Today, on an auspicious day of Guru Purnima, I am writing a column on dystopia. So, when I started imagining about this piece, I was continuously awestruck by a Deja Vu. The Deja Vu kept on rolling on the mind and told me – “The End is Beginning and Beginning is the End”. The essence is that time is looped and re-looped through a set of human actions on this little droplet star in the larger scheme of science, nature, universe, galaxy, milky way.
No one yet knows why something begins or something ends, but we know how it begins and how it ends and then again how it begins. So everything is a Deja Vu. Even dystopia which is completely reverse of a Utopia also follows the same cycle of Deja Vu. It begins and then ends and then it begins again. For dystopia too, “End is the Beginning and Beginning is the End”.
On the day of Guru Purnima, my sense of Deja Vu is more intense because today was the day – “When Lord Buddha gave his first sermon to the world by sitting under a tree”. The sermon was about realities of life, time, progress, enlightenment, the ultimate consciousness about the forms of life and time.
Lord Buddha highlighted about how everything is a Deja Vu. The way, life progresses is always in the form of a Deja Vu. In the journey of that Deja Vu, the mortal forms will always go through – “Dukkha (sufferings), Tanha (desire), Nirodha (renouncement), Magga (path to enlightenment)”. It is an unending time loop for every life form in the universe. Sage Veda Vyasa also was born on July 5. If we study deeply the work of these two sages and also our Upanishads, Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, Manusmriti, Arthshastra, what we learn is not to dwell on past but to focus on the present, purify the thoughts, believe in faith and truth. This is because the sun, moon and truth cannot be hidden and finally, faithfulness and contentment define a strong society.
If today, Lord Buddha was supposed to write a sermon again for the new dystopian times, very naturally the same teachings and sermons of July 5 will become very important. Our cultural past has certain things to offer in this Guru Purnima, which again has become important to come out of the new norm and form of dystopia that is looming above our mother Earth.
If Buddha writes a dystopian science fiction today, he will also refer to the literature of Hugo Gernsback’s disaster science fictions of a time around 1926 which also ended with certain solutions. But Lord Buddha won’t stop at that. He will be critical of the society which has created a peril for herself and mother earth through a technological change driven by a need of a desire. For that, Lord Buddha will also refer to Alvin Toffler’s work – “Future Shock” in 1970. Lord Buddha will not also shy away from quoting Aldous Huxley’s work – “Brave New World” of 1932. Brave New World highlighted the importance of the existence of high and low-end cultures for a dystopic situation.
However, the larger question is – “Will Lord Buddha in today’s sermon focus on a cultural clash as a main determinant for the current or future dystopia” or “Will Lord Buddha will in his sermon for today suggest that this clash is a deterrent for the humanity to come out of dystopia”?
My own sense is that Lord Buddha will believe in a culture of sustainability and will rather understand a context, challenge and come up with a sermon to follow as salvation. He won’t just stop at reading Eastern, Western, Middle Eastern, Persian, African, Mesopotamian or Oriental Literature. Understanding and action are more important than only reading in the current context of dystopia. Who knows more about it other than our – “Lord Buddha” of Sarnath and Bodhgaya.
Hence, in an unending DejaVu of beginning is the end and end is the beginning, let’s wait for our own Lord Buddha of 2020 to come out of dystopia. It will surely happen again as
an end is always a beginning.