A Salute to the Underdogs

A note on the achievements of a Pakistani lad who brought laurels with his work on Electric Honeycomb.

Mr Niazis success is truly remarkable, not for discovering the electric honeycomb but for the innovation that comes in the absence of a milieu. Dr Ambedkar’s success is far more than Pandit Nehru’s from this same perspective. Driving innovation or achievements far different especially in the absence of milieu is a rare landmark.

We never realize how our milieu defines and shapes not alone our fate and destiny but it also modulates and rewrites our own thinking. The milieu has such a global footprint and impact that we as a cohort think the way we think, never realizing that two way cross talk with our milieu. So many amongst us are achievers and those achievements can be handsomely credited to one unique aspect – that milieu. Of course, you all may argue that individual human efforts and fate too has a place. However, amongst these confounding factors, despite our best efforts, I weigh in favor of milieu.

The success is starkly driven by him rather than the milieu offering the ripe environment for achieving those laurels. In fact, the milieu was a great distractant but despite, he achieved with a singular focus. That’s the differentiator. Milieu drags and offers fertile ground. In his case, despite the drag, he achieved this which makes it several times commendable. Salute to those unique souls who achieve despite this odds.

Please note, i transcend nationality, religion, ethnicity, culture and material factors while I appreciate these iconic class.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-41548203

The Ravan within Rowlett

We all have a Ravan within us, either infesting us individually or pervasively proliferating within the system. An educated sane correspondent of a reputed news outlet, tried insane things at the spur of the moment, without any thought to the consequences of this glorified insanity. This blog is not about Rowlett, it is about we all, going through these Ravan phase during some pervert ill defined moments during our lifetime. It is exactly such insanity that sometimes defines and significantly influences the course of the future. 

We all have a Ravan within us, either infesting us individually or pervasively proliferating within the system. Justin Rowlett, a BBC correspondent based in Delhi is a sane man trying insane things at the spur of the moment, without any thought to the consequences of this glorified insanity.

The Story refers to a reporter, Justin Rowlett’s narrative on BBC blaming the street tattooer. Justin, a married man with a two kids, went for burning the effigy of Ravan, a demon depicting the evil within – society and individually within us. While at the Dusshera celebration, he tattooed himself from a street vendor. I would never excuse an educated, married man with two daughters, trying this vernacular pleasure.

Rowlett should blame the Ravan within him, that exactly is the concept behind the ritual of Dusshera celebration. So what if he was offered an assurance on tattoo? He has to own his decision to get the tattoo on the street side, exposing himself to all those diseases plus the unblemished permanent mark. Ravan, nor India or its custom can be blamed. Of course not the poor man who put that tattoo.

It is not about Rowlett, it is about we all, going through this Ravan phase during some pervert ill defined moments. It is exactly such insanity that sometimes defines and significantly influences the course of the future.

A permanent reminder of my own stupidity
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-41510293

Should We Question Our Guru?

Science, Arts or Spirituality would cease to grow if we don’t oppose our Guru. That opposition has an element of obeisance and regards of highest kind, since the Guru is the one who has provided that eternal milieu for growth and realization.

Prologue

All religions are deeply embedded with humane perspective, ethical values and principles. We follow religion what is told to us and as followers, we come up with questions. Often, religious practices or preachers forbid us from asking questions. In fact, in the interest of your faith, you should question your tenets or those who impart those principles of religion and at times, we should oppose something that does not appeal to our morals or sense of judgment. Science, Arts or Spirituality would cease to grow if we don’t oppose our Guru. That opposition has an element of obeisance and regards of highest kind, since the Guru is the one who provides us that eternal milieu for growth and realization. More on the importance of asking questions to understand your faith.

The Importance of Guru

Guru or a teacher is a must in every aspect of life and living. When we are born, the one who holds us, our Parents, are our Guru. When we learn to walk and run, and play in the field, we need a Guru or alternately, we are continuously guided by someone in the form of Guru. As we graduate through different levels of learning, we realize, several learned folks have contributed in making us what we are at that snapshot of time. At no point in our individual journey of life can we claim that we are on our own. We develop as an amalgamation of outside forces, the learning and our own ability to comprehend internally what emerges from within the milieu we exist. Be it science, arts, technology, business, politics or spiritual. Selected few are beneficiaries of dedicated didactics whereas, most are imbibing the radiance emanated from these folks, through books, discourse, artifacts analysis, on the ground lessons, hands-on learning etc. and as time progresses, we transition into Guru. In fact, we should consider that as one of our most noble social responsibility while build that continuity. There is no invitations, you simply offer yourself to the devotion of dissipating and spreading that wisdom, knowledge being one aspect of it. Do we need Guru to interpret religion? Obviously yes, this journey would not be a journey without a Guru and life would have no meaning without the presence of Guru.

Should Guru Charge for the knowledge?

Some do it selflessly, while others do it with collateral. However, irrespective of an exchange is occurring or not, it is pertinent that the transfer of wisdom should transition from generation to generation as does the genomic material. As is clear from the foregoing, the day you destroy that genomic transcription, the world will cease to exist and time will come to standstill.

What are the essential traits of Guru?

I strongly believe, we need Guru to interpret religion. We need a Guru to interpret religion. Please correct me if I am wrong but I presume, Guru is at a level sufficiently evolved that the disciple, second Guru is above material attachments and third, Guru is above biases. If all of these qualify, I presume, we still have occasionally people born with precocious intelligence and they interpret life beyond the box, those are the same folks who expand that envelop, that’s how Buddha came into being and I presume, the entire edifice of Sanatan dharma was built upon.

Should we be restricted within the confines of Guru?

No one helped Einstein with his quantum physics or theory of relativity. History of science is adorned with several such examples. In fact, when a disciple takes it beyond the confines of imparted knowledge, the disciple honors his Guru and the stature of their Guru too rises beyond an act of deliverance of knowledge to the one of evolving the tenets, a supreme contribution to the cause of mankind.

Do we question Guru?

Definitely Yes! You may notice that ‘definite’, and if we don’t, we will initiate the degradation and degeneration.

Why Spiritual Guru’s should be above material attachment? Knowledge is so pristine and supremely inspiring and awakening, that it often lures the acquirer into installing the beholder onto higher pedestals. During such times, it makes sense to not be attached or be minimalist in his/her attachment to the material world. If the Guru’s are not, disciples land up encountering Guru Ram Rahim. Power corrupts and religious power corrupts absolutely. That is how we got Guru Rajneesh.

Only if Lord Shiva would have registered an IP or Patented Yog

Our Age Old Yog (So called Yoga) is a case in point. Yog are taught, not in the comfort of conditioned environment but in the temple precincts and after paying due obeisance to Lord Shiva. Western world has corrupted it to Yoga, followed with a liturgy of similar distortions from Rama, Krishna, Arjuna. Our original words is Yog, Ram, Krishna etc.

Let me come to the point – Yog originated from Lord Shiva as a primeval knowledge and mechanism for the uplifting of human living and existence. Lord Shiva initially transferred the understanding to Lord Parvati and upon her insistence to the Seven Sages, after they went through severe penance, devotion and commitment. Yog was thus born not as a religious preaching or kinesthetic principles but as a spiritual science. Yog does not adhere to any particular religion, belief or community but as a mechanism for inner wellbeing.

What’s wrong with today’s Guru’s?

We see the likes of Ramdev, SadhGuru and others, who through their Siddhi bestowed on them, are prophesying Yog but indulging in material gain. If only Lord Shiva patented Yog. They specially fall out since they are acclaimed Siddha Purush (enlightened). Other lesser mortals can definitely do business but I don’t consider them enlightened.

Guru Shishya Vyavastha in Prachin Bharat Varsha

It is important to understand the origin of Guru, Disciple and Gurukul tradition. In ancient India Guru held their own learning institutes called Gurukul. Disciples stayed with their Guru and imbibed the learning as it was imparted. These Gurukul were supported by Bhiksha and the ruling kings. It is wrong to say Gurus were Brahmins. Disciples often served the Gurukul with day to day activities. Gurus were the learned class and a Brahmin was considered learned class devoid of any material attachments as they were supported by alms and the state. Guru Dakshina was part of the tradition and it never meant material repayment to the teacher. It meant a respect that may have included some material form, irrespective of the value.

Guru GuruKul

If you notice, the entire edifice of Guru and his learning ecosystem are based on the percept of selfless dedication, irrespective of the players – Teacher, Disciple, Institute or the Community that benefitted from the posterity.

Science, Arts or Spirituality would cease to grow if we don’t oppose our Guru. That opposition has an element of obeisance and regards of highest kind, since the Guru is the one who has provided that eternal milieu for growth and realization.

You may also like Who Am I? – Swami Sarvapriyananda from Mandukya Upanishad

Citations:

Yoga: Its Origin, History and Development

 

Sanatan Dharma – a journey through time

Sanatan Dharma

Sanatan Dharma is an evolution and a confluence of several spiritual streams and the process itself has gone through significant innovation and evolution, by a steady stream of religious reformers or social scientist (we call them Rushi Muni Tapasvi). Those were not gifted folks but they had thorough understanding of the existing tenets and the different facets of life, evolving the ideology of religion to the form it existed or that we know about Sanatan Dharma.

Of course, such deep realization cannot be understood by common man and it required state support plus ritualization through artifact generation.  As with every religion, these were relevant to the life scenario of those times and a system was formed that achieved homeostasis.  It’s pretty much akin to blockchain technology or to simply say, one brick over the other to build a beautiful castle.

Sanatan Dharma and Offshoots

It was in this milieu that Buddhism, Jainism and other deviation of practices emerged. It was this character of Sanatan dharma that provided the ripe environment for other offshoots. If I am not wrong, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism etc. had very few or occasional opposition in erstwhile Bharat, the prime reason being Sahishnuta and acceptance of difference of ideology. It’s not a timid concept, its way up in ladder of evolution. It is a reflection of deep respect and freedom and the practice of individual practices and ideology. Such is the deep seated respect for individualism in Sanatan Dharma.

Amidst the cauldron of these evolutionary changes within the religious ideology, (barring few examples), we notice that state craft, despite its support, interfered very little to influence ideology and religious ideology interfered little with state craft. That fine balance was maintained, possibly because those ethos’s were absorbed as a character of the milieu. Over a period of time, we forgot those principles and clung to those artifacts and as we see today, we have become artifact worshipers. That’s not with us alone. Many religions show similar transformation.

Distortion and Exploitation of Justice

Sometimes, I strongly realize, except our genomic and ethnic composition, ideologically we are not the true legacy of our Sanatan Dharma. Those who call themselves the true followers are in fact far off from the true concept propounded by religion. It’s an irony that those deviating from this truth are in fact guardian of the religion. State craft is synonymous with faith and ideology. That’s the degradation and degeneration we witness today, that edifice is crumbling, every day, since the times we froze the ideology and started worshiping the artifacts, the time we fossilized ‘Varna Paddhat’ and exploited masses, the time we eschewed patriarchal society and diluted the importance of women. Unless we correct our fundamental fallacies, we cannot rise as a nation and if at all we see few metric or KPIs (like GDP) improving, those are but material reflection and not our true state of spiritual mental evolution.

Of all the atrocities, ‘Varna Paddhati’ and nebular organization into ‘Patriachial System’ are the ones which have inflicted the most deep seated grave insult to our society. This is despite the individual freedom respect for individualism. These two aspects limit the respect for individuality and individualism. (Please read my blog on Varnapadhati…)

Our Idols in Sanctum Sanctorum

In our daily lives, we often see a dichotomous hierarchy wherein women are often second in command, be it home, offices, social or polity. However, followers of Sanatan Dharma will notice that is a deviation from the original preaching. We never see Lord Sita outside the Sanctum Sanctorum, whereas Lord Ram is inside. Lord Shiva takes it several steps above this. He considers himself incomplete without Lord Parvati. Lord Parvati being the other half of Lord Shiva, a devotion so sublime that it transcends science, philosophy and imagination and a preaching that lays the foundation for humanity for eons.

Women, that feminine aspect of continuity is a completely different creature. Rudimentary cultures often see her as a fertile ground for sowing seeds, as a homemaker and one who rears the siblings. However, in true philosophical sense, she is the Janani and the bearer of this Mother Earth, the continuity of time and the essence of life. Emancipating and enabling women is our prime responsibility as is our responsibility to rear the next generation.

Lesser offsprings of Sanatan Dharma

One of the most lurid exploits of times – I find the imagination, creation and subsequent fossilization of the lesser classes created by guardians Sanatan Dharma as one of the most gory acts of tribulation. It is repugnant to see how in the best of the senses can mankind create such a deed? How in the best of senses and justice could this find continuity across ages and how the system froze it to the best of individual advantage? That is so repulsive, heinous so barbaric and so inhumane. That we let this act to continue despite the system of social justice, is truly a unique blemish on our evolved system. The injustice is so deeply rooted, that all other Varnas should be tried similar to the Nazis for War Crime. I find it repulsive when we oppose ‘Equal Opportunities’ or ‘Reservation’ as those are labeled depending upon the country of origin. However, time has come to overthrow and dismantle that system and usher into a new era of justice for all. We all will have to make sacrifices and offering our rightful meritorious place and finding an alternative spot should be part of our struggle, if we truly believe in this heinous crime committed over eons.

Excerpts from ‘Varna Vyavastha: Class System Of Vedic Society’

“In the beginning, there was only one varna in the ancient Indian society. “We were all brahmins or all sudras,” says Brhadaranyaka Upanisad (1.4, 11-5, 1.31) and also Mahabharata (12.188). A smrti text says that one is born a sudra, and through purification he becomes a brahmin. According to Bhagavada Gita, varna is conferred on the basis of the intrinsic nature of an individual, which is a combination of three gunas (qualities): sattva, rajas, and tamas. In the Mahabharata SantiParva, Yudhisthira defines a brahmin as one who is truthful, forgiving, and kind. He clearly points out that a brahmin is not a brahmin just because he is born in a brahmin family, nor is a sudra a sudra because his parents are sudras. The same concept is mentioned in Manu Smrti. Another scripture Apastamba Dharmasutra states that by birth every human being is a sudra. It is by education and upbringing that one becomes `twice born’, that is, a dvija. Link here.

Lord Krishna, in Bhagvad Gita Chapter 4, Verse 13, said:-

“Chatur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah,
Tasya kartaram api mam viddhy akartaram avyayam”

Lord Krishna said, the four categories of occupations were created by me according to people’s three qualities and activities (guna and karma). Although I am the creator of this system, know me to be the non-doer and eternal.This verse from Gita clearly states that caste is assigned to people not on the basis of their birth but on the three attributes and profession carried by them. No child is automatically bound to the same caste as his parent. The purpose of allotting caste is to enable the person to do his specific karma and reach towards ‘Moksha’ i.e. Liberation. Arjun asked Lord Krishna if mixiing of the caste creates a progeny that does not help with salvation of the pitrus. To this Lord Krishna said,

“klaibyam ma sma gamaḥ partha naitat tvayyupapadyate
kṣhudram hṛidaya-daurbalyam tyaktvottiṣhṭha parantapa”

To translate, it meant, “O Parth, it does not befit you to yield to this unmanliness. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O vanquisher of enemies.” Lord Krishna clearly denounced caste system, the way mankind has interpreted and frozen it to their benefit. Lord Krishna has not alone denounced it but also, supported intercaste marriages as it does not support his view of establishing varna padathi.

Is Sanatan Dharma under threat?

Religions grow and prosper under uncertainty. In the Western World, the numbers of atheist have grown due to existential stability with high economic, political, education and access to technology.

However, Sanatan Dharma (the one that never ends), as the name indicates, got even deep rooted with prosperity and stabilization of erst while society in Bharat Varsha as it revealed greater meaning of life and living. If we revisit Maslow’s Self Actualization pyramid, we realize, as human being rises through those hierarchies, the needs change too. Sanatan Dharma offers that foundation for change through various phases and elevations of life.

An argument often made by politicians and religious hegemonist, that our religion is under threat. That is an easy ploy to garner the undecided votes (an indirect booth capturing mechanism). We may lose few folks due to proselytization but Dharma will never lose. Dharma may lose, due to its intrinsic weaknesses, not due to an external threat or attack as long as we are strong nation.

With deep reverence and adoration, I respect those who hold the cause of Sanatan Dharma. However, I humbly urge that they understand the nature of this Dharma and protect its ethos (atma). To be a true believer, let us go beyond artifacts; let us drive towards the principles. Until then, it is all muddled with politics and selfish gains. I truly believe, protection of one’s faith is with the believer.

(The blog below reflect my thoughts as I discussed those with my college batchmates).

If you liked this, you may also like The Hijacking of Faith

Specific Citations:

Sanatan Dharma – The Eternal Way of Being

Yoga: Its Origin, History and Development

Humanity – A Universal Religion

General Citations on religion:

Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not By Robert McCauley

 “Nones” on the Rise Pew Research Foundation

Will religion ever disappear? BBC, an interesting read

Politics and Hero Worship

I am surprised by the Modi Gandhi fixation in India.

We all recognize the contributions made by previous generation of Gandhi family but this is not oligarchy and even if we consider oligarchy as a tenet to our political dispensation, we definitely want competent and capable folks, Rahul not being one of those. It’s a national waste of time to discuss Rahul. In fact, imposing a legacy has stymied organic growth (for finding new leader) for a major secular political party. In imposing their clan who has lost ground appeal, they have decimated a major centrist force. That’s a great de-service to the nation. Congress is not Nehru-Gandhi, it was a mass movement with strong grass root leaning. This family has captured it as their own with eventual decay, that started from Indira. Circulating Rahul parodies is diluting the core issues. Obviously if you are discussing mundane things, your bandwidth for core issues is consumed.

We need fresh perspective to address our issues. While BJP dismantles that tenaciously, we have to understand if they are hurting the fundamental nature and ethos of this country, or else, they are bound to be booted. Few boisterous and overzealous policies may not help, but an adequate understanding of key issues, prioritizing those and efficiently executing those while establishing a right and balanced governance for continuity is critical for progress.

Similarly, it a central tendency in a demagogue leaning democracy to criticize even the best achieved by the mainstream government, Modi and BJP being a scapegoat. I presume, this has to stop for a healthy and true constructive democracy.

Ethnic Cleansing

Pragmatism is not above humanity

The clip above shows Indira Gandhi weighing in favor of being pragmatic. Bangladeshi immigration is often cited as an example while dealing with outside immigrants. To those Indians who favor the above approach, let me ask a question – What should we do if Hindus in Pakistan face Ethnic cleansing? Same applies to Hindus from Africa or other land. In Uganda, Idi Amin started a massacre against Hindus. Their property and other belonging were taken over by the state machinery. Hindus and specifically Indians started emigrating, should we have welcome them?

Ethnic Cleansing and Emotional Outburst

Below, a clip showing an emotional outburst by a so called humanitarian. Emotions are respectful but they have very limited value in making a right decision. Such issues cannot not be solved with emotional outburst. A complete life cycle view of the immigrants and the natives have to be understood in the context of where both exist and eventually, a solution can be drawn.

 

 

There is no support in favor of ethnic cleansing, either it be the Buddhist by Imperial China from Tibet, Hindu Nepalis from Buddhist Bhutan or Muslim Rohingyas from Buddhist Myanmar. Ethnic cleansing is not restricted to any religion nor is immigration to any nationality.

Pope was the first leader to highlight and focus the attention if the international community towards the plight of Rohingyas (let us stop using religious suffix or prefix and polarize this murky world). I would be happy to see someone like Pope, who thinks beyond his religion or community. I would be happy to see a Muslim (I am purposefully avoiding nationality as a suffix), talking about the plight of a Buddhist in Afghanistan or China or a Hindu in Bhutan, when I see that happen, I would surmise that as a true yearning for humanity.

On a side note – this woman is too distraught and emotional, an element that highly introduces bias to influence our thinking. Either she is doing that innocently, and I will give the benefit of doubt, or she is intentionally to get us into overriding our intellect through emotion. Irrespective, I will disregard her emotion tone and look beyond and identify the core issue.

Another side note – why should the world media is on hyper edge against Muslims? Can we disregard the recent history? When did the faithful (amongst the Muslims) oppose those gory deeds committed by their brotherhood? If only Muslim terrorism is opposed by mainstream Muslims, should we expect to see fundamental changes in the perspective amongst international community? Media is writing what people want to read, with some monetary influence though, but let us ask a question. Why would someone funds a media blitzkrieg against Muslims?

Last, the only Muslim who has raised awareness amongst the faithful to oppose terrorism is Fatehullah Gulen, who is ostracized and banished from Turkey. That opposing to terrorism is the onus of the faithful. Outsiders, ie people of other faith will respond eventually. However, to reiterate, the protection of one’s faith rests with the believer, it be Muslims, Hindus or Christians.

 

The world on leash

This world is increasingly getting ridiculous boisterous, two brats seating in unassailable places with the most powerful weapons, the world has ever seen 😩, both beyond and without control, both throwing bellicose tantrums in a world where diplomacy and sanction have turned ineffective. Oh boy! This is way different than dealing with those Arabian Knights like Saddam, Assad or Gaddafi’s.

Poor Monkey

This world is increasingly getting ridiculous boisterous, two brats seating in unassailable places with the most powerful weapons, the world has ever seen 😩, both beyond and without control, both throwing bellicose and boisterous ‘egomaniac’ tantrums in a world where diplomacy and sanction have turned ineffective. Oh boy! This is way different than dealing with those Arabian Knights like Saddam, Assad or Gaddafi’s.

Tracing the history of the wars that ravaged the civilization, at least to my gullible mind, those WW I/II or the cold war following those were dominated by intellect, rationale and a poisonous dose of one-upmanship and an attitude to dominate.

Those Arabian Knights!

Gradually, the scenario changed and we had those Arabian Knights and the wimpy guns misfiring in wrong direction for blowing our citadel. Now, as technology is maturing towards Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Predictive Analytics and driverless cars, i believe, we are getting entangled in the morasses of brats dealing with brats and the world watching helplessly.

Five course meal

This is not enough, not as tasty and succulent, let’s add some spice. Let’s add Islamic radicalism and little Islamophobia. How does it taste? Not yet there. Ok, let’s add little more Crimea and encroach some lost East Europe, does it sound good? Not yet. Hey, we have more stuff – every brat needs a nuclear gun. That audience is 😋 hungry waiting for the sizzling dishes. Not yet there. Let us add little Chinese hegemony, Hindu radical retaliation and Pakistani perjury. May be sprinkle a little recession, poverty, Ebola,  AIDS, mutinies, bellicosities. Oh get it ready now, the Tutsis have started killing the Hutus. Hey hey, hey, it is not yet ready, where are you taking those raw dishes? Why don’t you ravage the nature and make it a little warmer place, may be raise the thermostat by 2 degrees, break a little ice from those Antarctic shelves and chill until I deposit this in my Oh, … ummm…Swiss & Panama Account.

Guys, are you ready?

Those hungry mouths are now over 7.5 billion. Can we cook faster? Stop more succulence and give it as it is? They simply need food, not a five course meal.

Friends, this is democracy. Any objection?

Sun Zhu