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 ;)