Wednesday, November 4, 2009

HOW MANY UNIVERSES MAKE A MULTIVERSE? – THE STORY OF BHETALA

First A WELCOME:

A Warm Welcome to The EMPEROR, Irene Harvey and Mark. We thank you for joining the Blog and look forward to your valuable contributions.


ONE UNIVERSE FOR EACH CREATURE!

We come across several instances in Yogavaasishta where the concept of multiverse (many universes) is exemplified. One such story is that of the enigmatic questions of Bhetala in Sarga 70, Book-I of Chapter: Nirvana.

Bhetala, the enlightened poltergeist, posed six questions to the King who was about to become Bhetala’s dinner with the promise that the King could save himself if he (the King) answered the questions correctly.

The first question was: What is that beginingless Star in whose illumination all the Universes appear as mere specks of dust?

The King replies poetically comparing the universe we live in to a fruit.

King: "Bhetala!

Think of the universe that we are all living in to be a humongous fruit.

There is a bough with thousands of those fruits.
There is a tree with thousands of such boughs.
There is a wood with thousands of such trees.
There is a mountain with thousands of such woods.
There is an island with thousands of such mountains.
There is a huge globe (mahi peetha) with thousands of such islands.
There is a huge star system with thousands of such globes.
There is a heavenly egg with thousands of such star systems.
There is a sea with thousands of such heavenly eggs.
There is an ocean with thousands of such seas.
Thousands of such oceans will be the waters in the stomach of a man.
That man’s name is Vishnu.

Another great man wears a necklace of a hundred thousand of Vishnus.
His name is Rudra.

Millions of Rudras shine in the form of hair-follicles on the body of a very great man. His name is Aditya (= one who has been there right from the beginning; sun).
He is none other than the Supreme Consciousness.

He illuminates all the universes of my gargantuan conception.
He is the Brahman with attributes.
He has also an absolute form that is much more fundamental.
The qualities of ‘doership’ and ‘experiencership’ which seem to exist in the Brahman with attributes do not at all affect the Absolute Brahman.

The star you are referring to is the Brahman with attributes."

Thus the King shows that Bhetala’s knowledge was as yet incomplete because Bhetala was still conceptualizing in terms of Brahman with attributes and not the attributeless (Nirguna) Brahman who is beyond. As long as one conceives of Brahman with attributes, worlds appear. Worlds cease and there is no "doer" or "experiencer" in attributeless Absolute Brahman.

Dr. Einstein had always been uncomfortable with Quantum Theory which states that multiple states exist until a measurement collapses the system to give raise to a single observed event. Dr. Schrödinger who helped in the development of quantum mechanics was himself puzzled with the possibility of multiple states. He designed the well known thought experiment: The Schrodinger's Cat. As per Quantum theory, the cat would both be living and dead at the same time until one actually lifts the lid and observes it either to be dead or alive in the cage. Dr. Niels Bohr explained it saying that our 'consciousness' influences the decision whether the cat is dead or alive. Thus we would become a partner in the system instead of a distant observer.

Hugh Everett, a young physicist at that time tried to resolve this problem of uncertainty in Quantum theory by proposing a theory of multiple worlds. According to him the world goes on splitting into many worlds at every moment and we exist in one of those daughter worlds. That is to say, as Dr. Tegmark expalined, "You are in Universe A as you read this sentence. Now you are already in Universe B as you read this sentence." Or saying it differently, you could be a little baby in some other universe at the time you are reading this Blog in this universe and 500 years old or dead in a different universe! That means all possibilities co-exist at the same time! This theory did not get much support at that time.

However, developments in String Theory showed the mathematical possibility of the existence of multiple universes (multi-verse instead of uni-verse). The calculations indicated that there could be 10 raised to the power of 500 ( i.e. one followed by 500 zeroes) universes in existence with different physical laws. Dr. Susskind called it a "lnadscpae" of universes. We live in one such universe where the conditions are favorable to our type of life.

This week "Cosmologists Andrei Linde and Vitaly Vanchurin at Stanford University in California raised the provocative notion that the [number of universes] may depend on the human brain.

If observers are an integral part of the cosmic formula, then it may not matter how many universes exist - just how many a single observer can tell apart. If the observer is a person, that depends on how many bits of information the brain can process. "Based on the number of synapses in a typical brain, a human observer can register 10 to the power of 16," says Linde. That means humans can differentiate 10 to the power of 10 raised to the power 16 (10^10^16) universes."

While discussing the neural circuits involved in the formation of memories in flies, Dr. Gero Miesenböck of the University of Oxford said that "even simple organisms may turn out to have a ‘surprisingly rich mental life.’"

Recently Non-Dualist Rupert Spira observed: "In fact each person's thoughts, images, sensations and perceptions are entirely private and personal, even when we are sitting next to one another conversing in a room." He further clarified: "[T]here is no evidence of a world outside perception and perceptions themselves are not ‘shared.’ They cannot perceive one another. In other words there is not one world shared by six billion people but rather there are six billion simultaneous ‘worlds’ shared by one Consciousness. It is the mind that says six billion, whereas Consciousness sees only One." [emphasis by me.]

Thus each universe may just be an imagination of that creature as Yogavaasishta holds! And every creature lives in its iamginary world!!

4 comments:

Satya-Sp117 said...

As of now, i feel miniscule- something this big is outside the human comprehension! But seriously, if my universe is exactly what my consciousness wants it to be, why do i have french class, why are people dying all around the world? For that matter, if my universe is my imagination, how can i know that the answer that you give me is correct or even feasible? Am i the only truly sentient being in this universe?I can feel, i can smell, i can taste, i can see, i can hear- how do i know that anyone else does?

ramesam said...

Wow Satya!

These are really remarkable questions that only a "Mumukshu" would ask!!

(Mumukshu = one yearning after 'liberation', i.e. seeking the Ultimate Truth, Knowledge).

And questioning is the first step in Self-inquiry.

When we find no answers anywhere, we ask who is actually asking these questions? Who or What is that "I" posing these questions?

And each individual will find his/her own answer!

Expressing in lame words, it is mind that asks these questions. "Awareness" which is just aware is beyond the mind and finally mind is found to be non-existent!! When mind itself is found to be non-existent, the questions also disappear!!!

So keep going at the Self-inquiry!!!!

Many scriptures provide some road maps.

Satya-Sp117 said...

where do i get an atlas? just joking!

ramesam said...

A CORRECTION PLEASE.

There was a typing mistake in my quote of what Rupert Spira said.

Rupert was kind to go through the Post and point out the mistake.

I am awfully sorry and my apologies to Rupert and others who also might have noticed.

The sentence which was "They perceive one another" should actually read as "They CANNOT perceive one another." This has been corrected now.

Thanks and regards