Thursday, January 29, 2004

Gimme a "G"!

It's nice to see Western-style gated communities popping up all over India. People are actually living the way they want to live, fulfilling their hunger for prosperity, and bypassing the government for their needs (with private fire departments, water filtration plants, etc.). This is also a very understandable response to government corruption and the rise in urban riots, petty crime, and rape. Of course, there are critics spouting out their usual nonsense: "They're isolating themselves from the world!" "India will be further polarized!" "This is a threat to social cohesion!" Whatever. Go gated communities!

Tuesday, January 27, 2004


Here's some of my "artwork"! (Inner Voids I and II).


Many thousands of years ago our forefathers brought forth a sacred thread, a thread with the potential to bind the disparate elements of the great nation of India, a thread to form the reins which control her destiny; a special thread, more potent than a lock of the Destroyer's hair, more auspicious than the threads of the Twice-born, and more symbolic than that which flowed from the Great Soul's wheel. This thread, which forms the soul-fabric of our great nation, is the Bhagavad Gita. But in order for the thread to stay strong, it may need to be cut....

India, a conglomeration of individuals of various creeds, traditions, and ways of life, is currently engaged in a state of civil war, with nothing to bind us together. Separate strands have never coalesced, differences have never been set aside, and pluralism has rarely ever had a positive connotation. There is still a great potential for progress of this nation, but this potential will be realized only when defined as the sum total of the achievements of the individual members of this nation. So in order for us to stand together, we must begin to stand apart, and examine society at the level of the individual. A change in moral outlook has to take place in every single one of us in order for our world to change. As the world frees itself from primitivity and continues it scientific and technological advancements, and as man continues to master nature and reality and shape it to fulfill his material and spiritual needs, he will need and a moral philosophic foundation to guide him. One's moral outlook will need an objective foundation if any meaningful long term change is to have taken place in the individual and in society. It can no longer have a supernatural, mystical, or tribal foundation.

The key to the advancement of this nation must be centered in a message that is universal in scope, that which addresses no particular race, tribe, or caste. It must not sympathize with any form of worship but only with the freedom to worship. It must lie in a message that offers us acceptable general principles without dissolving in relativism. The key can lie in the words of the Gita, for it teaches methods that are within the reach of all. The key can lie in a new interpretation of this sacred song, where intellectual inquiry can find different paths to a rational individual enlightenment free from the irrational aspects of fervent devotion, ceremonial observance, or yogic exercise. With a newer interpretation, the Gita can recognize the various, diverse paths for the individual without delving into the false ideologies of a collective karma, jnana, and dharma.

Too long has the Gita recognized the ancient roots of this nation by accepting the mystic and altruistic authorities of the Vedas, Upanishads, and the Samkhya Yoga, creating a horrid spiritual synthesis that has tainted the life blood of the Indian people for millenia. Too long has the Gita been an instrument for the philosophic axis of evil: altruism, collectivism, and mysticism. In India, these ideas have created a culture of extortion, anti-individualism, and dehumanization. These ideas have trickled down through the generations and have created a herd mentality, ultimately making each human being a disposable, expendable member of a collective group (Mother nature, a race/ethnic/tribal group, the needy, etc.). These ideas have not been supported by any scientific examination of what each human being needs and requires in order to live in this world happily and successfully. The Gita must be salvaged with a rational, objective interpretation if it is to be salvaged at all. If not, let other works take its place and lead the way.

Only a demystified interpretation of this sacred song will lead to self-development and the development of the nation. This message has the overwhelming potential to unite the people of this country by sublimating the mind, heart, and will of not the collective, but rather of the individual man. Our progress therefore lies in the correlation of the knowledge, feeling, and will in each and every human being that makes up this nation. Through the Gita each struggling individual can make a sustained endeavor to look into the truth with his own eyes, judge with his own mind, and love with his own heart. Just like Arjuna, he can build within himself a strong center of spirit from which he can know not only the reality of this own desires and passions, but also the true status of the world opposing him. And, with this demystified knowledge and spirit, he can become free.

The Bhagavad Gita has the potential to be our country's emancipation proclamation. Each of us, as members of this country can become the liberated sannyasi, who has a continuance of conscious individuality in his freedom, who performs his duties not by supernatural ordinance but by rational agreement. Each of us can become the freed man who does not suffer any vexations in himself or cause vexations in others. We can, as Radhakrishnan puts it, "deepen our selfhood, efface all stains of sin, cut asunder the knot of doubt, and master ourselves." We can find in every one of us not the Unmoved Mover, but the Prime Mover.

Thus the Gita, when symoblizing the infinite dignity of man and the infinite destiny of the individual apart from human society, can give the members of this nation a supreme goal, the highest ideal, and perhaps most importantly for us as a nation today, a sense of direction. With the power of reason we can do work knowing an inner joy and peace which does not depend on externals for its source or continuance, but the obedience of self-reliance and self-determination. As Indians, we can then become free from and transcend race, caste, and society, and form a new nation that will thrive forever and never perish.

Quote of the Century

"In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours." -- Ayn Rand


A lone and lonely soul
In a corner of this world
Never asked for help
Never in control

No one to protect
No one to surprise
Nothing left to chance
Just a passerby

I find a pain in sound
A closure underground
The worst of what’s around
I find it getting loud

In the end a sign
Against the grain of mind
A fading out so kind
A lesion left behind

I will take my pain
Within a psychic strain
I leave and start today
I’ll find my way again

One Flight Down

…I descend, not to escape but to discover—to make new choices and to find new connections. I descend, not to find a shifting, transitory, or situational morality, but to find one fixed, standard, and absolute. I search for the right thoughts in order to find the right values. I search for the right values in order to find the right actions. I search for jnana, buddhi, shruti, and smruti, when all I have is manan.

I look to the Mystics. They claim a truth beyond reason. They claim a knowledge beyond this dimension and beyond this life. They claim a sixth sense to contradict my five. They appeal to order and discipline. But they are driven by control and obedience. They demand the respect of men, but negate all that makes a man respected. I realize that if I take their path, I will find a road to death, and if I take their vows, I will find a road to hell. I look away, and choose to live and act within the limit of my own knowledge, and expand this knowledge to the limit of my life. My mind may be fallible, but their mindlessness will not make me infallible. I accept the fact that my life depends on my mind and therefore have no need for the Mystics:

I focused all my angst
On self-inflicted wounds
When I looked for a savior I found you

Now I'm tired of playing along
You're unworthy of replies
They all took their vows so I take mine

Please transcend away
I can learn from far away
Don't take my time don't waste my time again

A self-sufficient man
No need for a cosmic stand
I kneel to only one and that's not you

…I ascend, and continue onward. Out there is the dynamic optimist, the unflinching idealist, the romantic realist. I am determined to find them. I look to Atlantis, the mythical land of heroes. There I find those who are resurrecting the ancient glories of an ancient past. I see men of value. They know the value of the material they materialize from their values. They are the embodiment and summation of the highest values themselves. I see spirituality in efficiency, divinity in achievement, worship in work. I see straight, upward, parallel lines that break the cyclical rhythms of nature and the universe.

I have found Them. I have made the connections vital to my cause. I have made a discovery of greater discoveries. I have found a convergence through different times and different lands. A convergence in seemingly dual world. A convergence based on an intellectual love and commitment to the highest values. I have found gods on Earth.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Making Progress

Some tell me that my poems aren't all that great. Well, compare them to the one I wrote when I was twelve:

India: A Poem

This is a country one must see,
A country of beautiful complexity.
Home of cows, crowds, and the banyan tree,
It is a wonderful place to be.

This is a country one must go,
Home of lions, tigers, and buffalo.
Where tea, mangoes, and guavas grow,
Go to this country, please don't say no

This is a country one must tour,
Please watch out for the cow manure.
Though few are rich, most are poor,
This country is a big fat sewer!

But seriously, this is a country to really see,
With a diverse culture and history.
You'll like the food, with spices and ghee,
Next time I go, please come with me.

(It's so bad I actually kinda like it!)

Leaving Bombay

Victoria terminus

Attracted from the start
Distracted till the end
She was the last one on my mind

Attempts with half a heart
A love that's just too far
Never together only side by side

There's nothing more I have
And nothing more to hide
Her love was drilled inside

Her hands had pushed me out
When I was too confused to fight
And too subdued to ever carry on

Twilight closes in
Death does us apart
The end is where we start

Was there ever a need
To see herself in me?
A mystery I will never figure out

Rock Adventures

Rock, to me, is a journey from Amorica to Zooropa. On the way I find myself exiting dragons, joining strange cults, and sailing topographic oceans. When the road glorifies decadence I search for the virtuous. When the road glorifies ineptitude I search for the ambitious. And when the path becomes beaten I explore other territories. This journey has inspired my own adventure into music writing and recording, but alas, I've taken too many a detour lately! I've been neglecting it and want to get back to it soon!

Here are some random buried gems I've dug up along the way:

Eternity's Breath (Mahavishnu Orchestra)
Harlequin (Genesis)
Incomplete Without You (Swing Out Sister)
Kenny and Cleo (Black Market Flowers)
Ladies of the Road (King Crimson)
Over Your Shoulder (Dinosaur Jr.)
Prashanti (Ravi Shankar)
Akasha Chronicles (Lemur Voice)
Swung from the Gutters (Tortoise)
To the Sky (The Cure)

Let's face it

Some cultures have their problems. Others are beyond hope. Why find that out the hard way?

Our Demise

Nothing's further from the Truth
When the Truth splits us in two
What remains is dissolving us in Lies

Another genesis
In another genocide
I reveal I lamented all this time

Irony in pity
Error in your greed
But that's all right you'll do as you please

Damned if you don't
More Damned if you do
Duty has left you like a chronic disease

Nothing left to gain
A stronger link in the weakest chain
As far as I'm concerned you are wrong

So believe in sacrifice
Suicide can fill a hole in the ground
Don't understand why I stood under this long

Tuesday, January 20, 2004


I recall reading a lot of fantasy books during my 'middle ages' (high school and middle school). The best of them was Tad William's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy (a very highly underrated series therefore no movie :( ). I also vividly remember reading Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series (the first seven books), Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea Trilogy, and the writings of Lloyd Alexander, C.S. Lewis, and (of course) J.R.R. Tolkien. May dad still thinks I've been influenced by "those dragon books" and wondered why I read them back then. I saw the first two Lord of The Rings movies with him a couple of weeks ago and now he sees why. What wonderful times those days were.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Ow! They're stealing my brain!

As Niraj discusses the brain drain from Europe to America I can't help but think again of India's dire brain drain situation. I then think of the book Atlas Shrugged. Njoy discusses this situation and its chilly similarities to the book's plot in this review:

"This novel actually explains the concept of ’brain drain’ even before that term was coined. [Brain drain] has not just happened in India; it has happened round the world where able men are forced to ’contribute’ to the society rather than earn money."

When society's needs are placed above the needs of the individual, brains will be drained, and the economy will always take the wrong direction. He goes on to say:

"I hope most Indians remember Indira Gandhi’s regime with respect to the economy. I couldn’t help but think of [Indira Gandhi's] regime while reading the novel. You could state most of her steps to the ones mentioned in the novel. And we all know what resulted: within ten years the Indian economy collapsed.

...the novel reads like a thriller but when you come to know that this has actually happened and can actually happen, it sends a chill down your spine

Altruism: not only sad but frightening.
Know any hippies?

Valentines day is coming up soon, and it could be a good time for some to try this love experiment!
Compassion Abuse Watch: Foreign policy doves

Some American foreign policy 'softies' see the recent humanitarian aid for the recent earthquake in Iran as the step toward better relations with the theocratic Iranian government. Yeah, right.

Here's a Patriots analysis: "Superficially "better" relations with a nation that regards us as the Great Satan and ranks as the number one state sponsor of terrorism may be good for Iran, but not for the U.S.. Americans must not allow our compassion and goodwill to blind us to the grave danger posed by Iran and its support for terrorism."

Kindness ends where blindness begins.

Compassion Abuse Watch: Multiculturalists

Stephen Den Beste writes: "In the name of maintenance of diversity, the multiculturalists want to cripple the world and force it to continue to live with its worst cultural characteristics intact. And they claim to do this out of sympathy and concern for the people of the world."

Multiculturalists regard all cultures as equal, and measure an individual's worth by his membership in a racial and ethnic collective. But, in reality, since all races are equal and cultures are not, their notions only lead to the 'compassionate' racism seen everywhere today:

"Hostile rabid racism is on the run in the US, and good riddance to it. Forty years of consciousness raising has made it socially condemned even in areas where it used to flourish. And yet that loving, condescending racism is alive and well and prospering on college campuses."

This may just seem like semantics, but polyculturalism seems to be the rational alternative to multiculturalism.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

A great article

I find Barry Kayton's article The Ten Commitments to be quite an interesting read, and admire its concise, sensible, and rational approach to self-improvement and self-fulfillment.

Compassion abuse watch: S"CWRU"ing us all

Yuck. C'mon, Case Western can do better. What's their source? What's their motive? Ignorance, hatred, unearned guilt, self-loathing, self-doubt, fear of the afterlife, irrationality? Maybe they will wake up from their idiocy, but more likely will just reap precisely what they sow.


Come with me
Join the war on entropy
Hypocrites against hypocrisy

Come with me
End their life with dignity
No forgiveness in apology

Kill their inner childs
Their unearned smiles
Can open up a million lies

Wake them from their screams
And imploded dreams
Let them bleed
Need will never stop my greed

Saturday, January 03, 2004

The Red Apprentice (An Altruist Ideal)

I looked around and looked to you
Now you've got my best
It's you and only you
You deserve no less

You took me out and let me in
Under tragic weather
We found our way above
We gave a damn together

Dark red clouds gave rain
And followed me around
I was never washed away
Just smashed into the ground

Overpowered by your fog
Could've been more strong
My timing was so right
What the hell went wrong

I had a lot of answers
I had nothing to hide
I didn't work this hard
For life to pass me by

I've nothing left to say
My feelings overweighed
A drama overplayed
A welcome overstayed

You looked within and looked away
A self-absorbing mess
It's you and only you
You deserve no less

Three of a perfect pair

1) Ron Pisaturo's essay and and Harry Roolaart's essay on the end of civilization (both have quite a broad scope and discuss this topic from a similar philosophic perspective)

2) Walter Williams's thoughts on our wussy nation and Kim du Toit's thoughts on the wussy men who inhabit it. (Warning: the second one's a wild ride!)

3) The killer collectivism of France and Japan (two faces of the same deadly strain)

Three tragic stories

Thomas Sowell discusses the two recent earthquakes (in California and in Iran) and their results under two different social systems. It seems that the California earthquake and the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat could be compared in much the same way. (All were 6.5-6.9 on the Richter scale)

Thursday, January 01, 2004


I found an interesting article by Ron Pisaturo on Mars exploration a while ago. The article provides an interesting scenario of the US Government making the following declaration: "The first person to land on Mars, and to live there some specified minimum duration (such as a year), and to return alive owns the entire Red Planet." It went on to examine the potential (and highly successful) consequences of this proposition. The article is an examination of the often unrealized power of free market system. I was fascinated by this article and sent it to an e-mail group. I then got this reply:

It is quite an interesting scenario you present. However the one year time limit set aside, a sect known as the Brahma Kumaris (a religious cult in India who have branches in the US and throughout the world) frequently leave their body during meditation and meet in space. I am not sure whether they meet on any specified planet or the length of duration they stay there. I imagine the duration lasts an hour or two until they are back to their "material" senses once their meditation has ended. Given the inhospitable conditions on Mars and other planets, they may not be inhabiting the planets for the required amount of time necessary for ownership. And, does the title of ownership apply to a group of individuals each of whom stays on Mars (or other planets) for less than a year but their uninterrupted collective stay amounts to more than one year? I should tell the Brahma Kumari sect about this proposal and they can instantly lay claim to Mars!!!

By the way, during the Mahabharat times it has been noted that flying machines were used for interplanetary travel so I'm sure Indians were the first people on Mars! Therefore Mars rightfully belongs to BHAARAT or India. While there is little evidence of this fact, except for a few recorded excerpts, ignoring these facts reveals our ignorance and should also lead us to question whether man has actually landed on the moon ie Neil Armstrong (yes again indians were the first!!!). Mars aside, the more pertinent question should be who lays claim to the moon???

I found it funny at first, and wondered what he was smoking. But I knew he was serious. He actually saw this as a contest between the US and India and extracted some New Age bullshit from his Amar Chitra Katha fantasy world to make his point (and even questioned the moon landing in the process). He completely missed the point that this was an article that discussed the virtues of property rights; the whole idea is that Mars should not belong to an entire country (India, US, etc.) but should be recognized as private property, and should belong only to the group of people who had the innovation, drive, and resources to make the endeavor possible and follow through. Anyway, as I look back to his reply a couple of questions arise in my mind:

How far are people willing to go to restore "pride" in their ancestors? C'mon, aren't there better ways to restore pride in oneself?

"Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves. That judgment impacts every moment and every aspect of our existence. Our self-evaluation is the basic context in which we act and react, choose our values, set our goals, meet the challenges that confront us. Our responses to events are shaped in part by whom and what we think we are -- our self-esteem." -- Dr. Nathaniel Branden

Psychology is quite an interesting field, especially when it collides with philosophy...I was doing some net-surfing a while ago and I found a discussion on NPR about whether self esteem is overrated. The discussion included a group of scholars with different perspectives on self-esteem. I found that the mind blowing responses by Dr. Nathaniel Branden were much deeper, more logical, and a lot more interesting than the rest of those bozos he's talking with, and it seems like he speaks for less than ten percent of the whole clip. (it's a long clip but its worth it)

Aside from this discussion, I have found Nathaniel Branden's site to also be quite useful. Aside from essays on self esteem, his site has got some great essays which discuss the necessity and skills of self-assertion, show the crucial role that self-esteem plays in our lives, explore what love is and what it is not, discuss the keys to personal responsibility, explore the psychological attitudes required to be a successful leader today and the strategies for developing those attitudes, and many other subjects. Philosophy and psychology collide all over this site, and it can't get any better than that!

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