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