Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wisdom from Gujarat

The tiny state of Gujarat that sits north of Maharashtra, is home to Mahatma Ghandi. Literature from Gujarat is quite rich and contains significant quantities of travelogues, observational humor and rustic wisdom. It has relatively fewer saints, vis-a-vis the state of Maharashtra. When I was forwarded some couplets/aphorisms in the regional language of Gujarati, I was pleasantly surprised at their depth and could not resist translating them and share it. Who ever compiled these, saved the best one for the last:

Measured words and measured fire
Tie the ties of wedlock
Excessively use the former
And the bonds will catch the latter

Earthly life is akin to earth
Shower it with tears too often
And surely it turns to muck

Life is to be cherished
As one would value ice
As the past and future of both are fluid,
only the 'present' is tangibly real

Some questions will continue to persist
The wealthy ones will keep on asking:
"What can I do to stir some hunger in me?"
The poor ones will keep on asking:
"What will I do when the hunger stirs in me?"

Life, you art irony
The day laborer lifts five bags of wheat,
but cannot affort a single
The money lender can buy all five,
but lift not even one

And finally...

If life ceases, but soul's desires do not:
Death has surely come
If the desires cease, but death is still afar,
Liberation has surely come

Friday, June 5, 2009

Who is your favorite Greek Tragedian? Or the Saga of the Duex ex Machina

Vedic lore has less heroes than herioc Godesses. It does not have logical situations where rational negotiations have given resolution. And this is not just written dramatics, as in Greece, but in almost every challenge that faced human existence.

The divine drama that almost always gets played out is:

Act 1: Trouble brews when powerful entities gain blessings and start their reign of terror on earth.

Act 2: The reign of terror takes the pain to the extreme and the troubles of earthly life become quite unbearable. When humanity is unable to resolve the situation, they begin praying for divine intervention, which acts in a sure shot way. An incarnation which brings about a long term solution to the miseries of the populace

Act 3: The battle for earth begins between the forces of good and evil. The forces of good more often than not lead by a female incarnation of the divine, which prevails, establishing peace, justice and happiness for generations to come.

This three act play of the divine always depends, and is orchestrated by the Goddess divine, the duex de machina.

While the Greek-Romantics rejected the use of divine intervention as a plot device in their story telling, it was very much a fact of life. The Greek tragedian Euripidis was criticized for overuse of duex ex machina for giving resulutions to the story and so was the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. But real battles for the earth were always resolved by none other than this phenomenon.

Euripidis, you just became my favorite Greek tragedian*.

* as if I know many others....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Star Trek: Destruction by Alcohol

Alcohol and its effects on humans are well explored in the episode "The Naked Time", and how. A drunk Irishman from the Enterprise crew turns off the ships engine as its orbiting a collapsing planet and thats when the fun begins. The episode contains gems such as, a shirtless Sulu wandering the hallways with a sword, Scotty saying "I cannot change the laws of physics", traveling backwards in time and other geeky astrophysics fun. And best of all? Discovering the formula to travel back in time, how exciting.

Star Trek: The Original Series / The Naked Time

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Star Trek: Posession

Star Trek: The Original Series was excellent for taking on fringe questions like race, greek gods and in the case of Episode "Operation Annhilate", posessions. The episode explores the parasitic mechanism, effect on hosts (physical & psychological-behavorial), complexity of curing and means of working around it. Must watch!

Star Trek: The Original Series / Operation Annihilate

I will let you watch the episode and conclude how close the writers come to the "cure" for posessions in this story. Its fun to watch how Spock shows his failing resistence to the parasite posession with twitches. Credits to writer

Monday, May 11, 2009

Self Realization better than "Happiness Surgery"?

Attending a talk on gaming in education, I heard the keynote speaker mention the well known link between the vagus nerve and emotions. Game-designers want to add features and events which will result in vagal stimulation - i.e., send "happy waves to the brain".

Here is a small animation to help you place the nerve within us:

Searching for more information, there seemed to be two main applications in the medical field (a) An FDA approved Treatment for depression when "all else has failed" and (b) Treatment for overeating. The common theme here is satisfaction and contentment, rather than happiness and sadness, IMHO.

For the depression application, long story short, this is an FDA approved treatment option, applied usually when most treatments have not worked (Mayo Clinic). The 'aha-moment' for me came when I saw the info-graphic showing how this is achieved - through a pace-maker. The location of the pace-maker in the graphic made it even simpler to understand:

Vagus nerve stimulation at Mayo Clinic

In Sahaja Yoga, the method to achieve balance, harmony and joy is based on awakening the spirit, "self-realization". Sahaja means born within. Born with us is the heart with the spirit within. In it's awakened state the spirit would keep us in joy, which is the characteristic. However there is a disconnect, caused by imbalance which stops the pulsations of the heart from acting on our central nervous system and transferring the joy of living. This blanket of darkness, called ego, when exceeds it's boundries, envelopes the heart and literally becomes the kill-joy.

Sahaja Yoga explicitly connects oneself with one's spirit, bringing the qualities and contributions of the human spirit onto the central nervous system. Before implaning a battery driven vagus-stimulating pacemaker, I would highly recommend trying the option of self-realization - awakening the spirit to reconnect and send those "happy pulses" from the heart to the vagus nerve and eventually the brain.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and I do not play one on this blog!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

ABC Tropical Queensland Interviews Vinola Bandi on Sahaja Yoga

The "Mornings with Kim Kleidon" show on ABC Tropical interviews Australian-Malaysian Sahaja practitioner, Vinola about her experience with Sahaja Yoga. Vinola explains the basics of Sahaja Yoga meditation, i.e. energy centers. Listen to the whole interview here:

Integrating with the Kundalini

Mar 31, 2009

alternate listening link (in case the original web-page is not available)

(alternate audio, if the one above does not work)