after completion of ‘Spook’ , the so called ‘science tackles the after life’ book, where do i stand ? the same place. did i gain any new insights? nope. did i lose any? nope. would i recommend it to anyone? i doubt it.
March 11, 2010
April 13, 2006
January 2, 2006
A Man lived here for some years. During that period, among other things, he came to thought of a piece of land as his own and he imagined he would inherit it forever. He argued, fought and killed for that piece of land. Sometime he won and sometime he did not. And after some years he died, and lo, he could not take with him the land he fought for. The land, and all other things that he considered his own, based on which he defined himself, had taken away from him on his death. Now with whom he would fight ?
He would argue with God (if such a being exits): “Those were mine..my wife..my kid..my family…my land…those were mine..You gave it to me”
God would reply: “Just your imagination dear. Everything is mine as always”.
Vengeance breeds vengeance breeds vengeance……and at the end no one remains.
Those were the thoughts surfaced in mind when I watched Spielberg’sMunich
December 23, 2005
An odyssey of an orphaned Vietnamese boy, Quang Van Nguyen, set during the time of French and American war that ravaged Vietnam. Quang was adopted by a Vietnamese monk who practiced an ancient form of Chinese medicine and manages to raise him against all odds. He became his father and mentor. He imparts in Quang the esoteric wisdom and knowledge of the ancient world. Through the eyes of young Quang the reader could see life in it’s innocence and simplicity, also in it’s arrogance and tragedy. In the book reader could witness the end of an old civilization and it’s transition to the new world. One would see the simplicity of the former and the complexity of the latter. This is also a story of magic, sorcery and spirituality – a real life Harry Potter story. In this book the reader would meet a fascinating world of magic, sorcery, spirits, ghosts and spiritual giants. Some of the readers might reject them as superstitious. But as I see it, the possibilities of mind, it’s potential and capacity are endless. It had been studied and mastered by ancient Buddhist and Hindu yogis and sages, and yet to discover by modern science. The life of Sri Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Paramahamsa Yogananda are ample proof for this. This story is also about Vietnam, it’s culture, it’s people, the war, their pain and longing. This extraordinary journey starts from a remote village in Vietnam and ends at New Hampshire in United States. FOURTH UNCLE in the MOUNTAIN is a simple but extraordinary story of a boy, of a nation and of a way of life that became extinct.
Based on a series of discussions and debates that took place between five leading physicists and the Dalai Lama. The subject of the debate varies from Quantum Physics, Relativity, Time and space, the relation between scientific knowledge and human experience, Buddhist view of those and to many more.
In his comment to one of my post Sunil wrote :”you’ll find a remarkable openness to new ideas (including complete acceptance of evolution) when you hear eastern religious leaders (like the Dalai Lama) speak….”. I think this remarkable openness comes from the fact that unlike semitic religions Buddhism is not tied down to a set of theology. Here experience supersedes any kind of scriptural authority. And a seeker could reject any authority or scripture or argument that contradict reason. In his reply to one of the physicists in the discussion Dalai Lama says:
“It has nothing to do with God. The Buddhist position is not a theological argument at all. It’s purely philosophical and logical argument….”
With regard to the current popularity of Buddhism in west, probably this could be one of the factors of Buddhism that appealed the western mind
This book tells the international diplomatic drama that unveiled between the Clinton administration and Indian Government under Vajpayee. The highlight of this book is Jaswant Singh. His personality, his diplomatic skills and the way he represented India, had made a lasting impression on the author of this book – Strobe Talbott, secretary of state under Bill Clinton. It also tells the missionary kind of zeal with which American administration pursue India to sign CTBT and NPT and the skills employed by India to avoid it. Author shows, without much bias, the US perspective and Indian perspective on this issue. Reader gets a detailed look at the behind-the scene actions that happened among India, Pakistan and US during the Pokhran Nuclear test and Kargil crisis, especially the part played by former President Bill Clinton. The book also highlights the fact how mutual friendship between diplomats could reward positively to the relation of two countries without compromising the objectives of their mission.
December 18, 2005
Sunil writes the disturbing trend in Tamil cinema – men beating their wives or daughters or even mothers on screen with dialogs saying its ok to do that. Cinema, I think, reflects the society as in the case of any artistic medium. I believe this is especially true in the case of Malayalam cinema.
The 1970’s and 80’s were considered as the golden age of Malayalam cinema. From 90’s onward it began to deteriorate. If one observe the social, cultural and political scenario of Kerala during this time period, one could very well see the paralells. By the beginning of 90’s most of the gifted writers and poets (Muhammad Bashir, G. Shankarakurup etc), political geniuses (like EMS, Achutha Menon etc ), film personalities (Padmarajan, Bharathan etc) were all gone from the stage. Creativity of the remaining gifted personalities were all seemed to be dried up. Quality of literature and films began to deteriorate. Instead the remaining prominent writers began to wash their dirty linen in public through the press and public podium. Film industry continued to churn out films that absolutely had no artistic value (there could be one or two exceptions here and there but apart from that the well seems to be pretty much dried-up). The political scenario became more corrupt. Organized gang crimes (which was unheard of before) and communal violence (Kerala was once immune to this epidemic) began to show up their ugly face. The society became more insecure and more polarized on the basis of religion.
In the economic scenario Kerala had missed the IT bus. The state government treasury became empty. (As per the 2005 Kerala state budget the state revenue is Rs. 16623 crores and expenditure is Rs. 20696 crores. 91% of the revenue income goes for paying salary and pension). Development initiatives remained in papers. Tourism industry and expatriate money were the only two dim bulbs left. And then, finally, Kerala was officially anointed as Gods own country…. when it became not.
December 5, 2005
Some of us in this “Flattened” world need a very very long ladder to climb up. A more realistic view of India’s “rising” by Pranab Bardhan in YaleGlobal Online.
Snippet from the article
- The total number of workers in all possible forms of IT-related jobs in India comes to less than a million workers – one-quarter of one percent of the Indian labor force.
- India is as yet a minor player in world trade, contributing less than one percent of world exports.
- No safety net exists for the poor against the major disruptions and hardships of restructuring
- Slow processes of democracy in India
In these paradoxical times where sci-fiction becomes non-fiction and shallow religious beliefs zealously push Intelligent Design into academic curriculum, the article on panspermia hypothesis in Scientific American magazine seems interesting. “The panaspermia hypothesis posits that living cells or their precursors could have emerged on another planet or moon billions of years ago and hatched a ride to Earth on a meteorite”.
This echos the Hindu scriptures like Yogavasishtam which describes the existence of other ‘earths’ in the universe. Parallels to modern science can be found in eastern mysticism, especially in Advaitic and Upanishad thoughts and Buddhism. Advaita school of thought ultimately rejects any kind of creation or Intelligent Design theories. It even reject the idea of re-incarnation. It teaches this world that we experience through our senses forms out of Vishwa Pranan or Cosmic energy. Similarly the resemblance (was it a coincidence..?) between the theory of evolution and the sequence of Dashavataram of Vishnu in the Bhagavatha Purana is fascinating.
The book Einstein and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings by Thomas J. McFarlane attempts to provide clues and hints regarding eastern mysticism’s attempt to understand reality and similarity of it’s finding wih modern science. It is a thought-provoking book for a sckeptic who refuse to believe there exists a common ground between modern science and mysticism.
October 1, 2005
It’s a brilliant book. If one wants to understand Bombay…Mumbai, this is the best source. Few interesting conversations from the book:
“How can a man kill ?” I ask Amol. “How can he bring himself to do it?”
“You are a writer. After drinking you will say to yourself, now I must write a story. If you are a dancer, after drinking you will feel like dancing. If you are a killer, after drinking you will think, Now I must kill somebody.”
I ask them why there is more unity, more fellow feeling, in the chawl.
Common toilets, explains Sunil.
“What is a gentleman?” Mickey wonders.
“A gentleman is one who kills his heart’s every desire, who doesn’t have guts”, says Satish.
September 2, 2005
August 2, 2005
Can it ever exist – a perfect socialist world or a perfect free market economy or a perfect democracy? In reality they simply don’t exist. They exist only in the mind of an idealist. What we have is something of a cocktail, something lesser than the ideal. Any kind of perfect system simply cannot exist so long as there is a ‘you’ and ‘me’. Similarly, can there be everlasting peace in this world? No. Pursuit for a peaceful earth is like chasing a mirage. Great many of them attempted from time immemorial. But none of them succeeded. From Krishna, to Jesus, to Gandhi – no one succeeded. The catastrophe Krishna tried to prevent ends with the complete annihilation of his own lineage. The next two were crucified and assassinated. The peace they achieved was momentary. The world soon fell apart again. Similar with the other unknown millions who had tried. Conflict is inherent in the nature, even in the sub-atomic particles. One cannot stop it. Once it is stopped, the world, as we know it now, will cease to exist. But man’s pursuit for his ideal will never cease. For him it is far away, but at the same time, he knows that he must have it somehow. Knowingly or unknowingly he run after it like a deer run after a mirage to quench it’s thirst. This is what I observed from the life so far. Correct me if I am wrong.