Hindu cycle of the universe
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According to Hindu cosmology, there is no absolute start to time, as it is considered infinite and cyclic. Similarly, the space and universe has neither start nor end, rather it is cyclical. The current universe is just the start of a present cycle preceded by an infinite number of universes and to be followed by another infinite number of universes.
Thesis of creation
Rigveda: speculation on universe's creation
The Rigveda, composed between 1500 to 1200 BCE, presents many theories of cosmology. For example:
- Hiranyagarbha sukta, its hymn 10.121, states a golden child was born in the universe and was the lord, established earth and heaven, then asks but who is the god to whom we shall offer the sacrificial prayers?
- Devi sukta, its hymn 10.125, states a goddess is all, the creator, the created universe, the feeder and the lover of the universe;
- Nasadiya sukta, its hymn 10.129, asks who created the universe, does anyone really know, and whether it can ever be known.
According to Henry White Wallis, the Rigveda and other Vedic texts are full of alternate cosmological theories and curiosity questions. For example, the hymn 1.24 of the Rigveda asks, "these stars, which are set on high, and appear at night, whither do they go in the daytime?" and hymn 10.88 wonders, "how many fires are there, how many suns, how many dawns, how many waters? I am not posing an awkward question for you fathers; I ask you, poets, only to find out?" To its numerous open-ended questions, the Vedic texts present a diversity of thought, in verses imbued with symbols and allegory, where in some cases forces and agencies are clothed with a distinct personality, while in other cases as nature with or without anthropomorphic activity such as forms of mythical sacrifices.
The Rigveda contains the Nasadiya sukta hymn which does not offer a cosmological theory, but asks cosmological questions about the nature of universe and how it began:
Darkness there was at first, by darkness hidden;
Without distinctive marks, this all was water;
That which, becoming, by the void was covered;
That One by force of heat came into being;
Who really knows? Who will here proclaim it?
Whence was it produced? Whence is this creation?
Gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?
Whether God's will created it, or whether He was mute;
Perhaps it formed itself, or perhaps it did not;
Only He who is its overseer in highest heaven knows,
Only He knows, or perhaps He does not know.
- Sushil Mittal, Gene Thursby (2012). Hindu World. Routledge. p. 284. ISBN 9781134608751.
- Andrew Zimmerman Jones (2009). String Theory For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. p. 262. ISBN 9780470595848.
- Charles Lanman, To the unknown god, Book X, Hymn 121, Rigveda, The Sacred Books of the East Volume IX: India and Brahmanism, Editor: Max Muller, Oxford, pages 49-50
- Charles Lanman, Hymns by Women, Book X, Hymn 125, Rigveda, The Sacred Books of the East Volume IX: India and Brahmanism, Editor: Max Muller, Oxford, pages 46-47
- Charles Lanman, The Creation Hymn, Book X, Hymn 129, Rigveda, The Sacred Books of the East Volume IX: India and Brahmanism, Editor: Max Muller, Oxford, page 48
- Henry White Wallis (1887). The Cosmology of the Ṛigveda: An Essay. Williams and Norgate. p. 117.
- Laurie L. Patton (2005). Bringing the Gods to Mind: Mantra and Ritual in Early Indian Sacrifice. University of California Press. pp. 113, 216. ISBN 978-0-520-93088-9.
- Henry White Wallis (1887). The Cosmology of the Ṛigveda: An Essay. Williams and Norgate. pp. 61–73.
- Kenneth Kramer (January 1986). World Scriptures: An Introduction to Comparative Religions. Paulist Press. pp. 34–. ISBN 978-0-8091-2781-8.
- David Christian (1 September 2011). Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History. University of California Press. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-0-520-95067-2.
- Robert N. Bellah (2011). Religion in Human Evolution. Harvard University Press. pp. 510–511. ISBN 978-0-674-06309-9.