Maya in Physics

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Maya in Physics
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Maya in Physics is a synthesis of modern physics and the Advaita Vedanta, with an integral thesis emerging out of the confluence. In the exposition of the Advaita Vedanta, its philosophy has been reinterpreted in the light of modern science. In this process, the Vedanta has been demystified and physics dematerialized. Instead of being confined to inter-school parallelism only, this book tries to present a total vision of the entire cosmos and its dependence on Brahman, the transcendental being which is the non-dual Reality. Maya, the Power of Brahman, or the Primordial Unmanifest Nature, has been assigned a metaphysical status, without violating the traditionality of the Vedanta.

Part I of the book deals with classical Newtonian physics, thermodynamics, relativity, quantum physics, particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. Part II is a presentation of the Advaita Vedanta, in a modern format. Part III is a confluence of the Advaita Vedanta and modern science (especially physics). An integral thesis emerges out of the confluence. There has been an amalgam of spirituality and science. The whole approach is holistic, synthetic, and integral.

Dr. Nrusingh Charan Panda was born on the 20th of April 1929 in Orissa. He obtained his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Missouri, USA. His field of specialization is Nutritional Biochemistry. He worked in the Orissa University of Agriculture & Technology, Bhubaneswar in all cadres of teaching posts and retired in 1992 from the post of Dean. Subsequent to his retirement, he was honored as a Scientist Emeritus.

The other famous books of Prof. Panda are The Vibrating Universe, Mind and Supermind (2 Vols.), and Cyclic Universe (2 Vols.) Meditation and Yoga Nidra. All his books have been lauded by intellectuals throughout the world. His approach is integral, synthetic, and holistic.


It is very often felt that religious culture is at variance with scientific culture and both are incompatible. Such a notion is not totally baseless, although many things in religions do not support or contradict science at all. A few religious things that do contradict science are too serious to be ignored. It is not possible on the part of science to compromise with religions on those few things. Hence synthesis of religions and science does not seem to be a practical proposition.

It is further felt that humanistic culture and scientific culture are to be fused in order that science may be beneficial to mankind without any malignant side-effect. If science is compared with a racehorse, humanities may be compared with the reins. Science and technology are to be restrained with humanities for the balanced progress of mankind. Both are to be parallel in the movement for the furtherance of the culture and civilization of man and for peace and happiness. But unfortunately, humanities have developed a tendency to toe the line of science and technology. There does not seem to be any humanizing influence of humanities on man. As a result of the failure of humanities and the one-sided pull of science and technology, the march of mankind has been staggering. It seems the man has been dehumanized.

The intellectuals of the world have already realized that mankind may commit suicide at any moment. This would-be disaster is of course avoidable. Science and spirituality are to be fused. Integral philosophy is to be developed. This philosophy is to be one for living, not for theorizing only.

Advaita Vedanta is found to be the only philosophy that has the capacity to be scientific. It can absorb all the modern concepts of science without any contradiction. It can also go beyond science and can fill up the gaps which science cannot. Advaita Vedanta and modern science can be fused to give rise to a synthetic, integral philosophy, which, when translated to the action of living, becomes cosmic religion.

In the 1970s and ‘80s, a few books have been written on Eastern mysticism and science. Books such as The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra (1975), The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav (1979), The Eye of Shiva by Amaury de Reincourt (1980), and ‘Brahman E=MC2’ by James Wallace (1985) are worth mentioning here. Capra, being himself a physicist, has successfully stimulated the intellectuals of the world to rethink in terms of spiritualizing science. The Turning Point, the second book of Capra, is also thought-provoking and is likely to rationalize human thought.

This book Maya in Physics is not an additional one to repeat what has been written earlier. Although there are many common elements in this book and the books mentioned here, the purpose of writing this book is totally different. It is not the main objective of this book is totally different. It is not the main objective of this book to focus on Eastern mysticism and the similarities encountered in modern science. The whole of Advaita Vedanta has been re-interpreted here in the light of modern science. An attempt has been made to bring about a fusion of Advaita Vedanta and modern science. The deficiencies of modern science have been made up by the supplementation of Advaita Vedanta. In this integral approach, a total vision has been presented with an analysis of concepts and phenomena. The cosmic phenomena have been explained. The recognition of the noumena at the bottom of the phenomena has been justified. The concepts of God and Maya have also been coherently presented. The problems of cosmology and cosmogony have been hopefully solved. All these things have been fitted in one integral philosophy that does not contradict modern science and rather supports and supplements it. This book is an elaboration of Advaita Vedanta in the framework of modern science. It brings about a synthesis of science and spirituality.

There are many common currents in quantum physics and Vedanta. But the fundamentality of Vedanta is at variance with quantum physics. The concept of Brahman is fundamental in Vedanta. The phenomenal universe of names and forms is illusory. Its substratum is Brahman which is the nondual Reality, Being without becoming. This Reality is formless, actionless, attribute-less, changeless, beginningless, and endless. Reality is ungraspable to the senses. It is unknowable, but realizable directly, without any mediation. In contrast to this philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism or Taoism has a philosophy that puts emphasis on the void (Sunya) or nothingness. The phenomenal universe, in the latter philosophy, is a stream of momentary events. This philosophy does not accept a single timeless entity as reality. Its reality consists of multiple entities that exist and occur for a moment and change to others in the next moment. In this concept of a dynamic state of flux, the cosmic stream of events is eternal without the eternality of any individual entity or event. In general, in the philosophy of Buddhism, there is no reality other than the constantly changing and ever-flowing cosmic stream of events. This concept has similarities with that of quantum physics but differs from that of Advaita Vedanta which recognizes an unchangeable entity as Reality. The present book has tried to establish an integral philosophy with the fusion of the fundamental concepts of Advaita Vedanta and modern science. An attempt has been made to demystify philosophy and religion and dematerialize science.

There is a second interpretation of the concept of sunyata (void) or Nirvana of Buddhism. According to this, the void is the full and the Reality. This concept conforms to the concept of Reality in Advaita Vedanta. Those quantum physicists who recognize nothing as real, for whom things appear from nowhere and disappear into nowhere, and who are subjectivists solipsists, or nihilists do not serve any meaningful purpose by attempting to demonstrate parallelism among some concepts of quantum physics and Advaita Vedanta.

This is not a book on physics although it incorporates concepts of physics. Any technical physicist, interested in physics only, without any faith in spirituality, may not justifiably condemn it since a book, synthesizing spiritual thoughts and scientific thoughts, can be written. This is not a book on technical philosophy either. If any materialistic philosopher, with an empirical attitude and antispiritual faith, does not find his philosophy in this book, he may not resent it.




Prologue xiii
Acknowledgments xvii
List of Abbreviations xxiii
Part I: Physics (Classical and Modern)
Chapter I: Classical Physics 3-21
Quest for the building blocks 3
Atomic concept of Ancient India 4
The Democritean world 6
No birth and death of the world-stuff 7
Dalton’s atomic concept 10
The Newtonian world 10
Chapter II: Particle Physics 23-54
Discovery of electron, proton and neutron 23
Discovery of anti-particles 27
Anti-matter and anti-universe 28
Thomson’s model of atomic structure 30
Rutherford’s model of atomic structure 30
Bohr’s model of electronic arrangement 33
Atomic spectra 36
Radioactivity 38
Study of micro-particles 41
Search for the ultimate particle 44
Chapter III: Relativity 55-72
Einstei’s discoveries 55
The story of ether 56
The constancy of the speed of light 57
Galileo’s principle of relativity 57
Fitzgerald-Lorentz contraction 58
Einstein’s special theory of relativity 58
The existence and activity of matter are inseparable 63
Particles, binding forces, and field 64
What is really relative? 65
Verification of the special theory of relativity 67
The general theory of relativity 67
Chapter IV: Quantum Physics 73-127
Planck’s equation 73
Light quanta 74
Law of conservation of action 79
Quantum theory applied to atomic model 79
Statistical behaviour of atoms 82
Pauli’s exclusion principle 83
Particle-wave duality 85
Principle of complementarity 87
Matrix mechanics 88
Wave mechanics 90
Heisenberg’s principle of indeterminacy 92
The Copenhagen interpretation 95
Quantum electrodynamics 103
Schrodinger’s cat 105
The EPR paradox 106
Unbroken whole 107
Double-slit experiments and conscious particles 110
The many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics 114
Participatory universe 117
Quantum field 120
Nihilism and vacuum fluctuation 122
Chapter V: Cosmic Dance 129-162
Dancing of unstable particles 132
Dancing to die 132
Virtual particles 133
Fundamental forces and particle interaction 136
Solo dances 141
Dancing with partner 143
Unlawful dance 144
Vacuum diagrams 146
S-Matrix 148
Field concept 151
Tandava a symbol of cosmic dance 158
Chapter VI: Astrophysics 163-206
The Earth The Heaven and The Universe  
Early Western concept 163
Early Indian concept 166
Our Solar System  
Planetary Motion 167
Distances of planets from the sun 168
Planetary sizes and masses 169
Spin and revolution of planets 170
Distances of neighboring stars 170
The fuel source of the sun 172
Death of the sun 173
Cosmology and Cosmogony in Science  
Newtonian static universe 175
Einstein’s static universe 175
Big bang model of Lemattre and Eddington 176
Hubble’s observation of the expanding universe 176
Gamow’s big bang 178
Standard big bang model 181
Steady-state universe 183
Oscillating or pulsating universe 186
Birth of galaxies and stars 189
Formation of galaxies 189
Formation of stars 192
Birth of the solar system 195
The Fate of a Star 198
Red giants 198
White dwarf 200
Neutron star 201
Supernova 202
Black holes 203
Shattered dogma 205
Chapter VII: Thermodynamics 207-227
Heat conceived as a matter 208
Heat as a form of vibration 208
Transfer of heat 209
Relation between temperature and volume of gas 211
Heat as a form of energy 213
Thermodynamics 215
The first law of thermodynamics 215
The second law of thermodynamics 216
Third law of thermodynamics 226
Part II: Advaita Vedanta
Chapter VIII: Reality versus Appearance 231-267
Brahman 231
Maya 241
Universe 244
Isvara (God) 250
Jiva (Individual self) 255
Chapter IX: Spider 269-289
Pantheistic concept 269
Transformation 270
Brahman is not the cause 270
Source of universe 271
Formation of the cosmic egg 273
Cosmogony in superheated condition 274
Products of akasa 276
Evolutionary cosmogony 278
Time as non-entity 279
Formation of stars and planets 280
Repeated cycles 280
Total dissolution 283
Part III: Confluence
Chapter X: Substratum 293-351
Real versus the illusory world 293
Pluralism and monism 309
Non-dualism 318
Language, logic, and mysticism 321
You and I 330
Rock bottom 336
Chapter XI: Seed and Sprout 353-379
Creator 353
Cosmic egg 362
Space and time 366
Chapter XII: Chance and Necessity 381-407
Causal principle 382
Acausality in quantum physics 389
Cause and Effect in Marxist Philosophy 391
Concept of Cause in Advaita Vedanta 395
Cosmological causes in Advaita Vedanta 401
Concept of acausality in Advaita Vedanta 402
Identity of Cause and Effect in Advaita Vedanta 403
Chapter XIII: Epilogue 409-442
Primitive society 412
Medieval society 413
The Age of scientific revolution 415
Age or Enlightenment 420
Nineteenth-century thought 421
Twentieth-century thought 424
Crisis in perception 433
Total vision 440
Index 443


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