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Motherhood and Apple-pie

‘As we see… so it is’ { Όπως βλέπουμε έτσι είναι } and, ‘seeing is believing’… proclaimed Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) who thought that the planet earth was the epicenter of the universe around humans.

Aristotle and his school of philosophers then went about investigating ‘causality’ which to them meant, ‘investigation of the natural world around humans’.’ They went about searching for the relevant causes of a variety of natural phenomena happening in the universe each minute, each day, all though our lives.

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From the ‘Phaedo’, which are a series of dialogues with master Plato, guru for Aristotle, a great philosopher of the classical period, we learn that there has been a continuous search for ‘mind & soul’ within and outside us; whether the stars and planets of the Universe influenced us or not. If we, the humans, did not ‘mind them’, it did not matter to the celestial bodies! 

From these series of dialogues between the master & his pupil, we learn that their ‘inquiry and search was also related to earth bound occurrences happening throughout our lives, births and deaths for example… some early some late… sickness and health; hunger for some and riches for others’ .

Their inquiries comprised of a search for ’causes of each thing’; ‘why each thing comes into existence?, why it goes out of existence?, why it exists?’… they debated.

In these ‘Phaedo’ school of inquiry & investigation, our ancient grand masters were hungry for ‘answers’ to questions… ‘why?, why? and why?.

  • Aristotle taught his disciples that the Sun, the moons, and all planets of our solar system orbited around the planet Earth. This was his profound “geocentric theory“.  Aristotle set forth this theory in a book called, “On the Heavens”.  Planets and the space (gaps) around them in our solar system were thought to be composed of an unchanging substance (later named ‘aether’) that was not to be found on our planet earth. 
  • “We the humans imagine and interpret how stars, suns, moons, all other celestial bodies too, move around in the universe. No one knows about all this, except us, they proclaimed!
  • Orbits of the celestial bodies were thought to be circular and concentric with planet earth as the epicenter of everything. This was the geocentric model, a world view that was elevated by the Greek Orthodox Church as religious dogma.
  • This theory prevailed till the 15th century.

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(picture-1) Geocentric Model of Universe that Aristotle proposed

This was the thinking until the 15th Century. This model (shown in picture-1) of the Universe around us was later replaced by the Helio_centric model, also known as, ‘Sun_centric model’. Let it be known… ‘Helio’ means ‘Sun’ in Greek language.

Nicolaus Copernicus, a renaissance polymath, a catholic canon, great mathematician and astronomer of his times, formulated a different model of the Universe.

He and others of his school, placed the Sun at the epicenter of our Universe replacing the Earth; this model came to be known as the Heliocentric model of our Universe. 

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Aristarchus (310-230 BC) and Nicolaus Copernicus (1473- 1543 AD)

In all likelihood, Copernicus developed his models independently of Aristarchus of Samos, also an ancient Greek astronomer, who had proposed similar sun centric model some eighteen centuries before the astronomer of medieval times, Nicolaus Copernicus.

 

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(picture-2) Heliocentric Model of  the Universe by astronomers… Aristarchusk, Copernicus and Ptolemaic

Later on, there was ‘Galileo’ who made the telescope, looked at the eternal skies through his prism; he made several discoveries and published them in the book ‘Dialogues of Galileo Galilei’

See the source image Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642)

What Galileo saw in the skies was not liked by the orthodox church of his time.  On April 12, 1633, chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculani da Firenzuola, appointed by Pope Urban VIII, began the inquisition of physicist and astronomer Galileo of Galilei.

Galileo was ordered to turn himself in to the holy office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the sun; his discovery was deemed heretical by the catholic church. Standard practice demanded that the accused be secluded inside a prison cell during the trial.

To avoid seclusion in a prison before the trial Galileo first denied he said anything against the belief system of the church; But later on he held his ground and decided to face trial. 

After the trial, Galileo was sentenced with a penalty:

  • “We order that by a public edict the book of Dialogues of Galileo Galilei be prohibited, and We condemn thee to the prison of this Holy Office during Our will and pleasure; and as a salutary penance We enjoin on thee that for the space of three years thou shalt recite once a week the Seven Penitential Psalms.”
  • Galileo agreed not to teach the heresy anymore and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. Galileo continued to receive visitors until 1642, when, after suffering fever and heart palpitations, he died on 8 January 1642, aged 77. The Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando II, wished to bury him in the main body of the Basilica of Santa Croce, next to the tombs of his father and other ancestors, and to erect a marble mausoleum in his honor. These plans were dropped later.

It took more than 300 years for the Church to admit that Galileo was right and to clear his name of heresy.

EASTERN ASTRONOMERES (Hinduism school)

There were many astronomers and polymaths in ‘Aryavarta’, the ancient land from the Himalayas in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, that brought Hinduism to the world. 

Aryabhata (476 – 550 AD), Brahmagupta (598 AD – 668 AD), Bhāskara II (1114 – 1185) brought us astounding astronomical science without a telescope to look at the skies.

They have given us precise mathematical models on movement of the celestial bodies in the skies to calculate distance(s) between earth and the moon, between earth and the Sun.

  • Some of their work also resulted in the eastern school of Astrology, that predicts influences of celestial bodies on human life, rain and shine, death and decay on planet earth; many believe in such astrological predications too. 

Aryabhata — See the source image — Bhāskara II —

Aryabhata                      Brahmagupta               Bhaskara II 

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      Varahamihira

Work of such renowned eastern astronomers are recognized by the modern school of astronomers like: 

 —  See the source image

Marc Aaronson            —  Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan, in particular, has written about his understanding of the astounding mathematical models and equations developed way back in time (that is, from about 500 AD to 1200 AD.)

Carl has been baffled by the works of Aryabhata, Bhaskara II, and Varahamihira of the Aryavartha school, that give answers with precision (to the last decimal place,) distance between earth and earth’s-moon; distance between the Sun & earth in our solar system… all deciphered by the eastern astronomers without the help of telescopes!

Carl has said that there is a lot to be learned on how to decipher celestial truth in these mathematical equations, all written in the Sanskrit language that evades modern astronomers!

VISUALIZATION OF GOD BY HUMANS

When Adi Shankara, the most mentioned philosopher of the Hinduism school said, ‘shivoham’ (or ‘aham brahmasmi’) some Dwaitis’ (those who believe that ‘god and human are two separate beings, not one’) screamed ‘AUDACIOUS’… ‘how can Adi Shankara claim he is god (how can he claim he is Shiva himself!’… they asked.

All Adi Shankara meant by ‘Shivoham’ is… NIRGUNA BRAHMAN is in You and Me; we inhale and exhale ‘Him’ (god in our imagination,) every minute as ‘BRAH’ (translated as breath in Sanskrit; we are all part and parcel of the Universe around us.

The label BRAHMAN for god in Nirguna school of philosophy says that in one word.

Adi Shankara also said, ‘Tat Twam Asi’ (‘That you Are’) to drive home his reasoning.

In Sri Vaishnava sub-school of advaitism, BRAHMAN is PRANAVA (one who gives  ‘prana_vayu’; breath that sustains life.)

  • PRANAVA denotes the supreme Brahman. ‘Om’ sound that most sanatana preachers pronounce first before beginning a discourse (‘ओम’ in ĐevaNāgarī script, visualised as ‘ॐ’ the symbol.)
    • Brahma-Pranava’ is all there is to understand; it consists of all gods and essence of all of the universe in it. It consists of all the syllables; it denotes eternal Time (Kaal in Hindi); it is composed of the essence of all scriptures and it is also the auspicious one (Shiva).
  • The supreme god that all religions say influences them in their day to day life is nothing but the UNIVERSE that all of us are breathing-in and breathing-out every second, every minute, everyday.
  • Bhagavat_gita in Hinduism talks about two main schools in god realization: SAGUNA BRAHMAN and NIRGUNA BRAHMAN.
    • The SAGUNA school says god can be thought of as having attributes like: shape, form, worship rituals etc., so the devotee can visualize his/her god before offering prayers. It could be Ganesha shape, Vishnu shape, Krishna shape and all rituals that the priests say should be followed to see god in a form we can understand, in a form or shape many of our priests too visualize god.
    • Many of them see god as described in the Vedas with many attributes for human visualization. God is ‘veda pramana’ (as described in the vedas) to them.
    • This is true for a Christian too; it could be a bleeding man nailed to a cross, it could be just a Cross sign, it could be baby Jesus image, it could be mother Mary figure.
    • The NIRGUNA school says… god has no shape or form (Islamists think so too… when they talk of Allah as god.)
    • All that the NIRGUNA school of intellectuals are saying is… “the Universe around humans has no shape or form”… NIRGUNA in Sanskrit means without any attributes like shape, form or color.”
    • And, the ‘Gita’ says that there are 4-ways or paths to go about realizing this truth for mortals like us, who like to seek his/her god; 
    • The 4-ways (paths) are the 4 Yogas:-
    • Raja_Yoga (deep penance or contemplation within ourselves to realize god.) This is not easy to do for most mortals like us.
    • Jnana_Yoga (extensive study of the scriptures, thousands of books and commentaries written on who is god and how to seek him or fathom what god is all about.)
    • Bhakti_Yoga (keeping faith that there is god in the form one chooses to see HIM/HER; no questions asked on how or why.)
    • Kharma_Yoga (just doing ones assigned work or duty as best as one one can faithfully, to realize god and lead a fruitful life achieving all that one wants to accomplish in life, including  Artha (wealth), Kaama (desires), Jnana (knowledge) and Moksha (salvation).
    • WE, HINDUS CAN PICK ANY OF THE ABOVE 4-paths to realize our god.

…………………….

  • What are you doing ta ta?“, came a voice from a corner of my study room as I was going to sum of this article. 

I then noticed what my 8-year old grand niece was playing with on her lap top.

I decided to fast forward and comedown to planet earth, be earth centric.

She had a piece of apple-pie in her hand. 

  • “Ajji has gone to the bazaar, she asked me to tell you that you could have the last piece of apple-pie stored away from yesterday in the frig.”

Image result for pic moving globe

(Picture 3) A computer simulation of planet earth that my grand niece is playing with lately.

I am writing, can’t you see”, I said.

Okay, I can see the title of your article now… what is ‘motherhood’ ?” she asked.

That stumped me!

“Well… motherhood is”… (I stumbled;) “do you know about birds and bees in spring?” I asked.

“Oh, I know all about that, ta ta”… I have watched how Kunti got her 5 sons in the Mahabharata series on Epic Channel.” ;

I also know how and why Draupadi had to marry 5 husbands.” she said.

“Alright, I will go for that apple-pie now” I said and closed my work the day.

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Suresh Rao

Mellowed out and enlightened septuagenarian. Tech savvy. Social writing is just a pastime to kill time. I keep contributing to several developmental projects in the area of engineering education, IT and Healthcare projects launched by my kith and kin. I am too lazy to write a book, 'cause I think my life itself is a book! I am also at www.facebook.com/sureshnrao
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