Thursday, July 19, 2018

1179. Economics of Livelihood.....

There is abundance in resource and our requirement is adequate. Yet there is chaos in managing the abundant resource, why??? The rich and poor gap is widening and all the efforts to bring in equality have failed. In the early seventies the then government brought in the land reforms and declared “tiller is the owner of the land” in the process it distributed poverty among the haves instead of uplifting the have nots. The communist thought too did not make the living better. Is there a solution to this???

According to our ancients there are different Vritti (Livelihood) which we adopt. The difference in the livelihood we adopt causes the imbalance in managing the resource. Understandably it is impossible for everyone to follow a similar kind of livelihood. Our livelihood depends on many parameters for some it will be subjected to how much they earn, while for a few it will be entirely on their taste and some have their livelihood to their whims and fancies.

The different Vritti which our ancients observed are in a way to help us understand the present scenario. Every human being has a unique thought process and it varies not only among different individuals but also among siblings. The way we earn and spend is equated to the vrittis described and it has to be noted that there is no hierarchy in it.

First and most commonly used is the Madhukara Vritti (Bee’s Livelihood). Madhukara in Sanskrit is a Honey-Bee. Honey-bees fly from one flower to another flower collecting nectar and deposits in its hive for the future. But one fine day it is relished by someone else. In the process of amassing wealth the one who has hoarded will never enjoy it. This Madhukara Vritti when adopted in spiritual life it is the best. One can go about collecting knowledge and then compile them in a book adding their own experience in acquiring that knowledge so that others can make use of it.

Then there is this Pashavika Vritti (Beast’s Livelihood). Pashu in Sanskrit is Beast. A lion hunts down a huge elephant but doesn’t consume the whole its leftover is for the scavengers. A few not only work hard and earn so much that after enjoying it they leave it for others to flich on it.

Next is Ajgara Vritti (Python’s Livelihood). Ajagara in Sanskrit is Constrictor. A python devour its prey whole without leaving anything for others and also it goes into hibernation for some time. Likewise a few work hard for a few days and earn well and spend the entire earnings and then take rest for a few days.

Dhenu Vritti (Cow’s Livelihood) is one more. Dhenu in Sanskrit is Cow. Cow munches on the grass only to its stomach full and will not consume more than required. There are a few who are contented with what they earn and their earning is consistent.

Silonchana Vritti (Grain Collectors Livelihood) Grain collectors are birds which peck on the fallen grains from the crop in the fields. These are individuals who work as daily wages and are always contented.

Now, the rarest of them all Salina Vritti (Modest Livelihood) Salina is one who is modest. He does not worry about is earnings he only knows to work and keeps a strong feeling that his stomach will be filled.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

1178. The two extremes....!

Upanishads in one occasion says you are everything and in another it reminds you are nothing. This “everything” and “nothing” being opposite words the statement seem to be like Asatyabhasa (Paradox).

Upanishads says you are everything because at any given point in time you are in contact with the Collective Consciousness. It will be impossible for you as an individual to escape the tangible and the intangible elements of the Universe that is constantly in touch with your being in numerous ways. At the same time you are nothing. Being part of the Collective Consciousness in a way suggests that you are truly nothing as an individual. The identity we keep is itself because of the notion that we are separate from the Universe. This identity which separates us and gives us the tag of an individual is very insignificant in the relative scope of the infinite Universe.

Now if we contemplate on the Upanishad statement and tie these two thoughts into one another  the concept and realization of knowing will be that we are nothing, yet everything. If I am nothing I can be everything. Once you believe in something as an absolute, you are automatically precluding yourself from believing in the opposite, which means that in some ways a part of your freedom of thought as a human being is forfeited as a result.

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that a hallmark of a Sthitaprajna (Steadfast) is in the ability to holding the opposites together and transcending the duality. To transcend this we need to tread the pathless path. The pathless path is to train the mind not to stick to one extreme alone. The opposites reside in either extreme and if I am stuck with one extreme, I am automatically precluding myself from reckoning the opposite. This means that in a some way a part of my freedom of thought is forfeited as a result. 

Walking the pathless path makes my mind open to both extremes. I would be creating a dynamic persona that adapts everything and anything on a whim, because ego and preconceptions don’t get in the way. 

Take your beliefs and preconceptions yet consider it's opposite. 

Regard them both.

Rise above them. 

Transcend duality.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

1177. The Metal Mirrors....!

A mirror can be manufactured without using conventional glass. They make mirrors from metal it is a rare piece of craft that has existed since  Vedic period. The experts used “Dhatu” Shastra. Dhatu is metal and its science is metallurgy. They have expertise in combining metal like copper and tin to produce  distortion free reflection.

Our ancient artisans made ornaments like bangles and rings, cooking vessels and bells by casting copper based alloys. While working on the alloy, they discovered the reflective property of one particular ratio of copper-tin alloy. This characteristic of the polished metal has been explored for making “Aranmula Kannadi” (Aranmula Mirror).

This alloy is a precious inherited gift which is kept a secret and has been handed over through generations which has earned them the Geographical Indication tag. Aranmula is a temple town near Chengannur, in Pathanamthitta District, Kerala State, India. 

A few centuries back the head priest of Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple found that the crown made for the Deity had developed a crack. He then updated it to local King who summoned the bronze smith and ordered him to make a new crown within three days. The bronze smith was worried as he did not have sufficient material or time to fetch them. He came home and told his wife about this. It is claimed that while she was sleeping, Parvathi Devi appeared in her dream and told her the ratio proportions of a copper-tin alloy that shine like a mirror. 

The crown was made from the combination turned out to be a marvel of art and craft. It appeared to be like silver in colour, as brittle as glass and had the shine of rare brilliance. When cleaned using wax and coconut oil it acquired the quality of reflection. Further the alloy casters soon worked out the ratios of different metals to make it more reflective.

The bronze smiths of Aranmula liberally patronized the artisans and even laid down an order that the mirror should be one of the eight auspicious articles used in all Hindu religious rites including marriage. Hence it became a very popular ritualistic article among the Malayali Connoisseus and this great piece of art flourished. Though the demand gradually declined as the cheaper glass mirrors were available, the popularity of this handicraft has not and never will.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

1176. Out of the Cave....!

The Allegory of Cave by Pluto provides us an insight on what we believe is our life, our religion, our family, our community, our society, our city and our country. Though it is providing a backdrop that shapes our perspective, it is also creating a prejudice from which it is difficult to escape. The cave represents the ideologies which we are stuck with and looking to break free from them. Breaking free does not mean to explore new understandings but to become aware of deceptions. Plato wants us to uncover the biggest deception and to question ourselves as to who we are, what is the purpose of our existence, what should be our actions, and importantly what we perceive in others, their existence, their actions and their perceptions. Even more so, we why presume the action and perception of others.

Allegory of Cave throws light on our corporal existence. As Plato points out, there are those who want to remain in the cave as they have taken the cave for “reality”, and have become hostile towards any effort to enlighten them of the things outside the cave. So let us not focus on those dont want to get out of the cave. Now, what is it for those who have the zeal to come out of the cave??? And is it for us to step out of our mind and intellect index and get in touch with the pure Light of Consciousness like the person who ventured out of the cave??? This is the question Pluto is asking us? If yes, we have come out of deception.

But the biggest question is how to uncover self-deception and escape from it??? Self-deception is allowing ourselves to believe something about ourselves that is not true, because the truth is more unpleasant.

One must be very careful of this. Coming out of the cave is not to enter another cave. Of course it was not the philosopher’s intention, but we should not take this allegory and create another cave for ourselves. We think there is actually a cave and we need to get out of it. It is quite natural to think so as mind works on these lines only. Mind has materialised it within us and created yet another puzzle for itself. How can mind get out of the puzzle it has created for itself. Mind creates the puzzle and the same mind wants to solve it. It is like a single person playing the game of hide and seek. It is like immovable object meeting the unstoppable force. The trick is to become aware of these mind mechanics. These Mind mechanics can clear doubts on our corporal existence but can never make us understand our spiritual existence.  
Without the light of awareness, the mind is lost and only goes deeper and deeper into the jumble. Awareness is what takes us out of deception as well as self-deception. If we look only to address deception unmindful of self-deception and want to ask how to know how it is to be outside the cave, the question is a big welcome sign into yet another cave. This is what Sri Dakshinamurthy said, “The entire universe is like a city seen within a mirror, seeing happening within one’s own self.”

With awareness there are no caves…………!

Monday, July 9, 2018

1175. Attitude....!

 “Attitude is Everything” says a poster. “Your Attitude determines Your Altitude” says another.

What exactly is this “Attitude”???

Attitude is the preconditioning of behaviour or response. Attitude is an acquired state of mind got from enduring the experiences in life. By using it one is liable for his actions and reactions that can be evaluated as negative or positive. Either way the person is labelled as “having too much attitude” but this remark also holds different meanings. In doing things confidently a person is regraded as one with positive attitude. On the other hand if a person is too egoistic he is seen as displaying a negative attitude towards others. So, there can be many definitions of attitude depending upon the perspective. The ability to face a situation in a right manner is to have a positive attitude. This positive attitude depends more on the condition rather than on the effect in regard with the cause.

A Zen master who was in a high altitude monastery was unable to tolerate the extreme cold. When all the firewood accumulated to survive the winter got exhausted, he broke the wooden statue of Buddha into pieces and put them in the fire. When the astonished disciples asked him why he did so, he said “I want the inner Buddha to be alive.” Zen attitude differs from what Buddha had preached. Buddhism concentrated on cause and the aftermath (Effect) while Zen speaks about the cause and conditions (Present). Our action depends on cause and effect as per Buddha point of view but action could also depend on the cause and conditions from Zen masters views.

If an example is to be considered here, two persons are sleeping on the railway platform of a remote village. One of them has lost his home in a fire and has made the platform his shelter for the day and the other guy is from the neighbouring village who takes shelter in the platform as it is safe for him to be there. For the person who had lost his home sleeping on the platform is effect, while for the person from the next village it was a condition to sleep on the platform. This explains the attitude of seeing things. Attitude is always confronted by perception. If “A” says “B” has “Attitude” problem then “B” thinks “A” has “Perception” problem.  
Attitude also helps in perceiving the situation so that a solution can be derived at. 

In the Ramayana, instead of arguing with Kaikeyi and trying to claim His rights over the throne, Shri Rama dealt with the situation from a higher level. He disclosed that he was in fact waiting for such an opportunity where he could unload his burden of responsibilities and learn from the Sages in the forest. When an eagle is chased by a horde of crows, it doesn’t fight back it chooses to fly higher and out of the crows reach. This is the attitude of an eagle. Instead of delving into negative situations, Shri Rama chose to focus on the positives that could be awaiting Him.

When Arjuna visited the Indralokha (Heaven) the celestial nymph, Urvashi cursed him to become a eunuch for rejecting her proposal. He converted that curse into an opportunity by using it to his advantage during the one year of incognito stay at Kingdom of King Virata.

In both the cases it was the condition which was used to the advantage.

So using the prevailing condition to the best of advantage is “ATTITUDE”.

Friday, July 6, 2018

1174. Killing of Vaali.........

Ramayana has a lot for us to instruct on how to perceive things when we are put in a quandary. Killing of Vaali by Shri Rama which is elaborately mentioned in Kishkinda Khanda is one such episode which had made me think a lot on the how Shri Rama could differentiate Nyaya and Niti to decide on what He has to do.  
Rakshasha Kabandha advises Shri Rama to befriend Sugriva and help him as he is troubled by his brother Vaali. Vaali had abducted Ruma, wife of Sugriva and had driven him out of the kingdom. Shri Rama helped Sugriva by killing Vaali. Many doubt was it ethically or morally correct for Shri Rama to kill Vaali. Sage Valmiki covers all issues but leaves it to us to break the puzzle and understand. Superficially Sage Valmiki has penned everything against the action of Shri Rama. 

Why would he do it??? 

Many authors overlook the ethical aspects in order to highlight the character, while some point out everything against the character and let the reader crown the character. When we look at Ramayana as a Kathanaka (Story) instead of the taking it as Itihasa (History) we miss this finer gradations.

According to Kabandha Vaali was not “Evil,” when he mentions about him to Shri Rama he says Vaali was “Angry” (Sugriva had thought Vaali was killed by Maayavi and assumed Kingship of Kishkinda). Sugriva had misjudged the situation and countermanded the instruction of Vaali. As punishment Vaali banished Sugriva and since they were Vanaras the “Alpha Male” traits was at display in taking Ruma. So Shri Rama was aware that Vaali was not wicked. 

Sugriva too did not wish for Vaali’s death instead he asked Shri Rama to do whatever may deem it fit so that he is not troubled by his brother. But at the time of accepting friendship Shri Rama had already promised Sugriva that He will eliminate Vaali.  Shri Rama made the promise to Sugriva before knowing the reason for enmity between Vaali and Sugriva. So what could be the reason that Rama passes death sentence to Vaali?
When invited by Sugriva to duel for the second time, Tara, wife of Vaali warns about Shri Rama. Vaali clearly says Shri Rama will not sin by killing him when he is fighting with Sugriva. 

How could Shri Rama shatter the hopes of Vaali???

These are all ethical points that cropped up while reading Ramayana of Sage Valmiki which we need to contemplate upon.

In Sanskrit there are two distinct words Niti and Nyaya both relate to justice but these two are off separate concentrations and there is a basic distinction between them. Niti is a term used for organisational propriety and behavioural correctness. Nyaya stands for a more comprehensive concept of realised justice. For Example, we have Matsyanyaya “Rule of the Fish” big fish devouring the small fish. There is no Niti (Ethics) here. If the big fish feels for the small fish then it will have to starve. When looking at an issue from Nyaya angle Niti should not be a hindrance.   

Vaali wanted the Kingdom for himself and Sugriva had to hide in Rishimukha hills where Vaali was not permitted. While taking over the Kingdom he had taken Ruma too showing his “Animal Instinct.” Shri Rama did not approve it. Vaali also sought to have extended help to find Sita. But Shri Rama was not impressed that coming from the mouth of a “Wife Stealer.”

Saturday, June 30, 2018

1173. Biopics.....necessary???

Biopics are to stay in Indian Film Industry. A Biopic is a cinematic conversion of the life of an individual who has earned fame in the career and reached the status of a celebrity. The intention of this venture is to highlight the ups and downs of the individual in the career graph. In recent times we have had a lot of Biopic. The question is, are these Biopics necessary???

Biopics are not new to us earlier any historical movie made was indeed a Biopic. We never questioned those Biopics two decades back, why are we sceptical about them now???  As I understand earlier a biopic gave an inner view of the character regarding both personal as well as public life. Audience were double thrilled when their favourite actor was donning the role of their favourite personality. Many untold or unrecorded events in the life of the character that were veiled by the media or biographers can be revealed in a biopic. Sometimes Biopic was to be a summed up version of various writes on a particular character.

Then why do we have to have such uproar on a Biopic when it is made on a gangster???

Biopics made in recent times do not reflect the event as it is for commercial reasons. In the climax of the movie Dangal the father of the wrestler was shown to be locked up in the rest room. In reality Mahavir Phogat, the real life father was very much present at the final bout. The screenplay was twisted a little to make the audience more emotional. Biopics are meant to glorify but not to the extent of making it a pro-film. If the Biopic is on a gangster there is no doubt the director will show the police, judiciary and media in low light to highlight gangster character.

Cinemas do not remain purely entertainment any longer now it has been used as a medium to instil a thought. We had many movies that glorified crimes which started from the English movie “Godfather” a frictional novel by Mario Puzo. We had many Indian movies which glorified the crime like Satya by Ram Gopal Varma. I would say it was glorifying criminality. Movies reach the masses and impress the youth. Youngsters who watch them begin to think that crimes are normal. After feeding our audience with such movies now the trend is to glorify criminals. 

Unfortunately we have become such an audience that we readily accept a Biopic of a criminal. Recently we had a Biopic of a gangster in Gujarat with a leading actor playing the role of the gangster. Now we have a brilliant director in Bollywood who has made a movie on a Movie Star by spicing up things. To make the movie hit among masses he conveniently avoids showing the underworld in bad light and adds imaginary story bits that would make the fans go-gaga-over.   

It is so unfortunate that while Hollywood makes a movie on “The Man Who Knew Infinity” a great Indian Mathematician called Srinivasa Ramanujan, we have our own directors scripting on Gangsters and directing Criminals. Not that we do not make Biopic on inspirational personalities, a Biopic was directed by Sandeep Varma on Manjunath (remember him he was an employee of Indian Oil Corporation Limited). He was shot dead for sealing down two petrol pumps in Uttar Pradesh for selling adulterated fuel. He hailed from a poor family and had taken a loan to complete his management course at IIM, Lucknow. He never wanted to join the private sector or a multinational company, his aim was to improve the system of allotting at filling stations. 

If only our brilliant directors script a Biopic on such characters and our ace actors don the role of such personalities, the real meaning of a Biopic can be justified.

Friday, June 29, 2018

1172. Knowledge, Devotion and Dispassion....!

Many of us think that Bhaya (Fear) instils Bhakti (Devotion), but even if it does, it is not the Ucitamarga (Sensible Way). Sriman Madhva explains clearly that the devotion which is got from fear will fade as the thought becomes Tarakasangata (Rational). Sriman Madhva says Bhakti develops from knowing the Merits (Gunas) of God and further will sustain by Vairagya (Freedom from Worldly Desire).

Sriman Madhva has this story from Srimad Bhagvata to support his views. Sage Narada happens to pass by a young lady wailing before two old men. He wants to know the cause of her misery. After enquiry he comes to know that the woman was born in Dravida Bhumi (Tamil Nadu) brought up in Kannada Bhumi (Karnataka) stayed in Maratha Bhumi (Maharashtra) and has been travelling and had aged. Now along with the two old men she was now in Brij Bhumi (Gujarat). As she reached Brij she retained her youth and energy, but the two men continued to remain old totally sapped of all energy. This was the cause for her misery.

When Narada asked who she was, the woman said, “I am Bhakti, these two are my sons, Jnana & Vairagya.  

Narada explains her the cause of the malady, “O! mother, this is the age of “Kali” (Kaliyuga) the traits like Jnana, Bhakti and Vairagya have diminished. This Brij Bhumi has retained your youth but Sri Krishna has left for Parandhama (His Ultimate Abode) as His avatara has ended. I think He has sent you down to earth to enter into the minds of all His devotees. 

Narada then offered to help revive the sons of Bhakti. He advised Bhakti to listen to Srimad Bhagavata along with her two sons “Jnana” and “Vairagya”. Bhakti follows the advice, she listened to Srimad Bhagavata with great attention and amazingly her two sons revived to youthfulness. Thus the misery of Bhakti ended.

Jnana is knowledge which gets us to know the merits of God. Vairagya is that quality in us by which we view all things (other than the vital) without passion. Sri Sri Sankara insisted that Jnana alone was the way to Moksha. Srimad Ramanuja added Bhakti along with Jnana to attain Moksha. It was Sriman Madhva who categorically said that without Vairagya both Jnana and Bhakti become futile.  

Jnana is mere knowledge, if I have headache the knowledge of the name of pill for a headache alone cannot relive the pain one should take the pill. Bhakti too can be just pomp and show if done for others. Jnana and Vairagya serve to promote the spirit of Bhakti. Bhakti can subsist without Jnana but deprived of Vairagya it is inconsequential.

Vairagya does not mean abandoning responsibilities of life and running away to Himalayas. Vairagya is to be indifference to sensual objects and realize that in this world “Mustard of pleasure is mixed with a Mountain of Pain” so endurance is the key.

There are four stages in Vairagya. First is Yatamana where the senses are not let to entertain sensual gratification. Next is Vyatireka when senses consciously develop aversion towards things which does not help mind excel spiritually. Then it is Ekendriya where senses stand still and are subdued, but the mind has either Raga (Like) or Dvesha (Dislike) for objects. Mind will be the only sense that functions independently. Vasirara is next when no objects tempts any longer. The senses are perfectly quiet and mind also is free from likes and dislikes. Finally it is Paravairagya, the highest stage of Vairagya. Here the seeker is not worried about himself as he is free from the qualities of the gunas he becomes Gunatita.

Is there anyone like that??? Hanuma is one. 
Hanuma later on came as Sriman Madhva to teach us this in an explicit way.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

1171. Ten Heads of Ravana...!

I always wondered how Ravana could balance his ten heads on his neck. We have seen him being depicted with ten heads and if it has to be in symmetry five to his right and five on his left, so in the middle the neck has to support the two halves. In one of the scriptures I had read, Ravana was a great devotee of Maharudradeva and an inordinate scholar. Once he undertook a vicious penance. It is said that to please Maharudradeva, Ravana axed his head one by one and offed them to his Lord. These 10 heads indicate the knowledge he had about 4 Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atarvana) and 6 Shastras, the Six Systems of Theistic Philosophy namely, Nyaya Shastra of Sage Gautama, Vaishesikha Shastra of Sage Kanad, Sankya Shastra of Sage Kapila, Yoga Shastra of Sage Patanjala, Mimamsa Shastra of Sage Jaimini and Vedantha Shastra of Sage Vyasa.

We all know that knowledge brings humility (Vidya dadati Vinayam) but for a few it brings in Ahamkara (Ego). Ravana had developed ten heads filled with ten emotions which Mahabali, the Emperor of Sutala, the third of the nether worlds advises Ravana to discard the nine and retain the tenth. Mahabali says that Ravana accumulated lower emotions which need to be abandoned and retain one higher emotion called Intellect.

Here is the conversation between Mahabali and Ravana:

MAHABALI: Shun Anger, it clouds your intellect and make you do foolish things.
RAVANA: How can I, Anger electrifies my thoughts and push me into action?

MAHABALI: Shun Pride it stems arrogance which stops clear thinking and vision. It overestimates you and underestimates your enemy.
RAVANA: How can I, Success is the offshoot of Pride and with the immense energy that I posses I should be proud of it.

MAHABALI: Do not be jealous, it makes you yearn for other other man’s wealth, wife and fame.
RAVANA: How can I, Jealousy is the driving force for progress, and the root of accomplishment is seeded in Jealousy.

MAHABALI:  Happy and sad are mere truths like hot and cold. A man of superior intellect remains calm unaffected by them.
RAVANA: How can I be calm when one of my beloved departs and how can I not celebrate my happiness.

MAHABALI: Fear is a disease and it spreads and kills everyone who is in its grasp.  
RAVANA: It is basic nature of man and animal.  I fear death and it rekindles my instinct to be prepared to face it.

MAHABALI: The one who thinks himself always is selfish what use is life if you are not a small light in darkness? 
RAVANA: Selfishness is the foundation of ambition. To achieve all the treasures of the earth I have to be highly Self-centred.

MAHABALI: Attachment is a link that binds you to the chain of make-believe. It weakens you and pushes you to bondage.
RAVANA: Attachment is the King of emotions. There can be nothing greater that mother’s attachment to her baby.   

MAHABALI: Have control over your ambitions. Do aim and strive for it but keep your feet grounded always.    
RAVANA: Ambition is the key to progress. Without ambition magnificent cities cannot be built. Men become great by being ambitious. Ambitions are horses that pull life forward.  

Not a bit did Ravana understand what Mahabali was telling him…Alas! if he had retained the Tenth head called Intellect automatically the nine would have faded..........Dashagreeva!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

1170. Academic knowledge and Analytical knowledge!!!

The theory based knowledge of concepts and theories acquired at college or university is the Academic Knowledge. This is the mere basics which every student is educated in the institution he is enrolled in. Apart from what is taught a few students try to analyse and use that theoretical knowledge to help them in their enterprise. Using the knowledge obtained academically for critical thinking to find solution to any kind of complications that one may encounter in life is Analytical Knowledge. With only Academic knowledge one can never approach a problem as the solution to it does not necessarily be notional. 

I remember in the movie “3 Idiots” Rancho Shamaldas Chanchad asking his professor, “Why a pencil was not used in spaceship?” It was to make us treat the sequence as a joke and laugh, but in reality Russians did use pencil while Americans were spending a lot of money to replace the fountain pen. Use of pencil turned out to be hazardous for the Russians as the graphite dust started to clog the critical electrical points in the space ship. It was also affecting the health of the astronauts. Only after a long research a scientist Paul C. Fisher invented the ballpoint pen using the thixotropic ink with a ball in the tip. As we write the ball in the tip rolled and the ink spread on to the paper. For any invention if necessity is the mother, analytical knowledge is the father.  

Another widely known story is about the soap company in Japan. Company used to regularly receive complaints that a few soap boxes in their consignment were empty. The manufactured aromatic soaps were delivered by a machine to small individual box and a set of six individual boxes were packed in a corrugated box. The machine delivering the soap to the individual box on some occasion failed to deliver due to time lag. Management asked its engineers to look into the problem. The engineers who could not rectify the time lag in the machine decided to solve the problem in a different approach. They used a high-tech precision scale that would measure the weight of each soap box. If any box weighed less than it normally should, there was a beep sound and flash light.

With a beep sound and a flash light the line would come to an abrupt halt. The supervisor had to walk over to the machine and retrieve the empty box out of the line, pressing another button to restart the unit. The effort was a success but they had to shell out lots of money as they had to install the high-tech precision scale in all its manufacturing units across the country. When the management was worried about the inventory cost, a young engineer had a simple solution he placed a heavy duty industrial fan across the conveyor line and switched it on, and as each soap box passed the fan, the gusty air from the fan simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.

There is always a simple way to solve a problem and an analytical mind is after it.

1169. A Sacrament called Marriage.

“Iyam Sita Mama Sutha, Sahadharmachari Tava Pratheechcha Chainam Bhadramte Pannim Grihneeshva Panina Pativrata Mahabhaga Chayevanugatasada.”

“Here is my daughter, Sita, who will ever tread with you in the path of Dharma. Take her hand in yours. Blessed and devoted, she will ever walk with you like your own shadow.”
This is what Janaka Maharaja tells Shri Rama while introducing his daughter Sitadevi, after Shri Rama had lifted the Shaivachapa (Shiva’s Bow). 

A traditional marriage is the union of two individuals for life, so that they can pursue Dharma (Righteousness), Artha (Economy), Kama (Desires) and Moksha (Liberation) together and also a ceremony of cementing the bonds of two families together. The primary witness of a Vivaha is Agni (Sacred Fire) and by law as well as by tradition, no Vedic marriage is deemed complete unless Saptapadi (Seven Encirclements) have been made around the Sacred Fire, by the bride and the groom together. Vivahais one of the “Shodasha Samskara” (16 Sacrament) which was instituted by Shwetaketu, the Son of Uddalaka.

There was a time when it was allowed for men and women to take any number of partner they desired. Budha (Mercury) was born out of union of Chandra (Moon) and Tara, the wife of Sage Brihaspati (Jupiter). Sage Bharadvaja was born when Brihaspati desire for Mamta, wife of Sage Utathya who was his brother. Uninhibited and free sexual conduct was normal at those times. Any woman or man could go with anyone they desired to fulfill their sexual urge.

Young Shwetaketu once happens to see his mother being pulled by a Muni and telling her “let us go”. Looking at that Shwetaketu was very upset, but his father Sage Uddalaka tried to convince him and said, “Don’t get angry son, this is the cosmic law, as cows and other creatures do, men and women are free to go with anyone they like, either on their own free will or in response to an invitations.” But Shwetaketu did not agree with the instinct valid only for animals. He felt a urgent need for maintaining dignity and propriety of conduct between man and woman that led to the evolution of the “Institution of Marriage”.  

Shwetaketu propounded a set of “Do’s & Don’ts” for both married men and women enforcing a proper dictum to marriage. He streamlined the fidelity between husband and wife and licensed marriage as prerequisite to procreation. He also instituted property rights in those times.

Friday, June 22, 2018

1168. Unwanted and Desired......!!!

A nursing student is advised to perform wound irrigation in a proper way before taking up the dressing procedure. Wound Irrigation is the act of flushing the wound with saline solution in order to remove dead or necrotic tissue and other debris. This procedure will help clean the wound and keep it hydrated. Keeping the wound clean and hydrated ultimately helps in quick healing. Without proper care in wound irrigation any amount of antibiotic gels and creams is futile in wound treatment.

In a traditional Hindu household the Yajamani (Lady of the House) gets up early in the morning, cleans the front yard with the coconut broom. After cleaning she sprinkles water on the cleaned space and then she draws pretty patterns called “Rangoli”to display her aesthetic sense. Though this empirical art is just making patterns using either rice flour or limestone powder, the cleaning of the courtyard and sprinkling water plays an important role in projecting the art.  
In wound irrigation and cleaning of the courtyard what is to be observed is that the unwanted is removed. The word used in Sanskrit for unwanted is “Anista”. Our scriptures say that human race is always in “Anista Nivrutti, Ista Prapti” (Removal of Unwanted, Obtainment of Desired) mode. For the desired to be obtained the undesired has to be removed.  
In the path of Spirituality, a seeker has to cultivate the basic six prerequisite qualities of Mind termed as Shat Sampathi. These six qualities are Sama, Dama, Titiksha, Uparati, Sraddha and Samadhana.

Sama is the tranquillity, equanimity and composure of Mind. By having this quality of mind we accept the unexpected rather than expecting the world outside to act to our expectations. It even helps us to take the commotion in stride and expect thing as they are so that there is no disappointments. Disappointment and tranquillity do not coexist.   

Dama is self-restrain and control over our senses. Our conscious mind with the help of the senses will get in touch with the external world. If the Mind is not trained properly, the senses become the driving force for it and the mind acts to the whims and fancies of the senses. So it is important to teach discipline to the senses by using knowledge on the basis by which it is accepted by our Mind and not forcefully impose over the senses.

Titiksha is forbearance, tolerance in the thought, word and deed. It teaches us endurance and to cope the pairs of opposites such as heat and cold, pleasure and pain, etc.

Uparati is desisting from sensual pleasures. The pleasure we experience may from object we need and from object which are our wantons. We could make a sincere effort to get the pleasures from the needed object rather than imagining we would get it from our wantons. Surprisingly if we observe some of our wantons are not to satisfy our self but others. 

Sraddha is intense faith in the word of the Guru, Scriptures and, above all, in one's own self. It is not blind faith but is based on accurate reasoning, evidence and experience. As such, it is lasting, perfect and unshakable. Such a faith is capable of achieving anything.

Samadhana is a capacity to put in order the statements that we receive from different scriptures and philosophies. If we are in touch with many philosophies we find that some are contradictory to each other. Samadhana gives us the inner strength to place the statements of any philosophies in a particular context and bail us out from getting confused.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

1167. Forewarned so that be Forearmed.....

There was drought and scarce of water had not only affected humans but also the cattle. The Pre-Monsoon and Monsoon had failed and it was the end of Badrapada Maasa (September) and there was not even a drop from the sky. The King was worried though the astrologers had predicted normal rain, if not satisfying, yet there were no sign of clouds. By this time of the year the peasant community should have started the agricultural activities. The worried King consulted his Wise Minister. 

“Nanna Uttara nimma Hasthadallide, nimma Chitta” (My answer is in your hands, your wish) told the Wise Minister when asked about the rain. The King understood what the Wise Minister had told and waited for another fortnight. The sky did open up and it started to rain. 

There was a code in the sentence of the Wise Minister which the King decrypted. To a lane person it seems that the Wise Minister had no answer and had left the matter to the King to decide.    

The words “Uttara” Hastha” and “Chitta” in Kannada is “Answer” “Hand” and “Wish” respectively but they are the names of the 27 Nakshatras (Constellations) too. Amazingly they are associated with the rainfall pattern which our farmers keep track. Our Vedic rainfall prediction technique has its own unique beauty for estimating the time & amount it will rain, as it is the simplest and more accurate way to predict rains. This technique is based on the positions of the Sun and the 27 Nakshatras. Off the 27 Nakshatras only 11 Nakshatras from Rohini (May) to Chitta (Oct) coincides with the crop growing period of Kharif (Monsoon Crop season). 

The transit of Sun over these 11 Stars is classified as Kharif. Rohini and Mrigashira bring Pre-Monsoon showers. Aridhra, Punarvasu, Pushya, Aslesha, Makha, Pubba and Uttara bring Monsoon (Mungaru) rain. Hastha and Chitta bring Post-Monsoon showers. The Nakshatras Mrigashira, Aridhra, Pushya, Makha, Pubba and Chitta has an increasing trend whereas Rohini, Punarvasu, Aslesha, Uttara and Hastha Nakshatras shows decreasing trend in rainfall.

When the King was anxious as the Pre-Monsoon and Monsoon had failed the Wise Minister had advised the King to remain calm and wait for Post Monsoon showers, that is what he meant in code words.  

In addition to the positioning of the Sun and the Stars our ancients had some unique techniques to predict the amount of rainfall. Nature gave them indications of rain, ants emerging out of ant hill carrying their eggs and a sudden croaking of frogs indicated sudden rains. Halo around the Sun or Moon means it will rain shortly. On the day of Holi, it is tradition to lighten up bonfire to commemorate the burning of Kamadeva by Maharudradeva. The height of the towering fire and the direction of the smoke (velocity of Wind) is observed to determine the intensity of rain. 

Nature has provided us indications to be forewarned so that we are forearmed. It has been since Vedic times to forecast rains based on the observations of winds, clouds or behaviour of animals, birds, insects, trees, plants or atmospheric wonders like halo around the Sun or Moon. 

Aren’t we blessed???

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

1166. Positive Thoughts Positive Vibrations....!

The ability to visualize and imagine is the special feature that makes my brain better than those of other creatures. Visualising and Imagining is a trait which is bestowed only to Human race. I can do this with the help of the frontal cortex in my brain. It has researched that there are numerous nerve cells in my cerebral cortex arranged in definite patterns, but in order. This visualising and imagining helps in removing fear by developing faith this is called positive use of it. If the same act increases my fear then I am using that trait in a negative mode. Faith and fear can never remain simultaneously so positivity and negativity cannot stay together.

Scientists have observed that a human brain is both broadcasting as well as a receiving station as far as thoughts are concern. My brain is capable of catching up the extremely high vibration of thoughts that are generated by other brains around me through the medium of the space, just as we see in the radio broadcasting principle. Positivity and Negativity that is experienced by me depends upon the vibrations generated by other brain. If I am in contact with a person who is gloomy there is negative vibrations and that low feel pours out on me too. If I am with a cheerful, it means that person is in positive vibration mode and that high elevates me too. In both cases the chances are that the emotions of thought gets amplified. If the cheerfulness amplifies then it calls for a celebration but what if the gloomy mood encompasses??? Is it possible to avoid negative vibrations and face only positive vibration???

As told above a human brain will catch up only those vibrations which are extremely high. Thoughts are energies travelling at an extremely high rate of vibration. Thought is responsible to receive negative or positive vibrations. If observed we are most surrounded by people who love to talk more about those people who have caused harm to them and they seldom talk about people who are helpful to them. It shows that they are negative prone people who want to portray themselves as victims always. It is always better to keep away from the negative prone people. Now, how is it possible to know if a person is negative prone unless he talks to us or interact with us?

Our ancients have suggested a secret that is to pray every day early in the morning. Prayer is to develop positive frequency in the brain. Once the positive frequency is developed in the brain the thoughts become optimistic and firm. This can be experienced throughout the day and we receive and broadcast only positive vibration. Is offering prayers the only means to achieve positive frequency, if so, what is the fate of an atheist or an agnostic???

An atheist or an agnostic can also develop positive frequency; the best way to achieve it is by Self-Motivation. Irrespective of what kind of people are around us these are the two ways one is to surrender to God through prayer or to Self-Motivate. Initially it is little difficult but as we follow this routine it will become habit and hence our second nature. Then no negative frequency can catch us. The best time for a Prayer or Self-Motivation is early in the morning. 

There are a few who practice both, they pray to God and then they say to themselves “Today I am going to be happy, whatever the situation is I am going to put my best potential to triumph over it. I believe God is do not inflict any problem which I cannot solve and no one can irritate me without my participation. I am not going to get disturbed by anyone if possible I will cheer others.”

Saturday, June 16, 2018

1165. Time or Action Management???

“Main Samaya Hoon” the resonating voice of Harish Bhimani with a wheel on the background begins B.R.Chopra’s Mahabharat serial. The concept of using “Time” to tell us the “Tale” was extraordinary as Time is Eternal. Time is the one which can claim to know all. When time is saying you will be hearing the accurate as Time is an Ever Existing Entity.

Time moves with the same speed, it neither lags nor does it lead. We have formulated the pace of the time by naming it as second, minute, hour, though Time does not make any changes in its accuracy. A day is also taken as the reference of Time, but it is only the period of one revolution of Earth around Sun. Or could it be the lunar phase for those who follow Lunar Calendar. Both ways it is the measure of Time and superficially we calculate Time on the earth based on the movements of Sun and Moon.       

Let us contemplate deeper. In fact, the time is not decided on the basis of the movement of the planets. The movements of these planets are on the basis of the time. We, the inhabitants of Bharathavarsha are fortunate to have almost equal amount of daylight and nightfall for the entire year. While the countries nearer to poles experience a large seasonal variation in the daylight and nightfall.  Norway which is described as “Land of the Midnight Sun” has 20 hours of daylight. 

The existence of the time is primeval, and will continue to exist, irrespective of Daylight or Nightfall. The daylight and Nightfall does not make any change in the nature of the Time. Astonishingly though it appears that everything is being managed according to the Time. If so, how then is it possible to manage Time? When we say we need to learn to manage Time is it not an illusion. Time Management is an indication of our limited understanding of the nature of Time.

Instead of focusing on how to manage Time we should give attention on how to manage our Actions. If the time could be managed then why should we be in haste in some occasion and also complain about wasting it in another. Let us wipe out the illusion we have about Time management and concentrate on our Action management. The countries which have uneven Daylight and Nightfall have focused on how to manage Action and hence they are able to be on par with Time. 

Action management requires focus on planning and organizing the work activities of self and others. There is a Subhasitham which says “It is improper to start digging the well after the house has caught fire! We should be pro-active i.e. we should have the solutions ready even before the problem arise.”  Here the Action of digging the well is pitted against the Time when the house is on fire. This says that we need not wait for the Time when the house is on fire but Action of digging the well is foremost. 

Action management against Time management, I know this seem to look paradoxical but if we perceive it from Action angle and not the Time angle we will come to it.    

1164. Om Namo Narayanaya....!

Guru Periya Nambi asked Srimad Ramanuja to go to Thirukoshtiyur Nimbi to learn from him the secret to attain Moksha. Ramanuja went to Thirukoshtiyur Nambi’s house and prostrated before him and put up his request to him. Thirukoshtiyur Nambi looked at him and said, “I do not think you are eligible to know about it, as of now. You go and come back again after some time.” Ramanuja returned to Srirangam with much disappointment and made eighteen trips to Thirukoshtiyur by walk and each time he was sent back.

Looking at Ramanuja’s persistence one day Thirukoshtiyur Nambi said, “I will now incite the Ashtakshara Maha Mantra which will free the person who recites it from cycle for birth and death but, you have to keep it a secret never reveal it to anyone. If you do so you will go to hell.”

Ramanuja was incited with the mantra. Ramanuja’s face was radiant and he was very happy. Next morning instead of returning to Srirangam he went to Thirukoshtiyur temple. On the way he called out to the people and told them to come to the temple and he would gift them a valuable gem which would give them Eternal Bliss. Ramanuja climbed up the steps and reached the top of the temple Gopuram.

He told the people that he was going to tell them about a Mantra that would free them from the circle of samsara. He loudly chanted “Om Namo Narayanaya” and asked the people to repeat it. People were all enthralled and repeated it.

Thirukoshtiyur Nambi came to know about it and he fumed with rage. He came to the temple and shouted, “By giving initiation to you I have committed a sin. You are a traitor you will go to hell.”

Ramanuja replied politely, “Acharya! I know that I will go to hell for not abide your command. But if thousands of people would be benefited by chanting this mantra, I would not mind going to hell.”

When Nambi heard this he hugged Ramanuja and appreciated his broadmindedness and blessed him.

What is so special about this Maha Mantra???

Hiranya Kashyapu had told his wife, Kayadhu that he would go to Mount Kailasa and do penance, may be it will take some years for him to come back. But he returned back after a few day, Kayadhu was surprise but did not ask him the reason then. After a few days when Hiranya Kashyapu was alone with Kayadhu one night, she asked him the reason for him to return back without performing penance. Hiranya Kashyapu tells his wife the reason for him to abort penance was two sparrows. When he sat in the seat of silence two sparrows chanted “Om Namo Narayanaya” and he was disturbed and in a fit of anger he went to kill those two birds which flew away. Unable to concentrate he ceased practicing penance and came back.   

In reality the two sparrows were Sage Narada and Sage Parvata who were assigned to disguise as birds and disturb the penance. Now, when Hiranya Kashyapu was explaining this to his wife he copulates with her who was in her ovulation period and she conceived. The fetus in the womb of the mother gradually developed and happened to be a great devotee of Maha Vishnu.

The Mantra “Om Namo Narayanaya” in the mind of Hiranya Kashyapu when he was united with Kayadhu brought Prahlada to the earth. This incidence is mentioned in Narasimha Purana.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

1163. Truth....!

Sathya (Truth) unfolds through Pratyaksha (Perception), Anumana (Inference) and Agama (Verbal Testimony). As I understand Anumana is the connexion which connects either the Pratyaksha or Agama to Sathya. For Pratyaksha the sense organ I need is Eyes and for Agama I depend on Ears. If I am a Rationalist I believe only what I sees so for me Pratyaksha becomes Pramana (Proof) and if I am a Fanatic I relay more on my Ears. Either way in both occasions I might be deprived of Sathya as I am depending on my sense organs.       

In Anumana I get to use my sixth organ called Mind. If the Rationalist in me who insists more on Visual Opinion can contemplate on the Truth I seek, then I will know that sometimes Truth is beyond my perception. As a Fanatic if I believes on the Verbal Testament I should understand that Truth is beyond words. In both cases it is the Manana (Contemplating Mind) which concludes whether that which I have seen or heard is Truth or not.

Mind too cannot conclude on its own it will be helped by either my Chitta (Memory) or Buddhi (Intellect). If I see smoke on the mountain my memory helps me in concluding that there has to be fire on the mountain. To know if the Mango is ripe I need my memory which asks me to look at the colour through my eye, smell by nose and feel if it is ripe by touch depending on my past experience. But this is to know about the objects in the Prapancha (Universe), hence it is group of Pancha (Five) senses. 

While seeking for the Truth which is beyond my senses it has to be Buddhi (Intellect) which comes to my aid. Mind is in between my memory and the intellect, if my Mind chooses Memory it will be with my senses and whatever my mind concludes will be favourable to my body due to sense gratification. This is what Yama told Nachiketa about when he mentioned about Preya (Pleasure). Preya is what I, as an identity like which pleases me. It is the “Pleasure Principle” that makes me feel good, no-matter what the consequence is.

If the same Mind is with Intellect, the Truth which unfolds may not necessarily be that which is cognised before. Intellect has the capacity to look beyond the realm of Mind as it is always aligned with Super Consciousness. The output of this approach is Shreya (Pleasant). If my Mind chooses the best consequences, whether it makes me feels good or not, often forgoing a temporary pleasure for the sake of a lasting benefit, it is Shreya. 

Truth is always in the midway I need to be rationalists as well as fanatics by using my Memory and Intellect respectively. Mind if stuck with Memory or with Intellect fails to comprehend the Ultimate Truth.