The incomprehensible comprehensibility and the comprehensible incomprehensibility of the universe
“The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible,” wondered Albert Einstein. If the universe were just matter emerged by chance, why should it exhibit patterns that we can comprehend through scientific laws and mathematical equations?
Yet the same Einstein when perplexedby the incomprehensibility of subatomic phenomena lamented: “It was as if the ground had been pulled out from underone, with no firm foundation to be seen anywhere upon which one could have built.”
Is the universe comprehensible or incomprehensible? It’s both because it works, the Bhagavad-gita (09.10) indicates, under the supervision of Krishna – and he is both the supreme scientist and the supreme artist.
Science demystifies the unfamiliar, showing howthe strange behaves according to familiar principles. As the supreme scientist has arranged the structure and functioning of the universe, it is comprehensible to the extent we can comprehend that supreme scientific intelligence. When we understand that Krishna’s scientific brilliance underlies the universe, we comprehend why it is comprehensible.
Art, on the other hand, mystifies the familiar. For example, a literary masterpiece uses a known set of words to convey an unknown layer of meaning. As the supreme artist has fashioned the universe, it contains endless layers of meaning. Just when we comprehend one layer of meaning, new questions emerge, pointing thereby to deeper layers of meaning – ad infinitum. When we understand that Krishna’s artistic brilliance underlies the universe, we comprehend why it is incomprehensible.
This incomprehensibility frustrates us only as long as we desire to control the universe by comprehending its behavior. Gita wisdom encourages us to instead see the universe as an arena for reviving our love for Krishna. Then we can relish both its comprehensibility and its incomprehensibility – for both remind us of the glory of our beloved Lord.
“This material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, producing all moving and nonmoving beings. Under its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.”