Scientific Vision Of Lord Mahāvīra ► [02] The Model of the Universe in Bh.S & Its Scientific Assessment ► The Expanse of the Universe

Posted: 09.06.2009

The cosmos is bounded and limited while the transcosmos is limitless. The former has only innumerable space-points (pradeśa) while the latter has infinite.[96] Instead of being limited with reference to the substance and also with reference to the space the extension of the universe cannot be numerically expressed.

The canon Bh.S indicates the largeness of the universe and that of the Supra-universe with the help of the examples of the inability of sixteen swiftest gods to reach the end of the universe with their fastest divine speed. The analogical parables used by Lord Mahavir are as follows—

"Imagine, six gods of higher level are standing on the top of the Mount Meru situated in the mid of the universe, which is one lake Yojanas in height. Suppose again that at the foot of the Mount Meru, four goddesses (dikkumārikas) are standing facing the opposite directions of the Mount. They throw four balls in all the four directions. At that time one of the six gods starts flying to catch all the balls in mid before they touch the ground. This speed is the fastest one."

With this fastest divine speed the six gods run in each direction; one goes in the East, one in the West, one in the North, one in the South, one in the upper and one in the lower direction. At the same time a child is born in a merchant's house. He lives for one thousand years. His parents die after his birth. He also dies. Not only he but seven successors of his age also die. Even the memory of their family and the status etc. are totally obliterated from the minds of the people. Still, the gods continue to run yet, they could not get to the end of the universe. Nevertheless, it is sure that they have covered the major portion of the distance of the universe and the crossed space is much more than uncrossed space, even though the end of the universe is far from them."[97]

In the same manner the vastness of the transcosmos has also been dealt with. The difference lies only in the number of gods, goddesses and the directions. In the context of transcosmos, the gods are ten in number and the goddesses are eight. Additional four directions are Southeast, Northeast, Southwest and Northwest. But, in the case of transcosmos, the distance covered by the gods is less and the rest is more.[98]

Thus, the universe is stated to be very spacious; in the east it is countless or innumerable crores and crores of leagues (yojanakoḍākoḍī); in the South it is countless crores and crores leagues, likewise it is in the West and in the North. Similarly with regard to the upper and lower regions it is countless crores and crores of leagues in length and breadth.[99]

The experiments made in the field of science also show that the vastness of the universe cannot be indicated with great consistency or accuracy. According to Stephen W. Hawking, the scientific theories that emerge to explicate the structural largeness of the cosmos are contradictory. He writes

- "Today scientists describe the universe in terms of two basic partial theories—the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. They are the great intellectual achievements of the first half of this century. Einstein's general theory of relativity describes the force of gravity and the large scale structure of the universe, that is, the structure on scales from only a few miles to as large as a million million million million (1 with twentyThe four zeros after it) miles, the size of the observable universe. Quantum mechanics, on the other hand, deals with phenomenon on extremely small scales, such as a millionth of a millionth of an inch. Unfortunately, however, these two theories are known to be inconsistent with each other—they cannot both be correct."[100]

Footnotes:
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