Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Counting 1 to 10 and more

I just happened to think about this one day while travelling by bus. So I just thought of blogging. I am sure there are many things that I might have missed.Just wrote down the first few things that came to my mind. :-)


Parabrahma - the supreme lord


Shiva and Shakti - two sources of energy in the cosmos, essentially the same.


Satva, Tamas, Rajas - the three gunas
Brahma (creator) , Vishnu (sustainer) , Shiva ( constructive destroyer) - the trimurthi's
Advaita (Shankaracharya) ,Dwaita (Madhvacharya) and Vishishta Advaita (Ramanujacharya) - the three philosophy's


Rig, Yajur, Sama, Atharvana - the chatur vedas


Annamaya (food sheath) , Pranamaya ( energy sheath), manomaya ( mental or emotional sheath) , Vignanamaya ( intellectual sheath) , Anandamaya (bliss sheath) - Pancha Koshas according to Patanjali

Prithvi (earth) , Apas (water) Agni/Tejas (fire) , Vayu (Air) , Aakasha (Ether) - Panchabhootas

Also not to forget the five karmendriyas and five jnanendriyas


Mada(Ego) Matsara(jealouy) Kama(lust) Krodha(anger) Moha(attachement) Lobha(greed) - Arishadvarga (stay away from them!)


Sapta rishis - Vasistha,, Bharadvaja, Jamadagni, Goutama, Atri ,Vishwamitra and Agasthya
Some people say the seven rishis are - Vasistha, Marichi, Pulastya, Pulaha, Atri, Angeerasa and Kratu
The Saptha Rishi’s are the seven major stars of Ursa Major.

Sapta Swaras - Shadja (Sa), Rishabha (Ri) , Gandhara (Ga), Madhyama ( Ma), Panchama ( Pa), Dhaivatha( Dha) , Nishadha ( Ni)


Ashta siddhis - Siddhi means acheivement/accomplishment/success depending on context.
Anima (conscious awareness to size of an atom; anu means atom),
Mahima (increasing awarenes of consciousness to infinity)
Garima ( heaviness)
Laghima (weightlessness ; laghu meaning light)
Prapti (following and achieveing one's true will)
Prakamya ( fulfilling desires )
Ishatva ( absoulte ownership)
Vashitva ( power to control all)

Patanjali's Ashtanga yoga -

Navarasas - the nine emotions

Sringara (amour) , hasya ( comic) , karuna (compassion) , raudra ( furious) , vira ( heroic ) , bhaya (fear) , bhibatsa ( disgust), adbutha (wonder) , santa (tranquility)

Also, the Navavaranas of srividya upasana ( too complex to explain here) Muthuswamy dikshitar's navavarana kritis explain each avarana in detail and singing them is equivalent of srividya puja.

Dashavatara's - the ten incarnations of lord Vishnu for the welfare of the world.
- Matsya , Koorma , Varaha , Narasimha , Vamana , Rama , Parashurama, Krishna ,Buddha, Kalki.

I guess there will be something associated with each number :-) The rest I will leave it to you for research if you are interested.

Also, there is one hindu festival for every day(thithi) of a fortnight. A month in a hindu calender consists of two fortnights (paksha)
one with full moon ( shukla paksha) - 15th day is poornima
one with new moon (krishna paksha) - 15th day is amavasya

Padya - Balipadyami / Ugadi
Bidhige - Bhanu bidige
Thadhige - Akshaya Tadhige
Chaturthi - Ganesh Chaturthi
Panchami - Nagarpanchami
Shasti - Subrahmanya Shasti
Sapthami - RathaSapthami
Ashtami - Durgashtami / Krishna Janmashtami
Navami - Ramanavami / Mahanavami
Dashami -Vijayadashami
Ekadashi - Vaikunta Ekadashi
Dwadashi - Uttana Dwadashi
Trayodashi - Maha Shivaratri (sometimes falls on chaturdashi)
Chaturdashi -Narakachaturdashi
Poornima - Guru Poornima / Holi
Amavasya - Mahalaya Amavasya / Bheemanaamavasya

Not sure of the significance of this order. If anybody knows please let me know :-)
There are other festivals which have to celebrated on specific days of the lunar calender.All hindu festivals follow lunar calender except Sankranti which follows solar calender.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I want to be a ...

Recently I happened to be a part of a discussion, where in they were discussing about giving awards and recognition to people who have done something good/better than the others, so that it would motivate them and everybody around them.I personally disagree to that. I felt it would only result in group-ism and complexes.This is of course a totally different debate! My thought process as usual went right to the roots and I started wondering..

What motivates a person to do something??
After a lot of thinking and analysis (bounded by my own perceptions and knowledge) I came to the conclusion that there are only 3 types of motivation -

1) Passion driven.
2) Necessity driven - generally financial necessity
3) Ego booster - People who want to prove to the others that they are better ( remember chatur of 3 idiots? :P ) , for the sake of social acceptance and the like..

Whatever other factors came to my mind, all of them fell into one of these three categories.
Then I wondered why I feel motivated to do something, then I change my mind, then I shift to something else and that continues.. I have such a short lived motivation for the many things that I do. I see around me people of my age or less who are so definite about what they want to do/become in life, whereas here I am, feeling just the way I felt at school when somebody asked me -"What do you want to be when you are older?" and a hundred different things came to my mind and I fancied being something different each day! I feel exactly the same way even today.

After a little more thinking and analysis, I concluded that probably I haven't found 'The Thing' I want to do in my life. Also, that its best to continue experimenting and exploring so that in every experiment I learn something more about myself. Hopefully, one day I ll just know what I want to become! :-)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Power of Free Will

I am part of Toastmasters International. I joined this club through office. Its an orators club that helps improve communication, management and leadership skills. As part of my Competent Communication Certification, I am expected to deliver 10 speeches, each with a different set of objectives. Today I had to deliver my 3rd speech with "inspiring and persuasive" as the general purpose and "Power of Free Will" as the specific purpose. I just thought I should share my speech. It is a 7 minutes speech, so a little lengthy ;-)

"Paul the Octopus had the whole world in his tentacles for over a month. Right now I am sure there are people who cannot name 10 international footballers but know all about Paul.

Paul's seemingly psychic abilities got me thinking - Are our destinies predetermined? Is the universe heading to a foregone conclusion. Are we really wasting our time thinking qualities like hard work, honesty and sincerity will help?

Fellow Toastmasters and guests, I am here today to share with you why I think the answers to all of the these questions is an unequivocal "no", and share with you whatever little knowledge I have about the power of free will.

Let me tell you a story. Jessica was born without arms as a result of a rare congenital disease. She did not understand why she had no arms like the other children. “It

was difficult to be different...” - she says. She frequently felt opposed, downtrodden and on the verge of tears resulting from anger due to her lack of arms. For Jessica, the main challenge of being born without arms was the constant perception of others more than the physical adversity. Please note i used the word "perception". She decided she would be everything that the world presumes she cannot be! Today she is a holder of a degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona, she always attracts attention when she fills her car with gas. She is able to write 25 words per minute, dry her hair, put on her make-up, and wear her contact lenses at the same ease as anyone. Not with artificial hands, but with her legs! Jessica is 26 years old and 1.55 meters tall, is the first lady in history to pilot a plane without arms. She said in one of her interviews - “Most of the times fear starts from the lack of knowledge of the unknown. There is a universal fear, that of lack of confidence in yourself." Surely Jessica could not have been
destined to live normally in our society, let alone pilot a plane and have the lives of many people in her hands (or should I say legs)! This, my friends, is an example of the power of free will.

So what is free will? Friedrich Wilhelm defines will as "any internally motivated action", but more of a "creative spark," a certain independence and stubbornness. It helps us believe "you want it! you get it". It requires focusing all your thoughts and thought motivated actions into achieving something. The vedas say "yad bhavam tad bhavati" meaning whatever you think so wil it be.

How can it be so easy, you might wonder. The answer lies in the fact that we are all connected. Every thought of yours radiates a certain energy. Your actions are bound to be directed by that sphere of energy around you. So, if you think positively you have created a sphere of positive energy around you, negative otherwise. Sigmund Freud did a lot of research and analysis on the same lines ie., power of free will or the power of subconscious. Psychologists today more than willingly accept his philosophy of power of free will.

Einstein famously remarked "...subtle is the lord, but he does not play dice with the universe..." Looking past concepts like determinism and Einstein's views on randomness in the universe, we can see the basic idea that man can determine his destiny. It is a belief that you reap as you sow. It is a belief that good will prevail over evil.

While reading the book on free will, I came across this wonderful concept. The book said life is a simple mathematical equation. Its just like the movement of a boat against the stream. If your force is greater than that of the stream the next movement is in your hands, else otherwise. Your force here is symbolic to ur free will, and the speed of the stream is symbolic to what we blame on circumstances that life places us in and the restrictions, constraints that life inflicts upon us .

Though free will has been debated a lot in the recent past and even stuff like Heisenberg's principle has been applied to certain way of theorizing it, my take on it is that we, as humans, have a power - the power to judge ourselves, the power to analyze our actions and do what we think is good for us, good for humanity, good for everyone. To exercise such free will, one needs discipline, the discipline to resist the evil forces that try to tempt us into the comfort zone, even against our conscience.

I would like to conclude by quoting Gandhi - " Strength does not come from physical capacity it comes from indomitable will". Shimon Peres, a noble laureate referred to Gandhi in one of his interviews - A man without an army, without a head quarter, without a state, without a party, a single person equipped with a moral strength, he wasn't afraid of violence, he wasn't afraid of public opinion, there is no other person in recent history that possessed such a will, and all of a sudden he shocked the world!"

"If you want x+y to be 100, irrespective of how negative the value of y is, there is always an x which can make the sum 100. Exercise your free will!!!! "Go be what you want and stun the world!

Thank You!"

P.S - Thanks to those who helped :-)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

NANDA DEVI - The Goddess of the mountains

While I was trekking back from Roopkund in the Nandadevi Ranges, we passed by a hamlet "Wan". The kids of the hamlet were wishing us "Namaste" with folded hands. (Hoping for toffees!!) We stopped by and asked a small girl her name. She replied "Nanda Devi" . ( In the pic - Nanda devi with her brother Golu) I know not why, but I got inspired at that instant to learn more about the history, local legends around Nanda Devi and the beliefs of the people of the nearby hamlets.

The locals believe that Nanda Devi is the driving spiritual force and guardian. They adore her and call her just "Nanda" affectionately. They believe that she is a daughter of the villages married to Lord Shiva , The Lord of the Kailash mountains. 'Nanda' in Sanskrit means happiness/full of joy and 'Devi' means goddess. So she is their "Goddess of Happiness". They have no shrine dedicated to her. I could see only temples of Shiva around. They live amidst her. I heard that they have folklore ie., songs and dances in praise of her.

Life in these regions is tough! Ask me and I shall tell you my state at the end of the trek! :D But the people there seem to have so much of enthusiasm! They draw inspiration from her. She has inspired millions over centuries. Her breathtaking beauty cannot be described in just words. The tall trees surrounding the hamlets stand like guardians, so strong. I stood there mesmerized!

I feel blessed to have gone to the Nanda Devi biosphere for the second time. First time I had the opportunity to explore valley of flowers in her lap. This time I was there standing right in front of her!! I was awestruck!!

She has seen civilizations come up and diminish, but she still remains virgin and unexplored. The Himalayas have a divine silence, they seem to know everything and yet remain unaffected.I love the Himalayas! :-)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What up everyone?!

Its been quite some time since I blogged. Sometimes at office I have so much free time while tests are running or when am held up waiting for someone else to finish (grrrr!). So I decided to learn, to do something useful and something that makes me happy!

I got my Vedic Mathematics book to office and started learning, trying out the examples, and solving the exercise problems. I felt great :-). It had been a long time since I did any maths. To anyone who is bored generally, I would suggest you buy "Vedic Mathematics" by Jagadguru Swami Sri Bharati Krsna Tirthaji Maharaj (He was the one who discovered vedic mathematics) and start reading! :-)

Other than that, I rediscovered my interest in Sanskrit too. Once upon a time, I was so good at Sanskrit that I could converse in it! It was when Abhi, having decided to do some research on using unsupervised learning techniques for word segmentation to split Sandhis in Sanskrit, asked me a few questions that I realised how out of touch I was. In an effort to refresh my Sanskrit, I searched the web and found this website. It is brilliant.!!Do check it out :) (Open in Internet Explorer)

Friday, February 5, 2010


According to Vedanta, the three fundamentals of life are "Brahmacharya" (Self Control), "Ahimsa"(Non Injury) and "Satya"(truth). These values and conduct of living are essentially the same in all religions.The three disciplines refer to the layers of our personality physical,emotional and intellectual respectively.
The meaning of Brahmacharya has been distorted over centuries and finally come down to abstinence from sexual life which is totally wrong.It just means restraining oneself from excessive indulgence.
Secondly, Ahimsa which is not just non violence or "not pain causing". A doctor causes physical pain while operating but his intentions are pure. So it is just non injury on an emotional level.
Thirdly, Satya is for living up to one's own ideals and convictions. All of us would have set some ideals but most of us do not follow it, Satya is being honest to one's own self and not compromise on them.
A person who follows all the three will have a great power in him That kind of power gives him confidence to achieve anything!!
The only person who comes to my mind when I think of all this is Mahatma Gandhi. I remember reading his autobiography when I was in school. I have forgotten most of it now but one thing I do remember is this, he said- "The real seat of taste is not the tongue but the mind".
I have tried emulating him ,failed miserably though. I always wonder what kind of tremendous power he felt within him which gave him so much confidence to lead an entire nation. In spite of living in the same world we live in he had the will power to live up to the ideals specified in the Vedanta. Gandhiji, you are my super hero! :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The quadraple in us!

I want to share with you the most logical explanation for why we experience a feeling of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, or feel stressed when certain events occur in our lives.

According to Vedanta, each one of us are a composite structure of four different personalities namely-
1) Physical
2) Emotional
3) Intellectual
4) Spiritual

Whenever an event happens all these four personalities experience this event. They are so subtle that we as the experiencer fail to recognize it and conclude it as one entity. Each of these four have their own independent values and demands.

For example, consider the situation when you are with a group of friends who are drinking beer and you are the only one in the group who does not. You have been in this situation many times before but this time you are tempted towards trying it. Here your physical self is craving for it, your emotional self is excited about it, your intellectual self says "do not drink, it is addictive, harmful for health" and your spiritual self forbids you and urges you to develop self control and avoid unintelligent indulgence in sensuous enjoyment.

Finally, if you drink, you experience a certain amount of happiness because of the union of the first two layers and a certain amount of dissatisfaction for the other two layers.
So, you are not experiencing total happiness and go through a resultant stress.
Consequently, friction is generated in the personality and hence an individual goes through stress and strain of life!!

Vedanta also has the solution to integrate all the four entities into one whole thereby experiencing harmony and happiness.The greater the integration, the greater is his freedom. Intelligent self restraint,self control and discipline are prescribed by our scriptures. These are the fundamentals on which religion and religious practices are based on. Modern man (read we) detest them because he feels that they put bars on his natural freedom and therefore repels the idea of any religious or spiritual practice without understanding the basic scientific principle on which it is based on!!