My review of Daniel Kahneman’s book is attached. Click here: Personal review of ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’_Aug.2012
This is a book by Dr. Arun Shourie, a truly non-partisan individual who has national interest at heart. Regardless of their disagreements with the man, people cannot deny his integrity and that his heart is at the right place. The review is attached. Click here: Personal Review of ‘Does he know a mother’s heart’
I must consider myself blessed by Goddess Meenakshi of Madurai. She has given me the friendship of three good souls. I must say, ‘four’. Even though the fourth one lives away from Madurai now, I have leaned on him quite a bit in the last two to three years. I would not want to name them lest they be embarrassed.
One of them handed me a copy of ‘Infinite Vision’, the story of Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai. I am proud to say that I grew up in the city and claim as my hometown, the city that houses this institution. Could this book have been named, ‘Inner vsion’? May be. It would have been just as appropriate as ‘Infinite vision’. Reading this book has been the best spiritual experience of 2012 or arguably the best spiritual experience, ever, for me.
This book was written by Dr. Subramanian Swamy. I think it is a good one. It is worth reading. He does display open mind in general. He is willing to call upon Hindus to denounce the divisions of caste by birth and untouchability. I am yet to lay my hands on a good treatment of the origins of this and the birth-based caste system. Cannot claim that I have searched well. Will be grateful for readings and clues on this.
(1) Om Shakti vs. Rome Bhakti
(2) Nehru’s indifference to Hindi: naming only two Hindi books in Hindi literature: Tulsidas’ Ramayan and the Railway Guide
The stories on how Kashmir Pundits refused to convert a ruler from Buddhism to Hinduism and how he converted to Islam! [Is that Karma affecting the Kashmir Pundits even now?]
The story on the donation that Mother Teresa received from Charles Keating and how she did not return it – is an interesting eye-opener. His section on what defines a Hindu is a useful one. His section on Economic reforms is a disappointing for it simply rehashes McKinsey report – nothing original there. McKinsey’s sequencing of reform priorities is debatable at best and plain wrong, at worst.
He does not make the case as to why India should be close to China. He is not acknowledging the role China played in arming Pakistan with nuclear bomb. Civilisationally, India might be closer to China but Communist China is a different kettle of fish.
Similarly, the US consulate official in Chennai warned Ms. Jayalalitha against the law banning conversion. That also tells us how, in the overall scheme of things, friendship and closer relations with the US has its limits.
His call to Dharmacharyas to form a conclave and enunciate guidelines for Hindu is a good one. The book’s quotes by Swami Dhayananda Saraswati reveal Swamiji’s awareness of the political realities in the country and globally. He signed the ‘Jerusalem Declaration’ – covered in another post on this blog.
The book does not offer specific steps on some of the actions it exhorts readers to implement: (1) how to start learning Sanskrit – any institutions, contact details) and (2) how to learn the correct history of India (sources, references, etc.)
[At least, a partial remedy is available in this superb blog post by Dr. Koenraad Elst. His advice to Hindus (‘Hindu survival – what needs to be done’) as to what they should do to preserve their culture, heritage, etc., must be read by all Hindus]
The list of Hindu temples destroyed by Muslim invaders is useful. Even more interesting to see that the source of the list is ‘Frontline’ magazine of THE HINDU group from December 2000! The reference to a BBC news broadcast debunking the Aryan Invasion theory is interesting.
Overall, an easy and useful read with some limitations and gaps in analysis and research.
I love catching up with Prof. Koenraad Elst’ posts every once in a while. I am never disappointed. I always learn something new. The last such visit to his site was no exception. I read these two posts on Hinduism. People who are interested in Sanatana Dharma should read these two posts. It is one thing to strive for internal evolution through religious texts. But, some of the very seers who brought us those texts had also overcome resistance (to put it, rather mildly) publicly to leave those treasures for us.
We owe it to them and to ourselves to pass them on to the succeeding generations. Going by the shape of things that have happened in the last 30 years and hence is likely to come, each succeeding generation may need those wisdom more than the previous one. But, that is a different topic for a different occasion.
In the course of reading these two posts, I came across his reference to ‘Jerusalem Declaration’. I went and perused the document. It is an amazing document. I compliment Dr. Elst for defending and applauding Swami Dhayananda Saraswati for signing it. I would have done the same. It deserves to be publicised widely. I had not heard of it until I saw the document referred to by Prof. Elst.
The PDF copy of the declaration that resulted from the Second Hindu-Jewish Leadership Summit is to be found here. It is attached to this post. Click here: 2nd_Hindu-Jewish_Leadership_Summit_Declaration
[PS: As is usual, I stumbled upon two other useful sites in the process of locating the ‘Jerusalem Declaration 2008’. Here they are. One is the ‘Forum for Religious Freedom’ and the other is the site for the book, ‘Invading the Sacred’. Pl. do spend time to read the rebuttal of Ms. Aditi Banerjee, one of the authors of ‘Invading the Sacred’ to Ms. Wendy Doniger, Professor on the History of Religions in the University of Chicago]
A good friend had sent me this link. I watched the video. I came away very impressed – not just with the amazing and extraordinary feats of physical endurance, stamina and strength.
I had downloaded Aldous Huxley’s ‘Perennial Philosophy’. Yet to start reading. You can find it on the Internet through a simple search. Here is one link. I was flipping through the book on my IPad. I came across the name, ‘Svetaketu’. Hence, did a search on ‘Svetaketu’. Came across this beautiful story on Svetaketu narrated by Osho.
I came away reflecting on the role of silence
If new thoughts are not felt, then you will become aware that the mind is just repetitive, just a mechanical repetition; it goes on in a rut. And there was no way to get new knowledge. With new knowledge the mind is always happy, because there is something again to grind, something again to work out; the mechanism goes on moving.
in stilling the mind, withdrawal of thoughts from absence of interaction, the humility that follows the inability to ‘show off’ his intellectual prowess to the animals he was guarding over.
Another friend who read it was struck by the idea that his Guru calls him the 1001st animal. She felt that humans were supposed to evolve from animals into humans. Yet, his spiritual evolution and realisation led him to be called the 1001st animal by his Guru.
My wife was struck by the fact that his father was worried that Svetaketu would have come back with arrogance and ego bloated after learning all the scriptures and holy texts:
The father became sad and depressed, because this is not the way of one who really knows, this is not the way of one who has come to know the supreme knowledge.
This underscores the importance of discussing such stuff in a ‘Satsang’. Each one of us would interpret what we read, see, hear or reflect on, based on our experiences, intuition and vasanas. The whole brew is enriching to all. Hope this blog is able to capture some of that spirit.
The father sent him back to the Guru to learn what cannot be taught. Read the rest of it here. The main website itself seems like a rather useful one.