Beyond the Big Bang – Science and Spirituality

“This physical body has happened in the same way that this whole creation has happened.” —Sadhguru

Interstellar’s all the rage right now, and a lot of people are suddenly interested in cosmology and the fundamental physics of the universe. In this post, Sadhguru explains how the yogic lore has looked at the creation of the universe in much greater detail than modern physics, and speaks of how we are residing in the result of the 84th Big Bang!

Sadhguru: Recently, I happened to be in a presentation by a popular scientist. He has written a book called Endless Universe. It has become very popular in the scientific circles. He called this particular session “Beyond Big Bang,” because until recently the scientific community believed that everything has happened because of the Big Bang. But now some are saying, “It was not just one, many bangs must have happened.” It has been held that some billions of years ago, this particular Bang happened, which has resulted in all these planets and this universe. But now they are saying this Bang is not the only one.

I will not go into the whole science of it, but it was amusing for me because these theories are beginning to sound just like yogic lore. This is something that we have always known from within. But slowly they are not only beginning to talk like yogic lore, they are beginning to describe the same forms and shapes that we have always held as sacred and have always worshipped.

In the yogic system, we do not believe that you can ever go out into the existence and find out everything that is there – a belief which scientists have also come to. When the scientist says it is an endless universe, he is obviously saying you can never find out what it is. You can never travel from end to end and say, “Okay, this is existence.” We recognize that there is no way to travel from one end to the other and know it, because by the time you travel across, it would have expanded. For everything in this universe, the basic law is that the speed of light is the top speed you can attain. So if you travel at a speed below the speed of light, by the time you go from one end of the universe to the other, it would have grown much faster. There is no way you can ever travel the whole distance. That is the reason why we are saying it is an endless universe. We can never travel to the end. This is something that has been said thousands of years ago.

The mini-universe

And so, the best way to know this existence is by turning inward. Whatever has happened in the existence, all of it is in some way recorded in this mini-universe, the body. It is because of this recording, because of this reflection of the existence, that we said that the human being is created in the image of God. This expression that was uttered way back, thousands of years ago, in the yogic realm, has found reflection in every religion in a misinterpreted way. We just said, “Everything that happened in existence has happened in a small way here inside you.” If you know this one, you know everything that is happening out there. We cannot separate the creation and the Creator. In the same image as the creation is the Creator.

Let me tell you how yoga explains creation from within. This is a dialectical culture. I can make it all ABC if you want, but let’s enjoy the culture. There is a certain beauty to the terminology. Because it is speaking about a dimension which is not in our logical perception, it is best to speak in dialectical ways. The story goes like this:

Shiva is sleeping. When we say “Shiva” here, we are not talking about a person or the yogi. “Shiva” here refers to “that which is not”; that which is nascent. “That which is not” can only sleep. And he has always been referred to as the “Dark One.”

As Shiva sleeps, Shakti comes looking for him. She wants him to come awake because she wants to dance and play with him, she wants to woo him. Initially, he does not wake up. After some time, he does. Anyone who is in deep slumber, if you wake him up, he will get a little angry. If you were in deep sleep and someone came and nudged you, it would not matter how beautiful that person was, you would get angry. So he gets angry, roars and rises. That is why his first form and his first name is Rudra. The word “Rudra” means one who roars.

I asked the scientist, “If there is a series of Bangs, could it be a roar? Was it just one bang or was it a continuous thing?” He thought about it, and then he said, “It cannot be just one, it must have been longer than just one moment.” And I said “Why are you calling it a Bang? It is a Roar, isn’t it?” If you ever drive a motorcycle or car without the silencer, you will see it will go “bang, bang, bang,” but if you throttle up, it will roar. A roar is a composite expression of many bangs.

What is being perceived now in a phenomenally roundabout way was perceived a long time ago. It is true within every human being if you look deep enough. Today, we know from our experience, that there are a 114 chakras or energy centers in the body. The energy system, which we refer to as “prana,” has 114 junction points or important meeting places. There are 72,000 nadis, or pathways or channels. If you cut this body, you will not see them, but as you become more aware of the movement of energy, you will see energy is not moving at random, but in particular patterns. The energy moves through 72,000 patterns or channels, and these meet at 114 points in the body. 112 are within the physical body, two are outside the body. This manifestation itself is a representation of the cosmic-scape.

The 84 Big Bangs

Out of these 114, 84 are of a certain nature. The remaining are of a different nature. The first 84 belong to the past, the rest belong to the future. We say Shiva roared 84 times, that means 84 Big Bangs have happened and 84 universes were created. Slowly, over a period of time, these universes lost their form and kept spreading away, became lighter and then disintegrated. Creation happened, expanded to its limits, obliterated itself and again started over.

This physical body has happened in the same way that this whole creation has happened. Today you know that if you cut a tree (please don’t do such things!), there are rings in a tree which will tell you almost everything that has happened on this planet for as long as the tree has been here. Similarly, if you look into this body – you don’t have to even cut it open – it tells you how the whole of creation has happened.

So this is the eighty-fourth cycle. And this will continue to happen till it reaches 112. Only a total of 112 can happen. Another two are non-physical. The 112 universes will be physical in nature. The last two will be perpetual universes. That is, after the 112, the next time creation will happen in a semi-physical condition, not in a physical condition. That will be 113. After that, the 114 is a completely non-physical creation, a no-thing, which is right now un-manifest. A no-thing will manifest itself, in the subtlest possible way. That is what yoga says. 84 times Shiva has roared. He will roar 112 times. After that he will not roar any more. He will step out. That means the nothingness itself will be a universe. It will not be physical existence.

There are various other aspects connected with this body. And the way cosmology has developed, all these could have been perceived just by looking inward. We have spent I don’t know how much money, time, energy trying to explore these things. But if you are willing to look in – just for a moment, if you simply look in – it is possible for every human being to see this.

So, based on this, because you live and exist in the eighty-fourth universe and you have 84 chakras of a certain nature, yoga developed 84 basic asanas, or postures. There are 112 different types of meditation, but 84 basic asanas, because these 84 relate to past memory. The rest is the future. This past memory has to be released. The information or the karmic bondage goes back as far as these 84 Big Bangs do. Everything is recorded in this body, and that is why physical nature is the bondage.

This is how stable your body is. At the same time, see how fragile it is. If the next inhalation doesn’t happen, you are gone, isn’t it? You have taken it for granted, you are not conscious about it. If you become conscious and watch it, it is a damn fragile life. We are so fragile, but at the same time, see how sturdy we are. Look at all the things that human beings can do and have done.

This is the beauty of creation. Everything is tenderly balanced. So tenderly, you cannot disturb it – not easily. The whole creation is like this. That manifests the mastery of the Creator.