“One must have a chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star”
Thus spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche
We are a leftover of stardust.
I am on CERN campus, in Geneva. The guide is talking and my thoughts go to my travel throughout Southern India.
How come? What do physics and India have in common?
Well, I admit this might not be the most common thought coming to one’s mind while visiting CERN Headquarters, the world’s leading laboratory in fundamental physics.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very attentive to the guide’s talk!
Life in universe originated from star explosions – aka Big Bang – and for now, everything is clear.
This process released so much energy to create matter as well as anti-matter.
I am totally fascinated to discover that we can see only the 5% of the overall matter, which includes planet earth.
And the guide goes on … anti-matter annihilated during a collision with matter and created light. It happens that this is the same light we see every day when we wake up, thanks to light we can see the world around us.
Billions of cosmic rays, particles made rays of light (i.e. protons and neutrons) run throughout us ever day. Quantum physicists demonstrated that those rays are like vibrations, we cannot see them, but they exist.
The same physicists – as well as interprets of ancient Hindu scriptures, the Vedas – raise a fascinating question in this regard: if rays of light are vibrations, everything we see in the universe is made of extremely tiny vibration?
And here comes the intriguing question. Are objects, the world around us, including ourselves, made by tiny light vibrations, aka cosmic vibrations?
By the way, if you think to the sense of sight you might know that we can see through sight because of light rays, as physicists demonstrated and poets like Goethe had assumed.
Are vibrations infuencing the way we see the outside world?
Are our thoughts vibrations at all? Can we create the outside world by changing the frequency of the vibrations we are attuned at, exactly as we do with radio waves when we listen to radio? Or by practising the ancient art of meditation?
If the outside world is a creation of our brain, can we create it? Does the world exist outside of our mental representation?
The german philosopher Arthus Shopenhauer in The World as Will and Representation considers the outside world, what we see is in our brain through eyes, as an illusion. The whole world is an illusion, it fools us. It is a layer, it is Maya‘s veil.
Matter doesn’t exist anymore if we are not here to see and to experience it. The philosopher was clearly influenced by the ancient indian textes, the Vedas, where Maya is “the principal deity who creates, perpetuates and governs the phantasmagoria, illusion and dream of duality the phenomenal universe”.
Not only Schopenhauer – who is reported to have red the Vedas – many philosophers and authors such as the German writer Hermann Hesse, who visited India in 1911 and the Swiss Psychoanalyst Gustav Jung, they all showed interested for oriental and religious studies, especially hinduism and buddhist philosophies. They travelled to India, like many intellectuals did at the beginning of the 20th century, as if the western society that witnessing the rising industrialisation process the could not fulfil their quest for spirituality anymore.
Om Namah Shivaya
During my journey across southern India I was avid to see as many artworks as I could and to learn about Yoga, Meditation, Hinduism … and yes Sanskrit! I was particularly intrigued by Hindu divinities and philosophy.
One day, to my great surprise, someone looked at me and said with a certain confidence “so you come from Geneva, you must have already seen the huge statue of Shiva at CERN”.
Well … actually not. I didn’t know about it!
A two meters statue of Shiva Nataraja, Shiva the Cosmic Dancer, stands on the Campus of the world’s leading center for research laboratory on particle physics. Seeing the statue was obviously one of the thing I did once I came back from my journey.
Shiva Nataraja, the Lord of Dance, the Cosmic Dancer is an hindu deity that, together with Brama and Vishnu forms a trinity called Trimurti. Brama creates, Vishnu preserves, Shiva destroys, in an endless dance of creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos and representing the dynamism of the eternal cycle of life and subatomic particles (depending on your Weltaschauung …). And here comes CERN and its laboratories on fundamental physics.
According to the Vedas three phases characterise the never-ending circle of a cosmos that dances around Shiva: creation, preservation and destruction. Its dance destroys to recreate the eternal rhythm of life, of creativity, of arts, of life itself.
The classical representation of Shiva, as pictured during the apogee of the Chola dynasty (around 500 a.c.) is surrounded by small flames in vortex.
He embodies the dynamism of the eternal movement of the universe, the matter pulsing throughout the cosmos, like in a universal dance.
Dancing Shiva. The God of transformation. Tamil Nadu, India
“I would believe in a God that knows how to dance”
Thus spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche