God’s Expanse Is Far Wider Than Physics
God or no God, this controversy has been once again raked up by legendary theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, in their new book The Grand Design. “God did not create the Universe and the ‘Big-Bang’ was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics. The fact that there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.” The “M-theory” he talks about, makes Creator of the universe redundant.
I do not know whether it is part of a well-articulated publicity exercise or just their speculation. Such abstract thoughts may even otherwise naturally arise in a fertile mind, if the following verse from Yeats has a meaning: “The best are always confused and the worst are passionate in their beliefs.” Truly so, for, the wise will be always debating over various aspects of an idea, many a times even in conflict with each other. But then, it is through such reflections only that reasoned thoughts emerge. And, the fact that this time, the controversy has been raked up by an authority in theoretical physics, we are due for fresh rounds of lively debates which may eventually help understand the concept of God better.
There is nothing new about this controversy. The above debate has been doing its round since ancient times. In fact, many schools of Indian philosophy which do not accept the authority of Vedas do not acknowledge the existence of God. Even San-khya concept, which otherwise acknowledges the authority of Veda, does not accept God in a Creator’s role. But then, it is only after debating over and answering the questions accosted by those philosophies that credibility of the Vedantic concept of Advaita (non-dualism) gets vindicated either. Here again, it will be interesting to add that Advaita, like science, subscribe to the view that the manifest plural world with all its enormity and diversity is a reflection of a ‘Singularity’.
Now coming back to the main question, do these scientists mean that the universe has come out of nothingness? Can something come out of nothing? It is an accepted fact that science meets its roadblock at the Big-Bang. However, no rational mind will buy the argument that something beyond one’s mental comprehension has to be declared as non-existent. Therefore, the existence of a ‘Primordial-Source’, with or without form or perceptible attribute, needs to be acknowledged to explain the world process. And, that still leaves scope for the laws of gravitation or other laws of physics inherently in evidence to play their part in the making of this universe.
Having said that, they may be still true, if they are targeting Newton’s statement—“The universe could not have arisen out of chaos”. It again needs to be appreciated here that it will be difficult for the physicists to accept the duality inherent in various theologies, including Christianity. Incidentally, most of the scientists of the Western world have exposure to Christian concept of God. For, physics hypothesises that all fundamental forces in the nature responsible for the making of this Universe must have existed in unified state before they came into play. It may not be out of place to mention here that, as per my understanding, Christianity assigns God as an exclusive identity differentiated from the manifest, and which is not accepted as the material-cause of creation. They may again sound reasons if they wish to deny the existence of a Form-God exercising its will to create the world of objects like a human being.
Coming back to the laws of Physics, how do we take them in finality? For, they are yet not concretised, and continue to evolve further, out of the ruins of the past. The Laws of Physics have undergone a paradigm shift since Isaac Newton came up with the laws of gravitation. Einstein gave it a major turn with his theory of relativity. It underwent further change when it came out that laws defining motion of gross bodies in the cosmos do not apply to the flight of energy particles at the sub-atomic level. And now physics has added a new twist when it defies the Einstein’s equivalence principle, which states that the laws of physics are the same everywhere. John Webb of the University of New South Wales in Australia has come up with the evidence to suggest that the laws of physics are not the same everywhere. Seen in practical terms, so far, the laws of physics stand out as partial theories.
The laws of physics may be able to partly explain the construct of the Cosmos. But, so far, Physics has not been able to any way establish a correlation between the primal source and man, particularly in terms of varying attributes exhibited by different people. And, if science cannot explain, they fail to establish continuum between the source and the manifest in practical terms. Evidently, their finding becomes an abstract academic exercise which may be merely stoking a tangential thought.
Perhaps an insight into the Vedantic concept of non-dualism, read together with the energy principle inlaid with “¬” (AUM) concept, may suit a scientist’s mind better and even help them understand the concept of God better. For, in the first place, it acknowledges the existence of one and only primordial-source—the boundary-less singularity, with no beginning or end—which remains the efficient and material cause of creation. In un-manifest state it is perceived as being without form or perceptible attribute, but not without contents. Evidently, such a state could be possible in the energy frame only. In a way, it can be said that the primordial-source is something like an energy-whole. Further going by the “AUM” concept, causal stress (spandan) arises at the primordial-source owing to which the pranava sound (AUM) gets excited. Once the causal stress becomes ghanibhuta (Dense), and which when centralises, the energy trinity (respectively identified with “A”, “U”, and “M” constituting AUM) get excited with a roaring sound “Ham”, a concept close to scientific perception. It may not be out of place to mention here that if the primordial-source is taken as an energy-whole, then it has to be a pool of energy particles. And then, the possibility of arousal of causal-stress, because of mutual attraction amongst energy particles sound reason, very much in accord with the laws of physics.
At the primordial-source, its constituents, each having their respective attributes, are so evenly balanced in their wholesome, un-manifest form, that they do not reflect any perceptible attribute. A particular mix of these constituents evident in a person, account for his individual specific traits. Secondly, the “consciousness element” emanating from the primal source, acting upon the particular energy platform identifiable with an existence, defines the varied dynamism of all beings.
In fact, the energy constituents and the consciousness element read together hold the key to unity underlying all existences, and hence, the continuum between the source and its manifest. As a result, the world is so interlinked that no individual component or existence has an identity independent of entirety. Here, a mention of the power of freewill enjoyed by human being deserves mention. Applying this mind-power, man can guide his actions by choice and discrimination, whereby he could influence even the environment through his efforts.
Here I am tempted to recall the saying of “The Mother”, the spiritual associate of Aurobindo: “Without Him, I exist not; without me, He is un-manifest.” Such remains the continuum between the Primal-Source and Man. Evidently, a knowledge, which does not fully explain the inter-relation between the two, shall not fully quench the thirst of a searching mind.
In such a complex set-up, what then is God? It is not a Person as we understand the term—someone with a body encasement. It is however ever personalising in the form of all individual things in the world. It is also a Person as the aggregate of all such personalities. And it can be said to have a persona also in the sense that the energy constituents emerging there from find reflection in terms of varying attributes in a man.
To sum up, God is that phenomenon called the World. God is completeness, constituting the source, the manifest, and the laws driving this mechanism individually and collectively, including the functionalities of a man. And, Godliness is exploring the unity underlying all existences. Pursuing this path only, one realises that the world is an organic whole, where all constituents respectively discharge their assigned tasks in support of each other, and that the efforts of all put together carry forward this dynamic world. It then becomes possible to realise that we need to be in harmony with all and sundry. So, the domain of God is far wider than abstract laws of physics, vital to our qualitative existence in holistic terms.
By Bharat Bhushan