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A leading astrological researcher, based in Hyderabad, India.
Ram says: "Like every one else, I too am a traveller adrift in this journey of life, in the quest for the Truth. Circumstantially, I am a graduate in Mathematics and worked as a computer analyst programmer for 15 years before giving up all commercial activities to take up full time astrological research, which I have been doing for more than a decade now."
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Kolam. Click for more on Navratri. the Festival of Nine Nights

The Gospel of Grandpa [part thirteen]
Kosmic Kolams

This fresh serving of the Gospel of Grandpa is one fit to coincide with the Indian Festive Season of Navratri. Grandpa shows the children that everything in nature inherently seems to possess the qualities of symmetry and of being cyclical. Ram Ramakrishnan has again given us a marvellous insight into the natural world, as seen through the eyes of Grandpa and the children.

These were festive times again. It was that part of the year in India where festivals seemed to dovetail into one another making it a one long period of celebrations, fun and mirth. Though each of these events supposedly commemorated a particular happening of yore and their performances were determined according to astronomical considerations, the end effect of all them were essentially gastronomical! Both fasting and feasting – but fasting only being a ruse for more feasting to follow.

There were of course other (and perhaps slightly less!) interesting trappings and frills on the sidelines. One of them was the rendering of floral designs termed kolam in the Tamil language, in the front and backyards of every household. Mainly womenfolk, occasionally helped by men, would start very early and have the kolams completed preferably before daybreak. These little works of art added further spice to the already merry atmosphere.

It is in such a setting that we find grandpa and the children watching in fascination as grandma conjured up a magnificent kolam a few feet away from the front door. There was perfect symmetry in her rendering. Each line started from the point at which the preceding one ended, meandered its way around, now spiraling here leisurely, now turning there abruptly, but always moving inexorably towards the point where it had to end and where another would begin a similar course. Finally, the last such line would end where the very first began and complete the cycle. When grandma sprinkled colors to her creation, it seemed to give meaning to each turn and twist. Just like life, thought grandpa aloud. The children looked up at him and enquired what he meant by that.

Grandpa told the children that everything in nature inherently seemed to possess the qualities of symmetry and of being cyclical. Even man's thoughts – which results in his creations too exhibiting these traits. This is one reason that celestials – which are also nature's creation exhibiting similar character, are correlated to the destiny of humans. Just as grandma drew kolams on the floor, celestials drew kolams in space! The children asked grandpa whether he could show them any of these cosmic kolams.

Grandpa immediately brought out his laptop and loaded a program that he had written to plot paths of celestials. He first showed them a couple of celestial graphs and then filled in colors to create a cosmic kolam out of it.

Kosmic KolamKosmic Kolam
The yellow line represents the Sun's path around the earth while circular spirals represent that of the Moon. There are twelve loops of one color representing twelve lunar months roughly to a solar year.


Kosmic KolamKosmic Kolam
The yellow line represents the Sun's path around the earth, while the blue lines represent that of Mercury around the Sun across a period of about 11 years.

For celestial phenomena to be correlate-able to all terrestrial ones, it should be possible to generate all kinds of graphs based on celestial movements, even those which do not have rounded and curved shapes but entirely composed of lines and angles – said the children. Was that possible? Grandpa's answer was in the affirmative. He said that when the interval between two points on a graph is one day or less, the result is a smooth and curved graph. If this interval is increased then cosmic kolams composed of angles and straight line can certainly be generated. So saying, he modified a few parameters in his program and generated the two following graphs.

Kosmic KolamKosmic Kolam
Paths of Sun and Mercury considering a time interval of 25 days


Kosmic KolamKosmic Kolam
Path of Mercury across 20 years with 50 day intervals

The children were spellbound by these drawings but their spirit of enquiry was not quelled and their thirst to see many more such graphs remained un-satiated. What about terrestrial situations that are representable by asymmetric graphs? Can the movement of celestials generate asymmetrical graphs – the children persisted. Grandpa said that if something appears to be asymmetrical, it is so because of the perspective from which it is viewed or because the time span that it represents is only a portion of a larger cycle. However such graphs too could be generated from celestial movements. So saying, he made a few more parametric changes to his program and brought out the two following graphs.

Kosmic KolamKosmic Kolam
Magnified latitudinal variations of Mercury across 8 years


Kosmic KolamKosmic Kolam
Magnified latitudinal variations of Venus across 8 years

An exclamation of wonder and surprise made grandpa and the children look behind and see grandma standing there looking at the computer screen. She had completed her kolam and had come to see what the threesome was up to. How beautiful these graphics are – she said. Not as good as your kolam – said grandpa. The children joined in saying that while the celestials needed years to draw theirs, grandma could finish hers in just an hour.

The Sun had risen and the happy little family proceeded to prepare for the day's festivities. For the children from then on, kolams had a new meaning. Every night they would look up at the sky and see through their mind's eye innumerable kolams in the vast expanse – each describing some facet of existence.



Go Forward Here ends this chapter of this continuing story. Read more from

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The Gospel of Grandpa: part 1 | part 9 | part 10 | part 11 |part 12 | part 13 | part 14


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This page was last modified on Tuesday, 15 December 2015