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Religious Evolution of Humans

9 Mar

The striking aspect of human evolution is how different religions and philosophies live side by side within societies and globally even with inherent conflicts in their beliefs and practices (eg athesim, homosexuality). The Indian subcontinent is the region of endemism of religion because the concept of liberation and freedom has been inculcated in Hindus for thousands of years which give them latitude to question themselves and their surroundings and philosophise. The Middle East too has had numerous religions that have developed as if one religion spurs the development of new religions in and around it. This takes place because religions make the people think about themselves and how to develop an ideal way of life including society.

There must be a coherent mechanism in Nature to generate this diversity. If the diversity was simply gene-associated separate genes or mechanisms of their expressions would have been identified by scientists, say one for Islam and the other for Buddhism for example to take two extremely divergent methods of living. Islamic societies with strong male domination of women who are treated as only means of reproduction must originate in some thought processes that are different to those setting the goals of compassion and care that signifies Buddhism. They cannot have a common genetic basis as survival strategies, and indeed it can be argued that Buddhism serves no survival function in the natural world with its altruism. The may therefore be described as cultural strategies that takes place because a regulator is protecting both methods of living. That regulator must be an Entity that has the power to alter human thoughts from an external input into the mind. Hence the idea came to my mind of a guna-consciousness energy triad governing sattvic, rajasic and tamasic attributes of people with blends of these psychological influences on the mind as a possible explanation of Nature. God must have created such a consciousness energy within matter that would play out its effect on the human mind. The diversity of religions provides evidence for this, but even if one took away the issue of religions and examined human behavior individually. The facets of human activity that help people develop differently to each other to become specialists in different fields of activity must be due entirely to the genetic differences while the thoughts that guide them spiritually to develop their character and beliefs must be due to this extra-terrestrial influence. We then would need to address the issue of why God would do such a thing?

My theory is that in pre-history all of mankind lived without religions in automatic animalistic lives without any philosophies. They were all operating at the tamasic level of mentality. At around 20,000 years ago God played games with human evolution by awakening the sattvic element of guna-consciousness energy in many humans across the world for His own reasons. Perhaps He wished man to appreciate Him as the Creator of the universe. Perhaps it was for His own amusement. He stirred the consciousness of humans to bring us to consider questions of the nature of existence. The theory that has long been recognised in Hinduism is that humans are governed by three gunas (characters) of sattvic (piously-good), rajasis (indifferent, routinal, normal) and tamasic (inertial, sensual, even evil). This causes humans to constantly think about a meaning to their lives beyond animalistic living. And because the three gunas act on the mind as a form of consciousness ‘energy’ they will generate different lifestyles.

It is evident that if a God exists He allows these diverse religions to persist, even though one may legitimately question the morals in some of them. I think He knows that morals are not the means for human survival but He also wishes humans to lead sober and thoughtful lives that gives meaning to others beyond materialistic gains. So the Hindu Trimurti of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva for the three gunas creates a balance in Nature that enables the human species to prosper in a civilised manner that generates knowledge of the universe from sattvic living. That is how I attribute the human scene to God’s intentions.

That regulator must be God. Either human evolution can be explained on the basis of natural selection of gene-based behavioural characteristics of people or human communities are a haphazard development. My theory is that religions have been constantly evolving through history and therefore serve an adaptation function which not only explains their diversity but also the success of the human species? It is highly unlikely that a God-gene (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_gene) explains the diversity of religious practices across the world. Spirituality or mysticism are simply thoughts in the mind: a gene cannot tell the mind to have different beliefs and values that characterise humanity. Why would there be different social orders of religiousity within the same geographical area, eg atheists, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, all living together apparently without too much animosity and conflict? If religions serve an adaptation function then the differences between religious groups within nations will, over time, be wiped out and a common culture then prevail that enables the population to survive together; but we see no indication of this happening anywhere except in Islamic countries where there are strong laws on apostasy, blasphemy and promotion of abhorrence of other faiths. A society cannot possibly have two or more distinct and in many ways conflicting religions to further itself. Religions therefore evolve independent of the needs of society – through another mechanism.

Religions are social orders binding people together under rules of conduct. It is inevitable that there should be conflicts between these incompatible groups.
The lack of progress towards a common culture in non-Islamic countries may indicate that there are other factors operating which prevent the consolidation into a single cultural society.
Why would the Indian society from Vedic times 6000 years ago give rise to so many different religions?

Human living has no other meaning than living to the gods who give us our thoughts and our motives for living. We show our respects to these gods. This gives us peace of mind. The development of religions begins in a small way, a person has mental conceptions brought about from brain/mind activity, however that is precipitated whether through internal convictions or through external revelations. He or she publicises this. People listen and if they are convinced they enquire what he is talking about. He acquires disciples and with them may or may not formulate the full conception of a religion. If people then like what this group are saying they will follow the person as a saviour and the religion. If they do not like it, it will die there and then or may just acquire a small number of followers. This way some religions develop into group activity in which people are bound together as a social group.

If the social group thus formed successfully propagates itself, it is said to be adapted to the environment by natural selection and human evolution is charted accordingly. Is there ‘evidence’ of biological basis for religion in human evolution from neuroscience? Are any beliefs correlated with particular brain interactions that have been detected, or even shown which part of the brain was involved in the process. Or are scientists making a general observation that some brain activity is detected in those who belong to certain established religions. For me religion is any mental arrangement of ideas that derives a basis for living not from the realities of what the senses can detect of the outside world but of internal thought processes that are derived either from the genes or from another source. This takes place in the mind.

I personally subscribe to the view that religious ideas are not genetical in origin but derive from the consciousness that permeate the material world. This consciousness is inbedded into atoms and is therefore part of the evolution of the atoms into life forms. The Consciousness is powered and directed by God through His force called Paramatma. We as human beings are therefore connected to the universe and God through this mechanism that God has created. We are inseparable from it, just like all other organisms. We are a combination of gene-based body that has functions of maintaining itself and procreating and the consciousness element that is connected to the Supreme Creator God. There is therefore no distinction between us as humans, a biological species, and the universe. All that we do and how we do them are are monitored by God with whom we are separate but one at the same time. It includes the religions that we develop and adopt. How we develop these religions is therefore the fascinating question. How the connection of our body to God through consciousness has been made is through the human mind. My view is that the human mind can be compartmentalised conceptually as follows: the mind draws information from the ‘memory banks’ and from consciousness energy of matter to deal with stimuli received from the senses to get us to act in particular ways. When we have acted that information is registered again in the memory banks as updating information on our beliefs. The consciousness element evolves from the invisible forces that make the electrons and atoms behave in particular ways through chemical reactions to biological ones and finally in the evolution of the nerves and ultimately the human mind. The Theory of Mind is therefore very complex and I believe is a magical creation through the impenetrable power of Gods Maya. Maya is the means God does things with that is beyond the capac ity of humans to investigate using scientific tools, in this case, neuroscience.

Significantly, the consciousness ‘energy’ of the universe is differentiated into gunas (properties/characteristics) of which there is a triad, three real deities that exist in consciousness, where Brahma (sattivic), Vishnu (rajasic) and Shiva (tamasic) sit in three corners of a triangle. In between these three major triad deities there is scope for millions of gods each one possessing a different blend of sattvic, rajasic and tamasic attributes. Each person is subjected to the guna consciousness energy stream as inputs into his or her mind. An individual however is attracted to only the god that is suited to his or her mental disposition so that he/she creates or adopts the myths and beliefs associated with that particular blend of attributes. A person is therefore creating his own god through an interaction with guna consciousness in a two-way process. It give each person his or her own rudder to guide his or her life. Even atheists have a god but of course they do not accept that a god is in fact guiding them. Over history particular gods get into prominence through interactions in society where their reputations are made. That is how religions always get formulated and propagated in human societies.

This is the nature of human evolution, which is different from purely biological evolution in which religion plays no part, and which is guided by social genetic speciation through genetic mutations just like in all other animal species. Human evolution proceeded by social genetic speciation for up to 2 million years from Homo ergaster out of Africa but in the past 20,000 years has been supplanted by religious social speciation. I believe that there is a reason for this. God does exist and has commandeered human minds in the past 2,000 years into a more civilised form of living and this has been done by making humans aware of the supernatural dimension to life.

In India religions develop through acharyas who are accepted within Hinduism to do the digesting of the hard data and come up with knowledge and wisdom based on that. Hinduism freely facilitates the evolution of knowledge in this way. Every generation requires a guru or hundreds of gurus who will provide updating formulations on reality. They will all have their own preferences on what they should incorporate from the shastras and what they should omit. We listen to them. If any of them are saying things that make us stand up and listen we follow them. This becomes our religion. So yes in this way Hinduism has numerous, even I would say hundreds of religions, to choose from. Each person has his religion, his own god, and his own comprehension of reality. That is human Nature. That is what makes us Hindus unique. We are free and each person has a path (his/her own path) to liberation that suits him. Nothing is sacred. Hinduism updates knowledge freely. Hindus are free to extract what information they wish from the mountain of scriptures to create their own religions, whether astika or nastika.

This represents the totality of the biological facts of our existence and the biological basis of religions.

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Were Zoroastrians and Yazidis of Persia and Iraq once part of a Vedic culture?

27 Jan

The original Zoroastrian people in Persia seem to have had a language (Avestan) and a religion that shared great similarities with the ancient Vedic culture of northern India. The Yazidi people of northern Iraq have peculiar beliefs too which raised the question of whether these communities were once part of the Indus Valley Civilisation under its Vedic culture.

This blogpost postulates that the Indo-Aryan/Iranian split occurred when the administrative headquarters at Mohenjodaro and Harappa was abandoned as the river basin got depleted of soil nutrients and was consequently unable to sustain agriculture to meet the needs of the population of the area. This disaster had the effect of leaving the far western corners of the Vedic culture to their own fates without any central spiritual authority. The Vedic culture diminished in the west consequently. In Persia it eventually took a new turn when the Zoroastrians received divine guidance through their leader Zoroaster or Zarathustra in 625 BCE to a new fate.

Zoroastrians retained a caste system which appears somewhat modified from the original Vedic form of varnas: ‘it is said that ‘there were three categories of fires corresponding to the three original castes of society: priests, warrior, and commoners. In addition, there was the king’s own royal fire.’ http://www.silk-road.com/artl/zoro.shtml. Aupmanyav says of Zoroastrians: ‘they are yajna-performing, Mekhala-wearing (Kushti), Ahura-worshiping (Asura) Aryan brothers. They are most probably of Atharvan descent (Athravan – in the line of Sage Atharva, after whom we have a Veda)’.

Yazidis being much further west lost almost all of their Vedic culture retaining their own type of caste system maintained through endogamy and a belief in reincarnation as common themes with Hindu culture.

The Racial and Cultural Composition of Indians

19 Jan

I read the following blog today during my research on the racial and cultural composition of Indians: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2013/08/indo-aryans-dravidians-and-waves-of-admixture-migration/#more-22389. Following this I contacted the author and had the following discussion with him on Twitter at @razibkhan:

Me: In your Gene Expression blog on Indians, do you suggest the appearance of endogamy ~ 4,000 years ago that separated Ancestral North Indians (ANI) and Ancestral South Indians (ASI)?
Razib Khan: no, endogamy is probably more recent. ~2000 years. ANI vs. ASI separation basal to out of africa. ~50,000 years ago. ANI is same clade as western eurasians. ASI is same clade as eastern eurasians, though very distant (30-40,000 years BP). Paper to refer to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002929713003248.
Me: When do you estimate the Vedic culture of Hindus spread to places like Kerala and Tamil Nadu according to the varna caste system?
Razib Khan: just check the history for that. seems like last 1-2 thousand years. fwiw, i believe there were several “ANI” pulses; the first probably is shared by all south asians. the ANI ~ similar to west asians from georgia/armenia; second wave indo-aryans. derived from bactria-margiana. secondary effect in north india, and s. indian brahmins.
Me: The sociological evidence indicates that there was never any endogamy keeping ANI and ASI separate from at least 5,000 years ago.
Razib Khan: ok.
Me: Would you say that Homo sapiens 50,000 years ago came on land from Africa and aggregated in the south to become the Dravidians?
Razib Khan: no. dravidians are ANI + ASI mix. i believe the dravidian languages probably came with agriculture 5-8 thousand years ago.
Me: Do you think there are any descendants of Homo erectus alive anywhere on the planet?
Razib Khan: yes. most modern humans; by “descent” you mean genealogical descent. ancestry quanta very low/non-existent outside of oceania. denisovans mediated it.
Me: Would the Neanderthals, Denisovans and Homo flouresiensis have descended from Homo erectus out of Africa 1.8 million years ago?

Comment:
There was no reply to my final question that I wished an evolutionary geneticist to clarify. However it seems clear that since ASI is in the same clade as eastern Eurasians, they are the genealogical descendents of the first wave of migrants out of Africa 1.8 million years ago in what is named as Homo erectus, and the ANI are the descendants of Homo sapiens that came out of Africa ~80,000 years ago. They interbred with each other but the language of the Dravidians has its origins in the older of the two humans whereas the language of the North Indian Aryans developed independently in the Indo-Gangetic plains as Vedic Sanskrit. It seems likely that there was considerable interaction between ANI and the inhabitants of the Middle East so that the language developed together with much in common. The ANI developed the Mohenjodaro and Harappa civilisation as the centre of this humanity but it came to an end when the soil was depleted of nutrients and could not sustain the high urban population from the agriculture of the river basins. The Vedic culture originated in the North of India and spread through all of India including into the Dravidian south as the birth of modern Hinduism. Vedic Sanskrit evolved into liturgical Sanskrit from which the regional languages of the present day States evolved over much of India whilst in the Dravidian south their original Brahmi language remained and evolved with time into its regional divisions.

All over India Hinduism was polytheistic and people were free to choose the gods that they were suited to without hindrance from any authority in society. The freedom to choose who to worship was natural because gods were selected from peoples guna consciousness deities. Hindus could therefore worship more than one god, for example a god that might bring them wealth and another that removed obstacles or one that might help them with playing music, etc. Hindus who did not accept the Vedic varna system of social stratification coexisted with those who did and had their own particular gods and associated beliefs.

21 February 2015 Update:
I am now highly dubious about whether Dravidians (ASI) were the descendants of Homo erectus for the reason that the paler skin humans were the direct descendants of the first wave of humans out of Africa 1.4 million years ago in what is known to history as Homo erectus whereas the darker skin relates to Homo sapiens out of Africa 80,000 ago. Thus the Dravidians must have bred prolifically with endogamy thus wiping out any remnants of Homo erectus in southern India, whereas in the north there was considerable admixture of the two populations to generate the North Indians.

Evolutionary significance of the caste system of the Hindus

11 Jan

It occurred to me that what binds the Hindu people together is not any religion that they practice but the caste system. The caste system of the Hindus is an example of how God inspired the evolutionary process in the Indian subcontinent to develop the Hindu people. It was clearly set out in the Bhagavad Gita as a direct advice of Sri Krishna: http://www.eaglespace.com/spirit/gita_castesystem.php.:

Lord Krishna speaks to Arjuna as he clarifies the origin and purpose of the caste system in sanaatana dharma (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4, Shloka 13).
cāturvarṇyaṃ mayā sṛṣṭaṃ guṇakarmavibhāgaśaḥ .
tasya kartāramapi māṃ viddhyakartāramavyayam .. 4\-13..
The four-fold order was created by Me according to the divisions of quality and work. Though I am its creator, know Me to be incapable of action or change.
Cāturvarṇyaṃ: the four-fold order. The four varnas are named – Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. They constitute the four-fold order. The three gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas – and the law of karma – these four elements were divided by Me to create the four varnas.
Sattva guna predominates in Brahmins – and they are assigned the tasks (karma) of sham, dam, tapas (meditation) etc.
Rajas guna predominates in Kshatriyas – sattva guna is secondary. Their karma is to be warriors and show bravery and tejas.
Rajas guna also predominates in Vaishyas – tamas guna is secondary. Their karma is to be farmers and traders.
Tamas guna predominates in Vaishyas – rajas guna is secondary. Their karma is to serve others.

It should be noted that evolution first began with the caste system under what is known as jati divisions of tribal humanity of which there were thousands of communities in the subcontinent of ancient India(http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/301596/jati), but with God’s interjection through the creation of Veda Samhitas which was later reinforced by the Bhagavad Gita, it was gradually replaced by the varna-based caste system with gotra determining sexual reproduction. The former was the process of genetic social speciation that was replaced through religious social speciation, as described here: https://dispersalofhumanityfromhomoegaster.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/the-supplantation-of-genetic-social-speciation-by-religious-social-speciation-in-human-history/. The complexity of the cultural composition of Indian subcontinent relates to adherents of Vedas abandoning their endogamous jati system of tribalism, although numerous clans in existence today still identify themselves by their ancestral jati as well the gotra accorded to them under the Vedic system that accepts the four-fold varna classification of Hindu humanity (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotra). The jati heritage is also retained by many Indian Christians and Muslims indicating that that genetic social speciation pressures of animals that religion attempted to replace was very strong biologically to surmount.

21 January 2015 Update:
I have started a discussion on Twitter and in ‘Religious Forums’ on varna-based caste system, see here: https://www.religiousforums.com/threads/social-transfers-to-different-castes-in-the-varna-caste-system-of-hindus.172926/

24 January 2015 Update
My reasoning and arguments following this discussion are summarised here: https://shantanup.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/the-varna-system-of-social-organisation-of-the-hindus/

Consciousness Energy of the Universe

9 Jan

I have postulated that the energy of the universe is two-fold: physical energy and consciousness energy. The physical energy is the light and heat generation while the consciousness energy describes life and all movement. Matter is produced from a combination of both these energies.

Consciousness energy has two components, that which gives life force and that which gives soul force. The life force is what gives atoms, compounds, cells, organs and organisms their movement. Life force for atoms and compounds is their chemical energy involved in the orbiting of electrons around atoms and the inorganic and organic bonding of atoms of different elements. In living organisms consciousness energy permeates the entire body and is responsible for the organism’s internal and external activities for living. The life force in biological systems is activated at birth and inactivated at death with changes detected by the DNA switching on this consciousness energy for biological living to begin, and similarly, DNA-associated instructions from cellular changes switching the life force off for the organism’s dying. The soul force causes the nerve impulses in the body to respond to external and internal (cellular, tissue and organ) changes as stimuli for protective action to be taken by the body.

In highly evolved animals with a central nervous system the brain detects the soul force of the consciousness energy in the centre called the mind. The soul force imparts thoughts and beliefs by virtue of its guna consciousness energy triad of sattvic, rajasic and tamasic properties. The mind selects the gunas from the soul and is affected by those gunas as directives on the basis of the genetics of the animal and its upbringing to generate thoughts that the body then acts on.


14 January 2015 Update:

For a talk on what the Vedas teach on this subject, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRF9WzyJtWc&feature=youtu.be

The supplantation of genetic social speciation by religious social speciation in human history

6 Jan

It is well accepted that religion is a recent phenomenon in the course of human history that we can trace to Homo ergaster that emerged from Africa. There is no evidence from cave paintings for example of gods and sculptures of gods anywhere in the world before 20,000 years ago indicating that humans that lived before this time had no conception of supernatural forces. There are examples of paintings in caves perhaps 30,000 years ago but these do not appear to impart any religious signficance.

The process of the evolution of human history has therefore been two-phased. The first period relates to the gradual colonisation of the world by the descendants of Homo erectus and later by Homo sapiens, which subsequently mixed to form the modern humans of Homo sapiens sapiens to establish themselves in various parts of the world. During this long process of proliferation the predominant influence on human speciation was the social speciation that took place through genetic changes as described here: https://dispersalofhumanityfromhomoegaster.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/social-speciation-and-genetic-speciation-in-human-evolution/. Before humans settled they were guided mainly by their tamasic guna energy with hardly any sattvic and rajasic influences. It is only when human populations got established and God intervened to bring humanity to a new level of civilisation that sattvic and rajasic influences on humanity became increasingly more prominent. Modern humans are now largely the product of religious influence on evolution with all three guna consciousness energy generating various religions.

Religious thoughts are no more than 10,000 years old and are first believed to have started in the Indian subcontinent and then the Middle East. But simultaneous developments took place whenever a population got established in all parts of the world. This strongly suggests that God was instrumental in getting these populations of humans to start thinking that supernatural forces were in existence in Nature. Once the thought was planted by God into the minds of people everywhere, they were left alone to determine their particular beliefs by themselves under the influence of the guna consciousness forces as described here: https://dispersalofhumanityfromhomoegaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/why-india-should-revert-to-a-dharmarashtra/.

Why India should revert to a Dharmarashtra

30 Dec

A new conception on the process of human evolution was described here: https://dispersalofhumanityfromhomoegaster.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/the-characteristics-of-human-evolution-through-consciousness/. This post relates to developments that have taken place specifically in the Indian subcontinent during the past 10,000 years giving the justification for a new direction for the people living in this region of the world.

If people follow a god/God, they are entitled to get together and form a society that lives to the dictats given to them by that god/God. That is the special mechanism of human evolution. Natural human evolution takes place through the play of guna consciousness and the overlordship of this process by God who is Sri Krishna. It should be noted that even atheism is a creation of guna consciousness that generate atheistic philosophies of various descriptions for people to live under, although atheists themselves are unaware that they derive their motivation from a god as such. It is further notable that atheists come in various forms such as those running the communist party of China with an authoritarian system of government to western atheists who advocate humanism within secularism as a panacea that they intellectually and militarily try and impose within a democratic system of governance for mankind. Similarly Buddhism is agnostic. Thus, the gods responsible for atheistic philosophies in mankind can range between all three dieties governing the sattvic, rajasic and tamasic gunas. It is what they practice that determines their nature.

It is natural that people who follow a god (or no god as in the case of atheists) from the range available in the triangle of consciousness forces known as the guna triangle created by Sri Krishna will have an affinity and camaraderie for one another and so try and get together to form a social group as a society to live under the dictations of that particular god. The success of mankind as a animal species on planet Earth depends on the fruitfulness attained by the organisation of human beings in the formations of such religious and philosophical societies. The method of evolution through the triad guna consciousness that imparts sattvic, rajasic and tamasic characteristics to people ensures that humanity is composed of a diverse range of good and viable societies which have the potential to survive on the planet into the future, with failed societies biting the dust.

Sanatan dharma comes to us directly from Sri Krishna as God who bypasses the guna consciousness to live with humanity. The principles of sanatan dharma are upholding truth, justice, peace through justice, fairness, decency, oneness with Nature, and freedom of expression. These cardinal virtues may be derived from our study of the Bhagavad Gita and the epics of Mahabharatta and the Ramayana. In a sentence, sanatan dharma as the performance of actions that will preserve the world that God has created for future generations.

There should be a homeland for people who believe in following Sri Krishna and live to these cardinal virtues. Centuries of colonialisation firstly by the Muslims and then by the British have eroded the Hindu people’s commitment to sanatan dharma as the advice of God. The only way to foster this commitment is to have a nation that is driven under the Constitution as a Hindu Rashtra where the people live to these principles. Rashtra means nation, and a Hindu Rashtra is therefore a nation that is governed by and fosters the principles of living that describe what it is to be a Hindu person. All religions and philosophies come within Hinduism generated by Brahma, Vishnu or Shiva as guna complexes or by Sri Krishna as sanatan dharma. It should therefore be recognised that being a Hindu is nothing special if one does not live to sanatan dharma.

India is the homeland of the Hindus, the vast majority of the population practising dharma. It should therefore take steps to amend the Constitution to turn itself to a dharmic Hindu Rashtra again so that people can live without the conflicts that colonialism-associated multiculturalism has brought to the land.

This should be attained peacefully through encouraging the strong-willed minority groups (Muslims, Christians and Sikhs) to move to areas of the Indian subcontinent where they can live with people of their own beliefs and practices and then given regional autonomy or independence – unless they abandon their religions to become adherents of sanatan dharma. Accordingly, what would be left of India should be renamed as ‘Bharat’ to signify such a dharmic nation, to be then known as a dharmarashtra to distinguish it from Buddhist dharma or other conceptions of Hindu dharma.