CHAPTER THREE

Once again, Satya’s husband seemed completely flummoxed by his surroundings and he clearly did not know what the meaning was of this ‘Infinite Corridor’ that the young American was referring to.

Once again, the friendly young American student seemed to intuit Satya’s husband’s perplexed expression and elaborated upon his previous answer:

“Infinite Corridor is the name we students at MIT give to this corridor you are standing in at present, which runs through many of the MIT buildings.

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Satya’s husband suddenly recalled the words of the Swami:

“Allow your thoughts to explore and expand geographically as well. Consider that all great aspirations are connected around the world. Pandiji is encouraged by the aspiration of IIT because he has seen the success of MIT in America, which is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. IIT is inspired by MIT, while MIT itself, is inspired by the great scientific discoveries and advances throughout the ages, because all great aspirations are connected and intertwined and are part of a universal fabric.”

Satya’s husband’s now realized that his passing interest in the advances of science and technology had shaped his journey here, to this new reality at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

This realization was followed by a flood of light, which caused all the scurrying and hurrying students and professors to stop in their tracks and stand completely still and in awe of this flood of light.

The intensity of the light then faded and left all the people within Infinite Corridor with a warm and pleasant glow, with which they then continued about their business.

The friendly young American student was still standing next to Satya’s husband and he spoke once more with a disarmingly pleasant smile on his face:

“You were probably wondering what that sudden flood of yellow light was, weren’t you? Over here at MIT we call that the MIT Henge, which is something that holds a kinship with Stonehenge. It’s a phenomena here at MIT that occurs twice a year caused by the plane of the ecliptic, whereby the sunlight fills Infinite Corridor based upon the principle of the ecliptic coordinate system.”

Satya’s husband stared blankly at the kind and enthusiastic young America MIT student, not knowing what to say or do. His blank expression must have spoken volumes, and the young MIT student responded to this perplexed expression with a cheery recognition and directive:

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“I know this must be a little confusing for you, but the reason you are here has to do with the ancient Indian traditions of meditation and contemplation and the poetic prose of The Upanishads. And the reason I am here, is to guide you through Infinite Corridor to a classroom where a thesis defense committee awaits you, so that you can defend your Master of Science thesis at the Media Lab here at MIT entitled ‘For Whom the World Stops: The Himalayan Sadhu in a World of Constant Motion’. I know you are very early to be here and to defend your master’s thesis, but time is only a mental construct, which is something I have been learning as part of my own thesis research in quantum physics.”

With this, the young MIT quantum physicist escorted the baffled, bewildered and somewhat befuddled husband of Satya to a classroom adjacent to Infinite Corridor, where he was expected.

As they entered the classroom, the young MIT quantum physicist pointed Satya’s husband toward a table with three chairs and asked him to sit down in the middle chair in front of the table. The chair upon either side of Satya’s husband, were occupied by two men, each of whose professions were neatly embossed upon a folded cardboard sign, on the table in front of them.

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The man seated upon the left of Satya’s husband was identified with a name sign that read ‘Neurobiologist’ while the man seated upon the right of Satya’s husband was identified with a name sign that read ‘Neuroscientist’.

The three men faced a panel of seven other people, both men and women, which, as the young MIT quantum physicist had explained to Satya’s husband, were the committee to which he needed to defend his master’s thesis on the ancient Indian practice of meditation.

In the center of the seven panelists was a very austere man, dressed in the traditional felt grey hat and grey and maroon gown, the MIT colors, which signified that he was a PhD from MIT and most likely also an MIT professor. The name sign in front of his chair read ‘Chairman’, since he was the chairman of the thesis challenge committee.

Once everybody was ready to proceed with the thesis challenge and defense proceedings, the young MIT quantum physicist pulled up a chair on the side of the classroom in order to be an observer and spectator to the proceedings. The Chairman began with his opening statement:

“We are here today to challenge a Master of Science thesis by a student at the Media Laboratory here at MIT entitled ‘For Whom the World Stops: The Himalayan Sadhu in a World of Constant Motion’. We have in front of us the author of the thesis, who is flanked on either side with his fellow supporters and defenders, Neurobiologist and Neuroscientist. The challenge panelists on my own right and my own left have identified two main questions, which we intend to discuss with the defenders of this thesis on the Himalayan Sadhu. Our first question is directed toward Neurobiologist: Neurobiologist, why is a thesis about The Upanishads and meditating Himalayan Sadhus relevant to a serious science-based institution such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology?”

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The Neuroscientist responded to the challenge of the Chairman and the panelists of the thesis committee:

“Mr. Chairman, on behalf of Satya’s husband I would contend that it is precisely because MIT is, as you state, ‘a serious science-based institution’, that we need to be mindful of what constitutes progress for the fields of Science. Science is not an entity within itself. Science has a direct relevance to humanity and thus it is imperative to us, as serious scientists, to take the field of Humanities seriously. A study of the Humanities, such as a study of the Sanskrit poems of The Upanishads, or the study of the meditative insights of a Himalayan Sadhu, will make us more humane scientists. It is Satya’s husband’s contention that the legacy of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology should not simply be scientists, but that they should be humane scientists, scientists who have a respect for humanity.”

One the Chairman’s panelists stood up to address the Neuroscientist with a question:

“Could you offer us a specific example of what Satya’s husband means by ‘humane scientists’?”

The Neuroscientist responded:

“I would cite the specific example of the atom bomb. Albert Einstein, one of the most humane scientists of all time, had warned against the development of the atom bomb. Moreover, we know that when J. Robert Oppenheimer, who studied physics across at Harvard, undertook the Manhattan Project and performed atomic bomb tests at Alamogordo in New Mexico, he had misgivings. He kept those misgivings to himself, but years later he stated and I quote: ‘We knew the world would not be the same. I remembered the line from the Bhagavad Gita… Now I am become Death, the destroyer of the worlds’.”

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The Chairman responded:

“Thank you Neuroscientist. And yes, I recall now that Oppenheimer had read the Sanskrit translations by Juan Mascaro of the Bhagavad Gita, and that, as an atomic scientist, he found solace and peace in the Sanskrit verses. Certainly, we would agree that humane scientists, scientists like Einstein and Hawking, and scientists going back to Copernicus and Galileo, have peacefully sought the wonders of the Universe and this is a pursuit both noble and humane. Our next question, and final question, is for our esteemed Neurobiologist: Can you please elaborate on the contention of Satya’s husband that there is a positive biological and chemical value added from the ancient Indian art of meditation as practiced originally by the Himalayan Sadhus who composed the Sanskrit poetry of The Upanishads?”

The Neurobiologist responded to the Chairman’s question:

“Mr. Chairman, my responses, and the response of my fellow scientist, Neuroscientist, is that indeed there is evidence of a positive biological and chemical value added from the ancient Indian art of meditation. Through modern techniques of neuroimaging of the brain during meditation practice, we have found encouraging results. For example, during breathing exercises, we observed that the prefrontal cortex of the brain, as well as the anterior insula and the anterior cingulated cortex, showed improved perception cognition. In focused meditation, such the kind that Satya’s husband has learned from the Sadhu and the Swami, we found that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex retained an acute level of activity and vitality, which is indicative of a healthy and vibrant brain. Finally, in meditations of compassion and kindness, we found the most compelling evidence of healthful chemical and biological transformation of the brain, specified within the orbitofrontal cortext, the anterior cingulated cortex and the ventral striatum. These are the findings of our research, Mr. Chairman.”

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The Chairman appeared impressed and he conferred with the panel before making an announcement to Satya’s husband, the Neurobiologist and the Neuroscientist:

“The panel and I are satisfied by the responses of the this thesis defense of Satya’s husband’s Master of Science thesis at the Media Laboratory here at MIT entitled ‘For Whom the World Stops: The Himalayan Sadhu in a World of Constant Motion’, and we duly grant that this thesis is approved.”

Both the men on either side of Satya’s husband, the Neurobiologist and the Neuroscientist, stood up and said jointly:

“Thank you Mr. Chairman.”

The Neurobiologist and the Neuroscientist sat down again flanking Satya’s husband who remained seated and looked baffled and befuddled.

The Chairman spoke once more:

“We now shall move on to the thesis of a young quantum physicist entitled: “Meditational Experiments in Transmigration and Transmission of Thought through Time”.

The young and friendly American MIT quantum physicist who had first escorted Satya’s husband through Infinite Corridor, and who had been sitting in the classroom patiently, now stood up and spoke:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am here to demonstrate the evidence of two specific experiments in Time and Meditation: the first, regarding Transmigration and the second regarding Transmission.

My first experiment, the experiment regarding Transmigration, has already been demonstrated here.”

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The Chairman now looked just as baffled and befuddled as Satya’s husband. He spoke slowly after a long and pondered pause:

“I do not follow. You say that you have already demonstrated your first experiment, the experiment regarding Transmigration? I do not follow you at all. Kindly explain.”

The young American MIT quantum physicist spoke clearly and confidently:

“You see, Mr. Chairman, sir, Satya’s husband is not even an MIT student as yet. He has not even applied to MIT as yet. In fact, technically, Satya’s husband has not even been born yet and his presence here is in the form of reconfigured energy from a previous period of Time through both the scientific and the metaphysical phenomena of Transmigration.”

The Chairman looked toward where Satya’s husband sat, and then he turned once more to the young American MIT quantum physicist and said:

“You know, I was wondering why he looked so old… Rather mature for an MIT student, even a graduate student.”

The young American MIT quantum physicist responded to the Chairman:

“Satya’s husband is in fact a great grandfather, and he has just lost his beloved wife and is just recently widowed. As a being, a soul, begins to mourn of a life that is slipping away, and a loved one that is no longer there, that being, that soul, is more open and receptive to the idea of Transmigration through the portal of Time and Space. Such a being, as is Satya’s husband, is therefore an ideal candidate to demonstrate that it is indeed possible for a soul to Transmigrate through Time. This is what is meant by the Transmigrations of Souls in The Upanishads, which in Sanskrit is termed the phenomena of Samsara. Samsara is a phenomena suggested by Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and by the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, a lifelong student of The Upanishads, and is differentiated but intertwined with Transmission of Thought through Time, which is to be my second experiment.”

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The Chairman appeared impressed and he conferred with the panel and then turned once more to the young American MIT quantum physicist and said:

“What about your second experiment, the Transmission of Thought through Time?

Replied the young American MIT quantum physicist:

“For this next experiment, Mr. Chairman, I recommend that you and your panel, Satya’s husband, and the Neurobiologist and the Neuroscientist, all follow me through Infinite Corridor, to my laboratory, where we can witness this experiment of the Transmission of Thought through Time.”

The Chairman and his panel complied, as did Satya’s husband, and the Neurobiologist and the Neuroscientist, and all of them followed the young American MIT quantum physicist through Infinite Corridor into his laboratory, which was a long way down the hallway. The young quantum physicist then closed the door of the laboratory, which was a large and spare physics lab, with the blinds of the windows shut in order to block out all light.

The lab was very dimly lit as thin shafts of light seeped through the closed window blinds. In the middle of the laboratory was an oversized cardboard box, sitting on its side, while the giant square shaped wide open mouth of the cardboard box was big enough to accommodate a large person.

The young quantum physicist asked his guests to all sit with him on the floor of the laboratory, facing the open mouth of the cardboard box. He and Satya’s husband and the Chairman of the thesis challenge committee all sat in front, directly facing the open end of the cardboard box, while the others sat behind them in groups of three so that they all looked collectively, like they were about to take a train or a rollercoaster ride. The quantum physicist asked that this entire group be silent and meditate in the dimly lit room, which they seemed to do for a good fifteen minutes.

Then, the young American quantum physicist interrupted their meditation in a quiet and gentle voice.

He said in a hushed tone to Satya’s husband:

“You do not need to say anything, but I need you to think of something, focus your thought on something. The experiment of the Transmission of Thought through Time has its seed and its birth in the thought you decide to focus upon. Think of something that resonates with you, that you consider vital. Perhaps something that either the Sadhu or the Swami may have shared with you…”

Satya’s husband nodded affirmatively and smiled in acknowledgement toward the young American quantum physicist who had so graciously guided him through the long hallway of MIT’s main building artery, which was known as Infinite Corridor.

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