Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Blog!!!

Its been a long time since I actually wrote some stuff here... what have I been doing... ah! I have been working on another blog of mine... some posts already up there.....
this is the link to the blog... its more of philosophical approach than anything else... people who are interested in some philosophy can read it over.... :)
Will get back to this once I have something really interesting to write down... :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Alchemy of Growth

Written by Mehrdad Baghai, Stephen Coley and David White; this book describes a new framework which for managing growth in any company. The concept of classifying the projects into three horizons and then explaining using Staircases how to create an environment by which the management of these ideas are easily accomplishable is very innovative and helps not just understand the challenge a company faces better but also helps a start up plan how to go about doing something it.

I wouldnt go ahead explaining much about the book, its definitely a must read if you are searching for a source which will help you manage your company's growth better.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The greatness guide - Robin Sharma

There definitely something interesting in what he says... He repeats the same message, and keeps me going.

The greatness guide is a nice book, very small - similar to the book who will cry when you die. There are 101 chapters in this book, which remind me of the habit of journaling that he has. I picked up this habit from him from this book. I now write a journal daily, some thoughts that I value, something new that I learn.

A nice books to get back to the basic lessons, can be read in very quickly and get the summary of the route greatness which every individual wants to reach. As I would put it...its the basics that are very important to stick to; stick to the basics and you have a lot to achieve...

If you are searching for the book which would guide u to gr8ness, then this is one of them...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Go Kiss the World - Subroto Bagchi

Subroto Bagchi - the co-founder of Mindtree has written this book which is basically his autobiography. After the initial success of his earlier book - the high performace entrepernuer, this is his second book.

The title is very interesting, and he make a special mention of the reason why this book is named so; there is definitely an IIMB link to this naming as well... thatz what he told when he had comedown to give a orientation lectuer in our college for the fresh batch.

Bagchi can be see in a very philosophical mood in this book, he has given away a lot of philosophical perspective/gyaan to us. I would like to recommend this book for the philosophical insight that I was able to gain from the book...makes me look at the points which I have learnt in life in a greater detail.

One this that impressed me the most of his messages was - "You need to learn to receive..." very true...this one thing can change the whole perspective of life.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sharavati valley trek -1

Banglore -> Shimoga -> Sagara -> VageVaddi -> Basavanabaayi -> Padu beedu -> Belli gundi -> Godanagundi -> Padubeedu -> Jog -> Sagara -> Shimoga -> Bangalore

An awesome experience with people from different countries on the trek, a couple of people from Germany, Malta and people from different parts of the country itself - the locals, the bangaloreans, and the hydrabadis... all this was only to start off - we never realised when we got along to be a good team....For some this wes the first experience with leeches, for others a differnt terrain to trek...a nice mix of treks experiences for all of us.

I met up Mr Sampath on orkut, and was impressed by the trek pictures that were uploaded there... we shared some comments and then I decided to go on a trek to this awesome place, unperturbed by human habitation, still virgin forest... I had been waiting for a good break in my course during which I wanted to do this trek.

After a hectic schedule of exams and submission I decided I would join Sampath and group on the trek. Sampath had arranged a Tempo Traveller(TT) for us to get to the destination at the earliest, and save some time and use that effectively in trekking and getting to feel the nature...

The TT was parked at the railway station parking at Majestic, and it began its jouney at 10:30 pm, we picked up people on the way and started our jouney. A small break for Vinay to get his dinner packed and we moved further. As we crossed nelamangala, the rain God decided to shower his blessing on us and there was a constant down pour all along the journey.

The TT went slowly, partially due to the heavy rains and partially due to the bad roads, we reached kargal, a place some distance off Sagara at 745 am, where we got along with the 3 trekkers who had caught their bus to get to this place. The had come form Hydrabad the earlier night and had stayed in the hotel-lodge, visited Jog falls and had been waiting for us till then.

Day 1:

We had our first cup of tea at kargal, and then moved ahead towards vagevaDDi. The drive from kargal to VageVaDDi was around 45 minutes by the TT and we could see some lush green vegetation, some back waters of the lingan makki dam and so on. I caught up with some sleep in this 45 minutes as well.

We were to reach VagevaDDi at 830am, but given the bad roads and the weather we could only reach by 930. Mr Narayan was waiting there with the breakfast for us. He, Shridhar, and Mr Dharma were to be our guide cum cook for the next two days. They had prepared some akki rotti, badnekai chatni, and liquid jaggarey; they also cut a papaya for us; this spot were we had our breakfast was a nice place. The villagers had make a lake, which was to serve as the source of water for the fields, when the rains had died down - there had been no rains in the area for almost 10 days prior to our visit; for a moment I thought - "does this mean that most of the falls we visit wouldnt have water?'"

Just as everyone completed the breakfast we had a stand up meeting lead by Sampath to brief about the trek we were to begin, the route we were to follow, and some basic directions. Narayan was to lead the way for us and we would also have Shridhar to guide us along during the trek. We began our trek - I could see dence forest at a mind was already ready to move towards the direction, felt like running towards the lush green forest cover there and didnt want to spend too much time on the jeep route that we had begun.

My excitement was all put to a pause mode when, Sampath told me that there was a jeep route till Basavanbaayi. As we went from the green land into a more tree covered area; I found some company who looked very familiar...Yes!!! the leeches. "Ah! finally some fun this way" I thought... I would run through the dead and fallen leaves, the leeches would climb up and after some time I would halt to toss the climbing leeches off my shoes and socks... this was fun...after around 30 minutes walk from the starting point we reached the temple - Basavana baayi.

Most of the trekkers were busy getting the leeched off their shoes, some were already bleeding form the leech bites, some were jumping around not knowing what to do...They had applies eyucaliptus oil but that seems to have done little effect on the leeches. After completing this session of leech removal most of them set out to get to the falls.

In the mean time Philip who was now excited watching Narayan catch frogs began trying his luck. Philip seems to have an ability to attract animals towards him, earlier in the day he had cows running behind him and following him where ever he went, now he was trying to catch the frogs. Narayan was an expert at it and could catch the frogs with great ease; every time philip was to catch a frog it would jump off or get deeper into the water making it hard to find them...

Once all people were ready to get to the falls - actually to get to the place of fun and frolic for those who would like to get down in the falls for a shower. All those who had been bitten by the leeches took no time to get into the water and almost forgot that the were ever bitten by the leeches. We spent around 30 minutes at this falls and then got back to the temple to have our lunch.

The lunch was too good, the jackfruit pappad, the saambaar...humm... I can smell and taste the food...really well prepared... just as some of them were appreciating the lunch, the leeches which had been thrown out of the shoes and from the legs began their assult again...they bit quite a few of them and again the panic struck in the minds of the people. Sampat gave strick directions to follow the route which narayan and shridhar would show and not to wander off. We were a group of 18 people and keeping the tab on all would be a humongous task.

Just as we began the trek, shridhar leading from the front narayan in between and sampath towards the end. The leech count ouly increased as we began the trek upwards, the far off forest which I saw initially is where were trekking. We would walk some distance and then stand asking for salt and removing the leeches... while most of them were involved in removing the leeches, we had trekked for around an hour and had covered only a kilometer or just above it. Most of the team mates decided this wasnt what they were looking for.

Just as we continuted the trek, shridhar showed a small hole which was dug by the bear... using he expertise he could also tell this was just some time before we came and was a younger bear. It wouldnt be far off form the place were walking on. We stood there to have a look and just as most of the people were on our way we continued further... after some time narayan gave a call asking us to stop; I could see exitement in his eyes he came and explained how he has spotted a dear which ran across at lighting speed bisecting our line of trekkers.

Just as we continued our trek sampath could see the frustration on the face of the trekkers who didnt like the trek through the leech prone forest area. Sampath asked for the choise of path and most of the voted this time for a grassland with very few leeches. "So shall it be!!!" was the experession and we with shridhar leading the path walked towards the grassland to the left of the dense forest.

We walked through the grasslands, picking snaps of the distant mountains, the streams, the water holes on the way etc. the landscape reminded me of Poorna Chandra Tejaswi's description of this hunting experiences. Shridhar guided us to his brother's house were we rested for some time and clicked the pictures of a some gaint butterfly which were around their home. After a break of around 45 minutes we resumed our trek/journey through the grassland. We walked through the bunds bordering the fields and took pics of the muddy fields, people working in them etc... it was real fun clicking the snaps all over the place... we continued our jounrney and took some rest at the vast grass land that was some distance away form the village and local inhabitation.

Shridhar had gone ahead and got the groceries which we would carry along with us to the final resting spot of the day - the tribal's house. We had some small games amoungst ourself here. Philip was busy trying to see if the Dogs can get him the frisbee that he throws at them...think he is still trying to train them [;)].

We resumed our trek/walk through teh jeep route and finally reached the tribal's home where we decided to rest for the night, the place is called PaDubeedu. Narayan was quick to get some dry wood that had fallen off in the forest...his ability to get the dry wood and that too quickly combustible ones is remarkable. Sampath was mentioning about the experience with narayan getting along the woods even in a very rainy climate and being able to get the wood which would keep them warm.... really a skill which I appreciate after the experice at tadiandmol trying to make a camp fire.

Just as the sun set, and the camp fire took the lime light, we got into discussion and got to know each other better. Some of the trek enthusiasts were asking sampath & me about my trek experience, any encounters I had with wild animals, etc... we narrated our stories...just as we were into the discussion the dinner got ready and it was time for us to get to the bed.

The hosts were kind enough to let us spend the night at their home. Shridhar and Dharma had cooked an awesome dinner with a local flavor to it. Ah! I need to mention this - the Germans viz Philip and Dominic were all fans of the tea, and were a all time sport to the tea that was prepared. Tea just too good - it remined me of the tea at Gowdar mane on the Bandaje abbi trek...

We all slept quite early that night...ya early by all standards; I think it was jsut 930pm when we slept.

Day 2

We were to get up early finish the next day's trek with relative ease. I woke up at 6:00 am when I could spot some brightness in the visinity. The atmosphere was relatively chilly and sampath and I got into discussion of the days plans. Shridhar and Dharma had got up early to help us have our breakfast.
I brushed my teech with the the mango leaves which the host gave me, it was a nice experience. It makes the whole feel look more natural...more rustic in a sense. Just as every one were ready with the daily chores, we decided to continue on our trek for the day after the breakfast. The breakfast was a local special called kadubu and uppit. I liked did many of our team members. Philip and Dominic were on the tea spree again....well only till the tea got over [:)]

We started off to the view point, which is a 45 minutes trek from the base was panaromic view. At one corner I could spot the Murudreshwara island, at the other end I could see the batkal town. There was the Arabian see at the horizon...There wasnt much clouc cover and it was great to get some nice pics. After a bried photography session we began a small trk towards the BelligunDi falls view point.

I was spell bound by the beauty of this falls. The backdrop of the falls has numerous mountain peaks, and dense forest cover. The water in the falls fell in only1 go from the top to the bottom. The vegetation around the falls was dense, I knew the whole trek was worth this one falls for me... I could have trekked any distance for this view.... I just am crazy of falls...

Just as all the trek group gathered there, the cloud decided to take control and not give the view to all of us. the winds played their game in moving the cloud from right to left and then from left to right, but there was no sign of clearning up to give the view of this falls again.

We decided to move ahead and spend some time at the Godana GunDi falls. Narayan lead the way till the falls, This time too we were through dense forest over and the leech prone area, but it seemed as though not many were really worried about the leeches now, they seemed to have accepted the reality of the leeches on the trek. We had real fun getting down the steep mountain to the base of the falls - slipping, skidding, jumping almost a stunt scene there...

The falls was a very neat one, not too high, not too small, it was ideal to have a bath...I too had a bath in the falls...I generally dont like having a bath in the falls inbetween a trek primarily becoz I believe that it saps a lot of energy which would be helpful in trekking long distances...may be I am wrong but I still believe in it :)

We had fun here, playing in the falls. The team from hydrabad had to leave early and so shridhar lead the 3 people to the tempo traveller which would take them to kargal from where they would be able to go to Hydbad...

Narayan took us to the top of the first level and no sooner had I taken a couple of snaps, it started raining. We were quick to get back to the path which leads us to the base camp. Another 30 minutes and we were at the base camp. We had an awesome lunch thanks once again to the cooking team....

We left the base camp, a walk for around 45 minuted down the jeep track, some photoshoots, some discussion with Sampth on his new water sports facility near honnemardu and we were on the main road, and then in the TT which would take us back to bangalore

We dicided to have a glimse of the world famous Jog Falls, but as our luck would have it... it was all misty, we could spot the traces of one of the 4 units, it was very hazy; and that didnt help. We got back into the TT and were on our way back to bangalore.

We reached Blore at 330 am, and went on our ways back home...

An awesome trek... will get back for more falls and more treks some time...

Some of the pics are at this link

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Meruti parvatha

Ah! finally a trek after a long time....The long wait after the trek it is worth it... A monsoon better can it get? wow a thrill of a life time... thatz exactly how it was...
After the ligament strain I had, which had put me off for more than 6 months from any strenuous work, this was a return debut for trekking that I was waiting for... and how better can it get? a monsoon first one officially....All these years I would go on a trek and it was incidental that it would rain...this time it was a planned one... it was an high anticipation trek...It was one I expected to be a full rain trek....I was geared to it...
This trek was again with Arun and company, Shrikanth, Subbu-1, Subbu-2, Tarsh matte Harsha... all with long trek experience...My anticipation for the trek and the precursor to the trek with the bomb blasts in Ahmedabad, made the trek all the more memorable...
I reached the majestic bus stand much earlier, I was at 2015 in the bus stand and was waiting for the rest of them, at 9:30 Arun and company arrived at the station...a small intro to being with and then we were on our way to board the bus...We boarded the bus to HoranaDu at 2215... and we intended to get down at KaLasa...A long journey in the bus to Kalasa, and then we reached there at 7:45 pm.
The first bus to basrikatte which is on the way from HoranaDu to Shringeri reaches Kalasa at 730 am. We missed the bus and needed to wait for the next bus, we had some hot tea and were waiting for the next bus when the rain started pouring down. We got in to rain preparation mode, purchasing some polythene bags and using our creativity to design and apparel out of the was an experience in itself...didnt know that there was a fashion designer in all of us...or was it the necessity? some one once said - necessity is the mother of all invention...may be this is what he meant...
We got down at Basarikatte and then had tea at the hotel there...the bus stops there for some time and we had a nice breakfast there, with uppit, avlakki, idli humm all yummy...after our breakafast for half an hour we changed to the trek gear... track suit, shoes etc.. We then began our trek....
A small distance walk back on the route the bus had taken us would take us to Mertikhan estate entrance... we started our photography session on the way; the rain which had taken a breakfast break as well had started pouring again... it was nice... we were all thrilled by the way the rain would keep the excitement in our trek...
A walk through the tea estates on either side for around 30 minutes and we came to the entrance of the estate office... we asked for permission to get to the peak of the meruthi parvatha. The office people told us that the usual route which takes people to the peak is closed and we needed to go through a round about route...they tried to dissuade us by saying there would be lakhs of leeches down on the side, and getting through the forest would be really difficult.
While Arun and Shrikanth were busy getting the permission work, the remaining of us were busy with our photography sessions...the rain had stopped as thought to give us some nice view of the lad far off, the surrounding hills etc... we were in the middle of a lush green tea plantation, and we could spot the tea estate workers working at brisk pace in the estate... all a picturesque view to keep in our imagination... you need to live it to savor it...a image worth keeping for the rest of a life time.
Arun and Shrikanth had done their bit and got the permission... we started our photography cum trek ahead, the rain was pouring in periodic cycles...ya pouring...there is no other equivalent word to it... it was just too heavy... we had to keep our cameras in good care, else it would stop functioning...After around an hours walk we reached the estate guesthouse, and asked for directions again.
The lady in the house directed us to go through the estate plantations and then through the can get to peak that way!!! well we stared on our trek...Another walk of around 45 minutes through the estate and the forest, Shrikanth taking the lead as usual we reached a clearing above the forest over....
Subbu-2 the high enthu guy decided to see if there was any other way nearby, We only knew the direction of the peak, and didn't know the actual peak...The rain had halted since we had asked for directions from the guest house lady. We took a break of around 15 minutes to see if any leeches had climbed on... fortunately there weren't many till now...I followed another train not the one which subbu had chosen and spotted r peak on to the left of the clearing...subbu-2 came running down and wanted to climb the peak...we were busy clicking the pics... at the far end we could spot HoranaDu... the place where we wanted to go... it looked as if it would take eternity to reach the place...
Another 5 minutes and we were ready to leave to the peak... the weather got worse, it was just rain that we needed to face till now, and now almost at the peak it was the wind which was giving us more of a challenge than a rain... The wind made it look as though, the rain drops were bullets directed to us... A braved trek for another 45 minutes and we decided to take a break for lunch...for some time we thought the place where we sat was the peak - the meruti parvata...We couldnt see anything more than 5 meters away... it was that cloudy...
Just as we were done with our lunch half way through, as though to tell us - you people still have long way to go...We had some amazing fun there during the lunch break, and following which we decided to continue our trek to the peak... another 10 minutes trek and we were at the peak...
There is a ganesha temple at the peak...looks like there is some pooja done once an year, and not many people come there... we could see some cigarette butts at the peak...think these might be of some trek group that had come earlier....We spent around 15 minutes at the peak...the weather got worse again and we decided to get back...
We had to reach horanaDu by night and its only then that we could catch our busy and get to business the next day...With all the fun of a early monsoon rain, and a great trek we reached HoranaDu at 5:00 pm.
We booked a room at one of the lodges there and then took a hot water bath...The evening dinner was at the temple....We waited in the bus after checking out from the lodge, and then sat in the bus. The bus was to leave at 9:15pm but as the heavy rains had got the river overflowing, it was really hard to get over...this meant that we would not get to our business!!!
Another half an hour of intense prayers, and some fun filled memories being discussed, we got to know that the river had subsided, the bleak possibility of reaching Bangalore now looked to be a reality...
Another nights good sleep in the bus and we were in Bangalore at 6 am in the morning. All of us went on our own routes back to business... there was new set of friends to make, a new place to visit, lot new learning... and finally the memories... with every trek it only makes me appreciate the beauty of nature... not just the way the environment is, but the uncertainties the sudden twists and turns that emerge...all make it a course in itself.... a course for which the fees you pay is minimal, but the benefits are innumerable...well may be as a student at IIMB this is how I am looking at it...
And just to follow it up... I read in the news paper the next day that there was some naxal activity in the mertikhan estate, and the STF was searching for the naxals who had left some of their material and the sort there...What an experience!!! ya really... would be memorable..

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Family Wisdom from the monk who sold his ferrari - Robin Sharma

After who will cry when you die, the monk who sold his ferrari, this is the third book I have read by Robin Sharma. Why do I read his books? well not that it totally inspires me to do something that he says....but as I told you, he just helps me recollect and understand my own thoughts better.
This book is about personal leadership, how to transform the personal leadership into action and help the family grow better as a whole, through this 5 principles of family mastery he has tried to communicate simple yet profound messages. I second that the use of these principles would help us live a more fulfilling and complete life than we are leading now.
I would say, there is a message for everyone who wants to live a more complete life; if you are one of them, then go ahead have a read.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The three mistakes of my life - Chetan Bhagat

This is one of the three books by Chentan, I have read all three and must agree...this is not one of this best...Five Point Some One, One night at a Call Center and now The 3 mistakes of my life...
His narration is good, but some where I feel there is no great strength in the story that he says...I personally believe the story has to be thought provoking giving the reader a completely different perspective...making him reflect on himself, see new avenues for growth or atleast some improvements....In none of the three books do I find such a thought provoking issue or agenda....Its only the narration that interests the readers... if coupled with the strong thought provoking story line I see a huge area for improvement....
I would say not all that great book to read.... My rating would be 2.5/5 for the book...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Omniscient & Omnipotent

me: innen samachara kano (any other news?)

Guruprasad: illi inna summer aaramagi nadhithide(nothing, its summer time so all going well.)

me: cool

Guruprasad: do u get any time while ur doing ur MBA ?

u seem to have read a lot of books a

and travelling also

me: he he... adella chance sikkaga maDle bkalva(need to do all that well u get a chance rt!)... its jst a matter of priorities kano... some value sleeping I value travelling aste...

correct taane(rt!)

Guruprasad: right.....

I wish I could be more like u !

somehow I can't compromise with my sleep !

me: no u are unique.... if u are like me then thr is no use of me

Guruprasad: I am trying to do lot of photography, travel, gym, ...

me: u will get over it kano... np... its not wrong to take a nap.. its only a matter of keeping it refreshing enough

good thatz gr8 kano(man)...

nice to keep trying different things...

Guruprasad: but it sucks out all the energy out of me for my studies finally !

me: he he... its the mind that makes something refreshing or not...

Guruprasad: u right sir..

me: so if u simulate ur mind thru encouraging its creativity in all u do it wouldnt make it boring...

actually feeling bored is only a matter of not feeling interested enough

or say simulating enough

en antira?

Guruprasad: and btw what do u think for my status msg ?

me: can u paste them over?

ur status message?

Guruprasad: "I am Omniscient and I am Omnipotent. Ergo, I am Lying."

Guruprasad did not receive your chat.

me: i differ on the last u arent lying... thou art really that

we are omniscient and omnipotent...

Guruprasad: I mean't it ...

Both cannot be true at the same time...

it contradicts Logic

me: both as in...

Guruprasad: and Reason

me: he he...

Guruprasad: Say if ur Omniscient....and u can see the future

me: humm...

Guruprasad: then u cannot change anything

me: he he...

u have already seen so u can always change cant u?

Guruprasad: But if u change something, it means u r not omniscient

then what u have seen will not happen

me: you are omniscient... which means u know wht leads to wht... not that I have seen everything... it only implies I understand better than usual

Omnipotent says one can has the energy to change it...

wht if he is the energy himself? he definitely can change himself rt...

thr by change wht is the end result?

Guruprasad: hmm....that changing the definition of Omniscient

It doesn't matter so the energy is right

It should hold good for all cases

me: changing the commonly held view of Omniscient

not its meaning

he he... are u sure?

will everything be good for all times?

in all situations?

Guruprasad: nopes..

me: dont thngs change?

Guruprasad: so ?

things change

me: so y not meaning and interpretations?

Guruprasad: but nobody can predict the future and still have the power to change it

he can either do one thing not both...

they are mutually exclusive properties

Sent at 11:03 AM on Wednesday

me: he he..

Guruprasad: if one is truly omniscient, then he should be able to predict his own actions to change the current future

and thereby goes recursive

me: prediction is a game of probability rt

Guruprasad: and we get crazy !

me: it needs that 1.5 kg sooooooper computer sitting on our shoulders to get into action...

thtz it...

Guruprasad: I believe it is with the probability '0'

me: prob is not zero for any thing kano...

Guruprasad: hmm

me: we in our smaller intellect choose to make a lot of assumptions...

and thr by make things of higher probabiltiy for a certain event...

we look for causality and not co-relations

we confuse co-relation with causality all the time

or atleast most of the times

Guruprasad: co-relation interesting...

co-related with what ?

me: whn some one predicts some tng..using palmistry or some other technique he only gives a co-relation based understanding...

he cannot state something to be causal...

he only predicts based on the past data...

but that doesnt get all encompassing

Guruprasad: thats interpolation

me: its again as u say... some sort of interpretation...

not even interpolation...

Guruprasad: extending the past curve right

me: this has been the basis of al attempts to predict...

ya... some sort of ...

not exactly tho...

Guruprasad: ya...

me: some time thr is the factor of intuition which is un predictable tht plays a major role...

so finally wht some one predicts only is based on past

but doesnt get all encompassing...

so there is a lot of un explored things... and so there is abundant scope to get to teh new

Guruprasad: ya....such prediction are very limited in very dynamic situations


me: so we sometimes claim that those ppl who can co-relate better to be omniscient..

or rather in most cases...

but again they dont know

its like the case of a student who wanted to show case to his teacher tht he was damn smart

Guruprasad: actually the metaphor I was using was God

me: humm

well hang on

Guruprasad: ok

me: he gets a small bird in his hand to the teachers cabin and say...

sir I have a bird in my hand can u tell me if its living or dead...

so he was confident he could any way change the consequence based on wht the teacher told him

Guruprasad: ok..

me: the bird was living whn he brought it in

if the teacher told its living he could kill it and if he told it was dead then

then he could let if fy...

he thought he had all the strings under his control

he thought he knew the future...

Guruprasad: teacher's answer ?

me: the teachers reply was

;"I wont say if the bird is living or dead... I only know tht its existence is defined by ur choise"

so was the student actually knowing all?

Guruprasad: did he claim that he knew all ?

so...that stupid

me: atleast he thought...

thatz exactly wht u are trying to say...

Guruprasad: no...

not that point..

me: omniscience... is only that state...

and omni potence was the realization given by the teacher

getting to the next level which the student didnt expect... letting him know of a greater truth...

Guruprasad: Omniscience - All Knowing


me: its like getting into the shell of... all very beautifully packed within one another

so at the end of the story the teacher becomes omniscient jst by letting the student realize he is omnipotent...

Guruprasad: see...thats true..

me: its not a permanent state... its a stat e of flux... thatz wht i wnt to tell

Guruprasad: the teacher or the student is not both

they are only 1 state not both at any time

me: thr is nothing like complete truth... everything is evolutionary..

humm rt...

flux as I call it...

nice discussion kano :)

Guruprasad: it could be flux, but a entity cannot be both at any point right ?

me: well u can call this paradox... but wht some call the GOD, I would call it life

or nature... that makes be feel better...

Guruprasad: ya....

me: so I thru my limited understanding would not at any point be able to

Guruprasad: so..when people say God is both...

me: be omni-*

Guruprasad: its actually contradictory

me: but wht if u see nature closely...

thru all its species it is trying gain nothing more than experience...

and in the process growing into being a completely new state...

we exist till thr is life in us...

we dont carry anything...

we start relating to the body and our identity of ego...

Guruprasad: We carry Genes.....but thats for another discussion I guess

me: in the process we some whr loose a lot of our powers which we can tap

if we disassociate frm the identity of ego...

Guruprasad: ok...

me: we would be going for experience.. and thru the gigantic network of various degrees of intelligence come to a new state of enlightenment...

and in some cases using tit to create beauty in the process...

Guruprasad: nice...

me: we as human are only catalysts...each one some way different from the other to get a different experience...

that is exactly y I told u - "if u are like me then there is no meaning in my existance... "

at the beginning...

Guruprasad: Omniscient I guess ?


me: so wht GOD/nature/ life is wanting from us is not

our triviality of trying to understand things and jst stop... we need to continue and make more creative works

be it in any field...

Guruprasad: hmm....

me: we need to use our huge 1.5 guy who is at the top to create things... not to jst brood on memories...

Guruprasad: 1.5 guy ?

me: I dont claim we should not work on our memories... we should not stick at tht point and judge any experience.. we need to extract the essence, take it along and then create something new

ya 1.5 guy = the brain...


Guruprasad: ok.... I don't deny that

creating new is what we all are trying to do in some way ..

me: its like u have the choice to carry the dead wood or extract the essence and carry it along...


Guruprasad: sure...I am with u, on that one



me: and to emphasize this further u can also observe tht its once we create something new

thtz whn we are the happiest...

this new thing can be by listening to some one... reading something... exploring/discovering etc...

thtz y a baby is so happy...and it doest stick with the dead wood...its looking for the essense...

doesnt it look so simply beautiful... we in our busy life start loosing the essence of all this...


Guruprasad: ya... Learning is a continuous process

and as adults we stick on to established ideas...

me: as we grow... some realize whr they are and wht excites them...

and follow.. some jst search and give up... some never start the search...

Guruprasad: ya....

did u see randy pausch's last lecture ?

me: illa...(no)

ellide adu?(whrz it?)

have no idea kano...

Guruprasad: on utube

its a good

me: hey am planning to put this on

my blog... wht say?

Guruprasad: I have no problems

me: cool...

its actually a discussion on spirituality as I have learnt it kano...


me: will look at the lecture

Guruprasad: to some extent

me: as said next discussion on genes


bye tc


Guruprasad: I am up for that !


An interesting discussion with my friend over Gtalk thought of sharing it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Love Story 2050

Hey man for some time I thought I was seeing Hritik on the screen....Harman Baweja seems to be a total mimic of Hritik Roshan... the moves when he dances, the way he acts all resemble a lot....
This is a partial sci-fi movie where in a time machine is able to teleport ppl and get them from the future into the past!!! what a fantacy....Some nice imagination has gone into the creation of the sets and fiction!!! I definitely appreciate that...
Boman has been at his usual best in getting the humor...I remember the conversation when he enters into a museum dedicated to him and responds to the robot sitting there... it was real funny instance...
A nice time pass movie... nothing great to look forward to except for the special effects and the concept... A single viewing wouldnt make ur money a loss definitely....


A nice movie that is what I would call it... looks at adressing the question if a boy and girl can ever be just friends?
As my policy is I dont want to share the story here... I would only give some hints and my thoughts... so I would just say this is about two different presonalities who gel with each other very well....the scene is just after the college life of the two youngsters and their friends.
Imran and Genelia have done a real good work... they are able to depict the characters really well and play their roles... I am impressed to say...
Nice story, good acting... go have a watch...


Man what is this!!! I dont get it!!!
It is so predictable is what I felt when I was mid way into the movie... I feel its as though the story was forced into without much thought.... The story makes a jugglery once then again and then again!!! what is the message in the movie...
Well I think Kareena says it when the 3 walk after killing Anil Kapoor - "Inside all of us there is some innocence, and we at some points are still ready to help one another."
Some stunts are good but the sheer quantity of this hyper action makes it not that genuine... looks like it was a ploy to showcase Akshay as the action hero who has re-emerged!!!
Not a great movie...would suggest not to watch it!!! unless you have a lot of time , money to spare and nothing to do...


I don't know if Ganesh chooses these sort of films or these sort of films choose Ganesh!!!
The movie is again highlighting Ganesh in the traditional style of his where in he is impressed by the girl, the girl is in love with some one else and how he handles his love for the promise he has made to AnanthNag.
Again the Ganesh-Ananthnag combination...they seem to gel well with one another on screen...well this is good for the viewers at least!!!
The acting is ok sort and the message still seems to be the same as one of Mungaru Male - "Preethi Madhura Tyaga Amara"(meaning loves sweet but sacrifice is eternal)
A nice time pass movie is what I would rate it as....I would like to see Ganesh try something different... if he keeps doing the same story in a different parcel I don't know how he would grow as an actor and do justice to his talent.
This post is long due!!! ya saw it some time in june... just got the time to blog it now...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The butterfly....

Behind the butterfly I ran,
Thinking that catch it I can...
Closer I went,
As as I bent...
And before I knew,
The farther it flew....
I ran and I ran behind,
I can! thinking so in my mind...

But then I sat,
Giving the world a spat...
I reclined below in fatigue,
Lo! I see the butterfly in intrigue...
Through the leaves and through the gap,
It came and sat on my lap!!!

- Chi

This poem is not a depiction of an event, for me it is more than just that. It reflects the state of mind and our achievements. Typically there are thousands of things that I want to get in life, I run behind them restlessly, and not focusing on any one of them completely...
But the paradox of life is even the most complex of things can be achieved with a calm state of mind, a clear and un-perturbed mind. Its by sitting on a particular thing that we are able to achieve success in it... There are numerous interpretations that we can take from this poem... this one appealed me the most so here I jot it down.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari - Robin Sharma

I read this book after reading "Who will cry..." by Robin Sharma. In many aspects it was like reading the executive summary before the actual book...blessed me (I surely think its so!!!)... I knew exactly what I can take out....(then I sure did miss some other aspects... may be as I reflect on what I read through when I decide to would derive some other aspects as well).

The story is about a very successful lawyer finding his life's purpose!!! I would like to put up the memory pegs, so that we can gain the maximum out of this review... so here are the pegs along with what they stand for-
  1. The Magnificent Garden -> Master your mind
  2. The Towering Lighthouse -> Follow your purpose
  3. The Sumo Wrestler -> Practice Kaizen
  4. The Pink Wire Cable -> Live with Discipline
  5. The Gold Stopwatch -> Respect your time
  6. The Fragrant Roses -> Selflessly serve others
  7. The Path of Diamonds -> Embrace the present
This is a memory aid which helps us live our life more fully and gain the maximum out of it...after all isn't it that we actually want...our full utilization of our time and resources will give a un-explainable and strange solace in our life...
This book is really a good one to read... thats my personal feeling... but may be the perspective you need to look at would be a bit different. You need to be in the state of mind to actually be able to appreciate what the yogi Julian needs to say... the context change would not let you appreciate the book with the same intensity as mentioned in the book...
The very creative fable is another point of appreciation... I am writing a book on similar lines and think there is definitely something I would take from this read of mine :). So it was all the more advantageous to read it now...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Greatest Salesman in the World - OG Mandino

I had purchased this book long back...almost 2 yrs earlier...hadnt read the book till just a couple of days back.
During my internship at Quetzal, Bhushan had mentioned about the book and I recalled I had the book in my this was on my "to read list" when I got back to Bangalore...
OG Mandiono has been regarded by many as one of the most widely read inspirational author. His books have been aclaimed to have changed the life of many...There is also a sequel to this book which I havent got my hands on... and am waiting to read...lets see when I get hold of it...
The book is about a world greatest salesman of his age and the principle he followed to reach the height he actually reached....the lessons to the salesmen are in the form of chapters in the book...each having one of which inspires us to give more to the work we do...
In brief these are the take aways...
  1. Today I begin a new Life
  2. I will greet this day with love in my heart
  3. I will persist until I succeed
  4. I am nature's greatest miracle
  5. I will live this day as if it is my last
  6. Today I will be the master of my emotion
  7. I will laugh at the world
  8. Today I will multiply my value a hundredfold
  9. I will act now
  10. Believe in your strengths and ask for guidance
Read the book if you are in a low phase and am sure each of these 10 lessons will help you transform your life.

Who Will Cry When You Die - Robin Sharma

Seems like the summary of my learnings till now...that is exactly how I felt when I read this book....I would definitely put is on my must read books....
The way the book has been presented - a very simple and elegant fashion... I dont have to read through tons of pages to get this summary... 101 points to note...and each point not having more than 3 pages of illustration!!! awesome... To know what these points are read this book.
The lessons are so simple...yet powerful...follow them and see yourself transform...reveal the true potential that you possess into the daily acts....

Monday, May 26, 2008

Freakonomics-Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner

Some books are different from others, some books try to imitate others....this is one in the first category...A completely different perspective this books gives to its readers.

Is there any relation between
the school teachers and sumo wrestlers?
the ku-klux-klan and a real-estate agent?

Why do drug-dealers stay with their moms?
Which is more dangerous - the gun or the swimming pool?
Do parents really matter?

Some of these questions are absurd...some look illogical...this book breaks these boundaries which we have self-imposed. Kindles in us the spark ok questioning...what we think may not be related may be related...

Another interesting way of looking at the book can be through the lens of causality and the correlation. Causality is hard to prove...I doubt sometime and feel there is no causality...a high correlation is what makes us feel causality...Interesting... I let others ponder over this for some sure this will give an interesting insight...

An interesting read...Go ahead and read when you think the world is only the way you think it can be...


Monday, May 12, 2008

The Elephant, the Tiger, & the Cell Phone - Shashi Tharoor

The title.... "The Elephant, The Tiger and the cellphone" is the indicator of his thoughts of how to India has transformed over the decade after independence. This is my first book I am reading of Shashi Tharoor...its been a different experience... Lot my friends said he is an awesome writer puts his thought in a very different way...I accept this to a certain extent, there are some areas in which I have difference of opinions...well its absolutely ok...its after all an opinion...if I had no different opinion my existence would be redundant isn't it?

I loved the starting part where he makes a mention of India transforming from the Elephant, in its jungle directing the right and the wrong, to a tiger getting more people into its territory. He later goes on to give his views on a lot of topics...rt from his child hood, the cities he spent his life in, his experiences on various changes in India, the diaspora, the common mans life, the way Indian thoughts have changed over....

He goes on to praise Kerala for a lot of developments....some arguments I do buy but not all...I dont agree with him completely...there are also other areas where it needs improvements... he is a bit over optimistic in that sense...I got to know a lot about kerala from the book but my practical input from my surroundings is not always the same as he has tried to portray in the book... definitely it can be cause of the attachment he has to his home place....

I loved the description about Ajanta and Ellora that he has given towards the end of the book...I was on my plans to go there when I started reading the book...helped me get some idea of how I can plan the schedule of my tour... will go there soon... thanks for those valuable inputs...

Overall a very insightful book on his thought process and his hopes about India...Definitely improves the Indian Pride and shows the future is promising.

The most closest to my heart was his identification of the diversity of Indian Existence - both the prayer and the technology blended so well in the example of a software engineer coming to Putparthi...Awesome!!!

Read it at leisure when you have a lot of time at hand...definitely not a must read...but surely a worth read...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ramdom mumbling- the old man & the child

there is child in me...
there is an old man in me...
all through my life these will be within me...

some times I am a child
some times an old man...
but i enjoy being both the child and the old man...

the enthusiasm of the child
mapped with the maturity of an old man...
its a blissful experience...

the child loves to play pranks
the old man wants to get the understanding of the worlds
I gain form them both...

the child wonders and experiences
the old man takes the experiences and makes thoughts...
I wonder, am I the wonder or the experience or the thought....

- Chi

This was an arbitrary set of lines which I felt like jotting down... all in a spark...don't know how and why... just wrote them...

The Man From Earth

It seems like nature is giving me more understanding of what "trapped by thought" really means....My roomie and I are in constant discussion over this phenomenon of "trapped by thought". It was he who suggested I watch this movie, and this sunday seemed to be an ideal day for it...
The movie is really profound in its message...makes us challenge our beliefs. It helped me see the phenomenon about which I was thinking about so deeply...Questions a plenty every where in the movie...What is truth? What is illusion? How have we created it... we try to measure everything though our limited capacity of analysis...we identify with the beliefs we create over our life...
The clear message that comes out from the story is ready to have your thoughts challenged...If I believe there is also the other aspect of life...the unexplained...there is....if I try to reason it our and make it a causality shall be that...but thinking that thought our theory of causality we have understood completely what was to be understood is again an assumption...If this was the so called baby of rationality wouldn't have grown to the state it has grown to...this is typically the state at which science was when it was challenged by the church in the medieval period...people like Galileo had to phase tremendous opposition... but finally for science to go ahead the old beliefs and thought alignments - as I would call them had to change...
Even to this day...any new theory in science to be successful has to first be able to explain everything that has already been observed and explained by a generally accepted theory...and go ahead and predict what might occur in future so as to prove the is only then that such a new theory would be accepted by people...So its just about being ready to challenge the already formed view of what is observed and what we think might be the reason for such an observation...
The film challenges the generally held conceptions at multiple narrator - John keeps his audience engaged with his story... and makes a profound impact...I will not give the story away....but if you think its time to realize that you are "Trapped by thought" go ahead and see this movie...worth it...
for some more reviews on the movie

Monday, April 21, 2008

A New Earth - Eckarth Tolle

Spirituality, this seems to be a buzz word these days....very often on Orkut the religious status mentions - "Spiritual but not Religious".
A question I would like to ask is this - "How many of us really know what does being spiritual actually mean?"... Well for those who are seeking the answer this book seems to give one....

The books was presented to me by Quetzal Online Private Ltd... it has since played a very great role in moulding my thought process..did I say thought!!! Yes, It is "thought"....where does this concept of thought itself come from? Will get clear as we get into my understanding of the Book, rather my book review

When Descartes told - "I think, therefore I am" it was just the reiteration of how connected we will be with our thought. I am nothing but what I think I am... It is what I think I am that makes me do what I do, the way I do... But who is this "I"?

A peep into the the thought over "I" and we will start realizing, all we identify with it just thought..."I am Sachidananda!!!" well is it so... wouldn't have my name been different if it was christened that way? Why would not some one call me by some call me by some other name?... so is it that I am "Sachidananda" or "I think I am Sachidananda"...people call me so... that is not what I am... its just my name... not me!!! It could have been anything.

I have a T-shirt to which I am very attached to, I was walking by the road, and some paint fell on it...I immediately react shouting abuse at the painter...Why did I do it?... The T shirt is part of my identity... I think what I am is reflected by the T-Shirt I wear...But wait...for a moment if I think its not my identity...its just a shirt... any shirt would be soiled some why do I have to hurl abuse at the painter...I move ahead... may be try and get it cleared, which would actually make the most sensible thing....

Well the problem then seems to be as though it was me identifying with something..."I think I am..." So what would I call this identity? Tolle calls it the "Ego"... The more we attach ourself with the ego... the more we tend to identify ourself with things that we think we are... and when it doesn't go the way we think it has to go, we are upset, we are angry, get irritated... all these...

The ego always tries to expand makes me feel happy that I abused the painter...I have got more power than him... I see myself as one who is above him... Ego can equally be can make me feel completely miserable...It makes me search for pity and concern from my fellow mates..."This shouldn't have happened to me" this is what it says...this is what is tries and identifies with...when people around me reciprocate it goes to the next level and tires to get some more sympathy from goes into detailed description of the event and tries to prompt the person around me to give me more concern... all this will help me feel... there is some one who sympathizes with me...well do we need the sympathy...not exactly... its only the thought that I need some support form someone at least verbally... I can still live and make more if I don't attach myself to this failure... I need to look at the current available option...choose the best and get above my thought of looking for people support to me.

When I said "I identity with my thought" does that mean its wrong to thing? No absolutely not.... thinking is not the mistake... its identification with the thought that you have which makes it critical..."Thought" is our slave... it is not our master... Identifying with thought we let it be our master and decide what we have to do.

How do we stop identifying with our thought? well its a long process.. It is important to prevent ourself from evaluating any situation that we are into....also don't evaluate the person who is around u.... When I evaluate I am trying to judge and compare with some thing I think I am...instead accept the things as they come... do your best... use your thought to make it the best...this is a better way of life....

My prof always used to say "In the process of becoming, you should not loosing being. Being is more important" Yes, this typically what happens and makes us dissatisfied... we think of somehtinig that has happened in the past and crib that is shouldn't have happened... or we keep thinking about the future and loose our present moment....It is only the present that is in front of us... we cant change the past by thinking about it nor can be get into the future by just thinking... its important that we live the present moment....

This being with the present is a state of concentration... being completely involved with the present work that we do... this is what makes us "human being"...

All this and more is explained really well in the book... if this small review of my thought on the book has influenced your thought...then do read the book...its worth more... may be life transforming to a few....A clearer understanding of spirituality will come out of it...

I loved and enjoyed this book...very revealing...very realizing...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Yuganta-Irawati Karve

Most of us have heard, or read, or seen the story of Mahabharata. Some people also go ahead and call it the “Fifth Veda” – to reflect the amount of knowledge that it gives to people. It deals with a wide array of issues, from personal relations, politics, administration. The most memorable section of Mahabharata for most people is obviously the “Bhagavad-Gita Geeta” – which gives a lot of thought provoking explanations to queries which arise in the minds of normal people. I was searching for some new perspective on the great piece, that is when I came across this book – “Yuganta” Authored by Irawati Karve. This book is primarily a collection of essays on a few characters that come in the Mahabharata.

Author’s profile:

Irawati Karve (1905-1970) was an Indian anthropologist. She was born in Burma and educated in Pune. A master’s degree in Sociology form Bombay in 1928 and a doctoral degree in Anthropology from Berlin in 1930 marked the onset of a long and distinguishing career of pioneering research. She wore in both English and Marathi, on academic subjects as well as on topics of general interest, and thus commanded an enviably wide circle of readership. She served as the Head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Deccan College till her retirement. Her principal works include - Hindu Society - an interpretation(1961), Kinship Organization in India(1953), Maharashtra -Land and People (1968), Yuganta etc.[*]

About the book

Wikipedia[†] had the following to say about the “Yuganta” - A look at the main characters of the Mahabharata. These character studies treat the protagonists as historical characters and use their attitudes and behavior to understand the times they lived in. Written originally in Marathi, it was later translated by the author into English. The book won the Sahitya Academy award in 1968.

‘Yuganta’ studies the principal mythical-heroic figures of the Mahabharata from historical, anthropological and secular perspectives. The usually venerated characters of the ancient Indian epic are here subjected to a rational enquiry that places them in context, unravels their hopes and fears, and imbues them with wholly human motives, and thereby making their stories more relevant and astonishing to contemporary reader.[‡]

Personally, for me this book has changed the way I had perceived the story of Mahabharata itself; it has instilled a new insight into my perception of the then society and characters that appear in the story. She challenges the familiar and formulates refreshingly new interpretations, all of the while refusing to judge harshly or venerate blindly. I shall in the proceeding sections deal with the characters that are mentioned in the book and discuss a bit on those.

This book is priced at Rs 275/- and is an Orient Longman publication and is around 200 pages.

Book review

The book has various chapters – each of which is in fact essays in their own right. I would not go in the sequence of the chapters in the book but take a different approach, which I think would help improve the understanding of the book as a whole. There are a lot of views which can be debated upon and interpreted in different ways, but none the less each has its own implication and perspective. The book takes a more realistic picture of things and tries to give this novel perspective to its readers.

Chapter: The End of a Yuga

I shall begin this review with the name of the book itself and then relate it to the chapter – “End of a yuga.” The book title “Yuganta” itself means end of a ‘Yuga’. As mentioned in the book ‘Yuga’ in Sanskrit means one fourth of the cycle of the universe.[§] There are four yugas – Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali. The story of Mahabharata took place at the concluding part of the Dwapara Yuga, so in the sense the name “yuganta” implies the end of the Dwapara Yuga.

In this chapter Irawati, looks at the transformation is society that might have taken place form the period to the current, and the possible additions that might have taken place in the course of time. To substantiate; some of the immediate things that she notes that have continues till date have been – the social system of patriarchal household. She also points out that while the whole of the Krishna Cult must have begun immediately after the war, some others like the literary form itself vanished. We can classify these changes that she highlights in the book in various sections themselves.

Social structure:

The story of Mahabharata is about a Kshatriya Family. There are also Brahman families and persons who appear in the story. The other two classes Vaishyas and Shudras are barely represented. There was relation between the first two classes not just one of rivalry but also of mutual dependence – we find instances of these throughout the story of Mahabharata. The Vaishyas were involved with farming, herding cattle, and trade; while the Shudras served all the three classes. She illustrates through references in the Buddhist and Jain stories that, the preset positions in the society changed and in due course Vaishyas gave up farming and cow-herding and took to trade exclusively. The Shudras took over these occupations requiring hard labor. These four classes are referred to as varnas. There is no mention of castes, jatis, in Mahabharata; but there is no doubt about existence of such endogamous groups, like for example – the Sutas. They served the two upper varnas and were inferior to them, while they were above the other two ones.

The other major people mentioned in the Mahabharata were the Nagas, who were rulers and were called kings. There are also some more types of people often having the names of birds and beasts. They were mostly jungle people with the clan-names of birds and beasts.

Irawati’s guess from the Mahabharata is though there is a mention about this caste society, it is not represented in its fullness and it might not have been as complex as in post-Christian times.

Despite the blurred background for the caste society, Irawati highlight that the patriarchal Kshatriya family picture is clearly visible. Each of the ruling families were located in the capital city for generations, and began to be know as the house belonging to the capital. The family lives in a courtyard and the important members had separate houses. The family some times consisted of four to five generations.

She highlights that the kinship terms used in Mahabharata were only primary terms like – Father, Mother, and terms for cousins, uncles and aunts. There was a lack of distinction between ones own son and ones brothers sun…similarly we can find may others connotations which are not used. The men were born in the family while women were brought into the family from other families. The women’s quarters were away from the men’s and they generally did not participate in the men’s assemblies. The two worlds that made up a man’s universe were his father’s family and his in-laws family. The in-laws were always on ready to fight on behalf of their son- or brother-in law.[**]

The state of women

Another importing to note form the book was the points the author highlighted on the aspect of loyalty of women. She makes the following statement “It was customary then to acquire a son begotten by another man on ones own wife, if one happened to have no heir. This was called Niyoga, and was considered to be superior to adoption”[††]. We find that the whole concept of loyalty to ones husband has changed over the period and today this is considered synonymous to treachery. The whole concept of looking at women has changed – from a period during the Mahabharata as Irawati points out where in women were considered similar to fields on which the crop of children were to be grown; this slowly faded out and the system of adoption has taken more prominence. Another aspect that she points out is the willingness to accept the women who had been rescued from the enemies clutches. She would be brought back and given back her earlier status. This might not be due to compassion but due to the view that a women was a man’s possession; and loosing her would be a matter of shame – this is in complete contrast to, says the author to the current trend were in women who are returned from Pakistan are not taken back into the family. Clearly through these arguments she is highlighting the way the current society norms are brought out and the reason for the way the women of current day are treated, more so because of such change in the perception.


Irawati has the following to say about philosophy and it seems so real – “The values are always relative to the time and place is the stand taken by the Indian philosophy. Even acceptance may be more theoretical than practical.” [‡‡]

In our class discussion on values we were able to relate to the self the goal and the sense of purpose giving us a sense of fulfillment and happiness. The point noted above indicates that values are product of the time and place; to continue this further; these become a part of the culture of a country, and would influence people in their actions.

This also indicates that as people it’s important to understand that culture is dynamic with respect to time and place; and only by understands the culture in the context of time and place would we be able to make our decisions and judgments robust, contextual and more practical.

She also says – “Each character in the Mahabharata was aware of the framework of moral values and when faced with a choice, chose according to his or her lights.”[§§] This is typically what every man has to do when he is in a dilemma of right and wrong. We are limited by our bounded rationality and it’s only within our thinking sphere that we would be able to deliver what we intend to deliver. We cannot give a view of right and wrong in hindsight as the whole context has to be involved, the personal hierarchy of values is to be considered in the process.

The Political System

The political system seems to have been influenced a lot by the family system, the rule was hereditary. There was a strict code of conduct to be followed by the numerous kingdoms that existed. These were mainly the directions or doctrines for the coexistence of kingdoms, and were mandatory for them to follow to live in harmony. These numerous kingdoms might be the reason why India’s culture is so different from one place to another; so to say it changes every 70-80 miles. A typical kingdom had a capital city surrounded by a number of villages. These villages were close to the capital city, and the king provided them protection. There were forests between each kingdom, and between villages.

The Gods and religion and philosophy

Irawati has to say – “The Gods of the Mahabharata are Vedic, classical or puranic. Even temples are not mentioned. Hymns in the praise of Shiva, the thousand sacred names of Vishnu and many names of the Sun-god, seem to be later interpolations”[***]. We have heard about in the Harappan/civilization about the worship of sun god and the by the author’s predictions, he might be the oldest of the three mentioned earlier, Shiva might have come later on and Vishnu much later. Another interesting thing which I could relate between the Harappan, civilization and the Mahabharata story was the “Pashupathi”, while the people of civilization worshipped Pashupathi, in the Mahabharata, Arjuna is said to have fought Shiva and got his weapon – Pashupatastra. – Might sound strange but my guess they might have some relation to do – Who knows?

Indra, Surya and Rudra are said to be the chief deities during the period. The idea of Heaven was prevalent and Indra was assumed to be the king, while that of hell was not too distinct. In all big sacrifices, animals were slaughtered and offered to the fire. Offerings were made once every month to the ancestors. The doctrine of “karma” and rebirth were firmly established.

The author highlights the specialty of the concept of Hinduism, which is not completely defined. A Hindu to this day cannot define what his religion is; he would only be able to give his interpretation of the religion. The religion has evolved over years and from a period of nature worship, to intellectual probing to the Bhakti cult and to the modern religion that we see, this ancient religion has been a culmination pot to all that it has gone through. In the story, there is detailed discussion of topics like dharma and non-dharma, Atman and the world.

She also highlights another aspect of the religion – “Nowhere else does one find so many discussions about what is dharma and what is not, as in the Mahabharata. In works like the Bible and the Quran there are categorical statements of what constitutes a religion. In Mahabharata there are questions and answers and doubts regarding the nature of religion and human destiny. That is the reason this story comes so close to us”[†††] The validity of these dialogs of the Mahabharata are so vast that they can be applied in the context of the confusion of life that we face today. It is interesting the extent to which the discussion on the intellectual questioning is done – what ever may be the purpose; this is a very good documentation of the mental thoughts of the age and always serves as the guiding lamp for the ages to come.

She says the reality of life is what is upheld in the story – “The matter and style of Mahabharata is suited to this harsh, bare, stark and demanding philosophy of life.” There are numerous incidents that are listed in the story where in people adhere to the harshness of life and don’t deter themselves from facing the actuality of life. This is in itself a beauty of the concept, when we have to choose between actions that benefit us, and our philosophies of life. The life of Bhishma, Karna and on a different scale life of all other is just to serve the single cause of doing what we have to do and what is appropriate for the situation.

She highlights another subtlety in the literature, and takes it a step further when she discusses about Heidegger and his thoughts. “Dasein is destructible by its very nature and in its birth carries the seeds of its death. ‘Being’ is constantly afraid of ‘not being’. He tires to make believe that this fear of his is on account of others and not on his own account and is as a result filled with anxiety of the whole world.”[‡‡‡] In a sense this whole story gives the reader a power to realize that he is the source of all his anxiety and pain. It is only his action by which he is in the state that he is in, and nothing else. It empowers and encourages him to face life’s challenges with an open heart and try to succeed in life. It’s a book which prepares us by means of narrating incidents from the so called ‘heroes’ and states that our life is nothing special; its just another one which can be faced with courage and determination.

She also highlights in that in the Mahabharata, Arjuna is not thought to be devotee of Krishna but a very dear friend. She also points out that at the time of Mahabharata, the Bhakti cult had not begun and so there was no aspect of devotion assigned to the relation between the Pandavas and Krishna. The roots of hero-worship seems to have come with Bhakti cult. Put in her words – “Man hoped that the hero-figure or ‘god’ might be able to rescue him from the pointlessness of life. This hope in turn gave rise to two kinds of literature. The kind not found in India was the inflammatory, fanatical propaganda literature, mostly based on the worship of a ‘Leader’ or a ‘Prophet’. The other kind, found all over the world was sentimental and sweet, where ‘god’ always fulfilled one’s heart’s desire and whose help was available in times of difficulty. The idea of kindhearted gods, devotion, monotheism, esape from reality, is not found in Mahabharata; they all came later. In this sense the Mahabharata marks the end of an era. India retained her polytheism, did not give into fanaticism, but made up for the lack of these two by abounding in sentimental, dreamy literature. The pervading despair and frustration, hardness and realism of the Mahabharata never again appeared in Indian Literature.”[§§§] From the above extract we see how she is able to convey the essence of and the title when she say – “end of an era”. She is deemed correct as never again could we see the reality of Mahabharata as reality of our life without lacing it with more “dreamy” literature, having more of hero worship. The literature which followed was more of a romantic sort – highlighted by the works like Shakuntala by Kalidasa etc.She also highlights the way the pre existent stories went ahead to have a sea change during the period following Mahabharata – this is illustrated with the story of Harishchandra. She also points out -“The ideals of truth, valor, fidelity, devotion were taken to the extreme. The way, in which characters were made to behave in order to reach these ideals and the ideals themselves, both ring false.”[****] If we go by blind belief in what is shown on the television we would loose out these interpretations; which are really worth knowing to get the fair and closer to life picture of the story. Another subtle thing to be noted is the discussion on the aspect of purpose, where she mentions the gods would rescue humans from a “pointless” life; here we see the importance of purpose in the journey of self towards its goal.

Irawati also highlights the facts from the story that there was no written documents at the time, to state it differently there was no writing script known to people then. She gives numerous examples in the story to prove the point. It was only in the 5th century B. C. that the first written records of the Sanskrit people appear, but she also thinks that it might be known to people during the time of Buddha (Seventh Century B C) as commerce was a major stay during the time.

She also does a small comparison of the Greek culture with the Indian, which gives various perspectives of commonality if we are able to eliminate the superficial differences.

She concludes this chapter of change of era; rather call it end of an era with a number of unanswered questions which are worth thinking on. All through in this book she has tried to give a more realistic picture of this great epic and try to give the thinking mind fodder to ponder further. But yes, as she says its purpose is neither to lead a student to idol worship, nor to a frenzy of idol-breaking.

These discussions are very thought provoking and worth giving a thought, there is no doubt that after reading this book any person would not perceive the ancient story in the same old fashion but use his scientific thinking to get a more real picture. I would now intend to look at the other chapters which are just going to be an extension of the logic of this chapter on “Yuganta”. As I see, it this would create more meaning by giving in the context more appropriately.

Chapter: Introduction

This chapter has been introduced for the English edition of the book, and it sets up a platform for the people who would not have know a few facts and the context of the essays which would follow. She gives the interpretation of the word Mahabharata = Maha + Bharata meaning “the great book about the descendants of Bharata. She also indicates that this work was earlier called ‘Jaya’ and was sung as the account of the victory of once king.

She highlights the role of narrators who were called ‘suta’ in effectively passing on the information across generations. They were counselors and friends of kings, and charioteers. She indicates that the ‘suta’ literature had lead a huge impact on the consequential literature and the impact can also be seen in Stories like the Arabian Nights.

These are the non story related aspects in this chapter that interested me and which I felt like sharing it. They may not have much significance to a well-read user, but for me they indicated the way this has developed over the ages. I slowly have begun to see the way these anthropologists get a sequence and propose a theory which would match the reality to a great extent.

In the chapters that follow, the essays would mainly concentrate on the roles in Mahabharata which she considers being important, and tries to understand the role in greater detail. There would be a lot of opinions expresses, they are just the authors opinion, may or may not be true; I would discuss my views on them.

Chapter: The final effort

This essay is about “Bhishma – The terrible”, who is called so because of the terrible vow which he makes of not marrying whole life. Bhishma’s original name was Devavratha. The essay starts with a brief about the previous birth of Bhishma, where he was one of the cursed vasu.

As the author says – “Bhishma’s life is full of apparent contradictions, but beneath these contradiction there was a logic in his actions and thought”[††††] – I think in this is the central theme of this essay. Through out the essay she gets out this subtle aspect to the reader in great detail.

As stated earlier, Bhishma was a vasu, who sought Ganga’s assistance to leave the earthly existence immediately after birth but as fate would have it he was forced into life on earth. As she puts this point across to the readers she says-“This being, eager to escape the world, had been trapped as the prince of an ancient house.”[‡‡‡‡] The basic purpose of Devvratha as he was then called was to circumvent the curse. His purpose of birth was to get free from the curse but it was unfortunate that he had to live a life on earth, and not just that going ahead leads the family.

The second contradiction arises when he decides to remain unmarried and arranges his father’ marriage. His father impressed by his sacrifice grants him the boon of death at will. Bhishma’s sacrifice had been made with no thought of a return. Bhishma was not aware that he was a cursed being and his whole purpose of birth on earth was to die. If we look at it in light of Bhishma knowing was born to escape from the curse, he might have chosen to die the very moment and the whole story of Mahabharata would have taken a different turn. As Irawati says – “Unburdened by kingdom and marriage, endowed with the power to die at will, Bhishma was free to leave the world.”[§§§§]

There as lot of other contradictions – “though he was not the king, for over two generations, he took care of the kingdom and wielded authority.”; “The bachelor who had no children of his own, spent his whole life in caring for other people’s children.”; these are just some of the contradictions in the life of Bhishma. This book gave me a different perspective of looking at Mahabharata, rather than just considering the story as said, it has given me the capacity to look at it from an anthropological perspective; the challenges of life are shown to be more real and happening than being imaginary.

Bhishma, my understanding says, was a personality who like most other people had forgotten the purpose of birth, and was involved in the mundane activities of life. His sorrows all through his life seem to be self imposed – weather it might be Amba, or it might be his support to the Kauravas in the Mahabharata battle.

The essay is titled the last effort to highlight the effort that he put to stop the war amongst cousins. Though not wanting to kill his own grand children; he was in war. For Duryodhana, it might have been a ploy to dissuade the Pandavas from fighting the war and surrendering the empire to him; Bhishma’s intent was to keep the war so that none of the side gets an upper hand; and finally ensure peace. It was in this aspect that the great old man of the Mahabharata story tries to keep the war with out any result for 9 days; after which he was disabled.

Irawati highlights another aspect when he is shot with arrows; Bhishma had been given protection from all sides; then how is it that he was attacked by arrows? Her argument suggests that Duryodhana who was not having any result in his favor wanted to get rid of the grand old man to try and fight for the empire. Well this situation can be interpreted in various ways; and the actual thing can be due to any reason.

Irawati highlights another aspect that it might be that Bhishma may not actually be as selfless as seen at first sight. Bhishma had Vyasa another person who had given up every worldly thing, rather than any other person in the court; probably because he was frightened of loosing his authority. This particular event is what the author sights to raise doubts about the intent of Bhishma; this as mentioned earlier is an author’s view and need not be an accepted.

Another paradox in the story comes when we consider the death of the old warrior; though wounded, he was not dead. He prolonged his death by six months; it was during this period that he had to see the kuru clan which he so dearly protected perish in front of him. He had to hear the pain of the widow’s who were crying; all these go to suggest that it is because of his choices that he had to face all that he faced.

This essay gives a brief on one of the most revered characters of Mahabharata, and point out at life’s purpose, the challenges faced, the choices made and finally the end result due to choice all going to show that human being can control to a great extent what happens to him if he know what he actually wants in life. With out purpose the life is just a flow which is driven by fate and the choice will just not be helpful. Making the right choices at the right moment is very important to keep our self from misery and sorrow. Responsibility has to be mixed with a bit of caution and should be completed with the context for its application.

I would now take the chapters of the book which deal with the prominent women roles in the book. Irawati deals with three ladies namely – Kunti, Gandhari, and Draupadi. These are interesting essays where she highlights on the life of women in greater detail. I would deal with Gandhari to begin with followed by Kunti and finally Draupadi.

Chapter: Gandhari

Gandhari was the wife of Dhritarashtra, and the mother of the Kauravas. He is from the Gandhar province and hence named Gandhari. Her brother Shakuni, who accompanied her during her marriage decided to stay in Hastinapur even after the marriage. Irawati in the essay gets out the anticipations of a newly wed bride when she goes to her husbands home. The fear and the awe which she finds when she goes into her husbands house and the slow transformation which is felt in her mental state are beautifully brought out.

Gandhari on realizing that her husband is a born blind ties her eyes up with cloth. I in my interpretation of the Mahabharata have taken this to also symbolize anther reality of life – If one cannot see the reality and his companion denied seeing the reality; then the work which they do will only be one which harms the peaceful existence of a lot of people.

There is an interesting situation which Irawati narrates in the essay where Gandhari say her close companion about her close feeling; to quote – “There is nothing that can upset me now. After I had many children, you thought that your Gandhari would at least be happy. But it was never so. If they were hurt, my heart would start to pound; if heard them crying, I used to grieve and get flurried. If I heard they didn’t win in the chariot race, I would get dejected.”[*****] She continued on to tell more about the sorrow that she had to bear due to her great love her children continuing in the dialogue, we also realize that she had a motive of self in all her action. I get a lot of messages through this section of her confession to her companion. It was her extreme attachment which was the cause of her sorrow; as stated earlier – a detachment, to her affection and looking into the reality of the situation would have enabled her to reduce the sorrow a great deal. Another thought which I get form the dialog is one relating to the aspect of ego; and learning how to handle it; this thought is primarily due to my reading of the book “The new world” simultaneously along with this book. While “The new world” gave me a peep into the spiritual aspect of life; this book “Yuganta” helped me see the life of the characters form a spiritual aspect as well. The anxiety, the sorrow, the pain; all these are just due to manifestation of the mental images which are created by thought, its awareness which breaks the darkness of ignorance and gives us a new lease of life. It gives us the courage to handle life with a realization of self.

In this chapter there is also mention of the Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, and Kunti going into Vanaprasta[†††††] (The last of the four ashrams of Hindu life). I could related this well to the phases of realization which man that there is life beyond what is seen by the naked eyes and that is the real life; this too is an influence of the book – “The New Earth”[‡‡‡‡‡]

Irawati writes that when Gandhari removed her eye cloth and tied seeing the world she tells – “Your Majesty, I have uncovered my eyes, but still I can’t see it clearly.” – This gives a very sublet meaning; if we are having a strict mindset and there if we try to get out of the mindset we would not be able to look at the reality to being with easily; we need to slowly “unlearn all the learning and then relearn”; its only through this relearning that we would be able to relive the life in its full glory. If we live in our past we cannot life a complete and fulfilling life; only through consciously learning the ways of a better life can be actually become better.

The last part of the essay deals with “Dhritarashtra” reflecting back on his life and stating his deep concerns with Gandhari and the way she responds to him. The essay ends with her getting into the fire with her husband in the form of sati.

Chapter: Kunti

In this essay on Kunti; Irawati gets the emotions of a women whose life is filled with nothing but sorrows; she claims – Kunti’s life to be controlled more by fate and the men in her life than by anything else. Irawati gives numerous instances to substantiate this and highlights the plight of women in those ages. Some of the instances which are highlighted are:

  1. Though born to Shurasena, he was given to Kuntibhoja who was heirless. There was no aspect of the girl’s consent in this aspect.
  2. In the author’s words – “The adoptive father employed Kunti to serve and win the favor of a Brahman sage called Durvasa.” [§§§§§]
  3. “Her adoptive father gave her in marriage to an impotent man, and all the rest of the sorrows were a result of this union.”[******]

Irawati also highlights the “selfishness” of Kunti, through numerous instances in the story which would otherwise not been noticed to a normal reader. This is why an anthropologist’s view gives the reader a much larger perspective than a normal narrator; with focus on details which would generally escape others. The author tries to get into the mind of Kunti and look at the possible thought processes that might have gone on in her mind – its really nice to know these aspect; an this would help us understand the female psychology in a better manner.

The author also highlights the aspect of motivation which Kunti gives to her sons and especially “Dharma”; I see this aspect form a leader’s perspective; Dharma was the head of the pandavas and was he one whose orders none would be broken. Though having the capability to go ahead and win the war; Dharma was not ready – she aptly chooses a balance between the telling and participative styles of leadership and was able to convince “Dharma” to go ahead for the battle. She also displays tact in getting Draupadi to marry both her and Madri’s sons and there by binding them into a single chord. This would serve as a hedge against Kauravas plot to break the Pandavas into two halves – we see the aspect of a shrewd politician if we consider these cases.

All along the essays – The author goes a head to point out the possible interpolations which are also logical and more realistic if we look at the Mahabharata not as a religious text but a document of the life of people and the society. This is another take away for me – don’t take every thing as given; we need to look for possible interpolations and other manipulations.

The last episode of Kunti’s life - where she denies the material wealth which her children had won; in some aspects shows her selflessness in all the motivation!!! Well this might be true that she only wanted to remind her children of their rights and responsibilities; it might also guide a leader in working selflessly and ensuring that there is always – “attachment with detachment” .

Personally, I see this specialty of the story – while Kunti to a great extent represents “attachment with detachment”; Gandhari had only attachment which was the major cause of her sorrows.

Chapter: Draupadi

Draupadi was the daughter of the king of Drupada and the wife of the Pandavas. This essay on Draupadi is a comparison of the similarities between Ramayana’s Sita’s and Draupadi’s lives; the heroin of the Mahabharata tale. Irawati also makes a comparison between the so called Indian Epics in the English vocabulary; how ever from the Indian context while Mahabharata is a record of event – history; the Ramayana is a poem. While the Mahabharata represented a reality to a great extent, the Ramayana was more a story which was to show what the ideal was; in the author’s words – “The Mahabharata is a record of human beings with human weakness. The entire Ramayana, in the other hand, is in praise of an ideal man. Ramayana is principally the story of one man, with other characters serving as a background to hero in relief.[††††††]

In the comparison of the characters of the 2 epics, she says the difference in personalities of the two women may partly be due to the multiple generations in the story. While the Mahabharata was a story of three generations, the Ramayana was mostly limited to the Ikshwaku family and there is no mention of the in laws to the extent of Mahabharata.

The whole of the essay gives a comparison between the two women – Draupadi and Sita. On of the startling comparisons made is amongst the relative position of the women to their in-laws family. The arrival of Sita into Rama’s life gave him a devout wife, while for the Pandavas their marriage with Draupadi gave them a new position.

Draupadi’s role also achieve much higher prominence, when we consider that she was responsible in saving some grace after the game of dice. To sum this experience the author just quotes Karna – “Up till now we have heard of many beautiful women in the world, but no one has done anything equal to what Draupadi has done today. The Pandavas and Kauravas were burning with anger, and in that conflagration o one can say what might have happened, but Draupadi has reestablished peace. Like a boat she has saved the Pandavas when they were about to drown in a sea of disgrace. ” The importance of the statement can seen in the light that all the 5 men were ace in some field or the other; but each had a weakness and it is that weakness which was compensated for by Draupadi.

All through the essay the author makes start comparisons between the two heroines of the two great epics, each of these is worth taking note of to get the subtle messages that are hidden in the personality of the women. While Sita represented ability to bear with suffering; Draupadi was more open, ready to take revenge – may be this is why she is said to be the daughter of fire (this is from the serial of Mahabharata.). In her own words, Draupadi gets her sorry out – “nathavati anathavat” meaning having husband, but still like a widow. This single sentence gets all the pain and suffering she had in her mind.

The author also highlights the reality of causality – that is the two heroines had to face the results of their own wrongs. While Sita was abducted by sending off Laxmana by doubting his intention; Draupadi had to face the consequence of rebuking Duryodhana. There is a clear message of cause and action; the suffering that you get is only because of your misdeeds or mis-intentions. The solution this is realization of the ego that is innate and trying to grow – this has come from the book a new world. Relating these two books has helped me see the story of Mahabharata in multi dimensions; as a normal person to whom the book is a religious text, as a student of anthropology who has begun looking at the possible reality in the story, and as a person who is search of the illusory question – “Who am I”. It seems to be a co-incidence that I have been able to think in all these different ways but I am really beginning to enjoy it.

The author also states that Draupadi was trying to resist the oppression[‡‡‡‡‡‡] that was being infused on her, and suggests that she should not have argued. I how ever differ, when it comes to the freedom of an individual, I would always fight for freedom; of choice, of expression and right. I don’t find fault in what she had done in the Kauravas court.

The author also expresses some aspect of spirituality, when discussing about the last journey they had to heaven. When Draupadi falls down, Dharma says it is because she loved Arjuna the most, then when she reflected she realized the reality. She was deeply unsettled, and when Bhima managed to come back to see her over she asked him to be the eldest in the next birth – this however doesn’t make much sense with the spirituality, but for a moment she did realize the futility of life in form and structures and had understood her being through awareness.

Chapter: Father and Son

This chapter is about Vidura and Dharma (Yudhishtira). Irawati in this chapter makes a hunch that Vidura might be the biological father of Dharma through Kunti. Though the story of Mahabharata says that Kunti obtained sons by meditating a “Mantra”; Irawati’s arguments are a bit different. She says this might not be the case – to hide the identity of the fathers of the Pandavas and Karna this might have been written in this fashion. Her hunch is to make the story realistic, while she says Karna might have born off Durvasa to Kunti; and the Son God is just an extrapolation of the story, Vidura might have fathered Dharma biologically.

Her basis of the argument that Dharma is the son of Vidura is his persistent efforts to do good to the Pandavas, to quote from the book – “Vidura was the one who strove like a father for the good of the Pandavas.”[§§§§§§] She also highlights the special care which he rendered Kunti – the mother of the Pandavas in the whole story; he took care of her when she almost fainted in fright on hearing Karna challenge Arjuna, and he was the one who sheltered Kunti when the Pandavas were in exile.

Vidura belonged to the Suta class of people. He was fathered by Vyasa of a maid. At this juncture he author also lets us know the specialty of the Sutas. The Sutas helped the Kshatriyas in various capacities. They “were charioteers, warriors and the repositories of lore and genealogies of the kingly families. In this last capacity, they were also storytellers and were greatly in demand at all social gathering.” – This hints to me why there is a mention in most purana’s about Suta maharshi narrating the story to a lot of people in a social gathering, about some particular incidents; my hunch is that after retiring form the service of the king these Sutas would go from country to country and dissipate the knowledge to the people who are interested. They played an important role in the development of the Indian culture through their role as information dissipaters, and letting lot of people know about the stories of various other places. In Mahabharata most of the Sutas were half brothers of Kshatriyas, - Vidura, Yuyutsu, and Sanjaya are just some of them.

The meaning of Vidura is “Knowing much”[*******]. He had profound knowledge and advised Dhritarashtra when needed. The knowledge was not materialistic but of ultimate values. Though he counseled Dhritarashtra to a great deal, there was nothing concrete that changed in him. It is only in one situation where Draupadi was de-robed that he retaliated. Relative to other characters in the story, it seems to be the one whose life was the most happiest. He led a happy life, a calm life out of the restlessness felt by other characters in the story. Vidura kept both himself and his family away from the intense mental and physical conflicts described in the Mahabharata. He almost led the life of a sage. Probably I can say he was amongst the most spiritual people who appear in the story of Mahabharata – might this be a reason why the so call “Yogishwar”- Krishna decided to stay in his home? I cannot say with conviction; there are also other reasons for the same, but after looking at Vidura in closer detail I cannot deny this might be one of the factors which might have influenced Krishna’s decision to stay there.

Analyzing the Mahabharata further, the author gives a comparison of the lives of Vidura and Dharma. Some of the note worthy quotes are– “Not getting what he fully merited was Vidura’s sorrow. Having to pay an awful price for what was his by right – that was the sorrow of Dharma.” [†††††††]

The author goes on to give more points form the Mahabharata which would help support her argument that Vidura and Dharma were father and son. Vidura is supposed to be an incarnation of Yamadharma, and Yudhistira is also called the son of Yamadharma – so the author surmises that Kunti did not call the god but her husband’s brother, Vidura. Another incident which Irawati sight’s to get the point across is when Dhritarashtra, Kunti and Gandhari were in the forest. When Yudhistira went searching for Vidura, and met him after some chase in the forest, Vidura gave everything to Dharma through his yogic power – this, as argued by Irawati, was a tradition of father giving everything he had to his son. Irawati also gets an ambiguous statement[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] from the Mahabharata which Vyasa says to Dhritarashtra as another support to the argument.

The author also gives us a new dimension to the way we look at Mahabharata; if we consider that Dharma was Vidura’s son, the whole of Mahabharata takes a different light. The war is no more between the sons of two brothers but a triangular fight, but this would not surface as Pandu and Vidura had a common son.

Chapter: The Palace of Maya

This is a very different essay; this essay doesn’t primarily deal with any of the characters in the story of Mahabharata, but deals with an incident. Krishna and Arjuna supposedly burn down a forest and kill the escaping animals. It’s an account of the carnage that was done. Maya was the name of the architect who had built the palace.

The story presented in Mahabharata says that it was Agni who came in the form of a Brahman and asked Krishna and Arjuna to help satisfy his hunger by burning down the forest. The two agreed in return for Agni giving grand chariots and superb weapons. This is how Arjuna got his chariot and his bow – the Gandhiva. Krishna got his discuss from Agni. Then Agni started devouring the forest, the two guarded the forest from the side and killed or chased back the escaping animals. Indra’s attempt to save the forest, had no success, and on the advice of other gods he returned. Only seven creatures are supposed to have escaped from the holocaust. Maya was one of these creatures and in gratitude he built the palace.

Forest was actually a residence of a ‘Nagas’ (this may be the name of a particular clang of people who resided in the forest.). They were lead by the king Takshaka. All the Nagas excepting Takshaka and his son were devour in the fire. It might be due to the large massacre and the curse of so many people that the palace built on this land was the very cause of the troubles the Pandavas would have to face in future.

Is there any more realistic explanation to the burning of the forest? The author gets two points in this aspect; to quote – “Either the fire was a natural catastrophe and some how Krishna and Arjuna were credited with it, or the tow did actually and deliberately burn the forest.” If it was the second then it might be that to grow the newly set empire, the two decided to clear the forest and thereby make way for agriculture and new settlements, which would further improve the prosperity of the kingdom they had set up. Why should they choose to burn down some forest rather than get some more land through conquest? The author sights the reason as code of conduct of the Kshatriyas. They could not separate the kings of their kingdom, they could only collect some taxes from the defeated king, and so gaining land by burning down the forest seemed to be a better idea.

Chapter: Paradharmo Bhayavahaha

This chapter or essay deals with the life of two Brahmins who tried to give up their traditional class work and took to doing the work of a Kshatriyas. I some how feel its not the problem of them trying to change the class which was the problem but not internalizing the rules and regulations that the class has for itself which is at fault, however I would do ahead giving a brief of what the author has to say.

There seems to be a bias in this chapter at the beginning to show that Brahmans aren’t as good as the Kshatriyas in use of weapons. She gives instances of Parshurama appearing in the story and Karna’s defeat at the hands of Arjuna as examples. She then goes on to give a brief about the relative importance of the Brahmans in the story of Mahabharata.

The two Brahmins who had a major role to play were Drona and his son Ashwatthama. Drona enters into Mahabharata when the Pandavas and the Kauravas were young kids. He joined his brother in law Kripa, the hereditary teacher of the Kuru clang. Drona was skilled in the use of all weapons and was in search of a shelter under some king.

Drona and Drupada were very good friends during the student days, but when Drona went to ask for shelter to Drupada, he was insulted and turned away; Drona was nurturing a revenge in him, so when his students were ready, he sent them to defeat the Drupada; after the Pandavas has defeated the Drupadas, they took him to Drona, who took away half of the empire and proclaimed they were equal. But according to the Kshatriyas code of conduct this was not justified, - no king was to be separated from his land. This, the author claims was one of the biggest mistakes which he did. She also claims that Drona was not too bent on getting peace between the Pandavas and Kauravas, she highlight this by pointing to the aspect that Drona had fought heart and soul for the Kauravas during the war. Drona had felt he had to be loyal to his pupil Duryodhana who was now his employer as well.

Ashwatthama was the son of Drona. Like his father he had taken to arms and become an expert in their usage. Arjuna always succeed that Drona had taught some thing to Ashwatthama which he had not been taught. In the use of astras (magical weapons) he is supposed to be equal to Arjuna.

The three days of battle under the generalship of Drona were very fierce. He had committed to beating the pandavas if they could keep Arjuna away from the war. The slaughter in the three days was when; people like Abhimanyu, Jayadrata were killed. The last day is narrated in great detail by Irawati and personally I was very moved by the description given in the book – it’s a bloody explanation of the scene of Drona’s death.

Though Ashwatthama was equally well versed with the use of magical weapons as Arjuna, he was never considered the ideal warrior. He was always on the side of Duryodhana, and helped him in all activities.

Towards the last section of the essay Irawati explains the circumstances of Duryodhana’s death – him hiding in a stone shelter in the pool, Ashwatthama and others speaking to him, the pandavas getting to know about Duryodhana’s where-about, forcing Duryodhana out of the pool and killing him and finally the episode of Ashwatthama killing the sons of pandavas and Dhrishtidyumna, and momentarily Duryodhana’s rejoice on it.

I see nothing more than just a complete story of bloodshed just by the thought of revenge; every one wanted to avenge one or the other person cause of one or the other reason – this is why the story is much closer to real life. What do we think is the way out? They way out of the trivialities where our potential energy gets trapped is to reduce conflict to a great extent and appreciate the bigger picture. If the bigger picture includes the benefits of all the parties included, there is no reason for any such conflict or energy getting tied up. Getting in touch with the inner peace by every individual is another way out of the problem, through the process of reflection we understand our self better and prevent blockage of vital energy, we begin to channelise the energy into various other works which benefit us further. We rise up from the trivialities and grow to being a much better human being.

The final part of the essay deals a bit with the Indian philosophy and the importance of smriti (memory, consciousness) and moha (confusion). It is interesting to note the explanation given in the Geeta and quoted in the book regarding these – “Anger leads to loss of consciousness, loss of consciousness brings about confusion in memory, which leads, in turn, to loss of thinking power. And the loss of thinking power destroys a person”.[§§§§§§§] Smriti is the “awareness of being” as stated in the book ‘A new World’ and stated in other words it is “the ever-present consciousness of who he is and the knowledge that he is the same person moment to moment. It is due to smirti that a man understands what his duties are, and where he is going.”[********] These are profound gems of spirituality which one can find in the essay and worth understanding in greater detail.

Chapter: Karna

This essay is devoted on the illegitimate son of Kunti. Karna’s life too seems to be filled with paradoxes. His whole story seems to be a search for his identity, the answer to one question – “Who am I?” At the beginning of this chapter too there is a nice commentary on the concepts of spirituality[††††††††].

His mother having given him away, he was brought up by a suta couple – Adhiratha and Radha who found him floating in the river. His real name was Vasusena, and he was called Karna as he was found having the ear-rings and armor when he was found in the river. He was interested in learning archery and the use of weapons. He disguised himself as a Brahmin and learnt the use of weapons from Parashurama; but was cursed for the false identity. Karna was always in search of a position which he thought was due to him, he wanted to be known as a great warrior, and it was for this reason that he challenged Arjuna when there was a demonstration of their learning that being held.

All through this life Karna was having an internal strife, some sort of effort to find his identity; I think he had spent enormous energy on this and was dissatisfied by not finding one. The thought which kept hurting him was that he was the illegitimate son of a Kshatriya. After the incident at the occasion of the pandavas and Kauravas showing their learnt skill, he gained the friendship of Duryodhana. All the remaining work that Karna did was only to work for his master and friend Duryodhana.

I personally feel it was the dissatisfaction which Karna faced which was the reason for his behavior all through his life and his bitter anger. All his actions had this innate dissatisfaction and the ego in him was trying to overpower him and enlarge itself. It was his ego which tried to make him big, and this was supported by his internal confusion or as stated earlier his smriti being eroded by maya. There are a number of instances which are illustrating the wrongs of Karna and his inability to completely function the way his duty demanded.

It is said that Karna was the son of Sun-god. Occasionally in the stories there are gods who come in and take away the birth armor and the ear-rings of Karna, were these just interpolations to show his superiority in some way? No one can clearly say. It would be left to the reader’s imagination and ability to grasp the reality/interpretation which would create opinions on these.

The author highlights some better moments in his otherwise sad life, which is when he was revealed his identity. Some how I feel the author is a bit biased against Karna in her essays or may be I am a bit more partial to him, well its all about personal opinions finally – weather he was just or not so just in all he did. The author goes on to discuss the instances of Krishna and Kunti meeting Karna and discussing the identity of birth.

The last part of the essay the author deals in great detail about the war when Karna took on Arjuna in the battlefield. The essay ends with a discussion on Karna’s death. This essay for me was a great insight form the aspect of holding back mental thoughts and loss of the actual need of the hour. If we are obsessed by the thought of revenge, anger and similar feeling we would not be able to achieve what we need to achieve, as individuals we need to be clearer in our understanding our self and our situations; we should not grudge the situation we are in but accept the reality and try to improve ourselves.

Chapter: Krishna

As per the essay Krishna makes his first presence in Mahabharata at the time of Draupadi’s marriage. Kunti is Krishna’s aunt. Krishna’s closest friend was Arjuna, Kunti’s son. He always helped the Pandavas and helped them as a canceller, giving them good advice when it was most needed.

The initial part of the essay deals with the early life of Krishna, his relations with the Pandavas. The author points out that the Krishna mentioned in the Mahabharata has no resemblance with at all with “the flute playing lover of milk maids, and the divine child, or the miracle worker of later tradition.” Krishna was very tactful in all this actions and this can be seen from his ploy to kill Jarasandha, this alliance with the pandavas by giving his sister in marriage to Arjuna and many other such incidents. There are a number of instances mentioned in the essay to further illustrate the tactfulness of Krishna in his approach and also to highlight the code of conduct of the Kshatriyas.

Irawati also mentions that though Krishna had made great efforts on behalf of his family, the yadavas, his friends Pandavas, and the whole Kshatriya class; he had a personal ambition of being a “‘vasudeva’, a position approaching divinity”[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡]. She also makes a claim “Krishna in the Mahabharata is definitely not a god, as depicted in later literature. He was, however an extraordinary man, and his great personal ambition was to be called vasudeva.”[§§§§§§§§]

The author also makes references to the Jain literature to help the reader grasp the concept of “vasudeva”. For being a vasudeva there was a necessity of seven things; and Krishna fitted closely to this description.

Continuing in the essay she illustrates some instances form the life of Krishna. One of the most remarkable instants was of both Arjuna and Duryodhana going to Krishna and asking for help during the war. Arjuna took along an unarmed Krishna while his army was given away to Duryodhana. The pandavas needed a very able companion and a counselor and they found one in Krishna.

All of Krishna’s persuasive power was needed to get Arjuna to fight again. It was in this instance that once of India’s best works on spirituality was created – “The Bhagavad-Gita Geeta.” Every individual has something to learn form this master piece.

The author further narrates the instances from the Mahabharata regarding the test of friendship of Arjuna and Krishna. She gives a detailed description of the different situations, and explains the very prominent role played by the unarmed Krishna. It was Krishna’s presence of mind that saved the Pandavas form the attack of Ashwatthama.

There is finally the description of the end of Krishna and the Yadava clan. This was an interesting read and I had not heard of this story earlier. The author herself says “the story is full of contradiction and absurdities.”[*********]

The author notes that the very people who destroyed Dwaraka – the Abhiras were the ones who brought back Krishna to life by making him a god. She also says – “the Krishna of the Mahabharata was wholly human, but his complexity and a kind of non- involvement in his most intense action make him hard to grasp.” She also points out that the first six chapters of the Geeta are guidance to a person in mental crisis; they are between equals. The later chapters on ‘Bhakti’ might have been later additions. These first six chapter, she says have a simpler philosophy and also a sterner one.

The essay ends with a brief commentary of the dialogs from Geeta between Krishna and Arjuna. In all Krishna remains a hard to understand personality primarily due to his conceptual practice of attachment with detachment.


Through out the book review I have given some interpretation on the individual essays and my own take away from them. The most profound impact on me was in the way I see the complete story of Mahabharata now. From being an epic with super heroes I am now able to appreciate the record of complex humanity and see the faces which we wear in the characters mentioned in the story.

In my first read of the story I was a bit surprised by few of the arguments of spirituality, and when I started reading the book “A New World”, I decided to look at the spiritual aspects in greater detail, and was able to understand it better. Surely a worth read these two books would be great combination to read together.



[‡] Coverpage - “Yuganta” – Irawati Karve.

[§] Page 162, Line 1, “Yuganta” – Irawati Karve.

[**] Page 167, “Yuganta”-Irawati Karve

[††] Page 167, “Yuganta”-Irawati Karve

[‡‡] Page 169, “Yuganta”-Irawati Karve

[§§] Page 170, “Yuganta”-Irawati Karve

[***] Page 171, “Yuganta”-Irawati Karve

[†††] Page 172, “Yuganta”-Irawati Karve

[‡‡‡] Page 174, “Yuganta”-Irawati Karve

[§§§] Page 175, “Yuganta”-Irawati Karve

[****] Page 180, “Yuganta” - Irawati Karve

[††††] Page 11, “Yuganta” - Irawati Karve

[‡‡‡‡] Page 12, “Yuganta” - Irawati Karve

[§§§§] Page 13, “Yuganta” – Irawati Karve

[*****] Page 31, , “Yuganta” - Irawati Karve



[§§§§§] Page 41, “Yuganta”, Irawati Karve

[******] Page 43, “Yuganta”, Irawati Karve

[††††††] Page 14, “Yuganta”, Irawati Karve

[‡‡‡‡‡‡] Page 90, “Yuganta”- Irawati Karve

[§§§§§§] Page 59, “Yuganta”, Irawati Karve

[*******] Page 64, “Yuganta”, Irawati Karve

[†††††††] Page 68, “Yuganta”, Irawati Karve

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] Page 71, “Yuganta”, Irawati Karve

[§§§§§§§] Page 121, “Yuganta” – Irawati Karve

[********] Page 122, “Yuganta” – Irawati Karve

[††††††††] Page 124, “Yuganta” – Irawati Karve

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] Page 148, “Yuganta” – Irawati Karve

[§§§§§§§§] Page 148, “Yuganta”- Irawati Karve

[*********] Page 157, “Yuganta”, Irawati Karve