GURU POORNIMA MESSAGE BY DR. C. B. SATPATHY
There are certain questions that spontaneously provoke the mind of all human beings - the innocent children as well as the mature persons alike. If we delve into the history of human civilization, we will come to realise that human beings, at different points of time and at different places on earth, have been fascinated by the concept of ‘SPACE’. Be it the Hindu mythology or the Vedic literature or the Greek mythology, the queries about space, the sky and the inhabiting orbs can be found everywhere.
For example, in Brihadaaranyaka Upanishada1 there is a dialogue between Gargi2 and Yagynavalkya3 on this subject. Gargi asks “Oh Yagnavalkya, which they say is above Heaven and beneath the Earth and which is between these two? Which is that the people call the past, the present and the future, which is woven across the space like the warp and woof”? In short, she asks ‘which is above the heaven and earth and which the people call the past, present and future woven across the space like warp and woof.’ The Vedic seers were concerned with the concepts of cosmos, universe, space, sky and time. Such queries, originating in human mind as an intellectual process, gradually resulted in the origin and growth of philosophy, metaphysics and science. The space science of today, may be said to be the emanation of the thoughts of the ancient seers and modern age scientists.
In the same Upanishada, Gargi further asks Yagyavalka, if everything is ‘Ota-Prota’ which means intermingled, like water with air and air with Antariksha4 . The Vedic Sanskrit word, ‘Ota-Prota’ can be interpreted as ‘covered with’ or ‘filled with’. Be as it may be, my purport of referring to Vedic literature is to state that the Vedic seers, over thousands of years, carried on serious research on space and time. For the understanding of this magnificent Vedic concept in a simpler manner, mythological characters were introduced through various Puranas5 like Brahma Purana6 and others. From the point of view of Hindu mythology, it is stated in Bhagavata Gita 7.4 that Space is one of Krishna’s energies:
“bhumir apo nalo vayuh Kham mano buddhir eva cha Ahankara itiyam me Bhinna prakrutir ashtadha”
Meaning: “Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego – all together these eight constitute My separated material energies.” Other Sanskrit terms for this energy are akasha and nabhah, all three terms can be translated as ‘space’, ‘sky’, or ‘outer space’......”
In Atharva Veda7 and in some of the Puranas one finds the mention of fourteen lokas or worlds. The seven higher lokas or worlds are called – Bhu-loka8 , Bhuvar- loka9 , Svar-loka10 , Mahar-loka11 , Jana-loka12 , Tapa-loka13 and Satya-loka14 . The Lokas, inter-alia, have a spatial notion. They also have significant spiritual connotations. The word Trailokya - the three worlds consisting of the earth, atmosphere or sky and the heaven - makes up the universe. The Abrahamic religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam, also refer to the concept of seven heavens and seven earths. Some such worlds are said to be inhabited by subtle beings.
Today, after the landing of spaceship on the surface of Moon and Mars, the technology-empowered human beings are planning to promote extra-terrestrial real estate ventures in future.
A few websites on the internet advertise for the purchase of extra-terrestrial real estate. “Lunar Embassy was showered with Internet awards and an overwhelming press attention worldwide, which is continuing today. Reportedly, it has been planned that by the year 2023, astronauts would enter the planet Mars.”
Thus, the Vedic seers’ research on space and sky is relevant in today’s context for understanding the origin of such thoughts at a time when space science has made unimaginable progress.
MAY SHRI SAI BLESS US ALL
Jai Shri Sai. Shri C.B. Satpathy, New Delhi