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The Enigma Of The Universe : 3. Cyclic Theories of Universe and Descending Ascending Time-Cycle

Published: 23.01.2015
Updated: 02.07.2015

In Chapter II, we have already discussed the scientific theories of universe believing the universe to be beginningless and endless with respect to time, like "Self-pulsating Universe", "Hyperbolic Universe" and "Cyclic Universe" which, in one way or other assert that together with the flow of time, there occurs continuous building up or running down of the Universe. Also in Chapter II, we have seen that the same fact has been propounded by the Jain Theory of Avasarpiṇī and Utsarpiṇī Time-cycles. Now, we may compare the latter with the former ones.

The theory of "Self-pulsating Universe" is based on the assumption that the universe is expanding. Hence, the difference which the Jain theory of universe has with the theory of expanding universe also exists with the self-pulsating universe. Nevertheless, as far as the time-aspect of universe is concerned, both theories come quite close to each other, as both propound that the universe is beginningless and endless with respect to time and the cycles of degeneration and re-building up go on taking place alternately with the flow of time. However, there is difference in the subjects of fall and rise-in the theory of Self-pulsating Universe, it is pertaining to the size of universe, which goes on expanding and contracting with the flow of time, whereas in the Jain view, it is related with some of the natural phenomena taking place in "time-region" in the form of degeneration during the descending half-cycle (avasarpiṇī) and evolution during the ascending half-cycle (utsarpiṇī), respectively. Thus, the similarity is only superficial.

Another thing which deserves attention in connection with the "Self-pulsating Universe" is that our suggestion which we had given regarding the "expanding universe" during our critical review of this theory[1] is even more applicable to the Self pulsating Universe. As we had observed there that-the phenomenon of red-shift should imply that the distant galaxies are receding away from us, and should not imply that the space itself is expanding. Now, Prof. Tolman's interpretation of "Self pulsating Universe", as we have already seen, is based on the assumption of creation of new matter. If our suggestion as given above is accepted, then there would be no need to conceive the creation of new matter in universe, and consequently, whatever problems ensue on account of this assumption, also automatically get solved. Thus, on the basis of the Self-pulsating Universe coupled with our suggestion, it can be said that the galaxies go on undertaking motion alternatively away from each other and towards each other with flow of time for ever. When the galaxies recede from each other and come nearer to each other respectively, there is corresponding shift in the spectral lines, i.e., spectral lines are shifted slightly towards the red end of the spectrum and away from it respectively. At present, the galaxies are receding from each other, and hence we observe that there is the shift of spectral lines towards the red end of the spectrum or in other words it means that there is decrease in the frequency of the red line. But, in future when the opposite phenomenon will take place, that is, when the galaxies would come nearer to each other, we would observe that there is increase in the frequency of the red line. Finally, when this process would reach its climax, again the process of the receding of the galaxies would start, and so on. Thus, with the flow of time the direction of the motion of galaxies would alternately change and they would alternately recede from each other and come nearer to each other. But that should not be interpreted as the expansion or contraction of the cosmic space; in fact, the cosmic space would always remain steady, unaffected by the motion of the galaxies. The volume of the cosmic space, whether it is finite or infinite, would remain constant throughout.

 This interpretation of ours is based only on the theory of Self-pulsating Universe resulting from one kind of solution to the Einsteinian field-equation of the universe as given by Friedmann, coupled with our suggestion given above. We should also think over the possibility as to how much this interpretation could be endorsed by the Jain view. As far as the conclusion is concerned, which propounds that the cosmic space is steady (immobile) and has a constant volume, the Jain view fully endorses it, but whether the process of alternate types of motion of galaxies is real or not cannot be definitely confirmed by the Jain view.

We had seen during our discussion on the Cyclic Universe based on the Einstein's 'principle of conservation of mass and energy' that how the universe passes through infinite cycles of creation and destruction, but still persists. This is the only scientific theory which is most akin to the Jain view of "ascending and descending" cycles (kālacakra). Both the theories viz., that of Cyclic Universe and the Jain theory of kālacakra make almost the same assertion that along with the flow of time, the universe undergoes continuously the cycles of evolution and dissolution from beginningless time and would continue to do so for endless time and still its existence which is eternal would persist for ever. Although it would not be possible to go into detailed comparison with respect to the periods of time of evolution and dissolution (or ascending and descending time-cycles), because the time-units[2] described in the Jain view are difficult to compute in comprehensible numbers. Another point of difference is that whereas the Cyclic Universe Theory depicts the evolution and dissolution in very gross form, in the Jain view we get a very detailed description of the subtle phenomena of the universe during the ascending and descending time-cycles.

We may summarise our above discussion on the Cyclic Universe Theory in mainly two points:

  1. The basic assumptions of this Theory, (which we have already discussed), are based on very concrete theoretical and experimental evidence.
  2. As this Theory is concerned only with the time-aspect, it is not related with the space-aspect-whether it is steady or expanding

Now, when we compare the Theory of Hyperbolic Universe with the Theory of Self-pulsating Universe, we find that both of them propound that the universe is beginningless and endless (i.e., eternal) from the point of view of time, but whereas the former accepts only one contraction and one expansion of the universe with respect to space, the latter has conceived of infinite number of such alternate expansions and contractions in cyclic manner.

Next, we consider the Theory of Evolutionary Universe put forth by Dr. George Gamow. As we have already seen it is based on the model of Hyperbolic Universe. Dr. Gamow writes:[3]

"According to the best available information concerning the galactic masses, it seems that at present the kinetic energy of receding galaxies is several times greater than their mutual potential gravitational energy, from which it would follow that our universe is expanding into infinity without any chance of   ever being pulled more closely together again by the forces of gravity. It must be remembered, however, that most of the numerical data pertaining to the universe as a whole are not very exact and it is possible that future studies will reverse this conclusion. But even if the expanding universe does suddenly stop in its tracks and turn back in a movement of compression, it will be billions of years before that terrible day envisioned by the Negro Spiritual, 'when the stars begin to fall', and we are crushed under the weight of collapsing galaxies!

"What was this high explosive material that sent the fragments of the universe flying apart at such a terrific speed? The answer may be somewhat disappointing: there probably was no explosion in the ordinary sense of the word. The universe is now expanding because in some previous period of its history (of which, of course, no record has been left), it contracted from infinity into a very dense state and then rebounded, as it were, propelled by the strong elastic forces inherent in compressed matter. If you were to enter a game room just in time to see a Ping-Pong ball rising from the floor high into the air, you would conclude (without really thinking about it) that in the instant before you entered the room the ball had fallen to the floor from a comparable height, and was jumping up again because of its elasticity. "

Thus, although Gamow's Theory is included in the cosmological theories which believe in the beginning of the universe, yet actually it, being based on Hyperbolic Universe Theory, should be deemed as one which propounds beginningless and endless universe with respect to time, and we have already seen how this fact has been clearly expressed by Gamow himself.[4] And in this respect, his theory comes closer to the Jain view of eternally existing universe. Again, otherwise there is no other similarity between them.

On the contrary, there is a striking dissension between it and the Jain's theory of 'cyclic-universe': whereas the latter considers the present time to be the one, which is nearer to the end of the contracting (descending) period and predicts the ascending period to begin nearly 39,5000 years from the present time, the former considers the present time to be the one, in which the expansion has just started-nearly before 5 billion years.

Dr. Gamow has made a very bizarre imagination. He writes:[5]"We can now send our imagination flying beyond any limits, and ask ourselves whether during the pre-compressive stages of the universe everything that is now happening was happening in reverse order.

"Were you reading this book from the last page to the first some eight or ten billion years ago? And did the people of that time produced fried chickens from their mouth, put life into them is the kitchen, and send them to the farm where they grew from adulthood to babyhood finally crawled into eggshells, and after some weeks became fresh eggs? Interesting as they are, such questions cannot be answered from the purely scientific point of view, since the maximum compression of the universe, which squeezed all matter into a uniform nuclear fluid, must have completely obliterated all the records of the earlier compressive stages."

Now, when we make review of these views of this eminent scientist in the light of the Jain view of the Theory of Kālacakra, we would find that there was no need to make such fantastic imaginations about the contracting universe. We have already seen how the Jain philosophy has described the descending cycle (avasarpiṇī). Here we would like to suggest that as described in the Jain philosophy, if Dr. Ganow had also thought of the gradual decline in the qualities of pudgala, viz., touch, taste, smell and colour, during the contraction period, it would have made clear the nature of contracting universe. And also it would have been possible to explain how the life-span, the height of the body, the number of vertebra etc. go on decreasing during the descending cycle, and go on increasing in the ascending cycle of time.[6]

Another thing that can be suggested about the evolutionary theory of Dr. Gamow is that, if it can accept one cycle of contraction and expansion, and also the infinity of time, why cannot there be such infinite cycles? The third thing to be noted about it is that the holders of the steady state-universe theory have given many proofs[7] against the evolutionary theory and raised doubts against the possibility of it.


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Title: The Enigma Of The Universe Publisher: JVB University Ladnun English Edition: 2010 HN4U Online Edition: 2014

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Avasarpiṇī
  2. Body
  3. Cycle of Time
  4. Jain Philosophy
  5. Kālacakra
  6. Pudgala
  7. Space
  8. Utsarpiṇī
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