Carl Sagan, Fritjof Capra on “The Dance That Reveals the Mysteries of Universe” – Part I

In order to understand the mysteries of Universe one has to turn to Nataraja,
The King of dance says Carl Sagan, the world renowned astronomer.
He was the head of the Department of Astronomy, Cornel University.
The famous 13 hour T.V serial, Cosmos: a Personal Voyage was viewed by an estimated ten million viewers in January 1982.
He said that “The Hindu cosmology may contain the answer to the modern day astronomers’ conflicting views that the universe may either be expanding or contracting.”
“If the universe is expanding as per the ‘Big Bang’ model of Fred Hoyle and Able Le Maitre, then what happens to the stars that expand, explode and died? Off,
as another school of astronomy says, the universe is contracting and that the stars and galaxies are being pulled back to a centre of creation, where do they all go?”
To find out the answer for this question he traveled to India.
He found the answer in Nataraja , the Hindu God worshipped by millions of Hindus.
Pointing to the statue of Nataraja, the dancing model of Shiva, he said, ‘The answer lies in Hindu Cosmology.”
Pointing to the conch held by Shiva, Carl Sagan said : ”
“This symbolizes creation of the universe, stars, galaxies and the human being.”
Pointing to the fire in the other hand he added: This symbolizes destruction of what has been created.”
He was wonderstruck on knowing the wonderful aspect of Hindu cosmology.
Why he has chosen India for Cosmos : a Personal Voyage? He explained it very clearly:

“The main reason that we oriented this episode of COSMOS towards India is because of that wonderful aspect of Hindu cosmology which first of all gives a time-scale for the Earth and the universe — a time-scale which is consonant with that of modern scientific cosmology. We know that the Earth is about 4.6 billion years old, and the cosmos, or at least its present incarnation, is something like 10 or 20 billion years old. The Hindu tradition has a day and night of Brahma in this range, somewhere in the region of 8.4 billion years.

As far as I know, it is the only ancient religious tradition on the Earth which talks about the right time-scale. We want to get across the concept of the right time-scale, and to show that it is not unnatural. In the West, people have the sense that what is natural is for the universe to be a few thousand years old, and that billions is indwelling, and no one can understand it. The Hindu concept is very clear. Here is a great world culture which has always talked about billions of years.
Finally, the many billion year time-scale of Hindu cosmology is not the entire history of the universe, but just the day and night of Brahma, and there is the idea of an infinite cycle of births and deaths and an infinite number of universes, each with its own gods. And this is a very grand idea.”

Not only Carl Sagan, Fritjof Capra the famous scientist also admired Nataraja.
In the next article we will see his analysis on Shiva Nataraja.