Thursday, December 26, 2013

Brahma: Why dont we workship him?

An interesting aspect of trinity of the Hindu religion -Brahma (Generator), Vishnu (Observer), Maheshwara (Destroyer); is that of the three Brahma or the creator is not worshiped unlike the other two of the trinity. This question got me thinking and here is a documentation of my thought on this issue.

The Mythological Explanation:
The mythological explanation as to why Brahma is not worshiped could be found even in the story of the famous Indian temple of Tirupathi (read here). As legend as it, it was the curse of Rishi Bhrigu - Brahma shall have no idols or temples of worship in Bhooloka (read earth)!

Rationalizing beyond the Boon:
I however feel this is more symbolic and has developed over multiple generations into its current interpretation. Following is how I see attempt rationalizing this behavior of not worshiping Brahma (the creator) amongst Hindu:

  1. Brahma who is the creator is accompanies by his consort - Goddess Saraswathy. She is also considered the Goddess of learning. I have mentioned about the symbolic relationship the way the Trinity and their consorts are related in an earlier blog. Brahma being the creator is one who could also be considered an experimentalist - some one who keeps trying out many different things - so as to be able to create new things. With every new experiment there is some insight and understanding that is obtained leading us to the creation of new knowledge. This knowledge could be accumulated and preserved as the distillation of all know-how thus far. In the Hindu mythology, my guess is these are represented as the "Vedas". Sarasvathy who is Brahma's consort holds these Vedas in her hands. Clearly, the value is for the learning that is derived from the experiment and we often find Saravathy who holds Vedas (read compiled Knowledge) in her hands. Brahma however being the experimentalist is generally forgotten. 
  2. Another possible reason could be gained from the observation of the development of technology and its capability. Technological improvement across generations could have made it extremely easy to create newer things - in the start up world today, we find so many tools available that the need of an expert engineer is constantly declining - we few tweaks here and there or search on the internet for help could really make the whole thing easier! It is always possible that in the whole process the engineer (Brahma) who created these tools and kits for others to use is easily forgotten.
  3. Frequency of occurrence of failures in the process of experimentation and learning, could potentially be another source. In fact, failures are more common than successes in the process of experimentation - recollect Thomas Alva Edison saying that he knows a thousand ways the bulb couldn't be create before he finally built the bulb! The sustained effort in experimenting, failures and learning new things could easily dissuade one to continue the efforts further. All these make it harder to appreciate the role of some one who makes failure common place - this could be another reason why Brahma isn't worshiped as much as the others in the trinity.
  4. Another aspect that I could co-relate is the experience when one attempts to start off. One often starts off with an idea, and the various challenges that come in the way of executing what was initially conceptualized could guide the idea into a completely different domain. The challenges of survival of a firm (or may be human) weigh so heavily beyond the ordinary that just the joy of creation is often lost or modified multiple times that is doesn't bear any significance.
This was a parting observation about the pattern of how many  mythological stories have the asuras (generally understood as daemons) do a penance so as to receive a boon from the Creator. The general belief in most cases is that it is relatively easy to please Brahma, the Creator, than Vishnu, the Manager. May be this is possibly because of the fewer people worshiping Brahma. It could also be that he is the one who is most open to seeing how addition of newer ability and skills (obtained through penance) could add in so as to enable new experiments and lead to the process of creation!

What did I really take away?
Looking back at this rationalization attempt, could this explain why we don't really worship Brahma? I am not sure if this explains the whole aspect of why we fail to worshiping Brahma, but this is definitely is an attempt to get the attention of the readers on to the importance of appreciating experimentation, and being able to take in failures in the process of experimentation as a natural process.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch

For those of you who haven't heard "The Last Lecture" by Prof Randy Pausch, do watch the above video before reading my review here. That would almost be akin to reading most of the book. Here is his page on Carnegie Mellon Website.

While most of the points disccussed in the lecture are extended into deeper discussion in the book, but it goes beyond these points in the presentation to give us a closer look into his life. 

In addition to the philosophical aspect what is mentioned in the book, there are many practical take away that an individual reader like me could take. Quite a few points if I wear my teacher's hat - could be how he used peer feedback to give hard individual feedback or the excitement and thrill of being able to help many realize their dreams. 

The emphasis of team in learning is an interesting dimension in the complete learning process. This is an important aspect to look into in the field of education. I loved the concept of "headfakes", and was thinking of using a few in my sessions going ahead. I feel it is extremely handy!Another point I loved was the emphasis he gave on failures - "the first penguin" which helped get the motivation going. 

My take: Read the book! Its worth it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Prioritize Stakeholder Acquisition

I wrote this blog to highlight a best practice approach in starting off and tried rationalizing it. It also answers the question as to why dealing with the customer as stakeholders of business before any other stakeholder would be a good idea.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kannada Naadina kathe - Punyakotiya Kate

People of Karnataka are generally accommodating and peace-loving, was wondering why this might have been the case and eventually seem to have made a connection. Do look at the following video.

For those who haven't got the jist of the video, here is a short summary:
"A cow on its way returning home is stopped by a tiger. It negotiates its exit with the promise that it would return to be eaten by the tiger  - once it feeds its calf. It indeed does as promised. The tiger feels guilty of having though of killing such a truthful being and spares the cow."
This song was one which lingered pretty early in my ears - made part of the curriculum under the syllabus recommended by the Karnataka State. I think this was part of the syllabus in 3rd Standard or so... and had been so for over 25 years I guess!

The message of belief in truth, being non-violent, doing your duty with atmost faith etc are all embedded in it.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Education - We inherently know what to learn!

I found this floating in the Facebook world and this sparked off a thought! - Could we make education really personal. I guess there are multiple dimensions of this, and it would be worth exploring these in a series.

Albert Einstein possibly put this statement out of his own experience! Especially his early childhood when he was considered a good for nothing kid! But today we consider him as one of the many geniuses who walked on the planet.

As humans, we all possess an inherent urge to "learn something". This "something" could range from the standard courses taught in college to just what we find around - could be art or just a simple skill too.
Most likely, we donot know the source of this inspiration that comes to us - exciting us about the "thing" we intend to learn... The question then is - "If we inherently know what excites us to learn a specific thing, why shouldn't we think of personalizing the learning process?" 

Recognizing that individuals are all different, like different things, learn different things at different paces should be the bedrock on which we should develop our learning systems. Education though broad-based, should be flexible to give the necessary space for students. 

An interesting perspective it to allow the diversity itself to be a guiding factor in the process of educating oneself. Constraining and creating a rigid mindset could be detrimental to the education's cause of broadening one's horizon.