Hindu Vedic religion, in its account of creation of the universe, has been very positive and scientifically presented. It is rare for a religion to describe scientifically with critical account how the universe came into existence and about its origin and nature. The Vedic religion has been very out spoken. The origin of cosmos cannot be known but the condition of ordered life can be well known. Hymn of Creation says the truth, such a clarification is rare to find on earth. Cosmogony means an understanding of the universe, reflection on, and account of it. It should explain the underlying structure or the incarnation and its purpose; how the cosmos came to appearance and an orderly form came up and to what extent. It is evident that every definition proceeds from cause to effect. God is the efficient cause, the cause of all causes and also a material cause. God is the primary efficient cause. He governs all and creates the universe, sustains it and dissolves it. [Ch Up (6-2) says, ‘Before creation, the universe was existent.’ Brh (1-4-1) says, “It was all spirit”.]
Birth of the Universe [Brahmanda]:- In the Mythology, Universe is considered as golden egg and this Universal egg is known as Anda or Viraja. The creation of golden egg is a doctrine very familiar to the Purana / vedic writers. The MP explains in a nut shell the doctrine of the birth of the cosmos in the form of the golden egg. A research scientist, Raja Ram Mohan Roy comments about the expanding Universe that concept of the universe as an egg is found in nearly all ancient civilizations, the source of which is obviously the RV. The universe is described as an egg in most post-Vedic scriptures. He explains the etymology of Brahmanda that ‘The word for universe in Sanskrit is “Brahmanda”, which is made by joining of words “Brahma” and “anda”. Brahma is derived from root “Brha” means to expand and “anda” means egg. Thus “Brahmanda” means expanding egg. Lord Matsya determined this origin of the Universe and re-creation in second and third chapters of MP. Matsya said that during the period of dissolution the universe was enveloped in darkness and was in a state of trance [unaware of the environment], in which Lord Svayambhu known as Narayana appeared to create the Universe.
He deposited this cosmic seed for creating the world. It was a dead egg, Svayambhu himself entered the egg. This is referred to the doctrine of Anu pravesa in MP. As explained above the golden egg is named Brahmanda, Jagadadya, Martanda, Viraja – anda etc. This means the cosmos in the egg which is Divine and Golden including moon, sun, galaxies and planets was inside the egg. Egg was surrounded by ten qualities from outside. This Golden Egg floated in the ocean for duration of one thousand years. At the end of thousand years Egg was divided in two by Vayu and became ten thousand times more luminous than the sun. Svayambhu merged himself into that Brahmanda to create the Sun by his glory. As the Sun is its first creation, known as Aditya. In the Golden Egg, seven Pitr’s or ancestors were born which are referred as Mahat, Ahankara and the five tanmatras [subtle objects of sense pleasure]. The sap of Egg is assumed seven particular aspects for the evolution of seven principles i.e. Mahat, Ahankara and five tanmatras. From the two halves of Egg heaven and earth were made. An evidence of Puranic concept, origin of the Universe from Hiranyagarbha, is found in the literature of ancient Syria, Egypt Persia and Greece. The reference of ‘Orpheus’ Egg from Greek literature is also quotable. Aristotle and Plato agreed this concept of Birth of Universe and Rebirth. According to them, this Universal deluge affects maximum on the earth, the half part of the moon and another half part of the moon i.e. Devaloka, which remains neutral. About the golden form of the Brahmanda, Agrawal V.S. remarks that in Vedic Symbolism. Hiranya symbolizes the principle of Taijasa or light shining forth from within the womb of darkness. Hiranya is the Jyotih of Brahmin which is visible to us as Prana, as Aditya, as Indra, as Agni etc. According to BP, a very important fact about the anda, is stated that the Egg was lacking of life until the Divine Principle quickened it with its potency and then Egg became infused with life. BP also stated that the cosmos is the visible form of the Creator.
Three stages in the birth of the Egg:-
- STAGE I:- Egg floats in water. Here water symbolizes the principle of motherhood, the basic sap of creation. This is described as the ocean of Soma in the Vedas (Salilam). It is clearly stated in the SB giving an account of Vedic cosmogony that the water existed in the beginning as the primeval mother principle. This is described as ocean of Soma in the Vedas. Agrawal compares this Soma with the fluid inside the fetus of the mother’s womb. That is Soma according to the Indian conception representing the sap of life for the fertilized ovum. What happens in the womb of human mother is a phenomenon present in the womb of every other mother or in the universal principle of motherhood. This universal Soma filters within the ordered Surya and is constantly supplying energy to the system of the life-principle developing within it. Soma is the principle of food and life is the principle of Agni. Soma and Agni exist together. Soma is the mother and Agni is its Baby. According to the opinion of gynecologist, after fertilization of the egg, when a fluid is prepared in fetus then only the egg enters in the fetus. Still it remains in ovarian tube about five to seven days. It shows that Egg is immersed in the liquid fluid for new creation
- STAGE II:- Second feature of the Egg is Agni as the life principle of Prana, which is present in the Yolk of the egg as the nucleus that becomes effective in the form of the process of contraction and repulsion which controls assimilation and elimination and manifests as live cell.
- STAGE III:- Third principle is growth (Mahima), which is present within the egg together with Agni and Soma. As a result of which Anu becomes Virata. According to Agrawal, the striding of Visnu which is later on woven into the significant legend of the Trivikrama incarnation is the motive force of the dynamic principle of movement that is demonstrated as growth in every living organic center.
After the creation of the Sun, Svayambha divides the Brahmanda into two parts to make heaven and earth. Upper portion of the egg is Heaven and lower is earth. Followed by directions, the principle mountains, clouds, embryo, rivers, pitr’s, Manu and the seven oceans in which full of various gems were created. From above discussion, it can be stated that Golden Egg or Brahmanda floated in the water which is the same with that of Matsyanda– the fish egg. Here, there is similarity in the birth of the Universe and the birth of fish– the first unit of animal kingdom. Not only this, but there is very close resemblance between the developing child in the womb called fetus and the Brahmanda. It is very surprising that these microscopic details had been observed by ancient writers. From this, the mother is Soma, the father is Agni and the child growing from the womb is the symbol of the principle of growth or Mahima Varuna is the ruler of Soma or watery principle, Indra is the ruler of Agni and Vishnu is of Mahima. There are the great duties of Vishnu who combines in the manifestation of life both slight and gross forms. Geological History of the Earth In all ages historians and scientists have given serious thought to historical aspect of the earth, its origin and development. By the mid of 1800’s AD. geology* had become an important science. The work of geological surveys pointed out this important fact different rock strata and fossils in them follow the same general order throughout the world. This made possible to draw up a geological time table for the whole earth. An English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) developed his ideas about evolution into a proper scientific theory. In 1859, Darwin announced his theory of evolution in which he says that fossils showed how plants and animals evolved gradually over millions of years from primitive forms of life. In his book, ‘The Origin of Species’ he explains the principle of natural selection which is one of the main ideas in the theory of evolution.
Radiometric dating of meteorites revealed that the earth, like other bodies of the solar system is about 4,600,000,000 [4.6 billion] years ago. Very rare fossils show that the first animals were probably Cambrian period animals with hard body cases, such as trilobites and first fishes and Chordates in sea and lakes. First land dwelling creatures were also amphibians. Jawed fish diversity was found in this period. First reptiles evolved by 300 million years in carboniferous period. Around 250 million years ago, in Triassic period first dinosaurs and first mammals spread across the land. In Jurassic period, 150 million years ago dinosaurs diversity spread across the land and birds were originated first. Another great extinction 65 million years ago killed off dinosaurs and many other reptiles, as well as sea animals. In the tertiary period, 50 million years ago, mammals diversified greatly and aquatic mammals – whales inhabited in polar and deep oceans. Last in quaternary period 18 million years ago, first humans walk on land took place. Thus, this origin and history of the earth shows that fish like worms or fish are the first originated animals on the earth and from their gradual developments at last humans are developed. This first and last unit of development was directly shown by Lord Vishnu through fish incarnation which is half Matsya and half human.
Biological evolution is a process of descent with modification. Lineages of organisms change through generations; diversity arises because the lineages that descend from common ancestors diverge through time. The history of life recorded of fossils presents completing evidence of evolution. Animals and plants adopt themselves in their environment. They are well suited to their environment will survive best and pass on their characteristics to the following generations. Scientist can look back into history and show that all species come from the same ancient parents. Each living thing in a blend of older and newer features and each species is always developing and adopting. Thus the infinite variations on life are the fruit of evolutionary process. Ayar Narayanaswami explained some brief comparisons between ancient and the new theories of evolution, in his book ‘Puranas In The Light of Modern Science.’ The moderns taking into consideration the material aspect alone find a regular progression taking place in the bodies of plants and animals till they come to man. He pointed out that the evolution of matter is designed for the unfolding powers of the Supreme Paramatma. It is stated in Puranas that Brahma made a tapas (meditation) through which he willed the forms to be in the condition in which they are now.
He differentiated the East and West theories. According to the theory of the West, man can be traced from the vegetable and even from the mineral. This is admitted in the East, as having obtained in the Svayambhuva Manvantara or first period. It says that that order obtained in the early stages of Creation; but on this solid earth of ours, a reverse order obtained which may surprised the non-thinkers. If we study the origin of Vaivaswata Manu on this earth of ours, we find that there was a Prajapati or progenitor, who was called Daksa. Thirteen daughters of his Aditi, Diti, Danu etc. got married to saint Kasyapa. Aditi brought forth Vivaswan, the present sun from whom came Vaivaswata Manu, Kadru, serpents; Vinata, eagles; Ila, plants; and so on. Modern embryology supports this apparently impossible to the form of a human being repeats, through all the changes in the fetus that which it underwent in the previous eons of evolution. At last Ayar remarked, the eastern theory makes evolution complete, while it is incomplete in its western presentations. Thus eastern starts the evolution of the unit from the Ahankaric units arose from Mahat with the potentiality of evolving to the whole. But western theories neither tell us whence the mineral came nor into what state does man go. Eastern gives us stage after stage of progress, after man, through superhuman evolution, till at last we go back to the fountain-head Paramatma.