Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Book called "Life"

Some of us read books and some of us don't. But it’s a fact of life that we all write a book in our lifetime which is called the Book of Life or a Book called Life. A well lived life turns out to be a best seller in the shelves. We have all heard the idiom

Take a leaf out of someone's book
Fig. to behave or to do something in a way that someone else would. 

But have you given a thought about the book of someone, or rather one’s own book. I would like to refer to it as the Book called "Life". This blog looks into that book.

As we are born, we are gifted with an unseen book. The book has a few lines written on every page, which we can read only when we reach the page. Those are the words of god. We call it fate, destiny and in myriad ways. But those are the situations or phases in our life which is a gift from God himself. That’s why we refer to today as "Present". I would like to phrase it as Gods Guidelines to live our day. We write the blank portion of the page and those are our actions. We write in our own ways and that’s what is called freewill. We can choose what we write on the blank portion of our page for that day. How we take the book forward is in our hands.

There comes a time when you have to choose between
turning the page and closing the book.
–Josh Jameson

But the sad plight is that we try to write on pages for the coming days. That’s when things go wrong. We write something on tomorrow’s page, where the first line by God doesn't match and we tend to strike it and try to rewrite it. When we write, we should make sure; there are no misspelled words or wrong usages. That will make the page look shabby and we would be disappointed to see it. Just think of the situation, where we would not be happy to show the page to anyone. But God sees those pages. Just like a father who feels sad, looking at a badly written copy of his kid, we tend to disappoint Him too.

Each events of success in life would become a chapter and get indexed. So all that we strive for in our life and the small achievements that we make also gets written in an Index in Golden letters. A book with many successes adds chapters to the book and becomes a structured book. Pleasure to read and each chapter would be a story. So the more we strive for success, the more would be chapters in the wonderful book called Life.

All the associations and friendship we make become reference points in our book. We are all a part of a big book as these characters in our book have their own books too. Also think of what another person would be writing about us in his book. When we contribute to the success of someone else, his book will have a chapter, and we would be the good character in the chapter. All the bad things will end up casting ourselves as a villain in someone else’s book. Acts hurting someone else or jeopardizing their writing will end up showing us in bad light. I am sure no one wants to be a bad guy in someone else’s book. But acts of kindness, goodness and the like would leave as a contributor in the book. Being in the list of contributors in someone else’s book is always desirable.

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; 
but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.
–Gilbert K. Chesterton

And there is a reason behind writing this book called life. We live our life, filling these pages each day. When we die, we write the last few lines and conclude the book. Probably, this is the mythological book which would be added to the library of Chitragupt. The book of life should be the bestseller and inspire others to write a better book. What we leave behind for the future is a book, which can be useful or become guidance to someone else. A well written book, with examples of life situations and how it was well written, is still one of the best sellers called "The Holy Bible".

Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.
–John Green

The question remains that would every book be read by someone. Reading the pages of the book called life and see to it that it was and is well written, makes it even better. When the book is completed, or the life's mission on earth is complete, we leave behind a book to be read by your children. They should feel proud, happy and excited when they read the book. They should never look at it as a trash magazine or a novel not worth reading or sharing.

Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.
–George Bernard Shaw

Many of us leave the page blank as it is. The opportunities given to us or the situations we are in, we just leave it as it is. Such a book will never be an attractive one. So each moment we spend in our day is a word added to the book. Making it interesting to read and leave it for others to read and to pick a leaf out of the book would be the goal to be achieved. 

I leave you to think about your book of "Life" with a few quotes by great minds, who left behind or are in the process of leaving behind a great book, theirs, in style.

You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page 
and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.
–Paul Sweeney

I think of life as a good book. 
The further you get into it, 
the more it begins to make sense.
–Harold Kushner

A great book should leave you with many experiences, 
and slightly exhausted at the end. 
You live several lives while reading.
–William Styron

Some books leave us free and some books make us free.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Books are like mirrors: if a fool looks in, 
you cannot expect a genius to look out.
–J.K. Rowling

If there is a book that you want to read, 
but it hasn’t been written yet, 
you must be the one to write it.
–Toni Morrison

A good book has no ending.
–R.D. Cumming

Last but not the least, there is a title to every book. Let me know in your feedback, what would be the name of your book !!!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

7 effective attitudes

I happened to see a post by a regionally known public figure about her visit to a fashion pageant. The way they enjoyed at the venue was very evident. Then came the age old attitude problem. After they have got whatever they want from the event, or the place where the event was held, the abuse starts. The way the post ended was to where they were heading to. The regional town where they belong. The abuse was about the way the north Indians celebrate Diwali and the traffic issues. That was when the bulb in a cloud shaped dialogue bubble lit up above my head. Did they mean to say where they were heading to was free from traffic woes. Was the place free from pollution of all sorts. The answer was affirmatively an oxymoron-ic NO.

The problem with many of us is the use and throw attitude. People from the Gulf work sectors, start abusing their home town as soon as they land. But will they stop there. No. As soon as the vacation is over they will start writing articles, poems and works of art and give long discourses about how they miss their home land. "Nostalgia".

The best thing we need now is to clear this concept in our head and start loving what we have and strive for the better. For that, we need to understand some of the common attitude problems we have:

1. "Akarapacha" or the Mirage effect
When we are comfortable, we tend to complain about the discomforts in life, but as soon as a person with the same discomforts approach you, you are in murky waters. Lets face it, we need to save ourselves first and then others, a lesson learnt from my air travel, when the hostess gives the security brief :First put on your own mask and then help others. Refraining from such lengthy discussions about discomforts will help us save time and money. So think about it !!!

2. Born Critics effect
Criticizing someone is now become a better pass time than face book or whatsapp. You might even think what I am blogging right now is also a criticism. I agree. But this is also a self appraisal or evaluation. We tend to point at someone else with ease and never look at our own mistakes. We are all born politicians in such cases. So think about it !!!

3. Encyclopedia effect
More than iPhone or iPad, we would be hearing "I Know", "I Think" and "I told you" so from a lot of people. In which case these I's should have done something to prevent it. If they have done it then they have the right to say the golden words. Person who would not have even thought about cricket would be giving lectures on how Indian team should have played to win. A person who wouldn't dare to take pains to think of serving the society would give discourses on social change. Lets face it .... you know it better.

4. The anti-money syndrome
The more we see people getting successful around us, the common statement would be I know how he became rich. Cheating ....or it would be all negatives about the person. If we know how to do that wont we be in his position. That question would bring about the common answer, I would like to be poor and straightforward. But the answer beats the purpose and will come to a point where a big exclamation mark would rise about the listeners head, then why the gossip about the successful person. Living ones own life has become out of fashion.

5. The Switch Off Mode
When Sathyarthi won a Nobel Prize Indians know about him. How many of us know Sundarlal Bahuguna, , Shobeendran Sir, Father Gabriel Chiramel or Daya Bai. The Chipko movement started by Sundarlal Bahuguna believed in falling themselves before the trees - No Nobel. Shobeendran Sir lives for the environment - No one cares to know about him except his students and those who know him. Fr. Gabriel Chiramel has a species of snails named after him - No Nobel Prize. Mercy Mathew - A woman who walks out of the comforts of her home and lives to make the lives of the aborigines of our land, better just gets the name Daya Bai and no accolades from those who celebrate Malala. But thanks to the terror groups Malala is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, enjoying the luxuries of UK now. There are so many around us, who give up their lives for the betterment of the world. Selfless is a word just made for them. We need to speak for them, as we should be proud about what they do and what we cannot do. At least stand for them. Sathyarthi was never honored by our people till date. Just because a crowd celebrates someone, don't start ringing bells for them, think and support the cause. Switch Off mode in us just allows us to like what others like. There used to be something called - "Individuality". Think about it if you get time supporting the someone who do things for themselves alone and still paint a rosy picture.

6. Follow the trend effect
What is liked by us is what we should like. This is an after effect of the Switch off mode or the blind followers trend. Think of setting trends and be an example to the world. I was asked by a client to say a word in a commercial in a wrong way. When I refused, the explanation I got was that the client wants it that way as the listeners or the end users know the wrong way of saying it. At least we need to make an effort to change the way we look at things. Learn to see the right and wrong as right and wrong and not what the masses believe is right.

7. Careless mode
After reading all this I don't want a like or accolades but want you to wake up from the age old slumber filled with glorious dreams of attitudinal fallacies. Reading all this and caring for nothing, will leave us in the same lurch. We are all perpetually in the careless mode ... Think about it !!!

Now enough of thinking. ACT on it....

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Words of wisdom for a lifetime

An Interview with A. R. Rahman from the yesteryears

Friday, June 27, 2014

And if at all you need to define Love ...

Love - As simple as it is the world revolves around love. Roses, chocolates, gifts, valentine’s day, mother’s day, father’s day, family day and many more. But do we really understand what love means or what it could mean. Stop the thought at this juncture and look back in your life. Thousands of quotes, poems, stories, books, cards, movies and much more will come to your mind. But let’s not restrict ourselves to those thoughts. Let’s get to the basics as should be done. 

I searched for the definition of love in dictionaries and here is what I found
love (noun)
noun: love; plural noun: loves
an intense feeling of deep affection.
synonyms: deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment; compassion, care, caring, regard, solicitude, concern,  
friendliness, friendship, kindness, charity, goodwill, sympathy, kindliness, altruism, unselfishness, philanthropy, benevolence, fellow feeling, humanity
relationship, love affair, romance, liaison, affair of the heart, amour
a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.
synonyms: become infatuated with, give/lose one's heart to; a personified figure of love, often represented as Cupid.
a great interest and pleasure in something.
synonyms: liking of/for, enjoyment of, appreciation of/for, taste for, delight for/in, relish of, passion for, zeal for, appetite for, zest for, enthusiasm for,  
keenness for, fondness for, soft spot for, weakness for, bent for, proclivity for, inclination for, disposition for, partiality for, predilection for, penchant for 
affectionate greetings conveyed to someone on one's behalf.
synonyms: best wishes, regards, good wishes, greetings, kind/kindest regards 
a formula for ending an affectionate letter.
a person or thing that one loves.
synonyms: beloved, loved one, love of one's life, dear, dearest, dear one, darling, sweetheart, sweet, angel, honey; 
(in tennis, squash, and some other sports) a score of zero; nil.
Old English lufu, of Germanic origin; from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit lubhyati ‘desires,’ Latin libet ‘it is pleasing,’ libido ‘desire,’ also by leave  
and lief.

But these definitions does not express the true feelings and I continued my search for more information about love. If you think why I want more information the answer is simple. These definitions do not apply to the Divine Love, as we cannot say God had an intense feeling of deep affection or he had a romantic attachment nor was he playing a game of tennis or squash. Then why do we say God is Love. So we need to search for more.

Then I searched for the meaning of true love and I happened to read an article about love in a health section of howstuffworks.com website. And this is what it  
"Love means never having to say you're sorry," or so the famous line from the movie Love Story goes. But when asked to define what true love is, even the experts have to pause and think. Perhaps it's because true love has different meanings for different people. Dr. Neder defines true love as caring about the health, well-being and happiness of another person to a greater degree than your own health, well-being and happiness. "When you carefully consider your words, thoughts and actions, and specifically how they will benefit that other person," says Dr. Neder, "you're in love."
Now that again put me in dilemma as the meaning gave a thought that this is not a definition which will suit divinity, as many people get sick and hence would not hold true if God loves us. And the definition does not hold true as many people in this world are not happy either. So the search deepens. In the same article Dr. Northrup had a different definition.
"True love comes from the "fourth chakra" and is easily recognized as unconditional support."
This would be true if it was involving only humans. But Love is something beyond animate and inanimate objects and also spiritual. So let me borrow just one word from it and that would be "unconditional".

Many articles say that defining love is a complex procedure. But if that is so then why is it that the world talks about love in poems, songs, stories, interpersonal relationships, spirituality and almost anything. So I have an idea that it has to be something much more basic and simpler. So the search continues.

In Buddhism, you are advised not to have desire as it is the cause of misery. So definitely Love is not just a desire. In Greco Roman thought there are many kinds of love like selflessness, friendship, parental love and so on. Same is the case with thoughts from other parts of the world. I should not negate the thoughts from around the world and should understand what is common in them. Which specifies that love can be towards anyone, anything or a group of animate or inanimate objects too. Is it just a feeling or emotion, the answer is No, as we experience love. So love is directional for sure as it is towards someone or something. The next phase of the search in religious texts as the definition has to encompass the spiritual world too.

Agape: In the New Testament, agapē is charitable, selfless, altruistic, and unconditional. It is parental love, seen as creating goodness in the world; it is the way God is seen to love humanity, and it is seen as the kind of love that Christians aspire to have for one another.

Phileo: Also used in the New Testament, phileo is a human response to something that is found to be delightful. Also known as "brotherly love."

Two other words for love in the Greek language, eros (sexual love) and storge (child-to-parent love), were never used in the New Testament.

Christians believe that to Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself are the two most important things in life (the greatest commandment of the Jewish Torah, according to Jesus; cf. Gospel of Mark chapter 12, verses 28–34). Saint Augustine summarized this when he wrote: 
 "Love God, and do as thou wilt."
The Apostle Paul glorified love as the most important virtue of all. Describing love in the famous poem in 1 Corinthians, he wrote, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres." (1 Cor. 13:4–7, NIV)

The Apostle John wrote, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16–17, NIV) John also wrote, "Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:7–8, NIV)

In Judaism I found more:

The commandment to love other people is given in the Torah, which states, "Love your neighbor like yourself" (Leviticus 19:18). The Torah's commandment to love God "with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might" (Deuteronomy 6:5) is taken by the Mishnah (a central text of the Jewish oral law) to refer to good deeds, willingness to sacrifice one's life rather than commit certain serious transgressions, willingness to sacrifice all of one's possessions, and being grateful to the Lord despite adversity (tractate Berachoth 9:5). Rabbinic literature differs as to how this love can be developed, e.g., by contemplating divine deeds or witnessing the marvels of nature. As for love between marital partners, this is deemed an essential ingredient to life: "See life with the wife you love" (Ecclesiastes 9:9). The biblical book Song of Solomon is considered a romantically phrased metaphor of love between God and his people, but in its plain reading, reads like a love song. The 20th-century Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler is frequently quoted as defining love from the Jewish point of view as "giving without expecting to take" (from his Michtav me-Eliyahu, Vol. 1).

In Islam the beginning of the Holy Quran itself mentions about God and Love:
Love encompasses the Islamic view of life as universal brotherhood that applies to all who hold faith. Amongst the 99 names of God (Allah), there is the name Al-Wadud, or "the Loving One," which is found in Surah [Quran 11:90] as well as Surah [Quran 85:14]. God is also referenced at the beginning of every chapter in the Qur'an as Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim, or the "Most Compassionate" and the "Most Merciful", indicating that nobody is more loving, compassionate and benevolent than God. The Qur'an refers to God as being "full of loving kindness."

In Hinduism the mention of love has been at different levels, each having a different meaning. The mention of the Karuna, Kama, Prema, Bhakti and so on. Love is a bit of all these or a combination of all these. The search starts simplifying here. As the understanding of all the above, we can see that 

Love is: A virtue, unconditional, not bound by human feelings like fear or hate, not having expectations or desires, can be towards anyone or anything, forgiving and thankful. The search for the true meaning will continue and I am sure you will search for answers too, as there lays the true human nature of defying  anything and everything anyone says, which lead me to this search too. But I, for the time being would put all these together and define Love. With the  definition of love as I understand, I tried putting it in most of the cases I know and it is a befitting answer. So I feel more satisfied. The definition stands true for Impersonal, Personal, Interpersonal, Spiritual and attraction towards animate or inanimate objects too.

Love - it is the unconditional virtue with no sign of fear or expectations from anyone, anything or any group animate or inanimate, and the gratitude towards them or it. And "Trust" is a bye product of this virtue.

For once, my writing has a lot of I and not we, the reason is simple. When you read this article, the worlds should be for the "I" in you to read. So with Love the submission of "I" or the ego happens and remember "I" is in Sin, Filth, Dirt, Fickle .... and so on. Lets spread love with an understanding and search for more from the universe.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Will to change your life ...

One of these days while travelling I happened to have a discussion with Wilson, my brother, about the state of the people in the world. Or was I destined to talk about it. I don't know. But what I realized from the discussion seems to be the right way to look at life, or that is what my understanding is. I thought it would be worthwhile if I could put the discussion in words for all to look at life in a different way. The sum total of all that happens in the world can be seen in a different eye.

The point of contention was nothing but why some people are successful and some are not. The answer was simple at first. They are bestowed with special abilities and so they succeed. But looking back in time, the success of people was never a special ability. Wilson asked me about the special grace that people have. That sparked a thought about a prayer based on Gospel of Mathew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.

Our Father, Who is in heaven,
Holy is Your Name;
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

The seven petitions could lead me to think about the Power of Seven, as in one of my previous blog, but that will take me away from the topic. Coming back to a simple question : Why is it that this prayer holds true for all. Then we should understand that everyone is made equal in this whole wide world. Everyone has the same set of two eyes, one nose, two ears, two hands with palms and five fingers, two legs, 206 odd bones (depending on our character too) and so on. So what is that makes a person different.

Wilson opined that each persons life is determined by the situations or environment. The question in my mind took a rational course. If that is the case why is it that a few people meet with accidents on the same road and same conditions and on cars with similar conditions. The reply was instantaneous. The way they drive. Even in our life we have the same situations and how we use it makes our life move forward in the way it is. Each car has the same situations on the roads like exits, petrol stations, convenio stores and more. The next question ensued. Driving a Lamborghini or a KIA, does that not make a difference. I was looking for the answer when I understood one more fact of life. Whether I want to drive a sports car or a four wheel drive or a saloon is my decision. Thus in a short span I stumbled on the fact that God gave everyone the same environment and gave a special touch equally to everyone - "Free Will". 

Wilson came up with the next hurdle and asked: what about the difficulties in life, that's not similar. Searching was not needed in this case. Leaving behind the few in the world who are born with challenges, all the other difficulties in life are result of the decisions we take and that arises from free will. I asked him to explain what "knowledge" or "learning" is. We both arrived at the right meaning as it is in the nature. The ability to understand a difficulty and the way to overcome it is learning or knowledge. Let me split the word for you "know" + "ledge". Knowing the narrow space near a cliff from which we might fall, will save our lives. Hence the know-ledge we have saves our lives. The information or all the answers are available in this world but picking them is our free will.

I am sure many who are reading this will find the article silly, but once you understand the power of free will your life will be changed. You choose to speak, act or react in a way based on the free will you have to make that decision. So the result would be based on your action. Or so it says in Newtons third law of motion

"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction"

So know the ledge and use your free will to drive safe in your life. Take some specific examples from around us or from our past. These are not comparisons, but just to show a few people who understood the power of using free will and had the know-ledge.

Helen Keller: She could have decided to remain triply handicapped but she chose not to and became an example to the world. There are many who have the wealth, health and mettle to do but they choose not to.

Charles Martin Hall: His decision, after being mocked by his teacher in class, was to devise a method for the extraction of aluminium and become rich. Others in the class with him also had the same opportunity but they chose not to.

Wilma Rudolf: The doctors comment that the four year old will never walk in life, did not let her free will down and she chose to be the fastest woman in the world. And so she did. 

Abraham Lincoln: His economic difficulties did not stop him from becoming the President of the US. or fight for the rights and become an exemplary leader. 

Ray Crock: His penniless evening made him choose a way to find the first franchising network and he became rich. Today MC Donald's is not a name that we don't see or hear.

Many of the world successes have a humble beginning or a difficult past. The question remains: How many of us can do it. The answer is simple all can. But we choose not to.

Given the same body, same sun, moon, stars and the sky, the same facilities around us, our free will can lead us to success, our fate are our decisions and they are because of our free will. The best gift from God, but still unseen by many. Blaming him for the decisions we make as per our free will. Jut stop and think for a few minutes, how many opportunities knock our doors each day. We choose not to respond or look at them. And after all this I come to one thought as mentioned in the Brahma Samhita Text 1, where the God is mentioned to be the prime reasons for all reasons in this world and beyond. That my friends is the reason why we are gifted with our free will and thus the god who gave it became the prime reason of all reasons.

So with your free will choose to take this in your life for a bright future or ignore it. It was a decision taken by free will which made me write this. I quote Late Swami Haridas Giri: It was the True Teacher and Lord, who is none other than God Himself, who directed me to bring these words to you.

Otherwise recite the famous lines of Swami Phunsuk Wangdu (Ranchoddas Shyamaldas Chanchad) : "All iz well, All iz well ..."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Come lets fail together ...

...and if you would like to enjoy the same in Malayalam.

The Hidden Truth... Zero

Have you ever given a thought about India’s contribution to the world or to itself or to the humankind? The more we know, the realization creeps in that all we know is less. The 4 Vedas, Shashthras (Bhautika Shastra (physics), Rasayana Shastra (chemistry), Jeeva Shastra (biology), Vastu Shastra (architectural science), Shilpa Shastra (science of sculpture), Artha Shastra (economics), and Neeti Shastra (political science)), 64 art forms were all categorized well before we realized our existence or value. A single blog can never deal with all the secrets not do I have the knowledge enough to comment on the immense source of knowledge. So this blog is an attempt to open a Pandora’s box of hidden knowledge.

The Veda or compendium of knowledge is broadly classified into four Samhitha or compilation of the mantras - The Rig Ved, Yajur Ved, Sama Ved and Atharva Ved. They were sacred texts dating to a Vedic period, spanning the mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BCE, or the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. These four branches of knowledge has been passed on since the time, we started recording history. The Vedas are referred to as the Sruthis (What is heard) and it is different from smithies (what is remembered). Which actually makes us think that much has been lost and little remains which we treat as ritualistic practices. 

Other than these Vedic texts, there are the Brahmana, Aranyaka, Upanishad, Purana, Sutra and more. A compendium of what is left was laid down in the Vaidika Padānukrama Kosa prepared from 1930 under Vishva Bandhu, and published in five volumes in 1935-1965. Its scope extends to about 400 texts, including the entire Vedic Sanskrit corpus besides some "sub-Vedic" texts in volumes ranging in Samhita, Brahmana and Aranyaka, Upanishad, Vedanga. It was revised and published extending to about 1800 pages during 1973-1976. 

François-Marie Arouet a.k.a Voltaire regarded Vedas to be exceptional, in his words: 

"The Veda was the most precious gift for which the West had ever been indebted to the East."

Leave alone the Samhitha, Brahmana, Aranyaka, Purana and all other texts as the volume of knowledge is huge. Come to a simple example of a verse in one of the associated text - Isha Upanishad. The Each Veda had associated text like the Upanishads. The term Upanishad means inner wisdom or mystic knowledge. Literally it is derived from words which means sitting down beside or near. This was how the knowledge was passed on to the next generation from a Guru. It also suggests that these texts or Upanishads are the simplified knowledge to destroy ignorance. These have been the contribution many learned sages. 

Let me come to the point and not delve into who wrote it or other technical nitty grittties. This is just an attempt to open your eyes and make you think about the kind of hidden knowledge from India, where the world used to look up to for knowledge through the renowned universities in Nalanda and Takshasila.

Isha Upanishad starts with an invocation

poornamatha poornamitha poorna poornamuthatsate 
poornasya poornamathaya poornamevavashishyathe

But there are a lot of meanings given to this sloka. The word poorna means complete, but it could also mean fullness, reality, or even the number zero. There can be many explanations given to this verse in many forms. But let’s look at a mathematical point of view. Let’s treat the term poorna as the number or placeholder Zero. 

The system of using zero was seen in Babylonian and Sumerian civilizations. But the full importance of Zero and the decimal system was a gift to the world by an Indian - Aryabhatta. The concept of zero first appeared in India around A.D. 458. Mathematical equations were spelled out or spoken in poetry or chants rather than symbols. Different words symbolized zero, or nothing, such as "void," "sky" or "space." In 628, a Hindu astronomer and mathematician named Brahmagupta developed a symbol for zero — a dot underneath numbers. He also developed mathematical operations using zero, wrote rules for reaching zero through addition and subtraction, and the results of using zero in equations. This was the first time in the world that zero was recognized as a number of its own, as both an idea and a symbol.

We often treat the number zero as valueless. But to understand the real value of zero we all have to think a little different. Unknowingly we have been chanting the properties of zero through the invocation in Isha Upanishad. 

The verse could also mean
Whether the place given to the placeholder zero is here or there; there is a value for Zero
When added or subtracted the number to which it is treated remains the same or it made Zero nirguna. But when zero is deducted from zero, what remains is zero itself, making it unique. The division by zero still remains undetermined or infinite. That gives Zero a special value. 

So there is a mathematical angle to this simple invocation in Isha Upanishad. But the name given to it "poojyam" also means worshippable, which sanctifies and gives a philosophical touch to Zero. Let’s look at those philosophical factors which make Zero worshippable or give us an insight to divinity.

The following are some elementary rules for dealing with the number 0. These rules apply for any real or complex number x, unless otherwise stated. 
  • Addition: Any addition to a number with Zero, the number remains unchanged
  • Subtraction: When zero is deducted from a number it remains the same but when the number is deducted from zero it becomes negative.
  • Multiplication: Any number multiplied by zero will result in zero
  • But Division: When a non zero number is divides zero the result is zero but division by zero is undefined, because Zero has no multiplicative inverse
  • Exponentiation: any number raised to the power of zero is one and when zero is raised to the power of zero the value is undefined.
This could be the explanation of the verse and has more to it - The hidden truth of Zero. Let me replace the word zero with divinity as it is "poojya" or "shoonya" in Indian culture.
  • Addition: When a man adds divinity to himself, there is no change to him, which means that we can absorb divinity at any point of time.
  • Subtraction: When divinity is removed from a man, the man remains but when he removes himself from divinity he turns negative.
  • Multiplication: We cannot multiply divinity, revealing the oft quoted truth in all religions, divinity is one.
  • Division: When a man divides divinity, divinity remains unchanged, showing the greatness of the divinity.
  • Exponentiation: any man raised to the power of divinity is one - which is the oneness of Athma and Paramathma or the Advaitha philosophy. It also states there is no greater power than the divinity as divinity cannot be raised to divinity and remains undefined.
And that could be one of the hidden truths in the millions of verses spanning across all the texts in the Vedic literature. So from now on, when someone calls you zero, be happy or at least realize the zero in you. It zeroes down to one fact, there is more to it when you think you know it all. Think about it!!!

Om shanthi shanthi shanthi:

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Mistaken Identity of Chathurvarnya

I hear a lot of talk about Hindutva these days especially after BJP won the Indian elections. But I feel sorry for those who have made Hinduism a religion where it was supposed to be a Sanatana Dharma or a way of life. This is what man does to a social system. He bends it to his benefits. How much do we know about the people who were civilized near the river Indus or about the Indus Valley Civilization? Are they not the people to be rightly referred to as Hindu? We talk about the river Saraswathi. But does that river, mentioned in The Rig Veda exist anymore. We talk about the Vedas, but how much do we take pains to understand what is said in that or decipher the codes like Bhoothasankhya in them, which reveals loads of information, mathematical and scientific formulae and technical information. 

Let me give you a small example of where we have gone wrong in our thoughts. The classic example would be a suktam or a collection of verses written in praise of the omnipresent. The suktam set in anushtup chandas which is the meter in which it should be recited and describes the Purusha or the omnipresent as we would understand.

We talk about the chathurvarnya or the caste system in the society, or that’s what we understand of it. In Purusha Suktam there is a reference to an Adipurusha. It will be our mistake to understand the slokas literally which will start of giving the look of the Adipurusha in the weirdest of the possible ways. 

sahasrasheershad purushaha| sahasraksha sahasrapaad |
sa bhumim vishwato vrutwa athyathishtaddashangulam ||

The Omnipresent one has countless heads, eyes, and limbs
He stands in all His majesty pervading the entire Universe and extends by 10 

A man with a countless or thousand heads, thousands or innumerable limbs, who spreads around the world from the earth to the skies and a 10 inches more (The literal meaning). Is it not a way the people who wrote it or formulated it to talk about the society who lives far and wide in the world? Thousands of people living on the earth (remember the population was less in those times). 

The suktam goes on to describe that the purusha is the past present and future, which would be the indication to the existence of the society in the past, present and future. The seasons offered to his sacrifice or yagna. The society grows with every season and utilizing the nature. That could be the meaning hidden in those lines. 

In the next few lines the suktam refers to something more. The five senses of perception, the five senses of action, the five circulatory systems, the mind, intellect, awareness, ego, Dharma and Adharma became the 21 offerings into the sacred fire. (Three sets of seven offerings - refer to the power of seven in my previous blog). Then there are explanations which might be the indications to how the society worked towards domestication of animals, birds, agriculture and gaining of knowledge.

Again coming back to the power of seven, the next few words indicate the formation or creation of meters for writing verses. From the Yagna emerged the different meters (the seven meters are gayatri, trishtup, brhatee, pankti, ushnuk, anushtup and jagati.) 

The Purusha sukta, in the seventh verse, hints at the organic connectedness of the various classes of society.

Bharahmanosya mukhamaseet
Bahurajanya kruthaha
Urutadasyayad vaishyaha
Padbiaghum shudro ajayatha

We misunderstand these verses by taking the literal meaning and we assume the face of the purusha gave birth to the Brahmins, the shoulders to kings, the thighs to merchants or business men and the feet to the shudras or the working class. But these words meant something much deeper. The face of the society should be the learned people and Brahman was not a caste but the educators. The society is better off with the wise leading all. The communications come from them. They see what is happening. They hear the vows of the people. Hence the head of the society should be the intelligent.

The head rests on the shoulders or they are to indicate taking the burden of holding the society or governance to be exact. This lies with the khsthriyas or the raja maharaja - The rulers. They are lead by the face of the society and they form the governing body. They drive the society in the direction as instructed or advised by the intelligentsia.

The thighs or the driving force which takes the society forward are the merchants or businessmen. The vaishyas are the movement and they run the society forward. Then comes the support of the whole body or the society - the working class. The Sudras are the feet which help the merchants, rulers and the intelligentsia forward with basic support.

Now think of any one of these divisions as standalone entities. That’s impossible and it’s clear. Hence these words mean no stratification or division of labour, but the guidelines to a better society. The interconnected nature of the society and what should be the activities for a civilized society are the hidden meanings of these words. 

I recently read a groups discussion on the net which actually make fun of these words and scorn by saying that these are biased thoughts. But if these are biased thoughts then how would a society survive. Why do we call them civilized? We have lost the essence of civilization and messed up the whole structure by sheer misunderstanding of the right guidelines passed on to us.

The suktam also has a line

tathä lokägm akalpayan || 
Thus the entire world was created or it meant thus a civilized society was formed.

We slowly have deteriorated to lesser beings and less civilized. We tend to forget the knowledge and see what can be used for one’s own benefit. Remember as we talk about Bharatha varsha or India in the scriptures, we were talking about the world itself as there was only one island and one sea in the beginning as per plate tectonics. Let’s try and learn more and understand more. Let’s spread the wisdom and remove the darkness of ignorance

asathoma sat gamaya
tamasoma jyothirgamaya
mruthyorma amrutham gamaya
om shanthi santhi santhi:

Let the untruth be banished by the truth; Let the darkness be removed by light; Let the immortality prevail over mortal nature or in other words let the wisdom outlive us and be passed on to the future generations making the knowledge imperishable. And thus let there be peace, peace and peace. The peace of mind, body and soul.

Please do think and embellish this knowledge and pass it on ... we are the torch bearers.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Seventh heaven and The Power of Seven

I recently watched a movie called 7th day. I happened to think about the lines from The Bible, the book of Genesis, where god rested on the 7th day. I happened to talk in length about the power of the number 7 with my friend Anil George too. I kept thinking and when Anand called me today, I came again to the same topic of power of 7. 

After thinking a lot about the amazingly powerful number 7 I came across many people who thought along the same lines. I came to know that David Eastis wrote a book on the magical power of 7. He went in details in listing out the power of seven in pop culture, Sports, religion, Language, Seven spans of the globe, Seven in Art and seven sells and wrote only seven chapters about it. Dean Seddon wrote a book on the 7 words, 7 actions and 7 days to success. There are innumerable examples of mathematics problems solved using 7. Devdutt Patnaik has written a book on the seven secrets of Indian art: 

  • Ganesha’s secret – Different people see God differently
  • Narayana’s secret – What dies is always reborn
  • Ardhanari’s secret – God is within, Goddess without
  • Shiva’s secret – Withdrawal leads to destruction
  • Devi’s secret – Desire and destiny create life
  • Vishnu’s secret – Detached engagement brings order
  • Brahma’s secret – Human life is an opportunity(less)

Warning :This blog contains interesting facts, but lengthy. Read if you enjoy !!!

I stopped thinking and thought of putting it down as a blog dedicated to seven. I continued my research, as a result of which, and let me list down the power of seven in simple words for you to think about:

In Numerology

  • No. 7 has the same numerology meanings of Divinity in many of the different cultures and civilizations. It is believed that seven is its measure, defining life's realities, like Sound, Time, and the Significance of Planets. 

In Day to day Life

  • Seven Days in a week dedicated to seven celestial bodies - Sunday to sun, Monday to moon, Tuesday to Mars, Wednesday to Mercury, Thursday to Jupiter, Friday to Venus and Saturday to Saturn.
  • Seven colours in a rainbow or visible light spectrum- Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red
  • Seven notes in music - so, re, me, fa, so la, te do in the western diatonic scale or the sapthaswara of Indian tradition being sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni
  • Seven tastes in the world - sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, pungency, astringency (chavarppu in Malayalam) and umami.
  • The sum of any two opposite sides on a standard six-sided die is seven (6+1, 5+2, and 4+3)
  • Snow white met seven dwarfs as per the fairy tale.

In Geography

  • Seven Seas - Even in the Mesopotamian civilization there are references to the seven seas. The term "Seven Seas" appears as early as 2300 BC in Hymn 8 of the Sumerian Enheduanna to the goddess Inanna. In the modern day classification of the waters of the world we have Arctic, Antarctic, North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Indian Oceans
  • Seven Continents - From the single Pangaea the seven continents were formed and they are Asia, Antarctica, Africa, North America, South America, Europe and Australia

In History

  • Seven Wonders of the world - Each period had only seven wonders and we still follow the tradition. The seven wonders of the ancient world are
    • The Great Pyramid of Giza 
    • The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
    • The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
    • The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
    • The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
    • The Colossus of Rhodes and 
    • The Lighthouse of Alexandria are 
  • Rome is believed to have been built on Seven Hills of Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquilline, Palatine, Quirinal and Viminal.

In Astronomy

  • Seven stars in the Big Dipper constellation or the saptarishis in Hindu mythology - These Seven Rishis are the great seers, caretakers, mind born sons of Brahma. The most accepted Seven Rishis are Atri, Vashishta, Kashyapa, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadvaja and Gautama. In a similar way, Greeks too had seven wise men namely Cleobulos, Periandros, Bias, Pittacos, Chilon, Solon and Thales which shows that mythologies around the globe do have parallel connections though it will take another hundred years for researchers to prove it.
In Mathematics

  • Seven is a prime number
  • Seven is the only number less than 15 that cannot be represented as the sum of the squares of three integers
  • Seven is the smallest happy number, except for the trivial example of 1
  • 7 is the only dimension, besides the familiar 3, in which a vector cross product can be defined
  • 999,999 divided by 7 is exactly 142,857. Therefore, when a vulgar fraction with 7 in the denominator is converted to a decimal expansion, the result has the same six-digit repeating sequence after the decimal point, but the sequence can start with any of those six digits. For example, 1/7 = 0.142 857 142… and 2/7 = 0.285 714 285…
  • A seven-sided shape is a heptagon. The regular polygons (n-gons) for n = 6 can be constructed by compass and straightedge alone, but the regular heptagon cannot. 

In Chemistry

  • 7 is the neutral pH value between acidity and alkalinity, which denotes pure water, which is neither acidic nor basic.
  • The element nitrogen, the chief constituent of the Earth's atmosphere and a vital element in all known forms of life, is the element with atomic number 7
  • There are 7 periods, or horizontal rows of elements, in the Modern or Mendeleev's periodic table

In Human body

  • Seven is the number of external holes in the human head: Two eyes, two nostrils, one mouth, and two ears
  • There are seven bones in the neck of a mammal, which supports a heavy skull with the brain and other organs seated in the head (There are a few exceptions :) ).

In Electronics

  • There are seven logic gates: NOT, AND, OR, NAND, XOR, NOR, XNOR
  • The seven-segment display is an electronic device that uses seven individual segments to create one digit. It is used in display devices like digital clocks and some basic calculator screens, amongst others

In Christianity and The Bible 

  • There are references to The Seven Heavens, The Seven Thrones, The Seven Seals, and The Seven Churches. Seven denotes originality, superior knowledge, all pervasiveness, aloofness, self Contented Nature, and Reformation.
  • The Seven churches of Asia to which the "Book of Revelation" is addressed
  • The Seven Joys of the Virgin Mary
  • The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary
  • The Seven Corporal Acts of Mercy
  • The Seven Spiritual Acts of Mercy
  • The Seven last words (or seven last sayings) of Jesus on the cross
  • In the genealogy in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is 77th in a direct line
  • In the New Testament Gospel of Matthew 18:21, Jesus says to Peter to forgive seventy times seven times
  • There are seven suicides mentioned in the Bible (Old Testament and New Testament)
  • The Seven virtues - chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility.
  • The Seven deadly sins (sapthavasana) - Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride
  • The seven terraces of Mount Purgatory

In Islam

  • The number of heavens in Islamic tradition
  • The number of Earths in Islamic tradition
  • The number of circumnavigations (Tawaf) that are made around the Holy Kaaba
  • The number of walks {Al-Safa and Al-Marwah) that is traveling back and forth seven times during the ritual pilgrimages of Hajj and Umrah
  • The number of fires in hell; that is, the 7 fires of hell
  • The number of doors to heaven and hell is also seven
  • The total number of Prophets sent by God are 124000. The sum of 1+2+4=7.
  • The number of followers to fight alongside Jesus Christ and Imam Mehdi against the anti-Christ/dajjal is 313. the sum 0f 3+1+3=7.
  • The number 786, which in Islam is also used to denote "in the Name of Allah," sums 7+8+6=21 divisible by 7

In Indian Traditions
  • Seven vows or the saath phere each circumnavigation of the fire denoting a vow in a Hindu marriage -
    • 1. prayers to God for plenty of nourishing and pure food. They pray to God to let them walk together so that they will get food.
    • 2. prayers to God for a healthy and prosperous life. They ask for the physical, spiritual and mental health from God.
    • 3. prayers to God for wealth. They ask God for the strength for both of them so that they can share the happiness and pain together. Also, they pray so that they can walk together to get wealth.
    • 4. prayers to God for the increase in love and respect for each other and their respective families.
    • 5. prayers for the beautiful, heroic and noble children from God in the fifth step.
    • 6. prayers for the peaceful long life with each other.
    • 7. prayers to god for companionship, togetherness, loyalty and understanding between themselves. They ask God to make them friends and give the maturity to carry out the friendship for lifetime. 
  • The husband says to his new wife that now they have become friends after the Seven Vows/Sat Phere and they will not break their friendship in life for seven lives.
  • Seven phases of time - pathah sandhya and sayam sandhya (two twilights), prabhatham (morning), madhyanam (noon) and rathri (night) with ardharathri (midnight) form the ezhu neram or the seven phases of time.
  • The royal courts in India had the Sabhasapthangas - kavi (Poet), gayak (singer), sangeethak (Musician), vaadak (Instrumentalist), vichaarak (Historian), Sycophant and Vidhooshak (Comedian).
  • Seven chakras in transcendental meditation - 
    • Root Chakra (Mooladhara), 
    • Sacral Chakra(Swadhisthana), 
    • Solar Plexus Chakra(Manipura), 
    • Heart Chakra(Anahata), 
    • Throat Chakra(Vishuddhi), 
    • Third Eye(Agnja), Crown Chakra (Sahasrara). 
    • Each one is represented by a different colour and a different symbol, thus making a special set of seven colours, seven symbols and the seven chakras.
In Hindu Mythology
  • Indian tradition splits the worlds as eerazhu pathinaalu lokam, which means two sets of 7 worlds - 
    • The seven higher worlds are bhu, bhuvas, svar, mahas, janas, tapas, and satya named the saptha bhuvanas; and 
    • The seven lower worlds or underworlds are atala, vitala, sutala, rasaataala, talatala, mahaatala, paatala called the saptha adholoka.
  • Each avatar had the significance of seven in the dasavatar
    • Matsyavatar the saving of seven sages or the saptarishi
    • Kurmavatar - 14 precious things evolved during the samudra manthan namely
      • Sura, goddess and creator of wine 
      • Apsaras, various divine nymphs like Rambha, Menaka 
      • Kaustubha, the most valuable jewel in the world 
      • Uchhaishravas, the divine 7-headed horse 
      • Kalpavriksha, the wish-granting tree 
      • Kamadhenu, the first cow and mother of all other cows 
      • Airavata, the elephant which is the steed of Indra 
      • Lakshmi, the Goddess of Fortune and Wealth 
      • Parijat vriksh (tree) 
      • Kaalkut poison 
      • Chandra, the moon and Dhanvantari with Amrita
  • Exiles mentioned in the Ramayana and Mahabharatha are multiples of Seven years, as the 14 years of exile for Lord Rama as per Ramayana
  • Krishna was the seventh son of Devaki 
  • Seven immortals or Chiranjeevis as per Hindu mythology
    • The Puranas, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata describe seven long lived personalities. Each represents a different attribute of man, which as long as they live, will exist amongst humanity.
"Ashwatthama Balir Vyaso Hanumanash cha 
Vibhishana Krupacharya cha Parashuramam 
Saptaita Chiranjeevanam" - 

'Ashwathama, King Mahabali, Ved Vyasa, Hanuman, 
Vibheeshana, Kripacharya and Parashurama 
are the seven death-defying or imperishable personalities '.

  • Hindu scripture contains the above mantra about the seven immortals, in which their names are recited for luck and longevity
  • Seven seas as per Hindu Mythology:
    • kara, ksheera, sura, ghrita, rusa, dahi and jala
  • Surya, the sun god rides on a chariot yoked by seven horses each corresponding to a particular color, energy and day in the week
  • The Mundaka Upanishad refers seven tongues (sapta jivhas) or seven flames of Agni, which are kali (black), karali (fierce), manojava (swift as mind), sulohita (red as iron), sudhumravarna (smoke-colored), visharuch-devi (universally pleasing) and sphulingini (cracking). They are depicted as the seven hands in the iconography of Agni and probably correspond to the seven dhatus (saptadhatus) of the human body and seven energies that awaken during our spiritual practice.
  • Lord Venkitachalapathy is referred to as Ezhumalayan, which means lord of seven hills. The saptagiri's are Srigiri, Vrishabhadri or Vrishabhachalam, Seshadri or Seshasailam, Narayanadri, Natavrishadri, Garudachalam or Garudadri, Venkatadri. A set of Seven Sacred Hills which is now the abode of His Lotus Feet, Sri Venkateswara Swamy. 
  • Sapthamathrukas or the seven mothers are also mentioned in Hindu mythology - Indrani, Kaumari, Chamundi, Brahmi, Maheswari, Vaaraahi and Vaishnavi. And Lord Skanda, son of Shiva and Parvati, but was suckled and raised by the seven goddess mothers or Sapta Matrikas.

Also there are references of 

  • Sapta-puris or seven holy cities: kashipuri, kanchipuruam, mayapuri, ayodhyapuri, dwarakapuri, mathurapuri, and avantikapuri
  • Sapta-nadis or seven sacred rives: Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswathi, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri and
  • Sapta-kshetras or seven battle fields: Kurukshetra, Hariharakshetra, Prabhakshetra, Ramkshetra, Bhungakshetra, Purushottamakshetra and Sukarkshetra.

In Literature

  • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a book by Stephen Covey also lays down the importance of the number seven other than 
  • Secret Seven by Enid Blyton
  • Seven Pillars of Wisdom, by T. E. Lawrence. 
  • Even there are a number of references to seven in Harry Potter: There are a total of seven books in the series; Ginny Weasley is the seventh child and only daughter; Harry Potter was born in July, the seventh month of the year; Wizarding students must complete seven years of school at Hogwarts; Lord Voldemort splits his soul into seven parts which he believes ensures his immortality. Seven is also the number on the back of Harry Potter's Quidditch robes. In Quidditch each team consists of seven players. Chapter four of Book 7 is titled "The Seven Potters."
  • As per Arthashashthra by Kautilya, he recognizes seven elements of the state as Sapthanga. These elements he compares to the different organs of the human body. These seven elements are the angas, which should be active and healthy for the smooth functioning of the body politics. Kautilya considered all these elements as being interdependent. These seven elements are: 
    • 1.Swamin (King) 
    • 2. Amatya (Ministers and Advisors)
    • 3. Janapada (Population and Territory)
    • 4. Durga (Fort)
    • 5. Kosha (Treasury)
    • 6. Bala (Army)
    • 7. Mitra (Friend)
  • Thiruvalluvar scribed only seven words in every verse of Thirukkural and the total number of kurals 1330 which totals to 7

Last but not the least .... Remember you have read details under 14 headings (multiple of seven) written in 2014, which adds up to seven...