Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tao Teh Ching by Lao Tzu

"True words are not fancy
Fancy words are not true"

The ancient wisdom flows across the centuries to illuminate us. The simple sentences are like calm seas, they have a great depth and greater treasures beneath, to be revealing only to them who dive and seek them.

"There is nothing better than to know that you don't know"

The whole text is laced with wisdom, insight, instruction and knowledge. A must read for everyone interested in Taoism, philosophy, morality, spirituality or with the plain desire to benefit from the immortal thoughts and works of this ancient great!

Friday, May 09, 2008

The final countdown (Random thoughts for Graduatestudentkind & Pre-doctors)

My silence is not sullen. My absence from social, economic, political, cricket and amorous conversations is not permanent. I am a being who must finish his PhD thesis to really relish any encounters with pseudo-reality called world. I am as eager to speak out as is a baby who knows only how to make sounds, but knows neither the words nor the language. Like a yogi, I sit day after day, staring at my computer screen, waiting for some God-sent boon, that will burst out with graphs that will transform the world. Unlike the Maharshis of yore, I still shave, get a hair cut, and pander to my taste-buds. But quite like them, the world has become a detached entity for me, something like the city you read about in a novel, and you seem to know, but not quite.

Writing poetry involves a process quite similar to a personal prayer. The lines, rhymes and thoughts come in a stream. In the silence of your head, a song takes shape, and bursts forth when the melody is done. Writing a story is quite like lying. You concoct situations and lines to go with them. Writing a thesis is more like reporting your achievements and failures to the custodians who guard the doors of heaven and hell. Your faults and strengths are not hidden from them, your works are as well known to them as can be. In a rather subjective assessment of facts and data, there seems to be standards that are hard to define and yet difficult to dismiss.

I suppose the effect of reading Proust can be seen in length of my sentences here. Maybe it is just the aftereffect of writing sentences in logical, technical language, that now I want to wallow in a river of metaphors and similes.

There was a time when I could delegate work to my future self, thinking he will know how to finish it. The last few months have brought me to the realization that whatever needs to be done must be done by me, and now. The quest for glory through graphs has passed like the dreams of youth; it is still pleasant to know how naive we are when we are young. A lot of self-evaluation and self-realization occurs when you must sit down and assess your work. It is a kind of meditative state you see, and whoever knows Gita, knows that the grandest path to Nirvana is through gyaan or knowledge of self, and the universe. Possibly, I have entered a hyper-delusional state by severing contact with procrastination, lack of results and direction, agelessness (or agedness) and unbearable lull that are essential qualities of a graduate student who is a year or two away from this pre-doctoral awakening. The efficiency, wisdom and problem solving skills revealed to me by my pre-doctoral self are quite heartening. I sometimes feel that the solace, the smile of the enlightened, learned men has begin to emanate from me.

Every long drawn struggle is carried out with the faith that it will finish one day. One might not know it while one is engaged in it, but to be a fighter, a relentless wielder of pen/sword is a respectful way of life. As I urge myself on through the last three months of my career as a student, I see that after all this hiking through unknown terrain for years, I stand at a higher ground; the sun is in sight, fog is clearing and another realm, a valley perhaps laden with fruits (or a possibility of growing them) is mine for taking. What happens hereafter will form another story, but whatever skills and experiences I have gathered, and the years that have passed by, will help me through every expedition I am embark on.