“To truly comprehend the progress of science, we just have to glance at its progressive understanding of Time through the ages.” – Veteran Col RS Sidhu
Universe in Time and Space
Understanding of Time is one of the simplest and yet the most intricate aspect which differentiates Indian cosmic thought from scientific understanding. The cosmic scale of Time and space, unique to Indian metaphysical thought, even influences social consciousness.
Space and Time, as well as speed and Time are interlinked. In the current understanding of science the maximum speed of light has been pegged at 300,000 kilometers per second, the age of the universe is assessed at 13.8 billion years, and the ‘observable universe’ is estimated at 46 billion light years or 540 sextillion miles in any one direction. The existence of ‘unobservable universe’, beyond the distance that has been traversed by light, is currently still under scientific conjecture.
So whereas science currently looks at a Universe which is 13.8 billion years old in a unidirectional Time, Indian cosmic science looks at Universe with more than 300 trillion years life in a cyclic Time.
Management Theories of Time Challenging Traditional Perceptions
“It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take Hofstadter’s Law into account.”
– Hofstadter’s Law
Conventionally, for the overwhelming majority, Time is perceived as irreversible, linear, unidirectional, and with constant speed. Time can neither be saved nor stored for future use, nor can it be substituted.
Inefficient work culture of individuals and organizations lead to artificial scarcity of Time. Identifying indecision, procrastination, unplanned effort, poor planning, errors under time pressure, and failure to delegate, as some habits that lead to wastage of Time. In a sense, optimizing use of Time by managing ourselves in relation to Time, as Time is constant.
Modern management theories have also come up challenging the traditionally held perceptions of Time, such as it being relative to speed of effort, multiplying availability of Time by sharing of effort in accomplishing common goals, and minimizing requirement of Time for repetitive effort by standardizing procedures.
These thoughts highlighting impact of Time on Human behavior, have also subtly influenced growing scientific understanding of Time. For example, if Time were to be measured by breaths, it would make it relative to biological entities, as rate of breath where time remains constant, is fastest when facing danger, relatively slower when environment is peaceful, and slowest when body is at rest.
Scientific Postulations of Time
One major difficulty faced by science in its understanding of Time is that observation of any cosmic event is subject to ‘time lapse phenomenon’, that is the time taken by light to travel the distance between the event horizon and the observer. This makes Time as the most enduring enigma for science, evolving its understanding of the subject as science has progressed in Time!
Science currently postulates the ‘Big Bang’ theory as the most common scientifically accepted hypothesis on the origin of the Universe. ‘Big Bang’ is thus assumed as the start point of the Universe as well as Time. The word postulates is deliberately used, as this understanding is based on scientific data which itself varies when calculated by different models. It is all variations of, X is equal to 1, theme of mathematical problem solving where X is variable based on changing perceptions in Time and space, and conflicting scientific data.
‘Hubble Constant’ used to determine the size and age of universe is itself continuously being changed. In 1929 this was 310 miles per second per megaparsec, where a megaparsec denotes 3.26 million light years. This value means that for every megaparsec further away from Earth we look, the observed galaxies are hurtling away from us 310 miles per second faster than those a megaparsec closer. Today this ‘Hubble Constant’ is revised to 46 miles per second per megaparsec.
It is indeed scientific hubris to choose values arbitrarily and yet proclaim them as being derived by scientific rigour, as it is to presume that with 87,000 million suns in just the Milky Way Galaxy, and with around two trillion galaxies, the Earth is the only cosmic body in Time and space harboring ‘intelligent’ life! Also, while science is fixing the ‘past’ at 13.8 billion years, the ‘future’ in its current understanding is infinite! Science simply does not possess mathematical foundations to understand the complexity of the building blocks of the Universe.
The Time Travel Paradox
“Time is the simplest, and yet most complex, phenomenon within, and yet beyond, definitive understanding of most human beings and consequently modern science.” – Veteran Col RS Sidhu
Just like the frequently shifting ‘Hubble Constant’, science is unable to unify its understanding of the four fundamental forces of nature. While ‘General Theory’ deals with gravitational forces in relation to the universe, the ‘Quantum Mechanics’ explores the Strong and Weak nuclear forces and the Electromagnetic force, but together they cannot be meshed into a ‘Theory of Everything’. In fact science is not even sure that there should be such a unifying Theory.
If light can be traced to its source in the past as also its movement into the future, it should be theoretically possible to travel back and forward in space and Time. But exploring this feasibility of travel forward and backward into Time and space, science comes across yet another dilemma. A linear and unidirectional Time does not lend itself to such a supposition.
The ‘General Theory of Relativity’ of Albert Einstein, by showing the existence of ‘Black Holes’, ‘Gravitational waves’, as also slow down/warp in time on crossing light speed barrier, does posit possibility of Time travel. It is giving rise to scientific study of dark or anti-matter where Time travels in opposite direction, of ‘Black Holes’ and their probability of being ‘Wormholes’ for Time travel into the past and the future, and existence of ‘Multiverse’ or parallel universes. But their current scientific provenance lies within the realm of science fiction.
Cosmic Scale of TIME in Ancient Indian Cosmology
“Never was there a time when I was not, nor thee, nor these Lords of men; nor shall there be a time hereafter when we all shall cease to be.” – Bhagwad Geeta (The Celestial Song)
In ancient Indian cosmology Time is cyclic, vibrates across a wide frequency range, and is separated into different dimensions by its wavelengths. It interestingly delves into highly advanced scientific concepts and principles such as time being omnipresent, where all time past, present and future co-exists simultaneously. It is this hypothesis which realistically provides the theoretical basis for exploring time travel and teleportation of matter!
Cosmos is created out of energy and matter too is form of energy, as is all thought and sound. Matter has varied vibration cycles which coexist in space separated by Time dimensions.
The cosmic scale of time and space is different for Brahma, the creator God of the Universe, and the humans. 100 Divine Years is the lifespan of Brahma, equivalent to 311.0415 trillion human years. (Vishnu Purana)
The basic unit of cosmic time cycle of the Universe is a Yug. There are four Yug with differing Time cycle. Sat Yug equaling 1.728 million human years, Treta Yug equaling 1.296 million human years, Dwapar Yug equaling 864,000 human years, and Kali Yuga equaling 432,000 human years in length.
The four Yug are together termed as a Mahayug, equivalent to 4.320 million human years.
1000 Mahayuga cycles are termed as a Kalpa, a complete Divine Day of Brahma, equivaling 8.64 billion human years.
A Kalpa is further sub-divided into two Ardha Kalpas of Divine Day and Divine Night, thus equaling 4.32 billion human years each. Each Divine Day when Brahma is awake is the lifespan of the Universe, and each Divine Night, when Brahma is asleep, is the state of dissolution of the Universe.
360 Kalpas comprise one Divine Year of Brahma, equivalent to 3.110415 trillion human years, and is termed as Mahakalpa.
100 Mahakalpa comprise the full lifespan of Brahma, equaling 311.0415 trillion human years.
Whereas there may be differing perceptions on the time units of each Yug and Mahayug, the idea is to convey the sense of cosmic grandeur and the insignificance of humanity in the grand scheme of things. This should make us realise that we are only a cog in the machinery of the universe, and not masters of the universe.
Growing Congruence Between Modern Science and Indian Metaphysical Thought
But it is not as if the chasm between ancient Indian Cosmology and modern science is unbridgeable. The 20th century developments in the West, which narrowed the understanding between the metaphysical and scientific world, have prompted a rethink of their stance which hitherto fore had dismissed ancient Indian knowledge as abounding in myth.
Michio Kaku’s ‘Superstring Theory of Everything’, which postulates vibrating strings as the basic building block of the Universe, comes tantalizingly close to the ancient Indian cosmology which looks at Time coexisting in multi-dimensional Universes separated by vibration frequencies.
The new discoveries by modern science in ‘Quantum entanglement’, which prove the interconnectedness of two spatially apart particles where information is exchanged at speeds greater than the speed of light, is also opening the doors to exploring the field of teleportation. It fuses perfectly with the Indian metaphysical vision of ‘Vasudev Kutumbakam’, the world is one, all living beings interconnected to each other and the Universe.
Perhaps modern science is in the process of heeding the famous assertions of Nikola Tesla and Michio Kaku.
“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomenon, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.” – Nikola Tesla
“Common sense has no place in Quantum mechanics”. – Michio Kaku
Ultimately understanding Time and Nature requires a leap of faith.
Col RS Sidhu, Sena Medal is a post graduate in History from Delhi University. His write-ups on strategic affairs have been published in magazines and journals of repute, and can also be accessed at his blogspot www.valleysandvalour.blogspot.com . He is also the author of two books, ‘Success from Being Mad’ on entrepreneurship ventures by veterans, and ‘Elephant on the High Himalayas’ on India China discourse.
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