Friday, June 30, 2006

random collection



Nice interview... thanks to "mod" for sending me .. I am so looking fwd to meeting and hearing swamiji in august

In the para where he says, everything is spiritual for us, I was reminded of my fav quote of Aurobindo

"Spirituality is India's only politics &
Sanathana Dharma its only Swaraj"

(Comes somewhere in India's Rebirth, the complete book is online at http://www.voiceofdharma.org )

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On a slightly different note, today marks exactly 3 years ever since Varsha wrote a column in rediff.. I may not have agreed with every word she wrote, but can't hide the fact that I miss those blasts in rediff.. Can't help but wonder, what has happened to Asha Bhosle's daughter ?!

(she almost mentioned/blasted me in one her columns, did not take the name though .. and yeah, used a link sent by me and my friend for one of her "last min" columns, which was actually a key point in the column.. )

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

the treasures unopened - part 1

Let me tell u one of my favorite incidences in Mahabharatha - in brief. After the 18 day war got over, Krishna aska Arjuna to get out of the chariot first before he does (against the norm of sArathi getting out first). After Arjuna got out, Krishna too got out and he freed the horses.. Alas within seconds the chariot burst into flames . To a wonder struck Arjuna, Krshna tells that all the 18 days the chariot have had so many blows on it, but due to his powers, he posponed the effect of those until the war was over !!

fast fwwd.. and "modern times".. I had a very crucial deadline on wednesday..the sunday before that, i decided not to skip the weekly volleyball as i thought that wud be a good relaxation before the final 2 days before the deadline. It rained heavily on sunday and i played in the rain, got drenched, enjoying it- but quite foolish of me to have done that with the deadline ahead as I am very prone to catching real bad colds if I get wet like that. For once, I was concerned, but then I prayed for the "usual" protection.. I told myself that I am not gonna be sick. I finish my work on tuesday evening, and tuesday night I fall sick !!

Hope you saw the connection. Nope, this is not the only incident - almost every major exam in my life, every major incident, I have fallen sick hours after I completed those. I do believe in the divine protection just before and during the event/exam

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Swicthing gears from personal to something more relevant to te topic of this post.. Even assuming you don't wanna believe in divine, I think the MhB story has a great philosophical and practical message . By Kathopanishad 3.3.3

atmanam rathinam vidhi, sariram rathameva tu;
buddhihi tu sarathi viddhi, manah pragrahameva


(Know that the self is like the lord of the chariot and the body is his chariot. Know that the intellect is the charioteer and the mind the reins. The senses they say are the horses, the objects of the senses the roads)


As long as the intellect , through the mind is in control of the senses, the body was safe and sound - and my autosuggestions, it could even postpone a disease ! The moment the intellect let the senses go in their own direction, the body went into flames ....

For the Jnana Yogi its the intellect that controls, for the Raja Yogi he controls it through his meditation , for the Karma Yogi its the power of detachment that helps, and for a Bhakta its the connection to the divinity that helps - thats all the difference is from individual to individual

Manytimes people ask - "Okay, agreed there are lot of hidden treasures in our old scriptures.. So what ? If you do not make use of them in your life ?"

True, very true ... but I can tell u atleast this one - that you can postpone many diseases with powers of the Divine, or powers of the mind (whichever way u wanna look at it) - I have practised all along in my life...

AND, whats the point if one's is not even willing to take a look at those treasures... ?

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I stop here for now... I do intend to take up future parts to this series - is the famous "twin paradox" of Physics mentioned in MhB ?? the archaeopteryx connection to Hindu "mythology" ?? Gita through the lens of psychology.. and so on.. watch out

Also, suggested further reading connected to part -1 :

a) By theory of karma, this "postponement" is like the AgAmi karma.. read more, esp the bowman example

b) Powers of the mind by Swami Vivekananda - a "surprise" for those who haven't read before !!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

"samskrutEna" ; "samskrute" NA

adya ahaM samskrutEna likhAmI . kim lEkhanIyaM ?!

Aaam, samskrutEna mama prathama-parichaya vishayE !!

2000 - Disambar maasaM .. ThiruvananthapuraM nagarE ekaM
Thridina GitA yajnaM abhavath . Aham thath samayE IIT ChAthraH !!

kevelaM ShatharoopyakAnI...vidyArthI-panjIkarana mUlyaM
BhojanaM, BhajanaM (BengalI kOpi asthi vA ?!) AvAsaM cha

AhaM thu Mallu kilA.. bahu santhushtaH :-) . gathavAN Eva

Thathra DvidIya Dine, ekaM varghasya mukhya prabhAshanaM - Shri Cha Mu KrishnashastrI dvArA .. nAma shruthvA evam ahaM kincit jignasyu abhavath

parantu saH prabhAshanam Aarambham kruthavAN - thath thu samskrutEna.. Aham ChinthithavAN.. danda-dIpaH eva... vidyalayE samskrutaM na pathithavAnahaM.. samskrutha vishayE kimapi na janami sma . kadhina bhAshA eva ithi mama chinthanaM. GIta thu aangla bhashayAnuvAdana saH evam pathithavAN kilA thathpUrvaM....

ChinthithavAN kincit nidrAM karOmI ithi.. parantu sah yadhA uktavAN, prathama-vAkyaM mayA avagataM.. AascharyAm... DvitIyamapi .. athyAshcharyaM !! Samskrutha GangA dhArA.... Yathra kuthrApi 5-6 vAkyAni mam sirOparE gathaM.. anya sarvaM mama avagathaM.. pUrnaM nA, parantU paryAptha rUpEna eva

prabhashana-anantharaM ahaM gathavAN.. (na na..prAyaH DhAvAmI sma) .. samskrutha bhArathyAH "prakOshthe" .. thathra thu karyakartharAH mahyaM drushtvA parasparaM samskrutEna sambhAshanaM ArambhaM kruthavantaH... PhalithAni UktvA Uchchaihi hasanam kuthavantaH.. Mama purathaH ekaM nUthanaM bhuvanaM eva UthghAdhithaM !!

Thathra,.. ThathsamayE eva "AhamapI samskrutam pathaamI" ithi drudhanishchayaM kruthavAN ahaM.. Mama sarvEshAM GurUnAM prathI mama kruthagnathA --- AmbE saraswathi, Ramachandran MahOdayaH, HarIndran MahOdayaH, Rajesh MahOdayaH, Govinda MahodayaH .... anantharaM mama mitrAnI ..

...... hantha bhAgyam janAnam (nArAyanIyaM)

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pashyathu: http://www.speaksanskrit.org/forum

Thursday, June 15, 2006

the media mind

Thanks all for the comments to the previous post.... and whoever wrote the name of Varsha Bhosle there, I think you are missing her articles too much (well, to some extend me too)

And for once, I thought of writing a rejoinder to the 3-series.. cos I got some questions, and clarifications.. but guess, I am just not in a mood to... and this one's is an attempt to lighten up myself. I browsed around for 20 mins, taking a break from my late nite work, and there was a post on nizhal yodha's blog, about dowry - read it and u will know what a twist the author has given.. and then I chanced upon this interesting blog of.. luzysasan... errr lazysusan ... .. raising an interesting question in one of her "guns n roses" on the lines of "do media report news, or create news ?" ...




Well, I am not gonna answer that questions, I don't think I can.... but instead, just wanted to point out this small bit about Muslims teaching sanskrit in UP. If only it were the BJP govt ruling there, it wud have come with a heading of "BJP hinduising Muslims of UP" something like that.. and look at the title for this bit on SC,ST and OBC students getting into 70% of the merit list in sanskrit university in Gujarat.. ToI invariably had to put a negative spin to it "Brahmins losing monopoly over sanskrit" .... (Interestingly it reports an SC student vehemently oppossing reservations !) .. I don't think ToI will ever give credit to Gujarat, for anything.. for u know the reason's don't ya ?

But atleast one must be thankful to ToI for not titling it "sanskritization and hinduisation of Dalits in Gujarat". I think the editor just forgot one of the rules of the game ! Francois Gautier has it perfectly timed, when he writes about the plight of the Brahmins.. and the fashion that is anti-Brahminism... who are these fellows who have demonised the Brahmins so badly ? as though they were equivalent to Polpots or Stalins or Aurangzebs ? no doubt much of the credit goes to the commies....



speaking about whom, this was a funny bit that came on the India news thats telecast in the DC -metro area everyday.. It was about commies going on a strike in Kerala against the fuel price hike (dammit aren't they part of the govt ?!) .. and then there was a small interview with a Kerala trade Union leader (in english).. he was complaining that soon only "BPL" people will get subsidies (a word that they so love to demand for) on kerosene .. "What will happen to people like us who are..... " He wanted to use the oppossite word for BPL.... after a brief stop and smart thinking, the mellu comes up with "above BPL" ... lol !

(note: cartoons are from cartoonstock.com )

Friday, June 09, 2006

Let the voices be heard (decimation- part 3)

A decimation so systematic- Part 3 (concluding part)

"Let the Voices be HEARD"

In part I and part II of this series I had started off with some of my personal experiences, and so why make it any different in this concluding part ?

This is about my ex-housemate, a Jain - originally from UP , brought up in Mumbai . Like me, he had come to the US for his higher studies after his Bachelors. In the initial days itself it became quite clear that being a Jain made hardly any difference compared to what would have been with a northy vegetarian "mainstream" Hindu. In fact he was an ardent devotee of Hanuman, and would tell me stories of how he would visit the Hanuman temple in Mumbai. We used to enjoy driving around together, exploring newer and newer places, and among them were the Durga temple of Virginia, the Hindu-Jain temple of Baltimore , and of course, almost a weekly trip to the southy style grand Shiva Vishnu temple of Maryland

One day, upon my suggestion, we decided to go to the Jain center nearby - I thought he would be more happy at that, but soon came the realisation that it was just "another new temple" for him, as it was for me. He did explain to me about the various thirthankaras and practices they had, but at the end of the visit, he bluntly put it to me "Hey, frankly, eventhough a Jain center, I am feeling a bit out of place, as this is predominantly a Gujarati center, and also mainly focused on family and kids. For us, Shiva Vishnu temple only is the best" . I don't think he ever visited that center again, eventhough visits to the Shiva Vishnu temple and the Hindu-jain temple were quite frequent. (let me add that one of my most favorite temples in North America, that I have seen, is the Hindu-Jain temple of Pittsburgh)

Yes, that was from a Jain,the community whom the "secular" government of India is trying hard to declare as a "minority". And guess whom they are facing the biggest oppossition from ? The Jains themselves . Look at this article that came in the Indian Express http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=182140 . I am glad the community leaders have spoken up. I am sure the government through its ministry for minorities, headed by a Muslim, will continue its attempts to divide the larger Bharatiya community (as they have already done with the Sikhs and the Buddhists), but let all strength prevail upon those who have the guts to speak up.

Let me also add, the Hindu students group in my campus has a Jain girl as its President, and a Sikh girl as its treasurer. Things which would have had no relevance to even mention here, if only the pseudo-secular Indian mindset had not classified Bharatiyas into such air-tight compartments

That was not it - Sandhya Jain , followed it up with a strong article
http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnist1.asp?main_variable=Columnist&file_name=jain%2Fjain88.txt&writer=jain

She called Jainas the cream of Hindu society. I have not seen another "mainstream" Hindu woman, who can write with such strong conviction when it comes to defending the Hindu society, from being cut into pieces for vultures to prey upon

And mind you, a minority status in India comes with a lot of sops, lot of advantages - be it financial, in jobs, or for running educational and business institutions. And yet, the Jains - a substantial number of them- have the courage and conviction to stand with the truth - or in the least, be practical enough to think that if they formed an island, in the long term, they would only be eaten up by the hungry conversionists, or attacked upon mercilessly, just as it has happened to groups like sindhis, and some "sects" within Hinduism, who were at one time (and even now) too ashamed to call themselves Hindus

So, what is the take home message - simple- and this may be a repeat of what I have essentially echoed in the first two parts of my write up. Unless and until, those who are offered the sympathy and sops in the form of crocodile tears, stand up and expose the hypocrisy, the protests and resistance may not succeed. True, even with that, it may not succeed, but surely worth a try. And thats why I was so glad to see Prof MS Gopinathan, an OBC himself, stand up and criticise the move http://ia.rediff.com/news/2006/jun/09guest.htm?q=tp&file=.htm

It so happened that I knew Prof MSG, as we would call him, when at IITM, eventhough he never taught me. As part of the Kerala Kala Samithi and later as part of the institutes Independence day celebrations, we enacted a play on Gandhi- a court scene where Gandhi defends himself against the British, trying to divide and rule India. It was a script written by MSG - known for his extracurricular interests in writing and directing plays- and he himself played the role of Gandhi. Every other dialogue of his would be cheered by the IIT crowd. I was in a smaller role in the play, as well the "stage coordinator"..Never did I imagine, that in reallife too, he would come out in the open, voicing what he believes is right (of course we never knew each other's "OBCness" ) .. Sweeter are the melodies hitherto unheard !!

Ever since the reservation debate started, I had nurtured the idea of "OBCs against OBC reservation"front . With me going through one of the most crucial times of my PhD life, I was and am not in a position to take a lead. But the least I can do is to throw my weight behind others say clear and loud - as an OBC (a caste identity that I am wearing back, for the sake of the debate - for otherwise, I like to see myself as a casteless Hindu), I opposse the reservations . I do not intend to lead, I do not intend to start revolutions, but I am willing to walk alongside- until the legs get tired are are beaten and broken up - with those who have shown the courage to stand up- the Sandhya Jains and the MSGs

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

irresistible



Some of my favorite lines from Adhyatma Ramayanam by Thunchathezhuthachan, the Mallu version of Valmiki Ramayanam (poem, translation and pic- source- internet)

chakshusravana galasthamaam darduram

bhakshanathinnapekshikkunnathu pole

kaalaahina parigrasthamaam lokavum

aalola chethasaa bhOgangal thEdunnu

'Like a trapped frog looking for food even when it is in the mouth of the snake,So does the world caught by the serpent of time,Seeks pleasure with a weak heart.’

paanthar peruvazhiyambalam thannile

thaantharaykoodi viyOgam varumbOle

nadyaamozhukunna kaashthangal pOleyum

ethrayum chanchalamaalayasangamam

'Like travelers who assemble at a lodge and depart in the morning,like logs that float on the river (they departs with strong currents) so fragile is the unions on earth.’

Friday, June 02, 2006

sachara keralam


In as much as it may appear, I do not intend to mock at the disabled - may them be brave enuf to overcome the limitations- but just thought I would use this rather unpleasant looking chart to laugh at myself

The chart shows the numbers per lakh of.. you know what.. It should have been 273 , 195 , 133 etc .... but then, now that I am not in Kerala anymore ....

Am reminded of two incidents after seeing this

1. It was the time when my lab (in US) used have regular tea and snakes (as some of my friends wud put it) meetings on Thursdays at 4 pm. At 3.58 pm a friend of mine calls me in the lab- muct have been some urgent matter for if not I do not encourage people calling me in the lab in the middle of a working day. Two minutes later, announcement about the tea came, and I cut my friend off right there "Hey, can I talk to u later ? Its tea time in the lab".

She could not believe what I did .. kept complaining for days after that "How can u cut your friends off for the sake of tea?" .. until she got used to the Malluness ! Even now, what I did makes perfect logic to me - I can always call my friend, but the tea.. hey thats once a week. Why don't u understand ?!

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2. This was when we as a family visited the Athirapally waterfalls in kerala. there is a board there whcich says "1569 people have died trying to swim in the river. Do not attempt", near the "police aid center".

My father asked us "what do u think the police can do if someone falls of the falls ?" . My uncle coolly replied "Guess, change the number to 1570"