Across the Universe

NGC 1300 (Click to embiggen)

Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and on across the universe …

Words magically conjure images in our minds, especially if they are not reportage but instead are attempted expressions of the ineffable. That is why I like certain songs not just for their musical quality but those with lyrics that evoke mystery and longing.

The words quoted above are from the song “Across the Universe” by the Beatles. They evoke images in my mind that are like the image (at the top of this post) of the barred spiral galaxy discovered by John Herschel in 1835, NGC 1300. It is about 110,000 light-years across and 61 million light-years away. We are unlikely to visit it anytime ever.

The song was written by John Lennon (credited as usual to Lennon-McCartney), and released in 1969. In February 2008, NASA transmitted the song in the direction of the star Polaris which is 431 light-years from here. Why? To mark the 40th anniversary of the song’s recording, the 45 anniversary of NASA’s Deep Space Network, and the 50th anniversary of NASA. Lots of reasons.

Aliens around Polaris, if there are any, will hear the song only in the year 2400 CE. The song is on its way across the universe. Be patient, alien people.

Like a million eyes, the song says? Nope. Try a few hundred billion eyes, the typical number of stars in a typical galaxy. But I guess Lennon was not an astronomer and he wasn’t going for accuracy. Alright, time to get serious.

Music moves me. You’d have guessed that if you know anything about me. So this one is about that song. Here’s it. The Beatles.

And while you’re listening to it, follow the lyrics:​

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my opened mind
Possessing and caressing me
Jai guru deva, om

Refrain: Nothing’s gonna change my world …

Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letterbox they
They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe
Jai guru deva, om …

Sounds of laughter shades of life are ringing
Through my open ears inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on across the universe
Jai guru deva, om

Words. Limitless undying love. Pools of sorrow, waves of joy. That’s poetry to my ears.

I love that song. When it comes to many favorite songs, I like to check out the covers too. Here are two that I enjoy. The first is by Fiona Apple. She sings it rather languidly.

The next one is a live recording by Rufus Wainwright, Sean Lennon (son of John Lennon) and Moby. I like their take.

OK, that’s it for now. Be well, do good work and keep in touch.


Author: Atanu Dey


One thought on “Across the Universe”

  1. The universe before the last big bang, if there was any, had different sets of physical laws. Even ‘time’ might have a different meaning; like one can go back in ‘time’ easily and became your own biological father.

    I had a dream.. I met an old fatherly figure with scaled skin, a majestic reptiloid being who kindly went through briefly the cosmic history with me:

    “Before the last big bang, the universe was a tranquil beautiful place with silicon-based treeoids, reptiloids,caninoids,insectoids living happily together under the benign rule of Him, the reptiloid god. Space travel was easily because inertial was voided after a prayer to the reptiloid super being. Then one of reptile god’s lieutenants, by the name Yahweh, tired of his silicon existence, had his evil ambition to usurp the divine throne. With his dark mind out bred a race of quad limbed carbon based violent humanoids who sworn allegiance to him. The reptile god’s planets fell one by one and during the Nightfall War, Yahweh triggered a Big Bang to wipe out the remnant reptile force and hence also brought forth the present universe. The old reptile god self-exiled himself to an obscure corner of the new universe Yahweh wouldn’t bother.

    To add insult to defeat, reptiles and canines were declared unkosher/haram


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