Newton’s Laws of Motion and कर्मचोदना

When walking in the park, if I would like to overtake someone walking ahead of me, I need to accelerate. This word “accelerate” brought to mind Newton’s Laws of Motion, wherein in the first law, there is the term “Force” and in the second, “acceleration” implicit in “rate of change of momentum”.

The first law states “Any body continues to be in its state of rest or of uniform motion, unless and until it is acted upon by an unbalanced external force.” What I started inquiring, was, whether there is any external force, when I accelerate my speed of walking. Obviously there is not. It comes to mind that Newton’s laws of motion are not valid for the living world. They are valid only for the non-living world. 

In the living world, actions happen by internal motivation, not necessarily by only an external force. I do not know, how Sir Jagdishchandra Basu established that there is life in plants. My hypothesis would be that, wherever actions happen by internal motivation, there is life. A bud becoming a flower is an action of internal motivation. Or even more simply, a blade of grass spouting out from some seed in the soil is an action of internal motivation. 

Comes to mind an interesting सुभाषितम् –

व्यतिषजति पदार्थानान्तरः कोऽपि हेतुः ।

न खलु बहिरुपाधीन् प्रीतयः संश्रयन्ते ।

विकसति हि  पतंगस्योदये पुण्डरीकम् ।

द्रवति च हिमरश्मावुद्गते चन्द्रकान्तः ।। 

Study of this सुभाषितम् can be read at  Two phrases in the सुभाषितम्, कोऽपि आन्तरः हेतुः “some internal motivation” and प्रीतयः बहिरुपाधीन् न संश्रयन्ते खलु “affections are not interdependent on external appeals” appeal to be so significant and relevant ! 

  • Howsoever ugly a child may be, it is “a darling baby” for its mother and gets the most ardent love from her.
  • It is more wonderful to think of how a chic of a bird gets the urge to take to flight.
    • There is a charming Hindi poem by हरिवंशराय बच्चन about a chic of a bird asking its mother माँ क्या मुझको उड़ना आया ? Mom, am I ready to fly ? नहीं चुरुंगन तू भरमाया।। No dear you are merely in flights of fancy ! But in the last stanza मैं नीले अज्ञात गगनकी, सुनता हूँ अनिवार पुकार। कोई अंदरसे कहता है, उड़ जा उड़ता जा परमार। This blue unknown expanse of the sky is whistling into my ears. I am getting an ardent call from someone inside me, saying, “Fly ! Keep flying, transcending the unknown !! Note, कोई अंदरसे कहता है “call from someone inside me”

The hypothesis then becomes, that, excitements, causing actions to happen, are seemingly different in the living world and non-living world. About the excitements causing actions in the living world, there is also ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं परिज्ञाता त्रिविधा कर्मचोदना (गीता १८’१८) Here, कर्मचोदना the interrelation between excitements and actions is said to be threefold.

Can we say that,

  • a bud of lotus पुण्डरीकम् sensing the day-break पतंगस्योदये is ज्ञानम्,
    • There is excitement and action in every ज्ञानम्, every sensing.
  • the bud itself is परिज्ञाता and
  • the bud blooming open विकसति हि is ज्ञेयम् ?

The simile पतंगस्योदये पुण्डरीकम् विकसति हि seems to become a good explanatory example of ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं परिज्ञाता त्रिविधा कर्मचोदना. 

Just for some play on words, I get to think that instincts and excitements are internal, but excitation is external. In the mention of “external unbalanced force” in Newton’s first law of motion, the word “external” seems superfluous.  Instincts and excitements, though internal are also “unbalanced forces”, rather, “unbalancing forces”. The philosophical advocacy is to train the mind to acquire such steadfastness, that its stability will stay unaffected in spite of all unbalancing forces whatever.

आपूर्यमाणमचलप्रतिष्ठम् ।

समुद्रमापः प्रविशन्ति यद्वत् ।

तद्वत् कामा यं प्रविशन्ति सर्वे ।

स शान्तिमाप्नोति न कामकामी ।। (गीता २’७२)

Meaning, “Just as waters keep flowing into the sea, but the inflows (from rivers) make no difference to the sea, because it is always in an undisturbable state, in the same way, for one, who has attained an undisturbable state, wishes may enter his mind, but would make no difference to him.” Study of this verse can be read at 

In mechanics there is the term “Inertia”. Newton’s third law of motion says “Action and reaction are equal and opposite”. It is inertia, which defeats the law. If inertia is great, there is no reaction. अचलप्रतिष्ठम् मनः is mind with such inertia, that it remains steadfast against all disturbances, internal or external. Only one with such mind can be at real peace स शान्तिमाप्नोति. For real peace, disprove all Newton’s Laws of Motion !

शुभमस्तु !