The Cosmic Dance of Shiva

One of the driving forces in the universe is the second law of thermodynamics, called entropy. From the Big Bang until today, we are in the midst of the gigantic explosion. And we are part of it.

Because its scale is too extreme, we cannot sense it as the explosion. The reality, however, is that everything in the universe was one Singularity around 17 centimenters in 10-35 seconds, becoming the spacetime scale of around 13.8 billion light-years, which is still continuously expanding possibly more than 46.1 billion light-years and beyond.

Can we call it the evolution of the universe? This question is tricky.

If such evolution is one irreversible direction from primitiveness to sophistication, it looks like against the entropy increase.

For example, as entropy increasing, one orderly arranged room will get messy. Or, a drop of milk will spread around in a cup of coffee. On the other hand, we also see certain sophistication as a result of this progressive explosion.

Life is indeed one of such excellent products. And life’s consciousness could be another product towards what we could call cosmic consciousness; the universe sees itself.

It seems there are two directions in the universe.

One is the entropy increase from order to chaos. The other is the entropy decrease from disorder to order. Why could we see two directions?

One reason could be that both directions are still from our inter-subjective perspectives. Both are still in a tautology of “what we see is what we see.”

In theoretical physics, the driving forces in the universe are ahistorical. While it sounds counterintuitive, in physics, we can’t distinguish the differences among the past, present, and future.

What we see is one constant expansion from the past Big Bang to the current universe to the future. There is no way for us (for physics) to determine which could be the past, present, and future, except for a stream of numeric variables, which we conventionally call it “time.”

There is one explosion and direction. And this change is ahistorical. While we could say the Big Bang took place 13.8 billion years ago, this time scale could also be a distant scale of 13.8 billion light-years away. Both space and time are the same, called spacetime.

Beyond our perception, therefore, such spacetime could be one whole entity of no-boundary. Beyond space and time, being spaceless and timeless, it could be the Whole, the One, and the Emptiness.

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Revelation 1:8

If so, what is history? What is our historical sense of the past, present, and future?

Put it bluntly, it could be merely one of our inter-subjective perspectives. It is the way and manifestation that we see the universe and the world. As it is inter-subjective, we can perceive and experience as these two directions.

Let us see our human intervention, for example. On the one hand, we can see it as an entropy increase, which destroys an orderly arranged sophistication into random chaos. On the other, however, we can also see it as what decreases entropy keeping and creating more diversified elegance.

Provocatively, some environmentalists call us humans as “cancer cells” in the globe, destroying the natural environments. To save the world, we would even say that we must disappear from this world. The universe could go back to normal without humans.

Conversely, some evolutionists call us humans as a “pinnacle.” From minerals to living organisms to intelligent consciousness (from self to collective to cosmic), and beyond, we humans are even one of the critical steps for the evolving universe towards the Omega Point.

The truth is that we see the universe from both perspectives and their interactions.

We sense the world with both destruction and creation. Whether increasing or decreasing, entropy is one of the key aspects of how we see ourselves historically in this world and the universe.

With this series of interplays, we sense the historical manifestations. Beyond them, trascending them, it is spaceless and timeless, embracing both Alpha and Omega; just out there; at the same time, far away, and yet contemplatively Being here.

That is the way we see our history.

Hinduism describes these manifestations of our history in such a way that Shiva (Nataraja, नटराज) performs the ecstatic dance (Ananda Tandava, आनन्द ताण्डव), which is called the Cosmic Dance of Shiva.

Such interplay represents the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death with a pictorial allegory of the five manifestations:

  • Creation, evolution (Srishti, सृष्टि)
  • Preservation, support (Sthiti, स्थिति)
  • Destruction, evolution (Samhara, संहार)
  • Illusion (Tirodhana, तिरोधान)
  • Release, emancipation, grace (Anugraha, अनुग्रह)

Such manifestations are the image of Shiva’s rhythmic play, which is the source of all movements within the universe, which is within the circular frame surrounding Shiva. Entropy is increasing and decreasing as an illusory historical perspective, which is within the eternity of Shiva’s Cosmic Dance.

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