Start Date

19-5-2012

Description

Libraries and archives across the world have played a vital role in enabling access to information to a large number of people. The advent of the Internet and mobile computing has helped accelerate this process of democratization of information. The Bhagavad Gitā (Song of God) is considered the most important among the large pantheon of ancient Hindu scriptures and has influenced people ranging from Gandhi to Thoreau to Einstein. However, just as the problem for most Internet users is no longer one of access, one wouldn’t need to try too hard to access the Gitā. A large number of commentaries have been written on it. The text and many e-books are freely available online. The difficulty lies in comprehension and sense-making, being able to connect-the-dots, turning information into knowledge and application. Drawing upon the literature on accessibility and the sense-making theory, this paper will report work-in-progress in synthesizing different commentaries of the Gitā and bringing out key messages using simplification and visualization techniques. The work should help the Facebook generation make sense of the key messages and life lessons from the Gitā. Also, a reader would be able to make an informed judgment rather than relying on any one commentary. The 8-step methodology explained should also be useful in synthesizing the commentaries on the holy texts of other major religions of the world.

Keywords. Accessibility, sense-making, Bhagavad Gitā, synthesis, visualization.

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May 19th, 12:00 AM

Making the Bhagavad Gitā accessible: Enabling sense-making through synthesis and visualization

Libraries and archives across the world have played a vital role in enabling access to information to a large number of people. The advent of the Internet and mobile computing has helped accelerate this process of democratization of information. The Bhagavad Gitā (Song of God) is considered the most important among the large pantheon of ancient Hindu scriptures and has influenced people ranging from Gandhi to Thoreau to Einstein. However, just as the problem for most Internet users is no longer one of access, one wouldn’t need to try too hard to access the Gitā. A large number of commentaries have been written on it. The text and many e-books are freely available online. The difficulty lies in comprehension and sense-making, being able to connect-the-dots, turning information into knowledge and application. Drawing upon the literature on accessibility and the sense-making theory, this paper will report work-in-progress in synthesizing different commentaries of the Gitā and bringing out key messages using simplification and visualization techniques. The work should help the Facebook generation make sense of the key messages and life lessons from the Gitā. Also, a reader would be able to make an informed judgment rather than relying on any one commentary. The 8-step methodology explained should also be useful in synthesizing the commentaries on the holy texts of other major religions of the world.

Keywords. Accessibility, sense-making, Bhagavad Gitā, synthesis, visualization.