Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Brahma Vidya - Lesson 1

Following is an attempt to create a repository of class-room lessons on Hindu Vedanta.

Experiment - Part 1:
Close all the doors and windows of the class and make the room as dark as possible. Then put a lamp (preferably a ghee/castor oil lamp) in the middle of a pot with lot of holes. The light from the lamp shall brighten different places in the room.

Ask the students what they see. Some see parts of the board, windows, someone's nose, someone's hand, someone else's chest etc.,

Ask the students why they see only parts of the room.
Ask the students if other sections of the room exist even though they are not visible.

Ask the students who/how they see things.


Experiment - Part 2:
Ask the students to close their eyes.


Do they see the different spots of light?
Do they exist even though the light or room is not visible?


Experiment - Part 3:
Ask the students to keep their eyes closed. Make a sound by hitting one of the objects in the room with a stick.


(Note: For better results preset the class room with different sound making objects like drum, bell, water pot etc)

Ask the students if they hear anything.
Ask them if they see the sound.
Ask the students if they can identify the object you hit just by using sound.

Repeat this experiment with different objects

Ask the students who/how they hear things.


Experiment - Part 4:
Ask students to open their eyes and close the ears. Then make sounds using different objects.


Ask the students if they hear the sounds.
Ask the students if they see any sounds.
Ask the students what they see.


Experiment - Part 5:
Ask the students close their eyes and ears. Light an incense stick


Ask if they see anything.
Ask if they hear anything.
Ask them if they can guess what is happening.

Repeat this experiment with different smells.

Ask students who/how they figured out what is happening.


Experiment - Part 6:
Ask the students to close their eyes and ears. Take a warm-air blower and expose the warm air to students.


Ask if they see anything
Ask if they hear anything
Ask if they smell anything
Ask what is happening in the class room.

Ask who/how they figured out.


Experiment - Part 7:

Ask the students following questions.
Ask if/how their perception of the class room different when they used different sensory organs.

Ask if there is any common thing that is knower in all these experiments.


Experiment - Part 8:
Show the students images of how Sun/Sky looks in different electromagnetic spectra (visible, thermal, x-Ray etc)

Ask why they cannot see any other views of the sky/sun except visible spectrum.
Ask what could be the real existence of the universe (when combined with all these spectra)

Ask the students what is the real source of the knowledge of existence of different parts (the light, or the eyes that see or the objects in the room?)


Experiment - Part 9:
Prep one of the student to tell a story of his dream last night. Ask him to select of his classmates and tell them that he gave them Rs5 in his dream last night and ask when can he expect the money back. Let the dialogue play out.


Ask the students what's happening. Ask them if/who is wrong for what reason.
Ask them if the people in their dreams were real.
Ask them if the things done in the dream carry over reality once they wake up.


Experiment - Part 10:
Explain the students deferent states of consciousness - Jagrut, swapna, Sushupti and the consciousness that is common in all states of being.


Ask them how each state is different, what works and what is inactive.
Ask them who/what stays in all these states and how.

Explain the students about the consciousness (Atman) that is common in all states of being.

Teach the following sloka (from Dakshinamurti Stotram) and explain its meaning.

नानाच्छिद्र घटोदर स्थित महादीप प्रभाभास्वरं 
ज्ञानं यस्य तु चक्षुरादिकरण द्वारा बहिः स्पन्दते । 
जानामीति तमेव भान्तमनुभात्येतत्समस्तं जगत्  
तस्मै श्री गुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्री दक्षिणामूर्तये ॥


Monday, August 22, 2016

Manu Smriti - Anuloma/Pratiloma

Note: I request readers to read this post in conjunction with my post on Sa-Varna and Sa-Kula Marriages.

Often, we hear people quoting Manu Smriti on Anuloma and Pratiloma relationships between different Varnas claiming that as proof of in-built prejudice in Hindu Dharma Sastras.

Here is my attempt to give a different perspective on that topic. As always, appreciate comments/feedback.

In general, Anu & Prati (in Anuloma & Pratiloma) have been translated as Natural/preferred order & Unpreferred/adverse/lower order. I think this is not entirely correct & is a Indic middle age (read Charwaka era) imposition. Both Anu/Prati in AnuSarga & PratiSarga mean successive or secondary additions.

So I would translate Anuloma as one type order (patrilineal) & PratiLoma as a secondary/different (matrilineal) order.

ManuSmriti just says what the progeny of different orders are called.   Very mention of these in a treatise like ManuSmriti indicates the prevalence of such marriages in that time.

At this point it is very important to note that ManuSmriti is just a Smriti defined to create order in then prevalent social system, not some outsider imposition. Manusmriti is compilation and structuring of that era's socio-political order, same as how BR Ambedkar's Constitution of India is reflective of Indian society in mid-20th century. Like Manu of Manusmriti, BR Ambedkar too didn't find any new truth in his constitution. Both of them just laid down a reasonable structure for the society to prosper given the prevailing socio-political conditions. As these socio-political conditions change, it is our duty to write new Smritis/Dharma-Sastras/Constitutions instead of distorting those treatise.

Now let's come to science...

In nature, we can observe two aspects, seed & kshetra/soil. When we plant a mango seed we will always get a mango tree. The nature of the soil only determines the characteristics such as size, color, taste etc of that mango fruit. Different soil types create different varieties & tastes of mango fruit; some good for pickle, some as fruits, some for juice etc.

ManuSmriti considers the man in a couple as seed contributor & woman as soil contributor. It & other dharmasastras only propose what variety of mangos are generally good for what purposes. 

It doesn't mean one can't make pickle from Alfanso mango & enjoy it.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Secularism - Bane of Bharat!

Secularism is yet another experiment of Indian society that failed to prove any tangible value so far. The cruel joke it played on India is that even after 40 years of its inclusion in constitution of India by an emergency government without any due process, no one in India knows for sure what it means and what value it meant to provide to its stakeholders.

There are three angles to this Secularism question in the context of this election.

The first dimension of Secularism is religious dimension and it influence on definition and vision of India’s identity. Secularism gives equal say to all three major systems Hinduism, Christianity and Islam in defining and pursuing Indian Interests. This means Indian Christians with their minuscule 3% population and Indian Muslims with their 15% population will get equal vote in defining Indian Interests same as the Hindus that make 80% of the nation. Another aspect of this equation is the disproportional international power links Christianity and Islam bring in to bear upon India. This is where definition of Indian Interests gets hijacked by Christian and Islamic interests leaving 80% of Indians high and dry in protecting their native civilization.

The second dimension is economic and civic infrastructure. Secularism, by definition, gives into the sway of more organized and disruptive faith systems. One type of these forces is what we have seen in Kudankulam protests. This anti-nuclear agitation was aimed at partnerships with Russia (alone), were majorly funded by Western Christian organizations and were conducted by internal Evangelical organizations. Another type of these forces is what India has seen in JK terror attacks and 11/26 Mumbai attacks. In both cases the national economic and civic infrastructure was held hostage by religiously motivated group while secularism failed to resolve these challenges in the national interests.

The third aspect of secular debate is Law and Order. Secularism does not have any well-defined role and mandate when it comes to law and order issues involving religiously motivated groups. This causes a paradox for Indian minorities as their religious demands and social vision often contradict with that of Hindu majority leading to distortions in national posture and power projection. Recent episode of an Indian diplomat getting arrested on false charges and cavity searched in the United States is an example how the internal secular dynamics can be exploited by external powers. The witch hunt for Saffron terror and meddling of NIA investigations into terror attacks by Indian Mujaheddin amply demonstrated how the state Law & Order machinery is intentionally subverted to keep the facade of secularism by various political parties and governments. The proposed Communal Violence Bill takes this aberration to the extreme by protecting the minorities irrespective of cause and perpetrator of the crime, thus making the Law and Order apparatus subservient to religious identity of the people involved in the issue.

On one side of this debate stands BJP. This party recognizes the incorrect application of Abrahamic social issues on Indian society and wants to remove this aberration. This party promises to provide equal socio-economic opportunities to all Indians with its ‘equal opportunities for all, appeasement to none’ position. This political stand automatically removes the external handles (and their influence) on India’s internal social, economic and religious debates.

Congress and its allies, on the other hand, demand that the nation must give special treatment to followers of Abrahamic faith even at the cost of social, economic, national security and in some cases even democratic implications to the entire nation. This means Indian interests will be permanently mortgaged to Abrahamic faith systems whose core power system is outside Indian control/influence. This effectively means indirect colonization of India using Secularism for/by Abrahamic faiths. 

Notes: This piece was written as part of another post on this blog: The Fight - 2014 Elections in April 2014.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Surpanakha - A modern daughter

Recently I came across a face book post about a daughter-mother conversation on Ravana and Rama. It goes like this

A pregnant mother asked her daughter, “what do you want – a brother or a sister?”

Daughter: Brother
Mother: Like Whom?
Daughter: Like RAVAN
Mother: What the hell are you saying, Are you out of your mind?
Daughter: Why not Mom? He left all his Royalship & Kingdom, all because his sister was disrespected. Even after picking up his enemy’s wife, he didn’t ever touch her. Why wouldn’t I want to have a brother like him? She continues… What would I do with a brother like RAM who left his pregnant wife after listening to a “dhobi” though his wife always stood by his side like a shadow? After giving “Agni Pareeksha” & suffering 14 years of exile. Mom, you being a wife & sister to someone, until when will you keep on asking for a “RAM” as your son?

Mother was in tears.

Moral: No one in the world is good or bad. It’s just an interpretation about someone. Change your perception!


Sounds very logical and emotional, right? As the Moral at the end says, it is just an interpretation of a Ramayana event, to fit someone’s prejudices and temperament. After all Ravana did what he did because he too interpreted Dharma as he wanted. Perhaps then we must accept that Ravana faced the consequences of his interpretation of Dharma.

But let’s ask a simple question. Did the girl in above example take all the facts about Ravana, Surpanakha into consideration before making above interpretation?

If the mother in above scenario read Ramayana herself, then her answer would be something in the lines of…

  • A Ravan like brother would deny his sister (the girl in above scenario) marrying someone she loved, a Danava Vidyutjihva, from a different caste. A Ravan would honor kill Surpanakha's newly wed husband.
  • A Ravana's sister would go around enticing men, even married men. A Ravana's sister would try to marry Rama, then Lakshmana when Rama rejects her, then again Rama when Lakshmana says no; all in an hour or so.
  • A Ravana's sister would try to kill Sita (the very Sita our protagonist is so concerned about) when Rama rejected her. She would kill other women to marry their husbands; same as Muhammed killed the husbands to marry their wives/women.
  • Then a Ravana's sister advises her own brother to have/kidnap Sita, a fellow woman & married woman, so he can avenge her Asuric lust.
  • A Ravana like brother would not abstain from touching Sita out of respect for women. He does it out of fear for his life, as he got a curse from his own great grandfather, Brahma, that his head will explode if he touches a non-consenting woman. He got this curse because he raped Rambha who is his daughter-in-law by relation, same as Muhammed coveted Zaynab.
No mother in the world would want a son like Ravana because he would listen to his asuric/lustful sister, kidnap a married woman on his sister’s words and then end up destroying an entire Asura empire for his murkhatva. 

With Ravana like son and Surpanakha like daughter the mother would end up crying now and forever.

Herein lies a lesson for all Bharatiyas, who, sooner or later, will be facing their progeny overwhelmed by secular interpretations of the world around them. Read Ramayana and Mahabharata yourself and understand the Dharma for what it is. This will help guiding your own children away from Asuratva and eventual survival and progress of your own caste/race/lineage.

Dharma eva hato hanti, Dharmo rakshati rakshitah || 
(One who destroys Dharma is destroyed by DharmaOne who protects Dharma is protected by Dharma).