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LATEST DIALOGUES Quantum Physics and Vedanta – Part 3/4

Understanding Vedanta Cosmology

Science tells us that the Big Bang took place 13.7 billion years ago. One of the foremost questions is – what was there before the big bang? What was there at t = 0? Based on our previous discussion we can say that Self Aware Atma was present at t = 0, in fact Atma is t = 0. It is therefore logical to conclude that the big bang was born out of this Self Aware Atma. All the matter and energy, all the space was born out of this Atma.

Fast forward to ‘now’, 13.7 billion years after the big bang. There is a t = 0 ‘now’ also. We have seen that I have a t = 0 within me, you have a t = 0 within you, in fact every living being has a t =
0 within each of one us. The t = 0, which is Atma is always present within each one of us. 13.7
billion years back the universe emerged out of this Atma. In exactly the same way, right ‘now’
also, the universe is born out of t = 0, which is within each one of us. In other words, each one
of us has our own big bang. We all create our own personalized universe. 13.7 billion years back the big bang created a baby universe, but right ‘now’ the big bang will create a more mature universe which is 13.7 billion years old. Your universe is a lot different from mine. I am color blind, so I am sure that what I take as the universe is different from what your universe looks like. Each one of us has our own personalized universe.

It would seem that the big bang takes place whenever we want to perceive the universe. The Big bang is not a ‘one off’ event which took place 13.7 billion years ago, but it takes place every time the Observer has a desire to perceive. Whenever the Observer has a desire to perceive, the Observer creates the universe anew.

How does the Observer create this universe? Vedanta teaches us that it is a 3 step process:

1.   Creation of the Seed Body
2.   Creation of the Subtle Body
3.   Creation of the Gross/Physical Body

Due to ignorance, Atma becomes the seed body. The seed body creates the subtle body. The subtle body creates the gross body. This process of creation is not only true for each one of us, but it is also true for the cosmic body. The cosmic body is the sum total of all the individual bodies or objects in the universe. The cosmic body is also a combination of the 3 bodies mentioned above. Let us discuss each one of them in little more detail

1. Seed Body:

The seed body very similar to a seed from which a huge tree, with branches, leaves and fruits, comes out. A seed already has the potential form of the tree built into it. You could say that the tree is in an un-manifest condition inside the seed. The seed body is also called a causal body, because it is the cause for the tree to grow from the seed. For us humans, too, the individual seed body will become an individual human being with all its genetic character traits, or tendencies (called Vasanas).  These are also the blueprint of that person’s life including all the karmas that one will exhaust in this life.

We saw earlier at t = 0, that all the memory objects are in potential form. In other words t = 0 is the seed body, it has everything in potential form. It has the tendencies to create all the physical objects in the universe. The cosmic seed body has the potential form for the all the possible objects in the universe. You, I and all living beings have a much smaller seed body; we are a small sub-set part of the cosmic seed body. Our potential form is limited in scope as compared to the potential form of the cosmic body.

Under the right conditions, this causal body or the seed body germinates and grows into the subtle body and the gross body to play out the blueprint that is contained within. The seed
body is the driving force and is the cause for the creation of the subtle body and the gross body.

2. Subtle Body

The subtle body in a human being is that part of us which is not physical. Our thought, emotions and feelings, in short, our mind is the main component of the subtle body. We saw the seed body is t = 0. The subject and objects are unified and homogenous. The mind or the subtle body breaks down this unity of the seed body and creates a duality by the separation between the subject and object. According to Vedanta, the following are the two main components of the mind:

Buddhi or Intelligence: This is the seat of the Subject part of the seed body. Buddhi being the subject, it gives you the feeling of being ‘I am’. Buddhi is the doer of actions and also the experiencer of actions.

Manas: This the seat of the Object part of the seed body. The objects in the Manas are represented by waves or ‘Vrittis’. These waves are made of “mind stuff” or subtle elements. The waves in the mind are like the waves or ripples we see in a swimming pool. They are standing waves bouncing within the mind. These waves are still in the potential form. The waves or ‘vrittis’ in the Manas come from different sources.

– The seed body germinates itself and creates waves within the Manas
– The Cosmic Mind is the sum total of all the waves in the universe. The individual mind only perceives a part of the universe and only those waves are in the individual manas.
– When you are thinking or day dreaming, waves come from your stored memories.

Every living and nonliving object has a wave form; it could be from your seed body, a part of the cosmic mind or your memory. I have a wave form, you have a wave form and every living and nonliving being in the universe has a wave form. These wave forms operate within the confines of the mind, either the individual or the cosmic mind. All the different waves representing different things superimpose on each other to form complex wave patterns. This is the same way when you see multiple ripples in the swimming pool combining to form different wave patterns.

It must be clearly understood that there is fully functioning subtle universe. This subtle universe is in vritti or wave form. Different wave patterns represent different living and non-living objects.

We saw earlier the main role of the Atma is to observe what is happening in the mind. We have seen the mind is full of complex wave ‘vritti’ patterns. So how does Atma ‘read’ the wave patterns in the mind? Vedanta teaches that that this is a 2 step procedure. This is like the collapsing of the wave function.

Step 1: Vritti Vyapti: This means “wrapping” of the vritti or wave by the mind. When a vritti is formed in the mind, the mind goes into its “memory database” and checks what this vritti represents. The mind then takes the shape of that object. At this stage it only takes the shape of what the wave represents. It does not have any content. It is like a wire diagram with no content.

Step 2: Phala Vyapti: Phala means fruit but a better translation would be the yielding of a result from the wrapping. The shape of the mind object comes in the presence of Atma, which is the light of Awareness. When anything comes in the presence of Atma it becomes conscious and this “wire diagram” of the mind object is now filled with Consciousness. You can be aware of something only when it is conscious. With this step Atma/Observer is now fully aware of the subtle objects in the mind.

3. Gross Body

According to Vedanta, these subtle objects in the mind are projected out as the physical universe by Maya Shakti. This way the subtle objects become gross objects. Maya Shakti is the creative power of Atma and it is resident within the Manas part of the mind. This powerful Shakti is within each one of us. It first creates the space time framework and then places all gross objects within this framework. This is the physical universe we see around us. As we have mentioned earlier this physical universe is only made up memory objects.

There is a fully functioning subtle universe and also a fully functioning gross universe. The
subtle universe operates in the ‘potential form’, while the gross universe is made up of memory objects. The main role of Maya Shakti is to convert the ‘potential form’ into memory objects. It must be understood that each one of us observes a different set of memory objects. Let us take an example, suppose that, for whatever reason, you are milliseconds closer to the sun. The sun created by your mind is different from the sun being created in other people’s minds. Your sun is milliseconds younger than anyone else’s. In this way, we can see how the physical universe out there is unique for each and every one of us.

We can all see the gross universe, but the subtle world is really where all the action takes place. The gross universe is only a projection of the subtle universe. The subtle universe is like the software program, which in the presence of the projector, projects the movie on the screen.
The gross universe is totally dependent upon the subtle universe.

Correlating Quantum Physics and Vedanta

Now that we have a much better understanding of what we mean by t = 0 and also a basic understanding of Vedanta cosmology, I think we are ready to tackle the questions which were raised while discussing the highlights of quantum physics.

Time vs. Space

In classical physics, space and time were considered completely different and independent of each other. Newton considered space to have 3 dimensions and a separate single dimension for time. Einstein with his Theory of Relativity showed that space and time where interlinked and he changed the terminology from ‘space and time’ to ‘space time’ and this space time had 4 dimensions. But, it’s hard to understand 4 dimensions, it’s not intuitive. We can only visualize 3 dimensions, so where is the 4th dimension? Neither Einstein nor science has given a proper explanation for this.

1. If we look at the teaching of Vedanta, this confusion between space and time becomes quite clear. Einstein showed Time and Space are one and the same thing, the only difference is that Time is subtle while Space is gross. Space and Time are referring to the same thing. Space is the gross version of Time. Space is gross; we can see Space out there. No one has seen Time, but we can certainly experience time.  From our discussion earlier on Subtle and Gross bodies, we can understand that Time is non-physical or subtle. We have seen that anything subtle is an activity that happens in the mind. As we saw, mental activities are made up of waves or ‘vrittis’. Since Time is nonphysical, subtle, it must be a mental activity and it must be made up of waves or ‘vrittis’.

Also we saw earlier that the subtle body creates the gross body. Time is subtle and Space is gross, it only correct to conclude that Time creates Space. How to understand this? Science tells us that the universe is 13.7 billion years old. If a photon has to travel from beginning of the universe, it will take the photon 13.7 billion light years to reach us. 1 light year is the amount distance light travels in one year. The size of the universe will be the distance travelled by the photon from the big bang. This distance travelled by the photon is the outer limit of the Universe, because there was no universe before the big bang. If you assume the universe is 13.7 billion years old ‘right now’. After one second, the age of the universe will be 13.7 billion years + 1 sec. The photon now has to travel an additional 186,000 miles to reach us, which means the size of the universe has grown by 186,000 miles. After 10 seconds, the size of the universe would increase by 186,000 x 10 = 1,860,000 miles. After one year from now, the size of the universe will increase by 1 light year. From this reasoning it is quite clear that Time is creating the expansion of the universe. Every year the universe is expanding by 1 light year. As more Time is passing, the Space of the universe is expanding. It is therefore only correct to conclude that Time (which is subtle), creates Space (which is gross).

2. If Time is subtle, it must be a ‘vritti’ or wave which is present in an individual mind and also in the cosmic mind. This wave has the power to create Time. It is quite difficult for us to understand or visualize the composition of this waveform, but one thing is certain that Time is subtle and therefore it is a waveform and is present in everyone’s mind. If you are looking at the sun, the sun will also be present in your mind as a ‘vritti’ or waveform. Let us try and visualize how the ‘vritti’ of the sun combines with the Time ‘vritti’. It will generate a superimposed waveform in the mind. The time factor is now added to the sun. It is like a mathematical waveform with time as a variable. If you think about it, this superimposed waveform will now provide a history of the sun. Since Time has been superimposed on the sun waveform, the new waveform will have the ‘potential’ to show the sun in all it stages of growth from its birth 4.6 billion years to right now. All the different Suns in the historical time line is present in the Vritti in its ‘potential’ form. For example you are on earth and you want to see the sun. Your mind will have a superimposed vritti of (Sun and Time). When this waveform collapses in the presence of the Observer, you will see an 8 min old Sun. This 8 min old Sun is present in the potential form in the combined Sun + Time ‘Vritti’. Also when the subtle Time becomes gross, it would automatically mean that the position of the sun will be 8 min away from you. It will take light 8 min to reach you.

Let us suppose a person in a planet 1 million light years away is looking at our sun through a telescope. He will also have the same combined waveform of the Sun and Time in his mind as we do on the earth. However, when his waveform collapses, he will see a 1 million year old Sun. These two examples show that the combined Sun + Time waveform has the potential of all the historical Suns. Depending upon the Observers location in the universe, Suns of different ages will be observed. Depending upon the age, it will be placed that many light years away in space.

This logic is not only applicable to the Sun but to each and every object in the universe, both living and nonliving. The Time vritti will combine with the waveform for each and every object in the universe, and this combination will contain the ‘potential’ history in time for all the objects in the universe. It would seem that the Time vritti or waveform is extremely powerful and it has the ability to create objects of different ages. It is indeed very powerful and this power can only be derived from Maya Shakti, the creative power of Atma. Atma is all powerful and it gives its power to Maya Shakti and Maya Shakti passes it on to the Time Vritti. The Time waveform (or vritti) can create objects of all ages by superimposing itself on the vritti of different objects. What is most wonderful is that Atma is the underlying reality for all of us.

Just like Time is subtle and Space is gross, the same logic can be used for Energy and Mass. The famous Einstein equation E = mc2 is self-explanatory. Energy is subtle and Mass is gross, they are both interlinked. Mass is the gross version of Energy. Just like Time is a vritti, in the same way Energy also is a vritti and is present as a waveform in an individual mind and also in the cosmic mind. This Energy vritti when it superimposes with any object vritti, will provide the required energy to the object and when this object becomes gross, it will have the required mass. This is another intriguing power of Maya Shakti and Atma.

If you examine it closely, you’ll find that the Schrodinger Wave Equation applicable to any object has two variables – time and energy. We have just seen that any Vritti or waveform of any object in the mind also has two variables –time and energy.

<< Back to Part 2

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Based in Princeton, New Jersey, Jayant is an electronics engineer with a management degree. These days Vedanta and Science are his passion. He is currently writing a series of articles interconnecting science with Vedanta. Please visit

5 Responses to “Quantum Physics and Vedanta – Part 3/4”

  1. May 01, 2015 at 1:58 pm, David Storoy said:

    Maya (Shakti) is doing holographic projection. So what we see outside is actually inside our Mind. Ishwara(Macrocosmic Mind)/God is the Creator according to Vedanta as well.

    Atma is Observer? Atma/Self/Awareness(our true identity) is ever-present witness,unchangeable,actionless,limitless and non-dual in nature. Is ever-present witness and observer the same?

    • May 12, 2015 at 2:38 am, Eric Mcoo said:

      Is there anything you are aware of in spiritual literature that suggests an act of observation can affect the physical world ?


      • November 08, 2017 at 3:16 am, bserene said:

        May 12, 2015 at 2:38 am, Eric Mcoo said:

        Is there anything you are aware of in spiritual literature that suggests an act of observation can affect the physical world ?

        >>>>> Yes. In Vedanta, consciousness can split into observer and the observed. For example, while we dream, we are observing our thoughts. The faculty for observing one’s thought is Viveka (or discernment). Now, Viveka helps discriminate between what is Shreyas and Preyas (i.e. preferable and pleasurable). One’s life can be tuned based on this choice. That is, if Shreyas is chosen over Preyas, one eventually realizes the Self, and attains supreme bliss. So, it is possible that observation can affect the outcome.

  2. May 02, 2015 at 7:17 am, David Storoy said:

    A Vedanta teacher said this to me about the observer and ever-present witness subject:

    Question: Is the observer and ever-present witness the same? Or what is the difference?

    Ted: Depends on what you mean by these terms.

    For the purposes of this response, I’m going to make a distinction
    between the two and say that the observer is essentially the antahkarana, the “inner instrument,”
    which is basically the mind or subtle body, while the ever-present witness is atma, pure awareness associated with the
    mind-body-sense complex of an apparent individual person.

    The observer is, thus, the relative subject or
    observer-seer-knower, who observes-sees-knows myriad
    observable-“see-able”-knowable objects within the seemingly dualistic context
    of the apparent reality. The ever-present witness, by contrast, is simply the
    all-pervasive illumining factor—or what we might call the “light” of pure
    awareness—by means of which the existence of the observing subject, the
    observed objects, and the action of observation, itself, is known.

    Bear in mind that Brahman-atma,
    pure awareness, is both attributeless and actionless and, thus, is not a doer
    or enjoyer.

    Awareness is attributeless because as the infinite conscious
    existence in which all objects appear, it must necessarily be limitless and
    non-objectifiable. Its possession of any delineable attribute or modification
    would by definition render it a limited object appearing within a greater
    “field” of existence that would then have to be recognized as an even more
    fundamental substratum. There can be no more fundamental substratum than pure
    awareness, however, as only through an object’s appearance within the illuming
    scope of pure awareness can that object be said to exist.

    Awareness is actionless because due to its all-pervasiveness,
    there exists no “arena” or context greater or more expansive than itself within
    which it can move. By the same token, there exists no secondary background in
    contrast to which any movement, modification, or change could be measured. And
    since movement, modification, or change is the defining characteristic of
    action, the absence of any means of accounting for such phenomena necessarily
    renders limitless awareness actionless.

    That said, it necessarily follows that limitless awareness cannot
    be an entity capable of executing the action of observing. Awareness illumines
    the mind of the apparent individual person, and by means of that illumination
    the vrittis, thought-modifications,
    arising within the mind are made known. The mind is the instrument of
    knowledge, not awareness itself, so to speak. The mind, however, is not the
    knower either, for the mind is nothing more than inert subtle matter. In this
    regard, the mind is simply a mechanism whose design enables it to process
    experience when illumined or enlivened or enabled to function by the presence
    of awareness. By analogy, just as electricity enables the camera to record the
    images appearing before it, so awareness is the illumining factor that allows
    the mind to know the objects appearing within it. This analogy falls short in
    that it suggests that awareness is energy, which is not the case. Even energy,
    which is referred to as prana with
    regard to the mind-body-sense mechanism, is an object known to awareness.
    Nevertheless, the point is that neither the mind nor awareness is actually the
    knower. Knowing is a phenomenon that spontaneously takes place through the
    “combination” of these two factors. Therefore, for purposes of practicality
    within the relative context of the apparent reality we say that the apparent
    individual person is the knower and that pure awareness is simply the scope or
    “field” of illumination in which the knower-known duality obtains and the
    apparent act of knowing occurs.

    Pure awareness is often referred to as the witness because it is
    the consciousness that affords the mind the capacity to apparently know
    objective phenomena. It is, however, vitally important to be clear that being
    aware is not something awareness does. Awareness or consciousness or knowledge
    is not an action on the part of awareness. Awareness or consciousness or
    knowledge is the svarupam, the very
    nature, of awareness. By analogy, burning is not an action on the part of fire.
    Burning is the nature of fire. So if someone sticks his finger in a flame, the
    flame will burn the finger not because it chooses to do so, but simply because
    burning is the nature of fire. In other words, burning is not a volitional act
    on the part of fire, but rather its intrinsic nature. Just so, awareness does
    not choose to illumine objects; “shining” is simply the nature of awareness.
    Awareness does not know objects; knowledge is simply its nature.

    You are that pure knowledge. You are that awareness. You are that
    conscious being in whose scope all objects are “known.” You are the “light.”

  3. May 04, 2015 at 1:04 am, Will Hart said:

    It seems we always get trapped in the attempt to communicate, which automatically brings us to the limits of thought. It would seem that if we acknowledge the inbuilt restrictions of thought and language we point to the intrinsic wholeness of being that precedes all of the reductionism. But if we don’t begin by acknowledging the limits of the tools we end up trapped in thought and unable to convey the intended message.

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