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From C++ to Reality


Faradays law, MBA, India, Economics, music, development, Gandhi, war,
environment, Coke, poverty, Schumacher, education, Nietzsche, advertising,
philosophy & literature on the way.

Notes
1. Rejection. A lot of things we will talk about take time to be realized & understood. One
major flaw in this write up is that its scope may seem too ambitious. It concerns itself with
too many things, and very fundamental in nature. There might be many things that are
quite different from the current frameworks within which we are used to operating, ways in
which we are used to thinking. Many things in it can, and will be rejected outright.

2. Word and Meaning. This note has been written keeping in mind that the readership is
going to be highly heterogeneous; every person reading this would have had a unique set
of influences to date, and will approach these contents from a different viewpoint; the
frequent instances where we have tried to analyze and comment on commonly held
perceptions is with view to enable the reader to get to the meaning of what the author
wishes to convey. It is possible that some readers would already have thought through
some of the things we have commented on; and quickly come to some conclusion and/ or
dismissal. The author would urge them to read these things again nevertheless, and
continue reading what comes next. One must understand that when we read or hear
something, it is just the words. We have to get to the meaning behind the words. There are
some things that have to be understood in the same way as intended by the author. To draw
an analogy from life, if I am hurt about something, I am the only one who truly
understands what it means when I say I am hurt. Similar to the words and meanings we
have attempted to convey in this note. Of course, the example we just used is highly
subjective, whereas what we are trying to convey can be studied objectively; and hence can
be understood by everyone in the same way. Which is why, we have said that the reader
has to check and verify things for himself/herself, in his or her own right. I.e. Is this
readily acceptable to me?. You, the reader are the sole judge. Not some book, not old
sayings, not scriptures, not your parents, not your wife, not the President of India, not
Abraham Lincoln, not Bill Gates, not Leonardo Da Vinci not Bertrand Russel, not Salman
Khan. When we are explaining concepts, we are using the words in a very precise sense.
We currently use words in a loose fashion, plus words have cultural connotations. When
we are using words like happiness, recognizing, fulfilling, harmony, trust,
knowing, assuming, realization, understanding etc they have a specific meaning,
which may not be the ones we are currently used to associating with these words. So,
before you scoff, pause.

3. Finding fault with the author. There are places where it may seem that the author is trying
to defend himself, or be too explanatory, or even apologetic. As already stated, this has
been done to enable the reader to get to the meaning. Sometimes, some of us will allow a
small seeming flaw that we see in the writer as a justification for his being wrong, and let
such thoughts and perceptions come in the way of what is being conveyed. Its something
quite ingrained in all of us; we try to come out looking better, always. Hence, in cases
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where the more intellectual amongst the audience decide that the author should not have
gone on to explain some things too simplistically and/or some things mentioned are far too
basic, they might care to reconsider. In their own interests, nobody elses. (This is turning
out to be an explanation to explain why I have been explanatory in the noterecursive)
4. Why Write? Why should someone take time and write all of this? Because he wants to
preach? Because he wants to impress? Because, sub-consciously he wants to validate what
he is thinking, by getting other people to think in the same way? The author will state that
he does not wish to impress. Nor does he wish to validate his thoughts and/ or
understanding. He is convinced enough/ realizes/understands to not need external
verification. He writes because a) he felt like it b) He wants to share his understanding &
put forth some propositions. There might be instances where it seems that the author is
trying to dominate/ force his views. All that the author is trying to do is to sincerely attempt
to enable the reader to get to the meaning of what he wishes to convey. The benchmark of
verification, as we have stated already, is the reader himself.
5. This note started as a reply to an email from a colleague who asked me 4 questions: Why I
left my job once to travel India, What I saw there, How has it changed my perceptions
about the world and people in general & What I feel now. The note addresses all these
points, and only later on dwells on the authors current convictions, drawn from a particular
source, which he feels is of no minor significance.




S Se ec ct ti io on n 1 1. . F Fl la as sh hb ba ac ck k S St to or ry y, , V Vi ie ew ws s a an nd d M Me et ta am mo or rp ph ho os si is s

(Note What I have mentioned in the Flashback section is about how I felt then. Not how I feel
now. Its a flashback)

I joined Zensar in 1999 as a Management Trainee after my Engineering and 12 yrs of a typical
English convent education in Pune before that. At school it was the usual: studies, wanting to
come first and never ending up studying, comparisons with classmates, the jealousy, the
dichotomy between what was taught at school and they way things were at home (considering a
convent school and a south Indian home).then the push into engineering because everyone else
was doing it: What I knew at that time was I didnt fancy doing an MS from the USA I had more
of the management thing. Enter the IIMs with all the hype; my tryst with the CAT started. I was
impressed, taken in, attracted to visions of being a successful person, belonging to the cream of
India; those $120K salaries and the joining bonus. I truly wanted to make it big, make my
parents proud, be successful. I flunked the first CAT attempt, and got through the second. By
then, I had read about the Global MBA Kellogg, Berkeley, UPenn (Wharton) et al. The ones
with a diverse class background (with doctors, war heroes and painters in the class profile),
B-schools those were at the forefront of management education. I truly wanted to be that Global
CEO rather than just the Indian one. The IIMs admitted a large number of engineers & I figured
that wont be such a great experience the entry stratagem The IIMs relying on a quantitative,
analytical & logically complex CAT, and the US MBAs relying on the essays and personal
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interview itself gave an indication of the contents of the 2 MBAs and the experience they might
have to offer. So I jumped to the GMAT, after having glossed over a call from the IIM. So far,
things were standard a 500cc bike, the Allen Sollies & Louis Philippes, dinners at the Thousand
Oaks pub, 2000 km bike rides with the Enfield Club, the war movies, Jeffrey Archer and Arthur
Hailey, metal & rock music, branded sneakers, loads of ambition, fire in the belly, an
insufferable attitude of sorts (though I considered myself to be a good person at heart) & a
fascination with the self (although I didnt have a clue about this then). My world or the part that
I experienced, or was cognizant of; was thus, limited. It didnt include too many things. In some
ways, it was simple. I simply hopped from one place to the other, experiencing this and that, in
all ways typical of the average cosmopolitan 21 year old male in 21
st
century urban India.


Around this time, I started reading some philosophy after picking up a book at a friends place my
first brush with anything serious I started with Thus Spake Zarathustra by the German
Friedrich Nietzsche (Reckoned as one of the most original of philosophers his works purportedly
fuelled the Nazi mayhem as well, misconstrued as they were). This hit me like a bolt from the
blue. I come from a nondescript traditional south Indian family father was scientist in the
Defense, hard-work, childhood under the street-lights, the scholarship to College story. God until
then was a given with the usual once in 2 yrs middle class religious pilgrimage having taken
place multiple times. And Nietzsche started with God Is Dead; Morality needs to be reborn. I
started for the first time, to think about the world, the universe I started getting a cosmic sense of
existence, of its vastness. When I saw my parents, I could see that they truly believed in religion,
while I was beginning to question it. This opened my mind a bit, and I started reading more
Spinoza, Dostoyevsky, Kant, Camus, J Krishnamurthy et-al. A sense of existing, started forming.
One thing followed the other, I was soon into what is called literature Naipaul, Maugham ,
Machiavelli, Thoreau, Melville, Conrad, Hesse, Thomas Mann, Orwell, Plato and the like. And I
was fascinated. With the way in which their minds worked. With this whole thing about
commentary on society through literature. With the artists view, his life as an observer of the
world; about how the artist is in society, of it, and still a bit away from it, a little outside. He
observed society, the world, he studied it, and then he expressed himself. He lived with a force. I
was taken in by this whole thing to be done irrespective of commercial or monetary concerns, for
the love of the thing. Of a purpose, a pursuit in life devoid of monetary concerns; what one lives
for, not just doing a job and eating. I truly wanted to live a life of the mind. Before this, I had
just been there; I was part of the show the MBA, work, family - I didnt know and care about
a pursuit or anything else. I merely did and followed what everybody else was doing. (This does
not mean I deliberately copied what others were doing - I mean I was subject to what society was
doing, I merely aligned myself to external influences: be it what clothes to wear, how to speak,
where to go, which career to choose, etc.). Now, I was beginning to think.

I became this book lover, I kept reading all the while. The earlier clothes and the contact lenses
started falling off- my hair would be unruly, the weirdo look. Id spend tens of hours at a coffee
shop, with heaps of scribbled paper lying about me, and thick books around. I thoroughly enjoyed
reading. I enjoyed the feeling of being looked at. The attention. Simultaneously, a feeling of
being different from those around me started seeping in and a superiority complex followed. I
wanted to be different; it made me feel special, like I was a notch above, thanks to all those books
and the knowledge I was gaining from them. The thirst for the MBA was however on (almost
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like a parallel slot, not bothered about the other things happening in me), in tandem with a strong
inclination for all that was different that was high - the art, the culture, the mind I spread my
net to include pure science, art & literature, classical music, etc the earlier metal music gave way
to 70s classic rock, in turn to western classical Schubert, Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn,
Dvorak, Bach, etc such choice of music having been introduced to me by a friend called Avleen.
Money and everything associated with it became immaterial only the mind and things to do with
it mattered. People who wanted to buy big cars and wear flashy clothes, who wanted to shop and
surround themselves with toys & babies were ridiculous. I scoffed. There was also a big romance
about the whole thing. I was on this trip of mine, and the world didnt matter in a sense. This
was the first time there was a true attempt on my part to explore something on my own, where
nobody had to ask me to read anything, force me to do it. I could read for hours on end, difficult
stuff. I was ON. This was metamorphosis number 1, from the average MBA seeking graduate
engineer at Zensar to book enthusiast, breaking open some preliminary intellectual barriers; with
some pretense to boot, of course.

Zensar tired me by this time. It was a mediocre place, even by the standards of commerce, filled
with people who were so. I longed to get away, from home & Zensar, to be with myself. I had
always been with my parents, and I could sense that it was time to live away for a while, so I could
spend some time with myself. I moved to Bangalore to Robert Bosch Software. In Bangalore,
things happened. I had bought a book called Small is Beautiful by E F Schumacher (a 70s
economist) a while ago, and read it one day. And I was taken in by it. I read about economics, and
what was wrong with it. A number of things happened at the same time. The world in my head
grew from beyond the MBA literature, philosophy & real music line to include Economics &
Development. What economics was, had never dwelt on me before. It was just another word. I saw
now that the corporate was just a sub-set of economics. If one wanted to know anything, it was
economics & development. The world worked on it. Stood on it. People and societies were
defined by economics and development policies. And Schumacher was talking about what was
wrong with the current (capitalist) model. The environmental problem. About a Gross Happiness
Factor instead of a Gross Domestic one. It made a lot of sense to me. I used to read the Hindu
newspaper in Bangalore a bit from the Left and saw the alternative viewpoints. My arms slowly
extended to embrace a bit more of the world .I read about famines in India and reasons for them in
the Hindu. Nobody in the Times and the Indian Express or Outlook or elsewhere in the
mainstream saw it this way. I realized the large extent to which I had been doctored, only
looking at things from one perspective, in fact not thinking about anything at all, concerning
myself only with the things immediately around me, and that too from a particular point of view.
The society, the parents, the education, the media had put up a 100 things in front of me MTV
,music stores, videos, bikes, career, fashion, an idea of India, Pakistan the traitors, F16 purchases,
Valentines day, everything. And there is so less space, so little time and space to be with oneself;
so absorbed are we in the toys and the little things around us, trying to conform, to be accepted by
those around us that one could spend an entire lifetime without ever knowing anything, without
*really* thinking.

I realized the extent to which I had been on this roller coaster of sorts, hurtling along with
everything and everyone else the peer pressure, from what everyone is doing and talking about;
I had been an ape, earlier, in that I merely copied everything and adapted it into myself like what
job to take-up, where to have Saturday night dinners, etc. Later, I had merely picked up a few
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books and submitted myself to them. Now, it was as though there had been this piece of granite
blocking the real me inside, and now it had just slipped off. I became acutely aware of the country
for the first time. The degrading poverty the problems the slums, the suicides, the TB cases,
the enormous corruption, the roads. And I started trying to find reasons for them (Note that one
does read about these problems everyday, but does not feel them, does not think of them, or
thinks and forgets soon. For me, it was running in my blood by then, I was full of it, I was
possessed by India and the idea of India, consumed by it, of our people, the history, the place, the
culture, Indias breath). And in Bangalore, I was surrounded by all these Software Engineers.
Trying to do C++ and Java and go to the Yoo Yes and earn money and come here and buy a Santro
Car & Flat, discuss Microsofts latest service pack release and settle down. That world started at
the industry salary average and ended at the multiplex movie on MG Road. It disgusted me. The
very middle class values supposedly a boon for our IT industry were disastrous. They reeked of a
moral corruption. Of a selfishness. Of a myopic view of life limited to a few greenbacks. And
what about our Industry Greats? The Murthys and the Premjis? I figured they couldnt be that
stupid (although I felt then that their armies of programmers were nothing more than that -). The
Wipros and the Infosyss surely had something in mind, they felt what they were doing was
beneficial for society as a whole, to understand how I went and read Economics. Started with
Adam Smith the Wealth of Nations, Malthus, went to Keynes, touched Schumacher again, John
Kenneth Galbraith, Mr Amartya Sen after that, Joseph Stiglitz, ending up with Mr Greenspan.
Things started getting clearer. The beginnings of capitalism, the socialist times- Indias tryst the
Commies after that the whole history of it I read Gandhi as well, was mighty impressed, but
thought (at that time) he didnt have a clue about Economics and what it meant all that talk of
Village republics, self-sufficiency and etc -

Also read run of the mill stuff like Gurucharan Das for the corporate view point (hes this
corporate honcho who wears the well read hat retired as a big shot from P&G now teaches at
the ISB in Hyderabad), Bimal Jalan, Noam Comsky, Howard Zinn, and couple of other authors.
Even this shrill Ayn Rand in a book called Capitalism the unknown ideal and our Desis as
well- Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists by this Chicago Univ Prof. And now chief
economist at the IMF Raghuram Rajan, the Economic and Political Weekly, Seminar Magazine
etc. My head was reeling by this time, it was very painful. I spent most of the time in Bosch
where I worked, doing all this I refused to code so they didnt know what to do with me; I thus
got plenty of time in office - I spent hundreds of hrs on the net, reading up on alternative views
and works - About NGOs and what they were trying to do, the UN, UNDP, WHO, other Groups,
environmentalism, the Third World Network, the One Earth Initiative, etc. The structure of the
world. I started forming a proper world-view.

I also went offbeat with Ivan Illych, Gurdjieff, P D Ouspensky, Edward Abbey, Fukuoka,
Makarenko, Fritjof Capra, Arthur Koestler, Carlos Castaneda, Viktor Frankl, Erich Fromm. A
writer by name P.Sainath - writing in the Hindu was a major inspiration at the time you must
read this book called Everybody Loves a Good Drought. I read that more than 30 million people
were displaced since Independence for the sake of development by large dams and the
ecological impacts of such schemes. The river-linking system proposal to change the course of our
large rivers for economic growth:- all Large, Mega projects, driven by vested interests, driven by
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a particular view point or way of looking at things sometimes not necessarily serving the purpose
they had set out to achieve (as in the case of the Narmada Dam Project; the electricity bill to
run the thing is supposedly greater than the entire current budget of the Gujarat Electricity Board.
Seems some of the canals even bypass the worst-drought hit areas. ). I read about the perils of
modern farming chemical fertilizers and pesticides, problems in rote learning and mass
education, how it was possible that they very fact that we have hospitals will ensure that people
will always be sick, how the human is becoming a ghost surrounded and immersed in machines
all the while. The political economy of development, strings attached to World Bank loans, geo-
politics and its effects on aid programs world wide, etc. Not that I was against progress; but that
the way in which we had currently defined it was largely inadequate, wrong even. It just ensured
that the very earth that sustains us is destroyed. (Smart Mr Gurucharan Das even writes in his
book If it is a choice between Man and the Environment, we have to choose man, we cant
remain poor for the sake of the environment), More, the supposed development solutions do not
help everyone; all these projects benefited a select few. Even that was doubtful.
The point is, it is not us against the environment. It is us In it, us with nature. Ask any 3
rd
grade
kid and he will tell you. Unfortunately, all the rush, the madness of development, the complex
economic theories, the money markets, the poverty calculations as we had defined it was leading
us to believe that we were against the environment. Like there is a programme on National
Geographic TV called Nature Strikes Back what does that mean? That we are fighting some
war with Nature and she is getting back at us? Whats wrong with these people? The solution was
simple, we had to define a way of life that was in sync with nature. Not some conjured up war we
are fighting. So, large dams and big infrastructure projects were not solutions. We could catch the
rain where it falls; build small catchments and seepage systems instead of pumping in millions of
tones of concrete to build water ways. Large dams and waterways were problematic in the long
run; they suffered sedimentation, they led to erosion, and defeated the very purpose they set out to
serve. Only, the vested monetary interests that would like to see such projects come up, influenced
political decisions and ensured that talk against such projects, or studies pointing out to the
problems in it were never brought out in public. Ofcourse, the people who were for Big
development projects, genuinely believed that they were doing everybody, the nation, good. That
this was for the betterment of society. The voices of dissent were a minority, they were
suppressed. Even as I felt this way, I was aware at that time that I was sounding like the typical
skeptic, that my thoughts could be labeled as nothing but polemic, that there was no basis to what
I was saying, that it could easily be dismissed as emotional arguments that these ides were not
practicable, that they were not scientific, not rational. These were the most common ways in
which any talk of this nature would be dealt with by the mainstream.

We had a shambles of a rural education system. Mine own urban one as well- how is it that the
great education I had had led me to see and believe only some things, had led me to merely copy
things, to follow the herd, kept me away from all this knowledge or perspectives? because it
was fed into me, dumped into me. All along, I had been prepared to play a particular role in
society. They never let me think, always gave directions, told me what and what not to do, what to
aspire for, fed history & geography, math and history the way they (they meaning society, the
mainstream, teachers, newspaper writers, NEWS, etc) wanted me to; then the peer pressure during
Class 12, the Engineering, the horrid & nauseating exams, the Software Job, the MBA. I felt
violated. It was a funny paradox. Something in me had always been asleep, and now it was
suddenly awake. And I firmly believed that they were at fault. That I had been this plaything in
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their hands and they had gone about putting me through this. (The odd thing was, I hadnt
rebelled: - I could have refused to go to school, I could have dropped out of college, run away
from home, anything. But no. I was 23 yrs of age and this awakening of sorts was happening to me
now. Before that, I am this run-of the mill cock-eyed MBA aspirant). I could see that people
around me didnt have a clue (Like I myself once didnt have). They happily went about their
daily stuff like they were programmed. It was like they were more dead than alive. They had
stopped seeing, they merely looked at things, and went on, like somebody had keyed in the
instructions, and all they had to do now was merely follow. 12 yrs in school, 4 in engineering, 3
yrs on a job with great career plans and drive like anybody else, and now this. To put it another
way, while the smattering of philosophy I had read had made me aware that I AM, that I am alive,
this other stuff had made me aware of my environment the world that I lived in.

Meanwhile, they were fighting it out in the world out there: between capitalism and socialism,
and anarchic socialism and some capitalists noting that other capitalists did not realize what
capitalism truly isthere was talk of ,,.. .. ,. ,.. ,,.(Note
all the words that are .., .. in this sectionwe will visit them sometime later in the note and
understand what they really mean, what they can meanand whether some of them are even
desirable to us..)..
Peoples intentions were correct, they wanted to end poverty, because they felt poverty was
something they would rather do without, they wanted growth, because they felt it was good, they
wanted jobs, they wanted more money..the wanted a wealthier world..they felt it led to freedom
of choice..and they also felt that the wealth & globalization will also end wars and conflict
between nations in the interests of the economy, they were also aware that companies were
controlling too much now.Defending Capitalism, Raghuram Rajan writes that this is not the
free market, but crony capitalism and an abomination to everything Adam Smith stood for. True
believers in the free market must therefore fight it as strenuously as they fight socialism and other
misguided government interventions. In fact, they should fight them more strenuously, because
capitalism itself often ends up getting the blame for the inevitable consequences: ... ,.. ...
. ... ...,... . . .. Smith well understood that businessmen could
often be the free market's worst enemies, because they will sacrifice it in a minute for the sake of
,,.. Often, they enlist government as a co-conspirator, getting it to enact laws that restrain
competition and raise prices, which benefits them, but hurts everyone else. In "The Wealth of
Nations," Smith wrote that the interests of businessmen and the public were almost always in
conflict. The former wants to limit competition, while the latter benefits from an increase in it. "To
narrow competition," Smith said, "can only serve to enable the dealers, by raising their profits
above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of
their fellow citizens."

* This section is a bit on economics. Should you prefer to skip it, go to page 12
Sometimes businessmen will try to limit competition by conspiring among themselves. "People of
the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends
in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices," Smith observed.
However, such conspiracies were far less dangerous to the free market than government-
sanctioned restraints on .,.... Without government enforcement, private cartels naturally
fall apart after a time. But when government imposes trade protection and other limitations on
competition, it can go on indefinitely. For this reason, governments should be extremely wary of
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enacting such policies, especially when urged by businesses to do so. Said Smith: "The proposal of
any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ought always to be listened
to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully
examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes
from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who
generally have an interest to . and even to ,, the public, and who accordingly have,
upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it." A good example of how businesses
manipulate government for their own benefit is the prescription drug subsidy bill now before
Congress. Although marketed as a benefit for seniors, the true beneficiaries are big businesses that
would be able to greatly reduce the cost of their retiree health programs. According to a July 2
report in The New York Times, Ford Motor Co. alone would save $50 million per year. The Times
notes that the biggest companies are mainly those that still offer drug benefits to their retired
workers and would save the most. In the aggregate, they would save billions of dollars per year if
the federal government takes over a big chunk of their retiree health expenses by paying for
prescription drugs. That is why they are lobbying very heavily for passage of the legislation. By
contrast, seniors are unenthusiastic about the new benefit that is to be showered on them. In short,
to increase their profits, many of our nation's largest corporations are pushing a budget-busting
government spending program that eventually will lead to higher taxes on all Americans. Sadly,
the Bush administration often supports policies that benefit big businesses at the expense of
average people, as it did with steel tariffs and agriculture subsidies. Raghuram Rajan understands
that this is not the free market, but crony capitalism and an abomination to everything Adam
Smith stood for. True believers in the free market must therefore fight it as strenuously as they
fight socialism and other misguided government interventions. In fact, they should fight them
more strenuously, because capitalism itself often ends up getting the blame for the inevitable
consequences: high prices, high taxes, high unemployment and slow growth.
To quote from another review:
(1) Markets give the poor the promise of ...... Truly free markets, Rajan said, are the single
most important tools to eliminate , and spread ,,....
(2) Markets need good government. When there is too little of the right kind of government, he
asserted, markets work poorly, adding that the force of globalization is making governments more
market-friendly.
(3) Markets are fragile and even free-market societies should not be complacent. The best
protection for fragile markets, Rajan said, is awareness of what can go wrong. Raising that
awareness was the goal that he and his co-author hoped to accomplish in writing their book.
Citing an example of what could go wrong in capitalism, Rajan claimed that what many decry as
capitalisms ,.... , . , is in fact a failure of capitalism because the poor do not have
access to cheap financing. Access to financing, he stated, ... . ..... , .. .
... ,? Because they lack the underlying infrastructure good accounting, corporate
governance, etc. that make financial systems work. Why, then, dont they have functioning
systems? Rajan said the perception of those in power is that improving the system will not serve
them, thus they do not have the .... ,.. , . ..,... (*Note here, the
word incentives this is the very basis for capitalism and profit centered approaches, that
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people will do things only when they have a (monetary) stake in it, which, given the current state
of affairs seems quite correct..we will see in this note that this is not so for some sections of society
or was not true a few decades agowe will also see the reasons for the current failure to realize
this, and why this approach is really not taking us anywherewhy this approach persists.that is
the narrow vision of those that think within these economic models and approaches, etc) Having
risen to power under a particular system, incumbent capitalists block improvements because freer
access to finance and competition would unseat many of them while fostering the widespread
prosperity they espouse. Well-functioning capitalism requires a Goldilocks government, that is,
something in the middle, Rajan said. The capitalist system needs both a well-developed
government infrastructure and a business environment that promotes competition. How do you get
governments to work for the ... and ,. ,.. .,? By making those in
power see that its in their interest to become more pro-market rather than to block their
development. Rajan believes that this is happening quietly through ........ He gave the
example of Indias post-revolution government, which at the time controlled all production in the
country. Shielded from competition, there was no .... ... ..,. The ,... ,
produced by Indias manufacturing sector was abysmal. In the 1990s, ,.... .
.,. , ^.... India allowed foreign manufacturers into the country and the ,... ,
,... .. ... .,.. .,. ..,. ... . .. . . . ..
,.... ,. .. , , . ... . ~, now to the ... ,... ,
available in the marketplace, a consumer revolution is taking place in India, being financed by
what Rajan described as a creaky financial system that must be improved. .......
.., .. .. . ..., he said. While today there may be ..,... in pay scales and
employee protection, eventually there will be a convergence of standards. Through globalization,
competition will hit areas previously untouched. More free trade will lead . .
.. ..-....
Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists is a groundbreaking book that will radically change our
understanding of the capitalist system, particularly the role of financial markets. They are the
catalyst for ..,... .... ..... . ,.. ,,.. The ,,.. of many,
especially in the wake of never-ending corporate scandals, is that financial markets are parasitic
institutions that feed off the blood, sweat, and tears of the rest of us. The .. is far different.
Rajan described the case of the Indian automobile industry which as late as the 1990s was
producing 1940-era cars for a closed domestic market. Once the market was opened and foreign
models become available, domestic car sales dropped. As a result, Indian automobile
manufactures began to examine the methods of other producers in order to improve quality. After
several years, Indian began producing cars of , ,.... In only a few years, production grew
,. - ... . ... ..... , . He noted that the initial short-term
pain of opening up the market was quickly replaced by ..-. ... ... Another result
was that local demand for quality increased and this demand for quality stretched from consumer
goods, to infrastructure, to improved financial services for business and consumers. ** Note all
the assumptions in this: That a) Quality in goods is some thing to aspire for, that b) increase in
automobile production is something good c) Economic gains are desirable. Consider Point b):-
come to India now and see, theres barely any space on our city roads, the pollution, its a mad
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house, the streets. Of course, we will be told that the solution is to plan better, have better
governance, widen the roads.that owning cars gives people the freedom of travel, the joy of
it.which translates into the country with more cars per capita is the one that is better off we
will explore later in this note, why someone would buy a car, and whether buying a car serves that
purpose.and how all those cars means fumes and more oil, so more imports, so inflation, add to
it the natural destruction drill the oil, transport it by sea, spill itburn it.and whether people
with more cars are really happier, whether they are better off..is the average American with 2 cars
happier/ better off than me? Consider Point c): - Economic gains are good and desirable we
will see what economics is, why we have economics, why people need money, etc..

If we were to sum up these assumptions: wealth acquisition is a virtue, I am poor if I do not have
as much money as you do, money gives happiness, People want money, economic growth
means more money with people and/or governments, this means we are rich, means everyone
has a job, this will yield greater economic and social security, more money means having the
ability to access and consume goods, it all means freedom, meaning, I have the freedom to
consume/do all this & have more opportunities, all this is based on aspirations, dreams..that I
can dream, aspire and achieve, that by going with the current model of growth, everyone is
benefited.that it will even lead to world peaceprogress.
Questions
1. When will this growth stop?
2. We will reach a stage when everyone is relatively well off, what after that?
3. Point 2 will never be true because if it is, then the economy stops, there will be loss of jobs,
livelihoods, and we are all back to square 1 i.e. being poor;
4. So growth can never stop?
5. Current growth (defined as being endless) is based on consumption of physical
resources. By design, earth has limited physical resources. Which means, is this not
sustainable?
6. Do people want to continue growing, or do they want to stop at some stage, to live?
7. The current definitions and approaches are centered around money, finance,
economicswhat about the social repercussions, the environmental impacts, the impact on
individuals, peoples, human beings?
8. Do the social & environmental impacts outweigh the presumed gains made by the
economic ones?
9. Will the social and environmental impacts defeat the very purpose for which we are having
economic growth? .I.e. So people are better off?
10. The measure of prosperity/ well being is based on comparison with other countries, which
in turn are comparing with otherswhen will we know we are prosperous?; since the
measure of comparison is always changing?
11. In sum this means that the story of my life, anyones life, is to work, dream, aspire, earn
money, eat, consume, enjoy. Is that it?
12. This one is clichd, but important Does money give happiness?
13. Do people want money or happiness?
14. Do people think they can be happy by having money or having happiness through money?
I.e. money enabling them to have some things which in turn give happiness?
15. What is happiness?
16. Is having money the same thing as being prosperous?
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17. What do we define prosperity as?
18. Is having opportunities the same as having freedom?
19. What is freedom?
20. Why do we want goods to be better quality, all the while?
21. Why do the number of goods that I can consume/ access need to keep increasing/
changing?
22. Would you say that the questions above have nothing to do with economics, they belong to
philosophy, or religion? But economics is essentially, a social science.
23. If so, isnt it that the aims of economics, as laid out above fall into the domain of
philosophy, which happens to be outside the realm of economics the way we know it
today?So, of what use is economics then, by itself?
24. Is economics good for democracy?
25. Do we have democracy today?
26. What is democracy, and do people/ human beings really want?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There is plenty of hype on having to do well from day 1 to be able to survive in this world. The
peer pressure is so great in the cities, parents get rabid about it. Seems 300 kids in Delhi attempted
suicide this year because of this pressure. The minute a kid is out of the bag, good parents are busy
trying to find a playpen that will teach ABCD for him. Personal psyches are intertwined with the
kids life as well. The peer pressure plays on the parents. They get influenced. Hence, there is a
rush for your kid to do well, so you can show your neighbor whose boss. I want the best for my
child. The middle class dream to boot. Eulogized by the Indian Express and Outlook magazine.
India with a kick. IIT or REC. The Private Engineering College. Medicine. The dream job, or run
to the US. The house and the car. The great American dream. Clean streets, plenty of garbage,
lots of shopping, a clean civic system, modern life style. For some, America, the high point of
civilization- the best in education, the opportunity, the facility to rub shoulders with the best in the
world. The advanced West. A good upbringing for a child is to have access to facilities is to
expose the child to various things in life, to get him/her ready for the world, to make them
tough, to bring them in tune with realities in life to give them a good education (typically
convent/ DPS, etc) to give them overall development read show them wax museums, armed
forces air shows, teach tennis, teach the piano, the tabla, sports, national geographic programmes,
video games, gaming terminals, geared cycles, boarding schools, coaching classes, movies,
etc etc. We teach children about life and numerous notions about how it will take something
but give it back to you, about fate, about how they are lucky to be born in so and so
household, destiny, luck and so forth the list of our current perceptions and complications
can be endless.. The entire set-up is so well rooted, so nicely in place, that none of the
stakeholders have a clue as to what is happening to them. (We will see later on what education
can be, what the child actually is, and where all these notions of getting children ready, etc are
coming from and what notions society is currently operating under; later in this note..) (The
reader might question as to what is wrong in having aspirations. Well nothing, actually. Just ask
yourself a question: Would you rather do something because you thought you knew why, or would
you do something, under the influence of something quite invisible to you, do things
unconsciously, just like that and in fact at that time serving the purposes of some misguided
people without even knowing about it?)
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The mainstream newspapers in the country are so hung up on the Shining India hype, that the
average man reading the paper has no clue as to what is happening to 70% of the country. Leave
alone getting the ability to question things or to see various perspectives, to get to what is, the holy
grail of journalism Truth. These influences from media make and define so many things in
society, it is staggering. It is, in fact a cycle of sorts The people behind the media, are themselves
under these influences. And so they go ahead and write thinking it is their opinion, when in fact,
unknowingly they are operating under thousands of influences. Of course society & culture is
defined today as the combined sum of influences over the past thousands of years. So, we can
justify everything happening today by saying, that is how societies are, cultures are formed. Only,
if you look at it, at no point in time in human history, have influences been so great, have artificial
systems like media, politics, etc been able to influence so much in society. This is after all, a
global village, a wired world.
As a society we have started having a fantastic appetite for the dramatic. There was this case
about the expose of the Bollywood casting couch recently A hidden camera caught a bollywood
actor asking a girl for a sexual favour. This was flashed all over the media. It was spicy news, it
sells. People wallowed in it. Picked up by a programme called the Big Fight on NDTV. Rajdeep
Sardesai, by now this accomplished and well-regarded journalist discusses the issue with the
Villain in question, Mahesh Bhatt and a TV Journalist of Tehelka fame. One of the prime
questions up for discussion is whether we have become a surveillance society, of the right to
privacy, etc. There is a group of people on stage, making their views heard. Rajdeep is loud. And
the whole thing is a show. People are vociferous, TRP ratings hit the roof, the program is a
success. What a paradox. We need a show to discuss whether we are getting too stuck up about
shows. A show within a show.
It can be justified by saying media is a space for public discourse sure, thats okay. Only, this
space is operating within a given framework and increasingly, influencing and standing for what
society is, defining peoples lives and what it is they live for. The media is on a spree. Like the
hoax about that UP boy making it to No 1 on a NASA exam later on to find out such an exam
didnt exist (thus putting to rest another case of an Indian making it), or even the recent brow hah
over our very own teenage tennis champion. It was like we were trying so hard to prove ourselves
as a nation, to establish ourselves on a world standing, on measures of success defined by them
the West, which by now, had become Global Standards. Being in the New Economy meant lots
of jobs, a growing economy, plenty of consumption, clean roads and streets, corruption free
governance this was the ideal world India is currently looking forward to. Only, it never will be.
For a country our size, our dynamics, the variations, this model wont work. And the process of
getting to this Ideal World will create other problems of far greater magnitude. This sense of the
Ideal world does not even address the problems, in fact, it just conforms to a viewpoint, its aims is
to get the Forex, investment, share of world trade, cricket history, literacy rates, poverty figures,
look just right. And in the bargain, people, you and me will lose out, we will come to a stage
where we are merely these little playthings, running about, getting educated, earning money, going
to the bowling alley, going home. And poverty, even the way we know it today, will remain.
And no, this is not some paranoiac fear.

When in college; I used to regard Shekhar Gupta the Editor in Chief of the Indian Express with
due respect. He was an honest man and had an incisive opinion on things. And when I saw him
now, he was one of them. He kept harping on how we had opened up our economy, how we are
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becoming a world power, how the current New Economy boom is good. Admittedly, he and
people of his ilk would have lived through our Socialist years, when anything foreign was
considered bad. When there were shoddy goods, hardly any choice in consumables, when
corruption was high because the government was in charge of too many things, etc. Only, when I
looked at him now, Mr Gupta was also operating under some assumptions, some frameworks. And
he didnt know it. And he wrote every other month, and readers like you and me lapped up what
he had to say. The show went on.

As I tried to understand India and her problems, I broke down on multiple occasions. I was, by
now, filled with angst. While the trickle down effect being trumpeted by the capitalists was
obviously a mirage, the socialist way of doing things were not practicable. Communism was a
disaster (China, Cambodia and elsewhere, power hungry men trying to manufacture a world to
their design). Because at the end of the theories, were people and unless they all felt and worked
the same way, a unified principle will fail- reason why Capitalism and Laissez Nou Faire
seemed to be the only one that actually worked - under the assumption that when everyone works
for his own selfish good, society benefits as well. This was of course assuming perfect
competition. from the times when the concept of working at a centralized place took root aka
the company (remember, at one time there were no companies, people worked from home), to the
formation of the Corporation with stakeholders and its modern professional awtar, this was the
underlying assumption. But perfect competition was never the case. It was always doctored,
someone always influenced circumstances in his favour. And when I looked today, the
Corporation was this monster. Nobody understood it. Greed fuelled it Check Enron, WorldCom,
Tycos. The corporation had the buy in of the politicians, since they gave them campaign funds,
and so you had policies and regulations twisted to favour corporations. You even needed to
continue having wars, because otherwise, the corporations running the gun-shops and the fighter
aircraft companies would close down, worse there would be a loss of jobs. Similarly, people
would continue to have to be sick, because otherwise the drug companies would shut down. And
the corporation worked for its own sake. No one could stop it. And it destroyed the environment.
(Look at us as a species. There is no where else we can live. And yet, we have defined a means of
living that ensures that it becomes harder for us to stay here. We must be stupid). Over the past
few decades, worldwide and in India, it was a few large powerful companies that ruled the roost.
Where they couldnt compete, they simply bought off a company. And they were growing,
influencing people, entire peoples, politics, nations, defining society and what it stood for, what it
will stand for. It was easy to influence people. In times of mass communication, whole countries
were a captive audience. Look at what Hitler could do in Germany, or Mao in China. As long as
you could speak powerfully and catch the pulse of the people, their imagination, it was possible.
Marx and Engels did something similar, with noble aims of course. The little red book soon
outsold the Bible. At any point in time, it was as though these people were blinded (just as our
corporate honchos are, currently). I remember this interview I saw of a New York Stock Exchange
Trader I saw in a documentary. He says that the first reaction and activity on the floor
immediately after the 9/11 attacks was to check the prices and do some quick selling. It was only a
while later that we realized what had happened. Still some people continued. It was like we had
been living in this virtual world before that, which mattered so much, and something brought us
crashing to the ground. Our make-believe stock market world and life shattered, just like that. It
is always something like this. When we see interviews of Earthquake/ Tsunami survivors, they
speak more in connection about their lives, than they would otherwise have. We have something
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called the Indo-Pakistan peoples forum for peace and democracy. Its a group of concerned
citizens from both countries. Headed by an ex-Indian Navy chief. Whats a man of war doing in
it? Especially when other men of war like his contemporary in the Indian Army just recently
complained that India should have allocated more funds to buy fighter planes? Both men of war,
having served as chiefs. Maybe what the Indian Navy man understood then and understands now
has changed. Maybe he was blinded then. He understands better now. In the Army, they make
sure you dont think much, dont interact too much with civilians. Else, we will not be able to kill
A Major told me this when I was in Manipur. When people dont want to kill, why is that we
have to force them, and keep them in circumstances and frames of mind where this instinct will
not be diluted? Because the reality is that wars have to be fought? Whose reality is this? Who
wants these wars? The governments want them. For what? The pride, the greater glory of the
country, of themselves. A single man in power can send thousands to their death (like Bush
Junior) or save thousands. So that his personal goals are achieved, so posterity can remember him.
This came as an email forward. It might seem clichd, but is pertinent to what we have been
discussing:

"The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but
shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but
have less, we buy more, but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more
experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little,
drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too
little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life
not life to years.
We've been all the way to the moon & back, but have trouble crossing the street
to meet a new neighbor.

We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but
not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've
conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than
ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small
character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken
homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one-
night stands, Over weight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to
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quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and
nothing in the stockroom.."

I.e. If one considers that email forwards are an indicator to some extent of general opinions, this
one goes to show that plenty of people out there are concerned.


Meanwhile I could see the point that the Trade Unions had about the loss of job and rights of the
common man; I could also see the one that the disinvestments camp had of a viable economic
model in the long run. And I felt both were right, in their own ways. The display of wealth and all
the hype about it, the ostentations soon sickened me (I had my eyes firmly set on the farmer from
Anantpur, at the mercy of the money lenders, the rains, and petty village government official).
There were all these people running around in the cities. They were only concerned about
themselves. The media that could have shown them some other things, opened their minds up a bit
was also playing tune to the same thing. Which meant that the assumptions these city folks were
living under were only steadily being reinforced. Everything was an event for them, a drama even,
something to be talked about, discussed and then shelved. The great Latur earthquake or the riots
in Jalandhar. Did you hear about Mrs Khanna? She ran away with her husbands best friend. It
was all the same for them. A story.
I tried to understand what the government and the NGOs were trying to do about the whole thing
(discounting the corruption). There were health camps, some govt. schemes actually worked. The
Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, the Indira Awas Yojana. There was corruption, in some parts less, in
some parts more, but the schemes generally had some positive effect for the poor villager. The
poor were those that had little or no land (small and marginal farmers). Those that did have land,
had dry land no or less rains. They borrowed money from the local money lender and went into
a debt trap with interest rates at 120%. Earlier, they probably grew a balance of crops. Nowadays,
some of them started growing cash crops like groundnuts, etc. The prices for the groundnuts
were driven by the market. And a lot of middlemen manipulated the prices here. By the time the
product reached the markets, the rates had started falling Also since too many people were
growing too much of the same thing, there was a surplus of supply. The farmer was now left with
piles of rotting onions/ tomatoes or groundnuts. He cant have only that to eat, could he? In a more
balanced system he would have had rice/ wheat, something to eat at least. Now, he was stuck
with produce that was not staple food and wouldnt sell.
Not having enough to eat, they migrated to the cities. They build your office and my house. They
carry their children with them. The kids dont go to school they keep traveling. Why? Land
distribution. The British had encouraged and developed a Zamindari system that vested the lands
and powers with them. The British could thus control the countryside with the help of these
zamindars. Before that, land distribution had been, arguably, equitable. Of course, after
Independence we did have our land reform and distribution some states did it, some didnt.
Some got some land, others didnt. And then we had our population explosion. 6 acres of land
were shared amongst 4 or more children. When these kids grew up, they had an acre a piece not
much you can survive on.

There were times, when I did consider our poverty as degrading. The Government was not poor.
We had money. The distribution was going all-wrong. There was rampant corruption. If we
average out the booty, the average sarkari karamchari would have a sum of Rs 1 crore the
politicians of course, were at the top..had them accumulated in hundreds of crores, the IT
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commissioner a few dozens of crores, the cop a few dozen lakh, the village sarpanch a few lakh,
the electricity pole-man a few thousands Besides, Ambani had as much money as the Kerala
budget. And just redistributing money would not work. There had to be a sustainable way of
earning a livelihood. There had to be some empowerment, there had to be a representative
democracy, there had to be clean and efficient governance. So the common man could go about
his life unhassled. I didnt have too much of a notion of equality. In that all I wanted everyone to
have some basic standard of living, the rest of course, was a lottery I could be born in so and so
household, and life is then made for me. I was aware of the perils of Communism, the reasons it
failed, its disastrous consequences, I had read about what Socialism had done to this country. I
knew why Capitalism seemed to work. And I increasingly felt, it seemed to, only. It showed terrific
numbers & returns of course, but with some very grievous consequences, it seemed to me in short,
to be self-defeating in the long run

I was aware at that time that pains like we have explored above always went hand in hand with
progress. For example, when the Industrial Revolution first happened, people protested at the
mechanized tools arguing that if machines took over the work of humans, what will happen to all
the jobs? The people in Britain protested. The Revolution though, went on. It could be called the
sociological effects or repercussions of progress, of advances in technology. Just like today, there
are sicknesses developing around the cell phone and the PC. So the people and the sociologists
complained. Even the purists did. They complained that the technology was trivializing the
essence of art and things divine on earth like music. For example, it was considered abhorrent to
listen to music on demand, like on the radio. Music lost its purity in electronic form; worse, you
insulted the artist in such cases because you could now play his music at your will. Earlier you
could listen to an artists music, only when he obliged to play in front of you. There were such
problems, always had been. So, if we see today, people have embraced technology and art
continues, diluted or not. So, filmmaking is an art- using technology, so is photography
admittedly, only the medium of expression in these cases is dependent on technology. Therefore, it
could be argued that any concerns raised are baseless, the show goes on, that sociological
problems are part and parcel of progress. Ofcourse, the show will always go on, only this time the
change is so rapid what we have managed to do (or undo) in the past 70 odd years has been so
unprecedented that its going to take a while to even understand what the hell happened. And by
then, it may be too late.

Meanwhile, Bombay had a new group of luxury hospitals. Pune had its Shoppers Stop. And
chances were, I could very well have been shopping there right now, instead of trying to figure out
this seeming mess. My friends of course, still belonged to the Shoppers Stop world with the result
that my interactions with them were increasingly getting strained. I could see that all this talk of a
trickle down effect was a sham. The thing was, economic and financial systems had become
centralized models. So, if we went say the socialist way, it started producing a lot of
inefficiency. People in public sector and government wouldnt work. With the large amount of
imports required by us, we needed to have money to pay other countries. But if you were
constantly running a deficit (because of your draining public sector, the increasing quantity of
things you needed to import and corruption and the inefficiency), your fiscal position became
weak. The government then needed to take large loans to avoid a crisis. Eventually, it was a
balance of payment crisis ~ 1991 that forced the Narasimha Rao govt. to open the gates to our
economy. Cumbersome laws that only seeded corruption were gotten rid of, the 100 odd
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signatures and clearances required to start an industrial operation were reduced. That is, we
became investor friendly; the earlier hypocrisy around money was gone. I understood why
someone said Anyone who isnt a socialist till age 30 doesnt have a heart, and anyone who is one
after that age doesnt have a head or chooses not to use it

By now, I could clearly see that per-capita income as an indicator of poverty or development
was grossly incomplete and misleading, it had very less correlation with the well-being of
people. One probably just ended up overeating with all the extra income and shat a lot more and
stored that shit safely in underground concrete containers here and there. This was what was
development, currently defined at least. If I performed my ablutions in the open, I was
underdeveloped, uneducated. I was developed if I could speak English; if I consumed and ravaged
the environment a lot more than you did. I was advanced if I could use a cell phone, if I could fly
an airplane. Even if I didnt have much of what is called humanity left in me; even if I treated
ever stranger with mistrust, even if the only thing on my mind was money and how to make more
of it, even if my children didnt have much time to speak with me and so called up a child help
line and requested the person at the other hand to listen to her rhymes (happened in Pune last
month, a kid, both parents working, called up a child help line and requested the lady at the other
end to listen to her nursery rhymes since her parents were too busy accumulating to secure her
future); I was developed if I could do some great talk about high civilization and the latest trends
in brand management; or the next big thing in mobile telephony or afford to buy my child a
DVD player. I was developed in spite of not knowing the first thing about myself. In spite of
living in constant trouble and creating trouble for others. Development, poverty, economics, the
way we had defined it right now, was all a sham, a hogwash. The people who thought they knew
didnt have a clue. The man who was probably the best in economics in the world probably didnt
have a better life than I did in the absolute sense, in terms of how he felt about his life. Sure, his
resume probably looked very impressive, but thats about it.

But there was poverty in India, in the sense; people didnt have much to eat, their standard of
living was low. There were frequent diseases, deaths, and malnourishment. Illiteracy. Blind
kids. Dying kids. The staggering population. I had to understand this.
I was, by now filled with a genuine & authentic curiosity for the world. I had to understand every
subject in it, the economics, the science, the history, academia, industry, art and creation,
inequality, religion, wars, death, astronomy, cinema, music. The whole of it. End to end. Nothing
else mattered. I had to understand everything. And this, I had to do by virtue of the fact that I was
in this world, I had only one life time in it, and given a chance between retiring as CEO with 3
cars on the one hand and after having understood the world and having lived a full life on the
other, I chose the latter. It was a far greater genuine impulse in me than anything else. And it made
a lot more sense than working for 20 years in a company or teaching history at a university.

By this time, I felt like a champion of the poor. But I knew it was all to do with me. In the sense, I
was the one who was uncomfortable not them, by the fact that they were poor. I debated the
virtues of selfishness and selflessness endlessly. Till I came to the conclusion, that even in my
selflessness, I was selfish, because it was for ME. Since I didnt feel good about them. Through all
this, there was also the novelist lurking in me, in the sense that I could see that it was my gaze that
violated them. That called them poor. They thought they were poor because we labeled them so.
Look at everyone talking about poverty, it is the rich the rich sit and discuss what do we do
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with our masses, our poor people? I also at this time, tried to come up with a model for Indias
problems and it always failed at one point people. Sometimes, I felt If everyone were like me,
we wouldnt have any problem. Which is always the case. If everyone were like us, the world
would be this perfect place. In the sense, everyone would have responsibility towards society &
nature as an integral part of their Being. And people would be thoughtful. Even so, assuming
someone gave me a magic wand to set everything, including myself right, I didnt have an answer,
I wouldnt know what to say to the magic wand, how it would all work. I found village folks to be
more authentic, a lot more genuine. The typical urban fellow, especially if he was middle class and
above, was always trying to impress, to prove a point. He was trying to conform to an idea he
lived in. This was on both in obvious and sub-conscious ways. In the obvious, he would throw
names, pretend to know something, always try to come out looking good like saying he knew
this and that movie, or shopped at so and so, or was conversant with this and that theory, or the
like. People in the city were not even dignified. It was like they were lost in the mass of media and
illusion. If you hauled yourself up on a balloon and saw down, you would see them driving up and
down the place, eating lollipop and ice cream, having intellectual discussions trying to chase
some idea or the other, be like something or the other. The office Wallas, the students, the wives
the whole lot. They looked and felt like absolute buffoons. I sometimes felt I was in a madhouse.
Imagine you were a dog or a cow and could understand things like we do. Look at human beings
like you were a cow. While I the cow, am sitting around peacefully in the middle of the traffic
signal chewing a cud (at least in India, elsewhere we dont even get to sit around, they lock us
cows up and have automated machines for milking me how atrocious, those robots put their
hands all under me!), back to me at the signal - these humans keep rushing up and down with a
pretence of importance, in those noisy smoke belching contraptions presumably, they go to earn
a living. As a cow, I see these humans pulling at each other ears in something called WWF and
other humans pay to come watch it, these guys dont know what to do with themselves, they sit
and practice for years on how to jump across a creek and then get something called the Guinness
Record (when there is nothing new on that other creek to which this fellow jumped to), the court
each other, then keep complaining, slap and leave each other, they colour their bodies with
ridiculous colours, (they colour me as well during their festivals at least in India ) and think they
look pretty, they keep comparing themselves with one another, and then feel good about
themselves, they take pieces of yellow metal and hang it around themselves (to think only dogs are
chained, so are women with gold chains), they store their crap carefully in underground containers
built at great cost, they dont understand what the other is saying half the time and keep saying
that is not what I meant, they keep trying to get somewhere although they wouldnt know
why and where if you asked them, they put cement into everything but their buttocks and chop
trees and call it development then complain that it is too hot or that there is no water nowadays,
they do everything to make sure they are always occupied and then complain that they dont have
time, they take pieces of granite, put into concrete bunkers and dance around it calling it God, they
wish this and that from it and even talk to the piece of granite, then when something good
happens to them, they come back and thank this piece of granite, and say this is fate anyways,
they dont understand their sexuality, so much so that they spend most of a life time obsessed with
it and are never satisfied, they will go to ridiculous extents to have sex, some even have sex with
us animals for exploring, then crib about something called AIDS, they fight over pieces of earth
and what price it should be sold at, while I could just about lie down anywhere I please, their
parents work hard to put their children into a good school, the kid detests it, the parents persist,
and they have an unhappy adult at the end of it, they like seeing their names and photographs in
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their own publications, in fact, if you ask them they will say the universe and the world exist
because they them humans are around, they try to study us animals research on mice and then try
to understand how they human beings operate, they are very proud of their achievements all
they have managed to do is play with physical things and change their forms, they cant create a
single cell of life yet, and if you look at them, with every passing decade, they only manage to
mess up what they already have, they have families and live together and then fight over each
other, and then have courts to do a settlement wherein one party is punished and the other
rewarded and call this justice, when they kill someone it is injustice, and when the judge
announces the killer as guilty and kills him, it is justice , they are so unsure, they feel shy to talk
about themselves, some of them even see a virtue in not discussing themselves, they have notions
of what is private and public, they are constantly unsure, always in 2 minds, they spend decades
trying to go to school and studying to survive when if all they wanted to do was survive, they
could plant a few trees and wait around till it bore fruit, they even end up believing they are the
ones who made the tree give fruit, the richest amongst them have enough money to fend for the
rest 10 times over, they call the country generating half a million tones of garbage a day as being
then most advanced, they have a way of life that encourages crime and then call countries with
more policemen and the latest tracking devices more advanced, they kill people from other lands
and call this patriotism, they fall in love with the colour of someones eyes and then realize that
they have to live with the person and not her eyes, they still havent figured out what to down here
on earth, and are busy walking on the moon and feeling great about it and they now want to build
toilets on Mars, finally, they come and keep pulling at my udders till it aches, take my milk, fight
over what price it should be sold at and then call this economics.
This is a crazy house, humans are mad.

Of course, when someone spoke to me, they thought I was the one who was mad, because I didnt
talk and agree and loose talk like them. In all this concentration on poverty, although in the
beginning, I had envisioned myself as a saviour of sorts, I quite quickly got rid of any allusions of
being righteousness, grew over thinking (imagining) that I was right, and everybody else
seemed to be wrong. I could see that I was concerned about a couple of things that I felt everyone
should have been concerned with, but this feeling, I understood was a subconscious way for me to
differentiate myself, from others, to feel special, different, if you will. It was almost like there
was a sense of power about the whole thing. Anyone who claimed moral/ righteous licenses to
what he/she was doing, be it social service; activism, religious functions or any other
humanitarian pursuit had a subconscious hunger for the power that came with it. Nothing wrong
in it in the absolute sense, only it would fly in the face of all the so-called goodness and
selflessness that such people professed. I knew that in wanting a correction of sorts in the
world, I a) felt things were not the way should be b) I was the one who was judging all this; I
knew that in this sense I could be called weak, in that I blamed others/ society/ posterity for what
was seemingly going wrong, in being unable to find answers myself .but that did not mean that
problems did not exist. Problems existed, and I was affected by them. Being of this world, of this
place and time, I felt a responsibility, a connection of sorts with everything that was taking place
in the world. To deny that would have been to delude myself, in getting hung up with any other
scholarly notions which denied my involvement would be to escape that which was the truth. I
decided that if I were to be doing anything, it had to be in line with rest of humanity and what
we were all trying to do/ achieve. This was a singular purpose of sorts I defined for myself, it was
the one that made most sense. In loose words, there was more satisfaction in it. I didnt see it as
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any goodness on my part or as any right thing that I was doing, all though these are the most
common notions under which any action not seemingly selfish are shrouded under. Rather, I
understood that it was part of me; part of my existence on this planet, to withdraw from this into
anything no matter how highly perceived would be an act of escapism. So, I didnt consider
myself to be on a higher moral plane than others, of being good, or more kind hearted than
the others, I saw it as me realizing something that most others had seemingly not and hence
behaved/ lived in the way they did.
I also had my so-called demons inside of me. these were impulses/ feelings in me of which I
did not feel comfortablethese were things I did not ignore.I did not believe in any notion of
pity, I despised the words social service it ranked of something stupid, my arrogance even
questioned things like love for humanity and the like. I didnt like those that spoke about seva
and dharmI was of course, influenced by the reading, the deeper one probedthe more the
worms came out.things like hatred, jealousy, war, seemed powerful forces.. seemed to
invoke the most violent impulse, the most charged response from a human being.but all those
who spoke of war as human greatness and a will to power, I felt had merely concentrated all their
attention into this and ended up creating an illusory, arm-chair theory of human greatness, which
they would themselves be obviously unable of implementing. Most of written philosophy,
especially the western variety, was nothing but intellectual gymnastics of sorts, imagined
constructs, it didnt seem to deal with the basics, it merely took man as he was, as he seemed, and
applied powerful minds to this notion of man and came up thus, with varied types of
interpretations, each, of course driven by the authors individual personality and his need for
attention.

This entire process drew a lot from me. It demanded a lot out of me. I thought back to the
relatively carefree time I had been having the bike, the clothes, the movies, the job, friends, night
outs. Just like everybody else. I knew a lot less, thought about a lot less, and was less troubled
perhaps. This whole process of thinking, so to speak was only creating more problems. Probably
why they said ignorance is bliss. Which was not so true, if one looked at it closely. Even in
ignorance, we have our share of problems, only they are smaller in scope like having a fight with
the spouse, or not getting a promotion on time, or being worried about the next project. Now, the
things I was concerned with were far greater. But it was not like I had chosen to do this. It had just
happened, and there was no way I could undo it. It was irreversible. There was only way to
move ahead, know more, understand, I couldnt have gone back even if I wanted to. I kept at it.

The world has always been poor. Forget the GDPs for a moment 15
th
century AD what was
India like? How poor was it then? Relative to its standard of life at that time, it should have been
very well off, even compared to the rest of the world. But compared to the monies and physical
goods and facilities at our disposal today. It was very less. No electricity or piped water. No
motorized transport, no flying. No AXN or Versace. No fashion for the common man. Obviously
so, because we had progressed since then, and any comparison had to be made with what we
have today.
We have seen that poverty is a relative term. The poor man in America is not necessarily poor in
India, because he has more in relation to others around him in this country. In fact, the American
poor man is quite well off here. This standard 1) or the average level of living (as understood by
the ability to possess more, in terms of physical goods), 2) having a degree of freedom (in terms of
choice, being able to practice a way of life, freedom of speech, etc) and 3) representative form of
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government is called broadly as development. The focus as of now seems to be on 2 things
Money & power (or prestige). This is both at the level of the individual as well as at the level of
the nation/ society. That is, how rich is your country, how powerful is it? (There are of course,
smart nations like Switzerland and Finland that prefer to leave the powerful bit out, in that they
dont see the need to have large armies at this point in time)
This average per-capita income and the nations wealth is something that is continuously in flux,
I.e. it keeps changing. Which means the measure for poverty is always being redefined, depending
on how much of money individual peoples are able to possess. (We shall see the entire matter
around per-capita income and what it means, what people really want, and what can be really
called as development later in this essay)

When I now tried to understand Artists or people who called themselves that, I could see that they
were very sensitive people. They were more alive, not so dead. What I couldnt fathom, is how
could they ignore (in the sense of not trying to do something about) what was happening around
them? If they did, how could they not think of a solution, what was this solution then? Not to say
that was how artists were, but I found the distance they kept from developmental issues almost
studied, like they had a license so someone else can worry about producing cars and keep the
whole machinery going. The money to buy my painting was out there, I didnt have to worry
about how it came by, as long as I as a painter could fly to Spain and back and have my lovely
villa in place. These feelings of course, were driven by my own frustrations. Art, of course has
been concerned with the human condition for long (or, since the beginning). The raw material for
it the subjects on which the commentaries were made were drawn from society. The people
making the commentaries were themselves a product of this society, even at times, a function of it.
Of course, Art does not necessarily concern itself only with society, it could have to do with
anything, a stone, a flower, clouds, a teapot even.

There were a few, like Camus, and Dostoyevsky whose work was primarily politically motivated.
(That they had been a subject to a lot of influence as in the time Dostoyevsky spent in Siberian
prisons, or Camus time in French politics should be noted). When one looks at politics as a form
of social order, it seems quite advanced. We humans, at long last coming together to work for
something, for the common good. In trying to understand this, it is vital to take into consideration
the timelines we inhabit. The average man on the street has a few days in his head- as in Saturday
plans, Summer vacation, etc in his mind. When thinking a little beyond such time lines, he ends up
thinking about future plans, retirement, etc. The villagers sense of time is a little more juxtaposed.
In that, in things to do with tradition as in kings, and peoples of yesteryears, it could be infinite
(Ive heard some guys saying Mahatma Gandhi lived during the time of Lord Rama), while it
could be about the monsoon around the corner for the present now. The corporate CEO has a few
months, - quarterly profits and year-end results in his head. When he is in the company of
members of his fraternity, he will talk about growth for the nation in the next few years and such.
About trends in the industry (hes read about it somewhere, at Gartner or Hoovers perhaps). The
odd well-read CEO might even have smart things to say about our foreign policy and traditions,
about the sociological aspects of his industry and trade (we usually see these guys in the
Editorial page in newspapers and on the odd front cover of some book). The statesman is a bit
broader; he thinks of a few years 5 yr plans, etc. Hell also have some kind of vision, driven by
the past and the choice for the future (inputs for this having come from comparisons and
influences from other nations). Historians inhabit maybe decades centuries for some of them.
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Theyd throw some old stuff at you this is so & so because he attacked us, and did this and this
to us. Artists perhaps are timeless in thought, or think they are. The astrophysicist would have an
insight into the cosmos, the workings of the universe, light years, creation, the big bang, the ability
to study things from the atomic characteristics. It would lend that abstraction to him. Back on
earth, he would have a life a family, bills to pay, rising gasoline prices. He thus inhabited 2
timelines simultaneously. Philosophers would also be timeless, but not finding any long-term
answers, they instead start dealing with contemporary issues, keeping in mind an incremental
progress for Mankind. In that at one time, we believed in dark traditions, people could be hacked
whilst walking on the street. At least, that doesnt happen now. In that sense, we have improved.

(I also had this sublime side to me that went to the hills, stared at the moon, froze with western
classical music, talked to the moon, admired the setting sun, felt a sense of deep peace at a flying
bird, looked at things on the street, in common life and could see stories in it, it was like watching
a movie at times to walk outside; When one stood on a street, one could see various humans in
different positions, they all had their own worlds in their heads, someone was talking, someone
was cycling. They all inhabited different lives, different spaces. Multiple identities, created,
dissolved and reformed. Bombay was a fantastic scene for this. All those people, going up and
down, rushing in and out, the locals, the slums, the seeming energy. I reveled in a kind of stupor at
times, in a living dreamlike state. This was something I could not place a finger on, and it lasted
only for the period of time I was in that stupor or mood. When I was in it, I could sometimes
connect to the elements. I could feel them owning me. I remember when I had gone to the forests
of Bhimashankar once. It was close to sunset, and I was on the top of a hill, overlooking the
valley. The sun and the trees seemed to own me. My clothes felt cumbersome on me, like they were
restricting me, my freedom, I threw them off. I was one with the whole of creation. Something
seemed to possess me completely. I, this living entity, was in the midst of all this creation. Even
while being in it, I was of it; I was also able to observe it, enjoy it, drink in its beauty. The
astonishing variety, the complexity of creation. Why did all this creation come about? There was
no answer. <The stupor broke off when some monkeys came and ran away with my pants which I
had laid down by the side, I retrieved my clothes, for I had to bike back home!>. When I
established this kind of connection, the issues that I was concerned with otherwise seemed to be
immaterial. Humans had created all these problems over thousands of years. They had
accelerated the madness during the past few decades. And I was getting caught in it, trying to
understand the mess, attempting to find solutions to it. I had become a function of the problems
that other people had seemingly created. For no seeming fault of mine. Nobody asked me before
they brought me here. I now started envying those that were lost in their daily lives, be it anything,
in the city or the village, as bill gates or as ramnarayan tripathi. To be like this was to suffer. And
suffer I did, very much. But it was like that only. It was what defined myself, the human condition.
I was, of this world. I had to deal with it. I couldnt live on the hilltop at Bhimashankar all my life.
I liked being with my parents. I liked reading. I liked sitting in the coffee shop. I liked watching
sensible cinema. I needed a music system for my music. There were contradictions inherent in me.
I didnt take recourse in religion, I had seen through it. Its ritualization. The mimicry and the
hypocrisy. When I came back to my city life, I recreated the sublimity whenever possible I took
recourse in music. Music was sanctity for me).

The company in Bangalore sent me abroad to Germany for a few months to fix some software.
And I remember my first day there a Sunday, and I was walking by myself on a hill with tears
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running down my cheeks, to see how wealthy they were, and how poor we were, their seeming
well being, about how things were picture perfect, our own misery, and wondering as to how all
this had come to be this way I understood these emotions and the reasons for why they were
wealthy and the good reasons why we were poor much later. The next day onwards in fact, I
start seeing the problems they had, in spite of their seeming well-being which was all on the
surface. At the level of their society, they were more messed up, as individuals as well. Their
plastic card lives, the need to live up to societal standards, the tax worries, the insurance. The
seeming outward affluence and well being were like a thin veil, when drawn, didnt present such a
pretty sight.

All this happened in 9 months at Bangalore the rapidity of it was far too much, I was reeling by
this time, my roomie thought I was going nuts. I couldnt take the crap at office anymore, Design
Documents, and SQA audits and the like. Breakfast at 8:30, AC room for 9 hrs, home and read.
The company decided when I came and when I went. It decided what I did with my day, with my
life. I was a slave, a dog. I followed orders. Thats what dogs did. They even decided when I
should have breakfast. Part of the SEI CMM perhaps. Or what kind of clothes I should wear, or on
which days I should be shaving. Sometimes, they decided when I should go to sleep. I was
developing software so someone in Germany could get his car loan processed on time. This is
what I was to do with the whole of my life, what I was born for. Develop programs so I could
afford to have peanut butter & Kelloggs flakes for breakfast. Sure, they tried to make me feel
good about the whole thing. They gave me a granite toilet to piss in, they gave me a great chair
and 100 sq ft of space, they gave me a lovely T Shirt with their name printed on it, they gave me a
watch also with their name printed on it, they paid me 10 times more than what the guy on the
street did, they gave me snacks at 5:00 PM everyday, they gave me a new identity, a claim to
success, that I had to hang around my neck at all times. I was the quintessential successful Indian
knowledge worker. It was claustrophobic, I couldnt breathe. I quit my great software job. Decided
to travel in the country. For as long as it took.

Aim To understand things. If I didnt understand the most basic things about the world, and
myself how am I to know what to do? It would be stupid for me to go on like this. I had to come to
grips with the contemporary world. Make my peace with it & myself if possible. I had to get out
there. I had to know.
This was metamorphosis Number 2, from reader of books to genuine seeker of knowledge,
from convent educated Puneite to true countryman & global citizen, from watcher of war
movies to the man with a worldview, from toying with other peoples ideas to the man of
thought.

I got in touch with this group called Asha for Education a voluntary group in the US funding
education NGOs in India. They needed these site visits to be done. By then I had done some
thinking on education. About innovative teaching techniques, how math should be taught, science
and the beauty of it to bring out a genuine love in the child for the subject, to get her to be
inquisitive, to think, to explore her potential. Not the programmed rigmarole in our great schools.

I first spent 2 months doing what is called bumming around in Kashmir & Ladakh. I went
with this friend of mine earlier with Zensar and the first influence for Western Philosophy &
Music for me . We spent time camping about in a tent in Srinagar, Baramulla, almost crossed the
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border at Uri, (thru which the new muzafarabad bus will now pass), got caught by the Indian
Army on the way back wed strayed close to the LOC, heard that our hotel at Drass near Kargil
had been shelled a day after we left it, got a veiled warning from militant groups for
photographing class 7 girls, etc. It was exciting. I was on the ground, this was the stuff that life
was made of. I was free, I could breathe. Nobody owned me now, I could atleast decide what I
was to do with my day, everyday. We went camping from place to place. Bangalore, and the world
I had left behind were far away. People here lived in a different time, it moved slowly. What they
were living for, was still the same, only they were spared the 9-6 routine, the news, the exams. I
felt they were much better off than our successful urban cousins.
If Kashmir was heaven, Ladakh was Divine. There is this place called Zanskar not on any map.
You should go there. If there are Gods, they must be from around here. We trekked, almost got
ourselves frozen once, lived on virgin meadows with glaciers and wild horses. Buddhist
monasteries (gompas) and chortens. Beautiful. Stunning. Sublime. Free.

I started my school visits with an NGO near the Pakistan border at Rajasthan, then went to
Gujarat, Orissa, AP, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Bhutan, Manipur, Sikkim,
Meghalaya, Tripura, UP, Uttaranchal, Himachal. Spent time with our people. Slept at their houses.
They welcomed me into their homes. Played with their children. Ate sumptuous meals in their
homes. I love children. I photographed. I was this traveler, this environmentalist, photographing.
India was running through my blood. And she was in her villages. I understood Gandhi now. What
a man! What a human Being! The way in which he could just understand our country, her peoples.
I could also clearly see why Nehru and the like didnt agree with him. They just couldnt see what
he meant. I couldnt see it back then. If we read anything contemporary in the cities, they will talk
about India s lack of governance, of how we are corrupt, how once we have money all our
villages will have a road and be developed how our cities will be like Shanghai, how well be
the world leaders, the power center, our economic might. I would say, Get off that chair in the
city and switch off that TV. Get out there, drag yourself in the mud and see things for yourself
.Think. Youve never done it. When you do, youll start seeing other perspectives. You
know, this guy Gurucharan Das Hell talk about how a kid in pondicherry told him he wants to
be bill gates and then go on to say why he thinks well make it. What is this making it? Where
are we going? What is the meaning of being developed? When will it end? As of now, it is defined
as having no end. Limitless growth. But every human wants to stop, to live. The Modern man is
said to be better off because he now has automated lots of things he has more time for leisure
and creative things is that true? Do you have more time? You cant even pass motion in peace.
Your cell phone beckons. You are obsessed with the way you look, with what you wear. With
what you should be wearing. Your teenagers are busy with relationships. After you marry, you
are trying to figure out her space and your space. Youve got to get the kid admitted in school,
save enough for her Europe study tour, for your Manali camp. That tax for your car, life insurance,
its premium, and retirement funds. High talk about Movements in Indian oil painting tradition
or Indian Communism from 1940 to 1978;

You are such a slave, your media rules you. It rules the entire nation. See the political economy of
development the Media politics-Industry war machine nexus. They control us. Look at the
US. The media rules them. The entire country is in a psychological stupor of fear. A psychosis
Why? Because they want to be the greatest country in the world. To get oil, so the 16 yr kid can go
to the Drive-Inn in a nice Ford. A progress defined by the ability to consume. A freedom of
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choice. Competition fuelling better quality in goods at lower prices. Is that it? Lots of wealth?
Poverty is a relative term. There is poverty in every country in the world. They are just about
waking up to this the US NGOs now talk about Gross Happiness Factor instead and call
Bhutan the happiest nation around. The want for growth feeds wars. It feeds cutthroat diplomacy.
It starts with the assumption that each human is an ass and will behave like one remain one till
the end of time. It studies animals, donkeys and pigs to understand the human being. On a world
scale, there were hidden messages everywhere. In this movie Rambo, the American Colonel is
being interrogated by a Russian Officer. The American asks why the Russians are so ruthless, why
they have gone around killing innocents. Thru ought the movie, the Americans are the heroes. For
you, me, the average American, the message is clear America is right, the Russians are nuts.
What about Vietnam? Afghanistan? My own country has occupied Kashmir and the North East,
Talk to the people there. In pune, I am made to believe that Kashmir is ours. My country sells
arms to people in the world. The US is the single largest perpetrator of the sale of clandestine arms
and ammunitions around the world. And it is also the darling economy of the world. There was
this documentary on the History Channel about Cambodia and the rule of Pol Pot and his
maniacal Khmer Rouge. The interviewed US foreign ambassador repeatedly refers to Cambodia as
that pathetic little country, that poor country, that insignificant country. The arrogance of it.
And to think it was the US that propped up a phony Army General in Cambodia prior to Pol Pots
rise and then dragged Cambodia into a war with neighbouring Vietnam, where the US was messed
up as it is. All for power. In the documentary, the US was the hero. But then, I was watching a US
channel, a US Ambassador, my classmates were now in the US, and India and the US were
increasing ties. It was beneficial for us, as a country. We ought to ape the US and become the next
power in the world. Maybe, then we will be satisfied, the bad news will end, and we shall finally
have happiness, peace, prosperity and progress.

When I traveled, I saw that our people were pretty Okay. As a country we had been blessed with
natural resources. We have the largest area of land under cultivation (60%) compared to any other
country in the world. We were incredibly rich in tradition and custom. What our people lived for
was different in that for the man not in the cities, money did not form the center stage of his
existence. He was occupied in routine chores, he married his daughters off, he farmed, visited
relatives. Slept. Sometimes he had less to eat than he would have liked. Sometimes, he ate things
he would rather not be eating. He didnt have notions of owning everything under the sun, or
taking part in politics. The state was a far off entity. He didnt care much about it, except when the
Block Development Officer demanded a bribe for releasing grains or when the Village
administrative officer demanded a cut for transferring his fathers lands rights. His was a tightly
knit family. There was a sanctity to the whole thing, to his life. All the same, I could see the poor
mans life was hard. The insecurity in it, the hard labour. The seeming dryness to it, the seeming
preoccupation with survival only. Beyond that, I felt, all the other things attributed to poverty
were what people like you & me, our media, our state had walloped him with. And no, it was not
that I was taken in by romantic notions of having a farm with cows and honey and sheep. Its not
that I wanted to go back in time, not that I didnt want to progress, not that I was restrictive of
human possibilities. I was at one time wanting to become a very successful person, and at other,
wanted to be part of everything that was high, in terms of thought. Only, now, I was genuinely
trying to find some answers, and I was increasingly feeling and understanding that there was no
difference in what we were doing in the cities to what the villager was doing. We had built up
great notions of progress, of scientific and technological advancement, of great Universities of the
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world of wanting Indian Institutes competing with best in the world, of a world standing, and
since were in it, we couldnt question it, see beyond it. The traditional way of life in this country,
the philosophy of it (mind, there was a very strong and comprehensive reasoning for it) were far
different from what we believed we have today. What we had was very well thought out, it had a
very strong intellectual tradition, and you and me, children of modernity assumed, to be great,
means to be like John. We had defined an idea of progress for ourselves which was so
troublesome, so against how we were as a people, as a tradition. (Of course, the modernists will
argue with the SE Asian economic miracle example where the whole of SE Asia had hauled
itself out of poverty in a matter of years). You will realize by now that this is not about poverty
only.

There was a lot of internal war and strife in the country. This was discounting the total lack of law
& order in places like Bihar, parts of UP and MP. UP was embroiled in the caste equation.
Everything in it was casteist. It was almost as though the state was still coming to terms with its
history the Mughals, the British..and pre-&post independence movements. The politicians,
ofcourse were driving full mileage out of it. Obviously so, since if my only aim was to come to
power, I would use the most obvious things to my benefit in this case caste, power, the mafia.
In the case of the corporation the singular objective was profits and maximum returns, so I
would use manipulation, brainwashing, advertising, lies, and the like. Singular objectives. The
Naxalite movement was something that was raging in the country. Naxalism, in some ways
represented the pulse of the people. These people had been marginalized by the Government (The
government, it is to noted, is not some paper entity; it is made of people, who themselves are
selfish, casteist, money hungry) The Government kept pouring in funds for the upliftment of
the poor; these funds got siphoned off with the connivance of officials right from the petty
official to the state minister, the people were neglected. They got frustrated. No one listened. The
mainstream media was too busy discussing the KFC outlet at Gurgaon and Saharas Amby Valley.
Hardly any mainstream (English) newspapers in this country had any full time development
journalists on their rolls. It didnt make economic sense, nobody in the city wanted to read about
all this, so it didnt make commercial sense for the newspaper to write about all this. Some local
newspapers reported all this, but not many listened. In Naxalism, the common people found a
voice for their grievances, a way to vent their frustrations. It also gave results. In most cases,
corruption stopped, the poor got back at the government; at the rich. In any case, as far as this
country was concerned, it was like they were living under some great monarch the government of
India. It was the officials in it, it was the large corporations. These were the Kings & the kings
soldiers the people, were the commoners, at the mercy of all this, as always. Democracy looked
good on paper. The Governments kept dithering on policies; the show went on. Thousands of
jobless youngsters joined the naxalite ranks. They lived for a cause, for a purpose. As far as they
were concerned, it was a fight for their livelihood, their way of life. They were demanding their
rights. For us, they were troublemakers, internal enemies of the country. They stood in the way of
our large dams, they opposed our Wildlife sanctuaries. Thousands of other young men also joined
the BSF and the state police. These young men fought the naxalite young men. Both were in it for
a livelihood. They shot, they died. Meanwhile, Sachin scored his next century. The Government
exempted him tax on his Ferrari. Bangalore was getting ready for its Miss World event. The
Naxalites had popular support. 125 districts in 12 states were affected, another 24 districts were
targeted. According to one article by a BSF chief: Law enforcement agencies have been hammer
and tongs against Naxal Groups for the last nearly forty years except for brief interludes of peace
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parlays. There were no doubt significant succeses. The movement suffered significant setbacks but
like a phoenix it always rose again, adding ranks as well as firepowerthe Naxal movement is
irrepressible because it draws sustenance from the grievances of the people which have not been
addressed by the Government; some grievances may have become worse. We have the largest
tribal population in the world, but they are being increasingly alienated..the tribals as a result are
totally exhausted, impoverished and traumatized. Our political leadership is being progressively
hijacked by the manipulators of caste and community, people playing vote bank politics,
exploiting regional sentiments, and criminals who have developed influential
clienteleIndividuals like Manhoman Singh are, in Arnolds words, beautiful angels beating their
luminous wings in the void, in vainThe Election Commission and the criminal justice system
appear incapable. ..Only the Naxals seem to have solutions..as far back as 1975, touring the
Naxalite affected areas of Bhojpur (Bihar), Jaya Prakash Narayan exhorted the people to shun
violence and work for total revolution..He said if in five years from now nothing changes, I
will not ask you to give up Naxalismit is 30 yrs since then..and things are much worse today
not only in Bihar but several other parts of the country. There are islands of affluence (i.e. you
and me with our 9-6 routine, caramel popcorn, talks at Coffee Day and bored weekends) but a
huge mass of humanity as big as UK, France, Italy & Germany combined still lives below the
poverty line.


I often met soldiers from the Indian Army. Sometimes spent time with them. The jawans were
simple chaps from villages. While some of the villages had a tradition of their young men joining
the armed forces, for the others it was a simple case of having a secure job, of knowing they would
retire with a pension and benefits. So they joined. And they were groomed they became
hardened, abusive men. They could be ruthless. Their very simplicity could be channelised and fed
into this ruthlessness. And they kept getting transferred, stayed away from their families for
months, years on end. They were a pawn in the hands of the diplomats. The foreign secretarial
officials didnt want relations with any country to improve sometimes their egos came in the
way the last we did this, Pakistan did that their games continued. The jawan, meanwhile
slogged it out. Death came quick and swift. After all the years in Kashmir and the North East, they
had become used to the fact that people got killed. Everyday was a normal day, somedays there
were combing operations. One day, you could go to buy vegetables for the staff mess and not
come back. It was as simple as that. In any case, the jawan was nothing. At most, he was another
vote, and in a country of a billion plus people that wasnt much. The netajis the babujis, the
editors decided where he goes next. For the urban Indian, patriotism meant painting his face in
the tricolor and cheering for Dravid at the local pub. For the jawan, it was his life. Ofcourse, not to
say that all the jawans were or were not there for the patriotism only. They just wanted to have a
good family life. And the Armed Forces afforded them the financial means for that. By this time,
it seemed to be that there were 2 countries existing side by side. India, which I came from, and
Bharat that they lived in. And I was attempting to come to terms to both of them. And, I started
disliking India and Indians and liking Bharat and its inhabitants. I found the latter less of pretense,
more genuine.

The West continued. Take a look at Japan. Group suicides; people meeting over the internet to
sign suicide pacts since they meet other like minded people there. A degenerating society.
Worldwide, people were not having children anymore cause they wouldnt be able to afford the
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Turkish holiday otherwise. The plastic card economy. Forever in debt. It was strange. We boasted
about the number of credit cards a country had. What did this indicate?? That there were so many
more people living under the feeling of being in debt? Of having overspent, bought more than
what they could afford? The psychological effects of such an economy- the obsessive emphasis on
what kind of house to own, where it was located, mortgages, having to afford 2 and more cars,
medical insurance, the 29 color TV. The social repercussions manic depression, anorexia,
skewed demographics (no more young people to run the economy), nuclear families, no inbuilt
social support systems ones enforced from outside by means of a number (social security
number) and the educated in our country yelling about the lack of people insurance and state
driven social security why should I bother about this when my social system & culture is such
that I know I can depend on my children when I am old? Why should I consider myself developed,
only when I have a social security number? Comparison charts show a country as being more
developed because it consumes more oil. Is consumption more of oil being advanced? All it
indicated was you were more dependent on oil. Purportedly, you were industrialized. Or, that
you ravaged my breathing air a lot more, that you were singularly responsible for famines a lot
more than I was. And after all the industrialization, you were worse off. We have seen some of the
repercussions of this industrialization. I was stupid if I used bio degradable cowdung for cooking.
You were great if your countryman flew to Mars. A Million perceptions. A million modern, urban,
English educated, 21
st
century perceptions. Civilizational perceptions.

I (we) had been brainwashed into thinking and accepting a particular way of life. Even our
intellectuals. In thinking that they were being impartial and secular, they were actually dancing
to the tune of those about them. They didnt know that there was a seemingly impervious layer of
conditioning that they were operating under. When you take a broader view into history, it
becomes evident that there is a systematic program of getting the world to believe a particular way
of life. One that everyone, our statesmen- starting with Nehru to our Dear Dr Manmohan Singh
have fallen pray for. One that a gentleman called Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi could clearly
see. And one that a Nobel Laureate call Sir Vidiadhar Sagar Naipaul couldnt and so made fun
of in pieces of great literature. He, of course, was a product of the west. Lived in Trinidad, with
its complete British legacy. Marinated in that idea of what a great civilization is. And I read
Naipaul and admired him as a writer, his vision, the skill with the language, the powerful
narrative. I initially agreed with what he had to say obviously so, I had been marinated in the
same ideas that he had been. Till I got to know better that everything I was doing, thinking, was
under the influence of this marinating.

Millions of villagers had been displaced so you and me can progress. So we have enough
electricity for our IT revolution and the central AC toilets. I get to piss in a world-class toilet. My
customers feel at home in my world-class toilet. Its even temperature controlled. My colleague
bought a car. But wheres the place to ride it? India is backward, we dont have broad roads. Chop
the trees, evict the people, build the expressway. India Shining. Now we all have cars. What next?
Oops, Shanghai has hybrid cars. Lets all get those. Look at the west. They are so clean, neat and
green. Our country is cursed. Kal Yug hain. Need to get those F16s; our defense capabilities
will suffer otherwise. What about the pride of the country? Send people to the moon, Indians on
the moon Click, Click, Flash, Flash Indian faces in the New York Times. Indians in the US.
Indians in the MIT top 21 inventors list. Indians in the Formula 1. Indians in software. 70% of The
Valley is full of Indians. Indians in tennis. Finally something we are really good at besides cricket.
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Even thats scandalous nowadays. Indians dont have morals. Indian Ms India. Even an Indian
Mrs World. Whats all this in relation to? World standards. Where do these come from? The West.
Why? Because they had the industrial revolution in the first place before that, India was wealthy.
Before that, we had 25% of world trade. Why the Industrial revolution in the West? (We are
only good at making idly sambar). Because they had the brains. Correction. The had the brains and
the money. Where did this money come from? Colonies like India. How? We were looted. What
extent? % of GDP every year, year on year. Why did they conquer us? Because they had a view of
the world that said if you are not like us, you are not even human. If you dont wear a tie, if you
dont speak English, if you are not of our religion .. They had a concept of the other I.e. You
are different from me, you are dirty, you are savages. (And to think, the British hardly had a bath
the whole family would get in the bath tub once a month, and the water will get all muddy, since
they never changed it and theyd bathe the baby last hence the phrase dont throw the baby
out with the bath water.. (it was so muddy, you could miss it)). Their idea of nature: God has sent
us down so we can exploit nature and that they did, till we have everything in our mouths now.
The US consumes 7 times more than the rest of the world. If we all did the same, colonies on Mars
would be a distinct reality. Only, its possible only in Tom Cruise starrers. By the way, we have a
tradition of worshipping nature in this country.

One had to know English. The Englishman, and you and me, were the sahibs. We still are. This
lead to a complete lack of self-confidence in our people. The idea that we were backward firmly
set in. There was a total disregard for what we already had. <Not to say that what we had was
perfect, but better from a holistic point of view, nevertheless>
Assumptions started taking root. Nothing that was scientific was from India. And to think the
British (& so the modern world) first discovered plastic surgery in India, during a war between the
Marathas & the Tipu, when a soldiers nose got cut. The British officer writes a note back to
England saying I witnessed the most amazing feat today, a man was grafted a new nose, we
should learn this. Or that average yields per hectare were far superior in India compared to that in
England during that time, such Indian yields equal to the highest yields in the world today. Or that
when the British first reached this country, theirs was the backward society the common people
in Britain didnt have access to education, there was no concept of equality, there was the
feudalism and the aristocracy, the ridiculous tight upper lip; Average literacy & education rates in
India was far superior. And this is no ranting. These facts are purportedly to be found at the
London Museum, in old British records. Say something like this to the average College Grad
today, and hed say it was good the British came, we got English, the railways, the basics for
the modern system. That Gandhi was stupid, else we would have got Independence in 1937. I
was one of them. Brainwashed, preconditioned, full of notions. Till I got to know otherwise.

You will understand that this whole process was quite painful for me. Itd drive me crazy. My
convictions kept swinging. I was probably trying to deal with too many things, and they were all
very interlinked. On the one hand, the free market seemed the only viable solution. On the other
hand they caused all this trouble. By now, I had traveled about 40,000 kms in the country. She was
fascinating, The variety stupendous. The culture rich. The people lovely. Lots of them were
educated but illiterate. They were courteous, of a cheerful disposition, they went about their
lives with dignity, when someone played with your child, you didnt have to fear that he could be
a pedophile, in that sense, society was cleaner, of course the caste equation was strong at places.
They had a street smartness to them, which ofcourse varied depending on where you were.
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And the machinery was at work. The government was everywhere except some fringe areas.
And some people lived in a time wrap. They had a vertical view of the world, they were called
backward. Backward for me now meant that they had access to less information than I had, or
werent conversant with some modern systems like me (a PC, automatic lifts, the airplane,
Coffee Vending machines, the air conditioner, the refrigerator). I was called educated. Lets take
this example I lose my way in a village and knock at a door. I am welcomed, fed, given a place
to sleep and escorted to the nearest bus stand the next morning. The villager gets lost in the city.
He knocks at my door. I shoo him away must be a thief; damn thing. Interrupted my 9:00 PM
news. Who amongst the two of us is educated? One has to understand the difference between
education and literacy. It will be argued that getting literate or educated (aka getting degrees) is
akin to being empowered, in the sense that I get to know my rights. But if you see these rights,
they are within the framework of the political-modern world we have imaginatively constructed.
Look at me. To take 5 days off from my own life, to visit my hometown; I have to take permission
from my employer first. He decides what I do in the morning, and when I sleep. He decides what I
wear, and how I speak. My society decides my state of mind. Its been ages since I saw a sunset.
My customers need 24x7 support. So I go against my biological clock and support an insurance
company in the US run claims processes because some American kid who didnt know why he
was driving in the first place; bashed his car in an inebriated state. I am a victim of the speed of
times. Who is more empowered? In the village, I get up when I want. Every day is a holiday. I
have a social support system. The family, the village. I dont know my neighbor in the city, and
need insurance cover for my car, my house, my life and in some cases even my breasts. In the
village, the state is a far off entity. You, me, the policeman we, are all the state. We are the
sahibs. No way you can understand India without getting into our colonial past.

Read Dharampal at this site.
http://www.infinityfoundation.com/mandala/t_es/t_es_agraw_dharampal_frameset.htm

Also check out the root website @ http://www.infinityfoundation.com/- It has interesting
perspectives, put up by Indians in the US. A bit of this falls into what we might want to slot as
sociology, philosophy & anthropology; You might also want to check out The Other India
BookStore @ http://www.goacom.com/oib/


Read what Macaulay had to say:
Lord macaulay's address to
The british parliament
2 february, 1835

"I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a
beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of
such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very
backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that
we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is
foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native
culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation."

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Now look at yourself and me: By all accounts, he has achieved what he set out to do. Succeeded
beyond his wildest expectations. The sahib equation is completely ingrained in us. Its almost like
the British times, with them being the sahibs only now, we, you and me have replaced the Brits,
we are sahibs. English is the holy grail of everything for us. In most cases of an Indian conversing
with a white man, one can see the Indian over eager to please, he tries to be something he is not,
he will laugh and smile just that little bit more, for the white mans benefit. I hope my English is
okay, the accent right... Its a legacy. A colonial one. Its a great fascination for white pigment.

The schools I saw in the villages were in shambles. Some had goats tied in them with the kids
sitting outside. The masters never came. There were tens of thousands of NGOs. Most of them
corrupt. A few committed people who were trying to do something teach in schools, practice
natural farming, promote and preserve local knowledge systems and cultures and ways of living
which we in the city are trying so hard to get rid ofThere were ex-MBAs and IITians, small
time workers, PhDs and the like, government servants, others who had never been to school
simple folk, they were all out there trying to do something, be it advocacy, governance,
sustainable systems, corruption, education, meaningful knowledge systems toilets, rural
empowerment, rural issues, local power structures .dealing with people in the villages/ city
slums was rife with multiple problems..it wasnt so easy to enter a village and do something,
however good ones intention was, it took time to win the trust of the locals, there were often
incidents where the locals themselves would turn against their purported benefactor..it was
slow, painful, progress.the Intelligentsia meanwhile was having armchair conversations in cold
Delhi nights around a fireplace with Red Wine. Discussing anything from Bushs latest policy to
Cricket & the weather to poems by Robert Frost to what Satyajit Ray actually meant in that
particular shot. There was Art for Arts sake. I could understand it, but I couldnt come to terms
with it. I had problems with it. The tension between the artist and his medium. Between the artist,
& his subject, the object and the audience. How could they keep tom-tomming this when we still
hadnt come up with a resolution for the human being? This could be considered to be the
philosophers question, but yet? Of course, this can be countered by saying this is not what art
is supposed to do. It is an expression, a true manifestation of a human beings emotions; of his
thought, the intellect and that humans response to anything from war to a flower. I somehow
could never cease to have a problem with these folks. Even though I knew and understood that Art
was above morality. That it was amoral. I sometimes felt it was akin to escapism. It was, ofcourse,
escapism, whenever it took off under the garb of creativity, lending wings to imagination. I also
felt it was embroiled in a lot of pretense, in that people wanted to be there. I also knew that these
feelings were possibly because of my own inability to choose one way, to understand it all. In the
midst of all this, I found myself occupied with alternative views. I saw the world differently,
more completely, end-to-end. I now belonged to a particular set of people. While the world rushed
about, we watched, thought and aligned our actions according to our best understanding. I wanted
to work in the development field, taken in by the authenticity of the Narmada Bachao movement,
the traditional seeds movement, the education movement..all inhabited by people that had
retained some independent thought, not taken in by the rush that the majority was seemingly lost
in. There was a vigor being in those circles; the alternative chaps, there was a process of thought,
a sense of vision and mission. There was something to live for, a heightened awareness of
purpose, an importance to it, even. The way of life, the frame of mind, the force of living was far
beyond anything I had experienced in the mainstream, I.e. when I was a software engineer or the
MBA aspirant. I had seen the world, had tried to understand its structure. The way I saw it, all
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activities and thought that human beings had carried out to date had been for the benefit of the
whole humanity. Which meant, anything I had to do had to be aligned with what I wanted to do,
and what needed to be done in the world. Sure, had I been born 200 yrs ago, there would have
been no need to work on environment issues. Thus, I was also aware that my current reasoning/
choice of what I wanted to do was purely a function of the times I had been born in. And there was
nothing I could do about it. Nothing I would do was truly agnostic of the time-space I was in, the
modern world, urban Pune, etc. I reasoned that by my putting in efforts in some development
activity, the world would benefit, there would be incremental additions like these, till say 200 or
300 yrs down the line when my actions today would finally manifest in benefits. Its like the India
Pakistan peace process. By current means, it will take about 100 yrs, maybe more. Which means
anyone working on it today will not see the result in his lifetime. Which does not stop him from
working on it, because he knows it is the right thing to do. In that sense, I was now, a humanist.
This was a far more genuine, authentic impulse in me than say borrowed things like wanting to
be a scholar or even a CEO. But what exactly would I do? There was the environment, wildlife,
peace, education, governance..which one was I to spend the next 50 yrs of my life doing? I also
realized that even working on some or all of these areas would still leave a void in me, something
still left unaddressedwhich was to come to some conclusion, some reasoning, to make sense of
the whole thing i.e. there was also me. I didnt understand myself.

Meanwhile, Mahesh Bhat, the Bollywood director writes in the Indian Express: My Aishwarya
Rai for your Mc Donalds Globalization is a 2 way process. Were swamped by Schwarznegger,
but Ayurveda is conquering the world. He goes on: ..There is no denying that trade is an
emotionally charged issue; because in addition to bringing in goods & services, it also shapes our
sense of cultural self..To put it simply, globalization has intensified the clash between differing
notions of freedom the freedom to engage in market place exchange versus the ability to
maintain a particular cultural identity. You cannot have one without the otherI am also free to
embrace the cultural diversity of the human race..recently when I was in London, I was delighted
to see Aishwarya Rai on a bus advertising Bride and Prejudice..curry the national dish in
BritainDiwali in London.why are we so affronted by our changing landscapes?the world
has changed, but not just for us. Whose culture is it anymore, anyways? a write up like Bhats is
typical of the liberal attitude I am free to embrace the world, not afraid of changing cultures,
this is an international lifestyle now, its a Global Villageetc. The point is, its not culture in
isolation. Yes, the west has also undergone cultural changes. They too have lost. And they are not
happy. This cultural change, as Bhat points out himself is from exchange of goods. And which
goods I need, how much I consume, is all being defined by the market media complex. And it is
never ending. It benefits corporations, and over a period of time, the benefits trickle down..and
then they dry outand even when they dont; like in SE Asia, they create other repercussions, like
mechanical Japan. Its not about being stuck about losing ones culture about the fear of it, but
about this way of life where money and consumption play centre stage; which ironically, does not
even address the needs of the human. I am not a garbage bin, in that you can tell me I am better
off because I can stuff myself with more. There is more to me. Considering that I should be okay
with job security and the ability to consume is being superficial about me, it does not even address
the purported larger aim of a happy, prosperous and peaceful human race. Culture is not just
about customs, its about a way of life, a philosophy of it, even. And having potato chips on
demand does not solve the problem. It creates more subtler ones I need more hospitals, there are
suicides, I am enslaved, I have stopped thinking, I always feel deprived, I am a donkey now.
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Then there was Coke. That great marketing story. Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor. The Big
B all of them endorsing it. Whats wrong in people drinking this stuff? Coke doesnt force
anything down peoples throats; people willingly pay good money to have it. Thats the beauty of
it. The coercion and influence is so subtle, one cant see it just like that. And any talk of it in this
sense is dismissed as being rabid, or is sidelined to obscure discussions boards and forums.
Everyone world over consuming tonnes of sweetened coloured water with CO2. The very stuff my
body decides is useless for me. Coke plants in India are located in the fringes of cities and in
villages. They are allowed in order to promote foreign investments and not scare off the
international community. Coke & Pepsi bottling plants draw upto 70,000 litres of water a day from
the ground. Development has ensured that we have cemented most of the land in the cities and
gotten rid of traditional water storage systems in the villages and towns (Hiranandani in
Powai/Mumbai is trying to eat up an entire lake!) What we didnt do, the British had already done-
destroying the old bunds and etc and building a few in return of course. Back to coke. The
bottling plants draw out most of the water, the water table falls, the wells dry up, no water in the
bore hand pumps as well. The slush after manufacturing is left into the fields, the crops rot. The
villagers protest, the police lathi charge. After all, what will the angrez think of us? That Indians
are not investment friendly? Look at the jobs coke generates. The marketing money it pumps in,
its growing our economy. Who pays? Again, the poor man. The economy and the advertising
industry is of course, an altogether different matter which we will see later.

Indigenous people who have spent hundreds of years living in forest are suddenly evicted by the
Indian Government. Why? This is now a nature reserve. For whom? The State of India. Why?
Because you and me burnt down the forests here and built our great cities, and now we need to
preserve them goddamn tigers as well. And who are the voices for this state? You and me, the city
dwelling educated folks. We are the ones who read, who make our public opinion felt (although
arguably a lot of Indians today read the news paper and are politically aware) And we are the ones
who get pissed off when the common man seemingly votes absolute fools into power once in 5
years.

Hospitals we have today are a boon. They are so advanced, they can exchange my kidneys for
yours. Modern Hospitals are nothing but disease centers. (Illych readers will agree). I go to them
when I have a disease. And yet, development journalists in this country will keep complaining and
ranting that we have too few hospitals. If more hospitals were an indication that people are more
sick, why should we feel sad about the fact that we have too few? (of course, there are thousands
of children dying because of cholera and plenty of malarial deaths, the state ought to open more
health centers and ensure they work; the long-term solution does not lie in hospitals though). The
modern hospital/ modern medicine does not tell me how to be healthy. In fact, it has nothing to
say about health. Doctors, will of course, talk about tips to keep the doctor away. The very life
style and economy that enables me to have advanced hospitals ensures that I also keep falling sick.
Because I dont know the first thing about my body, or my relationship with it. My body is a
given, I keep dumping stuff into it as and when I please, and when it goes out of sync, i.e. I fall
sick, I go running for some pills. What we need is a health system that tells us how to be healthy,
not a disease system, that doesnt care about how you live, but is ever ready with a pill and a poke
every time you fall sick.
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Of course, one could comment that the onus of staying healthy is on the self, that one shouldnt
push this responsibility on to society, or a system. Very correct. Only, lets explore the inter-
linkages in this whole game. Drug companies operate under a capitalist system, which means they
exist for profits; for maximum returns to their shareholders. They also want to grow, to become
larger. Of course, you would need a viable economic model to sustain any commercial enterprise.
So, drug companies push their products through doctors (doctors, in turn, prescribe stuff to us).
Drug companies also prevent other companies from putting out cheaper versions of drugs into the
market. They oppose laws that will enable other companies to do this.
They are, in such situations, acting in favour of their own self-interest. Perfect competition is a
myth in any case. And people might also comment that companies do not exist for social service,
that they exist for profits, for economic growth, and by that generate jobs, and give stuff that
people need, provide them with the required services and are hence, a force for good in society-.
Only, at some point this equation goes the other way round, that is companies start existing for
their own sake only, irrespective of whether they are good or bad for society, of whether they
goods they produce are actually required by people or not. Whether the means to produce such
good are environment friendly or not. Even if I need to be corrupt blatantly and morally to be
able to sell. Its a nice equation this the means and ends both screwed up. What do you do in
such cases? Advertise harder, show people images so they continue to believe that they really
need the stuff that you make. Thats good, the company makes money, people consume, they
spend, jobs are created, the economy grows, everyone is happy Or so, the typical profit-centric
reasoning would go. <We just explored the myth and the side effects behind this kind of reasoning
a while ago. The typical economist never probes a level deeper than this, stopping at economic
growth & job creation because if he did, he would end up in Philosophy, and that is not his
concern. We have commented on the splitting of various academic disciplines elsewhere in this
paper. Strangely, modern economics during its beginnings was tightly integrated with philosophy
and ethics. Of course, today we are looking at something called jobless growth. The economy
grows, but no jobs are created. Presumably, the ripple effect of the economy has sealed itself
around a specific area, and now refuses to trickle down>.
Talk to anyone about Ayurveda today, and they would debunk you. They would call it
unscientific, mystical, some kind of hocus-pocus. This is what we have done. We have mixed up
words, and their meanings, some words have become far too heavily loaded, and we hence end up
living under mass delusions. I can debunk anything by saying it is unscientific. Scientific has not
only come to mean Modern Science it has also come to mean truth, reality & being rational.
Scientific means anything that is modern; something old is automatically disqualified as being
unscientific and irrational. Whereas, it is possible that some knowledge systems are not accessible
from within the framework of science, modern science at least. Science is also synonymous with
the word rational. So they next time you get angry at someone and think he or she is irrational, call
them unscientific. Ayurveda is a health system. With the advent of modern medicine, Ayurveda
began going down as a knowledge system. The remains were picked up by a few who tried to
cheat and make money of it. People started losing interest in it. They preferred the quick-fix
solution that allopathic medicine had to offer, and continue to live as they please rather than try
doing something for the long-term. Health on demand. Thats the way it has become. Whats
wrong, one would ask? Thats the way the world is, that is the way society is. Some things come,
some things go. We have to accept change..

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Thing is, society doesnt change of its own accord. There are people defining a particular vision,
promoting a particular way of looking at the world. And they are ensuring that theirs is the one
that goes on. This thing about medicine and health that we discussed is something like that. What
we do is decided by a culture, a tradition; I am using these terms in a very loose fashion here,
to mean something like: I live in the city of Pune. At one point in time, we didnt have too many
people coming in here to settle, and not too many people who owned vehicles. Now, the vehicle
numbers have trebled. And we dont have a culture of Public Transport. So, people continue
buying personal vehicles, because to use the Public Transport, even when its available is just not
done. Something like this becomes a tradition, a culture for the city of sorts. And now, you cant
breathe or walk on the roads, them fumes. Similarly with health & hospitals and things like that,
and what we make of them. For example, my children wont be able to visualize a Pune that is
quiet or one where they can be healthy. The bustling crowds, the noise, the fumes, itll be part of
the norm for them. Mc Donalds, Multiplex Theatres, car to college, Burgers at 1:00 AM. Sick?
Get admitted at Ruby Hall Medical Clinic. Its their culture, their experience, their reality now.

The reader would be a bit tired with all the questioning& seeming complaining by now. I was too.
More, I was aware that there were inherent contradictions in my own convictions. While it was
obvious that there were problems out there, I lived in them. In that, I needed electricity which
drew from the main grid (and so came from a big dam or thermal station and was hence
ecologically destructive), I lived in a modern city, watched TV, used a vehicle, and other
facilities. All these things required some facets of the modern economy to be in place. In that, I
was a hypocrite: there were contradictions between my convictions and how I lived, I was aware
of this. I decided to keep this on hold for a while till I got the right answers. I knew there were
problems. I didnt have the solutions though. And there being no possible available solution does
not mean that a problem does not exist.

I began to see the various layers in society quite distinctly. In the city and in the village. The
whys and whats for each class in that society became clear. And there was a story to it as well.
Behind each statistic, there were lives. And at the end of the day, it was these lives that we were
talking about. Not lives in the sense of living things, but lives as in what people go through.
Statistics just showed something up on a screen. I could have the best of statistics and still have a
major problem at hand. Because such problems were in the human head. That India went to the
moon doesnt make a shit of a difference to my daily life, or yours. You still face rush hour traffic;
maybe the guy on street still had no place to sleep in, or it didnt rain this monsoon, or Ive put on
weight and need to lose it, or the damn lights went off. In this largish constructed world-view we
have created, the need to show oneself or the larger socio-political entity I belong to as being
greater than the other manifests itself. And it is constructed. I used to often think what it would be
like if aliens landed here. Theyd be shocked at the way in which we are monkeying around. We
live in a mammoth circus. From the barber to the politician to the dance bargirl to the coffee shop
owner to the Nobel laureate Professor there are constructed realities we inhabit. And any notion of
progress or study of the human being that doesnt take this fact (that we live in constructed
realities) into account will fail to give a lasting solution. There is a programme on this channel
AXN called fear factor. They call American couples looking for a million bucks to a game show
on TV and go through some stomach twirling experiences eating worms, having leeches crawl
over you, running across cliffs, etc. The whole of America watches. There is a thrill to the whole
thing, it is fun. Sure. Which person in his right senses would do all this? Only something that has
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no clue as to what to do with itself will go running around for kicks, because it is cool man to
eat chilies and spiders for world records. We are a ridiculous lot.
When Id go into a bookstore, I would shudder and be nervous because there were so many
topics, and so many books, and so many viewpoints and millions of pages when was I to
complete reading all of this and understand the world? It was all a fantastic complication. Its easy
to see it if you once get a glimpse of cosmic time. Look at the moon and the stars one night. And
the vastness of the galaxies. This earth, on which I am currently sitting. Rotating regularly,
revolving as well. It keeps doing this, without getting bored. I am at the perfect distance from the
sun. This has evolved over millions of years. There could be other Earths out there with life..
Now pan to where you are and what people around you are doing. Nobodies got a clue. They are
all just running around, trying to get their face in the papers, pushing the other one down, rising
and growing to God know where (in fact God too doesnt know, if he had, hed surely have told
us by now). Their world starts at the size of their cubicle and ends with the radial tires on their car.
And they dont have a clue.

Meanwhile, there was Pope John Paul. And one of his challenges was to retain what was left of
Christianity. First Communism, then consumerism was eroding the attendance levels in churches
(although it might be said that these things actually helped strengthen Christianity). Worse, in
places like India people were mixing local traditions with the faith. Something had to be done to
ward off dangerous relativism.

Anyways, by this time, it had become quite clear to me that nothing of what was out there (that I
knew about at least), could give me a permanent solution. I could do things like go to this great
University, maybe get a PhD, a professorship, give lectures; or maybe become a reporter for the
BBC, or a photographer for the National Geographic (I simply love traveling, and visiting new
places and studying people, not shopping -:)), or maybe open an NGO and spend 20 yrs getting a
couple of villages on their feet and land myself an award (like the Right Livelihood Award) or
maybe write a book The idea still being to excel in something. I had already applied for an MA
(Anthropology & Development) to various Universities in the UK idea being a 1 yr course that
will buy me time, provided its all paid for -. I.e. I get the coveted 1 off scholarship (which I
didnt given my lousy grades in college - I had to put up a convincing Statement of Purpose
who was to take a BE guy with 4 yrs in software for a Masters in the Social Sciences?). To my
delight, I had admissions from the London School of Economics (with a 50% Graduate
Scholarship), University of London, and other good places in fact all except 1 of the 19 places I
applied to gave me admission.. so I was quite thrilled. No Money. Nobody who was willing to
sponsor everything from the time I left Bombay airport to the time I came back. I didnt want to
spend any money, not on something I knew to be of not much use, and I didnt have much beyond
the 1 way airfare in fact. So I couldnt go. I was in Benaras at this time I also made a
documentary on 2 NGOs in Bombay over 15 days, Its about 15 minutes, and was aired to
people from the Maharashtra Foundation in the Silicon Valley wealthy maharashtrians in the US
the docu collected about Rs 27 lacs for a childrens home in Virar, I think; this was besides
hundreds of photographs that I clicked during my India Tour


By this time, one thing became quite clear to me, unless we could commonly define what we
wanted, the confusion would prevail. That was it. Anything that we wanted to do with the world
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had to start with peoples understanding and approach to it. Else wise, we would all be deluding
ourselves and continue to make the whole thing messier. This was both, at the level of the world-
society- level of the nation and at the level of the self. There had to be a resolution to the human
condition.
Without it, well have them 100 floor buildings, buy those cars, crib about rush hour traffic, then
crib about rising prices, then chop those trees for the furniture and the roads, then crib about the
environment, the disappearing tigers, then about Global Warming and greenhouse gases, wars
and epidemics, loss of jobs, unemployment, corruption, losing representation and control for
people even in democratic set-ups, the perils of modernization, consumerism in art, falling social
standards, rich but unhappy people, mass suicides & school shootings, the disappearance of
marriage as a social institution, AIDS, the loss of culture, etc. At the level of the individual, Id
buy a car, and then a bigger car, then crib about the roads, the rush hour traffic, falling air
quality, keep trying to get to God knows where, <and note that thru ought all this progress and
growth, my average state of mind, of how I feel remains the same>, or fret about my weight and
go on a crash diet or about education for my kids, or the fact that I have no time for my family or
continue to be obsessed with greatness and redemption and lofty thoughts and ideas and goals
and achievement and a full life without a real clue of why I need them in the first place, or of
what exactly they mean.

Around June 2004, I was around Mussorie, near Dehradun: There was a workshop on something
called Jeevan Vidya that someone had recommended. I had nothing else to do, so I went and spent
7 very different days there. Then went to Badrinath, Rishikesh, Kedarnath, to watch the pilgrims.
The masses of India. It was a different world out there. They came like they always had been for
centuries only now, they came in their Toyotas and the buses. Munching on Lehar Kur Kure and
drinking Pepsi. They yapped. I watched. They worshipped, I gazed.

One fine day in July, I was in the town of Haridwar, with Rs 27 in my pocket. All the money was
gone; I had been traveling for 1.5 yrs. My brother transferred some money and bailed me out. I
returned home to Pune and went back to the drawing board. To figure out what it was that I really
wanted to do; the most genuine impulse in me anthropology, philosophy, development,
environment, reporting, photographer, writer, natural farming? I couldnt reconcile myself to
anything. My parents were by now worried sick, I was fed up. I put the thoughts and the principles
on the backburner, and went back to software for some money and from it, buy some temporary
solace and time for myself.
Little did I know that the things I had heard about and tried to understand in July in Mussorie
would just flash through me again, 6 months later, in Jan 2005 at the IIIT in Hyderabad where I
attended the second Jeevan Vidya workshop. This time round, I started understanding what the
speaker was saying:--

Everything written above is the past, it was how I felt then, and does not, and should not have any
bearing on what is written below:



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S Se ec ct ti io on n 2 2: : C Co on nd di it ti io on ni in ng g a an nd d C Ch ha an nc ce e I In nf fo or rm ma at ti io on n, , K Kn no ow wl le ed dg ge e ? ? P Pe eo op pl le e, ,
b be eh ha av vi io or rs s, , P Pe er rs so on na al li it ti ie es s T Th he e H Hu um ma an n B Be ei in ng g, , I I, , E Ex xi is st te en nc ce e

If you are now reading this line and have also read thru what has been written up there, you would
have formed some opinion about me. You would have accepted some of the things written, would
have rejected some, put some away for further analysis & glossed over the rest. If you know me
already, you have probably changed your opinion about me; or maybe strengthened some earlier
notion about me. I have used a particular tone; the note seems to be an outburst of sorts. Some of
you, who have been used to a tone like this before, will find it raving and ranting without offering
any solutions. Of a typical emotional argument, that will die a slow death. If you don know me
already, you will have formed an opinion for the first time then.

A lot of what has been written above; the author has been able to comment because he read some
books and did some traveling. Not that he has quoted verbatim, but it is all an understanding from
having read a particular range and quantity of books, of trying to analyze issues; essentially a view
point. Thats all. I know from personal experience that a lot of these perspectives are not to be
found in ordinary, daily life from our most common sources of information the newspaper,
books, magazines, parents, friends, society (unless of course there has been some form of
influence from a parent, an uncle, a teacher, etc). None of what I have commented on above in
this essay is a fact (except a few personal incidents). Everything mentioned is a possibility. Lets
assume we make a statement like Independence has been good for India, because our literacy rate
has gone up
A person reading something like this will do 1 of 3 things: Agree, Disagree, or not
Comment/Decide.
Now lets say Person 1 agrees; - he checked with the current level of information available within
him. This information (which he read about somewhere) states that the literacy rate in India in
1947 was 29% and is now 71%
Person 2, lets say disagrees:- Either his information states that the numbers are the other way
round, or he knows something else:- That prior to the British coming in here, literacy rates were
82%. Now theres a new angle to the statement. Independence was from the British, and literacy
rates before the British were much higher. Which means we cant conclude that the literacy rate
went up necessarily because of Independence, and hence, that Independence has been good for
literacy. Although this might seem an exercise in probability (or something else in Math) It
points to a vital aspect, the most important one missed out by us. That we are a) Always under
the influence of some external entity b) Are accepting and rejecting information/views from the
outside constantly 3) That the basis for this is prior information/ convictions already available
within us 4) That were this information were to change, our decisions and convictions would
change

We can call this process Manyata in Hindi or acceptance/ conditioning I.e. Accepting
something without verifying it. Before you jump the gun and say we cant possibly verify things
all the while (or that we can verify things from trusted sources) lets look at some sample sources
of influence:

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Trusted Source 1: Newspaper All interpretation of facts is a viewpoint. It holds the Manyata and
the conviction of the particular reporter who wrote the piece and might also broadly subscribe to
the general attitude & political leanings of the newspaper
Trusted Source 2: Parents/Elders (Typically when young) If you re-read what I have written
above; and read what is down there below, you will see that these good folks dont have much of a
clue about things themselves.
Trusted Source 3: TV : Same as the News Paper for the News, but now more dangerous. Any
sponsored program is something that someone, somewhere with an aim to sell you stuff that you
probably dont need; wants you to see. You watch a Saans Bahoo serial or a Skoda Auto
Commercial or a Michael Douglas Thriller or a History Channel programme or even a comedy on
Monday night and come away with some impressions. Something has planted itself inside of you,
& you dont have a clue. You see this Ad for something and dont pay attention to it & forget
about it. Then you are walking one fine day and spot it and pick it up for no real good reason,
perhaps they call this brand recall or something like that. You are having a conversation with
someone, and will offer an opinion based on something you had watched on TV and have since
forgotten about. It will even influence what we look for in a life partner, our general taste and
attitude towards things
Trusted Source 4: Well Known personality: - Like a scholar in anything besides Science or Math
this persons opinion/ comment is going to be subjective. In the case of Science & Math an
important thing to note is what we currently mean by these terms is Modern Math & Modern
Science. The Scientific temper meaning something that can be verified by external observation,
that yields the same results, always. The word scientific is also today synonymously used with the
word rational & logical. The word Scientific has also come about to be synonymous to the
word truth. Whereas if you look at the domain that science operates in with respect to the human
being, its scope is limited. It cant explain why I get angry, or why I get bored or why I need to go
to work. It may be thus argued that Sciences purpose is to study external phenomena only. So be
it. (Although the way in which Science currently approaches external phenomena can be
questioned). Science should therefore not be used an umbrella, a global explanation for anything
and everything. Modern Science & Math have made certain basic assumptions about the world,
which have now been lost in the labyrinths that they command. What usually happens is that when
somebody writes something like


dy (x3 * y3) 3y + 2x
------- Delta Si ^ 3xy
dx -----------
Lamda Phi/ z



-- we get impressed. Not to say that what is being said is gibberish, but that we immediately
assume that this person must be extremely smart and/or intelligent.
(Intelligence meaning to use a loose term plenty of brains, not necessarily a large brain, but
something else.. nobody knows or seems to know what exactly, within the current framework of
understanding at leastintelligence though is much in demand, something to be had, a source for
3x
1
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pride) immediately an attribute to be looked up to, to be trusted. To be accepted as a valid source
of information.

The current prevalent notion in mainstream society is that we are largely a product of our
circumstances. Which means, I am like this today largely due to where I was born, the influences I
might have had from family, the immediate society with which I came in contact, the ways in
which I adapted to it, the peer influence that I had, the ways in which I was tried to be educated,
and what was shown to me by the time I was considered to be grown-up. When I consider this, I
see that I could have been quite different had some variable in this long list been changed. I.e. Had
I been born at some other time, or in some other family, or even if in the same family, we had
lived at some other place, I could have been quite different.
What then is of mine own? I ask this question, as a human being. I am trying to ask this question
as a living entity, that breathes, feels hungry, thinks, is curious, desires, wants, gets angry, feels
jealous, loves. I dont ask it as Shriram Narasimhan, citizen of cosmopolitan Pune, of the 21
st

century. Of course, most people might not even consider these things. Some people might shrug of
these things and say who cares?. Why think so much, it is so much simpler to just accept things
as they are. There might even be a parable, or some teaching or saying from the Bible or the
Quoran, or the Gita to back this kind of reasoning up. The point to note is, these texts were written
by human beings, and were accorded divine status. The people who attempted to write these things
were themselves of a particular time, of some thought, of a viewpoint. That said; these texts did
manage to penetrate realms that had hitherto remained untouched. Its up to you, entirely your
choice, as to whether you wish to concern yourself with such questions or not.

The reader should understand that the author has something more basic in mind. Can I, as a living
entity in my own right, ask questions like what am I?, why am I here?, what am I supposed to
be doing here? Effectively done when one asks these questions in seclusion.like when alone in
a room or on a hill..It is to be noted that it is not these questions are asked by some people only.
Everyone has these questions at some point of time; although the ways in which we are rendered
with information since childhood ensure that most information is force-fed into us, as a Manyata
or an acceptance which goes on to form a preconditioning within us. We have been kept busy with
school, tennis lessons, TV, video games, coaching classes, a job.Even when an individual tries
to think, he turns to books, which in turn will talk powerfully about the state, the politico-
economic set-up, the environment, history, the process of creation etc. Everything that the reader
will have access to is within a particular framework. (In the field of Art though, there will be
numerous cases especially in music, poetry, painting and writing where some authentic
expressions might be rendered, the medium for which, will come from an external influence).

The other point to note is attraction or akarshan. If we look around, we see that there are
umpteen things with which we keep ourselves busy. There are umpteen things to which we are
attracted. And one is so lost in these, so used to it that one cant question it, think beyond it. Like
getting attracted to buy a new cell phone, or some other device. Or a car, or a house, or a trip to
Spain. Or some show on TV. Like I had this thing for big bikes and went and bought myself one.
Even some of the long-term things we have to do, important decisions that we make in the course
of a lifetime. It could be marriage (stuck with a particular idea of marriage and the proper
partner for oneself not there is anything wrong in this, only that the driving factors for this could
be largely extraneous, from some conditioning, some manyatas, from a sub-conscious urge to
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conform to some ideas that one has set for one self in India at least, something prevalent since
the 70s and more so today, in people of my generation)

Career is a good & common example. Chief among the reasons for a career are: a). Where we
were and the influences we were under whilst making this decision b). What was shown to us. c).
Something intrinsic in us which told us this is what needs to be done. (which happens with some
authenticity in very rare cases; even when it does, is on the basis of some previous Manyata or
acceptance/ influence. Also, only from what is available/ accessible to us at that point in time for
example, there was no way I could have opted to study Geology in 1995 even if I wanted to, so
strong was the peer pressure and the general tendency). I happened to be passing out of Class 12 in
1995 when Mechanical Engineering was ruling the roost as a career of choice in this part of India.
So I wanted to be one. Of course, my father was an engineer too. The marks I scored in Class 12
were not good enough to land me a Mechanical Engg seat in a top-tier college in Pune. So I took
Electronics (choosing it over Computer Science) When I came into contact with Electronics, or
Engineering at large; I despised it. At least in the way in which it was taught to me, and the way in
which I was expected to prove my proficiency in it. By the time I passed out, it was amply clear to
me that I didnt want to excel in the technical stream. My classmates and peers by then had caught
a whiff of the MS in the US phenomena and were soaking in it (this coming down the years,
almost like tradition just like IIT entrance exams are part of tradition and folklore in some parts
of India and the IAS is, in Bihar, UP and elsewhere). Sensing that I needed some area to excel in, I
chose Management, reasoning that I had some skills that could be used in this field, that could set
me apart. So I tried for the IIMs in the India. By the time I had managed to clear an IIM entrance,
my world had opened up a bit more, and I wanted to do the US/Global MBA. No amount of
reasoning or explanation at that point in time, would have dissuaded me from doing it, so
consumed was I, by this idea. And mind, it was an idea, no more. It was only a projection of
something that I felt desirable on a virtual entity. I had projected this outside, onto an MBA. It
gave me pleasure to think about it.

To understand why this is an attraction or Manyata or akarshan, consider this I asked a young
engineer at my place of work what she would like to do in the next 4 years. She mentioned she
would like to do management. When asked why, she said because she was interested in it. When
asked what about management interested her, she hesitated, and then said nothing in particular,
just the interest. This interest, is no interest, it is an attraction, an akarshan. We get interested in
doing things that we know something about. Not things we have just heard about. That we are just
vaguely aware of. And the source for all of this is from the outside. In college, you are someone
forward thinking if you read journals and management/ business weeklies. We see (or are
shown) larger than life images of men who have made it. A big smiling face in front of the
impressive faade of a building. Mr XYZ made it to AAA it gloats. We hear about the magical
campuses at Ahmedabad and Powai. We see those dollar salaries $150,000 a year, 14 lakhs a
year. The attraction begins. The admission into an institute like that and the jobs after that become
something ethereal, stuff that dreams are made of. While after getting there, or even during the
experience one realizes that it is not what was imagined to be. Why are these people talking about
these salaries and these places of excellence? Because excellence has been a common goal for
mankind. More, because others are doing it. Other countries are. Which is why we have to harp
India this, and India that in the New Economy. Are there some assumptions behind this entire
set-up? One is definitely that to progress is equivalent to having a great economy. The
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assumption behind the economy is that higher per-capita income is good. The smart expert from
the mainstream will also state that this kind of economic growth and interlinking or Globalization
even augurs well for a democratic and free society, helps avoid wars and promote harmony. That
Development is akin to Freedom. For, isnt that the stated/unstated/ claimed goal of the entire
exercise? A prosperous, free, and happy world?
Which means we have to first understand what prosperity, freedom & happiness are. Because, it is
I who experience these things, while the economy and society is supposed to enable these for me.
Because, what would be the use of all the development and the progress, if at the end of the day, I
dont feel that way? When we say I dont feel that way, we mean human beings, people dont
feel that way? Which means will it possible for me to arrive at these conclusions from some
statistics? Like; Literacy rate 84%, per capita income Rs 100000, death rate ABC%, fertility rate
PQR%, gender ration MNR, so everything looks fine, people must be in a state of well being?
These are just numbers. The assumption is that if these statistics are good, things are automatically
okay. That there will be incremental progress. The West by and large, has achieved a lot of
things by now, things that we in India can only dream of achieving in the next 100 years or so. So,
is the West better off? In terms of the statistics and the quality of life, it seems so by the current
definition at least. From what we can see apparently, yes the clean roads, the governance, the
facilities, the wealth. So, are they prosperous, free and happy? I guess not, they seem to be
more like wealthy, dependent, and largely unhappy respectively.

1. We tried to become prosperous, ended up getting wealthy. We still dont fell prosperous.
2. We tried to become free, and now are more dependent on more things for our daily lives
3. Happiness is a relative term, but you can take a poll and check, as to how many in the
west & elsewhere are truly happy.

What then, is prosperity, freedom and happiness? This write-up does not claim to offer all the
solutions, (because offering solutions will be akin to another kind of manyata or Acceptance)
rather, it attempts to question commonly accepted notions and also hints at where the solution
might lie. After all, there is much we have to wade through. We have to start thinking, start with
the basics first. The answers will come.

Lets have an example of what freedom could mean in the mainstream. I quote from an article in
the Sunday Express newspaper today:
Whats the next big thing?
- By Leslie Walker, Arizona March 26. LA Times, Washington post
So guess which of the following is the next Big Thing?: A) Personal Air Mobility B) Commercial
Space Travel C) Tagging content on the Web D) Worker swarms that eat corporations E)
Machines that outthink humans F) All of the above. Bingo. The answer is F. At least, all were
among the contenders for the Next Big Thing status at the PC forum, an eclectic gathering of
more than 400 information technologies executives.this years event concluded with a dinner
speech by a NASA director who envisioned an aviation era dawning in which people travel in taxi
like air service in smaller planes and also pay to be whisked into outer space- talk intended to whet
the appetites of those staying for a special forum on commercial space travel and on-demand air
taxis.Personal air mobility is an ultimate expression of freedom, of liberty, declared Bruce
Holmes, a director at NASAs Langley Research Centre based at HamptonHolmes told the
technology industry that I can think of no better community poised to go after this opportunity
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than yours because of the their track record in developing personal computers that boost
individual productivity. ..Jerry Yang, co founder of Yahoo said the next important developments
online will involve social engineering, or shaping electronic communication in ways that help
people connect more easily to do new things.

Lets look at some of these statements: Point D) Worker swarms: this almost harks as something
close to a dramatic revolution that Marx spoke about - full of drama
E) Machines that outthink humans again, our preoccupation with intelligence, as though the
ability to think defines me, like there is nothing more to me
The fact that a NASA director was saying something he must be right!
On-demand air taxis - the ultimate expression of freedom and liberty this one goes back to the
age old romance man has had with flying...how he longed to spread his wings and fly...like
that bird..tell me, anyone who has traveled by an airplane was it the ultimate expression of
freedom and liberty? maybe you were excited the first time round, then maybe you like to watch
down on subsequent tripsbut is it the ultimate expression? Most people get dead bored in
airplanes they read a book or just sleep off. Or maybe is hang-gliding the ultimate expression?
And then PCs boosting productivity for what? Profits? We have explored thisand then the
talk of social engineering..there they are manufacturing virtual communities, it gets more and
more isolated..:

Thus,
Freedom means being able to travel from point A to point B when I wish
Freedom means being able to buy what I want, when I want
Freedom means being able to have as wide a choice in goods available as possible, i.e.
being spoilt for choice
Freedom means being able to pursue the kind of life I wish to (95% of times already
decided by society)
Freedom also means, in the event that I cannot do any of these things above for some
reason, to have the ability to access them to be empowered enough to get these things, if
I work hard, work properly

In India, trains are seldom on time. They are at times, 2-3 hours late, at others even late by a full
day!. We are used to it. If I reach the station and see that the train is late, I simply just hang
around, waiting for it to arrive. On the contrary, when I have the train always on time, I am too
used to this fact of not having to wait for the train. So, when the train is late, I am upset, I get
angry, restless. (The author does not advocate anything as right or wrong, nor is he saying trains
should be late, we have taken this example to study something else)
When my society is such that in every family, every teenager has a car, I have to get one for my
kids as well. Sure, it gives them the fun, the pleasure the freedom of driving the car. But, it
has made them & me dependent. If for some reason I cant buy a car, or dont want to buy one, my
kids dont understand. My society will label me as poor. My Freedom of choice has created a
dependency I am now a slave to the very thing that is supposed to give me freedom.
The freedom to consume; and that of choice, thereby increases my level of dependency. (A
colleague in the US complained the other day that his 6-year-old son refused to pass urine in his
air-conditioned and carpeted toilet because it had some drops of water on it. The kid called the loo
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dirty. The colleague then went on to describe what toilets could be like in Agra, where he grew
up.)
Its like that German guy who was at a loss with his electric brush on the Konkan beach, or the
other German guy whose been motorcycling in India since 14 years because the Western system
sucks, its too strict, people are too uptight more so in Germany, they have this thing for precision
and excellence. (This is not intended to be a polemic against the West. It just so happens that they
are a bit more messed up than we are, and we continue to use them as our guiding lights)

It is like you and me, when the lights go off after 7:00 PM. We are at a loss as to what to do. The
TV, the refrigerator, the ACs. The kids exams. We cant visualize anything without light or
electricity. Its a given, a dependency (The authors intention is not to advocate or prescribe that
we go back in time, to the good old days without electricity. We will only study the process of us
getting dependent, and explore what freedom might mean.)
What is happening, one can see, is that one set of things is being replaced with the other, but the
way I feel about them does not change. In fact, this freedom to consume and buy and shop starts
affecting other aspects of my life. To be able to do all this, I have to work a lot. I am busy; I dont
have time for my family. In fact, it rarely happens that all of us are at home at the same time! We
are each trying to get more, to explore our potentials, to progress; climb up the socio-
economic ladder. Looking for better prospects, I have to move to a different city. So now my
parents, my brother, me, we are all placed at different locations. So, I rarely meet them. To be able
to spend more time with them, I take the airplane to visit them. Airplane tickets are expensive. I
have to earn more, to be able to afford one flight ticket to & fro home, once a month. So I have to
work more. The point is, I was living with them in the first place. I left them, for the money, for
the growth. Im doing the very same things as before, only in more style now. Its a simple case
of my needs (expenses) rising to meet my income.
Statistically, I have greater number and variety of things, but in me, my feelings, there is no
difference. On the contrary, it may even be getting worse.

If this kind of choice and consumption leads to nothing but dependency; what then is
freedom? Freedom is being able to understand myself, my needs. It is to be able to understand
how things are. When I do that, I am not dependent on anything. It does not mean that I deny
something, but that I understand the whys and whats and live and be accordingly. An easy
example is food. We are dependent on food, in that we have to work hard to earn it. Too much of
it makes us overweight, we have problems. The wrong kind of food leads to health problems. We
are thus dependent on food; not free of it, by being able to consume fast foods on demand.
Traditionally, we would be told (classic Hindu/ Indian tradition) that we should then lead a life of
austerity, where we can overcome the needs of the body, because being with the body only leads
to suffering because of this dependency on food, and other such pains. So, there would be
various experiments to overcome this dependency on taste. Whereas, what we are saying here is
that food is required for the nourishment of the body, one should have food. When I understand
the needs of the body for nourishment and also completely understand my responsibility towards
keeping my body healthy, I start eating right. And it so happens that nourishing food is tasty, and
so I enjoy the taste as well. I thus, have nourishing food, but I am not dependent on it, I am not
tied to it, I wont sweat it out for the sake of taste only, or I wont go about losing my mood at
someone because food doesnt taste nice. (I will, note, thoroughly enjoy the taste of food. To
enjoy the taste of food is to feel prosperous; nature is prosperous). In that sense, I am now truly
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free, because I now understand food and what it means to me. This is Freedom. Not being able to
buy branded food in blue color packs with Kareena Kapoorspicture on it, when I want it, where I
want. And then fret that American or urban Indian teenagers are getting fat (and should so go join
a good gym; and so earn enough money to be able to afford one!)

Somebody who teaches Electronics and Telecommunication at an Engineering College told me
this is the first question he asks during his course: Assume there are 4 villages. The first one has
no TV, the second one has 1 TV, the third has 2 TVs and the 4
th
village has 1 TV per household. In which village do you think there would be maximum
communication between people?. The students answer Village 1 with no TV. I then ask them,
why then is it that you call TV communication technology when all it does is disrupt
communication? The idea here is not to say that TVs are bad. They are probably necessary, but
we havent yet understood what to use them for. Slaves, we blindly sit in front of what is rightly
called the idiot box and pay money to some cable channel to allow other people sell us stuff we
dont need, then get convinced that we really do need those new pair of jeans and go spend money
to buy it; and all along feeling good about ourselves for the smart buy made. Idiots?

The cheeky reader, at this stage might comment that the author writes because he has nothing
better to do, that talk does not get anyone anywhere, that we have to do things, that the emphasis
lies in action, in achievement, in the joy of working for something and finally getting it. Fair
enough, only before doing that, let us ask simple questions.


Would you do rather do something after knowing why it is you are doing it?
Would you rather know or not know?

Acceptance and Rejection
Even as we read this sentence, we are forming opinions, making judgments. As mentioned earlier,
there is the acceptance and the rejection of what is being said. There are broadly, 2 bases for this:

1. Earlier Information/ understanding (or lack of it)/ positions already taken/ not-taken/
prior Influences/ commonly held perceptions/ (pre) conditioning
If we go back to where we have written about human beings as we know them today being a
product of their circumstances, we see: That for some things, we do some thinking a). Based on
some external source of information, and then based on our own discrimination/leanings, take a
particular position. b). Then there are the things we take for a given, which we do not question, or
to question which it does not even occur to us like a stone falls down when left from a height
because of gravity. Point a). Above is with things like when we discuss war, economics, art,
whether something is good or bad, outcome of a cricket match, analysis of other sundry things,
etc. In each of these, what plays a role is the amount of information we have. For example, I might
have smarter things to say about the war on Iraq if I have read a bit about American Policy and the
geo-politics in the Middle East since the 1940s. I might have still smarter things to say if I also
know a bit about Islamic History and ancient Mesopotamia. Similarly for cricket, economics,
Indian Foreign Policy, or the effect of TV on the urban Indian.

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Point b), is harder to find and understand because by now, its almost part of us. There are
hundreds of things we have accepted since the time we were children, these have entered us
consciously or unconsciously. There are things like we should respect elders or every child
needs to go to school or competition is required and is beneficial or life is a struggle for
survival or if this is scientific, it must be true or there is virtue in accumulating wealth or the
learned man is the one to be looked up to (nowadays replaced by the successful entrepreneur
needs to be looked up to) or I should look good, dress-up or An Empty mind is the devils
workshop or people in XYZ country must be terrorists or India is a poor country and such.

Religion is a good example of how a Manyata/ acceptance / preconditioning can concretize inside
a human being without him really knowing about it. Assume I am a staunch follower of a religion.
When I see an equally staunch follower of another religion it seems he is just as convinced about
his faith as I am about mine. (If and when I compare the two, I might philosophize by saying that
all religions are equal, or I may take the other stance and try to show mine as being better off)
Lets concentrate on the formation of the faith itself. Since childhood, we are taken to a place of
worship, introduced to folklore, etc. These impressions start forming inside of us (They also lead
to different results in different people, we will leave that out for now). Now, you and me, we are a
product of what is called modernity. We speak the English language, we have a particular outlook
to life, we dress in a particular way, we have a set of aspirations, we want to marry particular
kinds of people. It is an age of science, of a lack of superstition, one of reason. One where we
question old suppositions, or at least we think we do so. We have been brought up in a setup like
this, and we can so take a more detached view of religions and old convictions than people
generations before were
able to do. (In fact, the ability to look beyond the obvious is one of the so-called prerequisites for
what is called genius a powerful mind accompanying it, of course.) So, when we look at 2
religious camps, totally lost in their religion and chants and fights around it, we fail to
comprehend; without knowing that the same thing has happened to us without us knowing about
it, in other areas of course like dressing and the sense of it, going to the movies, eating out,
etiquettes and the perceptions thereof, the ability to speak the English language flawlessly, football
craze, a particular kind of music, a lifestyle and a hundred and more other things. .

Someone I was talking to last evening mentioned how he simply loved reading the HINDU
Newspaper. And how hed believe everything that was being said in it, because of the aura
surrounding the paper and the fact that the writers were such accomplished people. He looked up
at sports personalities like Sachin Tendulkar, how they achieved things all the time, etc and the
way in which the paper eulogized them. Till he met the man himself and was disappointed. He
doesnt quite look up to the paper in quite the same way now. My father tells me his mother would
ask him to buy shirts of a particular make because she thought it was the newspaper that was
endorsing the ad. Influences galore, all around us. Advertising is one form of it only. (Look at
most ads always asking you to DO something like Talk for free or Roam like this or be a
King) or (always building up an image, something to aspire for) - we can understand this
phenomenon a bit better a while later in this write up. Slightly older or more discerning readers
will have noticed newer things in India like Valentines Day and how it seems to be the normal
course of affairs. We will avoid a discussion on whether people have a right to express their
emotions and love on a particular day, etc and focus on say the 16 year old girl I saw standing on
Valentines Day in an upmarket area of Pune City, with a cell phone in her hand, desperate for
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some company as defined by Valentines Day, completely lost in the entire setting, ready to do
anything, if only she got some company, because she felt so isolated and left out, so lonely. We
will also note here that we are not commenting on Morality or anything like it here, nor are we
stating as to whether something is Right or Wrong. Only trying to study influences and how they
become part of us without us realizing them. How they define and dictate our entire lives, without
us having not a clue about them. As far as this girl and the thousands of others like her were
concerned, Valentines Day was as much part of reality and experience as was her having a nose.

This can be extended to other examples like the average urban Indian married couple (of the New
Economy, modernitys children) lives a life wherein candle-lit dinners and outings are common,
visits to the multiplex are periodical, talk about your space and my rights is not uncommon. As
we can see, individualism in the human being is increasing with time. They will try to see whether
interests match, whether there is compatibility, the frequency, the gelling between the 2
would match. Only, the interests & personalities in both the life-mate seekers will have been
influenced, conditioned. So, another way of looking at it would be to say people right now look
for someone as conditioned, and in the same way as they are when looking for a life partner. We
dont have to be try too hard to point out where these trends are coming from. The same reasoning
(I.e. preconditioning) can be extended to explain all the noise about Globalization and
Privatization, where one camp keeps harping on the fact that selling things like water and air is
disgusting while the other, more practical camp sees it as the only viable option to make sure
people have access to clean, drinking water Privatize it, sell, it. The market will ensure that
things work well. Same for all those arguments on the state versus the market. The point is, people
in these 2 camps want different things, they view the world differently. And I would dare say, the
ones that say water should not be privatized have at least done some thinking, they at least have
some genuine impulses left, they probably understand that privatization of everything from water
to toilets is not a permanent solution.


2. Fear.
Arguments against what has been stated in Point 1 above could go like This does not sound like
me, I do things only after understanding them, because I really want to, as in; I want to watch
XYZ programme because I really want to, not because of some influence or some conditioning.
This is the very subtlety of the influence we are trying right now to unravel and understand. The
very things that seem absolutely part of the norm; part of me really, a genuine part of me
could actually be a concrete slab of conditioning sitting on us.
When one reads something, we probably sense sub-consciously that the implications of what is
being said might question our way of life. Or question what I have been doing this far. Not
wanting to disturb the seeming balance of my current way of doing things, I reject the proposition
outright. Lets assume I am 32 years old, have worked real hard, and now have a seemingly
successful career, a high paying job, maybe a wife and kids. Maybe I am satisfied, maybe I am not
there is still a void, something amiss. Reading something that might open my mind to something
hitherto unknown, but at the same time, making everything that I have done to date seem
meaningless can invoke a tremendous fear inside of me. I reject. Or I avoid. Similarly for other
convictions that people may have in areas like art, science, etc. If I have been a firm believer in a
particular way of doing things, and more, have taken pride in the way I have, I dont want to be
hearing things to the contrary. I reject propositions. I may also attach a certain pride to my current
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understanding of issues, or the ways in which I am already different from other people. When we
read, there is a subtle act of coercion already under way. We are trying to see what we agree with,
or what we cannot agree with. We are also trying to constantly check which parts that seem
familiar based on our prior information or understanding and then interpreting what is being said
against that prior understanding or information. For example: If I have already read a lot of, say
Western Philosophy, and have also started imagining that I approve of a particular mans
philosophy, I interpret the text in some way. If I have read Oriental Philosophy, the interpretation
would be quite different, depending again on whether this is coming from the Vedas or the Gita
or the Dyaneshwari, or Buddhism or Tao or some hybrid that I have formed in my head, and by
now have started believing is my own conviction. There will be a tendency to state I know this
already at something we are saying here. The author requests caution at this juncture.

The author at this point mentions these and other possibilities only because he has faced the same
hurdles. The author had some rather some strong (and what would then be called, educated)
convictions. And it has taken time and effort to understand this conditioning; with the process still
not complete. He is thankful for the process having begun, because he now understands the
importance and beauty of what he would have missed out on, had he not.
(All this talk about the higher things Philosophy and Art and Theories and Economics and
Anthropology and the like also reminds us that we have a need for differentiation. It is one of
the fundamental things that we start learning & accepting from the time we are born. Differentiate
between others and us. It is this need for differentiation, to feel special that drives people to get
hung up on some form of declared scholarly disposition. The need for differentiation also takes
place in other subtler ways, it can be observed during conversations and off hand remarks
amongst all classes and categories of people. The need to state, the need to prove, to establish
oneself in relation to the other, from a differentiation point of view. Be it in a drawing room, an
eclectic dinner discussion or the village choupal (square))

So, there are broadly these 2 bases for the acceptance or rejection of anything being proposed.
There will be a tremendous variation in the amount and nature of Manyata or Acceptance/
preconditioning in various people, with a handful having taken an educated decision to follow
the one or the other particular stream of thought. Often, this will also be because they then form
part of a specialist fraternity like I belong to the Math community, or even that I belong to
Cornell, or I belong to the Artists community or I am part of the Enfield Cub or I am member
of so & so society or I live in so and so locality. It adds significance over and beyond the
ordinary. The common refrain against what is being suggested here might be that the implications
seem to neglect and ignore human culture and society completely. In the sense that we are today
what we have become, over the past 5000 years at least. And that we are social animals and
hence will be vulnerable to external influences from society even that this is a necessary pre-
condition to current day man. Reams of literature have been written around settings placed in
society the way we have come to accept it. Human beings as Social Animals. We need to define
and understand what the human being is, in the first place.



Slotting of things into various disciplines, into various categories is something else we will need to
consider. A lot of people might call something philosophy what does this mean? For an
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individual, it is his very life Although a lot of people are still not even aware that they Are. As a
discipline, philosophy would be the study of works by philosophers, or people who called
themselves that. As an academic discipline, yes. When I live though, it is just me the living. I
live. Understanding myself and my life is the very basis (or basic thing) of my existence. Again,
not everyone might even be interested in a topic like this. For those of who have been to Bombay,
imagine taking the average rat racer out from a Bandra Kurla local and talking to him about these
things. This person will most likely not have a clue about what is being said. Hell give me a
quizzical look and keep rushing. Maybe he does not even know the possibility that he IS. His life
is governed by the need to survive in Mumbai, getting home on time, maybe catching the
required stuff on TV and providing for his family. Which is all okay, but does not encompass him
completely. There is a He, the one that looks around, that breathes in the local, that looks at the
advertisement, that votes, that fights, that has a per-capita income, that is happy or unhappy, that
consumes or has the ability to do so, that spends, that gets irritated with the humid heat. We are, as
of now, concerned with this entity. (Presumably, we are all striving for this, nations are,
businessmen are (remember, business is a force for good, or so they say at Harvard). Per capita
income and a booming economy. Environmental laws to protect nature. The peace, happiness and
prosperity adage. This is the underlying assumption. The ones our newspapers play tune to. The
one that we take to be the status quo, a given. That we should be as developed as so & so
country and have that much GDP The GDP to give the peace and everything else will
follow. Also provide the pride and standing for the nation. Only, what is being striven for might
lie outside the realm of these measures. Its actually quite difficult to see this, because everyone
around us is working under the same assumptions. So we have all the splash about our Forex
reserves and the great foodgrains in the FCI godowns, about the Ford Motor Factory at MM
Nagar and the price for MF Hussains in the Italian market today. That we will be in space soon
and have the Sukhois at long last. Lagaan at the Oscars. The Idea of India. A resurgent India,
as they put it. Admittedly, newspapers are probably the only space for public discourse available
to us in this connected society. That said; Newspapers operate within some limits. These could be
with respect to an unwillingness to question fundamental assumptions (as we are attempting right
now), and the fact that they exist on a commercial model. The paper needs to sell as well, which
means it needs to provide things that people consume quickly, that allow the paper to sell and
exist. This brings us to another question:- Is it the people that want some stuff like Page 3 news
and last page bare models, or is it actually being driven by the media? If we look at this, we see
that it is both, with a chicken and egg equation, only; the entire setup itself is so interlinked and
complicated that if one Newspaper stops doing this, then it perishes, because the competition is
still doing this. Its like War. Most of us know and admit war is stupid. A mankind that prides on
so many achievements still fights over areas of swamp and pockets of dirt. Of course, even if say
an entire nation realizes this, and withdraws its forces, theyd be in trouble because the other
country would still be at it. This typically leads to a race for arms like we have seen and
continue to do so. We can see Manyata or Acceptance quite clearly here. A defense strategist or
an army general will speak passionately about our need to have a better-equipped force. A peace
activist speaks to the contrary. Both parties think the other does not understand. One (the army
general/ defense strategist) sees the other as being out of touch with reality. The other (the peace
activist) sees it us as having to start somewhere. Both understand and approach the world in
different ways.


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To continue Fragmentation: Similarly for other disciplines. The current economic model we have
created and the society to a large extent based solely on it (for, what do a majority of humans try
to do? They try to get by with life, with survival, with continuous improvement of course)
requires that people in various occupations have highly specialized skills. So we have engineers,
doctors, carpenters, newsreaders, etc. This is a bane that is affecting the academic disciplines as
well. People have been lamenting that areas of study are getting more and more fragmented, that
they are, at times even losing touch with their every objectives.

Macroeconomics, microeconomics, African history, Celtic music, existentialism, atomic physics
and philosophy. A thousand subjects, a thousand departments and a thousand specialists. Each one
to his own. So some people study hard and become mechanical engineers and build great
machines. Great machines pollute, so we have the environment engineers come and clean it up for
you. Have the policy makers put in laws, and the next set come and undo them. Have the art
graduates come and make films. Then the economists come and tell you how to sell them sustain
the economy that can pay money to afford such leisure as art. Then a set of MBAs come and sell
the art for you. Then yell that art is getting commercialized

There is a need to take a holistic view of things. If you are educating me, please include everything
I will need over a lifetime. Tell me the most basic things about myself. Dont just teach me long
division, tell me I am now supposed to survive and throw me into the swamp. In fact, dont teach
me, enable me to learn, to understand. (I mean this in a different sense from knowing language
and information about the external world, so I am now empowered to seek all that I need
which may be a comment coming from the mainstream)

The Human Being Construction I & Body

Take the basics Why do you do something? Anything? Because you want to be contented or
happy the precise hindi term is sukh. But you just dont want to get it - just like that. You want
to know. You are inherently curious. You also have notions like youd rather work for it and then
achieve it. But at the end of the day, the achievement gives you sukh or contentment. It gives a
feeling of well-being. There could be other things bundled with this, the need for acceptance from
our fellow beings, the need for appreciation from them (Congratulatory mails on getting that
prize), etc.

Ask anyone to say something about himself or herself it will always be in relation to something
external. Usual responses will be like I like so & so thing or I work here & here or I like this
and that and these are my hobbies. A bit further, we might get answers like I am short
tempered, I am a romantic, or else wise. The second set of answers is closer to the person we are
currently concerned with. This is the person we shall now study and attempt to understand.
Because this is Me, You, Him, Her.

There is a basic assumption in the current world. This is what is called the Newtonian or
Darwinian view of the world. They state that man is a social animal. That there is a struggle for
survival. The law of natural selection. Survival of the fittest. They state that only that which can be
observed and proved is true. Only things material can be observed. Ask yourself this question. Do
I want to struggle to survive ? (If you answered Yes, ask yourself again. Really just ask yourself).
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Do I want to just survive? or Do I want something besides just surviving I am using words
here. Thru ought this write up, it is not the words that I wish to tell, but the meaning that I wish to
convey. A word like survival can mean multiple things to people. Survival can mean having
enough for basic physical needs or enough to live a particular quality of life or Life Style.
Note that the second definition is loaded with other aspects my quality of life is in relation to
other such qualities in society, & Styles however much I may think it is I who need it; the driving
factor for it is from the outside.

The theories state that I am a collection of genes and researches make new discoveries day on
day - that there is not 1 human genome but 2 in fact. A Quantum physicist - understands that
when we break down an atom, there is 99.9% of space in it; the remaining is matter carrying
energy & information. So when a quantum physicist looks at me or you, its likely he sees us
as full of space Do you think you are 98% space? No ..There is a distinct entity , that I call Me.
Its that entity that thinks, feels, loves, hates, wants attention, wants to know, is curious. Can I see
this entity? No, not in physical form at least. Vaguely, I can think of this entity as being
somewhere in my head. My Brain perhaps. When I look at it closely, I see that I am not my brain
either. This is because, I can think with my Brain, or think he is more intelligent because He has
more brains. I do get the feeling I am probably quite closely associated with my brain. I also see
that I have ability for recursive thought. As in, I can think about what I am thinking, and I can
think about the last thought that I was thinking - The very fact that I am able to write a sentence
like this, is proof of recursive thought.
This I is a distinct entity and needs to be understood. Something distinct from the body. For
example, I have no control over the fact that my body grows. Many of us would not have paid
such attention to our own selves, to such fine distinctions. Let us attempt. I have no control over
the fact that my hair grows. No control over what shape my foot takes. No control over how my
body digests food. No control over when my body will complete digesting food. No control over
the shape of my nose (ignore plastic surgery here, thats an external means, there is no intrinsic
mechanism by which you can will your nose into another shape) No way I can will my foot to stop
growing, or my hair to fall off. I see that I am distinct from my body. It is I who sees you (through
the eyes); I who gets angry, I who wants to get rich, I who wants to know, I who want to be CEO,
I who wants to make a movie, I who wants to feel happy. My body does not want these things.
When I am put to sleep by giving me some anesthetic, I dont feel pain. You can operate on my
body as you please. The body will not feel pain, it will not protest. You can abuse my body, it
wont feel hurt. This is because I am Unconscious. So this I can be called as Consciousness or
Chaitanya in Hindi. I see that this I is a distinct entity from the body, without which (as during
anesthesia) this entity called Me does not exist. There is just the body. When I look at it, I see that
my body has Life. My heart-beats, I am alive. When dead, neither am I around, nor is there life in
my Body. My Body is still around they burn it or bury it. In any case, it will decompose, just
like a fruit fallen off a tree when disconnected from it source of life will rot. My body rots as
well, when it ceases to have life. So, there is Jeevan or Life in my Body.

We are under a fantastic confusion right now, we keep focusing on our bodies and others bodies
all the while. There all the programmes now on finding the right mate on TV they have all
these gullible women come up and try to court this guy, and each one of them is eliminated one by
one to the viewer ship and bated breath of millions. Whom will Rob choose? Will it be Carol,
Sylvia, or Meg? Carol, Sylvia and Meg have turned out in their evening best, ensuring that they
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will get the attention they want. Rob looks sweet in his spotted shirt. The world awaits the verdict.
The couples look nice together. When Rob and Sylvia marry, they will realize that the spotted
shirt does not help solve problems, Megs great legs cant think much, Robs eyes cant tell him
what to do next with his career, meanwhile, they are straying about, because there are other
great legs out there, the pizza and canned cereal and the BMW arent much help, I still feel like
a dump. Meanwhile, our own Aparna and Ranjeet sit watching the programme, getting influenced
all the while. Presumably, Aparna will look for a strong but sweet Tim to get married to, while
Ranjeet will look for some Tina with great long hair. The focus largely on bodies only.

Lets take these lines a bit slowly. We are not going off our tops. For some of us who have been
already introduced to this distinction, this should be okay, for the rest, wed need to be a bit
careful. We are trying to understand ourselves as living entities a bit finer, than we are used to
before, so there is a possibility that some of what is being said might seem alarming. Also, some
may have done reading/ experimentation with higher forms of consciousness, etc. This could have
been through some meditation techniques or hallucinogens aka drugs. Some of what is being said
might sound familiar, I would ask you to look at it afresh. What we are attempting to do is
understand things by our observation. No esotericism or mysticism. Just observe& understand
things for yourself, and try to understand what is being proposed. It is important, that when we
state observe yourself, do it as a living entity. Not as some XYZ with ABC characteristics & PQR
amount of information. I.e. It will be required to strip oneself of all other influences and ways of
thought and approach, to consider ourselves at the very Basic Level



The World - Existence
When I look around, I see that there are other objects around me. These can be categorized as:

1. The Material Order Padarth Awastha
This is everything that does not grow. It consists of solids, liquids and gases. The Material Order
comprises of stones, mud, air, water, helium, mercury and the like. If we observe these set of
things, we see that they do not grow of their own accord, they only change form, over time. Ex:
Copper may get oxidized and turn green, a stone may get weather beaten, crystals may form,
diamonds from coal, etc. Changing form and composition only. In Hindi, this will be called the
Padarth Avastha.

2. The Plant Order Pran Awastha
Things in this category grow. They might change form as well, as a result of this growth.
Example: A seed may fall on the ground, start germinating, grow into a sapling, then get bigger,
all the while drawing nutrients from the soil and also recognizing its relationship with the Sun and
fulfilling it. (Recognize and Fulfil - in this case not meant in the sense we use it, as in
recognizing you as my long lost school friend, etc. If we consider it, we are used to using words
in a very loose fashion, without any precise meaning. From now on, every word being put down is
in a precise sense of the term, and the reader should try to get to this meaning). The plant also has
an inbuilt mechanism to propagate itself. It flowers, has seeds. The seeds in numerous plants are
also equipped with facilities to reach a wider area (they have small flaps, etc), or there are other
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mechanisms like cross-pollination. In Hindi, this is called the Pran Avastha. The plant does not
have an I, in that it cannot know and assume.

3. The Animal Order Jeev Awastha
Not only do Animals grow as in a small pup grows up to be a Dog, or a caterpillar into a
butterfly, but species in this category also have the will to survive. The Dog will protect its own
life, it will search for food. So will a fly, or a wasp, or an elephant or a dolphin or a moth. When
you try to kill any of these, they try to escape. They have the will to live. They also have the
ability to think. A leopard chasing a pack of deer will change course till it zeroes in on the
straggler in the pack. A dog will miss me when Im not around. We see that Animals also have
consciousness. We can give anesthesia to a dog and operate on its body, the dog wont feel a
thing, can be said to be Unconscious. This Consciousness is what we have defined as the I earlier.
Animals are a collection of a large variety of species and we can observe that they each have a
different brain capacity, as also differing faculties to think and reason. The I, as we have defined
it, is also different in each species. For example, a fly or a moth will not miss me (If I have been
having one for a pet) while a dog will. In this sense, various animals can be said to be in different
stages of evolution. Both in terms of their Is and their bodies. (Example, while both the Lion and
the jackal are 4 legged, the Lion has a different characteristic when compared to the jackal, we
refer to the Jackal as being clever, or the elephant as sensible or the dog as faithful) The Is in
animals also get used to some things depending on where they have been brought up. Big Cats
bred in captivity till they are too old do not know how to hunt. They get confused by sounds in the
jungle when released there after captivity. Whereas this is not so, when they grow up in the natural
surroundings. Animal channel buffs might have observed that animals also learn from their older
ones whilst young. The Male Giraffe will teach its young one to walk. The tiger will take the
kittens on a hunt; they will be introduced to chewing raw meat, etc. Dolphins, will exhibit
complex social behaviour, they will communicate. We see that this I in the Animal also adapts and
learns. It learns what is to be done, and how to survive. The I in the animal co-exists with the body
of the animal. Refer to the example of the unconscious dog given earlier.
When we see plants now, we see that this entity called the I or the Consciousness is missing in
plants. Plants cannot think, they do not have the will to survive,. The reader might quote examples
where Plants bend towards the sun, etc and use this as an example of them having the will to
survive. Such a reader is urged to get to the meaning of what is being said. The I entity is missing
in plants. The entity that wants to survive, that can thought of as something distinct from the body.
(Try killing a plant, and try killing any animal. The animal (in most higher forms, maybe not in
basic forms like found underwater) will try to get away, while the plant will stay there and get
cut). More, you can also look into a dogs eye, or a lions eye for that matter, and you (or your I)
does recognize that it is seeing a comparable entity, try looking at a plant on the other hand. Notice
the difference in the feeling that you have in both cases. People even talk to their dogs. There is a
band of people that believes plants have feelings. We will keep that on hold for now.
The Animal Order in hindi, is called the Jeev Awastha.

4. The Human Order Gyan Awastha
When I look at myself, I see that my body grows. like in plants, plain simple growth. The body
grown from when a child to a teenage to an adult to getting old. I see that I have the will survive
as well. I dont want to die. As discussed before, this is I who feel I dont want to die, not my
body. (Knock me unconscious and kill me, my body wont protest). So, I see that I co-exist with
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my body (I really cant think of myself as being without my body) and also that I have the will to
survive. Upto here, I seem similar to animals.

Characteristics of Me, of the I
The following characteristics are ways in which I am different from Animals (Or the human I is
different from that of the Animal I)

To Know
The distinction is that I (or the Human I) has a few other characteristics. I want to know. I am
curious. I want to understand myself, I want to understand you, I want to know whats happening
in the world, I want to know what nature is like and how it works, what the Solar System & the
Universe is like.

Happiness or Satisfaction or Contentment
I also need to feel happy or contended or satisfied. This is a need for sukh. We have defined
happiness as being in the state in which I want to be.

We can qualify this in a better way by saying:

The state/ situation in which I live, if there is harmony/ synergy in it, then I like to be in that state
or situation.
To be in a state of liking is happiness.
- if there is contradiction /opposition, then I dont like to be in that state .
To be in that state of un-liking is unhappiness.

I see that I try to do various things to be happy or satisfied. When I ask myself, I see that I have
this need to feel happy or contended all the time. There is no point in time when I willingly do not
feel the need to be contended or satisfied. This is a basic need that I have. This feeling of being
satisfied or happy that I have is also unlimited in quantity (we must not see happiness as laughter
<we use words far too loosely as of now, with no precise meaning>, rather it is a state of being).
There is no less happy or more satisfaction. Either you are happy/satisfied or you are not.
(Again, this might be contrary to our current notion, for example the reader might comment that he
is about 60% satisfied and was happier then than now so on and so forth).


Prosperity
I also see that I have a need to feel prosperous. Prosperity can be defined as the feeling of having
more than what I want. So, to feel prosperous, I need to first define how much I want. This is
where things get subjective. What is enough for me may not be so for you. This is because the
driving factors for what we want and how much we want vary. What I want is also to a large
extent dependent on things I have been used to. If I have been used to having a car since
childhood, it becomes difficult for me to live without one later on. Similarly for something as
basic as electricity. For example I once went on an outing to a fairly remote beach in the Konkan
region with a few Germans. The arrangements for staying were in thatched huts, and there was no
electricity or toilets. 2 of them had a major problem. One was at a loss as to how to brush his teeth
his electric brush was useless out there while the other was horrified at the prospect of having to
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do it in the open. The locals and myself used neem twigs for the teeth and settled comfortably
under a coconut grove for our ablutions.
If we look at it, these white folks were too used to somethings, that had become a given for them,
without which they were at a loss. In relation to that, we were under-developed (or had less) in
terms of physical facilities. But as far as we were concerned, with what we had been used to, we
were pretty fine. We also see that the locals dependency on these facilities were far lesser as what
it was for the white folks with the result that they needed less to have the same or even greater
level of satisfaction.

When we currently look at how much one wants, it is defined by the class of society one belongs
to, sometimes to things like how much our other relatives have, or our friends have. I.e. How
much I want is defined from the outside, or the major overriding factor in how much I should have
is decided from the outside. So, currently, I feel prosperous if the other thinks I have more than
what I want or if I think I have more than the other.
The other thinks the same, that he is prosperous if I think he has more than what he wants. Which
means, we are thus, going around in circles. This is also means that we have given control over
whether we feel prosperous or not into the others hands, into societies hands, and it is the same for
everyone else as well. I.e. For most people, how much they want to have is decided from the
outside. It also comes from prior conditioning. Example It is common with traditional Indian
women to possess jewellery. The man in such a house has to thus go to great extents to procure
enough so his wife can have her self respect. This is also to be seen on occasions like marriage.
Where people will use it as a means of exhibiting their status, their power. This is sometimes also
done under the garb of enjoying or expressing happiness.

We see here that the feeling of having more than what is required, is relative to how much is
required. Also, that things that are present around us since childhood / or things that we have been
too used to; cease to give us any pleasure or good feeling after a while. For example we have a
telephone at home. Being able to receive a call is part of the normal course of things for me, while
having a phone is a big deal for the man who needs to go out to the phone booth to make a call
till he ends up owning an instrument himself after which it is part of the normal scheme of things
for him as well - which means, the current way of approaching prosperity is incremental how
much I want is always in relation to what I have, which keeps changing. I have to keep changing
how much I have (or can have) in order to get richer, or be more developed or progress. Since
what and how much I want keeps changing, I can never decide on how much I want. Which
means I cant have more than what I want; or never know when I do end up having more than
what I want. Which, by our definition means that I never feel prosperous. Which is what people
are doing right now busy trying to accumulate wealth without feeling prosperous. What comes
out from this is that we have confused ourselves as nothing but being our body. The requirements
of the I are very different from that of the body: What we currently do is try to satisfy the need of
the I by doing things to the body. What we are currently educated to believe is that one can get
satisfaction by doing things to material goods be it consuming it (consumerism), or studying it
(physical/chemical research), both of which ignore the I, me, that is. In other words, we have been
aiming all our energies so far at all the wrong places.

An important aspect in this whole issue about prosperity is that what I want is also driven by other
things like the need to establish myself as belonging to a particular class in society, sometimes
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to prove a point to someone or even to myself (I might have been made fun of, and to regain my
self-respect, I might get back at my neighbor by building a larger house) or such. When one
looks at self-respect, it by definition is my respect for myself. What happens when we try to gain
respect by say dressing in a particular way, or having a great car, or display of jewellery, or
buying something of some make, etc is that we place our respect in the hands of the other. No
matter what we do with some external entity in order to gain (self)-respect, the other can always
deny us that. Hence, my driving a Mercedes may not grant me the self-respect if the person
evaluating me does not know the difference between my car and the Ambassador, or more still
chooses to disrespect me in spite of knowing it. (It will be argued that people buy a Mercedes or
a Lexus for reasons other than just respect we can take these questions later, as required). There
is this advertisement I saw the other day by HDFC bank. It shows a young dashing lady smiling
back at you. The caption reads Retire with Self Respect they are selling a pension policy. The
assumption here is that one cannot have self-respect unless they have a pension (it is targeted at
the younger generation salaried class <hence the photo of a young woman, rather than a bearded
man>, mostly, not at that rich industrialist, he doesnt need pension).

While it will be fair to state that given the current state of affairs in society having a secure
income in old age is a necessity; we should look at the way in which the advertisement is
reinforcing this belief, - note that the ad asks you do something - Retire it says.

Attention
I have a need for attention. This is when I am interacting with other human beings. When we
speak ; I expect that you pay attention to what I am saying all the time. I do not like it when you
lose attention, or yawn or get bored. Ex: When we chat at home, my father, brother and me are
talking about some family matter, or just gossiping. My mother tries to intervene and say
something on multiple occasions. The 3 men continue to have their way and talk, till my mother
has to finally exclaim and state that she should be given a chance to speak, to be heard. I want to
be heard, I want this attention. This need for attention is continuous, and it is, once again not
quantifiable. I either have attention or dont, I cant have less or more of attention (Again, the
reader might equate this with something like media coverage: - Being spoken about 3 times a
week and 5 times in a week is different degrees of attention (from society)) As mentioned earlier,
we are using words in a very precise sense. Attention in our case is in an inter-personal
conversation or exchange. As of now, we even need attention when we are not around: - my
parents visit the local temple everyday. When on someday my father does not go, but my mother
does, my father wants to know from my mother whether anyone asked for him. The point is, he is
not even present at the temple. What pleasure would he got by knowing that someone asked for
him? The act of the person asking about my father itself is immaterial, it is my father getting to
know about it that we have to consider. Similarly, people will get angry when not enquired for
properly at weddings, this to be typically found in more traditional societies and setups where
people have been conditioned to expect this kind of behaviour. The need for attention can also be
juxtaposed in a very complex way with what we currently loosely call as respect for example,
one might get angry that the Guard did not stand-up for you, or that the maidservant has the
audacity to argue back, and such. Our conditioning has made us to accept these things, to
demand this attention, demand what we currently term as respect and when we look at our
state of minds closely, we see that in such situations, we are not comfortable, not at ease. I.e. I can
loose my cool because a guard or maidservant did not behave in the way I expected them to do so.
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Odd isnt it, that my peace, my well being should be in the hands of the guard or the maidservant
or the shopkeeper? And all that we need is to have our presence acknowledged. Like when
someone walks into a room, and recognizes you, we expect some kind of response acknowledging
our presence when not done, we get angry, or call this person ill mannered or proud or
egoistic or a snob.

It might be argued that such behaviour are social traits and then point to animals. What we see in
animals is ok, but why are we trying to explain humans by studying animals? Ask yourself. And
when we really do check (without any pre conditioning) what is readily acceptable / sehaj swikrut
to us (* sehaj swikrut readily acceptable explained later in this note); we see that we dont
want all of this. Only when operating from within the framework of the preconditioning, do we
end up thinking and behaving in commonly found ways like we have described above. Below all
that complex behaviour is a need for attention, this is an inherent need of the human being, a need
of the human I, and it is present in all human beings, it is a property of the fact that one is a human
being. Nothing can be done about it. When not understood, it leads to a myriad of behavioural
patterns. None of which we know how to handle, and so in our helplessness, get angry about. In
fact, all the characteristics of the I that we are laying down here are such that, when not
understood, or acknowledged, there is an immediate feeling of discomfort, that just naturally
comes up, about which nothing can be done i.e. when when does not get sukh, or feels
prosperous, or does not get attention, or respect.. and so on.





Respect
I have a need for respect. By respect I mean right evaluation. One of 3 things happen in common
life the way we know it:
1. Under-evaluation: You will evaluate me for something, to a degree less than what I think it
is. I.e when you call me a good for nothing, I dont like it. I know I am good for
something.
2. Over Evaluation: This is when you evaluate me to a degree more than what I think I
deserve. This is when you call me the smartest guy around I know I am smart, but
probably not what you are making of it. I then have to blush and ask that you not do this,
that you have overdone this (In Hindi, youd say Ped pe math chadahh yaar). If you
look at it closely, I am actually uncomfortable when you are over doing the praise. (Of
course, we now have cases where people want to be praised more and more what is
called boosting the ego, and the need for it, this can be dealt with later, its reasons can be
explained)
3. Evaluation for the wrong thing: This is when I am not evaluated for what I am. When you
call me an ass or its equivalent or something like that. I know I am quite different from an
ass. I dont like this

This evaluation also takes place within the self. When we look at the phenomenon currently called
as the Ego, it is nothing but an over evaluation of oneself, while depression is nothing but under
evaluating oneself, and as a result, feeling in the dumps. In the current scenario, both these
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things being over egoistic and getting depressed are driven by external conditioning and
influences. For example, I may be highly egoistic if I have come first in class, or be the poster
boy in my organization or in the painting fraternity and get into a depression if I am not
doing well, or if circumstances are not favouring me, if I am not doing as well as I would have
liked to, as defined by others, that is if others are not thinking I am doing as well as I should be..
and so forth.its all messed up, in short. How many times have I heard from my friends doing
their MS in the US that the Chinese have no soul, they work like dogs, they have no lifeand so
forth.. (The Chinese in this case, having accepted that have to work hard and excel no matter
what..)..how many times I have known people who got depressed because they are not doing
well; in some cases this state of being prolonging for a few years even..how many engineers out
there getting frustrated because they do not have a job and feeling low it is a mixture of
conditioning and of incorrect evaluation. This reminds me, we so often see posters of successful
people .. that smiling beard in an Armani standing next to a Porsche, or that grinning face with the
sitarall giving us an image of greatness, of something to aspire for..how often do these posters
talk about the ruined & confused life behind that photograph? How many marriages gone astray?
How many neglected children? Are these chaps happy? Isnt that what they want out of all this?
And of they arent getting happier, why are doing this? Why are we all stuck with that shining
image? Why are we all comparing? Why are we getting depressed? How many of us are getting
depressed, getting panic attacks, because we cant do well? How many of us are losing
confidence in ourselves.? How many.
How many students out there undergoing class 10 and class 12 pressures those crucial years;
how many fretting at not having got that engineering degree? how many having completed a
degree and being unemployed want an MBA, How many after having got that MBA and then
having made it, realizing now that having made it is not what they had imagined it to be, not the
way it looked on paper, that they in fact have to now aim higher and have a strained personal life
with it, or something else wrong, that the average state of being has not changed after all the
seeming success? How many striving to establish themselves in not so common professions like
journalism and the like, and then feeling low at the seeming faade of the whole thing? At
being unable to make it?

When I look at myself in relation to other human beings, I see that I am inextricably connected
to each one of them. Or, that I am related to each one of them (Caution with the meaning of the
words..). Lets assume you are sitting in a restaurant. If another human being comes and sits
opposite you on the same table, you cant be not conscious of him. You are aware that there is a
human being sitting opposite you. You may choose to either interact with him or choose not to;
but there is no way in which you can deny the fact that you are conscious of his presence- it is a
given, you cant do anything about this fact. In this sense, we are related to all other human
beings. Given a chance to interact with someone, anyone, I choose or desire to do this interaction
in a mutually fulfilling manner, rather than not. Of course, this interacting in a mutually fulfilling
manner (or a pleasant manner) may or may not be always possible; we can study reasons for this
later. Its like being in a Bombay local or a Madras bus. You can curse that thing rubbing against
you in the sweat, you might despise it, you cannot not be conscious of it. And given a chance, you
would rather not wish it any harm.

* If we look at the need for Attention and Respect (when compared to the need for Knowledge or
the need for Happiness/satisfaction/contentment/sukh) we see that they are in relation to the other.
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The other here is the other human being or the other I. And we see that both these things (in life as
we know it today) are a function of the particular relation we have with the individual in question
and the nature of the conversation at that point in time. Assume my father calls me either a good
for nothing or an ass. Because it is my father saying it, chances are, I dont mind it. Because, I
know he does not wish me ill, especially when it is just part of the usual routine at home. When
he is angry and says the same things, these very words You are good for nothing or You are an
ass sting me. I get angry, I retaliate, because of the fact that he is angry, I probably
subconsciously doubt his intentions now. Or I might not retaliate, because he is my father (&
hence, in the current scheme of things I may respect him, or even be afraid of him)
When someone outside like a stranger calls me anything like that, I lose my temper. There are
no exceptions here. Or I dont like it, and then may choose not to retaliate to it.
In some cases some people might be more understanding and may hence ignore the stranger. I
also understand that Anger is a state of helplessness. I dont like getting angry. I get angry when I
am helpless about a situation I am in, when I cant find a resolution for it. As a result, I get angry
with everything from my Computer to my wife to President Bush to Laloo to the man on the street
to my punctured motorcycle tire. I get angry when I feel the other does not understand as I do or
at own myself when I have done something I now realize I shouldnt have done. In the case of
getting angry with the punctured motorcycle tire of course, it is funny to get angry, it is obviously
nobodies fault. For this, we will see what it is to understand and what needs to be understood, and
also see why it is that the other does not understand i.e. we can study the cause for anger.

An important thing to consider at this stage is Awareness. An awareness of the self. (This has,
already been explored by various schools of thought and other techniques for meditation).
Awareness can be about various things breathing, thoughts, bodily functions, etc. For example
there are often times when we day dream where our thoughts run away, without even us
knowing about it. (like waiting at the signal absent-mindedly), or sitting in a classroom and not
paying attention. (This is when people comment that we are physically present but mentally not
there). Lack of awareness can be something very subtle. As in, one is walking and lost in thought
we end up walking into a wall, or hitting something because our thoughts are elsewhere. We
will not dwell much on awareness here, since it will take far too much time, and there are various
aspects to it; it has been mentioned here since it is an important aspect of what we are attempting
to study.

Since we have been discussing the I, it is worth noting that we currently try to communicate, we
just look at people and speak. What we currently call as communication is throwing words in the
air. We think of something to say, and just put it out in the general direction in which the person is
standing, with or without making eye contact. This is because we see the person as being the same
as his or her body. Lets take this a bit slowly and take a refresher: We have seen that there is a
distinct entity, the I in us. About this, there can be no doubt. We also see that this I (that thinks,
feels, hates, loves, wants) is in conjunction with the body, co-exists with the body, recognizes the
body, but is distinct from the body. I can see my hands, my feet, my eyes, my hair. I have no
control over the growth of these things. But I can control their movements. My hand, for example
cannot move without my willing it. My hand, or my feet, or anything else in me, always only
move with my consent. Similarly for breath. Once I have decided to breathe, this function
continues, whether or not I think about it. I do not have to consciously think about breathing or
will it all times, like I might have to, every time I decide to run, in that I have to willingly move
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my feet to run. We can also see that I can stop my breath when I want to, (of course, after a while
the urgency of the signals from the body due to us holding our breath force us to start breathing
again we have the need and the will to survive, remember). We have seen that we cannot
visualize the presence of this I without the body.

When we study any person at the level of the I (or as an I co-existing with a body as we have seen
above), we understand that this I is no different from ours. All human Is (or; humans if you will)
have the need to know, they have the need for sukh or happiness, the need to feel prosperous, need
for attention & respect. We see that this is common for all Human Is. When we realize and
understand this, we start behaving in a way that complements this understanding, we start
addressing the I in the other and not just talk with the person like they are nothing but their body
(like just looking at someones shoulder and talking to him or looking at his nose and talking to
him and expecting him to understand. Will the shoulder or the nose understand?. Who understands
what is being said? Is it you, or your eyes? ).
For people not used to concept of the I as a distinct entity, it might take a while for this to dawn on
us. The idea or notion that we are nothing but our bodies has been fed into us since childhood
consciously or unconsciously. Nobody has told us about this before. It hasnt come to us through
our education, from our parents, from society, any other form of influence. When we really look at
it with some attention, and in some detail, the concept of the I and the body becomes quite clear.
In fact, when these very statements were first said to me, I couldnt make anything of it. It sounded
preposterous to me. It took a while for me to come to grips with the full import of what was being
said, to realize it, to understand it. When we look at Science and its approach to the human being,
we are told that we are a collection of genes, DNA, and cells. That this defines us. Am I just
genes? When I observe myself and notice my thoughts, my jealousy, my needs, desires, my need to
know, to get rich, to work, the need for attention, for respect etc I see that I can identify myself as
a distinct entity. Genes and DNA do play a role in defining our physical characteristics, as in we
have a tendency to take in after our parents, etc. I am more that just genes, flesh and intelligence.
I am more than just brains, you cant define me or explain to me how I am on the basis of
intelligence or brains alone.
As mentioned elsewhere there are other things we can study as in when we are under anesthesia,
or that 98% of our cells change in a years time, etc. This is something we have never paid
attention to since childhood. Our efforts (even in education) have been focused on getting in
information, in proving ourselves, in preparing ourselves for life without even looking at the
most basic things about ourselves, of what, how we are.

We will assume that the concept of the I and the body is by now clear. When we look at the needs
of the I (feel prosperous, feel happy, for attention, respect) as given above: we see that they are
continuous in time and not quantifiable. The needs of the body, on the other hand are limited in
quantity and in time. For ex: We feel hungry for a specific period of time only, and, hunger can be
satisfied only with a limited quantity of food while on the other hand I want respect continuously,
and it is not quantifiable

Therefore we see that:

Needs of I Body

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Time ---- Continuous in Time Not continuous in Time
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quantity ---- > Unlimited in Quantity Limited in Quantity


* We can now see that
a) We are currently trying to satisfy a need of the I by doing something to the body;
b) That while the I needs things continuously, anything we do to/with the body is by nature
short-lived; I.e. Not continuous and hence does not solve the purpose
c) The needs of the I are not quantifiable, while we currently do things to the body, which are
quantifiable as in a comfortable car, etc. which therefore will not satisfy the need of the I
which is unquantifiable
d) We currently do not understand/address the I at all. All our efforts and energies are put
into making things more comfortable for the body.



When I look around and see the world, nature, the universe, I see that they exist in their own right,
and that I am the observer. I look at them, study them and interpret them. For example, when
someone on TV states there is struggle for survival in nature it is a human interpretation of some
activity taking place in nature. As for as the animals are concerned, we do not know whether there
is a struggle for survival, we assume it is. Similarly, when we see a deer being killed by a tiger, we
tend to sympathize with the deer, and also conclude that nature is cruel in its deeds. The notion of
cruelty, of sympathy, of what is right and what is wrong is entirely human. To be able to study and
understand the human being, that is myself, I must understand nature and existence. Why?
Because I am a product of evolution, of nature & existence. (As in, we evolved over a period of
time) [To be able to consider this, we should go back to the comment that was made earlier on the
time-spaces we inhabit currently for example, if I have been spending all my time in the city,
wondering what to do about my job or how to do it, looking up the weekend movie list, catching
the odd cricket match, getting into the periodic conversation about world affairs and tax reform,
meeting up with friends, taking care of the childrens school admissions, discussing corruption
and need for better governance, it takes me a while to pan to the time-space that we are currently
trying to address]. Look outside. At the sun. The earth is at just the right distance from the sun.
The earth rotates, we have day and night. The earth revolves. There is the ozone layer to protect
us. Breathable air exists on earth. All living things need this air (underwater exceptions perhaps).
Water is used by all living things. Water exists on earth. Conditions on earth are perfect for life.
Life evolved. There was the physical order, then the plant order, the animal order and the human
order. There is a cycle in nature, a balance that made it intrinsically sustaining, for it to be able to
retain its vitality. For example - leaves from trees fall off and then decay and form manure in the
soil, enriching it. It could have been possible that the leaves have been made of some non-
decomposable or non-bio-degradable substance. Living on earth would then have been difficult,
because we would by now be sitting on kilometers of non-decomposed leaves (accumulated over
the centuries). The leaf problem would have been the biggest problem, bigger than even the plastic
problem of today. This is not so, the inbuilt mechanism in nature takes care of its sustenance, its
own sustainability. Human beings, do not have the onerous task of going about doing something to
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sustain nature. We have been saved the onerous task of sustaining nature, it is self sustaining. All
we need to do it is leave it alone.

Numerous such examples can be taken to show how nature is balanced- within itself, in numerous
stupendous ways. The food chain for example: Everyone gets to eat. Although the killing that
needs to take place in the food chain would be problematic (from the human viewpoint, since he
would call it not fair on natures part. That said, look at the human: - he knows and understands
that he does not like to kill another human being, no human likes doing this, no matter who the
entity being killed is. In spite of this, the human kills his own, while the animal does not know
simply because it does not have the faculty to know, it does not cringe when killing the other, like
a human will, irrespective of who that human is - Rambo or a great cop). Where nature loses its
balance, it tries to take corrective measures to regain this balance. As in extra heat coming out
via a volcano, earthquakes, etc (which currently in human terms & interpretation we call as
destructive). The continuous emphasis on the human being seen in isolation over the years has
pushed nature into the background. Nature is around for our purposes only or so, as stated by
the proponents of modern day economics. The attitude towards natural phenomenon that mind,
cannot, and will never be stopped by any human being should be looked at to understand the
degree to which we have created a human centric vision/ view/ understanding of life. We live in a
nice house by the lake, there are plenty of birds visiting us. My mother saw this bird the
common grey hornbill, an elegant flyer the other day. The bird took off, and we got to see it from
underneath, up close. My mother remarked it flies like a plane! The point is, the plane flies (or
tries to fly) like a bird, not the other way round. Humans invented planes after looking at birds, not
that birds learnt to fly from us.

There are futile discussions surrounding the weather for example. We do know, that for the British
it is a cultural phenomenon, for the rest its just like that. So, there will be a discussion on how it
shouldnt have rained the other day, because the cricket match got washed away as though the
rain comes keeping in mind a cricket match, or that rains should be around when we want them to
be so this of course, is a harmless example, but it is an indicator of how ridiculously divorced we
are from the very basic conditions of our existence, of the fact that we are even alive, and can live.
(In the case of rains and the cricket match, it is also an indicator of how we want things on demand
; burger on demand, happiness on demand, travel on demand, entertainment on demand and so
forth). There is no you and I if there is no rain. Try saying that to someone from New York. Hed
probably even comment: it doesnt matter, I get piped water. Living within an isolated set-up, in
all the rap music and the sky scrapers and terrific night life, the most basic things about our
living get pushed into the background. How many of us in the cities even bother about the
monsoon rains in India? That the farmer will suffer is, of course not the point. It doesnt make any
difference to us, because all you need is a wad of notes which can buy the grain. What we are
trying to see here is the isolated view we have of ourselves, restricted to the various clusters of
activity around us. Why should you understand nature or existence at all? How does it matter?
Well, because it is the basis for your existence. No nature, no you. The smart Alec might comment
that this is not likely to happen within his lifetime. Fair. Unless we understand nature and
existence (and through that understand ourselves) we wont know the most basic things about
ourselves, will continue to live like we are. A number of us would be quite okay with the current
state of affairs in their lives. These people should answer whether they would like to be content at
all times, and whether they are able to do so right now. The ones that are quite deep into
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something like a career or a scientific endeavor, or some kind of artistic activity or specific
way of life might want to start understanding whether they have an I and as to which part of their
current convictions is coming from the outside, and whether they have been able to find a
resolution for themselves up to now.

(At this stage, we have probably moved quite away from the usual spaces which people inhabit.
I.e. The reader might find it difficult to identify with what is being said. All I can say to this is that
were this piece have been given to me about 2 years ago, I should have put it aside, or decided
that all this was none of my concern or that this is far too obscure..so consumed was I by all that I
was concerned with at that point in time like a horse with blinds, perhaps).
When we see nature thus, we see that there is an inherent balance, or a harmony in it. We can see
that all species other than human being play their role in such a way that nature itself is not
harmed. All other species (plants, animals) also seem to have a definiteness of character, in that
they are resolved. I know of someone who is probably quite fed up with herself in that she is
tired of coming to terms with herself and what she should be doing. She told me she wish she had
been an bird, so she could just go about her business, without all the noise in her right now.
Consider this. We are different from birds, I.e. animals. We have the need to know, the need to be
happy, the need for attention, etc. We also have a brain that is commensurate with the enhanced
characteristics of the human I in that we have a fantastic ability to think, reason, for logic,
analysis, creativity. Being a human and wanting to be a birds would be akin to wishing to reduce
the level of our Is and our brains (As in Jack Londons books he eulogized the sureness in the
animals step, the fact that it was never confused, always knew what to do so many, over time
have tried living life in the jungle to be able to get a taste of this, thinking all the while that they
could be like animals to live with nature). Which is not possible. What is required, therefore is to
resolve the human being I.e. to come to an understanding by means of which all our questions
are answered, all our problems are solved. Look at the human. In all the species around in him,
in all the life forms and the physical forms, the human is the only one who is unsure. He is always
in two or more minds. He is constantly misunderstanding; he is constantly trying to correct
himself, to aspire for more, to find something that will put him at ease. There are so many
complications high achievers visiting ashrams for peace, intelligent scientists having ruined
personal lives, getting rabidly jealous, artists wishing for immortality (what a desire, to be
remembered even after I am dead in current form!,.. it is nothing but an enhanced need for
attention with the assumption that greatness lies in there). We see that the human has not been
able to understand himself as a living entity that thinks, breathes, eats, thinks, desires, and wants.
Hence, he has busied himself with various things the latest being the quest to better his physical
comfort level, to have more facilities to do various things, for growth in the material order, to
consume more, to able to enjoy more, experience more. Since the Industrial Revolution, the
level of destruction of natural resources in the world has been alarming. During the past 5 decades,
this has reached incredible levels with talk now of us probably finishing ourselves one day, air
quality falling down, pollution, species getting destroyed, etc. Conservation efforts are on; Global
temperatures are increasing, droughts in Australia, Cyclones in California. Environmentalists and
activists are fighting tooth and nail with the state and with corporations. Policies are being
enforced, Euro 2, Euro 3 norms. Consumption though, keeps increasing. Driving the whole thing
is an economic model complex and interlinked with peoples and countries fortunes entwined. A
Model focusing on the production and consumption of physical goods. Vehicles sold per quarter,
steel production increase, increased spending and investor confidence, the stock markets. Its like
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the horse with the blind folds. Till we are in it, we cant see what is happening. It is like the NYSE
stock trader being interviewed. When asked what was the reaction when Sep 11 happened, he said
everyone on the floor started worrying about the stock price. There was a craze to sell. It was only
later that the true magnitude (physical and psychological) of what had happened dawned on them.
And they wondered what it was that prevented them from seeing the disaster; the thousands killed,
and instead made them focus on the Index. The human, thus, by virtue of not having resolved
himself is seemingly going haywire, with no idea whatsoever of where and when to stop. When
you now look at the other things around us in nature, we see that the human alone is in trouble
and as a result is threatening the rest of the species and the earth as well. Its no so much about the
earth, but about taking care of the very thing that sustains us. Only an utterly stupid man will
behave in a way so as to start breaking the very house in which he lives. And we dont like being
called stupid. When we look at nature and existence, we see that amongst all the species, it is the
human being alone that is the observer of nature. He is the one who understands it, wants to do so,
that finds it beautiful, enjoys the beauty, the sublimity. The other species go about their business
be it a dog, or a rat or a butterfly or a sea horse or an elephant or a dolphin. The human alone has
the power to change his surroundings (look at them blasts to bring down buildings, the power
cutters slicing through lush Amazon rainforests (for Forex, of course), chopping the banyans on
the Pune Nashik highway for Vajpayees dream road project, destroying thousands of acres of
forest and uprooting hundreds of villages for the great big dams, for a resurgent India). The human
alone, in the whole of existence is the Doer. He does things. He is the seer. He sees the entire
world, the whole of existence. He is the enjoyer he alone marvels at existence. I.e. I am the doer,
the seer and the enjoyer.

(Confusion: People currently think we are animals with greater faculty:- There was somebody
in my office who said the other day that he was nothing but an animal with greater faculty. In view
of what we have been discussing above, this is a correct statement. In some sense only. What we
do currently is equate everything we do with animals the need for physical pleasure has
acquired the term animal instinct and plenty of things built on this. There is a vague
understanding that we are social and we see that animals are social as well. A human being is
distinctly different from the Animal, both in terms of his I and his Body (which is quite evident))

It is possible, therefore to conclude from the earlier paragraphs that every entity in existence
except the human being seems to have been resolved. We have also discussed the reason for this
(in vague terms, the greater faculties with which we are gifted, physically, our brains and our Is
) the confusion that the body is the only thing characterizing the human being, The failure to
realize the Human I and its characteristics, to clearly elucidate the needs of the human, to realize
& understand that there is harmony in nature, that there is co-existence in existence and all the
human has to do is understand himself and align himself with this harmony. (Guess this is starting
to sound too vague now :-) ). If we look at the process of evolution, we see that plants have a
mechanism to propagate themselves. The flower, seed. The seed somehow gets to the oil,
germinates, takes root, forms another plant. Animals propagate themselves. They either have eggs
or give birth to young ones, and produce more of their own. Humans too want to propagate
themselves. Beyond just wanting to propagate themselves, humans want also want to progress.
They want to understand things. The I wants to know, to understand. With this understanding, it
wants to live, live with sukh or happiness, it also wants to propagate this understanding. One sees
that in nature, various entities propagate them selves, that as nature evolves, higher beings are
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created. With the human, this task seems to have been accomplished. The Human is capable of
understanding himself, the things around him, is able to think of a society, wants to live together
in peace and harmony, he can understand the whole of existence, he can also form a tradition, a
parampara for this understanding. This is human progress. Ofcourse, there are other things like
being able to work with the physical order around him to achieve certain goals like remote
communication, transport, housing, other required implements, etc. (Notice that what we are
concerned with as of now is only what was mentioned in the last sentence working with physical
objects inventions, technology, etc there is absolutely zero emphasis on the human himself, only
on the tools and implements he uses, the physical objects he comes in contact with, in other words,
we are currently only concerned with a fraction of our level of existence) In Hindi, this process of
wanting to propagate, to evolve, would be said to be Jeevan Apne aap ko Pramanith karna
chahaatha hain.

<it may be commented here that some of things we are mentioning are the most basic, connected
to our very existence. Yet, the lives we inhabit do not concern themselves with any of these, life is
spent trying to catch the 6:00 PM shuttle back home, of trying to repay that loan, get that
promotion, have that holiday, etc. One can see how easy it is to get lost in the myriad of things we
have around us, to be totally clueless about the larger picture, about the very basics of my being,
of mine own existence>

Even as I re-read the words that I have written myself, I see the various ways in which it can be
interpreted, in which it can be misunderstood compared to the meaning which I wish to convey.
As in, this could seem familiar, it could appear to be a religious text of sorts, it could appear to
be part of some sect or cult, maybe the reader is already part of some such thing, maybe not. Or,
as mentioned earlier, it could seem obscure, or something not of everyones concern. We
mentioned slotting of disciplines a while earlier. On the same note, we have also slotted people.
We judge them, never evaluate them. We call someone philosophically inclined, someone an F1
buff, someone an artist. While basic if it may be called; temperaments (we shall see this later..)
can be different, in terms of the I, it is easy to see that people are similar, humans are built the
same way. There are of course, variations in the ways in which we express ourselves. Someone
with the same understanding as I may choose to express the contents of this not in a different
way than I am right now.


Delusion, Self- Delusion and Ready Acceptance

It is important to understand ways in which people will receive a write-up like this. It, is full of
suggestions, it aims to point the reader to somethings, draw his attention to a few things hitherto
not considered, earlier dismissed, to place some propositions in front of the reader and enable him
to consider them without bias, evaluate afresh, without aid to earlier perceptions, or prior
convictions, things read, said and assumed. The authors aim is to enable the reader to be able to do
this by referring to his inner core (what we have shown as the Core I), to ask himself these
questions genuinely, stripped off the other conceptions that he has.

This is easier said than done, the author speaks of this from his own experience with this process.
There are a number of stumbling blocks that the reader will hit in trying to get to what is actually
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being conveyed in this note. There is the possibility of self-delusion. In fact, some readers might
consider the author to be under a self-delusion that he the reader is not the one so. Self delusion
occurs when we refer to the outer circles that we have shown earlier when trying to analyze or
consider a proposition. Its when we ignore something consciously or sub consciously. The
reasons could be many. Fear is the most important one, it manifests in various ways though.

The most important thing to take into account is that where the author is making certain
statements, or suggestions, they are to be taken as propositions. It is up to the reader to decide
whether or not the proposition holds true according to him. Some attempt has been made to enable
the reader to do this effectively. The key is to see what is readily acceptable to you. By this we
mean, something for which I have an answer immediately, without referring to a book some prior
knowledge/ thoughts or ideas already in me/ conviction. I.e. referring to that which is the very core
in me. Which is a characteristic by virtue of the fact that I am a human being, not something that I
have picked up unconsciously as a child or something that I learnt in school or college, or
something that came from society. How do I verify that something is readily acceptable to me?
That I am not, in effect, deluding myself, by referring to a Manyata/ acceptance/ preconditioning?
This can be done by checking whether the answer we get is the same for all other human beings.

For example: I make a proposition: I want to know
I check it within myself: - True, readily accepted.
I ask my brother he says True
My father True
My neighbour - True
Everyone else- True
I slowly realize that this question gets the same answer from all human beings around me. That
each human around me will readily accept a proposition like this, I want to know.

Similarly for something like I want attention
Everyone will say yes
Or I want sukh/ or happiness
Everyone will say yes <there would be some grumbling here, for sure>
I want these things continuously.
Everyone says yes
Of mine own accord, I wish to harm someone, anyone.
Global answer is NO
And so on, for some other questions. All the propositions the author has placed above are for
things that have been found to be readily acceptable by the author, and for those with whom the
author has come in contact. The author understands now that this is the same for all human beings.
I.e. the answers to these questions will be the same no matter who we ask this question to, the
answers will be the same for everyone. In this, it is important to note that when we say will be the
same for everyone, we mean IF these people do not refer to their prior conditioning, and instead
ask their core I, i.e. themselves, their true selves devoid any conditioning/ beliefs, etc. Hence, it
can be said that sehaj swikruti or ready acceptance is that faculty in us that tell us what is right,
what IS, and that this faculty is present in everyone. Again: How then do I know, whether I am not
referring to some conditioning when I evaluate something for sehaj swikruti? Ans: I can verify this
by checking whether it is the same for everyone.
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While notions like going to school is good for everyone; human civilization is great if the
movies it makes are great; modern democracy is the best system of governance; competition is
good for everyone; having a job is the one thing to aspire for, etc, while may be right for us and
hence sehaj swikrut/ readily accepted may not necessarily be true for everyone. Such things
therefore are not true, since although they seem to be sehaj swikrut for us, they are not true for
everyone, and hence this means that these notions have come to us from our conditioning.





For those readers who know me, I can hear comments like Shriram is off his rockers or Shriram
has turned spiritual or Shriram has turned anti-materialist or Shriram is deluding himself and
so forth.
The author understands these and other comments. We should refer to those overlapping circles
around the Core I and the concept of manyata/ preconditioning again. Traditionally, anything to
do with the self has been meant for people who are religious, or are sadhus, or seekers of some
kind. Whereas the truth is, we all want to know, we would all like to be able to understand things,
to set things right within ourselves, in our lives. To make sense of it. Why then should I resort to
some external notions, beliefs and theories? I can ask myself, cant I? Which is why we are
starting with ourselves. What do you really want? Ask your self, and check whether it is readily
acceptable to you.

There are those of us who consider themselves to be thinking people who have to date a rather
complicated vision of the world and themselves. Anything simple that is being proposed is not
worth it, they deem. We have this fascination with things complicated, and our claim to these,
since as we have commented before, it provides us with a way to differentiate ourselves from
others. Comparison and differentiating from the other, to impress upon others, to prove one self
has been given to us since childhood. It happens in the City, it happens in the village, within a
monastery or a church or a temple or a university or a school of music. (There are those amongst
us who are of the firm belief that men are gifted in various ways, that its all a chance of fate.
There are those that cry and rant that some other man could be so gifted, so much more intelligent
than he, all for no fault of his. For such people living in the higher reaches of civilization, the
man on the road is immaterial. The man on the street, the people of this world are immaterial,
part of the herd. Not to be cared for. Which is where Nitzschean precepts probably come in, which
is what the Nazi view of the world essentially was. If you are not like us, you are not human. Only,
in this case they went about exterminating people, rather than converting them like their cousins a
couple of decades ago did. Isaac Newton, it is said was rabid about his superiority. He couldnt
bear any one else who came close to his level of excellence. Or, someone who would be in a
position to challenge him. This phenomenon can be explained by the fact that we are fed this
concept of differentiation from childhood, and there is the need for attention of the I, which takes
the form of wanting to see ones name; the notion of popularity, of superiority, as the case may
be depending on the circumstances one has been subject to during childhood and growth. Einstein
was probably someone amongst the greats who was so different on that account. Going back, so,
these people end up having a vision of themselves as belonging to a select few, the chosen
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handful. This gets mixed with visions of immortality, of being remembered after death. <When we
understand the continuous nature of the I, this gets taken care of by itself>. For those us who are
not up there but would like to stake a claim to it in our own small ways, the concept of
immortality becomes desirable, we end-up believing we should also be thinking about this, or be
fascinated by it, because it is ' up there the Goethes and Kunderas of the world are talking
about it. The preconditioning starts, the Acceptance/ Manyata begin Even for those of us who
have are up there, lets say I am Goethe; I know I am up here, because the world says so, I rule the
world. And I know I am good, because I know I know myself <Said often about Nietzsche, that he
was one man who knew himself best, quite possible, maybe he could see how what he had been
through had made him what he thought he was today for example, Nietzsche makes a statement
I hate women because my mother was a bitch. > . Anyways, so those of us who fall into this
category might end up taking our exercise in this note as trying to come up with a concept of
equality for human beings. And that no such thing is possible, because they have themselves
experienced otherwise. Far from it. We are not trying to come up with a commonality principle
for the human being, in that we are not attempting to retrofit or force-fit something we wish for
into a unifying theory. We are attempting to study the human being at his core, - <we have
established that we can say there is an entity called the I in us, distinct from the body> trying to
understand his essential characteristics, to see whether there is a balance in existence, in nature,
and keeping the self as the sole verifier of this fact. We are trying to study reality, existence as it
IS. In this, we are saying that the characteristics of the I are the same for everyone. This can be
checked for by seeing whether anything is readily acceptable or sehaj swikruito us; we have
said that the answers to these questions are the same for everybody, in that we are all alike
because we want to know, need attention, need happiness / contentment, want to feel prosperous,
need respect, etc and that we all need these things continuously.)

Once again: there is a possibility that this talk about the human or our I needing sukh may be
scoffed at by people calling themselves intellectuals, by the high achievers, and by others.
Theyd probably say that such things are for losers for those city dwelling CEOs and modern
people to go to something like a satsang and sing bhajans and feel happy. Or maybe join one
of the art of living type places where they talk about happiness. Because these folks are so stuck
up in the modern world, in the rat race that they have no clue about anything. Poor things need
these refurbishment camps so they can go back and strive for greater profits and glory of
themselves, their stakeholders, the country. There could be many such thoughts as this. All the
author will say that such skeptics should re look at where they have got their current notions from,
and what it is they wish to gain out of everything, anything that they might be currently pursuing.
More, re-read what we have written above about the need for knowledge and the need for
attention, and the concept of Manyata or Acceptance.

Pause for a moment. Would You like to be happy/ contended/ satisfied/ at peace? The answer
will be a Yes. Ask the question to everyone around you. And when you read the word happy and
interpret it, keep this in mind: - Understand the difference between word and meaning. When I say
Happy, I mean something. Now, a lot of folks reading this will think happiness is not the only
thing I want I want other things like I want to achieve something, like I want to get that
medal for Math, or go to Cambridge for my PhD, or buy that car first thing next month or (now
common) concepts like I want to live life to the fullest which is exactly what we are talking
about here, only not in the sense it is currently defined/ understood. Traditionally, the driving
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factor for us has been to Excel to improve, break those barriers for the glory of Man the
Nietzschean Will to Power & the human super-man. Because excellence is what mankind is all
about. Continuous improvement this has been fed into us, accepted by society, by each one of
us. Improve and become what? Nobody knows We do know that we ought to excel in everything
or anything we do. I read this on a T-shirt once

Nobody is perfect,
I am Nobody.

Thats the way it is. The desire to be perfect is so much that we are willing to deny our own
existence for the sake of being perfect. Where did this come from? tradition. Some philosophers
said it, and then it was parroted down the line Till we all just accepted it. But this doesnt solve
my problems. When I try to excel (by current means, definitions of the word), I see that I am
constantly dissatisfied. Do I want to be continuously dissatisfied? No. So, I have a very basic
contradiction in me all the while. In fact; not being satisfied is a pre-requisite to do well, by
current definitions. If I get satisfied, the will to excel is lost. And this is something I take as a
given. The idea here is not to avoid doing something like excelling, or working or aspiring
towards something. The idea is to be able to wade through the piles of things I have been
influenced by to really take a hard and close look at it what I really want. When I see this, I
understand that I have a need to know & ultimately be contended or happy. It could be the other
way round: on another t-shirt:

Coming second is nothing but being the first loser

I have to be first, or be associated with that word. No matter where it is. We looked at acceptance
or Manyata above - and how these accepted notions can start solidifying within oneself till it
becomes part of us. We can use an example to drive home the point. Lets take the practice of Sati-
where the widowed lady jumps in to the pyre of her dead husband, to protect her dignity &
honor. For us on the outside, this seems to be a demonic practice, unfit for the modern world.
Think about it. Which person in his right sense of mind will jump into a burning inferno? Does
this mean the lady committing sati is insane? Far from it. Had you met her a week before her
husband died, she would have welcomed you into her house, perhaps would have had a witty
conversation with you. She was a changed lady from the time her husband died. She had grown up
in circumstances where she had heard about this, she had lived in a society that upheld dignity and
honor, this had been fed into her, it seeped into her till it became part of her. She had to maintain
that dignity, it was worth dying for, or she she was made to believe and ended up believing.

Now pan to us. There are things dumped into us from childhood. We dont know about them, we
have our own Manyatas, our own accepted beliefs. These have been mentioned above. It could be
anything. We operate under such beliefs, such assumptions, all the while, without having a clue
about it. They become hardened in us, we will swear by them by saying this is the truest feeling
we have. Its something like infatuation. That relationship which teenagers/ young adults have.
One is full of it when one is in it. One will swear that I really love XYZ. A few years down the
line one can clearly see how it was then, how we were under an illusion at that time. We are
talking about something like this; - happening to our entire selves, all the while.

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We can represent this visually in this way (Only for the sake of representation, not that this is the
way it really looks):




Manyatas or acceptance,
preconceptions, conditioning,
beliefs, etc.

This is the level at which we
operate. Different for various people.
Information & influences also leads to
new conditioning, so do small things
like where and how we grow up.
When we propose something in this
write up, (like I want happiness/
sukh), a reader will refer to the prior
conditioning already present. It could
have solidified to a great extent, so
that even when one really tries, it is
hard to get through to the core. Like
when one asks oneself Can I always
trust the other? the responses could
be varied.

There are some propositions that we will readily accept, like I want to feel prosperous because
we are already engaged in something (like accumulation of wealth), only the reason for wanting to
accumulate wealth has not been scrutinized properly. (There will, of course be the intellectual
class for whom accumulation of wealth/ prosperity might be trivial/ none of their concern. Which
is ok. When we look at the Hindi word sukh; it encompasses everything, so there is no reason to
mention prosperity separately. The reason we have considered it here, is that money/ wealth has
become so omnipresent in our times that people might have difficulty envisioning sukh without a
mention of money). If we look at the circles above, we can also see that as one starts becoming
more understanding/ samajhdar, the reference point for operation moves closer to the Core I.
Example environmentalists would swear that it is impossible to think of a human race without
nature. They will want nature to be preserved as is, even as economists and industrialists will talk
about mans need being more important than natures needs. Both camps, thus have a different
level of understanding. So when we put up a statement like Nature should be preserved at any
cost an environmentalist will nod (having referred internally to his or her prior conviction
based on some understanding and authenticity) while the economist will disagree (having referred
to his or her prior conviction, <far different from that of the environmentalist>, a conviction full
of world poverty statistics and macroeconomics and theories and UNDP reports)
It is required, therefore, to give the process of understanding/ evaluation some time, effort. As
long as there is sincerity in the person trying to understand, a very genuine authenticity, a
breakthrough is possible.
Core I
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Something else we can consider to understand what we have been stating is what we currently call
as life changing experiences. We often hear about incidents and instances when someones life,
so to speak changed. This was because they had an experience that showed them, allowed them to
experience things from a different perspective essentially meaning they could breakthrough the
earlier manyata/ conditioning (and sometimes probably get a new one ;-). These have happened
when criminals have been thrown in jail (change of heart); someone got lost for a month in the
Alps (forever thankful for being alive), lived in a village for the first time (became more humble),
spent 4 months in a rain forest photographing chimpanzees (made that connection with evolution,
with nature, with existence, with conservation, etc); and so on.

By the way, the new advertisement for the Maruti 800 Car states very much the same thing
Change your life (by buying our car). What Maruti means by life changing is not the same as
the way in which we were discussing it right now. For Maruti, its a selling point, implying to the
middle class government servant in Indore or small time businessman in Udupi that his life will
change after the car- there will be joyful rides with the family, a sense of pride on the road, no
more getting wet in the rains and spoilt clothesfinally belonging to the middle class etc. Its
the dream that a man called Henry Ford had for his countrymen. That all of them should be able to
afford to own and enjoy a car. Lets take a poll. Is the average happiness quotient (coming from
enjoyment) in the USA greater today than it was at Fords time when cars werent the norm? The
enter exercise is to create an image that attracts people by its promise, of what it has to offer.

There is a core I, that is the same in all human beings. We have discussed this at length above. It
wants to know, to be happy/ satisfied, wants attention, respect.
The circles we see outside the core I in the figure above are our Manyatas / or acceptances that
we get from childhood. I remember, as a child, when we studied, my father would always say that
we should study such that all one had to before the exams was to sharpen ourselves the way the
barber gives a final swish to his already primed knife before shaving. This stayed with me for a
long time, and tried as I did, I could never bring myself about to study hard, regularly, everyday,
like my father wished of me. I carried this guilt all along. Thru ought the 16 years that I went to
school, I tried to do well, I wanted to do well, feel the thrill of coming first, of being
applauded. I achieved this on perhaps 4 occasions, and felt good for about 5 minutes each; that
is, in 16 years of occasional guilt and jealousy and everything else with it.

We see that these circles overlap; I.e. Our Manyatas overlap. This is the schizophrenia we were
talking about, the random thoughts, the conflicting stuff. When we try to understand anything
currently, we refer to any of these circles or the intersection of some of them. Which is why we
never end-up referring to our Core I. Nobody told us about this before, neither we did we try
looking at it ourselves. We honestly believe that some of the outer circles up there are really us.
Like the need to dress up. A lot of people do this to look good. About themselves. Some go a
level more. They feel they should dress up in a particular way in order to feel like themselves,
that it is part of their being, failing to realize that this is something that came to them from the
outside, in multiple ways, that all they have done is do a convenient hardening of that urge, in
order to not question it properly. Not that the author is advocating anything, or commenting that
dressing-up is wrong. We are only attempting to explore things here. The need to dress-up is
nothing but a need to conform, a need for acceptance. There is nothing more to it. (We wont take
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up the for aesthetics angle here, plus we have already commented on the fear aspect, the sub-
conscious reaction when we realize that something being said/ proposed questions our current
way of life/ convictions/ beliefs)
This need to conform, to dress up in a particular way has started playing an important role in
peoples self-esteems, in how they approach people, and who they will talk to and how. All
depending on the cut of the shirt or the jeans pant I am wearing. More, on the label it
prominently displays Levis worn by American Miners in the 19
th
century.
When we understand this, we see how & why people are so different all around. Note that we are
NOT trying to say everyone should behave in the same way (far from it, actually); only that
currently, this is the reason for the ways in which people can be different criminals, lawyers, the
politician, the farmer, the housewife, the engineer, the journalist, any 2 students, etc

<At this stage, it is possible that someone reading this might think, what is the point of this whole
thing, Ive got better things to do, watch the Monday night Comedy, perhaps, or go out for dinner
with the kids.. or read that Novel ..>. Most of the contents have been put in order to better put
across what the author wishes to communicate, taking into account the hurdles he himself faced
when attempting the same. When I mentioned this note to someone I know, he commented most
people wont reach the end. They wont have the time or the patience. The ones that do read, will
forget about it the next day, they are all quite busy, these folks; sab vyasth hain

The range under of things under the purview of people vary for some, it ends with a mechanical
reading of the newspaper, for the other; a bit of civic activity perhaps like making sure the
garbage van in their society comes regularly. A few more, take part on a national scale write
letters to the editor, maybebe part of some action group, or NGO. A couple of others try to
understand the world, and contribute, do their bit. Then, there are those that live with a purpose
a tightly integrated, juxtaposed version of their own upbringing stuff that they have read about,
that they start imagining is really part of them. There are folks that try to understand the cosmos,
excel, etc.. etc. ..
There is something always on the outside for the man of modernity, vying for his attention, the
Ads, the inventions, the NEWS, the politics, the sex, the shopping malls, the cell phone ring. His
attention is always on the outside. Which is what we do when watch TV take our attention and
hand it to an external entity because us having our attention to ourselves is too much of a burden,
we get what is called as bored. (When we observe the I we can understand that it can never be
silent. It is always ON, it always has thoughts. It is not possible to have a single instance without
any thought. Even when one is in deep meditation the I is aware of the bodily functions it is
continuing its consent to breathe, so you can now analyze sayings like Empty mind is a Devils
workshopetc) Unfortunately the TV relief works only for sometime, we need to look for
something new after that. So, leave a man alone, by himself for a few minutes, and he doesnt
know what to do. He gets bored, he starts fidgeting, plays with the pen in his hand, taps his feet.
He needs to quickly find something, anything, friends, the paper, books, TV. Why this inability to
be with the self? Because he has never been used to it, doesnt have a clue about it. Maybe hes
scared. Maybe not. In fact, he doesnt know what to do with himself. It has never been part of the
package. Didnt figure in what his parents taught him, or during their interactions with him. Not at
school, the teachers didnt have a clue. Society of course, is a zilch. Forget the newspapers. This
guy was never told that he exists. And they are all purportedly trying to put things into place so he
can learn so he can live a better quality of life, to live for higher ideals, for achievement, for
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the very experience of the lifestyle for the benefit for humanity; all of this without even
knowing the first thing of what he is like.

For a majority of people, the inherent genuine curiosity, the need to know, a characteristic of every
human being, is dulled to such an extent, that they are not even aware that they do have such a
curiosity; it is lost inside of them, in multiple peripheral circles all built up over a time, by the
routine;- the 9-6 with lunch drill and rush for the bus back home routine.

The paper today has a photograph of Japanese robots dancing to an orchestra. There is this
speculation/fear? that advances in artificial intelligence will create a robot that can replace the
human, or at least be like one. Our vision behind robots steps from our preoccupation with
intelligence. Because that is the only characteristic within ourselves that we consider. The only
one that distinguishes us from animals. Am I only brains? Is it because of my intelligence that I
feel sad? Or curious? Or that I want money for? This ones easy, it doesnt take a lot of time to
realize that Robots can never be like humans. They cant have an I (because humans cant create
one); more, robots cannot have a human body and brain. Because we cannot create one. Maybe
robots will start doing a lot of fantastic things like driving our cars and cooking our food. (Best
part is, if they start doing that, we will we be at an even greater loss. Im getting bored. My robot
does all my work, What will I do with all the free time?chuckle..) Robots or a Computer might
even compose music someday. One that will rival Beethovens compositions. There is talk that
music is purely mathematical which has a lot of people excited (I used to be one), but is also
kicking up a controversy with the purists protesting..the show goes on even the films we
make.the only way we visualize aliens as of now is by considering them as being more
intelligent than us..in terms of their brains, with what they have been able to do with science
and math, with their gadgets, flying machineswe have never managed to imagine anything
elsein fact, in the movie ALIEN it is purportedly an age of space travel, and in the story, the
space ship is owned by a company, and this company jeopardizes the lives of the entire crew for
the sake of getting back a sample of the alien being the crew runs into such sample ostensibly to
justify ROI and profits back on earth ;-).. .the show still goes on



Tradition and What

Traditionally, the only way to understand things concerning the self were associated with religion.
With the advent of the scientific era, and the decreasing dependence on religion (lesser so of
course in places like India, religion, mixed with tradition continuous strong still;), people have
either been lost in daily life which may or may not have a singularly material quest, or have
taken to what is called new age spiritualism. Spiritualism (I shall refrain from defining it here) of
course has many meanings, interpretations and connotations. It is sometimes scoffed at by the
intellectual class, who consider things to do with the mind and the achievements thereof as the
single thing to be focused on, considering something like spirituality as some kind of peace,
love and harmony talk as nothing but humbug. Lets be a little more patient, and try to look at
things more patiently, lets be more objective, and not buckle down to our preconditioning and our
perceptions. A word of caution for those that might be immediately dismissive, those that are
reveling in their scientific temper right now, with or without the arrogance of it. The author
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would like to state here that he does not wish to endorse Spiritualism, whatever its meaning; by
making these statements, rather is attempting to pry open some assumptions. New age spiritualism
seems to include everything from hallucinogens to psychedelic music (also called trance) to what
are now called scientific explanations for things to meditation techniques to simple living with
nature trends. A lot of them draw heavily from old learnings and provide them in a new modern
bottle, sometimes in the ready to consume mode. One can see that most of these modes offer
quick relief from a modern, stressful life, some offer the attraction of being part of a
fraternity of like-minded people and so on.
Traditionally, things to do with self-inquiry have either been remanded to religious people, or
others who didnt want to be part of any action, who considered thought to be supreme. Religion,
especially in India and leaders or the accomplished in it- I.e. those supposed to have attained
enlightenment has been shrouded in secrecy, or rahasya in Hindi. This has been juxtaposed
with reverence in most cases, with a master-student relationship soon in place. The person
supposed to have attained enlightenment, tries to explain his method of having achieved it, and
tries to communicate the same to people. The people in turn, worship him, hold him in awe.

Something like enlightenment itself is regarded as quite obscure in the sense the common man
wants nothing to do with it. To be enlightened, I have to move away, to some place far away in
the hills where I will reflect and meditate and figure out the secret of existence. What
enlightenment is; is itself shrouded in mystery. Some call it as a clear state, of thoughtlessness,
some as a state in which we are at bliss, at peace with ourselves or without desires there are
many variations to this; many schools of thought, many innovative meditation techniques to be
able to achieve this; many schools of practice. In some sense, the biggest flaw that those
conversant in the western philosophical disciplines (I was one) find with the mode of thinking
mentioned above is that it is divorced from daily life. That all this talk is just full of sounds, that
they dont mean anything. That it does not respond to the world as I know it, it could be termed as
escapism. The would say it does not deal with human thought in some ways, etc-perceptions are
quick to follow, they get hardened along the way, as one reinforces ones perceptions and
convictions. Not being of this world is the biggest grouse that western thought has probably had
against the Oriental one; the fact that traditional religious teaching also had a concept of Maya, of
what is real and illusory, the play of words with this, of higher consciousness, etc has ensured
this. Most traditional thought has over a period of time of course become ritualized, with the
actions to be performed becoming sanctimonious and taking over the meanings that was attempted
to be conveyed. The emphasis in most cases remains on the actions, and the sequence of them,
failing to realize that the actions and traditions were probably started to ensure continuity of the
understanding supposedly earlier achieved, to ensure that generations to come will also be part of
it and have access to this understanding by means of a tradition. Belief systems, of course took
root, and one can see their prevalence all over. The thing to be noted in any form of worship is that
there is a concept of a creator, of a controller and a controlled, with us paying obeisance to the
controller, or the creator, in various forms, having projected our piety and devotion on to come
form (idols, books, etc) or its absence

There are other fringe schools of thought like there can be no unifying principle for humans, that
it is each one to his own. While some thoughts and the variations thereof consider nature to be a
necessary inclusion to be able to understand the human being, others take an isolated view of the
human, divorced of nature and existence; focusing on mind and its response to external situations
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arising from society, of the personas involved, juxtaposed with subjective view points regarding
the human condition.

As of now, it seems that Western thought has had no concept of the I, preferring to view the
human as a random collection of cells in a specific form, of consisting of purely the body only.
The reader at this point who agrees with this proposition will do well to scroll up and go through
what we have to say about the I in human beings and check for himself whether he is better able to
understand himself on the basis of this I, or whether he would rather think of himself as all brains
& flesh, genes, DNA and cells.

Another way to understand the fact that we have an I (consciousness, chaitanya) distinct from the
body is to observe ourselves carefully, with scrutiny. At the risk of reptition, I cant wish my foot
to grow or not grow. I cant wish its shape to change. I cant prevent or change the fact that my
body grows. In fact, after a while, I see that I am quite unchanged, but my body keeps changing its
properties. I do not have any control over how my body reacts to any physio-chemical change.
Like when I have an infection, the body releases white blood corpuscles to fight it. I have no
control over this. I cant will more or less of these corpuscles to be released. I am not the same as
my brain. Because, I think with my brain. If I think with my brain, how can I be the same as my
brain? Its like saying I use this hand to eat and at the same time say I am the same as my hand.
(which also means, if my hand is chopped off, I am no more). We have also used the earlier
example of our brains being still there when we are given anesthesia but us being unconscious
losing all characteristics of the human being when unconscious (except of course for the shape/
akaar of the body). In the unconscious state, I cannot feel pain, I dont think, I dont want
attention.

Looking at tradition there is plenty of what can be called wordly wise sayings and notions and
accepted facts of life. When one studies as to why such sayings like even a mother will refuse a
son that cannot fend for himself, the female of the species is deadlier than the male and the like
came about, one can probably say that there was a gap between what humans wished for and what
things were turning out like in the world and in society, in the individual. They then so retrofitted
the actuals of what was happening in society and in life back into such sayings. Which is where
we have the dichotomy, wherein I do not want to struggle for survival, but I am still made to do
so, still made to believe that I have to struggle to survive, even told that there is great virtue n
punishing myself and striving hard for excellence, in pushing the limits, for immortality..
(The author at this time senses that some readers might equate what we are proposing as
something akin to escapism, that we are simply taking the easier way out such readers would
be well advised to evaluate whether such notions as they have are their own, or whether they have
come from the outside, I.e. what is sehaj swikrut / readily acceptable to such readers?. When they
do so, they will realize that what we are proposing is from studying things objectively, that we are
attempting to study reality, that they, the readers have been under these misplaced conceptions all
this while, after having merely accepted certain notions, born out of insufficient understanding)


Elucidation of the I

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When we observe the I; we find that it can be said to have 5 levels of operation (This elaboration
of the I can be found in some olden Indian and other schools of thought as well, for example by G
J Gurdjieff):

1. Realization (of the I and the astitva, of how things in reality, in existence ARE)
2. Understanding (of the I & astitiva or existence)
Manyata/ Conditioning
3. Acceptance (Desire)
4. Thoughts (imaging)
5. Selection (with the body, interface with the body, communicating and responding to
signals from the body)

This I is nothing but I myself, or me myself.
To date, we have never operated at levels 1 & 2. People kept putting things into us, we took them
in when we read, heard, discussed, listened, learnt all this coming in at level 3 - acceptance.
Things from outside enter us at the level of 3 where we accept something and allow it to become
part of us, of our perception or belief or even convictions. These could be anything: like we
should respect elders to life is a struggle for survival; competition is good and necessary; one
needs to excel no matter in which field you are in; scientific things represent the truth; one
must dress well for respect; Isaac Newton was a great man; War is a necessary evil; if it is a
choice between the human being and the environment, it should be the human being; India must
build up its defence capabilities; The West is developed; - anything at all, coming from outside,
as long as we have not verified it, scrutinized it, understood it on our own right. Are these things
readily acceptable to us? Do we have the sehaj swikruti for this?

Advertising works at this level it puts in things in you that are not really yours, desires that is,
which you willingly accept at Level 3. Throughout the day, this keeps happening, with things
pouring into you from outside from the newspaper, media, people, society, teachers, etc, most of
the time you arent even aware. The implicit assumptions start becoming part of us. They become
our convictions, which then start defining our perceptions. This leads to multiple thoughts at level
4 and we have conflicting thoughts. Conflicting thoughts are the ones that cause trouble. (The
subject of conflict is one that has been tackled by people in the past, quite extensively). Conflict is
also caused by the inability to take decisions it could be for things as simple as the inability to
choose what to eat at a restaurant (conflicting thoughts on what should be eaten) to what career to
choose to whether or not to go for a movie to whether a particular dress looks nice or not.
Wanting to be part of a particular group or fraternity ranges from wanting to look and sound like
the MTV Generation easily observed in India right now its a rage, changing life styles and
values, changing systems and observations, changing aspirations, of what to live for, of how to
live to Apartments with Video Security and swimming pools, multiplex theatres to (in the country
side) fertilizers for crops to Coke for thirst to Western countries are developed to Fair skin is
sexier to racist things like Aryans are superior to only those not educated will farm to respect
comes from clothes to I look beautiful in such and such clothes to etc.

There are 2 things, Janna (to know) & Manna (to accept). All we do is accept, attempt to know
anything. As a result, the Manyatas (or acceptances, notions, etc) keep building up in us. The
result is, you dont know what you want to do, since all the things you currently do/think about are
accepted without knowing about them. Right from education, things are drubbed into us, we end
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up thinking only if we can do so in spite of education. When we understand things around the
jeevan we see that education means teaching the human being about itself, about living, about
existence. . Each child has an I, which seeks attention the kid always wants you around, comes
and sits on your lap when there are guests, etc. Some parents give this kid that attention, some
dont. Some children spend their whole childhood without having parents around maybe the
parents were working, maybe they werent around. The I in the child that needs attention and
education is denied this. The I then adapts in various ways. It can turn inwards, or it can form a
huge dependence on a particular individual for its needs. It can cause variations in behavious and
what are currently called aberrations. The changes in the I continue at school, during
comparisons in the classroom, good boy Vs the bad boy, being told what is right and wrong,
the feeling of guilt associated with that, etc.

How are desire, thought and selection (levels 3, 4 & 5) related? Lets take the case of wanting to
buy a house. We first have the desire for a house, (level 3), then when we plan the layout, the
room sizes, etc, we are thinking (level 4) and finally when we get about building it, or painting it,
we are selecting (level 5). The thing is, right now, the desire for a particular kind of house (like a
penthouse, with toilet fittings, marble flooring, etc etc) is driven by a past conditioning/ something
that we have been attracted to from the outside. House buyers would be able to identify with the
multiple thoughts they might have had whilst buying their house.


The current Indian education system is a derivative from the British model bequeathed to us by
posterity. We have seen Lord Macaulays statement elsewhere the system works on the principle
of discipline, of rote learning and the ability to reproduce information in a setting called as the
exam, where each pupil is set against the other, is expected to take part in the spirit of
competition, purportedly to bring out the best in the child. (A question worth asking at this point
whether a child, an adult, anyone, performs better under duress/ stress/ pressure or when not
under it. Whether someone can learn better when they are under pressure or not under it. I can
perform better when I am calm, not when I am under stress, inspite of this, we believe competition
is required. We believe that unless we compete, we wont excel. We believe that we want to
excel.. that we want to beat the other.. we believe so many things, we are so highly
preconditioned.) The rote learning continues, nevertheless, trying its best to manufacture an
individual best suited to the needs of society/ the market. There is the tragedy of what having an
English education has done to the perceptions about good education in this country; what it has
done to the rural Indian and his esteem, the divide that one can see so clearly in the India of today.
The resulting human being is one whose awareness has been dulled down to such an extent that it
does not even realize that I AM. It just reads the papers, curses at signals, bitches about the boss,
and goes home. There are various combinations to this: - some intellectuals are condescending
towards others because they have more information/ know more. This again is a characteristic of
the I; it wants to prove itself, wants that attention.

That was about Level 3. Level 5 or Selection is the level at which we interact with the body.
Assume we feel hungry the body signals that it is low on energy, - the stomach needs food.
Impulse at instant t0 is to do something to give the body energy (Level5). At instant t1, we have a
desire for a particular food item (Level3) (from our earlier taste for food, etc), At instant t2, we
think about this food item, we image it (Level4). At instant t3, we go ahead and select the food
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item (Level5) required to consume it. This explains in short, the operation of the I at Levels 3, 4 &
5.

When we study animals, we see that operate largely at the level of 4) Thoughts and 5) Selection
above. The Is in animals are at various stages of evolution, example a Bee does not think, it only
selects (flowers, nectar, etc) while a dog thinks a bit (expressing emotion at owners, etc). Most
humans we know now operate like an animal, that is they do not even have desires, they simply do
things Like seeing popcorn in a theatre and buying it. When you want a house, you first select
(level 5 in the I) because you want to protect the body. Then you have the desire for a particular
house (Level 3 in the I), the rooms, dcor, etc. Then you think about it Imaging (Level4 in the I),
then you select the house (level 5 in the I) , in fact we buy houses for all reasons but protection
now for respect (samman) in society, for taste (again, from magazines, other peoples houses,
from comparison) etc. these are all needs of the I, you cannot get them by building a house. Its
like wanting respect and wearing a tie & coat. Respect is inside you, its self-respect, it cannot
come from outside. Right now, the remote control for our self-respect is outside, us. I.e. I can spoil
your Self respect by saying something nasty to you, which is odd since Self Respect has to be in
the Self; it cant be outside.


When we study humans at the level of the I, we see that we are all alike in this sense. We all have
Is & bodies, which are similar. My I needs attention and respect, so does yours. I need sukh and
knowledge, so do you. So when I speak to you, we have the same base and the understanding of
what we both are, and what astitva/reality IS. I am thus able to say some thing and you understand
it in the way I meant it. This is human communication. What happens right now is throwing of
words in the air. The listener picks it up, interprets it according to his understanding and subjective
perception and then digests it. The reasons for miscommunication can be now understood on this
basis.


In the modern world, media, industry, politics and maniacal desire for power have become so
intertwined, that we are all busy just trying to interpret it the battery of analysts and
commentators that were around during the Iraq war for example. There are a couple of thousand
people on the one side with one point of view and conviction, there a few thousand on the other.
Modernity has taken birth and root, it is characterized by the economy and its social effects. Of a
dramatized media that feeds on increasing viewer ship, that has shifted the focus to money and the
accumulation of wealth, the ability to consume, of having a wider choice for consumption. It is
now like this huge machine, gathering momentum and kicking up a storm. At the receiving end
are the people, while the drivers are those who are in a position of influence the media, the
statesmen, the corporate executive. Coupled with this is the contorted definition of freedom (of
choice in goods) of a way of life (consumption & enjoyment) government (representative
democracy, with the state wielding unusual power and its nexus with other vested interests like the
corporation, and in India with vote banks, the caste equation, etc), the social setup
(degenerating slowly, with burn-outs of materialism, and the left-behinds forming the so-called
gutters & filth of society and the rest rushing from enjoyment and entertainment 1 to enjoyment
and entertainment 2 and so on..). This very modernity is also destroying peoples basic ability
to even think and be genuinely curious by constantly keeping them occupied in external things
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TV, Video Games, fun parks, movies, NEWS, magazines, etc. The modern man is thus
constantly aspiring for one and the other thing amongst those available or shown to him
without realizing what exactly is happening to him. A good example would be myself. There
was no way in which I could have borne to read about the very things I am writing right here
today. I was too busy with the other things be it some conjured up idea of literature and
economic models or simple fascinations with motorcycles and rock music, or ideas of poverty and
development, or wanting to prove myself to me myself and society by achieving something to
even have the time or the space in the head, the willingness to tackle the most basic questions
about myself, my very existence like what is that I exactly want? Even when I did think of such
questions, they were within a framework, a given context that was before me shown to me since
childhood, one in which I grew up- Do I want to be a Doctor or an Engineer? And then an MBA?
And when that layer had been broken (the hard way, I had to spend 4 years in Engineering and a
further 2 at work) I was wondering whether I should be an anthropologist, or a historian or a
writer or a photographer or an environmentalist or a professor If we notice, all these options
were within a framework; the current context available in the world or society that I inhabit as of
now; the focus has been on careers, professions, always. (Yes, a career or a profession is
required to sustain one-self, we can take this one up later)


Literatures current role, is to mirror society, a society that we have just seen is thoroughly
confused. One of the reasons literature exists in the form it does, is our seeming propensity for
romance and the dramatic. Literature talks about characters, humans, settings, families and
politics. Thrillers, and romantic novels are all about a created imagination. Serious literature (the
Nobel & Pulitzer variety) takes things to a slightly better level, but still does not come up with a
resolution, it does manage to comment on the current human condition though, using metaphors
and surreal approaches to good effect. We will be told that Literatures job is not to do come up
with any resolution; that REAL ART exists for ITS OWN SAKE. Which is okay for an argument.
In fact this thing about art for its own sake is also considered the highpoint of thought and it is,
because other intellectuals are saying it. Because everyone is talking about it. Because thats what
the world currently knows. Like classical music being the high point of divinity. Some might feel
that the content of the current write up is to do with philosophy. another thing we have done,
slotted things into disciplines. There is nothing called philosophy, what is studied, should be
concerning YOU and EXISTENCE. There is nothing else. You are the observer, and existence the
observed. At the risk of repetition: A lack of a holistic approach to issues is in anyways being
lamented across academic disciplines. Like in the social sciences and the study of art. Or
economics. Micro economics concerning itself only with stochastic methods and models and
gunning for profits. Then macroeconomics coming in and saying hey, these need to make sense in
the larger scheme of things. Then development coming in and saying, by the way, profits are for
people, dont forget them. I actually heard a congress spokesperson saying last week we will
ensure development takes place with a human face, the last I knew, development was supposed to
be for human beings. Thats whats happened to us, with all the splitting up of disciplines, we
have to remind ourselves what we are doing all this for, in the first place! The fact that current
means we have employed to develop, are ensuring that the earth is losing what it was last known
for the forest, the animals, the atmosphere. Only a completely mistaken approach can have a
solution that ensures the very environment in which we live is threatened. And its so complex
now, we cant stop now, even if we want to. Otherwise, how will companies grow? What will
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happen to those jobs, the progress? How will India become a developed nation? When we be able
to stand up with pride to the White Man and say This is my country, and it is now, at long-last, as
good as yours?? (Note that the basis for comparison here is not culture or tradition how many
times have we heard people in this country say, Maybe the west is good and advanced, clean,
with no poverty, and amazing facilities and quality of life; but they have no culture, no tradition,
people are machines there..??)

Balance In Me
A colleague and I were taking a late afternoon stroll at our workplace campus yesterday. We saw
some flowers (Most IT campuses have flowers, all paid for ) the flowers were of the same
kind, in two colors - pure white and violet. We paused, and knelt down to look at them. They were
beautiful. The intermingling of the 2 colors gave us a feeling of serenity, of something rising from
the flowers. The blooming flowers stood for something. Come to think of it, of what use are
flowers? What use are human beings? None. Flowers are there, because they are there, because
evolution IS, because life or jeevan propagates itself. So do humans. My colleague remarked as
to how perfect the flowers were. How the leaves were symmetrically placed in order to balance
themselves, the 5 tiny petals, the hole in the middle, the nectar. And then he said, these things are
so much in order, there is a definiteness about them, they are part of the cycle, part of the balance.
And they seem so balanced within themselves. So does that bird there, he said pointing to a
shrieking cicada. Every other entity around us in nature and in existence was built perfectly he
continued. I said, so are we humans. Look at the beauty of your own construction. Your eyes,
magnificent, with the range of focus available. Your feet, the under-skin in the feet hard enough
to sustain walking, and soft enough to tell you about a thorn-prick. Your heart, beating the blood,
oxygenating, your brain, marvelous. The ability to think and reason. And you. Your desires, your
thoughts, your ideas, the ability to understand, to take part in advanced communication. But
something was not so perfect in human beings; one didnt get a picture of balance when you saw
them, either as individuals or as a society. Every individual was always in some kind of trouble or
the other, society was always in some trouble as well. While we are built perfectly we are the
most complex entity around in the whole of nature and existence; we also have the ability to
look at ourselves and marvel at our own selves. We have the ability to be detached from our own
selves, there is something alive in us, that we are aware of. Its like when I close my eyes, I can
see that I AM. Sit in a room, and just shut your eyes. And look as you normally would have,
had your eyes been open. You can see that something IS, this something, nothing but you, that is I
AM. When my eyes are open, I am viewing various objects. Each object means something to me,
so I am busy interpreting it, and then one thought leads to the other. For example, I might see
money, then think about wanting more of it, then think about office, and the guy in the next
cubicle, about what he wore to work yesterday, about how I have to go buy some clothes myself,
about the levis sale, import control laws, how the excise tariffs are going down thoughts can
sequence just like that this can be said to be a state when are lost; when we are not even aware.
Shutting our eyes helps us to focus on ourselves. (I remember, at the peak of my thought process
earlier described, in trying to understand the contemporary world, I would get fed up with trying
to do all the reasoning. I would look at the other people seemingly occupied with mundane chores
going to work, eating out, shopping, and coming back, and would feel like an outsider. I
wondered how I was going to be living with myself in the decades to come, the activity (of living
with myself) taking up so much effort.) I told my colleague that though we are built beautifully, are
wonderfully advanced and are perfect we havent got the sequencing right yet. We havent got
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the understanding right yet. What is this understanding? It is the very thing we have been trying to
explore, slowly, albeit. The discerning reader would have gathered by now that this understanding
we mention is nothing but the understanding of what IS, which is, reality. In reality, everything is
in balance, is complementary, is in co-existence. When the human being gets the right
understanding, he can be said to be in a state of samadhaan. When we do not know what IS,
when we are not in samdhaan, we have problems. Problems are the absence of samdhaan, of
being resolved.

Lets see traditionally, people focused on austerity, on self-denial. They rightly understood that
there was something beyond the body, what is called vaguely as the soul or the atma today
(and of course scoffed at by the rationalists, thanks to the variety of ways in which this has been
misinterpreted & misrepresented, add to it of course the so-called arrogance of the rationalists,
the readers of Russelthe designers of VLSI chips, the inventors of solid rocket boostersthe
eaters at McDonalds, the shoppers at Luis Vuittons.). Going backwe call this entity I, that is
me, you, the entity that has the name. That responds. They also saw that being with the body was
problematic in some respects I was falling sick (my body was, it was losing its balance, and I
was suffering as a result), I was feeling hungry, I spoke to others through this mouth, said the
wrong things, and felt silly later on, when others spoke and I disagreed, I got angry, etc. A slow
tradition and attempt to deny the body started.
The other aspect was to do with reality and its interpretation. They understood that the only reality
was in the eyes of the perceiver. This is not so difficult to understand. We can take the example of
the experience that each on of us have, in our daily lives. Some of us might have experienced this
in the house, where we realize that although we are so close to others in the family, my life, and
what I experience in a days time is restricted to me. Not my wife, not my child, my father or my
mother can really understand. I have my own life, they have their own. People in the Indian
tradition understood that this phenomenon could create innumerable layers - of what the world is,
- in the sense, my world might comprise of the economy and the stock market and Microsofts
product strategy, while my mothers revolves around the latest bhajan in town and the price of
vegetables. Our worlds are different, our realities were different. We were constructing different
realities in our minds, in ourselves. (Note that when we say We here, we mean our Is). This the
olden people called Brahm, or Maya or illusion. They said thus, that to attain true moksha, to get
rid of this suffering (on account of this body and world), to see reality, we will have to attain
nirvana, to come out of the cycle of death and birth that they saw. Well leave out the rest of it,
because we can see today as to where they had gone wrong. (I should mention here the perceptions
that this creates I was in Germany when a student I met asked about whether I believed in life
after death. I said No, I didnt to which she replied with a very naughty grin Oh! I read in my text
books that the Indians believe in life after death, in circles of lifepainting Indians as being
superstitious and full of magic.perceptions.)

What we are doing right now, if we observe; is focusing only the external the access to and
experience of various goods, the experimentation with objects in the physical order, without
understanding ourselves it was the other extreme. (The thing to notice is that IF these goods are
to provide me with some feeling, why not understand this feeling, as in what happens to me when
I buy/ own/ consume/ research goods rather than keep buying/ owning/ consuming things
endlessly with no clue why?)
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We were still in the garden. My colleague and I kept looking at the balance in the flowers. Soon, it
was 6:00 PM; we went back into the office my friend had .NET deliveries to make, and I was
working on this new Telecom deal from Sweden. Meanwhile, the sun, in all its brilliance,
set..night fall, the birds settled down.. we returned to our air conditioned cubicles.


When I look at myself, I see that:

I want to understand myself
I want to know (about myself, my interactions with other humans, about nature, about the
whole of existence, about everything there is to know)
I want to very much to be with my body, I want to understand things in such a way that
living with the body doesnt become a pain as in getting overweight and constantly
worrying about it, or fretting over my dark skin or my strange nose or that I am not tall as I
would have liked to be and so on
I want to be in this world, I am very much of this world
I want to communicate with people, I need human company, and when I do have it, I
desire that it be pleasant or mutually fulfilling
Id like to have a family and kids
Id like to enjoy the beauty in the world, drink in its sublimity
I want to live in happiness, in sukh, with contentment, with satisfaction, with peace
I want to feel prosperous

Now, without taking recourse to some external teaching or stuff like that (which means all the
stuff that you have in you right now and currently think as yours, but is actually not)

I have needs --------------------------- I am built in a particular way

I need these 2 sides to match; I need a way of understanding things wherein things fall into place,
the sequencing is right. I see that there is balance and harmony in the rest of nature I.e. all
other entities in existence except me seem to be fine. I realize that I too have this balance and
order inbuilt in me, only, in my case, thanks to my enhanced faculties, (which are recursive I
have enhanced faculties, and I have to understand what they are and how they are built, and how I
am supposed to understand them) I have to understand in the right way to be able to realize,
understand and experience this balance in myself. When I do that, I see that I am aligned/in
tandem with the rest of the setting around me in nature. I see that the whole of existence is one
massive balanced whole, now that I understand things properly (or in the right way, or the right
order, if you will, but mind, these are words, they can mean various things to different people), I
too am part of this balance, I can now see it, and understand it, I experience it in my daily life, in
my interactions with people, everywhere. All my questions are getting answered- my need to
know is satisfied. When I start living with this understanding, I see that I am resolved at all levels
in which I am involved with, or operate in. In other words, at all levels of my existence:


1. Level 1: I with myself live in balance with myself, within myself
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2. Level 2: I & Body live in balance with my body, understand its needs, appreciate my
own body and take care of it
3. Level 3: I & Family live in balance and order with my family, I understand them
properly, and where I see that they are unable to understand things in the right way, I
behave in a way to enable them to do so
4. Level 4: I & Society understand my relationship with society and start operating in
balance with it
5. Level 5: I & Nature see the connections I have with nature and behave, act and
produce goods in such a way that I am in balance, in harmony with Nature. This becomes
the most natural thing for me now; I dont have to resort to any external measures of force
or deterrence to put environmental protection policies into place
6. Level 6: I & Existence see my role in the whole of creation, of existence, I start living in
balance with it

The 6 levels of living mentioned above sum up the entire story of my existence on this planet.
By understanding and resolving myself properly at all levels, I, the human being too start living in
balance, in harmony, as the rest of nature/ existence already is. This is what I want.

Level1 I with myself
If we were to out down a few points about the I and the Body:

I Body

I AM My Body IS

I wants to live Body is an instrument of the I

Activities are desiring, Activities are breathing, eating, etc
thinking, selecting, etc

Chaitanya (Conscious) Jarh (Physio Chemical)



The Body does not take care of itself, it is I who does it. Activities like breathing, digestion, are
bodily (involuntary) activities, not controlled by I, although they continue with the consent of the
I..and so on..

Looking back at the 5 levels of the I, it can be said that we currently operate largely at the levels of
3, 4 & 5. We have never realized or understood anything, I.e. never operated at levels 1 & 2
Most of our activities taking place at levels 3, 4 & 5, leave us susceptible to Manyatas or
conditioning. These are assumptions, conditioning, etc that we have culturally, from tradition,
from society, as individuals. Since none of these are based on any realization or understanding, 3,
4 &5 lead to conflicting thoughts and a feeling of discomfort. But when 3, 4 & 5 are based on 1 &
2, I can be said to be in a state of harmony, my desires, and thoughts and selection flow from my
understanding and then I do not have any conflict. In fact, when we operate on the basis of levels 1
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& 2, there is certainty in our behaviour, in our character; else there is only uncertainty. Level 5 or
Selection, is nothing but recognizing and fulfilling something. I.e. locating some food item and
eating it, or taking grease and applying it to the sscooter, or taking a brush and painting just the
acts themselves are recognition and fulfillment. Similarly, a plant (always operating at Level
5, a plant has no I) will recognize its relationship with water and fulfill it (by drawing this
water) mind the meanings again, we are used to the words recognizing and fulfilling in a very
different sense as of now..we dont mean the words in that way here..we mean the act of drawing
water is recognition and fulfillment on part of the plant.

So how do these levels [Understanding- level 2 , Assuming (Accepting) Level 3, Thinking
level 4& Selection (Recognition & Fulfillment) level 5] work together?

Fulfillment depends on Recognition
Recognition depends on Thought
Thought depends on Assumption
Assumption may or may not depend on understanding. If assumption is not based on
understanding then it is a manyata or conditioning.
If assumption (acceptance) is based on understanding, then recognition will be correct &
fulfillment will be correct.
If acceptance is not based on understanding, then things will go wrong.
For example - suppose a pin is pricked into the body. If I recognize the pain as given by a doctor
for benefit of the body, I will be pretty okay with it, I would not react negatively to it. But, if I
recognize it as an invasion inflicted by a stranger, I would react very adversely. I.e. the
understanding/acceptance of what the pin is being poked for in both the cases is different, and
hence leads to different ways of recognizing and fulfilling the same action the pricking pin.
What happens when the assumption goes wrong? I.e. we assume that the person pricking the pin is
a doctor (when he is not), well, then we get poked/ hurt by this person, and although at that instant
we might not react adversely, later, on finding this fact out, we will react adversely because now,
the earlier assumption has been proved to be incorrect, and replaced by a new understanding that
the person is not a doctor, and hence may not wish us well.

Gross Misunderstanding of ours


This is what the Materialistic world is based on.
I = Body
Facilities = Happiness
Clothes = Respect
X
X
X
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Economy of Materialism says :
Needs are unlimited
Resources are limited
Therefore everyone is bound to be deprived

Deprivation (Its Feeling)
(Leads to)
Exploitation
(Leads to)
Corruption
(Leads to)
Opposition
(Leads to)
Struggle
(Leads to)
War

This is the chain that we all around today- at all levels- family, society, state, country & the whole
world.

I involves :

Creativity arises at 3-5, in the light of 1-2, as it can be realized;
Otherwise, 3-5 only leads to imaginations which may not necessarily be from reality, leading to
frustration/ confusion/ problems





1. Experience (sn~r=)
2. Understanding (=rtr)
if we operate at this level, there is
certainty
---------------------- ---------------------------------------------
3. Desiring (r)
4. Thinking (=v=rrr)
5. Selecting (n)
Changes i.e.
if we operate at this level, there is
uncertainty

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Level 2: I with the Body
When the I understands that I AM & the Body IS, that the I is related to the body, that it coexists
with the body, the I takes the responsibility for nurturing, protecting and proper utilization of the
body. It also takes responsibility for the production, maintenance and utilization of the physical
things required for the body. I can also determine that only a limited amount of food, clothes/
houses, and instruments are required for nurturing, protecting and properly utilizing the body and
realize that there is enough abundance in nature to provide for these needs. If we observe around
us we find that, quantity wise (among the four orders of material, plants, animal and human)
Padarthavastha or the material order is the maximum. Plants are only 1/4
th
of matter, animals are
only 1/4
th
of plants, and human beings are only 1/4
th
of the animal world. Given this fact, and the
fact that all human beings are capable (can work with imagination and body) to generate wealth
and even now, most of us, already have more than enough of all our physical/material
requirements. One can never be deprived, on account of lack of natural resources (a contrast to
what modern economics says!). All that is required is the understanding to prioritise our physical
needs correctly. We already have/enjoy an enormous amount of physical/material facilities, but we
still feel unhappy and deprived; and the irony is that we want to feel happy and prosperous by
obtaining more/ a lot of physical/material things.

Prosperity is a feeling (not just a physical standard) of producing/ having more than ones physical
needs, which is born out of right understanding and assessment of physical needs as well as
production. Therefore it is possible for everyone to be prosperous. When I feel deprived, I exploit,
and it leads to corruption. When I feel prosperous, there is sharing and mutual fulfillment.
Therefore, there is growth and happiness.


Level 3: I with the Family
How many of us like being made fun of? No one. No human being likes being made fun of. It is a
characteristic of the I. The I wants respect wants right evaluation, and when we make fun of
people, we deliberately under evaluate them. When we under evaluate, we deny the I its respect,
and it doesnt like it. Of course, some of us might derive pleasure out of making fun of people.
We might do this to get back at them. When we scrutinize it, we can clearly see that we are
uncomfortable during the whole process of making fun of, we are constantly cringing inside, we
know we are doing some not right, etc. And when spoken to at length, we will also admit that it
was wrong to do so..that but..so and so person said this and then and hence I. When the
characteristics and the needs of the I are not recognized and understood properly, it leads to
various combinations of personalities. For example, a child who never got attention/ love/ care
from his parents can turn out be a rather shy person, unable to mix in society or unable to
express himself properly; or even turn out to be a rather vivacious & short tempered person and a
high achiever, this achievement ostensibly his intrinsic way of getting back at everything. We
can understand a lot about people around us are and the good reasons why when we start
understanding and evaluating people on the basis of the I. On whether they are like this because
they reacted to the pressure in some ways in school, on whether a death of someone close
changed something in them, or whether they were not liked as children, or that they have a big
inferiority complex because of the way they look.and so on. In fact, we often, judge people by
the way they look, discriminate on this basis, even. This comes from evaluating the person by his
body, that is, not considering the I, assuming the person is nothing but the body. So, it might turn
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out that a fat person is good natured (such people having internally gone through the pain of the
discrimination and this manifesting itself in the good nature), and good looking actors are
arrogant, such actors thinking they are nothing but the collection of their finely carved bones,
nose, eyes, ears, neck, jaw, hair and lipsreason why we cannot evaluate someones nature by
their features/ body today..I.e. we cant say for sure that All tall men are understanding or all
buxom women are loving and so forth..and in spite of this, the one thing we check out during
marriage is how this person looks.the one thing that our parents (in traditional homes) check
out this girl is fair but has a crooked nose..and so forth. For example, I am said to look like a
raja in my south Indian household, meaning which I now need to seek a rani to marry!
Perceptions, conditioning.confusing the body to be the person, ignoring the I

A family is about relationships among human beings. The body and I co-exist in the human being
so it is basically the I that plays the deciding role. So in essence the family is a relationship
between one I and another I.

(Harmony between I ---I )

In a family there are four important things to realize:
1) A relationship exists between I and I - not between body & body.
2) There are expectations in the relationship- of I from I.
3) These expectations can be recognized and fulfilled.
4) Their fulfillment and right evaluation (mulyankan) leads to tripti or mutual happiness.

I always wants to be in harmony (vyavastha); when there is chaos, we feel uncomfortable. One
doesnt have to create a relationship with the other I, it is already there, one has to only ensure its
recognition and fulfillment (we have explored this elsewhere in this note in the example about
the arrogant music composer). Today we tend to think very often that relationship is between two
bodies, and the expectations are also from one body of another body. Therefore even though we
fulfill the expectation related to the body, a gap in the fulfillment of expectations (of the I) results
in lack of happiness/ tripti or mutual fulfillment. The current parent-child relationship is a good
example. Normally, we try to fulfill the needs of the childs body or give him/her an education for
the sole purpose of getting a good job etc. which will ultimately only ensure money or physical
facilities which will fulfill the needs of the body. This leads to dissatisfaction on the childs part
because the parents take care only of the bodily needs, paying little or no heed to the needs of the
childs I like respect, trust etc. Therefore, when the parents grow old and the child becomes an
adult, he/she also follows their example and takes care only of the bodily needs of the parents,
neglecting his I close to his/her own experiences in the past. There are expectations of one I
from the other I. We see this manifest itself often. We have expectations from our brother, from a
stranger, from our spouse, our parents, the boss, our superiors, the godman...we currently use 2
means of expressing our selves a) we will use language -.I.e. we will say things that convey our
feelings; b) use physical objects. With a) we are largely not that good, because we have no concept
of the I, we do not evaluate expectations on the basis of the I, and hence are not all that successful
in stating or fulfilling expectations .. there will be miscommunication, misunderstanding,
someone will feel insulted while you didnt mean to do so, someone will feel neglected, you
will hurt someone, and so onas humans, we are currently poor at simple communication. b)
usage of physical objects is interesting. In this case, the intention behind giving the object is
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usually forgotten, and we focus on the object itself. I.e. you love me a lot only if you give me a
diamond ring, and not otherwise, even if I tell you that the plastic ring I am giving you expresses
the same feeling from my side as a diamond ring would, or you are a great friend only if you buy
me branded sneakers on my birthday, not the stuff off the streetMarriages in India oftentimes
run into trouble because the gifts are not worthy enough; because the party was not adequately
taken care of (note that modern anthropologists have a fieled day in these places they study
human society and social mores and customsin fact the notions about cultures and societies is
so well rooted they take that as a given, and spend their time trying to study and document what
is happening, then keep comparing this or try to come up with some historical reasoning for some
actions ).
.

The solution, therefore is to see that the relationship with the human being IS and it is between I &
I, bodies being used as instruments by both the Is. It would also help to know the expectations of
one I from another I:

1) Trust (Vishwas)
2) Respect, right evaluation (Samman)
3) Affection, affinity (Sneha)
4) Care of the body (Mamata)
5) Guidance (Vatsalaya)
6) Reverence (Shraddha)
7) Glory (Gaurav)
8) Gratitude (Kritagyata)
9) Love (Prem)

(Material things play very insignificant/ subsidiary role or no role in the fulfillment of these
expectations. With right understanding we ensure the continuity of these values, which already
exist within all of us. They begin to flow out spontaneously from a samjhdar person. Incorrect
understanding blocks their flow outward).

What do we mean when we say a relationship between 2 Is is already there? It sounds funny, to
be scoffed at, doesnt it?

For example: - Assume I am the greatest music composer in the world. Arrogant, I rule the
world. I have given it divinity in my music, which is so great that only a few in the world even
have access to it. The rest are just part of the herd. They are the ones that farm, that operate the
buses for me, while I compose; add to the greatness of the human race. I am the epitome of
mankinds achievements, the gifted. I have struggled with myself, I have been rabid, I have been
ruthless with myself, and I have sought and gained redemption. I have crossed the threshold, I am
there. I am walking on the street and some dumb guy from the street asks me the time. I have no
choice but to reply to him. Ignoring him, takes some effort. In fact, I cant help not be conscious
of his presence and his overtone I.e. the fact that I am connected/related (mind the meaning of the
words) to him is a given. Lets say our music composer ignores him and keeps walking. The man
persists. Our composer gets irritated. He has contempt for this ordinary mortal, this piece of
whatever. He blurts out the time and continues walking, lost in thought, reveling in his greatness.
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This brief encounter is worth studying. The composer experienced discomfort at 2 stages: a) When
he ignored the man. Although he would have ideally liked to walk through this fellow, that was
not possible. He could not NOT be conscious of this fellow. He probably even cursed this fact. b)
When he spoke to the guy. He wasnt comfortable when he blurted out to the guy.
From instances a) and b) above we can draw the following conclusion: 1) That I am related/
connected to every other human being, and this is a given. That a relationship already exists, I
do not have to create it. 2) That when I have to interact with a human being, I want to do it in a
mutually fulfilling manner, i.e. in way which makes me & him comfortable. 1) & 2) are inherent
in me, they are part of the way I am. When I try to do anything against 1) & 2), I am
uncomfortable. For brief instants of time only, but I am uncomfortable nevertheless. And, if I
really ask myself, my core, I dont want to be uncomfortable. I like to be comfortable, and I like
being this way always. Of course, there would be those among us who really dont care about such
trivialities, who have few concerns, who are engaged in higher pursuits. They would do well to
do some self-analysis to check which book they read about such notions in. And ask whether they
would like to live life from out of a book (manyata/acceptance/conditioning), or whether they
would like to understand reality, of how things ARE, by being a little humble (if I may use the
word) about the whole thing perhaps; and start seeing what it is that they really are like. Consider
our composer: He is proud of his genius, his skill, his hard work/ dedication, ..and this he knows
because he has compared himself with others around him, which tells him he is better in
comparison to them. This tendency to compare we have seen has been imbibed in us from
childhood. When we compare, we need someone else to compare with. And we compare to
differentiate ourselves from the other, to come out better looking by negating the other. However,
we cannot compare without the other. Which is ironical I need you to be able to compare, and I
compare to come out looking better than you, by separating myself from you. I need you to be
able to separate myself from you. For our composer, this vision of greatness is an idea he is living
upto, it is something he has grown up believing, and it as an idea within a framework/ within the
context of the human being, and even within that, has to do with one particular (western) idea of
what human beings/ civilization are like or should be. It has nothing to do with reality or
existence. On the basis of this constructed reality (of greatness); when the composer attempts to
deny a reality (of there being a relationship with other human beings or Is that cannot be ignored/
cannot be NOT conscious of;) the composer is uncomfortable, in fact he is unable to deny it, he
has to give in and blurt out the time in the end. The idea of greatness here therefore is not reality, it
is constructed, is an illusion, the idea that I do not have to pay attention to you is not reality, it is
an illusion born out of an illusory need to differentiate myself from you (which we just explored)
while having a relationship with you is reality, because I can see there is nothing I can do about it.
Which means, as long as I continue to operate within current imaginations of greatness,
excellence, growth, (as currently defined) ,differentiation, etc I am in trouble, because these
things do not exist in reality, are not how things ARE. When I start understanding what IS in
reality, and start living accordingly, my troubles start disappearing. I.e. When our composer
realizes that his greatness is a perception, that it does NOT exist in reality, that in reality,
differentiation does not exist, opposites do not exist, that in reality he is related to every human
being (in that he cannot NOT be conscious of other humans, in that sense, a relationship can be
said to exist), his troubles start coming down. In fact, according to his current conditioning, our
composer believes his greatness lies in not being satisfied/ comfortable, that his greatness lies in
his losing his temper, his dismissing everyone else, in going through all the pain, in sacrificing
for the benefit of humanity and so many such perceptions, while simultaneously , he wants to be
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comfortable (by virtue of the fact that he is a human being has an I)..and so our composer
continues to live with this fantastic dichotomy/ conflict, -- of believing/imagining something
which is completely against the way things are actually in reality on the one hand and
intrinsically wanting to be comfortable on the other..and so lives a sorrowful & miserable life.to
no avail.and the beauty of it..all the while imagining and thinking and being told by those
around him that he is great because of being in that state! This can get pretty complicated in such
cases, as in the composer will seek comfort through his misery..at the end of itseek comfort
from his greatnesstrying to be lonely, force loneliness upon the self....All this is entwined with
our need for greatness; a need to differentiate this, as we have mentioned, drilled into us since
childhood. Whereas, as we will see elsewhere in this note we can find solutions/ understand only
when we look for the common, not for the differences. This need to differentiate, has taken on
gangrenous proportions right through history, one can see humans busying their time, efforts,
and even lives for the purpose of proving oneself as being better offin modern times, we have
had the Nazi pogrom, we have philosophical treatises (largely western); we have rabid
mathematicians (John Nash..) we have rabid politicians, students, everyone. The need to
differentiate is ingrained, whereas one can check with oneself, one feels comfortable with people
only when we find something similarthere thus exists a deep dichotomy, a split in us with the
I feeling uncomfortable at the need to differentiate, and still, assuming that this is what is to be
done. Of course, intellectuals have a fear of mediocrity, they want mankind to achieve great
heights, but want and like to believe in their assumed greatness (illusion) that a few will always
be better; themselves included, that they will be known as the greats all a massive conditioning,
born out of an incorrect understanding of the very basic things in a human being and existence.
The most common refrain is that something like happiness/ sukh is trivial, there are higher goals
out there. I did this as well, when first propositioned with I want sukh/ happiness I denied it .. I
had notions by then of there being a full human life consisting of anger, hatred, jealousy, love,
affectionall human emotions.. I saw all these as requirements, as necessities, something that
encompassed the defintion of the human being, and I saw this proposition of my wanting sukh
only as being restrictive of human possibilities..as force fitting a particular viewpoint into a
theorysomething not intellectual enoughas being just too utopian, not being
practicable.too text-bookishbeing spiritual.more, I just didnt want sukh, I wanted
answers.. to Indias problems, to world problems..to my own noise in my head.till I realized
later that these notions about human possibilities as I understood them was something I had
picked up from books, from general talk about high civilization and that when I really ask
myself, I, as a living entity want to be happy/ want sukh, I get this answer when I ask myself as a
living entity, that wants attention, that thinks..stripped off all stuff that I may have accumulated
(because such stuff, as we now know is flawed and is nothing but conditioning).I also
wanted progress and high civilization for the human being, this I now understood, means
something else, not in the way it was being defined -- by a particular, modern, western?
Viewpointwhich was essentially so shallow and misplacedit considered the human being to be
nothing more than a dressed up ass.that true human progress meant something else..a
P PA AR RA AD DI IG GM M shift from what we are currently used to thinking/ imagining, aligned with
reality..we can see here that no matter what we do, when we fail to understand reality and live
accordingly, we fall in trouble. Be it in what we think is greatness, our ideas of society, of
countries, of patriotism, of art & creativity, in our idea of growth, economics (non-
cyclical consumption), the environment, within the family, with our relatives, our
friends, our science, our research, our education, our very definition of ourselves
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everything the best part is, we have even started believing, imagining that we do
not want to be comfortable, that it is trouble/ discomfort/ problems/ misery that we want
like in the case of our great music composer and his imagined greatness!!!! or our
industry greats who ask us to keep struggling within a make believe competitive world in
order to be able to survive, or our army generals who believe we have to kill and be
obsessed with killing, put all our attention into arms acquisition in order to live
peacefully; to our modernity champions who say we have to have international night
lifestyles at Bombay and an international consumption pattern.
What is this reality we have been referring to? It is what we have been discussing here,
what we have been proposing, what the reader has to verify for himself and check to see
whether it is true. The ability to verify is there in all of us.. it is a property of the fact
that we are human beings.. just like the property of the banyan tree is to have aerial
roots, or that of the cobra is to have poison. Our proposition is that in reality, we
have an I distinct from the body, this I wants to know, it wants sukh, it needs attention, it
wants respect, there is a relationship between an I and all other Is, there is co-existence
in existence, existence consists of units suspended in space, each unit is self-organized,
there are no opposites in reality, each unit is related to the other unit..and such
relationships are complementary. there is, thus a balance, a harmony and
organization in existence, we have to understand this harmony and align ourselves
with it.and so on..all to be checked and verified, to be realized and understood by
each and every individual before acceptingI.e. each and every individual should
observe himself, nature, existence to realize & understand in his/her own right. Else, we
can continue the way we are, getting rid of 2 problems and falling into 3 more, going
round and round and round and worsening as time goes by..illusions..as individuals, as
families, as societies, nationsas a race.

Level 4:- I and Society
The human expectations make the human objectives which are the following:

Right Understanding (Samaadhan), Prosperity (Samridhi), Trust (Abhay), Coexistence (Sah-
astitva)

1. Right Understanding or Samadhan in every human being: is necessary for every human being,
without which a person remains disturbed and starts disturbing others. Right understanding
comes from knowledge, from realization, from understanding the I and its various levels of
existence and all the other things we have explained
2. Prosperity or Samridhhi in every family: is necessary and the family must be able to recognize
/identify its needs so as to be able to produce/ achieve more than its requirement.
3. Trust or Abhaya in society so that every member feels related to every one else and work
towards an undivided society.
4. Co-existence or Saha- Astitwa: in nature there is harmony and a relationship that is mutually
fulfilling among all the four orders of nature.

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There is a perfect harmony between the material order, pranic order and animal order. Only
human beings do not fulfill this order. They do not play their part in the natural order properly. It
is only through right understanding that people will be in harmony in themselves and with others
in society.

The human society needs 5 dimensions to function in harmony with other units in nature:

1) Education or Shiksha Sanskar
2) Health and self-restraint or Swasthaya- Sanyam
3) Production work or Utpadan Karya
4) Exchange, repository/ storage or Vinimaya Kosh
5) Justice and security or Nyaya Suraksha

1) Shiksha (education) is understanding the harmony at all 6 levels of existence.
Sanskar - is commitment and preparedness to live in harmony at all 6 levels of existence.

2) Swasthaya Sanyam (Health and self-restraint - Sanyam): Sanyam or restraint is in the I , and
swasthya or health is in the body. When I feels the responsibility of nurturing, protection and right
utilization of the body, it is called Sanyam or restraint. It is this sanyam which helps human beings
to identify their physical / material needs correctly. Once these needs are identified, and are seen
as being limited (instead of unlimited), only then is it possible for human being to produce more
than ones limited physical needs, and that prosperity then becomes a reality for all of us.

Swasthya or health in body can be had through
a) Food and daily routine ( Aahar, vihar)
b) Exercise or Vyayama
c) Medicines

3) Utpadan-Karya ( Production -Work) :
Work - is the physical effort made by human beings with the rest of nature. Production is the
physical things that I obtain as a result of work with nature.

There are two important aspects in production-work

1. Identifying the physical needs of the body
2. Producing them through physical work in an Avaartanshil (cyclic) manner as in the plant
order where everything is regenerated.

On the other hand non cyclic processes are unnatural. They either lead to depletion of resources
or environmental pollution or both. An example of this would be burning of coal. When we put
human excreta back into the soil it is a cyclic process and everything gets enriched. On the other
hand when we use the sewage system, it leads to water pollution and loss of manure. Production
processes need to be cyclic (not open-ended) like using natural fuel like gobar gas, solar power
and cyclic methods of waste disposal. (Note that in this case we are not retrofitting things we
align our understanding and hence our means of production with the way things in
existence/nature ARE. Things in nature/existence are cyclical in nature, and hence, I need to
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have a means of production that is cyclical as well. The key thing to understand here is that I/
the human being cannot create something that does not exist; cannot do something which is not
possible in nature/ existence. For example when I split an atom, it does not remain in that
state, I have to force it to do so, and even then, this is possible only for a limited period of time,
the law of the substance and its behaviour in existence will take over. Readers would have
guessed by now that this reasoning yields a new meaning/ understanding to the term law of
nature and its implications unlike what we are currently used to defining it as.)

4) Vinimaya-Kosh (Exchange - Storage)
Exchange takes place only with what remains after fulfilling the physical needs of the
family - for mutual fulfillment and not for exploitation of the other.
Storage is used to store only what remains after fulfilling the physical needs of the family and
society - for future use and not for exploitation. (Why do we mentioned exploitation here? Ask
yourself. No human being, of his own accord wants to exploit/ cheat the other. No matter who this
human being is. We have been conditioned into thinking it is required to exploit to survive
[obviously so, since we deemed our requirements as being unlimited all this while]. When we
propose ourselves with this question Do I want to cheat someone? the sehaj swikruti/ ready
acceptance answer is no. Inspite of this, we will continue to do so, under the conditioning that it is
required to cheat to survive, to be practical, to excel, to be successful.and so onthe role
models we have placed before us, that we try to imitate at least in commerce are such men who
were the greatest, subtlest cheaters, Ambani, Goenka,Bill Gates the list is long, and it is
glorious, those successful men.. the rags to riches fable.be like him; betaSimilarly, the
example we have taken about killing.no human being will want to kill/ likes killing.. it is an
intrinsic property in us, there is nothing we can do about it..reason why we have to currently train
(condition) killers.. and call them soldierstalk to some soldiers.. find out what happens when the
kill out of patriotism.. you would have seen it in movies as well..war movies.. the thin red line,
etc, listen and understand to what a man undergoes when he kills )

5) Nyaya- Suraksha (Justice-Security)
Nyaya or justice is recognition of the relation of one I with the other I, the 9 human expectations
their mutual fulfillment, evaluation and happiness. Suraksha or security is the recognition of the
relation of the I with the rest of nature.

Level 5: I with Nature
In nature there is a relationship of mutual fulfillment (paraspar purakata) amongst the four orders
namely: 1) Material Order (Padartha avastha, 2) Pranic Order (Prana Avastha),3) Animal Order
(Jeeva Avastha), 4) Human Order (Gyana Avastha) The first three orders fulfill their mutual
relationship in a satisfactory manner, but whether the human order is able to play any role in
mutual fulfillment is doubtful.

ORDER THINGS ACTIVITY DHARMA SVABHAV
Physio-chem
Padarth
Air, Water,
Minerals
Composition
Decomposition
Existence
(Self-Organised)
Composite
Decomposition
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Pranic
Pran
Cells, Plants,
Animal Body,
Human Body
- do
+
Respiration
- do
+
Growth
Pran,
Enhance/
Worsen
Animal Jeev Animal Body
+
I
- do
+
Selection in I
Will to Live in I *Deenta,
Heenta, Krurta
Human Gyan Human Body +
I
- do
+
Selection
Thinking
Desire
Will to Live with
Happiness,
Understanding
- do -
+
#Dheerta,
Veerta,
Udarta


We can list down the orders & activities again hereunder for greater clarity:


ORDER ACTIVTIES
Physio chemical Padarth examples air,
water, minerals..ie. anything with no life
Composition, Decomposition
Pranic, Pran examples cells, plants, animal
body, human body
Composition, Decomposition, plus Respiration
Animal Jeev only 1 example - Animal Body
plus I
Composition, Decomposition, Respiration plus
selection in the I
Human Gyan only 1 example - Human
Body plus I
Composition, Decomposition, Respiration plus
thinking, desiring, selection in the I


In plants there is only growth and no consciousness (here consciousness means the capacity to
know and to accept. The I does the knowing, assuming, recognizing and fulfilling). The body
only recognizes and fulfils. The I recognizes and responds differently because of making different
assumptions. Therefore knowing and assuming is the characteristic of Chaitanya.

In Pranic order, its Svabhava is to help, enhance or worsen another pranic unit. The animal body
behaves in the same manner as the Pranic. The I behaves differently. Here the I part in animals
has the will to live.
*Deenata : The feeling that I cannot take care of my body.
Heenata : Trying to fulfill the need by cheating, manipulation.
Krurata : Trying to fulfill the need by forceful violence.
Deenata, Heenata and Krurata are alright as long as the I is with the animal body. (* Why arent
they okay with the human or the Human I? Well, because the human or the human I does not want
to have these properties, he has no sehaj swikruti/ ready acceptance for these properties)

#Dheerata : Commitment to understand and live in harmony at all levels
Veerata : Commitment to help the other to understand and to live in harmony at all 6 levels.
Udarata : Willing to invest ones self, body and wealth for ensuring the understanding and living
in harmony at all 6 levels.
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Level 6: I with Existence
In existence there are 2 types of realities (1) units like a tree/man/plant/cells/bee
/car/typewriters etc. (2) Space.

EXISTENCE

Units Space (Khali Sthan)
Limited (Seemit) Unlimited (Asimit)
Activity (Kriyashil) No Activity (Kriyashunya Shunya)
Energized Equilibrium Energy (Samya Urja)
Recognize and fulfill the relation
with other units
All Reflecting, transparent
(paardarshita)
Self-Organized (Niyantrit) Self-Organization (Niyantran) is
available
(Aishwarya) Grandeur
are Submerged in
Ishwar

All units are in Space. They are submerged in space. Units are in coexistence with space, i.e.
Space is inside as well as outside the units. This Space does not obstruct the physical object and it
does not get obstructed by the physical objects. All units are interrelated in Space. Activities take
place in the units. In Space there is no-activity. The activities (units) are energized in co-existence
with Space (which is no-activity). Units are self organized (Niyantrit) in space. Every unit is
reflected in each and every unit. Every unit in Existence is reflected on me and on the self.

Aishwarya (Abundance) is all the abundance that we see around us.
Ishwar- is the all pervading, unlimited, constant Energy in which all abundance (aishwarya) IS.
Iswar (vyapak, space) is always there. Through space every unit is reflected onto every other
unit. All that one has to do is to be aware of it and experience it.

Space is the basis for anubhav (Atma): Anubhav is to know the entire existence, so we call space
Paramatma.

Every Unit is submerged in space because:
1. It is energized in space.
2. Self-organized in space.
3. Recognizes and fulfills its relationship with other units in Space.

Existence = Units submerged in Space.

In Space, organization is available but it does not bind you.
The Sahaj Svikriti (ready acceptance) is already there in I for self-organization (an intrinsic
property of the I, present in all human Is no matter who the person. This sehaj swikruti is our
basis for studying reality as it IS).
There is no one in control of things in space and nobody to control it, I.e. there is no concept of
the controller and the controlled, as we have seen earlier.

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It (Vyapak) is a reflection but it is not Drashta (observer).
Activities take place in its co-existance but it is not Karta (doer).
Its experience by I leads to anand (bliss) but space (vyapak) itself is not the Bhokta (enjoyer).
(I is the seer, doer and enjoyer, or in Hindi, the drashta, karta and bhokta)


We can see the high level organization of units in space and their relationship with each other on
the next page:
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+



EXISTENCE



Units (limited in size) Space (all pervading)


Activities


Nature (Prakruti)


Jarh Chaintanya (conscious), I


Physio-chemical (material)


Transformable (gathanshil) Non-Transformable,
Changing Continuous


Recognizing and fulfilling Knowing, assuming

Recognizing, fulfilling

Material order Pranic order

+ +
Atom Cells


Molecule Plant


Molecular structure Animal body





Lump (Pind) Fluids (Rasa) Human body
= Animal
Order
= Human
Order
Two kinds of units in nature
The Jarh (Physiochemical) &
the Chaintanya( Conscious, I)
Animal Order =
Animal I +
Animal Body
Human Order =
Human I +
Human Body
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Shiksha Sanskara


Shiksha - Education Sanskara

Right Right Living
Understanding



Relating Relating Relating Relating Right Right Action
Behaviour
to self to other to Nature to existence


Resolution Trust in Trust in Co-Existence Socialization Self
within Self Relationship Nature between Space with Human Sufficiency
& Nature beings with Nature

Happiness Mutual Mutual Happiness Mutual Mutual
within Self happiness Prosperity Bliss Happiness Prosperity
in Nature

Self-Reliance


Aim Prosperity among Human Beings Prosperity in Nature



Health - Body Production Expansion Preservation Proper
more then Utilization
Requirement

Process Production, Preservation, Proper Utilization of Resources



Production Management Account Keeping Commerce



Science Technology Engineering Arts

Learning Teaching Training Practice
(in Relation to Production)
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SUMMING - UP

Existence is co-existence. Co-existence is in the form of the following

Every unit is submerged in Space (Harmony in existence).
Every unit is related to every other unit (Harmony in Nature).
I is related to every other Unit (Harmony in Society).
I is related to every I ( Harmony in Family).
I is related to Body ( Harmony with Body)

This is Astitva Darshan

Different activities of I are also interrelated (Harmony in I)
The desires, thoughts and hopes of I are in harmony with the understanding and realization of I .
This is Jivan Gyan

Having understood I and the entire existence, we understand our relationship with every unit in
existence and fulfill it leading to mutual happiness and prosperity. This is human conduct,
Manviyatapurn Aacharan.

This sums up Jeevan Vidya.


The reader at this point might be apprehensive that what we are discussing seems to be leading to
something utopian. And that utopian ideas are not practicable. That one cannot construct the
world as one would like it, by simply wishing for it, or like we are right now, talking/writing about
it. There might also be the fear that we are talking about something close to reductionism. That it
is restrictive of human possibilities. We will have to go back to the Manyata/ Acceptance
phenomena here. Things like human possibilities etc, we have read about, might even have felt
deeply about. But truly ask yourself, as to what is that you want). The discerning reader will
understand that from our understanding, the possibilities in fact become infinite, that they are
restricted as of now, in fact.

If we look at what we have said about there being a balance & co-existence in existence, we will
realize and understand that this balance is also there inside me, the human being, I only have to
pay attention to it, to understand it, I.e. I have to understand reality as it IS, and when I do, I
understand myself properly. I am now in balance with the whole of existence. Things fall into
place inside me (as they are already in place in the rest of existence) and I am at ease.

I now have an answer to all my questions, I can understand other people. I can understand why
they do things, why they do anything in fact. I am able to analyze the other, and evaluate her
properly. I am able to evaluate and understand how I behave, what I do, and for what I am doing
it. In my interpersonal interactions, my understanding levels have increased, and I am able to
behave in a way in which to enable the other to be comfortable, to see and understand things. In
fact, prior to this I never paid attention to my communication and interpersonal relationships with
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those around me. They were a given, just there, with problems some times and good times as well.
Now, my communication and interactions with others forms an important part of my being, it is a
level of my existence, one that I have to take part in. (I can almost hear the chuckles from my
friends, who knew me in earlier days, especially those that took part in intellectual trips with
me). Fact is, interactions with other human beings is an integral part of our existence. It is there, it
is a given, there is no way we can wish it away with some intellectual trivializations.


When I start understanding myself and others at the level of the I, it starts showing in my behavior
with others. I recognize the various values which are involved in any inter-personal relationship,
where 2 or more humans are involved. When I understand things properly and start behaving
according to this understanding and the values or moolyas that exist in human relationships, my
interactions with other people become mutually fulfilling. I dont have to try to do anything, my
behavior and response to people starts flowing as a result of my understanding.

* Whenever we have stated Characteristics of the I are the same for everyone- there is,
however, difference at the level of thought and selection, which leads to creativity &
variety. I.e. I may have the same understanding as you, but may choose to express it
differently. Currently, there is no understanding, so, there are manyatas at the level of 3
(acceptance) which also lead to conflicting thoughts and hence confusion/conflict/
miscommunication takes place. Whereas, if you and I have the right understanding, I am
able to understand you even though my ways of thinking and selection are different from
yours.


More Disbelief, doubt, rejection ..

A lot of the things that we have talked about are way out for most people. They will find some of
the statements ludicrous, preposterous, nave, restrictive, utopian We are stating that saying We
have an I with the characteristics we have laid out is the same like saying We all have a brain
it is as real.

Seems 98% of our cells regenerate every year which means my body nearly changes completely
every year to which someone in my office remarked which means I am a new person every year
Consider this statement for a moment: - Do you really think 98% of you changes every year? Of
course, we have all those theoriesmultiple identities, concepts of the ego and the super ego; of
the conscious and the sub- conscious- all the theories out therelets take them up some other
time. No, 98% of me does not change every year ..just like nothing in ME will change if I undergo
a blood transfusion, or of I get a kidney transplant.that you cannot explain me with a DNA
footprint..I can verify this for myself. we all can verify this for ourselves.I am something
else more than my intellect

When I now look back at what has written above, I see that contemporary means of thought and
approaches cannot give me answers. There are a few things out there that can give some relief
temporary though - Like meditation (techniques of the mind, not chanting stuff and the like),
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chanting stuff as well, bhajans and stuff at temples, or even psychedelic music or even
hallucinogens or ethereal experiences. Relief, not solutions

What then, to date have we thought of, could be termed as progress? .The very idea of humanity
as oneOur desire to have a globally peaceful society.Recognition of the fact that as a
species we need education for young & old.Some sections at least re-recognizing that nature
should be savedA recognition by some sections that considering the other is a
responsibilityThe very idea that we have a need to progress.all signs that as a species a
product of evolutionwe have been getting some of the things right.

I remember the very first time I heard this proposition of there being a harmony, a balance in
nature, in existence. We were walking down a lane at the IIT in Chennai and a good friend was
trying to explain this to me. I looked around. Where was this damn harmony? All I could see was
a pile of dirt by the side, a couple of trees, and some grass sticking out of the mud. And the world
was all messed up, as far as I was concerned. So I do understand, if you have a quizzical
expression on your face at this proposition of there being this harmony. Which brings to mind:
When we are talking about harmony/balance in nature, in existence, we are talking about all
entities except those created by human beings. We are not attempting to find harmony in the
society/ human created world that we inhabit of Iraq and the Eiffel tower, the West Bank and
Nepal, Bihar elections and outsourcing strategies, the literary awards and the musical tonight,
Indias dying millions and here shining Bangloreans. There is no harmony in that. Im sure we
will agree on that, unless of course; we have been conditioned to the contorted there is beauty in a
killing, there is beauty in a field full of bullet ridden bodies syndrome -- I do know of folks (I was
one) who think there is the possibility of harmony in the chaos around. That all the rich-poor
equation, the war-monger- vanquished equation, the intelligent man-stupid man equation is what
maintains a harmony, that the world is currently balanced; in a crude way albeit. There are theories
as well of an instability theory- it says mankinds progress is like a slate on a hill. It can move/
exist only on the slopes upward or downward. The minute you are at the peak of the hill; I.e.
stable/ harmonious, youll be unstable/ fall down. A nice way to retrofit something you couldnt
come to terms with, couldnt find answers for, into something you really want. A world with
equality, peace, justice and prosperity. And happiness. Isnt this the ultimate human dream?

My colleague mentioned about how animals get mad at times. Weve all heard about rogue
elephants in temples, or raging bulls (to think there is a movie by the name Raging Bull, Robert
De Niros acclaimed debut). When we see that animals have an I as well, we probably start
understanding phenomena like crazy animals a lot better. Or statements like the chimpanzee
started trusting me, started getting comfortable with me by some researcher in National
geographic. Or phenomena like dogs being faithful and hump-back whales singing/ composing
music or dolphins taking part in mass suicides when one of their own got stuck in the sands the
whole group would then haul themselves into the sands purportedly a social behavious pointing to
their social instincts. Earlier, such things were only vaguely slotted under the title social
behaviour; which is part of what has been observed of the intelligence in beings. Such
intelligence of course stemming from the brain we have been through this before, we have
identified the I, as being distinct from the body the brain being part of the body , and on the
basis of the I/consciousness we can now explain this properly.

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If we look at the human being as of now, each one of us has hundreds of conflicting thoughts
running through us the whole day, called sometimes as noise. We have conflicting desires, we
behave in different ways on different occasions, and there seems to be no pattern to it. For
example, I can meet you in the same setting at 2 different times and behave like entirely different
personas. When we see the modern definition of schizophrenia (split personalities), we can see
that we are all schizophrenic to various extents. The people in whom this is a lot stronger, the split
more well-established between 2 or more areas (or, where this split is greater than acceptable
levels) are called as schizophrenics. And they are treated by psychologists who dont understand
the most basic things about their own selves. People currently called as schizophrenics are so in
relation to us. In a state in which we havent understood things correctly, we are all schizophrenics
in the absolute sense.

Education, Children
* It is important to note that everything we are saying about the human being, the I, its needs its
characteristics, etc apply to children as well. In that the child (the I) also has the same
characteristics that we have been discussingthe child needs attention, it wants respect, it wants
sukh, it wants to know. There is no difference between the adult and the child in this sense.
Education, therefore, translates into guiding the child about these thingsteaching the child by
addressing its I, more than teaching, guiding the child .. readers can try putting the same
propositions that we have put up here to a child and check the results..in fact, the child will
respond more genuinely to a proposition like do you want attention?; do you want love?; do
you want to be happy? Or Are you the same as your brain? Are you the same as your hand?
Are you the same as your body?. Etc. The child, is less confused than an adult is, since the level
of conditioning is far less, the pretensions less, the illusions less, the manyatas less. It is in more
likely to be able to get in touch with itself. It hasnt yet, been fed with so many notions about
greatness, struggling, competition, differentiation (on the basis of caste, creed, race, money,
power, etc). In fact , we as of now appreciate children on this basis: - that they do not differentiate
with the other human being, that they are cleaner; less complex and such -- which we can now
understand better on the basis of the I and conditioning. Education, thus is aiding the childs I/ the
child to pay attention to the essential characteristics of itself, aid it to realize and understand
reality/ existence. For this, we, parents, grownups need to understand things first. A lot has been
said about the current education system in India. About how it is nothing but rote learning, the
way in which it is biased, promoting a particular view of life, the emphasis on English, how rural
& urban education is completely divorced from everyday life, how it has a different set of cultural
values, how it never teaches children anything about self-sufficiency ..and so on. A lot of
committed people have been trying to experiment with various sections of society- in the cities,
towns & villages. They are trying to correct history; add more meaningful material, avoiding
competition, & exams, introduce locally relevant material, and so on. Education needs to
change. Educational institutes influence a lot of things around us they influence other
institutional setups, the influence society, and they get influenced themselves in turn. Of course,
there will be resistance, tooth and nail. People will refuse to understand. We have to start
somewhere. People will understand, they have to. Else, they will continue to output the kind of
manufactured morons we see today leading to the institutional and societal mayhem so
prevelant.

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Some of us have wet our fingers a bit/ a lot in what is called philosophy. Some of the words used
here like I or sukh or happiness or harmony may seem familiar.
The Gita talks about the same thing they would say. Lets look at them pre-conditioning outer
circles again. What the reader is doing in these cases is referring to earlier convictions, while we
have repeatedly stated that one should ask one-self, if something is readily acceptable, something
that one can verify in ones own right. There are those who have serious reservations with the word
Spirituality. They mock at it, they scoff at it. When they read some of what we has been stated
above, there is the possibility that they immediately slot our statements into what they consider to
be spirituality and then just switch off. This happens to us all the time, whenever we are
receiving any information or data from outside of ourselves be it the paper, the news, texts like
this one, anyone. We approach it with a pre-conceived notion; the reference for comparison is the
information/ idea/ theory/ conviction already within us (these as we have seen, built above the
Core I). So, when I make a statement like I want to be happy, and I want it always,
continuously, the reader will just switch off. He would have determined, without reading further,
that this is some happiness and spirituality stuff. Or, that this is just another version of what has
already been said before. And it ends there.
Or, he might continue reading, with a smirk perhaps, and probably even pity the author, the one he
knew earlier, who seemed quite sane, and now sounds like a Baba of sorts or some guy who is
into spirituality & stuff. Which is why, verify in your own right, see whether what we have been
saying about the human I makes sense to you. And keep in mind what we have been saying about
preconditioning and sub-conscious fear.

Then there are those that believe in taking life lightly, without getting too serious about things.
This is stuff they have heard and adapted. Verified by a simple thing ask yourself whether you
want to know, or not know. Whether you think, or you dont.

Another one is that humans are born to have happiness and sorrow. That joy and sadness go
hand in hand, life is a sum of all these experiences.. and so on. These are also things we have
adapted. Ask yourself, properly. Do you rather want to be in a comfortable state all the while, or
not? And the answer is yes..with buts..of what is practicable and the like.. all our notions
about these things derive from the world as we see it today.and that is what we are re looking at
here.. so the reference point for verification of any proposition cannot be the world or society
outside of us, but inside us, sehaj swikruti/ ready acceptance.

Another one is about human weaknesses.. and how we are weak, and hence make mistakes/ are
uncomfortable/ do not have a definite character/ are confused.in fact texts like the Gita
comment on this and then go on to mention how to get around these things.solutions to
practical life.that life is a mixed bagand so forthwhereas when we ask ourselves, we see
that we dont want chaos, we want order. We are saying that this order is possible, only we have
to understand things in the right way.because we want to..how we do we know this?.. we refer to
something inbuilt in all of us, that is a characteristic of the fact that we are human ..what we
have called as sehaj swikruti/ or ready acceptancethis is our basis for approaching reality.

I can see all this talk of sehaj swikruti leading to people thinking Which means I cannot trust
anything. which is correct you cant. In fact i, is not trusting that we do, but acceptance that
takes place. Trust means something else. Being able to live with self-verification of every act is
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not difficult. We are currently not used to it, never paid attention to it. Once done, it just falls into
place, one does not have to try to verify.all the time.


Will to survive
Its interesting, when we consider suicides in humans. If our purpose was to survive, why would
human beings suicide? This need or will to survive should have been the overriding factor. Which
is ok, because we all have this great fear of death. In spite of this, humans suicide; it only goes to
show that there is some other entity that needs to be factored. That overcomes the will to survive
and decides to take its own life. This entity, we have identified as the I.


Proving oneself..more on attention..
Wanting to prove one-self happens in conscious and sub-conscious ways. We do this daily, with
simple statements. Like when my father, my brother and I sit at home. Three men, and my mother,
and there are always situations in which we show my mother as being nave, ill informed. We do it
continuously, in order to sub-consciously show ourselves as being superior all in jest of course.
My mother, as a result has come to firmly believe and accept that she is all those things. And she
is fine with it, since the role she plays is of a traditional Indian house wife. But there are instances
when she will state something that the 3 men in the house will consider to be sensible, and then
shed also say that she is not as nave as we make her out to be. She doesnt, inside of her, want to
be considered as being nave. She wants to know. Just like the rest of us.

Notions
The notion of opposites is another thing that has been fed into us from childhood. We are taught
that white is the opposite of black, that man is the opposite of the woman, that light is the opposite
of darkness. In what way is a man the opposite of the woman? They are different, thats all.
Similarly, darkness is the absence of light, not the opposite of it. More, darkness does not exist by
itself, I can carry light around, I cant carry darkness around. Light, therefore is different from
darkness. In fact, we can see that they are complementary; I.e. darkness complements light, men
complement women..the current assumption that they are opposites leads to a variety of
notionstraditional households not wanting female children, of good and eviletc.etc.there
are no opposites in existence, no opposites in reality. Everything in reality is complementary.
To quote a friend (Mr Pawan Gupta from SIDH, Mussorie): ..the crux of the matter is to
recognize the similarity between all human beings. Again, sehaj swikruti comes in handy. At the
level of sehaj swikruti we are alike. It is only at the level of asha vichar & ichha emanating from a
manyata (and not from anubhav (realization) & bodh (understanding)), that we seem different
from each other. But it is only in similarity that we feel comfortable. Even people who disagree
feel comfortable only with those that disagree! ..We have the swatantrata (in English: freedom,
but not the precise meaning, no equivalent in English for swatantrata) to deny reality but we
cannot change reality. By focusing on the essentials we recognize similarities. This is what we do
in the sciences/ social sciences - we try to and come to formulate theories and or/ principles, we
look for the COMMON. .When we recognize the source of common between different
phenomena then we understand. By looking at differences we can never understand. Sometimes
we try to understand the common in differences and fail to recognize that even in that case we are
looking for the COMMON, the similarities. Because that is what is needed to be understood in
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understanding the similarity, the common, the pattern. Moreover, there is no point in
understanding abhav (abhav = absence of something, absence of property) because it is the
absence of something (bhav or vastu). So we cannot understand vastu (thing/object) by its
absence..In Vidya for the first time I understood that we cannot understand darkness, dukha
(sadness), abhav because they are all absences of light, sukha (happiness) and bhav respectively.
(bhav = property,when absent is abhav). By removing light we can get darkness, so light IS;
darkness is an absence. That is how I understood that there are no opposites in reality but only
differences. Opposites exist if at all, in a specific context. But while talking and using (the
manyata of) opposites we often forget the context. In our schools we teach comparisons from a
very early age in a subject called language! Imagine the damage that is wrought in the (young)
minds by creating manyatas unknowingly. The rest of the life, the child has become a prisoner of
his/her own mind to follow in the footsteps of the system that be!.
Pawanjis reasoning makes a plenty of sense: When we look at it, is the symmetry, the
commonality that we look for: our notions of geometry for ex all figures will have symmetry built
into them a square, a circle, a triangle, a rhombus, a cube, trapezium, or even in our notion of
beauty human bodily beauty is all about symmetry of the face and the physiqueso is a beautiful
garden one that is ordered


Variations
There are those who consider that there can be no unifying resolution for the human being. The
discerning amongst us, who have been involved with what is called as philosophy have realized
that the only true philosophy is that which concerns the self. Which is to do with me, which is of
mine. Which is absolutely correct. However, not having found a complete answer, such folks
have resigned themselves to the fact that no answer is available. That the fate of the human being
is to keep groping about, without any solution whatsoever. This becomes hardened over a period
of time, as a conviction. Some folks who think like this then busy themselves with activities of
this world; be it achieving something, or trying to experience as many things as possible, right
from spending time in prison to see how it is; to living in isolation for a few years; to traveling and
getting to experience sublimity. Those who see beauty in death, in a piece of plastic flying in the
wind, in a dead bird, in the sunset, divinity in a musical composition, in melancholy in achieving
something. I was one of those. If we ask people who currently consider there to be no resolution
available for the human being whether they would like to be resolved, they will say yes. If we ask
those who have a world-view whether they would like a resolution for the world, they will say
Yes. And then there will be buts. Of what is practically possible. What works and what does
not work. (Which is where the free market and other things associated with it come in; because it
is considered to be the only practicable, objectivist, non-utopian solution. Also note what the term
utopian has now come to signify anything non-practicable. Which is far from its meaning).

The strange thing is, when offered such a resolution for the self/ the world, people dont take it up.
They reject it, so much are they convinced that things are otherwise. So convinced have they
become that there is no resolution available that it hardens inside of them to a great extent. So they
continue living with this paradox (Of continuously wanting to find a resolution for the self & the
world on the one hand and being convinced that no such resolution is possible on the other, and
thus converting this into a situation of irony <of human existence>, melancholy, a theory of
futility; and then romanticizing about it, getting in notions of brutality with the self <Again, read
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from somewhere, felt and absorbed> a notion of redemption, from the tempest. Brutality with
the self is required, of course, but we will prefer the word sincerity here, since it better conveys
the meaning. And sincerity is exactly what we are talking about. Only, in the case of the former
<the people we were commenting on>, the check for sincerity takes place against the soul. What
this soul is, there is no answer for. Presumably, the soul is the self, the inner self, that which is
true, devoid of delusion. Only, in the case of these people, when the reference check is made, it is
done not against the Core I that we saw, but the soul which for them is nothing but the outer
overlapping circles, the layers accumulated over time, from Manyatas/ acceptance, from the
akarshan/ attraction of wanting to be of a particular kind. Note that when we use the word soul
here, it is in the sense in which it is understood.if you want to replace the word consciousness
with the word soul so be it). When I saw the problems around and tried to come up with
solutions / understand the available ones, I could see that any long-term solution had to start with
the self, in the human being understanding somethings. Of course, I had no proper answer to the
poverty question (as I have mentioned earlier, it was so damn relative, I couldnt get a fix on what
it meant), but did feel that if we could all understand this relationship with nature and the need to
protect it, maybe our means of living and production would be in tune with natures cycle,
removing this need for Environmental policies and the like. (Even other things, like our current
means of mechanized agriculture focusing on fertilizers and chemical injection has ruined fields,
both in India, US and elsewherethe Green revolution here turning out slowly to acquire a
Brown color, or the fact that we had cemented and asphalted so much of our living space that
water didnt have any means to seep in and recharge the ground water tables, and numerous such
examples).
But when propositioned with a solution that seemed to answer all my questions, I vehemently
opposed and rejected it. I kept rejecting the possibility (And mind, with not a bit of arrogance.
The fear as well. Even as the speaker put up one proposition after the other, I guess there was a
sub-conscious fear steadily building up inside of me, of losing the world as I currently knew it, of
what I had already made of the world till then. There was also the fear to put my finger into
something for fear of getting hurt. When I attended my first workshop on Jeevan Vidya, I had been
concerned primarily with issues of the world, intertwined with the self of-course, and when all this
talk of balance and harmony started taking place, I was immediately cautious; I didnt want to
go through the tremendous pain of revisiting all those things again, things and issues for which I
had decided there was no solution to be had. At this stage I had many choices, I was deciding
between professorships and environmental activism, between being a field journalist and a
freelance photographer to find a profession, a life that made sense to me AND the world). Till I
realized and understood otherwise. I have also realized that everyone can understand this. That
everyone can realize that there is balance, not chaos in nature & existence, that the human being
too can have this, that he will have this, because he wants this. He only needs to see it. I have
realized that people will understand because they want to understand they want to know. They
need to know, it is inherent in them, a property of the fact that they are human. They want this
balance. We all want this balance. Today or tomorrow. No matter what people try to do or not do.
No matter what convictions they are loaded with right now. There is no other way.





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With the above in mind, the following might therefore be stated:


Everyone we know today is considered to be a product of the specific circumstances they have been
through
And the ways in which they adapted to it
Our ideas of life are derived from the things around us from reading, interactions, our imaginations, etc
When I look at myself, I understand that I am distinct from my body
This I is you, co-existing with your body (you can easily realize there is an I and a body, for ex: your body
doesnt feel happy, You feel happy, body doesnt need sex, you need sex, and so on)
I see that I am not active when I am given anesthesia, as in I dont feel pain, I dont think, I dont want
anything. This happens when I am unconscious.
I.e. I am around when I am conscious
Our consciousness is nothing but our I
I always think, the I is always busy, it is not off at any point in time,
Even when asleep, the I continues to think, --dreams.
Happiness is a state of comfort, of being in the state in which you want to be
In this state, there is synergy in you, a lack of conflict
You always want to be in the state in which you want to be
This is sukh
I.e. You want sukh always
To try and get sukh, you now do various things
You watch TV, you chat, you work, you find something that interests you, you stay obsessed with some
idea, you want to be a great poet, a politician, etc
The sukh is a need of your I, not of your body
Currently, we try to get this sukh by doing things to our body, or by comparing our bodies with those of
others
Ie, I am better looking than he/she, I am tall, etc (these are all manyatas or acceptance in society, and
we are constantly a subject of this)
Any sukh coming from an external entity is bound to be short of fulfilling, and short lived as well, it leaves
behind a void
Whereas I want this sukh continuously
Because I need this sukh continuously, and the things I currently do only give me sukh for a short term (if at
all they do give me any sukh);
I am constantly dissatisfied, on the look out for something,
There is thus a void in me, not only because I dont have sukh, but also because I dont know
The only way to fill this void is to understand my I and the nature of sukh
This is the characteristic of the human being, he/it wants to know
The I of the human being wants to know and then wants sukh
Animals do not have the need for sukh or the need to know
To study & understand the human being, I have to study & understand existence or astitiva
When I study astitiva, I realize that there is co-existence in it, there is harmony in it
I see that existence consists of space (shoonya) and units submerged in space
These units are energized and self organized by virtue of the fact that they are in space
Units have activity, space has no activity

I am a unit
I see that I am a product of existence
I see that there is jeevan; and that this jeevan wants to evolve, to propagate itself
Plants propagate themselves they have flowers, and seed They just live, have no WILL to survive
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Animals want to propagate themselves lay eggs, bear young ones The have the WILL to survive
Humans want to propagate themselves we procreate. But just living or having the will to survive is not
enough. They also have the need to KNOW and want SUKH
Humans want prosperity
Humans, or their Is want attention, it wants respect
Prosperity is the feeling of having more than what you want
So I must know how much I want
This need is the need of the I and not of the body
I currently think I am the same as my body / I,e, there is no difference between the two
Since I do not know how much I want, I keep accumulating wealth, without feeling prosperous (since
prosperity is the feeling of having more than what I want)

Currently the world thinks it is the same as its body (Or, does not distinguish between the two)
The needs of the I are unlimited (I want attention, respect)
The I needs these things continuously, and there is no fixed quantity for the needs of the I
The body needs nutrition & shelter
Needs of the body are limited in quantity and are not needed continuously
If I consider I am the same as my body,
The needs of the I-body complex are unlimited (since needs of the I are unlimited, and we think we are
nothing but the body; hence the I-Body complex)
Currently, the world tries to accumulate wealth (they have defined poverty as per capita income)
Resources on the earth are limited
I do not know how much I want
My needs are the same as my bodies needs
Bodies needs require physical things
Earth has limited physical resources by design
Which means I cannot fulfill a need for sukh which is continuous with physical resources that are limited
So I will never feel prosperous & never have sukh
This is current progress; this is modern economics (all humans have done to date has been to change the
form of certain physical things (padarthavastha) to do certain things that increases their level of physical
comfort)
Our current understanding of the human is limited to the body, to the genes
There is no concept of the I, we currently think humans are nothing but their brains, mind, whatever..
This is from the Darwinian concept of struggle for survival, of natural selection, and from Newtonian
theories.
In astitva, each jeev tries to propagate itself,
animals will do this by harming the other, because they dont have any concept of the other like we do,
humans have this concept of the other, you dont want to harm the other , inspite of that, we define life as a
struggle for survival ,
which is what companies do, and when you ask people theyd say I dont want to struggle,
I dont want to be jealous of you, I dont want to do you harm,
And there is an economic system (and life) centered around these very things maximizing profits for
limitless growth, by getting the better of you
Every time I do something that does not have my sehaj swikruti/ ready acceptance, I feel uncomfotable
You cant consider humans to be just brains/ intelligence, since then I cant feel, desire, assume, know
I dont feel through my brain, dont desire through my brain, there is something else, that tells me I am
alive, that I exist, by which I feel sad, happy, feel love, respect.
This is what can be called as the I or the chaitanya.
In evolutionary terms, (in existence) first the physical order came, then the plant order, the animal followed
and now the human
the highest form of evolution since he can know and understand the whole of existence.
The current assumption in science that there is chaos in the universe so the human by that definition is
also chaotic.
Most philosophies to date especially western, do not have a concept of the I.
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So works by them revolve around political contexts, or existential ones, leading to drama & romance about
life and humans, some are optimistic, some are pessimistic, some are about the will to survive and the will
to be a superhuman there is no resolution available for what the human being is;
obviously so, since the people who wrote these things were themselves a product of what we have
explained above.
When we study astitva objectively we see that there is co-existence in existence.
Modern science for example, studies animals to explain human beings. When the nature of the Is
themselves are so different, how is this to work?
How can I explain the human being by studying the behavior of dolphins and dogs?

The key to understanding Life is to study it
Life is Jeevan
One sees Jeevan all around, in astitiva (existence)
The human being is a body (Jarh) co-existing with consciouness (chaitanya)
This chaitanya has a single objective- it wants sukh
To get sukh, it needs to understand itself and the astitiva
It then understands what life is, and why it lives.
It also understands how to live and what to do whilst living
It understands the other humans around it, and how to interact with them
It learns to live in a family, and the expectations of one I from the other
Based on this understanding, it can then think of a society, and its components
It understands natural relations and how existence IS
it understands the harmony in existence and aligns itself to this harmony, starts living in the harmony
It has answers then to all its questions,
This is when a human being gets resolved


Notes again: -

1. Rejection. A lot of things we have been talking about take time to be realized and
understood. One major flaw in this write up is that its scope may seem too ambitious. It
concerns itself with too many things, and very fundamental in nature. There might be
many things that are quite different from the current frameworks within which we are used
to operating, ways in which we are used to thinking. Many things in it can, and will be
rejected outright.

2. Word and Meaning. This note has been written keeping in mind that the readership is
going to be highly heterogeneous; every person reading this would have had a unique set
of influences to date, the frequent instances where we have tried to analyze and comment
on commonly held perceptions is with view to enable the reader to get to the meaning of
what the author wishes to convey. It is possible that some readers would already have
thought through some of the things we have commented on; and quickly come to some
conclusion and/ or dismissal. The author would advise them to read these things again
nevertheless, and in the event that they are really sure that they have thought about this in
the exact same way, continue reading what comes next. One must understand that when we
read or hear something, it is just the words. We have to get to the meaning behind the
words. There are some things that have to be understood in the same way as intended by
the author. To draw an analogy from life, if I feel elated about something, I am the only
one who truly understands what it means when I say I am elated. Similar to the words
and meanings we have attempted to convey in this note. Of course, the example we just
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used is highly subjective, whereas what we are trying to convey can be studied objectively;
and hence can be understood by everyone in the same way. Which is why, we have said
that the reader has to check and verify things for himself/herself, in his or her own right.
I.e. Is this readily acceptable to me?. You, the reader are the sole judge. Not some book,
not your parents, not your wife, not the President of India, not Abraham Lincoln, not Bill
Gates, not Leonardo Da Vinci not Bertrand Russel, not Salman Khan. Note that where we
are referring to the human being as the human I, it is not to indicate an I in isolation. It is
just to draw the readers attention to the fact that there is an I which needs to be addressed,
understood. So, we can use the word human being instead of saying the human I every
time as long as we understand that there is an I, distinct from the body. So, when I talk to
Rob or to Vishal, I address his I, I know he as an I, unlike now when I just generally talk at
his face or at his eyes. Similarly, when we refer to the word existence, it means
everything around us, us included. It is does not mean something that we loosely refer to as
life or anything like that. When we are explaining concepts, we are using the words in a
very precise sense. We currently use words in a loose fashion, plus words have cultural
connotations. When we are using words like happiness, recognizing, fulfilling, harmony
etc they have a specific meaning, which may not be the ones we are currently used to
associating with these words. So, before you scoff, pause.

3. Finding fault with the author. There are places where it may seem that the author is trying
to defend himself, or be too explanatory. As already stated, this has been done to enable
the reader to get to the meaning. Sometimes, some of us will allow a small flaw that we see
in the writer as a justification for his being wrong, and let such thoughts and perceptions
come in the way of what is being conveyed. Its something quite ingrained in all of us; we
try to come out looking better, always. Hence, in cases where the more intellectual
amongst the audience decide that the author should not have gone on to explain some
things too simplistically and/or some things mentioned are far too basic, they might care to
reconsider. In their own interests, nobody elses. (This is turning out to be an explanation to
explain why I have been explanatory in the noterecursive, again..)

4. Why write? Why should someone take time and write all of this? Because he wants to
preach? Because he wants to impress? Because, sub-consciously he wants to validate what
he is thinking, by getting other people to think in the same way? The author will state
again that he does not wish to impress. Nor does he wish to validate his thoughts and/ or
understanding. He is convinced enough/ realized, understood to not need external
verification. He write because a) he felt like it b) He wants to share his understanding, put
forth some propositions. There might be instances where it seems that the author is trying
to dominate/ force his views. All that the author is trying to do is to sincerely attempt to
enable the reader to get to the meaning of what he wishes to convey. The benchmark of
verification, as we have stated already, is the reader himself.

5. Reality Reality IS. It is absolute. Our perception may be abstract and relative.
For example, when we say water boils at 100 degrees Celsius: What one can see and
verify is that water boils. The term 100 degrees Celsius is a human framework; a measure
that we have defined on the reality that water boils. The term 100 degrees Celsius is
abstract and relative. In fact, there is an old Indian parable to this: 3 rishis have attained
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moksha and are going towards heaven. They see an eagle pick up a snake. The first Rishi
comments poor snake, look at that nasty eagle. He falls to the ground immediately. The
second Rishi says Good for the snake, let it die, keeps biting people. He falls down as
well. The thirds Rishi says what is, will happen, this is the snakes and eagles relationship
in existence. He goes on to heaven. What we are attempting here, hinting at is to realize
and understand reality, what IS. We are not commenting on things to show that they are
right or wrong or implying that something is good and something else is bad.
Remember, concepts of good and bad; right and wrong have been imbibed in us since
childhood. In reality, in existence, there is no good and bad or right and wrong; there is
only what IS, and what IS NOT. What does that mean? To take an example: - lets say a
wild dog kills a deer. What IS is that the dog killed the deer. This is reality, we can see it,
can verify it. What IS NOT, is part of our interpretation; saying poor deer, the dog is
wicked, its bad. Judging the dog is a human being with his own perceptions of morality,
of right and wrong. In our example, it is pointless to judge the dog according to human
norms of morality. For the dog, there is no good and bad. It kills, because that is its
intrinsic property. Which is what we trying to do understand the intrinsic property in
human beings, in us(not trying to get to heaven!!)., of what defines us, what defines me.
And the test for this, is to ask one-self:- stripped of all conditioning, to question the core I.
The answer is there right inside us.

6. Consideration The author would like to make a sincere statement: It is best to give the
process of evaluation & understanding of what has been stated in this note time, to give it
attention and thought, at the very least, give it some consideration. This is probably not
something one can read like the newspaper and put aside or deem to have understood in a
day or a week. Parsing through decades of influence (in the current life time) and those
accumulated over thousands of years (through society) can be time consuming. And
besides; there are always more important things for us to do.
7. This note actually started as a reply to an email from an office colleague who asked me a
few questions.


Comments welcome. Email n.shriram@zensar.com. Also always cc zshriram@yahoo.com



References & Acknowledgements:
-- From a preliminary understanding of Madhyastha Darshan or Jeevan Vidya by Shri A Nagraj
Sharma Amarkantak, Madhya Pradhesh, India. What a human being!

-- All authors mentioned and not mentioned here. The body of knowledge already out there. Those
who tried.

-- A Thank You to: Shri Ganesh Bagaria, Kanpur, UP, India. For his sincerity.

All the things Jeevan Vidya is not
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1) Jeevan Vidya is not a cult.
2) It is not a practice at least not in the sense we currently interpret/ understand the term.
3) It is not religious it does not belong to any religion, is not a subset of any religion or
teaching; it has no guru. It has no form of worship, or any form of ritual.
4) It is not just a set of people running away from life to be easy and happy- at least not in
the sense we would currently interpret/ understand these remarks.
5) It is not a deliberate attempt to go back to nature or to go back to good old village life
or to fit / retrofit the best/ desirable qualities of a human being into a unifying theory.
6) It is not against progress.
7) It is not mystical or magic or spiritual or a preaching or anything else that it may be
labeled or mocked or dismissed as.
8) It has nothing to do with Communism or Socialism or agnosticism or atheism or theism or
relativism or absolutism or any other ism.
9) It has nothing to do with meditation or sanyas
10) Jeevan Vidya does not comment on what is right and what is wrong. It only guides us
to be able to see/ understand reality and recognize perception/ conditioning. What is not in
reality, is not/ hence is a perception, an illusion.
11) It does not prescribe any method/ means or technique of attaining something. It does not
contain a set of rules/ disciplines to be followed.
12) It is not anti-materialistic, or didactic or dogmatic or existential or anti-western or
anti modern or oriental thought or any other kind of slotting or mental category it
may be put into.
13) It does not derive anything from any other teaching past or present
14) Jeevan Vidya is not a reaction to anything, in that, it is not a product of its times.
15) Jeevan Vidya is not against cricket, or F1 racing or candle light dinners or dressing up or
Valentines Day or women with jewellery or the Indian Express or Shekhar Gupta or
Megadeth or McDonalds or Coke or the World Bank or George Bush or Bt Cotton or the
Bhakra Nangal Dam or James Wolfensohn or Madhuri Dixit or advertising or golf or
Picasso paintings or software engineers or writers or poets. It is not against anything or
anyone. It concerns itself with what IS, what is reality. Anything that is NOT, or is not
real, therefore is a perception/illusion.


What Jeevan Vidya is:
1) Jeevan Vidya is an existence based human centric approach to reality
2) The essence of Jeevan Vidya is for each individual to verify whether things are true, for
himself, in his own right. So, everything stated/ suggested in Jeevan Vidya should be taken
as a proposition and not as a statement. In verifying things for ourselves, one should be
aware of the conditioning we have / have undergone and evaluate any proposition devoid
of any conditioning/ teaching/ prior perception/ other teaching/ scriptures in short,
evaluate on the basis of the self only, without taking recourse to anything that has entered
us from the outside.
3) Jeevan Vidya is a term we are using to refer to an exposition of the human being
(ourselves, our lives, everything), and existence with reality as the basis. Words or terms
are not important, we can call things anything we like, as long as the meaning is
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understood. As long as reality is understood. This is the reason we have mentioned that the
words we are using have a precise meaning.
4) Jeevan Vidya is a P PA AR RA AD DI IG GM M shift in human thought and understanding. We are not used to
thinking on the lines/ ways/ timelines that Jeevan Vidya suggests.
5) It is a study of reality as it IS
6) Jeevan Vidya is not an academic study it is of concern to Henry Ford, Laloo Yadav,
Michael Jackson, Alfred Hitchcock, the local paanwallah, the environmentalist, my
mother, the maid servant, the development researcher, the particle physicist, the
mathematician, Luciano Pavarotti, the AI chaps, the temple priest, the writer, the
economists everyone. One lives the understanding one has gained, it manifests itself in
daily life, how we approach ourselves, our family, society, nature, the whole of existence
all levels that I inhabit.
7) Jeevan Vidya re-looks at the way we/ modern science currently approach and interpret the
physical world, the human being (ourselves), animals and all other units in existence. In
that, it re looks at every discipline currently known to man.
8) Jeevan Vidya is very much about progress, and human progress. Only, it lends a
different understanding/ meaning to this term than what we have been used to
9) Jeevan Vidya is not a belief in that I am not a believer
10) Saving the earth is not Jeevan Vidyas stated objective. Understanding reality & existence
is. And it so happens that on realizing and understanding reality & existence, we come to
know that the earth is self organized, that each unit in space is self organized, that the
problem all this while was that the human being had failed to understand himself correctly,
and now we see that when he does, everything just falls into place from the human
beings perspective, in that everything is already in place, all the human has to do is align
himself accordingly, and the earth and everything with it are taken care of from then on.
11) Lastly, Jeevan Vidya studies reality, truth. It concerns itself with what exists. It does not
juxtapose anything to achieve a fitment. In that sense, it is not yet another way of
looking at life/ existence. Hence, the importance to not get stuck with the term Jeevan
Vidya. As mentioned earlier, we can call it anything we like. The logical conclusion of
this is that Jeevan Vidya is the one true thing, the only one. There can be no other, since
there can be only 1 existence. Not two or more. There cant be 2 ways of explaining the
human being and existence. This is what we mean when we say we are understanding
reality or existence as it IS. To give an example, there can only be 1 stated reason of why a
stone falls to the ground when left from a height. There can be various interpretations or
explanations of why the stone falls, but only 1 that can be true, in that it follows/ obeys
the laws of existence; I.e. this is the way it actually IS, according to the organization of
existence. Hence, reality IS.



Also, I am not a Jeevan Vidya evangelist. And I am not off my rockers. I am not some seeker
or some weirdo. I am yet another guy who wants to go about his life.