CHAPTER FOUR

Satya’s husband sat silently and focused his thought and his mind went back to his beloved Himalayan tea plantation village. It was dusk, and his wife and daughters were cooking the evening meal.

Earlier, Satya’s husband had worked hard on the Indian Railway steam trains, serving chai, his khaki work clothes smeared with dirt and spilled tea and spots and shades of engine coal.

He had come home and bathed and refreshed himself and put on his evening clothes of spotless and starched white khurta pyjamas, before walking over to the Swami’s cottage where the Swami was quietly reading a newspaper on his verandah.

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The Swami greeted Satya’s husband warmly and offered him a glass of fresh mango juice. They sat together, the two men, the two elders, the two friends, on a woven reed mat on the floor of the verandah, while the evening birds hummed and sang and the mild whirr of the punkha, the ceiling fan, circled above them and cooled the balmy evening.

The Swami began to read to Satya’s husband:

“It says here that while our beloved Gandhiji has been in prison, he has been reading a book by a nineteenth century American writer from Massachusetts. The book’s name is ‘Civil Disobedience’ by Mr. Henry David Thoreau. Now Gandihji here says of Mr. Thoreau: “Thoreau was a great writer, philosopher, poet, and withal a practical man. He was one of the greatest moral men America has produced.” And you know, Gandhiji goes on to say here that it is because of the inspiration of Mr. Henry David Thoreau that he began his nonviolence movement of Satyagraha…”

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… At the thought of the word Satyagrah from Satya’s husband, the cardboard box on the floor flooded with a warm yellow light and all the occupants in the room who were sitting in a row of threes, Satya’s husband, the young America quantum physicist, the thesis committee Chairman and all these rest of the other occupants seated on the floor of the laboratory, felt themselves mentally float into the warm glowing light of the open mouth of the cardboard box and then felt gently propelled forwarded in a steady and gentle momentum.

The occupants seated on the floor of the laboratory then began to hear the faint sound of a train, like an Amtrak train, and they started to perceive that they were in fact seated in what appeared to be a modern train, like an Amtrak train, and that there were now windows on either side of this moving train and the golden, warm, yellowy light had dissipated and they were moving forward within an alternative reality of train traveling through a cold and damp climate and the windows of the train began to frost and the steam of the cold air muffled and blurred their vision and made them want to peer more closely, their eyes squinting, out of the train window, and they, the ‘passengers’ of the train, saw that they appeared to be in another country and realized, from the lettering of the station signs they passed through, and then from the signs of shops and the signs of streets that they were in the country of Poland.

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It was Poland in the midst of a cold and damp winter’s day.

The train came to a gradual halt and they stopped and looked out of the window and they saw that they were in a shipyard and there was a large crowd gathered of dockworkers with woolen caps and rough hands and faces both pale and ruddy and craggy from the harsh winter cold and years of consuming vodka and years of relentless hard work on the shipyard docks.

The cold mists from their warm breath blended with the swirling smoke puffs of their smoldering cigarettes which flickered cinders of yellow light sparks in the grey mist as they stood silently, squinting through the freezing air and listened intently to a young speaker, a young man who appeared to be their leader, and who was speaking from a makeshift podium with a dim and foggy view of the half built ships in the background. Some of the men were holding banners that signified a protest movement. It was then that the passengers understood where they were and who the young man addressing the dockworkers was.

These were the Gdansk shipyards in Poland and the crowd of men, were trade unionists, and they were listening to their young leader, an electrician by the name of Lech Walensa.

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The banners, being held by some of the men became more visible and the banners spelled ‘Solidarity’ in Polish. This was the Solidarity Movement, led by Lech Walensa in the Gdansk Shipyards, a nonviolent movement that Walensa was inspired to undertake based upon his study of the Satyagraha Movement of Mahatma Gandhi. The passengers now understood why they were witnessing this particular spectacle in this particular Time and Space.

Satya’s husband once again heard the words of the Swami in his thoughts:

“… you know, Gandhiji goes on to say here that it is because of the inspiration of Mr. Henry David Thoreau that he began his nonviolence movement of Satyagraha…”

Satya’s husband now clearly understood the young American MIT quantum physicist’s experiment of the Transmission of Thought through Time:

The thoughts and ideas of Henry David Thoreau in his Civil Disobedience had been transmitted through Time to Gandhiji and further in Time, further at future station on the Train of Time, to Lech Walensa.

As this realization dawned upon Satya’s husband and the other passengers, who, three by free in single file, were compartmentally triangulating their thoughts and thus understanding each other on a metaphysical plane, as all the passengers became enlightened as to why they were in this particular Time and Space, a warm glowing yellow light appeared through the cold and foggy mists in the Gdansk Shipyards, and it began to melt the frosted windows through which the passengers peered out and the train began to gently move forward once again and the sun began to glint and glide in shafts of light through the train windows and the skies began to display splotches and smatterings of brilliant blue through the grey clouds and there was a faint sound of buoyant and vibrant and happy music in the distance that became steadily louder and louder…South Africa Mandela

It was African music. And it was getting louder and louder.

They were now two decades in the future from the cold winter of the Gdansk Shipyards in Poland, and were in sunny South Africa in the aftermath of the country’s inaugural day celebrations. There were masses of colorfully dressed and laughing and singing people, joyfully chanting, stretching forth their fist in solidarity and crying out proudly in unison, one word, ‘Amandla!’, the Xhosa word for ‘Power’.

The endless crowds of people were feeling empowered.

They were finally free from decades of an oppressive Apartheid regime.

The music blared loudly and in the distance, beneath the blue and sunny skies and upon a podium where politicians make speeches and were microphones had been set up and flags were billowing in the warm breeze, an African elder was joyously dancing to the celebratory music.

The passengers on the train recognized the African elder immediately:

The African elder was Nelson Mandela.

Once again, Satya’s husband clearly understood the young American MIT quantum physicist’s experiment of the Transmission of Thought through Time:

The thoughts and ideas of Thoreau in his Civil Disobedience had been transmitted through Time to Gandhiji and then, further in Time to Lech Walensa and now, even further in Time to Nelson Mandela.

The movements of Solidarity in Poland and Anti-Apartheid in South Africa had been inspired by the Satyagraha movement of Mahatma Gandhi, which in turn had been inspired by Gandhi’s readings of the works of Henry David Thoreau.

Thoughts, like Satyagraha movements, transmitted and took new forms through Time, just as, Souls, like the soul of Satya’s husband, transmigrated through Time, due to the phenomena of Samsara Migration.

Satya’s husband began to understand the alignment and the harmony between Western and Eastern thought and aspiration. He began to see that the inspiration of The Upanishads, which both the Sadhu and the Swami had shared with him, were in alignment with the thesis subject of this young American MIT quantum physicist’s experiment of the Transmission of Thought through Time.

He began to perceive the universality of thought.

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Outside the train window, as the bright blue African sky shone with pride at the Freedom Day celebrations of a new South Africa, a nation finally free of the oppression of Apartheid, the train gently began to move once more. This time, for the first time, the train moved backwards instead of forwards.

The train kept moving through the glorious southern African landscape and steadily moved back in time for well over three quarters of a century from the mid-1990’s, to 1910. The passengers could perceive the backward passage of Time because of the clothing the people wore, and the road signs and the emergence of horse drawn carriages and wagons carrying Afrikaans settlers, and most of all, because the rule of Apartheid and racial segregation and oppression was returning to South Africa.

The train traversed in the heat of the relentless African summer sun through unexplored and barren landscapes with occasional Boer settlements and Orange Free State and the Western Transvaal and Eastern Transvaal. The passengers were going back in Time, the Time that Nelson Mandela had lived through as a young man and the Time that he had wanted to transcend.

Looking back at these times, and these conditions of oppression and ruthless racism, the passengers better appreciated the victory celebrations they had witnessed during their last station stop at the Freedom Day celebrations of a new South Africa where Nelson Mandela, along with the endless throngs of happy people, were joyfully singing and dancing.

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Gradually, the train came to a gentle stop once more.

They had stopped in front of a modest family home in Johannesburg in the Transvaal.

As the passengers peered through the clear window, they found themselves peering through the window of the home, and looking through the window into what appeared to be a study. In this study, with book lined shelves, was a writing desk and seated at this desk was a young Indian attorney who lived with his family in this modest home in South Africa.

Satya’s husband, the young American MIT quantum physicist, the Chairman of the thesis challenge committee, all the panelists of the thesis committee and the Neurobiologist and the Neurobiologist, all recognized the young Indian attorney from photographs they had seen:

It was Mohandas K. Gandhi in his early years in South Africa, before he had gone back home to India with his family. This was Gandhi in his early and formative years as a young lawyer in Africa before he became the Mahatma.

Gandhi was seated at his writing desk and reading a letter from his dear friend and correspondent, the writer Leo Tolstoy. Gandhi held the letter, gripping it with his thumb and forefinger at the fold of the letter, causing a crease so that only the beginning and the end of the words on the letter were visible to the train passengers. The letterhead and partial letter read as follows:

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“Count Leo Tolstoy
Yasnaya Polyana, Russia.
8-th May 1910
To: Mr. Mohandas K. Gandhi

Dear Friend,

I have just read your letter and your book, Indian Home Rule.

I read your book with great interest because I think the question you treat in it” the passive resistance – is a question of the greatest importance, not only for India but for the whole of humanity…

Your friend and brother,

Leo Tolstoy

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The young attorney, Mohandas K. Gandhi, smiled affectionately as he read the letter from Leo Tolstoy.

A warm yellow glow filled the carriage of the passenger train and once again the train began to move, now gently forward, while the bright African sky started to fade and a grayish blue mist filled the outside of the windows and the cold frost returned and it was clear to the passengers that they were once more entering a cold climate and perhaps even returning to Poland where they had traveled previously.

As the new regional location began to configure and take shape outside the windows of the passenger train, and they once again saw people bundled in woolen hats and gloves and dark grey or black coats they recognized that they were back on the European continent, and, as the station signs and street signs began to dimly come into view and the saw the Russian lettering they knew that they were in Soviet Russia in about the same period that they had just left the family home of Gandhi in South Africa.

The atmosphere outside was somber and bleak and melancholy. In the villages, there was little chatter, people kept to themselves and went about their business without much interaction.

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Much of what they traveled through was farmland with farmhands working and plowing the fields.

Eventually, the passenger train came to a stop and once again, they were overlooking a residence and once again, they appeared to be peering through a window of study and a man sitting at a writing desk.

This study was massive, and had a library of books spilling from the tall bookshelves and luxurious Turkish rugs strewn generously across a massive wooden floor flanked by two large hearths with blazing and burning fireplaces, and large stands holding stocky white candles dripping with wax as they burned a warm glow in the study and illumined the feast of books in the library.

The winter had melted away and the sun was emerging from cloudy skies.

The man seated at his study desk was also reading a letter and once again, the passengers recognized this man from photographs; he had a bushy and straggly white beard and he peered at the letter in his hand which read, partially:

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“Mohandas K. Gandhi
Johannesburg, South Africa 
To: Count Leo Tolstoy
Yasnaya Polyana, Russia.
4-th April 1910

Dear Friend,

I send you herewith a booklet I have written. It is my own translation of a Gujarati writing. Curiously enough, the original writing has been confiscated by the British Government of India…

I remain yours,

Mohandas K. Gandhi

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Tolstoy pondered the letter from the young Gandhi with warmth in his watery eyes and the passengers on the train quietly and respectfully observed Tolstoy, as he remained deep in contemplation. Suddenly, Tolstoy had a sense that he was being watched through his study window and looked up and out of the window and saw the passengers on the train looking at him. He angrily stood up and he opened his study window and he shouted out at the passengers on the train and he said:

“Do not stop here in Yasnaya Polyana! There is nothing here for you to see expect an old man who is in desperate despair over his beloved Mother Russia. Leave! Leave I say! Go instead to Kolyma. There you will see what needs to be seen and why my heart bleeds for my Mother Russia. Go to Kolyma and go and see the beloved and brave Solzhenitsyn. Solzhenitsyn awaits you in Kolyma. Kolyma!!”

As if prompted by Tolstoy’s voice, the train began to move forward once again, on a new journey.

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