Q.466 Creation Theories

Q: Is Isvara/maya the one responsible for the form of the universe or is the jiva responsible for it?

If Isvara/maya:

  • then who/what is Isvara and how does it create the universe?
  • then how does Adhyasa come into the picture because if Isvara is the creator then even if adhyasa is removed then the appearance of the world will still be there.

If the jiva

  • then why does the world not disappear upon enlightenment (a jiva is responsible for the dream at night whilst asleep, therefore the dream disappears upon waking)

I have heard many examples of gold/ornament with regards to the universe and Brahman (Gold being brahman, the names/forms being the ornaments). I’m not sure I have fully grasped this comparison. In what sense does matter depend on Brahman?

I see that all things are experienced IN consciousness and therefore in that sense the world of objects/atoms/quantum fields etc. depends on consciousness/Brahman because the world can not be experienced without consciousness. It doesn’t seem right to me, because it’s not something you could ever refute. Obviously we can’t experience the world without consciousness.

A: The answer to your questions is really ‘it depends’. It depends upon which theory you are ‘using’/accepting.

The ‘simple’, traditional response is that Ishvara creates the world and there are detailed ‘explanations’ as to how this is done in several Upanishads (which do not always agree in the finer detail). To any modern, scientific mind, these explanations are not convincing (to put it politely). And you are right – when adhyAsa is removed for the jIva, the world is still there. Ishvara is both the material and efficient cause – matter IS Ishvara’s own substance, in the analogous way to the web being the spider’s own substance. This is the sRRiShTi-dRRiShTi-vAda theory – the world is created and we then see it.

There is what is believed by its adherents to be a more sophisticated theory, which is that the jIva sees the ‘form’ of brahman and effectively creates the universe out of it. You can appreciate this in the vAchArambhaNa sutras in Chandogya Upanishad. We impose forms on the non-dual substrate and give them names, thereby bringing about an apparent duality. This is the dRRiShTi-sRRiShTi-vAda theory – you see and then create your universe.

Of course, if you think about this second theory, you realize that these forms that you create have to include ‘other jIva-s’ and your own body-mind. This is equivalent to solipsism and is called the eka-jIva-vAda theory – ‘one-jIva’. It is effectively the same as DSV. And, again you are right – upon enlightenment (when ‘I’ am enlightened), the world will disappear.

Personally, I prefer to go straight to ajAti-vAda – there has never been any creation at all. There is only ever the non-dual brahman.

There is much written on all of this. As you appreciate, it is a complex topic. Have you read my last book, ‘A-U-M’? Gaudapada went straight to the heart of the matter and my book tries to cover all that he and Shankara said in their commentaries on the Mandukya Upanishad.

Have a look at Q.103 and http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/teachers/theories_vidyasankar.htm.

Invisible Energy In Empty Space

The Universe is overwhelmingly empty!

Up in the heavens, galaxies are interspersed by huge empty spaces. Matter constitutes less than one percent of the universe – about one atom in ten cubic meters of space.  structure of the universe (Planck 2013)Within an atom too, there is more empty space than substance.  If the atom is magnified to the size of a football stadium, matter (nucleus) in it will be no bigger than a golf ball, the remaining space being just emptiness.  However, many ancient Indian scriptures hold that there is energy aplenty in space.  Physicists unhesitatingly agree.  Evidence for energy in empty space comes both from Cosmology that deals with the astronomical objects of huge proportions and Quantum Physics which studies atomic- and subatomic-sized particles.

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The Weird World Of Small Things

You are certain of your toothbrush being in the  bathroom when you walk in there after a good night’s sleep.  You have no doubt, the water comes to a boil in two minutes in the microwave for the delicious morning cuppa.  You are pretty sure how long it takes you to drive to the office.  That is all true. But the particles that constitute you or your toothbrush are not  predictable with that sort of certitude where they will be at any given time or when they appear at a given place!

Quantum Physics studies how the tiny particles like electrons, protons and atoms that constitute everything behave. Quantum Physics sobers us down quite a bit when it is a question of being sure of things.  It teaches us not to be so definite and deterministic.  It comes out with mind-bending mathematics and unbelievable concepts almost bordering Vedanta.  Dr. Niels Bohr, a giant among Quantum Physicists, famously said: “Anyone who is not shocked (by the concepts of Quantum Physics) has not understood it.”

For all that, Quantum Physics is not an esoteric theory. It comes with redoubtable experimental back up and unfailing proof.  Continue reading

We are all an entangled web

Quantum Physics is the science of small particles. The strange and counter-intuitive phenomena it predicts often leave us stunned. It says that if two particles were together once, they never lose their connectedness even after they get separated.  Each particle readjusts itself in response to any change in the state of its counterpart which might even  be several millions of miles away.  The readjustment is instantaneous and happens without any sort of messaging link between them.  So if you met Dr. Singh once, you can never escape from getting affected by what happens to him, even if you run away to another galaxy!

Unconvincing?  Do not blame yourself. Continue reading

Reality ‘Out There’ And Quantum Physics

 “Hello!”

Hello!”

“Is Dr. Singh there?”

Sure, he is.”

“Is he not in New York?”

Certainly not.”

Not in London either?”

No, he is definitely here in Delhi.”

“Is he sleeping?”

What?! …….  Sleeping? …….  No, he is in his office and very much awake.”

Dr. Singh’s Assistant, though a bit bewildered, sounded very confident in his replies. But I remained unconvinced.

If the probability of Dr. Singh being in New York is zero, and his being present in Delhi is one hundred percent, there must be some probability of his being in London in-between!  Further, his Assistant asserts that Dr. Singh is awake. How does he know Singh’s state so definitely without actually seeing him?  Don’t think that I lost my wits or I am an over the top Vedantin.

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