Hinduism Transcends Darwin's Theory of Evolution

I was glad to see the revival of the topic concerning how teachings of Hinduism correlate with Darwin's Theory of Evolution ("Clarifying my Stance on Darwin's Theory of Evolution" by Jayant Subhedar; India Abroad, March 18, 2019) because this motivated me to look into this issue in some more detail. Several points can be made with respect to this issue.

One, Hinduism, specifically, Vedanta philosophy, is unconcerned with the theory of evolution of the species. Vedanta is concerned with the evolution of consciousness and the question of happiness and avoidance of suffering, with the ultimate goal of attaining Moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death).

Two, Vedanta is concerned with the evolution of consciousness — not the body. So in summary Hinduism is the only religion which totally and unconditionally accepts the evolution of the species.

Three, Hinduism believes that universe manifests, remains manifest for a while, and then goes back to being unmanifest. Manifestation is an evolutionary process, while unmanifestation is a devolutionary process. Darwin only addresses the evolutionary process, therefore, he addresses only part of the whole process.

Four, Darwin addresses evolution of the physical body, whereas Hinduism addresses evolution of soul or consciousness, which in turn governs evolution of the physical body. Last, but not the least, more than 2,000 years before Darwin came up with the Theory of Evolution, the Hindu Puranas described the "Dasha Avataras"— the ten Avatars, or incarnations, of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is said to assume an avatar at various periods in history to guide creation and to preserve the eternal dharma which is necessary to sustain and uphold the universe. God is described in the earliest of creation to have taken the avatar of a fish, followed by a tortoise (amphibian), boar, half man-half lion, short human (scientists only recently found that early humans were likely short-statured), and then a warrior with an axe. The latter incarnations are the well known avatars of Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, and Lord Buddha as the most recent. The future and the tenth avatara is Kalki slated to appear towards the end of the present Kaliyuga. The British geneticist and evolutionary biologist J.B.S. Haldane observed that the Dash Avataras provide a true sequential depiction of the great unfolding of evolution. The avatars of Vishnu show an uncanny similarity to the biological theory of evolution of life on earth.

Pradeep Srivastava

Albany, CA

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