In his very fascinating (though just a bit incomprehensible) book, Mystic Universe, Ashish Dalela outlines many very intriguing concepts. I actually really love books that are incomprehensible, so that’s not meant as a criticism – and the reason the book is quite challenging to understand is very simply that a lot of it is written from the perspective of ancient Vedic knowledge, which really isn’t easy to convey in modern, western terms we might be used to.
Sometimes understanding requires that we hop into a different time and space – a different world — and that’s not always easy to do. A world that may be truer, but that we are not familiar with.
One thought that I found quite profound is his idea about the globe and what is shown on it. When we look at a globe of the world and turn it round and round, we see continents and countries, like the United States, India, Kenya, Ecuador, the UK, Italy, Slovenia, Thailand – all kinds of countries and their capitals and major cities – all important places where people live. Well, that’s okay, but that isn’t the real globe as it really is.
The real earth is quite different and what it actually shows, in reality, is forests, rivers, oceans, mountains, deserts, lakes, plateaus, plains, and meadows. If we were to show the real earth as it really is, on every globe, then perhaps we could get our priorities straight and stop putting all that is human first – and all that is of the world of nature pretty much out of the picture altogether.
It is a fascinating concept. Of course, being human, our first thought is to think that is quite a silly idea; we feel we really do need to know where Los Angeles or Nairobi or London is – and we really do need to see a road or a flight path that will take us there. But maybe, after all, it might just be more important to see the location of the last forests on earth or the majestic mountains or the seas where the great whales swim – and then we might have a deeper understanding of where we really live – and less of an impetus to destroy the planet and more of a wish to feel a sense of love and reverence for Mother Earth.
Ashish Dalela has written many books – all fascinating. This one is Mystic Universe, An Introduction to Vedic Cosmology. It’s available on Amazon.
(This is not meant to be taken seriously. But then again, who knows?)
As we all know, the earth revolves around the sun. The sun and our solar system revolve around the Milky Way galaxy, and each complete turn around the galaxy takes about 200,000 years, which is quite a long time. What we commonly acknowledge as our own human history is around 5,000 years, beginning with the start of writing at maybe around 3,000 BCE.
We have no idea what awaits us on the long journey around the Milky Way, and no idea what may have happened on previous revolutions. It’s a bit like early explorers sailing around the globe – where would they encounter choppy seas, where would there be huge waves – or giant squids waiting to attack – or a hot baking sun, unrelenting? No one knew.
We kind of imagine that stars are stars, and that’s pretty much what’s out there in outer space – just stars, clusters of stars, nebulous clouds, crowded spots and less crowded spots, but really, we haven’t a clue.
Apparently, our sun is currently about halfway out along the spiral arms and seems to be in a less traveled space in between one spiral arm above and one below. So, round and round we go. We move forward as part of the spiral arms of stars that circle around the galaxy.
What if there is a patch where there are unforeseen hazards? Maybe there are some ultra weird vibrations from a strange kind of star – or a whole bunch of strange stars? Maybe extra gamma rays or quarks or super strange neutrinos or something that speeds things up or slows things down or, like a ship at sea, is suddenly really, really bumpy, or extra windy (with solar wind), or filled with unpredictable magnetism? Or something that shakes everything up or that spins things round and round? Then what?
Or what if it’s something that creates effects, but that can’t be seen at all? Like big giant goblins with fiery breath? Or invisible monster spiders waiting to trap us in spidery webs? Or wispy, ghosty things that glow in the night? Well, you say, these things don’t exist. Really? Can you prove that they don’t exist?
What if we travel through a really hazardous, uncomfortable patch that lasts a couple of thousand years? What then?
Things have gotten quite uncomfortable lately: floods and mega-droughts, natural cataclysms (this isn’t, in any way, to deny human-caused climate change, but sometimes there can be more than one cause for an effect). As for how humans are doing, part of our American population might be described as violent and delusional – another part as feeling victimized and a tiny bit self-righteous. (No one will agree with this, because we each see our own viewpoint as the correct one.)
In the meantime, much of the U.S. workforce has either gone on strike or gone AWOL. It has vanished. No one quite knows where or how, but one can see the consequences – shortages, unexpected and inconvenient. There are not enough people to move merchandise that is bought – so it sits, piled up, unable to get where it is going, unable to reach customers.
Meanwhile, rates of mental ill health are soaring – depression, violent crime, murder.
And then, of course, there’s the pandemic – such an odd virus.
It is almost as if great hordes of giant demon cookie monsters have been lying awake, clustered by the starry roadside, waiting to pounce upon us unsuspecting earthlings just as we sail innocently by, on our 200,000 year-long wheel around the galaxy – casting our health and our civilization into disarray.
I think giant cookie monsters lying in wait is as good an explanation as any. What do you think?
In the state of Tamil Nadu, in the south of India, stands a mountain covered in rocks, called Arunachala. It is four and a quarter hours southwest of Madras (Chennai), in the Eastern Ghats. A very sacred mountain, Arunachala is considered to be Lord Shiva Himself, not just his abode, but the God Himself.
The great Saint Ramana Maharshi, during a visionary experience at the age of 16, went to live there. He never left and spent his life at Arunachala, visited over time by many thousands of devotees. He was very fond of animals. Today, as well as his own grave, there are the graves of several of his favorite animals; including a cow named Lakshmi and a raven that he had rescued.
Trees are aware of the rain – a gentle rain, filling the air with moisture – rain like silver footsteps tiptoeing on the leaves of the cottonwood tree. But that is rather poetic. “Poetic”, however, does not mean “untrue”. On the contrary, poetry and myth are the truest truths – far more true than mere physical reality (which only describes a small part of what is – and so is woefully incomplete).
The truth of the tree is extreme sensitivity to and awareness of the sound of the rumbling distant thunder, of the fragrance of the wet flower petals – of the gentle happiness of the forest in the falling raindrops. Truth is the tree’s awareness. A poem.
To ancient peoples, the world of nature was not made up of inanimate beings – or of beings less than ourselves.
Everything was alive and had a spirit and a presence.
The mountains were gods, the rivers goddesses.
The lakes, the oceans, the trees, the deserts, the forests – everything was living and conscious. Also, all the beings of the sky were alive – the sun, the planets, the moon, all the stars.
Life was present in every aspect of the universe. The sacred rocks were living entities.
All the animals – the fish, the whales, the bears, the lions, foxes, deer, all the birds, also the ants, the bees, the butterflies and all the insects.
We can see this perception still in the older (and wiser) belief systems of the world: Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Taoism, in the world views of Native Americans.
Because ancient peoples saw and understood the spiritual essence of all of nature, there was reverence and respect for nature. Human beings took only what they needed for survival – and nothing more. They were respectful and not greedy. They listened to the voices and to the laws of nature. They were aware of the sacred beings of life. Because of this awareness, they did not destroy the planet earth.
Today, though we consider ourselves, in the modern world, to be much wiser, we are in fact, very ignorant. We see nature through blind eyes, not recognizing the living essence, the majesty, and the awareness of nature and the earth herself.
It is through this blindness and stupidity, that we destroy nature – through greed and oblivion.
No amount of calculating carbon footprints in a futile effort to save ourselves is going to work.
We must focus, not on ourselves, but on the ineffable beauty and life of nature herself.
To put it simply, we must go back to worshipping nature – to feeling a sense of reverence for the earth. We belong to the earth. It is only by returning to that sense of the sacred that we will be able to save the earth – and perhaps ourselves as well.