"Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried"

I had thought little more of this quote than any other witty saying, but lately I'm realizing more dimensions to it. Let's for a moment lump all consensus-driven systems under 'democracy' - organizations these days are as big as the societies that reformers of the past ages wrote about.

The quote posits quite a radical little idea, changing the focus from gains to losses: Democracy is a tool for minimizing loss - Every other form of government will result in even more losses to society. The way it does it is by taking away power from any one group of persons, and handing it to an abstract, nebulous entity called 'consensus'. This means limiting both good and bad changes. Nothing moves. In that sense, consensus is a fine thing to extol when one's coffers are full.

As an example of what happens when a non-consensus approach is attempted, P.V.Indiresan has an interesting take on one of our most deeply-valued concepts, the concept of Rama-rajya:

Many people extol Ram Rajya as the ultimate in governance. With due respect to Rama's devotees, I must point out that they do not enquire why Ram Rajya collapsed once King Rama passed away. It collapsed because it gave too much power without responsibility to persons of limited wisdom. It enabled an illiterate washerman to make wild accusations against Queen Sita and forced ultra-scrupulous King Rama to banish her.

However, one of the less obvious issues that this insistence on consensus effectively puts the burden of change on unknown unknowns and 'extreme' behaviour. Once one is past the stage of believing all the 'little drops make an ocean' bullshit, one realizes that virtually all change comes from these two sources. Either something from outside the system comes up, or an asshole (or someone who has little to lose) pushes his agenda because no one can stand up to him without losing something. Symmetrically, if one wants to introduce positive change, one has to depend upon the mercies of some eccentric who happens to have power; Abuse of power is common, but here we have the curious case of non-use of power. 'Consensus' never made a nail or a nation.

*Dec 29: Well look what the cat brought in! Behold, by the grace of Dileep, the fine process of consensus ably supporting the underbelly of the world's largest democracy:

Transcript of the Rajya Sabha - 1 [2 page PDF], 2 [1 page PDF], 3 [skip to page 29]

"पािण जी, बच्चे आपको देख रहे ह।
..(�यवधान).. वे क्या सबक लेकर जाएँगे?
..(􀃋यवधान).. The House is adjourned to meet at 12.30 p.m."

"MR. CHAIRMAN: Hon. Members, the two hundred and twenty-first Session of the Rajya Sabha comes to a close. It displayed distinctive features: no debates or discussions on matters of public interest took place; no Special Mentions were made, or, laid on the Table of the House; no Zero Hour interventions were sought; no questions were answered orally and no supplementary questions were raised."

"The prohibition in the Rules about shouting slogans, displaying posters, obstructing
procedures by coming into the Well of the House was consistently ignored. Peace prevailed only when obituaries were read."

I hate GMail

GMail and Reddit are really getting to me. Whenever I have a Gmail tab opened, I spend a LOT of time doing useless things like organizing old email (which essentially is deleting bacn), trying in vain to think of how to write a non-embarassing reply to a 3-month-old message, fiddling around with settings, re-reading the same old stale buzz, or just plain clicking 'Refresh' over and over again! With Reddit, I just keep reading wall upon wall of puerile AskReddit shit, which consists mostly fake stories being heatedly argued by a crowd pitchforking the same old straw-men. The painful part is that they are somehow 'addictive' and it's actually hard to get out of the groove.

GMail is even more insiduous because it has a lot of things that I commonly use embedded in it: I want to be online on Gchat; I use Drafts for a lot of things from to-do lists to jotting down philosophical observations; I frequently use email for backing up documents; Buzz is just around the corner as a 'sneak peek' to Google Reader posts so that I don't have to worry about constantly "mark unread" to postpone thinking about interesting posts; all of this present in one place, and I hate it because I seem to get struck doing all this, but ONLY this again and again!

Edit: An article that will surely become part of the Great Internet Introspection canon: Five emotions invented by the internet


When one has a theory for complete systemic corruption and degradation, one is disturbed by exceptions. With a hat-tip to Sayan, how the hell can one explain these:

1. How do the Mumbai locals run with such efficiency? How does it not happen that a fishplate or an engine cylinder fails, and then the bidding process for fixing it takes months, and then the fix is done by the company owned by the minister's nephew? How does it not happen that the driver comes in half an hour late, and plays a minority card when he is attempted to be disciplined?

2. How is Mumbai, much more populous and having much more economic and social inequality, a safer place for women than Bangalore, the cherished home of marauding gangs from TN whose sole vocation seems to be kidnap and rape?

In Frivolity we trust

One of the main points in a Huxleian vision of a bleak future, one that I heartily agree with, is that we are turning into a trivial society too amused by its own silly frivolities to consider doing meaningful things, or to even recognize its own serious problems. This classic comic comparing Huxleian and Orwellian dystopias would be a quick summary. 

I found these paragraphs in Alain de Botton's most excellent Pleasures and Sorrows of Work a fantastic counterbalance to this claim: 
It was in the eighteenth century that economists and political theorists first became aware of the paradoxes and triumphs of commercial societies, which place trade, luxury and private fortunes at their centre whilst paying only lip-service to the pursuit of higher goals.From the beginning, observers of these societies have been transfixed by two of their most prominent features: their wealth and their spiritual decadence.

Their self-indulgence has consistently appalled a share of their most high-minded and morally ambitious members, who have railed against consumerism and instead honoured beauty and nature, art and fellowship. But the premises of a biscuit company are a fruitful place to recall that there has always been an insurmountable problem facing those countries that ignore the efficient production of chocolate biscuits and sternly dissuade their ablest citizens from spending their lives on the development of innovative marketing promotions: they have been poor, so poor as to be vulnerable citizens, whom they have lost famines and epidemics. It is the high-minded countries that have let their members starve, whereas the self-centred and the childish ones have, off the back of their doughnuts and six thousand varieties of ice cream, had the resources to invest in maternity wards and cranial scanning machines.

Amsterdam was founded on the sale of raisins and flowers. The palaces of Venice were assembled from the profits of the carpet and spice trades. Sugar built Bristol. And yet despite their frequently amoral policies, their neglect of ideals and their selfish liberalism, commercial societies have been graced with well-laden shops and treasures swollen enough to provide for the construction of temples and founding hospitals.
Alas, it is true. It is the finicky cigarette manufacturer looking for a new thing to say in his marketing campaign that is interested in the intricacies of a better edge-detection algorithm. The question, "Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to change the world?" quite loses its punch, doesn't it?

Compression - 2

I was completely mindfucked by this line in Bana's Kadambari -

नाम्ना-एव यो निर्भिन्न-अराति-हृदयो विरचित-नारसिंह-रूप-आडम्बरम्, एक-विक्रम-आक्रान्त-सकल-भुवनतलो विक्रम-त्रय-आयासितम् च जहास इव वासुदेवम् |

nAmnA-eva yo nirbhinna-arAti-hRdayo viracita-nArasiMha-rUpa-ADambaram, eka-vikrama-AkrAnta-sakala-bhuvanatalo vikrama-traya-AyAsitam ca jahAsa iva vAsudevam |

It's impossible to translate directly, of course, but here's an attempt: "The king, who conquered his enemies (lit. broke their hearts) just by the mention of his name, and who had conquered the world with just a single stride, seemed to laugh mockingly at Lord Vishnu, who had made much noise and fanfare in taking on the Narasimha form (i.e so much trouble to kill his enemy), and who probably was exhausted by the three strides he had to take (as Vamana)."


The part that amazes me is the extreme succintness - viracita-nArasiMha-rUpa-ADambaram conveys so much, and the vikrama-traya-AyAsitam has the mocking tone so brilliantly ingrained in itself! ADambaram and AyAsitam - ROFL!!

(Compression 1)


Several events in my life over the past few weeks repeatedly reminded me of this thought from Russell's essay, On Youthful Cynicism:

Moreover many kinds of beauty require that a man should take himself more seriously than is possible for an intelligent modern. A prominent citizen in a small city State, such as Athens or Florence, could without difficulty feel himself important. The earth was the center of the Universe, man was the purpose of creation, his own city showed man at his best, and he himself was among the best of his own city. In such circumstances Æschylus or Dante could take his own joys or sorrows seriously. He could feel that the emotions of the individual matter, and that tragic occurrences deserve to be celebrated in immortal verse. But the modern man, when misfortune assails him, is conscious of himself as a unit in a statistical total; the past and the future stretch before him in a dreary procession of trivial defeats. Man himself appears as a somewhat ridiculous strutting animal, shouting and fussing during a brief interlude between infinite silences.
The essay was written in 1930.

Thinking grooves

PS has an interesting post on how the quality of citations in a topic depends on how easy it is to search for papers in that topic. I've been reading something on related lines: I get the feeling that a large part of our thinking is driven by tools that are popular only because they win in a "fast time vs slow time" setting.

Stop Press: This Slate article on the Slow Photography movement tells everything you need to know about slow and fast time.

"Fast time vs Slow time" is a very interesting idea in Thomas Hylland Eriksen's Tyranny of the Moment (which I found via Shreevatsa).  It really does deserve an entire book, but the short gist is this: "Fast time" is the state of mind associated with instant gratification; you feel hungry, and the next instant you have a ready-made hamburger in front of you. You feel bored, and the next instant you have a truckload of information porn about news of the stock market  and purported explanations for every half-decimal change, which somehow satisfies the urge for information. Fast time is the frame of mind where one indulges in these transactions.

Slow time is an almost 'opposite' state of mind. It's a slow picnic meal where there's no hurry to go anywhere, and the food itself is something of great interest. It's a slow, reasoned conversation with no sense of hurry or depleting attention span or need to put thoughts into 140 characters or less; the kind which you will remember a week later.

One of Eriksen's main points is that when fast time meets slow time, fast time always wins. I think of it in a slightly different fashion: Suppose there are many ways to do something. They are all somewhat balanced in how 'hard' they all are, and each of them have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Then, if a much 'easier' way to do the same thing comes up, all the old ways will be lost irrespective of their advantages. I think a lot of this is happening to us.

Consider the idea of doing a literature survey on Google. It's barely a decade since Google (and the Internet) acquired critical mass to give some results on queries. But now, just because Google exists, any other way of doing lit searches seems inordinately difficult and remote. I frankly don't know what to do if I didn't have some kind of electronic search for lit searches, and suspect most people don't, either. The other day, I saw some chap giving a very interesting lecture on the 'mood' in the Kannada cinema industry during the 70s. I don't have the first clue where to go read up on it, because Google gives nothing!

I seem to be implying that the presence of armchairs increases the number of armchair anarchists, and in general makes real anarchy appear "harder"; the presence of reddit and it's infinite nuggets of bite-sized tl;dr-ified information makes reading real books harder. Seems like a stretch?

The education market in India and the US

When I think of the education market in India, I see tremendous opportunity. Anyone with a bit of panache can make an absolute killing giving tuitions for 11th and 12th students, and for variety and recreation can teach engineering students part time. The kind of income one can make if one is keen easily surpasses what the best of MNCs can pay several times over. Of course, an important component of this income is from rent-seeking from several sources: the brands one flaunts on one's resume, the education bubble and the brands the crowd is after. Even charlatans who know little more than the contents of the last 10 years' question papers are highly sought after.

However, when I think of the education market in the US, my first thoughts are extremely pessimistic. High school teachers are paid a pittance compared to even the most regular 'decent' engineering job. There's no major tuitions market to speak of (maybe here and there for SAT, but I don't think one can think of it as a viable career option as here). The moment we get to universities, it's an absolute clusterfuck. Extremely talented, extremely hardworking people with PhDs and multiple years of experience shuttle around teaching part-time and barely eking out a living. One of the surest of certainties today is that a career in academia in the US is an absolute no-no except for exceptionally passionate people willing to sacrifice everything.

There is something wrong here. Either my understanding of one or both of the systems is wrong, or the market in India will cool down, or the one in the US will hot up. I feel the latter is not possible, and it doesn't fit the general trend that the US is 'ahead' in the saturation curve. Like a lot of what is hot in India, the market here is driven by caprices of regulation. What am I missing?

Open letter

Dear Classical Sanskrit Poets of yore,

 Would you PLEASE lay off these INTENSELY IRRITATING fixations:

1. Lotuses. Oh GOD. Someone should cleave out a special 'Padmopama' and 'Padmarupaka' alankArAs. They should then be summarily banned, and treatises should be written on how many centuries one would spend in Raurava hell if one employs them.

2. Cows

3. Said cows' (and sundry other) udders

4. The unimaginable enormousness, pinkishness, and full-of-milk-ness of said udders. "भ्रुवं कोष्णेन कुण्डोध्नी मेध्येनावभृतादपि, प्रस्नवेनाभिवर्षन्ती वत्सालोकप्रवर्तिना" "Having a pitcher-sized udder, showering the entire earth with a flow of lukewarm milk streaming forth at the sight of her calf, and more sanctifying than even a sacrificial ablation" - I mean, this is ridiculous!

5. While we are at it, could we please also take it easy with the elephant-trunk-like thighs and vanishingly narrow waists? The rest of us would like our heroines' midriffs to be at least simply connected, thank you very much.

6. Ah yes, Elephants

7. Said elephants' secretion of temporin during musth

8. All manner of obscure floral anatomy. It is hard enough in these bachelorly times to have a firm grasp of human anatomy, let alone worry about the sodding pistils of the blighted Crateva Religiosa.

9. In general, ALL elaborate descriptions of flowers and plants

10. CHAPTER LONG encomia on deer, rabbits and other wholly harmless and BONE-CRUSHINGLY BORING hermitage-animals and their god damned fluttering eyelashes and brows.

11. Birds, almost always some obscure species that can only be referred to now with Latin names. "Like the song of a Sylvia atricapilla" FFFFFFUUUUUUUU!

12. What the hell is this fetish of 'strictly abiding by scriptures' that is spoken of every other verse? WE GET IT, now will you PLEASE STOP REPEATING THE SAME THING A ZILLION TIMES?!!


Roads that are practically impossible to cross are so passé - Every Bangalorean worth his salt either bravely crosses them, or dies trying. Ours not to make reply, ours not to reason why, ours but to cross or die seems to be the spirit of the times.

Therefore, the BBMP, sadaa namma seveyalli, has taken the next step forward in urban innovation: roads that are theoretically impossible to cross.

Behold this marvel of topology and urban Development:

The triangles are the traffic signals, pointing towards the expected direction of traffic flow. The yellow dots are likely places you will be in right after you get out of IISc. If you are trying to go anywhere south in the image, you have to cross CV Raman Road - just that it's theoretically impossible because there will always be traffic coming from either the south or the west because the two western signals are perfectly in sync. The fact that the pavements on all roads in the picture have been razed down with a vengeance and asphalted till a few inches up the IISc walls also helps.

Mr.T would understand

Consider this song:

What leads one to think a-priori that it may not suck?

1. It is not sung by Udit Narayan, Kailash Kher, or any other cold-blooded murderer of the Kannada tongue (and ears).

2. Neither is it sung by Sonu Nigam, who by sheer, all-encompassing, suffocating saturation has managed to achieve a level of obnoxious aural horror that can only be dreamt of by stalwarts like Himesh.

One then proceeds to hear the first verse.
Shiva anta hogutidde roadinali...
sikkapatte saala ittu life-inali..
ardha tanku petrol ittu bike-inali..
nee kande side-inali
Quite excellent, one thinks. Excellent, natural, not-wannabe Kanglish. The 'dha' in ardha is a perfectly enunciated mahaprana. They're attempting something very ambitious, pitching the gauntlet to the epic Madhya Rathrili, Highway rasteli.  Depending on how high one is, one might even appreciate the distinctly non-universal, non-preachy, highly contextual setting so much that one might hazard a comparison with some songs from Mysore Mallige. One might also...

But one will not. Because someone fucked up so badly after this verse that it hurts just to listen to it lose its way horribly and become absolutely disgusting. It's almost as if the highly promising lyricist was deadlined to worthless mediocrity. Pity, pity pours from all directions into this downhill nosedive. The last verse.. ugh, calculus students will learn this song as an example of what a large negative second derivative feels like.



1. "I think so that you should ..." GAAA! NOO!!! There is no 'so'! "I think that you should ..." or even "I think you should ..."

2. Almost every 'also' should be replaced with 'too'. "I also came" => "I too came"

3. What vile nether regions of hell did "revert" come from to haunt us? That, combined with the absolutely monstrous "the same" is the most lethal combination ever. "would sincerely request to please kindly revert back with the same" [shudder]

4. "I can able to do" - NO. "I AM able to do it" or "I can do it" (Tx SV)

5. "Hence". It feels as if the 16th century is upon us all over again, especially when it's used in speech. "Hence, suck my cock"

And deviating a bit from ranting about just usage, please do what you can to fight this cancer of 'analytical thinking'. The entire spectrum from JEE coaching centers which go public to the investment banks which take them there extols its virtues to the highest heavens; verily, analytical thinking is the pinnacle of all human endeavor! How wonderful the world, how colorful its rainbows would be if it were to have only Analytical Thinkers! Just feel that word, my God, a-na-LY-ti-cal! Five full syllables, enough to explain all expectations one could have and to simultaneously broadcast the brilliance, high intelligence, sharp discretion, and of course, the analytical thinking ability of the speaker. After expressing so much, does the word even need to mean anything?


The name 'Enthiran' struck me as a very interesting example of a feature that Tamizh shares with Telugu, but does not share with Kannada (or any other language I know). The use of the male nominative case suffix '-an' is a brilliant way of making 'Enthiram' (machine) into 'machine-man'. In Telugu, I'd do it like 'Yantrudu'  (with 'Yantramu' for the machine).

Two features are important:

1. The nominative case suffix should be quite distinct for the masculine gender compared to the neuter gender. The '-an' and '-am' difference in Tamizh, and the '-mu' and '-du' difference in Telugu are sufficient, but there's nothing comparable in Kannada. Hindi or English don't use case suffixes, so they are totally out.

Kannada is weird because it has a nominative case suffix that is used in formal writing that makes sense only when used in a sentence, and not independently. 'Ramanu' can never exist independently as a word (while 'Rama' can).

Sanskrit does make a clear enough distinction, with 'yantram' and 'yantraH', but:

2. The gender of words should be dependent purely on the gender of the object. Else, there's nothing to do!

I wish the movie was half as clever as the name, though :-)

Bangalore rains

"भो भोः पान्थ कुतो?" "नगरतो" "वार्ता तु काचित् श्रुता?" ।
"बाढं !" "ब्रूहि" "युवा पयोदसमये भार्यां विना जीवति !! ।"
"सत्यं जीवति ???" "जीवतीति कथिता वार्ता मयापि श्रुता ! "।
"संकीर्णा पृथिवी जनाश्च बहवः किं तन्न सम्पद्यते ?" ॥


(My apologies for presenting this without a translation. The Sanskrit original is witty, "gently mocking" and (aimed rightly) almost could serve as a pick-up line. Everything I've tried to tell the exact same thing in English sounded sappy, desperate, emo and somewhat sad.)

Ok, here goes. "Yo dude, where are you coming from?" "The city" "Any news?" "Oh yes!" "What?" "It seems a young man there lives alone ('without his wife') DURING THE MONSOON!" "Whoa, you mean SERIOUSLY?" "I too have only heard rumours (I mean, come on, is that even possible?)" "Tch tch, it's a strange world with all kinds of people. Nothing's impossible, I guess. (/resigned attempt at trying to make sense of a completely miraculous and unbelievable piece of news)"

'विपरीत' has a very nice etymology: vi - away, pari - (cognate with Greek peri-) around, surrounding, and ita - gone. "Gone beyond the surrounds or perimeter", i.e "excessive". Similarly, 'vIta' is 'gone away' or 'lacking', as in 'vItarAga' (lacking in desires). Similarly atIta 'exceeded', adhIta 'attained'.

'e' is cognate with Latin 'eo', which also means 'to go'. No discussion on this topic is complete without Monty Python's take on it :-)

Sheena Iyengar on choice

I bumped into this brilliant TED talk on choice by Sheena Iyengar via Munnu on g-reader. It's a talk that directly resonated with one of my topics of constant rumination, and I strongly recommend it.

This comes at a time when I need to make (what I think is) a very critical and important choice in my life; as a result, this talk was amazingly timely on multiple levels. Some thoughts:

- If her description of Japan is right, I think I'll be blissfully happy there! I absolutely, viscerally, totally detest choice; actually, I detest the process of making a choice even more. I'm programmed with a strong instinct to make sure to make the 'right' choice, and when I am not absolutely sure I am doing so, I get very frustrated. The sting of "What if?" thinking, and the current worry that I may face that sting later, is particularly unbearable, and I have a strong feeling this is a pre-programmed personality feature.

Although she briefly touched upon the topic of why some people might think this way ("Fear"), I think she could have gone further:

-At a somewhat trivial level like choosing between Coke and Pepsi, I think it's mostly right. To the choice-averse brigade, it simply doesn't matter because the differences are so minute, silly and irrelevant. I've been thought of as an ignorant hick one too many times when I ask for advice on buying a car. I say "My budget is X, tell me a good car to buy", and tone instantly becomes very delicate.

"What brand are you looking for?"
"I don't know, I just want a good one with good service"
"But all of them have decent service these days. What kind pickup/mileage/x do you want?"
"I don't know, just a normal regular car to go around, that's all"
"Ok... what kind of resale potential are you looking for in the next 3-4 years?"
"I don't even have the car yet, how do I know what I should do it with in 3-4 years?"

I firmly refuse to believe that "doing your research" on buying a silly thing like a car or a suit is at all useful! I am reminded of this comic Anush had shared a long while ago:

As a side note, this is one point where Apple absolutely scores over every other company. Very, very limited choice, but each product functions decently and mostly to expectations. 

-Elaborating on the "Fear" factor, I think it's a version of Buyer's Remorse. Personally, I find it very much more easier to make my peace with events whose causes are beyond my control, than events which I caused. It's not a question of evading responsibility, because that is a dishonest twisting of facts; This has a lot to do with a discomfort of being self-centered and needing an external, immutable thing, as in Alain de Botton's talk and DFW's essay.

-At a higher, more important level like choosing a career or country to live in, the difficulty lies in the fact that you never have enough information. A very major portion of your post-choice life is going to be determined by unknown unknowns, and there's no way you can include them in your analysis. So, you cannot know with any certainty about how good a choice it was! I've had times when I took really important decisions, and found out more game-changing data in one day after making the choice than a year of pre-choice analysis!

-An even more debilitating fact is that you are merely choosing between mental models of outcomes of choice, and nothing concrete. All kinds of fictions rule these mental models! There is really no meaning in attributing anything to a particular choice someone made, because it may have been made under completely different assumptions. This brings me to one of my favorite gripes: there is very little that can be learnt from one's own or other's experiences. "No man ever steps in the same river twice", etc. This pervasive nonsense about "learning experiences" gets on my nerves. That old fake Chinese curse goes, “May you live in interesting times”. Just this one curse would make that most fundamental of all human interactions, teaching and learning, quite worthless beyond the confines of academia. As Paul Getty said, “In times of rapid change, experience can be your worst enemy.”

A simple solution to this, as espoused by the Sunscreen song, "Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's". I was about to go do just that, when I bumped into a hurdle also covered in the self-same song: "If you succeed in doing this, tell me how." :P

-As a corollary, I will punch in the neck the next person who quotes with a smug, all-knowing air, "Have no expectations". I can jolly well have no expectations when I have nothing to think of, but if I'm making a choice between mental models, the only way it can be done is if I have expectations for each choice in front of me!

-Coming back to the talk, one very real problem that arises from those assumptions is a social wisdom that is quite perverse. "Leadership" is often associated with the ability to quickly choose; people who prefer a programmed, defined, 'secure' life are unfairly relegated as incapable.

-Boundless choice on a level of personal ethics also brings with it a very serious issue that there are no constraints. When faced with an unfamiliar situation, constructs like ethics, morals, conscience,  'character', etc. give guidelines that, above all, allow a man to rest assured that he took the right decision. I hold this to be the primary function, because it is impossible to talk of the consequences of an action and talk about these constructs on those terms (for example, it's silly to talk of a conscience as something that guides a man to do 'good'. What might seem very good today would probably turn out to be a horrific wrong tomorrow. The only thing a conscience does is to allow a man the satisfaction that he's done the right thing).

-In an old post of mine, Kaushal's comment had reminded me of an interesting and related idea. Issues with choice arise primarily from a conflict between 'I will make my life' and 'Let my life make me' attitudes. Of the hundreds of schools talking about Moksha and how to attain it, two stand in sharp relief in this context. One is called the 'Markata kishori nyaaya' and the other 'Marjaara kishori nyaaya'. 'Markata kishori nyaya' literally means 'Monkey-child procedure'. A baby monkey holds on very hard to its mother as it jumps around, and the hold is thought to be so strong that it is even immortalized in metaphor - 'kapi mushti' or 'monkey fist' means a very strong grip. The baby monkey is actively involved in shaping and controlling its life.

'Maarjaara kishori nyaaya' literally means 'Cat child procedure'. A kitten wouldn't even have its eyes open when its mother catches it by the scruff and jumps about. It simply doesn't (cannot?) care, and lets its mother take it wherever it pleases. The question these raise is, is Moksha something that should be actively pursued, or do you let the quest take over you?

I guess this little conundrum exists even in the quest for Supreme, and not just in our silly little life-choices :-)


I found her final message somewhat tame and not particularly insightful, but whole talk was still great.

Maybe another way to look at choice-averse people is to think of them as people desiring choice at a 'higher' level : they want the choice of having choices only when they want them!


Now I've seen everything...

You know you live in dangerously interesting times when #define private public is a major plot driver in a primetime Kannada soap, complete with grayscale triple takes and grand orchestra background music.

Paul and Randomness

I have been a great devotee of Paul the Octopus, and cannot wait to invest in the company that buys him out and starts a predict-your-future gig. He's had 8 consecutively correct predictions, and I was sold by the time the 3rd one rolled in. I truly feel that he's got something going.

This reminds me of an anecdote Taleb relates in Fooled by Randomness. (paraphrasing) A smart scamster takes 10,000 envelopes on Dec 15th, and fills 5000 of them with this message: "Greetings! We have a fantastic new stock market predicting technique, and we think you'd be interested. But you needn't believe us. We'll send you one prediction a month, and you can call us when you get interested. We claim that by Jan 31, the stock market would have gone UP from its Jan 1 level". The other 5000 have the exact same message, except that it says the market would go DOWN by Jan 31. The envelopes are then sent out all across the country, with some simple measures to minimize chances of some of the 10000 people knowing each other.

By Jan 31, 5000 people would have received a correct 'prediction'. Our chap then writes a more confident message, and tells 2500 of them that the market would be "EVEN higher by Feb 28!". To the other 2500, he writes "BUT THIS TIME, the market's going to go down!". Come Mar 1, 2500 people would have received two consecutive correct predictions with an increasingly confident pitch.

It wouldn't take people more than 5-6 months to start believing something is seriously on. The crucial part in this, as well as with Paul, is that these planned events are intertwined with everyday life, and not perceived as clearly laid-out thought experiments. One prediction would have made someone want to "try it out", and when it worked, it would have resulted in a whole chain of events in his life. A little more confidence the next time, and even higher rewards. 

As Jean Cocteau once said, "We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?"



I bumped into these hilarious verses from the first canto of the Raghuvamsham:

(The context is that the great emperor Dileepa is very unhappy that he does not have children, and approaches the sage Vasishta for help and advice, and rants away:)

नूनं मत्त: परं वंश्या: पिण्ड-विच्छेद-दर्शिन: |
न प्रकाम-भुज: श्राद्धे स्वधा-संग्रह-तत्परा: || (1.66)

nuunaM matta: paraM vaMshyaa: piNDa-vichCheda-darshina: |
na prakaama-bhuja: shraaddhe svadhaa-saMgraha-tatparaa: ||

"And surely, my ancestors in heaven see that there won't be any more offerings for them (because I am childless), and won't eat to their fill during their annual ceremonies because they are busy storing away whatever they get!"

मत्परं दुर्लभं मत्वा नूनम् आवर्जितं मया |
पय: पूर्वै: स्वनि:श्वासै: कवोष्णम् उपभुज्यते || (1.67)

matparaM durlabhaM matvaa nuunam aavarjitaM mayaa |
paya: puurvai: svani:shvaasai: kavoShNam upabhujyate ||

(This one is a whopper)

"Thinking that these offerings will end with me, their hot drinks become lukewarm because of their depressed sighing."

I'm totally amazed by the detailed, extraordinarily compressed imagery!

"Solipsistic, self-consumed, bottomless emotional vacuum"

I bumped into this fantastic short story written by David Foster Wallace, titled "The Depressed Person" (PDF link), via a link Srinivasan had shared as a Google Reader comment. I had read very little of Wallace before, and knew him chiefly through his fantabulous commencement speech at Kenyon college (about which I had written earlier). I knew he was hailed as a genius of sorts and (yet? consequently?) a severely depressed individual, but the depth of his understanding and attention to detail in this story absolutely blew me out of the water.

I'm very interested in depression because of the sheer mindfuck it is (!) : a bunch of fucking chemicals are out of balance in your head, and poof! It doesn't matter where you are, who you are with, what you have accomplished or what you do, life is hell. It's hard to keep a straight face when phrases like "aim in life" or "ambition" or even "Happiness" are thrown about, when you know that a trivial chemical imbalance can radically deform the very lens with which you view the world. Forget about viewing the world, even the "you" in the last sentence won't be well defined!

The story does have its share of irritating features (the 'child of divorce' cliche, somewhat boring asides, an unconventional sentence structure that grates in as many places as it piques interest,...) but it is amazing in more ways than I can describe, and some ideas and lines were too disturbingly, chillingly close for comfort:

- the idea of "principle" morphing from being a tool of order, guidance and closure to one of chaos, torture and unfulfilledness; whether inflicted by others or by oneself.

- "who now lived in all manner of different cities and whom the depressed person often had not laid eyes on in years and years, and whom she called late in the evening, long-distance, for badly needed sharing and support and just a few well-chosen words to help her get some realistic perspective on the day's despair and get centered and gather together the strength to fight through the emotional agony of the next day, and to whom, when she telephoned, the depressed person always apologized for dragging them down or coming off as boring or self-pitying or repellent or taking them away from their active, vibrant,  largely pain-free long-distance lives."

- "The depressed person confessed to her therapist that when she reached out long-distance to a member of her Support System she almost always imagined that she could detect, in the friend's increasingly long silences and/or repetitions of encouraging cliches, the boredom and abstract guilt people always feel when someone is clinging to them and being a joyless burden. The depressed person confessed that she could well imagine each "friend" wincing now when the telephone rang late at night, or during the conversation looking impatiently at the clock or directing silent gestures and facial expressions communicating her boredom and frustration and helpless entrapment to all the other people in the room with her, the expressive gestures becoming more desperate and extreme as the depressed person went on and on and on."

- The dark recollection of the dorm room pantomime

- and "as a legacy of that experience, she dreaded, more than almost anything, the thought of ever being someone you had to appeal silently to someone nearby to help you contrive an excuse to get off the phone with. The depressed person would implore each supportive friend to tell her the very moment she (i.e., the friend) was getting bored or frustrated or repelled or felt she (i.e., the friend) had other more urgent or interesting things to attend to, to please for God's sake be utterly candid and frank and not spend one moment longer on the phone than she was absolutely glad to spend. The depressed person knew perfectly well, of course,  she assured the therapist;' how such a request could all too possibly be heard not as an invitation to get off the telephone at will but actually as a needy, manipulative plea not to get off - never to get off- the telephone."

- "said that she felt she could support the depressed person's use of the word "vulnerable" more wholeheartedly than she could support the use of the word "pathetic," which word (i.e., "pathetic") struck the therapist as toxically self-hating and also somewhat manipulative, an attempt to protect oneself  against the possibility of a negative judgment by making it clear that one was already judging oneself far more negatively than any listener could have the heart to."

- "intruding on their functional and blissfully ignorantly joyful if somewhat shallow and unconscious lives and appealing shamelessly to their compassion" 

- "not being able to share the way it felt, what it actually felt like for the depressed person to be literally unable to share it, as for example if her very life depended on describing the sun but she were allowed to describe only shadows on the ground"

- "Her apologies for burdening these friends during daylight hours at their workplaces were elaborate, vociferous, and very nearly constant, as were her expressions of gratitude to the Support System for just Being There for her"

- "the depressed person's emotional agony had so completely overwhelmed her vestigial defense mechanisms that whenever a member of her Support System finally said that she was dreadfully sorry but she absolutely MUST to get off the telephone, the primal instinct for sheer emotional survival now drove the depressed person to swallow every last tattered remnant of pride and to beg shamelessly for two or even just one more minute of the friend's time and attention,"

- "when she got quiet and centered and looked deep within, she could neither feel nor identify any feelings for the therapist as a person"

- "And thus that although the depressed person had had agonizing feelings aplenty since the therapist's suicide, these feelings appeared to be all and only for herself, i.e., for her loss, her abandonment, her grief, her trauma and pain and primal affective survival. And that this terrifying set of realizations, instead of awakening in her any feelings of compassion, empathy, or Other-directed grief for the therapist ...these realizations seemed merely to have brought up in the depressed person still more feelings about herself."

- the idea of a "toxic or manipulative self-hatred", and the act of recognizing it for what it was was itself declared to be a manipulative, desperate, "unable-to-face-the-truth" cowardice

- "her capacity for basic human empathy and compassion. She was asking sincerely, the depressed person said, honestly, desperately: what kind of person could seem to feel nothing- _nothing_ - for anyone but herself? What terms might be used to describe and assess such a solipsistic, self-consumed, bottomless emotional vacuum and sponge as she now appeared to herself to  be?"

As I said, mindblowing. 



It's been a month since Mahesh's passing, and it still is a strange feeling for me to come to terms with it. I've known him since our very first day at IITM, and ever since then, we've been in touch via nearly every medium that existed. We're in together in every single group I'm a part of, and it was a rare day that I didn't hear something from him - some brilliant pun that he cooked up, some illuminating etymology for a Sanskrit word he chanced upon, some nice article he stumbled across or some music video that had a brilliant funda to it.

I could try describing him to you if you didn't know him personally, but I'm quite sure it'll come nowhere close. He was supremely brilliant, to a degree that I could not comprehend with my abilities. I mean every word of that: in the 6 odd years that I've known him, not once have I been able to grok how someone could know so much, be so sharp and so effortlessly connect ideas together. Even the most trivial chat conversation with him would leave me completely spellbound by his sheer intelligence. I ended up learning something fascinating in nearly every conversation with him, and everyone who's met him would agree with me on this. What made it even more amazing was that his enormous depth of knowledge pervaded every field imaginable. Academics? There he was, putting fundaes to 10 people crammed in his room the night before the quiz, not getting irritated once at needing to repeat himself, not thinking the least bit about spending all his time explaining stuff to junta, supremely confident of his own fundaes and doing all this with his inimitable panache, humour and style; Music? Ask him to describe RHCP's evolution, or the intricacies of a raaga, or about using formants in Fruity Loops and you're in for an absolute treat. Hell, he'd give you a live demonstration composing music on his cellphone synthesizer as he went along his lesson! Sports? You want to talk about basketball or tennis or football or skateboarding? He could as well be a professional bookie with the amount he knew; Got bored of talking and want to actually play? He was the basketball coach for an uncountable number of people, and many like me took up skateboarding because he was the teacher and it couldn't get much better than that.

It came to an extent that Mahesh was the recourse for many of us who were very disgruntled with the 'general sham' of the adult world. Here was a guy who could tell you that no, it wasn't all crap, and show you why it wasn't. And when he showed you, you'd see it, see that it wasn't all crap. You could pick up a conversation on anything with him, and by the end of ten minutes you'd find yourself seriously thinking of picking it up as a new hobby. Last year, we were all at Death Valley and getting rather bored  as the night passed by. Someone remarked that the starlit sky was very clear, and slowly Mahesh started telling us little factoids from here and there - about how Orion actually has a bow that isn't visible in the cities, about how to locate Aldebaran, how Pleaides has much more than meets the eye.. by the end of half an hour, we were as invigorated as if we had been given a tour of the greatest show on earth by a guide who truly felt the greatness - and we had!

But to remember Mahesh primarily by his intelligence and learning would be like trying to remember the sun by its Fraunhoffer lines. There was much, much more to his personality than just his superior brilliance. For one, he was humble to a fault. The combination of such unbelievable talent and equally unbelievable humility was something I could never comprehend. I cannot count the number of times I've gone back and thought over some argument I had with him, only to realize that the openness, humility and fairness he displayed were far beyond what I was capable of.

I brought up fairness - whenever you reflect on your mental image of a person, there are some characteristics that stand out as being particularly amazing in your judgment. Mahesh's sense of fair play and ethics were almost superhuman. Here was a person who you could trust to play by the rules NO MATTER WHAT. Never once was there a compromise. Never an argument with himself that went, "See, that's fine, but let's be practical...". Never giving in for an opportunity for a 'quick con'. It was always the high road, no matter what the consequences were.

And in spite of following to the dot the severest of such self-set rules, he never took moral high ground when interacting with people. Never did he speak one word of criticism about anybody else's ethics. We hear much talk of 'dependability'. You could depend on Mahesh to help you out. Period. He was the kind of guy who would take it upon himself as a mission to help anyone who asked him. 

Such a treasure trove of the finest of human qualities, and yet he did not have the slightest air of self-importance. His sense of humour is legendary, and never did he have qualms about making fun of himself.

How can anyone react to such perfection in any other way than mute acceptance?

Why did he take the extreme step? I don't know. Given the number of times I have sought and blindly followed his advice, and cannot help instinctively thinking that he fully knew what he was doing. Maybe this was all the world deserved of him. I hope those he has left behind find peace. 


[ Very well-written posts on Mahesh by:
Please let me know if there are more. ] 

Insane theorem knockout

(Many millions of thanks to Pradhan, who nucleated an enormously satisfying positive feedback loop that ended up making an extraordinarily dull day memorable)

Step right up folks! On the left, we have the Jordan Curve theorem. Essentially (please correct me if I'm oversimplifying):
You build a closed fence. At any point in time, you're either inside the fence or outside it. 
The proof for this is either 60,000 lines long, or 6,500 lines long, depending on which formal language system we adopt and how many 'libraries' of theorems we invoke.

On the right, we have something that's not quite a theorem, but which we hope will appease the roaring bloodthirsty crowds nonetheless: The problem of finding a theoretical greatest lower bound to Graham's number. At one time, Graham's number was famous as the 'largest number to have ever been used in a mathematical proof'. That's a modest way of putting it:
Indeed, the observable universe is far too small to contain an ordinary digital representation of Graham's number, assuming that each digit occupies at least one Planck volume.
It was in 1971 that Graham and Rothschild proved that the original problem to which this number is the answer is solvable in the first place, and their best estimate of the lower bound to this monster was ..... 6. They qualified their result modestly with the line, "Clearly, there is some room for improvement here."

There have been dramatic recent developments, where in 40 odd years later another chap, Geoff Exoo, "showed the solution to be at least 11, and provided experimental evidence suggesting that it is at least 12. The current best estimate of the greatest lower bound stands at 11."

Who do you think should win? :-)


This recent Shoaib Malik telephonic love business has us quite rattled, gentle reader. There, but for the grace of, go half the world's engineers.


That explains it

Bhartrhari is one of those Sanskrit poets who leaks vitriol and fire wherever you touch him. His angry rants about fools, full of the most delightful, full-mouthed, heartily aspirated mahaapraanas, are an absolute treat for those days when you just hate the world.

I was wondering why the poor chap had so much ... (wait for it)... negative energy (yes, my job involves a dangerously large management component) when I chanced upon this verse of his:

यां चिन्तयामि सततं मयि सा विरक्ता
सा अप्यन्यम् इच्छति जनं स जनो अन्यसक्तः |
अस्मत् कृते च परिशुष्यति काचिद् अन्या
धिक् तां च तं च मदनं च इमां च मां च ||

yaaM chintayaami satataM mayi saa viraktaa
saa apyanyam ichChati janaM sa jano anyasaktaH |
asmat kRRite cha parishuShyati kaachid anyaa
dhik taaM cha taM cha madanaM cha imaaM cha maaM cha ||

"The girl who I think of all day totally doesn't dig me, and she's after some other guy. That dick is after some other chick, and meanwhile because of my doing (of rejecting her? more?) one other girl is suffering. To hell with her, him, Love, this other one, and me!"

There. Clearer than Swami Nityananda's dedication to ananda-yoga.


I found this when I was searching for more fundaes about this absolutely fantabulously unbelievably epic bit of very old school wit, which I found via - who else? - Shreevatsa. Among the little gems of wit one collects with the bleak hope of flooring that super-cute chick in the bus the day one will finally manage to make eye contact and (gasp!) conversation with her, this one is verily the Koh-i-Noor:

There's metre iambic
and metre trochaic
and metre that's tender in tone.
But the metre
that's neater
and sweeter
is meet her by moonlight, alone.


Notes from a budding adventure

It is a rare moment in these debauched times of Kali, gentle reader, that one thoroughly enjoys doing something for its own sake; when that something stands by itself as a pleasant memory without needing to be an inflection point in a larger 'success' story arc. One therefore treasures such moments, and writes blog posts on them in hopes that one's readers don't notice one really has nothing to say.


X: "So what do we do this evening?"

[Deep mulling]

Y, in all seriousness: "How about Go-Karting?"
Z: "Uhm, err, Go-Karting eh? Uhmmmm no da..."

Y: "Good. I just wanted to make sure I got it out of the way before anyone else actually came up with it. How silly can a sport possibly get?"


X: "Macha, Money is fine da. I want Power in life."

Y: "Ah. I want to be in a position where people do not know that I wield a lot of power."

Z, speaking in the tone of a patient, experienced teacher gently reminding a pupil of an obvious part of the question he's missed answering: "But macha, do you want to be in that position while you actually have power, or when you don't have power?"

[Everyone instinctively understands there has been an epic moment. You can actually hear people thinking the logic through, before it hits everyone with the rousing force that N.D.Tiwari brand Musli powder ads hit the local TV circuit]

Y: "Macha obviously! If I don't have power and people don't know that I have power, ...."


X: "Macha IITM sucks now da. Our juniors don't do a tenth of the things we did."

Y: "I disagree. They are doing a lot of cool new things." [In a suave, smug, confident tone like that of Alan Shore in full flow when he's found just the perfect anecdote to make his case] "My juniors brewed beer in the wing."

Z: "Hey Pota's father's wing junta did that and they all got diarrhea the next day."


"Hey stop. You know what? Every base is base '10'. 2 in Base 2 is '10'. 3 in Base 3 is '10'. 10 in Base 10 is '10'. Just sayin'."

General junta: "WTF?"


"Fundamentally speaking, the job involves maximizing exports of Fair-and-Lovely cream to one of its most promising emerging markets, Kenya. It's hard for even the fraudest MBA to live knowing that."


Bonguly [MP3; Warning: NSFW, explicit.]


"See, we all want a caring, loving, understanding angel of a girl who wouldn't fall for cheap charms and wouldn't be impressed by momentary displays of wit. Therefore, by definition, the perfect girl is one who'll never fall for us."


"They do bloody Iyengar Investing, like Islamic Investing. Total cocksuckers man.They called X for an interview, and at the end asked him for a reference. He gave his McKinsey Associate Principal's contact. The fuckers called the Associate Principal up, asked crappy questions about X's math skills and school scores for 1 whole hour in the middle of a working day, and at the end, asked for a reference who could speak about him. WTF?"


"..but all that is fine man. What I want to know is, you're given this one life. What do you want to make with it?"

[Deep, thoughtful pause]




Nimbe uli - 'Raiyya rai'

When the Joker said, "Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars ... I'm an agent of chaos", this was probably what was playing on his MP3 player:

Raaga linkMusicIndiaOnline link(much lower quality)

The perfect (r, t) to listen to this is a crowded bus at peak hour, with a million horns honking outside. It honestly is BRILLIANT! Even after the 10th listen, I bet you won't know just what the hell is happening in this song. I mean, somewhere in the middle, out of the general noise comes this fantastic bit of existentialism:

Bhagavanta shyaane budhvanta, hutsyaavne namna gottilla innu yaakanta!

And there's the general refrain of 'nimbe uli' (which pans left to right back) which is comprehensively senselessly awesome! There are so many voices and so many instruments that I can't even identify what is playing!

You can't even find anything to Google the song with - raiyya rai? nimbe uli? Even the movie name is 'Thaakath'. Hell, how do you even spell those consistently?

Gurukiran (the music director) and Hrudaya Shiva (the lyricist) now definitively occupy a genre that only Upendra could command so far - you can't decide if they've doped their balls off, or are sublimely brilliant strange attractors in a phase space of mostly boring lyrics!


Die Luft der Freiheit weht heimwärts!

As a wise man who probably wanted to convince himself to move his senti ass once said, "Life is not so much a matter of position as of disposition." :-)

501 Fascinating Facts

The Sanskrit word for 'essence' is 'sattva'. That literally means 'is-ness' or 'being-ness', with 'sat' being the participle (noun-ified version of a verb) of 'as', 'to be'. Later connotations have taken on a meaning of 'goodness', via the idea that something is truly itself only when it is at its 'best'.

Curiously, the word 'essence' follows in the same way from the Latin verb for being, 'esse' :-)

अथातो blog-अ जिज्ञासा

(This is my first attempt at blogging in Sanskrit! Here is a PDF file with the transliteration, my translation and some notes. Also, that should have no problems with the fonts. The cornerstone on which I'm constructing this monument of corniness is a resolute conviction that no one will ever read it :) Happy New Year!!)

(All glory again to Shreevatsa's Sanskrit transliterator. Google Indic sucks because you no longer have access to the English 'source', but here you do. Also, each scheme has some letters more 'naturally' represented than the others. You have all of them together here, and can seamlessly switch!)

बाणकाव्य-बहुव्रीहि-क्षुधार्त:, हनूमत्पुच्छेन भीमसेन-बाधवत् blog-एषाम् घोर-दीर्घतयैव साधुपाठक-परिपीडन-कलावल्लभ:, रघुवंशकवे: सन्मार्गे प्रतिलोमग: इव आरम्भ-स्वनिन्दनयैव (अ)पाण्दित्यम् प्रकटमान:, अतो मौनमिति एकैकचित् स्वदीयम् नाम विभूषणम् परित्याजमान: अस्म्यहम् भवतो विनतो गद्यकार: |

मदनुभवे लघुतमे भाषापरिज्ञानम्

लेखनम् < वचनम् < पठनम् < श्रवणम्

इति क्रमे उद्ध्रियते | सर्वत्र स्वमतप्रकटनम् सुलभतरम्, अन्यमतग्रहणम् दुर्लभतरम् हि | उत वचनम् प्रतिमत्य लेखने कालप्रश्लेष: न संभवति | तर्हि अपि, एषु लेखनम् सुलभतमम् सत्यपि लभ्य-गद्याङ्गने नव-संस्कृत-पाठकानाम् चङ्क्रमण-चिह्ना: न प्रकाशन्ते | कुत: तथा?

Monier-Williams कोशादि अद्यलभ्यै: उपकरणै: गद्यलेखनानुसन्धानाय अयम् एको रोमशीदान: | यत् लघु-ज्ञानानुभवपरिचय-नदीपुषम् संस्कृत-लेखनदौर्लभ्य-महासागरम् तितीर्षुणा कोविद-विलसच्चित्तज-वानरसैन्येन सह अल्पा: अपि रोमशय: उपयोग्या: :-)

जन्माद्यस्य यत:? गीर्वाणवाण्याम् गद्यरचनम् कुत:? बाण-कोण-पिनाक-पावकेति केयम् कुचेष्टा? आङ्ग्ले पाठकपीडनातृप्ति: न लब्दा वा? एभ्य: श्रीमद्भागवतारम्भे भगवान् वेदव्यासस्य ध्यानो अयम् अभिज्ञायते :-

जन्माद्यस्य यतोऽन्वयाद् इतरत: चार्थेष्वभिज्ञ: स्वराट्
तेने ब्रह्महृदा य आदिकवये मुह्यन्ति यत् सूरय: |
तेजो-वारि-मृदाम् यथा विनिमयो यत्र त्रिसर्गोऽमृशा
धाम्ना स्वेन सदा निरस्तकुहकम् सत्यं परं धीमहि ||

तन्महाकाव्यस्य अनतिविश्रुतेऽन्त्यश्लोकेऽपि एत एव वाचो दृश्यन्ते :-

कस्मै येन विभासितोऽयम् अतुलो ज्ञानप्रदीप: पुरा
तद्-रूपेण च नारदाय मुनये कृष्णाय तद्रूपिणा |
योगीन्द्राय तदात्मनाथ भगवद्-राताय कारुण्यत:
तच्छुद्धं विमलं विशोकम् अमृतं सत्यं परं धीमहि ||

(पद्ये द्वेऽपि मम प्रियतमे 19x4 शार्दूलविक्रीडितवर्णे स्त: | निरुक्ति: वर्णनामस्य-अस्य किम्? )

Blog-एषु वा, तालपत्रेषु वा, आङ्ग्ले वा, Klingon-ए वा, शुद्ध-स्फटिक-संकाश-संस्कृते वा मूले इदमेको हि उद्दिश्यते - तच्छुद्धं विमलं विशोकम् अमृतं सत्यं परं धीमहि :-)


उपाधिरसौ ब्रह्मसूत्रेभ्य: विनीतो चित्रनमन: | ब्रह्मसूत्रेषु प्रथम: 'अथातो ब्रह्म जिज्ञासा' इति | अस्मिन् जिज्ञासाया: प्रामुख्यता, प्रथमता, हेतुत्व:, आवश्यकता च गमनीया: | 'जन्माद्यस्य यत:' इति द्वितीयो सूत्र: :-)

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