All posts filed under: Thoughts

Playing With Zero and Ancient History

Mathematical and physical arguments are easier to check for basic errors than those in the social sciences and history. You may not divide by zero, because if you did then you could show, for example, that 2 = 3 (because 2/0 = 3/0); likewise, any system that delivers more work than the energy it takes in is a logically impossible perpetual motion machine. Authors in the social sciences sometimes get carried away by ideas that are unfalsifiable or logically inconsistent and since these ideas are repeated in the echo chambers of the academia, it can take a generation or two, or even longer, to realize this. Here I wish to speak of just one matter of ancient history concerning languages of India and Europe that are far apart geographically but belong to the same family. Recently, people have begun to use ancient DNA to see how India was populated by outside migrants and settlers. It is quite fair to assume that people traveled in different directions in the ancient world but to effectively assume that …

Sabarimala And The Blood Demons

Twelfth day of Devipaksha. Moonlight was flooding the face of the earth. Goddess Durga & her children have returned to Kailash, just a few days back. Once crowded grounds have now fallen silent, quiet. The boy was in deep dark slumber. Pages of the book lying beside him, were turning with the pace of the wind. Old memories crept in the boy’s dreams. Memories that go back a few ages, perhaps a few births before this. In the boy’s head reverberated the shriek of a barbaric desert traveler. “You do not know what I’m about to do.” The priest of Somnath temple held his head down as Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni burst into a hysterical laughter. The year 1025. The date was 25th October. Records indicate Patan of Gujrat to be the site. The Gods have fallen. Resistance of Pagan Hindus have been demolished to the dust. 84,000 trained soldiers of Mahmud & 10,000 fanatic Ghazis have made this victory possible with relative ease. Bhimdeb, the king of Patan, Amar Singh, the king of Lodar …

24 Names Of Vishnu

पाशांकुशाहिडमरूककपालशूलै: खट्वांग शक्तिशरचापयुतैर्भवन्ति|| अन्योन्यहस्तकलितै: कति मूर्तिभेदा: शंभोर्हरेरिव गदारिसरोजशंखै:|| Lord Shiva holds ten different weapons, namely a noose (trap) (पाश), a goad (अंकुश), a snake (सर्प), a drum (डमरू), a potsherd (कपाल) (used as a bowl), a spear (शूल), a club (खट्वांग) (an ayudha made of a thigh bone topped with a skull), a missile (शक्ति), an arrow (शर) and a bow (धनुष्य) in his hands. [Lord Shiva has five heads and so it is presumed that he has ten arms.] Find the number of different Shiva idols. Similarly, solve the problem for Vishnu idols; Lord Vishnu has four objects: a mace, a disc, a lotus and a conchshell. The above verse is from Bhaskaracharya’s (Bhaskaracharya II) (Born 1114 AD) book Lilavati. Bhaskaracharya had composed this book in 1150 AD to teach Mathematics to his daughter Lilavati, after whom the book is named. This book which is written entirely in verse covers arithmetic, algebra, geometry, mensuration, combinatorics, number theory and other basic topics. This book was used as a standard textbook for almost 700 years. Lord …

Mahabharata Workshop – Echoing The Warning Of Vyasa

Mahabharata has been the Itihasa that defined a part of my identity. It has defined and continues to define my consciousness. Whenever I read the Itihasa, take any episode of it, a kinship is formed between me and those immortal people within. I feel invested, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. From wanting to knock some sense into Shantanu, feeling like bursting into the Kuru Sabha and defying the Adharmis and feeling the exhilaration of speeding through the bloodied battlefield of Kurukshetra with none other than Krishna Vasudeva as my charioteer, I feel one with the epic. I am sure I echo the sentiments of crores people who consider themselves as the spiritual inheritors of this legacy, The Bharata. I don’t have to remind anyone who is aware of the epic even at a superfluous level, of the multitude of emotions that overwhelm us when the ill-fated dice game takes place. Falling prey to the crafty abuse of tenets of Kshatra Dharma, Yudhishtira gambles away the empire, the sweat and blood of his valiant and loyal …

Charter Of Hindu Demands For Parity

A group of around one hundred Hindus, including spiritual leaders, academics, authors, doctors, engineers, journalists, public intellectuals and concerned citizens from all walks of life, across the country, deeply disturbed by the systemic and institutionalized discrimination against  the Hindu society, gathered in New Delhi on 22nd of September, 2018 to deliberate on various constitutional, legal and public policy issues affecting the Hindu society. During the deliberations, it was acknowledged that as the inheritor, custodian and trustee of the Indic civilization based on the ethos of Sanatana Dharma, the Indian State has bounden civilizational responsibility to protect, preserve and promote the Indic civilization. A Charter of key Hindu Demands was debated and drafted, to be presented to the Government of India and the public. The Charter demands: 1. End of legal and institutionalised discrimination against Hindus by the Indian State, which is against the spirit of the equality of citizens irrespective of religious identity. To this effect, the group demands that Dr Satyapal Singh’s Private Member’s Bill No. 226 of 2016 pending in Lok Sabha for amending Articles 26 …

Time travel in Kerala

A born-again Hindu’s experience of Guru Purnima at the Chinmaya Vishwa-Vidyapeeth The lush green woods of Kerala are indeed there on either side of the road I am driving on, though with an endless chain of shops in the foreground. And then there are the numerous churches that look like bakers’ entries in a competition for the most ornamental wedding cake. I am on my way to Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth (CVV) in Veliyanad about 50kM from Kochi airport. I am to attend the commencement ceremony on July 27, 2018, the Guru Purnima day. I am at 76, a near alien to my Hindu inheritance, now eager to rediscover what I had misplaced. For a decade now I have been nursing my loss without quite knowing how I might retrace my steps. I have taken to simply trusting my passion and longing. Thus it was that I allowed myself to be persuaded by my friend Hari Kiran Vadlamani to join him for the event. He is committed to an Indic Renaissance and has an eye for opportunities …

Hindu view of Spirituality

Hindu View of Spirituality

A ‘Hindu’, is essentially geographically bound; ‘aa setu himaalaya…’, and as some deridingly remark, a nomenclature foisted upon the unsuspecting vaidikaas by the Persians (in lieu of Sindhu). A few others will insist that there is no ‘Hinduism’ as such, that it is a definition that is post-colonial and lacking antiquity or unity. In either case, people of the Indian subcontinent who identify with the sacred geography of the land and/ or those who follow certain ideals that are a unifying factor across the various sects and panthaas, are not invested in mere naama – roopa, since the universal vision that directs the lifestyle and belief system of the Hindus, called by whatever name, remains grandiose and subtle simultaneously without having to worry about what ‘others’ call us. Such individuals are sanaatanis, and given the cosmological limitations of time-space, Hindus do not lay much importance to mere names and forms. What matters is the vision, the ideals, the principles that lead one to freedom, in the here and now, also called moksha. Moksha is the …

How The Ghost Of 1857 Haunted The British In India

The backbone of the British Empire was the army it created in India. It had one of the best cavalry and armed soldiers amongst all its colonies comprising of Indian and British soldiers. The British Army ensured that the subjects and the slaves lived in constant fear and retribution. Hence, the 1857 ‘War of Independence’ and the 1946 naval ratings  uprisings gave a jolt and rattled the empire to the core. “The British Indian Army is the only instrument in the hands of the British Government to maintain internal peace and quell external aggression.” Umer Hayat Khan (1929) On 1857, a shot rang out at the Barrackpore cantonment in what is today Bengal. It was the spark that lit a fire that had been simmering under the surface for quite some time. The East India Company (EIC) had painstakingly built its empire in India, gaining victory in various battles across the country. In the process it had also laid the foundations of the modern Indian army. Indian sepoys had been drafted into British style battalions …

Kanvar Mela – Adventure Holiday In Indian Style

All over India, an interesting phenomenon can be observed. On one hand, materialism is on the rise, and on the other hand, the popularity of rituals and religious festivals is also on the rise and very much so. Even festivals, like the Kanvar Mela (which falls between 28th July and 9th August this year), which involves great hardship, attract huge crowds, most of them young men (called Kanvarias). It shows that in spite of modern life style and western influence, the ancient bond to the spiritual dimension is strong. The majority of Indians still feel connected with the invisible power behind the visible forms and to the Gods who represent this power. Sitting only in Dehradun where I live, I could have got the impression that the Kanvar Mela is mainly about traffic jams and rowdies who want to have a good time. Several of my English educated, western oriented acquaintances talked condescendingly about the Kanvarias as a big nuisance who give a hard time to the ordinary citizen by taking over highways, though I …

10th Inter Pathshala Vedic Competition by Om Charitable Trust

वेदोऽखिलो धर्ममूलं स्मृतिशीले च तद्विदाम् । आचारश्चैव साधूनामात्मनस्तुष्टिरेव च ॥ “Veda is the root of Dharma. Next the tradition and the virtuous conduct of those who know the (Veda further), also the customs of holy men, and (finally) self-satisfaction (Atmana santushti).” A group of dharmikas from Chennai are working passionately towards establishing an ecosystem that encourages the study of Vedas and honors Vedic scholars. Vedabhyasa – Study of the Vedic body of knowledge The Vedas form the wellspring that has been nourishing and sustaining sanatana dharma from time immemorial. The divinity and strength one manifests by its study and rigor has helped the followers to sustain Dharma over 1000s of years.  As told by the great guru Sri Chandrasekhara Saraswati Mahaswamy of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, it is only because of continuous flow of Vedic knowledge and ongoing Vedabhyasa, even in this kaliyuga, bharatadesha is being regularly blessed by the arrival of great sages and gurus like Sri Sankaracharya who have been uplifting the sanatana dharma and making it possible for all of us to be …