After thousands of years of speculation and scientific exploration, we have landed upon the same doubts about the origin of the universe as ancient Indian mystics did.
We can make a guess about what happened less than a trillion-trillionth second after the big bang, but still we do not know anything about the origin of the universe.
And ancient Indian mystics probably confronted similar doubts when they wrote the following:
“But, after all, who knows, and who can say
Whence it all came, and how creation happened?
the gods themselves are later than creation,
so who knows truly whence it has arisen?”
(It is the translation of one portion of ‘Nasadiya Sukta’ from ‘Rigveda’.
‘Rigveda’ is one of world’s oldest surviving texts and ‘Nasadiya Sukta’
is the part of ‘Rigveda’ which deals with matters related to cosmology and
origin of the universe.)
Not only are our doubts similar to those of ancient Indian sages, even our route of inquiry is similar.
Our efforts in search of the origin
In 1964 two American scientists named Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson built a very sensitive radio antenna. When they turned it on, they encountered a strange unaccountable noise. First they thought that radio signals from the city are interfering with their instrument. But later on they found out that the noise which they were receiving was CMBR (Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation), the very noise of the Big Bang. In 1978 both Penzias and Wilson received a Noble Prize for this discovery.
Later, in 2013, after analyzing the same CMBR signals for about three years, Planck space observatory presented an image of the universe when it was in an early stage (about 380K years old).
There’s no other image that shows our universe in such an early stage. This image has become the basis of all our speculations about the past and the future of the universe.
What ancient Indian mystics did
According to Vedic scriptures, ancient Indian mystics used to treat their own body and mind as instruments. They devised techniques to master them. They said that to experience higher truths a man must become a Yogi (a balanced man). And in order to become a Yogi, one must go through a very tough and disciplined life.
Once a man became a Yogi, then along with other such Yogis, he would go into deep meditation. And in that state of meditation all of them experienced certain visions and vibrations.
And after that, to give an expression to their experiences, they used an extremely logical and highly complex language which we call Vedic Sanskrit.
They described their experiences as Sruti (which means ‘that which is heard’), and what they wrote was a mixture of both descriptive poetry and philosophy.
No one ever took the authorship of Vedas. The mystics claimed that they have written what they heard and that Vedas are divine. They also said that the knowledge of the Vedas is present throughout the universe and Vedas state the very laws of the universe.
Vedas are one of the earliest surviving texts of mankind. So, it’s very hard for us to understand them. It is also said that it’s impossible to translate Vedas into any known language without misinterpreting them.
Nevertheless, because of our recent scientific discoveries, we can see Vedas in an entirely different light now.
Like CMBR appears very analogous to the vibrations that mystics had experienced, and the portion of Vedas about creation confirms our modern view.
So, if we stop regarding Vedas as old, obscure and unimportant texts, and if we start putting efforts in scientifically deciphering them, then there’s a possibility that we might encounter some grand revelations.