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Friday, September 25, 2015

My new book on Figure Carving

Carving has been one of my pet pastimes for several years. I mostly do figure carving. I have carved figures based on ancient sculptures, scenes from well known historical events, caricatures, theme based collages, and so on.
My recent visit to a remote Indian “carvers’ village” prompted me to write this book. I found that traditional carvers in that village still follow some ancient style of figure carving that had been in vogue for several centuries in and around India, from Afghanistan to Cambodia, from Himalayas to Indonesia with today’s India forming the heartland. And amazingly, it is still followed in southern India!

In a completely different approach to figure carving, this tradition has some interesting features not to mention the variety and unlimited number of possibilities. In this book, I give an overview of this ancient art form based on ancient carving manuals that are still meticulously followed. I also showcase lots and lots of examples of figures carved in this style to motivate anyone interested.

Try it to expand your figure carving options and foray into a new magical world. This book is currently available for preorder through all major retailers (Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords and so on) except Amazon (amazon does not allow long preorders). Please do place your order to indicate your interest. You can also give me suggestions through this blog so that I can update the book keeping them in view. Click the following links to see the product page on some of your favorite retailers.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Unlimited vision

One of my readers recently asked me whether one can perceive “everything” in the world in a state of samädhi (meditation). He felt that such a thing is impossible since there are simply infinitely many things and events that keep happening at any given instant of time, not to mention those that have happened in the past.
A very interesting question indeed! Probably, this reader is prompted by such claims made by some books and authors (e.g. In “The Autobiography of a Yogi”, the author Paramahamsa Yogananda talks of such experiences).

Long long ago (almost 2000 years ago), there have been serious debates in ancient India on this issue between those who claim such a possibility and those who deny such a possibility. Buddhists claim that Buddha was omniscient who could perceive everything. But the Mimamsakas (a strong group of Vedic philosophers and staunch opponents of Buddhists) tried to show in a highly dialectical way that no one can ever reach such a state. Their arguments were quite interesting. Some of these included 

1. A person with limited perceptible capabilities can never perceive unlimited number of things.
2. Even if it is claimed that the information is perceived in a “supersensory state” like samädhi, there is no way such a person could have said that in such a state since in that state a person cannot express himself.
3. And once he comes out of samädhi, whatever he says is colored by his subjective opinions and limitations.
4. A person claiming himself to be omniscient cannot be relied upon since his knowledge that he is omniscient has a cyclical dependency.

Having said all this, I have my reasons to believe that a person on the “threshold” of samädhi can get a glimpse of “everything” if he wishes. But most often than not, such a person is least interested in knowing any such thing. Regarding the impossibility of perceiving “everything” merely because there are infinite things – it is quite elementary knowledge that we can view a TV program from a particular channel even though there are thousands of Radio waves lingering around in the air from thousands of other channels. We merely have to tune our TV to the channel we want and the presence of other waves doesn’t really matter. But the important question is – “will the desire to tune in really remain in such a state?” Most probably not.