A month in Auroville

Auroville is in the border of Tamilnadu and Pondicherry. It is around 5 Km from beach, part of it is right beside the sea. Auroville is best known for its tourist attraction – Matrimandir, that looks like a golden globe. Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity. Living in Auroville is a unique experience that is difficult to narrate in mere words.

I had been in Auroville earlier with a tourist mindset, this time we went with a mindset to live there. Biggest challenge in Auroville is to find a place to stay. There are number of guest houses but they do not give any information on rate or availability. We started off by writing directly to number of them. Most did not bother to reply, a few did. We picked one that promised to have most attractive value proposition. It is a place called New Creation, that runs a boarding school-cum-orphanage. The money we give goes to upkeep of the orphanage. Staying there gives a feel of tour with a flavor of philanthropy.

Auroville is made up of number of communities. New Creation Community was started with in view to give  ‘first Aurovilians’ (i.e. the local people present on the Auroville land) a bridging place where they slowly and gradually could become aware that Auroville is for all people of good will and that, if they are willing, they can become Aurovillians themselves. The best approach to that was to create an educational environment, like a primary school, boarding and sports facilities. In order to meet the financial needs to run an undertaking where everything is free, including a Primary school for 240 children and a school with 30 small kids in a new ‘Free Progress’ experiment, they have created some income generating activities such as guests facilities.  There are 16 double rooms and 4 single rooms, all mosquito-proof, with fans, attached bathrooms, and a guest dining room with filter water and kitchen. There is a gymnasium, a sport ground with volleyball, basketball, 2 tennis courts, a running track and a small swimming pool.

We stayed in a double room with kitchen. There were huge trees all around the place and a place to park my car. Our morning used to start with pleasant sounds of bird and squirrel chirping, down side was the bird droppings that had to be cleaned from my car. Bird dropping contains rather large amount of uric acid, that needs prompt attention. Probably some covering or canopy would have helped, but we did not bother much about it for our rather short month-long stay.

The rooms were with basic amenities. There are many architectural experiments that has its own pros and cons. Hexagonal shapes probably saved some bricks while covering larger area. But this poses problem with rectangular furniture. What is good for beehive does not necessarily good for human being. Traditional wisdom of keeping the floor level higher than ground and roof overhangs were missed out by the rookie architect. These resulted in some avoidable visits of wild life  and occasional dripping roof during heavy rain.  This goes to reinforce the strong design concept. That many local custom and practices are there for a good reason. One need to understand them before trying to do anything better. Painting in the room are done by the students of New Creation. Some of them really looked promising.

There is a story that says a wise Zen monk was given opportunity by God to the see both Heaven and Hell. ‘What are the differences between Heaven and Hell?’, a young Zen monk asked an aged Buddhist priest who was renowned for his wisdom.

‘There are no material differences,’ replied the old monk.

‘None at all?’ asked the puzzled young monk.

‘That’s right. Both Heaven and Hell have a spacious hall with a big pot in the center in which noodles are boiled, giving off a delicious scent,’ said the old priest. ‘The size of the huge pan, the number of people sitting around the pot and the bowl of sauce placed in front of each diner are the same in both places.’

‘The odd thing is that each diner is given a pair of meter-long chopsticks and must use them to eat the noodles.’

‘To eat the noodles, you must hold the chopsticks properly at their ends,’ the old monk told the young Zen monk.

‘In the case of Hell’s kitchen, people are always hungry because no matter how hard they try, they can’t get the noodles into their mouths,’ said the old priest.

‘But isn’t it the same case for the people in Heaven?’ the junior monk inquired.

‘No. They can eat because they each feed the person sitting opposite them at the table. That’s the difference between Heaven and Hell,’ explained the old monk.

Heaven and Hell is created by the neighbor you have. We were fortunate to have an exceptional family as neighbor – Ashish, Lopa and Ishan. They were very helpful and excellent friend. Lopa is a teacher of the “Experimental School”. Individually they are exceptionally good human being. It is wonderful experience to know them personally and understand their attitude towards life.

Entrance Road towards New Creation is littered with garbage tied to trees. These are offering to God fulfill various greed. As a reflection to the inner nature, the place looks ugly. Hope someday someone will look at the ugliness and pray for the good of everyone and restore the place to its natural beauty. Till such time the trees mutely carry the burden of human greed and folly.

Inside Auroville it is a mixed bag of people and their motives.  Much like the flower that bloomed in the New Creation Garden. Part of it is bright and colorful, part of it is rotten and ugly. It is a city, just like any other specimen of human habitat, perhaps here in a more cosmopolitan and concentrated manner. Future of mankind has to find a solution to the problem that our civilization now faces and come out with a answer. According to Shri Aurobindo this will be the New Creation, seed of this lies within the current human being.


As you go ahead from ECR road entrance after New Creation School and the tree with offerings you find a nice colorful temple. It is my observation that people of tama guna is attracted and motivated by fear, hatred and anger. This is typified in this temple – animals and punishing demigods are prominent, deity is hidden inside a rather small temple.

A little ahead you find the new temple of consumption – Tanto Restaurant. Tanto is a Pizzeria Chain run by a Italian gentleman Daniel. Daniel came to India for a tour and had fallen in love with the country. He missed his home food so started a Pizzaria. Slowly he started making cheese for his Pizzas and Pastas. Incidentally the spaghetti that he uses are made in his factory. Part of it are sold in outside. Tanto is a beautiful case of backward and forward expansion. He has been in business for around 10 yrs and already having a turnover of around Rs. 20 million/yr.  He has 3 restaurants in Pondicherry and contemplating of opening in other cities. Considering he started his business without any kind of capital this is really impressive.

Beyond Tanto, you see a couple of small shops and hotels and then what you find is a road to nowhere. That is what Aurovillians call the road that cuts across Auroville. Perhaps the road typifies the current situation in Auroville.

When Mother was there she gave the goals to Aurovillians. It was her wisdom to plant trees on what was once a barren land. She also gave the direction to build the beautiful Matrimandir.  Aurovillians took her command unquestioningly and executed it meticulously. What we see in Auroville is the result of that Karmayoga – work done without any consideration of result and reward.

Greenery around Auroville is as much commendable as the Matrimandir that most tourists make a bee-line to see. They see the gold foil dome and most leave thinking it to be a golden globe. Only few tourist bothers to visit Matrimandir for concentration. Greenery and Matrimandir is like some scenery that you see beside this nowhere road.  Some units like Tanto, Aureka, Earth Institute, Maroma are like this lotus. If you care to look at them, they are beautiful at their own right. Lotus and Marshes are all part of nature, one cannot have one without the other. But like the road, Auroville lacks a greater common purpose. Mother is not here anymore in person to guide the community towards its goal of new creation. In this confusion, each pursues their own objective. Like a colony of ant, each pulls Auroville towards its direction of RIGHT, at the end it does not seem to move anywhere.

Life in Auroville is anything but boring. There are cultural shows. Many young foreigners uses Auroville as springboard for entry to India. Auroville has a special VISA status and some special property act. By this act a foreigner can work in Auroville without getting an Indian Work Permit. Many use this status to showcase their talent, get local press coverage and taste their acceptance before applying for work permit. Many will give training from within Auroville rather than spending their effort and money for Indian work permit. Here you see a Japanese performer, Yuhei Motoyama, giving Taiko performance.  This event is sponsored by Japan Airlines and Japan Foundation.

Apart from special performances there are movie shows, cultural fests that dots the social life of Auroville. Everybody is welcome to these shows and participation is the keyword. Focus is to keep the events simple that involves most people. It also gives people a platform to showcase their talent, get some reality check and provide necessary training ground.

Here you see capoeira performance being given by Aurovilleans. Auroville promotes capoeira for its use in self defense.  It an art that evolved in Brazil in order to ward off colonials. It is characterized by its fast and fluid movement, in the form of dance. Aim is to maim the attacker with minimal contact.

Auroville has some sandy beach. Unfortunately these are used by local fishermen to dry their fish. There are two beach guesthouses – Sreema (Tanto) and Repos. The stench  can be overwhelming at times, but other than that, the beach is good. It is unfortunate that there is no alternative to offer that will take care of the stench other than a conflict between tourist attraction and fishermen’s livelihood.

Some people are not bothered of the stench and prefer to live there. The beach remains sparely populated with this olfactory deterrence.

To get a flavor of city life one can visit Puduchery. It is about 10 Km from Auroville. Beach front is closed to traffic between 6:00 PM – 6:00 AM and resembles a mela.

At Le Cafe one can enjoy some fine coffee and sea breeze.

For a taste of French life, Pomande Resturant is a good choice.  Sitting there one could enjoy the sunny beach from the comfort of an air conditioner.

Our daughter, Sukanya came down from Pune to celebrate her birthday with us.  Being in Auroville we could enjoy both the city life and the life of a quite laid back town.

Pondicherry has a rather magnificent university for its size. As a bonus our friends daughter, Purva is studying there. Met her after a gap of 10 yrs. It felt as if we had a time travel of 10 yrs past.


Being in New Creation we grabbed the opportunity to celebrate our daughter’s birthday with the school kids. Evening was a party time with the kids. The community head (Steward – as he is called in Aurovillian lingo) Andre, joined us to grace the occasion.

The road to nowhere takes you from one highway to another. If you follow the beaten down metaled road and the road signs, you will miss the Auroville altogether. Here is a road that goes inside Auroville. Road signs are for visitors to take them to a car park. Unmetaled red road is the main road to get inside Auroville. The security guard standing there is to stop any car from entering the sacred road. One needs special permission and a sticker to enter Auroville with a car. That sticker is available from a office located at the center of Auroville. Just like this road, Auroville has excelled in wrapping itself in many Catch-22 rules and processes. One can spend their lifetime in getting to understand them.

Once inside, you are greeted with red road, complete with proper drainage. Auroville is gifted with people who knows their job, unlike current bunch of city planner that are scourge of most Indian cities. Our present city planners make roads without proper drainage that in turn make the city resemble Venice during every monsoon.

Auroville has a master plan that resembles like a galaxy.  Current development has been rather haphazard which was more driven by opportunity rather than plan. Currently Auroville is trying to consolidate according to the city planned under Mother’s guidance.  Auroville is supposed to be a city of 50,000 people. Given the attitude and current composition this looks to be a long journey. Currently there are only 2500 odd Aurovillean, locals seem not very keen to join the team and current bunch of Aurovilleans do not seem too keen towards that end.

There is a circular road that is supposed to run around the main facilities. This road has been paved with compressed earth blocks. Part of it remains incomplete due to land acquisition issues. The road looks rather narrow for a city that will have 50000 people.  Maybe city planner take a serious look and give due consideration for future.

Shri Aurobindo and Mother always advised for community kitchen. They wanted people to give less thought on food and channelize their mind and energy for other work. Solar kitchen takes this idea one step ahead with sustainable community cooking.  It derives its name from the big Solar Bowl on its roof, which provides part of the steam for cooking on all the sunny days of the year. The other part of the steam needed, is provided by a diesel fired boiler. Throughout the year approximately 1000 lunches are prepared daily, of which 540 go to the schools, 200 go out by tiffins and 260 to 300 are consumed in the Dining Hall. It uses vegetables and grains grown organically in and around Auroville. There is a choice between western items like pasta, mashed potato or fresh salads and items like idli, dal or chutneys. Daily curd and freshly made juices are available.

Just beside solar kitchen there is Auroville Super Market – Pour Tous Distribution Center.  This supplies all daily necessities of Aurovilleans. One has a choice of taking food from PTDC instead of Solar Kitchen. PTDC offers more variety like Sushi, Muffins, Steamed Vegetables and such thing. A typical lunch cost around Rs. 70/- at PTDC. Actually, it is not proper to talk about money in PTDC. Long term guests and new comers pay a monetory contribution commensurate with their consumption. For Aurovillean the service is kind of free. Circulation of money is discouraged within Auroville. Money is a powerful instrument that is essentially tamasic in nature. PTDC is created as an experiment to curb unnecessary buying habit. If a particular Aurovillean consumes more than average. He/She is given feedback to restrict their consumption.

On the same circular road and slightly away from solar kitchen there is Auroville library. This library has a fantastic collection of books on Sustainable living, alternate economy, religion and spiritual philosophy. Apart from “serious” books, it also has a good collection of fiction. It contains more than 30,000 volumes in eight languages – English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, Russian and Tamil.

Auroville has number of industries thriving under its fold. Spirulina cultivation is one such unit. It sells its product under the brand name of Aurospirul.

There are some typical incense stick, decorative candle and paper product making units. It also had a thriving dress making industry that came up with a unique combination of European and Indian  styles. Most of these are now closing from the copy-cat competition from Pondy.

When you go to visitor center you will hear this large wind gong. This is made at Swaram – an shop that makes musical instruments for Auroville.


Talking about Visitor Center will be incomplete without a reference to its rather uniqui building material. The bricks that you see are not ordinary fired brick. Entire Visitor center is made of Compressed Stabilized Earthen Blocks (CSEB). CSEB is a environment friendly technology that used local soil to produce bricks without using coal or fire wood.

Auroville Earth Institute is one of the center of excellence in promoting use of such material.

There is a machining and fabrication shop Aureka that makes machinery for these earthen block. Current machines are manually operated hand pressed or semi-automatic hydraulic ones. It is working on a fully automatic block making press. I was working on its controller. You see here the machine being prepared for full scale trial.

Initial phase of Aurovilleans who came was given a rather large piece of barren land where even a blade of grass did not grow. They toiled and turned the place full of trees. As result of their hard labor water level of the area has risen and the place has become fertile. In this empty land, initial settlers built large mansion for themselves which is not sustainable for a city of 50000 population. Initial settlers feel entitled to a life of comfort, commensurate to the work they did in Auroville or else where. Current houses for the newcomers that you see in the picture are being built in the style of multi-storied flat. Availability of large supply of low-paid workers from nearby villages help to sustain the colonial lifestyle. There is a latent resistance among these Aurovilleans to let go of the comfort, help to raise living standard of the local population and assimilate them within the fold of Auroville.  There is equal reluctance from the locals to let go of money, inheretance and freedom to work anywhere. There is no clear solution that will be acceptable to both. Ideal solution would be where people live like family members, share the resources equally and work together for betterment of everyone. Such thing are easier said than executed in practice. Perhaps some divine intervention is store for the big change to happen. What is true for Auroville is true for rest of the civilization. World is poised for a divine intervention only its time may not have come.


Coming to Divinity, one gets reminded of Siva – lord of destruction that paves way to New Creation. The place is full of Akanda flower(Calotropis gigantea), the flower of Siva. I could not stop myself from sharing a picture here.

Perhaps as reflection to our mood a close specimen from nearby species choose to visit our place. You can see the tension in its face. Watching carefully from a distance about the happenings below.

It clearly did not like what it saw. Certain amount of aggression is visible. That is a typical animal instinct that is still prevalent even with us.


But it proved to be a wise monkey. I would say it understands aggression is not the best practice. Something we homo sapiens often forget. It choose diplomatic display of displeasure instead of proceeding with raw aggression.

Like a wise animal afterwards it went to mind its own business completely ignoring the surrounding. There is no fun in trying to change everyone all change begins with himself.

Decisions are always difficult to make. Some decisions are liner, they make incremental change and the effect is reversible. Some decisions are catastrophic. Once taken, these catastrophic decisions dictate future course of actions. There is no way to retract and go back from where you have started in catastrophic decision. Most decisions that affect life in real sense are such catastrophic decisions.

These are like these delicate droplets on a lotus leaf. They look apparently stable but a small ripple will make the drop running either towards the center or towards the edge. Once it moves, there is no way to stop it.  Perhaps this is the reason, people postpones making the move and clings on the tested belief and ideology, fully knowing time has come to get rid of these and move on. It is a classic example of tamasik feedback loop. Where inaction is caused by fear, uncertainty and doubt. It is this inaction that fuels degradation and chaos. This chaos further strengthen the grip of fear and uncertainty.  Way out of this downward trend is rajasik force. Rajasik force driven mainly by hope and greed. Current civilization is now standing at a cross road where the cycle of greed has encompassed every thing and do not motivate people for doing things that are good for others. Need of the hour is Rajarshis. Persons who are able and motivated to work without looking for reward.  Auroville was formed to incubate such Rajarshis. Current civilization needs such people, dedicated souls who work for their own passion and not for reward. Auroville has such people, but the number is certainly not higher than what is visible in rest of the society. Auroville does not have an environment that will attract other like minded Rajarshis to migrate and assimilate with Auroville. It  has some individuals striving for it, but the task looks beyond the capacity of human effort. Maybe some divine force will pave way for such change.


Conscious Dimension – I

Conscious is best understood when we consider someone lying in its boundary.  Let us take for instance a person on deathbed. It is not a pleasant thought, but nothing brings out the stark reality as clearly. At one moment the person is alive. He or she may recover or continue to be alive. The moment the person is dead, we lose any possibility of the person being alive again. Death being a one way change, a catastrophe. Barring the simplest life form – virus, death is a catastrophic process that cannot be reversed. Now, let us try to understand what difference we have between a living and a dead person. Moment after the death his individual cells will still be alive. We can actually use parts of  organs for other persons and these will live for any number of years. Only noticable difference that separates dead from alive is presence of conscious. Although our body is made of huge number of cells and (maybe) other implants, our conscious is quite different from collection of all these. If we lose part of our body or replace it with artificial parts, like in knee replacement, our conscious do not change. Our identity, our thought, our self image all remain as one till this conscious entity remains. Some call it “spirit” or “Atma” some choose to not call it anything. Recognize it or not, there is some entity that remains as sole differentiator between living and dead, between our identity and rest of it.

Around 800 CE great philosopher poet of India, Shankaracharya,  tried to examine true nature of Atma. It has been nicely captured in his poem “Nirbanashatakam”. The poem besides its philosophical value is also great in its economy of words and its usage. The poem is in six stanza, five devoted in negating what Atma is not and last one is to give it a shape or a property that helps in unifying the consciousness.

In first stanza Shankara negates our identity. He says:
मनोबुद्धयहंकार चित्तानि नाहं, न च श्रोत्रजिव्हे न च घ्राणनेत्रे ।
न च व्योम भूमिर्न तेजो न वायुः, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 1 ।।
(manobuddhyahaṃkāra chittāni nāhaṃ
na cha śrotrajihve na cha ghrāṇanetre
na cha vioma bhūmir na tejo na vāyuḥ
chidānandarūpaḥ śhivo’ham śhivo’ham)

I am not mind, nor intellect, nor ego, nor the reflections of inner self (chitta). I am not the five senses.of hearing, taste, smell, touch and vision. I am beyond that. I am not the ether, nor the earth, nor the fire (energy), nor the wind (the five elements). I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss and pure consciousness. all that is within me.

In second stanza Shankara questions next level of our presence – our body. He negates any of our body parts, be it fluid, layers or structure being atman. He says:
:न च प्राणसंज्ञो न वै पंचवायुः, न वा सप्तधातुः न वा पञ्चकोशः ।
न वाक्पाणिपादं न चोपस्थपायु, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 2 ।।
(na ca praṇasajño na vai paṃcavāyuḥ
na vā saptadhātur na vā paṃcakośaḥ
na vākpāṇipādaṃ na copasthapāyu
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo’ham śivo’ham)

Neither can I be termed as energy (prana), nor five types of breath (vayus), nor the seven material essences, nor the five sheaths (pancha-kosha). Neither am I the five instruments of elimination, procreation, motion, grasping, or speaking. I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss,  pure consciousness  and all that is within me.

In Stanza three Shankara examines our thoughts

न मे द्वेषरागौ न मे लोभमोहौ, मदो नैव मे नैव मात्सर्यभावः ।
न धर्मो न चार्थो न कामो न मोक्षः, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 3 ।।
(na me dveşarāgau na me lobhamohau
mado naiva me naiva mātsaryabhāvaḥ
na dharmo na cārtho na kāmo na mokşaḥ
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo’ham śivo’ham)

I have no hatred or dislike, nor affiliation or liking, nor greed, nor delusion, nor pride or haughtiness, nor feelings of envy or jealousy. I have no duty (dharma), nor any money, nor any desire (kama), nor even liberation (moksha). I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss,  pure consciousness  and all that is within me.

Stanza four he examines our deeds and then discards them as not to be Atma

न पुण्यं न पापं न सौख्यं न दुःखं, न मन्त्रो न तीर्थो न वेदा न यज्ञ ।
अहं भोजनं नैव भोज्यं न भोक्ता, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 4 ।।
(na puṇyaṃ na pāpaṃ na saukhyaṃ na dukhyaṃ
na mantro na tīrthaṃ na vedā na yajña
ahaṃ bhojanaṃ naiva bhojyaṃ na bhoktā
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo’ham śivo’ham)

I have neither merit (virtue), nor demerit (vice). I do not commit sins or good deeds, nor have happiness or sorrow, pain or pleasure. I do not need mantras, holy places, scriptures (Vedas), rituals or sacrifices (yagnas). I am none of the triad of the observer or one who experiences, the process of observing or experiencing, or any object being observed or experienced. I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss,  pure consciousness  and all that is within me.

If all these are taken out, then all that remains is some relations. Relation with our parents, teachers, and so forth. In stanza five Shankara dwell on the relationships and finds these are also not to be Atma.

न मे मृत्युशंका न मे जातिभेदः, पिता नैव मे नैव माता न जन्मः ।
न बन्धुर्न मित्रं गुरूर्नैव शिष्यः, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 5 ।।
(na me mṛtyuśaṃkā na me jātibhedaḥ
pitā naiva me naiva mātā na janmaḥ
na bandhur na mitraṃ gurunaiva śişyaḥ
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo’ham śivo’ham)

I do not have fear of death, as I do not have death. I have no separation from my true self, no doubt about my existence, nor have I discrimination on the basis of birth. I have no father or mother, nor did I have a birth. I am not the relative, nor the friend, nor the guru, nor the disciple.  I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss,  pure consciousness  and all that is within me.

In stanza six, he gives a working idea of Atma. Atma being free of bondage and unifying with supreme conscious. He says:
अहं निर्विकल्पो निराकार रूपो, विभुत्वाच सर्वत्र सर्वेन्द्रियाणाम् ।
न चासङत नैव मुक्तिर्न मेयः, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 6 ।।
(ahaṃ nirvikalpo nirākāra rūpo
vibhutvāca sarvatra sarveṃdriyāṇaṃ
na cāsangata naiva muktir na meyaḥ
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo’ham śivo’ham)

I am all pervasive. I am without any attributes, and without any form. I have neither attachment to the world, nor to liberation (mukti). I have no wishes for anything because I am everything, everywhere, every time, always in equilibrium.  I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss,  pure consciousness  and all that is within me.

Instead of taking Shankara’s definition of Atma on face value let’s examine it from our knowledge of the world and see how far we can fathom its property within limits of our knowledge of science and philosophy. For doing what we intend,  we need check is our concept of presence.

How do we say a paperweight is present on my desk? Well, I can see it, it is there somewhere and not there in other part. So we use concept of duality : present and absent to define our paper weight. Concept of duality is pretty strong concept in logic. Now, if I ask – how do we know air is present around us. We cannot see it or smell it, then can we prove that air is present. I know, we can blow on a piece of paper or create vacuum to show presence of air. In other word, we again depend on concept of duality.

Suppose, we take out the concept of duality from our premise of logic. In our previous examples we used excess of air or absence of it to show existence of air. How do we prove existence of something that is omnipresent in perfectly homogeneous manner? As I had stated earlier, we can only prove existence of something where we have it distributed heterogeneously. Like presence of air can only be proved by differences of pressure distribution or vacuum. This distribution we see for air is in mass-time-space dimensions. In our life we experience many more dimensions. Say I have a paperweight on my table in a perfectly dark room, would I be able to detect it? Yes, if I am lucky, I may touch it by accident  otherwise I shall remain ignorant about it. Once the room gets lighted we can see the paperweight easily.  Now, out here light enabled us to see things, so we know light exists darkness do not. Darkness is just absence of light, it may never be possible to create a torch that will make an place dark, but the opposite is possible. So in similar manner we can conclude that there is something that makes the complex composition of muscles, fluids and bones come to life. Just like we cannot see light be it enables us to see things, we cannot see atman, but it makes life possible.

When we talk of life, let us try to first fathom its nature and next we shall dwell on how to measure it. Now, what is life? Biology books definition of life is something that can reproduce, maintains homeostasis, shows metabolism, gets organized, gives response to stimuli. Alternate viewpoint of life is that of capable of reversing entropy. Around 1870 James Clerk Maxwell imagined a machine. In his concept machine Maxwell proposes two chambers separated by a intelligent sieve. In the sieve a demon will see speed of gas molecule and allow only molecule with higher than average speed move to a chamber (say H) and molecule with lower than average can only enter the other chamber (say L). Temperature of a body is dependant on kinetic energy of its molecules. So once we can separate these molecules, we have a perpetual source of energy. The concept engine is known as Maxwell’s demon. What we see here in such machine is two primary function of life. Conscious control, information gathering and processing — all fundamental property of life. Well the strange news is: such demon do exists.

Second law of thermodynamics states that in a physical system what ever we do, we shall end up being more disorganized than from where we started. As an example, if we leave a physical alone, it will slowly degenerate to simple form get more and more chaotic. In science we use entropy as an measure of disorganization. When we have a system that have life form within it, we notice just opposite tend Life forms tend to get organised, more complex, when left to itself. Hence we have this concept of Maxwell’s demon. Life in some way mimics Maxwell’s demon. Core concept of life form here being conscious. So we find life and conscious is very closely related. Second law of thermodynamics for none of the law of physics takes conscious control into account. Maxwells demon works opposite to Second law of thermodynamics by reversing chaos and bringing organization into molecules. Actually in Boson we shall find, when the variation and vibration reduces concept of space also do not hold true. All the molecule gets reduced to size of a single molecule in a Bose-Einstein condensate. In other words the world we see around us is created out of little disorganization, variation and chaos. When all these gets down to negligible level the world will collapse into itself into a singularity.

When we talk of soul, conscious, world the concept of God cannot remain far away. My current discussion is actually aimed for this. I want to discuss the nature of God, its existence and our conscious. Why are they related? They are related because our perception is limited by our conscious. Universe around us is multidimensional. Normally our perception is limited to space-time dimension. Beyond it, we are conscious of other dimensions like temperature, electrical charge, magnetism, different psychological moods but we cannot really measure them without the reference of space-time. To perceive beyond space-time we need some tools and some facts. Now we shall develop these concepts drawing upon our understanding on the knowledge that we can perceive.

The world we are familiar with are in the dimension of space time. In order to measure state of an object dimensions that we use need to be absolutely independent of each other. When dimensions are not independent our point of observation will influence property that we observe in other dimension. When the dimensions are independent, we shall call them orthogonally related dimensions. Let us take an example to illustrate this.  Suppose in a graph paper the axis are not perpendicular. When they are not a displacement in x-axis will produce a displacement in y-axis. When x & y axis are perpendicular such  interference will not happen. So an important property of orthogonality is independence of one axis from another.  Second property that I want to state is – universe in multidimensional. When we talk of force, we normally talk of space, mass and time. There are other dimensions like charge, temperature, entropy that is not as easy for us to perceive, but they do exist.

Now, let us try to find out how and where God, soul and conscious may exist. First let us take soul. We have seen that between life and death, there is no perceptible change in physical state.So soul certainly do not exist in space-time frame. Loss of life does change the electrical parameters like brain waves. So there may be some relation between soul and electro-magnetic property. Our understanding of space-time and life does share a common property That is time asymmetry:  We cannot travel back in time in life or in space time event. You may wonder, where we can. In such case I would ask you to recall the event when you started to read this article. Well you can!!! We can travel across time in our conscious, quite freely in past and to a limited extent in future.

When we talk of dimension, we can have many of them. In such hyperspace, it is difficult to visualize any shape that we are familiar with. We can think of the dimension like a string. Ok a kind of straight string. Property of any object on that dimension is defined by position it occupy on the string. For clear measurement, we should try to use dimensions that are orthogonal. If we use our concept of dimension in space, it is actually possible to have infinite dimensions that are orthogonal and any three of them can define a object in space. Now the beauty of orthogonal dimension is that there will be one and only one point where the dimensions merge.

So we observed two very important properties of orthogonal dimensions:

  1. Orthogonal dimension will have one and only one common point
  2. Change of property along one dimension has no impact on property of another orthogonal dimension.
or, if change of property along one dimension impacts property in another dimension then the dimensions are not orthogonal

Two dimensions which has no common point we can call them parallel dimension. Two  parallel dimensions if they share same third dimension, orthogonality of third dimension with any dimension implies orthogonality of the other. Let me explain this – say there are 3 dimensions A,B & C.  If we know A || B and A is orthogonal to C, then we can conclude that B is also orthogonal to C.

We shall find another instance, where two parallel dimensions share equivalent change of property. Such cases we shall refer the dimensions as intertwined.

With this basic understanding of dimensions, let us examine the properties that we are familiar with. In physics we normally use basic dimensions as: Length, Mass, Time, charge, temperature,  etc. Let’s take the first three: L, M & T.

Normally there is no relationship between L, M & T. In Newtonian physics we can conclude L, M & T to be orthogonal dimensions. But with theory of relativity, we know that relationship to be invalid, speed between observer and observed changes the values of L,M & T. What relativity gives us that Momentum and Time are orthogonal dimensions.

In my next blog, I shall extend the dimensional analysis to conscious, soul and God.


“Apne safed hati dekh liye” — “Have you seen the white elephant” A short dark man in shorts suddenly darted in front of JRD Tata as he was making his round in the shop floor of Jamshedpur Plant. Most thought this is a mad man, those who knew him thought this time pranks of this man has got beyond tolerance.

The senior officers quickly wisked away this man. There were talks of taking disciplenary action against him. But the personal managers advised against it. To the adivasis around Jamshedpur, this man was a uncrowned king. Any undue punishment will have huge adivashi backlash, so they chose to ignore it as a prank from a half mad character. That was Debilal – a sweeper in Plant-III of Tata Motors.

Debilal was in his mid-thirties, he was very sincere in his job and will always be humming some song. Although he was a janitor, he will occasionally pull some pranks on officers. There used to a bully officer who loved to shout at the people on smallest slip. One day Devilal got a dog with a shirt and specs . On back of the shirt written “Mukho” with big letters and let loose the dog in shopfloor.

In the nearby villages Debilal was counted as a man with great wisdom. People will come to him for all kind of advice. No one took any penal action against him and learnt to live with these  pranks as sign of madness.

Next day, as Debilal came to clean the room I asked him why did you tell such thing to Tata. Here is the dialog:

Me:     Why did you jumped in front of  Big Boss

Debilal: I was refering to the new Forge Plant you people have put up. I thought he is wise man and would listen to me.

Me: What is wrong with the Plant

Debilal: It is a White Elephant. Just a costly show piece that does no good

(I thought, this has gone too much – this illeterate sweeper is questioning wisdom of Engineers.  The plant he was referring was fully automated forge plant that produces Front Axle Beam and Crank Shaft. In early 80s, that was the best technology one could get.

Moreover, fresh from PG in Industrial Engg, I thought, let me teach this fellow not to mess with professionals. To teach him a lesson, I started to question in the ragging style.)

Me: Really! How do you say this plant is costly. It has all robots – latest technology in the world

Debilal: Maybe it has lot of new technology, I am a stupid fellow, I can only count on what it produces at what cost

Me: (Oh my God! What does this fellow know about cost)  What is to cost

Debilal : OK! let us start from the begining – there is the old plant that produces Crank Shaft. How many burners are there in the old plant and in the new plant to heat the material

Me: (I was taken aback – not sure) You tell me

Debilal: In the old plant there are 8 burner, in the new furnace there are 12 of them. That’s because new furnace a wide opening for the robotic arm, in old furnace operators could manipulate material with a much smaller opening. In addition old furnace was round like a “Handi” New one is a straight one that only heats the shop, not the iron.

Me: (Now cautious) OK, Fuel cost is not all you know

Debilal: Well, old plant just needed half a bay, new plant requires two full bay

Me: New Plant do not require any man.

Debilal: Who says – It still require two operators to take care of occational miss, then it requires one person to continiously do maintenance and has a maintenance staff of five to do maintenance on regular basis. In the contrary, old plant was much simpler, just required five operator and only a weekly maintenance. The only thing the new plant has over the old one that it do not require the skilled forge smiths, you can run the plant with engineers and operators without any experience. But it takes more people.

Debilal: Not only the plant is costlier to operate, it produces less job per hour. Robots produce only 30 odd piece  per hour against 45 piece in the manual operation. Moreover it requires special billets without any bend in the new line. Old line could manage with some small bend in billets.

(Now my ego totally shattered – I realize this non-matric sweeper, has just taken a class on benchmarking. Still I had not learnt the lession. As last resort I try –)

Me: OK, I take the new plant may be more costly. Actually there are more thing to cost than the comparison you did. But tell me, what is your stake in blocking Tata’s way. What you have to get out of it.

Debilal: This land belongs to me, we people have created this land from forest. You people from outside have come with your money and knowledge and converted the paddy field to a truck factory. We are thankful to you. But at the same time, if people are not working to best of the intension then it is my duty to raise voice and object.

Debilal: As I see it, this new plant is only good in replacing skilled adivasis with urban, unskilled, college educated folks. Had it been more productive, I would have still accepted it, but as it stands, this new plant is not even as productive as the old plant. This I can not tolerate. If Mr. Tata did not listen me on one to one basis, he will have to face mass movement in future.

Saying this, Debilal left the room, humming – “Bombay se aya mera dost, dost ko salam karo…”

Now, I felt what Adi Shankara must have felt in the bylanes of Varanasi. I saluted Debilal in my mind and hold him as one the great teacher I have come across.


An atheist professor of philosophy speaks to his class on the problem science has with God, The Almighty. He asks one of his new students to stand and…..
Prof: So you believe in God?
Student: Absolutely, sir.
Prof: Is God good?
Student: Sure.
Prof: Is God all-powerful?
Student: Yes.
Prof: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn’t. How is this God good then? Hmm? (Student is silent.)
Prof: You can’t answer, can you? Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good? Student: Yes.
Prof: Is Satan good?
Student: No.
Prof: Where does Satan come from?
Student : From…God…
Prof: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
Student: Yes.
Prof: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything. Correct? Student: Yes.
Prof: So who created evil? (Student does not answer.)
Prof: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don’t they?
Student: Yes, sir. Prof: So, who created them? (Student has no answer.)
Prof: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me,son…Have you ever seen God?
Student: No, sir.
Prof: Tell us if you have ever heard your God?
Student: No, sir. Prof: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?
Student: No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.
Prof: Yet you still believe in Him?
Student: Yes.
Prof: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?
Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.
Prof: Yes. Faith. And that is the problem science has.
Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?
Prof: Yes.
Student: And is there such a thing as cold?
Prof: Yes.
Student: No sir. There isn’t. (The lecture theatre becomes very quiet with this turn of events.)
Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence ! of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it. (There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)
Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
Prof: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness? Student : You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light….But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?
Prof: So what is the point you are making, young man?
Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Prof: Flawed? Can you explain how?
Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one.To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor.Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?
Prof: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.
Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir? (The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument is going.)
Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher? (The class is in uproar.)
Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor’s brain? (The class breaks out into laughter.)
Student: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain! ,sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir? (The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable.)
Prof: I guess you’ll have to take them on faith, son.
Student: That is it sir… The link between man & god is FAITH. That is all that keeps things moving & alive.
NB: I believe you have enjoyed the conversation…and if so…you’ll probably want your friends/colleagues to enjoy the same…won’t you?…forward them to increase their knowledge… this is a true story, and the student was none other than………APJ Abdul Kalam, the past president of India. (Contributed – authenticity not verified)

Unified Physics Theory Explains Animals’ Running, Flying And Swimming

As an avid reader of Science fiction I always thought, secret of speedy walking is to defy gravity. Later when I read “walk is nothing but a series of fall supported by leg” it struck me as joke, and later I was dumb by the profound implication and simplicity of the statement.

When we walk, we raise our body against gravity and let ourselves fall in front. We repeat the process to move forward. This is process adopted by all non-wheeled movement. Gravity and friction thus helps us in moving forward. Less gravity will make us more energetic but not nacessrily move faster. The secret in moving faster is to control our motions to use less energy.

Birds also uses the same princlple in flying. Bird flaps its wing to go up and then spreads it to move forward in a controlled fall. Fish looks to be a odd one out, as fish in water is actually weightless. But the study shows the movement of fish is possible as displacement of water. It creates a swirl in water by its tail and pushes the swirl back to move forward. Water pressure, thus gravity is required to create the swirl.

It looks very strange that for movement we are bound and at the same time empowered by gravity. Perhaps it is similar with other things also. The same thing that looks to be a hinderance at first sight actually enables us to perform. Maybe such discovery is awaiting for some learned soul to take a fresh look.

Details: http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/2005/12/locomotiontheory.html