Some of Ramanujam’s Maths…

Profile Pic from : http://mirrortoindia.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/the-man-who-knew-infinity/

Source : http://www.isibang.ac.in/~sury/iiitjan1.pdf

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Medieval Hangover Of Indian Muslims

Adapted from Text Source @ :

http://www.hinduhistory.info/the-worlds-longest-unknown-war/

The popular version of history of Medieval India was proposed by European scholars through the British Raj era and accepted by native understudies. Projected images of the medieval time period were subsequently reiterated through the Nehru years and later remained unchallenged in recommended educational texts, making the narration firm in the mind of generations of Indians.

It has been suspect before : the entire narrative had been reduced to successive foreign invasions and relative ease with which they occupied the land, subjecting a passive people to their respective authority… starting with Aryans, Iranians, Greeks, Parthians, Scythians, Kushanas, Huns, Arabs, Turks, Pathans, Mughals, Persians, Portuguese, Dutch, French, and ending with the British. The consistent impression was that India has always been a no-man’s land, which any armed bandit could come and occupy at any time; and, that Hindus have been a ‘meek people’ who have always bowed before the ‘superior’ occupying races.

For instance, Muslim clerics and scribes have led their co-religionists to believe that the conquest of India by Islam started with invasion of Sindh by Muhammad bin Qasim in 712 AD, resumed later by Mahmud Ghaznavi in 1000 AD, and was complete in the last decade of 12th Century with Muhammad Ghori’s victory over the Chauhans of Ajmer and over the Gahadvads of Kanauj. The sense, in particular, lends to generations of Muslims in present-day India  a feeling of pride in themselves, as one belonging to the same community wedded to the same religious ideology of Islam that ‘won’ over Hindustan, over these Hindus who this day might have become their equal in democratic India post-1947, who have even excelled over them by far. That, through close to six centuries, it was they — their co-religionist emperors —  who ruled over both the land and the people.

Consider how such a belief blows up in imagination, in combination with the community’s heightened sense of denial : one, the British rulers are looked upon as mere temporary intruders who cheated Islam of its Indian empire for a hundred years or so; two, the British interlude also saved them from being swamped over by Hindu domination through the Maratha resurgence years at end of 18th Century. That affinity with the British saw the Muslim League’s insistence for a separate nation in 1947; and it is the same sense Muslims continue to harbour in independent India, harangued as they are every day in every mosque and madrassa not to rest till they reestablish their sway over the land and the people… which dominant position, they are told, rightfully belongs to Islam.

In academe, the way historians have painted political events and described the Indian situation through the centuries only serves to reinforce the Muslim belief today : yes, they affirm, India was ruled by Muslim monarchs from the last decade of 12th Century to the end of the 18th. Standard textbooks narrate of Muslim imperial dynasties ruling from Delhi – the Mamluks (Slaves), Khaljis, Tughlaqs, Sayyids, Lodis, Surs, and the Mughals. In between, during periods of imperial decline, provincial Muslim dynasties fill in with seats at Srinagar, Lahore, Multan, Thatta, Ahmedabad, Mandu, Burhanpur, Daulatabad, Gulbarga, Bidar, Golconda, Bijapur, Madurai, Gaur, Jaunpur, and Lucknow.

In this version of medieval Indian history, the persistently recurring Hindu resistance to Islamic invaders, imperial as well as provincial, is made to look like a series of sporadic revolts occasioned by some minor grievances of purely local character, or led by some petty upstarts for purely personal gain. Repeated Rajput resurgence in Rajasthan, Bundelkhand and the Ganga-Yamuna Doab; renewed assertion of independence by Hindu princes at Devagiri, Warrangal, Dvarasamudra and Madurai; rise of Vijayanagara Empire; the fights offered by the Marathas; and the mighty movement of the Sikhs in Punjab – all these are then readily fitted into the framework of an enduring Muslim empire, with the Hindu heroes reduced to being ridiculous rebels who disturbed public peace at from time to time, place to place, but who were always swatted down with ease, as mosquitoes and flies !

It would take a much longer paper to establish that this version of medieval Indian history is, at its best, only an interpretation found on preconceived premises and highly selective summarisation, and even invention of facts. That, there are adequate premises to suggest an alternate interpretation based on known facts. What are the facts ? Do they establish that India was fully and finally conquered by Islam, that the Muslim empire in India was a finished fabric before the British stole it for themselves by fraudulent means ? Let us unravel a couple of instances.

01 Conquest of Sindh 

Having tried a naval invasion of India through Thana, Broach, and Debal from 634 to 637 AD, the Arabs attempted the land route on the north-west during AD 650 – 711. They found the Khyber Pass blocked by Hindu princes of Kabul and Zabul, who inflicted several defeats and forced them to sign treaties of non-aggression. The Bolan pass was held by the Jats of Kikan. AI Biladuri writes in his Futûh-ul-Buldãn :

“At the end of 38 H. or the beginning of 39 H. (659 A.D.), in the Khilafat of Ali Harras, went with the sanction of the Khalif to the same frontier. He and those who were with him, saving a few, were slain in the land of Kikan in the year 42 H. (662 A.D.). In the year 44 H. (664 A.D) and in the days of Khalif Muawiya, Muhallab made war on the same frontier. The enemy opposed him and killed him and his followers. Muawiya sent Abdullah to the frontier of Hind. He fought in Kikan and captured booty. He stayed near the Khalif some time and then returned to Kikan, when the Turks (Hindus) called their forces together and slew him.

Next, the Arabs tried the third land route, via Makran. Al Biladuri continues : ‘In the reign of the same Muawiya, Chief Ziyad appointed Sinan. He proceeded to the frontier and having subdued Makran and its cities by force, he stayed there. Ziyad then appointed Rashid. He proceeded to Makran but he was slain fighting against the Meds (Hindus). Abbad, son of Ziyad, then made war on the frontier of Hind by way of Seistan. He fought the inhabitants but many Musulmans perished. Ziyad next appointed Al Manzar. Sinan had taken it but its inhabitants had been guilty of defection. He (Al Manzar) died there. When Hajjaj was governor of Iraq, Said was appointed to Makran and its frontiers. He was opposed and slain there. Hajjaj then appointed Mujja to the frontier. Mujja died in Makran after being there a year. Then Hajjaj sent Ubaidullah against Debal. Ubaidullah being killed, Hajjaj wrote to Budail, directing him to proceed to Debal. The enemy surrounded and killed him. Afterwards, Hajjaj during the Khilafat of Walid, appointed Mohammad, son of Qasim, to command at the Sindh frontier.’

That was in 712 AD.

Now compare this Arab record on the frontiers of India with their record elsewhere : within eight years of the Prophet’s death, they had conquered Persia, Syria, and Egypt; by 650 AD, they had advanced upto the Oxus and the Hindu Kush; between 640 and 709 AD, they had brought the whole of North Africa under their sway; and they had conquered Spain in 711 AD. But it took them 70 long years to secure their first foothold on the soil of India. No historian worth his salt should have the cheek to say that the Hindus have always been an easy game for invaders !

Muhammad bin Qasim succeeded in occupying some cities of Sindh. His successors led raids towards the Punjab, Rajasthan, and Saurashtra. But they were soon defeated and driven back. Arab historians admit that ‘a place of refuge to which the Muslims might flee was not to be found’. By the middle of the 8th century, they controlled only the highly garrisoned cities of Multan and Mansurah. Their plight in Multan is described by AI Kazwin in Asr-ul-Bilãd in the following words : ‘The infidels have a large temple there, and a great idol. The houses of the servants and devotees are around the temple, and there are no idol worshippers in Multan besides those who dwell in those precincts. The ruler of Multan does not abolish this idol because he takes the large offerings which are brought to it. When the Indians make an attack upon the town, the Muslims bring out the idol, and when the infidels see it about to be broken or burnt, they retire.’  So much for Islamic monotheism of the Arabs and their military might ! They, the world-conquerors, failed to accomplish anything in India except a short-lived raid.

It was some two hundred years later, in 963 AD, that Alptigin the Turk was successful in seizing Ghazni, the capital of Zabul. It was his successor Subuktigin who seized Kabul from the Hindu Shahiyas shortly before he died in 997 AD. His son, Mahmud Ghaznavi, led many expeditions into India between 1000 and 1027 AD. The details of his destructive frenzy are too well-known to be repeated. What concerns us here is the facile supposition made by historians, in general, that Mahmud was not so much interested in establishing an empire in India as in demolishing temples, plundering treasures, capturing slaves, and killing the kãfirs. This supposition does not square with his seizure of the Punjab, west of River Ravi, and the whole of Sindh. The conclusion is unavoidable : though Mahmud went far into the heartland of Hindustan and won many victories, he had to beat a hasty retreat every time in the face of Hindu counterattacks. This point is proved by the peril in which he was placed by the Jats of the Punjab during his return from Somnath in 1026 AD.

After Mahmud’s death, the same Jats and Gakkhars troubled endlessly the Muslim occupants of Sindh and the Punjab region. After 150 years, another Islamic invader planned a conquest of India : Muhammad Ghori. His first attempt towards Gujarat in 1178 AD met with disaster, at the hands of the Chaulukyas, and he barely escaped with his life. And he was carried half-dead from the battlefield of Tarain in 1191 AD. It was only in 1192 AD that he won his first victory against the Hindus, by resorting to a mean stratagem that the chivalrous Rajputs failed to see through, largely because they were inheritors of a tradition in which even wars had inviolable rules for honour and against wanton destruction.

02 The Imperial Start

Muhammad Ghori conquered the Punjab, Sindh, Delhi, and the Doab upto Kanauj. His general Qutbuddin Aibak extended the conquest to Ajmer and Ranthambhor in Rajasthan, Gwalior, Kalinjar, Mahoba and Khajuraho in Bundelkhand, and Katehar and Badaun beyond the Ganges. His raid into Gujarat was a failure in the final round, though he succeeded in sacking and plundering Anahilwar Patan. Meanwhile, Bakhtyar Khalji had conquered Bihar and Bengal north and the region west of River Hooghly. He suffered a disastrous defeat when he tried to advance into Assam.

By that time however, Muhammad Ghori was assassinated by the Gakkhars… in 1206 AD. Aibak assumed power over the former’s domain in India : Kalinjar had been reconquered by the Chandellas; Ranthambhor had renounced vassalage to Delhi; Gwalior had been reoccupied by the Pratihars; the Doab was up in arms under the Gahadvad prince Harishchandra; and the Katehar Rajputs had reasserted their independence beyond the Ganges. The Yadavbhatti Rajputs around Alwar had cut off the imperial road to Ajmer.

Aibak was not able to reconquer any of these areas before he died in 1210 AD.

03 At The End

“Let us transcend the barren Deccan and conquer central India. The Mughals have become weak, insolent, womanisers and opium-addicts. The accumulated wealth of centuries, in the vaults of north, can be ours. It is time to drive from the holy land of Bharatvarsha the outcastes and the barbarians. Let us throw them back over the Himalayas, back to where they came from. The saffron flag must fly from the Krishna to the Indus. Hindustan is ours”. Thus did Peshwa Bajirao I declared.

Reviewed as a whole, the period between the last decade of the 12th century and the first quarter of the 18th – the period which is supposed to be the period of Muslim empire in India – is nothing more than a period of long-drawn-out war between Hindu freedom fighters and the Muslim invaders. The Hindus — Rajputs, Marathas, Sikhs, Jats, and chiefs in north and south, east and west — lost many battles, retreated, but they recovered every time and resumed the struggle untill the enemy was worn out, defeated and finally dispersed.

Browsing through the history of medieval India, we find Muslim historians cite many instances of how the Hindus burnt or killed their womenfolk, and then died fighting to the last man. In several encounters, Muslim forces were decisively defeated by heroic adversaries. Mostly, Muslim expeditions were of the nature of raids, the impact of which did not last, despite their brutality and rapaciousness. The accounts we have of the period from practically all over the country — Assam, Rajasthan, Bundelkhand, Orissa, Telingana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and the Punjab — describe successive waves of resistance and recovery, the like of which do not have many parallels in human history.

In conclusion, therefore, it would be a travesty of truth to say that Islam enjoyed an empire in India for six centuries. In fact, Islam struggled for six centuries to conquer India for good but finally failed in the face of stiff and continued Hindu resistance.

Hali was not wrong when he mourned that the invincible armada of Hijaz, which had swept over so many seas and across so many mighty rivers, met its watery grave in the Ganges.

Iqbal also wrote his Shikwah in sorrowful remembrance of the same failure. In fact, there is no dearth of Muslim poets and politicians who weep over the defeats of Islam in India in past and look forward to a reconquest of India in future.

Hindus have survived as a majority in their motherland not because Islam spared any effort to conquer and convert them but because Islamic brutality met more than its equal in Hindu tenacity for their tradition, values and love for freedom.

What We Should Know About Christianity

Allow me to introduce… though this book by Kalavai Venkat, pen name of a computer scientist living in Silicon Valley, is specially addressed to Hindus : What Every Hindu Should Know About Christianity !

It’s psychology, in the main. Many Christian beliefs and practises, as well as the reflexes of the Christian apologists, are explained by such concepts as “confirmation bias”, “cognitive dissonance” and “selective attention”, the findings of evolutionary biology (which finds traces of morality even among the higher animals, independent from any divine revelation of the Ten Commandments) and the notion “meme”. These factors explain the Christian superiority feeling and anti-Hindu animus a lot better than the imperialist conspiracies or the sheer money factor to which many argumentative Hindus reduce the missionary offensive.

Kalavai Venkat bases his analysis on a thorough knowledge of the relevant literature, but first of all on a close reading of the source material, starting with the Bible. Most Hindus would already be disabused of their illusions about Christianity if they simply read the Bible, rather than the syrupy pamphlets of the missionaries. Since the 18th century, freethinkers have collected all the contradictions and absurdities in the Bible. Christian apologists tend to dismiss these sceptics as “village atheists” and pretend that there is a more sophisticated angle from which all these anomalies suddenly become logical. But this author clearly hasn’t found it, and isn’t convinced of its existence.

Thus, it is undeniable that Jesus predicted his own Second Coming in the End-Time for within the lifetime of his listeners. On this simple prediction, which in his case required nothing more than looking up this momentous date in his very own agenda, God Incarnate managed to get it wrong. Some people may call it unsportsmanlike and unreligious to bring up this obvious defect, but hey, it is there is the Gospel in cold print. Should we not believe in the Bible anymore? When so many human beings do make accurate predictions, should we not expect some reliability from God himself ?

There are also elements in the Bible which modern sensibilities would find unpalatable. Thus, the Old Testament law requires a groom who finds that his bride is not a virgin anymore, to take her to her father’s doorstep and stone her to death. Similarly, a witch or a homosexual should be executed; God himself orders it.

 … … Read at Source…

the entire review by the esteemed Koenraad Elst here …

Introducing … The White Hindu

“I’m pretty far from what anyone could call a fundamentalist but at the same time I am absolutely proud to be a Hindu and proud of what Hindus and Hinduism have achieved and continue to achieve.”

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who practices Hinduism. She has been involved in Indian philosophy since 1982 and Indian culture since 2004. She loves to learn about people’s spirituality and how they find meaning in their lives. Join her as she navigates culture, religion, and expectations.

Her website has the byline : Hosting The Conversation On Faith. 

“Now, I am not Indian and I don’t live in India so I don’t know, but I suspect that some of the things that Hindus are dealing with in India mirror things that Christians are dealing with in America. Maybe it’s the nature of being in the majority faith.

“Sometimes when the majority faith is asked to make room for minority faiths to be heard, it can feel like you’re being attacked. It can feel like you’re being asked to have a lesser role and let others steamroll over you. In America with Christianity I would say that’s a misunderstanding and a perfectly understandable one. When you’ve had the majority voice for a long time, being asked to step aside once in a while to let someone else’s voice be heard does mean that you give up some of the power and the voice that you had. You relinquish it for the sake of someone who hasn’t historically been allowed to speak.”

Journal : Giving, Atheists, The Run

The one who gives to the other instantly becomes the elder in a relationship. But who doesn’t, if we discount the occidental economics-alone value system. That is one way the oriental is so diametrically different : how it keeps the 360 degree 3-D view, suggests and exalts the skill in its heritage and tradition. It has found wide acceptance in the West, not by any ‘rational’ ground at its foundation but by how nature itself really has little value for money in its working. The child suckles at the the tangible breast-milk but it is the mother who takes the intangible ‘everything’ from the child.

I saw the movie INTERSTELLAR because the younger man wanted me to. Alongwith the MATRIX series earlier, these productions kind of shock its audience into ‘opening their eyes’ into another reality… ones other than and far removed from this material focus on tangibles : money and goods, in short. To me, they all seemed so imagined, so hyped up and crafted ! They are nowhere close to truth, the facts evident in our threefold being : material, mental and spiritual… one gross space pervaded by the subtler one, space within space, each with access limits and laws of their own. Existence is stranger than fiction, and simpler if you happen to know.

Inevitably, the discussion runs into ‘God’ ! I tire of this Christian Big Daddy in the sky the word has come to imply — another occidental export to the orient that, unfortunately, preys upon the yet unevolved who the oriental thought-system embraces and allows to ‘utilise’ whatever symbols they might prefer to aid their spiritual awakening. It doesn’t surprise that the Vatican’s conversion program is backed by billions of dollars to materially lubricate the individual come-over process !

The theist and atheist position are more simply etched, in say the way people deal with worry. The anxiety a parent has while sending his son off to faraway place is killing : very physiological, material and tangible. The theist prays and actually finds his comfort and quiet in virtually an instant. What does the atheist do ? Reason, rationalise and intellectualise ? Does it quell his anxiety ? I think, no. And, no one needs to quarrel with me over this : just try, observe in others, and watch for the effects. You will know. And we do not even need to know who or what does the theist prays to !

In this same thread, I find it strange that the celestial song — BHAGVAD GITA — is sold in streets in the West. The wonder is genuine : what and how do they make sense of the Lord’s exhort … Work to ensure success, giving your all; the result however, the consequence, the fruit so to say, is of no concern of yours, of no value to you ! There is no way to decode the suggestion without the knowledge that the two parts refer to different spaces in which our being is tri-compartmentalised. What integrates it, the fourth, is wholly another matter.

Malana : The Sad Contemporary Tale Of An Ancient Way Of Life

The Story Of Malana

Text Source : http://www.aheadofdemocracy.com/story-of-malana.html

A remote primitive little village in the Himalayas, Malana was isolated from the outside civilization for thousands of years. It was never invaded or ruled by an external administration. The people there had been living in harmony with nature, an innocent pure existence with their own language, their own world, their own democracy. Their people’s republic has been governed by a village council with an upper house and a lower house like the bicameral assemblies of our parliament. The council members are chosen by the village folk through a process of unanimous selection – not an election! Their court has been resolving all their internal disputes. No manipulation, no favoritism, in the presence of their God. All decisions have been unanimous; every individual’s opinion is considered – unlike the present form of democracy that leads to dictatorship of the majority. And the secret of their civilization has been trust : the democracy of trust. Since a given word is taken as absolute, they have never felt the need for formal education.

In popular belief they are supposed to be the descendants of some deported Greek soldiers of Alexander, yet some trace roots of their existence deep into Hindu mythology. Their ancestral roots may be debatable but their democratic setup, with participatory court procedure, is similar to that of ancient Greece.

And they have been producing some very good quality hashish. Blessed by Lord Shiva, good quality cannabis plant grows in abundance there. For ages the use of cannabis has been an integral part of their lives, from medicine to footwear. But in the past they had never traded it; neither did they know the value of it. Their only trade with the outside world had been in wool, sheared off their herds of sheep.

In the seventies came some white men. They taught the villagers how to rub the cream – the cleaner and more potent hashish suitable for an international market. Those foreigners drew them into business. Malana cream became an international brand. Hashish production grew like a home industry for each household. The poor villagers started earning money and they didn’t know the value of money either.

The Indian government took notice of a hidden backward tribe who, as par laws of the state, were into criminal activity. The outlaws were to be brought under the rule of our mainstream democracy. Malana became a part of our national electorate, a part of our mainstream administration.

And the invasion begins… To give them the light of our civilization, the government starts building a series of dams, tunnels through the mountain, to generate hydel-power. Malana gets electricity, television, satellite dishes, mobile phones, a vehicular road. With them comes all the vices of a modern world, comes money, comes greed. The incursion of political parties also means creation of political polarity among the beautiful people of a peaceful hamlet. With no knowledge or perspective of the outer world, innocent illiterate villagers side with political parties and create a divide within.

And the fire strikes… In January 2008, in a devastating fire, caused by an electrical short circuit, half the village including four ancient temples gets completely destroyed. The villagers comprehend that the political divide has disturbed their unity so the God is angry. The people who haven’t lost their houses accommodate those who have been left homeless. But the fire annihilates their trust … the curse of the modern world has hit hard upon the hidden treasure of this ancient civilization.

The rebuilding of Malana witnesses transition of an ancient civilization. Rules of the modern world, which promote homogenization and convenience, force replacement of traditional methods and practices. In our democracy, it’s illegal to cut trees, so the villagers are forced to build concrete houses instead of their traditional stone and wood ones. Poor villagers cannot understand how come the government can destroy their jungle to built the dam or the road and they themselves are prohibited to cut a few trees to rebuild their homes ! Concrete house means outside knowledge, outside people, more money; so comes outside aids with their political interests! An age-old traditional society crumbles; the influential individuals turn corrupt, families break apart, brothers fight.

For the poor villagers, hashish still remains their only means to earn some money; very little, not enough even to make a living, forget about rebuilding their homes. Their production is very restricted now because of police watch. They don’t understand why they have to give away something, which has been so special to them for thousands of years !

For them governance is for the people, so why can’t the government make special sanctions for these poor people in crisis !

They don’t realize why they have to become a part of India and loose their sovereignty !

We can see the end is very near. In the name of progress of human civilization, like thousands of others, another ancient civilization is getting engulfed by a modern one, losing its unique identity to homogenization. When the whole world is looking for an answer to the shortcomings of the present form of democracy, we witness a beautiful model of self-governance, one of the world’s oldest forms of democracy, being obliterated by the rule of the majority.

I feel destined to record such a reality… some moments of truth, some disappearing myths, some wisdom of trust… a dying account of an obscured victim of human progress !

Meeting with Devraha Baba – the ageless Yogi

vam:

Devraha Baba was … called, “The Ageless Yogi.” Nobody knows for sure how long he lived – at least 200 years, but probably much longer. The first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad stated that his father had sat at the feet of Devraha Baba as a child in the middle of the nineteenth century, and Devraha Baba was already elderly at that time. An Allahabad High Court Barrister had stated that seven generations of his family had sat at the feet of Baba. One legend has it that Devraha had blessed Tulsidas (1532 – 1623). Devraha Baba himself allegedly claimed that he has lived for over 700 years.
Baba was observed staying under water unaided for half an hour. He also allegedly could be in two places simultaneously and understand the language of animals, control wild animals, heal people by his look or word, and tell the future.
Most importantly, he and the legends about him were not myths : people had met him, spent time with him, heard him speak. They were backed by people with impeccable committment to truth !

Originally posted on MARIA WIRTH:

This is a chapter from my German book about meeting with the venerable Devraha Baba at the Ardha Kumbh Mela in Haridwar in April 1980

I had landed in Haridwar on the advice of a photographer in Delhi without knowing what to expect. He had mentioned that a festival was being celebrated there, but I had no idea what type of festival it was and what amazing crowds it would attract. He sent me into spiritual India and I am eternally grateful for that.

A few days after reaching Haridwar I met an impressive yogi.

I sat on the bank of the Ganges behind the Tourist Bungalow (now Alaknanda Hotel) and saw on the other side of the broad riverbed a wooden hut on poles, which was constructed on the sandy beach. An American, whom I knew from the Tourist Bungalow, waded through the Ganges straight towards me. “Would you…

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Knowledge : Pure, Form And Consequence

Human investigations reveal a knowledge-dense universe.

But knowledge is very non-material, intangible, in nature

No one can see knowledge itself on a platter or table-top.

We can only observe its consequences in material space

or see it expressed on the pages of a book.

To know, our consciousness must configure to a form,

witnessing which form we cry out :

Aha ! Eureka !

Yet, the form of knowledge is still an imagination, a dream,

…  like a statue that is still in its marble block.

That Infinite, in which knowledge forms,

of which subtle and material consequences cascade,

is consciousness pure.

Journal : May 03, 2012 : Guru Teg Bahadur

vam:

On GuruTeg Bahadur’s martyrdom day …

Originally posted on Truth Within, Shines Without:

There is much work in queue to occupy. But the one least happy and most needed is to reach the elusive reader of a work as wayward as Kalinjar Fort. It keeps you stuck to something that’s past. It’s no longer in my heart. But the absorbing human interest story needs to be read, not only for its novelty value or the mystery surrounding it but for the perspective it offers to human nature and its evolution over the long term.

 @ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007WYGNNA

A huge and immensely joyous task is to begin on the first installment of Vedanta, the secret knowledge that gives to us the eye for the transcendent, even as it roves over the ephemeral and wrestles with the phenomenal. Without it, no amount of intellectual waxing or rhetorical exhortation is of much avail at effecting the much needed shift in our paradigms. Our fears return…

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Vijayanagara Empire-Beginning of the End

vam:

A fine overview of the years through the fall of #VijaynagrEmpire …
via @ScorpiusMaximus
“All empires fall, eventually… But why ? It’s not for lack of power.
In fact, it seems to be the opposite. Their power lulls them into comfort. They become undisciplined.
Those who had to earn power are replaced by those who have known nothing else. Who have no comprehension of the need to rise above base desires.
~ Max Barry.

Originally posted on History Under Your Feet:

Empires inevitably fall, and when they do, history judges them for the legacies they leave behind.- Noah Feldman.
 
“All empires fall, eventually.”
“But why? It’s not for lack of power. In fact, it seems to be the opposite. Their power lulls them into comfort. They become undisciplined. Those who had to earn power are replaced by those who have known nothing else. Who have no comprehension of the need to rise above base desires- Max Barry.
 
In the great books of India, an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence, which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the questions that exercise us- Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Somewhere it had to begin, after reaching a zenith, the peak of it’s glory, the mighty Vijayanagara Empire would sooner or later have to face it’s hour…

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Content Within Appearance

I am speaking of this slept over but still unmade bed … sort of reminds me of someone or something that is so removed from any elitist perspective, farthest from being a mere lifestyle matter !

Ah … yes, it reminds me of life and the living, the tower of emotion we each are : akin to tip of iceberg.

Love you Laureen Kae !

A Wonderful Still

There is a well of emotion rising off the pale bright spots in half lit room … but no words or even the inclination to express !

Courtesy : Markovich — The Great Heart … The sobriquet is mine.

Wonder Of A Creation

I regard Camus’ The Fall as the first by far among top three wonders of modern classics. Yet there are reasons, unfathomable for the most part, why it is exceedingly difficult to talk about. For one, it isn’t just that the work can be read at several levels, while interpreting the narrative; there are levels within levels too closely enmeshed to disentangle and reduce it to one or other simple version. Secondly, it is hardly composed to even seem to be a novel, as works of fiction go. The story at the fore has pronounced enough features of Holland and its canals, a former laywer and now a judge-penitent for its loquacious protagonist, in a rather fast-paced conversation with a chance visitor over a few vividly described evenings, largely about his present and past life, highlighting the high and low experiences, judgements of people and sundry events it includes, ending in a climactic anti-climax, followed by adieu.

But there, you might have already guessed : these form just the background over which the most intended aspects behind the creation are pasted on the run, going round and round about the same and similar setting, both in the immediate environment and the point recalled in the autobiographical storyline, leaping across continents in the same paragraph and bounding over epochs in collective history in the next sentence, now sizing up an individual and then summing up entire humanity in the next breath. What do we speak of : the prominent but inconsequential story or the elusive but most important intent the artist has woven in it ?

What moves the author to exercise his craft is man, his destiny and his failures, despite the declared futility of such passion. He creates the frames and their ambience to succintly lay down the fall or failure parallels in individual and collective experience, without losing hope or the sight of stalled but grand journey of man, specifically of Europe. That brings the review part of this essay to end : there’s nothing more to be said, which has not been better narrated in the work itself. Let us turn its leafs…

* * *

“Oh, not the Dutch; they are much less modern… Well, these gentlemen over here live off the labors of those ladies over there. All of them, moreover, both male and female, are very middle-class creatures who have come here, as usual, out of mythomania or stupidity. Through too much or too little imagination, in short. From time to time, these gentlemen indulge in a little knife or revolver play, but don’t get the idea that they’re keen on it. Their role calls for it, that’s all, and they are dying of fright as they shoot it out. Nevertheless, I find them more moral than the others, those who kill in the bosom of the family by attrition. Haven’t you noticed that our society is organized for this kind of liquidation ? You have heard, of course, of those tiny fish in the rivers of Brazil that attack the unwary swimmer by thousands and with swift little nibbles clean him up in a few minutes, leaving only an immaculate skeleton ? Well, that’s what their organization is. “Do you want a good clean life ? Like everybody else ?” You say yes, of course. How can one say no ? “O.K. You’ll be cleaned up. Here’s a job, a family, and organized leisure activities.” And the little teeth attack the flesh, right down to the bone.

“But I am unjust. I shouldn’t say their organization. It is ours, after all: it’s a question of which will clean up the other.”

“… allow me to introduce myself: Jean-Baptiste Clamence, at your service. Pleased to know you. You are in business, no doubt? In a way ? Excellent reply ! Judicious too : in all things we are merely “in a way…: But no matter. Professions interest me less than sects. Allow me to ask you two questions and don’t answer if you consider them indiscreet. Do you have any possessions ? Some ? Good. Have you shared them with the poor ? No ? Then you are what I call a Sadducee. If you are not familiar with the Scriptures, I admit that this won’t help you. But it does help you? So you know the Scriptures ? Decidedly, you interest me.

“As for me … My profession is double, that’s all, like the human being. I have already told you, I am a judge-penitent. Only one thing is simple in my case : I possess nothing. Yes, I was rich. No, I shared nothing with the poor. What does that prove ? That I, too, was a Sadducee …”

“No excuses ever, for anyone; that’s my principle at the outset. I deny the good intention, the respectable mistake… In philosophy as in politics, I am for any theory that [132] refuses to grant man innocence and for any practice that treats him as guilty. You see in me, très cher, an enlightened advocate of slavery. Without slavery, as a matter of fact, there is no definitive solution. I very soon realized that. Once upon a time, I was always talking of freedom. At breakfast I used to spread it on my toast, I used to chew it all day long, and in company my breath was delightfully redolent of freedom. With that key word I would bludgeon whoever contradicted me; I made it serve my desires and my power… I did on occasion make a more disinterested use of freedom and even—just imagine my naïveté—defended it two or three times without of course going so far as to die for it, but nevertheless taking a few risks. I must be forgiven such rash acts; I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know that freedom is not a reward or a decoration that is celebrated with champagne. Nor yet a gift, a box of dainties designed to make you lick your chops. Oh, no ! It’s a chore, on the contrary, and a long-distance race, quite solitary and very exhausting…

“Ah, mon cher, for anyone who is alone, without God and without a master, the weight of days is dreadful. Hence one must choose a master, God being out of style. Besides, that word has lost its meaning; it’s not worth the risk of shocking anyone. Take our moral philosophers, for instance, so serious, loving their neighbor and all the rest—nothing distinguishes them from Christians, except that they don’t preach in churches. What, in your opinion, keeps them from becoming converted ? Respect perhaps, respect for men; yes, human respect. They don’t want to start a scandal, so they keep their feelings to themselves. For example, I knew an atheistic novelist who used to pray every night. That didn’t stop anything : how he gave it to God in his books…

“Ah, the little sneaks, play actors, hypocrites—and yet so touching! Believe me, they all are, even when they set fire to heaven. Whether they are atheists or churchgoers, Muscovites or Bostonians, all Christians from father to son. But it so happens that there is no more father, no more rule ! They are free and hence have to shift for themselves; and since they don’t want freedom or its judgments, they ask to be rapped on the knuckles, they invent dreadful rules, they rush out to build piles of faggots to replace churches. Savonarolas, I tell you. But they believe solely in sin, never in grace. They think of it, to be sure. Grace is what they want — acceptance, surrender, happiness, and maybe, for they are sentimental too, betrothal, the virginal bride, the upright man, the organ music. Take me, for example, and I am not sentimental — do you know what I used to dream of ? A total love of the whole heart and body, day and night, in an uninterrupted embrace, sensual enjoyment and mental excitement — all lasting five years and ending in death. Alas !”

A Fine Memoriam …

A friend I greatly admire surprised me even more with the few words he penned in rememberance of his father, through the event and the wake which followed. The entire rustic prose is exquisitely poised at that threshold, I felt, between the grief that overtakes us upon our parent’s demise, prepared as much we might be, and the alternating surreal snapshots of procedure and interaction snippets that pass into our view. Here are his own words, first published on Facebook.

… QUOTE …

My father decided to call it a day last month.

Yes it was a moment of grief but very soon subdued by the great needs of the worldly and the other worldly arrangements of our faith. The mega 13 day event was a major logistical and protocol issue. It was a gathering of uncles last seen few decades back, and of cousins and their children, some of whom we saw for the first time. Yes they did sympathize with the old man and us but very soon it was overtaken by catch-up talk and exchange of tit-bits. My father decided to call it a day last month.<br />
Yes it was a moment of grief but very soon subdued by the great needs of the worldly and the other worldly arrangements of our faith. The mega 13 day event was a major logistical and protocol issue. It was a gathering of uncles last seen few decades back, and of cousins, and their children some of whom we saw for the first time. Yes they did sympathize with the old man and us but very soon it was overtaken by catch-up talk and exchange of tit-bits.<br />
Everyday had a significance of its own, with rituals followed by scripture reading and prayers and so on. Even there was a major tiff within our extended relations regarding who were the rightful forefathers (or rather their souls) to be invited for the ceremonies considering that my Grandfather was an adopted son and was equally adored by the donor and the recipient families.<br />
Life after death is not an end, in fact it is a long journey requiring all the comforts and needs that sometimes we may have missed in our earthly innings. This realization came after the long drawn haggling with the priest regarding the quantum of grains that would be needed for Dad’s journey beyond and the many other necessities which we forgot to provide for and was promptly converted into the equivalent amount in Rupees and handed over to the priest for arranging the transfer.<br />
The last part was to find out his possible carnation in the afterlife and believe it or not we did get his footprints or markups on the sand bed left covered overnight at the altar. However there is still a dispute whether he is going to be a Flower, a snake or a bird or all of them in some order.<br />
At the end it was all a good doze of socializing and quite a celebration and your SMILE made us all smile.<br />
Dad you missed all that but that would not have been possible with you there. Have a happy and safe journey & RIP when you reach its end.” width=”258″ height=”336″ /><br />
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<p style=Everyday had a significance of its own, with rituals followed by scripture reading and prayers and so on. Even there was a major tiff within our extended relations regarding who were the rightful forefathers (or rather their souls) to be invited for the ceremonies, considering that my Grandfather was an adopted son and was equally adored by the donor and the recipient families.

Life after death is not an end, in fact it is a long journey requiring all the comforts and needs that sometimes we may have missed in our earthly innings. This realization came after the long drawn haggling with the priest regarding the quantum of grains that would be needed for Dad’s journey beyond, many of the other necessities which we forgot to provide for, which was promptly converted into the equivalent amount in Rupees and handed over to the priest for arranging the transfer.

The last part was to find out his possible carnation in the afterlife and believe it or not we did get his footprints or markups on the sand bed left covered overnight at the altar. However there is still a dispute whether he is going to be a flower, a snake or a bird, or all of them in some order.

At the end it was all a good doze of socializing and quite a celebration, and your SMILE made us all smile.

Dad you missed all this but that would not have been possible with you here.

Have a happy and safe journey & RIP when you reach its end.

… UNQUOTE …

The Essence Of Vedas

It is a humble work … now in the making : a free-flow rendering in English of sentiments inspired by Sanskrit hymns Arya masters expressed several millennia ago, when life had resumed in the Indian subcontinent after the most recent Ice Age. The verses released therein are not as pithy as their Vedic hymn yet, though not put to test, are intended to have similar content in terms of felt truth projected in their inspiration uttered then, either sung by river banks, in secluded monasteries, or during public ceremonies and discourses.

Veda texts are now easily available in print and on the web, both as Sanskrit original and their numerous translations, with and without commentaries of authors past and present. What brought me to the task was a personal realisation of the self-integrated sentiment of immense beauty and truth they express. It was not long before I could also fathom how they have been coloured, tainted rather than tinted, by formal hard-etched concepts of religion that burdens the Western mind, on one hand, and by the intellectual rigour to which modern scholars must necessarily subject these alien verses, on the other.

It is impossible even in imagination for an uniniatiated layman like myself to stand with those masters in hoary past, in their setting, hearing their words, singing along as they fluently intone with barely a pause, and keep pace with the etymological and contextual meaning of expressions crafted into the hymns. What I could hear and feel in them today is the same beauty, truth, longing, love and peace, they carry to this day. Unavoidably, their modern presentations also brought to my experience the discordant religious, intellectual or philosophical hues superimposed on them. Hence the need to reduce at least select Vedic texts to their simple, easy-to-read-and-appreciate form. Only you, dear reader, and others over time, would be able to sound back if the attempt succeeds, and if it works enough to add to the reach these texts have hitherto had among common gentry.

I sincerely seek to obtain your first feel of the impression the work leaves with you. Those who would like to associate with it long term, as an editor or reader, are encouraged to write in.

Page17

Alipore Case : A Page From History

vam:

A Chapter From Sri Aurobindo’s Life in prison… humourous, insightful and detached !

Originally posted on Truth Within, Shines Without:

A Chapter From Sri Aurobindo’s Life

The Alipore Bomb Case took place against suspects involved in a bomb attack on April 30, 1908, targeting Magistrate Kingsford at Muzaffarpur in Bihar. The former Chief Magistrate of Calcutta Presidency was known for handing out especially harsh sentences on young political activists who, under his judicial responsibility, were also subjected to harsh corporal humiliation. In consequence, the powerful Englishman was sentenced by a secret trial-in-absence by “Jugantar” hardliners at Aurobindo Ghose’s family home in Manicktala. To execute the judgment, Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki travelled from Calcutta, duly studied Kingsford’s movements and chalked out the plan to assassinate him in the evening of that fateful day, when the target was expected to emerge from the European Club. The hurl landed on the horse carriage but not on the marked man. it killed two British women instead, the wife and daughter of barrister Pringle…

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Journal : Roots And Heritage

Are our roots — historical, cultural and familial — of any consequence ?

Is our concern with our heritage of any value to our present and future ?

We know some, actually many, would size up the query with impatience, perhaps scorn. Life is anyway immense and apparently more than enough to engage us with its challenges and opportunities. Roots and heritage add nothing to our entrepreneurship or professional capability, for instance, or to our pursuit of money and wealth, for survival and happiness. It does not help us with our income augmentation efforts, with our enjoyment of all that we have, and our reach out for what is on the offer. We, in any case, have our roots in the here and now, with a way of life already upon us, to live up to.

If one is a communist, a leftist of whatever hue, or an atheist irreligious or areligious, a peek into our times in past hardly illuminates the scientific or dialectical catechisms before us. Everything would have to be settled in the light of our respective interests or goals, as it must be led and moved hereon. A treasure of large enough worth or a technological secret that could be unravelled and built upon today would be welcome. But delving into our roots and heritage ?It rarely lead us to such material gain or means to power.

I really cannot answer for others. My own roots and heritage mattered to me when I began looking at myself along the timeline I’d traveled since birth and the successive experiences of the community I was part of , which shaped the way of life I felt carrying on my back and that was already about me. I had gone very much far into the ubiquitous modernity on which business and our urban westernised life was found, with emphasis on scientific temperament and reasoned inquiry into all that we experience and all that happened to and with us, when I had to stop and question the values system and life perspective on which my motivation to living and to life itself was founded.

It was then that I learned about the ancients who insisted on keeping our spiritual moorings stronger than the mental drift, than the psychological, survival and material drives; about the towering men who displayed unflinching perseverence to the just stance, persistence with the right way, and courage to lose everything that bind us small and that leave us with our mere posssessions and the breath to live with all that we have lost — our self and our soul. The sound of Vedic hymns from the banks of our rivers rang in my ears, the celestial song of Gita and the fullsome narrative of the grand epics once more brought the tear-filled eyes of my sire to my memory, and the heroes who cared not for their loss or defeat but only of who they represented and what they stood for…

It was only thereafter that I picked my life once again with a doubtless certainty of who I was, what my life was for, and how my path ahead meandered through all the senselessness, meaninglessness and unrelatedness I had found myself in. The awareness of my roots and my heritage saved me from a certain suicidal purposelessness. It gave meaning to the mountains I visited, the people I met and conversed with, the forces I opposed, the views I demolished, the ways of life and thought I came to second and support, and the values that earlier chimed within me without any apparent basis.

Are our roots — historical, cultural and familial — of any consequence ?

Is our concern with our heritage of any value to our present and future ?

But haven’t I answered already !

Journal : Weather, Labour, Capital…India

It was cool yesterday, the air comfortably crisp. I shut off the bedside fan but did not opt for the thin cover resting on the backrest of foldable chair. In the morning, even the overhead fan was unnecessary, with the tea cup steaming up its flavours. The problems of an older body had receded from my attention.

Why I do not stand with the communists, socialists and all those stridently on the left, is not as much of a mystery as my open empathy for much of what they call for would suggest. People on the margins, the poor and the weak, need those voices to champion their cause : for them to be heard in corridors of power and wealth, by men who could make a difference by their attitude, priority and decision.

However, for very personal values, I do not stand with the lot releasing those welcome notes : one, high in effect, is my pathological disagreement with making a career out of it, howsoever slight; secondly, far from endorsing their animosity for capital, I actually oppose their lack of appreciation of how businesses serve the very constituency leftists represent. And finally, not only do I find myself incapable of a definitive interpretation of history but am loathe at pre-empting it. History will be what it will be, only after we have put ourselves into its motions today.

I compulsorily oppose transgressions that ride on the power of wealth, emblemised in the american kind, but not the entrepreneurship that is universal, that all men and women have in their spirit to help themselves up at gathering capital, helping and taking the help of others along their way. Everybody appreciates labour and ability, and there’s no way an entrepreneur would not. To grudge the promoter’s disproportionate power and rights to decision-making is a non sequitur.

People who have taken the risk with their own money, who have paid others to engage them at their works where there was none, cannot be deprived of our trust just because they have made good ! I have issues with inheritance but there it is, entrenched and raised tall on laws that grant our freedoms. The issues with the inheritors however are more severe and statistically valid : they strut about more on the power of what they have than on the entrepreneurship which built it all up in the first place.

But, in summary, I am not pulling down anyone or anything except as the law allows. That I will beat upon the doors of politicians with my life, to change those laws, is another matter.

Thanks to democracy as we practise here, in India.

The Nothing that is Everything

“Nothing big has happened. It’s just a normal field trip kind of day. But the cute girl in braids belongs to me. I am thankful for her teacher. I am thankful her friends call her name in such a silly way and then they hug. I am thankful for the sweet mothers and the dads that could make it. It’s that wonderful feeling. Even the light mist can not dampen this day. It is a day. I am so thankful to have just that. A day.”

The Separation

A ‪#‎Haqeeqat‬ song that never fails to move me … Never !

It’s about a man then going to war, certain to never come back…

Main yeh soch kar uss ke dar se utha
Ki woh rok legi, manaa legi mujhko …

Hawaon mein lahrata aata tha daaman
Ki daaman pakad ke bitha legi mujhko

Kadam aise andaaz se uth rahen the
Ki awaaz de kar bula legi mujhko …

Magar usne roka, na usne manaya
Na daaman hi pakda, na usne bithaya
Na awaaz hi di, na wapas bulaya

Main aahista, aahista badhta hi aaya
Yahaan tak ki uss se judaa ho gaya main

Judaa ho gaya main, judaa ho gaya main
Judaa ho gaya main …

_________________________________

A free – flow translation would read thus :

I got up, at her place, wishing

She would halt my steps

Reconcile, and stop me…

The loose cloth fluttered with breeze

Came up moving as if she would

Catch hold of it and make me stop…

My feet moved, laden as if

She would give a shout

And call me back…

But she did not stop, did not reconcile

Did not catch hold of the fluttering end

Did not ask me to sit down then

Did not give a shout nor call me back…

So far long … that I kept moving forward and away

Away from her, separated

Separating with each step

Separated by far …

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