Sep 13, 2010

Background to the Book: My First Experience of Oneness

The book Self-Designed Universe really began with what I call my First Experience of Oneness as follows:

By the age of 25 I had completed my degree in civil engineering, joined government service, got married and fathered two sons. For the next about three years, while my friends and colleagues were busy in building up their careers I found myself lost in what one may say are the eternal questions of mankind.

Who am I? Where have I come from? Where am I supposed to go after my so-called death? Has my being, my "I" some permanent point of reference or is it merely a chance bubble floating meaninglessly in the wilderness of space? What is space? Where this world ends? What is beyond that? What is God? What is good and evil? What is the best way to live this unimaginably short life? Could it be that all this (alluding mentally to the world around) never have been? Were there then to be no.. nothing …forever….f o r e v e r….. N E V E R…?

Then one day while I was sitting all alone in my brother's rented flat in a big city, suspended from my government service, separated from my wife and two children, diseased of unattended body and dejected of unanchored mind, something entirely unexpected happened. Something like lightening but unaccompanied by usual light and thunder seemed to flux out of my head upwards, encompassing simultaneously somehow the whole of the universe into its fold...

Actually it is not easy to describe such an experience…For, initially it so overwhelms your being that you lose all your sense of separateness, of individuality. And at long last when you regain some semblance of your sense of separateness, of individuality even then something like what the scientists call Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle - simply put which states that at deeper levels you can know one aspect of reality only at the cost of the other - inhibits its truest recollection much more description: In clothing it with words you tend to lose its essential stuff, its essential beauty; in trying to capture its essential stuff, its essential beauty you increasingly get lost to the world of words…

(Something like St. Augustine's predicament in describing time when somebody asked him about it: "What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I want to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.")

It was not something which had happened to me as say an ordinary incident or even accident would happen to me: a happening, happening to me as something separate from "me*," so that I could simultaneously act as an observer and a participator, so that I could 'note it down' as it happened.

It had somehow involved me totally: it had somehow involved even that part of me which was supposed to 'note it down,' was supposed to act as the base on which the mechanism of my memory was to function.

Anyway, what a way of finding the answers! Off go rather the questions themselves. Off goes rather the impregnable wall itself, dividing the Whole into "I" and "Thou", "I" and "The Rest" which had actually been the cause of all those questions. The questioner, the questioning and the things questioned had somehow got dissolved into one single whole, into one single woolly unity!

A poem** read by me years later described such an experience of mine very beautifully:

The event
Was accomplished
But reason
Had yet to absorb it entire.
It hadn't burst hot from the lips yet,
A tale like a swift-spreading fire.
The moments were not yet near
To assess it dispassionately,
But nonetheless
All was clear
From the look of the earth and the sky…

Consequently I got myself reinstated into my service, brought my family to live with me at my new place of posting and in general let my life adrift.

And again what a life it was! Eight years of almost total abandon! Everything seemed to be happening as if on its own. While I seemed to be standing still, a mere spectator to events! My family, social and service lives sub-serving one way or the other the unstoppable flow of only this almost wordless life!

Post Script: After about ten years I had what I call my Second Experience of Oneness. While the first was sudden in which my focus was on the outer world, the second was slow, conscious one with my attention turned inwards so that finally it took me down to almost the same oneness inside me which I had earlier experienced apparently outside. From here I had my insight for the book Self-Designed Universe as explained in the preface to the book, here given in the next post. There I did not write about the first experience as above but to cut the long story short lumped both together in a way.

*My basic consciousness.
**By Leonid Martyov in the book Something called Nothing by Mir Publishers Moscow.
PS: Those who have had the experience of love-at-first sight with the opposite sex can easily understand this experience. Because the only difference between love and this experience is that while love is experienced at a shallow level and with a particular entity, it is experienced at the deepest level and with the whole of the universe.

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