the power of speaking, and speech. The speech can be highly compressed like “I am” expanding into numerous attributes of “I am”, or the title of a book expanding into a book.

You might say: Assuming God is postulating a miracle. Yes, we can accept that. But what is your alternative approach? Aren’t you also postulating a miracle of uniformity contrary to evidence? Then, you can also look at the other benefits of semanticism, such as the explanation of all inseparable phenomena. Would you rather postulate numerous unique theories for each of those, which will then add many other assumptions that would in turn be also miraculous? Or would you prefer the one miracle of a Supreme Person, who, by the way, is in many ways just like each of us, and by a suitable process can be perceived in ways somewhat similar to how we perceive the world around us?

Our choices never disappear. The choices can be judged as rational or irrational, righteous or immoral, and beneficent or harmful. But that judgment will not eliminate choice. Thus, in an ultimate sense, theism or atheism is a choice. We can show that atheism is an irrational, immoral, and harmful choice. But that is where the conversation ends. One has to want to make a rational, righteous, and beneficent choice. If we don’t make such choices, then we also reveal the absence of critical thinking, the immorality of character, and ignorance of self-interest. However, that is still a choice we can make.

Why is Science-Religion Debate Hard

The analysis of the fundamental assumptions in science and religion requires a lot of deep thinking, a commitment of time, and effort. We have to know the fundamental assumptions of both systems, examine their differences, and evaluate them based on their truthfulness, rightness, and goodness.

The problem wasn’t this serious in earlier times. For example, if you had to conduct a debate between Islam and Christianity, you had to just read two books—the Bible and the Koran. If Hindus debated Buddhists, it was based not on any of their texts, but only on questions about the nature of the mind. You did not have to discuss cosmology, the nature of space, time, causality, the laws of motion, and so forth. But if we have to do a science-religion comparison today, then we have to know a lot about modern science and a lot about Vedic philosophy to answer the challenges being presented by the opponents.

The problem is harder, and the capacities of people to solve it are lower. It requires greater commitment, breadth and depth, effort, and time on an occasion when the readiness and capacity for these are declining. But if we are unprepared for it and substitute it with the cheaper solution of adding and subtracting numbers, calculating sine and cosine of angles, and formulating imaginary and futile equations, then the result will also be nothing of any value.

Diluting the Truth Doesn’t Work

Today’s audience cannot appreciate breadth and depth because they have never seen it before. They have no point of reference to compare it with. Their science education taught them how to memorize a few formulas. You don’t need intelligence to do that. You just need memory. So, how can they appreciate something they have never seen? But the inability of the audience to appreciate a broad and deep truth doesn’t mean we should narrow it and shallow it.

We can put up a shop to sell diamonds, but there may be no one with the pockets to buy them. People look at each other to check if someone bought the diamond. But the answer to that bootstrapping problem is not to sell shiny glass pieces. It is to keep the shop of diamonds open at a personal cost, and hope that some people will eventually have the pockets to buy them. Of course, hope is not a strategy. It is not even a plan. But in lieu of another viable strategy and plan, it is the only strategy and plan. If we are not convinced of the value of our diamonds, nobody else will have the conviction in them.

In so many ways, we can argue for diluting the truth. It increases popularity. It attracts people. It gives them the semblance of effort and activity. But a car can spin its wheels without moving forward. To me, an inch of forward movement is better than the wheels burning gasoline without moving forward. Thus, I’m not convinced by any of the arguments in support of diluting the truth. I may be alone, and people might say that we should encourage rather than discourage people. But I would like to hold myself to a stricter standard. I cannot enforce it on anyone, and I don’t try to. After all, there is a choice. We can talk about what is rational, righteous, and beneficent, but we cannot force it.

The Beginning of Useful Conversations

The process of creation is called “expansion”. Śrila Prabhupāda uses this term countless times in His books. Many forms of God “expand” from the original form. The universe “expands” from one form. The spiritual world is “expanded” from the form of the Lord. If the term “expansion” hasn’t been used, then it would be the other term “manifest”. God “manifests” many forms. God “manifests” the universe from Himself. God “manifests” the spiritual world.

If we don’t begin with terms like “expansion” and “manifestation” then our work is disconnected from Vedic philosophy. We can seek comfort in numbers, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus, but we can never understand Vedic philosophy because numbers don’t expand or contract. Only repetitive numbers can be expanded or compressed. For this repetition to exist, the universe must also have zero variety (i.e., uniformity) for any kind of numerical compression and expansion. That uniformity is contrary to observation and all quantity theories we can formulate. Hence there is neither a rational nor an empirical basis for supposing that the universe is uniform. The only solution to the problem of the origin and the age of the universe is expansion and manifestation. However, these concepts can never be understood in terms of any quantity science. That is the end of quantity science if we have critical thinking to analyze its problems and take them to their logical conclusions.

Quantity Thinking and Impersonalism

Impersonalism as a Quantity Problem

God is actually infinite. And yet, He is so small as to fit into the arms of His mother. When He appears in this world in His original form, He is, more or less, the same “size” as ordinary humans. The most basic and simple question for anyone who wants to breach the science-religion divide is to ask how God’s infinite nature can be reconciled with His seemingly finite form. Impersonalists rejected personalism precisely because they thought that the infinite cannot be reduced to finite size and form. The deity of the Lord, or the Lord’s form, cannot be the whole truth because the whole truth is infinite. Any attempt to finitize this infinity must be false, a limitation on the infinite, and hence the product of illusion. We just need to know the essence of impersonalism to recognize the problem. If the Lord is finite, then He cannot be the cause of the infinite universe. If He is infinite, then He cannot have a finite form.

Impersonalism cannot be defeated without a response to this problem. And there is no response to this problem in quantitative thinking. We cannot compress a huge file of numbers if that file is infinitely diverse, unpredictable, and non-repeating. Therefore, the universe cannot have an origin in the form of God. It can only originate in an infinite Brahman, which must not have any form. Impersonalism, along with the conflict between finite and infinite, is a philosophy alien to the Vedic tradition due to its use of quantification.

In all forms of impersonalism, matter is inert, substantive, and unconscious. In all such forms, matter is also quantitatively infinite. Finally, in all such forms, persons are quantitatively finite. There is no quality thinking. This is why quantity thinking is impersonalism, and impersonalism is quantity thinking. All the supposed talk of Brahman and spirit is no more than a charade because that Brahman is quantitatively infinite. That means even Brahman comprising the qualities of sat-chit-ānanda is an infinite quantity. Converting that infinite quantity into a person involves the paradoxes of compression—How could the infinite source of everything be compressed into a finite form and size? Since that infinite quantity cannot be compressed into a finite quantity, therefore, consciousness can never be a person. From this, it follows that any individuality and personality is necessarily an illusory byproduct of matter.

Quality Answer to the Quantity Problem

Philosophy in India had declined to a point that people could not provide a counterargument to this quantitative argument. That counterargument is Sāñkhya philosophy in which nature is described as qualities. Advaita did not contend with Sāñkhya. It only contended with Mīmāṃsā, but even their practitioners were performing rituals and had forgotten the philosophy of Arthavāda. Advaita “won” over others because the ideas of quality, inseparability, and meaning had been lost. It redefined the term non-duality as “oneness”, and the rest, as we know, is a history of continuous decline.

The three qualities of material nature are inseparable. We cannot define sattva, rajas, and tamas in isolation. They are defined mutually through a contrast—in the same way, that hot and cold are defined mutually by a contrast. Due to this contrast, each quality “contains” the other qualities in a hidden or unmanifest form, which then “contain” the previous qualities in a hidden or unmanifest form, and due to the infinite recursion of this “containment” within each other, infinite variety can be created. Every quality is inside and outside others.

But this variety is created only when the hidden and unmanifest become visible and manifest. The universe starts shrinking—we can call it compression—as the contained qualities are unmanifest. The Śrīmad Bhagavatam describes the process of this annihilation as follows—earth merges into water, water merges into fire, fire merges into air, which then merges into ether, which then merges into the mind, and this process continues until there are just the original three qualities. These three qualities then merge into Śakti, who merges within Lord Śiva. During creation, Lord Śiva manifests Śakti, who manifests the three qualities, and the universe proceeds successively from there.

Therefore, quantities are the justification of impersonalism while qualities are the justification for personalism. We cannot marry qualities with quantities like we cannot marry personalism and impersonalism. If a personalist approach to soul and God accepts the impersonalism of science, then there would be a natural science-religion conflict, numerous contradictions between the two, followed by an endless struggle to resolve those contradictions, which in principle can never be resolved. The result will either be impersonalism all the way or personalism all the way. We can make that choice now or later. We can also show which choice is true, right, and good. But it is a choice.

The Origins of Mathematics

The Advent of Temples in India

What we call mathematics today originated a few thousand years ago in India as useful tools to construct temples. The little-known fact today is that temple construction was not a practice in ancient India because everyone worshipped the deity at home. Deity worship is prescribed as a regulation for the Grihastha. By that practice, their home becomes a home for the Lord. Every household had a temple at home (which is still a practice in many households in India) and a Grihastha was required to worship the deity every day. At least one person was designated for that worship. It was generally the head of the household, the oldest person in the household, or spiritually the senior most. If the deity is necessarily worshipped in every household, and worshipping the deity at home is sufficient, then there is no need for public temples because household worship is both necessary and sufficient. For these reasons, temples were never constructed in ancient India. They are only recent phenomena.

The āśraṃa system (i.e., four stages of life) also disincentivized temple construction. The Brahmacharis were in the guru’s school, the Grihasthas worshipped the deity at home, the Vānaprastha renounced the home to live in forests, and the Sannyasis never stayed in one place for more than three days. This means three out of the four stages of life were unsuited for temple worship. Only Grihasthas could do it. And because they were necessarily doing it at home, and such worship was sufficient, hence temples were not built.

We don’t have old historical records of temple construction or temples being very important in India. Temples came into prominence after the dawn of Kali-yuga (about 5000 years ago) when the Grihasthas stopped the regulatory practice of deity worship at home. They still wanted to visit the temple, watch the deity being worshipped, and observe sacred days, but occasionally. This is still the practice in India for many. They don’t worship the deity at home, although the deity may be there. They might also do simple activities at home and leave most of the elaborate activities to the visit to the temple. Thus, temples appeared in India as alternatives for the Grihastha who could not worship the deity at home every day. They needed someone else to worship the deity publicly, which they could visit sometimes to offer their respects.

The Invention of Sacred Geometry

Kings also paid attention to the construction of temples because they were now “public places” like roads, drainages, water supplies, parks, and so on. It was a matter of great prestige for a king to build a big temple. Thereby, cities were organized around temples, and the principles of city architecture were adjusted to accommodate the temple. The inflow of water from a river, the outflow of water into sewage, where the water had to be stored in a reservoir, and where the gardens had to be, are all very important aspects of a city. City planning is always required. But city planning takes on an additional layer of complexity when the Supreme Lord comes to live in a certain part of the city. It is given extra attention because it is now the city of the Lord. It is designed suited to the Lord’s nature. Different deities have different natures. City planning must take into account the Lord’s nature to create a city for His living. Architecture, therefore, became a sacred activity due to temple construction.

This sacred architecture required geometry, algebra, number theory, and astronomy because the temples were positioned after consideration of planetary orbits and demigods. For example, there are many temples where the first rays of the sun in the morning enter the temple before anyplace else. Well-designed cities like Hastinapur and Dwāraka were constructed by the demigod Vishwakarma. The responsibility of temple and city architecture fell onto the shoulders of kings and artisans in Kali-yuga. Mathematics was invented for this.

The sacred architecture was practiced by advanced masons with the support of the kings. Masons are called Sudras in the Varṇāśrama system. This is not a bad word. It denotes people who work with inanimate objects. Vaiśyas work with crops and animals, Kshatriyas manage humans, and the Brahmanas focus on the superhuman. Masonry principles of the Sudras can be applied to inanimate things. However, they don’t apply to plants and animals, humans, or the superhuman. It is not an insult to call mathematics a Sudra invention. It is indeed a fact if we properly understand and recognize the vocations of the four classes and the kinds of activities that they were preoccupied with. Mathematics is not the “queen of the sciences” as far as the Vedic civilization is concerned.

The Meaning of Sacred Geometry

Under sacred geometry, a temple pictures the cosmos within. This is, of course, not unique to temples. The whole universe is pictured even in an apple, although it is not visible. Temples make that picture visible and explicit. The universe is inside the temple as a map and outside it as a terrain. This is the principle of sacredness. The whole truth is inside every partial truth. If we can see it, then it is sacred. That which reveals the whole truth is more sacred. As long as such basic principles are upheld, geometry remains sacred.

We can place the map of the universe at the Lord’s feet to show that He is above the universe. We can depict the map on the outer walls of the temple to show that the Lord is inside and the world is outside but the Lord is at the center of the world. We can draw this map upon the boundaries of the temple to show that He is separate from the universe although still within it. We can create a model of the universe separate from the main temple to show that His homes of true love and true egoism are different from the home of false egoism. Based on our ecstacies of devotion, we can change the temple architecture.

However, by such architecture, many ecstasies are excluded. For instance, if the home of true love is separate from the home of false ego, then the Lord is not inside the material world. He is only outside. Sacred architectures limit the conception of truth. Hence, they are not the complete truth. Different forms of the Lord reciprocate different ecstacies. Hence, the temples of the different forms of the Lord are also different. The complete scientific principle of sacred architecture is that the Lord lives inside and outside His creation. However, we can only capture one of the many modalities of inside and outside in one architecture. Other modalities are excluded in such architectures.

Sacred Geometry and Western Masonry

The knowledge of masonry traveled to various parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa through trade routes, travelers to India, and intellectual exchanges. This played an important role in the construction of pyramids, cathedrals, temples, and monasteries in different parts of the world. Mathematics in masonry was married to astrology, deities, and demigods. The ancient system of demigod worship in India also spread to various parts of the world through similar channels. But disconnected from the science of the personalization of nature, they remained practices without a theory and are called “mythology”.

After the dawn of Christianity in Europe, masonry was persecuted as paganism. The masons could either preserve masonry or die. Many of them were killed. Many destroyed the knowledge of masonry to survive the day. Many modified the knowledge to escape persecution. And many formed secret societies to preserve it. They were often compelled to sever their connections to historical sources, astrology, deities, and demigods, to avoid persecution from the Church. They removed from their art and ideology almost everything that could be directly accused of paganism or foreign non-Christian influences. This is true not just of masonry but of any remnants of pagan beliefs in Europe.

At the dawn of the Protestant Reformation, masons were “freed” from legal persecution. They could meet and teach their ideas. But legal freedom did not mean that masonry was embraced. Discrimination against religions, races, cultures, and ideologies can exist even if the laws of a nation enshrine their equality. De jure is not de facto. The end of persecution is not the beginning of approval. There were other methods to suppress, marginalize, discourage, or hinder masonry. All these “freed” masons were known as Freemasons and their practices were Freemasonry. But the secret societies continued.

One of the adverse effects of freeing masonry was that it started losing its purity. Religion exists in sattva, rajas, and tamas. The religion of sattva teaches detachment to obtain liberation from the world. The religion of rajas says that one gets detached after honest enjoyment. The religion of tamas says that one gets detached after decadent enjoyment. Then there are religions that remove detachment, and one is just left with honest and decadent pleasures. Then one can remove honest enjoyment and would be left with decadent pleasures. This is the path of progressive decline. After a point, it may not even be called a religion, and yet, it has a religious origin. This is the effect of “freedom”. Freemasonry is different today than it was before its “freedom”.

From Masonry to Modern Science

Abuse and Misuse of Masonry Principles

Newton was a Freemason. He studied astronomy, algebra, geometry, and architecture from masonry texts. However, given the prevailing atmosphere of discrimination, Newton burned the early drafts of Principia—the book that describes his mechanics—to hide its connections to masonry. He wrote: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” However, he never identified those “giants”. They remained unnamed and unacknowledged. Many of his attempts to marry masonry to Christianity were burned by his heirs. And what remained, was locked into secrecy by the British government for nearly 300 years. Freemasonry wasn’t free. It was suppressed and discriminated against, but its ideas were reused and rebranded and found a place in society with a new nomenclature and a different purpose.

Newton may have thought that he was doing a public service by such rebranding because society would otherwise not accept it. He would be accused of relying on erstwhile pagan sources to advance modern scientific knowledge. Hence, he had to convert the masonry sacred architecture into secular astronomy. The result was the divorce between astronomy and astrology, and the sacred became mundane. Secular mathematics grew by leaps and bounds in Europe after that, while sacred geometry died in India (after it had traveled elsewhere), due to foreign invasions, the destruction of temples, cessation of temple construction, and the joblessness of masons who had practiced advanced mathematics before the invasions. Indians never thought that mathematics was of importance for anything except temple construction.

The historical links between sacred geometry and modern science have been obscured due to: (a) masons forming secret societies and severing the connection to the source of their knowledge to avoid Christian persecution, (b) Newton burning the early drafts of his work on mechanics that were either borrowed from or inspired by masonry sources, (c) the burning of many writings by heirs and (d) almost 300 years of secrecy on the surviving material. We don’t know what happened to the evidence during that secretive period.

All these things point to the inability of the Europeans to accept and integrate anything foreign to their culture and thinking, even when it was useful. Europe had to maintain the belief that Europeans were superior to everyone else. Knowledge from other sources had to be disaggregated, reformulated, and rebranded to make it seem like a European invention. The true sources of knowledge had to be destroyed because acknowledging them would hurt their assumed superiority. At present, connections between Indian mathematics and modern science are speculated based on the discovery of Indian texts dating centuries prior to the appearance of the same ideas in Europe. But all Western historical records that might have traced this connection directly are gone. The history of modern science has been obscured by this destruction.

Value in the History of Science

I am rarely a fan of history because (a) it is rewritten by victors to suit their agendas, (b) absence of evidence is equated to evidence of absence, (c) the dating of the collected data is fraught with difficulties, (d) even if we have all the data, we still don’t know how to connect it into cause and effect sequences because there are infinite possible connections, and (e) there is no theory of history that tells us which of the cause-effect connections is more likely, when and where, to rule out erroneous cause and effect connections.

But the history of modern science is important to me for only one reason: The West does not “own” science. They do not get to define the assumptions of science, its prospective methods, or what constitutes a legitimate form of evidence for scientific discourse. You can steal someone else’s land, erect a monument on it using resources on that land, and call it your property. But it is not your property if the resources were prior “owned” by others.

Of course, I don’t think anyone owns anything; ideas even less so; ideas exist eternally, and are discovered. If useful to others, they can be shared. The truth must be shared for everyone’s benefit. All useful and truthful ideas should be freely globalized for the benefit of all. However, my gracious or generous viewpoint will not alter the fact that the present “owners” of modern science claim exclusive propriety over it. They don’t want any alternative version of science, because they believe they invented it, they own it, and they shall control it. This false belief has to be corrected by pointing out the true history of science. History is important to me only for sake of that correction.

Those who pretend to own science must be shown the truth about science, namely, that it was stolen, but even more importantly, the source material was used to construct an edifice that was (and is) then employed for attacking the true “owners” it came from. That is like a man stealing land, building a garrison on it, and using it to shoot the people from whom he stole the land in order to preclude them from participating in the conversation about why the garrison is a bad idea, how it should be modified, and used for everyone’s benefit.

The conversation about history does not end with history. It is just the beginning. It progresses into what it was before modernity, why the subsequent modifications can sometimes be useful although they are never true (more on this shortly), and given the limits on the usefulness of the non-truth, how non-truth must be used carefully. This conversation will not start unless we tell the true history. But we need to tell the history not to claim propriety; only to demonstrate the limitations of the modifications of those stolen ideas.

Qualities vs. Quantities

Masonry constructed buildings from separated bricks. However, we cannot treat everything in nature as separate bricks. The sounds of music can collectively represent seasons, life events, and times of the day, but the individual sounds cannot. The collection of colors and shapes can produce visual illusions but the separated things do not. A cohesive team can do much more than the sum of the work done by separated individuals. A combination of spices and condiments produces quite different medical effects than those things separately. The order of words creates additional meanings in sentences which change if we alter the order of those words. Even the effect of architecture on the mind and health of a person cannot be explained by geometry. The idea of separated bricks applies to some extent to inanimate things. However, it does not apply to plants, animals, humans, or the superhuman. If this fact is known, then the place of mathematics is known.

The combination of qualities can produce a fundamentally new quality. But the sum of quantities just produces a large amount of that quantity. For instance, if you add two blocks of 5 kilograms, you will get a block of 10 kilograms. But you will not get a new property like charge, temperature, or speed. The sum of quantities is always a bigger quantity and never an additional quality. Therefore, scientists are compelled to postulate ever new properties like “color”, “charm”, and “spin” because they run out of a valid explanation of why something is not behaving merely as the sum of two quantities and requires a new quality. But this problem is unsolvable by this method because there are infinite qualities produced by the combination of three qualities. Each quality is a unique dimension and not just a value. A science of quantities is infinitely incomplete because completeness requires infinite different qualities.

The Limitations of Mathematical Usefulness

Mathematics can be used for those times, places, situations, and persons that are separable like bricks to a high degree of approximation. When the memories of the past and the goals for the future do not affect the movements in the present, then we can say that past, present, and future are separate moments in time. When things happening in a country, city, or street do not affect the things happening in our home (and vice versa) disproportionately and asymmetrically, then we can say these locations are separate places in space. When the judgments of the courts made for one situation are not taken as precedents to be reapplied to the other situations, then we can say that these are separate situations. When the moods of one person do not change the moods of another person, then we can say that these are separate persons. There are rare scenarios in which such separation can be useful to a high degree of approximation. But these cannot be called universal truths.

When we count people, we think they are separable. However, if the problems of one person were problems of all other persons, then we could not say that only one person has problems. If the happiness of one person was everyone else’s happiness, then we could not say that only one person is happy. If food for one person was food for every person, then we could say that only one person has food. Then, whatever we considered separable becomes inseparable. But if every person lives for themselves, then counting seems quite useful.

There is a general principle about truth and its attributes that often leads to confusion. For instance, the truth can be perceived, but all that is perceived is not true. Truth is powerful, but everything powerful is not true. Truth is beautiful, but everything beautiful is not true. The truth is useful, but everything useful is not true. This is due to modalities. When we perceive the truth, we don’t see its power, beauty, or usefulness since they are the other modalities. They are not identical to truth; they are adjectives and verbs of the truth. The truth is the noun. Beauty, power, and usefulness are distinct from the truth as nouns. But they can be the adjectives or verbs of the truth, which is when they are inseparable from it. Since beauty, power, and use can exist as nouns, without being adjectives or verbs of truth, therefore, all that is beauty, power, and use is not always the truth. This is when we can say that all that is true is useful, however, all that is useful is not necessarily true.

The Conversion of Usefulness to Truth

Mathematics makes separation a universal truth, although it is always an approximation at best. Hence, mathematics is always false, even if it is useful. Modern “scientists” elevated the useful to the truth and then converted it into the only truth. Newton converted sacred geometry into secular geometry. Descartes elevated secular geometry to the truth. Locke made geometric truth the sole criterion of truth. Hume called mathematics a priori truth, while the world’s facts were a posteriori. The a priori truth is logically true in all possible worlds but the a posteriori truth is an accident of this world. Whatever is an accident of this world must be subordinated to that which is true in all possible worlds. Thereby, the stage was set to subordinate all qualities to quantities. Numbers, instruments, and measurements were friends of science, while sense perception, mental intuition, and emotional empathy were the enemies.

If you felt empathy for plants or animals while doing experiments on them, then you could not be a scientist. A doctor must not feel empathy for a patient. He must look at the patient objectively. You have to emotionally detach yourself from the world to do science. The world is not sacred. Sacredness may belong to the human soul and God but we don’t know. By the sustained application of objective thinking, a person loses the discrimination between the inanimate, plants, animals, and humans, and rejects the existence of the superhuman.

This is how separation destroys all four classes, namely, Sudras, Vaiśyas, Kshatriyas, and Brahmanas. We cannot discuss sacred geometry. There is no compassion toward plants or animals. Humans are not divine beings; they are also animals; they must be manipulated, controlled, and enslaved by the rulers for their gains. Professors in colleges teach that there is no superhuman in charge of the world because the universe came out of the Big Bang (despite their inability to compress a diverse reality infinitely), humans evolved from a chemical soup over billions of years (despite their inability to explain abiogenesis), while morality and happiness are whatever you want them to be (despite the fact that moral relativism leads to societal strife). The workers, businessmen, rulers, and academics still exist. But they are not Sudras, Vaiśyas, Kshatriyas, or Brahmanas. Society is clueless about the truth, right, or good.

The Urgency of the Vedic Message

The Perversity of Modern Science

We can stand at a train station and observe the arrival and departure of trains to construct a train timetable. Then we can summarize this timetable using a mathematical equation and call it the “law of the trains”. That law has no truth to it because the trains are working due to the diligence of the drivers and station masters. But so long as the drivers and station masters work diligently, the trains run on time, and the law works. That doesn’t mean that the trains run on time because of the law. Factually, nobody can show us the computer in which this law is computed, how the results of computation are distributed to the trains, to make them run on time. That is because there is no computer, no distribution, and no law. The people running the trains are diligent, which is why the law upholds. The law merely takes credit for such diligence.

In the same way, the universe is governed by diligent demigods working under the supervision of Lord Viṣṇu. They are the drivers and station masters that ensure that things work properly. Meanwhile, the secular scientist draws up a timetable, summarizes it into a mathematical equation, and claims it to be the law of nature. He cannot point out where these laws are computed and how the results of computation are distributed to each thing to make them work as predicted by the law. But he never accepts his shortcomings. Emboldened by his success, he proceeds to deny the existence of governing powers as the cause of order in nature. When ignorance marries hubris, then stupidity is born.

Americans christened modern science “Pragmatism”. It doesn’t matter if our laws depict reality or not. The pursuit of truth is not our goal. Our goal is only to formulate predictive laws. Well, then you have thousands of phenomena of inseparability that cannot be described using mathematical laws. Doesn’t your pragmatism tell you to reject the methodological commitment to mathematical laws—because it is not viable for inseparable phenomena? Can there not be alternative models of reality that describe inseparability in other ways?

The response is acerbic: We shall designate any alternative way of thinking “pseudo-science”. We cannot win, but we will not let anyone else play. By ensuring that nobody else can play, we will be declared winners in the eyes of the public. This assumed victory by denying competition an opportunity to play is the true face of modern science. It bends the rules of the game to favor one opponent over another to an extent that according to the rules of the game no other type of player is even allowed to play. Meanwhile, the public is so ignorant that it pays to watch a game and claps for victors without competition.

Sense perception qualities are out. Introspection is out. Meditation is out of the question. Unity of ideas is not a criterion for science. Everyone is free to speculate on the nature of reality in their way since freedom of speech is a birthright. Model incompleteness is not a problem. Contradictions between various models are not a problem. Never mind that we have never been able to articulate a method of science. Just keep paying us to do whatever we do. We are self-governed. We are good people. We always do the right thing. Without us, you will be nowhere. Scientists keep changing the rules of the game to justify their participation in the game while preventing anyone else from playing. The Brahmanas who were supposed to have the highest character and integrity and who selflessly pursued the truth above all else have been replaced by scientists who prioritize their personal benefits above everything else.

The Path of Progressive Decline

There are dozens of ways to grasp the fatal flaws in modern science. There are dozens of ways to grasp the irrefutability of Vedic philosophy and science. You can find all these ways via books, articles, videos, and answers posted on this website. The problem is not the absence of evidence. The problem is the kind of evidence we are seeking, namely, the availability of predictive formulas and technologies that modern science has accustomed us to. People don’t want to introspect. They don’t want to analyze the necessary complexity before coming to the conclusion about truth, right, and good. Just give them gadgets they can enjoy, and they will let you do whatever else you plan on doing. We have ourselves defined the rules of the game of science in such a way that any other type of science is naturally precluded even from participation.

This science, however, has a limited shelf-life due to the law of diminishing returns. The law of the trains is quite useful. But if we extend this type of law to flights, then the results may not be as accurate. If we extend this law to trams and buses, then the results will even less accurate. If we extend this law to cars and bicycles, then we can only get probabilities. Finally, if we extend this law to joggers, then the law will not work at all because the joggers will not come to jog during the winters and come out to jog only during the summers.

This is a crude example of the nature of diminishing returns. It applies to all falsities. The falsity seems true initially. Over time, the value of this falsity decreases, until it crosses into the useless category. Over the longer term, the forced application of falsity becomes harmful. The basic principle of falsity is that it cannot be extended to other domains. Hence, every domain requires a different type of falsity that seems like the truth for that domain until we discover its nuances. All these false claims of the different departments are the blind men calling the elephant a sphere, cylinder, and plane. None of it is true. But if you cannot see the elephant, you can say: This works for me, so what is the harm? The answer is: You can wait until the lies start hurting you.

Everyone will see the decline of science as money, time, and effort poured into science produces fewer returns. They will find scientists cherry-picking data to justify their claims. Scientists will conduct experiments until they find what they are looking for. All other data will remain unpublished. Self-selection of speculative theories and empirical data will make science useless.

The harmful effects of science on non-scientists will also become more prominent as people embrace increasing materialism, consumerism, and liberalism—the society will be torn apart by conflicts and devoid of any consensus on how to determine the truth because there will be a million blind men talking about their own version of the elephant. The voices of those with fuller vision will be drowned by the increasingly noisy claims of the blind men.

The progressive decline from theism goes as follows—(a) theism is true and useful, (b) sacred geometry is useful but not true, (c) truth is rejected, usefulness is elevated, and useful lies proliferate, (d) lies become useless over time, and (e) the useless lies become harmful lies over time. By the time we reach the end, whatever we call “science” is neither true nor useful. It was, of course, never true. But it was useful, which enabled its existence. When that disappears, “science” dies. Then we are left with no method to decide anything because our chosen methods are neither true nor useful.

But everyone need not wait until complete decadence. We don’t have to start digging a well after the house is already on fire. That digging may not be useful in putting out the fire and preventing the houses from being burned down. Those who can dig earlier will be able to save some of the houses from being burnt down. That can include your own house. That digging of the well is diving deeper into Vedic philosophy. The water of the truth that comes out through this digging can extinguish any fire. That is your real self-interest.

The Truth Stays Unchanged

Vedic philosophy has so far been kept away from all political, economic, and sociological forces. None of the Vedic texts were modified to suit the current political scenario over thousands of years. A few mistakes did creep into texts as they were copied from handwritten copies over centuries. But they have been corrected by looking at other copies of the handwritten copies. Those minor corrections are nothing compared to the rampant changes to scriptures and doctrines in other religions based on their prevailing political, economic, and sociological forces. This is a testament to the honesty and integrity of the Vedic system. We may not understand the philosophy, we may be defeated by our intellectual or philosophical opponents, most of our books may be burnt by invaders, and we may be killed or forcibly converted into another religion at knifepoint by invaders, but we are not going to change the books.

This is proof that the followers of the Vedic system believe that these books are the word of God. While everyone else says that their book is the only book of God, they don’t mind changing it often. The followers of the Vedic system say that these books are the word of God, and they preserve them as such. We can write our commentaries, we can share our views, and we can advance our understanding, but we don’t change the word of God. This history of unchanged books has inspired me. I can put my trust in those books into which millions have put before, and demonstrated it by preserving the books.

Those who call these books myths don’t ask themselves: How did these myths live unchanged for thousands of years? Were there no flaws in these books that required continuous changes as in the case of other religious books? Were the people who preserved these books truly so ignorant that they could not see flaws in these books? Those who call these books myths cannot answer such questions. Their simple minds are also incapable of fathoming the sophistication in these books. But they feel more modern by chiding the past. They pass judgments without studying, evaluating, or practicing.

In the Vedic system, truth has a simple criterion—it remains unchanged. If we cannot judge the truth easily by rational analysis, if we don’t have the advanced perception to know the truth empirically, then we can look at something and ask: Have they been changing or do they remain unchanged? This is a method that Śrila Prabhupāda often employed in challenging science. He realized that people do not have advanced scientific knowledge. They don’t understand philosophy. They don’t have advanced perceptions. But at least they can observe a history of changes. Hence, he would often say: Your science is always changing, but our Vedas have remained unchanged for thousands of years.

This is not a facetious argument. It is based on the idea that the truth stands up forever while lies evolve and change. Why do they evolve? Because they have numerous problems. People try to fix their problems by adding ideas, removing ideas, creating new models, and rejecting old models. All these things don’t need to be done for the truth. No addition, no subtraction, no invention, and no rejection. It is already perfect. It has always been perfect. But one has to understand what it is. If we have doubts about it, and we cannot rationally and empirically validate it, then just look at its longevity. People are envious of long-lived things. They cannot fathom how something can keep standing for long. They try extremely hard to bring it down. They attack it from various sides. But somehow the truth keeps standing. That unchanging nature is the mark of truth for those without advanced rational or perceptual abilities.

Nation vs. Civilization Difference

Everyone the world over knows that the Vedic civilization is the oldest surviving civilization today. Dozens of civilizations have come and gone. Persian, Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman, Babylonian, Egyptian, Aztec, Incas, and Mayan are just the more prominent ones we know of from the recent past. However, even though the Babylonian civilization has died, people still live in Iraq. Even though the Roman and Greek civilizations have died, people still live in Rome and Athens. Therefore, we must also distinguish nations from civilizations.

What is a civilization? It is the philosophy and the conception of truth, right, and good. It can and does manifest in many other things outwardly, but it is not necessarily those outwardly things. It is the goggles we wear to perceive reality, not what we see through those goggles. As we have noted, there is a far greater emphasis on changing the goggles than on changing the outward reality. When the goggles change, then the outward reality also changes. But the change to outward reality is not necessarily a change to the goggles.

Therefore, we must not confuse the Vedic civilization with Indianness, in the same way, that we don’t confuse Greek and Roman civilizations with the people of Athens and Rome today. With that distinction, we can say that the Vedic civilization is also nearly dead today because most people, including Indians, have forgotten the philosophy and the conception of truth, right, and good. Indians today are much like the people living in Athens and Rome at present. They can look at old statues in museums and ruins of buildings from the past. They can feel proud of their Indian heritage. But they don’t think in the way that people in the past did. The reality they see may be the same. But the goggles through which they see it are different. That goggle is the lost civilization.

You don’t need to live in India to see reality through the goggles of Vedic civilization. Hence, there is no hard and fast connection between Indianness and Vedic civilization. However, to the extent that Indians can accept, understand, and respect an alternative conception of truth, right, and good, they can play a greater role in spreading the Vedic civilization—not just in India, but all over the world. Unfortunately, that is not what Indians are doing. They are busy looking at India through Western goggles. The color of the skin, or the features on the face, maybe Indian. But that is nationality and not civilization.

One of the problems today is that Indians confuse Vedic truth with Indianness because they don’t know that the Veda is co-created with the universe. In the beginning, was the word; the word was with God and the word was God. Veda or knowledge of the truth is the manual packaged with the material instrument. These books are not the creations of India or Indians. They are the word of God, who is everyone’s ancestor. Hence, these books are for everyone. By attaching God’s speech to some particular land, we minimize the value of God’s speech. By such minimization, a false sense of pride is created, quite like people in Rome can feel proud of the Colosseum and those in Athens of the Parthenon.

The Vedic civilization is dying, but it is not because of others. It is because we have given up the goggles to see reality in the Vedic way. Its revival will not happen by chest-thumping, pride, or politics. It needs a change to our goggles and telling others about the perfection of these goggles. That change of goggles is the change of civilization, independent of people’s nationalities or skin colors.

Material nature comprises three qualities called sattva, rajas, and tamas. Tamas gives rise to the feeling of shame, rajas to the feeling of pride, and sattva to the feeling of contentment. The transcendent experience begins with the feeling of gratitude. A person with gratitude considers himself fortunate and unqualified but he doesn’t hide within a shell; he becomes very eager to serve; hence, gratitude is like shame and yet not shame. A grateful person feels passionate and purposeful and yet not entitled or deserving; hence, gratitude is like pride and yet not pride. A grateful person feels satisfied and content and yet not self-satisfied or self-contented; hence gratitude is like contentment and yet not like it. A transcendent reality is all three qualities and yet none of them.

If we want to be perfectly happy, and we want to make everyone happy, then we need to change our emotions from shame, pride, and contentment to gratitude. Of course, people with shame have to be often given pride to move them forward. People with pride have to be often shamed to move them forward. And people with contentment have to be often told about their selfishness of taking without giving to move them forward. That forward movement is toward transcendence. It goes from shame to pride to contentment to gratitude.

Indians can feel gratitude that they have received the wonderful opportunity of being born in India where this knowledge is available easier than in other places. They can feel gratitude that individualism, materialism, and liberalism are lower in India than in other places. But gratitude is not an inactive feeling. It manifests in service. Service is done poorly if we are ashamed. Service is done haphazardly if we have pride. Service is done occasionally if we are content. But service is done perfectly, systematically, consistently, and enthusiastically if we have gratitude. Studying, practicing, understanding, and teaching Vedic philosophy is also the process of gratitude. It gives the same results.

The feelings of shame, pride, or contentment are not the ethos of Vedic civilization. They can be found in many other places in the world. But gratitude is found rarely. Gratitude arises in association with something so magnificent, perfect, and priceless that we feel fortunate to have received it, although we also feel unqualified and undeserving to have received it. That gratitude will arise in us if we study. By gratitude, we will practice. By gratitude, we will understand. And by gratitude, we will give the knowledge to others.

This process is beneficial to us and everyone else. It is not bound to a nation or a race. It is universal. This process will free us from the modes of tamas, rajas, and sattva. This is the meaning of all-good. It is good for me, good for you, and good for everyone else. This all-good mood and philosophy is Vedic civilization. It is almost dead. But with some gratitude, we can revive it.

Cite this article as:

Ashish Dalela, "The Implications of Compression and Incompressibility," in Shabda Journal, August 19, 2022,