Wednesday, May 19, 2010

PS Malik speaks on: Could Shankaračharya foresee Einstein

Could Shankaračharya foresee Einstein

Einstein was the greatest scientist this humanity has ever produced. He was not only the summation of the scientific progress made by the human race but was also a path breaker. He paved way for the scientists to to think about “The Infinity” which was by that time only a synonym of an absurd. He showed the limitations of human efforts by showing that there was an ultimate speed with which an action could propagate in space. Einstein said that it was the speed of light.

Einstein was the first scientist who based his theory on the foundations of relativity. He said nothing in this was absolute. Everything is measured in relation to something else. A passenger inside a bus moves with relation relative to the floor of the bus. The bus is moving relative to the earth. The earth is moving in relation to the sun. The sun also moves relative to some other points in the galaxy. This hierarchy is never ending. It goes on. The same is true about the mass and the length of an object. The mass of an object is measured relative to the mass of a standard weight which may be a kilogram, a pound or a stone etc. the length of an object (length means all dimension including length, breadth and depth etc.). The Einstein summed up all his results of relativity in his ‘The Special Theory of Relativity’.

For Einstein, the speed of light could not be transcended. It was a boundary of human efforts. With his Special Theory of Relativity he showed that if the speed of an object (in scientific language an object means a particle) is increased several unbelievable effects are observed. The mass of that object starts increasing with the increase in its speed (scientific word is velocity). At a speed near that of the light the mass of an object becomes infinitely high and at a speed equal to that of the light the mass of that object is infinite. Mass increases with the speed of an object was a new theory for the contemporary scientific community. It was very difficult for them to understand this new theory from Einstein. Einstein proved it theoretically.

Similar results were obtained by Einstein for the effects of speed on the length of an object and time passed in a moving clock. He postulated that the length of an object starts contracting with an increase in its speed. At the ultimate speed, the length of an object becomes perfectly zero. It becomes a point without dimensions. Similarly with an increase in speed the time for the moving object passes slowly. This is called dilation of time. At the maximum speed (equal to that of the light) no time passes for the moving object.


Einstein, first of all, took the sciences from the domain of observation to the realm of hypothesizing. Hitherto the sciences talked in terms of “apparent reality” while Einstein started the era of relativity. He violated the boundary of “apparent and comprehensible” and entered the zone of “strange but true”. He showed that his hypothesis was a general applicability and the then prevailing scientific beliefs were a special case of his theory of Relativity. He did never show that the prevailing and perceivable Newtonian mechanics was wrong rather he only said that the truth lies beyond that perceivable sciences also.


Advait Vedanta propounded the oneness of this world, however he manifested the relative existence at more than one level. Advait Vedanta propounded that the total existence is at three relative levels. First level is Pratibhasik or apparent. Here the knowledge is always full of illusion and as soon as the right cause is remedied this Pratibhasik appearance is lost and Pragmatic level of existence called Vyavharik Gyan would come into play.


The existence of Maya is only for Brahamgyanis. For a common man there is nothing called Maya. For him everything in the world and of the world is a truth. The mountains are true, flowers are true, deities are true, the god is true, so on and so forth. It is not the object specific. It does not depends on the objects. It does not depend on the world or the seeker rather it depends on the level of the seeker’s knowledge. By the time the knowledge or Gyan of the seeker does not transcend the Vyavharik level and attain Parmarthik level of Gyan there is no contradiction in taking this world as true. But once the knowledge enters the domain of Parmarthik Gyan everything of this world becomes Mithya and only the Braham is the absolute there.

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Could Shankaračharya foresee Einstein 

Shreyas Malik

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