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Thursday, December 16, 2010

When error is a sign of maturity…


Few days back you would have come across some news clips that Khap Panchayats were actually barring people marrying within the same Gotras. This went to the extent of encouraging honor killings, some politicians supporting it and most of the media and “rationalist” variety opposing it.

Curious to understand the origin of Gotra and the reason behind it I was reading some articles and came upon very interesting pieces which i thought would share here. Now the disclaimer would be that these are part of the Hindu scriptures and we always have a choice to discard them as mythology or read them with an open mind. I decided to stick to the later.

Lets start with few questions:

1. Are you aware that there was a stage when fire did not burn anything and everything like it does now and it started doing it after it was cursed?

2. Are you aware of an instance that a male sage was pregnant (by mistake) and delivered successfully through C Section millions of years ago?

3. Are you aware of the origin and history of ayurvedic vitalizer Chyavanprash? You would have heard as Dabur Chyavanprash or other brands as Chyavanprakasam etc?

4. Are you aware of a pregnancy that lasted 100 years + and also instead of it being in the uterus the fetus was preserved and nurtured in the thigh for about 100 years?

5. Do you know who generated Fire /Agni from water first?

If you are interested in any of them then read on.

Seven great sages:

Big dipper.jpgI am sure you would have heard about Saptharishi or the 7 great sages in Hinduism. The  constellation with 7 stars (Ursa Major aka Big Dipper) represents 7 great sages not only in Hinduism but also in many of the other far eastern texts like Chinese & Japanese. You can Google for further information. Even if you have not read about this, i am sure you would have seen this constellation in a clear night sky.

Here is a quick link of Wiki..

Gotra to my understanding signifies ones family / lineage and they are innumerable depending on which lineage you belong to. Everyone is assigned a Gotra whether we know it or not and the belief is that all these Gotra evolved from 7 sages Bhrigu, Angiras, Atri, Vishwamitra, Kashyapar, Vashishtar, Agasthiyar. Now the objection of the Khap leaders is essentially saying that you can’t marry from the same lineage for what ever reason. But side stepping this topic and coming to our questions some of the interesting aspects i read are as follows:

  1. Sage Bhrigu, who is son of Lord Brahma (born from Brahma’s Skin) is a very renowned and revered sage. Interestingly he is attributed with generation of fire from water. The scripture notes that the fire can produced from items like stones, leaves, space etc, but Sage Bhrigu is attributed with the generation of fire from water. Presence of Oxygen in water which is the basis of fire proves this theory today, but this was documented many years ago.
  2. It was believed that Agni / fire consumes only items which were offered to it after a Yagna. That means it was not burning anything other than that. This state changed when Sage Bhrigu cursed Agni that you shall consume anything and everything. The term he used is “Sarvapakshakan”. So why did the sage curse Agni?
  3. It is told that Sage Bhrigu instructed Agni to protect his wife Puloma from a demon during his absence and Agni neglected his duty and allowed the demon to carry Puloma. This invited the curse from Sage Bhrigu. Hence fire started to consume anything and everything from that day… so goes the story.
  4. Sage Bhrigu’s son is Sage Shyavanar again with great qualities and very respected. It seems that in those days invitation to a Yagna and receiving the produce of Yagna is a very exclusive thing. Sage Shyavanar once invited Ashwini devas for a Yagna and as per the protocol these Ashwini Devas were not supposed to attend. Yet the sage invited them for some reason and honored them with the produce of Yagna despite stiff opposition from his peers. Ashwini Devas are the doctors / ayurvedic experts for the gods and they pleased with the Sage gave him a potion to regain his youth and vitality. This medicine which Ashwini devas gave to Sage  Shyavanar is called as “Shyavana pracha valeham”. Leham means Lehyam which is a medicine in thick gel form and the original ‘Shyavana Pracham” is what is currently branded, labeled and sold as vitality medicine.
  5. After Sage Shyavanar in the same family his successors started marrying from “Kshyatrias”/ warrior clan. If you read the scriptures then its clear that the Brahmins actually married from different caste without any problems and I am not sure why this is being made such an issue now. Some of the great sages had quick over night stands too. (You may be interested in this ). Some difference in opinion grew so strong that the Brahmins and Kshatriyas started fighting each other and no marks for guessing that all the Brahmins especially the kids / pregnant woman were killed to eliminate Brahmin clan altogether.
  6. Sage Shyavanar’s wife was pregnant and to escape being killed by the enemies she moved her fetus from Uterus to thighs and sustained / nurtured it there for about 100 years. The kid who was born after 100 years of pregnancy was called Sage Auravar”. Aurava signifies thigh.
  7. If you have heard of Sage Jamadagni, Lord Parasuram (Vishnu’s avatar) and Sage Vishwamitra – all of them are from the same Sage Bhrigu’s clan. This may also give you some idea as to why Lord Parasuram (grandson of Auravar) was against the Kshatriyas and eliminated 21 generations of them.
  8. But lets focus on another Sage called Angiras. Sage Angiras is again a son of Lord Brahma and you may be interested to know that Lord Rama (Raghu vamsa), Guru Dronacharya (of Mahabharata fame) are part of Sage Angiras clan.
  9. Sage Yuvanas (son of Sage Angiras) did a Yagna to beget a good son. The holy water which was to be given to Mrs.Yuvanas the next day was kept in the house. Sage Yuvanas by mistake drank that water in the night without knowing that this is the holy water that is capable of producing an offspring.
  10. Since the water was powerful there was no way the effect can be reversed. Ashwini Devas (the medical team) came to the rescue. This became the first male pregnancy in the history of mankind, successfully delivered to give birth through “C-Section” and Sage Mamdatha was born.

Rising above some of these interesting tit bits and studying the articles with a deeper contemplation reveals that:

  • So called Hinduism has always stressed the importance of Intuition subordinating the Intellect, Experience subordinating Inflexible dogma, Inner realization taking precedence to outer expression and more importantly Conduct subordinating Creed / belief.
  • Even the so called perfected souls / sages have faltered in their conduct not in our eyes with contemporary values but per the standards they had set for themselves. The so called “best of periods” did have brutality that is spine chilling.
  • The effort has never been and never should be to create a common creed but align ourselves for a common quest.

Instead of using a brutal force imposing an opinion to develop blind faith in an inflexible creed, the society and more so the leaders need to inspire the community to aspire for experiential living and self realization.

Lets realize that the great ones have faltered and yet recognized the mistake and evolved out of it. Then the society and environment was open enough to allow these mistakes and corrective enough to put them back into the right path.

I think we need to be open enough to encourage the sinners to condemn the sin instead of condemning the sinners.

“There never was
There never will be
There is no now
A man for whom there is
All blame or all praise!”

As one wise man said “The muddy roots justify themselves with the gorgeous flowers…”

Lets long for a society where errors are seen as a sign of maturity and relive our lives When errors are seen as a sign of maturity…


Yours Erroneously…

Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Musings: Hail the frailty


We are conditioned and brought up in a world which eulogizes qualities like strength, hardness, manliness, power and mightiness. There is a very small section of people who recognize softness, womanhood, frailty and yielding can overcome the qualities of hardness and brutal force. This blog is an attempt to highlight that softness which is apparently a weak, meek and frail nature of things is superior to its manly counterpart on the following accounts:

  1. In the process of evolution the more evolved things / beings are softer / weaker / meeker / more frail. That is harder and so called manliness are less evolved…. in the scheme of nature.
  2. We can also see that the higher the complexity and criticality the softer the beings / things are. The same is true that the essence and quality of softer things / beings is higher and better than the hard / grosser items.

While it is true that manliness (Yang) and womanliness (Yin) are two sides of the same coin and one cannot exist without the other, but it is important to highlight that while celebrating the “Yang”ness we seem to belittle or condemn the “Yin”ness in anything.

So without ignoring the importance of Yin-yang balance, i am going to bat for the “Yin”ness and encourage you all to “Hail the frailty”, “Celebrate the meekness” and “Be proud of your weakness”.

First lets look at the nature’s scheme of evolution:

  • In the plant life, the roots are the strongest part and the roots are stronger than the stem. The stem is stronger than the branches. The leaves, flowers and fruits are progressively softer / weaker than the earlier one. The seed which evolves from the fruits are the softest, weakest and most frail thing in the plant life. So what we see is essentially that as the evolution progresses the nature of things becomes more frail. The gross becomes subtle, and the hard evolves into soft.

The duty of the root is in taking but the duty (beauty) of the fruit is in giving”… Isn’t giving is more evolved than taking?

Next lets look at the composition of human body:

  • I am going to quote some concepts from TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) for it to be little more authoritative but if you ignore the framework of TCM and just logically look at this argument still this will hold good.
    • There are 12 major organs in the body and these organs are classified as Yang organs and Yin organs. You can Google about Yin and Yang but broadly they refer to the bipolar nature of things viz. Yang / Yin represents - light / dark, hard /soft, man/woman, Heat / Cold etc in that order.
    • The 6 Yang (male / hard) organs which are Gall bladder, Large Intestine, Small Intestine, Stomach, Urinary bladder and Triple warmer.
    • The 6 Yin Organs are heart, Lungs, Liver, Kidney, Spleen and Pericardium.
  • Needless to explain that as the internal body organs evolve the more critical the functions are the softer / weaker / more frail the organs.

Next lets look at the Yogic way of explanation on nature of bodies:

  • Every living organism is made of multiple bodies primarily ranging from 3 to 5.
  • They are Annamaya Kosha (Physical Body), Pranamaya Kosha (Etheric Body), Manonmaya Kosha (Astral Body), Vignanamaya Kosha (Mental Body) and the Anandamaya Kosha (Causal Body). Kosha actually means ‘Sheath” and not body. So it can be considered as layers.
  • It is told that organisms like plants have the first 3 sheaths / bodies / layers and human beings and animals have 5. But irrespective of how many we have each one is more subtle than the previous one and causal body is the most subtle of them all.
  • The point i am trying to make is not that one is superior to another since all the 5 form one organic entity but certainly in the scheme of nature the more a component / organism evolves the more subtle / frail / softer it becomes.

Let me also quote the words of our friend, Lao Tzu, highlights the importance of being soft, yielding etc. Generally Taoists say that we should be like water, very soft, very yielding, takes the shape of the container yet it can exert the greatest force and can overcome the hardest things like steel and rocks. In Tai Chi and other internal arts the brutal force of the opponent is not countered with an equally / more brutal force but with a soft / yielding force.

  • Yield and Overcome”…
  • Soft and weak overcome the hard and strong”… The softest thing in the universe overcomes the hardest thing.
  • Returning is the motion of Tao.
  • Yielding is the way of Tao”
  • "To bend like a reed in the wind, that is real strength" - Taoist philosophy

We can stack more and more examples that highlight this phenomenon. So, let me summarize the argument:

  • The secret of the nature and nature of the secrets are in Subtlety and are frail. At the primordial source the subtleness merges into / as formless. In other words the source has devolved into more gross things in nature and our evolution is in moving towards the source.
  • If we claim woman to be more frail / weak than men, then does it not mean that they are more evolved than us.
    • As one wise man said “Women when made equal to man, is superior to him”. That’s the reason in many cultures / races it is designed as a male dominated society.
    • No wonder women, being more subtle, they are tuned to finer things. They can see 15 odd shades between any 2 colors segments to pick up a matching dress but most men cant see anything more than 7 colors… all hues and tints put together. It applies to other aspects also.
    • Isn’t rather unfortunate that we see a “Yang” driven world where woman having ignored their “Yin”/ feminine qualities want to live and behave like a man? Isn’t this a downward spiral movement?
  • If this is applicable from every organism to macro universe then why is that we shun and belittle the subtler, frail and weaker scheme of things within us. Why is weakness abhorred? Why should it be strengthened?
  • By this logic, is it not the weakness  and frailty in us the most evolved aspect or part of us? Should we not recognize this and celebrate this instead of shunning / belittling this?
  • Isn’t love forgiveness and divinity are the most subtle aspects of human life?

The pendulum of nature has swung too much to the Yang side and the desire is to see the pendulum swing back before it balances itself close to the median.

“Might is right only if we are in a fight". If we consider life is a journey and not a race then lets celebrate our meekness, be proud of our weakness and Hail the frailty.


Yours frailly

Happy Reading !

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Musings: When the "Seeker is the Sought"

Does the cooking vessel understand the sweetness of the dish it has cooked? It does not. One Tamil Siddhar compared human being to this stating that we are all like cooking utensils who do not understand the divinity within us.  I have given this beautiful poem in Tamil at the bottom of this blog with meaning.

In another instance attributed to mystic Sufi woman Rabia Al Adawia, she lost something inside her house and was searching for it under a street light outside her house. When asked how she can find what she has lost inside the house by searching it outside the house and why she is doing it, she quipped that there is light here and there is no light inside the house. To me, this parable has  great significance since the seeker is seeking something outside while what he / she has lost is deep inside.

We are continuously seeking something. The emphasis is on the direction of the search which is always directed outside but at one of point time in our life has to be be redirected within us. This is the journey inside when the Seeker seeks and realizes that seeker is the sought.

Not sure why such philosophical thoughts emerge when you are physically and mentally tired, but it surfaced yesterday when i was waiting at Mumbai airport taking the 20.20hrs flight to Bangalore which was delayed by over an hour. The working day was very hectic and I was brain dead. Its then the above 2 thoughts surfaced and i quickly scribbled the following lines as i settled inside the aircraft... Hope you like them.

"What did the seeker seek?
Where did the seeker seek?

As the seer peeks out within the seeker
Yet the sought is seen outside the seeker

In a materialistic world, marching to death
The seeker seeks the sought, that isn't worth

For what is lost is deep inside
Yet the lost is sought since there is light outside !

Lost somewhere, yet its sought elsewhere
A search so wrong, however hard leads nowhere

With love as the goal & life as the journey,
With the eyes closed, the wise tame the (mind) monkey

The blind search in the darkness lay
The brightest light showing the natures way

As the sought is seen
Beyond the soul of the dark night 
The wisdom dawns in us
Not by the seeker getting to his sought
But by realizing that
"The Seeker is the Sought"!

May the wisdom dawn
That "The Seeker is the Sought"!"

Happy reading

This is a poem by Siddhar Sivakkyar. His compilation of about 400 odd poems is one of the best i have read. The line is consistent that the divinity is within us and lets not waste time and energy in rituals and idol worship. The following poem is a classic if you can read Tamil and understand the multidimensional power of these words. The last line of the poem is generally quipped by the wise when they come across some adamant or idiotic characters that they can't get them to see the truth / beauty.

நட்ட கல்லை தெய்வம் என்று நாலு புஷ்பம் சாற்றியே
சுற்றி வந்து சொல்லும் மந்திரம் முணு முணு என்று ஏனடா 
நட்ட கல்லும் பேசுமோ நாதன் உள்ளிருக்கையில் 
சுட்ட சட்டி சட்டுவம் கறி சுவை அறியுமோ! 

The meaning as i understand is as follows:

"You have installed a stone, calling it an idol / god and you are decorating it with flowers,
You are going around the idol and chanting mantras, why?
When the god is within you why are you expecting the installed stone to speak with you,
Does the cooking utensil know the sweetness of the dish inside.  

For those who like tamil siddhar poems check this out which was blogged by me some time back.

You may also like another blog "When the doer disappears yet the doing continues"  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Key Indian gene decoded as I-1H-3C


Self proclaimed scientist, notorious individual well known in the field of lunacy Dr. Rags Gopalan is claiming to have decoded major part of the Indian gene, which has remained so far a mystery to many of the leading scientists. Instead of protecting the discovery with patents and intellectual property rights he has publicly disclosed the mystic code for the general benefit of the Indian public.

The rest of the article given below is the transcript of the disclosure done by Dr. Rags Gopalan.

“From time immemorial man has been inquisitive about nature. Composition of man’s own nature has been very illusive and not known to us for a long time. Currently it is believed that the field of Genetics and human gene details may hold the most primordial and secretive key code for the nature of all living beings.

While for the last half decade we have been making progress but the break through which we have achieved today is significant because of the following reasons:

  1. So far all the genetics studies points that the genetic composition of one human being is very unique from the other. Hence it was difficult to establish a common gene across a race or a population. This revelation seems to have identified a common gene that is predominantly available across 1 billion population and more.
  2. Many of the theories are formulated from research labs assiduously conducted and researched experiments, collating test results over a long period of time. This is the first time such a eminent result has been published using introspection, retrospection techniques, inducting and deducting reasons from behavioral science and that too at 30000 feet above sea level.
  3. Most of the DNA codes represent the chemical composition of the gene but this discovery actually reveals the behavioral composition of the human gene.

While many of may be little perplexed at the above techniques and may not agree fully with the results, but lets understand as to when has the world and the “so called erudite society” has learned to appreciate anything from contemporaries. If you are little smart and believe in “Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion”, then consider this as opinion and read on.

Lets look at the composition of the human gene now.

3C: The 3Cs that make up our gene are Corruption, Caste-ism and Chaos.

  • Corruption: The latest report from Transparency Index (2010) suggests that India is ranked in 87th place out of 1787 countries. It has slipped from 84th position to 87th place.

I am pleasantly surprised at the results like many others. Considering there could be statistical errors and bias in a large global study we should be happy that we are not yet listed among the last 10% though we may be seriously there.

Check this site out…

Every effort to estimate the extent of corruption in India would fail. Recent study suggested that 30% of the Indians are totally corrupt and 50% of them are on the wall who would use bribery as a tool under necessity. Lets also give credit to the 20% who are either very upright and honest based on value system or due to the fact that they are not tested enough.

As one wise man said “Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country.

Much to the chagrin of some of you i can confidently state that corruption is one of the founding pillars of Indian democracy and i would tend to believe that the concept of democracy in India would crumble if corruption is to be eliminated tomorrow. While this is a sweeping statement, the belief comes from the fact Corruption as a phenomenon is a democratized social tool that enables anyone from the bottom most rung in the society to come up in politics and make money unlike countries like Pakistan where very few of them make it.

Corruption party of India” is not certainly an acronym for CPI but every party has a stake in it as an “adjective” and it has become an equal opportunity phenomenon.

  • Caste-ism: Lets agree that we are the most “caste-ist” society in the world. The difference between being a casteist and racist is in the width and depth and nothing else. This concept is deeply rooted in our subconscious mind and cannot be easily uprooted. The fact that every election is fought on caste / religion is not the root cause but a symptom that exploits the disposition. This is deeply rooted in our genes and culture and let me quote a very simple example from history.

Current day Kerala is called as “Parasurama Kshetram” (land of Parasuram). For the benefit of few who don’t know the pedigree of Parasuram… he is the 6th Avataar of Lord Vishnu before Lord Rama. He is the guru of King Karna in Mahabharata. He was born in a Brahmin family and hated the Kshatriyas clan and took vow to clean Kshatriyas for 21 generations. This deep rooted hatred came from the fact that his father (Sage Jamadagni) was killed by a king and Parasuram’s mother died along with her husband beating her chest 21 times.

In Indian mythology in those times there was no place called Kerala and the ocean (Arabian sea) started immediately after current Tamil Nadu border & Gokarna in Karnataka. Sage Parasuram, wanted to retire and he donated all the land he conquered. But after donating he noticed that he did not have any place to live / retire. He meditated and the Lord Varuna (God of water / Oceans) who came about to gave him a boon. “Throw your axe into the sea and till the distance the axe falls the sea shall withdraw and shall become your land”. Parasuram throws his axe and hence Kerala was formed reclaiming land from sea.

But beauty of Psychology of people and the importance of caste is revealed then. He got 64 families from the current Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to settle in his land and wanted to build the society. Since the place received incessant rains and for other reasons the families returned back to their native place. Sage Parasuram tried this few times and failed to retain them there. That’s when he thought that the only way to make them stay permanently in his land is when their native society rejects them as “strangers / people of different caste”. So he changed 64 of the existing customs / rituals and appearance to the new families ….like the Kerala Namboodri’s hair style which is different from the other clan in south India.

After this change in appearance and ritual when the families got back to their native place, the localities found these people to be very different from them and rejected them. So these families came back to Kerala and built their societies.

So the bottom line is as follows:

  1. As human beings we have a very innate and deep rooted psychology to differentiate ourselves from the society, thinking that we are very unique with our customs and traditions and appearance. Our ability divide ourselves based on external factors are very high. Does not matter how well we preach about equality this is inherent. Lets be clear that this is not unique to India but to every country, every religion, every state, based on very language, and understandably to every human being in this world. If we belong to the same state then we want it divided into 2, If we are in the religion then we want different castes in it. These castes splits further into tribes of castes and so on.
  2. The psychology of this deep rooted phenomenon is very well known to smart people and this has been exploited very well from time immemorial. This continues even today and this would continue till the world exists.
  3. In modern day the concept of caste is more embedded in societal status and materialism than actual belief. Today this is about lower middle class, middle class and upper class mentality. In corporate world its about senior management, middle management and working class. The division exists in every aspect of our life and we just have to be sensitive enough to recognize it.

So since this phenomenon is a global factor we are the most caste-ist society since this is embedded in our genes for time immemorial.

  • Chaos: We should take pride in the fact that one of our key differentiators is the ability to find a “method in madness”. While this is again a symptom and the way we have adapted ourselves as a society, the deep rooted reasons are a blend of “Indiscipline, contempt for a process and our deep rooted noncompliance to anything without a carrot or stick”. I am not going to elaborate anything on this as the best way to understand this to be little more circumspective. If you still don’t agree then  the circumspection isn’t sufficiently deep.

Now lets get to the next part of the code.

1H: Hypocrisy. We are also possibly the most hypocritical society. We seem to pretend that we represent the most ideal society in the world and seems to throw up a tantrum and utter surprise if anything that crops up in the society. This is basically because we want every one around us to be ideal but the same standards are not applicable to us.

Every idiot in the country knows how rotten the real estate market is. Its impossible to buy a house / property in Mumbai or Delhi without a significant % of this being in cash. Needless to add that a cash transaction is necessarily to subvert the legal charges and to generate a black market economy. 99% of the real estate transactions in the country are corrupt and i am excluding 1% since i sold my property with no component of cash, … just to include some suckers like me in this club.

While this is not surprising, but the way we react to something like Adarsh Scam is very surprisingly interesting. That’s where the hypocrisy is rooted. Every guy who commented against this scam would not have had a real estate transaction that is fully legal. I can bet on this.

This extends to we imposing exacting standards to Judiciary, Defense, Educational institutions, religious institutions, Adult entertainment etc. Every thing has emanated from the society and everything is as good or as rotten …. partially or substantially. The variation is just in the degree.

Maharashtra Chief Minister should still be wondering as to why he was asked to quit. My reasoning is “May be some one very close to power did not like his face. Nothing more, nothing less”.

I: Indifference: As a nation we are very Indifferent to ourselves. May be we don’t take pride in ourselves as a society. May be we don’t feel strong enough  as a part of this society. Does not matter what the issue is but this is the root cause. Every other problem can be solved if we can address this deficiency, but unfortunately this is the deepest and the strongest problem. As one wise man quoted “Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.

We can even safely conclude the Indifference and Hypocrisy are the parents of all other deficiencies / off springs of our nation. I would be happy to live in a society that is little intolerant than fully apathetic for they may be some hope that the pendulum shall swing to the other end. But in our society its indifference - firmly rooted in the middle, well balanced - for any meaningful movement to the desired end has become an eternal longing.

Had we been less indifferent then we would have legalized corruption or eliminated it, we would be having a more matured censor board and managed adult entertainment in  a better way, than taking a moralistic approach and have a thriving private adult entertainment industry, we would have legalized prostitution, for we would have better sense of cleanliness & social hygiene in our neighborhood etc etc...

Is it wrong to say that “our democracy thrives in the indifference of the majority.”

The best example i can think of Indifference and Hypocrisy is the fact that we still call Mr. Manmohan Singh as the most clean prime minister. If one has the distinction of presiding over some of the the largest scams in Indian history and that too with silently active complicity then being called as Mr. Clean makes me feel nauseating. There are millions of Indians who are as clean as Mr. Singh (there are no reasons to believe that he is a personal beneficiary in these scams), but if one is complicit in his subordinates looting the country, his party & colleagues being the beneficiary then that person is far from being Mr. Clean. The hope for judicial and governance reforms under Mr. Singh’s reign was given a deep burial even before this was hatched.

On a serious note dropping the sarcasm, as one wise man said “The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.”

Such a long blog is not because i have given up hope on our nation but its the helplessness and anger that hurts the ego, pride and love for our nation.

So the need of the hour is to be less Indifferent and less hypocritical and that change would possibly mutate our genes for the better. Till then please understand that its absolutely fine if I state “Yatha Praja, thatha Raja, Yatha Raja, thatha Spectrum Raja :)” (The way common man is, so is the king) and till then lets not agree that our genetic code certainly is “I-1H-3C”…. (for if we all agree we shall be less hypocritical).


Happy reading!


Friday, November 5, 2010

May the festival of lights help you find the light within...

Priya joins me in wishing you and your family a fun filled and happy Diwali!

"May a thousand suns make your life brighter
May a thousand moons make your life healthier

May a thousand prayers make your life peaceful
May a thousand sparkles make your life Joyful

May a thousand smiles make your life stronger
May a thousand sweets make your life sweeter

May the festival of lights on this autmn night
May help you fight the fight within!
May the festival of lights on this autmn night
May help you find the might within!

May the festival of lights on this autmn night
May bring forth the delight within!"
May the festival of lights on this autmn night
May help you find the light within!"

Happy Diwali!..

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Obsessive Compulsive Restless Disorder …..


Thanks to one of my colleague who shared this link with me. This 90 minute clip made me realize / understand something which I always thought  I knew. This study was done by Christopher Chabris, Assistant professor of psychology at Union College in Schenectady, New York and i think its over a decade old. Watch this before you read the rest of the blog…

So, let me ask you the question. Did you see or was it “Invisible” to you too?

My understanding as 3 commandments as follows:

  • Thou shall realize that there a difference between looking and seeing.
  • Thou shall realize that attention / concentration is “Spacio-temporal” dependent. (which is in-turn dependent on our mental constitution. Our attention need not necessarily spread over the entire visual field - or everything you want to do.)
  • Thou shall realize that the mental blindness exists irrespective of whether it is intentional or unintentional.

Lets see another aspect of our mind.

Not so long ago (probably 20+ years back) I vividly remember my arguments with my dad (just like Aishwarya (my daughter) is doing now with me) that i can see TV and do my home work and be as efficient in both. There was superior sense of confidence / arrogance that we possess during our teen days that we are capable of multitasking with 100% efficiency and I am not sure what is the basis of this. May be this arrogance is rooted in the inherent nature of our mind - being restless, jumpy.

As I read few articles on how our mind works including on the topics of multitasking I am increasingly convinced that our mind’s ability to “Time share” itself between multiple activities is wrongly perceived as doing multiple things simultaneously. Its just like a computer CPU where the cycle speed is so fast that it appears as if we are handling 2 thing simultaneously. Most of the studies on multitasking seems to conclude with almost similar results. Some of them are as below:

  1. You can have a whole bunch of things to do and be thinking about all of them and switching among them, doing one at a time, and that's very different from trying to do two things at exactly the same time. The way our mind works, is designed to help us focus on one thing, and to filter out things that we don't care about.

  2. Mind slows down when it switches back and forth between tasks and hence Multi-tasking is less efficient.

  3. Multi-tasking is more complicated, and thus more prone to stress and errors.

Now if i just add the “Invisible Gorilla” phenomenon to the studies of multitasking, then it turns out:

  • Mind’s Spacio-temporal limitation is a serious one which is not realized fully by us.
  • Mind’s inherent nature to be jumpy and restless is falsely perceived as strength to multitask which again studies have proved its a “Time share” setting and not “Parallel processing”.

I observed the second phenomenon in some of the day today activities:

  • Our inability to listen to a song which is slower than our mental frequency.
  • If a driver is slower than the our driving speed in a highway, then it harasses us mentally. This I believe is a function of our nature of our mind which is more restless than the other person.
  • In either case if the other person is faster (fast music / driving) then we invariably pump out more adrenaline or end up with an headache.
  • Our compulsive disorder to be ever busy with our cell phones is a symptom and restlessness of our mind is the root cause of this.

Btw, i likes this link too called “Disconnect to Connect…”

There is no dearth of literature on the nature of human mind in our religious texts. Given my curiosity I looked back and stopped with just 2 / 3 quotes which succinctly sums up:

  1. The first is from Mahabharata where Lord Krishna says “Sanchalam hi Manah”… which means that the nature of the mind is wavering, confused and turbulence. This is also taken as the definition of Mind by its nature which is restlessness.
  2. The second is from the first lines of Patanjali Yoga Sutra which says “Yoga Chitta Vrtti Nirodah”… which means “that which ceases / removes the mental waves / turbulence is called Yoga”. This is how the great Sage Patanjali defines Yoga. A flavor of this reflecting in Bible too “Be still and know I am thy lord”. Most of our generation greatly believes that the physical postures of Asanas and Pranayama is all about Yoga. The funniest part is the commercialization of this with courses like Power Yoga and Face Yoga etc.
  3. But coming back to the third quote which I like the most since it is more colloquial and used in every day life is “Mind is a monkey”. In Tamil it is called as "மனம் ஒரு குரங்கு". This sums up and links the nature of monkey and mind. But i was also surprised that its just not only in Tamil but also in other Indian, Buddhist, Jain, Chinese and Japanese texts this comparison is reflecting in the same way.                                        

Quotes on Mind by Adi Shankaracharya, Osho and many others are “Mind” blowing. So what’s the point? Simply put, what has been known to us for ages is proven by modern day science through multiple studies and some of the visual tools like the “Invisible Gorilla” actually helped me to understand that.

Just as i am completing this blog, I am preparing myself for another argument with my daughter on another multitasking issue… watching TV and eating. As one wise man said “By the time we realize that our dad was right we have a kid who strongly believes that his / her dad isn’t.

The question I do have is “It has taken probably half my life time to understand this, which is about the same time it would have taken for my Dad too. If that is so, then how can we speed up this process of learning for the next generation?

The only solution for this seems to be that we should all be cured of the Obsessive Compulsive restless disorder of the mind. What if we are not even aware of this OCRD? Then its bliss!. As another wise man said, “Life is all about mind over matter. if you don’t mind, it does not matter”..


Yours mindfully,


Happy reading!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wisdom begins in wonder….


As Socrates said, “Wisdom begins in wonder”. This happens to be one of my favorite quotes. Our lives have become so mechanical that we often “Miss the trees for the woods…” unless we are fortunate enough to have a some one point it to us and we having the ability to realize it. I liked both the narrations below which i came across.

A woman bought a parrot to keep her company but returned it the next day. "This bird doesn't talk," she told the seller / owner.
"Does he have a mirror in his cage?" the seller asked. "Parrots love mirrors. They see their reflection and start a conversation."
The woman bought a mirror and left. The next day she returned; the bird still wasn't talking.
"How about a ladder? Parrots love ladders. A happy parrot is a talkative parrot."
The woman bought a ladder and left. But the next day, she was back.

"Does your parrot have a swing? No? Well, that's the problem. Once he starts swinging, he'll talk up a storm."
The woman reluctantly bought a swing and left. When she walked into the store the next day, her countenance had changed.
"The parrot died," she said.
The pet store owner was shocked. "I'm so sorry. Tell me, did he ever say a word?" he asked.
"Yes, right before he died," the woman replied. "In a weak voice, he asked me, 'Don't they sell any food at that pet store?'"

How often do we realize that some one else has “Missed the main thing but focused too much on the details. Its very rare that we observe this problem in ourselves but it is very easy to point this for others.

I also loved the following one which highlights that right contemplation shows reveals you the main thing…

Once there was a Sage who retired and was meditating in the mountains. He came across a very rare gem and realized that it is very valuable and priceless. Yet without much attachment he continued his meditation keeping the gem near his seat.

A traveler who was passing that way stopped by the sage’s hermit for a brief rest and recognized the valuable gem that is lying on the floor next to the sage.

Unable to contain his desire to possess it, he requested the sage if he can offer / gift that gem to him.

Without a flinch or tinge of hesitation the sage handed over the gem to the traveler and carried on with  his daily chores. The traveler took the gem and was walking down the mountain.

Through out his way down some thing was disturbing him and he was unable to figure out the nagging question that disturbed him. But something did.

As he reached the foot of the mountain, he suddenly realized what the nagging question was. He decided to walk up the mountain to meet the sage again.

As he reached the hermit he walked straight to the sage and handed over the gem to him. The sage was little surprised and asked him what the problem is?

The traveler told him that something was nagging him after he took the gem from you and was thinking hard through out my journey, way down and now i am clear about that.

The traveler continued that “ I realized that you had something more precious than the gem and i wanted to return the gem and request you to offer me the more precious one that is with you”

As the sage listened calmly the traveler continued…” O, great one, please give me that which is in you that made you give away this valuable gem to me without a flinch or a tinge of attachment”..

Again borrowing the immortal words of Socrates, “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing….”

Yours wonderingly…

Happy reading!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Marriage, Rope walking and Vertical growth…..


In ancient India a king sought to resolve a dispute between two of his ministers who wanted to marry the same woman. No wonder our bollywood movies still revolves around the same theme for long.

The easier way to settle this would have been to ask the lady we to who do you want to marry. Either one of them, both or none?

But since the matter was taken to the king, he told both of them to walk on a rope and whoever did so successfully, would win the hand of the woman. One minister spent a sleepless night worrying how he would be able to walk the tightrope. The other minister was very relaxed — he felt there was no point in getting agitated.

The minister who kept his cool emerged the winner, walking effortlessly on the rope. Asked to share his secret, he only said, ''I do not know''. To walk on the rope without losing one's balance involves being relaxed, always trying to balance, being in the present and more importantly willing to risk the act knowing the consequences. The same qualities are vital for the success of a marriage, too.

Many of those who are successfully married don’t realize that they have been growing vertically. But before i define what is vertical growth let me take a small detour ask this?

Why do sad people attract sad incidences in life? Why do happy people attract happy situations in life? (You may be interested to read this 2 part blog before you continue, )

Depending on what state of being we are, we attract situations. “Likes attract” is fast becoming one of my favorite quotes. So to change situations in our life we have to focus on heightening our state of being. 

Mullah Nazaruddin, while walking in the desert, saw a group of people riding horses. He thought they were robbers and started running. They turned out to be travelers. Seeing the Mullah running, the travelers thought he was in trouble — so they started going towards him.

Now the Mullah was convinced they were after him and he ran into a graveyard — the travelers followed him there. The tired Mullah lay down on one of the coffins. Then he realized they were not robbers but travelers. They asked him: "Why are you here?'' ''I am here because of you and you are here because of me'' answered the Mullah.

This is an aspect of Law of karma. In other words, we attract situations in life.

We often find ourselves in such situations aligned to our state of being. If our consciousness is not committed to transformation, then we will not grow wiser from situations, but complain and grumble, expecting the situation to be different.

The situation goes on repeating itself until we learn and grow. So how can we change our state of being?

"To be ignorant of one's ignorance is the malady of the ignorant."

So to remove the ignorance we need to gather different perspectives and analyze them. In the world of materialistic superstition and growth addicted life style, its important to understand two types of growth: horizontal and vertical growth. Horizontal growth means more money, name, fame. Our minds are mostly confined to this dimension only.

The second type of growth is vertical growth. The yardstick for this is: Five years back how calm was I, and how calm am I now? The growth is measured in its depth and not in its width. The more one grows in love, kindness and compassion, the more one is truly growing. Such a growth is fulfilling. Growth happening in the vertical dimension changes one's state of being.

In order to grow vertically, one has to cultivate an easy breath, (which means body has to be supple and flexible), develop a cultivated sense of insensitivity to most of the day today problems (aka. எருமை மாடு மேல மழை பெய்யராபோல்) be balanced, and stay aware in the present. Life is fulfilling only with such a type of growth.

While vertical growth is purely a function of individual composition, marriage certainly acts a catalyst. Both successful in rope walking aka. married life (mostly) and poor / failed marriages (sometimes) helps one grow vertically which alters one’s state of being for the better. It does not matter which path we take as long as we are aware and move towards holistic internal growth…. 


Yours Rope walkingly,

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

SHIT: India’s framework for a goal directed behavior…


Hold on!…

Before you think that its derogatory on my part to belittle our ability lets understand what i mean by that.

We all are aware JIT – Just in time which is a Japanese inventory strategy to improve the efficiency of the manufacturing process by maintaining optimal inventory and keep the associated carrying costs to the minimum. This revolves around the principle that incremental Inventory is a wasteful expense and aims to minimize the carrying costs.

What is India’s answer to this?

We are not a great manufacturing nation (some may disagree) but we seem to have a solid framework which can be adopted from manufacturing to large scale project management to traffic management to anything …. you name it.

SHIT stands for SOME HOW IN TIME. So you can heave a sign of relief now.

We need to understand that this is just a way to do things but a fine blend of attitude, technology (some times) and also a methodology to get where we want to much to the anxiety of many and “adrenalizing” / “Epinephrinizing”  the whole ecosystem.

Take for instance the way we drive around in our cities. If you have any doubts, check this out..

We seem to be living with a notion that we are the only ones on the road and have a constitutional right to cut lanes, nose ahead of another vehicle, drive in a wrong lane, pedestrian paths  or sneak through a red signal. Today i am not sure any of us measure distance between 2 places in cities in Kilometers any more. Its always measured in time. We mostly start late but reach in time. How? its based on SHIT framework.

Any large project management especially government driven projects reflect this. CWG is a classic example. The preparation for the CWG has been going on for almost 4 years and finally we completed the project and were ready 2 days before the start of games. In 48 months the only request was to complete it 30 days ahead which would have spared all the bad publicity and damage to image of the country. Yet we completed this using SHIT framework and were ready.

I should say that the overall event the opening ceremony, closing ceremony and especially the number of medals we won were very heartening. With 828 medals (272 Gold, 274 Silver and 282 Bronze) on stake we bagged 101 medals ,that’s a neat 12%. The most orgasmic and heartening of this all is the 2 medals we took in the athletics and 1 in table tennis. Agreed, if you are murmuring that China and Japan were not part of this. Still it was great to see the way Indians performed. Some of the winners had a rural back ground, very humble beginnings with no state support they have risen to world stage talks volumes about their drive and passion.

Since the event is now over, its time for the skeletons to tumble out of the cupboard in terms of the depth and scale of corruption and nepotism. I am wondering in a land where water is predominantly used to clean ourselves, how many Rs.4000/- toilet papers were used in CWG… Lets these facts (dis)grace us through the media and entertain us for some more time…

But coming back to the SHIT framework, do you think as a country we would learn something out of this and avoid those mistakes the next time. I would hesitate to vote on this that we would avoid this the next time. Why?

Since SHIT framework is just a symptom and the roots are on the following:

1. Deep rooted “Chalta” hai attitude.

2. Lack of accountability – anywhere and everywhere but more importantly

3. Our inability to take pride in what ever we are we  do which is part of our DNA for the last 300 years or so.

We can notice multiple flavors of this framework in our Public distribution System (PDS), {We are 67th out of 87 in hunger Index -  }

be it Civic management in our streets, flood and rain water management in all cities starting with Mumbai, and you can keep pointing to this framework in every walk of our life.

I am scarred sometimes that whether our DNA is embedded with this culture and keep wondering what the remedy is?

I can think of only one thing analogy…. “We Indians are like rockets. Only when our a** is on fire, shall we move”. While we agree that this true to some extent, i would be very disheartened if “Fire in the ass” is the only way out to perform.

Recently i heard Aparup Sengupta, my company MD, narrating this:

“3 people in a construction site were questioned as to what they are doing. The first one replied that he is cutting marbles for $5 an hour. The second one replied that I am constructing a building and getting paid $5 an hour. But the third one replied that i am creating a new city which shall stand here for ages. Incidentally the third guy is also getting paid $5/ hour.”

The answer for us actually lies in this. The very fact that we need to take pride in what we are doing is the panacea to get rid of this SHIT framework. I don’t how to imbibe that gene voluntarily. We may need a mutation in our genes to take pride in anything and everything we do…

May be we need a Change induced mutation… (This was blogged just after 26/11 and the effect of economic downturn was realized)

Till then


Happy reading!


1. If some one has wondered as to why I wrote CWG is a four letter word in my previous article, this blog would have answered it.

2. Lets also give a big thumbs up to all the people who were part of the CWG event organization and management. Our home minister for flawless security, Delhi administration which delivered the games with birth pangs but the event went off very smoothly, 1000s of volunteers and project staff who have been working for 4 + years now.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rumblings: CWG is a four letter word…


Torn between the 2 categories of people in this country:

1. A segment that is extremely poor ,fighting for their day today survival and is not bothered about anything other than that.

2. A segment which is extremely affluent with lots of apathy towards nation and the happenings, very busy in their own world … what ever it may be.

There is a big segment of some “in-between” creatures who are educated with a decent living, still believing in their national pride, now extremely disappointed with what they hear and see in the media about the CWG fiasco. They are suffering from a blended feeling of helplessness, anger and dismay, suffering from those rare moments during which being silent is harder than the expressing something.

If you are an “in-between” creature like me, then you may be interested in this blog and so read on…

CWG in my opinion though still has an hangover (should i say stinks?) of the colonial past of imperialism, is yet one of the greatest moments for the selected sport citizens of the world to get together, express camaraderie, show their skills, entertain the crowd but most importantly stretch the boundaries of the human possibilities.

I have always been wondering as to why it was called “Common Wealth States” in the first place and why major sports events are always conducted once in 4 years? Why not every year or once in 2 or 3 years.

Leaving that aside, the 2010 episode of CWG had 2 things from day 1.

Lack of any “common sense” and lot of “Common Ground”. Common sense lacking from the government and organizers in terms of execution and Common ground essentially in terms of being an magnificent magnet for attracting negative publicity.

Let me try to summarize some of the following points:

  1. Moving beyond the media statements and the negatives we are hearing i believe much of the infrastructure they have put up and the services that are commissioned are world class. Presuming we are rational animals, we need to open our eyes to them. But the presumption is not right always. As human beings our ability to rally around negative emotions, shout for anything’s downfall, be skeptic about anything and everything, our ability to spot negative things… just negative things only, nurture them at the core of our heart and mind, dwell on the same with extraordinary blinkers without any holistic picture is natural, spontaneous, congenial and makes us a cursed organism in the evolution process.
  2. Having said that, the lapses also have been significant. Lets try to see the root cause than the symptoms. In my opinion:
    • The root cause of all our problems today is the attitude of the Government and the organizing committee for the last few years / months. There was a very fine blend of ignorance, arrogance and a stupid belief that they cannot fail all rooted in the “denial mode” gene.
    • The problem started on the day the government and the OC said that everything is fine, will be fine and there are no issues at all. The moment we get into a denial mode that there is no problem, i guess we are trapped in the quicksand of immaturity and arrogance. Had we accepted that there is a problem probably we would have looked for a solution.
    • The reaction of the government on the charges of corruption, literally rejecting them is more shameful than anything we know before. The public outcry about Rs.4000/- toilet papers and et al was ignored just highlighting that this government neither have their “Ears or feet to the ground”.
    • It shall be immature on our part to expect any politicians starting from invisible our prime minister to any one down below to take the accountability, be remorseful and get punished.
  3. Common ground” was there from day 1.
    • A small section of world population was interested in seeing India not rising up to the need of the hour. You can call them by any name… China, Pakistan, any Islamic terrorist groups. Yet they achieved their objectives without having to do anything significantly. Probably they judged our ability to shoot ourselves in the foot. They are / were right about this government.
    • More damage is done now by ourselves than probably a terrorist attack. God forbid, If there is a terrorist attack we could easily blamed anyone and got away with lesser damage to the image in a few months.
    • Our own ministers in the government and members within the Congress party were either not too excited about the games or have expressed openly that they are praying for the games to fail. I am not sure how we as a nation can pull through major International events if we are not aligned at that level.
    • Most of the top stars have either dropped out or not willing to come based on these reports have done much damage to the credibility of our country in the long run.

If we are what we perceive, then perception is reality. The common perception about the CWG games organization in India this year is that of poor coordination, flawed execution, poor hygiene standards, possible security risks (due to poor quality of construction, not because of terrorist attacks).

The common perception is that India has failed itself in the International arena to assert that it is capable of raising above these mundane challenges in as small a sporting event like CWG and we are ready to take larger responsibilities. Thanks Mr. Prime minister for this great gift to us and you shall be remembered for this.

If “hand is the cutting edge of the mind”, then we were mindless. Mindless about the risk to reputation and the damage to the image and pride of the country.

We may still have the participation of all the countries with their Class B stars and we may yet have a peaceful and successful completion to the games. Lets hope and pray for that.

If that is so then the most important “Common wealth” we would gain is the learning about the mistakes we committed in the run up to this game and avoiding this in the future in a systemic way. Do you believe that this possible and we are up to this?

The common perception is that India has already lost the marketing and perception game in the world arena and its the CWG games that will go on now in which ever form.

I felt lot better when IPL was successfully conducted by Lalit Modi despite so many issues. With an air of arrogance yet with competence, with an image that he is prone to corruption, he was the best fit as our Sports minister. How many of you would back that…?

As one wise man said, “If thy brother wrongs thee, remember not so much his wrong-doing, but more than ever that he is thy brother…”

At this point of time as an “In-between” creature i can only hope and pray for the successful conduct of games. I wish we could change this image of an loser to a perception that we are a Stronger and matured nation.

Till then, I feel i am a couple of inches shorter.

Till then, CWG is a four letter word to me..


Let the real games begin!…

Happy reading!

Friday, September 17, 2010

zen stories: 2 words

There once was a monastery that was very strict. Following a vow of silence, no one was allowed to speak at all. But there was one exception to this rule. Every ten years, the monks were permitted to speak just two words. After spending his first ten years at the monastery, one monk went to the head monk. "It has been ten years," said the head monk. "What are the two words you would like to speak?"

"Bed... hard..." said the monk.

"I see," replied the head monk.

Ten years later, the monk returned to the head monk's office. "It has been ten more years," said the head monk. "What are the two words you would like to speak?"

"Food... stinks..." said the monk.

"I see," replied the head monk.

Yet another ten years passed and the monk once again met with the head monk who asked, "What are your two words now, after these ten years?"

"I... quit!" said the monk.

"Well, I can see why," replied the head monk. "All you ever do is complain."

I wish we also enforce some changes in our constitution to ration the number of words we speak. Most of us don't think that what comes out of our mouth is not as important as what goes in! May we be blessed to bask and revel in silence!... at will.

Happy reading!

PS: This is the first time I am trying to blog and post from my mobile. Barring formating which is impossible and minor hiccups this looks smooth!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vedic perspective - Matter and its quality: Part 3/3

Part 1/3                              Part 2/3                     Part 3/3

Cognition or Knowledge or Jnana which was original topic of my search comes here. The first 2 parts gives a perspective where this falls into. The todays topic of Psychology or Neuro-linguistic / Psycho studies are focussed on the physical structures of mind. Our quest is not on those lines but trying to understand what are the different types of knowledge acquisition process and et al.

Cognition is of 2 types. They are: 

1. Remembrance/Smriti: This is subdivided into the true and erroneous smriti or remembrance. Smriti is always a recollection either from the primary or secondary memory, which is actually filled with the Apprehension type of knowledge which is defined below.

2. Apprehension/Anubhava

Apprehension is of 2 types. Valid Apprehension and invalid Apprehension.

Valid Apprehension is of 4 types.

1. Pratyaksha Pramanna (Perception)

2. Anumana Pramanna (Inference)

3. Upamaana Pramanna (Analytical knowledge)

4. Sabda (Sayings of the great people)

Erroneous Apprehension are of 3 types:

1. Doubt/Samsayah

2. Misapprehension/Viparyaya

3. False Assumption.

I notice that I have already blogged about the various categories 2 years back and can be accessed here. This is a 2 part blog.

So, whats the summary or conclusion? 

1. In Hinduism all the knowledge sprouts from a common source and also linked to each other in its philosophy, mythology, legendary figures and also in rituals. I felt that part 1 and part 2 of the blog actually gave that link very well as to how every aspect is linked to the mother scripture the vedas. A little more understanding would highlight that even an art like cooking is well linked to Ayurveda and also to the vedas. Exploring and Understanding this manifested and unmanifested interconnection between each other happens at the heights of wisdom.

Also in tamil there are a very terse verse:
"கற்றது கைமண் அளவு, கல்லாதது உலகு அளவு "

which means what we have learnt is just handful and what we have to learn is to the size of this world, giving a relative size of knowledge we have. Lets recognize that this statement is made by people who are well versed with all the 18 disciplines we have listed in part 1 of this blog.

What certainly keeps one going is the list of items that you have to learn and understand and this certainly looks like multi-life event and not going to end up in this life!...

Tama soma Jyothir Gamaya!

Part 1/3                              Part 2/3                     Part 3/3

Happy Reading!