Concepts of Modern Cosmology and Astrophysics in Two Ismaili Ginans, Choghadia and Mul Gayatri

BY SHIRAZ A. PRADHAN

“If paradise is the state of ultimate and perfect symmetry, the history of the ‘BIG BANG’ resembles that of “paradise lost”. For the briefest instant at the origin of time when all laws of Physics were on an equal footing, all nature’s elementary particles, heavy and light alike, interacted freely and democratically….

“The universe was once so hot that no particle attained any permanence and lived and died in the briefest flash of splendor.” — John D. Barrow & Joseph Silk, The Left Hand of Creation: The Origin and Evolution of the Expanding Universe

Where did it come from?

Where did it come from? There is no question that grips the mind more forcefully than one about the creation of the universe. Scientists have grappled with this question for the longest of time. Invariably the role of God in the creation of the universe has always come into question. Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727) saw monotheistic God as the masterful creator whose existence could not be denied in face of grandeur of creation. [1] However, another leading scientist of the time, Leibniz, was critical of Isaac Newton’s view and wrote. ‘Isaac Newton…has a very odd opinion concerning the work of God. His opinion is that the All Mighty wants to wind up the clock from time to time (to make the planets maintain their orbits), otherwise they would cease to move. He had not, it seems, sufficient foresight to make it a perpetual motion.’

This debate has persisted to our present day. Dr. Stephan Hawking in his 1988 book, Brief History of Time [2] had conceded that God had a role to play in the creation of the universe. But in his latest book, The Grand Design, [3] he seemed to have made an about turn and in his own words stated: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” he writes. “Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch-paper and set the universe going.”

Despite these vacillations of leading scientists regarding the role of God in creation, one model of creation that is accepted by modern science is the Big Bang origin of our universe.

It is said that we are riding on the shoulder of a giant. Our progress is built on the foundations laid by older civilizations. When Georges Lemaitre first proposed the “hypothesis of primeval atom” in 1929, which later came to be the basis of the Big Bang Theory, it was considered a milestone in scientific thinking. But long before then, almost 3000 years ago, the Hindu Vedas had already grappled with the ideas of creation. Rig Veda for example states that “Neither being (Sat) Non-being (asat) was as yet. What was concealed? And where? And in whose protection? And who really knows? Who can declare it? Whence was it born? And whence came this creation? He alone who surveys it in the highest heavens, he alone knows or perhaps does not know.” [4] The idea of primeval atom had not yet arisen in Rig Veda. We begin to read about the idea of primeval atom and descriptions of the origin of creation in the Ginanic compositions of Ismaili Pirs, who came to India from Persia seven centuries ago.

In this essay I propose to first present a brief scientific description of the Big Bang origin of the universe from a gigantic explosion, its growth in various phases right up to our present time, and then cite Ismaili Ginans that have striking parallels of modern Cosmology and Astrophysics in them.

Big Bang Universe according to Modern Science

In the 1920’s scientists [5] proposed the theory of the Big Bang origin of the universe based on the idea of Georges Lemaitre’s “primeval atom”. This states that 14 billion years ago the universe came into being from nothingness. Dense, hot and packed into a tiny volume, the new-born universe expanded massively in a tiny fraction of the first second.

Figure 1: Big Bang creation of universe.

Figure 1: Big Bang creation of universe.

Later, in the 1980’s Dr. Stephen Hawking and Rodger Penrose proposed a theoretical model of the Big Bang Theory. Actual confirmation of this theoretical model has come from several different directions right up to our present day. First, was the discovery of the microwave radiation (a form of Light) in the universe, which is the residual effect of the Big Bang explosion. Second, was the work of a team of American researchers who discovered evidence of temperature variations in deep space that provided further evidence in support of the Big Bang Theory. Said Dr George Smoot, leader of the American research team: “If you are religious, it is like looking at God. The order is so beautiful and the symmetry so beautiful that you think there is some design behind it.” [6]

One additional aspect of the Big Bang Theory that required a proof was “Inflation Theory” which stated that immediately after the Big Bang the universe expanded rapidly. Hysteria has gripped the scientific community after a team of leading scientist including those from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, working under a joint project known as BICEP2, announced that they had discovered evidence of “signals left in the sky by the super-rapid expansion of space that must have occurred just fraction of a second after the Big Bang.” This signal is called B-Mode Polarization and is now considered to be the “Smoking Gun” for Big Bang Theory. [7]

Collectively these finding and scientific discoveries over several centuries are now known as the Standard Model of the Universe.

Many Ginanic works by Ismaili Pirs and Sayyads contain in them fundamental aspects of the Standard Model of the Universe and the cutting edge discoveries of modern Cosmology and Astrophysics that are causing so much excitement in the scientific community. Historically this is important due to the antiquity of the Ginans which predate the modern theories by several centuries. Considering that during those early periods earth was believed to be flat and the center of the universe, the evidence of Cosmology in Ginans that closely resemble modern ideas is of enormous importance. Fundamental works of scientist such as Copernicus, Galileo and Einstein and discoveries of the structures of atom and molecule were yet several centuries in the future when these Ginans were composed.

PART I: BIG BANG

Our story begins as all stories do: In the beginning there was nothing, no universe, no galaxies, no sun, no moon, no stars. Then all of a sudden there was a titanic explosion from nothingness — BIG BANG. [8] From this Big Bang came energy. It was indeed a very hot explosion; so hot that stable ordinary matter that we see around us could not achieve any stability. This early universe consisted of only PHOTONS (light particles) and other sub-atomic particles in a very highly agitated swirling cosmic soup. As with all explosions, material started flying apart from one another. The young universe began to expand rapidly, so rapidly that the universe went from nothing to the size of a marble in the first trillionth, of a trillionth of a trillionth second.

This Big Bang was the origin of TIME for our universe. As stated earlier, this event is believed to have happened 14 billion years ago and the universe is expanding ever since. Figure 2 shows a simple model of the Big Bang and the growth of the universe to present day.

Figure 2: Age of Universe from Big Bang to Present Time

Figure 2: Age of Universe from Big Bang to Present Time

There are three important milestones in the growth of the universe from this initial explosion.

  1. Particle Era — First 3 minutes from Big Bang
  2. Atomic Era — From the 3rd Minute to 500,000 years from the Big Bang
  3. Galactic Era — 1 to 5 Billion years from the Big Bang

1. PARTICLE ERA – First 3 minutes from Big Bang

Several important events took place during the Particle Era:

a. Separation of a Single Universal force into several separate forces;
b. Formation of 18 elementary particle, called Quarks;
c. Formation of 7 sub-elementary particles from the Quarks; and
d. Matter/Antimatter particle reactions and destruction of Antimatter

a. Separation of a Single Universal Force in to several forces

At the origin of the universe only a single, unified force was in existence. Albert Einstein in his Theory of Relativity had speculated about this force as the Grand Unification Force or GUT for short. [9] The work by BICEP2 team, (March 2014) which confirmed the “Inflation Model” in support of the Big Bang, have essentially confirmed Einstein’s speculation about the GUT force. At the origin of the universe, the energy level of the universe was in the order of 10,000 trillion Gigaelectronvolts necessary to keep the GUT force unified. As the universe began to cool the GUT force began to separate into three different fundamental forces that physics is so familiar with namely:

1) GRAVITY
2) ELECTRO-MAGNETISM
3) NUCLEAR BINDING FORCES (Strong and Weak)

b. Quark and Elementary Particle Formation

As the Single GUT force began to separate into three distinct forces the hot cosmic soup also transformed in eighteen building blocks of our universe called Quarks. For almost the whole of the 20th Century, the search for these Quarks dominated research and no less than three noble prizes in Physics were awarded to scientists for their discoveries of these Quarks. In the late 1930’s, Professor Higgs questioned how the universe acquired mass. He saw a gap in the then knowledge of the Standard Model and suggested that a particle called Higgs Boson would be necessary to bestow mass to the soup that formed from the Big Bang. This elusive Higgs Boson would require much advanced and higher energy research in particle physics for detection. Higgs Boson was finally discovered in July 2012, which gave further support to the Standard Model of the Universe.

With passage of time and as the universe evolved, these Quarks combined uniquely into seven distinct material particle categories as listed below. [10]

(1) PHOTONS (2) FERMINOS (3) BOSONS
(4) HYPERONS (5) NEUTRINOS (6) MESONS
(7) HADRONS

c. Destruction of Anti-Matter [11]

The early cosmic soup contained both Matter and Anti-Matter particles. Electrons and Positrons are examples of matter/antimatter particles routinely produced in the laboratory. When they react with one another, both are destroyed and only Photons (light particles) remain.

During the Particle Era, Matter/Antimatter particles reacted violently with one another, both were destroyed and replaced with bursts of energy and Photons. Initially the Big Bang started with more of Matter particles than Antimatter. After the reactions, the universe was left with only excess Matter particles, the foundation of our universe.

2. ATOMIC ERA – 3 minutes to 50,000 years from Big Bang [12]

Figure 3: Model of an atom. Credit: Idaho State University, isu.edu.

Figure 3: Model of an atom. Credit: Idaho State University, isu.edu.

The Photons and energy cloud created during Matter/Antimatter reactions was extremely dense and this prevented free movement of all particles in the universe. With the help of a free Nuclear Binding force, the particles of Matter had opportunity to attach themselves to one another in a new form of Matter: the ATOM. Figure 3 shows the structure of an Atom. This atom formation era lasted 500,000 years.

3. GALACTIC ERA – 1 to 5 billion years from Big Bang [13]

During this era the stable Atoms combined to form molecules. Molecules are yet another unique form of Matter combination, which give rise to different elements that can exist stably and freely in the universe. Hydrogen, Helium and Deuterium were the first molecules to form in the Galactic Era. Swirling masses of these occupied the expanding universe. Under the influence of Gravity, they formed massive clumps. These clumps formed the billions of Galaxies of our universe. This happened 1 to 5 billion years after Big Bang. Our own solar system formed 5 billion years after the Big Bang.

PART II – CHOGHADIA AND MUL GAYATRI WITH ELEMENTS OF MODERN STANDARD MODEL OF THE UNIVERSE

Time Concept in the Ginans

Before proceeding further, I would like to present a synopsis of the concept of Time as used in the Ginans. The Ginanic terms are Yuga (Jug), and Kalap. Their basis is related to the cosmic Time of Brahma, one of the main deities of the Hindu Trinity. [14]

One Yuga = 432,000 Human years.

Four Yagas = 1 Maha Yuga = 4.32 Million human years
1 Maha Yuga consist of the following four Yugas:

  • Satya Yuga = 1,728,000 human years
  • Treta Yuga = 1,296,000 human years
  • Dvapara Yuga = 864,000 human years
  • Kali Yuga = 432,000 human years

Thousand Maha Yuga = 1 Kalap = 1day (day only) of Brahma
Two Kalaps constitute a day and night of Brahma = 8.64 billion human years

CHOGHADIA

Pir Sadr al-Din’s twenty-nine compositions, Choghadia, [15] form an essential part of the devotional singing in Ismaili worship. Of these, twenty-four are compositions that are mostly sung in the mornings and five are sung in the evenings. Our focus is on the evening Choghadia, which contains reference to three important aspects of Cosmology, that of the origin of time, role of God in creation of the universe and an explicit reference to the concept of the Primeval Atom.

According to the Choghadia, the creation of the universe is a game initiated by a nameless, formless creator. At His command the universe came into being effortlessly and was the origin of time (SHUNKAL). This is very much in agreement with the Big Bang Theory as the origin of time. It is also in agreement with the creation concept in the Holy Qur’an, namely that Allah willed creation by his command Kun fayakun (Be and it is) and soon after this creation, the universe began to expand:

“We have built the heaven with (the power of Our) hands, and We are expanding (it)” — Surat Al-Dhariyat, Chapter 51, Verse 47.

In the third verse of the Chogadia we read that upon creation, the universe acknowledged the sovereignty of Vishnu, the manifest form of the formless, nameless deity. The Chogadia further states that the creation proceeded from an egg. If we focus on the symbolism of the egg, we see the possible reference to Georges Lemaitre’s “hypothesis of primeval atom.”

VERSE ONE

Aashaji, sacho tu alakha niranjan, agam agochar
Sunkale sami to ramat ramiyo

Translation

O you nameless, formless true lord,
You who are beyond human conception
At origin of time (Shunkal) you played your game

VERSE TWO

Aashaji ahunkar madhe shah Ali saheje thi upnu
Uniyade aade shah jo nam bhaniyo

Translation

In the beginning, at Lord’s command,
the universe came forth, effortlessly,
and the entire creation recited His name

VERSE THREE

Aashaji ind mahe shan more shrest rachai
Shrest kirtar samji Vishnu bhanio

Translation

From an egg, He created the universe
And the entire universe paid homage to the sovereignty of Vishnu

The theme of the creation is taken up in full by the next Ginanic work that I shall focus on.

MUL GAYATRI*

Mul Gayatri [16] by Imam Shah has as its theme the creation of the universe, and its evolution and growth. Indeed, the proper title of the Ginan is “Description of the Creation of the Universe”. All through the text there are ideas and theories that closely resemble the scientific ideas of Cosmology, Astrophysics and Standard Model that I have just summarized.

The first page of the text of the ginan Mul Gayatri.

The first page of the text of the ginan Mul Gayatri.

The composition of Mul Gayatri is a mixture of prose and poetry. Its language is different from other general Ginans and leans towards old Gujarati (Prakrati). It gives a distinct impression that the subject matter being presented is profound and hence the style of the presentation. An image of the first page of Mul Gayatri shown above is an example of this.

Era of Chaos (Dhandhukar ni Hakikat)

The Ginan opens with devotional homage to the Supreme being and proceeds immediately to describe the Era of bluish Chaos that preceded the creation. Mul Gayatri does not make a specific reference to a hot Big Bang; rather it refers to creation proceeding from a bluish Chaos.

Pratham nil veran dhandukar

Translation

In the beginning there was a BLUISH chaos

Dr Hawkins, who held the chair of Physics at Cambridge University originally supported the Big Bang Model of the universe. Later he changed his mind and stated the universe had no beginning or end. His view, in the light of the latest BICEP2 findings, is not considered correct. In avoiding any reference to a hot Big Bang, Mul Gayatri steers clear of the potential debates on this point, bearing in mind the conceptual changes that may happen to creation theories based on new scientific discoveries in the future.

We must also note that to overcome the handicap of scientific vocabulary, Mul Gayatri uses symbolism to represent scientific concepts. For example, it describes the four milestones of the Particle Era of the Standard Model as events of Chaos (Dhandhukar).

Atla Yuga ramat karta vahi gaya
Tyre Samiji e ek Shakti devi Peda kidhi
Te sakti ne lay algi malee…….
Te thaki tran (three) DEV peda karya

Translation

As time (Yuga) elapsed and the game of creation continued,
My Lord created a force Goddess (SHAKTI DEVI) —
Then He split the FORCE (SHAKTI) into
three Agents (DEVA).

(For an explanation of Yuga, refer above to the section Time Concept in Ginans at the beginning)

The above verse has uncanny resemblance to the force decoupling of the Particle Era. The term Shakti Devi (force or strength) is applied to the concept of a Single Force or the GUT Force of the Particle Era, implying that this force was the mother of the three decoupled forces of the Particle Era. Mul Gayatri goes a step further and defines the decoupled forces as the agents of Shakti Devi. These forces in modern physics are Gravity, Electro-magnetism and Nuclear Binding forces (weak and strong).

Mul Gayatri then proceeds, in a remarkably clear fashion to outline how during this chaos there is born a chain of eighteen beings, one from the other. Each of these being is identified by a name as below:

1) Shree Ahunad 2) Alakh 3) Namnil
4) Anil 5) Sun 6) Saan
7) Nan 8) Gnan 9) Nur
10) Tej 11) Jal 12) Kamal
13) Adhbudh 14) Jaag 15) Tantar
16) Prem Tantar 17) Aad Purush 18) Ahunkar

It further says that ensuing creation proceeds from the last of these beings. Comparison of above chain with the 18 Quarks formed during the Particle Era, and which are the building blocks of our universe, shows the strong similarity between the two. Mul Gayatri indeed lays the foundation of Quark origin of the Standard Model of the Universe by outlining these 18 entities. It further states that from this original creation, Lord created seven angels to serve Him in His affairs.

E Gur prasade saat (seven) farishta Dev ni seva kartava

Translation

In this Era, seven angels served the Lord

Could these seven angels here represent the seven elementary particles created during the Particle Era? If we recall, these seven particles were formed by unique combination of the 18 quarks. And indeed these seven particles with the help of the separated forces helped build our material universe.

Matter/Antimatter Annihilation

Describing the Matter/Antimatter reaction of the Particle Era, Mul Gavantri says:

Ho swamiji, aar bhandh, nar bhandh dhandukar gaya,
Aananta jug mahe tej rahya

Translation

O Lord, when the era of chaos progressed,
Only light remained.

Ho swamiji, tyre Aadpurush thi Ahunkar (18th),
Ahunkar thi prakash (19th)

Translation

O Lord, thereafter from the formless, proceeded eighteen beings
And from the 18th proceeded pure light

If we recall, the end result of the Matter/Antimatter interaction was energy and Photons. The reference to creation of light in the above verse supports this idea. The symbolism of the next verses provides an important key to the future evolution of the universe and also to the Matter/Antimatter interactions.

Tyre aath lakh Karan madhe sami tame
anant karod dev narayan e nipaya

Translation

During 800,000 Karans my Lord
you gave salvation (narayan e nipaya) to innumerable devas

(One Karan comprises four Yugas = 4.32 Million human years)

It is my belief that salvation above refers to the Matter/Antimatter interaction during which both are destroyed (or liberated from their cosmic bondage). The term Devas (cosmic beings) applies to Matter/Antimatter particles and for a reason which I shall explain in the next verse.

Once the Antimatter destruction drama had played itself out only excess Matter particles remained. Describing this Sayyad Imam Shah says:

Ty re aath lakh karan madhe, sami tame
anant karod Jiva nistarya

Translation

During the ensuing 800,000 Karan,
My Lord you gave life to innumerable souls

This verse is the key to the future of the universe. In the earlier verse, Imam Shah had used the word Devas, referring to cosmic beings that were destroyed and only energy and Photons (light) remained. In the present verse, Imam Shan introduces a totally different concept. He introduces the word Jiva, souls, stating that the Lord created innumerable souls (Jiva nistarya) implying that the ensuing material universe will have “life” eventually take shape through it. The scope of this idea in the future evolution of the universe has far-reaching consequences.

There is a raging debate in the scientific circles about the uniqueness of our galaxy and existence of life on earth. The Weak and the Strong Anthropic Principles [17] suggest that universe is the way it is because we stand on earth and are observing it. In other words, the entire creation from Big Bang onward to the formation of galaxies was only for one purpose — so that life can take root on a planet called earth and man can stand on the earth and say, “I acknowledge you O, Creator of the Universe”. It is for this reason only that this verse of Mul Gayatri is of such significance. The word Jiva originates from Sanskrit Jivas with root jiv – “to breathe” and refers to a living being, or the immortal essence of a living organism (human, animal, fish, plant) which survives physical death. According to Wikipidia, it has the same Indo-European root as the Latin Vivus- “Alive”.

Plasma State

During the early part of creation, Mul Gayatri states that Matter existed as foam or froth (fin). Scientific evidence indicates that during this early period, Matter was in plasma state. In this respect, use of the term foam (fin) is very carefully chosen to represent this plasma state. Foam is essentially a result of a physical process in which a fluid has been churned-up and is highly agitated at high-speed with input of energy. This results in a state in which the fluid composition is altered altogether. Plasma, as we have seen, is matter at high energy level with violent collisions of its atoms, such that atomic bonds are broken and atom particles are in free unstable form.

Describing the stages of atom and molecule formation, Mul Gayatri says that from this plasma foam issued an egg.

Het dhari ne pratham fin upaya
Tyre fin thaki ek ind upaya.

Translation

With Love, the Lord created “foam”
and from “foam” an egg.

Here we witness a unique usage of symbolism. An egg here represents dual concepts. At the micro-cosmic level, it represents the formation of atomic structure from the Plasma State. Figures 4 and 5 show the similarity between an egg and the atom structures. At macro-cosmic level, an egg represents the solar system with sun and the orbiting planets, Figures 5 and 6. With a single symbol of an egg Mul Gayatri manages to convey three very important concepts of our cosmos: The Primeval Atom, The Atom and The Solar System.

Figure 4: An atom

Figure 4: An atom

Figure 5: Anatomy of an egg.

Figure 5: Anatomy of an egg.

The Solar System - Eight Planets and New Solar System Designations. Credit: International Astronomical Union, Website, iau.org.

The Solar System – Eight Planets and New Solar System Designations. Credit: International Astronomical Union, Website, iau.org.

The beauty of Mul Gayatri unfolds as we read deeper into it. Continuing its evolutionary theme, the Ginan says that from this egg, three heavens were formed. These three heavens correspond to the formation of the molecules of hydrogen, helium, and deuterium. As we stated earlier these were the first stable molecules and compounds formed in our universe. All our galaxies are formed from these basic gases and compounds.

Ind fodi tran (three) bhavan rachia
pavan ne adhare medni chaud(fourteen) bhavan

Translation

From the egg, created three heavens….
And gases,
and from these, the Lord created the
fourteen (14 ) spheres.

The fourteen spheres mentioned in the above verse have a correspondence in the concepts of cosmography in pre-Islamic and Islamic Persia as well. There are various works which mention nine, eleven or fourteen heavens. Professor Nasr states: [18]

“The visible world, moreover, consists of eleven heavens: the Primum mobile (falak al-atlas), the heavens of the fixed stars, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury the Moon, the spheres of fires, air, water and earth.”

Thus far I have barely scratched the surface of an area that requires much study. Scientific research in Cosmology and Astrophysics is proceeding at an accelerated pace. Confirmations supporting the Big Bang Theory are coming from many different directions. But with it arise questions: If there was a Big Bang, will the universe end in a big crunch? Or will it continue to expand indefinitely? As science goes back closer and closer to the moment of the Big Bang what will it find? Will the laws of Physics hold? Are there any insights that Ginans could provide? The striking parallels we have found in the Ginans that closely resemble modern Cosmology give hope that these ancient texts may have in them some hidden answers.

Date posted: Sunday, April 20, 2014.
Date updated: Thursday, April 24, 2014 (see author’s note about Mul Gayatri, below)

Copyright: Shiraz Pradhan/Simerg.

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*Author’s note: The verses of Mul Gayatri quoted are not in sequential order. The verses in Mul Gayatri are not numbered. Each verse has an ending “O Swamiji”. Subject matter is organized under sections such as:

1 Aath Lakh Karan ni Utpati
2 Tran Karan na Avtar Patra nu Nam
3 Dhandhukar in Hakikat
4 Aad Kalas Ghat Thanp na ane Shrushti ni Utpati
5 Sat Divas na var Premane shu Upaviyu te Hakikat
6 Tran Dev ni Utpati etc.

The ideas of creation and evolution of the universe in Mul Gayatri is not sequential as in modern Cosmology. Each section has a measure of time which at times does not match the preceding or the succeeding section. Additionally the subject matter is interspersed between above various sections. For example in the 1st section, Aath Lakh Karn ni Utpati, it describes a long time scale during which innumerable Devas were destroyed and then innumerable Jiva’s were created, which lays the foundation of future evolution of the universe. Later in sections 2 and 3, it describes the various phase of the evolution of the Atomic and the Galactic Era. The creation of the 18 entities, which we have interpreted to represent the creation of the Quarks, is described in Section 3. The force decoupling is described much later in Section 6, under Tran Dev ni Utpati.

Shiraz Pradhan

Shiraz Pradhan

About the author: Shiraz Pradhan (B.Sc. MSME, C.Eng, Fellow I. Mech. E) is an international engineering consultant who has contributed to several engineering textbooks and engineering publications and has been awarded patents. In parallel, he has continued his ties with religious education (RE), teaching RE classes in UK, Canada, USA and Japan and delivering special lectures on the extracts of his Ilm contributions, especially The Inner Journey, Die before you Die and Man in the Universe.

Pradhan’s current interests cover a broader spectrum of Islamic and Ismaili thoughts and studies of other religions. He is concluding the script of a full-length play of the 10th Century trial of the Sufi Saint Mansur al-Hallaj in Baghdad based on historical facts. This trial was a cause célèbre in Islam which shook the foundations of the Abbasid Empire and resulted in the death by decapitation of this upright and pious Muslim. The other areas of his interest include the synthesis of the Khoja Ginanic tradition with the broader Ismaili philosophy and theology, the preservation of its gayki (singing) tradition, the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Early Christianity and the Vedanta.

Other articles by Shiraz Pradhan on this website:

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References

  1. Isaac Newton and God, Wikipedia.
  2. Brief History of Time, Dr. Stephen Hawking, Bantam Books, New York.
  3. The Grand Design, Dr. Stephen Hawking.
  4. Rig Veda, Hymn CXXIX, by Ralph T. H Griffith.
  5. Left Hand of Creation, Page 7, J.D. Barrow et.al, Basic Books, New York.
  6. Macleans’s, May 4th ,1992, vol. 105, No. 18, Toronto.
  7. Cosmic Inflation, BBC report by science correspondent J. Amos, March 17, 2014.
  8. The Deep Space, Pages 156-158, C. A. Ronan, New York.
  9. The Moment of Creation, Pages 118-122, J. S. Trefil, New York.
  10. Ibid. Page 68.
  11. Left Hand of Creation, Page 91, J. D. Barrow et al., Basic Books, New York.
  12. The Moment of Creation, Page 34, J. S. Trefil, New York.
  13. Deep Space, Pages 180-181, C. A. Ronan, New York.
  14. Time Concept in the Vedas, Wikipedia.
  15. Pir Sadardin’s Ginans, Published by Ismaila Association for India.
  16. Mul Gayatri, by Sayyad Imam Shah, published by Ismailia Association, Bombay.
  17. Weak and Strong Anthropic Principles, Wikipedia.
  18. Cosmography in Pre-Islamic and Islamic Persia, Presented on the occasion of the Foundation of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great, Tehran , 1971.

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23 thoughts on “Concepts of Modern Cosmology and Astrophysics in Two Ismaili Ginans, Choghadia and Mul Gayatri

  1. This is extremely inspiring and interesting to see the vedic philosophy reflected in our ginans (which comes from sanskrit word Gnan – knowledge). I’m quite familiar with the Vedas and the Brahma & Shiva consciousness, yuga (we are in Kala yuga now-apparently) etc. Our religion has had a big influence from our Indian ancestry and interlacing faith, science and spirituality is so beautiful to see. If only we were taught all this in baytul-ilm, not only from a devotional point of view but also from a scientific one. Thanks a lot for all your research and sharing this incredible wealth of information.

  2. I am very inspired by information contained in this post by Shiraz Pradhan. Just on Saturday night I was able to attend the last part of Ginans – Musical Journey through the Ages. Two people recited the Chogadiya with such eloquence in London at the annual event I have never been able to attend before. This article is indeed a rare gift from Simerg which raises our awareness of the writer Shiraz Pradhan with his profound knowledge. Thank you.

  3. Mr. Somji, the concepts of FTL (Faster than Light) and space travel/aging are fascinating subjects. At present time cutting edge science is also conjecturing on many aspects of these subjects. It would be difficult to comment in a few line on these complex topics and hence I am planning a future paper on these subjects and am currently researching Ginanic Literature and other areas for supporting information.

  4. I am speechless. Thank you for this great article; more of this needs to come forth and “unearthed” from within our illustrious ginans. Thank you again!!

    • Thank you so much Mr. Shiraz Pradhan. I, and I’m sure many others, long/hunger for more of this, as I’m of a generation that unfortunately cannot understand the language of the ginans, directly, but have been deeply fascinated by their connection to cosmology… I look forward to reading more of your posts/articles on this subject. Thanks again!

      • Mr. Shiraz, what is your take on the speed of light: as in, is there something in our universe that would allow the exceeding of the speed of light (I was careful not to mention merely matter)? Secondly, in your research, do the Ginans point to anything that may/would suggest that we will be able to leave our Solar system, and successfully travel to other galaxies? [I asked the first question, because, undoubtedly to me, the second question would hinge on it, in some way or form, I’d think]. I ask this, putting aside, the obvious conundrum of “aging” and how we’d possibly survive such travel, given our current understanding of space-time (ie. via special-relatively). My curiosity is further heightened, because of the relatively recent discoveries of many ‘Goldilocks’ planets just within our galaxy alone (and this number is growing!)… I look forward to your response and insights.

  5. This is a fascinating and a thought-provoking article. I am impressed with the way the author has presented the historical development, evolution and key components of our universe and the parallels between knowledge from modern science and our ginans. I sometimes wonder if there is only one “universe”!

    • The idea of multiple universes has been in existence for many decades. But in the last thirty years it has become scientifically more established with many leading scientists in a favour of such a concept. In parallel, concepts of multidimensional universe, and multidimensional microgravity have also become more established. Dr. Hawking in his books “The Universe in a Nut Shell” talks at length about multi Brane universe in which we may be living a multidimensional universe with a shadow parallel universe which may share our gravity etc. There are some ginans that hint at such things albeit not in scientific terms.

  6. Shiraz – Ya Ali Madad – fascinating stuff – great fodder for my Snr BUI class (16-18yrs) & the Youth (Kampala Jamatkhana!!, Sat nites) – I always cite sources & give due credit to authors in my presentations – may u always be blessed to execute this vital dissemination.
    Karim N.J. Mawji (Saifu’s brother)

  7. What a great effort! We know that we who belong to the Ismaili tariqah are blessed with wonderful esoteric and spiritual Alim ‘Ginan’. Thanks for sharing this nice article which also speaks about where science stands right now.

  8. Shiraz bhai thanks for your splendid comparison of the ginanic facts with the modern science. In your last comment in response to a question by Ismaili Gnosis you said that matter/antimatter annihilation produces light. I just wondered whether you can contextualize that with the aspect of the light (Nur) of Imamat, perhaps if not in a brief answer then through an article in the future. Thank you.

    • It is a fascinating idea, that of Light (photon, nur). After a century of research/debates by some of the best minds of science, the nature of photon is barely understood. As science continues to penetrate deeper into the nature of matter we may be able to bridge the dichotomy between science and religion and have better understanding of Light in the material sense and in the spiritual sense.

  9. We err when we try to describe the beginning of things. The beginning cannot be imagined since how can one have a mental image of nothing? Remember, both space and time were created at the moment of the Big Bang. No shape, no empty space, nohing to expand into or out of. It is not as though there was a very small thing (a point-like thing) into which everything that became the universe was jammed. The most likely answer is that there exists a non-substance, call it spirit if you will, that has no mass, shape or dimension, but which inhers in the universe, and in some way interacts with matter. This will not please many people, but I merely suggest it as a possibility.

    • Dean I agree with you. Planck Era is the limit at which science has a very rough idea of how universe looked or behaved. Research is now trying to punch through this limit and relativity and quantum mechanics are trying to merge with a concept of quantum gravity or micro gravity and Theory of Everything (TOE). What will we find when we approach and or cross the limit of Planck Time. Will we cross into Negative Time i.e look at events before the Big Bang? Will it change our perception of science and religion? Roger Penrose in Shadow of the Mind has already introduced the possibility of non-computational aspect in human mind which is not mimicked by computational algorithm and it is this non-substance which you are referring to. It is this aspect of human mind that comprehends truths.

  10. As always a deeper rendition of a complex subject which is generally beyond comprehension. Thank you Shirazbhai, the author, and Malik, the editor of this blog. Wonder what all this would mean to those who do not understand the ginanic language. May you keep us informed of this priceless depth of ginans. Thank you.

  11. Thank you Shiraz bhai for sharing your knowledge on the resemblance of ginan with modern day science. We are sure that you just have scratched the surface of the ginans infinite hidden knowledge, which has many pearls hidden in its womb and is impossible to put in words, because spirituality is an experience which cannot be expressed in words. Modern day science is capable to look trillions of miles in galaxy, but when it comes to oceans of the earth just few miles deep its technology fails. In esoteric traditions, including the Ismaili tariqah, if you want to find the truth you have to look within your self. Looking outward is very easy but looking inward requires lots of patience and spiritual understanding which is not possible without a true guide. Once again thank you and keep enlightening us with more such articles.

  12. Dear Shiraz,

    Thank you very much for this enlightening and fascinating article.

    In this article you mention the 18 types of quarks and correlate these to the 18 entities or beings that are called Nil, Anil, Sun, San, Gnan, Nur, Tej, Jan, Kamal, Kadam, etc.

    These 18 names were recited in the Old Du’a and Ghat Pat Du’a as part of the lineage of Imams before Hazrat Adam and the 10 avataras. Do you have any comments on that? Does the Gayatri Ginan refer to these 18 as the Imams or manifestations of Light? Thank you.

    • In the context of Mul Gayatri, the time periods involved are enormous, extending over billions of years, hence it not possible to comment if these names refer to the Imams. What Mul Gayatri tells us is that the earth (galaxy) was formed after a long time had elapsed from the origin (shunkal). And the galaxy formation commenced only after the 17th of the entity, namely Aad Purush was in existence and from Aad Purush proceeded another being, Aahunkar, which was 18th entity. From Aahunkar proceeded Prakash. And here is the difficulty of interpretation: Prakash could mean Light, or it could be a proper name of another entity. Cosmology tells us that during the matter/antimatter annihilation phase, only Tej (Prakash), light remained. The important point from Mul Gayatri is that our galaxy and solar system were not formed until the 18 entities had laid the foundation of our material universe.

  13. Simerg’s effort and dedication are always deeply appreciated. Insightful and startling article by Shiraz Pradhan especially to those of us who know so little about our ginanic literature.

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