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Evolution as imagined by Chandogya Upanishad
07-21-2013, 02:34 PM
Post: #1
Evolution as imagined by Chandogya Upanishad
In the beginning this universe was Real (Sat) alone, one only without a second. Some say that in the beginning this was virtual (asat) alone, one only without a second; and from that virtual, real was born. But it was real alone that existed in the beginning, one only without a second.

It thought: ‘May I be many; may I grow forth.’ It created fire. That fire thought: ‘May I be many; may I grow forth.’ It created water. That water thought: ‘May I be many; may I grow forth.’ It created food.

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Of all these living beings, there are only three origins: those born from an egg, those born from a living being and those born from a sprout.

That Deity, having thought: ‘Let Me make each of these three tripartite,’ entered into these three deities by means of the living self and developed names and forms.
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07-21-2013, 06:29 PM
Post: #2
RE: Evolution as imagined by Chandogya Upanishad
This sort of relates, but:

Didn't Vishnu's older avatars proceed from fish to human? I've heard some people say this is evidence of evolution beliefs in Hinduism. What do you say?

"To yield and give way to our passions is the lowest slavery, even as to rule over them is the only liberty." -Justin Martyr
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07-22-2013, 07:03 AM (This post was last modified: 07-23-2013 03:17 AM by Vagabond.)
Post: #3
RE: Evolution as imagined by Chandogya Upanishad
Chandogya is one of oldest Upanishads, written around 8th to 7th century BC (Before Ramayana/Bharata). Puranas came afterwards. (Vishnu Purana dated around 300 CE and Bhagavata which mentions Dasha (Ten) Avatars of Vishnu was written somewhere between 500 CE to 1000 CE). But still some Avatars kept getting appended till Jayadeva (1200 AD). (Yes, there are some animal forms too. But they do not speak about evolution. Only in the first Avatar which is Matsya (fish), beginning of the Yuga is mentioned which is similar to Noah's Ark (but it is not the beginning of the Universe. Universe was existing before Matsya Avatar. There were sages, there were Vedas, there were demons who had stolen the Vedas... )

I think the idea of Avatars were an effort to bring different schools of faith under one umbrella by Vaishnava cult. Vishnu (in Avatar form) seems more like a collage of different people (who had branched out) brought in one frame (who eventually replaced the older Aryan Gods). Le's consider some of these Avatars.

Krishna : As the name suggests, he is dark (Krishna means black). He is a Yadav, who are cattle raising community. (There are too many castes/communities in India. Yadavs who look after cows are different from shepherds who take care of sheep). He is definitely not Aryan. As an young kid, he challenges the Aryan belief of praying to Indra who is the rain God (also the the head of Aryan Gods) and declares Yadavs would continue their tribal belief of worshipping the mountain (Mandhara Giri).

Ram : A dark skinned warrior who defeated and killed an evil Brahmin (Ravana).

Buddha : Again a person who went against Aryan belief of Brahman.

All become Avatar of Vishnu at a later stage. Balaram (brother of Krishna) used to be one of the Avatars before and got replaced by Buddha later. Some of these Avatars might be historical characters who later got into mythology. (I recall people associating Parashurama to Pushya Mitra Sunga, a king who ruled after Ashoka). It is difficult to decode history from mythology as they are interwoven in Hinduism.
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