India and Logic approaches.

I do a lot of random reading. Sometimes way out of the general genre’s I read. This time something closer to home has piqued my interest. It is the study of ancient Indian sciences. Starting from grammar, to math, to medicine, hmm let us say astrology too.

For a considerable amount of time I had a critical view on these subjects as an outsider, as I had no in-depth knowledge to comment on these subjects one way or the other. But now the journey has begun. Any why so?

Well it all started with a dear friend of mine ( I call her aunty ). One sunday morning, many moons ago, aunty came home. Aunty has been studying sanskrit, Indian literature, Carnatic music. She has dedicated more than 15 years of her life doing so, and now is pursuing her doctoral thesis in the same vein.

The fortuitous Sunday morning, she explained to me the sequence of Sanskrit characters through the Maheshwara Sutra, and expounded to me the teaser trailer of Panini’s asthadyayi. I was floored. What I heard and saw drove me crazy. Ancient Indian sages (read scientists, grammarians, doctors etc..), formalized their studies in 2 ways.

  • Approach a subject in such a way that the net result is the most terse rule sets that could be arrived at, and place the rule sets to the future. eg.. Paanini’s rules of grammar applies to auto-categorize words even to this day. Using the same terse rules one could come up with words, which describe today’s objects, processes and emotions. The resulting word is auto categorized based on the formation logic itself. That is brilliant. In a lot of languages, we do not see such formalism. ( I have a little experience of this as I’m a part of a team building algorithms to judge emotions in English text, and multi-labeling is the key problem here).
  • Seek patterns: This is the second approach. Study large amounts of day to seek patterns in the data. This is akin to our nerual net approaches today. As an example Brighu studied over 500000 life patterns, before writing Brighu samhita which is a gold standard work on astrology. Now me being a skeptic, I do not follow astrology, however what really blew my wind away is the approach. Nearly 3000+ years ago, Brighu studied collected temporal dataset of over 500k individuals. He had the ability to look for patterns, which mattered statistically, and then generalize them as thumb rules. How in the world did he do this without any CPU’s/GPU’s. In the computing world these approaches were formalized in the early 60’s to late 70’s by stalwarts like Marvin Minsky, and in the last 5 years, we have the capability of realizing this due to NVIDIA’s GPU processing available at general public prices. PS. I would be undertaking a himalayan trek mid-june to Brighu Lake, supposedly the place where Brighu was enlightened and wrote his text. In the future posts I would share my experiences of the same.

I have always believed that studying other systems of thinking, helps my own thinking in my field, as looked above I have started believing this more.

For the work that I’m doing on analysing emotions in text, and images, I believe these ancient approaches would definitely help in someway.

That is why I’m putting my foot ahead to studying these. As a start I would need a grasp of the Sanskrit Language itself to understand the texts. That is where I would begin.

Would keep this blog updated with my experiences of the same henceforth.

I seek any help and guidance my friends who read this could offer me, would be grateful for the same.