Concept of Multiverse in Indian Scriptures

PIN Multiverse in Indian Scriptures
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A few days ago, I watched Marvel’s movie “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” While discussing it, my teenage son asked if the concept of the multiverse, meaning infinite universes, exists in our Indian scriptures.

I said, “Yes, it does.”

Nearly all the major scriptures mention it. Various texts, written at different times, like Valmiki’s Ramayana, Yogavasistha Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and many Puranas composed by Vedavyasa, discuss this idea in detail.

Here, I am sharing just one or two references:

In the Utpatthi Prakaran of the Yogavasistha Maharamaayana, there is a story. King Padma had a wife named Leela who loved him dearly. One day, Leela thought, “Is there a way I can grant immortality to my beloved husband Padma? For this, I am ready to undertake any austerities or practices.”

She consulted all the learned scholars in her kingdom. They said that austerities could grant yogic powers but not immortality.

Then, she worshipped Goddess Saraswati. After intense penance, Goddess Saraswati appeared and blessed her, saying, “After your husband’s death, whenever you wish, you will be able to see and meet him wherever he is.”

Soon after, King Padma passed away. Leela preserved his body and called upon Goddess Saraswati. She asked where her husband was. In response, Saraswati showed her another universe in the sky of her palace, where Padma, a 16-year-old, was seated on his throne. Confirming that this was not an illusion but a parallel universe, Leela asked, “How can this be? My husband just died here, yet he is 16 years old there?”

Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, explained this principle:

सर्गे सर्गे पृथग्रुपं सन्ति सर्गान्तराण्यपि ।
तेश्वप्यन्त: स्थसर्गोधाः कदलीदल पीठवत्।
– योगवशिष्ठ

“Sarge sarge prithagroopam santi sargantaranyapi.
Tesvapyantah sthasargodhaah kadaleedala peethavat.”

Meaning: “O Leela, just as one layer emerges after another inside the stem of a banana plant, similarly, within each creation, there exist various sequences of creation. Thus, many universes exist within one universe.”

To explain this concept, Goddess Saraswati took Leela to another universe. There, her husband was Vasistha and Leela’s name was Arundhati. In their thatched hut, the 70-year-old sage Vasistha had just passed away, and his body lay there. Witnessing this, Leela’s eyes were opened to the vast reality of the multiverse.

While explaining the multiverse, Goddess Saraswati recited a valuable verse:

आकाशे परमाण्वन्तर्द्रव्यादेरणकेऽपि च ।
जीवाणुर्यत्र तत्रेदं जगद्वेत्ति निजं वपुः ॥
– सरस्वती देवी

“Akashe paramaṇvantardravyāderaṇake’pi cha.
Jīvāṇuryatra tatredaṁ jagadvetti nijaṁ vapuḥ.”

Meaning: “Just as a dream world exists within each particle of consciousness in the universe, similarly, within the infinite particles of matter in the cosmos, countless beings and their worlds exist.”

Then, Goddess Saraswati took Leela back to the universe where her husband was the 16-year-old king. But this time, he was now 70 years old. The goddess explained, “In this universe, if an event takes place in one second, it could mean that 100 years have passed in another universe. Thus, time varies across different universes.”
This profound understanding of the multiverse enlightened Leela.

In the scriptures, similar concepts are discussed. I have shown you just one incident from the Yoga Vasistha Ramayana. Besides this, there are many references in the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Srimad Bhagavatam, and numerous other Puranas regarding the multiverse.

The universe we see, with Earth, stars, and galaxies, is surrounded by seven layers. There are many such universes, and all these universes lie within a single atom. We know how many atoms surround us. The entire creation is infinite, and we live within the multiverse.

A verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam states:

क्षित्यादिभिरेष किलावृत: सप्तभिर्दशगुणोत्तरैर अण्डकोश:।
यत्र पतत्यणुकल्प: सहअण्डकोटिकोटिभि: तद् अनन्त: ॥

“Kṣityādibhireṣa kilāvṛtaḥ saptabhirdashaguṇottaraiḥ aṇḍa-kośaḥ।
Yatra pataty aṇukalpaḥ saha aṇḍa-koṭi-koṭibhiḥ tad anantaḥ॥”

Meaning: “This cosmic egg, surrounded by seven layers, each ten times thicker than the previous one, contains countless universes as small as atoms. This creation is boundless.”

Thus, we understand that our existence stretches beyond what we can see, embracing the infinity of the multiverse.

In the Adhyatma Ramayana, there is a moment when Lord Rama prepares to go into exile. He tells Sita not to accompany him. To this, Sita responds, “O Rama, you must have seen or heard about many Ramayanas in this infinite multiverse. Have you ever heard of a single Ramayana where Rama goes into exile without Sita? So, how can you go alone this time?”
This is reflected in the verse from the Adhyatma Ramayana:

रामायणानि बहुश: श्रुतानि बहुभिर् द्विजै: ।
– आध्यात्मिक रामायण

“Rāmāyaṇāni bahushaḥ śrutāni bahubhir dvijaiḥ.”
Meaning: “Numerous Ramayanas have been heard by many sages.”


Through these references, it is clear that the idea of a multiverse is deeply rooted in Indian spiritual texts. It suggests that reality is far more intricate and expansive than we perceive. Our existence is just a tiny fragment of this limitless creation.

After reviewing so many references from Indian scriptures, it is hoped that this concept of the multiverse is easier to understand. It encourages us to look beyond our immediate surroundings and consider the infinite possibilities that exist in the grand tapestry of creation.

Shubham Bhavatu.

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