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Dharmik Concepts
- Mr. kedarnath jonnalagadda
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For the transliteration font (Sanskrit words) kindly visit http://www.omkarananda-ashram.org - sanskrit page and download iTranslator 99 - an excellent software by the sanyasis of the ashram - you can input roman letters with output devanagiri script - this is freeware so generously devloped for the devanagiri script users. it will be appreciated if publicity is given to them - it will enable our countrymen to think in right directions in use of software. Additionally - request you to visit and download openoffice.org - a freelicensed office suite that is a boon for our country. http://www.openoffice.org you are aware that there is rampant piracy of microsoft office products because they are expensive? i believe that 'adharmik' means for a 'dharmik' nation and 'dharmik' ends is anachronism. I believe that openoffice.org may give a sense of dignity to our youngsters and the old too. And we need that very badly. 'dhärmik' Concept Gems & Tools To Understand Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom & Consciousness Jonnalagadda Kedarnath Kalpaka Vaidika Constructions (Designers Of Vedic Villages) 221 West Marredpally (Road 9) - Secunderabad 500 026 – Andhra Pradesh, India smartxpark@yahoo.com - smartxpark@yahoo.com INTRODUCTION 'This is the Information Age', 'Our societies are fast becoming Knowledge Based Societies', and 'Computers have enabled today's human' are things we hear about the era we live in. It is true we see vastly increased numbers using computers and from all walks of life too. Looking back, the invention of the computer is a landmark achievement. It is a quantum step forward in the history of inventions. Hitherto, machines had to be prodded physically in some way to get them started and keep them going. The computer changed all that. For the first time, human ingenuity devised a machine that could understand a language! And it could be prompted to do its job by commands in that language. Since then nothing could stop phenomenal progress and yesterday’s fiction are today’s facts. Technically, a computer is 'an automatic, programmable machine that can process data'. But what is data? Almost everybody knows that. Ask any school kid and you might get the answer, 'Gramps! That is the stuff, you feed into a computer. The computer processes it'. Then, is it not puzzling that information, information processing, knowledge and even intelligence is being associated with computers? Is information output when a computer processes data? Can the computer process information? If it can do that what is output? Can the computer output knowledge? What is wisdom? And what is intelligence? What is artificial intelligence? And what are consciousness and sentience? These topics, once the domain of philosophers, biologists, sociologists and science fiction writers are now being studied by Information Technology specialists to make computers better. Surprising it may be to many; ancient Indian literature is replete with amazing insights into fundamentals of knowledge and things associated with it. Some may wonder how some 'primitive' and ancient concepts are relevant today. This paper illustrates that there is nothing 'primitive' about ancient Indian concepts. And there is no dichotomy between them and fundamental concepts of science and technology understood today. In fact, these ancient 'concept gems and tools' could augment or fill in the 'gaps' in contemporary understanding and could provide direction for study and research. Their 'holistic and integrative' viewpoints may in fact be necessary for today’s fast paced scenarios of the 'state-of-art' with rapid turnovers of men, material, knowledge and concepts in 'Information Technology'. The beauty of the ancient concepts is that they have intrinsic 'timelessness' and 'relevance' in real time, any time. This is because they are all about stark reality, 'sathyam' in Sanskrit. They have withstood ravages of time and annihilating influences over centuries and were relevant in times long gone, are relevant today and will be relevant tomorrow too. Machine Two core concepts stand out in the definition of a computer as 'an automatic, programmable machine that can process data'. a) Machine and b) Data. The word machine is similar to 'yantram' in the Sanskrit language. It is best to leave the similarity there for the time being and explore the world of difference. In the modern context, a machine is generally understood as a 'thingamajig' made by Man. It has moving parts and once started, it keeps running until… it runs out of 'juice', or into something or a new model is announced. The Sanskrit equivalent to a machine is 'yantram'. Embedded in this single word are stunning core concepts of the machine. We can examine these because words can be built up from elemental forms called 'dhätu' in Sanskrit. (I refuse to call them roots as they are commonly translated. Plants have roots under the ground and shoots above it, period. Nothing grows up from roots!). The elemental form for 'yantram', the machine is 'yantra'. This stunningly means 'restraint, and binding'! We associate machines with freedom and ease of work. Why is 'restraint and binding' at its core? In an ancient compendium, 'dhätu päöha' by Rishi Panini (see Kalyanaraman,S. 1 & 2), the elemental form 'yam' related to 'yantra' means 'to check, or to stop'! And 'yama', incidentally, is the God and controller of death and also moral principles! So, at the core of the concept, 'yantram' - machine are more concepts such as 'restraint, binding', 'control and stopping', and other spiritual and moral concepts. After a bit of contemplation we can see that the crux of the machine indeed is 'how to control and stop it'. For example, unless you know how to control and stop a car, it can kill you. We cannot brush this off as trivial and think, 'this is kid's stuff' or 'every body knows that'. The point is that it does not become a 'non-problem' and 'non-issue' simply because simple solutions exist. And the point also is that problems may not manifest themselves when solutions are overriding them temporarily. Indicated by its construction and our own experience, the core of 'yantram', the machine is 'restraint and binding' and 'control and stopping'. That is its substance and reality. This reality was always there and will always be there. We need to be aware, understand and accept this reality. And harmoniously integrate it with other realities in making and using machines. All this implies a lot more contemplation at the drawing board stage rather than racking brains to find solutions for problems when they come. This also implies preparedness for problems that are certain to manifest themselves again and again in different forms. The all too familiar automobile can illustrate this. Associated with it are a number of annoying problems that forever keep cropping up. These could be rising fuel costs, a flat tire, traffic congestion, parking space, pollution, misuse, accidents, addiction to speed, uncontrolled production, wasted vehicle disposal and the list can go on. It is a bit sad that we understand 'progress' to mean conceptualize, 'create', use and make others use machines. We think that is the base, start and end point of our existence in this technological era. And on to this base are injected control mechanisms as though they were after thoughts. And those too on 'when need arises' basis. Having read, I mean really read, the above we can see why there is 'truth' in Murphy's Law, 'If anything can go wrong it will'. And we may even like to add the word 'certainly' to it. Computer Viewing the machine, 'yantram' from the 'dhärmik' Indian perspective we can know many things more about the quintessential computer. The computer has 1. The physical component - 'hardware', comprising the nuts and bolts, the wires and moving parts, and so on. 2. The logical component - 'software' including programs that drive it and give results. The manifestation of the 'dhätu' based realities, 'restraint and binding' and 'control and stopping' for the computer is three-fold 1. For its hardware component 2. For its software component 3. For its hardware-software interaction component And this is the reason why Murphy's Law has accentuated impact for computer-based applications. And today this means an effect on anybody’ life including the astronaut in space, the worker in an office, a farmer in his fields or a kid at play or at school. In order to understand how a computer functions, we need to understand 'automatic machines', 'programmable automatic machines', 'hardware' and 'software'. Study material for elementary computer courses covers these. But that is not enough. The 'dhätu' based substance of the machine needs also to be understood. And this is needed now not only by general users but also designers of the quintessential intelligent robot for the future! The lack of such understanding could result in future scenarios described long ago in Alduous Huxley’s 'A Brave New World' or in the recent brilliant movies, 'Terminator' and 'Matrix'. More than three decades back, Isaac Asimov, physicist and author of popular books including science fiction wrote about fundamental laws needed for robots. This was in his science fiction books. The laws state that the robot (a) will always obey a human being (b) would not kill or harm a human being by any direct action (b) will not allow a human being to be killed or harmed by inaction. A number of other 'dhätu' derived realities about Nature such as such as birth, pain, pleasure, death of humans, entropy and eventual dissolution of all things and death of robots need to be in core programs. These are topics for advanced computer studies and bright kids can handle that. Or can they? Let us see whether kids are getting an even playground to be bright in the first place. How much clarity do we have on elementary concepts such as data, information, knowledge, wisdom and consciousness?

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