Does God exist? Humanity has always been divided into two camps: believers and nonbelievers. Belief in God's existence rests mainly on the anthropic principle, while non-belief rests on unaccountability of so much pain and wickedness. Like the Greek philosopher Epicurus, the atheists argue that if an omnipotent and benevolent God exists, why should there be so much suffering and evil? "Why does God—if He exists—allow earthquakes, floods and typhoons to occur, bringing death and destruction in their wake"? The theists counter this with the free-will argument. The anthropic principle seems to emphasize the existence of intelligence behind the orderliness of the universe. There is evidence of law and order from all branches of science. For instance, if the electromagnetic force were even slightly weaker than the gravitational force, stars would have burnt a million times faster, burying the universe in darkness a long time ago, writes Debashish Mukerji. (The Week, May 2)
Stephen Unwin, a British-born, Ohio-based risk consultant with a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, used the probability theory to rationally prove the existence of God. Unwin started with the assumption that there was a 50:50 chance of God existing. He fed in—in mathematical form—all the evidence which supported or opposed the proposition, and concluded that there is 67 per cent likelihood of God's existence. He argues that human beings are endowed with freedom to make both good as well as bad choices. "This does explain away a great number of minor and major calamities which descend on us," Unwin writes. Karen Armstrong in her A History of God concludes: "The idea of a personal God is today fraught with difficulty."
H.P.B. mentions in The Key to Theosophy that the personal-god idea is untenable, and that a god who loves and hates and shows anger falls far below the standard of even an ordinary good man. Theosophy teaches that an extracosmic God is an absurdity while an intracosmic God is a logical necessity, and defines God as an Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless and Immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible. IT cannot be perceived like we perceive everything else. IT is itself knower and hence cannot be the object of its own knowledge.
In Isis Unveiled H.P.B. explains how the sages of the Orient prove God's existence. Thus:
God is Law. The existence of God in the universe is discerned by the working of the Law, which works incessantly, righteously and unerringly. All the miseries of the world can be explained on the basis of the Law of Karma and Reincarnation. Human beings bring about suffering for themselves and other kingdoms through their thoughts and actions.
Temples as we know them today did not exist in Vedic times, writes K. S. Ram (The Times of India, May 7). As Ananda Coomaraswamy has observed, temples came to be constructed when there was a shift from yagna or sacrifice to puja or worship. Puja or worship can easily degenerate into a time-bound ritual and can be done through a proxy (the priest). Basavanna, the 11th century Kannada poet who began the Veerasaiva movement, regarded the human body to be a shrine. All great thinkers down the ages regarded the temple as a symbol and have not been in favour of "fixing" God in a permanent building. K. S. Ram writes:
The human body is the holy temple wherein the deity resides. "Verily that body, so desecrated by Materialism and man himself, is the temple of the Holy Grail, the Adytum of the grandest, nay, of all, the mysteries of nature in our solar universe," writes H.P.B. (Raja-Yoga or Occultism). In the Gita, Shri Krishna says of the people who torture their bodies that, full of delusion, they "torture the powers and faculties which are in the body, and me also, who am in the recesses of the innermost heart."
In The Secret Doctrine we find Carlyle's words, full of praise for the human body which he compares to a temple.
Mr. Judge explains in Echoes from the Orient that the building of the temple of the Lord refers to the formation of the human form for the use of the Ego. Thus:
H.P.B. explains in The Secret Doctrine that the ancients regarded the Sanctum Sanctorum—in its esoteric meaning—"as the symbol of resurrection, cosmic, solar (or diurnal), and human." (II, 459)
H.P.B. mentions in Isis Unveiled that esoterically, Solomon's temple is only an allegory.
Are dreams but idle visions? Researchers in India and abroad now recognize the significance of dreams and feel that they can be used for our well-being. Are dreams a built-in early warning system that alerts us to an impending crisis? Could dreams be a mirror of our waking reality? Why do we remember only certain dreams? asks Shefalee Vasudev (India Today, April 19)
Experiments conducted at Harvard and the University of Texas have shown that unfulfilled wishes, complex desires as well as disturbing and harmful thoughts suppressed during waking hours find their expression in dreams. Delhi-based author and dream researcher Madhu Tandon observes that besides being a mirror of our mental states and attitudes, dreams often help us solve problems and warn us of forthcoming events including death. Psychotherapist Rashna Imhasly believes that dreams are the inner voice that guides us. People must be helped to decode their dreams, as these are full of mythic symbols.
Serenity Young, a scholar of Asian culture and Buddhist traditions, found that the more "meditative" the conscious state, the more lucid (aware) will be the dreams, and lucid dreams have a great potential to become prophetic. It is believed that during sleep, the right side of the brain functions unhindered by the rational interference of the left brain. "Indian researchers say that dreams heal people. Without them, they would be plagued by severe disturbances."
In Transactions, H.P.B. mentions three states of consciousness—waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep or Sushupti and describes seven kinds of dreams. There are warning dreams, allegorical dreams, retrospective dreams, prophetic dreams, etc. As we fall asleep we pass from waking to dream state. These dreams are produced by the combined action of Kama-desire and the animal soul. It is instinct and not reason that is active in these dreams. They reflect suppressed thoughts, emotions and desires. Freud's theory covers only these dreams. In dreamless sleep we exist as our real spiritual self, unhindered by personality. Mr. Judge calls it a spiritual reservoir "by means of which the momentum toward evil living is held in check." It has been shown experimentally that a person deprived of this state of sleep gets up all tired. In dreamless sleep our Ego is on its own plane, fully conscious and omniscient. In Sushupti we find solution to our problems. So many artists and inventors have found inspiration in dreams, or the solution of a problem which they were struggling to find while awake. The language of the Ego is symbolic. It communicates through pictures, symbols and images. To be able to interpret the dreams correctly one must know the language of the soul. Are there any means of interpreting dreams? H.P.B. writes:
Cerebellum is active during sleep, but during the waking state its functioning is lost in the functions of the cerebrum.
What and how much our brain can remember of these dreams depends upon how porous the brain is; and to make the brain porous, we should lead a virtuous life, have fewer personal desires and give up materialistic pursuits. It is recommended that we practise self-examination every night before going to sleep.
The human spine is Mother Nature's engineering masterpiece. There are 24 vertebrae that encase and protect the spinal cord, and 23 rubbery white discs that cushion the vertebrae. These discs act as shock absorbers to the human being when he moves about and works. When something suddenly goes wrong with the magnificent spinal anatomy, when something snaps, the resulting pain is unbearable, writes Claudia Kalb. (Newsweek, May 10)
Almost every living human being has suffered the agony of back pain. Various kinds of treatments, from massage to surgery, are available and spinal procedures have been rising in recent years, but many often fail. Back-pain can originate anywhere in spinal architecture. However, doctors are puzzled as to why some people have mild pain and some have really excruciating pain? Claudia Kalb writes:
The field of psychosomatic medicine, dealing with the effects of emotional and mental conditions upon the body, is still not far advanced—in spite of extensive research in this field. Physicians should recognize that the ills of the physical body have their causes on moral and psychic planes.
Mr. Judge explains the mind-body relation in his article "Replanting Diseases for Future Use":