Michael A. Cremo, New York based freelance researcher declares that he has unearthed archaeological evidence to prove that humans have existed on this planet for millions of years.
Michael A. Cremo, New York based freelance researcher declares that he has unearthed archaeological evidence to prove that humans have existed on this planet for millions of years. Mr. Cremo’s attempt to link his findings with the Vedic perspective on human origins has been instrumental for serious deliberations in the academic community all over the globe. At a time when the Pope declared that the Church supported the Darwinian theory of evolution, which is contradictory the concept of evolution described in the Bible, the alternative theory of evolution propounded by Mr.Cremo assumes significance. In his path breaking book, Forbidden Archeology; The Hidden History of human race, questioning the Darwinian theory of evolution, Mr.Cremo expounds an alternative theory of evolution. He asserts that the crucial archaeological evidence was ignored by the so called scientific community simply because it contradicted the established Theory of Evolution. To the question, if we did not evolve from apes, from where did we come from, Mr. Cremo, supporting the ancient wisdom of the Vedic seers says, “We did not evolve up from matter; instead we evolved, or came down, from the realm of pure consciousness, spirit.” Basing his arguments on modern science and the world’s great wisdom traditions, including the Vedic philosophy of ancient India, in his book ‘Human Devolution,’ written as a sequel to Forbidden Archeology, Cremo asserts that humans are a combination of matter, mind and consciousness (spirit). The book shows how a subtle mind element and a conscious self that can exist apart from the body have been systematically eliminated from main stream science.
He identifies himself as a Vedic creationist and an alternative archeologist and argues that humans have lived on the earth billions of years. After attending George Washington University from 1966 to 1968, he served in the United States Navy. In 1973 on receiving a copy of Bhagavad Gita, Cremo decided to devote his life to Krishna. Attracted by the teachings of the Gita, he became a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and the Bhaktivedanta Institute. He has written several books and articles about Hindu spirituality under the name Drutakarma dasa. He has also been a contributing editor to the magazine Back to Godhead and a bhakti yoga teacher. His remarkable work on "Puranic Time and the Archaeological Record" was published in ISKCON Communications Journal and Time and Archaeology.
Mr. Cremo has organized a number of conferences where academics exchanged views and experiences. After his first visit in 1979, he has visited India several times from Amritsar, Rishikesh and Vrindaban in the north, to Kanya Kumari, Trivandrum, and Chennai in the south, mostly visiting holy tirthas sacred to Lord Krishna. On many occasions, he has addressed at universities and scientific institutions, such as the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, IIT Chennai, IIT Mumbai, Benaras Hindu University, University of Kolkata, University of Kerala, etc.
Excerpts from an exclusive email interview with Kerala based senior journalist Pradeep Krishnan.
1. How you got attracted towards Hinduism? What was the turning point in your life?
The turning point was when I received a copy of Bhagavad-gita from a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in 1973.
2. Tell us about your Guru? How did you find your Guru or rather how your Guru chose you?
My guru is His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977). In 1965 he opened his first center in New York City and several Americans joined him as disciples. I first found my guru in the copy of the ‘Bhagavad Gita As it is’ that I received as a young man.
3. Tell us about your journey from Michael A Cremo to Drutakarmadasa?
I liked the ‘Bhagavad Gita As It Is’. After that I visited one of the ISKCON centers and was surprised to see American young people living the teachings of the Gita. That really impressed me. After some time, I decided to live in an ISKCON centre, practicing bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion to Lord Krishna. I had the chance to hear some lectures by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada when he was visiting an ISKCON center in America and I became his initiated disciple in 1976 and received from him the name Drutakarma Dasa.
4. What are your views on Bhagavad Gita?
I see the Bhagavad Gita as summarizing the essential spiritual teachings of the Vedas. I find it significant that it is presented as a dialog between Arjuna and Lord Krishna. In the course of the dialog, Arjuna presents many questions and doubts, to which Lord Krishna replies. Many philosophical positions are examined before the final conclusion is reached. So I liked it very much that the teachings of the Gita were presented in the text not as some dogmas, but as some conclusions reached after thorough intellectual discussion.
5. What are your views on the Vedas, the ancient texts of India? It is often alleged that they only contain a bundle of superstitions?
Veda means knowledge. There are different kinds of knowledge, the highest being knowledge of the true nature of the self. Of course, there are several schools of Vedic thought. I confess to being a follower of the Vaishnava school of thought, which holds that the true nature of the self is eternal servant of the Supreme Self, God. The teachings are scientific, in the sense that they give procedures by which the truth of the teachings can be personally verified and experienced.
6. Tell us about ‘Forbidden Archeology’ which has attracted attention from some mainstream scholars as it touches the ancient wisdom of Vedic masters of India. . However some describe it as pseudo science. What are your comments?
Among the Vedic literatures are the historical writings, which are collectively called the Puranas. The Puranas present an account of human antiquity different from that currently accepted by most archeologists. Today, most archeologists believe that the first humans like us appeared less than 200,000 years ago, having evolved from more primitive apelike human ancestors. But the Puranas contain accounts of humans existing many millions of years ago, going back to the very beginnings of life on earth. All over India, one can find places where events in human history took place in different yugas, millions of years ago. Many people take such accounts of extreme human antiquity as mythological, because they do not see any archeological evidence for it. It is true that one will not find such archeological evidence in the current textbooks. I decided, however, to look beyond the textbooks. I spent eight years researching the original scientific reports by archeologists and geologists, from the time of Darwin to the present. When I did that I found many reports of discoveries of human bones, human footprints, and human artifacts millions of years old. These reports are not mentioned in the current textbooks, because of what I call a process of knowledge filtration that operates in the world of science. I collected these reports of archeological evidence for extreme human antiquity, consistent with the Vedic histories, in my book Forbidden Archeology, and its abridged edition The Hidden History of the Human Race. I have presented many papers about these things at major international scientific conferences. Some of these papers have been appeared in peer reviewed scientific publications. I have also spoken about this topic at scientific institutions and universities around the world. Of course, my views are controversial in the world of science, so I also have my critics.
7. Your book ‘Human Devolution’ seeks to offer Vedic alternative to Darwin’s theory. Tell us briefly about the book.
The archeological evidence in my book Forbidden Archeology contradicts the Darwinian theory of human origins. So my readers naturally asked, “What are you proposing as an alternative?” To answer that question I wrote Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory. Most of the Darwinist scientists believe that we are machines made of matter, machines made of molecules. They believe that our consciousness is produced by chemicals in the brain. They believe that when the chemicals stop interacting in the brain at the time of death, consciousness ceases to exist. But according to the Vedas we are not just machines made of matter. The Vedas say “aham brahmasmi,” I am spirit, pure consciousness. This consciousness is not produced by matter. It exists independently from matter. In my book I review the scientific evidence for this. But although consciousness is by nature independent from matter, it can come into association with matter. That is our current condition. So as conscious beings, we do not evolve up from matter, as many scientists now believe. Instead, we devolve, or come down, from the level of pure consciousness. But the process can be reversed, and consciousness can be restored to its original pure state, free from its contact with matter. That is the actual purpose of human life.
8. Your views on vegetarianism?
I follow a spiritual vegetarian diet. When I accepted initiation from my guru, I promised never to eat meat, fish, or eggs (and also no onions and no garlic). In this way, one avoids the karmic reactions that come from killing animals. From Bhagavad Gita, I learned that a truly spiritual person eats only food that has been offered first to God. That is called prasada, the mercy of God, and it is free of karma. So for about forty years I have been following this spiritual vegetarian diet. I think it is good from the point of view of spirituality, health, ethics, and the environment.
9. World over Hindu philosophy is gaining wider acceptance. However, in India, teaching/studying Hindu philosophy and its sacred texts are considered anti-secular- Your comments?
The secular states all over the world have not been able to stop crime, political corruption, unemployment, recessions, depressions, war, social conflict, environmental degradation and so many other problems. And of course there are the larger problems of birth, death, old age, and disease that confront everyone, even in the secular state. A true understanding of the Vedic teachings offers us not only the chance to elevate consciousness beyond the cycle of birth and death but also the chance to live in this world in the best way possible, even from the secular point of view.
10. While Indian philosophy, culture and life style are getting more and more acceptance in the West, we Indians are busy aping the West- Your comments?
People all over the world are no longer so isolated from each other. They are exposed to different cultural influences. Sometimes people take the worst influences, not the best. Eventually, I think that genuine quality wins. People in India need to be selective in the influences they accept from the West. My guru Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada many times gave the example of the blind man and the lame man. He said that the West is like the blind man. The West has no proper vision of the actual goal of human life, but is very well developed from the material point of view. And India is like the lame man. It has the proper vision, but is hampered by lack of material development. So the two can help each other. The West can get from India the proper vision, and India can get from the West some ideas for material development.
11. Nowadays, spiritual leaders, particularly Hindu saints, make it a point to tell that all religions are the same. However, Christian and Muslim religious leaders/ scholars assert that ‘salvation’ is possible only through their chosen path. What are your comments?
The ultimate spiritual truth is that we are all beings of pure consciousness, emanating from the source of all conscious beings, God. We are meant to exist in loving harmony with all conscious beings and with the source of all conscious beings. That is the ideal state, and that is what is taught by the higher forms of religion. So a person in the ideal state will be able to recognize that true spirituality in whatever religious form it might appear, just like a person who knows what gold is will recognize gold in pieces of jewelry of different size and shape, or in different coins stamped with the symbols of different nations.
12. We have been continuously destroying our planet earth by our actions? What is the solution? Even though we worship the river Ganga, at several places it has been completely polluted. Why this paradox; while Hindus worship the rivers/mountains/tress, we indiscriminately act against our mother nature. What is the solution?
I addressed questions like this in a book that I wrote with Mukunda Goswani, titled Divine Nature: A Spiritual Perspective on the Environmental Crisis. The key is to understand that nature is God’s energy. In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says He is the source of everything and that matter, in its various forms, is one of His divine energies. He says in the Gita that among rivers He is the Ganges, among mountains He is the Himalaya. God has provided all these things for us. So we should take care of them. Imagine that some astronauts are in space, in a space station that has been supplied by their government at great expense and effort. And they begin to ruin the water systems, the air systems, and the other life support systems in the space station their government has given them. Is that intelligent? No, they should use everything in such a way that the systems are preserved.
13. Your message to our readers?
Thank you for your attention. I am grateful to have received from India a light that continues to guide me on my path.