Saturday, September 10, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Here's a discussion I had with someone over Bhagwad Geeta on TOI forum (Stop reading now if you don't want to go to the end, it may mislead):
mukunda (Bengaluru) replies to Siddharth
21 Jul, 2011 02:50 PM
Ok,lets read ch 4 verse 13. catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah tasya kartaram api mam viddhy akartaram avyayam "According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable." 1st line"catur-varnyam maya srstam" 4 varnas are created by Me(Paramatma),2nd line "guna-karma-vibhagasah" where the vabhajan\categorization is based on one's guna composition and karma composition. 3rd and 4th line states how He is the non doer and unchangable. Sri Krishna says that each living entity is categorized into one of the 4 varnas based ONLY on their previous records of Gunas and their Karma. NOWHERE He mentions about janana\birth as the basis of categorization (example: a son of a brahmana is not a brahmana(by birth), but he becomes a brahmana by his gunas and karma), where as caste system is a system which is categorized purely based on birth(example: a son of a brahmana is automatically placed in the general merit(due to birth in a brahmana family) and a son of a scheduled caste is placed as a scheduled caste(due to birth in a scheduled caste family)). now can you please explain your statement "Gita encourages caste system. How can we allow a book that doesn't consider all humans as equal and believes that the humans are divided in 4 castes." Gita states that you earn your varna due to your previous deeds and guna records. this system is present everywhere. you dont ask a school dropout person to become an IAS officer. he has to earn this position by doing required action(passing IAS exam) and also including his guna composition. NOTE: its very easy to read anti hindu articles on the internet and comment by taking bits and pieces. but Satyameva Jayate, Truth alone triumphs. regards, mukunda
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Siddharth replies to mukunda
11 hrs ago (02:36 PM)
If Varna is NOT determined by birth then tell me how many people were there in our entire history that were the born in the house of shudras but became Brahmins by their deeds? You just can't name it. Because a son of brahmin is always considered a brahmin and it is assumed that he did good deeds in his past life. and same goes for the shudras. Hence, encouragement of caste system.
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Rahul Bhalerao (bglr) replies to mukunda
21 Jul, 2011 10:41 PM
Why doesn't Geeta clearly say that it is not the birth that determines varna? why make ambiguous statements? Previous deeds/karma means what? The deeds/education/skills acquired in this birth or the popular interpretation of previous birth's karma? If deeds decide varna then just like deeds can keep changing why can't a varna change? If it is only the deeds that determine varna, why are the atrocities based on varna justified? Let the incompetent be poor, why do we need to torture them? Why doesn't it acknowledge the scientific and philosophical truth that all human beings are equal? Are all these confusions left like that so that it can be interpreted to justify the injustice in the name of varna and dharma? We don't know of practical goodness of the bright interpretations of Geeta but we certainly know the dark side of it, that varna is birth based and has caused injustice for thousands of years.
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mukunda replies to Rahul Bhalerao
11 hrs ago (02:48 PM)
Namaste Rahul,answers to your queries are below 1:"Why doesnt Geeta clearly say that it is not the birth that determines varna? why make ambiguous statements?" ans: its not ambiguous, in fact Sri Krishna clearly states the definition of varna as based ONLY on guna and karma.example: definition of sphere is : a sphere is a perfectly round geometrical object in three-dimensional space, such as the shape of a round ball(wikipedia).here the sphere is defined by categorically placing it in the shape of round and in 3D space. now i would definitely look foolish if i state that its ambigious since it doesnt state anything about squares or rectangle shapes(apart from circular/round). it doesnt include any other shapes since it does not categorically fall in any other shapes. likewise, when Sri Krishna is clearly telling varna is based ONLY on guna and karma, asking the question of janma is irrelevent since this definition is not proof by negation/proof by shortlisting. in ch 18 verse 41, Sri Krishna reaffirms about the varnas "brahmana-kshatriya-visam "O Arjuna, the karma/acitivities of the brahmanas,ksatriyas,vaisyas and sudras are clearly divided according to the gunas/qualities born of their own nature" 2: "previous deeds/karma means what? " again Sri Krishna defines karma as sanchita karma prarabdha karma aagama karma. 1. sanchita karma (karma in storage, karma already done) 2. prArabdha karma (karma that has begun to bear fruit,karma being done) 3. AgAmi karma (karma resulting from future activities). this is a very huge topic to cover here. 3:"If deeds decide varna then just like deeds can keep changing why can't a varna change? " ans:varna does change; a brahmana can become a shudra and vice versa. example: Brahmarishi Vishwamitra was a kshatriya Raja/king and his original name was Kaushika. He was a Kshatriya who became a Brahmana due to his deeds(becoming a Brahmarishi). since nobody is born to any varna, they can change varna depending on their karma and guna. regards,
Mukunda, it is good that you brought the point of altering Varna! I suggest you take a look at the research paper 'who were shudras' by Dr. Ambedkar. There are number of cases where you see varna being changed in mythological history. But the question remains the same, first of all why divide the society in general, and second how did this division became so robust, rigid and remained based on birth for all the practical reality of 3 thousand years? What was it in the religion that caused an apparently mere labor hierarchy into a rigid system of varna and caste that is present in all its glory? Start reading all these mythological scriptures in more un-religious manner and you find the answers. Just like any other society in world, the priest class of brahmins secured unequivocal powers in the times of darkness through religion. Your own Upanishads are the story of competition between kshatriyas and brahmins. Off-course it is not just the Gita that made the varna/caste system the way it is, there has been a steady and well thought process behind it with all the conflict of interests doing their part of the job. Brahmins corrupted Vedas to gain religious sanction for their authority. Kshatriyas in competition with brahmins to control the society made their own versions by posing themselves as the incarnation of Gods. And again brahmins proved their superiority by reciting the brahmin authority through God's own mouth. In order to make sure that the powers of one generation remain reserved for rest of the coming generations of the same class, Varna had to be made rigid. If only Karma was the determinant of one's destiny, then what is the explanation for all the rigidity over thousands of year? Why didn't these apparently great thoughts resulted in a great society? Varna/Caste system as we know and as has existed for thousands of years, is the greatest poison in our society. Now please don't make the futile claims of how great system it used to be and how it must have benefited people. Buddha has already condemned this system very strongly even 2500 years ago. No matter how hard you try to sugar coat a poison, it will still have its effect. The effect is what we have witnessed but the poison is still we deny.
By the way, we don't have problem with round shape being defined specifically and interpreted in one single way without any ambiguity, because there is no way it could be interpreted differently, neither there has been any proof to any interpretation of it being a square. That is mathematical conformance. Coming back to your Varna and Karma and geeta etc., we do know for sure that Varna is indeed practiced based on birth, we all know about the interpretation that the karma of past birth causes one to be born in particular Varna, and the belief that a particular Varna person has particular qualities suitable for that Varna only. All these are well propagated interpretations supporting the rigid system (not flexible as claimed by you) and accepted throughout the Indian society (irrespective of the caste they belonged to or religious practices they had). We don't say Brahmins or Kshatriyas established and manipulated the Varna system for their benefit because they are inherently a cunning race, no, but they did do it certainly and cunningly because they happened to have powers in their hands which made them corrupt. Now that we know the truth of this evident corruption, at least now we can stay away from everything that has caused this corruption in first place. This is the precise reason why no anti-caste movement has ever called for a crusade against brahmins or upper castes but have condemned and burnt all these scriptures that have given opportunity for corruption and caused all the misery.
Out of my 7 questions, only first three were attempted to be answered to some extent, which are appearing non-satisfactory from the above reply. The core of the matter lies in later 4 questions which are not answered by Geeta admirers but better answered through the theory of religion based caste formation for power politics which is well explained by Dr. Ambedkar.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Finally, me and joy took up these two words from Gautam and simply put a dot between them. It sounded so crisp! 'Imagination.Implementation'!
Meanwhile, many of us were trying to come up with the design ideas. For me, playing with various shapes of 'K' and using whatever minuscule knowledge of calligraphy/typography I had, became my regular pass-time to keep myself awake in gaseous classrooms. In later stages, I got stuck on the idea of creating a character out of K that can personify the values we worked on so long. Finally emerged the k-man that is so carefree, cheerful, and aesthetic.
Joy took this design for digitization to Suvarna studio. My color vision not being so good, I left the coloring part to Joy's discretion with minimal theoretical inputs. All three of us were too amused by the head of the k-man. Some called it a cute leaf, some called it a droplet or dewdrop, whatever they could see out of it. It somehow became the logo of the logo and we wanted to put it everywhere we could! For me it was the source of creativity, nurturing and vision. I leave rest of the details of interpretation, including colors, shapes and caption to the viewers.
In final touch, the dot in the tag got replaced by this droplet, and following is what the logo of Kreate Media is now:
We decided to keep it transparent, and played with back-ground to get the nice looks..
Thanks to the entire team of Kreate for all the efforts right from conceptualization and brainstorming to the final implementation. Cheers!!
Friday, July 23, 2010
Open source and free software community has been growing and preaching its philosophy for over decades. This preaching has also been supported by solid product lines that are freely available, better in performance and are more addictive than any other proprietary software around. Yet the ground realities of the software world are still largely favorable for proprietary model. Comparing market shares, or user base would be futile since open source hardly follows any market mechanism. It is very difficult to keep track of number of open source users. Hence the only method to understand the popularity and usage patterns is to call hundreds of common software users and ask them what software do they have on their home computers.
I have been a part of a marketing campaign and fortunate enough to be present in the actual execution at various places, which gave an opportunity of understanding thousands of common computer users. With no exception, all of the people involved had some version of windows installed on their machines. That is not to say that there isn't anyone who uses anything other than windows. In fact, I myself have not used windows in past 6 years and am very well aware of the circles where Linux-based systems are used as a principle and Mac OS is of course there among niche markets. But for a common man, a personal computer means windows, he doesn't care what operating system means, he only knows there is something called windows on his machine and there is some version of it which is latest. Coming back to open source in general, there are indeed a few open source softwares that have made successful penetration. The most important software on a home computer in today's world, when a computer is almost useless without internet, is the web browser. And the only open source software that people mentioned widely was, Mozilla Firefox. The major reason for its success was that it was freely downloadable, worked on windows, and performed better than the default browser IE. Many people in fact defended Firefox against IE on performance and features front. But I cannot imagine these people saying that they used it because its offering them some kind of a freedom. I have to admit that it was very unlikely that they knew that it falls under something called 'open source', same is the story with vlc, dc etc. They use it, because it works for them.
These observations may have a few variations depending upon various demographics and geographies, but overall I don't think it would be very objectionable if I try to generalize them.
Thus we see that, on one hand, few important products such as linux-based open source operating systems (fedora, ubuntu, debian etc.) are being successful on philosophical terms, they aren't yet successful as products themselves in terms of usage by common people, while there are products like firefox, that are successful in terms of common usage but not contributing much for the philosophical front.
I won't say one success is more important than other, but probably there is something to be learned from both of these cases. Every open source enthusiast would like to see success on both the fronts. The question is how to market the philosophy and the products simultaneously?
Monday, July 19, 2010
[Those who know enough about foss, may skip the following paragraph.]
When you buy a software, it is most likely that you would be denied of few of the following freedoms:
1. You are not provided with the source code (consider it as the formula behind the software, that is necessary for making, modifying and improving that software, readable by most software programmers), neither you are allowed to ask for it, not even trying to re-engineer it.
2. You are not supposed to lend the software to anyone else.
3. Since you do not have the source code, you do not have the freedom to make any changes or improvements to that software, even if you are Bill Gates.
4. Leave alone making improvements and showing them to you friends, or start a garage for servicing these softwares.
Entire software industry has been very obsessive with protecting the secrecy of source codes and denial of these freedoms. It may sound trivial, but this denial of freedoms has sever implications for entire generation. After all software is also a piece of knowledge, like any mathematical or medical formula. Hence there has been a movement against such unethical practices, which we commonly know as Free and Open Source Software movement that strives for the realization of these freedoms, since 1984. For better understanding of rest of the articles, this was a very short introductory background of what open source and free software is all about. For more details refer to websites like gnu.org, opensource.org, fsf.org etc.
In spite of all these good things, during past 26 years of the movement, proprietary softwares have ruled the markets. Except for a few commercial successes, we do not see a general penetration of open source software among common users. Few softwares like Firefox and VLC, may have succeeded, but that hardly contributes to the awareness about the philosophical movement behind it. Why people are so ignorant about their dependence on few companies for the growth of the science behind computers? What is so wrong with accepting a product that ensures all the ethical and essential freedom, for almost no cost? Why this philosophy is yet to find a place in common mans living room?
A major problem here is that, common users do not understand what source code means and why is it so important. This restricts their understanding of the term 'open source' or 'free/freedom/libre' software, and leads to a notion of softwares that are free of cost. They also mistakenly relate it to early periods of computer science evolution when software used to be bundled with hardware without extra explicit charges.
In next few days, I am planning to do an unbiased analysis of the problems associated with open source and whether it has any scope for large, sustainable and inclusive success from the perspectives of business model, development model, marketing and most importantly the users' (consumer) behavior. Please excuse me if I am not able to express the humbleness of this attempt in words. Ideas, suggestions and feedbacks are always welcome!
[P.S. For simplicity and also as a personal preference I am using the terms 'free' and 'open source' interchangeably.]
[P.S. Thanks to RMS for giving us the analogy of car.]