Rhetoric vs substance

Often, matters pertaining to society are couched in rhetoric.

When it comes to swaying the minds of people, rhetoric is often successful in the short term.

However, doing rigorous research and digging out the truth in an objective manner is what ultimately matters in the long run.

Culture

Culture is derived from a root indicating “to dwell” or to “to tend”. Sanskrit has the word, sanskriti , which indicates something which has been well formed or refined. These words indicate the extent to which a group of minds need to think and focus in order to bring about what eventually comes to be known as culture.

Tough

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

The above is a common saying.

It is interesting to note that the principle of antifragility points to the fact that tough experiences can themselves make one tough.

A relevant analogy is the fact that our bones get stronger with the application of minor stresses.

 

Debugging is fun

When it comes to solving programming problems the fun comes in when seeing some problem that makes little sense on first glance.

On spending time in investigating such problems, one occasionally runs into deep issues.

Other times, the problem turns out simpler than expected.

Either way, one never knows what to expect.

Multi faceted genius

In the life of Vidyaranya, one finds an example of genius in multiple fields, including politics, art, culture, dharma, spirituality, social reform etc.

He lived a rich life of over eighty years. His name, taken on after entering sannyasa (monastic order), translates to ‘forest of knowledge’. This provides an indication to his level of erudition. He took monastic vows during the last eight years of his life. He was known as Madhava in his pre-monastic life.

He was one of the visionary leaders behind the creation of the Vijayanagara Empire, which ruled a vast portion of India for more than three centuries between the 14th and 17th centuries. The empire held off invasions and established several cultural, legal and social trends which influence society even today.

Vidyaranya ably advised the founder brothers, Harihara and Bukka, who established and stabilized the kingdom in its initial days. He organized the realms of the kingdom and appointed regional heads from the royal family. He sent four of his own brothers to advise the regional heads.

Vidyranya also commissioned many works of art and literature and himself wrote a number of classic works in Sanskrit which was used as the common language in the multi-lingual kingdom.

In the realm of dharma and adhyatma (metaphysics and spirituality), he left his mark by composing classics such as Panchadashi.  After taking on monastic vows, he became the head of the Sringeri Peetham, a monastic and dharmic institution established by Adi Shankara.

From studying his life, it becomes apparent that his was a life of sacrifice and his goal was to serve in the interest of the general good of society.

Bringing the truth

The realities of life often get eclipsed with sentiment and the resulting weakening of resolve. It is at such moments that truth gets sidelined and a false sense of hopelessness prevails. Arjuna faced a situation like this when he felt overwhelmed at the sight of battle with his own cousins. Krishna reminds him of his duty to uphold the law or dharma. He instructs Arjuna about the reality that underlies all of creation.

mayādhyakṣheṇa prakṛitiḥ sūyate sa-charācharam
hetunānena kaunteya jagad viparivartate

This can be roughly translated to:

Working under my direction, the material energy brings into being all animate and inanimate forms, O son of Kunti. For this reason, the material world undergoes the changes (of creation, maintenance, and dissolution).

– Bhagavad Gita 9.10

 

Imagine code

Before a program is written, it needs to be seen fully in the mind’s eye

When one imagines code, how it should be aye

The first step has been taken in transforming a byte

To the wonderment of all, for automation to see the light

Investigation into nature

Mankind has found nature to be a source of endless fascination. Ever since the human brain evolved to a more advanced stage, humans have been playing around with and trying to figure out what nature is and how it works.

This sort of curiosity has been with us since before the agricultural revolution of ten thousand years ago, when agriculture became dominant as opposed to hunting. We find records of this kind of curiosity from ancient times.

In the three to five thousand years old Nasadiya Suktam, one finds expression given to this quest to understand where creation came from.

nāsa̍dāsī̱nno sadā̍sītta̱dānī̱m nāsī̱drajo̱ no vyo̍mā pa̱ro yat |

kimāva̍rīva̱ḥ kuha̱ kasya̱ śarma̱nnaṁbha̱ḥ kimā̍sī̱dgaha̍naṁ gabhī̱ram ||1||

na mṛ̱tyurā̍sīda̱mṛta̱ṁ na tarhi̱ na rātryā̱ ahna̍ āasītprake̱taḥ |

ānī̍davā̱taṁ sva̱dhayā̱ tadekaṁ̱ tasmā̍ddhā̱nyanna pa̱raḥ kiñca̱nāsa̍ ||2||

tama̍ āasī̱ttama̍sā gū̱ḻhamagre̍’prake̱taṁ sa̍li̱laṁ sarva̍mā i̱daṁ |

tu̱cchyenā̱bhvapi̍hitaṁ̱ yadāsī̱ttapa̍sa̱stanma̍hi̱nā jā̍ya̱taika̍ṁ || 3 ||

This can be roughly translated to:

Neither existence nor nonexistence was there. Neither matter nor space around

What covered it, where it was and who protected?

Why, that plasma, all pervading, deep and profound? ||1 ||

Neither death nor immortality was there. And there was neither day nor night

But for that breathless one breathing on its own

There was nothing else, surely nothing ||2||

It was darkness concealed in darkness. And an uninterrupted continuum of fluid

Out came in material form and shape

That one lying deep inside, on its own intent. ||3||

– Rig Veda, 10.129.1-3