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#2423 - Friday, March 17, 2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz




In this issue is an article about the movie Mystic India. Also a cartoon from the very bright Bob Seal. Next is a news article on the latest atronomical discovery of the event "less than a trillionth of a second after time began."

Following that is an article about cosmologist John Barrow, who won the Templeton Prize. Burrows, in his book on nothingness, said "understanding these concepts [of nothingness] is critical in the history of mathematics, physics, philosophy, literature and theology." This issue is concluded by a statement by Wei Wu Wei on form and void.

Mystic movie takes audiences back

By Kim Clayton-Millar

A truly beautiful and special international cultural film contribution is coming our way.

The Swaminarayan Hindu Mission of South Africa (Baps Care International) - a worldwide non-profit organisation, currently actively engaged in educational, cultural and humanitarian services - is bringing Mystic India, a unique film insight to the mysticism and beauty of India to those who enjoy cultural themes.

The film - which is the world's first large-format epic on India - explores the history and culture of that land by following the true story of Neelkanth, a young yogi who lived there 200 years ago.

Between 1792 and 1799, he undertook a spiritual journey, alone and barefooted, over 12 872kms across India.

At his journey's end, Neelkanth met a great saint and teacher called Ramanand Swami who persuaded the child to become his successor. From there on, he was known as Bhagwan Swaminarayan and was eventually considered one of the greatest spiritual leaders and social reformers in Indian history.

Narrated by the simply beautiful and commanding voice of screen legend Peter O' Toole, this literally breath-taking period piece takes viewers back to the 18th century, along a journey which covered more than 100 locations across India.

Audiences are introduced to the people of that land through marvelous cultural landmarks and events such as the many grand monuments, shrines, temples palaces and famous festivals.

The production reveals much insight to India, a country in which 18 different languages - with more than 1600 dialects - are spoken and is home to a billion people of different religions, traditions and backgrounds.

The central theme of unity in diversity is portrayed in Mystic India through these words, "We share the same sky, walk the same earth, breathe the same air, which we are a single human family, capable of living together, loving one another."

The ancient Sanskrit saying "Vasudhaiv Kutumbhakam" - "The whole world is one family" - exemplifies this heritage.

As a bonus, Mystic India is an Imax giant screen production being screened at the Imax Theatre in the Menlyn Park Shopping Centre in Pretoria.

Anyone who has never seen a film on an Imax screen should really try it as it is a totally different and believe me, larger -than-life film-viewing experience, which makes one feel as if they are literally "in" the film, enjoying the surrounds, storyline and events within.

To celebrate the opening of a six-month season of Mystic India at the Imax Theatre in the Menlyn Park Shopping Centre in Pretoria from Saturday, the Swaminarayan Hindu Mission of South Africa is hosting a gala premiere event on that day at that venue.

This will include a full, pre-screening lineup of entertainment including a range of traditional Indian events enacted in full costume, with folk-dance, music and so on, from 12 noon.

There will be a public screening of the 45-minute long film at 11am, 1pm and 5pm on Saturday.

The live events will be from noon and then there will be a special screening for invited guests and the media at 7pm. Call the Imax theatre at 012-3681186.

Cartoon by Bob Seal:
Astronomers Find the Earliest Signs Yet of a Violent Baby Universe 


Using data from a new map of the baby universe, astronomers said yesterday that they had seen deep into the Big Bang, and had gotten their first detailed hint of what was going on less than a trillionth of a second after time began.
The results, they said, validated a key prediction of the speculative but popular cosmic theory known as inflation about the distribution of matter and energy in the Big Bang. The theory holds that during its first moments, the universe, fueled by an antigravitational field, underwent a violent growth spurt, ballooning from submicroscopic to astronomical size in the blink of an eye.

"It amazes me that we can say anything about the universe in the first trillionth of a second," said Charles L. Bennett, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University and the leader of the group that reported the results yesterday. "It appears that the infant universe had the kind of growth spurt that would alarm any mom or dad." The map was produced by a NASA satellite known as the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe that has been circling the Earth at a point on the other side of the Moon since 2001, recording faint emanations of microwaves thought to be the remnants of the Big Bang.

The microwaves paint a portrait of the 13.7-billion-year-old universe when it was only 380,000 years old, astronomers say. But in the details of that portrait are clues to processes that occurred when it was much younger.
Using the map, the Wilkinson team has been able to revise an earlier estimate of the time at which the first stars began to form and shine through the primordial murk that followed the cooling of the Big Bang. Those stars appeared when the universe was about 400 million years old, they said yesterday.

The previous estimate of 200 million years, based on earlier Wilkinson data, had been seen as surprisingly early by many cosmologists, and the new date is comfortably in line with mainstream theories.

Inflation theory, which was invented by Alan H. Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been the workhorse of Big Bang cosmology for the last 25 years. But astronomers and physicists admit that they still have no idea what caused inflation. As a result, there are a welter of models describing how it might have worked.
Although inflation is not yet conclusively confirmed, it is now in better shape than ever, many astronomers said, and many models can be eliminated.

"We've crossed a threshold," said David N. Spergel of Princeton University, a member of the research team. "We can now start to say something interesting about the physics of inflation."
Others not involved in the project tended to agree.

"If this holds up to the test of time, it's a real landmark," said Max Tegmark, a cosmologist at M.I.T.

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Read the entire story here

Great void yields up 1.4M honor

Cosmologist John Barrow received $1.4 million Templeton Prize yesterday.

Two of the 17 books written by cosmologist John Barrow are studies of nothingness and infinity, which has inspired a little joke among his British colleagues.

"John can say nothing," the joke goes, "and can talk about it endlessly."

Barrow, 53, a professor of mathematical sciences at the University of Cambridge in England, traveled to Manhattan this week for a kind of last laugh - he was named the winner of the 2006 Templeton Prize, valued this year at 795,000 pounds sterling, or about $1.4 million.

The prize, given by a foundation created in 1972 by global investor and philanthropist John Templeton, goes every year to the person chosen by judges for outstanding work in bridging the differences between science and religion. It is the richest award given to any individual anywhere - as stipulated by Templeton, a Presbyterian who believes that religion is more important than any of the Nobel Prize categories.

Past winners of the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities, as it is now called, include Mother Teresa and Billy Graham, but recent winners have been scientists who are religiously active and, in some cases, have been ordained as ministers.

At a press conference where he was introduced Wednesday, somebody asked Barrow why most of the recent recipients were scientists and he said, "Maybe they ask the more interesting questions."

Barrow is a member of the United Reform Church, a mainline Protestant body created in England in the early 1970s by a merger of three other churches - Congregational, Presbyterian and Reformed Church.

He was honored for his use of mathematics, physics and astronomy to challenge scientists and theologians to think in new ways about time, space, matter, the origins of the universe ("or universes") and where it all leads.

"Many of the deepest and most engaging questions that we grapple with about the nature of the universe have their origins in our purely religious quest for meaning," Barrow said at Wednesday's ceremony, held at the Church Center of the United Nations.

Speaking of recent discoveries about the size, age and movement of the universe, he said:

"We are made of complicated atoms of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. The nuclei of all these atoms do not come ready-made with the universe but are put together by a slow burning sequence of nuclear reactions in the stars.... The nucleus of every carbon atom in our bodies has been through a star. We are closer to the stars than we could ever have imagined."

Barrow's work explores the relationship between life and the laws of physics, something he sometimes talks about in whimsical terms. Speaking recently at the Royal Society in London, he talked about detecting art fraud, why science can send a rocket to the moon but cannot accurately predict the weather, and how to win at dice every time.
Every time?

"That's mathematically speaking, and over the long run," he explained Wednesday. "It's not something I would count on at the casino."

Among the books written by Barrow, a onetime lecturer on physics and astronomy at the University of California at Berkeley, is "PI in the Sky," "Theories of Everything" and "The Left Hand of Creation." Another work, "Infinities," was an award-winning play in Italy.

Two other books have become international science best sellers.

'The Book of Nothing," a study of all aspects of vacuums, voids, zeroes and nothingness, argues that understanding these concepts is critical in the history of mathematics, physics, philosophy, literature and theology. "The Infinite Book" is about infinity - in theology, mathematics, philosophy, fantasy and even science fiction.

Barrow's wife, Elizabeth, making only her second visit to New York, was asked about their conversation at the dinner table. "When they were younger, our three children sometimes asked David a homework question," she said. "He answered the question and often added a lecture. After a few minutes, they usually found an excuse to leave the table."

John Barrow, who will receive his award May 3 at Buckingham Palace, said he wasn't sure what he would do with the money. In fact, he was not sure what the prize was worth in dollars.

John Templeton Jr., who now heads the foundation, wasn't sure either.

"At the close of the market yesterday," he said, "it was about $1.4 million."

Actually, it was $1,375,747.50 - or $432,747.50 more than this year's Nobel Prizes.





Wei Wu Wei

from "Ask the Awakened"


Things have no self-nature: their self-nature is void.


Void is the self-nature of things, that which they are when "they" are not.


That is why form (things) is void and void is form, and why there is no form without void, and no void without form.


Another Way of Doing It:


Unreality is the seriality created by the time-concept, and which I have called "horizontal" seeing, i.e. one-damn-thing-after-another.


Freed from the time-concept -- seriality reintegrated, the succession of objects (objects apparently developing, cause and effect) reunified, and...


Freed also from the space-concept -- for Time and Space are inseparable -- the seen object becomes "real" -- for it is seen in the manner I have called "vertical."


Intemporal and in-formal, the supposed object has re-become subjectivity and re-found its only reality as pure see-ing.


Note: Liberation from the Space-time concepts is transference from objectivising into "subjectivising" -- or the famous "leap."


Here "objectivising" means seeing everything as an object, or objectively, and "subjectising" means seeing everything as from subject or subjectively.


It can also be called seeing noumenally.


The former was called the "Guest" position in China, as opposed to the "Host" position, or that of the "Minister" as opposed to that of the "Prince," or, by other Masters, the "functional" position in contrast to that of "Prinicipal" or "Potentiality."


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