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Countless worlds maybe, but count your words

"Know thou of a truth that the worlds of God are countless in their number, and infinite in their range. None can reckon or comprehend them except God, the All-Knowing, All-Wise."
Excerpt from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Baha'i faith. Source: Tablet to Vafá

Plato, that infinitely wise student of Socrates, likened our view of the world to that of an ancient forebear watching shadows meander across a dimly lit cave wall. He imagined our perceptions to be but a faint inkling of a far richer reality that flickers beyond reach. Two millennia later, Plato's cave may be more than a metaphor. The idea that our Universe could be a small component within a vast assemblage of other universes.

In this one and only universe hitherto known to man, there are billions of galaxies; and each galaxy contains, billions of stars: making it a mind-boggling number.

In this multitude of stars and galaxies, births and deaths of stars and galaxies is a regular occurrence: as is with humans, or anything and everything else in the cosmos for that matter. And, in this constantly evolving, dissolving, growing cauldron of life, it is not a must or essential that most stars have planets; but it seems they do. As such, there could be billions of Earth-like planets, many of which may be capable of supporting life, as we know it, in the Universe: Countless Worlds.

Yet, it is likely that a great majority of them may have an internal and atmospheric structure, unlike Earth; totally different to that of Earth. Planets in chemically non-solar environments are very common in the Universe and may lead to the formation of strange worlds, very different from our Earth. In fact, studies show that there are a wide variety of planetary systems that are, unlike the Solar System in which our Earth is situated. Thus, there may be countless worlds; but whether they are Earth like worlds facilitating life, as we know it, is an open question; and will remain so for a long time to come, even though the probability tends towards the positive.

Worlds

Even if that be so, countless worlds akin to our own planet earth exists right here, in our very own world. Close to seven billion humans live on planet Earth; and thus, we have an equal number of worlds for starters. In time to come, this number will grow, as the human population peaks and tapers to about 20 billion in the coming century.

Thus, as with the universe, on planet Earth too, it is a constantly and endlessly evolving, dissolving, growing scenario.

Why I say this is because everything in this universe is a creation of our mind; and each of us, every one of us, creates a world of his or her, own making. To each of us, this world is different from the one seen by the other; and so, countless worlds exist in our very own backyard, planet earth. The universe outside is a reflection of the universe within; and if we look hard enough, we can find that the nature of our mind, at the deepest level, is similar to that of our universe.

If you look at the elemental composition of the human body, you cannot help think that what we are is, all made of the same thing found in stars. If you look at the basic building blocks of our DNA, the hereditary material we have inherited from our parents, they are composed of the same oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen molecules, as is the universe. If you think of each brain cell, called a neuron, in the human brain as a star, you will find similarity with our galaxy, the Milky Way. The number of cells in the human brain is around 200 billion.

The number of stars in the Milky Way is also about 200 billion. I can go on illustrating further, but that is beyond the scope of this article. What matters is that, each of us, every individual is in a world of his own making; and so, is a universe in the making. Hence, the existence of countless worlds and parallel universes in our very own world is the distinct reality.

There was a time when the word universe meant, all there is: everything. Yet a range of theoretical developments has gradually qualified the interpretation of universe. The word's meaning now depends on context. Sometimes universe still connotes absolutely everything. Sometimes it refers only to those parts of everything that someone such as you or me, in principle, could have access. Sometimes it is applied to, separate realms, ones that are partly or fully, temporarily or permanently, inaccessible to us; in this sense, the word relegates our universe.

Information

Language, after all, is a reflection of history and often reacts to new information, either slowly or instantly, depending upon the context.

This being so, the meaning of words too are, not only countless and constantly evolving as does the universe; but also have different meanings to different persons, as well as different meanings under different circumstances, different times. Let me use a bit of humour to illustrate:

Santa was travelling in a crowded bus, carrying the passport-size photograph of his son for college admission. Accidentally, the photograph slipped out of his pocket. He started searching for it frantically and finally found it on the floor below the ends of a woman's saree. He asked her, "Can you please lift your saree a little? I want to take photograph.

The rest is history...

He got thrashed so badly, he had to be admitted to the hospital. At the hospital, he found Banta on the bed next to him, in a worse condition. Banta explained what happened to him.

He had gone to a remote village in connection with his work; finished late, and missed the last bus. Failing to find any hotel nearby, he approached a house in the village and asked the owner whether he can stay the night.

The owner said: "I have two grown-up daughters. I am very sorry, you can't stay here."

Then he approached the next house and asked if he could stay a night, explaining his circumstances. That owner too said: "I have three grown-up daughters. Sorry you cannot stay here." Then he went to the next house and politely asked, "Do you have grown-up daughters?" The owner asked "Why?" and Banta replied, "I want to stay for a night.

The rest is history...

The moral of the story: words can sometimes get you into deep trouble if you do not use them correctly, and keeping in mind the context of usage and the current situation. Equally true is that countless universes is useless to us if we cannot safeguard and cherish this, the only world available to us.

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