From the moment we open our eyes to the light of the sun we are intrigued by how nature works. In other words from the moment we are born, we start questioning and inspecting things and our surroundings. For millions of years, ever since the first man walked the earth, man has tried to find the source, the origin of their existence.
From the sacred religious texts (Vedic theories) to the journals of scientists every text gives us an idea of its origin.
The mid-1960s were a challenging time for astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson trying to tune into microwave broadcasts from the Milky Way. A persistent weak radio noise was picked up by the antenna they were using. They rebuilt the antenna but it did not work. Clearing the mess left by the pigeons or their roost could not solve the problem. In reality, the hiss they tried hard to remove was actually the echo of the Big Bang, known as the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation.
Vedic theories of the origin of the Universe
People in ancient times also wondered about the origin of life on this spinning mass that orbits the sun. Till now the origin was believed to be from single-celled organisms, then reptiles, birds, mammals, then apes, and ultimately man. However, the Vedas and the Puranas have their unique perspective on the birth of the universe.
Lord Vishnu is said to be sleeping in the ocean of all causes before the creation of the universe. His bed resembles a cobra with huge hoods that resemble serpents. Vishnu’s navel sprouts a lotus while he is asleep (note that the navel is symbolized as the root of creation). It is here that Brahma resides. Our universe is represented by Brahma, and thus Brahma is the creator of all life forms.
The multiverse concept
A cosmology that exists forever without beginning or end is represented by the personification of Vishnu. During the big bang, our physical universe was created and Brahma represents it. As described in Hindu mythology, Brahma is described as arising from the navel (the single point) of Vishnu, like a lotus blooming out of the navel, similar to the big bang universe we live in.
Brahma represents a temporary universe, one that exists for 100 years, according to the Vedas, and then dies, and a new universe (Brahma) begins to exist. According to the Vedas, the universe has a lifetime of 100 years. Brahma, according to the Vedas, lives for one hundred years, so we are at the start of Brahma’s 51st year.
Brahma, for now, represents our universe which is born out of a navel singularity and dies out of a big crunch. In Hinduism, Vishnu represents that which is eternal and exists beyond this universe! He is the embodiment of birth and deathlessness. Our universe is one of many such universes in which Vishnu is present. According to the Vedas, thousands of Brahmans have passed away! In other words, this is not the first time the universe has been created.
A cosmic man Purusha’s body parts were sacrificed to create the universe in the Rig Veda (the first scripture in Hinduism, containing both spiritual and scientific knowledge). Specifically, it is the priest (Brahmin) from his mouth, the warrior (Kshatriya) from his arms, the peasant (Vaishya) from his thighs, and the servant (Shudra) from his legs.
There is a statement in the Chandogya Upanishad that states that the universe was created from the beginning by Brahman, through the three seasons of summer, rain, and harvest.
There have been some scientific theories suggesting that, following the Big Bang, the process of expansion of the universe will eventually reverse itself and begin to contract, eventually collapsing into the ‘Big Crunch’. There could be a new universe created as a result of this ‘Big Bang’. There is some connection with the end of the current Brahma year.
About four billion thousand years correspond to the lifespan of Brahma, the creator. Even though fire and water destroy a universe, they hold for about four billion years. This is the point at which Brahma rests for a night, just as long as he rests during the day. Pralaya is repeated for 100 Brahma years (311 trillion and 40 trillion human years) representing Brahma’s lifetime. According to Hindu belief, Brahma is a manifestation of Brahman, the creator of the universe.
From the sacred syllable Om, or the negation of death, the universe is said to have been born, a singular principle from which life emerged in its diversity. The void gave birth to desire, and desire gave birth to humans, gods, and demons.
Hiranyagarbha (here interpreted as ‘the golden embryo’) or Prajapati, who was born from Hiranyagarbha, was said to be the creator of the universe in Vedic tradition. The puranic Brahma was later identified as Prajapati. Other gods are attributed with creations, most notably the separation of the heavens and earth; Indra, Varuna, and Vishnu are believed to have accomplished this task.
According to some Hindu schools of thought, the universe has always existed. It was never the case that neither I nor you or any of these kings ceased to exist; and in the future, none of us would cease to exist.
It is believed that initially, Brahman was Shiva without any birth or death, according to the Shaiva scriptures. Shiva’s left body is the Vaamanga or the form of Vishnu. In essence, Shiva is an extreme male force in the cosmos. His feminine counterpart, Sati, came from him. Maha Vishnu, Garbhodaksayi Vishnu, and Ksirodaksayi Vishnu are the three forms of Vishnu, who created the universe. Several garbhodakasayi Vishnu inhabit the spiritual sky.
The Vedic scriptures talk about origin, death, and birth of time which often and to some extent correspond to the scientific hypothesis. Further study of these texts and their co-relations with the scientific discoveries may help us unravel more about the origin of everything.