Category: contemporary social

Power Paradox and Asuras

Dacher Kelter, psychology professor at the University of California Berkeley has a new book called the Power Paradox. In this book he outlines parallels between behaviors he has seen in research labs and modern world corporate America. The book is is an eye opener to those who believe in gaining power through force. Dacher shows that our power is granted to us by others. People gain power by improving the lives of others. Our power goes simply as far as what others are willing to let us have over them.What is more interesting are the following observations which he makes. People forget the fact that power which one gets by improving the lives of others is what brought them money and status. Unfortunately, many get stuck to money and status. This is the dark side of power. We can see the dark side in play in society, politics and stardom. Dacher has received kudos for original research on the topic of power. What

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Directionally qualified Hell in the Vedas

Aruna Prashna mantras list four forms of hell Concept of Hell in religions around the world today is graphic. It is interesting to contract this fact with the definition of hell as described during ancient times, in the Vedas. There are four hells according to the Vedas (in the Aruna Prasna Mantras). They are assigned each to Southeast, Southwest, Northeast and Northwest directions. They relate to the mental turmoil one goes through in life. Southeast is the direction of Visarpi Naraka, or the hell of agitated movement. Sometimes a pain or a strong sensation makes one to move aimlessly, looking for some relief. A state involving such sensations is the Visarpi Naraka. At other times one may feel completely frozen, being overwhelmed with the intensity of these sensations. This second state of turmoil is considered to be the Avisarpi Naraka which is attributed to the Southwest direction. Self loath creates intense mental turmoil in anyone. This is called the Vishadi

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A memory experiment from 4000 years ago

The Chandogya texts of the Vedas contains an interesting dialogue between a teacher and a student. The teacher was explaining the connection between food and the subtle aspects of human life. The body excretes the grossest portions of the food and forms the cells such as our muscles, tissues and bones from the finer aspects. Modern science is in agreement with the teacher’s explanation up to this point. The subtlest aspects of food become the energy of the mind, intellect and memory. The student raised a question as to how food can be considered to be responsible for the mind which is only as abstraction. The teacher asked him to go on a fast for fifteen days. The young student expressed his concern that he may die without food. The teacher asked him to drink water during the fifteen days and assured him that the water will keep him alive. The student returned back to the teacher in fifteen days

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Commerce friendly or Cosmic? What is an Ideal Calendar?

Two economists from Johns Hopkins University proposed a revision to our current calendar system in 2012. They wanted to address the problem of the inconsistent number of working days in the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar does not allow the new year to start on the same day of the week. This is an annoyance to commerce sites which calculate interest based on week boundaries. It also creates a nuisance to school teachers and college professors who are unable to reuse their lecture schedules from the previous year in a new year. In Hank and Henry’s calendar system, the year would start with the same day of the week and anyone’s birthday would fall on the same day of the week also. Henry and Hank proposed a scheme of two 30 day months followed by one 31 day month in a year. They proposed a leap year week once every 4-5 years. They knew that an earlier overhaul proposal by

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Dumpster Diwali – Recycling lessons

Indians, especially those who live along river Ganga celebrate Dev Diwali on the full moon of the Karthik month (Nov-Dec). It is the culmination of the fortnight of the Diwali festivities in Northern India. Dev Diwali is celebrated grandly in the Southern state of Tamil Nadu by the name Karthigai Deepam. The front porches of households in Tamil Nadu are decorated with earthen lamps at Sunset on that day. The next day is celebrated as Kuppai Karthigai when Earthen lamps are lit near the garbage dumpsters, bathrooms and the back yards. The word Kuppai in the Tamil language refers to garbage. The cycle of existence is formed by the positives and the negatives. The human mind in its strife for the best can forget this principle and fall into depression, especially when it encounters a negative side effect. Waste and garbage are a part of a human society. Today the world in its quest for modernization is struggling to handle

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Canadian Native languages, the last to adopt the Devanagari script

For decades missionaries have held a love-hate relationship with the native knowledge system of the Indian sub continent. An 19th century example of this is found in the creation of the new alphabets for the languages of the Canadian Natives. The languages used by Canadian natives phonetically resemble the Indian languages. In 1927 James Evans was assigned to do missionary work in Ontario. He attempted to teach the Ojibwe Indians the gospel in their tongue. He found it a challenge to use the European alphabets to produce the sounds of the Ojibwe language. It occurred to him that Devanagari represents Ojibwe sounds. Ojibwe language sounds are easily constructed by appending a vowel sound to a constant sound just as in Indian languages. He proceeded to create a new script, deriving directly from the Devanagari alphabet and innovating it with ideas from short hand writing. The Ojibwe tribe quickly mastered it. In 1940 he was transferred to bring to the Swampy

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What does Brahma have to do with Collapsing Quantum Systems?

According to the scientist Sir James Jeans, the latest discoveries in Physics are hinting at a universe that is less of a machine and more of a great thought. Cartesian view of the Mind as an accidental product in the realm of matter is slowing waning and the older idea of the mind being the creator and the governor of the realm of matter is reviving itself. Sanskrit literature abounds in the elaboration of the latter. A Sanskrit work is called a “Purana” only if it includes the exposition of the creation process. Eight thousand meditating Rishis created eighteen Puranas and in each of them they repeat the following creation view.Brahma, the self born, found himself in the cosmic void and started looking for his creator. After searching around in futility, he took to meditating. He created beings within the mental plane. The beings he created at first, knew the secret of his creation and resolved not to become entangled in the creation

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Prana introduced to mainstream US media

I was surprised to see an article in the health magazine of US News. People all over the world know that US is the bastion of junk food, fast food and more recently non-food (GMO). As US has the best marketeers in the world, they have exported most of these food brands to the urban population in developing nations successfully. A group of young college students in a city such as Bangalore will likely decide on Pizza hut or McDonald instead of a local Idly Sambar place. Individuals from the same group when alone may make a different choice though. This is because at home they have understood from childhood that it is best to avoid stable food. Yet, modern marketing messages create can overpower common sense wisdom when an individual is among peers. The author of the article in US New, introduces the idea of high Prana food by using the example of the growing popularity of stores promoting

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Dharma Archetypes and Consumerism

Simon Chokoisky’s analyzes fulfillment seeking humans in life in his recent book “The 5 Dharma Types“. The archetype model in his book provides a nice platform for understanding a fix for the the global society which is increasingly propelled by consumerism. The easiest to spot archetype in a today’s society is what Simon called as the “Outsider”. The disillusioned whose numbers are swelling and whose grudging attitude is draining their own energies is the “outsider” archetype in today;s world. Consumerism wins when a majority of society’s members are consuming with a gusto. A Consumer who is raising no sustainability questions and who is poorly guided of alternate options fits perfectly the archetype of “laborer” in Simon’s book. A consumer cares for comforts in life and does not want to shoulder direct responsibility for environmental havoc and the future direction of the society.  Dharma based societies in the past grouped anyone not willing to take a bigger responsibility under the laborer

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Celebrate a cosmic scale birthday!

One’s birthday as per the conventional calendar is only a crude approximation of the configuration in the sky when one was born! Tropical dates identify the position of Earth with respect to Sun ignoring the background of fixed stars. In a sense it distances our awareness from the wider cosmos by limiting it to a Heliocentric existence. While the complex molecules that make up our cells may have formed within the Solar system, every atom of our body was created in deep space out there!  Astronomers use the term “sidereal” to distinguish observations against a stationary background. A sidereal year is slightly longer than a tropical year. Vedic civilization recognized this and included the notions of tropical and sidereal in its calendar system. This calendar system utilizes the position of the moon as an additional peg to mark one’s birth cosmically. Moon too returns to its original position against the fixed stars and is close to its original phase on

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