Higher-Dimensional or Parallel Worlds

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    Danakeli Dasi

    Recently I received a copy of a soon-to-be published book, for which the authors requested some feedback. The authors are attempting to show that the Puranic age of the universe, age of the solar system, & dating for major geological events on Earth correspond very well w/ modern science’s dates for these. While going through the book, however, a few red flags appeared in my mind.
    The major problem I encountered was the authors’ use of Riemann’s idea of higher-dimensional space. If I recall correctly, the Sāńkhya view is that there’s no such thing as physical space; there’s only semantic space of three kinds (relational, conceptual & emotional). If there’s no 3-dimensional physical space, how can there be higher-dimensional physical space?
    Below are four quotes from the book. I am not sufficiently informed on this matter & thus my intelligence cannot judge whether these statements by the authors are true or not. Are there any flaws in the below statements? What is the correct way to understand these ideas?
    1. “Most scholars, both Western and Indian, dismiss the Purānas as mythology, but they fail to recognize that the Purānas are not describing the Earth of our common sensory experience. The Purānas are describing a parallel World, the higher-dimensional reality called Bhū-mandala, on which events are different from but correlated with events on the Earth of our common sensory experience…. The Earth of our common sensory experience is a three-dimensional projection of the inherently higher-dimensional reality of Bhū-mandala, just as a disc is a two-dimensional projection of a three-dimensional object, a sphere…. [P]aradigms involving higher-dimensional space now dominate modern physics on account of their power to unify the ostensibly disparate forces of nature (gravity, electromagnetism, nuclear strong force and nuclear weak force) in a coherent mathematical framework.”
    2. “[P]aradigms involving higher-dimensional space counteract the pervasive tendency to relegate the Purānic account to the realm of mythology. For example, the Purānic depiction of deities with multiple arms or heads need no longer be derided as mythological when we recognize that the Purānas are expressing a very sophisticated concept — the multiple arms and heads reside in higher- dimensional space. Another example is prapti-siddhī, in which a consummate yogī instantly transports an object into his immediate vicinity from a distance of thousands of kilometers away. In light of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, prapti-siddhī can be understood as an advanced form of technology that is able to exploit higher-dimensional connections between points in three-dimensional space. In modern physics, these connections are called ‘Einstein-Rosen bridges.’ The paradigm of higher-dimensional space also suggests that the Purānic depiction of Bhū-mandala is actually a sophisticated expression of cosmography. In light of this paradigm, the Earth of our common experience can be understood as a three-dimensional projection of the inherently higher-dimensional reality of Bhū-mandala, just as a disc is a two-dimensional projection of a three-dimensional object, a sphere.”
    3. “Superhuman beings have access to higher-dimensional space, in which the Earth is perceived as described in the Purānas, whereas human beings are currently restricted to three spatial dimensions, in which the Earth is perceived as a sphere roughly 12,000 kilometers in diameter. Thus, the Earth of our common experience and the Purānic Bhū-mandala are distinct but parallel worlds.”
    4. “Lord Brahmā has four heads. The four heads obviously don’t fit on one neck in three-dimensional space, but can easily be understood by recognizing that the heads are situated in higher-dimensional space. The same is true for the various deities depicted with multiple heads and/or arms.”

    Danakeli Dasi

    RE Puranic & modern dating:
    I should clarify that the authors write, “As discussed in Chapter 7, Purānic dates must be multiplied by two in order to be converted into modern radiometric dates.” They propose that the radiometric dates are correct & that there’s an error of a factor of two found in the Puranas. They propose “that it is due to an inadvertent substitution of a factor of two arising from the inherent nature of Purānic timekeeping, wherein a factor of two is repeatedly used: two fortnights is said to equal one month, two months is said to equal one season, two “Ayanas” (periods of the Sun’s trajectory north or south of the ecliptic) equals one year, and two “Parārdhas” (half-lifetimes) equals one lifetime of Brahmā…. The fact that all the Purānas have the same chronology (in terms of yugas, manvantaras, and kalpas) indicates that, at an early stage of their development, they were all in the hands of a single person. This indicates that, if there was a mistake, it must have been introduced at an early stage (thousands of years ago) when the Purānas were transmitted orally from spiritual master to disciple.” Thus the authors choose to say that Kali-yuga lasts 864,000 yrs., a divya-yuga 8.64 M yrs., Brahmā’s 12 hrs. 8.64 B yrs., etc.

    Ashish Dalela

    There is a deep desire in most people to ‘reconcile’ Bhagavata Purana with modern science. This has been going on from the very beginning of devotees’ attempts to understand SB. Then there is a myopic focus on cosmology without adequate attention to Sāńkhya. One main problem is that we don’t try to understand the mind, intelligence, ego, and morality, or even the senses and sense perception — which have no explanation in modern science — and just try to do cosmology.

    Higher-dimensional theories are quite popular for one main reason — we don’t have to change anything in the existing three dimensions. We just have to extend what we know in three dimensions by adding stuff in more dimensions. In short, you don’t do any damage to what is established, but advance the same ideology by adding stuff to it. Thereby, you don’t have to rethink what science has done, but conveniently ‘fit’ more stuff into it. Just slap some dimensions to it. It’s a lazy approach, one that a lot of people claim, but it impossible to do the mathematics for it. String theory postulates 10 or 26 dimensions, but what does it really explain?

    Inherent in our attempt to understand cosmology is to see the world beyond us. What about the world here and now? Why do you want to search life elsewhere when you haven’t understood life here? Are you explain how the body is governed by three modes, the dynamics of these modes, how the senses perceive, how the mind thinks, etc.? If not, go back to the basics first.

    Three are exactly three dimensions, and inside these three dimensions, there are infinite dimensions. It is because of the tree structure. The tree fits into three dimensions, and yet each branch, twig, and leaf is a different dimension. How do we understand this? It can be understood by realizing that there is space inside space inside space. The leaf is inside the branch, the branch is inside the root. How is it inside? That’s where you need to think of these as ideas. The ‘dog’ is inside ‘mammal’, the ‘mammal’ is inside ‘animal’, the ‘animal’ is inside ‘living body’.

    From within that inside space, the space outside is ‘higher-dimensional’. This is because a dimension is an idea. Higher dimension simply means that you cannot access something from inside. You have to go outside or ‘beyond’ to find that higher space. So, there are infinite dimensions and yet all in three dimensions. Similarly, if you think of the flat earth, it is two-dimensional, and yet there are infinite dimensions. This is because each flat surface is like a tree stretching out its branches horizontally, which then expand into twigs, and leaves. This horizontal infinite-dimensional structure is described as a ‘lotus’ by just noting the branches. It is not false, but it is a higher-level view. So, each leaf of the lotus is a different dimension.

    This is how the world is prior to perception. But when you perceive, it becomes three-dimensional. Why? Think of a computer program, which stores colors in three shades — Red, Green, and Blue. You can write a color as a single number. E.g. ffffff is white, and 000000 is black. You can write this down in a single dimension and store it on a computer disk. But when you visualize this, you get three types of colors. Likewise, you can write spatial coordinates in one dimension — e.g. {X, Y, Z}. You just three numbers, and you can encode them in one dimension. But when you render it into a picture, it becomes three dimensions. So, the flat earth is encoding a two-dimensional reality that denotes knowledge and action, and when we render this information into our perception, a single dimension becomes three dimensions.

    The problem is that people confuse their perception with reality. They talk about “Puranic Geography”, which is an utterly bogus idea because they have no distinction between sense perception and reality. If they had even a preliminary reading of Western philosophy — e.g. David Hume, George Berkeley — the early founders of empiricism, they will know this difference. Immanuel Kant famously drew the distinction between phenomena and noumena.

    So, we need to understand that SB is describing noumena or the reality, and modern science is describing phenomena or perceptions of this reality. I have described how this reality is symbolic: e.g. there is a file that digitally encodes the picture, and that is reality. When we see that file, it is rendered on the computer screen and looks three-dimensional. So, we should not confuse the file in the computer disk and the picture on the screen. They are in one sense identical, and in another sense completely different. The key point is that there are two ways to explain this picture — one you can say that there are forests, mountains, and rivers inside the computer screen, and that is what we are seeing. The other way is to say that none of this really exists, but a file with all this information exists in a disk, from where all experience is generated.

    Our devotee friends think that the computer screen is itself the reality, and there must be some ‘hidden dimensions’ which we cannot see. For example, you can imagine a computer display that shows pictures on all four sides, and you can see only one side. So, you say that the other three sides are hidden from our view. But you can go around the screen and see other things. That seems totally logical, but it is totally false. The computer screen on various sides is meant for different observers or living entities. They are seeing different pictures. But there is one reality — which is causing the production of these many pictures. By saying that Brahma sees one side of the screen, and the dog sees another side, and humans see another side, we come up with a cheap and easy solution in which we don’t have to even explain how we see a single side.

    Ultimately, you can say all these things, but how does it lead you to the conclusion that God created all this, and the material world is the expansion from His body? Coming up with another cosmology that explains other planets and beings — what would be the point of that unless we say that the table and chair I see is an expansion from the body of God? And one day it will go back into His body and you cannot see it. If God is the primary goal of our pursuit, then we will ask: How do the table and chair exist inside God’s body, and how did it come out? If that is not the main goal, then we can concoct any number of theories that make us happy.

    Danakeli Dasi

    Excellent! I very much appreciate this thorough response. It’s what I was hoping to hear, actually.
    This response has greatly alleviated some difficulties I was having in tying together the many pieces of the puzzle & has clarified some important points for me.
    I now understand that the same problem exists everywhere—from discussions on cosmology to evolution/design to cognitive science—namely, the unwillingness to overturn the established modern notions of matter & space w/ the absolute knowledge of Sāńkhya.
    This response has given me much relief. Thanks so much!


    Do you have the real mystic vision of any of those worlds/dimensions?  If yes, can you please take look and see the real sequence of the 7 dvipas and oceans? Because there are so many versions in different shastras:

    (sources, if needed: Bhagavata-purana 5.20 ; Vishnu-purana 2.4, Narada-purana 1.3.43-44, Brahma-purana 16.11-12, Brahmanda-purana 1.2.19, Markandeya-purana 54.6-7 , Vamana-purana 11.35-41 ; Kurma-purana 1.38.10-13, Garuda-purana 56, Linga-purana 53 (only dvipas); Siddhanta-shiromani 3.25 ; Padma-purana 3.8-9 ; Matsya-purana 113-114 (p.366), 122-123 (p.402),  Varaha-purana 86-89; Parama-samhita 26.8-12 (p.160-161) ; Skanda-purana

    Ashish Dalela

    This comparison of islands and oceans is impressive. Thank you for sharing this information. I’m however not in a position to comment on the actual order of these. We cannot access these places with our minds or senses. My general understanding is that there are many paths to reach these oceans and islands. Just like you can reach a destination by different roads. Accordingly, based on the path or road you take, you can come up with different distances to these islands/oceans. So, my initial response to your question is that they are all true, but we don’t know the path or perspective from which they are described. More study is needed to know the nature of space in which these are described before we can understand the different paths that can be taken.

    Devon Bonner

    In the higher dimensions of existence the beings that inhabit these dimensions are they humanoid or do they have a another form ?

    Ashish Dalela

    What would be heaven without trees, birds, cows, fish, and deer? Many species are there, but may not be all the species. Heaven is not just humans. Likewise, the spiritual world is not just humans.

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