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Time the Timing

Time the Timing

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Su Sung's monumental astronomical clock

Explore the captivating narrative of a chance encounter with Jogen Murmu, whose innate connection with nature challenges the allure of modern timekeeping gadgets. Delve into the timeless wisdom found in the rhythms of the natural world and the historical echoes of Su Sung’s monumental astronomical clock, highlighting humanity’s profound relationship with time.

In an era dominated by technological advancements, the allure of smartwatches and digital timekeeping gadgets has captivated the masses. Yet, amidst this wave of innovation, a chance encounter with Jogen Murmu, a man whose connection with time transcends the boundaries of modern devices, served as a poignant reminder of the timeless wisdom rooted in our natural surroundings.

It was a serendipitous meeting in late February of 2017 that brought me to Rasunchopa village in Jharkhand, where I found myself immersed in the warmth of hospitality and the flavors of local cuisine. Amidst the evening’s festivities, a simple question about the time revealed Jogen Murmu’s remarkable ability to discern the hour without the aid of any timekeeping device. His reliance on nature’s cues, from the melodies of birds to the celestial choreography of stars, left me in awe of his innate intelligence.

Despite my initial skepticism, repeated demonstrations of Jogen’s timekeeping prowess left me introspective about my own dependence on external gadgets. His intuitive connection with the rhythms of the natural world stood as a stark contrast to the artificial constructs of smart technology that often dictate our lives.

Jogen’s extraordinary talent echoes a historical precedent set centuries ago when cultures collided, birthing unexpected innovations in the realm of horology. In 1077, Su Sung, a diplomat of the Sung dynasty, encountered the superior timekeeping methods of the Khitan people during a diplomatic mission. This revelation sparked a quest to create a clock that would surpass all others—a quest that led to the creation of Su Sung’s monumental astronomical clock.

Su Sung’s masterpiece was not merely a feat of engineering; it was a spectacle of artistry and innovation. Towering thirty feet high, adorned with automatons and powered by water, the clock symbolized the pinnacle of horological achievement in ancient China. Its intricate mechanisms, including Su Sung’s revolutionary water escapement, showcased the brilliance of human ingenuity in synchronizing with the cosmos.

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Despite the eventual plunder of Su Sung’s clock, its legacy endured as a testament to China’s profound influence on global horology. His treatise, lost to the West for centuries, resurfaced in the 17th century, shedding light on China’s contributions to the evolution of timekeeping technology.

In juxtaposing Jogen Murmu’s intuitive timekeeping with Su Sung’s monumental clock, a common thread emerges—the innate human capacity to decipher the mysteries of time, whether through attunement to nature or through feats of technological innovation. As we navigate an increasingly digital world, perhaps there is wisdom in embracing the symbiotic relationship between humanity and the natural rhythms that have guided us since time immemorial.

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