Journey to the Unknown

Life is all about entangling in the unknown.

We have to unfold the mysteries, chart the foggy roads and the uncertain future.

Do we know what lies ahead and what secrets will be revealed tomorrow?

We have to make constant effort to reveal the unrevealed and discover the undiscovered and familiarize ourselves with unfamiliar.

That makes life riskier as we have to accept the unknown and unknowable. The fear of the unknown is something most of us dread as we think of each passing day and strategize our future actions and their consequences on our lives.

The vague, dark and obscure often petrifies us. Something that cannot be distinguished by the sight, speech or mind creates a sense of fear. What eyes cannot see is the demon, the terrible and the evil. This can be death, fear of mortality, next job interview, the man sitting next to us on an airplane, and or anything else.

Since eternal times, human beings have tried to grasp the new world of realities both in outwards and inwards realms. We have been attempting to enlarge our faculties to know what we don’t. There is a tremendous sense of alarm and confusion about the demanding unknown that can wreck the harmonious and aesthetic world that we have built and nurtured. The walls of our fragile and familiar world of known can be demolished by the infinite and unrealized powers of the unknown.

Everything beginning with our self to the dark and never-ending universe is unknown and indecipherable to us. We have cast the net of our knowledge far and wide to understand and make sense of the world we live in.

The journey to discover the unknown through intergalactic travel and black holes has been attempted by Star Trek missions in movies. The hugely popular Star Wars movie series seeks to highlight the power of the Dark Side over humans.

But the mundane is knowable and can be seized. There is a possibility that whatever that can be seen and exists in this world can be known to an extent.

The unknown that is beyond the known is vast like an ocean and is intangible and an insoluble riddle.

The massive universe or the ultimate is ungrasped, and only an intellectual view limited by our senses to understand it may not be sufficient. The ultimate is inexpressible, unrealizable and unattainable.

The Kena Upanishad beautifully describes this dilemma of known and unknown.

yasyamatam tasya matam matam yasya na veda sah;

avijnatam vijanatam vijnatam avijanatam

  The ultimate reality or truth is unknown to those who claim to know Him and can only be recognized by those who do not claim to know Him.

The Nasadiya Sukta, in Rig Veda also deals with the similar question.

But, after all, who knows, and who can say

Whence it all came, and how creation happened?

The Devas (minor gods) themselves are later than creation,

so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

Whence all creation had its origin,

he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,

he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,

he knows – or maybe even he does not know

 (Translated by A.L. Basham)

 This doesn’t mean that we cannot or should not undertake the bewildering long and unclear journey of knowing the unknown.

As W. Somerset wrote, “It’s a long, arduous road he’s starting to travel, but it may be that at the end of it he’ll find what’s he’s seeking.”

Who knows what we may seek?



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