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Books
Books
18 Books Everyone Will Be Reading in 2018 - https://medium.com/swlh/18-books-everyone-will-be-reading-in-2018-82e017d166f
“I believe that we should read only those books that wound and stab us. If a book we are reading does not rouse us with a blow to the head, then why read it? A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.”--Franz Kafka
"To read well, that is to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise," Henry David Thoreau writes in Walden. "A written word is choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself."
[Andrew Cohen] : [Who Am I? and How Shall I Live?|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1883929245/carnaticcom] : ...The heart of the spiritual life ultimately consists of two fundamental experiences: [meditation] and [contemplation]...
[Chop Wood, Carry Water|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0874772095/carnaticcom]: A Guide to Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Everyday Life
Scott Berkun : [The Myths of Innovation|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596527055/ref=nosim/carnaticcom]
|<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596527055/ref=nosim/carnaticcom"><img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0596527055.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg" border="0" alt="Scott Berkun: The Myths of Innovation" hspace="3" vspace="3"/></a>
[Mortimer Jerome Adler] : "In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (source : [Favorite Books & Reading Quotations|http://quotations.about.com/library/db/bltop_books.htm] )
[Rene Descartes] in [Discourse on the Method] : The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest men of past centuries.
Once there was a well known philosopher and scholar who devoted himself to the study of Zen for many years. On the day that he finally attained [enlightenment], he took all of his books out into the yard, and burned them all.
!Good Books
!My Books
* [On-Line Books at Bharatvani.org|http://www.bharatvani.org/books.html]
* [I Am That|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0893860220/carnaticcom], [Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0893860336/carnaticcom] (via [Nisargadatta|http://users.pandora.be/ananda/ngdt.htm])
* [100 Best Spiritual Books of the Twentieth Century|http://www.spiritualityhealth.com/newsh/items/review-feature/item_6545.html]
* [Keith Parkins]'s [Books Worth Reading]
* [Nataraj Books]
* Craig's [BookNotes|http://booknotes.weblogs.com/] : Books, libraries, preservation, digital convergence, music, politics
* [Voice of India|http://www.voi.org/books/]
* [Books That Changed My Life]
* [Bruce Eckel]'s [books|http://www.mindview.net/Books/]
* [Ed Yourdon]'s [Virtual Book Store|http://www.yourdon.com/books/coolbooks/coolbooks.html]
* [The Atlantic Systems Guild]'s Recommended [Books|http://www.systemsguild.com/GuildSite/Guild/Books.html]
* [Ian Alexander]'s [Reviews of Books on Requirements, Systems, and Software Engineering|http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~iany/reviews/reviews.htm]
* [Web Nerd Bookshelf]
* [100 banned books]
I would like to hear from you... What is _the_ one book that changed your life ?
[Google-Friends Newsletter for April 2003|http://www.google.com/googlefriends/moreapr03.html#wait] : Based on a real but utterly unscientific sample of books lying open on Googler desks:
* Information Rules: A strategic guide to the network economy (Carl Shapiro)
I feel so much anger towards my mother....
[Articles] > I feel so much anger towards my mother....
I am having a very hard time with my mother. I feel so much anger towards her. Can you please talk about the relationship between children and parents?
Gautam Buddha is reported to have made a very strange statement: In your anger you punish yourself for somebody else's fault. It looks very strange the first time you come across the statement that in anger you punish yourself for somebody else's fault.
Your parents have done something twenty years back, thirty years back, and you are angry now. Your anger is not going to help anyone; it is simply going to create more wounds in you. And being near me, close to me.... I am trying to explain to you the whole mechanism of how children are being brought up, you should become more understanding that whatever has happened had to happen. Your parents were conditioned by their parents. You cannot find out who was really responsible to begin with. It has been passed from generation to generation.
Your parents are doing exactly what has been done to them. They have been victims. You will feel compassion for them and you will feel joyous that you are not going to repeat the same thing in your life. If you decide to have children you will feel joyous that you are going to break the vicious circle, that you are going to jump out of the line that goes back to the very beginning and continues up to you, that you can become the dead end. You will not do it to your children or to any other person's children.
You should feel fortunate that you have a master with you to explain what has been happening between parents and children -- the complex upbringing, good intentions, bad results, where everybody is trying to do the best and the world goes on becoming worse and worse.
Your parents were not so fortunate to have a master -- and you are being angry at them. You should feel kind, compassionate, loving. Whatever they did was unconscious. They could not have done otherwise. All that they knew they have tried on you. They were miserable, and they have created another miserable human being in the world.
But feel for your parents. They worked hard; they did everything that they could, but they had no idea how psychology functions. Instead of being taught how to become a mother or how to become a father, they were being taught how to become a Christian, how to become a Marxist, how to become a tailor, how to become a plumber, how to become a philosopher -- all these things are good and needed, but the basic thing is missing. If they are going to produce children, then their most significant teaching should be how to become a mother, how to become a father.
It has been taken for granted that by giving birth you know how to become a mother and how to become a father. Yes, as far as giving birth to a child... it is a biological act, you don't have to be psychologically trained for it. Animals are doing perfectly well, birds are doing perfectly well, trees are doing perfectly well. But giving birth to a child biologically is one thing and to be a mother or to be a father is totally different. It needs great education because you are creating a human being.
Animals are not creating anything, they are simply producing carbon copies. And now science has come to a point where they have discovered that carbon copies can really be produced! It is a very dangerous idea. If we make banks -- and sooner or later we are going to make them; once an idea is there it is going to become a reality. And scientifically it is proved that it is one hundred percent possible...there is no problem.
We can have banks in the hospitals for both the male sperms and female eggs. And we can create exactly the same two sperms and exactly the same two eggs, so two children are born which are exactly the same. One child will be released into the world; the other will grow in a fridge, unconscious, but all his parts will be exactly the same as the other person. And if the first person is in an accident and loses a leg or loses a kidney, or has to be operated on, there is no problem: his carbon copy is waiting in the hospital. From the carbon copy a kidney can be taken out -- he is growing exactly at the same rate, he is just unconscious -- and it will be exactly the same as the kidney that has been lost. It can be replaced.
That carbon copy will always be available for replacing any parts -- even the brain. You can fall into a coma or you can even have a heart attack.... Your brain can remain alive even after a heart attack for at least four minutes -- but not more than that. If during these four minutes an identical brain is inserted, an identical heart is inserted, you will never feel that anything has changed or anything has happened to you. Perhaps you fell asleep and now you are awake. You will never know that your brain has been changed, that your heart has been changed.
This idea of having carbon copies seems to be a great advancement in medical science in a way, but it is dangerous -- dangerous in the sense that man becomes a machine with replaceable parts, just like any machine. When something goes wrong you replace the part. And if every part can be replaced then man will be falling farther and farther away from spiritual growth, because he will start thinking of himself as just a machine. That's what half of the world, the communist world, thinks -- that man is a machine.
You are fortunate that you can understand the situation your parents were in. They have not done anything specifically to you; they would have done the same to any child that was born to them. They were programmed for that. They were helpless. And to be angry against helpless people is simply not right. It is unjust, unfair, and moreover it is harmful to you.
If your parents cannot understand me, you should not be worried about it. The whole world cannot understand me. Your parents are normal people; they just follow the crowd, which is safer. You have fallen out of the crowd. You have chosen a risky and dangerous path. If they don't want to go into a dangerous lifestyle, it is their choice; that should not be a cause for your anger.
In fact you can help them by really becoming the individual that I am talking about: more conscious, more alert, more loving. Seeing you can only change them. Seeing you so radically changed can only make them think twice, that perhaps they are wrong. There is no other way. You cannot intellectually convince them. Intellectually they can argue, and argument never changes anybody. The only thing that changes people is the charisma, the magnetism, the magic, of your individuality. Then whatever you touch becomes golden.
So rather than wasting your time and energy in being angry and fighting against the past which no longer exists, put your whole energy into becoming the magic of your individuality. So when your parents see you they cannot remain untouched by the new qualities that you have grown, qualities which are automatically impressive: your freshness, your understanding, your unconditional lovingness, your kindness even in a situation where anger would have been more appropriate.
Only these things can be the real arguments. You need not say a word. Your eyes, your face, your actions, your behavior, your response, will make the change in them. They will start inquiring about what has happened to you, how it has happened to you -- because everybody wants these qualities. These are the real riches. Nobody is so rich that he can afford not to have the things that I am telling you.
So put your energy into transforming yourself. That will help you, that will help your parents. Perhaps it may create a chain reaction. Your parents may have other children, they may have friends, and it will go on and on.
It is just like you are sitting on the bank of a silent lake and you throw a small pebble into the lake. The pebble is so small that it creates a small circle at first, but circle after circle...and they go on spreading to the far ends, as far as the lake can take them. And it was only a small pebble.
Just create a small ripple of right individuality and it will reach to many people -- and certainly to those who are most closely related to you. They will see it first, and they will understand with great awe. They will not believe their eyes because all that they know of religion is the Sunday church, where nothing happens. They have been going every Sunday their whole lives, and they come back home just the same.
In the name of religion they know only the Bible or the Koran or the Gita and they have been reading it and nothing happens, because they don't know one thing -- that you are a living being and a book is dead. And the man in the church who is delivering a sermon is just a professional. He has prepared the sermon from the books, and he goes on repeating the same sermons. Nobody listens, so nobody catches him. He is repeating the same sermon that he delivered two months before. Nobody listened that time, and nobody is listening this time. And you know that that sermon cannot change you because that sermon has not changed the preacher himself. He is just as mundane as you are -- perhaps more. I used to know a Jaina monk who was a very simple man, almost a simpleton. He asked me, "How many lectures do you have?"
I said, "This is a very difficult question. Until I am finished with my life, I will not know."
He said, "I have only three: one is for ten minutes, one is for twenty minutes, one is for thirty minutes, depending on the occasion. Sometimes in a conference you have only ten minutes. I have a ready-made, ten minute lecture. If they give me twenty minutes, I have a twenty minute lecture. If they give me thirty minutes, I have a thirty minute one. More than that is not possible, because nobody is interested in listening too much. People want a short cut."
I said, "That's great. You have found a really great idea."
He said, "Nobody has said anything about it to me, and I have been using these three lectures my whole life. Wherever I go -- to the temples, colleges, and universities where I talk -- I ask, `How many minutes? Ten, twenty, thirty?' Whatever they want, my lecture is ready. And I have repeated the same lecture so many times that now I don't feel nervous. I can repeat the lecture without thinking at all!"
Now do you think listening to such a man is going to transform you? -- or anybody? But every Christian missionary is doing that.
One of the most famous, world-renowned Christian missionaries was Stanley Jones. He was very friendly with me but he became very angry and then the friendship was broken. He was an old man, a friend of Mahatma Gandhi, and Mahatma Gandhi respected him very much. He used to come to the city where I was living and he stayed in the house of one of my friends. He had printed cards -- ten cards or twenty cards for his whole lecture -- and he would put the cards on the table. He would start lecturing, and he would go on changing the cards.
He became very angry with me because I mixed up his cards! So he was saying something and it was not on the card. He almost had a nervous breakdown. He looked at all the cards and it was not there. That card I had taken out. And he said, "Today I am not feeling well. I am feeling sick, so I will not be speaking."
Stanley Jones was very angry. He said, "Are you my friend or my enemy? You destroyed my whole lecture!"
I said, "Once in a while you should speak from your heart, not from these cards. I have looked in your suitcase, and you have almost fifty sets of these cards, so you can go on repeating these speeches. And do you think this is going to help anybody? -- these dead cards that you have repeated your whole life? And today just because one card was missing and the numbers were mixed up, you lost your temper, you lost your integrity. You were almost in a state of madness. And what do you think people thought who had come to listen to you?"
He had written many books. I have gone through those books: he writes well, beautifully, but it is all stolen. Nothing is his own. Nothing is his own experience. Unless something is your own experience it is not going to impress anybody.
The Path of the Mystic, Chapter 15, Question 2
Gurudeva
slightly from the South Indian form. He explained that the name Subramuniya
Europe with 72 devotees, that he had advanced intestinal cancer. The disease
battery of tests revealed the cancer and that it had metastasized to other
Hawaii, Washington State and California all concurred that even the most
nourishment and take water only from that day on. His doctors endorsed and
gratitude for his life and not sorrow for his passage.
said, "By his life and by his teaching, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami has
clear-minded books replete with explanations of everything Hindu, from the
immediately conscious that a saint was present. Total strangers who had no
inches tall, with deep hazel eyes. He maintained throughout much of his life
A Mystic's Life, Decade by Decade
drawn to a spiritual life, he renounced his career at its height and sailed
fasted and meditated until he burst into enlightenment. Soon after that God
renunciate monasticism. Yogaswami then ordained the young mystic into his
slightly from the South Indian form. He explained that the name Subramuniya
teach until he reached the age of 30, so it was in 1957 that he founded
Himalayan Academy, now with thousands of students, and opened America's
Virginia City, Nevada, and produced tens of thousands of his books and
It was during this decade that large numbers of Hindus began to emigrate
religions to make inroads and converts. During that Innersearch, Gurudeva
horse-drawn carriages that could have happened a thousand years ago.
Hundreds of thousands of Saivites turned out that morning to welcome the
scriptures, books, pamphlets, art, lessons and later through CDs and the
was in 1994 that he founded Hindu Heritage Endowment to provide permanent
stunning 3,000-page illustrated trilogy of sourcebooks on Saivism. The last
a path that leads the soul from simple service to worshipful devotion to
and wisdom. He urges all seekers to live a life of ahimsa, nonhurtfulness
Saiva Siddhanta Yoga Order. This group of 14 initiated swamis with lifetime
Throughout his life, Subramuniyaswami sought to establish, stabilize and
Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, India, said, "All the Hindus of our global
his super compendium of books on Hinduism so carefully compiled, classified,
proclaimed that he is a genius of Hinduism. He has put millions under a deep
are his foremost books. Each has been through several printings. All three
our day, one of which came into play at the end of his own life. Hindu
all the karmic entanglements that inevitably produces. No life-support
The third book, "Merging with Siva," is on mystical Hinduism,
He insisted that his devotees be boldly and proudly Hindus, and if they were
not born into the faith, that they sincerely convert to Hinduism if they
Subramuniyaswami enjoyed promoting his books, and in the course of his
readers piled flowers at Gurudeva's feet. His helpers quickly learned that
bookstores rarely stocked enough books for the relatively large numbers who
interested in Hinduism; 3) To dispel myths, illusions and misinformation
that for Subramuniyaswami's teachings and a section for general Hindu
(start at www.himalayanacademy.com). A unique part of his website is "A
erected in America that they gave him 11 acres of land and supported every
the time-consuming and expensive project, he said no, telling them that by
hundreds of man years to complete, is being produced in the same way that
At the moment when Nepal changed from a monarchy to a democracy in 1990, his
influence was instrumental in countering veiled threats to foreign aid that
is to stop the war in the home. It is here that hatred begins, that
animosities with those who are different from us are nurtured, that battered
throughout his life to create "pure Saivites," as he said shortly before his
personal teaching. Relying upon his own intuition and profound mystical
tradition, discarding that which could not be substantiated through his own
new life into Hinduism for the Hindus of Malaysia." Today three of
that Sivaratri was not a festival of our Hindi-speaking brothers only, nor
people would come for the weekly homas held at that time. Today the major
will be remembered for the sense of discipline in spiritual life and
spirit of ahimsa in all aspects of life. This is the present sadhana of
What is the meaning of Life?
[Karmasaya] > [Articles] > What is the meaning of Life?
[What is the true meaning of life?]
Life in itself has no meaning. Life is an opportunity to create meaning. Meaning has not to be discovered: it has to be created. You will find meaning only if you create it. It is not lying there somewhere behind the bushes, so you can go and you search a little bit and find it. It is not there like a rock that you will find. It is a poetry to be composed, it is a song to be sung, it is a dance to be danced.
Millions of people are living meaningless lives because of this utterly stupid idea that meaning has to be discovered. As if it is already there. All that you need is to just pull the curtain, and behold! meaning is here. It is not like that.
So remember: Buddha finds the meaning because he creates it. I found it because I created it. God is not a thing but a creation. And only those who create find. And it is good that meaning is not lying there somewhere, otherwise one person would have discovered it -- then what would be the need for everybody else to discover it?
Buddha also discovered something, Zarathustra also discovered something, but it is not like Albert Einstein's discovery. It is not there that you have just to follow Zarathustra and his map and you will find it. You will never find it. You will have to become a Zarathustra. See the difference!
To understand the theory of relativity, you need not become an Albert Einstein, no. You have to be just of average intelligence, that's all. If you are not too much retarded, you will understand it.
But to understand the meaning of Zarathustra, you will have to become a Zarathustra -- less than that won't do. You will have to create it again. And each individual has to give birth to God, to meaning, to truth; each man has to become pregnant with it and pass through the pains of birth. Each one has to carry it in one's womb, feed it by one's own blood, and only then does one discover.
Now, you ask me: Why can't I see any meaning in life?
You must be waiting passively for the meaning to come... it will never come. This has been the idea of the past religions, that the meaning is already there. It is not! Freedom is there to create it, energy is there to create it. The field is there to sow the seeds and reap the crop. All is there -- but the meaning has to be created. That's why to create it is such a joy, such an adventure, such an ecstasy.
So the first thing: religion has to be creative. Up to now, religion has remained very passive, almost impotent. You don't expect a religious person to be creative. You just expect him to fast, sit in a cave, get up early in the morning, chant mantras... and this kind of stupid thing. And you are perfectly satisfied! What is he doing? And you praise him because he goes on long fasts. Maybe he is a masochist; maybe he enjoys torturing himself. He sits there when it is icy cold, naked, and you appreciate him. But what is the point, what is the value in it? All the animals of the world are naked in the icy cold -- they are not saints. Or when it is hot, he sits in the hot sun, and you appreciate him. You say, "Look! here is a great ascetic." But what is he doing? What is his contribution to the world? What beauty has he added to the world? Has he changed the world a little bit? Has he made it a little more sweet, more fragrant? No, you don't ask that.
And second thing: sometimes it happens that you search for the meaning because you have already concluded. Out of a conclusion you search for it. You have already decided what meaning should be there, or has to be there... and then you don't find it.
You ask: Why can't I see any meaning in life?
For example, if a man comes into my garden and thinks if he can find a diamond there then this garden is beautiful, and he cannot find the diamond, so he says there is no meaning in the garden.... And there are so many beautiful flowers, and so many birds singing, and so many colors, and the wind blowing through the pines, and the moss on the rocks. But he cannot see any meaning because he has a certain idea: he has to find the diamond, a Kohinoor -- only then will there be meaning.
Don't start with a conclusion, otherwise you have started wrongly from the very beginning. Go without a conclusion! That's what I mean when I say again and again: Go without knowledge if you want to find truth. The knowledgeable person never finds it. His knowledge is a barrier.
Now, if you have a fixed idea, then you are only looking for it, only looking for it.... And because of this narrowness of the mind, all that is available is missed.
Meaning has to be created. And meaning has to be searched for without any conclusions. If you can drop your knowledge, life will suddenly take on color, it will become psychedelic. But you are continuously carrying the load of your scriptures, books, theories, doctrines, philosophies... you are lost in all that. And everything has become mixed, hotchpotch. And you cannot even remember what is what.
Your mind is a mess. Clean it! Make it a blank. The empty mind is the best mind. And those who have been telling you that the empty mind is the Devil's workshop are the Devil's agents. The empty mind is closer to God than anything. The empty mind is not the Devil's workshop. The Devil cannot do without thoughts.
So many thoughts in the mind, mixed up; nothing seems to be clear; you have heard so many things from so many sources -- your mind is a monster. And you are trying to remember, and you have been told to remember: Don't forget! And, naturally, the burden is so much that you cannot remember. Many things you have forgotten. Many things you have imagined and added on your own.
"Here's to the happiest moment of my life,
Spent in the arms of another man's wife -- my mother."
"By Jove, that's ripping," the Englishman thought to himself. "I must remember to use it back home."
"Here's to the happiest moment of my life,
That is happening. You remember this -- Plato has said this. And you remember that -- Lao Tzu has said that. And you remember what Jesus has said, and what Mohammed has said... and you remember many things. And they have all got mixed up. And you have not said a single thing on your own. Unless you say something on your own, you will miss the meaning.
Drop the knowledge and become more creative. Remember, knowledge is gathered -- you need not be creative about it; you have only to be receptive. And that's what man has become: man is reduced to being a spectator. He reads the newspapers, he reads the Bible and the Koran and the Gita; he goes to the movie, sits there and sees the movie; he goes to the football match, or sits before his TV, listens to the radio... and so on and so forth. Twenty-four hours a day he is just in a kind of inactivity, a spectator. Others are doing things, and he is simply watching. You will not find meaning by watching.
You can see a thousand and one lovers making love and you will not know what love is -- you will not know that orgasmic abandonment by watching. You will have to become a participant. Meaning comes through participation. Participate in life! Participate as deeply, as totally, as possible. Risk all for participation. If you want to know what dance is, don't go and see a dancer -- learn dancing, be a dancer. If you want to know anything, participate! That is the true and the right way, the authentic way, to know a thing. And there will be great meaning in your life. And not only one-dimensional -- multi-dimensional meanings. You will be showered by meanings.
And life has to be multi-dimensional, then only is there meaning. Never make life one-dimensional. That too is a problem.
Somebody becomes an engineer, and then he thinks all is finished. He becomes identified with being an engineer. Then his whole life he is just an engineer. And there were millions of things available. But he moves only on one track, becomes bored. Is fed up. Is tired, wearied. Goes on dragging. Waits only for death. What meaning can there be?
Have more interests in life. Don't be always a businessman. Sometimes play too. Don't be just a doctor or an engineer, or a headmaster, or a professor -- be as many things as possible! Play cards, play the violin, sing a song, be an amateur photographer, a poet.... Find as many things as possible in life, and then you will have richness. And meaning is a by-product of richness.
Socrates, while awaiting death in prison, was haunted by a dream that kept urging him, "Socrates, make music!" The old man felt he had always served art with his philosophizing. But now, spurred on by that mysterious voice, he turned fables into verse, indited a hymn to Apollo, and played the flute.
He had never played on the flute. Something inside him persisted, "Socrates, make music!" Just in the face of death! It looked so ridiculous. And he had never played, he had never made music. A part of his being had remained suffocated. Yes, even a man like Socrates, had remained one-dimensional. The denied part insisted, "Enough of logic -- a little music will be good, will bring balance. Enough of argumentation -- play on the flute." And the voice was so persistent that he had to yield to it.
His disciples must have been puzzled: "Has he gone mad? Socrates playing on the flute?" But to me it is very significant. The music could not have been very great, because he had never played. Absolutely amateurish, childish it must have been -- but still something was satisfied, something was bridged. He was no more one-sided. For the first time in his life, maybe, he was spontaneous. For the first time he had done something for which he could not supply any reason. Otherwise, he was a rational man.
Just the other night I was reading a story about the great Hassidic mystic, Baal Shem:
Don't allow your life to become just a dead ritual. Let there be moments, unexplainable. Let there be a few things which are mysterious, for which you cannot supply any reason. Let there be a few doings for which people will think you are a little crazy. A man who is a hundred percent sane is dead. A little bit of craziness by the side is always a great joy. Go on doing a few crazy things too. And then meaning will be posible.
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[moksha], [RAQ], [Sandhyavandanam], [Yoga], [The most beautiful place in the world], [What is the purpose of life?], [Satsanga], [Vipassana], [Marriage]
* [Books], [Articles], [Writing], [Words]
* [Books That Changed My Life]
* [Zen] vt. To figure out something by meditation or by a sudden flash of enlightenment. Originally applied to bugs, but occasionally applied to problems of life in general. "How'd you figure out the buffer allocation problem?" "Oh, I zenned it."
Rick Saenz
[Books that Changed my life|http://upstairs.weblogger.com/stories/storyReader$13]
Eric Rawlins
[Books That Changed My Life|http://www.well.com/user/woodman/books.html]
Kins Collins
[Books That Changed My Life|http://www.bayarea.net/~kins/AboutMe/Books.html]
Books That Changed My Life
[Books] > Books That Changed My Life
* [Life Without Principle|http://eserver.org/thoreau/lifewout.html]
[Eric Rawlins] : [Books That Changed My Life|http://www.well.com/user/woodman/books.html] - Not necessarily the best books I've ever read--though that list would not be very far different from this one. But each of these books added something permanent to me--an insight, a vision, an attitude. I've placed them in roughly the order in which I encountered them:
[Rick Saenz] : [Books That Changed My Life|http://saenz.weblogs.com/stories/storyReader$25]
[Kins Collins] : [Books That Changed My Life|http://www.bayarea.net/~kins/AboutMe/Books.html] - The page starts with the following quote... Yet who reads to bring about an end however desirable? Are there not some pursuits that we practise because they are good in themselves, and some pleasures that are final? And is not this among them? I have sometimes dreamt, at least, that when the Day of Judgment dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards -- their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble -- the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when He sees us coming with our books under our arms, "Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading." -- The Second Common Reader by Virginia Wolff
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules the World
[Articles] > The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules the World
source : http://www.himalayanacademy.com/books/talks/Cradle.html
Anbe Sivamayam Satyame Parasivam! Tonight we are going to talk about a vast subject, one that is important to every Hindu family: stri dharma, the dharma of the Hindu wife and mother. In Sanskrit stri means "woman." Dharma is a rich word which encompasses many meanings: the path to God Siva, piety, goodness, duty, obligation and more. Stri dharma is the woman's natural path, while purusha dharma, we can say, is the man's.
There is much controversy about the role of the woman in society these days. In the West, a strong women's liberation movement has been at work for many years, and now there has arisen an equally vigorous opposition which defends traditional values. The so-called struggle for women's liberation has affected women the world over--in India, Iran, Europe, Japan and elsewhere. In North America, I began a campaign informally called the Hindu women's liberation movement. It is not what you might expect. Its purpose is to liberate our Hindu women from the liberators, to save them from worldliness and to allow them to fulfill their natural dharma as mother and wife. For a religious woman, being liberated starts with resigning from her job and coming home. Once she is home, she is liberated and liberated and liberated. Working in the world keeps her in the outer dimensions of consciousness, while being at home allows her to live in the depth of her being. I have seen this work many times. There are so many distractions and influences in the world today that divert women away from being a wife and mother. In the West a woman is a wife first and a mother second, but in the East her duties as a mother are foremost. She is trained from early childhood in the arts of homemaking, trained by her mother who was trained in exactly the same way by her mother, and so on right down through history. It's an old pattern.
Don't forget that in the East the ties of the extended family are very close. Women live in a community, surrounded by younger and older women, often living in the same house. They enjoy a rewarding life which includes helping the younger ones and being helped by those who are more mature. Several generations work together in sharing the joys as well as the burdens of household culture. It is different in the West. Women here usually do not have the advantages of close association with other family members. Naturally, they become a little lonely, especially if they do not have a religious community of friends. They get lonely and want to get out in the world and enjoy life a little. This is another reason women leave the home. It is very unfortunate.
In the East there is a better balance of the masculine and feminine forces. In the West the masculine is too strong, too dominant. The feminine energies need to be allowed greater expression. But that does not mean women should start doing what men do. No. That only confuses the forces more. A better balance must be found. In the East the woman is protected. She is like a precious gem. You don't leave it unattended. You protect it. You guard it well because you don't wish to lose it. Hindu women are guarded well. They are not allowed to become worldly. They are not exposed to the looks and thoughts of a base public, nor must they surrender their modesty to contend with business affairs. She can be perfectly feminine, expressing her natural qualities of gentleness, intuitiveness, love and modesty. The home and family are the entire focus of a Hindu woman's life.
Many of you here tonight are too young to know that this was also the pattern in the West until about seventy-five years ago. Before World War I, women were very strict in the West. It was that war and the one that followed that broke down the ancient roles of men and women. The men were taken away from industry by the army, and women were forced out of the home into the factories and businesses so that production could continue. Earlier they had been protected, seldom seen unaccompanied in public. Throughout history, women had been the caretakers of the home and the defenders of virtue. They valued their purity, their chastity, and were virgins when they married. Many people don't know that the old values were followed most strictly up until 1915 or so. Then the two world wars broke up the family and disturbed the balance between men and women. For the first time, women were seen alone in public. For the first time, they left the home and competed with men for their jobs.
I speak often of the change humanity is going through in moving out of the agricultural era and into the technological age. This change has affected the dharma of the woman and the dharma of the man in an interesting way. During the tens of thousands of years of the agricultural age, families lived and labored mostly on farms or in craft guilds. The entire family worked on the farm. The men all worked in the fields; the women and children worked in the home. Children were a great asset. More children meant more help, a bigger farm. There were many chores that a young boy or girl could do. When harvest time came, everyone joined in. It was a one team, and everyone contributed. When the crop was sold, that was the income for a combined effort from all members--men, women and even children. In a very real sense, everyone was earning the money, everyone was economically important.
In the technological era, only the man of the house earns the family income. Everyone else spends it. The husband goes to work in a factory or large company office while his wife and children stay at home. There is not much they can do to help him during the day with his work. His work and his wife's are not as closely related as in the old days. He is the provider, the producer now; she and the children are consumers. Because the children cannot help much, they have become more of an economic liability than an asset. This, coupled with the population problems on the Earth, devalues the economic importance of the woman's traditional role as wife and mother. Whereas raising children and taking care of the farmhouse used to be a woman's direct and vital contribution toward the family's livelihood and even the survival of the human race, today it is not. Whereas they used to be partners in a family farm business, today he does all the earning and she feels like a dependent. The answer is not to have women join their men in the factories and corporations. The answer is to bring traditional religious values into the technological era, to find a new balance of karma that allows for the fulfillment of both the man's and the woman's dharma.
When young couples marry, I help them write down their vows to one another. He must promise to support her, to protect her, to give her a full and rewarding life. She must promise to care for him, to manage the home, to maintain the home shrine and to raise fine children. I ask them each to respect the other's realm, to never mentally criticize the other and to make religion the central focus of their life together. I ask the young bride to stay in the home, to be a little shy of involvement in the world.
A mother's place is within the home and not out in the world working. When she is in the home all day, she brings love and security to the children, sensitivity and stability to the husband. By raising her children, she changes the course of history. How does she do that? She raises strong children, good and intelligent children. They will grow up to be the great men and women in the community, the leaders of the nation. They will be the farmers, artists, businessmen, the teachers, the doctors, the lawyers, the architects, the presidents and, most importantly, the spiritual leaders. They will be the mothers, the homemakers and child-raisers, scientists and inventors, pioneers and poets, artists and sculptors and creators in all dimensions of life. It is such men and women who change the course of human history. This is the great power held by the mother and by no one else: to properly mold the mind and character of her children. And she trains her daughters to do the same by example and gentle guidance.
Of course, she also holds the opposite power, expressed through neglect, to allow her children to grow up on their own, on the streets where they will learn a base life. Such children will as surely change society and human history, but negatively. They will be the common men and women, or fall into mental and emotional abysses, there to express man's instinctive nature and become the exemplars of violence and lust, of dependence and crime. The very direction of humankind is right there in the early years, to be turned toward a great potential through love and attentiveness or allowed to decay through neglect. The mother is the child's first guru, and she alone can shape the mind in those impressionable years. So, you can all see the truth in the old saying: "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."
Take the case of a mother who is at home every day, morning and night, attending to her children. As she rocks the cradle, her love and energy radiate out to the infant who then feels a natural peacefulness and security. She has time for the child, time to sing sweet lullabies and console when the tears come, time to teach about people, about the world, about the little things in growing up, time to cuddle for no reason except to express her love. On the other hand, the working mother has no time to do extra things. When the infant cries, she may, out of her own frustrations of the day, become impatient and scold him, demanding that he keep quiet. "I told you to be quiet!" she shouts. The infant doesn't even understand English yet. You can imagine this helpless child's feelings as he receives an emotional blast of anger and frustration directed toward his gentle form. Where is he to turn? He cannot find refuge even in his mother's arms. What will the next generation be like if all the children are raised under such circumstances? Will it be strong and self-assured? Will it radiate kindness to others, never having had kindness given to it? Will it be patient and understanding? No. It is a proven fact that most of the people in prison were neglected or beaten as children. It is also a proven fact that nearly all parents who mistreat their children were themselves mistreated by their parents. Unless mothers care for and love their children, society will inherit an entire generation of frustrated adults who were once frustrated children. These will later be the people who rule the world. Then what happens? They in turn raise their children in the same manner, for that is the only example of parenthood they have. They will think that neglect is natural, that children can get along on their own from an early age or be raised by a governess or nurse or at a day-care center. It's a circle: a childhood of neglect produces a bitter adult life; a childhood of love and trust produces a loving and happy adult life.
We learn so many important things from the mother. This learning is not just from the things she explains to us, but from the way she lives her life. If she is patient, we learn patience. If she is angry and unhappy, then we learn to be angry and unhappy. How wonderful it is for a mother to be in the home and give her children the great gifts of life by her example. She can teach them so many things, bring them into profound understandings about the world around them and offer them basic values and points of view that will sustain them throughout their life. Her gift of love is directly to the child, but indirectly it is a gift to all of humanity, isn't it? A child does not learn much from the father until he is older, perhaps eight or nine, or ten years of age.
Let me tell you a sad story. We have a book in our library which describes a plan, made by the Christians, to destroy Hinduism in Sri Lanka and India. One of their major tactics is to get the Hindu women out of the homes and working in the world. They knew that the spiritual force within the home is created by the unworldly woman. They knew that a secure woman makes for a secure home and family, a secure husband and a secure religion. They knew that the Hindu woman is the key to the perpetuation of Hinduism as long as she is in the home. If the woman is in the home, if she is happy and content and the children are nurtured and raised properly, then the astral beings around the home will be devonic, friendly and beneficial. But if she is out of the home and the husband is out of the home, the protective force-field around the home disintegrates, allowing all kinds of astral asuric beings to enter. Such a neglected home becomes inhabited by base, asuric beings on the lower astral plane. You cannot see these beings, but they are there, and you can sense their presence. Things just don't feel right in a home inhabited by negative forces. You have the desire to leave such a home as soon as you enter it. The children absorb these vibrations, these feelings. Children are open and psychically sensitive to such influences, with little means of self-protection. They will become disturbed, and no one will know the reason why. They will be crying and even screaming. They will be constantly disobedient. Why should they become disobedient? There is no positive, protective force field of religion established by the mother. This leaves the inner force field vulnerable to negative and confusing forces of all kinds, especially in modern, overpopulated cities where destructive psychic influences are so strong. These negative vibrations are penetrating the inner atmosphere of the home, and the children are psychic enough to pick them up and suffer.
Religion begins in the home under the mother's influence and instruction. The mother goes to the temple to get strong. That is the reason Hindus live near a temple. They go to the temple to gain the strength from the shakti of the Deity, and they return to the home where they maintain a similar vibration in which to raise the next generation to be staunch and wonderful citizens of the world, to bring peace on Earth, to keep peace on Earth. There is an ancient Tamil proverb which says one should not live in a city which has no temple.
If a child is screaming in its cradle, and the baby sitter is yelling at him and couldn't care less about his feelings, and the mother is out working, that child is not a candidate for peace on Earth. That child is going to keep things confused, as they are today. So, it's all in the hands of the mother; it's not in the hands of the father. Religion and the future of society lie solely in the hands of the mother. It is in the hands of the father to allow or not to allow the mother to be under another man's mind out in the world.
Just as the two world wars took women out of the home, so did another recent change affect mankind. When the automobile came, people forgot about breeding. The automobile did one terrible thing: it made people forget how to breed and how to take care of one another. When people had horses, horses were a part of the family. People had to care for their horses and in the process learned to care for one another. People also had to breed their horses, and in that process learned about the value of intelligent breeding. In those days, you often heard of the "well-bred" person. You don't hear of the well-bred person anymore. People no longer consider that humans, too, are involved in the natural process of breeding. They have become forgetful of these important laws, and this has led to lack of discipline, to bodies indiscriminately creating more bodies. Who is living in them nobody quite knows. That's what we, as a society, forgot when the automobile replaced the horse. When you had a horse, you had to feed it, you had to train it, curry it, stable it and breed it. In breeding it, you had to choose a stud for your mare or find a suitable mare for your stallion. The qualities on both sides were closely observed, and the combination of genetics consciously planned. It was, therefore, natural for people in those days to seek proper mates for their children, and the results were the vital, creative and industrious children of the children. As a civilization, we are slowly forgetting such things, being more careless about our children's future, about their lives and minds.
Television has not helped the matter. In fact, it has virtually stopped the proper education of the child in those communities where it is watched for hours each day. Instead of developing a curiosity by adventuring for hours through a forest or climbing a tree, instead of discovering the wonders of nature and art and music, instead of becoming involved in sports and hobbies, children are mentally carried along by television stories through positive and negative states of mind. They become uncreative, inactive, never learning to use their own minds. Not all television is negative. Some of it can be quite educational; but hours and hours each day of passive absorption are not good for the child's mental and emotional development. Children need to be active, to involve themselves in a wide variety of experiences. If the mother is there, she can intelligently guide their television, being careful that they do not get in the habit of watching it for hours on end, and watching that bold sex, violence and other bad influences are not a daily experience. When the program is over, she can send them out to play. Of course, if she is gone, they will watch anything and everything. For the young, television is one of the most senseless pastimes there is, carrying the mind further and further away from the true Self. I think you will all agree that our values, the values found in the holy Vedas, Tirukural and other sacred scriptures are not found on television. Instead, TV gives our children a brutal and unbalanced view of life which distorts in their minds how life really is. These are very serious questions. It is the mother who protects her children from negative influences, guiding their young minds into positive channels of expression.
Take the case of a farmer who raises livestock, who milks cows and goats. He works hard. He gets up early and takes care of his animals. He cannot succeed if he is also working part-time in the grocery store downtown. He just can't do it. Those animals need attention. There is no sensible man who would run a farm, with cows and goats and chickens, and not be there to take care of them, because those animals need a lot of help. He stays there and takes care of his business. He is a farmer and that is his duty, and he knows it.
Well, what's more important than the child? He needs 24-hour-a-day care. He is learning to walk, to speak, to think. He falls down and needs consoling. He catches the flu and needs to be nursed back to health. It is the mother's duty to provide that care. No one else is going to do it for her. No one else can do it for her. She brought that child into the world, and she must prepare that child for a positive and rewarding life. If the farmer neglects his animals, he creates a karma. The animals suffer. The farm suffers. The community suffers when the farm fails, and the man himself suffers. There is a grave karma, too, for the woman who neglects her stri dharma, who goes out into the world and does not nurture the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of her children. She knows this within herself, but she may be influenced by ill-advised people, or by a mass movement that tells her that she has only one life to live and that she cannot find fulfillment in the home but must express herself, venture out, seek her own path, her own fortune. You have all heard these ideas. I tell you that they are wrong. They spell the disillusionment of the mother who heeds them, then the disintegration of the family that is sacrificed by her absence. Finally, they result in her own unhappiness as she despairs at the loss suffered by her family and herself.
From the point of view of the Second World, or astral plane, the home is the family temple, and the wife and mother is in charge of that spiritual environment. Man can come into that sanctum sanctorum but should not bring the world into it. He will naturally find a refuge in the home if she is doing her duty. He will be able to regain his peace of mind there, renew himself for the next day in the stressful situations that the world is full of. In this technological age a man needs this refuge. He needs that inner balance in his life. When he enters that sanctuary and she is in her soul body and the child is in its soul body, then he becomes consciously conscious in his soul body. He leaves the conscious mind, which is a limited, external state of mind and not a balanced state of mind. He enters the intuitive mind. He gets immediate and intuitive answers to his worldly problems. How can he not be successful in his purusha dharma in the outside world when he has the backing of a good wife? She is naturally perceptive, naturally intuitive. She balances out his intellect, softens the impact of the forces which dash against his nervous system from morning to night. Encouragement and love naturally radiate out from her as she fulfills stri dharma. Without these balancing elements in his life, a man becomes too externalized, too instinctive and sometimes brutal.
If a woman is working, she cannot provide this balance. She has to start thinking and acting like a man. She has to become a little harder, create a protective shell around her emotions. Then the home loses its balance of the masculine and the feminine forces. Take for example the situation in which the wife rushes home from work fifteen minutes before the husband. She's upset. The children come over from grandmother's house or she tells the baby sitter to go home. She scurries to prepare something before he comes home, then rushes to get herself looking halfway decent. Emotionally upset, she tries to calm herself, tries to relax and regain her composure. Her astral body is upset. The children's astral bodies are upset. The husband enters this agitated environment--upset by being in the world anyway--and he becomes more disturbed. He was looking forward to a quiet evening. He feels neglected, disappointed, and that leads him to become distraught, even angry. No wonder he beats his wife and abuses his child. He's mad. He gets more and more disturbed until there is nothing left to do but walk out. It's a totally impossible situation. Furthermore, it's not going to get better but exceedingly worse.
The situation I have just described is one of the main reasons that marriages today have become less stable, that so many married couples--sixty to seventy percent, I'm told--are experiencing difficulties and breaking up. People never get married with the intent of breaking up. Never. The forces do it. You put two magnets together one way and they attract one another. Turn one around, and they repel each other. The same force that brought the people together, when it is not handled right, makes them pull apart and hate each other. They can't see eye to eye. Then to make up, they go out to dinner to talk it over--in another frustrating asuric situation, as far out in the world as they can get--to try to make up. When that doesn't help, they come home, still frustrated. If they went to the nearby temple and worshiped the Deity together, that would help. They would return home in a different state of mind, and discover that their vibration had changed. Why does it help to go to the temple? Because the Deity is in the temple. The Deity is there to adjust the forces of the inner nerve system, to actually change the forces of mind and emotion.
In the home the mother is likened to the Shakti Deity. She is the power of the home. None other. So she has to be there. She has to be treated right. She has to be given the things she needs. It is the man's duty to provide for her and for the children. The husband should provide her with all the fine things, with a good house which she then makes into a home, with gold and jewels and clothes, gold hanging down until her ears hurt, more bracelets, more things to keep her in the home so she is feeling secure and happy. In return she provides a refuge, a serene corner of the world where he can escape from the pressures of daily life, where he can regain his inner perspective, perform his spiritual sadhana and meditations then enjoy his family. Thus, she brings happiness and peace of mind to the family, to the community and to the world.
This working together of the home and the temple brings up the culture and the religion within the family. The family goes to the temple; the temple blesses the family's next project. The mother returns home. She keeps an oil lamp burning in the shrine room on the altar. It's a beautiful thing. All this happens because her astral body is not fretted by the stresses and strains of a worldly life, not polluted by the lustful thoughts of other men directed to her. She is not living in the emotional astral body. She is living in her peaceful soul body of love, fulfilling her dharma and radiating the soulful presence called sannidhya. She was born to be a woman, and that's how a woman should behave.
If she does not do her dharmic duty--this means the duty of birth--then she accrues bad karma. Every time she leaves the home to go out to work, she is making kukarma. Yes, she is. That negative karma will reflect on her astral body and on her husband's astral body and on the astral bodies of their children, causing them to become insecure.
The Christian-Judaic-Islamic idea of a one life, that "you have to get everything out of this life because when you're gone, you're gone, so grab all the gusto that you can out of life" has given the modern Western woman the idea that she is not getting what she should, by being a woman, and therefore the world looks doubly attractive because she is just passing through and will never come back and doesn't want to miss anything. So, living a man's life is very, very attractive. She doesn't want to stay home all the time and not see anything, not meet anybody, go through the boredom of raising a family, taking care of the children. She wants to be out with life, functioning in a man's world because she is told that she is missing something. Therefore, you can understand her desire to get out and work, start seeing and experiencing life and mixing with people, meeting new people. The Hindu woman does not look at life like that. The Hindu woman knows that she was born in a woman's body--this soul has taken an incarnation for a time in a woman's body--to perform a dharma, to perform a duty for the evolution of the soul. The duty is to be a mother to her children, wife to her husband, to strengthen the home and the family, which are the linchpin of society. She knows that the rewards are greater for her in the home. She knows that all she is missing is a man's strenuous work and responsibility, that her stri dharma is equally as great as a man's purusha dharma, even though they are quite different by nature. Because she knows these things, she fulfills her dharma joyously.
Now, a woman may wonder, "If I don't work, how are we going to pay the bills?" The real reason that most women work is economic. The economy of the world is becoming more and more difficult, and the first answer to money problems, especially in the West, where the family unit is not too strong these days, is to have the woman go to work. This is an unhappy solution. The sacrifices are greater than the rewards. It is a false economy. Many times I have told young wives to stay home with their children. They worry. Their husbands worry. But with the wife at home, working to strengthen her husband, he soon becomes confident, creative, energetic. He is reinspired and always finds a way to make things work.
Of course, religion must be the basis of the home to make it all work. When women leave the home to work in the world, they sacrifice the depth of their religion; their religious life then simply becomes a social affair. This is true of both Eastern and Western religions. As long as the mother is home, the celestial devas are there, hovering in and around the home. How many of you were raised with your mother staying at home? Well, then you know what I mean. Now, what if she wasn't at home when you were a child? You came home and mother wasn't there. You had to fix your own snack in an empty house. You didn't feel much cared for. You were alone in an empty house, perhaps frightened, and you went around seeing if someone was hiding in the closet. You didn't feel that motherly, protective feeling. When mother finally does come home, she has other things on her mind. She is tired. She has worked hard, and now she has to work even more. She is not thinking about the little helpless kid who can't take care of himself or herself. She may get home and think to herself, "I just can't forget about that good-looking man I met at the office. I even see him in my dreams. I have a husband and I shouldn't be thinking about such things, but" And on and on and on. Arguments begin to happen for the first time in the home. What do you do? You worry for awhile. You cry a little. As soon as you can, you start fending for yourself. You work out ways to take care of yourself or even to get away from the unhappy situation as soon as you can. You end up out on your own in the world at a young age, before you are mature enough to cope with it.
The Hindu woman knows that she is born in a woman's body to perform a woman's dharma, to perform her duty and not to emulate the men. The duty is to be a mother to her children and a wife to her husband, whom she looks to as her lord. She performs that duty willingly as does the man perform his duty which arises out of being born in a man's body. The Hindu woman is trained to perform her stri dharma from the time she is a little girl. She finds ways to express her natural creativity within the home itself. She may write poetry or become an artist. Perhaps she has a special talent for sewing or embroidery or gardening or music. She can learn to loom cloth and make the family's clothing. If needed, she can use her skills to supplement the family income without leaving the home. There are so many ways for a Hindu wife and mother to fully use her creative energies, including being creative enough to never let her life become boring. It is her special blessing that she is free to pursue her religion fully, to study the scriptures, to sing bhajana and keep her own spiritual life strong inside.
Then there is the situation in which the wife is working for her husband in the home. This is not ideal, but it is far better than having her out, away from her husband, under another man's mind. At least the family is working together toward a single goal, and the mother is there to care for the child and answer questions. Of course, if working in the home does not allow for closeness of mother and children, then it is to be avoided--if, for instance, the work is so demanding that the mother is never free to play with the young ones or is so pressured by her other duties that she becomes tense and upset. Otherwise, it is a positive situation. From the child's point of view, mother is home. She is there to answer questions, to make a dosai or say "Go make yourself a nice dosai."
The University of Hard Knocks
[Books] > The University of Hard Knocks
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The School That Completes Our Education
"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his
God, and he shall be my son"--Revelation 21:7.
And thus our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks
"Can I get the lecture in book form?" That continuous question from
shake the hand of every person who has sat in my audiences. And I
I. THE BOOKS ARE BUMPS--Every bump a lesson--Why the two kinds of
II. THE COLLEGE OF NEEDLESS KNOCKS, the bumps that we bump
III. THE COLLEGE OF NEEDFUL KNOCKS, the bumps that bump into
ones shake up and the little ones shake down--The barrel of life
life--Most "advantages" are disadvantages--Buying education for
books only give better tools for service--"Hard knocks" graduates--
the shell game--My "fool drawer"--Getting "selected to receive
orations--My maiden sermon--The books that live have been
experience--Theory and practice--Tuning the strings of life
VIII. LOOKING BACKWARD--Memories of the price we pay--My first
school teaching--Loaning the deacon my money--Calling the roll of
my schoolmates--At the grave of the boy I had envied--Why Ben Hur
X. GOING UP LIFE'S MOUNTAIN--The defeats that are victories--
you some of the multiplication table of life--not mine, not yours
Every audience has a different temperature, and that makes a
the woodshed to get a bucket of sorghum from that barrel.
the sorghum would fairly squirt into my bucket. Later in the fall
squirt. It would come out slowly and reluctantly, so that I would
plug. I cannot make it run. That will depend upon the temperature
That often explains why one person says a lecture is great, while
two or three simple little ideas of life, that our education is our
growing up from the Finite to the Infinite, and that it is done by
our own personal overcoming, and that we never finish it.
Have you noticed that no sentence, nor a million sentences, can
bound life? Have you noticed that every statement does not quite
cover it? No statement, no library, can tell all about life. No
We are told that the stomach needs bulk as well as nutriment. It
If you get the feeling that the first personal pronoun is being
overworked, I remind you that this is more a confession than a
To Everybody in My Audience
I believe in you because I believe in myself. We are all one
hypocrisy and human frailty are the Outside that must be chipped
about your present. I care much about your future for that is to
The Books Are Bumps
THE greatest school is the University of Hard Knocks. Its books are
not get that bump again. We do not need it. We have traveled past
matter with us, so that we do not learn the lesson of the bump we
have just gotten, then that bump must come back and bump us again.
was a sentence in my grammar that disgusted me. It was by some
And thus our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks,
"Tongues in trees," I thought. "Trees can't talk! That man is
crazy. Books in running brooks! Why nobody never puts no books in
no running brooks. They'd get wet. And that sermons in stones! They
But I am happy today that I have traveled a little farther. I am
happy that I have begun to learn the lessons from the bumps. I am
happy that I am learning the sweet tho painful lessons of the
University of Adversity. I am happy that I am beginning to listen.
they have to get bumped just where we got bumped, to learn that two
and two always makes four, and "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall
As we get bumped and battered on life's pathway, we discover we get
two kinds of bumps--bumps that we need and bumps that we do not
Bumps that we bump into and bumps that bump into us.
We discover, in other words, that The University of Hard Knocks has
The Bumps That We Bump Into
There comes a vivid memory of one of my early Needless Knocks as I
say that. It was back at the time when I was trying to run our home
to suit myself. I sat in the highest chair in the family circle. I
That day they had the little joy and sunshine of the family in his
I became enamored with that coffee-pot. I decided I needed that
coffee-pot in my business. I reached over to get the coffee-pot.
Then I discovered a woman beside me, my mother. She was the most
in three years that that woman had not meddled into.
And that day when I wanted the coffee-pot--I did want it. Nobody
how I desired that coffee-pot. "One thing thou lackest," a
I was reaching over to get it, that woman said, "Don't touch that!"
has that woman to meddle into my affairs all the time? I have stood
There were weeks after that when I was upholstered. They put
You see, my mother's way was to tell me and then let me do as I
it, knowing that it would burn me. She would say, "Don't." Then she
the well after that and she would not look at me. I do not argue
that this is the way to raise children, but I insist that this was
The neighbors and the ladies' aid society often said my mother was
cruel with that angel child. But the neighbors did not know what
Mother knew that to argue with me was to flatter me. Tell me, serve
notice upon me, and then let me go ahead and get my coffee-pot.
That was the quickest and kindest way to teach me.
I learned very quickly that if I did not hear mother, and heed, a
my mother that a coffee-pot of some kind did not spill upon me, and I
got my blisters. Mother did not inflict them. Mother was not much of an
inflicter. Father attended to that in the laboratory behind the
And thru the bumps we learn that The College of Needless Knocks
wiser and happier." The tongues in the trees, the books in the
Anything that goes downward will run itself. Anything that goes
One time I paid a seeress two dollars to look into my honest palm.
born under an unlucky star." You don't know how that comforted me.
It wasn't my fault--all my bumps and coffee-pots! I was just
to learn the lesson of the bump and find the right path, so that
when I see that bump coming again I can say, "Excuse me; it hath a
I looked down my nose. "Ralph Parlette," I said to myself, "when
are you going to learn to see as well as that blind man? He learns
Let me repeat, things that go downward will run themselves. Things
that go upward have to be pushed. Going upward is overcoming.
Notice that churches, schools, lyceums, chautauquas, reform
movements--things that go upward--never run themselves. They must
upward to larger life.
If you are making no effort in your life, if you are moving in the
brave minority of thinking, self-sacrificing people that decides
the tomorrow of communities that go upward. Majorities are not
drift and be amused and follow false gods that promise something
Human life is the story of the Prodigal Son. We look over the fence
of goodness into the mystery of the great unknown world beyond and
in that unknown realm we fondly imagine is happiness.
bumped your conscience numb. That is why you have no feelings on
so that they will not think upon their ways! How he keeps the music
"Remember, son, to stay away from the sticky flypaper. That is
naturally bright young life. Afterwhile, tho, he stubs his toe and
First he puts one foot down and pulls it out. That is a lot of fun.
The Bumps That Bump Into Us
BUT occasionally all of us get bumps that we do not bump into. They
bump into us. They are the guideboard knocks that point us to the
It broke your heart. You have had your heart broken. I have had my
But I am discovering that life only gets good after we have been
We all must learn, if we have not already learned, that these blows
is--material that needs more Needful Knocks to make it more useful
most of these knocks--who have faced the great crises of life and
that these lives are the gold tried in the fire.
Did you get the meaning of that, children? I hope you are green.
That is why you were bumped--because you were good! There came a
But shake, Mr. Piano. That is why you are on this stage. You were
throwing out of that hole what I thought was red mud.
"Kind sir, why are they throwing that red mud out of that hole?" I
"That hain't red mud. That's iron ore, an' it's the best iron ore
"It hain't worth nothin' here; that's why they're movin' it away."
There's red mud around every community that "hain't worth nothin'"
limestone, charcoal and other textbooks. Then they corked it up and
When it was done roasting they stopped. Have you noticed that they
roasted yet again and rolled thin into a junior. Some of that went
why did they take me away from my happy hole-in-the-ground? Why do
they pound me and break my heart? I have been good and faithful. O,
it in glass cases. Many people admired it and said, "Isn't that
If a ton of that red mud had become watch-springs or razor-blades,
My friends, you and I are the raw material, the green trees, the
a larger life. The diamond and the chunk of soft coal are exactly the
There is no human diamond that has not been crystallized in the
crucibles of affliction. There is no gold that has not been refined
coming here. I have the feeling that I spoke the words, but you are
said. "I have been in pain most of my life. But I have learned all
that I know sitting in this chair. I have learned to be patient and
had everything that money could buy. But her money seemed unable to
"Mr. Lecture Man," she said, "why is everybody interested in my
daughter and nobody interested in me? Why is my daughter happy and
why am I not happy? My daughter is always happy and she hasn't a
you are not happy is that you haven't been bumped enough."
There is no backward step in life. Whatever experiences come to us
We think this is true of the good things that come to us, but we do
this Babylon that I have builded?" And about that time there comes
You are down and out." Do not believe that you are down and out,
for it is not true. The old enemy of humanity wants you to believe
greatness. We go up in life. We become educated. Let me bring you
All I could figure out was that there was only one layer of the
Then I calmed down. Did the groceryman do that on purpose? Does
until that day on the train that the groceryman does not put the
need to do it. It does itself. It is the shaking of the barrel that
You laugh? You don't believe that? Maybe your roads are so good
and smooth that things do not shake on the road to town. But back
I saw that for thirty years before I saw it. Did you ever notice
that when I played marbles. The big marbles would shake to the top
of my pocket and the little ones would rattle down to the bottom.
You children try that tomorrow. Do not wait thirty years to learn
that the big ones shake up and the little ones shake down. Put some
Let us try that right on the platform. Here is a glass jar and
forbearance. I am discovering that we can hear faster thru the eye
than thru the ear. I want to make this so vivid that you will never
Note that I mix them all up and then shake. Note that they arrange
Suppose those objects could talk. I think I hear that littlest bean
I hear him say, "King's ex! I slipped. Try that again and I'll
the same shakes that send the little ones back to the bottom.
The Shaking Barrel of Life
O, fellow apples! We are all apples in the barrel of life on the
of life. That barrel is shaking all the time. Every community is
live or work is shaking. Life is a constant survival of the
The same law that shakes the little ones down and the big ones up
in that can is shaking every person to the place he fits in the
barrel of life. It is sending small people down and great people
And do you not see that we are very foolish when we want to be
the eternal law of life.
The very worst thing that can happen to anybody is to be
destiny. There is destiny--that jar.
The objects in that jar cannot change their size. But thank God,
there so long as we stay that size.
So you young people should keep in mind that you will shake into
of people working for me, I would have a jar in my office filled
would say, "Go shake the jar, Charlie. That is the way you get
This jar tells me so much about luck. I have noted that the lucky
people shake up and the unlucky people shake down. That is, the
shook down and the big ones shook up. The bump that was bad luck to
to size. Every business concern can tell you stories like that of
Do you remember that green things grow?
made many blunders. But it is now recalled that she never made the
she had been put at, she would discover something else that ought
rules of the union! Without being told, mind you. She had that rare
Within three months every other girl in that office was asking
confidence that it was the rankest favoritism ever known. "There
pulpmill. He replied, "No, I don't know nothing about that,
Going out of the building, I asked the foreman, "Do you see that
The foreman's face clouded. "I hate to talk to you about that man.
Life's Barrel the Leveler
So books could be filled with just such stories of how people have
same chance, and presently notice that one is going up and the
Some of us begin life on the top branches, right in the sunshine of
And afterwhile we are all in the barrel of life, shaken and bumped
of that tree did you grow?" But they often inquire, "Are you big
Now life is mainly routine. You and I and everybody must go on
But if we let life become routine, we are shaking down. The very
routine of life must every day flash a new attractiveness. We must
The success, joy and glory of life are in learning, growing, going
forward and upward. That is the only way to hold our place.
that. You can't tell me anything about that." He is generally
They can't get along without me." For I feel that they are getting
ready to get along without him. That noise you hear is the
I am sorry for the man, community or institution that spends much
time pointing backward with pride and talking about "in my day!"
For it is mostly rattle. The live one's "my day" is today and
We young people come up into life wanting great places. I would not
place, that sized place will generally come seeking us.
All life is preparation for greater things.
we cannot become an oak that way.
hope it will do him some good. Anyhow, I have gotten him off my
The danger is that the hero of them may get to leaning upon them.
ones. I look back over my lyceum life and see that I hindered my
progress by reading my press-notices instead of listening to the
verdict of my audiences. I avoided frank criticism. It would hurt
And my vanity bump would again rise.
Alas! How often I have learned that when I did return the hall that
rattle back, and "the last estate of that man is worse than the
derrick. We must feed the hungry and clothe the naked, but that is
not helping them, that is propping them. The beggar who asks you to
And so every day that beggar got to be more of a beggar. The public
a day. I rattled there. I did not earn my dollar fifteen. I tried
joyful sound!--I would leave my pick hang right up in the air. I
the section-house, why I was not president of that bank. I wondered
Did you ever hear that line of conversation? It generally comes
I am so glad now that I did not get to be president of the bank.
The fairy books love to tell about some clodhopper suddenly
enchanted up into a king. But life's good fairies see to it that
But I had not seen that it wouldn't matter which end was the top,
Have you ever noticed that the man who is not willing to fix
That Cruel Fate
Do you not see that "cruel fate" is our own smallness and
And this blessed old barrel of life is just waiting and anxious to
WE go up as we grow great. That is, we go up as we grow up. But so
life expansion.
The higher we rise, the better we see that life on this planet is
The world says that to get greatness means to get great things. So
Life is a failure." All outside life is a failure. Real life is in
They got very busy pursuing greatness, but I do not read that they
"O, Master," said the mother, "grant that these my two sons may sit,
of greatness that can ever stand: "Whosoever will be great among
That is we cannot be "born great," nor "have greatness thrust upon"
This is the Big Business of life--going up, getting educated,
it is that the first step is always nearest at hand. We do not have
become great. It is a great stairway that leads from where our feet
spectacular stride of a thousand steps at one leap. That is why we
upward currents. And so as our problems disappear and our life
As we grow greater our opportunities grow greater. That is, we
ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." That great ocean is
of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had."
treasury. That is not why we give. We give to become great. The
Becoming great is overcoming our selfishness and fear. He that
saveth his life shall lose it, but he that loseth his life for the
service, there is an alchemy that transmutes every gift into gold.
floor. But I do know that the one who made the floor--and the one
the community heart in the precious handful who believe that the
that go upward.
the happy ones, happy for the larger vision that comes as they go
higher by unselfish service. They are discovering that their
I wondered what the grimy-faced man from the shaft, wearing the
course. But I learned that he had all to do with it. He had sold
The great people are so busy serving that they have little time to
Chicago on Sundays to thousands. He writes books and runs a college
uplift movements that his name gets into the papers about every day,
think that a vacation means going off somewhere and stretching out
"What are you going to do in life?" Perhaps the young man would
Sometimes they were right about that.
But he that saveth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his
life in loving service finds it returning to him great and
did not make him great. His books did not make him great. These are
the by-products. His life of service for others makes him
great--makes his preaching, his college and his books great.
This Chicago man gives his life into the service of humanity, and
If he had begun life by "taking care of himself" and "looking out
yourself that afterwhile you are going to give great things and do
for life. All other kinds of "preparedness" fade into
insignificance before this. The history of nations shows that their
struggling and overcoming--that nation was strong. It was "prepared."
Has the American nation reached that period?
grateful that he was jolted from his life-preserver and cruelly
acquired in a life of struggle." As well expect the athlete to give
in a long life of prayer.
There was a little, old man who went about that mill, often saying,
The little old man often said, "I'm going to give that boy the best
education my money can buy."
silver platter. Gussie went thru that university about like a steer
You remember, then, that after he matriculates--after he gets the
goes riding thru on that endless cable from his A-B-C's to his
a wreck. The monument of a father's lifetime was wrecked in two
After that a good many people said it was the college that made a
that way for a good while.
But now I see that Bill went up in spite of his handicaps. If he
do that. You cannot get an education from the book and the college
many or any books. Yet they are educated to the degree they have
That is why they say, "All my life I have been handicapped by lack of
proper preparation. Don't make my mistake, children, go to school."
the books, remember, you are having a commencement, not an
end-ment. You will discover with the passing years that life is
That is what you know--what the courts will take as evidence when
life and put them into them.
went out of my audience very indignant. He said he was very glad
his boy was not there to hear it. But that good, deluded father now
I rarely tell of it on a platform that at the close of the lecture
from that community.
ignorant of the fact that the barrel shakes.
thinking, "I won't have to turn my hand over. Papa and mamma will
they have. I'm fixed for life."
it--put it into your life.
came a monstrosity that soon died. It had an over-developed body
and under-developed wings. He learned that helping the insect was
that envelope that was needed to reduce its body and develop its
somewhere. Just work that gets us three meals a day and a place to
the sorghum mill. Round and round that horse went, seeing nothing,
that way. They regard work as a necessary evil. They are
But getting a vision of life, and working to grow upward to it,
that is the work that brings the joy and the greatness.
even the packhorse job, because it is our "meal ticket" that
was "right" that I helped. They were runts. One of them was a regular
character, for the joy of having a larger life. I am pleading with
upward. It is the proof that we are progressing.
work that fits your talents, and stop watching the clock and
me into "taking care" of myself. And I got to taking such good care
of myself and watching for symptoms that I became a physical wreck.
I saved myself by getting busier. I plunged into work I love. I
found my job in my work, not away from it, and the work refreshed
been a great surprise to my friends and a great disappointment to
If I did not like my work, of course, I would be carrying a
think and grunt and worry about my body. And like Paul I am happy
When we love our work, it is not work, it is life.
I am not saying that he should attend my lecture, but I am grieving
to the nation. The crowd that drifts and lives for amusement is the
crowd that finds itself back near the caboose, and as the train of
That is why the crowd is not furnishing the strong men and women.
they contract, then they relax. But the muscle that goes on
community, the nation that goes on relaxing without
The more you study your muscles, the more you learn that while one
muscle is relaxing another is contracting. So you must learn that
log-cabin, save that there the necessity for struggle that brings
struggle and service that makes for strength and greatness. And as
that young person comes to the city and shakes in the barrel among
the weaklings of the artificial life, he rises above them like the
sunshine, air and freedom that the crowded cities cannot have.
"Many people say that. But they don't understand. If these people
thinking ever since that about three-fourths of the small towns of
spend its years raising crops of young people for the cities. That
coming back. That is the drain that devitalizes the home towns more
the school of books with the school of struggle. He organized his
school into competing groups, so that the student who had no
struggle in his life would at least have to struggle with the
that he was initiating an individual or class effort to win. The
I am anxiously awaiting the results. I am hoping that the boys and
not be rows of lithographed cans on the shelves of life. I am
it stimulated and unfettered. I am anxious that they be not
men--great men. I am anxious that the modern school have the modern
that each student come in vital touch with great men. We get life
from life, not from laboratories, and we have life more abundantly
Many a small school struggling to live thinks that all it needs is
endowment, when the fact is that its struggle for existence and the
calamities in the financial prosperity that has engulfed them.
foundations? That is the question the age is asking.
For that sentence utters one of the fundamentals of life that
I have had the feeling ever since that you and I come into this
neck. That is about all there is either to us or to the fiddle. We
school and go fiddling thru life on this one string!
them the full complement of strings for their life symphonies.
Why is a violin? To wear strings? Gussie got that far and gave a
and college can do is to give the strings--the tools. After that
the violin must go into the great tuning school of life. Here the
continents of Truth. That is the true happiness of
life--discovering Truth. We read things in a book and have a hazy
little feeling, "Yes, that is so." We hear the great truths of life
falsehood that excites--until we discover it in our lives. Until we
--my-y-y-y-y--f-f-f-f--ingers--bur-r-r-rned--period!"
I did not learn it. I wish I had learned by reading it that if I
play with the fire I will get my fingers burned. I had to slap my
Then I had to go around showing the blisters, boring my friends and
taking up a collection of sympathy. "Look at my bad luck!" Fool!
Yes, I was thirty-four years learning that one sentence. "You can't
get something for nothing." That is, getting it in partial tune. It
took me so long because I was naturally bright. It takes that kind
That sentence takes me back to the days when I was a "hired man" on
me here on this platform in my graceful and cultured manner, and
you might not believe that I had ever trained an orphan calf to
hand many a time. You might not think that I had ever driven a yoke
you may remember that at the county fair all the people sort out to
"suckers"! Did you ever notice where they go? That is where I
that--in a city all of one size get together.
became too sultry he would move to greener pastures. On that table
I had saved up my money for weeks to attend the fair. I bet it all
on that middle shell. I felt bad. It seemed like robbing father.
I went over to the other side of the fairgrounds and sat down. That
When anybody says that he is due for a return date.
"Gentlemen, I am introducing this new medicinal soap that cures all
I am putting these cakes of Wonder Soap in my hat. You see I am
a cake of this wonderful soap from my hat--any cake you want, gentlemen!"
around it! I jumped over the rest to shove my five (two weeks' farm
work) in his hands and grab that bill cake. But the bill
My "Fool Drawer"
I grew older and people began to notice that I was naturally bright
I used to have a drawer in my desk I called my "fool drawer." I
kept my investments in it. I mean, the investments I did not have
to lock up. You get the pathos of that--the investments nobody
open that drawer and "view the remains."
I had in that drawer the deed to my Oklahoma corner-lots. Those
I had in that drawer my deed to my rubber plantation. Did you ever
hear of a rubber plantation in Central America? That was mine.
I had there my oil propositions. What a difference, I have learned,
I used to wonder how I ever could spend my income. I do not wonder now.
I had in that drawer my "Everglade" farm. Did you ever hear of the
Nobody could know while I kept that drawer shut. As I looked over
my gold and silver mine stock, I often noticed that it was printed
melon! I have heard that all my life and never got a piece of the rind.
increased my faith that the next ship would be mine. Good, honest,
new enterprise that had millions in it--in its prospectus. I would
stock. That was doubling and trebling my money over night. An old
banker once said to me, "Why don't you invest in something that
had no imagination! Nothing interested me that did not offer fifty
It would have been better for me if I had thrown about all my
Were you ever selected? If you were, then you know the thrill that
rent my manly bosom as I read that letter from this man who said he
Did you get that? I hope you did. I did not! But I took a night
respect not my feelings. I am not going to tell you a thing that
dollars to corner the wheat market of the world. That is all I paid
That bump set me to thinking. My fever began to reduce. I got the
I have always regarded Tom as one of my great school teachers. I
had made up to that time, for I got the most out of it. I do not
feel that we should endow them. How else can we save a sucker? You
It is worth eleven hundred dollars every day to know that one
sentence, You cannot get something for nothing. Life just begins to
a big ad, "Grasp a Fortune Now!" I will not do it! I stop my
subscription to that paper. I simply will not take a paper with
that ad in it, for I have graduated from that class.
Today when I get a confidential letter that starts out, "You have
O, Absalom, Absalom, my son, my son! Learn it early in life. The
I wish you could see the thousands of hard-earned dollars that go
as you described. The saddest part of it is that the money nearly
Learn that the gambler never owns his winnings. The man who
have earned and stored in your life, not merely in your pocket,
To me that is one of the great arguments for eternal life--how slowly
The young person says, "By next June I shall have finished my
that life is one infinite succession of commencements and
a filmy creation caught with something or other.
truths that you have memorized, but not vitalized.
that is not knowing them. You cannot know them until you have lived
but you can never really say that until you know it by struggling
but you cannot really say that until you have pulled on the oar.
My Maiden Sermon
ready for my try-out. I certainly loaded it to the muzzle.
of my experience, I went to the books in my father's library. "As
chunk of Shakespeare and nailed it on page five of my sermon. "List
fragments from the books together with my own native genius. I
worked that sermon up into the most beautiful splurges and spasms.
life is expression. But you have to get something to express. Here
I made my mistake. I got a lot of fine gestures. I got an
and that sermon would not have hesitated.
large and enthusiastic concourse delivered that maiden sermon more
it was in me. But I certainly got it all out that day!
that earlier. I wish now I had sat down before I got up. I was the
bad, bub, I've heerd worse than that. You're all right, bub, but
that the old man was right. I had wonderful truth in that sermon.
man meant I did not know my own sermon.
peal from that part of your audience unrelated to you.
Out of every thousand books published, perhaps nine hundred of them
the books that do live, you note that they are the books that have
been lived. Perhaps the books that fail have just as much of truth
vital impulse. They come out of the author's head. The books that
live must come out of his heart. They are his own life. They come
The best part of our schooling comes not from the books, but from
the men behind the books.
We study agriculture from books. That does not make us an
agriculturist. We must take a hoe and go out and agricult. That is
attended to. She sang that afternoon in the tent, "The Last Rose of
The audience politely endured Jessie. That night a woman sang in
Berlin, but she had lived that song. She didn't dress the notes
all right and you have a better voice than that woman, but you
sing that song, for it is the sob of a broken-hearted woman. Learn
lives? That is why they "execute" them.
said. "I have had such a struggle in my life. I have lived on one
know what it is to be left alone in the world upon my own
discouraged and down and out. It was in my little back-room, the
only home I had, that I began to write songs. I wrote them for my
own relief. I was writing my own life, just what was in my own
surprised and grateful that the world seems to love my songs and
simple little songs so full of the pathos and philosophy of life
that they tug at your heart and moisten your eyes.
No. Books of theory and harmony and expression only teach us how to
song, but only the skeleton into which our own life must breathe
the life of the song.
loneliness, she never would have been able to write the songs that
The popular song is the song that best voices what is in the
songs that are trashy and voice the tawdriest human impulses, yet
it is a tribute to the good elements in humanity that the
My friends, I am not arguing that you and I must drink the dregs of
defeat, or that our lives must fill up with poverty or sorrow, or
around me in the affairs of everyday life, that none of us will
ever know real success in any line of human endeavor until that
came from the life of Carrie Jacobs-Bond.
Indeed, in my childhood I thought he was the greatest man in the
He was a remarkable man--a great reader and with a memory that
retained it all. That man could recite chapters and volumes.
practical life. He seemed to be unable to think and reason for
of that man as an intellectual cold storage plant.
the Book of Human Experience the "sermons in stones" and the "books
Tuning the Strings of Life
the floor when you could not sleep. You have learned that "beyond
You came here thinking that perhaps you would forget your trouble
your hearts you are asking, "What is this all about? What is that
You will see all that seems to make life livable lost out of your
For all lives have about the same elements. Your life is going to
bumps and the tears, that all these things somehow are necessary to
divine and harmonies celestial come from the same old strings that
Thus we know that our education is progressing, as the evil and
That is getting in tune.
That is growing up.
I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, altho it is quite
evident that I could have handled a pretty good-sized spoon. But
sheaves. That night I was proud when that farmer patted me on the
cheerful old miser put a nickel in my blistered hand. That nickel
That "Last Day of School"
handle it, hence the tale that follows.
haven't changed much since. I kept still about my age. I was
several dollars the lowest bidder. They said out that way, "Anybody
can teach kids." That is why I was a teacher.
that I thought would make it go. My first rule was, Make 'em study.
My second, Make, em recite. That is, fill 'em up and then empty 'em.
My third and most important rule was, Get your money!
old back-country "last day of school exhibition"? The people that
literature that day. Execute is the word that tells what happened
to literature in District No. 1, Jackson Township, that day. I can
shut my eyes and see it yet. I can see my pupils coming forward to
back of the ears! And into them! So many of them wore collars that
the Legion lay dying in Algiers." We had him die again that day,
now that if Patrick Henry had been present, he would have said,
to yell. Tomorrow I would get my money! I had a speech I had been
got up before that "last day of school" audience and opened my
my eyes. Tears rolled down my cheeks until I could hear them
spatter on my six-dollar suit.
And my pupils wept as their dear teacher said farewell. Parents
Next day I drew my money. I had it all in one joyous wad--$240. I
"due at corncutting," as we termed that annual fall-time paying up
season. I really thought a note was not necessary, such was my
"due at corncutting," as a souvenir of my first schoolteaching.
scarcely know whether to look up or down as I say that. He never
I was paid thousands in experience for that first schoolteaching,
from the books, that it takes less wisdom to make money, than it
A lyceum bureau once sent me back to my home town to lecture. I
And he has gotten his lecture out of that home town. The heroes and
where twenty-one years before I had stood to deliver my graduating oration,
for I will sa-a-a-a-ave you!" or words to that effect.
Then I went back to the little hotel and sat up alone in my room
could live in that hotel was a superior order of being. But the
I held thanksgiving services that night. I could see better. I had
a picture of the school in that town that had been taken twenty-one
I got a truer perspective of life that night. Did you ever sit
genius-esses and things like that.
appointed for that purpose took Jim back of the schoolhouse and
broke the news to him that they were going to let him graduate, but
speech that would do credit to such a brilliant class. They hid Jim
a lot of men working for him. The committee that took him out
stood that night.
Hours pass, and still as I sat in that hotel room I was lost in
that school picture and the twenty-one years. There were fifty-four
young people in that picture. They had been shaken these years in
the barrel, and now as I called the roll on them, most of them that
I expected to go up had shaken down and some that I expected to
Out of that fifty-four, one had gone to a pulpit, one had gone to
When that picture was taken the oldest was not more than eighteen,
The twenty-one years that followed had not changed their courses.
The only changes had come where God had come into a life to uplift
that the foolish dreams of success faded before the natural
unfolding of talents, which is the real success. I saw better that
jail." But Model Harry sat around all his life being a model. I
I have said little about the girls of the school. Fact was, at that
But as I looked into the face of Jim Lambert in the picture, my
white, loving life radiated far.
I was the janitor of the schoolhouse. Some of my classmates will
carried in the coal. After commencement my career seemed to end and
roll up my sleeves and go to work in the "devil's corner" to earn
my daily bread. Seemed like it took so much bread!
all the struggle taken out of his life. He never followed his
finally ended his wasted life with a bullet fired by his own hand.
trial at the hands of this world. That is why the great Judge has
alone have that.
That seems to be your life and my life. In the kitchen or the
the oar and pulling under the sting of the lash of necessity. Life
look across the street and see somebody who lives a happier life.
That one is chained to no oar. See what a fine time they all have.
How blind we are! We can only see our own oar. We cannot see that
stronger forearms. They are bands of steel that swell in the
Sooner or later you and I are to learn that Providence makes no
galleys of life by pulling on the oar.
That is why I thanked God as I stood at the grave of my classmate.
and for the circumstances that compelled it.
get out of the county." That is a fact, but he is not trying to get
know that he has to go hundreds of miles south. He is only trying
relative to die and bequeath him some water. That is a beautiful
thought! He has water enough to start south, and he does that.
My friends, here is one of the best pictures I can find in nature
Value of a Goal in Life." But the direction is vastly more
important than the goal. Find the way your life should go, and then
more natural life, so that we can hear the call. We are all called.
That is why I am making it the slogan of my life--GO ON SOUTH AND
GROW GREATER! I hope I can make you remember that and say it over
GROW GREATER. For this is life, and there is no other. This is
education--and religion. And the only business of life.
So many of those young goslings believe that. They quit and get
think that is being a stenographer, when it is merely a symptom of
Half of our life is spent in getting competents to repair the
is the opiate that Nature administers to deaden the pains of mediocrity.
We say, "I've seen my best days." And the undertaker goes and
A-B-C's. I do not utter that as a bit of sentiment, but as the
great fundamental of our life. I hope the oldest in years sees that
understand. Just beginning to know about life."
compound interest! They are dead. This is life.
my features. I saw some gray hairs coming. Hurrah!
to employ gray-headed men? They have found that so many of them
outside, but has kept young and fresh on the inside. Put that
whole world going to that person for direction, advice, vision,
I am happy today as I look back over my life. I have been trying to
beginning to live. If anybody wants to be my best friend, let him
Years ago a bureau representative who booked me told me my lectures
never get any better. I had reached my limit. Those lectures were
invectives against the bureaus and ungrateful audiences that were
"That's all right. But, my man, how old are you?"
"My boy," laughed Senator Davis, "I was an Odd Fellow before
When I was a little boy I saw them bring the first phonograph that
who did not believe that Mr. Edison had succeeded. His name was
Mr. Edison has said that his genius is mainly his ability to keep
other day, and she wrote me that the great inventor showed her one
before I hit upon that."
"I know more than seven thousand ways now that won't work."
That is success supreme. Not "succeeded" but "succeeding."
death and life. Are you "ed-ing" or "ing-ing"?
eighty. He went on south into the extra editions after that!
fifty-four," he would have become the seventeenth mummy on the
orations on "The Age of the Young Man" and the Ostler idea that you
Then I see the committee waiting on Moses. That is what a committee
attend my funeral next Thursday."
to hold that funeral until I get this work pushed off so I can
absorbed in our going that we'll fool the "committee."
on my shoulder, no matter how good clothes I wear.
clock that runs down.
tribulations, and I'll be in that bright and happy land." What will
child and I'm not happy now. Them was the best days of my life
childhood's palmy days."
anybody who gets shortchanged regularly, it is a child. I am so
I wish I could forget many of my childhood memories. I remember the
palmy days. And the palm!
I often wonder how I ever lived thru my childhood. I would not take
my chances living it thru again. I am not ungrateful to my parents.
that correctly, but I know I was reared in a parsonage. About all
I inherited was a Godly example and a large appetite. That was
that my heart does not go out to them. I remember when I did that.
I can only remember about four big meals in a year. That was
had it we had it on that table. All the jelly that ever "jelled"
me to sit. Father would say, "You go into the next room, my boy,
The hungriest one of that assemblage would have to go in the next
the next room that heaven would be a place where everybody would
Many a time after that, Elder Berry would come into the room where
He would often put his hand in benediction upon my head.
My head was not the place that needed the benediction.
He would say, "My boy, I want you to have a good time now." Now!
When all the chicken was gone and he had taken the neck! "My boy,
you are seeing the best days of your life right now as a child."
The dear old liar! I was seeing the worst days of my life. If there
is anybody shortchanged--if there is anybody who doesn't have a
good time, it's a child. Life has been getting better ever since,
for joy. Our life is one continual unfolding as we go south.
So we cannot grow old. Our life never stops. It goes on and on
forever. Anything that does not stop cannot grow old or have age.
And I have to say that to many questions, "I do not know." I often
So that is why they spent the millions to build the obstacle--to
That is exactly what happens when you and I overcome our obstacles.
be developed. So many of us do not understand that. We look
obstacles. The presence of the obstacles means that there is a lot
shall have no more obstacles to overcome!" When that time comes,
Life is going on south, and overcoming the obstacles. Death is
The fact that we are not buried is no proof that we are alive. Go
Here we come to the most wonderful and difficult thing in life. It
is the supreme test of character. That is, Why go on south? Not for
for anything outside, but for the happiness that comes from within.
does not say, "I am not appreciated. My genius is not understood.
few miles below the Twin Cities and see how, by some mysterious
alchemy of Nature, the Mississippi has taken over all the poison
those streams that unite to form the treacherous, sinful,
Wonderful the book in the running brook! We let our life stream
along such a heart full of the injuries that other people have done
us, that sometimes we are bank to bank full of poison and a menace
Oh, forget it! Drop it all. Purify your life and go on south all
does not bless you very much? Have you sadly noted that the people
others because that is the way to be happy, but do not wait for a
There is nobody who does not have that to meet. The preacher, the
church, the school, the lyceum and chautauqua, the work that makes
quit. I have done my share. Nobody appreciates what I do. Let
Stop! You are not saying that. The evil one is whispering that into
ourselves that we are working to do good, when as we do the good,
us a medal or resolutions, we want to quit. That is why there are
I thank God that I had gone a little farther southward in my own
life. Father of Waters, you have fought a good fight. You are
knocks, and saw that you never stopped going southward.
Going Up Life's Mountain
The Defeats that are Victories
blessing that we have not the million. Perhaps it would make us
Necessity is the ballast in our life voyage.
preparing? Do you ever think of the times that orator tried to
discipline, experience and grim resolve that made him succeed.
necessary to produce that finish and grace? That is the story of
Do you note that the tropics, the countries with the balmiest
climates, produce the weakest peoples? Do you note that the
conquering races are those that struggle with both heat and cold?
Do you note that people grow more in lean years than in fat years?
they turn to God when hunger hits them. "Is not this Babylon that
Do you remember that they had to lock John Bunyan in Bedford jail
that some of us will have to go to jail to do our best work.
Do you remember that one musician became deaf before he wrote music
the world will always hear? Do you remember that one author became
Do you remember that Saul of Tarsus would have never been
remembered had he lived the life of luxury planned for him? He had
Do you not see all around you that success is ever the phoenix
For that is the only way to say, "Success to you!"
passing year. We learn that you are cruel only to be kind. We learn
that you are saving us from ourselves. But O, how most of us must
great bump that struck me one morning in Los Angeles. It seemed as
tho twelve years of my life had dropped out of it, and had been
the wounded dog. I wanted to crawl away to lick my wounds.
That is why I climbed Mount Lowe that day. I wanted to get alone.
triangular car that hoists them out of the hungry chasm thirty-five
Here they find that Echo Mountain is but a shelf on the side of
Mount Lowe. Here they take an electric car that winds five miles on
rockwall where his life depends upon the honesty of the man who drove
The car is five thousand feet high where it stops on that last shelf,
but just where science surrenders. There is a little trail that winds
To go up that last eleven hundred feet and stand upon the flat rock
All alone I scrambled up that three-mile trail to the summit. All
that mountain sanctuary, for I was not searching for sublimity. I
down upon clouds. I thought of the cloud that had covered me in the
that first mile. The sun was shining upon me, the sky was all blue
A great light seemed to break over my stormswept soul. I am under
my sun. But I have always found the sun shining above them. No
that seem so great down in the valley, seem so small as I look down
clearly the plan of a human life. The rocks, the curves and the
steepness of the ascent. The bumps are lifts. The things that seem
Today I look back to the bump that sent me up Mount Lowe. I did not
see how I could live past that bump. The years have passed and I now
know it was one of the greatest blessings of my life. It closed one
Late that day I was clambering down the side of Mount Lowe. Down in
That means, go on up!
I am going on upward. Take my hand and let us go together. Mount Lowe
showed the way that dark day. There I heard the "sermons in stones."
Some day my night will come. It will spread over all this valley of
for them that love Him."
We are not growing old. We are going up to Eternal Life.
The Big Business of Life
This book proves that the real big business is that of getting our
"The Big Business of Life is a real joy to read. It is big and
"In The Big Business of Life we have the practical philosophy
that it is everyone's business to abolish work and turn this
world into a playground. Who will not confess that many
mortals take their work too seriously, and that to them it is a
within, and not among the things that lie at our feet. The
Many who have read The Big Business of Life
write us that they think it is even better than "The
Charles Grilk of Davenport, says: "My two children and I read the
Index2002
Brave Buffalo, Brule Sioux Nation (1985) : ...The Earth People (indigenous natives) never wrote anything down, had no written language. They knew that if they wrote anything down it would be disastrous. If you write something down you don't have to remember it. And mind goes off into unconsciousness. It becomes negative, or unconscious force...
![Books], [Magazines], [Articles], [Writing], [Words]
* [Think on these Things], [Books That Changed My Life]
* Tomorrow or the next life - which comes first, we never know.
Robert Blackwill
Ten days ago, I gave my final policy speech as US
Unlike Siddhartha, my meditations while preparing
Unfortunately, Brahma and Saraswati, because of my own
limitations, will not adequately inspire my remarks on
this occasion with regard to my spiritual and
time at Brahma’s temple in Pushkar. And, despite my
Notwithstanding my many inadequacies and the
Shortly after my arrival, I took the train from New
India. You must understand that I love to ride the
was my friend in the Peace Corps in Africa more than
“the train soothed and comforted me and stimulated my
imagination. It...provided access to my past by
activating my memory. I had made a discovery: I would
gladly go anywhere on a train.” That’s also me.
cities. Presenting my credentials to President
Narayanan in the Rashtrapati Bhawan, hearing my name
planet. I so wished that my mother, Roma from South
there to see her boy, Bobby Dean, on that splendid
I was astonished to find myself there. She would not
Treasury Paul O’Neill who commented that when it was
erected, those living on my continent had built no
architectural sweepstakes. It seems doubtful that we
strong tea, a taste that I acquired in India only in
the last two months. I will now treasure that for the
rest of my life. Someday, I am going to drive from
lawn on a balmy evening in Chandigarh. My
ambassadorial reputation may have survived my hip-hop
curiosity. After my extremely energetic and, I
thought, dazzling audition that night, I received no
offer to join that dance team. I can only conclude
that they could not find my address in India. I could
be wrong, but my guess is that they are still trying
to locate the mysterious long legged whirling dervish
of that evening.
that you will be comfortable as I continue my extended
legacy. Jaipur. Udaipur. Jodhpur. And perhaps my
during my stay in India, I had only two hours to look.
I needed more than two lifetimes there and elsewhere
paintings of people who felt all of the emotions that
near Mysore where I first heard of the Columbia
tragedy and stayed up all night writing my poem for
In these places, my omnipresent security detail from
the Indian police - my gunmen as a good friend called
to protect me. Oh, this India that I have come to know
my relatives back on the mid-West farms. Holi.
could use their skills in my new responsibilities back
The Monsoon that rains life into India. Surely this
Before I close these, my final ambassadorial remarks
Many in this country have remarked upon my strong
anti-terrorist convictions of my President, George W
While I was preparing for my Senate confirmation
then that for the first time I encountered the
in my office at Harvard, I began to keep a daily count
Cambridge, and that New England winter turned to
Terror against India that rose and fell with the
seasons, year after year after year. By the time that
2001, this very personal death count that I was
story. Each death, I forced myself to remember, was a
Just like us, they each had a life to lead. These are
murders of innocents. And yet, they go on. But, my
friends, these terrorist outrages against my country
books. Good does triumph over evil, although it
teach how to know God.” India has been working on that
millennia. It has been my immense privilege during
Thank you, my friends, for listening to these, my
single thing that I have discovered here. Mother India
has changed my life — forever.
Index200909
Brave Buffalo, Brule Sioux Nation (1985) : ...The Earth People (indigenous natives) never wrote anything down, had no written language. They knew that if they wrote anything down it would be disastrous. If you write something down you don't have to remember it. And mind goes off into unconsciousness. It becomes negative, or unconscious force...
![Books], [Magazines], [Articles], [Writing], [Words]
* [Think on these Things], [Books That Changed My Life]
* Tomorrow or the next life - which comes first, we never know.
Index20180419
![Books], [Magazines], [Articles], [Writing], [Words]
* [Think on these Things], [Books That Changed My Life]
* Tomorrow or the next life - which comes first, we never know.
Index20180720
![Books], [Magazines], [Articles], [Writing], [Words]
* [Think on these Things], [Books That Changed My Life]
* Tomorrow or the next life - which comes first, we never know.

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