The false color image above is the first Microwave Radiation map of the entire sky released by The Planck Satellite. Galactic dust is shown in blue, while hot gas appears in red regions across the center of the image. The yellow filaments scattered across the deep red are relic radiation, called the Cosmic Microwave Background, containing information about the earliest stages of the Universe.
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 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. — Carl Sagan
The Fourth, the Self, is OM, the indivisible syllable. This syllable is unutterable, and beyond mind. In it the manifold universe disappears. It is the supreme good–One without a second. Whosoever knows OM, the Self, becomes the Self. —Mandukya Upanishad
I love The Science Channel. How astounding to be able to see far flung Nebulae, clusters of galaxies or simulations of black holes at the touch of a button. How amazing to live in an age where miracles are commonplace. For example, after sixteen years, The Planck Satellite has transmitted its first images of the entire sky. By looking at microwave radiation, The Planck Satellite created sky maps that will illuminate how galaxies, stars and even the Universe formed after the Big Bang.
“Planck has ‘painted’ us its first spectacular picture of the Universe,” said David Parker, Director of Space Science and Exploration at the British National Space Center. “This single image captures both our own cosmic backyard – the Milky Way galaxy that we live in – but also the subtle imprint of the Big Bang from which the whole Universe emerged.”
Is there a better mandala to meditate on?
In the Beginning
Science is a way to contemplate God. The deeper we look, the more questions emerge. Each question is a way of tuning the mind to higher things. So every Wednesday I’ve been watching Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole Series and this episode asked the ultimate Zen question, “Where did the Universe come from?
Most religions have creation myths. The first two chapters of the Judeo-Christian bible begin with a striking act of instantaneous creation by divine speech.
At the beginning of God’s creating of the heavens and the earth,
When the earth was wild and waste,
Darkness over the face of Ocean,
Rushing-spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters-
God said: Let there be light! And there was light. — Genesis translated by Everett Fox
Religion and Science often contemplate the same questions, but while mystics rely on faith, scientists struggle with the burden of proof, testing theories and equations, searching for conundrums. Science opens the mind and is one of the best meditations, tempering the ego and refining our consciousness. Scientists are mystics and mystics are a different kind of Scientist.
The Big Bang theory was originally proposed by Georges Lemaître, a Roman Catholic priest, physicist and astronomer. In 1927, Lemaître pioneered the theory that the red shift in the light spectrum of Stars was an indication of an expanding Universe. Einstein was said to have balked at the theory and remarked, “Your math is correct, but your physics is abominable.” Then in 1931 Lemaître published a paper that concluded that a primeval atom must have preceded the expansion. At a series of lectures in 1933, where Lemaître defended his Big Bang theory, Einstein himself was compelled to stand up and applaud, stating, “This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever listened.
As far as I can see, such a theory remains entirely outside any metaphysical or religious question. It leaves the materialist free to deny any transcendental Being. For the believer, it removes any attempt at familiarity with God. It is consonant with Isaiah speaking of the hidden God, hidden even in the beginning of the universe — Georges Lemaître
Buddhists and Hindus have spent thousands of years exploring inner space while the west explored outer space. Their observations are powerful and strangely similar to quantum theory. Just as mystics turn inward to achieve great insights, Scientists abide by the scientific method to guide their inquiries.
When you’re trying to go forward and learn beyond what you already know, your best friend is a contradiction.—Andrew Strominger Harvard physicist
Georges Lemaître’s theories eventually inspired Physicist Robert Dicke to propose that a low-level radiation signature of the explosion should be audible throughout the universe. But Dicke was scooped by Bell Lab scientists, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson when they discovered a strange background noise in space. In 1978, Penzias and Wilson were awarded the Nobel Prize for finding the echo of the Big Bang.
Until recently, scientists theorized a singularity of incredible density ignited the Big Bang’s expansion of matter— The Expansion Theory. (That’s right, the same theory Einstein was hassling the priest about). Books such as The First Three Minutes by Steven Weinberg charted the Big Bang to the second. But because the singularity was at odds with Einstein’s physics and Expansion Theory leaves whatever preceded the explosion a mystery, physicists turned to quirky Quantum Physics and eventually String Theory, with its potential to fulfill Einstein’s dream of a Unified Field Theory, by uniting Einstein’s physics with the paradoxical world of Quantum Mechanics.
I think it’s (String Theory) the most fantastic set of interconnected rules which has ever been known. Nobody in this field is clever enough to have invented something like that. —Andrew Strominger
Did you hear the one about the three physicists and the train?
So, there were these three physicists, Paul Steinhardt, Neil Turok, Burt Ovrut, on a train taking a break from a String Theory conference where everybody was pursuing the usual— a Unified Theory. These scientists started bouncing ideas around and within an hour, the three brains had their own big bang. Riffing off String theory, an idea emerged to account for creation. An idea so new it hit the Internet and TV before the equations even dried on the paper. Using a recent proposal by physicist Edward Witten called M Theory, the three physicists postulated that the Big Bang is the result of a collision between dimensions.
M Theory was Edward Witten’s solution to unite disparate schools of string theorists such as Chris Hull, Paul Townsend, and Ashoke Sen. M theory postulates the existence of eleven dimensions and parallel universes on undulating membranes. If two membranes collide, there is an explosion. Clumps of matter propel outward, creating a universe with its own space and physics. Unlike expansion, M Theory takes the laws of physics back in time before the singularity or cosmic seed, implying that time existed before the Big Bang. If other universes exist, their laws of physics may be utterly different from ours. It might even be possible to create a new universe in the laboratory, which would splice off, expand in space/time while obeying its own physics.
What does the M in M Theory stand for?
Legend has it that Edward Witten never specified what the M in M Theory stands for, but left it as a kind of cosmic Rorschach Test, revealing more about the observer than the theory itself. Does the M stand for Membrane? Magic, Mother, Mystery, Matrix, Monster, Malleable, Machinery, Marooned, Mayhem, Meandering, Momentary, Multiverse or just plain Messy?
Edward Witten isn’t telling.
So what does The Big Bang sound like? AUM. That’s what!
The symbol of cosmic creation is OM and its sound is AUM. Om unites the levels of waking, sleeping, dreaming, subconscious and transcendental consciousness. Om dissolves manifest reality and thought. Om is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. In the Hindu Upanishads, there is the concept of Shabda Brahmin when Brahmin manifests as a Sphota or a massive explosion. All matter or Prakiti emerges from Brahmin, the universal intelligence expressing itself through the myriad forms of creation. Brahman’s act of creation and manifestation is divine play or Lila and everything in existence is an expression of Brahman.
This idea of a periodically expanding and contracting universe, which involves a scale of time and space of vast proportions, has arisen not only in modern cosmology, but also in ancient Indian mythology. Experiencing the universe as an organic and rhythmically moving cosmos, the Hindus were able to develop evolutionary cosmologies which come very close to our modern scientific models. One of these cosmologies is based on the Hindu myth of Lila—the divine play—in which Brahman transforms himself into the world. ¬– Fritjof Capra
Miraculously we can hear an echo of The Big Bang reproduced by Professor John Cramer.
The syllable OM, which is the imperishable Brahman, is the universe. Whatsoever has existed, whatsoever exists, whatsoever shall exist hereafter, is OM. And whatsoever transcends past, present, and future, that also is OM. —Mandukya Upanishad
Brahman is full of all perfections. And to say that Brahman has some purpose in creating the world will mean that it wants to attain through the process of creation something which it has not. And that is impossible. Hence, there can be no purpose of Brahman in creating the world. The world is a mere spontaneous creation of Brahman. It is a Lila, or sport, of Brahman. It is created out of Bliss, by Bliss and for Bliss. Lila indicates a spontaneous sportive activity of Brahman as distinguished from a self-conscious volitional effort. The concept of Lila signifies freedom as distinguished from necessity. —Ram Shanker Misra