|The world we live in, the universe we see and observe, how were they created? Have the Hindu scriptures attempted any explanation of this phenomenon? Can their explanations stand the scrutiny of science?|
The secret behind the creation of this world - as also the process of creation the mystery surrounding the phenomena of birth and death, the problem of good and evil, the ultimate goal of human life and other questions akin to these - have been taxing the human intelligence from time immemorial, ever eluding any intelligible solutions. Our Rishis have offered their solutions to these, based on their own mystic experiences as also the dictates of the Vedas. The 'Shad darsanas' or the six systems of philosophy are a direct result of their experiences and researches. In them we find several explanations regarding creation.
The Nyaya system of Gautama and the Vaishesika system of Kanada envisage creation by Paramatman (God) out of anus (atoms), which are eternal. The shape of things is directly related to the Adrishta (the unseen deserts) of the Jivas (individual souls) left over unredeemed, from the previous cycle of creation. Combination of these atoms causes creation and their disintegration results in dissolution of this universe.
The Samkhya system of Kapila and the Yoga system of Patanjali advance the theory that Prakriti (the fundamental matrix of matter) evolves into this universe in the presence of the Purushas (or individual souls) who act as catalytic agents. In fact, the whole process of creation is for the benefit of the Purushas, for their spiritual unfoldment resulting finally in their emancipation. The five elements like earth and water, sense organs like the eyes and ears as also mind all these are evaluates of Prakriti only. The universe is a permutation and combination of these. Though essentially detached from Prakriti, if any Purusha feels an attachment towards Prakriti and its products he becomes involved in bondage leading to repeated transmigration. If he can successfully detach himself through discrimination and wisdom, he will be emancipated.
The Purva Mimamsa system of Jaimini advocates the theory that Prakriti or insentient nature evolves by itself into this universe, being impelled by the Prarabdha Karma (Karma done in previous lives and about to be fructified) of Jivas or individual souls. According to the Vedanta system propounded by Badarayana Vyasa, Brahman the Absolute projects this universe out of Itself, sustains it and withdraws it into Itself at the end of the cycle.
This means that Brahman the Absolute, which is One without a second, becomes 'many', gets 'evolved' as the universe and 'returns' to Its original state of unity. It is something like the web coming out of the spider's mouth, sparks emitted out of fire or vegetation growing out of earth. Everything that exists is really Brahman, there is nothing that is not Brahman. Thus Vedanta teaches a fundamental unity behind the universe.
When we look at the theories of modern science which declare that electrons are fundamental particles of matter, the permutations and combinations of which have given rise to the various objects of creation, we are tempted to conclude that modern science is fast approaching the findings of Vedanta. Whereas modern science has not yet been able even to define in unambiguous terms, let alone explain, what mind, consciousness and life are, Vedanta affirms, in unequivocal terms, that Brahman or Atman, whose nature is eternal Existence, Consciousness and Bliss, is the fundamental and only reality from which everything else has evolved. This affirmation has obviously gone far beyond the discoveries and declarations of modern science.