Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Am I free? - An inquiry by a singer

It is said "every man (or woman) is born FREE". The new born child is free to do whatever it can, though it can do very little. It is also totally dependent on others, mainly mother, for its basic needs, protection and perhaps even survival. The dependence of the child on others gradually reduces as it grows in to adulthood, but simultaneously its freedom gets curtailed as several restrictions are put by the other members of the family, the society, the state, etc., the lawmakers in general. There has been an on going tussle between the people who make rules, those who want to abide by the rules and those who want 'freedom' from the rules that appear tyrannical, inconvenient or just needless. The rules, regulations, conventions, laws etc. also get changed over time and are replaced with new set of rules.  It is a dynamic situation.

There was an interesting discussion on the freedom of an artiste. It has nothing to do with the society or the state or their rules and regulations, law and order etc. but all within the domain of art, of giving expression to ones urge or feelings in the form of his art. A very fine point indeed.  

To start with the fundamentals, whether an artistes has any specific purpose in his mind? Has set some goals in his life? Or he has just an urge to express! Whether he is working only for his own satisfaction or wants an applause from others? whether from the connoisseur or the average or large audiences. He has to choose his priority. Again the question is, if he produces something that people do not like, he may not get the platform to exhibit his works. The artiste in this discussion wants to remain with in the Carnatic classical music and wants it to take to the masses in slums, but the usual audience wants him to sing the classical music as they are used to listen and appreciate. So he chooses to please the audience or at least the organizers and also cry for freedom, complaining about restrictions. His dilemma appears to be he is not able to connect with right people. The people whom he wants to connect do not understand or appreciate his skills or his form of music and he feels restricted while playing for the gallery. However, a very famous artiste is able to exhibit what common viewers may feel trash as great pieces of art and gets away with it, perhaps the viewers have a different perception of art.  

I think the contradiction or confusion is with in the mind of the artiste or the viewer or the audience, about expectation versus actual.

Interesting discussion on this blog led to further insight in the life of Mr. T N Krishna, the notable Carnatic classical singer, impact of technical progress on art and the different view points of different listeners.

"Ravindra Apte"  wrote on On Jul 16, 2017 7:05 PM
From Ravindra Apte

Pune is having an excellent commendable tradition of having memorial lectures. One such lecture is in the memory of Prof. Ram Bapat. Which I have attended for last few years. Another not to miss lecture is in the memory of late music director and teacher  Bhaskar Chandawarkar.  The topics chosen are truly from liberal arts. 

On 15th July there was the Ram Bapat memorial lecture by Carnatic singer T M Krishna. The title of the lecture being " Am I free? - An inquiry by a singer". I had no idea of what he may speak, but generally I thought it could be on present atmosphere of tolerance / intolerance and freedom of speech and expression.  The fresh clue being the order by the film certification board,  of beeping out the words "gou" "Gourakskak" , "Modi" and "Gujarat " from the documentary on Amrtya Sen.  Well, the singer's inquiry was far beyond it. 

I don't have much knowledge of music as such and far less of Carnatic music. But I do recognise  a good music and no doubt enjoy it. I know there are a few connoisseur of Carnatic music in our group and hope some one may illuminate the topic further. 

The lecture was preceded  by a video clip of T M Krishna's "Chennai Poromboke Paadal ft". Here is a link to it. 

       Chennai Poromboke Paadat 
( In the course of lecture Krishna said use of the Chennai Tamil in pure classical Raaga itself is considered scandalous. )

Krishna said though both the Hindustani and Carnatic musicians claim they have got more freedom than the other school, in reality the music itself is bounded in different frames of socio-political, cultural and aesthetic. Music is intangible it has to be only felt and so each individual perceives it differently. This individual perception is true in other forms of art such as painting and theater. But the adjectives of pure or divine  are used with only music. Once the concept of purity comes there will be a  polluter also.  Who is he / she? The association with divinity brings in its own restrictions. In fact right from the initiation in music one is put in a atmosphere which conditions you in a system without your knowledge. Carnatic music is pure brahmanical  manifestation embedded in divine bhakti expecting certain bhava to be present in the kriti. The artist knows in  which particular way of presentation,  the audience will feel the bhava and he simply manipulates as if he is pressing certain buttons. He may fail on certain times to press the buttons in proper sequence and that is the bungled up concert.  The artist's desire to listen to the applause of the audience controls the presentation. There are gender and cast biases in musicians.  

One way of getting freedom will be to abandon the classical music, but how one can experience it staying within the system of classical music? In the process of seeking freedom one will shake the very foundation and that is dangerous.  Few persons have capacity to change the system, but the new system also slowly evolves its norms and conventions ultimately resulting in taboos. Essentially an artist's quest for freedom keeps him away from becoming a performing machine. 

At the end there was a delightful dialogue with Sadanand Menon, well known critique. The program ended with Krishna singing a Tamil kriti invoking praise of Allha. 

I found the lecture interesting. Considering other art forms such as the western paintings it was restricted for a long time to decorative biblical art form of churches. The Greek and Roman sculptures had no place for common man not having the ideal physique or an old or disabled person. No doubt the art was great and till today treated as master pieces. Did the artists of that time felt their freedom is restricted? It took the age of renaissance to liberate the art from the shadow of church. The impressionism movement really brought in fresh air of colours and subjects. It was followed in quick succession by cubism and abstract art forms. Was it not the quest for freedom? I think freedom is dynamic it has to explore and experiment and to feel the freedom every generation, every artist every person has to come out of the frame which denies it. 

Ravindra Apte 

 Ashok Malhotra   On 16 July 2017 at 23:17    
Sh Apte's small treatise on divine classical  music and some of its connotations with other art forms shows another of his veritable talents, in this case inspired by the presentation of TM Krishna on Carnatak Music. 
   His attempt to define freedom of expression within the tight boundaries and limits of the classical music was not very much unlike the Ghandhiji's "Experiments with Truth". 
   Though I felt a few contradictions in his paragraph "Music is intangible, it has to be only felt and so each individual perceives it differently. This individual perception is true in other forms of art such as painting and theater. But the adjectives of pure or divine  are used only with music." 
    So, if there are individual perceptions possible, the freedom is inbuilt.
    Moreover, though I am familiar with the "fine art forms" expressions like "pure music" is rarely heard. 
   Leaving aside the popular folk music or the Lok Sangeet, that in itself is boundless and timeless, the Indian Classical music system is considered one of the most advanced n developed in the World. The forms n themes of the Western Classic Music are also much more complex and expansive, that have their own Church music, Operas,  the Concerto, Symphony, Sonata the mixed Vocal and Instrumental styles etc. but, so far as I know, the freedom of styles in any music form, without distorting it's characters are always encouraged. Modern composers in fact lay down their own standards. Thanks
Ashok Malhotra
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 "Ravindra Apte" wrote On Jul 17, 2017 12:12 PM
Dear Ashok Malhotra,

I agree with you that the folk music is boundless. In fact all forms of classical music be it Hindustani, Carnatic or Western are distilled from the folk music. Intentional sophistication is introduced to cater for the so called aesthetic views of the privileged class. In fact the present style of Carnatic classical is evolved from Harikatha style from Tanjavur. 

When I mentioned adjectives of " pure and divine" for music, I was referring to the purity of raaga, which is sacrosanct in classical performance. You say " if there are individual perceptions  possible, the freedom is inbuilt." But this freedom is of the audience and not of the singer or performer.  Would the desire of the audience to perceive the music in a certain way only put restrains on the artist? This can happen in other forms of arts. I think that is what happened with M F Hussain when certain section of viewer desired to perceive certain forms in a particular style only. This perception about an artist or an art form make result in a peculiar situation. It happened with Hussain only. Let me tell about it. 

It happened donkeys years back. There was a well advertised exhibition opening in Jahangir Art Gallery. It was of M F Hussain. I admire Hussain for the poster style layout of this painting, the evocative bold brush strokes and his explosive color combination. Naturally I planned a visit to the gallery. The exhibition was titled " Abundance of White". It was occupying both halls of the Gallery. Those of us who visited would never forget  the exhibition. 

When I entered the hall, I got the impression that I have come on wrong day, may be one day earlier of opening day. The hall was littered with old news papers, packing straws and long lengths of white  cloth was hanging haphazardly, some of the cloth was folded on the ground also. When I inquired, I was told, the exhibition is open and what I am seeing is the exhibition. Same story was true in the second hall also. One had to thread his path through the dumped items. I tried to decode the presentation but in vain. Other spectators were also confused and trying to make sense. I found one lady reading the scattered news papers to find some clue some where. Then I realised I am taken for a ride, there is nothing mysterious about the exhibit. I was furious for a while. Then I reflected on what I am furious for. I came with a mirage of perception of an art form and when the mirage is shattered I find my sensitivities attacked? What right do I have to hold on to a mirage in the first place?  

There was a gentleman who was literately fuming and needed to vent. He struck a conversation with me. He said he came all the way from Dombivili to see this heap of rubbish? We cursed and abused Hussain. After a while we reflected Hussain enjoyed his freedom of expression, the art gallery enjoyed its freedom to allow its halls to be used as dumping ground and we enjoyed our freedom to curse and abuse the artist. What we are complaining of? Actually we should thank Hussain from bringing us out in the vibrant environment of art gallery, else we would have spent the afternoon lazing on a couch.  We had a hearty laugh and proceeded to enjoy a nice cup of coffee.   

Ravindra Apte 
Ashok Malhotra  Jul 17 at 12:52 PM
Apte ji,
  Thanks. I knew the half chink in my argument but hoped it will escape the scrutiny. (un)Fortunately it didn't.
   In the Art world the Artist-listener-critic is one entity, intertwined. Shakespeare, Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci or MF Hussain, in fact all artists are still being interpreted in as many ways as the critics as to what is their creation about. That's the only degree of freedom available to any artist. No art form can survive without the freedom of expressions. China's artists e.g. Li Weiwei had to suffer extreme ignomity n leave his nation at the expense of his freedom. Salman Rushdie had to explain his isolation pains in his book "Joseph Anton". There are many more cases n history is full of them.
   I would conclude by saying that at least in India the Artists enjoy as much professional freedom as available any where in the world or as they can afford, amply visible in their yearly jumbhirees at the cultural festivals. Thanks.
Ashok Malhotra

Anand Ghare   Jul 17 at 5:41 AM
Ravindra has asked a question "how one can experience freedom while staying within the classical music system?"
I think the answer lies in perception of the word 'freedom'. I personally enjoy living with certain amount of discipline, while others feel otherwise. Similarly musicians enjoy singing within the rules of Sur, Taal and Laya (सुर,ताल,लय) and the listeners like the enchanting classical music it produces. There is still abundant amount of freedom available to the artiste, as we can hear the same Raga sung or played on instrument by different artistes in innumerable ways, within the framework of classical music.
Anand Ghare

Asim Ghosh  Jul 17 at 7:50 AM
The term "KHAYAL"(Drut as well as Vilambit) in Hindustani Classical, implies the full freedom of the performer, keeping  a few boundary conditions viz:particular notes (out of 7 + 5=12) to be /not to be used,. ascending/descending style, at the back of mind.
Rest everything is in the domain of the render , his /her lineage, own style, invention/discovery,etc.etc.
Hence the term -KHAYAL.

-Asim Ghosh.

Ravindra Apte : Jul 17 at 10:27 AM
Dear Anand Ghare and Asim Ghosh,

I think Krishna has no issues with the confines of Sur, Taal and Laya of classical music. That is why he is perfectly within the structure when he renders the composition on environmental issue in Chennai Poromboke. Normally such issues are rendered in ballad style by activists in a demonstration or a street corner meeting. Krishna wants it to bring it in the sophisticated confines of a concert hall of privileged audience. His problem is in his desire to connect the Carnatic classical music not only to devotional aspect of human nature but to the other issues which directly affect the humanity. Apparently Krishna finds he is restrained in doing so.   

As for the much talked about the freedom of singer to develop the raaga in his own free flowing style, Krishna had a different perception. He said as a musician I can tell with full confidence that there is nothing spontaneous in a concert. All the moves are rehearsed again and again, in fact he said the musician listens to the expected applause in his head while rehearsing, which spurs him on and on. So where is the freedom? 

I think, Krishna is seeking freedom from such confines and not from the strict discipline of Carnatic classical music.   

Ravindra Apte 
Asim Ghosh - Jul 17 at 11:56 AM

"...........Nothing spontaneous in the concert .All the moves are rehearsed............."

Just a second opinion:

Rehearsal/practice {sadhna}is the only way( marg )for any "To be acquired" skill, & there cannot be any short cut for that.

The saying goes -- Stage performance {showroom} always remains 60 to70% of rehearsal (workshops) for even apt performers too.

Surely, for beginners ,it is definitely 100% mugging or "Ratta".

The way any student for any subject viz:Science(Physics, Chemistry,Biology),Maths, Literature, has to practice (rehearse) continuously to acquire the mastery/confidence so  that any unseen problem/question can be tackled with previously learnt formulae or technique,within the stipulated time, to come out of exam hall will flying colors.

The same way in pure  Classical performance ,in time {"SOM"} has to be returned /honoured.In between, some rehearsed some extempore nuances are supposed to come.
The more the mastery ,more of latter variety is bound to come ,provided inner quality is in abundance in  the performer.

Just my thoughts,
No compulsion to agree/disagree.

-Asim Ghosh.
K.Natarajan <knatarajans@gmail.com>
To npcil_retirees@googlegroups.com Jul 17 at 11:09 AM
AM I FREE  is a profound philosophic topic, definitely not confined to traditional music alone.
T M Krishna's qualms about carnatic music being confined to a particular community, in the name of preserving purity, though himself coming from the same elite community,, and kept within the narrow bounds of Bhakthi as the sole purpose and within very strict grammar discipline, are well known.
The award of international honour to him was also viewed with suspicion of  some hidden agenda  by the purists!

While dealing with a topic, already dealt with in our group, some reference to the old will be helpful for continuity and reassurance to the sender that it was read!

In the midst of the flood of topics, I recall , and give below, a

quote from mail dated Feb 4
" In this context of award winners,
sometimes international awards are given with some political axe to grind.
The Magseyse  award given to  T M Krishna, a celebrated carnatic musician from South India, did kindle some murmurs amongst the traditionalist upper class.

He comes from an orthodox brahmin family, still resented the great art of Carnatic music  being a sort of  legacy  amongst that group only. He tried to carry the great Carnatic music to the slums of Chennai, bordering on blasphemy!

An extremely talented artist, with also some strong anti conventional views intendering carnatic music, the latest is his giving a full performance in a Chennai city bus!

I am giving the link below for your enjoyment of this satire on tradition!
With warm regards,

https://www.facebook.com/ Chennaites/videos/ 1217723084986417/   "  unquote

 views may differ on perception of the word 'freedom'. vs  'living with certain amount of discipline',  opens up a fresh vista for discussion!

With warm regards,

Ravindra Apte - Jul 17 at 12:47 PM
Dear Shri K Natarajan,

I was not exposed to the music of T M Krishna. Yes his Magseyse award was mentioned in his introduction. During the lecture Krishna himself informed that he comes from a privileged family background and he has seen success early in his musical  career and that too with much ease. 

Many creative artists suffer from this syndrome of lack of freedom. I think it is a question of channelising the creative urge.

Ravindra Apte   

C. V. S. Sudhir Babu : Jul 18 at 8:33 PM
Only mother nature has total freedom of expression, nothing else, in her creation. Only human beings are given more degrees of freedom. Civilizations and cultures develope with an agreed common ristrictions on degrees of freedom.
If one person says his work is freedom of expression, the other towards whom it is aimed also has the same right.
Ravindra Apte : Jul 20 at 9:31 PM
Dear Anand Ghare,

Interesting to take the topic to a blog. I would like to add on the following.

Further on T M Krishna and the issue of artistic freedom.

On accidentally stumbling on the artistic achievement of Krishna, I searched and listened to his music. I listened to the rendering of "Krishna nee begane baro ..." the Kannada composition. I have listened it from different singers, all are charming. But in Krishna's singing there is deep pathos and yearning which is palpable. My admiration of his art increased. Then came his kind of an interview in of all the magazines " National Geographic - Traveller (India)". (For those who are not in the know - National Geographic the well known, more than 125 years old magazine, a perpetual delight to read any time any issue,(incidentally I am subscriber for last 40 years), started a sister publication Traveller. Its India specific version started some 5 years back. I am subscribing it for last four years.)  The magazine has destinations in India which you have not even heard of, along with the other popular destinations and how to organise your trip to those destinations etc. Of course it has other international travel articles and destinations.

The July 2017 issue of NG Traveller is a special one, its 5th anniversary issue and the theme is " I Travel Therefore I Am". (A tongue in cheek parody on the philosophical question). There are many interviews of not so well known travelers and travel writer. T M Krishna is one of them.

In 2010 on a trek in Milam glacier in Himalaya's he was hooked on to climbing. He found a climbing partner in Badri Vijayaraghavan and his journey to high mountains began. He first climbed Stok Kangri (20187 ft) in Ladakh. Then a 20000 ft peak Huayna Potosi in Bolivia, Mount Elbrus in Russia and planning to climb Cotopaxi in Ecuador this season. All these peaks are popular in non professional climbers. They are well guided and well arranged. They are exotic and pricey destinations. The point is he chose to spend his fortune earned in singing to get the high on a mountain summit.

On climbing he says " I think climbing is both a science and art. The art aspect is in the very act of climbing; mentally it requires clarity, discipline, acute awareness and copious endurance to deal with the fatigue that almost always seeps in. And then of course, there  is the technique of climbing - how you walk, how you rest - which is the science of it". What he does when he reaches the mountain top? He does what he knows best SINGS.

To whom or for whom he is singing? How do you compare his singing on the mountain top to his singing in Chennai bus? All artists crave for appreciation, to be always in limelight and for that echo "You are great". They are tormented by the thought of loosing the top notch position if they have one or how to get it by any means if they don't. This pressure is so huge for some of them that they fall for additions and substance abuse and squander the gift they have. Is Krishna singing on the mountain top to these disturbing demons of his to lull them or to the mother nature or to himself telling the glory of music?

I myself have reached some of the mountain summits. As the first wave of exhilaration of achievement passes, I become aware of the business of climbing down. It is more likely to fall into stupor after the exhaustive climb. I try to keep my other companions active and persuade them to start climbing down after a reasonable time. To keep a normal breathing pattern is hard at 20000 ft. How does Krishna manages to sing? Does he have the same control on his aalap and taan? I think it does not matter to Krishna, he is in fact  listening to the perfect ideal music, draped in glowing bhava and dancing in divine rhythm in his own voice.

I am impressed by his mature thoughts on climbing and I quote " I'm also always intrigued by what is perhaps the most interesting thing about the process of climbing - you don't run while climbing; you take short steady steps and never stop. Nobody is ever in hurry; climbing reinforces the idea of slowness. It's about focusing on every step, every moment. It's about being measured and consistent. It's a lot like life; you just have to keep going and as long as you do that, the summit will come." With this sort of frame of mind I am sure Krishna will seek what ever freedom he is seeking, I wish him that.

Ravindra Apte      
Ashok Malhotra : Jul 20 at 10:09 PM
   Amazing story about Sh T M Krishna, in the wonderful words of Sh Apte. Today I feel even more honoured to be in this group n come across such real life persons and their passions.
    Mountains have a magic of their own and once you are trapped in that, it assumes the form of a life long passion. आप्टे जी, यह दिल मांगे मोर Thanks
Ashok Malhotra
Ravindra Apte <ravindra.apte@gmail.com>
To npcil_retirees@googlegroups.com Jul 21 at 4:05 PM
From Ravindra Apte,

Dear All,

I think, I am really getting snared in this thing of Artist's Freedom. The only way to get freedom from it is to write about it. Fortunately Anand has provided a perfect getaway vehicle of his Blog and there are friends like Ashok and Kishore to encourage me to use it. I am going to cut the threads of this snare one at a time.

Technology and innovation

Remember the era of gramophone? When it first appeared on scene many were excited that now the music of the maestro is going to be stored for posterity. Only hitch was they have to perform within three minutes. Many of the masters of Hindustani music refused to subject to this tyranny. Their style was different could not be exhibited in the ubiquitous three minutes record. May be they were not convinced of the fidelity of the records to reproduced their music. Still many of them were lured to the tyranny of three minutes, may be for the money associated with it, may be secretly they wished to leave their permanent mark in the court yard of the musical  heritage.

But do you really think the three minutes record really show case the music of the maestros of the begone era? My uncle, who was an ardent fan of Balgandharv, the legendary singer and stage actor of Marathi theater, refused to listen to the records. Agreed the records were recorded when Balgandharv was in his declining period. But that was not the point. My uncle's objection was that the three minutes music, contaminates his memory of the all night legendary performance and the music that he still listens in his head. So were not the legendary maestros right in declining to record their music? Did we compromised their freedom of choice by alluring them?  And as for the fidelity of music have you never heard how the hand cranked gramophone sounds when not running at the speed at which it should? In my childhood I have played with it and got scolded, Was it an urge to experiment or mutilate? To day I do the same thing with my Sony Sound Forge  software, in this era of digital hifi music. Not only me in my crude way, but the top rated music studios are doing the same thing in the name of creativity or enhancement of the musical quality.

The freedom is never free. It has to be earned and guarded may be some times with denial of the choices or some sacrifice. I remember my first encounter with the baul music of Bengal. I was travelling in a train in the sleeper compartment to Guwahati. As usual the compartment was full and crowded. It was approaching evening and the tired passengers were engaged in listless conversations. A white dhoti clad baul singer entered the compartment with his ek tara. Soon with his melodious voice he transported the listless passengers to a different level. The simplicity of his music was elevating his devotion and yearning. I was spellbound. At the end of the song, one of my co-passenger, a Bengali Babu exposed to the baul music, requested for a particular song to be sung. Though the baul singer was singing for alms, he politely declined saying that the song is not suitable at this time in this environment. For him his freedom of choice was more important and he guarded it with a painful sacrifice.  

Ravindra Apte
Ashok Malhotra <kohsaartohlam@gmail.com>
To Retirees Association Jul 21 at 8:32 PM
Privacy and Freedom in the new age:
   An excellent comparison to drive home your point on limitations of freedom Apteji, illustrating the snaring and shackling of Balgandharv vs the wanton n abound freedom enjoyed by the baul singer.
   Yes, there is nothing like absolute freedom. Mostly we sneer at the man made shackles on our freedom, that are well understood as explained to us by the legislations n the society.
    But there are also natural shackles as well as Godly ones. One may say where's the boundary between the two. As I understand the natural ones are those that normally won't happen being against the scientific laws how so hard you may try or wish for. The Godly ones are those that may or may not happen inspire of us and their understanding are beyond our present comprehension.
   There is an excellent ongoing debate  in the SC on "whether our right to privacy is fundamental or not".
    Invasion of one's Privacy, that was never doubted in our days, has come to the forefront of our "basic freedom rights" since the new age of "social media" that is run by the big US conglomerates on central platforms. The sharing of personal info by one's choice is not the infringement per se as of now, but the chance of its being misused by the unscrupulous ones increases many fold n the responsibility of the organisers in protecting you in such instances needs to be legislated. It is a basic tenet that what you ask for and possess also entails a responsibility and accountability factor on you.
   The courts seem to be wearing round to the idea that each purpose for each private info you ask for, needs to be stated and it's use beyond that purpose will tantamount to an infringement of privacy. But there is one form of life style that our scriptures define as enjoying maximum freedom and that is the life of a Yogi. But now we have a Yogi as a CM n Sadhvis as MPs. Brave New World sir. Thanks
Ashok Malhotra
Anand Ghare <abghare@yahoo.com>
To npcil_retirees@googlegroups.com Jul 21 at 10:13 PM
I read a line in a modern school textbook. It said 'displacement' is a relative distance between two points. So are velocity and acceleration. They are meaningless unless there is an 'observer.' Each observer may have a different view from his point of view. Simplified relativity!
Similarly, freedom or privacy are relative matters. A classical musician, a listener who attends his live concert sitting at his feet, someone who cannot do that but is interested in listening at least recorded voice, some one who wants to listen it repeatedly, some one who was born after the singer stopped singing and so on. Each one will have different perceptions about quality of their joy derived out of the same music. The singer may frown on the recording as being too poor and far below his class, where as some listener may call it Devine in the circumstances when the better is not available to him at all. The person who attends concerts looks down up on people who listen to music in the comfort of their home as they are missing the real thing and is also angry on they getting to hear the music with out taking the trouble of going to the concert.

So it is relative and not absolute!

Anand Ghare

Ravindra Apte :22/07/2017 at 7:36 AM
Anand points out the necessity of an observer for evaluation of a phenomena. All performing arts expect an audience / spectator. While in the stage of learning you need a guru to point out your mistakes and show a way to improve upon. But then there comes a stage in the artists career when he knows in his heart what are his / her limitations and strives to broaden those limits to gain a larger space for his performance.

Does it necessary that the audience has to be judgmental responding to the performance? True in the tradition of performing arts the great poet saints like Tyagaraja and Purandar Vithalla sang to an audience. They sang for the God. Their audience accepted whatever music in whatever form in whats so ever quality. The other judgmental mortals just happened to be there.

Was Krishna following the same tradition when he sang on the mountain summit?

Ravindra Apte  
anand ghare : at 6:08 PM
I had pointed out that different observers view a phenomenon in different lights, giving the example of different listeners  a classical music concert and its recorded versions. They may form their own opinions or just enjoy the music to a in different degrees. They need not necessarily be judgmental.
 One may call it being judgmental to an extent, but each one of us is by the very nature. Even a one year old child expresses consent or descent based on the judgement he makes.

Whether the audience should be judgmental on the quality of a musician and whether that should curtail his FREEDOM is the topic of this discussion. Well, the audience also loves its freedom. If it is rowdy, it will heckle a bad singer whom it does not like, if it is civilized, it will sit yawning or leave and not return.

Why did Mr.Krishna sing in the solitude on top of a mountain peak? Obviously for his own satisfaction! He would not have a Mrudungam player to give him beats (Taala). So his singing will not fit in to traditional Carnatic style. He had his full freedom!

On the lighter side, I too enjoy FREE Style singing in bathroom.

Anand Ghare


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Hinduism : A Religion .. or A Way of Life ?

It was reported in newspapers that while delivering the judgement about a particular case related to the management of a temple in Kerala, the Supreme Court had ruled, "Hinduism is a way of life".... "The word Hindu is not defined." ... "A Hindu has the right to choose his own method of worship. He may or may not visit a temple. " ... "Idol worship, rituals and ceremonials may not be practiced by a person although he may profess Hindu religion." These are some of the quotations from the press report of the lengthy judgement. 

Though any criticism of a judgement by a court is not legally permitted, people have freedom to air their views on general matters regarding religion or way of life, as long it does not hurt anybody's feelings. There were some articles and discussions in media on this topic. An article showing the wide spectrum of Hinduism was being circulated on Whats App. It is not clear whether it is to be considered humorous or serious. Any way, that piece evoked enormous response.
Revised on 15/08/2016

R S Vaghasiya : Aug 1 at 7:13 PM
A good message on whats app. Reproduced
What is a thing about being a Hindu (Sanatan Dharma)
1) Believe in god! - you're accepted - Aastik
2) Don't believe in god! - You're accepted - Nastik
3) You want to worship idols , please go ahead. You are a murti pujak.
4) You dont want to worship idols, please go a ahead. You can focus on Nirguna Brahman.
5) You want to criticise something in our religion. Come forward. We are logical. You will be Hindu. Nyaya, Tarka etc. are core Hindu schools.
6) You want to accept as it is. Please go ahead with it.
7) You want to start your journey by reading Bhagvad Gita - Go ahead
8) You want to start your journey by reading Upanishads - Go ahead.
9) You want to start your journey by reading Purana - Go ahead.
10) You just don't like reading. No problem. Go by Bhakti tradition . ( bhakti- devotion)
11) You don't like idea of Bhakti! No problem, dude. Do your Karma.
12) You want to enjoy life. Very good. Go ahead. No problem at all. Charvaka Philosophy
13) You want to abstain from all the enjoyment of life & find god. Wow! Be a Sadhu!
14) You don't like the concept of God. You believe in Nature only. - Welcome. "vrukshavalli amha soyare" (Trees are our friends)
15) You believe in one god or supreme energy. Superb! Follow Advaita philosophy
16) You want a Guru. Go ahead.
17) You don't want a Guru. Go ahead.
18) You believe in Female energy. Welcome! Shaktiism form of Hinduism.
19) You believe every human is the same. Yeah! You're awesome, come let's celebrate Hinduism! "Vasudhaiva kutumbakam" (the world is a family)
20) You don't have anything to do. Don't worry. One more festival is coming! There are multiple festivals every single day of the year.
21) You are a working person. Don't have time for religion. Its okay. You will be a Hindu.
22) You like to go to temples. Please go ahead
23) You don't like to go to temples, no problem. You are still a Hindu!
24) You know that your religion is a way of life. With freedom.
25) You believe that everything have God in them. So you worship your mother, father, guru, tree, River, Prani-matra, Earth, Universe!
26) And If you don't believe that everything have God in them- No problems. Respect your viewpoint.
27) "Sarve sukhin santu" (May all live happy.) "Sarve bhavantusukhinah" (May all llve happy) You represent this!
Being a a Hindu is being free...
You're free to choose!

Ravi Rustagi  Aug 2 at 2:22 AM
Your summing up ‘Being Hindu' is appreciated.
There are freedom choices in life of a Hindu, but there are responsibilities and restraints too -
28) You will not impose your Faith on others.
29) You will defend your Faith by democratic and non-terrorist means, as preached in the great epics and Vedic scriptures of Hindus. And You will believe in ‘mutual' Tolerance. Not Blind follower of Let Live
30) You will believe that There is One Supreme God, in myriad manifestations to suit your individual swabhav
31) You will believe in re-incarnation and karmic laws
32) You will believe that Truth Alone Triumphs.

Mohan Rao : Aug 2 at 7:26 AM
Thanks for the exposition of what it is to be a Hindu. As we all know, Hinduism originated as a way of life in the valley of river Sindhu, known in history books as Indus Valley civilization (IVC),  described by the Vedic era, followed by spread of civilization in Indo-Gangetic plains and rest of India which hosted two epic eras, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, and a host of rishis who shaped our thinking about life for millennia and spread over the subcontinent and of late in the various parts of the world through immigration and travel. The slew of options you talked about reflects the history and extant of this evolution and the foundation of freedom that is the cornerstone of this journey.

In Hinduism, we have inherited the culture and freedom to project ourselves from our own consciousness in a non-subjective, non-dual manner in the larger universe, and in this journey, our Self becomes our point of this projection, we call atman. What the Self sees is our reality, and in its entirety,  ultimate reality we call God. In realizing Self, we in fact realize God. Such a realization gives us a powerful vantage point, free of ego, to perceive truth of reality. As a result of this realization, we may live out a life of maya or illusion. But self-realization gives us the power to see through the veil of illusion and identify ourselves apart from mere existence, as part of the larger being, the universe. Tatwam Asi (Thou art It) summarizes this notion.

I enjoyed reading through your list of choices in conducting our journey. Any choice you make in the fullness of heart is a good choice. It is the honesty, the intent, and the sincereness on one's part that puts us in the path of God, truth and service of humanity.

K.Natarajan: Aug 2 at 2:21 PM
The Whats app quote on Being a Hindu is an in-depth summary of Hinduism, eminently readable.
Quite sometime ago, I compared Hinduism of ancient days, to the Congress party at the time of independence.
The Party meant the Congress party, as there was no other party.
Any new policy or ideal , which would threaten to evolve as a  party would immediately be absorbed by Congress, nipping it in the bud. Thus Lohia's Socialism, Ashok Mehta's brand of Socialism, JP Narayan's Democratic Socialism , Rajagi's Swatantra ideals all became congress policy. Thus the other parties had to take time to cross the ever increasing threshold to get stabilised on own legs, some died.
Hinduism reigned supreme for millennia without competition and thus was more a way of living than a religion.
Even when diverse views were expressed, like the Meemamsikas, they were all governed by the broad family, Hindu.
Even when the same scriptures, Upanishads, were given mutually opposing interpretations, as were done by Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhwa Acharyas, still they would only deviate under the all encompassing Hinduism ,to separate sub-sects only.
This continued till the beginning of CE, only when other religions like Buddhism, Jainism weakly started,  quickly exported and Islam and Christianity coming very much later., imported.
Sankaracharya used to emphasise that when the ancient literature, including scriptures, refer to religion, they do not say which and what, as there was only one.

Now,  in a lighter vein, the list of Whatsup could be further extended with later history of Hinduism, with more 'saints' evolving in modern days.
Open attitude towards human sexuality, follow Rajneesh,
Strict with one man one wife dictum, there is Ramayana,
You want to elevate exercises to godly level. Yogi Ramdev for you.
You want to develop arguments to confuse people, have a session with the great JK.
You want to develop intimate bonds by hugging, Mata Amritanandmayi shows the way.
You want some authority on human sacrifice in Hinduism, there was a movement in ancient times, Kapalika tradition, strong shaivites indulged in this practice to propitiate Hindu goddesses.
You do not want to hurt a fly and move about by gently sweeping the floors, lest you may tread on some insects, Mahavir  Vardhamana of Jainism, an offshoot of Hinduism, was the founder.

Imperative commands like ' YOU WILL' and 'YOU WILL NOT' to qualify for being a Hindu by devout followers are also taken in our strides without question!

The all encompassing HINDUISM is more a WAY OF LIFE than a dogmatic religion.!

Ashok Malhotra : Aug 2 at 5:06 PM
     I think we are making a short shrift of a very serious subject, may be presently being light hearted in an other wise worrying daily lives has also become "a way of life". But, to my mind, and I am sure to many others here, it is not all in the sense of euphemism, as is appearing here by 30 odd edicts, mostly contradicting each other.
   ............ All Religions were supposedly formulated as  common code of conduct for a populace. The negative connotations arose subsequently when the questions like superiority or superposions arose during intermingling of populations.
         To an extent Hinduism has an amorphous constitution. But that may render it strength rather than weakness. Why? Basically by its very nature humans, or for that matter all living beings, like to protect their Private Space at all costs. The larger that space, the larger its growth, not even normally permitted to be compromised by Religion.  No other religion, except Hinduism, allow one such a wide berth. I feel proud of it. Lets not give it the sense of standing "On Quick Sand".

Ravi Rustagi : Aug 3 at 2:02 AM
Dear All Friends- Hindus as well as non-Hindus
The making of an Executive Summary of a vast subject is always a tough attempt. Therefore, I would use the 30-odd edicts for taking a quick stand, without which, we tend to stand on ‘quick sand’.
We have no time or patience to read the 30- volume Encyclopedia on Hinduism published a year or two ago by Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji of Rishikesh.
Some more interesting comments have arisen, ... May I express my views too -
i) Why Hinduism is labeled a way of life?
Firstly no one disputes it; the Supreme Court of India merely stamped its nod, they were wise men.
The Hindu word came up more recently, the description since the beginning has been Sanatan Dharma.
Sanatan connotes the set of natural or eternal laws, which are beginningless(Anadi), endless(Anant), and everlastingly blissful(Sat-Chit-Anand), providing its followers with an entire world view, and a code of conduct and with a coherently rational view of reality. These are the true experiences (not mere beliefs) of several ancient Rishis of India, some of these were women too, which were revealed to them in deep contemplation, many thousand years ago.  These are like the very principles for a healthy and beneficial life. It is quite apt therefore, to call Hinduism - a way of life.

ii) The Origin? There is no one founder or the established date of its origin. The Dharma word in Sanskrit has its roots in Dhri, which means to hold together or to sustain life in all living creatures.  Sanatan-dharma is also called- a set of rules of 'universal righteousness’, ultimately leading to the cherished goal of knowledge, liberation and enlightenment. These philosophical principles are enshrined in the many Vedic scriptures. Accordingly, Sanatan Dharma is also called Vedic Dharma.

iii) Religion on the other hand connotes a set of beliefs and rituals, designed to bind its followers;  these were enumerated by the founder.
Ashok Malhotra : Aug 3 at 4:55 AM
   Do you really mean to say "we Hindus have no religion, that Sanatan Dharma denotes only a way of life, no Dharma or Religion in it" I am truly taken aback by these short shrift remarks !!??

Ravi Rustagi : Aug 3 at 5:55 AM
Dear Malhotraji, Thanks for your penetrating remarks, which I appreciate.
I re-read my notes, and couldn’t find the exact statement "we Hindus have no religion”
Surely, Hindus have a religion, and in many forms, Hindus worship thousands and crores devi-devatas which are widely covered by the umbrella of Hinduism.
I tried to explain how these various forms of Hinduism evolved from the ancient Sanatan Dharma, which was then more of spiritual practice, leading to self-realization, and was widely acknowledged as the way of life. And the traditional explanation continues, in spite of myriad connotations.

I sincerely believe, that without religion, we are lame; but a religion has to be a way of life, not just a few minutes of pooja in the morning, and the goal is to be set in the right and positive direction. Decrying your or any other religion in a negative sense should not be the goal in life.

In the limited knowledge and time at my disposal, I enjoy the new paradigm to positivity. As charity begins at home, I try not to cause harm to my own self- my body, my mind, my intellect, my heart, my spirit. Like the mutual fund investing, benefits of positivity spread to unknown places and people.
Long ago, as a student or as a young competing engineer I had the notion - It is my body, my mind- I am free to deal with it the way I like. Time, aging and yoga practice has revealed how wrong I was. I read in BG, human being is gifted with 23 faculties. I consider these as my sacred co-workers, and I am the CEO. It is my responsibility that each faculty is well cared for- feeding healthy food for the physical body, healthy thinking for the mind, tapas, swadhyay, and healthy emotions for the spirit. By the same token- I try my best to eat no junk food, no junk reading, no anger etc. These are called Yamas & Niyamas- silently building a bridge with others in the family or members of society.

Ashok Malhotra: Aug 3 at 6:32 AM
 My initial mail itself questioned the nuances of "Religion" and "the ways of life" often used without clarity of their differences. The Supreme Court in its judgement, left the difference to be interpreted at your own end, n perhaps so it has manifested.
   I emphasized earlier that, initially all religions started as the ways of life and slowly the rituals n faiths were added on for the common men to follow without bothering for their deeper meanings. The "deep manifestation or revelation" theories are there in all religions, mainly for the common man to follow without questioning. A Religion comprises of both components, rituals for serving the soul and dogmas or ways of life for serving the physical self. It can not be complete by just one part- the ways for the physical self, leaving the soul.
   This is my understanding n belief as a Hindu, I may be off the tracks, as concepts do change over time.

Taswir Singh : Aug 3 at 10:35 AM
Respected Rastogi ji and Ashok ji
Discussion between you two on Hinduism had enlightened me a lot.
I am really greatful to both of you and others who took up this topic especially Shri Vaghasia ji.

Srinivasan G.R: Aug 3 at 11:08 AM
Dear commenters on this thread and all others,
  I read with interest the comments by many. Hinduism as described by many and in extracts are the ones embedded in yoga when one practices under a good Indian guru.
These were also mentioned in my comments on why yoga is becoming global. Our culture and traditions are fantastic. One example much less divorces in India (Unfortunately many Indians are copying western culture when the west are copying ours. Hope we will avoid the same cycle). When Canadians were in Rawathbhata, two of the wives used to say very frequently, “chini my husband does not love me anymore, hope he won’t leave me.” I could feel their continuous agony and tension. Our wives are so sure!! Divorce is just one example. Hope we remain what we are. This is not to say we must not replace a few bad ones which we must do to improve.

P C  Dixit :  03-Aug-2016, at 14:25
Shri Natarajan  saheb,
A person' s  religion  is  determined, primarily, by the God  or  Gods  he  worships. Religion  is  the  greatest  divisor  of  humanity. Even at the time Lord  Krishna explained to Arjuna why he should kill his close relatives, there  were many  religions (dharm)  in existence. The Lord says,
' Dieing  in one's  own  religion is  better  than  in others'  religion  even if one's religion  is  inferior'.
B. Geeta  Chapter 3. Shloka 35

 K.Natarajan: On Aug 3, 2016, at 12:08 PM,
 Dear Shri P C Dixit, Could  by chance, you have mistaken  Dharma as religion?
Though this word is used in the slokha quoted, perhaps dharma here implies the Varnashram.
The  swadharma may mean the Varna to which the person 'belongs', that is one of the four categories of Varnashram, and not  religion as a whole.
In Ch 4,slokha13, Krishna describes the origin of divisions ." I have created the four Varnas and assigned to each to follow. Every man can attain salvation by following his assigned karma, with a detached spirit',  clearly not permitting jumping from one ( considered lower) to another(considered higher).
Present day English has richly grown to have synonyms, many words to describe the same sense, but, as Bernard Shaw claimed, not exactly the same, varying slightly in shades, for precise description.
In Vedic days, could there have been paucity of words? We see the same word used with different connotations, throughout Upanishads, which, again, are at variance with present day usage, tempting me to repeatedly stress the need for a glossary! The dharma in Sanatana Dharma could mean the Hindu religion as a whole, but in this slokha, it appears to me to mean only the caste (or Varna, there being lots of arguments that caste and Varna are not the same)

What is meant in this slokha is that one should follow the duties pertaining to the Varna classification and should not try to do the prescribed actions of another Varna, he does not belong to.

This might have been necessary in those formative days to maintain discipline amongst people with lesser developed  intellect, but questionable at our present stage.

This classification is a weak point now of the great religion and various thoughts are put forward to make that acceptable, mostly weak arguments.

The pandits tending to defend the Varnashram, take pains to explain that the Varna is assigned based on the innate abilities and swabhav of the individual and not by birth., obviously untenable, as the Varna is stamped right after birth and not after a long period of development of the personality and decision taken thereafter. Again who takes the authority of  assessing and allotting the Varna? Such questions are generally not asked. Besides the original classification pales into insignificance with the myriad forms of castes and sub castes we have developed later on, pushing us into an impossible abyss.

I agree with your bold assertion that Religion has only become a divisive force .
Karl Marx said that the State, a necessary evil, will wither away, once true communism is established.
Similar to that, may be Religion will wither away once it helps establishing a true Ramarajya!

I am not quite sure whether Shri Malhotra takes the comment 'a way of life and not religion' as appreciative or offensive.
I would take that as the first. After all if the choice is between living a GOOD life and RELIGIOUS life, what will we choose?


 Mohan Rao : 3 August 2016 at 22:35,
Modern Astronomy started with Copernicus perhaps who said that earth is not the centre of the universe.
 Since those days, the theory of the universe has advanced in many ways. We now have the Quantum Mechanics, which can define the probable movement of an electron around a room. Together with the Theory of Relativity, we now have modern theory of the universe that says that the universes can create themselves out of nothing.
 Stephen Hawking says that there is such a thing called gravity, universe can create itself, making it possible for us to exist as well. There is no need to invoke God to set the universe going.
 The M-theory predicts that countless number of galaxies exist and in fact, countless universes and we are sited in one of them. The current understanding that humans may exist on some of these universes owes itself to oddest of things, pure chance.
 “One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, but science makes God unnecessary” says Hawking (ABC News, 2015). On being further pressed, he adds that he does not believe in a personal God.
 As I see it, God is an item of human consciousness, a flash that can guide us through life, if we so choose.
 Universe is what it is to us because of us (Anthropic Principle). We are the conscious and sapient life which observes it.
 Universe was made for us. Each one of us creates a universe for oneself the way we see it. We are the designers of this Grandest of Designs.
As Upanishads say: Tatwam Asi (We are It).
Awesome thoughts from the scientists of our age.


 Nandkishore Agarwal : 04 August 2016 16:24
Dear Mohan Rao,
Just a stupid question which may be laughed off:
“One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, but science makes God unnecessary” says Hawking (ABC News, 2015). On being further pressed, he adds that he does not believe in a personal God.
I read with interest the above statement. I am never able to understand, if we do not have to believe in God, why is it when we are in distress, we always remember " Oh God, please help me"? Or He Ram or something similar.
May be you would like to make some observations on the above.


Taswir Singh : August 4, 2016 8:01 PM,
As existence of God can not be proved ( it is just a belief system )  at least for many years to come, may be till eternity for all time to come, common sense dictates better to believe in the existence of His. It simplify the difficult situation of common man and act to pacify him in the face of insurmountable problems.

Srinivasan G.R.: 4 August 2016,
I pray to God every day in the morning and evening. In my small temple I have Hindu idols, Infant Jesus, Christ, Mecca masjid, Saibaba, Sikh granth picture etc. Bur core technical mind-set in me is not able to prove that God or any supernatural power exists. Unfortunately we are so much used to validation. I won’t give up. Everything that happens is created by us only. There is complete chaos but the show goes on. We are like diesel engine. Few parts can be replaced but indefinite life extension is not possible. There is nothing like soul. Once dead decommissioning starts. How to get out of this? Luckily my habit of not suffering due to any reason is saving me.

P C  Dixit: 5 Aug 2016 12:05 pm,
Resp. Shri  Natrajan saheb,
With yr profound knowledge about our  scriptutes.  and  application  of your  high intelligence  you have clarified  the  diiference  between  dharma  and  religion. I am thankful to you v. much.


Srinivasan G.R: 6 Aug 2016 10:00,
      I believe in bhoomi, fire etc as I can see them. Sorry my common sense, on the balance, does not tell me to believe in God. Each time I think of believing, I do not want anti-belief thoughts to come. Not only I cannot prevent their coming but I also helplessly watch their victory. But I believe that each of us work out our destiny. I believe you will suffer for each bad thing you do. This is dictating each activity that happens in the world and not anything else. That is why I do not want to hurt anybody (Rather selfishly). I am not an atheist and want desperately to believe in existence of God or some supernatural power.


Taswir Singh: 06-Aug-2016, at 10:51
Very very right you are respected Shri GRS ji.
Almost I am also sailing in the same boat.
However, much I may try I fail to accept the existance of God in the form of some living entity.
Therefore, some great Punjabi writer has said.
Rub ik gunjalldhar buzhharat
Rub ik gorakhdhandha
Kholan lagiyana paech
Is dae ho jayae pagal banda.
God is complex and complicated quiz.
While trying to open its secrets man will become mad.
Therefore instead of becoming mad let the man  believe this concept of God
It simplifies his life and give him psychological advantage in facing unsolvable and unsurmountable problems.
Again I agree with you very very difficult for a person of scientific bent of mind to accept the existance of God.

Anand Ghare : Aug 6 at 1:15 PM
I do not know who is the originator of the list of 'Being Hindu' given in the 'original' whats app forwarded message.  It is written in first four points that whether you believe in God or not and whether you worship him or not, you can still be 'Hindu'. So no need to prove or disprove existence of The God for the limited purpose of deciding about who is Hindu.

I have heard some religions or sects also do not ask their followers to worship The God. I have seen in some very famous and beautiful temples that a मूर्ती of a Swami occupies central place. I heard that the followers worship only their Swami.  

It has been told that 'Hindu Dharma' is a 'way of life'. Still any discussion on religion always drifts towards 'God'. Stephen Hawkins has said that existence of The God is not necessary for the creation and running this universe. Perhaps it is not necessary that every religion must be always connected with one God or more.

We are able to express this kind of opinions in a free world, but unfortunately some of our own ancestors used to think otherwise. They did not accept followers of  Gautam Buddha, Mahavir or Guru Nanakdev, though they also followed almost the same way of life.  On the other hand some of the ancestors believed that 'Hindu Dharma' is a 'way of life' interpreted in  their peculiar understanding and expelled anybody who simply ate a piece of meat or bread or any food item cooked by a Muslim or Christian. Most of the conversions done by Portuguese rulers in Goa were done in this fashion. I have heard a story that the famous singer Tansen was expelled from Hinduism because he ate a पान offered to him by a Muslim Ustad as appreciation of his musical talent.

So 'Being Hindu' is a subjective issue. First the person should feel that he is Hindu and the society in which he lives should accept him, irrespective of whether he believes in The God or follows some way of life or not.  
Mohan Rao : Aug 7 at 4:54 AM
One of the major tenets of Hindu philosophy has been the notion of Samsara, simply put, cycle of birth, life and death, in a perpetual mode. It naturally jived well with my notion of  existence, the continuity of the universe, and it's ability to recycle generations one following the other, meeting all other notions such as karma, evolution, progress etc. Once the primary reason of life is completed, i.e. procreation and care-taking of the young until they grow up and are on their own, there is little reason to hang around for ever, and nature took care of it by aging us and terminating life.

Now scientists seem to think that aging is the biggest risk factor for diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, and Type 2 diabetes and want to slow down the aging process. They have been at it for a century now, and the human lifespan has doubled from about 40 to about 80 in about a century. They have tried a drug called rapamycin on mice and find these critters live 10 to 30 percent longer (equivalent to adding up to 25 more years to our lifetime). These mice lived a healthier life as well after being treated with the drug.
Scientists are trying to start clinical trials on humans to see if they can replicate the results with a drug called metformin in humans. This is the quest for the Holy Grail in the battle against aging. If successful, there will soon be miracle drugs for cancer, diabetes etc. that may cure the old age illnesses and substantially increase our lifespan. Then there are anti-aging formula drugs that could turn back the clock, build muscles and increase strength and stamina and even reduce wrinkles.

If scientists succeed in their trials to find drugs to cure old-age diseases, to create anti- aging drugs to help people live long and reasonably healthy lives, and show us that they can make us live several decades longer, the next question would be, what do we with the time tossed at us by science? And the problems that this will create in society that is used to end of life much earlier than what it could be with the new drugs?

   K.Natarajan : Aug 9 at 1:33 AM

This thread has caught up like forest fire!
GRS is not alone in the  helplessness of a rationalist in comprehending the  genesis and influence of God. But he is alone in making a very nice summary "Each time I think of believing, I do not want anti-belief thoughts to come. Not only I cannot prevent their coming but I also helplessly watch their victory." Fantastic summary of the rationalist's struggle and the gene's ( or the ingrained DNA in man) victory!

It is slightly odd how lightly  Shri Ashok Malhotra finds a controversy in man not being able to control his mind, for this is the quest of all seers, what religion is all about, considered as most difficult to achieve, stillness of mind or controlling the mind!

Let us look at this highly talked about Belief System, a little more dispassionately.

Scientific beliefs  start as possibilities  in the advancement of science. They are stepping stones for the thinking processes (often dubbed as theory or hypothesis) and at some stage are discorded  or  superseded.
In the metaphysical area, there is no way of establishing  the beliefs as facts, to  be superseded or killed and hence, they stay, getting dogmatic with the passage of time. Very soon they find their soul mates, religion, and can no longer be taken lightly.
For, religion, as a philosopher said, is the opium of mankind. With a few twists and turns, the opium soon found its bedrock, God.

Beliefs lead to prayers, raising the age old question on the Why and How of prayers.

Is there any man who, at some time or other, does not pray?
A time will come when, the most rationalist amongst us, kneels down as a LAST RESORT, utterly helpless and nothing else to resort to (ignoring the mocking smile of rationalism in him!)
Does it work, if yes, how?
One simple answer is, yes, not by granting physically what one wants,  but by conditioning one's mind, creating an equanimity to take what comes, driving away the forlorn feeling of depression and frustration.
Similar to meditation., SUBJECTIVE PROCESS.

Did not the doctors attribute sickness to mind?
Did not Beauty, get transferred from the object, par se, to the mind of the person seeing, as 'a state of mind, a quality of thought' by wise thinkers?
The human mind is a wonderful creation, the seat of origin and support, being able to CONTROL THE PHYSICAL STATE of man, too.

The process, to a man with FAITH,  goes farther,  from this subjective explanation, reaches out to things external to Self and MAKE things happen ! OBJECTIVELY. It is this deeper sense of prayer that is a baffle to the rational minded, a point of debate.

Rationalists argue that the reward of prayer, we are here talking of what goes beyond that of meditation, if there is, defies the means of action, even admitting, at a distance.

How can  this happen?
Some chance happening, interpreted as a consequence, adds strength to  fortify faith?!

PRAYER is open to everybody, the sinner as well as the devout.
The sinner prays for the success of his sinful venture.
The devout prays, for some benefits for him, be it happiness, wealth, or getting out of a tough predicament.
Both make some kinds of offerings, expecting fulfilment.
There is some smell of commerce in BOTH.

Let us assume that the person is not taking prayer as a commercial transaction, offering God something to get relief in return.
Let us assume that the person is a morally right person, faced with an acute situation, not out of any immoral thing, consciously done, then...
Humility is the key, accepting that the problem is beyond him, that to the best of his comprehension the imposition of the problem is unjust and only Devine intervention could free him from the problem.

May sound right, but Rationalists interpret that even this is unacceptable as selfless humility, for there is a trait of accusation, wounded hurt, that this situation is UNJUST, questioning the Supreme's Order, and asking CORRECTION.
Does not prayer, then, become some defiance, questioning the Order?

Bhagwat Geta postulates Sthitappragyna -  freedom from the effects of all gunas,
Acceptance of whatever comes with equanimity,
One who believes in this and stays put like a rock,
His acts of prayer are more out of ENJOYMENT and GRATITUDE., and NOTHING sought in return ( including 'salvation')

Be what may,

It is undeniable that in the life of every man, atheistic or agnostic or devout, there comes a moment, there are moments, when he turns to PRAYER, as the last resort and equally undeniable that it is fulfilled, materially (good!) or metaphysically, by tuning the mind to face or reconcile with what will be (still good).

and then, Rationalism becomes irrelevant!

Some Offbeat side rhythm:

 वो अफसाना जिसे अंजाम तक लाना न हो मुमकिन,
    उसे इक खूबसूरत मोड़ देकर छोड़ना अच्छा,
  चलो इक बार फिर से अजनबी बन जांये हम दोनो,
You have chosen a nice song to drive home your point beautifully.
However , I feel that we should follow only the FIRST TWO  lines and not act
as dictated in the LAST line.
धन्यवाद । खेत किसीका, कपास किसीकी, चर्खा किसीका, पर चुनरी मेरी ।
There is no question of Chunri being  MERI or TERI. All I was trying to stress  was that despite having difference of opinion on certain matter(s) and  having agreed to abandon further discussions on that specific topic. THERE IS NO NEED TO BECOME STRANGERS.
Ravi Rustagi : Aug 6 at 9:07 PM
You two are my hero, as you’ve created an amazingly complex learning in this single line tale.

Khet, kapas, charkha represent the tools of work, similar to water, air, land etc; humans use these to do the assigned duty, but have no ownership rights. Sort of lease-use, you leave them behind as you depart from the planet earth.

Chunri represents your actions, your doings, your performance, your karma- these accumulate as Sanchit karma, and travel with you till they are ready to sprout forth as prarabdha, at the right time in this life or life hereafter.
Ignorant people call this as Fate, because humans tend to forget their acts, but the Lord of life Chitragupta keeps track. We should be careful how we make the chunri.

Saint Kabirdasji was a weaver, who sang the melodious bhajan- दास कबीर ने जतन से बीनी……. चदरिया झीनी रे झीनी
Ashok Malhotra:  Aug 6 at 10:08 PM
   Out of the 45 mails till now in this chain, the last 1/3 has been a complete turn around from finding the areas of disagreement to the areas of agreement, and what a pleasurable feeling it gives to reach equanimity on a complex issue, but deeply enshrined in our psyche since time immemorial. I am sure many others still have pertinent points, but refrain from sharing considering it a very private matter not to be imposed on others, n rightly so.
   Lastly the song of '63 film दिल ही तो है sung by Mannade n the Kabirji Bhajan  is my favourite. Let me complete it's most impacting para:
  "कोरी चुनरिया आत्मा मोरी, मैल है माया जाल,
    वो दुनिया मोरे बाबुल का घर  ये दुनिया ससुराल,
  जाके बाबुल से नज़रें मिलाऊ कैसे, घर जाऊं कैसे,
      लागा चुनरी में दाग.....

K.Natarajan : Aug 7 at 10:53 AM
A  FORWARD  which may jell well with the topic under discussion.

Things were going exactly as Srinivasan had feared, his Mother would come in from India and crush his American way of life under her strong South Indian influence. For a genetic scientist like Vasu, as Srinivasan was called by his friends, the only kind of order was disorder. So consumed he was by his research that the world and it's affairs mattered little to him. When his last girlfriend walked out on him, "Find a girl on planet Srinivasan," she had screamed as she stomped out.

Now Vasu's Mother had taken over the administration of the planet. It irritated him, this milk at night and chywanprash every morning. "Have you been wearing the same pair of Jeans for the past three days?" Mother was beginning her morning interrogation.

Vasu stared at the hot idlis in front of him, the chywanprash to follow and the wardrobe interrogation that had begun. Something snapped in his mind. "Mom I love you and I love that you come all the way from India to take care of me but plesse don't fuss over me! It irritates me!  And then I cannot work!"

His Mother did not really care if Vasu was upset, "The idlis are getting cold," was her matter of fact response.

"You don't really care, do you Mom?"

"I care about you Vasu. The work you do is alright. If you don't do it, someone else will do it."

"Mom, I am genetic scientist. I am working on the evolution of man. Theory of evolution, Charles Darwin, have you heard of him? "

Vasu was exasperated with her unwillingness to understand.

His Mother sat down next to him and smiled, "I know Darwin, Vasu. I also know that what you think he discovered was old news in India."

" Yeah sure Mom!" Vasu said with sarcasm.

"Well if you are too smart then listen to this, " his Mother countered." Have you heard of Dashavatar? The ten avatars of Vishnu?" Vasu nodded. "Then let me tell you what you and Mr. Darwin don't know. The first avatar was the Matsya avatar, it means the fish. That is because life began in the water. Is that not right?"

Vasu began to listen with a little more attention.

"Then came the Kurma Avatar, which means the tortoise, cause life moved from the water to the land. The amphibian. So the Tortoise denoted the evolution from sea to land. Third was the Varaha, the wild boar, which meant the wild animals with not much intellect, you call them the Dinosaurs, correct? "

Vasu nodded wide eyed.

"The fourth avatar was the Narasimha avatar, half man and half animal, the evolution from wild animals to intelligent beings. Fifth the Vaman avatar, the midget or dwarf, who could grow really tall. Do you know why that is? Cause there were two kinds of humans, Homo Erectus and the Homo Sapiens and Homo Sapiens won that battle."

Vasu could see that his Mother was in full flow and he was stupefied.

"The Sixth avatar was Parshuram, the man who wielded the axe, the man who was a cave and forest dweller. Angry, and not social but the seventh avatar  was Ram, the first thinking social being, who laid out the laws of society and the basis of all relationships. The eight avatar was Krishna, the statesman, the politician, the lover who played the game of society and taught how to live and thrive in the social structure. The Ninth avatar, the Buddha, the man who rose from Narasimha and found man's true nature. The nature of Buddha, he identified man's final quest of enlightenment. And finally, my boy, will come Kalki, the man you are working on. The man who will be genetically supreme."

Vasu looked at his Mother speechless. "This is amazing Mom, how did you.. This makes sense!"

"Yes it does Vasu! Now have your chywanprash! "

Thursday, 28 July 2016

थोडा सा हँस भी ले

कहते हैं कि हँसना सेहत के लिये अच्छा होता है। आखिर तक पढिये क्योंकि आखरी नोंकझोंक सबसे बढिया है।

जब कन्या अपने, पिता के घर होती है, "रानी" बन के रहती है।
पहली बार ससुराल जाती है,"लक्ष्मी", बनकर जाती है।
और ससुराल में काम कऱते-करते "बाई" बन जाती है।
इस तरह लडकियां "रानी-लक्ष्मी-बाई" बन जाती है...!!!

और फिर वो पति को अंग्रेज समझ कर बिना तलवार के ही इतना परेशान कर देती है कि
बेचारा वो पति, अंग्रेज न हो कर भी "अंग्रेजी" 🍷🍹 लेना शुरू कर देता है ।
कुछ सामान्य लोगों के अवतरण ।( Some Quotations by Small people)
जरूरी नही है हर बात म. गांधी या शेक्सपीयर ने कही हो ।।।

अगर आपने अपनी शट॔ का पहला बटन गलत लगाया है तो निसंदेह बाकी सभी बटन गलत ही लगेंगे
                        - घनश्याम टेलर

अगर आपकी राह में छोटे छोटे पत्थर आये तो समझ लेना।।।
।।।।।रोड का काम चल रहा हे।।।
��भंवरलाल  ठेकेदार��
जिंदगी में सिर्फ पाना ही सबकुछ नहीं होता,
उसके साथ नट बोल्ट भी चाहिए...🔧🔩.
-महादेव मिस्त्री
"अगर बसंती की मौसी, ठाकुर को राखी बांधे तो बसंती और ठाकुर का क्या रिश्ता हुआ ?.
अपना-अपना काम करो कोई रिश्ता नहीं बनता; क्योंकि ठाकुर के हाथ ही नहीं थे."
'  तुम मुझे खून दो...
मैं तुम्हे ३ बजे तक रिपोर्ट दूंगा.. '
गुप्ता पैथोलॉजीl
यहाँ खुदा है, वहाँ खुदा है,
आस पास खुदा ही खुदा है,
जहाँ खुदा नहीं है, वहाँ कल खुदेगा ।
जिस ने ज़ल्द बाज़ी में शादी की
उसने अपना जीवन बिगाड़ लिया।।
वाह! वाह! ......... वाह! वाह!
और जिसने सोच समझ कर की
उसने कौन सा तीर मार लिया ?
बीवी : अजी सुना है स्वर्ग मे, तुम लोगों को अप्सराएँ मिलती हैं, फिर हम  लोगों को क्या मिलता है ?
पति : ( in  full mood) तुम लोगों को लंगूर मिलेंगे !
बीवी : (ठंडी  सांस लेते हुए), एँ! ये क्या है जी? इधऱ भी वही,  उधर भी वही !
सबसे बढिया नोकझोंक ....

पति: अजी सुनती हो ?
पत्नी;  नहीं, मैं तो जनम कि बहरी हूँ ।बोलो?
पति:  मैंने ऐसा कब कहा ?
पत्नी: तो अब कह लो, पूरी कर लो एक साथ, कोई भी हसरत अगर अधूरी रह गयी हो।
पति: अरी भाग्यवान!!
पत्नी:  सुनो एक बात.... आइन्दा मुझे भाग्यवान तो कहना मत , फूट गए नसीब मेरे तुमसे शादी करके और कहते हो भाग्यवान हूँ ।
पति: एक कप चाय मिलेगी?
पत्नी: एक कप क्यों? लोटा भर मिलेगी और सुनो किसको सुना रहे हो ? मैं क्या चाय बना के नहीं देती ?
पति: अरे यार कभी तो सीधे मुह बात...
पत्नी: बस .... आगे मत बोलना, नहीं आता मुझे सीधे मुँह बात करना। मेरा तो मुँह ही टेढ़ा है, यही कहना चाहते हो ना ?
पति: हे भगवान!!
पत्नी: हाँ ... माँग लो भगवान जी से एक कप चाय । मै चली नहाने, और सुनो मुझे शैम्पू भी करना है देर लगेगी। बच्चों को स्कूल से ले आना मेरे अकेले के नहीं हैं ।
पति: अरे ये सब क्या बोलती हो ?
पत्नी: क्यों झूठ बोल दिया क्या ? मैं क्या दहेज़ में ले कर आयी थी इनको ?
पति: अरे मैं कहाँ कुछ बोल रहा हूँ ?
पत्नी: अरे मेरे भोले बाबा, तुम कहाँ बोलते हो ? मैं तो चुप थी। बोलना किसनेशुरू किया ? बताओ ...?
पति: अरे मैंने तो एक कप चाय मांगी थी।
पत्नी: चाय मांगी थी या मुझे बहरी कहा था ?
पति: क्या मतलब था तुम्हारा ?
पत्नी: "अजी सुनती हो ?"का क्या मतलब था बताओगे ?
पति: अरे श्रीमती जी। कभी तो मीठे से बोल लिया करो।
पत्नी: अच्छा...?. मीठा नहीं बोली मैं कभी ? तो ये दो दो नमूने क्या पड़ोसी के हैं ? देख लिया है बहुत मीठा बोल कर। बस अब और मीठा बोलने कि हिम्मत नहीं है मेरी।
पति: भूल रही हो मैडम ।
पत्नी:क्या भूल रही हूँ..?
पति: अरे मुझे बात तो पूरी करने दो। मैं कह रहा था कि पति हूँ तुम्हारा।
पत्नी: अच्छा ..... मुझे नहीं पता था। सूचना के लिए धन्यवाद।
पति: अरे नहीं चाहिए मुझे तुम्हारी चाय। बक बक बंद करो।
पत्नी: अरे वाह!! तुम्हे तो बोलना भी आता है ? बहुत अच्छे !! चाय  पी के जाओ। मै बाद में नहा लूँगी।
पति: गज़ब हो तुम भी। पहले तो बिना बात लड़ती हो फिर बोलती हो पी के जाओ।
पत्नी: तो क्या करूँ ?  तुम लड़ने का मौका कहाँ देते हो ? लड़ने का मन करे तो क्या पड़ोस में लड़ने जाऊँ?
पति: बनाओ जल्दी नहीं तो बच्चों को लाने में देर हो जायेगी।
पत्नी: अभी लो जी, बस एक मिनट में।

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Misguided Intelligence

A very interesting discussion on Intelligence, started with a very thoughtful and well written article forcefully advocating checks on the use of natural as well as artificial intelligence being developed for future uses. He has also questioned whether the progress should be just for sake of making some hi-fi things for super rich or to address problems and improve the condition of common people. Misguided obviously means for wrong usage, either for use of a few or for bad purpose.
Intelligence, is also a two edged sword, can be used or misused. The point is whether, the development itself should be encouraged or discouraged for the fear of misuse.  A human being is expected to have a conscience, a mind, feelings etc to check his action. But what about a mindless Robot? Will it cause huge destruction or get destroyed?
Whatever way it is, you cannot stop progress in the field of science.
K.Natarajan (Jun 8, 2016) :

This could be over reaction to some tit bit news, hopefully they will not catch up feverishly in this country,  but that is how small fire starts,  boomerang to calamities, beyond control!

The recent focus on INDISCRIMINATE Technology Development  are grim reminders of The gift of Nature, turned to curse by Man, and must make us to THINK!

THINKING PROCESS, and the consequent building up of INTELLIGENCE , is Nature’s gift exclusively to man, to be profitably used for the benefit of fellow beings, but perversely used for exactly opposite purpose! sometimes frivolous,  sometimes vulgar display of position.

This is what comes to the mind with advancements in remotely operated flying objects, drones and auto driven cars., and lately crewless huge ships! (TOI  4-5-16) and a lot more!

What formidable weapons would they make in the hands of lunatics, religious fanatics!
What havocs they would produce, with our poor driving sense, spectrum of vehicles ranging from 2,3,4 wheeled and beyond, very badly maintained roads, unmanned vehicles flying at low altitudes over tall buildings and heavily congested cities!
Are we rapidly spreading in AREA , without covering DEPTH?

Intense effort in more air safety with our jumbo jets, improved landing with ill-equipped runways, enhanced safety features in our automobiles, better road conditions, ALL would be the need of the hour, one would think.

The 'attractions' that are planned inside a digital revolution automobile are all in the area calculated to divert his attention, like mobile communication, entertainment, needless information etc., making him forget that his machine COULD KILL. One would think that the direction should be towards airbags mechanism, wheel material and technology, break before hit  and auto speed control with digitization etc !

In the fast moving world, mobility is the landmark of development., to be made easily affordable to common man.The apt choice of train for going to Chennai from Mumbai, is One day by travel and 120 days to make that possible by reservation!, The computer booking starts 4 months in advance and gets closed in 10 minutes.
Assured train passage within a reasonable time must be the objective of 'core' and 'management' intelligence, put together, rather than the lopsided fancy projects, one sees!

In remote villages, children while away their times, for want of schools and means to reach them. One can see tens of school children on the roadsides waiting for a crowded khatara bus (when will it come, will it, nobody knows) to go to school or walk miles. When will this transportation improve? By drones and autonomous cars and self driven submarines!

When feminine charms, god given gift, are used perversely, we condemn it vehemently as PROSTITUTION. When Intelligence, god given gift, is used  badly, sometimes perversely, can we condemn them with the same vehemence as Prostitution of Intelligence? (strong words, disproportionate to the issue, maybe, the maddening race in defense destruction is at the back of the mind)

The drones and driverless cars and, maybe,  crewless ships  will continue to oblige IS for the same heartless ventures like WTC and equally diabolical counter measures.
Of course there can be arguments in favor, about the possible good uses they can be put to. When we conducted our first atomic explosion test, the famous scientist Dr Ramanna said that this could be used for interlinking the rivers of India!

Technology development should not be allowed to run amuck. Particularly  consumers oriented technology developments should be subject to strict ethical and moral censorship., REGULATORY included!

In the chain of Information-data-memory-intelligence and knowledge, from Vedic days, a gap existed between the penultimate  Knowledge and the ultimate  Wisdom, Wisdom being exclusively used for Realisation of Brahman .

With the new interpretations of Vedic concepts,maybe, this Wisdom in modern times, is just the discerning sense of application of Knowledge, for the benefit of fellow beings or being perverse, for discomfort and destruction ?!

Ps; what good will come out of this? Why do we keep writing, with the limitation well known?
Maybe the intense feeling of writing and reading will get transmitted to be received by some power that matters and some good may come,

Mohan Rao ( Jun 9)
 In my childhood when the technology had not yet penetrated my village, developing one’s intelligence was rather a simple affair. “See where you are going; listen for things going on around you; If you smell smoke, there may be a fire at a distance, be careful”, etc. Our parents packed whatever we wanted to know into our little brains even before we hit Grade 1. We were ready for life. After that, with the basic repertoire, we built upon our knowhow from schools, special training (swimming, driving etc) and that was it.  Society knew how to apprehend the ones that err, cause trouble and were ‘misguided’ and either bring them to justice or rehab them and life continued to be simple.

 As technology advanced, the problems started to take on a different dimension. Now, with automated vehicles from autos to cruise ships, trains to planes (perhaps one of these days) right in our midst, all packed with AI soft-wares and the like, intelligence ain’t what it used to be.
 As we speak, my city is deliberating how we can assimilate autos (cars, buses) to subways (trains) on our streets. Reports are already piling up on their desks and computers and most of them are people not overly technical and consultants come in to help them out. Nothing seems to be simple anymore. From the automated vehicles to almost all departments of the city hall seem to have responsibility for something or another and they get bogged down even before the meetings start.
 From the city hall to the vehicle makers to users to general public, every one needs to be trained before thousands of EVs or autos can be put on the road, including millions who commute to work on trains, and thousands who travel on cruises. This is the nature of global technologies we are contending with. Humans are humans and the societies know how to deal with them when they are misguided. With global technologies, it is a different matter.

 Politicians talk in generalities saying that the city is going to become a “smart” city. They talk of digital innovation hubs in the city, where even low-income kids can loan mobile hotspot devices, research kits, video special effect green screens, and 3-D printers and innovate for a future common cause.  They talk of shared narratives between public, users, manufacturers and the city. They talk of collecting primary data for the city, supported by GPS ground maps, satellite info, camera-generated info and machine-readable data on the streets. Lightning-fast Internets, broad-bands, sensors capturing all types of data, and big, really big data banks on clouds and systems to store and disseminate info.

 This reminds me of an anecdote my mother used to keep telling. First you buy a cat. Then you buy a cow to feed the cat. Then you buy a house to keep the cow. Then you marry so that someone can help looking after a house, a cow and a cat. So on and so forth.

 Politicians are also aware that they are not knowledgeable enough on the global technologies these days as much as they should. My grandson (9 year old) is in a boot-camp for computer nerds. I asked him if they teach him Java. He rolled his eyeballs and replied emphatically: “NO! We are learning PYTHON these days.” I got the message: that I am too out-dated. The local Ryerson University has an incubator for young ideas in the making. I was afraid to ask him what that was all about.

 What do we do with misguided techno machines, loaded to their teeth with AI software and can think for themselves, is another question. People can be incarcerated, but machines? The city wants to develop whatever is needed outside the box of a vehicle, and then get out of the way, if possible.
 Perversity of human behaviour leading to misguided actions is not new. What is new is the automated huge machines from peaceful machines to war machines that can run amok, kill thousands to millions, not because they are bad, but because the humans who let them operate the way they did, were misguided. From the early times, from sticks to knives, bows and arrows, from fire to large-scale arsons, humans have behaved both as perfect angels and misguided ogres. Right in our days, we see mega-planes going down, sometimes due to people that err, sometimes due to machines that fail, and many times with people who want to destroy the plane and kill other people in hundreds. Similar people can also sabotage war machines, drop bombs and run cruise ships down the Marianna’s trench.
Responsibilities should ultimately rest where they belong. No point in beating up a cat for spilt milk. Going back to the cave age is out of the question as well. Much water has gone under the bridge on this for millennia since I remember.
All in lighter vein.

Ashok Malhotra (Jun 9)
   Reading such mails actually shocks the mind for a while, like you have seen the predator movies. I in fact needed to refresh my understanding of the term "intelligence" and also needed to "symptom sort" the matters of these two mails- but failed by n large,..the "lighter veins" remark making a further mockery of my resulting conundrum.

The Dictionary defines "intelligence" as:
1. capacity for learning, reasoning, and understanding; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc.
2. mental alertness or quickness of understanding.
3. manifestation of a high mental capacity.
4. the faculty or act of understanding.
5. information received or imparted; news.
6. a. secret information, esp. about an enemy or potential enemy.
b. the gathering or distribution of such information.
c. the evaluated conclusions drawn from such information.
d. an organization engaged in gathering such information: military intelligence.
7. (often cap.) an intelligent being or spirit, esp. an incorporeal one.
  All this is in positive sense, attaching "misguided" to it will not give the intended meaning, but that is not the issue now.
   I will just like to summarize my understanding on such issues that, "at any point of time, every problem leads to its solution and every solution raises a new set of problems, and both remain in an unstable state of equilibrium" -this is a universal  law of nature, so no point in panicking.
    Actually "the generation gap arises out of the intelligence back lash", which need not be perceived as "misguided". Thanks

S Dayal (Jun 9)
Intelligence is indeed, a good topic.  Slowly intelligence has evolved.  Now a new term has been added to this, called "Collective Intelligence".  An example of this is given as, think if an Ant, a single ant's intelligence is limited.  But the "Collective intelligence" of all the ants, put together, make an ant hill, makes their ant hill, as sophisticated as the suburbs of New York City !

Also its well known as, Ants put together can move an, Elephant !

Even WANO has, very well developed courses on dealing with, gathering of knowledge, intelligently, and applying it the area of problem solving in the area of Operations and Maintenance in the Nuclear Field.  Intelligence as per (to my limited understanding) WANO, hass classified as (i) Individual Intelligence (ii) Group Intelligence (iii) Organizational Intelligence  

Also it is a well known fact, that Organizations, which are intelligent enough, are able to survive, in the ever changing Business Environment.


K.Natarajan (Jun 9)
In a way,  Mohan Raoji, your long response provides the real response also.
Technologies will grow like cactus, mankind will adjust to wade through, is the gist as I see.
The gist of my long submission was in the last para, moving away from the penultimate Knowledge to the ultimate Wisdom, in modern sense, acquiring the discerning ability between our love to fellow human beings and our love of technology,
which governs the application of technology.

Ashok Malhotra ji,
After we enter the metaphysical domain, a cleansing of the mind of conventional dictionary meanings, is the first need I felt to avoid confusion (I have stressed often on a new Glossary!)
Somewhere in the long journey, Technology in man seems to have left Culture way behind and regaining the balance is all Wisdom, the maturing of Knowledge, is about, is what behind my submission

We sportsmen are keen on putting a goal, even if it is on same side.!
Ashok Malhotra ( Jun 9)
I entirely agree with your thoughts Mr Dayal. I was merely countering the negative aspects of intelligence put forth, which will always be there, like good n bad, धर्म-अधर्म. If we reinforce the good, the bad aspects will be automatically destroyed.
Agreed Natarajan sir, you are a real sports man, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
AI, Artificial Intelligence, could be misguided Intelligence, if proper control measures are not incorporated in the incipient stage.
Had proper control measures been taken at the very early stage of fossil fuel utilization, similar to the conscientious nuclear people taking appropriate stringent measures with ALARA,, the carbon print would not have grown to the monster it is now.
This was what emphasized in the Misguided Intelligence and earlier ALARA  threads.


Ashok Malhotra (Jun 15)
  It just came to my mind: Stretching the argument of ALARA applied correctly to all aspects by their creators, even by God, there would be no Ravana, Kansa, Hitler, British n Muslim occupations of India n so on. What a utopian world it would be.

Mohan Rao (Jun 15)
We also used the same intelligence to create the concept of hindsight, gadgets called rearview mirrors, blindspot monitors and digitized versions of these gadgets for EVs. ICE-driven cars were misguided I; EVS are I. Are NPPs misguided I or I?
Both misguided intelligence and real intelligence were given to us by the same God? Or, is one called Satan?


Mohan Rao ( Jun 10)
Elon Musk is the billionaire founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX companies. Among his recent sayings: AI is a real concern for humanity and is we do not control it, we will end up like the housecat; it is our biggest existential threat; with AI we are summoning a demon; AI is becoming massively more intelligent than humans; we shouldn’t let power of AI be concentrated in the hands of a few, potentially leading to a world we do not want; power of AI should be broadly distributed such that the collective will of others will overcome the bad actors (some think that Musk meant Google when he said that); Musk also said he loves the idea of being a housecat.
 In a Swiss referendum, the government offered an unconditional basic income of 2500 Swiss Francs to each person (about 3000 $) per month to cover basis needs so that people can pursue creative and productive goals in life. People overwhelmingly said “ No, thanks.”
 Linda Wiegenfeld says that we are “wired to create” in a book with the same title. She outlines ten habits and more habits you have more creative you are: imaginative plays that create a sense of wonder; passion for work and getting motivated and inspired; daydreaming and letting the unconscious take over; solitude and hearing your own ideas and reflecting; intuition or inner voice or gut feel; being open to new horizons; mindfulness or observing and living in the moment; sensitivity of intense depth of feeling; positive coping and turning bad experiences into opportunities; thinking differently and love for innovation. Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance man did countless things such as painting, sculpting, math, inventions, music, anatomy, cartography, botany, writing and many more.
 David Suzuki, Canada’s environment guru, says our brains didn’t evolve in cities. Cognitive psychologist David Strayner says that being in nature allows the pre-frontal cortex, brain’s command centre to dial down and rest like an overused muscle. Nature can calm the brain and heal the body.
 Ref: Epoch Times, June 9-15, 2016

S Dayal ( Jun 10 )
Often it is said that, Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural stupidity.
Ravi Rustagi:
AI stands for Artificial Intelligence of computer acting like human brain. But whose brain? Humans differ mainly in their brain development. Someday, there will be need of evolving Internationally accepted Standard Brain unit, like SI units of mass, length and time, and conversion factors.
SI was evolved more than 50 years ago; the US, Britain and Canada still not agreeable to adopt SI system across the board. Oh boy, AI is not going to be simple, time and cost effective alternative to human stupidity!
Regards & in light vein.

Nandkishore Agarwal ( Jun 12)
I think the word AI for Artificial  Intelligence is quite popular unless one is talking about flights. This word is being used more and more these days in connection with industrial activities, computing, robotics and various other areas.

S Dayal (Jun 12)
First time I saw an application of AI was in Japanese washing machines.
These machines used to decide the amount of detergent to be used for washing clothes, irrespective of the color of clothes !

Ashok Malhotra ( Jun 12)
        Perhaps it is "fuzzy logic" based controls that are often advertised by the washing m/c wallas, the term "artificial intelligence" is a generic term for any system that learns by use and based on that adopts/modifies itself.
S Dayal ( Jun 12 )
It started with Fuzzy Logic.  Later on matured to AI.  In AI, the program code goes on increasing, as AI learns from its, experience.
Now AI based home sweep, mopping systems are being developed.  These AI based machines, are able to understand the home layout.  Able to differentiate between children's toys and scrap paper.
Also, they are able to go to a particular location in house and get latched for re charge, in case the battery goes low.
Price is a deterrent, so not ready for market yet.
Sounds like science fiction!

Mohan Rao (Jun 13)
Dayal Saab: You might have heard people sometimes say with respect to some inanimate thing: “it has got its own mind”. You have to watch those things. Sometimes I used to feel that they have AI. In childhood, our school teachers used to keep a bamboo cane (now forbidden) to keep order in the classroom. We used to think that those little canes had AI. Worse you behave in the class, harder they come on you when they are used by the teacher. When I went to grade 6, I found out that the AI had something to do with the principle of levers (how much it hurt depended on where the teacher held the cane).
My grandfather used to own a school in the village. There were rules as to the use of the cane by the teacher: they should be kept inside the drawer hidden from the children’s eyes so that the canes don’t lose their AI; they can be used only on the flat palm and nowhere else; only one slap per bad behaviour; no beating for inefficiency in performance, etc. The system was all over the school system: we used to think it was the British rulers who brought it. Finally when they left India, my grandfather banned caning in the classes. Teachers replaced it with a foot ruler which was as you perhaps know a slat of soft wood with foot length with inches on one side and cms on the other. Thee was a rule at that point that teacher can use it only using the flat side. It hardly hurt. The rule breakers used to come back sneering after getting a slap from the flat side of the ruler.
Ashok Malhotra ( Jun 13 )
   I am eagerly waiting for the AI mopping machines to get rid of our ever troublesome n costly Baiees. But these m/c's would need to be caned daily since our h/hold layouts change daily n they will never learn it. Don't you agree?
Ravi Rustagi ( Jun 13 )
I heard an anecdote of a maid servant trying to google if there is a way for her to work from home.
I am certain that human involvement will ever be an important measure of progress at all times. Emphasis may change from quantity to quality, simple technology to use of complex Apps. Will there be a time of robots texting, sorry sexing instead of real humans?
I recall another joke:- a servant kissed the wife of the boss, saying the boss is busy at work, he asked me to pass on the good night kiss.
Hope it doesn’t happen in this lifetime.


Ashok Malhotra ( Jun 13)
I with a smile Sir,...."Getting Naughty at Eighty".....or "Humour with a Rumour"....(self coined).
Mohan Rao (Jun 13)
 In Canada we already have little gadgets that scour the floor or the carpet 24/7 and it won’t be long somebody comes up with these Gadgets with AI attached to them or ones that can be attached to your i-phone or Blackberry with an App. We only need to find a way of e-caning them so they can function better.

Ashok Malhotra ( Jun 13 )
We all know well by now how much the life has changed by the Industrial Revolution.
The flip side of this ever increasing complexity in such aids arises when the machines stop working, & that happens frequently in a normal house hold.
There was a time when any road side mechanic, at a nominal charge will repair my car, even I used to do many things myself. But now, even a simple washing m/c or an audio system or a TV, have proprietary parts n programmed chips, that can only be attended to by their manufacturers, at their own sweet prices and it creates a monopolistic practice that the authorities are neither  able to detect nor tackle, as well as a non competitive market, like the drug industry has been doing for a long time.
The consumer forums n the Govt. are no match to them. In fact a major part of a company's profits are generated from the after sale services. Often the consumers are led to conclude that replacing the gadget is easier than the hassle n cost of getting it repaired.
Ganesh Johorey (Jun 15)
I wish I had used ALARA to drinking and playing cards in my young age. Since giving up drinking alcohol and reducing card game I have lead a much healthier life.This principle should also be followed for accumulating wealth.It is getting accumulated because of Newton's first law of motion


Dear Malhotra ji, Mohan Rao ji,
Do I see some sarcasm and aggressiveness? We are not going to change anything and winning or loosing the argument is irrelevant. So why be an argumentative American or Argumentative Indian (or Canadian)
I am tempted to say "I am thoroughly misunderstood".
The Inducement for the mail is your sharp focus on various aspects of AI products in recent postings and  the heavy thrust by stakeholders on the gullible Indian market, causing the fear that it may come soon.
Like Brahman, Intelligence is one.
Application for good , bad, do not quite know , makes the difference.
The case is not against I or AI, but only needed caution in application.
Knowledge of Fission is intelligence. Application in NPP is guided Intelligence, application in nuclear bomb is misguided Intelligence? Modern smart politicians would say that even  nuclear bomb could be in the first category! Binary thinking is archaic, giving place to Fuzzy thinking, nowadays!

With the vast complications of algorithms, the thrusting of intelligence into computer  took a new name, Artificial Intelligence and had to be built on Fuzzy logics, discarding the elementary Boolean guided binary logic, suddenly pulling the carpet under the normal computer expert, taking the expertise needed to dizzy heights.

Hence the apprehension about the deadly combination of Robotics, Fuzzy logics to evolve AI and the indiscriminate thrust before mankind is prepared for it., atleast in this country.

Maneuvering a car with steering wheel is within human comprehension. I am afraid the AI takes the intelligence level to beyond human comprehension

With NPPs a simple application of smart transmitters, will have to call for specially developed V&V processes.

In the domain of public utility, AI needs lots of Regulatory cover, at the initial stage itself, before the flood gates are opened.
Prevention is better than cure.
Since the first response is a joke, developing into a sneer,  a caution 'not altogether a laughing matter' is in order!

Sure, younger generation is smart and will take care!
Thanks, Johorey ji for your humour!
Anand Ghare (June 16)
As the thread is continuing, my fingered are also tempted to touch the keypad.
Let me take out some humour out of Jouharisab's mail. Now he thinks he could have applied ALARA principle to drinking and playing cards, because perhaps health is his top priority or primary concern NOW. I am sure he must have thoroughly enjoyed those moments having fun with these activities in earlier days.

That is life! You keep taking calculated risks and enjoy the thrill. Some times there are miscalculations and you complain about wrong data, assumptions, formulae or simply your Karma and then feel happy or relieved of any guilt.
And we may also call it failure or misguidance of intelligence!

I do not know much about AI. Are they adding EQ to it besides IQ?
If not, the fiery robots may lead the same fate of self destruction as the demon Bhasmaasur!

Ashok Malhotra
I can guess how dear an issue can be to an initiator, its like a child to a mother, but there will always be uncles n aunties around to look at things more objectively(?) and some times jealously.
 Coming back to the issue, I think we are getting some what mixed up on this topic of Intelligence vs MI. What is under the hammer is "Management or Regulation of intelligent machines", n not their invention.
   There is a big gap between an invention n the application of that. First we discover a beast for our aid n then chain it for a controlled performance. MI comes in at the stage when the chain rules for the beast are flouted. If we bind the inventor with the chain rules, that will perhaps snuff out all creativity.
     I am sure the apprehensions of Sh Natarajanji will be suitably addressed, sooner than later, by proper regulations, as we will shortly see for drones, but, like Satan can't be wished away, there will always be rogues around for MI.
Mohan Rao
Just to add to the conversation on Misguided Intelligence:
I gather that Apple is going to let third parties to work with Apple to develop useful interfaces using Apple AI and Digital Assistant. A scenario of future AI application will be as follows (say 5 years from now):
Imagine your day’s appointments have to be arranged. Uber, Oberoi and Taj will work with Apple’s Digital Assistant Siri to set up your agenda. Uber will send a cab to take you after your day’s engagements to Hotel Oberoi for High Tea with your clients. After one hour, two Uber cabs will fetch you and your wife and take you to Taj where your dinner would have been pre-arranged by Siri and Taj. After three hours, another Uber cab will take you back Home. Siri will add up the tabs and debit your account. All the arrangements will be done having you in the loop in making major decisions.
The whole arrangement by AI is perhaps a little too rich for my taste, but I wouldn’t call it misguided.
On another topic, Sony is coming up with Virtual Reality movies with already famous titles like Star wars, where you can wear a Sony headset and involve yourself in a virtual situations like a war, or walking with the dead, fighting an inferno, and whatever is new in the world of special effects loaded movies.


Shah Nawaz Ahmad
I am reminded of the lines from Pablo Neruda

'Man with his implements of gold
Has landed on the moon
But we
The children of the half-light
Do not know
What has been discovered
Is a new form of life
Or a new form of death'


Mohan Rao
 I like the poem. Discontents of intelligence are many. Under nature’s challenge man developed intelligence to predict the course of nature and to pre-select our route. But somehow, intelligence developed negative traits as well what I call its discontents. We are still walking around with this intelligence like a gunman walking around finger-whirling a weapon and we are getting into serious trouble now and then. Even figuring out whether we did the right thing to start with becomes often confusing. Although hindsight is 20/20 they say. Outgrowing this part of evolution is our challenge, As Pablo Neruda says, we are children of the half-light (?) not knowing often what we have discovered. Getting out of this vicious cycle is a matter of spirituality, consciousness and intellect that has to work at a different perhaps a global level.


Ravi Rustagi :
Johoreyji Newton's first law is violated from unbalanced forces of accumulation. Let us set it right. Newton's first law is sheer guided intelligence- object is either at rest or in uniform motion. No aggravation, emotion , senseless desire etc. this is Krishna teaching in BG.

Mohan Rao ( Jun 17 )
Headsets with AI, VR, 3-D are becoming more and more useful as we speak. Top end shops are using them for guiding customers have a try before they decide whether to buy or not - cars, homes, cottages, sports gears etc.

Shah Nawaz Ahmad ( Jun 17)
So true
But with so much information, but without the knowledge, I am afraid
We remain remain children of the half-light Perpetually

The concluding sentence comes close to the concluding sentence of the initiating mail of the thread, that wisdom in modern sense lies in right application of the inevitable discoveries of knowledge, the discerning sense of right and wrong application.
As difficult to acquire as the original sense of wisdom, realizing Brahman, or realizing Truth, or Self!

Shah Nawaz Ahmad
So right Natarajan saheb
The only certainty we have, is that we live in an uncertain world
That's the human condition
And we can only negotiate our way
Given the lodestar of our values and convictions
Never sure whether they are good enough
To serve us
Along the way


Mohan Rao
We have heard before that Russians are trying to develop advanced humanoids. Today’s Washington Post  reports on a unique story. From a Russian Prombot Lab, a humanoid escaped out of the lab gate which the Engineer had forgotten to close. Not only that, the humanoid got into serious trouble when it stepped into the traffic when all the drivers tried to avoid the humanoid and someone even took a video and posted on the YouTube. Finally police had to show up and take care of the humanoid. The robot had been trained to answer questions, give directions and organize people with various algorithms. I wonder if all the AI it had helped in saving itself in the traffic. What if it had walked into a nuclear arsenal and started meddling with the switches? Who should be be held responsible - man or the humanoid?

Mohan Rao (18/06/2016)
Stephen Hawking has often said that we should explore other planets for human habitation. Given the research currently in progress in US, European nations, India and perhaps some more (China), it may not be far off that we have some real options and we will be into trial phase.
Paul Sokoloff is a Canadian Botanist and a former crew member at the Mars Desert Research station in Utah and knows more about growing things on Mars than many of us. Mars does not have soil but has what scientists call regolith (some kind of red dust). Data sent back from Mars through landers and rovers have let botanists create simulants of this red dust which are made of volcanic rocks. One such material from the slopes of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, quarried by Orbitec Ltd (called JSC Mars-1 simulate) can be bought for 25 USD for 2 pounds. You will need to add fertilizers to it, they say, to be able to grow produce in soil-free conditions (i.e. hydroponics). This will get going a number of school projects by students to grow fresh produce in Mars-like conditions. They may even come up with AI with algorithms to figure how much moisture would be required, what kind of produce grows best, customizing hydroponics to Mars-like conditions, etc. in the years to come.
Together with answers to various other questions such as: which part of Mars will have the best conditions for humans; what all essentials will be naturally available and what else may need to be shipped from earth, what processes may need to relied upon for survival (potable water, air, need for bio-domes etc), one day, in our children’s life if not ours, living and working on Mars and coming to earth for vacationing  and seeing family and folks, may be realizable. Guided civilization or misguided intelligence, I do not know.

-- -----------------------------------------------------------
Dear Mohan Rao,
I am sure , sooner than  later , this group will get a mail from Mars, from one of our friends settled there, on Misguided Intelligence!

May be initially we would have to expect extra-terrestrial, intra-planetary emails only from male members of the Group until ladies reach Venus first :-)
Shah Nawaz Ahmad
It better be guided, for even if you are few seconds off, (not minutes, not degrees) we could land in another galaxy.
But it may still be fun!


Mohan Rao ( 18/06/2016)
Canada has announced a 2 M$ recruitment program for space "cowboys and cowgirls" super smart, ultra-fit and who are not claustrophobic. It is looking beyond ISS, says Navdeep Bains, our minister for innovation and science. I can see Mars exploration when he says "beyond ISS" .


Mohan Rao ( Jun 21)
Games Gods and Men Play
 We have been discussing various antonyms of some kind or another in the last little while: intelligence and Artificial Intelligence; humans and robots; reality and virtual reality; light and darkness; particles and waves. In another post, I opined with Francis Fukuyama’s statement about the End of History, that there is something in our destiny that after all the arguments makes us fall into two near equal positions but opposite to each other and we get more and more choked in the pipe of history. I would like to put this into some kind of perspective.
 The way evolution led us so far, we are born with a 3-pound universe (we call the brain) and from the moment we are born, we cannot but start to differentiate the world we live in. Good and bad, high and low, yes and no, up and down, day and night and so on. If you think about it, fragmenting the world with the senses evolution gave us has been what we do for a living.
We grow with this necessary obsession, but the way we are, we start to integrate this world again. Consider light and dark: If light is where we are, we put on drapes and curtains to shield ourselves from the sun. We wear sunglasses and go and sit in dark rooms with candle light for dinner. If it is too dark, we bring our lamps, open our drapes. We seem to want to integrate light and dark into one continuous spectrum and manage it without separating it. Think about it again. That is the case with every pair of situations, which I called antonyms and whimsically Games Gods and men play.
 On an evolutionary timeline, we moved from primitive life to where we are now. Along the line of progress, we have dealt with these antonyms in a perpetually changing fashion. First the industrial age, where we started to brighten up the dark room with electricity, we moved from slow walking pace to ultra-fast pace with various transportation, etc, In other words, we have been integrating antonymous situations with various technologies.
 Where we are now, it is the same story. We, as Homo Sapiens, have phenomenal intelligence and we moderate it so that we do not become our own enemies such as with arms and ammunition, We have created our mirror intelligence in AI and now wonder if AI is guided or misguided. We have created our mirror image in robots and we wonder how not to allow the robots to take over and need to be controlled so that they can work for us and not give us marching orders instead. With virtual reality we are creating a mirror image of reality, with all its warts, and we wonder if we did something admirable or something with the potential of becoming ultimately self-destructive.
Finally we are into differentiation and integration, Cartesian concepts of subdividing and summing it up, or of dispersing and then regrouping. So far the process has been creative and indeed the process of our evolution. But as we can see, the process is becoming more and more complex with every cycle of evolution, enough to wonder if we will be choking in the pipe of history.
Anand Ghare ( Jun 21 )
Fantastic summing up or placing in proper perspective by  Shri Mahanrao!
I think we have now graduated from subdividing and summing to Fission and Fusion!