Let us begin from the beginning. I had joined my job as a lecturer in Botany at D.A.V. College, Siwan. I was very excited at learning that the principal of the college Dr. B.B. Mishra was a scholar of modern History of international repute. He used to be frequently out on assignments to foreign universities. I decided to see him at his residence to pay my respects to him. After introducing myself, I very humbly submitted that I considered it my privilege to work under him. It would provide me an opportunity to learn from him. Dr Mishra was not amused. He retorted.
“ I am a man of history. You are a man of Botany. How can you learn from me?" I was completely nonplussed. How can he say so? He is a scholar. Does he think that I am attempting to flatter him in order to gain favours. Does he treat my submissions as that of a subordinate to his Boss? It was a very awkward experience . Suddenly my hero was reduced to a pitiable person. Side by side I recalled the advice of one of my senior colleagues . He had tried to dissuade me from visiting Dr Mishra. He had told me from his experience that he is a very egoistic and vindictive person. But now I had no option but to try to get out of it. I very humbly submitted, “Sir, So far as I understand , every branch of knowledge seeks the same truth through convergent paths. So we can learn from any knowledgeable person.” Dr Mishra did not express any reaction. That provided me an escape route from the awkward situation I had landed myself in. I did not pay him another personal visit during the rest period of our working together in the institution.
Last week I was going through the draft of a study of Shreemat Bhagwat Gita written by my friend Dr Shankernath Jha. He introduces Sankhya Philosophy by the following lines. "Prakriti (Nature) is matter and Purush is ( consciousness). Their union has led to the origin of Life. It is what Marx calls quantum jump."
I have to confess that I have some sort of inhibition for religious texts. So in spite of some efforts I have not been able to avail of the ancient wisdom enshrined in these holy treatises.
I have learnt that life has a physical basis. Life originated as a consequence of evolution of matter. Matter evolved through a continual process starting from transformation of energy to matter and culminating in the appearance of self replicating complex organic molecules. Self replicating molecules laid the foundation of Life. Their appearance may be equated to the so-called quantum jump as enunciated by in the union of Prakriti with Purush by Dr Jha.
I learnt that organisms can not be considered without their environment. From a formal point of view the two may be regarded as equivalent phases between which dynamic contact is maintained by the membranes that separate and link them.There is a continuum between living and nonliving and it is pointless to draw a line across it. A living cell is such a complex and delicate system which is maintained by a continuous input of energy from its surroundings.
The Continuum has been a mystery. It has an omnipotent presence. It has a song with rhythm that connects you with eternity. Mystics, Scientists, philosophers and others have been trying to interpret and understand since the dawn of civilization.