- Education and Science
The Halley's Comet and the Descent of God
The Halley's comet is the most famous of all periodic comets. Although in every century many long-period comets appear brighter and more spectacular, Halley is the only short-period comet that is clearly visible to the naked eye, and thus has become a sort of legend on the earth. The description of the comet, the way it goes around the sun, it's lighted tail etc. are all available- splashed liberally in the world wide web. But as a phenomenon, the comet's arrival has such diverse responses that it would be a good idea to check out the two extremes and let our imagination fill up the in-between states.
Ignorance is bliss
Let us consider the three friends Tom, Dick and Harry. They have always lived a carefree life and are happy-go-lucky about everything.
"So how is this Highly...hHaily.. comet something grander than sweet Potato?" asks Tom as he chomps on happily at the sweet potato dish specially prepared by Harry.
"Well.....it comes only once in 76 years!"
"So.....I mean...What do you want me to do?"
"See it tonight."
"Ok. What do I get if I see it tonight?", butts in Dick
"Well, nothing physical as far as I know...."
"See we know nothing of this metaphysical or psycho-scientific stuff you talk about.......So cut the crap and get to the point."
"It is an experience of a lifetime. It must be felt to be understood."
"Huh....you guys are crazy..........Keep awake the whole night for some crazy stuff!"
And so as the comet passed over the earthly skies in 1986, Tom, Dick and Harry slept, blissfully ignorant, under their London home roof.
"Oh! How stupid it must be if you have to keep awake at night for things floating in the skies. There are things that float in the skies every night. Bah! Its high time we humans prioritize."
A 'researcher's' world...
Let us now race across to another corner of the earth. At the Raman Research laboratory, there was a lot of excitement and anticipation. The night was a historic one- June 24, 2061. The first of such nights since the summer of 1986 when the Halley's comet had made its last appearance closest to the earth. (And at that time, it had been disappointing for most of the scientists because it was never seen clearly!).
It would be the culmination of a rather long wait. For some of the scientists, the goal of their lives was approaching and their entire focus was on the ethereal night sky. The joyful anticipation was surging and it was seen in the preparations being made for the event.
"This is something that a human being can see only once in a lifetime......."
"You know Mark Twain? He was born with the arrival of Halley's comet in 1835, and his greatest wish was to make his final bow also with the comet. Coincidentally, the day following the comet's subsequent perihelion on April 21st 1910, Twain breathed his last."
"Such men are chosen................Well I don't know about my final bow, but I feel that I sure will pass out even if I glimpse Halley tonight."
The comet arrived and then, went away. I wish I could write also about what the comet felt as it approached the earth and moved past it. But a comet's feelings are beyond the realms of mortal thoughts!! However, while in the Tom, Dick and Harry world there was hardly a flutter; for some scientists and researchers at the Raman Institute, there was nothing else left in the world that they wanted to achieve. They felt fulfilled and peace radiated from their beings.
That is an event that happens once in 76 years. Now think of an event that happens once in 7,600 years. Then what about an event that occurs once in 76,000 years?
THEN WHAT TO SAY OF THE DESCENT OF AN AVATAR?
The advent may be a periodic phenomena, but it becomes sort of legendary when clearly visible to the naked eye. Like a comet, the phenomenon of the Advent too has such diverse responses that it becomes impossible to even think of putting them down on paper. Once again, it would be a good idea to check out the two extremes and let our imagination fill up the in-between states!!! More importantly, where in the spectrum do we figure? Do we end up as any Tom, Dick or Harry?
" What do I get by simply seeing Him?"
"Well nothing physical..."
"Cut the crap and get to the point."
"It is something to be experienced.Just stay and see. Don't miss an opportunity to see whenever you get one. "
"Huh you guys are crazy. I know nothing of this metaphysical or psycho scientific stuff you talk about...Waste so much time and money for a sight when He is supposed to be everywhere.
Or do we end up at least as a research scholar in the greatest SEARCH of life?
"This is something that we can see only once in a lifetimes as a human......."
"Saints and sages have waited for His arrival. They have prolonged their lives and suffering only to see Him in human form."
"I don't know about them. But when I see Him, I may pass out in joy."
The 'Comet' has come and passed! We may be happy and blissful. But is that bliss born out of ignorance or wisdom????
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© 2011 Aravind Balasubramanya