“To ponder is also to wonder. Tiny drops of moisture, each on its own blade of grass, winked at me early one morning. As the sun’s rays changed direction, an invisible movement of ground-level air created a choreography – a dance of winking droplets. How aesthetically and spiritually satisfying that was! Indeed, the beauty of wondrous Nature has always transfixed my ever-roving mind. To wonder is therefore also to ponder.
A Seeker of Reality will commence with the question ‘What is it?’ In time, his search may lead to the next question ‘Why is it so?’ Is the next logical question then ‘Quo Vadis?; that is, ‘Whither goest thou?’ There surely has to be a destination for our journey through Earthly existence, through life after life. Is there also a destination for our universe, other possible universes, and the Cosmos as a whole?
I recall most vividly that, at about age 8, I began to ask about the ‘what’ of human existence. I now realise that I must have lived many Earthly lives to have been in a position to raise such a question at such an early age. The learning from past lives is probably cumulative. Indeed, it has to be, for each individual soul to make gradual progress to that ultimate destination.
I remember being told then that the universe we know is without beginning or end. What a wondrous thought that was; for, every observable thing seems to have a finite life. That something so splendid, so complex, so confusing was seen as always here kept prodding my mind from time to time all through my adult life.
That was the voice of my parents, reflecting their Hindu belief. So, that was the ‘what.’ This offers the comforting vision of a durability of that which contains us. Human minds surviving precariously in a harsh world need such comfort. I was then too young to move on to the next question: how did that come about; that is, why is it so?”
(These extracts are from the chapter ‘On the Cosmos’ in my last book ‘Musings at Death’s door: an ancient bicultural Asian-Australian ponders about Australian society.’ For the benefit of my recent followers – this was an end-of-life rear-vision collage of conclusions about the racist nation I entered more than 6 decades ago.
With the demise of the then oldest generation of Anglo-Australians, the level of prejudice began to diminish. Through interactions with English-educated Asian students from British colonial territories, whose cultural heritage sustained their adaptation to a somewhat strange society, the younger generations of Australians (almost wholly British) gradually learned to accept us. Yet, in 1949, a most friendly Australian fellow-student said to me “I don’t mind you, but I wouldn’t want many more like you in my country.” That was only 150 years after the invasion of Australia by the British, who pretended that they had ‘discovered’ an unoccupied land seen as ‘terra nullius.’
Strangely, only recently I had the phrase ‘You people’ thrown at me by a couple of ‘educated’ persons! What was the mindset behind that phrase? When confronted by such superior fellows, I do point out that European culture is a recent entrant, relative to the cultures of ancient Asia (from the Sea of Japan to the Mediterranean); and that, like all empires big and small, superior cultures and ‘races’ will hit level ground in time.
This chapter on the Cosmos relates to the universal search for the Divine, commencing with the wonders of Nature.)