Welcome. If you are looking for solutions to improve the modern world or just peace and happiness for your self and loved ones, search through the posts of this blog, you are likely to find words and thoughts that guide you to it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Learning by Teaching

The Babaji Affair by Ashok

After receiving a doctoral degree in engineering from the University of British Columbia in Canada, that has been ranked in the top fifty universities of the world for many decades, I took up an academic career that involved teaching, research and administration of education successively in three of the finest universities in three different parts of the world, all made possible by the grace of the Almighty. While towards the latter part of my professional career the administrative role increased, in the earliest part teaching was a major component. I taught the subjects in which I had majored in graduate school, stuff called heat transfer, thermodynamics, fluid turbulence etc.  A significant realization at the time was that most of my learning took place when I began to teach.

Truly a teacher learns most when he teaches because at this time he is compelled to contemplate on his subject matter more deeply and repetitively as well as deal with questions and queries from students. Some such thing happened with the present blog too after it was launched around seven years ago. It is not at all to do with my professional involvements that helped make a living but to do with matters of general and wider interest – Life and Spirituality – from a global point of view, not one that is confined to any one part of the world or tradition.

Being a quintessential professor, most of my blog posts have an element of teaching and in doing so many readers, especially from the English speaking parts of the world have visited and hopefully learned something useful. Perhaps the most learning has been for my own self and also my greatest reward. Any visitor to this blog may browse or search through it on any topic to do with the fundamental workings and purpose of life and if they post a question in a comment, I shall know through email notifications and respond to it. On the other hand, if a reader finds that stories that teach are more interesting, this essential knowledge is also included in the book – The Babaji Affair. The book may be located easily anywhere in the world through a Google search.

In the end though, may I point out that while life seems insecure because of so many unforeseen dangers, there is a very simple way to overcome these insecurities and attain peace as well as happiness when one understands life deeply. For every human, there are fears of sickness, old age and death. Then there are dangers from the elements, the microbiological world of viruses and bacteria, insects and animals but most of all from the doings of other humans and human organizations, even governments that could potentially turn a happy life into misery in minutes. Despite this, one learns to be secure and happy when one trusts in the Universal Intelligence that gave birth to all life. Death is no longer a fearful prospect but a bright renewal in new clothes. One realizes that all be well for all in the end and what seemed like ups and downs or travails in life were fascinating adventures full of learning that helped us evolve, so that we are once again free to enjoy this wonderful creation that the Lord made for our joy just as every loving parent fills a child’s room with wonderful toys, that children who trust their parents enjoy but those who are afraid of the shadowy ghost under the bed or the snake in the bush cannot, until such time as our souls become mature and wise enough to return to the Source and Eternal Bliss from whence it arose.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Design for a Cottage

This blog has posts on design of compact cottages suitable for countryside living. Here is another design of a compact two room cottage. As a engineer my attempt is to design cottages that are simple and sturdy to construct from an engineering point of view. The present design consists of three nine inch brick walls set apart by eleven feet only to provide an economical and sturdy roof supported on these walls. A Kitchen towards the back and a bathroom towards the front is carved out by partitioning walls along with closet spaces. Since side windows are not necessary in this design, such cottages can be constructed in a row as well of two or more cottages for a group of persons.

Since the present design has no side windows, a row of such cottages can also be set side by side. The following figure shows a complex consisting of such cottages adapted as 12 ground floor and twelve first floor apartments in a community complex with a central club on an approximately three acre complex, or much less area by reducing the green spaces in case it is located in an urban setting where land is scarce.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hell and Heaven on Earth

The plains of Nainital District
Whereas the lives of some persons in some parts of the world are miserable and hell like, in other parts of the world and of other persons are like heaven. This is not to say that at least temporary and brief suffering is not experienced by all, since that is very much integral to life in which death, old age and sickness are a part. However on the whole, some live in heaven for the most part of their lives while others in hell.

It does not require much analysis to conclude that hell like conditions are produced when pride, greed, anger, selfishness and violence rule the roost (many still primitive type of humans who have not yet fully evolved out of their animal past are prone to use of physical violence despite the fact that they have acquired other abilities like reason and speech, they should be excused in the same manner as one excuses near dumb animals for physical violence) whereas heaven like conditions emerge when the prevailing ethos is love, compassion, truth and simplicity.

Presently, we have conditions of miserable homelessness for some even in the richest country of the world – America. Not just grown ups but children scared out of their wits by drug wars in Central America have been running from their homes into America and then being locked up in cold cramped confinement. For several years, children and mothers have been living in misery in Syria and every few years children are maimed and bombed out of their homes in Gaza. These are only some examples of hell on earth where infants die routinely of malnutrition. All of these situations are easily solved as explained in some of the earlier posts of this blog if there was enough love, compassion, lack of greed and pride in other parts of the world that are presently heaven like. It would not be just philanthropy to do so but wisdom because it is the very lack of such things that brings hell to parts of the world that were heaven like earlier, turn by turn. It is would be wise to be compassionate and reach out in gestures of humanism.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Simplifying Taxation

Simplifying Taxation
While in many ways modern humans have progressed, there are some things that have become horribly complex in modern times. One of these is the taxation systems that exist in various countries of the world. Humans appear to have literally tied themselves up in knots when it comes to taxes, tax collections and regulations that are like fat books full of much unnecessary gibberish in very many countries of the world. It goes without saying that such systems not only lead to harassment of citizens but also high costs of maintaining these systems and poor tax collections. The fact is that in the modern world far simpler ways to collect taxes are available and any country would do well to discard much of its revenue and tax services along with many regulations and replace it with two or three simple types of taxes. Three that may be mentioned are

  1. GST
  2. Bank Transaction Tax
  3. A Corporate tax on corporate profits

With that will end the pain of filing annual returns (except for corporations) and the huge infrastructure required to maintain existing systems. An enlightened form of corporate taxation that encourages small businesses to grow and prevents large ones from becoming too big for good is described in an earlier post here: