Who said time travel is not possible? Cave Of Plato transformed an ordinary Saturday evening into an extraordinary adventure through the mysterious dimension of time!
Steering our Time Capsule was our ‘Expert Caver’ Mr Jagdish Gandhi. An avid archaeology enthusiast, he has been exploring ancient civilizations and the lost River Saraswati for several decades. His vast collection of vintage coins and rare artefacts dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization is a sight to behold! Most importantly, his travels through the Himalayas, Kailash Mansarovar, Om Parvat etc for the last 50 years have given him a deep perspective on life. According to him, both in archaeology and life, if our search is intense, we just stumble upon what we are searching for when we least expect it.
As soon as we stepped in through the ornate vintage gate leading into the home of Mr Gandhi, we knew we were in for a very rare treat.
Time stood still as we took in the exquisite beauty of statues from glorious bygone eras in his grand living room.
Photo courtesy – Aditya Gupte
For a brief moment in time we became spellbound statues and the statues took on a pulsating life force. The language of man was completely defeated by the language of stone and we were certainly not complaining.
As we appreciated the fine carvings, Mr Gandhi told us ‘Art is not made by the chisel. It is made by the human mind’. Profound.
Photo Courtesy – Aditya Gupte
Sitting on a traditional jhoola (swing) in his airy living room, our Expert – Caver and ‘Timekeeper’ took us curious cavers deep into the history and philosophy of time, particularly from the perspective of Indian metaphysics.
Here is a brief summary of our discussions:
- Time is a worldly construct by humans, where events flow in a linear direction from past to present and the future like a constantly flowing stream, in a given dimension of reality. Click here to know more about Timestream and Science Fiction.
- The concepts of Kaal and Yuga are cosmic and cyclical in nature. Kaal refers to the endless cycles of creation and destruction. Yuga is an era within a 4 stage cosmic cycle, consisting of Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga.
- There is no physical proof of Kaal. It can only be experienced. eg: death. However, Kaal does not cause destruction, only dissolution.
- The Bhagwad Gita does not talk of time, but space. The life of a human is the space between the moment of birth and moment of death. Before birth and after death man is invisible. It advises us to manage that part of life when we are visible.
- Einstein’s Spacetime fuses the 3 dimensions of space and the 1 dimension of time into a 4 dimensional model called Spacetime.
- Time is trinity – Samay (moment), Sandarbh (context), Sthaan (place). For any event to take place all 3 components are needed.
- The Indian God Shiva is believed to be the controller of time. He presides over the past, present and future and is known as Trikaaleshwar. Tri (three), Kaal (time), Eshwar (God). He is also known as Kaal Bhairav and Maha Kaal. Ujjain is noted for the temples of Kaal Bhairav and Maha Kaal. Side Note: Interestingly, Ujjain was considered as zero degree longitude by ancient Indian astronomers and the Tropic of Cancer passes through it, making it a hub of ancient astronomers and mystics. Check out this interesting article to know more about Ujjain’s significance in the history of cosmic Spacetime.
- The Indian God Vishnu presides over the serpent called Shesh Naag. Shesh is that which remains after a combination of addition and subtraction every moment. If Infinity is taken away from Infinity, Shesh remains.
Cavers did some further deep caving with discussions on:
- If there is no time, is there Karma?
- If we are physically present here now, but our mind is in the future or the past, then where do we locate ourselves in time?
- Can the exact before and after movement of a statue frozen in time be recreated?
- We also discussed the interesting concept of a hypothetical place called ‘Platonia’, where time does not exist. Proposed by British physicist Julian Barbour, each point in Platonia is a ‘Now’. Each ‘Now’ is complete in itself and has no past moment flows into a future moment. eg: The Big Bang is not a past event, just a special place in Platonia. Read more on Platonia here.
After treating us to cups of piping hot tea flavoured with his prized collection of honey straight from hives in forests, Mr Gandhi told us about his sublime adventures while trekking in the Himalayas, Om Parbat, Parvati Parbat and the bowl shaped Naabhi Dwaar that has concentric circles.
He then showed us his gorgeous collection of miniature statues, along with accompanying stories and their spiritual significance.
This is a stunning depiction of the ‘Kundalini’ at the back of a miniature statue.
The next treat for us was his absolutely spell binding collection of vintage coins. Some of the coins were so tiny that we had to zoom in our cameras to see the intricate details. Only master craftsmen of an extraordinary league could create such spectacular art!
This is a really tiny coin depicting a 5 hooded Cobra minted during the reign of Raja Venkatgiri.
This is a coin from the 12th century minted issued by the Yadav of Devgiri.
This interesting coin depicts Lord Shiva in the form of Ardha Narishwara (half man and half woman).
This interesting symbol is of the ‘Shri Vatsa’. It is believed that Lord Krishna has this symbol on his chest. Variations of this icon have been found across Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Read more on the Shri Vatsa here.
We next witnessed his fascinating collection of artefacts from his Indus Valley collection. He told us about his archaeo – adventures while exploring the Indus Valley sites and trying to track down the trail of the lost River Saraswati, along the banks of which Indus Valley once flourished.
Photo courtesy – Aditya Gupte
Photo courtesy – Aditya Gupte
The last and most unexpected gourmet dessert to finish a surreal visual buffet was (hold your breath)….original prints of Raja Ravi Varma paintings with his signature!
As the Saturday evening drew to a close, we knew that we were really fortunate to be co – cavers in a truly extraordinary moment in time. The term ‘Time Keeper’ could not be more apt for a man who had so painstakingly and lovingly preserved what even time had forgotten in its endless cycles of creation and destruction.
Testimonial from Caver, Aditya Gupte.