Recently, the long-sought and frustratingly elusive Higgs Boson, often referred as the God Particle, was discovered at the giant particle collider in the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN). While this discovery brings us closer to the understanding of the Big Bang and the early evolution of the universe, its philosophical implications have been a subject of much debate. Various religious groups have voiced their opinions on this matter from their perspective.
Hinduism is an ancient religion, and the sacred writings of this belief system have deeply pondered on this matter. Rig Veda, the oldest document of Hinduism, dates back to 1500 BCE, according to western historians. Hindu tradition, however, considers it much older. “The Hymn of Creation” is a part of this immense book. This poem of abstract thinking and philosophical speculation is the work of a great poet. As author A.L. Bashan describes it in one of his books, the hymn is the work of a poet “whose evocation of the mysterious chaos before creation, and of mighty ineffable forces working in the depths of the primeval void."
"Then even nothingness was not, nor existence.
There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it.
What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping?
Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed?
"Then there were neither death nor immortality,
nor was there then the torch of night and day.
The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
There was that One then, and there was no other.
"At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness.
All this was only unillumined and fluid.
That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,
arose at last, born of the power of heat.
"In the beginning desire descended on it
that was the primal seed, born of the mind.
The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom
know that which is, is kin to that which is not.
“And they have stretched their cord across the void,
and know what was above, and what below.
Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.
Below was strength, and over it was impulse.
“But, after all, who knows, and who can say
whence it all came, and how creation happened?
The gods themselves are later than creation,
so who knows truly whence it has arisen?
“Whence all creation had its origin,
he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
he knows – or maybe even he does not know.”
When we think of human creations, it is obvious that they are separate from the humans themselves. On the other hand, the creator of the Vedas is an architect whose structures all reside within him. Nothing can exist outside the Supreme Reality, and it in turn is within all. Yajur Veda, the second of the four Vedas speaks of that primordial energy, the source of creation:
"It is always moving, yet it never moves.
It is infinitely far away, yet it is close,
It is within all of this creation,
And yet it is beyond everything."
"Creation" for the authors of the Vedas is the steady process transforming the un-manifest (asat), into sat, the manifested. In this sense, the entire-space-and-time continuum, all the vastness and infinite variety of creation, exist within the Eternal One – as if it were a concept in his mind. God is also called hiranyagarbha, the "Womb of Light." Rig Veda also says:
"The Womb of Light existed before there was any other thing.
It gave birth to all. It is the sole ruler of all existence,
Maintaining and upholding everything between earth and heaven.
To that alone, and to no others, we should offer all our love and respect."
Later poems in the Rig Veda attempt to describe the abstract ideas quoted above into concrete visual images. Purusha Sukta speaks of the creator in the image of a supreme person. Some Invocations in the Vedas, which are deemed animistic and crudely pagan by many scholars, merely invoke God through his attributes and functions. To quote Paul William Roberts in his book "Empire of the Soul: Some Journeys in India," “He is the Force behind all of nature's mighty forces, the Light behind the light; the Terror behind the terror; the Delight behind delights; the Ultimate Activity behind all activities. Similarly, God's various names in the Vedas are the one God viewed in terms of his attributes, functions, and nature. There is no real suggestion of anything besides the One.”