#TIATC (The Illusion And The Cosmos, October 11, 2014):

SynTalk thinks about illusions from an all encompassing (cosmological) perspective. In a sense the conversation ventures into the outer (sun, galaxies, quasars, black holes, WIMPs) and the inner worlds (Brahman, consciousness), while constantly wondering what separates the ‘real’ from the ‘illusory’. The concepts are​ derived​ off / from Vedas, Bhagwad Gita, Marconi, Mach, Einstein, Sri Aurobindo, S Chandrasekhar, Brandon Carter, and Susskind, among others. Do camels see mirages in the desert? How does dark matter and galaxies lead to formation of virtual images? Does a rainbow exist? Why does a sun appear oblate sometimes? How are electrons and humans aware of the rest of the universe (Mach’s principle, anthropic principle), and how does it get its information, habit or lawfulness? Is Maya related to the concept of measurement? ​Are (say) Maxwell’s and Newton’s laws ‘an extremely well worked out myth’? Is there an Absolute Truth? Is time an illusion, and its possible links with ‘trikal drishti’ (triple time vision) and steady state theory? How Lord Indra created vowels, consonants, and grammar from eternal sound. Is fear like dark matter? How the ‘concept of truth’ (model making) is different from the truth. The difference between ‘the truth’ and ‘my truth’. How can I experience you? Is there a link between empathy and telepathy, and is telepathy possible? How Truth has an asymptotic character. What is Knowledge by Identity? The parable of the larvae and dragonflies (“Not lost but gone before”) and the rumour attributed to a frog. The SynTalkrs are: Prof. S. M. Chitre (astrophysics, Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences, ex-TIFR, Mumbai), Dr. Matthjis Cornelissen (psychology, Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry), & Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik (mythology, writing, Mumbai).

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TIATC show.

Prof. Shashikumar Madhusudan Chitre (astrophysics, mathematics, cosmology) is currently the Academic Chairperson and Emeritus Professor at the Centre of Excellence for Basic Sciences, and INSA Honorary Scientist at the University of Mumbai. Prof. Chitre’s scientific research is focused on Solar Physics, Physics and Astrophysics of Collapsed Objects and Gravitational Lensing. He has worked on problems concerning the structure and stability of sunspots and studied the underlying mechanism responsible for driving the solar cycle, equation of state of dense cold matter inside neutron stars and accretion of matter onto black holes. His recent contributions relate to the problem of missing solar neutrinos and helioseismology as a tool to study internal layers of the sun, including its differential rotation; the use of gravitational lensing as a probe of the large-scale magnetic fields in galaxies and galaxy clusters. Apart from being honored by multiple fellowships (scientific and academic institutions), he is also honored with Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.

Dr. Matthijs Cornelissen (psychology, spirituality, medicine) teaches Integral Psychology at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education in Pondicherry. He is a Dutch physician who settled in India in 1976. In 1981 he co-founded Mirambika, a research centre for integral education in New-Delhi. He is deeply interested in finding ways to introduce some of the psychological knowledge and know-how that developed as part of the Indian spiritual tradition into academic Psychology. To this end, in 2001, he founded the Sri Aurobindo Centre for Consciousness Studies, and in 2006 the Indian Psychology Institute, both in Pondicherry. He organized several conferences, seminars and workshops and published articles related to consciousness studies, yoga-based research methodologies and Indian psychology. He has edited three books: Consciousness and Its Transformation (2001), Indian Psychology, Consciousness and Yoga (2004), and Foundations of Indian Psychology (2010 / 2014).

Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik (mythology, writing, public speaking, medicine) is a physician by qualification turned into mythologist and leadership consultant by choice. After serving healthcare industry for several years, he started writing books and columns about mythology and delivering lectures on the subject. His work primarily focuses on deriving management insights from mythology to reveal a very Indian approach to modern business. He has authored over 30 books & has delivered numerous lectures. Dr. Pattanaik is based in Mumbai and is now a sought-after public speaker and culture consultant for corporations and business leaders. His columns on management and culture appear regularly in The Economic Times and Mid-Day. He has the natural ability to narrate stories from Indian and World mythology, and provide deep insights into their structures and probable meanings. He has completed his education in Medicine from Grant College, Mumbai and also a Post-Graduate Diploma in Comparative Mythology, offered by the Sanskrit Department of Mumbai University. [Note: Also a SynTalkr on #TAIU (The Animals In Us)]

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

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