Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Magic of Medicinal herbs and flowers, Lost Soma




Today I was reminded of older articles in this blog on an ancient magical plant called Soma. A drink from this plant gave ancient Aryans magical powers of mind, body and soul. The interested reader will easily find articles on it through using the search tool in the left side bar. Details there are not repeated here.

The ancient Soma plant is now lost or extinct. Several scholars have made many attempts to identify it in modern times, from ephedra to magic mushrooms,  each one supporting his own proposals enthusiastically but in the opinion of this author none seem to fit the bill.

In the last decade or so, availability of internet and google search makes the task of a world wide search of plants much easier. This blogger did precisely that some time ago leading to articles just mentioned. As a result of the search, the author narrowed down two plants that came closest to ancient descriptions. These are the Cornus Sericea as found in North America presently and the Sugar Cane found in many different parts of the world as good possibilities.  Both grow near lakes and water bodies in wild and both have some sugar content and medicinal value. Both plants have multiple tall stalks with knots in red, green, yellow and tawny colors, both have found use as medicine and food. However the juice from modern varities of the sugar cane plants comes nowhere near the magical plant Soma in its effect as per ancient descriptions.

In the Himalyan region Ephedra gerardiana has been used in India since the Vedic period as a soma substitute when Aryans were no longer able to find the original plant known as soma. Many people took to preparing the sacred soma beverage with substitute plants, one of which was E. gerardiana or Somlata... The effects of Ephedra gerardiana are more stimulating than visionary and it also does not conform to descriptions in Rig Veda.

Unlike magic mushrooms Soma did not cause any hallucinations or departure form reality, like alcohol Soma made humans happy but unlike alcohol it increased physical coordination for warriors and did not intoxicate, like cannabis it was medicinal and meditative but unlike cannabis it made persons more awake and physically active and unlike ephedrine it did not just make a person more awake but also increased spiritual insights. It seems to have contained organic components not yet discovered by modern humans but found in ancient Soma of the Aryans. 

Since the effect of plant extracts depends a lot on the process used, an opinion was expressed that cornus Sericea juice is presently not extracted in the best possible way and that an attempt be made to extract and process it as close to the original description in ancient Aryan Vedas. However, since the notes were published, no results have been forthcoming and the author’s attention returns to sugar cane.

It may be mentioned that while in later times after Soma was lost, people attempted to replace it with ephedra including Persian Aryans and various mixtures from other plants even giving it the name Soma or similar names but none seems to come anywhere near the Soma of Rig Veda and nowhere does the Rig Veda indicate any mixing of plants in its very many hymns on Soma. The Rig Veda describes clearly the crushing to extract juice, filtering through wool and purification in wooden vats of a single plant. However it must be mentioned that milk was added to Soma juice and this appears to be an essential step from its repeated mention in the Rig Veda. It is not clear if the milk underwent fermentation as in the Kumis drink of Central Asian warriors. Milk may also have a lot do with the effect of the final drink so prepared.

In many ways ancient descriptions of Soma are much closer to Sugar cane juice than that that of Cornus Sericea. It is very sweet unlike Cornus Sericea, most often tawny in color and the Vedic Soma juice was prepared similar to modern processes. It needs many persons to carry bundles; it is crushed, in ancient times with stones, its juice flows through channels. Further this juice is frothy as described in the Veda and needs to be filtered. In ancient times filtration was done through wool filters. It was then collected in wooden vats and left to purify for some time. Sugar cane juice begins to ferment quickly and in a wooden vat this process is likely to be quicker, especially if the same vat is reused as it must have been.

The resulting drink is indeed pleasant and exhilarating. Soma did not intoxicate and a small percentage of alcohol will not do so either. However a juice so prepared with modern sugar cane still does not come close to the properties of ancient Soma. Even if some considered ancient descriptions exaggeration, ancient Aryans demonstrated its potency by composing voluminous Vedas and even memorizing them in a way only a few autistic persons can in modern world.

A Soma Variety of Sugar Cane ?

There is a possibility that in the past wild varieties of sugar cane existed that contained other compounds that would bring the properties of an unknown variety of sugar cane close to that of Soma. It would be worth expanding searches of Soma in sugar cane varieties. If an ancient species has been lost perhaps with modern techniques of developing new varieties and cross breeding it may still be recovered. Stevens Michael Brumbley et al of the University of Queensland, 2011 have described in their patent that the sugar cane plant is highly suited to genetic modification

The sugar cane plant because of its highly efficient C4 carbon assimilation mechanism, a rapid growth rate and large quantities of sucrose in its stems has ideal properties of a bioreactor. The plant may produce with some genetic modification any nucleic acid which encodes a protein, polypeptide or peptide of interest and this includes phenethylamine, a compound that has effects similar to many described for Soma. However while in isolated chemical form this chemical has harmful side effects, these are expected to be minimal or absent in a natural combination as produced by a living plant. Such a genetic modification of sugar cane and its processing my method similar to the original Soma recipe may lead a drink similar to the original Soma drink and recovery of a sugar cane variety close to the original, now likely extinct plant. Further work in this direction appear highly promising.


Image source:
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Protein snack for humans, from the gods


Roasted Chickpeas
Scroll down for dinner recipe
Recent reports on harmful effects of meat are encouraging many persons around the world to look for protein rich and delicious alternatives to meat. An older note lists ten categories of delightful alternatives full of good health. The present one is confined to just one of them, a healthy snack.

Nuts like coconuts, almonds and walnuts are great snack full of protein and good health but while the former grows near oceans the latter grow in colder parts of out planet. In other parts they are less available or more expensive. However on inland plains with a moderate climate, Mother Earth has provided humans with two other plants that are an excellent replacement with good nutritional and protein value and are like nuts when roasted. These are Peanuts and Bengal Gram. Both can be had alone, mixed, salted or plain. Both have a skin that can be rubbed off or eaten. They have been a common snack in South Asia known as Chana and Mungfali. They have met the nutritional needs of the poor for centuries and added joy to life of rich with a drink or otherwise.

Although both these seeds may lead to flatulence when cooked as food, when roasted they do not do so and are eminently digestible. In the past they were so cheap in South Asia that the financially comfortable who liked them were shy and ate them secretly including this author in his childhood so that other rich friends may not laugh at him The well off were supposed to snack on better stuff like almonds or cashew nuts but it is only the pricing that made this difference not their health value so much. A rich aunt of mine who was fond of roasted chickpeas mixed with puffed rice would visit our home from her small town every three months and ask my father to get her three month supply because she was too shy to purchase them in her own town by herself. She also used this as a dieting aid because they cut down the need for meals, yet kept her healthy.. Whenever she wished to bring her weight down she would just have a bowl of mixed puffed rice and roasted chickpeas with a glass of fruit juice instead of dinner.

They were the essential accompaniment of wandering hermits called Sadhus in South Asia. Once roasted, they store well and are an ideal companion for a traveler. Some also carry puffed rice, biscuits or dried breads and onions that preserve well on journeys and then all they have to do is find some fresh fruit on their way for a journey of even days through a wilderness and survive without any cooking.

This author has called these godly plants because not only are they great food but they do not need fertilizer to grow, rather they add fertilizer to soil by nitrogen fixation. The leaves of Bengal gram (chickpea) plants are edible too when cooked and they can be dried and stored for use throughout the year. The groundnut or peanut leaves on the other hand, are great fodder for cows and goats with protein content. For every hectare of groundnuts planted, there may be three tons of hay. Each ton is enough to keep several animals alive and yielding milk at the end of the dry season.

In a 100 g serving, peanuts provide more than 500 calories, and are an excellent source of several B vitamins, vitamin E, several dietary minerals, They also contain about 25 g protein per 100 g serving, a higher proportion than in many tree nuts. Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food, providing rich content of protein, dietary fiber, folate, and certain dietary minerals and vitamins. Chickpeas have a protein digestibility corrected amino acid score of about 0.76, which is higher than many other legumes and cereals. (information from Wikipedia that has the references)

As with every good food including bread and milk, the most basic of foods, a few people are allergic to either peanuts or chickpeas, but the number of such is very small. It is for this reason Mother Earth has produced such a vast variety of foods so that there is something for everyone.




  

Dry Salted snacks (Namkeen)




A range of delicious dry salted snacks are prepared in India from the flour of Bengal grams. These go by the generic name of Namkeen. They store well and have a long shelf life except in months of high humidity when they turn soggy. These snacks may be a preparation of just Bengal gram flour or mixed with fried peanuts, fried flaked rice, coconut shaving, fried whole Bengal Grams, raisin, and cashew nuts (for the more expensive varieties). Although not as healthy as the roasted snack, they are tastier. They could be unhealthy if too many spices, red chilies and the wrong oil have been used for deep frying. This blog has a separate note on cooking oils for those who wish to check that out.



The Namkeen snacks can be had all by themselves or mixed with chopped onions, finely chopped cabbage, cilantro leaves, chopped green chilies and lime juice in which case they are more wholesome. These Namkeen snacks are popular with afternoon tea, to serve to an unexpected guest at home or to take along on a journey for the moment when a good fresh meal may not be at hand. Some persons also have them at breakfast with a glass of hot milk or tea.

‘Pleasure of Asia’ Dinner Recipe

 



While this note described the use of Bengal gram and peanuts as roasted nuts for snacking, both of these foods find use in many dinner recipes too. We shall describe just one dinner idea here that is called the Pleasure of Asia dinner because it incorporates side dishes and ideas inspired from different regions of Asia, from West Asia to Japan and primarily makes use of Bengal gram and peanuts

Pakoras 

Pakoras are also spelt pakodas or pakordas. This is because the rd sound is a mixed sound between an r and a d that does not exist in most languages outside of South Asia. Pakoras by themselves are an afternoon tea time snack but with appropriate dishes are the main course of a dinner too as described next. Most often a pakora dinner is a family dinner, not when guests are invited, with some families doing this once a week.



Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup Bengal gram flour (besan) that serves four
  2. Cooking oil for deep frying
  3. Assorted farm fresh crisp vegetables as indicated later
  4. Half tea spoon vinegar or lemon juice
  5. Tea spoon baking powder
  6. Salt and spices to taste


Bengal gram flour or Besan is available in western countries in East Indian stores. However I prefer to make my own from Bengal gram lentil (Chana dal) so as to be sure of its purity and quality. The Bengal gram lentils are the small black chickpea with skin washed off and split in halves. When ground to a fine powder in a blender it produces Besan flour

Take the Besan flour in a bowl and add a little water at a time stirring as a cake mix to turn into a thick paste, not a runny one, something the consistency of a tooth paste. Do not mix in the baking powder and lemon juice yet but keep it for whisking in just before deep frying to preserve the fluffiness it will impart to the paste.

To turn this paste into pakoras there are two styles. For a quick dinner you may use the first easier one but for an elaborate one you might include both the styles of pakoras, the Egyptian falafel style and the more delicate Japanese Tempura style

Falfel style Pakoras

Take some chopped onions, green chilies and spinach leaves and mix in the besan paste, add a pinch of salt to taste, then whisk in the lemon and vinegar and the mixture is likely to froth a bit. Set it aside

Bring oil to very hot in a fryer, now add table spoonfuls of the besan mix ,a few at a time, to deep fry until golden red. Turn down the heat so that pakoras cook well right to the center.  Remove from oil when done. And place on crushed paper napkins for oil to drain. Check out one, it should be cooked till the center, if not fully done perhaps the oil became too hot and these need a second refrying. Uncooked besan will upset a stomach and needs to be cooked well.

Tempura style Pakoras

For this, slightly thin the besan paste without the vegetables with a little more water. Dip in it thin slices of potatoes, onions, cauliflower, whole baby spinach leaves or whole green chilies (pricked and slit slightly so that they do not burst on frying) and fry in the hot oil as before, remove from oil when done and place on crumpled paper napkins to drain.. Some persons dip the vegetable in plain dry refined flour before dipping in the besan paste and you wish to try both versions to see which ones you like better depending on your choice of vegetables, thickness of paste etc.

Paneer (unprocessed cheese) cut in small squares also makes excellent pakoras, as do chicken strips or fish pieces for those who prefer non-vegetarian but the dinner has enough protein in it and does not really need more from animal sources.

These may be served in a flat dish at dinner time or in a bread basket lined with a cloth napkin.  These pakoras are the main course for dinner. It requires three simple side dishes that are very simple to arrange

Bread Plate:  The bread plate contains slices of white bread with sides removed neatly with a sharp knife. Do not cut into triangles. The other more eastern alternative is if you can find Nan bread, then these are cut into bread size pieces and placed similarly in the bread plate

Salad Plate: This is a salad plate where one places different salad vegetables without mixing on different sides of the plate  – iceberg or cos lettuce leaves, sliced cucumber, celery leaves, radish slices. No dressing or salt should be added to these vegetables.

Sauce plate: The sauce plate contains four different sauces in individual bowls, a green sauce, brown sauce, white sauce and red sauce. The red sauce is just ketchup, the white sauce may be any of the Arab hummus tahini, western white mayonnaise, or hung yoghurt with a whiff of garlic; the green sauce is ground mint blended with the hung yoghurt or simply the British mint sauce. 

The brown sauce here is the primary sauce and it is the Malaysian Satay peanut Sauce made with peanuts without the hot chilies. With the hot chilies everyone runs to the toilet four times during the night after dinner except perhaps Malaysians and Sri Lankan who did it enough times in childhood to get immune to it.  Recipes for these sauces are not included here but the interested reader shall find them easily by googling, for example see this, but just cut down the red chilies from six to half or none.

Drink: Wine does not go well with this dinner but another called Kanji in the Pashtun region and by other names in West Asia is the drink of choice with this dinner. It is a healthy drink. It can be made simply at home by adding sliced turnips and slice beat roots to a moderately salted solution. After a week the liquid can be drained out as a dark red drink when it becomes acidic with vegetable component reactions. Sliced dark carrots may be added to the mix too. The drained vegetables can be used separately as a pickle. If one is fond of an alcoholic drink then instead of wine, the western gimlet made with Gin and lime is the best choice to be served with this dinner.

During dinner set the four items on the table. Guests take a few of the pakoras and salad vegetables of their choice, place then on the bread piece, fold it over, dip in the sauce of their choice and enjoy. Do not dip directly in the sauce bowl but spoon some to your plate.  This is a single course dinner, substantial in itself, not requiring any desert or starters. Just serve sweetened black or green tea after dinner.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tempura_seiro_soba_by_kina3.jpg




Check out this older note for ten different healthy and delcious vegetarian alternatives to meat:
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2014/10/healthy-proteins-for-vegetarians-vegan.html

Images:

Chickpeas


This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Peanuts


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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The New OFR Biscuits, Crackers and Cookies



An earlier note  (see here) had described biscuits, crackers and cookies called OFR biscuits and cookies (Organic Food relief) that are an ideal emergency food for situations such as disaster or refugee relief when fresh food cannot be delivered or prepared in a hurry, for example, when persons are trapped in a flood.

There are many different types of biscuits available in the market. However most contain primarily carbohydrates that can relieve hunger on an odd occasion but are not replacement for food because a human requires besides carbohydrates, proteins and a variety of micro-nutrients present in a variety of fruits and vegetables. There are fortified biscuits available that make up for some of these through addition of chemical minerals and vitamins. However, being of chemical origin they are not the best choice for long term use. The OFR biscuits on the other hand use only natural ingredients such as dehydrated vegetables mixed with flour so that they are more suitable as a food replacement. In fact they may be used over long periods in programs such as school midday meals or by others along with a soup and salad for a quick lunch. They are also an ideal companion for a traveler. They can be produced using a variety of different ingredients to offer variety and good health.

The interested reader may check out the older note on details of the existing OFR biscuit. That note has been referred to by a number of biscuit makers around the world and it has it seems contributed towards producing new varieties that are healthier. However, so far most are not using dehydrated vegetables in the mix because of one severe limitation. It is difficult to maintain consistency when much vegetable powder is mixed with flour because vegetables do not contain the gluten that binds bread and biscuits together. The present note offers a new option that overcomes this limitation.

The New OFR Biscuit


The new OFR biscuits contains besides wheat flour, protein as well as micro nutrients from a variety of vegetables as well as natural herbal flavors. The wheat flour used in this preparation may be a mix of whole wheat flour and refined flour mixed in a proportion depending on results of trials perhaps beginning with a 50:50 mix

Protein Content: 

Several existing biscuits contain Soya flour mixed with wheat flour but the difficulty with these is that although it does provide protein it also causes flatulence. It is therefore not easily digested, especially by children. It is recommended that any of the following three may be used to make up the protein content

Red Lentil Flour
Moong Bean flour
Skimmed milk powder
Finely ground peanuts with their oil content
Finely ground coconuts with their oil content

Any or all three may be used so as to make up between 7 to 15 percent of the wheat flour by volume. Different mixes would produce different varieties. The lentil flours must be preferred for salty biscuits as indeed most OFR biscuits should be whereas a sweet variety using larger amounts of the milk powder may be  manufactured.

Vegetable Content:

The new proposal makes adding vegetable nutrients to biscuits easy. Vegetables need not be dehydrated (although large scale manufacturers may still prefer that) but simmered in water to strain and press out the concentrated vegetable broth. This is then used instead of water to prepare the biscuit mix. The recommended vegetables are:

Spinach
Onions
Tomatoes
Carrots

Herbal flavors such as garlic, ginger and coriander may be added to the mix.



Vegetable Juice:

The alternative to simmering vegetables is simply extracting the juice of raw vegetables and straining the juice. The simmering method would extract more nutrients but the direct method may be preferable for vegetables with high water content and a much wider variety may be used than suggested above

Fruit Juice:

Similarly fruit juice may be used when the biscuit to be produced is a sweet one
 
Vegetable Broth

Well washed vegetables are placed in the boiling vessel and a little water is added to begin with, after the mixtures comes to boil, it is simmered with a cover for one hour, cooled and then the juice is strained and pressed out to extract water soluble nutrients. The remaining solids can be dried and used as animal feed mix or for composting.

With the present methods producing OFR biscuits becomes much easier than the older proposal. A variety can be produced by varying the vegetable and protein mix. One rich in tomatoes would produce a red biscuit and another rich in spinach a green one. It goes without saying that artificial flavors or Trans fats must not be used. However saturated fats such as palm oil may be used because recent studies appear to indicate that it is Trans fats that may damage human health and not saturated fats as such.

Traditional biscuits were most often consumed as a snack with tea or milk or by infants and hence they are usually small in size. The OFR biscuits are meant for meals and are better larger perhaps rectangular for ease of handling and often thicker depending on ingredients so that they do not break easily during handling. Imagine two of those shown in picture with a tossed green salad in thick sour cream dressing for a lunch plate or two of them with a glass of milk and fresh fruit ( An apple or a banana) for a school midday meal! The main use of these however would remain for delivering in a variety of flavors to persons trapped in distress and as a traveler's trusted companion

An OFR Biscuit


Original note may also be read for full details :
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2013/07/biscuits-for-relief-ofr-biscuit.html


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

When bad is good



 

Once, a man suffered a severe accident. He was moved to a hospital. After a few days he found himself confined to a hospital room in heavy plaster casts and stretching devices. He was told, he would be confined to a bed for the next few months but nurses would visit regularly and look after his needs. There was a TV in the room and they would bring magazines so that he might while away his time. But John, that was his name, had been an active man who loved the outdoors and felt depressed in this sorry state.

Some weeks later a companion by the name of Harry joined him on the only other bed in the room and it became a little better because there was someone to talk to now. Harry was more mobile and could move around, even sit up and look through the window near his bed. John asked him about the view from the window. Harry described how the snow was melting in the fields and new grass had begun to sprout up. How children came to play now and that there was a beautiful lake across the field. In the days ahead he described the crocuses and wild flowers, the cherry tree beside the lake that burst in to bloom, then the new leaves that came out and all such descriptions gladdened John’s heart and wiped away his depression.

One day Harry was released and John too was told that his cast would be removed and he would be able to walk around soon, at first with a walker for a few days, then a walking stick and later in time he would be almost as fine he had been before. Over the next few days, John too was able to get around a bit with the help of a walker. He dragged himself to the window to see the cherry tree and the lake outside. However, what he saw outside was not flowers and a lake but just blank walls of an old dilapidated building, a narrow alley and all that could be seen in the alley was an open garbage dump to which some stray dogs would visit from time to time.

Harry had made up stories to make John happy and lift his depression.  In very many posts of this blog, it has been mentioned how things like violence, stealing, lust, anger, lies etc. are animal things and how humans must rise above such things in order to evolve and become better humans. Yet the Lord has left these tendencies in humans so that in exceptional circumstances, when the need arises, one may make use of these abilities. Thus anger and violence is at times necessary in self defense, lust is needed for procreations and a human may face an emergency where he would starve but for stealing a loaf of bread, and there are times such as described in the story when a lie may serve a good purpose.

The difficulty arises when anger and violence are used not as defense but for gain or self interest, when they are so out of control that they cause unnecessary and grave harm to another, lust not for procreation, not even as a part of love but mere physical pleasure even without mutual consent, stealing not in order to avoid collapse from hunger but to fill one’s coffers, and lying used not to help another but to increase ill gotten gains. These latter can only lead a human soul to misery and degenerating back into an animal body or worse.

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Human Journey



Monkeys, 1889, Gabriel von Max

One may find in this world most beautiful and good looking persons yet find hidden within the depths of their being an evil and cruel soul. On the other hand, one may also find some fierce looking and ugly humans yet discover that they harbor a kindly and gentle soul within.

External looks of a human are largely a matter of genetics that is inherited at birth. Eastern mystics believe that a soul acquires a body at birth that is in keeping with its character. Compassionate beings inherit a beautiful body while cruel souls inherit beastly ones. What we acquire at birth is a direct consequence of our past in other lives in our near endless journey through the universe. As a human, one acquires considerable ability and choice to mould character and determine one’s destiny. It is entirely within human capability to change from a kind compassionate being to a foul and cruel one within the course of a life time or vice versa. This explains how a beastly looking person can turn out to be kind while a beautiful looking one evil. The most divine of humans can become foul by succumbing to pride, greed and anger. If violence is adapted then transformation to a beast is rapid. On the other hand, adapting things like love, truth and simplicity the foulest of humans can begin transforming to lovely ones. Adding things like laughter and beauty, that includes cleanliness and order, hasten the process. In all this, external appearances cannot change much since only a little is possible within the constraints of what genes dictate but a soul may transform. Just giving up the most animal like instincts of violence, lying and stealing, can transform a barely human soul to a fully human one rather rapidly.

While some humans change much during the course of a life time, for many, the change is slow, spread over many life times, especially in modern times when physical sciences rather than spiritual sciences dominate. Physical sciences are effective in making major changes in the external material world just as spiritual sciences can in the inner self. It is for this reason that practices such as yoga when done holistically, not just physically hasten evolution of the self.  Aside from exceptions mentioned in the previous paragraph where a human has transformed inherited tendencies with education, experience and evolution, looks do often indicate the shape of a soul within. Nations full of beautiful souls are full of beautiful looking humans and those full of violent and crude souls are full of beastly looking ones. It goes without saying that nations with lovely souls are frequently also the happiest ones on earth over long periods of time while those with violent and lying souls are the miserable ones.

An earlier note described how to ascertain happiness levels of different nations on our planets through simple calculations. It was found that a few Scandinavian nations were the happiest ones on the planet currently. This level of happiness and beauty reduces gradually as one moves away from this part of the world, at different rates, depending on the direction one takes, until one reaches the depths of Africa and a beast of a human, like a foul creature from the infernal regions, pounces upon another to chop off heads and limbs shouting, hoola hoola hoo.

However as mentioned at the outset, external looks are not always an indication of character. The earliest recorded human civilization started by Sumerians were by people who were not the prettiest, They were broad nosed, thick lipped, with rough wavy hair, short and dark Australoid people who came to establish cities and rule over much better looking Akadian and other people at the dawn of civilized human history in what is now Iraq. A companion blog of this author has several posts on ancient prehistory here http://alienaccount.blogspot.com

Branches of the same ancient Australoid tribes also seem to have established other ancient civilizations such as Indus valley, Elam with another offshoot from Sumer the Nile valley civilization. These early humans had discovered the essence of evolving. They were fanatic adherents of cleanliness and order, shunned violence and upheld moral truthful behavior and simplicity backed by their ancient religion. So devoid were they of greed that Indus valley cities persisted without change for over a thousand years. They had thus discovered the essence of sustainable and peaceful living.

It seems founders of these ancient civilizations had developed their concepts in what is now the southern tip of south Asia, the southernmost and warmest part of the old world, then expanded because oceans had receded,  where humans from different parts of the world had sought refuge during the last glacial period. The dominant original population of the area was an Australoid race having come out of Africa and settled there much earlier and together these early settlers developed the first aspects of civilized existence. All this can be deduced because it has now been shown that language of Elam and Sumer were ancient forms of Archaic Tamil. This has been discussed in more detail in the earlier linked blog. As the inter glacial period began some ten thousand years ago and cities of these ancient humans began to get submerged from rising ocean levels and as snows of the North melted, groups of these people migrated northward to establish ancient civilizations in Indus, Elam and Sumer. Some migrated eastwards too and the last flickers of these ancient people shone in places like Angkor Vat until recent times.

Since the time of ancient Sumer, many different human civilizations in different parts of the world have excelled whenever values of Love and Truth have been upheld and declined when lies, violence and greed have dominated. In the past good human values were inspired by divine personalities such as Jesus and Buddha. Under the compassionate teachings of Buddha that insisted on avoiding violence to all life, nations of South Asia excelled some 2000 years ago, the first International University of Nalanda was established from which students from far flung corners of the then civilized world, from Greece to Japan arrived to study here and carry back the message of Buddha to their nations. However, the prosperity such progress brings often tends to corrupt humans into a new cycle of decay.

In the modern world very many humans having moved away from mystic values i.e. all that cannot be verified for them by science depend more on their basic instincts, much of which they inherit at birth. All this however shows that even more important than what we inherit is what we can develop as we journey through life. Individuals can achieve their personal Nirvana through simple things Love, truth and simplicity. When these values excel in a nation as a whole then a nation may excel.



Evil of Racism

However, argument such as presented in this note may never be used for racial prejudice. The reason is that while it may be true that on the average a race is doing better than another at any given period of history, within each race, there is great diversity with individuals varying from most degenerate ones to the most evolved. Thus nothing can be said of individuals and one from a race doing well on the whole may be a much poorer specimen of humanity than another of a race not doing so well on the whole.

The truth is that it is degenerate humans of a race that attempt to flaunt racial superiority, not having much of any other human ability that they may be proud of. A proof of this is that those who indulge in racism often express it as hate, a tool of the lowest amongst humans. Further flaunting superiority is not a habit of truly superior souls but rather of degraded ones. Evolved or good humans on the other hand, even if they genuinely realize that another human is in need of improvement in some ways, express love and care for such individuals because of it rather than hate and assist them to evolve too.
 


The essential message of this note is expressed as a poem here:
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2015/10/journey-of-soul-poem.html


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Journey of a Soul – A Poem






Beasts of the forest
Lowly creatures that crawl
Just to survive
Violence is their creed
Poor souls they know not
That is why they steal

Stepping in as a human
Mind begins to think
Lips begin to move
Out pour lies
Or lovely truths

A soul evolves
Giving up on violence
No longer a need
Lies and stealing
Not necessary to feed
Free of Jealousy
That burns one as fire
While flowers must bloom

Clean and contented
With delight and humor
Avoiding the call
Of three lovely maidens
Those stand at the gate
Of a bottomless fall
Lust, greed and anger
The journey proceeds

As humans evolve
Pride threatens
It precedes a fall
Tying to a bosom
Humor and humility
Love truth and simplicity
A soul may reach
Company of the gods

Light surrounds
A god like soul
Joy and beauty
Lie in its fold


Saturday, October 3, 2015

A simple method for estimating extent of evil influence in governments




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It was mentioned in the previous note how some countries in the world have become so chaotic that they have become failed states. When a state fails, it does not necessarily mean that its government has become bad or evil. There can be other historical reasons that lead to such a sad situation. Conversely, when a country is extremely stable, it does not necessarily imply that there is no evil within that government, but how does one assess or estimate evil if any?

Things like evil, good, happiness are all abstract things that can be felt but not measured. Nevertheless they produce symptoms and effects that can be measured that may be used to assess such things. In an earlier note, this principle was used to assess happiness levels of various countries on the planet using measurable data such as infant mortality and homicide rates etc. The results that emerged were highly realistic and in line with general assessments. A similar methodology may be used to assess extent of evil in governments too. In fact, it requires only simple arithmetic and some easily available data to do so. Usually this blogger reserves mathematics and science for his scientific publications but some simple parts of it are used in this blog at times as we shall do now. All it needs is knowledge of simple multiplication and square root of numbers, something that is available on simple calculators.

While things like corruption in governance is a measure of bad and degenerate behavior and its indirect effects are evil, it may not be evil that is something far more sinister. However, let us first understand what evil is as different from merely bad.  Good is measured by the golden rule of doing to another as one would have done to oneself and bad as its reverse. However, it becomes evil when one is willing to profit even from much suffering and possible death of another human since nothing could be more sinister. Evil may go even further than that when it not only profits from suffering of others but derives a false sense of satisfaction, pleasure and power from it.  Causing the death of other humans can at times be death of criminals or in self defense, but when it comes to things that lead to suffering and possible death of human children and profiting from it, nothing could be more clearly evil. Therefore, data connected to misery of children in nations is useful to quickly assess evil in governance of different countries of our world

The idea for the present note emerged from some data published by a US senator Bernie Sanders on twitter on child poverty rates of different countries. He is expected by many to be the next President of the USA. The data is shown below.

 https://twitter.com/BernieSanders/status/650452495320416256

The data is from UNICEF at the link given on the photo. The interested reader may refer to that source for an idea of the methodology used for obtaining child poverty rates, this being a brief note that is omitting details. This data can be used to assess evil in governance through a simple thumb rule hypothesized by this author by reflection and mathematical knowledge on a heuristic basis as an approximate and rough indicator of an otherwise abstract thing to quantify. It is this:

Percentage evil influence in governance of a country = ten times the square root of child poverty rates

Or stated as a formula,

EG% = 10 X (Child Poverty Rate) ^ (1/2)

Thus if a country exceeds a child poverty rate of 25 percent the percentage evil would come as excess of 50% by this formula. Exceeding this rate implies that there is more evil than good in the government of that country. If child poverty rate is 1 percent that result would be 10% evil i.e. even if one child in a hundred has to go to bed hungry as a rule in a country, there is at least 10% evil in that country even though in the main, 90% of it is good governance. At the other extreme, if there is near 100% child poverty then the government is near 100% evil by this formula.

Evil in Governance related to child poverty rates

Two of the countries in this list, UK and USA both have in excess of 25 percent child poverty rate and thus also unfortunately more than 50% evil as per this calculation. It is unfortunate because both of these countries have a very significant influence on world affairs. As had been mentioned earlier, evil implies even profiting from possible death of fellow humans and such deaths are affected for example when one profits from sale of arms abroad and uncontrolled sale of guns at home that may kill innocent humans, even children; this is only one example and their are numerous other ways of profiting from possible death of fellow humans and children. Another is permitting makers of life saving medicines to make obscene profits, making feeding the homeless illegal, denying medical care to poor etc. The various methods that could lead to snuffing the life out of sweet innocent children and fellow humans and make a profit out of that for one's pleasure and mansions are endless.

The question that some may wonder about is how did these two wonderful countries, US and UK, that might have messed up the world to some extent yet contributed so much good to it too get into this sorry state? The source of that seems to be first that power corrupts not just individuals but nations too, a power these nations acquired due to their economic progress first and next from a victory in WWII. The next is greed that prosperity causes because greed fuels more greed and this has led to undesirable policies at home and abroad leading for instance to a rise in economic inequalities over the last three decades. These two nations are not the only ones to which such a thing has happened. It has happened to all from the beginning of civilization including Sumeria, Greece and Rome.
Text superimposed on an archive photo of author's Grand Ma


However the good news is that both these countries have now exceedingly good humans who are expected by many to lead these nations in the near future. This will reverse the tide of greed and evil that may have entered these countries. They are Bernie Sanders of USA and Jeremy Corbyn of UK. Both are senior citizens with a long history of political action, therefore one can make such statements about them. One cannot about young politicians who can easily pull wool over eyes of people with their false words as many have done. At times a young leaders is good to begin with but there is much truth in the adage that power corrupts. The young are corrupted soon after coming into power and the world is full of such examples, while the old are too set in their ways for this to happen in brief periods of their governance, moreover they have less future and family life ahead and therefore less reason to become corrupt.  Interestingly both these politicians had strongly opposed an action of USA and UK in recent decades that has caused a huge amount of suffering in the world, The Iraq war.

UPDATE October 2016: Since this note was written Bernie Sanders  was either pulled out or dropped out of the race and no longer remains a hope for USA. It is sincerely hoped that Jeremy Corbyn also does not meet a similar fate.


Jeremy Corbyn, the labour party leader, next expected by many PM of UK was in Social Bite today for breakfast and pre-payed for some of "suspended meals" for the homeless
https://twitter.com/SocialBite_/status/649998422284480514/photo/1

Note: Since the child poverty rates are also dependent on general poverty rates of a country the child poverty rate has to be viewed in  a relative manner. For simplicity, adding more factors for that have been kept out of the present formulation that works fairly well when comparing countries with similar order of magnitude per capita incomes, of the highest levels as prevail on the planet. For lower per capita income countries the multiplying factor has to be adjusted and that complication is presently not included here. making the multiplying factor ten a function of per capita income (not GDP) and cost of living index would make it more widely applicable. This further work has been left for future or another socio-spiritual scientist who may wish to pursue the present approach further. If someone does it would be appreciated if informed as a comment here.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Not a World Government but governance by world in parts is a necessity




Science fiction writers and some utopian philosophers have at times mentioned the idea of a world ruled by a single world government rather than governments of different countries. It is a horrible idea if not a very stupid one. At times governments become bad, dictatorial or even brutal and while there is an escape for humans presently with several countries in the world, in the case of a world government there would be none.

However, while a single world government is a horrible idea, the world does need badly, governance over parts by a world body, for limited periods, in order to rescue those parts from a terrible mess and ensuing suffering that is taking place in some countries. These are the failed states of the world where people have just not been able to get their act together on their own for various reasons. Present examples of such countries are Iraq, Syria, Libya and South Sudan to name some. At times the chaos leads to an exodus of refugees as families flee for their lives leaving home and all behind and while they may be given refuge in other countries they may bring problems to countries that host them. They often do over the long run.  

There are countries that have such deep ethnic, tribal, religious or other sectarian divides that they just cannot function as modern democratic countries. They may under a very tough dictator as Iraq did once under Saddam Hussein or Libya under Gaddafi but not otherwise, not just toughness but shrewd wisdom too because without it, just toughness may lead to utter devastation. The present attempts of the world have been to bring about reconciliation between warring parties and factions but even if that succeeds it blows apart the moment external pressure weakens as it must. It is not a solution except to kick the can down the road.

http://www.latimes.com/world/africa/la-fg-south-sudan-october-deaths-20151024-story.html
The world can end the suffering of these sweet children of South Sudan within days if it wants to

However, there is an easy solution, it is to impose foreign rule on the country for limited periods of five or ten years even twenty five and work on restoring order in this period as well as imposing a constitution etc. but is a foreign rule possible? Why not ? The world has seen many examples of this in colonial period of earlier years. However while colonial rule was in the self interest of some countries such a rule has to be by the world as a whole, through their appointed representatives and administrators, just as in colonial rule and its purpose would be a humanitarian one not one of dominance by any one country, or even a block of aligned countries but by the world as a whole and not for economic interests. It may be through a reformed UN that is not dominated by the veto of a few countries.

The world is smart enough to develop the mechanics of this concept, it is not rocket science, but if not they are welcome to consult this author for details. It is with such a concept in mind that this author had written a note to solve the problem of Syria and other countries that are leading to a huge refugee exodus presently, see:


At times ensuring sustainable peace may even require redrawing borders of some countries as described here:
https://ashokmalhotra.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/a-plan-to-end-the-world-refugee-crisis-phics-and-beyond/

It may be mentioned that it is not a luxury for countries presently in peace to watch this from a distance as a horror movie on TV, while shedding huge tears over some occasional disaster at home. These national situations of chaos have within them the seeds to blow into an apocalyptic event for all of humanity, as the one in Syria is already showing signs of leading to. The sweet children of our lovely Mother Earth need joy and play, not tears, suffering and dangers of a refugee escape.




Top globe image from Nasa images lower Public domain children image with thanks to: 
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Children_in_a_Primary_Education_School.JPG




(copied from comment because of its urgent relevance)
UPDATE November 16, 2015

While this post was written more than a month ago, and similar linked posts more than a year ago, the tragic event in Paris has reminded the world of some of what has been mentioned in this note and they have decided on a transitional government for Syria within six months. While Syria needs a solution as fast as possible, it would be too soon to bring about changes in International law and UN so soon and the composition of the transitional government remains undecided. Yesterday on twitter this blogger suggested that the Syrian government may be placed under a five member council consisting of one representative each from USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran with one neutral member selected by the other four in the chair. A twitter friend suggested finding a neutral member would be difficult and academics have been known not to be neutral. The neutral member could be a Professor, Noble Peace prize winner, a representative of the Noble committee or the Dalai Lama, whatever the other four can agree on. With a wide world to choose from, it should not be a difficult task. This council can decide all matters by a majority and go on to appoint administrators etc. It will be steps towards peace and peace shall then start returning to Syria, bit by bit, part by part and the flow of refugees will stop because the peaceful parts shall be the safe zones. Military action under this council assisted by Europe, Russia, Saudi, Iran and USA etc. would still be necessary to bring into compliance parties that do not lay down arms.

None of the local parties have been suggested as a part of the governing five member council. The reason is they will never come to agree. If they were in a position to do so, then things would not have come to such a pass. It is precisely for similar reasons that colonial governments in the past were far more successful in maintaining peace and order in parts of the world, that are unable to do so now. In that case everything functioned under a single governor because it was rule at a distance by a single country. Here we have five members council instead working by majority vote amongst them because here there is a need to keep diverse world interests in mind. Many local persons would however be needed to run the administration under this council. The role of Assad remains undecided but it could be something ceremonial much as colonial rulers granted to local princes and tribal chiefs or anything else the five members decide.

Similar solutions can bring immediate peace in Yemen and South Sudan too.