In The Modi-God Dialogues: Spirituality for a New World Order. New Delhi: Akansha Publishing House. pp. 6-14 (2022)
The Upanishads reveal that in the beginning, nothing existed: “This was but non-existence in the beginning. That became existence. That became ready to be manifest”. (Chandogya Upanishad 3.15.1) The creation began from this state of non-existence or nonduality, a state comparable to (0). One can add any number of zeros to (0), but there will be nothing except a big (0) because (0) is a neutral number. If we take (0) as Nirguna Brahman (God without any form and attributes), then from where and how did the universe come into existence?
The neutral power (0) cannot produce anything without having an element of duality in it. Although Nirguna Brahman is neutral, it has a positive, negative, and neutral pole, constituting its Prakriti or nature. Prakriti has three latent Gunas (modes or qualities): Satva, Rajas, and Tamas. They are related to Gyana Shakti (the power of knowledge) Sankalpa Shakti (the power of ideation), and Kriya Shakti (the power of action). Science says that Atom is the basic element from which the universe evolved. The Atom has three nuclei- electron, pluton, and neutron. The Satva, Rajas, and Tamas in Indian spirituality are nothing but the mystical names for the nuclei of an atom.
According to Bhagavata Purana, Prakriti is also constituted of the elements of Time, Karma (action/destiny) and Swabhava (innate nature). Time disturbs the equilibrium of Gunas. From the aspect of Karma is produced an entity called Mahat, in the form of intelligence. Mahat is dominated by Satva and Rajas. From Mahat manifests the next evolute dominated by Tamas with three predominant qualities – Dravya (substance), Kriya (action), as well as intelligence. It forms to become the Ego principle (Ahamkara).
Ahamkara has three modes – Satvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. Satvic is Jnana oriented, Rajasic action-oriented and Tamasic Dravya (substance) oriented. From the Tamasic Ahankara, five gross elements are produced (ether, air, fire, water, and earth - Akash, Vayu, Agni, Jal and Prithvi). From the Satvic Ahamkara, guardian deities (the sun and moon, deities of sense organs, and organs of action) and from Rajasic Ahamkara, ten senses (Indriyas), five senses of perception, five organs of action, the faculties of intellect and Prana (life breath) are produced.
Bhagavata says that since these energies, elements, and faculties remained disassociated, they were combined to form a Cosmic Egg. The egg floats in the primal waters for a thousand years. Then God enters this Cosmic Egg and manifests himself as the Cosmic Purusha. He is the first nucleus, the God particle equivalent to the number (1) which is the embodiment of everything in the universe. The concept of creation and dissolution in Hinduism can be compared to the waves in an ocean that appear and disappear incessantly. The Manvantaras are such successive episodes of creation emerging from the Cosmic Person, the Manu who is embodied God-Consciousness, God himself. These episodes of creation are measured in Hinduism in terms of Manvantaras, the epochs of Manus.
Manu is the ‘First-Born’ (1) of God, the Cosmic Purusha from whom the world has originated. This Cosmic Person (Purusha) has been described as having fourteen biospheres (heavens) that are inhabited by various life forms in the order of evolution of consciousness. If we begin from the human biosphere (Bhuloka), there are ten astral biospheres that a man must transcend to attain liberation or Mukti from the cycle of births and deaths.
The number (1) produces the primary numbers up to (9) through the transmutation of the creational energies and qualities. The process can be related to the descent and cyclical evolution of (1) through ten spiritual stages, finally merging with the nondual (0). The number (10) marks the merger of (1) with (0). The Hindu worldview is that all life forms in an episode of creation must evolve to become one with the non-dual state (0) to attain liberation from the cycle of births and deaths in a cyclical process.