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
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
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
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.
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
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
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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