Various religious denominations (mots), such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc., were born out of ancient metaphysical concepts of those spiritual thinkers (Sages and Rishis) across India. Such concepts were derived from lifelong meditations in quest of knowledge. Metaphysical subjects deal with nonphysical abstract, supernatural, and mystical aspects of life and universe around us, which are often beyond the comprehension of most of us.
As I said, metaphysical aspects of Indian religious philosophy span across universes. Therefore, it is important to understand the perspective from which such thoughts emanated in order to understand the concept.
Objectives of practicing a religion are to lead a better life on earth and to secure a better place in the afterlife. Unfortunately, our consciousness can only encompass physical experiences on earth, and have no control over metaphysical world of afterlife. The goal of religion is, therefore, to influence metaphysical world of afterlife through various physical activities on earth, which are known as religious practices. The question is – is it possible to influence afterlife through our deeds on this earth? No one knows, so how do we know the truth?
Most people will say religion is a faith, and we should not waste time finding scientific evidences or justifications of religious activities. I disagree with such notion, because – religion is not only about this world, it’s about a metaphysical world, known as afterlife, as well. How do we know that such afterlife exists? I know, it can’t be proved, but so is the most quantum mechanical events, which cannot be directly observed, but the existence of such event can be demonstrated through other processes. So, it’s not necessary that we have to prove the existence of afterlife, but may be able to find indirect validation of it.
In my view, the knowledge and understanding of universes around us can be helpful in understanding the metaphysical afterlife. As per recent astrophysical development, the existence of a parallel universe is a theoretical concept in science. As per that concept, our universe is in the past of our parallel universe. Interestingly, the parallel universe has the same concept of the afterlife, in which our ancestors exist now.
Now, why can’t we travel back and forth between these two universes? This must be the question in everybody’s mind. What science can tell us about this journey?
I am a physicist, not an astrophysicist, and my concept may not be on target. As a physicist, I would say, we will need to find a way to go to the future in order to travel to the afterlife, meaning we need a time-capsule that can travel into the future. That vehicle must be able to travel at a speed greater than the speed of light, and, at that speed, time will dilate to an imaginary quantity, meaning mathematics has no number for that limit. Theory of relativity tells us, only a massless (weightless) object can attain such a speed. What is that massless vehicle?
Science has no answer, yet. But, the concept of soul, in the Indian religious spiritual scriptures, predict that soul can travel back and forth between parallel universes. It also says soul is conserved, meaning it’s indestructible, and it can only transform into something else. Incidentally, Indian religious philosophical concept of soul is similar to the principle of conservation of energy in Physics, which tells – energy is indestructible, and it can only transform into something else. Therefore, religious concept of soul could very well be representing residual energy in the body after death.
As per Indian reincarnation theory, soul will reborn as something else. So far this concept has been taken as faith, but if we say – soul is the residual energy in the body, left behind after death, it becomes apparent that such energy has to transform into something else, and the concept of soul then makes sense. Isn’t it?
The fact is most people are afraid of questioning their own faith. It’s because some scriptures forbid questioning own faith. This is what I find odd. It makes me wonder, what was the goal behind this concept? Was it intended to keep people blind forever? It’s like – teaching a blind person to picture color – blue or red. No matter how you try, a blind person can never know – what the true color blue or red looks like. They can only paint a picture of the color in his/her mind, but what’s the chance that the picture will be right. I guess, the same can be true about religious concepts if we accept it blindly, we could be painting wrong pictures of the concept. We can’t see what is heaven and hell; we can only paint some pictures of them in our mind. It’s not easy to conceive something that we do not see with our own eyes. In my view, the prudent way to go about it is to gain as much knowledge as possible on the subject and then draw a conclusion based on reasoning. But, how many people can do so? Most people will, probably, go with the flow of the ancestral customary practices as far as religious concepts and practices are concerned.
Religious concepts, at the beginning, were mainly meta-physical and spiritual, but with the passage of time, most of those concepts got molded by various interests. In spite of such conceptual aberrations, we still hold onto those ancestral practices. As a result, religious practices did not grow and develop, and now our age-old practices appears to be primitive in the eyes of our younger modern generations. And, the result is – they have no faith in any of these practices. Who is to blame? We are responsible for it, isn’t it?
The millennial generation need validation and/or logical arguments behind any concept or practice, meaning it has to make sense to them. The faith-based older-generation is not properly equipped or qualified to fulfil the needs of the younger generation. This generation has everything at their fingertip; they can verify everything instantly before believing in them.
Another fact is – they are also exposed to various competing religious views, which could be contradictory, and that could confuse them. Therefore, it is quite reasonable that younger generations may not belief in any of those concepts or arguments older-generation is telling them. Let’s face it – religious practices, now-a-days, are being used mostly either as social events or for political objectives. When religions are used for earthly interests, they will evidently lead to turf battles. We are all too familiar with these battles everywhere in the world. So, it’s not surprising that people are losing interest in religion.
Now, how do we get out of this mess? In my view, we can do so if we can go back to the philosophical/spiritual roots of those concepts. Spiritual concepts can be used for self-purification and enlightenment, but not for personal or political interests. Practices that Rishis and Sages did intended for acquiring knowledge and self-purification, not for material interests. We need to change our thinking and outlook about religion; we need to peel off all the outer layers of the concept to go to the core. This process will require personal enlightenment through knowledge. Only consciousness can bring changes in one’s attitude and behavior. In other words, consciousness can transform oneself into a different being.
We can start from the premise that we are not alone in this universe, and our thought must not be limited to our earthly knowledges alone. We need to expand our horizon to outer universes as well. That will open our mind, and we will be able to build our meta-physical thought from there. If we look at the sky at night, we see billions of stars and planets around us, and someone from the distant planet may also be thinking about these very same questions. As we open our mind, a lot of earthly matters may appear to be petty.
At the center of the religious consciousness lies the questions of creation and the creator (God). The answers vary within religious concepts. Science is also struggling with this very same questions, and the questions still remain undecided. Some scientists believe universes originated from an explosion, known as, ‘Big Bang,’ and they are formed from ‘nothing.’ Recent, astrophysical developments started to refute this theory, because it goes against our conscience, which is – something cannot be created from nothing.
So, scientists are trying to find answers based on our consciousness and realizations. They tend to support the notion that – universe has existed since eternity, and changing ever since. This observation is consistent with our experiences that – nothing is permanent on this earth, meaning everything changes over time.
Following above logic, we can also conclude that, religious practices cannot remain stagnant; with the passage of time, it should evolve. Stagnant religious practices or concepts go against natural processes, and can bring disastrous consequences. Examples of such disastrous evidences can be found in the Muslim countries, where struggles are going on between supporters of Sharia, trying to implement 6th century practices and lifestyles, and supporters of moderation and modernity. Recently, India is also facing rising demand for ‘Ram Rjya,’ which is an effort to go back in time; that’s against natural processes, and bound to create conflict.
Anyway, I am not trying to find scientific validation for religion, but trying to show that religious arguments can be a little more credible when it can be filtered through the prism of science than simply asking everybody to accept them with blind faith.