Mind Creates Space

This definitely seems counter intuitive, but it is true the mind creates space. Let us try and understand this.

Science tells us that the age of the universe is 13.7 billion years old. This event is called the Big Bang. Using powerful telescopes scientists are hoping to peer into the past to see the beginning 13.7 billion years back. In order to do so the photon will have to travel a long way to reach us. The size of the universe will be the distance traveled by the photon from the big bang. This is the outer limit, because there was no universe before the big bang.

So, the size of the universe: 13.7 billion light years or 12.9 x 1025 meters. One light year is the amount of distance light travels in one year, which is = 9.46 × 1015 meters

If you assume the universe is 13.7 billion years old ‘right now’. After one second, the age of the universe will be 13.7 billion years + 1 sec. The photon now has to travel an additional 186,000 miles to reach us, which means the size of the universe has grown by 186,000 miles. After 10 seconds, the size of the universe would increase by 186,000 x 10 = 1,860,000 miles. After one year from now, the size of the universe will increase by 1 light year. 1 light year is the distance light travels in one year.

From the above, we can conclude that the Rate of expansion of the Universe = 1 light year per year.

So, as long as time flows, the expansion of the universe will continue at the speed of light. The expansion of the universe is directly related to the amount of time which has elapsed. The expansion of the universe will come to an end only when time comes to an end. When will that happen? No one seems to know this. According to Vedanta, time will come to an end when the nominated karmas for this life cycle of the universe are exhausted.

One interesting and very important conclusion one can make from this discussion is that the space we see around us is created by time. We saw that as time moves forward, the size of the universe increases. We understand what space is, it is visible, and we can experience it. What about time? Time cannot be seen, it is not visible, but it can be experienced – it is subtle. Anything subtle must be a mental event created by the mind, because the mind is also subtle. Mind creates time, and time creates space, therefore it is only logical to conclude that the Mind creates Space. In other words, the space time fabric is created by the mind itself. Mind is the underlying reality of the space time fabric.

Who is the Observer?

‘I’ is a pronoun and it can stand by itself. This standalone ‘I’ does not need to be connected to anything internal (mind) or external (body), it is self sufficient and independent. This ‘I’ is your true Self. In Vedanta it is called Atma. The main role of the ‘I’ or Atma is to observe what happens in your mind and we know the mind is full of activity. This “I” is just a Observer and it never influences, neither it is affected by what is happening in the mind. It is like a witnessing a movie which is running in your mind. Though in real life a sad movie can make someone cry, but in this case the Atma is never affected by the movie running in the mind. The Atma is the Subject or Observer and everything which is happening in your mind is the Object or Observed.

According to the scriptures the nature of this Atma or ‘I’ is ‘Sat Chit Ananda’. In reality it is impossible to know the Atma. The Atma is not an object or thing to be known, it is the Subject which observes things or objects. If you think about it, it is only logical nothing can be known of the Observer. Therefore according to the scriptures ‘Sat Chit Ananda’ is not an adjective for Atma, but it only indicates or points towards the essential nature of the Atma. Let us now discuss what we mean by ‘Sat Chit Ananda’.

Sat: Sat means Real. If you look up any dictionary you will get a wide variety of meaning for ‘real’. This dictionary meaning is not good for understanding ‘Sat’. According to Vedanta, for anything to be Sat, it must exist and be present in all the 3 tenses – past, present and future. If you look into nature, you will not find anything which is Sat.

  • This universe was born 13.7 billion years ago and therefore it did not exist before that, so it cannot be Sat, also we know if anything is born it must die. So Sat must be unborn and anything which is unborn must be uncreated (to make it existent forever).
  • Everything which is born must have a cause. You were born because of your parents and they were born because of their parents. Since Sat is unborn it is also uncaused. No cause created it, it was, and it will be always present.
  • If anything changes in anyway small, e.g. (atoms have been displaced) or big, e.g. (planetary positions are different), it is not the same as what it was before. Therefore it cannot be Sat, because Sat is unchanging.

Atma or ‘I” is Sat and it is uncreated, uncaused and unchanging.

Chit: Chit means Awareness. Many books will also translate this as Consciousness, but I feel this is not very accurate. When the mind comes into contact with this Chit or Awareness that mind becomes Conscious. The essential nature of Atma is Awareness. This Awareness has no edge or boundary, it is limitless. Basically it is everywhere and everything in the universe is Awareness, or full of awareness. There cannot be a single spot or area where this Awareness is not present. To visualize this, look at the sun’s rays, which is everywhere in the solar system.

If you look at Awareness more closely, you will realize Awareness must always have two elements.

  1. If you are aware, then there should be someone who is aware. Awareness needs a subject
  2. To be aware, there must be some type of object of which you are aware of. Awareness needs an object

Subject and object are needed to complete the Awareness process. Usually Subject and Object are separate, but in Chit there is no separate subject and object, Chit is always Self Aware, it is aware of its awareness (it is witnessing its awareness). It is both the subject and object rolled in one. Chit is therefore self sufficient and complete. Due to ignorance, the subject and object become separate. This is what it seems for an ignorant person.

Here is an appropriate quote from Nisargadatta Maharaj, an Indian sage who explains the difference between Awareness and Consciousness

“Awareness is primordial; it is the original state, beginningless, endless, uncaused, and unsupported, without parts, without change. Consciousness is on contact, a reflection against a surface, a state of duality. There can be no consciousness without awareness, but there can be awareness without consciousness, as in deep sleep. Awareness is absolute, consciousness is relative to its content; consciousness is always of something. Consciousness is partial and changeful; awareness is total, changeless, calm and silent. And it is the common matrix of every experience.” (from “I Am That”, chapter 11)

Like the sun which glows, the Chit also glows with Awareness and is present everywhere. Anything which comes in touch with Chit becomes Conscious. Because the objects become conscious, only then Atma or ‘I’ can witness these objects. Anything you witness in this world is because those objects become “conscious” – because of the light of Atma or your true nature.

Ananda: Your essential nature is Ananda or Bliss. This term can be confusing because we do get momentary bliss in our day to day lives and this is not the Ananda we are talking about. Basically there are two types of Ananda or bliss

  • Vishesha Ananda This is the bliss or happiness we get from objects. We know and experience this bliss, it is momentary and it comes and goes. Vedanta has a complete explanation how this process works, but this is not the place to discuss this.
  • Swarupa Ananda: Swarupa Ananda means your essential nature is Ananda or Bliss. We saw earlier that the Chit is both the Subject and Object. This means ‘I’ is complete and full; it is self sufficient and does not need anything else. This condition of completeness and fullness gives ‘I’ continuous and unbroken Ananda or Bliss. The reason we do not experience this type of bliss on a continuous basis is because we have forgotten who we are, due to our ignorance. This ignorance creates a separation between subject and object. This duality is source of our unhappiness.


The ‘I’ is the Observer to what is going on in our minds. This ‘I’ is our essential nature and it is Uncreated, Uncaused and Unchanging. It is also Self Aware, it is Limitless and Blissful.

For a complete analysis, please read the article ‘I Am ……..’

Who Creates the Universe?

The observer is the one who creates the universe. This seems to be a radical idea. Actually it is not. Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity completely supports the idea that every observer creates their own space/time framework.

The Theory of Special Relativity deals with Space and Time. It is based on the fact that the speed of light is fixed at 186,000 miles per second irrespective of the frame of reference. We all experience relative speed. Going in a car at 60mph, we look into another car traveling in the same direction at 55mph, and we see things inside the other car because the relative speed is only 5mph. We don’t have this experience with reference to the speed of light. Light is travelling at 186,000 miles per sec and suppose you are traveling in a car at 60% of the speed of light. Sitting in the car, you would logically expect the light to travel at only 40% of its usual speed, but if you take measurements you will find to your amazement that light is still travelling at 186k miles per sec. What has happened is that space has contracted and has shrunk so that light still covers 186K miles in one second. If you increase the speed of the car to 80% of speed of light, space will further contract. If you now slow down to 30% of the speed of light, space will now expand. All this done to done to ensure that the speed of light is a constant at 186,000 miles per sec.

This expansion and contraction of space also happens even when walking or running. However, the speed at which you walk or run is so slow when compared to the speed of light that you are unable to notice, but the changes to the space time framework are definitely occurring.

The important take away point from this discussion is that any observer (a person) creates their own space/time framework. Person A is sitting in a chair, Person B is walking, Person C is running, Person D is cycling and Person E is driving a car; all of them are moving at different speeds; this would mean that each of them will have their own separate and independent space/time framework. This has been scientifically proven.


If there are 7billion human beings on Earth, each of them have their own time/space framework and will create their own universe within this frame work. There is not one universe out there but 7 billion universes; though any observer can see only their own self created universe.

This entire universe is based on relative motion, as we just cannot find anything which is fixed. We are walking on earth; the earth is moving around the sun, the sun is moving in the Milky Way. The Milky Way is moving further away from other galaxies. Where are the fixed (0,0) coordinates to make an absolute measurement of space?

Since each human being creates their own time/space framework, the (x=0, y=0, z=0, t=0) definitely has to within the person itself. This is usually the real Observer within each person. Who is this Observer? You will find details in the articles published in this web sites

The theory of special relativity clearly shows that each observer has their own time/space framework and since this true it is only logical to extend this by saying that the universe with its content is also created by the observer. Therefore the observer within you creates the universe ‘out there’.


Are Photons Overrated?

Science has taught us that the light is reflected from any object in this universe that we observe, and travels to the retina in our eye. There are 120 millions rods which are sensitive to black and white and there are about 7 millions cones which are sensitive to color. These rod and cones convert the incoming light into an optical signal. This optical signal is transmitted to the visual cortex in the human brain. This is the end of the journey of the perception process. There is no explanation as to what happens to the optical signal and how the brain decodes the optical signal and reconstructs our visual world. Science also never tells who is at home within the brain who finally sees the reconstructed visual image. Who is final observer of this image? I guess this idea of the final observer has always been outside the bounds of science because there is no way to empirically record the observer’s existence. Anything “subjective” is discarded in the scientific world.

Besides the lack of understanding of the observer and what happens in the mind/brain in the reconstruction of the outside world, there is this unanswered question – does the incoming light reflected from objects have the capacity to generate the awareness of those objects? It would seem this reflected light is our only connection with the outside word. We are aware of all the objects both far and near only because of this reflected light. I think this asking too much from reflected light (photons) alone. Here are some reasons:

  1. If you look at a far away star, the light traveling from there can take a long time. For Star A which is 10 light years away, the photon has to start traveling 10 years back so that it can hit the retina in our eye now to make Star A visible. Now we turn around and try and see Star B, which is 1 million light years away, that photon would need to start its journey 1 million years back so it is available to our eyes. This is a long journey for the photon passing through space containing dark matter, galaxies, and planets. The photon has to keep its purity of wavelength and energy level. Now if you can imagine millions of people spread over many different galaxies looking at the same stars at the same time, different photons from Star A and B should also travel from the past to the present to reach these millions of viewers. It would seem these photons from anywhere in the universe are available to viewers everywhere on demand and that too instantaneously. This makes you wonder- is there is a limit on the number of photons the reflected light can generate from the object which has to be viewed?
  2. We know light is made up of different colors and each of the colors has a different wavelength. When we pass light with these colors through a prism (basically from one medium to another), the wavelengths for each color bend differently and we see the rainbow effect on the other side of the prism. Light breaks up and moves in scattered directions. It is more than likely the light coming from distant objects will pass through different media which only means the photons of different colors will scatter and move in different directions. The probability of scattering is much higher if the light has to travel from stars which are light years away. If this is really happening what is the accuracy of the photons reaching the human eye? Is it really representing the objects accurately? I do not think science really discusses this and it is taken for granted that the photons reaching us from distant objects are an accurate representation.
  3. Another critical question is – how can the photon accurately represent the distance and time it has travelled? The object could be close by or a distant star. Quantum physics tells us these particles are continuously destroyed to become other particles and then they combine once again to become a photon. Such a dance is going on continuously. Keeping this dance in mind, there is no way to know which photon has traveled how far to reach the human eye. As of now there is no indication that the photon has some sort of memory to know from which object it has come and the distance it has travelled. There are millions of photons hitting the rods and cones in the retina, but there is no way to know which photon comes from which object and how much distance it has traveled. If this critical information is lacking, it is impossible for the eye to reproduce the image we are trying to perceive.
  4. You could say that this is perhaps unknown to science – the photon does have memory to know the distance it has travelled. If so, how does it transfer this distance data to the retina? The retina in turn must add the data regarding distance into the optical signal being sent to the brain. Only this way, the brain can reconstruct the visual image accurately.

Science is completely silent about this and there is no evidence that all this is actually happening. All the above arguments show it’s just not very clear how we really perceive. What science tells us so far is full of problems and shortcomings.

For all the reasons mentions, I think photons are overrated for its importance to the perception process.

Read the article ‘Real Perception Process’  to undertand how the actual percption process works. This is based on the teaching of Vedanta.