Thinking about the question “why this album is entitled A thousand Suns”, I did some researches and I got to this:
Since the second track contains some of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s words (who is the father of the Atomic Bomb_1904-1967) let’s start from him. He was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics. He played a role as the scientist director of the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first nuclear weapons.
In reference to the Trinity test in New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was detonated, Oppenheimer famously recalled the Bhagavad-Gita: “If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one.” and “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
(I was stunned seeing the album’s title in his speech! I’ll explain more)
Now let’s go thru more details:
What’s the Trinity Test? Trinity Test in New Mexico (where the first atomic bomb was detonated):
It’s the code name of the first nuclear weapon test of an atomic bomb, conducted by the US Army. Its informal nickname is The Gadget. So, with using the same conceptual design as The Gadget, the Fat Man device was detonated over Nagasaki on Aug 9, 1945! This date is considered as the beginning of the Atomic Age.
MORE INFO FOR TRINITY TEST ORIGIN>> The exact origin of the name is unknown, but it is often attributed to laboratory leader J. Robert Oppenheimer as a reference to the poetry of John Donne. In 1962, General Groves wrote to Oppenheimer about the origin of the name, asking if he had chosen it because it was a name common to rivers and peaks in the West and would not attract attention, and elicited this reply:
“I did suggest it, but not on that ground… Why I chose the name is not clear, but I know what thoughts were in my mind. There is a poem of John Donne, written just before his death, which I know and love. From it a quotation: “As West and East / In all flatt Maps—and I am one—are one, / So death doth touch the Resurrection.” That still does not make a Trinity, but in another, better known devotional poem Donne opens, “Batter my heart, three person’d God;—.”
The Trinity explosion produced an explosive power equivalent to the explosion of about 20 kilotons of TNT!
Just a few weeks after the Trinity Test: Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
FOR MORE INFO READ THIS>> The rise of Fascist governments in Europe, new discoveries about the nature of atoms and the fear that Nazi Germany was working on developing atomic bombs, converged in the plans of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada to develop powerful weapons using nuclear fission as their primary source of energy.
While U.S. and British attempts to investigate the feasibility of nuclear weapons began as early as 1939, practical development began in earnest in 1942 when these efforts were transferred to the authority of the U.S. Army and became the “Manhattan Project”.
Now, as one of my Hindu friends helped me out, J. R. Oppenheimer was also a scholar of Sanskrit. If you’re interested, look at this part to get more about the fact of Hinduism which Oppenheimer used in his words:
Bhagavad-Gita is 1 of the most important holy books of Hindus. They actually believe in Trinity: it means 3 gods and 1 of them is called “Vishnu” (the Supreme Being).
Vishnu has 10 avatars (manifestations) of which 9 of them walked on earth to destroy evil. Here are the manifestations:
1.Matsya: the fish-avatar
2.Kurma: the tortoise-avatar
3. Varaha: the boar-avatar
4. Narasimha: the half man-half lion avatar
5. Vamana: the dwarf-avatar
6. Parashuram: sage with the axe (killed the thousand-armed king)
7. Rama: the king of Ayodhya, the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana
8. Krishna: the king of Dwarka
9. Gautama Buddha
10. Kalki (“Eternity”, “Time”, “The Destroyer of foulness”)
The “Prince” that Oppenheimer mentioned is called Arjuna. Prince Arjuna hesitates to attack the enemy with his army; Vishnu encourages him, and motivates him by explaining how the world works. Arjuna asks to see Vishnu in his real form:
“Arjuna asks: Tell me who are You in such a fierce form? My salutations to You, O best of gods, be merciful! I wish to understand You, the primal Being, because I do not know Your mission.
The Supreme Lord said: I am death, the mighty destroyer of the world, out to destroy. Even without your participation all the warriors standing arrayed in the opposing armies shall cease to exist. “
So “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”, it means that Vishnu shows his power to the prince, the power which is so much and means that Vishnu can even destroy the 3 worlds; in Hindu belief (Earth, Heaven and Hell).
In the end, Oppenheimer says: “I suppose we all thought that, one way or another”. It’s as a justification for inventing the Atomic Bomb! And it’s good to know that:
“””>According to his brother, at the time Oppenheimer simply exclaimed, “It worked.” A contemporary account by Brigadier General Thomas Farrell, who was present in the control bunker at the site with Oppenheimer, summarized his reaction as follows:
“Dr. Oppenheimer, on whom had rested a very heavy burden, grew tenser as the last seconds ticked off. He scarcely breathed. He held on to a post to steady himself. For the last few seconds, he stared directly ahead and then when the announcer shouted “Now!” and there came this tremendous burst of light followed shortly thereafter by the deep growling roar of the explosion, his face relaxed into an expression of tremendous relief”
>Frank Oppenheimer was the brother of J. Robert, was involved too in the Manhattan project, and was on location in Trinity
The reaction of Oppenheimer, as described by Brigadier General Thomas F. Farrell.
“And I wish I would remember what my brother said, but I can’t – but I think we just said, “It worked.” I think that’s what we said, both of us. “It worked”. “””
Ok, let’s get back to the Album’s Title: A Thousand Suns, which now we now is a part of Bhagavad-Gita chapter 11, verse 12 (Sivananda):
> “If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once(simultaneously) into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one(great soul).”<