Saturday, December 19, 2015

Einstein's General Relativity - Leela Revisited (3)

Scientists say that 13.8 billion years back, there was a Big Bang explosion from a single point which has created our expanding Universe.

The mystics reminded them that this was pretty close to the writings in the Rig Veda (1500-2000 BC), the oldest Hindu book of knowledge “There was neither non-existence nor existence then; there was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is beyond. What stirred? Where?” 

This stirring started the game "Leela" called existence. A single golden seed called Hiranyagarbha exploded to begin the formation of our cosmos. Like the acorn has the potential to create a huge Oak tree, so too, the seed Hiranyagarbha had the potential of the Universe.

The Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago and the expansion of the Universe

Mankind has always been fascinated with the study of the cosmos that is so mysterious, vast and unfathomable. In 1609, Galileo made his rudimentary 37mm dia telescope. Since then, scientists have been using rapidly evolving tools and technology to study the Space outside. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is now being made by NASA, which is thousands of times more powerful than earlier telescopes. It will give scientists the opportunity to clearly 'see' cosmic events, as they happen. The Hubble Telescope has been travelling on the Earth’s orbit, while JWST will go all the way out to locations that are 1.5 million kms away and follow the orbit of the Sun. The Universe is revealing more and more. 

Soon the galaxy will open up for more intense scrutiny

All this while, a genius called Einstein was thinking, “Events, even the minutest, take place at specific locations and at certain time. For example, a simple event like brushing one’s teeth or having a bath happens by occupying a certain space and within a particular time line. Thus every event has four dimensions – the three dimensions of space (length, height and depth) and the fourth dimension of time.Our Universe is a space-time continuum that is constantly expanding, thus creating a three dimensional space over a period of 13.8 billion years”. This space and time are interwoven into a single continuum known as space-time, which can be visualised a flat grid. 

In 1915 Einstein realized that this flat space-time grid does not consider the gravitational force of large objects. Massive objects in space like the earth, planets, sun, stars caused a distortion in space-time as the gravity of that object curves the grid. Imagine setting a large cricket ball in the center of a trampoline. The ball would press down into the fabric, causing it to dimple. A marble rolled around the edge would spiral inward toward the body, pulled in much the same way that the gravity of a planet pulls at rocks in space.This is the essence of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.

Image result for black hole sketch

The gravitational force in some objects in the Universe becomes so powerful and pulls down the space-time grid to such an extent that creates “Black Holes” that are so deep and dark that, even light cannot get out. Celestial bodies including stars collapse in these black holes. Because no light can get out, people can't see black holes. They are invisible. Black holes can be big or small, ranging from less than an atom to “supermassive” that are more than 1 million suns together.

Suppose that there is a star about 20 times more massive than the Sun. When this star runs out of fuel, the gravity will overwhelm the natural pressure that the star maintains to keep its shape stable. As the pressure from nuclear reactions collapse, gravity will violently overwhelm and collapse the core. Other layers will be flung into space called supernova. The remaining core collapses into a gravitational singularity- a one-dimensional point which contains infinite mass in an infinitely small space, leading to tremendous energy. The gravity becomes infinite and space-time curves infinitely, and where the laws of physics, as we know them, cease to operate. 

A mention of the black holes was also made in the ancient Indian scripture, Mandukya Upanishad (400 BC) which talks about Vishwaruchi that absorbs everything in the Universe - black hole.
Vedic cosmology has so many eerie parallels with the Western knowledge of the Universe, that Nobel Prize winner and nuclear scientist Niels Bohr once wrote, “I go into the Upanishads to ask questions.” Thus, scientists have started coming round to the view that the mystics were on the right track. They have stopped smirking and their minds have opened to the possibility that the Rishis could be right.

The Puranas- spiritual texts of the mystics (500 to 1500 BC), describes the many worlds or parallel Universes that exist in different planes. It is now that science has started accepting that there could be parallel Universes called Multiverse. “There are vibrations of different Universes right here, right now. We’re just not in tune with it. There are probably other parallel Universes in this living room – this is modern physics. This is the modern interpretation of quantum theory, that many worlds represent reality” says Michio Kaku, one of the greatest modern scientists.

Maybe the time has come for the mystics to assert themselves. 


  1. There is some complex thinking in the Vedas, but to put up this picture that 'they were right all along' is to cherry pick only the bits that you can twist in this way and ignore all the bits that you can't. The Rig Veda was written by people who did not have telescopes and were at best making assumptions about the nature of the universe based on whatever data they had about it, which was negligible.
    You can twist it around retrospectively to make it look like they got it right, but that won't change the fact that these were people who also believed pouring ghee into a fire and mumbling nonsense could get you a result of some sort. Or groveling over stone idols and offering them food could. They also believed there was a demon's head and tail floating around in space called 'Rahu' and 'Ketu'. You may claim this was 'metaphorical' but it wasn't metaphorical to people who were dumb enough to sacrifice food, money and occasionally other, more disposable people to these 'entities'. For every one thing they've "got right", there are a million things they have got horrendously wrong with catastrophic consequences, and get wrong to this day, that betray the colossal levels of ignorance and superstition prevalent in their society.
    If your 'predictions' are generic enough, they can be retrospectively made to fit any outcome. That’s how Nostradamus works. He didn't really predict anything, you know. To a lot of scientists, ancient texts serve as a romantic indulgence; Bohr may as wrong about Upanishads as Newton was about Alchemy or Solomon's temple. I'm willing to bet good money he was. Also, he may have used the Upanishads as a starting point to his thinking, but he didn't find anything conclusive about quantum mechanics there. That was all him. He wouldn't have reached any conclusion if he'd limited himself to the Upanishads. You're essentially mistaking a charitable nod for a fact and an acknowledgement of non-existent superiority. Try not to be so arrogant.
    The Greek philosopher Democritus spoke about atoms comprising matter long before anyone else. But the atoms he spoke about are very different from the modern view of them. There is a huge difference between the two concepts, and apart from the most basic, superficial similarity they don't have all that much in common. He certainly had no idea what the strong and weak forces were, nor did he say anything about the nature of electrons.
    Similarly, there may be some cursory similarity between an acorn giving rise to an oak and the big bang, but I assure you they are completely different and unrelated processes. Everything we know of has a beginning and an ending, and grows from a small to a large size; to say that to cosmos does too is not a great leap of logic in any way. It may suffice as a layman's explanation, but it is far from an accurate and in depth analysis of the subject.
    Ultimately an analysis like this is dishonest, disingenuous and does not add anything to the conversation whatsoever, other than "Our ancestors already knew everything, so we must be superior in some way". It's rank egoism born of an inferiority complex, with all the delusional, over-compensating desire for superiority that it generates. All it proves is how ignorant and pathetic we are.
    If and when the nature of the universe is clarified and explained, it will be by a team of educated (actually educated, not Vedic-educated) scientists trained in the modern sciences looking into telescopes and using other modern equipment to collect relevant data and analysing it along modern mathematical principles.
    It WILL NOT be some dhongi Sadhu mystic baba, and sifting through the Vedas like a tribal idiot. You could throw the Vedas out right now, and that would only improve the general conversation. There is nothing of any value there.
    Please stop mis-educating people in this way. It's not ethical behavior, no matter how nationalistic or sub-altern it makes you feel.

    1. Kudos for saying so eloquently what I also felt, and always wanted to say. While I find nothing wrong ( and nothing new) in what the writer has told on science, but I find this attempt to find roots of all our science in Vedas and Scriptures, pretty naive, to put it mildly. This is precisely why I dislike Deepak Chopra. There is nothing wrong if he wants to talk about and propagate his version of spirituality, because in that case the motives, causes and purpose are different but to bring in Physics in it, to give that some kind of validity or respectability is simply perfidious. Lets leave science to what it is - a systematic study of nature and physical world, through observations and experiments. Thanks.

  2. While appreciating mayank thought to try to bridge the gap between scientific theories And ancient text, I support anonymous reply and his views. Writing blog like this may not be right platform to take up this issue. It may be good if matank could write research paper on this and bring it to best scientific journals, else its other attempt to strengthen the chorus brigade of " my ancient science was awesome "

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  4. hi anonymous

    i get where you are going with your argument. yes, many people make the direct claim "that our sages knew this all along'. however, i think it was einstein who clearly and quite openly spoke of the power and necessity of the 'intuitive' leap in formulating his scientific theories.

    that intuitive leap is the backbone of many ancient spiritual traditions and texts. This intuitive leap is merely a 'different' order of logic than just plain old scientific logic, if you catch my meaning.

    scientific discovery, rational fact and the trained intuitive leap based on observation of the universe (and man), no matter how limited are two sides of the same coin, my friend.

    no intuitive leap-no einstein and no sense of wonder and awe that forms the basis of our very necessary spiritual yearnings, and expressions etce etc

    yes, there is a lot of bogus ritual and superstition that goes along with any spiritual tradition. but it's caveat emptor my friend, like everyhting else.

    to pretend that science alone can and will explain the universe in its totality is somewhat childish and naive. the totality cannot and will not finally ever be known but certainly we can glimpse something extraordinary is going on..maybe that is enough..

  5. Truth is truth, whether it is validated by science or not, whether it is given by vedas or not, whether it is explained 12000 years ago or 12000 years later. Truth is not going to change. The ability to look at truth is what makes all the difference. So be it. TPK

  6. There are five states of Human consciousness,Vaiśvānara (Waking State), taijasa (Sleep with Dreams), prājña (dreamless Sleep/Normal Samadhi), Turiya (Universal consciousness/Nirvikalp Samadhi), Turiyatita (Absolute Salvation/Param Kaivalya). Around 99.99% human being spent their lives only in first three states, only an extremely small section of Yogis practice for last two states of Turia and Turiyatita. Achievement of Turiyatita state of consciousness is extremely difficult, it is rarest of rare in entire human civilization.