Tuesday, February 2, 2010
The idea of the notion of God as a very advanced alien race(s) is very popular one. If you haven't heard of it before, it combines Abrahamic mythology with science that explains why God exists scientifically! Basically, there are two "branches" of the God as Alien theory -
1) That hundreds of thousands of years ago, a highly advanced race of aliens descended on earth and started life or genetically modified apes into Homo Sapiens for unknown reasons. They kept visiting the Earth every once in a while and the early humans, who couldn't understand them, started refering to them as gods.....Then over time, the idea of God evolved into so many religions that we see today.
2) That life had already begun on Earth but the humans had evolved very close to the Homo Sapien stage when the aliens arrived. These aliens decided to either help the early humans for various reasons or use them for manual labor and taught us technology and language. These aliens created mysterious strutures like Nazca lines and Stonehenge etc as well. Early humans, again, couldn't understand them and decided to worship them as gods. Then at some point the aliens left and over time the world forgot about them and it all became folklore finally transformed into religion.
Now both of these theories are very similar in nature and explain stories in Bible, Quran and many other ancient texts. The first theory explains things like creation of Adam from mud and creation of Eve from just a rib (genetic engineering maybe?). They explain the mysterious structures all over the world that early humans simply couldn't create on their own! They explain why Homo Sapiens had such abrupt explosion of technology that made us the dominant species on the planet. Even the stories in Greek mythology like Poseidon bringing Fire (technology may be?) to humans and Hindu stories of fallen gods roaming the planet!
A thoughtful reader of my blog asked me (in the comments in my post explaining the nature of Shiva) if this applies to Hinduism as well and I was intrigued to analyze the Hindu definition of God and try to match it with the God as Alien being theory. At first it seemed as if this alien being theory explains even Hindu notion of God but I realized that it is not so - God in Hinduism can't be an scientifically advanced alien or some other otherwise super powered being. Why?
Before I get to the Hindu perspective of God, let me explain why the God as described in Christianity or Islam would be qualify as an alien being - The God in Christianity/Islam is fundamentally an all powerful being that creates the world and puts us humans inside it. Then He constantly watches humans and keeps track of our activities. He also sends out "prophets" every once in a while (the prophets being Jesus Christ and Mohammed in this case) who tell humans about the correct behavior and start various religions. Then at doomsday, God (as described in Christianity/Islam and related relgions only) destroys everything and sends the humans to heaven or hell based on whether they followed His prophets or not! Now, when you set the religious sentiments aside for a moment, (without disrespecting any sentiments) you'd notice that this almost resembles a real time simulation video game, like Sim City for example. In fact, if the characters in Sim City suddenly gained sentience, they might think of the player as a God! Its not a too far stretch to think that this God is just another all powerful alien being playing the "game of world" and we are just puppets. There is no fundamental differentiation between the Abrahamic notion of God and a 13 year old kid playing Sim City (again I'm sorry if I hurt your sentiments).
Now let's see how the Hindu notion of God fares - In Hinduism, the supreme entity is Braham that manifests itself in this Universe and more. Braham is the sum total of the universe and more! He manifests Himself into Prakriti and Purush and Maya and that is seen as this world by our senses. How is it different from the God in Christianity/Islam? Because, according to this theory, Braham is all pervasive and everything is just one. The world looks what it looks like simply because thats how our senses see it but if someone suddenly god the Divya Drishti (the "sight" that sees the true nature of the world), he/she would see that everything is nothing but Braham. So Hinduism fundamentally redefines the meaning of God and the nature of the universe. There is no more some "divine being" creating humans, sending prophets, watching humans and sending us to heaven/hell after death. Further, Karma takes care of the actions and results gives us the fundamental and the most important law of the universe. One might argue that Hinduism has the notion of incarnations and trinity, where does that fit in? The answer is that even the trinity and incarnations etc are just manifestations of Braham. So, in terms of the Sim City comparison that I used earlier, in Hinduism the game characters would be our world but the player won't be Braham. The player would just be one of the Trinity or Shakti or whatever else you'd want to call it. Braham would be both inside and outside of the game because it pervades through each and everything. As you'd notice, the alien theory simply can't explain the notion of God in Hinduism. One can think of the Trinity as an alien or the lower gods (from mythology) as aliens but the all pervasive Braham is beyond them all. Infact, as Krishna mentions in Geeta, the people who worship the God as defined in Christianity/Islam (that is explained by God is Alien theory) simply don't understand the true nature of Braham. But Krishna also states that one doesn't necessarily need to actually have the Divya Drishti and see Braham to understand it, there are many ways to realize the truth including Yoga and more but people can use any symbol that they deem fit to understand God and they will be able to attain nirvana, because ultimately All is Braham and All is One!
I hope I explained why God in Hinduism can't be seen as an advanced alien civilization in this post! Till the next post, au revoir!
at 11:19 AM