Western scientists have long theorized that the universe began with a “big bang” that was an enormous release of energy that continues to expand today, around 13.8 billion years later. They claim now to have actually viewed results of the big bang shortly after (in astronomical time) the event occurred. The preceding state was one of high density and temperature, and since the Big Bang the universe has been not only expanding, but cooling.
The Upanishadic sages had similar insights thousands of years ago, as we see in Chapter 1, Section 1, Verses 8 and 9 of the Mundaka Upanishad, as translated by Sri Aurobindo:
“Brahman grows by his energy at work, and then from Him is Matter born, and out of Matter life, and mind and truth and the worlds, and in works immortality. He who is the Omniscient, the all-wise, He whose energy is all made of knowledge, from Him is born this that is Brahman here, this Name and Form and Matter.”
The translation “energy” is from the word tapas in the Sanskrit original. Sri Aurobindo has pointed out elsewhere that this term represents a consciousness-force, a concentration of force, a conscious energy. The term, frequently translated as “austerity” or “penance” conveys far more than the limits of those two terms. In Verse 9 he indicates “He whose energy is all made of knowledge”, jnanam tapa, thus affirming the relationship of consciousness to the energy described. The Upanishad affirms that all that exists here arises from the Brahman, thus indicating that “all this is the Brahman” in the more commonly used formula. Verse 8 also provides insight to the evolution of the planes of existence and the corresponding expressions of consciousness, with Matter (annam, or food) formed from the conscious energy released, then life (prana), and thence arises mind. Thereafter comes truth and the worlds. Sri Aurobindo elsewhere describes this level as the supramental truth-consciousness that is the level at which the One, Sat-Chit-Ananda (existence-consciousness-bliss) remains fully in the consciousness, while it undertakes to create the differentiation of the world of the multiplicity. The universe, once created and formed, continues through “works”. The term used for works is karma, also understood as the chain of cause and effect, and thus, the Upanishad recognizes that immortality in the created universe is a product of the continuation of the energy in development through cause and effect.
Western science has not yet reached the stage where it can recognize that the “big bang” can only occur where there is some Existent with Consciousness to manifest that “big bang”. Once they do, they will be on the track followed by the sages of the Upanishads millennia earlier.
Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Mundaka Upanishad, pp. 193-210