In a world which seems to be constantly looking to the future in the name of progress, growth and even knowledge I seem to increasingly find myself looking backwards to find my progress, growth and knowledge. One of the ways to do it is to reconnect with my roots, traditions and my collective inheritance to understand myself better, why I am the way I am and where can I go from here. I need to understand the ground that I stand on, the road I have travelled before I get excited about mineral deposits in Mars. These thoughts have been with me for some time now in different forms and I now see many of my actions to be an unconscious response to them. This blog is a good example, although why I don’t blog more often is still unknown to me. God knows I have lots to say ! 

Some weeks ago on a Saturday morning I found myself going into central London to attend  classes on Upanishads. The contrast couldn’t be more stark. This was the week when the first music video was made from space which was not only ‘out of this world’ but also a good demo of the laws of physics in space and that there really isn’t much to do in your free time. So while man is doing things that hadn’t been done before, I was going to read and hear about things that were thought about centuries ago that seem very remote in more ways than one. They seem remote because a lot of time and interpretations have happened between the original thought and now, but also the Upanishads are absent from mainstream public discourse. It maybe that as I start to understand them better I may find their presence in contemporary thinking. I have started to suspect that some of my thoughts have their roots in them but I need to understand them better before I write about them. 

Since I have started to read the Upanishads, the fact that I am Maculay’s child is very clear to me. Since my school days I have been taught to read, write and think primarily in English. This has served me well in my career, in my travels and in my quest to understand the world outside my little pond. But this has also meant that I have in some ways lost touch with Sanskrit and through it my ability to read and understand Indian philosophies and literature is mostly through English and some of it is through Hindi. It is as if i am unable to communicate with fellow beings who look similar to me, think like me and are from the same land but speak completely different languages. As languages are not just a way to communicate but also have a whole set of accompanied ideas and values, it seems strange to be studying the Upanishads in English. 

But this is not such a bad thing. Infact, to me this is my little revenge on Thomas Maculay where I am using his preferred language to access ‘Eastern thought’ rather than European expression. I hope to change this soon and be able to read the Upanishads as they were originally conceived and written in Sanskrit.