Author:D V Gundappa

About thirty-five years ago, I was getting an old house repaired. The roof in the front portion of the house had become rickety. I had assigned the entire work of pulling it out and setting it right to a contractor. Although some portions of that house weren’t in good shape, the main door was stable and looked beautiful. It had come from fifty or sixty years earlier. The contractor and I had agreed that all the work would be done without displacing the front door, letting it stay exactly as it was.

In the 2015 Crime/Mystery Thriller Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!, after retrieving a corpse from an abandoned factory, Byomkesh says, “Sach ke aas-paas waala jhoot pakadna mushkil hota hai” (It’s difficult to detect a lie that is close to the truth.) At its very core, the work of a detective is to eliminate falsehood and find the truth. This is perhaps the reason why Saradindu Bandhopadhyay doesn’t call his hero a ‘detective.’ In the original stories, Byomkesh calls himself a satyanveshi – a discoverer of truth.

An important concept that Krishna speaks about in the Gita is that of being a स्थितप्रज्ञ – a balanced person with steady intellect. He says, “One who abandons selfish desires and is satisfied within the true self is a sthitaprajna (BG 2.55). In other words, he is telling Arjuna to let go of देहाभिमान, the obsession with the body and focusing only on the material aspect of living.

माषानश्नामि मातुल ।
पिबामि दधि माहिषम् ॥

There are many references to show that women too were endowed with the spirit of kshaatra. For instance, in the Ramayana, we have the Kaikeyi episode. When Dasharatha took part in the great war between devas and asuras, Kaikeyi accompanied him. It is during that war she obtained those two boons from Dasharatha. In the Mahabharata, when Arjuna kidnaps Subhadra, a huge army of yadus attacks him. When he single-handedly combats the army, it is Subhadra who takes the reins of the chariot and skilfully drives it.

This is the full text of the author’s paper presented at the National Seminar of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research held in Bangalore in September 2016.

What is happiness? It’s hard to define but we all know what it is. We have all experienced it. In fact, we experience it every day – when we eat our food, when we work on a project that we are passionate about, when we smile at someone on the street, when we spend time with a hobby, or when we sleep.

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1878-1972), popularly known as ‘Rajaji’ or ‘CR’ was a renowned advocate, statesman, writer, freedom fighter, journalist, and political leader. He was hailed as M K Gandhi’s conscience-keeper (somebody had to be, for better or for worse). A voracious reader, original thinker, astute politician, and prolific writer, Rajaji was a modern-day renaissance man. He was also a devout Hindu with a firm belief in the almighty and great admiration for saints like Shankara and Ramanuja.

Sangitaratna Chintalapalli Venkataraya was a tiger of the yesteryears. Though the usage of ‘tiger’ as a simile for a musician may be debated, the tiger is renowned for representing courage and fortitude. This was the prowess of Venkataraya. He belonged to the line of great vidvans of music. His training in tradition and the craft of music was of a high degree. When a person acquires learning by his own efforts, when the mind becomes filled with enthusiasm and brightness, a zeal arises to create waves. Even after he was ninety, Venkataraya had this kind of zeal.