Quantum Reality and the Theory of Śūnya

  • Amalkumar MukhopadhyayEmail author


According to the traditional Indian philosophy as reflected in the Upaniṣad, all objects or incidents relating to the material or phenomenal world being mutable are regarded as unreal (asat) as opposed to the only Real (sat) termed the One in the Ṛgveda, Brahman in the Upaniṣad. According to Nāgārjuna’s philosophy as presented in the Mahāprajñāpāramitā Śāstra, all elements, physical as well as mental, are impermanent, and so, they are non-substantial (śūnya) and not unconditioned. The ultimate reality, or the eternal dharmalakṣaṇa, does not come from anywhere nor does it go anywhere; in it there is neither birth nor extinction and therefore reminds us the Absolute of the Ṛgveda or atman of Upanisad. This Absolute, together with the all the animates and inanimates in the material or the phenomenal world, gives rise to the concept of the single whole termed Brahman. This is in essence the doctrine termed the Viśiṣṭa Advaitavāda expounded by Rāmānuja (c. twelfth century A.D.) in his Śrībhāya based on Brhamasūtra’s commentary written by Bodhāyana. This unified entity is the ‘Quantum Reality’ from Indian metaphysical standpoint. This is supported by the Nāsadīyasūkta in the Ṛgveda, followed by the Śrīsūkta in the Ṛgveda, in all ancient Upaniṣad, and also by Lord Buddha in the Aggaññita Sutta. Brahman has been described as Śūnya, the space unlimited. This idea has later been reflected as Śūnya Brahma or Śūnya Puruṣa in the Jagannātha or in the Mahimā cult in Odisa. Starting with concept of voidness mentioned as ‘vyoma’ and ‘tucchaya’ in the Ṛgveda and the roundness of the Universe as mentioned in Śatapathabrāhmaṇa (middle of the seventh century B.C.), ancient India adopted a small circle as a symbol to denote void.


Veda Upaniṣad Viśiṣṭa Advaitavāda Srībhāya Mahaprajnaparamitā Śāstra Brahman Śūnya Puruṣa 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ancient Indian Mathematics & AstronomySri Ramakrishna Centre of Research in IndologyKolkataIndia

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