The Vedas, Physics and Big Bang
The Vedas describe where this Universe came from. Interestingly, I find the Vedic description is fully supported by modern Physics (Cosmology). No contradictions. For example modern Physics says the beginning of this Universe was at the point of the ‘Big Bang’. Imagine this like an explosion, then debris firing out from one single point, a ‘big bang’. So all the stars, planets and other stuff in the universe all came from an infinitely dense and hot single point. See this Video for a brief intro to the big bang: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXcVfx2Pw1I
The Vedas use exactly the same language as the modern Physicists to describe the origins of this Universe: ‘infinite’= anantam (Taittiriya Upanishad), ‘single point’= ekam eva advitiyam (Chandogya Upanishad).
Another mind blowing thing about the big bang is that the big bang gave birth to Space and Time itself. It’s not that, there was an explosion, at a point in space, at a particular time. Then what? The space itself was created from the big bang. Time itself was created from the big bang. There was no time or space, as we know it today, before the big bang. (This links to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, but let’s not complicate it too much yet!).
So according to Physics, the first fundamental building block of this Universe is… Space and Time. Within Space and Time, everything else exists – planets, stars, Earth, London, your house, your sofa and your body. Therefore Space and Time are the basis of the Universe.
The Vedas (Taittriya Upanishad) also say this: ‘From the seed of the Universe (Maya & Brahman) came Space’ (Tasmaat Akasha Sambhutah). Akasha means space (which includes time, as we know from Physics). OK…What is space? Can you describe it to me? Can you tell me its colour, smell, taste or feeling? No, it doesn’t have a colour or smell or any such quality. Space only has 1 quality: Sound. Shabdha. Even Physics agrees – sound is just a series of vibrations/oscillations which vary in terms of space (y-axis) and time (x-axis).
So first Space and Time were created from Maya. Then what? Air (Vayu). Air has 2 qualities: Sound and Touch (sparsha). i.e. you can hear and feel the air. Then what came from Air? Fire (Agni). Fire has 3 qualities: Sound, Touch and Form (Rupa). You can hear, feel and see fire. What came from Fire? Water (apah). Water has 4 qualities: Sound, Touch, Form, Taste (Rasa). Then what came from Water? Earth (prithivi). Earth has all 5 qualities: Sound, Touch, Form, Taste, Smell (Gandha).
These are how the 5 elements (Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth) evolved from Maya. Space has the least qualities (only sound), whereas Earth has the most (Sound, Touch, Form, Taste, Smell). Therefore Earth is considered the easiest to perceive – it is the ‘Grossest’ element. Whereas Space is the most difficult to perceive – it is the ‘subtlest’ element. Each element after space becomes progressively less subtle.
Also, we need to note that the elements themselves can be divided into 2 types: Gross and Subtle. The subtle elements came from Maya. Then the gross elements came from the subtle elements. Because these same elements make up this very Universe we live in, we now have 2 levels of this Universe: Gross Universe (what you see around you now) and the Subtle Universe (you cannot see them now, but they do exist according to Veda – e.g. 14 worlds/lokas – bhuh, bhuvah, suvah, etc). Vedas say there are other living beings which live in these subtle levels of the Universe, and you can even be reborn there according to your Karma. This does not contradict with modern Physics, which theorises about ‘parallel universes’ and other dimensions of this Universe which exist but we cannot perceive (called ‘String Theory’ in Physics).
Science supports the conclusions of the Veda. A scientist has no reason to doubt the Vedas. And a follower of the Vedas has no reason to doubt science. There is no conflict, only harmony.
Om Tat Sat.