Last week’s article (Cosmos by Design) provided a glimpse of the Force that has infinite energy, unlimited forms and is the secret mover of the myriad universe(s) – a Force that we call God. Only an endless catalogue can enumerate the ‘things’ and ‘places’ wherein He, the Infinite, may be found….undiminished. Our passing through this finite world is but an attempt to ‘realise’ the infinite phenomena. Even after millennia we remain overawed by many of the riddles and mysteries of this universe - still unexplained and unresolved by science. Oftentimes, the more we believe we understand, the less we seem to know. The universe shows us how small we really are. Science has only ‘recently’ been able to explain where the stars and planets came from. Now scientists have turned their attention to the much bigger mystery of galaxies. What is known is that galaxies are not scattered randomly throughout space; rather, they are found in ‘super clusters’. Are there other universes, each governed by its own set of ‘laws’? Though, with the constant expansion of the universe, it is unlikely that humanity will ever find the answer. We have only discovered four percent of the matter in the universe. Many believe that the rest is in the form of ‘dark matter’ – which we cannot see or touch, and even light and radio waves just seem to pass right through it. One of Albert Einstein’s greatest accomplishments was proving, through mathematics, the existence of ‘black holes’. We now have been able to find several black holes, and believe one to be at the centre of our very own Milky Way galaxy. What is astonishing, however, is what Einstein also proved through his equations that ‘white holes’ also exist. The exact opposite of black holes, white holes are believed to spit out an incredible amount of matter from seemingly nothing. Such an object should be easy to find…yet none has been. ‘Dark Energy‘ is the greatest mystery in the universe today, because it is believed to be all around us, and it explains why there seem to be anomalies within the law of gravity. By the law of gravity, large objects, like galaxy clusters, should attract each other, and their gravitational pull should pull in other objects. This, however, is not the case; most galaxy clusters are moving farther apart - because the universe is expanding at an incredible rate. Scientists have thus developed the theory of Dark Energy, which has the opposite effect of gravity – it pushes things apart. Mathematical calculations have shown that if it exists, it makes up 74% of our universe, outweighing gravity - and probably explains why the universe is stretching out.
In this cosmic ‘reality’, when we ‘look out at space’, we are in fact looking back in time. The light arriving at our location from the farthest objects in the universe is light that left those objects billions of years ago - so in effect we see them as they appeared long ago. The most distant galaxies look strange, smaller, irregular, lacking clearly defined shapes. Before the Hubble, no telescope had the resolution to see these distant galaxies. When Hubble was tuned to a seemingly nearly empty patch of sky, to let it soak up all the light it could for 10 days, there were startling results – it ‘unearthed’ a treasure trove of 3,000 galaxies, large and small, shapely and amorphous, burning in the depths of space. The stunning image was called the Hubble Deep Field. In subsequent years, Hubble teamed up with other observatories to examine small patches of the sky in high resolution, long exposures and multiple wavelengths. Knowing the age of the universe isn’t just a matter of curiosity. By giving us a time scale of the development of stars and galaxies, it helps us refine our models of how the universe – and everything in it – formed. Our universe started with a bang and has been expanding ever since, the space between galaxies increasing over time. For many years, astronomers contemplating the death of the universe considered two main possibilities: either the universe would go on expanding forever, the galaxies gently drifting apart, or the universe would stop expanding and fall back on itself in a ‘big crunch’.
One basic thing that we can learn from the whole cosmic drama is that, for any phenomena to take place, interdependence is necessary. Phenomena are interdependent because they coexist in a global reality, which functions according to mutual causality. Phenomena are naturally simultaneous, because one implies the presence of the other: ‘This can only be if that also exists; this can change only if that also changes’. The notion of interdependence makes us question our basic perception of the world, which then helps to lessen our attachments, aversions and fears. An understanding of interdependence should demolish the wall of illusions that our minds have built up between ‘the other’ and me - it should make nonsense of pride, jealousy, greed and malice. If all living beings are indeed connected, then we should feel deeply concerned about the happiness and suffering of others. The attempt to build our happiness on others’ miseries is not just amoral, it’s also unrealistic. Feelings of universal love and compassion (the desire for all beings to be freed of suffering) are the direct consequence of interdependence. The knowledge of interdependence leads to a process of inner transformation, which continues throughout the journey of spiritual enlightenment. We must put this knowledge into practice. The interdependence of phenomena demands a universal responsibility. As Einstein said: “A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe’ - a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty’.
Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 30 years. He can be contacted at email@example.com