Sunday, July 28, 2013

Science in Rigved

This is my debut post on the speaking tree:----

These days i am reading the 'pratham mandal '( first volume) of Rig Ved as translated by Maharshi Dayanand.I have only read up to 'sukta 62' but it is enough to amaze me.It has opened for me a window through which i can glimpse the vast treasure of our ancestors' knowledge.In those days.....

Please go to the following link for the full post

Monday, July 22, 2013

Between a Mother and a Daughter

The other day my daughter asked me a question which set me thinking.She asked me if i had ever discussed my marital problems with my mother.In fact she was convinced that I had not done so & she wanted to know the reason.I was rather surprised at this observation & began to think if it was true.It dawned upon me that she was right--but I could not at once pinpoint why I had not shared my worries with my mom because she was a lovely,loving,kind lady & I loved her dearly.
Like many couples we too had problems in arriving at a workable relationship after marriage.My better half's (BH) attempts to dominate sparked rebellion in me and my criticisms would infuriate him.So it was not smooth sailing all the way--especially when the children were young.
As i pondered over the reasons of my reticence in sharing my troubles with my mom,the whole pattern of life during those days replayed before my eyes.When I got married in 1968 there was no S.T.D.Trunk calls had to be booked for talking to folks in other cities.Suppose I had a tiff with my BH I just could not punch a few numbers and pour my heart out to my mom because trunk calls were tardy,costly & cumbersome.
The only means of communication was a letter but when you are sulking after a hot exchange the last thing you want to do is to sit down & write a letter.By the time I came round to writing a letter, a rapprochement would have taken place & I would have been more benevolently inclined towards my partner.So the question of ranting against poor hubby receded into the background --so much water under the bridge.
Cut to today,where daily phone calls between all dear ones are a norm--including me.When a married daughter is anguished over a development it is natural and normal for her to share it with her mother.She can voice her fears frankly without it being misconstrued.When in doubt,she can ask questions,be reassured and seek solutions.In this way being connected to her mother is a blessing for any daughter.
I did not have this convenience when i was a young married woman but there was an upside to it.I learned to resolve my own troubles & became self-reliant.As a result,i gained strength & climbed a few evolutionary steps.The absence of an instant connection saved me from unduly maligning my poor husband in the heat of the moment.This kept me level-headed & saved our relationship.I could discern where I too, had erred.Had I access to my mother's sympathetic sounds right after a fracas,I could very well have been caught in a vortex of self pity & self righteousness.
I am slowly driving at this--that this constant connectivity has it's pitfalls.When a daughter is aggrieved over a spat with her husband she naturally thinks of talking to her mother about it.If this happens before she has had time to cool down then the mother will sense her pain & come out with sympathetic remarks which could further add fuel to the fire.Or the daughter's outburst may unfairly paint the hubby as an ogre and prejudice her mother against him.Therefore it is more constructive to think things over & cool down before complaining about someone.

Talking to a newly wed daughter needs extra care.I have seen many marriages starting on a wrong footing because the mother eggs on her daughter to brow-beat her husband into fulfilling all her whims-whether right or wrong.I am not talking about gender differences here;but merely stating that it is not wise to overstep the boundary& intrude into a couple's private life--give them a chance to establish their own equation.At the same time a daughter should be assured that her mother will always be there for her.
Today we have so many means of instant communication that it is hard to control oneself whenever the urge to talk to someone strikes us.But like all facilities this one too,needs to be used prudently.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

# Universe

Lie down under the sky on a clear,dark night and look up.What do you see?Bright,beautiful,mesmerizing stars stretched like a canopy overhead.At such times it is not unusual to wonder,what is this universe?Where does it begin & where does it end?How large is it?What exists there-on those stars?What are they made of?Is there air,water,hard ground,vegetation & life over there?

Ah!So many questions but scant answers.Still, we are better placed than our ancestors today,to get an inkling into these mysteries.This universe of which we are an infinitesimal part,is"the totality of existence" including stars,planets,intergalactic space & all matter and energy.An important distinction needs to be made here-the above description refers to the observable universe -the farthest distance it is possible for us to see from earth.The diameter of this universe is 93 billion light years.Naturally no one knows what exists beyond that.

It is widely accepted that the universe originated with a big bang,before which all matter was concentrated at one single spot.After the big bang, matter began to scatter in all directions,leading to the formation of galaxies consisting of dust,gas & countless stars.A number of atoms fused together to make stars & these stars were drawn together into various galaxies.The stars orbit the center of a galaxy's mass.The galaxies are moving outwards at an accelerating pace.There are vast intergalactic spaces between these galaxies and these spaces are expanding continually.

Although the big bang theory explains many things,what caused this bang & from where all the matter came-nobody knows.Nature,or God,does not reveal all secrets!According to Wikipedia Hindu cosmology comes nearest to modern scientific views about the origin of universe.Rig Veda maintains that the universe emanated from 'hirnyagarbha' or the golden womb of Brahman--the supreme consciousness.Hinduism encompasses various viewpoints in it's repository but it is widely believed that a long chain of creation & destruction of universe goes on.The Hindu view of various universes also tallies with the modern concept of multiverse. But at one place in Rig Veda(10.129.1-7)there is also this interesting agnostic statement:--
Who really knows,and who can swear
How creation came,when and where!
Even gods came after creation's day,
Who really knows,who can say
When and how did creation start?
Did He do it?Or did He not?
Only He,up there,knows maybe;
Or perhaps,not even He.

Looks like we come back to square one on that question!

But we have a lot of information about the composition of the universe today.It is a well known fact that there are innumerable galaxies in the universe.But how many?
It is difficult to arrive at an exact number but the current estimate rests at 100-200 billion galaxies.Most of them are probably small,dwarf galaxies while some are huge,spiral ones like the Milky Way,which has 400 billion stars.Dwarf galaxies probably contain as few as ten million stars but in large spiral galaxies, the number could go up to hundreds of billions or even a trillion.It is unlikely that the picture above is of Milky Way because we,being inside the galaxy,cannot click it from above.It might be another spiral galaxy or an artist's interpretation.

We see lots of stars on a clear night and many,many more can be seen through powerful telescopes.Do not miss some spectacular images taken by hubble at this site.The observable matter in sky is spread evenly all round--all areas of the universe look similar.But these visible bodies form only 4% of the universe.Apart from them,there is 73% dark energy &23% cold dark matter.Stated in simple terms,vast open spaces far out-weigh the heavenly bodies.

Outer space is an enigma.Einstein was the first person to realize that this space is not completely empty.It contains few atoms of hydrogen & electromagnetic radiation.'It is the closest approximation to a perfect vacuum.'There is no friction & all celestial objects slither easily along their established orbits.The temperature in space is absolute zero-which means the coldest possible temperature.

Here are some amazing facts about the universe:--

*Earth spins at an equatorial speed of 1,670 km/h.

*It revolves round sun at a dizzy speed of 100,000 km/h.

*Sun,along with it's solar system, takes 200--225 million years to complete one orbit around the Milky Way.

*Milky way rotates at an astonishing speed of 270 km per sec.

*It is racing through space with reference to cosmic background radiation at this astounding speed of 2.1 million km/h.

*Now think--are you really sitting at the same place while you are resting in your armchair???Add up all these astronomical speeds & then decide how far you must have travelled in one second!It is truly mind boggling!

*The sun is not considered to be a huge star,yet it can accommodate one million earths!

*Alpha Centauri-the star nearest to sun,(and in the Milky Way only) is 4-3 light years way from earth!

*Like many other galaxies,Milky Way too,has a black hole at it's center.It is a super massive black hole called Sagittarius A which is 26,000 light years away from earth

*Milky Way & Andromeda galaxy are set on a collision course.

*According to astronomers about 275 million new stars are born every day.

*One more shocker--light travels at approximately 186,000 miles per second;if we could travel at that speed we would take 100,000 years to cross the Milky Way alone!Our puny minds can never visualize the enormity of this universe;much less understand the power and brilliance of it's creator!!!!!

Image courtesy google.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Secure # Relationships--A Treasure to Treasure !

What makes one person happy,confident & optimistic;while another is sad and dissatisfied with life?To a large extent,I think it is our relationships which determine this.On one hand healthy relationships encourage & energize us to do well in life;while on the other,even when we face difficulties,it is our relationships which sustain us--giving us the stamina & motivation to carry on & try harder.

What if the relationships of a person are wonky but on the strength of his grit & caliber he manages to achieve a respectable position in his career and society?You cannot fail to notice such a man.There will be a frown on his face,and a bitter cynical attitude towards life.Our ties determine to a large extent,whether we are humane or robotic.Most likely,success would not have brought happiness for him.

There is no doubt that most of us would love to possess many warm relationships, but we often fall short of our aspirations.What are the requisites of a sound relationship?Well,there are many,and we can easily incorporate at least some of them to enrich our lives.

I think the most basic requirement of any relationship is honesty.Fidelity & fairness follow.A person who is genuine,not at all artificial,neither a hypocrite nor a sycophant;attracts admiration and respect.Whatever ties he has will be strong & enduring.

We are all drawn to a person who gives us due respect.If you want to connect with people,give them the feeling that you value their thoughts,feelings & opinions.

Respect is intellectual;it is essential,but it is not enough.Empathy is what truly binds us together.If you can identify yourself with someone's suffering then you have probably won over a friend for yourself.

I have observed that those who enjoy strong,warm relationships are very helpful by nature.They do not shrink from offering assistance where needed.

It is equally important to remember your friends' celebratory occasions & show your pleasure at their happiness.When i think of my family or friends,the one person who always springs to my mind is the one who never fails to wish me on my birth-day or other festivals.It takes very little to make a call or send an sms but it gives a lot in return--the presence of a staunch friend in your life.

You may be honest,courteous,empathetic & helpful,but do you know who will score over you?Why!The one who goes the extra mile.This pays rich dividends in any context-whether it be family or work.I remember with affection,a friend who gave me her silent,unobtrusive company when i was going through a difficult patch,and unasked by me or even known to me,she tried to make things easy for me.I shared my worries with her.
There is another who rang me up to find out if i had reached my home safely because i had left her house in inclement weather.

I have another friend(?)who tattles about all & sundry whenever we meet.I know very well that she wouldn't be saying anything positive about me behind my back.I rank this relationship the lowest of all.Trust is the most important constituent of any relationship.

When ties are strong & intimate,it is normal to share private concerns & seek advice but beware of prying.It can create a chasm in a flourishing relationship.

We could try our utmost to avoid stepping on anyone's toes but an occasional lapse cannot be ruled out.Similarly with others.At such occasions it is best to forgive and forget.Breaking ties is simple but forging them takes time.It is necessary to take care that our ego does not come in-between.

When we try to be good & useful to others we also evolve & become better human beings in addition to forming dependable relationships which act like a buffer against storms.They form a support system upon which we can lean when we feel weak or distressed.Either way,it is our gain.

Pics courtesy google.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ooooh these heavenly bodies ! ! ! ! !

Got you there-all you who have dirty minds!No this is not about human bodies but about the celestial ones!Read on,you will not be disappointed.

We are truly blessed to have been allotted this earth to live on.It is tailor-made for our sustenance.This conclusion is the natural culmination of a musing about our #solar system.Just look at the queer specimens which are whirling around the sun.

First of all we have Mercury-the tiniest planet & one which is harbored closest to sun.Perhaps that is why it whizzes along at the abominable speed of 172,000Km/h.This is the fastest speed in the solar system.But it spins so slowly that it's day is equal to 58-1/2 earth days.Besides it's sky is always dark,and while one side of it is baking hot,the other half is freezing cold-no we could not live there!

Next comes Venus.This one's day (243 earth days) is longer than it's year(225 earth days).Ever heard of such a thing?Besides it is the hottest planet of the solar system-what with acid rain & hundreds of volcanoes spewing fire.It is much safer here,on earth!

Let us skip earth for the time being & go on to Mars.Admittedly,this one is like earth in many ways,that is why all the scientists are frantically trying to go & plunder  make it fit for habitation.But there is no liquid water on it's surface.Earth is any day better.

Jupiter  comes next.It's gravity is 2.4 times stronger than earth's.If you stood on it's surface,you would find it difficult to walk.Jupiter's day & night are only of 5hrs each because only10 hrs make a day.Jupiter spins faster than any other planet---ooh my head is also spinning!

Coming to Saturn, it too is not at all hospitable.Firstly,like Jupiter & other planets coming after it;it has no solid surface,and secondly there are fierce winds lightening & storms.No fun going there.

Next is Uranus which takes 84 yrs to revolve round the sun.Such a long year-so many inhabitants would pass away before completing their first year,Tch,tch,tch! 

Fasten your seat belts because now we come to Neptune where winds are howling at around 1,500 mp/h.On this planet a baby would need to live for 164 yrs to complete it's first year-so cruel!

Now Pluto,the dwarf planet.This one has a year of 248 yrs.Sun light reaches it in 5 hrs;and the sun-it is a mere speck of light when seen from there.

Well,if you are still with me then you too will agree that we are indeed fortunate to be living on this earth.Whether the earth is fortunate to have us as it's inhabitants--we all know the answer to that.
Pics courtesy google & text courtesy Robin Kerrod & web.