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Five Most Baffling and Confounding Texts In Religious Scriptures

Symbols of the major religions of the world. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Symbols of the major religions of the world. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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Religious scriptures of various religions from around the world are some of the oldest surviving written works in existence today. From the ancient Indo-Aryan hymns of the Rigveda (3,000 B.C. – 5,000 B.C.) to the liturgical texts of the Avesta (2,900 B.C.), these ancient tomes provide us with a wondrous glimpse of the world of our ancestors at the dawn of civilization.

While religious texts are certainly no stranger to controversies and heated debates, there exists a handful of lines within them that are just simply too baffling and too wild to process; verses that defy all manner of rational explanations.

Now that your curiosity has been sufficiently aroused, why don’t we put on our skeptic hats and jump right in?

Note: While reading the list below, please keep in mind the level of knowledge and the grasp of science and mathematics of humanity during the period when they were written.

1. A Passenger Aircraft in the Ramayana

Ramayana (The Epic of Rama) is a voluminous Hindu religious scripture whose exact age and historicity remains a matter of debate. Written over a period of at least several hundred years, among its 24,060 verses, two, in particular, stand out.

Book 3, Canto 35 (Book of Forest), Verse 19 and 20:

While Ravana, the brother of Kubera, is quickly transiting he saw everywhere the whitish and widish aircrafts belonging to the deified souls who acquired higher worlds, and from those aircrafts adorned with divine flowery tassels and piloted by the wish of their steersmen, instrumental and vocal music is resonating, and gandharva-s are singing and apsara-s are dancing in them.”

Book 5, Canto 7 (Book of Beauty), Verse 11:

There the great Hanuma saw a great aerial car, the best among best of aerial cars, shining with the name of Pushpaka with the rays of precious stones, and capable of traveling long distances.”

There is no other way to see this. Basically, these two passages speak about a mentally-operated passenger aircraft that is capable of traveling long distances. As a bonus, it also comes with piped-in music and inflight entertainment!

Even if we consider the latest estimate when the Ramayana was written, between 500 and 200 B.C., that is still a good 2,100 years before the Wright brothers built the first sustained flying aircraft!

A painting by Sahib Din dated circa 1649 to 1652 depicting the armies of Lord Rama and Hanumanin in a battle against the forces of Ravana. Image courtesy of the British Library.
A painting by Sahib Din dated circa 1649 to 1652 depicting the armies of Lord Rama and Hanuman in a battle against the forces of Ravana. Image courtesy of the British Library.

2. Flying Saucers and Aliens in the Bible?

The Book of Ezekiel, part of the Old Testament, was believed to have been completed by the Prophet Ezekiel around 572 B.C. The book recounts the prophecies and visions of Prophet Ezekiel after he was exiled to the ancient city of Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar II.

The book began with a descriptive narrative by Ezekiel detailing a visit by God near the Chebar (known today as the Khabur River). Unlike other visits detailed in the Bible, this particular one had some very peculiar characteristics about it, as detailed in verses 1 to 28 of the first chapter.

The verses described the approach of an amber-colored wheel-like structure (“and the appearance of the wheels” and “their work was as it were a wheel in the midst of a wheel”) from the sky (“the heavens were opened”) in a blazing vortex of fire (“and a fire infolding it” and “out of the midst of the fire, as it were the resemblance of amber”), light (“and brightness was about it”) and wind (“whirlwind came out of the north”).

The wheel-like structure, which canonical Christian belief attributes as a divine pavilion bearing the likeness of the glory of God and His angels, was bathed in fire and flashes of lightning (“a bright fire, and lightning going forth from the fire”). The humanoid occupants atop the structure, meanwhile, were darting around atop the structure (“the living creatures ran and returned like flashes of lightning” and “when the living creatures went, the wheels also went together by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels also were lifted up with them”).

So compelling were these texts, the late Josef F. Blumrich, a NASA aerospace engineer, gambled with his professional career by publishing The Spaceships of Ezekiel, a book which forwarded the theory of an extra-terrestrial visit instead of a divine one.

If you would let your mind wander a little, it doesn’t take a huge leap to envision jet-powered flying saucers hovering above Ezekiel!

3. The Theoretical Physics of the Jains

At a little over four million adherents, Jainism is the ninth-largest religion in the world. An off-shoot of Hinduism, Jains consider the Agamas, written somewhere between the 6th and 4th century B.C., as its most sacred scriptures. They are a compendium of the oral teachings of the 24th, last and greatest Tirthankara (spiritual leader), Mahavira (599 B.C. – 527 B.C.).  These sutras (books), essentially communicate a philosophy of nonviolence, asceticism and the metaphysical aspects of life.

One of the books, the Tattvartha Sutra, written by the Archarya (Spiritual Guide) Umaswati circa 200 B.C., an age where theoretical physics was still at an embryonic stage, contained the following dizzying verses:

Tattvartha Sutra, Chapter 5, Verse 25 – 30:

“The elementary particle and the stock (a number of elementary particles under one unified identity) are the two main divisions of matter. The stocks are formed by division (fission), union (fusion) and division-cum-union. The elementary particle is produced only by division (fission) of stock. The stock produced by the combined action of division (fission) and union (fusion) can be perceived by the eyes. Existence of a substance is characterized by origination (production), disappearance (destruction) and permanence.”

Sounds like something that would fit in right inside a physics textbook, right?

4. The 18,000 Planets of the Jewish Talmud

The Talmud is one of the most crucial resources of rabbinical and Jewish studies. Divided into the Mishnah (historical, oral and lore, up to 220A.D.) and Gemara (commentary, up to the fifth century A.D.), the Talmud provides legal, social, political and traditional interpretations of Judaism.

There are two versions of the Talmud; the Yerushalmi (Talmud of Jerusalem, compiled circa 400A.D.) and the more comprehensive Talmud Babli (Talmud of Babylon, compiled circa 600 A.D.).

It is in the Talmud Babli where we will find the following statement, one that indicates that a segment of the Jewish community has long accepted the idea that earth was not the only planet in the universe. In fact, some scholars even believe that the verse is an indication of the existence of extraterrestrial life!

Séder N’zikin: Avoda Zara 3b-22

If you like you may say, the kind of thing He does by day; or it may be said that He rides a light cherub, and floats in eighteen thousand worlds; for it is said, The chariots of God are myriads, even thousands shinan.

5. Of Armed Aliens, Time Travel, Mother-Deity and the Realm of Barbelo In The Christian Apocrypha

A large number of Gnostic (spiritual) texts, for one reason or another, were excluded from the canon of orthodox churches. These texts are usually referred to as the New Testament Apocrypha and Old Testament Apocrypha, written by ancient Christian and Jewish scholars respectively.

The First Apocalypse of James (also known as The Secret Book of James and Revelation of Jacob), is one of the New Testament Apocrypha. Believed to have been written within several centuries of the death of Christ, it was discovered in the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945 by a farmer.

The text consists primarily of a dialogue between Jesus and his spiritual brother, James the Just, one of the leaders of the ultra-conservative Christian movement in the decades following former’s death. The most striking thing about their exchange is the reference to an armed alien race called archons, who apparently are intent on preventing James from ascending to one of the 72 heavens!

The Lord said, “These are the seventy-two heavens, which are their subordinates. These are the powers of all their might; and they were established by them; and these are they who were distributed everywhere, existing under the authority of the twelve archons.

“James said, “Rabbi, in what way shall I reach Him-who-is, since all these powers and these hosts are armed against me?” He said to me, “These powers are not armed against you specifically, but are armed against another. It is against me that they are armed. And they are armed with other powers. But they are armed against me in judgment.

 […] “They are not entirely alien, but they are from Achamoth, who is the female. And these she produced as she brought down the race from the Pre-existent One. So then they are not alien, but they are ours. They are indeed ours because she who is mistress of them is from the Pre-existent One. At the same time they are alien because the Pre-existent One did not have intercourse with her, when she produced them.”

And then there is the Apocryphon of John (also known as The Secret Book of John), probably the most important of the gnostic texts. Written circa the second century A.D, its style is reminiscent of the metaphysics-laden Vedic scriptures. The Apocryphon of John was originally meant for advance students of Christianity, delving into the cosmological structure of the universe. Astonishingly, it also introduces the concept of an androgynous mother-deity from the realm of Barbelo, from whence God and the Holy Spirit, originated from!

The Teaching of the Savior, The Origin of Reality:

“His self-aware thought (ennoia) came into being.

Appearing to him in the effulgence of his light, she stood before him.

 This, then, is the first of the powers, prior to everything.

Arising out of the mind of the Father, the Providence (pronoia) of everything.

Her light reflects His light.

 

She is from His image in His light

Perfect in power, image of the invisible perfect Virgin Spirit.

 

She is the initial power, glory of Barbelo

Glorious among the realms, glory of revelation

 

She gave glory to the Virgin Spirit

She praised Him, for she arose from Him.”

The term Barbelo was also used by Judas Iscariot in the controversial Gospel of Judas to explain Jesus’ origin. More shockingly, the Gospel contained references to life in other star systems, along with an allusion to time travel!

Judas [said] to Him, “I know who you are and where you have come from. You are from the immortal realm of Barbelo. And I am not worthy to utter the name of the one who has sent you.

Jesus said to them, “I went to another great and holy generation.”

His disciples said to him, “Lord, what is the great generation that is superior to us and holier than us, that is not now in these realms?”

When Jesus heard this, he laughed and said to them, “Why are you thinking in your hearts about the strong and holy generation? [37] Truly [I] say to you, no one born [of] this aeon will see that [generation], and no host of angels of the stars will rule over that generation, and no person of mortal birth can associate with it, because that generation does not come from…

And there you have it, folks; some of the most shocking, astonishing and enigmatic contents inside the surviving religious scriptures of the world. What do YOU think it means?

 

Song of the day: REM- Losing My Religion

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