From Himanshu : Its 7pm The world of Imagination Can we be at multiple places?

Its 7pm on a beautiful autumn evening on the banks of the Ganges river in the holy town of Hardwar in North India. The melodious bells, the priests, the fire, the chants, and the devotion of the people give the ceremony a feel of divinity, as if it were something dictated by God for human bliss. The atmosphere is full of devotion and the huge masses look upto the river to bless them and wash away their sins. Its 7pm, and the same river has become an extremely huge mass of water flowing slowly through the Sundarban deltas. Its raining heavily in the monsoons and the millions of drops of water create uncountable ripples throughout the huge river at twilight. It is impossible to see one shore from the other, and the thunder and lightning create a rather shocking scene of the power of nature. Far away from the mesmerized crowd, a lonely soul in the middle of the massive river slowly steers his small round wooden boat towards the shore. He can hardly see anything and he keeps trying to move a little bit at a time, lingering on to hope. He cries and his few drops are lost amongst the zillions. He just hopes there was no rain. Its 4:30pm in the middle of the desert, not a drop of water in sight, the scorching heat enough to make anyone dizzy. Dubai is being made into a miracle city in the middle of the desert…..

… and people drive around in big cars, as if driving for free, a country opulent just on one resource. We predominantly see men walking around in glittering buildings, dressed in their dishdash from head to toe. One just hopes there were more women in the workplace. Its the middle of the afternoon and lots of casually dressed men and women sit around open-air tables and drink lots of beer from huge pitchers, not having a care in the world. The Oktoberfest has just begun in Munich and the late autumn afternoon is just perfect. The leaves are changing colors from green to yellow to red, everything is so pretty, and its wonderful to just relax. Let others take care of work. Its 2:30pm in London and serious looking folks in suits populate the offices of a big investment bank, managing the day to day affairs of running the economy. No beer for them, not even a view of the outside, just finance. They get a huge paycheck, but at what cost? Someone shouts New York is ON i.e. the stock market has opened. Traders inside the NYSE are busy making zillions of trades, somethings gonna shoot today, this one is hot, we need to take a position here, sell that right now its the world of capitalism. Wall Street is swarming with tons of men and women coming out of subway trains, some already in their offices, some walking fast towards them, some having breakfast, no one talking to anyone, all living their own existence. A train going uptown from the financial district just reaches Times Square, which is glittering as usual. Its full of tourists right in the morning, people shopping for souvenirs, taking pictures of billboards, and eating at many 24 hr restaurants. There is a building 1 Times Square which proudly welcomes visitors with this sign Welcome to the Center of the Universe. In an apartment inside a residential building nearby a guy wakes up, a little late as he has to work from home today. He opens the window blinds and looks outside. The sun is shining brightly on the Empire State and it looks wonderful, the traffic buzzing through the city below. He can also hear something else as vividly, the bells, chants and the singing around the Ganges; he used to be there. He can see the Aaarti unfold in front of his eyes. He wonders Can I be at multiple places at the same time? And smiles!
Its 7pm and the Aarti continues on at the Ganges.

20 thoughts on “From Himanshu : Its 7pm The world of Imagination Can we be at multiple places?

  1. As at the center of the earth one will be at all the places at the same time, similarly, at the center of oneself one can be at all the places at the same time.
    There are people, there are things and there is interaction between them. From your/their center they all are one.
    Himanshu, you are seeing the scenarios from a bit prior of these centers….

  2. Dear Himanshu,
    there is something endearing about you. At times you display this great enthusiasm for the trappings of capitalism without allowing it to be an impediment to your love and compassion for planet earth and its people, their diversity, their joys and sadness, their lonely moments of contemplation, their elations and disappointments. I would rather sit with you and lose myself in a debate about the magnificence of being alive than spending a minute in the company of those who always seem to be on the right side of any issue.
    I have invariably enjoyed your writing, your often gaily approach to the myriad of problems we find ourselves embroiled in. There is always light at the end of your tunnel, you have answers when others still struggle with their positions. People of your calibre enrich our societies, they will not let the insincere stand without challenge. They are the once who begin building bridges when others are still lost in studying blueprints. Your quotes of bright minds, as well as your own, always testify to a thorough understanding of the moment, of the willingness to search in your heart for the answer you truly think is the right one.
    So, coming back to your beautifully written column, yes, we can be at multiple places at the same time. In our hearts we can hear the cries of the loon at a remote lake up north, as we can also roam through many of the magnificent cities in this world listening to their cadences of sophistication, knowing that the multitude of their cultures each have vibrancy and equal importance. We can be at various time zones and latitudes, all at the same time, realizing that the voices we hear all belong to our brothers and sisters, to the human race we all are part of.
    With kind regards.

  3. Dear Horst,
    Thanks a lot for your kind words. I sincerely believe that we can develop ourselves in many ways i.e. just because I try to understand capitalism it does not mean that I forget all the other aspects of life. In fact I treat capitalism and wealth creation in a very divine spiritual kind of way. If something provides you with what you want in life, you have to look at that with reverence and gratitude. You focus on your passions which creates wealth that you can use to experience the world and share your experiences with mankind. This quote is very important here:
    To love deeply in one direction makes us more loving in all others. – Anne-Sophie Swetchine
    So to lovingly follow our passion will automatically make us more loving in all directions, it will create wealth, as well as benefit the society as a whole.
    Dear Harb,
    I have always tried to simplify things like Einstein said “Anyone can make things complex but it takes a lot of courage to go in the other direction, to simplify things” so I look for simplistic answers. I can’t really go to the center of the earth as there is molten lava there and no way to get there. Similarly I don’t know where my center is – Is it a physical center or some state of mind so how do I get to those centers? Most of the explanation I see is not very conclusive and rather elusive. I believe thoughts are real and they direct the creation of our present and future, the combined whole is the reality of the world for everyone. My imagination takes me wherever I want to go, but is there a way to figure out whether the physical existence is real or the imagined existence is real or both are real or both are an illusion?
    Best Regards,

  4. Great, simple way of putting complex life of human being. i have always felt that i am at multiple places at one time could never discribe that feeling or put it in word. i see universe as my extension and can be any where at any time or be at multiple places.
    thanks for the post.

  5. Himanshu, interesting thoughts and a very nicely written article. Most of us have had similar experiences sometimes when traveling by road and train, and at other times when in flight over oceans of the world. Filmmakers have portrayed for long, synchronous events stringed together by a non-linear narrative, and your thoughts stirred-up the essence of classics such as Kurosawa-san’s Rashomon, and even more recent ones like Irritu’s Babel and Paul Haggis’ Crash. Perhaps they all had similar realizations at some point in their lives, or maybe it was a congruence of great minds in multiple places over multiple timelines. Keep it going 🙂

  6. Dear Raja,
    Thanks for your post and Inarritu’s Babel had a profound effect on me. I saw the film twice alone and once at the NY premier when he was also there and we got to talk to him after the screening. Although Babel was not in my mind when I wrote this but I think it must have sub-consciously impacted the writing. I very often think of being in another part of the world doing something else while I am in the current place. Life moves in a non-linear narrative joined together by time and so many things happen parallely. How do we then understand it and savor it in the best possible way? And as we travel the world we see the diversity and the commonality which makes this planet so interesting.
    A great joy are the comfortable fast train rides in Europe where places come and go and you realize that you were supposed to savor them for just a moment, each moment anew, new people, new landscapes. The trains stops somewhere and you pay 5 Swiss francs for a beer to a stranger who happily gives you that – it all feels so exotic – the mountains of Switzerland, the cool breeze, the empty train station, the relaxed mind, time just moving slowly, even you walk slowly along the platform – the beer just tastes so good. It also gives you time to think about rest of the world.
    I had such an experience in Switzerland. I bought a first class ticket from Luzern to Geneva and much to my surprise I was the only one in the whole cabin. It stopped at a few stations and the whole experience was heavenly – the surroundings magical. I listened to the Mirza Ghalib CD throughout the jourrney which took me to another place in old delhi. They had an attached pantry where there was another soul, so 2 in 2 cabins, who gave me the beer and great sandwiches as I just looked out at the wonderful landscape – it was so relaxing and liberating, like a journey I never wanted to end.
    I also want to travel in the ‘Orient Express’ the train that goes from Paris to Istanbul, as such trains can take us not just to another part of the world but to another era altogether. You just lose yourself in the experience and just become that part for the moment like a 1920s businessman travelling to far off lands for work, a time when people wrote letters, and everything moved slowly. It must be so beautiful.
    Best Regards,

  7. “There is no denying the fact that with each new scientific theory we are actually going deeper and deeper into the heart of the matter – not only figuratively but literally as well. Or perhaps, it would be more correct to say that as we go deeper and deeper into the heart of the matter we encounter phenomena which force us to revise our already existing theories, scientific or otherwise, in almost all branches of knowledge. (From “Self-Designed Universe”)
    Dear Himanshu, there were times when people physically went to far off places to talk to their relatives. Obviously after decades. Then came the times when they could talk through letters and comparatively more frequently. Then came the times they could talk through telephones. and still more frequently. Now comes the net…
    The same goes for seeing various places with relevant discoveries.
    It is all a sign of evolution – of going deeper and deeper into things and then exploring the possibilities of seeing/doing things from there.
    Naturally the question arises, what is the deepest we can go to and what we will see from there? Naturally to the ultimate center of matter outside and in our own centers inside.
    What will we see from there?
    First I will explain what we will see from our centers… or when we have evolved to the maximum.
    Recall, in our youth we used to go to pictures off and on, depedning upon how much money we could arrange. Then we came on our own and saw pictures to our heart’s content. Then came a time we brought TVS, CDs, DVDs and saw the pictures at our homes to a point of saturation. What happened then? We began to feel as if we know what ALL the pictures can and do show. In other words that they all show only ONE story with various permutations and combinations. That at the heart/center of each film there is only one story. If soembody then invited us to go to see any picture, we may well say, I have seen them all.
    Similarly, some people, continously exploring the scheme of things of the universe have gone to the center of their beings, and as a corrolary, to the center of the universe, and seen everything from there. They now know all places in the universe depict only a single story in various permutations and combinations. They know what these all could be. And sometimes they say so.
    Earth’s center was given as an example, though it is also true that all places are there at the same place as well. Actually one can understand it more easily in the case of the center of the universe or by imagining the universe evolving with big bang and all places originating from there.
    I have often felt that we are to the universe as a seed is to a tree. Late American physicist John Wheeler had also felt that our universe is somehow a participatory universe, that is, we are a product of it yet somehow we also produce it. And if we produce it naturally it will begin from the deepest within us, that is, from our cores/centers as well(perhaps as the tree begins from the center of its seed). It is because of this feeling that I have also said that we can see everything by going to our centers as well.
    Anyway, you can take the comment as having some amusement value because otherwise it must be difficult to understand, perhaps just as it must have been difficult for the person who actually went to see his relatives to be told that some day you can see them even while sitting at your home.

  8. Dear Harb,
    I like you detail explanation and thanks for the post. Like Einstein said ‘Example is not one way to teach, it is the only way to teach’ so I have these two simple questions for you.
    1. Examples of living humans beings who have reached that core/centers from where they can see everything?
    2. How long did they take to get there i.e. starting from a normal human being to that level of maximum evolution?
    I’ll look forward to your reply.
    Best Regards,

  9. Himanshu, appreciate your thoughts as always. Talking about journeys in trains, I remember I had similar experiences, but when packed like a sardine and traveling between Kanjur and Byculla on a crowded Mumbai local 🙂 I did this for one whole year when I was an intern with a company in Worli. Each time I got into the local, I used to wonder about the people around me. Who were they? Where were they living? Why were they always in a rush? What prompted someone to pick a student’s pockets? What was their source of livelihood? Why were they helpful at times, and so impatient at other times? I remember most of the “regulars” used to be pretty rude in the beginning, maybe because I was encroaching their “space”. As time went by however, they acknowledged my existence and even stirred-up a conversation when I gave my trip a miss. It’s been over 10-years since I’ve been in Mumbai but I often think about my “friends”. I shudder whenever I hear there has been a blast, or that they would have missed a day’s work on account of rains! It’s almost as if I experience the feeling of being there. And this perhaps is on account of the mind being able to be in multiple places. Hmm.. Mirza Ghalib in Europe sounds interesting! I read in one of your blogs that you were in Hyderabad. You should check-out the Old City while immersing yourself in Ghalib and sipping some delightful Hyderabadi chai. I’m sure it will be an entirely different experience 🙂

  10. Dear Himanshu, thank you.
    1. Living persons who have reached that core/center are not famous. Because they seldom come in the public eye, just as the people who have seen pictures to their heart’s content will seldome be seen in cinema halls. Some were found out by people nevertheless in their lifetimes and Ramana Maharshi was one such person. he used to say “Where is the world except in your mind?” So in a way he had gone beyond even declaring that the world contains nothing new, or nothing different at different places.
    2. How long is a difficult question, because it contains a continuous proggress from even past lives. Einstein’s did not take a certain number of years to reach the level of intelligence/evolution to make his discovery, if it could be said then many many should have had made that discovery. Einstein’s must either be preparing for it from past lives, or, he must be at the cutting-edge of some hidden flow of certain stream of the River of Life – or he must be at the cutting edge of the relevant branch of the Tree of Life – to make that discovery.
    I only pointed the way/destination, it is never harmful. Whether one can go there now or in future or never is an other matter, one must be doing whatever Scheme of Things of the universe requires of him at his own place whatever that is.
    I may add to my reply later.
    Thank you once again and you know what I said is not against you in any way it is just to point out something with a slight variation on the theme. I think one can enjoy it too along with what you already said so beautifully.
    Best regards,

  11. Dear Raja,
    Thanks for the post and I actually thought about the Bombay locals while traveling in Switzerland where we were 2 people in 2 compartments as opposed to maybe 400 in Bombay. It felt very different and very relaxing – someone gives you food then returns after 30 min to ask for the money – you listen to mirza ghalib – amazing scenery all around and those huge glass windows. I will definitely try going to one of the cafes in the old city, I have just been there once to get some pearls – but old world cafes with great cardamom chai sound very enticing. Hyderabad is far different from what I thought – the filmcity is amazing, the salarjung museum has some amazing collections and the palaces of the Nizams like the Chowmahalla palace are so cool.
    I hope you are having a wonderful day,

  12. Dear Harb,
    Thanks for your response and I’m sure some people would have gone to that deepest state of being and been one with the universe. I would like to know what that does for us, why that is a desirable goal? Do we achieve nirvana or moksha or do we just get satisfied with life, as the Maharishi you mentioned does not want to see anything anymore in the world as he feels he has seen it all? Is that what we are aspiring for i.e. to get to a place where we don’t want to see/do anything more, or don’t you think life should be an endless adventure?
    Best Regards,

  13. Dear Hamanshu, if only things could be or remain as we aspire!
    Recall playing games and indulging in other childish pranks seemed an endless adventure to us in our childhood phase but alas! universe’s evolutionary scheme of things pushed us beyond it towards and finally into youth, where we had to let go of this adventure.
    Recall falling in loves, wars, hates and travels was an endless adventure for us in our youth phase but alas! evolutionary scheme helped by the suffering loves, wars, hates would entail in their wake pushed us further into the age/phase of adulthood/reason so to say. We became reasonable persons from being emotional persons of the youth phase.
    Recall the seemingly endless adventures of our phase of reason – of grappling with new and newer intellectual concepts/theories to understand things, of making new and newer discoveries/inventions to enjoy the pleasures of life to the hilt, but alas, evolutionary scheme again helped by the accompanying suffering pushes us to the next phase, the phase of intelligence/intution/wisdom. We return to ourselves, we come to know that the pleasures are not in outer things but in our own selves, that it is we who bestow/discover pleasures on/in outer things and so the basic pleasure in some way must be in us. We sit back and enjoy, now we sit back and enjoy not the adventures outside but rather the company of the adventurer inside, in our own selves/backyards.
    It is nirvana, mukti if you want to see it this way, it is being satisfied with life if you want to see it this way, it is to come home to our real, eternal Self if one wants to see it this way. It is like our waking up from the dream after we have exhausted the reasons – may be by fulfilling our latent wishes, desires – which caused the dream.
    The same scheme of things pushed us to pass through the stages of cave man, nomadic man and settled man (human species childhood, youth, middle age)and is now pushing us towards being what I call a free man(old age)on a far greater cycle level;
    The same sot pushed us, beginning from dark periods, to middle ages, to the age of romanticism/bhagti, to the age of reason/anxiety and is now pushing us to the age of intelligence/intuition/wisdom on the cycle of global culture as a whole (beginning with AD era).
    In fact, considering ‘science as a system’ cycle the same sot pushed it beginning from the science of inertia of glalieo to the science of gravity of newton to the science of electromagnetism of faraday and maxwell to the nuclear science of einstein and others and is now pushing it to the science of what some say consciousness.
    So it is not a question of getting what we aspire but of evolving further and further to finally go in the universal context of which we all are actually a part from where we began…to complete the cycle….of course to begin anew…
    Yet again, your point of view is serving the same sot at your place as much as mine at my place.

  14. Dear Harb,
    Thanks for the reply and I am sure we all are doing things as per a grand plan and also our intentions. I am sure a lot of people grow out of things and no longer find them interesting but that is mostly because they feel they have to do certain things at certain points of their lives as per conventional wisdom. The true pleasure is in being a child all your life, always getting excited when we find new and interesting things, beholding the universe in wonder, losing yourself in the beauty of nature. Like Shekhar talked about his vacation during his childhood where everything amazed him and there was no sense of time.
    I believe it is possible to stay that way all you life. That not only brings us happiness but also prevents us from ever getting old.
    Best Regards,

  15. Dear Himanshu,
    When there is no sense of time, there is no sense of space/place/distance and hence no sense of being at many places at the same time. One is totally present where one is – only an other way of saying one is at one’s center – and ‘sees’ all places right there before him, nay, with him.
    This is the secret of a childs enjoyment. The whole world is right there before him/one with him.
    A child has come full circle in a sage and so likewise a sage again enjoys all things/places right there where he is. One can’t remain like a child all his life but one can evolve and again become like one. But then his world again comes right back to him.
    Now you can behold our dialogue in wonder too lol.
    The others may hold the universe in wonder the sage holds the wonderer in wonder, from which the universe gets created.

  16. When we think about something, are we not creating a parallel universe?? In that parallel universe, whatever we are thinking might actually be happening!!
    And, if we agree to the above statement…then, whatever we think we are, could just be someone else’s thought/dream/imagination.
    Stretching it further, yes, it is possible that multiple people/entities might be creating multiple Himanshu’s in a multiverse.
    –Cine Valley

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