Exploring Parallel Universes in Myth, Hinduism, and Modern Literature
A parallel or alternate universe, dimension, or reality, is a hypothetical self-contained plane of existence, co-existing with each other. The summation of all potential alternate universes that organizes reality is often called a “Multiverse.” This concept is not limited to science fiction; it can be found in religious texts and myths. Hindu mythology, for instance, vividly portrays the idea of infinite universes.
In Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, shows Arjuna multiple cosmic creations and destructions in the Mahabharata. He explains that different universes exist within different parts of his body. Krishna’s revelation includes the existence of many Brahmas, each responsible for different universes, demonstrating the idea of a parallel multiverse.
A well-known story in Hindu mythology involves Lord Brahma’s attempt to verify Krishna’s divinity. Brahma sends Krishna’s friends and cows into deep sleep, but to his shock, upon his return, everything appears unchanged. In reality, Krishna, with his other avatars, had taken the places of his missing friends and cows. This story highlights the existence of parallel realities and alternate universes.
The concept of parallel universes is not confined to ancient traditions; it continues to captivate modern writers and scientists. Writers like Terry Pratchett (with Discworld) and C. S. Lewis (with The Chronicles of Narnia) have skillfully explored parallel worlds in their imaginative works. Indian writer Nayantara Ghosh’s “Ayame’s Parallel Universe” and H. G. Wells’ “Men Like Gods” also delve into the multiverse theory in literature.
While the scientific validity of parallel universes remains a subject of debate, it’s a concept that intrigues modern scientists. As our understanding of the universe evolves, the concept of parallel universes and alternate dimensions continues to inspire both creative storytelling and scientific exploration. In the future, we can expect to see further dimensions of this captivating concept.