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Monday, March 23, 2015

Economic Development and empowerment

What actually empowerment of a nation at present is?


And who are the villains and victims?

Why it is imperative to give a chance to economic development, good transparent governance over any political agenda?

Nations, like individuals, have to be empowered. So, the people entrusted with the privilege of ruling/governing the nation and exercising power to enact policies which impact the citizens must be clear about what actually empowerment is at present?


In very simplistic terms it is doing things that would promote economic development leading to taking care of the basic necessities of maximum number of the citizens of the nation along with ensuring to bequeath an environment which won’t harm the lives in future. I am carefully and intentionally avoiding much debated and debatable terminologies like sustainable development, bio-diversity etc.

Though all these may sound as simple as a school boy’s essay, in reality, ruling/governing a nation, any nation, is not an easy task; whatever be the form of government that is in place.

Internally there are both obvious as well as hidden hurdles.

The international politics has so many intrigues that the labyrinth of it is unclear and unknown even to the most well versed, well equipped spy agencies of most powerful nations in the world.  

Manipulations of all kinds political, economic, commercial, trade, attack etc are all so masked and complicated that it is not easy even to know them. In addition the information explosion spreads so many stories some of which could be true and many of them mere hunches peddled by vested interest groups to create portrayal of proverbial victim-villain phenomenon to whip up passions of a group or generate reactions to gauge international opinions or garner international support.

But however much one may wish away the ‘victim-villain’ story line is what is easily understood by the majority of human beings. So, no wonder all politicians and media manipulators use it effectively.

Nations will have to know not only what real empowerment is, they also need to make the public know who the real victims and villains are.

The unfortunate but unavoidable facts are that there are many nation states and groups which pander more to identity politics; defining modern states based on some old ‘isms’ of economical models; ancient religious affinities etc . More sickening is the fact that these are backed by opinion molding media propaganda which pushes whole populations into identity cages without letting them live life in comfort and calmness and let others too enjoy the same privilege.

The villains are no more obvious invaders, colonialists, imperialists imposing their bossy insolence, military powers dropping bombs or wagging wars;

The villains are not present physically at the national borders;

They are not lurking in bushes or sailing into your shores with sirens;

The villains are the surreptitious creepy political and economic manipulators aided by media mafia [euphemistically referred to as propaganda peddlers or mass opinion molders], international political manipulators, identity hawkers, some unfortunate dirty corporate houses and some dubious financial institutions etc who are in the grip of these manipulators. So, even alert nations fall a prey to these manipulators unknowingly and unwillingly.

The victims are the rest of humanity who are not engaged in these activities. The victims actually outnumber the villains. Therefore, it is easier to create a conducive world where governance based on economic developmental agenda is given a priority over the rest.

Many books, documents, nowadays websites and blogs provide some sneak peek into denouement of unimaginable international political manipulations and ramifications. Of course, these are confined to most often just two or three continents not all. We can extrapolate and imagine the magnitude of invisible impacts. Unfortunately, we have neither astronomical facts nor astrological charts to decipher or even hunch the outcomes of these.


To sum it all in brief, the summits, conferences and meetings of international leaders very nicely mask these realities with diplomatic wheedling, hypocritical bonhomie, pious oaths, catchy slogans, attractive policy pronouncements, tedious treaties, symbolic gestures, photogenic postures etc and finally the secretaries, top diplomats trot out with hangover from cocktail parties to brief the media either with or without handing over the brief case of currencies to carry a favorable story of grand success of summit.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Heritage and Metro rail


Here is the script of what my daughter spoke in the inter school oratorical competition for Madras Week celebration two years back held at PSBB k.K. Nagar and she got the first prize.

The Topic given was

Heritage and Metro rail

Heritage as a terminology has acquired a wide range of connotations. So, at first we need to clearly define what we mean by heritage? 

In general we all have scant respect combined with varying degrees of ignorance and indifference towards many really culturally, socially, environmentally and scientifically significant aspects, value systems and facets of heritage and the symbols that represent such heritage. 

Heritage in brief includes and involves the full range of our inherited traditions, monuments, objects, and culture.  Most importantly, it is the range of contemporary activities, meanings, value systems and behaviors that they impact

However, going by the topic it is obvious that we are talking about a sudden new found concern and care for some old, dilapidated, mostly unused or unusable or misused constructions mostly built in the past few decades at the maximum a century ago. Constructions mostly made of combinations of brick, lime stone, clay etc. Of course, there are some exceptions to this, wherein, such old buildings are used for some meaningful activities and they do stand as symbols of some activity. Let me stress they are symbols and not the intrinsically significant part of such activity. 

Constructions which were older than a century and a half are mostly of solid rocks, stones and hence do not get jolted or spoiled even when they get submerged under water like the structures at Mahapalipuram. 

This sudden concern is purely due to some vested interests, ideological affinities, political expediency and purely personal and material gains. 

We all must have sane approach towards anything based on facts, inevitable situational requirements, the relative changes and adjustments that we have to make towards such requirements and in some cases even a hard decision or a sacrifice if one may use such big words.

The facts are:-
1] Everything has an expiry date, including our life.

2] Infrastructural development is inevitable if we are to promote economy, trade and enable movement of goods and transportation of a constantly growing population.

3] If we remain as luddites [those opposing change] then we will remain an economically backward state/country.

4] What could we do if these buildings, mostly those built of brick, lime stone and clay and existing in dilapidated conditions get damaged or come crushing to the ground due to earth quake, severe cyclonic storm, sudden floods, heavy rainfall etc or get destroyed in some fire.

5] In most cases the activities that are taking place can be easily relocated elsewhere in the interest of growth of economy.
We must all remember one thing that the only thing that does not change is change and everything else is subject to change.
Heritage has very little to do with the past, but is actually more about how we conceptualize the future. Objects of heritage are the things we pay attention to because they’re still meaningful to us, not always because they tell great stories about the past but because we use them to tell stories about ourselves. Practices of heritage are customs and habits which, although intangible, also inform who we are as groups, and help to create our shared social memory.
We use objects of heritage (monuments, buildings, sites, landscapes) and practices of heritage (languages, music, community celebrations) to shape our ideas about who we are as nations, communities, and individuals. What we define as ‘heritage’ is constantly changing in the light of the present as we look to the past to imagine our future.
So in the interest of future and our own progress we must be willing to exchange a few symbols of heritage in the form of some old buildings. 
We read in history books that how passive spectators we were when all our rich cultural heritages were plundered by invaders. We ourselves have made lots of changes to our value systems, and symbols of heritage for various reasons.

If time permits I can go into the relative importance and even inevitability of metro and mono rails……


2013

Friday, March 13, 2015

Politics and Religion. Bias, Beliefs and Bans

In every issue there are unanswered general attitudinal problems.

It is high time that BJP delinks itself from the fanatic fringes of RSS brigade otherwise it will prove as costly and as destructive as for Congress hanging  on to the apron strings Nehru family  or the left lingering in its 16th century slogans.

Brevity is neither my forte nor my favorite form. So here goes my reply.

Most politicians and religious leaders of all hues and parties are soaked in superficiality, showmanship, sycophancy and pander to pseudo and parochial populist schemes. They are churned out of some such socio-cultural bias or ideological and organizational compulsions. Such people always resort to executing wrong priorities under pressure and execute them without the necessary diplomacy, delicacy and hypocrisy of a seasoned missionary.

So nothing comes forth from them only froth.

The populace which hoisted them into power and position laps up the bubbles of this froth. It is vicious circle where certain imagined identity is ideologically acquired and most people are vulnerable victims to this unconscious vicious circle. Once they are into it they suffer from identity crisis. This is how both politics and religions exercise  command and control over many. 

One creates beliefs while the other policies and  both are euphemisms to block individuals from rational thinking.

They fail to differentiate between the chaff and grain; they mistake the symbols for substance; some scratch the surface of the symbols and claim it as great and new interpretation like Devadutt   Patnaik does and it is interesting to read because he unravels the bridge between the symbols and substance with lot of erudition and solid academic reference work but too much of labored interpretations.

Anyone who grasps even an iota of the great nectar of substance/intrinsic value would stop dabbling in any debates or discussion and if at all they do it would only be enlightening like the philosophical probing of Ramana Maharishi, JK, Swami Vivekananda, Bertrand Russell, Sri Aurobindu etc.

Coming to the specific issue of ban on beef here based on these above observations it is not at all surprising that some politicians act very foolishly at times and it sets people into debates for and against.

It is a common malady of human species as a whole to misinterpret scriptures and misuse them out of context or beyond their contextual validity [we all must remember that religious scriptures too have an expiry date] abuse, misuse ideological inhibitions and insinuations. But it becomes a social problem when such misinterpretations are enforced on others.

I am a vegetarian I have never tasted even omelet and mostly avoid even cakes. I have a spontaneous genetic rejection towards anything that is not vegetarian. However, I am not a pure vegetarian, no one on earth is. We all swallow our saliva which is not vegetarian. Whenever we open our mouth or breath we inhale many microbes…

If going by the commonly misunderstood notions of vegetarianism, if the whole world turns vegetarians then the fish will breed so much that  sea water will submerge most of the coastal land.
What are going to do to those who are habituated to eat beef? What are you going to do to those who made their livelihood by selling beef? Where will you house those bulls which were hitherto consumed by so many? Do you have shelters for them?

What is violence? Who is to decide it? Killing and war has been very well justified in our scriptures in specific contexts. Most developments of the world have taken place out of violence and its manifestations.

Some gems on violence and non-violence from Jiddu Krsihnamurti

“We human beings are what we have been for millions of years — colossally greedy, envious, aggressive, jealous, anxious and despairing, with occasional flashes of joy and affection. We are a strange mixture of hate, fear and gentleness; we are both violence and peace.”
Krishnamurti, Jiddu. Freedom From the Known. 1969.

“Violence is not merely killing another. It is violence when we use a sharp word, when we make a gesture to brush away a person, when we obey because there is fear. So violence isn’t merely organized butchery in the name of God, in the name of society or country. Violence is much more subtle, much deeper, and we are inquiring into the very depths of violence. When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you know why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.”
– Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known, pp 51-52

Many more here :

On war and killing

Over emphasis, for wrong reasons, on our past glory and quoting our scriptures to either justify anything and everything or patting ourselves

The problem of having to deal with an enemy within

The need to move ahead


Monday, March 9, 2015

AAP and gullible people




People who believed in AAP in the first place where naive and who do not know the inner dynamics of political scheming and manipulations,hidden agendas, lurking suspicions, ulterior motives .


Fortunately, for these innocent gullible folks who thought AAP was something new, great etc, nature has popped up the simmering discontent within the rank and file of AAP to the surface so that the whole world gets an opportunity to know the real face of opportunistic, anti-national, anti-development AAP beneath the media promoted bubble mask.

AAP -The great mask of the LEFT





AAP is a deadly mix of Congress, Left and anti-national NGOs with a new mask.

When power, pelf, publicity, popularity and position come cascading in to an individual or a group without necessary mental maturity and principles or values, without backed by organizational experience and strength, without established systems of command, control, delegation, trust etc;

without any strong sense of goal or vision for mission for which, by fluke, such individual or group was showered with such benefits, then, it is only natural that for the good of the people of India that such an arrangement crumbles. 

I purposely call it arrangement; For, AAP is neither a party nor an organization. Let us be clear there are no leaders there either.


Slowly everything will transpire [‘become known’- the original meaning of the word] as to what transpired between the parts of this mask [one half Cong and the other half Left] all of which desperately seek to be identified with equal importance and prominence. Only place where equality is wished for among this group of Atrociously Amateurish Protesters.


Let us see beneath the mask the putrefied remains which make it a media pet. No guesses it is the leftover left of India which pulls in the gullible adolescents who are mostly unemployed, unemployable, employed but incapable and inefficient.


The leftist ideologues are ideologically and professionally narcissistic. 


They have spent generations on ‘victim –villain’ social models in terms of socio-economic aspects of life. They also suffer from a chronic disease that they are incapable and unwilling to learn about other models of socio-economic systems of life.


So, anyone who thinks of /acts towards long term economic development that can reduce the crowd of victims in that script makes them resort to knee jerk reactions. 


India’s greatest curse is, unfortunately, much promoted by Congress party [which made its socialist postures for electoral gains; these leftover leftist ideologues occupy most of the media houses.
Some media houses like The Hindu are fully owned by these fossil genetic samples of leftover left of India.


There are only two other areas where these fossil genetic samples are kept intact. The trade unions of leftist parties [ which incidentally ensured closure of units like Nokia, Foxcon etc near Chennai] and 4 member from two family who occupy the parliament [in the form of Karat and family {2} , Sitaram Yetchury and Bharadhan who has a constant competition with Karan Tappar –who manages to grind only his teeth while speaking- while Bharathan crushes to pieces every single word in English].


Most of these leftist worthies are inducted MPs, they can never get elected.


Despite them having less number of members than PMK, DMK, AGP etc, media houses always shove the mikes in the mouths of these worthies.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Singing our Past glory- a popular refrain

Pride of ancestry is the hope for the future. India has it in great measure and justifiably so, despite all the false history propagated to the contrary by our invaders and our own home grown betrayers in various fields/walks of life.

Having said that to be always preening and patting ourselves with almost a nostalgic ethnocentric pride, especially laboriously staking claim for our contributions, our ancientness etc, announces a sense of complex which portrays us as pathetic attention seekers. It also sounds as if we are considered weak and therefore need to keep repeating our great feats and past glory at every juncture, every forum and opportunity.

Truth always finds its own way to manifest, however historians may attempt selectively to highlight or hide it. While the whole world knows Columbus as a great discoverer, without any doubt, the world also gradually came to know that every discovery of his [though he was not responsible for it] ended up enslaving and killing many human beings who were otherwise leading a happy life. Even if European history books written with excessive emphasis of world wars, industrial revolution, French revolution etc the contributions of ancient Greek civilization, Roman Empire etc can never be overlooked.

Our greatest weakness was lack of documentation, failing to  propagate at the right time [not after many centuries have passed by], fail to do and/or promote contextually relevant and most import thing [prioritizing first things first] at specific junctures etc.

Of course, the last factor mentioned above i.e. prioritizing contextually relevant thing was taken care of, mostly, as if by some divine intervention, at crucial times through  roles played by some great souls  :-

Like Adi Shankara who actually united the country psychologically and culturally by unearthing many important concepts of Sanathana Dharma; 

Like Swami Vivekananda who brought to the notice of the Western world the great teachings of Sanathana Dharma by opting to address them in their language and in the idiom that would appeal to them, both these acts were timely; 

Similarly the 68th Sankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt popularly known as Mahaperiyava Sri Chandrasekarendra saraswathy ensured the introduction of some parts of article 26 of The Indian Constitution which enable every Indian to worship and practice his/her respective religion or sect, “Again, when the Indian Constitution was being framed, Paramacharya called a well-known Vedic scholar and asked him to meet Sardar Vallabhai Patel to pass on a message from Him on the need for a vital provision in the Constitution to the effect that the religious belief. This message was duly transmitted through a meeting arranged by "The Hindu" with the visiting officials of the Indian Government with the Vedic scholar deputed by Paramacharya. As a result Article 26 of the Constitution was enshrined and this extended constitutional protection, not just to the major religions-Hinduism or Islam-but to every sub-sect of these religion”-[ http://www.kamakoti.org/souv/5-52.html ]; 

After independence Sardar Vallabhai Patel ensured uniting the multiple smaller kingdoms; 

In the early 90s one man wanted to retire from politics and moved away but he was inducted as Prime Minister Shri P.V.Narasimha Rao, who for the first time, post Independence made parliamentarians know that, besides politics, economic progress and activities towards that were also part of Government; 

Similarly recently when corruption, atrocities and anti –national activities reached a saturation point, destiny of India has found in MODI a leader who has a vision, intention, credentials, mandate etc to lead the nation to greater heights.

So, in the present context what India needs to do, is not to resort to singing the refrain of its past glories but rather prioritize and concentrate, with wisdom, to progress in domains that matter more at present like economic development which will take care of better survival conditions for many, eradication of poverty to a very great extent, generate employment, improve education and research in science, technology, communication, infrastructure etc.


Once our status in this area i.e. economic development improves, then, the world will listen to us and look up to us, till then all our belated parading of our past glory, sometimes ad nauseam, will sound as if we are trying hard to market ourselves as a great glorious nation with a enviable past and it may also inadvertently divert the attention of youth from concentrating on economic developmental activities.

Too much of addiction to past glory will give a sense of false complacency and trap us in the quagmire of ethnocentric adulation leading to despicable existence as has happened in the case of the glorious Greece.

Scientists have named latest particle discovery as HIGGS BOSON recognizing the great scientist BOSE of India about whom many Indians do not know anything at all.
What was more interesting was this psychological affliction of claiming credit and creating connection after a thing is established, to which , with all due respects, even Sri Sri Ravishankar of the Art of Living was susceptible, when he gave a lecture immediately after announcement of results of Higgs-Boson particle results in Germany , read here the transcript of that speech http://www.srisriwisdom.com/index.php/en/daily-satsang/96-wssstd-srisritalksabouttherecentlydiscoveredgodparticle-eng

Not that I am averse to know and share the many great gems that exist in ancient Indian scriptures. In fact, I have been requesting people to take up detailed study of DEVI BHAGAVATHAM paying attention to probable esoteric references to unearth many hitherto unknown mysteries.

Let us listen to lectures by people like Shatavadhani Dr. R. Ganesh
http://www.culturalindia.org/data/rganesh.asp who can pack in a single topic the entire gamut of India’s multi-faceted glory or 

people like Swami Atmapriyananda, [Vice Chancellor of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University since 2005] who explain in very scientific terms synergizing our past glory with the necessity and methods to apply it to present day requirements.

India's past glory does not require any promoters as it will automatically manifest itself at the appropriate time and place.

Here are some links that throw light on some aspects of our past glory for all of us to know


Monday, March 2, 2015

Steps

Everything in any process of growth is just a step, important and inevitable, but not a stop. It is so with mother’s milk [our biological aspect of life]; it is so with learning of alphabets, words and numbers [our intellectual aspect of life]; it is so with hugging, kissing and cajoling as babies [our emotional aspect of life]; it is so with our learning and understanding of different concepts [ our philosophical aspect of life]; it is so with all forms of worship, devotion and all its concomitant rituals and religious practices [ our spiritual life] and so on. This is the inherent wisdom. A normal human being has to go through a process to grow in everything or into something but ultimately grow out of it.

These steps are various types of status quo addictions, comfort zones, identity cages which take possession of our psyche and operates through it almost as a matter of habit or sometimes even as an automatic reflex movement. They then manifest in all spheres our relationships.our culture, our religious practices, our food habits, our life styles etc and we get used to the comfort of relaxing in these steps without moving up.                                                                     http://contentwriteups.blogspot.in/2015/02/identity-crisis.html


http://www.brainpickings.org/2015/02/23/this-idea-must-die-john-brockman-edge-question/

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Identity crisis

Identity crisis
Once we are in the identity cage we refuse to come out, we fail to realize and value our various types of relationships with myriads of things, ideas, people, events etc or their relation to us. It is a dilemma wherein we unconsciously subject ourselves to limited options or reduce our choices. I felt the pathetic situation of the present day's talented, educated, intelligent , toiling youth but rudderless and not getting spotted by any sane radars as well and thought philosophically about it and wrote this essay for this New Year [this contains many references, links etc highlighting the importance of many institutions, individuals of real worth etc
Most of the individual problems and group pogroms are the result of identity crisis. This [identity adoration/affiliation] is a very important part of study of personal psychology and socio-psychology which gets neglected or does not get the prominence it deserves because the predominant factors that create these identities and factories that produce these predators are the patrons and promoters of religious and political ideologies. Now recently, technological advancement has also jumped into this band wagon [of course at least this offers tangible comforts and benefits].

These identity creating factories are afraid of free and open minded persons as these open minded persons may start questioning some aspects or the very identity itself.

There is nothing wrong with identities per se nor are they avoidable. For example if someone  is born physically beautiful, mentally brilliant, in a  highly respected family in a particular nation following certain language, religion, culture, tradition etc with some type of specific behavior then that person would be identified with all those things. What can that person do about any of those identities which he is born with, born into, groomed up with along with social inculcation, indoctrination, insistence or voluntary inclination or interest etc?

There is nothing wrong even in human mind getting into judgmental mode based on these identities which is one of the natural consequences of identity affiliation and which is what is happening all over.

There is nothing wrong even in the human mind making comparisons, analysis, criticisms etc based on these identities which are again natural consequences of affiliation to inevitable identities. 

The problem crops up when these identities create narrow walls of prisons of the mind and thereby creating incompatibilities and intolerances in the functioning of many vital tools of life and not letting life to move on smoothly in its tracks.

In brief our thoughts, ideas, actions, feelings, interactions, attitudes etc are to a very great extent influenced by how we relate to changing situations /circumstances /scenarios/events/environment/new relations etc while clinging on to our identities.
Even within specific identities there are varying degrees and intensities of manifestation.

Any identity is /all identities are a stumbling block to any realization or unbiased relating/relationship as well. AsJames Braha writes, in the wonderful book ‘LIVING REALITY-My Extraordinary Summer with “Sailor” Bob Adamson’,
 “You can only know yourself by being yourself without any attempt at self-definition and self-description. Once you have understood that you are nothing perceivable or conceivable, that whatever appears in the field of consciousness cannot be yourself, you will apply yourself to the eradication of all self identification, as the only way that can take you to a deeper realization of yourself. You literally progress by rejection—a veritable rocket. To know that you are neither in the body nor in the mind, though aware of both, is already self-knowledge.”

The real nakedness devoid of any cover of identity, probably this could be one of the connotations of the word ‘Nirvana’, may enable us and equip us to face reality unbiased and without any pre conditioning. Some great souls have even opined that we can even pose real questions only from this state as Terence Mckenna says, “You are not naked when you take off your clothes. You still wear your religious assumptions, your prejudices, your fears, your illusions, your delusions. When you shed the cultural operating system, then, essentially you stand naked before the inspection of your own psyche…and it’s from that position, a position outside the cultural operating system, that we can begin to ask real questions about what does it mean to be human, what kind of circumstance are we caught in, and what kind of structures, if any, can we put in place to assuage the plan and accentuate the glory and the wonder that lurks, waiting for us, in this very narrow slice of time between the birth canal and the yawning grave. In other words we have to return to first premises."

Do we create our identity and getting confined by it?

Or whether some identity actually influences and/or creates us?

Or can we tweak some parts of the brain surgically and create a complete leap away from affinity to identities so that individual perceptions, actions, attitudes and social behavior etc all can be freer and at least devoid of problems caused by contradictions and ideological constraints?  [After all physiologically even DNA is tweaked to produce unimaginable results]

More about identity issues in this link



When everything else fail nature takes care is or could be the only consolation/hope that humanity can hold on to.

The West predominantly and psychologically cannot understand anything outside its preconceived and stereotyped views that it looks with suspicion on everyone with long beards and certain specific names and at the same time plays dirty games in international politics with these very people to settle scores and sabotage progress from areas in the atlas which it has predetermined are not fit to become powerful politically and prosperous economically.

It is much easier to over simplify and over generalize everything as a crisis of identity and inclusion/exclusion etc. Ultimately that is what almost every analysis of the calamities both those supporting and blaming allude to.​

But a slight scratching of the surface will reveal the rotten history, hysterical behaviors and histrionic reactions to historical blunders.

Well while what Mr. Jeyamohan has written may be true to a certain extent we must remember, refer to as well as reject lot of stereotyped reactions, symbolic gestures etc; though they may be the only options hitherto known to or exercised by humanity. Unfortunately, what they do is, as usual divert humanity from addressing the issues on its inherent strengths or short comings depending on how you look at it .​

But present day happenings in international politics are the work of poly tricks where everyone engages in either justifying or defending or blaming some group/individual/ideology/religion/institution/nation etc, while in reality everyone, every nation, every political ideology and every religious group is equally good or bad, as after it everything is relative. Any religion, nation, political ideology cannot claim authority or superiority, of course, unless and until they prioritize humaneness, compassion, protecting human life and environment and providing at least opportunities to every human being to empower with a sense of caring and sharing and all these are ultimately in the interest of survival of the human species.

Whatever is happening today is a heady mix of many highly volatile things/aspects which can turn anytime anywhere equally provocative and aggressive. These manifest certain feeble atavistic tendencies; histrionic reactions to historical blunders; self created or aggravated problems further fueled by sensationalism seeking media, scandal mongering journalists, guilt inflicted international manipulative leaders and nations; fanatical bonding with misinterpreted superficiality of religious edicts; perverted unsolicited participation into the internal affairs of other nations and religions etc. There are certain common factors to all these: like misguiding and misusing certain individuals by emotionally charging them, funding them etc.

I am not going back to the times of inquisition, crusades, Nazism, Stalinism etc all of which too killed millions and millions of human beings senselessly but revisiting certain recent events.

All of us know who or which nation funded and armed Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden initially and also who attacked them later on and why? Now the same forces or nations are funding Pakistan which the whole world knows what it contributes to humanity and how women and children are treated there? Human rights organizations are too busy to get involved there so they can be excused.

All of us also must be aware now that Europe is trouble again, after being the initiators of two world wars; I pity the innocent and intelligent citizens of Europe who end up as unfortunate victims, not only dying and suffering physically but ideologically getting putrefied by a parochial propaganda mechanism which homogenizes to conveniently hegemonize and forcefully make the whole population herdish.

It did in the early 19th century through compulsory conscription wherein many potential intellectual brains who could not or did not want to take the gun and fight died. We don’t know how many potential Voltaires and Bertrand Russells the world has lost to the military madness.
    
From Indian perspective the West in addition to all the following atrocities that they have committed in their own lands in the name of inquisition, crusades, Nazism, Stalinism etc and also killing so many red Indians and aborigines and breeding Africans to use as slaves, introducing passages justifying these in their religious texts, atrocities in the name of colonialism etc are now required to answer to all the following as well.

I read somewhere this news item
German authorities have received specific warnings of the risk of, security sources told Reuters on Friday, after pre-dawn police raids on 12 homes linked to radical Islamists.

Most European nations have a soft corner for "Jihadis" seeking "Asylum" from Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria etc - But will NOT allow Indian techies even a work permit let alone PR status !  They recognize such Jihadis as freedom fighters in their own lands like Pak Occupied Kashmir etc. Worse still pay through their own tax money maintenance amount for every child , well, the Pakistanis and Bengladeshies are really enjoying this. Imagine if India and China start paying some 300 dollars every month for every child! But on the other hand no work permit for Indian techies. This will go on till Belgium changes its name ( will be the first in Europe) to Belgistan ! By that time, more sensible nations would have dissolved EU.

The west has much to answer for:
1.     In the early fifties, they gave asylum and encouragement to the Naga secessionist Phizo.
2.     They gave asylum and support to the JKLF. The first non-IRA terrorism in the U.K. forty years ago was the murder of Mhatre the Indian Deputy High Commissioner by the JKLF.
3.     All western countries supported the Khalistanis. The Canadians were casual, callous and incompetent apropos of the Kanishka.
4.     Western countries supported the LTTE and still keep talking about Sri Lankan Government Human Rights violations conveniently forgetting that the LTTE used women and children as human shields.
5.     Some years ago, the Danish Prime Minister, when he was President of the EU gave India a gratuitous and sanctimonious lecture on Kashmir, Human Rights etc.
6.     In the late forties, Noel-Baker, the British delegate to the U.N. deliberately and consciously sabotaged India’s position, supported Pakistan and ensured that Pakistan would hang on to POK.
7.     The British and the Americans loved the whisky-drinking Ayub Khans and Yahya Khans and disliked our sanctimonious dhoti-wearing politicians.
8.     Wavell went on record that the British could deal with Muslims, but not with Hindus.
9.     Olaf Caroe worked hard to create an anti-Soviet Islamic grouping at CENTO and SEATO with Pakistan as the pivot.
10.  Reagan called the Afghan Mujahideen leaders the equivalent of the “founding fathers” of America.
11.  Successive American administrations till George W Bush, did their best to deny India technology and uranium and worked very hard, very persistently and very diligently to thwart Indian science and technology while conniving with the Chinese nuclear build-up and Chinese support for Pakistan’s nuclear arms. The Chinese support was supplemented by Dutch and Swiss support with the knowledge and connivance of the CIA.
12.  Nixon and Kissinger not merely connived but supported the selective genocide of Bangladeshi Hindus despite the U.S. Consulate in Dacca calling this event in no uncertain terms. Kissinger is supposed to have joked that Yahya and Tikka viewed the killing of Hindus as an entertainment.
13.  The BBC has for years opposed India and Israel.
14.  The U.S. and the U.K. denied visas to Modi while merrily giving visas to Jihadists----what an irony!
15.  Some forty years ago the Principal of a British Government school was sacked for political incorrectness because he felt that Muslim schoolgirls should learn swimming just as other schoolgirls should.
16.  The British use of the word “Asians” or Sub-continentals” is a joke. The fact is that immigrants from Pakistan as more likely by orders of magnitude to be in jail or on welfare rolls as compared to immigrants from India. This fact is always euphemistically avoided.
17.  France broke off military sales and relations with Israel after 1967, in order to curry favour with Arab states.
18.  When Indian or Israeli officials warned western officials, the western reaction was one of contempt and indifference.
19.  And now, the chickens have come home to roost!
20. Response of both European / American Administrations AND Civil Society is INEXPLICABLE on any rational grounds?
21. What could their possible motivations be in upholding human / asylum rights of primitive barbarians spouting BARBARIC INHUMAN IDEOLOGY?


Dear Devdutt Pattanaik ,

 

Your ‘Origins of Religion’ has raised more questions than it has answered. I am not even questioning or bothered whether you support, practice, and follow any religion or many religions. But you are trying to make certain sweeping interpretations with more vagueness and trying to ensconce them in flamboyant language and feeble statements like, “ Religions provide humans with maps that help them navigate through life. Yes, religions cause violence because from religion comes the notion of identity. Religions locate us in a cosmic super map. Attack religion and you attack identity, a simple fact that rationalist and atheists do not understand. This is precisely what many aspects of religion have done to humanity and diverted them from facing the stark facts and reality life and instead covered them up with all sorts of entertainment, ornamentation, appealing doctrines, ideas etc. Humanity has fallen a prey to these fancies and attractions and failed to experience life as it is with all its superb as well as silly things. Not even imaginations but hyper fancies and hyped up rituals form major part of religious way of life.

 

All religions are equal and every religion has its own beauty, beliefs, benefits and banalities.

Let us not either over simplify or over generalize to suit our preconceived interpretations and inferences but instead just observe plain facts as they are and be humble enough to accept them and try to understand, not necessarily judge, what they are? What has been their contribution? What are their inherent qualities or attributes? Etc.

What any individual /group do /did /shall do with them merely shows how they relate to it and has nothing to do with the subject matter per se.

For example if there is a cow, it is just an animal. You can do anything with it: leave it to lead its life it wants, or feed it, play with it, milk it, worship it, sit on it and ride, torture it, cut and eat it and so on. So what is done with or to the cow has nothing to do with the inherent attribute of cow but how every individual/group relates with the cow.

Let no one get emotional or act as if they are more enlightened than another religion or sect and therefore more eligible to preach or sermonize others. Let us all calmly and candidly look at facts of history starting from times of recorded history. While the whole world makes lot of money talking and making movies about terrorism and terrorist cause lot of damages to both people and property, very few try to study the underlying reason.

No one in his sane mind will resort to become suicide bomber or assume by causing calamity and ending his/her own life in the process is going to become a martyr? Then what or who causes such trends and tendencies? Be it inquisitions, crusades, saiva samana in fights in ancient Hinduism, the silencing of Bhuddism in India in remote past by Hinduism etc.

We all can see the obvious, if only we are honest. Osho used to say, ' if you say a fruit tree is great you can prove it only based on the fruits that it produces' Especially after what happened in France , I thought of communicating some simple and plain facts which must be addressed and I did to almost all the major media houses in Europe and USA through these links. Religion-its role,  evolution, purpose, religion and science etc. The first two I wrote in the last three days after what happened in France.

Religions, all religions, by themselves are a big problem why?





and fortunately the Vedas and Bhagawad Geetha nowhere mention the word Hindu. So Hindus cannot claim them as their texts though they may be part of epics and literature that has emanated from a place the present day Hindus live and they also convey many excellent and high philosophical traditions that people who follow Sanathana Dharmna have along with many unpleasant rituals of that period.

Actually religion as an entity, I am not confining to the tall claims or great philosophies in any religion, but religion, I mean all religions, as they are practiced or followed do not as Mr. DEVDUTT PATTANAIK  claims, “provide humans with maps that help them navigate through life.” But on the contrary they define the boundaries, construct fences, create cultural biases and reinforce identities to both classify and differentiate human species, human intellectual approaches, human understanding, human compassion etc based on its predefined modes of perception.
Again Pattanaikji “from religion comes the notion of identity”.

As in the cow example given at the beginning of this small write up different identities emanated from how each one related to the cow and not because of the cow.
“We are programmed by habit and constant preconditioning to create defenses against and make fences around us towards anything new [it could be good, better, best or bad I desist from using the usual good, bad and ugly as it has more negatives] that crops up in us or around us. It is a sort of protectionism that goes to envelop in some specific identity or label and further firm up our prejudices and prevent us from experiencing the new. Gradually this identity creates such strong concrete walls that enforce us to experience life only in terms of what is approved of that identity.

Almost all of us are gullible to this attribute of experiencing life through any existing or well established or socially well accepted or religiously sanctioned or personally enjoyable and pleasing identity/identities, which reflect in our actions and attitudes. We are thus led by the expected experiences which must fit into this readymade or readily accepted patterns, I am not saying either they are good or bad, but we are thus prevented from experiencing life as it is happening at this moment.

So, in real terms there is nothing new when we deal with life based on predetermined and past experiences. Or attempt to do things to get a result for a future goal. Thus, in a way we are slaves of our past or to our future. None of our behavior patterns, perceptions, attitudes or attributes are new or authentic as they are guided by prefixed identities.

In fact, in a way, most of the individual problems and group pogroms are the result of identity crisis. This [identity adoration/affiliation] is a very important part of study of personal psychology and socio-psychology which gets neglected or does not get the prominence it deserves because the predominant factors that create these identities and factories that produce these predators are the patrons and promoters of religious and political ideologies. Now recently, technological advancement has also jumped into this band wagon [of course at least this offers tangible comforts and benefits].

These identity creating factories are afraid of free and open minded persons as these open minded persons may start questioning some aspects or the very identity itself.

There is nothing wrong with identities per se nor are they avoidable. For example if someone  is born physically beautiful, mentally brilliant, in a  highly respected family in a particular nation following certain language, religion, culture, tradition etc with some type of specific behavior then that person would be identified with all those things. What can that person do about any of those identities which he is born with, born into, groomed up with along with social inculcation, indoctrination, insistence or voluntary inclination or interest etc?

There is nothing wrong even in human mind getting into judgmental mode based on these identities which is one of the natural consequences of identity affiliation and which is what is happening all over.

There is nothing wrong even in the human mind making comparisons, analysis, criticisms etc based on these identities which are again natural consequences of affiliation to inevitable identities.[1]

The problem crops up when these identities create narrow walls of prisons of the mind and thereby creating incompatibilities and intolerances in the functioning of many vital tools of life and not letting life to move on smoothly in its tracks.

In brief our thoughts, ideas, actions, feelings, interactions, attitudes etc are to a very great extent influenced by how we relate to changing situations /circumstances /scenarios/events/environment/new relations etc while clinging on to our identities.
Even within specific identities there are varying degrees and intensities of manifestation.

It would be pertinent to mention what ― Idries Shah the great Sufi writer says in Reflections
“You have not forgotten to remember;
You have remembered to forget.
 But people can forget to forget. That is just as important as remembering to remember - and generally more practical.”


As a consequence of this [doing everything while clinging on to our identities]our understanding of life itself is to a very great extent depends on how well we understand our relations/relationships to these changed situations /circumstances/scenarios /events/environment/new relations etc.

Any identity is /all identities are a stumbling block to any realization or unbiased relating/relationship as well. AsJames Braha writes, in the wonderful book ‘LIVING REALITY-My Extraordinary Summer with “Sailor” Bob Adamson’,
“You can only know your self by being yourself without any attempt at self-definition and self-description. Once you have understood that you are nothing perceivable or conceivable, that whatever appears in the field of consciousness cannot be your self, you will apply yourself to the eradication of all self identification, as the only way that can take you to a deeper realization of your self. You literally progress by rejection—a veritable rocket. To know that you are neither in the body nor in the mind, though aware of both, is already self-knowledge.”

The real nakedness devoid of any cover of identity, probably this could be one of the connotations of the word ‘Nirvana’, may enable us and equip us to face reality unbiased and without any pre conditioning. Some great souls have even opined that we can even pose real questions only from this state as Terence Mckenna says, “You are not naked when you take off your clothes. You still wear your religious assumptions, your prejudices, your fears, your illusions, your delusions. When you shed the cultural operating system, then, essentially you stand naked before the inspection of your own psyche…and it’s from that position, a position outside the cultural operating system, that we can begin to ask real questions about what does it mean to be human, what kind of circumstance are we caught in, and what kind of structures, if any, can we put in place to assuage the plan and accentuate the glory and the wonder that lurks, waiting for us, in this very narrow slice of time between the birth canal and the yawning grave. In other words we have to return to first premises."
-

Life is never fulfilled with unfulfilled relationships within the family, with others in the society, with the environment, with the many sciences, subjects, systems that we come across which are useful to us, used by us or we are used by them and so on. So, the quality of life is the manifestation of the quality of the inter play of these various relationships.

Even in parenting after donating a sperm and leasing a womb and initially taking care of the physical well being of the Child it is all about weaving meaningful and mutually respectable relationships psychologically all the while factoring in many socio-cultural changes and the generational differences.

Can we ever succeed in overcoming the difficulties and fulfill all our relationships?

Probably if we sincerely, seriously and sanely try to understand them through two important primary factors, namely completely listening and curiously learning followed by involvement and responsibility and all these done with total intensity and intense totality. Very often the greatest mistakes in our relationships, overall perceptions and evaluations occur because we read three fourths, listen half, understand quarter, think zero and are indifferent to the impact of our actions, reactions, thoughts and words on humanity and the environment. [2]
The vital factor/essence of any relationship is the connectivity /link and the best way to be aware of it, savor it and sensibly understand this vitality is to be detached to the ultimate results, as Bhagawath Geetha says and again to quote Simone Weil,
“ Attachment is the greatest fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached”.

Because the fact is life is neither a mere predesigned product with preprogrammed operations nor is it merely any of the existing proclaimed and sanctified order nor is it the result of any mere catastrophic accident.

‘Neither our Brain nor our Character is Cast in Stone’ [3]

Do our perceptions and/or thoughts, feelings, knowledge etc influence our experience or our experiences influence our perceptions and/or thoughts, feelings, knowledge etc?

Do we create our identity and getting confined by it?

Or whether some identity actually influences and/or creates us?

Or can we tweak some parts of the brain surgically and create a complete leap away from affinity to identities so that individual perceptions, actions, attitudes and social behavior etc all can be freer and at least devoid of problems caused by contradictions and ideological constraints?  [After all physiologically even DNA is tweaked to produce unimaginable results][4]

Ultimately one thing is clear that there are neither any absolutes to something as temporal as individual life nor any eternally valid or universally applicable models to emulate as the only way or only option to our mortal life. There are no eternal explanations to everything in any single source. Nor is there any omnipotent panacea for everything. The vague randomness that unfolds as we live life is the very beauty of life and probably the most important sign of human evolution and growth of civilization. No single person is an expert on everything.

All relationships effect a transformation, a transition from a present status influencing and impacting ourselves, others, our environment and our very relationship which causes this and so on. This transformation happens due to many of the factors mentioned above in the normal process in a gradual way or sometimes by suddenly overcoming the constraints of time and space, and due to different affinities to various other identities. This happens when there is unqualified complete love as Jeff Brown points out "You don’t measure love in time. You measure love in transformation. Sometimes the longest connections yield very little growth, while the briefest of encounters change everything. The heart doesn't wear a watch- it’s timeless. It doesn’t care how long you know someone. It doesn’t care if you had a 40 year anniversary if there is no juice in the connection. What the heart cares about is resonance. Resonance that opens it, resonance that enlivens it, resonance that calls it home. And when it finds it, the transformation begins…"


Does reality really require an observer? Not necessarily.

Does reality change because of the observer? Not necessarily.

Has reality any inherent existence irrespective of the presence of the observer?

If it rains heavily in a very remote place uninhabited by any human being, still there would be all effects of a heavy rain irrespective of whether anyone was there to observe it or record it or measure it.[5]

Or as the great Neale Donald Walsch says, “The definition of everything depends on how you look at it. Nothing is as it seems, and the moment you change your perspective you see that. Therefore, there is no such thing as Reality; there is only the reality you create by the way you are looking at something. You are creating your reality through the use of perspective”.


So, very meaningful reality exists of its own within the realm of our observation or sometimes unnoticed, unknown and unnamed, beyond and/or beside the realm of our observation, our measuring it, our labeling etc.

Various gifted souls and scholars have tried to perceive it through various methods, expressed their understanding through different subjects, through different frames of reference in varying degrees of intensities, each one grasping the splendor of different facets of the same diamond called the totality of life. What their understanding unraveled is very educative and enlightening and highly motivating for us to explore further and deeper the meanings of life.

[5] Both Einstein and Ramana Maharshi made almost identical statements that "everything is predetermined". Nobel Laureates Eugene Wigner and Francis Crick (co-discoverer of DNA) made similar statements. The ground-breaking experimental work of Libet and many contemporary cognitive neuroscientists support these statements.

This is the first part of a presentation at the Science and Non-Duality Conference in San Rafael, CA in October 2009. The second part is covered in the video "Intelligence Choice is Impossible"; the third and last part is covered in "You Are Not In Control".

There is a new video "Predestination, free will, control and the illusion of time" which explains much on these concepts.

Additional information is @ blog:happinessbeyondthought.blogspot.com website: happiness-beyond-thought.com book: Happiness Beyond Thought: A Practical Guide to Awakening. Downloadable @ 
http://preview.tinyurl.com/bslfll8 youTube: Gary Weber Nonduality FB

Interview @ Towards A Science of Consciousness conf @
http://youtu.be/bEOujFKnHwc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqLDWyk1uLQ
All these identity stuff can be found in my blog post
But whatever humanity may do or come up with religion will continue to have its sway because of various factors
I would like people like you who are much read by public, I read all your books , attended a few of your lectures, must first be convinced and then  convey that rationalism and atheism are also very much part of human attempt to explore and understand life. They may sound different, they may approach differently but nonetheless they do unravel much more reasonable, more practically applicable, logically laudable  and easily confirmable evidences rather than mundane justification like status quo addicts or passive followers or people who love to confirm to existing views with mere verbal and/or scriptural references/ justifications.
I am all the more appalled by these comments coming as they do just a day before Swami Vivekannada’s birth anniversary who wanted that Man must learn to live with a religion which commends itself to intellectual conscience and the spirit of rationality who also believed that whatever we do must be justified and supported by reason. So I would like to place on record some of his quotes here on this issue of rationality and reason being given a priority in perceiving as well as practicing religion.
“There are four general types of men—the rational, the emotional, the mystical, and the worker. For each of these we must provide suitable forms of worship. There comes the rational man, who says, "I care not for this form of worship. Give me the philosophical, the rational—that I can appreciate." So for the rational man is the rational philosophic worship.”
“The scriptures of different religions point out different means to attain the ideals of universal love, freedom, manliness, and selfless benevolence. Every religious sect is generally at variance as to its idea of what is virtue and what is vice, and fights with others over the means of attaining virtue and eschewing vice, instead of aiming at realising the end. Every means is helpful more or less, and the Gita (XVIII.48) says, "Every undertaking is attended with defects as fire with smoke"; so the means will no doubt appear more or less defective. But as we are to attain the highest virtue through the means laid dozen in our respective scriptures, we should try our best to follow them. Moreover, they should be tempered with reason and discrimination. Thus, as we progress, the riddle of virtue and vice will be solved by itself.”
“Personally I take as much of the Vedas as agrees with reason. Parts of the Vedas are apparently contradictory. They are not considered as inspired in the Western sense of the word, but as the sum total of the knowledge of God, omniscience. This knowledge comes out at the beginning of a cycle and manifests itself; and when the cycle ends, it goes down into minute form. When the cycle is projected again, that knowledge is projected again with it. So far the theory is all right. But that only these books which are called the Vedas are His knowledge is mere sophistry. Manu says in one place that that part of the Vedas which agrees with reason is the Vedas and nothing else. Many of our philosophers have taken this view.”
“When, by reasoning, Truth is comprehended by the intellect, then it is realised in the heart, the fountainhead of feeling. Thus the head and the heart become illumined at the same moment; and then only, as says the Upanishad, "The knot of the heart is rent asunder, and all doubts cease" (Mundaka Upanishad, II.ii.8).”

No single human being, nation, system, organization, institution, religion, culture, social system of governance is an island of inferiority or superiority. But each have a distinct identity which is the manifestation of variety, a fact we all must accept and appreciate.  We must strive to strengthen the interconnectedness and inter-relatedness to further the process of unity leading to maximum security and happiness of the maximum number possible involving prioritizing of people, environment and economic development.

It is indeed sad to see people still fighting in the name of religion, ideologies, national boundaries etc even in the 21st Century. When and how are we going to shape really global peace and economic development if we allow these narrow walls to distance us?

National identities are determined by the cultural and social bonds and the growth of civilization which have established certain distinct features after several centuries of churning by human beings involving several wars, cravings for utilization of resources, accustoming to certain cultures etc and settled in certain real estate places which have a distinct identity as a nation.

It is the responsibility of every educated and enlightened human society to respect and ensure to protect these national identities without engaging in destructive activities of either open war or proxy war through sponsoring terrorists.

This becomes a greater necessity in nations which are economically under developed or in the process of development. So the persons in positions of governance in these types of countries must work together to weed out narrow minded people and vested interest groups unleashing violence on innocent citizens through terrorist activities.

These are not vague generalizations but statements valid for every context involving or concerned with human life, environmental protection and economic development.