One of the things that I always love to do when I go on treks to places far away from urban life, free from light pollution, deep inside forests, on top of hills, is to look at the night sky in an open place.
The entire universe lies exposed there with about 2000 odd stars visible to the naked eye. These are some of those things which one cannot explain in words, but can only feel and enjoy. Some of the things simply cannot be measured, there are no units to do so. When I say, I am extremely happy, one can’t ask, how many kilograms is your happiness? :)
Even some of our ancestors might have been looking at the night sky and thought that universe is unchanging and is always like that. The stars and galaxies are always there.
Then as science progressed and we started observing far away galaxies and stars not visible to the naked eye, it was discovered that the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate and all galaxies are moving away from each other on an universal scale! This might not be the case at a local level, because for instance Andromeda has no red shift, we can only see blue shift, meaning Andromeda is moving towards our milky way galaxy, and will collide with our galaxy in another three billion years to form a new bigger galaxy! In the process of this collision, our solar system might either stay in the new galaxy or might get ejected out! However as long as the planets continue to be around our Sun, we wont have any serious issues, hopefully
But there will be another problem at that time for life on earth. Our Sun would have almost run out of fuel slowly, becoming a red giant and boiling out all the water on earth. But again hopefully by then we would also have the technology to refuel our sun by collecting hydrogen from nearby nebulae.
Coming back to universe, at a global scale the universe is expanding, and is not static as was thought earlier. The expansion exists because the universe was born out of a singularity called big bang, even though it was not an explosion like many wrongly think, probably due to the word bang used in it. Big bang was the point at which our universe was created, i.e space, time and matter/anti-matter was created out of the singularity and the universe continues to expand as more and more space is being created.
The concept of creation of the universe is central to the existence of God in religions. Here the best thing God did was the creation of the universe! So where does God live? Because, since he created this universe, then there must be obviously some place where God lives and that should be outside this universe!! But going by the scientific definition of universe, there is nothing called outside the universe, everything that exists is well inside the universe
Pope even ordered scientists not to investigate into Bigbang because it was God’s work of creation! Well, so what? Has God said anywhere in the bible that I created universe in a big bang and don’t investigate into it ?
But scientists continued to investigate into big bang and beyond.
In the mean time let us see what the eastern religions like Hinduism, Buddhism etc say about the universe. Buddhism says universe is ever existing and is eternal and there is no God as such who is outside the universe here, because there is no need for creation.
The Hinduism on the other hand, which has its roots in the ancient vedic culture says that there are many universes. In fact the description of the universe is that of a self contained universe called Brahma/Brahmand i.e Universe itself is the God. (See The Hindu Concept of God ). And what’s more according to the vedic culture, this universal God Brahman has a life span, i.e Brahma has both birth and death! In other words our universe has both birth and death, and is represented by Brahma, and vedas say that thousands of such Brahmas have already passed away! In other words our universe is not the only universe or the first universe!
I have used the units specified in the vedas to calculate the age of the universe (i.e of the current Brahma), you can read it here .
According to the bible universe is only about 6000 years old!
According to the modern science the universe is about 15 billion years old!
But the calculations based on the ancient Indian vedic culture gives a result of 155,522 billion years as the current age of the universe !!!!
In saying this please note that I have not made any adjustments to the units mentioned in vedas to get in tune with the value of modern science. I simply hate such hypocrisy. It something is wrong, then it is definitely wrong. I have seen many sites where the biblical calculations have been redefined to match the value given by modern science. I only pity such people who value their egos and blind faith more than true science and actual facts. There is a term used in vedic scriptures to describe such people, it is called koopa mandooka meaning a frog that has always been living in a well, refusing to believe that the universe also exists outside its well, even when other frogs which come from the outside world to the well tell it so!
Coming back to the calculations, the vedic value is thousands of times more than what modern science says. It would have been understandable if like bible and other scriptures, even vedas had said that universe is about few thousand years old, because then we can conclude that at the time when it was written there was not much scientific knowledge about the cosmos, and people only guessed based on known local human history at that time.
But the very fact that vedas which are thousands of years old, have given such a huge number as the age of the universe is amazing!! There must be some or the basis to this calculation which is worth investigating, because, first of all it is some huge number which is not mentioned randomly but is based on precise long calculations, and secondly and more importantly other well known scientific facts have also been correctly mentioned in the vedic scriptures, like the speed of light , description of atomic weapons etc.
What’s even more interesting is the way our local universe is described in the form of Brahma, where Vishnu is described as the eternal universe that exists forever, and numerous temporary universes (Brahmas) are created out of this eternal universe (Vishnu)!!
And let us come back to what modern science says. Well, this is what even latest science says, that our local universe formed out of big bang is simply one of those innumerable universes that are being continuously created and destroyed in a much larger universe, which can be called multiverse, and this multiverse is an eternal ever existing universe creating factory!! This is what modern string theory and branes talk all about. See Brains and Branes
In other words, our local universe that was created in the big bang is represented by Brahma in the vedic culture, and is temporary and has both birth and death.
The global all pervading eternal universe called the Multiverse as described by modern science in which our own universe exists, is represented by Vishnu in the vedic scriptures. It is noteworthy that no other religious scriptures have the explanation or mention of this multiverse!
And what’s more? There is no God in the vedic scriptures who exists outside the universe/multiverse. God is the universe itself, at a local level the God is Brahma and at the global level it is Vishnu who is eternal and timeless. (Only Brahma has time, there is no time defined for Vishnu, because there is no time period defined between two brahmas, time is only defined within a Brahma, and Vishnu is said to be timeless, in other words it says only the local big bang universe has time, and otherwise time does not exist!)
Where as according to other religions universe and God are two different things, and God exists outside the universe and God created the universe at some point of time, and more importantly there is no multiverse!
Also note that vedic scriptures talk about Brahmand (And/Anda means egg in sanskrit) for Brahma, where as Vishnu has no such Vishnuand/egg implying again that only local universe has birth, where as the multiverse represented by Vishnu is eternal and timeless and has no birth or death.
Summarizing what is Brahma/Brahmand, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says The Vedas compare creation to a spider’s web, that the spider creates and then lies within. God is both the container of the universe and what is contained in it.
Summarizing the eternal universe/Vishnu, this is what the vedic Mahapurana says Know that the universe is uncreated, without beginning and end !