Nature is viewed at present, through the lens of modern science, impersonally. In the scientific picture, nature is comprised of particles and forces which cause the particles to move and change, governed by mathematical laws. The same world is described differently in Vedic texts as being ‘controlled’ by persons. I call this the personalization of nature which replaces the impersonalism of modern science. The goal of this book is to show that a personalized description of nature, as opposed impersonalism, is possible if we understand what we mean by a person. This book defines a person as the three properties of the soul called relation, cognition, and emotion, or sat, chit, and ananda, in which the universalization is replaced by contextualization, and objectivity is replaced by personality. Personalization of nature has been prevalent in most modern and ancient religions and understanding this approach to nature’s description is fruitful for showing the relevance of personalism in the context of nature, as well as realizing that this personalism need not contradict scientific explanations.
The first chapter deals with the distinction between personalism and impersonalism in the context of natural descriptions. The three aspects of a person are natural concepts, and they expand into three deities called Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva which then expand into a system of 33 demigods as parts or aspects of the original three aspects of personality. Through such diversification, these demigods become controllers of the different aspects of the soul’s existence. Even though we cannot directly perceive the demigods, we can understand their existence based on the theory of the soul and its experiences.
Overview of Theogony
The second chapter details basic ideas about space and time, and how they are expanded from the three properties of the soul—sat, chit, and ananda—creating the trinity of Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva. The sat creates the vertical dimension in space, the chit creates two-dimensional planes, and together sat and chit constitute the ‘space’ of conscious experience. The ananda produces the time of conscious experience. Brahma is responsible for the vertical dimension, Vishnu for the two-dimensional horizontal planes, and Shiva for the time. Together, the three aspects of the soul hence create four-dimensional space-time.
The Religion of the Sun
The third chapter extends this understanding with regard to the cosmology of the sun, and the basis of the 12 signs of the zodiac, and the six types of associates in each of the 12 signs which together constitute 84 cognitive forms. These cognitive forms represent both content and style of everyday perception. The style, in particular, includes the literary style, music, gestures, and there are two types of styles—positive and negative—which together create the 6 types of associates. And understanding these 84 forms helps us understand how all cognition comes from the expansion of the sun.
The Moon and Star Religions
The fourth chapter describes the type-based theories regarding the moon and the stars. The moon is subdivided into 15 types and the stars into 27 types. Just as the divisions of the sun creates the solar calendar, similarly, the types of the moon become the basis of the lunar calendar, and the types of stars become the basis of the sidereal calendar. Any given location in space has the properties of the solar, lunar, and sidereal calendar types, All these types have a philosophical basis, and if we grasp the philosophy we can understand why nature is described in precisely these types, and why they are not arbitrary.
Principles of Religious Universalism
Once these types are understood, we can see the basis for so-called ‘polytheism’ where many gods are worshipped, but they are ultimately expansions of the three aspects of a single God. The theory underlying cosmology also becomes the theory of conscious experience, and that gives us the basis on which to speak about the unity in diversity of the diverse religions. Chapter five deals with the questions of religious unification and how these religions are diversifications from a single root or origin, with each branch leading us to the root, provided we stop treating ourselves as the root itself. These branches can thus be progressive paths to the ultimate realization of the scientific universal truth, but if we remain stuck with each branch as the ultimate truth, then we will also be limited in our realizations.
The Diversity of Religious Views
The sixth chapter delves into several commonalities between different religions. The differences are less important if we want to construct the tree of unification; at least, we must note the similarities to identify the ideological classes before we see the differences between them. Accordingly, this chapter delves into the similarities across diverse religions—e.g. the worship of the sun, the moon, and the stars, the idea of trinity, the use of male and female deities and their impact on human society, etc. Once we see these similarities we can note the differences too, and the primary difference is how the problem of free will treated in different religions. The free will in Vedic philosophy never dies, which means that if the soul has been liberated, it can fall down again due to free will. Similarly, if the soul has fallen it can be resurrected in the future. The chapter discusses how this realization leads to karma, reincarnation, and to the many forms of demigods who control the delivery of the consequences of previous actions. When religions did not want to deal with this problem in its full resplendence, they also decided to simplify the issue by instituting eternal hell and heaven, rejecting reincarnation and karma, and eliminating the existence of demigods as ‘pagan gods’. That flaw leads to the problem that a God who sends a person to eternal hell must not be benevolent, or that if a child suffers due to karma then it must be God’s fault.
Mythology and Psychology
The seventh and final chapter deals with the role of psychology in the context of religion, especially with the question of whether the religious stories and moralizing ideals are widespread properties of the human mind or they are also real things outside the human mind. While many people reject scripture as fabricated stories that could never happen, a growing number of people view them as properties of the human mind—a stance that lies in between considering them to be literally true versus treating them to be outright false. This idea is justified based on the realization that the stories and morals various religions institute are seen recurring in diverse religions, cultures, civilizations, and ages. How do we explain this recurrence except by supposing that they are all products of the human mind and that the mind has universal properties due to which it recreates the same ‘myths’ and ‘stories’ over and over?