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A personal View of Hindu Cosmology

The problem of defining or even explaining the indefinable or unexplainable as evolved into something of a workaround, it's like saying that electricity exists and we can do stuff with it but we still don't know really what is beyond saying that it is electrical energy. The same problem exists with defining the nature of gods or the birth or creation of the universe and where we are within it.

When we take the fact that we exist within this universe which must by the application of reason and logic have been created though more likely born, there had to be something to be born out of. Knowing the requirements of the requirements of birth, it is logical to presume that although what the universe was born from was clearly not a life almost we know it yet the observable laws of nature indicate there had to be something and the idea of Ardhanarishvara came into play.

Ardhanarishvara represents Shiva and Shakti, the masculine and feminine elements also described as positive and negative or Yin and Yang. In other words there had to be some phenomenon which is most likely beyond our comprehension responsible for initiating that process of creation which is an ongoing process.

Within our observable universe stars and solar systems are being born, and others are dying with the same process taking place within our bodies. New cells are forever being born while others are dying which is an automated process that we have some control over. However what is most fascinating is that little bit of magic that happens when sperm meets the egg and a new life begins to evolve.

It's that little bit of magic that happens when the elements of 2 living organisms meet under the right conditions and life is perpetuated. Like with the beginning of the universe, the potentiality that it emerged from is reflected in the word Ardhanarishvara which is a term of reference to describe what is unknown.

If you happen to be a science teacher is much easier to use the term Ardhanarishvara than it is to describe a quantum level merging of positive and negative energies which then reproduce. So Ardhanarishvara is like giving a name word to the parents of the universe. Shiva is the male aspect and Shakti the female which for many people translates into Shiva and Parvatti with Parvatti more commonly recognised as the wife of Shiva.

So if you happen to wonder about where we all come from, then you can casually use the term Ardhanarishvara as a more specific name of God. If you are basically happy and appreciate life then you will understand that life is a tremendous gift so therefore it is perfectly natural to express praise and gratitude for having been created.

On the other hand, if you happen to believe in a God residing in some heaven that created us, the most peculiar thing is that by offering praise and gratitude to that creative principle, you will feel more alive and have value as to the people who prefer to use the term Ardhanarishvara which is perhaps more relevant to understanding the nature of the universe and the course of our evolution.

Now let's think about Brahma and his wife Saraswati, the actual creators of the universe. Within the Hindu tradition, men and women create very strong social bonds and as we know in our modern lives, a man may build the house but the wife will attend to most of the decoration. No one believes that Brahma and Saraswati were actually living people who physically engineered the universe but the principal they represent is present within us.

Modern science tells us that the universe was created after a big bang but science has no explanation as to how that all happened. So given that we don't know when talking about a cosmological universe, we could use the term 'big bang' which seems rather impersonal considering that the universe may very likely be born.

So we have another divine couple as Brahma and Saraswati and because we appreciate the universe we live in and the earth we walk upon that provides all the elements for life the personification of this divine couple is very appropriate.

With the universe/cosmos having an established point of creation and parents making life more comfortable, we have Vishnu and Lakshmi who are responsible for maintenance. It could be said that they maintain the distances between the stars and planets, or in a more everyday sense they deal with the day-to-day welfare and arrangements for life.

Since everyone likes a tidy house and publish efficiency, about 68% of Hindus are most grateful to Vishnu and Lakshmi though this is probably due to the idea of Lakshmi being regarded as the goddess of wealth and good fortune. So if you want to have good order and good fortune in your life, expressing your praise and gratitude towards these 2 deified individuals may be very helpful.

These 3 characters (with their wives) constitute the Trimurti or the most prominent deities of contemporary Hinduism. Please remember that this is a personal viewpoint and while I have put Shiva first as the principle of creation, in modern Hindu tradition he comes 3rd and is described as the destroyer of life yet there is actually no death, simply a transmigration.

In other words, in the case of human beings when we die the stuff that constitutes the physical body returns to the earth but the sense of individuality is reborn which means that Shiva as Ardhanarishvara sees to it that we are recreated and within the general understanding of cosmology there will be a time when the universe actually dies to be recreated which makes Shiva number one for me.

Another disembodied annuity as regards Shiva, this is also the name given to the first Yogi who also has a wife named Parvatti. As the first Yogi (Adiyogi) living about 14,000 years ago, he shared the technology of being human and the science of yoga which began what came to be called 'Sanatana Dharma'.

Now this may be confusing yet it is completely logical. It is that these 3 cosmological aspects because they are all part of the same creation, exist within each other and within us so it doesn't matter if you prefer to express your gratitude for life to any one of these characters or all.

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