Saturday, 24 August 2013

Objectivity and Subjectivity

Observers and Observation - What is "THE TRUTH" ?

Every year the Ram-lila is performed in the Gangetic plains. Every year the Mahabharata is enacted in the villages of North Tamil Nadu. Every year the nativity play is staged in churches across the world at Christmas time. Every year the same story is told again and again. Yet, no one finds it boring.

For as the years pass, the audience changes, matures and they receive the same story differently. What seemed exciting during childhood and tedious in youth, becomes necessary, even wise, in maturity. What changes is not what is being said but what is being heard.

A key theme underlying Indian thought is that observers create observation. Simply put, it means that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. We see what we want to see. A good illustration of this is some of the emails I get to my articles and books.

I started writing mythology in around 1996 and after 16 years have over 400 articles and 25 books to my credit. But the response to them has had me bewildered. Here is a sample of some of the responses over the past eight years, and observe how mutually contradictory some of them are, often to the same webpage post or book:

“You have opened my eyes to the world of mythology.”
“You are a fraud and know nothing about Santana Dharma.”
“You are a Right-wing Hindu fundamentalist disguised as an intellectual.”
“You are a pseudo-secularist with no knowledge of the truth.”
“How dare you write about my religion?”
“You are a seer, my guru.”
“You are a fraud.”
“Do you even know Sanskrit?”
“I don’t think you know anything about mythology.”
“Why do you call Hinduism mythology?”
“You are a Westernised Orientalist who makes Indians look bad.”
“You make me proud to be Indian.”
“Your thoughts are deep and intellectually stimulating.”
“Are you trying to demystify God?”
“You are deeply spiritual.”
“Are you religious?”
“Do you believe in God or are you saying it is all myth?”
“Your theories are all warped.”
“Your theories finally helped me make sense of life.”
“You are promoting the caste system and patriarchy.”

As you read these emails, ranging from the delightful to the disgusting, you wonder about the complexities of communication. What you say versus what is heard, what you write versus what is read. Every member of the audience filters everything through the sieve of their own imagination. What is read passes through a lens of prejudice and so what is ultimately received is a very different version of what you actually say, not always close to what you wish to say.

In such a world, what is the truth? Is my truth the truth? Is the respondent’s truth the truth? Is there the truth at all? Is the intention of the writer superior to the interpretation of the reader? Is there a correct interpretation out there? Is every interpretation true and correct and equal to other interpretation? Who judges?

Coming or Going? What is The Truth?

The appreciation of the subjectivity of human thoughts lead to many Indian philosophies such as the Jain syada-vaad (doctrine of doubt) and anekanta-vada (doctrine of plurality) and Buddhist shunya-vaad (doctrine of nothingness) and the Hindu maya-vaad (doctrine of delusion). At its heart is the idea that objectivity is elusive. We have to live in a world of multiple interpretations and multiple, even cruel and unfair, judgments.

The author is Chief Belief Officer of the Future Group, and can be reached at


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Victory Happens in Silence

What is true victory? Is it about acquiring wealth or conquering the world? Such a victory is not lasting. Abiding victory comes when we have conquered our own minds. If our mind is the ruler and all the time it controls us then we are living a life of defeat.

For example, if I decide to get up in the morning at 5 o’ clock the mind says, “Why should you get up so early? Even birds get up early in the morning, but what do they achieve? So go to sleep!” If you say okay then you are defeated. One little thought defeats you.

When a person gets addicted to a cigarette or some other thing that one little object defeats him completely. He becomes weak, that addiction becomes his weakness. Victory in the true sense is one where a person gains victory over himself. This kind of victory is abiding, whereas any external or physical victory is only temporary. It will be here today, gone tomorrow. Sometimes it doesn’t take more than a fraction of a second to vanish.

A life of dynamism need not be full of feverish activities. In Nature too, we see how silently the sun rises; how it illumines, energizes. So much so when we don’t see the Sun for a few days, we feel depressed. It is so inspiring and in spite of seeing it everyday we are never bored with it. The secret of the Sun’s charm is in its dynamism.

Again when the plant germinates from a seed; does it make a lot of noise or advertise its arrival? One fine morning we see a few green leaves, then a small flower blossoming and then the first sweet fruit. Nature works so silently and efficiently.

A great vision emerges from silent contemplation. When a noble vision and action combine in a human being or beings it becomes a blessing to the entire humanity, absence of such a vision spells doom and destruction, both to a single soul and the totality at large.

Victory happens in silence ...

By: Swami Tejomayananda 

Now Close your Eyes for 5 minutes and Click on this Link -

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Empty You Mind - a Master Speaks

Empty your Mind
Be formless , Shapeless
Like Water

Water can flow or it can crash
Be Water my friend

Running water never goes stale
So you've got to keep on Flowing..

- Sensei Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee's philosophy often mirrored his fighting beliefs, though he was quick to claim that his martial arts were solely a metaphor for such teachings. He believed that any knowledge ultimately led to self-knowledge, and said that his chosen method of self-expression was martial arts.[66] 
His influences include TaoismJiddu Krishnamurti, and Buddhism.[67] On the other hand, Lee's philosophy was very much in opposition to the conservative worldview advocated by Confucianism.[68] 
John Little states that Lee when asked in 1972 about his religious affiliation, he replied, "none whatsoever".[69] In 1972, he was asked if he believed in God, and responded, "To be perfectly frank, I really do not".[66]
The following quotations reflect his fighting philosophy.
  • "Be formless ... shapeless, like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You pour water into a bottle; it becomes the bottle. You put water into a teapot; it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or creep or drip or crash! Be water, my friend ..."[70]
  • "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once. But I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."
  • "All types of knowledge, ultimately leads to self knowledge."[71]
  • "Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it".[72]
  • "Do not deny the classical approach, simply as a reaction, or you will have created another pattern and trapped yourself there".[73]
  • "Quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough".[74]
  • "I always learn something, and that is: to always be yourself. And to express yourself, to have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate him".[75]
  • "It's not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential."[76]

More on the Master -

Monday, 5 August 2013

Tomorrow is Organ Donation Day! Sign up on

Let Go of a Part of You

DEVDUTT PATTANAIK brings you two unusual stories from Indic mythology on organ donation — one about a renunciate and the other, the story of a bhakta.

To donate an organ, two critical emotions are needed: Vairagya or renunciation and bhakti or devotion. The former is more intellectual in nature and the latter is more emotional in nature. While vairagya allows one to detach oneself from the organ and say, “That is not me,” bhakti empowers one to be generous towards another, saying,” He needs that more than I do.” These two aspects; these two emotions of giving of oneself are very evident in the stories of Dadhichi and Kannappa in Indic tradition.

Dadhichi’s Story

 The story of Dadhichi comes from the Sanskrit puranas. The devas or celestial beings were busy fighting the asuras who were led by one Vritra who was considered invincible and, therefore, was impossible to defeat. The gods needed a strong weapon and nothing was stronger than the bones of a sage called Dadhichi who had been practicing tapasya for hundreds of years. So Indra, king of the devas, went to Dadhichi and asked him to give up his bones. This would mean Dadhichi had to die so that his bones could be harvested. 

Dadhichi agreed without a moment’s hesitation. He had attained kaivalya, Supreme Knowledge and so was not dependent on or attached to his body. He renounced his body through the yogic practice of samadhi and let the devas claim his bones. From these bones, the celestial artisan, Vishwakarma, created the weapon called Vajra or thunderbolt. Indra wielded the Vajra to defeat Vritra and the asuras. 

Ever since, whenever there is thunder and lightening in the sky, people exclaim: There is Indra, striking the asuras with his Vajra, the weapon created with the bones of Dadhichi!

(FYI - Dadichi's Ashram is Here - :)

The Eye Sage

The story of Kannappa comes from the Peria Purana, a Tamil collection of the works of Nayanars, poet-saints devoted to Shiva. Every day, Thinnan, a hunter of the Boyar or Gaddi community, would visit the shrine of the Shiva Lingam and share with the lingam all that he found during his daily hunt: water from mountain springs — which he would carry in his mouth, flowers from the trees that grew on the slopes that he carried in his hair, and the best portions of the game he hunted. 

One day, Shiva decided to test Thinnan’s devotion. The Shiva lingam grew a pair of eyes; one of them started to bleed. Thinnan tried healing the bleeding eye with herbs but nothing worked. Finally, Thinnan cut out his eye and replaced the bleeding eye with his own eye. Then, to his shock, he found that now the other eye had started to bleed. Thinnan decided to offer his other eye as well, but realised that with both eyes gone, he would not know where to place the second eye.

So he placed his foot on the bleeding eye to help him locate the second eye of Shiva after he had plucked out his own other eye. Shiva was so pleased with this act of unconditional sacrifice that he named Thinnan as Kannappa or the ‘eye sage’. 

While Dadhichi displays renunciation on giving up his bones, Kannappa expresses his utter devotion while giving up his eyes.

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Saturday, 3 August 2013

A Great Lesson on Stress: A Short Story

A young lady confidently walked around the room while explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water in her hand. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'half empty or half full?'... She fooled them all .... "How heavy is this glass of water?" she inquired with a smile.

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

She continued, "And that's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."

As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced.

The mind only has a certain capacity for holding stress, and everyone's tolerance for stress is different. With spiritual practice such as chanting God's Name, the stress due to beliefs, fears, defects and impressions in the subconscious mind reduces, one feels rested and refreshed, and one becomes much more capable of handling situations that previously could have been stressful. One experiences greater calm and bliss even in challenging situations.

To learn more about the benefits of chanting, visit :

Switch the Train's Direction - Stare at the image below!

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