Thursday, August 20, 2009


These days I happen to attend certain lectures/sermons on The Bhagvad Geeta and that has re-ignited my dormant desire to gain insight into mythological/spiritual stories.

What I understand of the Geeta currently is largely (or perhaps entirely) dependent on the interpretation of the speaker ('Guru'). And so, some of my contentions may be more with the interpretation rather than the actual context.

My chief complaints (some against the story of Mahabharat and others against Geeta) are probably stemming from my agyaan. Some of them are:-

1. It is difficult to understand why Pandavas 'deserved' the throne. The original heir (older son) was Dhritarashtra and the kingdom belonged to him. However, due to his blindness his younger brother Pandu ruled (almost like Dhritarashtra handed over certain Powers of Attorney... but thats it). That certainly didn't imply that Pandu's sons would inherit the kingdom. So why the whole fuss about Pandavas (Pandu's sons) wanting to rule the kingdom _rightfully_?

2. In the story, a highly foolish, weak and (I would say) immoral man is worshipped. Weak because he was not strong enough to resist the temptation of gambling; foolish because he could not see through a devious plan; immoral because he had the nerve and the heart to stake his wife as a gamble. Now if such a man made such a crazy move, and consequentally lost his wife to (say) Mr.D, who should be the villain? Should the wife get mad at her husband, or at Mr.D?
Its unbelievable that very few (if any) versions of the story criticize Yudhisthir for staking Draupadi, and almost all of them demonize Duryodhan (and Dushasan) for misbehaving with Draupadi. It seems totally uncalled for the Kauravas to get a bad name for this!

3. Duryodhan's name was Suyondhan. Not a good thing to change a 'su' to 'du' simply because a 'majority' (Pandava's side, who eventually wrote the story!) thinks he is a 'bad guy'.

4. My biggest complaint is against Krishna. Honestly, I don't get it. It is too twisted to make sense. On one hand, he plays the role of a mortal (a friend, a cousin, a naughty kid etc) and lives as if he is one of the mortals. But on the other hand, he is The Divine. Now if he kept these two things separate, it would be easier to make sense of things. But he confused some (and me).

a) Krishna tells Arjun that he must fight the war, even at the cost of the death of Arjun's teachers, uncles and brothers.

b) When Arjun is still confused, Krishna takes on his Divine Self and shows him the future - how the Kauravas and Drona and Bheeshma etc are being chewed in Krishna's mouth... which signifies their death.
So, Krishna tells Arjun the result of the war and also conveys that whether Arjun chooses to fight the war or not, and whether he slays the Kauravas and Drona etc or not, they are dead. Arjun is only incidental to their death. He is not the cause of their death. Their death is predetermined, and Arjun simply has to perform his duty and shoot the arrows.
Methinks this is getting into tricky realm! Does that imply that Krishna implies that the future is predetermined? If so, what determined it? Was it their karma?

c) When Arjun wants to kill Jayadrath and there seems to be no way to find Jayadrath (who must be seen and slain before sunset), Krishna creates a pseudo-sunset. He pulls a cloud in front of the sun.
Krishna had promised be a part of the war as a simple charioteer (just a mortal). It was unfair to use his divine powers of moving clouds around, tricking the enemy, and then assisting Arjun in aiming at Jayadrath.

d) In another incident (almost at the end of the war), when Duryodhand is single handedly fighting the Pandavas... and Bhim in particular, Krishna knows that Duryodhan's weak spot was his thigh /9this weakness of Duryodhan was also due to Krishna's trickery). So he instructs Bhim to attack there, and then Duryodhan succombs to his pain.

e) Krishna is Time, he is the Past, Present and Future. In him reside Brahma (as was seen in the Geeta). This Brahmaand where we all exist, comes from Brahma. The entire Brahmaand is seen within him. So who is he? How can he be talking to Arjun on the lands of Kurukshetra which is in the Brahmaand which is in Krishna? This is why he can't be a charioteer and the Divine at the same time.

Mahabharat is simply a dramatic story of how a 'God' can convert all the wrongs to right by simply being 'God'... and how you can win a battle if you can convince that 'God' (who has no qualms about indulging in deceit, renege, immodesty) to be on your side. All the rightness/goodness of the Pandavas seem to be a deadly whitewash over their not-so-right motives.

Phew! Some things are too unsettling to let go.

Also, an interesting insight on 2 characters of Mahabharat :

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dhan te Nan

Kya majaa aaya!

Discoing with insanely loud moozik with colorful lights spanking your face at odd times and downing the fifth nectar... and dancing till either your feet are numb, or till you realize you HAVE to visit the washroom and vacate one forcibly if all are occupied... aaahaha!

What is it about 'clubbing'? After one is sufficiently into it, it seems that no relaxation can beat the surreal feel of swaying thru your own universe. It's like finding that perfect spot for acupuncture... and pressing it with the right pressure.

I think the trick is:-
1. You are generally much more fancily dressed and hence more confident

2. If you are a girl, your sexiness quotient goes a notch higher because of all the oomph you carry suddenly. That makes you feel nice!

3. You are free in terms of time... you don't have to reach anywhere... you don't have deadlines or targets swaying over your head like an unwanted bubble.

4. You see other good looking people who are laughing and dancing... that makes you infer that there is so much happiness available here for grabs. So you grab it... tee hee!

5. You dance. You are awkward. Of course, immaterial of what House, Soft rock, Hip hop means, you know no more than 3 different steps . Which means within some time, you have mastered them. You down a few drinks. You get creative enough to come up with variations in them. You like it that you are creative and the newly conjured step totally fits with the music. You are so convinced of that that your face reflects it. This convinces the others and they do that step. Ah! Now you are a leader of the pack... for some moments.

6. The music is too loud for any kind of conversations. That eliminates those meaningless and mindless conversations... or even the pressing need for a conversation to diffuse the airs of awkwardness. You dance with all and sundry. If you are graceful, you can do a full turn and take a quick preview of those around you. Next time, take a half turn and dance with the oh-so-cool dood behind you.

All in all, it really is such a good way to unwind, exercise, grow, re-affirm self-worth, go-all-out.. that there should be a serious effort by the NGOs to promote such a state of well-being.

Really really really. And what with Bollywood hip hop entering the scene? We finally found our panacea in our utopia!

Friday, August 07, 2009


Couple of points and questions (some raised after watching some of 'Zeitgeist Addendum')

1. Money
Money is primarily required because there is scarcity of resources. We pay a higher price for diamonds, and much lower for bananas... and much much lower (zero) for air. That is because diamonds are very scarce, whereas bananas are more abundant... and air is highly abundant and everyone has access to that abundance.
Given this premise, if all that a human needs for existence (his bare necessities) are made highly abundant and accessible, will there be a need for money?
There might be a need for money for barter of the non-essential utilities, which he uses for pleasure and/or recreation.
But what if even that is in abundance?
Since everyone has their basic needs fulfilled (you can have as much food you want), one doesn't really need to 'work to make a living'. Now one works to do stuff one likes.
And that might translate to A loving to make computers that B uses... So A makes a lot of computers and gives (not sells) them to others who want it.
B on the other hand makes other valuable things and gives it. If there is enough variety in people's desire to make 'value', then the system might work... isn't it?

2. Education
Should we teach students skills that make them better at their job (specialized learning) or should we teach them skills to enjoy (kill?) time when they are not at their job (generalized learning)?
In most cases in real-world scenarios, people claim to learn more 'on-job' than in school. This is confirmed by salary hikes for 'experienced' people, even if they lack the requisite academic degree for the job. If people anyway learn more on the job, what is the job of educational institutions (apart from imparting super-basic mathematical/language skills for basic communication and reasoning)?

3. Crime
Given that a majority of crimes are committed by poor people, is there any differential judgment/treatment meted out based on the economic background of the criminal? If fairness is sought, isn't it necessary to have such a differential treatment?

4. Religion
Why do many religions (at least the popular ones) penalize certain natural instincts in order to attain salvation (or its equivalent)? And also, reward or champion the not-so-natural instincts? For instance, giving alms to the needy seems to be totally un-natural, given that it is difficult (naturally) to unnecessarily part with that which you have 'rightfully' earned. It might be that most of us have seen it being done by parents/those-we-look-up-to and hence think it 'natural' of us to want to donate.
It seems that the basic foundations of religions - to be based on 'tennets' or rules to be followed, is flawed. That leaves very little room for evolution of these rules. Societies (governments, law systems, religion) ought to be evolving rather than establishing. And if that is not the case, sooner or later they will be overthrown by a more evolved rule-book, when there is enough nerve in enough people to challenge the established norms even at the cost of salvation.

5. Human Nature vs Human Behavior
Is there such a thing as human nature? Are greed, desire to compete, desire for happiness and all those other things that we call 'human', wired into us? Or is it that as soon as we are born, we are placed into a society that invariably inculcates this in us, making it a human behavior and not human nature?
This seems to be a pretty basic question, one which might have an answer to in an introductary psychology book.
But yet, one wonders, what (if any) proofs can be provided to convincingly argue one case over the other. Somehow, basic psychological conundrums run deep into most of us... and it is difficult to know the answers because there are too many varied 'results' thrown out to us, and all with different force. So it gets tricky to give each result its due importance without bias towards a personal belief.

Sometimes it really seems tempting to shun all attempts to know more about anything that can lead to a change or disturbance in one's personally held belief system. This inertia against change in one's beliefs is perhaps something that nature provides to humans... as a tool for self-preservation?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Reading a scary book!

It took a hella chance for me to be created. Reading about evolution in a dummies-guide-to-evolution sorta book made me feel special. A lot of (LOT) things had to go 'right' (genetically and otherwise) for me to be created. And who knows what I am.

It is difficult to look at humans as a bunch of atoms that are individually nothing, but together, form a unifying pattern. Well, it might be simple if that was the only view possible.

But most of the times, I think of myself as someone who likes so and so music and such and such author, that I like to read jokes and take excessive chances, that I had fallen in love and out of it.
I cant get myself to think of myself in terms of genes and such.

And the reason for getting disturbed to think of myself as a mere combination of some genetic code or a bunch of specializing atoms is precisely that! It leaves very little room for 'good' and 'bad'.
All judgments go for a toss. Somehow (perhaps incorrectly so), the faith in 'choice' lessens. Likes, dislikes, actions, emotions.... all of them seem just another combination of smaller entities (hormones, pheromones, what-not-mones).

I think I like to think 'highly' of people. I would like to continue to think of people (and myself) as someone who has achieved so and so, as someone who lives by so and so philosophy, as someone who... as someONE!

It is unsettling to read these things on evolution... write-ups that coldly disintegrate a person into elements that are incapable of being judged. How can the concept of good and bad disappear? Immaterial of how personal the judgment of good or bad is, the existence of such judgment is paramount to choosing what I do (I choose to blog over not to blog because I see some good in blogging over not blogging).

It is not only unsettling, but it really is scary. One helluva scary domain you don't want to enter if you are not suitably prepared.