Self-Awareness is a term used often in Vedanta. This term is synonymous with SatChitAnanda or Brahman. Self-Awareness is our innermost core and is the substratum of the universe. In fact, it is not wrong to say that everything in the universe depends on our innermost core. Black holes are a hot topic and the focus of many studies and discussions among the scientific community. New information and new data about black holes are continuously being discovered and presented.
So, what is the connection between Self-Awareness and black holes? On the face of it, it does seem that there is no direct connection. Black holes fall in the realm of science, while Self-Awareness falls in the realm of spirituality. That is the purpose of this essay, to substantiate the connection. We will show that black holes depend on Self-Awareness; in fact, Self-Awareness is the ultimate or the first black hole. Comparing some of the common properties between the two, one can easily conclude that Self-Awareness is a type of black hole. So, let us move forward to prove this hypothesis. We will divide this essay as follows:
1. Understanding Black Holes
2. Connection between Black Holes and Self-Awareness
3. Self-Awareness: The Ultimate Black Hole
1. Understanding Black Holes
The term “black holes” comes around because it is not possible to view them, but the existence of black holes is known because of the energy radiation emitted by them. There are two types of known black holes. We will discuss these briefly.
Stellar: This is the most common type of black hole. It is estimated that there are between 10 million to one billion stellar black holes within the Milky Way alone—our own galaxy. Science tells us that there are around one billion such galaxies in the universe. So, you can estimate the number of stellar black holes in the universe. How is a stellar black hole formed? Whenever a large star runs out of its fuel, the star collapses; it undergoes a complicated process to become a black hole. This type of black hole is known as a stellar black hole. Stellar black holes are being formed on a continuous basis as the stars do exhaust their fuel. In the same vein, our sun will also run out of fuel, and it could become a stellar black hole.
Scientists suspect that many of the stellar black holes do combine with each other or gobble up other local stars nearby to form intermediate-size black holes.
Supermassive: Every large galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its center. These black holes are massive. Typically, they could be millions of times the sun’s mass. One of the biggest known black holes has a mass of 40 billion times the mass of the sun. This is indeed huge. The black hole in the center of our galaxy is called Sagittarius A and is four million times the mass of the sun.
Very little is known about the origin of these supermassive black holes. How and why they were formed. If you think logically, it does seem that these black holes are required and necessary to hold together the galaxy. We know that these massive galaxies with millions of stars are rotating around their center. They need a very strong and stable center. The black holes seem to provide this function. A good way to understand this is to compare a rotating galaxy with a black hole at its center with an image of a rotating hurricane. If you have seen an image of a hurricane taken by a satellite far above, you will see the similarities. The hurricane has a center, and the hurricane is rotating around this center. The center of the hurricane is known as the eye. This eye looks just like a black hole. The similarity is uncanny. It is known that all the energy is stored around the eye. The eye packs in all the energy of the hurricane. The bigger the eye, the more massive the hurricane. The hurricane rotates around the eye. This eye is the backbone of the hurricane. The hurricane collapses when the eye deteriorates or loses shape. In the same way, the black hole is the backbone of the rotating galaxy. All the stars and planets in a galaxy are rotating around the black hole. If something happens to the black hole, the galaxy will collapse. Obviously, there is no comparison between the energy levels in a black hole and a hurricane, but the imagery is very similar.
An important conclusion one must keep in mind is that just like the energy for the rotating hurricane is stored in the eye, in the same way the source of the energy for the rotating galaxy is the black hole. All the energy within the galaxy comes from energy stored in the black hole. The bigger the black hole, the bigger the galaxy and the larger the amount of energy stored in the black hole. Just like the eye of the hurricane is the source of the energy for the storm, in the same way the black hole is the source of all the energy required for the rotating galaxy.
Black Hole and Energy
It is a fact, the black hole is a storehouse of energy. It contains massive amounts of energy. We mentioned earlier that these black holes have millions of times the energy of the sun. Nobody knows much about the functioning of these black holes, including their origin. It can be speculated that the amount of energy the black holes had at their birth was much greater than their current levels. As time passes, these black holes keep emitting energy to fuel the growth of all the new stars in the galaxy and sustain the current stars and the different solar systems. Science has, in some ways, confirmed this fact with the discovery of the Hawking radiation. Hawking radiation confirms that there is a leakage of energy from the black holes. What is the volume of this leakage and what is the purpose and usage of this energy? Nothing much is known. One can speculate that this energy leakage from the black holes is used to fuel the energy requirements of the galaxy. In other words, the galaxy totally depends on the black hole for its existence. It would indicate that black holes are continuously losing energy and possibly, one day, will run out of the energy fuel to sustain the galaxy. This would mean that all the energy requirement for the galaxy comes from the black hole.
A question can be asked here: from where does the black hole get all its energy? The requirement is massive. This is an important question; unfortunately science does not have a proper answer. You will be surprised by this answer. Self-Awareness is the source of infinite energy and fuels the black holes with the required energy. We will be discussing this later in this essay.
Black Hole and Seed Body
What is a Seed Body? We are all familiar with seeds for plants, trees, and many other things. It is always mysterious how a plant comes out of such a tiny seed. It does seem that a potential plant or the blueprint of that plant is already stored within this seed. When the seed germinates, all aspects of the plant come out. If the seed is of a rose plant, only roses will grow and nothing else. This is what the blueprint tells the seed—a rose plant from a rose seed. If this is true for plants and other similar things, then why not everything else in the universe? This is only logical. This is what Vedanta teaches us. Everything in the universe has a Seed Body. You have a Seed Body, I have a Seed Body, and so does every living being. Even a galaxy has a Seed Body. The potential for the galaxy is already built in this Seed Body. All the potential stars and planets are within this Seed Body. The blueprint, the source code for the galaxy, is part of this Seed Body. When the galaxy is born, the Seed Body starts to germinate. It starts to play out the blueprint which is stored within the Seed Body. A question: where do you think the Seed Body for the galaxy resides? The only logical place would be the black hole in the center of the galaxy. It just cannot be any other place. The galaxy grows out of the black hole to play out its inbuilt blueprint.
If you go one level lower, it will indicate that all the stars and planets must also have their own Seed Bodies. They have their own blueprints within their Seed Body, which is being played out. From this, one can speculate that the Seed Body for the galaxy will be the sum of these individual Seed Bodies. All the possible Seed Bodies within the galaxy will be part of the Seed Body of the galaxy. The galaxy Seed Body must be a complex place—with so many different individual Seed Bodies. Knowing Nature, one can be sure that it will be well organized and regulated.
Black Holes and Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity
One of the objectives of the Theory of General Relativity is to show that in the presence of energy or mass, time slows down. The slowing down of time is represented by the spacetime fabric bending or curving around an object. This bend or curvature is like placing a heavy ball on a stretched-out rubber sheet. The weight of the ball will curve the rubber sheet around itself. The spacetime fabric operates in a similar manner. Place a heavy ball on the spacetime fabric, and the spacetime fabric curves around the object. It is to be noted here that the heavier the mass, the greater is the curvature. The greater the curvature, the slower the time. Any curvature will slow down time, including ants, people, planets, stars and black holes. In most cases, the slowness of time is so minute that it is not noticeable; the human mind cannot differentiate it. However, as the mass increases, the effect becomes noticeable. If you have seen the movie Interstellar, there is a scene in which astronauts visit a planet close to a black hole. Their plan is to visit this planet for 10 minutes, but because of a technical problem with their spaceship, they stay on for one hour. When they return to their mother ship, they notice that 23 years have elapsed in the mother ship. This happened because the planet they visited was very close to the black hole and the spacetime curvature around it was very deep, and therefore time slowed dramatically. Their one hour was equivalent to 23 years in the mother ship. It is complicated, but this is how the universe is set up. Can you imagine how slow the time will be for the massive black hole which is 40 billion times the mass of our sun? If you are living around that black hole, your time will hardly move. The more massive the black hole, the slower time will be around that black hole.
One point to remember is that time never comes to a halt around a black hole; it only slows down dramatically. The only place where time comes to a complete halt is where there is infinite energy.
Based on our discussion, we can conclude the following two main properties of the black holes:
- Black holes are a storehouse of massive energy.
- Time slows down dramatically around black holes.
2. Connection between Black Holes and Self-Awareness
How far is Sagittarius A, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way—our galaxy? The answer is it is 26,000 light-years away. What is a light-year? A light-year is the distance light travels in one year—which is 9.43 trillion kilometers. Multiply this by 26,000 and you will get the distance of the black hole from Earth. Yes, light does take 26,000 years to reach us from the black hole. That is how big our galaxy is. What is the implication of this information? If you think carefully, it does suggest that you are watching a “now minus 26000 years” old version of the black hole. You are not seeing the “now” version of the black hole, you are seeing a dated version of the black hole, because light is taking 26000 years to reach us. The black hole you are seeing is a 26000-year-old version. This applies not only to black holes but to all the objects in the universe. You only see dated objects because light takes a finite amount of time to reach us from any object. In other words, this universe is made up of only dated objects. So, the question can be asked: if the black hole you are seeing is a dated version, where is the “now” version of the black hole? It must be somewhere, but where? Science has never tried to discover this.
“Now” Version of Black Hole
We just saw that the black hole we see is the “now minus 26000 years” version. This is because light takes 26000 years to reach us. Let us play around with this idea. Suppose that, for whatever reason, the black hole could move, and we could see a “now minus eight minutes” version of the black hole—what does this mean? It means that light would take eight minutes to reach us from the black hole. The black hole would be located much closer, somewhere near the current position of the sun. If the black hole moves even closer and we see the “now minus 30 seconds” version, it will mean that the black hole is almost on our face. Light would take 30 seconds to reach us from the black hole. As the black hole comes closer, light takes less time to reach us. Using this reasoning, where do we find the “now minus zero seconds” version of the black hole? This must be the place where light will take zero seconds to reach us. Where is that? The only correct answer is that the “now” version of the black hole is within us, as light will take zero seconds to reach the Observer within us. This is the Observer who is watching the black hole and all other objects “out there.” This logic and reasoning apply not only to all the black holes but to every object in the universe. Vedanta always teaches us that the full “now” universe is within us. This is so true and correct. Not easy to reconcile, but the “now” version of all objects is within us—this is a fact.
If you are a student of Vedanta, you will learn that the terms “Observer” and “Self-Awareness” are synonymous. It does seem that the Observer or Self-Awareness is beyond space and time. The “now” versions of the black holes and all the objects in the universe are within Self-Awareness, and they are beyond space and time. In the universe you will see only dated objects, not “now’ objects. So, we can see the connection between the “now” version of the black holes and Self-Awareness. The “now” version of the black holes functions within Self-Awareness.
3. Self-Awareness: The Ultimate Black Hole
Vedanta teaches us that Self-Awareness is our innermost core. Other terms used for Self-Awareness are SatChitAnanda or Brahman. Vedanta teaches that Self-Awareness is unchanging; it is uncaused and uncreated. This means that Self-Awareness was present in the past, it is present now, and it will also be there in the future. It has always been there and will always be there, and it will remain unchanging. Nothing in this universe meets this definition. All the objects in this universe are born, and they must die at some stage. This applies even to the universe. The universe was born 13.7 billion years ago; before that there was no universe. The only thing which has always been present is Self-Awareness.
For a detailed explanation, please read the essay “Analyzing Awareness” on my website (www.vendantaandscience.com). This Self-Awareness is non-dual, it is full, and it is complete. It does not need anything for its existence. It is self-sufficient. The only thing it does is radiate Awareness. It is like a bulb shining Awareness. This Awareness is the most powerful force in the universe. It is the substratum of everything in the universe. Awareness has many different awesome powers. We list a few of them here:
- Power of the Knower: this power allows the Subject to perceive the Object.
- Power of the Known: this power manipulates Awareness to become any Object.
- Power of Knowing: this intelligence or power decodes what each Object is.
- Power of Infinite Energy: Self-Awareness is the source of infinite energy.
- Power to Create Time: Awareness is the source of Time. For an explanation, please read the essay “Understanding Time” in my book, Science Meets Vedanta.
All the possible powers are present within Awareness.
Self-Awareness and Infinite Energy
Yes, infinite energy is present within our inner Self-Awareness. All the energy you see in the universe comes from this source. Self-Awareness is the source of infinite energy. It does sound amazing that infinite energy is present within our inner core. How should we understand this, and how do we show that this is indeed a fact? On my website, I have an essay, “Awareness—The Infinite Energy Source,” which gives a detailed explanation. When you have time, please read this essay. Here I will give a quick overview.
To understand the source of infinite energy, you need to correctly interpret Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Some of the main conclusions of this theory are as follows:
1. Motion and time are interconnected. Wherever there is motion, time does slow down. This is a proven fact. The faster the motion, the slower time will tick. If you achieve the speed of light, time comes to a standstill. In a way, there is no time at the speed of light. How to understand this? Imagine that a rocket is going at the speed of light. You will see the rocket zipping at the speed of light, but what will the person in the rocket experience? He will not experience time; he will feel he has not moved at all; he will feel he is stationary. This is amazing but true. This is how nature works.
2. If anything does achieve the speed of light, it will have infinite energy. Yes, infinite energy. This is because infinite energy is required to achieve the speed of light. Infinite energy is available for anything traveling at the speed of light.
So, what does travel at the speed of light? If you look around, you will realize that only photons (light particles) travel at the speed of light. There is nothing else in the universe which can achieve this speed. Light is everywhere and therefore we see these photons everywhere, zipping around at the speed of light. As a person, we see the photons traveling at the speed of light. There is no denying this fact. We need to understand what is happening from the point of view of the photon. This is important. As a thought experiment, let us put a camera on a photon. What will the photon see? Since the photon is traveling at the speed of light, it will see no time, no space, and it will see that it has infinite energy. This is a fact because we just indicated that anything traveling at the speed of light will have these properties: no time, no space, and has infinite energy.
How do we interpret no time and no space? This really means that the photon remains stationary—it does not move since there is no space or time. You think the photons move around at the speed of light, but “according” to the photons, they do not move; they are stationary. According to the photon, it has an infinite amount of energy.
If time does not exist for the photon, it must be outside time and it must be beyond the spacetime framework. If it is within the spacetime framework, the time for the photon must change. Time changes for everything in space. Where is beyond spacetime? According to Vedanta, Self-Awareness is beyond time and the spacetime framework. This means that the infinite energy of the photon is present only in Self-Awareness. Therefore, our inner core is the source of infinite energy. See the illusion taking place—we see the photons traveling at the speed of light, but the photon really does not move; it is always present in Self-Awareness. This does indicate that Self-Awareness has infinite energy.
Comparison of Black Hole and Self-Awareness
We saw earlier that black holes are a storehouse of massive energy and, because of this, time slows down dramatically around them. How does this compare with Self-Awareness? We have just seen that Self-Awareness has infinite energy, because of which time has slowed so much that it is at a complete standstill—it does not move. In a way, Self-Awareness is exactly like a black hole with infinite energy. It is therefore correct to conclude that Self-Awareness is the ultimate black hole. You can also call it the first black hole because all the other black holes in the universe depend on its energy. All the black holes get their energy from Self-Awareness—a reservoir with infinite energy.
We saw earlier that the “now” version of the black holes is within Self-Awareness. These black holes depend on Self-Awareness for everything, including their existence. This ultimate black hole is the source of all the other black holes.
Many scientists believe that there was a primordial black hole at the birth of the universe. A black hole from which other black holes were born. We have just shown that Self-Awareness must be that primordial black hole. Self-Awareness existed at the time of the birth of this universe. It will also exist when the universe comes to an end. This universe, including all the black holes, depend upon Self-Awareness for their existence.