Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A weird analogy

Those were the days when we used to sit on the terrace of our house, under the cold night sky with stars and the moon. It was the same pattern for every night, the night falls in, stars come out and then the Mother used to come to the roof with us to tell stories of great warriors, great saints, freedom fighters, and the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana (Epics from Indian Sub-continent). Those stories were the anesthetics to put is to sleep every night, dozing into dreams thinking that one day we would be the warriors of the new millennium.

Later after a few years all the Film and TV industry was flooded by these epics in to movies and Television programs that explain Indian culture's strong roots in their history, epics and belief in Gods, Demo-Gods, etc. at least during child hood. Later we start reading Biology, Physics and Chemistry and come to conclusions that these epics and stories about great heroes, saints and Gods who have these great powers are just some stories written by writers and do not have any scientific explanation nor logic. Then we move slowly into the age of radical and rational attitude, where we ask questions about existence of God, start contradicting customs, traditions and sometimes call them Superstitions and make fun of our Grand parents and parents for their ignorance and blind beliefs. Exactly at this turning point of life, I felt the same way as many of us have probably felt, started to think about the validity of these epics and stories that Mom told us. It was after this blood boiling and scientific proof stage of life where contemplation starts playing a role. It is exactly then, I felt like doing some analysis and try to correlate Epics with Science.

As a kid it always amazed me, The class of Zoology, where we read about animals, their development and how a single cell organism like Amoeba has evolved into a class of multi-cellular organisms called Mammals that includes us, the Homo sapiens. We are definitely not going to the learn the development of a human form in this article, but for sure try to bring a little bit of epics from Indian sub continent and try to see its significance in explaining the facts of science. These epics have their roots even before the development of the class of science called Zoology, for that matter even before the existence of Binomial Nomenclature, the way of naming animals and plants by classifying these living organisms into different families, classes, genera and species.

As a kid I was taught an epic that most of the people with Indian origin listened to for as long as Indian Civilization existed and will continue to exist as long as the human race is non perishable. The epic has some strong roots in Hindu way of life. Definitely the intentions are not to talk about a certain religion or promote the significance of a religion, but to see how science and faith blend well together when it comes to the presentation of facts of/about nature and development. The epic starts explaining that the Supreme power, whatever you want to call, let’s say God, came in to existence millions and millions of years back and then there were all these problems faced by the mother Earth, that God decided to come down in many different forms once like Ram, Krishna etc. to save the humanity.

The epics say that God decided to come down to the face of the humanity, to save the Mother Earth from evil at 10 different periods of time in 10 different forms. I will definitely not go in to the details of these Gods/Forms that saved the earth but will sure give an introductory note about a few which are going to play an important role in the analogy further down. The first and foremost form that came in to existence was that God came in the form of a Fish(Matsya) and save the humanity from some devil/evil. Then the second form of God is the form of Tortoise (Koorma) and protected the whole world. Later the third form that came in to existence is that of a half human (Nara in Indian language) and half Lion (Simha, in Indian language). The next form (fourth) is the form of a very small man (Lilliputian - Vamana) and that is the form of a complete man who could talk, walk and do lots of little things as today’s human. The fifth form was that of a complete Man called Rama who is considered very important form of God/role model in the Indian Sub continent, and then later there are a few more forms that came into like Parasurama, Krishna, etc.,

Now let us jump in to the world of Zoology and see the science behind the development of the most complicated organism on the earth, The Human. The first interesting classification is based on the presence or absence of a spinal cord, Vertebrata and Non- vertebrata. Under Non vertebrata we have all the forms of water based organisms without back bone like amoeba, lots of disease causing organisms called parasites, starfish, earthworm, cockroaches etc., The other important sub classification is the Vertebrata, the ones with spinal cord and the one’s that have brain, well developed and smart enough to do some tricks and amuse others. This class Vertebrata is divided into 5 classes and the first one includes Fish(Pisces), the second include Frogs(Amphibians), the third includes Snakes and Tortoises(Reptiles), the fourth includes Birds(Aves) and the last one includes us The Humans( Mammals). If we compare this one with the epic we just talked and read about, doesn't something common strike to our minds? Can’t we compare the family of Fishes to the first form of God who came like a fish (matsya avatara)and rescued the world, the second form of God who came like a Tortoise(koorma avatara) that could be compared to the Family of Snakes and Tortoises and the transition of organism’s living place from water to the land, the third form of God who is a mixture of Human and Lion (narasimha avatar) and then the slow transition of this mixed form to the small human Lilliputian(vamana avatara) form and then to the completely developed form of Human (Rama avatara, Krishna avatara)who is mature and smart to study, grow, marry and lead a life like us.

So, the conclusion, I do not really know, whether to give the credit for the Indian Epic or the science of Charles Darwin. Does Epic come first or the science? Did Science come into existence first or the Epic. Well, let’s put it this way, The Science and the Epic coexisted all the time and were created by none other than we the master-minds, the invincible Humans.

As the ages pass we try to find different ways of reasoning out things around us. From the Stone Age till today, there have been theories about birth of the first form of life, Life started in Water and then came to Land, formation of universe, existence of other galaxies, presence of life in other planets, and questions about existence of God. As the ages advance we hear new theories about these and for that age that particular theory seems to be appropriate and people go with that theory or belief. Meanwhile a scientific explanation comes out that contradicts the old theory and that takes a while to form a good foundation for us to believe in it and we keep moving forward as a Humanity. It is for the convenience of the complicated human mind we develop these theories, to satisfy our thirst for finding answers to this mystical cosmos.

The truth is the same "It all came from some where and we do not know from where". The only thing we could do is "To Contemplate" or "Meditate" to find the truth.