Thursday, April 30, 2009

Free books for reviewing

Check out this link for more information.


Some quotes to share:

Pride, like laudanum and other poisonous medicines, is beneficial in small, though injurious in large quantities. No man who is not pleased with himself, even in a personal sense, can please others - Frederick Saunders

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society -J. Krishnamurti

Our heads are round so that thoughts can change direction. -Francis Picabia, painter and poet (1879-1953)

The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. -Marcel Proust, novelist (1871-1922)

Monday, April 27, 2009

History Calling

I found this piece of news in New Indian Express interesting.

Velachery was a flourishing Vedic town

The 1,000-year-old inscriptions that were found during renovation work at Sri Yoga Narasimhar Temple in Velachery.

Just discovered inscriptions reveal that Velachery was a flourishing little town even a millennium ago and that it was a Brahmin settlement who specialized in Vedic education.

The 1,000-year-old inscriptions that offer a glimpse of the distant past were stumbled upon by temple officials while undertaking renovation work at Sri Yoga Narasimhar Temple in Velachery here a few days ago.

Officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are studying the inscriptions. Epigraphist, ASI, Dr S Rajavelu said the inscription revealed that the area was a Jina Chintamani chaturvedimangalam circa the 8th Century AD.

It was clear that the Brahmins who specialized in Vedic education lived here. The temple enjoyed the patronisation of Chola Kings Rajaraja I and Rajendra I. The area was referred as ‘’Velichcheri,’’ meaning an outskirt, in the inscriptions.

Interestingly, the adjacent locality of Taramani was a hamlet where agriculture was the main stay. Also, the new find corroborates the earlier evidence found in the Shiva and Chelliamman Temples in the same neighbourhood of Velachery.

A temple dedicated to Yoga Narasimha of the Pallava period is significant as there is no similar temple of the same period in the vicinity of Chennai city. Though Yoga Narasimha is represented in sculptures in a few temples, it is not the presiding deity anywhere except at the Velachery temple.

‘We are still studying the inscriptions as it is fragmented. More interesting facets of the ancient days could come out,’ Rajavelu said.

Former Director of Geological Survey of India, Dr. Badrinarayanan and Marine Archaeologist, Dr.Sasi Sekaran of National Institute of Ocean Technology who formed part of the experts team studying the inscriptions reiterated the views of the ASI official. The temple pillars were dismantled in an unprofessional manner leading to possible loss of archaeological evidence. Without realizing the importance of the old structures, paintings had been done in the past obscuring the archaeological value. ‘This should be avoided and temple officials must be sensitised on the issue.’

I live on the same road on which this hoary temple is located.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

World Book Day

Today is World Book Day.

Few quotes on books and reading

Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to
mankind, which are delivered down from generation to
generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn,
~ Joseph Addison ~

Resolve to edge in a little reading every day,
if it is but a single sentence.
If you gain fifteen minutes a day,
it will make itself felt at the end of the year.
~ Horace Mann ~

To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself
a refuge from almost all of the miseries of life.
~ W. Somerset Maugham ~

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry.
~ Emily Dickinson ~

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Religion Versus Superstition

"The difference between superstitions and religion is not only the difference between meaning and randomness, and between faith and anxiety, but also the difference between belief in a personal, benevolent God and fear of a pitiless Mother Nature, waiting to be appeased -- or exploited -- by mumbo jumbo. "Superstition" by definition "stands beyond" us, whereas religion is part of the human experience and interacts with it.

Superstition offers the illusion of control by manipulating nature or revealing her occult intent. If the spells are recited properly, all should be well. It's a big "if," however. Religion gives the promise, rather than the illusion, of hope. God does not always respond as we would like; loved ones die, livelihoods are lost. Mystery is deepened and hopefully, with faith, leads to peace rather than disillusionment. Accidental similarities between religion and magic should not lead anyone to confuse the difference in their content."

For the full article google Is One Man's Faith Another's Superstition ? an article by David Gibson in WSJ.

Munnar trip Pics

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Time off

I am off to Munnar (hill station in Kerala) tonight with my wife and son and will be back in Chennai April 14th. Hope to recharge our jaded batteries in God's Own Country.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Pratap Bhanu Mehta in The Indian Express:

“Secularism, like communalism, is no longer a first principles debate; it is a pretext for forcing issues where none exist. The only two interpretations of secularism that are current in India are deeply warped: secularism as erasure of identity, or secularism as communal parity. Neither interpretation has room for the core meaning: secularism is about the freedom of individuals to make of themselves what they will; it is about making “identity” irrelevant to politics, not about its enforced erasure.”

I feel the author has perfectly hit the nail on the head.