Saturday, January 30, 2016

Tracing back to the Oldest Life Form

(Image from

What is the oldest life form which comes to your mind? Here, even a google search might send you off-track…..

There is no harm is starting with the obvious though – a google search. This leads us to the page titled  Timeline of the evolutionary history of life. The article tells us that the earliest evidence of simple life was around 440 million years after the Earth was formed (around 4.54 billion years back). We, modern humans have been around for a very small fraction of Earth's existence. It is an interesting account on we have managed to trace our origins from the earliest forms of life.

The universe fascinates us, everything about it - it's origins, history, evolution, purpose…..However, many a times we lose perspective of our relation with the universe. As we look around us, the universe is all around us, and we are within – an outer protective covering, much like our houses, only so much bigger. The universe appears to be a physical entity enclosing the only significantly intelligent life form we know of – us. Let us imagine for a moment that someone tells us that a building has given birth to a child. What would our reaction be? - we would regard this as absolutely ridiculous isn't it? It is life which spawns life!

Isn't the oldest life form the universe itself? Why have we come to regard the universe as a totally physical entity? Is it because we hold ourselves as the ideal reference point? We picture the universe as something like a balloon, expanding as balloons do with we having found a place for ourselves inside. The universe is very alive though; sustaining itself, spawning life, creating matter & energy, and changing all the time.
“In the older view the goddess Universe was alive, herself organically the Earth, the horizon, and the heavens. Now she is dead, and the universe is not an organism, but a building, with gods at rest in it in luxury: not as personifications of the energies in their manners of operation, but as luxury tenants, requiring service. And Man, accordingly, is not as a child born to flower in the knowledge of his own eternal portion but as a robot fashioned to serve.”
― Joseph Campbell
Considering the universe as alive is a far richer and profound view. It changes our perspective on our relation with the universe. We and the universe are one – we started as one, and we remain one in purpose, very much like a wave is part of the ocean.
“You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.”
― Alan W. Watts
As a wave is indistinguishable and shares identity and purpose with the ocean, we share the same relation with the universe. We carry the responsibility of aligning to the universe as waves with the sea.
“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”
― Joseph Campbell
“There is force in the universe, which, if we permit it, will flow through us and produce miraculous results.”
- Mahatma Gandhi

In your minds do you think of the universe as being alive?


  1. Another nice article. Reminds me of Carl Sagan's pale blue dot reference.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Lavanya. Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" series was fascinating and you have reminded me of it as well!

  2. Having studied 10th grade Chemistry once again 6 months ago (to coach my nephew), along with all of Swami Chinmayananda's teachings, I do think that the universe is alive.
    Nice article.

    Roshni Kanchan

  3. Thanks for your comment, Roshni. We can feel that it is certainly alive, I think too....