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Jan 27, 2014

Submitted to the 2013 Quantum Shorts Flash Fiction Competition

‘Dadaji’ (literally grandfather, metaphorically a wise man) was not just a physicist. He earned his doctorate from Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, working under Sir Rutherford. Amongst his many seminal works were path-breaking researches on white dwarfs and thermodynamics. His genius was in making things simple for the grasp of a common man. Sometimes one does not know whether to address his abilities in the past or present tense. Thankfully, the future has yet to unfold. It is Dadaji’s fusion of Quantum Physics and Vedanta that transcends through time and space. Two words that would perhaps best characterise him are omnipotence and omnipresence.
I am aware of his simultaneous presence in two locations. Scenic Udaipur and the wooded parts of Delhi University, as those are two places where he lived and that I have been associated with. In Udaipur, he would be with his grown up school buddies demystifying their mysteries. How could a man rise above the mundane? Just raise the atomic number of existence. Do as the alchemists did – making gold out of a lower metal by tinkering its atomic state. The choice is simple. Either seize or abdicate that power? He would then delve upon the psychology of sleep. From dream state to rapid eye movement to deep sleep. The human body and mind can both be energised to metamorphose from a lower to a higher state of existence. Again, the path need not be linear. Generally it is three-dimensional: ‘Bhakti’ (Devotion), ‘Gyaan’ (Knowledge) and ‘Dhyaan’ (Contemplation to enhance intuitive powers). He wears his erudition very lightly.
Dadaji’s storytelling sessions are nothing short of mesmerising. As the old wise men briskly walked along the Lake Fatehsagar ‘paal’ (bund) the sun was already down, the parakeets silenced and with the darkness came the fireflies, enacting a surreal drama. Dadaji never missed the message. Whenever you see this, please remember that only after you have subdued the ‘chanchal’ (restless) in you would your inner-self start glowing, he would say.
The ridge next to the university campus has forever been the natural refuge from the hustle and bustle of Delhi. The vice regal lodge and the telescope tower of the Physics department were always very reassuring landmarks. If Dadaji was illuminating and igniting bright young minds, it would generally be well past the ‘langurs’ (black-faced monkeys) having stopped foraging the flora of an offering from the last vestige of the Aravallis – one of the oldest rock formations in the world. That was perhaps the common denominator for his simultaneous presence at the two locations. The langurs would be back at their resting spots atop their favourite trees. It was just then the time for the bats, masters of the night skies, to be out. Some of the youngsters who walked past this benign looking old man deeply engrossed in conversation with young students – their antennas were not receptive enough to register the enlightening opportunity that just whizzed past them – they were rather wary of the flying foxes as a potential source of rabies. Dadaji always marvelled how well-tuned these two creatures were to the laws of nature. Do you really need to distance yourself from nature to develop your thinking faculty and thereby progress the frontiers of knowledge, he would marvel.
Would quantum physics be a good foundation for a quant role at the Wall Street, Dadaji? “Ha,” he would say, “so you wish to be a black swan spotter? I’m not sure whether you need to have a better understanding of ornithology or quantum dynamics, but remember what Vedanta has to say. ‘Hamsa’ (the swan) also connotes ‘I am He’ (the ultimate power).” If we were to bring in the Oriental philosophies including Zen (origin from the Sanskrit ‘Dhyana’), the yin and yang co-exist. Even if the existence of a black swan was unknown till the discovery of the down-under, it did not mean the black swan didn’t exist. The idea was beyond our comprehension. The good and the evil co-exist. They are but two sides of the same coin. Not only could a highly charged human intellect manifest itself physically at multiple locations but also in shades of white and black all at once.
“In his famous equation outlining the equivalence of mass and energy, Einstein proved that the energy in any particle of matter is equal to its mass or weight multiplied by the square of the velocity of light. The release of atomic energies is brought about through annihilation of the material particles. The “death” of matter has given birth to an Atomic Age. “
“Masters who are able to materialise and dematerialise their bodies and other objects, and to move with the velocity of light, and to utilise the creative light rays in bringing into visibility any physical manifestation, have fulfilled the lawful condition: their mass is infinite.”
“Maya (from the Vedas) is the magical power of illusion that underlies phenomenal worlds. Satan (Old Testament) or Maya is the Cosmic Magician who produces multiplicity of forms to hide the One Formless Verity. In God’s plan and play, the sole function of Satan or Maya is to attempt to divert man from Sprit to matter, from Reality to unreality.”
He tends to quote all these from Swami Paramhansa Yogananda who influenced his philosophy significantly.
“Is hacking a virtue or vice, even if it means getting to the bottom of truth?” An omnipotent or an omnipresent spirit would have access to timeless information stored in the repository of the universe, he would say. Soon we shall be able to listen to the sounds of inter stellar space. By the way I am told it is bird like. Before too long we will be able to decipher fundamental secrets of unimaginable immensity. Please do expand your perspective by expanding your mind. Our physical boundaries need not restrict our reach.
Let us not entangle ourselves in a limited time space, let us not identify our spirit with our body and ego, and let’s reclaim the unified space.

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