Sachi R

Obiter dicta on music, men and matters

Does archive.org player work here?

Posted by rsachi on March 12, 2013

Here is a try:

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Hello world!

Posted by rsachi on April 21, 2010

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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The incomparable Scott Adams and Dilbert

Posted by rsachi on April 16, 2010

If you don’t yet get your daily dose of Dilbert by mail, you’re missing the best humour around for guys like us!
Subscribe here. And enjoy this strip!

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Varadadasa- M.D. Ramanathan, the composer

Posted by rsachi on April 11, 2010

There is a very informative website about this unique musician and composer.
There is a lovely concert of his posted here

There is a wonderful composition of MDR sung by KVN, in lovely Kedaram, with lilting words and a scintillating chitteswara.      Enjoy it here!

Posted in MDR KVN THyagaraja gurum ashraye Kedaram chitteswara | Leave a Comment »

2020 Nobel Peace Prize

Posted by rsachi on April 10, 2010

Nero- Modi’s inspiration

Today, 1 April 2020, is a momentous day in the 10,000 year history of India. Bharat Ratna Modi has been conferred the Nobel Peace Prize. What!? Are you surprised? That means you have been sleeping for ten long years, my friend.

Just after completing 12 auspicious years of IPL cricket, Modi was conferred the Gold Pass Bharat Ratna early this year. This is a new category created since his accomplishments go far beyond what anyone else in India has ever achieved. I will, in the interest of time and space, list just three.

  1. Single-handedly, Modi has abolished all class, caste, language, age, religion, state, slum-condo, male-female, educated-illiterate, urban-rural differences, India is one large happy nation of 1.5 billion people, and all are rich.
  2. How rich? There are twenty IPL teams, and they play four seasons called Pongal, Baishakhi, Bhai Duj and Diwali, each lasting 90 days, with one day gap in-between. Each Indian, coded with Nilakeni’s UID, has a choice of any number 1-20, and he will be a stake holder in one of the 20 teams. The annual income of IPL has swelled to 3 trillion rupees and if you do the math, you will find that per capita income is 2000 rupees which when converted at the current exchange rate of 1 Rupee= 100 US Dollars, equals 200,000 dollars.
  3. The entire world has adopted India as an economic miracle model and IPL has replaced almost all medieaval activities like IT and Bio Tech as the top career and economic occupation. Poor countries like USA are used to outsource all such activities. All food and clothing is imported from China.

The two major universities, Indobash University of Australia, and Chung Hua University of PRC, each run 1000 higher institutes of learning in India. People no longer aspire to go to ITI, IIT, NIIT, IIM, AIIMS, ISB etc. The in-thing is an IPL course in one of these 2000 universities.

India has also ushered in free, universal education. All education is cleverly delivered through tele-text, multiplexed through the year-long broadcast lasting 9 hours every day. All can study while they watch the Cameron Immersive 4D Experience broadcast of IPL. They just need to flick the tele-text button and rich educational media content is piped in, in little chewy nuggets calle Chyawanprash Gold IPL modules.

The greatest accomplishment of Modi is that he has brought together all the temples and Swami Sri  Anand Babas of the country into one maelstrom of religious tolerance and cooperation. For example, the Tirupati temple has sponsored the diamond Srivatsa toss coin. The coin itself is tossed by one Swami Sri Anand Baba.

The science and technology missions have also advanced. The Space and Nuclear Mission teams under an able statesman-scientist have developed the Mareech IPL ball and the Vajra IPL bat. The ball uses fusion propulsion and AI sensors along with 4D HD cameras. It can be navigated by thought chips implanted in the bowler’s brain. And it faces the might of the nanotechnology Vajra bat which has microtransducers that can hit the ball to near-escape velocity.

IPL matches are not cheap to attend. Tickets are sold out 4 years in advance and cost over 10,000 Rupees each. So people prefer the 4D Immersive Imax mini television shaped like a planetarium dome and installed in each drawing room. It is truly realistic.

The players have shooting star careers, but they last only a few matches. The self-worth damage, bruises and bleeds in a match are enough to send even a Tendulkar retired hurt. No problem. The FRM Academy conducts fantastic rehab medicine clinics all over the country for the stars to recover. There they are entertained by classical musicians and dancers as that type of art has been proved to be soporific and healing.

Bollywood is long gone. Willow-wood Academy of Apsara Arts trains female dancers and male commentators to present entertainment and theatre during every match. Admission is strictly on recommendation and influence.

I can hear you ask, “what about the Peace Prize?” I almost forgot to mention that Prof. Lal unearthed an unpublished manuscript of Mahatma Gandhi written in London in 1886. There Gandhi proves that Mahabharata war was simply an allegory for cricket. There were teams, captains, field placements, and inspired clashes. There was a commentator, and also a teleaudience. TRP ratings were quite good and the whole world participated. Given this robust boost of faith to IPL, all wars have ended. Iraq’s differences with the rest of the world, Pakstan-India skirmishes, America’s engagements in Afghanistan, all have ended peacefully. Today wars are over. People engage in IPL so all passions are dissipated on the cricket field. Hence Obama himself was instrumental in Modi’s getting the Nobel.

Footnote: Today’s Hindu carried a letter to the editor. One disgruntled old man writes that Modi is like Nero, who laughed when gladiators died in the arena, just as Modi laughs all the way to the bank after modern-day players are killed in IPL. The man also complains that India’s religion of cricket is a waste of time and we should go back to medieaval times when people played on play-grounds and read books. I think this country will never get rid of these ancient prejudices.

Posted in IPL 2020 T20 Modi Nero Gandhi Obama Nobel Bharat Ratna Bollywood Tendulkar cricket Bollywood Willow Iraq America Dollar IT Biotech nanotechnology fusion propulsion | Leave a Comment »

Devotion to Rama

Posted by rsachi on April 4, 2010

Those fortunate to listen to KVN’s concert  in the wonderful Parvathi blog would hear a lovely shloka sung by KVN with some great violin accompaniment of T.N. Krishnan (Ragas Shahana, Varali, Natakurinji, Ahiri, Sindhubhairavi). This shloka, I must confess, is new to me. After I heard the music, I searched and discovered that this is the staple of many singers today. I delved into its meaning, and this is my take on it.

jAnAti rAma tava nAma-ruchiM maheshaH
jAnAti gautamasatI tvat-charaNa-prabhAvam        |
jAnAti dorbala-parAkramaM Isha-cApaH
jAnAtyamOGa-paTu-bANa-gatiM payOdhiH            ||

“Oh Rama, Shiva knows the sweetness of your name. Ahalya, the wife of sage Gautama, knows the resurrective power of your feet’s touch. The divine bow (it could well be Shiva’s bow or also Vishnu’s bow- Parashurama gave it to Rama) knows the valour of your powerful arms. And the ocean well knows the infallible power of your sharp and forceful arrow”.

It is an interesting prayer. Shiva chants Rama’s name, and extols it as equal to the entire Vishnusahasranama according to tradition. Although Valmiki Ramayana mentions no special relationship between Rama and Shiva, ever since Tulsidasa dedicated his magnum opus to Shiva’s inspiration, Hindus believe in the mutual worshipful attitude between Rama and Shiva- as deified in Rameshwaram.

But what’s in a name?

Bhagavadgita says that the ultimate yagna is Japa or chanting. There is a story about Kabir. Once Kabir was away on travel, and a devotee approached his son Kamal. He asked Kamal, in the absence of Kabir himself, for some spiritual instruction. Kamal told him, “all it takes is for you to chant Ram! Ram!”.  
On his return, Kabir asked Kamal if there had been any visitors. Kamal told of this devotee and his advice to chant Ram Ram. Kabir was incensed. He said, “Kamal, I am disappointed in you. You asked him to chant Ram! Ram!? Why twice? Does it mean you don’t believe in its power if it is chanted once? Isn’t once enough?”

A tremendous story. And then we have this song of Purandaradasa, reproaching Rama in a nindaastuti.. “Oh lord, why bother supplicating to you and dealing with your teasing and taunt? The power of taking your name alone is enough!”

What is this chant power?

To my yet unwise mind, it means an act of surrendering your wants, thoughts and this continuous bargaining with God. Just chant and be happy! Shiva, the sage and intellect, knows ultimately the power of chanting in surrender.

Then comes the fallen woman Ahalya. She cringes in stone until her resurrection. No sinner needs to lose hope. God always comes sooner or later. That again calls for patient surrender.

To me the divine bow is an allegory of our ego and sense of power. All that is broken in God’s hands. So better bend in prayer than be broken! Again surrender.

Rama’s arrow is infallible. It can vanquish even the ocean of troubles we face… all in our sense of I and mine. That is the ocean of world’ly troubles.

The story is all about surrender. Take God’s name, and surrender. Or surrender to existence, and don’t push the river.

Posted in Rama Shiva surrender chant prayer Ramayana Valmiki KVN Parvathi blog concert shloka Purandaradasa Tulsidas Kabir Kamal Ram | Leave a Comment »

The invention of lying

Posted by rsachi on April 1, 2010

I saw this movie on the plane recently. I think it is telling. It is written and directed by Richard Gervais, the English comedy actor. The Invention of Lying ( paraphrasing Wikipedia) is set in an alternate reality in which no one has ever lied and where people speak their minds, blurting out very blunt remarks and opinions that people in the real world would normally keep to themselves. The concepts of fiction, imagination, and speculation do not exist which results in the movie industry being limited to documentary-style historical readings, with television commercials being straightforward, and an absence of religion. In a hilarious parody, the movie features an ad for Coke. Coca-Cola’s advertising slogan is “Please continue buying Coke–it’s very famous” ! and then there is one for Pepsi too..”Pepsi–when they don’t have Coke.”

The protagonist Mark  is a proverbial loser, with neither looks, charm, nor talent as a movie script writer, and cannot impress his reluctant date. Here is the Youtube video from the movie:

 He begins to lie when his bank teller (remember there”s no lying there) says the computer is down and how much balance does he have.. and Mark makes up $800 when he has about $300 in the account. Thus begins a wild ride for him as he starts turning his life around by simply lying… and finally he makes up, to cheer up his dying mother,  a lie about  “The Man in the Sky” who can give you boons and alter your future… Soon he is hailed as a messiah by the town.. an oracle who can interpret for you the man in the sky!

I have been thinking about how our concept of an all loving, all giving personal God is constantly challenged by our real life experiences, and how we find, except our own childhood beliefs of religion, all concepts of God according to “other” religions pure poppycock.

So what can I believe in? I quote Osho, from his talks, “The Discipline of Transcendence” :
It will be easy if you understand Lao Tzu’s concept of tao, or if you understand the vedic concept of rita. There must be something like a law which holds everything together. The changing seasons, the moving stars… the whole universe goes on so smoothly; it must have a certain law.

The difference has to be understood. Jews, Christians, Mohammedans, Hindus, call that law ‘god’; they personify it. Buddha is not ready to do it. He says to personify god is to destroy the whole beauty of it, because that is anthropomorphic, anthropocentric attitude. Man thinks as if god is just like man — magnified, quantitatively millions of times bigger,but still, like man.

God is not a person. You cannot annoy him and you cannot buttress him, you cannot flatter him. You cannot persuade him to your own way. Whether you believe in him or not, that doesn’t matter. A law exists beyond your belief. If you follow it, you are happy. If you don’t follow it, you become unhappy. Look at the austere beauty of the concept of law. Then the whole question is of a discipline, not of prayer. Understand the law and be in harmony with it, don’t be in a conflict with it, that’s all. No need for a temple, no need for a mosque, no need to pray.

If you obey, you live in heaven. If you disobey, you live in hell. Hell is a state of your own mind when you are antagonistic to the law, and heaven is also a state of your own mind when you are in harmony.

Coming back to lying, Osho again says elsewhere something VERY significant. “Satyameva Jayate”. This expression is on Indian currency notes and is India’s official motto. But in the real world falsehood seems to be winning! How do you reconcile this? Osho says, in the real world, people are cunning. They wait to see who wins, and  interpret “Satya” only after seeing who wins…in other words, the winner is always right! That is the misery of our world. No wonder we invented lying!!!!!!

Posted in Satyameva jayate osho Buddha invention of lying Richard gervais the law harmony God prayer | 1 Comment »

Rama Setu and Pokhran Blast

Posted by rsachi on March 18, 2010

How did Rama cross over to Lanka to fight Ravana? Ramayana says the monkeys built a bridge. DMK politicians say that the entire story is imaginary. I quote from rediff.com:

Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Saturday cautioned the Centre against paying heed to “religious fundamentalist forces” on the Ram Sethu issue. The Centre should not bow to such pressure and give up the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, Karunanidhi said in Yercadu on Saturday.
Quoting former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, he said Ramayana was a story based on the fight between Aryan and Dravidian races.
“Lord Ram is an imaginary character and Ram Sethu is not a man-made bridge. The Centre should not do anything to disturb the Sethusamudram project,” he said.

And then there are folks who download a NASA satellite picture and worship it as proof of the Rama Setu.

I was discussing Ramayana recently with my family. Someone said Hanuman carried Rama and Lakshmana on his shoulders across to Lanka. I felt this couldn’t be, as Rama would have liked to motivate the army by leading from the front and walk it. Would it not be otherwise ironical that the monkeys went to great trouble to build a bridge and Rama did not walk on it?. I remembered my childhood reading also that he had walked. Anyway I went online and searched the original Ramayana of Valmiki. Great reading!

First Rama prays to the Ocean to open up and give way. When his prayers are not answered, he takes up his bow and threatens the Ocean, fiercely. This is so well captured in Ravi Varma’s painting in the picture above.
And what follows is very interesting.
I quote excerpts:

Then, Rama spoke these harsh words to the ocean: “O, ocean! I will make you dry up now along with your nethermost subterranean region. A vast stretch of sand will appear, when your water gets consumed by my arrows..”
….Then, Sagara (the ocean god) himself rose from the middle of the ocean as the sun rises at dawn from the huge mountain of Meru…and spoke the following words: “O, beloved Rama! Earth, wind ether, water and light remain fixed in their own nature, resorting to their eternal path. Therefore, I am fathomless and my nature is that it is impossible of being swum across. It becomes unnatural if I am shallow. I am telling you the following device to cross me. Neither from desire nor ambition nor fear nor from affection, I am able to solidify my waters inhabited by alligators. I shall make it possible to see that you are able to cross over. I will arrange a place for the monkeys to cross me and bear with it. As far as the army crosses me, the crocodiles will not be aggressive to them.”
Then, Rama spoke to that ocean as follows: “Listen to me. This great arrow should not go in vain. In which region should it be descended?”
Hearing Rama’s words and seeing that powerful arrow, the large splendid Ocean spoke the following words to Rama: Towards my northern side, there is a holy place. It is well known as Drumatulya, in the same way as you are well known to this world. Numerous robbers of fearful aspect and deeds, having the sinful Abhiras as their chief, drink my waters there. I am not able to bear that touch of those wicked people, the evil doers, O, Rama! Let this excellent arrow with out vain be released over them there.”
 Hearing those words of the high-soled Ocean, Rama released that excellent and splendid arrow towards that place as directed by the ocean. The place where the arrow, whose splendor was akin to that of a thunder and a thunder bolt, was descended by Rama- that place is indeed famous as desert of Maru* on this earth.
* Maru—Malwar in Rajastan (India).
The earth there, pierced by the dart, then emitted a sound . The waters of the penultimate subterranean region gushed forth from the mouth of that cleft. Then the hollow became known as Vrana. Water constantly seen, gushing forth from it resembled seawater. A terrific splitting sound was born in that place. Water was dried up in those cavities, as a result of hurling of that arrow by Rama. That desert of Maru became famous in the three worlds.
….While that cavity was burning, Ocean the lord of rivers spoke these words to Rama who knew all scientific treatises.
“O, excellent man! This one, named Nala, a glorious person, is the son of Vishvakarma; who was given a boon by his father and is equal to Visvakarma. Let this greatly energetic monkey build a bridge across me. I can hold that bridge.”
Then, being sent by Rama, under Nala’s leadership, hundreds and thousands of monkey heroes jumped in joy on all sides towards the great forest. Those army-chiefs of monkeys, who resembled mountains, broke the rocks and trees there and dragged them away towards the sea. Those monkeys filled the ocean with all types of trees …The huge bodied monkeys with mighty strength uprooted elephant-sized rocks and mountains and transported them by mechanical contrivances. The water, raised up due to sudden throwing of mountains in the sea, soared upward towards the sky and from there again, gushed back. The rocks befalling on all sides perturbed the ocean. Some others drew up strings a hundred Yojanas long (in order to keep the rocks in a straight line.) Nala on his part initiated a monumental bridge in the middle of the ocean. The bridge was built at that time with the cooperation of other monkeys, of terrible doings. Some monkeys were holding poles for measuring the bridge and some others collected the material. Reeds and logs resembling clouds and mountains, brought by hundreds of monkeys, lead by the command of Rama, fastened some parts of the bridge.
Monkeys constructed the bridge with trees having blossom at the end of their boughs. Some monkeys looking like demons seized rocks resembling mountains and peaks of mountains and appeared running hither and thither. Then, a tumultuous sound occurred when the rocks were thrown into the sea and when mountains were caused to fall there. On the first day, fourteen Yojanas of bridge were constructed by the monkeys speedily, thrilled with delight as they were, resembling elephants. In the same manner, on the second day twenty Yojanas of bridge were constructed speedily by the monkeys of terrific bodies and of mighty strength.
Thus, on the third day twenty-one Yojanas of the bridge were constructed in the ocean speedily by the monkeys with their colossal bodies. On the forth day, a further of twenty-two Yojanas were constructed by the dashing monkeys with a great speed. In that manner, on the fifth day, the monkeys working quickly constructed twenty-three yojanas of the bridge up to the other seashore.
…The celestials and Gandharvas, the heavenly musicians saw Nala’s bridge, having a width of ten yojanas and a length of hundred yojanas and which was very difficult to be built. The monkeys taking long leaps and short leaps shouted in joy. All other beings saw that construction of the bridge across the ocean as unimaginable, impossible and wonderful, causing their hair to stand on end in amazement.
….Thereafter, Sugriva on his part spoke to Rama, the truly brave man as follows: “O, valiant man! This ocean, the abode of alligators, is indeed vast. You ascend the shoulder of Hanuman and let Lakshmana ascend the shoulder of Angada. These monkeys can hold both of you while flying in the sky.”
Rama the glorious and righteous man, wielding a bow along with Lakshmana together with Sugriva, went in front of that army. Some monkeys went along the middle of the bridge. Some others went along the sides. Some others were jumping into water. Some others marched forward on the path. Some monkeys entered the sky and aviated like Garuda the eagle.

……The celestials, Siddhas and others exalted Rama, who was duly respected by kings with their auspicious -words as follows: “ O, king! Defeat the enemies. Rule the earth and ocean eternally for years.”

I remember reading somewhere the theory of scientists about the deserts of Rajasthan and how Indus Valley Civilization disappeared. The scientists are struck by the type of sand dunes and how they resemble the sands on a beach. In fact they theorize that there was a meteor strike and that reduced the sea waters there into sands of the desert. Is it not uncanny that Ramayana talks of Rama’s super-powered arrow striking the ocean into Maru or the Marwar region as we know today? And some coincidence this – that India’s first nuclear explosion took place in Pokhran!

Finally, Rama, as narrated in the Valmiki story, walked ahead of his army. A true leader who led by example!

Posted in ramayana Rama Setu Pokhran super-power Ravi Varma | Leave a Comment »

What can I do?

Posted by rsachi on January 18, 2010


After seeing 3 Idiots, I was constantly thinking what can be the mantra for our country, which everyone can understand and implement in their lives, to make India a greater and happier place?
Indira Gandhi launched a 20 Point Programme. Nothing much happened. Some big name technocrats have written Vision 2020. I don’t think it really reaches everyone. And often we hear mantras like Garibi Hatao etc.
I have come up with the mantra as follows:


What can
I
do?
Create
Clean
Care

Create: I think the need of the hour is for everyone in India, starting with myself, to become more creative and productive in everything we do – it may be as simple as making a cup of tea or designing a drone helicopter. 
And just like our ancestors made children because every extra mouth to feed also brought with it two hands to work in the rain-fed fields, today we can change our mindset about the population as the world’s greatest workforce with democracy, education and opportunity that no other country can match.
Clean: And then comes the need to clean up our act- be it metaphorically in terms of honesty and fairness in all dealings to the actual act of cleaning up roads and homes and schools. Clean also tucks into itself the concept of economy, ecology, and reduce-reuse-recycle.
Care: And finally, all this creativity and cleaning up cannot really produce good outcomes unless we are caring and loving.

The creativity that touches everyone instantly is music. I have posted a slide show of the photos I have of some beautiful ceramic icons I picked up in Korea after attending some resonant Samul Nori drummer sessions. See the power and passion in these pictures of musicans playing their traditional Korean Tala Vadya Cutcheri!

PS: The three words Create Clean and Care are akin to our Hindu trinity of Brahma Shiva and Vishnu. We can do a lot if we believe in the God that resides in each of us!

Posted in mantra for India Create Clean Care 3 idiots Samul Nori Korea drummer tala vadya cutcheri Brahma Shiva Vishnu | Leave a Comment »

The valour of a musician

Posted by rsachi on January 9, 2010

(The painting worshipped through great music at Parvathi, Mysore)

Ragam: Sriranjani (22th Mela janyam)
ARO:  S R2 G2 M1 D2 N2 S ||
AVA:  S N2 D2 M1 G2 R2 S ||
Talam: Rupakam
Composer: Tyagaraja
Version: M.S. Subbalakshmi
Lyrics courtesy: http://www.sangeetham.com
Pallavi:
Sogasugaa Mridanga Taalamu Jata Gurcchi Ninnu Sokkajeyu Dheerudevvado

Anupallavi:
Nigamashirortthamu Galgina Nija Vaakkulato Svara Shuddhamuto

Charanam :
Yati Visrama Sadbhakti Virati Draakshaarasa Navarasa Yutakrtiche Bhajiyinche Yukti Tyaagaraajuni Taramaa (Shree) Raama

The composer musician Thyagaraja is in a mood to celebrate the valour of a musician. He asks Rama, “who can be so brave as to sing and entertain you in the right way?”

He begins by talking of the mridanga tala-synchronized music. I have heard many musicians quaver at the thought of a fierce mridangam accompanist. They would prefer one who simply keeps the beat and does not scare them off the cue points. They surely don’t wish to be “led” by the mridangam player.  But then, the charm of a great singer accompanied by a resonant and sympathetic mridangam accompaniment is surely music for God’s ears. 

Then, straight away, Thyagaraja talks of the other extreme of cosmic music… the crest jewel of the Vedas (the cosmic Omkaara). The one who can evoke that music of the spheres by singing the pure notes with the right words and by weaving in the alliterative phrases, the pregnant pauses, the rich melody akin to pure grape juice (like the one served in MTR in silver tumblers)…..

But to do all this you need to have true devotion. You cannot be an egoistic technician of music. You also need to have an ability to wean yourself away from this world and dip yourself in a Godly mood.  You need the skill to do this, which is a bigger skill, much bigger than the skill of a successful concert musician.  Then you become the king of renunciation… a true Thyagaraja. That is the valour of a true musician!!!

Remember that this is raga Sriranjani. It means both ‘that which richly pleases’ and “that which pleases a truly enriched one”.  

I think Hanuman had this valour. He brought Sanjivani, not just grape juice for Rama. He dared to cross the ocean and tackle Ravana’s army to meet Sita and bring the glad tidings.  Thyagaraja praises Hanuman’s knowledge of the Gita as well as Sangita. What a valiant one indeed. 

Want to listen to such music? Click here to hear MSS sing in Parvathi, Mysore (1967 chamber concert).

Posted in Hanuman MSS Parvathi Mysore Sriranjani Sogasuga Mridanga Thyagaraja Omkaara | Leave a Comment »