Wake up now!

Thats what the first ray of sunlight tells us every morning. The biological clock of each individual is set to wake one from sleep after sufficient rest has been had. Throughout the day, when the sun is shining, it is said that one should not sleep. Oversleeping causes health problems as well as makes the person lazy.

Similarly, as long as there's ignorance of what bliss is, the world attracts one into darkness. As soon as one sees the first light of knowledge, one must give up worldly pursuits and start the spiritual journey. This is what is recommended by the Vedas, and encouraged by Shankara Bhagavatpada himself. Staying in the world beyond this moment and postponing the search for the Truth results in tamas and makes one's foundation in the world even stronger. Its like missing an opportunity when karma found itself zeroing down for the individual, but he chose to generate more karma instead. When the worldly dues are clear, you vanish; else, the opportunity vanishes!

Slumdog Beggar!

I know while everyone is hyping up Slumdog Millionaire (SM) due to 8 Oscars bagged by the film, I'm suggesting a better suited name for the film! The only reason that it won the Best Film Oscar seems to be because somebody has become a millionaire in this time of recession, more so a slum kid! :)

I think that the film wasn't worth the best film Oscar and if it was, then I pity the state of Hollywood considering how bad the movies had to be that competed with SM. The story was more of a mix from age old Salaam Bombay and a couple of other movies put together around a KBC show. I think it would have been much better if so many things had not been mixed up, especially a love story where it didn't belong. Also the lead's elder brother portrays an inconsistent character. Moreover, with a comment from the show's host that there's only one person that came this far called for some flashback about that person.

I haven't much to say about the background score and direction and sound engineering categories, but the song Jai Ho!, of all things winning an Oscar is really pathetic. Gulzar himself was shocked surely that his words for the song won an Oscar and went on to say that it is only because of AR Rahman's music score that Jai Ho! even got noticed. There have been tons of better songs that go unnoticed in the Oscar hype created around a movie.

On a related note, I think Lagaan and Taare Zameen Par were better movies compared to SM in the category of best film, but sadly they were not competing against each other and now I wonder who competed with SM... I got to see those movies.

Digital Fortress

After having finished DVC yesterday, I read Dan Brown's interview and other stuff on his website. Soon I was hunting Digital Fortress (DF). Somehow, his website content on DF wasn't very impressive, but nonetheless it was about cryptography. I managed to find myself a downloadable and started a few pages yesterday before dozing off. It started off pretty interesting, so I continued it this morning. I finished it a while back, but it is not half as good as DVC. Of course, it gets a lot interesting till midway, but Dan has it all over the place, mixing things up with too many flaws.

He stretches the story too far beyond the truth of North Dakota and DF. I think the story would have made quite okay without the twists that followed later. I was upset with the "Susan! Susan! Susan!" twist... it was really cheap. There would have still been flaws but the novel would have not crossed into the arena of desperate movies! Some of the flaws were too stupid to ignore: in a novel based on digital cryptography, the no. of bits of encryption for the longest time taken to crack a code were exaggerated, not to mention the diagnostic run bits were downright ridiculous, and to contrast these flaws, the practical codes that feature in examples and the storyline were child's play! To worsen things, the codes obvious to the reader are shown to be things that NSA giants are breaking heads over! And about the intelligent lots in the book, I'd some doubts... what about DF copies downloaded by many that was made publicly available before DF was cracked, tweaked and replaced by Strathmore? But thats much later.... how could Tankado who's so smart announce something publicly in such a way as to invite his killers (agreed, not NSA or software companies, but definitely terrorists) in the first place?

The following four words sum up the book: Jtal uona soyw tmfs! :)

The Da Vinci Code

Past two days, I'd been hooked on to the Dan Brown novel; yes, I know I read it late. All my life, I may have maybe read under 3 novels; they don't fall in my interest areas. Somehow, The Da Vinci Code (DVC) was different. Although I knew that when the book hit the stalls, I was neck deep in spiritual books and a friend had told me that there are better cryptography books than DVC. So I was never considering reading it. But after I saw Zeitgiest, went back to solving Klueless4, doing some IQ tests as a passtime activity last month and discussed ciphers with someone, the topic came back to DVC. So I searched for an online version, downloaded one, but I didn't feel like reading after trying once. Then I found out that my bro has the paperback. That gave me an opportunity on Monday to start off. The book was so gripping in Dan Brown's narrative, that I couldn't keep it till I finished it this noon. Then I went online to search more of his interviews and books. There's a good possibility that I might read Digital Fortress some time soon, of course if its equally good and I'm in the mood. :)

Bringing things together, again

In some of my recent debates during satsanga or those that I've seen on the lists, there have been a wee bit of common features. These have more to do with justifying something for the sake of ego or the sect, which is more of a fanatic approach than a logical one. Two topics that come to mind are based on a similar line, a line that says that if one thing is said as true then the other thing around is not! Well, not really, philosophy isn't maths, its logic.

One of the topics that came up is that Bhamati and Vivarana both talk of things not mentioned by the Bhagavatpada in the prasthAna trayA or elsewhere. Therefore, they conclude, that both these systems are contradictory to Shankara advaita vedAnta. Its a really ridiculous conclusion, especially based on something as complicated as avidyA. A system that answers students' questions and clarifies their doubts is what saMpradAya is. That saMpradAya doesn't not go against itself, especially Shankara; it is totally inline. How so? If a shishyA has a doubt on some topic that Shankara described, the saMpradAyic guru uses various examples to clarify such doubts and establish Shankara's words clearly. Another saMpradAyic guru might use some other example to clarify the same doubt. These examples themselves when compared with each other may seem contradictory, but in the context of explaining Shankara to different students, will not. The object of the bhAshyAs, upabhAshyAs, TIkAs and such commentaries is to clarify the main work and establish it clearly. As long as that is done, those works have an extremely useful place in the saMpradAya, in fact so much so as to keep the tradition itself alive. If those are held to be going against the main work because they dared to clarify what the main work said, in words that some category of followers understood, its not only a wrong conclusion, but its also an arrogant one.

There's a book that goes on quoting from dharma shAstras such as Apastamba sutrAs and manu smRti and weighing them against Vedas and concluding that although the former claim to be based on the latter, they say of things not said by Vedas, and so they go against the Vedas; ergo, they must be written by people who hadn't even studied or refered to Vedas! Now, thats not only harsh, its also based on ridiculous logic. Forget the concluding blow and consider the logic that leads to it. There's an example of Apastamba sutrA and Manu 4.220 that asserts that food given by a physician should not be eaten. Against these, Ayurveda and other medicinal sciences are weighed as being a part of Vedas, or vedAngas and physicians commanding respect. Both may be valid statements. Just because Vedas don't mention (or there's no trace of Vedas saying) food from physicians should not be eaten and that shruti says that the knowledge of medicine and the one who has knowledge of medicine commands respect, it doesn't mean that dharma shAstrAs are contradictory to Vedas since they say food given by a physician should not be eaten. They are totally different domains, unrelated statements. eg, Purusha sUkta praises shudrAs as being the feet of the Lord; without them, not even brAhmanAs can stand as heads. But Vedas themselves say that food from shudrA is not to be eaten. They are not contradictory statements at all, they are in fact, unrelated. Such conclusions are equivalent to our godforsaken reservation systems, that go on to erroneously conclude that since a poor student (ridiculously further justified on the basis of caste and not on the basis of economical poverty) didn't have the social opportunity to learn, he should be allowed to get in and pass through with lower percentages, multiple exams, etc! A woman, especially a mother, has a place of annadAtri or even annapoorNeshwari during all days, but dharma shAstrA forbids food cooked or served by a woman in her menses. This example is just to prove that even on the same topic, there are different dhArmic bindings related to one person and field. How then can two totally different topics related to one person and field be mixed up and weighed against each other?

Awakening dreams

(Originally written on 01 Feb 2009)

Yes, there are some times when I wonder in the dream if its real or a dream, almost as much as I wonder if this waking world is a dream or a reality. And I may have said it earlier with an example which I'd be repeating here because these dreams are my happy moments. I've to wake up from these dreams only to crosscheck the theory I experienced in the dream; the dream mostly acting as a lab for the theory that got built in the waking hours of life.

During the dream, if I'm wondering if I'm awake or am I in a dream is very much spiritual for me however grossly worldly the dream be. There was one which I remember blogging about wherein I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and wonder if I should have a bath too since I'm already awake. Then I go on to think that its not early morning but late into the night and I should sleep more. But then I take a shower anyways thinking that its a dream and my body is still asleep and it won't get drenched by this bathing; and so it was a dream indeed!

A few months later from that first intense dream on the topic, I travelled to Rishikesh. I remember debating with myself whether or not to carry my laptop along since I'm hardly going to use it. During my Rajdhani travel from Mumbai to Delhi, I was up in the middle of the night again and somehow not feeling so sleepy, decide to boot up my laptop. Since I was travelling alone, I also started wondering if it was really safe to flash my laptop around an unknown train crowd, most of which is sleeping, by the way! Then I continue anyways because I recall that earlier justification of not carrying the laptop in the first place, meaning that I was in a dream, yet again! I think the laptop as well as my sitting up on the upper side berth with a laptop scene vanished that moment. It was more like a puzzle you solve, that is no longer a puzzle after you've solved it. You start to laugh at the fact that you've been dumb enough not to see the puzzle through earlier on.

After both the above dreams, I did realize that this thinking, and more than that the experience of such dreams, needs to be taken forward into the sAdhana. I mentioned that to Swami Poornabodhanandaji at Rishikesh and said that unfortunately I've not been able to carry it out into practical sAdhana. He was quite supportive and saw it the other way around; he said that "these dreams have occured because of your sAdhana"! That was really very supportive of him; I felt immensely pleased.

There are slightly different type of dreams that play a spiritual role. These dreams come in the form of a samAdhi feel. Its like the state after an intense meditation, where you feel at the top of the bliss that you've ever experienced, all at once throughout the body, mind... the entire existence. This feel of lightly floating, kind of a bright glow around you with the eyes closed, without a difference of the outsides and insides of your body, makes you want to stay in it for as long as possible, if not for ever. Such a feel occurs in the dream too at times. It may not be necessarily a dream where I'm meditating, because I hardly ever do that during waking either. However, it usually occurs with a complete ignorance of it being a dream or complete knowledge of it being a dream. Today was different. Thats right, today, not tonight. These days, I waste my nights in front of the computer, watching movies, or rolling around on the bed since I can't sleep much at night and instead catch up on deep sleeps during the late morning hours and after noon.

Today afternoon's sleep came bundled with such a dream; where I knew not if I was sleeping or waking! Such dreams present a scenario where you're sleeping in the very place that you'd actually slept. So you're sleeping in the dream the very place that you're sleeping. It may also be that you're actually half-awake and think that that those half-sleepy moments are a dream. I just can't tell which is which until I wake up fully and crosscheck with someone who had been around during my sleep of what actually happened. Only then would I know if it was a dream or not. Interestingly today, I can't tell how much of it was a dream and how much wasn't! I know some of the things that really didn't happen, such as my blabbering something consciously in the dream knowing that my aunt is witnessing and her commenting on it. I seemed to know that I was blabbering but I'd no control over it since I was appreciating the state I was in. It was a praise of that superconscious light samAdhi like feeling of bliss. I crosschecked with my aunt if I did blabber, she said no. Now I know during that dream, I was feeling immense super-meditative bliss and I knew that I was lying down in that bed on an afternoon. I also feared that if I moved my body from that uncomfortable angle of sleep posture, I might lose the blissful state. I struggled to remain in that state for a long time, just like I'd have done in waking hours if I were meditating and feeling such bliss. Then I did fall asleep again. I know not if that was a dream, or a reality. I can't differentiate if that blissful feel came as a part of the dream in which I was sleeping, or whether I was half-awake, or fully awake, because I do know now that I mumbled at that very moment of bliss as part of the dream, where I witnessed my aunt's commenting on that mumbling and she refuses to have done so, which confirms it to be a dream! But its all so vivid still, the bliss... ah, the bliss.

In today's satsanga, I did mention this dream and that that does give me some support about there still being hope for me, be it however small. Ghabriji very beautifully quotes Bhagavan Ramana on that: who are you to judge whether or not you're progressing in the spirtual path?


The world has always been controlled by a few who had the power to control it, less by choice (of the people) and more by imposition. This power can variously be seen in terms of knowledge possessed, education, experience, strength, but more than anything now, its just the power of money. The desire to rule the world or universes for that matter can be seen even from mythological stories, down to histories of yesteryear. Alexander, the (so-called) Great, tried to take over the world in a series of hysteric invasions against the wish of his own philosophical teacher. That streak of fanatic violence got polished over a period of time and became more political. The governments of all countries are now only a front for an underrunning current of such power-hungry rich. These are business giants, royal families, who understand only the language of money and who would do anything to multiply their riches. For them, money supercedes people's lives and therefore, a war is one of the most profitable business. A close second is religion and although they themselves may or may not believe in any religion, they would definitely want you to believe in one that they created for you. Such religions are created for you to give up your freedom of following a particular faith of your choosing and instead follow the one thats imposed on you. The rules of such a religion are shaped up to make you support their plan which of course is not known to you: the struggle for money and power again.

Most of what I say here is in one way or the other covered in, a lot of it even inspired from, a documentary called Zeitgeist. Although all of it may not be authentic, it surely will make you see and angle you've missed all these years.