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The Vedic mantra conceptualizes creation as an emanation from the supreme transcendental, eternal consciousness (Satchitanand). Much later this same concept finds resonance in the “Divine Word”of the Bible and the “Zikr” of Sufism

Dr Shardha Batra

The evanescence of human existence compels man to probe life for deeper meaning and lasting value. The scientist attempts to unravel the mystery of life by exploring outer space. But with every tiny step forward he finds the horizons receding even further. The mystery of life continues to haunt the individual inevitably engendering an existential crisis. What or who are we? Is there an all-knowing intelligence which guides the complex workings of the cosmos? Are we puppets in the hands of this power or are we intimately related to this power?

Unlike the scientist the ancient mystic reversed his gaze and sought answers in the inner most recesses of his consciousness. Restraining the obsessive outward rush of his senses and flurry of desires he sat in seclusion, gathered his dispersed attention and trained the mind to be Ekaagra (one pointed). With the mind still the Yogi’s consciousness rose to a supramental state where the boundaries between the cosmos and the individual consciousness dissolved and a state of union or Yoga was attained.

In these higher states of consciousness, the totality of cosmic knowledge revealed itself to the inner ear of the sage as sacred sound vibrations. The compendium of these sounds is known by the word Veda, which is derived from the root Vid which means ‘to know’. Vedas are also called Shruti (that which is heard) since they are a direct communication from the divine to the inner ear (Shrotra) of the sage in samadhi.

The Vedic mantra conceptualizes creation as an emanation from the supreme transcendental, eternal consciousness (Satchitanand). Much later this same concept finds resonance in the “Divine Word” of the Bible and the “Zikr” of Sufism.

Science and mysticism, when extrapolated, meet at a common tentative hypothesis which declares that this complex cosmos is an infinite matrix of energy vibrations. All that exists, from the distant galaxies to the sand under your feet… from concrete buildings to intangible thoughts, from nebulous feelings to passionate desires; all is the energy of sound, vibrating within an infinitely wide range of frequencies.

Science and mysticism, when extrapolated, meet at a common tentative hypothesis which declares that this complex cosmos is an infinite matrix of energy vibrations. All that exists, from the distant galaxies to the sand under your feet, from the dark energy of the universe to the herbs growing in your kitchen garden, from concrete buildings to intangible thoughts, from nebulous feelings to passionate desires; all is the energy of sound, vibrating within an infinitely wide range of frequencies.

The Big Bang theory was discovered by Science as the sound which heralded creation of the Universe. Quantum Physics further described the Unified Energy field from which the cosmos seems to emerge. Much before the advent of Science the Vedic mantras were decoded by the Rishis, who declared that the Cosmos is a creation that streams out of the very essence or substance of an eternal consciousness which they named Brahman.

Brahman is an ocean of an omniscient, omnipotent, all-pervading light or intelligence. It is still, silent and aloof. The root of the word Brahman is Brihad, which means ‘to expand’. Within it pulsates its Svabhava (potential inner nature), which is its own polar opposite. Within the attributeless (Nirguna), non-dual consciousness of Brahman, which is beyond all time, space and causation, is a Shakti; a dynamism, a desire which transmutes stillness into movement, silence into sound and detachedness into a desire to differentiate, multiply and diversify.

The word Brahman is therefore qualified by the Vedas as the Sabda Brahman. The ultimate reality of the Cosmos is dualistic. It is both Consciousness (static witness) and Energy (kinetic sound). Tantra vividly paints this as the Cosmic Masculine (Shiva) and Cosmic Feminine in the image of Ardhanareeshwara - androgynous form of the supreme.

Brahman’s innate energy emanates (Srujati) as sound to create the Brahmand – the Cosmos, each particle of which contains the whole. The Vedas do not suggest an extraneous cosmic creator, for e.g., like a potter making pots. Brahman weaves the warp and weft of the universe from its own essence much like the spider spins a web from its own substance and annihilates it by withdrawing it into itself.

It is through these five tattvas that the myriad forms and creatures of this fascinating universe are conjured up by Sabda Brahman. All that exists not only arises from the eternal sound energy of the supreme consciousness but is also maintained by it and dissolves back into it.

The Quantum Physicist empirically validates this through theories of relativity and uncertainty to conclude that what exists is a holographic Universe, most of which is a dark inscrutable energy. The cosmos is actually composed of Sound at different hierarchies of vibrational potency. The word Cosmos, meaning ‘order’ in Greek, is maintained by this Anahad Naad (unstruck sound), which is the same as what the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagorus defined as the “music of the spheres”.

The creative energy of Brahman or the “breath of Brahman” is an inseparable amalgam of light (consciousness) and sound (energy), which are dual and yet non-dual. The most primordial manifestations of the Sabda is the Omkara, the first of the akshars (the imperishable energy units). The Mandukya Upanishad in its first shloka states, ओमित्येतदक्षरमिद्ँसर्वं (Om itietadaksharamidamsarvam) – “Om is the monosyllable from which all is derived”.

It is the Sabda or akshar, which is the first subtle element (Tanmatra) to be formed. The gross counterpart of Sabda tanmatra is Akaash, which is the first gross element or the first of the Pancha Mahabhuta to be formed. From Akaash arises the Sparsh tanmatra which engenders the second element Vayu. This is followed by Roopa tanmatra giving rise to Agni tattva, the Rasa tanmatra creating Apas (water) and Gandha tanmatra (smell) giving rise to Prithvi.

Sabda tanmatra → Akaash/ Space (first tattva/bhuta)

Sparsh tanmatra → Vayu/ Air (second tattva)

Roopa tanmatra → Agni/ Fire (third tattva)

Rasa tanmatra → Apas/ Jal /water (fourth tattva)

Gandha tanmatra (smell) → Prithvi/ Earth (fifth tattva)

It is through these five tattvas that the myriad forms and creatures of this fascinating universe are conjured up by Sabda Brahman. All that exists not only arises from the eternal sound energy of the supreme consciousness but is also maintained by it and dissolves back into it.

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