Macrocosm & Microcosm Reflect the Rhythmic Proportional Harmonics of Brahma's Breath
The Maya World of Quantum Physics
The Newtonian world had made man a cog in a machine and the biological findings of Darwin in his theory of natural selection had asserted that might is right and only the fittest would survive. This meant that the genetic terrorist who killed indiscriminately so as to save his own skin was the highest on the evolutionary ladder. However there was one obvious flaw in Darwin's theory. Preservation of the species actually depends on the infant of every creature but we find that the infant of every specie is very weak and unable to look after itself. It can exist and grow only due to the love of the mother. Without this overwhelming love which is prepared to sacrifice its own life to save its young there would be no hope for any creature. So survival does not depend on being the strongest but on a most abstract and divine emotion called Love. It is love that has made the world survive and in love lies our only hope of survival in the future and not through brute strength and cunning as Darwin would have us believe.
Until the last century even those people who tried to escape from the harsh facts of science by resorting to religion found themselves having to wrestle with these opposing views of life and having to defend their positions to the scientist. Now the boot seems to be on the other foot. The last century brought about a most profound change in the outlook of science as to the nature of the world and the nature of the human being. Discoveries were made that proved what religion had always accepted- that the human being is far more than a collection of flesh and blood - a machine for re-producing the species with no vital role to play in the universe and no purpose or goal in life.
The greatest thing that quantum physics did for the spiritually minded person was to show that the world as the senses tell us and as the Newtonian scientists had been telling us, is not a solid thing. These physicists went to the heart of matter and were astounded by what they saw. Matter was not solid at all as our senses tell us but merely energy in motion. In fact matter is composed of subatomic particles that have no design or shape and do not follow any standard order. Sometimes they behave like waves and sometimes like particles and sometimes they are both as well as many things at same time. Hence these physicists actually proved the maya theory in a scientific way. Our Puranas have been telling us this truth for centuries but we with our dependence and total belief in the theories of western science were most scornful of them. But now when the western scientists themselves say the same thing, but of course not in the same words, we are forced to believe them even though our senses belie this truth.
The second shock came with Einstein's theory of relativity. Time and space had always been accepted as absolute and unchangeable facts of life but Einstein and many of the scientists who came after him proved that time and space are relative. This was a shocking idea which even now we who are bound to our clocks and time schedules find hard to accept. The Gita as well as our Puranas have always declared that what binds us to wheel of samsara are the three mental bonds known as desa, kaala and nimitta, - space, time and causality and that these are purely mental bonds which we have created ourselves.
We have created this world of concrete objects and superimposed a false reality on them. Again and again our scriptures tell us that Absolute reality is beyond these three upadis -desha, kaala and nimitta or space time and causality. This world which we think we see is maya or an appearance. It has no permanent reality. It is only a passing show and has no permanence. Our bodies which are made of the same material - the five elements are also perishable. BUT we are not solely these bodies. Our reality is something far greater since we are actually the atman - which is imperishable and eternal and untouched by the changes of the body which take place in the world of space /Time. The moment we demarcate ourselves as belonging to a specified place and time, that moment we separate ourselves from our roots and thus bring suffering on ourselves. We are the creators of time and space. When we bring energy to conscious awareness, through the act of perception we create separate objects that exist in space through a measured continuum called time. By creating time and space we create our own separateness.
Another important thing that the physicist saw was that these subatomic particles had no meaning by themselves in isolation but only in relationship with everything else. At its elemental level, which is the quantum level, matter could not be chopped up into intelligible units but was completely indivisible. If we want to understand the universe we will have to see it as a dynamic web of interconnectedness. Human beings are a coalescence of energy in a field of energy which is connected to every other thing in this universe. This energy field is the central engine of our being. We can never be estranged from the other aspects of this universe since we are all bound fundamentally to this field!.
Since we are totally connected with everything and every creature in this universe, for each of us to strive to better oneself without regard to what happens to others is the most foolish thing that we could do. Human suffering stems from this very fact, that we have cut ourselves off from our roots and have condemned ourselves to a life of isolation. This was not how nature meant us to be. Modern physics has thus given us a correct evaluation of our place in the world. The human consciousness (as our scriptures have always told us) is a crucial factor in making up this universe. Sub atomic particles settle down from their constant erratic movements and take on solid shapes only when we observe them.
The zero point field is the most fundamental state of matter and this is a heaving sea of energy - one vast quantum field. On the quantum level all living beings including human beings are packets of quantum energy constantly exchanging information with this inexhaustible field of energy., which is known as the “chitta' in Hindu terminology. Information about all aspects of life, is relayed through the interchange of information on the quantum level. Have you watched a flight of birds winging their way across the sky and how suddenly all of them veer to a different course as if at some hidden signal? The same phenomenon can be noticed in schools of fish. Till now it was assumed that these birds and fish had a novel method of communicating with each other by some radar or some noise signal which we cannot hear but now experiments on the quantum field proved that they are all in touch with this field and receive their orders simultaneously from it. The functions of our minds -like thinking, feeling etc. draw information from the quantum field which is pulsing simultaneously through our body and brain. In fact we resonate with the universe. Every breath we take is part of the universal breath and every breath we give out is our contribution to universal life. This prana, this life force is the same in everything and everyone and is spread everywhere simultaneously. Our lives can only become perfect if we participate in this great interchange with the universe. As the Gita tells us in chapter 3, “ Sahayajna praja sristwa purovacha prajapati.” - The creator created all of us and instilled the idea of yajna or selfless action in us. No man is an island and no one can live without any sort of dependence on others and on nature. There is no me and mine as we think but all things are connected in an amazing way to the energy field. “Mamta and ahamta” (me and mine) have always been considered to be the two knots which alienate us from god. In this unified field there is no place for me and mine.
If you hurt others you are actually hurting yourself even though you may not know it. “Do to others what you would have them do to you,” is a basic dictum of all religions. “As you sow so you shall reap.” Anyone who performs actions only for himself without any care or consideration for others and for the world around him, will have to suffer. This is the law of nature. Any selfish act immediately isolates us from the world and from nature and many such acts eventually bring unhappiness, discontent, ill health and continuous bad luck which we blame on others and on our fate etc. never realizing that it is only a consequence of our own selfish actions. Here is where the law of karma comes into play. Our world is shaped by our own actions. In this respect we must understand that our thoughts are also actions. As Krishna says in the human being, motivation is even more important than the actual action. A violent act may do some good to the person concerned like a surgeon cutting off a gangrenous hand but when the hand is cut off by a thief who wants to steal the golden bangle on it, then the same action becomes violent and violates the law of nature and thus brings its own violent consequences on the doer. This is the very basis of the law of karma.
Pure energy as it exists on the quantum level is not bound by time or space but exists as a vast continuum of fluctuating change which exists here and now. This moment, this tiny bit of time and space we are existing now is the only truth and reality. The past is a dream and the future a fantasy. What exists is the present which again has only a fleeting reality. Even as I am speaking this present which you and I think is real has already slipped into an irretrievable past and this future which I have been dreaming about has come and been swallowed into a whirlpool called the present!! This is what the Buddha also taught.
Whereas Newtonian science had totally divorced man from the universe, quantum science has demonstrated that there is a purpose and unity in life and we are an important part of it. What we do and think is critical in creating our world. We are not isolated beings living our desperate lives on a lonely planet in an indifferent universe. We are always in the centre of everything. We have the power both individually and collectively to heal ourselves and improve our own lives and the lives of others around us.
For instance scientific experiments conducted on plants and animals proved that those which were given loving care by their owners responded and bloomed much more than those which were left to their own devices. To make the tests clear they got psychotic patients to water one set of plants and found that the molecular content of the water changed dramatically with the mental attitude of the one who was watering them and of course the plants also wilted. They then did experiments on patients and healers. The healers came from various sources, Hindu, 'xtian, Buddhist and native American. But the main thing was that all of them were able to produce a positive effect on the patient. What all of them had in common was that having given a positive intention they had kept out of the way so to speak and allowed that great healing force which they called God by whatever name to do the rest. So actually the cure was being controlled by that fundamental energy field which was activated by the intention of the healer. So we see that the greatest thing a doctor can do for his patient is to hope with all his heart that he or she will improve.
Theosophical Micro-clairvoyant Image of "The Ultimate Atom"
Now this raises another interesting subject which again the scientists have proved for us. Are we capable of controlling our future. When our mind connects to the universal mind which we call Chitta in Hinduism, we are actually capable of controlling our future. This is because this chitta or zero point field provides a holographic blueprint of the world for all time, past and future. So one who can tap this field can well predict the future. Thus we can conclude as our scriptures tell us that everything in the future already exists at some bottom rung level in the realm of pure potential and when we look into the future or the past we help to shape it and bring it into being just as we do with a quantum entity in the present, by the simple act of observation. Information transferred through subatomic waves do not exist in time or space but somewhere in the ever present. The past and present blur into one vast here and now and our brain picks up these signals and forms our own future. Our future exists in some nebulous state that we may begin to actualize in this very present. Again we must remember that this field is the field of all possibilities and what actually happens, happens because we will it either consciously or subconsciously.
Now we come to see that all our pujas have a very scientific basis. We do so many pujas in the temples and many of us can certify that these produce the desired effect. How is this possible? The sankalpa or intention is what shapes the end product. It is given by us when the pujari asks us to touch the plate in which the flowers are kept. When our mind makes a strong sankalpa or intention it has the effect of actually being able to change the future!! This is the very basis of all miracles. Sometimes we find that the doctor pronounces the patient as incurable and the patient recovers, sometimes due to his own strong desire to live and sometimes due to the prayers of others. So in any puja it is our sankalpa that ensures the result and not the Pujari's spiritual force. No doubt our sankalpa can be enhanced by the spiritual quality of the pujari.
Our great seers could see into the future and make many predictions. There are some leaf writings existing in India today known as Brighu patrikas in N. India and Agastya nadi shastras in south India which predict with an amazing degree of accuracy, the whole life history of any person who goes to consult the man who deciphers the leaf. People are astounded to see that everything about themselves has already been written on that particular leaf thousands of years ago. This might seem miraculous to us but obviously these great sages connected themselves with this zero point field in which everything exists, past, present and future.
Another great thing the quantum scientist did for ancient spirituality is that they fond out that individual consciousness does not die with the death of the body which is what Hinduism has been saying all the time. Krishna says, “Like a man changing his clothes so also the spirit changes one body for another. But the spirit lives on so why grieve when someone dies. It is only his body, which was unreal in any case, which has passed on to the elements from which it came into existence. His reality is the atman which was never born and thus can never die.
Scientific experiments have even proved that there may be something called a life current flowing through the universe which some religions have called the divine consciousness or God or Brahman or whatever. They have provided solid evidence for what mankind has had faith in, but no solid evidence, from the dawn of time. Thus science has put an end to dualism in the final sense. They have proved in the laboratory that the dualistic world which we think we see, is a myth, a shadow cast on the wall. The only reality is that higher collective consciousness which exists for all time in all places. You may call it god or whatever else you choose to call it.
However all this amount of evidence does not prove that modern physics supports a spiritual world view. It neither supports nor refutes. It simply states facts and it is up to us to draw our own conclusions. They discovered that the world as we see it and as the rishis stated is not real. So actually speaking the quantum world deals with shadow symbols, it is a dream world but it is not the ultimate reality as they themselves are willing to admit. It is a shadow world and we see only the shadows of things but not their reality. The shadows appear to be the whole world and this is because of a strange phenomenon in which our minds get bound up in the cocoon of time, space and causality and imagine the shadows to be real. This is the world which the Gita describes in the 7th chapter.. “Bhumi, aponalo vayu, Kham mano, buddhi eva cha. Ahamkaram itiyam me bhinna Prakriti ashtada. “My lower Prakriti is eight-fold and is composed of the five elements, earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, buddhi and ego. But this is my lower Prakriti which is available to the senses and which we believe to be real.. He then goes on to say “Apareyamitastwanyam Prakriti viddhi me param.” “But know this to be my lower nature. My higher nature is that spiritual being which sustains this entire universe and which is totally different from this.” Krishna continues in the 7th chapter, “These two natures form the womb of all beings. I am the origin and dissolution of the entire universe.”
Modern physics can only tell us about this lower nature. In fact it has gone up to the chitta which is the boundary between the lower and higher but till now it is unable to tell us anything of the nature of ultimate reality. Eddington declared that great difference between old and new physics is that, though both are dealing with shadow symbols, the new physics has been forced to accept the fact that it is indeed dealing with shadows - a set of abstract equations and not with reality itself. All the pictures that science draws of nature which can be proved, are mathematical pictures. However it is unable to formulate the ultimate reality. Even though these physicists were able to reduce matter to its ultimate and fundamental state and put it into mathematical equations, yet to date they have not been able to reduce God into a mathematical equation.
The rishis of old as has been mentioned before also knew that this is a shadow world. But they asked the million dollar question “If this a shadow world then what is the Being that casts the shadow? A shadow obviously cannot exist on its own. What is it that holds all these things together? All our scriptures have given the answer. This shadow world is a becoming but there is a Being which is the cause of these shadows. This exists because THAT exists. If THAT were not to be, then “This” will cease to be. Krishna declares, “All things exist in Me but mark my mystery, I do not exist in them” What he means to say is that god in not a sum total of all creation. Even though they are in Him, he is not in them and that is why no amount of enquiry into the shadow world can give us the truth of absolute consciousness. The fish exist in the water but the water does not exist in the fish or because of the fish. Fish cannot exist without water but water can and does exist without fish! In another simile Krishna says, “Everything is strung on me as pearls on a string.” The necklace has a shape and value only due to the string which holds them together. If the string is broken the necklace will no longer exist. The pearls will roll around in a random fashion like negative particles.
The position of the western scientist is that of the jijnasu or enquirer on the path of truth as the Gita puts it. They are eager and anxious to know the Truth but somehow this ultimate truth seems to defy all attempts at generalizations. Hence we see that even though we live in this highly scientific age, yet there is a great belief on the part of even educated people to believe in the occult and the miraculous. There seem to be some things in the world which defy scientific investigation. This is where religion and especially Hindu spiritualism steps in to show us that some things exist which are beyond the level of the mind. However to give them their due, the quantum physicist did discover something novel which the ancient physicist could not accept - that the only thing which can be called real in this shadow world is the consciousness of the spectator or the experimenter. Without that consciousness even this shadow world would not exist. Everything is centered round the experimenter. This was a great break through. Till now the experimenter's job was always to get out of the way of the experiment and not interfere with the purely mechanical process involved in the experiment. Now it was proved by the scientist that the individual consciousness has everything to do with the final outcome of the experiment. This consciousness stems from a phenomenon known as super-radiance which is a state of perfect coherence.
Normally quantum particles act in a haphazard fashion of chaos or disorder but when the individual consciousness is brought to bear on them, they lose their individuality and begin to act as a single unit. This coherence extends into the world. This coherence of consciousness represents the greatest form of order known to nature and can help to shape and create order in the world. In meditation and especially in the state of samadhi, our brain reaches that zero point field of the chitta which has perfect coherence. This is the substructure which underlies the whole universe. It is a recording medium of everything, by which everything can communicate with everything else.
Living consciousness is not an isolated entity. It is not the personal property of one individual. This much has been discovered in the quantum field. We think that each of us has a separate atman even though our scriptures tell us that when this apparently separate atman is covered with the body, it is called the jivatma but this jivatma is the same as the Paramatma - meaning to say it is not an isolated entity. This lives on even after the body dies since it has never been isolated from the whole so there is no question of going back. It simply slips into what it ever was. Like the water in the bottle returning to the water of the pool when the bottle is broken. This consciousness of people has incredible powers. It can increase order in the world and make it as we wish it to be. If a number of individuals concentrate and wish for the same thing it has even greater force. That is why we say that communal prayer has more power. The all absorbing topic of the day is how to control the climatic changes which are being increasingly felt all over the world. If enough people had a burning desire to change the situation, they would do far better if they got together and meditated on this topic, willing the minds of people to change and thus stop the terrible effects we have brought upon ourselves. This would be far more effective than holding conferences and reading papers.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi demonstrated that a number of individuals meditating at the same time can produce a great amount of coherence in the world outside. This was also proved by the physicists that more people who are wishing for the same thing are more likely to make it successful. Even machines are affected by our attitude.
Thus we see that even though quantum physics has gone a long way in supporting the Advaitic view of Hindu spirituality of a shadow world of Maya, as well as of a human consciousness which is universal and eternal, it still has not been able to postulate or prove an ultimate reality which has ever existed and which will ever exist and which alone is - Sat-chit and Ananda. Not only that it EXISTS but that it is pure CONSCIOUSNESS and that it is filled with BLISS. This can only be experienced by the sage, the seer and the mystic who connects himself with that source and thus draws his inspiration from it. As the Gita says such a man can no longer be labeled as a human being but has to be given the title of God. The future of the world lies in the production of such god men and not in the production of more nuclear weapons.
However unlike the world of science which is open only to a few intellectuals, the magic world of the rishis has benefitted even the uneducated and the children. The rishis opened our eyes to a world of mystery and beauty and not one of arid facts. If we could only behave in the way that they have taught us we would certainly have made a heaven on earth.
Hari Aum Tat Sat
Most Outer Space Images Courtesy of NASA