Godhood: Distributed or Centralized Service?

Godhood: Distributed or Centralized Service?

This article was originally a reply to a mail that asked the following question:

Quote:

Now the problem: Why cannot there be more than one  {say 2 or 3}

independents (Gods)?

 

This is a classic problem of distributed systems. For those who are not

familiar with distributed systems, the following 2 sentences may be useful.

  1. A server serves a client. (For crude e.g.: You connect to rediff.com. Your computer is the client and a server machine in rediff is the server).
  2. There may actually be many servers in rediff, one of which will serve you. All servers in rediff will, however, have the same content among them.

So, which server is serving you does not matter.

OK, so lets take God to be a server and all of us (Jivas, Jadas and Lakshmi)

to be clients who want Godhood from Him.

 

The extremes of such a system are:

 

  • All of us are God ourselves (as Advaitha claims). That is to say, there

is no client-server idea at all. All of us are inherently servers, with all

knowledge. (Only we are not working due to Maya). This is completely

’peer-to-peer’ as the jargon goes.

OR

  • There is one God to whom we all put forth our requests and He is capable

of running the show with databases of each one of us, and without crashing

down even once. Not even coming down for maintenance.

 

The intermediate optimization in case of man-made servers is distribution of

the workload among servers and robustness to avoid single point failure.

That is, rediff may have a server for all guys in India, one for all in US.

We need to see if this kind of distribution is possible in case of a service

called Godhood (don’t take the term “service” seriously :).

 

If we want to distribute rediff servers, the first question is: “How many

servers to deploy?” This has to be greater than or equal to 2. Now, how do

we decide what is an optimum number of Gods? Lets begin with a modest number

of 2, and see if there can be two Gods who are independent and equal in all

respects.

 

Just as a server has some characteristics, God should have certain basic

characteristics such as:

  1. Omnipotence – should have unlimited power otherwise He cannot be God. (If He has limited powers, then He is no different from me, as I too have limited powers.)
  2. Omniscient – all knowing, otherwise I can also be God.
  3. Omnipresent – present everywhere.
  4. Faultless…. and so on ad infinitum.

Now, two entities (say servers S1 and S2) exist as separate entities only

if they differ from each other in some characteristics. S1 and S2 should do

different work otherwise the very purpose of having S1 and S2, instead of

just one server, is defeated.

 

Lets take the characteristic of Omnipotence. If one God has infinite power,

there is no requirement for another to share the workload. Infact if there

are two Gods, and assuming that they are amicable, the second one would be

redundant. In case of a server, redundancy is required only if the first

server fails. But a God is defined to be faultless (Dosha rahita). So there

is no use for a second redundant God.

 

Omniscience: All knowing. Two servers need a protocol to update their

databases. That is, if S1 changes its information tank, then S1 should

inform S2 about that change, so that S2 can also make that change. Two Gods

cannot have this kind of info exchange. Infact, they should have knowledge of

the change before it happens. That is, they have all data from past, present

and future. So if they are working on the same data, there is no use for two

of them. [Note that they cannot work differently on the same data because of

the following reasoning: We refer to God as an ultimate entity to resolve

all issues. Now if there are two authorities (Gods) to resolve issues, they

should resolve at least one issue differently, in order to be considered as

two authorities. If they have no two standpoints on any issue, they are very

much the same authority. (Difference is fundamental and foundational).

However, if they have differing viewpoints, then there must be an authority

above them to resolve their conflict. This is impossible as we consider a

God to be supreme. By the way, I never heard of two Supremes.]

 

Omnipresence: The need for omnipresence is almost an offshoot of God’s

omniscience. If He is all-knowing, He needs to be all-pervading to know all.

However, if there are two Gods, the very purpose of having two is served only

if one looks after one set of places and the other, the remaining places.

This makes both the Gods “not in-charge” of some places. This is not

permissible as this limits the omnipresence of a God.

 

Any entity is known by its characteristics (swaroopa guna). Two entities

exist as two entities only if they differ from each other in at least one

aspect (characteristic). Otherwise, they are the same entity.

 

In case of God, all His attributes are superlative. For another God to exist,

He too should have all attributes in the superlative degree, which will make

Him nothing but the first God. So we cannot really have two Gods.

 

Dvaita followers are very much advaitins in recognizing different forms of God.

They find no difference in two of His forms. His Matsya avatar and Krishna

avatar are no different in terms of His knowledge content and His

jurisprudence. So when we say He is not different in His avatars, we mean

that His knowledge bank and the capacity to use them are not different in

those avatars.

 

In technical terms:

“I” think of His avatars as multiple instances of the same program, sharing

the same memory, but without synchronization problems. Further, every

instance of this program has complete knowledge of what is happening in

every other instance. So Godhood is a unique combination of distributed and

centralized systems.

These are the reasonings that “I” (note I in double quotes) use to convince myself about the one-God requirement. As Madhva says in his vishNu tattva nirNaya – yukti or logic can be used only to convince oneself of core issues and logic is not the final authority to validate knowledge.

Hope the analogy above is of use.

Anand!

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