Upanishads to fire Sunita Williams’ spiritual odyssey in space
TNNJul 2, 2012, 02.46AM IST
AHMEDABAD: When Sunita
Williams is thousands of miles above the earth taking a bird's eye
view of the universe from her space shuttle window, she will try to understand
universal truths of the Upanishads. The Indian American astronaut — who will
spend six months in space from July 14 — is carrying with her an English
translation of one of the most important Hindu scriptures.
Her father, Deepak Pandya, is
hoping that the farther she goes from earth, the closer she will come to
understanding her Indian roots. It was his idea that she carry a copy of the
Upanishads with her.
"The last time she went
into space, I had given her a copy of the Bhagavad Gita," Pandya told TOI.
"She was full of questions when she came back. She wanted to know why it
became necessary for Krishna to narrate the Gita, what were its eternal
teachings, was it not possible to gain similar knowledge from other works, and
many such questions. I feel that she will find some of the answers in the
Pandya, himself a Shiv bhakt,
says that up in space his daughter will perhaps be able to better chart her
spiritual journey with the Upanishads assisting her.
"All the same, we don't
discuss space when she calls amid her preparations," Pandya adds. "We
have normal father-daughter conversations."
The astronaut is all set to go
into quarantine ahead of her second space odyssey after which it will become
increasingly difficult for the family to stay in touch with her. Williams last
worked aboard the International Space Station for six months in 2006. She will
take off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with two other astronauts,
a Russian and a Japanese.