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A few thoughts on the cosmology of Vishnavism

Discussion in 'Hinduism DIR' started by punkdbass, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. punkdbass

    punkdbass I will be what I will be

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    So while reading the Bhagavad Gita on the bus today, I had an ephiphany about how followers of Vishnu/Krishna view the cosmos. Hindu cosmology use to confuse the heck out of me but I think I understand it now, well at least one of the many different Hindu views on cosmology.

    Brahma is the "womb" of our universe, the entire universe came from Brahma. One could say Brahma is the "creator" of the universe. Brahma - the womb of our universe, can be seen as analogous to the Big Bang. Every single molecule, atom, energy, wave, sound, emotion, thought, etc originated from the Big Bang or "Brahma." What's very interesting about this concept of Brahma is the idea of "multiple universes." For there can be multiple Brahma's (womb's that give birth to a Universe). Whether or not these multiple universes exist chronologically or simultaneously, is anyone's guess. To become one with Brahma is to become consciously aware of the unification of all things - for all things come from the womb of Brahma.

    So how does Vishnu/Krishna fit into the picture then (from now on I will refer to Vishnu as Krishna)? Krishna is the Ultimate mysterious spirit that drives the Big Bang/Brahma, the mysterious Spirit that allows Brahma to happen in the first place. Brahma is the womb of Krishna. And from Brahma comes the creation of the Universe, prakrita and purusha, the 3 gunas, or the "phenomenal" world of "name and form." This is truly a "panentheistic" view, for here God is not fully equated with the Universe or Brahma, rather the mystery of God goes even beyond Brahma or the Universe. He is immanent and transcendent. "The birth and death of the cosmos takes place in me" (BG 7:6)

    What a fascinating view of existence. The goal of becoming consciously aware of the unification of all things (i.e. becoming one with Brahma) sounds so exciting, but to know that it's possible to go even higher than that (total union with Krishna) truly shows just how infinite the value of life is. What do the Vishnavists (or others) here think?
     
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  2. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    namaskaram Punkdabass ji

    you have encapsulated it so , so well , ...

    I think you have just qualified as a Vaisnava , ...this calls for a celebration .
     
  3. punkdbass

    punkdbass I will be what I will be

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    Thanks Ratikala! And yes, I agree it does :)
     
  4. Chakra

    Chakra Well-Known Member
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    It's very close. It's just that Brahma (the actual god) emerges from the lotus in Shri Vishnu's navel and then is told to create the universe, although the primary creator is Shri Vishnu. Things like energy, the universe, etc all came from him. Brahma's role is very similar to gravity's during the early universe.
     
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  5. The Sum of Awe

    The Sum of Awe Brought to you by the moment that spacetime began.

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    I like the way you put that. Out of curiosity how would you define Shiva, the destroyer? I don't know if Shiva has any place in Vishnavism, but I'd love to hear it.

    Also, wouldn't multiple Brahma's be better understood as chronologically happening instead of at the same time? The reason I'm asking is because I've heard many Hindus believe the universe ends and a new universe is born.

    Perhaps it's in another dimension of time. Maybe there are 2 dimensions of time we're unaware of that make it seem both simultaneously and chronologically. Imagine one big timeline that contains smaller timelines (universes). From our 1TD perspective, it seems simultaneous while in a 2TD perspective they happen in order. Hope that makes sense.

    On a side note: I find it interesting how much my beliefs relate to Hinduism, but the religion is way too complex for me to understand it all. Way too many terms to remember.
     
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  6. Chakra

    Chakra Well-Known Member
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    Shiva does have a role in Vaishnavism. He's the one who destroys the universe at the command of Vishnu.. He's also the greatest Vaishnava in Vaishnavism.

    You are also right when you say that Hindus believe that the universe ends and begins. There are many universes, and in each of them, there is a Brahma. Whenever each universe is destroyed at the end of Brahma's life, time basically ended. But only for that universe, not for the larger reality that is going on. So you are right.
     
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  7. Poeticus

    Poeticus | abhyAvartin |

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    Your distant yet persistent admiration of Hinduism is admirable. [​IMG]
     
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  8. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    You are talking about Vaishnava cosmology. Please remember there are two more - Shaiva and Shakta. For a Shaiva, the universe is created or destroyed when Shiva dances (Tandava) and sounds his 'damaru'. In Shaktism, all three, Brahma Vishnu and Shiva, are created by the Mother Goddess and then ordered to create the universe and administer it.

    [​IMG]
     
    #8 Aupmanyav, Nov 22, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014
  9. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Lest they forget. :D I am sure punkdbass knows this.
     
  10. Maya3

    Maya3 Well-Known Member

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    I really like the way you put it.
    I feel the same way, but with my own advaitin slant on it.
    I agree with this, although I see this beginning kind of like a small vibration first that I think of as AUM, then I see it becoming kind of like a Shiva lingham, it sits there small and dense until it explodes into everything else.

    I don't bring Vishnu or any deity into it personally, but I love your explanation of it.

    Maya
     
  11. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    jai jai , .....there exists symultaniously many different universes each with their own Brahma , and their own cycles of creation and dissolution .
    ......but each universe is desolved at the end of each Day of Brahma which is followed by the night of Brahma , ...(both day and night equaly span 4,320,000,000 earth years ) .....at the end of which creation again begins .
     
  12. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    in the the Bramha Samhta it is described , .....that from Maha Visnu laying on the causal ocean arises .....

    vamangad asrjad visnum

    daksinangat prajapatim

    jyotir-linga-mayam sambhum

    kurca-desad avasrjat

    vama-angat -- from His left limb; asrjat -- He created; visnum -- Lord Visnu; daksina-angat -- from His right limb; prajapatim -- Hiranyagarbha Brahma; jyotih-linga -- the divine masculine manifested halo; mayam -- comprising; sambhum -- Sambhu; kurca-desat -- from the space between His two eyebrows; avasrjat -- He created.

    many argue (not that you are arguing) in favour of one veiw or another , however I see no need to argue as each veiw is in some way encapsulated in the other , ...

    whether we call the cause of all causes Maha Visnu or not hardly realy matters and should not cause the argument that it sometimes does , what is important is that we understand the process of creation and dissolution exists within an a beginingless and endless cycle .

    whether we give form to the progenitor or regard as you mention it to be the primordial sound vibration Aum should not realy seperate us either frankly I feel it to be both sumultaniously .





     
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  13. punkdbass

    punkdbass I will be what I will be

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    I've seen this number quite a few times before. How does this relate to the fact that modern science has shown the universe to be significantly older than 4 billion years? Just curious to hear your thoughts on this.
     
  14. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    personaly I find these figures all most mind numbing , ....but my understanding if I can simplify it , .....
    4.32billion years= one day in the life of Brahma ,
    4.32 billion years =one nightime of Brahma , ....
    the lifetime of Brahma 100 years ,

    we are now part way through the 51st year of Brahma's lifetime ......sorry I cant even begin to count that Highly , ....but that makes this current universe go into the trillions , ...and although we say that , Brahma disolves the universe at the end of this day , and creates it again the folowing morning this particular universe is not completely desroyed or expunged untill it has gone through the 365days X 100 years of Brahma , ....36,500 x2 = 73,000 x 4,320,000,000 =..........too too big for me to count , ......

    but the puranas describe the creation within this universe to be like the sport or childs play of Brahma ji , every morning he awakes and begins creation once more and by the end of the day everything is desolved in much the same way that a childs sand castles are washed away by the tides , then he enteres into a period of sleep where there is no creation , and upon his waking the process of creation begins again , this cycle will continue in each universe , ...each universe having its own cycles of creation and dissolution untill the end of the lifespan of its individual Brahma , ....that universe will finaly desolve never to be reborn , meanwhile other Brahma cycles are being born in an eternal cycle

    I am not in the least scientificaly minded , but I beleive that science has noted the possibility of some of these cycles , but what facinates me is that within the universe of each Brahma there are different levels of heavenly realms these appear to me to corespond with the lokas common also to Buddhism the , duration of these lokas are longer which supports the theory of spending extremely long periods of time in the abodes of the gods before taking rebirth again in this earthly realm , thus due to our Karmas we might enjoy heavenly realms untill they also face dissolution and we are reborn in the earthly realm , ....

    only the final atainment of Moksha frees us from such cycles of repeated temporary births.

    Ha Ha now whos wrath will I encur for dareing to suggest that there is a comonality between Buddhist and Hindu cosmology ....:p

    either that or my adding up will be grossly inacurate , ....
     
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  15. तत्त्वप्रह्व

    तत्त्वप्रह्व स्वभावस्थं निरावेशम्

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    I am thinking that by
    "Brahma is the womb of Krishna"
    you are referring to mama yonir mahadbrahma tasmingarbham dadhAmyaham.. But the mahatbrahma referred to here is not the same as padmasambhava chaturmukha brahma. What can be considered as Vaishnava Cosmology is better elucidated with the help of Srimad Bhagavatam and Vishnu Purana. My understanding of Vaishnava perspective of creation-process is that not everything originated from chaturmukha brahma.

    श्रीकृष्णार्पणमस्तु ।
     
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  16. Chakra

    Chakra Well-Known Member
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    Yes, that is my understanding as well. Vishnu is the primary creator; without him, there would be no planets, stars, galaxies, or Brahma. It is with the guidance of Narayana that Brahma creates and Shiva destroys.
     
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  17. punkdbass

    punkdbass I will be what I will be

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    Very Interesting. Regardless of whether or not the actual numbers are literally correct, I think the basic idea of having endless cycles of the birth and deaths of entire universes is super cool and somewhat intuitive. I also like this idea of having different "world systems" that could be fundamentally "better" or "worse", and depending on the karma of your current life, you could be reborn into "higher worlds." This makes sense to me.
     
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  18. punkdbass

    punkdbass I will be what I will be

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    Interesting. So If I want to learn more about Krishna and Vishnu, would you recommend reading "Srimad Bhagavatam Purana", "Vishnu Purana", or any other texts? Currently I've just read the Bhagavad Gita and I'm reading the Upanishads right now.

    What do you think of the following book? It is contains an important portion of the Bhagavata Purana:
    Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: (Srimad Bhagavata Purana Book X) (Penguin Classics) (Bk.10): Anonymous, Edwin F. Bryant: 9780140447996: Amazon.com: Books
     
  19. Chakra

    Chakra Well-Known Member
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    I believe it is Canto 3 that talks about the cosmology. You can get it for free on vedabase.com.
     
  20. तत्त्वप्रह्व

    तत्त्वप्रह्व स्वभावस्थं निरावेशम्

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    The Mahabharata, Bhagavatham, and Vishnu Purana are in my opinion the best sources. However, am not sure if you are aware, but there are several "recensions" of each, one often contradicting the other. I believe it is a good way to approach study in this direction by starting with the puranas and itihasas not with a view form strong understanding but for the sake of appreciating diverse viewpoints, then being study in veda and vedanta and their bhashyas (commentaries) by various Acharyas at the end of which you should be able to arrive at the correct interpretations. This approach gives one enough time to get a basic grip with sanskrit which can be applied to understand the mystical and esoteric vedas and vedanta. Until then there is bound to be confusion amidst contradictions - i see it as the madira (intoxicating drink) that emerges during the internal samudra manthana and one has to cross this to reach the amrita of wisdom.[/QUOTE]

    What do you think of the following book? It is contains an important portion of the Bhagavata Purana:
    Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: (Srimad Bhagavata Purana Book X) (Penguin Classics) (Bk.10): Anonymous, Edwin F. Bryant: 9780140447996: Amazon.com: Books[/QUOTE]
    I cannot provide an opinion as i haven't read this book nor do i know the author. Since i know samskritam, i prefer to read and understand the scriptures in their original form. This book might be very good, but i feel that it is impossible to capture the import of original sanskrit verses in english no matter how good the translation is. It is a vaishnava belief that Srimad Bhagavatham is an exposition of Brahma Sutra of Sri Veda Vyasa and is considered the foremost of all sattvika puranas.

    श्रीकृष्णार्पणमस्तु ।
     
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