In this thread, I want to share my opinion on whether one may say “I follow Sanātana Dharma”. I think It is fine to say so, but I find it better to say “I seek Dharma”.
If I am eternally persistent in seeking Dharma, then my pursuit would be Sanātana (primeval and eternal).
Why do I find it better to say “I seek Dharma” instead of “I follow Dharma”?
This is because “Dharma” is a Purushārtha, the other three being Kāma (sensual pleasures), Artha (possessions) and Mōksha (liberation). Dharma relates to how one’s life is integrated with the universe.
The phrase “follow a religion” derived from Abrahamic religions, which are dependent on a specific prophet or a line of prophets. In this context, it makes sense because it is equivalent to saying “I follow that prophet”.
This is not the case for Hinduism (or even for Buddhism).
The British were careful to cultivate a network of official historians, tastemakers and arbiters of culture, such that when all is said and done, Britain would still come out as a positive force of history.
It is starting how much of the “left” in the erstwhile colonies is funded by the old colonial masters in Britain, or by USA - their successors in lordship. This wide network of funding is spread between NGOs, universities, sponsored professorships, grants and prizes.
The intellectual sepoys in “the left” of the former colonies are trained to aim their guns not at the colonial aggressor, but at the internal divisions of the colony itself. Such a massive social conditioning project won’t succeed without the seed funding from Britain (and USA).
Companies with more know-how in machine learning (Google, Facebook, NSA etc.) would probably also have your photographs and even DNA fingerprints indexes and matched to data related to you. They would know which other people in the world match closest to all your data footprints.
The technology and data storage is now so cheap that it is absurd not to maintain a personalized profile of every human being on the planet, or even every human being that ever existed in history.
The data from all these people can nicely be correlated with each other.
Human learning cannot compete with machine learning wrt speed of learning.
This irresponsible opinion that fixing education will give an edge for humans over machines is absurd. It is driven by last century image of machines, which can do only predefined tasks. Not true anymore.
The only way to protect the interests of humans against machines is to tax the machines as much as (or even more than) humans, and punish them if they violate ecological balance. But that will go against the dogma of economists.
Strong protections on ecology are enforced in national parks, where the hunting and exploitation of nature is strictly prohibited. We need similar protection for human activities that are in harmony with nature’s ecology. #HabitatForHumans
In this thread, I will discuss about the peculiar symbolism of water nymphs or "Apsaras" and how they were supposed to derail the meditation of Yōgis.
The word "Apsara" itself is a reference to water: "Āpa" and "sara" (to flow).
Apsaras have a mystical symbolism in Hinduism as well as in Buddhism. The classical dances of India depict the movements of Apsaras. The sculptures of many Hindu temples, e.g Angkor Vat, depict Apsaras.
Apsaras are supposed to dance in Swarga (heaven), at the assembly of Indra.
Witnessing an Apsara is a mystical achievement of a very high order. Then why is it considered as an obstacle within Yōga ?
In order to understand this, one needs to know about the symbolism of "Agni" (fire) and "Āpa" (water) that permeates Hindusim.
It is not possible to exhaustively list Do’s and Dont’s of Brahmacharya as they depend on the context. The more general precepts (Sāmānya Dharma) are listed by Patanjali as the 5 Yamas and 5 Niyamas, in his Yogasūtras.
In my thread, I gave a rationalization for Brahmacharya. 🙏
The practices of Tantra ultimately derive from the Sāmkhya philosophical framework, on which they are grounded. Sāmkhya views all natural phenomena as a manifestation of two underlying forces: Prakriti (expression) which is feminine, and Purusha (experience) which is masculine.
At the abstract level, Prakriti and Purusha are not bound to biological sexes. They are both present in all forms of nature, whether male or female, or indeed whether living or non-living.
However, they are amplified in very specific and individualised ways in various beings.
Technology is not like fire, it is like prescription drugs.
When the best intentions to relieve pain get combined with profit motives of an industry that doesn’t hesitate to trample on anything on its way, we will have an epidemic of addiction and abuse of the drugs.
The effect of technology use are long term, based on how they affect the people’s brains and social behavior. They are not instantaneous like getting burned by fire.
Instantaneous effects are easy to see and reason upon. What we have with technology is far more insidious.
Just as how tobacco companies resisted information about cancer, or how oil companies resist information about climate change, tech companies do have an incentive to resist information about the rot of the human brain and the social relationships between people due to tech usage.
This is “Saint Boniface” destroying an oak tree in Germany revered by pagans. Many such sacred groves in Europe were destroyed. It is a premonition before the total ecological destruction in Europe, as well as decimation of natural philosophy until it recovered 1000 years later.
A sacred tree or a river, by which ritual offerings are made, is an embodiment of “Shakti”. It is that spirit that keeps pulling the mind back into consciousness, whenever it is engulfed in ignorance and unable to comprehend what is happening to the natural world.
Destroying that Shakti is the first step before the destruction of ecology. This total destruction requires man to be acknowledged as the sole master of this earth, with all the species of plants and animals assigned to his dominion, by the one and only God (with capital G).
Nice essay on the Vedic verses about the mysterious drink Soma.
My opinion on Soma Yajña is that the ritual is a form of controlled laboratory experiment to perform astronomical calculations. The amount of the juice extracted in the ritual is a measure of some celestial motion.
Soma is also used for denoting the moon who travels across the Nakshatras (constellations of stars known as lunar motions). I think the Soma Yajña measured the specific amount of motion that the moon effected in a certain period, as distributed to the Dēvas (stars and planets).
The documentary is a compilation of the many interviews Mr. Vaske has done over the years, asking various famous creative artists the same question "Why are you creative". Some of these were published earlier as a book and in a TV series. But this is the first time I saw them.
"Why are you creative?" This is a very unsettling question. Nobody knows the origins of creativity.
Even the best of the creative artists, when they are in the throes of creative process, forget about themselves and do not consciously take note of what they are going through.
Interesting how the Islamic sholars were able to appreciate Indian spiritual traditions by mapping them to the Sufi practices. The lotus heart (Anāhata Chakra) was mapped to Qalb in the Lataif-e-Sitta.
One of the most sacred passages in Quran is "Isra and Miraj", the ascent of Muhammad to heaven.
Muhammad visits 7 levels of the heavens, meeting with a Biblical prophet at each of the levels. I think this is a transmission of Yogic knowldge of 7 Chakras. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Hea…
An ancient transmission of this idea probably happened to Mesopotamia, which also mentions the 7 heavens. But probably a more recent update happened via Buddhist missionaries and monks from India, who followed these meditative practices.
In this thread, I will discuss about the undeciphered script of Saraswati-Sindhu civilization. Many scholars worked on this, each of them making some nice contributions. But I think they are missing an interesting clue, from the most unlikely of places: the Greek island of Crete.
One peculiar aspect of the Saraswati-Sindhu script is that the morphology of the letters is highly compositional in nature.
Some believe this refers to a syllabic script, with diacritical marks with vowels. Some believe this refers to numbers or grammatical inflections.
Some scholars thought these symbols were ideograms, like hieroglyphs of Egypt, with whom they share a resemblance. But an ideogram script (e.g, Chinese) requires 1000s of symbols, there are not that many here.
Some scholars think these were partly ideograms, partly syllabic.
Liquid imperialism is more effective. Solid imperialism needs to physically overpower a people, breaking their bones if necessary.
Liquid imperialism engulfs from all sides. Drowns them. No direction is free. The liquid routes through all crevices, even from opposing sides.
The thing with British occupation of India is that it was mostly liquid, even from the earliest stages. The country was occupied through currency manipulation. It was facilitated by a Mughal tax break.
There are many human cultures in the world. But we share 2 things: we all need to grow food, and we all live under the same sky.
In this thread, I will discuss various deities for agriculture: how they have similar names and how they are influenced by astronomical observations.
The Greek goddess for agriculture is Demeter, or the cow mother. Damos means a cow in Greek. Dimitra is a very popular name even today in Greece (as is Dimitry in Slavic cultures). Here, we see Dimitra with her children - the seasons. She is also known as Gaia, the earth.
The Roman equivalent is known as Ceres. This Latin root word is related to Sanskrit "Kṛshi" or agriculture. The image of Ceres is still present in words such as "cereal".
These goddesses for agriculture are loved by all - nobility and peasants alike.
In this thread, I will discuss a deadly serious issue: the fate of rivers. But with some speculative ideas in a light-headed vein.
This is Bhāgīrathi (the Ganges), the most sacred river in India. Perhaps, no other river has been venerated as much by humans all through history.
Due to global warming and severe changes in rainfall, as well as due to excessive water consumption and pollution, the fate of Bhāgīrathi is now an open question. Indians cannot imagine this river to run dry. But can it happen?
The answer may be in the very origin of Bhāgīrathi.
Perhaps unlike any river in the world, Indian culture remembers this river to have materialized during the memory of human civilization. This region was once supposed to be dry.
The Purāṇas say, owing to the penance of Bhagīratha, the Ganges came down to earth from the heavens.
In this thread, I will discuss about gardens and how they became sacred.
Gardens are termed Ārāma and Udyāna in Sanskrit. These words give clues about their origin.
This picture from the Saraswati Temple in Bāli beautifully shows the Hindu symbolism of water with the sacred.
Over the course of the invasions in the past few centuries, the Indian tradition of gardens was almost completely destroyed. Gardens need constant upkeep and maintenance. So they did not survive the period of colonial occupation, unlike other sacred architecture such as temples.
In order to understand the Indian tradition of gardening, we need to travel far behind in time, to when people knew no agriculture but survived as hunter-gatherers.
The first gardens were created as reliable plots of land where food (edible fruit, seeds etc.) can be collected.
In this thread, I will discuss about a Yogic model for information processing.
Are current user-interfaces encouraging us to consume information mindlessly? Does blocking information help? Can human consciousness be elevated by better interface design for applications? Etc.
The starting point for my thoughts is a question I asked myself sometime ago, about whether Shannon's definition of information as "surprise" is overlooking some basic biological framework of being human.