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Showing posts from 2011

Sri Ganesha Charanam!

अगजानन पद्मार्कम् गजाननम् अहर्निशम्।
अनेकदन्तम् भक्तानाम् एकदन्तम् उपास्महे॥
agajānana padmārkam gajānanam aharniśam|
anekadantam bhaktānām ekadantam upāsmahe|| What a beautiful verse to behold and listen! I heard it first when this verse was suggested as an invocation for our magazine Yuva Bharati by my brother a couple of years ago. (Yup! I promptly posted it on facebook - even social networks have been permeated by spirituality :-D)

A couple of months back, I had the good fortune to sit at the feet of Swami Dayananda Saraswati and learn this same verse - how to say it and its meaning. Recollecting that experience from memory, I'll try to share the beauty and the brilliance of this verse here.
ānana means face. Gajānana is the Lord who has the face of an elephant or gaja. On seeing the face of Gajānana, the face of Agaja, daughter of the king among mountains (aga), Himavan or Parvata, one who is called Himavati or Parvati, lightens up. This is so natural and open, like how a padma o…

Booktalk - The Secret of the Nagas

The Secret of the Nagas is the part two of the Shiva Trilogy and continues exactly where the first book The Immortals of Meluha stops.

The book begins with a small, but intense skirmish between the mysterious Naga warrior and the Shiva-Sati couple. The couple underestimate the Naga and end up injured. But what puzzles them is the apparent lack of viciousness on part of the Naga, who, although he had many chances to kill either of them, leaves Shiva and Sati alive with only minor wounds. From this point the story thrillingly unfolds further.

A lot of new characters are introduced, and identities and backgrounds of quite a few old characters are revealed - many of them quite shocking. But nothing is as shocking as the revelation on the very last page of the book!

Like in the first part, in this part too, Amish, through his protagonist, continues to raise the question - if something is apparently evil, is it actually evil? What is good and what is evil? Through Shiva's discussions w…

The New Name

FYI People - I have changed my blogs’ URL. I had a boring name “itsablueblog” over all three blog platforms - blogger, wordpress and tumblr. I have changed it to “brownindian”. These are my blog URLs now.

brownindian.blogspot.com

brownindian.wordpress.com

brownindian.tumblr.com

Go visit them if you are bored. I promise that you’ll be more bored than before.


Are we honest?

These are protesting times. A large number of people have taken to the streets - I don't know the real numbers but I am being assured that there are thousands of people on the streets, taking long marches, holding candle-light vigils etc - protesting corruption.


I have covered the movement and the ripples it is creating in my other blog. So, I am not going into those details again here. I have a few basic questions though (as usual).

What is it that the people are protesting against, essentially? Yes, we know it is corruption, but corruption does not sustain itself. It is perpetrated by individuals. That raises the next question - who are the individuals that perpetrate corruption. Or to simply state - who are the corrupt individuals?

Are only those who take bribes and get involved in scams corrupt and dishonest? What about those who pay to get driving licenses without attending the exams? What about those who encroach upon a few square feet next to their own properties and bribe …

Vande Mataram

When Bankim Chandra wrote this song sometime in 1876, he was just giving vent to his emotions. He did not envisage it would become the National Song of India or it would be a locus of controversy. But, the song stirred an upheaval - of emotion, of patriotism and became the war cry for the freedom struggle. The phrase "Vande Mātaram" has come to be ingrained in the psyche of all people who proudly proclaim themselves as "Indian".

Written in a pure form of Bangla that draws its strength from its Sanskrit roots, it was a spontaneous expression of Bankim's devotion to his motherland. He worships our motherland as the supreme deity, as the epitome of courage, valor, knowledge, prosperity - all attributes as an aspect of feminine divinity. As we read the poem, our conscience instinctively begins to sing it; along with Bankim we prostrate before the Mother - who is not just the bestower of Knowledge, but Vidyā herself; not just the nourisher of the life-force, but Pr…

The Shiva Trilogy - The Secret of the Nagas

I just finished reading it this morning and... WHOA! What a book! I cannot stop thinking about all the stuff that the story has in it - I'm drowning in a deluge of my own thoughts!

No, Shiva is not the hero of the entire story. He is still the protagonist, but someone almost displaced him as the hero of this particular book in the series - by his valor, ability and courage, as much as the stoicism he displays (for which he is even chided!) No wonder he's the namesake of the most popular God of the Hindu pantheon, who has awesomed his way into the faith systems of other lands and peoples too!

Someone else almost became the villain, but like his dunderhead, "goat headed" fool of a namesake in the Hindu Puranas, he's simply too dumb and incapable to be one and has to be remain the puppet of the actual mastermind. And who that master puppeteer, is still a mystery, in spite of the smug presumption that makes us think that we can hazard a guess.

I know I am just runnin…

A Proud Possession

If I should start properly writing (including reviews) about books, which book should I start with? I thought it would be a tough hill to climb. That is until I saw the Bhagavad Gita. Or rather the few different commentaries of the Gita that I possess and I was no more bothered about finding a "first book" to write about.

I have not read the Gita in full yet. Hope to do it some day. Gita is for a lifetime study. It cannot be read and imbibed completely in one stretch. Many of the ideas illustrated in the Gita can be understood only if you have the relevant experiences, maturity, as well as the ability to process those thoughts.

The exact version of the Gita that I want to mark my beginning - auspiciously - is the Universal Message of the Bhagavad Gita - An Exposition of the Gita in the Light of Modern Thoughts and Modern Needs. It was transcribed and compiled from Swami Ranganathananda's "series of Sunday discourses, from 1988 to 1990, at the 1200-capacity Vivekanan…

At last!

Deciding on what to write has been really, really tough. Coupled along with "writer's block" (when I've not even begun to write!) it has almost strangled my blogging and regular writing. Finally though, I am a lot more confident of writing consistently, unlike the first two years of blogging, which saw just about the number of words that can fit in to a mobile phone text message or two.

The confidence arises from my deciding on what I'll write, while wishing ardently that this will help me overcome my writer's block. Yeah, I want to write about everything under the sun. But this small problem of lack of knowledge and too much attention to detail and unwanted perfectionism stops me from doing just that. So, I will stick to two main categories that I know a wee little bit: books and music.

Books, reading, writing, authors, characters, plots - I'll try to present everything that catches my eye. I read both English and Tamil, so both will find a place here.…

Influence, Ideals and Idols - Part 1

We are influenced by some people at some periods of our lives. It is particularly evident when we reflect on our childhood and adolescence - the formative periods. Individuals and individuals of a specific kind, hold tremendous control of our lives when we are young. Parents, relatives, friends and along with them, another important group of individuals who have great influence are our teachers.

A teacher can be anybody from the people mentioned before - parents, relatives and friends. Quite often, a stranger can also be our teacher; like the writer and the poet, who speaks through his characters and ideas; like the artist, who speaks through the images he creates; like the so many actors on this stage called life, who teach us how to be and not to be by their actions, utterances, reactions and replies, innocent of the knowledge that they are actually teaching the onlookers i.e. us.

Nature is one of the greatest teachers. So are events influenced by nature or enacted by individuals, …

A Really Dumb Post

The post started with this judgmental title It’s official: Internet Explorer users are dumb that spurred me to read on. After the initial few lines it aroused my interest enough to read it fully and even write a blog post (the one you are reading right now!). But a comment the author (who confessed to a low IQ) made at the very end of the post made me wonder how did he end up as a writer. These are actually not writers, but recyclers who cut and paste stuff from other sources. Large herds of such recyclers prowl the internet and are dreadfully substandard.


What it says

The post begins by advertising the results of a survey done by some consultancy, who hosted an online IQ test and kept track of the browser used by each participant to reach the test. After the end of the survey period, they compiled their data and concluded this following result (as the author of the post claimed):

A significant number of individuals with a low score on the cognitive test were found to be using Microso…

THE Experience...

A Response

I was spurred to write this in response to the stupid statuses and comments that were being posted in the facebook group - Youth for a corruption free india.

It is imperative that the members of this group use their brains instead of ___ to think.

1. Regardless of Baba Ramdev's background, the cause he's championing is worth fighting - for EVERYONE, whatever their persuasion may be. The only criteria is that they have our nation's, and it's people's good at heart.

2. This is the "biggest scamster govt in the world" at the moment, as Chetan Bhagat tweeted. There are no second thoughts on it.

3. The Baba having a *multi-million dollar yoga empire*, or getting *entire islands gifted by his devotees* are non-issues here. None of them are underhanded dealings unless proved so. And until now all of his activities since before the campaign have been quite transparent - the media has been sifting through them with microscopic scrutiny and so is the govt, from the…

Can a cat LOOK like a person?

Seriously?

Can a cat, or any other animal, however cute it might be, resemble someone you know? Some one says so in this post.

No, I'm not saying it's not possible or it's stupid. But it's really weird to think that way.

Hmmm... I do find that people actually resemble animals (which is the other way round of animals resembling people). Some people look like monkeys, who obviously are close relatives. And some people look like reptiles and birds. At times people's actions and words, unforcedly makes me liken them to animals.

I know I'm not being too kind, but it's just a thought that flashes in my mind.

Questions

I ask a lot of questions. No, I change a lot of my statements to questions. Why? It induces people to respond. As a rule, questions beget more responses than statements. That way, I'm sure to elicit an answer - from myself or from someone else - most of the time.

I naturally do ask a lot of questions - to myself. Even if it were intended to another person, I wait to ask. May be in the course of a talk or speech, my questions will be answered, instead of me jumping the gun. And many a time, I downplay my questions and don't ask them in public. I find it easier to approach someone and ask them questions face-to-face. This is also to create an opportunity to personally know someone.

Asking questions crystallizes ideas or problems. It is then easier to express or execute the idea and find solutions to problems. Asking the right question, to the right person, at the right time is an art. It comes to a few people naturally; to a lot of others, with practice.

So, if you need somethin…

Breaking India - Reading Now

Apart from being co-authored by Aravindan anna, which alone is reason enough to read the book, this is a path-breaking book. It brings into the limelight of Indian intellectual discourse the importance of Christian interference and indirect aggression into the sovereignty of India, through the artificially implanted Dravidian and Dalit identity politics.
I have just began reading it and currently sailing through Chapter 3: Inventing the Aryan Race. It traces how the discovery of Indian philosophy, culture and science amazed European scholars initially and reached a peak when they began to romanticize India as the cradle of civilizations, praising its language and grammar, art and literature, philosophy and spirituality. This quickly gave raise to the lucrative discipline of Indology and related discourses beginning from late eighteenth to early nineteenth century.
However, imperialism backed by Christianity and economic ambitions soon upturned the cart of Indian origin of the western c…

What? Tricolor will not be hoisted on Republic Day?!?

Yup. That's true. The Tricolor - more adorably termed the Tiranga - will not be hoisted this Republic Day. Can you believe it? I could not and am shocked!
You should have already guessed the location by now; exactly, it is Lal Chowk in Srinagar. And no, this is not new. The tradition of flag-hoisting has already been obstructed last year.
This year's controversy began with the BJP and the Abdullahs exchanging tirades. Abdullah junior announcing that "peace will be disturbed in Kashmir Valley, if the BJP hoists national flag" with Abdullah senior separately berating the BJP and BJP retorting to it.
BJP will unfurl the Tricolor and not it's party flag. So why the hullabaloo? But Omar Abdullah wisely asks "officials and elected members will be unfurling the national flag across the state, why should the BJP do it?"
We are asking, "Why not?" Mr Abdullah, sir. What's the problem with unfurling the national flag on the Republic Day? Is it now wrong …