The String Theory and the BhagawadGita

Considering its evolution in the past 500 years, Physics’ understanding of the nature of the Universe seems to be heading towards the description of the Universe   as propounded in the BhagawadGita.

In this article, we shall first have a cursory look at the evolution of Physics’ understanding of the Universe and then compare it with the description of the Universe proclaimed emphatically in the BhagawadGita.

The Evolution of Physics – Unification

Classical Physics began in Europe with Galileo and Newton. They believed in three basic premises about the Universe.
1) There is matter which always follows the same laws.
2) There is absolute space which is static and independent of matter and time.
3) There is universal time which is same in all reference frames and is independent of matter  and space.

Then, there was a Newton’s law of Gravitation which was supposed to be valid in all reference frames and independent of space and time. Apart from mechanics we had some people like Snell and Huygens developing Optics – the science of light. We also had people like Coulomb and Gauss developing the theory of Electricity and Gilbert trying to pioneer Magnetism.

By 1800’s, a fascinating subject called Classical Physics had come to the fore which explained diverse phenomena and had diverse theories – different theories for different types of phenomena.

In a nutshell, Universe in the view of Classical Physics contained certain entities like mass, charge, space, time, energy, waves, magnets and light. These interacted with each other in accordance with certain laws. These laws were separate water-tight entities and had no bearing on each other. For example, the law of gravitation applied only to masses and magnets had nothing to do with it, while the charge followed the Coulomb’s law but had nothing to do with Snell’s law of Refraction. But soon, a grand episode was to unfold.

In 1800’s, Maxwell published his work on electricity and magnetism and showed that electric and magnetic forces are not different independent forces, but rather, are different manifestations of the same force – the Electromagnetic force. Thus, the 2  great theories of Classical Physics merged into one and the 2 great forces also merged into one. From now on, magnets and charges were not seen as independent entities but rather, magnets were seen as special types of dynamic arrangements of charges.

This was only the beginning. Soon,  Hertz came up with experiments confirming Maxwell’s theory and also discovered that light is actually a wave of electric and magnetic fields and is produced due to vibrations of charges! Thus, the third great branch of Classical Physics viz. Optics merged into the Theory of Electromagnetism. A single theory which could explain the diverse phenomena pertaining to charges, magnets and light. But the most ground-breaking revelation was still to come.

space time fabric

An artistic view of a Star distorting the space-time fabric - a phenomenon which manifests itself as Gravitation!

A genius called Einstein completely changed our notion about the Universe with his theory of Relativity. Relativity completely shattered the basic assumptions of Classical Physics. The space and the time which were independent entities in Newton’s model of the Universe were now woven into a single entity – the space-time fabric. According to Einstein, not only are the space and time interdependent but also this single space-time fabric is affected by mass(matter) present in it. A mass located in the space-time fabric turns and twists it. It is this turning and twisting of the space-time fabric that appears as the force of gravitation to the mortals like us. Not only that, he further went on claiming that this mass which creates convolutions in the space-time fabric is nothing different from energy! Mass is a condensed form of energy! What Einstein’s theory also implies is that the mass is not conserved and hence the momentum and energy are also not. Possibly, [mass+energy] is conserved. Just as Maxwell had woven charges, magnets and light together, so did Einstein weave mass, space, time and energy into a single theory.

Another blow to classical physics came in early 1900’s, when Heisenberg proposed the uncertainty principle which implies that it is impossible to simultaneously measure the present position while also determining the future motion of a particle! This principle completely shattered the notion of fixed laws of classical physics that were supposed to be valid in all inertial reference frames! Rather than fixed laws predicting a fixed outcome, we now had probabilities of the outcomes. In fact, Einstein was so averse to the ideas of quantum mechanics that once he famously quoted “God doesn’t play dice with the world.” Even the Einstein’s theory of Relativity had no place for uncertainties. Nevertheless, quantum mechanics has since evolved over the years into a new subject.

By Einstein’s time, physicists believed that there are four fundamental independent forces in nature.
1.) Gravitation
2.) Electromagnetism
3.) Weak interaction
4.) Strong interaction

electroweak force

The electrostatic force responsible for raising the hair of this child is the same weak interaction force that is responsible for radioactive decay. This common force is referred to as Electroweak Force.

But the next blow to Physics was about to come.
In late 1900’s, Abdus Salam, Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg formulated the Electroweak Unification theory, which showed that the Electromagnetic force and the Weak Interaction force were different aspects of the same Electroweak force! The Electromagnetic Theory, which itself was a result of merging of the theories of electricity, magnetism and light, was further merged into the ElectroWeak Theory!

All these shocks to the classical conception of a diverse universe have forced the Scientists to speculate the existence of a single theory – The theory of Everything. A theory that would  explain not only the phenomena associated with a BlackHole but also those associated with electrons and protons. A theory that would explain not only the certainties of Relativity but also the uncertainties of Quantum Mechanics. Today, this is a major research area in Theoretical Physics. One such important theory, in its nascent stages of development, that aims to explain everything, is the String Theory, which views everything in the Universe as  composed of tiny strings of energy which give rise to all the phenomena that we observe.

Theory of Everything

Evolution of Physics

We can conclude that the journey of Physics has been that of Unification and shattering of the old norms. Our understanding of the Universe seems to be converging to one law that would explain all the diverse phenomena.

Universe according to BhagawadGita

Krishna Arjun

Krishna explaining Arjuna the secrets of the Universe

How did our ancestors perceive the universe ? Let’s check out the BhagawadGita’s description. BhagawadGita talks about an all-pervading, indestructible entity variously referred to as ब्रह्म,  परमात्मा, अव्यय  and by many other names throughout the text. Though this entity is referred to many times in the text, it is described in detail in chapter 13. Below I present some slokas of this chapter, with their closest translations,  describing the ब्रह्म. These slokas were spoken by Krishna to Arjun.

ज्ञेयं यत् तत् प्रवक्ष्यामि यत् ज्ञात्वा अमृतं अश्नुते।
अनादिमत् परं ब्रह्म न सद् तत् न असत् उच्यते॥ (13|12)
I will explain to you that thing which should be known to you. Having known it you will feel immortal. That thing is ब्रह्म. It has no beginning, it is beyond everything. That ब्रह्म is not even changing nor is it unchanging. (Hence, time does not exist for ब्रह्म since time is meaningful only for those things which either change or do not change!)

बहिः अन्तः च भूतानां अचरं चरं एव च।
सूक्ष्मत्वात् तत् अविज्ञेयं दूरस्थं अन्तिके च तत्॥ (13|15)
That ब्रह्म is outside every object, it is also inside every object, it takes the form of the movable objects and it is the one that becomes immovable objects. And due to its fineness and subtlety, it is impossible to be understood. That ब्रह्म is situated far away from every object and it is also situated near every object.

अविभक्तं च भूतेषु विभक्तं इव च स्थितम्।
भूतभर्तृ च तत् ज्ञेयं ग्रसिष्णु प्रभविष्णु च॥ (13|16)
That ब्रह्म appears to be divided in the form of different objects even though it is indivisible. It should be known that it is the ब्रह्म which is sustaining all the objects and is also responsible for the destruction and creation of all objects.

समं सर्वेषु भूतेषु तिष्ठन्तं परमेश्वरम्।
विनश्यत्सु अविनश्यन्तं यः पश्यति स पश्यति॥ (13|27)
One who sees that  परमात्मा (ब्रह्म) situated in all the objects and not getting destroyed even in the objects that are getting destroyed, actually sees the truth.

यदा भूतपृथग्भावं एकस्थं अनुपश्यति।
ततः एव च विस्तारं ब्रह्म सम्पद्यते तदा॥ (13|31)
When a person converts his notion of different objects into the notion of a single all-pervading entity, it is only then that this all-extensive ब्रह्म becomes visible.

The above slokas talk of an entity which is everywhere, indestructible, which takes the form of different objects and is sustaining the universe. This notion is very similar to the strings of energy that pervade the entire universe as per the String Theory.

Though this all-pervading  ब्रह्म is mentioned at many places in the text, it is not possible to explain them all in one article. For a better understanding, I would recommend reading and contemplating over the BhagawadGita in original Sanskrit without relying upon translations. I end this section of the article with the  sloka 18|20 of the BhagawadGita.

सर्वभूतेषु येन एकं भावं अव्ययं ईक्षते।
अविभक्तं विभक्तेषु तत् ज्ञानं विद्धि सात्त्विकम्॥ (18|20)
Consider that knowledge as genuine which enables a person in seeing a single indestructible, indivisible entity in all the different objects.

Hence, the knowledge of Physics will become genuine when the physicists will figure out  one law/theory/entity that governs the complete universe. However, I doubt if that single theory will ever be discovered through our coarse experiments and hollow skepticism.

Conclusion

So what do we conclude from the above comparison ? Do we conclude that our ancestors had discovered modern physics millennia before the Europeans ? Actually, that conclusion would be misleading because the existence of a single all-pervading entity was not a discovery for our ancestors, rather, it was a basic premise on which they built this eternal civilization. Below I write down what I conclude from the above.

Conclusion 1: Science is not a yardstick to measure the correctness of everything. Something does not become correct or incorrect, just because some theory of science proves or disproves it. As we saw, Science itself keeps on evolving and scientists keep on changing their opinion. If  a contemporary of Newton claimed that the speed of light is always constant, he would be considered superstitious and bluntly wrong by the ignorant skeptics. The same ignorant  skeptics today would consider that person knowledgeable. Science, which gives an unstable picture of the Universe, cannot always be used to hold some premise correct or incorrect. This also demonstrates the weakness of the models created by humans to explain common phenomena.  Afterall, modern science is not the truth, it is only a collection of speculative models aimed at attempting to explain the observations. So, when someone asks “Is relativity correct ?” An ignorant science buff would answer “Obviously, yes!”. But a wise person will answer “It seems to explain the observations, but we do not know if it’s correct!”

Conclusion 2: Religion and Science were not different in ancient India. This can be observed in the fact that AryaBhatt reveres विष्णु (the all-pervading ब्रह्म) in his treatise on Astronomy. For our ancestors, Science was same as Religion was same as Free Thought. The distinction between Science and Religion is a foreign concept which we have blindly ingrained in our culture from the barbaric and selfish European invaders.

Conclusion3: Modern Science and Ancient Indian religion are just the different attempts at describing one truth. As the Vedas proudly proclaim, एकं सद् विप्राः बहुधा वदन्ति। which means..Different wise men tell the same truth in different ways. If someone asks “Is light a wave or a particle ?” A Max Plank would say “Of course, light is made of particles called quanta“. A Fresnel would say “Of course, it’s a wave, that too electromagnetic in nature.” But a wise(vedic) person will say “They are just the different ways  of describing the same light.”

A tribute to the similarity between the religion of our ancestors and modern science is the special affection that many modern physicists had for the BhagawadGita, the Upanishads and the Vedas. I give below some high points of this affection.

“A millennium before Europeans were willing to divest themselves of the Biblical idea that the world was a few thousand years old, the Mayans were thinking of millions and the Hindus billions” – Carl Sagan (This refers to the duration of a day and a night of ब्रह्म as mentioned in the Gita.)

“Access to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all previous centuries” – Robert Oppenheimer (Inventor of Atomic Bomb)

In the next article, we shall dwell further into the structure of the Universe as described in the BhagawadGita.

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26 Responses to The String Theory and the BhagawadGita

  1. Hardik says:

    Superb. .

    Imoressive .
    Feeling More proud .

    By the way.. Where is next article on same topic??

  2. niraj says:

    Thanks
    People like you have kept ancient indian knowledge alive…
    Salute to you …..
    Keep it up..

  3. anand says:

    My sincere pranams for sharing your immense knowledge via this beautiful article…

  4. Dr. S. N. Nag says:

    Very good analysis. Thank you. In Mundakopanishad, 1/1/3 Shounaka asks Angira;
    कस्मिन्नु भगबो बिग्बाते सोर्बमिदम् बिज्ञातं भबतीति /
    Kasminnu bhagabo bijJAte sarbamidang bijJAtaM bhabatIti. O! Bhagaban, ” what is that One thing, knowing which everything is known.
    The reply was unambiguous, dwe bidye biditabye ; parachapara /
    Parabidya is that knowledge by which there is obtained ব্রম্ম (brahma) realization. জ্ঞান and বাজ্ঞান has been defined in our scriptures as two sides of a coin. That by which the realization comes that all this phenomenal world originates from ONE is called জ্ঞান. That by which it is known how that ONE gives rise to many is called বিজ্ঞান or call it science.

  5. Ankita says:

    I have come to know about string theory only recently through youtube and I have started believing in Lord Narayana also recently which is very natural like I never thought much about him. before. Now I strongly believe that whatever takes place in material plane originates from a supreme mind and that is of Lord Naryan’s.

  6. aviso says:

    I think love is the essence of the universe not just as a feeling but as energy. Anything done outside it’s laws whether is science ,religion, politics, one’s job even picking a gift and what not is wasted energy.
    Definition of love, christian
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+13%3A4-8&version=NIV

    I was listening on a youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYAdwS5MFjQ)
    about the string theory and it reminded me of this picture
    http://www.bhagavad-gita.us/the-bhagavad-gita-in-pictures/gita-102/
    I love this art btw

  7. nik says:

    Truth is what you believe in.
    Will you be ever able to read and understand (let alone proving it) the proof for E=mc^2 in your entire life unless you are an accomplished physicist? Yet you believe it to be true. May be because an authorized committee certifies it to be true (And the equation is true indeed).
    So, similarly, why people don’t believe in scriptures and vedas, which are rules certified by the ancestors. Of course, there is a fine line between superstition and fact. Its subjective where one chooses to draw this line.

    • sdash85 says:

      If you feel you are not able to understand E=mc^2, the scientific attitude recommend you to be skeptical towards it. Cannot say the same about the Gita.

      • gshah says:

        If you feel you are not able to understand E=mc^2, the scientific attitude recommend you to be skeptical towards it. – Correct
        Cannot say the same about the Gita. – No one is forcing anyone to blindly believe in Gita as well. One can be skeptical if one wishes.

        • Naresh says:

          Agrees .. even author himself asked the content of the Gita not Translation or Interpretation. So it is not Gita or Religion which ask you to blindly follow it, but some wrong interpreter who use it for their greed(and same is valid for all religion).Being skeptic or not is not a religion foundation principle, its a human trait. So its up to you what you want to follow, Just have your own interpretation of truth do not borrow it from other or follow something because it is being followed by masses ..

          • gshah says:

            No Naresh, some religions indeed want you to blindly follow. Quran warns you that if you do not believe Muhammad as prophet, then you will be burnt in hell forever by Allah. Allah is full of hatred and contempt for such people simply because they do not believe or are neutral towards a person called Muhammad. So not all religions are logical and scientific.

  8. ankit says:

    useless garbage

    • Kshitij says:

      Mr. Ankit, try to come out of your delusional shell. If you call this garbage, you might either be a hot-headed snob who is blind by worlds’ show-offs or who does not have any knowledge of history and science in general or who does not have the basic IQ to understand these ‘difficult to understand’ works.

      If people like H.C. Verma are trying there best to understand Vedas and learn from them. If the best of scientists believe that if we can really decipher what vedas and religious texts are trying to say, a lot many researches will not be required to be done. May I know who are you to say that this is garbage?

    • Janaka says:

      Dhritarashtra OoooAjha

  9. Great article but we need to prove science in our literature through scientific methods.

    • gshah says:

      The intention of this article is NOT to prove science in our literature. Science is not god’s rule. Science keeps on changing with time and is not a standard to measure if something is correct or not. I only gave a comparison between Physics and Gita. Read the conclusions. Modern science, which keeps on changing, indeed does NOT exist in Gita. What exists in Gita is the universal knowledge that will never change.

      • sdash85 says:

        Science is not result-based but process-based and hence changes.

        • gshah says:

          You are right. But majority of the people use Science as a tool to prove some belief of others as correct or incorrect. This attitude of making Science as a benchmark for each and everything smacks of ignorance.

    • sidharth says:

      I think we should prove it, there are multiple reasons to do and also not to..
      Vedas cannot be decrypted so easily but bhagawat gita is the essence of vedas, as said so and as we know vedas are pure science beyond religion the technology used in the bhagawatpurana should be taken from vedas. as IPad is the essence of BE EEE or ECE with CS syllabus. Hope ppl understand what I am saying. at the same time science is now a days monolingual, science is something said and proved in english or some european language this notion is wrong. To avoid this first Indians should understand vedas are not aryan civilization. Infact there are no evidence that there have been any conquest at those times. understand one thing the kingdom near the ganges, the southern and region near gujarat were alone majorly responsible for the growth of our civilization. Aryan civilization was a humbuk to down size our civilization by the self proud whites.

  10. deepees says:

    Very nicely written. Eagerly waiting for the next article on the structure of Universe.
    Thank you very much
    Devesh

  11. Manohar Lal says:

    I must congratulate you on such a nice presentation. You would really enjoy reading my books, Knowing the Unknown- vol 1, mysteries of life. Vol 2- mysteries of the Universe. Vol 3- Challenges of Technology. Available on Amazon.com. Details on knowingtheunknownbooks.com
    I also have studied Gita in sanskrit to get the real meaning. We seem to be reaching the same conclusions.
    Loved your presentation.
    Manohar Lal

  12. vishaw says:

    Very well analysed sir. But I would like to ask one thing…. I see there is something I cant actually get in my mind. Light is electromagnetic as explained by Maxwell and its quanta or photon according to quantum theory but at the same time, photon is charge less. I came across many explanations but could not well understand fully there explanations. If you can help me on this…..

  13. “When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.”
    can you give me the reference from where you quoted that quote of Albert Einstein?

    • gshah says:

      I have read it on many websites. Though after more research I found discussions on some websites debating if Einstein really quoted so. To avoid any potential inaccuracies, I am removing that from the article.

      Thanks

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