Sahir Ludhianvi and Mystery of Time


When I was growing up in India, like everyone around me, I was fortunate to experience some great music from Bollywood. Wonderful voices of Rafi Sahib, Asha Ji, Kishore Da, Lata Ji, and many other great singers, combined with poetry of many talented writers, provided a deep aesthetic experience for our growing minds. Radio used to be always on in my childhood home.

In particular, Sahir Ludhianvi’s poetry stood out. I remember two songs “sansaar ki har shay ka” and “aage bhi jaane na tu” which made me wonder as there seemed to be a jewel hidden in the songs.

Later I learned how physicists are grappling with the nature of time. Whether it is Arthur Eddington’s Arrow of Time, or The Wheeler-DeWitt equation of a timeless universe, or emergent space-time in quantum theory, time remains a fundamental mystery. Even the notion of the present moment and how we perceive it, is amazing as shown by Einstein in relativity of time and in relativity of simultaneity. Thanks to my daughter who keeps me updated with all this wonderful science. 🙂

In “sansaar ki har shay ka”, here is the translation of one of the stanzas:

where is this path from, where is it leading to,

nobody knows the secret of this mystery.

on the Eyelid of this moment, rests the cosmos,

till the closing of the Eye, all this is a beautiful game

and, here is from “aage bhi jaane na tu”:

you don’t know what is ahead, you don’t know what is behind you,

whatever is, is this moment alone

Sahir is expressing his awe and sense of mystery, and how our subjective experience of the present moment creates the magic of universe and brings it to life to us.

A poet’s expression and a theoretical physicist’s equation. Two sides of a great effort to understand.

I wish all the bright minds, and students in sciences, and new generations, very best to unravel this deep mystery.