The Importance of Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna

Review Article. Asian Philosophy. Volume 9, No 2, 1999, pp. 135-145

Two volumes of translation (from Pali, Tibetan, Chinese and Sanskrit) of central Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna sūtras by Christian Lindtner give scholarly and reliable texts and provide an overview of the central issues in Buddhism as seen by some of the most distinctive Buddhist saints and philosophers themselves.

The Art of Sanskrit Poetry

An Introduction to Language and Poetics Illustrated by Rasaḥ, Dhvaniḥ and Alaṅkāraḥ Analyses XXX, 833 pp. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi, 2003. ISBN 81-215-1979-1

Preface. The Sanskrit Language. Sanskrit Poetry and Western Poetry. Grammar. Prolegomena to Sanskrit Poetics. Alaṅkāraḥ examples. Semasiology of denotation/abhidhā, connotation/lakṣaṇā and purport/ tātparyam. Dhvaniḥ/suggestion and categories, Rasaḥ/aesthetic perception and emotion/bhāvaḥ, Aesthetic perception of love/śṛṅgārarasaḥ. sympathy/karuṇarasaḥ, bliss/ śāntarasaḥ. Creative imagination/pratibhā. Dhvaniḥ and rasaḥ examples. Prosody. Basic Grammar. Sandhiḥ, Morphology. Co-ordinative, dependent, descriptive and possessive compounds. Syntax. Caurapañcāśikā text, translation, analysis, poetics, notes on religion, customs, history, flora and fauna. Etymological vocabulary. Distribution of lemmata. Bibliography. Index of Sanskrit first lines. General Consolidated Index. Epilogue.

Affective States and Indian Aesthetics

Mind and Matter (An International interdisciplinary journal of mind-matter research) Volume 6, Issue 2, 2008, pp. 147-177


The self evolved out of a sense of somatic motor orientation and body boundary awareness; and affective states as motivators furthered in conjunction with a sense of self evolutionary speciation. Affective states form to a greater extent than cognition the sense of experiential reality that is taken for granted. Neurophysiological and experiential culture-invariant evidence indicate the existence of eight (and possibly ten) basic affective states in mammals. These affective states have in Humans found expressions in mythic terms as well as in the basic themes of world literature. According to classical Indian introspective analysis of aesthetics the basic emotions determine human activity, and are the well-spring of art, especially if the emotions become dissociated from a sense of egocentricity, i.e. if they become detached from a sense of self so that they no longer are influenced by existential fear. The comparatively close similarity between Indian aesthetics and the neurophysiology of the different affective states suggests the possibility that such aesthetic value judg1ements may be based on widespread evolutionary determinants.

Why Sārus Cranes epitomize Karuṇarasa in the Rāmāyaṇa

Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. Third Series, Volume 19, Part 2, April 2009, pp. 187-211


By correlating literary evidence, avian ethology and neurophysiology I will try to demonstrate why Vālmīki chose a pair of Sārus Cranes, and not any other avian species, to epitomise grief and sorrow in the Rāmāyaṇa. The choice illustrates the importance of personal experience of the living reality (behaviour of Sārus Cranes); but the grief, śoka, as experienced by Vālmīki, became in later critical literature the rasa of karuṇa, the aesthetic appreciation of grief, as suggested by Ānandavardhana and Abhinavagupta. By emphasising the central importance of affective states (sthāyibhāvas) in life as well as in the arts (rasas), Vālmīki, Ānandavardhana and Abhinavagupta appear to have had a perception of the human condition that is consistent with recent development in affective neuroscience; and thus it is the pitch and the tonal quality of the cries of grief that convey the depth and the universality (sādhāraṇatvā) of the emotion.

The Purple Emperor, Apatura iris (L.) population southwest of Krankesjön in Skåne

FaZett, (ISSN 1100-2425) Volume 27 (1) 2014, pp. 1-10

Initial colonisation from Sealand in 1980-1990, subsequent population distribution pattern, annual frequency fluctuation and ethology.

Eurasian Cranes, Demoiselle Cranes, PIE *ger- and Onomatopoetics

Journal of Indo-European Studies. Volume 43, Number 1/2, 2015, pp. 81-99


Both PIE *ger- and the Greek, Celtic, Germanic, Armenian, Latin, Baltic and Slavic terms for cranes are assumed to refer to the Eurasian Crane. However, considering the actual phonetics of the calls of Eurasian Cranes it is possible that only the Greek, Celtic, Germanic, Armenian and Latin terms reflect the clarion call while PIE *ger- and its derivatives in Baltic, Slavic and Ossetic, reflect the clarion call of another species, the Demoiselle Crane. The physiology, ethology and distributive patterns (6000-2000 years ago) of the two species support this assumption. Also Old Indic krauñcaḥ reflects the phonetics of Eurasian Cranes and since the Indo-Aryan speaking tribes apparently ‘co-existed’ with Eurasian Cranes from their origin on the Pontic-Caspian Steppes to their settlement in the Indus Valley the term krauñcaḥ might be cognate with the Germanic, Celtic, Greek and Armenian terms. This could indicate the significance of onomatopoeia in relation to retaining or changing species-specific terms.

Etymology of Sanskrit Kokiláḥ (Eudynamys scolopacea): A Bird’s-Eye View

Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. Band 167. Heft 1. 2017, pp. 143-152


Some onomatopoetic terms for birds may be so distinct that the term expressing the call or the song is species-specific. A typical case is the Eurasian Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), where the term ‘cuckoo’ naturally like Latin cucūlus, Greek κόκκυξ, Old Irish cūach, is derived from Proto-Indo-European *kukū; but the Sanskrit term Kokiláḥ for the Indian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea, Hindi Koel, Kuyil) is also assumed to have been derived from Proto-Indo-European *kukū; though this would be a transference of the term to another and quite different species. This derivation disregards that the Cuckoo’s call is characterised by the close back or high back rounded vowel /u/ and the Koel’s by the close front rounded vowel /y/ or the near-close near-front rounded vowel /Y/, and that the Koel is much larger then the Cuckoo and coal black. Kokiláḥ is in all probability derived from an autochthonous Dravidian or Austroasiatic language such as Kannada Kukil, Tamil Kuyil, orf Santali koya, kuyạ ‘black, smirched,’ and kuilạ ‘black, dark-skinned, charcoal’ from Proto-Munda *ko(y)ila. This etymology is strengthened by behaviouristic and distributive considerations.

It Takes a Thief

A novel. 561 pp. 2018. Matador. Leicestershire. ISBN 978 1789013 894

A Post Post-Modernist novel, grounded in the felt reality of experience, it explores unconditional love, art as self-insight and the wonder of nature - to suggest consciousness as the origin of existence, but it also outlines the necessity of empathy and the struggle for survival within sustainable means in a consumer society intent on self-destruction.

Ralph, a painter of nature and illusions, has a clear enough glimpse of a thief who wakes him to fall in love with her as he recognises her innate independence. After a strenuous search he finds her but she assaults him viciously the instant they meet. Discovering that she has killed a man during a burglary he leaves her with no choice but to listen to his arguments about how they were fated to meet, and to prove his integrity he becomes her accomplice, and she realises that his absolute commitment makes her reciprocate his feelings spontaneously.

Ivo Mosley: (Review on Amazon): 5 stars. Enjoyable, absorbing, challenging

This is a really interesting book, challenging our preconception about life and the human world. There is a deep morality to both of the main characters, not of the conventional sort, but concerning how to survive in a world that has given itself over to mendacity, hypocrisy and false values on a colossal scale. I’m sure there is no other novel quite like this, and if you want to read something challenging, unusual and yet a page-turner here it is.

The Evolution of a Species-Specific Term: Old Indic Krauñcaḥ (Grus grus)

Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. Band 169. Heft 2. 2019, pp. 395-407


The emergence in a language of a species-specific term is determined by the morphology and ethology of the species. In Old Indic the onomatopoietic term krauñcaḥ originally designated the Eurasian Crane (Grus grus), like the term kraneche did in Middle German, garan In Welsh and trani in Old Norse, whereas PIE *ger- and its derivatives in Baltic and Russian designated the Demoiselle Crane. When the Indo-Aryan speaking tribes entered the Pañjāb area they used the familiar term krauñcaḥ as a reference to denominate new comparable species; but the IA-speaking tribes’ knowledge of the ethology of Eurasian Cranes is not easily discernible in Old Indic; however, assuming a common PIE background five different traits can be seen in early Greek sources; and these traits reappeared later in the well-known veneration for Sārus Cranes (Grus antigone) in India. The term krauñcaḥ was in Old Indic connected with the sound of the call and not with any other trait so it came naturally also to designate the The Sārus Crane, whose call closely resembles that of the Eurasian Crane; but familiarity with the morphological and ethological differences between them caused krauñcaḥ to revert to its original meaning, the Eurasian Crane, and the indegenous Sārus Crane to be called sārasaḥ. The term krauñcaḥ thus displays a development from monosemy to polysemy and then back to monosemy, determined by the knowledge the IA-speaking tribes gradually gathered about the morphology and ethology of Eurasian Cranes and related or comparable species in the Pañjāb area.

Aesthetic Experience: Emotions and Reality.

Mind and Matter. (An International interdisciplinary journal of mind-matter research) Volume 17, Issue 1, 2019, pp. 37-66


In view of a common neuroanatomy, ten basic affective states and a basic sense of selfhood/ organic unity, it is likely that aesthetic creativity and appreciation only can occur when the cortically determined sense of ego-orientation has been superseded either spontaneously, by psychotropic substances, tragical catharsis, philosophical analyses, introspective techniques or by being exposed to natural stimuli. This process shifts the attention from being focused on personal egoistic concerns to a universal perspective in which the emotions are deepened and the sense of consciousness/reality is enhanced. The resulting state of enhanced awareness, which is culture-invariant, has given rise to painting, poetry, music and other forms of aesthetics.

Spells of Dusk and Dawn

Matador/Troubador. Leicestershire. 2022. ISBN 978 1 8004 6337 0. 743 pp.

Spells of Dusk and Dawn was written to evoke the ineffable nature of felt reality. The main themes are the perennial quest for serenity and independence as opposed to desire, love and the joy of the senses; the dire trials of writing; the lightning of wonder when seeing and hearing, as if for the first time, the leaves, the surf and the silence that is pithy with meaning. Combining a first and a third person point of view it traces the hazards of a year in the life of a traveller who has lost his way, but who tries to stay attuned to the changing seasons though torn to shreds by love.

Characteristics of Spells of Dusk and Dawn

Wonder, introspection; stilling of the stream of consciousness; poetic-scientific metaphors; unmitigated perception of reality; communion with plants and animals; the thirst for thirstlessness; the power of unconditional love; the illusion of free will; the fight against feeling weary of the secular world; the saving grace of women; music as the supreme art; Rabelaisian accidents; the uncanny knowledge that each second is new and unique; endeavours to step out of the shadow of time; the search for the right word to indicate a suggestion; a negative capability; spontaneous courtesy; near-drowning revelations; the burden of having a personality; the awareness of absolute responsibility for everything: that ethics and aesthetics are two sides of the same leaf; living beyond politics, religion and opinions; the moods of the wind, the birds, the waves; bitter-sweet fights of love; tests of courage; the lure of the objective correlative; the delight of wine and water; the quest for nakedness beneath the stars; shipwrecks caused by hybris; the passion for creativity as a vain attempt to give a little back of what has been granted by life, though knowing that the attempt will fail, as the fight for a possible future will fail as the fight did before the Hot Gates, and that silence is most noble till the end.

Argument - Plot

Having tried repeatedly to extricate himself from a devastating relationship with Geneviève, a charming but fickle woman, and anxious to reach a state of serenity, William finally leaves her to live alone in an old dilapidated house by the sea and devote himself to music, sailing and astronomy - in communion with nature and the change of the seasons; but his distraught state of mind prevents him from coping with the intricacy of mundane transactions. However, this predicament is solved when he is introduced to Dorothy, a carefree and vigorous woman who, wanting to indulge her passions for riding and swimming, promises to shield him from all practical problems till he can fend for himself again; but in spite of his firm resolution and craving for peace of mind he feels strangely attracted to her. So fearing that his attempt to escape all worldly ties again will flounder he tries in desperation to quench a wildfire with a circumscribed fire by winning the affection of Jane, hoping that she, being compassionate and conscientious, might shelter him till his infatuation has subsided; but after an initial period of mutual devotion he happens, consciously and unconsciously, to give her a good reason for leaving him, and he has then no other option but to confront the inevitable. Too indecisive to flee he fights his inclination, while Dorothy, being susceptible to his estranged feelings, which she steadily inspires, becomes eager and frustrated enough to take the initiative. As his feelings for her then become manifested in action he has to accept the reality, and this ignites a deepening mutual animation. The consummate nature of loving suggests that consciousness as such is a fundamental unity without characteristics; but one or two epiphanies are not enough to transcend the urge of desire, so he sinks back into her embrace, and their mutual affinity increases with a deepening sense of harmony, but his longing for serenity and hers for love and steadfast attention appear to be irreconcilable and after a shipwreck, caused by a quarrel, he feels forced to leave her, but instantaneously he feels the double bond between them strengthen to a point where he is pulled back and together they reach a new state of genuine communion; nevertheless, he leaves her again for the freedom of the jungle although expecting her to join him shortly and thus perhaps to obtain the conjunction of opposites; so the anagnorisis merely results in a similar though not identical situation, suspended between earth and heaven, as that from which he tried to escape a year ago. Free will is a cherished illusion; character determines fate and love is not easily reconciled with the lonely quest for the numinous.


Aphorisms and Reflections (Nature, art, music, literature, consciousness, science, creativity religion, history and the way of the dying world).

Fates (Plain poetic sketches: Destiny determined by character)

The Origin, Age and Biogeography of the tribe Troidini: Plate Tectonics and/or Dispersal (Article)

Chronology and Style of the Jain Caves excavated at Ellora (Article)

The Jain Cave Paintings at Ellora: Individual Talents and Traditions (Article)

Qualities and Defects of Painting according to the Citrasūtraḥ (Article)