We are now clear that the observer is the one who creates the universe. This seems to be a radical idea. Actually it is not. Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity completely supports the idea that every observer creates their own space/time framework.
The Theory of Special Relativity deals with Space and Time. It is based on the fact that the speed of light is fixed at 186,000 miles per second irrespective of the frame of reference. We all experience relative speed. Going in a car at 60mph, we look into another car traveling in the same direction at 55mph, and we see things inside the other car because the relative speed is only 5mph. We don’t have this experience with reference to the speed of light. Light is traveling at 186,000 miles per second and suppose you are traveling in a car at 60% of the speed of light. Sitting in the car, you would logically expect the light to travel at only 40% of its usual speed, but if you take measurements you will find to your amazement that light is still traveling at 186k miles per sec. What has happened is that space has contracted and has shrunk so that light still covers 186K miles in one second. If you increase the speed of the car to 80% of speed of light, space will further contract. If you now slow down to 30% of the speed of light, space will now expand. All this done to done to ensure that the speed of light is a constant at 186,000 miles per second.
This expansion and contraction of space also happens even when walking or running. However, the speed at which you walk or run is so slow when compared to the speed of light that you are unable to notice, but the changes to the space time framework are definitely occurring.
The important take away point from this discussion is that any observer (a person) creates their own space/time framework. Person A is sitting in a chair, Person B is walking, Person C is running, Person D is cycling and Person E is driving a car; all of them are moving at different speeds; this would mean that each of them will have their own separate and independent space/time framework. This has been scientifically proven.
If there are 7billion human beings on Earth, each of them have their own time/space framework and will create their own universe within this frame work. There is not one universe out there but 7 billion universes; though any observer can see only their own self created universe.
This entire universe is based on relative motion, as we just cannot find anything which is fixed. We are walking on earth; the earth is moving around the sun, the sun is moving in the Milky Way. The Milky Way is moving further away from other galaxies. Where are the fixed (0,0) coordinates to make an absolute measurement of space?
Since each human being creates their own time/space framework, the (x=0, y=0, z=0, t=0) definitely has to within the person itself. This is usually the real Observer within each person. Who is this Observer? We’ll talk about this shortly.
The theory of special relativity clearly shows that each observer has their own time/space framework and since this true it is only logical to extend this by saying that the universe with its content is also created by the observer.
Before we discuss how each observer creates their own universe, let us discuss some important concepts of Vedanta that’ll help improve our understanding. Let’s begin by looking at the two topics below:
- Understanding the difference between Observer and Observed
- Gross/Subtle/Causal Bodies
Understanding the difference between Observer and Observed
Vedanta says there are only two things in the universe, the Observer and everything else. The Observer has many names in Vedanta – Sakshi (Witness), Brahman, Atma, Self, the ‘Real I’ are a few. Everything else is the Observed and is also called Prakrti or Nature, with names and forms. It includes the universe and all its physical and non-physical (subtle) content. Where is the line where the Observed ends and the Observer starts? If you ask this question, the most common answer would be that the human body is the observer and everything else which is outside the body is the observed. According to Vedanta this is incorrect and this wrong understanding is the major cause of suffering in the world. However, this is not the focus of this discussion.
So where is this fine line of separation between the Observer and Observed? The easiest way to understand this is to apply a simple rule – If you know something you cannot be that thing. If you see/know a book, you are not the book. If you apply this rule to everything, you will soon understand the difference between the Observer and Observed.
- The tree, car, animal or any external object is known to you so it cannot be you.
- Your hands, legs, nose etc are known to you so they cannot be you
- All your thoughts, emotions, feeling, memories or anything inside your mind are known to you so they cannot be you
- Your sense of individuality or ego, the feeling of ‘I’ is known to you. ‘I am rich’, ‘I am hungry’, ‘I am a father’, the ‘I’ in all these examples is known to you, and so you cannot be that.
What is left after this analysis is the actual Observer of all the events and this Observer is the Real You. It is not easy to define this Observer because it is not a thing or an object, it is the subject. It is the aware- full Observer of whatever is happening in your mind. It must be understood that all the events which are being observed are happening in the mind. These events are not happening out there, but in your mind.
Okay, there is an Observer and also there are things to be observed in the mind, – so far so good. How does the observer actually observe and know which and what things/objects are there in the mind? There has to be a third element called observing, which lets the observer know the contents of the mind. This is the intelligence or consciousness in the mind which completes the experience we have in the mind of which we are aware.
Observer: The Observer is pure Awareness and is aware of what is happening in the mind. It does not do anything except witness
Observed: These are insentient objects or ideas within the mind. We are going to discuss this further later on.
Observing: The process of Observing makes the mind Conscious and fills the objects within the mind with sentiency so that the Observer can witness those objects. When Awareness or Consciousness is added to any object it can only then be observed. If this is missing, then the Observer will not be able to see this object.
The basic quality of the Observer or Brahman is Sat Chit Ananda
Sat = Unborn, Uncaused, Unchanging Self (I)
Chit = Awareness
Ananda = Bliss or Happiness
This means the Observer knows itself and emits a light of awareness. When the mind and its contents come in contact with this light of Awareness, the mind becomes Conscious. In fact the mind is completely filled with this Awareness/Consciousness.
Here is an appropriate quote from Nisargadatta Maharaj, an Indian sage who explains the difference between Awareness and Consciousness:
“Awareness is primordial; it is the original state, beginningless, endless, uncaused, and unsupported, without parts, without change. Consciousness is on contact, a reflection against a surface, a state of duality. There can be no consciousness without awareness, but there can be awareness without consciousness, as in deep sleep. Awareness is absolute, consciousness is relative to its content; consciousness is always of something. Consciousness is partial and changeful; awareness is total, changeless, calm and silent. And it is the common matrix of every experience.” (from “I Am That”, chapter 11)
The human body, or for that matter any living being is made of the following bodies
1. Physical/Gross Body or Stula Sharira
2. Subtle Body or Sukshma Sharira
3. Causal Body or Karana Sharira
Let us discuss this briefly:
1. Physical/Gross Body or Stula Sharira:
This is the physical body and it is basically made out of food. It is inert with no intelligence and it does exactly what the mind tells it to do. From where does the Gross Body come? Applying the principle of cause and effect, the cause is the subtle body and the effect is the gross body. It is born and created from the Subtle Body.
2. Subtle Body or Sukshma Sharira:
This includes the life forces which keep the physical body and the mind going. According to Vedanta, the mind is made up of the following:
- Manas or the emotional aspect of the mind
- Buddhi or Intelligence
- Ahankara or Ego
- Citta or Memories
The subtle body is again made up of the subtle elements and it gets its consciousness because the light of awareness from Brahman that fills up the mind. By itself it has no power, it is inert. However with Consciousness filling it up, the mind becomes a very powerful instrument – it creates not only the gross body but also the external objects which we observe at any given time.
Applying the cause and effect principle again, the cause is the causal body and the effect is the subtle body. It is born and created from the Causal Body.
3. Causal Body or Karana Sharira
The causal body is also called the seed body because it is very similar to a seed from which a huge tree with branches, leaves and fruits comes out. A seed already has the potential form of the tree built in. You could say that the tree in an unmanifest form is present in the seed. From a mango seed only a mango tree will grow and not an apple tree. In the same way, the causal body contains the human being it will become, along with all its tendencies – character traits (called vasanas) and also the blueprint of one’s life including all the karmas that one will exhaust in this life.
Under the right conditions, this causal body or seed body germinates and grows into the subtle body and the gross body to play out the blueprint that is contained within. The causal body is the driving force and is the cause for the creation of the subtle body and the gross body.