Once upon a time in India, there lived a fierce Asura. His name was Vigyanasura. He was very strong and highly intelligent. At a very young age he discovered the secret ingredient required to conquer the Universe. The mighty Asura also acknowledged the fact that he lacked that KEY INGREDIENT that would enable him to even rule over the Gods. The ambitious Asura with this intension to conquer the Heaven, Earth and Hell, started a severe penance. During that time, our planet was just 1/3rd ocean and remaining was a huge landmass. The Asura sat under a big banyan tree inside a deep dark jungle and meditated for a 1000 years on Lord Brahma. By the end of the 1000th year, he was covered by a termite hill that was as tall as the Banyan tree itself. But Brahma did not appear. Lord Brahma during those days was reluctant to appear before the Asuras. The reckless Asuras either asked for immortality or they demanded boons that tampered the very balance of the Universe. Hence Brahma, the creator of everything, turned a blind eye towards Vigyanasura.
The Asura though disappointed, was not ready to give up. He submerged himself under the holy Ganges and meditated for another 1000 years. He was determined to attain the KEY INGREDIENT for Universal supremacy. So powerful was his meditation that the waters of Ganga ran hot. The global temperature started rising and ice caps began to melt. Dark clouds hoovered over skies and it rained non stop for a 1000 years. By the end of the 1000th year, only 1/3rd of earth’s land mass remained and rest was engulfed by water. The reverberations were already being felt in Brahmalok and Devalok. So Brahma convened with the Devas and sought counsel with Devarshi Narada.
They unanimously declared that this Asura was like no other and at any cost Brahma should abstain from going to him. They even speculated that the Asura would lose heart and give up the penance if Brahma held back for some more time.
Vigyanasura was so annoyed with the kind of negligence from Brahma that he went to the Himalayas and started meditating on Lord Brahma again, but this time standing on one leg. He stood meditating for another 1000 years, but Brahma did not appear. So powerful was his depth of penance that the earth began to crack under his feet. Deep sieves started appearing all over the surface of the earth. Even after this, Brahma went ahead with his blind eye policy towards the Asura.
But the Asura was determined. He was not the one who would give up. He decided to stand on his head and continued with his meditation of Lord Brahma. But this time, the Universe itself started shaking. There were massive earth quakes with their epicentre being the point where the Asura meditated. The Earth, which was a single land mass, started splitting and by the end of the 1000th year, there were 7 huge land masses that were scattered across the globe. The ocean seeped in through the gaps and so were born the seven continents. The Kailasa (Lord Shivas abode) and Vaikunta (Lord Vishnu’s residence) started shaking. Indralok and Brahmalok trembled and began breaking down under the power of the Asura’s penance. Every species on Earth perished and continents got crushed under hundreds of feet-thick ice due to rapid cooling of the atmosphere. Now there was no way out for Brahma, but to oblige.
The matter was very serious and was getting out of hand. Brahma knew something had to be done. Vishnu and Shiva came to Brahma. They asked him to go and ask what this Asura wanted. And thus, after four thousand years of nerve wrecking meditation, creating a flood that gulped two thirds of earth, splitting the landmass to seven big islands and creating an ice age, Vigyanasura succeeded in bringing Brahma in front of his eyes.
Lord Brahma’s heart softened the moment he saw the Asura standing on his head over a bare rock, meditating up on him. He called out softly with his third head:
“Oh mighty Asura…wake up and tell me what you seek…”
For moments that seemed to stretch like eternity, the Asura did not move. Then feeling the power of Brahma’s mystic presence, he budged. The mountains seemed to echo Brahma’s voice and those divine vibrations compelled him to break his penance. The Asura came back to his normal position and bowed before his supreme deity- Lord Brahma. Brahma was moved seeing the Asura who was nothing but a bag of bones. Brahma smiled at him and with his divine powers gave back the Asura his youth. But Vigyanasura did not seem to show any emotion. He just bowed down with closed palms.
Again Brahma asked:
“Oh mighty Asura…tell me what you seek…” and he expected the Asura to ask for immortality. But the Asura kept looking at Lord Brahma with a blank expression; like a kid who forgot his speech. And yes, after four thousand years of solitude and silence the Asura had forgot all the languages he knew. So Brahma transferred the language of the Devas (Sanskrit) to the Asura and resumed the conversation:
“Now tell me oh Asura… what is it that you seek…”
The Asura delighted that he could ask for the KEY INGREDIENT to conquer the Universe, opened his mouth to speak:
“Dear Lord Brahma….”
That’s when Brahma stopped him. With a frown Brahma spoke to him:
“If it is immortality that you seek…then I cannot grant your wish…you can ask for anything other than timeless existence….”
The expression on the face of the Asura turned from bewilderment to disappointment. But then he spoke out:
“ Oh lord of lords, only smallest of small beings would ask for immortality…what I seek is something far greater my lord…”
Brahma was shocked for a second. He did not expect this from an Asura. But he hid his feelings and replied:
“Then what do you crave oh mighty one…?”
And the Asura’s answer hit Brahma with the power of a million thunderbolts. The Asura spoke thus:
“I need the entire knowledge of the Universe at my finger tips…this is the wish I pray you grant me… Oh Lord Brahma…”
Brahma stood there paralyzed, but soon regained his composure. He replied:
“Oh mighty of all Asuras, I need some time to think about this… give me two days and two nights…”
“Oh Lord Brahma, I’m ready to wait for two thousand years for this…”
“So wait here…” Brahma said and he vanished.
“I shall wait…” The Asura bowed with closed palms and eyes.
Brahma ran with all his strength to Shiva. Lord Shiva and Brahma discussed for a whole day and finally Lord Shiva said:
“That is impossible. We cannot give all the knowledge in this Universe at his finger tip…did you try bribing him with immortality? That seems a better trade off…”
Brahma got irritated with Shiva’s indifference and ran from Kailasa to Vaikunta. Again the result was same. Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi were both of the opinion that granting immortality was a easier trade-off than granting a wish that would cater the entire knowledge of the Universe at the fingertip of an Asura. There was no way even Brahma could do that. At the end of the second day, Brahma had no clue as to how this terrible problem could be solved. But he had given word and he had to keep it. So he appeared before the Asura at the end of the second day.
“Oh mighty one…I will be able to grant you anything, even immortality. But I can never grant you a boon that will bless you with the entire knowledge of this Universe at your finger tip…This is beyond my power…”
Brahma missed a heartbeat as he finished uttering these words and it is said that the world stood still for a moment. But the Asura smiled:
“Oh Lord Brahma, with immortality I can conquer the Universe but not the darkness within me… Only with knowledge I can do that. If you grant me my wish I can conquer the universe, attain immortality and kill the darkness of ignorance in me all at once. So grant me that wish or nothing at all, Oh revered of all revered and supreme creator of this Universe…” The Asura stood bowed with closed eyes.
Brahma was impressed and smiled at him. Then he put forward a compromise:
“Oh mighty Asura… I cannot grant your boon. But I do not want to disappoint you… From this point in time, you will start acquiring knowledge of every kind. You can live till you acquire the last grain of knowledge. If it takes an eternity or even beyond, then be it. At the end of it, you will have the entire knowledge of the Universe at your finger tips…”
Brahma blessed the Asura who was completely in tears. He somehow found words and spoke thus:
“Thank you my lord…my existence has found meaning today…”
Brahma smiled and slowly melted into the misty clouds. Then a voice boomed from the skies above”
“Oh mighty Asura who sought knowledge above immortality… your name will be engraved in the history of mankind forever…”
From that day Vigyanasura started reading scriptures of every kind in his quest to gather the entire knowledge of the Universe. Maybe even today he is sitting somewhere in a remote cave in the Himalayas gathering knowledge of every kind. Did Vigyanasura succeed in his quest of assimilating the entire knowledge of the Universe at his finger tips? We do not know. But we know one thing… and that is- today we have the entire knowledge of the universe at OUR finger tips!!!
Most of you after reading this blog would simply click on Google or Mozilla browser and search if Vigyanasura exist. All you have to do is enter the key and click GO- with your fingertip. Unlike Vigyanasura, humanity today has the entire knowledge (if not the Universe, the knowledge of generations) at our fingertip. Did we undergo 4000 years of penance? NO.
But we know one thing. Without doing 4000 years of penance, even without being conscious about it, we today have the knowledge of the entire world at our fingertips. We wake up, take our smart phone and delve in to the world of knowledge and human interaction like never before in the history of evolution. The change is here.
You navigated into this blog with just a touch of finger tip on your touch screen. You have searched so many things over Google with just a click on the search button with your fingertip. And lo…the entire knowledge of the universe unfolds right in front your eyes. It takes less than half a second for Google to fetch what you seek.
If 20th Century was defined by industrial revolution, 21st Century will stand as a testimony to knowledge revolution. Without firing even a bullet, or even triggering a nuclear missile WWIII (World War III) may be fought over the cyber world. But still that war may push the world into eternal misery, a far greater loss than a billion humans bleeding to death.
Slowly human race is moving from physical to a met- physical, virtual paradigm of existence. Knowledge and information is power in today’s world. The social classes would soon be defined in terms of information rich and information poor. The one who has power of information at his finger tip will have an edge over the others who does not.
I urge every mother to tell the story of Vigyanasura to their kid. How our ancestors strived hard for knowledge and how easily we are enjoying the fruits. The quest for knowledge is greatest quest of all. The one who has it can change or even rule the world.
If you look closely, unlike the western scriptures, ancient Indian scriptures is more exploratory and knowledge oriented. Even the great Mahabharatha war that annihilated a whooping one third of male population, has this self exploration of knowledge as its pretext. The after effects of the great war that pushed the sub-continent into a miserable recession and marked the beginning of Kali Yuga can still be seen today. Well, we are recovering and recovering strong!!!
Surviving a stormy voyage through history, India has ARRIVED with a bang in the world platform. Today we go digital on almost all fronts. E-Governance initiatives would cut off red tape-ism and bribery. It would enable the common man to get all the services at his fingertip. We should be extremely proud and hopeful about reducing the digital divide among the classes through Digital India campaign.
I pray that this simple article inspires people and serves as a baby step towards Digital India.
A day will come when a Google search chip will be embedded in every human brain. Your thoughts would be the search keys and everyone will have the entire knowledge of the universe at his/her fingertip, irrespective of being rich or poor.
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