|The Jedi in the Lotus: An Eastern Look at Star Wars|
By Steven J. Rosen
|This book looks at the underlying basis of George Lucas' successful film series, showing how it is, in many cases, based on Indic texts, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.|
Naturally, the market for this book is not only students of Hinduism and Eastern spirituality – my usual market – but also fans of the film series, which amounts to literally millions of people. When the Phantom Menace (the first Star Wars prequel) came out in 1999, it was hailed as the most anticipated movie of all time, and it did incredibly well at the box office. What's more, when the video and DVD were recently released, the sales were unprecedented. Now, the next film in the series is due out this month (May 2002), and fans say that this will be the best of them all. Six months after that, Lucasfilms will release the video and DVD of that film, and two years later, the final installment of the Star Wars series is scheduled for release, meaning that the epic fantasy series will be on people's minds for years to come. I ask those of you associated with the Infinity Foundation to help me find a publisher for this work. Time is of the essence.
An outline of my book is as follows:
o The introduction reveals the basic connection: It describes how myths are embedded in the consciousness, in the soul, and have therefore manifested in similar ways throughout the world. Ancient Indian myths are perhaps the earliest examples of these world myths, while Star Wars is merely among the most contemporary. The correlations are many, and they will all be explored throughout the book. I look at George Lucas' major influences, from Flash Gordon to Joseph Campbell, and how Indian tales form the central core around which his series is modelled.
o In Chapter One, I elaborate on the story of Rama as well as that of the Pandavas. In addition, I outline the chronology of events in Star Wars and show overlapping themes and points of similarity and difference.
o Chapter Two explains "the Force," showing its correlation with both Maha-Maya (God's external energy of illusion) and Yoga-Maya (God's internal positive spiritual energy), since The Force has both bad and good dimensions. I will also compare the Force to various manifestations of shakti and to Brahman, the impersonal aspect of the Supreme, for there is much similarity in these concepts. Students of Indian religion will balk at the East-Indian ideas Lucas freely uses when constructing his idea of the Force.
o The Third Chapter will explain the underlying message of the Star Wars films, especially its idea that light and dark aspects of reality can be analogized with Nature vs. Machine paradigms. Each film in the Star Wars series offers food for thought regarding the "organic as opposed to the mechanic," and our Third Chapter will look at them all.
o Perhaps most importantly, in the Fourth Chapter, I will show that just as Star Wars takes place in deep space, most of the battles in the Ramayana take place in sophisticated aircrafts, and Arjuna, too, in the Mahabharata, is said to engage in many battles while in outer space. The Vimana shastras show that ancient India somehow knew of elaborate aircraft and boasted an awareness of advanced technology. While I point out that much of this may be relegated to the realm of fantasy, it is indeed curious that ancient texts engage these very Star Wars-like ideas.
o The Fifth Chapter will elaborate on Yoda's relationship with Luke Skywalker, which is essentially a Guru-Disciple relationship. I will explain their interaction in terms of Indian texts and show how the teacher/pupil dynamic is nowhere as developed as in India. I will also show parallels between India's system of yoga and that which is taught by the Jedi knights.
This will lead into an examination of kshatriya dharma, for the the Jedi knight concept is obviously an extrapolation of the codes of India's warrior caste.
o The Afterword will sum up the religious components of the film series and explore spiritual elements in many other similar films. In conclusion, I will show that ancient Indian traditions were well ahead of their time, and even today have much to offer the world.Source: infinityfoundation
Thursday, 31 December 2015
Wednesday, 4 November 2015
One of the main purposes of history books, as taught in different countries in the world, is to instill a sense of national pride and honor—in short, to inculcate a sense of patriotism and nationalism. Whether it is the United States, Great Britain, Russia, Germany or China, this is certainly the case today and has been so as long as these countries have existed as modern nations. The lives of great leaders, particularly the founders of the country are highlighted, the continuity of the nation’s history is emphasized, and the importance of the nation in the history of world and the greatness of the national culture are stressed. Students are expected to come away from reading accounts of their history with a sense of national greatness and purpose, not only for the past but also for the future.
However, India is a strange and unique country in which history books are often anti-national in nature. India has largely kept intact the British approach to Indian history devised in the colonial era. Students of such textbooks come away apologetic or confused about their country and its traditions. Textbooks in Marxist ruled states of India like West Bengal and Kerala leave their students with a sense of the greatness of Communism and Communist countries like China or even Russia which is no longer Communist, rather than any real regard for India and its great traditions.
History books in India try to ignore the dominant Hindu ethos of the country and its history before the Islamic period. India’s greatest historical and cultural document, the Mahabharata and Ramayana are hardly given any attention in the schools. So too, the Vedas, Puranas, Buddhist Jatakas and other prime historical and cultural documents of the country are ignored because of their religious overtones. If they do address India as a nation, it is only India of the independence movement that they acknowledge, as if prior to 1947 India did not really exist. While Nehru is made important, older kings from the Rigvedic Bharatas to Yudishthira of the Mahabharata period to the Marathas of the eighteenth century are hardly mentioned. There is no real sense of any historical continuity to the culture, much less to the country. While Mahatma Gandhi is emphasized, the greater spiritual traditions of India and its great teachers from the Vedic rishlS, Vedantic Buddhists and Jain sages to modern savants like Sri Aurobindo and Ramana Maharshi are not given much attention.
It is true that history should not be a mere instrument of a destructive nationalism and should avoid instilling aggression against other lands and peoples, even when upholding what is valuable in a nation’s history. But this does not require that the national value of historical studies is negated altogether.
The question, therefore, is how the history accounts in India made to reflect and instill a genuine nationalism and sense of the country’s history and destiny. India, after all, is one of the great civilizations of the world, with cultural traditions that have much value for humanity. Such historical accounts must reflect the richness and diversity of Indic civilization, but they cannot ignore its unity and continuity either.
The fact is that you cannot build a nation without creating history books that instill a positive nationalism, particularly in the youth. The real danger in India is not the arising of a chauvinistic nationalism like that of Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy—which are foreign to the mentality and ethos of the country—but a lack of national spirit and historical consciousness that keeps people alienated from their roots and the country divided.
India needs a real nationalism and for this a national sense of history, pride and purpose is required. A true Indian nationalism will be rooted in an Indian ethos of dharma, spirituality and pluralism, but this does not mean there can be no national or historical pride without encouraging communalism in the country. On the contrary, a greater sense of national identity would be the best thing to counter the disintegrating influence of religious, castist and regional interests that are bringing the country down.
Therefore we must ask: Why can’t Indians connect India’s traditional ancient literature, the Vedas, with its archaeology through Harappa and the many sarasvati River sites? Why can’t Indians find national pride in their own history both on literary and archaeological levels? Why should history in India be used for national shame, rather than National pride? Why should history of India place Indic civilization out of India? These are questions that must be answered.
Western and Indic Views of History
The subject of history in the Western context is very different than in the Indian context. In the Western view, history is mainly an account of political events and economic progress, a purely outward affair. In the Hindu view, history is a means of teaching detachment, showing how great kings and kingdoms come and go in the course of time. It has an inner value as a spiritual teaching about the nature of human life and the need for liberation from worldly concerns. In the Western view, history is progressive from the crude beginnings of agriculture and village life moving forward to the present day urban culture. In the Hindu view history is cyclical, with various cultures coming and going over time as the soul seeks liberation from the phenomenal world.
The Western progressive account of history is quite flawed. For example, the first civilizations of the ancient world that we can document—including Egypt. Sumeria, India and China—did not regard themselves as the first but were aware of many cultures and kingdoms before them, particularly prior to a great flood. The civilizations that we regard as the first saw themselves as very old with many antecedents! Yet we pretend that there was nothing before them!
In addition, the civilizations of the Third Millennium BCE, like those of Egypt and Harappan/Sarasvati India, had better urban and architectural achievements than those that followed for many centuries. Even Europe had its Dark Ages after the Roman period in which much knowledge was lost. This idea of history as linear progress is clearly not the case. While humanity has progressed scientifically, this is mainly over the past five hundred years.
On the other hand. we see a spiritual decline since ancient times and over the last century we can note a decline in culture, art, music and philosophy in Europe itself, coinciding or even caused by great advances in science.
As India is the only civilization of antiquity to survive the onslaught of time, it is the special responsibility of Indians to discover not only their own history but also that of the entire ancient world. Just as there are unquestioned distortions of ancient India, similar distortions of other ancient cultures also exist. For example, the religion of ancient Egypt, which like that of the Vedas demonstrates much occult and spiritual significance, is similarly dismissed as polytheism, idolatry or henotheism (worshipping different Gods as the supreme God), exactly like the Vedas.
Revamping the way history is taught in Indian schools would be a major step in the direction of a more authentic and spiritually sensitive history of the world. It is a scientific and spiritual imperative, not only for India but for all countries.
[Excerpted from the David Frawley’s book Hinduism and the Clash of Civilization. ]
Wednesday, 7 October 2015
Polls conducted in various countries show that more than 50 per cent of people in Britain, Germany and France believe that intelligent life exists in other parts of the universe. According to a recent report by Katrina Pascaul in Tech Times, “A new survey has found that more than one in two individuals in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany believe there is intelligent life out there in space. According to new YouGov research, the majority of the public in these three countries believe that living entities, which have the ability to communicate and do not hail from Earth, exist. Findings show that more than half of Germans (56 per cent) believe this, the most likely to do so among the survey participants. Fifty-four per cent of Americans and 52 per cent of British people share the opinion. The British people who believe alien life exists say the most likely reasons for the paradox are that intelligent life is too far away for us to be able to contact it, and that our technology is not advanced enough for communication.”
Other reports confirmed that Hawking is supporting “the biggest and most ambitious search plan yet (in which) astronomers plan to study more than ten times more space than ever before in and around the Milky Way and neighbouring galaxies in a bid to seek out potential radio emissions that could come from advanced civilisations. The project, known as Breakthrough Listen, comprises a $100 million, ten-year search, launched by the Breakthrough Initiatives group at the Royal Society in London. The research will survey one million stars in the Milky Way, as well as the stars in the 100 closest galaxies.”
As an undergraduate student of physics, the first paper I wrote was on the possibility of intelligent life in the universe. The answer seemed self-evident: the universe must surely teem with intelligent life. The problem is we are Earth-centric. Life in outer space need not be humanoid. The laws of physics are still evolving. Plasmoid life and indeed life beyond anything we can imagine today is possible. The law of probability underscores the reason for life in outer space being a virtual certainty. Here’s why:
1. There are at least one hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe.
2. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, has several hundred billion solar systems.
3. Our sun constitutes just one of these solar systems.
4. Several million, possibly billion, solar systems in the observable universe have planets with environmental, atmospheric and chemical conditions suitable to harbouring life.
Prior to “Time Zero”, the stage when the universe was created, there was – literally – nothing. A perfect vacuum. From that vacuum has emerged everything in the universe – atoms, stars, galaxies, black holes, quasars, dark matter, planets – and, on Earth, life.
At the point of “singularity” when there was nothing, in that fraction of a fraction of a second before the Big Bang that created the universe, lies the greatest mystery physicists and mathematicians like Hawking and Roger Penrose continue to wrestle with. What precisely was the event that created this universe from a perfect vacuum at the point of singularity?
Hawking calls these the most important questions facing humankind: How did the universe emerge at the point of singularity from a perfect vacuum at Time Zero? Are we alone in the universe? And finally, why does the universe exist at all?
This is where science, philosophy and faith intersect.
Within this absolute space-time vacuum (postulated by the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems based on Einstein's general theory of relativity), an event occurred which no leading scientist has yet been able to fully explain. That event probably involved the mutual annihilation of a positron-electron twin pair carrying identical (positive and negative) charges and mass. The result of this vacuum fluctuation was the Big Bang, the widely accepted theory of how our universe began.
Before Time Zero, during the pre-universe "nothingness", it is hypothesised that constant and instantaneous mutual annihilation of positron-electron pairs occurred several trillion times every second. These multiple collisions cancelled each other out, leading to a perpetual state of zero mass, zero time and zero space – the perfect vacuum. The mutual annihilation of electrons and positrons, however, occurred in unimaginably small crevices of time – 10-100 seconds or less.
To the observer nothing was occurring: the event started and ended before it could be observed and therefore, as far as the observer was concerned, had not occurred at all. From this nothingness a freak, once-in-a-quadrillion positron-electron pair escaped mutual annihilation 13.70 billion years ago, causing the Big Bang and the creation of our universe as well as a "mirror" negative universe.
Are we alone?
Our nearest solar system is Alpha Centauri. To get there, travelling at the speed of light, would take 4.3 years. Travelling at the speed of the world's fastest experimental spacecraft, Helios II (1,57,000 mph), it would take over 12,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri. Other solar systems are even further off. Galaxies are, of course, trillions of miles away. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains around 350 billion solar systems – many, as NASA's Kepler space telescope confirmed, with orbiting planets like the Earth with surface water, moderate temperature and life-supporting oxygen. Andromeda, the galaxy closest to the Milky Way, is even more massive with over 1,000 billion solar systems. It is around 2.70 million light years away from us. So if electromagnetic radiation originating from a planet in Andromeda began transmitting 2.70 million years ago (the Plio-Pleistocene era on Earth) it would have barely reached us this year.
And in these distances lies the answer to the question: if it exists, why hasn't intelligent life from extraterrestrial planets, presumably with highly sophisticated communications and transportation technology, made contact with us? Humans, after millions of years of evolution from Australopethicus hominids to Neanderthals through to "modern" man, began sending out electromagnetic radiation (in its earliest form as radio transmissions) a mere 125 years ago. Those signals have today scarcely reached the edge of our solar system cluster. Time and distance, both unimaginably vast, explain why no contact has been established with us by other intelligent species.
So while we are certainly not alone in the universe, we may not make contact with other planetary life for centuries. But there is little doubt that one day contact will be made. What shape, form and mode that contact takes is uncertain. But when it does happen, it will mark one of the most important events in recorded history.
All of human intelligence and wisdom, from Aristotle and Aryabhata to the Vedas and Einstein, does not have an answer, however, to the most fundamental question that has divided sages and philosophers over the centuries: Why does the universe exist at all?
As even scientists today concede wryly, God alone knows.
Tuesday, 6 October 2015
“What’s your beef?” is a common American phrase. It’s a question a person asks someone who talks or acts without reason or goes off on a rant with no purpose other than creating a confrontational situation. This is the question to ask many media and political ranters who have been trying hard to link every incident to Modi. "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian” said ex-Beatle Paul McCartney who turned vegan long ago. Since they don’t, people put up such pics on SM so others can see:
I have kept the pic small so it doesn’t offend too much. Five years ago, a café owner was ordered to remove an extractor fan because the resident next to the café was offended by the fumes of bacon. This was in England where bacon is a routine food item. For those who are not familiar, bacon is made from pork – from pigs. Do you want me to tell you the Faith of the complaining neighbour? I don’t think so; it doesn’t take Einstein to figure that out. Now, bacon is common food in almost all western countries and for a Muslim to complain about the smell of bacon from a café (where even Muslims were patrons) should be considered absurd. But such is the stupidity of councils and govts that they will pander to the nonsensical victimhood of minorities (read the full story here).
Cow-slaughter ban has existed in many states in India for ages. Some states have adopted that policy in the last few decades. For centuries the cow has been a sacred symbol in India, particularly for the Hindus. Recently, the Maharashtra govt extended the ban to bulls and buffaloes too. The Maharashtra ban on cow-slaughter has been in place since the 1970s but govts never enforced it strictly. There is nothing wrong in respecting the sentiments of Hindus. Consider this – Every hotel, airline and food stalls at airports now put up a sign saying they use only “Halal meat”. Surely, that is not to respect the sentiments of Christians or Jews, is it? It is highly unlikely you will find hotels and restaurants that routinely offer pigs (pork) as food. Will you? Why is it that only Muslim sentiments must be respected over what food is offered and how the animal is slaughtered?
Once the Maharashtra government slapped a ban on sale or possession of beef there were responses from all the Sickular scoundrels. Bollywood reacted (slide show). The usual Sickos in MSM reacted. Others from political parties reacted. That’s how this new beef war started. Earlier, to defy the cow-slaughter ban some morons held a “Beef eating festival” at Osmania University in 2012 which led to violence. Do note, there has been a cow slaughter ban (in then what was united Andhra) since 1977. So why would the authorities allow an activity that brazenly breaks the law? If it offends Hindus, no law is important, one can break it – that’s a social law in India in most states. If these people had eaten beef privately in stealth it wouldn’t have mattered but they wanted to make a public statement. Criminal media passes this and the bigger jokers will even celebrate it like the Monk and the Moron:
The StreetThug wants to eat steak immediately after the beef-festival debate and the Category5Moron wants to eat meat dripping with blood. I doubt anyone cares what morons like these eat – they can eat rats, dogs, insects, bats, snakes. And if they want to break the law and express their defiance even more strongly - they can even eat dead human-beings. These Anti-Hindu thugs just want to keep offending Hindu sentiments and that is all. Govt should usually not make laws over social issues and food habits. After all, I doubt there’s any law that says only “Halal meat” should be sold but everyone is offering that. Isn’t it? The respect for Hindu sentiments on cows should have come naturally. But most of these people in media and politics who want to kill cows don’t want it to end there – they want Hindus to disappear so that a Chrislamic State can become a reality. You just have to give 15 minutes to Akbar Owaisi (family friend of the Monk and the Moron).
They want Hindu traditions and customs to disappear. They want Hindus to stop celebrating Holi. They ridicule and condemn even Raksha Bandhan. They wantkite-flying to stop because the string sometimes slashes some birds. But they want to kill cows. Someone put it nicely when he showed that these same morons have extraordinary sympathy for stray dogs that are becoming a menace in many cities:
So, the latest round of outrage is over a 50-year old man, Akhlaq, who was lynchedby a mob because there was a rumour he and his family consumed beef. The family denies it and claims it was mutton and that was what was stored in their fridge too. Given the consistent pattern of our media getting news wrong I would naturally be sceptical about the reason for the attack. However, let us assume he was lynched for the reason the reports say. Now, nobody… nobody has to die for eating something. Even if that offends anyone or breaks the law, nobody needs to die. But this culture of madness and killing in UP happens for many other reasons too. But the outrage and the attempt to link it to Modi and Hindus wanting to kill a Muslim is the kind of stupidity that is criminal by our MSM and many politicians. Fortunately, such media-scams aren’t passing anymore, thanks to SM.
How brazen and stupid can it get? Well, there is Akhilesh Yadav – CM of UP who, instead of assuring strong action against the killers, asks the PM to ban the export of beef. And the entire media carried his ignorant crap like a box of parrots. All it took was for someone to educate this beef-challenged kid:
The beef-export ban is already in place for some time but our UP CM wants to pin the nonsense in UP on Modi. That is the whole game of politicians and media – as if Modi is policing every nook and corner of this country. It is true that there are a lot of social issues that Modi is failing to address but he certainly can’t be a cop monitoring every corner. What are CMs and local police meant for? To talk nonsense when crimes happen in their region? But the overall trick is to bring up some issue to outrage on before every election. Remember the “attack on Christians” fraudulent campaign before Maharashtra and Haryana elections? Well there is Bihar around the corner. So, the already prosecuted Beef-war in progress now becomes a Muslim killed over beef. Hope for the losers is eternal. I am not sure this will work either. What’s their beef?
Monday, 28 September 2015
How do you see the Quantitative Easing in Europe?
Thursday, 24 September 2015
Some say that it is a culture or way of life, which has some validity as well.DR DAVID FRAWLEY
The question what is yoga and is it a religion reflects the related question as to what is Hinduism and is it a religion?
Some say that Hindu is only a geographical concept and connotes anything Indian, which would quickly end any discussion of Hinduism as a religion. This idea, however, clearly does not work.
Hinduism is a legally-recognised religion throughout the world and has benefits accordingly, like any other religion, including the right of marriage, non-profit status, and the right to establish religious institutions. Those regarding themselves as Hindus in terms of religious identity constitute the most affluent and educated religious group in America along with the Jews, as recent studies have indicated.
Obviously we cannot limit Hindu as an identity to those born in India, as then Hindus outside of India, including Westerners who have taken on a Hindu religious identity, could not be Hindus. Note the Western-published magazine Hinduism Today, which comes out of Hawaii and is written mainly by non-Indians.
While Hindu may have originally been primarily a geographical term, it definitely has taken on a broader religious and cultural meaning. Mahatma Gandhi himself used the term in a religious sense and regarded himself as a Hindu.
Hindu as Sanatana Dharma
If one looks at the ancient literature, the correct term for Hinduism would be "Sanatana Dharma" or the Eternal Dharma, with Shaivite, Vaishnava, Shakta and other groups as its branches. This would identify Hinduism with the Vedic tradition, but in a flexible manner. Most people in the world today tend to do this, regarding, for example, the Bhagavad Gita as the main scripture of Hinduism, though the Gita as a text is older than the term Hindu for Sanatana Dharma.
A case could be made for replacing the term Hinduism with Sanatana Dharma to reduce misconceptions. But, however preferable, that would take much time and effort to accomplish. Hinduism is a legally and academically-recognised religion in the world and the term Sanatana Dharma is not well known.
Yet Hinduism is not a religion like the dominant Western religions, which complicates the discussion. It has no single or final prophet, One God, scripture, institution or code of belief. This has caused some people to say that Hinduism is not a religion at all.
However, Hinduism has probably the world's largest and oldest spiritual and religious literature through the many vedas, puranas, shastras, tantras and modern gurus. It has numerous temples, deities and monastic orders, probably more so than any other religion. Hindu religious festivals like the kumbh mela are by far the largest in the world.
We can perhaps better define Hinduism as a pluralistic religious, cultural and spiritual tradition, rather than try to limit it to the terms that Western religions originally made for themselves. Buddhism is not much different in this regard and conforms even less to the usual Western idea of religion, as it has no God or creator, which many Hindu sects do.
Hinduism as more than a religion
Some say that Hinduism is a culture or way of life, which has some validity as well. Hinduism includes many aspects of culture like art, music, dance and literature. In addition the term can refer to a way of life like the rules of daily living that many Hindus follow.
Some regard Hinduism like yoga as a science of consciousness. Certainly yoga practices of various types are common in all branches of Hinduism. Some prefer the term Hindu Dharma over Hinduism, to bring out more the connection with dharma.
So rather than stereotype Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma in simplistic verbal definitions, perhaps we should just accept the term Hinduism or Hindu Dharma for now - but redefine it in a broader sense as a pluralistic tradition that encompasses religion, spirituality, philosophy and culture. Hindus can choose to practice any part of these, with different Hindu sects having their own emphasis. Even atheists are not barred from being Hindus if they accept the principles of Dharma.
There can be religious or non-religious Hindus, but Hinduism does have an important place among the great religions of the world, whatever name you prefer to give it.