Towards Freedom


Information, Inspiration, Imagination
truly a site for soaring Is

Prad

a figment of his own imagination

we are all figments of our own imagination. that is why it is a good idea to cultivate that imagination. without imagination, we become trapped by knowledge and become intellectual casualties. imagination sparks within us adventure, courage, vision and compassion.

"i imagine, therefore i evolve!" (… or at the very least, i imagine i evolve)

some of my chronology:

  • 1952/10/27 (apparently) arrives on planet earth
  • upto 1968 exists as introvert in many forms (and generally continues to do so)
  • 1969 encounters thomas henry huxley, mr. spock, don quixote (man of la mancha) who are to have profound influence on subsequent existence
  • 1971 makes racket playing badminton and tennis
  • 1972 becomes lacto-ovo vegetarian
  • 1973 reads aldous huxley's island and sees possibilities not visualized before
  • 1977 starts teaching career in high school which lasts for 18 years and encompasses physics, math, special education, computer science (some students still serving long detentions)
  • 1982 tries to send student to serve as proxy for marriage, but is unsuccessful and is forced to go himself
  • 1987 arrival of first child, pericles, who causes hectic household to settle down and think of things that really are important
  • 1989/10/29 birth of son, kyron: humbly accepts standing ovation from students at school for achievement two days later
  • 1990 becomes strict vegetarian after going to local earthsave presentation
  • 1990/10/09 pericles flies away out the door. we search for him in vain for months. where are you my friend, or do you sit silently on my shoulder all these years?
  • 1995 we all move to vancouver island in british columbia.
  • 1996 towards freedom is created
  • 1997 receives new teaching assignment when kyron chooses to home school till he is 20
  • 1999 -? preparing to add more to this chronology

what I like to do to those who let me:

  • tutor math, physics, computer science
  • assist in changing diets, habits and lifestyles
  • develop into existence worthwhile visions we all have

the rest is left to the imagination …

A Chess Story

This story was initially conceived by Sangeeta as a present for a friend (who never got around to seeing it), but was written largely by prad many years ago. Sangeeta will be illustrating it sometime in the next several decades. If you know your chess or your life, you are welcome to play it out. Light shines in and there was a deep grumbling throughout the box … "Do we have to get up?

A Way to Rama

There was once a very evil robber who had committed atrocities galore. He had come to the realization that he was in big trouble with a large account of bad karma due to his egocentric activities. Somewhat repentant, he went to a great sage to see what could be done before the revenue collectors came after him. The sage said that his actions had been so evil that there really wasn't much hope for him and that he was due for several lifetimes of nastiness.

Buddha and the Limping Lamb

There are many stories told about Buddha the Compassionate One. They carry the eternal message with a simplicity that any child can understand. Here is one of those gems. The Buddha is taking a walk. He gazes at the beauty of the flowers of the field and says: "O trees and flowers of the field! How trustfully you turn your faces to the sun! And how trustfully nightingales and doves take shelter in you!

Cosmic Soulmates

While I tend to be agnostic, there are many aspects of various religions I admire, a viewpoint which permits one to not hold arrogant perspectives like 'my religion is better than yours'. This competitive attitude has been largely responsible throughout history for barbaric behaviour in the name of God who would be least appreciative of having One's 'children' slaughtering 'children' - with self-proclaimed Christians mutually slaughtering self-proclaimed Muslims mutually slaughtering self-proclaimed Hindus mutually slaughtering self-proclaimed whatevers etc etc

Cup of Tea

A prominent western philosopher had come to Japan to study with a zen master through an exchange program. The two of them sat down for a traditional tea. While waiting the philosopher thought he'd 'break the ice' by telling the zen master a bit about himself. Well, he started and a bit became more and more and more. he talked about his ideas of the history and development of philosophy and about the lack of consistency in different areas of thought and the problems associated with applying logic to situations considered unbroachable through logic.

Dogs in Heaven

There is a very beautiful story from the Hindu mythology's Mahabharata that provides an insight to the meaning of our existence. Five brothers who were kings and their wife, the queen (this happened through a misunderstanding of the concept of 'sharing' as expressed by their mother) after a long reign were embarking on their final journey - to heaven. To do so they had to trek up a mountain and along the way they were joined by a dog.

Food Combining Simplified

This article summarizes some food combining principles from chapter 26 of Shelton's book The Science and Fine Art of Food and Nutrition. Shelton advocated strict vegetarianism (also known as dietary vegan) as well as eating foods in their natural raw state. It is important to note that food combining has nothing to do with protein combining which was an amusing bit of panic prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s when some people thought that the vegetarian has to eat foods in certain proportions in order to get a proper protein balance.

For Men Only

This article will be of no interest to women and children so they needn't read any further. This is a masculine issue that we do not usually wish to discuss openly. It is an awkward matter and appears unavoidable once we reach a certain age. While we can pretend it is of no importance or even disguise the effects, we should be honest with ourselves, our loved ones and have the courage to be forthright in our integrity.

Importance of Improvement

People sometimes get into a tizzy about whether to help others or help themselves. There is no need to see the issue as an either-or. Helping oneself Sometimes people think they themselves are the primary concern. The ancient Greek story goes that Narcissus saw his own reflection in a pool of water and fell madly in love with himself, eventually meeting his demise from this affliction. While such examples of morbid self-love do exist, most people don't tend to follow in the flowersteps of Shelley's narcissi from The Sensitive Plant:

Jewel in the Dust

A man and his wife having lived into their old age chose to leave behind their worldly possessions and follow the path of spirituality. They lived in the cleanliness of poverty filling their days with praying instead of preying. As they had no longer had a home of their own, they walked the dirt roads with the same reverence as though these led to heaven itself. One day during such a walk, the man who had moved several yards ahead of his wife saw a sparkling on the side of the road.

Kiyreagle

And so it begins The First Day The Second Day The Third Day The Fourth Day A New Life And so it begins I first saw this Eagle on Craigslist while looking for a car to possibly replace my wife Ranjana's Toyota Tercel. Of course, unlike the Tercel, this one ate gas, was large, had manual transmission and wasn't drivable. So the idea of a replacement was somewhat ludicrous.

Magnificent 7

Motivation Most people are waiting to be motivated. They hide, hoping that motivation will seek. Being motivated before you act is an amusing game we play with ourselves. Can you imagine life functioning on that principle? Does the young eagle wait to be motivated in order to fly? Was the newborn motivated just before birth? Do a thing because it needs to be done: motivation will follow the action!

Meditating Simply

Meditation is a real chance for you to connect with yourself. Most of us go through life knowing the person we spend the most time with, the least. What meditation is happens to be a question that volumes have been written about. Anytime there is such a lot of discussion on an issue, you can be sure that no one really knows the answer. That's what is so nice about the Zen approach to it.

Narad to Nirvana

There is an ancient Hindu story about the messenger Narad who used to travel between heaven and earth to maintain 'communications' so to speak. On one such trip to heaven, he happened to go past two yogis practising in an effort to prepare for Nirvana. Each asked Narad to find out how long he would have to wait. So Narad checked out the situation for the yogis up in heaven and on his way back he dropped by to tell each their ETA.

Natural = Good ?

Some well-intentioned people create arguments by equating the concept of natural with the concept of good. I say they are well-intentioned because it is by no means done out of malice or prospects of winning debate points. However, the equation is not valid. In fact, within philosophical circles it is known as the 'appeal to nature' fallacy. The first problem we have is that it is unclear what 'natural' really means.

Not a Spoonful of Sugar

Gandhi's "become the change you wish to see in the world" is unfortunately one of those horribly misapplied items that is circulated with wild abandonment by some people who feel they've suddenly been struck with enlightenment. The idea nevertheless is a good one provided one understands what it really means and where the phrase really has relevance. Below is one such instance. You may know the delightful story about the mother who went to Gandhi to get him to ask her boy to stop eating sweets (the kid wasn't listening to her apparently and she figured she'd bring in the big guns!

P Equals M C Snared

This work came about as a result of having to defend two venomous onslaughts on the nobility of physics. Unfortunately, certain people don't seem to realize the universality of this simple truth - physics is everything! The word physics means the knowledge of nature and nature is all encompassing. Those engaged in other disciplines have a great deal of difficulty ap preciating the immeasurable debt they owe to physics. They don't seem to like it when they are told that their discipline is really physics, but called by a different name.

Paper Folding for the Practical Person

The process of folding paper is a rewarding one since it provides an opportunity to exercise one's creativity within strict outcomes. Furthermore, the finished product of this activity has various utilitarian applications as will be illustrated in the second part of this article. Though many types of folding exist, we will restrict ourselves in this document to the class of bifolds. Future articles may be published which deal with folding of greater complexities.

Pradbird

We used to live near the water when we moved in 1995 to Duncan, BC on Khenipsen Road, beside a First Nations area. It was a very nice place, except for the hunting and fishing that took place there. Unfortunately, not only were these activities legalized, but there were many instances of illegal killings as well. That's what this is - killing regardless of the euphemisms used or the appeal to Indigenous 'rights' that are often put forth as an excuse to commit murder.

The Ailment

The following is a well-known tale from the Liezi attributed to Taoist Lie Yukou. It appears in various translations such as A.C. Graham's The Book of Lieh-tzu (p82 pdf) and Eva Wong's Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living. The following is quoted from the Thomas Cleary translation (details provided at the end): Lung Shu said to the physician Wen Chi, "Your art is subtle. I have an ailment; can you cure it?

The Battle

Above image was modified using GIMP from an illustration by Anna Bhushan for Folio Society's Bhagavad Gita. See other illustrations by Anna at her website. On the field of Kurukshetra all was tranquil the evening before the battle between the forces of the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Arjuna who was the greatest archer of the latter group, pondered heavily on what was to come. For you see, the Kauravas were his brothers too and when the slaughter began, he knew he would be killing members of his own family.

The Loincloth

There is a delightful story told by Sri Ramakrishna about a man who chose to become a sadhu (a holy man who relinquishes worldly possessions and takes a vow of chastity). Under the instruction of his guru, this sadhu lived in a small hut in the middle of the forest. Each morning after his devotional exercises, he would wash and hang his loincloth up to dry. One day, he found that his cloth had been torn to shreds by rats.

The Mahut God

Once there was a holy man who had many disciples. He taught them well and revealed how God is in all things. One day his disciples went out to gather firewood for their ashram and they heard a great commotion! "Mad elephant! Mad elephant!" was the cry and it seemed to be coming their way. Suddenly, they saw a huge elephant tearing down towards them with others following in desperate pursuit.

The Poor Rich Girl

Buddha asked his disciples to help the poor during a great famine. A very wealthy man spoke up, "Not all my wealth can feed the hungry - there are so many!" Others talked loud and long with great consternation wondering how they could possibly solve such a dilemma even for the Buddha! Then a young girl rose to speak, "Master I am a beggar. I shall feed the hungry as you ask!

The Rosebush

This article was inspired by Angelkate who has been kind enough to let me stowaway on her pirate ship. She has taken me on many an adventure while steering a true course between the water and the sky. We have seen glorious storms and traveled under the vibrant rainbows they leave behind. Perhaps she may agree that what follows is a proper compensation for the never-ending voyage. Imagine a rosebush.

The Stone

Nanak was a travelling guru. He visited many places in India, Arabia and Mesopotamia. In Mecca is the Ka'aba, the sacred stone of the Muslims. One morning nanak was found sleeping with his feet turned to the stone! Some Muslims were furious! "How dare you be so insulting! How dare you sleep with you feet towards the face of God!" Gently, Nanak says: "Very well then. Turn my feet to where God is not.

The Wallet

My mother related this story to me about my grandfather. She lived in his household as was often customary with East Indian families in the 1900s. These extended families were usually quite closely knit and often mutually supportive. My mother adored her father-in-law and it was through her that I found out about his character. One day he came home with a large collection of Indian sweets. Everyone in the large household was surprised.

Thousandfold

There is a fine story of a poor old lady who was selling some fruit she had gathered in order to make ends meet. As she walked back and forth on the streets calling people to come and buy, the child Krishna, disguised as a beggar boy, walked up to her asking to eat some fruit from her basket. She was a kind one and though it would cost her, she didn't refuse him.

Time Management Essentials

"I'm too busy!" "I don't have time!" "I have too many things to do!" Is this you? Well, at least you aren't bored! One solution may be to do less, but Murphy's truism "Tasks always expand to fill the time allotted" ensures that you will only get less done in more time! Another solution is to use organizational tools that help you to work more efficiently. Though we can't make more time (there are only 24 hours in a day), we can make ourselves more effective.

Understand Me

A zen master was teaching a class. One fidgety student was bored and gradually got irritated, because he had decided he couldn't grasp the ideas. This is not surprising since zen is not something to grasp. After all, when one asks "How do you carry zen?", the answer is often "in your empty hand." In any case, such koans were not something this student wanted to deal with, so eventually he spoke out in frustration: "I can't understand a thing you are saying.