Decoding Hindu cosmology Part 1 | The Story of Creation and Evolution of The Universe.

We are living in a modern world where science and education are accessible to everyone yet many are unaware of the basic nature and existence of our universe.  Although our sciences have advanced a lot, there are a lot of unanswered questions and an unclear understanding of our universe. Still, many believe that the sky is a roof of the earth decorated with glittering stars, due to their ignorance and lack of interest in the universe they live in.

And now just imagine explaining the same concepts of space, time, and the nature of the universe to the people thousands of years ago, where their awareness and sources of knowledge are very scarce when compared to our modern society. Many texts support the claim that there was a time when different gods shared technology, knowledge, and cultures of their own with humans, which also includes stories and wars fought against their rivals on earth that would glorify them among humans. But, the problem was most of the humans were incapable to understand those vast and complex subjects.

So ancient Indian sages came up with a brilliant idea of portraying those complex subjects of the universe to simple artistic stories that would be understandable by common people of that time without vast studies. One such portrayal is the creation of the universe and the evolution of creation within, in the form of a family tree (genealogy) in the book of the Mahabharata. The book of Mahabharata consists of 18 chapters or parvas in total that contains stories and family tree of different divine beings from different Lokas (worlds). In the first chapter of Mahabharata Adi Parva in a dialogue between two sages, a sage named sauti begins to explain the evolution of the universe as below;

In this world, when it was destitute of brightness and light, and enveloped all around in total darkness, there came into being, as the primal cause of creation, a  mighty egg, the one inexhaustible seed of all created beings. It is called Mahadivya, and was formed at the beginning of the Yuga, in which we are told, was the true light Brahma, the eternal one, the wonderful and inconceivable being present alike in all places; the invisible and subtile cause, whose nature partaketh of entity and non-entity. From this egg came out the lord Pitamaha Brahma, the one only Prajapati; with Suraguru and Sthanu. Then appeared the twenty-one Prajapatis,  viz., Manu, Vasishtha and Parameshthi; ten Prachetas, Daksha, and the seven sons of Daksha. Then appeared the man of inconceivable nature whom all the Rishis know and so the Viswe-devas, the  Adityas, the  Vasus, and the twin  Aswins; the  Yakshas, the  Sadhyas, the  Pisachas, the Guhyakas, and the  Pitris. After these were produced the wise and most holy  Brahmarshis, and the numerous  Rajarshis distinguished by every noble quality. So the water, the heavens, the earth, the air, the sky, the points of the heavens, the years, the seasons, the months, the fortnights, called Pakshas, with day and night in due succession. And thus were produced all things which are known to mankind.

There are a lot of things to be noted in the above paragraph firstly the mighty inexhaustible(infinite) egg, according to the big bang theory the universe began or expanded from a single point that held infinite density 13.8 billion years ago before which space and time were irrelevant. The next important thing to be noted is the portrayal of the creator god Brahma, he is described and portrayed as seated on a lotus flower, with four faces(4 Dimensions). The most significant feature of a lotus flower is the flower keeps blooming (expanding) and contracting itself several times in its lifetime, so is the nature of the universe according to the Hindu cosmology. As per the Puranas, though Brahma is a creator god he is not immortal, he fades away and a new Brahma (Universe) will be created after several cycles of creation and destruction (expansion and contraction) of his universe.

In another sacred book Bhagavad-gita, which is also a part of the Mahabharata, Krishna mentions about infinite cycles of the universe (that has no beginning nor an end) in his Discourses to Arjuna;

2:12- In fact, there was never a time when I was not, or when you or these kings were not, Nor is it a fact that hereafter we shall cease to be.

With the above verse, Krishna has disclosed that the universe and the creation have always been here, and they go through constant cycles, of which we call by the names such as Big bang and singularity (collapsing of matter). Recently Nobel prize laureate Sir Roger Penrose A famous mathematician and Physicist claims that there was another universe present before the big bang. The big bang marked the end of this previous universe. According to Sir Roger Penrose, the Big bang actually “began with something which was the remote future of a previous aeon”. He further added “There would have been similar black holes evaporating away, via Hawking evaporation, and they would produce these points in the sky, that I call Hawking Points. We are seeing them. These points are about eight times the diameter of the Moon and are slightly warmed up regions. There is pretty good evidence for at least six of these points.”

And another incredible thing to be noted in the above paragraph is the way or the portrayal of the evolution of the universe in the form of a family tree beginning with the creator god Brahma seated on the lotus flower signifying the cycles of expansion and contraction of the universe, his consort as Saraswati (knowledge/Information), many modern-day Physicists and mathematicians such as John wheeler agrees that “Everything in the universe is Information'', also many are aware how many information is minded in our DNA, and how they instruct our body's development. And going further down the family tree the son of Brahma and Saraswati is known as Marichi (Ray of light/ space) and his consort as Kaala (Time). And again this is proven fact by many cosmologists by using general relativity, how the Three-dimensional space and  One dimensional time is fused to form a Four-dimensional manifold. going down further the family tree the son of marichi and Kaala is Known as Kashyapa (Tortoise/ primordial life) and his two consorts Diti (Brightness/Glow) and Aditi (Infinite/sky) from diti were born the Giants, Asuras, Rakshasas (Demons) who evolved in lower realms of the universe who were materialistic, and from Aditi were born the Devas (gods) who evolved in the upper realms of the universe. Slowly, the expansion of the universe made way to the evolution of other higher beings as mentioned in the above paragraph. And further down the cycle evolved the earth, humans, and all other creatures that came into existence. Bhagavata Purana describes that infinite universes are co-existing with our universe, governed by different Brahmas.

A Picture of  Four headed Brahma seated on Lotus Flower

Apart from this infinite cycles of the universe and creations, there are a lot of incredible things that are mentioned in these ancient texts about the Cosmos that are yet to be discussed such as the different realms of the universe, their features, nature, rivalry among those higher beings, and the relationship between Devas(gods) and humans, which I will be writing in part 2 of decoding Hindu cosmology.