The 'Science' of Hindu Cosmology
The idea that ancient Indian texts have all the knowledge about the Universe is a very popular one. One of the biggest arguments used to lend credence to that idea is how Hindu cosmology matches the current understanding of our Universe. The primary evidence put forth for that argument is the number 4.32 billion years from Vishnu Purana which is quite close to the current estimate of the age of the Earth - 4.5 billion years. Let us see the context from which that number arises and follow through with what its consequences are.
The detailed timelines from Vishnu Purana are in this Wikipedia article
. To summarize it, the age of the Universe is equal to 100 years of Brahma. One day of Brahma is 4.32 billion years (just the day. not night). Currently 50 years have elapsed (around 155 trillion years). And the current mahayuga is about 120 million years old.
Carl Sagan was so impressed with such large numbers, the kind of which do not feature in creation myths of other civilizations, that he mentioned it in his Cosmos series
Quote:It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond, no doubt, by accident, to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the earth or the sun and about half of the time since the big bang. And there are much longer time scales still.
But if you compare the numbers from Hindu cosmology with current estimates from science, it becomes clear how wrong they are. The estimated of the age of the Universe is 13.7 billion years, whereas according to Hindu cosmology it is 155 trillion years. Even if we ignore that number and take the start of a mahayuga to mean the start of the Universe or the birth of Earth, the age of current mahayuga - 120 million years is nowhere close to either the age of the Earth or the Universe. Of all the numbers listed in Vishnu Purana, just one number - 4.32 billion years - comes close to a number given by science.
Hindu apologists latch onto that one number and heartily declare that the ancient texts are in acceptance with science. It doesn't matter to them that the ages of the Universe and the Earth given by Hindu cosmology totally contradict the values given by science.