Dr. Fritjof Capra has said:
"As long as we confuse the myraid forms of the Divine lila with reality, without preceiving the unity of Brahman underlying all these forms, we are under the spell of maya…Maya is the illusion of taking these concepts for reality, of confusing the map with the territory.“
To the Rishis the divine play was the evolution of the cosmos through countless aeons. There is an infinite number of creations in an infinite universe. The Rishis gave the name kalpa to the unimaginable span of time between the beginning and the end of creation.
They understood the staggering scale of the divine play. Many centuries later the scientific mind still boggles at the scale of creation which makes infinity intelligible. The Rishis clearly perceived that the most fundamental characteristic of this incomprehensible creation was that it was in a perpetual state of movement, flow and change. Lila is a rhythmic play which goes on in endless cycles, the One becoming the many and the many returning to the One.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna describes this rhythmic play of creation in the following words:
"At the end of the night of time all things return to my nature, and when the new day of time begins I bring them again into light.
Thus through my nature I bring forth all creation and this rolls around in the circles of time.”
“But I am not bound by this vast work of creation. I am and I watch the drama of works.
I watch and in its work of creation nature brings forth all that moves and moves not; and thus the revolutions of the world go round.”
How uncanny is the identity of the ancient insights with the latest conclusions of modern science which are well summed up in the fascinating book, The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra: “When we study the universe as a whole, with its millions of galaxies, we have reached the largest scale of space and time; and again, at that cosmic level, we discover that the universe is not static - it is expanding!
Modern physics has come to the conclusion that mass is nothing but a form of energy. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the basis of the theory of relativity, and the space-time character of the universe, were perceived by the old Indian Rishis in their advanced stage of spiritual consciousness. In their state of higher consciousness they realized that the ultimate constituents of the universe - energy and mass, particle and wave, - were but different aspects of the same basic process, but the same Oneness which pervaded the entire universe. Today science has relearned that lesson. In the words of A. N. Whitehead: "Matter has been identified with energy, and energy is sheer activity.”
Thus, the vastest knowledge of today cannot transcend the buddhi of the Rishis; and science, in its most advanced stage, is closer to Vedanta than ever before.