Ruthless Honesty & Integrity

Excerpt from my forthcoming book — Solving Complex Problems through Vibration Analysis; An introduction to Non-linear Dynamics


One last thing before we move on to the next chapter. We have had a glimpse into the fundamental process of seeing a problem. We start with an open mind. Then we ask lots of questions out of curiosity, being mindful that we don’t know the answer. We intently observe. We then make intelligent guesses to come up with a hypothesis that relates all the problems in the system, interdependent as they are. Finally, we should still doubt as to whether we understood the system to sufficient depth. We simply can’t get rid of this nagging doubt till our solutions are proven effective through practical implementation. If proven, we learn. If not proven, we learn to unlearn our ignorance and set out to learn again. Either way we learn something useful.

This reminds me of an incident. Long back when I was studying vibration analysis under my Guru, Tim Henry of the University of Manchester, I was working on a small experiment with accelerometers. I was bit upset about the funny results I got and was ashamed about the wasted effort at the end of my week-long experiment. Tim asked me as to why I look sullen on a fine English morning.

When he came to know the reason for my long face, he just said, ‘Well, there is nothing to feel bad about. What you got is also useful knowledge. It would tell others that this method of finding out of what you wanted to find out does not work and this is why it doesn’t work and here are the results as evidence. There is no question of shame. Don’t you think it would save a lot of time and energy for other researchers who would come after you by choosing to avoid the path you just found to be incorrect? And you just learned more about the subject. Haven’t you?”

What a relief that was. Thanking him, I promptly went out to soak in the rare sun on a cold English morning. And that is where I was hit by the truth — all human search must be based on honesty – ruthless honesty — so that integrity of human learning can be preserved since quality of that integrity decides whether we survive better or not. I vowed — from now on, I must learn to take things as they are.

I also think: by learning to be honest with our failures and vulnerabilities and to resiliently respond to uncertain outcomes and situations is a vital step to get rid of fear and shame that hold us back.



This book acts as a further expansion and exploration of my previous book – Winning Anywhere – the Power of ‘See’

Analyzing Non-Linear Dynamical Systems

Excerpts from my forthcoming book entitled:

Solving Complex Problems through Vibration Analysis.


An Introduction to understanding Non-Linear Dynamical Systems.


Notice I wrote ‘solving problems through vibration analysis.’ I did not write the usual way of describing, such as: ‘Solving Vibration Problems.’ That way of saying makes no sense since we are essentially using a tool, namely vibration analysis, to solve intricate and complex problems. Similarly, to term some problem as a ‘vibration problem’ makes little sense since any machine, in fact, anything in the entire universe, vibrates. So, is the entire universe a problem? Certainly not.


An Approach.


Since we would primarily deal with complex problems of machines it would be appropriate to understand a possible approach to deal with such problems.


To quote Feynmen, it is simply for the pleasure of finding out things. He wrote a book with the similar name: ‘The Pleasure of Finding Things Out.’


On pages 103 and 104 of this book (published by Penguin), he writes the following: (I am quoting only relevant portions for our purpose of investigating problems with a scientific attitude. Moreover, I shall put my notes for emphasis of certain points by using third brackets).


The other aspects of science that are important and that have some problem of a relation to society, beside the application and actual facts that are discovered, are the ideas and techniques of scientific investigation: the means, if you will. Because I think that it is hard to understand why the discovery of these means, which seem so self-evident and obvious, weren’t discovered earlier; simple ideas- which, if you just try them, you see what happens and so forth. ….


The first is a the matter of judging evidence – well, the first thing really is, before you begin you must not know the answer. [So important. If we start off with the attitude that the answer is known, we are doomed right from the beginning. The real answer would delude us and we would either keep going in circles or be put on hold till we let go of our pre-formed judgements and opinions or what we think to be an answer. A very difficult practice.] So you begin by being uncertain as to what the answer is. This is very, very important, so important that I would like to delay that aspect and talk about that still further along in my speech. The question of doubt and uncertainty is what is necessary to begin; for if you already know the answer there is no need to gather any evidence about it. [Worth remembering that vibration records in various forms taken in different directions and modes from machines act as evidence only of the how the machine is behaving and how one part or element of a machine interacts with another.] Well being uncertain, the next thing is to look for evidence, and the scientific method is to begin with trials. But another way and a very important one that should not be neglected and that is very vital is to put together ideas to try to enforce a logical consistency among the various things that you know. It is a very valuable thing to try to connect this, what you know, with that, that you know, and try to find out if they are consistent. And the more activity in the direction, the better it is.


After we look for the evidence we have to judge the evidence. There are the usual rules about the judging the evidence; it’s not right to pick only what you like, but to take all of the evidence, to try to maintain some objectivity about the thing — enough to keep the thing going — not to ultimately depend upon authority. Authority may be a hint as to what the truth is, but is not the source of information. As long as it’s possible, we should disregard authority whenever the observations disagree with it. And finally the recording of the results should be done in a disinterested way. That’s a very funny phrase which always bothers me — because it means that after the guy’s all done with the thing, he doesn’t give a darn about the results, but that isn’t the point. Disinterest here means that they are not reported in such a way as to try to influence the reader into an idea that’s different than what the evidence indicates. [This approach and scientific movement was started by Galileo. He demonstrated the power of his ways of looking at things].


Just to give a practical feel of how we come to understand complex problems through vibration analysis, let me show you one of my reports as an example of the application of the scientific approach and attitude, we just discussed, and elaborate further on that with reference to understanding complex systems.


Final Report of Investigation into Problems for Autogenous Mill.


Client: yyy, xxxz (I have removed the name of the client for ethical reasons)


Consultant: Reliability Management Consultant Pvt. Ltd (RMCPL)


Dates of Investigation: 20th and 21st May 2014


Investigators from RMCPL: a) Dibyendu De, Director b) Animesh Ray, Deputy Director


Problem description in brief:


The Autogenous Mill, is a roller crusher that is loosely supported on four rollers, which in turn are supported on concrete columns, connected to adjacent columns by beams; suffers from high and rather abnormal vibrations that possibly results in frequent failures of Roller Shaft no. 4, which remains unexplained for the past three years.


Methodology of the Study:


In an equipment, (let us call it a system) failures are bound to happen. These are engineering problems or failures that affect Reliability, Availability and Performance of any manufacturing system. At times a gear-box cracks. At times, a shaft fails. Yet at another time, chains fail. All happening in the same system. Seen at the micro level, failures not only cost a lot of money and effort but also leads to wastage of energy, money and material. Seen from the macro level, failures do eat up a lot of national wealth and human happiness.


The question is how do we respond to such failures? The usual way is to treat such failures independently and try to arrive at an independent root cause for each failure. And this process can go on forever. Quite frustrating indeed without a desirable state of operation in sight.


The other way is to consider all failures simultaneously. In order to do so, each failure has to be related to one another and not treated independently. . The guiding principle is — if something happens in a system it must affect something else.


However, to do so, we need to understand the dynamics of the machine — i.e. how movement of one part tells upon the movement of another part.


So, the process of understanding failures would be something like this:


0. Start with a zero mind — no answers; a beginner’s mind; only curiosity.

1. Notice the movement of each part.


2. Notice how movement of one part affects other parts or elements in the system.


3. Determine the forces that act and estimate their nature, direction and magnitude.


4. Determine the interactions and the design criteria and limits for such interactions.


5. Try to relate the dynamics of the system to the failures that are observed.


6. Build the hypothesis that relates all failures based on our findings.


7. Look for evidences through data obtained from dynamic analysis tools such as vibration analysis, thermal imaging, wear debris analysis, lubricant analysis etc.


8. Relate the evidences to the hypothesis and make it more cogent and logically foolproof so that the hypothesis turns a theory that not only explains how the failures happen so as to increase the time span of failure free operation but also provide us tools to predict the conditions under which the failures take place (just before they take place) and the degree of maintenance and care we need to take in the future.


9. We now have, in a relatively short time, a great explanation of all the failures happening in the system along with the predictive and maintenance tools.


10. With the theory in place, it is easy to design the countermeasures (minimal interventions) that would not only prevent the failures but also prolong the working life of the system.


11. The context specific theory, thus obtained, would also help us design the necessary monitoring activities — a) to catch changes (of conditions) in the system, in time, to prevent a breakdown b) improve upon the maintenance plan.


12. By doing this we have now designed in-built resilience and flexibility in the complex system that we are dealing with.


Things that were investigated:


1. Interviews with plant personnel at different levels


2. Physical Inspection of the system at site.


3. Inspection of the vibration records as available at site. (overall displacement values and displacement values with phase readings)


4. Inspection of vibration data, at site, as per additional recommendation by RMCPL (vibration values of displacement, velocity, acceleration in different directions, FFT spectrum, Time waveform)


5. Deeper Investigation and analysis into the problems. The idea is to develop a contextual theory that explains all the failures.


6. Explanation and discussion of the findings and analysis with concerned engineers and managers engaged with the issue.


Observations: (the main points)


1. The failure of the shaft of roller no. 4 is a combination of fatigue failure, tensile loading and energy absorption through repeated impacts forces (impulses).


2. The system’s natural frequency is quite close to the driving frequency.


3. The system is insufficiently damped. In fact, the system is negatively damped.


4. The roller crusher, loosely placed on rollers, automatically moves towards the discharge end


5. Presence of self sustaining vibration seen.


6. The system is subjected to rocking and twisting motion, which is pronounced at roller 4 and motor and gear-box foundation.


7. The system runs in under-loaded condition. That is — it is operated much below its designed capacity.


8. Total frictional force is inadequate to constrain motion in undesirable direction.


Recommended Solutions (viable):


Note: All solutions, whether placed in Short Term, Mid Term or Long Term, are important. In total 18 suggested solutions are placed for consideration in this interim draft report.


Short Term Solutions: (those actions that might be immediately carried out)


1. Change the driving chain along with the pair of sprockets. The looseness of the chain was causing the impacts and tension force that pulls the system towards one direction. Note: It does not help improve the system by either changing the chain or the sprockets.


2. Stop greasing the driving chain as presently done. It not only accelerates wear but also induces slip-stick phenomenon. Keep the chain clear of dust. Spray lubricate the roller joints once a week.


3. Improve the dust collection system and make it highly efficient.


4. Remove the shims placed to level the system in static condition. It makes the situation worse in dynamic condition.


5. Change bearing grease from EP 2 grade to EP 3 grade.


6. Place graphite blocks on friction area of supporting rollers instead of placing those on the Mill tyre.


7. Replace the fluid coupling by non-linear rubber coupling. Design if necessary. This would stop the excitation of the natural frequency of the system and the system would relatively unaffected by the impact forces operating under negative damping.


Mid Term Solutions: (Actions that might be carried out within next 15 to 30 days).


1. Change shaft material of roller from EN 24 forged to EN 36 B (forged).


2. Keep surface roughness of the contact surface within +/- 6 microns (CLA – Center Line Average). This is because endurance limit of high strength steels turns out to be no higher than that of ordinary steels if machined roughly.


3. Chamfer the shoulder areas of the shaft to a fillet radius of R15.


4. Strain harden the above fillet area to raise the load carrying capacity of shafts by 50 – 60%


5. Check for proper interference fit. Shaft Tolerance = n6. Housing bore tolerance = K7 (recommended).


6. Restore the original number of flights within the Mill. And maintain them from time to time so as not to run the mill with lesser number of flights than originally designed.


7. If possible, try to run the mill at higher loads than present.


Long Term Solutions (those actions that might be taken within the next 180 days)


1. Incorporate Duplex Chain drive, silent type.


2. Cross brace the civil structure that includes the four concrete pillars/columns and the independent column on which the gear box rests. The outcome should be such that deflection in any direction should not be more than 50 microns, measured at the top position

of the pillars.


3. Get help of foundation (soil mechanics) and structural specialist as required, to check the adequacy or integrity of soil foundation and civil structure.


4. Ground off the excess tire material from the roller crusher.


Records: (of vibration data)


Personal Transformation — A Nemetical Approach

We are always in the midst of changes.

That is the fundamental reality from which every other thing happens.

It has no fixed image. It has no fixed direction. It comes from ‘nowhere’. It goes ‘nowhere’.  It is always in a state of flux. So none can put a permanent meaning to it.

The whirlpool of changing phenomena is created through interactions of flux fields.

Such fields connect everything to everything to create an intricate web of relationships.

Interactions happen between all relationships.

Such interactions form the fundamental level of communication.

In this flux of continual changes we are both players and spectators of the changes.

Such changes manifest as events.

We create those events through our behavior and actions.

Our behavior is governed by our intentions.

Our Intentions are generated by our skills: Noticeornot, Engageornot, Mullornot, Exchangeornot (NEME) that give rise to either Skillful Actions or Unskillful Actions.

Quality of NEME is dictated by the quality of our four human faculties — Feeling, Imagination, Thinking,  Actions, where Feeling is the secret Key. Imagination is the Creator, Thoughts are Gifts and Actions form changing Reality.

The process of developing those faculties is: Love yoked to Respect and Reason.

The underlying mechanism of yoking Love, Respect and Reason is through the Power of See. The goal is to go beyond the present consciousness and see things anew to continually expand consciousness to its highest potential.

Power of See is developed through the knowledge in Arts, Science, Engineering, Technology, Mathematics, Communications and Design.

The undesirable or inauthentic constraints to ‘Seeing’ are formed from products of conditioned existence.

The method of eliminating such constraints of conditioning is through Memory, Discernment, Merger and Action.

The unconditioned self is the liberated self — empty of all conditioning, that constantly adapts and/or adjusts to changes.

When we adapt or adjust our selves to the environment; the environment also adjusts and adapts to our liberated consciousness.

Then higher levels of communication take place — inducing desirable flows.

It is creative. It is original. It delights. It is liberating.

One liberated self liberates many selves through sharing.


Ref: Winning Anywhere – the Power of See

Ben-hur, Flow & Enlightened Skillful Actions

Ben-hur, till this day, continues to remain one of my all time favorite films — a timeless classic.

Over the years, I have seen this movie over and over again – so many times that I have lost count of it. Not only that – I took care to show the movie to my sons when they were young. Lo behold! it captured their hearts too — just as it did when Dad showed me this film when I was a young boy.

However, for some reason, one scene stands out in this remarkable movie — the chariot race — unforgettable. Even now, I have goose-flesh recalling that scene. There was something mysterious that pulled me again and again to view it with riveted attention. It is said to be the greatest chariot race ever put on a film.

What draws us to this race? Was it the rare dash of brilliant cinematography? Was it the charisma of Judah Ben-hur played by an equally charismatic personality, Charlton Heston? Or was it the cruel, cunning but enigmatic character of Messala played by Stephen Boyd? May be everything was too good for anyone to miss. However, it took me years to get to the essence that made the ‘chariot race’ the ‘chariot race’. It was about ‘flow‘.

In recent years, much has been written and discussed about flow, forming various views, interpretations, re-interpretations and perspectives, the most famous of which came from Mihaly Csikszentmihalhi, —  informing researchers and practitioners alike.

To me, being in the flow, the source of greatest human happiness and creativity, is the other name of being enlightened and skillfully acting from an enlightened state, where attention, awareness, learning and creativity effortlessly merge altering experience of time and space.

An enlightened state of ‘flow’ may be characterized by the following:

1. It is without a preformed image of any kind — “image-less“.

2. In such a flow, a person is equipoised to take any direction at will but chooses a direction based on the context and not travel the path dictated by a pre-determined plan — “direction-less“.

3. Actions in a flow are born in empty space; carried out in an empty space and die out in emptiness — “emptiness“.

4. Meaning in a flow is only generated through interactions set against a rich backdrop of context; else there is no meaning — “meaninglessness“.

5. Dialectic movement in flow is created by the existence of intensely focused attention on specific details and defocused attention on general details.

Coming back to the chariot race we are privileged to witness all of those. The crowd roars with expectation. The elites, headed by the Roman Governor of Judea, is restless to see Messala, a Roman, win against Judah Ben-hur flouting all ethics. Individual participants, pitted against each other, are wary of each other’s guile and tactics. The outcome is uncertain. But within all that din and commotion Judah Ben-hur stays image-less, alert, equipoised to take the right step as the situation demands, doesn’t go ahead with a predetermined plan, respects the emptiness of uncertainty of the event yet forges ahead with the meaning created by years of bitter interactions between him and Messala reflected by Ben-hur saying — “this is the day, Messala,” before the start of the race. During the race, Ben-hur acts effortlessly – being one with his horses – without losing a moment’s focus, keeping the din of the crowd and the count of the laps in the distant horizon of his mind.

That is a fine example of enlightened action by an enlightened human being in flow — bringing happiness and rewards in its wake, without expecting any.

No doubt, Pontius Pilate, Roman Governor of Judea (played by Frank Thring), while crowing Judah Ben-hur as the winner of the game, tells the crowd, “I crown your God.”

God indeed — a human in ‘flow’.

A beauty to behold.


Related Posts:

1. Aroma of Darjeeling Tea

2. A Network of Fragmented Selves

3. Quantum Theory and Nemetics

4. Winning Anywhere – the Power of ‘SEE’.







A Networked Community of Fragmented ‘Selves’

Most of us are not one unitary self, as we think we are. Rather we are a networked bundle of ‘selves’ somehow getting by in the same body.

For example, Self 1, of a young lady might decide that she must lose some weight within the next six months or so. So, she goes to a gym that promises her to help her shed some specific weight within a specific time period. She then reads up a a lot on ‘diets’ and invests her time and energy in following those. That ‘self’ in her also buys a bathroom scale to keep a watch on her weight reduction program.

But ‘Self 2’, of the same young lady also likes to splurge on the latest ice-creams and chocolates and grilled ham sandwiches  and that ‘Self 2’ takes care to load her refrigerator with assorted kinds of ice-creams, chocolates and sandwiches, which her ‘Self 2’ would like to enjoy when ‘Self 2’ would be bored or happy for some reason.

Similarly, ‘Self 3’ wonders whether a little infidelity would make life worth living. But her ‘Self 4’, conditioned by years of conditioning at school and home would only let such a thing happen over her dead body.

While all these ‘selves’ are fighting with each other, Self 5 desires to do well in her post graduate exams so that she would be able to crack the tough test for getting a prestigious job in the Indian Administrative Service.

Likewise, there are so many ‘selves’ in a person clamoring for attention and action. These different ‘selves’ existing within each of us, have their specific intentions, specific behavior patterns that result in actions (mostly predictable and repeatable) that take up our time. She fills up the day with many activities that lend a comforting support to her different ‘selves’ nested within her body. She is in a constant race against time to fulfill the intention of each self. Therefore, she becomes too busy maintaining her different selves, which might wear her down by the end of the day. In fact, she through her effort creates too many inauthentic constraints that impedes normal flow of life. The constraints she creates, both authentic and inauthentic, shape her destiny.

The point is we are psychologically ‘fragmented’ but most often we might not be even aware of such internal fragmentation. We might be simply too preoccupied with a confused whirl of fleeting sensations, memories, intentions, feelings, thoughts, behavior, must-do-tasks and emotions. Caught in such a vortex we are certainly prevented from seeing and noticing what needs to be seen or noticed. We are lost in a haze of preoccupation and anxieties for different reasons or we are numbed by the sheer sensory overload that comes from modern living. It affects our health and living. There are always too many things to do, so many people to see (physically) or interact over social media, so many meetings to attend, so many things to be told to so many people, so much money to earn, just so many deadlines to meet. Years might pass before we finally stop and look at these different selves within ourselves before we decide to create a new course of life based on focused attention.

So, the questions are:

What happens if the ‘selves’ weren’t aware of each other?

What happens if the selves simply knew each other well enough to form a community of strongly networked selves that help each other grow?

What happens if a person tries to create or design synergy between different selves?

How does one become a better spectator and player in the networked community of human society that constantly interacts with nature – both within and without?



1. Quantum Theory and Nemetics

2. Winning Anywhere – the Power of See


A Room of One’s Own

Just sailed through Virginia Woolf’s delightful book: A Room of One’s Own with great awe and wonder.

The book originates from a lecture delivered by Virginia Woolf in Cambridge University in 1928. I was spellbound by the broad view and detailing of the impact of poverty as well as chastity on women’s creativity. It is generally acknowledged to have achieved the status of ‘one of the greatest feminist classics of the century’.

But I haven’t seen it that way. I was left amazed by the smooth flow of a great mind exploring a subject with great delicacy and precision. It was a pleasure to see how a trained mind maintained its balance throughout the book, without slipping even once.

She didn’t take sides at all. There was neither any evidence of a reckless dash towards feminism nor any evidence of appeal of righting the injustice inflicted on women by a predominantly man’s world.

In fact, she does just what is least expected. She shows a reasonable way forward for women to free themselves from the shackles of societies to unleash their creativity through their writings without sacrificing their womanhood in the least. Surprisingly, the condition is to have £ 500 a year and a room of one’s own to not only regain their self-esteem but also enrich humanity.

What I liked most was the view that the best writers who have retained their appeal over the years neither took a man’s view nor a woman’s view of the world while expressing reality as they saw it. Such great minds were androgynous.

In addition, such great minds completely avoided the big ‘I’ to infiltrate into their writings. It was as if they dreaded the big ‘I’ like some infectious disease.

The other interesting thing was to see how awareness of one’s own body and its relationship to one’s environment gets reflected through one’s mind in one’s creation.

These are big lessons – very big lessons. It boils down to the fact that creativity is simply a reflection of a state of mind where the ‘creator’ is no longer a prisoner of his own ‘perceptions’ but is happy to stay as a witness – and in some cases not even that. It calls for courage of the rarest kind.

One of the many ways for allowing that state to arrive is to simply watch and enjoy such an unfettered mind effortlessly cut through delusions to expose layers of reality in things and phenomena that happen around us.

If that is one’s intention, I would highly recommend a deep study of this book – just to see how such a liberated mind works – if not for any thing else.

Search 6 — Blaming

We blame people around us.

We blame our parents.

We blame our lovers.

We blame our children.

We blame our siblings.

We blame our spouses.

We blame our friends.

We blame who ever is near us or are interacting with us.

We hardly blame anyone not interacting with us.

Are we in constant competition with those who care to interact with us?

Or do we feel a sense of loss if someone cares to tell us that something isn’t quite right with us?

Do we forget that those who are in constant interactions with us would in some way help us see new ways and point to new directions?

Would that be liberating?

Another review of “Winning Anywhere – the Power of See”

It feels nice to get good reviews from old friends who have stuck with me for a long time and have seen me in action. Here is one such review from an old friend of mine for my book ‘Winning Anywhere – the Power of See.’
“Your book has plethora of Global and Local contextual issues. Modular approach also connects sensitive minds in ‘whole’ & ‘part’.  Connects one’s experiences either in ‘Personal’ or ‘Professional’ Field  or may be both. Its the lucid expression that brings connectivity and makes it appealing. PLS3D is closer to my heart. To my mind, ‘5th State of Awareness’ is  similar to “Raj Yoga”. Topic Unenlightened NEMEs draws silhouette of a mind as perceived within or from distance but brought out a chuckle in me. —–AR………..”

If you visit my den…

Friends who visit me in my den (actually my studio), where I write, paint, consult and think over difficult problems, have strange feelings, most of which are rather pleasant.

Here is one of my old friends who wrote to me the other day about his feelings —

“I usually cross Dhakuria Bridge and take a right turn. Immediately able to feel few additional springs get activated underneath the sole. Makes my heavy frame bit lighter. Feel continues till the door-step & pressing the bell. Sensory organs gets relaxed. The aroma of the room fills my nostrils. Mostly smells that of a family room, at times smell like a bachelor’s den. Smoke engulfs the room. Words & topics do not restrict themselves. Mind becomes mindless. Amidst all these and Clucky’s (pet) joyous overture then wrestling, feeling that emanates is a rich blend of  “Power of See”  and “Creativity” in its “Winning Ways” ……… AR………………………”

Search 5 – Empathy and Compassion

Empathy and Compassion are closely related but not the same thing.

However, without empathy there is no compassion.

We feel empathy in our bodies. It can only be felt by our bodies and not by our minds. While our minds can sympathize with anything it certainly fails to empathize with anything. Since we can only empathize with our bodies, it can only be felt if we care to go inside ourselves and see both within and without at the same time.

We also feel compassion in the body. Our minds can not be compassionate. Never – because any mind would never stop asking ‘why.’ But springing from empathy, compassion is both a ‘feeling in the body’ and an ‘action through our bodies.’ Again it is not a ‘mind thing’. Trying to be compassionate through our minds is at best an embarrassing effort that leads to delusion.