Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Mahabharath is the world’s longest epic poetry ever conceived. This is one epic which covers so many characters and so much of geographical extent. We(Indians) can in one way or the other relate to some place, clan or tribe mentioned in mahabharath. This epic had mentioned every tribe which existed during the period(in and around india). It is not only a complex book, but I believe it would require superhuman capacity to imagine(if u think its a myth)and conceive a story of this grandeur. This epic talks about everything that is of dwapar yug.

Dronacharya was one of the most respected gurus of India, He is considered as partial incarnation(Anshavatar) of Brihaspathi(Teacher of gods). He was born to Bharadwaj muni. His birth itself is a very interesting story.

Once Bharadwaj muni went to take bath in Ganga as part of a ritual and there he laid eyes on the apsara Ghritachi, The apsara was coming out of the river after bath and her attire disoriented. Bharadwaj muni had a burning desire which he overcame but his vital fluid came out. He took this in a vessel (Droona = vessel) and out of which came Dronacharya (This accounts for the world’s first test tube baby, In vitro fertilization and Earliest incubator J). Dronacharya grew up at his father’s place learning all the martial arts, military arts and religion along with the Drupada, son of Panchala king.

Drupada will later father Draupadi(she was also called as panchali because she was from panchala) whom the pandavas married. During this time (and even long time after this) Dronacharya was stricken by poverty, Drupada promises him that when he will become the king, he would give half of his kingdom to Dronacharya. Years went by Drona got married to kripi, sister of Kripacharya and fathered a child with her. The child was named Ashwaththama, he is one of the immortals from Indian legends. After having a family Drona does not wanted to let his family suffer poverty so he went to Drupada his childhood friend and asked for some help. Drupada instead of helping him, insulted him and sent him back. Drupada argued that friendship can exist between people of equal status and they were equal when they were kids, but now he has become a king and Drona is a Brahmin who lives on alms. Drupada even said he would probably help if Drona had begged for help rather than claimed his right. This planted a seed of vengeance in the heart of Drona, he did not return to his wife after this, it appears that they met after Drona took his revenge.

Drona once saw a bunch of kids standing near a well and looking into it. Drona inquired if everything was fine, for that the eldest of them said that their ball has fallen into the well. These kids were the princes of Hastinapur, the Kauravas and Pandavas. Drona here remarks that if you princes cannot save a ball, how would save the planet? Drona asks the kids to get grass blades, using one of these grass blades as spear Drona hits the ball and it sticks to it, then he throws another one, this one attaches itself to the previous grass. Thus he made a chain of grass blades and gently pulled the ball out. Impressed by this feat, Arjuna and other kids narrate this story to Bhishma, great grandfather of these kids. On hearing this Bhishma immediately realizes that it must be Drona. He meets him and asks him to become the guru of the princes . Later Dronacharya sets up his gurukul, this gurukul expanded and numerous princes came here for his teaching. This later formed the village called Gurugram(village of the guru) which is now the present day city of Gurgaon.

Dronacharya as a guru was great, he taught the arts of military to all the princes and his son Ashwaththama, but Dronacharya is accused of favouritism, His favourite was Arjun and to make him the world’s best archer, he has done many things which would be considered unethical. Eklavya was a tribal kid who wanted to learn archery, he comes to Drona for that, but Drona rejects it saying that he cannot teach him along with Kshatriya kids, since he was of lower varna(caste). Drona anyways granted Eklavya a boon, by which whenever he meditates on Drona, he will receive a divine astra(weapon). Eklavya makes an idol of Drona and meditates on it and learns Archery and masters it soon. Once when Eklavya was meditating a dog came barking and disturbed him, seeing this he shot a bunch of arrows into the mouth of the dog without harming it. Arjuna and others saw this marvellous feat of having a dogs mouth filled with arrows without hurting it, they immediately found out Eklavya and took him to Drona. Drona who wanted to make Arjun the greatest archer and did not like Eklavya professing in the skill. He asked Eklavya his right thumb as his Guru-Dakshina. Eklavya gave his thumb knowing that he will never be able to use his bow and arrow.

Drona also denied to mentor Karna on similar grounds of Caste. Karna enraged by this learns Weaponry from Parasuram and developed a hatred for Arjun. There are many instances where Drona has shown favouritism, to Arjuna or Ashwathama. It becomes clear that Drona likes Arjuna more when he teaches how to invoke and revoke Brahmastra to Arjuna and only invoking to Ashwathama, since he thought if Ashwathama knew both he might use it unnecessarily. Arjuna was also given the knowledge of Devastras which no other princes ever received.Arjuna also received the Brahmasira, a weapon more powerful than Brahmastra.

After mentoring Kauravs and pandavs, Drona sends Kauravs and his army to get him Drupada, but they fail, then he sends Pandavs, who inspite of being 5 successfully get Drupada, Drona takes his half share of the kingdom and forgives Drupada for his misdeeds. Drupada later gives birth to a son Drishtadyumna, who would kill Dronacharya in the kurukshetra war and a daughter who would marry the pandavas.

Drona was a great warrior and good teacher but surely cannot be said as the most honest of all. Though he likes Pandavas he had to take the sides of Kauravas since the kingdom has given him his occupation and fed him in his difficult days(This I guess is one of the most ethical thing done in Mahabharath). In the war of kurukshetra, Dronacharya took command of the Kauravas after Bhishma. Drona, never would have wanted to fight with his favourite disciple, but situations took interesting turns and he had to confront Arjuna.Drona In the war devices a plan to form the Chakravyuha and attack the Pandava army. Chakravyuha is one of the war formation, its a pattern in which the soldiers march and fight, to defeat any army which follows a vyuha(form) it becomes important to break the formation or they literally become invincible. Dronacharya knowing that only Krishna and Arjuna knew how to break in the formation asks samshaptaka army lead Krishna and arjuna into another part of war easing the way for Kuru army to march with their chakravyuha. Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna also knows how to break in the Chakravyuha, but he does not know how to come out of it. He has learned this from his father. Drona was not aware of this and did not expect a 16 yr old to try to break in the Chakravyuha. Drona initially miscalculates the prowess of the kid, but Abhimanyu manages to break into the vyuha, even when his companions were held out of the Vyuha by Jayadratha and kills tens of thousands of soldiers single handedly.

Drona was amazed and frightened by the courage of Abhimanyu, asks Karna, Dushassana and others to attack Abhimanyu simultaneously. Abhimanyu loses his chariot, then he fights with a chariot wheel later he loses the wheel and finally got killed by the Kauravas, who killed him by attacking him from seven sides simultaneously. This was probably the First major violation of rules of war in the whole history of Hindu warfare. The war of rules(it can vary for each war and is mostly decided upon before the war by both the sides) states that no warrior should be attacked by more than one person at any point, not at all be attacked if he is not in the chariot and does not have a proper weapon. Drona becomes the reason for one of the biggest war rule violation, This is actually seen as the arrival of Kaliyug on earth.

The next day in the war, Arjuna vows to kill Jayadrath(whom he thinks as responsible for Abhimanyu’s death). Drona places Jayadratha far away from arjuna in the war and has a very strong army literally guarding jayadratha. Drona tries to stop arjuna, but as advised by Krishna, Arjuna avoids the fight with Drona, he just marches towards Jayadratha for which Drona follows arjuna and tries to stop him but fails. Later on the 15th day of the war, Dronacharya becomes unstoppable, he took to more of unrighteous path. For instance, He started using Brahmastra against common soldiers, The brahmastra is supposed to be used only with an equal opponent. He killed about 20000 soldiers using brahmastra. He already had started fighting in the night which was also against the rules of war. On this fateful day, Krishna knew that it is very important to kill Dronacharya, for that he has to lay his weapon, so krishna comes with a plan. Bhima killed an elephant named Ashwaththama and announces it loudly. Drona could not believe that his son has died, so to confirm this, he asks Yudhisthir if it is true, for this Yudhistir says : "Ashwatthama hathaha iti, narova kunjarova" wich means “Ashwaththama is dead, Elephant not man”, while saying the second half of the statement yudhistir lowered his voice and knowing that yudhistir will not lie, Krishna blew his Conch and the second half was not heard by Drona. Drona was hurt and could not believe that Ashwaththama is dead, he lays his weapon. Drishtadyumna was already looking for an opportunity to slay Drona and uses this and kills him.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

PI root t(w)o Irrationality...

Rationality and irrationality is not always attributed only to humans, there are some mathematical entities too whose behaviour seems irrational.

Most common and popular of it all is the π (PI) pronounced as Pie and square root of two. We have always thought that pi is nothing but 22/7 and as you would expect here, it is not. There is a very simple proof for that available in Wikipedia, if you are more into the equation, read here.

This mathematical beauty has been used by humans from time immemorial, the oldest known usage is in the construction of pyramid some 2500 B.C. The proportion of height to perimeter of the giza pyramid is about 3.142857 (3+ 1/7). In one of the Egyptian texts, Rhind papyrus, they have computed the value of Pi as (16/9)^2. Indians in the 9th century BC(Shatapatha brahmana) used the value 339/108 as the value of Pi. Archimedes finally suggested that 223/71 < π < (22/7).

So what this Pi is ? Pi is the ratio of circumference of a circle to its diameter. What does it mean when we say that it is an irrational number, when we say that a number is irrational we mean that it is not possible to represent that number as a ratio of two rational numbers. Lets take this situation where we draw a circle, whose diameter we are sure is of 7 units, if u try to find the circumference of the circle, you will find it is approximately 22 units but a little less than that, but you cannot get the exact value. In other words it means there is no single unit which can be used to measure the diameter of the circle and the circumference of the circle accurately. Similary applying the same logic to square, we cannot determine the exact value of square root of 2.i.e., when you know that the length of the side of the square, you can find the diagonal of the square only approximately. These irrational numbers kind of create a singularity in mathematics, it is like saying that we know that this particular number lies between x and y but just cannot pinpoint the exact location. We can narrow down the value of X and Y but still will always give only approximate value for Pi and root two.

We have found the value of pi to a million decimal points which actually has no reason, for instance the value of pi to 12 decimals is enough to draw a circle with the diameter fitting the known universe to an error of 1mm.

One of the biggest obsession in maths world is to find the value of pi more accurately and the other one is to remember them and be able to recite them. People have recited it to thousand place of decimal values. This obsession led to a complete new method of writing poems named as PIEMS, in which the count of the letters in the word of the piem give the actual value of pi. Here is an example..



(1) (4) (1) (5) (9) (2)

I wish I could determine pi

(6) (5) (3) (5) (8)

Eureka, cried the great inventor

(9) (7) (9) (3)

Christmas pudding, Christmas pie

(2) (3) (8) (4) (6)

Is the problem's very center.

Now the value of Pi to 2000 decimal places

3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971 69399 37510
58209 74944 59230 78164 06286 20899 86280 34825 34211 70679
82148 08651 32823 06647 09384 46095 50582 23172 53594 08128
48111 74502 84102 70193 85211 05559 64462 29489 54930 38196
44288 10975 66593 34461 28475 64823 37867 83165 27120 19091

45648 56692 34603 48610 45432 66482 13393 60726 02491 41273
72458 70066 06315 58817 48815 20920 96282 92540 91715 36436
78925 90360 01133 05305 48820 46652 13841 46951 94151 16094
33057 27036 57595 91953 09218 61173 81932 61179 31051 18548
07446 23799 62749 56735 18857 52724 89122 79381 83011 94912

98336 73362 44065 66430 86021 39494 63952 24737 19070 21798
60943 70277 05392 17176 29317 67523 84674 81846 76694 05132
00056 81271 45263 56082 77857 71342 75778 96091 73637 17872
14684 40901 22495 34301 46549 58537 10507 92279 68925 89235
42019 95611 21290 21960 86403 44181 59813 62977 47713 09960

51870 72113 49999 99837 29780 49951 05973 17328 16096 31859
50244 59455 34690 83026 42522 30825 33446 85035 26193 11881
71010 00313 78387 52886 58753 32083 81420 61717 76691 47303
59825 34904 28755 46873 11595 62863 88235 37875 93751 95778
18577 80532 17122 68066 13001 92787 66111 95909 21642 01989

38095 25720 10654 85863 27886 59361 53381 82796 82303 01952
03530 18529 68995 77362 25994 13891 24972 17752 83479 13151
55748 57242 45415 06959 50829 53311 68617 27855 88907 50983
81754 63746 49393 19255 06040 09277 01671 13900 98488 24012
85836 16035 63707 66010 47101 81942 95559 61989 46767 83744

94482 55379 77472 68471 04047 53464 62080 46684 25906 94912
93313 67702 89891 52104 75216 20569 66024 05803 81501 93511
25338 24300 35587 64024 74964 73263 91419 92726 04269 92279
67823 54781 63600 93417 21641 21992 45863 15030 28618 29745
55706 74983 85054 94588 58692 69956 90927 21079 75093 02955

32116 53449 87202 75596 02364 80665 49911 98818 34797 75356
63698 07426 54252 78625 51818 41757 46728 90977 77279 38000
81647 06001 61452 49192 17321 72147 72350 14144 19735 68548
16136 11573 52552 13347 57418 49468 43852 33239 07394 14333
45477 62416 86251 89835 69485 56209 92192 22184 27255 02542

56887 67179 04946 01653 46680 49886 27232 79178 60857 84383
82796 79766 81454 10095 38837 86360 95068 00642 25125 20511
73929 84896 08412 84886 26945 60424 19652 85022 21066 11863
06744 27862 20391 94945 04712 37137 86960 95636 43719 17287
46776 46575 73962 41389 08658 32645 99581 33904 78027 59009...

And the best part is there is no repetition of any sort determined till date in this series...

The decimal marked in red is called as Feynman point, cos Feynman once stated during a lecture he would like to memorize the digits of π until that point, so he could recite them and quip "nine nine nine nine nine nine and so on", suggesting, ironically and incorrectly, that π is rational.

Think about this,

Lets imagine a situation, where we have built a computer which displays a particular digit at a given point of time. We now program the computer to display the digits in the pi where the time period of display of a digit should be half of the display period of the previous digit. That is 3 should be displayed for .5 minutes, 1 should be displayed for ¼ mins, 4 should be displayed for 1/8 mins, and so on. By the end of one minute, the last digit of Pi will be displayed on the screen. This is because 1/2 min + ¼ min+ 1/8 min + 1/16 min +... = 1 min, but this is an infinite series, so will actually never happen because it will never be possible to process and display anything as the series approaches the final value. This is a combination of the continuum problem and the irrational number.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Twisted thoughts

Few years back I started reading a book, don’t exactly remember the name of the book or the author, but it starts with a guy who goes to this wierd place where someone (something) talks to him. The whole beauty of the book lies in the perception, I admired the perception and deeply moved by it.

People believe that Matrix(movie) is a nice and innovative perception, or is it...? We all have questions like that in our mind, When I was in my school, I too used to think that if everything is electrical signal, then what we see is not necessarily what it is. It is just our perception, One of my childhood question(And still ponders me) is what is red to me might not be the red to my friend, he would see a green color for red, and still he will call it red and no one is right or wrong. How will I ever come to know...?

I had a friend who asked his parents that if they can know what he thinks and got grounded, we all have this question when we are young. When we do something wrong we think that our parents can just know what we are thinking or some people might know what we are thinking (obviously at a very young age). I also used to think that the world as such might be some one’s dream, or may be our own dream and sometimes wish that this dream should end immediately. As I grew up, with the knowledge (not exactly mastery) of Quantum physics and thermodynamics and working of the universe, my mind played the same dice.

There are theories which says that every possibility creates a universe with each universe having one of those possibilities, like if there were a possibility of me proposing a girl this valentine was 30% (actual possibility is almost negligible though and this law is still applicable) that would still create a universe where I will be proposing a girl. Again this universe will create infinite number of universes with the possibilities like the way of proposal or the girl I propose or the reaction of the girl etc. Now no one can verify this theory experimentally(correct me if they have verified) because no information can be transferred from one universe to the other. The chances of me being a murderer is low, but still the chance is there... so theoretically in some universe I am a murderer.

Infact there is also a possibility that our universe has just been created a few minutes ago(hours after writing this post) and everything just come into the present form in atomic level. And our brains are so formed that we think that we have experienced so many years, but it may not be necessarily true. How will you know that what you think you have experienced is not actually been experienced but materialised in your brain. Isn’t this the basic concept of the movie MATRIX.

Coming to the perception of book’s author I was talking about, He says that in the wierd place our character goes, there are no names. The reason being, when we give a name to things we are limiting it. When we call a chair, a chair, we are limiting it in our universe. It lives as a chair whereas without a name it just has the infinite possibility of being anything without actually being any of those things. Identity limits our existence. We are humans and are restricted to be humans, whereas without identity we are... just are.... we just exist. On similar notes I feel that when we give names to emotions we are reducing its intensity, when we love someone or something and use the word love for that emotion, we restrict the scope of the emotion. If you feel bad about something and you say that you are angry you have reduced the intensity of the emotion, you are just angry a feeling which everyone gets its not your personal emotion. We all know that not two depressed people will feel that their level of depression is same, then why the same word depression for that state.

So from where did this concept come, this is the concept of god for me. People ask me if I am an atheist or theist. I am neither that nor this(not even agnostic) (neti-neti). I don’t want to be branded I just want to be beyond this classification because I don’t come under any of this classification. If at all there is something(it can just be the intention itself) which created the universe, then it should not be named, and if we are naming it, we are degrading it and bringing it to our level of understanding, which most probably is wrong. For instance which ever thing created the universe cannot be good, because it is the same thing which created evil.