Wednesday, December 5, 2018

When did the Universe Begin? A Vedantic Response

When did the Universe Begin A Vedantic Perspective

When did the Universe begin? From where did it come? How did it come about? At some point, most humans ask this very fundamental question.

This is when people hear about the so-called Big Bang Theory. They learn that the age of the universe is estimated to be 13.8 billion years. They learn that the universe started from a point known as singularity. They learn that time also has a beginning.

But then questions like what happened "before" Big Bang are meaningless. Time "began" with Big Bang, hence anything prior is meaningless.

Advaita Vedanta also addresses this issue in a very logical and intuitive way. And it also provides an elegant solution to this dilemma.

Swami Parthasarathy (Swamiji), who himself is master logician himself, explains that the question of when, where from and how are themselves meaningless. Hence any answer to a nonsensical question will be meaningless.

Why does he say this?

Time, space and causation are part of the universe. Their existence presupposes the existence of universe. That is, time, space and causation came into existence because of the universe.

When did the Universe begin, assumes that there was time before the universe itself - that is time before time itself.

Where did the universe come from assumes that there was space before the universe itself - that is, space before space itself.

How did the universe come about assumes that there was causation before the universe - that is, causation before causation itself.

Thinkers in cultures around the world eventually hit this road-block.

One way of solving this is by saying that there was a First Cause or Original Cause from which universe with its time, space and causation emerged.

They call this by the name God. What was before time itself? God. What was before space itself? God. What was before causation itself? God.

God is thus more a matter of faith than logic.

Advaita Vedanta avoids this trap brilliantly. Swamiji asks us to ponder on the questions themselves. He calls them meaningless questions. And in order to prove that the questions are meaningless, he takes the example of dream.

Imagine that you are dreaming. When you are dreaming, you are in a dream universe. Now imagine that you ask the same questions - when, why and from where inside the dream. You will not be able to answer the question as long as you are within the dream universe. As you will hit the same logical road-block as above.

But once you wake up, you realize that the questions were truly meaningless, in the context of the dream universe.

Similarly, there is a state beyond this universe. When you transcend this universe by "waking up", you realize that even this universe was a dream, and hence the questions were indeed meaningless.

Wise men and realized people, call the other state, Brahman or turiya. Hence to truly answer the questions of why, when and from where, we must attain Brahma-gyana.

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Note: We have Vedanta Classes every Wednesday in Saltlake, Kolkata from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM. Our course Acharya is the learned and brilliant Sri (Dr) Subhashish Chakrabarti, a graduate from Vedanta Academy.

People are most welcome to join our classes. Please reach out to me, and I will share the details.

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