Thursday, October 27, 2016

886. Naughty & Sarcastic Sri Sri Sankara….!

Mimamsa in Sanskrit means “Through Investigation”, of Vedic texts. It has two parts the first one is Purva Mimamsa which strongly defend the ritualistic part of Vedas and the one to follow it is Uttara Mimamsa dealing with the later part of Vedas called Upanishads, it is also called Vedanta. Both are among the six Aastika Darshana (Theist school of Thought). 

On the banks of Narmada in a place called Mahishmati lived Mandana Mishra. He was a great champion of Purva Mimamsa and a confirmed ritualist. It is said that even the parrots living on a tree near his house would be repeating the Vedic Mantras. Such was his ritualistic practice.

With an interest to have a debate with him Sri Sri Sankara who advocated Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta went to Mahishmati along with his disciples. Mandana Mishra was performing the Sraddha (paying homage to ancestors) ceremony of his father. He was not pleased by the sudden appearance of a sanyasi there. He got even more annoyed to know that the sanyasi was not a ritualist and had come to have a debate with him.

He asked him in a sarcastic manner: “Kuto Mundi?” (From where are you, O clean shaven one?)

Sri Sri Sankara could see the sarcasm in the words and decided to reply in a sarcastic manner. The words “Kuto Mundi” can also be interpreted in Sanskrit as “How far have you shaved?” 

Sri Sri Sankara replied: “Agalan Mundi” (Shaven up to the neck).

Not knowing why Sri Sri Sankara was mentioning about his tonsured head. Mandana Mishra clarified, “Margam Prichate Maya” (I asked the way).

Sri Sri Sankara did not stop there, he quipped, “Kim kaha Patha” (What did the way tell you?).

Mandana Misra was visibly upset by the taunting answers; he shouted angrily, “Patha prokta tava Matuh Vidhava” (The way said your mother is a widow).

Sri Sri Sankara said mischievously, “Tha Thevahi” (May be it is true). Thus Sri Sri Sankara meant that the “way” was referring to mother of Mandana Mishra. 

Mandana Mishra angrily shouted, “Sura Pita?” (Have you drunk liquor?).

Sri Sri Sankara replied, “Sura Shweta na Pita” (Liquor is white, not yellow). The word Pita in Sanskrit can mean both “yellow” as well as “drunk”. 

“Tatha hi, tvam janasi varnam” (So you know the colour?) asked Mandana Mishra sarcastically. 

“Maya varnat etavat janami, tvam ruchim api jasyati va” (I know only the colour, but perhaps you might know how it taste too) said Sri Sri Sankara.

Mandana Mishra became furious and wanted to say something, but the other guests who were present at the Sraddha ceremony intervened and advised Mandana Mishra to invite Sri Sri Sankara for biksha.

“I want only a Vaada Bhiksha (Alms of discussion) nothing to eating.” said Sri Sri Sankara. 

Mandana Mishra said, “We shall have it tomorrow, now you and your disciples can have food with me.”     

We all know that there was a very healthy discussion on Purva and Uttara Mimamsa between Mandana Mishra and Sri Sri Sankara, later Mandana Mishra's wife Ubhaya Bharati too joined her husband. When Sri Sri Sankara established the greatness of Vedanta over the debate both the husband and wife became disciples of Sri Sri Sankara.

Mandana Mishra then went on to become the first peetadhipati of the Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetam at Sringeri by the name Sureshwaracharya. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

885. Only Enjoyment No Ethics….Carvaka Style!!!

The doctrine of Materialistic Philosophy called Lokayata existed since ages. This school of thought finds place in the Nastika (atheist) Darshana (vision). The followers of this doctrine are called Carvakas, Caru (Attractive) Vak (Talk). 
Let us know how this school of thought emerged. 

During the Vedic Era a group of people started to oppose the Vedic way of living. My guess is that they were opposing to the Karmakhanda (Ritualistic section of Veda). This group called themselves “Sharmana Tradition” and out of it sprouted Jaina and Bauddha. They rejected Vedas but believed in Atma (Consciousness) and Karma Siddhanta (Theory of Destiny).

Over the period of time a few among this Sharmana tradition felt that karma doctrine is fallacy and believed in fatalism (Cosmic Determination) that everything that is happening is predetermined. They called themselves Ajivika (Philosophy of Lifeless beings). They rejected Vedas and Karma but accepted that every living being is an Atma and they called it “Jeevi.”

Further these a few from this sect rejected the concept of Atma (Consciousness) and said that this body is made of four elements namely Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Ether (Space) was left out as they believed in only what is perceivable. For them that which is not perceived does not exist. So Heaven, Hell, Consciousness, Virtues and Values which were not visible were not existent. The only goal was to enjoy pleasure and avoid pain. 

“If a man goes north of Ganga and stole or tortured or murdered or plundered or even set fire to a house, he would not accumulate bad karma. If a person goes south of Ganga and gave charity or helped a disabled or healed the sick, he would not accumulate good Karma. You are a combination of Four elements when you die everything is over. Once this present body is burnt to ashes after death there is no question of having a next life. So as long as you live, live happily. Borrow money and live a happy life, for when you are dead, they can’t pursue” says an advocate of materialism.  It is like lighting a cigarette from the flames of a burning house. 

This school of thought was widely acknowledged to have been influential in the development of Indian thought over a considerable period; but it was not wholly accepted. 


Let us analyse, Sanatana Dharma which reflected on Vedas had Karmakhanda (section of Ritual) and Jnanakhanda (section of Knowledge). A few who opposed Karmakanda rejected Jnanakanda too. Jnana is acquired by six Pramanas (Means of Knowledge). They are as follows:

1. Pratyaksha (Perception) this means is the only one which is acknowledged by carvakas. It is direct cognition with the help of five senses. Like for example seeing fire and knowing about it. 

2. Anumana (Inference) is a logical process of knowing things. Which carvakas never accepted like if there is smoke on the mountain we conclude there is fire on the mountain. So according to carvakas if the wife is not at home and has gone to market to buy veggies she does not exist.

3. Upamana (Comparison) is a process of knowing by observing the similarities. If I have a cow at my home and see the same looking animal elsewhere I know it is a cow. 

4. Arthapatti (Postulation) is a process of knowing by presumption. The shop is closed at 1 P.M so the owner has gone for lunch.    

5. Anupalabdhi (Non-Apprehension) is process of knowing by unavailability. The vehicle parked by my friend is no more there so he must have left the place. 
6. Sabda (verbal Testimony) is process of knowing through scriptures. Some person who had touched fire writes it down, touching fire burns. I need to know by those words I need not touch the fire and feel the burn.  

With only pratyaksha as the means to knowledge Carvaka philosophy could not move on forward.

Monday, October 24, 2016

884. Brinjal with a difference......!

There is not even a single day without “Gulla” not being an ingredient in the naivedya offered to Kadagolu Krishna in Udupi. Gulla which is a special variety of brinjal has earned the village Mattu, where it is grown, the Geographical Indicator (GI) patent. Gulla is a secondary crop and its cultivation starts after the paddy is harvested. Gulla seeds are sown during November and it is harvested till May. Every year about 1000 MT of Gulla is cultivated. This Brinjal is even exported to many countries. 

There is an interesting story behind the origin of this vegetable. Vadhiraja Theertha, the preceptor of the Sode Matha was a devotee of  Hayavadhana. He used to offer Hayagreeva, a sweet dish as naivedya and the Lord Hayavadhana used to come in the form of a horse to consume the naivedya. The horse kept its hoofs on his shoulders while eating the Hayagreeva. A few who saw this became envious and one day they added poison to the Hayagreeva. As usual the horse ate it and the idol of Krishna at Udupi turned blue. Those who had mixed the poison were shocked to see the idol turn blue and immediately they sought the pardon of Vadhirajaru. The seer out of compassion gave them some seeds and asked them to plant them in the fields. He asked them to bring that which grows from it. He assured that the blue tinge in the idol of Krishna would vanish as soon as the offering was placed before Him. It happened as he forecast and since then Gulla is being used in the Sri Krishna Matha in Udupi every day.

This brinjal has been considered “sacred” and its taste is very special. Since 15th century for the past 400 years this vegetable is relished by consumers of brinjal in parts of Karnataka. It has been a good example for the traditional holistic approach of food quality compared to the modern reductionist approach. In the holistic approach it can be considered that the overall food quality is composed of three components of measurable quality like presence or absence of nutrients, toxins, microbes etc, consumer quality in terms of colour, flavour, texture as well as emotional, social and ethical issues and finally environmental quality whether its production contributes to the maintenance of a sustainable and bio-diverse system of agriculture. In the reductionist approach, the concept of food quality is cleaved it only looks at quantity and is not concerned of environmental issues from growing them

Mattu Gulla answers all the traditional holistic perspective.......Try it once at your is available in all Mangalore Stores..!     

Saturday, October 22, 2016

883. Are you GOOD or BAD???

Shaitan or Satan has no place in Sanatana Dharma. Unlike the other Abrahminical philosophies we in Hinduism do not have an opposite to GOD. Hence we unknowingly attribute the so-called “terrible” incidence we might experience to the play of God. One can understand if kids feels so as usually parents tell them if they behave well, God will reward them and if they behave badly, God is reprimand them. However, it is astonishing when even the grown-up adults think so. There is a need to get a little deeper into this predicament. 

When explaining Arjuna about His presence Sri Krishna tells “I am the Gambling of the cheat” What does this mean??? As I understand it means that the gambling instinct present within an individual who cheat others is an attribute of Sri Krishna present within the person who has cheating instinct. We all know gambling is bad and it was proved in Mahabharatha in the game of dice. If so, why did Sri Krishna tell Arjuna so???

We have a story in Srimad Bhagavatham that clears the doubt. It is the story of King Shibi, an ancestor of Shri Rama. He was known for his truthfulness and justice.     

Once when the king was alone in the balcony a pigeon flew towards him and sat on his shoulder. The pigeon said, “O King, save my life, I have come under your shelter.”

The King said, “Have no fear. Relax in peace, I promise to protect you.” 

Immediately an eagle landed on the rails of the balcony and said, “O King, I am after my hunt. Please release the bird so that I can appease my hunger.”

King Shibi could comprehend the point in eagle’s demand. In protecting the pigeon he was depriving the eagle its rightful prey! He decided to resolve the issue by offering equal weight of flesh from his body as food to the eagle. The King asked for the balance and in one pan of the balance the pigeon was kept and on the other pan a large chunk of flesh from the right thigh. But strange as it might seem, the pan with the pigeon always stayed down! Thus almost whole of the right half of the King’s body was cut. Still the weight could not be equalled. The King started to cut from the left side of his body. This ultimate sacrifice of Shibi was unparalleled in the history. 

Suddenly the eagle and the pigeon disappeared and in their places stood the Dharmaraja, God of death and Indra, the King of heavens. Both were pleased with the King’s truthfulness and justice. King Shibi had passed the ultimate test to uphold Dharma, a true duty of a king. 

The key issues raised in the story is the classic Dharma Sankata (Moral Ambiguity) faced by the King. In saving the pigeon the King might have earned “Good” label by the pigeon but at the same time he would be “Bad” from the perception of the eagle. Had he given away the pigeon to the eagle he was “Good” to eagle and “Bad” to the pigeon. 

Now the action of the King neither deprived the eagle its meal not put the pigeon in danger. The action we undertake is which is applicable to a day to day situation as conveyed by the story that decides if the purpose of our existence is termed “Good or Bad”. 

How can we label God is “Good or Bad” if we do not sense the subtle moral ambiguity that is required to be answered before we perform any action?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

882. Unfolding Culture & Undertaking Culture

With the on-going Kaveri water dispute between my state Karnataka and my neighbouring state Tamil Nadu, the transportation of goods from here to there is very badly hit. The transporters from either border do not want to take any chance. Vegetables and flowers grown here are transported to Chennai daily. Though there is demand the supply is impossible hence the veggies and flowers are sold here and thankfully it is half the usual price. Many love this kind of situation as the commodities are priced less. Owning to supply in Chennai we were paying more for the veggies all these days. Now the market is on demand and supply.
Ancient society operated spontaneously whereas the modern society thinks it operates in a premeditated way. Earlier events were supposed to be “Unfolding” now we are assuming that we are “Undertaking”. Though the events happen purely based on the system which is ordained to, we humans with our limited knowledge consider events to be happening based on the human effort. In other words whatever is happening is happening because it has to. For example in ancient times a farmer used to grow and sell the agricultural produce and the place where it were sold was called Santhe (market) this is “Unfolding Culture” and now we have different markets for different produce  this is “Undertaking Culture”.

In the undertaking culture one takes full charge, and thinks he can manage any amount of numbers. It becomes system cantered rather than human cantered. On the other hand the unfolding culture operated from relationship base and hence it was human cantered. The farmer then used to sell his produce and if there were more then he would go to sell them in the neighbouring village. Then the market was not organized but market happened. This type of trade was based on the purpose not on supply or demand.

This was Gram Swaraj which was based on self-governance, where the villagers taking the responsibility of their village. They would never control even remotely or make a law which had no practical or cultural connection to the previous village.

The locals knew the culture better than the outsiders. This diversity of system was based on the need of that local community.  It is said that, language and water change quite frequently within the radius of a few kilometres. So super imposing something from somewhere else shows ignorance of the principle of diversity.

Unfortunately domination by the European imperial rulers coupled with religious exclusivity destroyed our “Unfolding Culture”. In our culture, therefore we see diversity is still maintained but the ignorant people call it chaos rather than appreciating it as a part of a complex nature, which is diverse.   Understanding others in their term and condition is the sign of human sensitivity. Destroying others in the name of giving them a better culture is sign of arrogance. Helping each other and taking out the rotten one and replacing it with whatever is good for growth of human society is the height of culture…..What say???

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

881. Artificial Intelligence or Natural Stupidity???

One of my cousins shared this write-up on whatsApp “Prediction of the future by Robert Goldman”. Dr. Robert M Goldman is an American and founder of A4M (American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine). That was an interesting article.

We had many who have predicted the future and Dr. Robert adds to the list. Kalagnanam (Knowledge of Future) by Kaivara Narayanappa and Pothuluri Veerabramendra are though the most famous, not forgetting Leanardo Da Vinci and Michel de Nostredame. I think the future predictions by those personalities were just reflection which came to their vision and it is largely to do with the society and its developments. They only urged the mankind in a sarcastic manner to “mend” and seek the reality. It is all the mind game and one may think if we “mend” ourselves will the predictions fail to happen??? If any of the predictions make one think and realize that everything that is destined to happen will happen and if one contemplates on what his role will be then the purpose of the predictions is achieved. 

For example: The predictions said that humans kill each other for money, when my grandfather was alive this did not happen because the people then, who read this, did not what to it happen. But in this period of time it is happening we see people kill for mere some of money. I wonder if this could have been postponed to the following generation and so on.    

But the predictions of Dr. Robert are not same as those ancient predictors. If I can analyse his predictions i say it might be a boon or a bane too. Dr. Robert says that in the exponential age the rapidity will take over and the software industry will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years. Yes, we have already seen it. With the population on the rise and the automation in industry jobs placements are hit and software industry is minimizing the manual job rising concern over the placements. 
Dr. Robert talks about the artificial intelligence will take over and computers will become exponentially better in understanding the world. Here the computers can surely replace the Individual Intelligence I agree, but will it or can it replace the Cosmic Intelligence is my doubt. The Cosmic Intelligence is nothing but the interaction of various individual intelligence.     

Further Dr. Robert says that Artificial Intelligence system created by IBM called Watson helps nurses diagnosing cancer, 4 times more accurate than human nurses. But it will stop at diagnosing alone; we still need nurses to take care in the operative and post-operative stages. Artificial Intelligence fails at the emotional level. I believe that 70 % of the aliment is cure by the care taken by the doctors and the nurses.

Also he adds that the “Tricoder” which works with on the mobile App can scan the retina, take blood sample and if you breathe into it, it then analyses 54 bio-markers that will identify nearly any disease. He predicts that it will be cheap, so in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medicine, nearly for free. With the crony capitalist around I do not agree. Even now we have advance medical equipment which only serves the rich and the famous. Free medical aid is a mirage unless we see our fellow beings as ourselves.          

But there are few things which Dr. Robert says that could happen with Artificial Intelligence, like for example IBM Watson can provide legal advice within seconds with 90% accuracy. This will make all the lawyers jobless. Self-driven cars will kill all drivers. 70-80% of us will be jobless in the next 20 years.

With this Artificial Intelligence we will have agricultural robot working in corporate farms where the agricultural produce is grown in Sahasra (Excess) with less of Sara (Essence). So anyhow now our farmers are reeling under high debts Artificial Intelligence will annihilate their life.

Exponential Age of Artificial Intelligence or Natural Stupidity only Time has to reveal.....What say??? 

880. Role V/s Identity....!

Getting up in the morning is nothing unique, but feeling the change at the beginning of the day is that which only a few can observe and appreciate. For the obvious reason those who are participants of the endless rat race, fail to notice this. There are a few who are running behind something known as “SUCCESS” which most of them do not even know the definition of it.

A person has to take up different “ROLE” in order to achieve excellence. That excellence is accomplished on the path to the ordained goal. For a few setting a goal and reaching out for it is success, while for some success is an endless goal to goal vicious cycle. In the bid to excel in order to reach the goal the most valuable possession called “IDENTITY” is lost! The identity which we have is replaced by the false personality we develop to display to the outer world. Here is where we lose our identity.

Do we need to lose our IDENTITY in order to play our ROLE?

It is this ROLE V/s IDENTITY that makes every player participate in the rat race. We may have to perform different roles. Our roles change every time that is not unusual. But does this variety of roles we don make it necessary to forget who we are??? We can change our roles and undertake action according to the circumstance but why should we forget our identity???

A clown wears a mask while entertaining the crowd in a show. He acts crazy and performs to make us laugh. When he takes off his costumes will he not get back to what he was??? In this rat race we wear a mask and forget to take it out and gradually the mask become reality for us. This is when the trouble in the paradise begins because it is now that we are trapped! We do not understand if our current role has reversed our identity or we still are the same.

I assume different roles for numerous responsibilities and duties. I am a family member at home and boss at my factory. I might hide emotions, or sometimes have an outburst of anger and also portray a happy me! In all this while if I pick up a mirror and look into it, try to figure out what made me like this, then I will find that all these are all my roles not my identity.

May be the first question that I need to answer is: What do “I” stand for? What are those things which I am never ready to give up? What am I seeking? What is that most important thing that keeps my world rocking!

When I answer this I would be in a position to identify myself. But what is more important now is to hold onto my identity - No matter what I have got to do next, no matter how big a deal I have got to crack .

What matters is what I am and how I can make things happen by being what I am!