In spite of so much development in science and technology, even scientists are baffled by the elusive nature of the sub-atomic particles. So in my attempt to inquire into the nature of reality, I am reminded of one of the vedic skeptic statements known as the Nasadiya Sukta. It is a hymn in the Rig Veda and is regarded as the first agnostic statement of our civilization.
The last stanza of the Sukta reads thus:
Whence all creation had its origin,
he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
he knows – or maybe even he does not know
In this context it is worth being reminded of the famous zen story:
The great Taoist master Chuang Tzu once dreamt that he was a butterfly fluttering here and there. Suddenly, he awoke and found himself laying there, a person once again. But then he thought to himself, “Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?“
Even after thousands of years of evolution, we have not reached finality with regard to the knowledge of the ultimate reality. Who can say for certain what is reality and what is illusion?
Many mystics and metaphysical poets have had visions of reality that they tried to express it in their own mystical ways. It is difficult to decipher them for the lay man. It will be like deciphering the babbles of a drunk for the sober ones. But certain aspects of reality can be experienced in an altered state of consciousness, or so it is claimed (including amateur mystics like me).
The Buddhist view of reality is that it is all nothingness, things are born of nothingness and go back to nothingness (Sunyabaad). Adi Sankara, the proponent of Adwaita Vedanta, had a contrarian view. He said that it is all fullness. Even the first sloka of Isavasya upanishad propounds :
Ishabashyam idam sarvam jat kinchit jagatyan jagat.
(What-so-ever there is, it is all filled with the essence of Ishwara)
While the eastern approach to reality has been an intuitive one, the western approach has been scientific. Or, we can say the eastern approach has been to look within where as the western approach has been to look outward. Hope at some point of time, they converge and east and west do meet.
The latest development is that science has nearly come to discover the God Particle which would solve the mystery about the nature of the ultimate reality. The basic fundas about the God Particle, in simple terms, are as follows:
Electron, proton and neutron are the trinity of the atomic science and each has some mass however negligible. An atom contains these three basic particles which are in turn formed by interaction of mass less particles called quarks. How these basic particles acquire mass has remained a mystery for the scientists. In 1964, a British physicist, Peter Higgs, came up with this idea that there must exist a background field passing through which particles acquire mass by being dragged through a mediator, which was subsequently named the Higgs Boson. The scientists sometimes call it the “God Particle” — it is everywhere but remains frustratingly elusive.
This reminds us of the Upanishads where God is conceived of as the substratum of everything, subtler than an atom, pure energy, present everywhere but elusive. Coincidentally, quantum physicists have found that their theories are not much different from the teachings of the Upanishads.
In March 2009, the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory came close to finding the God particle. What prevented them from finding the particle was a component malfunction in the Lab. Even though it still remains elusive, the scientists have come closer with each subsequent experiments at the CERN laboratories in Switzerland and elsewhere.
I am hopeful that if scientists continue with their experiments, one day they will definitely nail the elusive God Particle. God willing, of course. 😀
Till then there is nothing that prevents us from enjoying the mystery of reality, illusion, delusion, the gods or the God Delusions.