Stithaprajyna

I use this blog to jot down what ever comes into my mind or get to see anything I feel is important.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

More On Bing

I am surprised by the way Microsoft has really thought of in designing the decision engine. If I search for videos, it pulls out all the videos as any search engine could do. But the amazing thing is that if you mouse over the video clip in the result page, it plays for you. This not only saves your time in traversing through the URL to know if you were really looking for this.
Now we have search options on the length of the video , screen size, resolution and the source as well.
I am really amazed....





Friday, June 05, 2009

Bing

I think at last Microsoft has really done something equivalent to Google in the search engine domain. They have use the Wolfarm Alpha, the new decision engine. They don't call the technology as Search engine any more. They call it DECISION ENGINE. I have tested both Bing & Google for the same tag lines and results are promising in Bing.

View the video on Bing - http://www.decisionengine.com/Default.html


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Free Hug - Video - Really Good

Bhagawat Geeta - What is the use of chanting without knowing the meaning?

An old Farmer lived on a farm in the mountains with his young grandson. Each morning Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading his Bhagavat Geeta. His grandson wanted to be just like him and tried to imitate him in every way he could.

One day the grandson asked, "Grandpa! I try to read the Bhagawat Geeta just like you but I don't understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bhagawat Geeta do?"

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and replied, "Take this coal basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water." The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out before he got back to the house.

The grandfather laughed and said, "You'll have to move a little faster next time," and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again. This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead. The old man said, "I don't want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You're just not trying hard enough," and he went out the door to watch the boy try again. At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house. The boy again dipped the basket into river and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty.

Out of breath, he said, "See Grandpa, it's useless!" > "So you think it is useless?" The old man said, "Look at the basket."The boy looked at the basket and for the first time realized that the basket was different. It had been transformed from a dirty old coal basket and was now clean, inside and out. "Son, that's what happens when you read the Bhagavat Geeta.

You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, you will be changed, inside and out. That is the work of Krishna in our lives.

Story received in a mail - Really touching....

On the last day before Christmas, I hurried to go to the supermarket to buy the remaining of the gift I didn't manage to buy earlier.
When I saw all the people there, I started to complain to myself," It is going to take forever here and I still have so many other places to go.
Christmas really is getting more and more annoying every year. How I wish I could just lie down, go to sleep and only wake up after it..."
Nonetheless, I made my way to the toy section, and there I started to curse the prices, wondering if after all kids really play with such expensive toys.
While looking in the toy section, I noticed a small boy of about 5 years old, pressing a doll against his chest.
He kept on touching the hair of the doll and looked so sad. I wondered who was this doll for. Then the little boy turned to the old woman next to him, "Granny, are you sure I don't have enough money?"
The old lady replied, "You know that you don't have enough money to buy this doll, my dear."
Then she asked him to stay here for 5 minutes while she went to look around. She left quickly.
The little boy was still holding the doll in his hand. Finally, I started to walk toward him and I asked him who did he want to give this doll to.
"It is the doll that my sister loved most and wanted so much for this Christmas. She was so sure that Santa Claus would bring it to her."
I replied to him that maybe Santa Claus will bring it to her, after all, and not to worry.
But he replied to me sadly. "No, Santa Claus can not bring it to her where she is now. I have to give the doll to my mother so that she can give it to her when she goes there." His eyes were so sad while saying this. "My sister has gone to be with God. Daddy says that Mummy will also go to see God very soon, so I thought that she could bring the doll with her to give it to my sister."
My heart nearly stopped. The little boy looked up at me and said, "I told daddy to tell mummy not to go yet. I asked him to wait until I come back from the supermarket."
Then he showed me a very nice photo of him where he was laughing. He then told me, "I also want mummy to take this photo with her so that she will not forget me." I love my mummy and I wish she doesn't have to leave me but daddy says that she has to go to be with my little sister."
Then he looked again at the doll with sad eyes, very quietly.
I quickly reached for my wallet and took a few notes and said to the boy, "What if we checked again, just in case if you have enough money?"
"Ok," he said. "I hope that I have enough."
I added some of my money to his without him seeing and we started to count it. There was enough for the doll, and even some spare money.
The little boy said, "Thank you God for giving me enough money."
Then he looked at me and added, "I asked yesterday before I slept for God to make sure I have enough money to buy this doll so that mummy can give it to my sister. He heard me." "I also wanted to have enough money to buy a white rose for my mummy, but I didn't dare to ask God too much. But He gave me enough to buy the doll and the white rose." "You know, my mummy loves white rose."
A few minutes later, the old lady came again and I left with my trolley. I finished my shopping in a totally different state from when I started. I couldn't get the little boy out of my mind.
Then I remembered a local newspaper article 2 days ago, which mentioned of a drunk man in a truck who hit a car where there was one young lady and a little girl. The little girl died right away, and the mother was left in a critical state. The family had to decide whether to pull the plug on the life-assisting machine, because the young lady would not be able to get out of the coma.
Was this the family of the little boy?
Two days after this encounter with the little boy, I read in the newspaper that the young lady had passed away.
I couldn't stop myself and went to buy a bunch of white roses and I went to the mortuary where the body of the young woman was exposed for people to see and make last wish before burial.
She was there, in her coffin, holding a beautiful white rose in her hand with the photo of the little boy and the doll placed over her chest.I left the place crying, feeling that my life had been changed forever. The love that this little boy had for his mother and his sister is still, to that day, hard to imagine. And in a fraction of a second, a drunk man had taken all this away from him.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Expert opinion on Sethu Samuthiram Project

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2849205445840266266

We are different and Unique

I had heard this story from my elders when I was in my primary school about a highly learned man coming from Himalayas after learning all those heavy scriptures from the revered holy men. I always visualized this guy to be a very handsome fair chap in his late twenties with an attractive mustache (we south Indians like to have moosh) coming back in all whites and a bag full of books in his back. He comes down to the banks of Ganges. Now he wants to get into the town and those days they had only the small boat for the purpose of transportation. Unusually that day there were no other passenger but for this highly educated hero of our story. He gets into the boat and seeing his charm, the boat man asked him where he was from and where is heading too. Now our hero is elated to speak of his newly acquired knowledge. So he starts telling the illiterate boat man that he was learning for so many years under many holy men, the knowledge wealth from the scriptures. And after acquiring this incredible knowledge he is coming back to his home town (I never asked my story teller what he intends to do in the town. I was naive then , right?). Now slowly our hero (Ok, enough of hero I will call him Rahul - as all Shahrukh's characters).. So Rahul starts checking out his knowledge with the poor boat man. Rahul recites one sloka and asks the boat man if he knows which Upanishad is the sloka picked from. I am sure most of us can relate to this situation. The big boss comes out with some odd quote from a so-called-management guru and asking us if we have come across this. The boat man also blinked just like us and our Rahul smiles showing off his one dimple and says God you have wasted 5 years of your life. Now Rahul is getting more confident about his Gynan and throws out more slokas for which the boat man did not offer any different expression but the same blink and for every sloka Rahul decremented 5 years from the poor boat man's life. The boat man wanted to jump out of the boat to escape this embarrassment that too inflicted by this young chap who would be hardly half his age. Suddenly as if the boat man's prayers are answered, a hole got developed in the boat and the boat was slowly getting filled with water. Boat man on any other day would have got worried but today he was so happy. He asked our dear Rahul whether he knew to swim for which he got a no for an answer. Boat man started laughing till his stomach started to ache and he told Rahul that he himself has only lost half his life but Rahul is going to loose his entire life - Period - End of the story.
Now my story teller gave me the moral of the story - don't learn all the scriptures of hi-fi things which can come to no help in your future. Learn only those which can give you a saving hand in needy situations. I then thought, maybe, I too need to learn swimming. But while growing up with the ageing story teller, I came to understand the moral in a different perception - learn that skill which could equip you with a better earning capability. And I think many of us (read most of the Indians) are given this gyan intrinsically by the elders even when they are in the womb. We Indians rush to that course which has more "job" prospects in the market. If the early 60s was Arts & Law, 70s to 90s was Mechanical Engineering, late 90s and on its Computers, Electronics, IT and I do not know what next.
But one thing which we forget to learn from this story is that its not the knowledge of these two people which are problems. It is the way they both saw each other. Lets re-script the story and see if we can get a happy ending. If our Rahul instead of criticizing the boat man, took the pains to explain what the inner meaning is and how by knowing this knowledge the boat man can actually see happiness in whatever he does, things would have changed. The boat man would have seen to it that Rahul's life is saved what-so-ever may come. And if even after the criticism, the boat man puts up a brave condition to Rahul if he can teach him the knowledge if he saves Rahul's life, then, too the things would be different.
What we do not see is that we are not ready to accept that we are all different, born to do different things, with different equipments (body, mind and intellect). One which I know need not be known by others and what others might have mastered would be unknown to me. Still we all believe that "I know more than the other". For instance if you talk to individual project members, they all without any forethought would tell you that theirs was the important contribution. It is true in one way, any small contribution is important for a task to be done. But it is ignorant to say that only "mine is the significant". This is a curse to not only in a project team in the industry I work (IT) where each wants to show that he is superior by which the knowledge sharing goes for a toss and the trust they have for each other is hardly the size of this period(.), but also in the entire society.
Business man think they are the most important people in the society since they contribute to the economy of the country, the politicians think they are the important people as they believe they rule the others and only because they rule the country itself is existing, the salaried think they are the important people as they are paying the tax which is utilized for all the work that we see as governmental, laborers feel they are important as without then the place would be a mess. (In fact in the ancient times all were treated with equal importance and in India they were classed based on their work – Kshatriyas, Vaishyas,Shudhras and the teachers community as Brahmana’s – the ones who has attained the knowledge of the Supreme and imparting this highest knowledge) Individually they are all correct, but imagine what would happen if any one of these class stop doing what they do. Imagine one fine day all the scavengers stop picking up the garbages from our roads and the drop boxes, I am sure we will start feeling the importance of these otherwise insignificant people. To ask who/which class is importatnt for the society/organization/project is like asking which organ is important for you in your body? All are equally important. If we are able to recognize this and complement each other, this planet earth would be the best place to live without any hard feelings towards each other and no more asking for reservations, killing people in the name of SC/ST/Hindu, Muslim, Christian ....
For a moment I was even thinking how important the existence of both the sexes... if there were no females / or no males ... God it would be a boring place to live and when we have the other sex amongst us, we just see them as just another inferior species......
My Lord, give us the courage to accept the differences and to learn to live by compliment the existence and differences of others....

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Encounter with Mr. GOD

God: Hello. Did you call me?
Me: Called you? No. Who is this?
God: This is GOD. I heard your prayers. So I thought I will chat.
Me: I do pray. Just makes me feel good. I am actually busy now. I am in the midst of something.
God: What are you busy at? Ants are busy too.
Me: Don't know. But I can't find free time. Life has become hectic. It's rush hour all the time.
God: Sure. Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you results. Activity consumes time. Productivity frees it.
Me: I understand. But I still can't figure out. By the way, I was not expecting YOU to buzz me on instant messaging chat.
God: Well I wanted to resolve your fight for time, by giving you some clarity. In this net era, I wanted to reach you through the medium you are comfortable with.
Me: Tell me, why has life become complicated now?
God: Stop analyzing life. Just live it. Analysis is what makes it complicated.
Me: why are we then constantly unhappy?
God: Your today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. You are worrying because you are analyzing. Worrying has become your habit. That's why you are not happy.
Me: But how can we not worry when there is so much uncertainty?
God: Uncertainty is inevitable, but worrying is optional.
Me: But then, there is so much pain due to uncertainty.
God: Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
Me: If suffering is optional, why do good people always suffer?
God: Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don't suffer. With that experience their life become better not bitter.
Me: You mean to say such experience is useful?
God: Yes. In every term, Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.
Me: But still, why should we go through such tests? Why can't we be free from problems?
God: Problems are Purposeful Roadblocks Offering Beneficial Lessons (to) Enhance Mental Strength. Inner strength comes from struggle and endurance, not when you are free from problems.
Me: Frankly in the midst of so many problems, we don't know where we are heading.
God: If you look outside you will not know where you are heading. Look inside. Looking outside, you dream. Looking inside, you awaken. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides insight.
Me: Sometimes not succeeding fast seems to hurt more than moving in the right direction. What should I do?
God: Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you. Knowing the road ahead is more satisfying than knowing you rode ahead. You work with the compass. Let others work with the clock.
Me : In tough times, how do you stay motivated?
God: Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.
Me: What surprises you about people?
God: When they suffer they ask, "why me? When they prosper, they never ask "Why me" Everyone wishes to have truth on their side, but few want to be on the side of the truth.
Me: Sometimes I ask, who I am, why am I here. I can't get the answer.
God: Seek not to find who you are, but to determine who you want to be. Stop looking for a purpose as to why you are here. Create it. Life is not a process of discovery but a process of creation.
Me: How can I get the best out of life?
God: Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.
Me: One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered.
God: There are no unanswered prayers. At times the answer is NO.
Me: Thank you for this wonderful chat. I am so happy to start the day with a new sense of inspiration.
God: Well. Keep the faith and drop the fear. Don't believe your doubts and doubt your beliefs. Life is a mystery to solve not a problem to resolve. Trust me. Life is wonderful if you know how to live.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

An Interview with Swami Chinmayananda

This is an excerpt from the interview with Swami Chinmayananda by Pritish Nandy which was telecasted some time in 1980s in BBC. I really enjoyed reading this and am sure you will also appreciate this.
An introduction to Swami Chinmayananda whom we fondly call as Gurudev –
He wears a strange shade of Ochre, which looks almost like pink. There are silver knobs on his wooden sandals, which add at least three inches to his five-feet five. His long tresses cascade on to his shoulders framing with black and gray an intensely intelligent face. Swami Chinmayananda, 65, is Hinduism's answer to the countless young men and women who have strayed away over the years, disgusted with the meaningless rituals and the tired theology of the world's oldest living faith. A distinguished scholar, an ardent teacher and a compulsive globetrotter, the Swami is today held to be one of the few serious and credible missionaries that Hinduism has to offer. His missions are all over the world. So are his devotees and students. And they are growing at a rate which will soon, perhaps, make Swami Chinmayananda numero uno in the glittering pantheon of gurus, rishis, bhagavans and babas who hold sway over India's millions and many abroad. In many ways, this is the best thing that could have happened to Hinduism. For the Swami is no quack healer or fast-buck merchant. He offers no miracles to lure the gullible. He makes no predictions, reads no fortunes and sings paeans to no politician. He makes no claims to being a God, except for argument's sake; nor does he offer you, for a fee, the quick route to nirvana. He simply teaches.
He is best known for his interpretation of the Gita and almost every day of the year, somewhere or other, in Bonn or Bangkok, Bombay or Baltimore, he has a class on. He is either trying to explain Arjuna's dilemma in the midst of battle or the innate logic of Krishna's persuasion. Not all his students are Hindus. Neither are they all believers in any religion. More often they come out of curiosity to see the Swami defend a faith grown old and decayed by centuries of blind belief and senile commitment to rituals. There are the usual pot-bellied devotees who come to donate fractions of their ill-gotten wealth in the hope of buying happiness in another life. There's the same bunch of rich, semi-literate women in chiffons and diamonds who attend every religious event wearing the same moronic demeanor. There are also, thank God, the young ones, from whom the Swami derives his largest following. Pleasant faced young men, quietly listening to the voice of religion.
Swami Chinmayananda is, naturally, not his real name. He was born P. Balakrishna Menon on 8 May 1916, somewhere in the Malabar. There was nothing very brilliant about this particular Malayalee child, who grew up and eventually joined The National Herald as a cub-reporter. He joined the nationalist movement in 1941 and was briefly jailed. On release, he went to Rishikesh to meet Swami Shivananda Saraswati, to write a journalistic piece on the religion racket. The Swami persuaded the young skeptic to stay back for six months at his ashram, to see things firsthand. By the end of the six months, Balakrishna Menon gave up his name and his profession and assumed the name of Chinmayananda. From Rishikesh, at the foot of the Himalayas he went further north to spend ten years at the feet of Tapovan Maharaj, the well known sage. While Swami Shivananda Saraswati gave him his name and his robes, it was Tapovan Maharaj who educated him in the sastras.
Much of this is, of course, hearsay. There is no official biography of Swami Chinmayananda and, unlike most of the other gurus, he offers very little information about himself or his achievements in mission handouts, books or lecture papers. When I asked him about his past, he laughed it away and said, "Never ask a Swami his past. If you knew the source of a river, would you ever drink from it?" He is modest, intelligent and accessible. He speaks with a sing-song accent and often mispronounces his words. But his passion shows. "Hinduism is the religion for our times," he asserts with confidence.
I met him over two long sessions at Calcutta, watched him deliver quite a few famous Gita lectures, saw some of his missions, listened to him articulate his views on life and death, freedom and spiritual bondage, religion in action and the existence of God, I saw the tired lines on his face as he smiled and bore the fawning and the sycophancy of his devotees, suffered stupid questions about the behavior of the stock exchange, drank coffee and fruit juice from persistent hostesses at half-hour intervals. " It must be tough to be a guru," I said to him, after a particularly tiresome session. " Not tough; it's lonely," said Hinduism's most famous hostage.
Q) Why do you give so much importance to the study of the Bhagavad Gita? You seem to imply that the Gita is the only way to gain insight into the Indian mind, into the Indian sensibility. Don't you think our other religious texts are of equal importance?
A) Every religious textbook is of equal importance. But I have no authority to recommend books I have not studied myself. I studied the Gita - and it was of great help to me - and, therefore, I recommend it to everyone. Unlike the other scriptures, the methodology followed by the Gita appears to be more conducive to the modern, scientific mind and the educated classes. For they don't believe in anything. They want everything to be rationally proved, intellectually defensible. And the approach of the Gita is very rational because Krishna had to address a dynamic, young, educated, intelligent man who was a born skeptic. Arjuna did not believe or understand that Krishna was an intellectual giant. It is only in the eleventh chapter that he got a glimpse - and, thereafter, his attitude changed. But till the eleventh chapter he was absolutely rational. He did not believe a word of what Krishna said. Krishna had to make him believe it by the strength of logic. This approach appeals to people like you and I. It converted me from an atheist into a believer........
Q) You were an atheist!
A) Of course. Any intelligent, rational man is an atheist. Until, of course he is initiated into religion. So when you write and attack religious people at times, I sympathize with you because I was also like that. I also thought that religion meant ritualism. I never knew there was a science to it, that ritualism was just a bark. The outer bark of the great tree that shelters the whole community. The bark is necessary for the tree. But the bark is not the tree. That I what I try to explain to young people like you.
Q) You are often exhorting young people to search for a new ideal that would give them motivation for self-sacrifice and dynamic action. Wherein do you think such an ideal lies?
A) Each one will have to find out such a ideal. When I say you must have a good, faithful wife don't ask me where you can get such a wife. A wife you can never get. A girl you can find and make her your wife....
Q) Are you quite sure? That I can never get a wife.....
A) ( Laughs loudly) An ideal I can never give you. You have to find out an ideal. Like, let's say, excellence in your own profession. Or a political belief, an economic system you may like to propound, a social value. Or, simply, your own moral attitude. Uncompromisingly you will have to live upto it, under any circumstance. You must be ready to die for it, if necessary, but not yield an inch. One ideal you find - and the best in you starts coming out. Until this ideal is there, the best never comes out. You might get superficial efficiency - but that's not enough. It's not the best.
For example, look at Mahatma Gandhi. So long as he was M.K. Gandhi he was a third-rate man with no hope of any success. All that he achieved was that he passed barristery. And that is because nobody ever fails in barristery. ( Laughs) Now, when he comes to India.......
Q) Yes?
A) In Africa, nothing happened. African politics, third-rate.... All that he gained was that he lost his teeth. Nothing else. When he came back to India, as luck would have it, suddenly he got an ideal to pursue. Freedom for 400 million people! Once he got that ideal and was ready to sacrifice everything else for it, look how the man's personality grew up from week to week, month to month. He was no more a four-foot or five-foot high, big-headed man with spreading ears; a chinless man with effeminate words, stammering language... everything useless. Out of him came a brilliance - such that he has already carved out a permanent niche in world history. History is not complete without Gandhiji's chapter. Where did he get it all from? From his so uncompromising personality! One ideal, and the whole thing changes.
Vivekananda must have been there in Narendra. But as Narendra he was impotent - an ordinary, useless, university student. But once he got an ideal and started pursuing it, in five years' time you saw a magnificent unfolding of his personality. Out of Narendra came a Vivekananda.
A third-rate prince, Siddarth - a stupid fool I would call him, because at the age of 28 the fellow did not know that there was death, that there was old age, disease in the world! Think of the enormous ignorance of the man! Once he got an ideal and held onto it, out of the stupid mudplaster beamed out the eternal prince of compassion: Buddha. Without an ideal to hook yourself on, that depth of possibilities in you cannot be unearthed, dredged out. An ideal is necessary...
Q) Would you believe that political ideals can also help to transform the condition of our society? Straight political ideals, without any moral or spiritual strings attached?
A) Any ideal can. Not just political ideals. Artistic ones too. The belief that I can be the greatest artist - maybe a dancer or a painter, it doesn't matter. Even if it's a musician. The best in you then starts coming out.
Q) But this can also create a great but completely amoral artist. A great musician with a fascist vision of the world. A great writer or a great painter who is committed to his work but has a completely perverse worldview which can spark off totally negative political movements. Surely, an artistic ideal is not enough. A moral stand is important for any creative person. Otherwise, he could well be taking mankind backwards. Towards fascism, for instance.
A) It is not the ideal that puts man back. It is the interpretation. You can't say that religion is the cause for wars or the disaster in Iran. Can you say that? Islam is not the cause. It is Islam interpreted in a particular way. Similarly, Hinduism is not the cause for the harijan problem in the country now. It is the interpretation of Hinduism. Caste is a universal principle - it is man-made and you suffer for it. It's not Hinduism. Take democracy. Government of the people, for the people, by the people. But by the time you practice it in a parliament it becomes government of the people, for the people, by the people, on the people....and people suffer. So, even the best things when man-handled becomes the worst of things.
So, don't say that Nietzsche was the cause for Hitlerism. Na na. What Nietzsche said was that the Aryans are best among people - but he took only that out of context and interpreted it in his own way, and damned himself. What can we do?
Q) Many people believe, Swamiji, that there is a vast hiatus today between the world of religion and the world of everyday reality, and that this explains why more and more young people are moving away from the spiritual quest and seeking their answers in the tough, materialistic world around them where survival itself is the most challenging battle. Would you agree? Would you agree that religion is a luxury in a scenario where staying alive is so difficult, particularly in the poorer countries of the world?
A) I think you are partially blind. You see only with one eye. You see only people moving away from religion and striving to find their values in materialism. You don't see the other stream. People dropping out of universities and colleges and professions - and seeking spirituality. I got thirty students here to train in the last batch. Americans. Young boys and girls. It is they who are now running my school there, my Hindu seminary there in California. So, don't think that it's only one-way traffic.
Q) No. It's only that I still feel that this traffic of people moving away from religion is considerably larger than the traffic you speak of - purely in numbers.
A) I wouldn't say that. It can be because materialistic attractions draw people away from religion and self-discipline....
Q) But why is this vast gap, let's say, between the search for spiritual values and the quest for a materialistic reordering of society based on principles of justice and equality?
A) First tell me what is religion. Tell me and then you'll understand. Materialism you know. It is purely selfish. I want to be one up. My happiness is all important. My wife and my children must be happy. I don't care a hoot for others. It is utterly self-centered......
Q) But surely religion is the same. Each and every religious person is searching for his own private nirvana, his or her own self-realization. This is an equally self-centered search.
A) What does nirvana mean?
Q) Self-realization?
A) You see, nirvana is not a piece of cake that he wants to get. It is not wealth that he to put in a bank. He is trying to expand his consciousness. He wants to embrace the whole universe. Not with his hands. Not with power. Not with money. But with understanding. It's a new dimension of consciousness he is attempting. On one hand you have bhog: sensual, materialistic living. To withdraw the mind's attention from these wonders - this dissipation in the world of objects - and to quieten it to turn it towards the spring of life in you is called yoga. Yoga and bhog. It is not in the physical body; it is not in the place where you are staying; nor in the clothes you are wearing. It is in the mental attitude. Coated, booted, suited with beedi in hand, you can still be a yogi. A man who has got jatadhari - which is only vibhuti all over and nothing but a lengot - can be the greatest of bhogis. Isn't it? It's not the physical appearance; it's the mental attitude.
So, one is expecting or demanding or hoping for happiness from the aggrandizement of things outside. To acquire, possess, embrace, indulge and enjoy the objects outside. The other is now, in this finite world, in the realm of time, I cannot have a permanent, peaceful, happy state. These are all right as recreation but the main, permanent happiness cannot be here. Thus man withdraws his attention from the outer world and with a steady mind, through contemplation, tries to reach the higher echelons of consciousness in himself. That is religion or spiritualism.
In fact, religion is the technology by which these spiritual ideals can be reached. So without religion, spirituality is zero. Religion means.. the....the.....
Q) Wherewithal?
A) No. Not wherewithal. The gymnasium where the mind is trained to withdraw from all these and turn towards the high. For good health, a gymnasium is necessary. Not only that; you must have good food and discipline. You must go to the gym to develop all your muscles. Similarly, in order to evolve spiritually, it is not only sufficient that we know philosophy - which is in the Upanishads, etc. - but we must have a technology by which we can reach there. Purify your mind. Learn the way to turn your mind away from the outer world. find out which direction you should turn your attention to.......
Q) But this spiritualism you are talking about has often been the means to social exploitation. Many practitioners of faith have over the centuries hoodwinked, shortchanged and manipulated the weak and the gullible. Many societies have been kept under the yoke of religion for years and years, without hope of escape or redemption. Look how the church exploited people. Look at how Hinduism has exploited our illiterate masses and kept them shackled over centuries. Look at the track record of most religions and you will know what I mean. Where do you find purity in such a exploitative system? Why has religion allowed itself to be used as a tool for social subjugation or political aggrandizement?
A) Have you noticed that in India religion has never been organized? In the west, on the other hand, it has always been so. This is because Christianity had to organize. They had to fight with Rome. But when religion becomes organized it becomes a power - and power has always a tendency to be abused.
Q) The state versus the church, with both sides equally corrupt......
A) State versus church, right! Until at last the church won and became as tyrannical as the state was. This is natural. Now, in India, religion was never organized. Look at you. You are a Hindu - and yet you have the right to say you don't believe! You are allowed this freedom. But if a catholic had said this, his marriage would be annulled, his children would be in deep trouble, his body would not be accepted in the burial ground. He will be under tremendous pressure. In fact, from birth onwards, he is under the pressure of church. Namakarana ceremony, baptism, christening - and then, afterwards, marriage, the christening of the children and so on it goes on till you are dead and your body is buried. From birth till death, you are tied down to the church. If you don't obey they can throw you out.
Q) In Iran today, the mullahs are as tyrannical....
A) That is what I am saying about all these semetical religions.
Hinduism, on the other hand, is absolutely open. You, as a Hindu, you want to go to church - go. You want to go to a temple - go. You want to do only social work - do. Why is this? Because we believe that in freedom alone can perfection can be reached. Art can grow only in freedom. Art can never grow under compulsions, under govt. rules. Freedom is very important. You feel like meditating - meditate. You like doing puja - do puja. There are no compulsions, no shackles restraining you. You understand?
When Hinduism has been so free for a long time and the average man is not given education nor taught what is religion, slowly the whole thing becomes tainted. This happened around the 16th century in India. Power politics came into play. Religion when mixed with politics stinks. Politics also stinks when it comes into touch with religion - and religion decays when politicians enter the fray. In India, they were separate: the king and the rajguru. Dasharata, when he had problems went to Vishwamitra. Vishwamitra clearly said he had no prejudices and no party. He was impartial. He said: "This is dharma. If you think you can do it, do it. If you can't do it, do whatever you can to serve your country, and suffer the consequences.
But slowly and slowly power became hereditary - as we are now trying to do, you know! (Laughs - [Note from BVP - recollect that the interview was in 1980]). My son, my son, my son! By the time the third generation of kings came, things went awry. The first generation really sweated and craved out a kingdom. The second generation at least saw their fathers going out to fight. The third generation never saw their fathers going out anywhere. Subsequent generations thought it was their privilege to rule. `Some people are lucky - I am a king by birth!' So, by no fault of his, he became purely indulgent. The rajguru also became the same. The fourth great grandson of the rajguru had nothing spiritual about him. He said : " All right, raja saab, aap raja hai, why should you get into this mess? Whatever important papers are there, I will bring you and you sign them. You have the harem and you can drink from morning onwards. That is your privilege - why deprive yourself?" The raja said `Perfectly right!' So the raja was soon a de jure raja; the de facto raja was the minister. Now the minister wanted to hold all the reins of power in the community. How could he do so? How can you hold power in a community? You must have a party. So the rajguru - who was a Brahmin - brought the brahmanical community with him as his party. He became their patron. In those days, you couldn't be a patron by giving someone an import license. You couldn't give money because there was no money. What was available? Only land. So land was given to all the Brahmins.
Now land is a funny thing. Any amount of money you get, you can digest it, use it. What will you do after you get three acres of land? You, your wife and three children - how will you plough more than three acres? So you need an army of workers, who must work for you almost for nothing and bring in the profit. Only then is it profitable, isn't it?
Q) So you create your own serfdom as well as your army?........
A) Of course. But where will you get it as long as the Vedanta is prominent in your society? Everyone knows he is from Narayana; everyone is equal. So, the scripture books became dangerous for political maneuvering in those times. So, the Brahmin class said: `Proscribe the scriptures.' Not just did they proscribe the books they said: `The non-Brahmins cannot study Sanskrit.' Just as it is happening today. Ministers don't want anybody to study in English schools - while their own sons must go to English schools! (Giggles) You see! It's repetition. Man is not intelligent enough to think up a new mischief! (laughs) He repeats his old mischiefs.
So, Sanskrit was removed. They were told: `You are not to read the scriptures; we will tell you everything.' And what they told them was Rama Krishna stories. Five hundred years of this! Today, the brahmin doesn't even know the scriptures! For, why should he study! All the others accept that he is a brahmin. So why should he worry? So you can blame neither the brahmin today, nor the a brahmin. Neither of them know the scriptures! They must be retaught. And that is what we have been trying to do for the last 20 - 30 years. Now I think the average, intelligent, educated man knows something of his scriptures. At least he knows the spelling of Upanishads. Before that, they had not even heard of it!
Q) But the average, intelligent Indian is also a prey to a lot of hocus – pocus being peddled around in the name of religion?
A) Look. After all, if I believe my thumb is God, it does not matter. The mind returns to it and the individual gets his consolation. Why do we have all these recreations like the cinema, for instance? Are they not meant to make human society happy? Why not religion - if that can make some people happy, give them some comfort?
Q) What about the current Hindu pantheon of Gurus and Godmen who run their private industries, not just in this land but also overseas? What do you, as a scholar of Hinduism and one of the most distinguished teachers, think of this strange, esoteric bunch of faith - peddlers? I am referring to some of the well - known names like Satya Sai Baba, Balyogeshwar, Rajneesh, Mahesh Yogi, Ananda Murthi - or even Krishnamurthy. I know I am clubbing completely different kinds of people together. But what I am trying to ask you is whether you think Hinduism deserves such a vast variety of masters who often suggest completely different routes to salvation. In fact, the routes are quite often contradictory.
A) Have you watched the followers? They are all voluntary, free - no one forces them. They follow these masters because they find some consolation. So, at different levels, all of them are valid. I know that there are too many teachers, too many masters, too many gurus in this country. But I would wish there were more.
Q) Sure. As long as they are teachers - not quack healers or exploiters of the innocent.
A) Don't think that all teachers will teach only at the B.Sc level. Or that the M.Sc level teacher can teach everybody. There are students who must be taught only alphabets, only addition and subtraction. Isn't this true? In education, there are various levels and various teachers. If the M.Sc teacher, is given an elementary class to teach, he will become confused, go screaming mad. The elementary teacher cannot, similarly, take M.Sc classes. So, at different levels, different teachers, different teachers are valid. They don't know beyond their levels; just as their students cannot understand beyond the levels at which they speak.
Q) But would you like teachers of religion to also educate their students at whichever level they may be - with miracles, faith cures, materializing laddoos and Seiko watches out of nothing; or by teaching them that salvation and self - realisation lies exactly six inches below the navel? Do you think magic and group sex have anything to do with an understanding of religion?
A) It does not matter whether I believe in these things or not.....
Q) Do you think these are valid ways of learning and Self - discovery?
A) Are they not? Look at them. Go there one morning or evening and see the crowds. Don't look at the Sai Baba; Look at the people. See what an amount of consolation and comfort they are getting. Why the hell should I take it away from them? When you - the writer, the politician, the socialist, no one is giving them any comfort. This one single man moving about there, with every body prostrate before him, feeling so very happy about it. If one can give by mere darshan so much of comfort, why do you want to take it away from them? Let them have it. Just as a few whiskeys inside him make him feel good. Maja maja hai! We know that drinking is not a maja; but the drunkard thinks that it is great fun. Rock and Roll is a head splitting noise to a sensitive musician but, then, there are youngsters who enjoy it thoroughly. Why do you grudge them their enjoyment?
Q) But that means it is a lower level of consciousness......
A) Yes, I admit it. It is a lower level of consciousness and, therefore, they can only appreciate it at that lower level. When they come higher, they will drop it themselves. There are many who have dropped Sai Baba. they went there first. It was an introduction for them; they were stunned by what the man could do. My intellect cannot explain it. It is scientifically impossible to explain. And when you ask him, he doesn't say it is all because of his glory. He says, you can also get this power. Turn towards him and sing the song. The man sincerely does it for sometime and then drops him because he starts finding higher levels of consciousness. Then he wants to study the Gita. So he comes to me. He starts reading the Gita. And then wants to go to the Upanishads. I teach him. then he wants to go to the original. To the Sanskrit. So they go to Benares. I know thousands who have thus streamed out - from lower to the higher and higher. Those who are sincerely striving to quieten the mind and experience the world. I am not saying everyone - for everyone is not a Mozart or an Einstein. There are many science students; but there's only one Einstein.
Q) Would you believe, like some Godmen do, that liberating the libido is the only way for man to transcend his environment and achieve spiritual freedom?
A) Before answering this question, I would like to know, what is this word `godman'. everybody uses it; it's become a journalistic lingo.
Q) Well, let me try and explain. There are religious teachers: we call them gurus. Then, there are those who think they are more than teachers: we call them Godmen. I confess the term is a bit tongue in cheek. But then, what can you do when an acharya graduates into a Bhagwan or a materialiser starts with fistfuls of vibhuti and then begins to bring out latest model quartz watches? The gurus and the Bhagwans don't like being clubbed together. What can I do?
A) But what is God? (Laughs) Unless you know what is God how can you call anyone God-man or man-god? Man I know. But what is God?
Q) Bhagwan?
A) Bhagwan. Does it really mean God? A Bhagwan has certain qualities: he is a man who is capable of commanding nature, who can attract a large number of people, who can cure diseases, who can do something ordinary people can't. It is someone who has that mental power to forecast things correctly, to read other people's minds. These qualities were in Krishna and, therefore, we called him Bhagwan. And since Krishna is considered an avatar in this country, by association of ideas, the word can come to mean God. I have no objection. Because, according to Vedanta, even you, who do not know, you are nothing but a Bhagwan.
I am a man. I can prove to you right now! But because too many people are sitting here, it will not be decent. But I don't know whether I am a God man. (laughs).
Q) To get back to my question now, do you think liberating the libido has anything to do with spiritual self realization?
A) What is the libido? According to Vedanta shastra, it is the pressure of the past on you. Habit. The tendency to repeat ad nauseum one's past actions - we call it vasanas. Vasana means fragrance - the fragrance of what we have done and thought of. Whatever we do - karma - and whatever we think of, they all leave impressions on us, they pressurize us to repeat ourselves. For five years, you drink a cup of coffee at three in the evening. After that, you don't need a wristwatch. Whatever you may be doing at that time, you will crave for that cup of coffee. That is the pressure of the past. It takes away your freedom to think anything original. The average man is, therefore, only a repetitive bird, repeating like a tota, like a parrot.
Unless these past pressures are eliminated, we cannot rethink and review the world we are seeing around us. We see now through our own mind coloured by the past. So to recognize the world as it is and to re-estimate one's own place in the scheme of things, first cleanse your mind. All the scriptures in the world tell you this. When the mind is freed from the past, it is free to fly into newer climes and make new discoveries. Only then does the mind become meditation - worthy -- just as a plane must be air - worthy, a boat must be ocean - worthy, a car road - worthy.
Some of the greatest of men have been notoriously immoral in their activities. This is the dichotomy in their personality. So spirituality is insisting upon self unfoldment. Lift yourself by yourself. So says the Gita. For it gives you the logic behind every term used...
Q) So you believe in logic?
A) O yes! The average man is intellectual. But the truth lies beyond the intellect. With the intellect we have to go beyond the intellect. Isn't it? So I must first convince the intellect that it is logical, only then will I consider the possibility that there is something beyond. Then there is a method by which from the intellect you can take off - it's called contemplation. So, first, the intellect has to be satisfied. Only then can we know freedom.
Q) What is this freedom you speak of?
A) At this moment, what is your freedom? Your freedom is to go on a marked line. If at early morning bed tea is not there, you are most miserable. If at the next moment your wife doesn't smile the exact amount, you are miserable. If she smiles too much, you are worried. Why is she grinning at me? And if it is less, then she is not happy. How dangerously balanced are our joys! Thereafter, comes breakfast. I must have the things I like. Nothing else. If it's anything else, life instantly becomes a misery. When I go to office, everybody must smile at me. Everything you do, from morning till evening, you are repeating yourself. You have no freedom at all. I can make you angry in no time. I will confuse your papers on your table - change them around - and then look through the window: I will see you dancing around in anger! (Laughs loudly) Thus, we give our strings to the world outside to pull and make us dance as it wishes. We have no freedom. The outer world dictates to us all the time. And the mind and intellect persecutes us. I am a poor slave, being kicked from within by my own equipment and from without by the world around me. What freedom are you talking about? Only man who is detached can be free. he is like the wind.
Q) How does a man detach himself from the world around him?
A) O Narayana! That is the whole yoga, including rituals! (Giggles) The rituals which you rejected, including those as well. All this is necessary in order to learn the art of withdrawing yourself. Stand apart as a witness to everything. Even anger. They are in me: I am not in them. You must feel this. Just as a ocean does. How do you think an ocean will introduce itself? These what you see as waves are in me - but I am not in them. Each wave conceiving itself as a separate entity has a birth date; it grows, reaches its highest peak, becomes vain, then it starts dipping. `O Lord, what have I done that this should happen to me!'. Until, at last, the small waves start eating it up. `Millions of waves have I eaten up myself -- and now these waves are eating me up!' the downcast wave starts screaming. Like this, millions of waves are always screaming. It is these stupid waves that make the roar of the seas. Now the ocean says: `The waves are in me, yes. Without me, there are no waves. But the sorrows and joys of the waves are not mine.' For why should the ocean be happy when a solitary wave is rising? Or why should it cry when a wave is dying?
In this way, you will have to detach yourself. The body, the mind and the intellect are in you -- but you are not in them. You are not a shareholder in their joys and sorrows. only then can you become a man, free from the equipments of life. This is called freedom. Freedom for man. Mukti.
Q)But can a society like ours progress in materialistic terms and retain this spiritual freedom?
A) Material development is not possible without this inner development. Character is important. Why is that the Chinese and Japanese are so good? Why are Americans good at materialism? Isn't it because they have materialistic ethics, commercial ethics. We have nothing. I am not talking of spirituality. We don't even have commercial ethics. Anything we send out from India if it has a market, never carries on for too long. they tell you soon to stop it. For the quality falls after a few consignments. All we want is to get rich quick - because you know that you are becoming rich not because of your quality but because of an accident, and you want to take advantage of it.
Q) But you are now talking in materialistic terms yourself. The ideal of progress is totally western. We never had progress on an altar in our country. In fact, this western concept of progress should strike us as illusory, Maya. Why are you, a Swami, impressed by such norms of progress? Isn't this kind of progress alien to our culture?
A) No. Lakshmi is worshipped in India. But we never worship Lakshmi without Narayana. What we want now is so called materialistic civilization that is Narayana should be ignored and we should wink at Lakshmi. Be careful. Lakshmi without Narayana, wealth without character is suicidal. A young man suddenly gets money; he will damn himself. A man of character, if he has got wealth, will use it wisely.
Q) Can modern science and religion coexist intelligently -- without constantly being at war? Must they walk separate routes?
A) You are talking in the language of the 19th Century. A century back, this question was valid. It no longer is. Physics and metaphysics have merged today (laughs).
Q) Are you referring to the attempts of people like Frijof Capra to bring Western physics and Eastern mysticism on a common platform? Are you referring to books like The Tao of Physics or The Dancing Wu Li Masters?
A) Yes, yes, yes. Beautiful books. Like the one about the repair of motorcycles.
Q) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?
A) Ai Yea! Magnificent Book! Like our vedic textbooks. We have always had materialistic sciences studied together with religious sciences. This integration was always there in our scriptures. Ayurveda - the medicinal science - is a part of our Vedas. It is only through the materialistic sciences that we can reach out to the higher. We have been sent here to exhaustively chew the world around us - to chew it and spit it out with no regrets. If a man runs after women and wine, don't blame him. Let him do it intelligently. There's nothing wrong in that.
Q) But what is life and how can one learn to face death with greater confidence?
A) With Knowledge. even today, in Africa, they are afraid of a thousand things which we were afraid of many years ago. Knowledge is the answer to all fears, even of death. Today you are afraid of death because you don't know what it is. Fear arises out of ignorance. You are afraid of going into a dark room. Why? You don't know. Once you know there is nothing there, you are not afraid. Death is a fear because you are not given enough time to think about it.
Q) And you don't know what lies beyond it....
A) That's right. Similarly, many people are afraid of lightning. Every lightning, they think, has their name on it. Once you understand that the lightning that you see can never strike you -- that it has already struck somewhere else - you will never be afraid. The lightning that gets you, you will never see. Knowing this, you will, thereafter, always enjoy the fireworks in the sky - for lightning is one of the most beautiful sights you can ever see.
Q) So freedom from fear is.....
A) Freedom from everything. It is the first step towards true knowledge. Only when you are ignorant, you are afraid.
Q) Is there life after death?
A) What is death? Can you tell me what is on the other side? (laughs) Death is the empty body you leave behind when you leave your body and go away. So death is a state of the body and not you. ( Claps with glee) who is you? Who is in this body? Who is now experiencing everything through the body?
Q) The self?
A) No. The mind and intellect, the inner equipment operates through the body. Right? I hear through my ears. I see through my eyes. I experience through my body, through my senses. I am the experiencer who experiences the outer world through this body. Just as I, in my business house, go to work everyday and through my business equipment -- the phones, computers, telex - I contact the outer world and do my business. When I gather all my equipment and move away from premises A to a better site B, I am born again in shop B. On the front of the shop A, I will write `moved to three blocks down, left' in American parlance. For I am there three blocks down. In the same way, when you move out of this body with everything that you have - all your equipment, your faculties - the condition of the body is called death. Every Body must die but nobody can die. This life of yours is just one incident in your eternal existence. You will appear again in another body - in fresh pastures, with a new body, with a new wife, with new children, new profession. (laughs) Maja
hai marne me (it is fun to die). Once you realise this, you will think of death as a great adventure. You will be anxious to die. Yeh to hum dekh liya; phir naya jagah dekhega ( I have seen this place; now I have to see a new place). The only things that hold you back are your attachments. The black money; the women in your life; the fixtures.
Play. Play with everything. With money, with everything in the world, knowing that you are here only temporarily. As a sojourner, not as a native of the place. Poet, writer, translator of the Upanishads - these are only parts of your present guise. Next time you will perhaps be a swami. Who knows?
Q) You have called schizophrenia `Arjuna disease' in one of your Gita talks. But it is no longer a human affliction. people, cultures, nations are suffering this break-up of personality. How can mankind cure this problem and find its true identity?
A) By reading the Gita. Arjuna conquered it by listening to Krishna. In the last chapter, he says: `I shall fight; did I say I won't? I don't remember having said I won't.' he conquered his indecision.
Q) But wasn't his indecision supremely moral? When a man refuses to fight, surely that is a moral decision in our time?
A) Such indecision is moral, true. But it can produce only disaster for the decision-maker and for the society. I won't say it's immoral but that which brings unhappiness to you and to the society is called evil. That which brings happiness to every one is a noble, virtuous act.
Q) But the same act, at different points of history, can have totally different connotations. It can be differently interpreted. Galileo was persecuted in his time. Today, he would be a hero, if he were to make the same kind of discoveries. Scientists, messiahs, poets and philosophers have been killed at some points of history and worshipped at others for saying almost the same things. How can you judge an act independent of its time frame?
A) Your attention is on the act. I am asking you to attend on the individual. let's take Rama walking away from the palace. When he walked away, he must have known that his father was very sensitive and might even die because
of his decision to go away. The public said: `Remain Rama! Rama zindabad! Bharat murdabad!'. As the modern politician, Rama could have said: `The janata wants me: so I will stay.' But he said instead: `I must keep my father's promise. Even though it's my step mother. It's unjust I know, but it is a word given.' So he walked out. The readiness to sacrifice the comfort and security of the present, to live up to the ideals you have set for yourself is noble. That is a noble act. In Hinduism, the greatness of you lies in not what you possess but what you did with what you possessed. In the modern materialistic world, what you possess is the criterion of your glory. How you got it nobody questions. What you do with it. Nobody questions. In India, we are not concerned with what you have. It is what you did with what you had. This is in our vocabulary. In North India, a Swami is still called Maharaj. What is his job? Bhiksha. A swami is a beggar but still he is called a maharaj. Not just a Rajah. A maharaja. See how wonderful is our faith.
Q) But it is true in all faiths. When Mother Teresa gives up the securities of fer cloistered existence and chooses to come out and work with the poor and the dying, surely she is demonstrating religion in action. Most of us would have no interest in Mother Teresa, the catholic nun; but everyone of us deeply respects Mother Teresa, the social worker. The only religion of our time that has any respectability is religion in action. Not Hinduism, nor Christianity, Buddhism or Islam. Theologists can go to hell, as far as common man is concerned. We need those who actually work for social causes. For Love. Isn't this as it should be?
A). Perfect. But also remember that without Mother Teresa the nun you would never had a Mother Teresa the social worker. It is religion that is behind everything she does. So you cannot discount that. She is what she is because of her past.
Q) What is the future going to be like for man?
A) The future depends on the past modified by the present. Never ask anyone about the future. Not even an astrologer. The future is not in the sun, moon and the stars; it is not in the planets. The present is a product of the past; the future is past modified in the present. If you don't modify the past, you will continue it forever. Your future will be nothing other than the past.
Q) A last question. Do you believe in the existence of God or a supreme power?
A) Honestly speaking, if you want me to speak in a autobiographical mood, I will say I believe in God. But this question is illogical because my belief or disbelief is not going to help you or the world. You are inquisitive that's why you ask. It is my belief and you can't ask me why I believe. In belief there is no logic. I believe, full stop.
Recently, a youngster came to my ashram. He said: `Swamiji, yesterday I listened to your talk. Can I talk to you in private?'. So I asked everybody to go out. The youngster then said: `Swamiji, I don't believe in God.' When he said this, I asked him: Son, what God is this you are talking about? Which God are you not believing in? The fellow said:` Swamiji, this rascal God, who is the cause of all this confusion in the world, this poverty, death, infant mortality, these wars and so much of human suffering. I don't believe in such a God.' I said: Son, in this room at this moment there are two non believers. I also don't believe in such a God'. The fellow was flabbergasted. He said: `Then what God do you believe in?' I said: Now that's a creative question. That I'll answer. So I clapped my hands and called everyone in - for there was nothing private about it anymore.
Yes, you have also asked me a creative question. My answer is simple: I believe in my God. Read your own translations of the Upanishads - read my introduction to them and you will know what that God is.

Monday, April 30, 2007

My Little Sister got engaged

I realize now that my little sister has grown big.

Yesterday was her engagement. The wedding would be on the 24th October of this year. Most of my friends who heard this were like – “so much of gap…”. Yes, there is a lot of time between the engagement and the wedding but then we felt that would be for good. They will have ample time to know each other through phone and in person.

Ok, now about the “Man” in my sister’s life. His name is Sriram, an auditor by profession works with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India Pvt. Ltd as a Deputy Manager. A very soft spoken sweet shy person he is a real good match for my Sister. He stays near our home (4 kms away) in Vadavalli. The irony is both of them being CAs never wanted to get married to another CA, they did not want anyone from Coimbatore. But then we all know that marriage is made in heaven and this is a classic example of that.

The engagement function started early in the morning as the muhurat was between 7:30 to 8:00 AM. They both looked good and tensed during the entire function. His maternal uncles were real sport and were teasing both the prospective bride and bride-groom to an extent that Sriram took the company of his friends. I am so happy for my sister. Don’t they make a beautiful pair –






Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Rationalist - Periyar

I was following the recent news on the issues raised on the desecration of the Periyar statue in Trichy. I felt so sad that how people fight over a statue of a “person”. Of course I agree that Periyar was a great leader and also a “Rationalist”. This is the exact adjective used to glorify him. But was he really a Rationalist ??? I was wondering if a rational being would ever give a statement like “If you see a snake and a Brahmin, leave the snake alone and kill the Brahmin”. I really pity those who garland him. He was a person who was dead against idol-worship and he himself is been worshipped by the party (DK) – is this not a variant of idol worship?

The below is taken from Periyar’s official site

What is the mission of my life?

I have undertaken the service of reforming the Dravidian society and convert it into a society fully endowed with self-respect and dignity. I am wholly engaged with that task and dedicated to this great casue.

Whether I am “qualified” for that service or not, I am emboldened to undertake the same and continue to do it, because no one else has come forward to do that thankless job.

As I have no other attachment ( concern ) and all my principles, policies and programmes are chaclked out only in the light of rational thought. Hence I am more more qualified to undertake this work, service.


 

I do not know how long people would be fooled by this Dravidian concept. [Read more of the myth of Aryan Invasion]

What is rational? The literal meaning is “based on reason”. If I say I am being rational on a particular topic that would mean that I giving a balanced opinion. Was Periyar being rational by giving such a statement. If you are very debater and you are able to throw your argument, you become the best rationalist in the world. Rationalism is just a relative word. The people who proclaimed that Earth was the center of the solar system also were rational during their time and now we know the rationale behind that is destroyed and only time can tell us how rational we are in declaring the 9 planets or 10 planets or more or less.

DK – Dravidar Kazhagam, the organization that Periyar started and now headed by Mr.Veeramani has passed resolution to clear of all the temples that are built on the roads. This is a welcome message as this could really help in improving the traffic conditions in many cities but what he did not mention is that what action should be taken if it's a church or a mosque. He dare not come out with a comment because he would be killed the next day. Also they have come out with another resolution that the government should eradicate all the superstitions that the Hindus carry with them. My only question to him is that why was Periyar wearing “Black” shirt and all the DK supporters wear black shirt? Is this not a form of superstition. In fact leader of DMK which is also a branch of DK, wears yellow shall always for good luck – is this not superstition. This is a clear double standard that these people take and our gullible people fall prey for the beautiful speech these guys deliver. When would be start seeing the reality and punish these so proclaimed “Aethist”.

On this note I remember a real life incident that happened in one of the talks of Swami Chinmayananda.

[Following a talk given by Swami Chinmayananda, a modern, young American in the audience openly claimed that he did not believe in God. Swamiji welcomed the comment and responded with the question: "Now come, WHAT KIND of GOD is it, that you don't believe in?"]

This is the answer to all those who believe that there is "no God".

To say that "God" does or does not exist, one first needs to define "God". This is a general principle - to decide whether or not "chairs" exist, one would first need to define "chairs".

When prodded like this, most "rationalists" would define "God" as "one who sits above the skies and dispenses justice" or as some sort of "guardian angel", and then they would exclaim, "of course, such a God does not exist". In effect, what they are saying is that it is futile to "pray" for anything as there is nobody who would listen to those prayers and grant any benefits. Modern education tends to build up the intellect, which then revolts against a conception of a God who rules the world according to his will, who responds to prayers, etc.

However, such a definition of God is a case of scratching the surface, and our Hindu(Vedic) & Buddhist schools go much deeper than that, to the extent that the above definition would be regarded as false or incomplete. Ultimately however, the word "God" is a matter of definition. A very general definition would be "the truth that needs to be realized" and a fundamental aspect of that truth is the loss of the ego, which leads to a cessation of all desires. When I mentioned this to a "rationalist" friend of mine, he agreed. But then he bounced back on the futility of prayer. In effect, he was opposing Bhakti. I told him that Bhakti Yoga is not meant to obtain any gifts like wealth, etc, but is a means to kill the ego. Likewise, all the other yoga-s are meant to kill the ego. While individual schools may differ on the nature of the truth, the killing of the ego and the cessation of desires is, in one way or the other, common to all our Vedic & Buddhist schools. In this light, it is rather meaningless to say "I don’t believe in God". What is the God that you don’t believe in? Fundamentally, God is not a matter of belief at all. One may or may not believe in a particular conception of God, but ultimately, it is the truth to be realized.

On deeper examination, the "rationalist" objection to Bhakti is precisely because it hurts the ego, and it does so right upfront!! The other Yoga-s are a bit less straight-forward in this matter.


 

I welcome the concept of Periyar that the caste system should be eradicated from the society but just by blaming one of the constituent caste of the entire system is just showing a personal vendetta and not a national cause. If they are really worried about the caste system remove it instead of feeding it in the name of reservations. The division would only grow not diminish to any extend.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Paradigm Shift

Imagine you are at an Airport. While you're waiting for your flight, you notice a kiosk selling cookies. You buy a box, put them in your traveling bag and then you patiently search for an available seat so you can sit down and enjoy your cookies. Finally, you find a seat next to a gentleman.

You reach down into your traveling bag and pull out your box of cookies. As you do so, you notice that the gentleman starts watching you intensely. He stares as you open the box and his eyes follow your hand as you pick up the cookie and bring it to your mouth. Just then he reaches over and takes one of your cookies from the box, and eats it! You're more than a little surprised at this. Actually, you're at a loss for words. Not only does he take one cookie, but also he alternates with you. For every one cookie you take, he takes one.

Now, what's your immediate impression of this guy? Crazy? Greedy? He's got some nerve? Can you imagine the words you might use to describe this man to your associates back at the office? Meanwhile, you both continue eating the cookies until there's just one left. To your surprise, the man reaches over and takes it. But then he does something unexpected. He breaks it in half, and gives half to you. After he's finished with his half he gets up, and without a word, he leaves.

You think to yourself, "Did this really happen?" You're left sitting there dumbfounded and still hungry. So you go back to the kiosk and buy another box of cookies. You then return to your seat and begin Opening your new box of cookies when you glance down into your traveling bag. Sitting there in your bag is your original box of cookies – still unopened.

Only then do you realize that when you reached down earlier, you had reached into the other man's bag, and grabbed his box of cookies by mistake. Now what do you think of the man? Generous? Tolerant? You've just experienced a profound paradigm shift. You're seeing things from a new point of view. Is it time to change your point of view?

Many a times, we are clouded by our own instincts and predispositions. These hamper our relationship with our peers, subordinates and superiors. Try to be non-judgmental and look beyond the obvious.

God with you

It was a normal day. The divine Ganges, as usual, was flowing past the little cottages in Uttarkashi. But for the first time, the disciple of the great master, Sri Tapovanji Maharaj, saw a little excitement in his ever serene and poised guru.
An old devotee, a judge from Lucknow who had known the master for about 30 years, was coming. Since he was an elderly man, the guru told his disciple to receive him and see that all arrangements for his comfort were made.
The old gentleman had a complaint for the master. "Swamiji, my grandson doesn't listen. He smokes, comes home late at night, and has developed a number of vices. Swamiji, I have persuaded him to come with me. I have a feeling that if Swamiji will meet him, he will change."
Swamiji agreed. The boy came. He wouldn't remove his shoes, nor did he prostrate himself. It was an interesting case. How would the master handle him?
Swamiji received him with warmth and asked him, "What movie is going on in town nowadays?" "Do they teach anything in college these days?" With such conversation, the master won the confidence of the boy. When his confidence was captured, Swamiji said, "Leave all pooja and worship for your grandmother. But there is something you can do which is good for your health." The boy was interested. "Keep an alarm clock, and every day set the alarm at 5:00am. Even if you go to sleep late at night, it will be good for you to get up and go for a walk. Find a park 20 minutes away from your house. Sit there for 10 minutes, come back; and then, if you wish, you may go back to sleep."
The boy asked, "What will happen?"
Swamiji said, "Do it for one month. I will tell you after a month."
After a month and a half, a letter came from the old devotee saying that the boy had changed.
The disciple who was none other than Sri Swami Chinmayananda, wondered how this change occurred. After four years when he got a chance to go to Lucknow, he met the totally changed boy and asked him, "What happened?"
The young boy said, "On the first day, I went thinking that the swami must be slightly . . . but he is a nice guy . . . I went to the park, heard the sweet chirping of the birds, saw the beautiful trees, felt the tender breeze - I stayed longer than 10 minutes.
“Next day, again I went because of the lovely memory. I exposed myself to the rising sun, heard the songs of the birds. After a week it was all the same. I was no longer interested. What else could come to my mind except a parade of my past? But when I saw what kind of man I was and what an ugly life I was living as compared to my innocent childhood, I decided to change!”
The boy became spiritual through solitude.
Man when left alone, will become spiritual. Materialism cannot survive when man starts thinking. The secular, the materialistic world, will not allow you to think. Therefore we have radio, television, dance, and so on - all to distract the mind.
Throw yourself into your own company. You are afraid of loneliness because you do not have the courage to meet yourself. When you are alone, you cannot but see the parade of your past - recognize how base your values are. You discover that you have a great image of yourself, but the real you is something else.
Thus, be in your own company! You need not search for God. Be with yourself, and you will turn to God!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Microsoft hands out Office space

In addition to giving you a free Web site, Microsoft Office Live will soon enable online keyword marketing campaigns for your company while integrating its various Web-based tools with the desktop Office Accounting and, of course, the impending Microsoft Office suite.
View CNET's Elsa Wenzel showing Microsoft's new Office Live service.

Microsoft takes on Google with new Virtual Earth

One-upping Google on several fronts--including using real photographs of buildings--Microsoft has released Virtual Earth, a competitor to Google Earth that works with its Live Local service. CNET's Rafe Needleman gives a preview and compares the two platforms.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Complain to Bill Gates

A recent news that took everyone by surprise was a letter from a Microsoft consumer. He wrote a letter to Bill Gates making his complain. The letter was like this:
Please find enclosed my invoice for £1,200 sterling for administrative and consulting work, caused by the need to repair Microsoft sabotage. I dare say you'd like details:
Last night, your organisation destroyed about three hours worth of work I'd done.
The work was a set of notes being made in a text editor which I am required to use by one of my clients. All the files were open last night, when a family emergency occurred, and I was unable to devote the 10 minutes required to closing them down. I was logged into a remote system with a one-time login, which I cannot get clearance for again till Tuesday. And I had several websites open on my desktop.


During the night, Microsoft took it upon itself to update my computer. I arrived at work to find a message stating: "Windows recently downloaded and installed an important security update to help protect your computer. This update required an automatic restart of your computer."

I have gone to some trouble to ensure that this doesn't happen. I have set Windows Update to "custom" - meaning that I will decide which updates I need to install, and how the update will be handled. And when an update says "this requires a restart" I have always specified that I will restart the machine at a time of my own choosing.

When you chose, on your own initiative, to disregard all my precautions and reboot this PC last night, I not only had several notes in progress; I also had about a half-dozen web browser windows open. It has taken me the best part of three hours to try to recall what I had discovered, and where - and I honestly doubt I will be able to recover the majority of those URLs. They took considerable research to find.

This event isn't the only example of Microsoft's assumption that my own preferences can be disregarded in favour of Redmond's whims.

I could quote the behaviour of my mouse. When I first had a Windows machine, it was a 12 MHz 386 computer. The mouse was a real-time peripheral. I mean by that, that if I moved the mouse, the pointer on the screen moved.

These days, I have a machine with a processor of 1.2 GHz clock speed. Just to make that clear: it's exactly a hundred times faster in its operations than that old 386. Where the 386 had one meg of memory, this one has exactly a thousand times as much. The disk on that one was around 50 megabytes: this one is 30 Gigabytes.

And yet, if I move the mouse, the software which now runs on this machine cannot keep up with it! The pointer starts to move, then hits a patch on the screen. "Hang on a moment! I have no idea where to move the pointer," says Windows. "I'll have to go and search my disk for the data which creates the images on the screen - I may be some time..."
Indeed, it may be. Typically, if I haven't used the mouse for a minute or so, it will be 10 to 20 seconds before the pointer stops lurching randomly around the screen, trying to work out, approximately, where I might have expected it to be if it had been able to follow the impulses from the device.

And if I inadvertently click it! - well, the fact that I saw, clearly, that the mouse was on a button I urgently needed to click, is irrelevant to Redmond. Redmond knows best; it will pretty randomly find a group of pixels, assign a purpose and function to them, and start doing whatever that seems to indicate.

Shall we talk about file downloads?

When I ask Internet Explorer to download a file, I expect it to arrive on my disk. It may take some time, and so, since Windows is supposed to be able to make this possible, I'll get on with some other work in some other program. I might, for example, write a letter.
In the middle of my typing, there is a flicker on the screen. What was it?
It was Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer. The one signalled the end of the download. The other popped up a modal dialogue box, asking me if I wanted to cancel the download? - and the next time I pressed the space bar, it took this as "yes, cancel!"
I only know this because I've seen the dialogue box before. While typing, the message appears, and disappears, too fast for the eye to register. Again we have my computer doing, not what I want it to do, but what Redmond has decided is most convenient for Redmond.
Of course, the file may be corrupted even if it does get downloaded. I can tell Internet Explorer to download it again. "File exists - replace?" it asks. "Yes." Does it replace it? No! - it checks to see if the file appears to be on the disk, and it then pretends to download it. But in fact, the "download" takes place in a fraction of a second, and the same, corrupt file is left on the disk. The only way of getting the correct file is to go to the disk directly, delete the corrupt file, and then go back and download. Again, Redmond knows what is best, and my opinions, as the operator of the machine, can be safely disregarded.

I really could offer another dozen examples, including the Language Bar, the task bar, the behaviour of "standard" shortcuts...and if you're interested, I can forward the list...no?
Thought not.

With the invoice for my consulting time, please find a message from me, and from many of my readers, who assure me they feel the same way. The message says: "You are not making any friends like this."

Your programmers need to be reminded that the convenience of Redmond is not our purpose in buying a computer. They should recall that these apparently irritating procedural trivia (to them) are things that matter to us.
The fact that they feel able to ignore this sort of complaint (indeed, this isn't the first time I've written along these lines, and I'm not alone) shows clearly that Redmond regards itself as above criticism.

The word for this behaviour is "arrogant". It will come back to haunt you.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Martin Taylor, lead marketing efforts for Windows Live quits MS

Martin Taylor the 13-year company veteran was appointed in March to lead marketing efforts for Windows Live, left Microsoft. The news is interesting because its only last week Bill Gates announced that he would moved out of the day-to-day role of the organization

Microsoft takes on Skype with the launch of Windows Live Messenger

Microsoft is upping the ante on VoIP tie-ins with the launch of its new Windows Live Messenger.Essentially an revamp of MSN Messenger, the IM service now offers VoIP calling as well as full-screen video chat thanks to Microsoft's new LifeCams that were launched last week.MSN Messenger is one of the most popular services world-wide, with over 200 millions users in April.The popularity of the service and high numbers of registered users gives Microsoft an edge over VoIP competitors like . Users may find it easier to plug straight into Microsoft's voice system rather than register with another company's service.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Walk-in Interview during the weekend

I never wanted to talk about this, but I was just going through some links for the basics of CLR and thought I should talk-base on this topic.

The crowd was not very great in numbers considering the fact that this was a walk-in. My impression after taking interview was that the programmers now-a-days are not interested in knowing why a piece of code works and what is the behind-the-scenes functioning. I strongly believe that any body can write codes but the best code can be written only if they know the basics and internals of how the code works.

MS Tech Ed events, Chennai 15 & 16 Jun 2006

I had been to the TechEd 2006 in Chennai with lot of expectations.
Unfortunately the event was not very fulfilling for the simple reason that some of the speakers were not up to the mark.
For instance in the architecture track, Arvind Agarwal from the Skelta Softwares was talking more on the requirements phase rather than the case study. And also in the developers track Arun Prakash who handled the Office 2007 was very pathetic with his presentation.
Well, said that, the others sessions had been good, but I guess the time for each session was not sufficient to fulfill the technology thirst of the audience. I am not sure if every one would appreciate this thought, but I felt so. The sessions from Gaurav Khanna, Deepak Gulati, Vineet Gupta, SS Ramakant, and Tejasvi Kumar had been really inspiring and useful.

I have already started admiring the WPF and VSTS and dying to explore. Will blog my experience with WPF soon.

Just noticed that Gaurav has already uploaded the presentations and the source code in his blog - http://www.wintoolzone.com/Presentations.aspx

Not sure if others have done it, but will have a look and update my blog.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Host Designers in .Net 2.0

Version 1.0 of the Microsoft .NET Framework provided a very flexible design-time architecture, but offered virtually no implemented code to actually create and host designers. All of the hosting logic was implemented in Visual Studio .NET, requiring third parties to rewrite all of this complex logic. This has now changed; the .NET Framework 2.0 introduces a set of classes that can be used to host designers right out of the box.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

GXS and Covast supports BizTalk 2006

GXS and Covast today announced a partnership to enable and support the global delivery of the Microsoft BizTalk Server solution. As leading providers of global business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce solutions, Covast and GXS will package the GXS Trading GridSM, Covast’s EDI Accelerator and Microsoft’s BizTalk Server software platform into a single advanced B2B integration solution that enhances visibility and control at all levels of the supply chain community. The combined solution, available through both GXS and Covast, takes the comprehensive integration capabilities of BizTalk Server and extends it further to external trading partners, enabling businesses to integrate their B2B infrastructures with internal applications and those of their Internet-based trading partners.

Monday, June 05, 2006

LINQ Project for C# 3.0

Find out about the general-purpose query facilities added to the .NET Framework that apply to all sources of information, not just relational or XML data. This facility is called .NET Language Integrated Query (LINQ).

Download at : http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=1E902C21-340C-4D13-9F04-70EB5E3DCEEA&displaylang=en

Learn at : http://msdn.microsoft.com/data/ref/linq/default.aspx?pull=/library/en-us/dndotnet/html/linqprojectovw.asp

Friday, May 26, 2006

Building Secure ASP.NET Applications

The following guide presents a practical, scenario driven approach to designing and building secure ASP.NET applications for Windows 2000 and version 1.0 of the .NET Framework. It focuses on the key elements of authentication, authorization, and secure communication within and across the tiers of distributed .NET Web applications

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The .NET Show: WMI Scripting

Greg Stemp and Jean Ross from the TechNet Script Center show us how easy it is to gather information from our systems using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Scripting.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

.Net Languages

I was just wondering if dotnet really can support lot of languages which MS is claiming or is it another marketing strategy to screw up the business of SUN and like organizations. Now I am clear of the vision that MS had in creating the .net suites.

Read more for details ...
http://www.dotnetpowered.com/languages.aspx

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Frustrated with the new web site model in 2.0???

Are you frustrated with Microsoft’s new project-less, solution-less web application(web site) model in 2.0 ? I was, and so were scores of developers all around the world.

Good news is, Microsoft has relented. Bowing to pressure from scores of developers, they have released a patch which will let you use the old (1.1) web application model. You can get it from http://msdn.microsoft.com/asp.net/reference/infrastructure/wap/default.aspx

Note that you can continue using the new project-less model (2.0) even after installing this patch.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Windows Vista Presentation

With the Beta 2 release of Windows Vista just around the corner and the highly anticipated commercial debut hot on its heels, Microsoft thought this would be a great time to start highlighting the major new features and enhanced capabilities that you'll find, both under the hood and on the dashboard. So, to help you rev up your engines, each month the Windows Vista Developer Center will bring you a new theme to give you a feel for the wheel as we explore this exciting new world of software development.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

SQL Prompt

SQL Prompt by red gate software provides Intellisense for Query Analyzer, Visual Studio 2005, VS 2003 and Management Studio. This is a cool free tool available for all.