Monday, 19 January 2015

Excerpts from Insights into the Bhagavad Gita

When one wants to overcome life's challenges, one would need to be able to see life in a different perspective. This is my endevour to devote sometime daily in reading, assimilating, introspecting and actioning some of the insights shared by Vimala Thakar from her lectures on the Bhagvad Gita. And I hope those who ever read it also share that thirst for knowledge, to go beyond the mundane, to seek the higher truth. 

"There is nothing in life to be discarded, there is nothing to be rejected and nothing to be acquired. There is everything to be seen, understood, related to and everything to enjoy in the movement of living."

Bhagvad Gita came after the Vedas, the Upanishads and the 6 Systems of Indian Philosophy: 
1. Samkhya, the enumeration school
2. Yoga, the school of Patanjali (which provisionally asserts the metaphysics of Samkhya)
3. Nyaya, the school of logic
4. Vaisheshika, the atomist school
5. Purva Mimamsa (or simply Mimamsa), the tradition of Vedic exegesis, with emphasis on Vedic ritual,
6. Vedanta (also called Uttara Mimamsa), the Upanishadic tradition, with emphasis on Vedic philosophy.
The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yukta - to connect, to unite. It has a nuance of reunion of that which was separated by an illusion. 
Yoga itself has 4 different paths - Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga. Hatha Yoga and Sankhya Yoga are also described, however it needs to be noted that Hatha Yoga is part of the 8 step Raja Yoga which includes Asanas. 
All these paths are meant to enable a person to arrive at the inner essence of Yoga, reunion with reality, with absolute truth. 
The purpose of the Gita, the epitome of Vedic Philosophy, is to enable a person to get acquainted with the outer and appreciate the inner, to create the awareness of the necessity of growing into the state of yoga, the state of consciousness of yoga. 
Next will be Chapter 1 - The Despondency of Arjuna. 


Monday, 30 June 2014

29th June 2014 Letter to PM on Education

Dear Shri Modiji,

As Swami Vivekananda once said, the primary purpose of education is 'building character'. However what we see today in schools and even higher education, is a senseless 'rote' learning, with no space for creativity or application. If we want Bharat of the future vastly different from what we see today, then young children need to be provided a different perspective on their own self, life and its purpose. Example, the 4th Std students are taught History of Shivaji and then in the exam are asked which year a specific event happened. That is testing memory not what the child has learnt from this Great Maratha Warrior. Instead why not take them to see a fort and explain how he fought the invading Mughal armies or ask to write a thought paper on how Shivaji would have changed today's Bharat based on which of his key principles. The moment application of thought and learning gains precedence, our universities would start their march into global top 100.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Salute

I salute a person every day. And its not Modi. J Let me go back to an incident last year. The new security person in my office building one day stopped me from entering the building as I was not carrying my I-card on my way back from a run on Infy ground. Many of us would feel offended .. our ego doesn’t allow us to be ordered by people we perceive as ‘lowly’ than us. I however smiled and apologized and said it wont happen again as I am myself a stickler for rules and regulations.

From the next day he started smiling back. And one day I stopped to speak to him and he turned out to be an ex Army jawan from Rashtriya Rifles who has spent more than a decade fighting insurgents in our border areas. From that day, whenever I see him at our reception, I salute him. This guy genuinely deserves my respect more than even most of the people up the hierarchy. And it makes me think, someone who serves us deserves more respect cause they make our life much more easier at such a meagre pay. So next time don’t forget to say a simple thank-you to the person who cleans your table at a restaurant or the guard at your apartment who opens the gate for your car. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Security Concerns - Letter to PM on 18th June 2014

1    Dear Shri Modiji, The increasing crimes against the vulnerable (Women, Children, Mentally challenged, Sr Citizens) in most cities and even villages is indeed appalling. I read about Shri Rajnath Singh wanting to expedite the Nirbhaya project. It will be indeed good to have the necessary infrastructure and sensitivity of the police force and allied emergency services to react within minutes of a crime or possibility of crime. However prevention is better than cure. It reminds me of Ex-Police Commissioner of Mumbai Mr Julio Rodrigues interaction with my late father in 1980s, that Mumbai is safe cause the Mumbai police know each and every goon in a locality and have a vast informer network. Today over the last 2 decades, the crime graph has gone up as police force have become another revenue generating department for their political masters. When you get promotions and other benefits by meeting ‘revenue’ targets especially in collaboration with local criminals, why would a policeman work hard to instill confidence in law-abiding citizens and fear in criminals. GOI needs to take measures to see that the police force is effective in preventing crime and people regain their trust in the police force. The increasing police patrols and police-public interaction itself will, in my humble opinion, reduce the crime rate by half. Jai Hind. 

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Letter to PM on 14th June 2014

Dear Sir, 
This is with reference to road safety. After we all lost a senior leader Mr Munde, there needs be a realisation that Indian roads are a death trap, where accidents are waiting to happen. After living in UK, I can clearly see where we are lacking and I propose following solutions: 1. Getting an Indian license is child's play, one goes through a driving school which bribes the RTO and everyone clears the exam. Make it stricter with theory and practical exams. Everyone holding a license needs to reappear and clear this exam. 2. Speed cameras to capture speeding cars especially in the cities and heavy fines and repeat offences losing license. 3. Equip police cars with number plate scanners to find rogue drivers driving without insurance. 
Rgds.. Nandan

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Machinations of Mancini

I find it incredulous that it is the 'machinations of Mancini' that the 2 Italian marines are not returning to India to face trial for killing 2 Indian fishermen. If they had to abscond they would have done it the first time they went home for Christmas in Dec.. but we tend to forget that what changed later was the news of the AgustaWestland chooper scam. Now seemingly to divert the attention of the public and the main opposition, they are sent to Italy to vote (come on give me a break anyone having lived in Europe knows any citizen, leave aside on duty soldiers, can vote through postal ballot), then the drama of not returning and then our usually reticent PM uncharacteristically uses strong language of facing consequences. Am surprised when it comes to Pakistan killing 1000s of innocent citizens through bomb blasts or beheading Indian soldiers.. I never heard him or any GoI official saying 'you will face the consequences of your actions'.  

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Patanjali's yoga sutras speak of yama and niyama as part of the 8 fold path.. yama refers to the five abstentions: how we relate to the external world. 

First and foremost ahimsa (non-violence), but what you see on the road, people driving rashly causing accidents and killing innocent lives 200K per year, much more than the 100s of terrorist attacks executed from our friendly neighbourhood. 

2nd - Satya (truth) its only remained in Satyameva Jayate.. 

3rd Asteya or non-stealing, well in 2012 India was ranked 94th out of 176 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index and every 3-6 months has seen scams of humongous proportions, 

4th - Brahmacharya or abstinence, Delhi is considered the rape capital of the world.. and as per GoI, a woman is now raped in India every 20 minutes. 

5th Aparigraha (non-possessiveness).. our politicians are the epitome of how they can possess others property/ land. 

So though India gave Yoga to the world.. unfortunately the country of its origin is seeing quite the opposite .. leading to depravity in day to day life and worst we are getting used to it.