Friday, March 31, 2006

March to April

And there goes... sneezing and sleeping....the month of March ...

How many a dreams collapsed, I know not.. I rather think not

But hey, perhaps it can't get any worse ? Or may be thats a deceptive under-statement ? injustice to the millions who suffer worse ?

April will be better ? Or will the symbolism of its first day carry forward to the rest of the month ?

At times, it suffocates to look back at some realities of life... the number of years that you have left behind... and in particular, the number you have spend unproductive.. atleast apparently
And then even smaller things start scaring you.. Hey I can't remember someone's phone no: which I so very prudently used to remember together with the fifty or sixty others... Oh, the saved numbers in cellphone and emails in gmail makes your memory so lazy.. and worst how many times do u have to call from some one else's cellphone to find out where you last kept your cellphone

Makes you think sometimes, does it - whats life ?

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Well, whats the point musing in the negative.. whadya got interesting today ? Well, Vishu is not the only thing I miss in April.. its also the 11 day festival at the temple back home... 11 days... the long and dusty(now its perhaps tarred) approach roads to the temple would be crowded on both sides with vendors.. of all kinds... be it food, bangles or toys for kids....

And then, 4 out of the 11 days, there are fireworks.... 6 days, cultural programs..... processions with decorated elephants, morning and nite, every day .. and that too the elephants climb down and a number of steep steps to take the idol from the hill-top temple to the stream down....

Its also a time for various of my relatives to drop by at my house.. Together we would make rounds... devoid of many a parental restrictions (not that I had many anyways, I was always a "trusted kid" )

Not just fun, many a wonderful temple arts (Paadakam, Thullal , Koothu, Poothan kali, Sopanam......... ) would be there everyday ... and of course my Fathers' favorite Kathakali - atleast one night-long one .. But sadly, the last time I was home during Pooram, most of the "interesting" stuff was telecast live by a local TV channel, and I found many people watching it at home... what a loss.. is that what the festival is meant for ? What fun without immersing yourself into the dust and the chaos .... and finding the beauty of the art with your eyes ..

Well, well well... this years is April 4 - 14 ... and 14th being my ever favorite festival Vishu. And I miss them, for the 5th straight year (How glad, I made it for the last year at IITM)

leaving me just with this link I found, with pictures...

http://www.hinduweb.org/home/temples_yatra_organizations/
mckraja/

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

stillllll


Some say,there's too much samskrit over here these days
How do I tell them, there's no samskriti for me without it

Some say, there aren't as frequent posts as it used to be
How do I tell them, mind is blank more often than it used to be

and what do you do .....

when things seem to go slower than you want,
when all your calculations seem to crumble right in front of you,
when all of a sudden you seem to have taken up too many things and
when there's a silence from those whom you expected to hear from

Post a nice picture that I happened to see on my roomies comp, I guess !!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

KAlidAsa-1

so near, yet so far !



Ummmmm..... The title of the post sums up best my state of mind :-( ...

Guess its about time to get somewhat philosophical.... Take recluse in those Upanishadic shlokas

Isha Upanishad Shloka 5

tad ejati tan naijati
tad dure tad vantike
tad antarasya sarvasya
tad u sarvasyasya bahyataha

The Supreme Lord walks and does not walk. She is far away, but She is very near as well. She is within everything, and again She is outside of everything.

Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.7

i.e Third Mundaka, First Chapter, verse 7 (verse in the picture)

bR^ihachcha tad.h divyamachintyaruupaM
suukshmaachcha tat.h suukshmataraM vibhaati
duuraat.h suduure tadihaantike cha
pashyantvihaiva nihitaM guhaayaam.h

That which is supremely expansive, divine, of unthinkable form, subtler than the subtle, much farther than that which is far, and at the same time very near, shines and is seated in the Central Being of those who have the consciousness of That

Thursday, March 16, 2006

nostalgia




When my cousin sent me some beautiful pics of the milkweed seeds (Appooppan Thadi- literally meaning granpa's beard in Mallu), not only were those old childhood memories of running after these things evoked, I also tried finding a connection with the wonderful Monarch butterflies that I heard about last Sunday

And there indeed was a connection : Milkweed is the only plant that the monarch butterfly can lay their eggs on !! Here's a conservation site

http://www.amazingbutterflies.com/milkweedseeds.htm

Mother Nature never stops her endless mysteries.. The Monarch butterflies, they say

Some of them travel as much as three thousand (3,000) miles, approximately the distance from the east coast to the west coast of the United States. Some scientists believe that they float on air currents in order to travel so far. They fly in big groups often spending the winter months in the exact same tree as the year before!

Here are some more interesting bits

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/search/Monarch.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarch_butterfly

And, leaving the post with a link to the-only-translation I could find of the
Prithvi Sukta (hymn to Goddess Earth) from Atharva Veda

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/av/av208.htm

Unto Mother Nature.......

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Spiritual Trivia


Lots of coincidences lead me to this post.. the Ramnaam Sankirtan that I went to yesterday evening (which essentially is the whole of Ramayana in a nice musical composition of 108 lines), an article on timetravel and parallel worlds that a friend of mine is writing, which reminded me of the quote from Yogavasishtha, and of course the sanskrit trivia that I have been posting on my blog.. But the final trigger was this morning while flipping channels thro' those sunday morning sermons on TV, I got stuck to WETA for whatever reasons where the author of a book (he is perhaps not a priest, but mostly a christian), was mentioning how his book has 18 chapters (I believe the name of the book is "inspirations" and the cover pic is that of the author with a butterfly sitting on his finger)

He went on to say how nice the number 18 is.. 1 representing I, and 8 representing infinity (the symbol turned 90 degrees). Before I could stop wondering where he would have got the idea of the infinite, instead of the "Father in Heaven", he blurted out those magic words... "Like the 18 Chapters of the Bhagavad Gita" !!

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These excercises are what I call as spiritual trivia... perhaps not as serious or even as "authentic" as philosophy may be, but delightful in its own right... Indeed 18 is a sacred number for Hindus (well, u may ask what is NOT sacred for the Hindu, but never mind).. the 18 Puranas, the 18 days of the Mahabharata war, the 18 chapters of the Gita,... and so on...

And so is also 108. I leave this number to the wonderful skills of Dr Subhash Kak - article1 and article2 .. but wanted to extend the 108 analysis to the idea of the "I" and and the "Infinite".. So then, what does Zero represent ?

One might think zero represents "surrender of ego". Reduce the "I" to "Zero" and you will be the infinite.. Not bad eh ?... remember that beautiful example given by Vivekananda ?

One day a drop of water fell into the vast ocean. When it found itself there, it began to weep and complain just as you are doing. The great ocean laughed at the drop of water. "Why do you weep?' it asked. 'I do not understand. When you join me, you join all your brothers and sisters, the other drops of water of which I am made. You become the ocean itself"

I would also extend this to the very beginning shlokas of Yogavasishta... A little yet powerful equation is given in there.. "Yoga Chithavrithi nirodha".. Arresting or rather stabilising or focusing your chitha (mind/thought) is Yoga (union). Union of what ? "I" the Jivatma and "Infinite" the Paramatman.. and what is it that joins them ? Chitha Vrithi Nirodha .. A "Zero".... Mind you Zero is not essentially absence of everything. It is one-pointedness. Like how in Mathematics, a point, is a zero-dimensional object, theoretically.. A point is NOT nothingness, its something- but zero-dimensional.. And this great idea seems to be expressed in numbers in that beautiful little number - 108 !!

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Leaving thoughts : 108 beads of the Japa mala.. umm seems to be very important for Buddhists as well.. and may be even in other cultures other than the indic, for example, the picture above is from ebay.. and it says "NICE ANTIQUE CHINESE TURQUOISE 108 BEADS NECKLACE"

Well, if the Sanskrit Dwaar, can mean the same as the English Door and the Russian Dver......

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Iti-haasa


What am I going to muse on in my 50th post ? Well, my favorit history-itihaasa stuff

Given below, are some quotes from Ambedkar.... stuff which history never taught.. for I, argue that history thats taught in schools is more of legends.. glorify some people, make some other villains with no morals at all..

Aren't itihaasas better then ? For even with all poetic exaggerations, they do justice to their name "Iti-haasa" : "This is how it happened".. laying bare human nature and emotions and mistakes, without caring if its even the Lord worshipped by millions ?

I am not arguing for or against Gandhi or Ambedkar, but all ye champions of "no-censorship" and freedom of speech, would you recommend teaching these in Indian schools ? Not as a recommendation, but as "someones' quotes ?"

Here are the quotes :

1)

Even though Ambedkar was a party to Poona Pact, he was never reconciled to it. His contempt against Gandhi, which continued even after his assassination on January 30,1948. On the death of Gandhi he expressed, "My real enemy has gone, thank goodness the eclipse is over".

Source : http://www.saag.org/papers4/paper331.html

2) Considering Gandhi as a "positive danger to this country", he quoted from Bible that "sometime good cometh out of evil, so also I think good will come out of the death of Mr. Gandhi" ( Gandhi and Ambedkar - Saviours of Untouchables by Sheshrao Chavan. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan publication 2001, page 263-64).

3) The Hindus wanted the Vedas and they sent for Vyasa, who was not a (upper) caste Hindu. The Hindus wanted an epic and they sent for Valmiki, who was an untouchable. The Hindus wanted a Constitution and they sent for me.

Quoted often, but source unknown

4) "I prefer the partition on India into Muslim India and non Muslim India as the safest method of providing for the defence of both "

- "Pakistan or Partition of India " p364

bharata rashtra ctd














Remember this ? http://drisyadrisya.blogspot.com/2006/01/how-old.html

Here's a much more detailed work... who else ? :-)

Bharata rashtra as depicted in Vedic texts: semantic analyses and cultural framework

http://janajaati.blogspot.com/2006/03/bharata-rashtra.html

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Some more sanskrit trivia

Okay, these are some of the terms that we coined in sanskrit for some commonly used American (English) expressions. The sanskrit is almost a literal tranlsation of the English, and its just for fun

Thanks to the umd_samskritam group for these contributions (note: I have not followed the ITRANS)

Kim Upari ? - Whats up ?
Katham Prachalati bhoH ? - Howzit going, dude ?
Tat Sheethalam - Thats cool
Parihaasam Karothiva ? - (you) kidding me ?
saithyam.h anubhavatu bhoH - chill out dude !

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sanskrit Palindromes


1. Pam-caa-sya-caa-pam
2. Jam-bhee-ra-bhee-jam
3. la-ko-la-ko-la
4. mam-daa-ra-daa-mam

Meaninsg : please post in the comments section

"Trivia"

Some terms and sayings that oft repeat in articles... thought will start collecting them ... so this post might be edited as and when I find any interesting ones

Of course, contributions are welcome in the comments section

1) Apres moi, le deluge

French / "after me, the deluge" ..

Comment: Atleast some friends of mine wud know why thats the first in the series :-)

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2) Cogito, ergo sum

French/" I think, therefore I am"

Comment: I don't agree with René Descartes. I am, therefore I think .. neverthless

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3) Caveat emptor

Latin / "let the buyer beware"

Comment: Applies to all my blog visitors :-)


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4) veni, vidi, vici

Latin/ "I came , I saw, I conquered"

Comment: Whats for, I came, I saw, I was conquered ? :-)

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5) argumentum ex silentio

Latin/ "silence of a speaker or writer about X proves or suggests that the speaker or writer is ignorant of X"

Comment: You can't miss this, if you read Koenraad Elst

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6) Bête noire

French / "black beast."

Comment: Something or someone particularly detested or avoided; a bugbear

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7) raison d’être

French/ "reason to exist"

Comment: Have you ever lost urself searching for that ?

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8) Kaine Gnade

German/ No Mercy

Comment: Ummmmmmm
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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Some technicalities

Ever since the Iraq war, the genral American is happy that he/she has learned one more thing about the world outside basketball and (American) football team.. - That "Moslems, are of three types - Sunnis, Shias and the Kurds..."

Wait a minute .. Sunni-Shia is an exclusive and along-religious-lines divison, where as Kurds are an ethnic group.. Or in other words

*Kurds need not be Muslims
* Muslims have to be Shia or Sunni

(Even practices like Sufism, Whabism, **usually** falls easily into either of Shias or Sunnis )

Have been wanting to look up the exact details for a long time.. and here they are :

Wiki says

The majority of the Kurds are Sunni Muslims, belonging to the Shafi and Hanafi Schools of Islam. There is also a significant minority of Kurds that are Shia Muslims, and they primarily live in the Kermanshah and Ilam provinces of Iran and Central Iraq ("Al-Fayliah" Kurds). Another religious minority among the Kurds are the Alevis, who are mainly found in Turkey. The remaining Kurds are mostly either Christians, Kurdish Jews, Yazidis or Agnosticists.

So the classification shud idealy be


1) Arab - Shias
2) Other - Shias (other incl a small no: of kurd-Shias as well)
Arab-shias as much much more predominant

Total Shias- About 65%

3) Arab- Sunnis :Mostly Hanafi School ~12-15%

So total Arabs ~ 75%

4) Kurd - Sunnis : Mostly Shafi School ~ 18-20%

Total Sunnis ~ 30-35%

Even though perhaps the general GK~0 American has not cared to check facts, as usual, their intelligence and military agencies have the facts clear cut

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iraq/religion.htm