Interstellar” brilliantly melds some of the most fascinating concepts of theoretical physics with Vedic Philosophy. Whether this was intentional or not is uncertain though. I was eager to find out if everything I observed in the film was intentional or just a really uncanny set of coincidences but after hours of playing google detective I learned that the director Christopher Nolan ( Batman Trilogy and Inception ) doesn’t do a lot of boasting about his pictures and is in fact rather secretive. He won’t even explain what is going on story wise to his own actors; sometimes leaving them recollecting the oddity of only knowing disparate elements of the story in interviews, until the movie was actually released. For that reason it looks like I’ll have to settle for presenting my case and let you draw your own conclusions.
As a warning this review/analysis will have major spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and don’t want to know what happens before you do I suggest you go watch it first and then come back and read this article.
From time dilation and worm holes to higher dimensions, higher selves, cosmic love/consciousness and more .The first thing that stood out as odd to me in the film was a solar powered (UAV) Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (better known as a drone) from India appears suddenly. Ex-NASA Pilot turned farmer Cooper and his daughter Murphy begin following it in their vehicle. They catch it and he explains he wants to harness the “solar cells that could power an entire farm.” It is unknown why the Indian drone was flying over the Great Plains of the United States, but the gravitational anomaly may have corrupted its navigational computer, taking it thousands of miles from its normal patrol area.
Then we find out that this same gravitational anomaly which affected both the UAV drone from India and the bookshelf in Murphy’s room is supposedly occurring because of some mysterious beings that have also opened a worm hole near Saturn. The NASA Team explains to Cooper that there is a chance to save the dying world and the people in it by using the worm hole to find other habitable planets for mankind. So, some mysterious advanced beings are responsible for an Indian drone suddenly appearing and a message being left in binary in Murph’s room.
This is one of those things that makes you go “hmmm!” if you know that there would be no binary if it weren’t for the concept of moksha and Brahma in Hindu Philosophy as well as that the epic Mahabharata, from Hindu mythology, where there is the first mention of time travel ever mentioned in human history dating between 700 BCE to 300 CET.
The Mahabharata, which is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, relates the story of King Revaita, who travels through heaven to meet the deity Brahma. When King Revaita returns to Earth, he is shocked to learn that many ages have passed. In today’s scientific parlance, we would say that King Revaita experienced “time dilation,” just like Cooper and his co-pilots… but that’s not all. When King Revaita was about to return home the Gods inform him that though he has been with them only for days, as per earth days thousands of years have passed. They then bend time to drop him back through a “Time Hole”.
Next we find out that Dr. Brandt has already gathered a team of 12 apostles..Oops.. I mean… astronauts and started a “Lazarus Mission” to “save” mankind sometime back. Cooper finds out that there are going to be three potentially habitable planets to investigate once they go through the worm hole: Miller, Edmunds, and Mann, named after the astronauts who are surveying them.
The first planet is found to be no good because it is too close to the black hole “Gargantua”. Even though “Gargantua” is a super massive black hole and therefore more weak and unstable then a stellar mass black hole it is still having such an affect on the planets surface that the tidal waves look like mountains in the distance, that is until they come crashing down on our heroes. This causes some issues for them so that by the time they leave 23 years has passed down on earth due to the time dilation.
After they return to the ship and deal with the shock of the loss of the time they are left with two paths they can take. The path that leads to Mann who seems the more logical path because he is calling out to them or to Edmund’s planet that Amelia believes in her heart is the right one. The others believe that she only wants to go there because she is in love with Edmund but she tries to explain it is more then that. Something is telling her intuitively that his planet will be the one. Specifically she says…
“Love isn’t something we invented — it’s observable, powerful, it has to mean something… Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space.”
This echoes the Indian devotional tradition of simple undiluted love towards the omnipresent Divine Consciousness in order to achieve spiritual liberation and enlightenment In Hindu philosophy, the fifth dimension of love of the Divine is termed by the Gaudiya Vaisnavas as turyatita, the dimension of the soul’s Soul.
“The fifth dimension is a superconscious area of clear white light, of simultaneous knowledge, insight and intuition, of all form in time and space, and of divine consciousness. Most experience the fifth dimension through brief intuitive flashes and insights. In the fifth dimension of the mind the total evolution of form is perceived. When we see a flower, we not only see it as it is at that moment, but simultaneously actually see the stages of its life from creation to preservation to disintegration. This is where we see “life in a blade of grass and the universe in a grain of sand.”
“The fifth dimension is not timeless, but it has no consciousness of time or even of the third dimension — it is pure insight. Then insight is translated to the fourth dimension where it can be comprehended by the outer consciousness of man. From the fifth dimension we can look millions of years into the past, or project an object into the future according to vibratory rate. In that sense, it is beyond time. There are vast areas of knowledge in the fifth dimension that can be consciously tapped. Deep laws of the inter-workings of form and force fields can be unfolded. From here we can penetrate the first dimension, the inside of the physical universe, and unravel the so-called mysteries of life from the cellular to the subatomic.” – Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami
Erwin Schrodinger, one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century was a brilliant and charming Austrian physicist who had a passionate interest in people and ideas. He is best known for his discovery of wave mechanics, which won him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933. He authored a monograph which first described quantum, had a long-standing interest in Schopenhauer’s philosophy of desire as well as Vedic Hinduism, which posits the identity of being and matter as energy. He Schrodinger wrote in his book Meine Weltansicht:
“This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear; tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as “I am in the east and the west, I am above and below, I am this entire world.”
Incredibly, this is a reference to the Mundaka Upanishad mantra in which the Vedic understanding of the connectivity of living entities is put forward to help the Bhakta (practitioner of yoga) to understand the difference between the body and the living entity. How the real nature of the living entity is realized only in union with the source, the supreme being (Brahman/Krishna) through a platform of transcendental divine loving service, known as Bhakti.
Despite being a Nobel laureate scientist, Schrödinger did not believe that it is possible to demonstrate the unity of consciousness by logical arguments. No surprise then that he would read the Bhagawat Gita kept by his bedside daily before he went to sleep. Instead, one needs an imaginative leap guided by communion with nature and the persuasion of analogies. He understood the nonmaterial eternal nature of the conscious self and how the Atman is intimately connected to the supreme.
In addition if you want an in depth explanation of how the utopia like space station/ship at the end of the movie works and why it is cylindrical you might want to check out the book “Rendezvous with Rama” for a more in-depth exploration of this kind of theoretical ship. Coincidence?
This is why I believe there is such controversy over this movie. It was interesting to observe the first wave of criticism over the movie from so called “rationalists” claiming that the science was inaccurate. Once other big name scientists started coming out of the wood work such as Neil De Grasse Tyson and defending the movie the attacks morphed into criticism over “plot holes” instead. It’s a difficult blow after all to feel betrayed by ones gurus/gods and to many rationalists, popular and successful scientists are the closest thing they have to that. Perhaps they thought with Kip Thorne being atheist and overseeing the science in the movie it would be something different. It’s telling that many complaints from rationalists are that more characters should have died and that would have made the movie more realistic and therefore “better”. The idea of throwing in a dash of philosophy and metaphysics appears inexcusable to some despite the close relationship between the three.
Interstellar is therefore more than just another science fiction film. It breaks the mould of movies firmly framed in the Christian worldview of impending apocalypse and the End Times. That is because chiliasm, messianism and millenrainism and their linear view of time have infected even those areas of life deemed ‘secular’: itself a concept born of the Thirty Years War which ravaged seventeenth century Europe and the rise of ‘science’ in the nineteenth century as formerly despised ‘technology’ (working with one’s hands as opposed to being an autodidact ‘natural philosopher’ in the mould of Isaac Newton) suddenly became lucrative and powerful enough to transform the social order and entrenched thinking.
Yet without the very Hindu ‘superstitions’ spotlighted as sound theoretical science all throughout Interstellar, modern science as we know it would not exist. Just ask any mathematician to try and work calculus with Roman numerals and a number system that is devoid of the irrational concept of ‘zero’. The future of science lies in the ability to think “outside of the box” using Hindu Philosophy as well as the “Ramanujan Function” has become the fundamental backbone of string theory and Srinivasa Ramanujan used to say that the Goddess of Namakkal inspired him with formulae in his dreams. It will certainly be interesting to see what knee jerk reaction we get next when this information becomes main stream knowledge when “The Man Who Knew Infinity” comes out next.
By Stephanie Celeste Chateau