Scientists have said that our universe was created when a big bang occurred due to an explosion of a singularity (a huge body with infinite density) that exploded due to its internal pressure and heat. This is what the Vedic texts suggest- The Cosmic Egg or Hiranya Garba (Golden Egg) exploded with its debris forming the universe including our own galaxy, the Milky Way. The oldest extant text in the world is the Rig Veda and this mentions such a Cosmic Egg from which the universe evolved. Scientists have estimated this to have happened 14 billion years ago. The Rig Veda states that this was the infinite Universal energy (Brahman) and our universe is nothing but a manifestation of this energy pervading space. It is this energy that animates all living beings and these beings cannot move unless there is a relatively stationary body. In view of this, the inert body also is part of this universal energy.
Now, we know about the famous equation of Albert Einstein, probably the greatest scientist of all time. This equation states- E = mc2 where E is energy, m is mass and c is the velocity of light. This clearly posits that everything in this universe is only energy in different forms. We may say that a pound of flesh and a pound of wood or steel or anything else contains the same energy content. All beings are therefore essentially inert and it is only this energy that animates them. This energy is what we call soul or atman, nous and so on. The inert body is latent energy that gets animated by the active energy of the soul.
All living beings including the millions of different species are but products evolving out of cells. A single cell organism becomes twin cell and so on. This includes amoeba and they all came out of water. In the Vedic Tradition the first being to evolve was fish and this evolution has been classified into nine divine incarnations. Wherever there is water, such cells develop and water is found on earth due to various factors and many other planets in our solar system and in this universe and wherever water is found life could exist. A detailed discussion of this subject is beyond the scope of his monograph.
We mentioned Brahman or Universal Energy that is stated in the Veda. (Veda refers to Rig Veda only since other Vedas are derived from it, codified by Veda Vyasa in the fourth Century BCE). Rig Veda is timeless and is said to be apaurusheya or not made by man. That is why it is known as sruti (that which is heard). All other texts in Hindu Scriptures are known as smrti (that which originates in the mind). The Rishis of the Veda apparently heard these Vedic hymns from space due to their austerities. We understand that scientists are trying to reproduce Jesus Christ’s voice from space. Be that as it may, it is said that there have been hundreds of thousands of these hymns and by the time of Veda Vyasa, only about ten thousand odd hymns survived due its being an oral transmission by the Rishis to their sons or disciples over many millennia. This was apparently the reason for Veda Vyasa to get the hymns codified by his disciples. The details of this could be read in this author’s book The Holy Book Of The Hindus (Amazon Kindle edition, available worldwide).
Coming back to the Veda, we have a verse that refers to that which is permanent and that which is impermanent or ephemeral. This verse-
Nityanitya vastu viveka
नित्यानित्य वास्तु विवेक
Discrimination between what is permanent and what is not. Since everything in this universe has a limited shelf life, it is clear that all matter is transitory. The stars, planets and other stellar bodies have a limited life of some million years or so after which they perish. Scientists tell us that about 94% of the universe is filled with anti-matter and all matter is only energy in different states like, latent, kinetic, heat etc. This is why another verse states-
Brahma satyam jagan mithya, jivo brahmaiva naparah
ब्रह्म सत्यं जगन्मिथ्या जीवो ब्रह्मैव नापरः
Only Brahman is real and permanent and the universe with its names and forms (all living beings with the soul or atman) is impermanent or illusory only to perish over time. The universe is illusory because it exists for a limited time, always undergoing change eventually disappearing.
Now we shall discuss what Vedanta really means. The Vedantic principles are enunciated in the prasthana traya that consists of the Bhagavad Gita, Brahma Sutra and the Upanishads that are part of the Vedic corpus. The Veda itself consists of three parts- Brahmana, Samhita and Aranyaka (containing the Upanishads, the last part of the Veda). The Vedantic principles are detailed in the above texts. These are however based on the first and last part of the Veda itself as is evident from the verse-
Yo vedodvau svarah prokto vedantecha pratistithah
यो वेदादौस्वर प्रोक्तो वेदान्ते च प्रतिष्ठितः
The first and last part of the Veda establishes the principles of Vedanta. This is the real source of wisdom. Vedanta means ultimate knowledge. (veda= knowledge, anta= ultimate). What Vedanta means is described in the verse quoted in the previous paragraph.
Hundreds of Rishis of yore transcended the frontiers of human knowledge and heard the Vedic hymns and transmitted them for posterity. These mantra vibrations were found to have positive effects on those chanting them but also to the world. Just as we accept the words of scientists and experts in different fields, we accept the effects of Vedic chants as positive and beneficial to us and the world at large. We also accept telepathy, psychic cures, and such phenomena though we cannot understand them. We also know that music played near a plant helps it to grow faster and the same music also quietens our minds. Music is a form of meditation like the chanting of mantras.
Sound is at the back of all creation. Sound is heard by us because of its vibrations; and like music, the Vedic chants and their vibrations also affect us quite beneficially. Sound is a movement of varying vibrations just like light which is a movement of waves or particles depending on how we observe them. Light too has a positive effect in our lives since darkness makes life difficult if not impossible. We cannot hear sounds that are converted to electric waves. Science has come to the point of recognizing all sound to be electromagnetic waves. The man who sees and listens, his brain sees or listens as electric waves. Even our thinking process is a kind of electrical energy. Brahman, the Universal Energy, comes in different forms, light, sound and the Atman that animates all life. Once this is understood, we would see that all life forms are only due to this energy that has its source in Brahman. Even non-living matter has the same energy content based on its mass as explained by Einstein.
The Rig Veda has a creation hymn, Nasadiya Sukta (10th Mandala, 129th Sukta). The third verse in this Sukta states: ‘That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing, arose at last, born of the power of heat’. This clearly suggests the explosion of the One due to heat, confirming our thesis. We have not quoted the entire hymn but the seventh verse is worth mentioning here: ‘Whence all creation had its origin; He, whether He fashioned it or whether He did not, He who surveys it all from highest heavens, He only knows- or maybe He even does not know’. All religions believe in such divine voices and the Rig Veda appears to be the most authentic and credible in respect of the creation of the universe.
Our universe is said to contain a billion galaxies like our own Milky Way, each having a billion stars. Well the numbers may be estimates only based on data from NASA and other sources. However, if we look at our own Solar System with its planets orbiting the sun, we find that it is like a dot in a corner of the Milky Way Galaxy. It is mind boggling to even envisage such a picture. Imagine a billion such galaxies like our own! All the astral bodies are in a state of flux, always moving around the central Black Hole. Now this black hole is said to have a property that makes anything that passes it is absorbed in it, never to come out. This includes light. In the Bhagavad Gita 15.6, Sri Krishna states that his abode is such that nothing that comes near it ever comes out of it after being absorbed in it. This is somewhat like a Black Hole. Stars are dying all the time and new ones are being formed and we have clusters of galaxies hundreds of time the size of our Milky Way far away in space that has been discovered recently.
It is said that the universe is limitless but bound, more like a Klein’s bottle. If it is bound, the question arises as to what is beyond it. This is a matter of infinite regression. That is why the Veda says that nothing but Infinite energy is there and all other things we perceive are illusory in the sense of them being transitory. It is something like this: I am and so the universe exists, and if I am not there, there is nothing at all. All this appearance is deceptive. Everything is relative and nothing could be said to exist without an observer. It is something like Schrodinger’s Cat Experiment. It suggested immense power to the observer- a cat in a sealed container holding a radioactive atom that could decay releasing cyanide, killing the cat. By the rules of Quantum Mechanics, the atom was both decayed and not decayed until someone looked inside. This meant that the cat was alive and dead till someone observed it.
Einstein often wondered whether God had any choice in creating the world. In the end, God probably had only a game of dice. He also said: ‘As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality’. Schrödinger shows logically that the Vedantic truth of one single consciousness answers the problem of consciousness in modern physics. He argued: “The individual consciousness of ‘I’ makes our body function. But who runs the heart, lungs etc when we are in deep sleep or unconscious? The only possible inference is that ‘I’ (in the widest sense) am the person, who controls the ‘motion of the atoms’ according to the laws of nature”. He also said that ‘consciousness is never experienced in the plural, only in singular’. Stephen Weinberg’s famous aphorism is ‘the more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless’.
Particle physicists show that the world is just a manifestation of one thing, a force or energy-a loop of energy wriggling in ten-dimensional hyperspace. This comes closest to the Vedic idea that says it is Brahman the Universal Energy. Vedic Mathematics in the Maheshwara Sutra gives details of the ten dimensions. “Geometrical reality extends beyond three dimensions and higher dimensional spaces exist in the space-time continuum. Thus continuum property of the ratio of content and frame is expressed as- an / 2nan-1, where, a is a parameter and n an integer. The Vedic revelation is about human beings on 2,4,5,6 or 7 dimensional space packages compacted at three dimensions. (Please see S.K. Kapoor’s Vedic Geometry, Arya Book House, New Delhi). This indicates that the universe is unknowable like the Omega or OM as explained in the Vedic Tradition. John Archibald Wheeler suggested: ‘I do take 100% seriously the idea that the world is a figment of our imagination’.
(Acknowledgement- The author’s books Science, Philosophy and Religion, Citadel, Calcutta and The Holy Book of The Hindus, Amazon).
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