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By Janet Murphy, Winchester, United Kingdom
Great Minds of India by Salil Gewali is a compact book discussing the power that Indian ancient wisdom, thought and way of life had an impact on western minds, especially those who are of great historical significance, such as Voltaire, Albert Einstein, Ralph Emerson, Julius Robert Oppenheimer, Mark Twain, HG Wells et al. Gewali’s motive for his research work stems years back when his father encouraged him to read the ancient texts of the eastern wisdom, which prompted him to research western scholars like Fritof Capra, Ralph Emerson, Henry David Thoreau to name a few.
This perspective of India in the eyes of Western giants is what has led to the creation of this book which Gewali has undertaken since his early days. The researcher has collected quotes from these greats minds in the west that reveal their deep admiration for Indian philosophy and spiritualism, highlighting how central the study of Indian culture has been to western civilization. From Ved Vyasa to Chanakya, Swami Vivekananda, Indian philosophers have molded India’s history to what it is today, and have educated thousands of minds, even western ones. Gewali aims to reveal to his readers who central Indian philosophy and its relationship with the sciences is to modern philosophical and scientific interpretation.
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Great Minds of India, originally published in 1998 in xerox format and then again by Academic Publication in 2009, and later Penguin kindle edition in 2013, was seen as a landmark in modern Indian literature as it demonstrated Indian heritage in the modern world and managed to ignite fire into ancient Indian history. This book, a revised edition, has been extended because of the knowledge that the author has found in the time since its original publication in 1998 in Xerox format. His work has been approved by NASA scientist Dr. Kamlesh Lulla, a specialist in remote sensing and geosciences, indicating the absolute weight of Gewali’s work.
A few of the articles which I encountered that published from a Chicago-based media planted a seed of interest in Indian history which has stayed with me since, resulting in me choosing university modules around Indian history. These articles surround western giants and their relationship to India. Most if not all of these western intellectuals found themselves shocked at just how far Indian wisdom dated back, as well as being able to prove or disprove what were thought to be exclusively western ideas, such as rejecting a Newtonian world view. Werner Heisenberg, German physicist, and quantum mechanic, concluded that the ‘crazy’ ideas discussed by Indian philosophers centuries ago ‘suddenly made much more sense.’ Heisenberg is just one of the many intellectuals in Gewali’s book that appreciates and admires the wisdom in India.
Another article that I read in 2018 must-have elevated Gewali’s book, calling it a landmark research work that will detoxify India. Many in India have found hope with the publication of such articles and the book by Gewali, especially because of the long period of native scholars who have undermined Indian history and literary heritage. The effects of colonization on India have resulted in it being seen as a third world country, unable to climb out of the hole it’s been left in after years of oppression and resource extraction. This idea of India is far from the full story, and its history of trade and commerce from as early as the 4th century, as well as the wealth of knowledge about the universe. This book has been able to support my already existing knowledge of Indian wisdom and I hope anyone who reads it is planted with the seed too.
On a personal level, my direct relationship with Indian wisdom and culture stemmed from when I began to undertake yoga and meditation to calm my nerves. Having always been an anxious person, I attempted yoga one day, hoping my mind would calm down and I could figure out breathing techniques. This one encounter has changed me forever, as I’ve learned not only how to keep myself physically active, but also how to unify my mind, emotions and body. The Bhagavad Gita, one of the greatest spiritual books in Indian culture, states that “yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self”, which truly encapsulates what yoga means to a lot of people. However, despite a large group of western people participating in yoga and meditation, there is an intellectual gap between the action and history, which is why Gewali’s book is so monumental. Even if many people have statues of Buddha in their houses or participate in yoga exercises, the lack of deep appreciation for Indian culture and heritage necessitates a link to bring its history to western users, and Gewali pointing its readers towards western figures who understood Indian wisdom is the best way to do it.
Some of the best quotes Gewali has cited which appealed to me are by Western figures like Einstein who wholeheartedly believed that Indian wisdom has shaped everything the west knows of science and maths. His quote “We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made” reveals how Indian knowledge is the foundation of modern scientific understanding. Further quote, like this one from W. Butler Yeats, highlights how the boundless scope of knowledge and spiritualism captivated the western knowledge seekers: “It was only my first meeting with the Indian philosophy that confirmed my vague speculations and seemed at once logical and boundless.” It’s simply amazing.
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Towards the end of the book, after the quotes have been expressed, the author has included some of his essays and articles, where he discusses some of the Indian influences from his childhood, such as Swami Vivekananda and Gandhi. He expresses how these philosophers, and later the spiritual scholars like Vivekananda, and Paramahansa Yogananda – the revered guru of American business magnate Steve Jobs, were the first to directly reveal the greatness of India and her heritage to him. While this article could have been placed at the beginning of the book as a foreword or epilogue, the importance of his words shouldn’t be neglected. Realizing that it became obvious that the world wasn’t acknowledging the roots of these scientists, Gewali set to researching Indian influence, and his passion for rebuilding Indian reputation is remarkable.
The sole goal of Salil Gewali being to highlight how the study of India’s ancient wisdom is inextricably linked to the modern understanding of science and its universal significance has most definitely been achieved by this remarkable book. It is hoped all right-thinking scholars will find his work extremely applaudable.
(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored)
LONDON — A work by British street artist Banksy that sensationally shredded itself just after it sold at auction three years ago fetched almost 18.6 million pounds ($25.4 million) on Thursday — a record for the artist, and close to 20 times its pre-shredded price.
"Love is in the Bin" was offered by Sotheby's in London, with a presale estimate of 4 million pounds to 6 million pounds ($5.5 million to $8.2 million).
After a 10-minute bidding war involving nine bidders in the saleroom, online and by phone, it sold for three times the high estimate to an undisclosed buyer. The sale price of 18,582,000 pounds ($25,383,941) includes an auction-house fee known as a buyer's premium.
The piece consists of a half-shredded canvas in an ornate frame bearing a spray-painted image of a girl reaching for a heart-shaped red balloon.
When it last sold at Sotheby's in October 2018, the piece was known as "Girl With Balloon." Just as an anonymous female European buyer made the winning bid — for 1 million pounds ($1.4 million) — a hidden shredder embedded in the frame by Banksy whirred to life, leaving half the canvas hanging from the frame in strips.
Sotheby's received some criticism at the time for failing to spot the hidden shredder. But the 2018 buyer decided to go through with the purchase, a decision that was vindicated on Thursday as the work's price soared. Image source: voa
Sotheby's received some criticism at the time for failing to spot the hidden shredder. But the 2018 buyer decided to go through with the purchase, a decision that was vindicated on Thursday as the work's price soared.
The work quickly became one of Banksy's most famous, and Sotheby's sent it on tour to cities including New York and Hong Kong before Thursday's auction.
Auctioneer Oliver Barker joked that he was terrified to bring down the hammer to end Thursday's sale. There were jitters among Sotheby's staff to the last that Banksy had another surprise planned.
Alex Branczik, Sotheby's chairman of modern and contemporary art, called the shredding "one of the most ingenious moments of performance art this century."
Banksy, who has never confirmed his full identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England, and has become one of the world's best-known artists. His mischievous and often satirical images include two male police officers kissing, armed riot police with yellow smiley faces and a chimpanzee with a sign bearing the words, "Laugh now, but one day I'll be in charge."
Several of his works have sold for multiple millions at auction. In March, a Banksy mural honoring Britain's health workers, first painted on a hospital wall, sold for 16.8 million pounds ($23.2 million) at a Christie's auction, until Thursday a record for the artist.
"Girl With Balloon" was originally stenciled on a wall in east London and has been endlessly reproduced, becoming one of Banksy's best-known images. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Banksy, Artwork, Auction, Girl With Balloon, Sotheby
WASHINGTON — Suspected ransomware payments totaling $590 million were made in the first six months of this year, more than the $416 million reported for all of 2020, U.S. authorities said on Friday, as Washington put the cryptocurrency industry on alert about its role in combating ransomware attacks.
The U.S. Treasury Department said the average amount of reported ransomware transactions per month in 2021 was $102.3 million, with REvil/Sodinokibi, Conti, DarkSide, Avaddon, and Phobos the most prevalent ransomware strains reported.
President Joe Biden has made the government's cybersecurity response a top priority for the most senior levels of his administration following a series of attacks this year that threatened to destabilize U.S. energy and food supplies.
Avoiding U.S. sanctions
Seeking to stop the use of cryptocurrencies in the payment of ransomware demands, Treasury told members of the crypto community they are responsible for making sure they do not directly or indirectly help facilitate deals prohibited by U.S. sanctions.
Its new guidance said the industry plays an increasingly critical role in preventing those blacklisted from exploiting cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions.
The new guidance also advised cryptocurrency exchanges to use geolocation tools to block access from countries under U.S. sanctions. Image source: Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash
"Treasury is helping to stop ransomware attacks by making it difficult for criminals to profit from their crimes, but we need partners in the private sector to help prevent this illicit activity," Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a statement.
The new guidance also advised cryptocurrency exchanges to use geolocation tools to block access from countries under U.S. sanctions.
Hackers use ransomware to take down systems that control everything from hospital billing to manufacturing. They stop only after receiving hefty payments, typically in cryptocurrency.
Large scale hacks
This year, gangs have hit numerous U.S. companies in large scale hacks. One such attack on pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline led to temporary fuel supply shortages on the U.S. East Coast. Hackers also targeted an Iowa-based agricultural company, sparking fears of disruptions to grain harvesting in the Midwest.
The Biden administration last month unveiled sanctions against cryptocurrency exchange Suex OTC, S.R.O. over its alleged role in enabling illegal payments from ransomware attacks, officials said, in the Treasury's first such move against a cryptocurrency exchange over ransomware activity. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Cryptocurrency, United States, Hacking, Ransomware
The gregorian calendar has been adopted worldwide for the convenience of worldwide communications. There remain numerous lunisolar calendars that are followed in different parts of the world. The Hindu calendar is one of the various lunisolar calendars that is traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, with further regional variations for social and Hindu religious purposes. It is used to determine the dates of Hindu festivals and when to observe the fasts.
The Hindu Calendar is based upon the motion of the moon. Each lunar year comprises twelve months. The lunar year comprises 354 days, compared to 365 ¼ days of the Gregorian calendar, which is based on the solar system i.e. the number of days earth takes to complete one revolution around the sun. Whereas in a lunar calendar a lunar month, is the time required for the moon to orbit once around the earth and pass through its complete cycle of phases. These months are formulated in accordance with the successive entrances of the sun into the 12 Hindu rashis or the signs of the zodiac derived from the 12 constellations marking the path of the sun.
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Studies of Vedic literature show that the knowledge of chronology (the science of Time) and chronometry (scientific measurement of Time) existed even during Vedic times. People during the Vedic age knew planetary motions, constellations, eclipses, solstices, seasons, etc. Thus, the Indian calendar was devised to serve the affairs of day-to-day living; it was allowed the freedom of being both lunar and solar. The Rig Veda, cites months being lunar, but year being lunisolar. This adjustment makes sure that the seasons, festivals, etc. retain their general position alongside the solar year. This is the reason why the Hindu festivals fall around the same time every year, for example, Diwali always falls between late October and early November.
The Hindu Calendar is based upon the motion of the moon. Wikimedia common
Lunar days in the Hindu calendar are known as the tithis, which are calculated scientifically using the difference of the longitudinal angle between the position of the sun and the moon. A singular tithi is defined by the time required for the longitude of the Moon to increase by 12° over the longitude of the sun. The length of a tithi can vary in lengths from about 20 hours to nearly 27 hours. In the Hindu calendar, each month is 29.53 tithis. Because the Hindu calendar is based on the motion of the moon one can figure out the date by looking at the moon. If the moon is new it is Amavasya, if the moon is full it is Poornima, and there are 15 days in between which one can figure out according to the phase of the moon. Since the lunar calendar is approximately 354 days long, adjustments are made to the lunar-based calendar every 2.5 years to keep it synchronized with the solar calendar, in which years are approximately 365 days long. To achieve the ideal synchronized calendar an additional month called an 'adhik' is added to the Hindu calendar every 31st month.
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The Hindu Calendar months and the Gregorian calendar months are as follows:
- Chaitra: March- April
- Vaishakh: April-May
- Jeth: May-June
- Ashadh: June-July
- Shravan: July-August
- Bhadarvo: August-September
- Aaso: September-October
- Kartik: October-November
- Margashirsa: November- December
- Posh: December- January
- Magha: January- February
- Falgun: February- March
Every three years, one of these months occurs twice in the same year.
Keywords: Calendar, lunar calendar, Hindu calendar, Vedic literature