The circumference is moving with such a tremendous speed away from the center, and this activity has been going on since endless time. Moreover, scientists are unable to determine that moment of time when this journey must have started, when the seed must have put out its first sprout in the process of becoming the tree. Nor can we say anything about the end of this journey. Science is in a great dilemma today, because it is inconceivable where and why the phenomenon of the expanding universe should end. There is no possibility of its stopping, because that would require some other impediment to its progress. Suppose I throw a stone; if it does not meet with any obstruction it will stop nowhere. But some obstruction comes up – it may strike against a tree. If it does not strike against a tree it is striking the air, and gravitation of the earth attracts it all the time. As the impetus given by my hand weakens, the gravitational force pulls it down. But if there is no gravitational pull and no obstruction in the way, a stone thrown by me, or even by a small child, will stop nowhere, because there is nothing to stop it.
Where will this universe of ours – this manifest brahman – which is constantly expanding, stop? There must be some obstruction, some impediment, to stop it. But where will the impediment come from? Everything is within it, nothing is outside it. What is, is part and parcel of manifest brahman. So there can be no impediment. Where can it stop? How can it stop? Will it go on expanding? Both Einstein and Planck, who did a great deal of research work around this theory, were baffled by it. At their wits’ ends, they finally had to leave it a mystery. No cause, no obstruction, is conceivable that can stop it, and yet its nonstopping seems inconceivable. If it goes on expanding in this manner, a day may come when stars will be so far away from one another that one star cannot be seen from another star.
But the Upanishads talk about this phenomenon from quite a different and strange perspective, and it should be understood properly. If not today, then in the future, scientists will have to work from that perspective. But up to now it has not been the way of reasoning in the West, and there is a reason for this: the whole of Western science has developed from Greek philosophy. It stands on the foundations of Greek philosophy, and one of Greek philosophy’s basic beliefs is that time travels in a straight line. This belief has led Western science into great difficulty. Indian philosophy thinks about this in a vastly different way.
Indian philosophy says all motions are circular. No motion can be in a straight line. Understand this by an illustration. A child is born, grows up and then grows old. If we asked a Greek philosopher to explain this, he would reply that a straight line could be drawn between the child and the old man to explain this happening. The Indian philosopher would reject this and say a circle should be drawn between the child and the old man because in his last days the old man reaches that condition in which he began as a child. It is a circle. Hence it is no great surprise if old people are found behaving like children. It is not a straight line but a circle that joins childhood and old age. Youth is the midpoint of that circle, it is the zenith. When youth is over, the life journey begins to return to its starting point. It is like the revolving of seasons. The Indian conception of time is a circle, like the revolving of the seasons. Summer, the rainy season and winter follow one another in a circle. In the same way morning follows evening and evening follows morning. It is a circle.
The wise men of the East believe that all movements are circular. The earth revolves, seasons revolve, the sun, the moon and the stars move round and round. Every movement is circular, no movement is straight. Life moves in a circle. And the expanding universe, too, moves in a circle. Suppose a child remains young; then a difficulty will arise. Where will its being young end? Where will life stop if it goes on expanding and does not return to the point of death?