[phpwiki] carnatic.com > Karmasaya : Full Text Search Results : God will save me

Searching for "God will save me" .....

RecentChanges
* [Time] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Time]) ..... 45.56.153.224
* [ephemeralization] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=ephemeralization]) ..... 45.56.153.220
* [Outcome] (new) ..... 182.19.184.96
* [All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=All%20you%20have%20to%20decide%20is%20what%20to%20do%20with%20the%20time%20that%20is%20given%20to%20you]) ..... 182.19.184.96
* [Income] (new) ..... 45.56.153.20
* [argument] (new) ..... 45.56.153.20
* [Meeting] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Meeting]) ..... 121.54.1.161
* [Meetings] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Meetings]) ..... 121.54.1.161
* [ReadMe] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=ReadMe]) ..... 121.54.1.161
* [Meditation] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Meditation]) ..... 45.56.153.97
* [Uptime] (new) ..... 202.156.13.232
* [Seth Godin] (new) ..... 218.186.9.252
* [Merlion] (new) ..... 202.156.13.3
* [Resume] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Resume]) ..... 202.156.2.162
* [I suffer immensely from loneliness....] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=I%20suffer%20immensely%20from%20loneliness....]) ..... 202.156.2.162
* [Madhu Menon] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Madhu%20Menon]) ..... 202.156.12.216
* [Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Ten%20Commandments%20of%20Egoless%20Programming]) ..... 202.156.15.43
* [Vipassana Meditation] (new) ..... 202.156.2.162
* [Ten Commandments for Peace of Mind] (new) ..... 202.156.14.145
* [Robert Blackwill] (new) ..... 169.145.197.4
* [The ABC of Enlightenment] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=The%20ABC%20of%20Enlightenment]) ..... 202.156.2.162
* [Condiment] (new) ..... 202.156.2.162
* [Meditation in Singapore] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Meditation%20in%20Singapore]) ..... 202.156.209.166
* [Enlightenment] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Enlightenment]) ..... 169.145.197.4
* [Business Development] (new) ..... 202.156.217.86
* [Leimen] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Leimen]) ..... 202.156.2.154
* [Meat] (new) ..... 202.156.2.154
* [Melbourne] (new) ..... 202.156.2.154
* [Cameron Marlow] (new) ..... 202.156.2.154
* [Andrew Grumet] (new) ..... 202.156.2.154
* [Software Project Management] (new) ..... 202.156.2.154
* [Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Kong%20Meng%20San%20Phor%20Kark%20See%20Monastery]) ..... 218.186.88.226
* [The Critical Mass of Enlightenment] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=The%20Critical%20Mass%20of%20Enlightenment]) ..... 218.186.89.232
* [Emerson Process Management] (new) ..... 218.186.85.246
* [Mencius] (new) ..... 169.145.197.4
* [God] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=God]) ..... 202.156.2.154
* [Logistics Management Associates] (new) ..... 218.186.86.70
* [Ten ways to enhance your family dinnertime] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Ten%20ways%20to%20enhance%20your%20family%20dinnertime]) ..... 202.156.2.154
* [Dina Mehta] (new) ..... 202.156.2.154
* [Umeboshi] (new) ..... 202.156.2.154
* [Configuration Management] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Configuration%20Management]) ..... 202.156.2.154
* [Fundamental] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Evan Williams] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Evan%20Williams]) ..... 80.132.49.17
* [Cameron Barrett] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Cameron%20Barrett]) ..... 80.132.50.208
* [Meg Hourihan] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Meg%20Hourihan]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [SimpleComments] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Ben Hammersley] (new) ..... 80.132.60.199
* [James Thornton] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Ralph Waldo Emerson] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Ralph%20Waldo%20Emerson]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Games] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Meister Eckhart] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Meister%20Eckhart]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Knowledge Management] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Knowledge%20Management]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Dag Hammerskjold] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Meera Publications] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Meera%20Publications]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [God's Justice] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=God%27s%20Justice]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [James Michener] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [The Programmers' Stone] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=The%20Programmers%27%20Stone]) ..... 217.88.227.35
* [Detachment] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Detachment]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Oscar Romero] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Oscar%20Romero]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Welcome] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Welcome]) ..... 80.132.52.113
* [Kishore Balakrishnan - Resume] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Kishore%20Balakrishnan%20-%20Resume]) ..... 80.132.52.113
* [Pomegranate] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Our Most-Alive Times] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Our%20Most-Alive%20Times]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Meaning] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Institute for Traditional Medicine] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [James Thurber] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=James%20Thurber]) ..... 80.132.51.8
* [Jakob Boehme] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Somerset Maugham] (new) ..... 80.132.42.195
* [Mantra Meditation] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [New York Camera] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=New%20York%20Camera]) ..... 80.132.60.200
* [digital camera] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=digital%20camera]) ..... 80.132.60.200
* [Thomas Merton] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Development Coordinator] (new) ..... 217.228.184.246
* [Phil Semmer] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Anthony de Mello] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Anthony%20de%20Mello]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [What Makes a House a Home?] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=What%20Makes%20a%20House%20a%20Home%3F]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Enzyme] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Willpower] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Willpower]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [What is the true meaning of life?] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=What%20is%20the%20true%20meaning%20of%20life%3F]) ..... 80.132.57.125
* [What is the meaning of Life?] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=What%20is%20the%20meaning%20of%20%20Life%3F]) ..... 80.132.57.125
* [Meal] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [enlightenment] (new) ..... 217.228.187.120
* [Home] (new) ..... 217.88.231.74
* [Home Remedies] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Home%20Remedies]) ..... 217.228.178.17
* [Ramesh Balsekar] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [James Vornov] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [One-Dimensional Man] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Mettingen] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [William Arthur Ward] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=William%20Arthur%20Ward]) ..... 217.88.226.41
* [Cameron Highlands] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Rome] (new) ..... 217.228.187.221
* [Marianne Williamson] (new) ..... 80.132.53.182
* [From Science to God] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [God-Realisation] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Mina Reimer] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Interview with God] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Mother Meera] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Mother%20Meera]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Summerhill School] (new) ..... 217.88.230.51
* [The closing of the american mind] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=The%20closing%20of%20the%20american%20mind]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [How do you measure success?] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Oliver Wendell Holmes] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Gimmelwald] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [People for the Ethical Treatment of Souls] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [The Critical Mass of Enligtenment] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [James Snell] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [How to Mend Your Parachute] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=How%20to%20Mend%20Your%20Parachute]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [How To Become A Hacker] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [the meaning of life] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=the%20meaning%20of%20life]) ..... 217.88.236.208
* [James Joyce] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Programmers] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Miraculous Messages from Water] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [The Message from Water] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Practice of Meditation] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Practice%20of%20Meditation]) ..... 217.88.236.39
* [Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Dachau%20Concentration%20Camp%20Memorial%20Site]) ..... 217.88.236.39
* [The Gumption Memo] (new) ..... 217.88.233.212
* [Literature, Arts, & Medicine Database] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [The God of Small Things] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Henry James Gallagher] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Henry%20James%20Gallagher]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [A Time for Dialogue about Things That Really Matter] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Extreme Programming] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Extreme%20Programming]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Feature Driven Development] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Feature%20Driven%20Development]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Discourse on the method] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Christmas Time] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Christmas%20Time]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Some Good TV Habits to Acquire] (new) ..... 217.228.186.59
* [MSN Messenger] (new) ..... 217.88.239.189
* [Yehudi Menuhin] (new) ..... 217.88.233.132
* [Don't make me think!] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Ten Things Men Can Do to End Sexism and Male Violence Against Women] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Ten%20Things%20Men%20Can%20Do%20to%20End%20Sexism%20and%20Male%20Violence%20Against%20Women]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Entrapment] (new) ..... 62.225.252.247
* [W. Bruce Cameron] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [The real meaning of peace] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Stephen Palmer] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Stephen%20Palmer]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Philip James Bailey] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Where is God?] (new) ..... 172.177.174.96
* [James Allen] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Margaret Mead] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Bed Time] (new) ..... 172.176.73.13
* [God will save me] (new) ..... 172.176.73.13
* [Mortimer Jerome Adler] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Anthony de Mello, SJ] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Anthony%20de%20Mello%2C%20SJ]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [William James] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Choosing a Digital Camera] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Digital Camera] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Digital%20Camera]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Digital Camera Resource Page] (new) ..... kishore
* [TamilStar Entertainment] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [LimeWire] (new) ..... 172.178.17.192
* [Love and God at Work] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Love%20and%20God%20at%20Work]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Could you say something about forgiveness?] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Could%20you%20say%20something%20about%20forgiveness%3F]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [DrScheme] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Scheme] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Scheme]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Teach Yourself Scheme in Fixnum Days] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [The Elements of Style] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Basic Management Skills] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Basic%20Management%20Skills]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Is life really meaningless?] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Is%20life%20really%20meaningless%3F]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Software Development Magazine] (new) ..... 172.177.240.151
* [Rapid Development] (new) ..... 172.177.240.151
* [The Dynamics of Software Development] (new) ..... 172.177.240.151
* [The Pragmatic Programmer] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=The%20Pragmatic%20Programmer]) ..... 172.177.240.151
* [MoreAboutMechanics] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=MoreAboutMechanics]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [A Brief History of Time] (new) ..... 155.56.66.11
* [MIT Sloan Management Review] (new) ..... 155.56.66.13
* [How to Prepare an Effective Resume] (new) ..... 155.56.66.13
* [How I became a Hindu] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=How%20I%20became%20a%20Hindu]) ..... 155.56.66.13
* [William Damon] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=William%20Damon]) ..... 155.56.66.13
* [Conversation of William Knott and Mr Watt.] (new) ..... 155.56.66.11
* [Joseph Mercola] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Mentors] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Mentors]) ..... 172.178.6.57
* [James Pryor] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=James%20Pryor]) ..... kishore
* [meditation] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=meditation]) ..... kishore
* [[suki-1999Apr-Engagement] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=%5Bsuki-1999Apr-Engagement]) ..... 212.197.148.58
* [suki-1999Apr-Engagement] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=suki-1999Apr-Engagement]) ..... 212.197.148.58
Bhaja Govindam
Adhi Shankaracharya wrote a number of vedantic works for imparting knowledge of the self and the universal spirit. He also composed a number of hymns to foster Bhakthi in the hearts of men. One of these hymns is the famous Bhaja govindaM. The way of devotion, is not different from the way of knowledge or gnyana. When intelligence matures and lodges securely in the mind, it becomes wisdom. When wisdom is integrated with life and issues out in action, it becomes bhakthi. Knowledge, when it becomes fully mature is bhakthi. If it doesnot get transformed into bhakthi, such knowledge is [useless tinsel|http://www.carnatic.com/kishore/life/]. To believe that gnyana and bhakthi, knowledge and devotion are different from each other, is ignorance. If Sri Adi Shankara himself who drank the ocean of gnyana as easily as one sip water from the palm of one's hand, sang in his later years, hymns to develop devotion, it is enough to show that gnyana and bhakthi are one and the same. Sri Shankara has packed into the Bhaja govindaM song: the substance of all vedanta, and set the oneness of gnyana and bhakthi to melodious music.
Bhaja govindaM is one of the minor compositions of the spiritual gaint, Adi SHANKARA. It is classified as a Prakarana grantha, a primer to the major works. Though sung as a bhajan, it contains the essence of vedanta and awakens the man to think, "Why am I here in this life ? Why am I amassing wealth, family, but have no peace ? What is the Truth ? What is the purpose of life ?" Man is thus awakened and gets set on a path to the inner road back to God.
The background of Bhaja GovindaM is worth examining. During Shankara's stay in Kashi, he noticed a very old man engaged in the early hours studying the rules of sanskrit by Panini. Shankara was touched with pity seeing the plight of the old man spending his years at a mere intellectual accomplishment while he would be better off praying and spending time to control his mind. Shankara understood that the majority of the world was also engaged in mere intellectual, sense pleasures and not in the divine contemplation. Seeing this, he burst forth with the verses of Bhaja govindaM.
In 31 (some cite 33) verses, he, like no other, explains our fallacies, our wrong outlook for life, and dispells our ignorance and delusions. Thus bhaja govindaM was originally known as Moha Mudgara, the remover of delusions.
Shankara explains, nay chides, us for spending our time in useless trivia like amassing wealth, lusting after (wo)men and requests us to discriminate and cultivate the knowledge to learn the difference between the real and the unreal. To emphasize that all knowledge other than Self-Knowledge is useless, Shankara makes the man realize how foolish he is in his conduct and behavior by these verses, and shows him the purpose of our worldly existence, which is to seek Govinda and attain Him.
Bhaja govindaM has been set to musical tones and sung as prayer songs by children. It is divided into dvaadashapaJNjarikaa and charpaTapaJNjarikaa for this purpose. The former is a set of verses (verses 1,2,5,11,18,20,21,23,27,29,31) while the rest of the verses form charpaTapaJNjarikaa.
May the acharayaa guide us from ignorance to truth and help us remember the song of Swami Vivekananda at all times :
Meditate, O my mind, on the Lord Hari,
That shames the splendour of a million moons
Immerse yourself for evermore, O mind
Worship Govinda, Worship Govinda, Worship Govinda. Oh fool ! Rules of Grammar will not save you at the time of your death.
Oh fool ! Give up your thrist to amass wealth, devote your mind to thoughts to the Real. Be content with what comes through actions already performed in the past.
Do not get drowned in delusion by going wild with passions and lust by seeing a woman's navel and chest. These are nothing but a modification of flesh. Do not fail to remember this again and again in your mind.
So long as a man is fit and able to support his family, see the affection all those around him show. But no one at home cares to even have a word with him when his body totters due to old age.
When one is alive, his family members enquire kindly about his welfare. But when the soul departs from the body, even his wife runs away in fear of the corpse.
The childhood is lost by attachment to playfulness. Youth is lost by attachment to woman. Old age passes away by thinking over many past things. But there is hardly anyone who wants to be lost in parabrahman.
Who is your wife ? Who is your son ? Strange is this samsara. Of whom are you ? From where have you come ? Brother, ponder over these truths here.
From Satsangh comes non-attachment, from non-attachment comes freedom from delusion, which leads to self-settledness. From self-settledness comes Jeevan Mukti.
harati nimeshhaatkaalaH sarvam.h .
Do not boast of wealth, friends, and youth. Each one of these are destroyed within a minute. Free yourself from the illusion of the world of Maya and attain the timeless Truth.
Daylight and darkness, dusk and dawn, winter and springtime come and go. Time plays and life ebbs away. But the storm of desire never leaves.
Oh mad man ! Why this engrossment in thoughts of wealth ? Is there no one to guide you ? There is only one thing in three worlds that can save you from the ocean from samsara. Get into that boat of satsangha quickly. Stanza attributed to Padmapada.
There are many who go with matted locks, many who have clean shaven heads, many whose hairs have been plucked out; some are clothed in saffron, yet others in various colors --- all just for a livelihood. Seeing truth revealed before them, still the foolish ones see it not. Stanza attributed to Totakacharya.
Strength has left the old man's body; his head has become bald, his gums toothless and leaning on crutches. Even then the attachment is strong and he clings firmly to fruitless desires. Stanza attributed to Hastamalaka.
Take your residence in a temple or below a tree, wear the deerskin for the dress, and sleep with mother earth as your bed. Give up all attachments and renounce all comforts. Blessed with such vairagya, could any fail to be content ? Stanza attributed to Nityananda.
One may take delight in yoga or bhoga, may have attachment or detachment. But only he whose mind steadily delights in Brahman enjoys bliss, no one else. Stanza attributed to Anandagiri.
kriyate tasya yamena na charchaa .. 20..
Let a man read but a little from giitaa, drink just a drop of water from the ganges, worship murari (govinda) just once. He then will have no altercation with Yama. Stanza attributed to dR^iDhabhakta.
Born again, death again, birth again to stay in the mother's womb ! It is indeed hard to cross this boundless ocean of samsara. Oh Murari ! Redeem me through Thy mercy. Stanza attributed to Nityanatha.
There is no shortage of clothing for a monk so long as there are rags cast off the road. Freed from vice and virtue, onward he wanders. One who lives in communion with God enjoys bliss, pure and uncontaminated, like a child and as someone intoxicated. Stanza attributed to Nityanatha.
kaa me jananii ko me taataH .
Who are you ? Who am I ? From where do I come ? Who is my mother, who is my father ? Ponder thus, look at everything as essenceless and give up the world as an idle dream. Stanza attributed to surendra.
In me, in you and in everything, none but the same Vishnu dwells. Your anger and impatience is meaningless. If you wish to attain the status of Vishnu soon, have samabhava always. Stanza attributed to medhaatithira.
Do not waste your efforts to win the love of or to fight against friend and foe, children and relatives. See yourself in everyone and give up all feelings of duality completely. Stanza attributed to medhaatithira.
Regularly recite from the Gita, meditate on Vishnu [thro' Vishnu sahasranama] in your heart, and chant His thousand glories. Take delight to be with the noble and the holy. Distribute your wealth in charity to the poor and the needy. Stanza attributed to sumatira.
Wealth is not welfare, truly there is no joy in it. Reflect thus at all times. A rich man fears even his own son. This is the way of wealth everywhere.
jaapyasameta samaadhividhaanaM
Regulate the pranas, remain unaffected by external influences and discriminate between the real and the fleeting. Chant the holy name of God and silence the turbulent mind. Perform these with care, with extreme care.
Oh devotee of the lotus feet of the Guru ! May thou be soon free from Samsara. Through disciplined senses and controlled mind, thou shalt come to experience the Indwelling Lord of your heart !
Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, Oh fool ! Other than chanting the Lord's names, there is no other way to cross the life's ocean.
I suffer immensely from loneliness....
[Articles] > I suffer immensely from loneliness....
The darkness of loneliness cannot be fought directly. It is something essential for everyone to understand, that there are a few fundamental things which cannot be changed. This is one of the fundamentals: you cannot fight with darkness directly, with loneliness directly, with the fear of isolation directly. The reason is that all these things do not exist; they are simply absences of something, just as darkness is the absence of light.
Now what do you do when you want the room not to be dark? You don't do anything directly with darkness -- or do you? You cannot push it out. There is no possible way to make any arrangement so that the darkness disappears. You have to do something with the light. Now that changes the whole situation; and that's what I call one of the essentials, fundamentals. You don't even touch the darkness; you don't think about it. There is no point; it does not exist, it is simply an absence.
So just bring in light and you will not find darkness at all, because it was the absence of light, simply the absence of light -- not something material, with its own being, not something that exists. But simply because light was not there, you got a false feeling of the existence of darkness.
You can go on fighting with this darkness your whole life and you will not succeed, but just a small candle is enough to dispel it. You have to work for the light because it is positive, existential; it exists on it own. And once light comes, anything that was its absence automatically disappears.
You don't know your aloneness. You have not experienced your aloneness and its beauty, its tremendous power, its strength. Loneliness and aloneness in the dictionaries are synonymous, but existence does not follow your dictionaries. And nobody has yet tried to make an existential dictionary which will not be contradictory to existence.
Because you don't know your aloneness, there is fear. You feel lonely so you want to cling to something, to somebody, to some relationship, just to keep the illusion that you are not lonely. But you know you are -- hence the pain. On the one hand you are clinging to something which is not for real, which is just a temporary arrangement -- a relationship, a friendship.
And while you are in the relationship you can create a little illusion to forget your loneliness. But this is the problem: although you can forget for a moment your loneliness, just the next moment you suddenly become aware that the relationship or the friendship is nothing permanent. Yesterday you did not know this man or this woman, you were strangers. Today you are friends -- who knows about tomorrow? Tomorrow you may be strangers again -- hence the pain.
The illusion gives a certain solace, but it cannot create the reality so that all fear disappears. It represses the fear, so on the surface you feel good -- at least you try to feel good. You pretend to feel good to yourself: how wonderful is the relationship, how wonderful is the man or the woman. But behind the illusion -- and the illusion is so thin that you can see behind it -- there is pain in the heart, because the heart knows perfectly well that tomorrow things may not be the same... and they are not the same.
Your whole life's experience supports that things go on changing. Nothing remains stable; you cannot cling to anything in a changing world. You wanted to make your friendship something permanent but your wanting is against the law of change, and that law is not going to make exceptions. It simply goes on doing its own thing. It will change -- everything.
Perhaps in the long run you will understand one day that it was good that it did not listen to you, that existence did not bother about you and just went on doing whatever it wanted to do... not according to your desire.
It may take a little time for you to understand. You want this friend to be your friend forever, but tomorrow he turns into an enemy. Or simply -- "You get lost!" and he is no longer with you. Somebody else fills the gap who is a far superior being. Then suddenly you realize it was good that the other one got lost; otherwise you would have been stuck with him. But still the lesson never goes so deep that you stop asking for permanence.
You will start asking for permanence with this man, with this woman: now this should not change. You have not really learned the lesson that change is simply the very fabric of life. You have to understand it and go with it. Don't create illusions; they are not going to help. And everybody is creating illusions of different kinds.
I said, "You are making a very significant statement."
He said, "Everybody changes. You cannot rely on anybody. And as you get older, only your money is yours. Nobody cares -- not even your son, not even your wife. If you have money they all care, they all respect you, because you have money. If you don't have money you become a beggar."
His saying that the only thing in the world to trust is money comes out of a long experience of life, of getting cheated again and again by the people he trusted -- and he thought they loved him but they were all around him for the money.
"But," I told him, "at the moment of death money is not going to be with you. You can have an illusion that at least money is with you, but as your breathing stops, money is no longer with you. You have earned something but it will be left on this side; you cannot carry it beyond death. You will fall into a deep loneliness which you have been hiding behind the facade of money."
There are people who are after power, but the reason is the same: when they are in power so many people are with them, millions of people are under their domination. They are not alone. They are great political and religious leaders. But power changes. One day you have it, another day it is gone, and suddenly the whole illusion disappears. You are lonely as nobody else is, because others are accustomed to being lonely. You are not accustomed... your loneliness hurts you more.
Society has tried to make arrangements so you can forget loneliness. Arranged marriages are just an effort so that you know your wife is with you. All religions resist divorce for the simple reason that if divorce is allowed then the basic purpose marriage was invented for is destroyed. The basic purpose was to give you a companion, a lifelong companion.
But even though a wife will be with you or a husband will be with you for your whole life, that does not mean that love remains the same. In fact, rather than giving you a companion, they give you a burden to carry. You were lonely, already in trouble, and now you have to carry another person who is lonely. And in this life there is no hope, because once love disappears you both are lonely, and both have to tolerate each other. Now it is not a question of being enchanted by each other; at the most you can patiently tolerate each other. Your loneliness has not been changed by the social strategy of marriage.
Religions have tried to make you a member of an organized body of religion so you are always in a crowd. You know that there are six hundred million Catholics; you are not alone, six hundred million Catholics are with you. Jesus Christ is your savior. God is with you. Alone you may have been wrong -- doubt may have arisen -- but six hundred million people cannot be wrong. A little support... but even that is gone because there are millions who are not Catholics. There are the people who crucified Jesus. There are people who don't believe in God -- and their number is not less than Catholics, it is more than Catholics. And there are other religions with different concepts.
God was a device, but all devices have failed. It was a device... when nothing is there, at least God is with you. He is always everywhere with you. In the dark night of the soul, he is with you -- don't be worried.
It was good for a childish humanity to be deceived by this concept, but you cannot be deceived by this concept. This God who is always everywhere -- you don't see him, you can't talk to him, you can't touch him. You don't have any evidence for his existence -- except your desire that he should be there. But your desire is not a proof of anything.
God is only a desire of the childish mind.
Man has come of age, and God has become meaningless. The hypothesis has lost its grip.
What I am trying to say is that every effort that has been directed towards avoiding loneliness has failed, and will fail, because it is against the fundamentals of life. What is needed is not something in which you can forget your loneliness. What is needed is that you become aware of your aloneness, which is a reality. And it is so beautiful to experience it, to feel it, because it is your freedom from the crowd, from the other. It is your freedom from the fear of being lonely.
Just the word "lonely" immediately reminds you that it is like a wound: something is needed to fill it. There is a gap and it hurts: something needs to be filled in. The very word "aloneness" does not have the same sense of a wound, of a gap which has to be filled. Aloneness simply means completeness. You are whole; there is no need of anybody else to complete you.
So try to find your innermost center, where you are always alone, have always been alone. In life, in death -- wherever you are you will be alone. But it is so full -- it is not empty, it is so full and so complete and so overflowing with all the juices of life, with all the beauties and benedictions of existence, that once you have tasted aloneness the pain in the heart will disappear. Instead, a new rhythm of tremendous sweetness, peace, joy, bliss, will be there.
It does not mean that a man who is centered in his aloneness, complete in himself, cannot make friends -- in fact only he can make friends, because now it is no longer a need, it is just sharing. He has so much; he can share.
Friendship can be of two types. One is a friendship in which you are a beggar -- you need something from the other to help your loneliness -- and the other is also a beggar; he wants the same from you. And naturally two beggars cannot help each other. Soon they will see that their begging from a beggar has doubled or multiplied the need. Instead of one beggar, now there are two. And if, unfortunately, they have children, then there are a whole company of beggars who are asking -- and nobody has anything to give.
The other kind of friendship, the other kind of love, has a totally different quality. It is not of need, it is out of having so much that you want to share. A new kind of joy has come into your being -- that of sharing, which you were not ever aware of before. You have always been begging.
When you share, there is no question of clinging. You flow with existence, you flow with life's change, because it doesn't matter with whom you share. It can be the same person tomorrow -- the same person for your whole life -- or it can be different persons. It is not a contract, it is not a marriage; it is simply out of your fullness that you want to give. So whosoever happens to be near you, you give it. And giving is such a joy.
Begging is such a misery. Even if you get something through begging, you will remain miserable. It hurts. It hurts your pride, it hurts your integrity. But sharing makes you more centered, more integrated, more proud, but not more egoistic -- more proud that existence has been compassionate to you. It is not ego; it is a totally different phenomenon... a recognition that existence has allowed you something for which millions of people are trying, but at the wrong door. You happen to be at the right door.
You can love a person, and if the person loves somebody else there will not be any jealousy, because you loved out of so much joy. It was not a clinging. You were not holding the other person in prison. You were not worried that the other person may slip out of your hands, that somebody else may start having a love affair...
So I will not tell you to do anything about your loneliness.
Forget loneliness, forget darkness, forget pain. These are just the absence of aloneness. The experience of aloneness will dispel them instantly. And the method is the same: just watch your mind, be aware. Become more and more conscious, so finally you are only conscious of yourself. That is the point where you become aware of aloneness.
You will be surprised that different religions have given different names to the ultimate state of realization. The three religions born outside of India don't have any name for it because they never went far in the search for oneself. They remained childish, immature, clinging to a God, clinging to prayer, clinging to a savior. You can see what I mean: they are always dependent -- somebody else is to save them. They are not mature. Judaism, Christianity, Islam -- they are not mature at all and perhaps that is the reason they have influenced the greatest majority in the world, because most of the people in the world are immature. They have a certain affinity.
But the three religions in India have three names for this ultimate state. And I remembered this because of the word aloneness. Jainism has chosen kaivalya, aloneness, as the ultimate state of being. Just as Buddhism chose nirvana, no-selfness, and Hinduism chose moksha, freedom, Jainism chose absolute aloneness. All three words are beautiful. They are three different aspects of the same reality. You can call it liberation, freedom; you can call it aloneness; you can call it selflessness, nothingness -- just different indicators towards that ultimate experience for which no name is sufficient.
But always look to see if anything that you are facing as a problem is a negative thing or a positive thing. If it is a negative thing then don't fight with it; don't bother about it at all. Just look for the positive of it, and you will be at the right door.
There is no door; there is only darkness, there is only absence. And the more they fight, the more they find failure, the more they become dejected, pessimistic ... and ultimately they start finding that life has no meaning, that it is simply torture. But their mistake is they entered from the wrong door.
So before you face a problem, just look at the problem: is it an absence of something? And all your problems are the absence of something. And once you have found what they are the absence of, then go after the positive. And the moment you find the positive, the light -- the darkness is finished.
I often panic, and worry that I might go mad....
The basic thing to be understood is that you are not the mind -- neither the bright one nor the dark one. If you get identified with the beautiful part, then it is impossible to disidentify yourself from the ugly part; they are two sides of the same coin. You can have it whole, or you can throw it away whole, but you cannot divide it.
Being choiceless means: the mind is there and it has a dark side and it has a bright side -- so what? What has it to do with you? Why should you be worried about it?
The moment you are not choosing, all worry disappears. A great acceptance arises, that this is how the mind has to be, this is the nature of the mind -- and it is not your problem, because you are not the mind. If you were the mind, there would have been no problem at all. Then who would choose and who would think of transcending? And who would try to accept and understand acceptance?
But you are being an observer who gets identified with anything that he finds pleasant -- and forgets that the unpleasant is coming just behind it as a shadow. You are not troubled by the pleasant side -- you rejoice in it. The trouble comes when the polar opposite asserts -- then you are torn apart.
But you started the whole trouble. Falling from being just a witness, you became identified. The biblical story of the fall is just a fiction. But this is the real fall -- the fall from being a witness into getting identified with something and losing your witnessing.
Just try once in a while: Let the mind be whatever it is. Remember, you are not it. And you are going to have a great surprise. As you are less identified, the mind starts becoming less powerful, because its power comes from your identification; it sucks your blood. But when you start standing aloof and away, the mind starts shrinking.
The day you are completely unidentified with the mind, even for a single moment, there is the revelation: mind simply dies; it is no longer there. Where it was so full, where it was so continuous -- day in, day out, waking, sleeping, it was there -- suddenly it is not there. You look all around and it is emptiness, it is nothingness.
And with the mind disappears the self. Then there is only a certain quality of awareness, with no "I" in it. At the most you can call it something similar to "am-ness," but not "I-ness." To be even more exact, it is "is-ness" because even in am-ness some shadow of the "I" is still there. The moment you know its is-ness, it has become universal.
With the disappearance of the mind disappears the self. And so many things disappear which were so important to you, so troublesome to you. You were trying to solve them and they were becoming more and more complicated; everything was a problem, an anxiety, and there seemed to be no way out.
The master tells the disciple to meditate on a koan: A small goose is put into a bottle, fed and nourished. The goose goes on becoming bigger and bigger and bigger, and fills the whole bottle. Now it is too big; it cannot come out of the bottle's mouth -- the mouth is too small. And the koan is that you have to bring the goose out without destroying the bottle, without killing the goose.
What can you do? The goose is too big; you cannot take it out unless you break the bottle, but that is not allowed. Or you can bring it out by killing it; then you don't care whether it comes out alive or dead. That is not allowed either.
Day in, day out, the disciple meditates, finds no way, thinks this way and that way -- but in fact there is no way. Tired, utterly exhausted, a sudden revelation... suddenly he understands that the master cannot be interested in the bottle and the goose; they must represent something else. The bottle is the mind, you are the goose... and with witnessing, it is possible. Without being in the mind, you can become identified with it so much that you start feeling you are in it!
If you go on struggling with the goose and the bottle, there is no way for you to solve it. It is the realization that, "It must represent something else; otherwise the master cannot give it to me. And what can it be?" -- because the whole function between the master and the disciple, the whole business is about the mind and awareness.
Awareness is the goose which is not in the bottle of the mind. But you are believing that it is in it and asking everyone how to get it out. And there are idiots who will help you, with techniques, to get out of it. I call them idiots because they have not understood the thing at all.
Whether it is good, beautiful, delicious, something that you would like to enjoy closely, or it is ugly -- remain as far away as possible. Look at it just the way you look at a film. But people get identified even with films.
I have seen, when I was young... I have not seen any movie for a long time. But I have seen people weeping, tears coming down -- and nothing is happening! It is good that in a movie house it is dark; it saves them from feeling embarrassed. I used to ask my father, "Did you see? The fellow by your side was crying!"
"But," I said, "there is only a screen and nothing else. Nobody is killed, there is no tragedy happening -- just a projection of a film, just pictures moving on the screen. And people laugh, and people weep, and for three hours they are almost lost. They become part of the movie, they become identified with some character..."
My father said to me, "If you are raising questions about people's reactions then you cannot enjoy the film."
I said, "I can enjoy the film, but I don't want to cry; I don't see any enjoyment in it. I can see it as a film, but I don't want to become a part of it. These people are all becoming a part of it."
My grandfather had an old barber who was an opium addict. For something which was possible to do in five minutes he would take two hours, and he would talk continuously. But they were old friends from their childhood. I can still see my grandfather sitting in the chair of the old barber... And he was a lovely talker. These opium addicts have a certain quality, a beauty of talking, telling stories about themselves, what is happening day-to-day; it is true.
I said to him one day, "About everything you go on saying, `Yes, right, it is great.' Sometimes he is talking nonsense, simply irrelevant."
In India razor blades are not used; things almost like six-inch long knives are used as razor blades. "Now what do you want me to say? -- with that man who has a knife, a sharp knife in his hand, just on my throat. To say no to him... he will kill me! And he knows it. He sometimes tells me, `You never say no. You always say yes, you always say great.' And I have told him, `You should understand that you are always under the influence of opium. It is impossible to talk with you, to discuss with you or to disagree with you. You have a knife on my throat, and you want me to say no to something?'"
I said, "Then why don't you change from this man? There are so many other barbers, and this man takes two hours for a five-minute job. Sometimes he takes half your beard and then he says, `I am coming back, you sit.' And he is gone for an hour, because he gets involved in a discussion with somebody and forgets completely that a customer is sitting in his chair. Then he comes and says, `My God, so you are still sitting here?'"
And my grandfather would say, "What can I do? I cannot go home with half the beard shaved. You just complete it. Where have you been?"
The barber would say, "I got in such a good argument with somebody that I completely forgot about you. It is good that that man had to go; otherwise you would have been sitting here the whole day. And sometimes I don't even close the shop at night. I simply go home, just forget to close, and once in a while a customer is still sitting in the chair and I am sleeping. Somebody has to say to him, `Now you can go; that man will not be seen again before tomorrow morning. He is fast asleep in his home. He has forgotten to close his shop and he has forgotten about you.'"
And if you were angry... Sometimes new people got into his shop, and became angry. He would say, "Calm down. At the most you need not pay me. I have cut only half of the beard; you can just go. I don't want to argue. You need not pay me; I don't ask even half payment."
But nobody can leave his chair with half the beard shaved -- or half the head shaved! You ask him just to shave the beard and he starts shaving your head, and by the time you notice, he has already done the job. So he asks you, "Now what do you want? -- because almost one-fourth of the work is done. If you want to keep it this way I can leave it; otherwise I can finish it. But I will not charge for it because if you say that you never wanted it to be cut, then it is my fault and I should take the punishment. I will not charge you."
This man was dangerous! But my grandfather used to say, "He is dangerous but he is lovely and I have become so much identified with him that I cannot conceive that if he dies before me I will be able to go to another barber's shop. I cannot conceive... for my whole life he has been my barber. The identity has become so deep that I may stop shaving my beard, but I cannot change my barber."
And soon you will be able to see that there is no problem at all -- the goose is out. You don't have to break the bottle, you don't have to kill the goose either.
Jokes
[Conversation of William Knott and Mr Watt.]
[God will save me]
[Bed Time]
[Where is God?]
Who am i?
"Who am I?" is the title given to a set of questions and answers bearing on Self-enquiry. The questions were put to Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi by one Sri M. Sivaprakasam Pillai about the year 1902. Sri Pillai, a graduate in Philosophy, was at the time employed in the Revenue Department of the South Arcot Collectorate. During his visit to Tiruvannamalai in 1902 on official work, he went to Virupaksha Cave on Arunachala Hill and met the Master there. He sought from him spiritual guidance, and solicited answers to questions relating to Self-enquiry. As Bhagavan was not talking then, not because of any vow he had taken, but because he did not have the inclination to talk, he answered the questions put to him by gestures, and when these were not understood, by writing. As recollected and recorded by Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai, there were fourteen questions with answers to them given by Bhagavan. This record was first published by Sri Pillai in 1923, along with a couple of poems composed by himself relating how Bhagavan's grace operated in his case by dispelling his doubts and by saving him from a crisis in life. 'Who am I?' has been published several times subsequently. We find thirty questions and answers in some editions and twenty-eight in others. There is also another published version in which the questions are not given, and the teachings are rearranged in the form of an essay. The extant English translation is of this essay. The present rendering is of the text in the form of twenty-eight questions and answers.
Along with Vicharasangraham (Self-Enquiry), Nan Yar (Who am I?) constitutes the first set of instructions in the Master's own words. These two are the only prosepieces among Bhagavan's Works. They clearly set forth the central teaching that the direct path to liberation is Self-enquiry. The particular mode in which the enquiry is to be made is lucidly set forth in Nan Yar. The mind consists of thoughts. The 'I' thought is the first to arise in the mind. When the enquiry ' Who am I?' is persistently pursued, all other thoughts get destroyed, and finally the 'I' thought itself vanishes leaving the supreme non-dual Self alone. The false identification of the Self with the phenomena of non-self such as the body and mind thus ends, and there is illumination, Sakshatkara. The process of enquiry of course, is not an easy one. As one enquires 'Who am I?', other thoughts will arise; but as these arise, one should not yield to them by following them , on the contrary, one should ask 'To whom do they arise ?' In order to do this, one has to be extremely vigilant. Through constant enquiry one should make the mind stay in its source, without allowing it to wander away and get lost in the mazes of thought created by itself. All other disciplines such as breath-control and meditation on the forms of God should be regarded as auxiliary practices. They are useful in so far as they help the mind to become quiescent and one-pointed.
For the mind that has gained skill in concentration, Self-enquiry becomes comparatively easy. It is by ceaseless enquiry that the thoughts are destroyed and the Self realized - the plenary Reality in which there is not even the 'I' thought, the experience which is referred to as "Silence".
As all living beings desire to be happy always, without misery, as in the case of everyone there is observed supreme love for one's self, and as happiness alone is the cause for love, in order to gain that happiness which is one's nature and which is experienced in the state of deep sleep where there is no mind, one should know one's self. For that, the path of knowledge, the inquiry of the form "Who am I?", is the principal means.
The gross body which is composed of the seven humours (dhatus), I am not; the five cognitive sense organs, viz. the senses of hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell, which apprehend their respective objects, viz. sound, touch, colour, taste, and odour, I am not; the five cognitive sense-organs, viz. the organs of speech, locomotion, grasping, excretion, and procreation, which have as their respective functions speaking, moving, grasping, excreting, and enjoying, I am not; the five vital airs, prana, etc., which perform respectively the five functions of in-breathing, etc., I am not; even the mind which thinks, I am not; the nescience too, which is endowed only with the residual impressions of objects, and in which there are no objects and no functioning's, I am not.
After negating all of the above-mentioned as 'not this', 'not this', that Awareness which alone remains - that I am.
4. When will the realization of the Self be gained?
When the world which is what-is-seen has been removed, there will be realization of the Self which is the seer.
5. Will there not be realization of the Self even while the world is there (taken as real)?
There will not be.
The seer and the object seen are like the rope and the snake. Just as the knowledge of the rope which is the substrate will not arise unless the false knowledge of the illusory serpent goes, so the realization of the Self which is the substrate will not be gained unless the belief that the world is real is removed.
7. When will the world which is the object seen be removed?
When the mind, which is the cause of all cognition's and of all actions, becomes quiescent, the world will disappear.
What is called 'mind' is a wondrous power residing in the Self. It causes all thoughts to arise. Apart from thoughts, there is no such thing as mind. Therefore, thought is the nature of mind. Apart from thoughts, there is no independent entity called the world. In deep sleep there are no thoughts, and there is no world. In the states of waking and dream, there are thoughts, and there is a world also. Just as the spider emits the thread (of the web) out of itself and again withdraws it into itself, likewise the mind projects the world out of itself and again resolves it into itself. When the mind comes out of the Self, the world appears. Therefore, when the world appears (to be real), the Self does not appear; and when the Self appears (shines) the world does not appear. When one persistently inquires into the nature of the mind, the mind will end leaving the Self (as the residue). What is referred to as the Self is the Atman. The mind always exists only in dependence on something gross; it cannot stay alone. It is the mind that is called the subtle body or the soul (jiva).
That which rises as 'I' in this body is the mind. If one inquires as to where in the body the thought 'I' rises first, one would discover that it rises in the heart. That is the place of the mind's origin. Even if one thinks constantly 'I' 'I', one will be led to that place. Of all the thoughts that arise in the mind, the 'I' thought is the first. It is only after the rise of this that the other thoughts arise. It is after the appearance of the first personal pronoun that the second and third personal pronouns appear; without the first personal pronoun there will not be the second and third.
10. How will the mind become quiescent?
By the inquiry 'Who am I?'. The thought 'who am I?' will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.
11. What is the means for constantly holding on to the thought 'Who am I?'
When other thoughts arise, one should not pursue them, but should inquire: 'To whom do they arise?' It does not matter how many thoughts arise. As each thought arises, one should inquire with diligence, "To whom has this thought arisen?". The answer that would emerge would be "To me". Thereupon if one inquires "Who am I?", the mind will go back to its source; and the thought that arose will become quiescent. With repeated practice in this manner, the mind will develop the skill to stay in its source. When the mind that is subtle goes out through the brain and the sense-organs, the gross names and forms appear; when it stays in the heart, the names and forms disappear. Not letting the mind go out, but retaining it in the Heart is what is called "inwardness" (antar-mukha). Letting the mind go out of the Heart is known as "externalisation" (bahir-mukha). Thus, when the mind stays in the Heart, the 'I' which is the source of all thoughts will go, and the Self which ever exists will shine. Whatever one does, one should do without the egoity "I". If one acts in that way, all will appear as of the nature of Siva (God).
12. Are there no other means for making the mind quiescent?
Other than inquiry, there are no adequate means. If through other means it is sought to control the mind, the mind will appear to be controlled, but will again go forth. Through the control of breath also, the mind will become quiescent; but it will be quiescent only so long as the breath remains controlled, and when the breath resumes the mind also will again start moving and will wander as impelled by residual impressions. The source is the same for both mind and breath. Thought, indeed, is the nature of the mind. The thought "I" is the first thought of the mind; and that is egoity. It is from that whence egoity originates that breath also originates. Therefore, when the mind becomes quiescent, the breath is controlled, and when the breath is controlled the mind becomes quiescent. But in deep sleep, although the mind becomes quiescent, the breath does not stop. This is because of the will of God, so that the body may be preserved and other people may not be under the impression that it is dead. In the state of waking and in samadhi, when the mind becomes quiescent the breath is controlled. Breath is the gross form of mind. Till the time of death, the mind keeps breath in the body; and when the body dies the mind takes the breath along with it. Therefore, the exercise of breath-control is only an aid for rendering the mind quiescent (manonigraha); it will not destroy the mind (manonasa).
Like the practice of breath-control. meditation on the forms of God, repetition of mantras, restriction on food, etc., are but aids for rendering the mind quiescent.
Through meditation on the forms of God and through repetition of mantras, the mind becomes one-pointed. The mind will always be wandering. Just as when a chain is given to an elephant to hold in its trunk it will go along grasping the chain and nothing else, so also when the mind is occupied with a name or form it will grasp that alone. When the mind expands in the form of countless thoughts, each thought becomes weak; but as thoughts get resolved the mind becomes one-pointed and strong; for such a mind Self-inquiry will become easy. Of all the restrictive rules, that relating to the taking of sattvic food in moderate quantities is the best; by observing this rule, the sattvic quality of mind will increase, and that will be helpful to Self-inquiry.
13. The residual impressions (thoughts) of objects appear wending like the waves of an ocean. When will all of them get destroyed?
As the meditation on the Self rises higher and higher, the thoughts will get destroyed.
14. Is it possible for the residual impressions of objects that come from beginningless time, as it were, to be resolved, and for one to remain as the pure Self?
Without yielding to the doubt "Is it possible, or not?", one should persistently hold on to the meditation on the Self. Even if one be a great sinner, one should not worry and weep "O! I am a sinner, how can I be saved?"; one should completely renounce the thought "I am a sinner"; and concentrate keenly on meditation on the Self; then, one would surely succeed. There are not two minds - one good and the other evil; the mind is only one. It is the residual impressions that are of two kinds - auspicious and inauspicious. When the mind is under the influence of auspicious impressions it is called good; and when it is under the influence of inauspicious impressions it is regarded as evil.
The mind should not be allowed to wander towards worldly objects and what concerns other people. However bad other people may be, one should bear no hatred for them. Both desire and hatred should be eschewed. All that one gives to others one gives to one's self. If this truth is understood who will not give to others? When one's self arises all arises; when one's self becomes quiescent all becomes quiescent. To the extent we behave with humility, to that extent there will result good. If the mind is rendered quiescent, one may live anywhere.
As long as there are impressions of objects in the mind, so long the inquiry "Who am I?" is required. As thoughts arise they should be destroyed then and there in the very place of their origin, through inquiry. If one resorts to contemplation of the Self unintermittently, until the Self is gained, that alone would do. As long as there are enemies within the fortress, they will continue to sally forth; if they are destroyed as they emerge, the fortress will fall into our hands.
What exists in truth is the Self alone. The world, the individual soul, and God are appearances in it. like silver in mother-of-pearl, these three appear at the same time, and disappear at the same time. The Self is that where there is absolutely no "I" thought. That is called "Silence". The Self itself is the world; the Self itself is "I"; the Self itself is God; all is Siva, the Self.
17. Is not everything the work of God?
Without desire, resolve, or effort, the sun rises; and in its mere presence, the sun-stone emits fire, the lotus blooms, water evaporates; people perform their various functions and then rest. Just as in the presence of the magnet the needle moves, it is by virtue of the mere presence of God that the souls governed by the three (cosmic) functions or the fivefold divine activity perform their actions and then rest, in accordance with their respective karmas. God has no resolve; no karma attaches itself to Him. That is like worldly actions not affecting the sun, or like the merits and demerits of the other four elements not affecting all pervading space.
He who gives himself up to the Self that is God is the most excellent devotee. Giving one's self up to God means remaining constantly in the Self without giving room for the rise of any thoughts other than that of the Self. Whatever burdens are thrown on God, He bears them. Since the supreme power of God makes all things move, why should we, without submitting ourselves to it, constantly worry ourselves with thoughts as to what should be done and how, and what should not be done and how not? We know that the train carries all loads, so after getting on it why should we carry our small luggage on our head to our discomfort, instead of putting it down in the train and feeling at ease?
19. What is non-attachment?
As thoughts arise, destroying them utterly without any residue in the very place of their origin is non-attachment. Just as the pearl-diver ties a stone to his waist, sinks to the bottom of the sea and there takes the pearls, so each one of us should be endowed with non-attachment, dive within oneself and obtain the Self-Pearl.
20. Is it not possible for God and the Guru to effect the release of a soul?
God and the Guru will only show the way to release; they will not by themselves take the soul to the state of release. In truth, God and the Guru are not different. Just as the prey which has fallen into the jaws of a tiger has no escape, so those who have come within the ambit of the Guru's gracious look will be saved by the Guru and will not get lost; yet, each one should by his own effort pursue the path shown by God or Guru and gain release. One can know oneself only with one's own eye of knowledge, and not with somebody else's. Does he who is Rama require the help of a mirror to know that he is Rama?
Waking is long and a dream short; other than this there is no difference. Just as waking happenings seem real while awake. so do those in a dream while dreaming. In dream the mind takes on another body. In both waking and dream states thoughts. names and forms occur simultaneously.
All the texts say that in order to gain release one should render the mind quiescent; therefore their conclusive teaching is that the mind should be rendered quiescent; once this has been understood there is no need for endless reading. In order to quieten the mind one has only to inquire within oneself what one's Self is; how could this search be done in books? One should know one's Self with one's own eye of wisdom. The Self is within the five sheaths; but books are outside them. Since the Self has to be inquired into by discarding the five sheaths, it is futile to search for it in books. There will come a time when one will have to forget all that one has learned.
Happiness is the very nature of the Self; happiness and the Self are not different. There is no happiness in any object of the world. We imagine through our ignorance that we derive happiness from objects. When the mind goes out, it experiences misery. In truth, when its desires are fulfilled, it returns to its own place and enjoys the happiness that is the Self. Similarly, in the states of sleep, samadhi and fainting, and when the object desired is obtained or the object disliked is removed, the mind becomes inward-turned, and enjoys pure Self-Happiness. Thus the mind moves without rest alternately going out of the Self and returning to it. Under the tree the shade is pleasant; out in the open the heat is scorching. A person who has been going about in the sun feels cool when he reaches the shade. Someone who keeps on going from the shade into the sun and then back into the shade is a fool. A wise man stays permanently in the shade. Similarly, the mind of the one who knows the truth does not leave Brahman. The mind of the ignorant, on the contrary, revolves in the world, feeling miserable, and for a little time returns to Brahman to experience happiness. In fact, what is called the world is only thought. When the world disappears, i.e. when there is no thought, the mind experiences happiness; and when the world appears, it goes through misery.
Desirelessness is wisdom. The two are not different; they are the same. Desirelessness is refraining from turning the mind towards any object. Wisdom means the appearance of no object. In other words, not seeking what is other than the Self is detachment or desirelessness; not leaving the Self is wisdom.
27. What is the difference between inquiry and meditation?
Inquiry consists in retaining the mind in the Self. Meditation consists in thinking that one's self is Brahman, existence-consciousness-bliss.
Holi
IN DAYS of yore, there were communities of cannibals in India. They caused much havoc. They threatened the lives of many innocent people. One of them was Holika or Putana. She took immense delight in devouring children. Sri Krishna destroyed her and thus saved the little children. Even today, the effigy or figure of Holika is burnt in the fire. In South India, the clay figure of Cupid is burnt. This is the origin of the great festival of Holi.
It begins about ten days before the full moon of the month Phalgun (February-March), but is usually only observed for the last three or four days, terminating with the full moon. This is the spring festival of the Hindus. In the spring season all the trees are filled with sweet-smelling flowers. They all proclaim the glory and everlasting beauty of God. They inspire you with hope, joy and a new life, and stir you on to find out the creator and the Indweller, who is hiding Himself in these forms.
Holi is known by the name of Kamadahana in South India, the day on which Cupid was burnt by Lord Siva.
Another legend has it that once upon a time an old woman’s grandchild was to be sacrificed to a female demon named Holika. A Sadhu advised that abuse and foul language would subdue Holika. The old woman collected many children and made them abuse Holika in foul language. The demon fell dead on the ground. The children then made a bonfire of her remains.
Connected to this legend of the demon Holika is Bhakta Prahlad’s devotion to Lord Narayana, and his subsequent escape from death at the hands of Holika. Prahlad’s father, Hiranyakashipu, punished him in a variety of ways to change his devotional mind and make him worldly-minded. He failed in his attempts. At last he ordered his sister, Holika, who had a boon to remain unburnt even in fire, to take Prahlad on her lap and enter into the blazing flames. Holika did so. She vanished, but Prahlad remained untouched and laughing. He was not affected by the fire on account of the Grace of Lord Narayana.
This same scene is enacted every year to remind people that those who love God shall be saved, and they that torture the devotee of God shall be reduced to ashes. When Holika was burnt, people abused her and sang the glories of the Lord and of His great devotee, Prahlad. In imitation of that, people even today use abusive language, but unfortunately forget to sing the praises of the Lord and His devotee!
On the festival day, people clean their homes, remove all dirty articles from around the house and burn them. Disease-breeding bacteria are thereby destroyed. The sanitary condition of the locality is improved. During the festival, boys dance about in the streets. People play practical jokes with passers-by. A bonfire is lit towards the conclusion of the festival. Games representing the frolics of the young Krishna take place joyously around a fire.
On the last day of Holi, people take a little fire from this bonfire to their homes. They believe that their homes will be rendered pure, and their bodies free from disease.
Nowadays, people are found indulging in all sorts of vices in the name of the Holi festival. Some drink intoxicating liquor like toddy and fall unconscious on the roads. They indulge in obscene speech as a result of drinking. They lose respect for their elders and masters. They waste their money in drink and dice-play. These evils should be totally eradicated.
Festivals like Holi have their own spiritual value. Apart from the various amusements, they create faith in God if properly observed. Hindu festivals always have a spiritual significance. They wean man away from sensual pleasures and take him gradually to the spiritual path and divine communion. People perform havan and offer the new grains that are harvested to the gods before using them.
There should be worship of God, religious gatherings and Kirtan of the Lord’s Names on such occasions, not merely the sprinkling of coloured water and lighting of bonfires. These functions are to be considered most sacred and spent in devotional prayers, visiting holy places, bathing in sacred waters, and Satsang with great souls. Abundant charity should be done to the poor. Then only can Holi be said to have been properly celebrated. The devotees of the Lord should remember the delightful pastimes of the Lord on such happy occasions.
All great Hindu festivals have religious, social and hygienic elements in them. Holi is no exception. Every season has a festival of its own. Holi is the great spring festival of India. Being an agricultural country, India’s two big festivals come during the harvest time when the barns and granaries of our farmers are full and they have reason to enjoy the fruits of their hard labour. The harvest season is a festive season all over the world.
The religious element in the Holi festival consists of worship of Krishna. In some places it is also called the Dol Yatra. The word dol literally means “a swing”. An image of Sri Krishna as a babe is placed in a little swing-cradle and decorated with flowers and painted with coloured powders. The pure, innocent frolics of little Krishna with the merry milkmaids (Gopis) of Brindavan are commemorated. Devotees chant the Name of Krishna and sing Holi-songs relating to the frolics of little Krishna with the Gopis.
The social element during Holi is the uniting or “embracing” of the great and the small, of the rich and the poor. It is also the uniting of equals. The festival teaches us to “let the dead bury the dead”. We should forget the outgoing year’s ill-feelings and begin the new year with feelings of love, sympathy, co-operation and equality with all. We should try to feel this oneness or unity with the Self also.
Holi also means “sacrifice”. Burn all the impurities of the mind, such as egoism, vanity and lust, through the fire of devotion and knowledge. Ignite cosmic love, mercy, generosity, selflessness, truthfulness and purity through the fire of Yogic practice. This is the real spirit of Holi. Rise from the mire of stupidity and absurdity and dive deep into the ocean of divinity.
The call of Holi is to always keep ablaze the light of God-love shining in your heart. Inner illumination is the real Holi. The spring season is the manifestation of the Lord, according to the Bhagavad Gita. Holi is said there to be His heart.
Hanuman Jayanti
MEANING: “We bow to Maruti, Sri Hanuman, who stands with his palms folded above his forehead, with a torrent of tears flowing down his eyes wherever the Names of Lord Rama are sung”.
SRI HANUMAN is worshipped all over India—either alone or together with Sri Rama. Every temple of Sri Rama has the murti or idol of Sri Hanuman. Hanuman is the Avatara of Lord Shiva. He was born of the Wind-God and Anjani Devi. His other names are Pavanasuta, Marutsuta, Pavankumar, Bajrangabali and Mahavira.
He is the living embodiment of Ram-Nam. He was an ideal selfless worker, a true Karma Yogi who worked desirelessly and dynamically. He was a great devotee and an exceptional Brahmachari or celibate. He served Sri Rama with pure love and devotion, without expecting any fruit in return. He lived to serve Sri Rama. He was humble, brave and wise. He possessed all the divine virtues. He did what others could not do—crossing the ocean simply by uttering Ram-Nam, burning the city of Lanka, and bringing the sanjeevini herb and restoring Lakshmana to life again. He brought Sri Rama and Lakshmana from the nether world after killing Ahiravana.
He said to Ravana, “I am a humble messenger of Sri Rama. I have come here to serve Rama, to do His work. By the command of Lord Rama, I have come here. I am fearless by the Grace of Lord Rama. I am not afraid of death. I welcome it if it comes while serving Lord Rama.”
Lord Rama Himself said to Sri Hanuman, “I am greatly indebted to you, O mighty hero! You did marvellous, superhuman deeds. You do not want anything in return. Sugriva has his kingdom restored to him. Angada has been made the crown prince. Vibhishana has become king of Lanka. But you have not asked for anything at any time. You threw away the precious garland of pearls given to you by Sita. How can I repay My debt of gratitude to you? I will always remain deeply indebted to you. I give you the boon of everlasting life. All will honour and worship you like Myself. Your murti will be placed at the door of My temple and you will be worshipped and honoured first. Whenever My stories are recited or glories sung, your glory will be sung before Mine. You will be able to do anything, even that which I will not be able to!”
Hanuman humbly replied, “By the power and glory of Thy Name, my Lord.”
Again the Lord asked, “How did you burn Lanka? How did you save yourself?”
There are many who want wealth in return for their services. Some do not want wealth, but they cannot resist name and fame. Others do not want any of these, but they want approbation. Still others want nothing, but they boast of their deeds. Hanuman was above all these. That is why he is recognised as an ideal Karma Yogi and an unsurpassed adept in Bhakti. His life is full of object lessons. Everyone should try his best to follow the noble example of Hanuman.
On this holy day worship Sri Hanuman. Fast on this day. Read the Hanuman Chalisa. Spend the whole day in the Japa of Ram-Nam. Sri Hanuman will be highly pleased and will bless you with success in all your undertakings.
God will save me
[Jokes] > God will save me
There came a big flood, and the water around Bhola's house was rising steadily..
Bhola was standing on the porch, watching water rising all around him, when a man in a boat came along and called to Bhola, "Get in the boat and I'll get you out of here. Bhola replied, "No thanks, God will save me."
As he looked out, another man in a boat came along, and he called to Bhola, "Get in the boat and I'll get you out of here."
Again, Bhola replied, "No thanks. God will save me."
Again Bhola replied, "No thanks.  God will save me."
When he arrived in Heaven, he saw God, and asked Him, "Why didn't you save me from that terrible flood?  Did I not show you my faith?"
With a loving but irritated tone God replied, "What more would you have me do?  I sent people in two boats and a helicopter?"
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules the World
An Inspired Talk delivered by [Gurudeva] Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami on his 54th Jayanti, on January 5, 1980, at the Kadavul Hindu Temple in Hawaii, enjoining the modern Hindu woman to not forsake her dharma but protect the home and nurture the family as her gift of love to the next generation. Hmmm! It seems not to have gone out of date much.
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.
The Hindu woman is looked upon as most precious. Two thousand years ago Saint Tiruvalluvar observed: "What does a man lack if his wife is worthy? And what does he possess if she is lacking worth?" There is more respect in the East for women and for their role in society. Here in the West, the woman is not fully appreciated. Her contribution is underrated and misunderstood. In fact, this is one of the reasons she seeks fulfillment and recognition in other spheres, because Western society has become oblivious of her unique and vital role. Abused by neglect and disregard, she seeks other avenues where she may be appreciated, recognized and rewarded.
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.
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.
As long as the mother is home, everything is fine. There is security. Without this security, a family begins to disintegrate. Just think how insecure a child is without its mother. When the mother is there, security reigns in the home. As long as the mother is home doing whatever she naturally does as a mother--she doesn't even have to read a book about how to do it--the husband has to support the home. He feels bound to support the home.
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."
Yama's four letters
"Lord Yama sends four letters to man, but each time man is misguided by
inevitable and that only God's Name will really help him in the end.
When the time of his departure comes, he repents. Who can help him?
"Always repeat the Name of the Lord. Merely doing one or two malas of
Japa will not do. Throughout the day you should repeat His Name. Then
only will His Grace descend on you and save you. This is a very easy
realise God in this birth, but if you go on repeating His Name, you will
continue the thread in the next birth. The spiritual impressions will be
there and you will soon realise Him."
Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realise;
"'Isavasyam idam sarvam--the Supreme Lord alone pervades the whole of
When you have some sweet­meats, distribute them to the children of
officer' (the scavenger in the Master's dictionary!) the same fruit that
easy thing, but you need not despair. You will surely attain it if you
purify yourself every moment."
The University of Hard Knocks
**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**
*****This file should be named hdknk10.txt or hdknk10.zip******
of the official release dates, for time for better editing.
midnight of the last day of the month of any such announcement.
Midnight, Central Time, of the last day of the stated month. A
preliminary version may often be posted for suggestion, comment
look at the file size will have to do, but we will try to see a
will require us reaching less than 5% of the users in 2001.
Why is this "Small Print!" statement here? You know: lawyers.
They tell us you might sue us if there is something wrong with
someone other than us, and even if what's wrong is not our
fault. So, among other things, this "Small Print!" statement
this "Small Print!" statement. If you do not, you can receive
medium (such as a disk), you must return it with your request.
things, this means that no one owns a United States copyright
medium they may be on may contain "Defects". Among other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged
disk or other etext medium, a computer virus, or computer
codes that damage or cannot be read by your equipment.
LIMITED WARRANTY; DISCLAIMER OF DAMAGES
But for the "Right of Replacement or Refund" described below,
legal fees, and [2] YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE OR
time to the person you received it from. If you received it
on a physical medium, you must return it with your note, and
such person may choose to alternatively give you a replacement
TO THE ETEXT OR ANY MEDIUM IT MAY BE ON, INCLUDING BUT NOT
LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A
Some states do not allow disclaimers of implied warranties or
above disclaimers and exclusions may not apply to you, and you
You will indemnify and hold the Project, its directors,
officers, members and agents harmless from all liability, cost
disk, book or any other medium if you either delete this
etext or this "small print!" statement. You may however,
[2] Honor the etext refund and replacement provisions of this
"Small Print!" statement.
net profits you derive calculated using the method you
The Project gratefully accepts contributions in money, time,
"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his
God, and he shall be my son"--Revelation 21:7.
hundred times upon lyceum courses, at chautauquas, teachers'
wish I could tell the lecture committees of America how I
bringing the audiences of America together. For lecture audiences
University of Hard Knocks" comes from the press.
SOME PRELIMINARY REMARKS--The lecturer the delivery wagon--The
us--Our sorrows and disappointments--How the piano was made--How
the "red mud" becomes razor-blades--The world our mirror--The
V. GOING UP--How we become great--We must get inside greatness--
Menace of America not swollen fortunes but shrunken souls--
Amusement drunkards--Lure of the city--Strong men from the
Must save the home towns--A school of struggle--New School
experiment
VII. THE SALVATION OF A "SUCKER"--You can't get something for
nothing--The fiddle and the tuning--How we know things--Trimmed at
the shell game--My "fool drawer"--Getting "selected to receive
1,000 per cent"--You must earn what you own--Commencement
VIII. LOOKING BACKWARD--Memories of the price we pay--My first
Some Preliminary Remarks
LADIES and Gentlemen:
only the delivery wagon. When the delivery wagon comes to your
the goods it brings you. You know some very good goods are
sometimes delivered to you in some very poor delivery wagons.
you some of the multiplication table of life--not mine, not yours
audience will make a good lecture poor, while a warm audience will
Let me illustrate:
mother wanted to make ginger-bread or cookies, she would send me to
Some warm September day I would pull the plug from the barrel and
squirt. It would come out slowly and reluctantly, so that I would
have to wait a long while to get a little sorghum. And on some real
run at all. It would just look out at me.
I have brought a barrel of sorghum to this audience. The name of
plug. I cannot make it run. That will depend upon the temperature
running freely, you will have to warm up.
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
would not prosper with the necessary elements in their condensed
promote mental digestion like more bulk in the way of pictures and
discussions of these truths. Here is bulk as well as nutriment.
But if we are "naturally bright," or there is something else the
have just gotten, then that bump must come back and bump us again.
Some of us learn to go forward with a few bumps, but most of us are
The playground is all of God's universe.
was a sentence in my grammar that disgusted me. It was by some
foreigner I had never met. His name was Shakespeare. It was this:
Children, I fear you will not be greatly interested in what is to follow.
I was not interested when father and mother told me these things.
I knew they meant all right, but the world had moved since they were
But if you will remember some of these things, they will feel like
poultices by and by when the bumps come.
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
I became enamored with that coffee-pot. I decided I needed that
Then I discovered a woman beside me, my mother. She was the most
meddlesome woman I had ever known. I had not tried to do one thing
in three years that that woman had not meddled into.
The longer I thought about it the more angry I became. What right
has that woman to meddle into my affairs all the time? I have stood
this petticoat tyranny three years, and it is time to stop it!
applebutter on me--and coal oil and white-of-an-egg and starch and
You see, my mother's way was to tell me and then let me do as I
pleased. She told me not to get the coffee-pot and then let me get
it, knowing that it would burn me. She would say, "Don't." Then she
would go on with her knitting and let me do as I pleased.
the well after that and she would not look at me. I do not argue
knew how stubborn and self-willed I was. It came from father's
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.
coffee-pot would spill upon me. I cannot remember when I disobeyed
my mother that a coffee-pot of some kind did not spill upon me, and I
runs on the same plan. The Voice of Wisdom says to each of us,
"Child of humanity, do right, walk in the right path. You will be
Anything that goes downward will run itself. Anything that goes
when we get bumped twice in the same place, for it means we are
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.
when I see that bump coming again I can say, "Excuse me; it hath a
The seeress is the soothing syrup for mental infants.
his lesson with one bump, and you have to go bumping into the same
Let me repeat, things that go downward will run themselves. Things
movements--things that go upward--never run themselves. They must
be pushed all the time.
willing to make the effort to rule themselves. They are content to
drift and be amused and follow false gods that promise something
for nothing. They must be led--sometimes driven--by minorities.
fill up with disappointment, their vision becomes dulled. They
become anaemic feeding upon the husks.
How they must be bumped to think upon their ways. Every time we do
wrong we get a Needless Knock. Every time! We may not always get
subject," somebody says, You can? You poor old sinner, you have
so that they will not think upon their ways! How he keeps the music
and the dazzle going so they will not see they are bumping
"Remember, son, to stay away from the sticky flypaper. That is
where your poor dear father was lost." And Johnny Fly remembers for
flypaper shows me up better than anything at home. What a fine
stuck a bit. Mother is such a silly old worryer. She means all
can't catch us. They were too strict with me back home."
You see Johnny fly back and forth and have the time of his
him, "really, boys, you'll have to excuse me now. Good-bye!" But he
same way--they can play in the sticky flypaper or let it alone,
another drink and sing, "We won't go home till morning."
Johnny may get home, but he will leave a wing or a leg.
pitied, for he must get some more knocks.
merely "knocked out."
healed. Maybe you think it never will heal. You wondered why you
were bumped. Some of you in this audience are just now wondering
some blow came crushing upon you and gave you cruel pain.
heart broken more times than I care to talk about now. Your home
killed a few times. Each death is a larger birth.
have to have the Needful Knocks to become useful. And so does
humanity need the same preparation for greater usefulness.
here. This is no reflection upon the janitor. You became a piano by
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
pieces and hammered you day by day.
Duluth, Minnesota, and came to a hole in the ground. It was a big
until you move it--send it to college or somewhere.
Not very long after this, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I saw some
of this same red mud. It had been moved over the Great Lakes and
the rails to what they call a blast furnace, the technological name
limestone, charcoal and other textbooks. Then they corked it up and
Some of the pig iron went into another department, a big teakettle,
where it was again roasted, and now it came out a sophomore--steel,
Some of the sophomore steel went up into another grade where it was
roasted yet again and rolled thin into a junior. Some of that went
It seemed as tho I could hear the suffering red mud crying out, "O,
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,
why do they roast me? O, I'll never get over this!"
labeled "Made in America." They hung it in show windows, they put
If a ton of that red mud had become watch-springs or razor-blades,
same material, say the chemists. But the diamond has gone to The College
What a smile she gave me! "Yes, I know about the hard knocks," she
They told me this crippled woman was the sweetest-spirited,
But her mother petulantly interrupted me. She had wheeled the
well-gowned. She lived in one of the finest homes in the city. She
had everything that money could buy. But her money seemed unable to
daughter and nobody interested in me? Why is my daughter happy and
What would you have said? Just on the spur of the moment--I said,
I discover when I am unhappy and selfish and people don't use me
sympathize. They are to become a precious part of our population.
There is no backward step in life. Whatever experiences come to us
are truly new chapters of our education if we are willing to learn
We think this is true of the good things that come to us, but we do
prosperity do not often travel hand-in-hand. When we become
this Babylon that I have builded?" And about that time there comes
some handwriting on the wall and a bump to save us.
Think of what might happen to you today. Your home might burn. We
don't want your home to burn, but somebody's home is burning just
name might be tarnished. Bereavement might take from you the one
look out! Some of your friends would say, "I am so sorry for you.
opened. Will you read the lesson of the Needful Knocks?
Out of the trenches of the Great War come nations chastened by
greatness. We go up in life. We become educated. Let me bring you
have reached to the bottom, for he gave me the worst mess of runts
Then I calmed down. Did the groceryman do that on purpose? Does
Man of sorrows, you have been slandered. It never occurred to me
a mass meeting at the bottom.
that the big ones shake up and the little ones shake down. Put some
big ones and some little things of about the same density in a box
or other container and shake them. You will see the larger things
shake upward and the smaller shake downward. You will see every
beans and some walnuts. You will pardon me for bringing such a
than thru the ear. I want to make this so vivid that you will never
down in the bottom saying, "Help me! Help me! I am so unfortunate
Help me up."
make them big ones come down. Give every one an equal chance."
the same shakes that send the little ones back to the bottom.
the can. Lifting them up or putting them down will not do it. But
grow bigger and he will shake up. Let the big one grow smaller and
he will shake down.
the barrel shakes all the time.
of life. That barrel is shaking all the time. Every community is
stores, the schools, the pulpits, the homes--every place where we
The same law that shakes the little ones down and the big ones up
lifted up to some big place, or when we want some big person to be
put down to some little place? We are foolishly trying to overturn
artificially boosted up into some place where he rattles.
I hear a good deal about destiny. Some people seem to think destiny
is something like a train and if we do not get to the depot in time
our train of destiny will run off and leave us, and we will have no
The objects in that jar cannot change their size. But thank God,
We shake down if we become small; we shake up if we become great.
place. If he shrinks up he will rattle. Nobody can stay long where
In order to stay the same size he must grow enough each day to supply
So you young people should keep in mind that you will shake into
promotion. You grow greater, enlarge your dimensions, develop new
of people working for me, I would have a jar in my office filled
with various sizes of objects. When an employee would come into the
office and say, "Isn't it about time I was getting a raise?" I
You will promote yourself."
This jar tells me so much about luck. I have noted that the lucky
the little ones was good luck to the big ones. The same bump was
the Chicago house where a number of young ladies worked. Some of
them had been there for a long time. There came a raw, green Dutch
Do you remember that green things grow?
same blunder twice. She learned the lesson with one helping to the
she had been put at, she would discover something else that ought
time they had been there. Nothing ever escaped her. She had become
The other girls feel hurt about it. They will tell you in
some questions about the machine, which he answered fairly well.
He is one of the kindest-hearted men we ever had in the works, but
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
popular favor, and get our names in the blue-book at the start.
Some of us begin down in the shade on the bottom branches, and we
do not even get invited. We often become discouraged as we look at
were only up there I might amount to something. But I am too low
doing pretty much the same things over and over. Every day we
appear to have about the same round of duties.
But if we let life become routine, we are shaking down. The very
routine or we become unhappy. If we go on doing just the same
things in the same way day after day, thinking the same thoughts,
and not growing any, pretty soon we become mere machines. We wear
The farmer must be learning new things about farming to hold his
place this progressive age as a farmer. The merchant must be
growing into a greater, wiser merchant to hold his place among his
ministry as he goes back into the same old pulpit to keep on
same old schoolroom. The mother must be getting a larger horizon in
her homemaking.
We only live as we grow and learn. When anybody stays in the same
I shiver as I see the pages of school advertisements in the
Child." I know the schools generally mean all right, but I fear the
students will get the idea they are being finished, which finishes
commencement, not an end-ment.
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
Big business men keep their ears open for rattles in their
time pointing backward with pride and talking about "in my day!"
We young people come up into life wanting great places. I would not
and get it. If we do not have pull enough, get some more pull. Get
some more testimonials.
place, that sized place will generally come seeking us.
We do not become great by getting into a great place, any more than
a boy becomes a man by getting into his father's boots. He is in
We can be a pumpkin in one summer, with the accent on the "punk."
we cannot become an oak that way.
rattling. A testimonial so often becomes a crutch.
Many a man writes a testimonial to get rid of somebody. "Well, I
hope it will do him some good. Anyhow, I have gotten him off my
the farther they will fall.
The Menace of the Press-Notice
Then they become a mirror for his vanity instead of a monitor
me. Whenever I heard an adverse criticism, I would go and read a
editors of America--God bless them! They are always trying to boost
a home enterprise--not for the sake of the imported attraction but
for the sake of the home folks who import it.
and your work mercilessly dissected, shake hands with yourself and
There are so many loving, sincere, foolish, cruel uplift movements
cannot help many people, for there are not many people willing to
be helped on the inside. Not many willing to grow up.
When Peter and John went up to the temple they found the lame
thru the gate and see him. He would say, "Help me!" "Poor man,"
would throw him some money.
as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise
I used to say, "Nobody uses me right. Nobody gives me a chance."
times a day. We need oculists, not opportunities.
Did you ever hear that line of conversation? It generally comes
from somebody who rattles where he is.
minutes, down to the peanut row, for I was only a peanut. Remember,
The fairy books love to tell about some clodhopper suddenly
to be the same size. Yes, I'll pass laws to turn the barrel upside
down, so the little ones will be on the top and the big ones will
Have you ever noticed that the man who is not willing to fix
other people? He wants something for nothing.
O, I am so glad I did not get the things I wanted at the time I
would not let us have them. Today we have them. They come to us as
But a cruel fate will not let us have them.
How We Become Great
greatness is merely an incidental reflection of the inside.
Greatness is not measured in any material terms. It is not measured
world's yardsticks or barometers.
Greatness is measured in spiritual terms. It is education. It is
We may become very great, very educated, rise very high, and yet
great blacksmith shop. It becomes our throne-room!
Come, let us grow greater. There is a throne for each of us.
The world says that to get greatness means to get great things. So
great lands, great titles, great applause, great fame, and
a few scrambling over the heads of the weaker ones. Sometimes they
and cornering all the swill!
There came to him those two disciples who wanted to "get to the
of greatness that can ever stand: "Whosoever will be great among
you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among
We cannot buy a great arm. Our arm must become a great servant, and
thus it becomes great.
We cannot buy a great mind. Our mind must become a great servant,
and thus it becomes great.
Everybody's privilege and duty is to become great. And the joy of
become great. It is a great stairway that leads from where our feet
hundredth step or the thousandth step now. We want to make some
begin to see them. They are around us all the time, but we must get
It was the sweet girl graduate who at commencement wondered how one
ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." That great ocean is
the treasury, and then to the rich men who had cast in much more.
have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she
Tho the rich men had cast in more, yet it was only a part of their
treasury. That is not why we give. We give to become great. The
widow had given all--had completely overcome her selfishness and
saveth his life shall lose it, but he that loseth his life for the
advancement of the kingdom of happiness on earth shall find it
The world says some of us have golden gifts and some have copper
Every work is drudgery when done selfishly. Every work becomes
do not know all the great people who may come and stand upon this
come and stand upon it, if each be doing his work with the same
to make a roster of the great people of a community. You will find
service of God is the service of man.
the schools, the lyceum and chautauqua, and all the other movements
the happy ones, happy for the larger vision that comes as they go
sweetest pay comes from doing many things they are not paid for.
thanking them until it comes time to draft the "resolutions of
serviceable, tho he worked every day full time with his pick at his
The great people are so busy serving that they have little time to
clubmen." You rarely find their names in the society page. They
uplift movements that his name gets into the papers about every day,
think that a vacation means going off somewhere and stretching out
under trees or letting the mind become a blank. But this Chicago
"There is a sermon for me," he would exclaim every half-hour. He
were doing nothing. In every town he would discover somebody of
unusual attainment. He made every town an unusual town. He turned
say, "I have no chance." "You come to Chicago and I'll give you a
So this Chicago preacher was busy every day, working overtime on
once ask the price of land, nor where there was a good investment
for himself, but every day he was trying to make an investment in
somebody else.
His friends would sometimes worry about him. They would say, "Why
Sometimes they were right about that.
But he that saveth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his
it becomes the fuel to make the steam to accomplish the wonderful
came from the struggle. When the people became materially prosperous
and surrendered to ease and indulgence, they became fat, stall-fed weaklings.
Has the American nation reached that period?
Many homes and communities have reached it.
All over America are fathers and mothers who have struggled and
have become strong men and women thru their struggles, who are
Then, forgetful of how they became strong, they plan to take away
from their children their birthright--their opportunity to become
generally means getting out of his way. Many an orphan can be
will buy any brand they see--buy the home brand of education, or
maybe they will have a private pipeline of education laid to their
home. They are going to force this education into them regularly
do is to buy them some tools, perhaps, and open the gate and say,
A father and mother might as well say, "We will buy our children
them his physical development he has earned in years of exercise.
nothing. He had become rich and honored. Every man in the mill
He also had a little pink son, whose name was F. Gustavus Adolphus.
You remember, then, that after he matriculates--after he gets the
education is all arranged for in advance and he merely rides thru
from department to department until he is canned.
from department to department. They upholstered him, enameled him,
manicured him, sugar-cured him, embalmed him. Finally Gussie was
Gussie and Bill Whackem Gussie came back home with his education in
the first time in its history. The hands marched down to the depot,
the Conquering Hero Comes."
crape hanging on the office door. Men and women stood weeping in
a wreck. The monument of a father's lifetime was wrecked in two
So the mill was shut down the third time on a week day. It looked
descriptive name, I would call him "Bill Whackem." He was an
day. But he seemed to fatten on bumps. Every time he was bumped he
would swell up. How fast he grew! He became the most useful man in
So when the courts were looking for somebody big enough to take charge
of the wrecked mill, they simply had to appoint Hon. William Whackem.
It was Hon. William Whackem who put the wreckage together and made
had had Gussie's fine equipment he might have accomplished vastly more.
with these instruments and tools.
Gussie was in the position of a man with a very fine equipment of
poor, homemade, crude tools, but with the energy, vision and
greatness, physically, mentally and morally. I believe I know some
people liberally educated who cannot write their own names. But
they have served and overcome and developed great lives with the
In almost every community are what we sometimes call "hard knocks
acquired these elements of greatness in their lives.
They realized how they have been handicapped by their poor mental tools.
The young person with electrical genius will make an electrical
see how much more he will achieve with the same genius and with
finer equipment.
Get the best tools you can. But remember diplomas, degrees are not
an education, they are merely preparations. When you are thru with
the books, remember, you are having a commencement, not an
end-ment. You will discover with the passing years that life is
just one series of greater commencements.
Go out with your fine equipment from your commencements into the
That is what you know--what the courts will take as evidence when
tragedy of our American civilization today.
These fathers and mothers who toil and save, who get great farms,
fine homes and large bank accounts, so often think they can give
to grow great enough for the places. The child gets the blame for
making the wreck, even as Gussie was blamed for wrecking his
A man heard me telling the story of Gussie and Bill Whackem, and he
has his head bowed in shame over the career of his spoiled son.
somebody does not take me aside and tell me a story just as sad
depravity. He seems never to have had a fighting chance to become
cradle. Yet the father of this boy who has cost America millions in
and command armies of men, but he seems to have been pitifully
The menace of America lies not in the swollen fortunes, but in the
shaking down the rattlers. Somebody said it is only three
How long this nation will endure depends upon how many Gussie boys
how few of our strong men get their start with steam heat?
You boys and girls, God bless you! You live in good homes. Father
thinking, "I won't have to turn my hand over. Papa and mamma will
take care of me, and when they are gone I'll inherit everything
and food in your stomach, but you cannot own it save as you digest
I have read somewhere about a man who found a cocoon and put it in
the envelope. It seemed in trouble and needed help. He opened the
came a monstrosity that soon died. It had an over-developed body
But remember there is little virtue in work unless it is getting us
somewhere. Just work that gets us three meals a day and a place to
lie down to sleep, then another day of the same grind, then a year
junkpile, means little. "One day nearer home" for such a worker
means one day nearer the scrapheap.
When we are growing and letting our faculties develop, we will love
even the packhorse job, because it is our "meal ticket" that
One time I put some turkey eggs under the mother hen and waited day
the shells. Some of the little turkeys came out from the shells all
right, but some of them stuck in the shells.
hand." So I picked the shells off. "Little turkeys, you will never
Children, you must crack your own shells. You must overcome your
you to know the joy of overcoming and having the angels come and
Loving friends used to warn me against "breaking down." They scared
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
me and rejuvenated me. Now I do two men's work, and have grown from
been a great surprise to my friends and a great disappointment to
the undertaker. I am an editor in the daytime and a lecturer at
almost every day of the year--maybe two or three times some
day is jam full of play and vacation and good times. The year is
speaking and writing to them instead of them paying me!
You see, I have no time nowadays to break down. I have no time to
The people who think they are overworking are merely overworrying.
To worry is to doubt God.
amusement-mad. Vacations, Coca Cola and moviemania!
of mental frog-pond and moral slum our boys and girls wade thru!
are a hundred amusement drunkards to one victim of strong drink.
We have to have amusement, but if we fill our lives with nothing
but amusement, we never grow. We go thru our lives babies with new
Almost every day as I go along the street to some hall to lecture,
I hear somebody asking, "What are they going to have in the hall
The man who will not make the effort to think is the great menace
to the nation. The crowd that drifts and lives for amusement is the
want to start a new party to reform the government.
Do you ever get lonely in a city? How few men and women there. A
white way they go chasing amusement to find happiness. They must be
amused every moment, even when they eat, or they will have to be
The Prodigal Son came to himself afterwhile and thought upon his
will stop chasing amusements long enough to think upon his ways, he
will arise and go to his father's house of wisdom. But there is no
hope for the person who will not stop and think. And the devil
That is why the crowd is not furnishing the strong men and women.
We must have amusement and relaxation. Study your muscles. First
your real relaxation, vacation and amusement, are merely changing
born in Poseyville, Indiana, and I came to this city forty years
He glows as he tells you of some log-cabin home, hillside or
log-cabin, save that there the necessity for struggle that brings
that young person comes to the city and shakes in the barrel among
"Hep" and "Pep" for the Home Town
But so many of the home towns of America are sick. Many are dying.
to leave. Somebody says, "The reason so many young people go to
What is the matter with the small town? Do not blame it all upon
I asked the keeper who was showing me thru the insane asylum at
The keeper was not in the least alarmed at the question. He smiled.
America have one thing in common with the asylum folks--they can't
So the home towns stagnate and the young people with visions go
out of a hundred of them will jostle with the straphangers all
their lives, mere wheels turning round in a huge machine.
opportunity right back in the home town, had the town been awake
We must make the home town the brightest, most attractive, most
promising place for the young people. No home town can afford to
is the worst kind of soil impoverishment--all going out and nothing
coming back. That is the drain that devitalizes the home towns more
America is to be great, not in the greatness of a few crowded
cities, but in the greatness of innumerable home towns.
The slogan today should be, For God and Home and the Home Town!
pride, "Our students come to school; they are not sent."
for the military department. His school was one surging mass of
getting new members, going every term to unbelievable efforts to
intercept new students, even to their homes in other states. Each
old student pledged new students in his home country. The military
not believe there is a school in America with a greater alumni roll
of men and women of uniformly greater achievement.
schools offering encouragement and facilities for young people to
Men Needed More Than Millions
We are trying a new educational experiment today.
From these schools came the makers and the preservers of the nation.
wonderful equipment. Today we are replacing the many small colleges
equipment and maintenance. Today we scour the earth for specialists
to sit in the chairs and speak the last word in every department of
But each student has the same definite effort to make in
assimilation today as then. Knowing and growing demand the same
girls who come out in case-lots from these huge school plants will
hoping they will not be shorn of their individuality, but will have
men--great men. I am anxious that the modern school have the modern
equipment demanded to serve the present age. But I am more anxious
that each student come in vital touch with great men. We get life
A school is vastly more than machinery, methods, microscopes and millions.
endowment, when the fact is that its struggle for existence and the
spirit of its teachers are its greatest endowment. And sometimes
when the money endowment comes the spiritual endowment goes in
fatty degeneration. Some schools seem to have been visited by
Can we keep men before millions, and keep our ideals untainted by
learning one sentence, "You can't get something for nothing." I
somewhere.
For that sentence utters one of the fundamentals of life that
One day a manufacturer took me thru his factory where he makes
I have had the feeling ever since that you and I come into this
world like the fiddle comes from the factory. We have a body and a
go up thru all the departments and institutions necessary to give
them the full complement of strings for their life symphonies.
After all this there comes the commencement, and the violin comes
You do not know what you have memorized, you know what you have
All of us are Christopher Columbuses, discovering the same new-old
truth becomes a new blessing. Then the oldest, driest platitude
"If--I-p-p-play--with--the--f-f-f-i-i-i-i-r-r-e--I--will--g-e-e-et
play with the fire I will get my fingers burned. I had to slap my
This is not a lecture. It is a confession! It seems to me if you in
"You Can't Get Something for Nothing"
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
farm at ten dollars a month and "washed, mended and found." You see
me here on this platform in my graceful and cultured manner, and
hand many a time. You might not think that I had ever driven a yoke
I remember the first county fair I ever attended. Fellow sufferers,
you may remember that at the county fair all the people sort out to
their own departments. Some people go to the canned fruit
department. Some go to the fancywork department. Some go to the
swine department. Everybody goes to his own department. Even the
went--to the "trimming department."
I was in the "trimming department" in five minutes. Nobody told me
Right at the entrance to the "local Midway" I met a gentleman. I
became too sultry he would move to greener pastures. On that table
Even the gentleman running the game was fooled. He thought it was
under the end shell and bet me money it was under the end shell.
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.
And he seemed like a real nice old gentleman, and maybe he had a
people like me, naturally bright.
me out of all I had in about five seconds.
mermaid now or get into the grandstand.
to learn the lesson from the bump. I said, "Next time I shall be
around me, for I am going to give away dollars."
Immediately all the prominent "suckers" crowded around the buggy.
"Gentlemen, I am introducing this new medicinal soap that cures all
hat. Now who will give me five dollars for the privilege of taking
a cake of this wonderful soap from my hat--any cake you want, gentlemen!"
and therefore good picking. They began to let me in on the ground
could stick. Whenever anybody let me in on the ground floor it
seemed like I would always slide on thru and land in the cellar.
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
metropolis on paper is yet a wide place in the road.
hear of a rubber plantation in Central America? That was mine.
I used to wonder how I ever could spend my income. I do not wonder now.
I wonder how I will make it.
frost-line, also below the water-line. I will sell it by the
they wanted it to harmonize with me! And I would realize I had so
I could smell them. Only one more assessment, then we will cut the
melon! I have heard that all my life and never got a piece of the rind.
retired ministers would come periodically and sell me stock in some
banker once said to me, "Why don't you invest in something that
will pay you five or six per cent. and get it?"
had no imagination! Nothing interested me that did not offer fifty
or a hundred per cent.--then. Give me the five per cent. now!
By the time I was thirty-four I was a rich man in worthless paper.
It would have been better for me if I had thrown about all my
never met. His name was Thomas A. Cleage, and he was in the Rialto
Building, St. Louis, Missouri. He wrote me in extreme confidence,
He knew me! He was the only man who did know me. So I took the
"Because of your tremendous influence you have been selected to go
train for St. Louis. I was afraid somebody might beat me there if
I waited till next day. I sat up all night in a day coach to save
sheep-shears ready. Lambie, lambie, lambie, come to St. Louis!
I don't get any sympathy from this crowd. You laugh at me. You
could not learn it at home, back in Ohio. I had to go clear down to
That bump set me to thinking. My fever began to reduce. I got the
have always regarded the eleven hundred as the finest investment I
had made up to that time, for I got the most out of it. I do not
feel hard toward goldbrick men and "blue sky" venders. I sometimes
feel that we should endow them. How else can we save a sucker? You
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
I will not grasp a fortune now. Try me, I dare you! Bring a
floor. I will not grasp it. Come away, it is a coffee-pot!
Today when somebody offers me much more than the legal rate of
If he offers me a hundred per cent. I call for the police!
Meeting is adjourned. I select the waste-basket. Here, get in there
You can't get something for nothing. If you do not learn it, you
will have to be "selected." There is no other way for you, because
selected to receive a thousand per cent. dividends," it means you
took me up into his office after the lecture in which I had related
some of the above experiences. "The audience laughed with you and
This is true physically, mentally, morally. You only own what you
have earned and stored in your life, not merely in your pocket,
I often think if it takes me thirty-four years to begin to learn
To me that is one of the great arguments for eternal life--how slowly
I learn, and how much there is to learn. It will take an eternity!
Those Commencement Orations
Bless them all! They will have put another string on their fiddle.
After they "finish" they have a commencement, not an end-ment, as
that life is one infinite succession of commencements and
I love to attend commencements. The stage is so beautifully
know how it hurts. It is the first time they have worn it.
Then they make their orations. Every time I hear their orations I
Number One comes forth and begins:
How embarrassing at a commencement for the fingers not to follow
means, let the fingers follow the wrist, just as the elocution
Sweet Girl Graduate Number 2, generally comes second. S. G. G. No.
2 stands at the same leadpencil mark on the floor, resplendent in
a filmy creation caught with something or other.
truths that you have memorized, but not vitalized.
You get the most beautiful and sublime truths from Emerson's
essays. (How did they ever have commencements before Emerson?) But
was "short-circuited." The "brethren" waited upon me and told me I had
They gave me six weeks in which to load the gospel gun and get
to the poet Tennyson." Come here, Lord Alfred. So I soldered these
fragments from the books together with my own native genius. I
I bedecked it with metaphors and semaphores. I filled it with
fourteen, where I had made a little mark in the margin which meant
I committed it all to memory, and then went to a lady who taught
the air as you speak. You can notice it on me yet.
life is expression. But you have to get something to express. Here
Then came the grand day. The boy wonder stood forth and before his
it was in me. But I certainly got it all out that day!
last man out of the church--and I hurried. But they beat me
said as he jiggled the key in the door to hurry me, "Don't feel
I cried all the way to town. If he had plunged a dagger into me he
would not have hurt me so much. It has taken some years to learn
man meant I did not know my own sermon.
So, children, when you prepare your commencement oration, write
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.
and irrigation and gargling of the throat are merely symptoms of
a singer--merely neckties. Singers look better with neckties.
They think the song comes from the diaphragm. But it comes from the
Summer." She sang it with every note so well placed, with the
the same tent "The Last Rose of Summer." She had never been to
tremendous feeling it demands. The audience went wild. It was a
cannot sing "The Last Rose of Summer" yet, for you do not know very
much about the first rose of summer. And really, I hope you'll
never know the ache and disappointment you must know before you can
Isn't it great to have friends and a fine home and money?" she
meal a day and didn't know where the next meal was coming from. I
only home I had, that I began to write songs. I wrote them for my
heart and what the struggles were teaching me. No one is more
the University of Hard Knocks. She here became the song philosopher
had never struggled with discouragement, sickness, poverty and
appeal to the multitudes who have the same battles.
it is a tribute to the good elements in humanity that the
wholesome, uplifting sentiments in Carrie Jacobs-Bond's songs
become wrecks. But I am insisting upon what I see written all
around me in the affairs of everyday life, that none of us will
came from the life of Carrie Jacobs-Bond.
The world is full of theorists, dreamers, uplifters, reformers, who
looking upward, and half the time their feet are in the flower-beds
or trampling upon their fellow men they dream of helping. Their
book men. I used to know a man who could tell in what book almost
He was a remarkable man--a great reader and with a memory that
retained it all. That man could recite chapters and volumes.
But he was one of the most helpless men I have ever seen in
practical life. He seemed to be unable to think and reason for
himself. He could quote a page of John Locke, but somehow the page
and the gasoline in the fire. He seemed never to have digested any
of the things in his memory. Since I have grown up I always think
Note the sweeping, positive statements of the young person.
Note the cautious, specific statements of the person who has lived
wholesale statements we have not proved, to the cautious, specific
statements we have proved.
ones. You have cried yourselves to sleep, some of you, and walked
ago, and the wound has not healed. You think it never will heal.
You came here thinking that perhaps you would forget your trouble
Never do this many gather but what there are some with aching hearts.
Maybe some of you are naturally bright!
sleep. You are going to walk the floor when you cannot sleep. Some
trust most betray you. Maybe, betray you with a kiss. You will go
through your Gethsemane. You will see your dearest plans wrecked.
You will see all that seems to make life livable lost out of your
horizon. You will say, "God, let me die. I have nothing more
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
soul tighter and tighter, nearer and nearer to God's great concert
divine and harmonies celestial come from the same old strings that
and understanding come into our lives.
Memories of the Price We Pay
Do you remember the first money you ever earned? I do. I walked
sheaves. That night I was proud when that farmer patted me on the
means green sixteen. But remember again, only green things grow.
the time, to save money. I think I had all teaching methods in use.
day came from all over the township. They were so glad our school
speak their "pieces." I hardly knew them and they hardly knew me,
"Mary's little lamb" come slipping over the stage. I see the
tow-headed patriot in "Give me liberty or give me death." I feel
"Give me death."
There came a breathless hush as "teacher" came forward as the last
saying over and over until it would say itself. But somehow when I
mouth, it was a great opening, but nothing came out. It came out of
wept. It was a teary time. I only said, "Weep not for me, dear
was going home with head high and aircastles even higher. But I
never got home with the money. Talk about the fool and his money
For on the way home I met Deacon K, and he borrowed it all. Deacon K
"due at corncutting," as we termed that annual fall-time paying up
A lyceum bureau once sent me back to my home town to lecture. I
imagine most lecturers have a hard time lecturing in the home town.
And he has gotten his lecture out of that home town. The heroes and
come to hear him. "Is not this the carpenter's son?" Perhaps this
is why some lecturers and authors are not so popular in the home
I went back to the same hall to speak, and stood upon the same platform
when in impassioned and well modulated tones I had exclaimed,
"Greece is gone and Rome is no more, but fe-e-e-e-ear not,
for I will sa-a-a-a-ave you!" or words to that effect.
half the night living it over. Time was when I thought anybody who
time had come when I knew the person who could go on living in any
years before, just before commencement. I had not seen the picture
before? It is a memorable experience.
on them. They were so willing to take charge of the world. They
no brilliant career in view. He was dull and seemed to lack
As commencement day approached, the committee of the class
on the stage back of the oleander commencement night.
The girl who was to become the authoress became the helloess in the
home telephone exchange, and had become absolutely indispensable to
the community. The girl who was to become the poetess became the
goddess at the general delivery window and superintendent of the
stamp-licking department of the home postoffice. The boy who was
Most of them were doing very well even Jim Lambert. Jim had become
a lot of men working for him. The committee that took him out
commencement, would now have to wait in line before a frosted door
alumni meeting. They hung it on the wall near where the oleander
Dull boy or girl--you with your eyes tear-dimmed sometimes because
you do not seem to learn like some in your classes can you not get
I expected to go up had shaken down and some that I expected to
Congress and one had gone to the penitentiary. Some had gone to
brilliant success and some had gone down to sad failure. Some had
found happiness and some had found unhappiness. It seemed as tho
yet most of them seemed already to have decided their destinies.
The only changes had come where God had come into a life to uplift
The boy who skimmed over his work in school was skimming over his
Jim Lambert had merely followed the call of talents unseen in him
The lazy boy became a "tired" man. The industrious boy became an
industrious man. The sporty boy became a sporty man. The
domineering egotist boy became the domineering egotist man.
The boy who traded knives with me and beat me--how I used to envy
him! Why was it he could always get the better of me? Well, he went
years afterwards, he was doing time in the state penitentiary for
when he did the same things on a smaller scale they called him
combed, and said, "If you please," used to hurt me. He was the
He'll be President of the United States some day, and you'll be in
real thing. Harry certainly was a successful model. He became a
class--our real pretty girl who won the vase in the home paper
seemed like she was all out-shine and no in-shine. She mistook
her. Most of the girls who shone with less social luster became the
happy homemakers of the community.
heart warmed at the sight of another great success--a sweet-faced
irish lass who became an "old maid." She had worked day by day all
these years to support a home and care for her family. She had kept
Frank was the boy I had envied. He had everything--a fine home,
I was the janitor of the schoolhouse. Some of my classmates will
carried in the coal. After commencement my career seemed to end and
the careers of Frank and the rest of them seemed to begin. They
But the week after commencement I had to go into a printing office,
my daily bread. Seemed like it took so much bread!
Many a time as I plugged at the "case" I would think of Frank and wonder
why some people had all the good things and I had all the hard things.
Twenty-one years afterward as I got off the train in the home town,
I asked, "Where is he?" We went out to the cemetery, where I stood
It revived the memory of the story of Ben Hur.
Do you remember it? The Jewish boy is torn from his home in
disgrace. He is haled into court and tried for a crime he never
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.
circus. See Messala, the haughty Roman, and see! Ben Hur from the
will win?" "The man with the stronger forearms," they whisper.
There comes the crucial moment in the race. See the man with the
interest in the bank account of strength. Sooner or later the time
comes when we need every ounce. Sooner or later our chariot race is
That is why I thanked God as I stood at the grave of my classmate.
I thanked God for parents who believed in the gospel of struggle,
"Ole!" you will exclaim, "the lake is leaking. What is the name of
Paul came on the road to Damascus. The place of the "heavenly vision."
want to grow? Then you will have to go south."
The Mississippi knows nothing about the Gulf of Mexico. He does not
relative to die and bequeath him some water. That is a beautiful
south. He picks up a little stream and he has some more water. He
goes on south. He picks up another stream and grows some more. Day
of what it seems to me our lives should be. I hear a great many
orations, especially in high school commencements, entitled, "The
supplies we will need along the way. All we have to do is to start
and we will find the resources all along the way. We will grow as
Remember, the Mississippi goes south. If he had gone any other
2. He overcomes his obstacles and develops his power.
You never meet the Mississippi after he starts south, but what he
is going on south and growing greater. You never meet him but what
he says, "Excuse me, but I must go on south."
Everywhere you meet him he is going on south and growing greater.
the Mississippi, river. he would become a stagnant, poisonous pond.
GROW GREATER! I hope I can make you remember that and say it over
schoolrooms, over the business houses and homes--GO ON SOUTH AND
retire. Even young people as they start south and make some little
knee-pants achievement, some kindergarten touchdown, succumb to
canned. They think they have gotten to the Gulf of Mexico when they
The one who keeps on going south defies custom and becomes unorthodox.
But contentment with present achievement is the damnation of the race.
become good servants, workmen or artists. The young people get a
think that is being a stenographer, when it is merely a symptom of
Nine out of ten workmen cannot be trusted to do what they advertise
to do, because they have never gone south far enough to become
efficient. Many a professional man is in the same class.
Strickland Gillilan, America's great poet-humorist, say, "Egotism
is the opiate that Nature administers to deaden the pains of mediocrity.
We are only children in God's great kindergarten, playing with our
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
moment for all the years before it. I have their footings at
my features. I saw some gray hairs coming. Hurrah!
first reader hair will pass and you'll get promoted as you go on south.
worry. Do you know why corporations sometimes say they do not want
to employ gray-headed men? They have found that so many of them
These same corporations send out Pinkertons and pay any price for
gray-headed men--gray on the outside and green on the inside. They
lecture a good while. I am almost ashamed to tell you how long, for
I ought to know more about it by this time. But when anybody says,
"Please don't throw it up to me now. I am just as ashamed of it as
O, I want to forget all the past, save its lessons. I am just
come to me and tell me how to improve--what to do and what not to
do. Tell me how to give a better lecture.
Years ago a bureau representative who booked me told me my lectures
I was so dissatisfied with what little I knew. He told me I could
watched them come and go, come and go. I have heard their fierce
Some people seem to string out to near a hundred years with mighty
few birthdays. Some people spin up to Methuselahs in a few years.
From what I can learn of Methuselah, he never grew past copper-toed
work. She looks younger than many women of half her years. "The
years are nothing to me."
at ninety-two--just a short time before his passing--he went out to
the Odd Fellows' Home near Elkins, where he lived. On the porch of
the home was a row of old men inmates. The senator shook hands with
these men and one by one they rose from the bench to return his
the senator and said, "Senator, you'll have to excuse me from
Mr. Edison invented into the meeting at Lakeside, Ohio. The people
who did not believe that Mr. Edison had succeeded. His name was
arrived." They would have put in their time litigating for their
other day, and she wrote me that the great inventor showed her one
invention. "I made over seven thousand experiments and failed
"Why make so many experiments?"
I doubt if there are ten men in America who could go on south in
me how much there is yet to do."
That is success supreme. Not "succeeded" but "succeeding."
fifty-four," he would have become the seventeenth mummy on the
time" when he becomes the leader of the Israelite host.
America without a committee. The committee gets out the invitations
and makes all the arrangements for a gorgeous funeral next
does--it "waits" on something or other. And this committee goes up
I see Moses look over his appointments. "Next Thursday?
attend it. I haven't even time to think about getting old."
He is doing ten men's work and his friends all say he is killing
nor his natural force abated." He had not time to stop and abate.
So God buried him. The committee was dead. O, friends, this is not
irreverence. It is joyful reverence. It is the message to all of
The Indians once owned America. But they failed to go on south.
So another crop of Americans came into the limelight. If we modern
Americans do not go on south we will join the Indians, the auk
live on "borrowed time."
They tell me nobody uses them right. The person going on south has
not time to look back and see how anybody uses him.
tribulations, and I'll be in that bright and happy land." What will
again is confessing he has lost his memory. Anybody who can remember
If there is anybody who does not have a good time, if there is
I wish I could forget many of my childhood memories. I remember the
I inherited was a Godly example and a large appetite. That was
about all there was to inherit. I cannot remember when I was not
I never sit down as "company" at a dinner and see some little
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
"quart'ly meeting day." We always had a big dinner on "quart'ly
meeting day." Elder Berry would stay for dinner. His name was
Elder Berry always stayed for dinner. He was one of the easiest men
Mother would stay home from "quart'ly meeting" to get the big
jelly. I don't just remember if they had blue jelly, but if they
meeting" day. I would watch the jelly tremble. Did you ever see
butter. I would see the butter melt and run down the sides, and I
"company" had to come and gobble it up. They would fill the table
me to sit. Father would say, "You go into the next room, my boy,
Many a time after that, Elder Berry would come into the room where
boy?" He would come over to the remains of Brother Parlette's boy.
He would say, "My boy, I want you to have a good time now." Now!
good time, it's a child. Life has been getting better ever since,
happiness undreamed of in his philosophy.
afterwhile the same child will hold a quart.
must hold a barrel! Go on south. Of course, I do not mean
Material things will grow old. This stage will grow old and stop.
This hall will grow old and stop. This house we live in will grow
old and stop. This flesh and blood house we live in will grow old
and stop. This lecture even will grow old--and stop! But you and I
will never grow old, for God cannot grow old. You and I will go on
living as long as God lives.
worried. I used to say, "I have not time to answer you now!" But
would not stay to hear me.
But some day I shall know! I patiently wait for the answer. Every
day brings the answer to something I could not answer yesterday.
It will take an eternity to know an infinity!
That is exactly what happens when you and I overcome our obstacles.
but it is all latent and does no good until we overcome obstacles
Thank God! You are blessed of Providence. They do not waste the
obstacles. The presence of the obstacles means that there is a lot
I hear people saying, "I hope the time may speedily come when I
shall have no more obstacles to overcome!" When that time comes,
ring up the hearse, for you will be a "dead one."
merely quitting.
the guests stand up. There they are--rows of retired farmers who
have quit work and moved to town to block improvements and die. But
they will never need anything more than burying.
thought the past month. Sometimes they sit and think, but generally
brother movements. They growl at the lyceum courses and chautauquas,
squirt some "pep" into them and start them on south.
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.
and overcomes. But the valley does not bless the river in return.
But the Twin Cities merely throw their waste back upon their
few miles below the Twin Cities and see how, by some mysterious
and the defilement, he has purified it and clarified it, and has
becomes, he goes a few miles on south and he is all pure again.
become poisoned by bitter memories and bitter regrets. We carry
us, that sometimes we are bank to bank full of poison and a menace
sweet again. We forget what we ought to remember and remember what
we ought to forget. We need schools of memory, but we need schools
receipt for your goodness; you will need a poultice every time you
There is nobody who does not have that to meet. The preacher, the
for a better community, gets discouraged at times.
We fail to see what we are doing or why we are doing it. Sometimes
somebody else do it awhile."
successful tool is discouragement, which is a wedge, and if he can
You do not go south and overcome your obstacles and bless the
valley for praise or blame, for appreciation or lack of it. You do
us a medal or resolutions, we want to quit. That is why there are
was riding stopped in Louisiana. We had come to a river so great
I thank God that I had gone a little farther southward in my own
conquering gloriously. You bear upon your bosom the commerce of
Where shall we stop going south? At the Gulf of Mexico?
And when he comes to the end of his physical banks, he pushes on
When you and I come to our Gulf of Mexico, we must push right on
And when physical banks fail, we go on south beyond this mere husk,
preparing? Do you ever think of the times that orator tried to
mortified and broken-hearted? Thru it all there came the
the actor, the author and every other one of attainment.
they turn to God when hunger hits them. "Is not this Babylon that
drinks to his gods. Then must come the Needful and Needless Knocks
handwriting upon the wall to save him.
You have to shoot many men's eyes out before they can see. You have
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
blind before writing "Paradise Lost" the world will always read?
Do you remember that Saul of Tarsus would have never been
remembered had he lived the life of luxury planned for him? He had
to be scourged and fettered to become the Apostle to the Gentiles.
He, too, had to be sent to prison to write his immortal messages to
humanity. What throne-rooms are some prisons! And what prisons are
some throne-rooms!
commencement day with your diplomas in your hands, and when your
great bump that struck me one morning in Los Angeles. It seemed as
winding and squirming, twisting and ducking, dodging and summersaulting.
and emerald, where the miles seem like inches, and where his
I saw clouds down in the valley below me. I had never before looked
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
over me, and there were millions of miles of sunshine above me. I
A great light seemed to break over my stormswept soul. I am under
The years have been passing, the stormclouds have many times hidden
forever shining and God forever in His heavens.
Today I look back to the bump that sent me up Mount Lowe. I did not
the valley below me I saw shadows. Then I looked over into the
The glory of the sunset filled sea and sky with flames of gold and
That means, go on up!
Some day my night will come. It will spread over all this valley of
This will be another Commencement Day and Master's Degree. Infinite
entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared
"It is a great big boost for everybody who will read it. People
world into a playground. Who will not confess that many
book before us is wholesome and vivacious. It provokes many
`A merry heart doeth good like a medicine'."
The Best is Yet to Come
You Can't Get Something for Nothing
says. "Parlette's Beans and Nuts is just as good as the Message to
Garcia and will be handed around just us much. I have handed the book
to business men, to young fellows, bond salesmen and such, to our
own vice president, and they all want another copy to send to some
William Jennings Bryan says of the booklet "Go On South": "It is
Instruct us to send one of these booklets to your friends. It will
Discipline of Speech
Tame your tongue - it is an unruly devil. Sacrifice, gift, austerity,
the study of the sacred scriptures, truthfulness - all these will
Do not utter anything that will give annoyance to anybody. A
Speak little. Think twice, think ten times before you speak. Weigh
the words carefully, before they come out of your mouth. Speak only
Do not talk much. Become a man of measured words. God has given you
Think more. Do much. Speak measured words. Let your tongue never
hearts. It produces a wound that will never heal, even in a lifetime.
Observe silence. You will have abundant energy. You will conserve
your energy this way. You will enjoy peace of mind and good health.
You will be able to turn out more work. Silence is soothing for brain
Your goal is God. Your centre is God. Your ideal is God. Turn back to
God and realise everlasting bliss. Resting on Him you will be saved.
God. God is within you all the time, inspiring you, lifting you up.
Withdraw. Aspire. Meditate. Realise.
20050114
Mahasamadhi at 1:30 pm Indian time, January 14, 2005. His Holiness
Monastery, home of HPI. He and Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami were
time, was the recipient of the Hindu Rennaissance Award 2003 given by
faithful regularly visited. Prayers were answered. Some experienced the
Mother beckoning. Word spread about the power of Goddess Rajarajeswari
highly-placed spiritual leaders come to him for advice in difficult
situations. He is a living embodiment of the Goddess's grace, with even
inspired devotees in many countries during his tours of North America
temple--it is even named Sri Rajarajeshwari Nagar. Well connected today
on foot) to propitiate the rain Gods. He started his journey after
One ashram devotee, a jeweler, told me, "I've been visiting the ashram
for the last 28 years. A lot of good things have come to us with the
Swamiji's blessings. He warned me to drive carefully. Within an hour, a
bus came menacingly from behind me, and there was a major accident. I
years, even before he came and settled in Bangalore. I visit the ashram
future and predict what will happen. I admire him for his simplicity.
from here have become renunciate monks, noted for their training and
dedication. Some have stayed back to serve Kailasa Ashrama, and some
Kanya Kumari in South India, his parents were informed by a stranger
Subramanya, a glorious son will be born to you. He will be a teacher
Swamiji went to Mount Kailash. There, he had a vision of Goddesses
elite guest apartments. Just inside the second gate of the twelve-acre
wide courtyard, a giant, open well nearby. Straight ahead some 50
within these gardens, Sanskrit pundits meet every day with youthful
Seated on a simple chair in his long-time living quarters known as
15 by 35 feet, he has met people from all walks of life. He dislikes
indulging in worldly affairs and refuses to comment on matters of
current developments. Yet politicians, bureaucrats, professionals and
layman alike have immense faith in him. He is the benign reliever of
during meditation?
as when a person has a bath, he becomes clean. So, also, by worship one
can develop concentration and meditation, whether he is a yogi or not.
The simplest method is prayer.
cannot be achieved at home, because of domestic distractions. Domestic
celebration. One has to celebrate life and not lead a mechanical life.
When one involves in praising the Supreme and does not indulge in
oneself, this celebration becomes unique. A temple provides opportunity
times, "There is no place for lazy people in Kailash Ashram." Total
Swamiji: If we go on increasing our wants, money will be necessary. The
more money is necessary, the feeling that another person will have to
work will come. If wants are reduced, automatically the earning will be
sufficient. The mother aspect of the house can be saved. This will keep
will reduce their wants and automatically create a cordial atmosphere
Swamiji: Whenever I go abroad, I tell people, "Devotion is mentioned in
all religions, but forcible conversion has never been mentioned
HT: A current issue in medical ethics is stem cell research. Scientists
experiments to develop medical cures. What are the moral implications?
We will do great service to nature in allowing it to maintain the
left home without thinking about what would be my parents' reaction. A
old-age homes. What is your opinion?
Swamiji: In olden days, when the son came of age, the parents would
pilgrimage, handing over responsibility to the son once he came of age.
how we bring up our children. Children with good upbringing will never
LifeWithoutPrinciple
AT A LYCEUM, not long since, I felt that the lecturer had chosen a theme too foreign to himself, and so failed to interest me as much as he might have done. He described things not in or near to his heart, but toward his extremities and superficies. There was, in this sense, no truly central or centralizing thought in the lecture. I would have had him deal with his privatest experience, as the poet does. The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer. I am surprised, as well as delighted, when this happens, it is such a rare use he would make of me, as if he were acquainted with the tool. Commonly, if men want anything of me, it is only to know how many acres I make of their land- since I am a surveyor- or, at most, what trivial news I have burdened myself with. They never will go to law for my meat; they prefer the shell. A man once came a considerable distance to ask me to lecture on Slavery; but on conversing with him, I found that he and his clique expected seven eighths of the lecture to be theirs, and only one eighth mine; so I declined. I take it for granted, when I am invited to lecture anywhere- for I have had a little experience in that business- that there is a desire to hear what I think on some subject, though I may be the greatest fool in the country- and not that I should say pleasant things merely, or such as the audience will assent to; and I resolve, accordingly, that I will give them a strong dose of myself. They have sent for me, and engaged to pay for me, and I am determined that they shall have me, though I bore them beyond all precedent.
So now I would say something similar to you, my readers. Since you are my readers, and I have not been much of a traveller, I will not talk about people a thousand miles off, but come as near home as I can. As the time is short, I will leave out all the flattery, and retain all the criticism.
This world is a place of business. What an infinite bustle! I am awaked almost every night by the panting of the locomotive. It interrupts my dreams. There is no sabbath. It would be glorious to see mankind at leisure for once. It is nothing but work, work, work. I cannot easily buy a blank-book to write thoughts in; they are commonly ruled for dollars and cents. An Irishman, seeing me making a minute in the fields, took it for granted that I was calculating my wages. If a man was tossed out of a window when an infant, and so made a cripple for life, or seared out of his wits by the Indians, it is regretted chiefly because he was thus incapacitated for business! I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself, than this incessant business.
There is a coarse and boisterous money-making fellow in the outskirts of our town, who is going to build a bank-wall under the hill along the edge of his meadow. The powers have put this into his head to keep him out of mischief, and he wishes me to spend three weeks digging there with him. The result will be that he will perhaps get some more money to board, and leave for his heirs to spend foolishly. If I do this, most will commend me as an industrious and hard-working man; but if I choose to devote myself to certain labors which yield more real profit, though but little money, they may be inclined to look on me as an idler. Nevertheless, as I do not need the police of meaningless labor to regulate me, and do not see anything absolutely praiseworthy in this fellow's undertaking any more than in many an enterprise of our own or foreign governments, however amusing it may be to him or them, I prefer to finish my education at a different school.
If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. As if a town had no interest in its forests but to cut them down!
Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now. For instance: just after sunrise, one summer morning, I noticed one of my neighbors walking beside his team, which was slowly drawing a heavy hewn stone swung under the axle, surrounded by an atmosphere of industry- his day's work begun- his brow commenced to sweat- a reproach to all sluggards and idlers- pausing abreast the shoulders of his oxen, and half turning round with a flourish of his merciful whip, while they gained their length on him. And I thought, Such is the labor which the American Congress exists to protect- honest, manly toil- honest as the day is long- that makes his bread taste sweet, and keeps society sweet- which all men respect and have consecrated; one of the sacred band, doing the needful but irksome drudgery. Indeed, I felt a slight reproach, because I observed this from a window, and was not abroad and stirring about a similar business. The day went by, and at evening I passed the yard of another neighbor, who keeps many servants, and spends much money foolishly, while he adds nothing to the common stock, and there I saw the stone of the morning lying beside a whimsical structure intended to adorn this Lord Timothy Dexter's premises, and the dignity forthwith departed from the teamster's labor, in my eyes. In my opinion, the sun was made to light worthier toil than this. I may add that his employer has since run off, in debt to a good part of the town, and, after passing through Chancery, has settled somewhere else, there to become once more a patron of the arts.
The ways by which you may get money almost without exception lead downward. To have done anything by which you earned money merely is to have been truly idle or worse. If the laborer gets no more than the wages which his employer pays him, he is cheated, he cheats himself. If you would get money as a writer or lecturer, you must be popular, which is to go down perpendicularly. Those services which the community will most readily pay for, it is most disagreeable to render. You are paid for being something less than a man. The State does not commonly reward a genius any more wisely. Even the poet laureate would rather not have to celebrate the accidents of royalty. He must be bribed with a pipe of wine; and perhaps another poet is called away from his muse to gauge that very pipe. As for my own business, even that kind of surveying which I could do with most satisfaction my employers do not want. They would prefer that I should do my work coarsely and not too well, ay, not well enough. When I observe that there are different ways of surveying, my employer commonly asks which will give him the most land, not which is most correct. I once invented a rule for measuring cord-wood, and tried to introduce it in Boston; but the measurer there told me that the sellers did not wish to have their wood measured correctly- that he was already too accurate for them, and therefore they commonly got their wood measured in Charlestown before crossing the bridge.
The aim of the laborer should be, not to get his living, to get "a good job," but to perform well a certain work; and, even in a pecuniary sense, it would be economy for a town to pay its laborers so well that they would not feel that they were working for low ends, as for a livelihood merely, but for scientific, or even moral ends. Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.
It is remarkable that there are few men so well employed, so much to their minds, but that a little money or fame would commonly buy them off from their present pursuit. I see advertisements for active young men, as if activity were the whole of a young man's capital. Yet I have been surprised when one has with confidence proposed to me, a grown man, to embark in some enterprise of his, as if I had absolutely nothing to do, my life having been a complete failure hitherto. What a doubtful compliment this to pay me! As if he had met me half-way across the ocean beating up against the wind, but bound nowhere, and proposed to me to go along with him! If I did, what do you think the underwriters would say? No, no! I am not without employment at this stage of the voyage. To tell the truth, I saw an advertisement for able-bodied seamen, when I was a boy, sauntering in my native port, and as soon as I came of age I embarked.
The community has no bribe that will tempt a wise man. You may raise money enough to tunnel a mountain, but you cannot raise money enough to hire a man who is minding his own business. An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community pay him for it or not. The inefficient offer their inefficiency to the highest bidder, and are forever expecting to be put into office. One would suppose that they were rarely disappointed.
Perhaps I am more than usually jealous with respect to my freedom. I feel that my connection with and obligation to society are still very slight and transient. Those slight labors which afford me a livelihood, and by which it is allowed that I am to some extent serviceable to my contemporaries, are as yet commonly a pleasure to me, and I am not often reminded that they are a necessity. So far I am successful. But I foresee that if my wants should be much increased, the labor required to supply them would become a drudgery. If I should sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I am sure that for me there would be nothing left worth living for. I trust that I shall never thus sell my birthright for a mess of pottage. I wish to suggest that a man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his time well. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living. All great enterprises are self-supporting. The poet, for instance, must sustain his body by his poetry, as a steam planing-mill feeds its boilers with the shavings it makes. You must get your living by loving. But as it is said of the merchants that ninety-seven in a hundred fail, so the life of men generally, tried by this standard, is a failure, and bankruptcy may be surely prophesied.
Merely to come into the world the heir of a fortune is not to be born, but to be still-born, rather. To be supported by the charity of friends, or a government pension- provided you continue to breathe- by whatever fine synonyms you describe these relations, is to go into the almshouse. On Sundays the poor debtor goes to church to take an account of stock, and finds, of course, that his outgoes have been greater than his income. In the Catholic Church, especially, they go into chancery, make a clean confession, give up all, and think to start again. Thus men will lie on their backs, talking about the fall of man, and never make an effort to get up.
As for the comparative demand which men make on life, it is an important difference between two, that the one is satisfied with a level success, that his marks can all be hit by point-blank shots, but the other, however low and unsuccessful his life may be, constantly elevates his aim, though at a very slight angle to the horizon. I should much rather be the last man- though, as the Orientals say, "Greatness doth not approach him who is forever looking down; and all those who are looking high are growing poor."
It is remarkable that there is little or nothing to be remembered written on the subject of getting a living; how to make getting a living not merely holiest and honorable, but altogether inviting and glorious; for if getting a living is not so, then living is not. One would think, from looking at literature, that this question had never disturbed a solitary individual's musings. Is it that men are too much disgusted with their experience to speak of it? The lesson of value which money teaches, which the Author of the Universe has taken so much pains to teach us, we are inclined to skip altogether. As for the means of living, it is wonderful how indifferent men of all classes are about it, even reformers, so called- whether they inherit, or earn, or steal it. I think that Society has done nothing for us in this respect, or at least has undone what she has done. Cold and hunger seem more friendly to my nature than those methods which men have adopted and advise to ward them off.
The title wise is, for the most part, falsely applied. How can one be a wise man, if he does not know any better how to live than other men?- if he is only more cunning and intellectually subtle? Does Wisdom work in a tread-mill? or does she teach how to succeed by her example? Is there any such thing as wisdom not applied to life? Is she merely the miller who grinds the finest logic? It is pertinent to ask if Plato got his living in a better way or more successfully than his contemporaries- or did he succumb to the difficulties of life like other men? Did he seem to prevail over some of them merely by indifference, or by assuming grand airs? or find it easier to live, because his aunt remembered him in her will? The ways in which most men get their living, that is, live, are mere makeshifts, and a shirking of the real business of life- chiefly because they do not know, but partly because they do not mean, any better.
The rush to California, for instance, and the attitude, not merely of merchants, but of philosophers and prophets, so called, in relation to it, reflect the greatest disgrace on mankind. That so many are ready to live by luck, and so get the means of commanding the labor of others less lucky, without contributing any value to society! And that is called enterprise! I know of no more startling development of the immorality of trade, and all the common modes of getting a living. The philosophy and poetry and religion of such a mankind are not worth the dust of a puffball. The hog that gets his living by rooting, stirring up the soil so, would be ashamed of such company. If I could command the wealth of all the worlds by lifting my finger, I would not pay such a price for it. Even Mahomet knew that God did not make this world in jest. It makes God to be a moneyed gentleman who scatters a handful of pennies in order to see mankind scramble for them. The world's raffle! A subsistence in the domains of Nature a thing to be raffled for! What a comment, what a satire, on our institutions! The conclusion will be, that mankind will hang itself upon a tree. And have all the precepts in all the Bibles taught men only this? and is the last and most admirable invention of the human race only an improved muck-rake? Is this the ground on which Orientals and Occidentals meet? Did God direct us so to get our living, digging where we never planted- and He would, perchance, reward us with lumps of gold?
God gave the righteous man a certificate entitling him to food and raiment, but the unrighteous man found a facsimile of the same in God's coffers, and appropriated it, and obtained food and raiment like the former. It is one of the most extensive systems of counterfeiting that the world has seen. I did not know that mankind was suffering for want of old. I have seen a little of it. I know that it is very malleable, but not so malleable as wit. A grain of gold gild a great surface, but not so much as a grain of wisdom.
The gold-digger in the ravines of the mountains is as much a gambler as his fellow in the saloons of San Francisco. What difference does it make whether you shake dirt or shake dice? If you win, society is the loser. The gold-digger is the enemy of the honest laborer, whatever checks and compensations there may be. It is not enough to tell me that you worked hard to get your gold. So does the Devil work hard. The way of transgressors may be hard in many respects. The humblest observer who goes to the mines sees and says that gold-digging is of the character of a lottery; the gold thus obtained is not the same same thing with the wages of honest toil. But, practically, he forgets what he has seen, for he has seen only the fact, not the principle, and goes into trade there, that is, buys a ticket in what commonly proves another lottery, where the fact is not so obvious.
After reading Howitt's account of the Australian gold-diggings one evening, I had in my mind's eye, all night, the numerous valleys, with their streams, all cut up with foul pits, from ten to one hundred feet deep, and half a dozen feet across, as close as they can be dug, and partly filled with water- the locality to which men furiously rush to probe for their fortunes- uncertain where they shall break ground- not knowing but the gold is under their camp itself- sometimes digging one hundred and sixty feet before they strike the vein, or then missing it by a foot- turned into demons, and regardless of each others' rights, in their thirst for riches- whole valleys, for thirty miles, suddenly honeycombed by the pits of the miners, so that even hundreds are drowned in them- standing in water, and covered with mud and clay, they work night and day, dying of exposure and disease. Having read this, and partly forgotten it, I was thinking, accidentally, of my own unsatisfactory life, doing as others do; and with that vision of the diggings still before me, I asked myself why I might not be washing some gold daily, though it were only the finest particles- why I might not sink a shaft down to the gold within me, and work that mine. There is a Ballarat, a Bendigo for you- what though it were a sulky-gully? At any rate, I might pursue some path, however solitary and narrow and crooked, in which I could walk with love and reverence. Wherever a man separates from the multitude, and goes his own way in this mood, there indeed is a fork in the road, though ordinary travellers may see only a gap in the paling. His solitary path across lots will turn out the higher way of the two.
Men rush to California and Australia as if the true gold were to be found in that direction; but that is to go to the very opposite extreme to where it lies. They go prospecting farther and farther away from the true lead, and are most unfortunate when they think themselves most successful. Is not our native soil auriferous? Does not a stream from the golden mountains flow through our native valley? and has not this for more than geologic ages been bringing down the shining particles and forming the nuggets for us? Yet, strange to tell, if a digger steal away, prospecting for this true gold, into the unexplored solitudes around us, there is no danger that any will dog his steps, and endeavor to supplant him. He may claim and undermine the whole valley even, both the cultivated and the uncultivated portions, his whole life long in peace, for no one will ever dispute his claim. They will not mind his cradles or his toms. He is not confined to a claim twelve feet square, as at Ballarat, but may mine anywhere, and wash the whole wide world in his tom.
Howitt says of the man who found the great nugget which weighed twenty-eight pounds, at the Bendigo diggings in Australia: "He soon began to drink; got a horse, and rode all about, generally at full gallop, and, when he met people, called out to inquire if they knew who he was, and then kindly informed them that he was 'the bloody wretch that had found the nugget.' At last he rode full speed against a tree, and nearly knocked his brains out." I think, however, there was no danger of that, for he had already knocked his brains out against the nugget. Howitt adds, "He is a hopelessly ruined man." But he is a type of the class. They are all fast men. Hear some of the names of the places where they dig: "Jackass Flat"- "Sheep's-Head Gully"- "Murderer's Bar," etc. Is there no satire in these names? Let them carry their ill-gotten wealth where they will, I am thinking it will still be "Jackass Flat," if not "Murderer's Bar," where they live.
The last resource of our energy has been the robbing of graveyards on the Isthmus of Darien, an enterprise which appears to be but in its infancy; for, according to late accounts, an act has passed its second reading in the legislature of New Granada, regulating this kind of mining; and a correspondent of the "Tribune" writes: "In the dry season, when the weather will permit of the country being properly prospected, no doubt other rich guacas [that is, graveyards] will be found." To emigrants he says: "do not come before December; take the Isthmus route in preference to the Boca del Toro one; bring no useless baggage, and do not cumber yourself with a tent; but a good pair of blankets will be necessary; a pick, shovel, and axe of good material will be almost all that is required": advice which might have been taken from the "Burker's Guide." And he concludes with this line in Italics and small capitals: "If you are doing well at home, STAY THERE," which may fairly be interpreted to mean, "If you are getting a good living by robbing graveyards at home, stay there."
It is remarkable that among all the preachers there are so few moral teachers. The prophets are employed in excusing the ways of men. Most reverend seniors, the illuminati of the age, tell me, with a gracious, reminiscent smile, betwixt an aspiration and a shudder, not to be too tender about these things- to lump all that, that is, make a lump of gold of it. The highest advice I have heard on these subjects was grovelling. The burden of it was- It is not worth your while to undertake to reform the world in this particular. Do not ask how your bread is buttered; it will make you sick, if you do- and the like. A man had better starve at once than lose his innocence in the process of getting his bread. If within the sophisticated man there is not an unsophisticated one, then he is but one of the devil's angels. As we grow old, we live more coarsely, we relax a little in our disciplines, and, to some extent, cease to obey our finest instincts. But we should be fastidious to the extreme of sanity, disregarding the gibes of those who are more unfortunate than ourselves.
In our science and philosophy, even, there is commonly no true and absolute account of things. The spirit of sect and bigotry has planted its hoof amid the stars. You have only to discuss the problem, whether the stars are inhabited or not, in order to discover it. Why must we daub the heavens as well as the earth? It was an unfortunate discovery that Dr. Kane was a Mason, and that Sir John Franklin was another. But it was a more cruel suggestion that possibly that was the reason why the former went in search of the latter. There is not a popular magazine in this country that would dare to print a child's thought on important subjects without comment. It must be submitted to the D.D.'s. I would it were the chickadee-dees.
You come from attending the funeral of mankind to attend to a natural phenomenon. A little thought is sexton to all the world.
I hardly know an intellectual man, even, who is so broad and truly liberal that you can think aloud in his society. Most with whom you endeavor to talk soon come to a stand against some institution in which they appear to hold stock- that is, some particular, not universal, way of viewing things. They will continually thrust their own low roof, with its narrow skylight, between you and the sky, when it is the unobstructed heavens you would view. Get out of the way with your cobwebs; wash your windows, I say! In some lyceums they tell me that they have voted to exclude the subject of religion. But how do I know what their religion is, and when I am near to or far from it? I have walked into such an arena and done my best to make a clean breast of what religion I have experienced, and the audience never suspected what I was about. The lecture was as harmless as moonshine to them. Whereas, if I had read to them the biography of the greatest scamps in history, they might have thought that I had written the lives of the deacons of their church. Ordinarily, the inquiry is, Where did you come from? or, Where are you going? That was a more pertinent question which I overheard one of my auditors put to another one- "What does he lecture for?" It made me quake in my shoes.
To speak impartially, the best men that I know are not serene, a world in themselves. For the most part, they dwell in forms, and flatter and study effect only more finely than the rest. We select granite for the underpinning of our houses and barns; we build fences of stone; but we do not ourselves rest on an underpinning of granitic truth, the lowest primitive rock. Our sills are rotten. What stuff is the man made of who is not coexistent in our thought with the purest and subtilest truth? I often accuse my finest acquaintances of an immense frivolity; for, while there are manners and compliments we do not meet, we do not teach one another the lessons of honesty and sincerity that the brutes do, or of steadiness and solidity that the rocks do. The fault is commonly mutual, however; for we do not habitually demand any more of each other.
That excitement about Kossuth, consider how characteristic, but superficial, it was!- only another kind of politics or dancing. Men were making speeches to him all over the country, but each expressed only the thought, or the want of thought, of the multitude. No man stood on truth. They were merely banded together, as usual one leaning on another, and all together on nothing; as the Hindoos made the world rest on an elephant, the elephant on a tortoise, and the tortoise on a serpent, and had nothing to put under the serpent. For all fruit of that stir we have the Kossuth hat.
Just so hollow and ineffectual, for the most part, is our ordinary conversation. Surface meets surface. When our life ceases to be inward and private, conversation degenerates into mere gossip. We rarely meet a man who can tell us any news which he has not read in a newspaper, or been told by his neighbor; and, for the most part, the only difference between us and our fellow is that he has seen the newspaper, or been out to tea, and we have not. In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post-office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters, proud of his extensive correspondence, has not heard from himself this long while.
I do not know but it is too much to read one newspaper a week. I have tried it recently, and for so long it seems to me that I have not dwelt in my native region. The sun, the clouds, the snow, the trees say not so much to me. You cannot serve two masters. It requires more than a day's devotion to know and to possess the wealth of a day.
We may well be ashamed to tell what things we have read or heard in our day. I did not know why my news should be so trivial- considering what one's dreams and expectations are, why the developments should be so paltry. The news we hear, for the most part, is not news to our genius. It is the stalest repetition. You are often tempted to ask why such stress is laid on a particular experience which you have had- that, after twenty-five years, you should meet Hobbins, Registrar of Deeds, again on the sidewalk. Have you not budged an inch, then? Such is the daily news. Its facts appear to float in the atmosphere, insignificant as the sporules of fungi, and impinge on some neglected thallus, or surface of our minds, which affords a basis for them, and hence a parasitic growth. We should wash ourselves clean of such news. Of what consequence, though our planet explode, if there is no character involved in the explosion? In health we have not the least curiosity about such events. We do not live for idle amusement. I would not run round a corner to see the world blow up.
All summer, and far into the autumn, perchance, you unconsciously went by the newspapers and the news, and now you find it was because the morning and the evening were full of news to you. Your walks were full of incidents. You attended, not to the affairs of Europe, but to your own affairs in Massachusetts fields. If you chance to live and move and have your being in that thin stratum in which the events that make the news transpire- thinner than the paper on which it is printed- then these things will fill the world for you; but if you soar above or dive below that plane, you cannot remember nor be reminded of them. Really to see the sun rise or go down every day, so to relate ourselves to a universal fact, would preserve us sane forever. Nations! What are nations? Tartars, and Huns, and Chinamen! Like insects, they swarm. The historian strives in vain to make them memorable. It is for want of a man that there are so many men. It is individuals that populate the world. Any man thinking may say with the Spirit of Lodin-
And they become ashes before me;-
Not without a slight shudder at the danger, I often perceive how near I had come to admitting into my mind the details of some trivial affair- the news of the street; and I am astonished to observe how willing men are to lumber their minds with such rubbish- to permit idle rumors and incidents of the most insignificant kind to intrude on ground which should be sacred to thought. Shall the mind be a public arena, where the affairs of the street and the gossip of the tea-table chiefly are discussed? Or shall it be a quarter of heaven itself- an hypaethral temple, consecrated to the service of the gods? I find it so difficult to dispose of the few facts which to me are significant, that I hesitate to burden my attention with those which are insignificant, which only a divine mind could illustrate. Such is, for the most part, the news in newspapers and conversation. It is important to preserve the mind's chastity in this respect. Think of admitting the details of a single case of the criminal court into our thoughts, to stalk profanely through their very sanctum sanctorum for an hour, ay, for many hours! to make a very bar-room of the mind's inmost apartment, as if for so long the dust of the street had occupied us- the very street itself, with all its travel, its bustle, and filth, had passed through our thoughts' shrine! Would it not be an intellectual and moral suicide? When I have been compelled to sit spectator and auditor in a court-room for some hours, and have seen my neighbors, who were not compelled, stealing in from time to time, and tiptoeing about with washed hands and faces, it has appeared to my mind's eye, that, when they took off their hats, their ears suddenly expanded into vast hoppers for sound, between which even their narrow heads were crowded. Like the vanes of windmills, they caught the broad but shallow stream of sound, which, after a few titillating gyrations in their coggy brains, passed out the other side. I wondered if, when they got home, they were as careful to wash their ears as before their hands and faces. It has seemed to me, at such a time, that the auditors and the witnesses, the jury and the counsel, the judge and the criminal at the bar- if I may presume him guilty before he is convicted- were all equally criminal, and a thunderbolt might be expected to descend and consume them all together.
By all kinds of traps and signboards, threatening the extreme penalty of the divine law, exclude such trespassers from the only ground which can be sacred to you. It is so hard to forget what it is worse than useless to remember! If I am to be a thoroughfare, I prefer that it be of the mountain brooks, the Parnassian streams, and not the town sewers. There is inspiration, that gossip which comes to the ear of the attentive mind from the courts of heaven. There is the profane and stale revelation of the bar-room and the police court. The same ear is fitted to receive both communications. Only the character of the hearer determines to which it shall be open, and to which closed. I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality. Our very intellect shall be macadamized, as it were- its foundation broken into fragments for the wheels of travel to roll over; and if you would know what will make the most durable pavement, surpassing rolled stones, spruce blocks, and asphaltum, you have only to look into some of our minds which have been subjected to this treatment so long.
If we have thus desecrated ourselves- as who has not?- the remedy will be by wariness and devotion to reconsecrate ourselves, and make once more a fane of the mind. We should treat our minds, that is, ourselves, as innocent and ingenuous children, whose guardians we are, and be careful what objects and what subjects we thrust on their attention. Read not the Times. Read the Eternities. Conventionalities are at length as had as impurities. Even the facts of science may dust the mind by their dryness, unless they are in a sense effaced each morning, or rather rendered fertile by the dews of fresh and living truth. Knowledge does not come to us by details, but in flashes of light from heaven. Yes, every thought that passes through the mind helps to wear and tear it, and to deepen the ruts, which, as in the streets of Pompeii, evince how much it has been used. How many things there are concerning which we might well deliberate whether we had better know them- had better let their peddling-carts be driven, even at the slowest trot or walk, over that bride of glorious span by which we trust to pass at last from the farthest brink of time to the nearest shore of eternity! Have we no culture, no refinement- but skill only to live coarsely and serve the Devil?- to acquire a little worldly wealth, or fame, or liberty, and make a false show with it, as if we were all husk and shell, with no tender and living kernel to us? Shall our institutions be like those chestnut burs which contain abortive nuts, perfect only to prick the fingers?
America is said to be the arena on which the battle of freedom is to be fought; but surely it cannot be freedom in a merely political sense that is meant. Even if we grant that the American has freed himself from a political tyrant, he is still the slave of an economical and moral tyrant. Now that the republic- the respublica- has been settled, it is time to look after the res-privata- the private state- to see, as the Roman senate charged its consuls, "ne quid res-PRIVATA detrimenti caperet," that the private state receive no detriment.
Do we call this the land of the free? What is it to be free from King George and continue the slaves of King Prejudice? What is it to be born free and not to live free? What is the value of any political freedom, but as a means to moral freedom? Is it a freedom to be slaves, or a freedom to be free, of which we boast? We are a nation of politicians, concerned about the outmost defences only of freedom. It is our children's children who may perchance be really free. We tax ourselves unjustly. There is a part of us which is not represented. It is taxation without representation. We quarter troops, we quarter fools and cattle of all sorts upon ourselves. We quarter our gross bodies on our poor souls, till the former eat up all the latter's substance.
With respect to a true culture and manhood, we are essentially provincial still, not metropolitan- mere Jonathans. We are provincial, because we do not find at home our standards; because we do not worship truth, but the reflection of truth; because we are warped and narrowed by an exclusive devotion to trade and commerce and manufactures and agriculture and the like, which are but means, and not the end.
So is the English Parliament provincial. Mere country bumpkins, they betray themselves, when any more important question arises for them to settle, the Irish question, for instance- the English question why did I not say? Their natures are subdued to what they work in. Their "good breeding" respects only secondary objects. The finest manners in the world are awkwardness and fatuity when contrasted with a finer intelligence. They appear but as the fashions of past days- mere courtliness, knee-buckles and small-clothes, out of date. It is the vice, but not the excellence of manners, that they are continually being deserted by the character; they are cast-off-clothes or shells, claiming the respect which belonged to the living creature. You are presented with the shells instead of the meat, and it is no excuse generally, that, in the case of some fishes, the shells are of more worth than the meat. The man who thrusts his manners upon me does as if he were to insist on introducing me to his cabinet of curiosities, when I wished to see himself. It was not in this sense that the poet Decker called Christ "the first true gentleman that ever breathed." I repeat that in this sense the most splendid court in Christendom is provincial, having authority to consult about Transalpine interests only, and not the affairs of Rome. A praetor or proconsul would suffice to settle the questions which absorb the attention of the English Parliament and the American Congress.
Government and legislation! these I thought were respectable professions. We have heard of heaven-born Numas, Lycurguses, and Solons, in the history of the world, whose names at least may stand for ideal legislators; but think of legislating to regulate the breeding of slaves, or the exportation of tobacco! What have divine legislators to do with the exportation or the importation of tobacco? what humane ones with the breeding of slaves? Suppose you were to submit the question to any son of God- and has He no children in the Nineteenth Century? is it a family which is extinct?- in what condition would you get it again? What shall a State like Virginia say for itself at the last day, in which these have been the principal, the staple productions? What ground is there for patriotism in such a State? I derive my facts from statistical tables which the States themselves have published.
A commerce that whitens every sea in quest of nuts and raisins, and makes slaves of its sailors for this purpose! I saw, the other day, a vessel which had been wrecked, and many lives lost, and her cargo of rags, juniper berries, and bitter almonds were strewn along the shore. It seemed hardly worth the while to tempt the dangers of the sea between Leghorn and New York for the sake of a cargo of juniper berries and bitter almonds. America sending to the Old World for her bitters! Is not the sea-brine, is not shipwreck, bitter enough to make the cup of life go down here? Yet such, to a great extent, is our boasted commerce; and there are those who style themselves statesmen and philosophers who are so blind as to think that progress and civilization depend on precisely this kind of interchange and activity- the activity of flies about a molasses- hogshead. Very well, observes one, if men were oysters. And very well, answer I, if men were mosquitoes.
Lieutenant Herndon, whom our government sent to explore the Amazon, and, it is said, to extend the area of slavery, observed that there was wanting there "an industrious and active population, who know what the comforts of life are, and who have artificial wants to draw out the great resources of the country." But what are the "artificial wants" to be encouraged? Not the love of luxuries, like the tobacco and slaves of, I believe, his native Virginia, nor the ice and granite and other material wealth of our native New England; nor are "the great resources of a country" that fertility or barrenness of soil which produces these. The chief want, in every State that I have been into, was a high and earnest purpose in its inhabitants. This alone draws out "the great resources" of Nature, and at last taxes her beyond her resources; for man naturally dies out of her. When we want culture more than potatoes, and illumination more than sugar-plums, then the great resources of a world are taxed and drawn out, and the result, or staple production, is, not slaves, nor operatives, but men- those rare fruits called heroes, saints, poets, philosophers, and redeemers.
In short, as a snow-drift is formed where there is a lull in the wind, so, one would say, where there is a lull of truth, an institution springs up. But the truth blows right on over it, nevertheless, and at length blows it down.
What is called politics is comparatively something so superficial and inhuman, that practically I have never fairly recognized that it concerns me at all. The newspapers, I perceive, devote some of their columns specially to politics or government without charge; and this, one would say, is all that saves it; but as I love literature and to some extent the truth also, I never read those columns at any rate. I do not wish to blunt my sense of right so much. I have not got to answer for having read a single President's Message. A strange age of the world this, when empires, kingdoms, and republics come a-begging to a private man's door, and utter their complaints at his elbow! I cannot take up a newspaper but I find that some wretched government or other, hard pushed and on its last legs, is interceding with me, the reader, to vote for it- more importunate than an Italian beggar; and if I have a mind to look at its certificate, made, perchance, by some benevolent merchant's clerk, or the skipper that brought it over, for it cannot speak a word of English itself, I shall probably read of the eruption of some Vesuvius, or the overflowing of some Po, true or forged, which brought it into this condition. I do not hesitate, in such a case, to suggest work, or the almshouse; or why not keep its castle in silence, as I do commonly? The poor President, what with preserving his popularity and doing his duty, is completely bewildered. The newspapers are the ruling power. Any other government is reduced to a few marines at Fort Independence. If a man neglects to read the Daily Times, government will go down on its knees to him, for this is the only treason in these days.
Those things which now most engage the attention of men, as politics and the daily routine, are, it is true, vital functions of human society, but should be unconsciously performed, like the corresponding functions of the physical body. They are infrahuman, a kind of vegetation. I sometimes awake to a half-consciousness of them going on about me, as a man may become conscious of some of the processes of digestion in a morbid state, and so have the dyspepsia, as it is called. It is as if a thinker submitted himself to be rasped by the great gizzard of creation. Politics is, as it were, the gizzard of society, full of grit and gravel, and the two political parties are its two opposite halves- sometimes split into quarters, it may be, which grind on each other. Not only individuals, but states, have thus a confirmed dyspepsia, which expresses itself, you can imagine by what sort of eloquence. Thus our life is not altogether a forgetting, but also, alas! to a great extent, a remembering, of that which we should never have been conscious of, certainly not in our waking hours. Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our had dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? I do not make an exorbitant demand, surely.

2737 matches found in 15 pages. Page generated in 0.1916 seconds on 2019/10/16 Wednesday 03:18:50am