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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sanathana Dharma, western ploys, Rajiv malhotra

I read Rajiv Malhotra's article in India abroad magazine[1]  long back as  I am in his mailing list and twitter or perhaps from some FB group . He is doing a great service on his part.

The problem  fundamentally is India must become an economic power; it must create its won Harvard type of institutions; it must have its own BBC type of channels; it must have its own Mossad type of intelligence agencies; its own CIA type of spies and intruders etc. I think these are sufficient and India is capable of doing all these money wise and educated manpower wise but it needs the will and Governmental encouragement .

We need not ape the west in any religious matter because all their religions are institution based to propagate, preserve and promote a particular fossilized ideology but our religion is fundamentally a free flowing river of experience and processes geared towards enlightenment  through multiple and ever changing ideas, philosophies, concepts for both survival and living aspects of life. Our spectrum is too wide and we must not reduce it to accommodate or fit into others' definitions or labels. Sanathana Dharma does not require a religion it requires only people to live life ,enjoy it and love it and create situations for the whole of humanity to do so. It gives freedom to all the believers in Divinity to follow whichever path suits them.

Swami vivekananda shook the west from its slumber but still it needed a continued  follow up. Swami Vivekananda also felt the necessity to gather good-hearted people to serve the society and therefore RK mutts and even their intention was never to propagate any brand of religion but to serve humanity and enlighten everyone. It was followed by the discovery by the west of Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharishi's philosophical inquiry into the self propagated through Paul Brunton.

Way back in 1979 when I used to sit at the Madras University library and read the books of scholars like Taylor books about Socrates and Aristotle, Dagobert Runes esp his works on  philosophies of the world etc I was surprised that though it was such a wonderful encyclopedic work there was not even an iota of reference to any Indian texts and in many other western encyclopedias Hinduism was referred to as way of pagan or heathen religious practices followed by people living in India. 

It was then  from the 60s started  the various type of Sanathana Dharmic principles,philosophies and physical practices like yoga which started storming the west like  Hare krishna moments, Maharishi mahesh yogi's TM, Osho's philosophical discourses, Yogananda's magic spell, Sachidhananda swamy's in- depth analysis, sri Aurobindu's philosophy as propounded by The Mother of Pondycherry, Swami Chinamaya Nanda's expositions of Bhagawad Geetha's  concepts, JK's philosophy, B.S.Iyergar's yoga to Maa Amrithananda Mayi simple message of love, Sri Sri ravishankar and Juggi Vasudev etc . The impacts that these souls and their movements created have created in so many sane souls in the West , that the West  is doing its bit to restrain people from getting spiritually enlightened and philosophically inquiring fearing such activities may shake the very foundations of their belief systems. So they resort to multiple ways starting from unleashing the dot busters in the early 70s to intimidating with abusive texts a la Wendy style to funding dubious NGOs engaging in dirty activities with hidden agenda etc. 

They do this even to their own people who have had real vision and communion with the universal spirit like in the case of Neale Donald Walsch [ the church abuses him]

But the beauty is the more they do these there will be more souls drifting towards truth which does not require any organized army to protect or propagate itself. This is a philosophical stand but on a practical note we need to empower ourselves in areas which the West wants namely economic power. Then the west will stoop to any level to do anything as they are doing with the petrol rich funding countries which are literally sustaining Harvard financially.

Even from the west we have neglected the writings of great historians who recorded truth like Will Durant and instead preferred to dote out in our text books the lies perpetrated by the colonial asses.

We have many government funded departments but yet till date we have not produced any encyclopedic village wise  all India guide to traditions, cultural practices etc we do not have district wise topographic guides, we do not have even have a detailed book on the geographical splendors of India [ I am not referring to tourist destinations]. Unfortunately we are indifferent to everything that makes this country great.

The well meaning few are ill fated to struggle for their economic survival that they do not have either the time or energy or resources to do what they want to.

Even now our much paraded economic growth is largely dependent on serving the western needs in IT industry.

[1] India Abroad Magazine, February 21, 2014
Pages A14, A15 and A17
‘I basically lit the fire’
Rajiv Malhotra, one of Wendy
Doniger’s most vociferous
critics, speaks to Arthur J Pais
Rajiv Malhotra, a constant critic of Wendy Doniger and what he calls her Chicago school of writers and thinkers, retired’ at age 44 some 20 years ago and put his money into the Infinity Foundation, an one-man think tank. The Indian-American writer of books on India has devoted himself, for more than a decade-and-a-half, he says, “clarifying the many misperceptions about Indic traditions in America and amongst Indians.”
When did the fight against the book start? How did it go through?
My involvement with this started in the year 2000. My kids went to Princeton Day School and one day the teacher asked me for information on Vedanta, (Swami) Vivekananda and Ramakrishna (Paramahamsa) because in their teaching of world religions, they wanted to have knowledge of Hinduism.
One of the teachers told me that he has been advised by some American scholar not to teach Vivekananda and Ramakrishna because the parents would object to this. When I asked why the parents would object, he said it has been declared that Ramakrishna had a relationship with Vivekananda.
I have never heard of such a thing. We started investigating this and asked which scholar had said this and that is how I discovered a whole genre of scholarship which has this kind of view that Wendy Doniger and her students came up with. They used Freudian psychoanalysis to psychoanalyze (Hinduism).
Which book has talked about Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Parahamsa?
A book called Kali’s Child by Jeffrey J Kripal. Then I found Paul Courtright, one of Wendy’s students, had a similar book called Ganesa: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings. They had this very vulgar kind of view.
I tried to take this around to the religious, Hindu community and they did not want to touch it. Many of the Hindu leaders in this country may be were too arrogant, too cocky, or too embarrassed or too scared to talk about it. They did not think it important to take any action.
So I took it upon myself to start writing articles expressing that these are not correct interpretations…
This issue has nothing to do with Christianity versus Hinduism, because most of these people are Jewish, anyway. They are using a Marxist lens, a Leftist lens, a Freudian lens. The kind of theories they are using are completely inapplicable to the Indian way of life.
Then, I started attending the conferences of religion to see why this is happening. It was very strange. All religions had
people represented from within.
You would see rabbis from Judaism, Buddhist monks, Imams talking about Islam. In the case of Hinduism, there
was hardly any practicing Hindu speaking for it. It was entirely non-Hindus who felt that they have understood the text, learnt Sanskrit and they were able to interpret it. So, I felt that this is a huge untold story.
I started writing articles. These articles created a huge stir. And, so this is the situation with these people. We compiled
these arguments in the book called Invading the Sacred that came out in 2007, and since then I have come out with three more books that are not on Wendy but other issues related to Indian civilization and Indian philosophy and thought and so on.
I personally moved on, beyond Wendy Doniger. But I have created a huge awareness and awakening among the Diaspora and among people in India. So many other groups started getting immersed and started taking my cause and they are the ones who started litigating on Doniger and her book and so on in India.
The person who filed the case is a woman called Monika Arora. She is a very reputed Supreme Court lawyer in Delhi. She filed this case.
There has been quite a bit of criticism against the group
that filed the case against Doniger’s book.
Some people are trying to portray the Hindus involved in this case as some kind of savages, violent people and all of that.
The point is that the Hindus who filed this case used the rule of law, they used the courts. There is no hint of any violence. They are very cultured, sophisticated people. They went to the court and filed a case.
The case has been going on for over two years. There was never hint of any violence or anything indecent. It was a let’s go to the court and fight.
So, the Hindu site put out a petition in the court citing many, many instances of errors in the book, sighting page numbers.
Some of these are not matters of interpretation, but factual errors and these are available online.
There is a petition that lists many, many pages of errors and so the opposing side of Penguin gave Wendy Doniger’s point by point response. This went back and forth several times. It was not like it was an uncivilized mob. It was a very civilized legal due process going on.
I’m not privy to what was the thought process of the Penguin side. But they must have concluded that they have the risk of losing. So, they reached an out-of-court settlement to withdraw the book.
Now, somehow, the Western scholars are making it sound like some kind of a Hindu mob pushed them and forced them with violence. There is no evidence of such thing; on the contrary, the entire evidence is that it was a legal due process by which a civilized country manages disputes.
Were you part of the litigation?
I deliberately decided that this should run its course through the legal system. I do not want any part of it. I’m available as a scholar. My criticisms of the writings are very publicly available. I’ve always said anybody can quote them freely, but I don’t want to be drawn into a legal matter myself.
The reason being that Wendy is one of the issues that I have raised, you know, Wendy and her whole lineage. But I’m a scholar with many things to write about. That is not the only thing I’m concerned about.
I’m writing about the Indian history of science and technology; I’m writing about comparative philosophy; I’m writing about India as a nation and what are its narratives. I’m writing on many topics and I don’t want to get stuck into one issue that will exhaust me. So, I realized that I should not personally get involved and I therefore decided to stay behind.
How else did you support the case?
I did not support them in any tangible way, but they have my ideas. They are pretty self-sufficient in how they have funded it; the group has funded it, got the lawyers, and done the whole thing on their own.
I basically lit the fire in the beginning by highlighting that these are issues.
I also hope to create a process in which Hinduism is properly interpreted and presented not only to Hindus, but to
anyone. The thing is that every religion gets criticized. But other religions are where they are producing people who are very qualified to represent their own religions and therefore these seminary products become scholars and they get launched in different universities for support. For Hindus, they never set up a seminary.
I am a kind-of-a one-man show. I can only do so much. Given the number of Hindus in the world, there are a thousand
people like me who are standing there to study this, represent it, debate it, going and argue and be available to the media.
But, right now, there aren’t that many Hindus who are really well read, highly sophisticated and being able to represent
because we don’t have seminaries. So, the real solution to all this is that Hindus should use seminaries which can produce high caliber of leaders and then these leaders can go out there to take a stand.
Your children are no more at Princeton Day School, but are you in touch with the school?
The people who teach world religions in Princeton Day School are entirely on my wavelength.
There is a very good teacher. During the spring break, he takes 20, 25 American students to India to visit all the sites of different religions and he also supports me that the bias against Hinduism in the school system is not good for anybody because these American students will grow up and they will be dealing with India in some capacity.
A good education system should respect A good education system should respect the non-Western culture, be it India, China, Japan, the Middle East, — whoever. They should respect those people because Americans will be trading with them, having partnerships with them, having different relationships with them.
It will be good for America to train the next generation of Americans to be really appreciative of various cultures.
What kind of education did you have in India?
I went to Catholic school from kindergarten to the end of high school. I went to St Columbus school, a Catholic school, and I got a very good education from there. I have many Christian friends and now some of my closest friends are Christians.
I just went to Delhi and we had a reunion of the school alumni. Then, I went to St Stephens’s college, which is
also a Christian college.
I feel that the Western mischief of intervening and creating disruption inside India is a sad thing because Indians have had a long history of being able to get along in a very pluralistic society…
When these Westerners get in and start making fun of the gods and goddesses – all these vulgar writings about gods and goddess, all the vulgar writings about many of the symbols, the festivals, making fun of the gurus — obviously, they are instigating trouble.
I see it in that way. I see it as a very sophisticated form of intervention that causes internal problems in India and then they can blame it on Indians, as the British used to do.
Have you tried to engage with American scholars?
I have always told the American Academy that for each religion, you should always have certain people who are insiders at the table.
The American Academy of Religion has 12,000 members at their annual conference. You go to the panel on Hinduism, they should have a few Hindus able to represent their faith: Teachers, preachers, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, there are people from the Ramakrishna Mission, the wellknown
old-established organizations.
When they are describing something about Hinduism, they can bring many kinds of people. But right now they do not bring outsiders of the academy. They only bring people who are qualified academics. These qualified academics have very Western training and have a very narrow point of view on other religions because they are relying only on the texts.
Hinduism is not a religion of the book where you can learn everything by reading a text. You have to also understand how it is practiced and how the people who practice it, see it and interpret it.
The proper way to learn Hinduism is not only to read the text as seen by outsiders, but also what is the insider practitioners’ perspective. So, I’ve suggested to them that every time they are four speakers, three of them could be the normal American academic types; but one of them could be a practitioner who is brought as a voice of the Hindu community — who will kind of represent their point of view. But they have never accepted this.
There is a kind of a power, arrogance and a sense of ‘we know more than you guys know about your own religion.’ This kind of colonial hangover continues. I think these are problems that we are now noticing are examples of things getting out of hand because people feel very insulted.
So many Hindu parents complain that when their kids go to school, they are made fun of because they are asked all these kinds of questions: Do you worship a monkey, why do you have this dot on your head, and so on. So these kids are vulnerable and are embarrassed.
I’ve become the kind of clearing house for these Hindus. People bring their problems to me and I refer them to somebody who can help. I get approached for advice by Indian students in colleges who write to me that they are facing a certain issue and then I get involved. But one man cannot do this. This should not just be my job. So I organize this representation of people who are interested in this.
Was there any other way to deal with the Doniger book instead of asking for its withdrawal?
If Penguin had said that we are going to issue a new edition, thank you for telling us, sometimes books have an error issue, I think that would have made things OK.
But my feeling is that Wendy Doniger, as a matter of principle and arrogance, did not want to change a single word. Her books have been printed and stored in airport shops. Some Indian group in Mumbai also gave her awards. These awards were given by businessmen and industrialists who do not know anything about religion. They do not have knowledge, they are not qualified.
I know she has a good lobby firm. She gets her students to promote her work worldwide: in the US and the Indian press. She has all of us who have given her a privileged position where she is beyond criticism.
And so what has happened is because she enjoys this high prestige, it is not acceptable to her that all of a sudden — in the last 10 years — a lot of Hindus start complaining about her.
But this is the reality of the Internet. And what I have done and what Hindus are now doing about this was only possible because of the Internet.
On the Internet, because of social media, people creating blogs, people tweeting.
In the last 24 hours, I’ve been tweeting, a lot of people have been re-tweeting and it has become a huge thing. So, if it had not been for the Internet, they would have simply ignored us and continued and said who are you, we won’t bother about you. Now, they cannot ignore. So, I think that is a big part of it.
Several people from Princeton and elsewhere in America, including devout Hindus, said they like the book.
I personally am not in favor of banning any book. I have never called for a book ban in my life. I will never do that. I’m more interested that my counter position should get an equal voice. And my complaint is that they have banned me from all academic forums.
The same Western people when discussing religions of South Asia, they do not include me in their reviews, in their panels, in their conferences. The academic presses will not publish me; the literary festivals in India are so controlled by Wendy Doniger’s wavelength and fan club that people like me who represent an alternative point of view are not allowed.
So, there is a frustration that one side controls the forums. Their people control: They are on the editorial boards, they are on the selection committees, and their particular point of view gets in and the opposing voice does not.
It’s not a free market of ideas. It’s a market controlled by certain monopolistic ideas and the opposing ideas are not given a fair share…
I can write and sell to my Hindu followers. But they will not allow my books into the academy; they will not allow my books
to be read in the courses and even in the mainstream media.
So what is happening is that as a matter of practical reality, one side is being represented in the mainstream channels of communication and the other side is blocked.
Argument is an open-minded faith and so are Hindus. It doesn’t reflect well on the Hindus.
Gandhi was also using satyagraha against a big empire because they had too much control and power. He was disrupting them and bringing them down. I consider what I’m doing a kind of satyagraha against a very corrupt system of knowledge because it is misrepresenting knowledge: They control the printing presses, they control the academic presses, they control the journals, their friends are running the media.
So their ideology is the one that gets in and therefore that is a kind of monopoly that has to be broken. If there was a similar monopoly in business, it would be an antitrust case… In the business of the humanities and knowledge, you can (have) a monopoly and there’s no anti-trust law that covers that. So, that is an issue.
In theory, yes, Hindus are very open. I’m one of them. I’ve coined the phrase ‘open architecture.’ I fully support it. My new
book is called Hindu Open Architecture. It says it’s an open architecture, people are welcome to join, all kinds of different points of view are invited, we can criticize one another, we are evolving, we are not fixed in time, all that is fine.
But I think the Wendy Doniger group is not allowing the open architecture. They are closing this architecture. They are bringing a point of view in such a heavy handed way that it tends to dominate and it tends to suppress the alternative points of view. So some kind of counteraction is necessary and using the law is a decent thing to do.
Could the withdrawal of the book create more demand for it? People could be reading it for the first time.
Yes, I think that is always the case. But both sides will get something out of it. The people on the other side will play victim that the Hindus are bad people, they banned us, they are bad guys, so they will try to get some sympathy.
On the other hand, the Hindus’ side will also get mileage by saying we know our fight… We can win. It will give more publicity. More people now want to reprint my books because they want to understand what exactly was the criticism about Wendy Doniger. So, people on both sides will be interested in the published materials.
Some people will get interested in what Wendy Doniger is about because she is controversial; she always was. More people will also be interested in what I have to say. I keep getting calls from people in the last 48 hours wanting to get more of my stuff out.
It is more a matter of principle; we’re trying to make a statement. I don’t think that they’re expecting that the book will disappear because certainly you can buy it as an e-book. The point is that the book has been out for so many years, a lot of people have bought it and it has done very well.
Penguin has made it into a bestseller. To bring the book down is more of a moral victory. It’s not a victory in a practical sense that will make a difference. It makes a moral statement that we have a point against this very iconic author and we are able to make this point in a legal forum.
And, we are able to make it so effectively that even the publisher agrees with that.
Rajiv Malhotra's website:
Rajiv Malhotra's books:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

search for meaningless meanings

I have noticed on many instances he [Devdutt Patnaik] resorts to frenzied analysis a la MBA thesis papers coupled with a hurry to present his conclusion or perception without getting into certain texts and grasping the complete picture and the comprehensive vitality, purport, essence and the concept[s] that was/were originally meant to be conveyed in that particular period, context and socio-cultural religious milieu.

I wish to suggest to such people , there are many with good intentions but distorted approach , applying Cartesian analysis for everything the following quotes: “Get out of your own way… stop the paralysis by analysis… decide what you want, create a simple plan, and get moving!” - Steve Maraboli. and “Across planes of consciousness, we have to live with the paradox that opposite things can be simultaneously true.” ― Ram Dass.

This applies to many musicologists too. One cannot make a dissection and analysis of a raga without savoring its aesthetic appeal because in carnatic music the ragas are not merely made of the notes which can be written and rendered. The element the embellishes raga is predominantly the bhava and gammakas, one can never make or understand a busibela [Sambar rice] with detailed analysis of its ingredients.

For such people I suggest patience till the proper answers pop up. " I beg you… to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke and an excellent couplet in Tamil I got from a friend few days back "இல்லாத வார்த்தையின் அர்த்தம் தேடி மௌன அகராதியில் கண்டு உணர்ந்தேன் .."

This I loved because it conveys in addition to the fact that there are many things beyond the logical and rational explanations, scientific measurements etc that there are also many times we search meaninglessly for meanings that we expect or we want to justify through our limited perception and petty interpretations which could be appealing intellectually but they are not the reality. At the same time it is also a fact that gigantic structures of Shiva are erected purely as tourist attraction and for commercial purpose, they tend stress more on tourist tamasha rather than convey the sanctity of a temple.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Periods, parents and society.

Periods,  parents and society.
1] Balanced views come with experience, encounters and educated evaluation. So no wonder it is an article with very balanced views on very sensitive topic.
Here is the link to the article

2] Baseless and blinding beliefs, fettering faiths, tormenting traditions, rigid religious practices, mutilating mores, senseless social taboos, human reason confining cultural dictates etc must be weeded out for any sane human emancipation.

3] Dominating streams, institutions and individuals have always subdued other subjects, institutions and individuals to progress as effectively as they ought to have and curbed many great souls and their findings.
This has happened and continues to happen as an inevitable part or aspect of evolution.

4] But what is worse is uncritical love and unloving criticism leading more towards justification of either one of those stands rather than relevant reasoning that actually further  strengthens such predatory and predominating factors so much that even when they are fossilized return to haunt us. The frustration of all the stake holders the predators, prey manifest in extreme stands and vindications leading to venerating the venal and vilifying the values.

5] For example today in India the film world and media gets predominant and disproportionate importance. While many great scientists are working in silence and unrecognized the half baked news reporters and film stars who appear in a single film get prominence and majority of our gossips, discussions, obsessions, media projections , programs and even so called cultural programs are all weaved around them. Actually we do not realize we are wasting much of our valuable time, with which our life is chronologically measured, engaging in these activities. This trend is very dangerous for a society’s culture, education and values.

6] This type of predominance has happened even in the case of many great scientists like even Newton, Galileo, Swammerdam, Boyle, Pascal all fell prey to religion which was a dominating stream in their days .
Recognition for Galileo had to wait till 1992- 350 years after his death. He was denied even a public funeral.

7] But the consoling factor is that I find a positive trend in many countries and among many individuals who have decided to come out of their shell and question, analyze, boldly criticize the accepted authorities with solid reason to enable progress and bring people out of their ideological and identification cages.

8] For example even in science Thomas Crumps writes that “as a scientist Aristotle is unequalled, both for his influence on posterity and for his capacity to be mistaken about fundamentals”, and the great Bertrand Russell went on to say, “everything…..that Aristotle said on scientific subjects proved an obstacle to progress”.

9] A few months back I got this article. Very true observation and any rational thing coming from any source we must try to understand and accept even it goes against the centuries of tradition

10] Ramakrishna pramahamsa used to be served tea in the evening by which time he would mostly come out of the Kali temple to answer queries from his disciples. Once he was in such deep trance he did not come out and Saradha devi had come with hot tea as usual and finding him still inside the sanctum sanctorum said loudly I have brought tea but I cannot come inside as I am having menstrual cycle to which Sri Ramakrsrishna paramahamsa laughed loudly and said, “if persons with menstrual period cannot enter then what about Kali Maa herself . I am seeing her in human form with all the biological aspects of a human being. So stop getting influenced by useless, meaningless and irrelevant taboos and do come inside”. Can there be a greater saint than Ramakrishna paramahamnsa.

11] Already it is one of the most nauseating things to experience i.e. any involuntary and uncontrollable discharge from any of the 9 holes in the human body.

12] The problem happened when religion and people manning religions, mostly males reigned over everything and framed rules irrelevantly for even purely biological aspects interpreting them with many cultural, social and religious traditions and taboos.

13] In the old Testament you find expressions like ‘as abhorring as the menstrual clothes of women’ etc   

14] All traditions and taboos must give way for reason and scientific knowledge, and more importantly resort to evaluate everything with relevant tools and not entangle, entrench and engulf everything with ancient religious mores, irrational cultural and social evaluations, traditions and taboos either regional or global.

15] When I read the article in above link I wrote this

16] All these have continued because the society has been predominantly androcentric and in human species the mechanisms of dominance are subtle and oft times lurking and once someone/some group emerges as a predator or a predominating figure they always try to continue to have control.

17] It is this tendency to exercise control and resort to competing rather than co operating and complimenting that most of the problems erupt among various human relationships   

19] Here is very thoughtful comment for one the article by a girl called Ritu
“Next time when you refer to a woman’s menses, think of it as a process of preparation of the insides of her body, for it to be able to instill life into a fertilized egg and nurture it, till it becomes a tiny human being, ready to come into the world.
No part of a woman’s menstrual cycle is ‘polluting’ anything, anyone, or anyplace.
So let us talk about periods per se: I suppose it will be useful to put together some v. common facts (already mentioned in different comments and the article itself), for some of the uninitiated readers of this article:
a. It is not blue. It is Blood Red, Cherry red. Plum red. Deep red.
b. Degree of pain during periods varies among different girls/women. Also the degree of pain may even differ from time to time for the same girl/woman.
c. It is part of the natural process to prepare the lining of the womb for nurturing a fertilized egg. Since an egg is released every month and (Therefore) there is a chance of ovulation every time, this process repeats every month.
d. A lot happens inside the body between periods. Its just as similar a system as the systems of digestion, respiration, immune…
It has nothing to do with tradition, religion, faith, beliefs etc or any abstractions of the human mind.
It is a purely scientific system in the functioning of the human body and, I’d say, humanity. And if you call the Human Body a marvelous creation of God, well periods are a very integral part of the same marvelous creation.
Some amazing content related to periods:
1. When a man wore a pad!
2. In Humor – Women don’t bleed blue!…/women-don-t-bleed-blue”

20] Most important lesson out of all these is that we must question everything and stop not until we get rational response and refrain from justifying by comparing what other religions do? What other societies do? Who is authorized to decide on such issues etc? All these are symptoms of pinning life to traditions, unwillingness to accept facts, escape change etc. For want of time and space and to avoid controversies I have avoided scriptural nonsense on this issue.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sanathana Dharma and why it cannot be labeled along with other religions

What is Sanathana Dharma  and why it cannot be labeled along with other religions, though for the convenience of the world the term Hinduism is vaguely assigned to it.
I like to sip and sink in the wisdom of our predecessors as Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”.

1] Essential attribute of Sanathana dharma is: listen to this very appropriate speech

2] This attribute is better perceived when we make a very balanced and more appropriate approach with one or more of these factors, preferably all of these or perhaps some of these factors  manifesting predominantly  in tune with what is our own subjectively dominating attribute and attitude . Balance of these four fundamental approaches to truth, what are they again listen to this speech by the same person
How Do I Know if I am Enlightened? - Sadhguru

3] ‘Hinduism’ the term itself is shrouded in mystery. For those who would be interested in brain storming or academic churning [sometimes an euphemism for mental masturbation] to know the origin and evolution of the term may read this small write up with links
Sometimes etymology the more we go back in time can throw unbelievable facts as the great and most renowned linguist David Crystal writes in his wonderful book ‘Words, Words, Words’ that the words Nice, Science, Conscience and Shit have a common origin when traced to  a few thousand years back.
Incidentally the word Religion itself is made of Re+ligare [latin] Re+lier [French] literally meaning re-link , i.e. linking again the ‘individual soul’ with the ‘Universal soul’.
So strictly speaking anything that does not contribute to this must not be called religion, imagine how many religious people will be thrown out of business.

4] Sanathana dharma is not, and better not pursued as a religion because religion is at best a noble institution for understanding the spiritual dimension of an individual human being beyond and besides his physical, intellectual, emotional selves and pursuit of realization of reality and trying to seek god’s grace. These two namely, realization of reality and  god’s grace are again too vast to explore and experience but never beyond our reach and sometimes surprisingly they land us in such arena or they land up on us or in us. You may read these two links  to know and understand what they are and most importantly what they are not and

5] The natural urge of human beings to grasp and get these two things realization of reality and god’s grace, propel them into multiple modes to search for it and therefore no single religion however noble or broad minded it is, can culturally, socially and geographically confine, control and cater to these two human needs and that is why many new religious movements and cults erupt.

6] Religion , any/every  religion could possibly contribute to realize our spiritual potential as well as  confine our frame of reference and scale of observation and thus prevent us from realizing our spiritual potential with its very well developed and attractive steps and tools.

7] 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. There may be exceptions like a Adi shankara, or a Bhagawan Ramanamaharishi.

We can neither avoid the steps nor get struck to them. That’s why I cannot accept the snobbism of so called intellectuals parroting pet slogans like religion without rituals, god without religion or religion without gods, spiritualism without god or religion etc. In fact I have books titled in each part of the slogan.

Media needs to introspect

ManifesTOI is good but what about manifestation of media

Through write ups like ManifesTOI the popular media is manifesting its own original avatar as fourth estate deviating from its yellow journalism, scandal mongering mania, gossip garnering games, biased reporting and irresponsible cover ups. True to its original avatar it covered a very wide range of activities pertaining to governance. But to sustain such qualitatively superb status media needs to do self introspection as a  part of journalistic manifesto while it sits on its assumed high pedestal passing  opinions and judgments on every issue ,individual and  institution as the know all and judge all umpire.

Media must remain as an unbiased umpire. Instead if it gets into match fixing then it will get into trouble. It created a baby called AAP which is now targeting the parents because they have stopped pampering its tantrums. Media cannot distort nor blindly reproduce distorted versions and mutilate the denotations and connotations of words to please some sections as most of the Indian media do like their selective and distorted use of terms like secularism, inclusive growth, communalism etc.

For example in today’s news items itself there is a news item about many poor kidnapped girls from Megalaya rescued and handed over to their parents. All newspapers mention it as ‘children rescued from a NGO in Krishnagiri’. Why can’t they publish the name of the NGO? What amount did the media get? Or who is preventing the media from publishing the name of the NGO? When media adopts these double standards and makes reports like members belonging to a particular community, learnt from reliable or a certain source etc be assured that popular media will get its burial sooner or later because correct information and truth leak through and linger on in social networks and the myriad other ubiquitous internet sources with more authentic proofs. If the newspapers do not mention the name of the NGO then the public know that it is not any Hindu or nationalistic NGO but a foreign funded NGO.

Laity and local people now have their own lexicon for media’s mutilated versions.

Media personalities at all levels would do well to remember these two quotes always .
"We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality."  by  Ayn Rand and “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” by John Adams.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tamil movies and TV serials why they are so sickening ?

Let me tell something frankly about this much hyped audio release as for the lyrics nothing is new 

1] it is trite and tiresome. It is typical traditional portrayal of women as a desperate being getting into one way traffic mode offering and worse still obsequiously promising[ i cannot use swearing because of its connotations now] everything ,including an assurance that she would act as his mother, where is the identity of the wife, where is her reciprocal expectations, love, any love is a profusion of generous offering and also at least some reciprocal expectations.

2. music very mediocre even a 12 year old boy/girl can make a more intricate and better music with an ordinary casio

3. it neither sticks to any perfect swara of any single raga nor does it glide seamlessly into crystal clear ragamaliga.

4. it is very ordinary meaningless and worthless rhyme for pre-kg kids .

5. I think a society like India with very rich multiple musical traditions, great history excellent film music, with a very vast literary heritage, with slightly modern approach towards women,especially in her role as a wife must definitely move forward and produce better stuff but then who bothers about quality or creativity or originality or modern thinking in Tamil movie field.

6] the song yamunai atriley era katrile was better than this as a simple melody.

7] this sort of soul less whispering of simple harmonic motions through well equipped acoustic gadgets must be done away with .

8] Otherwise the already dwindling voice culture and pathetic sruthi suddham of south Indian vocalists will get worse.

9] Let us not pamper everything that pops up in cine field blindly .

10] today we tolerate five five kalchufy which has neither lyrics, nor language nor music but mere noise pollution.

11] unless and until the society stops sponsoring such juvenile and substandard stuff we cannot expect tamil film world to emancipate in the least bit fortunately in the past 12 years i would have hardly watched 10 tamil films and that most out of compulsion.

12] day by day the deterioration is so pathetic that the money spend on these unworthy filth can be better utilized for some social cause or promoting better entertainment.

13] as long as these types of tamil films exist and tamilians watch them too i do not think that any sane person would look at our cultural heritage or refrain from our social standards because films like literature are supposed to reflect something creative, original, aesthetic, socially enhancing etc, unfortunately tamil films , majority of them do none of these.

I think it is the same problem in culture too as in socio political arena, our wrong and misplaced identities influenced more by publicity. we are caught in a cultural vicious circle which says the artist s produce what the public enjoys , appreciates, pays for etc and the public say that they are made to watch what the artists [so called ] provide. we need to get out of this mutually destructive vicious circle rather than creating a ven diagram of more vicious circles in every field. we must keep at bay the kamala hassans , TM krishnas. It does not mean I am totally biased or prejudiced against Tamil movies if serious ones like Mozhi or sentimental ones like Abhiyum nanum or Thavamai thavamirundu or comedies I have not seen any in Tamil in recent past , all that they do is stand up and render some kadies, it is as bad as olichithram the audio presentation of movies, only in the field of Tamil movies this can happen. can you tolerate visual presentation of carnatic music? or presentation of shakespeare's works in painting form? or Picasso's paintings in audio form? please think. Why can't we produce a single serial like Yes minister,Lie to me , Castle, Big bang theory, Gray's anatomy,House etc so that the Tamil speaking public can also know about subjects other than mother in law daughter in law tug of war, submissive wives, drunken husbands, eloping wives etc. we have already deprived two generations of Tamil movie and Tamil tv viewers lot of good stuff. I sometimes pity the Indian movie and TV serial viewers which unfortunately is 80% of the population. The major culprits are these kamal hassans, sahruk khans, vijays etc and the accomplices are viewers especially educated ones. If Tamil movies and magazines are bad avoid them it wont hurt your tamil sentiments. On the contrary viewing and reading them will only blunt your brains, senses, sensitivities and we will be slipping into unworthy and inescapable identity cages

Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.
~Jim Fiebig

Sunday, March 9, 2014

perversion and relationship

It is all perversion and in extremely bad taste. Relationship ,all relationship is not about confrontation, competition, callous condemnation or damaging domination it is all either putrefying relationships or petrifying progress and at best puerile perversions but real relationship , it is all about reciprocation, collaboration , co operation, complimenting each other etc. Today I wrote this a few minutes ago ,it [including the links within and books referred ] deals with the many manifestations and the grand gamut of relationships and identity , how they are interconnected and interrelated. The whole world is going through a churning process and people pick all the rot that gets to float on top thinking that is the essence.Dr. Brian Weiss says, "We are not icebergs floating separately—we are the water that connects them. We are all connected to each other" and “The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity and that is love.”
-Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Identity and reality

Maoist Soni Sori, "most wanted" Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda joined (AAP) with Prashant Bhushan , a reputed lawyer also in the ranks of AAP . Kameshwar Bhaitha joins BJP. He is an ex-Maoist leader, wanted for killing 17 policemen. So why can’t we say BJP is also Maoist?

Our country made even Poolan Devi an M.P. and you know when women MPs of the parliament were assembled for a gathering no one could talk on any subject with Poolan Devi nor could she talk, Jayanthi Natrajan wrote about it very nicely in the Indian express at that time.

Such concerns and conversions personalities from violent aggressors or thieves into dignified personalities in the hope of them making total 180 degree metamorphosis is well intended  and great hope based thinking.

Who was Valmiki after all?. Society must give everyone a chance. There is a big restaurant [I have forgotten the name ] in Pigalle in some old Chateau or at 78 Boulevard de Clichy, Next to Moulin Rough France where a good hearted priest with good intentions runs a hotel and all the staff members are ex- criminals, prostitutes, ex-convicts etc because no other place accepted them including their former families. Incidentally it has one of the most popular bars with topless waitresses.

Jean Paul Sartre has written a great book titled Saint Gene real life character like Valmiki] wherein he excellently elucidates the psychological metamorphosis that such people undergo very lucidly.

But then this again must be evaluated from case to case and in proper context, just because BJP does it that cannot be justified and because AAP does it that cannot be condoned. however ,unfortunately, most of the character in Indian Maoist context are frozen in ideological identity and caught in their justification cages and therefore are hard nuts to crack and better to avoid than try to get media publicity and brownie points especially in a country of such enormous population with many well qualified citizens on the positive spectrum who have  socially at least so far never engaged any destructive activities in the country especially against the state like good doctors, great artists, great sports persons, great teachers, professors, engineers, lawyers, research scholars, academicians, political analysts, bureaucrats, military personnel, judges, police personnel, detective agents, successful businessmen ,honest journalists, successful traders  etc each with a great deal of experience in their respective fields and eagerly awaiting for an opportunity to be part of team India to contribute to Indian society .

Things vary from society to society and if we set bad trends in due course that can become order of the day and ultimately society will be in chaos, as it happened in NEW CALEDONIA, a small island near Australia with a very thin population of very fat people which continues to be a French colony participating in French elections. there some 8 decades ago the top French officials and businessmen who came to enjoy vacation to de- stress started asking for prostitutes to the tourist guides the moment they landed and gradually the tourist guides started noticing that prostitutes were becoming so rich that every tourist guide made his wife and daughters to get in to that trade for becoming rich so much so that the tourist guides now stand with their wives and daughters at the outer gate of airports, all the ports etc.

Mass mania, especially the ones which emanate either from passion whipping ideological fixations or fixed faiths or survival enhancing activities or socially  glamorous populism pandering activities or media propelling and projecting activities can lead to filthy clamor for filthier publicity as it is already happening in this country creating unarmed victims in the process as in the case of merit sabotaging policies, minority appeasement races in the name of secularism , which actually reduce minorities into dependent human beings on political party promises [ as if they cannot live decently on their own], freebies distribution which pampers society without any contribution etc.

In this context yesterday most popular newspapers had interviews and write ups about women achievers from films world, fashion designers etc not women teachers, women mothers, women sisters, women grand mothers, women doctors, women writers, women lawyers, women sports persons, women wives of popular personalities who manage everything at home, women musicians, business women, women traders,  women artists, women financial consultants, women industrialists, women educationalists [not the ones again with film connection] , women achievers in many other walks of life [ non governmental ] because the media is conditioned and condemned to look out for successful women  only in certain areas to the sad omission of more noble and meritorious domains of life wherein they have contributed.

Making more and more Maoist as popular candidates is like making only those students of the class who are sitting in last benches, trouble causing, not willing to learn, not participating in any cultural activity nor any sports as school people leaders or made to represent the school in all inter school cultural and academic activities, or making disobedient and dismissed army personnel to be defense minister. Are we okay with these, and then we can also welcome more and more Maoist as our political candidates to be inducted as MPs later on. Then why not terrorists, other criminals, let us get into the frenzy of pushing aside all the millions of sane and hard working normal as well as extraordinarily brilliant citizens. If they are lucky let them migrate and become big doctors, big entrepreneurs, big corporate executives, and big scientists abroad. Those who are not lucky remain frustrated as castrated bulls meekly watching everyone walkover. It is high time at least some sane newspapers wrote about these.

Let the Maoist, Naxalite supporters, their band of journalist etc spend some time in sane activities which will make them enter into the league of normal society and then they can even become governors but not this trend of making every anti national into a hero. This definitely must be the socio-psychological screwing by some foreign powers inimical to the nation’s development and growth. Let us not fall a pray to these.

While we debate on serious and patriotic bureaucrats, judges, Military personnel from joining the political parties immediately after retirement or resignation with opinions spilled all over saying that they must necessarily undergo a lay off period of one or two years before joining a political party we are very generously and gracefully willing to induct as candidates AAP, I am sorry ASAP, hardcore Naxalites, Maoists, Seditionists and their active supporters.

Unfortunately, unintentionally, unconsciously we may all end up extolling the wrong things. Both our individual self and social self are to a large extent shaped by how we relate with our circumstances and how our contexts relate with us.
Cognitive neuroscientist Bruce Hood's exploration of the building blocks of what we experience as the “self” in "The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity'

Amazon review of the book runs  excellently as , "Most of us believe that we are unique and coherent individuals, but are we? The idea of a "self" has existed ever since humans began to live in groups and become sociable. Those who embrace the self as an individual in the West, or a member of the group in the East, feel fulfilled and purposeful. This experience seems incredibly real but a wealth of recent scientific evidence reveals that this notion of the independent, coherent self is an illusion - it is not what it seems. Reality as we perceive it is not something that objectively exists, but something that our brains construct from moment to moment, interpreting, summarizing, and substituting information along the way. Like a science fiction movie, we are living in a matrix that is our mind.

In The Self Illusion, Dr. Bruce Hood reveals how the self emerges during childhood and how the architecture of the developing brain enables us to become social animals dependent on each other. He explains that self is the product of our relationships and interactions with others, and it exists only in our brains. The author argues, however, that though the self is an illusion, it is one that humans cannot live without.
But things are changing as our technology develops and shapes society. The social bonds and relationships that used to take time and effort to form are now undergoing a revolution as we start to put our self online. Social networking activities such as blogging, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter threaten to change the way we behave. Social networking is fast becoming socialization on steroids. The speed and ease at which we can form alliances and relationships is outstripping the same selection processes that shaped our self prior to the internet era. This book ventures into unchartered territory to explain how the idea of the self will never be the same again in the online social world." 

The author does all these while analyzing the biography of the most paradoxical character .Howard Hughes, at once a legendary aviator, movie mogul, tycoon, and socialite, and a reclusive billionaire housebound by his deathly phobia of dirt. He was a fearless aviation pioneer who set and broke countless records, yet he remained terrified of dying from germs. Hughes spent his final days unbathed, dressed in rags, with long sticky hair, curling nails, and the remnants of five hypodermic needles in his arms. He was worth $2 billion!!

Reality is neither any axiomatic certainty nor is it a frozen faith to be scrupulously followed by blinkered believes operating within fixed fences or identity cages but it is mostly contextually shaped by relationships and how we relate to others and things and environment etc . No human being can be know all or omniscient personality to dictate anything to the rest but we all need to respect certain time cherished and time tested values for the good of everyone.