Saturday, August 27, 2005

Revelations 1:1

I have had some revelations lately that I want to share...

I will not sing of Krishna.

Before I explain why, let me try to see whats the difference between a magician and a teacher.--
A magician will never reveal his secret to you... he wants to be an enigma, somebody from the other world, and he wants to be praised... if his trick or metier is revealed, he will go out of business.
A teacher, on the other hand, has to let his students know whats going on behind the scene,-- thats his job.. if he cant explain, he will go out of business... or his purpose is not completed!

Unfortunately, the great warrior and hero Krishna, has been relegated to lead a life of non-existence as any other God in temples and fables. All along, he taught people to look at the big picture-- the broader perspective, and be pro-active... dont wait for something to happen... go and meet your destiny.... Nope! didnt happen! A teacher mistaken for a conjurer!

I rather respect Krishna and take him as my role model for IPR (Inter-Personal Relations) , Pro-Activeness, and Broader Perspective than waste my time in singing abt his glory.

2) ISKCON---
I feel they have gone evangelistic! I mean, lets face it... the Bhakti movement has failed! No one wants to surrender himself/herself to God and let Him take you where He intends to! And thats not the way the universe works! They even have a jewish name (almost!) for their God that they call Krssna! Before I explain that, let me tell you that hebrew alphabet doesnt have any vowels... so the name for their God is spelt JHWH (Jehowah). So, u see the single 'a' at the end saved the ISKCON! But believe me, thats just a masquerade!

He, I came to understand, represents the open loop system. Unchangeable... no feedback! Unfortunately, nature dont work that way... there is always feedback... so they had to transport this fellow to another universe, which is euphemistically called "treta yuga". A better role model is, again, krishna who is a perfect closed-loop system.

4)Mass Customisation--
A term I heard just yesterday. An oxymoron literally-- what is customised is never produced in mass, and what is mass produced is never customised. But still it exists. A company in Japan makes "Mass-Customisable" bicyles-- you go into the shop, and you give your measurements to the guys and they will adjust their finished prooud to suit you and send it within a week! Fine! So what?... exactly! Indian religion (No names!) is exactly that! Mass-customised! You can take what you want... leave the rest.. no issues! What beauty! what flexibility!
And still those desi agnostics have the guts to compare our religion with others!


Monday, August 22, 2005


Reuben: Himy, would you listen to this?

Himy: Do we have a choice?

Mutti: A lot of it wasn't meant to be taken literally.
Mutti: It's a nice story, Adam and Eve. bound with moral fibre...but asking a grown man to believe it... It's a nice story. It's just that. Just a story. Catholic religion is based on a mistranslation.

Himy: Enough already. Ruben, say something.

Mutti: Listen. Are you busy? I'll tell you the whole story. The Septuagint scholars mistranslatedthe Hebrew word for "young woman"...into the Greek word for "virgin." It was an easy mistake to make...because there was only a subtle difference in the spelling. So, they came up with a prophecy: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear us a son." You understand? It was "virgin" that caught people's attention. It's not everyday a virgin conceives and bears a son. But leave that for a couple of hundred years to stew...and next thing you know you have...the Holy Catholic Church!

Himy: Oy vay, what are you saying?

Mutti: I'm saying, just because it's written...doesn't make it so. Gives them hope. It's not important whether it's fact or fiction. People like to believe.
That... was a scene from Snatch, a brilliant brit movie by Guy Ritchie.

I did some research and found this:

As it happens, the Greek translators had made a mistake. When they were translating the Hebrew writings into the Greek Septuagint and similar translations, they converted the Hebrew word " 'almah " as the Greek equivalent of our English word for virgin. " 'Almah" appears 9 other times in the Hebrew Scriptures; in each case it means "young woman". When the scriptures referred to a virgin (and they do over 50 times) they always used the Hebrew word "betulah". So, Isaiah appears to have referred to a young woman becoming pregnant (a rather ordinary event).

Some English translators are accurate to the original Hebrew:
Revised English Bible: "...a young woman is with child..."
Revised Standard Version: "...a young woman shall conceive..."
James Moffatt Translation: "...a young woman with child..."
New Revised Standard Version: "...the young woman is with child..."

Others completely mistranslate the Hebrew and refer to the woman as both pregnant and a virgin; implying a miracle. This neatly settles the conflict that would otherwise occur between Isaiah and Matthew 1:22-23. (The author of Matthew quoted Isaiah as describing a virgin who was pregnant before becoming sexually active):

New International Version: "...the virgin will be with child..."
The Living Bible: "...a child shall be born to a virgin..."
Contemporary English Version: "...a virgin is pregnant...".

In a footnote, they say that the "Hebrew word did not imply a virgin birth". They give "young woman" as an alternate. Others went part way. They mistranslated the Hebrew and said that the woman had been a virgin. However, they imply that the woman might have been a virgin, who engaged in sexual intercourse and then became pregnant:

American Standard Version: "...a virgin shall conceive..."
Amplified Bible: "...the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive..."
King James Version: "...a virgin shall conceive..."
New Living Translation: "...the virgin shall conceive a child..."
New Century Version: "...the virgin will be pregnant...".

They also admit in a footnote that the original Hebrew word really means "a young woman". Some versions are vague and can be interpreted in many ways:

New World Translation: "...the maiden herself will actually become pregnant..."
The Jerusalem Bible: "...the maiden is with child..."
Young's Literal Translation: "...the virgin is conceiving"

The story in Isaiah 7:14 appears to be unrelated to the birth of Jesus. It describes a siege of Jerusalem by the Syrians about 715 BCE. The child that was born to the young woman at the time was a sign from God that the siege would be lifted and that Jerusalem would continue as before. The prophecy was completely fulfilled more than 700 years before the birth of Jesus.

Similar statements could be made regarding any religion-- Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism (if there is such a thing!)... but does the general populace need to know these things? discretion!... thats the word... As a rule, most are not ready to accept the truth.

Over to Morpheus:

"The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it. "

Though we cant take the quote as-is in th religious context, we can take the gist that most are not ready to accept the truth that its the symbolism and moral of a story that has to be digested, not the literal meaning-- Hanuman was not a monkey, Bhagavath Geetha episode didnt happen at all, Moses didnt cause the Sea to divide or bring the ten plagues on Egypt, and Christ was a jew and was married happily to Mary Magdalene. All these things might be true, but naked truth cannot drive the human race. We need something to hold on to... something to believe.


Friday, August 12, 2005


Often overlooked, pahadi is one of the most beautiful folk melodies. Not surprisingly, there are many "good" and "decent" Pahadi songs from the films. But a few of them stand tall as titans amongst the humble and homely denizens of this raga.

1) Saagara sangamam theme: this is the first because it is from the King himself! And what melody! We can as well add "mounamela noyi" in the same point. And the theme of "April 1 vidudhala" as well!

2) Sakhi He keSi mathana -- Swarna kamalam :the dhrupad style singing and pakhawaj in the background from an amazingly amalgamating ambience of romance, the sweetest beauty, and devotion.

3) Brindavanamadi andaridi -- Missamma : feels like Durga (Suddha Saveri), moves like Durga, but is actually not Durga! Very very very enchanting. The Hindi version "Brindavan ka kishan kanhaiyya" has much more melodic content.

1) In Aakhon ki masti ke -- Umrao Jaan: right from the initial alap to the end, the slow and gracious movements of this one would have you believe Pahadi can mimic the grandeur and august majesty that the Old Maharaga Bhoopali (Mohanam) commands as well (Pahadi is a degenerate or a "kshudra" version of Bhoopali). By the way, you have control yourself really hard not to concentrate on the lyrics if you want to listen to the melody... hyper lyrics!

2) Kabhi Kabhi mere dil mein -- Kabhi Kabhi: clearly one of the greatest Pahadi songs in Hindi ever ... you want to know why Pahadi isnt given so much importance. The instrumentation, lyrics, melody,.... everything is just right.

3) Dekha ek khwaab to yeh silsile hue -- Silsila: The way the Anupallavi ascends the ladder of the notes leaves you panting.. for more! The most amazing thing about this one is that it makes composing look so simple.. and yet, this is one of the most complicated songs ever.

4) Lag jaa gale ke phir yeh -- Woh kaun thi: A chalice overflowing with beauty, I still remember the first time I heard (or saw) this song, while watching that movie at home late night. Every time I hear this, a trance ensues! This one wont let you forget it... A song remembered even in the after-life! (sic!)

5) Rulake gaya sapana mera -- Jewel thief: A frequent song on the radio, whenever I hear this song from the radio of the "Asian scooter works" in front of my home in Hyd, I go running to that shop to listen to this one! The lake shown in the song (a fake one, though) has really captivated my attention.

There are many others like "chalte chalte" from Paakeezah, "Chaudvi ka chand ho" from Chaudvi ka chand, "isharon isharon mein" from Kashmir ki kali... but aforementioned songs are the ones that, to me, are "more equal among equals".

Friday, August 05, 2005

breathes there a man...

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,
As home his footsteps he hath turn'd,
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonor'd, and unsung.

The Lay of the Last Minstrel, Sixth Canto
-- Sir Walter Scott