Sunday, March 21, 2010

IV- The Telescope story

It was 2:00 am in the morning. The night was as usual dark and quiet. I slowly opened the main gate of my house lest it would make a creaking noise. My friend was standing outside half asleep. "I am here"- he said with a yawn. I was not particularly delighted to see him as I was also feeling very sleepy but we both had made a solemn commitment to meet in the night to trace the planets Jupiter and saturn with the new telescope.

The telescope had a story of its own. It was 1992 and I had just given my 10th board Exams. My father had promised me a telescope if I cleared the same.

Now, the reason for my wanting to get a telescope was to see for myself, the stars and planets with my own eyes as try as i might, my imagination could not comprehend the vastness of the planets and the Universe. To quote a metaphor, imagine a beach 100 kms long. This would be the size of the Universe. The individual grains of sand in the beach are individual suns just like our sun. On that one grain of sand, imagine there are 13 lac individual bacteria. Out of that 13 lac bacteria, the size of one bacteria would be equivalent to the size of our earth!. Wait..there is more.., according the science, the universe was born when a Humongous ball of some unknown energy exploded in the distant past which the scientists now unimaginatively call THE BIG BANG.. ( no.. it was not named by some philander scientist.. i checked... )

The results of my exam was not yet known but my father was absolutely sure that I would pass.The reason of my father’s confidence in my results had less to do with me and more to do with what my father’s guru had said. My father’s guru had visited our house after my board exams. My father used to tell me stories about my father’s guru miracles. I guess he used to like the bewildered look on my face on hearing the magical stories. He sensed another opportunity to see the look on my face and perhaps, that is the reason why he asked me to go to the Guruji's room and ask him as to how much marks i will get in my board exams.

I was excited to know my results and I immediately went to his room. I opened the door slowly and found him meditating. Not wanting to disturb him, I was about to close the door had he not opened his eyes. He motioned me to sit in front of him. I obliged. I asked him whether he could tell me how much I will score in my board exams. He nodded and asked me to come close. He put his thumb in between my eyebrows and closed his eyes. After about 10 seconds, he opened his eyes slowly and told me that I would get 74%. His unhesitant answer, made it look as if Time was just an illusion to him. I was very happy and sought his blessing and departed from the room. I ran upstairs and told the same to my now anxiously waiting father. Seeing him understandably relived, I reminded him of the promise about buying me a telescope.

He fulfilled his promise and I got a big reflective telescope with a 5 inch mirror on that day.

The best time to view the stars is when there is when there is total darkness. Me and my friend calculated that the darkest night is probably at 2.00 am in the morning and made a commitment to meet at that time.

Now,having met, we reached the terrace where the telescope was all ready for us to explore the Universe. We started tracing the stars and constellations in the sky to figure out where the planet Saturn would be located as it was the most beautiful planet in the entire solar system. We found it soon enough and was amazed to see it. The thrill of actually seeing the Saturn planet with your own eyes as opposed to seeing it in a book is beyond words. It gave us both such a kick that we literally spent many nights on the terrace to check out the other jewels in the sky.

The results of the Board exams soon came. I was surprised..unlike my father…to score 74%. My father’s guru had predicted it a month before. I really did not think deeply about it much at that time.

But now, my perpective had changed and i was wanting to connect the puzzle pieces given to me by the various books i was now vociferously reading on science, metaphysics, universe etc. I came across many scientists views like the one here that they suspected that time was just an illusion and that there is no such thing as 'Time' . It is all our perception only and is not a characteristic of the universe.

Its a pity I thought...had they met my father's guru, there would be no room for doubts in the scientist's minds.

One question perplexed me though, if time is actually an illusion and in reality there is no such thing as time, then are we all at some level still that one ball of unknown energy prior to THE BIG BANG ? In other words, are we all still one and the same ? The next books i read, answered this question with evidences and wow..i felt like somebody woke me up from a deep sleep.. ..i was awake..:)

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