Nityānanda Miśra

|| आत्मा तत्त्वमसि श्वेतकेतो ||

About me

Welcome to my home page. Before we begin, here is a guide to pronunciation of my name, which many non-Indians and non-Sanskrit speakers will find useful. I am an amateur linguist dabbling in Sanskrit grammar and a professional P-quant working in the investment banking industry in Mumbai.  

A brief history of this birth

I was born in the city of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. My paternal family are Sarayūpārīṇa Brahmins whose Gotra is Gautama, whose Veda is the White Yajurveda with the Vājasaneyi Mādhyandina recension, whose Upaveda is the Dhanurveda, whose Śikhā and Pāda are both to the right, who follow the Kātyāyana Sūtra, and whose Pravara had the three principal sages Āṅgirasa, Gautama and Bārhaspatya.

I had my schooling in the city of Junagadh in Gujarat, India. The place's claim to fame is the Gir sanctuary (the only natural abode left for the Asiatic Lion or Panthera leo persica L), the Girnar mountain range (called Raivataka in Sanskrit texts, it is the equivalent of Kashi for the Nath monastic order), the home of Narsinh Mehta (a Vaishnava saint) and the Ashram of Shri Nathuram Sharma (a Gujarati commentator on the Prasthānatrayī). The place has large green areas under the control of the Junagadh Agriculture University (earlier known as Gujarat Agricultural university) which abound with peacocks and cuckoos, and leopard foray into them from the mountains sometimes. In the 1990s, Junagadh hardly had any air pollution or traffic, and the monsoon views of the mountains with the caws of the peacocks were the delights of any nature lover. With capitalism and commercialization spreading their ugly tentacles to the last pristine place on earth, it is no longer the same but the air is still better than most Indian cities. Mozzie from White Collar would love the place to live off the grid whenever he escapes New York.

My engineering degree is in Information Technology from Nirma Institute, Ahmedabad (then under Gujarat University, now a deemed university). In my final six months of engineering, I worked on a research project for Road Traffic Monitoring using machine vision under Professor Prabhat Ranjan at the DA-IICT, Gandhinagar. The awesome camera that I used was an Elphel NC 313. I later completed my MBA from the IIM Bangalore, specializing in Quantitative Methods in Finance. Most of what I do today at work has its roots in what I learned from Professor Malay Bhattacharyya's courses on Statistics and Time Series Analysis at IIMB.

I have worked in Bangalore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai at several organizations earlier including Tata Group, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup An internship with British Gas in Mumbai is unforgettable as well, since that included a seven day stay at the Tapti Platform in the Arabian Sea, 69 nautical miles from any stench of human settlement. 

My Gurudeva is Jagadguru Rambhadracharya, and I am indebted to my Guru and my parents (and grandparents, greatgrandparents and ... upto Gautama Rishi and Ahalya) for everything in my life.

Passions and Interests

My passions are Statistics, Econometrics and Time Series Analysis. I am a Linux afficionado and a die-hard supporter of Open Source Software (OSS). Apart from statistics and technology, my other interests are linguistics, Sanskrit poetry and prosody, and Vedanta philosophy. I am also active on Wikipedia.

The Vedics, Aryabhatta, Bhaskara, Panini, Newton, Guass, Pearson, Granger, Engle, M C Escher, C R Rao, Knuth and the like are people I count among God's best gifts to mankind. For mathematics, as Gauss said, is verily the queen of the sciences. Moving on, Sanskrit poets and philosophers like Valmiki, Vyas, Bhatti, Kalidasa, Patanjali, et cetera represent, in my opinion, the pinnacle of human intelligence and creativity.

Statistics can gives answers where logic gets confounded and mathematics is clueless. For example, in the chicken and egg problem (Who came first - the chicken or the egg?), Thurman and Fischer applied Granger causality to conclude that the egg came first. Their paper can be read here. Now don't say you knew it all along!

The Math of Sanskrit Poetry

Please read Math for Poets, by Robert Hall. While speaking in Sanskrit, the probability of 84 consecutive syllables satisfying the rules of the Sragdhara metre is at most 2 raised to -80 or

8.27180613 × 10-25

Add to it the constraints that the syllables should form words having a meaning in a progrssing sotryline, and the syllables and words satisfy the 3959 rules of the context sensitive Paninian grammar - the probability would very soon go down to infinitesimally small number. Now try optimizing the poetic excellence which is a function of the Alankaaras (figures of speech) and the liveliness of description. From personal experience, I can vouch that Sanskrit poets do not solve this problem or think while composing a verse in Sragdhara metre, on the contrary they produce one after another a la Henry Ford's assembly line. It's the dance, rather vilaasa, of mother Sarasvati. Those who are deluded by Richard Dawkins and his ilk would never "get" it. As Gurudeva says, "verily, the cuckoo knows the taste of the mango fruit, not the crow" (रसालस्य रसं नूनं पिको वेत्ति न वायसः). Anyway I don't believe the real "deluded ones" have ever composed any poetry, music or art of merit, - the best the Shunyavadins and Carvakas could do was to hit below the belt with profane mockery of the Vedics hundreds of years ago (And surprisingly many Indians think of Atheism as the modern in-thing, while atheism has existed in India for ages).

The Ultimate T-shirt

Interesting Aside 

Fibonacci numbers were known to Indians before Fibonacci. Google on Hemachandra Suri - a Jain scholar (in whose honour a university is named in North Gujarat in India) who described the Fibonacci Series in the context of number of combinations in Sanskrit poetry of a given length. Donald Knuth attributes Fibonacci Series to both Hemachandra and Gopala (another Indian mathematician) in The Art of Computer Programming. You can fInd an interesting article on Hemachandra's Series and Pingala's triangle (discovered by Pascal 18 centuries later and now called Pascal's Triangle) here