Arif Babul: Midnight Meditation

Arif Babul, one of Canada's top astrophysicist

Arif Babul, one of Canada’s top astrophysicist’s

Profile: Arif Babul is Professor and Director of Canadian Computational Cosmology Collaboration, in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, where he researches on how our universe evolved from an extremely smooth state into a rich network of galaxies. He describes poetically the texture of the universe, comparing it to a bejeweled necklace, a spider’s web with delicate filaments, or frothy bath.

He says: “Over the course of my career, I have worked on a wide variety of topics ranging from flow of matter onto black holes and exotic early-universe features such as ‘superconducting cosmic strings,’ to the distorting effects caused by the bending of light beams by gravity as predicted by Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. However, the topic that has truly captured my imagination is the quest to understand how cosmic structures, like galaxies and the larger galaxy clusters came to be.”

The Andes in Chile, South America, is home to some of the world's most powerful telescopes - Wikipedia Image

Arif Babul composed Midnight Meditation in the Andes in Chile, South America, home to some of the world’s most powerful telescopes – Wikipedia image

Motivation and Inspiration for ‘Midnight Meditation’: I wrote this poem a few years ago while sitting on top of a mountain top observatory in the high Andes in Chile … I like to think of this as “apt temple to the Divine.”

Midnight Meditation

(Published in CD ROM:  The Global Universe)

Midnight, sidereal time, at Infinity’s altar
Pitch black and bewildering
Where’s my guide, my companion? Hero Hunter Orion
Sword at scabard’s easy reach
Whose bejewell’d girth
the light of the heavens and the earth

La fata illa Ali, la saifa illa Dhulfiqar

Blindly seeking, step upon step
a sign, gegenschein
Stars scatter at my approach save some,
sirens really
Twinkling beckoning luring
A steep precipice lurks for the unwary awaiting

Dura kara andhakar, gyan ka aloka dijiye

Seconds expand to minutes, nightvision appears
Veils upon veils to wayside fall
To read writing by starlight
I see and yet have no sight
Khayyam, Khusraw had their muse
Mine’s pouting, turned facing away, still seeking to be sought

Iyaka na’budu, iyaka nasta’in

Sauntering shuffling down shadow-path, true path centerbound
There where ravana resides
Shredding swallowing starlight
Celestial streaks arc the sphere chasing demons, my demons

Hum par krapa kijiye, manme prem shanti bharadijiye

Photons fall, gentle spring’s shower
Sometimes heavy sometimes light
Cupped hands supplicating,
integrating, greedily collecting
Mind groping, soul soaring, imagination in full flight

Nur na piyala mukhe lagaya, purab teni kamai

Above the spheres counted seven, ten, a hundred high
Billion suns and still beyond
Past translucent wisps of white
Clouds? not vapour, of this world
Ferdinand’s clouds, His ayat
circling circling drawing drawn
inevitably to plunge
Funtoosh! fana fi al-labn


Other readings by Professor Babul on this Web site:

Voices: Brilliant Astrophysicist, Arif Babul, in Conversation with Simerg (in 4 parts)
Khawja Nasir Tusi’s Tales (I Wish I’d Been There Series)

2 thoughts on “Arif Babul: Midnight Meditation

  1. Dear Prof.Babul,

    Indeed a beautiful poem! A wonderful blend of scientific notions with our religious literature like the Quran and Ginan! Your poem showed me the way for my journey towards the ‘next world’ which one has to undertake while in this world. I was surprised and intrigued to know this ‘poet(ic)’ side of yours. I had an opportunity to attend the session you conducted on ‘Science & Religion: Complement or Contradict?’ which was organised by ITREB Young Adults at Ismaili Centre, London, two weeks ago. Hope to read more of such inspirational poems from you.


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