Sanatan Dharma has evolved over thousands of years and encompasses a diverse range of beliefs, practices, and philosophical traditions. One of the most fascinating aspects of Hinduism is its concept of the multiverse, which describes the infinite, eternal, and ever-expanding universe that contains multiple worlds, dimensions, and planes of existence.
We are often amazed by new Marvel movies that talk about the possibility of the existence of various dimensions and multiverses. The idea of having multiple Spiderman is actually cool but we as Sanatan have been saying this can be possible for ages. The multiverse concept is an integral part of Sanatan Itihasa and this article will provide proof based on Puranas and Vedas.
The cycle of creation and destruction
अव्यक्ताद्व्यक्तय: सर्वा: प्रभवन्त्यहरागमे | रात्र्यागमे प्रलीयन्ते तत्रैवाव्यक्तसञ्ज्ञके || avyaktād vyaktayaḥ sarvāḥ prabhavathi har-āgame rātryāgame pralīyante tatraivāvyakta-sanjñake - Bhagwata Gita, Chapter 8, Verse 18
Commentary: At the advent of Brahma’s day, all living beings emanate from the unmanifest source. And at the fall of his night, all embodied beings again merge into their unmanifest source.
The Hindu concept of the cosmos is eternal and cyclic, according to the Upanishads and Puranas. The universe and Earth, along with all living beings, undergo repeated cycles of creation and destruction known as pralaya. The overarching Hindu view of the universe is that it is continuously re-created through a series of cycles.
The age of the Earth is estimated to be around 4,320,000,000 years, which corresponds to one day of Brahma which is 1000 times the sum of four yugas in years. At the end of each cycle, the Earth is destroyed by either fire or water elements. Brahma then rests for one night, which is as long as the day. This process, known as pralaya or cataclysm, repeats for 100 Brahma years, which is equivalent to 311 trillion and 40 billion human years, and represents Brahma’s lifespan.
This is how the universe is created and recreated again. Now on formation, multiple Universes and Lokas are formed simultaneously and move like atoms, with each universe having its own set of deities, including Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
The Puranic Concept of the Multiverse
The Puranas are a collection of ancient Hindu texts that contain stories and teachings about various aspects of Hinduism. According to the Puranas, there are multiple Lokas or realms that exist in the universe, which is inhabited by various beings, including gods, demons, and humans.
The most commonly mentioned Lokas in the Puranas are the three worlds, namely, Swarga (heaven), Prithvi (earth), and Patala (underworld). Swarga is considered the abode of the gods, where they enjoy the fruits of their good deeds. Prithvi is the world of humans, where they live their lives and perform their duties. Patala is the world of demons, where they carry out their evil deeds.
However, there are 14 Lokas mentioned in the Puranas, named Satya-loka (Brahma-loka), Tapa-loka, Jana-loka, Mahar-loka, Svar-loka (Svarga-loka or Indra-loka), Bhuvar-loka, Bhu-loka, Atala-loka, Vitala-loka, Sutala-loka, Talatala-loka, Mahatala-loka, Rasatala-loka, and Patala-loka. Each of these Lokas has its own unique characteristics, inhabitants, and purpose.
The Concept of Planes of Existence
In addition to these Lokas, there are also various dimensions and planes of existence, which are described as being stacked on top of each other, forming a hierarchy of existence. This hierarchy is believed to be interconnected, and beings can move between the different planes of existence based on their karma and spiritual development.
The lowest plane of existence is the physical world, where humans and other material beings reside. Above this is the astral plane, which is inhabited by subtle beings such as ghosts, spirits, and angels. Beyond the astral plane are the causal and mental planes, where higher beings reside.
The Advaita Vedanta Concept of the Multiverse
Some schools of Hindu philosophy, such as Advaita Vedanta, propose the existence of an infinite number of universes or realities, each with its own unique characteristics and laws of physics. These universes are believed to be interconnected and coexist with each other, forming a multiverse.
In Advaita Vedanta, the multiverse is seen as a manifestation of Brahman, which is the ultimate reality and the source of all creation. The different universes in the multiverse are believed to be the result of the different manifestations of Brahman.
Slokas of Multiverse Concept in Hindu (Santana) Texts
The concept of Multiverse existence is written and praised in various Slokas from Hindu Puranas and Upanisads. Here are some Slokas from Bhagavata Purana, Yoga Vasistha, and Garga Samhitas.
The Bhagavata Purana, also known as the Srimad Bhagavatam or Bhagavata, is one of the eighteen great Puranas of Sanatana. It was composed in Sanskrit by Veda Vyasa and is a devotional work that promotes the worship of Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu.
Srimad Bhagavatam, 6.16.37
क्षित्यादिभिरेष किलावृत: सप्तभिर्दशगुणोत्तरैरण्डकोश: । यत्र पतत्यणुकल्प: सहाण्डकोटिकोटिभिस्तदनन्त:।। kṣity-ādibhir eṣa kilāvṛtaḥ saptabhir daśa-guṇottarair aṇḍa-kośaḥ yatra pataty aṇu-kalpaḥ sahāṇḍa-koṭi-koṭibhis tad anantaḥ
Every universe is covered by seven layers—earth, water, fire, air, sky, total energy, and false ego—each ten times greater than the previous one. There are innumerable universes besides this one, and although they are unlimitedly large, they move about like atoms in You. Therefore You are called unlimited [Ananta].
Srimad Bhagavatam, 10.87.41
द्युपतय एव ते न ययुरन्तमनन्ततया त्वमपि यदन्तराण्डनिचया ननु सावरणा: । ख इव रजांसि वान्ति वयसा सह यच्छ्रुतय स्त्वयि हि फलन्त्यतन्निरसनेन भवन्निधना: ।। dyu-pataya eva te na yayur antam anantatayā tvam api yad-antarāṇḍa-nicayā nanu sāvaraṇāḥ kha iva rajāṁsi vānti vayasā saha yac chrutayas tvayi hi phalanty atan-nirasanena bhavan-nidhanāḥ
Because You are unlimited, neither the lords of heaven nor even You Yourself can ever reach the end of Your glories. The countless universes, each enveloped in its shell, are compelled by the wheel of time to wander within You, like particles of dust blowing about in the sky. The śrutis, following their method of eliminating everything separate from the Supreme, become successful by revealing You as their final conclusion.
Srimad Bhagavatam 3.11.41
दशोत्तराधिकैर्यत्र प्रविष्ट: परमाणुवत् । लक्ष्यतेऽन्तर्गताश्चान्ये कोटिशो ह्यण्डराशय:॥ daśottarādhikair yatra praviṣṭaḥ paramāṇuvat lakṣyate ’ntar-gatāś cānye koṭiśo hy aṇḍa-rāśayaḥ
The layers or elements covering the universes are each ten times thicker than the one before, and all the universes clustered together appear like atoms in a huge combination.
Yoga Vasistha and Garga Samhita
The Vasishta Yoga Samhita, also known as Vasishta Ramayana, Yoga Vasistha-Ramayana, and Jnanavasistha, is a syncretic philosophical text of Sanatan. The text is named after sage Vasistha, who is revered in the seventh book of the Rigveda and considered the first sage of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy by Adi Shankara.
Attributed to the revered sage Garga, the Garga-Samhita is an ancient Vaishnavite scripture that focuses on the Hindu deities Radha and Krishna. Written in the Sanskrit language, it primarily centers around the religious narratives associated with these deities, and their worship by their devotees.
Garga Samhita, 1.2.28
ब्रह्माण्डम् एकं जानन्ति यत्र जातास् तथा जनाः मषका च यथान्तः-स्था औडुम्बर-फलेषु वै brahmāṇḍam ekaṃ jānanti yatra jātās tathā janāḥ maṣakā ca yathāntaḥ-sthā auḍumbara-phaleṣu vai
You know one universe. Living entities are born in many universes, like mosquitoes in many uḍumbara fruits.
Yoga Vasistha, Book 3, Chapter 30, Verse 16-17
तस्मिन्सर्वं ततः सर्वं तत्सर्वं सर्वतश्च यत् । तच्च सर्वमयो नित्यं तथा तदणुकं प्रति ॥ शुद्धबोधमये तस्मिन्परमालोकवारिधौ । अजस्रमेत्य गच्छन्ति ब्रह्मण्डाख्यास्तरङ्गकाः ॥ tasminsarvaṃ tataḥ sarvaṃ tatsarvaṃ sarvataśca yat | tacca sarvamayo nityaṃ tathā tadaṇukaṃ prati || śuddhabodhamaye tasminparamālokavāridhau | ajasrametya gacchanti brahmaṇḍākhyāstaraṅgakāḥ ||
Everything that is anywhere, is produced from and subsists in space. It is always all in all things, which are contained as particles in it. Such is the pure vacuous space of the Divine understanding, that like an ocean of light, contains these innumerable worlds, which like the countless waves of the sea, are revolving forever in it.
Yoga Vasistha, Book 3, Chapter 30, Verse 34
भीमान्धकारगहने सुमहत्यरण्ये नृत्यन्त्यदर्शितपरस्परमेव मत्ताः । यक्षा यथा प्रवितते परमाम्बरेऽन्तरेवं स्फुरन्ति सुबहूनि महाजगन्ति ॥ bhīmāndhakāragahane sumahatyaraṇye nṛtyantyadarśitaparasparameva mattāḥ | yakṣā yathā pravitate paramāmbare'ntarevaṃ sphuranti subahūni mahājaganti ||
There are many other large worlds, rolling through the immense space of vacuum, as the giddy goblins of Yakshas revel in the dark and dismal deserts and forests, unseen by others.
The Significance of the Multiverse in Hinduism
The concept of the multiverse in Hinduism reflects the vastness and complexity of the universe and the belief in the existence of multiple planes of existence and realities beyond our own. It also highlights the interconnectedness of all things and the idea that every being is part of a larger cosmic order.
Moreover, the concept of the multiverse has significant implications for Hindu spirituality and philosophy. It underscores the idea of karma and rebirth, which are central to Hinduism, by suggesting that beings can move between different planes of existence based on their actions and spiritual development.
Regardless of the specific interpretation, the concept of the multiverse in Hinduism emphasizes the vastness and complexity of the universe and the interconnectedness of all things. It also highlights the importance of karma and spiritual development, as beings can move between different planes of existence based on their actions and spiritual evolution.