Shri Datta Swami

You are here: Jnana Saraswati | For-Intellectuals | Advanced Discourses

What Exactly is the Subtle Cosmic Energy?

Posted on: 24 Oct 2018
O Learned and Devoted Servants of God,

Dr. Nikhil asked: “The term ‘subtle cosmic energy’ has been mentioned several times by You. You have also mentioned another term ‘inert energy’. In what way is the subtle cosmic energy different from inert energy? It would be greatly helpful if the adjectives ‘subtle’, ‘cosmic’ and ‘inert’ are clearly defined. As per physics, there is only ‘energy’; there is nothing such as subtle or gross energy. If the adjective 'inert' is used to indicate that it is not aware, then as per physics, it is unnecessary. Physicists never assume energy to be aware; energy is always inert for them.

But as per Indian philosophy, energy is called ‘tejas. Indian philosophers, define subtle and gross forms of energy (tejas). A similar issue exists in the context of space. Space is called aakaasha or vyoma. But the scriptures mention a parama vyoma, which could be translated as ‘supreme space’ or 'subtle space'. This distinction between subtle and gross, in Indian philosophy, is related to the process of panchiikaranam (grossification). The subtle five elements are also called the tanmaatras (apanchiikrit). They undergo grossification (panchiikaranam), by mixing in the proportion 50:12.5:12.5:12.5:12.5 to form the gross five elements (panchiikrit). So is Your terminology of subtle cosmic energy related to the process of grossification of the subtle five elements? Could You kindly explain the terms in the correct sense as used by You.”

Swami Replied:  The process of panchiikaranam mentioned in the ancient Indian texts on logic is not accepted by science. Energy when condensed, becomes matter. Matter consists of subatomic particles, which in turn form atoms and molecules. These materialized particles (atoms or molecules) on becoming close appear as gas (air). The same particles upon coming closer appear as liquid (water) and on becoming even closer, appear as solid (earth). Energy with frequencies in the lower visible range is gross energy. It has been called as tejas (fire) in Indian philosophy. Energy in the highest frequency range is called as subtle energy. In the electromagnetic spectrum, as the frequency increases, we say that we are proceeding from the gross state to the subtle state. For instance, X-rays and gamma rays are subtler than the visible range even though these rays can be viewed through instruments.

Space is the subtlest form of energy, occupying the topmost place in the spectrum. It is so subtle that even scientists mistake it to be the absence of anything. Einstein says that this space disappears when matter and energy are absent. But it is not correct. We mean to say that space is not ‘nothing’ since ‘nothing’ neither appears nor disappears. In other words, we are saying that space is ‘something’; it is energy. Space is generating galaxies made of matter and energy. I have used the words gross and subtle only in the sense of science and not in the sense of ancient logic. Logic is not a divine scripture; whether it is old or modern. Within logic, I only prefer the modern logic, which is science, since it has experimental evidence.

Awareness is also a specific work-form of energy. It is produced only when energy functions in a specific device called as the nervous system. Of course, in a broader sense, matter too could be considered to be a form of energy. But matter is clearly different from energy. So there is no need to distinguish matter from energy by using an adjective. On the other hand, awareness is very much a form of energy. It is nervous energy. But it is very different from any other form of energy in its function of knowing or sensing. Thus, there is a need to distinguish between energy and awareness. Hence, I have used the adjectives inert and non-inert. Thus, we have inert energy and non-inert awareness. The subtlest inert energy, which is space, forms this entire cosmos. Hence, I have also referred to space as cosmic energy. It is with this logic in the background, that I have used these terms. It is good that you have asked for the explanation of these words. It brings more clarity in a scientific way.

If you go to the basic background of the Creator and creation, the Creator (Parabrahman) is the absolute unimaginable truth. With reference to Him, this creation is the relative truth, which is imaginable to us. The relative truth is unreal with reference to the Absolute Truth. Therefore, the Absolute Truth (God) is able to create, modify or destroy the relative truth. If the creation were also another absolute truth, then one absolute truth could not make any change in another equally absolute truth. It is this very concept which people have missed in understanding the philosophy of Shankara. People mistook creation to be unreal for the soul. Actually, creation is the relative truth only with respect to the absolute God. The soul is a tiny part of that same relative truth called creation. So, how could creation possibly be unreal for the soul? Creation is indeed real for the soul since both are basically unreal with reference to the absolute God! Unreal is unreal with reference to the real. But the same unreal is real with reference to another unreal.

Creation, which is the relative truth, is also real for the mediated God (Incarnation). The absolute God is unimaginable. But He cannot be perceived or even imagined. So He enters a medium. The medium is composed of the constituents of creation. In the upper world, God’s Incarnations are composed only of energy and awareness while on earth, God’s Human Incarnations are composed of matter, energy and awareness. The medium of God, like the rest of creation, is the relative truth. Since souls in creation can only perceive the mediated God, the mediated God Himself can be considered as the absolute God. Even in the mediated God, souls can only perceive the medium; the unimaginable God in it, can never be perceived.

In the context of this mediated God and creation, there can be two points of view. The first one is the soul’s point of view and the second is the point of view of the unimaginable God. From the soul’s point of view, Ramanuja and Madhva said that creation is also another equal truth with reference to God. By God, they meant Lord Narayana, who is the mediated God. It means that within the relative reality, the medium of God (mediated God) and creation stand as two equally true entities from the point of view of the soul.

From the second point of view, only the absolute unimaginable God present in the Incarnation is considered to be real. All of creation and even the medium of the mediated God become unreal with reference to that absolute God, who has merged in the medium. This is the point of view of the unimaginable God, which was explained by Shankara. Thus, the philosophies of the three divine preachers, Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva, can be correlated by understanding the correct point of view adopted by each of them.

What I intend to say is that space has equal status with the other four elements. I appreciate the ancient logic, which says that space is made of ‘atoms’. Since space is the subtlest energy, ‘atoms’ here, mean quanta of energy, representing the particle-nature of energy. Space alone should not be taken to be unreal (nothing), while accepting the existence of the other four elements. If space is unreal, the other four elements are also simultaneously unreal, making the whole creation unreal. But that is the case only with reference to the absolute unimaginable God.

Space is also not relatively true with reference to the other four elements. We cannot say that if other four elements disappear, space must also disappear. The existence of space does not depend on the existence of the other four elements. God created space as the first element. At that time, the other four elements did not exist at all! Space existed without the other four elements. When the Veda says that God created subtle energy or space, the word tejas was used to indicate energy. Here, tejas can also mean subtle energy, because the difference between gross visible energy and subtle energy is only the frequency and not any difference related to its content. Similarly, God can dissolve the four elements and keep space alone in existence, which is the state of absolute vacuum. Therefore, space need not disappear when all this matter and energy disappear. Hence, space is basically a relative truth with reference to the absolute God, like the other four elements. It is not relatively true with reference to the other four elements, depending on them for its existence.

The Absolute God is the Unimaginable Domain and creation is the imaginable domain. The Unimaginable Domain is unknown and unknowable. It is unknown in the past and present and it is also unknowable in the future. The imaginable domain is further sub-divided into the known and knowable sub-divisions. The known sub-division is that which is known from the past and at present. The knowable sub-division is that which is unknown at present, but which can be known in the future. The frequency of space-energy comes into the second sub-division of the imaginable domain. Being the first created item, it is part of the imaginable creation.


Browser Compatibility: Firefox, Opera, Safari, Chrome and IE10+ on all Desktops, Mobiles and Tablets

Visitor Statistics

free hit counters

Copyright: © 2003–2019 Shri Datta Swami