Technology Of Spirituality

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Quote:A talk by Khurshed Batliwala, director of World Alliance for Youth Empowerment at Ruia College, Mumbai.

With a post graduate in Mathematics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Khurshed Batliwala, or Bawa as he is fondly known (a nick name that has stuck from his IIT days) is an extraordinary personality.

In his own words, he decided it was better to teach people meditation and make them happy rather than teach them mathematics and make them miserable and thus chose the unconventional and challenging career path as a faculty member of the Art of Living, sharing the vision of its founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, which is to see a smile on every face on the planet.
Like any religious apologist, the speaker distorts known facts and cherry picks things that can be made to match science.

On Varaha Avatar

Batliwala cherry picks a modern day illustration of Varaha avatar to make a point that ancient Indians knew that the Earth was round. The illustration should be compared to other illustrations from history (there are some on Wikipedia).

He also insinuates that such knowledge was exclusive to Indians (At one point he says "Which Europe only accepted once they saw pictures from space"). That the Earth was round was known for a long time.

As usual, he ignores to mention the ocean of absurdities that come along with such knowledge. According to mythology, Varaha, an avatar of Vishnu, lifts Earth out of an ocean when it sinks. One has to wonder where this huge ocean was that submerged the Earth. (The full set of absurdities can be found in the Varaha Purana.)

On Antares

Batliwala claims that ancient Indians knew that Antares was a really big star and hence had named it as Jyeshtha. But in ancient Indian astronomy some nakshatras were named after asterisms and Jyeshtha stands for a bunch of stars in the Scorpius constellation. In fact one of the symbols used to represent Jyeshtha is an umbrella as the shape of the asterism resembles an umbrella.

On Arundhati Vasishta

Next he claims that Arundhati Vasishta is a binary star and it stands in for a married couple. But Arundhati Vasishta actually represents the Mizar-Alcor system which has six stars. Using his analogy of a marriage, I leave it to the imagination of the reader what those six stars mean in that context.

That's all I had the time to analyze for now. And this thread should really be in the Pseudoscience forum.
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Adding on to Lije's comments

The Varaha Purana offers no evidence to suggest that the ones who wrote it knew that the Earth was flat. In fact, all historical artistic representations of the avatar look something like this. Images of the boar pulling a round earth from the sea are more recent caricatures. From here

Quote:Textual evidence and temple sculptures reveal that the idea of Viṣṇu’s ten avatāras was more or less standardized in the early medieval period. Likewise, the Varāha motif iconography has been prescribed in several texts with slight variations..............The avatāra bhūvarāha form is conceptualized as four armed, two of which hold the śaṅkha and chakra. Of the remaining two hands, the left hand is to support Bhūdevī seated on his bent right lap with her legs hanging down while the right hand is to encircle her waist. The Varāha Purāṇa also describes the Earth, with its mountains, forests, islands and cities, raised up by his left tusk; clinging to his white tusk the Earth looked like clod of clay with lotus stalk.

Interesting how the ancients, with all their meditation, failed to see that the Mizar Alcor system contains six stars, and not just two. There really isn't any need to make a big deal of noise about how ancient Indians could differentiate it as two stars. Apparently, from Wikipedia

Quote:Mizar and Alcor together are sometimes called the "Horse and Rider," and the ability to resolve the two stars with the naked eye is often quoted as a test of eyesight, although even people with quite poor eyesight can see the two stars

The pillar in Kollur that ponytail refers to was apparently built "2400 years ago" by tribals to welcome Adi Shankaracharya, although, as Adithya pointed out, it would take him another 1000 years to be born. One wonders if the tribals were meditating as well, to be able to make such predictions.

The katapayadi sankhya is just another mnemonic device. Nothing special about it.

Most of the rest is plain woo woo.

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More on Batliwala's "Antares is big, hence is called as Jyeshtha (The Eldest)" logic.

Antares is about 800 times bigger than our Sun (by radius).

One of my favorite stars (it being the home Sun of Ford Prefect), Betelgeuse is more than 1000 times bigger than the Sun and is the brightest star in the Orion constellation.The ancient Indians called Orion as Mrigashirsha (Head of the deer). Not Jyeshtha.

The Cepheus constellation is home to Mu Cephei (1650 times bigger than Sun), and VV Cephei (more than 1600 times bigger than the Sun). I could find references to the Cepheus constellation in ancient Chinese astronomy but not in ancient Indian astronomy. I wonder how people who had the knowledge to determine size of Antares missed these super-big stars.

Similarly, VY Canis Majoris, part of Canis Major constellation is more than 1800 times bigger than the Sun. Again, I couldn't find mention of such an "elderly", big star in ancient Indian astronomy.
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Most of the stuff here is plain crazy, as rightly pointed out.
But, I have one major beef with this guy. He has done a PG course in mathematics and must have read various proofs and maybe even research papers during that time. And not even once does he cite references for his tall claims.
We had a workshop in Bioinformatics at our college and all speakers listed sources and references during and after their presentations.

And, did anyone check the yes+ website? The whole thing seems targeted at girls. I mean, just check out the FAQ section.

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