Of Prizes and People

First Prize

We humans instinctively categorize, especially people. We are amateur primitive set-theoreticians. There are infinite ways to categorize people since humans have a humongous number of characteristics.

Consider the categories of people who award prize and people who win prizes. In my view, people who institute prizes belong to the most prestigious set. I order the sets as:

  1. People who institute prizes.
  2. People who win prizes.
  3. People who don’t win prizes.
  4. People who award themselves prizes.

For example, Alfred Nobel belongs to the first set; Einstein to the second set; ordinary grunts like us, who never come within shouting distance of any prestigious award make up the majority of humanity, belong to the third set. We are mostly harmless and generally unimpressive. Continue reading

Maya, Moksha, Nama and Rupa


Pondering the fact of death, I am reminded that impermanence is a central feature of the world we live in. The phenomenal world — of things and events — is called maya in the dharmic traditions (namely Jain, Hindu, Buddhist & Sikh.)

The world is maya. Many people simply translate it as “ the world is an illusion” but that is incorrect. The world is real. Maya does not mean that the world is unreal or that it is an illusion. It means something like this: the world as we perceive it is not what the world actually is. We cannot directly perceive the reality that is at the foundation of what exists. That reality is given a word — Brahman. Most of us cannot comprehend the Brahman because we are limited beings. Continue reading

Material and Cosmological Beliefs

nataraja2I am a Hindu.

In what sense am I a Hindu? Does what I read, write, wear and consume make me a Hindu? I think, read and write in English, I wear Western style clothing, I live in a Western country, etc. Even then I am a Hindu at the core of my being.

What defines me as a Hindu is my core belief system. How I comprehend the world is what determines whether I am a Hindu or not. The important distinction here is between “material beliefs” and “cosmological beliefs.” Continue reading

AMA: the “What I Profess” edition

Dashboard "Bobble head" Jesus
Dashboard “Bobble head” Jesus

This is a confession of my beliefs on a variety of subjects, some fundamental and some derivative. It partly answers the question “who am I?” and goes some way in demonstrating that the matters I profess have coherence, consistency and structural integrity. I will first introduce them as a list and then expand on each item as needed. I will keep this preamble brief as I expect that I will learn much about myself in the writing of this personal piece. This  is a personal confession; expect liberal use of the first person pronoun. Continue reading

Thoughts on the Passing of Shri Balasaheb Thackeray

Balasaheb Thackeray
Balasaheb Thackeray

Shri Balasaheb Thackeray passed away today (Saturday afternoon India time) in Mumbai. Much of what I know about current events, I learn from the handful of people I follow on twitter. So I got to know of Balasaheb’s death through twitter. I noticed quite a few “RIP” messages. That prompted me to write a few tweets myself.
Continue reading

The End of Work: An Essay on the Dawning of the Post-work World

“The progress of civilization can be measured by how many people are available to not do any work. The trend has been that of an increasing number of (as well as a larger percentage of) people that don’t have to work. The lower the percentage of people in it that work, the better off the civilization.” Continue reading