Hi, I'm Samiran. Hi, I'm Nilesh. Hi I'm Sheetal and you're listening to 3TB 3 Techies Banter.
Hi everyone, I'm Sheetal Choksi. Welcome to 3TB, a podcast where 3 techies banter. It's a
podcast where you can explore tech the non tech way. And I promise you in this podcast
specifically we are going to be exploring tech in a very, very different way. It is
about how tech and the economics behind the tech impacts us today and in the future.
It's full of information, fun, facts, common sense and is actually spoken in a language
that everyone understands.
Why did I make this promise that today's podcast is going to be really, really different? We have with us an esteemed author. His name is Amish, and I'm sure all of you will recognize it the moment I say the name.
And a little bit about Amish, for those of you who are uninitiated into reading his books.
Hey, better go and read those books, OK? If you're uninitiated, Amish is an author, columnist, and diplomat.
The BBC describes him as India's Tolkien, and he vehemently says they don't know what they're talking about.
His unique combination of crackling storytelling, religious symbolism, profound philosophies, and I personally think even modernity, right, to a large extent, make his books interesting to people across ages. I know both my daughter and I read his books. You know that there's a young person reading his books because it is so modern and I love reading it because of everything else and of course the modernity. He has won many, many awards and I promise you, if I start listing them out, we'll take half the episode only to list his awards and accolades. So I'm not going to do that. He is, and I'm super excited about it. He is launching a new book on gaming and time travel, which is set in London. You guys are gonna have to wait a long while before the book gets to the stands, but I've been told that he's at it and what I'm really, really looking forward to is that the Shiva trilogy is set up for a three season OTT series. For those of you who haven't heard our episode on OTT, I think you should check that out too. It is our pleasure to have Amish on this show where we will discuss books, mythology, technology, which I think a lot of you will wonder where the combination is going to happen.
And my favorite metaverse. But this time, I'm not calling it the metaverse. I'm calling it the Amish verse. Welcome, Amish. Thank you for joining us this evening. It's absolutely wonderful to have you here. So I'm going to jump right into the first question. Right? And I never get this pronunciation right. I think so, guys, whoever's hearing it, if you think there's a better way to pronounce this word, do write in and tell us so much. The question for you is like Hephaestus Is there an Indian God of technology? Yeah it is Vishwakarma who is the God of engineers and architects and technology. In fact there are texts in ancient times/ stories even speak of self running, almost robotic figures guarding temples and viharas. Our ancients had explored various issues and their imagination was really cutting edge. There's a story in the Puranas of a king who had traveled from Kaling to meet Lord Brahma for some help for his to find a groom for his daughter. And Lord Brahma was apparently listening to music at that point of time. So he actually waited. And then Lord Brahma when he finished then he told that king, what have you done? Don't you realize you've come all the way? Time has slowed down for you. It's only a day, but in your back, in your Kingdom, hundreds of years have passed. Your daughter is not alive anymore. Now these are things which you know for someone having written that story 2000 years ago -speaking of time travel and time slowing down like dude. So there was fantastic imagination in those days, no doubt how much tech they had regrettably, we Indians are really unworthy descendants of really kickass ancestors, so we haven't really decoded. much of the text that our ancestors left for us, we still believe the British Raj era nonsense told to us that, oh, ancient Indians were basically just oral. We didn't really write anything. And you know, the British came and taught us how to write blah blah, blue, blue. We believe that nonsense. In actual fact, our ancestors wrote a hell of a lot. The number of Greek, you know, handwritten manuscripts that survived till today, which showcases the knowledge production of that era and ancient Greece is you know the mother culture of Europe is between 20,000 to 25,000 manuscripts. That's it. And I love doing this pop quiz with anyone I meet. So I want you to guess. Guess how many Sanskrit handwritten manuscripts so that is pre printing press. Sanskrit handwritten manuscripts survive till today as tabulated by the National Mission of Manuscripts. I told you ancient Greece, mother culture of Europe, 20 to 25,000 handwritten manuscripts. That's a damn good number for an ancient culture. Guess how many Sanskrit handwritten manuscripts survive till today, despite the destruction of the Nalanda University, which I think was the biggest disaster for mankind ever, that Bakhtiyar Khilji is worse than 1000 Hitlers combined, or the destruction of Takshashila University will have so many manuscripts, Ujjain University , Mahudaypuram Thirupathi. So many of them were destroyed. Despite that, guess how many manuscripts survived till today?
yeah, yeah, Greeks were 20-25 thousand. 100,000 seems like a good number. Yeah, go higher.
Go higher. OK, 500,000.
Ok 5 million
Too high. 3 million and this is what has been tabulated by the National Mission of
Manuscripts. There are many manuscripts that have not been discovered because remember
when the invaders came, when the Turks and the British came, many, actually many
manuscripts were spirited away to Tibet. Many are in private collections. Arthashastra
was rediscovered in a private collection, Chanakya's Arthashastra, just 100 years ago.
Right now 99.9% of these haven't even been translated, let alone studied properly. We
are a moronic, descendant bunch of really kick-ass ancestors. So when you speak of
technology that our ancestors had, we don't even know, because many of those texts are
actually not religious texts. Many of them are chemistry, astronomy, navigation,
metallurgy. So many inventions, you know, medicine, surgery. We haven't studied most of
them. So actually the real fact is we don't know the real answer.
Probably much more than we know was actually discovered by our ancestors. So I should clarify the manuscripts, not scriptures. So they're not religious, some of them would be religious, most of them are actually not religious. , See in the ancient Indian way religion and science was not like a, you know, in conflict with each other because religion in at least in the Dharmic way, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, religion does not mean that you cannot question. So religion and science were never really in conflict. They worked in a partnership with each other.
I'm just trying to figure out what was the purpose of, let's say mythology then? I mean, why were so they were coded probably at that time, maybe some of them were invented, maybe, maybe not, but someone did codify it in some shape or form. So if we had to just figure out what was the purpose of that codification? Was it to teach lessons of life in simpler terms? Or what are your views? I mean, we have lost many of them and as you said, we are moronic descendants. But if you had to, kind of, you know, decipher this, what would you say the purpose would have been of these manuscripts?
Your answer was then your question itself. Look, one of the things our ancestors told us,
the only things, that only subject in which which can lay a claim to absolute truth is
mathematics. In every other subject, it's your version of the truth. There is no
absolute truth in there. The only thing you can be sure of is the facts.
And history is essentially based on the narrative that you draw from those facts, right? The same set of facts on Winston Churchill will have the British - I'm in London right now, we'll have the British very rightly calling him a hero and defender of Liberty and democracy, because that's for them he was, and fair enough.
But again, clearly the same set of facts added with another bunch of facts will make a sentence thing Hitler was worse than. Sorry. Churchill was worse than Hitler because Hitler didn't kill any Indians. But Churchill killed 4 million Indians, took between 3 to 4 million Indians in a famine that he ordered. He ordered it right. Now, whose history quote- unquote is right?
It depends on the perspective that you're seeing from, right? So then that comes down to then what is the purpose of mythology. Now mythology is an English word. I'll go into the derivative of that word and what it's supposed to mean. But the words that we used to use for such stories were either Itihasa, that is thus it happened, or which was for Mahabharat or Adi Kavya, the first poem for Ramayan or Purana which are all a Puranic texts. I think the way our ancestors saw these stories was, Nilesh, as you said, lessons for life because they believe that you can't have one set of simple dumb rules which everyone follows for eternity because the only constant in life is change, right?
So therefore what you need to do is teach people how to make choices in life and then live with the consequences. Remember, our approach to religion is very different from the Abrahamic approach to religion. And I'm not saying either way is better or worse. It's just there are two different approaches to life and the Abrahamic approach to religion. God is like a father, always male, right? He is like a father. He's not a mother, he's a father. And the devotees are children who are supposed to do what the father tells them to do without question right, which is why they have the concept of blasphemy as well. You just do what you're supposed to do. In the Dharmic way, our approach is that the gods, they exist as archetypes, right? And they are subject to the same rule of cause and effect of Karma Dharma that we are subjected to, right? So what we are supposed to learn from the stories is lessons of life so that we can make our own choices and realize that we have to live with the consequences of our choices, right? It's not that we will be children who have to follow what our father tells us to do. They're adults. We see all the options. We make our choices and live with the consequences, positive or negative. Now, if you need to make choices, then the key thing is to learn. There's this Sanskrit word called Viveka - the ability to distinguish, right, the wisdom to distinguish what the options are and realize there is no perfect solution.
And you make that choice consciously and then live with the consequences, positive or negative. So all these stories, the English word mythology, if you want to call it or you want to call it Itihas, Purana, essentially teach you life lessons so that you can live like an adult, make the choices, and then live with the consequences, positive or negative. Remember, in the Mahabharata, at the end, even Lord Krishna is subject to the law of cause and effect. Maa Gandhari curses him, OK? And he's God himself.
But he doesn't say you've done blasphemy. I will destroy you. No, he, he says. Ma, you have cursed me. I pulled them together and I said I will accept cause because that's what the law of cause and effect impinges upon me.
I think it's very interesting that you kind of, you know that the this whole thing about interpretation that you talked about and I remember from school we used to have this Saraswati puja in school. You know, we that at least Bengali celebrated. And the lovely thing about Saraswati puja was that you didn't study that day. They're supposed to worship your books and since your books were not available, you couldn't study. So suddenly everybody in class was clamoring to be a Bengali. Like this is great. I think our ancestors were thinking about wellness and mindfulness much before we were.
You know, it's a very simple thing. It's like, you know, when you respect something, your mind is open to learn something from it. So when you respect the book, like you'll notice a small thing. In bookstores in India, but at least bookstores that aren't run by Westernized Indians, you'll notice the book stack will never be on the ground. There will always be on something because we Indians we are, we get very troubled if our foot touches the book, not so in the West. It's a subtle thing, but in your mind then, when you respect the book, you're willing to learn from it.
It shows. It's an amplified way of showing respect. I mean, you know, in fact, but what I was surprised pleasantly is that the academic interest in your works, you know, all of a sudden, you know, the people have been writing about the Shiva trilogy and history and your books and also what's taken the fancy of people. You're obviously seeing Game of Thrones now and Baahubali, you know, so it's like, are people trying to escape from the world of today or what's with this sudden interest in, you know, larger than life, historical mythological stories, even in the academic world, so to speak.
In the academic world, if you're talking about PhDs or thesis and there are theses on my
books. Are you talking about? Yeah, there are. I mean, I was, I discovered this a few
years ago, but I've been told apparently it's been happening since 2013 -2014. There are
various thesis or bases on on my books, on the philosophies and there also in some ways
what it says about Indian kids that they're reading books like this. In some ways it can
be explored in various ways. I don't know if my books deserve this- I am grateful to
whoever does it, but I think in many ways, look India is changing and we are
rediscovering our roots after having lost it, progressively lost it over the last few
centuries and the last 60-70 years was perhaps the quickest pace of loss, frankly. You
know, when we ran our own affairs and there's a rediscovery of our roots in many ways,
and perhaps this is a phenomenon that is being studied and is worth studying. My books
can be a small part of it, of this revival of interest. But yes, this has a phenomenon
deserves study. Why is this happening? What will be the consequences of this?
How it will impact the kind of nation India will be. India economically, has been in relative decline for almost 800-900 hundred years. The last time our per capita income was higher than Europe was around 900 years ago. Before that we were significantly higher. The last time our GDP was higher than the UK's was 150 years ago, and this year we are now going ahead of the UK. In the next 2025 years, our per capita income on a PPP basis will be ahead of all European countries
So what we've lost over 800-900 hundred years, we are recovering very quickly. And so then it becomes worth studying that, look, then what kind of a country will we be? Because we'll have the heft to impact much of the world and we'll clearly not be a westernized country.
You know, Europe, America, like country will not be, you know, we will of course see the best of their influences, but at our core, we will be who we are. I think that is becoming increasingly clear. So therefore, then what kind of country will we be that's worth studying? Perhaps that's what is being studied through these thesis.
Absolutely and I think that brings us to the end of this subsection. I think our big take away from here is that we are moronic descendants of extremely intelligent ancestors and when we come back we will talk more with Amish on this whole evolution of mythology, history, science, technology and where we find ourselves in India today.
Hi, welcome back to the second segment or section of our chat with Amish and let me start so Amish. I was reading somewhere one of your interviews where you mentioned that you know the origin of these stories comes from what you heard from your grandparents. I think you mentioned Benaras in one of your interviews, which was interesting. Incidentally, I also got a lot of my knowledge of scriptures from my grandparents so it was similar. They used to tell a lot of stories and they were just absolutely amazing. So Amish do you from whatever you heard. Is there any kind of a underrated or lesser known thing that you believe that deserves a bit more kind of inspection and more, you know, is there any such one story or a character that you feel has kind of got lost based on whatever you heard from your grandparents? But it's very interesting.
There are, there are so many, there's an entire, you know, because our culture is not a
culture of one book, it's a culture of a massive library and there are so many that have
been lost. But among the things that is worth talking about, something which I
discovered from my father. Because in my family, as you said rightly, my grandfather was
a pundit at Banaras and he used to teach at Banaras Hindu University -Physics and
mathematics. And my grandmother on my mother's side was also a teacher in a school at
Gwalior and in our family if one can be honest - from our grandparents generation
downwards, the blessings of Goddess Saraswati have been coming down and the blessings of
Goddess Lakshmi have gone out. You know, we were very poor, very, very poor, 3
generations ago, but they they had a lot more knowledge because a lot of it was learned
from the family. Our education system teaches very little. Our education system is
still, sadly, very colonial. It is such that "Padha Likha ke bachhe ko angrez bana do"
That is the approach. So there's one thing which I want to say is not so much from our
ancestors. Something which all of us should know. This is something that my father told
me. You must read the constitutional debates that happened between 1947 and 1950. You
will be shocked to know that there was a proposal to make Sanskrit our national
You'll be even more shocked to know that primarily the representatives, the members of the Constituent Assembly who was supporting it, were actually Dr. Ambedkar and largely South Indian MPs they were supporting the adoption of Sanskrit as our national language. Sadly, the others opposed it. OK? And therefore Sanskrit did not become our national language, which I think was a was a critical loss, right? Because a every language has some links to Sanskrit. If Sanskrit was a national language, we could seriously, you know, mutually understand each other relatively easier. More importantly, Sanskrit is the key to our to our ancestral knowledge and that is that the key was lost that opportunity was lost. I don't know if it can be revived now. It's too late now. Now, English is our link language. You know, perhaps the most important thing would be to translate as many of these texts as we can to English. And maybe we'll have a small bunch of experts studying Sanskrit. There are lots of schools and Bangalore and Coimbatore, in Pune, which are actually teaching Sanskrit quite well, you know, few in Kashi. But yes, it is not as widespread as it should be. So this the fact that we lost this opportunity when our Constitution was being debated is this is not from our ancient stories, but this is something I discovered from my father and this is something all of us Indians should be aware of and really regret.
We missed an opportunity. Let's not miss the opportunity for the next 10-15 years when we have the money, when many of these manuscripts can be translated, saved, and let's relearn our knowledge and at least teach the next generation all that they need to know.
In fact, one of my little projects, like as a memory project is being to actually learn the Vande Mataram and the Shiv Stotram in its Sanskrit form. So I thought, you know, before Alzheimer's takes over, you know, I should leave, you know, if I can remember that stuff, then, you know, I can always go back and say, OK, there's one thing I remember, but the interesting thing is that at least I believe that I'm sure it's all true
there's this, there's this beautiful hymn called the Atma shatakam composed by Adi
It is in my hand. I'm not just saying that because I'm a Shaivite but just that, that hymn is among the most beautiful there ever is, and it truly gives the essence of what our philosophy is supposed to be no difference, of course, no difference of male, female, nothing - just. Chidananda rupah shivo'ham shivo'ham I am Shiva. That's what The thing is. Just learn that hymn...if there's anything you want to learn, learn that.
Definitely. Absolutely. So my thing was that obviously in the olden days also there were people who were smarter and more intelligent, and there were the others. And a lot of our religious beliefs are actually common sensical things that people preached to say that, you know, "yeh karne se paap hoga", but it was actually probably just, you know, good practice or, you know, basically like the classical one is that, you know, if you are going to the "samshan ghat" and you come back, you're supposed to have a bath. And it's no, it's not religious cleansing but it was just plain cleanliness, I suppose, right, that, you know, you you just wash yourself so that there is no, you know, you don't contract anything. So can you get to give us any examples of, I think people like you said, were much smarter. You know, they kind of converted everything to a religious practice, which unfortunately we carried forward as religion, but we never really understood the common sensical nature of it.
Look, there are there are many ways in which we are smarter. We've got tech, which is
fantastic. We've got, you know, but there are many things -the assumption that
civilization always moves in a curve like this is not necessarily true. Civilization
actually moves like this, right as a sine curve. Civilizations rise, they are at their
peak, and they decline. And the key thing is, can your civilization have the resilience
and the ability to remember the lessons learned from your rise, from your peak and your
decline, right. So, yes. I mean, if you're talking about, you know, rituals which made
sense, like the thing of the evening pooja, at least in our community, it used to be out
there - the sandhya pooja and then after that, you don't eat, if you think about it,
that is intermittent fasting. You know, without that, after sunset, you will not eat
because you've done your puja. At that time, you can only have water, you know, simple
things like tulsi outside the house. Tulsi, we all know is actually. And it's fresh
tulsi that you should actually have not packed and preserved Tulsi- you have fresh
Tulsa. And they built a nice story around it. So every house had one and you picked the
fresh leaves and then have it. Now, these are all good practices which, you know, help
you lead a healthier life. But this is at a base level. But what if, you know one thinks
of it even at a more philosophical kind of broader level, like that our ancestors used
to think about?
And evaluate what are the things that went right? What are the things that went wrong when they used to, in the Puranas, used to speak of kings or empires, which row is stabilized and then died. Then they would speak of what are the lessons from that empire, you know, so that as a society we don't make that mistake. Now, if you think about it, as a society we do, we have the introspectiveness of our ancestors that for the last there was a time when India used to beat back every invader. We rarely sent invading armies outside of the Indian subcontinent, but there was a time when we used to beat back almost every invader, the same Huns who destroyed Europe, came to India as well. Skanda Gupta's thrashed the daylights out of them and sent them back is there in our history. We all know that. But then there came a time when we started losing to every invader from the 11th century onwards. What changed in our society do we even introspect?
That that in the last 1000 years. Why did we lose repeatedly when there was a time when we never used to lose? You know, do we even evaluate? Do we have that thing of looking back? And what are the lessons learned? And you must do lessons learned honestly so that you don't repeat the mistake. I think as a society we need to we need to do that too. We are, look we are the most ancient culture that is still alive.
We're the only pre Bronze Age culture that is still alive. Think of the number of cycles we've been through. Of rises and falls, think of the number of lessons we would have learned. But do we still, you know, from our heritage, do we still remember those lessons at this time? We are rising once again, right. How do we ensure that we don't repeat those mistakes? You know, you should at least make new mistakes. Don't repeat mistakes that were made earlier.
So just a little aside, question I have is that in your books you always just write Amish - that must have been a conscious decision. Is that the reason why you did that?
There's a lovely line in the Bhagwad Gita.
catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasahm Lord Krishna says that that he created the four varnas on the basis of Guna and Karma, that is your Guna, your qualities, your attributes, and your karma, your deeds.
Doesn't mention birth anywhere. Your status in society was supposed to be based on the work that you do, not the births that you had, for example, Maharishi Satyakam, Jabali, who was, you know, the Rajpurohit of the Ayodhya royal family doing Lord Ram's time was born to a single Shudra mother. He didn't know who his father was, it didn't make a difference. Forget about a Brahmin, he became a Rishi, right? So it was based on your Guna and Karma, not on birth. What we have today is actually a corruption of what our ancestors taught. I thought I'll make my small statement on it that judge me for my Guna and karma, not for where I was born. I should earn this surname I shouldn't be born into. That's why and it's a statement from my end.
That's a wonderful way to talk about a cast list society, which is what we need to do before we go into the next segment. One last question for you. Is there a character in mythology or in our history who you really think fits today's day and age and has complete relevance in today's times and should be revived?
Fortunately, we don't need to revive him, Lord Shiva man - no one like him. I mean
complete respect to all other gods and goddesses. Complete respect. You know, I'm a
Dharmik and I respect all gods and goddesses. But Lord Shiva is just so cool. And that
is actually what we need in today's day, right? He doesn't differentiate between anyone.
He blessed Lord Ram. He blessed Ravan as well. He doesn't look at you by where you were
born. He looks at your karma. And if he thinks your karma is not good, as Ravan's was
beyond the point he took back his blessings. Don't differentiate between men and women.
Doesn't differentiate between devas and Asuras. He can exist within society. He can be a rule breaker when he has to. He is cool and fun. He knows how to enjoy life, right? He's the Lord of dance, he's the Lord of music, but he's also the originator of the Vedas, of yoga. So he knows how to lead a balanced life. He's very much off his band of brothers, you know Shivji Ki Barat and anyone can join but at the same time he'll be a damn good husband as well, a very good father.
Now, if we can learn from him, I think society will be a lot better and a lot more fun.
And therefore, we create a lot more balanced Lord Shivas amongst the men in this country.
I'm going to take a pause till we go to the next segment and come back soon. Stay tuned.
We are going to be back with even more fun questions and interesting insights from
So welcome back to the third segment of this amazing, amazing conversation with Amish and Amish, I have this question for you, right. We talked about the fact that we have so many transcripts, manuscripts, everything available but not transcribed, right? It's in Sanskrit and other languages of India's past glory, if we had to think about using technology to bring all of that back to life. What are your views on that?
OK, there's there's a lot to be done. In fact, I myself support some projects on this.
And the scale is so vast. We need, you know, a whole of country effort to make this
happen. So as a first step, look, the problem is India's climate itself. Our climate is
such that, you know, those plam leaf manuscripts, they don't survive. You know, if they
are packed separate, then it's OK. Moment you open it up literally starts crumbling. Our
climate is such. palm leaf manuscripts used to survive anywhere between 200 to 400
years. So there were Upadhyayas and they used to painstakingly re-transcribe them again
and again, which is why so many of them are are there today. So the first project that
we need to do is just scan those manuscripts and upload them on the web or on particular
sites so that they can be studied because they're literally kind of just scattering
away. That's the first most critical task. So all of us we can find, there are various,
many royal families in Rajasthan have manuscripts. Bikaner has a massive number. There's
the government. There are many temples have, so find whatever you can get them scanned.
Just upload them proper site. Ideally, if the national mission for manuscripts can also
put up something like that, that would be good. So that's the first project that needs
to be done. Then once it is, you know the manuscript itself has been saved when you need
to move to the second, more complicated task, which is the translations of it. Now what
makes this project horribly complicated?
One, it's in Sanskrit. Many people don't know that language. Regrettably, we have for a country which is the inheritor of this, we have a shockingly small number of Sanskrit experts. And remember, you know, Sanskrit would have its own nuances 500 years ago, 1000 years ago. So people need to know that context, right? That's the first point. Second point, remember the way texts were written in ancient times? If you carved on stone or on palm leaf manuscripts, those were expensive to make, so you didn't have enough space. OK, So what for example, many Middle Eastern texts used to do, you will find an Arabic, Aramaic. You know many of those texts they used to remove the vowels so that they took less space, which is why you can have interpretations of Aramaic, Arabic text, because it depends on what vowel you put in. Why was that done? Because you didn't have so much space. You had to make the writing as efficient as possible. How did our ancestors do it? What they did, what they used to have this thing?
Call sandhi where words would be joined together which is there in Marathi also. In Hindi It's been lost because Hindi has been Persianized to a large extent. But in Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, the languages which are closer to Sanskrit, Malayalam, they still have this Sandhi tradition as yet. So then how you break the Sandhi is also a complicated thing because that could change the words. Also our ancestors, how did they make it more efficient? They used to write things in a very crisp way, something which could be explained in a page.
They would write a cryptic 2 line thing, you know, which people would just at that time they would just understand. Now you need to have the ability to decode that. So that is the first area of complexity that because, you know, in ancient times they had to use things efficiently. There's this lovely Sanskrit line that if a poet or a writer can drop one letter from a word, he celebrates this as much as if he had a child at home, OK? Because that was that is a problem, right?
So how you decode it - you need experts on that. That's the first issue. Second issue, it's the script itself. So Devanagari the script that we write in is a relatively recent script. Sanskrit can also be written in Modi script in most ancient is Brahmi most ancient decipher script or Kharoshthi. So you need someone who knows the language, you need someone who knows the script as well. Third, you need someone who knows the subject also if they have written in a complicated thing which is a math subject, so you have a Sanskritscript, you know, and a scholar of the script of the lipi, but he's not a mathematician. He is an English literature graduate. He'll not understand what's going on. Imagine each manuscript essentially needs three skills which rarely come in one person. So you almost need a three person team for each manuscript. So it's a complicated project. Maybe Google Translate artificial intelligence can help in getting the first translation done, and then you get experts to do it. So it is a complicated project.
Each manuscript would have to be done with expert, with love. There are many people who come with their own Western colonial biases. We need to be mindful of that. So how does one go into all of this? Like colonial biases saw fair skin as something that was prized in ancient times, which clearly shows their bias because they had no idea what they were talking about. Lord Ram was one of our greatest gods. He's described as dark skin.
Lord Krishna, he is, the word Krishna means dark skin. Draupadiji, the most beautiful woman in the universe of her time, shows dark skin. That's why her name was also Krishna. And and they tell us Lord Shiva was, you know, apparently the "Dravidian God". So he was dark skinned. Arre but Lord Shiva is described as Karpura-Gauram - face skin like camphor. The men, when they come with their colonial biases, they assume that fair skinned is better. So they apply that bias on us.
When I told him we didn't have that. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad has you know a strot on, if you want a dark skinned boy, this is the pooja you must do. So it was a prized thing. If you want an intelligent daughter, this is the pooja you must do so it is a prized thing. But when Westerners come with their own bias mindset, that's all that they see. So you need to be mindful of this as well. So it's a complicated project, but as a first step, let's save our manuscripts itself. How much ever you can find? Let's just scan them and put them up for free on the web so that people can search. It's a complicated project. I'm trying to do my own thing on it. All of us and you guys are in the tech space. We can put a project together. If we Indians get our act together there's nothing that we can't do.
Let's bring back Tall Dark and Handsome then
Except Lord Shiva Karpua Gauram
But he's any which way is portrayed as dark, so let's keep him as the tall, dark and handsome version that we like.
So, so Amish, I know you're running out of time since we are talking technology and writing. So maybe one question we should do is about your own method or technology behind writing. So do you still use the good old MS Word or are there new tools and techniques and stuff like that which authors can kind of make use of?
Or do you still use the good old pen and paper? I still think on pen and paper, so I don't know about you.
There are software tools that are there, my friend Vikram Chandra had actually come out
Software as well, I think called Granth or something.
But it hasn't really taken off because that was supposed to, you know, kind of find logical inconsistencies, inconsistencies in your texts, etc, but didn't really work.
There are softwares like this and from what I know it hasn't really taken off. And Vikram is, I mean he's one of the finest guys to do this. He's a great writer and he was a techie, but it hasn't really worked. So I'm wondering if that animal exists - a tech platform to make this possible. Will AI be a solution? I don't know, AI seems to have -surprisingly I've seen some AI paintings which are actually damn good.
So I don't know if Ai would be able to do that.
How do I write not pen and paper, as my English teacher in class at my school had told me? My writing is so terrible that I would not make anything in life, and certainly not as a writer, and my writing is so terrible that often I myself don't understand "ki saala maine likha kya hai".
Well, I type, I type into my laptop. But look, it's like this. And there are parts of my life which are completely left brain driven. So my my contracts, my business stuff, my marketing.
All that, you know my job. It was completely left brain rational. But there's one part of my life which is completely right, brain driven, which in our ancient ways supposed to be the seat of the devi - of the goddess. And there.
How I work is.
I don't question anything. I have no idea how it comes to me. Before Immortals of Meluha, which is my first book, I had written absolutely no fiction ever in my life. I've said this publicly many times, in fact, and I've said this also many times. Many of my school, college friends, they still refuse to believe that I have written all these books
How it comes to me even now, I still cannot explain. I just open the laptop and there's like this parallel universe. I just enter it and I record what I see. And my world is in many ways quite complicated because it's not just, you know, like the Shiva trilogy is 3 books or Ramchandra series is 5 books. The 5th book I'll release a lot later, but 4th book, many of them are very complex narrative structures. The Ramchandra series is set in something called a Narrative structure called the multi linear narrative. 3 narratives running in parallel like that Japanese movie Rashomon, and which can be horribly complicated to write.
And the 4th book onwards, you know all the three narratives. From the Scion of Ishvaku From the birth of Lord Ram to the kidnapping of goddess Sita. Sita, The Warrior of Mithila- From her birth to a kidnapping Ravan, Enemy of Aryavarta. From his birth to the time he kidnaps Goddess Sita - all three send at the same point. 4th book onwards from the kidnapping of got to see the onwards. So it's a very complex narrative structure. I've made no notes, nothing. OK, no flow charts, nothing.
The Ramchandra series. One of the ways to see it is it's a 1400 year prequel to the events of the Shiva trilogy. 1500 year prequel to the events of the Shiva trilogy. There are clues I left in Immortals of Meluha, which was released in 2010, which are tied up now in War of Lanka, which is releasing in 2022, which is a completely different series. There's no way I could have planned this. I'd be lying if I said, oh, I'm this brilliant strategic mind. It just comes to me and I write and I cannot explain it.
I just. I just know this is the way it's supposed to be. It's like the description of the temple in Ujjain in Oath of the Vayuputras, I just knew had to be this way. Why? I don't know. I myself understood the reason for it when I was writing War of Lanka.
Amish, so you're blessed with automatic writing that people meditate and work so hard at trying to get to, right? So there's this whole concept of automatic writing where people meditate and get into a zone and then of course the stories flow for them. So you obviously have mastered that unknowingly
Well for me, my writing is meditation, so that's why. So that's why the automatic right
books in 12 years and all reasonably long books.
It's. I can't say. It's my creativity, my brilliance. It's all Lord Shiva's blessings.
So that's automatic writing and grace of God, that's fantastic. Sorry, Nilesh, before you ask this question, I have to ask this. I I'm reading your book Dharma right now, and one of the questions that popped up in my head as I was reading your book was if one has to look at tech companies today, right, and look at the large tech companies from a Dharma point of view, what do you think is the Dharma there? What is your view of Dharma with tech companies?
Difficult for someone to answer this question for another person.
But among the things that strikes me, if you look at Dharma from the perspective of various levels, there's the Sanatan Dharma, which is no beginning, no end replies to all of us, which are more principles. Then there's the Yug Dharma, there's the Kul Dharma and the Swa Dharma. So there's the Yug Dharma, which is the Dharma of our age. That power of a company, a power of a nation, is built on its economic strength. There was a time when ability to inflict violence defined the power of a nation.
The Turks never really knew how to make money. They were the best the world has ever seen in the fine art of killing.
Uh, so they conquered much of the world. There's a superpower of the world from the 12th to the 17th century. They didn't just conquer India, they conquered much of the Arab world, much of Europe. You know, they were the foot soldiers of the Mongols who conquered China, where? The superpower, right, because they were experts in the Yug Dharma of that age. Then the companies, not just tech companies, but all companies who earn money well, who know how to make profits in alignment with the Yug Dharma of today, which is money, which is a source of power then.
Uh, you know, Kul Dharma. Then what is the purpose of a of a company? Often I find that you know that it is it just about profits for your shareholders or is it about for all stakeholders, your employees, your community that you're in, the nation that you are in, which is not necessarily just India and you could be working in the US wherever, whichever nation you're in. And then of course the nation where headquarters is so primary responsibility to India and often if you're not clear about the Kul Dharma you.
You know, you get into confused things. You'll find companies trying to, you know, find a company showing ads which are about showing a mirror to society. Whether that's not your job, that's the job of an author or an artist, your job is to make money. Don't, don't confuse things, but make money without doing adharma to make sure that all stakeholders benefit without breaking the law. Making sure your employees, the community you're in, everyone benefits, not just your shareholders. We've seen some companies in the US.
Choosing shareholders at the cost of everyone else. Frankly, if you ask me, when the long term history of the US is written, the last 20-30 years will probably be seen as a time when capitalism ate up what was actually a very great country. When the cause of returns to the shareholders for that the nation was harmed. So that's the Kul term. And Swadharma is look your own Dharma. That I cannot answer that you should answer for yourself.
Amish, I think as we come to the end of this is one question or something we wanted from
you in terms of for you know, we, we think in our own little way with our own little
circulation, we should put out the message of what you have said all through this
podcast, you know, so you know, what is it that we as individuals, individual Indians
can do, to #1 learn more about our culture and you know, kind of imbibe it and then
contribute to kind of, you know, to the learning of the next person is like what can we
For ourselves to learn better. And then what can we do as a pay forward so that, you know, hopefully if this message gets out and people listen, you know, if even one more person does something, we would have considered that to be a big victory.
Among the greatest things that our ancestors taught us what we can do is danam, which is
charity. And charity can be done with money, can be done with shramdan, which is work
that you do, can be done with knowledge, whatever you give, which you pass forward. And
the main thing is the approach that should be there to charity. And this is one of the
things, again our ancestors taught us in the West. I've seen that those giving charity
have a sense of ego, right, that I'm helping you and let me. I've seen many of the NGOs
out here also have a very negative approach. Often you know that you are a moron and I
will tell you what should be done. That's not the way to do charity. And where does that
come from? It comes from ego. It comes from this thing that I am greater because I'm
helping you, whereas our ancient approach to charity was hat you are doing me a favor by
accepting charity from me. I'll explain the logic to you, because our purpose in life
was to find Moksh. Moksh can only happen when we balance our accounts, right? If you've
taken a karmic debt, you have to come back because you have to settle that debt. But if
you give a karmic debt to someone else, then your debts are being settled. When you're
giving charity, you actually giving something to someone else. And think about it this
way, the person receiving charity from you.
He's taking on a karmic debt, OK? That's what our ancestors told us. He or she will have to come back to this earth, so if he or she wants moksh, she has to make sure he passes it on. If this is the way you approach charity, you never have an ego about your charity because you realize that the person accepting charity from you is actually doing you a karmic favor. So you should have humility about it. There's no need to talk about it. There's no need to put photographs that virtue signaling. See how great I am? We need to do it quietly. And charity can be done in many ways through money, through shramdan, which is work, you know, labor, through distributing knowledge, whatever. There's so many people who go and teach at municipal schools. There's various ways you can help others. We are a nation that is rediscovering itself after a long time. There's some of us who are lucky enough to have got, you know, lifestyles that westerners are living right now. And we've got that all within one lifetime. But there are many of our fellow Indians who are suffering a lot more. It's our duty to help and the best way to wipe out our karmic debt.
I think that's really amazing thought. And also so logically put it with perspective so you know it's not, you're actually doing it for yourself, you know when you're giving because you are actually unburdening yourself and making sure that somebody else is benefiting and passing on the pain to the other guy.
Think about it. Think about it this way- in societies which are still dharmic, like Burma giving, India has lost a lot, sadly. But in Burma, giving daan to a monk is considered the one of the greatest things to do. And a monk accepting charity from you is helping because it's a monk taking on a karmic debt, taking your karmic debt. Think about how much of your karmic debt is wiped out. Among the biggest yeah, among the biggest protests against the Burmese military junta was when the monks stopped accepting their charity. And that's when the Burmese junta said, OK, that's when they they moved back a bit and opened up a bit to democracy. Many people don't know this, this, this is one of the protests that the Burmese monks had joined.
So this was, this was really, really interesting and enlightening. Thanks for this. It was a fantastic session. And this brings us to end of another episode of 3TB. We had an absolutely great conversation with Amish. This was one in the series of our theme around art and technology, so we we thought we should definitely cover the art of writing and honestly we got to know something very interesting about, you know, the whole manuscript bit and how to preserve them. A lot of thought and a lot of process thinking has gone into it. So very interesting. I think it's a fantastic project to even think of. So if you liked our banter, please share this episode. Don't forget to follow the show. We are available on all major podcast platforms and if you are on Apple podcast please do leave a rating and review. It helps the podcast flow, so see you next time. Bye bye.