West speaking the language of Maharishi on gravity

West speaking the language of Maharishi on gravity

Making waves as a soft IT-power and earning lot more money at call centres and BPOs’,  for young India, miles away from old belief-systems and traditions, are ‘yoga’, ‘mantra’, ‘tantra’ or ‘Way of Zen’ if you like, mere supersonic rear-windows to unwind and de-stress after bars empty out?

With even the developed Western Nations now turning to Asia’s spiritual traditions to see if the latter could offer new ways of harmonising the individual ‘ego’ with the ‘other’ to restore ecological balance in the wake of the climate change crisis, the Madras University’s Department of Philosophy decided to tap its indigenous roots to see if emeralds are there.

Surprisingly, the result was a fascinating interplay of diverse perspectives by scholars from different parts of the country including several intellectuals from Karnataka, on the relevance of an obscure hand- loom weaver from Tamil Nadu who turned wise to become Vethathiri Maharishi.

As the Maharishi’s centenary year began on Saturday, the intellectual excitement had a numerical halo in capturing the strong undercurrents of the pan-Indian spiritual tradition, lest the youth may turn cynical by the wayward ways of a ‘swami’ here or a ‘godman’ there.

“Today, the child is introduced into a fractured scenario - in terms of caste, religion, culture, geography, economic inequity and politics,” as Prof A A Pal, Chairman, Department of Psychology, Karnatak University, Dharwad, put it to Madras University Vice-Chancellor Dr Thiruvasagam.

Many saints and seers in the past have undoubtedly offered a vision of the ‘oneness of the world’. Either they led a narcissistic celebration of the individual self or a total denial of the ‘other’. However, Vethathiri Maharishi seeks to reverse this by unifying the forces of nature, including gravity, human consciousness and everything that goes with the ‘all-pervasive, absolute space (Akash)’. It at one stroke breaks the man-nature dichotomy, even while focusing on non-violence and compassion in the search for Truth.

There is no notion of a personal god in Vethathiri Maharishi, as he considers “absolute space itself as god.” “This god is the best friend of all,” cutting at the root all religious divisions- a dynamite of global terrorism today,” explained B Krishna, former Professor of Philosophy, Mysore University. When gods of all religion merge, it should lead to world peace.

That there is no dichotomy in the Maharishi’s view between nature, matter, consciousness and the cosmos, echoing the insights of modern physics that mass and energy are interchangeable, was a basic strand emphasised by almost all the speakers.

“Newton thought the apple fell because of the pull of gravity; but Vethathiri said just the opposite that the gravitational force belonged to space itself, which is pushing the apple down,” mused Dr G Alagar Ramanujam, a once Physics teacher who became his disciple, quoting from the former’s moving Tamil verses, like the mystic Kannada poet Sarvajna.  

Alagar is excited that a group of Physicists in the Netherlands are today speaking the same language of “gravity as an illusion”. Maharishi with very little formal education knew neither Newton nor Einstein. “Vethathiri’s intuitions are remarkable for someone who hardly attended school,” chipped in Prof Bhuvan Chandel, Vice-President, Indian Philosophical Congress.

“A war in the womb hurts you, not others,” reminds Dr P B Siddhashrama, Professor of Philosophy, Karnatak University, Dharwad, succinctly capturing the Maharishi’s insights on personality development, quoting another profound Kannada poet Ambigara Chowdaiah. Resolving the youth’s crisis today lay in realising “we are all part of that One Whole world,” he told Deccan Herald.

      
 
      

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