Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Paul Brunton-His experience in front of Sri Ramana Maharshi

Paul Brunton : A search in secret India : Page 303:

His experience in front of Sri Ramana Maharshi:

I return hastily from an exploration of some usually veiled sanctuaries of the great temple and enter the hall when the evening meditation period has run out half its life. 

I slip quietly to the floor and straightway assume my regular meditation posture. In a few seconds I compose myself and bring all wandering thoughts to a strong centre. 

An intense interiorization of consciousness comes with the closing of eyes. The Maharishee's seated form floats in a vivid manner before my mind's eye. 

Following his frequently repeated instruction I endeavour to pierce through the mental picture
into that which is formless, his real being and inner nature, his soul. To my surprise the effort meets with almost instantaneous success and the picture disappears again, leaving me with nothing more than a strongly felt sense of his intimate presence.

The mental questionings which have marked most of my earlier meditations have lately begun to cease. I have repeatedly interrogated my consciousness of physical, emotional and mental sensations in turn, but, dissatisfied in the quest of self, have eventually left them all. 

I have then applied the attention of consciousness to its own centre, striving to become aware of its place of origin. Now comes the supreme moment. In
that concentration of stillness, the mind withdrawn into itself, one's familiar world begins to fade off into shadowy vagueness.

One is apparently environed for a while by sheer nothingness, having arrived at a kind of mental blank wall. And one has to be as intense as possible to maintain one's fixed attention.

But how hard to leave the lazy dalliance of our surface life and draw the mind inwards to a pin-point of concentration!

To-night I flash swiftly to this point, with barely a skirmish against the continuous sequence of thoughts which usually play the prelude to its arrival. Some new and powerful force comes into dynamic action within my inner world and bears me inwards with resistless speed. 

The first great battle is over, almost without a stroke, and a pleasurable, happy, easeful feeling succeeds its high tension. In the next stage I stand apart from the intellect, conscious that it is thinking, but warned by an intuitive voice that it is merely an instrument. I watch these thoughts with a weird detachment. 

The power to think, which has hitherto been a
matter for merely ordinary pride, now becomes a thing from which to escape, for I perceive with startling clarity that I have been its unconscious captive. There follows the sudden desire to stand outside the intellect and just be. I want to dive
into a place deeper than thought.
I want to know what it will feel like to deliver myself from the constant bondage of the brain, but to do so with all my attention awake and alert.

It is strange enough to be able to stand aside and watch the very action of the brain as though it were someone else's, and to see how thoughts take their rise and then die, but it is stranger still to realize intuitively that one is about to penetrate into the mysteries which hide the innermost recesses of man's soul. I feel like some Columbus about to land on an uncharted continent. A perfectly controlled and subdued anticipation quietly thrills me.

But how to divorce oneself from the age-old tyranny of thoughts? I remember that the Maharishee has never suggested that I should attempt to force the stoppage of thinking. "Trace thought to its place of origin," is his reiterated counsel, "watch for the real self to reveal itself, and then your thoughts will die down of their own accord.

So, feeling that I have found the birthplace of thinking, I let go of the powerfully positive attitude which has brought my attention to this point and surrender myself to complete passivity, yet
still keeping as intently watchful as a snake of its prey. This poised condition reigns until I discover the correctness of the sage's prophecy. 

The waves of thought naturally begin to diminish. The workings of logical rational sense drop towards zero point. The strangest sensation I have experienced
till now grips me. Time seems to reel dizzily as the antennas of my rapidly growing intuition begin to reach out into the unknown. The reports of my bodily senses are no longer heard, felt, remembered. I know that at any moment I shall be standing outside things, on the very edge of the world's
secret. . . .

Finally it happens. Thought is extinguished like a snuffed candle. The intellect withdraws into its real ground, that is, consciousness working unhindered by thoughts. I perceive, what I have suspected for some time and what the Maharishee
has confidently affirmed, that the mind takes its rise in a transcendental source. The brain has passed into a state of complete suspension, as it does in deep sleep, yet there is not the slightest loss of consciousness. 

I remain perfectly calm and fully aware of who I am and what is occurring. Yet my sense of awareness has been drawn out of the narrow confines of the separate personality; it has turned into something
sublimely all-embracing. Self still exists, but it is a
changed, radiant self.
For something that is far superior to the unimportant personality which was I, some deeper, diviner being rises into consciousness and becomes me. With it arrives an amazing new sense of absolute freedom, for thought is like
a loom-shuttle which is always going to and fro, and to be freed from its tyrannical motion is to step out of prison into the open air.

I find myself outside the rim of world consciousness. The planet which has so far harboured me, disappears. I am in the midst of an ocean of blazing light. The latter, I feel rather than think, is the primeval stuff out of which worlds are created, the first state of matter. It stretches away into unreliable infinite space, incredibly alive.

I touch, as in a flash, the meaning of this mysterious universal drama which is being enacted in space, and then return to the primal point of my being. I, the new I, rest in the lap of holy bliss. I have drunk the Platonic Cup of Lethe, so that yesterday's bitter memories and to-morrow's anxious cares have
disappeared completely. 

I have attained a divine liberty and an almost indescribable felicity. My arms embrace all creation
with profound sympathy, for I understand in the deepest possible way that to know all is not merely to pardon all, but to love all. My heart is remoulded in rapture.


Friday, 23 September 2016

Reliance Jio-Look before you leap

Here’s everything that Reliance Jio did not reveal about its tariff plans, and you won’t like it.
Reliance Jio has officially announced its tariff plans with claims of free outgoing calls, unlimited night data, and data prices as low as Rs 50/GB. But here’s a closer look at the plans to reveal the fine print.
By Ritesh Bendre on Sep 2, 2016 at 2:36 PM
Email @GadgetFreak4U http://www.bgr.in/news/heres-everything-that-reliance-jio-did-not-reveal-about-its-tariff-plans-yesterday-and-you-wont-like-it/

After a long wait, repeated delays and months of testing, Reliance Jio has finally announced that it will commence its commercial operations starting September 5. Ahead of the launch, Reliance Jio has been in the news for its 4G Preview Offer, where the company has been offering free SIM cards, unlimited voice calls, messaging and unlimited high-speed data. The company has also been offering users with unlimited access to its app ecosystem to watch live TV, listen to music and online radio, watch on demand movies and more. Now, at the formal announcement, Reliance Industries (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani unveiled disruptive tariff for Reliance Jio services — including unlimited phone calls, data charges of Rs 50/GB and more. We take yet another look at the plans to bring up the fine print that was not announced during the speech.

Let me start off by reiterating an idiom, “if it is too good to be true, it probably is.” In fact, the word “free” sounds good, but as always, there are many strings attached. The obsession for freebies is exactly where marketers are tapping with their strategies to lure customers. Sure, we have created history, outgoing calls are now free for a lifetime and data download charges are now down to Rs 50/GB, making it the cheapest in the world. But, is it applicable on all plans? What happens after you end up exhausting the 300MB data allowance in Rs 149 pack? Let’s take an in-depth look at Reliance Jio tariff plans to look at the fine print.

Jio Preview Welcome Offer doesn’t have unlimited data

Starting September 5, users can get Jio SIM card with ‘Welcome Offer’ where they get unlimited calls, unlimited internet and access to Jio apps. But, here comes the catch – it is not virtually unlimited. During the preview offer till December 31 2016, users will get 4GB of high speed data per day, after which, speed will be cut down to 128Kbps.

Jio is not really giving Rs 50/GB of data
One of the biggest claims made yesterday was that Jio would offer the cheapest data tariffs in the world at Rs 50/GB. However, none of the plans that were revealed yesterday on stage showed that was the case. However, in the tariff plans submitted to TRAI, Jio has revealed that the Rs 50/GB rate would only be applicable for JioNet Wi-Fi service, after the user exhausts the data on the plan. There is no word on how much users will have to pay for accessing the internet after they exhaust their 4G LTE limit in case they don’t go for an additional top up.

According to tariff plan details released by Reliance Jio, post exhaustion of bundled 4G LTE data, users will be charged at Rs 250/GB, with 10kb charging pulse. 

This is still affordable to what existing operators are charging (between 4p/10kb to 10p/10kb, which is Rs 4,000 to Rs 10,000 per GB), but not as per the claims of Rs 50/GB. To avoid those charges, users can opt for add-on top-up data packs – available for both prepaid and postpaid subscribers.

These top-ups will come into play after exhausting the data allowance on their existing plans. Users can get add on data packs starting at Rs 151, which gives 1GB of 4G LTE data and 1GB of JioNet Wi-Fi, similarly, there are other top-up packs priced between Rs 251 to Rs 5,000, offering between 2GB to 75GB of 4G LTE data, and the same amount of JioNet Wi-Fi data. In other words, if you do the math, even in top up plans, it is only Rs 50/GB if you add both 4G LTE and Wi-Fi data allowance and that too only for plans that are priced higher. The entry-level top up plans are more expensive that Rs 50/GB. 

Unlimited SMS? Not really
Well, here too there is a catch. You do get unlimited free local and national SMS, but there is a cap of 100 SMS / day, which is as per TRAI guidelines. But there is no clarity on what happens after exhaustion of daily SMS limit of 100. Probably, you may have to pay per SMS after that, or wait for the end of the day to reset the counter.

Unlimited Night 4G Data – It is a very short night

One of the announcements also included unlimited night data (4G LTE). While one may think that night time would be for some eight hours or more, it is actually applicable only between 2AM to 5AM. While there is no clarity at the moment, it may only be applicable for Jio Suite of apps. This is because, during the speech, Mukesh Ambani did mention that Jio is optimizing its apps to allow users to download music, videos and on demand movies during the night time.

Jio App Suite — Works only on Reliance Jio Network, data is debited from monthly quota

The charges to access Jio Suite of apps are Rs 1,250 per month, or Rs 15,000 a year. However, as an introductory offer, Jio is offering complimentary access until December 31 2017. But, if you look at the fine print, you won’t pay for the subscription but data used while streaming and downloading charges will be debited from your monthly quota of data.

Also, Jio Suite of apps will only work on Reliance Jio 4G LTE or JioNet Wi-Fi network. This also means; you won’t be able to access to content while on any other operator’s network. So if you have an Airtel Wi-Fi at home, you won’t be able to use these services by logging on to your Wi-Fi network.

Like always, we would advice our users to read the terms and conditions before falling into trap of marketing gimmick, that promises services for ‘free.’ Remember, there are always a few strings attached, and when you know about the fine print, it can avoid further disappointment.

Why do Indian companies insist on being devious? Its the same mentality of saying something and not even thinking of honoring it fully but expecting the other person to adjust or even assuming that they have to adjust.

At this point - 23rd Sept 2016, 3 weeks or so after the launch, we still cant get a sim activated and you get a standard mail--got this for the 3rd time

Dear Customer,
We have been receiving overwhelming response to our Jio welcome Offer. Hence there may be some delay in responding to your query.
However if you want to know more about the Jio welcome Offer, please visit our website www.jio.com.
We thank you for your patience.
Team Jio

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

China’s credit-to-GDP is 30%-BIS sounds alarm on rising levels of debt

Next global crisis coming from China?
BIS sounds alarm on rising levels of debt

By: The Financial Express | Published: August 26, 2016 6:19 AM

As BIS puts it, “the accumulation of debt since the global financial crisis has left EMEs particularly vulnerable to capital outflows … as private sector borrowing has led to overheating in several large EMEs, the unwinding of imbalances may generate destabilizing dynamics”. (Reuters)

Ruchir Sharma, chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley has been warning of the next global crisis emanating from China due to its rapid build-up of debt, and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has now added its heft to that.

As BIS puts it, “the accumulation of debt since the global financial crisis has left EMEs particularly vulnerable to capital outflows … as private sector borrowing has led to overheating in several large EMEs, the unwinding of imbalances may generate destabilizing dynamics”.

The debt of non-financial corporations in major EMEs, BIS says, has risen from less than 60% of GDP in 2006 to over 110% at the end of 2015, well over the 85% level for advanced economies—that for China has risen from 90% to over 150% over the same period. As a result, China’s credit-to-GDP is 30% higher relative to the long-term trend while that for Brazil is around 8.5% and Turkey 11.8%—India is below trend by around 3.2%.

As BIS points out, “two-thirds of banking crises were preceded by credit-to-GDP gaps breaching this threshold (of 10%) during the three years before the event”.

Though BIS does not give the figure for individual countries, it points out the repayments for EMEs add up to around $340 billion over 2016 to 2018, or 40% higher than that during the last three years and, on an annualised basis, equals roughly the net issuance of bonds by EME corporates in 2015—in other words, companies will be borrowing afresh just to repay debt, making this a classic debt-trap.

Normally, any discussion on China’s overseas debt juxtaposes this with the country’s mammoth forex reserves of $3.2 trillion, making the problem look less serious.

For EMEs as a category, however, BIS says this “may provide a false sense of safety … if non-financial corporates face pressure from capital outflows, there may be no easy way for the authorities to deploy their reserves to alleviate this pressure … even though the central bank has large foreign-exchange reserves”.

Apart from the central bank’s forex reserves, there is the issue of a natural hedge that exports provide, but as BIS data shows, the foreign currency debts of the corporate sector in EMEs have been growing much faster than their export revenues.

If all goes well, and China’s corporate sector sees top-lines and bottom-lines grow fast, none of this may matter but once forex outflows starts, as BIS points out—of course, not specifically in the context of China—“a final lesson is that capital flows can generate self-reinforcing asset price dynamics … outflows, by increasing the perceived riskiness of borrowing economies, can generate further outflows … and this may trigger contagion”.

In other words, while the global economy slowly recovers, the threat of a problem emanating from countries like China is looking more serious by the day.

The heroes who are saving Bengaluru’s lakes

Meet the heroes who are saving Bengaluru’s lakes

Safeer Usman and Gopinath Anandan, who were classmates at SRM University in Chennai, were always passionate about innovation. This led them to be a part of their Formula racing team in college. In spite of sharing this passion, they went their separate ways after college.

Safeer took up a business course in Imperial College London, while Gopinath started a venture in the electronics and hardware development space.

But the need to start up brought the duo back together in 2014. However, their opportunity to start up came in as a surprise.Founders of Tetherbox: Safeer Usman and Gopinath Anandan

Frequenting a robotics blog, they came to be connected with former IIT Bombay professor HS Shankar. Having an environment technology firm, Shankar was working on a sewage disposal technology and was seeking help in building a robotic arm to clear sludge.

However, the final product was nothing like what he had asked for. The duo ended up building a real-time solution that checked the levels of pollutants in a given body of water, delivering the data through an SMS.

Although the system didn’t work at the time of the presentation, Shankar was still sold on the idea, giving the venture its first customer even before starting up. Safeer recalls the feeling,

I still remember sitting with our first cheque. Since the firm didn’t even start, we didn’t even have a bank account to put that cheque into.

Not long afterwards, Safeer and Gopinath got their second validation in May 2015, when they went to the ‘Everything about Water’ Expo in Mumbai, and got close to 200 visiting cards of clients and partners who wanted to try out their solution.

Hence, working towards the idea, the business was incorporated under the name ‘Tetherbox Technologies’ in December 2015.
Not all heroes wear capes

But what really got the startup attention was their work for the lakes of Bengaluru.

In March last year, Bengaluru’s Ulsoor Lake saw hundreds of dead fish afloat, lending visible signs to the dying water body. By the fourth week of March, Tetherbox approached the government and understood that another company called Ecogenetech was already piloting its oxygen diffusing floatation devices. Tying up with them, Tetherbox started its pilot in June.Dead fish afloat in Ulsoor lake due to discharge of untreated sewage water

The results were startling! The lake had less than 1 milligram of oxygen per litre of water, while the region chosen for the pilot also had a visible 10-30 percent of waste cover. Safeer recalls that the predominant mentality of people was to let the untreated sewage from residential colonies flow into the lake, waiting to watch if anything happened.

The Tetherbox solution provided real-time analytics of the constituents of the water, while the floatation devices pumped oxygen into the lake accordingly.

After the pilot was over, the lake saw more than 4 milligrams of oxygen in every litre of the water body. Safeer adds that there was a visible reduction in the algae cover and the stench was almost gone.

Looking at a successful pilot, the government was further interested, and asked the firm to deploy their solutions in Vrishabhavathi Valley on Mysore Road in Bengaluru. In the coming weeks, the firm will be getting ready to tackle Bengaluru’s infamous Bellandur Lake, which has been in the news since last year for its inflammable toxic foam.

But not everything that glitters is gold. According to Safeer, dealing with the government requires several levels of approval, right from the regional offices to the environment officer. Their opportunity to work on the problem was nothing more than a fluke. While exiting after a meeting with a senior environment officer, the team saw the Chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) walk in. Rushing across to him, the team pitched to the Chairman, and was called in for a meeting.

In contrast, their partners Ecogene didn’t even get approval from the government for eight years.Ecogene's oxygen diffusing flotation devices in Ulsoor lake

The solution

The main aim of the solution is to stop the discharge of contaminated water from sewage plants into the lakes. Safeer tells us that since the cost of treatment is high, treatment plants are switched off by industries in the night, letting the contaminated water flow into the natural water bodies untreated.

In 2015, the regulators became strict, and companies started coming under the radar for shutting down due to these harmful practices. Since it was made mandatory for companies to install online monitoring systems, many industries started approaching startups to fabricate the discharge data in the government systems.Ecogene's flotation devices fitted with Tetherbox's online insight engine

Tetherbox approached these companies with their solution Elemento Aqua. The solution monitors and collects information about the contamination in water, giving a breakup of the percentage of pollutants, and shows this information to customers on a real-time basis.

Based on the big-data platform Hadoop, the analysis is broken into pre-analysis (total percentage of pollutants in discharge) and post-analysis (total pollutants after treatment). Over time, historical data can also be tracked and displayed with analytics to the users.

The analytics helps give insights to industry owners on ways to treat their discharge, while providing inroads to understand pollutant levels at a particular time of the day. This helps owners to even relook a few practices internally to reduce treatment costs.

Although the assembly of the units takes place in Chennai, the firm is headquartered out of Bengaluru.

The firm hasn’t limited itself to industries, but has also got requests from apartments and societies for their solution. At present, the firm has seen 35 installations in Bengaluru, more than 50 in Chennai, and three to four in Mumbai. Out of this number, only 63 are revenue generating.The Tetherbox team on-site

In Chennai, most of the installations for the firm happen through partnerships. Tetherbox has partnered with more than 20 system integrators who build sewage plants for new industrial or residential projects.

However, Safeer believes that the problem is more perceptional. Citing some of the challenges, he says,

While approaching officials and business owners, you hear them claiming that their zone discharge is perfect. The biggest challenge is to convince these authorities and industries. Further, it is also difficult to put value to what we do. Therefore, this wouldn’t be the best startup solution to start with, if you aren’t determined.
Surviving by revenues

Bootstrapped, the firm is operating through margins made from installations. The average ticket size for the firm ranges between Rs 55,000 and Rs 60,000.

The Elemento Aqua hardware containing the data systems costs between Rs 35,000 and Rs 37,000. Further, depending on the complexity of the task, the average cost of sensors ranges from Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000, which can be added to the hardware cost.

However, the firm gets its recurring revenues through their real-time analytics engine, which costs Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 per month, creating weekly and daily visualisations of data.

Another revenue stream for the firm is periodic analytics, based on historic data, which hasn’t been marketed much amongst the clients yet.
Into the vision

Looking into the future, the firm is looking to add 12 more members to their 23 member team in the next two months.

The firm is also aiming at taking their total number of installations to 900 by the end of this fiscal year. Safeer is positive that they will definitely achieve 450 installations from their target. The firm is looking to strengthen their presence in existing geographies, while getting requests from international geographies. These include date farms in Saudi Arabia and river beds in Singapore. Tetherbox is also considering New Delhi as one of the markets to venture into.

The firm is looking to partner with a rural drinking project, rolling out an advanced version of the product that will control the treatment based on the constituent of water.Testing the equipment at Ulsoor
The situation

In Bengaluru, less than 80 lakes remain, of which only 34 are live lakes.

According to a recent study conducted by the Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru, the water bodies of the city occupied less than 1.5 percent of the area of the city in 2005 as compared to 3.4 percent of the total area in 1973. On the other hand, the built up area increased to 45 percent from 27 percent. Over 10,472 acres of lake area in Bengaluru has been encroached upon.

Looking at this grim situation, Bengaluru definitely needs to foster startups like Tetherbox, and rise up to its reputation of being the technology capital of the country.