Archive for ‘anthropology’

September 19, 2012

ashta siddhi vinayaka ……..

Anima, Lagima, Mahima,Garima, Praptika, Prakamaya, Isitva, Visitva
The Asthasiddhis – eight siddhis of Sri Maha Ganadhipati Ganesha also called as Siddhi Vinayaka, in one of the Raja Ravi Verma’s paintings these siddhis are depicted as eight women surrounding Lord Ganesha.

Siddhi is a Sanskrit word that literally means accomplishment, Siddhis can occur in two ways, naturally, or as a result of extended practice of austerities. the ways to obtain the siddhis are Devotion, Pranayama, Meditation, Control of senses, Herbs, Mantras, etc

Nine main Siddhis are: 

  • Parkaya Pravesha: Ability to enter some other body and to bring back any dead body with life.
  • Haadi Vidya: Ability to stay without nourishment for a long time.
  • Kaadi Vidya: Ability to withstand adverse climatic conditions like extreme cold or blazing fires, for him/her the surrounding will remain ambient.
  • Vayu Gaman Siddhi: Ability to fly with body and move from place to place with in a flash of thought.
  •  Madalasa Vidya: Ability to change the size of ones body, like Lord.
  • Kanakdhara Siddhi: Ability to acquire immense wealth.
  • Prakya Sadhana: Ability to direct a soul or spirit to take birth from the womb of a barren woman.
  • Surya Vigyan: Ability to transform one substance into another using Sun rays.
  • Mrit Sanjeevani Vidya: This Vidya invented by Guru Shukracharya. Ability to bring a dead person back to life.
April 14, 2012

Hanuman, Wagner and Wartime music

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan’s disciple, Rajeev Taranath once told journalist Renuka Narayan an interesting story behind the name of the Raga ‘Lankadahan Sarang’.

It is interesting to believe that Hanuman had played a new Saranga based raga immediately after setting the city of Lanka under fire?

Renuka Narayan writes:

“Just as old Hindu temples each have a sthala puranam, or founding legend, most classical ragas have an ‘aithihyam’ or creation history. This raga’s aithihyam is that after Sri Hanuman set fire to Lanka, he fell into a mood of great embarrassment at having behaved so wildly, that too with Devi Sita in the vicinity. Since he was a highly educated and divinely gifted person, he was moved to express his remorse through the composition of a somberly beautiful raga, full of reflection and tranquility. ‘Lankadahan Sarang’ means ‘The Sarang Scale Composed After the Burning of Lanka’”

Please listen to Ustad Ali Akbar Khan rendering Raga ‘Lankadahan Sarang’

compare it with  Richard Wagner’s composition ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ which has been widely used in war time newsreels and in many Hollywood film war scenes including in the the air bombing sequence Apocalypse Now, the 1979 film based on Vietnam war.

What role music has been playing vis-a-vis war?

(many thanks Gopalakrishnan)

April 14, 2012

Sun Wukong …


Sun Wukong , also known as the Monkey King is a main character in the classical Chinese epic novel Journey to the West . In the novel, he is a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices. After rebelling against heaven and being imprisoned under a mountain by the Buddha, he later accompanies the monk Xuanzang on a journey to retrieve Buddhist sutras from India

Sun Wukong possesses an immense amount of strength; he is able to lift his 13,500 jīn (8,100 kg or 17,881 lbs) staff with ease. He is also superbly fast, able to travel 108,000 li (54,000 kilometers or 33,554 mi) in one somersault. Sun knows 72 transformations, which allows him to transform into various animals and objects; he has trouble, however, transforming into other people, because he is unable to complete the transformation of his tail. He is a skilled fighter, capable of holding his own against the best generals of heaven. Each of his hairs possesses magical properties, and is capable of transforming either into a clone of the Monkey King himself, or various weapons, animals, and other objects. He also knows spells that can command wind, part water, conjure protective circles against demons, and freeze humans, demons, and gods alike.

The origin of Sun Wukong is considered by some American, Chinese, and Indian scholars to be influenced by both the Hindu deity Hanuman from the Ramayana and elements of Chinese folklore

January 6, 2012

odysseus …..

“Odysseus wept when he heard the poet sing of his great deeds abroad because, once sung, they were no longer his alone.

They belonged to anyone who heard the song.”


January 4, 2012

‘unit of life’ ….

” The information circle becomes the unit of life.

It connotes a cosmic principle of organization and order, and it provides an exact measure of that.

The gene has its cultural analog,too : the meme.

In cultural evolution, a meme is a replicator and a propagator – an idea, a fashion, a chain letter, or a conspiracy theory.

On a bad day, a meme is a virus.”

Werner Loewenstein

January 4, 2012

‘a bit of life’

” what lies at the heart of every living thing is not a fire,not warm breath,not a ‘spark of life’.

it is information. words and instructions …… if you want to understand life, dont think about vibrant throbbing gels and oozes, think about information technology.

the cells of an organism are nodes in a richly interwoven communication network, transmitting and receiving, coding and decoding.

Evolution itself embodies an ongoing exchange of information between organism and environment.

- Richard Dawkins

December 20, 2011

my great predecessors …..

Caïssa is referred to in chess commentary. Garry Kasparov uses this reference now and again, especially in his epic five-volume work My Great Predecessors. It is used as a substitute for being fortunate – “Caïssa was with me” – especially in unclear situations, for example in sacrifices.Caïssa as a concept has also been explored by some who seek the evidence of the sacred feminine in chess.

December 20, 2011

Caïssa …..

Caïssa originated in a 658-line poem called “Scacchia, Ludus” published in 1527 by Hieronymus Vida (Marco Girolamo Vida), which describes in Latin Virgilian hexameters a chess game between Apollo and Mercury in the presence of the other gods. In it, to avoid unclassical references, the rooks are described as towers (armored howdahs) on elephants’ backs, and the bishops as archers:

Tum geminae velut extremis in cornibus arces

hinc atque hinc altis stant propugnacula muris,

quae dorso immanes gestant in bella Elephanti.

“Then twin, as if at the ends, citadels in the corners,

here and there stand ramparts with high walls,

which, immense, are carried into war on [its] back by an elephant.”

August 20, 2011

arnulfo and jurek …


Wonder, silence, gratitude

one who is going upstream ......

SS 24 - random thoughts

one who is going upstream ......

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