What I Believe😏

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FYI: This is not what Bertrand Russell believed.

Among the finest opening sentences of any book, this is from Dead Man in the Silver Market, by Salvator Clarence Aubrey Menen, famous for his collaboration with H.G. Wells in The Shape of Things to Come and infamous for his retelling of Ramayana (that was, predictably, banned in India, at that time):

Men of all races have always sought for a convincing explanation of their own astonishing excellence and they have frequently found what they were looking for.

Indeed!😏

You know from My History of Eternity, I believe that the source of why I am an Academic Capitalist is:

Mitra-Varuna, the Priest-King, and father of the Sapta Rishi Vashishta.

As a man of considerable leisure – see Conspicuous Leisure – I have decided to embark on a self-study of Comparative Mythology, starting by reading Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman. I began with Norse – rather than say, Greek, which for many may have seemed a more natural starting point – because of two reasons. The first, of course, has to do with movies:

Thor is a 2011 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It was directed by Kenneth Branagh, and stars Chris Hemsworth as the title character alongside Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings, Clark Gregg, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo, and Anthony Hopkins. After reigniting a dormant war, Thor is banished from Asgard to Earth, stripped of his powers and his hammer Mjölnir. As his brother Loki (Hiddleston) plots to take the Asgardian throne, Thor must prove himself worthy. The box-office receipts were nearly $450 million (on a budget of $150 million).

The second reason is that in the 19th Century, Viktor Rydberg made the following startling claim:

Thor: Mjölnir == Indra: Vajra.

Beyond the mace, they both have fought an evil snake from the underworld. Additionally, they both like to drink alcohol, and there is a growing belief that:

Mead (Norse) == Soma (Vedic).

Less than half-way through Gaiman’s book, I made an important connection.

Over the years, I have found that having exactly one medium-sized Vesper Martini helps me become more imaginative and creative so as to appropriately match arcane mathematics with practical problems – a source of Novelty, Navatva – that has led to several academic publications!

 What I am saying is:

Odin drank The Mead for Poets. I drink The Martini for Publications.

As a general principle, I have discovered that different types of alcoholic drinks – Martinis, Red Wines, especially California Cabernet (and certain blends), Mojitos and Margaritas – are differently conducive not just for sustained attention towards an immediate concrete task – Dharana – that is to be performed with excellence and splendor – Virāja– but also for contemplation and abstract meditation, that is, for Dhyana. Over the years, I have cultivated my ability to obtain the right match with deep devotion – Bhakti – to properly discriminate – Viveka – between competing alcoholic drink options for achieving maximum bliss: ānanda. ☺️

 Recall that in Weston Brahmin, I introduced Sridhara’s Navatva-Shastra as a modern continuation of Chanakya’s Artha-Shastra. If you have wondered what is a perennial source for newness, it is, as it has likely always been:

 Alcohol.

Putting it differently:

Russell: In Praise of Idleness == Tayur: In Praise of Alcohol.😊

 Let me turn now to Egypt, again for two reasons, the first because of the movie:

The Prince of Egypt is a 1998 American animated musical drama film produced by DreamWorks Animationand released by DreamWorks Pictures. It features songs written by Stephen Schwartz and a score composed by Hans Zimmer. The voice cast consists of Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Steve Martin, and Martin Short. The song “When You Believe” became a commercially successful single in a pop version performed by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, and went on to win Best Original Song at the 71st Academy Awards. It has box-office receipts of nearly $220 million on a budget of $60 million.

The second reason is that it has been suggested – in the Mahabharata –  that a member of the family of Vasishtha priests was the Heliopolitan high priest of Thebes, a chief advisor to a Heka Khasut (Hyksos, in Greek) king. Furthermore, the prevalence of Dyads – Dieties that are mentioned in pairs – reminded me of Mitra-Varuna,  the dyadic pair connected with the Sun, from the Rig Veda, like Re and Atum, from Egyptian mythology, with an additional coincidence that Varuna and Atum both figure prominently in stories about,  yes (seriously, go check it out),  semen. 😳

My favorite song (click the link to watch video with lyrics) from The Prince of Egypt is performed by Steve Martin and Martin Short:

So you think you’ve got friends in high places

With the power to put us on the run

Well, forgive us these smiles on our faces

You’ll know what power is when we are done

Son…

You’re playing with the big boys now

You’re playing with the big boys now

Stop this foolish mission

Or it’s your own grave you’ll dig, boy

You’re playing with the big boys now

This past Thursday I had lunch with ten MBA students as part of Tepper Faculty Lunch Series:

Old English Thu(n)resdæg ‘day of thunder’, named after Thunor or Thor, the Germanic god of thunder; translation of late Latin Jovis dies ‘day of Jupiter’, Thor being equated with the Roman god Jupiter.

So, I opened the lunch by asking them if they had previously heard that Thor and Indra could be the same God (They had not.), absolutely startling them as they were not expecting anything like that, as they had come prepared to discuss topics in supply chain, healthcare and quantum computing, consulting and entrepreneurship.  Certainly not Mythology! 😏As I was finalizing this post I received this email titled Heartfelt Thanks! from one of the students from that lunch:

Dear Prof. Sridhar,

It was a great experience attending the lunch session with you on Thursday. So I wanted to send a quick thank you note.

During the conversation, I got reminded that it is very crucial to focus on long-term goals as compared to fixating on short-term goals. My motivation to work harder shot up when you said that effort and intelligence are compliments, not substitutes.

Thank you for sharing your stories. It was refreshing to learn from your experiences😊

Best Regards

What now? It is a wonderful Saturday afternoon here in Sewickley, perfect time to take my ratha – aka McLaren 570S convertible – out for a spin in Nordpark.

In Norse mythology, Saturday was named “Laugardagr” which was derived from two things: wash day (“laugardagen”) and Loki‘s day.

Let me close with really matters:

Loki Season 2 will premiere on Disney+ on October 5 at 6 PM Pacific Time.

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