Carl Sagan on Hinduism

I’ve written before about how influential Carl Sagan was in my childhood. Not only his views of science and philosophy but also his views on religion. My interest in Hinduism goes far back into my elementary school years when I discovered that there was a religion that had such a enormous vision of cosmos.

I had to find out more. Rather than the universe being only a few thousand years old (as I had learned in church), Hindus believed that the universe was billions and billions of years old – and that there were an infinite number of universes previous to this one! That was a view of the world that truly encompassed the scale of a divine creator; not a small god that had only been around for a few years, interested only in the affairs of a few, special people on one small planet. I had discovered that there was another way of thinking.

It was Carl Sagan that helped me first awaken that sense of complete awe at the scale of universe. Though Sagan was an agnostic, I get the feeling if he were to have chosen a religion, Hinduism would have been it. Here is the clip from Cosmos that I saw when I was a kid. His sense of child-like wonder and fascination is as infectious today as it was then. Enjoy!

Comments (7):

  1. Dhriti

    February 1, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I am huge Sagan fan. Thanks for the video. Also what a great blog you have…

    Reply
  2. Chandra Shekhar Das

    May 17, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Thanks a million for the video. I’ve seen a clip of this video in a documentary called “VEDIC COSMOLOGY” produced by ISKON. I consider Carl Sagan to be the greatest Cosmologist ever.

    Reply
  3. kesh

    September 19, 2009 at 7:47 am

    thank you for that wonderful carl sagan clip.i was pleasantly surprised as i had a dream about “pongal” and to find the answer accidentally whilst browsing your site was exciting… thank you…

    Reply
  4. Salkia

    January 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    The “Hindus” beleived in a universe which had an age of 314 trillion years! A day and night of Brahma estimates to around 8.64 million years and the common beleif was that the age of the Earth was around a day of Brahma, ie 4.32 billion years old!

    Reply
  5. Jai

    August 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Actually the current mathematical calculation is still is inaccurate (pertaining to the number of years or age as explained in hinduism) because most people do not account account for deva-years and human years. 1 human year is 1 day for the devas. Considering that mathematical logic the number of years or age of the universe goes far beyond the current popular belief (in hindu cosmology). BTW the video no longer works.

    Reply
  6. Matthew

    August 12, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks Jai! I’ve added the video back.

    Reply
  7. stormchaser1983

    August 22, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Great video…..while obviously hinduism got it wrong here, there is one crucial aspect: the ancients realized that science >> superstition and sought to view religion and philosophy through math, science and facts. All c.a 4000BCE, when the rest of the world had desert tribes fighting each other…and boy did they do their best! My goal in life is carry forward this vision of my forefathers as I complete my phd here in the US…..

    Reply

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