Thursday, 14 March 2013

The power and significance of zero/circle in mathematics, martial arts, zen and spirituality

This is no mathematics class, but it is an eye-opener in a simple way for those folks like me who have ever hated/ hate mathematics and are unable to figure out what makes nerds love mathematics.

I used to despise and dread mathematics. I would always feel that the general public would most of the times be under an illusion to measure intelligence by the way you could parrot and vomit tables or arithmetic laws or alegbra equations {x+y the whole square is equal to...blah blah}, or how you could master complex calculations.. the bigger the number the better.. especially the ones with decimal values -the icing on the cake !

It would surprise some of you to know that the greatest teacher of mathematics was Ancient East ( Vedic civilization in the ancient Indian subcontinent) and the greatest student of mathematics was the West - Jesus Christ to be specific. Why do I say this ?

Zero is the greatest contribution to mathematics as we all know. But how could I say Jesus as the greatest student? My opinion may be valid if the following story could be true: Well, I happened to read somewhere if I remember correctly, about a short story on Jesus' childhood - that when he was a student, he asked his teacher to explain what was the meaning of the number 1. The teacher was perplexed by this question and tried to persuade him to proceed with 2. Not convinced, Jesus told the teacher that unless he was made to understand what number 1 meant, he could not proceed to understand anything further.

I have a strong feeling that I had read this in of Osho's discourses, although I cannot recollect precisely where.

The point here is, if it was so, then Jesus was perhaps unconsciously searching for the meaning of zero rather than 1.
Ancient Indian civilization was a highly advanced civilization many ages before the advent of Jesus Christ. This civilization reached the epitome in all spheres of life.

I will try my best to explain in simple language based on my personal understanding, the power and significance of the number zero/ the shape of circle or round:

1. Wisdom is the transcendence of intelligence. Philosophy/Spirituality is the final journey in the quest for knowledge. Even if you wish to travel around the world, it is a circle that takes you to a return trip to your starting point. Similarly, the spiritual significance of zero ('shunya' - in Sanskrit) comes from the wisdom of Ancient sages who through their individual & personal enlightenment came to realize that everything originates from nothingness. That nothingness is the space, the void, the emptiness  - the background on which all manifestations appear and disappear. So a number like 1 has no significance unless it is in relation with another 1( in numeric terms we call it 2); else the primal 1 has no indentity by itself. To represent that source from which everything springs forth and disintegrates to, the idea of zero took birth, the shape of circle being the graphical representation of going back to the source  - the source of non-duality.

2. A circular motion is the most powerful energy configuration, In science, we learn that a soap bubble has the most efficient energy configuration-structure. A mass in an ongoing circular motion builds up tremendous energy, and would be able to deflect any onslaught force. The whole of our cosmos is based on rotation and revolution - our solar system, our bodies energy patterns - the movement of electrons, protons, neutrons..

3. In martial arts (especially Tai Chi and Aikido) and Zen, the idea of circle is the fundamental underlying principle governing the way of the universe. Circular motion in these martial arts, emphasize on the use of accepting the opposing energy and then deflecting the energy often in circular ways. Check a sample of the 'randori' (multiple attackers) in the way of Aikido to get a feel of the way of least effort and resistance. Here comes hollywood actor Steven Seagal in action:

Now, you could dust off the armour of your self-respect henceforth if anybody calls you a A BIG FAT ZERO! Could you imagine the greatest of scientific inventions possible without the invention of wheel? There may be numerous teachers of mathematics, who may not have had even an iota of self-realization about the concept of void and zero. The day you have a direct experience of the profound significance of zero - you shall have gained the essence of mathematics. When I interpreted this way, my respect for mathematics increased, albeit without any additional love (in good humour of course).

On the forthcoming occassion of Easter - Wishing everybody HAPPY EASTER