“The fifth incarnation, named Lord Kapila, is foremost among perfected beings. He gave an exposition of the creative elements and metaphysics to Asuri Brahmana, for in course of time this knowledge had been lost.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.3.10)
पञ्चमः कपिलो नाम
pañcamaḥ kapilo nāma
The disciplines can be so complex that a single honorary achievement is insufficient for recognition. Rising to the level of PhD is only the beginning. Use that as a launching pad for conducting meaningful and exhaustive research, enough to further the cause of knowledge and understanding. Progress is the objective; always moving further along, revising and extending previous findings.
Several hundred people of the highest academic stature, researching for up to fifty years still barely scratches the surface. The universe is so complex that science continues to make new discoveries. These aspects of nature were already in place, such as with gravity. Sir Isaac Newton simply found a way to describe and understand something that had been in effect since before anyone can remember.
As the general opinion is that science and religion clash, any mention of God or a higher power signifies a departure from the empirical way of observation and experiment. This is where the Vedic culture stands unique. It describes so many complex aspects of nature in its original texts, which have no accurate date of inception. This is because the works are as timeless as the person they glorify.
Travel around the world. Take a boat if you have to. Record your observations of the seas, the plant life, the birds, the mammals, and other species. Categorize as best as you can, discerning patterns and similarities. From there develop some sort of hierarchy to help others understand.
Whereas the results of such an undertaking are never perfect, Vedic literature explains biology very succinctly and accurately. Start with three types of ingredients. They are of different natures. The modes of goodness, passion and ignorance form the building blocks of the material world.
Those ingredients can be put into different combinations and proportions. Sort of like the child given play-dough, the result is up to 8,400,000 species. The Vedas go one step further in accurately classifying what a species is. The modes of nature combine to create what are body types. The modes themselves cannot do anything. They are matter, after all, which is dull and lifeless.
Jiva souls inhabit the body types, and for a fixed duration of time. That is to say the lease on the residence is not permanent. The same jiva can live as a tree for one lifetime and as a fish in another. This jumping from species to species is known as the transmigration of the soul, or reincarnation.
2. The phenomena of heat and light
The Vedas use these properties as a correlation to dharma. Heat and light are the two features that must be present for there to be fire. Without heat and light you cannot have fire. Therefore, heat and light are the dharma of fire. For water it would be the property of wetness or liquid. Even when observing ice, there is still the liquid property, though in a different state.
The source of heat and light is the sun and the source of the sun is the Supreme Lord. That is one way to understand God, from a scientific point of view. That which fuels the entire creation is different from that creation. It is an individual and external force.
3. The origins of thunder and lightning
This was of particular interest during the eighteenth century in both America and Europe, when experiments in electricity were taking off. Was lightning any different? Was it simply another manifestation of the same energy that pervades the entire creation?
This is done through the incarnation known as Kapila. He teaches the genuine form of sankhya, which not only identifies the different elements that constitute nature, but explains how they work together. Kapila is the son of Devahuti. Although a superior in that relationship, the mother still considers Kapila to be the foremost authority on that great science.
The Supreme Lord explains the origins of the different energies in many places in Vedic literature. In Shrimad Bhagavatam He tells Lord Brahma, the creator working with the three modes of nature to generate the species, that nothing existed before Him. Lord Vishnu is the beginning and also without a beginning. He is the source of the material nature. He is the powerful giving rise to the power.
अहं सर्वस्य प्रभवो
मत्तः सर्वं प्रवर्तते
इति मत्वा भजन्ते मां
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
“I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.8)
More important than explaining complex principles of science is understanding where they fit into the larger picture. What does knowing the properties of thunder and lightning really do for me, in the long run? Perhaps I can avoid a painful strike from the clouds, but that is a rare occurrence in the first place. I can use heat and light to stay warm in the winter, but is that really the purpose of an existence? Isn’t there more to living than basic survival, which cannot remain forever?
In Bhagavad-gita the Supreme Lord explains that the purpose of life is to serve Him, to abandon all other forms of living, which are known as dharma. The essential characteristic of the individual is to serve, and the ideal object of service is God. From the proper outlet of service all requisite knowledge descends. The meaning is that if you know Vishnu then you know everything necessary for survival and beyond. Unlike the association with the material world, the devotion of the devotee never perishes.
Not on blind faith relying,
Vedas for full explanation trying.
That science later found,
But first carried in sound.
Kapila for sankhya explaining,
How elements in body attaining.
More important than knowledge to read,
With understanding of Supreme to proceed.
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