A ‘matter’ of favouritism

Episode 34: Meghnath discovers that Sukracharya’s life could have a connection to quantum physics!

Published - February 09, 2023 09:37 am IST

As Sukracharya continues to teach Meghnath about different scientific principles and technology, Meghnath grows fonder of him and also becomes curious to learn more about his guru. 

Meghnath: Guru, whatever I have learnt from you in the past few months is more than what I have learnt from my father all my life. I am lucky to be your student. 

Sukracharya: Don’t underestimate your father, Meghnath. Ravana is one of the best warriors and a very smart one too. He could have sent you to your grandfather Mayasura to learn. Instead, he sent you to learn from me. Did you ever wonder why? 

Meghnath: I assumed it was because you know more.  

Sukracharya: Not really. There’s an important reason.  Do you remember how your father got scared when you played with the lions? (Refer Episode 2) 

Meghnath: Yes. And not only with lions. Whenever I had a friendly training fight with my friends, he would shout at my friends sometimes for hurting me. 

Sukracharya: To learn something and become great at it, you have to undergo pain, be it mental or physical. Such painful training might not take place effectively under your father or grandfather. 

Meghnath: Why? 

Sukracharya: Because your father learnt an important lesson from my life.  

Meghanth: From your life? Can you share it with me?  

Sukracharya: Of course. First, tell me why am I the guru of the Asuras and not the Devas? 

Meghnath: You are the son of Brighu, one of the “Saptarishis”, and the grandson of Brahma. I assumed Brahma wanted to maintain the balance between the Devas and Asuras, like matter and antimatter. So, you were assigned as the guru of the Asuras. 

Sukracharya: While that was Brahma’s original idea, do you know what happened in reality? There is more matter than antimatter. The Universe was created by the collision of two high-speed atoms. Humans call this phenomenon the “Big Bang”. This collision is supposed to have created equal amounts of matter and antimatter. 

Meghnath: So, as stated in Newton’s Third Law (every action has an equal and opposite reaction), the opposites of protons and electrons were created? 

Sukracharya: Exactly. Antiproton (opposite of proton) and positron (opposite of electron) were also created. 

Meghnath: But then, nothing should ever exist, right? Because when antiproton and positron collide with their opposites, both particles get destroyed. 

Sukracharya: This is one of the greatest challenges in Physics: Figuring out why there is far more matter than antimatter in the universe. 

Meghnath: Do you know the answer? 

Sukracharya: When I tell you the story of my life, perhaps you may be able to figure it out. Brahaspathi (the guru of Devas) and I were once best friends. We studied under Angirasa, who was also Brahaspathi’s father. In most competitions, I used to beat him.  

Meghnath: That must have made him angry. 

Sukracharya: Of course, but only as a competitor. But as a friend, he was always good to me. Both of us benefitted from these competitions: growing and learning. But, to his father, it did not seem so. He wanted his son to win always and he made sure that it happened. 

Meghnath: How? You were better than Brahaspathi? 

Sukracharya: It’s not about who is better; it’s about favouritism. Since Guru Angirasa wanted his son to win everything and show off to the Devas and the Gods, he began to put me down and deny me opportunities to compete deliberately.

Meghnath: It’s like losing the game without even playing.I would have left the place immediately!  

Sukracharya: That’s exactly what I did. I left to learn under Guru Gautama. But due to Indra’s favouritism, Brahaspathi was chosen to become the Guru of Devas.  

Meghnanth: That’s unfair! How did Brahaspathi accept this? 

Sukracharya: Perhaps he couldn’t go against his father’s word and that of the king of Devas.  

Meghnath: Favouritism is awful and dangerous! 

Sukracharya: For effective and equal education, there must not be any favouritism. That’s why your father chose to make you learn under me. 

Meghnath: I understand! But how does your story connect to the existence of more matter than antimatter? 

Sukracharya: I can’t give you a direct answer but will give you a clue with an interesting story next week…  

To be continued... 

The author is the founder and CEO of Vaayusastra Aerospace, an IIT-Madras incubated ed-tech startup that offers Air Science workshops for children between five and 14 years.

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