is nothing something ?

india times said I was on a spiritual search because of the turmoil of my personal life and post oscar success of golden age. Not true. I have been in turmoil since I was 10.
In Delhi we used to sleep under the open skies on the terrace in summer. There was no light, sound or other pollution at that time. The universe was there to comprehend in all it’s fairy tale glory. The stars bright enough to create shadows of my hand on the white sheets. It was beautiful, as my mother would give me a glass of water from the earthen pot called the Surahi. I still miss the taste of the earth in the water I drank in the light of the universe. And as I would lie there, staring at the stars the inevitable question would nag me again. Where does the universe go ? What lies at the end of the universe ?….


… my father would gently explain that the universe went on forever. And i would wonder what the dimensions of forever were. I had just started learning physics in school. They had taught me that everything always had measurable dimensions. Length, breadth, depth. Circumfrence, radius. Even energy was measurable. Everything was something confined and measurable from the inside and from the outside. This was the physics of the finite.
So where did ‘forever’ fit in the matrix of the finite ? What was my father trying to say ? I would try and imagine ‘forever’. My imagination would extend and extend and extend looking to see how far I could go in a linear form, till I would break into sobs because wherever I went it – it just had to go further. How could I live in the physics of the finite and yet every night stare at something that completely defied description ? How could something just go on forever ? No limits in either time or in space ? How could something be nothing ? An eternal darkness ? If anything was something then it had to end somewhere, right ?
I created my own image of the universe to help calm myself down. Our universe was a miniscule atom in the tip of an axe being swung by a wood cutter. The time it took for the axe to hit the tree was an eon. Yet the universe of the wood cutter was enclosed in another atom at the tip of an axe of another wood cutter in an even more immense universe. And so on. One universe after another. One wood cutter after another. And by the time my imagination would create one universe after another, one eon after another, I would fall asleep. And then confront the physics of the finite at school the next day.
I am still that little boy in search of ‘forever’. I always have been.
shekhar
shekhar

71 Responses to “is nothing something ?”

  1. Kavita says:

    “So it is that existence and non-existence give birth the one to (the idea of) the other; that difficulty and ease produce the one (the idea of) the other; that length and shortness fashion out the one the figure of the other; that (the ideas of) height and lowness arise from the contrast of the one with the other; that the musical notes and tones become harmonious through the relation of one with another; and that being before and behind give the idea of one following another.” Lao Tse
    Best,
    Kavita

  2. tapan says:

    hello sir some days ago i saw a documentary on maths on bbc and it talks abt how bramha gupta discovered or invented zero. wanna m,ake a movie on this and i herad that panni was selved. is that true? soi what is youer next movie????????

  3. SUNIL TIWARI says:

    I dont know that which i am writing here could be read by you but hope so
    I respect you much you have done a outstanding job by giving global reputation to the indian cinema
    Now which i am going to write is something different but please forgive me if i have done any mistake
    Could an epic like ramayana and mahabharat be written now. The whole world believes in a super natural power and they have their different religion. But the power is only one, who knows who is behind the universe and who is the owner of the creator of the universe, its just infinitive.
    Its a request from me please make a film (janm- The birth) a story of a common and honest man. Who always get failure because of his innocence, became The God
    Its only is the essence of the story, I don’t think that any kind of this film has ever made even its likelyhood.

  4. Dr.Y.S.Rao says:

    Hi Shekhar,
    Looks like we are sailing in the same boat! I too was in turmoil since I was 10.
    In Secunderabad, we used to sleep under the open skies on the terrace in summer. There was not much light, sound or other pollution at that time. The universe was there to comprehend in all it’s pristine glory.
    In my case, the stars weren’t bright enough to create shadows of my hand on the sheets. Yet it was beautiful. And as I would lie there, staring at the stars the inevitable question would nag me again. Where does the universe go ? What lies at the end of the universe ?
    My spiritual journey started on 8th of October, 1992 and I started getting my answers slowly.
    How can the universe go on forever? Don’t you think your father was wrong?
    I too started learning physics in school. They had taught me that everything always had measurable dimensions. Length, breadth, depth. Circumfrence, radius. Even energy was measurable. Everything was something confined and measurable from the inside and from the outside. This was the physics of the finite.
    After years of thinking I have started getting the answers ! My imagination would extend and extend and extend looking to see how far I could go in a linear form, till I started seeing something………something beautiful………something where I actually belong…….something where I’ll be retiring, after my sojourn on this planet ! That’s my Abode !!
    Regards,
    Dr.Y.S.Rao,
    Director, Srivany Films

  5. sakina rizvi says:

    You are cool:)people love your work and aesthetic! and i envy you:)I have been a big fan of yours since ‘Masoom’ days.I vaguely remember watching you acting as well.I’m not a’shouqeen’ of Indian films(haven’t seen slum..instead went for The readers)The last Hindi film i watched was,dil se and zubaida.(loved both)
    I myself an actress and a director.read books on philosophy,history and spirituality.Love reading Kirshna murti Sahb.Hope to meet you some day and take you as Ustad:).

  6. Nikhil Gawai says:

    The quest for search is forever and shall exist. If we accomplish the conclusion, then we meet an end. Keep surviving..

  7. Angele Rota says:

    Hello my name is Angele… and i have taken an interest in your work… your messages behind your movies really touches my heart… and i would love to hear your stories.. and share mine.. please contact me back… i would like to work with you in the long run …your courage and confidence in writing is beautiful…. so long for now

  8. s.manoharan says:

    Your imagination from childhood . I recall a poem I published a decade back and present to your reading pleasure.
    THE TIME
    From the past seed to a future flower
    Travels the tree every time
    Legs are not left out
    After inventing the wheels
    Except for the present moment
    Neither new nor old exists but
    Only newest old and oldest new
    Millions of millenniums
    Moving in Galaxy Calendars
    One’s life is born and dead
    In no seconds
    Who measures time in
    Alien planets?
    Only the Earth clock rotates
    Man minute and woman hour
    Needles
    For the Time
    A falling leaf
    And a dying star
    Is the same?

  9. Rajnish says:

    Your woodcutter story reminded me of a similar story I read from one of OSHO’s books on intelligence.There was a prince who was feeling sleepy but could not sleep so he walked and walked and came to a large palace with 1000 rooms.He was looking for a place to sleep.He went to the first room and it was empty,the second and it had nothing ,and on and on he went till he came to the 999 th room.There he found a beautiful bed made of feathers with white satin sheets and golden pillows.He was so tired that he slept and when he did he dreamt that he was standing at the gate of a huge palace with 1000 rooms.He was felling very sleepy so he went to the first room and there s nothing…..and on and on it goes.
    I use the story to put my children to sleep and it always works.I bored them to sleep.
    I guess that’s what we keep doing with our intelligence all our lives.As Omar Khayyam says :
    And that inverted bowl we call the sky,
    where under crawling coop’t we live and die,
    Lift not thy hands to it for help – for it
    Rolls impotently on ….as thou or I.
    Me thinks this Wheel at which we gape and stare,
    Is Chinese lantern – like we buy at fair;
    The lamp is Sun and paper shade the world,
    And we the pictures whirling unaware. .
    The Skies rotate, I cannot guess the cause;
    And all I feel is grief, which in me gnaws;
    Surveying all my life, I find myself
    The same unknowing dunce that once I was!
    Loved reading your blog.Got the link through Nilesh’s blog.All the best and look forward to your next film.

  10. Subodh Deshpande says:

    am sure you might have read vivekanand’s different books.

  11. itCanBeAnswered says:

    Hi Shekar,
    You just had the same doubts that i had when i was 10.!!! Almost same reasoning i used that you used to get answer but nothing happened.I got so upset as i couldn’t find answer,but finally by almighty’s grace i know the direction where to seek my answer.!!!
    The right answer is to drop all the question,because question generate anwser and answer generate question,which is a big loop,only realization can answer everything.
    To get realization you first have to get liberation.Liberation is nothing but freedom from freedom.It’s a state where you don’t know that you are finally free.
    Realization is death of death.
    Once you have realization you have all the anwser.Everything will start looking to you logical and each question will get automatically answered.All the questions about why this is this way or that is that way will be answered.Are things finite or infinite !! Why we are here in the 1st place.Who am i!!! What is this world,why it started from a point and if it started from a point where did that point come from??what will happen when i will be dead.??
    For this to happen you need to start meditating under guidance of a right guru who is a realized soul and which the best place to do so??? Our own country India!!!
    And for realization you don’t need to leave this materialistic world and go into the jungle,because this world made you question so this world will only give you the answer,it’s like this “The question at the end of a particular maths chapter came from what’s the content of chapter so the answer must be in it.If you can’t understand it,a teacher will help you by giving you examples and simplifying the concept which might look difficult to you and then slowly by practising you will start understanding the concept and then finally you can answer the question”.This is what a right GURU does for you,he/she can will help you solve the question of “nothing is something” and as there are levels of math teachers depending upon how much they know so are the level of spiritual GURU and i am blessed that i am in contact with the GURU of highest order.
    If your are really interested then please drop me an email because i have also gone through the similar reasoning and i tried putting these question at the back of my mind but they would always confront me and then one day came when i needed answer to all this,and finally i have found the right guru who could help and i am not saying all this because i am chella or something to this GURU but because i have tested him through my logical and scientific reasoning which is similar to yours and i am content that i am heading in right direction because that’s a feeling i am getting from my heart and i able to do all these things while living a normal life as this method of meditation is simple and effective and i have the guidance of right GURU.!!!
    And you might ask a question why am i keeping his name secret???? Because he is not asking for attention and only people worthy to understand him will see him.Again here you can put the same reasoning.IIT ,Harvard and MIT dont take any student into there campuses ,but only those who can actually understand what is being taught,so is the case with GURU also.
    I am just like you with same quest to know answer to all my question and i will be more than happy to help you.:-)

  12. Tee says:

    Hi Shekhar,
    I have been your fan for many decades now. I always admired you & your work even though until today never really tried to ‘look’ for you on google! I am glad I did as I found your website…funny, isn’t it? I used to wonder how you must have adjusted here in the US after being in Bombay for so long, or how you made place for yourself in Hollywood!
    But this is not why I am commenting to this post; I wanted to comment on the taste of water from surahi! I also remember that besides many other things that used to ‘taste’ so good…I was also born, brought up & studied in Delhi and after college landed here in the US via London! I used to love sleeping on the terrace & breathing in that clean air. I don’t know about you, but I used to listen to All India radio’s urdu service while lying under the open sky! It was so much fun than being in an ac room. This is making me nostalgic!
    Keep up the discussions going…
    until next time.
    ~t

  13. Hema says:

    Dear Shekhar,
    I met you this evening at the Screenwriting workshop @ Chennai.. I said, “I fell in love at the first Read!” This post is where it was……. :)if u could make that little boy a little girl.. it would be me……. 🙂
    My question to you was “For the love of writing and Cinema that i have, I have killed my inhibitions, expanded the boundary of curiosity, subjected myself to voluntary manipulations, analysing and thinking over and over, only to be left with a chaotic state of mind, later to be identified as Depression. Is it something that every Creative writer go through?”
    You replied, “Welcome to life..” “Welcome!”
    While you went on unfastening the knots in your own way..
    You stopped a moment to say.. “Imagine yourself on a parachute.. Ok? Just floating down in the parachute feels great.. you pull the parachute this way.. it goes that way.. you can go left.. you can go right.. you can go forward.. you can go backward.. and every now and again there is this storm.. and you get bafted(?) by the parachute.. and then somebody would say.. ‘Hey! why don’t you just look up?’ you ‘d never listen because the parachute was very comfortable.. and ask..’Why?’ They say, ‘Hey just look up!..’ And..”
    The bewildered me was flabbergasted the moment you said, “When you look up.. you realize there was no parachute! There never was.. and in panic u ll say..I am falling.. I am gonna crash.. and somebody d say… There is nothing to crash into.. Its just a falling.. But, There is no falling where there is no context of where you gonna crash..” “I can see you laughing” “Isn’t that mistake you did?” “Just get up and say Yes or No..”
    I said “Yes..”
    “Yes?”
    “Yes!”
    “Perfect!” “You are losing your parachute.. you ve got no plain to crash and thats a great place to be.. to start writing…”
    I literally whispered, “Thanks” amidst the loud sound of Applause.
    (I was surprised that I took the liberty to say ‘Thanks’ instead of a ‘Thank You!’)
    A memorable day indeed.
    Love you for who you are
    Hema

  14. The Dot says:

    GREAT!!

  15. ashok ghosh says:

    Dear shekhar,
    well i don’t know why i like you, & from when i started liking you most,i just wanted to give you one message,here it is-“The single most important thing you can do in your life is to connect your source.Greater than anything you desire,connecting with source allows you to develop your relationship with the infinite wisdom of the universe.By staying connected you will be in the flow and every things comes easily and quickly to you.
    You have heard it said,go with the flow,This doesn’t mean follow the masses-it means to connect with your source and go with its flow-which is unique for each and everyone of us.Where do you think you come from?your parents?Yes, you share their DNA and your body comes from their joining. But where does you that stares out from behind those eyes live?In your cells,in your DNA,your central nervous system?Do you live in your mind?Are you your mind?
    Have you ever noticed that when you experience anything-a moment,an event or circumstances and that while you participate and enjoy or not these things that occur;that part of you sits back and watches everything? Many call this the observer,the witness,your spirit,your soul,whatever name you choose-it is that part of you that is always connected source-it stands back and witness everything.Your eternal being resides here and always stays in direct communication with source for without that connection you would die.
    If we are always connected why we must then connected?Does this seem confusing to you?Yes, you are always connected with source,period and nothing can sever that relationship.But the part of you stays connected is not in your conscious mind.When i talk about connecting with source,I mean consciously.For too long we have made the part of our being that is connected with source sit in the back of the bus.Many things-your life apart, you get sick,things don’t your way,you lose your job,your lover,your house,whatever is consuming your life.
    The father mother God of your being won’t stay in the back of the bus for long-especially if something in you awakens.Yes, you can have all that you desire but not at the cost of your soul.
    The relationship with source is different for everyone.It doesn’t take your believing in source for source to empower your being.Nor can you tell another person how their relationship with source is supposed to be.It is a very individual experience.It is the most intimate of the relationships you will ever experience.Source never leaves you,never lies to you,and never makes you feel guilty.Source loves you unconditionally and always says yes to you-even if your belief is such that you feel the universe say says no.The universe will support whatever you believe to be true.
    An important fact to understand:the universe always says yes even when you perceive it to be no.When you experience no,what you are experiencing is your belief in no so the universe says yes by supporting your no.You define your world.Source does not do that for you.source not your ego,your personality or any trait or characteristic of your being.Source is not your belief structure or your religious undertakings.Source is divine infinite wisdom.Some call is God,Energy,Allah,Almighty,Ishwar-It is known by many names or none.
    You can ask your source about anything and it will answer.It answers by giving you a feeling.If you feel calm and peaceful-that is your answer which can be interpreted as yes.If you feel more confused and at unrest-this can be interpreted as no.
    As you develop your own relationship with your source you will find what form of communication works for you.There are no set rules and that is very personal relationship-one that no one but and your source together share.The point is this:more than a body,more than a personality,or an ego,you are a divine child of the universe with an eternal spirit.
    You come from source,you exist because of source,and someday you return to source.Critical your well beings as well as for your endeavors in this journey of creating your reality and learning to become the real you-the divine child of the universe-connecting with your source is a step you must make of your own.
    This is a very personal journey,no man;women or child can come between you and your source.Death can not separate you from your source.Source is the very source of your being.The part of you that does not reside in the physical realm-the part of you that constantly maintains twenty four hour accesses to all things,known and unknown,seen and unseen stands a mere breath away.”
    Thank you,if been observed by you,i may give you more clue on this.

  16. Deepika says:

    Just reminded me of Fur Elise..Beethoven..

  17. I like u becuz you are a natural, organic and something real no artificiality and I feel some relationship with you being Lahori…………..

  18. HI SHEKHAR …
    HOPE YOUR SEARCH FOR “ENLIHGTENMENT” IS ON …
    … HERE’s A SIMPLE SCRIPT FOR YOU TO REFLECT UPON IN YOUR FREE TIME …
    … THE “LIGHT-THE SOURCE OF LIFE ON THE EARTH” TAKES AROUND “8 MINUTES AND 18 SECONDS” TO REACH US… HENCE IN A WAY “WE” LIVE IN THE “PAST”!!!
    … BUT >>> THERE IS “ONE MOMENT” which is ABOUT “1/6th. OF A SECOND” … where YOU COULD BE “ONE” WITH THE SOURCE !!!
    … SINCE YOU ARE IN THE BUSINESS OF MAKING MOTION PICTURES … it WOULD BE EASIER FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT WHAT THE AUDIENCE PERCEIVE AS A MOTION PICTURE IS IN FACT A SERIES OF STILL PICTURES!!!
    … IN THE SAME VEIN DOES THE UNIVERSE WORK !!!
    … SO WE ARE ALREADY IN A “TIME-MACHINE” ( we guess this was one of the movies that you were trying to make but was shelved unfortunately!we would have loved to see your take on it!!! )…
    … HENCE THE POINT TO DRIVE HOME IS ALL “ENLIGHTENED BEINGS” WHO HAVE WALKED THIS EARTH LIKE BUDDHA,JESUS,MOHAMMAD,NANAK just to NAME A FEW…WERE ACTUALLY ABLE TO “CAPTURE THE MOMENT” to “BE ONE WITH THE SOURCE” … and WERE ABLE TO GET ALL THE ANSWERS THAT THEY WERE SEEKING FOR … and later ALL OF THEM DID A TREMENDOUS JOB TO “ENLIGHTEN” PEOPLE AROUND THEM TO MAKE THIS EARTH A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE IN !!! …
    … SO ITS ALL ABOUT “LIGHTS>>>CAMERA>>>ACTION”…where “LIGHTS COULD BE REFERRED TO THE SOURCE … CAMERA IS ONE OF THE EYES … ACTION IS TO CAPTURE THE MOMENT” …and “BE ENLIGHTENED”!!!…and of course spread THE WORD around …
    …FINALLY … “THE KEY TO ENLIGHTENMENT IS TO KNOW THAT YOU ALREADY ARE” …
    … AND THIS IS JUST …
    … “THE BEGINNING” …
    CHEERS!!!

  19. Ritesh Kumar says:

    We never setisfy with ourself and u know why..because we really don’t know what we want..what is setisfaction….we always want better than what we have and it is life…
    A wise man can not be happy with his life…because target would be always there for him…But trust me I have answers of all your questions….everything which really needs a solution….
    One thing I just want to say before you start making any thought…Thinking ourself smarter than other is the biggest mistake we do always…

  20. Shweta says:

    Hi…
    Read ur blog for the first time and I must say as children most of us would have felt these things but could never express it like u..

  21. Vivek says:

    Dear Shekhar
    I must have been living under a rock for all this while, to have not known about this web-site. I hopped from a news link about your comments on Shahrukh’s US detention at Newark and found the url, and man, am I glad to get to your web-site.
    Through your posts that I read here, you describe my living reasons in search for time, our existence, and ‘forever’. I still look at stars in the night-sky, trying to zoom into the unknown to a point where living mundane disinterests me. Millions and millions have gone by on our earth, living a span, weaving their ways through emotions, conflicts and ‘their’ values, somehow contributing to the enrichment and growth of ‘mankind’. Yet, even today we are unable to break the shell of unquestioned answers, the universe beyond gave to us from the very first day man looked up in the sky.
    Only if people look up more into the sky, at stars, will they realize the importance for their existence beneath instead of creating turmoil and the fighting within.
    Shekhar, you think and dream and think… a lot. The beauty is that through your films you can also give those thoughts, voices and shapes and forms.
    Can you bring the simplicity of Masoom in your future films? I still cry watching those gut-wrenching emotions carved as eternal statues on screen.
    Vivek

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