Monday, May 25, 2020

What is Reality (part 1)

God or Divine or Computer programmer or whosoever started the game of Leela and Reality, as we understand began:

The universe stirred (around 13 billion years ago), with every speck of its energy jammed into a very tiny point (in the Vedas called Hiranyagarbha or the creative egg). This extremely dense point exploded with unimaginable force, creating matter and propelling it outward to make the billions of galaxies of our vast universe. Astrophysicists dubbed this titanic explosion the Big Bang. While an explosion of a man- made bomb expands through air, the Big Bang did not expand through anything. That's because there was no space to expand through at the beginning of time. Rather, physicists believe the Big Bang created and stretched space itself, ever - expanding the universe.

Cosmologists believe the Big Bang flung energy in all directions at the speed of light (300,000,000 meters per second, a hundred thousand times faster than the H-bomb) and estimate that the temperature of the entire universe was 1000 trillion degrees Celsius at just a tiny fraction of a second after the explosion. Even the cores of the hottest stars in today's universe are much cooler than that.

But as the universe quickly expanded, the energy of the Big Bang became more and more "diluted" in space, causing the universe to cool. Rapid cooling allowed for matter as we know it to form in the universe and about one ten-thousandth of a second after the Big Bang, protons and neutrons formed, and within a few minutes these particles stuck together to form atomic nuclei, mostly hydrogen and helium. Hundreds of thousands of years later, electrons stuck to the nuclei to make complete atoms.

About a billion years after the Big Bang, gravity caused these atoms to gather in huge clouds of gas, forming collections of stars known as galaxies. Gravity is the force that pulls any objects with mass towards one another -- the same force, for example, that causes a ball thrown in the air to fall to the earth. Where do planets like earth come from? Over billions of years, stars "cook" hydrogen and helium atoms in their hot cores to make heavier elements like carbon and oxygen. Large stars explode over time, blasting these elements into space. This matter then condenses into the stars, planets, and satellites that make up solar systems like our own.

While the Big Bang explains the process of creation of the Universe, is this the complete process or part of a cycle? Everything in existence is cyclic and impermanent passing through phases of creation, maintenance and obliteration. Some of the cycles we regularly encounter are the day and night cycles, the seasonal cycles, the tides, the waning and waxing of the moon, the creation and destruction of cells in the body etc.

In 1949, Richard Feymann, a physicist, proved the process of creation and destruction whereby an electron from the left collide with a positron coming from the right to mutually annihilate each other, while two photons are created which depart in opposite directions at the speed of light, thereby emitting a photon and went out of existence at that point. Or simply, that the original particle was destroyed and a new one created. Thereby proving that "every subatomic event is marked by the annihilation of the initial particle and the creation of a new one". Some of the subatomic collisions with the creation and destruction dance last less than a billionth of a second, which is its cyclical process.

The Infinite, out of which all existing things arise, has neither beginning nor end, the Universe is eternal. Carl Sagan, one of the greatest astronomers of the world has observed and acknowledged the fact that the Cosmos undergoes an immense, infinite number of deaths and rebirths through the cycle of creation, perpetuation and dissolution in a rhythmical pattern. Baffled by the immense intensity of the entire Cosmos, which he thought, was beyond the reach of any human mind, he said in his book “Cosmos" - "the size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home."

The universe is expanding now, but in its life span of billions of years, it will slow down, contract and annihilate to create one more time. There is nothing in this universe that is not cyclic and does not participate in this wonderful dance of destruction and creation. Hindu mythology points to a large scale projection of microcosmic scientific discoveries with symbolic deities like Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh denoting the continuous cyclic dance of creation, sustenance and destruction and the Buddhist wheel of life symbolizing the unending process of birth, death and rebirth.

A model of the expanding universe opening up from the viewer's left, facing the viewer in a 3/4 pose.

History of the Universe Illustration

Big Bang Theory: Evolution of Our Universe - Universe Today

Creation of Reality

Nitin wanted to know the answers to these questions
  1. Who am I ?
  2. What is the nature of reality ?
  3. What is my role in this reality ?
  4. How do I play my role in the best manner possible ?

My response

Let me try and answer this in phases. Prior to addressing the four critical questions, would like to write about the possible Creator of the Reality as well as its overarching architecture.

I look at Reality of existence as a highly sophisticated game with rigid and complex rules that are cyclic in all aspects – from ‘multiple breaths every minute’ to ‘cyclic day and night’ to ‘annual seasons’ to ‘cycle of yugas’ to ‘creation and destruction of Reality (Big Bang to Dark holes) – laya and pralay’

I like to call this game “Lila – the game of life”.
Hymn of Creation (Nasadiya Sukta, Rigveda X.129) - An Old and Rare ... 
Who has created this Lila? Two options

A.   The “Nasadiya Sukta” of the Rig Veda says that

“There was neither non-existence nor existence then; there was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is beyond. What stirred? Where?”

So, there was nothing and from that nothing something stirred and the game of existence began with the Big Bang 13.2 billion years ago. Where was that nothing? In the mind of what we call “God” or “Divine”?

B.    God is a “Computer Programmer”

Computer games were extremely basic like the pacman etc. Now, in the last few decades, games are being created that are photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it is getting better. Soon, we will have virtual reality, we’ll have augmented reality. Imagine 10000 years from now,  with the same speed of improvement of computing speed and new technology – the games will become indistinguishable from reality, just indistinguishable.

Elon Musk says, “There is only a “one in billions” chance that we’re not living in a computer simulation. Our lives are almost certainly being conducted within an artificial world powered by AI and highly-powered computers”

Next will start writing about your four questions starting with the “Nature of Reality”.

One question “Did existence begin with the Big Bang? Or is it part of a cycle?”

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Formula for living life

Is there a single second in our lives, that there is nothing happening within us? There is action even in inaction. Breathing, thinking, working, motor activity everything is going on all the time. Activity cannot cease, for if it does, we shall cease to exist.

Therefore, considering that action is inevitable, the question before us is twofold–
1.     What should be the purpose and intent of the actions and consequently,
2.     What the nature of activity is.

People generally work for the satisfaction of the five senses, and getting some comfort from it, one gets attached and binding increases, wishing for repeat performances of that act. Not being successful, one grieves. This constant striving for fruits of action creates the unending cycle of happiness and sadness, pleasure and pain.  We increase our load of work mostly due to attachment and greed, and till the end of life the burden makes us over-worked and over exhausted.

The mind is the ruler of the senses. Wherever the mind goes, the senses follow it. If the mind runs towards sense gratification, then all senses will get activated for want or greed of various sounds, touch, beauty, taste and smell.

As the army becomes victorious when the king is captured, similarly, if the mind is controlled, all indriyas will follow suit. As the sun is invisible if covered by clouds, but can be visible as soon as the clouds have passed, similarly the mind which is covered by passions, become clear as soon as passion has left. As the light of the sun is always present in spite of the clouds, similarly the true knowledge in the mind is always present, one just needs to unveil the curtains of “false concepts or knowledge” that has sullied the mind.

So what is true knowledge and how does one act ?

The mind generally runs towards sense gratification increasing attachment and greed. How can we make it work for service to others?

Existence is the unfolding of the Divine plan. This process or flow is fuelled by Divine intelligence and energy. From the vast Universe to the cell, from the material world to the human race, from the smallest unit to the infinite, from the Big Bang to the present, the flow of the Divine Plan is intelligent, evolutionary and cyclic. This flow is not independent of us; we are a part of it, as participant not just observer.

The Divine plan, flowing from millenniums, seeks to enhance the lives of those in existence. Being a part of the Divine, we need to plug into this plan, and thus it becomes our function and duty to work for the betterment of others. An analogy would be that the Divine flow is like a river and we are the small fish in that river. It is our choice to go with the flow or against. It is our choice to work for service to others or use our narrow, sense-driven false concepts and ego to swim against the direction. Life would be much happier when going with the flow than against.

Therefore, I have made a small formula to live my life – C2S3.

C ~ Clarity on the purpose of existence (reading and reflecting– The Gita and the Vedanta thought process leads from ignorance to knowledge. A knowledge that teaches escape from the cycles of births. Understanding of a journey that starts from the lower consciousness but leads to the highest consciousness and beyond for salvation.

C ~ Cleansing of body to prepare to accept the Divine energy (various practices, food, diet, pranayama, meditation)

S ~ Sadhana to access the Divine energy (kriya yoga - intellectual understanding while extremely important, would still be only speculative; it could not have any spiritual value. Like reading a recipe without experiencing food. Thus, it is not by “thinking out” the entire reality, but by a change of consciousness that one can pass from the ignorance to the Knowledge. For direct experiencing of Reality, this knowledge will have to be converted into spiritual experience by intensive sadhana of Kriya Yoga. Deep and intensive practice can lead to opening of chakras or inner consciousness. And on opening of chakras, the journey from lower consciousness to higher to supreme consciousness begins.)

S ~ Surrender to allow the Divine energy to flow through me. (Access the working of the Divine intelligence and energy and become a part of the same)

S ~ Sewa or service that is selfless using this Divine energy (accessing the supreme consciousness or the Divine energy cannot be the final destination. This should never lead to an individual achievement of the Divine realization for the sake of an individual, but something to be gained for humanity. This Divine energy needs to be brought down to Earth-consciousness and should be used for betterment of humanity and existence. And this work should be done without desire of name, fame, power or any selfish motive, but as a surrender to the Divine.)