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Fiction

Mrs. M, the senior librarian entered the library building of Boston University at 11 in the morning,. She used the elevator and reached the 5th floor to enter her cabin. Settled herself and looked around through the glass panel. Only a couple of students were seen scanning some books. Mrs. M wondered whether that treasure of knowledge was being utilized by the students effectively for carrying out research work. She got the idea of doing some project work herself along with some students. She wanted to see the effectiveness of attracting students to this wealth of knowledge to do some real exploration.   

Lost in thoughts, she saw a young boy in his twenties, hurriedly entered the section on THEOLOGY. That was Satish. He did not know where to start his research work to solve the mystery of COSMOS as depicted in the religious books. He was so confused that he did not know which book to lay his hand on. He picked up one book and had a glance. Satish did not get what he wanted to see. He nodded his head in denial and restored the book in its position. He picked another book and tried to judge the contents of the book. He was glancing at a few pages one after another.

Mrs. M was watching Satish from her cabin. She realized this young man was looking for something, very seriously, but was not able to reach the right book. She approached Satish. Stood beside him for a couple of minutes. Satish was so engrossed that he did not know that Mrs. M was watching him very closely. After scanning a few pages, he again nodded in disapproval. Closed the book and put it back in its place. When he raised his head, he saw Mrs. M looking at him very intently.

“Yes. It is very difficult to find specific information in this ocean of knowledge. May I help you?” the very dignified, intellectually bright, a middle-aged lady said smilingly.

"Yes madam, I am looking for some book on religion, discussing science," Satish said.

“Oh my God! Very difficult topic to search for. The section you are scanning has books on religion but they are mostly concerned with rituals. I am afraid, you will not find anything related to your quest. I suggest, you go for books by Philip Clayton, a philosopher, who has worked on both religion and science. I think he will throw some light on  the area of your interest.”

“Oh. Thanks a lot. I will look for Clayton’s books.”

“You move two sections ahead and you will get them.”

"Okay," said Satish and quickly went in the direction Mrs. M had suggested.

Mrs. M went to her cabin and started her work. She was curious that this young boy was keen on coupling religion with science. She was impressed by his searching for the book of his interest.

Nearly half an hour later, Mrs. M found Satish approaching her. She smiled at him and said, “How was the search?”

"Thanks a million, madam. I think I got the book I wanted. I will get it issued."

“You are welcome, young man. Any more assistance you need, please get in touch with me. I am here to help you.”

“Thanks again, Madam. " Mrs. M. saw a book by Clayton in his hand.

Satish went to the book issuing counter.

After three days, Satish went to the library to return the book. He himself searched for some more books pertaining to cosmology in religions. This time he had Brian Greene, and Andrei Linde books in his hand.

Mrs. M saw Satish going to her cabin. She was busy with some other work. She waved at him and signed him to wait for 5 minutes before they could talk.

After finishing her task, Mrs. M rushed to her cabin. Satish was waiting for her.

“Yes, Madam, Clayton was superb. I also found a few more professors working on this topic. Greene and Linde have also written some books connecting religion with cosmology."

“Yes, indeed. A lot of work is being done in this area. But tell me about you, young man. What are you studying?”

“Actually, I am doing my doctorate in I.T. Now spring vacation is on and I want to pursue my hobby of COSMOLOGY. My name is Satish Datar.”

“Oh, That means you are Indian. I have worked with Prof. Datar who was dean at Harvard. Any connexion?”

”No. I am not that fortunate.”

“Now, tell me how you got interested in Cosmology?”

“I watched a few videos and am hooked to Cosmology. I would like to use my knowledge in I.T, for COSMOLOGY.”

“Very good. All the best! If I can be of any help, I am available.”

Mrs. M was looking at the image of Satish leaving the library. It reminded her of her son, George, almost of Satish’s age. He had joined the defence forces and she had not seen him for the last two years. He was scheduled to visit her at the end of the year.

The next day, Mrs. M noticed Satish coming to the library. But instead of coming to her cabin, he went to the rack, picked up a book there, and straightway disappeared into the reading area. Mrs. M was happy to see him but was a bit disappointed that he did not meet her. After a couple of hours, Satish came to the cabin to see Mrs. M. He appeared a bit serious. She saw a book in his hand. ”Hinduism and Cosmology”.

"Ma'am, Rig Vedas in Hindu scriptures have mentioned a lot of things about the life and death of our Universe. Nearly three thousand years ago, the Hindu culture had some idea about our universe. The timeline of the birth of the Universe, the birth of the Sun, comes very close to what has been depicted by modern science now. The distances of the planets, the sun, and a few distant stars were estimated so accurately that one may refuse to believe it. Also, Vedas differentiate between spirit and matter. The spirit can’t be felt whereas matter can be experienced materially. I want to probe a little more into the Vedas with the help of my father who has learned Sanskrit.”

Mrs. M was getting further curious. She posed a question. “That is great. But then, why did he give up the working on Sanskrit further.”

“He gave up further work on it, as it could not support him for even simple living. It did not provide him a source of income to make both ends meet.

“Oh, I see, Satish. You have really set a very high goal in front of you. Exploring further the scientific information embedded in Rig Vedas will certainly help humanity in general.

I will work on Hindu Cosmology in consultation with Prof. Greene, Prof. Clayton, and Prof. Andrei Linde.

My experience tells me that if a third party unrelated to the subject works, it helps to get OUT OF BOX ideas.”

Mrs. M was getting inclined to join herself in this exploratory research work. She almost decided to contribute to further probing in this area. 

She said, “Let us start right now. We may not be able to prove anything, but certainly, we can open up new ideas which will help the science to move in leaps and bounds."

Mrs. M was happy to work with Satish whom she saw as her son who was away from her. 

“The concept of fourteen LOKAs, the topmost being Satya Lok and the lowest being the Patal Lok and Earth is addressed as Bhu Lok. Also, the ideas about Yug a specific period are addressed as Satya Yug, Treta Yug, Dwapar Yug, and the fourth era as Kali Yug which is the ongoing period. The Gods Bramha, The supreme God Vishnu, and Mahesh are assigned a specific task related to the universe. Bramha is the creator, and Mahesh is the destroyer. And Vishnu takes care of sustaining the universe and preserves it.

The names given to Gods are actually representing various functions of the universe. The Rig Vedas say that the universe was created from an infinitesimally, very small point." Satish said. Further, he added,  

“Many of the hypotheses today agree on the cyclic birth and death of the universe as mentioned in Vedas. The concept of two separate entities-spirit and matter also may be able to throw some light on the present idea of the mysterious, unseen dark matter and dark energy."

" Satish, as you feel that there must a lot more knowledge deep in Vedas, why don’t we go to India and try to dig further into Hindu scriptures?" Mrs. M raised her doubt.

“Yes Ma’am, I had discussed the same matter with my father. But he had to say something different. He said,

‘During British rule, they shifted the Hindu religious knowledge to their country and generated a sort of inferiority complex in Indians, that Hindu religion is nothing but few mythological stories and whatever knowledge the Britishers had was the ultimate. The Sanskrit language was marginalized and its use was almost banned replacing it with English. The strangling of Sanskrit was earlier initiated by the invader Moghuls by bringing in Persian as the language of communication and later, Britishers almost finished off the existence of Sanskrit. Only a very small minority withheld the Sanskrit language.’ “

Mrs. M interrupted," I understand, the rulers destroyed your heritage. But it is nearly 70 years since you got independence. Could you not restore your lost self-pride?"  

Satish appeared to be a little upset with this question. He paused for a couple of minutes and then continued, "Even after Independence, due to some unknown reasons, instead of trying to restore our suppressed Hindu lifestyle, protecting the heritage of Hindu civilization,  they hastened the extinction of the Hindu way of life. Instead of finding the glorious aspect of our culture, they tried to eliminate the Hindu traditions condemning them as useless, senseless philosophy. And there were many Hindus who joined the rank with the sole aim of proclaiming themselves as secular, progressive. In the name of secularism, the Hindu culture was getting crushed.”

Satish took a deep breath and said,”  I feel ashamed that instead of protecting our original heritage, only the Moghul and British culture was being projected as our heritage. We were happy that the Moghul and British contributed to our lifestyle, but why was our glorious past dumped as obscure? Till a decade ago, the new generation was kept totally in dark about our great Hindu achievements. Under the covering of a few bad traditions, the highly developed knowledge, and elevated behavioral way of living was kept hidden and a school of thought was promoted that the lifestyle imposed by Moghuls and Britishers was the only way of living. And some who tried to raise voices against this injustice were ridiculed as being regressive, were being ignored, and even put behind bars.   

As a result, today, a few Russians, Americans, and Europeans know of our heritage and culture, more than many Indians.”

Satish stopped. Checked whether his continuous outburst of emotions was boring Mrs. M. When he realized Mrs. M was getting more and more involved, she was moving along with his feelings, Satish further added,   

“We have suffered a lot because of our thinking base of considering the whole world as a family. VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM.

After independence, we have suffered the ill effects of democracy. The dark side of democracy was exploited by a few crooks, unworthy, undeserving people. Those who did not have an understanding of Hindu culture did not have any respect for our inheritance and demolished our rich heritage. They threw away our wealth of knowledge. The teaching of Hindu religion/ tradition was banned in schools.

By taking charge of our priceless treasure of knowledge and dumping it in garbage terming it as useless mythological stories, these unworthy people have done injustice to not only we Indians but to the entire world. Our heritage developed in respect of culture and knowledge belonged to not only Indians but it was to all of humanity. The art of painting in caves, the sculptures found of the age of a few thousands of years, the knowledge of the discoveries of stars, the universe, etc. belonged to the entire humanity.

Overlooking some ideas just because they are different from the prevailing ones, is harming us all. We must share our knowledge with all humans.”

Satish put a stop to his expression of resentment.

Mrs. M nodded in agreement. She said, "Ok Satish. Then let us start working on the project.

First of all, I will try to gather all the comments on Vedas in English. I will try to access the books commenting on Vedas all over the world. As you said, Europeans have worked on Vedas. I will probe German, and Russian literature pertaining to this topic. You collect all the information on the actual Vedas. Your father will try to interpret Sanskrit in simple English. We all will explore the original work in Sanskrit on Vedas from various countries. We will get our project approved by higher authorities.

And I am sure, we will get closer to your goal, which is now ‘our goal’, very soon.

When my son George comes home on leave, I will proudly show him my contribution to searching for some aspects of cosmology. I will prove to him that a librarian not only manages the big collection of books but also contributes significantly to the quest of utilizing the mine of information. Let us get going.” Saying this Mrs. M went to her cabin. Satish in a great mood started for his house to tell his father about the project he wanted to complete during his vacation.  Mrs. M started her search for books on Vedas. She had started using her association with the books to solve some mysteries of the universe.

April 21, 2022 22:49

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