The number of butterflies in Delhi is reducing, a recent newspaper report said. No surprise, given the pollution levels. I captured for my kids what they may not be able to see, but is this enough?
There are many groups of people which claim that there is a disconnect between science and religion. I do not however see any disconnect – I will start from a scientist’s point of view.
Albert Einstein did not believe in God. However, attributing to quantum mechanics he did say “God does not play dice.” He was refuting the quantum theory (which is based on chance). We can “normalize” that to mean that even if God exists, He is not actively involved in running the world (does not interfere with what is happening according to His laws). The same thought is expressed by the tenth Guru in Jaap Sahib: aalisiay karm, aadirsay dharam which means “O Lord, You do not need to make any special efforts to do what You want to do”.
Science has made much advances, and will continue to do so. However, its a challenge as of today to define exactly when the universe was created: scientists believe that its impossible to find out what existed or happened before the big bang. Also, its not known how the universe will end: depending on the total mass of the universe, one of the following three things will happen:
- The universe will continue to expand for ever, like it does today
- The universe will, at a certain time, stop expanding and start contracting
- The universe will continue to expand and contract as in the above two options, but infinitely for ever
Which one of these will actually happen can be predicted if we knew the total mass of the universe, however – we currently don’t.
Exact same thoughts are echoed by the Guru:
- About never being able to find out when the universe was created:
ਥਿਤਿ ਵਾਰੁ ਨਾ ਜੋਗੀ ਜਾਣੈ ਰੁਤਿ ਮਾਹੁ ਨਾ ਕੋਈ ॥
ਜਾ ਕਰਤਾ ਸਿਰਠੀ ਕਉ ਸਾਜੇ ਆਪੇ ਜਾਣੈ ਸੋਈ ॥
Neither the yogi nor any one else knows the lunar day, week day season and the month. The Creator who creates the world, He Himself Knows (the time).
About never being able to find out the total mass of universe:
ਕੇਤੀ ਦਾਤਿ ਜਾਣੈ ਕੌਣੁ ਕੂਤੁ ॥
How much the Creator has Created, who can know?
- About the fact that the universe has been created many times (each time a new expansion after the previous contraction):
ਕਈ ਬਾਰ ਪਸਰਿਓ ਪਾਸਾਰ ॥
Many times, the universe has expanded by Him.
I also find it more than a coincidence that while scientists call the moment of creation big-bang (having to do with sound), the Guru has the following to say:
ਕੀਤਾ ਪਸਾਉ ਏਕੋ ਕਵਾਉ ॥
You created the vast expanse of the Universe with One Word
which has also to do with the uttering of a sound.
Another similar thought from the Adi Granth:
ਤੁਮਰਾ ਲਖਾ ਨ ਜਾਇ ਪਸਾਰਾ ॥ ਕਿਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਸਜਾ ਪ੍ਰਥਮ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥੩੯੩॥
The limits of Your creation cannot be known, nor how in the beginning You created the Universes.
Update Dec 30th 2009: I recollected another thought this morning:
ਪਹਿਲਾ ਪਾਣੀ ਜੀਉ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥
First, there is life in the water, by which everything else is made green
Darwin’s theory was not promulgated until 1858, which agrees: life started in the sea.
Update from 8th Nov 2012: Perhaps I have missed one of the most important facts. Scientifically, for around 1 billion years after formation – the universe was filled with gases (Hydrogen and Helium). The Guru echoes the same:
ਅਰਬਦ ਨਰਬਦ ਧੁੰਧੂਕਾਰਾ ॥
अरबद नरबद धुंधूकारा ॥
For endless eons, the universe was only dark gases.
Update from 14th July 2015: This page is probably the most revisited post of this blog. Another evidence:
ਸਾਚੇ ਤੇ ਪਵਨਾ ਭਇਆ ਪਵਨੈ ਤੇ ਜਲੁ ਹੋਇ ॥
साचे ते पवना भइआ पवनै ते जलु होइ ॥
Sācẖe ṯe pavnā bẖaiā pavnai ṯe jal hoye.
From the True Lord originated the air, and from the air came water.
ਜਲ ਤੇ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣੁ ਸਾਜਿਆ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮੋਇ ॥
जल ते त्रिभवणु साजिआ घटि घटि जोति समोइ ॥
Jal ṯe ṯaribẖavaṇ sājiā gẖat gẖat joṯ samoe.
From water, He created the three worlds; in each and every heart He has infused His Light.
In 1780s, Cavendish found that water is made of Hydrogen and Oxygen, both constituents of air. Guru Nanak wrote this verse above prior to the year 1539.
I don’t know the name of this flower, but it has been my favourite since childhood. As a kid, I used to ask my father to get me these flowers. He would leave some behind, before leaving for office. After coming home from school, the first thing I would do is to find the flowers he left for me, and make a garland.
So here the flower, if you know the name, please let me know:
The festival of Karwa Chauth is being celebrated today – females keep fast for the well being of the husband. Like many other brahminical practices, this has also entered Sikhism.
The creator created food to nourish the body. It does not please Him for us to forsake food – remember, an empty stomach cannot remember Him with full devotion.
This is what Sri Guru Granth Sahib offers about fasting:
ਬਰਤ ਨੇਮ ਸੰਜਮ ਮਹਿ ਰਹਤਾ ਤਿਨ ਕਾ ਆਢੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥
Fasting, daily rituals, and austere self-discipline – those who keep the practice of these, are rewarded with less than a shell.
ਆਗੈ ਚਲਣੁ ਅਉਰੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਊਂਹਾ ਕਾਮਿ ਨ ਆਇਆ ॥੧॥
Hereafter, the way is different, O Siblings of Destiny. There, these things are of no use at all. ||1||
Kabir is quite strict:
ਕਬੀਰ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਸਿਮਰਨੁ ਛਾਡਿ ਕੈ ਅਹੋਈ ਰਾਖੈ ਨਾਰਿ ॥
Kabeer, the woman who gives up meditation on the Lord, and observes the ritual fast of Ahoi,
ਗਦਹੀ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਅਉਤਰੈ ਭਾਰੁ ਸਹੈ ਮਨ ਚਾਰਿ ॥੧੦੮॥
shall be reincarnated as a donkey, to carry heavy burdens. ||108||
Ahoi is also a fasting based ritual. Some people need a punishment, it seems. Many people will argue that fasting is good for the body, which is why they are doing it. My question: why then do it on a specific day? They should do it on another day just to prove they are doing it only for the body and not for any other reason.
I want to use the occasion to also share another verse:
ਨਾ ਤੂ ਆਵਹਿ ਵਸਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਘਿਣਾਵਣੇ ॥
No one can bring You under control, by despising the world.
ਨਾ ਤੂ ਆਵਹਿ ਵਸਿ ਬੇਦ ਪੜਾਵਣੇ ॥
No one can bring You under control, by studying the Vedas.
ਨਾ ਤੂ ਆਵਹਿ ਵਸਿ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਈਐ ॥
No one can bring You under control, by bathing at the holy places.
ਨਾ ਤੂ ਆਵਹਿ ਵਸਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਧਾਈਐ ॥
No one can bring You under control, by wandering all over the world.
ਨਾ ਤੂ ਆਵਹਿ ਵਸਿ ਕਿਤੈ ਸਿਆਣਪੈ ॥
No one can bring You under control, by any clever tricks.
ਨਾ ਤੂ ਆਵਹਿ ਵਸਿ ਬਹੁਤਾ ਦਾਨੁ ਦੇ ॥
No one can bring You under control, by giving huge donations to charities.
ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਤੇਰੈ ਵਸਿ ਅਗਮ ਅਗੋਚਰਾ ॥
Everyone is under Your power, O inaccessible, unfathomable Lord.
ਤੂ ਭਗਤਾ ਕੈ ਵਸਿ ਭਗਤਾ ਤਾਣੁ ਤੇਰਾ ॥੧੦॥
You are under the control of Your devotees; You are the strength of Your devotees. ||10||