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Thursday, October 29, 2015

The future of Agriculture

Inventions in science and technology has always changed the way in which we lived our lives. In ancient times if someone has to travel a thousand miles he would do it on foot, it would take months for him to reach his destination. After that of course man learnt how to tame animals and make them his pets. So humans tamed horses and started using it for travelling. In time humans learnt to built carriages to which he can tie more than one horse and use horse carts and chariots. As his skills improved he built bicycles, motorcycles, cars, aeroplanes and ultimately spacecrafts that left the gravitational of earth. 

We see the influence of technology in every sphere of our lives. Can farming stay away from it? Farming is perhaps the most vital among all occupations. It is only because of farming that we are able to get food otherwise life would have been very very difficult for us the humans, most of us would die starving. 

Now lets see how farming is done. You have a piece of land first of all you dig it up to make it nice and loose and then put natural and artificial manure over it in proper amounts. Then you have to plant the seeds of the desired crops in a recommended way so as to get maximum crop yield. The seeds have to be supplied with a proper amount of water and when the plants come out, it has to be protected against pests, diseases and other natural factors. 

Now most of the above mentioned activities can be done by machines that can be controlled remotely using a remote control or better artificially intelligent machines can be used to do the above mentioned activities in a pre programmed fashion. So very little human effort is required to farm over a large area of land. What's required more is human intelligence. 

So with constant improvements in biotechnology and genetic engineering we will have higher yields from the fields with less and less human effort. Now that implies for countries like India, where 50% to 60% of the population is directly or indirectly involved in agriculture as a source of their livelihood, physical labour of most farmers won't be needed. 

So what will happen to major portion of the population that is involved in agriculture. Well they must be supplied their basic needs free of cost since they are the ones who own land. In the future it will surely be possible to grow amounts of food items the would surpass the need of humankind many times over, but with this here comes a problem - having free access to basic needs will make people lazy. 

We see that in affluent families where people have access to so much that they don't need to work for the rest of their lives. Yet they work hard some of them start their own business and many get into social work. A man normally is not able do his best work when he has to work, a man does his best work when he loves to do his work. 

Free access to basic resources like food, water, health and residence will give people to practice the profession of their choice, do what the want to do without worrying too much about money. Many people in the world have to give up on their dreams and do what they don't like just for the sake of money. So many potential researchers end up in the corporate boardrooms selling lipsticks, liquor or underwear. 

Returning back to the main subject of this blog, in the future we will see more and more usage of technology in farming. You will definitely see robots of all shapes and sizes tilling vast areas of land, seeding the land , controlling the flow of water and controlling pests as well. The cost of farming will come down drastically and so will the cost of farm products. 

Technology can be a great boon for people if implemented intelligently. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Rebirth

Hinduism and Buddhism have strong beliefs in the concepts of rebirth. According to the ancient religious texts of Hinduism, the body is not the real man, but it is the soul, the body is just like a cloth that the soul changes and that the soul moves from one birth to another.

The concept of rebirth is closely related to the concept of Karma and Soul. Now Karma is any action that is done which produces a result. Every Karma has good and bad results, but basically there is good Karma and there is bad Karma. The examples of good karma are speaking truth, donating food and clothes to the poor, helping others etc. The examples of bad karma are lying, treachery, cheating, killing others etc.

However one must understand that no Karma is 100% good or 100% bad. For example, while donating food and clothes to the needy is an excellent act of kindness, when done too much may make people lazy or donating money to people who would misuse them becomes bad Karma.

Similarly some bad actions can have good results. For example, speaking a lie for a good purpose is better than a thousand truths. A real life example is I know about a kid who once stole money from his mother's wallet, to give it to his friend who actually used the money to pay his exam fees and was only then able to give the exam and pass it.

The boy who stole the money was badly beaten up and punished by his mother. After passing the exam the other boy got a job and he came to this boy's home with a box of sweets and returned the money that he borrowed.

The boy who stole the money actually had lied to his mother that he spent all the money. Had he not lied to his mother and stole the money, his friend won't have been able to give the exam and he would have never got the job. The lie that the boy told his mother changed his friend's life. Such a lie that is told for good purpose is worth more than a thousand truths.

So basically in Hindu and Buddhist philosophies it was believed that every man/woman had a rebirth depending on the Karma that he has done. The cycle of birth, death and rebirth continued till the person attained moksha or nirvana by the effect of his/her virtuous Karma.

We do observe in nature that each and every action produces a reaction. There are thousands of examples of people recalling their past lives like this news report News Of Rebirth
. There are many great spiritual giants like Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna who have confirmed the theory of rebirth.

In our lives we see examples of kids 3 or 4 years old born with exceptional talents. Some are excellent painters, some can sing and play musical instruments wonderfully well. In fact so well that even adults cannot match their levels of excellence.

Here is example of six year old Niharika Nath, just listen to the song,  very few adults can match her (Niharika song ). 

So the question is from where do this kids get this talents? Talent really is a mere word or excuse to run away from an explanation of the phenomenon. Definitely it is their past life work or actions that they have done, that has resulted in their present talents.

All the monks and spiritual masters of India worked with one target in mind, liberation of the soul from the cycle of birth and death. They believed that their meditations, prayers etc. would ultimately result in them attaining the state of moksha(or nirvana), if not in this birth then in the next birth. Till today there are millions who follow this theory and carry out their spiritual practices.

According to Swami Vivekananda the memory of our previous birth is stored in our subconscious mind which the Yogi(a high end Rajyoga practitioner) can realize by constant practice and celibacy. Although knowledge of past birth may not always be that good.

One day surely science will discover the phenomenon and mechanism of rebirth. I just hope that day comes soon and it happens in my lifetime. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

CONTROL

Lets begin with an example, in most Indian homes cooking gas is delivered not via pipelines but through LPG cylinders, which basically contains butane gas with a little mercaptain added to it ( Mercaptain is added so that in case of a cylinder leakage, the user gets some odor and takes steps to prevent a fire). Now Butane is a highly inflammable gas. Suppose the entire cylinder leaks and matchstick or a lighter is struck then it can result is a devastating explosion and fire. The gas is the source of energy, when energy is uncontrolled and in huge amounts it can cause havoc.

Now if the same gas is in the cylinder and we put a regulator that controls the flow of the gas to the oven. When you light up the oven, you have a controlled amount of fire on which you can cook.

The above example shows us the importance of control and regulation. It is important in every sphere of life.
Control is vital and important in every activity. Without proper controls no system can be built. The human body has control systems in form of hormones that control the rate at which we are going to grow and the extent to which we are going to grow. When the cell division of our body goes beyond control is results in cancer.

The heart pumps blood to every organ of our body. The amount of blood that is pumped is in a regulated amount. If this control is not there and the heart beats in a haphazard fashion, the blood flow to different organs may go too high or too low at times which may damage the organ.

The electronics that you use Televisions ,Refrigerators , air-conditioners , fans etc all have control systems that controls the amount of power that is drawn from the power source. If there is too much power the device maybe damaged, if there is very little power the device will not work. Again appliances like refrigerator , aircontioners have control systems that controls the temperature of each part of the appliance. Without it the appliance will not achieve the target for which it was made.

The above examples gives us an idea that every system, whether it is man made or natural has to have good control systems otherwise the existence of a system is not possible.

In the yogic practice of Pranayama the yogi first tries to control the vital force of life(Prana) by controlling his breath. The breath is like the fly wheel of body, it is not exactly the breath but the lung motion that is first of all controlled, as a result the nerve impulses that control the lung motion are brought under control, from this the brain and various nerve currents running across the body are brought under control after that , thoughts are brought under control and then, the cause of energy the vital force or Prana' is brought under control.

We see the concept of control everywhere but it is so common that we tend to give very little importance to it. There is so much to learn if we again start questioning,observing and analysing every little event happening around us like a child.