Monday, November 24, 2008

Strange and Unbelievable Facts That You Never Knew. Part-II

1. If you are struck by lightning, your skin will be heated to 28,000 degrees Centigrade, hotter than the surface of the Sun.

2. If you trace your family tree back 25 generations, you will have 33,554,432 direct ancestors – assuming no incest was involved.

3. The average distance between the stars in the sky is 20 million miles.

4. It would take a modern spaceship 70,000 years to get to the nearest star to earth.

5. An asteroid wiped out every single dinosaur in the world, but not a single species of toad or salamander was affected. No one knows why, nor why the crocodiles and tortoises survived.

6. If you dug a well to the centre of the Earth, and dropped a brick in it, it would take 45 minutes to get to the bottom – 4,000 miles down.

7. Your body sheds 10 billion flakes of skin every day.

8. The Earth weighs 6,500 million million million tons.

9. Honey is the only food consumed by humans that doesn’t go off.

10. The Hawaiian alphabet has only 12 letters.

11. A donkey can sink into quicksand but a mule can’t.

12. Every time you sneeze your heart stops a second.

13. There are 22 miles more canals in Birmingham UK than in Venice.

14. Potato crisps were invented by a Mr Crumm.

15. Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in their correct order.

16. Eskimoes have hundreds of words for snow but none for hello.

17. The word “set” has the most definitions in the English language.

18. The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating its letters is uncopyrightable.

19. Windmills always turn counter-clockwise.

20. The “Sixth Sick Sheik’s Sixth Sheep’s Sick” is the hardest tongue-twister.

21. The longest English word without a vowel is twyndyllyngs which means "twins".

22. 1 x 8 + 1 = 9; 12 x 8 + 2 = 98; 123 x 8 + 3 = 987; 1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876; 12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765; 123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654; 1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543; 12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432; 123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

23. The word "dreamt" is the only common word in the English language that ends in "mt".

24. Albert Einstein never wore any socks.

25. The average human will eat 8 spiders while asleep in their lifetime.

26. In space, astronauts cannot cry because there is no gravity.

27. Hummingbirds are the only creatures that can fly backwards.

28. An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.

29. Cockroaches can live 9 days without their heads before they starve to death.

30. A flamingo can eat only when its head is upside down.

31. The lighter was invented before the match.

32. It is physically impossible for pigs to look up at the sky.

33. The average person has over 1,460 dreams a year!

34. Scientists with high-speed cameras have discovered that rain drops are not tear shaped but rather look like hamburger buns.

35. The first Internet domain name ever registered was on March 15, 1985.

36. When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone back in 1876, only six phones were sold in the first month.

37. Approximately 7.5% of all office documents get lost.

38. is currently the most expensive domain name sold: for $7.5 million.

39. In 2001, the five most valuable brand names in order were Coca-Cola, Microsoft, IBM, GE, and Nokia.

40. In Canada, the most productive day of the working week is Tuesday.

41. In a study by the University of Chicago in 1907, it was concluded that the easiest colour to spot is yellow. This is why John Hertz, who is the founder of the Yellow Cab Company picked cabs to be yellow.

42. It takes about 63,000 trees to make the newsprint for the average Sunday edition of The New York Times.

43. On average a business document is copied 19 times.

44. The largest employer in the world is the Indian railway system in India, employing over 1.6 million people.

45. Warner Chappel Music owns the copyright to the song "Happy Birthday." They make over $1 million in royalties every year from the commercial use of the song.

46. All babies are colour-blind when they are born.

47. Children grow faster in the springtime than any other season during the year.

48. Each nostril of a human being registers smells in a different way. Smells that are made from the right nostril are more pleasant than the left. However, smells can be detected more accurately when made by the left nostril.

49. Humans are born with 350 bones in their body, however when a person reaches adulthood they only have 206 bones. This occurs because many of them join together to make a single bone.

50. May babies are on average 200 grams heavier than babies born in other months.

51. Leonardo da Vinci was dyslexic, and he often wrote backwards.

52. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had only one testicle.

53. Queen Lydia Liliuokalani was the last reigning monarch of the Hawaiian Islands. She was also the only Queen the United States ever had.

54. Rolling Stones band member Bill Wyman married a 19 year-old model Mandy Smith in 1988. At the same time Wyman's son was engaged to Mandy Smith's mother. If his son had married Smith's mother, Wyman would have been the step grandfather to his own wife.

55. There are 158 verses in the Greek National Anthem.

56. There are about 6,800 languages in the world.

57. There was no punctuation until the 15th century.

58. Children laugh about 400 times a day, while adults laugh on average only 15 times a day.

59. The coconut is the largest seed in the world.

Strange and Unbelievable Facts That You Never Knew Part-I

1. The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma.

2. No piece of paper can be folded in half more than seven (7) times.

3. Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.

4. You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.

5. The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's gum.

6. The King of Hearts is the only king without a mustache.

7. American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one (1) olive from each salad served in first-class.

8. Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise. (Since Venus is normally associated with women,what does this tell you!)

9. Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.

10.Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin.

11.The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer.So did the first "Marlboro Man."

12.Walt Disney was afraid of mice.

13.Pearls melt in vinegar.

14.The three most valuable brand names on earth:
Coca Cola

15.It is possible to lead a cow upstairs... but, not downstairs.

16.A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.

17.Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six (6) feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush. (I keep my toothbrush in the living room now!)

18.Richard Millhouse Nixon was the first U.S. president whose name contains all the letters from the word "criminal."

The second? William Jefferson Clinton

19.And the best for last... Turtles can breathe through their butts.

Some facts about Formula One Grand Prix


F1 car is made up of 80,000 components, if it were assembled 99.9% correctly; it would still start the race with 80 things wrong!

When an F1 driver hits the brakes on his car he experiences retardation or deceleration comparable to a regular car driving through a BRICK wall at 300kmph!!!

F1 car can go from 0 to 160 kph AND back to 0 in FOUR seconds!!!!!!!

F1 car engines last only for about 2 hours of racing mostly before blowing up on the other hand we expect our engines to last us for a decent 20yrs on an average and they quite faithfully DO....that's the extent to which the engines r pushed to perform...

An average F1 driver looses about 4kgs of weight after just one race due to the prolonged exposure to high G forces and temperatures for little over an hour (Yeah that's right!!!)

At 550kg a F1 car is less than half the weight of a Mini.

To give you an idea of just how important aerodynamic design and added down force can be, small planes can take off at slower speeds than F1 cars travel on the track.

Without aerodynamic down force, high-performance racing cars have sufficient power to produce wheel spin and loss of control at 160 kph. They usually race at over 300 kph.

In a street course race like the Monaco grand prix, the down force provides enough suction to lift manhole covers. Before the race all of the manhole covers on the streets have to be welded down to prevent this from happening!

The refuelers used in F1 can supply 12 liters of fuel per second. This means it would take just 4 seconds to fill the tank of an average 50 liter family car. They use the same refueling rigs used on US military helicopters today.

TOP F1 pit crews can refuel and change tyres in around 3 seconds. It took me 8 sec to read above point

During the race the tyres lose weight! Each tyre loses about 0.5 kg in weight due to wear.

Normal tyres last 60 000 - 100 000 km. Racing tyres are designed to last 90 - 120 km.
A dry-weather F1 tyre reaches peak operating performance (best grip) when tread temperature is between 900C and 1200C.(Water boils boils at 100C remember) At top speed, F1 tyres rotate 50 times a second.

And that's not Magic.... Its only the Power of Human Imagination...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Did you know?

Did you know?

To check the dwindling population of tigers in India, 'Project Tiger' was launched in April 1973. So far, 23 tiger reserves have been established in the country under this project, covering an area of 33,126 sq. km.

Where was India's first motion picture screening held?
India's first motion picture was screened at the Watson hotel in Mumbai. The Lumire brothers, Lousie and Auguste first showed films in India, on a commercial basis on July 7, 1896. Four 40-minute shows were held every day and the entry price for each was Re1 per person.

How many words are there in the longest Indian film title?

The longest film title has 20 words. This belongs to the Telugu film 'Shree Shree Rajadhiraja Shree Shree Madana Kamaraja Shree Shree Vilasa Raja Shree Shree Madhubana Raja Shree Shree Krishnadeva donga Raja'. The film was released in Chennai in Dec.1994.

Which Indian actor has won an international Best Actress Award?

Nirmal Pandey, a popular hindi stage and film actor won the Best Actress award at the Valenciennes Film Festival, France 1997 for his portrayal of a transvestite (a man who dresses as a woman and vice versa) in Amol Palekar's 'Daayraa' (Limitation). Nirmal shared the Best Actress award with the female lead of the film Sonali Kulkarni.

Which is India's all time biggest Best Selling Pop Track?

No, its not Micheal Jackson. India's Altaf Raja's 'Tum to thehre pardesi, saath kya nibhaoge' (you are but a foreigner, how will you stay with me). The album sold over 40 lakh cassettes, the largest seller in the non-film category.

Where in India is Asia's biggest sabzi market located?

It's in the capital city. The New Subzi Mandi, the wholesale market at Azadpur, Delhi, is Asia's largest fruit and vegetable market. Nearly 3,000 trucks bring in fruits and vegetables here daily for over 30,000 retail vendors.

Why are there so many cows on India's roads?

Because India has more cows than anywhere else in the world. Out of a world population of 132 crore, India has 20.5 crore or 15.5 percent! The hindus, the followers of India's biggest religion believe that cows are sacred animals and should not be killed for meat. The sad part though is that not many facilities are provided for these holy ones - and they are often left to wander on the roads - where they create a nuisance for themselves and others.

Is there a rat temple in India?

Yes, in Rajathan. The 575-year-old temple of Karni Devi (one of the nine incarnations of Durga) has a large number of holy rats called 'Kabas', believed to be the offsprings of the presiding deity. Located at Deshnok, 35 km from Bikaner, Rajasthan, this temple is devoted exclusively to the rats which roam around freely in the place.

Who was the first Indian to be admitted to the Indian Civil Service?

Satyendranath Tagore, the elder brother of Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, was the first Indian to be admitted in the Indian Civil Service. He had to pass a tough exam, which was held only in London, to discourage Indians from applying.

Who was the first person to use zero as a number?

Brahmagupta (598-660) an Indian mathematician first used zero as a number and showed its mathematical use. Bhaskaracharya (1114 A.D.) was the first to understand the mathematical implications of zero by stating that anything divided by zero is equal to infinity.

When were India's first television signals transmitted?

The first experimental telecast was attempted on Sept.15, 1959, at Delhi. The transmission was done with the help of a small transmitter in a makeshift studio.

What is the name of India's oldest functioning English daily?

The Times of India. This was first published in Mumbai on Nov.3, 1838 as a bi-weekly and was called Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce. It was renamed The Times of India in 1850 with J.E.Brennan as its first editor.

Who is the only Indian to have been given an honorary US citizenship?

On November 16, 1996 Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhin) became the first Indian to be given an honorary US citizenship. She was the fourth person in the world to have been given this honor.

Who is India's most infamous conman?

That's Natwrlal or Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava, a man so clever at fooling people that he once walked out of Kanpur jail dressed in a smuggled Sub-Inspector's uniform! Having got the cell guard to open the door by handing out an attaché case full of cash, he coolly walked out, got into a waiting car and sped way. When the car broke down a little later, he coolly flagged down another vehicle and vanished!

Natwarlal was wanted in over 100 cases in eight States. He has been sentenced to a whopping 113 years in jail by various courts and has made eight daring escapes, each time from a different jail.

Where is India's highest motorable road located?

India's highest road is at Khardung-la in the Leh-Manali in Himachal Pradesh. The road was constructed by the Boarder Roads Organisation at a height of 5,682 meters (18,383 ft).

Who is India's largest employer?

Indian Railways. The railways employ over 15.79 lakh people, the largest by a single organization in India or anywhere else in the world.

How many people can eat from the food cooked (at one time) in India's largest solar cooker?

Over 10,000! Shirin and Deepak Gadhia devised a giant solar cooker for the Brahmakumaris World Academy in Mount Abu, Rajasthan in Jan.1998, The cooker has 84 solar dishes and a surface of 840 sq. m. This is also the largest solar cooker in the world.

When did Internet come to India?

In 1995 when the National Informatics Centre (NIC), Delhi, first provided users access to the World Wide Web service through the C-Web. The C-Web allows users to browse, search and publish documents on the Net.

Which Indian can calculate faster than a computer?

That's Shakuntala Devi of Bangalore. In 1977, she took only 50 seconds to compute the 23rd root of a 201-digit number while it took a computer well over a minute. On June 18, 1980, she multiplied 7,686,369,774,870 by 2,465,099,745,779 and arrived at the correct answer: 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730 in 28 seconds.

Which Indian is the world's youngest graduate?

Tathagat Avatar Tulsi of Bihar became the world's youngest graduate by passing the Bachelor of Science examination (with honours in physics) from Science College, Patna at the age of 11 years and two months. Tathagat broke the record of Jay Luo of Garden City, USA, who had graduated at the age of 12 years, 1 month and 12 days. Tulsi had earlier cleared the Central Board of Secondary Examination at the age of nine years and six months. He has set a hat-trick in Guinness World Record in academics: he completed high school at the age of nine, earned a B.Sc. at the age of ten and a M.Sc. at the age of twelve.

Which Indian language is the world's oldest living language?

Tamil is the oldest of all Indian languages and also the oldest living language in the world. It represents certain literacy types not found in Sanskrit or other Aryan languages and traces its history to Tolkappiyam, the earliest extant manuscript of Tamil grammar, dated 500 B.C.

Which Indian word is the longest Palindrome (reading the same forward and backward) in the Roman script?

The longest palindrome in Roman script is the nine-letter word MALAYALAM, the language of Kerala.

What was India's first homegrown comic book or series?

The Amar Chitra Katha series of mythology and other themes in comic book form, was published by India Book House (IBH) in 1969 and sold over half-a-million copies. The series was the brainchild of Mr. Anant Pai. The first Amar Chitra Katha title was Krishna. Since then over 436 titles have been published in all Indian and some foreign languages.

Only acting Prime Minister: Gulzari Lal Nanda became acting Prime Minister twice after the death of two Prime Ministers (Jawahar Lal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri), but he was never elected to the post. As they say - always the bridesmaid, never the bride!

Indira Gandhi was the first and till now the only woman Prime Minister of India. She assumed office in 1966 and ruled over the country for nearly 2 decades (except during 1977 - 80). She lost the 1977 elections because of her unpopular imposition of national 'emergency', but won the following elections on the basis of her 'garibi hatao' call!

Oldest PM: Morarji Desai became the Prime Minister when he was 81 years old!

Youngest PM: Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister at the age of 40.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Aurora - Solar Winds

The sun sends a constant stream of charged particles, know as the solar wind, into space. These energized particles interact with a protective magnetic shield that shrouds our planet.

Earth's magnetosphere, as the shield is called, is made up of invisible lines of a magnetic field that radiate out into space from the poles. The magnetosphere forces the solar wind to slide around it, protecting the planet from radiation.

The charged particles squeeze the magnetic field into a teardrop shape. In the magnetosphere, researchers say, the interaction creates electric fields and electromagnetic waves that transfer their energy to electrons, which then plunge into the atmosphere.

The charged particles excite oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere to create the aurora borealis, or northern lights. (The same condition creates the aurora australis, or southern lights.)

"The aurora varies in intensity from brightness equal to that of the Milky Way up to the equivalent of a full Moon," says climatologist Jan Curtis, who photographs auroras from his home in Alaska. "Colors range from mostly greens to reds, and take on the forms of discrete rays, homogeneous bands and arcs, or diffuse glowing clouds. Their movement can be stationary, or zip across the entire sky in seconds."

Thanks to satellites, researchers are getting their best look ever at auroras, and what's behind them. Using three satellites, including the Polar spacecraft, scientists now can make before-and-after measurements of the phenomenon when a gust of solar wind passes by.

James Spann, a space plasma physicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, explains a recent finding based on satellite data: When a pressure wave of solar radiation hits the leading edge of Earth's magnetosphere, known as the bow, it can cause the shield to contract, and the aurora brightens. As the pressure wave travels along the magnetosphere, the brighter area moves with it, said Spann and his colleagues in a study published in June of 1999.

As the sun approaches solar maximum, a peak of activity, expected in the coming months, flings more and more bursts of energy into space, forcing a corresponding increase in the auroras.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Diesel from fungus may be future fuel

A unique fungus that makes diesel compounds directly from cellulose has been discovered living in trees in the Patagonian rainforest. "These are the first organisms that have been found that make many of the ingredients of diesel," said Professor Gary Strobel from Montana State University. "This is a major discovery

A reddish microbe found on the inside of a tree at a secret location in the rain forests of northern Patagonia could unlock the biofuel of the future, say scientists.

Its potential is so startling that the discoverers have coined the term "myco-diesel" — a derivation of the word for fungus
— to describe the bouquet of hydrocarbons that it breathes.

"This is the only organism that has ever been shown to produce such an important combination of fuel substances," said Gary Strobel, a professor of biology at Montana State University.

"The fungus can even make these diesel compounds from cellulose, which would make it a better source of biofuel that anything we use at the moment."

The study appeared in a peer-reviewed British journal, Microbiology.

Strobel, a 70-year-old veteran of the world's rainforests, said that he came across Gliocladium roseum thanks to "two cases of serendipity".

The first was in the late 1990s, when his team, working in Honduras, came across a previously unidentified fungus called Muscodor albus. By sheer accident, they found that M albus releases a powerful volatile — meaning gassy — antibiotic. Intrigued by this, the team tested M Albus on the ulmo tree, whose fibres are a known habitat for fungi, in the hope that this would show up a new fungus. "Quite unexpectedly, G roseum grew in the presence of these gases when almost all other fungi were killed. It was also making volatile antibiotics," said Strobel.

"Then, when we examined the gas composition of G roseum, we were totally surprised to learn that it was making a plethora of hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon derivatives. The results were totally unexpected and very exciting, and almost every hair on my arms stood on end."

Strobel's team put the G roseum through its paces in the lab, growing it on an oatmeal-based jelly and on cellulose.

Extractor fans drew off the gases exuded by the fungus, and analysis showed that many of them were hydrocarbons, including at least eight compounds that are the most abundant ingredients in diesel. Biofuels have been promoted as good alternatives to oil, which is sourced from politically volatile regions and is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect.

Software that reads mind

In a landmark research, scientists in Netherlands have developed a mind-reading state-of-the-art software, which can decipher the sounds being spoken to a person from scans of the listener's brain.

The researchers led by Elia Formisano of Maastricht University, found that each speaker and each sound created a distinctive "neural fingerprint" in a listener's auditory cortex, the brain region that deals with hearing. "This is the first study in which we can really distinguish two human voices, or two specific sounds," Formisano said.

Neuroscientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to track the brain activity of 7 people while they listened to three different speakers saying simple vowel sounds. This fingerprint was used to create rules that could decode future activity and determine both who is being listened to, and what they are saying, the New Scientist reported.

The researchers hope to match recent advances in using fMRI to identify what a person is looking at from their brain activity. Until now, the best mind-reading feats extended only to differentiating between different categories of sounds, such as human voices versus animal cries.

T-10 gully cricket - New 10 Over Cricket Match

After 50 overs got reduced to 20, now 10 over matches are going to create a sensation. Two teams comprising not just cricketers, but also television stars and others from the entertainment business will battle it out on the pitch in the first ever T-10 gully cricket tournament.

The announcement of the schedule was made by cricketer VVS Laxman and commentator Charu Sharma, followed by a match between the teams. The anthem for the tournament recorded by artist Kailash Kher was also released.

"The game is slowly evolving to the next stage from one-day internationals to T-20 matches and now to T-10 gully cricket. The T-10 format will incorporate unique features like power over, bat out, max zone and a tenner among others things to liven up the proceedings." said Anoop Wadhwa, promoter, Reasonable Communications, the media marketing company which initiated this tournament.

The tournament will kick off in January, 2009 at Ludhiana. With Rs 25 lakh as prize money, the winners will walk away with Rs 10 lakh and Rs 5 lakh for the runners-up. The event, to be played across eight cities will feature five sponsored teams.

The top team from each city will vie for the final pay-off in Mumbai. The exciting feature of the tournament will be that the team is allowed to select any one over known as 'max power over' and the runs scored in the over will be doubled and added to the total.

In all 40 teams battle it out for the trophy starting with the inaugural match day at Ludhiana, followed by Jalandhar, Kanpur, Lucknow, Thane, Pune and Nashik and Surat. The finale will be in Mumbai in the second week of February 2009. The final match day will feature the top four teams vying for the Grand Finale on Super Sunday.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hybrid Fridge cools by sun

Hybrid fridge cools by sun

A new solar-powered refrigeration system for food storage in Indian villages that are off the grid is now under development.
The fridge is a hybrid of conventional compressor-based refrigeration and thermoelectric materials, semiconductors that convert electricity into cooling and vice versa, according to Cambridge, Mass.-based Promethean Power Systems officials.
fridge 1009

A conceptual illustration of a solar-powered refrigeration system.

Source: Promethean Power Systems

The chilling units will be cheaper than what is currently used in Indian villages, most of which are off the grid. In such villages, food distributors and processors store raw food products in traditional compressor-based cooling units that run on diesel generators. These cost about $12,000, said the company’s cofounder Sorin Grama. That cost does not include the escalating cost of diesel needed to run the units, Grama said. During a month spent in India a year ago, Grama and his cofounder, Sam White, identified a crucial niche. “Customers kept asking for a cooling system that has low maintenance and operation cost,” White said.

Grama said even including the expense of the photovoltaic (PV) panels, his design would cost about the same as or slightly less than the diesel-powered refrigeration units. More important, it would have no fuel costs and almost no maintenance costs. A compressor combined with thermoelectric modules would use 20% less power to generate the same cooling as a compressor alone, according to the company’s initial calculations.

The design uses off-the-shelf components: silicon PV panels, thermoelectric modules, and a compressor-based refrigeration unit. The company’s control system directs the two cooling components to work together so they squeeze as much juice out of the solar panels as possible, Grama said. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon, when the amount of sunlight is low, the solar panels will not generate enough power to run the compressor. But there will be enough solar power to run the thermoelectric modules, which would generate cooling until the compressor kicks in. Around midday, when the solar panels are working full throttle, the thermoelectric modules will use the extra juice the compressor does not need to provide additional cooling.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hinduism and Big Bang Theory

Hinduism and Big Bang Theory: The Cosmic Event in Upanishads and other Hindu Scriptures

There are numerous theories regarding the origin of universe but the Big Bang model is the broadly accepted theory. But thousands of years before scientists came up with Big Bang model, did the sages of Upanishads knew about the cosmos wake up. In his long introductory essay in the book ‘The Big Bang and the Bhagavad Gita,’ R.A.S. Koacha suggests that the early saints of modern day Hinduism knew about this cosmic event through mystic insight.

Big Bang Theory postulates that 12 to 14 billion years ago, the portion of the universe we can see today was only a few millimeters across. It has since expanded from this hot dense state into the vast and much cooler cosmos we currently inhabit. (NASA)

Some of the conclusions from the book – ‘The Big Bang and the Bhagavad Gita,’ R.A.S. Koacha

Is Brahman an oblique reference of Big Bang?

The very name ‘Brahman’ representing the Ultimate Reality in Hindu religion appears to be nothing but an implicit reference to the ‘Big Bang’ itself. The word ‘Brahman’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘brh’ which means to ‘grow big’ without limit and can be an oblique reference to an explosion. Hence it is perhaps also called ‘Shabda Brahman’ in the scriptures as Brahman manifests itself as a ‘Sphota’ or explosion.

But Brahman is before and after Big Bang

However, Brahman being the one and only Reality, represents everything, including event the state of singularity before the Big Bang, as well as the whole manifested universe after it. As the point of singularity, Brahman is the impersonal absolute of pure timeless existence.

Big Bang is represented by Symbol OM

As all creation emerges from Brahman with the Big Bang, its symbol is the single syllable ‘OM’ (Shabda Brahman). The ‘OM’ is the only symbol used as a ‘Mantra’ (Invocation) by the seers of the Upanishads in meditation to attain oneness with the cosmos. It also represents the waking, dream and deep-sleep states of all living beings. Hence it is the appropriate symbol of Brahman in its transcendent as well as immanent aspects. Representing the primal sound of creation the ‘AUM’ symbolizes the manifesting sound (or vibration) of the ‘Big Bang’ which astronomers have detected as the residual cosmic emanation from that explosion.

Hindu Samkhya System Negates Creation Out of Nothing

In the Hindu Samkhya System we have the earliest refutation of the creation out of nothing (ex nihilo), and the first full-fledged theory of creation. According to Samkhya the effect preexists in the cause. There is nothing like a new creation but only a manifestation of what was already present in the cause in a potential form. Thus Prakriti or material nature is the primordial matrix or plenum out of which all material as well as psychic phenomena evolve. Mind and matter are but manifestations of the same principle. Prakriti is the homogenous universal field (Quantum field?) at first in a state of equilibrium, its three constituents the illuminating (Sattvic), activating (Rajasic) and restricting (Tamasic) being in a balanced state. When this balance is disturbed by the preponderance of one or the other of the constituents (Gunas) creation becomes inevitable.

The evolution of the manifold is succeeded by its involution and reabsorption back into the unitary state, only to be re-emitted after a period of potentiality. These processes are governed entirely by the tension between the forces among themselves and no extraneous agency is necessary to account for them.

The concepts of Narayana, Lila, Sankalpa are attempts by Upanishad Seers to simplify the complex Bing Bang Theory

The Upanishads are more cryptical in their description of creation. According to them the ONE (Brahman) wished to be many and creation is only an expression of its WILL (Sankalpa). Sometimes creation is depicted as divine play (LILA) of the Supreme Being. But any game will lose its meaning when the omniscient player knows all, from beginning to end. The scripture state that the universe originated from Narayana; Narayana is too difficult to interpret even in Sanskrit. He is very the Big Bang personified. (Jagat Narayanodbhavam)

The Bindu (dot) in Shaivism is the Few Millimeter Long Primordial Seed

The Kashmiri cult of Shaivism is more explicit in its account of creation. The whole universe was at first concentrated at one point or dot (Bindu). It is the Primordial Seed of creation. After a period of germination it undergoes an explosion (Sphota) resulting in the sound (Nada) of creation (OM). (Sound is used in the scriptures for all kinds of vibrations.) All creation (Kala) proceeds from this sound. Thus the doctrine of Nada, Bindu, and Kala is but an implied reference to the Big Bang theory of creation.

(Source: Excerpts from The Big Bang and the Bhagavad Gita by R.A.S. Kocha Published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chitragupta Puja : Kayastha Samaj

Origin of Kayasthas
There are two known theories of the origin of Kayasthas as given in the Puranas and as it has come down in tradition from generation to generation.

The first theory is the orthodox one, and is hitherto accepted generally by all castes and communities in India, based as it is on the authority of no less than four Puranas ---viz. Padma Puran (Srishti Khand,Patal Khand and Uttar Khand), Bhavishya Purana, Yama Samhita, Mahabharata and Brihad Parashar Smriti.

It is said that Brahma, the Creator, having established the four varnas — Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra — ordained Dharamraj ( also called Yamraj, the god of death) to keep record of the deeds — good and evil — of all life-forms born and yet to be born on the earth, in the heavens above and in the lands below. Dharamraj, however, complained, "O Lord, how can I alone keep record of the deeds of the beings born into 84 lakh yonis (life-forms) in the three worlds?"

Brahma then closed his eyes, meditated for a while and lo and behold! there appeared a radiant figure with a quill-pen in one hand and an ink-pot in another. Brahma named him Chittagupta for he was conceived in his cognitive-self (chitta) and he was lying in Him, dormant and secret (gupta). He was born of Brahma’s body (kaya) and so the Lord decreed that his progenies be called Kayasthas. He was assigned to work as a minister, to write and record for Dharamraj. Thus, the fifth varna, the Kayastha, came into existence.


Sanskrit texts of yore tell us that Chittagupta married Irawati and Nandini. The 12 Kayastha sub-castes are traced to his 12 sons, eight by Irawati and four by Nandini. Mathurs, Gaurs, Bhatnagars, Saxenas, Ambhasths, Nigams, Karns and Kulshreshths became the descendants of the eight sons by Irawati, whereas Srivastavas, Suryadhwajs, Asthanas and Valmiks became the descendants of the four sons by Nandini. As time passed, the name Chittagupta got transformed into Chitragupta.

Ancient Sanskrit texts dating back to the pre-Mughal period, though, have references to Kayasthas and Chitragupta. The Smriti of Yajnavalkya describes the Kayasthas as writers, scribes and village accountants. The Vishnu and Parashara Smritis have also similar references to them, describing them as magistrates, judges and chief executive officers.

In the Garud Puran, Chitragupta has been described as the giver of the script (Chitraguptaya namastubhyam veda aksharadatre — salutation to Chitragupta, the giver of the script). The Rig Veda enjoins a salutation to Chitragupta before offering sacrifice — Sri Chitraguptaya vai namah.


Residents of Kaya-Desh
The second theory or view may be deemed as the heterodox one. According to this the word Kayastha only meant residents of Kaya-desh or Madhya-desh, which was synonym to Ayodhia.

On this view it is possible to hazard a guess that the class or community of Kayasthas may have come into existence by the formation of something like a guild of all those people who, although drawn from educated members of more than one Dwij varanas, (viz. Brahmans, Kshattriyas and even possibly Vaishyas), took to and adopted government service or administration as their hereditary profession or calling from the earliest times in Hindu history.

They may have been or indeed were residents of different parts of India. The fact that by ancient custom inter-marriage and even inter-dining was strictly prohibited amongst the twelve sub-castes of the Kayasthas interse seems to lend some support to this view.

The 12 sub-castes of the Kayasthas are not only endogamous subdivisions, but they also have exogamous divisions based on als. An al would refer to a distinguished ancestor or the place of origin or it could refer to a characteristic acquired during migration. Members of the same al are prohibited to inter-marry and hence als perform the same function that gotras do in other castes.

Chitragupta Puja : Celebarated on Kartik Mase Dwitiya Tihti.(Bhai Dooj Also celebrated this day)
Chitragupt Ji Maharaj

Hindu Mythology believes that the entire world, that was created by Lord Bramha, the Creator. Lord Bramha first created 16 Sons from various parts of his own body. Shree Chitraguptjee, his 17th creation, is believed to be the creation from Lord Bramha's belly. Thus, Shree Chitraguptjee is the divine incarnation in human form. Called Kayastha since he is the only one created in entirety [Kaya] from the Lord Bramha's body.

The Duty Of Chitragupt Ji Maharaj
Hindu Dharam is based on a multiple phase life cycle involving re-birth. It is believed that those who do not attain a balance between their good-deeds and misdoing, have to attain re-birth in any living form , to complete the life cycle.

The primary duty awarded to Shree Chitraguptjee is to create log of the lives of all living beings, judge their lives based on good-deeds and misdoing, and decide, upon ones death, whether they will attain Nirvana, ie, the completion of their life cycle & redemption from all worldly troubles or, receive punishment for their misdoing in another life form.

Twelve Sons of Chitragupta Ji Maharaj
Kulshrestaha, Srivastava, Ambastha,Suryadwaj, Gorh, Mathur, Bhatnagar,Nigam, Saxena, valmik,Asthana, Karn.

Puja Items
Sandalwood Paste, Til, Camphour/Kapoor, Paan, Sugar, Paper, Pen, Ink, Ganga Water, Unbroken Rice, Cotton, Honey, Yellow Mustard, Plate Made Of Leaves, Puja Platform, Dhoop, Youghart, Sweets, Puja Cloths, Milk, Seasonal friuts, Panchpatra, Gulal (Color powder), Brass Katora, Tulsi leaves, Roli, keasar, Betul nut, Match box, Frankincense and Deep.

Puja Process
First clean the Puja room and then Bath Chitragupt Ji's idol or photo first with water, then with panchamitra/or rose water, followed by water once more. Now put Deepak (Lamp) of ghee in front of the Chitragupt Ji. Make a Panchamitra with 5 ingredients of milk, curd, ghee (clarified butter), sugar & Honey. Place Few mithais, snacks & fruits as a prashad. Make Guraadi (Gur + Adi = Molasses + Ginger). Make offerings of flowers, Abir (red colour), Sindoor (vermillion) and Haldi (turmeric). Light the Agarbatti (incense sticks) and lamps filled with Ghee. Read the holy book of Chitragupta puja. After the completion of Katha, perform aarti. Now take plain new paper & make swastik with roli-ghee, then write the name of five god & goddess with a new pen. Then write a "MANTRA (Given Below)" & write your Name, Address (permanent & present), Date (hindi date) your income & expenditure. Then fold the the paper & put before Chitragupt Ji.

Chitragupt Puja and Dawat Puja

Chitragupt Puja is performed by Kayastha Parivar that believes in world peace, justice, knowledge and literacy, the four primary virtues depicted by the form of Shree Chitraguptjee. The puja is also known as Dawat (Inkpot) Puja, in which the books and pen are worshipped, symbolizing the importance of study in the life of a Kayastha. During the Chitragupt Puja, earning members of the also give account of their earning, writing to Chitragupt Maharaj the additional amount of money that is required to run the household, next year.

Kayastha Prominent Personalities:

Raja Todar Mal: Akbar's finance minister .One of the akbar's nau ratnas.
Swami Vivekanand ji
Subhash Chandra Bose
Lal Bahadur Shashtri
Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Munshi Premchand
Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan
Dr. S .S. Bhatnagar
Vinod Dham
Firaque Gorakhpuri
Vrindavan Lal Verma
Jagdish Chandra Bose

Hindu Festivals: Lets Know Our Mythology- Chhat Puja

Chhat Puja – Important pooja and Vrat dedicated to Surya in Bihar and Jharkhand
Chhat or Dala Chhath Vrat is an important and popular ritual observed by people of Bihar and Jharkhand after Diwali. Chhat is dedicated to Lord Surya and Lord Kartik. It is observed for four days in the month of Kartik (October – November). Chhat fasting, also known as Surya Sashti, is also observed in eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh and in some parts of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. In 2008, the date of main Chhat puja is November 4 and November 5. Chhat Sandhya Argh (Chhat Dala Evening puja) is on November 4 and Chhath Suryodaya Argh (Chhath Dala Morning puja) is on November 5. Nahai Khai is on November 2 and Kharna is on November 3.

Chhat vrat is dedicated to Lord Surya (Sun), Agni (fire) and Lord Kartikeya or Muruga. People undertake this Vrat for the well being of the family. It is believed that people get their wishes fulfilled, if they observe Chhat Puja. The fast is mainly kept by women, in many places men also join in the ritual and observe fast.

During the Chhat puja devotees cook food with dry wood on new oven made of brick and soil and the cooked food is ‘Prasad’ or offerings to Sun God. Garlic and Onions are not used during Chhat period.

Nahai Khai first day of Chhat

The first day of Chhat is dedicated to cleaning, preparation and purification and is known as Nahai Khai. Thousands of devotees have an early morning bath in Ganga River on the day. The main food cooked on the day is rice, chana dal, and green gourd (lauki). Lauki is an important preparation on the day and therefore the cooking and the day is also referred as Lauki Bhat.

Kharna fasting second day of Chhat

Fast or Upvaas begins on the second day and this is referred as Kharna. The fast is broken after performing a puja at home in the evening. Kheer, sweets and fruits are offered to deities and then the whole family shares the Prasad. Another round of fasting begins after the prasad is shared. This fast is usually broken on the fourth day morning.

Chhat Sandhya Argh third day of Chhat

On the third day in the evening, Chhat Sandhya Argh is offered. Devotees offer ‘Argh’ to setting sun (Lord Surya) along with ‘soop’ at a pond, seashore or riverbank. ‘Argh’ and ‘soop’ are offerings and consists of flowers, fruits, sprouted grains, dry coconut, sugarcane, white radish, sweets and khajurees. The offering is made to Surya by standing in knee-deep water.
In the evening pujas are performed at home and a special puja is done for Agni – fire god. This puja is performed in a special area cordoned off by four sugarcane sticks.

Chhath Sooryodaya Argh fourth day of Chhat

On the fourth day morning, Chhath Sooryodaya Argh is performed. Devotees repeat the rituals performed on the third day evening for rising sun. What is left after offering to Lord Surya is shared as Prasad and the Chhat Puja comes to an end.

Each Day of a Week Dedicated to a Particular Hindu God

Each Day of a Week Dedicated to a Particular Hindu God
In Hinduism, each day of a week is dedicated to a particular god in the Hindu pantheon. Apart from the special Vratas and Upvaas, many Hindus also fast on a particular day in a week. Each day in a week has a specialty and there are numerous folklores associated with the fasting observed on the days of a week.

Sunday is dedicated to Lord Surya (Sun God). Those who undertake fast (upvaas) on the day only take a single meal. Oil and salt is avoided. Red is the color of the day and red flowers are offered to Surya.

Monday is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is said that Lord Shiva is easily pleased. Therefore many people observe Upvaas on Monday. Those devotees observing fast only eat food once. People visit Lord Shiva shrines and conduct pujas, especially, Ardhanarishwara puja. The mantra ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ is chanted continuously. Siva devotees also read Shiva Purana. Unmarried women observe the Vrat to get good husbands. Others observe it for a happy and prosperous family life.

Tuesday is dedicated to Durga, Goddess Kali and Lord Hanuman. Most devotees visit Devi and Hanuman shrines. Those people who fast avoid taking food containing salt at night.

Wednesday is dedicated to planet Mercury and Lord Vithal, an incarnation of Krishna. Green color leaves, especially Tulsi leaves, are used in Pujas. The day is highly auspicious for starting new ventures and it is believed that those who observe the Vrat are bound to get blessed with fortunes. People also give alms on the day.

Thursday is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his incarnations. Pujas are conducted using milk, ghee etc. Food is only eaten once and that too containing milk products. People read Srimad Bhagavad Purana on the day.

Friday is dedicated to Mother Goddess – Mahalakshmi, Santhosi Ma, Annapuraneshwari and Durga. Sweets are distributed on the day. Those devotees observing the Vrat make it a point to eat at night.

Saturday is dedicated to alleviating the bad influence of Lord Shani. The Vrat on this day is mainly observed by those people who believe in Hindu astrology. Black is the color of the day and people visit Shani shrine or Navagraha shrines. Food is only consumed once on the day.

It must be noted here that the deity worshipped on a particular day might vary from region to region and community to community. The result of all upvaas or fast depends on the person. It is good, if all the members in the family can undertake a Vrata together.

Miracles do happen by observing a particular Vrata and the greatest miracle is Brahman realization. All rituals and observances are path towards understanding the Supreme Soul and this will automatically alleviate all sufferings.