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Sessions with Ashram Residents
by Swami Krishnananda

Session 5: India's Ancient Culture and the Discoveries of Modern Science

Quantum theory declares that if anything happens anywhere, it happens everywhere. One example is, if there is a prick by a thorn in a person's toe, the pain of this prick will not be felt merely by the toe or the leg. The whole body will know it, and it does not take time for the whole organism to know that there is pain. Though there is a distance of some five to six feet from the toe to the head, that distance is completely abolished by the organic oneness of the entire system. Similarly, though the stars are apparently so far away, they are really not far. There is no space and no time; therefore, there is no distance. Even if there seems to be a distance between the foot and the head, organically speaking there is no distance.

The universe is like the human body. That is why we call the whole universe as the body of the Supreme Creator. There is only One Person in the whole universe. He is called Mahapurusha: sahasraśīrṣā puruṣaḥ (P.S. 1). Million-headed is that Omnipresent Being, whose form is described in the eleventh chapter of the Bhagavadgita. That Being alone is, and anything that happens anywhere happens everywhere in the cosmos. The whole universe is an integral operation, and there is no distance between one part of the world and another part of it. The stars know what is happening here on earth. The poet says we cannot touch the petals of a flower in our garden without disturbing the stars in the heavens. The stars will know that we have touched a petal of a flower. Such distance, so many light years of distance, does not matter. Just as there is no distance between the foot and the head, there is also no distance between one place and another place. The whole universe is one living, integrated, complete organism which is the body of the Creator, the Absolute.

Quantum mechanics is saying the same thing as the Upanishads. Wonderful! Albert Einstein's brain manufactured the great concept of the relativity of space and time. We think that the physical world is inside space, which is Newton's concept. Newton's concept of the mechanised form of the relationship among things declares that the whole world of matter is inside space. But it is not so. Space is also a part of the world. Einstein's theory of relativity concludes, astonishingly, that matter is nothing but a dent in space. So matter is not existing independent of space. You will be wondering how space, which looks like emptiness, can create mountains and stones, and so on. Actually, space is not empty.

Einstein's great theory of relativity has been stated long ago in the Taittiriya Upanishad. In the Second Section of the Taittiriya Upanishad we are told that space manifested from the supreme Absolute. We should not consider space to be an empty vacuum. It is a subtle form of the future manifestation of the solid universe. From space came the vibration of what we call air. The friction created by the movement of air created heat, which we call fire. The condensation of the heat of fire became water, and the solidification of water became earth. And, once upon a time, this thing called the earth was part of the sun. It is said that a chip of the sun broke off long ago. The sun is a boiling mass of heat, so if the earth was once upon a time a little part of the sun, it must have been a flaming mass of boiling heat rushing out of the sun, revolving in space. It cooled and became the waters of the ocean, and the earth. Then little bodies called fungus, plants, etc., manifested. Then there were trees and other plants, which further evolved into aquatic creatures such as fish, and then semi-aquatic creatures such as the tortoise, and then mammals such as boars, elephants and lions. Then came human beings. This body of ours is made up of the same five elements of space, air, fire, water and earth. There is nothing in us except these things. The earth principal in us creates hunger for food, the water principal in us creates thirst, the fire principal in us requires us to warm ourselves, the air principal in us wants us to breathe fresh oxygen, and the space principal in us requires us to have accommodation. So there is nothing in a human body except these five elements, which came from the Supreme Being. Therefore, the final conclusion is that we are not independent of the universe. We think that we are coming from Delhi, Meerut, America, and so on, but these are all false ideas. The earth's surface has no Meerut, no Delhi. It may not even be aware that there are countries like India, America, etc., just as the body is not conscious that it is called a hand or a nose. We call it by those names, but the body is one single, impersonal organism. Thus the earth has no coordinates, no differences of nation and so on. We created these differences.

All told, what I am saying is that the theory of relativity declares that space is everything. You may be wondering how space is everything. Space is not emptiness. When the dissolution of the universe takes place, the earth will melt into water, the water will get dried up by the heat of fire, the fire will get extinguished by air, the air will merge into space. Then no universe will be there. We will all go into it. And the space will enter into the Absolute so that after the pralaya, or the dissolution, this original Supreme Being alone will be there. That Supreme Being existed before creation, and that Supreme Being will be afterwards also, and in the middle we are playing the drama of independent existence, as it were. We have no independent existence. This is relativity and quantum put together. There is no independence of any person or thing. Everything is everywhere, and anything is everything, so that you become totally impersonal in your outlook of life. You are not just a human being; you are a superhuman individual, a representation of the cosmic existence.

This is a wonder which we hear of in the Upanishads, the Vedas and the Bhagavadgita, which declared these very same truths as Einstein's theory of relativity and John Bell's quantum mechanics, etc. We think that new discoveries are coming up, but these people were not born at that time when the Upanishad declared this. It is the glory of India's culture.