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I would like to know what the significance of Space is in Hinduism as stated by the Hindu scriptures.

  1. Does space store everything, the past, present and the future?
  2. Also, is space associated with any god (like Sun, Fire, Water etc)?
  3. What is the relation between space and the chanting of mantras?
  • @SwamiVishwananda, did you overwrite sankhya tag inadvertently or do you consider it a wrong classification? – srinivasacarya dasa Dec 10 '14 at 21:18
  • @srinivasacaryadasa overwrote because space translates as akasha. In the rig veda and other scriptures. The concept of akasha is not unique to the sankhya school. Don't agree with tag of sankhya. See my answer below – Swami Vishwananda Dec 11 '14 at 7:09
  • @SwamiVishwananda, if it is not unique to sankhya you are free to add more tags but it is indeed part of the main subject of sankhya and I disagree with taking the tag out. – srinivasacarya dasa Dec 11 '14 at 15:56
  • @SwamiVishwananda, by the way I didn't mean this is specific to sankhya school of philosophy. I meant the topic of elements itself is related to sankhya (as a subject not the school) and we consider Lord Kapila, the son of Devahuti to the speaker of the theistic sankhya as you see in my answer. See here for attribution of theistic sankhya to Lord Kapila en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samkhya – srinivasacarya dasa Dec 11 '14 at 17:01
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Does space store everything, the past, present and the future? From a mundane perspective space can store data. Like we see a small electronic chip holding tera bytes of data. However when you talk of human memory this is a function of soul and subtle body rather than physical space. Some people can remember past lives but their gross body that occupies material space is completely changed.

Also, is space associated with any god (like Sun, Fire, Water etc)?

This is the subject matter of sankhya and described in Srimad Bhagavatam in different places. The best place where this is described is by Lord Kapila to His mother Devahuti in Canto 3 Chapter 26.

SB 3.26.32 — When egoism in ignorance is agitated by the sex energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the subtle element sound is manifested, and from sound come the ethereal sky and the sense of hearing.

So the sound is the basis of space and also other subsequent elements like air, fire, water, earth. Now later the form of Virata Purusa is described and for different organs there are different devatas that were described. Fire is associated with the mouth, Vayu(wind-god) with Nostrils, Sun with eyes and so on.

SB 3.26.54 — First of all a mouth appeared in Him, and then came forth the organ of speech, and with it the god of fire, the deity who presides over that organ. Then a pair of nostrils appeared, and in them appeared the olfactory sense, as well as prana, the vital air.

SB 3.26.55 — In the wake of the olfactory sense came the wind-god, who presides over that sense. Thereafter a pair of eyes appeared in the universal form, and in them the sense of sight. In the wake of this sense came the sun-god, who presides over it. Next there appeared in Him a pair of ears, and in them the auditory sense and in its wake the Dig-devatas, or the deities who preside over the directions.

From the above descriptions the Dig-devatas preside over the directions and they are related to the sound (auditory sense) as well. So this gives us one association with space and a devata.

What is the relation between space and the chanting of mantras? From the above Bhagavatam references we can understand that sound is the source of space and hence mantras(specific Vedic sounds) can deliver us from this material world which we perceive in terms of time and space.

  • So space is formed due to sound. Then how does the limit of space is removed for siddhas to hear far away conversations? – user12458 Dec 11 '14 at 16:33
  • "Then how does the limit of space is removed for siddhas to hear far away conversations" I do not know but for the sake of comparison if with the gross material science we can hear radio and see TV from far off places Siddhas knowing subtler science must know finer methods to do that. – srinivasacarya dasa Dec 12 '14 at 5:02
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Space = akasha. The literal translation of akasha is space or sky or ether. It is one of the 5 material elements. It is the first element to evolve from Saguna Brahman. It comes from Om, the initial manifestation of Brahman. From akasha come the other 4 elements. The 5 elements are unmixed and subtle. From these elements come all the subtle bodies of all beings and also the gross elements. Once the 5 elements are created, then Brahma is created. Everything in the created universe rests in akasha.

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This might answer some of your questions:

Today I want to tell you about three type of space.

One is the external space, in which all the four elements are there. The second type of space is the inner space where thoughts and emotions come from. When you close your eyes – that is inner space.

And then there is the third space. That is the space of energy where there is no thought, no emotion but you just feel energy. In deep meditation you experience that, isn’t it? Or after kriya you experience that space. There are no thoughts, nothing but space.

One is called the Bhut Akash, the outer space, second is Chit Akash the space from where thoughts and emotions come, and third, Chid Akash, i.e., space of consciousness. Consciousness itself is another space deep within us. So we seldom understand; pay attention, to these three different spaces.

Whenever you are frustrated what do you say? ‘Give me some space. I want to be by myself.’ It is very important. All inventions come from these three types of space. In the Chid Akash, in the consciousness it is already there. All knowledge comes to Chit Akash from the Chidakash through thoughts and emotions. Songs come as emotions, science comes as thoughts and ideas and then they manifest.

Meditation is recognizing these three spaces.

Sometimes you sit and watch the vast space, put your attention there, and the mind also becomes blank. For how many of you it has happened?

On a nice day, cloudless sky, just bright stars are there and you just lie down and keep gazing at the sky. When you gaze at the sky what happens? That space gets created inside too. A sort of emptiness and you get into a meditative state. So, all the thoughts, ideas, everything we do remains in this space. Maybe in the future sometime someone will invent a device to tap into the Akashic records. Then you can find out what happened in 2010, 2011 and before that. What knowledge came, where and who was thinking what - all that can be reviewed sometime in the future because time has inscriptions of all ideas.

You may have noticed in your own life, some places you get jittery and angry. How many have experienced this? What has happened? In that space there are people who have been angry or agitated. So you move into that space and it affects your whole behavior. And when you’re in good company what happens? You feel so much lighter, uplifted inside, totally at ease and at peace. Hasn’t this happened to you? How many feel this has happened, tell me?

So the company matters, really matters. That doesn’t mean you should avoid people because they are not good company. You also should be strong and instead of running away from negative influence you must positively impact any negative environment. And the meditations (in the advance course) will help you be very strong and stable in that space. So wherever you go you carry your space and you make an influence rather than getting affected. Not be a ping pong ball but be the bat so you can influence the space around you. (Clapping)

This you must strongly know so that you don’t run away from a situation unless or until it is so bad that it is swallowing you. Then you gently move away, don’t run away. Are you getting what I am saying?

So when children are playing the space is beautiful. When you are singing and everyone is singing the same tune, that space generated is harmonious and serene, especially the ancient songs, the old songs. The Sanskrit chants have an added influence because these have been in the Akashic record for the last 20,000 to 50,000 years. Maybe more, you don’t even know since when it was there. So those vibrations make it very benevolent and have a strong influence on the system.

Anything that is Divine is always universal. Are you getting what I am saying? Yes! Culture is different, religion is different, ways of dressing is different, music is different, different places, but the space is the same. The inner space is the same. And it is amazing that this science was known thousands of years ago. Good, good, good!

So many of you have just come today and you must be just relaxing. How many of you feel that as soon as you entered the ashram already you feel lighter? A different experience, a different space; you could feel that right! It’s obvious; even in Bangalore ashram, because there is meditation happening there everyday people say, ‘I just come in and wow, I already feel lighter. My mind is clearer’. It’s interesting how the universe functions, very good!

From a talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: http://www.artofliving.org/three-types-space

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