Thursday, December 22, 2005

Heaven? what the hell?

I was watching TV last night, gasp, me watch TV say it isn't so but sorry true believers it is the case. Nonetheless, I was watching TV yesterday and more specifically the Barbara Walters Special on Heaven: Where is it? How do we get there? Suffice to say that as usual Barbara Walters was annoying and has a panache for the obvious, no one can state the obvious with as much surprise and bewilderment as her. Sorry about my tirade but she annoyed me.

Getting back on point, the show was about heaven and the various conceptions of it. It was strongly biased and only highlighted Judeo-Christian-Islamic views of heaven except for a tiny segment on Buddhism. Heaven is a very important concept to most if not all religious thought, more accurately it is the afterlife that concerns most religious thought. The very thought of Heaven as an actual place is an fascinating idea. It is fascinating in that despite living in the 21st century with the great intellectual and scientific knowledge that we as a civilization possess, most people believe that Heaven is an actual location in this world and furthermore it is a place we can enter with our spiritual bodies. The Christian and Islamic perspective presented in the show had some basic common ground:
1. There is a Heaven
2. It is a real place with physical qualities despite being a spiritual place
3. We as human beings can enter it in our spiritual bodies
4. Our spiritual bodies are reflections of how we perceive ourselves
5. In heaven we can interact with our departed friends and family
6. In heaven we keep our gender
7. In heaven we can eat anything we want, do anything we want, have sex (this last part is more Islamic faith than Christianity)

What primarily interests me is the fact that people continue to associate our world, our physical ideas to this spiritual idea. For example, it is a place, a world which is a perfect version of this flawed world we live in. We continue to possess physical qualities like faces, arms, mouths and organs. This stems from the idea in Christianity and Islam that we only possess this life and our bodies in this life are reflective of the spiritual bodies we possess. At the End of Days, God reunites the bodies with the souls and pronounces judgement upon them based upon the acts they have committed in life.

These visions of heaven seem to be our ideas of escaping the confines of our flawed and what appears to be inevitable world. My primary issue is not with the concept of heaven or afterlife but such a physical and mundane vision of the afterlife. The above vision of heaven is extremely restricting because it is limited to how we perceive ourselves now and our world. Heaven, here, isn't a place were we break free of our earthly and physical confines. It is a place where we must go for bliss and perfection instead of what we are. Heaven is distinct from us and the world around us, meaning happiness cannot be found in our current existence because somehow we are flawed and only in being in Heaven can make us whole and happy.

Buddhism does have heavens but they are only transitory states and dimensions until one reaches nirvana or nirodha, which means annihilation of movement (loose definition). Nirvana is the final annihilation of the self since the self is the source of all suffering. Hindu thought does not postulate a final heaven, there is moksha or salvation, which is the intuitive understanding of the true nature of universe, God and the soul. The term used in Advaita Vedanta is jivamukthi or salvation while living, which is a total change of perspective in which all perspectives are understood and "heaven" is the very existence that we are. It is not a place nor a experience but its our true nature. Hindus and Buddhists doesn't require the physical confines or preceptions of ourselves because of the idea of rebirth. Nonetheless, one important thing we can take from the Hindu and Buddhist viewpoint is that heaven or perfection can "occur" in this life but it requires us to change our views of the world, this world is perfect, it is pristine; it is we who bring the imperfections and flaws by failing to find the harmony with our ownselves, the people around us, the world and nature. Once we find that peace and harmony in ourselves, we won't need to search for any heaven outside of us or beyond us. Thoughts?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Destiny versus Free Will

In the past few months I have been having random conversations with people about the role of destiny or fate versus free will. There are different ways to look at both of them but first I want to try and break them down individually. Destiny or Fate is said to govern all beings. In Ancient Greece, fate was personified by the Moirae or the Three Blind Women who spun the yarn, measured it and finally cut it. Even the Gods themselves were governed by their power and could not escape it. The classic story of Oedipus Tyrranus or Rex is a perfect example of destiny at work. Oedipus was abandoned by his parents when he was born because of a curse placed upon his father that Oedipus would kill him and marry his own mother. When Oedipus grew up he also heard the prophecy and ran away from his adopted parents. In a twist of FATE, he happened upon a man on the roadside and after an argument, Oedipus killed the man. The man unknown to Oedipus was his father. After a series of challenges, Oedipus finally married Jocasta, the queen of Thebes and his mother, thereby fulfilling the prophecy unbeknowst to him. Eventually he discovered this after many years and poked out his eyes and Jocasta killed herself, the power of fate.

The defining feature of Fate or Destiny, is one's inability to avoid or escape. Things will happen the way they happen because they cannot occur in any other way. People live and die based not on their own actions but because it was meant to be. Interesting enough most romantics strongly believe in this idea but its tailored to their love interest, ie: john and jane were meant to be. Destiny bring purpose and some level of comfort into the lives. Their lives aren't pointless because they have a purpose, something they were meant to do. Our paths have been paved for us because it is important in the grander scheme of things. Destiny removes a certain amount of responsibility from our mindset. Our actions can't be fully due to our intent because it would have happened regardless.

Free Will is the power of the individual and embraces chaos. Free will necessarily implies chaos because it requires that we can act or will without any real reason or purpose. We as individuals determine our our path and course, there is nothing set for us. It is also another romantic idea but in a different sense. We do things because we want to do them, our failures and successes are dependant on our actions and will. Free will removes from us a sense of higher purpose and order. Free will makes us responsible for our own actions at the expense of our sense of deeper purpose.

When misfortunes unexpectedly occur we tend to blame it on fate, not our own actions. We didn't get the promotion because it wasn't supposed to happen or the relationship didn't work out because it wasn't meant to be. On the otherhand, when good things happen to us we tend to say it was due to hard work or our actions. We got the promotion because we worked hard and made it happen.

It seems from all this that destiny and free will are mutually contradictory but thats not necessarily the case. Destiny is fundamentally a top down perspective. We can only justify it based on something grander and larger than us, many times its God. Free will is a bottom up perspective. It is from the vantage point of the individual who doesn't have all the information or knowledge. Imagine this, you have designed a maze and accordingly placed 3 rats in the maze at various positions. From your perspective you know the only way to get to the end of the maze, the rats clearly don't for them they have a wealth of possibilities to get to the end. Free will is about possibility while Destiny is much much closer to probability. Yes this analogy is not perfect because Destiny would imply 100% probability but given my relative non-omniscience, I can't make such a definite statement. :) Any thoughts?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Superman Teaser Trailer!!!!

That is the site for the superman returns teaser trailer. I just saw this and I'm really excited. Superman has been my idol since I was a little kid. Not like most people, who only view him as something imaginary but for me he was what we human beings can aspire to. Superman stood for justice, righteousness and truth. The man who would never lie and would fight for all that is good and true in this world, no matter the odds or consequences. Christopher Reeve truly made me believe that a man can fly and still to this day i still believe that at some deep level.

He is one of the reasons i actually became a lawyer, by the way i passed the new york bar so i am a lawyer. He represents the ideal, of what we can become if we truly believe in each other and ourselves. In many ways I miss those days of childlike innocence, when I used to believe that someone like superman was possible. This new movie looks great, like it still hangs on to the emotions and principles of those first two movies. Superman isn't a mere American Icon but he represents the ideals that we as humans can aspire to. He is essentially a god that comes to live amongst insects yet he becomes one of the insects in order to relate to us. In otherwords, he represents those people who have the ability in our world to do something above and beyond those of normal people. He represents the idea that people with power must use to to help others who can't, to help pick up those who fall and to stand by what is right and true. just my few thoughts, ya its rambling but whats new from me.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Soooooo....I was in India from Sept. 2 till October 11th which explains my absence on this blog. India was a good wholesome family time. I essentially spent the entire time with my grandparents and two young cousins. We went on few trips around South India. See here is how it works in my family. I'm my grandparents first grandchild so essentially I can do no evil in their eyes but with this freedom also comes the shackles, just as they can't say no to me, i can't say no to them. This had negative consequences for me this time. I really wanted to go travelling like to see Hampi, Konark, Puri, Calcutta and Kerala. Well, I got to see Kerala or more specifically a couple of temples in Kerala but not the backwaters or other areas as I wanted. See the thing my grandparents and uncle fail to understand is that I'm interested in seeing the architecture and immersing myself into the culture outside the temples. I want to see the backwaters and experience nature and just get lost in the cities or villages. When I say i want to see a place, my grandparents assume its just the temple to pray. So what happens is that they book tickets and come with me, which is fine and fun but its like a day stay at each location just enough time to see the temple and pray and get out.

Due to this, I've decided that from nowforth whenever I go to india, I will do all my traveling before seeing my family so that I can get to see places i want to see and also spend time with them. That being said, I had a great time with my cousins: Madhava and Seshu; ages 14 and 12 respectively. It was cool getting to know them and having an influence on them. I had an interesting time in Chennai. It sucks because I don't know anyone in that city that is around my age. My daily routine was to go to coffee shop in the morning, read there and meet and talk to random people. Ok, gotta go.

Monday, August 22, 2005


There has been a lot of randomness in my life of late. I'm not really sure how to deal with it, cause it's something that i've avoided before whenever it crept up. I'm trying to get my bearings on a lot of things and don't really know how to express it or make any real sense of it. Sooo...let me remove the spotlight from myself and move it to a more abstract level: Hypocricy and appearence. Adi Sankaracharya makes the claim "jagat mithyam brahma satyam" meaning the world is illusion and Brahman is supreme, Brahman referring to the Supreme Entity.
Lets take that statement and make it more practical or concrete, focus it onto the individual human being. Many, if not most, people assume two or three appearences. Usually, one is for the world at large, second for those they want to impress and finally the "real" them. The appearence they present or assume for the world at large is usually a professional or extremely superfical one. They will display their "respectable" qualities such as leadership, apparent moral fiber (or at least lip service to such), intelligence and drive. This way they can draw in many people and give them the impression that they are successful and "good" people. Granted some people are much better at this than others, the bad actors are the ones you can easily see through and sometimes get the impression of shadiness.
The second persona assumed is the one they want to show to people that they want to impress at a much more personal level. The qualities mentioned before are highlighted even further, they will also play upon the qualities that the other person finds appealing and enthralling. For example, if a person is drawn in by cultured individuals then the person assuming the mask will accentuate those cultural qualities. In this way, the first mask is affirmed by the assumption of the second mask. The really good actors will be able to convince others that they are sincere in their qualities despite indications that would logically dictate otherwise. Its not laudable but it is a practical and much used trait in the world we live in, which is based primarily on appearence and apparent superfical success.
Finally, the persona that rarely anyone sees and in many cases not even the individual themselves is the persona which defies and contradicts the previous two personas. The supposed cultural, moral and nice person is revealed to be a two faced hypocrite. Those qualities that are shown to the world and those they want to impress are merely clothes worn by the individual to further some goal. They want people to assume and infer that those qualities that they present to the world are how they truly are and thereby want to make people think that they are genuine people. This is extremely true in Indian society. Most indians of my generation and situation prove the above theory/opinion. They act one way with all the families and friends then an entirely different way with others, with whom they don't feel that cultural or familial connection with. Meaning, they will pretend to be respectful and upstanding people in front of family and friends but once away from them they will display contradictory qualities. It is hypocricy at its finest and most people can't even see that they are doing it themselves. How do we correct it? We should keep conscious of our actions and the appearences that we send off. The people who give off appearences are cowards because they can't bear to be seen for what they are, so they build up the appearences. Rather pathetic.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Montreal and Back

This past weekend we were all in Canaida (yes, i know its Canada but Canaida sounds better) specifically Montreal. We essentially determined amongst ourselves that it is 1 american dollar for every 100 canadian dollars or as we call it canaidios. Basically, most of the weekend I am not at liberty to comment on for it involves things that should not be spoken about. On the otherhand, we can confirm that Gates likes the she-males and has a weird obsession with standing by himself in dark closets. Also worth noting is that Montreal has a obscenely disproportionate amount of hot women. It was ridiculous, so many hot women. So we decide to try and act on this benefit by walking the streets drunk and yelling "Ladies....Mukunda" while pointing at me or "Ladies, if your man don't treat you right there is always Mukunda." Again pointing at me. I have this weird feeling that they all thought that Mukunda was a cuss word, go figure.

On a more somber note, this week is gonna be crazy busy. I'm moving all my stuff to Gates' place in jersey tomorrow. Then on tues and wed gonna be in NYC looking for apts. Then thursday coming back to boston to jump into a car and go to upstate New York for Girish's wedding which essentially will be from thurs-sun. Then monday head back to nyc and prolly fly back to cali on tues, need to still book my tix. Jam packed. I've said this before and I will say it again...girls are crazy, I don't get them and have no idea why I even try, just goes to show my idiocy. C'est La Vie.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Day One over

Well, day one of my NY bar exam is over and it wasn't as bad as I figured but don't want to get ahead of myself because there is a good chance that I missed a lot of things but what is done is done. The past couple of weeks have been interesting, I finally put in work and did something that I should have done from the beginning of my academic career, which is simply study and put in effort. I've figured out a lot of things about myself that I didn't know before. No, I will not write about that because its pretty personal and I don't feel like sharing my deeper moments with everyone, yes despite all your conceptions of me, I do possess some depth. I've figured out things with what I want in life in regards to certain parts of my life. This was especially true this past week, right before the bar. Suffices to say, its been a interesting period for me with strong inclinations for something good but who knows how fate works.

Man, I've written some very thought provoking and what I consider interesting blogs in the past few months but rarely do I get any responses or comments, which is kinda weird considering that my hit counter tells me that I have about 15 people visiting my site every day of which half are new readers or at least passerbyers (yes i know not a real word but I make up stuff, its the price of genius.....come on someone lambast me). I'll let you in on something, I have learned that I come off a lot different than I really am, which in this case might have worked to my detriment but I don't think it did, just adds to the mystery that is me....haha i can't believe i just wrote that crap. I'm really not that mysterious i'm sooo transparent its not even funny. I'm just rambling on in this post, cause i don't wanna write anything deep or thought provoking. I'm saving my brain cells and neurons for tomorrow's test, which will be another six hours of exciting legal questions...utterly pointless. My problem with law as with many things is that the philosophy and lofty principles of metaphysics have been removed and separated from it but this is a discussion for another day.

Day One over

Well, day one of my NY bar exam is over and it wasn't as bad as I figured but don't want to get ahead of myself because there is a good chance that I missed a lot of things but what is done is done. The past couple of weeks have been interesting, I finally put in work and did something that I should have done from the beginning of my academic career, which is simply study and put in effort. I've figured out a lot of things about myself that I didn't know before. No, I will not write about that because its pretty personal and I don't feel like sharing my deeper moments with everyone, yes despite all your conceptions of me, I do possess some depth. I've figured out things with what I want in life in regards to certain parts of my life. This was especially true this past week, right before the bar. Suffices to say, its been a interesting period for me with strong inclinations for something good but who knows how fate works.

Man, I've written some very thought provoking and what I consider interesting blogs in the past few months but rarely do I get any responses or comments, which is kinda weird considering that my hit counter tells me that I have about 15 people visiting my site every day of which half are new readers or at least passerbyers (yes i know not a real word but I make up stuff, its the price of genius.....come on someone lambast me). I'll let you in on something, I have learned that I come off a lot different than I really am, which in this case might have worked to my detriment but I don't think it did, just adds to the mystery that is me....haha i can't believe i just wrote that crap. I'm really not that mysterious i'm sooo transparent its not even funny. I'm just rambling on in this post, cause i don't wanna write anything deep or thought provoking. I'm saving my brain cells and neurons for tomorrow's test, which will be another six hours of exciting legal questions...utterly pointless. My problem with law as with many things is that the philosophy and lofty principles of metaphysics have been removed and separated from it but this is a discussion for another day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Law and Order?

Ok, my roommate Girish, Gopi and I were watching Law and Order: SVU today and i started a discussion. Basically what happened in the episode is that the ADA or assistant district attorney essentially broke the law in order to see justice done, to get crucial evidence in order to put an "alleged" child molestor away. So I said its a sad state in our society that we place an higher emphasis on procedural justice over substantive justice. Procedural justice equates to protection of individual liberities, due process of law and so on (it is an overly simplistic view i'm presenting at this point). A police officer must first met certain basic requirements before they are allowed to search someone's place or car, any place where an individual would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This is necessary to ensure that the government cannot intrude into our lives at its whim and it is a very strong principle in our society, as it should be, especially when the government can be capricious.

Now, what is the purpose of criminal law? It is to maintain order in society and protect one citizen from another citizen's actions as to their property, life or liberty. This is the common answer but a deeper analysis as strongly and convincingly argued by many philosophers including Hegel and Kant is that criminal law is about retribution. Even deeper than that is the idea that law brings about order which brings up happiness and contentment with one's fellow human being. Underlying all that is the idea that we must all get along and if we don't something must be done to ensure we do, when we do something wrong there is a intuitive desire in us to "right" that wrong or make it just, return it to the status quo.

Kant's pure retribution is very interesting but I believe that Hegel offers a more powerful argument for the goal of laws, which is to balance the scale, or right the wrong, in essence bring about justice, which is oddly quite intuitive for almost all people. Hegel argues that a crime is a moral wrong that negates the moral order of a society and punishment is required to redress that negation. Kant's view of justice is necessiated by the idea of punishment to uphold the cosmic and metaphysical order, accordingly his view of justice is an "eye for an eye" retribution. Hegel is much more akin to question that method and offer a more proportional idea of justice, without delineating exactly what justice would demand in a particular situation.

What justice is, changes from time to time and place to place. Hammurabi's code was a mirror image law, eye for an eye. Islamic nations punish thieves by chopping off their hand, to the western world this would seem to go beyond the realm of what justice would be. Essentially there is no overarching generally understood idea of what justice is. What we do understand is that no wrong can go unattended, something must be done or happen. Our society in America, includes procedural justice as equally important if not more important than substantive justice, meaning the ends cannot justify the means. The means must be controlled and formal. If procedures cannot ensure justice than we are to discard the substantive justice in the particular case and move on. The abstract rights of the many triumph over the need for justice in a particular case. Isn't it worse that a rapist or murderer walks away from commiting such an act? The overwhelming focus on our society on privacy and absurd individualism is the heart of the problem. I do think we have a right to privacy but that right can and should be inconvienced in order that justice can be done. Justice simply means that the individual who committed a wrong is found and punished (which can include reforming). The particulars of the punishment are utterly dependant on the crime and manner of wrong. Thats it for now. comments?

Monday, July 11, 2005

15 days and counting......

Well, again I must apolgize for my delay in posting, I've been a bit busy with this little test called the New York Bar Exam, without which i cannot become a lawyer, or liar for all you people out there that still find that funny, lawyer, liar, ya i know, i get it. So you maybe asking, what have been up to? Well until the past week, i've been wasting a lot of time, sitting at my desk trying to convince myself to actually do work but somehow distracted and end up playing a video game or listening to music all day. I must thank and at the same time curse my roommate sir michael edward james gates III, for buying God of War. Damn that game is insanely addicting, i sit down and promise to only play for 1/2 hour and then 4 hours later I stop. But at least i'm close to killing Ares in god mode, yah whatever i like video games don't knock it till you try it, ya camacho i mean ur bitch ass, go put some meat on your bony frame.

I've finally started to get my head on straight and did about 8 hours of studying in the past two days, no not cumulatively but consecutively, yep add it up and its 16 hours total for sat and sun. Damn i'm proud of myself, i think thats about the entire time i spent in law school studying so basically i've met my quota and now i can sleep until the bar....i wish. I've also been watching a lot of movies from blockbuster. The most recent one i saw was last night, The Legend of Bagger Vance.

That was an interesting movie and from what i understand its a modern retelling of the Bhagavad Gita. Will Smith essentially plays Krishna or named Bagger Vance in the movie, similar to the name Bhagavan which refers to God. Matt Damon plays Rannulph Junah or R. Junah....Arjuna, one of the five protagonists in the Mahabharata and the center of the Gita. The game of golf becomes the equivalent of the battlefield and the story is about the journey of self-redemption. It is quite interesting especially considering that in Indian philosophy the entire cosmos and existence is considered a leela or game of God, in which we are all players. One of the teachings of the Gita is that as long as we are connected to and intertwined in this world, we must abide by its rules and live our lives with deeper moral and ethical considerations. The Gita admits and holds the view that morality and ethics are not absolute, they exist to serve a purpose and only exist at the phenomenal level. Meaning, they only exist as long we do not intuitive and experientally understand the true state and nature of reality.

I think this presents a really poignant issue for us in this day and age, when the idea that we should do whatever makes us happy is becoming more and more prevalent. Is it a product of captialism? Partially but I think it is extremely incorrect to blame all the problems and issues of materialism on capitalism as is done by many socialists, communists and marxists. That is a discussion for another time. Should we do what makes us happy? Yes but is that something that must be absolute, No. The idea of duty is what is missing from society in this day and age. I'm not talking about legal duties, like the duty of care to people in our homes or business but i'm talking about a much more social and deeper duty. The idea of legal duties is the bare minimum, it is the threshold we cannot cross otherwise we will be subject to legal censure. For example, we place a higher emphasis on evasion of responsibility than we do to the duty to take up responsibility. We applaud people who argue their way out of responsibility, the lawyer who is able to get a guilty person acquitted, the corporations that are able to avoid liability by declaring bankruptcy, leaders who blame terrorists or democracy or western evil for the acts they commit and the innocents that they on and so forth. Responsibility and Truth have been pushed to the wayside for "freedom" and good image.

We owe duties to each other simply by the basic fact that we live in a society composed of other individuals. Legal duties generally are not affirmative duties they are prohibitive duties, like do not steal or do not harm your fellow being. I don't agree in having affirmative legal duties imposed, rather i think it should be fostered in use as individuals through our interaction with our families and other individuals and society as whole. An example of an affirmative duty that i have in my mind is the golden rule, treat all others as you would yourself. Would u ever treat yourself as an means to an end? Most probably not, then why should another person be treated in that manner. Consider this, when a guy or girls goes to a club and meets another person and just has a purely sexual relationship with them, is that not treating that other person as an means to an end, to basically achieve your sexual needs. Is this an moral issue? No, not really but it is an issue of how you view that particular other person, as unique individual or just another object of your sexual desire. When a robber steals from another person, that robber essentially views that person as an object to be used then discarded. Ok i'll continue this later, gotta get to bed. drop a few comments and give me some input.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Yah i know that i haven't posted in a while but its been somewhat of a hectic month or so for me. Finals then graduation from law school then my family was in town and now bar review classes have started. Its not a very fun time but its necessary. I guess this is where i tell you all that one chapter in my life has closed and another will soon begin but thats a bunch of horseshit. Life doesn't have chapters where there are clear divisions where one chapter should end and another starts. I feel no different the day before graduation than i did the day after. I guess it is a milestone or some sort of achievement but it just seems a bit premature especially with the bar looming over our heads.

On a different note, our last week together in boston was a good one. We, meaning robin, leevin, angie and I kick started senior week off with a full day bbque at our place. We had about 40 or 50 people there, with a tremendous amount of food, granted mostly meat but only a few of us are veggies. Whatever food we lacked we made up for in beer and liquor. We all got really drunk that day, correction i got really drunk and so did most everyone else, since we had been drinking straight from 3 to 11 or 12. It was a great hurrah or whatever. The entire week was full of activities and i'm not in the mood to talk about them all now.

I just moved into Girish and Gates' place and its pretty cool, but it sucks it is right before the bar so there is some fear and tension in the air. Quite possibly this is one of the biggest tests in our lives and we all want to pass the first time we take them. I mean, i'm even studying and come on, me and study? never before have those two words been used together aside from saying that mukunda doesn't study. Its a sad sight to see me reading and outlining instead of sleeping or doing something fun. On another note, i'm having surgery on june 15th, yes the day that batman begins comes out, i am gonna go watch that movie at midnight right before my surgery, yes i am that big of a fan boy, get over it. Sadly i can take forever on how great the character is and what he means both in regards to american society and similarly to the human condition, welcome to the dorky side of mukunda, yes i know, you're asking but mukunda you are soo cool, we could never consider you dorky. As much as i am inclined to agree, i must say that even I have my moments of dorkiness and this is one of them. I've embraced it and sometimes even nurtured it, to keep the inner child in me alive, its what allows me to be stupid yet possess a certain charm and level of dignity while doing it. aight i'm out. peace.

Saturday, April 30, 2005


Recently I was told by a close friend that I quite possibly am one the most complex people he knows, which is odd to me cause I think i'm really simple. There isn't that much to me, you meet me and you essentially get what you see. I don't really hide anything, yes maybe people don't know about my life experiences but that is usually gained through time and some sort of relationship. I didn't and still don't get how i can be complex. My friend says that compared to most people what I want out of life or how i approach life is entirely different. Most people would be satisfied with financial security, a nice loving family and a stable and successful career, maybe he is right about that. I on the otherhand would not be content or satisfied with that, there is soo much more out of life that I want or expect.

Human beings have to a have a greater purpose than simply to feel safe and perpetuate our species. Whether or not you believe in a higher purpose isn't the point here, the point is that we as evolved entities have the ability to create a purpose for ourselves that is beyond ourselves. Other animals cannot do this, they are guided by their basic instincts and drives. We are the only animal that can contemplate ending our own existence and do it, suicide. Why is it that we don't care to try and develop a higher purpose for ourselves. We look for contentment not peace and it is always self contentment. We pass through life looking at people around us who clearly are crying out for help or simply need some emotional or mental support yet we turn our backs to them because they don't fit into our lives, we live simply for ourselves. Don't get me wrong there are a select few that genuinely live to help others and through that help they fulfill themselves and find the peace that most of us spend our lives searching for but never find.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna says to Arjuna "Bahunam Janmanam Ante Jnaanavan Mam Praparyathe, Vaasudeva Sarvam Iti Sah Mahaatma Surdurlabhaha." What this means is "At the end of many lives that person situated in knowledge sees Vaasudeva (Krishna or God) in all things, such person is indeed very rare." The rarity here isn't that people cannot reach this stage it is that people don't care to reach this stage. This stage requires us to see in all things the same thing we see in ourselves, that spark of life, the dignity and respect we give to ourselves, the divine that we respect is present in us just as it is in your best friend, wife/husband and even that person that you loathe or find disgusting. Once you reach that level, how can you disassociate yourself from all those around, how can you let the plight of others go ignored? You can't, it is compassion, the same compassion that Buddha preached. Compassion isn't merely giving money to some charity it has to be much more personal than that. Maybe I'm a hypocrite because i haven't totally given myself to all this, i've done such work but not as often as I should or even want to. I think we can even make it simpler than that, just reach out and give a shit about the people around you, even the ones that you don't like so much, never leave anyone hanging, don't turn you back, put aside your own ego for a while and just be.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

What do you have to show?

Well, i've been alive for about 26 years give about 6 months, my time at law school is coming to an end and soon i will be joining the real world and work force. Apparently my entire life is ahead of me and there is so much for me to do. A random thought popped into my head as it every so often does and made me think what have I got to show for the past 26 years of life. I thought about it and sadly I don't think its much. I don't mean in terms of monetary or professional achievements, money has never been a goal of mine, it is only a means to achieving an end, not an end in itself. Although, most of the society essentially seeks the security and comfort that money affords them even if they claim they don't seek money as an end. A person is lauded as a success or something great once they have reached a certain level of financial power.

Our heroes are people who have achieved considerable amount of personal success, meaning success that concerns primarily themselves. The athletes, whose hard work and dedication is essentially for themselves so that they may either play the game out of love or benefits that come from being good at their sport. Same with musicians, actors and all entertainers. We have very few and far between heroes who really have done something outside themselves. Everyone wants to be a Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant but who wants to be a Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi these days.

In Hindu thought there are four goals in human existence, they are called the purusha artha or four ends of mankind. The four goals are: artha (wealth), kama( bodily and mental desires), dharma (duty) and moksha (salvation). Human beings are to strive for each of these goals. Wealth is necessary for life within a society, desire is necessary because humans should not deny their most basic needs and urges. Duty or Dharma is very important because artha and kama should not be pursued without the binding force of Dharma, one is to try and achieve kama and artha within the guidelines of dharma, which also includes chairity (which many hindus convienently forget). Finally there is moksha or salvation from bondage of human existence and the universe of transience and impermenance. This is the final stage and also the hardest goal, and requires that three other goals be done with this goal in mind, it requires total surrender of the notion of the individual as an actor or agent into an instrument of the divine. That discussion is for another day.

Essentially, I was thinking about all this stuff and it sort of dawned on me that I really don't have much to show. If i were to die tomorrow, what would i leave the world? Aside from being a good friend, son, brother, cousin and/or person? Did I leave anything lasting or will my life too essentially fade into the wind as billions before me? We are taught in this society to live for ourselves and do what makes us happy, but is this necessarily the best way to live? Do we not have a duty to others around us? If all the people in world were to only look after themselves then we would have a world in which no one helped another aside from helping themselves. Do I have an answer to remedy this problem? Nope not yet. Will I ever? No idea but one can hope. All I know is that I don't have much to show for 26 years of existence, especially if the standard is monetary.

The world is such a selfish place, the root of it is the ego or Ahamkara (the "I" maker). It is the "I" or ego that makes the world a bad place, the idea that I am the actor, things are done by me, the world revolves around me. Somehow we differentiate ourselves entirely from everyone and everything around us, it is this process of differentation that creates a rift between people, a rift which perpetuates the false notion that we are each islands unto ourselves and all that matters is what we do for ourselves and therefore we owe no duty to others. Our lives should have meaning and impact outside the personal sphere of existence, meaning outside simply our circle of family and friends. To help others who you have no real personal relationship or connection with is amazing. There is a saying: Manava Seva Madhava Seva, it means the Service of Humanity is the Service of God, to serving others is equivalent to serving God, for God exists in all things and beings, so one should help and serve others as if they are helping themselves. Just food for thought.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Protect the Weak?

"The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak. In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in favor of life."

These were the words of our illustrious president. He used it in reference to the recent death of Terry Schiavo's death. Death is always sad when viewed as the antithesis of life, but i'll try and talk about this later, right now i want to focus on the idea of protecting the weak. Terry Schiavo has been in a coma for 15 years, over a 1/3 of her life, every year it costs upwards of $80,000 to keep her "alive". The issue isn't whether it is just to keep her alive or not, that is a decision that should be left up to her desire and if not availible then her husband's. Does her family have a say? Absolutely, but not at the expense of Terry's own wishes, which were not to be kept alive artificially. Yet, i digress. I don't think this should be a legal issue, but something that should be left to the family. My issue is with Protecting the weak.

"Protect the weak", we are a shining example of that. Many people have come out today and spoken about how its the government's job to protect the weak and those who rely on the mercy of others. Apparently, they are just talking about the people who are in comas or going to die soon because they aren't talking about the millions of people in this country without food, shelter or health care. Aren't these people also in need of protection? Why don't we care about providing them with the basic amenities that all people deserve? I've seen elderly people in their 60's and 70's in the streets of boston, without a home, money, food or health care, aren't these people in need of protection? They walk around without very much clothing in this freezing weather, its pathetic. The politicans and the country is split over an issue with a woman, who in all probability would not have come back to consciousness, but doesn't care about the millions of conscious people in the country who are without anything.

The reason this is an issue is because we like telling people how to life or die in this case. We want to tell people that Life is the only choice, when it might be more humane for death to be an option. Liberty and freedom is founded on the premise of choice, having two or more viable options. The conservatives in this country want to remove that, they have an idea of an ideal world and what society should be according to their values and seek to impose that on others thereby removing choice. How does this relate to those without food, shelter or medical care? Well, in these cases it is seen as if these people have brought this condition on themselves and its their own fault that they are in the situation they are in and no one needs to help them, especially the government. These people only affect us in a tangential way, meaning we see them and we avoid them. Whereas, in Schiavo's case, the possibility of us being in a coma is less but the impact might be seen as so much greater and its a situation that they see as being out of our control unlike being homeless and poor, which clearly is due to laziness. Just my two cents and rant.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Pandora's Box

Most people know the famous greek myth of pandora's box. For those of you that don't know it, basically after Prometheus the titan created man and then gave them fire, the gods of Olympus were angry. So they created Pandora, the woman, and sent her to Prometheus as a gift. Prometheus refused to accept her knowing that the gods were deceitful and nothing good can come from them. Prometheus also cautioned his brother Epimetheus to do the same but Epimetheus was enamored by her beauty and accepted her. Hermes later came by and asked Epimetheus and Pandora if they can safekeep his box for them to which they complied. Hermes told them not to open the box and left saying he would return for it later. Epimetheus left and then Pandora was left alone with the box. She was overcome with curiosity and then opened the box. When she opened the box, all the evil and pain that mankind feels now flew out and entered all the people, she shut the box just in time to leave one thing in it....hope and then she opened it again and hope entered into all the people. This is the greek origin of the idea and emotion of hope.

Hope is both the bane of and greatest thing in human existence. It lets us survive ever second of every day, it gives us reason to live, a reason that sometime something great or fabulous will happen to us despite all the pain and suffering we endure. Some of us more than others, yet it persists, for most of us despite whatever we endure we still hope for a better tomorrow, a tomorrow that might never come or doesn't even exist. We have no real rational basis for this hope, in fact it makes no real sense. If anything it is like gambling but much less probable to happen. Hope is big game of chance, its pure probability or luck. We are playing a game in which we don't have any real reason to believe things are gonna get better or something good is gonna happen, we think just because so much bad has happened something has got to give and there must be some light at the end of the tunnel but sadly sometimes all there is, is only darkness, no light, just a tunnel that doesn't end or the end we'll never see. Hope is only pure chance, nothing true or real. It is a secret weapon we have but a weapon with no real power, a dud. All hope does is give us false sense of happiness, a false belief that things will work out, when in fact they maybe never do. Sadly we all wake up everyday, thinking that its a new day, a day different from the day before, a day in which something better will happen than the day before but its a false false reality. Every day is a continuation from the day before, no more new, just as bad or good as the day before was, and it will always remain so for most people. Maybe Pandora should have left that box shut and never let hope out, at least then we would all be able accept our fates and not falsely belief something better will come.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Spring Break

So basically i've been in New York City for the past 5 days, and its awesome. I've been to this city like 4 times in 2 months, and hasn't got old yet, i'll be back here in a few days. I came with my friends Joey and Nikhil. Joey is a buddy from law school and Nikhil is my friend from undergrad. We got into NYC on friday night around 11:30, made it from boston in about 3 hours, which is good time, less than vegas. We got ready and left the apt within 45 min and headed out to the bars. We first went to this place called Proof, which according to Joey was supposed to be a good lounge, but apparently it is a undergrad hangout, which is superfically good but we are over that scene. Regardless, we decided to hang out for a lil bit and get a few drinks and partake in the scenery aka young nubile undergrad girls. ( just wanted to use that word, nubile) This one girl who was clearly drunk comes up to us while we are sitting down, and her freaking boobs were falling out of her shirt every minute, which again we weren't minding all that much but after 10 min that scene got played out and so we left and headed to another bar called Mercury Bar.

Mercury Bar was fun, we met some people that Nikhil knew and this other dude started to hit on Joey, we were gonna help Joey get out of it but the dude was gonna buy all of us drinks so we said what the hell, so basically Joey had to hang out with that dude for a few min, it was awesome. Then we headed to another bar called Metro 54 which was cool. Basically the next day we went around the city and saw Times Square and Central Park and the "Gates", what the hell is that thing. 21 million bucks on that? What a waste. That night we also went to like 4 bars: cellar bar, gstaad, light and then taj. Taj was happening as was Light, which had brazilian night. Kinda sad, the entire night I didn't see one girl that was worth my effort, aah well, c'est la vie.

Nikhil pointed out something that i didn't notice about myself recently. I've changed a lot in the past few months, i've become nicer in many ways, which is kinda weird for me. I'm not really sure why. I'm having a hard time being as much of an ass as i used to be, i'm actually a bit concerned about hurting people's feelings. Maybe its a sign of maturity? Anyways going to bed, late.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Well its been a couple weeks since my last post, i've been somewhat busy. I went to NYC last weekend to visit my friend Aditya, who had flown up from LA. I hung out with him, Shanto and Bindi on friday night at this place called park, its pretty cool. The weekend overall was chill, nothing too crazy, i kept it lowkey, wasn't really in the party animal mood. Recently, i've been actually having a good relationship with my sister, which is really weird to me and is a sign i guess that we are growing up. She is considering moving to NYC this summer, which if it occurs will be kinda weird again because we will be in a new place together, although i highly doubt we will live together given that Big Daddy Schlong aka Mike Gates and i are gonna be roommates. (BTW I didn't make up that name, he is just called that)

I also dislocated my shoulder for the 13th time in 8 months on this tuesday. I was playing basketball and tried to do a big crossover in an attempt to juke the defender but my arm must have went to high and back which caused my shoulder to pop out. Its really getting annoying, i can't do most physical activities without worrying about it. I popped it back into place after 2 minutes of trying and then went out and played the rest of the game, so for the rest of the game i kept my left shoulder close to my body and didn't really try to move it except for dribbling. Despite that i did bring down a lot of boards and had 3 swats and about 8 pts. It wasn't my finest game but it was ok. On top of that, when i was going up for a layup the defender kicked me in the face and cut my nose and gave me a partial black eye, and was there a foul called? Nope, the monkey ass refs didn't call any fouls on the other team, only on us, what the bloody hell. My cut nose started to bleed a tiny bit and they wouldn't let me play until I made it stop bleeding. We got our butts handed to us but it was fun despite the fact the refs were douche bags. I think i have to have surgery and thats gonna suck, cause the rehab time will be like 6 months until i get full movement back into my shoulder. Anyways I think i'm going to NYC again this weekend with my friend Joey and probably Nikhil, still in the process of working that out. We have spring break next week and i will be spending it working on a couple of papers.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


3 years ago, I was soo sure of the world, my views and my place in this world. I was incredibly confident that I knew how things operated and what was needed and how to fix the problems of the world. Now, its not so clear. I'm trying to find my place in this world and what it is that i really believe. Its probably the toughest thing I've ever had to do. Ya, i know it doesn't seem that way to many people but its a big deal to me, to figure out where I stand and where i'm heading. One thing i'm sure about is that i'll be in New York next year, just not sure what i'll be doing, which isn't that comforting.

I've been trying to come to terms with what I believe about God and all that. This is a tough one, especially given that I have no real experience of God. It really does work out to only being faith and belief which is sooo scary because it is entirely possible if not probable that God doesn't exist and is merely created by the human mind to avoid the abyss of loniliness. God gives comfort and order to our lives, it is really a daunting if not scary thought to think that God doesn't exist. It removes purpose and significance from our lives, it leaves us in oblivion of our own making with no helping hand or escape in sight. Thats what I'm trying to face, where do I find myself. I really want to believe, so strongly but I don't know how to do that and not do it blindly or with any foundation in my own experience.

The God issue is a deep and very profound issue in my life but another issue is that the more I get to know women and less and less i understand them. They confuse me beyond comprehension, i'm not sure what they mean when they say stuff and even when I decipher the words I have no clue as to what they really want or are saying. The more I try to understand the less I do. I'm a very straight forward person so everyone knows where they stand with me, If I'm cool with you I'll let you know and if i'm not cool with you, I'll let you know that too. The most important part is that I'll mean whatever I say. Not so with women, they say one thing and expect me to know what the hidden meaning is, its like slamming my head into a wall, it gets me nowhere to try and understand what they are trying to say. I get my sisters, probably because they think more like guys than girls because of living with me but I can't figure out any other women, I'm thinking that maybe i should just stop trying to figure them out and accept my fate of never understanding them and in the process make an ass of myself. If you have any clues or insight please let me know cause my ass is lost.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Introspective Living

Over the past few days I've been thinking a lot about what it is that i know. I don't merely mean in the epistimological sense of what can be known or what it means to know but I mean in the more conventional sense of what I know; what i've picked up through experience and also through simple book learning. I have amassed a lot of knowledge, an enormous amount actually. I would consider myself well read in terms of world religions, philosophy and cultural traditions. I'm not very well read when it comes to world literary traditions meaning the great novels and books of the world. My interest lies more with literature that deals with more philosophical issues. I try and keep up to date on many of the linguistic theories and studies that have to do with the ancient world, for some reason the ancient world fascinates me. I love to find out about how the ancients viewed the world, what they thought and how they fundamentally viewed existence.

While i was thinking about all this stuff, it dawned on me that Eastern thought specifically Indian thought isn't just or merely just an intellectual exercise, to determine how intelligent or persuasive that I could be. It is meant to stimulate the mind and then lead to living a live based on that knowledge. Its become apparent to me that I've lost that vital and sustaining notion. The acquization of knowledge must have a ultimate purpose, a raison d'etre so to speak. What is it? It is liberation and salvation from the bonds of ignorance and impermenance. Previously, I've written about the Buddhist idea of No-Self which is fundamental to entire structure of Buddhist thought, if that notion of No-Self falls so does the ediface that is Buddhism. In a similar vein, Advaita Vedanta or simply Non-Dualism of Sankaraacharya is built upon the idea of absolute identity of Individual Soul and Supreme Soul. Of course, the premise is that there is an individual soul and supreme soul which are real, the self is necessary.

In Buddhism, knowledge frees one from the bonds of samsara and into nirvana which is the cessition of all things, meaning the end of all thought and suffering through understanding that from an absolute viewpoint all this possesses no real/independent/intrinisic existence and reality. The self itself must be removed. Advaita echoes a very similar concept, all things have no real existence apart from Brahman, therefore the only real entity is Brahman and all else has no reality apart from that. Even the idea of a individual self, in the final analysis doesn't possess any real independant reality, the individual self ceases to exist upon knowledge of Brahman or moksha/mukthi. Even the God with personality in Advaita does not really exist but only exists conventionally as long as one is within the confines of ignorance. What finally and ultimately exists is a unqualified undifferentiated Consciousness, it is not a conscious entity but consciousness itself. It is beyond all qualities and all relations, it can be referred to through negatives, meaning you say what it is by saying what it is not, it is not death therefore it is life, it is not insentient but is sentience and so on. This is very intellectually appealling but it is not meant merely to be just that. It is meant to be lived and followed, that is why Sankaraacharya was also a great mystic devotee, who composed many devotionaly hymns and prayers. The point of all this, is simply to say that I need to get back to my roots and try to live these truths and ideas that i intellectually study and maybe by trying to live them i will gain a deeper and more foundational understanding of them.

Sunday, February 13, 2005


This entire past week from monday night till about today, I was sick. It wasn't very fun. I was bedridden from monday night till about thursday, i literally slept about 15-20 hours a day and was delirious. I was convinced that the positions i slept in gave me different sicknesses, what sicknesses? Not a damn clue, i just knew i would get different diseases. I had many weird dreams all involving me wearing some weird outfit, including skintight rubber with a tail, go figure. So basically i got nothing new to report aside from the fact that i'm pretty close to normal now, although my roommates think normal and me never belong in the same sentence.

On a side note, I know i've written about this before but the more and more i see life the more and more i really truly do believe that nice guys do finish last. Trying to be a nice guy really won't get you anywhere except pissed off, its really not worth it, because whatever you did to try to be nice will be forgotten and you will inexoriably end up in a worse place than you started off. I just know it takes a lot out of me to try and be nice and it bites ass when that comes back in your face, moral of the story be a dick and life will work out the way you want because there is no real "things will work out for the best" world, or everything will be fine world.

Sadly, the world we live in is a terrible place, which only appears to have rhyme or reason. We make rhyme and reason moreover we make order in our minds from the pointless world around us because otherwise everything we know and hold dear means nothing. Things don't work out on this world, they work out for some but for others they don't and for those they have to make due with the pieces that are around them and build some semblence of a life. Rather sad and bleak view, i know but can anyone honestly refute it, given the overwhelming evidence? Hopefully you are all the ones it will work out for, but again hope is a two edged sword it nurtures some sense of sanity and belief yet in many cases it is a faulty belief without any real basis in probability and only exists in possibility.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Weekend in the Big Apple

I was in New York City this past weekend, i went up to visit a friend Neha from college, who had flown up for some Jain broad retreat. It was a good weekend, I took the bus from boston to new york on thursday afternoon its about 4 hour trip, not too bad. I did take some books to read for school but I should have known better, I don't do work while at home why would i do work on a bus or in nyc. We went out together on Thursday night to this place called Hudson Hotel, it was a nice place and we met up with a friend of mine in the city. It was a fun night. I also went out on Friday night, again a fun night. NYC is great for the fact that its open till like 5 in the morning and that makes the night much more fun.

I had a couple of weird things happen to me on Saturday night. After we all went to this club called Earth NYC, which by the way serves pani poori with vodka instead of normal water, interesting. It was some indo party and i got claustrophobic really fast, too man indian people in one place freaks me out. I'm sure most of those people are professionals and successful but from my experience they tend to lack a lot of culture and heritage, damn straight its a mass generalization but its a generalization based on experience not something I pulled from my ass. I had to leave after a while, i really couldn't take that many indian people, its sad my tolerance for ignorant indians has dropped significantly since college, I guess i expect that as they age they would develop more culture and a wider outlook on life rather than so self-centric. This is not to say that there aren't any indians with a wider outlook and culture but they tend to be few and far between. Sometimes when I watch them interact, I find myself thinking "Do I act like that?" and sadly i think the answer is sometimes Yes. I try not but sometimes being around them just brings you to that level.

Anyways thats all beside the point, the two weird things happened to me that night. I was walking down 8th Avenue around 2am. I basically walked from 17 street to 59 street on 8th avenue, it gave me a good idea of how much New York changes within a few blocks. As I was walking up 8th avenue, this dude sees me and pulls his car over and is like "Hey". I turn over and look at him, i figured he needs some driving directions or something. So i walk over a little bit and respond "Ya, whats up" and he says "Do you know where Lincoln Tunnel is?" and I who have only been to NYC like 7 times, clearly don't so i tell him that I don't but he can ask the taxi down the street. So far very normal, then next second he is like "I am not from the city, are you?" and i respond "Nope, i'm just visiting" and he says "Do you like massages? Cause I like them a lot?" and i was like what the bloody hell, what kinda question is that. I stop for a second and think about what is this dude really asking, before i can respond he says "My shoulder and back really hurt, want to massage me?" and now I'm like holy shit, i'm getting propositioned by a dude. I was like "Umm, dude I ain't into that, I going that way (pointing away from him) " and i walk away. Crazy

Then within 10 min this other dude walks up to me and says "Yo homie, do you need anything?" and I'm like what the hell? "Umm no, I'm cool" and he says "Naw man, if you need anything girls, drugs, whatever, i'll hook you up." and I'm like "It cool buddy, i'm aight." Geez, what a city within 5 blocks I meet some weird shit, crazy world. ya its all random but thats all i have for the 3 of you that are reading this, i'll give you something more thought provoking at a later time.

Friday, January 28, 2005

I am a Nobody

For us to function as human beings it is necessary for us to have a conception of a self, it is the idea that there is something more to us as individuals than simply our biological and psychological processes. Something much more fundamental and intrinisic must explain us, or more accurately our consciousness. All living things from plants to humans all possess some level of consciousness. In fact, it is how we determine the existence of life, if a thing possesses some level of consciousness then it must be alive. A plant is alive because it responds to stimuli, if you poke it, it bleeds sap. If you don't give it water, it will wither away and die. In the evolutionary ladder of consciousness, it is the human being that possesses the highest level of consciousness, we are self-aware. To some level, it is very difficult almost impossible to determine whether other comparable animals possess self-awareness to the extant we do because we cannot with any real means communicate with other animals.

Human beings need the self, which is thought of as both the same yet different from the body, mind, consciousness and other components which make us who we are. In fact, it is the self who we truly are. In Christian tradition (of which there are few, but i will primarily deal with the main ones), the body and soul together constitute a human being. A human being, or the individual self, is composed of both material substance and spiritual substance. Hence, the burying of the dead because it is believe that on Judgment Day, Christ's Second Coming, that all bodies will be resurrected with their souls installed back into the body to be judge for their actions. This is similarily held by the Muslims, in their theology. Hindus on the other hand have a different view. The self is the soul, the body is a mere shell which is necessary for the soul in order to interact with the material world. Hence, the cremation of the bodies so as to prevent the soul from lingering around the body.

Now, as human beings, we have a need for the self. Primarily because it helps us face the idea of total annihilation. If we had no idea of the self then our death will really be the end, period. No heaven, no hell, no bliss, no light, just darkness and nothingness. It would in essence render our very existence pointless. Our long term actions wouldn't matter because who cares what happens after I die. So we develop a second need, a need for Universal Justice, God. God is our attempt to give order and structure to a universe we don't totally understand. God is our way to make sure that our actions do have consequences on us.

Siddartha Gautama, also known as Sakyamuni or more popularly as the Buddha (from the sanskrit root of budh, which means to know in the sense of wisdom) taught a very radical doctrine, the idea of Anatta or Anatman (which means no-self; prefix An means no or non and atman is soul/self/Universal self). There is no self in any real sense, the self we speak of is only in a conventional sense, it only exists so that people may interact and communicate, it has no real existence. This self, we all think of is nothing more than an aggregate of five things (panca-skanda). The five things are matter, senses, perceptions, mental states then finally consciousness. These things are always in constant flux and are never the same, so in other words there is no enduring or continuing self, every second "you" are being born and dying. Nothing in the universe is permanent or enduring except change but even that ultimately is false. Now, the implications of this idea of the no-self are staggering. It is not a denial of the self but a statement that the self never ever existed but is a mental creation by us to give us a sense of meaning and continuity to aleve our fears of obvilion. What does Buddha give us instead? Oddly it is the void, emptiness or Shunya. What exactly is Shunya? Well it means different things to different schools of buddhism. For simplicity's sake I will adopt the Mahayana position, Shunya is true understanding of the world as being constant flux, it is seeing the emptiness in all, that all things have no real existence nor foundation. It is a house of cards built up a cushion of air, which at any moment will dissipate. Shunya is Nirvana, it is having the veil lifted and entering the world with correct knowledge and vision. We are our own salvation and we are our own burden. A fascinating and revolutionary response to the idea of self.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Mukunda Likes boys or is it men?

Every semester I play basketball on a intramural basketball team comprised of all students, my team not the league itself cause we all know law students and lawyers are all lazy and fat, and according to my roommate so am I, he shall remain unnamed until he returns to Guam. This semester is no different, I again have chosen a team of my own choosing, after all the other teams were decided beforehand.

The mighty captain of our team, the man known only as manimals and rarely as Girish, decided that our team name would be Mukunda Likes Boys. His plan was to put that on our t-shirts and then have each of our names on the back of the shirts. So obviously everyone else would have like their respective name: Mitch, Girish, Salem and so on but then I would have Mukunda. So basically imagine this, on the front of all our shirts it says Mukunda Likes Boys and then on the back of my shirt it says Mukunda. Well they decided that Mukunda Likes Boys might be offensive because people might think that i like little boys, but i'm not a catholic priest so thats kinda out of the question. So instead, they found a less offensiveful team name Mukunda Likes Men, which was oked by the intramural people. Yay......

Many of you might be wondering, how Mukunda Likes Boys came about given that I am a straight man. Well, cue flashback imagery and music ###### Last year, a group of us had joined the law school softball teams to play in the University of Virginia Law School Softball Tournament. So, we were all driving down to UofV. On the way down I was sitting next to Lucia, better known as Dang. Dang and I were talking and she happened to randomly mention her fingers and her hand (meaning, she asks "Do you think my hands are big" or some really pointless yet conversation stimulating question). I tell her that her hands aren't big and are small and quickly say that I have skinny fingers. Suddenly I hear both Leevin and Mike (also known as Johnny Law School, Big Ticket, Black McCoy or simply Gates) almost simultaneously reason out their thought, essentially a sylloggism. "Mukunda has skinny fingers, Mukunda has girl hands, Mukunda is a girl, Mukunda Likes Boys" That was the genius inferences made by both Leevin the Guamian and Gates the Black McCoy. I was stunned at the sheer idiocy of it but before i could utter a single word, they start to chant it on the bus then as they say the rest is history. It become their chant for anything i did. I mack on a girl suddenly out pops one of the two dudes and "Mukunda Likes Boys" is chanted. So automatically everyone who hears it assumes i'm gay, which i'm not (as if i have to even state it, its apparent when you first meet me). Its like i've regressed back to high school and the "gay guy" appeall (meaning that girls like to talk to me cause they view me as a gay guyfriend). Man, it took me years of therapy to get over it and now its back. Lovely aint it, god bless good friends.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Love thy fellow citizen?

Kaizer Family Foundation found that: "Forty-five percent would be willing to pay more in taxes or insurance premiums to help expand coverage to the uninsured. Fifty-one percent would be unwilling to do so."

We love to bring democracy to the peoples around the world because democracy is the most fundamental necessity in life, right? I guess i was just taught incorrectly that maybe health is the most fundamental necessity in life. The poll above, despite not being necessarily the view of the entire country and all its peoples, does give us insight into how American's view their own citizens and the principles we hold dear. It is truly sad that we care so much more for abstract ideals such as democracy, liberty and freedom than we do about our own brothers and sisters in this country. We have tens of millions of people without any healthcare in this country, which means that most of these people cannot get care for the most basic health needs in their lives. In 2001, 41.2 million people in this country had no medical insurance. This includes millions of children and elderly men and women. The Drug and Insurance Companies are making billions off of this.

We talk about life as if life means anything without good health. Good health shouldn't be a privelege which depends upon the economic status of individuals, it is a right, a right that is just as, actually much more, necessary than liberty or freedom. Does money really mean more to us than individual lives? How can we ever speak of being a civilized society or country when we don't care enough about our own fellow citizens? When we say that your health isn't a real worry for the government to care about, it isn't as important to us as is the war for "democracy" in Iraq. Thousands of Americans will die not from gunshots or being killed but because we didn't care enough to provide them the means to receiving the care that they needed. Love thy neighbor, indeed.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Its been a couple weeks since i've posted on this and i've received a few requests to do so, mainly girish, so this one is for you man. So basically school has been back in full effect for like 2 weeks. I had a big interview at Manhattan District Attorney's office on Jan. 14th, it was a long interview about 40 min or so. It was a panel interview, 3 people and me. Normally, I'm a pretty good interviewee and thats because i can read people pretty well and react accordingly but for so reason I had a really hard time figuring out these interviewers, I think it was because i was a bit nervous, this is like the job that I really want. I don't know how i did, I really hope i didn't mess up my interview but who knows. I was gonna stay in NYC for the night but since a lot of my friends weren't there, i decided to come back to boston and went to a house party when i got back.

So I think i've decided to take the NY Bar after graduation. On a more positive note, I just bought a 250 gigabyte external harddrive and i have most of it full of carnatic music. Its freaking amazing, i'm like a little kid in a candy store, every day is a brand spanking new experience for me because of the vast amount of quality music that i can now listen to. This past weekend I was sick due to the sudden weather changes basically from cold to nut sack turning blue cold. I just sat at home and watching 19 hour marathon of Fresh Price of Bel Air and then Spiderman 2 and then Shankarabaranam, one of the greatest movies ever. That movie captures my love of music and how music is viewed in traditional indian culture, music is divine and perfect, it is definite must see for anyone who even claims to have a love of music, which almost everyone does but sadly not many of these people know any music beyond what they hear on the radio and claim that to be good music. Yes it is fun to listen to and dance to and yes it possesses some aesthetic beauty but a lot of it is superficial. I can go on for hours about this but not right now, ask me later or in person if you want or better watch shankarabaranam with me and you'll understand.

This coming weekend a huge group of us are going up to the mountains for some ski trip but i won't be skiing or snowboarding, i'll just be relaxing and chilling, prolly bring up some music and my ps2 with some games to chill. The following weekend I think we are going to NYC, or so I'm trying to make happen, i think it would be awesome.

Friday, January 07, 2005

I can't believe I'm about to say this but I can't wait till I get back to boston, yes I know, as a brown man these words should never exit my mouth. Boston, for a being such a big city and liberal, happens to be one of the most prejudiced and racist cities I've been to. Although I must admit I have yet to transverse across the Mason-Dixon Line and for some weird reason I think there might be a bit of racism down there but its just a hunch. I've had a few racial comments hurled at me while I've been in Boston in the past 2 1/2 years, probably as many as I have had hurled at me while living in Southern California for 21 years.

Regardless, I am once again going off on a tangent, I have essentially for the past 2 1/2 years dreaded returning to boston, primarily because its not the life that I was used to. But now, its my life, i come back to Southern California and for the most part its as if I've never left. Most of my best friends are married, or engaged or in relationships that are gonna end up in marriage. They essentially live a very routine and static life, not that that is a bad thing, just not something I'm entirely ready for. I spend all day listening to music and catching up on tv and movies and I can't stand it.

The highlight of my vacation has been my dog surya, a 150 lb alaskan malamute-artic wolf hybrid. It has been raining steadily for like 2 weeks here and Surya loves it. Normally he is a very nice and gentle dog, for a 150 lb dog. Once that water falls from the sky, a evil sparkle twinkles in his eye and immediately he runs out into the rain and proceeds to jump into the biggest hole that he has dug, which at this point is filling up with water, muddy brown water. He then continues to dig until his normally white and black coat is covered in brown wet mud. Then he waits till I have to come out to pet, feed or give him water then proceeds to shake all the mud on to me and then jump on me. Picture a dog who when standing up on his hind legs is about 6'1 or 6'2 and now picture him on me. Usually we let him in the house for a few hours a day but given his current state of being muddy for the past 2 weeks, he has remained in the garage in his place. Damn you Zeus, God of the Sky and damn your rain.

I can deal with a couple of days of doing nothing but an entire 3 weeks, goddamn. Going back to Boston, is not the happy part, it is actually going back to my life, going back to a "place" in which my day and life is much more random and much more dynamic, especailly this semester, which will be our last in law school and hopefully the most memorable, or in otherwords I'll be making a lot of ass and ensuring that everyone has something to talk about. God bless alcohol and me when i'm full of it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Well its been a few weeks since i've written here but i've been a bit busy with finals and finally coming home for winter break. Home is great but it is also not. It has become more apparent to me that I can't live at home again, I can stay at home for a bit but not live there. Its my comfort zone, the place where I am secure and thereby lazy. It is the place I just simply accept and go along with rather than take any real intiative. I've been home for over a week now and honestly, its a bit boring. I don't have much to do.

The Christmas weekend was pretty interesting, I must say. The pressure of marriage and all that comes with it, is clearly growing, not for me but for all the girls who are of marriagable age, which is slowly including both my sisters. We went to three family-friend related parties this weekend and each of them devolved or snowballed into "Oh my god, what are we going to do about getting our girls married." I tend to free float between the parents and the kids, meaning I tend to hang out with each of them.

The way these parties work is that the parents take one side of the house and the kids the other. The parents further divide themselves up into all the husbands on one side and the wives on the other, it is like a grade school dance. I tend to just move about from one group to the next, so i hear all the various conversations that are going on. The kids, who of course range from 20-30 are all talking gossip or playing some card game. The fathers just pretty much sit around and talk about news or politics or the next non-personal thing that comes to their minds and the mothers all talk about marriage and how tough their kids are to deal with.

It is rather weird to see how much the cultural and religious issues affect our parents and how much more real it gets as time passes by. The more I have listened to it and thought about it, the more it becomes apparent to me that the indian mind and cultural ethos is so very different from the western ethos and mind. I spent the better part of the weekend listening and talking to the parents, not just mine but our family friends, about these things. I was trying to explain to them what it means to be an indo-american of our generation in this country and society, how tough it is for us to try and balance our two very different cultures.

Indian culture places vital importance on the wishes of the parents and this leads to us trying to live our lives in a manner to make our parents happy and live up to their expectations. Essentially, in our parent's happiness lies our own happiness. To a large part, I think I have come to understand this and even accept this, in these past few years. At the same time, we living in this country and being raised with many american and western values, become conflicted. American culture places strong ideas of independence, individuality and self-happiness. Meaning, we should do what makes us happy as an individual. Furthermore, we are informally taught that marriage begins with love and romance but in the indian culture marriage fosters love and romance. Western = love first then marriage; Indian = Marriage then love. Clearly, the dilemma for us can be seen. The weekend was spent me explaining this in much more detail to the parents. It was rather interesting and helped me to see much more clearly where I stand, which in this case is a amalgam of both cultures. I know for the most part now, that my happiness lies in my parents happiness and now that lets me have a foundation on how to proceed with the more confusing areas of my life.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Right now, my entire life is in limbo. I'm not sure where i'm gonna go or where i want to go or need to go. I'm not just referring to my career or where i will be next year, i'm talking about life in general. I'm trying to figure what the next chaper of my life needs to be. So it suffices to say i'm in some state of confusion. Man, since I started law school the confusion has gotten more and more intense and kinda hitting the ultima soon. The past few years have taken me down a path that i don't think i would have saw myself following 7 years ago. I'm not entirely sure that I like who I had become and so I'm trying to change myself.

I've lost sight of who I was raised to be, I know I have to become my own person but its not entirely that simple. Yes I do have to become my own person but the debts I owe to my parents must also be repaid. I've done things that maybe they wouldn't be so proud of and feel its about to make some changes. This weekend put some things into perspective for me. Maybe I don't know people that well, and maybe i expect too much from people, especially those close to me. In other respects, this weekend helped me to figure out somethings about myself and what i want in the long term.

I've come full circle in many respects. I'm trying to reach back to my roots and trying to find my spiritual grounding again. Its tough, given that the past few years have taken its toll on my beliefs and some ways made me a skeptic. Music has really helped me change this, i'm attempting to get past the technical aspect of it and back into the devotion and emotions of it. Writing is also my other outlet and its helped me a lot too to trace my thoughts over the past few years. Maybe i'll put some of it up here but we'll see.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

This weekend i was in New York City, the Big Apple, still for the life of me don't know why its called that. It was a good weekend, my sister came up to NYC to visit her friends and so i decided to go hang out with her, that was lets say a fun and even more frustrating experience but live and learn. I also met up with some other people and I had a really good time there.

It just dawned on me recently, that i'm at a crossroads in my life. My law school experience is drawing to a close in May and then i have to enter into the real world, whatever that is, i guess the life i've been living now is fake and imaginary. I'm not entirely sure where i'm going to be or what i'll be doing, right now i'm trying to figure out between nyc, dc, la or sf.

NYC seems like the most fun and best overall experience, DC is the heart of this country and that would be interesting but i don't know that many people over there and not sure if i wanna start off from scratch again, LA is too close to home right now and i need a few more years before I head there and settle, SF seems like a great place its not too far from home and yet its far enough and a big city. So i'm not sure what I want or need to be.

A really sad event transpired yesterday. On December 11, 2004 the world and especially Carnatic Music World lost a great person, M.S. Subbhalakshmi, one of the greatest musicians of our or any time. She was the first female to break down all the gender and caste barriers in Carnatic Classical Music. Her voice is famous all over the world to all Hindus, hers is the voice of the suprabatham in the morning. Temples all over india play her music in the morning to awaken the deities and usher in the new sunrise. She was an humanatarian who has donated millions of dollars to charities through her concerts. The love and devotion in her voice could bring any person to their knees in tears, music was just music for her, it was her very life breath, her soul and her soul touched all those who have heard her.

I remember her voice as a young kid, she was the first voice i heard almost every morning as my parents played her songs after they took a shower and begun to pray. She taught me the vishnu sahasaranamam and shankaraacharya's bhaja govindam and she revived my love for music in the song ranga puravihara. The bhava (emotion) and bhakti (devotion) in her live and voice will never be matched. Her soul now has merged into the Universal Being and found the bliss that she has sung so often about.
Sunday, November 28, 2004

Marriage!!!! Wow, it is such a daunting thing. I just came back home for the thanksgiving day week for one of my closest friend's wedding. I met Nitin in college, in my senior year, to be honest, he was just another pretty boy to me, well it happened to be the third time i was wrong about a person. The other two times also lead to my two other best friends Mike and Simms. Eh, what can I say, I'm allowed a few mistakes in my life and that includes that one time at band camp....

Well, to make a long story short I only made a few close friends in college and Nitin is one of them. Oddly, he is also a day younger than me but thats neither here nor there. He has been basically dating his fiance/wife for about 5 years, crazy, the only commitment i've made for that long is college and even that involved me transferring. It is rather awkward for me because he is my age and he is already set in life. I mean, he has a job, which he will stay with for most of his life, he knows what his life will be like in the next 5 years and now he is solidifying all that with marrying his fiance. I have no idea what I will be doing 6 months from now let alone 5 years. Its funny how life works out, about 2 1/2 years ago as we were all finishing college, i had life figured out and had some idea of where i was going but now, not so much. C'est la vie....

Monday, November 22, 2004

There is an age old philosophical or more specifically metaphysical debate about the nature of reality. There are two main positions which are debated, the school of monism and the school of dualism. Monism, best understood in the West by Immanueal Kant and in the East in Shankaraacharya, posits that the universe, individuals and God are One, no differentiation between them in the ultimate view. There is no world, no individual soul but there only is Being or Brahman, pure and undifferentiated. Dualism, on the other hand is best understood in teh west by many of the theological philosophers but more so in Rene Descartes and in the East in Madhvaacharya. Dualism holds that the world, individuals and God are ultimately distinct entities, they cannot be the same because the difference is due to their very essences.

The implications of both of these theories leads to very different world views. For the Monist, all things are ultimately the same and the world we see before us isn't the ultimate nor is it even representing the actual state of things, in fact it is not even truly real. The realm of ordinary experience is seen as only useful in some base sense since it is based on the "illusory" world. In some respects the world before us is negated and our very existence as individuals is deemed false.

Dualism does the opposite. The world is seen as distinct from individuals and God, so distinct that it cannot seen as equal to the individual, just as the individual is seen as in a inferior position to God. God is seen as ultimately unrelatable to the individual and sooo beyond the individual that the individual has no hope of understanding God. The world and the experiences in the world are held to be paramount because they are real.

Our experiences in this world show that both view points have some truth to them. We clearly experience distinction between ourselves and everything around us but at the same level we have experiences that things around us are some how connected to us. But the exact relationship we share with the world is very difficult to describe in words. Same goes for the Divine. The Divine has been experience throughout human history ane experience in soo many different ways, that it is almost impossible to discern what is the exact position of the Divine and its relationship to everything. Just something to think about.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

If math is the ultimate and universal language then music is the universal form of expression. Music has the ability to uplift and liberate the most downtrodden mind and soul to heights of esctacy and joy. In the same vein it has the power to drag the soul to the depths of depression and pain. Music is pure and perfect, nothing can compare to it and nothing can detract from it. It is our connection to something deeper and greater than us, the Divine, and it is also our connection to the baser parts of ourselves, our emotions.

The Power of Music is beyond comprehension, it allows us to tap into that part of ourselves that is untouched and hidden in the inner reaches of our soul. The musician who is enthralled and possessed by music, draws those expressions out of themselves and conveys them to the listener and the listener sharing in that state of musical esctacy feels the beauty and power of the music in a way so inarticuble that it brings tears to the eyes. The music connects all those who truly participate in it with the Divine. Music is a spiritual endeavor and it is the medium in which the soul expresses itself. The mind expresses itself through thought and speech but the soul expresses itself through music. Music is creativity unbound. The musicians of yore, used music to express their relationship with the Divine and to communicate with the Divine, who responded through that same music.

The 17th century composer Thyagaraja, wrote "what good is music and musical knowledge without devotion" and I think that holds true even today. Does music connect you to the universal? Does it fill you and touch you in a way that is beyond explanation? Does it cause your eyes to well up with tears for no explainable reason except the pure beauty and grandeur of it? Does its power overwhelm you? If it does all that, then you have experience but a portion of the essence of Music, a limitless and infinite well.

First and foremost, gotta give it up to my buddy Malik-G aka Geeta Malik aka the Basher (she is a violent girl and has injured many of men in her time, plus she is trained in like karate), check this out Aunty G's its her first short film and pretty funny. Rock on, Malik and remember I'm still your go to hero and villian. :)

Have you ever wondered why you turned out the way you have? I have and i'm rather confused. People think i'm complex for some reason, but I'm not so sure. I mean the fact i was dropped on my head a lot as a child explains a lot of things about me, for example my frequent and rampant assmaking (i once asked out a girl at a bar, on a bet, by saying "yo gimme your number") . I was raised in a somewhat orthodox yet liberal Hindu family, its a bit of an oxymoron and a contradiction but thats my family from the outside perspective but i think we are really openminded even though we sometimes afflilate ourselves with orthodoxy. My dad and mom raised me with strong religious and moral values and i think to a large part i still hold those values albeit in a more skeptical manner.

My childhood friends are not the friends people would think i had and have. Most of them have been to jail and prison for various crimes and honestly i think most of society would condemn them and say that they are a blight on society but nothing could be farther from the truth. These are guys that have been raised by a single mother who gave them everything that she could, they were good kids but got caught up in something beyond them and paid the price. that being said, these guys are the guys i would call my brothers and infact my parents have essential treated them like they do myself. We've been through a lot together and i wouldn't want anyone else in my life or at my side.

Here is the weird part, my parents, the people who have never cussed in their lives, when I say "what the hell", my father gets mad at me and says "Don't say hell, say what the heaven". I'm not allowed to say idiot to my sister when i'm home, but if you know my respect for rules u'd know that rule is never followed . My parents have totally accepted my friends even after they went to jail and all, and have never pronounced judgment on them. Not very many people would do that. See, my parents are geniunely good people, wait great people, prolly few of the best in the world, and i would say that to anyone and I have examples from their lives to back it up, not just in regards to their kids but to people in the world they've helped.

See here is the part that confuses me, they are such great people yet they have a son like me. My only redeeming qualities i clearly get from my parents but the rest its all me. I mean, i'm a jackass, they are sweet and caring, i'm much more judgmental than they are. They are genuinely good people and I'm not, i've been an ass to people which i know my parents have never been. If you got insight into this, let me know.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The past few weeks have been a bit hectic, just a lot of school and law stuff going on and been draining me, suffices to say not a fun time. I have spent the past day "studying" for the MPRE, the professional responsibility test for lawyers, aka the one thing we will never use or had, ethics. Lawyers as attested to by millions of people are the scum sucking monsters of the world, we have no ethics or morals, and for the most part, they are right. So a group of like 6 of us went to Waltham, the greatest city in the world, ok fine its not a city more of a village and fine not even great, more of blah but whatever.

So myself, girish, amudha, robin, sejal and sean basically waited from 11 am to 2 pm in a ridiculously long line cause the peopel who administered this test were dropped on their heads as children and are morons and incompetent. When we were sitting at the testing center, we saw this cute girl, or so i was told. We being the 5th graders that we are decide that we are bored so lets have some fun. Girish, Robin, Amudha and I decide that I will try and get her number, why me, because i'm the only single dude in the group. First we talked about my normal ass making line, "yo gimme your number", and no thats never really worked and never expect it to. So we spent another few minutes going over my various tactics, basically me trying to come up ridiculous lines just for comedic effect. Then Robin and Girish came upon an epiphany, what if we write her a "love" note. So we did just that, Girish wrote a note that goes like this:
"Hi, i am writing this note on behalf of my friend in the grey sweater (Me). He thinks you are really pretty and wants to know if you are interested? please check one of the following.
_ Yes
_ No
_ I'm thinking about it"

Girish also proceeded to put my email on that note. Amudha hads her the letter and points to me and says its from him. So i'm giggling like a lil school girl, cause i can just imagine her face upon getting this note. We were all trying to not to laugh. She responds and says thanks but i'm engaged. We all bust out laughing, not because of the response but because we are all jackasses and while everyone else in the room is stressed about the test, we are writing love notes to girls like we were in the 5th grade and scared to talk to women. Whats the point of this story? Well first is that I'm still a 5th grader and second is that I'm the king of all jackasses and assmakers.