Monday, February 15, 2016
In a discovery that promises to revolutionize astronomy, scientists have made the first direct observations of gravitational waves – bizarre ripples in space-time foreseen by Albert Einstein a century ago.
The find is a triumph for Einstein’s celebrated general theory of relativity, the basis of his 1916 prediction that the fabric of the universe is perturbed by gravitational energy. The find is also a triumph for the mammoth scientific apparatus – the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) – that was the first to pick up the stealthy advance of these waves, in this case created by the violent union of two black holes 1.3 billion years ago.
Other scientists hailed the find as the kind of advance that comes along only once or twice in a lifetime. Because gravitational waves carry information about their source, the ability to detect these weird undulations will allow researchers to study distant and elusive features of the universe. Black holes too far way to study using today’s techniques, for example, should become easy scientific prey with the help of gravitational waves.
Study of the universe via gravitational waves “will be the astronomy of the 21st century,” predicted Arizona State University’s Lawrence Krauss, who is not part of the LIGO team. “This is a whole new window on the universe.”
As far back as the 1970s, scientists garnered indirect evidence for such waves, spawned by the movements of massive objects in space, such as spinning supernovae or whirling pairs of neutron stars. The $1 billion LIGO directly captured the wave itself, which, if confirmed, would be “a monumental extra step,” said Cole Miller of the University of Maryland, who is not affiliated with LIGO either.
(from USA Today)
And so here we are,
a small dot
on the rim
of an inconsequential
Who would take notice
when we arrive,
when we go
what our involvements are?
Yet it emerges.
this flower that constantly
Only the pulsation
August 25, 2008
The Spanda Karikas is the name of an ancient text (ninth century?) of Kashmiri Shaivism, a belief/spiritual practice which began in ancient India. The term Spanda refers to the divine impulse or trembling which creates and sustains the universe. The name Karikas literally means 'a set of verses explaining the philosophical doctrines'. Many of its notions are remarkably similar to those of modern physics and suggest our own relationship to the overarching Reality. Here is an excerpt from the back cover of this text in the edition translated by Jaideva Singh and with a forward by Paul Muller-Ortega, published by the State of New York University Press:
Spanda is the vibratory dynamism of the absolute consciousness. . . .
Through modern physics we have grown accustomed to thinking of reality as waves of energy----as the matter-energy continuum. Tantric Shaivism presents the full matrix of energy pulsation of which physical reality is only a part. From the relatively superficial perceptions of the senses to the progressively subtle forms of inner awareness, a unified spectrum of spanda leads inward, until the most delicate and powerful tendrils of individuality merge with the infinitely rapid vibration of ultimate consciousness.
In his brilliant introduction to this volume, Muller-Ortega offers the following description:
Long before the discoveries of modern physics, the Shaivite concept of spanda intimates a view of reality as composed of a vibratory web of infinite complexity. Tantric Shivaism would have us understand that the vibratory energies that compose our physical reality are themselves condensations of ultimate consciousness.
I believe that this fundamental text of Kashmiri Shaivism not only explains what is going on in the universe on a cosmic level, but also describes what happens within each of us as we undergo awakening into what we call “kundalini consciousness,” and subsequently move into “progressively subtle forms of inner awareness” as the process unfolds.
Who wrote this profound work so long ago? Many hold that it was divinely inspired, a gift of knowledge bestowed on the rishis of old by the ultimate source of all knowing.
Note: There are many translations of the Spanda Karikas. Only the New York University Press edition contains the Muller-Ortega forward, which I feel is essential reading. However, this book is now out of print and used versions--even of the PB edition--are very expensive. You can buy a digital copy on "Google Play" for about 10.00 (Note says:
Other versions of the Spanda Karikas (such as that by Daniel Odier) read as though they are totally different texts. That is because many translations of this work have appeared over the years, and the translations differ widely.