Mind Fe(A)st Diaries- Part II

It appears that as the Fest is progressing and strengthening my experiences, words are proving progressively incapable of capturing their essence. But traditionally, all part ones were always followed by successors. Hence, this bold attempt at part two.

It was an experience absorbed by all the senses together, or I’d rather say, an experience that was designed and given so purely that it was only natural all the senses would absorb it. There were times when the sheer force of reality that was put forth was so much that I felt myself, in the true sense of the phrase, ‘taken aback’. At times when the words on the big projector screen made my eyes well- up. Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the beauty of knowledge that it brings tears of awe to your eyes? That happened many times, to many of us I’m sure. Sir’s voice, filled only with his sincere intention of imparting knowledge in all of the audience still sits in my ears, I hope, forever. The whole of me was absorbed, engaged in the experience.

The master of everything, the mammoth of a realization for me was the picture “The pale blue dot”. Looking at the earth as a dot in a beam of light put things into perspective for me. We take things, people, ourselves, cultures, economies, a little too seriously, considering we’re mere particles in the Brahman, such a very super tiny part of the space that, in doing all justice to the word, is the absolute ‘everything’. Being caught up in my relative notion of ‘everything’ seemed so selfish, naive and a product of being human after all. The phrase ‘putting one in their place’ is often used negatively. Today, I want to take the creative liberty of using it neutrally, that is to say, “matter” of factly (pun intended). I understood what a negligible space we all occupy in the vastness of the Brahman, and yet, we spend all our time on earth buying spaces or creating a space of our own as in an identity. Why bother if all the earth is ours and no geometrical point on the earth is ours at the same time? Why not bother if none of this is ours and all of this is ours at the same time? This is the very irony of things that made me aware of the balance between caring enough to be involved in doing and not to the point of being attached to its products.

Equality of opportunity, equality of looking at all human beings beyond their religion, race, gender, orientation are such important concepts. They are necessary for the smooth functioning of the society. But if we look at it from another perspective, how could we discriminate between any being on any basis if we’re all made of the same particles? If the same elements exist in all of us, a tiny part of the absolute whole? As crucial as these constructs of equality are, I realized how relative they all are. There is only one equality, the natural, absolute equality of being-the equality that takes us towards unity. All the others, equality of gender, race, caste or even the recent efforts of conservation of biodiversity are corrections of natural anomy, correction of the man made concept of inequality.

Even as a teenager I never believed in the typical notion of an afterlife, in that, I chose not to believe in it, it didn’t ring a bell for me the way any absolute truth should. I remember making a fairly bold statement in my positive psychology lecture one day. “If looked at from the lens of a mathematical perspective that says you will be put in such a body in your next life as your deeds in this life deserve, seems to be a theory derived at, by mundane minds who want to be the servants of their actions rather than unattached masters of it, and not a theory as in the carrier of knowledge, as is told to be.” This sentence received a fair amount of squirming in class for it felt like I had critiqued something. One who listened to Sir’s discussion about relative truths yesterday would understand that it was only half the case. I was, as the other truth goes, only asking for a more enduring explanation, asking for the absolute truth. And I believe I got that at the second day of the fest yesterday.

Another thing that struck me was the beauty with which each of the thinkers had woven the teachings of the Upanishads and Vedanta with words and metaphors with utmost sensitivity and grace. One of my dearest friends, Srujan did an experiment that I was envious about. He read six bestseller books from different genres simultaneously. He told me about how overwhelmed he was with so much to process. A few lines on the screen, just from one scholar’s pen gave me a similar feeling. Again, how can just a few lines carry so much meaning and hold so much applicability?

The word applicability brings me back to the anticipation of what the finale of the fest holds instore. I’m excited and equally nervous about being able to comprehend the words. I conclude this part, observing I feel a restless need to make Sir’s words tangible and capture them in a bag or better in Dumbledore’s pensive, wishing time would stop as the winter evening paints the sky with hues and blacks- just unrealistically wishing for the experience to not end.

-Ketaki Joshi

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