by Sanjay Dev
December 22, 2010
Every space under the sun has a place in
the cosmic scheme of things. It may remain anonymous or amorphous,
or may get a name for convenience, easy association or
It could be:
Space can be explained by its
physicality, or lack of it.
It could be corporeal when filled with
solid, liquid or gaseous matter, and incorporeal when imbued with
The filled part is beyond us. You can't do much to change it. But
the imbued part can be taken care of by us, individually or
collectively. For every single move made in individual capacity can
bring about subtle change in its character for better or worse.
Imagine a hypothetical situation where a room wears a completely
cluttered look. Nothing seems to be in place here. The occupants now
decide to de-clutter it and strive to land it some semblance of
Each sets about cleaning the shabby things first, and with shared
imagination puts the thing at a place that fits its size, use and
background, and in no time, the room assumes a spick-and-span look
and a whole new space is created for more things.
The space in any situation is a given. What you want to give it is
purely your choice. You can use it for any effect. You can create
the illusion of depth in it by making subtle changes, or cause
delusion of grandeur by stuffing it with frills and furbelows.
It is sacrilegious to invade a space that is held sacrosanct by its
occupier, even though it may not appear to be so to its violator.
Apparently the occupier and violator of if it belong to different
spatio-temporal zones where one can't understand the other's
If the violator doesn't understand his own space, how can he respect
the space of another?
The problem gets compounded when people
mistake space for place which is a corollary to it, but once defined
becomes independent of it, and gains exclusivity. This exclusivity
of space is crucial to its own existence and that of its occupier.
The occupier has a tenancy to space. He has to pay the price to
maintain it the way he chooses to. If the space is casually thrown
open, or is used as a thoroughfare, people won't hesitate driving
roughshod through it.
It is imperative that we first learn to differentiate between space
and place and how they fit in the greater cosmic scheme of things.
How beautifully they meld as willed by
God and nature.
Why does a shrine evoke feelings
of piety, fleeting though it may be?
Why is it that a library and
collective sense of individuals reading in it, spurs your
pursuit of learning for a while you are there?
Why do work, market and social
spaces strive to fill themselves with a competitive spirit?
It is not space per se, but what one
wants to make of it that is important and responsible for it being
the way it is.
In order to live peacefully and harmoniously in the world, we need
to first know our place in the whole wide
Cosmos, and then seek to
create a sacred space for ourselves where we are at peace with
ourselves, and in harmony with the world around.
This exclusive space can't be found outside, where it is mostly
Rather it exists inside us, ready to be
tapped just for the seeking.