Over the years, the technology kept changing, and I was unable to have this blog keep pace with it. I recently reverted to a ‘basic’ template because the old feature-rich template wouldn’t work, and neither did I have the time or inclination to make it work. However, ‘The Wayback Machine’ does have a record of this blog, the way it was when it looked perfect.
Apart from looking perfect, the information was easily available up front. The current visitor is encouraged to have a look: especially at the post which pulls interesting posts from across the categories to give a bird’s eye view to this blog. If you want to determine, at a glance, what this blog is about, the current layout is helpless – please click here.
Having hosted multiple WordPress blogs over the years, I have come to the following conclusion: static sites are best. My expectation is that you should be required to create the website and then forget it, while it works fine over the years. Doesn’t work with CMSs, they need to be updated, and PHP changes over time leaving a broken blog. In face there are ways to integrate user comments with static sites.
Wordpress itself has several issues – it should, in my expectation take care of making sites search engine friendly. Setting up the ‘viewport’, ‘gzipping’ content, social sharing should come out of the box. Strangely, doesn’t.
I then looked over at Drupal, and it does seem quite better: I did a pingdom test of:
to see the out of the box SEO optimisations of both products. Drupal got A where as WordPress got D. Pretty much matched my expectation after seeing google usability issues for my website for years.
Drupal may be tough to setup initially, but does an overall better job than WordPress in my opinion.
Big data can be explained by understanding the following key aspects:
Volume. There is no specific quantification that says volume above these many terabytes will be called Big data. What volume one considers as threshold depends on the perspective and the year we are in (big data is a moving target). However, this large volume of data is mostly the cost-free byproduct of digital interaction such as consumers buying stuff off online shops.
Velocity. The speed at which data is generated and processed. Big data is often available in real time.
Variety. The type and nature of data. Big data draws from text, images, audio, video; plus it completes missing pieces through data fusion.
Data must be processed with advanced tools (analytics and algorithms) to reveal meaningful information. Big data is not about asking why, but about detecting patterns. Information generation algorithms must detect and address visible and invisible issues and factors.
Parallel computing tools are needed to handle data.
Often “inductive statistics” are used to infer laws (relationships, causal effects) from large sets of data to reveal relationships or dependencies or to perform predictions of outcomes and behaviours.
Artificial intelligence deals with mimicking the way the human brain works or evolution of life and other such natural phenomena. Here are some of the artificial intelligence techniques:
Artificial Neural Networks
Artificial Neural Networks are inspired by the way the brain works. A neural network consists of a network of nodes. Each node is capable of making a simplistic decision or a simple calculation on the inputs, and providing an output. By interconnecting a large number of such nodes, it is possible to do data analysis and complex decision making. Each node has a threshold assigned and each connection between nodes is assigned a weight. A random NN is constructed to begin with. This is then “trained” by providing inputs, and matching given outputs against pre-calculated known outputs. When a mismatch is detected between current output and favoured output, the weights and thresholds are suitably modified.
Genetic algorithms are based on the process of evolution and natural selection. To begin with a pool of random “algorithms” is built. Each such algorithm is tested with given input and required output. Those algorithms that give results closest to the desired outcome are selected. Thereafter the next generation is built by combining pairs of algorithms from the previous generation and adding more steps (random mutation). This generation is again tested for fitness. This process is repeated as many times as needed. The algorithms keep increasing in complexity with each generation.
Good quality English translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji are very rare, if any. In any case, the words of Brahmgyanis (People who are in tune with the Celestial Formless Creator) can be understood completely only by Brahmgyanis. It is like asking someone who has never seen an elephant, but only read about it, to describe how an elephant looks like. However, your spiritual journey needs a starting point. For me, this has always been kathas (spoken discourse) of Giani Maskeen ji, or the Punjabi translation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji by Prof. Sahib Singh ji.
Please find attached interpretations of the Sukhmani Sahib (one of the many prayers withing Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji) in English. This commentary pulls out key thoughts from the Sukhmani Sahib and tries to explain. This is work in progress, only a short part completed so far.
Sikhs treat Sri Guru Granth Sahib as the Living Treasure of Knowledge, as the Guiding Master on the spiritual journey and embodiment of Word form of the God. The word Guru literally means a teacher in Hindi. The advice that comes from Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji is timeless and unchanging, rather than worldly knowledge which is ever changing.
What does the Guru say about the kind of teaching that needs to be practiced with the students? Read below:
ਪਾਧਾ ਪੜਿਆ ਆਖੀਐ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਬਿਚਰੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਇ ॥
We call person learned, if through the internalisation of his knowledge, he finds peace and his mind stays at rest.
ਬਿਦਿਆ ਸੋਧੈ ਤਤੁ ਲਹੈ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਇ ॥
He ventures inwards through the map of his knowledge, and by focusing attention on the True Name he attunes to Divine One.
ਮਨਮੁਖੁ ਬਿਦਿਆ ਬਿਕ੍ਰਦਾ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਟੇ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਾਇ ॥
The self willed teacher (who has not subdued his mind) is only a knowledge seller. Little does he know that this trade is a poison that finishes the spiritual purpose of his life.
ਮੂਰਖੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਚੀਨਈ ਸੂਝ ਬੂਝ ਨਹ ਕਾਇ ॥੫੩॥
Such people are fools, they have not understood the Eternal Word and have no intuitive knowledge.
ਪਾਧਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਖੀਐ ਚਾਟੜਿਆ ਮਤਿ ਦੇਇ ॥
A wise teacher follows precisely the teachings of God Guru and gives the same instruction to his disciples.
ਨਾਮੁ ਸਮਾਲਹੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੰਗਰਹੁ ਲਾਹਾ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਲੇਇ ॥
He tells his students to praise the Lord’s Name, the manifestation of God. To collect Naam which is the only profitable trade in this world.
ਸਚੀ ਪਟੀ ਸਚੁ ਮਨਿ ਪੜੀਐ ਸਬਦੁ ਸੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥
His own heart becomes the slate on which he writes the word of the True Guru, and thus his own mind is cleansed of evil. This is the best learning.
ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋ ਪੜਿਆ ਸੋ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਬੀਨਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਗਲਿ ਹਾਰੁ ॥੫੪॥੧॥
Such a teacher is then called wise and learned who wears the garland of Lord’s Name
Traditionally, Guru Nanak Dev ji’s prakash purab (the day He spread forth His light on this earth) is celebrated on the full moon night of a specific lunar month. This year, this day coincided with the Supermoon. Here is a photo of the Golden Temple with the supermoon visible in the background:
My message sent out for this year’s Gurpurab greeting:
Kot karam karai hao dhare || Sram pavai sagle birthare || (278)
Hao vich maya, Hao vich chhaya || (466)
Kirpa kare je aapni, tan Gur ka Shabad kamahe || Nanak kahai sunho jano, eet sanjam dukh jai || (466)
By engaging in good deeds alone we cannot lose our egoistical pride. This pride causes to remain attached to Maya, and deprives us from appreciating Divine Bounties. Even millions of good deeds, done under the false influence of Maya – go waste. While we may have laboured, we do not receive Divine Respect. Reciting the Lord’s Name under the True Guru’s instructions, this veil of ego is removed and we are enraptured in Divine Love. Such a path is obtained by great fortune, and through the Lotus Feet of the Guru. Dhan Guru Nanak.
One of the central teachings of Guru Nanak was to see God as embodied in His Creation and recitation of His Greatness with loving devotion.
Having waited for several days for the update to be pushed to my phone, I temporarily moved over from Airtel to Vodafone. Wow! the update was pushed within seconds – after I connected to the PC using the Xperia Companion software. Airtel seems to be helplessly slow in pushing this update (or perhaps it decided not to go ahead with this one).
Today is Basant Panchami, an Indian festival of spring. The flowers are in full bloom – an image below, shot and edited completely on my Sony Xperia Z2. There are lots of colours all around.
Sikhism believes only in worship of One God, Who is Unborn and all pervading. He is the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer. The following is a translation of Basant Ki Vaar (Ode of Basant) by the Fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev ji. While spring is one of the four seasons, here Guru ji speaks of everlasting spring within our heart and mind which is the culmination of worship and surrender to God.
ਬਸੰਤ ਕੀ ਵਾਰ ਮਹਲੁ ੫
बसंत की वार महलु ५
Basanṯ kī vār mahal 5
Basant Kee Vaar, Fifth Mehl:
ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
ੴ सतिगुर प्रसादि ॥
Ik▫oaŉkār saṯgur parsāḏ.
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:
ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇ ਕੈ ਹੋਹੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਭਾਈ ॥
हरि का नामु धिआइ कै होहु हरिआ भाई ॥
Har kā nām ḏẖi▫ā▫e kai hohu hari▫ā bẖā▫ī.
Meditate on the Lord’s Name, and blossom forth in green abundance.
ਕਰਮਿ ਲਿਖੰਤੈ ਪਾਈਐ ਇਹ ਰੁਤਿ ਸੁਹਾਈ ॥
करमि लिखंतै पाईऐ इह रुति सुहाई ॥
Karam likẖanṯai pā▫ī▫ai ih ruṯ suhā▫ī.
By your high destiny, you have been blessed with this wondrous spring of the soul.
ਵਣੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਣੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣੁ ਮਉਲਿਆ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਈ ॥
वणु त्रिणु त्रिभवणु मउलिआ अम्रित फलु पाई ॥
vaṇ ṯariṇ ṯaribẖavaṇ ma▫oli▫ā amriṯ fal pā▫ī.
The whole universe has blossomed forth, obtaining the Fruit of Ambrosial Nectar.
ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਧੂ ਸੁਖੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਲਥੀ ਸਭ ਛਾਈ ॥
मिलि साधू सुखु ऊपजै लथी सभ छाई ॥
Mil sāḏẖū sukẖ ūpjai lathī sabẖ cẖẖā▫ī.
Meeting with the Holy Saints, peace wells up, and all sins are erased.
ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸਿਮਰੈ ਏਕੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਫਿਰਿ ਬਹੁੜਿ ਨ ਧਾਈ ॥੧॥
नानकु सिमरै एकु नामु फिरि बहुड़ि न धाई ॥१॥
Nānak simrai ek nām fir bahuṛ na ḏẖā▫ī. ||1||
O Nanak, remember in meditation the One Name, and you shall never again be consigned to the womb of reincarnation.. ||1||
ਪੰਜੇ ਬਧੇ ਮਹਾਬਲੀ ਕਰਿ ਸਚਾ ਢੋਆ ॥
पंजे बधे महाबली करि सचा ढोआ ॥
Panje baḏẖe mahābalī kar sacẖā dẖo▫ā.
The five powerful desires are bound down, when you lean on the True Lord.
ਆਪਣੇ ਚਰਣ ਜਪਾਇਅਨੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਦਯੁ ਖੜੋਆ ॥
आपणे चरण जपाइअनु विचि दयु खड़ोआ ॥
Āpṇe cẖaraṇ japā▫i▫an vicẖ ḏa▫yu kẖaṛo▫ā.
The Lord Himself leads us to dwell at His Feet. He stands right in our midst.
ਰੋਗ ਸੋਗ ਸਭਿ ਮਿਟਿ ਗਏ ਨਿਤ ਨਵਾ ਨਿਰੋਆ ॥
रोग सोग सभि मिटि गए नित नवा निरोआ ॥
Rog sog sabẖ mit ga▫e niṯ navā niro▫ā.
All sorrows and sicknesses are eradicated, and you become ever-fresh and rejuvenated.
ਦਿਨੁ ਰੈਣਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇਦਾ ਫਿਰਿ ਪਾਇ ਨ ਮੋਆ ॥
दिनु रैणि नामु धिआइदा फिरि पाइ न मोआ ॥
Ḏin raiṇ nām ḏẖi▫ā▫iḏā fir pā▫e na mo▫ā.
Night and day, meditate on the Naam, the Name of the Lord. You shall never again die.
ਜਿਸ ਤੇ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸੋਈ ਫਿਰਿ ਹੋਆ ॥੨॥
जिस ते उपजिआ नानका सोई फिरि होआ ॥२॥
Jis ṯe upji▫ā nānkā so▫ī fir ho▫ā. ||2||
And the One, from whom we came, O Nanak, into Him we merge once again. ||2||
ਕਿਥਹੁ ਉਪਜੈ ਕਹ ਰਹੈ ਕਹ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥
किथहु उपजै कह रहै कह माहि समावै ॥
Kithhu upjai kah rahai kah māhi samāvai.
Where do we come from? Where do we live? Where do we go in the end?
ਜੀਅ ਜੰਤ ਸਭਿ ਖਸਮ ਕੇ ਕਉਣੁ ਕੀਮਤਿ ਪਾਵੈ ॥
जीअ जंत सभि खसम के कउणु कीमति पावै ॥
Jī▫a janṯ sabẖ kẖasam ke ka▫uṇ kīmaṯ pāvai.
All creatures belong to God, our Lord and Master. Who can place a value on Him?
ਕਹਨਿ ਧਿਆਇਨਿ ਸੁਣਨਿ ਨਿਤ ਸੇ ਭਗਤ ਸੁਹਾਵੈ ॥
कहनि धिआइनि सुणनि नित से भगत सुहावै ॥
Kahan ḏẖi▫ā▫in suṇan niṯ se bẖagaṯ suhāvai.
Those who meditate, listen and chant, those devotees are blessed and beautified.
ਅਗਮੁ ਅਗੋਚਰੁ ਸਾਹਿਬੋ ਦੂਸਰੁ ਲਵੈ ਨ ਲਾਵੈ ॥
अगमु अगोचरु साहिबो दूसरु लवै न लावै ॥
Agam agocẖar sāhibo ḏūsar lavai na lāvai.
The Lord God is Inaccessible and Unfathomable; there is no other equal to Him.
ਸਚੁ ਪੂਰੈ ਗੁਰਿ ਉਪਦੇਸਿਆ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ ॥੩॥੧॥
सचु पूरै गुरि उपदेसिआ नानकु सुणावै ॥३॥१॥
Sacẖ pūrai gur upḏesi▫ā Nānak suṇāvai. ||3||1||
The Perfect Guru has taught this Truth. Nanak proclaims it to the world. ||3||1||
November 17th is being celebrated this year as the day Guru Nanak came to this earth. The foremost of His teachings was to stay detached from Maya (worldly pleasures) and always thank the Creator for his bounties. Simple living and serving to other beings were advocated.
Sharing below a greeting card which can be used to spread His Divine Message. (Click on the image to see bigger, two versions)
This first quote about Guru Nanak’s coming to this earth is from a ballad by Bhai Gurdas (Vaar 1, Pauri 24). The second quote, Guru Nanak’s message about devotion and humility is from Guru Nanak’s primary writing “Asa ki vaar“, and appears within Sri Guru Granth Sahib at Ang 470. Recital of God’s name under Guru’s guidance is important towards separating oneself from Maya (worldly pleasures) which then leads you to God.
Licensing and information about the blog available here.