Most of the realities are not real! They are all perceptions. While I am writing this book I presume that I am sitting on a still surface. Is it real? No. This Earth on which I am sitting is spinning at a frenetic speed of 6,400 km per hour on its axis and revolving around the Sun at the speed of 64,500 km per hour. The entire ‘Milky Way’ comprising the Sun, Moon and all the planets are moving towards east at a lightning speed of 72,000 km per hour Is this stillness.
Just think of peace for sometime. Presume that you are sitting in a very quiet place or just remember your school days when the entire classroom became silent with just one instruction from the teacher. What is silence? No sound and no noise? Are you aware of how much sound an aircraft creates when it flies at a speed of around 600 to 900 km per hour and that too when it is thousands of feet away from you. And, our Earth which is spinning at a speed of 64,500 km per hour? So, how can you ever think that the Earth’s movement does not produce any sound? That is our silence! The sound generated by the Earth as it rotates on its axis and revolves around the Sun, is something that is beyond our imagination and our senses perceive it as silence.
However, the monks who are in deep meditation at the Himalayas are able to hear this sound. This sound is the sound of the universe. It sounds ‘OHM’. OHM does not belong to a religion or a political party; it is the sound of the universe. In fact, this sound of ‘OHM’ is a combination of three sounds: ‘aa’, ‘oo’ and ‘umm’. When you recite the sound ‘Ohm’, ‘aa’ should come from the lower part of your stomach, from the navel. This sound depicts creation. In anything connected with creation, one will be able to hear the sound ‘aa’. The sound ‘oo’ depicts existence and it comes from the chest and ‘umm’ is the sound of destruction and it comes from the head. This fact is so true that when you hear anything exploding, you actually hear the sound ‘umm’. As per the Vedas, through the sound of ‘Ohm’ you can hear the entire universe with all its creation, existence and destruction. These three stages are represented by three archetypes in Hindu mythology: Brahma (Creative Power), Vishnu (Existence) and Maheswara (Destructive Power). The word has tremendous healing power and just by listening to the repeated chants of ‘Ohm’, one can experience unbelievable healing from many a disease.
Leave alone the universe, how much do we know about our own body? I read in a book that Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, founder of Maharshi University, was once asked by a disciple – ‘Yogi, unlike most of the other yogis, why aren’t you showing any miracles?’ He answered, ‘Miracles are quite normal, I am much above miracles. You yourself are a miracle. At every fraction of a second, what your body does is just miracle!’
The human body is made up of more than a trillion cells. Every cell contains a set of three billion genetic bits having information from 8,000 generations. Around one trillion chemical reactions are happening in each of these cells every second. Moreover, the cell on top of the human skull knows what a cell in the bottom part of your feet does; such an unbelievable information network is working within a human
body and a human being is blissfully unaware of these things happening inside him/her. Just imagine, how many cells should be communicating with one another when you move your legs from one point to another point!
IS YOUR HEAD EMPTY
In our childhood we all must have heard comments like, ‘you are such an idiot, it seems your head is empty . . . ’ In fact, what one didn’t even know at that point of time is that there is such powerful complex machinery inside your head, i.e. called brain. There are around 100 billion neurons inside the brain. It contains a network of 1,00,000 miles of blood vessels. Every neuron is connected to another 50,000 neurons. These neurons can do one trillion activities at any given point of time.
Most of the things what we think as reality are not real. You think that the bulb continuously burns and spreads light; but as per physics the bulb continuously goes on and off. However, the off’s are set at a frequency, which our ‘visual sensory apparatus’ called eyes cannot register. When you watch a movie in a movie theatre, the film is continuous. However, if you go to the projector room you will see the film roll as a series of images. But the film is set to spin at a speed or frequency, where your eyes cannot register the discontinuity. Hence, what
we experience as our world is what we experience through our senses, i.e. what we touch, what we see, what we hear, what we smell and taste. Another person would be experiencing the same thing in a different way. In short, the world you live in cannot be perceived as a real world, it is your sensory world. It would be different from my sensory world as my senses may not be working exactly at the same frequency as that of yours. Hence, we all create our world every second. We all live in our own world, which is created by each of us.
IS TIME A REALITY
There is a school of thought, which believes that ‘time doesn’t exist!’ If the case is so ‘Is Time Real?’ then. Time is not inherent to the universe. A detailed search of the universe will reveal that there is no such thing as ‘time’, but only this moment . . . and this moment . . . and this moment. Time is also one moment piled on another moment to create a four-dimensional space. It is like a Polaroid picture being taken of this present moment and then another being slapped on top, and then another, until eventually a worm-like structure appears. This idea of four-dimensional space creates the illusion that time is real and somehow tangible in the universe – but it is not, because the only place where four-dimensional space exists is in the human mind. What really happens with that Polaroid as it lands on top of the one below, is that the old picture disappears – it ceases to exist and it is replaced by this moment . . . and then this moment . . . and so on.
If you find this confusing let us take the help of physics to understand whether time really exists. As you know atoms, the basic most particle in any matter, is nothing but electrons orbiting around a nucleus. However, over 99 percent of an atom is empty space. In fact, there is hardly any matter whatsoever. The electrons, which orbit an atom spins so fast that it enables a mostly empty structure to appear solid to the observer. If we were to shrink ourselves and accelerate our speed of perception, the electrons of that atom would appear to slow down in their orbits. Eventually, the atom would become more apparent for its empty space than its solidness, and it pays to draw on an image of our own solar system to illustrate this. What this shows is an inextricable relationship between matter, time and our rate of perception. The rate at which we perceive the spin of an atom designates just how solid (or empty) matter appears to be. Matter is thus revealed as a function of time, whilst time itself is simply the product of personal experience and not something, which is inherent to the Universe. More confused? Let us delve a little more into the topic.
Time inside an atom is measured in attoseconds. One attosecond is one quintillionth of a second. To try and give that some kind of a perspective, one attosecond is to one second what one second is to the age of the universe. One attosecond is the time it takes light to travel the length of three hydrogen atoms. And, 150 attoseconds is the time it takes for an electron to circle the nucleus of an atom. These
speeds are unfathomably fast, but only in relation to our rate of perception, which is measured in ‘yawn’ milliseconds. The earliest response to stimuli begins at the cerebellum within 2 ms, whilst the first response of the visual cortex is around 50-70 ms. A full state of arousal of the brain takes around 200 ms. So, what we have is a vast, almost unthinkable difference in time scales: one millisecond is one-thousandth of a second, but if an attosecond were stretched to the length of a full second, a second would last longer than 31 million years. Means, if you
think that one attosecond is equivalent to a second (as this is the smallest fraction of time we experience), one second will last longer than 31 million years. That makes it very clear that time is a relative perception.
If I was to speed up my rate of perception from milliseconds to attoseconds, then the rate at which I drop the next Polaroid would slow down. If I increased it further, say the speed of light, then I would stop . . . everything would stop . . . but only in relation to me; in other words, only my experience would stop and not the universe itself. What is also interesting at this stage is the presence of consciousness and its role outside experience. As the rate of perception increases or decreases, consciousness will remain invariably constant, and indeed, even if my rate of perception were to run at the speed of light, would consciousness thus be revealed as the only thing to exist in the universe? Does this then confirm what the mystics and religion have told us for thousands of years – that it is all one, and that it is all God?
We will explore all this in the coming chapters.
THE CONCEPT OF ‘MAYA’
Stephen Hawking, the well-known British theoretical physicist, who is sitting in Sir Isaac Newton’s chair now, has stated in his renowned book, A Brief History of Time, ‘the so-called imaginary time is the real time, and that what we call real time is just a figment of our imagination. In real time, the universe has a beginning and an end at singularities that form a boundary to space-time and at which the laws of science break down. But in imaginary time, there are no singularities or boundaries. So, maybe, what we call imaginary time is really more basic, and what we call real is just an idea that we invent to help us describe what we think the universe is like. A scientific theory is just a mathematical model we make to describe our observations: it exists only in our minds. So, it is meaningless to ask: Which is real, “real” or “imaginary” time? It is simply a matter of which is the more useful description.’
If the modern-day physicist Stephen Hawking says this, let us see what is written in our ancient literature, Maha Bhagavatam. ‘Once Narada said to Krishna, “Lord, show me Maya”. After a few days Krishna asked Narada to accompany him on a trip towards a desert. After walking several miles Krishna asked Narada to fetch some drinking water. Narada entered a nearby village and knocked at a door, which was opened by an extremely beautiful young girl. At the sight of her Narada forgot everything and began talking with the girl. That talk blossomed into love; he asked the girl’s father for the daughter; they were married, lived there and had three children.
‘After twelve years his father-in-law died and Narada inherited his property. He lived, as he seemed to think, a very happy life with his wife and children, his fields and his cattle, and so forth. Then came a flood. One night, the river rose until it overflowed its banks and flooded the whole village. Houses fell, men and animals were all running to save themselves.
Narada had to escape. With one hand he held his wife, and with the other two of his children; another child was on his shoulders and he was trying to ford this tremendous flood. After sometime, the child on his shoulders fell and was swept away by the river in spate. In trying to save that child, Narada lost his grasp of the other children who were also lost. At last, his wife was also torn away from his tight clasp and Narada was thrown on the bank, weeping and totally shattered. Behind him came a gentle voice, “My child, where is the water? You went
to fetch a pitcher of water for me, and I have been waiting for you; where were you, it’s almost half-an-hour.” “Half-an-hour!” Narada exclaimed! Twelve whole years seemed to have passed through in his mind. But, the fact is that all these scenes had flashed in his mind only in that half-an-hour, and it seemed to Narada like twelve long years! This is Maya.’
These stories provide an insight into one of the fundamental principles of the universe, which says that the phenomenal world is simply an emanation of divine energy that has been filtered through Maya. This is reiterated in the Mahabharata when the voice of a Yaksha asked Yudhishtir: ‘Of the entire world’s wonders, which is the most wonderful?’ The celebrated reply was: ‘that no man, though he sees others dying all around him, believes that he himself will die.’ This is Maya.