A Post Specially For Ursula.

Ursula, you had this to say as part of your comments on my post Motley Family.

“Alas, Ramana, you and I have left it a little late in the day (make that life) to manufacture a polka dot child between the two of us. I am sure we’d have succeeded in producing a very fine specimen – for all the world to admire.

Let’s DANCE the Polka instead. It too requires a certain expenditure of energy.”

I have a better idea Ursula. See how Indians do it. All the way across the oceans, in San Francisco.


I am posting this on Saturday morning and shall run away to Mumbai for the weekend. Shall return and answer any comments you may have on that. Okay?


Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Padmum and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get nine different flavours of the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Grannymar.

I would like to call ‘thing’ as anything that is or may become an object of thought. Therefore, nothing would imply no thing. In other words, a void or emptiness with no thing in it. Say like the skulls of many people that I am sure all of us know, and like mine is considered to be by some very full skulls.

I started my spiritual journey in early 1978 and by 1985 was deeply into Vedanta, an Indian system of philosophy and Buddhism. I found no contradiction between the two and concluded that they were two sides of the same coin.

By this time, Fritjof Capra had already published his Tao Of Physics which was a best seller for that time and I believe continues to be in print even now, thirty years after its publication. Some little scepticism left in me was completely removed when I read that book which I repeatedly read even now.

What has that got to do with today’s LBC topic? Let me try and explain.

Science is reductionist in its approach to finding the ultimate building block. The smallest thing in nature, matter. Let us call that matter a thing. Eastern philosophy calls it Anu, the nearest equivalent in science being atom. Now, even atom has been reduced to protons, neutrons, quarks and leptrons. It still has not found the smallest. There is a problem however in that the sub atomic particles that make up the smallest particle, which is atom, appears to be some form of energy.

Mathematicians have calculated that 99.99percent of an atom is empty space, or NO THING. Since atoms make up every THING, 99.99 percent of everything including us human beings, is also empty space, or NO THING.

The appearing and disappearing nature of sub atomic particles is called ANITHYAM meaning, impermanence in the Eastern philosophical systems. In other words, since the smallest particle of matter is impermanent and the atom itself consists of such impermanent particles, even the atom is impermanent. In other words, every thing that is seen as matter appears for verification by our senses only when there is a perceiver. If there is no perceiver, there is no matter.

In Capra’s book I first understood this principle and the difference between Subject and Object. Since object is impermanent, the philosophical systems call all matter as MAYA or illusion, or NO THING.

Since our body/mind/intellect complex is also objectifiable, it cannot be the Subject. The mistake we make is in identifying the subject with the object and considering that the I is the body/mind/intellect complex, which we have seen as NO THING.

Then, what is the Subject? It is obviously the I, the perceiver. Eastern philosophical systems insist on dis-covering the real I. The method is meditation. In meditation, one can find that stillness, or the witness, which is again, NO THING.

The NO THING is called Emptiness (Shunyatha) in Buddhism and Limitlessness (Brahman) in Vedanta. This is what I meant when I said that they are two sides of the same coin. One uses a positive and the other the negative. The Yin and the Yang or the Male and Female principle.

Have I caused enough confusion? It is NOTHING but intellectual kite flying.

In other words, I am NOTHING. So are you.

Self Indulgence.

I have now decided to write more about some of the oddities that I observe during my walks and my speculations about them too. I wish to do this as, it is fascinating to see so many different behaviours during the brief hour and a half or so time that, I spend there every evening.

I am quite a fixture in the park and the regulars there, by now seem to have concluded that I am harmless. I of course am, but it is nice to know that others believe so too.

The post today is the young girl, 16 or at best 17, who sat at one of the benches beside the southern end of the oval track, below a very shady copse.

I saw her sitting there on the middle bench, all the seven times that I crossed the bench on my rounds. She left just as I was about to leave and what happened at the exit will come later.

This girl would have weighed close to 150 Kgs (330 lbs). She was dressed in an obviously brand new track suit and walking shoes. She had on ear plugs for a music player of some sort, perhaps an ipod and was swaying to a rhythm of her own. Besides that, I saw her blow bubble gum bubbles on four separate occasions.

That is for the factual observation. Now for the speculation.

I think that it is reasonable to speculate that she has been advised by her doctor/s and family to reduce her weight and to achieve that, to go for walks. I think that she is really not interested, but perhaps her mother nagged her to get out and walk after having first spent a great deal of money in buying the gear. Being unable to bear the nagging, she would have walked up to the park, or perhaps may have even been driven there by a chauffeur to get on with the exercising part of it. Having started off, with that little bit of exertion, must have decided that it was not worth her while and instead, to sit comfortably on the bench and listen to music for some time and return home.

Her exit from the gate to the park preceded mine by a couple of minutes. Just outside the gate, there are always two hand cart vendors selling tender coconuts. One of them from across the road is shown here along with the parapet where people sometimes rest before entering the park or while waiting for their cars to pick them up or eating coconuts.

One can get one of coconut water or one with less water and more of the flesh. Serious exercisers, usually go for the water and children are bought the fleshy ones.

As I exited, I saw this same girl sitting on the parapet wall near the other vendor, not present when this photo was taken, and eating the flesh of a coconut, which is possible after the juice is first drunk and the shell cut open to access the flesh.

I bet she put on at least a few hundred grams of weight with that coconut.

Do you think that my speculation is reasonable? What would yours be?

Sanity – II

When I wrote my LBC post on Sanity I had not come across this poignanty story attributed to Kahlil Gibran. I thank Padmum for getting me to do some research on the story.

I was strolling in the gardens of an insane asylum when I met a young man who was reading a philosophy book.

His behavior and his evident good health made him stand out from the other inmates.

I sat down beside him and asked:

‘What are you doing here?’

He looked at me, surprised. But seeing that I was not one of the doctors, he replied:

‘It’s very simple. My father, a brilliant lawyer, wanted me to be like him. My uncle, who owns a large emporium, hoped I would follow his example. My mother wanted me to be the image of her beloved father. My sister always set her husband before me as an example of the successful man. My brother tried to train me up to be a fine athlete like himself.

And the same thing happened at school, with the piano teacher and the English teacher – they were all convinced and determined that they were the best possible example to follow. None of them looked at me as one should look at a man, but as if they were looking in a mirror.

So I decided to enter this asylum. At least here I can be myself.’

You can find this story at Paulo Coelho’s blog.

The Kiss.

I almost got run over last evening by a car in which something like this was going on. I am not kidding. I wish I had had the presence of mind to take a photograph but I was too busy dodging the car to have been able to anyway.

My reaction?

“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”
~ Albert Einstein

My Day Was Made.

I get regular pension remittances from two Life Insurance linked Annuity policies. Yesterday, I received a demand from the insurer that I need to submit a Certificate of Existence from a Registered Medical Practitioner.

I promptly fixed an appointment with my GP and visited him with the request that he gives me the certificates.

He took one look at me and said that he was unable to give me the certificates. He refused to accept that I existed. I asked him whether he thought that I was an illusion, sitting before him. He then smiled and said that in his opinion, I did not exist. He strongly believed that I was alive.

I pretended to have a good laugh with him to get my job done, got the certificates in the proper format signed by him and bade him good evening and came home.

It was after coming home that it struck me that he had made a very profound observation.