Feyman Lectures on Physics

Jul 20, 2015

Should the judiciary retain its primacy in appointments, or should it share an equal responsibility with the executive?... The Hindu Editorial:
In search of alien life across the cosmos:
It reminded me the 1997 US film "Contact" directed by Robert Zemeckis. It was a film adaptation of Carl Sagan's 1985 novel of the same name.

Jun 28, 2015

white collar crime | Loksatta

Straight drive by Dr. Madhav Godbole: white collar crime | Loksatta
The translation of Sinddanta Bindu (SB) of Madhusudana Saraswati in Hindi has been published by Daxinamurti Math of Varanasi in 2002 along with Laghu Vasudeva Mananam (LVM) in the same book. SB is supposed to be a commenatery on Dasha-Shloki attributed to Shankara Bhagavatpada (aka Adi Shankara), but in reality it a treatise built around Dasha-Shloki in which Madhusudana explains rather tersely various theories established in Advaita traditions by 16th century. The traslation and annotations are in Sanskritized Hindi. Following points make intersting reading:

(1) Laghava (Law of Parsimony) is discussed in the context of relation between knower-known (page 172); (2) Validation by the instrument of knowledge (Pramana-siddha) is differentiated from the validation by experience (Anubhava-siddha) (page 173); (3) Knower-known-knowledge triad is not always necessary for acquiring the knowledge. In fact, a state in which this triad is dissolved is conducive to the ultimate Knowledge (page 144) (Samadhi needs to be distinguished from the sleep); (4) The four categories of "absence" are not applicable to Atman (page 153); (5) Bhavarupa Agyana (causal or positive Ignorance) is expounded on page 174-175; there Ignorance is termed as Abhava-Vilaxana (other than absence); (6) According to SB, single-soul theory (SST) is the main Siddhanta for Adhikaris (advances aspirants). SB leaves its reconciliation with our experence and logic to such an advanced learner (page 187-188); (7) SB's syncretic character is obvious, when it quotes Sureshvara - "whichever theories are conducive to Self-realization, they should be considered as good" (even though they may seem to contradict each other); (8) theory of cognition and cognitive error is expounded (page 193-203); (9) Sankhya is refuted on page 293; however, it is not very convincing. Pradhana / Prakriti in association with Purusha can be the Mulakarana (primal cause) of the Jagat. It is stated that insentient Pradhana cannot combine with Jivatma (Purusha). Why? Ishvara Krishna Karika should have been quoted in support of this statement. Tattvamasi can be interpreted to point towards the unity of Purusha-Prakriti; (10) "Tattvamasi" does not result in "realization" of Brahman; it only results in Avidya-Nivritti (removal of Ignorance) (page 221); in the next page (p.222) this position is rejected and then immediately (p.223) Ajativada is quoted where there is no aspirant and no liberation; (11) Sarva-Saxi's Artha-Satta-Pradatva (giving meaning-cum-existence) to Jagat is implied (page-273); (12) Tattvamasi can produce Vritti-Vyapti aka Buddhi-Vyapti aka Akhandakara Vritti (undifferentiated intellectual cognition) of Brahman, but not Phala-Prapti (Brahman Itself) (page 276); (13) SB defines "extreme dissolution" (ED) where "primal cause" is obliterated (page 239). This is nothing but Brahman. Can ED be reconciled with SST? That is best be left to advanced aspirant as suggested by SB :-)

After Advaita-Siddhi and Gudhartha Dipika, SB is one of the most important works of Madhusudana. Daxinamurti Math has rendered a great service to the Hindi readers and Vedanta students by combining both LVM (Laghu Vasudevamanam) and SB (Siddhantabindu) in the same volume.

Jun 27, 2015

I just went through the hard bound book "Laghu Vasudeva Mananam Evam Siddhantabindu" with excellent getup published by Daxamnamurti Math (Varanashi, 2002). It is in Sanskritized Hindi, and combines the prelimiary text "Laghu Vasudeva Mananam" (LVM) and more advanced text Siddhanta Bindu (SB) in one book. It is a good choice which caters to two levels of students with differing aptitude or background. I had read both the texts earlier but separately and not in Hindi. They had some differences with the present Hindi translation.

LVM is quite interesting for following reasons: (a) It uses the concept of aggregation to define the deities, viz. Virat (Brahma), Hiranyagarbha (Vishnu), and Ishvara (Rudra). These deities have no Abhiman (technically, no subjectivity) in relation to their bodies - they are named concepts, (b) In deep sleep Jiva (soul) experiences Svarupa-Gyana; it is termed as Paramarthika state (c) LVM acknowledges four types of Muktis. Only one of them (Sayujya Mukti) leads to Moxa as the cessation of birth-rebirth cycle of the soul, (d) This Mukti leading to Videhamukti can be obtained both by Gyana as well as 8-limbs classical Yoga (p.28), (e) A 7-node causal chain of Igorance, Indiscrimination, Ego, Emotions, Karma, Birth, Sufferance is conceived, (f) Superimposition is defined as illusion of both actions and qualities (dharma) of one thing in another, (g) association of deities with subtle body, (h) LVM identifies only four main Pramanas, viz perception, inference, analogy, and word, while postulation, perception of absence, tradition, and equivalence are considered as their categories.

The translation is rather loose to simplify the things. The classification of Chetana-Achetana (page 16) is rather problematic (but traslator is not to be blamed, it is the problem of main text). However things are not simplified by adding a sentence to the last para of the page 23 which is not there in the original Sanskrit text. On page 38, "the enjoyer of objects is said to qualify for the term Atman" (problem of translation or confusion in the intepretation of Linga Purana quote?). On page 17 foot note it is said: Sanatana Mind accepts only one God - does it really? Ancient tradition accepts many gods but one Tattva - Ekam Sat (not God). Ancient tradition also sees God in nature - rivers, trees, mountains, wind, fire, and even animals. That is the ancient legacy. One (Only) Great God is praised only as eulogy, but there are many such great gods in Vedas and their King (Indra) is fallible and attributed with human traits!

In any case the production value of the book is excellent. It is a labor of love and needs to be appreciated. I will come back for SB later.

Jun 24, 2015

"घरोघरी ज्ञानेश्वरी" चे संपादन श्री परशुराम रामचंद्र गोखले (सिडको कॉलनी, औरंगाबाद ४३१००३) यानी केले आहे. त्याचे वाचन ऑन लाइन http://gharogharidnyaneshwari.com/ वर करता येईल.

Jun 18, 2015

The AdvaitaStudent site has been constructed to simplify the contents of the first five chapters of my book "Advaita Vedanta: A Student's Note". The historical part and other chapters of the book are skipped to concentrate only on the theology (and philosophy) of Advaita with a different style of presentation which will hopefully be easily accessible to the layperson.

Mar 12, 2015

China mocks democracy.
How to defend democracy... Recall Justice as Fairness. But is it adequate?