140. Fate versus Free Will. Part Seven.
We were discussing the possible explanations of prophecies
2. The predicted events were made to occur, when their time came, by some powerful living persons or spirits. Take the example of Mr Dickenson being told that one day his guru will give him a silver cup. Swami Vivekananda may not have seen the future; words may have been wrung out of his mouth by some unseen power, just as it happened to Sri Yogananda (blog 103):
“One day in my Ranchi school, a boy named Kashi, a brilliant youth of twelve, asked me “Sir, what will be my fate?”
‘You shall soon be dead’. An irresistible power forced the answer from me.
The boy died the same year.
When Yogananda was walking in a street of Calcutta, an unseen power may have influenced his mind and made him buy a silver cup for Dickenson. Higher powers, when necessary, do influence our minds.
For instance, take the two incidents quoted in section 6 and 7 of blog 112, as Mufti Sahib’s prayers. In one instance some higher power influenced the mind of the wife of the landlord, and in the other case the mind of the person who gave Mufti Sahib money for the bus fare.
This argument can be invoked in some cases, but not all. For instance, a fakir told my grandfather that he and one of his sons will be buried in one grave. To have it happen, a colossal event such as Partition of India had to take place, in which millions of people died or suffered. It could not have been done just to make the fakir right. Similarly Yogananda sister could not have attired herself in her bridal dress and later during the day kill herself to prove herself right.
3. The causes or signs of future start appearing in the present, from them the future can be predicted.
This argument was first made by St Augustine sixteen hundred years ago (1). For instance the sunrise from day-break. I quote:
‘I behold the day-break, I foreshow, that the sun, is about to rise. What I behold, is present; what I foresignify, to come; not the sun, which already is; but the sun-rising, which is not yet. And
Yet did I not in my mind imagine the sun-rising itself (as now while I speak of it), I could not foretell it. But neither is that daybreak which I discern in the sky, the sun-rising, although it goes
before it; ……… . Future things then are not yet: and if they be not yet, they are not: and if
they are not, they cannot be seen; yet foretold they may be from things present, which are already, and are seen.’
This argument is not valid in any of the 14 situations cited above, such as for Swami Vivekananda to see the event of the silver cup 43 years in advance
4. The people who prophesied had the ability to travel in the future. Travel in the future is the fodder of science fiction. Even famous physicists claim that theoretically it is possible (2). If some men of God have this ability they could go in the future for few minutes, like Chandi Das did in front of Paul Brunton, and then come back to the present, and report their findings (blog 91)
Let us examine what the scientists have to say:
‘If you want to advance through the years a little faster than the next person, you'll need to exploit space-time. Global positioning satellites pull this off every day, accruing an extra third-of-a-billionth of a second daily. Time passes faster in orbit, because satellites are farther away from the mass of the Earth. Down here on the surface, the planet's mass drags on time and slows it down in small measures. In the super massive black hole Sagittarius A at the center of our galaxy, the mass of 4 million suns exists as a single, infinitely dense point, known as a singularity [source: NASA]. It must slow the time a lot over there.
We call this effect gravitational time dilation. (3) ’
If you were travelling on a space ship at 99.999% of the speed of light, one year on that space ship would have equaled 223 years on earth. When you came back after a year, all the people you knew before your journey would have died. One would have travelled 223 years in future.
The trouble about all these speculations is they do not help us one bit. Take the example of a traveler starting on his space trip in year 2014, at close to the speed of light. Let us say he has the magical ability to watch the events on earth. After a month he wants to notify all the events to somebody on the earth. Let us further suppose that he can send the message at the speed of light. The message will take another month to arrive on earth. Two months have passed since he started his journey. These two months are approximately equal to 37 years of earth time. Time travelled 223 times faster on the earth than on the space ship. It is 2051 on earth. The message cannot tell the earth inhabitants anything that they already don’t know. They have lived through it. It is their past. What the men of God supposedly do is to watch the future, which yet do not exist.
To be continued.