Copyright 2017 by Madhavendra Puri Das
All Rights Reserved
Latest Revision 20 June 2017
New arguments for the existence of God are needed because traditional ones, which are based on trying to prove that God is the designer of biological systems or the creator of universes, have been seriously undermined by modern science. For example, the argument that a universe can’t come into existence without God is undermined by prominent physicists, including Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, who wrote: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing” (Hawking and Mlodinow, 2010). They contend that the spontaneous generation of planets, stars or galaxies is ruled out, but not the spontaneous generation of an entire universe, because the net energy balance of the universe as a whole is zero due to cancellation of the positive energy of matter by the negative energy of gravity. Theologians and even some physicists have challenged Hawking and Mlodinow due to their espousal of the dubious M-theory, but their conclusion that God is unnecessary is based not on M-theory but on the simple observation that gravitational energy is negative, which means that, if there is enough positive energy and matter in the universe, then the energy balance of the universe as a whole is zero. Naturally, atheistically-inclined physicists calculate that there is enough positive energy and matter in the universe. Until this is rigorously refuted, the argument that God is required to bring a universe into existence is undermined.
According to Hawking and Mlodinow, the law of gravity is required for the spontaneous generation of a universe. Since time, space and matter don’t exist until a universe comes into existence, the law of gravity must exist outside of time, space and matter. In other words, the law of gravity must transcend time, space and matter. According to Hawking and Mlodinow, the law of gravity is no longer to be viewed simply as an effect of matter as in the General Theory of Relativity, according to which matter warps space-time and warped space-time causes matter to accelerate. According to Hawking and Mlodinow, the law of gravity transcends time, space and matter.
Theists argue that a transcendental law implies a transcendental law-maker, God. Atheists ask the questions, “Why is God the only independent transcendental entity? Why can’t there be a transcendental law without God?” Until theists properly answer these questions, this argument lacks the power to oblige one to believe in God. Therefore, theists should be interested in a new argument for the existence of God.
Before describing my new argument, I must satisfy astute readers who inquire about the role of quantum mechanics in the spontaneous generation of a universe. This role is clarified by physicist Alexander Vilenkin, who wrote: “We often hear that nothing can come out of nothing. Indeed, matter has positive energy, and energy conservation demands that any initial state should have the same energy. However, it is a mathematical fact that the energy of a closed universe is equal to zero. In such a universe, the positive energy of matter is exactly compensated by the negative energy of the gravitational field, so the total energy is zero. Another conserved quantity is the electric charge, but once again it turns out that the total charge must vanish in a closed universe. This is not difficult to understand. Suppose the universe has the form of a 3D sphere, and imagine placing a positive charge at the “south pole” of that sphere. The lines of force emanating from the charge will then converge at the north pole, indicating that there must be an equal negative charge there. Thus, you cannot add an electric charge anywhere in a closed universe without adding an opposite charge someplace else. If all the conserved numbers of a closed universe are equal to zero, then there is nothing to prevent such a universe from being spontaneously created out of nothing. In quantum mechanics, any process which is not strictly forbidden by the conservation laws will happen with some probability. The newly born universes can have a variety of sizes and can be filled with different types of vacua. Analysis shows that the most probable universes are the ones having the smallest initial size and the highest vacuum energy (for more discussion see Vilenkin 2006, chapter 17). Once the universe is formed, it starts expanding rapidly, because of the high energy of the vacuum. This provides the start of the scenario of eternal inflation. You can ask: “What caused the universe to pop out of nothing?” Surprisingly, no cause is needed. If you have a radioactive atom, it will decay, and quantum mechanics gives the decay probability in a given interval of time. But if you ask why the atom decayed at this particular moment and not the other, the answer is that there is no cause: the process is completely random. Similarly, no cause is needed for quantum creation of the universe” (Vilenkin, 2011). The red, bold font in this quote is mine.
Although formulations of quantum mechanics based on fundamental indeterminism and inherent subatomic ambiguity (such as the one above espoused by Vilenkin) have been challenged by physicists (Hofer, 2014; Durr et al, 2013), there are deterministic formulations that might still support spontaneous generation of universes in a manner analogous to the branch of physics known as statistical mechanics. Rigorous proof that no formulation supports spontaneous generation of universes would be a step forward for theism. Obviously, what is required here is serious research in fundamental physics. Sadly, theists haven’t exhibited much interest in doing such research. Even if it could be rigorously proven that the currently-understood laws of physics don’t support spontaneous generation of universes, theists would still have to prove that future advances in physics wouldn’t arrive at laws that support spontaneous generation of universes. Such a proof would require profound insight into the fundamental laws of nature. Such insight may be beyond human capacity.
Theists should keep in mind the fact that an argument for the existence of God that depends on our current understanding of the laws of physics is vulnerable to refutation as our understanding of these laws changes over time. Our current understanding of the laws of physics is substantially different from that of the time of Newton, and no one has yet presented any reason to believe that our understanding of the laws of physics won’t change in the future. Due to the formidable challenges listed in the last four paragraphs, theists should be seriously interested in exploring new arguments for the existence of God.
Before unveiling my new argument, I must deal with a frequently-asked question regarding the status of arguments for the existence of God based on the strategy of rigorously demonstrating the failure of specific scenarios of undirected mutation and natural selection. Whenever proponents of the modern “Intelligent Design” movement have constructed such scenarios (for example, Behe and Snoke, 2004; Behe, 2007), the scenarios actually show that undirected mutation and natural selection could have produced the biological system in question within the time allotted by the fossil record for the evolution of that biological system (Lynch, 2005; Miller, 2007; Durrett and Schmidt, 2008; Farmer and Habura, 2010; Lynch and Abegg, 2010). This doesn’t mean that the biological system in question wasn’t designed; it simply means that proponents of “Intelligent Design” have failed to prove that it was designed. In fact, proponents of “Intelligent Design” have failed to prove that any biological system is the product of deliberate design. Reasons for accepting the fossil record as an accurate representation of the true history of life on Earth are given in Chapter 2. These reasons are especially appealing to Puranic scholars because they are based on a correlation between Puranic statements and events recorded in the fossil record.
Proponents of “Intelligent Design” claim that the bacterial flagellum is “irreducibly complex,” but this claim is seriously undermined by structural similarity between the stator proteins MotA/B and the bacterial proteins ExbB/D of the outer-membrane-transport TonB organelle and TolQ/R of the outer-membrane-stability Tol-Pal organelle (Kojima and Blair, 2001; Cascales et al, 2001). Moreover, there is another bacterial true rotary motor, the F0F1-ATP-Synthase which, being older than the flagellum, could have powered the first proto-flagellum. There is evidence that several core flagellar components are structurally similar to core components of the F0F1-ATP-Synthase (Diepold and Armitage, 2015). It may turn out that evolutionary scenarios involving the F0F1-ATP-Synthase, ExbB/D or TolQ/R aren’t viable, but this can only be proven by constructing specific scenarios of undirected mutation and natural selection and rigorously demonstrating that these scenarios don’t work. Proponents of “Intelligent Design” haven’t demonstrated that such scenarios don’t work despite the fact that 21 years have elapsed since they first claimed that the bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex (Behe, 1996).
Although proponents of “Intelligent Design” claim that the vertebrate blood-clotting system is irreducibly complex, there are different vertebrate blood-clotting systems, some simpler than others, and the simpler ones are functional. For example, the blood-clotting system of the puffer fish Fugu still works despite the fact that it lacks three proteins that are present in the human blood-clotting system (Doolittle, 2012). It may turn out that undirected mutation and natural selection can’t produce a particular blood-clotting system within the time allotted by the fossil record, but this can only be demonstrated by rigorous analysis of relevant scenarios. Unfortunately, proponents of “Intelligent Design” have failed to do this despite the fact that 21 years have elapsed since they first claimed that the vertebrate blood-clotting system is “irreducibly complex” (Behe, 1996). This doesn’t mean that the bacterial flagellum and vertebrate blood-clotting system weren’t designed; it simply means that proponents of “Intelligent Design” have failed to rigorously demonstrate design.
Proponents of “Intelligent Design” are fond of comparing biological systems to mousetraps and bicycles. In the macroscopic world, if you dump all the parts of a bicycle on your living room floor, they will never assemble themselves into a functional bicycle. In sharp contrast, in the world of molecules at room temperature, objects collide with each other many times per second, which means that if they possess the right structure, they can bind together. This is how the bacterial flagellum assembles itself and explains why no external agent is required to assemble it. Thus, the potential for self-organization is much greater at the molecular level than at the macroscopic level. The world of molecules is radically different from the macroscopic world of mousetraps and bicycles. It is clear that proponents of “Intelligent Design” make the serious mistake of assuming that the intuition that guides us in the macroscopic world provides a reliable guide to the world of molecules. Forces that are of paramount importance in the macroscopic world, such as gravity, play a relatively minor role in the world of molecules. It would, therefore, be wise to suspend one’s tendency for intuitive judgment when voyaging into the world of molecules, which for most people is uncharted territory.
Even if one succeeded in proving that a particular biological system is the product of deliberate design, further arguments are needed to prove that the designer is God. One would need to eliminate the possibility that the designer was an alien whose body is not based on nucleic acids and proteins, and whose body, therefore, might have evolved by a process that is significantly different from terrestrial mutation and natural selection. The irrefutable elimination of this possibility is likely to be a daunting task. Although it’s difficult to imagine how such a body could manifest the intelligence needed to design terrestrial biological systems, the fact that human beings can’t imagine it doesn’t prove that it couldn’t exist.
Another problem is the atheistic appeal to an ensemble of universes, commonly called the “multiverse.” Even if one succeeded in proving that the probability is exceedingly small that undirected mutation and natural selection produced a particular biological system within the 4-billion-year time allotted for evolution on Earth, atheists have demonstrated their eagerness to invoke other planets in this universe and, ultimately, other universes to counterbalance this small probability. Regardless of how small this probability is, it can be counterbalanced if atheists are allowed to invoke enough universes. For example, if the probability of a particular event occurring in one universe is 10-80 and atheists are allowed to invoke 1080 universes, then the event is expected to occur in one of those universes without the need to invoke a designer. Since there is presently no physical justification for limiting the total number of universes, atheists are logically allowed to invoke as many universes as they like. When theists challenge “There is no evidence for other universes,” atheists counter “There is no evidence for God.” Unfortunately, many theists forget that this strategy for proving the existence of God depends on limiting the total number of universes because it depends on proving that the reciprocal of the probability of the undirected evolution of a particular biological system is many orders of magnitude greater than the total number of trials available for this evolution. Atheists point out that there is no justification for assuming that the physical process that generated our universe couldn’t have generated other universes as well. Thus, we are back to the knotty problem of proving that God is required to generate a universe.
The logical conclusion from the above discussion is that theists should be seriously interested in exploring new strategies for proving the existence of God. This is where my new strategy comes in.
The new strategy is based on my discovery that advanced scientific data is recorded in the philosophical/religious books of ancient India known as Puranas, which were written long before this data was discovered in the West. Although there is evidence for editing of the Puranas over the centuries, it isn’t hard to find editions of the Puranas published a century ago that predate advanced scientific discoveries. For example, an edition of the Matsya Purana published in the year 1916 describes a massive volcanic eruption contemporaneous with the end-Permian Mass Extinction (see Chapter 2). The end-Permian Mass Extinction is the greatest mass extinction in the history of life on Earth known to paleontologists. The end-Permian Mass Extinction wiped out over 80% of marine and land-dwelling species all over the Earth 252 million years ago. In other words, it was a global extinction that happened everywhere on Earth at the “same” time. By “same” time I mean within a time that is less than the current limit of resolution of the radiometric dating of the end-Permian Mass Extinction (Burgess et al, 2014).
According to Michael J. Benton, Professor of Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Bristol (UK), due to the influence of the famous British geologist Charles Lyell, from the 1840s until the 1970s the sciences of geology and paleontology denied that mass extinctions had ever occurred and, although paleontologists N. Newell, O. Schindewolf and M. de Laubenfels came out in favor of mass extinctions in the 1950s, they were ignored or ridiculed by geologists and paleontologists in general (Benton, 2015, pages 93-95 and 320). This is confirmed by Douglas H. Erwin of the Smithsonian National Museum (2006, page 22-23). Thus, geologists and paleontologists in general didn’t acknowledge the existence of the end-Permian Mass Extinction until the 1970s.
One of the most voluminous continental volcanic eruptions since the origin of animals is known as the Siberian Traps Large Igneous Province. Geologists didn’t know that the Siberian Traps Large Igneous Province and the end-Permian Mass Extinction were broadly contemporaneous until the 1980s (Benton, 2015, page 262). Radiometric dates accurate enough to prove that the two are actually contemporaneous were not obtained until the year 2015 (Burgess and Bowring, 2015). So, a philosophical/religious book published in the year 1916 contains scientific data so sophisticated that it wasn’t discovered until the year 2015.
Chapter 1 documents the fact that, when Puranic dates for the beginning and end of the current Day of Brahma are multiplied by a factor of two, they closely agree with modern scientific dates for the advent of life on Earth and its ultimate demise in the future. This naturally suggests the hypothesis that Puranic dates are half of terrestrial dates. This hypothesis is strengthened by further examples of this correlation presented in Chapters 2 and 3. The correlation involves a constant factor of two maintained over billions of years. As shown in Chapter 4, well-characterized sources of error in radiometric dating can’t maintain the constant factor-of-two difference between Puranic and radiometric dates over billions of years. Therefore, this factor of two can’t be attributed to errors in radiometric dating. Chapter 4 attributes it to the phenomenon of Time Dilation in Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Chapter 4 reveals the fact that the Puranic Earth is a higher-dimensional realm that is distinct from but correlated with the Earth of our common experience, which we will call the terrestrial Earth. Thus, we will refer to terrestrial time and Puranic time, which differ by a constant factor of two. Those who deride the concept of higher-dimensional space should recognize that paradigms involving higher-dimensional space have so much explanatory power that they dominate modern physics. Moreover, the predictions of the General Theory of Relativity have been verified again and again by a hundred years of rigorous testing at the world’s finest universities.
As shown in Appendix A, both Western and Indian scholars present evidence that the Puranas have been edited over the centuries. The skeptical hypothesis that modern scientific data was incorporated into relatively new editions of the Puranas is refuted by editions of the Puranas that predate the acquisition of this data. Therefore, the most rational explanation for the close correlation between Puranic dates and radiometric dates is revelation by superhuman beings. Analysis of the motives for this revelation indicates that these superhuman beings are agents of a Supreme Being. Further evidence for such revelation includes: (1) Accurate values for the diameters of the planets of our solar system before telescopes were invented in Europe, and (2) Knowledge of the fact that mid-oceanic, hydrothermal systems desalinate ocean water long before this was discovered by Western scientists.
Table of Contents
The Advent of Life on Earth and its Demise in the Future
Correlate with the Beginning and End of the Current Day of Brahma
The Greatest Mass Extinction According to the Puranas
Correlates with The Greatest Mass Extinction According to Paleontology
Rama’s Pastimes Correlate with the Greatest Mass Extinction
Since the Demise of the Dinosaurs
Paradigms Involving Higher-dimensional Space Dominate
Modern Physics, Unify the Forces of Nature, Reconcile the Puranic
Account with the Terrestrial Fossil Record, and Explain the Constant Factor-of-two
Difference between Puranic Dates and Dates derived from Modern Physics
Desalination of Ocean Water by Hydrothermal Systems was Known in
India Long Before it was Discovered by Modern Science
Accurate Values for the Diameters of the Planets were Known in India
Before Telescopes were Invented in Europe
Revelation by Superhuman Beings
Evidence for the Existence of Krishna (God)
Transactions that Wouldn’t Exist if Krishna Didn’t Exist
The Confidential Psychology of God
Evidence for Editing of Puranas and
Surya-siddhanta Over the Centuries
The Advent of Life on Earth and its Future Demise Correlate with the Beginning and End of this Day of Brahma
According to Surya Siddhanta, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Vishnu Purana, Mahabharata and Manu Smriti, the current Day of Brahma began 1,970 million years ago. Multiplying this number by two yields 3,940 million years ago, which is very close to the middle of the range of the latest and most rigorous paleontological estimate for the advent of life on Earth. Professor M.S. Dodd at University College, London, and colleagues reported evidence for life on Earth at least 3,770 million and possibly as much as 4,290 million years ago. They wrote: “Schists from the approximately 3,700-Myr-old Isua supracrustal belt in southwest Greenland contain up to 8.8 wt% graphitic carbon that is depleted in 13C, and this depletion has been attributed to biological activity. However, because non-biological decarbonation reactions and Fischer-Tropsch-type synthesis can produce reduced carbon with similar isotopic compositions, non-biological interpretations are possible. Apatite with graphite coatings, within iron formations from the ~ 3,830-Myr-old Akilia supracrustal belt in southwest Greenland has been interpreted as the metamorphosed product of biogenic matter, supported by the presence of biologically important heteroatoms within the graphite. However, it has been suggested that some graphite in the Akilia iron formations was deposited by metamorphic fluids. This latter interpretation is echoed in the Nuvvuagittuq supracrustal belt (NSB) by the presence of poorly crystalline, fluid-deposited graphite that coats apatite, demonstrating that some apatite–graphite occurrences are produced abiotically during fluid remobilization and high-grade metamorphism. ....To assess the biogenicity of the NSB putative microfossils we consider as a null hypothesis plausible abiogenic mechanisms that could create haematite tubes and filaments through metamorphic stretching or diagenetic processes (see Supplementary Information), such as fluid flow, precipitation reactions, and self-assembly. However, no known mechanism can wholly facilitate the growth of multiple tubes from a single haematite knob at varying angles (Fig. 1a, Extended Data Fig. 4) during metamorphic or diagenetic reactions, together with the formation of internal coiled, branched, and twisted filaments (Extended Data Fig. 4) with haematite envelopes (Fig. 1c), in addition to their close spatial association with carbonate and graphitic carbon (Extended Data Fig. 5). Collectively, our observations cannot be explained by a single or combined abiogenic pathway, and therefore we reject the null hypothesis. ….Preservation in the NSB of carbonaceous material and minerals in diagenetic rosettes and granules that formed from the oxidation of biomass, together with the presence of tubes similar in mineralogy and morphology to those in younger jaspers interpreted as microfossils, reveal that life established a habitat near submarine-hydrothermal vents before 3,770 Myr ago and possibly as early as 4,290 Myr ago” (Dodd et al, 2017).
The Future Demise of Life on Earth
Vishnu Purana, Srimad-Bhagavatam and modern astrophysics all agree that the energy output of the sun will increase in the future, giving rise to an increase in the temperature of the Earth and, thereby, destroying all life on Earth. According to Vishnu Purana (Wilson, 1896, part 6, section 3), life on Earth will be destroyed by heating due to the sun at the end of this Day of Brahma, which will occur 2.35 billion years from now. According to Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.4.9-10) the Earth will be “scorched to a cinder.” Professor Rene Heller of the Department of Physics at McMaster University wrote: “About five billion years from now, our sun will have largely exhausted its hydrogen fuel and begun fusing more energetic helium in its core, causing it to swell to become a ‘red giant’ star that will scorch Earth to a cinder” (Heller, 2015).
Five billion years is 6% larger than 4.7 billion years, which is the Puranic prediction multiplied by two. Note, however, that five billion years is an approximation. Further research may reveal that the date is closer to 4.7 billion years.
The Puranic prediction of an increase in the energy output of the sun is counter-intuitive because all energy sources in the physical world with which we are familiar eventually run out of fuel. Thus, it is reasonable to suppose that the authors of the Puranas would have speculated that the sun would run out of fuel and, hence, decrease its energy output in the future. Therefore, the fact that the authors of the Puranas were aware that the sun’s energy output will increase in the future demands an explanation.
The edition of the Vishnu Purana cited above (Wilson, 1896) was published in the year 1896, which predates the discovery by Western science that the energy output of the sun increases in the future and, thereby, destroys life on Earth billions of years from now. Thus, the skeptical hypothesis that the Puranic account incorporated Western scientific data is hereby refuted.
The Greatest Mass Extinction According to the Puranas
Correlates with the Greatest Mass Extinction According to Paleontology
Paleontologists currently identify at least 27 mass extinctions in the history of the Earth just preceding and during the Phanerozoic Eon (the last 541 million years). These are end-Ediacaran at 542 mya (million years ago), end-Botomian at 517 mya, Dresbachian at 502 mya, end-Cambrian at 488 mya, Ordovician/Silurian at 450-440 mya, Ireviken at 428 mya, Mulde at 424 mya, Lau at 420 mya, late-Devonian at 375-360 mya, Serpukhovian at 323 mya, late-Carboniferous at 305 mya, Olson’s at 270 mya, end-Capitanian at 260 mya, end-Permian at 251.9 mya, Carnian Pluvial at 230 mya, end-Triassic at 201 mya, Toarcian at 183 mya, end-Jurassic at 145 mya, Aptian at 117 mya, end-Cenomanian at 94 mya, end-Cretaceous at 66 mya, end-Eocene at 33.9 mya, middle-Miocene at 14.5 mya, end-Pliocene at 2.5 mya, and Pleistocene at 640, 74 and 11 thousand years ago.
Out of all these extinctions, the one that paleontologists unanimously agree is by far the most severe is that which occurred at the end of the Permian Period, 251.9 million years ago. Although Professor Steven M. Stanley of the University of Hawaii differs from most of his colleagues regarding the magnitude of this extinction (Stanley, 2016), all paleontologists (including Stanley) agree that it was the largest mass extinction in the Phanerozoic Eon.
According to Michael J. Benton, Professor of Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Bristol (UK), due to the influence of the famous British geologist Charles Lyell, from the 1840s until the 1970s the sciences of geology and paleontology denied that mass extinctions had ever occurred and, although paleontologists N. Newell, O. Schindewolf and M. de Laubenfels came out in favor of mass extinctions in the 1950s, they were ignored or ridiculed by geologists and paleontologists in general (Benton, 2015, pages 93-95 and 320). This is confirmed by Douglas H. Erwin of the Smithsonian National Museum (2006, page 22-23). Thus, geologists and paleontologists in general didn’t acknowledge the existence of the end-Permian Mass Extinction until the 1970s.
The Permian/Triassic boundary, which coincides with the end-Permian Mass Extinction, is currently considered to be 251.9 million years old (Burgess and Bowring, 2015). The Permian/Triassic boundary was dated at 251 million years old in the year 2004 (Erwin, 2006, page 96). In the year 1964, the Permian/Triassic boundary was dated at 225 million years old (Erwin, 2006, page 96). In the year 1916, the distinguished American Paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn of Columbia University assigned an age of 12 million years old for the Permian/Triassic boundary (Osborn, 1916). This age is less than 5% of the correct age. Although the pioneer of radiometric dating, Arthur Holmes, had a surprisingly-accurate value of ~370 million years old for a late Devonian rock as early as the year 1911, he clearly stated that no one took it seriously at that time, and it turned out to be the result of two major errors that fortuitously cancelled each other (Holmes, 1959).
How Do We Know What the Correct Age Is?
Since radiometric dates are periodically revised, what is the justification for assuming, as we did in the previous paragraph, that the latest date is correct? The justification given by geologists is that, as documented in the previous paragraph, the revised dates asymptotically approach the latest date. Geologists attribute this asymptotic approach to improvements in equipment and techniques over the last 60 years. Geologists say that, without such improvements, radiometric dates for the Permian/Triassic boundary would have fluctuated over the last 60 years and not approached the current value of 251.9 million years old. Geologists claim that they are aware of sources of error in radiometric dating techniques and they point to elaborate discussions of these sources of error in hundreds of articles in professional, peer-reviewed journals.
A serious reading of these articles seems to support this claim. Consider, for example, the uranium-lead dating technique. In the uranium-lead dating technique, each sample actually provides two radiometric clocks, one based on the decay of uranium-235 to lead-207 with a half-life of ~700 million years, and the other based on the decay of uranium-238 to lead-206 with a half-life of ~4.5 billion years. These two clocks provide a built-in cross-check. Moreover, uranium-lead dating is often performed on the mineral zircon (ZrSiO4) which, at the time of formation, readily incorporates uranium atoms into its crystalline structure as a substitute for zirconium, but strongly rejects lead atoms. Thus, zircon is nearly ideal for radiometric dating because it starts out with uranium already incorporated into its structure but virtually no lead, which is the radioactive decay product in both radiometric clocks. Other desirable features of zircon include: (1) a very high closure temperature, which means that the probability of the clock being reset due to heating at a time after the mineral has formed is very low, (2) resistance to mechanical weathering, and (3) very chemically inert. The information in this paragraph is from MacDonald (2013).
A source of error that is not automatically circumvented by these virtues of zircon is admixture of zircon crystals from geologically older strata. For example, in the year 1996, Professor Samuel Bowring of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology attempted to date the Permian/Triassic boundary at Meishan, China but initially encountered obstacles due to admixture of zircon crystals from an older stratum. Careful study of the regional geology revealed that the Permian magma had come up through an older stratum and had thereby incorporated zircon crystals from this older stratum into the stratum at the Permian/Triassic boundary. “Until recently, mass spectrometers were not sensitive enough for analyses of individual crystals and geochronologists were forced to study a population at a single time. The preservation and incorporation of older zircons is one reason most analyses now use single zircon crystals” (Erwin, 2006, page 82).
Thus, it’s clear that serious attempts have been made to circumvent sources of error in radiometric dating. Nevertheless, there is no justification for excluding the possibility that some physical factor that is not currently recognized has caused radiometric dates to diverge from true dates. In particular, although there are no currently-recognized physical mechanisms that could significantly alter the rate at which uranium nuclei emit alpha particles, we are not justified in assuming that such mechanisms don’t exist.
What, then, is the justification for assuming that the current radiometric dates are true dates? The justification is that it is highly unlikely that the authors of the Puranas would fortuitously arrive at dates that just happen to agree, within a few percent, with half of current radiometric dates. This conclusion will be greatly strengthened by my current research project that aims at identifying many more Puranic dates that are within a few percent of half of current radiometric dates for significant paleontological events, such as the Cambrian Explosion and the end-Cretaceous mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs.
The Puranas Provide a Precise
Date for the end-Permian Mass Extinction
The Puranic system of yugas and Manvantaras provides a precise date for the end-Permian Mass Extinction which, in the Puranas, is known as the end-Caksusa pralaya and is clearly identified as the most severe pralaya (mass extinction) in this Day of Brahma. The Markandeya Purana, translated by F. E. Pargiter of Oxford University and published by the Asiatic Society, Calcutta, India, in the year 1904 contains the system of yugas and Manvantaras (Pargiter, 1904). Canto 46 in this edition of the Markandeya Purana lists the lengths of the four yugas (Satya, Dvapara, Treta and Kali) and their combined total of 4.32 million years, which is called one divya-yuga or catur-yuga. It also states that 71 divya-yugas equals one Manvantara. According to Canto 53 in this edition of the Markandeya Purana, we are now in the 7th Manvantara, which is known as Vaivasvata Manvantara. This proves that the system of yugas and Manvantaras was in use at a time when (as shown above) the Permian/Triassic boundary was erroneously dated at less than 5% of the correct value, which refutes the hypothesis that the correct date for the end-Permian Mass Extinction was incorporated into the 1904 edition of the Markandeya Purana. Even the most skeptical scholars concede that the system of yugas and Manvantaras, from which the correct date is calculated, is ancient. For example, according to Professor Luis González-Reimann of the University of California, the system of yugas and Manvantaras is approximately 2,000 years old (González-Reimann, 2014).
The Puranic calculation for the age of the end-Permian Mass Extinction is performed as follows. We are now 5,000 years into the Kali-yuga of the 28th divya-yuga of the 7th Manvantara of the present Day of Brahma. When 4.32 million years is multiplied by 28, we obtain 120.960 million years, from which we must subtract 0.427 million years, which is the duration of Kali-yuga minus 5,000 years. When this subtraction is performed, we arrive at 120.533 million years ago. To this number we must add a Manvantara-sandhi, which is a joining period between two Manvantaras that lasts 1.728 million years, in order to bring us back in time to the end of the Caksusa Manvantara, which is when the extinction occurred. When this addition is performed, we arrive at 122.261 million years ago, which is Puranic time. Converting this number to terrestrial time requires multiplication by a factor of two, which yields 244.522 million years ago, which is within 3% of 251.9 million years ago, which is the current radiometric date for the end-Permian Mass Extinction (Burgess and Bowring, 2015).
To satisfy the skeptics, I now provide a Puranic reference proving that this extinction is the most severe so far in this Day of Brahma: Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.24.37 verse and purport. The reference SB 8.24.37 means verse 37 of Chapter 24 of the 8th Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. The original Sanskrit (with word-for-word translation into English) of the entire Srimad-Bhagavatam is now available for free at www.vedabase.com. Srimad-Bhagavatam is another name for the Bhagavata Purana.
According to SB 8.24.37, this extinction occurred at the end of Caksusa Manvantara. The fact that this extinction occurred at the end of Caksusa Manvantara is confirmed by Matsya Purana (Basu, 1916, Chapter 2, verse 6-15).
To further satisfy the skeptics, in this paragraph I provide Puranic references that indicate the precise age in which we are now living. According to Brahmanda Purana, we are now in the 28th divya-yuga of Vaivasvata Manvantara (Tagare, Brahmanda Purana, 1958, part 3, section 3, chapter 74, verse 272). According to Brahmanda Purana, Vyasa (who lived at the same time as Krishna) lived in the 28th Dvapara-yuga of Vaivasvata Manvantara (Tagare, Brahmanda Purana, 1958, part 2, section 3, chapter 10, verse 83). According to Vayu Purana, Krishna lived in the 28th Dvapara-yuga of Vaivasvata Manvantara (Vayu Purana, Tagare, 1960, part 2, chapter 36, verse 96-101). According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, Krishna and Vyasa appeared in the Dvapara-yuga in the 28th divya-yuga of Vaivasvata Manvantara (SB 1.4.14). In fact, Vishnu Purana lists the names of each of the 28 different Vyasas who divided the Vedas in each of the 28 Dvapara-yugas that have transpired so far in Vaivasvata Manvantara (Vishnu Purana, Wilson, 1896, part 3, section 3), indicating that we are now in the Kali-yuga of the 28th divya-yuga of Vaivasvata Manvantara. This comprehensive list of the 28 different Vyasas undermines Pargiter’s claim that the Puranic assignment of various Avataras of Vishnu to different divya-yugas of Vaivasvata Manvantara is “pretentious” (Pargiter, 1922, page 178). The dictionary defines pretentious as false or exaggerated. The Puranic system of 71 divya-yugas in one Manvantara Pargiter called “a fanciful brahmanical elaboration” (Pargiter, 1922, page 178). The dictionary defines fanciful as imaginary, unreal, whimsical or capricious. Pargiter’s statements reveal his biased mentality.
According to Vayu Purana, Vishnu is born in a brahmana or ksatriya family at the end of a yuga (Vayu Purana, Tagare, 1960, part 2, chapter 35, verse 5). This means that, when it is stated that Vishnu appeared in Dvapara-yuga or Treta-yuga, it is understood that Vishnu appeared at the end of this yuga.
The justification for including a Manvantara-sandhi in the above calculation is based on Surya-siddhanta 1.18-19, which states that there is a sandhi (interval) of 1.728 million years between Manvantaras (Burgess and Whitney, 1860, page 154).
An Enormous Volcanic Eruption
Just Before the Mass Extinction
The Puranas include specific details of the end-Caksusa Pralaya (end-Permian Mass Extinction) that have been verified by modern geology and paleontology. According to Matsya Purana (Joshi, 2007, Chapter 2), there was an enormous volcanic eruption just before the mass extinction. This is confirmed by a different translation of the Matsya Purana that was published in the year 1916 (Basu, 1916, Chapter 2). In the year 2015, Seth Burgess and Samuel Bowring of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote: “The end-Permian Mass Extinction was the most severe in the Phanerozoic, extinguishing more than 90% of marine and 75% of terrestrial species in a maximum of 61 ± 48 ky [thousand years]. Because of broad temporal coincidence between the biotic crisis and one of the most voluminous continental volcanic eruptions since the origin of animals, the Siberian Traps Large Igneous Province (LIP), a causal connection has long been suggested. Magmatism is hypothesized to have caused rapid injection of massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, driving climate change and subsequent destabilization of the biosphere. Establishing a causal connection between magmatism and mass extinction is critically dependent on accurately and precisely knowing the relative timing of the two events and the flux of magma. New U/Pb dates on Siberian Traps LIP lava flows, sills, and explosively erupted rocks indicate that (i) about two-thirds of the total lava/pyroclastic volume was erupted over ~300 ky, before and concurrent with the end-Permian Mass Extinction; (ii) eruption of the balance of lavas continued for at least 500 ky after extinction cessation; and (iii) massive emplacement of sills into the shallow crust began concomitant with the mass extinction and continued for at least 500 ky into the early Triassic. This age model is consistent with Siberian Traps LIP magmatism as a trigger for the end-Permian Mass Extinction and suggests a role for magmatism in suppression of post-extinction biotic recovery.”
“..... The strong selectivity of the end-Permian biotic crisis for animal metabolic rate/physiology, the evidence for ocean acidification, and the dramatically increased terrestrial and marine temperature all point to anomalously high atmospheric CO2 as a critical driver of both terrestrial and marine biotic crises. Critical to understanding the roles of gases and aerosols in the environment are estimates of flux. Although volatile/aerosol flux estimates from the Siberian Traps LIP are variable because of uncertainty in eruption rates/volumes and the efficiency of volatile delivery, the rapid downturn in carbon isotopes from an exponentially growing pool and the short-duration of extinction followed by an increase in seawater temperatures suggest that massive amounts of CH4/CO2 were introduced into the atmosphere/oceans over a restricted interval of LIP magmatism [251.999 ± 0.039 Ma to 251.880 ± 0.037 Ma].”
“.... The cause of the end-Permian Mass Extinction is conjectural but favors extremely rapid injection of a large volume of isotopically light carbon in the form of methane/CO2 into the ocean/atmosphere system, resulting in hypercapnia, low ocean pH, a calcification crisis, and atmosphere/seawater temperature rise. Although the source, isotopic composition, and volume of the injected carbon remain speculative, the short time scale of environmental and biotic response requires a source capable of generating immense volumes of greenhouse gas over short time scales. We demonstrate robust synchrony between the end-Permian Mass Extinction and Siberian Traps LIP magmatism at the ~0.04% level or better, with lava and pyroclastic eruptions predating the onset of extinction by 300 ± 126 ky, permitting a causal connection. Further, two-thirds of an estimated 4 × 106 km3 of magma were emplaced/erupted over this ~300-ky interval, before and during the mass extinction interval. The relative timing of voluminous magmatism and mass extinction, and the potential for this magmatism to generate greenhouse gases, suggests that the most severe extinction in the Phanerozoic is inescapably related to a period of high magmatic flux from the Siberian Traps LIP” (Burgess and Bowring, 2015). This is confirmed by Liu et al (2017). Please note that “magmatism” means volcanic eruption, not magnetism.
Some skeptics hypothesize that 19th Century British-educated Indians were aware of the recently-developed European sciences of geology and paleontology and, hence, were aware that the Siberian Traps are the same age as the end-Permian Mass Extinction, and incorporated this information into the Matsya Purana. This hypothesis is refuted by the above-cited edition of the Matsya Purana (Basu, 1916), which was published in the year 1916, because geologists and paleontologists didn’t even know that the Siberian Traps and the end-Permian Mass Extinction were broadly contemporaneous until the 1980s (Benton, 2015, page 262). Radiometric dates accurate enough to prove that the two are actually contemporaneous were not obtained until the year 2015 (Burgess and Bowring, 2015). Geologists and paleontologists didn’t even acknowledge the existence of the end-Permian Mass Extinction until the 1970s (Benton, 2015, pages 93-95 and 320). Professor Michael J. Benton of the Department of Paleontology at the University of Bristol (UK) wrote that, due to the influence of the famous British geologist Charles Lyell, from the 1840s until the 1970s the science of paleontology firmly denied that mass extinctions had ever occurred and, although three paleontologists (N. Newell, O. Schindewolf and M. de Laubenfels) came out in favor of mass extinctions in the 1950s, they were ignored or ridiculed by paleontologists in general (Benton, 2015, pages 93-95 and 320).
The Extermination of Small
Organisms by Ultraviolet Radiation
According to Matsya Purana (Joshi, 2007, Chapter 2), at the time of the mass extinction, the sun’s scorching rays destroyed small organisms, and this is confirmed by a different translation of Matsya Purana, which was published in the year 1916 (Basu, 1916, Chapter 2). If the sun’s scorching rays refers to ultraviolet radiation and the Siberian Traps magmatism triggered a temporary depletion of the ozone layer that normally protects terrestrial organisms from this radiation, then we can understand how insects, which are otherwise extremely resistant to extinction, suffered major losses during the end-Permian Mass Extinction. Paleontologists now recognize that the end-Permian Mass Extinction wiped out approximately half of all insect Families, which means that, at no time in the entire history of the fossil record of insects, was there a loss as great as that which insects sustained during the end-Permian Mass Extinction (Labandeira and Sepkoski, 1993; Clapham et al, 2016).
Regarding ozone depletion, Professor Benjamin A. Black of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and colleagues wrote: “The Siberian Traps flood basalts have been invoked as a trigger for the catastrophic end-Permian Mass Extinction. Widespread aberrant plant remains across the Permian-Triassic boundary provide evidence that atmospheric stress contributed to the collapse in terrestrial diversity. We used detailed estimates of magmatic degassing from the Siberian Traps to complete the first three-dimensional global climate modeling of atmospheric chemistry during eruption of a large igneous province. Our results show that both strongly acidic rain and global ozone collapse are possible transient consequences of episodic pyroclastic volcanism and heating of volatile-rich Siberian country rocks. We suggest that, in conjunction with abrupt warming from greenhouse gas emissions, these repeated, rapidly applied atmospheric stresses directly linked Siberian magmatism to end-Permian ecological failure on land. Our comprehensive modeling supplies the first picture of the global distribution and severity of acid rain and ozone depletion, providing testable predictions for the geography of end-Permian environmental proxies” (Black et al, 2013).
Extensive Global Flooding
According to Chapter 2 of both editions of the Matsya Purana (Joshi, 2007 and Basu, 1916), after the volcanic eruption, there was extensive global flooding. Professional geologists have confirmed this to be true. Independent geological studies using various methods have confirmed a major, global, rise in sea level during the Early Triassic Period, which came immediately after the Permian Period (Tian et al, 2014; Stoll and Schrag, 2000; Pekar and Miller, 1996; Haq et al, 1988). This is not to be confused with the low sea level postulated by some geologists for the end of the Permian. Sea level may have been low at the end of the Permian but, according to the above-cited professional articles, a major rise in sea level occurred throughout the world in the beginning of the Triassic.
Since the 1916 edition of the Matsya Purana (Basu, 1916) predates the modern scientific discovery that extensive, global flooding followed the end-Permian Mass Extinction, the skeptical hypothesis that this edition incorporated knowledge of this discovery is refuted.
Rama’s Pastimes Correlate with the Greatest Mass Extinction
Since the Demise of the Dinosaurs
According to the Ramayana, Rama exterminated many aquatic organisms when Samudra ignored him, despite the fact that Rama had propitiated Samudra for a solid three days before He built the famous bridge to Lanka. Then, in a huge land battle on the island of Lanka, Rama annihilated 100 million powerful Raksasa warriors and killed the king of the Raksasas, Ravana, in personal combat. Those who are concerned about the annihilation of vast numbers of living entities in many of the pastimes of the Avataras of Vishnu will be relieved to learn that these living entities are getting what they deserve. For example, the Raksasas as a race were inclined to violence and cruelty. Indeed, as graphically described in the Ramayana, they frequently attacked meditating sages in the forest and brutally killed them. Thus, Rama gave them what they deserved. Moreover, the few kind and virtuous Raksasas, such as Vibhisana, were protected by Rama.
Why did Rama, who effortlessly creates countless universes, propitiate the demigod Samudra, who is His relatively insignificant servant? The answer is that Rama was playing the role of a human being, as stated in the Ramayana.
For the time being, our principal interest in the activities of Rama is that these activities correlate with the greatest mass extinction since the demise of the dinosaurs. Since the fossil record belongs to the terrestrial realm and the activities of Rama occurred in the higher-dimensional realm of bhu-mandala (otherwise known as the Puranic Earth which, as explained in Chapter 4, is not accessible to the senses of ordinary human beings), the details of the activities of Rama differ from those that occurred in the terrestrial realm, and this general principle holds true for the activities of other Avataras of Vishnu. Thus, for example, we do not expect to find direct evidence for the extermination of the Raksasas in the fossil record, but we do expect to find a significant change in fauna at the end of the Eocene Period which, as shown below, correlates with the time during which Rama performed His activities in the realm of bhu-mandala. Those who deride the concept of higher-dimensional space should note the fact that, as described in Chapter 4, paradigms involving higher-dimensional space have so much explanatory power that they now dominate modern physics.
In order to demonstrate that the activities of Rama correlate with the end of the Eocene Period, we first identify the yuga in which Rama appeared. According to Vayu Purana, Rama lived in the 24th Treta-yuga of Vaivasvata Manvantara (Tagare, Vayu Purana, 1960, part 2, chapter 36, verse 91). According to Brahmanda Purana, Rama lived in the 24th Treta-yuga of Vaivasvata Manvantara (Tagare, Brahmanda Purana, 1958, part 2, section 3, chapter 8, verse 54 and chapter 37, verse 30; part 3, section 3, chapter 73, verse 88-92).
According to Vayu Purana, Vishnu is born in a brahmana or ksatriya family at the end of a yuga (Vayu Purana, Tagare, 1960, part 2, chapter 35, verse 5). This means that, when it is stated that Vishnu appeared in Dvapara-yuga or Treta-yuga, it is understood that Vishnu appeared at the end of this yuga. So, Rama, who is an Avatara of Vishnu, appeared at the end of the 24th Treta-yuga of Vaivasvata Manvantara.
According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, Treta-yuga was switched with Dvapara-yuga in the 28th divya-yuga due to the appearance of Krishna (SB 1.4.14). The purport to this verse includes the following statement: “There is a chronological order of the four millenniums, namely Satya, Dvāpara, Tretā and Kali. But sometimes there is overlapping. During the regime of Vaivasvata Manu, there was an overlapping of the twenty-eighth round of the four millenniums, and the third millennium appeared prior to the second. In that particular millennium, Śrī Kṛṣṇa also descends, and because of this there was some particular alteration.” Thus, since Rama lived in the 24th Treta-yuga, the order of the four yugas was the normal order, which is Satya, Dvapara, Treta and Kali.
Since each divya-yuga lasts 4.32 million years, four of them last 17.28 million years. Thus, Lord Ramacandra appeared 17.28 million years ago according to Puranic time. When this number is multiplied by two in order to convert it to terrestrial time, we obtain 34.56 million years ago, which is shortly before the end of the Eocene Period according to modern radiometric dating.
The Eocene-Oligocene transition was characterized by a significant change in land-dwelling fauna, as well as a mass extinction of aquatic organisms. “The late Paleogene witnessed one of the most prominent climatic changes in the Cenozoic, a transition from greenhouse to icehouse world. The transition climaxed at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary when marine sediments registered a large, widespread, and rapid cooling in oceans … and a calamity in the marine community that gave rise to the largest marine mass extinction since the end of the Cretaceous…” (Li et al, 2016).
“The Eocene–Oligocene Boundary (~34 million years ago) marks one of the largest extinctions of marine invertebrates in the world’s oceans and of mammalian fauna in Europe and Asia in the Cenozoic era” (Sun et al, 2014). The largest global cooling event of the Cenozoic Era occurred at the Eocene–Oligocene Boundary (Miller et al, 2008). The Eocene/Oligocene boundary exhibits one of the largest extinctions of marine invertebrates in the Cenozoic Period (Ivany et al, 2000).
“Evidence in the world’s ocean current system indicates an abrupt cooling from 34.1 to 33.6 Ma across the Eocene–Oligocene boundary at 33.9 Ma. The remarkable cooling period in the ocean, called the Eocene–Oligocene transition (EOT), is correlated with pronounced mammalian faunal replacement as shown in terrestrial fossil records. For the first time within Asia, a section is magnetostratigraphically dated that also produces mammalian fossils that span the Late Eocene—Early Oligocene transition. Three fossil assemblages (34.8, 33.7, and 30.4 Ma) within the north Junggar Basin (Burqin section) tied to this magnetostratigraphically dated section, reveal that perissodactyl faunas were abruptly replaced by rodent/lagomorph-dominant faunas during climate cooling, and that changes in mammalian communities were accelerated by aridification in central Asia. The biotic reorganization events described in the Burqin section are comparable to the Grande Coupure in Europe and the Mongolian Remodeling of mammalian communities. That is, the faunal transition was nearly simultaneous all over the world and mirrored global climatic changes with regional factors playing only a secondary role” (Zhang et al, 2012).
According to Pargiter (1922, page 179), Brahmanda Purana (3.8.54), Vayu Purana (70.48) and Brahma Purana (213.124) put Rama in the 24th Treta-yuga, but Padma Purana (5.14.67) puts Rama in the 27th Treta-yuga. I am in the process of investigating this apparent discrepancy and will report on it in an updated version of this website. Please check back regularly for updated versions of this website. The version is indicated by the date just below my name at the top of this page. Note that the date at the very top of this website never changes and, hence, should be ignored. It is a product of my lack of expertise in computer science, and will be removed when a qualified computer scientist offers to assist me.
As further evidence for what he thinks is a glaring discrepancy, Pargiter (1922, page 179) stated that Brahma Purana (176.15) puts Ravana in the 2nd Treta-yuga, which would necessitate Ravana living for about 100 million years up to the 24th Treta-yuga when he was killed by Lord Ramacandra in personal combat. For Pargiter, it is impossible for anyone to live 100 million years. This reveals his a priori bias against the possibility that superhuman beings exist. Theoretical preconceptions and a priori bias hinder the quest for truth, and we should be cautious about accepting the conclusions of anyone who makes no attempt to renounce them. According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, Indra reigns for an entire Manvantara (SB 8.13.4), which is more than 300 million years, and Markandeya Rsi has lived for more than six Manvantaras (SB 12.8.14). Clearly, Indra, Ravana and Markandeya Rsi are superhuman beings. The dogmatic declaration that all of this is “absurd mythology” is undermined by the close agreement between radiometric dates and Puranic dates multiplied by two.
The Vishnu Purana lists the names of each of the 28 different Vyasas who divided the Vedas in each of the 28 Dvapara-yugas that have transpired so far in Vaivasvata Manvantara (Vishnu Purana, Wilson, 1896, part 3, section 3), indicating that we are now in the Kali-yuga of the 28th divya-yuga of Vaivasvata Manvantara. This comprehensive list of the 28 different Vyasas undermines Pargiter’s claim that the Puranic assignment of various Avataras of Vishnu to different divya-yugas of Vaivasvata Manvantara is “pretentious” (Pargiter, 1922, page 178-179). It is clear that Pargiter’s bias against the literal meaning of certain Puranic statements casts doubt on the value of his conclusions regarding these statements.
Based on the successful correlation of the timing and activities of Rama and Matsya Avatara with specific paleontological features of the fossil record, it is worth studying the Puranic descriptions of the timing and activities of other Avataras of Visnu, such as Varaha, Parasurama, Kurma, Vamana and Nrsimha, as well as their great devotees (Priyavrata, Dhruva, Bhagiratha, Prithu and Sagara) in order to identify correlations with specific paleontological events. What is needed here are Puranic references for the specific yugas during which the activities of these Avataras and their devotees occurred. This is the most important item on my list of research topics. The goal is to account for significant features of the fossil record, including the Cambrian Explosion, the end-Cretaceous mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs, and the other mass extinctions listed in the beginning of Chapter 2.
Correlation between the Beginning of
Caksusa Manvantara and the Advent of Metazoa
As discussed in Chapter 2, each Manvantara lasts 308.5 million Puranic years, which equals 617 million terrestrial years. Since 244.5 million years ago is twice the Puranic date for the end of the Caksusa Manvantara, we expect to find a significant paleontological event at 617 plus 244.5 million years ago, which equals 861.5 million years ago.
Does the fossil record document a significant paleontological event at 861.5 million years ago? Although rapid evolution during the Cambrian Period, which began 541 million years ago, has attracted a lot of attention, the discovery of the Ediacara Biota, which began to appear in the fossil record around 575 million years ago, shows that animals predate the Cambrian Period by at least 30 million years. Professor Mary L. Drosera of the University of California, Riverside and colleagues wrote: “Within the more than 30 million year range of the Ediacara Biota, fossils of these multicellular organisms demonstrate the advent of mobility, heterotrophy by multicellular animals, skeletonization, sexual reproduction, and the assembly of complex ecosystems, all of which are attributes of modern animals. ….Taken as a whole, the Ediacara Biota represents an enigmatic assemblage of fossils that are not easily related to modern taxa. However, examination of aspects of the ecology, such as trace fossils, taphonomy, and morphology, reveal that these fossils show characteristics of modern taxa. It is clear that bilaterians, cnidarians, and poriferans are represented among the Ediacara Biota” (Drosera and Gehling, 2015).
The key question, then, is: When did animals first appear? Studies conducted in the last few decades have convinced paleontologists that animals first appeared around 800 million years ago. Professor Andrew H. Knoll of Harvard University summed up the current consensus among paleontologists: “Fossil diversity increased only moderately over the first half of recorded eukaryotic history. Then, 800 Mya, things changed in the oceans: Both molecular clocks and fossils indicate pronounced diversification within major eukaryotic clades at this time. Organic-walled fossils preserved as compressions in shallow marine mudstones show unprecedented taxonomic richness, including both resting cysts and vegetative cells with complex morphologies, as well as an increased diversity of coenocytic and simple multicellular populations” (Knoll, 2014).
Note that the current state of advancement in paleontology isn’t able to give a number more precise than around 800 million years ago, but in the future this may change, in which case a more precise number would become available. It will be interesting to see how close this number is to 861.5 million years ago.
Although Wikipedia (article on “Cambrian Explosion”) suggested that metazoans (animals) were present on Earth 1250 million years ago in order to explain the observed decline in stromatolite abundance/diversity in the fossil record at that time, the reference that Wikipedia gave (Bengtson, 2002) discusses a serious problem with this explanation, namely that animals large enough and abundant enough to have produced the observed decline in stromatolite abundance/diversity would have left numerous, unmistakeable traces of their movements in the sedimentary rocks of that time, but the number of traces that has been found is much too small to explain the observed decline (Bengtson, 2002, page 297).
The Higher-dimensional Realm of Bhu-mandala
How do we explain the fact that the Puranas describe an essentially modern flora and fauna (including, in particular, human beings, cows, horses and donkeys) on Earth at all times over hundreds of millions of years, whereas the fossil record contradicts this? The answer is that the Puranic Earth is different from the Earth that we are now experiencing with our human senses, which is the Earth that contains the fossil record. As described in Chapter 4, the Puranic Earth is situated in higher-dimensional space and, thus, is inaccessible to our human senses. Most non-Vaisnava scholars dismiss Puranic cosmography as mythological, but that interpretation is refuted by the close agreement between radiometric dates and Puranic dates multiplied by two. This close agreement obliges us to accept the Puranic Earth as real but inaccessible to our human senses. The Puranic Earth is distinct from but correlated with the Earth that we are now experiencing with our human senses, which I call the terrestrial Earth.
It should be noted that, although geographical descriptions of the terrestrial Earth often include the same names for mountains and rivers as on the Puranic Earth, there are significant differences. For example, although both terrestrial geography and the Puranas describe the Himalayan mountains, the Puranic Himalayas are more than 10,000 times taller than their terrestrial counterparts (SB 5.16.9).
Professor Lakshmikantham who, before his recent death, was Head of the Department of Mathematics at Florida Institute of Technology, and colleagues wrote: “Bharata Varsha extended from 50 degrees west of Lankapuri (or Ujjayni) to the Pacific Ocean on the east 50 degrees, that is, approximately 27 degrees to 127 degrees east of Greenwich, according to the present division. Also, it extended from the equator to 35 degrees north latitude. This implies that Bharata Varsha included Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Arabia and Ethiopia, in the west of Sindhu River in particular. The Indian Ocean covered part of Bharata Varsha north of the equator now called Gaundvana land. According to Vedic literature, it disappeared 50 million years ago during the time of the great emperor Sagara. Modern geologists estimate the disappearance at about 30 million years” (Lakshmikantham et al, 2005, page 1-2).
Rigorous geological investigations have ascertained that Gondwana began to break up around 167 million years ago (Chatterjee et al, 2013) and, after the break up, the pieces gradually drifted away from each other over the course of millions of years. So, properly speaking, none of the pieces “disappeared.” Thus, it’s not clear how to relate these facts to Professor Lakshmikantham’s statement that Gondwana “disappeared” 50 million years ago, even after converting this number from Puranic time to terrestrial time by multiplying it by two, which yields 100 million years ago. Moreover, we need to obtain a specific reference to the Veda or Purana stating the time (in terms of yugas) at which the great Emperor Sagara lived. Another problem is that Gondwana was south of the equator, and another ancient continent, Laurasia, was north of the equator. “Laurasia is the supercontinent composed of the landmasses of the northern hemisphere (Eurasia and North America) that was once part of the supercontinent Pangea. Pangea was assembled around 500 Ma ago and its breakup started 180–200 Ma ago when Gondwana split from Laurasia. North America split from Eurasia about 62 Ma ago with the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean” (Arndt, 2015).
Paradigms Involving Higher-dimensional Space Dominate Modern Physics, Unify the Forces of Nature, Reconcile the Puranic Account with the Terrestrial Fossil Record, and Explain why Puranic
Dates Are Half of Radiometric Dates
The evidence presented in Chapters 1, 2 and 3 demonstrates a correlation between Puranic dates and those obtained by modern radiometric dating of the same paleontological events. This correlation clearly involves a factor-of-two difference between Puranic and radiometric dates. The key to explaining this factor-of-two difference is to note that a constant factor of two is maintained over the enormous interval of 4 billion years. The fact that it is constantly maintained over such a long interval rules out explanations based on well-known sources of error in radiometric dating due to migration of radioactive atoms and their decay products into or out of the mineral that is being dated, because the rate of such migration depends upon the rates of diffusion of these atoms within the mineral that is being dated (and various kinds of minerals have been dated, and various atoms that have various rates of diffusion have been used in different radiometric dating techniques), and these rates of diffusion depend on fluctuating environmental factors such as temperature and hydration. It is clear that these factors produce random errors that can’t rationally be expected to maintain a constant factor-of-two difference between Puranic dates and radiometric dates over billions of years.
Another well-known source of error in radiometric dating is admixture of older or younger crystals of the same kind of mineral that is being dated. Since such admixture would also introduce random errors, it can’t reasonably explain this constant factor-of-two difference that is maintained over billions of years.
Another well-known source of error in radiometric dating is due to contamination introduced during laboratory analytical procedures. Since there is, in general, close agreement between the different relevant radiometric techniques (uranium-lead, potassium-argon and rubidium-strontium) despite the fact that different contaminants are necessarily involved in these techniques, such contaminants can’t be significantly influencing the dates obtained by these techniques.
A potential source of error in radiometric dating is that the decay “constants,” which are assumed to be constant over long periods of time, actually vary. It is irrational to expect that such variation, which can only be caused by the effect of fluctuating environmental factors on atomic nuclei, would maintain a constant factor-of-two difference between Puranic dates and radiometric dates over billions of years.
Thus, simple logic dictates that we abandon the hypothesis that the factor-of-two difference between Puranic and radiometric dates is due to well-known sources of error in radiometric dating techniques. Instead, logic indicates that the explanation for this difference is to be sought in terms of a systematic factor.
My explanation for the systematic factor-of-two difference between Puranic and radiometric dates is based on a non-intuitive concept in physics known as “higher-dimensional space.” Since most readers aren’t familiar with this concept, before presenting this explanation, I dedicate the next section to an introduction to the concept of higher-dimensional space.
Paradigms Involving Higher-dimensional Space
Dominate Modern Physics
In a lecture at the University of Göttingen on June 10, 1854, Bernhard Riemann revolutionized Western geometry by unveiling his “metric tensor,” which provides a detailed description of the curvature of higher-dimensional space by assigning a collection of numbers to each point in that space. Such a collection is called a “tensor.” For example, Riemann showed that, in four spatial dimensions, a collection of ten numbers is needed at each point to describe the properties of a manifold, regardless of how distorted this manifold is. Riemann’s genius was revealed by his prescient realization that a mathematical framework in terms of higher-dimensional space can unify the seemingly disparate forces of nature, such as gravity, electricity and magnetism. Riemann was the first Western mathematical physicist to realize this. His famous lecture was translated into English, French and other European languages.
Michael Faraday had already shown that moving a magnet across a wire can produce an electric current in the wire. It was also known that a wire carrying electric current can cause a nearby compass needle to rotate. Riemann recognized that these phenomena indicate that electricity and magnetism are manifestations of the same force. Riemann’s intense desire to discover the field equations that unify electricity and magnetism was thwarted by ongoing struggle with serious illness. In 1865, James Clerk Maxwell succeeded in unifying electricity and magnetism with his four famous partial differential equations. Maxwell was so brilliant that, based solely on these equations, he predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves in 1865, more than 20 years before they were first produced in the form of radio waves by Heinrich Hertz in 1888. Maxwell realized that light is the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Maxwell and Riemann are now recognized as two of the greatest mathematical physicists of all time.
Thus, Riemann was the first Westerner to suggest using higher-dimensional space to describe physical reality, predating Einstein by 60 years. In fact, Riemann’s metric tensor turned out to be essential in the development of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which was published in 1915. The central concept in the General Theory of Relativity is that, instead of describing gravity as a force in our familiar three-dimensional space, gravity is the result of curvature in four-dimensional space-time. Thus, force in three-dimensional space can be described in terms of geometry in higher-dimensional space.
Although Einstein’s theory was a major step forward in our understanding of gravity, and Maxwell’s theory was a brilliant synthesis of electricity and magnetism, neither of these theories explained the relationship between gravity and electromagnetic forces. In a letter to Einstein in the year 1919, Theodor Kaluza wrote down Riemann’s metric tensor in five dimensions and identified portions of it that correspond to gravitational force and portions of it that correspond to electromagnetic forces. Einstein was greatly impressed by Kaluza’s brilliant insight. Thus, Kaluza showed that a fifth dimension provides a unified geometrical description of electromagnetism and gravity. This is further confirmation of the brilliant and revolutionary idea that a mathematical framework in terms of higher-dimensional space can unify the seemingly disparate forces of nature. Today, physics is dominated by paradigms that involve higher-dimensional space, such as String Theory and M-Theory.
Some physicists reject Kaluza’s five-dimensional unification of gravity and electromagnetism because, when it is combined with quantum mechanics, the resulting theory isn’t “renormalizable,” which means that its erroneous prediction that certain physical quantities are infinite can’t be modified to make these quantities take on finite values, which is a requirement for a valid physical theory. Although these physicists reject Kaluza’s particular brand of unification, in general they retain the underlying strategy of invoking higher-dimensional space to unify gravity with the other fundamental forces of nature. Thus, paradigms involving higher-dimensional space take center stage in modern physics.
Richard L. Thompson of the Bhaktivedanta Institute pointed out that the Puranic worldview is implicitly higher-dimensional (Thompson, 1986). The Earth in Srimad-Bhagavatam and the other Puranas is an enormous disc the size of the solar system called, in Sanskrit, “bhu-mandala.” This enormous disc occupies the plane of the ecliptic. Thus, space is actually higher-dimensional, but most human beings are mislead by their brain and senses into believing that space is only three-dimensional. Instead of dismissing Puranic cosmography as mythological, which practically all non-Vaisnava scholars do, Thompson proposed that it is actually real but inaccessible to the senses of human beings, which means that it is higher-dimensional. This proposal is supported by the close agreement between radiometric dates and Puranic dates multiplied by two, as described in Chapters 1, 2 and 3.
There is an enormous spatial transformation in going from the Earth that we perceive to the Earth that is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Considering this enormous spatial transformation, we should hardly be surprised by the paltry factor-of-two transformation in time that is revealed by the factor-of-two difference between modern radiometric dates and Puranic dates for the same geological and paleontological events. Indeed, Srimad-Bhagavatam (9.3.32) describes a much larger transformation in time between two planets than a mere factor of two. Likewise, the phenomenon of Time Dilation in the Theory of Relativity, induced either by travelling near the speed of light or by high gravitational fields, can be many times larger than a mere factor of two.
In the Theory of Relativity, space and time are not independent. Thus, transformations in space are generally accompanied by transformations in time. Since there is an enormous spatial transformation between the Earth of our common perception and the Earth of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is not surprising that there is a factor-of-two transformation in time as well.
Although an explicit explanation for this factor-of-two transformation in time has, thus far, eluded me, I suspect that there is a straightforward explanation for it that is based on the detailed description of Puranic cosmography given in the Fifth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Therefore, I request the help of Puranic scholars to find this explanation, since my understanding of the Fifth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam has thus far proven inadequate.
Desalinated Water Emerging from Mid-ocean-ridge Hydrothermal
Vents was Known in India Long Before it was
Discovered by Western Science
Mid-ocean-ridge hydrothermal vents are typically situated several kilometers beneath the surface of the ocean. Since water efficiently absorbs light in the visible portion of the spectrum, at a depth of only 200 meters beneath the surface of the ocean, visibility is reduced to practically zero. Another formidable obstacle to pre-submarine investigation of mid-ocean-ridge hydrothermal vents is the increase in pressure with increasing depth in the water. The pressure is so great that, without a submarine, a human diver can’t go below 300 meters. Due to these formidable obstacles, it wasn’t until the year 1977 that Western scientists first discovered mid-ocean-ridge hydrothermal vents.
Professors Fabrice J. Fontaine and William S. D. Wilcock of the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington wrote: “Mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal systems are known to vent fluids with salinities substantially different from seawater as a result of phase separation and segregation of the resulting vapor and brine phases. Time series of vent temperature and salinity (chlorinity) show that some black-smoker vent fields such as the Main Endeavour Field on the Juan de Fuca Ridge have vented fluids with salinities well below seawater for over a decade…” (Fontaine and Wilcock, 2006). The red font in the above quote is mine. In this article, Fontaine and Wilcock cited half a dozen studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals that confirm their contention that mid-ocean-ridge hydrothermal systems vent fluids with salinities substantially different from seawater.
A famous Indian spiritual teacher named Swaminarayan gave a series of discourses on spiritual topics and, incidentally, mentioned that hydrothermal systems remove salt from ocean water. These discourses were written down by Swaminarayan's disciples during his lifetime, which was from 1781 to 1830 A.D. Thus, these discourses predate the modern scientific discovery of hydrothermal vents by at least 140 years. These discourses have been translated into English (The Vachanamrut - Spiritual Discourses of Swaminarayan (An English Translation), published by Swaminarayan Aksharpith Publishers, 2010). This English edition contains the following statement: “The vadvanal fire, however, stays in the ocean without being extinguished by the ocean water; it drinks the sea water and excretes it in the form of sweet water; in turn, the clouds carry this water and shower it upon the world; and from this many types of tastes are formed. Similarly, the great Purush, like the vadvanal fire, transforms even the ‘salty’ jivas who are like the saline sea water, into ‘sweet’ jivas” (Vacanamrut, 2010, Vartal 3, Verse 11, page 602).
I am now in the process of obtaining a pre-1977 edition of Swaminarayan’s lecture in which he mentioned hydrothermal systems (Vachanamrut, Vartal 3) in the original Gujarati language. I will then get it translated using a standard, academic Gujarati-English dictionary and check how closely it agrees with the statement given in the previous paragraph.
One might object that Indians observed a submarine volcano that rose out of the ocean. Although rare, such volcanoes have been observed. Consider, for example, Surtsey, which is an island located in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago off the southern coast of Iceland. Surtsey was formed by a volcanic eruption that began 130 meters beneath the surface of the ocean and reached the surface on 14 November 1963. By the time the eruption ended on 5 June 1967, the island had reached its maximum size of 2.7 square kilometers. Thus, it is not impossible that Indians observed a volcano rising out of the ocean. To become aware of the desalination of ocean water without sophisticated modern technology, however, would have required putting one’s mouth close enough to a hydrothermal vent that one could taste the fluids emanating from this vent before they mixed with the normally-salinated ocean water. It’s hard to imagine someone risking his life by diving into the water just above an active volcano. A complicating factor is that the volcano may have been quiet for short periods of time, which would have reduced this risk. On the other hand, would the volcano have supported desalination of ocean water during these quiet times? In fact, is there evidence that the volcano would have supported desalination of ocean water at any time? This is a relevant question in light of the fact that reports of desalination seem to focus on mid-ocean-ridge vents that are several kilometers beneath the ocean. Thus, further research is required in order to completely silence the skeptics.
The fact that Swaminarayan presented the desalination of ocean water by hydrothermal systems as an analogy for a certain kind of spiritual transformation suggests that the desalination of ocean water by hydrothermal systems had been widely known in India for a long time. Thus, a search of the Vedic and Puranic literature is likely to reveal statements about the desalination of ocean water.
Accurate Values for the Diameters of the Planets were Known in India
Before Telescopes were Invented in Europe
Evidence for revelation by superhuman beings is found in the ancient Indian astronomical treatise Surya-siddhanta. In order to appreciate this evidence, we need to know how to calculate the diameter of a planet. The angular diameter of a planet is how large the planet appears from a particular vantage point. The actual diameter of a planet is obtained by simple trigonometry using this angular diameter and the distance from this vantage point to the planet. For example, the moon appears to be about the size of a dime held at arm's length when viewed from the Earth, but it is actually 3,474 kilometers in diameter. So, to calculate the actual diameter of the moon, we need to know the angular diameter of the moon and the distance between the Earth and the moon.
The angular diameters of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are obtained by the simple algorithm listed in verse 7.13 of the Surya-siddhanta, and the orbital circumferences of these planets are listed in verses 12.81-12.87 of the Surya-siddhanta. Although these angular diameters are too large, when they are used with these orbital circumferences (which are too small) to calculate the actual planetary diameters, these actual diameters agree within a few percent with modern values, which are obtained using powerful, modern telescopes (Thompson, 1997).
Apparently, the author of the Surya-siddhanta knew very well the correct diameters of the planets and deliberately made the angular diameters too large in order to be accepted by pre-telescopic (naked-eye) astronomers, all of whom for thousands of years all over the world consistently over-estimated the angular diameters of the planets. It is now well known that naked-eye estimation of the diameter of a small, distant source of light (which is how a planet appears to observers based on the Earth) is inevitably inaccurate due to the physiology of the human eye. Thus, naked-eye estimation of the angular diameters of the planets always yields an estimate that is too large. Knowing this, it seems that the author of the Surya-siddhanta deliberately made the orbital circumferences too small so that the calculation yields the correct, actual diameters of the planets.
It is important to recognize that, except for India, all medieval and ancient planetary diameters (including those of the Greeks, Arabs, Babylonians and Egyptians) were grossly inaccurate, being in error by at least 100% (Thompson, 1997 and Thompson, 1986).
Professor Kripa S. Shukla of the Department of Mathematics at Lucknow University wrote that there is an authentic palm-leaf manuscript (No.XXI.N.8) of the Surya-siddhanta (including the famous commentary written on it by the renowned astronomer Paramesvara) in the Adyar Library in Madras (Shukla, 1957). This manuscript contains verse 7.13 (Shukla, 1957, p.41) and verses 12.81-12.87 (Shukla, 1957, p.45).
The Surya-siddhanta must be at least as old as the commentary written on it by Paramesvara. The following academic references provide strong evidence that Paramesvara lived from 1380 to 1460 A.D. Professor Kim Plofker of Brown University described in an article in a professional, peer-reviewed journal “a one-point iterative technique for calculating the Sine of a given angle” presented by Paramesvara (Plofker, 1996). In this article, Plofker confirmed that Paramesvara lived from 1380 to 1460 A.D. Another scholar who confirmed that Paramesvara lived from 1380 to 1460 A.D. is Professor R.C. Gupta of the Department of Mathematics at the Birla Institute of Technology (Gupta, 1977). Finally, the prestigious Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (published in 2007 by the renowned scientific publisher Springer Verlag, New York, page 870) states that Paramesvara lived from 1380 to 1460 A.D.
It should be noted that, before the rise of modern technology, palm-leaf manuscripts of the Surya-siddhanta and other important works were regularly hand-copied. Thus, although Professor Shukla wrote that there is an authentic palm-leaf manuscript (No.XXI.N.8) of the Surya-siddhanta (with the commentary of Paramesvara) in the Adyar Library in Madras, we can’t exclude the possibility that this manuscript is a copy of the original made at a later date. Unfortunately, Professor Shukla didn’t provide any evidence (for example, radiocarbon dating) that this manuscript is the original one written by Paramesvara himself. Indeed, Professor Shukla wrote that he examined several different manuscripts of the Surya-siddhanta and noted that they have different verse numbers (Shukla, 1957, Introduction, p.2), which indicates that those who copied the manuscripts also edited them. For example, in manuscript (No.XXI.N.8) in the Adyar Library in Madras, verses 12.81-12.87 give the circumferences of the orbits of the planets, whereas in the famous translation by E. Burgess, these circumferences are given in verses 12.85-12.90 (Burgess, 1858). In the first of these manuscripts, the 12th chapter has only 87 verses, whereas in the second manuscript, it has 90 verses. Clearly, manuscripts of the Surya-siddhanta have been edited over the centuries.
Thus, at present, we can’t entirely exclude the possibility of fraudulent insertion of verses 7.13 and 12.81-12.87 into the text of the Surya-siddhanta after the first telescope was invented in the Netherlands in the year 1608 A.D., which is when sufficiently-accurate planetary data first became available in Europe. The prestigious Reflecting Telescope Optics (published in 2004 by the renowned scientific publisher Springer Verlag, New York) confirms that the first telescope was invented in the Netherlands in 1608 A.D.
To completely silence the skeptics, we need to find an authentic manuscript of the Surya-siddhanta that can be rigorously dated to a year prior to 1608, and this manuscript must contain verses 7.13 and 12.81-12.87. If this can be achieved, then the level of accuracy of the diameters of the planets calculated from the information in verses 7.13 and 12.81-12.87 of the Surya-siddhanta strongly supports the hypothesis that these diameters were not obtained by Earth-based observation but, instead, were revealed by superhuman beings.
Revelation by Superhuman Beings
Since the authors of the Puranas didn’t use radiometric dating techniques, how did they acquire knowledge of the dates of specific paleontological and geological events that occurred many millions of years ago? How did they even know that these events had occurred? Would you be able to figure out, by doing nothing more than walking around and looking at things today, that life on Earth all over the planet suffered a mass extinction hundreds of millions of years ago? Hardly! Keep in mind the fact that it took the arduous labor of generations of paleontologists to figure out that life everywhere on Earth suffered a major extinction at some time in the distant past, and it took the arduous work of brilliant physicists to develop the highly-specialized equipment required to obtain radiometric dates for this global extinction. Thus, the most rational explanation is that Indian savants received knowledge from superhuman beings. In fact, this is the explanation given in the Puranas.
According to the Puranas, there is a hierarchy of superhuman beings who are known by names such as deva, prajapati, rishi and Purusha-Avatara. The top-most Purusha-Avatara is Krishna’s expansion Maha-Vishnu who, according to Krishna’s order, creates innumerable physical universes. Krishna’s purpose in creating physical universes is to offer us the opportunity to experience ever-increasing pleasure by rendering loving, devotional service to Him. When this service is performed purely to please Krishna, it evokes overwhelming, transcendental ecstasy in the performer, which attracts Krishna Himself. In fact, Krishna is captivated by the love of His pure devotees, and He reciprocates with them, rendering even more service to them than they render to Him! The most confidential aspect of pure devotional service is that it brings the unlimitedly powerful Lord under the control of His servants. This is described in Chapter 10.
Thus, there is a purpose to the creation, and Krishna arranges for higher knowledge, including significant events in Earth history and the dates at which they occur, to be disseminated in human society by revelation on the part of His empowered agents (the superhuman beings described above) through the medium of the Vedas and Puranas. In fact, before the advent of the present age (Kali-yuga), human society was deliberately arranged by these superhuman beings in such a way that the heads of state (ksatriyas) and professors of all subjects (brahmanas) made sure that human society was conversant with the teachings of the Vedas and Puranas.
Those who are reluctant to acknowledge the existence of superhuman beings suggest that anyone can develop clairvoyance through practice of astanga-yoga as described in detail in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. A person, however, who actually reads the Yoga Sutras will immediately recognize that the level of austerity and discipline required to develop clairvoyance that is powerful enough to enable the accurate perception of specific paleontological events that occurred hundreds of millions of years ago is so rare that very few human beings can actually attain such high-power clairvoyance. This is confirmed in the Puranas, which describe in detail dozens of case histories of powerful yogis. According to the Puranas, yogis who actually succeed in attaining such high-power clairvoyance and other siddhis generally join the universal management system, which controls all the affairs of all the planets of the universe. Even the few yogis who do not join this system do not go around informing Earthlings about the details of paleontological events that occurred hundreds of millions of years ago. Keep in mind the fact that it is in the Puranas themselves that these paleontological events are recorded, and it is described in the Puranas that knowledge of these paleontological events is deliberately revealed by members of this universal management system, all of whom are superhuman beings. Thus, those who deny the existence of superhuman beings are forgetting that the very source of information about these paleontological events (the Puranas) clearly state that the paleontological events were deliberately revealed by members of this universal management system, all of whom are superhuman beings.
According to the Puranas, yogis attain high-power clairvoyance and other siddhis only by the grace of the universal management system, and not otherwise, regardless of how long or how diligently they practice astanga-yoga. For example, Hiranyakasipu flawlessly performed astanga-yoga for thousands of terrestrial years, but did not achieve superhuman powers until Brahma was pleased with his austerities and gave him these powers (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.3). When we take into account the detailed descriptions of the activities of dozens of the most powerful yogis in the history of the universe recorded in the Puranas, it appears that Patanjali, who knew these Puranic descriptions very well, deliberately neglected to reveal in his Yoga-sutras the fact that siddhis are only attained by the grace of Krishna and His empowered agents (the universal management system). Patanjali’s motive for neglecting to reveal this appears to be to entice persons to take up serious yoga practice who would otherwise not do so out of the false pride of not wanting to acknowledge the fact that success invariably depends on the grace of Krishna and His agents. Those who seriously practice yoga have a good chance of becoming so purified of their false egos that they can finally face the fact that they are inherently dependent on Krishna and His agents for success in any endeavor in human life (Bhagavad-gita As It Is 13.23, 9.10, 7.14, 7.7), not to mention the spectacular achievement of yoga siddhis. Thus, Patanjali’s neglect to reveal our absolute dependence on Krishna for high-level success in yoga is like a well-wishing father who resorts to tricks to get his recalcitrant son to take unpalatable medicine that is for his benefit. The full text of Bhagavad-gita As It Is is available for free at www.vedabase.com.
There is not a single case of a person developing high-power yoga siddhis without the grace of Krishna. This is true not only for serious spiritual practice in India, but also in Europe. European practitioners of bhakti-yoga (for example, Saint Joseph of Cupertino and Saint John of the Cross), though not recognized by common people as yogis, but nevertheless practicing the same disciplines as Indian yogis, achieved yoga siddhis (such as levitation) by devotion to and complete dependence on God (bhakti-yoga). I challenge anyone to document a single case of someone attaining high-power yoga siddhis without the grace of Krishna. In fact, decades of serious research in the field of parapsychology documents the fact that those who attempt to achieve yoga siddhis without the grace of Krishna achieve, at the very best, only dim reflections of yoga siddhis in the form of unreliable and feeble clairvoyance, telepathy and telekinesis. In fact, so feeble are these “siddhis” that decades of research in parapsychology have failed to convince the scientific community that they even exist, despite the fact that a substantial part of the evidence has been presented by scientists of impeccable academic status, such as Robert Jahn, Dean of the School of Engineering at Princeton University!
In summary, there is no evidence to support the hypothesis that the knowledge of specific paleontological events and their dates recorded in the Puranas is the result of yoga practice without receiving the grace of Krishna. Thus, the fact that these paleontological events and their dates are recorded in the Puranas indicates that superhuman beings actually exist. Prior to the advent of Kali-yuga, superhuman beings openly interacted with human society.
Why don’t these superhuman beings openly interact with human society today? The answer is that most human beings in the present materialistic Age of Kali have abandoned the Vedic culture, which is based on austerity, penance and sacrifice for the goal of self-realization. The situation is not entirely hopeless because human beings can still, on an individual basis, associate with Krishna, Vishnu, Brahma or Siva according to the strength of their individual spiritual practice. Krishna, Vishnu, Brahma and Siva have the power to reveal themselves to anyone, and they want to do so, but human beings must purify themselves by serious yoga practice in order to qualify for the lofty status of becoming an associate of Krishna, Vishnu, Brahma or Siva. Chapter 10 describes the practice of bhakti-yoga and the unprecedented pleasures experienced through this practice.
Evidence for the Existence of Krishna (God) Himself
Although the evidence discussed in the preceding chapters makes a strong case that superhuman beings actually exist and revealed sophisticated knowledge to Indian savants, where is the evidence for Krishna (God) Himself? The evidence is found in analyzing the motive for this revelation. History shows that, whenever a technologically superior culture encountered an inferior culture, the superior culture exploited the inferior culture. Three well known examples are: (1) when the Europeans came to Africa and saw the inferior technology of the Africans, they brutally exploited and enslaved them; (2) when the Spanish Conquistadors came to Central and South America five centuries ago, they brutally conquered the native American Indians and confiscated hundreds of pounds of their gold; (3) when British settlers encountered native American Indians in North America, they ruthlessly forced them to move west, ultimately taking away all their land and confining them to "reservations." So, it's reasonable to suppose that there is no motivation for superhuman beings to specifically reveal knowledge of planetary diameters, as well as geological, paleontological, and astrophysical events (and their dates of occurrence) to Earthlings unless these superhuman beings are under a higher authority who orders them to reveal it. Superhuman beings who wished to be worshiped as gods by the ancients needed to do nothing more than simply display their powers; there was no need to reveal this kind of detailed and specific knowledge. Superhuman beings who simply wished to exploit the ancients also had no need to reveal this kind of detailed and specific knowledge. Moreover, there is no record in Srimad-Bhagavatam or Surya-siddhanta of exploitation by the superhuman beings who revealed this knowledge. Rather, according to these two books, these superhuman beings worked harmoniously and cooperatively with human beings to spread valuable knowledge. Indeed, these superhuman beings organized the entire human society in such a way that all human beings were exposed to the teachings of these two books. Thus, this kind of cooperation only makes sense in a religious paradigm in which these superhuman beings are acting as agents of a Supreme Being (God) to satisfy God’s desire that specific kinds of knowledge are taught to human beings to help them reawaken their loving relationship with Him. One of the major themes of Srimad-Bhagavatam is the undesirable nature of the physical world, which is full of suffering in the form of old age, disease, death, rebirth and envious dealings between materially-motivated people. Since Krishna (God) is very compassionate and doesn't want us to suffer unnecessarily in this physical world, He desires that we read about the inevitable sufferings of this world in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita and similar revealed scriptures, along with the overwhelmingly great pleasure of rendering pure devotional service to Him. Thus, the superhuman beings who revealed this knowledge to the ancient Indians are His servants, and they act according to His orders.
I welcome all serious correspondence. I can be reached at Lenantak at ggmmaaiill dot com. I have deliberately written it in this way to confound unscrupulous advertisers, especially machines. It will be clear to human beings how to reach me.
Transactions that Wouldn’t Exist if Krishna Didn’t Exist
During the last 35 years, I have distributed tens of thousands of copies of Srimad-Bhagavatam and other Vedic books on the streets of London, Berlin, Heidelberg, Copenhagen, Moscow, St. Petersburg, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego and other cities. I have done this as devotional service to Krishna, as described in the section above, and I have repeatedly experienced the transcendental ecstasy inherent in this devotional service. In addition, I have noticed something that can be quantified and directly observed even by the greatest skeptics, namely an undeniable correlation between performing tasks that are boring and uninteresting to me, but pleasing to Krishna, and the number of books distributed and amount of donations I received for them several hours after performing these tasks. I found that I distribute up to twice as many books and receive up to twice as much in donations on days in which I perform these tasks than on days in which I don’t perform these tasks. This is significant because although performing these tasks makes me tired and much less inspired than not performing them, I still distribute much more books and collect much more donations than if I didn’t perform them. Materially speaking, I would expect the opposite. In fact, some days I felt so tired and uninspired that I thought it would be an entirely futile endeavor to try to distribute books; somehow or other I wound up going out to distribute and was shocked (in a pleasant way) to see how well I did! An example of such a boring (for me) task was testing a used car that the temple president wanted to buy. I performed this task because I know that Krishna is pleased when I serve His devotees. That particular incident took place in Copenhagen in the year 2001. A similar incident occurred 8 years later in New York City; again I surrendered to doing a task for the temple president that I really didn’t want to do and found that I doubled the number of books and amount of donations I received. I have experienced this effect again and again all over the world and at different times during the last 35 years, and I have observed this effect in other devotees in various parts of the world.
Considering this, I began to think that, if this effect could be rigorously quantified, it would constitute a strong argument for the existence of Krishna and His control of human affairs. For example, take 100 devotees from all over the world and, for each of them, have them perform such tasks every day for a week, and then the next week have them not perform these tasks but instead do the kind of things that materialists would say should increase the number of books distributed and amount of donations collected, such as getting extra rest, going to inspiring movies, surfing at the beach or skiing in the mountains; in other words, doing what you like to do instead of what someone else wants you to do. Have these 100 devotees alternate in this way week after week for the next five years, in an attempt to average out all variables (other than pleasing Krishna) that influence the amount of books distributed and donations collected, such as venue, physical disease, weather, and competition with distributors of other religious or secular products. The beauty of this experiment is that no particular belief is required to obtain the results; it can be performed by the greatest skeptics, who need only be persistent enough to videotape devotees going through these various activities week after week, and year after year, all over the world. All the techniques of professional experimental psychology or sociology can be utilized, such as double-blind methodology and multiple observers. In this way, the experiment would be fit to be published in professional journals and, should in fact, be published by professors at major universities in such peer-reviewed journals.
The next chapter describes how to execute pure devotional service, and how it captivates God.
I welcome all serious correspondence. I can be reached at Lenantak at ggmmaaiill dot com. I have written it in this way to confound unscrupulous advertisers, especially machines. It will be clear to human beings how to reach me.
The Confidential Psychology of God
How many of us are aware that God is conquered by the love of His pure devotees, that His hankering to experience this love is so great that He takes the role of His greatest devotee to experience her love for Him, that one of His greatest pleasures is to serve His devotees, that He does not desire to enjoy His supreme opulence without His devotees, or that, in the highest region of transcendence, Goloka Vrindavana, His devotees forget that He is God in order to engage in intimate, loving relationships with Him? These confidential topics are described in great detail (thousands of pages) in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Caitanya-caritamrta and Nectar of Devotion, which can be read in their entirety for free at www.vedabase.com. From now on, I will refer to these books (along with Brahma-samhita, Bhagavad-gita As It Is and other books of this tradition) as Vaisnava literature, in which God is referred to by the name Krishna.
When reading this vast literature, one is at once struck with wonder at how attractive Krishna is. When Krishna plays His transcendental flute, all living entities in Vrindavana are immediately enchanted, so much so that they forget whatever they are doing and become deeply absorbed in transcendental, ecstatic rapture. Before describing their activities, it is important to recognize that these activities are fundamentally different from their counterparts in the world of our common experience, which I will refer to as the physical world. The underlying substrate of transcendence, called Brahman in Sanskrit, is completely devoid of physical qualities. Physical forms degrade. Our physical bodies are subject to old age, disease and death. In the transcendental world, the bodies are of an entirely different nature and not subject to such transformations. Physical laws do not apply in the transcendental world, where form, space and time adjust their properties to enhance the loving exchanges between Krishna and His pure devotees. By proper execution of bhakti yoga in the physical world, we regain our original transcendental forms, as opposed to the physical forms with which we now falsely identify. Each of us has a particular transcendental form appropriate for the unique, loving relationship we have with Krishna. These relationships are described in great detail in Vaisnava literature.
Even more radical than the wholesale flouting of physical laws in the transcendental world is the experience of ever-increasing pleasure available there. Although the sights, sounds and other sensations of transcendence are already so intense that it seems impossible for them to increase, they nevertheless continuously increase. Since this is experienced by advanced practitioners of bhakti yoga even before quitting their physical bodies, it is naturally experienced at all times by the residents of the transcendental world.
The residents of the transcendental world are continuously enchanted by Krishna’s personal qualities and pastimes. As mentioned above, when Krishna plays His transcendental flute, all living entities enter a trance of ecstatic devotion and forget everything else. The cows raise their long ears to catch the nectar sound of the flute, and the calves, who had been drinking their mother’s milk, become overwhelmed with loving ecstasy and are unable to continue drinking. The tears gliding down their cheeks are the external manifestation of their internally embracing Krishna within the cores of their hearts. Likewise, the many kinds of transcendental birds in the forests of Vrindavana lose external awareness in the course of their intense concentration on the sound of Krishna’s flute. Krishna’s friends (the gopas) and girl friends (the gopis) are mesmerized upon hearing Krishna’s flute, and their desire to satisfy His transcendental senses increases unlimitedly. The river Yamuna stops flowing and eagerly awaits the transcendental dust from Krishna’s divine feet, while Govardhana Hill begins to melt in loving ecstasy. Earlier I mentioned how form, space and time adjust themselves to enhance the loving affairs of the residents of the transcendental world. Here is a specific example of this: the transcendental hill known as Govardhana begins to melt and flow, while the transcendental river known as Yamuna freezes in ecstasy. The constraints of the physical world do not apply in the transcendental world.
According to Vaisnava philosophy, the physical world is a section of the transcendental world in which physical laws create the illusion that Krishna does not exist and we are nothing more than our physical bodies. Krishna creates this illusion to satisfy our desire to abandon our relationship with Him. Most living entities do not develop this desire; we are among the small fraction of the total number of living entities who desire this. Krishna satisfies our desire by creating the illusion of the physical world.
According to Vaisnava philosophy, physical laws are simply conventions by which Krishna chooses to control the physical world. Krishna is at liberty to alter these laws whenever He wants to. Krishna is constantly and effortlessly in control of both the physical and transcendental worlds. Actually, Krishna is so powerful that He does not need to personally deal with the physical world. He expands Himself into various Vishnu forms, known as Purusha Avatara (Maha-Vishnu, Garbhodakashayi-Vishnu and Kshirodakashayi-Vishnu), who create, control and periodically dissolve the physical world over time cycles of billions of years, as described in detail in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Kshirodakashayi-Vishnu is another name for Paramatma, who is Krishna’s expansion residing within all living entities in the physical world.
Krishna is very attracted by the transcendental, ecstatic love of His pure devotees. Indeed, He is conquered by it. There are many examples of this in Vaisnava literature. Although all pure devotees are exalted and there is no need to rank them as higher and lower, the devotee who gives the greatest pleasure to Krishna is known as Srimati Radharani. Krishna is known as Madan Mohan because He enchants everyone, but Srimati Radharani is so captivating that She enchants even Krishna. Therefore, She is known as Madan Mohan Mohini, the female enchantress of Krishna. As you might imagine, it is no small feat to enchant Krishna, and actually Radharani is the personification of Krishna’s internal, pleasure potency known as Hladini Shakti.
In the course of His transcendental, loving affairs with Radharani and Her expansions (the gopis of Vrindavana), Krishna detects that She and the gopis are experiencing far more pleasure than He experiences. Being Rasaraja (the supreme enjoyer of loving relationships), He develops an intense desire to taste the pleasure that Radharani and Her associates are tasting, but He can’t do so as Krishna, because His psychology is fundamentally different from Hers. (He fulfills this desire by assuming Her role, as described below.) He is the direct enjoyer of transcendental sense gratification, whereas all His pure devotees (headed by Radharani) derive pleasure by gratifying His senses, rather than trying to gratify their own senses.
In the transcendental world, there is only one direct enjoyer, Krishna, and everyone else engages in gratifying Krishna’s senses. In the physical world, everyone (except for a pure devotee of Krishna) is interested in gratifying his/her own senses (or, occasionally, the senses of someone other than Krishna), whereas in the transcendental world, everyone is interested in gratifying Krishna’s senses. An example of sense gratification is eating. In the transcendental world, everyone has a transcendental body, so no one needs to eat, but Krishna likes to eat, and pure devotees there make elaborate arrangements to offer Krishna transcendental, tasty preparations. The reason we are in the physical world is we want to gratify our own senses instead of gratifying Krishna’s senses. We were originally in the transcendental world, but we felt uncomfortable with gratifying Krishna’s senses, which is why we came to the physical world. We remain in the physical world as long as we desire to gratify our own senses and not Krishna’s senses. Since gratifying Krishna’s senses is inherently more satisfying than gratifying our own senses, ultimately everyone in the physical world gets tired of trying to gratify his/her own senses and becomes interested in gratifying Krishna’s senses. Srimati Radharani is the most expert of all pure devotees in gratifying Krishna’s senses. The amazing thing is that She enjoys much more than Krishna although She has no intention to enjoy: She simply desires to increase Krishna’s pleasure. A pure devotee enjoys much more than Krishna simply by trying to please Krishna.
When Krishna detects that His pure devotees, especially Radharani and Her associates, are enjoying far more than He does, He becomes eager to experience what they are experiencing. Thus, Krishna takes a special form, known as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, to experience the ecstatic mood of Srimati Radharani. The book Caitanya Caritamrta describes the wonderful pastimes and teachings of Lord Caitanya.
The greatest secret of all time is that we can experience the highest pleasure, even more than what God Himself experiences, simply by shifting our psychology from endeavoring to gratify our own senses to gratifying Krishna’s senses. When we think carefully about what it means to be God and how intense His enjoyment must be, it is clear that no activity can yield more pleasure for the performer than becoming a pure devotee of Krishna.
The process for becoming a pure devotee of Krishna is known as bhakti yoga. Krishna arranges that there are always at least a few pure devotees in the physical world to teach people in general how to revive their relationship with Krishna. The first business of one who is serious about experiencing ecstatic love for Krishna is to find such a pure devotee. The characteristics of such pure devotees are clearly described in Vaisnava literature: they are always engaged in hearing and chanting about Krishna’s name, form, qualities and pastimes. They do not engage in hearing and chanting about anything else. Of course, hearing and chanting about Krishna means also hearing and chanting about Krishna’s pure devotees, since Krishna is always engaged in ecstatic, loving affairs with His pure devotees. Krishna is never alone. He is always engaged with His pure devotees. In fact, Krishna is more pleased when we glorify His pure devotees than when we glorify Him. Krishna is not very attached to having people glorify Him. He prefers that people glorify, worship and serve His pure devotees. Krishna Himself loves to serve, worship and glorify His pure devotees, and He is very pleased when people in general do likewise.
The fastest way to get Krishna’s attention is to serve His pure devotees. When you sincerely serve a pure devotee, Krishna showers His mercy on you, which means you realize that you are inherently different from your physical body, you are freed from the desire to gratify the senses of your physical body, and you begin to experience transcendental ecstasy by glorifying Krishna and His pure devotees. Thus, the first, last and ultimate business in bhakti yoga is to dedicate your life to serving a pure devotee. This is the key to your entrance into the transcendental world, which you can experience even in the physical world if you are serious about bhakti yoga.
I am happy to direct you to a local bhakti yoga group. I can be reached at Lenantak at ggmmaaiill dot com. I have written it in this way to confound unscrupulous advertisers, especially machines. It will be clear to human beings how to reach me, and I welcome all serious correspondence.
Evidence for Editing of the
Surya-siddhanta and Puranas over the Centuries
Before the rise of modern technology, palm-leaf manuscripts of the Surya-siddhanta, Puranas and other important books were regularly hand-copied. Unfortunately, there is strong evidence that those who copied the manuscripts also edited them.
Professor Kripa S. Shukla of the Department of Mathematics at Lucknow University wrote that there is a palm-leaf manuscript (No.XXI.N.8) of the Surya-siddhanta (including the famous commentary written on it by the renowned astronomer Paramesvara) in the Adyar Library in Madras (Shukla, 1957, Introduction, page 1). Professor Shukla mentioned that he examined several different manuscripts of the Surya-siddhanta and noted that they have different verse numbers (Shukla, 1957, Introduction, p.2), which indicates that those who copied the manuscripts also edited them. For example, in manuscript (No.XXI.N.8) in the Adyar Library in Madras, verses 12.81-12.87 give the circumferences of the orbits of the planets, whereas in the famous translation by E. Burgess, these circumferences are given in verses 12.85-12.90 (Burgess, 1858). In the first of these manuscripts, the 12th chapter has only 87 verses, whereas in the second manuscript, it has 90 verses. Clearly, manuscripts of the Surya-siddhanta have been edited over the centuries.
Let's now consider the Puranas. Professor Ludo Rocher of the University of Pennsylvania and many other Sanskrit scholars have claimed that newly-discovered manuscripts of the Puranas, which have been rigorously dated to the medieval centuries, are substantially different from the currently-circulating Puranas. For example, a few years ago, a new manuscript of the Skanda Purana was found in Nepal and dated at 810 A.D. These scholars claim that this manuscript is entirely different from the versions of the Skanda Purana that have been circulating in South Asia from the time of the colonial era. The scholars further claim that four more newly-discovered manuscripts of the Skanda Purana are substantially different from each other. The scholars conclude that this Purana has undergone major editing on at least two occasions. The first occasion was probably before the 12th century, and the second one was sometime in the 15th-16th century. The scholars claim to have evidence that similar changes have occurred in the other Puranas over the centuries. A few of the numerous articles and books written by these scholars include Rocher (2005), Rocher (1986) and Hazra (1956).
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