According to the Battlestar Wiki, at one point in the series the priest Elosha delivers a sermon in Sanskrit, an ancient language of the Indian subcontinent. While trying to figure out how Eastern religion might play into the BSG world and why the writers would choose Sanskrit, especially with a people whose religion is predominantly a polytheistic, Greek-like belief system – I came across some interesting connections with Hinduism, the major religion of the Indian subcontinent (and the third largest in the world).
Prominent themes in Hinduism include Dharma (individual ethics, duties and obligations), SamsÄra (rebirth), Karma (right action), and Moksha (deliverance from the cycle of birth and death).
What interests me most here in relation to BSG is Moksha – deliverance from the cycle of birth and death. Although the Sanskrit/Hindu reference was made by a human priest in the show, this concept sounds very much like the Cylons’ continual cycle of resurrection. It’s quite possible that, in their quest to be closer to God, they are also trying to be released from this cycle, which we know can be physically painful for them but must also be mentally torturous at times.
Again from Wikipedia:
When the cycle of rebirth thus comes to an end, a person is said to have attained Moksha or Nirvana. While all schools of thought agree that moksha implies the cessation of worldly desires and freedom from the cycle of birth and death, the exact definition of Moksha depends on individual beliefs. For example, followers of the Advaita Vedanta school… believe that they will spend eternity absorbed in the perfect peace and happiness… andwill no longer identify themselves as individual persons, but will see the “Self” (Ätman) as a part of the infinite ocean of Divinity (Brahman).
Perhaps Moksha, or Nirvana, is the same concept as whatever the Cylons are searching for. Most of the flesh Cylonsseem to be on a spiritual quest, and these guys go through the cycle of rebirth more than anyone else in that universe so far. D’Anna has shown her belief that through this cycle there is something greater to be learned about the nature of life itself. And the Hybrid’s existence between states of machine and organic life, as well as her/its ability to prophecy, may also indicate a special significance to that rebirth process.
As is often the case, I know just enough about the topic to get excited and make a few connections, but not enough to speak coherently about it. But there’s one other interesting point – when talking briefly with the Rev. Dr. Wichelns (who will be this week’s guest on the podcast), he confirmed that the concept of “this has all happened before and will all happen again” is one of Hindu origin.