Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tribute to my dad

The river was hurtling down the acutely descending slope. She was vibrant and alive as she cascaded joyfully. She had a sense of abandon and seemed unperturbed by what the variegated terrain held in store for her. The rapids smashed into a boulder and instantaneously, there was a shower of million little droplets that endeavoured to reach the inviting skies. In the process they scattered the light into it's spectral constituents lending a surreality to her existence. The very next moment she seemed to assimilate again resuming the unending journey as if nothing happened. She breathed life into the banks that showered their gratitude by breaking into a riot of violet and yellow blooms. Further on as she negotiated a bend, she appeared agitated forming eddy currents swirling into a whirlpool with a force that could destroy. This momentary self indulgence soon mutated to a schizophrenic serenity as she calmed down on more even ground. The Self effacing serenity reflected the clear blue skies with high fidelity. The onward movement continued but with a subtlety that mimicked stillness. She could never be still. Stillness in dynamism was her existential philosophy. She was a picture of "joie de vivre" in myriad forms sprouting and sustaining a plethora of life forms. Her life was moving on, imparting a velocity to all that crossed her path. The exuberance was infectious , the velocity making her buoyant and on occasions demonstrating scant regard to any force pulling her downwards. She definitely knew where she finally was headed but made no fuss about minor detours mandated by the unyielding geography. The occasional hurrying was not to reach the destination but rather a sense of urgency to live the moment to it's fullest. The opposing banks at times conspired to get close enough to snuff the life out of her . But after squeezing herself into obscurity she reappeared unfazed as a rivulet with an air of indomitability to resume her relentless journey. The banks could only momentarily obstruct the form but never the ideology of moving on. She appeared formidable and deep in certain stretches where it seemed impossible to know how deep the waters flowed. Here, she seemed to be very introspective and thoughtful, casually unflinching. In shallower stretches, the waters appeared turbid retaining an earthiness about herself . This turbidity became a sediment after a while and she again regained her pristine form about which she never ever had a doubt . As the journey continued, she seemed to be getting larger and more assertive of her presence. The terrain was more level and less undulating. This part saw her develop so much character to be able to absorb all the effluent and impurities that her subjects emptied into her. She was being used by so many rather indiscriminately but she never showed any dissent. Instead, she swallowed all the effulgent ingratitude stoically whilst never for a moment forgetting her inherent nature of moving on. She could not do otherwise. She was programmed to dilute all the toxic additions to her and yet retain the angelic ability to sprout and sustain life. She now seemed to slow down one last time and looked a bit fatigued as she navigated the deposits of sand in the delta. She effaced herself gradually as she merged into the ocean. Her form became imperceptible but she could still be flowing silently, formlessly as a current, true to her nature.
Such was my father,an eternal energy that could at best only mutate it's manifestation and be indiscernible to the uninitiated.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The complete seeking the complete

Science  has relentlessly  diversified into various established and emerging modalities to seek answers for the   hows  whats  whens  and wheres of this phenomenal  creation.These questions are yielding answers, which keep  evolving and  refining  as do our investigative tools  The answers paradoxically seem to generate further questions and the plot keeps  thickening. Scientific researchand technological progress amplify  the range of our sensory perception  to investigate the  realm of the micro, and  also  open a window  into the vast universe. These advances give the  impression  of getting tantalisingly close to the truth . 
This euphoria is aborted by realising that what seemed like the ultimate answer is actually a new set of questions.  " Fractals" discovered by Mandelbrot, are similar patterns repeating themselves at higher orders of dimension. If you magnify a fine area of fractal structure, you get increased information in proportion to the new scale. Thus, the world not only looks different to the observers at different scales, it also measures differently. In every day language, this  means that the deeper your understanding of a complex picture, the more meaningful nuances you can notice in it.
Science  has sharpened  the tools of reductionism and permitted  deeper access  into the microcosm. It is hyper fractioning the tangible  to the  point of intangibility.
The  monochromatic  reductionist approach  of scientific enquiry  may  eventually  have  to  metamorphose into a spectrum  to  throw light on the  "why " of this phenomenal creation.The  ultimate solution and understanding of the "what and how"    make the "why "more pertinent and inevitable. The anthropic principle suggests that  intelligent consciousness  which could comprehend the universe was the objective of creation. Quantum physics underlined the importance of the observer to validate the observed. It has to widen it's scope to  authenticate  the observer in this game of hide and seek where any phenomenon  ceases to exist in the absence of the observer. A  strictly epistemological approach may  explain the modus operandi of creation but it will fall despicably short  of  providing a rationale for creation. The "why" coerces scientific endeavour to introspect and  realise the worthlessness of it's fangs  of enquiry if the venom of how, what where and  when is replaced by a hypnotic potion  of why.  
Science is too egoistic to question it's own existence. It is too preoccupied in preening it's feathers and marvelling at their  splendour. It has the arrogance of " my way or the highway". The conceit of tangibility blinds scientific thought ; a veritable train of intelligence chugging along  on the track of logic  blissfully unaware why it began the journey in the very first place.
Often times, rationalist reductionism gives  the illusion of uncovering the truth. But this truth is relative to  the system attempting to uncover it. The absolute truth includes the seeker. This  unbroken wholeness in which, and through which we exist was brillantly captured by Gödel in the proof of his celebrated Theorem: it is possible to make true statements within a particular system that cannot be proved by use of the elements and logic of that system. This is simply because the system under consideration is organically interconnected with some larger system, which by itself is dissolved into another greater than it, and so on.. The part can never understand the whole.The search for the elusive Higgs Boson is in effect the search for what gives  matter its tangibility and this   is perceived by the intangible consciousness.  As  the adage goes, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, tangibility may  lie in perception and not be  an  apriori  measurable attribute of the perceived.
Chaos and Complexity entirely deniy the idea of analyzability of the world into separated parts. Parts simply do not exist.the Whole consists of Wholes. 
purnamadah purnamidam 'That is complete, this is complete'.
purnat purna mudachyate - 'From that completeness comes this completeness' 
purnasya purnamadaya - If we take away this completeness from that completeness'
purnameva vashishyate: 'Only completeness remains.'
This is a quote from  Upanishads.

  The  ultimate truth may  be  a state  of oneness (Advaita - Nonduality) , an assimilative   philosophy that realises the wholeness  of  the part    while  scientific enquiry will persist with reductionism  of the whole into  smaller wholes.

Dr Deepak M. Ranade

(The author a Consultant Neurosurgeon, is the co-organiser of the first national conference on Non-duality held by  World Peace Center, Alandi, MAEER'S  ,MIT  Pune on the 30th and 31 Jan 2012.) Details on

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The sine wave of human life

\“What goes up must come down and what goes down must come up.”This is a philosophical truth, that doubles up as a mnemonic aid to memorise the sine curve. The sine wave or sinusoid is a mathematical function that describes a smooth repetitive oscillation. It is a universal wave function that is applicable in pure mathematics,physics,signal processing and many other fields. The sine wave typically has a positive excursion followed by a reversal and negative excursion on the yaxis when time is plotted on the x axis. It very effectively defines the movement of a particle on a circular path when seen from the centre of the circle.
Waves can be viewed as a disturbance in the medium around an equilibrium state, which is generally at rest. The energy of this disturbance is what causes the wave motion. A pool of water is at equilibrium when there are no waves, but as soon as a stone is thrown in it, the equilibrium of the particles is disturbed and the wave motion begins. Personal consciousness (mind body organism) or manifest form could well be a mere disturbance in the impersonal consciousness ( unmanifest )
Schrodinger's equation demonstrates all of the wave like properties of matter and was one of greatest achievements of 20th century science. It is used in physics and most of chemistry to deal with problems about the atomic structure of matter. It is an extremely powerful mathematical tool that rebuilds the basis of wave mechanics.

The human form is consciousness that walks this planet over the period of his/her life span. It is the union of the intangible ‘consciousness’ with the tangible ‘form’. This consciousness generates an identity for the form and of the form.
If the (0,0) co-ordinates of a x-y axis were the starting point of this life form, and a graph were to be plotted , with identity on the y axis and time on the x-axis, it would make a fascinating sine curve. The value for this identity that is generated with relation to the outer world, a relative identity, (objective identity) is given a positive value, and the identity that is generated  from within, or a subjective identity is given a negative value.
The first half of the upper half of the wave represents the gradual development of the identity of this form. Brahmacharyashram. It is in the positive deflection as it is in relation to the outer world. A clear cut demarcation of the self crystallises along with the trappings of insecurity, self-indulgence and selfishness. All these attributes are necessary for the self-preservation of the ‘form’. At this stage, the identity of the form is critical to ensure its survival, for, without this positive identity, the form would hardly be able to ensure its own survival. This self-importance of the ‘form’peaks to the point of a compulsion to replicate itself. . This ensures transmission of the blueprint and also the handing over of the baton of this identity to the next runner. To ensure the survival of this nascent form, the restrictive identification of the self itself decreases.

The downward trend indicates a shift toward self-effacement. However, this ‘self-effacement’ is contextual to ensuring the survival of the progeny. Grahasthashram.The selfless love of the parent is actually a modified nurturing for part of the self. But it does effect in shifting the focus of identity from the ‘self’ to beyond.
As this line intersects the x axis, it modulates the awareness this identity of the self yet again. It unleashes a sense of worthlessness in this contextual frame of relevance once the needs of the offspring and family have been settled. It marks the beginning of an inward journey that looks for a meaning within. Hence, it marks a negative deflection on the y axis of identity. Vanaprasthashram.
The first half of the downward wave shows a gradual tendency to being disillusioned with the relative identity. The identity looks for ‘self-actualisation’, the apex of Maslow’s motivational pyramid. The last upward surge of this curve represents a quest for an absolute identity- or, in other words, a search for the absolute. Sanyasashram. The absolute dispenses the outer and fixates on the inner. It does not require any extrinsic cognizing entity to be aware of itself. Cognizance, after all, is required for the sense of an identity
Its final intersection and merger with the x axis represents the stripping of all the identities and a realisation that all that remains is merely a sense of ‘amness’; the same ‘amness’ that life began with as a new-born.
The ‘peeling off’ of all the acquired identities after the outward former journey and the inner latter journey marks the end of all the excursions of identity. The end of the form as well as its identity is in reality, a merger with the infinite formless from where the form undertook this kaleidoscopic journey of assumed, imaginary identities.