Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #317 - Decoding Hindu Scriptures and 'Caste'

Who is a Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya, or Shudra? Are they levels within a society? Or components that define existence? What does Manusmriti and Gita say?

Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #317 - Decoding Hindu Scriptures and 'Caste'

Photo by Eduardo Romero from Pexels

“How many times have people used a pen or paintbrush because they couldn’t pull the trigger?” ― Virginia Woolf

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Colonialism had many ramifications.  One of the most potent and troubling was the attack and fabrication of identities of those subjugated.

Identities of people, social relationships, and structures are not static.  They are ever-changing and dynamic.  The central ethos colors it, but the mores, values, ways of every generation change.  They should.

However, the colonizers devised a way to not just fossilize, customize, fabricate and set in stone carefully crafted narratives and consequent identities for the colonized but use that to completely dismantle everything that the colonized’s culture represented.  That is why nothing remains worth saving in Latin countries from their past.

The process of organic changes, evolution and self-determination was halted and the road to natural living civilization was closed.

Social definitions were made rigid and derogatory for it served the colonizer.

The falsity of identities constructed by the colonizers replete with abuse and pejoratives (slaves, savages, etc) was to justify their rule and ensure a level of resignation and self-hate in those colonized.  The latter aspect enabled the colonized masses to enlist themselves in the service of the colonizer to his benefit.

A history of Marginalization, Subjugation, Genocide, and Deprivation was built upon the ready participation of masses of colonized people who had lost their self-worth.

The main tool in this exercise was a re-writing and interpretation of the colonized’s histories and their religious/spiritual texts to adhere to the colonizers’ goal of constructing an unworthy identity.

Fabrication of the concept of the Caste System and faulty interpretation of our scriptures and the participation of our own scholars in that colonial project is spectacular in that regard.

In our last newsletter, we discussed how historical references obviated a rigid caste structure that the British had forced upon us in their narratives.  Today, we will go into our scriptures to understand the basis and understanding of the words (not just concepts) that have been willy-nilly used to create what was then promoted as “Caste System”.

This is a very detailed note and by no means complete.  We will go into more detail in Manusmriti and other scriptures at a later date.  Probably for a book as well.  But this note gives a very detailed understanding of the different aspects of this whole concept.

It is very important we read this carefully and patiently, despite its length, and then share it with others.  We need more independent commentaries, not less, on this topic.  We have been defined by others for far too long and far too much.  It is time to take our identities into our hands.

The Colonial Project in India is over.  It should stay over!

NOTE: We are specifically thankful to Nilesh Nilkanth Oak for helping us by being our guide, sounding board, and helping to clarify many points that have come together in this newsletter.  Nilesh and I spent time early morning discussing many aspects of this topic and it was that help that gave us the wherewithal to write this newsletter. 🙏

We would like to thank Kishoreji and Suranjanaji for their very generous contributions and to Yougji for his regular support and generosity.  Thank you so very much! 🙏  🙏

Dismantling Cultural Appropriation of Dharma by Colonists and One-World-Order anti-pluralists

One of the ways to destroy any culture is to reinterpret it from the pedestal of superiority and disallow any other color to surface as a counter.

That is what the British - with their armies of ideological ethnographers, Indologists, and historians - did.  They went on a journey of cultural appropriation and distortion that is the hallmark of any colonial enterprise.

Unfortunately for India and Hindus in particular, the scholars amongst us took those distortions and let them color our own understanding.  Or maybe it was a gatekeeping bias - in that only those interpretations were allowed to be marketed which aligned with a certain narrative.

We, at Drishtikone, neither have a master, nor a sponsor nor are we beholden to anyone.  So, we will look at our own heritage in a way that aligns with the foundations of what constitutes as Dharma.

The understanding of Dharma, the ways of Karma, the nuances of devotion, the various paths of Dharmic spiritual ways had certain fundamental verities and imperatives to even be relevant.  Without understanding those fundamental truths, however we look at those writings will amount to distortion.

Scriptural Decoding and relook at “Caste”-relevant areas

The Indian scriptures are divided into Shrutis and Smritis. The difference is more in terms of how they have been “received” and experienced by one.

That which exists in the realm of the overall experience of the truth is Shruti.  The reference to “hearing” is more in terms of the experience of something new.  Something that was not within the realm of your own “knowledge.”  Smriti is the product of knowledge born of memory.  Memory is limited and regurgitation of one’s accumulation.

Despite how different books/writings/scriptures have been categorized by others, we should really look at every word as having its origin at some point in a Shruti.  Over time, the experience of Truth, as shared by the experiencer was later interpreted by someone else within his/her mind-limitations to create Smriti - a memory-based interpretation.

In that sense, written and oral word should have never been considered as Shruti, as it inherently carries the curse of interpretation with it.

Shruti happens in the very first personal experience.  For example, we maintain that Bhagwad Gita was a Shruti for Arjun, but a Smriti for everyone else.

However, if we are able to approach every written word from an expansive and inclusive yet incisive perception, then we can approach the original import of the content as it may have been experienced once upon a time as a Shruti, before the contamination of someone’s memory (interpretation) distorted it.

Seeking Truth within the Dharmic realm has always been about dropping of all limitations and aligning with expansive.  That is the approach we will take.  For any other approach is a dishonest and distorted way of looking at works that originated from search within this existence for the eternal.

This is where we will start our journey.

And, we will start with Manusmriti while looking at its verses from the Dharmic standpoint devoid of any personal distortive narrative.  We are using the translation by Dr. Ramachandra Verma Shastri for the sake of reference only. (Source)

The first chapter starts with how existence came into being from an inert state of Brahman, the fundamental consciousness/energy.  How that once inert consciousness expressed itself with the inherent creativity such that it manifested in various ways resulting in this existence.

Please see that we are deliberately not using the term “creation” because it was never used by our Yogis. Srishti - roughly translated as a manifestation - was.

Rishi Manu is sharing how the different types of births happen and how life takes form and how it carries on its journey.  Manu, also shares what a human being is.  The human being, per him, is one who is born out of a womb.

Source: Manusmriti

So who is a human being?  Human or मनुष्य (Manushya) is a Karmic-ball or consequence of his karmas.  More importantly, one who can create new Karmas.  A Human Being’s old Karmas collectively decide his/her present life.  It is also called destiny or “Gods will” by some.  Primarily it is one’s own deeds that structure his/her life.

This is important to understand, for Rishi Manu’s sharing on who a Human is, obviates any divine intervention in the status and experiences one has in any life.  Whatever happens to one is a consequence of one’s own deeds with no room for an interventionist god who either takes away or gifts anything from or to anyone.

The situations one faces in life are not colored in morality.  The “rules” of what deed results in what status in subsequent lives is no reflection of any moral basis.  For, there is no judgment.

It is a consequence of how a memory is handled and passed on to either the coming generations or one’s own karmic structure.  We, in our present state, are a collective consequence of many memories - inter-generational, past lives, current social situations, and evolutionary.  (Please read Karma, the Stimulus-Reaction Memory structures and Nirvana from this bondage for detailed grounding on what Karma is)

In Manusmriti, the entire discussion on the so-called castes starts in the 89th shloka of the First Chapter.  Or so the caste-enthusiasts would have us believe.

This is after the discussion on how the existence came into being in terms of time, sun, the universe, earth with its species of animals and plants, etc.

Am sharing the translation by Dr. Ramachandra Verma Shastri above along with the original verse.  Now, this translation is problematic in many ways.  Let us first translate individual words:

  • सर्वस्यास्य or सर्वस्य अस्य means “all this” - the existence.
  • सर्गस्य refers to generation/creation (Source)
  • गुह्यर्थं  - guhya is either mystery/secret or vaginal.  Artham is towards or for.
  • महाद्युतिः means one that is a great effulgence of luster.
  • कल्पयत - is to perform/execute (Source)  Dr. Shastri’s translation of this word as निर्धारण which means determining is either laziness, ignorance or mischievous.

The real translation of the verse within the context of the earlier discussion by Rishi Manu becomes:

All this existence and its creativity complete with its mysteries and the effulgence/luster gets its activity and perception [face and arms (demeanor/visage and its activity)] through the various Karmas.

This interpretation is fully aligned with how a Human is defined by Manu earlier.  The very life as it is lived is dependent on the karmic substance of every being.  Karma is the bondage but also the glue that manifests life.

Now, please do notice that in the original text of Manusmriti, there is no mention of either caste specifically in terms of the 4 levels that have been set in stone by the British-backed Indologists.

It is spectacular how the level of enculturation fueled by the fake caste narrative was so deep that even the Indian commentators used the narrative to discuss the Manusmriti shlokas by default. One wonders where Dr. Shastri brought in the four varnas even from?

Our semantics and language have been contaminated to an extent that even those who are considered scholars - have become the vehicles of the destructive narrative that was set in motion by the ones who wanted to destroy us.

Let us understand the shloka in its real true sense:

Karma is the memory that individuals (beings) and various animate and inanimate pieces of existence create at a collective level.  This collective memory within the realm of existence is what gives form (face) and activity (arms) to the existence.

The understanding of Karma - fueled again by the mischievous and ignorant Western writers/commentators and copied by the Indian and Hindu commentators has been nothing but foolish.

Morality and Karma - decoding the Punya/Paap dichotomy

Commentators seeped in Monotheistic theological concepts - whether as practitioners or critics - have a fetish for morality as a major driving factor in establishment and governance within any civilized society.  That Morality is a pretense, limiting, and always breached (most often by those who swear by its precept that they have defined for themselves) never bothers them.

That is why Caste System is always defined in moral terms by the Westerners and their mimic men. (Please read Issue #289 - Hinduphobia and the 'Mimic Man')

A spiritual journey in the Dharmic realm starts where Moral pretense ends.

Morality is an impediment to a spiritual seeker.  She is not looking to “behave and act” in a certain way.  She is looking to transform herself to reach a level of consciousness that aligns with the limitless, infinite, and eternal consciousness.  That is Dharma.  Aligned to the Eternal law.  Not interpreting it. Not gaming it.  Aligning with it.

How does that happen?

And what role does Punya - पुण्य and अपुण्य - as Rishi Patanjali calls it (not पाप but अपुण्य) play in this journey?

The verse is in the first chapter of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (#33) and has been interpreted in the most ridiculous ways by even those who many consider as “scholars of Vedanta”.  I won’t share their interpretation but will share how someone like Patanjali - the one who was the epitome of Yoga (not asanas but the science and spiritual aspect) and Grammar, along with the experiencer of the highest states available to human experience - may have looked at these words and verses.

Maitri (friendship) and Karuna (compassion as roughly translated) are synonyms for inclusion.  Karuna is when one shares the experience of another.  That state of oneness with someone else’s experience of life.  One who feels happy in such a state of inclusion….

….And does not get into the dichotomies - has disregard or equanimity with respect - to dualities like pleasant/unpleasant and positive (altruistic)/negative (malicious) qualities (content)

… such a person has a Bhava (भाव) that brings the fruit of bliss (चित्त).  Chitta is the level of bliss body/consciousness.

The goal of Yoga - per Patanjali - is the experience of Chitta, shared so beautifully in that small verse (योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः), which is also heavily misinterpreted.

Krishna expressed the same thing in Bhagwad Gita Chapter 2.

सुखदु:खे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ | ततो युद्धाय युज्यस्व नैवं पापमवाप्स्यसि ॥38॥

In this verse, Krishna however uses the word पाप but shares that the karmic residue (negative) does not get added (is received) when one is engaged (one with) in the battle with equanimity towards dichotomies such as Happiness/unhappiness, gain/loss, victory/losing.

Moral Underpinnings: What are पाप and पुण्य?

पाप and पुण्य - are not some divine dispensations but the resultants of one’s own actions which get added to one’s karmic baggage as pleasant or unpleasant experiences.  Some actions lead to memories and experiences that may bring pleasantness, which some others may bring unpleasantness.  Sans any moral interpretation.  For example, in the Ressler/Dias experiments with the mice and how the acetophenone odor fear conditioning (Source) passed on to future generations - it was a manifestation of पाप related unpleasant experience.  It is the event and one’s reaction to it of like or dislike that gets embedded in the karmic structure.  Passed on by one’s past lives or one’s ancestors.

The Dharmic connotations of पुण्य, अपुण्य/पाप are devoid of moral underpinnings.  It’s a plain and simple consequence of a memory.

Btw, let us ensure we fully understand the state of Chitta.


Yoga is Chitta.  The experience of the final level of intelligence - the consciousness (which has been called as one manifestation of the “mind-stuff” by some).  That experience occurs when activity/movement ends/is restrained.

The state of stillness is the experience of the consciousness or Chitta.

Decoding the four levels

In Chapter 9 of Bhagwad Gita, Krishna starts off with the fundamental truth of who his being really is.

मया ततमिदं सर्वं जगदव्यक्तमूर्तिना | मत्स्थानि सर्वभूतानि न चाहं तेष्ववस्थित:

Translation: The entire existence and the unmanifest us pervaded by me and exist within me.  However, I am not contained in any part of existence or unmanifest.

Just like the discrete point on any infinite curve is a manifestation of the curve, but the curve is not the point.

After sharing the various ways that Krishna as the infinite consciousness that he has realized and manifests, he shares how those who dissolve themselves in his being are impacted.

Devotion to the complete, eternal, infinite consciousness that has a manifest form (even though the being is all-expansive), can take one away from many limitations and lead to the dissolution of all karmic structures.  And, therefore, limitations.

Women and Dharma

The Dharmic spiritual paths were many.  Most of them necessitated journeys to tough terrains in the mountains or isolated places for those areas were conducive to meditation and Sadhana.  Although not a necessity for one who has a certain level of mastery over self and has the ability to complete the sadhana/practices and the rigor, but isolated and difficult to reach places were the areas where most spiritual work was undertaken by many Enlightened masters.

This created a problem for many women seekers.  Given how society was structured, as it is even now, very few would undertake such hardships.

For example, even in today’s world, out of the 5,788 people to have summited Everest since Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary raised their flags there in 1953, just 653—around 8 percent—of climbers have been women.  (Source)

This doesn’t say that women are “weak to go to rough terrain” - those 653 weren’t! - but it is a matter of social structures and priorities.

When the spiritual work was structured by various masters primarily driven by Kriya Yoga, women were not in majority when it came to Sadhana/Meditative work in the rough terrains.

Personal Note: Beyond Gaumukh, the glacier where Ganga originates, is a place called Tapovan.  It is inhabited by some Yogis.  Until a few years back, a Yogini - Bengali Maa - lived and meditated in one of the caves.  She has since left - ostensibly due to harassment by some folks.

In that sense, women had limited access to spiritual masters and paths.

Gita and the Four Distinctions

Now let us join Chapter 9 at verse 30.

अपि चेत्सुदुराचारो भजते मामनन्यभाक् | साधुरेव स मन्तव्य: सम्यग्व्यवसितो हि स: ॥30॥

Krishna shares that even one who has done negatives actions devotes himself to me, he can be considered a positive being for he is now certainly aligned with equanimity and attains to bliss by being in Dharma.

क्षिप्रं भवति धर्मात्मा शश्वच्छान्तिं निगच्छति | कौन्तेय प्रतिजानीहि न मे भक्त: प्रणश्यति ॥31॥

In the next verse, Krishna talks of something that resembles the “divisions” that the Caste enthusiasts talk about - Vaishya/Shudra.

मां हि पार्थ व्यपाश्रित्य येऽपि स्यु: पापयोनय: | स्त्रियो वैश्यास्तथा शूद्रास्तेऽपि यान्ति परां गतिम् ॥32॥

Certainly, Partha (Arjun), those whose lives are an experience of unpleasant karmic consequences (and therefore negative reactions) that engulf them in dark life experiences, women, the Vaishyas, Shudras, attain to infinite/supreme consciousness via devotion to Me.

These are discrete examples.  None of these have access to spiritual paths normally available to others - whether due to their own state of mind/being or limitations from society.

In such a situation, devotion to Krishna - as in Infinite Consciousness - is a sure way to attain to the enlightened state.

In fact, if one sees, many women who saw Krishna either as their son or as the epitome of love, and devoted themselves so, attained to enlightenment.  No other being has been able to lead so many women to enlightenment despite social limitations purely on the basis of Bhakti, as Krishna did.

This is not a small thing.  Bhishma and Vidur were considered as greatest of wise beings.  Yet they shot arrows at Krishna when they took aim at Arjun.  They had Krishna right there with them, yet they completely missed him.

Krishna was no longer present physically in Meera’s time.  Yet she received him far more powerfully than any of those who had undergone spiritual sadhana and practice.  Meera, therefore, was far greater than Bhishma, Vidur, and countless others who missed Krishna even when he walked with them!

That is the import of स्त्रियो in this verse.

Now, back to “Caste”.  Vaishya / Shudra too can get to an enlightened state via devotion to Krishna.

But who are Vaishya and Shudra?

For that, we will go all the way to Chapter 18, Verse 41.

ब्राह्मणक्षत्रियविशां शूद्राणां च परन्तप | कर्माणि प्रविभक्तानि स्वभावप्रभवैर्गुणै: ॥41॥

The Karmas or memory burden are distributed in terms of Brahman (ब्राह्मण), Kshatriya (क्षत्रिय), Vishaam/Vaishya (विशां) and Shudra (शूद्राणां) based on the disposition/nature (स्वभाव) influenced (प्रभव) by the गुणः

गुणः as in the त्रिगुणः (three Gunas) of Tamasik, Rajasik and Sattvik are the sum total of one’s karmic structure.  One is pushed by the masters to move from Tamasik to Rajasik and then to Sattvik and then beyond the Sattvik to Moksha. As has also been shared by Krishna in Chapter 2 verse 45.

त्रैगुण्यविषया वेदा निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन | निर्द्वन्द्वो नित्यसत्त्वस्थो निर्योगक्षेम आत्मवान् || 45||

The Gunas of a person decide the inherent nature and therefore the karmas that one performs naturally.

This is not a normative proclamation as in “this is what should happen”.  But an observation of the reality.  This is what has been observed.

The four distinctions are of Karmic structures and not levels in a society.

Now on to how the karmic structures differ.

First the ब्राह्मण

शमो दमस्तप: शौचं क्षान्तिरार्जवमेव च | ज्ञानं विज्ञानमास्तिक्यं ब्रह्मकर्म स्वभावजम् ॥42॥

शमो: Peace/Tranquility; दमस: self-restraint; तपः - Austerity/Sadhana; क्षान्ति - patience/endurance; अर्जवं - honesty/integrity; ज्ञानं - this is not memory-based knowledge but understanding based on experience (as Arjun received post his experience of the Virat Roop) विज्ञान is the deeper understanding of the ‘Source’ in all its manifestations.  आस्तिक्यं - trust/non-cynical

Aastik is often translated as pious, but that is a Monotheistic understanding of a believer.  Belief or faith has no role in Dharma.  Aastik in terms of Dharmic seeking is one who is trusting of the spiritual path enough to continue with the Sadhana and not be cynical of things.  Skepticism and questions are encouraged and indeed expected and demanded by the Masters.  But cynicism is a negative stance that stalls any real questioning or advancement.

Peacefulness, self-restraint, Sadhana, Endurance, integrity (specifically in seeking Truth), understanding of the source of existence and further exploration of that realm, with a trusting/positive disposition is the nature/स्वभाव/quality of the karmic structure of a ब्राह्मण

ब्राह्मण - Brahmin, as discussed by Krishna, is not based on the “work” or lineage or class in society.  But based on what a person has made him/herself into.  It is a manifestation of qualities as opposed to activity-based characterization.

Again, this is the karmic structure that aligns with such a person and not his/her level in society.

Next, we come to Kshatriya.

शौर्यं तेजो धृतिर्दाक्ष्यं युद्धे चाप्यपलायनम् | दानमीश्वरभावश्च क्षात्रं कर्म स्वभावजम् ॥43॥

शौर्यं - Valor/courage; तेजो - energetic/sharp; धृति - fortitude, resolution; दाक्ष्यं - skill;   युद्धे - battle; चाप्य - able to; अपलायन - not flee (from battle); दान - ability to give; ईश्वर - protective/responsiveness like ruler/protector

One with valor, energy/active-ness, fortitude and skill who does not flee a challenge/battle and has the ability to give/provide as protector/responsive guardian is the nature/स्वभाव/quality of the karmic structure of a Kshatriya.

Now we come to Vaishya and Shudra.

कृषिगौरक्ष्यवाणिज्यं वैश्यकर्म स्वभावजम् | परिचर्यात्मकं कर्म शूद्रस्यापि स्वभावजम् ॥44॥

कृषि - agriculture; गौरक्ष्य - protection of the cow/animals; वाणिज्यं - Commerce; परिचर्या - service/work for others; आत्मकाम - self-providing

Agriculture, protection of animals (as in animal husbandry where animals are not sacrificed), merchant activity is the nature/स्वभाव/quality of the karmic structure of a Vaishya.  Service of others to provide for one’s self is the nature/स्वभाव/quality of the karmic structure of a Shudra.

Shudra is not one who is the lowest of all, but one who earns by serving others or in the employment of others.  His earning is compensation for work done for others.  As opposed to Vaishya, who earns either because of what he grows, generates via nature (agriculture or animals) or by trading goods via profits.

In today’s terms, everyone who is doing a job has a karmic structure of a Shudra, while those who are owning a business have a karmic disposition of a Vaishya.

How are these distinctions useful?

Our karmic structure dictates what situations we are born in and what we will face during our lives.  Not to “rub it in” but to provide us with maximum opportunity to dispel/wipe out our Karmic burden.

Whatever karmic structure we are born with will enable us with the possibilities to face the consequences of the past.  If we can discharge the situations we face with equanimity - without like/dislike, fear, hate, entanglement - then the impact of our actions will be minimal or none at all in karmic terms.  We will not add any more Karma.  Liberation from the Karmic burden is made easier.

This is expressed from Verse 45 through 50.

Krishna does state in 9:32 that even Vaishya and Shudra who do not get the opportunity to go beyond their own interests due to their karmic structures can shed the burden completely if they can be in devotion to Krishna, the eternal consciousness.

In verse 47, Krishna talks about स्वधर्म.  Where does स्वधर्म come in the discussion about Karmic structure?

Every Karmic structure and being can align itself with the eternal consciousness.  In doing so, one needs to approach his actions/Karmas in a certain way and integrity.  If one does, then one does not add any more karmic burden.

Four distinctions are of Karmic Structures not social levels

The discussion in Chapter 18 relative to the four distinctions is from the standpoint of Karma and its alignment with the eternal law (Dharma).  How there are different flavors of Karmic structures and how these Karmic Structures manifest in beings.

Even when one is beset with a Karmic structure that is debilitating, one can transcend the entire burden if one is equanimous and unentangled.

To understand this one needs to also look at Vyadha Gita - also part of Mahabharat.  It is a dialog between a Yogi who displays high ego post his Sadhana and is directed by a woman who is taking care of her husband and is enlightened to her Guru, a butcher.  Here are the links.

chapter 197 (PDF) - Vyadha Gita: dialogue between butcher & brahmana
chapter 198, 199 (PDF) - Vyadha Gita: svadharma
chapter 200 (PDF) - Vyadha Gita: karma & moksha
chapter 201, 202 (PDF) - Vyadha Gita: self-control
chapter 203 (PDF) - Vyadha Gita: sattva guna leads to enlightenment
chapter 205, 206 (PDF) - Vyadha Gita: Vyadha’s curse and conclusion

Beware of one thing - योनि is often and repeatedly translated as “family”.  It is not a family.  It is the birth-situation of a person based on his/her karmic structure. It has nothing to do with either family, lineage or parents.  In fact, all of these are decided by one’s Karmic substance. Not the other way round!

These distinctions were not mandated or enforced, but a statement of reality of how the cosmic existence works.  For, the karmic structure does not contain one in human form only.  It can take the karmic life to take any form - or योनि.  From inanimate to animate existence.  The human form is considered to be the highest because one has the opportunity to create or wipe out the Karmic burden/structure.

Whether one utilizes the human form or not is upto one’s ability to raise his consciousness beyond the limitations of reacting to the consequences of past memory.

To put it in terms of the mice experiment, as long as we keep jumping in fear to the acetophenone without any electric stimuli given to our past generation/lives - as opposed to looking at the odor as just odor and not linked in that moment to any electric shock as was the case in past experiences, we will remain bound in the karmic structure.

If we commit further actions of hate/violence or harm to others based on that fear of acetophenone, we are committing more karmic debt to pay later.

My ability or inability to handle my karma and the nature it endows me with via the disposition I take on in any birth is my doing.  It has nothing to do with my parents or my family.

Or my place in society.

market corner: 10 quick bytes

  1. Ahead of the festive season, Amazon signs pact with Gujarat to boost state MSMEs’ e-commerce exports (Source)
  2. Cairn accepts $1billion refund offer, to drop cases against India within days: CEO (Source)
  3. Around Rs 3,500 crore is lost to advertising fraud across platforms (Source)
  4. Govt procures record 890 lakh tonne paddy so far this marketing year (Source)
  5. Govt develops COVID-19 vaccine tracker to give vaccination-related information (Source)
  6. Cabinet approves Rs 10,683 cr PLI scheme for the textile sector (Source)
  7. 98% of exporters getting pending export incentives worth Rs 56,027 crore belonging to the MSME category (Source)
  8. Microsoft announces strategic investment in OYO (Source)
  9. Skyrocketing prices of edible oils: Centre asks states to enforce stocking norms (Source)
  10. NIRF Rankings 2021: IIT Madras continues to be India's best institute (Source)

nota bene

19 Emergency landing on National Highways: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has said that the Emergency Landing Facility (ELF) will be developed at 19 other places to strengthen the country's security. Inaugurating the emergency landing facility on National Highway 925A in Rajasthan with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, he said this highway runway would further strengthen the country's security in protecting the strategically essential borders.  Gadkari said ELFs would be developed at 19 other places in the country, including on Phalodi – Jaisalmer road and Barmer – Jaisalmer road in Rajasthan, Kharagpur – Balasore road, Kharagpur – Keonjhar road and near Panagarh in West Bengal, Chennai in Tamil Nadu, on Puducherry road, on Nellore – Ongole road and Ongole – Chilakaluripet road in Andhra Pradesh, on Mandi Dabwali to Odhan road in Haryana, near Sangrur in Punjab, on Bhuj-Naliya road and Surat-Baroda road in Gujarat. (Source)

Office Air Quality and Cognition: A new study by scientists at Harvard has found that the air quality inside an office can have a significant impact on employees' cognitive function, including response times and ability to focus.  Cedeno Laurent and colleagues designed a study that followed 302 office workers across six countries (China, India, Mexico, Thailand, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom) over a period of a year. It ended in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic brought global lockdowns. All participants were aged between 18 and 65, worked at least three days in an office building, and had a permanent workstation within the office. Their workspaces were fitted with an environmental sensor to monitor real time concentrations of fine particulate matter 2.5 micrometers and smaller, PM2.5, as well as carbon dioxide, temperature, and relative humidity.

Tik-Tok Promotes Sex and Drugs: The algorithm TikTok uses to decide what videos users will see is promoting sexual content, drugs, and alcohol to children as young as 13, an investigation revealed.  As part of the Wall Street Journal investigation, a '13-year-old user' searched for 'only fans and watched a handful of videos including two selling pornography on the China-based social media app. When viewing the for you page, the TikTok version of the Twitter feed, the same teenage user was shown a series of sexually-oriented videos. (Source)

Vaccinate or be Fired: President Joe Biden will require all of the roughly 2.1 million federal workers to be vaccinated as part of a series of new mandates he'll push in a major speech on the COVID pandemic Thursday.  The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest union of federal workers, said they weren't consulted on the order. And the National Federation of Federal Employees, another government workers union, said they didn't receive advance notice of the executive order. (Source)

Preserve Fossil Fuel to Save the Planet: The majority of the planet’s fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground if the world wants even half a chance—literally—at meeting its most ambitious climate targets. A new study published yesterday in the journal Nature found that 60 percent of oil and natural gas, and a whopping 90 percent of coal, must remain unextracted and unused between now and 2050 in order for the world to have at least a 50 percent shot at limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. (Source)

video corner: Spiritual Traditions in Romania

Spiritual traditions were systematically destroyed by the Christian groups in Europe.  Over 100,000 women who showed special abilities were hunted and burned down on the stakes because even elevated qualities in human beings had to be controlled.  Since Monotheistic traditions are fundamentally patriarchal and male-dominated, women could not be allowed to have or attain to any spiritual power.

This led to the deaths of many women.  Roma gypsies had a particularly horrifying history in Europe where they were subjected to genocides.  Romania is a country where these gypsies were in majority with their own ways and divine-related traditions.  Christianity destroyed that.

Yet some traditions remain and are bouncing back now.  Watch this fascinating video on the “Witchcraft” (even liberal minds seeped in Monotheistic traditions cannot think beyond the genocidal semantics) in Romania.

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