Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hola everyone ..

It's good to be back blogging after a long long break.

I've read about 10 Calvin and Hobbes in the last one month and was just writing about how I got kidnapped from the Brooklyn bridge by Martians.

I had most of my stuff down when my computer unexpectedly switched off :(

So that was that and the true story of my trip to Mars and how well I was treated there is lost forever....

They have high speed internet on Mars and I could read stuff - but unfortunately the keyboards are all Martian and if I would have written anything it would have just looked gibberish. Also, they have a firewall so we cannot access Martian sites from here ...
All in all it was a good trip, but it's great to be back.
Missed my room, my couch and most of all the atmosphere - there isn't any oxygen in the atmosphere in Mars so we Earthies have to continuously wear a mask there ...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Forced disillusionment ....

Today I saw Deepa Mehta's "Water".

It portrays the life of widows in the early 19th century in India. Widows were denied even the most simple pleasures of life and forced into a life of piety for their "sins" that brought upon them such a fate. The could not touch other people at times, they could not laugh aloud, they were forced to keep their head's shaved and wear only white. They could not even eat what they wanted. They were forced to live a life of so called "sanctity" so that they could achieve a better "life" in future lives :)

There is one old widow "Bua" whose desires and dreams are so childlike, like someone whose life just stopped years ago. Her only memory in her entire life is of her wedding and all the different sweets that she got to eat. White, round rosogulla's, piping hot Gulab jamun's, jalebi's ... And her only desire is eat a sweet. Daily she craves for a ladoo, so childlike is the the fevour, intensity and simplicity of her desire ....

At her deathbed the only thing she can think of is eating a ladoo. Not God, not heaven, not even a better life in future.

No society with all it's "age-old wisdom" can force this fate on anyone. Like Vivekananda says existence goes "from truth to higher truth". Even if God himself came down in all his infinite beauty and grace it is of no use to her; she only wants a ladoo.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Laws of Karma ....

I see a lot of comments on the blog. Thanks all ... I've been busy winding up my thesis ... But here is an interesting (?) question ...
Is the law of Karma the same always ? Or is it slightly dependent on the circumstances ? Is it the same if a person stole money for medicne for a sick child and if someone stole for not so dire a need, like say have a party.
How do we define dire? If we think of it really, nothing is so dire. If the child died, he would be born again ...
And if it's all in the mind maybe I have the same dire need to have the party that the other person has to save his child. This is not so funny given how important people think their social status is.
So does that make stealing in both these cases of equal karmic significance?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Mind !

The mind is the single biggest friend or the worst enemy ever that you can have.

About and hour ago I was terribly worried over something work related. I imagined all the bad things that could ever happen, worked up more worry, more worry and finally get frustrated of it all.
Then I sat for a while and read a bit from one of Babaji's books. And then I calmed down. And felt a lot better.
None of the circumstances have changed, since I started worrying ... All my "troubles" are still as existant or non-existant as they ever were ...

The fear of something is always worse than the thing itself. I am sure everyone know's what I'me talking about.
The mind should be given just enough freedom not too little not too much.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Only recently am I beginning to understand the real significance of the Guru in one's life. The Sadguru is like the conscience amplified. He's the one that's been there, done that ... He knows the forest and all it's ways. He also knows you and knows how best to coax and convince you. He can be a taskmaster if needed, or he can be a personification of love.

Yogananda's guru Sri Yukteshwara Giri is an excellent example of an ideal Guru.

Then there is the Guru tatva. Like Dattatreya, Babaji, SriKrishna and anything in the universe that you learn something from, an ant - industrious and persistent, the sunset - surreal and awe-inspiring, mountains - eternal and unwavering ...

Then there are people like Ekalavya or the little Dhruva whose Guru's are mostly in their head!

Anything that inspires you to "a better existence" has the guru tatva.

The grace of the guru-tatva can bestow a satguru who can "hold my hand" to eternity ...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Ramayan vs Mahabharat

All along, I used to think that the Mahabharata is a much more interesting story than the Ramayana because it is so much more a developed plot.

More drama, more action. The villans have a streak of good, the good guys some bad qualities. Like the danaveera Karna,
Like Dharmaraj Yudhishtira who can gamble away his wife ..

God himself is so much more flamboyant as Krishna than as Rama.
Cuter, naughtier....
Varied relationships to different people. The darling baby of Yashoda .. Eternal sweetheart to Radha and the Gopika's .. Different even to his wives .. obedient and almost docile to Satyabhama .. the Lord of her heart to Rukmini ..
The best friend of Arjuna ... Philosopher and Guide to the Pandava's ....
a special friend to Draupadi.
So much variety, so much romance ..
Rama on the other hand (except for a couple of days when Kaikaie lost her composure) pretty much ruled the show. Obedient brothers, obedient wife, sages who respect him and shower boons and divine weapons ...
God he must have been bored !
And bored I certainly was.
Too much of Sattva is not good for us ordinary mortals I thought! Untill today when I saw the episode of Sabari once more.
Sabari's story is like fresh pure honey. A single taste - Sweetness.... Like a pitcher of pure milk, a single colour - White. A single emotion - Love.
Simple pure and intense.
How else can a story of half eaten fruit being offered to the Lord become immortal. Perhaps this is what He was referring to when he said
"patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktyA prayacchati / tad-aham bhakty-upahRtam aSnAmi prayatAtmanaH "

And then he teaches the "Ninefold path to devotion" to Sabari as follows:

1. Fellowship with saints
2. Fondness for legends of the Lord
3. Selfless service to the Guru's lotus feet
4. Hymns to the Lord's virtues with a guileless heart
5. Chanting the lords name with steadfast faith
6. Practice self-governanace and detachment
7. See the world as one with the lord and rever Saints higher than the Lord
8. Contentment with what one has and not find fault with others even in a dream
9. Simplicity and honesty in everything. Have faith in the lord with neither exultation nor depression

Friday, March 23, 2007

Shame on the Indian Cricket Team

Indians can never be systematic. Poor fitness levels, laziness, erratic performance and total unpredictability.
Either there is a miracle and one (or 2) guys win the match for the team or they loose. It has never happened that everyone systematically does his bit.

Not just in Cricket. In everything I guess ..
I either work 15 - 16 hrs for 3 or 4 days and finish my work or do not work at all. Never have I consistently worked for 6- 8 hrs for even a week :(

Shame shame shame. A totally indisciplined people ...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Ashwathama episode

Toward the end of the Kurukshetra war, Ashwathama uses the Brahmastra on the unborn child of Abhimanyu to end the Pandava dynasty. Before that he killed all the Pandavas' children in the dead of the night in stealth, breaking all the rules of war that Bhishma had framed.
His rationale for this is that the Pandava's themselves had broken several rules and they killed all the Kaurava heroes by cheating. Which is true. Drona was disarmed by a lie and killed when he had cast away his bow and arrows and was grieving for his son. Karna was unlawfully killed. So why not the upapandava's ? And why not the unborn baby ?
Krishna revives the baby and curses Aswathama to eternal pain from a festering wound on his forehead. Why ? Why ? Why eternity ?Is'nt God supposed to be merciful and ever-loving. What kind of a curse is this ? Eternity ... ETERNITY !!!
Why did he refuse to not use wepons himself and then use all kinds of trechery and devious means to kill the Kaurava warriors ? And why was Aswathama cursed so ? Why is there a Brahmastra that can destroy the universe and why is he cursed for using it ?
Why is there a right and wrong and a complex dharma defining it if at the end of it whatever 'God' does is right and most other stuff is wrong ?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Importance to idleness

Idleness is useful, important and periods of utter inactivity are totally necessary in life. My most recent bout to total idleness (99.999% idle from the past 6 months) made me realize what I want from my existance.
Dont get pulled into this whirlpool of activity. Dwell in idleness with no planned activity, nothing at all to do ....
You will learn some important truth's about life and maybe get a glimpse of God.
I've been much at peace ...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Like a water droplet on a lotus leaf ....

Karna in the Mahabharata is like "a water droplet on a lotus leaf " or like mercury in the plam to give a more modern analogy, cohesive, contained in his Self ... In the world yet not of the world ..

Inspite of the really negative company of Duryodhana, Dushasana and Skahuni he is relatively righteous. Everyone makes one or two mistakes, Bhishma made some, Drona made some and so did he. Big deal !

On one hand we have Arjuna who falters at every step and has to be practically handheld by the Lord and on the other hand we have Karna who gives his everything away in charity, to mortals and immortals .. forgives his mother who cast him away as a baby .. protects his brothers by never letting them know that he is one of their own .. and dies the most glorious death on the battlefield, forsaken by mother Earth, forsaken by his Guru, forsaken by his very father the Sun God ... brave and alone ... fighting his destiny to the very end ...

No mortal man or immortal God can ever bear up such a burden so well as him, neither Arjuna nor Bhishma neither Devendra nor Surya. Even Krishna himself cannot inspire such awe and respect for he has no destiny to fight against, neither adversity, nor sorrow, nor a glorious divine heritage of the Kuru dynasty that was denied to him. He is perhaps the most admirable character in the entire Mahabharata, and certainly one worth emulating.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

my favourite line from todays mahabharat

Krishna's rationale to Yudhistir for telling a lie that Ashwatthama is dead ... "When the ocean of milk is churned, there is Vish along with Amrut. The one who can drink the Vish is Lord Shiva !" If the Pandava's would have told the lie without the backing of Krishna it would have been a great adharma, now it is'nt ! So I guess the only important thing in life is identifying Krishna ... Whatever else you do, if you can do this ... that's it ...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

From Babaji's Mysticism unlocked

Not for the sake of the child is the child dear,
the child is dear for the sake of the self.
Not for the sake of the wife is the wife dear,
not for the sake of the husband is the husband dear
the wife is dear for the sake of the Self - so also the husband
This is the Truth

So true ... Else all children would be equally dear .. all wives and husbands ..
all Mothers and all Fathers ..
all Selves would be One's self.
Then there would be no need for dharma for there would be no adharma. There would be no necessity to weigh actions as just or unjust, no need to discriminate between good and bad....

Would there ?

Symposium continued .....

The rest of the Symposium is interesting too .. and so is Socrates' conception of Eros whom he thinks is neither man nor a God but a Daemon (someone superior to men but inferior to God's) who carries the oblation's and sacrifices of men to the Gods and brings back the blessings from the Gods ... He is the child of the Goddess of poverty (Penia) and the God of resource (Poros) and shares equally of the characteristics of both. He sleeps in doorways and on open streets but is always plots to find a way to trap the beautiful and the good !
But the most surprising things are those spoke by Aicibiades towards the end of the book. Socrates was (what we call in India) a Sthitapragnya ! They say that by pure reason alone one can find God. So he probably did, or was quite close ! He pretended to be a lover of these beautiful youth but at the end in fact it turned out that they chased him ! He was always moderate in drinking but if he was forced into a contest he could out drink anyone and not become drunk. He could walk about just the same way in winter, as he would in summer .. He could wrestle better than the best but would accept no prize for it. These and many more signs of a true man of God !
Now that's news to me !!!!!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Pausanias' speach about Eros

I just read the 'Symposium' one book in the 'Dialogues of Plato'. In this book, Agathon (one of the dudes of that time ) gives a party. In those days, a party was like, they all meet up, wreath each other, lie around on benches, eat a lot, drink a lot ... a lot like parties these days I guess except the wreathing .... These lot being philosophers and tired from a previous day's party, decided that they will not drink a lot, but sit around and make speeches about Eros the God of love.
All of them make fine speeches ... It's interesting how social values change over a period of time ... In Greece of that time, homosexual love was considered better and more pure than heterosexual love, because it is more of the mind and the soul than the body, and these gay people since they will not be burdened by children and family go on to become politicians and statesmen because they do not have vested interests to take care of !!
Pausanius claims that there should be two Eros, since there are two Aphrodites. One Eros is the daughter of Uranos who is also called Uranian, the other is Pandamus, the daughter of Zeus and Dione.
A good point Pausanius makes is that no action is good or bad on it's own. For e.g. drinking or singing or conversing they are all neither noble nor base .. They become noble or base by how they are done. He claims noble Eros to be the Eros of Uranian and base Eros as the Eros of Pandamus. Pandemian lovers are in love with both women and men and they love bodies and not souls.
He says a lot of other things, a highlight of which is that it is base to love someone for money and it is obviously a dishonour to be cheated if the lover is not rich. But to love someone for the sake of getting wisdom from them is noble and it is no dishonour to be cheated in this respect...

An important thing I would like to sayis that this stuff is not at all hard to read. I dunno if it's only me, but I used to think that these guys are geeks and it's really hard to understand what they think. But it's not so. Their reasoing is clear and simple and the translations are quite modern so the language is not too old.
More later ....

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bhishma's Dharma ? Plato's Symposium ??

I finally stole my 'Dialogues of Plato' back from Spruha :) It's been lying around since two years, so now I have to read some of it before I start working :
I'm thinking of reading the Symposium which consists of a series of speeches Socrates and others make at a drinking party for Eros, the God of love. Must have been a fun time ;)
But seriously .... In my initial parse, I see a lot of parallels between the traditional Indian concepts of Dharma and what these guys talk about here. With my head half full of Mahabharata and the various thoughts it provokes, questions it raises I now will try to fill the other half with these guys' opinions on Eros and let's see what happens !
So here I go, on a pure and white and beautiful snowy evening, my new Google blanket on my knee, my hot cuppa coffee next to me .... but beware, all knowledge that comes from the mind is imperfect and flawed. Only the knowledge of the Soul is true and eternal.
Bhishma was one of the really really few people of his time to come close to the truth about Narayana ... Yet he fought on the side of the Kaurava's ... His heart was with the Pandava's and not just that, he knew that Truth was on the side of the Pandava's, the Lord was on the side of the Pandava's, and Hastinapur would be safer under the reign of the Pandava's ... So, in spirit all his vow's would be better fulfilled if the Pandava's won and he openly acknowledged it. Yet he fought on the side of the Kaurava's.

What paradox is this ?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Krishna Says it so easily ....

The essence of all the wisdom of the world ... The Bhagawad Gita ..

It's easy for Krishna to say, for Arjuna to kill off those morons ... But what about this program I am struggling with.
The only thing I will say today is that it's a lot harder to debug this piece of junk that I wrote myself, without attaching myself to the fruit of action, than it was for Arjuna to kill his cousins and grampa.
Enuii of everyday life (and blogs ;)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Monday, February 26, 2007

Really Inspiring stuff ...

Naren sent me this link the other day ... So many of these, I feel are written for me :D Check if you feel the same way about them

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ram's Treatment of Sita !

So I was thinking .. from quite a while .. what was Rama thinking when he sent Sita away?? Again. After she proved her character via Agni Pravesh. What was he thinking ?? It bothered me a lot. Especially during my younger ( more impulsive and feminist :D) years.
If Rama was an incarnation of God, and if God incarnates to show people how to live right, with Dharma then what kind of an example was he setting doing this ? So many lesser mortals would quote his example and live their lives to fulfill their own selfish ends. So many wife beaters, wife cheaters hide behind this act of Rama, and God being omniscient would definitely forsee this ( plain common sense is enough :D).
An explanation I came across recently was this, Sita was his own, truly, completely, as close to him as himself. Like Sibi who cut away parts of his body to satisfy the vulture, Rama abandoned Sita to exemplify how ideal a king could be. Unless the king can give up everything of his for the welfare of his citizens he has no right to be king, no right to impose tax. It's easier to cut parts of your body to save an innocent dove; that kind of pain can be transformed to pleasure. It's harder to give up your dearest beloved, the shakti with which you create the universe, companion from the begining of eternity, to satisfy a drunken washerman. Rama exemplified the sense of duty a king should have towards his subjects.

We can olny hope that if it was not his wife, whose character was being questioned but some other citizen's he would have acted differently; more justly in the true sense of the word.

This kind of self-sacrifising attitude over a period of time would lead to situations like in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. What if the washerman now found fault with Kaushalya ? Then Lakshmana ? and then Lava and Kusha ? Would he give them all up ?
What justice is this that makes unfair demands of a King ?
After Sita left there was drought in Ayodhya for 10 years. So did Rama sacrifise the greater good of Ayodhya for the smaller good of the washerman ??


Truly amazing movies are those that leave you with a feeling of awe and wonder even the day after you've seen them. Anupama is one such.
It is the story of a girl Uma, whose mom dies while giving birth to her. Her father is never able to get over the death of his wife whom he loved very very tenderly. He hates Uma and blames her for it and will never see her face except when he's drunk. Uma grows up to be a quiet, shy girl who rarely speaks. 'Sehmi' is the word for it in Hindi. She is the like the touch-me-not flower, who is beautiful and at peace amidst flowers and birds but at any human contact she withdraws into herself. Sharmila Tagore played this role wonderfully.
She then meets Dharmendra who is a writer and a poet. He alone is able to reach out into her shyness and be a friend to her. Inspired by her he writes a novel Anupama. How they fall in love is also wonderfully portrayed, no song and dance, no chemistry, no sparks flying; he dedicates his book to her and she shyly looks away and is concerned about his health (he has fever). Uma has a friend, who verbalizes their love and tells them to act before it's too late; Uma's dad is inviting suitors for her.
Dharmendra, who in this movie is more like Rajesh Khanna than Dharmendra if you know what I mean, tell's Uma that the doors of his home and his heart are always open for her but refuses to press her to come. "The freedom of an individual is as important as the freedom of a country" he says and leaves it to Uma to decide what she wants to do.
She reads the novel the night before he is to leave town forever, a week before she is to marry another man. The next morning, she bids farewell to her father, takes his blessings, and leaves her home. No running away at night, no tears and heartbreak, just a quiet firm conviction. The strength of a mountain in the heart of a flower.
Anupama is more truly a feminist movie that movies like "Astitva" which are so far away from reality, that they border on being ridiculous. It's the story of how a woman finds courage and conviction to do what she wants; inspite of all odds. Alone, by herself. Not convinced, not coerced. But from the depths of her soul.
In this movie Sharmila is truly sharmili. Finally I understood what poets mean when they use metaphors like "frightened fawn" in the context of women.
There is also one of my all time favourite songs, "Ya dil ki suno duniya walon, ya mujh ko abhi chup rehne do". Though the song is a bit out of context, we realise in the song that one of the main characters, Uma's friend, is not just a overgrown kid, but a grown woman at heart.
The sad thing about writing about a movie is that the what the movie says with poetry and music, light and shade, beauty and grace, I am trying to say in a few words, in black and white. This may be justified if a great writer were to undertake the task but not very much in this case. See the movie .. feel it's power and beauty ...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Of winter and winter coats

The body is like an expensive winter coat. Keep it lint free and clean and neatly ironed. But dont worry too much about it; you can always get a new one if you have to. Worry about the winter. Work with the winter. Win over the winter. When there is eternal spring you wont need a winter coat anymore.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Svadharma ?

Lord Krishna in the Gita says that it is better to die doing your svadharma than excelling at paradharma. What is this svadharma ? How do I identify it ? So many books and scholars say so many things but it does not make sense to blindly believe them ?
Is svadharma something that gives true joy ? Peace? bliss ? What is it that gives constant bliss, joy and peace. The mind, especially a well-read mind (or even a partially read mind :) jumps up with so many many answers. But these are some areas where the mind is not to be blindly trusted. Or trusted at all. The answer should come from the antaratma, beyond the mind. What is my svadharma ?
Like the disciple who arrives at the answer of "Who am I" by a series of elimination, eliminating a whole lot of who I am not, am I to realize my svadharma that way ?
It is not being a programmer, it is not being a research student. I may fail at these things or achieve marginal success if I work hard at them, but they do not give me lasting joy and peace. Is naren's way of "doing things excellently and 'making' yourself happy" substantialy better ? I'de rather be miserable for a while and get the whole point than sustain the illusion. Like the dwarapala's of Sri Maha Vishnu preferred to be born as his enemies and spend 3 lifetimes apart from him rather than so many more as his friends.
And as a side note, while reading about draupadi and what is really the meaning of Krishna Sakhi I found this excellent link.
Good stuff man good stuff ...