What a Wonder-ful World!

What a Wonder-ful World!

When we were in primary school, I remember a particular conversation with my then science teacher. Someone in class had asked her about God. ‘Does God exist? How would we know?’ So the discussion in the class that day steered towards things that we couldn’t understand then. Of course, science gives an answer wherever possible, but there are things beyond science. Beyond human perception. Beyond human understanding. And, so we wonder.

For our 10-year-old minds our teacher asked us simple questions. ‘How does milk become curd overnight?’ ‘How does a black cow eating green grass give white milk?’ ‘Where do the stars go when the sun comes out?’ ‘Why are there only seven colours in the rainbow?’ We began to wonder.

Eventually science answered several of these questions. Then, we also got to know of questions that science couldn’t help with. ‘What is the nature of dark matter?’ ‘If we believe in a Big Bang Theory, what was before that?’ ‘Is there any other form of life in the Universe?’ ‘What is the connection between our brain and consciousness?’ Scientists are still wondering about these questions.

I can’t seem to wrap my head around the metaphysics of Creation and the Creator. I simply look at the world around me and wonder. How do trees and leaves change during the seasons like clockwork? How do butterflies and bees navigate between flowers? How do birds fly across continents without losing their way? Why do the seas respond to the moon, and not the sun in the same way? Who put the planets in this order? How do I retain my memory every morning when I wake up? I wonder. I wonder. I wonder.

What the objective scientists couldn’t answer, our spiritual scientists - the Rishis of yore - answer. This is what we have condensed in the form of verses and cryptic clues. For the mystic mind, metaphysics is also poetry. From wonder, they arrived at the wonderful. If what can be seen by the eye leaves us with so many questions, imagine about all those things that can be seen only with the Inner Eye? I wonder about it all.

Retaining a sense of wonder about the world is essential to living fully. After all, we are thinking and feeling beings, not here to live a robotic and programmed life. One of my eternal inspirations is the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates. It is said that he would remain rooted in a spot, when he began to wonder. He wouldn’t move until he arrived at a possible, logical conclusion. Looking at him wonder, regular Athenians would bring their bedrolls and just camp around him, just to see him arrive at an answer. How wonderful would it be to wonder and arrive at the answer!

Most of us just relegate wonder to a moment’s fleeting question or thought. But we must persist with it. We must chase the question into whatever rabbit hole it takes us. We must rest only when we have a convincing answer. The process is just as delightful as landing at the answer itself. After all, that’s how our seers answered life’s biggest questions. And about God. Look around and look within, you’ll find the questions right there. After all, this is a wonder-ful world.

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Chinmaya Udghosh