Hello. My name is Dr Shantanu Panigrahi, a Hindu born in India but living in the United Kingdom since the age of 15, which is 40 years ago. I am the weakest of atheists in that I call myself an atheotheist who has seen no evidence of the existence of God through my 55 years but I still think that science has not proved to me conclusively that there is no God as a Creator who brought about the universe and may have played a part in the initiation and propagation of life itself. Why is this position incoherent?
Truth or satyam in Sanskrit and its distributary languages of India is of sublime value to me and so why should it also not be so for the entire mankind? The title of my book ‘The Allurement of Reality’ spells out my raison d’etre, or reason for existence: I have always been allured by reality. I wanted nothing more from the world except for the information to help me decide what the reality is in all its aspects. It was and remains a compulsion for me that drives my very existence. I have always been a very studious person: my 35 scientific publications and countless others that I fell by the wayside at the termination of my employment by the University of Greenwich is testimony to the urge for undertaking the highest level of painstaking scholoarship no matter the subject matter. My blogs and posts are part of that study that is always on the go. So why is it so for me when I know that the faculty is at least not as intense for most other people, or is it simply the case that they do not realise the importance of truth for running their lives? Why do they not avail all the opportunities for truth seeking and learning as I do? Perhaps most people just do not have the time to study their surroundings, being busy with their complicated lives focussed on basic survival. But others are ambitious in other ways for other objectives in life. Is this perhaps the reason that most settled societies developed systems in which the task of philosophy was assigned to certain people that could be called upon as priests and gurus to think and set out the principles of moral living so as to give other members of society the reality on which to base their lives that they have thought out as being true?
What are the so-called revelations? Above all, I ask myself, through my 55 years of study what have I learnt in my life and how true is all of it? Are their any unresolved questions in my mind which need to be highlighted, for humanity to assess the importance of in determining the nature of human beings and the reality of existence from a scientific angle? The reality is that this generation of humans is still in the position of posing questions which the science of tomorrow has to resolve, but when we know what all the remaining questions are, we have arrived at the truth that is the reality of today. Let the future take care of itself.
I would therefore like to present a review of this in my book for the good of mankind. I have made numerous starts to this book and found later that I have had to revise my truths subsequently, and this also applies to humanity as a whole. It is however now an end-review as I cannot foresee any further developments in my life from now until my end which will make me change my opinions on reality. This is the final understanding for the dithering and hesitancy could not go on indefinitely. I need to state exactly what I know and let the world be a judge. Hence, I have made a start in this book of my findings and my considerations and to see if and how it all fits together coherently. It is necessarily an autobiographical study of reality.
These few pages are to be considered the preview of the book which is an attempt to condense my understanding of the multifarious aspects of human psychology and philosophy implicit in the story of the evolution of humankind. It is termed the theory of mankind because it must tell us how humans live within this universe. The book rationalises my observations of humanity and emphasises the role of pure science to assist the teaching of a rationale that should make human beings mentally strong and positive about their lives in terms of establishing a logical purpose to their existence. It should tell us why man invented the idea of an invisible God and why the more extreme beliefs of such an entity are no longer tenable with the advances that science has been making in describing the reality that exists. Science has seen no evidence for the existence of a God of any description so that it is foolhardy to construct one’s life in the vague possibility that a God in his fullness might exist that science has been hitherto been incapable of detecting. To me God is now relegated to an idea that means nothing more than the physical forces that generated the universe although it is possible that science may yet one day establish the presence of a creator God with the capacity to influence all aspects of reality if and when it chooses to do so. However, the evident and certain reality from my long search for God from the position of a strong theist 12 years ago is that if a knowing God exists, it/he has thus far had no self-infatuation to project itself/himself on to us humans and has had no interest in telling us how to live our lives, let alone imploring on us to worship him through songs of praises as hymns and conducting rituals in holy places like temples and churches. This means that if a full God with the capacity to do whatever it pleases exists it clearly prefers humans to live atheistic lives, which is how I live today. I once used the term atheotheism to describe this way of life because I was not entirely certain that an elusive creator God had not been playing cat and mouse with me and had infact led me up the garden path to nowhere and that such a God has done played a role of intervention in human affaits since time immemorial. But why would it wish to do so? What does a God gain from it, except for a bad reputation among humans? So now I am clear I have found no reason to suspect that a powerful entity called God has been stringing me during my life and humanity through history along: it simply does not make sense for God to wish to do such a thing. So I am led to the conclusion that my earlier suspicions were all caterogical fears of uncertainty of the mind from ingrained beliefs that came from a strong theistic upbringing and reading historical records that found corroboratation with the idea of the existence of a God that is an intrinsic part of human existence. And since I still test for the existence of God and continute to see no possibility of God entering my life in my remaining years I have no choice but live like an atheist, but one who, as a scientist cannot rule out the possiblity that God might yet divulge himself to science. I am therefore such an atheotheist; not a deist, in the common understanding of the term, who acknowledges that a creator God does in fact exist at least as the first cause or more as one who set the clockwork of the universe afoot by winding up existence with a key. The deists position is untenable scientifically and pointless philosophically. I have seen the deistic deity being referred to as being a deadbeat Dad, powerful enough to create, but not committed enough to nuture. The only reason for speculating the deistic way is to find reason to consider that it is important that we know where the universe might have come from; the fact is, is it not, that the universe as we know it could have come from all sorts of entities, God as Creator being one of the possibilities but there is currently no evidence for that. Science can only examine within the universes’ time and spatial arrangement and not what may be outside it; and that too only from observations and measurements that have hitherto been possible, which could could change in the future to explain more of where the universe and us came from. Whilst science may yet find evidence of the existence of Creator God, the deist certainly cannot pretend that they know something that the rest of us cannot see today by expounding categorically the Nature of God as a Creator, but not as a Nurturer.
Religions are a curse to humanity rather than being a recipe or remedy for mental turmoil. They curtail the individual’s freedom to study and assess the truth for oneself. If the blind leads the blind both shall fall into the ditch is a well-known proverb. General ignorance of how things work in Nature and in particular how the mind works in different human beings leads to the adoption of beliefs and ideas that are just imagined rather than real and it is clinging to these that causes the individual suffering. One must let go of the doctrinal baggage. Cultures and traditions that are frequently religion-based are a major hindrance to mental peace. One must seek freedom and liberation from such attachments. Unfortunately, the behavioural inheritence is necessarily passed down from one generation to the next for these cultures came from the wilderness of history where humans feared the unknown and attributed human problems to dark hidden forces. They knew nothing better, no science to guide them, and no teaching other than the cultural traditions fostered through the ghetto mentality of safety in numbers and united we stand and divided we fall so the religions came to be established for particular social groupings of humans. The only way to alleviate one’s personal suffering is realising that the prescribed medicine of religions (be it the Abrahamics or Eastern philosophy including Buddhism) cannot cure the mental conditions of depression and suffering that are the result of a combination of diverse genetic and behavioural influences.
The theists’ position is considerably less defensible than that of the deist. What is certain is that if there is a God he has not given mankind concrete evidence of its/his existence, which is sufficient justification for treating it/him as imaginary and so that it is exactly pointless and worse damaging to the self for one to worship it/him, live in fear of it/him, or even to acknowledge his glory or just his existence. There is nothing anyone has to benefit from a belief, faith, or even a feeling of the existence of a God except for self-delusion so that one’s decisions on day-to-day matters become errroneous and skewed to a different path which is therefore necessarily a wayward path because it is at odds with reality. All benefits, material or spiritual, comes from understanding of reality as it divulges itself through personal perseverence of seeking out the truth and then taking an accomodating position within it. Truth does not come of itself, it comes only from mental effort. I know this from personal experience of starting off as a strong theist, turning to strong atheism but eventually settling on the position of atheotheism as accurately describing the reality of today.
If you have faith in the existence of a God you are in effect expecting something from that entity, be it revelation of the nature of things, material welfare, blessing, salvation/liberation, paradise, reincarnation into a better life, etc. If you already know that such things have never been provided to you by a God-entity in your long life of examination of such a possibility, and have ruled out the possibility there is nothing left to have ‘faith’ in or for. You are living the life of a non-believer who has faith in Science and is prepared for Science to reveal all things to you if not in this life but in to the coming generations of people. You are satisfied with that knowledge and have come to terms with it. It is no longer a problem. You have understood the reality. Specifically, the idea of considering God to exist as a being and to be doing things that turn out to fit natural laws and capable of being understood as a natural entity renders the need to call it God redundant. However, it is not the only option for such the anti-atheistic and anti-theistic stance. The possibility of the deist option of a God that just popped the universe into existence and retired to stay out of its internal workings and human ‘politics’ is a genuine position. I describe the atheotheist as a person who does not rule out the possibility that Science might uncover evidence for such a God as the creator of the universe.
I thought up the word atheotheist to distinguish myself from atheists because I got sick and tired of hearing that an atheist is someone who lacks a belief in God, so sees no reason whatsoever to believe that God of any form exists. Science is currently unable to assess this. If science could find a way to go beyond the origins of this universe’s time and space and discover a source of matter that just erupts periodically and randomly into the type of existence that we know as our universe (much like volcanoes erupt at different places on this Earth) I would say that I have now sufficient evidence to make me an atheist. Until that boundary of t=0 is penetrated by science we have no option but to take an atheitheistic position. This is the most sensible position that is suggested to me by the reality that we know today. Science might uncover evidence for such a God as the creator of the universe. Science to me is by defintion the revealer, so faith in science is simply faith in rational truthseeking. Nothing supernatural about that. When the decision is made by scientists who will provide us with the evidence then only will a rationalist be in a position to decide for atheism or theism. Until then the rational position is atheotheism because a systematic process of uncovering the truth concerning how the universe came into being is under way with the default position being that the first cause as God which has to be disproved. God is an option that cannot be dismissed before the evidence for dismissal is presented. I am an atheist now who has seen no scientific evidence of God yet but does not rule out the possibilility of a future scientifically-acceptable revelation that would confirm that an Entity with physical properties and a will set the universe into existence billions of years ago.
I have no faith in God whatsoever, as a being who does things now to how we exist or as a being who ever did any good to mankind and in this universe since it came into existence. But the question of what caused the Big Bang to take place and what was there before 13.75 billion years are unresolved and it is therefore a plausible option to consider that a powerful entity exists outside our universe with a will and resources to generate the energy and the forces that started the universe-ball rolling. If science can dismiss this by showing that there was no systematics to the universe before and after the Big Bang that would therefore prove the absence of the will in the Entity to have generated the universe, the existence of God would be totally rejected once and for all. Because I see that there is some systematics to the way the universe has developed after the Big Bang, I cannot rule out the option that there was also systematics prior to Big Bang thereby making everything fall into place as being the result of the will of God in a Grand Design.
What does anyone have faith in any belief for? The answer is to receive something. Theists believe that God gave us the birds and the bees, the sun and the solar system, etc for us humans to have our daily bread and other things. So they have faith that God will continue to give such things and more (salvation and afterlife). I do not believe that if there is a God he cares an iota about us humans and whether we have faith in him to do what is right for whoever. The dinosaurs if they had a brain like ours to think about the meaning of life were just as likely to have thought that God created the universe for them to come into the world and some future animal that evolve from us humans should also think that the dinosaurs and us humans were insignificant organisms compared to them and that God created the universe for them alone. This is how heist’s think. I do not subscribe to that. The universe is just what it is that formed through the systematics of natural forces after the Big Bang but there are loose ends so that the full systematics is not yet apparent to scientists (unless you know different). Atheists will have to hope that the full systematics is never revealed to them for only a haphazard universe will prove that there is no God. But scientists are persevering and if all of the universe shows itslelf to be following systematic laws they cannot prove that these did not have an intelligent designer with a will and resources to have engineered the outcome through the natural forces. So the option is a legitimate one. What I have added here is my view that if science can go one step back from the Big Bang and then find no systematics in the forces that caused the universe to emerge it would reflect that there was no will on the part of a creator/designer in the cause of the Big Bang. If through this means the will can be shown to have been absent then to add to its absence as seen in the haphazard nature of the universe that we are part of, it would mean that we just erupted on to the scene much like volcanoes erupt unpredictably across the world from a another much bigger universe.
All atheists do things that are fundamentally different to what theists do. As part of my atheism for example, I do not say prayers before going to bed; do not go to church or temples and will not marry in church if I ever was to marry again; do not believe in karma/rebirth or anything supernatural like palmistry, astrology and magic; do not follow holy book morals; do not view contraception and abortion as being wrong on the grounds that children are a gift; do not believe that people have different levels of luck in life; do not have dietary preferences that follow religious dictats; believe in evolution wholeheartedly (naturalistic origins and propagation of life); all of which gives me a lifestyle that derives from my lack of belief in God. Yet I do not know whether there is a God or not for certain but believe that there probably is no God in existence. How can you say that this characterisation makes me a theist? It is either the position of a weak atheist, one that has tendencies towards theism although not quite there or if I was there I would have altered my lifestyle in one of the ways that I have given above. The proof is in the eating. What do I do to show what my true beliefs are? Action speak louder than words.
So I carved out the word atheotheism for myself. Why have I done it? I have done it for I am a truthful person, in search for the truth in order to be fully at one with the truth. I am not afraid of the truth because that is what I am looking for, wanting it. I do not care for anything else but truth: if something impinges on my truthiness I know it will cloud my view of myself and that means of reality. So I am a truthful person above all else and do not believe that I must have a chink of deception about me. Full transparency in what I see and that means full transparence of exposure of what I am. This is not a characteristics of atheists, and it is certainly not a characeristic of theists, you will agree. There you have it: for good or bad, an atheotheist truthseeker.
Until positive evidence emergence of the mechanisms of any aspect of reality that one’s deepest, persistent and penetrating searches from focus and intellect can determine, all beliefs must be regarded as not being true to oneself and amounting to self-delusion and so self-destructive. Truthseeking is a compulsion, the process being more important then the end product, the end product being reality attained.
It is not a question of whether a person believes in the existence of God and if not then he does not believe in it. And I do not know that I do not totally disbelieve in the existence of God yet. What I do know is that if he does exist he could not care less whether I know if he exists or do not know that he exists. So he could not care less whether I live like on atheistic principles or on theistic principles. So he likes me as I am, which is not an agnostic because I have faith that science will tell us everything about reality that we need to know to have the best life we can attain. If all a person wants to do is keep his options open on whether there is a God or not they are still to be regarded as atheist. But I do not want to keep my options open I am persevering daily to close it one way or the other. But they remain open out of the reality of the realisation process because I have not arrived at the final conclusion through science. Atheotheism is this realisation.
If science can never go back further than the Big Bang we will live in ignorance of how it all came about. Scientists would then have admit defeat and we would all become agnostics who say that we cannot know if God exists or not. But today we must be atheotheists who wait to see what the scientists tell us about the systematics before and after Big Bang. This way we distinguish our selves from theists, atheists, agnostics and deists.
To address the question ‘Being’, you are addressing what it is to be a human being in terms of what it should be for since we human beings can be whoever we want oursellves to be because we are thinking creatures who determine our own fate individually. The basis human being is what you see as a member of the Homo sapien species distinct from other species, as animals living as a social group. The individuality draws fom our genetics in a genetic*environmental interaction that determines our characters and our instinctive behaviours. The environment shapes us human beings into what we are. So we have to consider the environmental reality and the things that shape us physically and mentally. When someone tells us that all we are is chemistry and physics of atoms we then say ‘Aha’ in that case this is the type of human being I wll become since I know the fundamental truth of what we are comprised of. All this should be simple commonsense if you have studied science to any depth.
The truth is what is important, for if reality is known as it exists today, not as it might exist in a few hundred or thousand years, one has the best chance of living a kind of existence that is most satisfactory for a healthy and pleasant life at ease and peace with oneself and ones attitudes and beliefs. The essential truth about humanity is that we humans are ‘designed’ to survive and the complexity of our physiology and biochemical and neural processes has produced a being that makes us seek beliefs and living choices that minimise the suffering from the delusional preoccupations that produce ill health, early death and suicidal tendencies of depression. There is no other purpose to life but seeking the best chance of attaining the biological perspective of a happy and satisfying existence. To want to live longer and to therefore seeking to do things that enhance the possibility of a long and healthy life is itself an attachment of the mind and so psychologically and perhaps even biologically counterproductive to the objective of perfect survival. This is so because attachment is a desire, a cause for worry and anxiety; in other words, a ‘dukkha’ in Buddhist parlance. Only liberation from all questions and worries gives one the perfect existence. Only the truth thus attained results in completeness of existence, a oneness with reality or non-duality. This is advaita.
The book of knowledge I am embarking upon examines the natural world focussing on how we humans live and have developed over the past few thousand years with religions and science. It is therefore the theory of mankind from a fresh perspective, a revisionary research of ideas and history which introduces the concept of satya-advaitism as the process of the realisation of the truth the hard way and not just through the study of ancient scriptures and religions.
In order to understand the term advaita, some definitions need to be first considered relating to truth of what is science and what is philosophy. Here is my assessment.
(a) Truth describes the Reality.
(b) Certainty implies no alternative comparable theory.
(c) Knowledge means understanding.
(d) Rational is the employment of reasoning.
(e) Science is the study and elucidation of the true nature of the physical components of the universe. Science is observed within the framework of the systematics in Nature.
(f) Nature is the Earth-atmosphere system.
(g) Environment is that which surrounds human beings.
(h) Philosophy is the knowledge and wisdom emanating from an intellectual consideration of the incomplete science.
(i) Religion is the art of living that is derived from philosophy.
(j) Dharma is moral conduct.
(k) Satya-advaita is the religion of the practice of oneness with truth through rational and scientific truthseeking.
(l) Spirit and spirituality describe the state of mental being implicit in the consideration of only the faith-based religions; all atheistic religions are non-spiritual, that is they are rational guiding lights.
Is there anything other than science as an investigative tool for understanding all aspects and components of the universe? Science is the reliable method for establishing reality. But there is a long way to go still for mankind, and science raises new questions. It is often said that it is the duty of science to produce new questions for every answered question; however, questions raised are just the inevitable outcome of science in our current state of development and will go on until such time that the philosophy of existence has been perfected by science. Pending those clarifications, we only have theories based on science. Science is currently incomplete so the the theories do not have full scientific evidence. A person needs a conception of the universe. He fills up the gaps in science with educated guesses. In my view it is better to have a theoretical conception of the total than not to have a conception and stutter about in one’s darkness. Educated guesses are not pure philosophy but extrapolations of science. In other words, there is nothing other than science available to man as a tool to ascertain the mechanisms of reality in all its dimensions. Philosophy on the other hand are imaginative frameworks for considering reality. It is the overall view, the theory currently of existence, which incorporates science. What is meant by the science of philosophy is therefore the hidden science contained in philosophy that needs to be determined by its compartmentalisation into physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, etc.
A theory is more than a story in that it addresses reality; it should be distinguished from a scientific theory which can be wrong because they are bogged down on things that can be measured through known instruments and mathematics.
If one wishes people to take one seriously, you must first learn to take oneself seriously. The only way one can do this is by being studious and study hard with no stone unturned. And there is one question that science is unable to address with its methods that are based on avoidance of confirmation bias. This is the whether God exists. It requires a faith-based investigation. After nearly 20 years of practical research in animal science, I was drawn towards investigating the idea of God, whether God existed in the way that my culture (Hindu) told me it did, which is through a form of consciousness. Creationists make a big thing about this. I wanted to investigate it my own way to my personal satisfaction, so I set up an experiment that lasted me the better part of 6-8 years. It was through the use of a digital clock to try and communicate with any deities that may exist. The results proved ambiguous.
Philosophy is a mental consideration of the scientific findings of knowledge and the still unknown to arrive at wisdom, and so is not science. But could it ever be equated with science? Will all our uncertainties ever be gone through the application of science? Can we really rely on science for all our needs? Whilst the hope is that eventually science will be the only thing guiding our existence, can science ever tell us about morality or how society should be organised? In my opinion this is quite possible when the psychological processes of the mind and neural processes of belief formation are outlined by scientists. But for now we still live in at a time of history when science cannot be the be-all and end-all of our existence. We need philosophy to guide us. The only question is what kind of philosophical truth will best serve us in our current circumstances in the history of mankind.
Religions of various kinds no doubt have fulfilled this role of providing truths to humans since time immemorial. But truth is subjective and since the old truths were based on very little, if any, science of any substance they were derived by spiritual leaders known historically as prophets, messiahs, saints and gurus, some of whom acquired the status of avatar for getting very good ideas that people accepted in their times, for example, the Buddha, Guru Nanak of the Sikhs, and Jesus Christ of the Christians. There is no rational reason why we need their holy books today to guide our lives, for we are human beings, independent and intelligent to work our out own philosophies from our own observations of the natural world. This does not mean that all of what those leaders said is rubbish and belongs to the dustbin. Buddhism, for example, was so profound that it has withstood the test of time in very satisfying manner. The same cannot be said of the Abrahamic religions. The truth is that the truths these religions prescribed served a purpose in the ages and geographical and circumstantial areas that those people lived in and it was the best they could muster from the knowledge of their surroundings as the world that they lived in and the scientific tools at their disposal. Today, we have learnt from those religions and philosophies but we test them afresh to see which version of reality is to be taken seriously or indeed if a new version needs to be outlined that serves mankind to meet its needs today. And in the fully globalised world that we live in this philosophy should be beyond criticism from any corner of the world because of its consistency with the science that we know. The ancient philosophy of Buddhism that delved into the human condition and its relationship with nature does stand out for particular respect but whether or not it is an incomplete understanding, we use incorporate the best aspects of it to build our knowledge of reality as a whole. That understanding is termed advaita, when it is taken to its highest limits of exploration – from the kindergarten or school level of education to the post-doctorate level of the scholarship of truth. Advaita when fully realised is the most credible philosophy.
Thus, among the ancient philosophies an implicit or explicit concept of living developed as advaita that described non-duality or oneness with truth. There are no detailed analyses of what advaita is and it is a matter of considerable speculation. In the Abrahamic religions, people were also told to live honestly and truthfully or according to the wishes of the perceived master in the skies called God since God was the truth they knew. This was and remains one form of oneness with truth, the theistic version, and is practiced among Hindus too through the concept of a universal consciousness. There were various strands of advaita in Hinduism from theistic to the atheistic. However, the more explicit idea for oneness with truth came from an aspect of Hindu thought that put truth itself on a pedestal. This was a high level of human ideology that was at odds with the apparent observation that lying and cheating lead to more material gains in the battle of human survival in nature. The sages realised that truth therefore had a spiritual benefit for the mind and wellbeing of the individual; it had survival value. A branch of Hinduism explored the idea as advaita (a=no; dwaita=two) for the reason truth was one, and there was nothing else but truth.
Human exploration of the natural environment has been continuing for over 70,000 years if we accept the theory even though it is now under fresh scientific scrutiny that man emerged out of Africa to gradually spread throughout the world. Exploration took on a new dimension since the Vikings started sailing boats down the North Sea to conquer and exploit lands and people further away, and especially since the Europeans used more and more sophisticated ships to colonise the entire world, a venture that brought humanity into the industrial age with great advances in science and technology from the works of Charles Darwin, Issac Newton, and Albert Einstein to name but a few stalwarths of science. Our present generation has benefitted from the scientific advances of the more recent centuries of human exploration and it is incumbent upon us to utilise that knowledge in updating our philosophy of existence which must hence be based on the ultimate level of truth that science can provide us humans with our present and on-going knowledge and exploration techniques. This is the dharma of the truth philosophy. Truth is the dharma, and truth is approached through a specific process, a religion that has to be studiously and steadfastly followed with great attention to details. It is therefore a religion, that is a process that necessarily leads to attaining advaita. I have termed the process satya-advaita, or seeking the truth to be at one with truth.
Although truth is the reality as perceived by the individual, the perception is usually faulty and so that ultimately truth is not subjective: either something is true or it is false because truth describes the reality. How is truth learnt? Truth is learnt from engagement, in actions exchanges and discussions that enables a diversity of opinions to be assembled and sifted through, and not from the solitude of reclusivity by the so-called meditational techniques. One needs to seek reality; only then it comes to the mind. By definition we will rely on science to eventually tell us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That is the philosophy of advaita. Satya-advaita itself is the devotional process of rational truth seeking. Truth seeking is also an intrinsic inevitablity of life and at a high degree of refinement the means for perfect existence, so it too can be described as a true purpose of life, and indeed another aspect of dharma as duties and responsibilities. The human mind has a faculty for satya-advaita and this should be termed the mind’s rational truth seeking faculty.
Religion has been an intrinsic part of the evolution of mankind. For at least ten thousand years man has tried to find some sense and rationality to his existence. To understand this evolutionary process it is essential to liberate oneself from the shackles of beliefs and falsehoods by distrusting everything that one has been taught through one’s upbringing. The process implicitly is one of disengaging from set religions by following a path of determining truth at all costs through skeptical freethought which if followed relentlessly and by careful analysis of the merits of all ideas to be constantly at one with your own emerging truth (values) will/must lead one to a singular-optimal philosophy. However, the path is not easy and requires determination for knowledge acquisition with persistence of search before the final satisfying truth surfaces, whereupon one feels that one has attained a new lease of life to live in positivity and not to a sense of the pointlessness of existence.
The basis for practising satya-advaita is having no permanent fixed beliefs, and therefore the preparedness to reject all doctrines and religious assertions and it realises truth on personal drive, motivation and conduct from acquiring direct knowledge by intense studies of everything through persistent probing and conducting appropriate experiments to ascertain the truth. It reinforces two aspects of traditional Hinduism in emphasising dharma and truth but is a universal concept in which one sets out to discover ones real duties and responsibilities from which one then determines the righteous actions (dharma) in everything that one does for personal contentment and harmony in society and Nature. This means knowing how hard one would need to work to keep ones’ family together and fulfilling family and societal responsibilities, and how thoughtfully one needs to operate with the people we know to learn the ultimate truth. Harmonising with what is true and real is the only dharma. One probes out the truth but accepts the reality of a given situation and only goes as far as it would enable the individual to live in peace and harmony.
In essence dharma is realised to be satya (truth), and gyana yoga (truth-seeking) is not only satya, but an aspect of dharma. Dharma (duties and responsibilities) is truth meaning that dharma is the essence of life, and so the true purpose of human existence. In Bhagavad Gita (2.37) the composer writes that one needs to get up with determination and engage in the affairs of the world, and there is a Hindi saying ‘araam haraam hai’, meaning that sleeping is an ill and a waste of existence. But the Gita (2.47) also states that a person’s right extends to the performance of his duty, not at all to the fruits of action; that one should never consider the cause of the results of one’s activities, and never be attached to not doing one’s duty. These learnings of non-attachment emerge from rational truth-seeking and are also considered by many Hindus to be the most important instruction of Gita.
The process of seeking the truth in order to be at one with truth at every stage of the truth-search is perfection of existence because it gradually reveals from a state of total delusion and confusion the clarity of vision needed to live a life without mental worries or any other shortcomings that emanate from ignorance. The mode of satya-advaita enables one to explore everything and all avenues without prejudice and bias and simultaneously begins to ensure ones survival with dignity. It reinforces the Hindu saying ‘dharma rakshati rakshita’, but removes the baggage of religious philosophy, doctrines, prescriptions, and theism from one’s mindset completely so that one has attained perfect freedom or liberation/moksha. At the end of the process if it is adhered to religiously, one should find that one has no enemies so that the philosophy of satyadvaita is also good for humanity and Nature.
To begin satya-advaita, one needs to adopt any commonly held view, and explore it rigorously for years through interactions with other human beings and from education. The dharma implicit in satya as part of satya-advaita must be one that cannot be criticised at any level because the process is assumed to lead to perfection of understanding, the absolute truth. The philosophy of satya-advaita is striving for that perfection of knowledge.
To pursue satya-advaita, one needs to be a kind of saint, or a very special person, a satya-advaitist. The dharmic attributes of such a person are to have a truly caring nature for one must take care on whatever one does or truth will not appear to the sight and mind. One must care about people’s feelings so that one does not cause any uncecessary hurt, care about animals, about plants, and about micro-organisms in the same way, and in so doing ones actions attain a kind of perfection in quality in truth seeking. The satya-advaitist however is not a saint in the theistic sense and will counter the evil and falsehoods of people with probing words and actions but always non-violently. He may use the harshest words to detract people just in order to study them and their motives. He will never lead people, will just do what he has to do in the normal course of his life to seek truth and be at one with it. He cares so will always help people with information and advice when these are sought. He will not distinguish between different types of people but assess each individual for what they are and understand their shortcomings and treat them for what they are.
The satya-advaitist will seek the truth and live by the truth, and practice what they preach. They do not impose their will on other people. He will always clarify, not confuse anyone with truth. If they cannot do this he will remain silent. This means he will consider other people’s feelings. He will not seek publicity or popularity but will do whatever he needs to to earn a living so as not to be a parasite on society. He will always be punctual and not let anyone down. He will not procrastinate. He does not have ulterior motives for what he does. He will always do things correctly, the right way. He will always have answers ready and will not shy away from difficult questions. He will always fulfil his responsibilities. He will always be under control and not get angry and shout at people by losing his temper. Truth simply flows out from satya-advaitists freely and nonchalantly. They are always to the point and beyond criticism. They do not calculate their next move or things to do. These just happen. They have a personal mission in life to do good and this is through providing enlightenment that they know about. Through their attitude and perseverance satya-advaitists survive against all odds. If they have a question, the ‘divine’ answer comes to them sooner or later which they see to be ‘at the right time’ since truth and reality is what regulates their lives. Satya-advaita does not criticise for the sake of criticism but for the purpose of understanding another human being. Satya-advaita probes and is overpowering in what it achieves. Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone wins, not untruth). Satya-advaita as the perfection of the practice of dharma that represents the continual spiritual pursuit of truth and dharma as one entity. You cannot be too careful in satya-advaita. The results are remarkable for survival and peace of mind.
The satya-advaitist has questions. People are their greatest source of hard information which they compare and contrast with what they have read and been taught. They take every opportunity that comes their way to increase their knowledge. They expose all their inner thoughts to others in order to get a feedback which they use to change themselves towards the emerging reality of existence. They will examine things his own way to rationalise with their pre-existing understanding. They will try and find out what others know and if they know more than them. They will question why else are the same questions not occurring to others, and why do they not think like the truth-seeker does. They will review continuously and that elaborates and determines the truth. The essential attribute is one of a fearless and unashamed pursuit of truth through intense probing and putting up with insults that come their way when people do not understand that what they are seeking is information on which to lead their lives. Some insult them out of jealousy for their knowledge and probing activities whilst others may accuse them of a parasitic existence of seeking knowledge from others; others may accuse them of wanting to put out a new truth for the world, a new religion. None of this is true. They simply wish to perfect themselves and arrive at the ultimate being.
The philosophy of satyadvaita is laborious but at the finest level of perfection is nearly faultless in the precise use of language to convey meaning. It is faultless because the possible criticisms are pre-empted in the choice of words that are used when you are on the truth path.
Truth is the ultimate frontier for mankind, which the satya-advaitist explores relentlessly to find strange new worlds with a truth-seeking force to boldly go where few man dare to out of fear of possible repercussions. The search for truth can initially drive one mad. But when one you gets to the other side of the river in torrent there is sheer knowledge and mental peace awaiting the person. The path is horrendous. Even the Buddha said that this causes vexation so he provided an alternative for the common man in his noble Eightfold path to alleviate ‘dukkha’. But he also set in place the Kalama Sutta truth of personal perseverance for those willing to and able to got the distance for he too realised that personal truth experiences is the path to the cessation of suffering because it brings one to the middle way in total balance with the functioning of the universe. Satya-advaitism therefore leads to advaita in which one has arrived at the centre of the sphere of ones environment.
Satya-advaita is a method that has been realised by me and has prompted me to write these pages with a full explanatory book to follow this preface. The prescription does not conform to anyone else’s methods and standards for determining reality. Satya-advaita does not consider the biases and fallacies that you keep going on about and bog down western scientists and philosophers in endless arguments achieving nothing. It is a more superior and unending technique for truthseeking and establishing reality. I do not endlessly argue about the distinction between science and philosophy because the two are one in satya-advaita. It is a spiritual investigation. It is termed satya-advaita as the ultimate rational truthseeking method. It is not to be found in any western science or philosophy but there are indications of the method in Hinduism. That is why I coined the term in that manner.
The spirituality of satya-advaita a nondual philosophy. According to the methodology, one improves spiritually in satya-advaita by improving everything that one is involved in a positive and fair manner as one’s ‘dharma’. The process is self-fulfilling in that actions flow from one to the next in a totally unpremeditated and non-calculated manner towards total understanding of reality. Hence the retention of the word advaita in the term ‘satya-advaita’. Truth is realised when the whole thing makes sense and all the evidence locks into place. Satya-advaita can be started from any point by any individual in the world, which is why there are no fixed paths to the truth – truth is a pathless land as stated by the Hindu guru Krishnamurthy who was also neither a scientist nor a philosopher but a spiritual person. My satya-advaita started from the position of a very strong Hindu theist but I swung like a pendulum between atheism and theism during the passage of my journey before settling on the idea of atheotheism, the belief that there may be a God but I do not have anything to do with him as I set my very own principles of correct thoughts and actions that guide my life. My mind is free of any ism’s-baggage, including the one of God. I am liberated through personally-acquired knowledge which is the only knowledge that I can trust because I know myself to be free of prejudices and biases, desires and ego. So I recommend satya-advaita for all humanity for its total emancipation.
It was recently explained to me a respected whom I regarded as a Hindu guru living in New Delhi (who goes by the nick name of Aupmanyav in the internet circles) that in Hindu understanding of religious philosophy there are two words: mata (opinion) and pantha (way, road), probably corresponding to philosophy and religion. For example, what Guru Nanak of the Sikhs proposed was gurmat (the opinion of the guru – ‘guru mata’). And those who followed that gurmat would be the members of Sikh pantha (the road of the disciples). But then, Hinduism is an umbrella of many panthas. So here I give ‘satya-advaita’ as both the pantha and the mata that which upon complete realisation attains the hitherto somewhat undefined philosophy of advaita. There are no gurus involved in this as this is a personal struggle and the gurus that one learns from and respects are a hindrance to that struggle. Yet all the people and materials one comes in contact with during the process represent a guru in some form from whom learning has been acquired. I would recommend the process rather than the final outcome of satya-advaita for the benefits for the mind are continuous and increases in terms of serenity through the course of the satyagraha, the Hindu word for struggle for the truth.
Whatever the satya-advaitist does he is also simultaneously simply passing his time learning. To know what is true and real every step of the way in life is a continuous process and there are no short-cuts to real knowledge as realisation; no instant or sudden enlightenment where things just click into place. The mind reviews continuously through the course of one’s existence.
So what is truth and how is it learnt and realised? It is acquired only by an indepth study of science and history, coupled with the philosophy that emanates from this and one’s action and interactions in day to day life in a continuous process of study free of prejudices and biases so that the mind can go to and fro on all issues before settling down to the next action forward: this will inevitably be the right action, the one that the circumstances demand, and the one that will not only be the safe one along the road to truth as the destination and the destiny, it will also aid survival and progress. The mind must always be clear of any clutter that produces uncertainty and haze in that path, for which the action taken must be in fearless honesty, truthfulness and fairness in relation to what the governing rules allow, whereupon the brilliance of advaita or non duality is realised. Advaita is not about the esoterics of consciousness but an actual understanding of the oneness of the universe. It comes when gyana yoga and karma yoga merge to become one yoga, urging each other along the dharmic path of life, the path of truth. Book worms and scriptural worms focussed on meditation on the meaning of life generally end up fishing in the dark for truth if their ‘prayas’ or attempt is not accompanied by action along the path of truth. Truth proves to be its own reward for the mind of the satya-advaitist.
A central feature of satya-advaita is to be utterly sure of what one utters and knows, and this is achieved painstakingly by taking extra precautions that normal human being do not do, double checking in the minutest details to be certain of ones ground, making corrections, clarifying and exposing the true situation and one’s thoughts, including care and trouble taken to check the meaning of what one utters and writes using the dictionary for precision so that the correct information of reality and understanding is always imparted. The mind is always in search mode, and thoughts come by themselves to assist the process. Replying and responding to genuine enquiries from others with sincerity is part of the process that the mind adopts. Above all, the satya-advaitist observes, and when he takes action it is done to harmonise as well as to determine the reactions to his acts in order to study them and hence ascertain reality.
To the satya-advaitist there is no dream, no vision, no target nor ambition as the goal. He just follows reality through truth as dictated by circumstances and oneness with each given one. He has a truth, a belief and lives to be at one with it, but at the same time he is persistently questioning the quality of that belief to see if it is real rather than being a delusion. When he finds something else as true he switches his belief to be at one with the new reality. But he is not satisfied with that being the gospel truth and continuously examines the new truth to see if it is real. And so the process of satya-advaita continues until he finds that he is no longer changing his beliefs any more whereupon he feels that he has come to a complete understanding of reality, from which stems the Hindu concept of realisation. But satya-advaitism is not just about beliefs, eg religion, ideas, morality, etc, it is also about resolving situations and accommodating oneself within ones world of reality at the centre of it in terms of dealing with interpersonal relationships and material development in one’s life. These are the two aspects of reality that the mind has to cope with. Advaita achieves perfection in both these spheres and finds a balance that is highly satisfying and desirable in terms of progress in harmony.
Truth is like 24 carat gold, the purity to be achieved as the perfection of advaita wherein truth is an understanding and practice that is beyond criticism of any kind. In other words, truth is the 24 carat gold mark of the purity of advaita achieved when ones understanding of reality and daily actions are beyond criticism: what criticism? The answer is the criticism that one does not know the truth is therefore ignorant of some facets of reality. This is Hindu truth and the benchmark against which all other truths are assessed. There is no external light or consciousness that is the source of truth; truth comes only from within us if we are pursuing truth.
There is virtually no evidence for the existence of a God that one should look up to as creator and take guidance from thus far so it is totally pointless to refer to such an entity in relation to any of our dealings as human beings who have lives to lead. Whilst this view leaves open the possibility of a God that may yet be discovered by man in the future, and so may exist, it is appropriate to ask why are so many people convinced of the existence of a godly deity to be worshipped and listened to. In my opinion these people confuse truth with God. Truth itself is such a powerful guiding force that people including advaitists belonging to the consciousness-realisation or Brahman-realisation school of thought relying on the scriptures of old Hinduism (Sankaracharya) confuse such an idea with truth itself. There is nothing wrong with equating truth with God, as long as one does not bring in the idea of a truth-consciousness that emanates from an entity called Brahman. To me Brahman is the physical constituents that makes up the universe and this was composed entirely of photons to begin with 14 billion years ago, which gradually gave rise to the universe that it became and of which we are a part. There is as yet no evidence that it consists also of a consciousness that we humans have inherited as theistic advaita proposes.
To those who suggest that in Hinduism God is equated with Truth, I say there is a distinction. Truth is in fact higher than any kind of a God concept. What I mean by truth is knowing what the reality is and this is realised when one says and does things that have no logical criticism. To indicate that Truth is God/Brahman/Paramatman is not defensible because we know that there is no God that can be found as true, and we have no proof that God if he exists is not a liar or a deceiver who showers his blessings on those who live by the truth principle.
People need to answer clearly what they mean by the word ‘God’? Who or what is it/he/she supposed to be? To Hindus God is understood as follows: the name of Brahma was invented by theistic Hindus who believed that there is a creator who created the universe. Brahman is this universe plus God according to Hindu theists, and the physical constituent of the universe according to a Hindu atheist like Aupmanyav who also convinced me that this was an accurate scientific representation of reality and which is consistent with my atheotheism.
Consistency of argument and infallibility of one’s construction of the understanding of reality is what is meant by truth, whether one is a Hindu or a non-Hindu rationalist. If one fails to follow through one’s arguments in a way that no one else can argue against and they show this by backing out of the argument eventually, one has arrived at the best possible truth, the absolute truth for all intents and purposes. This is what the atheotheist and to a large extent the atheist know. For ignorant theists or deists they may say that God’s knowledge is the overriding absolute truth against which truth should be measured but they will never be able to provide any rational concrete evidence or argumentation to justify this idea.
So what kind of person does the satya-advaitist become? He does to others as he would like others to do to him, as the golden rule. He does not precisely do to others as he is done by them. He does not believe in hitting back a tit for tat, a tooth for a tooth, but also does not turn the other cheek. He observes steadfastly the rules laid out by the society in terms of the laws enacted by the state. He resists oppression by voicing truth non-violently if at all possible, but it if violence can be avoided in any shape of form he will do so. If someone is doing something wrong, stupid or unfair he will voice this opinion for he believes in the welfare of humankind and wishes to eradicate ignorance through the expression of truth so that truth is enhanced and preserved. It is not only right to tell the person that he or she has wronged one, but it is right to tell that to whoever else is interested in the matter, so that the whole world can come to know of the unfairness and the injustice perpetrated. Unfairness is determined not by reference to an entity called God or the State’s laws, but on knowledge of fundamental scientific principles that establish the nature of humanity. Unfairness to him is based on the knowledge that all human beings are more or less the same biologically and differences between people are only partly genetic and more to do with upbringing and opportunities for education and knowledge acquisition. The Queen of England, the Dalai Lama, and the beggar on the street should therefore be treated equally so that the caste and other religious or racial apartheid-based system of human segregation are abhorrent to him. Violence to restore justice as a last resort is therefore justifiable and there is no higher morality that governs human interpersonal relationships within society and the international society. So he does not think that there is any moral argument against capital punishment but that the issue like all other contentious issues or society should be left to the society to regulate itself through laws governing crime and punishment and conservation through the process of democracy, even on the 50.01 per cent majority decision of the electorate. A person can therefore be of higher moral principles than the state in which he or she lives, but he must not let his opinion ride over the views of the majority decision. The satya-advaitist is therefore not the trademark ‘saint’ in the common acceptance of this term and as people refer to those generally accepted as the saint-philosopher of Hinduism and other religions, and specifically the saints beatified by the Roman Catholic church. He is a realist who has understood humanity and why people behave the way they do and accordingly has determined the best way of dealing with its human frailities and conflicts. He is not a pragmatist for he has ideals born of real understanding of the fundamentals of science governing all human affairs and the workings of the universe.
Satya-advaita means truth-seeking as a relentless pursuit in life in order to be at one with truth by understanding reality in its finest detail. It seeks to find out what reality will allow by constant probing to excel and improve towards the ideal as based on knowledge of science, for science as the final arbiter cannot be wrong. The satya-advaitist therefore operates with the prevailing laws of the society in which he lives, not above the law in his idealistic comprehension of what society should be like. But he campaigns as a social activist for changes to be made towards a better world and leaves it to democratic principles to ascertain what the reality should be. Progress has its own impetus and human behavioural evolution is dictated by the fundamentals of the genetic evolution but lags behind as behaviour is heavily influenced by environmental factors such as general state of knowledge of society and a person’s upbringing within the cultural surroundings. Man’s fundamental desire to improve himself is the reality of human existence stemming from biological imperatives.
The quest to understand has always been there and will always come so long as a new individual is born. Every individual has more information on which to base his understanding than the previous generation. I hope to know as much as any human being can and if in the process I find things need redefinition from the updating of knowledge, I must do this openly because it helps the process satya-advaita or rational truth seeking. One of its important side-effects is that it leaves a more illuminated world for the next generation and thus acts as a service to humanity. Satya-advaita is just that: to improve to fully understand reality and use all the means at your disposal to do so. Any good thing that comes out during the process are just landmarks of ones journey to the truth and should not be the end of the search.
I am an atheist in as much as I do not practice anything that stems from a belief in God and will certainly never ask anyone to be a theist because I have not current evidence of God. I would therefore recommend that if if they wanted to be something or the other they should be atheist rather than a theist; for those who search the truth, until God comes and hits them in the face they should have atheism-based lifestyles because it gives liberation and freedom from supernatural concepts. They should also be free of philosophies like Buddhism and Jainism. They must however not rule out that one day they may be changing their minds. Atheotheism is this position that some day I might see that the evidence is indicating once again to me the existence of God if he truly exists, but this will have to happen through some rational detective work on my part, so I am not an agnostic who thinks that God is not knowable. The longer one seeks in this open-minded manner the greater one attains the understanding of reality so that the process has tramendous benefits in life. An atheotheist who has not rejected the existence of God even though he has not seen any evidence for it is just perfect for me.
So I am an atheotheist who examined science as a very strong theist so was inevitably in my later years looking for a way to fit in a God into my comprehension of reality in whatever I explored, and I failed to find a need for any piece of the jigsaw puzzle where that fitment was needed except perhaps on the question of what caused the Big Bang to bring the universe into existence.
So, what is truth and how is it searched? Our forefathers believed that the real truth came from reveleations from an entity they called God of the Bible, who may or may not have been the same as the Yahweh of the Jews, or Allah of the Muslims, or the Parmatman or Ishwar of the Hindus. Should we believe them? If so why? What is the alternative? These issues are important for mankind to consider in order to achieve clarity of mind and chart its future with confidence. This is truth-seeking as defined by me. Satya-advaita is something more: it is truth-seeking in order to be at one with the truth determined. It is therefore a frame-of mind, a kind of religion that transcends the idea of God; it is a passion, and a mission.