January 6, 2010

where yoga and science converge

an old article...

Ashley Sierra
7 Aug 2009

            Modern physics has been in the search for a unifying theory of everything since the beginning of the twentieth century. It strives to bring the macrocosm and microcosm together in one elegant principle. Discoveries over the last hundred years from scientist like Albert Einstein and his relativity theory and Niels Bohr’s principle of Quantum Theory of Spectra have lead the way for a new path in physics for the West. These theories do not seem as innovative when compared to ancient knowledge of the East; Specifically knowledge pertinent to the holy books of Hinduism, the Vedas.
            This Paper will investigate the similarities between western physics and eastern Hinduism. The aim is not to belittle either of the belief systems, rather to point out curious incidences of similarities in the two philosophies. A connection between the concepts of Vedic knowledge and Physics showing the harmony in both ways of viewing life will be formed through the investigation of Indian Samkhya philosophy and recent theories of modern physics pertaining to matter, tachyon energy and zero-point energy.
Historians dispute the exact dates of which the sacred text of Hinduism were written, but it is estimated that the Vedas were composed circa 900 to 600 BCE (Sherwood, 16. The Bhagavad-Gita is a sacred Vedic text that is a portion of the epic Mahabharata. “The Bhagavad-Gita is considered the most authoritative part of the Upanishads” (Sherwood, 279). The Sanskrit translation of the title is most commonly referred to as “Song of the Lord.” The dialog of the story is between the avatar Krishna explaining to Prince Arjuna why he must fight in the battle of Kurukshetra that is about to take place among Arjuna’s kinsmen and friends. In the text Krishna explains dharma and the essence of all that exist. The story explains many points of the Samkhya philosophy system, which “existed earlier then other systems” (Burley, 16).
Samkhya identifies with a twenty-five-principle structure. One principle being Perusa, and the other twenty-four are within the realm of Prakriti. These twenty-four elements, from most subtle to most gross, comprise of Mahat (the great principle,) Buddhi (intellect,) Ahamkara (individuality,) Manas (the mind,) Panchendiryas (the five sense organs,) Karmendriyas (the five organs of action,) Tanmatras (the five subtle elements,) and the Mahabhutas (the five gross elements) (Jayaram). Also accompanying Prakriti are the three attributes of existence, called Gunas (Verma, 2). The Bhagavad-Gita divides these concepts that comprise all that exist into three concepts of Perusa: The Perishable Perusa, the Imperishable Perusa, and the Highest Self.
 In the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna explains to Arjuna, “there are two Purusas in the world – the Perishable and the Imperishable. All beings are the Perishable, and the Kutastha is called the Imperishable” (Swarupanada, 15.16). The Perishable Perusa comprises all manifest matter and is also referred to as Prakriti. In the notes that accompany this verse the Imperishable is defined as “the germ from which the perishable being is born” (Swarupanada, 333) and Kutastha as “that which manifest itself in various forms of illusion and deception” (Swarupanada, 333). This Imperishable Perusa is commonly related to eternal consciousness. Krishna continues to explain that there is another level of Perusa, the Highest Perusa, which transcends both the Perishable Perusa and the Imperishable Perusa. The next paragraphs will further explain these three concepts of Perusa.
Prakriti is described by Keith Sherwood as the “primordial source of power (unqualified energy)” that began evolution on the higher planes with subtle matter and on then on the physical-material plane  (Sherwood, 37). Translated to English, Prakriti in commonly referred to as nature, but most literally it means “that which remains in the state of conservation in existence, motion and transformation/condensation” (Verma, 1). “Prakriti is the principle of objectivity and materiality” (Sherwood, 73). It contains all from gross physical, subtle physical and “mental” (Pflueger, 73). Prakriti cannot become manifest on its own. Verma states the motion that caused Prakriti’s materiality “was generated by a dynamic source of independent energy” (Verma, 129). This source is accountable for all that is not the result of transformed energy; it is responsible for values that are not material. The Vedas name this source Purusa (Verma, 129).
Perusa is the “primordial consciousness.”  Perusa is also defined as “true self” (Sherwood, 17). It is the “principle of subjectivity or consciousness. Only in its presences can experience (Prakriti) take place” (Sherwood, 73). “Perusa is neither creative nor created” (Sherwood, 165). It is eternal omnipresent being that “exists everywhere with no exception and over-extends the existence of Prakriti” (Verma, 50). Perusa “is the real source of direction to prompt idle energy to transform into motion or action, to emerge into a supreme orderly system”  (Verma, 213). However, Larson states, “It should be noted…that Perusa is not a direct cause of the appearance of the manifest world. The Perusa is simply present, and this presence functions as a kind of catalyst” (Larson, 49). Prakriti only acts when catalyzed by this Imperishable Perusa (Organ, 211). These two principles are part of an underlying structure and are meant to “function mysteriously together as a virtual system” (Pflueger, 76).
This mysterious principle is known as the Highest Perusa. The Highest Perusa is the “transcendent witness, eternal, without birth and death” (Bhavasar & Kiem, 345). It is as a constant, immobile factor that is “the creator, the seed” (Bhavasar & Kiem, 345). Verma conveys, “that which lies throughout the cosmos, i.e. exists engulfing and pervading that whole system, is Perusa, the Supreme Lord” (Verma, 130). This existence transcends the field of relativity; It was already present in regions of “radiation and beyond” (Verma, 233). This Highest Perusa is constantly everywhere at once, and existed before any other reality.
These levels of Perusa are inseparable, making the lines that divide them hard to define.  However there is a “discrimination of the manifest, the unmanifest, and the knower” (Sherwood, 164). Distinguishing the three by relating them to concepts of physics also provides ideas of interconnectedness between the principles of Perusa and the beliefs of Samkhya, and concepts of Physics. The three principles “cannot be created, nor can (they) by any means be annihilated” (Verma, 2). Science would refer to this as energy. Physics has determined all matter is energy.  Einstein’s formula E=MC^2 established “that mass or matter was nothing but transformed energy” (Verma, 34) by providing the key to calculating how much energy is contained in any form of matter. This implies that the universe is “but a condensation of energy” (Verma, 4). This condensation of energy can be considered what comprises Prakriti, the manifest world. “Matter is simply the condensation of a vibrating universal subtle energy, which is the virtual state otherwise known as zero-point energy” (Wagner, 7).
Physicist refers to the vibrating universal energy mentioned above as zero-point energy. Zero-point energy is the lowest possible state; all of energy operates above this field. If one were to create a vacuum in space, void of every material thing, the zero-point field would still remain (Haisch, 70). The zero-point field is a background sea of electromagnetic jiggle that is unobservable by the human eye. “Since it is everywhere, inside and outside of us, permeating every atom in our bodies, we are effectively blind to its presence” (Haisch, 71). Therefore the world we do see is the energy that is above this field. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle tells us “there is always a zero-point radiation field that we cannot remove occurring at all electromagnetic frequencies” (Barton, 92). Wagner explains that we are a “precipitation” of this zero-point energy, which is “limitless energy” that can never be exhausted. It contains all potential and within it lies all that is needed to create perfect form (Wagner,8). In the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna tells Arjuna, “as I transcend the Perishable and am above even the Imperishable, therefore I am in the world and in the Veda celebrated as Purusottama, (the Highest Purusa)” (Swarupanada, 15.18). Miller translates this as “since I transcend what is transient and I am higher than the eternal, I am known as the supreme spirit of man in the world and in sacred lore” (Miller, 15.18). This principle of the Highest Perusa parallels the concepts of zero-point energy. Dr. Cousens writes zero-point energy is the potential energy that fills the cosmos, which “exist prior to the materialization of an object” (Cousens, 108). Characteristics of zero-point energy additionally state “zero-point energy is omnipresent; it permeates the entire universe” (Wagner, 8). Lord Krishna refers to his higher nature as “the life force that sustains this universe”  (Miller, 7.5). Krishna repeats that he is the source of everything that exists in the universe multiple times throughout the Bhagavad-Gita. Additionally Krishna states, “Arjuna, see all the universe, animate and inanimate, and whatever else you wish to see; all stands here as one in my body” (Miller, 11.7). Also as we are unable to see this zero-point energy, Krishna tells Arjuna he is unable to see his true form as the highest self in verse eight of the eleventh teaching.
 Zero-point energy is able to transmit into the process of materialization by converting into tachyon energy. Krishna states, “I am the infinite spirit’s foundation, immortal and immutable” (Miller, 14.27), which can be theorized as the zero-point energy relating to “I am” and the infinite spirit being tachyon energy, which does get transformed. The German researcher Hans Nieper was the first to theorize tachyon fields. A tachyon can be thought of as energy in a virtual state trying to become a particle. “It exists at the interface of energy and matter” (Cousens, 109). The tachyon energy is condensed into frequencies that create form with the assistance of subtle organizing energy fields, referred to as SOEFs. SOEFs “resonate with the unlimited virtual state energy, transferring it through various step-down systems” (Wagner, 8). While Tachyon energy is slightly faster than the speed of light, “all SOEFs exist just below the speed of light and are directly responsible for converting tachyon energy into frequencies required to evolve, organize and create perfect form“ (Wagner, 9). These SOEFs convert the tachyon by increasing the energy into a subatomic level, becoming the foundation of form. Tachyon energy is the bridge between the zero-point energy field and the world of form. It is “the key element in the flow of energy from the infinitely formless all the way down to the perfect form” (Cousens, 110). In this way it is easy to relate tachyon energy to the Imperishable Perusa. Like the zero-point field, what this paper compares with the Highest Perusa, it is  part of the underlying force of material creation. Krishna explains, “my self quickens creatures, sustaining them without being in them” (Miller, 9.5). Tachyon energy is the energy that increases frequencies, quickening vibrations with the guidance of SOEFs, into physical matter. Additionally it has been proven that the materialization of an object represents only one quadrillionth of the available energy in that volume of space (Cousens, 108). This idea is comparable to Krishna’s statement, “I stand sustaining this entire world with a fragment of my being” (Miller, 10.42).
“All beings are unmanifest in their beginning, O Bharata, manifest in their middle state, and unmanifest again in their end” (Swarupanada, 2.28). This unmanifest energy can be viewed as tachyon energy, which becomes manifested into matter that eventually decays back into its tachyon state of energy. The Highest Perusa, which transcends both this manifest and unmanifest Perusa, is explained in verse 27 of the thirteenth teaching as the Supreme Lord “existing equally in all beings, deathless in the dying” (Swarupanada, 13.27).  The Zero-point energy is currently being understood to be the only type of energy in the universe that is always present, even when a vacuum is created. Like the Highest Perusa transcending the Perishable Perusa and the Imperishable Perusa, zero-point energy transcends tachyon energy and the material world.
            An additional theory in which the Highest Perusa is similar to beliefs many physicist hold about the zero-point energy field is displayed in Krishna’s explanation of “the field.” “The field contains the great elements, individuality, understanding, unmanifest nature, the eleven senses, and the five sense realms” (Miller, 13.5). This would place all material forms, relating to Prakriti, and tachyon energy, being Imperishable Perusa, within “the field,” which according to the information established in the pervious paragraphs would consider “the field” as being the Highest Perusa.  Krishna goes on to describe what is to be known of “the field” in thirteenth teaching, which will be explained to in the following paragraphs. He states in verses 14 through 16:
“ Lacking all the sense organs, it shines in their qualities; unattached, it supports everything; without qualities, it enjoys them.
Outside and within all creatures, inanimate but still animate, too subtle to be known, it is far distant, yet near.
Undivided, it seems divided among creatures; understood as their sustainer, it devours and creates them” (Miller, 13.14 – 13.16).

This field that Krishna describes seems similar to the zero-point field in the respect they both support everything. Einstein wrote, “there is no such thing as an empty space, i.e. a space without field. Space-time does not claim existence on its own, but only as a structural quality of the field.” (Einstein, 176) Einstein’s idea of this field was a type of energy that would unite the explanation of the microcosmic world and the macrocosmic world. Zero-point energy is the field of energy which form evolves from that Einstein was after in his unified field theory. (Wagner, 12) According to David Wagner every physical thing “is a precipitation out of the invisible, unbounded, totality of perfect order” (Cousens, 109); this perfect order is the zero-point field according to physics, or the Highest Perusa according to Samkhya.
            In the above verses from the Bhagavad-Gita that quote Krishna as claiming “the field,” which has been established as the Highest Perusa, is capable of enjoyment. The enjoyment of the Highest Perusa can only be speculated as to how this is possible. Haisch’s God Theory provides insights on how to contemplate this Highest Perusa. He states, “Esoteric traditions tell us that, before any beginning and beyond any end, God, the unmanifest, simply is” (Haisch, 106). This God has infinite potential and is beyond space and time (Haisch, 107). It is this Consciousness that creates the illusion of matter in which it is able to live in the physical universe through this materiality. “Our experience is (its) experience because ultimately we are (it,) that is, immortal spiritual beings, offspring’s of God, temporarily living in the realm of matter” (Haisch, 137). While Einstein’s special relativity theory explains how light defines space and time, Haisch argues that the zero-point field of light actually created space and time.  This God Theory would go hand in hand with Krishna’s statement, “I am the source of everything, and everything proceeds from me; filled with my existence, wise men realizing this are devoted to me” (Miller, 10.8). Haisch claims that this God Theory is actually formulations “from the bottom of a vast overlay of religious dogma” (Haisch, 138) .
            The qualities of “the field” described above as “inanimate but still inanimate” can be compared to the qualities of energy in general. “Physicist specifically state that whatever is there in space, is under motion, Nothing is stationary” (Verma, 87). More specifically, this quality of “inanimate but still inanimate” can be explained in physic terms by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which states that nothing can ever be at a complete rest. According to this principle “at every possible frequency, there will always be a tiny bit of electromagnetic jiggling” (Haisch, 70).  These ceaseless fluctuations are too subtle to be seen even though they are taking place in every bit of space in the universe, which makes them seem, as Krishna puts it, “far distant, yet near.”
            To address the last of the three verses from teaching thirteen of the Bhagavad-Gita mentioned above, everything that has been declared up to this point in the paper must be involved. Krishna explains that although “the field” always remains undivided, it appears to be divided among creatures. This can be understood easily on the physical level of creatures he is discussing. In the realm of material objects all forms seem to be clearly defined by a shape. Each physical thing appears to be individual. Yet when physics is accounted for, all these material objects are actually created from the same zero-point energy field via tachyon energy and its accompany SOEF. The zero-point field, which is omnipresent, cannot be divided. As Haisch conveys it in his God Theory, it just is.
The ancient Vedic belief system of Hinduism and its Samkhya philosophies of Perusa do appear to be relating ideas modern physics are only now investigating. While Krishna can explain life in spiritual terms, physicist seem determined to explain in it scientific terms; however the ultimate answer may never be able to be fully actualized. There is much truth in Krishna’s statement, “Rarely someone sees it, rarely another speaks it, rarely anyone hears it – even hearing it no one really knows it” (Miller, 2.29).

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