True lies

Who said ghosts, miracles and marvels have gone out of fashion?  Materialisation of baubles and vibhuti from thin air by the late lamented Sathya Sai  Baba of Puttuparthy is still a fond memory in the public mind.  Some days back, a private TV channel showed computers installed in the Record Room of a certain court in Delhi being switched on at the dead of night by mysterious blobs of bluish light.  Recently, the daring robbery in a Ghaziabad (UP) jeweller’s shop held everyone in awe – how could a couple of well dressed criminals make the middle-aged jeweler willingly hand over to them cash and jewellry worth over four lakh in a matter of minutes? More than its criminality, it was the how of the act that held the popular imagination. I wonder how readily we are enthralled by the doubtful and dubious accounts.
‘There’s nothing to wonder about it, son,’ offered Kaga Bhushundi ji.  ‘Man is too stuck up with his own little tricks. It is rare that he ponders the bigger mysteries that surround him.’
‘How can you say that, Kagaji?’ I said sharply.
‘When the British Navy floated HMS Black Prince in 1860, you people marveled: are not things made of iron supposed to sink in water?   And when on that sunny morning of 17 December, 1903, the Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilber, flew in their heavier than air contraption for all of 12 seconds ten feet above the sprawling grounds of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, USA, the whole world went agog with wonder.  Birds did fly in air, how could men?’
‘Kagaji, you are stating the obvious.  Floating iron on water and out-flying birds in air are among the greatest of man-made marvels.  Are not they?’
‘You are missing the point, son.   What I want to say is how even the greatest marvels of man fall flat before the mysteries of nature.  Tell me, what makes objects sink in water and fall to ground?  Why don’t the objects flying high up in the space ‘sink’ or ‘fall’?
‘It’s because of gravitation, Kagaji.  When we go far into the space, the force of gravity is nullified.  That simple.’
‘Not so fast, son.  What causes gravity, hain?  Why do heavier bodies pull the lighter ones to themselves?’
‘That I don’t know.
‘But you can still determine the speed of a falling object.  And you are clever enough to apply Nature’s own tricks such as aerodynamics and buoyancy to fly your planes in thin air and sail your ships on water.  When your purpose is served with the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of the world, why would you bother about the ‘why’ of gravity.’
‘Kagaji, will it really matter if we come to know what causes gravitational pull?  The universe will keep ticking like a clock-work as before.  We have too many problems as such to bother about than to answer your idle question.’
‘Idle or not, son, I am sure someone among you will come out with an answer.  The sky looks blue and so does the water in an ocean. But why should they?  The one is a void and the other colourless.  It took the genius of Shri Chandra Shekhar Venkata Raman to find that the delusion is caused by scattering of light while it travels from one medium to another.  Can you deny his answers were of practical use?  It is thanks to Raman ji’s research that you have got colour photography and many more things besides.’
‘Kagaji, scientists look at things differently than we common folks do.’


Kaga Bhushundi SpeakEth
Suman K Sharma
‘That’s the problem, son. People in general fall for readymade answers.  If objects drop from a height, it must be gravity.  If sky is blue, that’s the order of nature.  If someone produces vibhuti at will, he must be a divinity.  Switching on of computers in the court’s record room could be a ghost’s antics.  The feckless jeweler must have been hypnotized by robbers….  True lies, I would say.  True because you find it easy to believe them; and lies because at long last it comes out that Sathya Sai ji was not the only one who could produce vidhuti.’


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here