Friday, December 22, 2006

Shri Dakshinamurthy Stotram (Part IX) at Advaitin

In his exposition of Shri Dakshinamurthy Stotram at Advaitin, Shri. V. Subrahmanian comments on the verse 8:

Vishvam pashyati kArya-kAraNatayA sva-svAmi-sambandhataH
ShiShyAchAryatayA tathaiva pitRR^I-putrAdyAtmanA bhedataH |
Svapne jAgrati vA ya eSha puruSho mAyAparibhrAmitaH
Tasmai ShrIgurumUrtaye nama idam shrIdakshiNaamUrtaye ||

Part IX-a, Part IX-b, Part IX-c, Part IX-d, Part IX-e, IX-f, IX-g, IX-h and IX-i

link to previous ones.


A translation of Pratha Smarana Stotram by Shankara. Another translation is at (free login needed). Here is the original:

Pratha smarami hrudhi samsphuradathma thathwam,
Sathchithsugam paramahamsagathim thureeyam,
Yath swapna jagara sushupthamavaithi nithyam,
Thad brahma nishkalamaham na cha bhootha Sangha. 1

Prathar bhajami cha mano vachasa magamyam,
Vacho vibhaanthi nikhila yadanugrahena,
Yam nethi nethi vachanai nigama avochan,
Tham deva devamachyuthamaahooragryam. 2

Prathar namami thamasa paramarka varnam,
Poornam santhanapadam purushothamakhyam,
Yasminnidham jagadamasesha bhootham,
Rajwam bujangama iva prathibhasitham vai. 3


A translation of Kaupeena Panchakam by Shankara. Here is the original:

Vedantha Vakhyeshu Sada ramantho,
Bhikshannamathrena trishtimantha,
Vishokamantha karane charantha,
Kaupeenavantha Khalu bhaghyavantha 1

Moolam tharo kevalam ashrayantha,
Panidhvayam bhokthuma manthrayantha,
Kandhamiva sreemapi kuthsayantha,
Kaupeenavantha Khalu bhaghyavantha 2

Swananda bhava pari thushti mantha,
Sushantha sarvendriya vruthi mantha,
Aharnisam brahma sukhe ramantha,
Kaupeenavantha Khalu bhaghyavantha 3

Dehadhi bhavam parivarthayantha,
Swathmana athmanyavalokayantha,
Naantha na Madhyam na bahi smarantha,
Kaupeenavantha Khalu bhaghyavantha 4

Brahmaksharam pavanamucharantho,
Brahmahamasmeethi vibhavayantha,
Bhikshashino dikshu paribramayantha,
Kaupeenavantha Khalu bhaghyavantha 5


Postscript: Please see this link for more details on Dakshinamurthy Stotram. Read the rest of this entry >>

Monday, December 18, 2006

Jiddu Krishnamurti on Google and YouTube

The videos of Jiddu Krishnamurti are available on Google Videos ( and YouTube (

Great way to spend one's time watching/listening to a great man who speaks from the depths of his heart.

Postscript: You may be interested in this website for many discources by JK. [Thanks to the author of a comment for providing this excellent resource!] Read the rest of this entry >>

Friday, December 08, 2006

Will you remember 9/11?

There was a recent spate of posts in the blog world describing where the authors were on that fateful day. Today on the event of Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on another fateful day, the New York Times ran a opinion special section, and asked the readers to post their comments on the futuristic question:

Do you remember Pearl Harbor? How confident are you that we will never forget the attacks of 9/11?

Most readers responded, according to their age. The older ones, who had been through both the events were sadful. The younger ones responded in another way. One comment by one hsing lee however, stands out of the rest and thus worthwhile to be quoted in full here:

Will the world remember 9/11?

Oh, the world will remember 9/11/01, to be certain.

A billion East Indians have not forgotten that Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement, a movement of non-violent resistance, was born on 9/11/1906.

A billion Muslims have not forgotten that the European colonization of the Middle East - the British Mandate of Palestine, the first move toward the state of Israel eventually being forced on the Palestinian people, began on 9/11/1922… it’s why the Islamists chose this date, 79 years later, to attack the Twin Towers.

The people of Chile will never forget the CIA sponsored coup of 9/11/1973, perpetrated by Augusto Pinochet to overthrew the government of Salvador Allende, who was democratically elected by the Chilean people but disliked by the Republican Party.

The question should not be, “will we remember 9/11?”

The question SHOULD be, “can we learn the lesson of how 9/11/1922 applies to 9/11/2001, and then apply those lessons to George W Bush’s actions in Iraq and Afghanistan before it’s too late?”

An occupying army will always give rise to resistance. That resistance led to Jewish Terrorism against the British, then Terrorism by both Muslims and Jews against each other, and finally to Muslim Terrorism against America on that fateful day in 2001.

Like begets like. Hate begets hate. Chickens ALWAYS come home to roost.

And right now, George W Bush is making thousands more Osama Bin Ladens, and thousands more potential 9/11’s through his actions in Afghranistan and Iraq.

Like WILL beget like, unless we choose NOT to remember 9/11 as a day of violence, conquest, terrorism and displacement, and instead choose to remember it as the day a great man, a young lawyer from India, chose to take on the British Empire, and win, armed only with the heart of a Nation, and the truth.

Many of you will choose to use this day in history as justification for more violence, more hate, and more vengeance. An eye for an eye, you’ll call it. Perhaps you SHOULD heed the wisdom of the Mahatma… an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.

Or are you already too blind to see?


By pointing Americans and the world to what happened on another 9/11, Hsing Lee shows what is the problem with the current world. Thank you Hsing Lee, for speaking the words in my heart.

I am sure that a couple of centuries from now, people would be celebrating 9/11/1906, on which the seemingly ideal-but-impractical theory of Civil Disobedience proposed by Thoreau was implemented by an extraordinarily brave lawyer from India. I salute you Mahatma Gandhi! Read the rest of this entry >>

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Shankara's Introduction to his Commentary on Gita

On Gita Jayanthi, by some strange coincidence, I happened to start the English translation of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita by Swami Nikhilananda. The learned Swami -- from an institution which I immensely respect -- has done an excellent English translation of the commentary of Shankara. Shankara, when he wanted to start, some can say reinstate, the philosophy of Advaita in the pavithra bhoomi (sacred land) of India, wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. This was a part of his commentary on each of the text of prasthana-traya, the other two being The Upanishads and The Brahmasutras. The Bhagavad Gita is a part of Mahabharata and technically should be considered a smriti (remembered) text. It is however considered a sruti (revelatory) text due to its source (Lord Krishna, an avatar) and the influence upon Indians of generations.

The Bhagavad Gita, being such a great source of daily-inspiration for millons of Indians spanning across centuries, has been called by some scholars as a book that is (1) not amenable to Advaitic interpretation and (2) has many inconsistent thoughts. The scholars -- including the great Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan himself -- had to go through great pains in writing translations of Gita. They had to use classifications like (1) the first six chapters (called karma-shatkam) talk about the concept of renunciation of the deeds of karma as a method of liberation, (2) the next six chapters (called bhakti-shatkam) talk about the love of the personal God as a method of liberation and (3) the last six chapters (called gyana-shatkam) talk about the way of knowledge as a method of liberation.

Another great scholar, Eliot Deutsch, the learned scholar who has written the books exposing the philosophical content on Advaita and source books on Advaita, himself had to use the terms "progressive teaching of Gita" for explaining the "inconsistency" of the Gita.

All this may confuse a spiritual-student -- including the author of this post -- to mistakenly conclude about the message of the Gita. This is particularly true when: (1) if the student is mature enough to search for message in the Gita, but not mature enough -- as the author of the post was -- to understand the message that was clear (hind sight is always 20/20). (2) Also, in students who have a reasonable amount of maturity and thirst for knowledge, the words "The gita is not considered an Advaitic Text" can lead one away from Gita, when it is known that Advaita is the crux of indian philosophical systems. If such a student searches for a message in Upanishads, he is bound to be more confused, as the Upanishads are too experiences of seers. The Upanishads themselves being experiences of different seers in different times and situations would surely confuse any such student.

The way out of that confusion is, as it always should have been, the well known axiom: "go to the source". Shankara, being a brilliant philosopher himself does not have an inch of confusion and dispels all confusions from any such students hearts. The commentary of Shankara on Gita, nay Shankara's introduction itself to the Gita itself, is enough to dispel any such doubts on any spiritual practitioner. Before beginning such a reading, let us begin an old prayer that explains the significance of each Gita in the context of Upanishads:

The Upanishads are as a herd of cows; Krishna the Son of a cowherd, is their Milker. Arjuna is the calf, the supreme ambrosia of the Gita the milk, and the wise man the drinker.

Here is the introduction:

Of the two kinds of dharma dealt with in the Vedas: the one characterized by activity and the other by renunciation. This twofold Dharma, the cause of the stability of the world order and also the direct means by which men attain prosperity and the Highest Good [Liberation], was followed by members of the different castes -- the brahmin, kshatriya, and the rest -- and of the different dharmas, desirous to secure their welfare.

People parctised the Vedic dharma for a long time. Then lust arose among them; discrimination and wisdom declined. Unrigheousnedd began to outweigh righteousness. Thus, when unrighteousness prevailed ine world, Vishnu [the all pervading one], the First Creator, also known as Narayana, wishing to ensure the continuance of the universe, incarnated Himself, in part, as Krishna. He was born to Devaki and Vasudeva for the protection of the brahmins on earth and their spiritual ideal. By the protection of the brahmin ideal, the dharma of the Vedas is preserved, since all different castes and ashramas are under its control.

The Lord, the eternal Possessor of Knowledge, Soveignty, Power, Strength, Energy, and Vigour, brings under His control maya -- belonging to Him as Vishnu -- the primordial Nature, characterized by the three gunas. And then, through the maya, He is seen as though born, as though endowded with a body, and as though showing compassion for men; for He is, in reality, unborn, unchanging, the Lord of all created beings, and by nature eternal, pure, illuminated, and free.

Though the Lord had nor purpose of His own to serve, yet, with the sole desire of bestowing favour on men, He taught this twofold Vedic dharma to Arjuna, who was deeply sunk in the ocean of grief and delusion; for a dharma spreads and grows when accepted by high-minded persons.

It is this dharma taught by the Lord that the omniscient and venerable Vyasa, the compiler of Vedas, embodied in seven hundred verses under the name of the Gita.

This scripture, the Gita, is a compendium of the essential teachings of the whole of the Vedas; its meaning is extremely difficult to grasp. Many commentators desiring to present a clear idea of that meaning, have explained the words, and the meaning of the words of the sentenses, and also the arguments. But, I find that, to the people of ordinary understanding, these explanations convey diverse and contradictory meanings. Therefore, I intend to write a brief commentary on the Gita, with a view to determining precisely what it signifies.

The ultimate aim of the Gita is, in a word, the attainment of the Highest Good, characterized by the complete cessation of relative existence and its cause. This is realized by means of that dharma whose essence is devotion to Self-knowledge attained through the renunciation of all action. With reference to this dharma laid down in the Gita, the Lord says in the Anugita:

"That dharma is quite sufficient for the attainment of Brahman." (Mahabharatha Chapter on Ahsvamedha, xvi 12)
In the same treatise it is said:
"He who is righetousness and without unrighteousness -- he who is absorbed in one Goal, silent and without thinking."
"Knowledge is characterized by renunciation."

In the concluding chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna says to Arjuna: "Abandon all dharmas and come to Me alone for shelter." (XVIII 66)

The dharma characterized by activity and prescribed for the different castes and ashramas is, no doubt, a means of securing worldly welfare and also of attaining the regions of the gods; but when it is practised in a spirit of self-surrender to the Lord, and without desire for fruit, it leads to the purification of the mind. A man of pure mind becomes fit to acquire devotion to the path of knowledge and attains Knowledge. Thus by means of the dharma of activity, one ultmately realizes the Highest Good. With this view in mind the Lord says in the Gita: "He who works without attachment, resigning his actions to Brahman." (V. 10) "The yogis act, without attachment, for the purification of the heart." (V. 11)

The purpose of the two fold dharma described in the Gita is the attainment of the Highest Good. The subject-matter is the Supreme-Reality known as Vasudeva, the Ultimate Brahman. It expounds both in a specific manner. Thus the Gita treats of a specific subject, with a specific end in view, and there is a specific relation between the subject-matter and the object.

Knowledge of the Gita enables one to attain the goal of all human aspiration. Hence my attempt to explain its teachings.

May we all mature enough to understand the real message in Gita.
Om Tat Sat! Read the rest of this entry >>

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Link to FAQ in Polyhedral Computation by Fukuda

Here is a link to the extremely useful and well written FAQ in polyhedral computation by Fukuda. Here is a PDF version.

See the sections on face-lattice, polarity aka. duality and Minkowski-Weyl. The number of facets of a d-dimensional, n-vertex polytope grows linearly with n. However, its slope is so high that it grows intractable within no time (fascinating!).

Note: See the sub-sections where many problems, simple and hard, are discussed.

11/25: Probably the polylib-page on Polyhedra , with material taken from Schrijver's book is useful for definitions. Read the rest of this entry >>

Monday, November 06, 2006

LibraryThing: fun stuff with books

I recently became a member of LibraryThing, which allows people to keep an online catalogue of books. It has a simple interface to add books (with a search engine backed up my Amazon power!) and allows one to see some fun stats. Here are some: My author gallery, my author cloud and my tag cloud. Read the rest of this entry >>

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Matrix Cook Book and parody of P = / != NP.

The Matrix Cook Book looks very useful and has ben added to the quick links. It was a quick link in Suresh's Geomblog. The Geomblog also has a parody of a typical P=/!=P conversaton in comp.theory. Thanks for both Suresh! Read the rest of this entry >>

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ramakrishna Mission and TTD

Being an admirer of expositions of Vedanta by great men, many of whom happen to be from Ramakrishna Mission, it fills up by heart with immense joy when I see the following on the backcover of a translation of Upanishads book:

The words say "Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam is supporting Ramakrishna Mission in bringing these books at low prices." Tirupathi Venkateshwara supporting Ramakrishna Mission is the manifestation of the statement from Bhagavad Gita: "Dharma Samsthapanarthaya Sambhavaami Yuge Yuge", where Naarayana supports Dharma and the Vedic truths in many forms.

Some of the books on Vedanta I have read by people of the great order:

  1. Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita by Swami Prabhavananda
  2. Self-Knowledge etc. Swami Nikhilananda
  3. Upanishads by Swami Sarvananda (both English and Telugu)
  4. Lectures on Mandukya by Swami Ranganathananda
  5. The Upanishads by Swami Gambhirananda

I have an intuitive feeling that, in the last century, Ramakrishna Mission has atleast matched the peethams set up by Shri Adi Shankara in propagating Vedanta. Read the rest of this entry >>

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Convex Polytopes and notes from Develin's works

Mike Develin is a Mathematician who has written a compendium (PDF link) to accompany Ziegler's wonderful book. Also, the first two chapters of his thesis (PDF link) are a great read for anyone interested in convex polyhedra. Some notes:

On homogenization and equivalence:

Given a polytope P\subset \mathbb{R}^d, we can form a cone associated to it by considering the cone of all points {(1,v)} where v \in V. Two crucial points: (1) The shape of the polytope can be recovered by intersecting this cone with the hyperplane x = 1. (2) You might notice that the shape of the polytope we obtain is dependent on the orientation of the polyhedral cone in R^d. This leads to the very important concept of projective equivalence. Two polytopes are defined to be projectively equivalent if they can be obtained as cross-sections of the same polyhedral cone one dimension higher; this notion of equivalance is stronger than the notion of combinatorial equivalence, where two polytopes are equivalent if their faces have same combinatorial structure, and weaker than the notion of affine equivalence, which relates polytopes which are affinely isomorphic to each other.

On polarity:

the face-lattice L(P) is just a partially ordered set, or poset with elements being the faces of the polytope and F < G if F \subseteq G.
One key property of polytopes is that the intersection of any two faces is itself a face, which corresponds to the fact that any two elements of the poset have a unique maximal lower bound. The aforementioned notion of combinatorial equivalence corresponds to two polytopes having the same face lattice.

With face lattice, it is easy to give a combinatorial description of the polar polytope P^\Delta. The polar polytope realizes the full power of the duality between the two formulations of polytopes, in terms of vertices and in terms of inequalities. Assuming that P is full-dimensional (embedded in R^d, where d is the dimension of P), P^\Delta is the object in the dual space V^* consisting of those linear functionals f for which f(x) \le 1 holds everywhere on P. To do this, we need to pick the position of the origin inside P, but once we have done this, the entire combinatorial and indeed projective type of P^\Delta is determined. Furthermore, the face-lattice of P^\Delta is precisely the opposite poset of L(P).

... the Farkas lemma implies that the polar polytope is the convex hull of the facet-defining functionals, which provides a natural correspondence between the vertices of P^\Delta and the facets of P. In fact, the lattices are isomorphic under this correspondence; the face lattice is completely determined by which subsets of {1,2,...,n} are facets, so this, along with the fact that the vertices of P correspond to the facets of P (as constraint f(x) <= 1 on P is equivalent to the intersection of half-spaces f(v) <= 1 for v \in V) exhibits explicit correspondence.

Thanks Mike!

Postscript (11/05): The chapter "Basic Properties of Convex Polytopes" is available via the following link: thanks to Prof. Ziegler). The chapter is from the book: Handbook of Discrete and Computational Geometry with the following table of contents. Read the rest of this entry >>

Friday, October 20, 2006

Happy Deepavali!

The souls were drenched in the darkness of unreality,
tied up by the demon of duality,
to the chains of karma and samskaras.

The blue one in his infinite compassion was coming to rescue,
"I too would come", said his shakti.
"That is a battleground and the souls are in a pity state,
you would be sorry to see them" said the lord.
"more the reason", said his shakti,
"further, victory is not possible without me".
"Ok", said the Lord.

Battle ensured. It was bloody.
The hordes of the souls,
that had no time to wait for emancipation,
had already become trophies in the other side.
The darkness of unreality, was so immense,
that even the lord thought to himself,
"I am the manifestation of brahman,
why is this darkness taking so long?"
He sat meditating.

His shakti thought,
"This is no ordinary battleground,
the oppressed souls are refusing,
to see the true light within them."
"The demon does not have the power
to stand before even one of them."
"The chains are rusty and the
demon is unreal, to tie these souls."
"What is needed is self-realization."
"Let me help them by revealing myself".

She said to them,
"I am satya, the truth and reality. See me!"
"You oppressed souls! know that
this darkness of unreality does not exist,
this demon of duality does not
have power over you."
"Know thyself!
Know that your inner self,
is as infinite, and as potent,
as that which drives the lord here."
"tat tvam asi. tat tvam asi".

The souls realized the illusory nature of the demon,
it was Brahman everywhere.
The lord wokeup and smiled,
it was Brahman everywhere.
Filled everywhere was,
the radiance of a thousand suns,
it was Brahman everywhere.
Not that there was a time when it was not,
it was Brahman everywhere.
Truth, peace and joy prevailed.
Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthi. Read the rest of this entry >>

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Audio renditions of Sri Dakshinamurthy Stotram

Here are two audio renditions of Sri Dakshinamurthy Stotam:

1. From, thanks to this post on advaitin.

2. By unknown artists in fusion style, thanks to this post on advaitin.

Postscript: Please see this link for more details. Read the rest of this entry >>

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

tera teeyaga raada ...

It is said that when Thyagaraja, went to Tirupathi, a curtain was drawn -- as it usually done, so that seva, or alankar can be done -- between him and his lord. He waited long, and when he -- the life long devotee of Rama, the absolute in the form of prince of Ayodhya -- could not wait any longer to see his lord, he sang:

tera teeyaga raada naaloni
tera teeyaga raada
tirupathi venkata ramana matsaramagu tera teeyaga raada

which roughly means

Oh lord, please remove the curtain of ignorance which separates us.

He of course was referring to his saguna-brahman as Sita-pati. What difference does it make when the devotee is longing for uniting with his lord, whether it be nirguna or saguna? What difference does it make, when all he wants is, to be removed of his ignorance or EGO. The ego, which is the final obstruction between a devotee and his God, the jiva and his Ishvara, the Vishistadvaitic-atman and its qualified-with-attributes-brahman, the soul attaining its Nirvana, the Advaitic-eternal-atman with the eternal-brahman?

Not surprisingly, the curtain fell off and Thyagaraja is said to have finally merged with Rama-brahma?


What use is of feelings if they do not come into practise in daily life? What use is the ability to remove the ego when with oneself, when in any kind of communication, nay even presence of others does it manifest itself? Is this the way of the world? Probably not. The key may be to pray to the Goddess Maya herself, to Ma Kali, Ma Lalitha Tripurasundari to reveal herself.

... Dakshinamurthy ruupini
Sanakadi Samaradhya Siva Gyana Pradayini ...

(from Lalitha Sahasranamam)
O southward-facing one (O kind one), who gave the eternal knowledge to Sanaka and others, please do the same to me. Read the rest of this entry >>

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sridakshinamurtistotram at advaitin

Disambiguation (1, 2 and 3) at advaitin between shridakshinamurthy stotram, that begins with "vishwam darpana drishya maana nagari tulyam" and others. It seems that there are three stotras by Shankara on Dakshinamurthy and the convention seems to be to call the most popular one (one that begins with "vishwam") as ShriDakshinamurthy Stotram. It is erroneously called astakam, as it obviously does not have eight shlokas.


Shri Subramanian continues his exposition of the ShriDakshinamurthy Stotram. In part VIII, he comments on verse 7 of the stotra.

bAlyaadhiShvapi jAgradaadiShu tathA sarvAsvavasthAsvapi
vyAvR^ittaasvanuvartamaanamahamityantaH-sphurantam sadaa |
svAtmaanam prakaTIkaroti bhajatAm yo mudrayaa bhadrayaa
tasmai shrIgurumurtaye nama idam shrIdakShiNAmUrtaye || 7 ||

Here are Part VIII-a, Part VIII-b, Part VIII-c, Part VIII-d, Part VIII-e and Part VIII-f.

There is a mistake in numbering VIII-e as VIII-f. Here is a supplementary comment on the word 'dhira' VIII-d dhira.

Link to previous ones.


Prof. VK's page on Shri Dakshinamurthy stotram. Read the rest of this entry >>


I have read the book Advaita Vedanta by Eliot Deutsch many times. Here is a selection on "Freedom", from chapter eight titled Moksha and Jnana-Yoga.

The distinctive characteristic of most practical and theoretical concerns with freedom is the attempt to discover how one can be free from something: be it one's own passions and appetites, society, laws, or forces of physical nature. Freedom is generally conceived of that state of being or that opportunity which is on the other side of "necessity". Thomas Hobbes sums it up neatly when he writes that "liberty or freedom signifies properly the absence of opposition" [Ref: The Levithanian].

The Advaitic concept of freedom (moksha or mukti) likewise is cast initially in negative terms, as freedom from karma, from actions that bind one to the world, and from the ceaseless round of births and deaths in the world (samsara). But it also recognizes that when freedom is conceived of only in the negative sense of "freedom from," it is not something that human beings ultimately value; and that when taken to its fullest term, freedom is something from which they flee. [emphasis mine]

Whenever one is in a situation of strong constraint, one may indeed earnestly desire freedom from this constraint; one may even indeed become obsessed with the desire to the point when one is rendered impotent to act effectively within the situation; but once all constraints are removed, one finds oneself facing an abyss. One doesn't know what to do, one doesn't know what to make of one's freedom, and rather than face an infinite possibilty, one voluntarily seeks some other kind of constraint. We ceaselessly chain ourselves to things, to ideas and to dreams and illusions. From some inner compulsion, we turn away from the possibility of freedom. We imitate the servitude of others and convince ourselves that we are thereby fulfilling our social responsibility. "Freedom from" is denied by us. In human experience it turns out to be empty of substantial content [Ref. footnote].

This "Freedom from," however, does not denigrate the meaning of freedom: there is another kind of freedom that is a positive goal towards men may strive. The other kind of freedom does not merely lie on the other side of constraint; rather all oppositions between "freedom from" and "necessity" are overcome by it.

The Sanskrit word moksha (or mukti) connotes to the Advaitin "freedom from karma" and also the other kind of spiritual freedom. Moksha, in the positive sense, means the attaining to a state of "at-one-ment" with the depth and quiescence of Reality and with the power of its creative becoming the a Spiritual freedom means the full realization of the potentialities of man as a spiritual being, It means the attaining of insight of oneself; it means self-knowledge and joy of being.

footnote : This denigrating of "freedom from" is not meant, however to deny the validity of the very important distinction between choosing one's constraints and having them imposed upon them by others. The word "liberty" is perhaps more applicable here and is something that is indeed valuable. Because man is unable to endure "freedom from," in the fullest sense of the term, does not imply that he is then subject of whatever constraints may be imposed upon him. Self-chosen constraints are one thing, externally imposed constraints (or involuntary actions) are quite another thing.
Read the rest of this entry >>

New laptop!

A pleasant surprise, my new laptop was outside my door today. It invited me to blog.

A rendition of Ganapathi Atharva Sirsha Upanishad and a good rendition of Dakshinamurthy Stotram, thanks to this post on Advaitin mailing list. I donot know who the artists who sang the Stotram are, but they have done a great job!


The Western Taoist: Recently in a Pooh session, I read The World of Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. I also read a couple of illustrated ones like this. (The sub-title is from the book by Hoff.)

Atanu feels at home and SJ writes about Reason vs. Faith.

One of these -- to paraphrase a saying about another person I admire -- is an philosopher in the garbs of an economist who I have never met. His philosophical thoughts which are rivalled by not many. Dare I even say, his writings rival some of the writings of the great late Raja Rao.

The other -- who I always respected for his sharp intellect, and power with words -- works in M$ and has been away for nearly eight years, though has been my close friend all the time.

In spite of these, I understand, rather experience, the feelings of each of these. Ah, the powers of Internet! Read the rest of this entry >>

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tao and Lance on problem solving

UCLA column on Terrence Tao (the winner of this year's Field's medal). Link, thanks to a comment on Lance's blog. Lance's post on problem solving in math/TCS is quite useful. Read the rest of this entry >>

Two Jewels of books and others

Om Gam Ganapathaye Namah!: (from Ganapathi Atharva Sirsha Upanishad.)

Two Jewels: (1) Translation of Shankara's Self-Knowledge (Atmabodha) by Swami Nikhilananda. It also has a beautiful introduction to Vedanta philosophy with an appendix that includes English translations of many of Shankara's works. (2) Ramakrishna and His Disciples by Christopher Isherwood about Shri. Ramakrishna, the phenomenon.


Some belated obituaries: The great indian novelist Raja Rao, the great musician Bismillah Khan (interview and anecdotes [Hat tip: Uma]) and a great entertainer Steve Irwing.

Other books: Zen mind, Beginners mind, Our Kind by Marvin Harris, [Hat tip: Atanu] and Devil's Chaplain by Richard Dawkins [Hat tip: SMS].

Other stuff: In his introduction to Bhagavad-Gita, Prof. Deutsch considers Chapters 12 and 13 to be the pinnacle of Bhagavad-Gita.

Hope everyone is doing fine. More later.

Amar Read the rest of this entry >>

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Monday, May 29, 2006


One thought that someone can get when she is packing to leave is

"I seem to have come far from where I started. How do I know it is far enough?"

PS: I will be travelling for sometime and then moving to a new place. So, it may be sometime before regular blogging resumes! Read the rest of this entry >>

Saturday, May 27, 2006

ideas from the presentation

what if W(C) is irrational.

Talk about the if part first, so that the intuition is conveyed. Otherwise, it may give an idea of where the theorem is going. This is partly true because, we begin with the conditions for computability of S and give a condition of computability of S'

recession cone: give Ax<=b and Ax<=0 in the pictures, by moving the constraints through the origin. construct the recession cone from the generators also????

blackbox on the final slide should say:

yes if S is computable.
maybe otherwise.

suppose we give a definition of FATNESS. does that mean that the blackbox can give NO answer?

Make it clear if the statements are for computability or incomputability.
Are there better terms than if and only-if conditions? How about necessary and sufficient conditions? Is the following idea true: "The if part is weaker than necessary condition." If the if-part is added to FAT SURE's, then do we have a necessary condition?

Define a URE after the definining SURE. Read the rest of this entry >>

hayagriva and agasthya

Sri Maata Sri MahaRaagni Srimad Simhasaneshwari
Chidagni Kunda Sambhuta Deva Kaarya Samudyata ...

begins Lalitha Sahasranamam, possibly the most beautiful set of verses ever written. I always feel a sense of Bhakti when I recite Vishnu Sahasranamam. Of course, as Sankara says, there is no Advaita without Bhakti. With LS, I feel Bhakti too. I also feel a strange Advaitic feeling, that is unique to LS.

Lalitha Sahasranamam is said to be taught by Hayagriva (who is said to be very tall: maybe means a Sthula-Roopa) to Sri Agasthya (who is sais to be very short: probably means a Sukshma-roopa). Maybe we can interpret the physical structures as metaphorical allegories to ParaBrahma and Atma respectively.

The goddess who is being prayed can be considered to be the YogaMaaya herself. In an Advaitic way, the teaching seems to convey that "if you understand the illusion, you will be Brahma. There is no other way for the Atma to be Brahma than throught understanding the nature of Maya/illusion, that drives the world."

This entirely concurs with chapter 7 verse 14 of Srimad Bhagavad Gita, when Sri Krishna says:

Dive Hyesha Guna Mayi Mama Maaya Duratyata
Maame va prapadyante Maayametam Tarantate

[It is impossible to cross the maaya of this world. Only by my grace can you cross it.]

So, we are praying to the Goddess Tripurambika, Lalita devi to help us cross the illusion that is the world. Read the rest of this entry >>

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

some links on reservations

Atanu Dey: Imagine no reservations and reservations about reservations.

Nitin Pai of the Acorn: on Manmohan Singh, more on reservations. He is an awesome blogger with a big impact.

Francois Gautier on Brahmins in India today. A very sad state of affairs indeed!

New links in the side bar: Nitin Pai at the Acorn and Jaffna and Cynical Nerd. Jaffna used to blog at secular-right. That blog has been dissolved (why?).

Postscript: Nitin Pai calls it the Tiananmen of India and gives a link to a poem. I understand the spirit. I think one more characterization would be to call it the Babri Masjid of Congress. In both the situations, the main party (congress/BJP) was led by special interest groups (congress-sycophant/VHP) Also, calling associating congress with the name of Babar gives a evil-satisfaction, as I have scant respect of both.

In disavowing the congress party, I am a follower of the Mahatma, who rejected the membership sometime in 30s and went further in asking the congress to be dismantled after independence. Read the rest of this entry >>

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Dreams and Self Realization

In a post on self-realization, subbu gives a good anecdote of guru appearing in Dreams:

Rarely, a person may have a dream in which he receives initiation from God or the Guru into a mantra. In the Mahàbhàrata [in chapters 80 and 81 of the DroNa-Parvan], there is an account of a dream in which Arjuna received instructions from Shiva. Having vowed to slay Jayadratha by sunset the next day, Arjuna was worried about how he could achieve success. When he fell asleep, he had a dream in which Krishna came to him and led him on an aerial journey to the summit of the kailàsa mountain. There, they beheld Shiva and eulogised Him. In response to Arjuna's prayer, the Lord directed them to fetch His bow, pinàka, and His pAshupata-astra from a celestial lake. When they did so, a brahmacàrin emerged from Shiva's side and taught Arjuna how to discharge the pAshupata arrow. The Lord also taught Arjuna the mantra-s for invoking the weapon. Arjuna's memory of the instructions about the use of the pAshupata that he had received much earlier from Shiva was thereby restored. On waking up, he was in a position to invoke with mantra-s and employ the irresistible pAshupata, if needed.

Giiven that there is no difference between dream-state and waking-state, I think that instruction by Guru in dream-state is no different from instruction by Guru in waking-state. This indeed has happened to many great realized souls (Ramana?).

Also subbu gives the wonderful shloka 2-16 from BhagavadGita:

The unreal has no true existence and the Real can never go out of Existence.

The essence of which, was repeated by Shankara when Govindachaya asked him "What is Real?" and also when Shankara was framing the theory of reality. Read the rest of this entry >>

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tadhagata and Annamayya

A couple of days back, it was Vaisakha-Purnima, the Jayanthi of ShakyaMuni-Buddha and Annamayya. Read the wonderful article by Atanu on the enlightened one. Read the rest of this entry >>

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Karp: The Mysteries of Algorithms

From People and ideas in Theoretical Computer Science edited by C.S.Calude:

My own work on formal methods centered around parallel computation. Ray Miller, Shmuel Winograd and I did work that foreshadowed the theory of systolic algorithms. Miller and I introduced the parallel program schema as a model of asynchrononous parallel computation; in the course of this work we introduced vector addition systems and initiated the study of related decision problems. The most notorious of these was the reachability problem, which after many false tries was proved to be decidable through the efforts of several researchers, culminating in a 1982 paper by Rao Kosaraju.

A related post: Ray Miller's memoirs. Read the rest of this entry >>

Friday, May 05, 2006

Siddhartha by Hesse: Final Chapter - Govinda (repost)

Those of my readers, who have not previously read Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, please do so. If you already have, please read the final chapter Govinda again. This chapter is rightly highlighed by Atanu at the right places. I have just one suggestion, please read it v-e-r-y v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

A repost of an inspired writing of mine. Read the rest of this entry >>

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Linear Scheduling is close to optimal by Darte-Khachiyan-Robert

They handle a URE, not a SURE.
Give the ratio of the best free schedule to the best linear schedule.
Prove that it is small.

Have a definition of fatness.

See the open-problems post.


Lattice Stuff:

From Polylib notes

A collection of material on LLL.

material on Reduced lattice bases

Deza's slides talk about the chapters from Schrijver's books.


Diestel's Graph theory is available online. Check for some kind of "cycle space", or "reachable cycles"???

polylib notes on polyhedra and lattices.
A good site on convex stuff from upenn.
check Chernikova algorithm by Le Verge!!!! Read the rest of this entry >>

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sankara Desika Me Saranam

The lion of Vedanta appeared;
the universe of duality rejoiced.

Vaisakha Shukla Panchami is said to be the Jayanthi of Shri Adi Sankaracharya. Some material:

From the preface to Viveka Chudamani by John Grimes:

Unbelievably multi-faceted, he was a teacher, a thinker, a reformer, a commentator, an organizer, a philosopher, a poet, a theologian, a missionary, a mystic, a scholar, a saint, a siddha, a mukta, a divine incarnation, a living legend.

The famous Guru Shisya parampara of Vedanta:

Dakshinamurthi, the primordial Guru is universally understood and then:

Narayanam Padmabhuvam [PadmaBhuvam: one who is born from lotus. Brahma is said to be be born from the a lotus that was rooted in the navel of Shri Vishnu]

Vasistham [Deva Guru] Saktimca tatputra [Shakti: the son of Vasistha] Parasaranca [Vyasa's father] Vyasam Sukam [Vyasa, the compiler of the Vedas. Suka, the son of Vyasa and had recited Bhagavatham to Parikshit. Here ends the familial-guru-sishya-parampara.]

Gaudapadam mahantam Govinda Yogindra athasya sishyam Sri Sankaracharya athasya [Begin the parampara when the Guru's were renunciates. Gaudapada is the Guru of GovindaPada, who in turn in the Guru of Shankara.]

Padmapadamca Hastamalakancha sisyam tam Totakam varttika-kara [The shisya-parampara of Shri Shankara: Padmapada, Hastamalaka, Totaka and Sureshwara (varttika-kara?)] manyan asmad gurun santata-manatosmi [I bow to all of them.]

[Annotation by me.]

Greatness of Shankara's life and teachings (from advaitin mailing list): 1, 2, 3 and 4

Some of Shankara's works from Sanskrit Documents.

From, the famous NisargaDatta Maharaj's I am That is available online.

A succint biography of Shankara, with references to a lot of works.

My other links on the same book: review and shloka on Shankara, transcript and thoughts on Shri AdiShankaracharya, the movie.

The title of the post is from Totakastakam.

Sarva Vedanta Siddhanta Gocharam Tam aGocharam
Govindam Paramanandam Sat-gurum-Pranatosymyaham.

Chidananda-roopa-Sivoham Sivoham! Read the rest of this entry >>

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Birth Centenaries of Rado, Godel

Thanks to Lance for the great posts on Richard Rado (1906-1989) and Kurt Godel (1906-1978), on the eve of their birth centenaries.

Link to a previous post of Lance. Read the rest of this entry >>

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tao Te Ching


The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name


When a superior man hears of the Tao,
he immediately begins to embody it.
When an average man hears of the Tao,
he half believes it, half doubts it.
When a foolish man hears of the Tao,
he laughs out loud.
If he didn't laugh,
it wouldn't be the Tao.


In pursuit of knowledge,
every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao,
every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things,
until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.


True words aren't eloquent;
eloquent words aren't true.
Wise men don't need to prove their point;
men who need to prove their point aren't wise.

The Master has no possessions.
The more he does for others,
the happier he is.
The more he gives to others,
the wealthier he is.

The Tao nourishes by not forcing.
By not dominating, the Master leads.

Two translations I know that are good: by Gia-Fu Feng, and Jane English and by Stephen Mitchell. The latter is also available online. Read the rest of this entry >>

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sri Dakshinamurthy Stotram Part VII

In Part VII-a, Part VII-b, Part VII-c,Part VII-d and Part VII-e, Shri Subramanian discusses Verse VI of Shri Dakshinamurthy Stotram:

Rahu-grasta-divakarendu-sadrsho maya-samaacchaadanaat
SanmaatraH karanopasamharanato yo'bhut-sushuptaH pumaan |
Praagasvaasamiti prabodha-samaye yaH pratyabhijnaayate
Tasmai Srigurumurtaye nama idam Sridakshinamurtaye ||

Links to previous verses:

Verses I to Verse IV (Parts I to V) and Verse V, Part VI (both halves). Read the rest of this entry >>

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Kristof Wins Pulitzer for Commentary

This blogger has been a fan of Nicholas Kristof. His work has been exemplary. Whether it is reporting on genocides, or tackling the administration in Pakistan for its atrocities against women, or environmentalism, or progressive thinking, and many such issues, he somehow seems to be correct in all he writes. Three cheers for Kristof!

Related links:
  • The NYTimes page, with some of his writings.

  • The columnist page of Kristof from NYTimes.

  • The winners in Journalism, the winners in letters and music (note that the book on Oppenheimer has won in biography).

  • My post urging my friends to read NYTimes.

    Postscript(04/22): According to the WiKi entry, Kristof already has a Pulitzer that was awarded jointly with his journalist wife, Sheryl WuDunn. Apparently, she too works for NYTimes and this was the first time a Pulitzer prize was awarded jointly to a married couple. Read the rest of this entry >>
  • Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Panikkar's Vedic Experience available online!

    Raimundo Panikkar's The Vedic Experience: Mantramanjari, a good translation -- possibly one of the best in English -- of some of the scriptures from Vedas is available online from Himalayan Academy:

    Related Links:
  • Other online books from Himalayan Academy.

  • Amazon link for Panikkar's book. Read tepi's review and tepi's other reviews.

    Link to Panikkar's book, thanks to Sunder, a poster in advaitin mailing list! Read the rest of this entry >>
  • Emily: I had no time to hate

    Possibly, my most favorite poem of the woman in white (or the Bartleby page for Emily Dickinson):

    I had no time to hate, because
    The grave would hinder me,
    And life was not so ample I
    Could finish enmity.

    Nor had I time to love, but since
    Some industry must be,
    The little toil of love, I thought,
    Was large enough for me.

    From: Selected Poems Of Emily Dickinson: Searing Vision of Life, Passion, Death and Beyond.

    Here is an index of her first lines from Bartleby. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Friday, April 14, 2006

    Goedel Prize for Agarwal, Kayal and Saxena

    Thanks to Lance, Agarwal, Kayal and Saxena, the authors of the famous paper "Primes is in P", won the Goedel Prize for 2006. Goedel Prize is the highest award in Theoretical Computer Science. Here is a list of past winners of the award. Note the names like Hastad, Arora, Sudan, Motwani, Goldwasser, Freund-Schapire, among other modern greats.

    According to Suresh's blog, people knew this news earlier, via grapevine.

    Here is an introduction to the problem and the algorithm (PDF link). The Wiki Entry, a version of the paper (PDF link) from Agarwal's home page. The paper has been accepted to be published in Annals of Mathematics 160 1-13, 2004. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Hafiz: Now is the Time

    My friend Elliott, pinned the poem "Now is the Time" by Hafiz (a 14th century mystic/poet from Persia) outside my door:

    Now is the time to know
    That all that you do is sacred.

    Now, why not consider
    A lasting truce with yourself and God.

    Now is the time to understand
    That all your ideas of right and wrong
    Were just a child's training wheels
    To be laid aside
    When you finally live
    With veracity
    And love.

    Hafiz is a divine envoy
    Whom the Beloved
    Has written a holy message upon.

    My dear, please tell me,
    Why do you still
    Throw sticks at your heart
    And God?

    What is it in that sweet voice inside
    That incites you to fear?

    Now is the time for the world to know
    That every thought and action is sacred.

    This is the time for you to compute the impossibility
    That there is anything
    But Grace.

    Now is the season to know
    That everything you do
    Is sacred.

    Thanks Elliott!
    By coincidence, while commenting on Pippa's Song by Browning, Atanu remembers Hesse's Siddhardha saying to Govinda: “The world is perfect at every moment, Govinda.”

    Here is more poetry by Hafiz. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Friday, April 07, 2006

    tapaswadhyaya niratam taapaswi vagvidam varam

    So start the most beautiful Sanskrit verses ever written. They were the inspiration for great poets like Kalidasa.

    Here is an online version of the Vaalmiki's Ramayana. The first 18 verses of the Baala Kaanda are beautiful.

    The poster is also lucky to have the Telugu translations of Valmiki Ramayan by Shri Pullla Ramachandru Garu. Here is a great online book shop that sells Telugu books. Particularly recommended: Baala Kaanda and of course, Sundara Kaanda.

    A young kid, Anand is translating Ramayana into English in his blog. He is right now in Yuddha Kaanda and plans to complete by (I think) Tamil New Year. Read it. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Thursday, March 30, 2006

    Mahavakyas from Vedanta -- 2

    Thanks to the notes in the introduction to Vivekachudamani by Prof. John Grimes (pages 28 and 52), I could get the references for the Mahavakyas from Vedanta.

    1. Prajnanam Brahma: meaning "The Absolute is Consciousness". This Mahavakya is from Aitareya Upanishad, 3.1.3 of Rig Veda.

    2. Ayam Atma Brahma: meaning "The Self is Absolute". This Mahavakya is from Mandukya Upanishad, 2.7, Atharava Veda.

    3. Tat tvam asi: meaning "That thou art". This Mahavakya is from Chandogya Upanisad, 6.8.7, Sama Veda.

    4. Aham Brahmasmi: meaning "I am the Absolute". This Mahavakya is from Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10, Yajur Veda.

    Also Prof. Grimes refers to the following verses from Vivekachudamani (V): 162, 204, 251-65, 270, 281, 284, 305, 334. Also, in the same book (page 29), Prof. Grimes refers to some other passages from Upanishads as ones that support the above Mahavakyas. They are the following:

    1. Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma: meaning "Everything is Brahman". This is from Chandogya Upanishad, 3.14.1, from Sama Veda.

    2. Satyam, Jnanam Anantam Brahma: meaning "Brahman is Existence-absolute , Knowledge-absolute, Infinite-absolute". This is from Taittareiya Upanishad, 2.1 from Yajur Veda.

    Also, Prof. Grimes refers to the following verses from Vivekachudamani to support his argument: 154, 227, 395, 413, 466, 475.

    I have a previous post on the same subject (some references in the previous post are possibly incorrect).
    My previous first post on the book. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Saturday, March 25, 2006

    Of Bogus Advatins and Bogus Christians

    A conversation with Al (who is a christian, and with whom I discuss Advaita and similar stuff, over email):

    [Al wrote]
    im running into what i call bogus advaitins on the net. they call themselves nondualists yet believe we cant call ourselves god until we clear up our karma or have the moksa experience. i say its unconditional tho those who call themselves god can function much better as god. when i first meet hindus i ask them if theyre god. if they say yes unconditionally i shake their hand

    [My reply]

    Very good idea!

    Hopefully you ask all "christians" if they have love for everyone -- including their enemies, like radical islamists-- and refuse to shake hands who have inhibitions in loving their enemies.

    Later (thankfully) sense prevailed. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Food from Chandogya

    From the translation of Chandogya by Shri Radhakrishnan (VII.9.1, page 477) (an online edition of the translation by Max Muller):

    therefore, if anyone does not eat for ten days, even though he might live, yet, verily he becomes a non-seer, a a non-hearer, a non-thinker, a non-understander, a non-doer, a non-knower. But on the entrance of food, he becomes a seer, he becomes a hearer, he becomes a thinker, he becomes an understander, he becomes a doer, he becomes a knower. Mediate on food.
    [annam upassveti]

    Instead of stopping here, the dialogue continues. In the next verse (VII.9.2),

    Venerable Sir, is there anything greater than food?
    Yes, there is something greater than food.
    Do Venerable Sir, tell me that.

    The dialogue goes on further, to equate water, heat, ether, and life as Brahman.

    PS: Let not anyone stay away from food without any reason, and let not anyone take verse VII.9.1 (the first verse above) as a justification for their gluttony.

    PPS: Somehow I cannot empathize more with this verse VII.9.1 than on a Ekadasi day!

    Note added on 03/26: The dialogue between Svetaketu Aranyaka and his father Uddalaka, from Chandogya (VI.2.1 to VI.7.1) (in pages 454-465) also emphasizes the importance of physical needs. I am quoting from Shri Radhakrishnan's translation beginning at VI.7.1 and page 454:

    • ...
    • VI.7.1: For fifteen days do not eat any food. Drink water at will. Breath which consists of water will not be cut off from one who drinks water.

    • VI.7.2: Then for fifteen days, he did not eat any food; and then he approached him saying, 'what sir, shall I say?' The Rig Verses, my dear, the Yajus formulas and the Saman chants. He replied: 'They donot occur to me, Sir'

    • VI.7.3: He said to him: Just as my dear, of a great lighted fire, a single coal of the size of a firefly may be left which would not thereafter burn much, even so, my dear, of your sixteen parts only one part is left and so with it you do not apprehend (remember) the Vedas. Eat. Then you will understand me.

    • VI.7.4: Then he ate and approached his father. Then whatsoever he asked him, he answered it all.

    • VI.7.5: To him, he said, 'Just as my dear, of a great lighted fire, a single coal of the size of a firefly may be left, and made to blaze up by covering it with straw and with it the fire would thereafter burn much"

    • VI.7.6: So, my dear, of your sixteen parts only one part was left, and that, when covered with food, blazed up. With it, you now apprehend the Vedas. For, my dear, the mind consists of food, and the breath consists of water and speech consists of hear. Then he understood what he said; he understood it all.
    • ...

    Of couse, each sub-chapter ends with the father Uddalaka telling Svetaketu, the mahavakya of Chandogya:

    tat tvam asi svataketo ...

    I have a previous post on Mahavakyas of Vedanta(warning: it still needs some polishing). Read the rest of this entry >>

    Thursday, March 23, 2006

    A Vivekachudamani Review

    I wrote to Prof. Grimes saying the anecdotes in the Ganapathi book moved me (and my friends) a lot, he replied

    Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2006 09:39:17 -0500
    From: John A Grimes
    Thank you. There is a wonderful book review of the V. in the latest issue of Philosophy East West.

    The review he is talking about is titled The Vivekacūdāmani of Śankarācārya Bhagavatpāda: An Introduction and Translation (a PDF link) by Berger, Douglas L. in Philosophy East West 55.4 page. The review ends with:

    The translation itself is a testament to Grimes’ surpassing Sanskrit skills and thorough knowledge of Veda¯ntic textual exegesis. The unusually lucid presentation of the Sanskrit slokas is rendered with exactness and eloquent clarity in the English. The accompanying Upanisadic cross-referencing and Sanskrit-English lexicon of key terms will prove themselves enormously helpful to lay readers, students, and scholars. In his efforts to make this classic speak to spiritual seekers, modern readers, and scholars alike, and thus to reveal its perennial richness and multivalence, Grimes has resoundingly succeeded.

    My previous post on the book. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    Tat Tvam Asi (That Thou Art)

    From chapter "Who am I?" (page 139) from the Ganapati by Prof. Grimes:

    Once many years ago, I had a "chance" meeting with an Indian saint. He asked, in broken English, "Been India?" Since I had been in India for a number of years, the best, most easily demonstrable answer was to wobble my head in the characteristic side to side manner known to most Indians. The moment he saw that "wobble", he got a big grin on his face, entered the room, and closed the door behind him. He asked me, "Who you?" Having lived in India and being used to this type of English and being young and polite I began to answer him, "I am John Grimes," but just as I reached the G of Grimes, he said "Bas, family name, who you?" (Bas is Hindi for "stop, enough.") Again, since I have lived in India and studied Indian thought, I very confidently and boldly began to reply, "I am the immortal Atman," but just as I reached the A of Atman, again he stopped me with another "Bas, book name, who you?" With the first "stop", he wiped out my physical body. With the second "stop", he wiped out my entire mental universe. What was left? With two small words, he had succeded in conveying to me that I was neither my physical body nor my mental knowledge. How to answer him? So I said, "I donot know." Quick as a wink, he responded, "Find out." I replied, "How?" He responded, "Not how, find out." Again I asked, "How?" He was holding a handkerchief in his hand and he opened his fingers and let the handkerchief drop to the ground and as it fell he said, "Let go." Again I asked, "How [to let go]?" He responded, "Not how, let go." And then he turned and left the room.

    Almost twenty years passed before I learned that this monk supposedly did not speak English. How interesting! A person who did not speak English magnificiently managed to teach the Vedantic truth that one is neither one's body not one's thoughts, all in two words, As if that was not enough, he proceeded to teach me how to "find out who I really am" with another two words ("let go"). We all know how to let go, we do it every night when we go to sleep. We never ask out mother, "Mom, how do I go to sleep?" We just "let go" and sleep came. However, we become confused, disturbed, when someone asks us to "let go" of out preconceived notions as to who we are. Like this, we look for a technique in order to meditate or to find an answer to the question, Who am I? Read the rest of this entry >>

    What are the seven great untenables?

    What are the Seven Great Untenables? Prof. John Grimes seems to have a a book on it, and there seems to have been some discussion on advaitin mailing list on the same.

    Answer: The following was posted in the advaitin mailing list.

    THE SEVEN IMPOSSIBLE TENETS Ramanuja picks out what he sees as seven fundamental flaws in the Advaita philosophy for special attack: he sees them as so fundamental to the Advaita position that if he is right in identifying them as involving doctrinal contradictions, then Shankara's entire system collapses.

    The post also says that they are the following:

    1. The nature of Avidya.
    2. The incomprehensibility of Avidya.
    3. The grounds of knowledge of Avidya.
    4. The locus of Avidya.
    5. Avidya's obscuration of the nature of Brahman.
    6. The removal of Avidya by Brahma-vidya.
    7. The removal of Avidya.

    Read the great post. It is very comprehensive and is a good example of the maturity of the systems, as well as the attack on existing systems, in ancient India.
    Continuation of the Sri Dakshinamurty Stotram in advaitin mailing list: In Part VI (first half) and Part VI (second half), Verse V of the stotram is discussed:

    Deham praanamapi indriyaanyapi chalaam buddhim cha shunyam viduH
    Stri-baala-andha-jadopamaastvahamiti bhraantaa bhrsham vaadinaH |
    Tasmai Srigurumurtaye nama idam Sridakshinamurtaye ||

    Here is link to previous posts (parts I to V).

    Postscript (added on 03/27): Found the book The Seven Great Untenables by John. Grimes. Have a read a couple of chapters, but the attack of Sri Ramanujacharya on Sri Adi Shankara is amazing. The Seven Great Untenables form the first chapters of sri-bhashyam, a well known work of Sri Ramanuja, and as said above, attacks Adi Shankara's theory of Advaita (or non-duality) on the concept of avidya.

    I advise to read the following post too. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Monday, March 20, 2006


    From page 92 on anada of Ganapati by Grimes:

    The word modaka comes from the Sanskrit root mud (joy delight). The self is said to be the nature of existence (sat), consciousness (cit), bliss (ananda). One seeks bliss because one is of the nature of bliss. Nothing else will ultimately satisfy one that to experience that which one truly is.

    Obtaining what one likes seemingly brings one joy. Thus Ganapati holds out the incentive and enticement of "giving one what one wants, so that ultimately one will want what he has to give." It is because one mistakenly looks for complete and lasting bliss in eternal things that one eventually becomes disappointed. Bliss is not "outside" but within. This should be self-evident with a little analysis. One and the same object does not provide one with the same quality or quantity of bliss at different times. Nor does it provide different individuals with the same bliss. If bliss were innate to an object, this should be the case. Further, it is because the fluctuations of the mind cease upon attaining one's desired goal that one feels a momentary joy. If one begins to long for piece of chocolate cake, one feels restless until that object is obtained. Mistakenly, one believes the joy that one feels upon putting that first piece of cake into one's mouth, comes from the cake. In reality, it comes from the quitening of the mind. No longer is the mind flickering, fluctuating flitting hither and yon demanding cake. The joy comes from this quitening of the mind and not from the seemingly simultaneous attainment of one's desired object.

    How truly said!

    The root of this analysis is of course the wonderful conversation in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad between Yagnavalkya and his wife, Maitreyi. I am quoting from the translation by Shri S. Radhakrishnan, II, 4-5, page 197:

    Verily not for the sake of husband is the husband is the husband dear but a husband is dear for the sake of the Self. Verily not for the sake of the wife is the wife dear but the wife is dear for the sake of the Self. Verily not for the sake of the sons are the sons dear but the sons are dear for the sake of Self. Verily not for the sake of Brahminhood is brahminhood dear but brahminhood is dear for the sake of the Self. Verily not for the sake of kshatriyahood is kshyatriyahood is dear but kshatriyahood is dear for the sake of the Self. Verily not for the sake of worlds are the worlds dear but the worlds are dear for the sake of the Self. verily not for the sake of gods are the gods dear but the gods are dear for the sake of the Self. Verily not for the sake of the beings that the beings are dear but the beings are dear for the sake of the Self. Verily not for the sake of all is all dear but all is dear for the sake of the Self. Verily O Maitreyi, it the Self that should be seen, heard of, reflected on and meditated upon. Verily, by seeing of, by hearing of, by the thinking of, by the understanding of the Self, all this is known.

    The first part in bold is quoted often in Raja Rao's Serpent and the Rope. Here is a link that gives the introduction to the principal upanishads by S.Radhakrishnan. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    The day they were not out

    This day in 2001: when Very Very Special and the Wall were the only humans before Tugga and his final frontier. This is the "this day that age" link.

    Congrats to Rahul Dravid who is about to complete his 100th test match. Here is a very good interview and an overview of his his mental preparation(aptly titled "The making of the Wall") he is well known for. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    Homepage of John Grimes

    John Grimes is a professor in Michigan State University and author of the book on Vivekachudamani and Ganapathi. This is from the entry on Vivekachudamani in his publications page.

    This book is the fruit of a lifetime of enquiry (jijñasa). Much reflection and discrimination (viveka) and detachment (vairagya) has flowed under the bridge. Friends, fellow well-wishers, and yes, even evil-eyed enemies have contributed much. Whom to single out? They all played their alloted parts and departed for places elsewhere. It seems so long ago that I was walking towards the Pakistan-India border station in the burning dust of summer. Rushing to greet me was a collage of odours comprised of fragrant flowers and rotting filth, of exotic spices and suffocating fumes, of incense and mysticism, of antiquity and modernity, and that land wherein wisdom breaks open hearts like tamarind rinds. Through the Khyber Pass - that unbelievable, almost untransversable ribbon of rock, and into the land of enchantment. A sannyasin met me as I crossed the border and said, "You imagine things and you so seriously ask about fulfillment. Life is too short to spend all of one's time analysing everything. Laugh with the barking dogs and welcome naked thoughts with open arms. Things don't just happen, they happen just. Where you come from, you imagine that things happen, perhaps (as his eyes twinkled). But never in Bharat. Bharat is not a place, but a state of being. Chance means that one does not know the law of things. Permutations and combinations, the whence and the wherefore. When thought, word, and deed are one, there are no chance occurances. Then, even a blade of grass does not grow by chance."
    Read the rest of this entry >>

    Algorithmic Problems in Polytope Theory

    Link from Ziegler's homepage: Some algorithmic problems in polytope theory: AProPo. Read the rest of this entry >>

    googling for Raja rao

    I thought that that there may have been some interesting posts on Raja Rao in the newsgroups (or I was just trying to pass time). Either way, I searched in and found that there indeed were some interesting links.

    Searching for "Raja Rao Serpent Rope" lead to many links. One link mentions the encounter of a person with Raja Rao in UT-Austin.

    >Sanjiva Prasad wrote:
    >This old master, based at UT Austin, is definitely older than 56!
    >Probably a good 20-30 years older than that.

    The old master was born in 1907, I think. He is about 85 now and quite cogent, though frail. His first novel, 'Kanthapura', was published in 1929, inspired by Gandhism. His latest novel is titled 'The Chessmaster and His Moves'.

    He lives in a red sandstone house close by the campus. The lawn is unkempt and the street very quiet and narrow. On the door a yellow note was stuck. It simply said: "Raja Rao". He was expecting us. He answered the door himself, stooped and wrapped up in a dressing gown. He waved us into some chairs and apologized for making us sit in almost total darkness. "The light hurts my eyes", he said smiling. Upstairs, I heard someone walking about, the wooden floor amplifying the sound. "My wife Susan", he explained, "she is not feeling too well".

    We didnt talk much about books. In fact, he did most of the talking, and he talked clearly and passionately, late into the evening. About Gandhi, Nehru, De Gaulle, Churchill, Malraux, Diego Rivera, and a whole galaxy of others. People whom he had met and known; legendary figures like Subhash Bose, whom he had shown around Paris while at the Sorbonne. He argued with feeling about the relevance of Gandhism, and with more than a hint of seriousness, about why monarchy was necessary in India; about how the Brahmins had betrayed the soul of India, and about how he had disavowed his own Brahminical heritage: casting the sacred thread of the twice-born into the Ganges at Benares.

    Later, as we sat in the darkness of his living room, the shelves and the chairs overflowing with books, he talked about his spiritual quest: about the Buddha, Ramana Maharishi, Krishnamurti, and about his guru: Atmananda, a policeman turned Vedantin, in Travancore. His last novel had borne a quote from Atmananda: "I am the light in the perception of the world".

    We accepted his invitation to visit again, as he showed us to the door. Next time, we will talk about Mathematics, we said, and the Novel, and Nagarjuna, and the decline of the erotic in Indian culture.

    Nice encounter indeed!
    Read the rest of this entry >>

    Sunday, March 12, 2006

    Grimes: Ganapati Song of the Self

    I am only halfway through the book Ganapati: Song of the Self, but I am amazed by the way Grimes approaches to explain Ganapati in an entirely Advaitic way. The book is also replete with the various names and explanations of Ganapati. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Friday, March 10, 2006

    Maneesha Panchakam: Play of words

    The library entry for the book by Swami Chinmaya Mission says also known as Man¯is¯apañcaka.. Of course man is apanchaka, as is beyond the five senses Read the rest of this entry >>

    Sunday, March 05, 2006

    Ramsey Theory

    A set of good lecture notes on Ramsey Theory. More to come. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    A catchy line from a student's SOP

    The essence of education is to learn, relearn, and possibly unlearn. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Monday, February 27, 2006

    Want to do some great bedtime listening?

    I heartily recommend the page at Smithsonian where some truly wonderful people talk about great things.
    For example, Karen Armstrong, who talks about the life of Buddha is the person whose description from WiKi is:

    I usually describe myself, perhaps flippantly, as a freelance monotheist. I draw sustenance from all three of the faiths of Abraham. I can't see any one of them as having the monopoly of truth, any one of them as superior to any of the others. Each has its own particular genius and each its own particular pitfalls and Achilles' heels. But recently, I've just written a short life [story] of the Buddha, and I've been enthralled by what he has to say about spirituality, about the ultimate, about compassion and about the necessary loss of ego before you can encounter the divine. And all the great traditions are, in my view, saying the same way the much the same thing, despite their surface differences.

    PS: I posted on the same here too.

    PPS: The great Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman (who talks about seven virtues and anger control) also happens to be the father of Uma.

    Thanks a ton to Atanu for the original link! Read the rest of this entry >>

    Saturday, February 25, 2006

    Om Viswam Darpana Drisya Maana Nagari Tulyam ...

    Om Vishvam Darpana Drishya Maana Nagari Tulyam begins the Sri Dakshinamurthy Stotra which is said to encapsulate the essence of Advaita and written by the great Sri Adi Shankara. Another Shloka ends with the line: Janana Marana Dukha Kshedam Tribhuvana Gurumeesam DakshinaMurthy Devam.

    Sri V.Subramanian is posting his thoughts/commentary on the Stotram. I will post links and possibly commentary on the same.

    This is the introductory post.

    Part II, the explanation is about verse 1, possibly the most important verse of the stotram:

    Vishwam Darpana-drshyamaana-nagarii-tulyam nijaantargatam
    Pashyan aatmani maayayaa bahiriva udbhuutam yathaa nidrayaa |
    Ya: saakshaat kurute prabodha-samaye svaatmaanameva advayam
    Tasmai Srigurumurtaye nama idam Sridakshinamurtaye ||

    In Part III (first half) and Part III (second half), the explanation is about verse two:

    Biijasyaantariva-ankuro jagadidam praang-nirvikalpam punar-
    Maya-kalpita-desa-kaala-kalanaa-vaichitrya-chitrii-krtam |
    Mayaviiva vijrmbhayatyapi maha-yogiva yas svecchayaa
    Tasmai Sriguru-murtaye nama idam Sridakshinaamurtaye || 2 ||

    In Part IV (first half) and Part IV (second half), the explanation is about the third verse:

    Yasyaiva sphuranam sadaatmakam asatkalpaarthagam bhaasate
    Saakshaat Tat-tvam-asi-iti vedavachasaa yo bodhayatyaashritaan |
    Yat-saakshaat-karanaad bhaven-na punaraavrttir-bhavaambho-nidhau
    Tasmai Srigurumurtaye nama idam Sridakshinamurtaye ||

    In Part V-a and Part V-b, the explanation is about Verse Four:

    Jnanam yasya tu chakshuraadi-karana-dvaara bahiH spandate |
    Jaanaami-iti tameva bhaantam anu-bhaatyetat samastam jagat
    Tasmai Srigurumurtaye nama idam Sridakshinamurtaye ||

    Here is my previous post on the Stotra.

    Happy Shivarathri to all! As in the shloka from Gita 2-68 says let there be no night to all the yogis. Let their Brahman Consciousness never diminish. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Friday, February 24, 2006

    Two Buddhist Masters

    Atanu has a very nice anecdote of the "vagvivada" of two Monks, in an aptly titled post: Thoughts without a Thinker.

    Postscript (on 03/21): As a followup to the above post, Atanu has very kindly given a link from his blog to a later post of mine on a story written by Prof. Grimes. This has resulted in around 160 visits and 460 page views (collected from sitemeter), in a single day! Also Atanu was kind enough to add my blog in the frequently read ones.

    Thanks Atanu!
    Atane Atanu (trying to mean you are the man)!! Read the rest of this entry >>

    Thursday, February 23, 2006


    I am not sure how many of my friends read NYTimes editorial page regularly. I would request them to read it regularly.

    The op-ed's are very good and written by great journalists. I enjoy reading the "global view" of Friedman, the brilliancy of Krugman, the humanism by Kristof, the anti-war campaign by Herbert, the stingy anti-establishment campain by Dowd (laced with excellent humor) and the weekly articles by Rich.

    Of course I read Brooks to understand the standard-GOP-rubuttal in a not so polished way.

    Unfortunately, it is a pay-service. $40/year. I was about to subscribe, but found out I can read them from my library account online. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Campaign against Yahoo!

    There has been a campaign against using YAHOO!, notably from Nikolas Kristof because of its evil doings in China. On February 19, 2006, in China' s Cyberdissidents and the Yahoos at Yahoo, he singles out Yahoo saying

    Yahoo has acted disgracefully by helping to convict dissidents, but the bigger picture is that the Internet is a force for change in China.

    He says that Yahoo! has been the biggest accomplice and that smaller culprits are MS, Cisco and Google. He links to Boo Yahoo! which was possibly started by a dissident and asks us to punish Yahoo my moving away from it. I am a right now little tied up with for reading my blogs, mail and other stuff. So, when I have time, I will move away from Yahoo!

    Why was I that foolish that I am using one private domain for so many things? I was possibly very lazy to use the right tool for the right purpose. I am scared if the company above was Google (is it not already an accomplice in something else?). Read the rest of this entry >>

    Gita In Daily Life from Advaitin-list

    The post titled appeal to the silent majority, by Prof VK has a set of questions on for determining your "level of competency of Gita" (see the replies to the post at the bottom of the page). I donot know the answers to most of the 400 level questions (and a couple of 300 level ones). Which means, lot more to be done! Read the rest of this entry >>

    Monday, February 13, 2006

    An Audio Rendition of Bhagavad-Gita

    I have listened to a wonderful audio rendition of selections from Bhagavad-Gita. The text is from my favorite translation, the one by Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood.
    Unfortunately, the cassette itself, does not seem available on the market. I have a suspicion, this is the amazon reference. I am not sure.

    For future reference, here are the details.

    Caedmon cassette CDL 51249

    Selections from the Bhagavad-Gita
    The Song of God
    Read by Zia Mohyeddin
    Introduction read by Christopher Isherwood.

    [from the rear flap]
    Caedmon records, Inc., 505 Eithth Ave., N.Y., N.Y. 10018

    [seems that the cassette was made in 1968 and costed $12.95]

    [Some library stuff]
    LC # PK3633.B5 P73 Music # TC 1249 Caedmon

    A couple of web searches on Caedmon and Bhagavad-Gita reveals that most of this information is authentic.

    The google search leads to the following link from NYtimes:
    (article titled: FROM 'GENESIS' TO 'JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR' from May 10, 1981)

    There is, though, a hypnotically compelling reading of selections from the Bhagavad-Gita on Caedmon (TC 1249, cassette CDL 51249) by Zia Moheyddin. The translation, in poetry and prose, is the celebrated one by Christopher Isherwood and Swami Prabhavananda. Isherwood himself provided a thoughtful introduction to this reading, which can be followed with the aid of the New American Library paperback of the whole book. On this remarkable recording, as Krishna explains to Arjuna why all action should be performed in a spirit of non-attachment -in Isherwood's words, 'without desire and without fear'' - the very purpose of life in Hindu terms becomes luminously clear.

    Read the rest of this entry >>

    Thursday, February 09, 2006

    Advising and stuff

    An excellent post by Molnar on advising.

    Link from Lance's weblog, who follows up with his own great post on advising.

    Thanks to both! Read the rest of this entry >>

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006

    Lattice Algorithms

    Fromm the IBM Almaden page

    Lattice algorithms

    Shortest vector problem. The shortest vector problem (SVP) is the problem of finding the shortest nonzero vector in a lattice. This problem goes back to the 19th century work of Gauss. SVP has come to be identified as the most important computational task concerning lattices. Algorithms for SVP have an important role in combinatorial optimization, computer algebra, coding theory, and cryptography. Miki Ajtai, Ravi Kumar, and D. Sivakumar have developed a randomized algorithm for SVP that runs in time exp(cn). This improves the previous exp(cn log n) time algorithms for this problem.

    Ravi Kumar, D. Sivakumar: On polynomial approximation to the shortest lattice vector length. SODA 2001: 126-127; Journal version SIDMA 2003: 16(3):422-425

    Miklós Ajtai, Ravi Kumar, D. Sivakumar: A sieve algorithm for the shortest lattice vector problem. STOC 2001: 601-610

    Miklós Ajtai, Ravi Kumar, D. Sivakumar: An overview of the sieve algorithm for the shortest lattice vector problem. CaLC 2001: 1-3

    Closest vector problem. Given the basis vectors of a lattice and a point x not in the lattice, the closest vector problem is to find a lattice vector that is closest to x . This problem often arises in cryptanalysis. Miki Ajtai, Ravi Kumar, and D. Sivakumar, building on earlier work, have developed an algorithm to compute an "approximately" close lattice vector to a given point x. The running time of this algorithm is exp( cn), improving the previous exp(cn log n) time algorithm.

    Miklós Ajtai, Ravi Kumar, D. Sivakumar: Sampling short lattice vectors and the closest lattice vector problem. CCC 2002: 53-57

    Read the rest of this entry >>

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006

    Sorry for not blogging

    Dear Readers,
    I am sorry for not blogging regularly. I have a couple of posts pending, but have important work to do too! While I am blogging, I would love to hear some comments from you on the posts on Adi Shankaracharya movie (and others). Read the rest of this entry >>

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    Tuesday, January 31, 2006

    January 30th another age

    The New York Times version of what happened on that day.

    Gandhi Lives! Read the rest of this entry >>

    Two Geniuses

    In A Genius Finds Inspiration in the Music of Another, Arthur Miller says

    Einstein once said that while Beethoven created his music, Mozart's "was so pure that it seemed to have been ever-present in the universe, waiting to be discovered by the master." Einstein believed much the same of physics, that beyond observations and theory lay the music of the spheres — which, he wrote, revealed a "pre-established harmony" exhibiting stunning symmetries. The laws of nature, such as those of relativity theory, were waiting to be plucked out of the cosmos by someone with a sympathetic ear.

    Read the whole thing. Read the rest of this entry >>

    Explaining what is real to an EE-student

    Was talking to an EE student, who is taking the course for which I am a TA. [Context: We are using a simulator of hardware instead of following the actual method of previous years when things were "actually taken to the board". I was explaining to the student that, by using a simulator, they can think at a higher level of abstraction and thereby do more powerful things.]

    Student: (interrputing me when I was explaining something about the simulator) But it is still a simulator right. It is not actual hardware.

    Me: (getting a little irritated): Yes, but what the hardware is doing, is but a simulation of some computation. Right?

    Student: (most probably not getting the gist of it): um.. right.

    Me: (trying to make a bigger point and forgetting it is a class): What do you think is real?

    Student: (reasonably confused, and most probably thinking I am being aggressive) Well. I think I get your point.

    Me: (understanding that this is a CS course and not one on reality and trying to get back to the point): You understand that the simulator is powerful right?

    (I walk away)

    Read the rest of this entry >>