Relationship between the luminiferous ether and Sankhya ether

Forums Sāńkhya Philosophy Relationship between the luminiferous ether and Sankhya ether

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    Could you please clarify if there is any relationship between luminiferous ether (that got rejected by the Michelson Morley experiment) and Sankhya ether?

    A number of decades after Michelson Morley experiment rejected the luminiferous ether, the ether discussion again resurfaced with Casimir experiment (

    In my readings of your books/blogs, I have come across the term “ether” being used for “meaning”. Please help me understand ether as one of the 5 gross physical elements as they occur in BG 7.4 and clarify whether there is any relationship with the aforementioned luminiferous ether. Thank you very much.


    There is no connection to the luminiferous ether.

    You have to understand that NONE of the English-Sanskrit word-meaning dictionaries that we use today were created by Indians, let alone by those who understood Vedic philosophy. They were all created by Europeans, in the 19th century, at least a century before Einstein’s relativity. The Sanskrit word is ākāsh and some European created a Sanskrit-English dictionary in which ākāsh is “ether”. Why? Because they were thinking about “ether” and they thought that we are thinking in the same way. Once these word-meaning dictionaries were created, everyone stuck to these dictionaries.

    The problem is that whatever equivalent of ākāsh I try to create, it is always overloaded with some other meaning in English. If I call it “space” it means Euclidean space. If I call it “ether” then it is overloaded with luminiferous ether. So, the only viable option available to us is to create new words, which nobody will understand because they are not in any dictionary. Or, I could use Sanskrit words, and then people will say — this book on science uses such a strange language that no one can understand. Basically, there is no good option. If we are studying these books as poetry and literature, we can get away with using Sanskrit words. But not if we are doing science. We have to use words like space, time, matter, causality, law, motion, necessity, sufficiency, and so on.

    So, remember that the words don’t mean anything. They are just useless substitutes for me to invent new words, which will not be found in any dictionary. In Hindi, there is a proverb that means “The blind man’s name is nayan-sukh”. Or, the barber’s name is Mr. Carpenter. It means nothing.

    The Sankhya ether is a space of sentences. Srimad Bhagavatam describes that the property of ether is śabda. This means ether is an object, and it has many properties, each of which is a different śabda. These properties are just like different dimensions. For instance, an object has mass, temperature, speed, etc. each of which is a different dimension. Like that, ether is an object, and all its properties are different dimensions of that object. And each of these dimensions is a different sentence.

    All this requires us to think of space as an inverted tree. The root is the object, and the various branches are its properties. These branches are also dimensions. And each dimension is a sentence. So, each location in space is a unique dimension. And space together has infinite dimensions.

    What we call “space” as a whole is also a sentence but a summary sentence of all the sentences. For example, earth is a space. It has many locations, which are different dimensions. These dimensions are sentences. But there is a summary of all these sentences, which is also a sentence. You can think of a book and its title. The “earth” is the title of the book. And all the other sentences are parts of the book. And these sentences in the book have expanded from the title like branches from a root.

    Due to this, we can make four types of claims: (a) the book is inside the title, (b) the book is outside the title, (c) the title is inside the book, and (d) the title is outside the book. These things don’t create a problem when we know that ether is śabda, and it comprises śabda, due to semantics.

    Now, there are interactions between these sentences. Some interaction is “strong” and some interaction is “weak”. A strong interaction makes the sentence seem closer, and a weak interaction makes the sentence seem farther. The objects are not moving, but the strength of interaction changes. This changing strength of the interaction is attributed to something called prāṇa.

    Hence, there is an absolute space, all the objects are fixed in space, and yet they seem to move because of prāṇa interactions becoming stronger and weaker. Motion is an illusion created by prāṇa. Hence, if you like you can go to any part of the universe in a moment just by the power of prāṇa. There is no limitation on speed. At one moment you are in this city, the next moment you can be in another city. This is what yogis are trying to perfect. Go anywhere in just one moment. This is because there is no motion. It is just a change of screen monitor in which you are looking.

    The side effect of prāṇa is length contraction and time dilation. This is just like if you are talking to a friend, and someone else asks you a question, you respond to them after finishing the previous sentence. There is a short delay. The person who asked the question will get a response after a delay. But in physics, they already assumed that everything is interacting with everything else in the universe simultaneously. Hence, if you assume uniformity, the conclusion will be that cause of the delayed response must be that “meters got shortened” and “clocks ran slower”. This is also called length contraction and time dilation. Here length and time pertain to measuring instruments.

    But in the Sankhya way of looking — (a) there is an absolute space, (b) nothing is moving, (c) there is a stronger or weaker interaction, (d) which brings things closer or farther, (e) there are exclusionary properties in this interaction, (f) due to which relativistic effects are created in observation.

    So, we can say that there is an absolute space, and yet there are relativistic effects as if there is no absolute space. That is because what we mean by space, object, force, and motion is completely different. None of the words in Sankhya mean the same as the words in modern physics.

    I’ve stopped reading physics for the last few years because I got bored with it. Every day new controversy, new claims and counterclaims, and no clarity. All these issues about absolute vs. relative space will never get resolved in modern physics just like wave vs. particle, locality vs. non-locality. I have tried talking to physicists about this, and they always say — “what you are saying is not physics”. It is as if the meaning of “physics” is fixed by some God-given scripture and cannot be changed. The reality is that the brains of physicists are ossified. They cannot think differently. So I have also stopped reading what they write. I read my scriptures and I let them read their scriptures.


    Thank you for your detailed response – it was fascinating to read your chain of thoughts.

    To summarize, Sankhya Akash is neither luminiferous ether nor Euclidean space. Translating it as “sky” also does not help because we already carry a conception of sky, which is not what is conveyed by Akash. We need to develop a totally new semantics of Akash and using any English term will only aggravate our misunderstanding.

    What I understood is that the following statements are different ways of expressing the same thing:

    • “Sankhya” Akash or space is a domain of potentialities (encapsulating different dimensions) within Krsna’s energy. [Krsna is the sumtotal of all potentialities.]
    • Akash is a domain of every kind of experience conceivably possible to experience.
    • Akash is a space of all sentences (or vakya or uttered sounds). This space is absolute because of having all the potentialities. The objects within the space are actually fixed but appear to move (depending on the nature of interactions and the strength of interactions is adjusted by prana, which is under individual control).

    Kindly correct me as you may deem appropriate.

    One observation:

    In this write-up, you referred to the ether as object and sabda as its properties. In the following article, you referred to sabda as a property and ether as the value of the property.

    Kindly clarify further.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to respond.


    I would like to edit my following statement:

    We need to develop a totally new semantics of Akash and using any English term will only aggravate our misunderstanding.

    What I meant is:

    We need to develop a proper conception of Akash and using any English term will only aggravate our misunderstanding.



    Everything has to be understood in terms of six modes. I will illustrate this in the context of space:

    • Space is a particle — 0-dimensional
    • Space is a dimension — 1-dimensional
    • Space of potentiality is described in terms of sensation and action — 2-dimensional
    • Sensation and action comprise 3 guna of Prakriti – 3-dimensional
    • Space can be divided into four directions based on unity principles — 4-dimensional
    • Space is the domain of sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell – 5-dimensional

    These are six different descriptions of space that can be counted from 0 to 5, but these “numbers” are actually not quantities. They refer to a different way of looking at reality.

    Due to this 6-mode description, many seeming contradictions are created. For example, ākāsh is a byproduct of tanmātra. What is tanmātra? It is a property like “distance”. From this “distance” comes a “standard for distance” which is the atomic measure of distance and it is a unit of distance. Then by combining these “unit distances” we get space. When we perceive this space then we get yet another “distance” which is perceptual distance. This perceptual distance is based on our sensations and it is described in terms of another set of perceptual standards such as “meter” and “feet”.

    There is a way to map the “atomic standard for distance” to the “meter” and “feet”. A simple analogy is a digital pixel and a screen pixel. A pixel is encoded using 6 bytes in a digital file. And a pixel is displayed as 0.26mm on a screen. You can loosely say that “6 bytes long equals 0.26 mm long”. It doesn’t mean what people think it means. It is not like a meter to feet conversion. But this is the unsophisticated type of conversion that everyone is doing. Note here that there are two “values” — 6 bytes and 0.26 mm. The perceived distance standard (pixel in mm) is produced by an unperceived standard distance (pixel in terms of number of bytes). The first value is the measure based on tanmātra/bhuta and the second involves a measure based on the perception of tanmātra/bhuta.

    Now you can say that “distance creates space” and “space creates distance”. That “distance” can be called “value” and space is the “object” (it can also be a property dimension, as one of the six different modalities). So value has object and object has value. They are just different kinds of values.

    This problem doesn’t arise in Sankhya because everything is discussed in terms of modes. For example, tanmātra is in sattva-mode, bhuta is in tamas-mode, and its perception is in rajas-mode. We can loosely say “concept”, “object”, and “percept”. These are three different modes. According there are different kinds of values, namely, c-value, o-value, and p-value. But if we don’t know what is mode, then ideally we should try to find out what it is or at least not disregard it completely.

    To understand these three modal values, one has to read Gödel’s Mistake where I discuss the problem of modalities in the case of numbers. We cannot reduce multiple modes to one mode. The word “number” doesn’t have one meaning. It has six different meanings (but we start with three to simplify). Hence, mathematics is incomplete because (a) we cannot reduce many modes to one, and (b) we operate in one out of many modes. Hence, if we want to be consistent in mathematics, then we must be incomplete. If we try to be complete, then we will always get contradictions.

    I wrote these books in systematic order from the nature of numbers (Godel’s Mistake) to the nature of atoms (Quantum Meaning) to how these atoms are perceived (Sankhya and Science) to the theory of six aspects of the same thing (Six Causes). But nobody reads it like that. They assume they know logic and number, perception and conception, and a few ideas like the five elements are not known. Hence they don’t understand it because the basic problem of modalities is never understood. It breaks binary logic. And then we seem to have a contradiction when there is no contradiction.

    To understand Sankhya, one has to ponder chicken-and-egg problems. Here is an example. Did length come before space? Or did space come before length? The answer in physics is: “Let’s not worry about it”. Let’s assume that there is space with length. This is the meaning of Cartesian res extensa. But the problem is that if length did not exist as an idea, then there will be no “atomic length” and then there will be no space. But what is “length” as a property? The answer in physics is: “Let’s not worry about that”. Let’s just measure with a meter. So, physics never solved the chicken-and-egg problem. Sankhya tries to solve that problem and it leads to a very long hierarchy.

    Another chicken-and-egg problem is time. Did duration come before a change or did change come before duration? Is there a universal clock that comes prior to time? Or is there time prior to some universal clock? Again the answer in physics is: “Let’s not worry about it”. Let’s just measure with whatever clocks we can manufacture. Again, physics never solved the chicken-and-egg problem. Sankhya tries to solve that problem and it naturally leads to a very long hierarchy.

    These things appear in set theory as well. Does the idea of “horse” come before an actual “horse”? Or does the actual “horse” come before the idea? If there is no idea prior to the set, then we cannot put a horse in a set called “horse” because we don’t know what a horse is. But set theory will say: “Let’s not worry about that”. Let’s just assume that there is a collection of objects, which we can call “horse”. Again, they never solved the chicken-and-egg problem. They just called it “set theory”.

    If you ask them to solve such problems, they will say: “this is not physics”, “this is not mathematics”, or “this is not set theory”. They don’t want to find out what is below their assumptions. Just assume, call them axioms, and go forward, rather than finding the basis of the axioms. For us, space is built out of vibrations. That vibration requires atomic length and atomic duration. But that length and duration require another kind of space and time, which requires another kind of atom, and thus the process goes. This is how we get “turtles all the way down”. Of course, it is not infinite turtles. But there are many of them. And scientists will mock “turtles all the way down” because they never solved the chicken-and-egg problem.

    So before we study Sankhya, we must think about all these chicken-and-egg problems. Then we will know that modern science never solved any of these problems. Then we will seek the solution to these problems, and that solution is Sankhya. This is a rational method to study Sankhya. Otherwise, we can accept everything based on faith and say it is what it is. But we don’t understand it.

    Once we understand the chicken-and-egg problems and their solutions, then there will be no contradiction. Of course, English, mathematics, and set theory are not appropriate for describing the solution. Hence, whenever we use English there is always room for confusion. If we use Sanskrit, then nobody will read anything. So, we use English and try to explain the problem of modes. That problem of modes is the result of chicken-and-egg problems and there are many of these problems. So, read patiently and you will get these things. Many books have to be read to fully grasp Sankhya. First numbers, then atoms, then space and time, then logic, then epistemology, then perception, and so on. After finishing this, go back to the first thing again and restart. The second time around you will understand everything better. There is no other way. We have to rinse and repeat.


    Thank you for the drill. I understand the subject is pretty complex and would require a progressive refinement of understanding.

    Would you mind listing down ALL the books that might go along with the sequence of study you have listed (First numbers, then atoms, then space and time, then logic, then epistemology, then perception, and so on.)?

    Did I capture the following sequence right?

    Godel’s mistake (numbers)

    Quantum meaning (atoms)

    Six causes (Space and time)

    ? (Logic)

    ? (Epistemology)

    Sankhya and science (Perception)

    Please clarify further.

    I liked the pixel analogy. I do have a CS background and so I appreciate the examples you bring in from the CS domain. I also noticed that when talking about the hierarchy, you do bring the notion of Object oriented inheritance hierarchical notion to drive home the point.


    There is a eye-chart here. You can read whatever you can. Everybody has a different mind. We are carrying ideas from millions of previous lifetimes. It is incorrect to prescribe a universal sequence for everyone. What I can say is that all these things are some aspect of the whole truth. This is how reality is. It is not one aspect, one book, one idea. The theory of reality is that it is many aspects.

    You can think of the problem as putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I may assemble it in one way and you may assemble it another way. I may start at the bottom and you can start at the top. As long as we assemble the complete jigsaw puzzle, it doesn’t matter what path we take to cover it.

    Apart from the books, there is a lot of material on this website if you want to explore. Videos, slides, blog posts, a manifesto, and so on. This forum itself has a wide variety of questions and answers. It is all for reading. Everything will grow into a more and more coherent understanding over time.


    Thank you very much.

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