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Madhur Dhingra | India

Location : Ghats Of Varanasi – “A Delicate Balance” - It is monsoon time and dark clouds loom large over Varanasi. Ganga is in full bloom and has submerged most of the temples and also broken through the banks of the ghats. But it is fun time for the local children, and they dance jumping in and out of Ganga.

These images are a part of a personal journey where I search answers to some fundamental questions about life, its meaning and purpose and then later my understanding about nature of ‘Reality’. This quest took me to every nook and corner of India meeting sadhus, philosophers, scientists and charlatans alike.

I made visits to spiritually charged places like Rishikesh, Varanasi, Zanskar, Ladakh, Madurai, Durga Puja(Kolkota), Kumbh 2019 (Allahbad – Praygraj) and others.

On Manikarnika (Varanasi) -The Burning Ghat I saw death in all its raw and naked starkness.

In Ladakh & Zanskar I would sit inside the 2000 year old monasteries trying to seep in the peace I found there.

Constant interaction with brilliant scholars made me understand that the concept of a 'Creator God' proposed by organized religions was a childish one. It had failed to fully comprehend that unconditioned, non-dual, eternal omnipresent force. God is not a glorified ‘personality' sitting somewhere in the universe, directing lives of its people or attending to minute details of its day to day operations. We need to understand that the Universal Mind does not exist separately along the universe but in it and as it.

The universe was not arbitrarily created by any outside intervention but is self- born and is governed by the eternal Law Of Cause and Effect. The impressions of all objects in the universe lie dormant within the inner depths of the Universal Mind, until they become active by the working of Karma. They are then projected in our familiar space-time dimension which we know as the material world. The universe is not only self-actuating but also self-determining.

The perplexing questions of how the universe came into being and the conundrum of origin of life have always puzzled mankind. Civilizations from time immemorial have tried to answer these questions in their own peculiar ways. Ancient Mesopotamians believed that the earth was ruled by numerous gods, goddesses, devils and monsters. They were hundreds of gods who were responsible for everything that happened in their life. They had a god of rain, god of moon, god for justice, god for wind, to name a few. Egyptians too had built a fascination world of spirituality for themselves. They also worshipped many gods, and as many as 1500 gods are known by name. Their search for immortality led to the building of the pyramids, fabulous temples and tombs with the mysterious mummies buried inside them. Greeks too worshipped many gods like Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Apollo and so many others.

Science on one hand, is a systematic study of nature and behavior of the material and physical universe, based on observation, experiment and measurement, formulation of laws to describe those facts and to use them to make predictions. Any conflicting evidence must eventually lead to either modification or even abandonment of the law.

On the other hand, religion does not depend only on any observational and experimental evidence and by and large relies on revelations, faith and myths to explain the mysteries of the universe. It does not feel the need to modify its beliefs in the face of conflicting evidence. In religion, faith in its doctrines is paramount and unequivocal.

History stands witness to philosophers like Filippo Bruno being burnt at the stake for his cosmological theories of stars being small suns at a distance and for saying that the universe is infinite and hence could not have any celestial body at its center. The Church during that time believed that the Earth was the center of the universe. Nikolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilee and many others also suffered the oppression of the dominant Orthodox Church, but unrelenting science was in no mood to be cowed down. They kept shooting down all the superstitions and myths held by the church. The war was on!!!!!

The earliest known conflict between science and religion occurred in ancient Babylon. The priests then had believed that lunar eclipses were caused by agitated gods. They were considered evil and threatened the lives of their kings. By then the local astronomers had discovered an 18 year and 11.3 day (223 synodic month) interval between lunar eclipses. This suggested that the eclipses were a natural phenomenon. But this did not deter the irrational beliefs of the priests, they still regarded eclipses as a great danger for their kings. However, now knowing how to accurately predict of the next eclipse, adamant priests put on throne a temporary king during the period around the eclipse, in an effort to safe guard the real king. Interestingly the substitute king was later killed and the omen fulfilled.

Later on the most talked about conflict was between Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and the Roman Catholic Church, largely over the movements within the solar system. The Church interpreted the Bible as saying that the Earth was at the center of the universe and the sun, moon and other planets and stars revolved around the Earth. Galileo on the other hand had observed that the sun was at the center of our solar system and Earth other planets also revolved around the sun and the moon revolved around the Earth. Galileo was tried condemned as a heretic. He spent the rest of his life in house arrest. Pope John Paul II later admitted that errors had been made by the Church advisors in the case of Galileo Galilei. Interestingly he did not admit that the Church was wrong to convict Galileo on a charge of heresy.

A formal divide between religion and science took place during the seventeenth century when French mathematician Rene Des Cartes demarcated the scope of science to only what was material, by bifurcating the universe as matter (res extensa) and mind (res cogitans), limiting science to the study of the former. The science that evolved on the basis of this Cartesian bifurcation was confined to the study of material objects within the limits of human sensory perception. The study of God, soul, spirit and anything beyond the perception of the sense organs were in the domain of the Church.

The result of this unhealthy truce was a complete materialization of all scientific knowledge, its applications, approach and attitude. Science no longer oppressed and hounded now hit back in retaliation saying that anything that was beyond the grasp of the senses was merely a delusion.

Then we see Charles Darwin with his Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection. Evolution is a gradual process in which a living organism changes its shape into a different and usually a more complex form, adapting itself according to the conditions of its environment. Natural Selection is the survival of the fittest and removal of the unfit ones in due course of time.

No figure in modern history has received as much religious criticism and backlash as Charles Darwin. He is portrayed even worse than an atheist. His work has been attacked as a denial to the belief that the universe and all its diverse life forms are a creation of God. Ironically, at Cambridge University, he studied to become a minister. While studying for the ministry, Darwin undertook a field trip with Adam Sedgwick, one of the three principal founders of modern geology. This earned him good reputation as a naturalist. A year later he went as a resident naturalist on ‘HMS Beagle’, a scientific exploratory ship, which was going sailing around the world for 5 years.

During his service on ‘HMS Beagle’, Darwin finally decided to give up his aspirations of becoming a minister and opted for the life of a scientist-naturalist. He made judicious observations of birds, turtles and mammals, which gradually evolved into an idea of evolution of species by natural selection.

Darwin initially played a leading part in the parish work of the local church, but from around 1849 he would go for a walk on Sundays while his family attended church. Though reserved about his religious opinions, in 1879 he responded that he had never denied the existence of God, and said, "An Agnostic would be a more correct description of my state of mind." He went on to say that "Science has nothing to do with Christ, except insofar as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence. For myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation. As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities”.

The followers of Darwin further went on to say that there is no God or any intelligent force anywhere in the universe. All life forms are random mutations, carriers of DNA’s perpetual quest to replicate.

Christianity believes that God created all the animals, reptiles, birds and everything else that exists today, through His supernatural powers. Any organism created by God can't produce a new form all by itself and only God has the power to do this. Many Christians believe that The Book of Genesis which deals with Origins had actual information on how the world came up into being. The Book Of Genesis starts with the statement "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth", and goes on to describe how in six days God created the plants, the animals, the sun, the moon, and the stars. Orthodox Biblical interpretation infers that the world was created about 6000 years ago. Christian beliefs are usually based on a strict interpretation of the Bible and some of their other holy texts. Archbishop James Ussher from Ireland actually calculated the ages of the patriarchs and worked out to his self-satisfaction that the world was created in the year 4004 BC on 22nd October Saturday at 6 PM. Interestingly, any Biblical scholar will vouch that the Book of Genesis was never meant to describe the actual origin of Creation.

Scientists vehemently say the young earth theory is completely wrong, with so much of geological, fossil, astronomical and other data against it. Scientists are almost unanimous in saying that the Earth is 4 billion years old.

Most religions of the world have primitive concepts of God. Mankind has been made to believe that God is a Being, distinct in relation to his own self, to whom he is supposed to worship, please, seek pardon or obtain awards from. He is made into some superhuman being with a big long white beard, sitting somewhere in the universe judging people and ordering punishments and rewards. But this is not what God is. The whole concept of such a God is preposterous. Religion has deliberately played upon these insecurities and served its own vested interests.

Most religions have done tremendous harm by spreading hatred and violence through their manipulative, ignorant and dogmatic doctrines. History all through has been a silent spectator to unimaginable acts of barbarity resulting from hatred spread by the protectors of these religions. Modern man however, is more open minded and looks with disdain at certain portions of these doctrines and refuses to accept them at their face value. They seem irrational and childish to his logical mind.

Simultaneously, I also emphatically state that science is definitely not the only irrefutable way of knowing and understanding reality but rather just another way of knowing that differs from other ways, because of its dependence on measurable means. Experience however, keeps reminding us that such a methodology does not always lead us to correct answers. The above mentioned method sometimes act as a constraint on science and stand in the way of achieving the objective of understanding the true nature of reality. Reality may not just be confined to matter or to the known dimensions of time and space. Such phenomena however find its place outside the parameters of the current scientific paradigm.

Orthodox science has also painted a very bleak picture for humanity. It keeps telling us that we are some sort of a genetic mistake, that we have genes that use us to move on to the next generation and that we randomly mutate. It also keeps telling us that our existence is just a matter of chance and that we are alone a very lonely and meaningless cosmos. Such a viewpoint of being disconnected with the universe that we all live in is the most disastrous thing that science has ever taught us. We are now coming to realize painfully that this conception is completely wrong. We are not isolated beings but on the contrary, the whole universe is interconnected. The idea of separateness is completely an erroneous one, and that everything in the universe is 'Entangled'.

Ironically both science and religion, due to their dogmatic approach, ignorance and selfish interests have led mankind astray in its understanding the true nature of Reality. Pitching one against the other has mainly been done by people of vested interests on both the sides. A sincere seeker however, takes no time in seeing through this sinister design.

Vedantic Thought :

It is interesting that Hinduism distances itself from all of thisperturbation over evolution and biblical cosmology.Hinduism believes in the concept of evolution of life on earth. Although it is not exactly the same as the one known to modern science. In many ways and in a very fundamental sense, it is not much different from the latter either, and wider in scope. The Hindu theory of evolution speaks about the evolution of not only of the physical body but also of consciousness and intelligence.

It is interesting that Hinduism distances itself from all of this perturbation over evolution and biblical cosmology. Hinduism believes in the concept of evolution of life on earth. Although it is not exactly the same as the one known to modern science. In many ways and in a very fundamental sense, it is not much different from the latter either, and wider in scope. The Hindu theory of evolution speaks about the evolution of not only of the physical body but also of consciousness and intelligence.

Sanskrit is the language in which the Vedas are written. They are believed to be one of the oldest books ever written by mankind. For thousands of years they were passed down from one generation to the next by way of oral recitation. They were finally written down in 1500 BC. Vedas may have their philosophical foundation in Hinduism but are universal in their appeal.

Carl Sagan -Cosmos “The Hindu religion is the only one of the world’s great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang.”

The Hindu cosmology and its timeline is the closest to modern scientific timelines and even more, which might indicate that the Big Bang is not the beginning of everything but just the start of the present cycle preceded by an infinite number of universes and to be followed by another infinite number of universes. It also includes an infinite number of universes at one given time.

Modern science with its current technology, is limited to observations within this universe alone because the universe is curved and we are something like a fish in a fishbowl, unable to see outside it.

The Rig Veda states and questions the Origin of the Cosmos(Big Bang) and what existed before that : Rig Veda 10. 129 . It is also known as the " Hymn of Creation ".


Before creation nothingness was not, nor existence lived, There was no breath, nor the paradise constructed beyond the skies. What was hidden and enclosed? Where was all the creation and in whose protection it remained ? What was the depth of cosmic water which was yet to born ? What was it all ? What was it all about ?(Before revealing the truth of creation, this Sukta is trying to put many questions in reader’s mind to invoke the thought process and let the reader contemplate to feel ambiguous and skeptical glory of creation. By doing so, it moves further.)


Then there was neither death nor immortality nor was there the day and night. The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining existed alone. There was only One except any second.(With great emphasis, it is clearly said that He existed and all that which exists came through Him. Thus, no doubt about His presence can be placed and distrust in the knowledge of Vadas should be commenced. Because of the clear mention, one should not accept this hymn as a mere skeptical speculation but the absolute truth of creation. )


Darkness there was and all existed in the dark void. There was only cosmic water which was dark and unillumined. Arrived from it, One who was nothing and One who created everything. Thus came the vital force, the power of heat which prevailed in each fragment.(There is clear mention of Purusha (Narayana) who resides in the cosmic waters of primordial macrocosm. Who endured the warmth of heat (shakti) and thus created the propitious terrene (shiva).


At the onset, He enchanted a desire - that was the primal seed, born of the mind. The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom know that which is kin to that which is not.(As there is mention of desire, one should understand that the highest absolute is not a machine. He has desires and He has mind. This means, He too has preferences and likes. Thus comes forward the acknowledgement of His form, spiritual, blissful and everlasting.)


The cords of the high arm were spread. what was above it then, and what below it?(Nothing was above and below but Purusha. Mighty Purusha is everything, everything is within Him. He is filled in all the directions.)
The seminal powers made the mighty forces, free action was here and strength of impulse went upwards in the skies


Who knows it certainly how the world was created about which it is being spoken?(The one who found the truth of creation is a very rare and great person, thus it is asked, “Who is he?” It means- No one can verify the creation by mere speculation and by direct analysis through the senses.).Later came the demigods and their world.What to know about the place where the beginning took place and what to know about whence it was created?(“What to know more about that which is already known?”- This is what sages want to say as they know everything. )


Purusha, the first origin of this creation, He formed it all still pretends to be a non-active being who neither created nor lived.(Purusha creates the world and also withdraws Himself from this world as He is beyond and no effect of material nature disturbs Him. We have to search Him as He shields Himself and waits to be found. Thus, said the above word.)
Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, He verily knows it or perhaps he pretends to know it not.(He doesn’t reveal Himslef. He remains at His position without any bewilderment.)

The famous Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Laureate Niels Bohr (1885-1962) was a follower of the Vedas. He said, “I go into the Upanishads to ask questions.” Both Niels Bohr and Erwin Schrodinger, the founders of quantum physics, were avid readers of the Vedic texts and observed that their experiments in quantum physics were consistent with what they had read in the Vedas. Erwin Schrodinger wrote in his book ‘Meine Weltansicht’: “This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance".

Schrödinger, in speaking of a universe in which particles are represented by wave functions, said, ‘The unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. This is entirely consistent with the Vedanta concept of All in One.’ The multiplicity is only apparent. This is the doctrine of the Upanishads, and not of the Upanishads only. The mystical experience of the union with God regularly leads to this view, unless strong prejudices stand in the West.” (Erwin Schrödinger, ‘What is Life?’, p. 129, Cambridge University Press)

The Advait or non-dualistic school of Vedanta philosophy quotes Brahman (Supreme Consciousness) as the Sole and All Pervading Entity. Advaita means non-duality. It is a state of Oneness with Its Creation or in other words the Creator has become a part of His creation. According to Advaita metaphysics, Brahman is the ultimate, transcendent and immanent God. The world in itself has no separate existence apart from Brahman. Jīva or 'individual consciousness' and the Bramhan are in reality identical in nature and merged in each other. Though the individual consciousness apparently has a separate existence in essence both are same. Just as space within a container seems different from space as such. This feeling of separateness is a result of Ahankara( ego) and Avidya (self- ignorance).

The Buddhist Thought :

An offshoot of Hinduism, Buddhism too has no objection accepting biological evolution. Buddhist philosophy is evolutionary in nature and tends to agree more with the scientists than the clergy. Buddhism is agnostic about the existence of all pervading God. It also does not talk about with the concept of a soul surviving physical death. In Buddhism, no gods have any power to alter any natural laws.

Buddhism believes that every Cause will have an Effect or in other words, what you sow, so shall you reap. It conforms to the scientific view of an ordered universe, governed by Dharma—a system both moral and physical, where everything works itself out on its own over a period of time without any divine intervention.

Buddha taught that all things are impermanent in nature and existence is in a constant state of flux. Just as in science Buddhism does not require its exponents to have blind belief in anything that Buddha said or taught. Buddha himself advised his disciples not to accept anything just because he was saying it, but to experience its truthfulness for themselves. While the goal of the teachings of the Buddha is eradication of human suffering, the goal of modern science is providing mankind with all material comforts.

Parallels are also seen between Quantum Physics and Buddhism. Quantum theory says is that fundamental particles are empty of inherent existence and exist in an undefined state of potentialities. They have no inherent existence from their own side and do not become 'real' until a mind interacts with them and gives them meaning. Whenever there is no mind there is no meaning and no reality. This is a similar conclusion to the Mahayana Buddhist teachings on shunyata (शून्यता )

The Heart Sutra explains: "Form is emptiness, Emptiness is form", which fits closely Nottale's theory of quantum physics, which asserts that matter and space are not different. According to Buddhism, the nature of reality consists of everything being in a constant state of flux. This becomes obvious when we remember that the universe is itself is ever expanding since the Big Bang. Hence everything inside it too is in a state of constant flux.

Adi Shankara v/s Buddha

Adi Shankara was an early 8th century indian philosopher and theologian who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta (अद्वैत वेदांत). Adi Shankara was born when Hinduism as a religion was in utter chaos. The multiplicity of religious practices saw the rise of many cults all claiming to be the real Hinduism. The real Hinduism or the Sanatan Dharma was passing through a difficult phase. With vedic tradition under attack, it was Adi Shankaracharya’s genius that reinvented Hinduism and re-established the vedic tradition with his excellent commentaries on Brahamasutras, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.

According to him, the ultimate reality is Brahman or pure consciousness, the consciousness of the pure self that is devoid of all attributes and all categories of the intellect. The common understanding of the concept of Maya as given by Shankara is that the world is an illusion and this makes the understanding of his philosophy difficult. The world for all practical purposes is real, then how can it be an illusion? But the essence of Shankara's philosophy is that from the phenomenal point of view the world is quite real. It is not an illusion but a practical reality. He uses an analogy of dream to explain this. Just as things seen in a dreaming state appear to be quite true for the dreamer who partakes in that, so also is this illusory nature of the world. Only after waking does one realize that it was an illusion.

Apparently Shankaracharya’s philosophy is supposed to be an antithesis of Buddhism. According to some a major difference between Advaita and Mahayana Buddhism are their contradictory views on Atman (soul) and Brahman (God). It is widely felt that Adi Shankaracharya was instrumental in driving Buddhism out of India because of these two conflicting metaphysical concepts. But this notion is completely erroneous. According to Swami Vivekananda, Shankara a great philosopher in his own right, showed that an in-depth study reveals that the real essence of Buddhism and that of the Vedanta are not very different.

Numerous scientists and saints have written ardently about their awe and admiration at the elegance of the universe and life on Earth, explaining that they see no conflict between science and existence of a Creator. Albert Einstein once said that 'science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'.

Ethics, goodness, truth, love and righteousness exist on the fundamental level of space time geometry. They influence our actions and have an impact on our mind and body. These connect us to all other beings and to the universe on the whole. So let’s put to rest the antagonism between science and religion. Both work distinctly but in tandem. Religion should accept scientific truths as gospel and science should accept religious truths as pointers to realities beyond physical perceptions

In the Newtonian period, science was deterministic in its outlook and held a view that the world was governed by factors which are beyond human control, whether it was initial conditions, environment, physical forces, heredity, or a host of other external forces that play upon it. The concept of a human free will was relegated to an insignificant place in the working of the world. Science soon started discovering how incorrect their existing paradigms were.

For more than two thousand years, it was believed by scientists that atoms were unquestionably the ultimate components of matter. They were depicted as tiny particles, indivisible and solid. As the understanding of modern physics grew, it clearly showed that this was not true. Early in the twentieth century, physicists realized that atoms are composed of even smaller subatomic particles called electrons, neutrons and protons. An atom may be small, a mere billionth of an inch across, but these subatomic particles are a hundred-thousand times smaller still. Let us imagine the nucleus of an atom magnified to the size of a cricket ball, the electrons would spinning around it in orbits several miles across. The reality is that matter is 99.999999999999% empty space. Later still it became known that neutrons and protons are further composed of still smaller particles called quarks.

It is now being theorized that all these subatomic particles are further composed of dancing filaments of energy, like vibrating strings. In physics, this Planck length, denoted �"P, is a unit of length, equal to 1.616199(97) × 10−35 metres. It is a base unit in the system of Planck units, developed by physicist Max Planck. Scientists believe that space and time cease to exist at this Planck length but still don’t know what takes its place.

Evidently solid matter has literally disappeared into nothingness.

Then how does the world seem so solid? The answer has to do with the forces that bind the atoms together. When my hand touches the table, the force fields in the atoms of my hand come up against the equally strong fields in the atoms of the table. The mutual repulsion of these billions of tiny, but very strong force fields prevents my hand penetrating the table, giving rise to the appearance of solidness. Our hands, feet, fingers never really touch anything but only get a feeling of that repulsive force which gives us a feeling of solidity. But however real it may seem, this solidness is only how things appear to us, it is not an intrinsic part of matter. The things we touch are mostly empty space and our bodies made up of those same subatomic particles too, are mostly empty space. What actually holds everything together and makes reality appear to be solid is a sea of fluctuating energy which is not anything physical. Such is the illusionary world we all live in!!!! In vedic terms this is 'Maya' playing itself out in this phenomenal world.

Almost 100 years ago physicists Werner Heisenberg, Max Born und Erwin Schrödinger created a new field of physics: quantum mechanics, which is a science of possibilities. This new branch of science predominantly came into being because the laws that were valid in explaining everything in Newtonian physics were breaking down completely at the microscopic level. Quantum physics put before traditional science many baffling questions which would otherwise have been brushed aside as impossible and spooky. At this sub atomic level a particle could be invisible, it could go through solid objects with ease, could be at multiple places at the same time and also go backward in time and change the past. Two objects could get entangled or linked in such a way that whatever happens to one, also affects the other no matter how far they are from each other. Interestingly, the findings of this new science also pointed to the fact that it was in no way in contradiction with the age old spiritual idea of the presence of Consciousness=Observer.

In his biography on Schrödinger, Moore wrote: “His system – or that of the Upanishads – is delightful and consistent: the self and the world are one and they are all… He rejected traditional western religious beliefs (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic) not on the basis of any reasoned argument, nor even with an expression of emotional antipathy, for he loved to use religious expressions and metaphors, but simply by saying that they are naive.

Vedanta and Gnosticism are beliefs likely to appeal to a mathematical physicist, a brilliant only child, tempted on occasion by intellectual pride. Such factors may help to explain why Schrödinger became a believer in Vedanta, but they do not detract from the importance of his belief as a foundation for his life and work. It would be simplistic to suggest that there is a direct causal link between his religious beliefs and his discoveries in theoretical physics, yet the unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. In 1925, the world view of physics was a model of the universe as a great machine composed of separable interacting material particles. During the next few years, Schrödinger and Heisenberg and their followers created a universe based on superimposed inseparable waves of probability amplitudes. This new view would be entirely consistent with the vedantic concept of the All in One.” (Schrödinger: Life and Thought (Meine Weltansicht), p. 173)

In Schrödinger’s famous essay on determinism and free will, he expressed very clearly the sense that consciousness is a unity, arguing that this “insight is not new…From the early great Upanishads the recognition Atman = Brahman or अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent, the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world. The striving of all the scholars of Vedanta was, after having learnt to pronounce with their lips, really to assimilate in their minds this grandest of all thoughts.” According to Moore on page 125 of his biographical work, A Life of Erwin Schrödinger, Schrödinger found “Vedanta teaches that consciousness is singular, all happenings are played out in one universal consciousness and there is no multiplicity of selves.

At the Quantum Level, matter can behave both as particles and as waves. This theory became known as the principle of Wave-Particle Duality. Our reality exhibits a dualistic nature. The matter we experience in our day to day lives exists as waves and as particles. The wave form has no definite location in space or time but can only be understood to be everywhere all at once spread out throughout the entire universe. In particle form, matter occupies a definite place in space and time. In the 'double slit experiment', when no observer was observing the experiment, the particles were behaving as waves and when an observer was present and watching the experiment, they behaved like particles. This was something bizarre. It proved that a particle's property is not predetermined but defined by the very mind that is perceiving it. Consciousness or mind had always been kept out of limits for traditional science, since the time Rene Des Cartes had demarcated the scope of science to only what was material. But the new science was forcing scientists to reconsider their outlook. Buddhist mystics have been saying for two thousand years: "Reality is only a projection of the Mind."

A particle can appear simultaneously in more than one place at the same time. In one experiment, it appeared at 3000 places concurrently. Physicists speak of this as Quantum Superposition.

Electrons can change position instantaneously. They suddenly jump to another orbit of higher or lower energy or distance from the nucleus. This is known as Quantum Leap.

Quantum Entanglement is considered “THE” property of subatomic particles. When two particles interact, they may become entangled with each other-- that means their spin, position and other properties become linked in a process which is still unknown to modern science. Also, when something happens to one, the same thing happens to the other instantaneously, no matter how far apart they are. This distance could be millions of light years away, and when we make a measurement of one particle, that immediately determines the behaviour of the other particle. This is something that is mindboggling and scientists are unable to make head or tail out of it. Information is somehow travelling faster than the speed of light from one particle to another. Albert Einstein called this “Spooky action at a distance”. The phenomena of Quantum Entanglement tells us that once matter is physically joined even when it becomes separate, the energy that once connected them is still there. This further implies that all the matter that is now present in this continuously expanding universe, which was once meshed to a size of a small marble at the time of the Big Bang, is all interconnected. And that you, I and everything else, are all a part of that same particle and energy field. We are all One and interconnected.

The Collapse of the Wave Function: This is the transition of a quantum system from a superposition of states to a component state. The process is also known as collapse of the wave function or collapse of quantum states. In the double slit experiment, it was observed that when nobody was observing the experiment, the particles were behaving as waves and when an observer was present, these waves collapsed into behaving as particles. For some reason unknown to science, the presence of an observer was influencing the result of the experiment. Physicist John Archibald Wheeler considered the 'Observer' such a crucial aspect of Quantum Theory that he suggested to replace this term to 'Participator'.

The Uncertainty Principle: The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that you can never simultaneously know the exact position and the exact speed of an object, because everything in the universe behaves like both a particle and a wave at the same time. This is not due to the inaccuracy of measurement instruments, but it arises from the wave properties inherent in the quantum mechanical description of nature.

A particle can come out of the void and then disappear again. They keep coming and disappearing. It appears that void and matter are one and the same.

Quantum Field: This is an electromagnetic field from which all matter arises from. The particles that arise from this field are not separate but different forms of the same system. Thus the field or the matter arising from this field are the same thing. Some scientists explain this as a field of pure abstract Consciousness.

"We may therefore regard matter as being constituted by the regions of space in which the field is extremely intense...There is no place in this new kind of physics for the field and matter, for the field is the only reality." -- Albert Einstein

Scientists were now being forced to reconsider the prevailing paradigm of physical laws. And also that if they were to understand the working of the Cosmos in total, they will need to make sense of the bizarre micro world. To move on in the right direction, science now needed a new vision. And for this it needed to move beyond the information imparted by the human senses alone. The old lawful ways of understanding things seemed dead.

There are certain profound spiritual and psychological implications of the findings of Quantum Physics. Such is its bizarre world that it has left scientists scratching their heads and forcing them to realize that there could possibly be an error in their understanding of the basic nature of the universe. They are pointing to the fact that the original scientific paradigm of an isolated existence in a lonely universe is wrong and that we are all interconnected. We all come from a single source field and are creators of our own reality. That the concept of space is an illusion, as an object can be in more than one place at the same time and also that when one thing happens to one, the same thing happens to the other, no matter how far apart they are physically. Similarly, there is no time because it takes no time for a particle to appear in a different location and a particle can appear in more than one location simultaneously. Numerous spiritual teachers and many scientists equate quantum field with the field of pure consciousness containing all possibilities from which everything has come into existence. Our body and mind are just different aspects of this pure consciousness or energy.

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter"--Max Planck.

We perceive and create our own reality based on our experiences, beliefs, emotions and desires. Our thoughts and intentions affect our reality not only at an individual level but collectively at a universal scale. The Universe is not punishing you or blessing you. The Universe is responding to the vibrational attitude that you are emitting.” ~ Abraham Hicks.

Mystics have told to us from time immemorial that individuality or separateness is an illusion and that all Creation is interconnected at the basic level and is One.

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”-- Albert Einstein

What is Reality? The reality is that we know nothing about Reality as such. All the so called reality we perceive is that which is filtered through our senses alone. If we believe what we taste, smell, touch, hear and see is real, then these are just electrical signals interpreted by our brain. Our brains take in information and give it form. It is not that the picture is out there, it is that we are getting information and we converting it into a picture according to our perceptions. It may well be that whatever that is going on inside our bodies, our brains, nervous system or minds is some sort of observer matter conjunction that makes things ‘appear’ real for us.

Since the time of our birth, all we know about the external world is information imparted through what our eyes see, our ears hear, our noses smell, our tongues taste and our skin feels. This is the reason why the perception of the external world to man has only a material reality. But modern science tells us something quite different. It tells us that when we see, light clusters called photons travel from the object to the eye and pass through the eyelids where they are refracted and focused on the retina at the back of the eye. Here rays are turned into electrical signals and then transmitted through neurons to the centre of vision at the back of the brain. The act of seeing actually takes place at this absolutely dark and small part of the brain which is of just a few cubic centimetres. Suppose we disconnect the nerves that lead this information to the brain, then the image that we are seeing will also disappear. All that we see are merely interpretations of the object by the brain and not the object in itself. Such goes for other sense organs also. The brain then compiles all these sensory inputs and generates 3-D, surround sound, multi coloured, touchy feely, virtual reality of the world for us to experience.

The brain receives a huge amount of information but we are aware of only a minuscule of that. Of the 400 billion bits of information per second that reach the brain, only 2,000 bits are utilized by the brain, so as to keep man conscious of the world around him. This is just about enough information about his surroundings, body and the kind of decisions to be taken at that moment of time. Consequently, the perception of reality is an extremely limited one. We are continuously taking in so much of sensory information that our brain needs to filters most of it out. Your eyes have good peripheral field of view, your skin is stacked with sensors, you're always sampling the air for smells, and hearing from the ears is also always on. All of that becomes too much to handle, so our brains filter out a lot of these incoming sensations. For example, you won't even notice a sensory input from your arm till the time a insect bites you there. Consciousness is taking only the most important and the amount that reflects the maximum possible absorption of objective reality.The reality that we know is the one that our brain manufactures.

Not very long ago, we believed that the earth was flat and the sun moved around the earth. Pythagoras was the first person known to have taught that the earth was not flat but spherical. We also thought that the earth was the unmoving centre of the universe, because it looks this way. Nikolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilee proved this to be wrong. The Copernican system stated that the Earth and other planets circled around the sun. The earth seems stationary, but we are all zooming at 67000 miles an hour around the sun. We all feel solid but we are 99.999999999999% empty space. Many stars we see in the night sky, for instance, may not be really there. They may have moved or even died by the time we get to see them. This illusion is due to the time it takes for light from the distant stars and galaxies to reach us. For example, it takes sunlight an average of 8 minutes and 20 seconds to travel from the Sun to the Earth. If the Sun suddenly disappeared from the Universe, it would take a little more than 8 minutes before you realized that it was gone.Perception and reality are two different things. How we perceive things may not be how they really are!!!

And when the scientists thought that they knew practically everything about the visible universe, the enigma of the undetectable Dark Matter and Dark Energy sprang up. The existence and properties of Dark Matter are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, radiation, and the large-scale structure of the universe. Thus, Dark Matter is estimated to constitute 84.5% of the total matter in the universe, while Dark Energy plus Dark Matter constitute 95.1% of the total mass–energy content of the universe. This is the only thing they know Dark Energy because they know how it affects the Universe's expansion. Other than that, it is a complete mystery. They know that it is not what shines in the light but what hides in the dark that makes up most of the universe. It has not been detected directly, making it one of the greatest mysteries in modern astrophysics. Some scientists believe that dark matter is not made of any known subatomic particle, but of something weird and unknown that was leftover at the time of the Big Bang when the universe was very hot and dense. Another opinion among scientists about this Dark Matter is that it may not be made of some unknown substance but may be located in another dimension.What the bleep do we know about reality is 'The' question!!!.

Space and time are imperative for 3D perception of things, objects and events around us. We cannot recognize objects and events unless one is separated from the other in space and time. Both are equally imperative for us to experience the world. Supposedly if all things were brought to the same point in space, it would become impossible to distinguish one from the other. It is also interesting to observe how light works in coordination with form to generate space. Theoretically, let us start eliminating all objects from space. After we have eliminated all those objects, we will then remove light, with which we unconsciously fill all space. We will now find that space itself has disappeared. Thus the common conviction that space is some kind of a massive container which holds all objects within it and is determined by distances between them is an erroneous one and an illusion!Space is merely a construct of our mind!!!

What is Time? To an ordinary human being, time is what the ticks of a clock indicate and measure or the way of nature to prevent everything happening all at once. We would never be able to perceive events if they all happened at the same precise moment. Time and space imply and depend on one another to make our world look real. Most scientists will admit that there is hardly any aspect of Time that they fully understand. What we all perceive about time is that it seems to flow unendingly from one moment to the next and that the flow of time is always in one direction, towards the future. But this may not be correct. Contrary to our everyday experience time may not flow at all. Efforts to understand time below the Planck scale have led to an exceedingly strange juncture in physics. Planck time is the smallest unit of time that has any physical meaning. The problem, in brief, is that time may not exist at the most fundamental level of physical reality. “The meaning of time has become terribly problematic in contemporary physics,” says Simon Saunders, a philosopher of physics at the University of Oxford. “The situation is so uncomfortable that by far the best thing to do is declare oneself an agnostic.”

Newtonian physics understood time as something external and absolute. Newton’s concept of time understood at as some kind of a container where events unfold in a completely deterministic way in a linear manner and independent of any observer. Then came Einstein who proved that time was not absolute but was relative to the observer in his General and Special Relativity theories. He proved that time depends where you are and how you move relative to others. There was no such thing as universal time. Both space and time are constrained by velocity of light in such a way that the now of one observer is different from now of a different observer. Mass can also distort space and time. Time dilation is a difference of elapsed time between two events as measured by observers either moving relative to each other or differently situated from a gravitational mass or masses.

We perceive time and space as something external and outside ourselves According to mystics of ancient India, this perception, however, is illusionary because like every other perception, we experience the perception of time and space only within ourselves, in our own mind or consciousness. Though time and space appear to exist outside us, we have no way of knowing that they actually do exist outside of or independent of ourselves, because all that we know or can ever know of time and space are the images of them that we have formed within our own mind by the power of our imagination. Therefore, like everything else that we perceive within time and space, time and space themselves are merely mental images, conceptions or thoughts.

In the Upanishads the concept of Maya is more than 4000 years old. According to the writer Stratford Sherman, "Maya is quite a difficult concept to define in simple terms. I envisage it as a multi- layered web of illusion. The deeper one goes into the web, the more intricate and tangled the illusion becomes. It applies, I feel, to the latest scientific exploration of the physical world. Until the new science, we have only been scratching around on the surface of this Maya. As we go deeper into it, the bizarre twists and turns seem to push the answers further from our grasp. When we confront this web of illusion, it takes us closer to the boundaries of human awareness. We realise even more that the understanding of the infinite cannot be achieved using our own finite means. In other words, when we are within the illusion of a physical reality, it is not possible using its own inherent methods and conceptions to fully understand what reality really is. Only by accessing or looking from a higher level of awareness or consciousness, going beyond the boundaries of physical illusion, will we escape the constraints imposed on us by the finite physical world and manage a glimpse of the true nature of Reality”.

Then what is Reality? The focus now shifts to the concept of Consciousness and how it can effect and even create reality.

What exactly is consciousness? Though it is very difficult to define consciousness as such, we can broadly say consciousness is a state of awareness or the capacity for experience and the space in which all experiences arise. Consciousness is something that just can’t be denied. We simply cannot negate the fact that we are all experiencing beings. René Descartes, the French philosopher, mathematician and scientist’s philosophical proposition ‘Cogito ergo sum’ means "I think, therefore I am". René Descartes said that he could doubt any philosophy, idea, concept, going to the extent of doubting his own body and senses, but the one thing he could not deny was that he was a conscious experiencing being.

Materialistic science has always tried to explain away consciousness as a by-product of brain activity. This is well in accordance to the current scientific paradigm, that the only real world is the material world where space, time and matter are primary. It is very hard for materialistic science to break the shackles of this meta- paradigm and accept something as subjective as consciousness in its fold, knowing very well that it exists. Consequently, consciousness was conveniently left out of all scientific discussions as if it did not exist.

Consciousness is not limited to human beings alone, anything whether it be a mammal, bird, insect, fish, microscopic bacteria, down to even vegetation, are all conscious beings. They are all experiencing reality differently and in accordance to their own peculiar senses and perceptions. Scientists at the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness declared: "Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuro-anatomical, neuro-chemical, and neuro-physiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviours. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates."

Consciousness is something that mainstream scientists have conveniently chosen to ignore, and this started when René Descartes divided the paths between religion and science. Science was to study all that was material, whereas religion was given to the study of the soul and all that was non- material, beyond the grasp of the senses. Moreover, consciousness is something that science can't explain. There is nothing in traditional physics, or any other science that can conclusively account for consciousness. Scientists cannot measure it nor can it be weighed or proven using any conventional scientific methods. Yet we all know for sure that we are experiencing beings. Science looks for well- defined objective truths which are common to all observers but such is not the case with consciousness which is purely subjective. Moreover, the universe functions so very well without the need to understand consciousness, hence it’s more convenient for science to simply ignore its existence. The bottom line is, ‘for orthodox science, consciousness is still a very big anomaly and they prefer to stay away from trying to explain it, because it is something beyond their existing paradigm’.

David J.Chalmer is an Australian philosopher and cognitive scientist specializing in the area of philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. In his article in the ‘Scientific American’ titled “The Puzzle of Conscious Experience” he raises a pertinent question; why are we consciousness? This he calls ‘the hard problem for science’. Since consciousness is too big an anomaly for orthodox science and does not fit into its existing paradigm, they have tried to explain its existence within its materialistic framework. Matter for orthodox science being fundamental, consciousness has been explained as a result of neuron activity in the brain. The questions answered by science so far are mainly about what parts of the brain do which bits of processing. This is ‘the easy problem for science’, and unanswered questions will definitely be answered someday. But as David J.Chalmer puts it: ‘How could something as immaterial as consciousness arise from something as unconscious as matter’? Why do we have qualia or phenomenal experiences, or why do sensations acquire characteristics, such as colours, sounds, smells, emotions and tastes, etc.? In simpler terms, how does it translate into a subjective experience of such a rich and beautiful world we live in?’

All our experiences, whether they are perceptions, feelings, emotions, knowledge, ideas, and impressions are forms appearing in consciousness. No matter how real our world may appear to us but the truth remains that it’s all a mere construction of the mind. We never experience the physical world directly, all we know are the images of the world generated in our consciousness, and these images are no more real than those generated during sleep. An analogy can be given with a movie projector, the light inside that projector, the film through which the light passes and finally the images and forms that are projected on the white screen .When these images get projected on the screen we get so involved with their colours, forms, content and story etc. that we completely forget that these images are nothing but light, projected through the projector. This light has the potential to become any conceivable form or image. Our emotional involvement with these images gets so intense that we start laughing, crying, etc. Similar situations are taking place in the world we live in. The light in the projector is the consciousness. The ideas, emotions, perceptions, memories, thoughts and feelings that we experience are compared to the images that are formed on the screen. Likewise, without consciousness all ideas, emotions, perceptions, memories, thoughts, and feelings have no existence. Our brain corresponds to the film in the projector which causes the image forms to appear on the screen. But this does not in any way mean that the brain produces the consciousness. The brain may help in producing the forms, perceptions memories, etc. but saying that the brain produces consciousness is like saying that the film produces the light in the projector. Like the light in the projector has the potential to take or become any conceivable form on the screen, our consciousness too has the potential to take or become any form in the material universe.

The following verse from Isha Upanishad, which is a part of the (Shukla) Yajurveda states :

पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पुर्णमुदच्यते पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥

Meaning of this verse :

That Bramhan or Consciousness is complete (Infinite) , This visible universe with all its matter and non-matter is infinite , This Infinite visible universe proceeds from that Infinite Bramhan and is a prototype of the same. Then taking away the infinitude of the Infinite visible universe, all that remains as that Infinite Brahman alone.

Consciousness is present in each and everything, existing anywhere in the universe. Its existence is primary and fundamental, in all living things and matter. When on one hand we say that consciousness is in everything, its corollary that everything is in consciousness is also true. All forms, emotions, thoughts, feelings, perceptions etc. are images that take place in the consciousness. All our senses of sight, touch, smell, sound and taste work in coordination to give us impressions of the world we live in. And interestingly, every living being perceives its world differently, according to the limitations and peculiarities of their own senses. Some life forms see their world in black and white, some have very sharp sense of sight, like an eagle flying in the sky, for example, which can even see a rat on the ground. Some have a very strong sense of smell, some an acute sense of hearing and so on. They are all perceiving reality differently.

Light enters the eye and generates a chemical reaction in the retina. Signals are sent to the brain, and the brain deciphers the information in order to detect the appearance, location and movement of the objects we are sighting and creates a picture of its own, of what is out there. We then have the experience of viewing that object. But what we are really experiencing is not the object in itself, only the image that has formed in the mind. This half sloka was written by Adi Shankaracharya himself,

|| ब्रह्म सत्यं जगन्मिथ्या जीवो ब्रह्मैव नापरः। ||

Meaning of this verse :

"The only fundamental Reality is Consciousness and all material world is an illusion".

Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher, was also of the view that we can never know something by

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