Existence (asti) cannot be produced by non-existence (nasti). “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” – Carl Sagan
The antiquity of swastika goes long back into history where it started its journey from the prehistoric era. It is a universal symbol seen in all ancient civilisation-cultures across the world and still remains as a living tradition across many nations in various forms, and especially in India among the Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists as part of their religious rituals. Owing to its widespread presence across the ancient civilisations, and later modifications to suit the new religious orders, swastika has a variety of meanings associated with it. The Vedas by itself have associated various meanings to the swastika where we find that in the Rig Veda 10.35 swastika is associated with Agni, and with the Sun’s movement upholding the law of Dharma or righteousness. In ancient Indian architectural sciences known as Vastusashtra, two swastikas facing each other create a square, which forms the square mandala of the Vastu Purusha. Similarly, swastika is also associated with a crossed vajra (sign of thunderbolt—in RV 3.30.16 and 3.58) seen in the hands of deities; the symbol is also related to the four cardinal directions; is linked with the lunar power, female principle and new life; associated with astronomy; the Christian cross; Vishnu pada; etc. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that swastika is most likely man created first graphic symbol representing an idea, which holds a clear intention and meaning, transcends all barriers of languages, and the knowledge of which was passed across generations following ancient oral traditions while maintaining continuity within changes across the world. Thus, swastika is a symbolical manifestation of existence, which is entwined with cosmic natural forces and is based on the theory of dynamism.
Swastika- denoting movement. From Wikipedia
Triskelion of the Chaldeons- another form of Swastika denoting the cosmic movements. (From Wikipedia)
Two swastikas (left oriented and right oriented) merge to form the square mandala of the vastupurusha. The left-hand swastika (Sauvastika) symblises the Devi as Goddess Kali, and is associated with tantra puja.
A crossed double vajra or visvavajra (Wikipedia)
A schematic diagram of a Persian garden, with quadripartite structure and a focal water feature, connecting aqueducts, and surrounding trees, as well as the placement of the palace. (From Wikipedia)
In an attempt to explore this continuing legacy, the article will take a close look at swastika and briefly present its history, while also exploring some of its meanings.
WHAT IS SWASTIKA, WITH REFERENCES TO THE RIG VEDA?
Swastika is “a cross in which the arms are bent at a right angle in the same relative direction”
~ Penguin dictionary of archaeology
The Sanskrit word swastika has its root in As, forming the word Asti, which means existing, being, or the essence of existence. The other word Su means good, well being, or benign; and the two together gives us Swasti, which means a valued existence, or the essential self-sustaining dharma or righteousness.
This enigmatic symbol, as Edward Thomas tells us in his ‘The Indian Swastika and Its Western Counterparts’ (1880) paper after examining its varying manifestations across the globe, all point to the primitive notions of a symbolic representation of the sun’s movements, associated with wheel like projections of the sunrays and its rolling movements. The ancient Chaldeans, who were initially located in the southeastern corner of Mesopotamia (9th to mid-6th centuries BCE—the proto Celtic phase in Europe), in their studies of what is now termed as the astronomical sciences, started drawing the sun as a circular outline, which soon had a four wheel or a cross inserted within it. This crossbar later evolved and elaborated to form the new designs that we are more familiar with now. Interestingly, Vishnu Purana (ref: Wilson’s translation, v. ii, pp. 246-7) also compares the sun’s movements to that of a wheel. Rig Veda too refers to the sun’s movements as a wheel, “He the impeller, the chief of charioteers (Pushan), ever urges on that golden wheel for the sun” and “the twelve wheeled spoke of the true sun revolves around the heavens and never decays …” (ref: Rig Veda—Wilson’s translation ii p. 130). Verse 10.35 in Rig Veda portrays the cyclic movement of Agni (Swastagni), and the entire sutra goes on describing the Sun’s movement holding the “wheel” of dharma (Cosmic causation and law) standing for what is right and auspicious for all living beings.
The uniqueness of this primitive sign lies in the fact there is a clearly visible geometrical tension in its shape, where we find that it is an equal-sided cross that can be rotated at 45 degrees either to the right (clockwise) or to the left (anti-clockwise. The clockwise turning position known as dakshinavarta is believed to symbolise the sun’s energy, while the anti-clockwise turning position known as vamavarta represents the moon and feminine energy. Another popular form of swastika is the spiral type known as tetraskelion (from the Chaldean culture), where the three spiral arms create an illusion of cyclic movement. When the arm ends are made to touch each other this spiral form (tetraskelion) takes the shape of a wheel, which in turn is an astronomical sign symbolising cyclic movements of all cosmic bodies. The triskelions, as per the scholars, are swastikas in continuous motion, also representing continuous cosmic re-generation and the continuity of life. It is visual imagery for the harmony and balance in life and nature’s changing seasonal cycles; and in Rig Veda: 7.97-10 we find Rishi Vasistha (one of the Saptarishis), talking about the repetitiveness of cosmic sustainability. The Rig Veda, which can be said to be among the world’s oldest documents on cosmological sciences, mentions swastika many times. This recurrent use of the word shows not only the pre-eminence of the symbol but also makes it evident that the ancient rishis who had composed the verses saw it as more than just a symbol.
In Rig Veda 3.30.16 and 3.58, the swastika is shown to stand for the crossed double vajra or viśvavajra, symbolising thunderbolt (which was later copied to create the Greek cross Fleury).
Again in RV 4.53.3-4 swastika is seen in an imagery form depicting the transformation of the power of the Sun into the power of the seer, with arms extending towards the four cardinal directions and engulfing all space. The cross-like space concept is also seen in ancient Persian literature (Achaemenid times), which was copied later to form the Islamic chahar bagh concept.
In the RV 3.54.11 and other verses Sun is the golden-handed, all beholding, and all-embracing Savitri, evident in the term ‘Savita Sarbatati’, which means the divine sun rays has powers for creating Life (Left oriented swastika associated with feminine power and Tantra) and a Pacifier (Right oriented swastika associated with Yoga). The two forms of swastikas (left and right oriented) in the 10th chapter of the RV: 10.36.14 merge to form a square, and that along with the deities of the four cardinal directions give us the framework of the Vastu-Purusha-Mandala, the basic foundation diagram for any Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temple or building architecture.
Interestingly within Hinduism, swastika is also seen as the cross, which symbolises the Supreme Consciousness (Brahman) and His creation, while the four bent arms define the four purushartha—Artha (wealth), Dharma (righteousness), Kama (love), and Moksha (liberation). It is a moving wheel, denoting a world that is constantly changing while remaining fixed on Brahman (centre point). The swastika is also associated with the Seven Sages or the Saptarishi (Ursa Majoris/the Great Bear) that are a group of celestial bodies forming a constellation. It is believed that the Saptarishis are eternally revolving with the fixed aim of establishing Dharma – “Tad Vishnu param padam” (Polaris is the Dhruvapadam—RV: 10.82.1-2; Srimad Bhagabadgita: 5.22.17).
In terms of archaeological evidence from the Indian subcontinent, swastika motif has been found from Pre-Harappan times, as for example, on a potsherd from Rehman-Dheri (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province). Seals dated around 2100 B.C.E showing swastikas have been found from the Mohenjodaro site, while the motif is frequently seen on ornaments and beads found from various sites of the Sindhu-Saraswati civilisation; including on pottery from the Shahi-Tump site (Baluchistan). The Navdatoli site beside the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh (chalcolithic culture) has also yielded varying forms of the swastika symbol on pottery; while paintings of the swastika motif have been found from the Ganga Yamuna doab area sites (on painted grey ware, denoting Iron age culture). Potteries and sherds depicting swastikas from Sonkh (Mitra period, 2nd century B.C.E); to tablets, coins, and seals from Mathura belonging to the Kushana period (1st century CE), the swastika motif has remained a constant in Indian art from pre-historical to the historical era without any break, and still continues to remain a religious symbol even today, the postmodern era.
Besides the Vedic verses and pre to historic representations of the swastikas, we find mention of the symbol in our epics too. In Ramayana, we find the mention of the swastika motif as carved in relief on a boat that carried Sri Rama; while in Mahabharata there is the famous Swastika Vyuha (maze) or the Chakra-Vyuha as a part of artillery war in the Kurukshetra battle. Swastika also played an important role in Jainism and Buddhism throughout history and remains an important part of their religious and cultural practices. Even today swastika remains an essential part of most rituals associated with the Indic religions, and in astrological and astronomical (jyotishsastra) studies in India. This is because the symbol stands not only for truth (dharma), auspiciousness, and a perfect Cosmic balance within the spiritual, natural, and philosophical realms; it has also become an integral part of more tangible aspects, such as trade, battles, daily rituals, etc.
It is mind-boggling to study the evolution of swastika in various parts of the world, from ancient America to Europe, and the different Asian countries. It is equally mind-boggling to see its connections not only with the various aspects mentioned in this article, by also with thermodynamics (torques), various branches of genetics, engineering, electro-magnetic circuits, and the list just goes on. This article is just the tip of the iceberg, and the idea came to my mind from a Facebook and Twitter post that I had made, which brought about various reactions, which made me realise that many people aren’t aware of the origins and Vedic meanings associated with this symbol. There were various arguments where people contended that while drawing a swastika the lines cannot be crossed, as it is inauspicious to do so. Rigidly taught to do so owing to later period modifications stemming from lack of understanding, these argumentative dialogues just fall flat one when explores the ancient world and realises that swastika started its journey as a simple cross that symbolised the Sun’s movement, and alternatively, Brahman and His creation.
The author is a well-known travel, heritage and history writer. Views expressed are personal.
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ASUS ZENBOOK 14 OLED HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Asus has well-positioned itself in the Indian tech market when we talk about laptops and notebooks. They have recently introduced a new lineup and that has been grabbing attention. The high-end laptop from ASUS has carved a niche for itself. Asus Zenbook 14 OLED is one such from this present lineup and below is my take on this latest device.
ZENBOOK 14 OLED SPECS SHEET
Zenbook 14 OLED is 16.9 mm
Weighs 1.39 kg
Display with 2.8K OLED HDR NanoEdge
Powered by a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, and Intel Iris® Xe graphics.
16GB RAM and up to 512GB SSD PCIe 4.0 SSD
Dolby Atmos sound system powered by a smart amplifier
ASUS ErgoSense keyboard, and ASUS NumberPad 2.0.
Asus has not shied from making the device look elegant and slim. It is lightweight and easy to use and carry around. Fits well in one’s hand and can be easily carried around at work or even for travel. The laptop is sleek in its design and keeping the style minimalistic works wonders for it.
You get a 16:10 2.8K OLED HDR NanoEdge touchscreen which has a vibrant display. This display is good to work on and the contrast is comfortable to work on. You will find it easy to work on this laptop and even viewing and gaming will be easy for the eye. With a good display what you really need is a good sound system and you get one in this laptop. The Dolby Atmos makes the experience worthwhile. The smart amplifier does make the sound quality way better. Making the entire experience a lot more engaged and wholesome.
Something which has been a personal favourite in this laptop is the touchscreen number pad it is without a doubt extremely useful and helps increase productivity for sure. You would realise after a few days of usage how it helps increase efficiency. When we are constantly working on the laptop what we need is a good webcam specially for our online meetings and calls. The 3DNR webcam provides the needful. You not just get good video quality, but also good sound and an AI noise cancellation facility making your calls a way easier and noise-free process.
The laptop gives no issues like heating or draining out. I am not a gamer but had tried a few low graphic games on the laptop and felt no glitch at all. For heavy graphic games, I might not be in the right place to suggest. In terms of battery, the laptop charged fast and helped function well for seven to eight hours. In the usage, there were a lot of video meetings and constant web browsing. In terms of battery, there is nothing for me to complain about.
Using the laptop for good over two weeks there was really nothing to dislike or complain about. Introduced at Rs 1,04,990 with a lot of offers on the price this is a high-end laptop. That is the only catch that this product has. One must look at the great design, fully rounded spec sheet, and some great additions like the numeric touchpad, great sound, and excellent display before making up their mind against the laptop due to its price tag. It is a well-rounded laptop which has something for everyone.
Snehalata Memorial Foundation brings Sambhav on Stage at Triveni Kala Sangam
During the last two years, a lot of shows were organized online due to the raging pandemic. Now, most of the organizers have decided to conduct their events offline. Snehalata Memorial Foundation established in the year 1992, is a social organization that aims to spread awareness about classical music throughout the world. Snehalata Memorial Foundation is set to organise Sambhav on Stage with the tagline ‘Gayan Vadan Nritya’. The program is being organized at Triveni Kala Sangam, 205, Tansen Marg, Mandi House, Delhi, 110001 on the 19th of May 2022 from 6 PM onwards.
The program will start with a vocal, followed by a Tabla duet, and end with a Kathak trio recital. The performers have already performed online, this time they would be performing offline. During covid, the upcoming performers have suffered the most and Snehalata has planned to encourage young artists and present their art in front of the audience.
In a candid conversation tabla artist, Saptak Sharma who will be performing in the event said, “It’s completely an honor for me to be performing for Snehalata Memorial Foundation. Especially getting an opportunity after a long gap of 2 years is a whole another experience. I’ve been attached to this organisation and did some online concerts during the lockdown as well. A big thanks to Binay ji and the whole team for making this possible and getting the artists back on stage. It’s a whole different thing to live with the audience in a face-to-face way as compared to the online sessions. The essence of classical music lies in the baithak systems in which the artist is being praised by the audience and the music flowing out of that is completely felt differently. It’s always said music can only be felt and not seen. And that’s the best part about being on stage when you realise your audience feeling your music and reacting to it.”
The event features
Classical Vocal Recital by Abhijeet Mishra
Sarangi – Ejaz Hussain
Tabla – Kamil Khan
Duet Tabla Recital by Saptak Sharma and Ashutosh Verma
Sarangi – Mudassir Khan
Kathak Recital by Harshita Vaish, Disha Gupta, and Sagar Vishwakarma
Sarangi- Ejaz Hussain
Vocal- Zaki Ahmed
Tabla- Shubhan Khan
Padhanti- Aishwarya Rawat
Venue-Triveni Kala Sangam, Delhi
‘WE AT ICCS ARE OFFERING CUSTOMIZED OUTSOURCING SOLUTIONS WITH BEST TECHNOLOGY & INFRASTRUCTURE’
In response to The Daily Guardian, Divij Singhal, Founder & CEO, ICCS, said ICCS’s mission is to outperform the industry by fostering innovation and forming collaborations with the world’s largest brands, as well as enthusiastic leaders and employees. The company envisions being one of the worlds’s most recognized and trusted BPM service provider, offering exceptional value to customers across all industries through cutting-edge technology and world-class service.
Q: What made you launch this business?
A: We looked at the domestic service industry and it was growing in the country and skilled people for voice and non-voice would be needed. We evaluated that there is a niche that can be created in this industry by the amalgamation of people and technology. That motivated us to be a part of this BPO industry.
Q: Goals and objectives when it is founded.
A: The goal was to be a leading player in this space of domestic BPO with the right quality and consistency being delivered to our customers at the right price.
Q: Business success so far
A: Our growth is consistent with the growth of 25% YoY, and something which we really can cherish is all our customers who started with us continued together, and we both grew over time. We believe in high quality and besides, we also give them the technology to improve their customer experience turning into retention.
Q: What will be the industry trends in 2023.
A: New-age technologies are emerging and making their mark in businesses across sectors. We feel that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in particular will be buzzwords and their impact will be such that the BPO sector will witness growth concerning the people in the coming year. The yield per employee will increase and this trend will render a positive impact on the valuation of the BPO industry
Q: What are your future plans?
A: We are indeed joyous that we have had a successful run so far. Indeed, we had our fair share of ups and downs. But we take pride in the fact that we have surpassed them all and are bracing for exponential growth in the future. As far as our growth plans are concerned, we at ICCS are looking forward to expanding our footprints in tier 2 regions as well as in the metro cities. We are also planning to hire 1000+ employees by the end of this year. From the business perspective, our focus is to increase our presence in the healthcare and retail distribution verticals. On the whole, we are striving to bring about innovation as well as foster associations with reputed brands at the global level.
VIBE, THE SKYBAR REOPENS AT GURUGRAM BAANI SQUARE
True to its name, Vibe – The Sky Bar, a rooftop bar at DoubleTree by Hilton Gurugram Baani Square is back to serve its patrons.
Blessed with breathtaking city views and sparkling ambiance, this high-end rooftop bar is an ideal place to socialize with friends and family or for a corporate gathering. Wind down after a busy day in comfortable lounges while you enjoy the sophisticated bites and handcrafted concoctions to lift your spirits.
Enjoy an open-air dining experience in re-imagined spaces secured with stringent safety norms, where Mukesh Kumar, Executive Sous Chef has introduced an array of delectable choices in the eclectic menu which includes The Giant Chicken Wings, Kaffir Lime Gamberi, Kasundi Salmon, Crunchy Amritsari Fish Tots, Tenderloin Boti Popsicles, Raan, Ragi Chickpea Falafel, Mexican Tacos, Citrus Creme Brule, DoubleTree Cookie Pastry, and many more to choose from.
Timings: – 04:00 PM–12:00 AM
Average cost for two: INR 3500 plus taxes
For reservations: +91 9711216466
LOGIC OR INSTINCT, WHICH DO WE FOLLOW?
During the last days of 2004, as a giant tsunami-ravaged a dozen countries, killing almost two hundred thousand people, researchers noticed something odd at the Yala National Park in Sri Lanka. The park, home to several hundred species, hardly had any animal carcasses. National Geographic magazine quotes observers reporting strange behavior from animals before the tsunami hit. Elephants screamed and ran for higher ground, turtles changed paths, and dogs refused to go outdoors. What did the animals sense that humans didn’t?
The pinstriped world of Wall Street might seem far removed from the forests of Sri Lanka, yet the same animal instincts run deep. Billionaire investor George Soros said that the onset of back pain is, for him, often “a signal that there was something wrong in my portfolio”. In his son’s words, Soros often “changes his position on the market” because “his back is killing him”. A study by researcher John Coates observed that traders who were more aware of their body rhythms made more profitable trades and could sense when ‘something just felt right.
Does this mean that we should trust our ‘gut instinct’ more often?
The answer, unfortunately, is not that simple. Almost every trader or gambler who places a bet feels that ‘today is going to be my lucky day. A look at the ranks of failed gamblers tells us that blind reliance on instinct can lead to ruin. Examples abound not just of businesses but entire kingdoms which were destroyed because the leader chose to act on an impulse or a whim. Giving our instincts a free run is like letting an angry elephant loose in a bazaar.
Scaling up and running a large enterprise requires standardization, and standardization leaves little room for subjectivity. Not surprisingly, our professional worlds elevate logic over instinct. The parameters for business decision-making, whether at Board meetings or client presentations, prioritize measurable metrics and tangible calculations. For a firm to say that decisions are made based on ‘gut feelings’ of key executives would be comical.
And yet, something valuable is lost when we rely too much on logic. Logic is often just a way for us to rationalize and reduce dissonance with a decision that has already been made based on our emotions. One needs to look no further than debates on Twitter or WhatsApp groups to witness this. Data can often be tortured to spit out a conclusion that suits a particular viewpoint.
In the numerous Board or investment committee meetings that I have attended, I have noticed that if you peel beyond the veneer of logic, key decisions almost always rest on softer factors, such as trust in the management team. Great investors focus on qualitative factors, such as the drive, energy, or integrity of the founders, instead of relying on metrics alone.
Can we leverage this power of instinct in our lives? Experience has shown me that there is a way.
First, we need to build deep expertise in the field in question. Coates’ study was done on experienced traders. My involvement in the stock markets dates back twenty-five years. Over two-thirds of those were spent focusing on left-brain analysis, involving numbers, financials, strategy, metrics, and so on. But in the last eight years, I have been able to transcend these and understand the softer realms of temperament, awareness, subtler patterns, behavioral biases, and so on. Yet, the latter would not have been possible without the former. The logical parts need to be integrated into muscle memory for the instinct to be robust.
Second, we need to polish our antennae. Today, as we increasingly tune into digital noise, we have lost the connection to nature and to the cues that it gives us. We need to tune in to signals from our bodies, minds, and the environment. Coates found that successful traders exhibited greater self-awareness of their body rhythms, such as heart rates. My practice of mindfulness meditation forms the core of my creativity, as it enables me to tap into intuition and get ideas for my writing.
As we eliminate the dust and cobwebs from our antennae, we re-establish our connection with our inner compass and with activities that nourish us deeply. We are then able to tap into the vast primeval universal intelligence. This intelligence works through processes that transcend logic and opens us up to the true power of instinct and intuition.
S.Venkatesh is the bestselling author of AgniBaan and KaalKoot, a leadership coach and an investor who has held key positions with JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Macquarie. He writes about mindfulness and its link to creativity, business and wealth.
SATELLOGIC AND UP42 TEAM UP TO OFFER RAPID MONITORING CAPABILITIES
Satellogic Inc. (NASDAQ: SATL), a leader in sub-meter resolution Earth Observation (“EO”) data collection, announced today that it has agreed with UP42, a geospatial developer platform and marketplace enabling direct access to Satellogic’s satellite tasking high-resolution multispectral and wide-area hyperspectral imagery via the UP42 API-based platform. The agreement includes the archive of high-frequency, high-resolution Satellogic data.
The companies made the announcement today at the Geospatial World Forum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where UP42 CEO Sean Wiid and Satellogic Business Development & Sales Director Eldridge de Melo are featured, speakers.
“This exciting new collaboration gives UP42 customers a distinct advantage in rapidly creating geospatial solutions,” said UP42’s CEO Sean Wild. “Users can now derive insights from Satellogic data using algorithms and data fusion via our developer-first platform.”
Direct API access to Satellogic’s multi- and hyperspectral data – with intraday updates – supports rapid, timely, and frequent monitoring of critical assets in diverse sectors, such as energy, utilities, local government, and security. The UP42 platform’s REST API and Python SDKs can be fully customized, allowing UP42 users to build cost-effective solutions and quickly deliver end products to their clients.
“Our mission of democratizing access to critical Earth Observation data means making our data available where it’s convenient for end-users,” said Thomas VanMatre, VP of Global Business Development at Satellogic. “UP42 is a leading geospatial marketplace with value-added capabilities, enabling its customers to access and analyze data without extensive expertise. It is collaborations like this alliance with UP42 that will increase adoption of EO data across new markets, driving better decision making and outcomes.”
The growing Satellogic constellation currently consists of 22 operational small satellites, capable of acquiring 4-band (RGB NIR) multispectral data at 70 cm (1m native) spatial resolution over a 5km swath and up to 29-band (460-830nm) hyperspectral imagery at 25m resolution over a 125km swath.
During pre-processing, Satellogic imagery is optimized for analysis by Machine Learning (“ML”) and Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) applications – a significant benefit for UP42 users who will have access to more than 75 ML/AI algorithms on the UP42 platform.
UP42 users will be able to apply Satellogic data sets and extracted knowledge to support projects in a range of applications spanning the public and private sectors, including Agriculture and Forestry, Energy and Sustainability, Critical Infrastructure Management, Finance, and Insurance, Environment and Climate, and Government.
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