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____Day one (first day for this Wiki)
Articles
The best
* [Never settle for the best]
* [The Six Mistakes of Man]
* [The three most difficult things for a human being]
* [The Golden Stairs]
* 2002 November .. : [The Crowd]
* 2002 Feb 07 : [The Soul of Money]
* 2002 Jan 29 : [The Critical Mass of Enlightenment]
* 2002 Jan 25 : [The Clear White Light]
* 2002 Jan 25 : [The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules the World]
* 2002 Jan 10 : [Great Virtues of the Dhamma]
* 2002 Jan 10 : [How to Mend Your Parachute]
* 2002 Jan 09 : [The Strange "Job" Concept]
* 2002 Jan 09 : [How To Become A Hacker]
* 2002 Jan 07 : [The joy of sales resistance] - 5star !
* 2002 Jan 07 : [How One Person Can Change the World]
* 2001 Dec 28 : [Never settle for the best]
and the rest...
* [What is the meaning of Life?] (added 2001 October 10 )
* [I feel so much anger towards my mother....] (added 2001 August 20)
* [I suffer immensely from loneliness....] (added 2001 August 12)
* [Why so much conflict between the different religions?] (added 2001 August 12)
* [Is there a law of karma?] (added 2001 August 12)
* [Science, Religion and the Big Bang Theory]
* [The choice is yours|http://oz.sannyas.net/quotes/enlight2.htm]
* [Ego - The False Center|http://www.deoxy.org/egofalse.htm]
* [The Human Rights Declaration: Hypocrisy of a barbarous society |http://oz.sannyas.net/quotes/19861225.htm]
* [The 18 ities|http://www.sivanandadlshq.org/teachings/18ities.htm]
* Oriah Mountain Dreamer - [The Invitation]
* Gandhi - [The Seven Blunders of the World|http://www.cbu.edu/Gandhi/html/8_blunders.html]
# [The Masquerade of Charity]
# [The Wooden Bowl]
# [The Best Things in Life]
# [The Sad Truth of Today|http://www.carnatic.com/kishore/articles/art_0023.html]
# [Understanding the Lessons of September 11]
* 2001 Dec 27 : [Ten Things Men Can Do to End Sexism and Male Violence Against Women]
* 2001 Oct 05 : [The algebra of infinite justice]
* [The Six Mistakes of Man]
* [Guy Kawasaki] - [Big Stones|http://www.garage.com/guy/speeches/paloAlto.shtml]
* [Intermittent Aberrations: Can Mature Companies Innovate?|http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue6_3/doheny/index.html]
* [Disconnecting the emotions from mother's death]
* [How to survive a Heart attack]
* [How to set and Achieve Goals]
[Cameron Barrett] : [Online Community Technologies and Concepts|http://www.camworld.com/essays/communities.html]
[Cesar Brea] : [Beyond "One-to-One": The Power of Purposeful Communities|http://www.arsdigita.com/learning/whitepapers/beyond-one-to-one]
[The 12 Principles of Collaboration|http://www.mongoosetech.com/realcommunities/12prin.html]
People-2018-07-31
http://theunderstatement.com/
[150 friends|http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/10/the-penalty-for-violating-dunbars-law.html] ?
who are your changemakers? - The Changemakers initiative aims to identify the leading activists, elected officials, authors, bloggers, actors and thought leaders who have the greatest capacity to spark change on issues of importance. - http://www.change.org/changemakers/
[Albert Einstein] : If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
Ananda : ...I have also been practising the Ancient Art of [Astrology|http://users.pandora.be/ananda/astro.htm] since 1981...
[The fast 50|http://www.fastcompany.com/fast50_02/]
[Dr. N H Athreya|http://www.goodnewsindia.com/enthusiasts/enthusiasts_comments.php?id=79_0_6_0_C] : A pioneer advocate of excellence
* [The Mother]
* [Alan Kay] : "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."
* [Brahmatirtha das PDA|http://www.iskconworldwide.com/]
* [Mira Art|http://surprise.editthispage.com/] : [The real war takes place in our heads|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/09/23]
* [Arundhati Roy] is author of [The God of Small Things]
* [Rebecca Blood] believes that "everyone can choose how they respond - one person can make a difference; each person does make a difference - love can transform hate and indifference - everyone deserves food, a home, education, safety, and a healthy world"
* [Tom Peters|http://www.tompeters.com/] : [slides|http://www.tompeters.com/slides/] ( the (rare) red meat section ! )
* [Maya Ma|http://www.wisearth.org/] : The goal of our mission is to cultivate health and healing without medicine, to evoke your memory of wellness and love and joy and to awaken in everyone there innate power of healing and a sense of shared responsibility for the well-being of the human family as a whole. Each one of us on this earth travels a unique path, guided by karma and desire.
* [Computers Pioneers|http://directory.google.com/Top/Computers/History/Pioneers/]
* The Computer Museum History Center's [Hall of Fellows|http://www.computerhistory.org/exhibits/hall_of_fellows/]
* [Computerworld's Premier 100|http://www.idg.net/ic_784761_4394_1-1681.html] : ...Courageous in a crisis, an inspiration to their staffs and attentive to business goals as well as technology innovation. The Premier 100 IT Leaders for 2002 are the might and muscle of today's corporate IT organizations. They have the weight of a staggering economy and pressing security fears on their shoulders, but they've also got the heart and soul to carry the load. And they have a lot to say about how 2002 will shake out for IT. Meet them and learn from them in our third annual special report...
Quotations
Steve Jobs : “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” ( via https://mondaynote.com/apple-at-1trillion-the-missing-theory-6f6e58db4786 )
The best
[James Michener] : The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both.
"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men - true nobility is being superior to your former self."
"No! Try Not -- Do, or Do Not; There is no Try..." -- Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
[John Searle] : In general, I feel if you can't say it clearly you don't understand it yourself.
[Christopher Wynter] : At the end of all Seeking... the Seeker is the one Sought.
[Marcel Proust] : Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
Lao Tzu : The way to use life is to do nothing through acting, The way to use life is to do everything through being.
Oliver Goldsmith : You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your
[Richard Bach] : What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the rest of the world calls a butterfly
[Khalil Gibran] : No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.
[Christopher Wynter] : "what you are looking for, is what you are looking out of, which is what is looking for you." --- " the the true teacher cannot teach you anything...but can only remind you of what, on some level...you already know."
[Voltaire] in [Freedom of Thought] : It rests entirely with you to learn to think. You're born with a mind. You are a bird in the cage of the Inquisition: the Holy Office has clipped your wings, but they can grow back. Whoever doesn't know geometry can learn it; every man can tutor himself: it's shameful to put your soul in the hands of those to whom you'd never trust your money. _Dare to think for yourself._
[John Stuart Mill] (in [On Liberty]): If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.
and the rest...
[George Harrison] : Everything else can wait but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another
[Sogyal Rinpoche] : Tomorrow or the next life - which comes first, we never know.
[Swami Sivananda] : The [goal of life|http://www.SivanandaDlshq.org/messages/goal.htm] is god realisation.
In Illusions (by [Richard Bach]) : Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.
[Martin Luther King, Jr.] : If a man hasn't discovered something that he would die for, he isn't fit to live
Zhenzhou : The key to understanding is in oneself.
One who pays attention only to knowledge from outside will lose sight of one's own potential.
[Confucius] : By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.
[Ralph Waldo Emerson] : Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Eugene Debs: When great changes occur in history, when
great principles are involved, as a rule the majority are wrong. The
[Mahatma Gandhi] : When I despair I remember that all through history the way of
truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and
murderers and for a time they can seem invincible but in the end,
they always fall. Think of it always.
[Mahatma Gandhi]'s "Seven Blunders of the World"
[Martin Luther King, Jr.] : Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies
in a descending spiral of destruction... The chain reaction of
broken, or we shall be plunged into the darkness... of
[Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples|http://www.barnett.sk/software/osho/askosh71.htm] -- the first thing, the very very first thing, "Find out what your greatest characteristic is, your greatest undoing, your central characteristic of unconsciousness." Each one's is different.
E E cummings [edward estlin cummings] : To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.
[Richard Bach] : You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true.You may have to work for it, however
[Henry Miller], Sexus : Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heart-ache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, to discover what is already there.
[Osho] : [The meaning of life|http://www.barnett.sk/software/sos/osho/osho-talks/meaning2.htm] is in the living
[Helen Keller] : I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.
[Helen Keller] : I am only one; but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.
Anzia Yezierska : The power that makes the grass grow, fruit ripen, and guides the bird in flight is in us all.
[Stephen Palmer] : Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence or fear
[Stephen Palmer] : To attribute an idea to solely one person is naivety; to attribute an idea solely to oneself is arrogance
* IT Director : If you cannot solve the problem, go around it.
* System Administrator : I can do that in four lines of Perl
* Object oriented software development is all about localizing change.
* [The QuotesPage|http://www.westegg.com/morgan/quotes.html] of [Steven Morgan Friedman] : "These quotes sum up my views on things"
* [Words of Hope|http://www.cancer.med.umich.edu/share/shahop.htm]
Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming
Dan MacNeil <dan at lctc dot org> : ...the term "egoless programming" was created in [The Psychology Of Computer Programming]... - Can anyone let me know if these commandments are from that book !
1. Understand and accept that you will make mistakes. The point is to find mistakes early, before they make it into production. Fortunately, except for the few of us developing rocket guidance software at [JPL|http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/], mistakes are rarely fatal in our industry. We aren't surgeons; we can learn, laugh, and move on.
2. You are not your code. Remember, the entire point of a review is to find problems and problems will be found. Don't take it personally when a problem is uncovered.
3. No matter how much karate you know, someone else will always know more. This fact kept the Samurai from indiscriminately attacking people in Imperial Japan. In our less violent times, the individual who knows more can teach you some new moves if you ask. There will always be people who know more than you. Seek and accept input from others, even when you think it's not needed.
4. Don't rewrite other programmers' code without consultation. There's a fine line between "fixing other programmers' code" and "rewriting other programmers' code." The former implies that a bug or other functionality problem exists and needs to be fixed; it can also refer to correcting gross readability problems. The latter, however, refers to changes made to code for the sake of style. Programmers fresh from college are often guilty of this. Things like renaming variables, the use of a different construct, recommenting, or gratuitous reformatting of white space fall into this category. Such activities, even with the purest of motives, are high hubris and detrimental to team mentality.
5. Treat people who know less than you with respect, deference, and patience. Nontechnical people who deal with developers on a regular basis almost universally hold the opinion that we are prima donnas at best and crybabies at worst. Becoming angry only reinforces this perception and teaches people to avoid asking questions. This can only harm your work in the long run.
6. The only constant in the world is change. Be open to it and accept it with a smile. Look at each change to your requirements, platform, or tool as a new challenge, not as some serious inconvenience to be fought.
7. The only true authority stems from knowledge, not from position. Knowledge engenders authority, and authority engenders respect so if you want respect in an egoless environment, cultivate knowledge.
9. Don't be "the guy in the room." Don't be the guy coding in the dark office emerging only to buy cola. The guy in the room is out of touch, out of sight, and out of control and has no place in an open, collaborative environment.
10. Critique code instead of people be kind to the coder, not to the code. As much as possible, make all of your comments positive and oriented to improving the code. Relate comments to local standards, program specs, increased performance, etc.
Science, Religion and the Big Bang Theory
[People] > [Osho] > Science, Religion and the Big Bang Theory
You said the other day that no one is interested any more in questions like "Who created the universe?" But a recent edition of Time magazine devoted considerable space to an article entitled "In the Beginning: God and Science."
The basic them of the article was that science and religion have been brought close together by the "big bang" theory of creation in which the universe is supposed to have come into being through a vast fireball explosion, fifteen or twenty billion years ago.
Time says that this sounds very much like the story which the old testament has been telling all along, namely that the universe began in a single flashing act of creation.
What is wrong with the hypothesis that the universe was created, that it had a beginning? And why do you assert that it did not? Is it not a step in the right direction when science and religion agree?
Subhuti, the first thing to remember is, for three hundred years religion has been losing its territory continuously. First, religion tried to destroy science. It was unable to do it -- because you cannot destroy truth, and science was truer, as far as the objective world is concerned, than religion. In fact religion has no authority to say anything about the objective world.
When you are ill you go to the physician, you don't go to the poet. The poet has no authority; he may be a great poet but that is irrelevant when you are ill. He may be a great poet, but when something goes wrong in your bathroom you don't call him, you call a plumber. The plumber may not be a poet at all, but the plumber is relevant there. You don't call Albert Einstein -- he may be a great physicist, but what does he know about plumbing?
Religion was proving to be utterly wrong. It was wrong about the objective world. Once science started investigating the objective, organized religion was very much afraid. If there had been a Jesus he would not have been afraid, he would simply have said: "About the objective, listen to science." If a Buddha was there he would have said: "Listen to science."
But there was no Buddha in the West where science was growing. And people like Galileo and Copernicus and Kepler were tortured in every possible way because organized religion, the church, became very much afraid: what they were saying was going against their scriptures.
The scientists were saying that the sun does not go around the earth -- and The Bible says it does. The scientists were saying the earth goes around the sun...now, if The Bible can be wrong in one thing, then why not in others? That was the problem, that was the fear.
The person who said that the earth goes around the sun was called to the court by the Vatican. Galileo had to appear, in his old age -- he was more than seventy, ill, on his deathbed, but he was forced to come to the court to declare there that whatsoever he had said is wrong.
He must have been a man of great humor. He said: "Yes, if it offends you, I declare that whatsoever I have said is wrong -- that the earth does not go around the sun, but the sun goes around the earth."
Everybody looked happy, and then Galileo said: "But sir, nothing will change by my statement. The earth will still go round and round the sun -- my statement makes no difference! If you are offended by my statement I can take it back, I can refute it. If you want me to write another treatise, I can write that too. But nothing will change by that. Who cares about my statement? Neither the sun nor the earth."
Organized religion tried to kill science -- they could not, because truth cannot be killed.
Slowly slowly science has possessed the whole territory of the objective world. Then the natural tendency of mind...science started claiming that which could not be claimed by it. Science created the same fallacy as organized religion, which was saying: "About the objective world also, we are right." They were not. They are right about the subjective world; about the interiormost being of existence they are right. But they are not right about the circumference of it, that is not their dimension. But they were claiming that they are right about both.
The same started happening with physicists, chemists and other scientists. In the beginning of this century, science became very arrogant -- the same type of arrogance, just the authority shifted from the priests to the scientists. The scientists started saying: "There is no God and there is no soul and there is no consciousness, and all that is rubbish."
This type of arrogance has always remained with man. We have not yet learned anything. This is again the same game being played. When science became very arrogant, naturally religion became defensive. It was losing, it became defensive. So anything that is discovered by science religion tries to appropriate. It tries somehow to make it fit with itself, because the only possibility for it to survive now is if it proves itself to be scientific.
In the beginning it was just the opposite. If a scientist was to survive, the only way was to prove that whatsoever he has found is according to the scriptures, that it proves the scriptures, that it is not against.
Now the whole thing is just vice-versa. Now if religion wants to exist in the world, it has continuously to look up to science. Whatsoever science discovers, religion immediately jumps upon and tries to prove: "This is what we have been saying all along."
This "big bang" theory has nothing to do with the religious attitude and the religious theory of creation. In the big bang theory there is no God, it is all an accident; it is not creation, remember, because there is no creator in it.
But religion is very defensive, continuously searching for anything to cling to. The big bang theory says that in a sudden explosion, in a great flash of light, the world was created. Jump on it; you can always find some way, some logical way. You can say: "Yes, this is right, this is what we have been saying all along. God in the beginning said: 'Let there be light' -- and now the theory says there was a great explosion, the world was suddenly created."
But the basic thing is missing -- don't be deceived. Religion has been saying that God said: "Let there be light." The base is not the light, the base is God saying: "Let there be light." That God is missing in the big bang theory: there is no God, it was a sudden accident, not creation.
And one more thing: this big bang theory is not totally accepted, there are many other theories.
These are all guesses; they are not proved yet, nothing is proved. In fact I don't think that it can ever be proved how the world came into existence. It is impossible, because nobody was there to witness it, you cannot find an eyewitness, so all that they can do will be just guesswork.
And it happened fifteen or twenty billion years ago. You cannot even be certain whether Krishna ever existed or not, just five thousand years ago. You cannot be certain even about Jesus, whether he was really an historical person or is just a myth -- and he was only two thousand years ago. Do you think you can be certain about something that happened twenty billion years ago? All guesses.
And still I say the world was never created, there was no beginning.
Why do I say that there was no beginning? Subhuti, it is so simple. Even if you believe in the big bang theory, there must have been something that exploded. Do you think nothing exploded? If there was something, x, y, z, -- any name, I am not much interested in such nonsense things, x, y, z, whatsoever it was that exploded -- if something was there before the explosion then the explosion is not the beginning. It may be a beginning but it is not the beginning.
And when I say there has never been any beginning, I mean the beginning. Something was always there -- whether it exploded or whether it grew slowly, in one day or in six days or in one single moment, doesn't matter. There must have been something before it, because only something can come out of something. Even if you say there was nothing, and it came out of nothing, then your nothing is full of something, it is not really nothing.
Hence I say there has never been any beginning and there will never be any end. Maybe a beginning, maybe many beginnings and maybe many ends, but never the first and never the last. We are always in the middle. Existence is not a creation but a creativity. It is not that it begins one day and ends one day. It goes on and on; it is an ongoing process.
That's why, Subhuti, I say that all these guesses are useless and there is no need for them and they serve no purpose. This was Buddha's approach too. Whenever somebody would ask a question like: "Who created the world?" -- whether the world was ever created or is uncreated -- Buddha would answer by other questions. He would ask: "If who created the world is decided, is it going to help your enlightenment? Is it going to help you become more silent, more meditative, more aware?"
Certainly the person would answer: "It is not going to help. Who created the world doesn't matter. It will not help my enlightenment and it will not make me more meditative."
Then Buddha said: "Then why bother about all this? Think of things which can help you to become more meditative, think of things which can help you become free of all the ego-clinging, think of things which can ultimately lead you into the state of samadhi."
My approach is also the same: these are all irrelevant questions. And because of these irrelevant questions there has been so much controversy down the ages and thousands of people have wasted their lives discussing who created the world, when exactly, what was the date -- and so on, and so forth.
I think these people were neurotics. I don't think them healthy, normal, sane people. Who cares? For what? It does not matter at all, it is immaterial.
Could you say something about forgiveness?
It is one of the most fundamental things to understand. People ordinarily think that forgiveness is for those who are worthy of it, who deserve it. But if somebody deserves, is worthy of forgiveness, it is not much of a forgiveness. You are not doing anything on your part; he deserves it. You are not really being love and compassion. Your forgiveness will be authentic only when even those who don't deserve it receive it.
It is not a question of whether a person is worthy or not. The question is whether your heart is ready or not.
I am reminded of one of the most significant woman mystics, Rabiya al-Adabiya, a Sufi woman who was known for her very eccentric behavior. But in all her eccentric behavior there was a great insight. Once, another Sufi mystic Hasan was staying with Rabiya. Because he was going to stay with Rabiya, he had not brought his own holy Koran, which he used to read every morning as part of his discipline. He thought he could borrow Rabiya's holy Koran, so he had not brought his own copy with him.
In the morning he asked Rabiya, and she gave him her copy. He could not believe his eyes. When he opened the Koran he saw something which no Mohammedan could believe: in many places Rabiya had corrected it. It is the greatest sin as far as Mohammedans are concerned; the Koran is the word of God according to them. How can you change it? How can you even think that you can make something better? Not only has she changed it, she has simply cut out a few words, a few lines -- removed them.
Hasan said to her, "Rabiya, somebody has destroyed your Koran!" Rabiya said, "Don't be stupid, nobody can touch my Koran. What you are looking at is my doing." Hasan said, "But how could you do such a thing?" She said, "I had to do it, there was no way out. For example, look here: the Koran says, "When you see the devil, hate him." Since I have become awakened I cannot find any hate within me. Even if the devil stands in front of me I can only shower him with my love, because I don't have anything else left. It does not matter whether God stands in front of me, or the devil; both will receive the same love. All that I have is love; hate has disappeared. The moment hate disappeared from me I had to make changes in my book of the holy Koran. If you have not changed it, that simply means you have not arrived to the space where only love remains."
I will say to you, the people who don't deserve, the people who are unworthy, don't make any difference to the man who has come to the space of forgiveness. He will forgive, irrespective of who receives it. He cannot be so miserly that only the worthy should receive it. And from where is he going to find unforgiveness? This is a totally different perspective. It does not concern itself with the other. Who are you to make the judgment whether the other is worthy or unworthy? The very judgment is ugly and mean.
I know Rudolph Hess is certainly one of the greatest criminals. And his crime becomes even a millionfold bigger, because in the Nuremburg trial with the remaining companions of Adolf Hitler -- who killed almost eight million people in the second world war -- he said in front of the court, "I don't repent anything!" Not only that, he also said, "And if I could start from the very beginning, I would do the same thing again." It is very natural to think this man is not worthy of forgiveness; that will be the common understanding. Everybody will agree with you.
But I cannot agree with you. It does not matter what Rudolf Hess has done, what he is saying. What matters is that you are capable of forgiving even him. That will raise your consciousness to the ultimate heights. If you cannot forgive Rudolf Hess you will remain just an ordinary human being, with all kinds of judgments of worthiness, of unworthiness. But basically you cannot forgive him because your forgiveness is not big enough.
I can forgive the whole world for the simple reason that my forgiveness is absolute; it is nonjudgmental. I will tell you a small Tibetan story which will make the point absolutely clear to you.
A great old master, worshiped by millions of people, refused to initiate anyone into disciplehood. His whole life, consistently, he was asked by kings, he was asked by very rich people, he was asked by great ascetics, saints, to be initiated as his disciples, and he went on refusing. He would always say, "Unless I find a man who deserves it, unless I find a man who is worthy of it... I am not going to initiate any Tom, Dick, Harry."
He had a small young boy who used to cook food for him, wash his clothes, fetch vegetables from the market. The boy himself had become slowly, slowly old and for his whole life he had been listening to the old man, who had lived almost one hundred years, and without exception the denial: nobody is worthy! "I will die," he said, "without initiating anyone, but I will not initiate anyone who is nondeserving."
People became tired, frustrated. They loved the man, the man had immense qualities, but they could not understand his very stubborn attitude -- no kindness, no compassion.
But one morning the old man woke up his companion, who himself had become old, and said to him, "Run immediately down the hills to the marketplace and tell everybody that whoever wants to be initiated must come soon, because this evening as the sun sets I am going to die."
The old man said, "Don't worry at all. It was only a device, because I myself was not worthy to initiate anyone, but it was against my dignity to say so. So I chose the other way round. I was saying, `Unless I find somebody worthy enough, deserving enough, I am not going to initiate.' The truth is, I was not worthy to be a master. Now I am, but the time is very short. Only this morning as the sun was rising, my own consciousness has also risen to the ultimate peak. Now I am ready. Now it does not matter who is worthy and who is unworthy. What matters now is that I am worthy. Just go and fetch anybody! Just go and make the whole village aware that this is the last day of my life, and anybody who wants to be initiated should come immediately. Bring as many people as you can."
The companion of the old man was at a loss, but there was no time to argue. He ran down the hill, reached the marketplace and shouted all over the village, "Anybody who wants to become a disciple, the old man is ready now."
People could not believe it. But out of curiosity a few thought, "There is no harm at least to see what is going on." The man had refused his whole life, and on the last day of his life suddenly such a great change. Somebody's wife had died and he was feeling very lonely, so he thought, "It is good. If he is going to initiate everybody, no question of worthiness..." Somebody was released from jail just the night before; he thought, "Nobody is going to give me employment; this is a good chance to become a saint."
All kinds of strange people went to the cave of the old man, and his companion was feeling so embarrassed at the kind of people he had brought: one is a criminal, one's wife is dead, that's why he thinks, "It is better... now, what else to do?" Somebody has gone bankrupt and was thinking to commit suicide; now he thinks that this is better than suicide.
A few had come just out of curiosity. They had no other work; they were playing jazz and they thought, "We can play jazz tomorrow, but today there is no harm, let us see what this initiation is. Anyway, that man is going to die by the evening so we will be free to remain disciples or not. We can play jazz tomorrow -- there is no harm."
The companion of the old man was feeling very embarrassed, "How will I present this strange lot when that old man has refused kings, saints, sages, who have come with deep earnestness to be initiated? And now he is going to initiate this gang!" He was even feeling ashamed, but he entered and asked, "Should I call the people? -- eleven have come."
The old man said, "Call them quickly, because it is already afternoon. You took so much time and you could fetch just eleven people?"
His companion said, "What can I do? It is a working day; it is not a holiday. I could only get these. All are absolutely useless; even I could not initiate them. Not only that they are not worthy -- they are absolutely UNworthy. But you insisted to bring somebody; nobody else was available."
The old man said, "There is no problem. Just bring them in." And he initiated them all. Even they were shocked. And they said to the old man, "This is strange behavior. All your life you have insisted that one has to deserve to be a disciple. What happened to your principle?"
The old man laughed. He said, "That was not a principle, that was only to hide my own unworthiness. I was not yet in the position to be a master. And I cannot cheat anyone, I cannot deceive anyone; hence I have taken shelter behind a judgmental attitude, that unless you are worthy, you will not get initiation."
Everybody has his own flaws, weaknesses; everybody has done things that he never wanted to do. Everybody has gone astray. Nobody can say that he is absolutely pure; everybody is polluted. So when the old man insisted, "Unless you are worthy don't come back to me," nobody argued with him; he was right. First they have to be worthy!
On the last day, he said to those eleven disciples, "I bless you and initiate you. It doesn't matter whether you are worthy or not, but for the first time I am worthy. And if I am really worthy, just my presence is going to purify you. My worthiness of being a master is going to make you a worthy disciple. Now I don't have to depend on your worthiness. My worthiness is enough.
"I am just like a rain cloud; I will shower all over the place -- on the mountains, on the streets, on the houses, in the farms, in the gardens. I will shower everywhere, because I am too burdened with my rainwater. It does not matter whether the garden deserves... I don't even make any distinction between the garden and the rocks. I will simply shower out of my abundance."
If your meditations bring you to the state of a rain cloud, you will forgive without any judgment out of your abundance, out of your love, out of your compassion.
In fact I would like to make the statement that the man who is unworthy deserves more than the man who is worthy. The man who does not deserve, deserves more, because he is so poor; don't be hard upon him. Life has been hard upon him. He has gone astray; he has suffered because of his wrong doings. Now don't you be hard on him. He needs more love than those who are deserving; he needs more forgiveness than those who are worthy. This should be the only approach of a religious heart.
Your question was raised before Gautam Buddha, because he was going to initiate a murderer into sannyas -- and the murderer was no ordinary murderer. Rudolf Hess is nothing compared to him. His name was Angulimal. Angulimal means a man who wears a garland of human fingers.
He had taken a vow that he would kill one thousand people; from each single person he would take one finger so that he could remember how many he had killed and he will make a garland of all those fingers. In his garland of fingers he had nine hundred and ninety-nine fingers -- only one was missing. And that one was missing because his road was closed; nobody was coming that way. But Gautam Buddha entered that closed road. The king had put guards on the road to prevent people, particularly strangers who didn't know that a dangerous man lived behind the hills. The guards told Gautam Buddha, "That is not the road to be used. You will have to take a little longer route, but it is better to go a little longer than to go into the mouth of death itself. This is the place where Angulimal lives. Even the king has not the guts to go on this road. That man is simply mad.
"His mother used to go to him. She was the only person who used to go, once in a while, to see him, but even she stopped. The last time she went there he told her, `Now only one finger is missing, and just because you happen to be my mother... I want to warn you that if you come another time you will not go back. I need one finger desperately. Up to now I have not killed you because other people were available, but now nobody passes on this road except you. So I want to make you aware that next time if you come it will be your responsibility, not mine.' Since that time his mother has not come."
The guards said to Buddha, "Don't unnecessarily take the risk." And do you know what Buddha said to them? Buddha said, "If I don't go then who will go? Only two things are possible: either I will change him, and I cannot miss this challenge; or I will provide him with one finger so that his desire is fulfilled. Anyway I am going to die one day. Giving my head to Angulimal will be at least of some use; otherwise one day I will die and you will put me on the funeral pyre. I think that it is better to fulfill somebody's desire and give him peace of mind. Either he will kill me or I will kill him, but this encounter is going to happen; you just lead the way."
The people who used to follow Gautam Buddha, his close companions who were always in competition to be closer to him, started slowing down. Soon there were miles between Gautam Buddha and his disciples. They all wanted to see what happened, but they didn't want to be too close.
Angulimal was sitting on his rock watching. He could not believe his eyes. A very beautiful man of such immense charisma was coming towards him. Who could this man be? He had never heard of Gautam Buddha, but even this hard heart of Angulimal started feeling a certain softness towards the man. He was looking so beautiful, coming towards him. It was early morning... a cool breeze, and the sun was rising... and the birds were singing and the flowers had opened; and Buddha was coming closer and closer.
Finally Angulimal, with his naked sword in his hand, shouted, "Stop!" Gautam Buddha was just a few feet away, and Angulimal said, "Don't take another step because then the responsibility will not be mine. Perhaps you don't know who I am!"
Angulimal said, "This is not the point. Neither is it the place nor the time to discuss such things. Your life is in danger!"
Buddha said, "I think otherwise -- your life is in danger."
That man said, "I used to think I was mad -- you are simply mad. And you go on moving closer. Then don't say that I killed an innocent man. You look so innocent and so beautiful that I want you to go back. I will find somebody else. I can wait; there is no hurry. If I can manage nine hundred and ninety-nine... it is only a question of one more, but don't force me to kill YOU."
Buddha said, "You are absolutely blind. You can't see a simple thing: I am not moving towards you, you are moving towards me."
Angulimal said, "This is sheer craziness! Anybody can see that you are moving and I am standing on my rock. I have not moved a single inch."
Buddha said, "Nonsense! The truth is, since the day I became enlightened I have not moved a single inch. I am centered, utterly centered, no movement. And your mind is continuously moving round and round in circles... and you have the guts to tell to me to stop. You stop! I have stopped long ago."
Angulimal said, "It seems you are impossible, you are incurable. You are bound to be killed. I will feel sorry, but what can I do? I have never seen such a mad man."
Buddha came very close, and Angulimal's hands were trembling. The man was so beautiful, so innocent, so childlike. He had already fallen in love. He had killed so many people... He had never felt this weakness; he had never known what love is. For the first time he was full of love. So there was a contradiction: the hand was holding the sword to kill the person, and his heart was saying, "Put the sword back in the sheath."
Buddha said, "I am ready, but why is your hand shaking? -- you are such a great warrior, even kings are afraid of you, and I am just a poor beggar. Except the begging bowl, I don't have anything. You can kill me, and I will feel immensely satisfied that at least my death fulfills somebody's desire; my life has been useful, my death has also been useful. But before you cut my head I have a small desire, and Ithink you will grant me a small desire before killing me."
Before death even the hardest enemy is willing to fulfill any desire.
Buddha said, "I want you just to cut from the tree a branch which is full of flowers. I will never see these flowers again; I want to see those flowers closely, feel their fragrance and their beauty in this morning sun, their glory."
So Angulimal cut with his sword a whole branch full of flowers. And before he could give it to Buddha, Buddha said, "This was only half the desire; the other half is, please put the branch back on the tree."
Angulimal said, "I was thinking from the very beginning that you are crazy. Now this is the craziest desire. How can I put this branch back?"
Buddha said, "If you cannot create, you have no right to destroy. If you cannot give life, you don't have the right to give death to any living thing."
A moment of silence and a moment of transformation... the sword fell down from his hands. Angulimal fell down at the feet of Gautam Buddha, and he said, "I don't know who you are, but whoever you are, take me to the same space in which you are; initiate me."
By that time the followers of Gautam Buddha had come closer and closer. Seeing that now Gautam Buddha was standing in front of Angulimal, there was no problem, no fear, although he needed only one finger. They were all around and when he fell at Buddha's feet they immediately came close. Somebody raised the question, "Don't initiate this man, he is a murderer. And he is not an ordinary murderer; he has murdered nine hundred and ninety-nine people, all innocent, all strangers. They have not done any wrong to him. He had not even seen them before!"
Buddha said again, "If I don't initiate him, who will initiate him? And I love the man, I love his courage. And I can see tremendous possibility in him: a single man fighting against the whole world. I want this kind of people, who can stand against the whole world. Up to now he was standing against the world with a sword; now he will stand against the world with a consciousness which is far sharper than any sword. I told you that murder was going to happen, but it was not certain who was going to be murdered -- either I was going to be murdered, or Angulimal. Now you can see Angulimal is murdered. And who I am to judge?"
The question is not whether anybody is worthy or not. The question is whether you have the consciousness, the abundance of love -- then forgiveness will come out of it spontaneously. It is not a calculation, it is not arithmetic.
Life is love, and living a life of love is the only religious life, the only life of prayer, peace, the only life of gratitude, grandeur, splendor.
Osho, The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here, chapter 24
I feel so much anger towards my mother....
[Articles] > I feel so much anger towards my mother....
I am having a very hard time with my mother. I feel so much anger towards her. Can you please talk about the relationship between children and parents?
Every child would be angry if he understood what the poor parents have been doing to him unknowingly, unconsciously. All their efforts are for the good of the child. Their intentions are good but their consciousness is nil. And good intentions in the hands of unconscious people are dangerous; they cannot bring about the result they are intending. They may create just the opposite.
Every parent is trying to bring a beautiful child into the world, but looking at the world it seems it is an orphanage. There has been no parent at all. In fact if it were an orphanage, it would have been far better, because you would at least have been yourself -- no parents to interfere with you.
So the anger is natural, but useless. To be angry does not help your parents and it harms you.
Gautam Buddha is reported to have made a very strange statement: In your anger you punish yourself for somebody else's fault. It looks very strange the first time you come across the statement that in anger you punish yourself for somebody else's fault.
Your parents have done something twenty years back, thirty years back, and you are angry now. Your anger is not going to help anyone; it is simply going to create more wounds in you. And being near me, close to me.... I am trying to explain to you the whole mechanism of how children are being brought up, you should become more understanding that whatever has happened had to happen. Your parents were conditioned by their parents. You cannot find out who was really responsible to begin with. It has been passed from generation to generation.
Your parents are doing exactly what has been done to them. They have been victims. You will feel compassion for them and you will feel joyous that you are not going to repeat the same thing in your life. If you decide to have children you will feel joyous that you are going to break the vicious circle, that you are going to jump out of the line that goes back to the very beginning and continues up to you, that you can become the dead end. You will not do it to your children or to any other person's children.
You should feel fortunate that you have a master with you to explain what has been happening between parents and children -- the complex upbringing, good intentions, bad results, where everybody is trying to do the best and the world goes on becoming worse and worse.
Your parents were not so fortunate to have a master -- and you are being angry at them. You should feel kind, compassionate, loving. Whatever they did was unconscious. They could not have done otherwise. All that they knew they have tried on you. They were miserable, and they have created another miserable human being in the world.
They had no clarity about why they were miserable. You have the clarity to understand why one becomes miserable. And once you understand how misery is created, you can avoid causing the same in somebody else.
But feel for your parents. They worked hard; they did everything that they could, but they had no idea how psychology functions. Instead of being taught how to become a mother or how to become a father, they were being taught how to become a Christian, how to become a Marxist, how to become a tailor, how to become a plumber, how to become a philosopher -- all these things are good and needed, but the basic thing is missing. If they are going to produce children, then their most significant teaching should be how to become a mother, how to become a father.
It has been taken for granted that by giving birth you know how to become a mother and how to become a father. Yes, as far as giving birth to a child... it is a biological act, you don't have to be psychologically trained for it. Animals are doing perfectly well, birds are doing perfectly well, trees are doing perfectly well. But giving birth to a child biologically is one thing and to be a mother or to be a father is totally different. It needs great education because you are creating a human being.
Animals are not creating anything, they are simply producing carbon copies. And now science has come to a point where they have discovered that carbon copies can really be produced! It is a very dangerous idea. If we make banks -- and sooner or later we are going to make them; once an idea is there it is going to become a reality. And scientifically it is proved that it is one hundred percent possible...there is no problem.
We can have banks in the hospitals for both the male sperms and female eggs. And we can create exactly the same two sperms and exactly the same two eggs, so two children are born which are exactly the same. One child will be released into the world; the other will grow in a fridge, unconscious, but all his parts will be exactly the same as the other person. And if the first person is in an accident and loses a leg or loses a kidney, or has to be operated on, there is no problem: his carbon copy is waiting in the hospital. From the carbon copy a kidney can be taken out -- he is growing exactly at the same rate, he is just unconscious -- and it will be exactly the same as the kidney that has been lost. It can be replaced.
That carbon copy will always be available for replacing any parts -- even the brain. You can fall into a coma or you can even have a heart attack.... Your brain can remain alive even after a heart attack for at least four minutes -- but not more than that. If during these four minutes an identical brain is inserted, an identical heart is inserted, you will never feel that anything has changed or anything has happened to you. Perhaps you fell asleep and now you are awake. You will never know that your brain has been changed, that your heart has been changed.
This idea of having carbon copies seems to be a great advancement in medical science in a way, but it is dangerous -- dangerous in the sense that man becomes a machine with replaceable parts, just like any machine. When something goes wrong you replace the part. And if every part can be replaced then man will be falling farther and farther away from spiritual growth, because he will start thinking of himself as just a machine. That's what half of the world, the communist world, thinks -- that man is a machine.
You are fortunate that you can understand the situation your parents were in. They have not done anything specifically to you; they would have done the same to any child that was born to them. They were programmed for that. They were helpless. And to be angry against helpless people is simply not right. It is unjust, unfair, and moreover it is harmful to you.
If your parents cannot understand me, you should not be worried about it. The whole world cannot understand me. Your parents are normal people; they just follow the crowd, which is safer. You have fallen out of the crowd. You have chosen a risky and dangerous path. If they don't want to go into a dangerous lifestyle, it is their choice; that should not be a cause for your anger.
In fact you can help them by really becoming the individual that I am talking about: more conscious, more alert, more loving. Seeing you can only change them. Seeing you so radically changed can only make them think twice, that perhaps they are wrong. There is no other way. You cannot intellectually convince them. Intellectually they can argue, and argument never changes anybody. The only thing that changes people is the charisma, the magnetism, the magic, of your individuality. Then whatever you touch becomes golden.
So rather than wasting your time and energy in being angry and fighting against the past which no longer exists, put your whole energy into becoming the magic of your individuality. So when your parents see you they cannot remain untouched by the new qualities that you have grown, qualities which are automatically impressive: your freshness, your understanding, your unconditional lovingness, your kindness even in a situation where anger would have been more appropriate.
Only these things can be the real arguments. You need not say a word. Your eyes, your face, your actions, your behavior, your response, will make the change in them. They will start inquiring about what has happened to you, how it has happened to you -- because everybody wants these qualities. These are the real riches. Nobody is so rich that he can afford not to have the things that I am telling you.
So put your energy into transforming yourself. That will help you, that will help your parents. Perhaps it may create a chain reaction. Your parents may have other children, they may have friends, and it will go on and on.
It is just like you are sitting on the bank of a silent lake and you throw a small pebble into the lake. The pebble is so small that it creates a small circle at first, but circle after circle...and they go on spreading to the far ends, as far as the lake can take them. And it was only a small pebble.
Just create a small ripple of right individuality and it will reach to many people -- and certainly to those who are most closely related to you. They will see it first, and they will understand with great awe. They will not believe their eyes because all that they know of religion is the Sunday church, where nothing happens. They have been going every Sunday their whole lives, and they come back home just the same.
In the name of religion they know only the Bible or the Koran or the Gita and they have been reading it and nothing happens, because they don't know one thing -- that you are a living being and a book is dead. And the man in the church who is delivering a sermon is just a professional. He has prepared the sermon from the books, and he goes on repeating the same sermons. Nobody listens, so nobody catches him. He is repeating the same sermon that he delivered two months before. Nobody listened that time, and nobody is listening this time. And you know that that sermon cannot change you because that sermon has not changed the preacher himself. He is just as mundane as you are -- perhaps more. I used to know a Jaina monk who was a very simple man, almost a simpleton. He asked me, "How many lectures do you have?"
He said, "I have only three: one is for ten minutes, one is for twenty minutes, one is for thirty minutes, depending on the occasion. Sometimes in a conference you have only ten minutes. I have a ready-made, ten minute lecture. If they give me twenty minutes, I have a twenty minute lecture. If they give me thirty minutes, I have a thirty minute one. More than that is not possible, because nobody is interested in listening too much. People want a short cut."
He said, "Nobody has said anything about it to me, and I have been using these three lectures my whole life. Wherever I go -- to the temples, colleges, and universities where I talk -- I ask, `How many minutes? Ten, twenty, thirty?' Whatever they want, my lecture is ready. And I have repeated the same lecture so many times that now I don't feel nervous. I can repeat the lecture without thinking at all!"
One of the most famous, world-renowned Christian missionaries was Stanley Jones. He was very friendly with me but he became very angry and then the friendship was broken. He was an old man, a friend of Mahatma Gandhi, and Mahatma Gandhi respected him very much. He used to come to the city where I was living and he stayed in the house of one of my friends. He had printed cards -- ten cards or twenty cards for his whole lecture -- and he would put the cards on the table. He would start lecturing, and he would go on changing the cards.
He became very angry with me because I mixed up his cards! So he was saying something and it was not on the card. He almost had a nervous breakdown. He looked at all the cards and it was not there. That card I had taken out. And he said, "Today I am not feeling well. I am feeling sick, so I will not be speaking."
And he asked the host, "Who has done this?"
The host said, "Your friend."
Stanley Jones was very angry. He said, "Are you my friend or my enemy? You destroyed my whole lecture!"
I said, "Once in a while you should speak from your heart, not from these cards. I have looked in your suitcase, and you have almost fifty sets of these cards, so you can go on repeating these speeches. And do you think this is going to help anybody? -- these dead cards that you have repeated your whole life? And today just because one card was missing and the numbers were mixed up, you lost your temper, you lost your integrity. You were almost in a state of madness. And what do you think people thought who had come to listen to you?"
He had written many books. I have gone through those books: he writes well, beautifully, but it is all stolen. Nothing is his own. Nothing is his own experience. Unless something is your own experience it is not going to impress anybody.
So feel blissful. Here you have a chance to get totally transformed. And help your poor parents, because they did not have such a chance; feel sorry for them.
The Path of the Mystic, Chapter 15, Question 2
Gurudeva
Occasionally people inquired about the spelling of his name, which differs
slightly from the South Indian form. He explained that the name Subramuniya
is a Tamil spelling of the Sanskrit Subhramunya (not be be confused with
1. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, World Hindu Leader, Passes Away at 74,
KAUAI, HAWAII, USA, November 13, 2001: Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, one
"Great Union," today at age 74 at his ashram home on the tropical island of
Kauai, Hawaii, USA. A spokesperson for the ashram said the Hindu master
Europe with 72 devotees, that he had advanced intestinal cancer. The disease
battery of tests revealed the cancer and that it had metastasized to other
Hawaii, Washington State and California all concurred that even the most
just a few months to live. The popular Satguru went into seclusion and after
palliative measures. He also made the decision to follow the Indian yogic
fully supported his decision. He died on the 32nd day of his self-declared
News of his impending passage was first released to the Hindu world on
October 16. Immediately temples, ashrams and devotees around the world began
the "Mrityunjaya Yajna," a worship ceremony traditionally offered prior to
the passing of a great saint. The yajna was performed across the USA,
Europe, India, Malaysia, Australia, Fiji and New Zealand. In the Hindu
exalted event, signalling the completion of his mission on Earth and his
return to the great inner heaven worlds whence he was sent by God and the
Gods to help mankind. Nearly a hundred devotees from all over the world flew
to the remote island of Kauai to be nearby during the passage. The
suddenness of the events stunned the 2.5 million Tamils of Sri Lanka, for
whom Subramuniyaswami, the successor of Lanka's great guru Yogaswami, is
their hereditary spiritual leader.
An outpouring of appreciation came from the local Kauai island residents
who, though not Hindus, had over the decades of his residence there
they called "Gurudeva," the affectionate title he was most known by. They
them, "Don't be sad, soon I will be with you 24 hours a day, working with
you all from the inner planes." Bereaved devotees arriving at the island
ashram heard the same message, and by the time of the Great Departure, a
profound peace had descended upon the ashram and all connected with it.
At Subramuniyaswami's request, he was cremated the same day, at Borthwick
tomorrow morning in a meditation crypt behind the sanctum sanctorum of the
Veylanswami, 59, was installed immediately as guru of the ashram, formally
As is traditional, the passage of a saint is not accompanied by the Hindu
rituals of mourning. The release from the mortal coils at the time of the
saint's choosing is regarded as an auspicious event, one to be met with
When notified of the Satguru's passing, Sita Ram Goel, one of India's most
influential Hindu writers and thinkers, wrote, "He has done great work for
Hinduism, and the recent reawakening of the Hindu mind carries his stamp."
Ma Yoga Shakti, renowned teacher and Hinduism Today's Hindu of the Year for
enlightened soul of the West -- a Hanuman of today, a reincarnation of Siva
Himself -- has watered the roots of Hinduism with great zeal, faith,
the Arya Samaj wrote, "Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, our Gurudev, is a
great spiritual asset for humankind. I still carry with me the warmth of his
The American Swami
Few in the Hindu world would not recognize the tall, white-haired American
who had gained prominence over the decades for his practical and
clear-minded books replete with explanations of everything Hindu, from the
most basic beliefs and daily practices to the loftiest refined philosophy
authoritative reporting on Hindu events, institutions, personalities, issues
and controversies around the world. Among his innovative projects are the
creation of Iraivan Temple on Kauai, the first all-stone, hand-carved
granite Agamic temple ever built in the West, the founding of Hindu Heritage
In 1986, the World Religious Parliament in New Delhi honored him as one of
the five Hindu spiritual leaders outside of India who had most dynamically
promoted Hinduism in the past 25 years. Among his other honors are being
named one of 25 "presidents" of religion at the 1996 Parliament of the World
Religions held in Chicago, and receiving the U Thant Peace Award while
attending the Millennium Peace Summit of World Religious and Spiritual
Leaders held at the United Nations in August, 2000. This award was
previously given to the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pope
John Paul and Mother Teresa. On August 25, 2000, he addressed 1,200
spiritual leaders during the UN events in New York.
unusual being with the silken white hair. He was a large man, six-foot two
the chiseled body he had developed in his youth as an accomplished ballet
if they could get anything for him, he replied, "Well, yes, a new body."
classical Eastern and Western dance and in the disciplines of yoga, becoming
the premier danseur of the San Francisco Ballet by age 19. Increasingly
to India and Sri Lanka in 1947, on the first ship to sail to India following
World War II. There he intensified his spiritual training under renowned
yogis. In 1948, in the mountain caves of Jalani in central Sri Lanka, he
Jaffna, Sri Lanka. This was the single most respected Saivite Hindu guru for
the people of Sri Lanka. The 72-year-old sage gave him his Hindu name,
Subramuniya, and initiated him into the holy orders of sannyasa, or
renunciate monasticism. Yogaswami then ordained the young mystic into his
lineage with a tremendous slap on the back, saying, "This will be heard in
America! Now go 'round the world and roar like a lion. You will build
Gurudeva introduced the nation to the circular saw, worked with leading
Buddhist elders and founded Saiva Siddhanta Church, the world's first Hindu
church, now active in many nations, and the Sri Subramuniya Ashram in the
Occasionally people inquired about the spelling of his name, which differs
slightly from the South Indian form. He explained that the name Subramuniya
is a Tamil spelling of the Sanskrit Subhramunya (not be be confused with
deep contemplation and developed the spiritual techniques imparted to him in
masterpiece remains the core of his teachings. Yogaswami had told him not to
teach until he reached the age of 30, so it was in 1957 that he founded
Virginia City, Nevada, and other areas of California. During this time he
welcomed Hindu swamis coming for the first time to America, including Swami
different parts of the world until two months before his passing. Among the
most outstanding of these programs was his 1969 pilgrimage to India with 65
devotees, then the largest group from America ever to come to India. Similar
tours focused on connecting with the Tamil Saivite communities around the
In the 1970s he brought his followers and organization entirely into
Hinduism, and established Kauai Aadheenam, a monastery-temple complex in the
South Indian tradition on Kauai, Hawaii, USA. His was the first major
Saivite Hindu theological center outside the Indian subcontinent. In 1975 he
founded the San Marga Iraivan Temple, and in 1979 he began publishing his
courses for the general market, writing about Indian spiritual practices
long before they became popular.
from India to the United States and Europe, encouraged by new immigration
laws passed by President John F. Kennedy. Once here, they often found
themselves cut off from the guidance of Hindu leaders in India.
Subramuniyaswami sought to fill the gap by inspiring dozens of groups to
build temples and perpetuate Hinduism in their new countries. Often he would
gift the temple founders an icon of Lord Ganesha, the Hindu God invoked at
the start of any project, with instructions to immediately begin His
worship. He made himself available to the founders when they encountered
difficulties, and counseled them on how to integrate with the local American
community. He helped major institutions like the Chinmaya Mission and
staff to the Hindu cause. In many cases, he would assign one of his own
devotees to work closely with the temple until it was firmly established.
influence in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Canada, England, Germany,
In the 80s, often as part of his Innersearch programs, he conducted Hindu
of the country, even the remote tea plantations of central Lanka. Over
in their heritage and to cling to their faith despite efforts of other
was paraded through towns and villages in the ancient way, seldom seen
would walk to each meeting, each temple rite, each lecture. Sometimes these
would go for miles, with devotees crowded on both sides of the roadway,
Tuticorin, deep in the south of India, city elder and staunch Saiva
the West through the streets in a marvelous procession of chariots and
Hundreds of thousands of Saivites turned out that morning to welcome the
sage from America, and he was led for miles through the city streets with
hundreds of women with baskets full of flowers standing on the tops of each
building raining tons of flowers on the great guru below who had given
Saivite Hinduism back its pride of place among the religions of the world.
During this same journey, he was given awards from all the major spiritual
centers in South India, which he visited in person. He also arranged for
India's greatest Bharata Natyam dancer, Kumari Swarnamukhi, to dance in the
the first in hundreds of years and marked the return of the sacred dancers
to the temples from which they had been banned for so long.
Also in the 1980s Gurudeva founded a branch monastery in Mauritius, whose
to our country," wrote one Mauritian at the time, "but do not just feed us
rice. Teach us how to grow rice. Teach us our ancient heritage."
Always an accomplished publisher, Subramuniyaswami came in on the ground
floor with desktop publishing, adopting the Apple computer in 1985, then in
its infancy, and instructing his monks to create a state-of-the-art system.
Engineers from Apple came to Kauai to marvel at the setup. Apple even sent a
team of documentary filmmakers to the monastery to show their employees the
world's first functional publishing network, amazingly created by Gurudeva's
monastics. He enjoyed the technology and proficiently used it for his work.
scriptures, books, pamphlets, art, lessons and later through CDs and the
world's foremost Hindu websites.
Subramuniyaswami had come by this time to be well-known throughout the world
as an articulate, insightful and forceful exponent of the Hindu faith. In
the late 1980s and the 1990s, in historic gatherings of spiritual and
at the seminal Global Forum of Political and Spiritual Leaders‹at Oxford in
1988, Moscow in 1990, and Brazil in 1992. In 1986, the World Religious
Parliament in New Delhi honored him as one of the five Hindu spiritual
leaders outside of India who had most dynamically promoted Hinduism in the
past 25 years. In 1993 he was elected one of three Presidents of Hinduism at
the 100th anniversary of the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago. It
income for Hindu swamis, temples and orphanages worldwide and created a
stunning 3,000-page illustrated trilogy of sourcebooks on Saivism. The last
from the printers in Malaysia shortly before his passing.
Subramuniyaswami taught the traditional Saivite Hindu path to enlightenment,
a path that leads the soul from simple service to worshipful devotion to
God, from the disciplines of meditation and yoga to the direct knowing of
Divinity within. His insights into the nature of consciousness provide a key
for quieting the external mind and revealing to aspirants their deeper
guru's instruction to bring Saivism to the Western world by teaching others
His Monastic Order and the Future
Foundational to all of his work is the Kauai Aadheenam and its resident
countries and include both men born into the Hindu religion and those who
of Subramuniyaswami's strict and hands-on personal guidance, all of his work
will be carried forward and flourish in the future under the guidance of his
the ancient Nandinatha Sampradaya. This lineage is bound by certain common
elements of philosophy including a belief in both the transcendent and
immanent nature of God, the value of temple worship and the need to work
teaches the principle philosophical doctrines of the Hindu religion,
all beings, the importance of the yamas and niyamas, the need for purity and
personal encounter with the Divine, gained through the several yogas and
recognize caste distinctions in spiritual pursuits and initiate from the
lowest to the highest, according to spiritual worthiness. Swamis of the
Nandinatha lineage are often known as "market-place swamis," for they have
historically lived among the people, rather than in remote areas, and
advance Hinduism throughout the world. Leading swamis of India marveled at
his ability to explain the most complex principles in a uniquely lucid and
straightforward English, perhaps the central part of his written legacy, for
until him the English representations of Hinduism were mostly Victorian in
style or academic and awkward. Swami Chidananda Saraswati, President of the
Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, India, said, "All the Hindus of our global
Hindu brotherhood are verily indebted to Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami for
carefully arranged, edited and published. Today it can be unhesitatingly
are popular around the world for their easy readability, and are used in
American universities for Hindu courses of study and comparative religion
in question and answer format on the basics of Hinduism. Central to "Living
with Siva" are his lengthy explanations of the traditional restraints and
115-year-old Swami Bua of New York recently commented, "These guidelines
unfold one after the other with stunning simplicity. There are instructions
wives, businessmen, politicians, scientists -- none is forgotten or left
In the 365 sutras, Subramuniyaswami addressed many controversial issues of
our day, one of which came into play at the end of his own life. Hindu
as a means of accelerating one's departure from the body in the case of
terminal illness. Upon hearing his medical prognosis, he meditated upon the
path ahead and considering the severity of his condition decided to fast to
Living with Siva: "To leave the body in the right frame of mind, in the
right consciousness, through the highest possible chakra, is a key to
spiritual progress. The seers did not want unrelenting pain and hopelessness
to be the only possibilities facing a soul whose body was failing, whose
only experience was pain without reprieve. So they prescribed a kindly way,
a reasonable way, especially for the pain-riddled, disabled elderly and the
No killer drugs. No violence. No involvement of another human being, with
all the karmic entanglements that inevitably produces. No life-support
systems. No loss of the family wealth for prolonged health care or into the
a quiet, slow, natural exit from the body, coupled with spiritual practices,
The third book, "Merging with Siva," is on mystical Hinduism,
light and serious aspirants wishing to follow the path toward illumination
the aura, the fourteen chakras or psychic force centers of the body,
understanding and transcending the various states of mind and the methods to
In addition to the trilogy, Subramuniyaswami produced "Loving Ganesha," a
work on Hinduism's favorite God; "Lemurian Scrolls," which explores the
origins of mankind on Earth; "Weaver's Wisdom," the best English translation
of the ancient Tamil ethical scripture, "Tirukural;" "Saiva Dharma Sastras,"
an administrative manual on his organization which has served to guide other
Hindu organizations in their efforts to transplant Hinduism on Western soil;
request from the Hindus of Fiji, he prepared a children's course, Saivite
Hindu Religion, now taught to thousands of children around the world.
One book in particular, "How to Become a Hindu," published in 2000,
encapsulated one entire aspect of Subramuniyaswami's mission: clear and
ethical religious conversion. Unlike many other Hindu teachers in America,
he was adverse to hiding or minimizing the Hindu origins of his teachings.
He insisted that his devotees be boldly and proudly Hindus, and if they were
not born into the faith, that they sincerely convert to Hinduism if they
wanted to follow him, including legally changing their name to a Hindu name.
The book was well received in India, where people referred to it as "How to
Become a Better Hindu." The Shankaracharya of Puri, one of Hinduism's
enter the Hindu fold, and also to the younger generation of Hindus." The
outside their faith.
Subramuniyaswami enjoyed promoting his books, and in the course of his
travels for other events he would take time out to have book signings at
local book stores such as Borders and Barnes and Noble. These were always
interested in his teachings an opportunity for a personal encounter with the
famed guru. The store would turn into a temporary temple as devotees and
bookstores rarely stocked enough books for the relatively large numbers who
would come, and compensated by bringing dozens of extra copies. At the end
of the evening, Subramuniyaswami would joke with the store's staff, "Well,
do I get the job?"
sects and lineages; 2) To inform and inspire Hindus worldwide and people
about Hinduism; 4) To protect, preserve and promote the sacred Vedas and the
Hindu religion; 5) To nurture and monitor the ongoing spiritual Hindu
promote Sanatana Dharma. The magazine is supplemented with a daily e-mailed
summary of Hindu news appearing in the world press called Hindu Press
International. The magazine is by far the most sophisticated Hindu
periodical and the only one which deals with all denominations of Hinduism
the magazine has successfully kept Hindus and non-Hindus alike appraised of
information, is by far the largest resource on Hinduism on the Internet
Hundreds of such sessions are archived there (see http://www.gurudeva.org/)
Ma Yoga Shakti, renowned teacher and Hinduism Today's Hindu of the Year for
decades, Subramuniyaswami, a highly enlightened soul of the West -- a
Hanuman of today, a reincarnation of Siva Himself -- has watered the roots
Chinmoy, famed for his peace efforts worldwide, said, "a uniquely powerful
united Hindus throughout the world with his dynamic approach to an ancient
lead in the effort to overcome the problem of self-alienation and growing
illiteracy among the Hindus of their heritage. It is easily the best
The Iraivan Temple, now under construction at Kauai Aadheenam, was conceived
the Aadheenam land in 1975. To permanently capture the power of this great
vision, he commissioned the construction of a large temple to be entirely
made of hand-carved granite. The land was prepared for fifteen years, money
hired to design the edifice in the thousand-year-old Chola style. The actual
blessed by the presence of Sri Sri Sri Trichyswami and Sri Sri Sri
Balagangadharanathaswami, the two foremost spiritual gurus of Karnataka
erected in America that they gave him 11 acres of land and supported every
phase of the work as though it was their own temple being built. On the arid
desert lands, Gurudeva founded an entire village for the project. Homes were
erected for the 75 carvers and their families, wells were dug, kitchens
protect the stone sculptors from the Indian sun. A Malaysian family,
to Bangalore to supervise the workers. The family oversees even today the
stones which are quarried, carved and trial-fitted, then shipped to Kauai
where starting in May, 2001, a team of seven master stone carvers from India
arrived to begin assembly. They are presently on the sixth course of the
temple; the work is expected to take several more years to complete. At the
time of Gurudeva's passing, they had just completed the floor of the inner
sanctum. This is the first all-stone temple ever built in the Western
Hemisphere, and one for which Subramuniyaswami has insisted upon the most
careful craftsmanship. He directed the carvers to do everything by hand, and
the time-consuming and expensive project, he said no, telling them that by
having it done in the old way we would be passing along the ancient,
hands-only craft to one more generation. The entire temple, which is taking
hundreds of man years to complete, is being produced in the same way that
great carvers like Michelangelo and Rubin did their masterpieces, with a
simple hammer and an array of chisels. Enshrined in the temple will be a
700-pound single-pointed quartz crystal, possibly the largest in the world,
methods by other religions in India and other parts of the world. He put his
concerns directly before leaders of other faiths in public forums and in
private. He also raised these controversies at various international
At the moment when Nepal changed from a monarchy to a democracy in 1990, his
"Hindu." As a result, Nepal remains the only officially Hindu nation in the
world.
In the 1990s Subramuniyaswami became aware of the pervasive use of corporal
punishment in the homes and schools of Hindus. He immediately began a
campaign to "Stop the War in the Home" (see source for this talk at end) and
to change the policies of schools. He directed his own followers in many
nations to stop hitting or abusing, even verbally, their children under any
circumstances, and instructed them to begin teaching nonviolent methods of
positive discipline within their local community. For this, he partnered
with Dr. Jane Nelsen, one of the great voices of enlightened discipline for
children. She visited him on Kauai and together they worked out programs in
Hindu communities around the world. This campaign, which is paralleled in
other parts of the world among people of other faiths, is bearing fruit,
thousands of Hindu parents reconsidering their own methods of child rearing.
When he addressed the 1,200 delegates to the Millennium Peace Summit of
World Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the United Nations in August, 2000,
he said in part, "To stop the wars in the world, our best long-term solution
is to stop the war in the home. It is here that hatred begins, that
children learn to solve their problems with violence. This is true of every
personal teaching. Relying upon his own intuition and profound mystical
powers, he clarified and purified all of the Saivite teachings of his
regularly with hundreds of scholars, linguists, historians, theologians and
other experts, all of whom enthusiastically assisted this great spiritual
leader. He never engaged in theological dispute with other sects of
Hinduism, but rather encouraged each to be true to their own traditions and
encouraging all shared beliefs and practices, rather than emphasizing areas
him and counted him a friend and ally. There has never been a guru so
beloved by other gurus, nor one so fond of a brother swami. Over the years
hundreds were either visited by him in their ashrams or found their way to
his ashram in the Pacific Ocean.
In addition to his work within the global Hinduism, Subramuniyaswami also
had special relations with a number of communities including the Sri Lankan
Tamils, the Saivites of Mauritius, Malaysia and Fiji and his fellow
In South India, these theological centers, known as aadheenams, perform many
functions. They found and manage temples, hold endowment investments and
arbitrate theological issues, give spiritual counseling and teach. They have
the authority to clarify and reinterpret scripture and to revise customary
practices of their communities. They also deal with worldly matters and are
called upon to settle disputes in the community, to advise politicians, even
these functions in these various communities.
By far his greatest efforts and most focused energy went toward the 2.5
the country in 1983. Just prior to its onset he toured the country,
poured out of Sri Lanka and made their way to Canada, America, Germany,
England, Australia and dozens of other countries. He founded the first
Refugee Relief Fund for Sri Lankans in 1985, collecting money in the West
and sending it to the war-torn region of Jaffna. He established and
maintained contact with each of these communities, advised them on how to
adjust to their circumstances and to remain staunch Saivite Hindus. In his
last Innersearch travel-study program, he visited many of these communities
in Europe, and celebrated with them their successful adaptation to their new
homes. In Denmark in August of 2001 he laid the foundation stone for an
Amman temple and visited other temple communities in Sweden, Norway, Germany
and the UK.
No group of Hindus counted Gurudeva their champion more than the noble
Saivite temple priests. Most especially he encouraged and defended the
Sivacharya priests of South India, who are traditionally attached to the
aadheenams. He helped restore the dignity of this priesthood and encouraged
young men born in the priest families to follow in the profession of their
fathers instead of opting for higher-paying but totally secular jobs. He
instructed the trustees of these temples outside of India he helped get
started to treat their priests with respect, pay them decent wages and
provide proper living facilities. He encouraged priests to start their own
temples, which a few have done in Canada and Europe. He has always
considered the status and well-being of the Hindu priesthood to be the most
accurate measure of the well-being of Hinduism in general, and his successor
and monks will continue to champion the cause of Hindu priests around the
world. The priests in turn assisted Subramuniyaswami's mission at every
in temple worship, a training heretofore never imparted to anyone outside
their caste.
swamis, and then again in January, 1981, traveling with 33 devotees for an
Innersearch program which included India and Sri Lanka. Over the next few
years, Hindus attracted to Subramuniyaswami's teachings started the
schools. These classes and the widespread distribution of Hinduism Today
Hindus are just 10% of the population. Gurudeva's dedicated members in this
country disseminated clear Hindu teachings to the youth and instilled a
pride in Hindu religion as a result. He sent one of his monastics to teach
classes all over the country. In 1986 the first Hindu youth camps in
Malaysia were conducted by his devotees, which inspired all the other Hindu
abolishing corporal punishment in the homes and schools, directing his
devotees to teach classes for other Hindu parents in nonviolent means of
parenting and to change school policies regarding corporal punishment of
students. At a national level, the cumulative impact of his work has been a
dramatic increase in the pride of Hindus. One person said, "He has breathed
new life into Hinduism for the Hindus of Malaysia." Today three of
prominent attorney, offered this summary of Subramuniyaswami's work in the
"Subramuniyaswami came to Mauritius in the 1980s at the request of Hindu
elders who were worried about the high rate of conversion from the Hindu
fold. In January, 1982, he spent an entire month there traveling from
village to village with one of his swamis. Then Gurudeva sent a
French-speaking monk who at one time was holding 25 classes around the
island. He conveyed Subramuniyaswami's teachings on the three worlds, the
story of our soul, our great God and Gods, the pillars of Hinduism, karma,
the greatness of Hinduism and the oneness of mankind. He removed
misconceptions in the Tamil Saivite community. Many of us came to understand
that Sivaratri was not a festival of our Hindi-speaking brothers only, nor
was Ganesha Chaturti a purely Maurati festival, but rather both were major
"The establishment of Subramuniyaswami's mission was made official by the
the printing of a local edition of Hinduism Today in 1986 on the island and
people would come for the weekly homas held at that time. Today the major
Subramuniyaswami to the people of Mauritius and the only one of its nature
in the country. It is now regularly visited by pilgrims from the world over.
The Spiritual Park was created at a cost of several million rupees, all
donated by local Hindus. The most elaborate part of it is the Ganesha
large granite icons of Lord Murugan, in His form as the six-faced Arumugam,
and Lord Siva, in the form of Dakshinamurthi, the silent teacher, also grace
the spiritual park.
Kauai Aadheenam, to the monastery. They created the Spiritual Park and held
retreats and seminars for thousands of youth around the island.
well he encouraged the wearing of Hindu dress at home, temples and during
Tyaganatha, hailing from the same village of Rempart, who is one of the
discipline, the concept of education without violence at home and school and
the only way to completely eradicate violence from our society. Gurudeva
will be remembered for the sense of discipline in spiritual life and
excellence at work which he instilled among his members and the need to
pursue daily sadhanas for spiritual progress and peaceful living in the
spirit of ahimsa in all aspects of life. This is the present sadhana of
members, to take these teachings into the public and make it a living
a new-found identity among the Hindus of Mauritius.
The first was with Hindu leaders to strengthen the ties within the Hindu
community. Then in 1995, under the auspices of the municipal Council of Port
Louis, he met with religious leaders of all faiths to strengthen the bonds
of friendship, respect and harmony among the people of Mauritius. Today, in
significant part because of Subramuniyaswami's contribution, Mauritius is
cited everywhere, including on the floor of the United Nations, as an
Over his 52 years of ministry, Subramuniyaswami has helped the Hindus of
England, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Trinidad, Guyana, Canada, New
Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Singapore, and many more countries. Indeed, there
is probably not a corner of the Hindu world which has not been impacted by
and in a largely non-Hindu community, still he found himself performing the
traditional functions of an aadheenam for the local community. He was a key
positive future for the island's community. He worked monthly with the mayor
of Kauai, with county council members, the university provost, the
unity to the ethnically diverse island of 55,000 and to offer his vision for
a secure, drug-free future for the children. It was a message he carried
he was invited to speak, and in person. He would from time to time be sought
out for advice by community leaders on the important issues facing the
counted him as their easily approachable friend and counselor, remaining
only remotely aware of his stature in the Hindu world. He was, in fact,
Kauai's most renowned citizen, the only one with an extensive global impact.
This was recognized in formal ways by the governor of the state, the mayor
and county council. Indeed, the outpouring of gratitude and appreciation
"Just before his passing," said the monastery spokesperson, "He asked
devotees worldwide to carry his work and institutions forward with
unstinting vigor, to keep one another strong on the spiritual path, to work
diligently on their personal spiritual disciplines and to live every moment
in harmony and love for all peoples. His monks, forged in the fires of his
Equally, his family devotees are pure, one-minded and deeply committed.
These two communities will continue the work together: building the Iraivan
Temple, managing the Spiritual Park in Mauritius, shepherding souls on the
Saivite path of enlightenment, continuing the many publications, teaching
children their Saivite Hindu religion, preserving traditional culture and
art, protecting Hindu priests and the indigenous faiths of the world,
contributing to our local Kauai community, guiding the future of Hinduism
around the globe and working to reduce violence, child-beating and spouse
Website for extensive further information and high-resolution photos
The algebra of infinite justice
[Articles] > The algebra of infinite justice
As the US prepares to wage a new kind of war, Arundhati Roy challenges the instinct for vengance
In the aftermath of the unconscionable September 11 suicide attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre, an American newscaster said: "Good and evil rarely manifest themselves as clearly as they did last Tuesday. People who we don't know massacred people who we do. And they did so with contemptuous glee." Then he broke down and wept.
Here's the rub: America is at war against people it doesn't know, because they don't appear much on TV. Before it has properly identified or even begun to comprehend the nature of its enemy, the US government has, in a rush of publicity and embarrassing rhetoric, cobbled together an "international coalition against terror", mobilised its army, its air force, its navy and its media, and committed them to battle.
The trouble is that once Amer ica goes off to war, it can't very well return without having fought one. If it doesn't find its enemy, for the sake of the enraged folks back home, it will have to manufacture one. Once war begins, it will develop a momentum, a logic and a justification of its own, and we'll lose sight of why it's being fought in the first place.
What we're witnessing here is the spectacle of the world's most powerful country reaching reflexively, angrily, for an old instinct to fight a new kind of war. Suddenly, when it comes to defending itself, America's streamlined warships, cruise missiles and F-16 jets look like obsolete, lumbering things. As deterrence, its arsenal of nuclear bombs is no longer worth its weight in scrap. Box-cutters, penknives, and cold anger are the weapons with which the wars of the new century will be waged. Anger is the lock pick. It slips through customs unnoticed. Doesn't show up in baggage checks.
Who is America fighting? On September 20, the FBI said that it had doubts about the identities of some of the hijackers. On the same day President George Bush said, "We know exactly who these people are and which governments are supporting them." It sounds as though the president knows something that the FBI and the American public don't.
In his September 20 address to the US Congress, President Bush called the enemies of America "enemies of freedom". "Americans are asking, 'Why do they hate us?' " he said. "They hate our freedoms - our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." People are being asked to make two leaps of faith here. First, to assume that The Enemy is who the US government says it is, even though it has no substantial evidence to support that claim. And second, to assume that The Enemy's motives are what the US government says they are, and there's nothing to support that either.
For strategic, military and economic reasons, it is vital for the US government to persuade its public that their commitment to freedom and democracy and the American Way of Life is under attack. In the current atmosphere of grief, outrage and anger, it's an easy notion to peddle. However, if that were true, it's reasonable to wonder why the symbols of America's economic and military dominance - the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon - were chosen as the targets of the attacks. Why not the Statue of Liberty? Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US government's record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things - to military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)? It must be hard for ordinary Americans, so recently bereaved, to look up at the world with their eyes full of tears and encounter what might appear to them to be indifference. It isn't indifference. It's just augury. An absence of surprise. The tired wisdom of knowing that what goes around eventually comes around. American people ought to know that it is not them but their government's policies that are so hated. They can't possibly doubt that they themselves, their extraordinary musicians, their writers, their actors, their spectacular sportsmen and their cinema, are universally welcomed. All of us have been moved by the courage and grace shown by firefighters, rescue workers and ordinary office staff in the days since the attacks.
America's grief at what happened has been immense and immensely public. It would be grotesque to expect it to calibrate or modulate its anguish. However, it will be a pity if, instead of using this as an opportunity to try to understand why September 11 happened, Americans use it as an opportunity to usurp the whole world's sorrow to mourn and avenge only their own. Because then it falls to the rest of us to ask the hard questions and say the harsh things. And for our pains, for our bad timing, we will be disliked, ignored and perhaps eventually silenced.
The world will probably never know what motivated those particular hijackers who flew planes into those particular American buildings. They were not glory boys. They left no suicide notes, no political messages; no organisation has claimed credit for the attacks. All we know is that their belief in what they were doing outstripped the natural human instinct for survival, or any desire to be remembered. It's almost as though they could not scale down the enormity of their rage to anything smaller than their deeds. And what they did has blown a hole in the world as we knew it. In the absence of information, politicians, political commentators and writers (like myself) will invest the act with their own politics, with their own interpretations. This speculation, this analysis of the political climate in which the attacks took place, can only be a good thing.
But war is looming large. Whatever remains to be said must be said quickly. Before America places itself at the helm of the "international coalition against terror", before it invites (and coerces) countries to actively participate in its almost godlike mission - called Operation Infinite Justice until it was pointed out that this could be seen as an insult to Muslims, who believe that only Allah can mete out infinite justice, and was renamed Operation Enduring Freedom- it would help if some small clarifications are made. For example, Infinite Justice/Enduring Freedom for whom? Is this America's war against terror in America or against terror in general? What exactly is being avenged here? Is it the tragic loss of almost 7,000 lives, the gutting of five million square feet of office space in Manhattan, the destruction of a section of the Pentagon, the loss of several hundreds of thousands of jobs, the bankruptcy of some airline companies and the dip in the New York Stock Exchange? Or is it more than that? In 1996, Madeleine Albright, then the US secretary of state, was asked on national television what she felt about the fact that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of US economic sanctions. She replied that it was "a very hard choice", but that, all things considered, "we think the price is worth it". Albright never lost her job for saying this. She continued to travel the world representing the views and aspirations of the US government. More pertinently, the sanctions against Iraq remain in place. Children continue to die.
So here we have it. The equivocating distinction between civilisation and savagery, between the "massacre of innocent people" or, if you like, "a clash of civilisations" and "collateral damage". The sophistry and fastidious algebra of infinite justice. How many dead Iraqis will it take to make the world a better place? How many dead Afghans for every dead American? How many dead women and children for every dead man? How many dead mojahedin for each dead investment banker? As we watch mesmerised, Operation Enduring Freedom unfolds on TV monitors across the world. A coalition of the world's superpowers is closing in on Afghanistan, one of the poorest, most ravaged, war-torn countries in the world, whose ruling Taliban government is sheltering Osama bin Laden, the man being held responsible for the September 11 attacks.
The only thing in Afghanistan that could possibly count as collateral value is its citizenry. (Among them, half a million maimed orphans.There are accounts of hobbling stampedes that occur when artificial limbs are airdropped into remote, inaccessible villages.) Afghanistan's economy is in a shambles. In fact, the problem for an invading army is that Afghanistan has no conventional coordinates or signposts to plot on a military map - no big cities, no highways, no industrial complexes, no water treatment plants. Farms have been turned into mass graves. The countryside is littered with land mines - 10 million is the most recent estimate. The American army would first have to clear the mines and build roads in order to take its soldiers in.
Fearing an attack from America, one million citizens have fled from their homes and arrived at the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The UN estimates that there are eight million Afghan citizens who need emergency aid. As supplies run out - food and aid agencies have been asked to leave - the BBC reports that one of the worst humanitarian disasters of recent times has begun to unfold. Witness the infinite justice of the new century. Civilians starving to death while they're waiting to be killed.
In America there has been rough talk of "bombing Afghanistan back to the stone age". Someone please break the news that Afghanistan is already there. And if it's any consolation, America played no small part in helping it on its way. The American people may be a little fuzzy about where exactly Afghanistan is (we hear reports that there's a run on maps of the country), but the US government and Afghanistan are old friends.
In 1979, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA and Pakistan's ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) launched the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA. Their purpose was to harness the energy of Afghan resistance to the Soviets and expand it into a holy war, an Islamic jihad, which would turn Muslim countries within the Soviet Union against the communist regime and eventually destabilise it. When it began, it was meant to be the Soviet Union's Vietnam. It turned out to be much more than that. Over the years, through the ISI, the CIA funded and recruited almost 100,000 radical mojahedin from 40 Islamic countries as soldiers for America's proxy war. The rank and file of the mojahedin were unaware that their jihad was actually being fought on behalf of Uncle Sam. (The irony is that America was equally unaware that it was financing a future war against itself.)
In 1989, after being bloodied by 10 years of relentless conflict, the Russians withdrew, leaving behind a civilisation reduced to rubble.
Civil war in Afghanistan raged on. The jihad spread to Chechnya, Kosovo and eventually to Kashmir. The CIA continued to pour in money and military equipment, but the overheads had become immense, and more money was needed. The mojahedin ordered farmers to plant opium as a "revolutionary tax". The ISI set up hundreds of heroin laboratories across Afghanistan. Within two years of the CIA's arrival, the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderland had become the biggest producer of heroin in the world, and the single biggest source of the heroin on American streets. The annual profits, said to be between $100bn and $200bn, were ploughed back into training and arming militants.
In 1995, the Taliban - then a marginal sect of dangerous, hardline fundamentalists - fought its way to power in Afghanistan. It was funded by the ISI, that old cohort of the CIA, and supported by many political parties in Pakistan. The Taliban unleashed a regime of terror. Its first victims were its own people, particularly women. It closed down girls' schools, dismissed women from government jobs, and enforced sharia laws under which women deemed to be "immoral" are stoned to death, and widows guilty of being adulterous are buried alive. Given the Taliban government's human rights track record, it seems unlikely that it will in any way be intimidated or swerved from its purpose by the prospect of war, or the threat to the lives of its civilians.
After all that has happened, can there be anything more ironic than Russia and America joining hands to re-destroy Afghanistan? The question is, can you destroy destruction? Dropping more bombs on Afghanistan will only shuffle the rubble, scramble some old graves and disturb the dead.
The desolate landscape of Afghanistan was the burial ground of Soviet communism and the springboard of a unipolar world dominated by America. It made the space for neocapitalism and corporate globalisation, again dominated by America. And now Afghanistan is poised to become the graveyard for the unlikely soldiers who fought and won this war for America.
And what of America's trusted ally? Pakistan too has suffered enormously. The US government has not been shy of supporting military dictators who have blocked the idea of democracy from taking root in the country. Before the CIA arrived, there was a small rural market for opium in Pakistan. Between 1979 and 1985, the number of heroin addicts grew from zero to one-and-a-half million. Even before September 11, there were three million Afghan refugees living in tented camps along the border. Pakistan's economy is crumbling. Sectarian violence, globalisation's structural adjustment programmes and drug lords are tearing the country to pieces. Set up to fight the Soviets, the terrorist training centres and madrasahs, sown like dragon's teeth across the country, produced fundamentalists with tremendous popular appeal within Pakistan itself. The Taliban, which the Pakistan government has sup ported, funded and propped up for years, has material and strategic alliances with Pakistan's own political parties.
Now the US government is asking (asking?) Pakistan to garotte the pet it has hand-reared in its backyard for so many years. President Musharraf, having pledged his support to the US, could well find he has something resembling civil war on his hands.
India, thanks in part to its geography, and in part to the vision of its former leaders, has so far been fortunate enough to be left out of this Great Game. Had it been drawn in, it's more than likely that our democracy, such as it is, would not have survived. Today, as some of us watch in horror, the Indian government is furiously gyrating its hips, begging the US to set up its base in India rather than Pakistan. Having had this ringside view of Pakistan's sordid fate, it isn't just odd, it's unthinkable, that India should want to do this. Any third world country with a fragile economy and a complex social base should know by now that to invite a superpower such as America in (whether it says it's staying or just passing through) would be like inviting a brick to drop through your windscreen.
Operation Enduring Freedom is ostensibly being fought to uphold the American Way of Life. It'll probably end up undermining it completely. It will spawn more anger and more terror across the world. For ordinary people in America, it will mean lives lived in a climate of sickening uncertainty: will my child be safe in school? Will there be nerve gas in the subway? A bomb in the cinema hall? Will my love come home tonight? There have been warnings about the possibility of biological warfare - smallpox, bubonic plague, anthrax - the deadly payload of innocuous crop-duster aircraft. Being picked off a few at a time may end up being worse than being annihilated all at once by a nuclear bomb.
The US government, and no doubt governments all over the world, will use the climate of war as an excuse to curtail civil liberties, deny free speech, lay off workers, harass ethnic and religious minorities, cut back on public spending and divert huge amounts of money to the defence industry. To what purpose? President Bush can no more "rid the world of evil-doers" than he can stock it with saints. It's absurd for the US government to even toy with the notion that it can stamp out terrorism with more violence and oppression. Terrorism is the symptom, not the disease. Terrorism has no country. It's transnational, as global an enterprise as Coke or Pepsi or Nike. At the first sign of trouble, terrorists can pull up stakes and move their "factories" from country to country in search of a better deal. Just like the multi-nationals.
Terrorism as a phenomenon may never go away. But if it is to be contained, the first step is for America to at least acknowledge that it shares the planet with other nations, with other human beings who, even if they are not on TV, have loves and griefs and stories and songs and sorrows and, for heaven's sake, rights. Instead, when Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, was asked what he would call a victory in America's new war, he said that if he could convince the world that Americans must be allowed to continue with their way of life, he would consider it a victory.
The September 11 attacks were a monstrous calling card from a world gone horribly wrong. The message may have been written by Bin Laden (who knows?) and delivered by his couriers, but it could well have been signed by the ghosts of the victims of America's old wars. The millions killed in Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia, the 17,500 killed when Israel - backed by the US - invaded Lebanon in 1982, the 200,000 Iraqis killed in Operation Desert Storm, the thousands of Palestinians who have died fighting Israel's occupation of the West Bank. And the millions who died, in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Haiti, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Panama, at the hands of all the terrorists, dictators and genocidists whom the American government supported, trained, bankrolled and supplied with arms. And this is far from being a comprehensive list.
For a country involved in so much warfare and conflict, the American people have been extremely fortunate. The strikes on September 11 were only the second on American soil in over a century. The first was Pearl Harbour. The reprisal for this took a long route, but ended with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This time the world waits with bated breath for the horrors to come.
Someone recently said that if Osama bin Laden didn't exist, America would have had to invent him. But, in a way, America did invent him. He was among the jihadis who moved to Afghanistan in 1979 when the CIA commenced its operations there. Bin Laden has the distinction of being created by the CIA and wanted by the FBI. In the course of a fortnight he has been promoted from suspect to prime suspect and then, despite the lack of any real evidence, straight up the charts to being "wanted dead or alive".
From all accounts, it will be impossible to produce evidence (of the sort that would stand scrutiny in a court of law) to link Bin Laden to the September 11 attacks. So far, it appears that the most incriminating piece of evidence against him is the fact that he has not condemned them.
From what is known about the location of Bin Laden and the living conditions in which he operates, it's entirely possible that he did not personally plan and carry out the attacks - that he is the inspirational figure, "the CEO of the holding company". The Taliban's response to US demands for the extradition of Bin Laden has been uncharacteristically reasonable: produce the evidence, then we'll hand him over. President Bush's response is that the demand is "non-negotiable".
(While talks are on for the extradition of CEOs - can India put in a side request for the extradition of Warren Anderson of the US? He was the chairman of Union Carbide, responsible for the Bhopal gas leak that killed 16,000 people in 1984. We have collated the necessary evidence. It's all in the files. Could we have him, please?)
But who is Osama bin Laden really? Let me rephrase that. What is Osama bin Laden? He's America's family secret. He is the American president's dark doppelgänger. The savage twin of all that purports to be beautiful and civilised. He has been sculpted from the spare rib of a world laid to waste by America's foreign policy: its gunboat diplomacy, its nuclear arsenal, its vulgarly stated policy of "full-spectrum dominance", its chilling disregard for non-American lives, its barbarous military interventions, its support for despotic and dictatorial regimes, its merciless economic agenda that has munched through the economies of poor countries like a cloud of locusts. Its marauding multinationals who are taking over the air we breathe, the ground we stand on, the water we drink, the thoughts we think. Now that the family secret has been spilled, the twins are blurring into one another and gradually becoming interchangeable. Their guns, bombs, money and drugs have been going around in the loop for a while. (The Stinger missiles that will greet US helicopters were supplied by the CIA. The heroin used by America's drug addicts comes from Afghanistan. The Bush administration recently gave Afghanistan a $43m subsidy for a "war on drugs"....)
Now Bush and Bin Laden have even begun to borrow each other's rhetoric. Each refers to the other as "the head of the snake". Both invoke God and use the loose millenarian currency of good and evil as their terms of reference. Both are engaged in unequivocal political crimes. Both are dangerously armed - one with the nuclear arsenal of the obscenely powerful, the other with the incandescent, destructive power of the utterly hopeless. The fireball and the ice pick. The bludgeon and the axe. The important thing to keep in mind is that neither is an acceptable alternative to the other.
President Bush's ultimatum to the people of the world - "If you're not with us, you're against us" - is a piece of presumptuous arrogance. It's not a choice that people want to, need to, or should have to make.
Azim Premji's Success Recipe
[source|http://www.rediff.com/money/2001/jul/27wipro.htm]
Wipro chairman Azim H Premji, one of India's most successful entrepreneurs, on Friday prescribed a 10-point recipe for success, based on the very lessons he had learnt during his last 35 years in the organisation.
The Wipro chairman was delivering the convocation address at the 38 the convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
Following is the entire text of the convocation address made by Premji:
I am privileged to be with you here today and to share this significant moment of your life.
The convocation marks the culmination of all the endless nights you worked through, all the anxieties you have gone through facing one examination after another and all the preparation you have put in, not only to enter this prestigious institution but also to graduate from it successfully. It is no mean achievement.
Only a handful of the most talented people in the world have shared this success with you. Let me just say that I am very proud of each and every one of you.
I am a little wary about giving you advice- because advice is one thing young people all over the world do not like receiving. I cannot fault you for that.
The world does look very different when it is seen with your eyes. You are filled with enthusiasm and are straining at the leash to get on with life.
And the world is very different from what it was when I was at your age. Never before has the role of technology been so pervasive and so central. The Internet has breached all physical borders and connected the world together like no other force has done before.
For the first time, opportunities for creating wealth in India are at par with the best in world. There is no need for you to sacrifice the joy of remaining in your own country any more.
All opportunities are accompanied by their own challenges. I thought I would share with you a few of the lessons I have learnt in my own life, while loading the transformation at Wipro, from a small company three and a half decades back into a global corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange. I hope you find them useful.
When I entered Wipro at the age of 21, it was a sudden and unexpected event. I had no warning of what lay ahead of me and I was caught completely unprepared. All I had with me was a dream.
A dream of building a great Organisation. It compensated for my inexperience and I guess, also prevented me from being overwhelmed by the enormity of the task before me.
What I am happy is that we never stopped dreaming. Even when we achieved a position of leadership in every business we operated in India. We now have a dream of becoming one of the top 10 global it service companies.
Many people wonder whether having unrealistic dreams is foolish. My reply to that is dreams by themselves can never be realistic or safe. If they were, they would not be dreams. I do agree that one must have strategies to execute dreams. And, of course, one must slog to transform dreams into reality. But dreams come first.
What saddens me most is to see young, bright people getting completely disillusioned by a few initial setbacks and slowly turning cynical and some of them want to migrate to America in the hope this is the solution.
While success is important, it can become enduring only if it is built on a strong foundation of Values. Define what you stand for as early as possible and do not compromise with it for any reason. Nobody can enjoy the fruits of success if you have to argue with your own conscience.
In Wipro, we defined our Beliefs long before it became a fashion to do so. It not only helped us in becoming more resilient to stand up to crises we faced along the way, but it also helped us in attracting the right kind of people.
Eventually, we realised that our values made eminent business sense. Values help in clarifying what everyone should do or not do in any business situation. It saves enormous time and effort because each issue does not have to be individually debated at length.
But remember that values are meaningful only if you practice them. People may listen to what you say but they will believe what you do. Values are a matter of trust. They must be reflected in each one of your actions. Trust takes a long time to build but can be lost quickly by just one inconsistent act.
All the available knowledge in the world is accelerating at a phenomenal rate. The whole world's codified knowledge base (all documented information in library books and electronic files) doubled every 30 years in the early 20th century.
By the 1970s, the world's knowledge base doubled every seven years. Information researchers predict that by the year 2010, the world's codified knowledge will double every 11 hours.
Remaining on top of what you need to know will become one of the greatest challenges for you.
The natural zest and curiosity for learning is one of the greatest drivers for keeping updated on knowledge. A child's curiosity is insatiable because every new object is a thing of wonder and mystery. The same zest is needed to keep learning new things.
I personally spend at least ten hours every week on reading. If I do not do that, I find myself quickly outdated.
There is a tremendous difference between being good and being excellent in whatever you do. In the world of tomorrow, just being good is not good enough.
One of the greatest advantages of globalisation is that it has brought in completely different standards. Being the best in the country is not enough; one has to be the best in the world. Excellence is a moving target. One has to constantly raise the bar.
In the knowledge-based industries, India has the unique advantage of being a quality leader. just like japan was able to win in the overseas market with its quality leadership in automobile manufacturing, india has been able to do the same in information technology.
At Wipro, we treat quality as the #1 priority. This enabled us not only to become the world's first SEI CMM Level 5 software services company in the world but also a leader in Six Sigma approach to quality in India.
However, even today I am dissatisfied with several things which we are not doing right in the area of customer satisfaction.
Doing something excellently has its own intrinsic joy, which I think is the greatest benefit of Quality.
Self-confidence comes from a positive attitude even in adverse situations. Self-confident people assume responsibility for their mistakes and share credit with their team members.
They are able to distinguish between what is in their control and what is not. They do not waste their energies on events that are outside their control and hence they can take setbacks in their stride.
Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
The challenges ahead are so complex that no individual will be able to face them alone. While most of our education is focused in individual strength, teaming with others is equally important. You cannot fire a missile from a canoe. Unless you build a strong network of people with complimentary skills, you will be restricted by your own limitations.
Globalisation has brought in people of different origin, different upbringing and different cultures together. Ability to become an integral part of a cross-cultural team will be a must for your success.
The stress that a young person faces today while beginning his or her career is the same as the last generation faced at the time of retirement.
I have myself found that my job has become enormously more complex over the last two or three years. Along with mutual alertness, physical fitness will also assume a great importance in your life.
You must develop your own mechanism for dealing with stress. I have found that a daily jog for me, goes a long way in releasing the pressure and building up energy. You will need lots of energy to deal with the challenges.
Unless you take care of yourself there is no way you can take care of others.
Finally, no matter what you decide to do in your life, you must persevere. Keep at it and you will succeed, no matter how hopeless it seems at times. In the last three and half decades, we have gone through many difficult times. But we have found that if we remain true to what we believe in, we can surmount every difficulty that comes in the way.
An eight-year-old child heard her parents talking about her little brother. All she knew was that he was very sick and they had no money left. They were moving to a smaller house because they could not afford to stay in the present house after paying the doctor's bills. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and there was no one to loan them the money.
When she heard daddy say to her tearful mother with whispered desperation, 'Only a miracle can save him now', the child went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jar from its hiding place in the closet.
She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully.
Clutching the precious jar tightly, she slipped out the back door and made her way six blocks to the local drug Store. She took a quarter from her jar and placed it on the glass counter.
"And what do you want?" asked the pharmacist. "It's for my little brother," the girl answered back. "He's really, really sick and I want to buy a miracle."
"I beg your pardon?" said the pharmacist.
"His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my daddy says only a miracle can save him. So how much does a miracle cost?"
"We don't sell miracles here, child. I'm sorry," the pharmacist said, smiling sadly at the little girl.
"Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I can try and get some more. Just tell me how much it costs."
In the shop was a well-dressed customer. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does you brother need?"
"I don't know," she replied with her eyes welling up. "He's really sick and mommy says he needs an operation. But my daddy can't pay for it, so I have brought my savings".
"How much do you have?" asked the man. "One dollar and eleven cents, but I can try and get some more", she answered barely audibly.
"Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven cents -- the exact price of a miracle for little brothers."
He took her money in one hand and held her hand with the other. He said, "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the kind of miracle you need."
That well-dressed man was Dr Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specialising in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn't long before Andrew was home again and doing well.
"That surgery," her mom whispered, "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?"
The little girl smiled. She knew exactly how much the miracle cost ... one dollar and eleven cents ... plus the faith of a little child.
Perseverance can make miracles happen.
For decades we have been waiting for some one who will help us in 'priming the pump' of the economy.
The government was the logical choice for doing it, but it was strapped for resources. Other countries were willing to give us loans and aids but there was a limit to this.
In the millennium of the mind, knowledge-based industries like Information Technology are in a unique position to earn wealth from outside. While earning is important, we must have mechanisms by which we use it for the larger good of our society.
Through the Azim Premji Foundation, we have targeted over the next 12 months to enrol over a million children, who are out of school due to economic or social reasons.
I personally believe that the greatest gift one can give to others is the gift of education. We who have been so fortunate to receive this gift know how valuable it is.
The moment we allow success to build a feeling or arrogance, we become vulnerable to making bad judgements.
Let me illustrate this with another story:
A lady in faded dress and her husband, dressed in a threadbare suit, walked in without an appointment into the office of the president of the most prestigious educational institution in America.
The secretary frowned at them and said, "He will be busy all day."
"We will wait," said the couple quietly.
The secretary ignored them for hours hoping they will go away. But they did not. Finally, the secretary decided to disturb the president, hoping they will go way quickly once they meet him.
The president took one look at the faded dresses and glared sternly at them. The lady said, "Our son studied here and he was very happy. A year ago, he was killed in an accident. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial for him on the campus."
The president was not touched. He was shocked. "Madam, we cannot put up a statue for every student of ours who died. This place would look like a cemetery."
"Oh, no," the lady explained quickly, "we don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would give a building to you."
"A building?" exclaimed the president, looking at their worn out clothes. "Do you have any idea how much a building costs? Our buildings cost close to ten million dollars!"
The lady was silent. The president was pleased and thought this would get rid of them.
The lady looked at her husband. "If that is what it costs to start a university, why don't we start our own?" Her husband nodded.
Mr and Mrs Leland Stanford walked away, travelling to Palo Alto, California, where they established the university as a memorial to their son, bearing their name - the Stanford University.
The story goes that this is how Stanford University began.
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.
Loneliness is similar to darkness.
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.
Loneliness is absence.
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 used to know one man who said, "I trust only money. I trust nobody else."
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.
It is difficult for an intelligent person not to doubt. You may have millions of people following a certain belief system, but still you cannot be certain that they are with you, that you are not lonely.
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 are proud of your blissfulness and all that existence has given to you. Fear disappears, darkness disappears, the pain disappears, the desire for the other disappears.
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 if anybody is thankful, you are thankful to the person who has accepted your love, who has accepted your gift. He has unburdened you, he allowed you to shower on him. And the more you share, the more you give, the more you have. So it does not make you a miser, it does not create a new fear that "I may lose it." In fact the more you lose it, the more fresh waters are flowing in from springs you have not been aware of before.
So I will not tell you to do anything about your loneliness.
Look for your aloneness.
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.
Most of the people in the world miss because they start fighting directly with the negative 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.
The Path of the Mystic, chapter 19
Why so much conflict between the different religions?
[Articles] > Why so much conflict between the different religions?
The world seems to be getting more and more crazy from day to day. nobody knows what is going on and everything is upside down and confused. this is what is told in the newspapers. is it real? and if so, is there any intrinsic balance in life which is keeping everything stable?
The world is the same; it has always been the same -- upside down, crazy, insane. In fact, only one thing new has happened in the world, and that is the awareness that we are crazy, that we are upside down, that something is basically wrong with us. And this is a great blessing -- this awareness. Of course it is only a beginning, just the abc of a long process, just a seed, but immensely pregnant. The world was never so aware of its insane ways as it is today. It has always been the same. In three thousand years man has fought five thousand wars.
Can you say this humanity is sane? One cannot remember a time in human history when people were not destroying each other either in the name of religion or in the name of God or even in the name of peace, humanity, universal brotherhood. Great words hiding ugly realities! Christians have been killing Mohammedans, Mohammedans have been killing Christians, Mohammedans have been killing Hindus, Hindus have been killing Mohammedans. Political ideologies, religious ideologies, philosophical ideologies are just facades for murder -- to murder in a justified way.
And all these religions were promising the people, "If you die in a religious war, your heaven is absolutely certain. Killing in war is not sin; being killed in war is a great virtue." This is sheer stupidity! But ten thousand years of conditioning has seeped deep into the blood, into the bones, in the very marrow of humanity. Each religion, each country, each race was claiming, "We are the chosen people of God. We are the highest; everyone is lower than us." This is insanity, and everybody has suffered because of it.
Jews have suffered immensely for one single folly that they committed: the idea that "We are the chosen people of God." Once you have the idea that you are the chosen people of God, then you cannot be forgiven by others because they are also the chosen people of God, and how to decide it? No argument can be conclusive, and nobody knows where God is hiding so you cannot ask him either; he cannot be brought in the court to be a witness. Then only the sword is going to decide. Whosoever is mighty is going to be right. Might has been right. Jews really suffered for centuries, but the suffering has not changed them. In fact it has strengthened the idea that they are the chosen people of God.
The same people who tell them, "You are the chosen people," also tell them that the chosen people have to go through many tests, many fires to prove their mettle. I have heard about an old rabbi -- he must have been a very sane man -- praying to God. He was praying for years and years and never asking for anything -- and you know, prayer is a kind of nagging: you go on nagging God every day, morning, afternoon, evening, night, five times every day. God must be getting tired, utterly bored....
And the rabbi was not asking for anything; otherwise there was a way out. If he had been asking for something it would have been given and the rabbi would have been told, "Get lost!" But he was not asking for anything, just praying. Finally God asked him, "Why do you go on torturing me? What do you want?" And the old rabbi said, "Just one thing. Is it not time for you to choose some other people? Please, make some other people your chosen people. We have suffered enough!"
But this is not only so with the Christians, Jews, Mohammedans and Hindus; it is exactly the same with all the people that have existed up to now. The racial ego, the religious ego, the spiritual ego is far more dangerous than the individual ego, because the individual ego is gross. You can see it -- everybody can see it, it is so visible on the surface. But when the ego becomes racial -- "Hinduism is great" -- you don't think you are claiming anything for yourself. Indirectly you are claiming, "I am great because I am a Hindu, and Hinduism is great." This is an indirect way, a subtle, cunning way: "I am great because I am a Japanese, because Japanese are the direct descendants of the sun God"; or, "I am a Chinese and the Chinese are the most civilized people, the most cultured."
When the Westerners reached China for the first time, looking at the Chinese, they laughed. They looked more like caricatures; cartoons rather than men -- just four or five hairs sticking out of your face and that's your whole beard! What kind of people are these? The first Europeans wrote in their diaries, "It seems we have discovered the missing link between the monkeys and man." And what were the Chinese writing in their journals?
Even the emperor of China was very much interested in seeing the Europeans because he had heard many stories about them. They were invited to his court, not because he respected the Europeans, but just to see what kind of people these were. Never before...! And he could not contain his laughter; he started laughing when he saw the Europeans. The Europeans were very much embarrassed: "Why is he laughing?" They were told, "That is his way of appreciating. He always laughs, enjoys; that is his way of welcoming the guests." But the reality was that he could not believe that these are human beings!
He asked his people, "Have you brought them from African jungles? They look like monkeys!" That's how the ego functions: the other is always reduced to the lowest possible; and compared to the other, one raises oneself higher. You say, "The world seems to be getting more and more crazy from day to day." That is not right; it has always been so.
Only one thing new is happening, and that is a blessing, not a curse at all. For the first time in the whole history of humanity, a few people are becoming aware that the way we have existed up to now is somehow wrong; something basically is missing in our very foundation.
There is something which does not allow us to grow into sane human beings. In our very conditioning are the seeds of insanity. Every child is born sane, and then, slowly slowly, we civilize him -- we call it the process of civilization. We prepare him to become part of the great culture, the great church, the great state to which we belong.
Our whole politics is stupid, and then he becomes stupid. Our whole education is ugly. Our politics means nothing but ambition, naked ambition -- ambition for power. And only the lowest kind of people become interested in power. Only the people who are suffering from a deep inferiority complex become politicians. They want to prove that they are not inferior; they want to prove it to others, they want to prove to themselves that they are not inferior, they are superior.
But what is the need to prove it if you are superior? The superior man does not try to prove anything, he is so at ease with his superiority. That's what Lao Tzu says: The superior man is not even conscious of his superiority; there is no need at all. It is only the ill person who starts thinking of health; the healthy person never thinks about health. The healthy person is not self-conscious about his health; only the sick, only the ill. The beautiful person, the really beautiful person is not self-conscious about his or her beauty. It is only the ugly person who is constantly worried and making every effort to prove that it is not so.
In fact, in proving to others that "I am not inferior, I am not ugly," he is trying to prove it to himself. The others function as a mirror. If the others can say, "Yes, you are great...." But they will say it only when you are powerful, when you are rich; otherwise they are not going to say anything. Who is interested in your ego? They are interested in their egos, but reluctantly, when you have power to destroy, they have to accept.
Adolf Hitler was mad, but nobody in Germany dared to say it. Many felt that he was mad, but the moment he was defeated and committed suicide, many people started writing that they had always felt it. Even his own physicians who had never dared to tell the person himself -- at least they were supposed to say the truth, they were the physicians -- they had not said that he was sick, badly sick, and not only physiologically but psychologically too.
He suffered from many nightmares, he was constantly afraid of being killed. He was obsessed with the idea that he was going to be killed, so much so that he never got married. He got married only when he had decided to commit suicide, just three hours before. To avoid having a woman in the same room, he never got married -- because who knows, the woman may be a spy, an enemy, and while he is asleep she may kill him, poison him.
He never trusted even the woman he pretended to love. He had no friends, because to be friendly with someone means to trust, and he was so doubtful. The politicians are insane, the priests are insane too....
Humanity has always been insane. It has always remained upside down and confused, because you have been brought up on lies. But one thing good is happening today: at least a few intelligent young people are becoming aware that our whole past has been wrong and it needs a radical change. "We need a discontinuity from our past. We want to start afresh, we need to start afresh. The whole past has been an experiment in utter futility!"
Once we accept the truth as it is, man can become sane. Man is born sane; we drive him crazy. Once we accept that there are no nations and no races, man will become very calm and quiet. All this continuous violence and aggression will disappear. If we accept man's body, its sexuality, naturally, then all kinds of stupidities preached in the name of religion will evaporate.
Ninety-nine percent of psychological diseases exist because of man's sexual repression. We have to make man free of his past. That's my whole work here: to help you to get rid of the past. Whatsoever the society has done to you has to be undone. Your consciousness has to be cleaned, emptied so that you can become like a pure mirror reflecting reality. To be able to reflect reality is to know God. God is just another name for reality: that which is. And a man is really sane when he knows the truth.
We have to change this whole earth into a tremendous festival, and it is possible because man brings all that is needed to transform this earth into a paradise.
What is the meaning of Life?
[Karmasaya] > [Articles] > What is the meaning of Life?
[What is the true meaning of life?]
Life in itself has no meaning. Life is an opportunity to create meaning. Meaning has not to be discovered: it has to be created. You will find meaning only if you create it. It is not lying there somewhere behind the bushes, so you can go and you search a little bit and find it. It is not there like a rock that you will find. It is a poetry to be composed, it is a song to be sung, it is a dance to be danced.
Millions of people are living meaningless lives because of this utterly stupid idea that meaning has to be discovered. As if it is already there. All that you need is to just pull the curtain, and behold! meaning is here. It is not like that.
So remember: Buddha finds the meaning because he creates it. I found it because I created it. God is not a thing but a creation. And only those who create find. And it is good that meaning is not lying there somewhere, otherwise one person would have discovered it -- then what would be the need for everybody else to discover it?
Can't you see the difference between religious meaning and scientific meaning? Albert Einstein discovered the theory of relativity; now, do you have to discover it again and again? You will be foolish if you discover it again and again. What is the point? One man has done it; he has given you the map. It may have taken years for him, but for you to understand it will take hours. You can go to the university and learn.
Buddha also discovered something, Zarathustra also discovered something, but it is not like Albert Einstein's discovery. It is not there that you have just to follow Zarathustra and his map and you will find it. You will never find it. You will have to become a Zarathustra. See the difference!
To understand the theory of relativity, you need not become an Albert Einstein, no. You have to be just of average intelligence, that's all. If you are not too much retarded, you will understand it.
But to understand the meaning of Zarathustra, you will have to become a Zarathustra -- less than that won't do. You will have to create it again. And each individual has to give birth to God, to meaning, to truth; each man has to become pregnant with it and pass through the pains of birth. Each one has to carry it in one's womb, feed it by one's own blood, and only then does one discover.
Now, you ask me: Why can't I see any meaning in life?
You must be waiting passively for the meaning to come... it will never come. This has been the idea of the past religions, that the meaning is already there. It is not! Freedom is there to create it, energy is there to create it. The field is there to sow the seeds and reap the crop. All is there -- but the meaning has to be created. That's why to create it is such a joy, such an adventure, such an ecstasy.
So the first thing: religion has to be creative. Up to now, religion has remained very passive, almost impotent. You don't expect a religious person to be creative. You just expect him to fast, sit in a cave, get up early in the morning, chant mantras... and this kind of stupid thing. And you are perfectly satisfied! What is he doing? And you praise him because he goes on long fasts. Maybe he is a masochist; maybe he enjoys torturing himself. He sits there when it is icy cold, naked, and you appreciate him. But what is the point, what is the value in it? All the animals of the world are naked in the icy cold -- they are not saints. Or when it is hot, he sits in the hot sun, and you appreciate him. You say, "Look! here is a great ascetic." But what is he doing? What is his contribution to the world? What beauty has he added to the world? Has he changed the world a little bit? Has he made it a little more sweet, more fragrant? No, you don't ask that.
Now, I tell you, this has to be asked: Praise a man because he has created a song. Praise a man because he has created a beautiful sculpture. Praise a man because he plays such a beautiful flute. Let these be religious qualities from now onwards. Praise a man because he is such a lover -- love is religion. Praise a man: because of him the world is becoming more graceful.
Forget all these stupid things! -- fasting and just sitting in a cave, torturing oneself or lying down on a bed of nails. Praise a man because he has cultivated beautiful roses. The world is more colorful because of him. And then you will find meaning.
Meaning comes out of creativity. Religion has to become more poetic, more aesthetic.
And second thing: sometimes it happens that you search for the meaning because you have already concluded. Out of a conclusion you search for it. You have already decided what meaning should be there, or has to be there... and then you don't find it.
The inquiry has to be pure. What do I mean when I say the inquiry has to be pure? It should be without any conclusion. It should not have any a priori in it.
You ask: Why can't I see any meaning in life?
What meaning are you looking for? You must be looking for a certain meaning. You will not find it -- because from the very beginning your inquiry is polluted, your inquiry is impure. You have already decided.
For example, if a man comes into my garden and thinks if he can find a diamond there then this garden is beautiful, and he cannot find the diamond, so he says there is no meaning in the garden.... And there are so many beautiful flowers, and so many birds singing, and so many colors, and the wind blowing through the pines, and the moss on the rocks. But he cannot see any meaning because he has a certain idea: he has to find the diamond, a Kohinoor -- only then will there be meaning.
He is missing meaning because of his idea. Let your inquiry be pure. Don't move with any fixed idea. Go naked and nude. Go open and empty. And you will find not only one meaning -- you will find a thousand and one meanings. Then each thing will become meaningful. Just a colored stone shining in the rays of the sun... or a dewdrop creating a small rainbow around itself... or just a small flower dancing in the wind.... What meaning are you searching for?
Don't start with a conclusion, otherwise you have started wrongly from the very beginning. Go without a conclusion! That's what I mean when I say again and again: Go without knowledge if you want to find truth. The knowledgeable person never finds it. His knowledge is a barrier.
Goldstein had never been to a show in the legitimate theater. For his birthday, his children decided to give him a present of a ticket for the Jewish theater.
The night after the show, they came to visit him and asked him eagerly what he thought of the show.
"Ash," he answered, "it was simply nonsense. When she was willing, he wasn't willing. And when he was willing, she wasn't willing. And when they both were willing, down came the curtain!"
Now, if you have a fixed idea, then you are only looking for it, only looking for it.... And because of this narrowness of the mind, all that is available is missed.
Meaning has to be created. And meaning has to be searched for without any conclusions. If you can drop your knowledge, life will suddenly take on color, it will become psychedelic. But you are continuously carrying the load of your scriptures, books, theories, doctrines, philosophies... you are lost in all that. And everything has become mixed, hotchpotch. And you cannot even remember what is what.
Your mind is a mess. Clean it! Make it a blank. The empty mind is the best mind. And those who have been telling you that the empty mind is the Devil's workshop are the Devil's agents. The empty mind is closer to God than anything. The empty mind is not the Devil's workshop. The Devil cannot do without thoughts.
With emptiness the Devil cannot do anything at all. He has no way Into emptiness.
So many thoughts in the mind, mixed up; nothing seems to be clear; you have heard so many things from so many sources -- your mind is a monster. And you are trying to remember, and you have been told to remember: Don't forget! And, naturally, the burden is so much that you cannot remember. Many things you have forgotten. Many things you have imagined and added on your own.
An Englishman visiting America attended a banquet and heard the Master of Ceremonies give the following toast:
"Here's to the happiest moment of my life,
Spent in the arms of another man's wife -- my mother."
"By Jove, that's ripping," the Englishman thought to himself. "I must remember to use it back home."
Some weeks later when he returned to England, he attended a church luncheon and was asked to give a toast. In thunderous tones he addressed the crowded room:
"Here's to the happiest moment of my life,
Spent in the arms of another man's wife..."
After a long pause the crowd began to grow restless, glaring at the speaker indignantly. The speaker's friend sitting next to him whispered, "You had better explain yourself quickly."
"By Jove," the speaker blurted out, "you will have to excuse me. I forgot the name of the "blooming" woman."
That is happening. You remember this -- Plato has said this. And you remember that -- Lao Tzu has said that. And you remember what Jesus has said, and what Mohammed has said... and you remember many things. And they have all got mixed up. And you have not said a single thing on your own. Unless you say something on your own, you will miss the meaning.
Drop the knowledge and become more creative. Remember, knowledge is gathered -- you need not be creative about it; you have only to be receptive. And that's what man has become: man is reduced to being a spectator. He reads the newspapers, he reads the Bible and the Koran and the Gita; he goes to the movie, sits there and sees the movie; he goes to the football match, or sits before his TV, listens to the radio... and so on and so forth. Twenty-four hours a day he is just in a kind of inactivity, a spectator. Others are doing things, and he is simply watching. You will not find meaning by watching.
You can see a thousand and one lovers making love and you will not know what love is -- you will not know that orgasmic abandonment by watching. You will have to become a participant. Meaning comes through participation. Participate in life! Participate as deeply, as totally, as possible. Risk all for participation. If you want to know what dance is, don't go and see a dancer -- learn dancing, be a dancer. If you want to know anything, participate! That is the true and the right way, the authentic way, to know a thing. And there will be great meaning in your life. And not only one-dimensional -- multi-dimensional meanings. You will be showered by meanings.
And life has to be multi-dimensional, then only is there meaning. Never make life one-dimensional. That too is a problem.
Somebody becomes an engineer, and then he thinks all is finished. He becomes identified with being an engineer. Then his whole life he is just an engineer. And there were millions of things available. But he moves only on one track, becomes bored. Is fed up. Is tired, wearied. Goes on dragging. Waits only for death. What meaning can there be?
Have more interests in life. Don't be always a businessman. Sometimes play too. Don't be just a doctor or an engineer, or a headmaster, or a professor -- be as many things as possible! Play cards, play the violin, sing a song, be an amateur photographer, a poet.... Find as many things as possible in life, and then you will have richness. And meaning is a by-product of richness.
Socrates, while awaiting death in prison, was haunted by a dream that kept urging him, "Socrates, make music!" The old man felt he had always served art with his philosophizing. But now, spurred on by that mysterious voice, he turned fables into verse, indited a hymn to Apollo, and played the flute.
In the face of death, philosophy and music briefly went hand in hand, and Socrates was as blissful as never before.
He had never played on the flute. Something inside him persisted, "Socrates, make music!" Just in the face of death! It looked so ridiculous. And he had never played, he had never made music. A part of his being had remained suffocated. Yes, even a man like Socrates, had remained one-dimensional. The denied part insisted, "Enough of logic -- a little music will be good, will bring balance. Enough of argumentation -- play on the flute." And the voice was so persistent that he had to yield to it.
His disciples must have been puzzled: "Has he gone mad? Socrates playing on the flute?" But to me it is very significant. The music could not have been very great, because he had never played. Absolutely amateurish, childish it must have been -- but still something was satisfied, something was bridged. He was no more one-sided. For the first time in his life, maybe, he was spontaneous. For the first time he had done something for which he could not supply any reason. Otherwise, he was a rational man.
Just the other night I was reading a story about the great Hassidic mystic, Baal Shem:
It was a holiday, and the Hassidim had gathered to pray and to have a communion -- sat sang -- with the Master.
A man had come with his retarded child. He was a little worried about the child, the boy. He may do something, so he was keeping an eye on the boy. When the prayers were said, the boy asked his father, "I have got a whistle -- can I play on it?"
The father said, "Absolutely no -- where is your whistle," because he was afraid. He may not even listen to his "no." He showed the whistle and the father kept his hand on his pocket, the boy's pocket. Then there was dancing, and the father forgot and he also started dancing. And Hassids are dancers, joyous people -- the cream of Judaism, the very essence of Judaism is with them, with those mad people.
When everybody was praying to God and dancing, suddenly the boy could not resist any more. He took out his whistle and blew on it. Everybody was shocked! But Baal Shem came, hugged the boy, and said, "Our prayers are heard. Without this whistle, all was futile -- because this was the only spontaneous thing here. All else was ritual."
Don't allow your life to become just a dead ritual. Let there be moments, unexplainable. Let there be a few things which are mysterious, for which you cannot supply any reason. Let there be a few doings for which people will think you are a little crazy. A man who is a hundred percent sane is dead. A little bit of craziness by the side is always a great joy. Go on doing a few crazy things too. And then meaning will be posible.
Osho, The Perfect Master, Volume 2, Chapter 4
Weblog2001November
[Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance]
[The German Wine Route]
but must analyze them the way a goldsmith analyzes-gold by cutting,
[Fink] wants to bring more Unix software to Mac OS X. Goal number one is porting software to Mac OS X. Goal number two is making the results available to casual users.
[The Wooden Bowl]
(via [Gleanings]) [The emergent new order|http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2001/11/28/emergence/index.html] : Feed magazine founder [Steven Johnson] explains how self-organizing systems are made to order for ants, cities, software and terrorists.
[Cicero] : [The Six Mistakes of Man]
Value of the [Neem] leaf
[How to Design Programs]
[Peter Coad] : [Feature Driven Development|http://www.togethersoft.com/services/publications/presentations/fddatjavaone2000_ppt.zip]
We went to [Salzburg] for the weekend. We will go again in Spring, Summer or Autumn and we have learnt some valuable lessons about Winter, Snow etc. !
[The Cathedral and the Bazaar] : ...Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer's personal itch...
or have you lived one day 10,000 or more times?
[Gerald M. Weinberg]'s book [The Psychology of Computer Programming]
[Mother Teresa] : The minute you begin to do what you want to do, it's really a different kind of life.
[Mira Art] : [Not being attached to anything....|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/11/22] : "...All in the world recognise the beautiful as beautiful. Herein lies ugliness..."
The beasts in a man
[Allen Downey]'s [How to Think Like a Computer Scientist]
([via|http://www.livejournal.com/users/msram/day/2001/11/07] [Mahesh Shantaram]) [Carlton Vogt]'s [Ethics Matters|http://www2.infoworld.com/cgi/component/columnarchive.wbs?column=ethics]
(via [PaperQuote])[Albert Einstein] : The World is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything.
[Patrick David Harrigan] seems to be the lead maintainer of [Murugan Bhakti] - Great Work
A Question : IF it was only possible to browse 1 site in the future... What would it be ?
My answer of the moment :-) [Murugan Bhakti]
[Thomas Paine] in [The Age of Reason] : It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe.
After reading [Andre Durand]'s [Global Consciousness 1.0|http://discuss.andredurand.com/stories/storyReader$187], I have an idea about combining this thought with [Quaker]ism... Why not we implement a system where members can raise 1 issue per day and only 1 a day, Every other member can post their opinion after careful thought and it would be possible to edit the opinion only a few times within the next 1/2 hour ! and That's it ! - I will try to refine it !
[Charles du Bois] : The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.
Vikas' [How to Pick a Saree|http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/attire/saree/guide.htm] will be useful to me !
[John Taylor Gatto]'s [writing on the web|http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Gatto.html]
[Jonathan Wallace] maintains [The Ethical Spectacle]
A hypocrite is a person who professes beliefs and opinions that they do not hold
[Ralph Waldo Emerson] : "Shall I tell you the secret of the true scholar? It is this: Every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him."
[Mother] : Always remember to love thy mother, because you only have one mother in your lifetime... I would replace mother with parents...
[Stephen Hawking] in [A Brief History of Time] : As we shall see, the concept of time has no meaning before the beginning of the universe. This was first pointed out by St. Augustine. When asked: What did God do before he created the universe? Augustine didn't reply: He was preparing Hell for people who asked such questions. Instead, he said that time was a property of the universe that God created, and that time did not exist before the beginning of the universe.
[World AIDS Day] is on December 1st
We went to [Dachau] today to visit the [Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site].
The sign of the gate is [Arbeit Macht Frei] (Work Brings Freedom)
Later we went to Munich and waited in the [Marienplatz|http://www.muenchen-tourist.de/deutsch/stadtinformationen/plaetze/marienplatz.htm] for the [Glockenspiel im Rathausturm|http://www.muenchen-tourist.de/englisch/stadtinformationen/plaetze/muenchen-stadtinformationen-sehenswuerdigkeiten-plaetze_e_m.htm]. But, in winter, it only happens once a day at 11AM !
[Joel Spolsky] : It's about time that I updated my crufty old list of recommended books. What books should I have up there? - [Vote for ONE Book|http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=934]
[Jeremy Stangroom] is the on-line editor for [The Philosopher's Magazine|http://www.philosophers.co.uk/]
[Tim Pozar] : One of my main "themes" in life is to give tools to the world that help them express their ideas. I have this rather utopian idea that if everyone has the tools to exchange ideas then the world will be a better place.
Author Unknown : To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world.
[Kalpana Mohan] : I live in a place where a million dollars is loose change for most people. I live in a place where people lease Mercs while they await their Porsches. It's a place where every minuscule movement of the NASDAQ rumbles into a seismological event. A place where deals are made - to be broken when options vest...
[Peter J. Denning]'s new book is [The Invisible Future: The Seamless Integration of Technology into Everyday Life]
[HotLinks] is going to charge for their service from 3rd December 2001... If they allow me to maintain 1 URL with multiple categories, I will consider paying for their service... Anyway, they have very nicely allowed me to export the content as a [html file|http://www.carnatic.com/2001/hotlinks.kishorebalakrishnan.2001nov14.htm] - Thanks a lot !
I sent an email to [Jonathan Abrams] several months ago and he prompty responded by stating that 'the request will be forwarded to Development' - Let us see...
[How to Prepare an Effective Resume]
[Viktor Frankl] : Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
[Free Alina Lebedeva|http://www.geocities.com/elsvenjo/FreeAlina.html] : ...This site is in support of Alina Lebedeva from Latvia. Alina is the schoolgirl who gave Prince Charles a slap in the face with  a bunch of flowers in protest over Britain's involvement in the war against Afghanistan. She is provisionally charged with endangering the life of foreign dignitary. If found guilty she could face up to 15 years in prison...
[Ramayan Audio|http://www.ramayanaudio.com/] : ...The Ramayana was meant to be heard!...
Today is yet another [Deepavali] away from India...
[George Orwell] : [Politics and the English Language]
[Sita Ram Goel] : [How I became a Hindu]
On the island of Kauai .
[Mira Art] [quotes|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/11/08] Mark Twain : Always do right. That will gratify some of the people, and astonish the rest.
[Ken Coar] is a Sanagendamgagwedweinini ! --- click on the name to know the meaning :-)
[Bill Clinton] : [A struggle for the soul of the 21st century|http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2001/11/10/speech/index.html]
[Richard Fritzson] [reacts|http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200111/msg00189.html] to article [Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not Cast the Deciding Vote|http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200111/msg00183.html] by starting 'This is a pretty outrageous headline for this story.'
[This Diwali has lost its sparkle|http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=2125046482] : ...Sampoorna Kohli, weaving his way through the small lanes of the Central Market in Lajpat Nagar, sums it up succinctly: "There is uncertainty for everyone. Nobody is feeling particularly festive what with jobs on the line and businesses doing badly. The light has already gone out of this Diwali."...
[Lee Iacocca], [Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam], [JRD Tata], [KJ Yesudas], [Mother Teresa]
[Swami Sivananda] : From [ABANDON BODY-CONSCIOUSNESS|http://www.dlsmd.org/sdr/11-sdr%20nov/1109.htm] : ...This body which is full of impurities, urine, pus and faecal matter etc., is perishable. It is like froth or bubble or mirage. It is despised by its enemies. It remains like a useless log of wood on the ground when prana (life) leaves it. It is the cause of pain and suffering. It is your enemy. You should treat this body with contempt, as dung. Why should you cling to it and worship it with scents, powders and flowers? Do not be silly and foolish in adorning it with fine silks and ornaments. It is dire ignorance only...
[Alwin Hawkins] : [New tag line|http://www.vfth.com/2001/11/10] and the cornerstone of a new ethic for me. : ''Work, Don't Whine''
[Doug Baron]: "I'm part of the Userland team now."
[Joel Snyder] ( commenting on an article about Bin Laden's family members leaving the USA : ...This whole article is offensive and the worst sort of journalistic sensationalism...
[Freeman Thomas], head of advanced product design for DaimlerChrysler : "A lot of people in the design business are full of BS. They want to create the facade of an extreme individual. I don't want to be someone who can't be approached."
[Deepavali] is on the 14th this year. Anyway...
[William Damon] coauthor of [Good Work] : "We're getting people to overcome the sense that to have a good career, you've got to compromise or cut
[via|http://jim.roepcke.com/2001/10/31#item3142] [Jim Roepcke] : [Seth Dillingham] : [Knowledge Management, Meta Data, and the Organization|http://www.truerwords.net/1241]
[Mira Art|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/11/01] : ...I never liked it, feeling the hypocrisy...
In [You already know what to do] : ...In the early nineteenth century, when writer [Samuel Taylor Coleridge] awoke with the "distinct recollection of the whole" of "Kubla Khan", he demonstrated the effectiveness of intuition... When business man [Jagdish Parikh] speaks of creating a "synthesis...beyond selfishness and selflessness, beyond collectiveness and competitiveness, to a cooperativeness based on selfness," he is calling on intuition...
Relative and Absolute Happiness
You will never find happiness if you don't challenge your weakness and change yourself from within.
True happiness is to be found within, in the state of our hearts. It does not exist on the far side of some distant mountains. It is within you, yourself. However, as much you try, you can never run away from yourself. And if you are weak, suffering will follow you wherever you go. You will never find happiness if you don©ˆt challenge your weakness and change yourself from within. Happiness is to be found in the dynamism and energy of your own life as you struggle to overcome one obstacle after another. This is why I believe that a person who is active and free from fear is truly happy.
The challenges we face in life can be compared to a tall mountain, rising before a mountain climber. For someone who has not trained properly, whose muscles and reflexes are weak and slow, every inch of the climb will be filled with terror and pain.
The exact same climb, however, will be a thrilling journey for one who is prepared, whose legs and arms have been strengthened by constant training. With each step forward and up, beautiful new views will come into sight.
My teacher used to talk about two kinds of happiness-©˜ relative and absolute©˜ happiness. Relative happiness is happiness that depends on things outside ourselves: friends, and family, surroundings, the size of our home or family income. This is what we feel when a desire is fulfilled, or something we have longed for is obtained. While the happiness such things bring us is certainly real, the fact is that none of this lasts for ever. Things change. People change. This kind of happiness shatters easily when external conditions alter.
Relative happiness is also based on comparison with others. We may feel this kind of happiness at having a newer or bigger home than the neighbors. But that feeling turns to misery the moment they start making new additions to theirs!
Absolute happiness, on the other hand, is something we must find within. It means establishing a state of life in which we are never defeated by trials and where just being alive is a source of great joy. This persists no matter what we might be lacking, or what might happen around us. A deep sense of joy is something which can only exist in the innermost reaches of our life, and which cannot be destroyed by any external forces. It©ˆs eternal and inexhaustible.
The kind of sasfaction is to be found in consistent and repeated effort, so that we can say: ©¯Today, again, I did my very best. Today, again, I have no regrets. Today, again, I won.©˜ The accumulated result of such efforts is a life of great victory.
What we should compare is not ourselves against others. We should compare who we are today against who we were yesterday, who we are today against who we will be tomorrow. While this may seem simple and obvious, true happiness is found in a life of constant advancement. And the same worries that could have made us miserable can actually be a source of growth when we approach them with courage and wisdom.
One friend whose dramatic life proved this was Natalia Saltz, who founded the first children©ˆs theater in Moscow. In the 1930©ˆs, she and her husband were marked by the Soviet Union©ˆs secret police. Even though they were guilty of no crime, her husband was arrested and executed and she was sent to a prison camp in the frozen depths of Siberia. After she recovered from the initial shock, she started looking at her situation, not with despair, but for opportunity.
She realized that many of her fellow prisoners had special skills and talents. She began organizing a ©¯university©˜, encouraging the prisoners to share their knowledge. ©¯You. You are a scientist. Teach us about science. You are an artist. Talk to us about art.©˜ In this way, the boredom and terror of the prison camp were transformed into the joy of learning and teaching. Eventually, she even made use of her own unique talents to organize a theater group.
She survived the five year prison sentence, and dedicated the rest of her long life to creating children©ˆs theater. When we met for the first time in Moscow in 1981, she was already in her 80©ˆs. She was as radiant and buoyant as a young girl. Her smile was the smile of someone who has triumphed over the hardships of life.
Hers is the kind of spirit I had in mind when I wrote the following poem on
A Person with a vast heart is happy.
Such a person lives every day with a broad and embracing spirit.
A person with a strong will is happy.
Such a person can confidently enjoy life, never defeated by suffering.
A person with a profound spirit is happy.
Such a person can savor life©ˆs depths while creating meaning and value that will last for eternity.
A person with a pure mind is happy.
Such a person is always surrounded by refreshing breezes of joy.
The following is from [Info for newcomers|http://www.ramana-maharshi.org/newcomer.htm]
"It is a fact that everyone in the world is seeking happiness, often unconsciously (whatever their concept of it is) - some may deny it, citing other pursuits instead, but no-one actively pursues misery, except in the mistaken belief that it is happiness. That the pursuit of this ideal is often unrecognised by those seeking it, must be accepted by us - it is nevertheless a fact - and happiness is given many names, satisfaction, excitement, thrill, good times etc. Its pursuit can take on the guise of drug and alcohol abuse, sexual pursuit, greed, lust for power, high ambition, steady employment, a family, good exam results etc."
The Ten Marks of a Happy Marriage
[Marriage] > The Ten Marks of a Happy Marriage
Marriage is beautiful, fulfilling and difficult. After 35 years and three months of marriage, and 11,000 hours of pastoral counseling, I have learned twenty things about good and bad marriages. (Ten myths about marriage will follow in another post).
But first my definition of marriage: it is a covenantal relationship between a man and a woman in an emotional, physical, moral, and spiritual union, exclusively and for life. The husband and wife take each other and forsake all others.
You've heard about some marriages being 'made in heaven'? Marriage is not just an arrangement to clarify inheritance. It has been called a dramatic act in which two strangers come together to redefine themselves.
The ten marks of a happy marriage are:
1. COMMITMENT: Some couples like their wedding service to be traditional, others 'freer'. But three solemn declarations must be there somewhere: I am not married to anyone else; I take you ... to be my lawful wedded wife/husband; forsaking all others I will be lovingly committed to you for life. When I counsel a couple before marriage, we talk about their vows (they usually compose their own). Some young people are wary of commitment, and view marriage as a trap. But you can't have a satisfying marriage relationship without commitment - a commitment of one imperfect person to another imperfect person. Marriage is not simply a 50-50 affair: it's 100 per cent give, both ways!
Commitment is more than to permanence or sexual fidelity. For Christians commitment is not just 'being there year after year in the easy chair'. It is more than a promise not to go away. It ought to include, above all, a commitment to grow, to become the persons God intended us to be. 'Growing' couples set growth goals - to read a good book and discuss it; to go away every year on a retreat; to pray together; do a course together. One couple said in their wedding vows: 'In this marriage I want to grow as a person, I want to help you grow as a person, and I want to see our relationship of love, companionship and support grow deeper, larger and stronger. With the help of God, I commit myself to that.'
2. LOVING ACCEPTANCE: The most fundamental idea in Christianity is about 'grace' - I am loved before I change. God loves me as I am. He doesn't love anyone else more than he loves me, and nothing I can do can increase his love for me. Our society, on the other hand, teaches us that worth is something you earn. At school those with higher grades are more highly esteemed than 'dunces'. In the army those with fewer stripes take orders from those with more. But in God's family the prodigal is valued as highly as the loyal son. So too in marriage. I love my wife before she changes, or whether she changes or not. Nothing is unforgivable. Nothing will stop me loving her: she can count utterly on that. So a good marriage is the union of two good forgivers: it is 'three parts love and seven parts forgiveness'.
3. RESPECT: If acceptance and love are reactions to a 'sinning other' respect is our response to another's God-likeness. The person we are relating to is made in God's image, he or she is like God. So I should treat my spouse with courtesy and dignity even when I don't feel like it. Little habits of helpfulness actually feed respect. It is an honour to serve one who is like God. In Grace Awakening Chuck Swindoll writes: 'When I speak to those who are still single, I frequently address the issue of selfishness. I'll often say, "If you tend toward being selfish; if you're the type who clings to your own rights and has no interest sharing with others, please do the world (and certainly your potential mate) a favour and don't marry!"'[56] ('How good of God to let the Carlyles marry each other, and so make only two people miserable instead of four' wrote Samuel Butler of Thomas and Jane Carlyle.) Our fundamental human need is 'a true deep love of self, a genuine and joyful self-acceptance,' but marriage calls upon us to transcend that need: the partner's needs and pleasures must take equal if not superior status to our own.
4. MATURITY AND RESPONSIBILITY: are necessary for resolving differences, carrying through promises, sharing finances, and for modeling a Christian lifestyle for our children. I take responsibility for resolving personal issues, not 'dumping' them on my partner. I take responsibility for my own 'happiness'. If the motivation for marriage is to 'live happily ever after' we are setting ourselves up for trouble. If you came into the marriage unhappy chances are you'll stay that way. Happiness is a by-product of self-respect, solving problems responsibly, and doing worthwhile, interesting and useful things.
5. INTIMACY: Marriage is 'incarnation'. When God wanted to communicate his love for us he sent Jesus to embody that love. Jesus loved people like God loves us. This truth will appear and re-appear like a refrain throughout this book: God loves us before we deserve to be loved. He loves us even though he knows us intimately. So it is in a good marriage. As we are utterly transparent with one another - we have already promised to love 'for better or for worse' - we learn to 'know' and love the other with their imperfections and faults, not after their removal! But if unsure of your parent's love, you may marry to find a kind of paternal/maternal love from your partner, which complicates the relationship. Here we must be very honest. Most women, I believe, are engaged in a life-long search for a strong nurturing father-figure; most men marry a wife to find a responsive nurturing mother-figure. Now you are allowed to have your own feelings about all this, and to express them: 'feelings are neither right nor wrong'. Figure out which feelings, wishes and thoughts come from within yourself, and which from your partner. Marriage fights are usually more about the past than the present! For example if one's parents were tidy/perfectionistic we'll have to figure out why we are the same or the opposite!
6. CONFLICT RESOLUTION: A survey among 700 marriage counselors found that 'communication breakdown' headed the list of marital problems (followed by loss of shared goals/interests; sexual incompatibility, infidelity, excitement and fun leaving the marriage, money, conflicts about children, alcohol/drug abuse, women's equality issues and the in-laws). Conflict arises because we bring different biographies, needs, interests, values, and lifestyles to our marriage. The trigger for a 'conflictual explosion' may include loss of a job, arrival of a new baby, an illness, moving to a new house, taking an aged parent into the home etc. Marriage breakdowns do not happen because of 'differences'; they happen because a couple can't handle those differences. Relationships do not cause conflict: they bring out whatever incompleteness we have within us anyway. Conflict is a contest of wills, but it ought not to be viewed as a power struggle or as a question of who is right or wrong. Gentle assertiveness is called for: 'speaking the truth in love' and asking about feelings that underlie the difficulty. Discuss with dignity, and sensitivity to the other's needs. 'If pride and prejudice were set aside, most difficulties could be resolved in five minutes.' Resolution may allow one partner or the other to have a 'veto' in certain areas: in our marriage, Jan has veto power in the kitchen, I do with the cars (except for their colour!). But re the issue of my ministry-time away from home, this was resolved in a family conference: I would not be away more than a third of the time; and would forego preaching engagements at least once a month to attend our local church with my wife and family. Some things important to you you'll have to concede - that is, compromise. Jan and I compromise on our leisure: I like competitive sports and swimming but she prefers walking so we walk more than we swim (and we rarely play tennis together!). And don't complain too much: your 'fussing' can be viewed as trivial by the other.
7. MONEY: 'The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Hosts' (Haggai 2:8). Here Jan and I began our thinking by agreeing that all we own belongs to God anyway. We are 'joint stewards' with him of our home, our savings, our possessions. We happen to believe that a joint bank account is an appropriate token of our togetherness, so we've always had one.
'When money is tight, couples fight'. As an ex-wives' tale put it: 'They won't have incompatibility as long as he has income and she has pattability.' Sometimes one is more of a 'spendthrift' than the other; sometimes the 'bread-winner' is tightfisted about offering money for housekeeping. I believe it is demeaning for one partner to control the finances against the wishes of the other: this is a result of immaturity or insecurity. Some couples may need financial counseling: in your church an accountant or bank manager will be delighted to help. Draw up a plan together. Be willing occasionally to touch up the plan as circumstances change. And decide mutually to live more simply!
8. GENDER ROLES AND SEX: You've heard the song 'Let's Talk About Sex Baby!' Do that (although the subject of commitment should come first). Think with your brains, not just your hormones! Sex is part of God's creation, which he pronounced 'very good' (Genesis 1:31). Sexual relations are more than physical: they are also emotional, spiritual, and moral. In 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 Paul talks about the willing surrender of husband and wife to each other to create coupleness. There's a lot of help around about a wholesome Christian approach to sex, to guard us against either a lustful hedonism or prudish asceticism. Sex is more than the union of bodies; it is also about roles, so sort them out. With women freer to pursue careers, role-expectations by men of women and women of men are dramatically changing. (Our son Paul, for example, is a 'househusband': our daughter-in-law has a full time remunerated vocation.) What household chores should be done by whom? Expectations are usually connected back to what our parents did - who fixed what, who put out garbage, vacuumed floors, did the cooking, washed the dishes, got up to the sick kids at night, etc. Everything ought to be negotiable on these issues.
9. SPIRITUALITY: God was the first marriage celebrant. He invented marriage. The engagement ring I bought Jan thirty-five years ago had two small diamonds and one larger one to depict the 'Eternal triangle' - one man, one woman, one God. Try to worship together regularly; pray with and for each other. (Yes, those who pray together are much more likely to stay together.) Having a Christian commitment that is both real and similar to each other's is a healthy indicator of future marital harmony. That ought not to preclude each partner relating to God uniquely. However, when one is a committed church-going Christian and the other isn't, there's usually (though not invariably) trouble: talk that out very very carefully before you marry. Some couples have reluctantly called their wedding off when the Christian partner takes seriously the biblical injunction about not being joined with an unbeliever: in my experience only one in eight or nine men will become a Christian after marriage if they weren't before. In a truly Christian marriage the order of priority, always is: God first, spouse second, children third, church/job next. But in a well-ordered and committed life, all these 'loves' enrich one another.
10. HAVE REGULAR MARRIAGE CHECK-UPS: at a marriage enrichment/encounter weekend, or with a counselor. Jan and I are currently talking about our relationship to an experienced counseling couple. The issues include: What are our feelings about each other at the moment - and those close to us? How can we accommodate to each other's differing sexual drives? How much 'quality time' should we have with our grandchildren? With Jan's part-time and my full-time ministries, how do we apportion chores, or share each other's vocations?
And remember: a good marriage is both a mystery and a miracle. It depends less on finding the right partner than being the right partner.
Weblog2001December
[Albert Einstein] : There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
[http://www.carnatic.com/pictures/significant.jpg]
From [Never settle for the best] : ...Give the proper [tools] to a group of [people] who like to make a difference, and they will...
Apart from family and friends, I would like to thank the following people for sharing their thoughts/life and making available usable/useful/enjoyable tools on the web.
* [Tim Berners-Lee] : [World Wide Web|http://www.w3.org/]
* [Aaron Swartz] : who said 'I did it... you can do it too...' and made me realise my dream >>> [World Wide Wisdom|http://www.carnatic.com/www/]
Inspiration for everyone from [Google] : [Never settle for the best]
[The three most difficult things for a human being]
[Jeremiah Rogers] [:|http://radio.weblogs.com/0001189/2001/12/21.html#a35] ...I'm only 16, so I still have (estimate here) 70-75 years ideally left until I'm outta commission. Think of how much more knowledge I can gain in that time...
It has been a while since realised that I am not in this world _only_ to gain more knowledge, wealth etc. :-)
[Jim Roepcke] [receives|http://jim.roepcke.com/2001/12/24#item3879] a Canadian Holiday Greeting
..image_gone_drusus.jpg..
The Rhine ferry " Drusus " connects Germany with France. We were on this today
[Rheinmuenster|http://www.rheinmuenster.de/] : The people of Greffern have always operated a ferry service between their town and Drusenheim on the left bank of the river: a pontoon bridge was erected in 1875, followed by the motor ferry "Drusus", which has been providing a free ferry service since 1977.
We saw [Lord of the Rings] yesterday night and at the end, a boy sitting in front of us kept shouting "Was Was Was..." several times ! and I had a similar reaction in my head !
It is the no. 1 movie at http://us.imdb.com/top_250_films
I have an idea: When users rate anything... show them a list of similar objects (with the ratings by them) they have rated already and this will hopefully give them the correct perspective
For eg., I would not rate this movie more than [Blast from the past] overall !
Ofcourse, I liked the scenic shots in [Lord of the Rings]. But It is not the no. 1 movie I have seen from the imdb list !
[Jason Levine] [:|http://q.queso.com/2001/12/21] ...I have to say that there's a lot more hype than there is movie....
The song [Christmas Time] is on the radio often...
[Buckminster Fuller] : "For the first time in history it is now possible to take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. Only ten years ago the ‘more with less’ technology reached the point where this could be done. All humanity now has the option to become enduringly successful."
..image_gone_xmasTree.gif..
We are connecting to the net from today with [dsl flat|http://www.billiger-surfen.de/tarifmodelle.php3?name=T-Online&verbindungsnbz=dsl+flat&gueltigab=2001-08-01&gueltigbis=0000-00-00] :-)
I received [Drive10] today. The interface could be better... It could tell us more about what is doing behind the scenes...
[Babylog|http://babyblog.org/] [:|http://babyblog.org/archive/archive.php?12/10/2001_7807035] [W. Bruce Cameron] : [The 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenaged Daughter]
[World Bank praises India's highway upgrade|http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/business/newsid_1719000/1719628.stm]
[Extreme Programming] and [Feature Driven Development] : [a short comparison|http://www.togethercommunity.com/coad-letter/Coad-Letter-0070.html] : The Bottom Line in the article is the essence : ...It is important to discover what works for you and your organization. The name of the process you use is not important. What is important is the ability to repeatedly deliver frequent, tangible, working results on time, within budget and with agreed function...
[IBM's Test-Tube Quantum Computer Makes History|http://www.research.ibm.com/resources/news/20011219_quantum.shtml] : ...Scientists at IBM's Almaden Research Center have performed the world's most complicated quantum-computer calculation to date. They caused a billion-billion custom-designed molecules in a test tube to become a seven-qubit quantum computer that solved a simple version of the mathematical problem at the heart of many of today's data-security cryptographic systems...
[An interview|http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1756/leelozo.htm] with Mr. [Lee Lozowick]
I started eating vegetarisch [Flammkuchen|http://www.cantate86.de/flammkuchen.htm] at 12:05 today morning !!!
[Russell H. Conwell]'s speech [Acres of Diamonds] concludes ...If you forget everything I have said to you, do not forget this, because it contains more in two lines than all I have said. Bailey says: "He most lives who thinks most, who feels the noblest, and who acts the best."...
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
The mission of the [North Carolina Christmas Tree Association|http://www.ncchristmastrees.com/] (NCCTA) is to promote "real" Christmas Trees through marketing and education.
(image source : [Why they make Scents|http://www.ncchristmastrees.com/sents.htm]]
[James Allen]'s [As A Man Thinketh] is partly responsible for the creation of the entire personal development industry. Most contemporary PD authors and teachers credit this little book for providing foundation to their principles.
[Margaret Mead] : Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
[Oliver Breidenbach] [:|http://www.fsomm.com/discuss/msgReader$902] The Spiegel figured out how to use numerology to better remember the Euro to DM exchange rate: 1.9 55 83 If you take the sum of the last two pairs it is 10 and 11, respectively. So, the exchange rate is one point nine, ten, eleven...
[Mira Art] [quotes|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/12/16] [Buckminster Fuller] : When I am Working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only of how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
[Why we have a terrorism problem with our airlines|http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200112/msg00227.html] : ...the FAA had come down hard on the airport only because 1,000 badges was too many, in that regulations permit that airport to have only 500 unaccounted-for access badges....
I have read somewhere that the Western World follow a 'parts per million' culture while the Japanese follow the 'zero defect' culture... and that this is the fundamental difference !
[Cameron Barrett] [:|http://www.camworld.com/journal/2001/12/#17] [The Dave Winer Big Ego Awards|http://www.camworld.com/journal/rants/2001/12/17.html]
[Socrates] : The unexamined life is not worth living
[Aristotle] in [Nicomachean Ethics] : The man who gets angry at the right things and with the right people, and in the right way and at the right time and for the right length of time, is commended.
[Jason Levine] : [Stanford University Interview|http://www.broaderminds.com/Profiles/Stanford_university/reviews/987553538431.html] : "More important than the workload at Stanford, I find, is the ‘humbling factor’. Basically, if you can gain admission to a school like Stanford, I have no doubt that you can work at the level set by the professors. The problem is more egotistical: can you handle meeting people just as and possibly more intelligent than yourself?"
[Sharon Holdstock] (is a generic love spreader among others) : [Yoga by Shazzie|http://www.stretchmagazine.com/page.php?content=shazzie&pagetitle=Yoga%20by%20Shazzie] - WOW - see the pictures !
(via [PaperQuote]) [Buddha] : A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden.
..image_gone..
[Jack Welch]'s Vintage : [Straight from the Gut]
I am trying [Bruno Cancellieri]'s [Personal Mind Organizer]. Good first impressions...
I requested [Brent Simmons] to list all the [Mac OS X applications] used by him. [The answer|http://inessential.com/osxapps.html]. Thanks, Brent.
A visit to their [Garden|http://sheila.inessential.com/garden/] maintained by his wife [Sheila Simmons] is refreshing.
[Saravanan Natarajan] has sent me some (10 !) CDs with Osho's speeches and I have started listening to "Osho about Creativity" and most of the speech is available on the web too...
[Osho] : [CREATIVITY: Unleashing the Forces Within] : ...Creativity means loving whatsoever you do -- enjoying, celebrating it! Maybe nobody comes to know about it -- who is going to praise you for cleaning the floor? History will not take any account of it; newspapers will not publish your name and picture -- but that is irrelevant. You enjoyed it. The value is intrinsic...
[First mention|http://www.google.com/googlegroups/archive_announce_20.html] of [Google] is by [Chris Mitchell]. He doesnot actively maintain [The Searcher's Road Less Travelled|http://home.teleport.com/~lensman/roadless.htm]
It is all the more an important message when I see news like [U.S. Nearing ABM Treaty Withdrawal|http://dailynews.yahoo.com/htx/nm/20011211/ts/arms_missile_usa_dc_1.html]
[The Masquerade of Charity]
[The Song of the Bird]
[Mortimer Jerome Adler] : The purpose of a liberal education is not to learn how to earn a living, but to learn how to live and enjoy life, especially when not working
[Jean-Paul Sartre] : The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.
[Isaiah Berlin] (in [The Hedgehog and the Fox]): There exists a great chasm between those, on one side, who relate everything to a single central vision...and, on the other side, those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory...The first kind of intellectual and artistic personality belongs to the hedgehogs, the second to the foxes.
[Jim Roepcke] [:|http://jim.roepcke.com/2001/12/09] I've been reading through the [AppleScript] documentation throughout the day today. So far I'm very impressed.
I am also tweaking the [Image Capture] in [AppleScript]
[Albert Einstein] : If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
[William James] : As the brain changes are continuous, so do all these consciousnesses melt into each other like dissolving views. Properly they are but one protracted consciousness, one unbroken stream.
I received an email response from [Richard P. Gabriel] regarding a spelling mistake on his site and another from [John Patrick] for a similar issue. Nice!
I want the following feature in MS Outlook or any email client for that matter: When I send an email, the tool should prompt me... you have sent a similar email to this person and didnot get a reply ! dont bother !!!
I did something at work which makes me think of the [Elegant Hack] which is being powered by [movabletype] since some days...
Can you put [the fragrance of the rose] into words ?
I was looking for a [Digital Camera] and the winner is [Digital IXUS]. We bought it at [New York Camera] yesterday in person. [Christian Kwyas] is a great sales man. It was (will be) a memorable shopping experience. However Christian should be thankful to [Jeff Keller]'s very useful reviews at [Digital Camera Resource Page]
We already like the camera very very much
The [Euro]
[Dave Winer] [:|http://scriptingnews.userland.com/backissues/2001/12/06#l86b0989154cbfbef88f0a30f41b96187] Bug reports should have three parts. 1. Here's what I did. 2. This is what I expected to happen. 3. This is what actually happened. For extra credit, if it's a public Web app, provide a URL. It also couldn't hurt to say what version of the software you're using, what OS, and other things that might make your installation different from others.
[Peter Longo] is [Pratt & Whitney|http://www.pratt-whitney.com/]'s CIO. Pratt & Whitney is a leader in the design, manufacture and support of engines for commercial, military and general aviation aircraft, and space propulsion systems
[Ken Roberts] maintains the [Great Books Index]
[Benjamin Kuipers] has [a possible solution|http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200112/msg00061.html] to the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Found [The End of the World] at his page... which made me goto [RAQ] and found [The Meaning of Life] :-)
[Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict - A Primer|http://www.merip.org/palestine-israel_primer/intro-pal-isr-primer.html]
I want to buy a [Digital Camera]. [Canon PowerShot A20|http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/a20-review/index.html] is on the top of my list... [Jeff Keller] states ...As always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out the /camera/ and its competitors before you buy!... Do you have any recommendations ?
I am in [The Search for Beauty] in [An English Country Garden|http://www.alfresco.demon.co.uk/]
"For his([Christopher Alexander]) Ph. D. Thesis, later published as the book [Notes on the Synthesis of Form], he was awarded the first Gold Medal for Research by the American Institute of Architects."
Four Great Lessons
During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before classended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'." "I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
Pickup in the Rain:
One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.
Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to Safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him.
Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.
"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.
"Well, how much is a plain dish of icecream?" he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill onthe table and walked away. The boy finished the icecream, paid the cashier andleft. When the waitress came back, she beganto cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies - You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.
The Obstacle in Our Path:
In ancient times, a King had aboulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.The peasant learned what many of us never understand.
"Work like you don't need the money,
"Small deeds done with great love will change the
world." -Vices
Principles
[Never Give Up] / The impossible is often the untried / [The Choice is Yours] / Failure is not the worst thing in the world. The worst is not to try.
"Do as you would be done by"
H. Jackson Brown, Jr. : Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.
[Marcel Proust] : Let us be grateful to the [people] who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
Just Keep Smiling... Come what may ! (Sri Sri [Ravi Shankar]'s [What is the purpose of life?])
Anger is only one letter short of Danger !
[God] is not concerned with how much you give or how much work you do for him. He cares how much you keep, how much you do not do.
remember [the six mistakes of man]
[Michel de Montaigne] : There is no man so good, who, were he to submit all his thoughts and actions to the laws, would not deserve hanging ten times in his life.
Beware of Maya which is to think "What is he thinking about what I am thinking about what he is thinking?" >>> [Alan Kay] : Don't worry about what anybody else is going to do. The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
[Swami Sivananda] : "Even a little victory in the inner battle with your mind and senses will develop your will-power and give you more assurance and courage.
* [Socrates] : If you know that you don't know, that is a great beginning. Then it is possible for you to know.
* [Abraham Lincoln] : If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different, be just. Your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing
[How One Person Can Change the World]
[John Stuart Mill] (in [On Liberty]): If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.
* [David Rogers] : [Principles|http://timesshadow.editthispage.com/stories/storyReader$56] , [Blinding Glimpses of the Obvious|http://timesshadow.editthispage.com/stories/storyReader$249]
* From [Greg Franklin]'s [FAQ|http://flyingchihuahuas.editthispage.com/faq] : ...Back to Mr. [Isaac Stern]: he has the right idea. Take the gifts you are given, try to give them back, freely, with complete independence. - - - If it's true that you yourself can't go any farther, try to inspire someone else to go farther...
How One Person Can Change the World
[Articles] > How One Person Can Change the World
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules the World
[Articles] > 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.
If a child is screaming in its cradle, and the baby sitter is yelling at him and couldn't care less about his feelings, and the mother is out working, that child is not a candidate for peace on Earth. That child is going to keep things confused, as they are today. So, it's all in the hands of the mother; it's not in the hands of the father. Religion and the future of society lie solely in the hands of the mother. It is in the hands of the father to allow or not to allow the mother to be under another man's mind out in the world.
Just as the two world wars took women out of the home, so did another recent change affect mankind. When the automobile came, people forgot about breeding. The automobile did one terrible thing: it made people forget how to breed and how to take care of one another. When people had horses, horses were a part of the family. People had to care for their horses and in the process learned to care for one another. People also had to breed their horses, and in that process learned about the value of intelligent breeding. In those days, you often heard of the "well-bred" person. You don't hear of the well-bred person anymore. People no longer consider that humans, too, are involved in the natural process of breeding. They have become forgetful of these important laws, and this has led to lack of discipline, to bodies indiscriminately creating more bodies. Who is living in them nobody quite knows. That's what we, as a society, forgot when the automobile replaced the horse. When you had a horse, you had to feed it, you had to train it, curry it, stable it and breed it. In breeding it, you had to choose a stud for your mare or find a suitable mare for your stallion. The qualities on both sides were closely observed, and the combination of genetics consciously planned. It was, therefore, natural for people in those days to seek proper mates for their children, and the results were the vital, creative and industrious children of the children. As a civilization, we are slowly forgetting such things, being more careless about our children's future, about their lives and minds.
Television has not helped the matter. In fact, it has virtually stopped the proper education of the child in those communities where it is watched for hours each day. Instead of developing a curiosity by adventuring for hours through a forest or climbing a tree, instead of discovering the wonders of nature and art and music, instead of becoming involved in sports and hobbies, children are mentally carried along by television stories through positive and negative states of mind. They become uncreative, inactive, never learning to use their own minds. Not all television is negative. Some of it can be quite educational; but hours and hours each day of passive absorption are not good for the child's mental and emotional development. Children need to be active, to involve themselves in a wide variety of experiences. If the mother is there, she can intelligently guide their television, being careful that they do not get in the habit of watching it for hours on end, and watching that bold sex, violence and other bad influences are not a daily experience. When the program is over, she can send them out to play. Of course, if she is gone, they will watch anything and everything. For the young, television is one of the most senseless pastimes there is, carrying the mind further and further away from the true Self. I think you will all agree that our values, the values found in the holy Vedas, Tirukural and other sacred scriptures are not found on television. Instead, TV gives our children a brutal and unbalanced view of life which distorts in their minds how life really is. These are very serious questions. It is the mother who protects her children from negative influences, guiding their young minds into positive channels of expression.
Take the case of a farmer who raises livestock, who milks cows and goats. He works hard. He gets up early and takes care of his animals. He cannot succeed if he is also working part-time in the grocery store downtown. He just can't do it. Those animals need attention. There is no sensible man who would run a farm, with cows and goats and chickens, and not be there to take care of them, because those animals need a lot of help. He stays there and takes care of his business. He is a farmer and that is his duty, and he knows it.
Well, what's more important than the child? He needs 24-hour-a-day care. He is learning to walk, to speak, to think. He falls down and needs consoling. He catches the flu and needs to be nursed back to health. It is the mother's duty to provide that care. No one else is going to do it for her. No one else can do it for her. She brought that child into the world, and she must prepare that child for a positive and rewarding life. If the farmer neglects his animals, he creates a karma. The animals suffer. The farm suffers. The community suffers when the farm fails, and the man himself suffers. There is a grave karma, too, for the woman who neglects her stri dharma, who goes out into the world and does not nurture the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of her children. She knows this within herself, but she may be influenced by ill-advised people, or by a mass movement that tells her that she has only one life to live and that she cannot find fulfillment in the home but must express herself, venture out, seek her own path, her own fortune. You have all heard these ideas. I tell you that they are wrong. They spell the disillusionment of the mother who heeds them, then the disintegration of the family that is sacrificed by her absence. Finally, they result in her own unhappiness as she despairs at the loss suffered by her family and herself.
From the point of view of the Second World, or astral plane, the home is the family temple, and the wife and mother is in charge of that spiritual environment. Man can come into that sanctum sanctorum but should not bring the world into it. He will naturally find a refuge in the home if she is doing her duty. He will be able to regain his peace of mind there, renew himself for the next day in the stressful situations that the world is full of. In this technological age a man needs this refuge. He needs that inner balance in his life. When he enters that sanctuary and she is in her soul body and the child is in its soul body, then he becomes consciously conscious in his soul body. He leaves the conscious mind, which is a limited, external state of mind and not a balanced state of mind. He enters the intuitive mind. He gets immediate and intuitive answers to his worldly problems. How can he not be successful in his purusha dharma in the outside world when he has the backing of a good wife? She is naturally perceptive, naturally intuitive. She balances out his intellect, softens the impact of the forces which dash against his nervous system from morning to night. Encouragement and love naturally radiate out from her as she fulfills stri dharma. Without these balancing elements in his life, a man becomes too externalized, too instinctive and sometimes brutal.
If a woman is working, she cannot provide this balance. She has to start thinking and acting like a man. She has to become a little harder, create a protective shell around her emotions. Then the home loses its balance of the masculine and the feminine forces. Take for example the situation in which the wife rushes home from work fifteen minutes before the husband. She's upset. The children come over from grandmother's house or she tells the baby sitter to go home. She scurries to prepare something before he comes home, then rushes to get herself looking halfway decent. Emotionally upset, she tries to calm herself, tries to relax and regain her composure. Her astral body is upset. The children's astral bodies are upset. The husband enters this agitated environment--upset by being in the world anyway--and he becomes more disturbed. He was looking forward to a quiet evening. He feels neglected, disappointed, and that leads him to become distraught, even angry. No wonder he beats his wife and abuses his child. He's mad. He gets more and more disturbed until there is nothing left to do but walk out. It's a totally impossible situation. Furthermore, it's not going to get better but exceedingly worse.
The situation I have just described is one of the main reasons that marriages today have become less stable, that so many married couples--sixty to seventy percent, I'm told--are experiencing difficulties and breaking up. People never get married with the intent of breaking up. Never. The forces do it. You put two magnets together one way and they attract one another. Turn one around, and they repel each other. The same force that brought the people together, when it is not handled right, makes them pull apart and hate each other. They can't see eye to eye. Then to make up, they go out to dinner to talk it over--in another frustrating asuric situation, as far out in the world as they can get--to try to make up. When that doesn't help, they come home, still frustrated. If they went to the nearby temple and worshiped the Deity together, that would help. They would return home in a different state of mind, and discover that their vibration had changed. Why does it help to go to the temple? Because the Deity is in the temple. The Deity is there to adjust the forces of the inner nerve system, to actually change the forces of mind and emotion.
In the home the mother is likened to the Shakti Deity. She is the power of the home. None other. So she has to be there. She has to be treated right. She has to be given the things she needs. It is the man's duty to provide for her and for the children. The husband should provide her with all the fine things, with a good house which she then makes into a home, with gold and jewels and clothes, gold hanging down until her ears hurt, more bracelets, more things to keep her in the home so she is feeling secure and happy. In return she provides a refuge, a serene corner of the world where he can escape from the pressures of daily life, where he can regain his inner perspective, perform his spiritual sadhana and meditations then enjoy his family. Thus, she brings happiness and peace of mind to the family, to the community and to the world.
This working together of the home and the temple brings up the culture and the religion within the family. The family goes to the temple; the temple blesses the family's next project. The mother returns home. She keeps an oil lamp burning in the shrine room on the altar. It's a beautiful thing. All this happens because her astral body is not fretted by the stresses and strains of a worldly life, not polluted by the lustful thoughts of other men directed to her. She is not living in the emotional astral body. She is living in her peaceful soul body of love, fulfilling her dharma and radiating the soulful presence called sannidhya. She was born to be a woman, and that's how a woman should behave.
If she does not do her dharmic duty--this means the duty of birth--then she accrues bad karma. Every time she leaves the home to go out to work, she is making kukarma. Yes, she is. That negative karma will reflect on her astral body and on her husband's astral body and on the astral bodies of their children, causing them to become insecure.
The Christian-Judaic-Islamic idea of a one life, that "you have to get everything out of this life because when you're gone, you're gone, so grab all the gusto that you can out of life" has given the modern Western woman the idea that she is not getting what she should, by being a woman, and therefore the world looks doubly attractive because she is just passing through and will never come back and doesn't want to miss anything. So, living a man's life is very, very attractive. She doesn't want to stay home all the time and not see anything, not meet anybody, go through the boredom of raising a family, taking care of the children. She wants to be out with life, functioning in a man's world because she is told that she is missing something. Therefore, you can understand her desire to get out and work, start seeing and experiencing life and mixing with people, meeting new people. The Hindu woman does not look at life like that. The Hindu woman knows that she was born in a woman's body--this soul has taken an incarnation for a time in a woman's body--to perform a dharma, to perform a duty for the evolution of the soul. The duty is to be a mother to her children, wife to her husband, to strengthen the home and the family, which are the linchpin of society. She knows that the rewards are greater for her in the home. She knows that all she is missing is a man's strenuous work and responsibility, that her stri dharma is equally as great as a man's purusha dharma, even though they are quite different by nature. Because she knows these things, she fulfills her dharma joyously.
Now, a woman may wonder, "If I don't work, how are we going to pay the bills?" The real reason that most women work is economic. The economy of the world is becoming more and more difficult, and the first answer to money problems, especially in the West, where the family unit is not too strong these days, is to have the woman go to work. This is an unhappy solution. The sacrifices are greater than the rewards. It is a false economy. Many times I have told young wives to stay home with their children. They worry. Their husbands worry. But with the wife at home, working to strengthen her husband, he soon becomes confident, creative, energetic. He is reinspired and always finds a way to make things work.
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."
Three visions for India
from all over the world have come and invaded us, captured our lands,
conquered our minds. From Alexander onwards. The Greeks, the Turks, the
Moguls, the Portuguese, the British, the French the Dutch, all of them
came and looted us, took over what was ours. Yet we have not done this
to any other nation.
We have not conquered anyone. We have not grabbed their land, their
culture, their history and tried to enforce our way of life on them.
Why? Because we respect the freedom of others. That is why my first
of this in 1857, when we started the war of independence. It is this
free, no one will respect us.
nation. We are among top 5 nations of the world in terms of GDP. We
lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a Developed nation, self-
I have a THIRD vision. India must stand up to the world. Because I
believe that unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect
Sarabhai of the Dept. of space, Professor Satish Dhawan, who succeeded
him and Dr. Brahm Prakash, father of nuclear material. I was lucky to
have worked with all three of them closely and consider this the great
I see four milestones in my career:
ONE: Twenty years I spent in ISRO. I was given the opportunity to be
the project director for India's first satellite launch vehicle, SLV3.
The one that launched Rohini. These years played a very important role
TWO: After my ISRO years, I joined DRDO and got a chance to be the part
THREE: The Dept. of Atomic Energy and DRDO had this tremendous
partnership in the recent nuclear tests, on May 11 and 13. This was the
third bliss. The joy of participating with my team in these nuclear
tests and proving to the world that India can make it, that we are no
longer a developing nation but one of them. It made me feel very proud
as an Indian. The fact that we have now developed for Agni a re-entry
FOUR: One day an orthopaedic surgeon from Nizam Institute of Medical
Sciences visited my laboratory. He lifted the material and found it so
light that he took me to his hospital and showed me his patients. There
were these little girls and boys with heavy metallic callipers weighing
over three Kg. each, dragging their feet around. He said to me: "Please
remove the pain of my patients."
and took them to the orthopaedic centre. The children didn't believe
their eyes. From dragging around a three kg. load on their legs, they
could now move around! Their parents had tears in their eyes. That was
Why is the media here so negative? Why are we in India so embarrassed
acknowledge them. Why?
We are the first in milk production. We are number one in Remote
sensing satellites. We are the second largest producers of wheat. We are
the second largest producers of rice.
Look at Dr. Sudarshan, he has transferred the tribal village into a
self-sustaining, self-driving unit. There are millions of such
achievements but our media is only obsessed in the bad news and failures
I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli Newspaper. It was
the day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken
place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the
that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments,
deaths, were inside in he newspaper, buried among other news. In India
Why are we so NEGATIVE? Another question: Why are we, as a nation so
Got 10 minutes for your country? If yes, then read; otherwise, choice
laws are too old. YOU say that the municipality does not pick up the
garbage. YOU say that the phones don't work, the railways are a joke,
the airline is the worst in the world, and mails never reach their
destination. YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is
the absolute pits. YOU say, say and say. What do YOU do about it?
Take a person on his way to Singapore. Give him a name - YOURS. Give
him a face - YOURS. YOU walk out of the airport and you are at your
International best. In singapore you don't throw cigarette butts on the
roads or eat in the stores. YOU are as proud of their Underground Links
as they are. You pay $5 (approx. Rs. 60) to drive through Orchard Road
comeback to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have
to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds (Rs.
someone else." YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in
Washington and then tell the traffic cop, "Jaanta hai sala main kaun
and get lost." YOU wouldn't chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other
than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New Zealand. Why
don't YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo? Why don't YOU use
talking of the same YOU. YOU who can respect and conform to a foreign
system in other countries but cannot in your own. You who will throw
papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If
you can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country why
cannot you be the same here in India. Once in an interview, the famous
Ex-municipal commissioner of Bombay Mr. Tinaikar had a point to make.
"Rich people's dogs are walked on the streets to leave their affluent
droppings all over the place," he said. "And then the same people turn
around to criticize and blame the authorities for inefficiency and dirty
pavements. What do they expect the officers to do? Go down with a broom
every time their dog feels the pressure in his bowels? In America every
dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan.
Will the Indian citizen do that here?" He's right. We go to the polls to
back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything
for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the
over the place nor are we going to stop to pick an up a stray piece of
paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean
bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms. We
want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and
toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least
opportunity. This applies even to the staff who is known not to pass on
the service to the public. When it comes to burning social issues like
those related to women, dowry, girl child and others, we make loud
drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. Our
excuse? "It's the whole system, which has to change, how will it matter
if I alone forego my sons' rights to a dowry." So who's going to change
the system? & work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand. Or
we leave the country and run away. Like lazy cowards hounded by our
fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system.
experiences unemployment, we take the next light out to the Gulf. When
the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the
Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country.
Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to
money. Dear Indians, The article is highly thought inductive, calls for
a great deal of introspection and pricks one's conscience too....I am
echoing John F. Kennedy's words to his fellow Americans to relate to
Indians..... "ASK WHAT WE CAN DO FOR INDIA AND DO WHAT HAS TO BE DONE
TO MAKE INDIA WHAT AMERICA AND OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES ARE TODAY" Let's
change instead of sending Jokes or junk mails.
Vision Creates Great Leaders
I am indeed delighted to participate in the 46th annual convocation of
XLRI, Jamshedpur, My greetings to all the graduating students and
professors and teachers who shaped them to have qualities of leadership
to take up various missions and tasks of the nation. I was thinking
what thoughts I can share with the graduating students on this
phase of life. I would like to tell the young, "low aim is the
crime". In the knowledge era, successful people will always
take untravelled roads rather than beaten path. This needs
phase. They are noble leadership, indomitable spirit and
universal mind. Friends, with foundation of these three
qualities, let me take you on the journey of transforming India
In 1947, at the dawn of freedom, we had the best of leaders in
and they are the results of first vision of the nation commenced
in 1857. One incident I would like to narrate to you, which
hear the mid-night freedom speech of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
We were all thrilled when Panditji spoke that the mission was
achieved. On the next day, that is on 16th August 1947, I had
a great experience. An experience of best of education I can
think of. In the Tamil newspaper, on the front page, two news
items appeared. One item was India achieving freedom and
Panditji’s speech. The other news item and the most important
one which has been embedded in my memory is about
Mahatma Gandhiji walking barefoot in Naokali, removing the
pain of riot-affected families. Normally as Father of the Nation
Mahatma Gandhi has to be the first to unfurl the national flag
on August 15, 1947 in Red Fort. But he was not there at the
human beings. What an everlasting positive impact in the mind
In this environment, I would like to quote Sir CV Raman, at the
age of 82, while addressing young graduates. The message is
still reverberating in my mind: "I would like to tell the young
Success can only come to you by courageous devotion to the
task lying in front of you. I can assert without fear of
contradiction that the quality of the Indian mind is equal to the
which takes one anywhere. We have, I think, developed an
inferiority complex. I think what is needed in India today is the
spirit that will carry us to our rightful place under the sun, a
indomitable spirit were to arise, nothing can hold us from
That was a great saying to the young. You would see the
responsible for the young, all who are creators of the young,
for their children's’ growth, allow them to dream. Dream
ago. As you all know, Prof Vikram Sarabhai is the visionary of
space programme in the country. He is well known for his
cosmic ray research area that led to evolving the space
research programme for the nation. Both Dr Homi Bhabha and
space research station in the equatorial region. These two
was selected by the scientific community for space research
as it was near the equatorial region and was ideally suited for
Thumba, the locality had series of villages and thousands of
and bureaucrats to get the place for the work of space science
research. It did not move further because the nature of the
place. He was asked to see the Bishop of Trivandrum, at that
Pereira. It was a Saturday when Prof Vikram Sarabhai met the
Bishop. The Bishop smiled and asked him to meet him the
next day, i.e. Sunday. In the morning Service, the Bishop told
the congregation, "My children, I have a famous scientist with
me who wants our church and the place I live for the work of
reasoning. In one way, science and spiritualism seek the
same divine blessings for doing good for the people. My
children, can we give the God’s abode for a scientific mission?
"There was a chorus of ‘Amen’ from the congregation and the
whole church reverberated. Subsequently, the big event took
Pereira, the Bishop of Trivandrum, took the noble decision to
dedicate the church in recognition of the national goal for the
establishment of the Indian Space Research Organization at
Pallithura, Thumba. That was the church where we had our
winding machine for FRP product and the Bishop’s house was
our scientists’ place. Later, the Thumba Equatorial Rocket
Launching Station (TERLS) led to the establishment of Vikram
throughout the country.
When I think of this event, I can see how enlightened spiritual
the human life. New church and new schools were established
in record time. Of course the birth of TERLS and then VSSC
gave the country the capability of design, development and
produce world class huge rocket system and subsequently,
India has the capability of launching geo-synchronous,
satellite, remote sensing satellite thereby provided fast
communication, weather forecasting and also locate water
resources for the country. Today, among us, Prof Vikram
Sarabhai is not there, Rev Dr Peter Bernard Pereira is not
there, but those who are responsible for creation and make the
flower and blossom will themselves be different and set unique
path for the nation. What a beautiful message for all generation
With the tradition of this experience of noble leadership,
First Vision for the Nation, Created the Leaders
The seeding for the national independence took place around
1857 or even before. I see the relationship between the urge for
independence and the emergence of great minds. As the
independence movement grew, it brought out the best of
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Veer Savarkar. The list, if we take
it from each part of the country, will be very big. This National
and technologists. Though there was no full-fledged effort at
the British ruled governmental level to bring up Indian science,
industries and education, we have seen world class scientific,
industrial and educational leaders generated during the
Prof S. Chandrasekhar, the famous Astronomy scientist, in his
is a remarkable thing that in the modern era before 1910, there
remarkable phenomenon with the need for self-expression,
which became a dominant motive among the young during the
national movement. It was a part of the national movement to
assert oneself. India was a subject country, but in the
sciences, in the arts, particularly in science, we could show
the West in their own realm that we were equal to them. "
Coming now to the industrial field, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata
brought the steel industry in India even though the British
rulers were not favorably disposed to the idea. Acharya PC
Likewise, in the pre-independent period we see the birth of
by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. There were also some Indian
Maharajas who started and nurtured universities like the one in
Baroda. There are many examples in both industrial and
educational fields. In all these cases the basic motivations
have been to show the urge to build the Nation and
demonstrate to the world that "India can do it".
Second vision for the nation
After 50 years of progress, the aspirations are mounting that
India should become a developed country. This is the second
vision for the nation. How we can prepare ourselves to this
challenge? To become a developed India, the essential needs
powerful, at least to be one of the six top nations in
terms of size of the economy. Our target should be a
GDP growth of 9-11% annually and that the people
world.
India should have a right place in world forums.
mission. The Technology Vision 2020 consisted of 17
technology packages in the core sectors such as agriculture
The Task Teams formed by TIFAC with nearly 500 experts of
documents detailing the steps to be taken for creating wealth
for the nation and the well being of our people. "Technology" is
the most vital key for achieving the goals. The vision deals with
materials and processing. There is a tremendous link between
Five mega projects to transform the nation to a developed
and agricultural production. Other areas of agriculture and agro
speed up the economic growth. (2) Reliable and quality
electric power for all parts of the country. (3) Education and
Healthcare – we have seen, based on the experience,
Kerala with education and better healthcare can bring down
the population growth and provide improvements in quality of
life of the people. Similarly, in Tamil Nadu also we have seen
the downward growth of population resulting from a unique
about Andhra Pradesh also have different facets. These
prosperity through better yields in these States will help this
process. (4)Information Technology – This is one of our core
competence. We believe, this area can be used to promote
(5)Strategic sectors – This area, fortunately, witnessed the
These five areas are closely inter-related and lead to national,
food, economic and security. A strong partnership among the
R&D, academy, industry and the community as a whole with
the Government departments will be essential to accomplish
the vision.
Concluding Remarks : Inspiring the great mission
For building the developed India, what are needed? We have
resources and we have human power in abundance. Then
nation needs young leaders who can command the change for
knowledge society from now to twenty years. The leaders are
the creators of new organizations of excellence. Quality
leaders are like magnets who will attract the best of persons to
build the team for the organization and give the inspiring
they are not afraid of risks. I have seen and worked with
creators of vision and missions. The vision ignites particularly
the young mind.
Recently in multiple areas including industry. The vision
leaders ignite multiple minds and mission takes shape. Then
the mission takes over. For example, India should build its first
satellite launch vehicle to orbit a satellite or the first IRBM has
management were the driving forces. Also, one very important
component for success is that the organization creates
capable people because the mission triggers capability.
Developed India 2020, second movement, second vision for the
nation will definitely result, if our industry take the lead in multi
fields. I can see a virtual image of India, the children by 2020
will not see the high illiteracy, poverty and social
differentiation. They will see a new India. Our children will sing
the song of prosperous India if we sweat in this decade.
Today, the Indian mind has to get ignited by our second vision
for the nation. The ignited human mind is the most powerful
resource on the earth, under the earth and above the earth. My
thereby the nation great.
Fourteen Precepts
Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. All systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.
Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to receive others' viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout our entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.
Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness.
Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. find ways to be with those who are suffering by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, sound. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.
Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry. Do not take as the aim of you life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.
Do not maintain anger or hatred. As soon as anger and hatred arise, practice the meditation on compassion in order to deeply understand the persons who have caused anger and hatred. Learn to look at other beings with the eyes of compassion.
Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.
Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest of to impress people. Do not utter words that cause diversion and hatred. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things you are not sure of. Always speak truthfully and constructively. Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.
Do not use the Buddhist community for personal gain or profit, or transform your community into a political party. A religious community should, however, take a clear stand against oppression and injustice, and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.
Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. Do not invest in companies that deprive others of their chance to life. Select a vocation which helps realize your ideal compassion.
Do not kill. Do not let others kill. Find whatever means possible to protect life and to prevent war.
Possess nothing that should belong to others. Respect the property of others but prevent others from enriching themselves from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.
Do not mistreat your body. Learn to handle it with respect. Do not look on your body as only and instrument. Preserve vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of the Way. Sexual expression should not happen without love and commitment. In sexual relationships be aware of future suffering that may be caused. To preserve the happiness of others, respect the rights and commitments of others. Be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world. Meditate on the world into which you are bringing new beings.
Do not believe that I feel that I follow each and every of these precepts perfectly. I know I fail in many ways. None of us can fully fulfill any of these. However, I must work toward a goal. These are my goal. No words can replace practice, only practice can make the words.
Our Most-Alive Times
http://www.bruderhof.com/articles/MostAliveTimes.htm : ...We must change, or die...Real transformation is the opposite of self-improvement...Simply put, rebirth is impossible for those who are in love with themselves in any way, and that goes for a "religious" person as much as anyone else. Confidence is one thing, of course, and no one can truly live or blossom without it. But the self-love of complacency - the sort that leads people to talk about how they are "saved" because they were "born again" (or how they are "enlightened" because they have "seen the light") - is quite another. In fact, it seems to me that those who claim such things are among the worst enemies of rebirth, if only because their smugness is often coupled with the assurance that the rest of the world is damned...
The University of Hard Knocks
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The University of Hard Knocks
The School That Completes Our Education
"Sweet are the uses of adversity;
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
the United States and have listened to "The University of Hard
institutes, club gatherings, conventions and before various other
"Can I get the lecture in book form?" That continuous question from
audiences brought out this book in response. Here is the overflow
"What is written here is not the way I would write it, were I
writing a book," says Ralph Parlette. "It is the way I say it. The
audience makes a lecture, if the lecture survives. I wish I could
shake the hand of every person who has sat in my audiences. And I
wish I could tell the lecture committees of America how I
appreciate the vast amount of altruistic work they have done in
bringing the audiences of America together. For lecture audiences
are not drawn together, they are pushed together."
The warm reception given "The University of Hard Knocks" by the
public, has encouraged the publishers to put more of Mr. Parlette's
are now in preparation as this, the third edition of "The
University of Hard Knocks" comes from the press.
SOME PRELIMINARY REMARKS--The lecturer the delivery wagon--The
The University of Hard Knocks
I. THE BOOKS ARE BUMPS--Every bump a lesson--Why the two kinds of
bumps--Description of University--"Sweet are the uses of
II. THE COLLEGE OF NEEDLESS KNOCKS, the bumps that we bump
into--Getting the coffee-pot--Teaching a wilful child--Bumps make
us "stop, look, listen"--Blind man learns with one bump--Going up
requires effort--Prodigals must be bumped--The fly and the sticky
III. THE COLLEGE OF NEEDFUL KNOCKS, the bumps that bump into
us--Our sorrows and disappointments--How the piano was made--How
the "red mud" becomes razor-blades--The world our mirror--The
cripple taught by the bumps--Every bump brings a blessing--You are
IV. "SHAKE THE BARREL"--How we decide our destinies--Why the big
ones shake up and the little ones shake down--The barrel of life
sorting people--How we hold our places, go down, go up--Good luck
and bad luck--The girl who went up--The man who went down--The
notices--You cannot uplift people with derrick--No laws can
equalize--Help people to help themselves--We cannot get things till
we get ready for them
V. GOING UP--How we become great--We must get inside greatness--
There is no top--We make ourselves great by service--the
first step at hand--All can be greatest--Where to find great
VI. THE PROBLEM OF "PREPAREDNESS"--Preparing children for
children--The story of "Gussie" and "Bill Whackem"--Schools and
Helping the turkeys killed them--the happiness of work we love--
Amusement drunkards--Lure of the city--Strong men from the
Must save the home towns--A school of struggle--New School
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
orations--My maiden sermon--The books that live have been
experience--Theory and practice--Tuning the strings of life
VIII. LOOKING BACKWARD--Memories of the price we pay--My first
school teaching--Loaning the deacon my money--Calling the roll of
my schoolmates--At the grave of the boy I had envied--Why Ben Hur
won the chariot race--Pulling on the oar
IX. GO ON SOUTH!--The book in the running brook--The Mississippi
but stop--Few go on south--The plague of incompetents--Today our
eighty--Too busy to bury--Sympathy for the "sob squad"--Child sees
worst days, not best--Waiting for the second table--Better days on
principle, not praise--Doing duty for the joy of it--Becoming the
"Father of Waters"--Go on south forever!
X. GOING UP LIFE'S MOUNTAIN--The defeats that are victories--
Climbing Mount Lowe--Getting above the clouds into the sunshine--
Each day we rise to larger vision--Getting above the night into
the eternal day--Going south is going upward
only the delivery wagon. When the delivery wagon comes to your
you are not much interested in how it looks; you are interested in
the goods it brings you. You know some very good goods are
So in this lecture, please do not pay any attention to the delivery
wagon--how much it squeaks and wheezes and rattles and wabbles. Do
not pay much attention to the wrappings and strings. Get inside to
the goods.
Really, I believe the goods are good. I believe I am to recite to
you some of the multiplication table of life--not mine, not yours
alone, but everybody's.
Can Only Pull the Plug!
lecture go differently before every audience. The kind of an
audience is just as important as the kind of a lecture. A cold
When I was a boy we had a barrel of sorghum in the woodshed. When
mother wanted to make ginger-bread or cookies, she would send me to
the woodshed to get a bucket of sorghum from that barrel.
Some warm September day I would pull the plug from the barrel and
the sorghum would fairly squirt into my bucket. Later in the fall
when it was colder, I would pull the plug but the sorghum would not
cold winter day I would pull the plug, but the sorghum would not
I discovered it was the temperature.
I have brought a barrel of sorghum to this audience. The name of
the sorghum is "The University of Hard Knocks." I can only pull the
plug. I cannot make it run. That will depend upon the temperature
of this audience. You can have all you want of it, but to get it to
No matter how the sorghum runs, you have to have a bucket to get
it. How much any one gets out of a lecture depends also upon the
size of the bucket he brings to get it in. A big bucket can get
filled at a very small stream. A little bucket gets little at the
greatest stream. With no bucket you can get nothing at Niagara.
That often explains why one person says a lecture is great, while
the next person says he got nothing out of it.
growing up from the Finite to the Infinite, and that it is done by
our own personal overcoming, and that we never finish it.
Have you noticed that no sentence, nor a million sentences, can
cover it? No statement, no library, can tell all about life. No
success rule can alone solve the problem. You must average it all
We are told that the stomach needs bulk as well as nutriment. It
would not prosper with the necessary elements in their condensed
form. So abstract truths in their lowest terms do not always
promote mental digestion like more bulk in the way of pictures and
discussions of these truths. Here is bulk as well as nutriment.
If you get the feeling that the first personal pronoun is being
lecture. You cannot confess without referring to the confesser.
I believe in you because I believe in myself. We are all one
I believe in the Angel of Good inside every block of human marble.
I believe it must be carved out in The University of Hard Knocks.
hypocrisy and human frailty are the Outside that must be chipped
I believe the Hard Knocks cannot injure the Angel, but can only
see more of the Angel in you.
The University of Hard Knocks
The Books Are Bumps
THE greatest school is the University of Hard Knocks. Its books are
Every bump is a lesson. If we learn the lesson with one bump, we do
it. They do not waste the bumps. We get promoted to the next bump.
But if we are "naturally bright," or there is something else the
matter with us, so that we do not learn the lesson of the bump we
have just gotten, then that bump must come back and bump us again.
The tuition in the University of Hard Knocks is not free.
Experience is the dearest teacher in the world. Most of us spend
our lives in the A-B-C's of getting started.
We matriculate in the cradle.
We never graduate. When we stop learning we are due for another
There are two kinds of people--wise people and fools. The fools are
the people who think they have graduated.
The playground is all of God's universe.
The university colors are black and blue.
The yell is "ouch" repeated ad lib.
The Need of the Bumps
When I was thirteen I knew a great deal more than I do now. There
"Sweet are the uses of adversity;
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
"Tongues in trees," I thought. "Trees can't talk! That man is
no running brooks. They'd get wet. And that sermons in stones! They
get preachers to preach sermons, and they build houses out of
stones."
But I am happy today that I have traveled a little farther. I am
happy that I have begun to learn the lessons from the bumps. I am
happy that I am learning the sweet tho painful lessons of the
For as I learn to listen, I hear every tree speaking, every stone
preaching and every running brook the unfolding of a book.
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
It is so hard to tell young people anything. They know better. So
they have to get bumped just where we got bumped, to learn that two
But if you will remember some of these things, they will feel like
poultices by and by when the bumps come.
The Two Colleges
We discover, in other words, that The University of Hard Knocks has
two colleges--The College of Needless Knocks and The College of
The College of Needless Knocks
The Bumps That We Bump Into
NEARLY all the bumps we get are Needless Knocks.
There comes a vivid memory of one of my early Needless Knocks as I
say that. It was back at the time when I was trying to run our home
to suit myself. I sat in the highest chair in the family circle. I
That day they had the little joy and sunshine of the family in his
high-chair throne right up beside the dinner table. The coffee-pot
coffee-pot in my business. I reached over to get the coffee-pot.
Then I discovered a woman beside me, my mother. She was the most
meddlesome woman I had ever known. I had not tried to do one thing
And that day when I wanted the coffee-pot--I did want it. Nobody
how I desired that coffee-pot. "One thing thou lackest," a
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
I stopped it. I got the coffee-pot. I know I got the coffee-pot. I
got it. I got about a gallon of the reddest, hottest coffee a bad
O-o-o-o-o-o! I can feel it yet!
There were weeks after that when I was upholstered. They put
anything else the neighbors could think of. They would bring it
over and rub it on the little joy and sunshine of the family, who
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
Why don't mothers knit today?
Mother would say, "Don't fall in the well." I could go and jump in
the well after that and she would not look at me. I do not argue
that this is the way to raise children, but I insist that this was
the most kind and effective way to rear one stubborn boy I know of.
The neighbors and the ladies' aid society often said my mother was
cruel with that angel child. But the neighbors did not know what
kind of an insect mother was trying to raise. Mother did know. She
knew how stubborn and self-willed I was. It came from father's
"side of the house."
Mother knew that to argue with me was to flatter me. Tell me, serve
notice upon me, and then let me go ahead and get my coffee-pot.
That was the quickest and kindest way to teach me.
I learned very quickly that if I did not hear mother, and heed, a
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
got my blisters. Mother did not inflict them. Mother was not much of an
inflicter. Father attended to that in the laboratory behind the
And thru the bumps we learn that The College of Needless Knocks
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
wiser and happier." The tongues in the trees, the books in the
running brooks and the sermons in the stones all repeat it.
But we are not compelled to walk in the right path. We are free
We get off the right path. We go down forbidden paths. They seem
And going down the wrong path, we get bumped harder and harder
We are lucky if we learn the lesson with one bump. We are unlucky
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.
How I had to be bumped to learn better! Now when I get bumped I try
to learn the lesson of the bump and find the right path, so that
when I see that bump coming again I can say, "Excuse me; it hath a
The seeress is the soothing syrup for mental infants.
The other day I watched a blind man go down the aisle of the car to
get off the train. Did you ever study the walk of a blind man? He
seat. Then he did what every blind man does, he lifted his hand
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.
If you are making no effort in your life, if you are moving in the
Look out for the bumps!
Look over your community. Note the handful of brave, faithful,
unselfish souls who are carrying the community burdens and pushing
upward. Note the multitude making little or no effort, and even
getting in the way of the pushers.
Majorities do not rule. Majorities never have ruled. It is the
the tomorrow of communities that go upward. Majorities are not
willing to make the effort to rule themselves. They are content to
for nothing. They must be led--sometimes driven--by minorities.
People are like sheep. The shepherd can lead them to heaven--or to
Bumping the Prodigals
Human life is the story of the Prodigal Son. We look over the fence
of goodness into the mystery of the great unknown world beyond and
Down the great white way of the world go the million prodigals,
seeking happiness where nobody ever found happiness. Their days
fill up with disappointment, their vision becomes dulled. They
become anaemic feeding upon the husks.
They just must get their coffee-pot!
How they must be bumped to think upon their ways. Every time we do
bumped on the outside, but we always get bumped on the inside. A
bump on the conscience is worse than a bump on the "noodle."
"I can do wrong and not get bumped. I have no feelings upon the
subject," somebody says, You can? You poor old sinner, you have
the subject. You have pounded your soul into a jelly. You don't
know how badly you are hurt.
How the old devil works day and night to keep people amused and
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
themselves!
Consider the Sticky Flypaper
Did you ever watch a fly get his Needless Knocks on the sticky
The last thing Mamma Fly said as Johnny went off to the city was,
"Remember, son, to stay away from the sticky flypaper. That is
where your poor dear father was lost." And Johnny Fly remembers for
several minutes. But when he sees all the smart young flies of his
set go over to the flypaper, he goes over, too. He gazes down at
his face in the stickiness. "Ah! how pretty I am! This sticky
flypaper shows me up better than anything at home. What a fine
place to skate. Just see how close I can fly over it and not get
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
lands in the stickiness. "Well, well, how nice this is on the feet,
First he puts one foot down and pulls it out. That is a lot of fun.
It shows he is not a prisoner. He is a strong-minded fly. He can
feet down in the stickiness. It is harder to pull them out. Then he
puts three down and puts down a few more trying to pull them out.
doesn't pull loose. He feels tired and he sits down in the sticky
flies are around him. He does like the company. They all feel the
same way--they can play in the sticky flypaper or let it alone,
just as they please, for they are strong-minded flies. They have
another drink and sing, "We won't go home till morning."
Most of them stay. They just settle down into the stickiness
The tuition in The College of Needless Knocks is very high indeed!
The man who goes to jail ought to congratulate himself if he is
guilty. It is the man who does not get discovered who is to be
The world loves to write resolutions of respect. How often we
when we might reasonably ask whether the victim was "removed" or
There is a good deal of suicide charged up to Providence.
The College of Needful Knocks
The Bumps That Bump Into Us
BUT occasionally all of us get bumps that we do not bump into. They
bump into us. They are the guideboard knocks that point us to the
You were bumped yesterday or years ago. Maybe the wound has not yet
You were doing right--doing just the best you knew how--and yet
never known anyone who had not had more trouble than anyone else.
We all must learn, if we have not already learned, that these blows
are lessons in The College of Needful Knocks. They point upward to
In other words, we are raw material. You know what raw material
The clothing we wear, the food we eat, the house we live in, all
have to have the Needful Knocks to become useful. And so does
humanity need the same preparation for greater usefulness.
I should like to know every person in this audience. But the ones
I should most appreciate knowing are the ones who have known the
most of these knocks--who have faced the great crises of life and
have been tried in the crucibles of affliction. For I am learning
that these lives are the gold tried in the fire.
The Sorrows of the Piano
See the piano on this stage? Good evening, Mr. Piano. I am glad to
Do you know how you got upon this stage, Mr. Piano? You were bumped
here. This is no reflection upon the janitor. You became a piano by
the Needful Knocks.
I can see you back in your callow beginnings, when you were just a
Did you get the meaning of that, children? I hope you are green.
There you stood in the forest, a perfectly good, green young tree.
were the best young tree you could be.
That is why you were bumped--because you were good! There came a
man into the woods with an ax, and he looked for the best trees
there to bump. He bumped you--hit you with the ax! How it hurt you!
And how unjust it was! He kept on hitting you. "The operation was
It is a very sad story. They took you all bumped and bleeding to
the sawmill and they bumped and ripped you more. They cut you in
They did not bump the little, crooked, dissipated, cigaret-stunted
trees. They were not worth bumping.
bumped here. All the beauty, harmony and value were bumped into you.
The Sufferings of the Red Mud
One day I was up the Missabe road about a hundred miles north of
Duluth, Minnesota, and came to a hole in the ground. It was a big
hole--about a half-mile of hole. There were steam-shovels at work
"Kind sir, why are they throwing that red mud out of that hole?" I
"That hain't red mud. That's iron ore, an' it's the best iron ore
in the world."
"It hain't worth nothin' here; that's why they're movin' it away."
There's red mud around every community that "hain't worth nothin'"
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
of which being The College of Needful Knocks for Red Mud.
limestone, charcoal and other textbooks. Then they corked it up and
school began. They roasted it. It is a great thing to be roasted.
When it was done roasting they stopped. Have you noticed that they
always stop when anything is done roasting? If we are yet getting
roasted, perhaps we are not done!
Then they pulled the plug out of the bottom of the college and held
promotion exercises. The red mud squirted out into the sand. It was
Some of the pig iron went into another department, a big teakettle,
Some of the sophomore steel went up into another grade where it was
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!"
But after they had given it a diploma--a pricemark telling how much
it had been roasted--they took it proudly all over the world,
labeled "Made in America." They hung it in show windows, they put
fine work!" They paid much money for it now. They paid the most
money for what had been roasted the most.
the price had gone up into thousands of dollars.
My friends, you and I are the raw material, the green trees, the
red mud. The Needful Knocks are necessary to make us serviceable.
a larger life. The diamond and the chunk of soft coal are exactly the
same material, say the chemists. But the diamond has gone to The College
of Needful Knocks more than has her crude sister of the coal-scuttle.
There is no human diamond that has not been crystallized in the
crucibles of affliction. There is no gold that has not been refined
in the fire.
One evening when I was trying to lecture in a chautauqua tent in
Illinois, a crippled woman was wheeled into the tent and brought
right down to the foot of the platform. The subject was The
University of Hard Knocks. Presently the cripple's face was shining
brighter than the footlights.
She knew about the knocks!
coming here. I have the feeling that I spoke the words, but you are
the lecture itself."
What a smile she gave me! "Yes, I know about the hard knocks," she
They told me this crippled woman was the sweetest-spirited,
best-loved person in the town.
But her mother petulantly interrupted me. She had wheeled the
cripple into the tent. She was tall and stately. She was
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
buy the frown from her face.
What would you have said? Just on the spur of the moment--I said,
"Madam, I don't want to be unkind, but I really think the reason
right, I need another bump.
The cripple girl had traveled ahead of her jealous mother. For
to congratulate the patients lying there. They are learning the
They are getting the education in the humanities the world needs
more than tables of logarithms. Only those who have suffered can
sympathize. They are to become a precious part of our population.
The world needs them more than libraries and foundations.
The Silver Lining
There is no backward step in life. Whatever experiences come to us
them.
We think this is true of the good things that come to us, but we do
not want to think so of the bad things. Yet we grow more in lean
this Babylon that I have builded?" And about that time there comes
some handwriting on the wall and a bump to save us.
now. A conflagration might sweep your town from the map. Your
name might be tarnished. Bereavement might take from you the one
You would never know how many real friends you have until then. But
for it is not true. The old enemy of humanity wants you to believe
The truth is, another chapter of your real education has been
opened. Will you read the lesson of the Needful Knocks?
A great conflagration, a cyclone, a railroad wreck, an epidemic or
other public disaster brings sympathy, bravery, brotherhood and
There is a silver lining to every hard knocks cloud.
Out of the trenches of the Great War come nations chastened by
sacrifice and purged of their dross.
"Shake The Barrel"
How We Decide Our Destinies
NOW as we learn the lessons of the Needless and the Needful Knocks,
One day the train stopped at a station to take water. Beside the
track was a grocery with a row of barrels of apples in front. There
was one barrel full of big, red, fat apples. I rushed over and got
a sack of the big, red, fat apples. Later as the train was under
way, I looked in the sack and discovered there was not a big, red,
fat apple there.
All I could figure out was that there was only one layer of the
big, red, fat apples on the top, and the groceryman, not desiring
to spoil his sign, had reached down under the top layer. He must
have reached to the bottom, for he gave me the worst mess of runts
and windfalls I ever saw in one sack. The things I said about the
grocery business must have kept the recording angel busy.
Then I calmed down. Did the groceryman do that on purpose? Does
the groceryman ever put the big apples on top and the little
ones down underneath?
Do you? Is there a groceryman in the audience?
until that day on the train that the groceryman does not put the
big ones on top and the little ones down underneath. He does not
need to do it. It does itself. It is the shaking of the barrel that
pushes the big ones up and the little ones down.
Shake to Their Places
and smooth that things do not shake on the road to town. But back
in the Black Swamp of Ohio we had corduroy roads. Did you ever see
a corduroy road? It was a layer of logs in the mud. Riding over it
was the poetry of motion! The wagon "hit the high spots." And as I
hauled a wagon-bed full of apples to the cider-mill over a corduroy
road, the apples sorted out by the jolting. The big apples would
try to get to the top. The little, runty apples would try to hold
a mass meeting at the bottom.
how long you have to see most things before you see them? I saw
that when I played marbles. The big marbles would shake to the top
of my pocket and the little ones would rattle down to the bottom.
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
thing shake to the place its size determines. A little larger one
shakes a little higher, and a little smaller one a little lower.
When things find their place, you can shake on till doomsday, but
you cannot change the place of one of the objects.
Mix them up again and shake. Watch them all shake back as they were
before, the largest on top and the smallest at the bottom.
Lectures in Cans
At this place the lecturer exhibits a glass jar more than
Let us try that right on the platform. Here is a glass jar and
forbearance. I am discovering that we can hear faster thru the eye
than thru the ear. I want to make this so vivid that you will never
forget it, and I do not want these young people to live thirty
years before they see it.
If there are sermons in stones, there must be lectures in cans.
This is a canned lecture. Let the can talk to you awhile.
You note as I shake the jar the little beans quickly settle down
and the big walnuts shake up. Not one bean asks, "Which way do I
go?" Not one walnut asks, "Which way do I go?" Each one
automatically goes the right way. The little ones go down and the
big ones go up.
Note that I mix them all up and then shake. Note that they arrange
themselves just as they were before.
down in the bottom saying, "Help me! Help me! I am so unfortunate
and low down. I never had no chance like them big ones up there.
the top. See! I have boosted him. I have uplifted him.
See, the can shakes. Back to the bottom shakes the little bean. And
The can shakes. The little bean again shakes back to the bottom. He
is too small to stay up. He cannot stand prosperity.
Then I hear Little Bean say, "Well, if I cannot get to the top, you
make them big ones come down. Give every one an equal chance."
So I say, "Yes, sir, Little Bean. Here, you big ones on top, get
down. You Big Nuts get right down there on a level with Little
Bean!" And you see I put them down.
But I shake the can, and the big ones go right back to the top with
the same shakes that send the little ones back to the bottom.
There is only one way for those objects to change their place in
the can. Lifting them up or putting them down will not do it. But
change their size!
Equality of position demands quality of size. Let the little one
grow bigger and he will shake up. Let the big one grow smaller and
The Shaking Barrel of Life
O, fellow apples! We are all apples in the barrel of life on the
way to the market place of the future. It is a corduroy road and
the barrel shakes all the time.
In the barrel are big apples, little apples, freckled apples,
speckled apples, green apples, and dried apples. A bad boy on the
front row shouted the other night, "And rotten apples!"
In other words, all the people of the world are in the great barrel
of life. That barrel is shaking all the time. Every community is
shaking, every place is shaking. The offices, the shops, the
stores, the schools, the pulpits, the homes--every place where we
live or work is shaking. Life is a constant survival of the
The same law that shakes the little ones down and the big ones up
in that can is shaking every person to the place he fits in the
lifted up to some big place, or when we want some big person to be
the eternal law of life.
We shake right back to the places our size determines. We must get
ready for places before we can get them and keep them.
The very worst thing that can happen to anybody is to be
is something like a train and if we do not get to the depot in time
destiny. There is destiny--that jar.
shall have a great destiny. We cannot dodge our destiny.
The objects in that jar cannot change their size. But thank God,
And when we have reached the place our size determines, we stay
there so long as we stay that size.
If we wish to change our place, we must first change our size. If
Each person is doing one of three things consciously or
In order to hold his place he must hold his size. He must fill the
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
the loss by evaporation. Evaporation is going steadily on in lives
the places you fit. And when you are in your places--in stores,
If you want a greater place, you simply grow greater and they
cannot keep you down. You do not ask for promotion, you compel
with various sizes of objects. When an employee would come into the
would say, "Go shake the jar, Charlie. That is the way you get
This jar tells me so much about luck. I have noted that the lucky
people shake up and the unlucky people shake down. That is, the
lucky people grow great and the unlucky people shrivel and rattle.
Notice as I bump this jar. Two things happened. The little ones
shook down and the big ones shook up. The bump that was bad luck to
the little ones was good luck to the big ones. The same bump was
Luck does not depend upon the direction of the bump, but upon the
size of the bump-ee!
The "Lucky" One
So everywhere you look you see the barrel sorting people according
to size. Every business concern can tell you stories like that of
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
girl from the country. It was her first office experience, and she
got the bottom job.
The other girls poked fun at her and played jokes upon her because
"Is not she the limit?" they oft spake one to another. She was. She
made many blunders. But it is now recalled that she never made the
same blunder twice. She learned the lesson with one helping to the
And she never "got done." When she had finished her work, the work
to be done, and she would go right on working, contrary to the
rules of the union! Without being told, mind you. She had that rare
faculty the world is bidding for--initiative.
The other girls "got done." When they had finished the work they
had been put at, they would wait--O, so patiently they would
Within three months every other girl in that office was asking
questions of the little Dutch girl. She had learned more about
business in three months than the others had learned in all the
time they had been there. Nothing ever escaped her. She had become
the most capable girl in the office.
The barrel did the rest. Today she is giving orders to all of them,
for she is the office superintendent.
The other girls feel hurt about it. They will tell you in
confidence that it was the rankest favoritism ever known. "There
The "Unlucky" One
The other day in a paper-mill I was standing beside a long machine
making shiny super-calendered paper. I asked the man working there
some questions about the machine, which he answered fairly well.
Then I asked him about a machine in the next room. He said, "I
don't know nothing about it, boss, I don't work in there."
I asked him about another process, and he replied, "I don't know
nothing about it, I never worked in there." I asked him about the
neither. I don't work in there." And he did not betray the least
"How long have you worked here?"
Going out of the building, I asked the foreman, "Do you see that
man over there at the supercalendered machine?" pointing to the man
The foreman's face clouded. "I hate to talk to you about that man.
He is one of the kindest-hearted men we ever had in the works, but
we've got to let him go. We're afraid he'll break the machine. He
So he had begun to rattle. Nobody can stay where he rattles. It is
Life's Barrel the Leveler
So books could be filled with just such stories of how people have
gone up and down. You may have noticed two brothers start with the
same chance, and presently notice that one is going up and the
other is going down.
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
the top-branchers, and we say, "O, if I only had his chance! If I
were only up there I might amount to something. But I am too low
We can grow. Everybody can grow.
And afterwhile we are all in the barrel of life, shaken and bumped
about. There the real people do not often ask us, "On what branch
of that tree did you grow?" But they often inquire, "Are you big
The Fatal Rattle!
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,
smaller. The joy and juice go out of our lives. We shrivel and rattle.
The success, joy and glory of life are in learning, growing, going
forward and upward. That is the only way to hold our place.
The farmer must be learning new things about farming to hold his
place this progressive age as a farmer. The merchant must be
competitors. The minister must be getting larger visions of the
ministry as he goes back into the same old pulpit to keep on
filling it. The teacher must be seeing new possibilities in the
same old schoolroom. The mother must be getting a larger horizon in
We only live as we grow and learn. When anybody stays in the same
Unless the place is a grave!
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
them. We never finish while we live. A school finishing is a
I am sorry for the one who says, "I know all there is to know about
that. You can't tell me anything about that." He is generally
The greater and wiser the man, the more anxious he is to be told.
I am sorry for the one who struts around saying, "I own the job.
They can't get along without me." For I feel that they are getting
ready to get along without him. That noise you hear is the
Big business men keep their ears open for rattles in their
I am sorry for the man, community or institution that spends much
For it is mostly rattle. The live one's "my day" is today and
tomorrow. The dead one's is yesterday.
give much for a young person (or any other person) who does not
We often think the way to get a great place is just to go after it
But unless we have grown as great as the place we would be a great
joke, for we would rattle. And when we have grown as great as the
a boy becomes a man by getting into his father's boots. He is in
gets greater boots. But he must get the feet before he gets the
We must get ready for things before we get them.
Moses was eighty years getting ready to do forty years work. The
We can be a pumpkin in one summer, with the accent on the "punk."
We can be a mushroom in a day, with the accent on the "mush." But
we cannot become an oak that way.
The world is not greatly impressed by testimonials. The man who has
the most testimonials generally needs them most to keep him from
hope it will do him some good. Anyhow, I have gotten him off my
It is dangerous to overboost people, for the higher you boost them
the farther they will fall.
The Menace of the Press-Notice
lyceum work, in teaching, in very many lines, they are often useful
The danger is that the hero of them may get to leaning upon them.
Then they become a mirror for his vanity instead of a monitor
Most testimonials and press-notices are frank flatteries. They
magnify the good points and say little as possible about the bad
ones. I look back over my lyceum life and see that I hindered my
progress by reading my press-notices instead of listening to the
few press-notices. "There, I am all right, for this clipping says
I am the greatest ever, and should he return, no hall would be able
to contain the crowd."
Alas! How often I have learned that when I did return the hall that
was filled before was entirely too big for the audience! The
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.
When you get to the place where you can stand aside and "see
yourself go by"--when you can keep still and see every fibre of you
rejoice, for the kingdom of success is yours.
The Artificial Uplift
There are so many loving, sincere, foolish, cruel uplift movements
in the land. They spring up, fail, wail, disappear, only to be
succeeded by twice as many more. They fail because instead of
having the barrel do the uplifting, they try to do it with a
The victims of the artificial uplift cannot stay uplifted. They
rattle back, and "the last estate of that man is worse than the
You cannot uplift a beggar by giving him alms. You are using the
derrick. We must feed the hungry and clothe the naked, but that is
not helping them, that is propping them. The beggar who asks you to
You can only help a man to help himself. Help him to grow. You
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
beggar sitting at the gate Beautiful. Every day the beggar had been
"helped." Every day as they laid him at the gate people would pass
thru the gate and see him. He would say, "Help me!" "Poor man,"
they would reply, "you are in a bad fix. Here is help," and they
would throw him some money.
And so every day that beggar got to be more of a beggar. The public
hopeless cripple. No doubt he belonged after a few days of the
"helping" to the Jerusalem Beggars' Union and carried his card.
But Peter really helped him. "Silver and gold have I none; but such
as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise
Fix the People, Not the Barrel
I used to work on the "section" and get a dollar and fifteen cents
a day. I rattled there. I did not earn my dollar fifteen. I tried
to see how little I could do and look like I was working. I was the
Artful Dodger of Section Sixteen. When the whistle would blow--O,
joyful sound!--I would leave my pick hang right up in the air. I
I used to wonder as I passed Bill Barlow's bank on the way down to
the section-house, why I was not president of that bank. I wondered
why I was not sitting upon one of those mahogany seats instead of
pumping a handcar. I was naturally bright. I used to say "If the
rich wasn't getting richer and the poor poorer, I'd be president of a
I am so glad now that I did not get to be president of the bank.
They are glad, too! I would have rattled down in about fifteen
minutes, down to the peanut row, for I was only a peanut. Remember,
the hand-car job is just as honorable as the bank job, but as I was
The fairy books love to tell about some clodhopper suddenly
the clodhopper is enchanted into readiness for kingship before he
lands upon the throne.
The only way to rule others is to learn to rule ourself.
I used to say, "Just wait till I get to Congress." I think they are
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
be at the bottom."
But I had not seen that it wouldn't matter which end was the top,
the big ones would shake right up to it and the little ones would
shake down to the bottom.
The little man has the chance now, just as fast as he grows. You
cannot fix the barrel. You can only fix the people inside the
Have you ever noticed that the man who is not willing to fix
himself, is the one who wants to get the most laws passed 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
wanted them! They would have been coffee-pots. Thank goodness, we
do not get the coffee-pot until we are ready to handle it.
wanted them yesterday. O, how we wanted them! But a cruel fate
would not let us have them. Today we have them. They come to us as
them, and the barrel has shaken us up to them.
Today you and I want things beyond our reach. O, how we want them!
But a cruel fate will not let us have them.
today all we can stand today. More would wreck us. More would start
How We Become Great
many are trying to grow great on the outside without growing great
on the inside. They rattle on the inside!
They fool themselves, but nobody else.
There is only one greatness--inside greatness. All outside
greatness is merely an incidental reflection of the inside.
in inches, dollars, acres, votes, hurrahs, or by any other of the
world's yardsticks or barometers.
We go up by our own personal efforts. We go up by our own service,
not leave our kitchen or blacksmith shop. We take the kitchen or
great blacksmith shop. It becomes our throne-room!
Come, let us grow greater. There is a throne for each of us.
"Getting to the Top"
"Getting to the top" is the world's pet delusion. There is no top.
No matter how high we rise, we discover infinite distances above.
The higher we rise, the better we see that life on this planet is
the going up from the Finite to the Infinite.
The world says that to get greatness means to get great things. So
the world is in the business of getting--getting great fortunes,
folderol. Afterwhile the poor old world hears the empty rattle of
the inside, and wails, "All is vanity. I find no pleasure in them.
being things on the inside, not in getting things on the outside.
I weary of the world's pink-sheet extras about "Getting to the Top"
and "Forging to the Front." Too often they are the sordid story of
a few scrambling over the heads of the weaker ones. Sometimes they
are the story of one pig crowding the other pigs out of the trough
and cornering all the swill!
The Secret of Greatness
There came to him those two disciples who wanted to "get to the
top." Those two sons of Zebedee wanted to have the greatest places
in the new kingdom they imagined he would establish on earth.
They got very busy pursuing greatness, but I do not read that they
were half so busy preparing for greatness. They even had their
mother out electioneering for them.
"O, Master," said the mother, "grant that these my two sons may sit,
the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom."
The Master looked with love and pity upon their unpreparedness.
"Are ye able to drink of the cup?" Then he gave the only definition
of greatness that can ever stand: "Whosoever will be great among
That is we cannot be "born great," nor "have greatness thrust upon"
us. We must "achieve greatness" by developing it on the
We cannot buy a great arm. Our arm must become a great servant, and
We cannot buy a great mind. Our mind must become a great servant,
We cannot buy a great character. It is earned in great moral
The First Step at Hand
This is the Big Business of life--going up, getting educated,
getting greatness on the inside. Getting greatness on the outside
Everybody's privilege and duty is to become great. And the joy of
it is that the first step is always nearest at hand. We do not have
to go off to New York or Chicago or go chasing around the world to
We must take the first step now. Most of us want to take the
hundredth step or the thousandth step now. We want to make some
spectacular stride of a thousand steps at one leap. That is why we
workshop or our office and take the first step, solve the problem
solve and dissolve the difficulties and turn our burdens into
blessings, we find love, the universal solvent, shining out of our
lives. We find our spiritual influences going upward. So the winds
of earth are born; they rush in from the cold lands to the warm
currents set upward, the world is drawn toward us with its
We find our kitchen or workshop or office becoming a new throne
of power. We find the world around us rising up to call us blessed.
As we grow greater our troubles grow smaller, for we see them thru
greater eyes. We rise above them.
begin to see them. They are around us all the time, but we must get
greater eyes to see them.
Generally speaking, the smaller our vision of our work, the more we
admire what we have accomplished and "point with pride." The
greater our vision, the more we see what is yet to be accomplished.
It was the sweet girl graduate who at commencement wondered how one
small head could contain it all. It was Newton after giving the
world a new science who looked back over it and said, "I seem to
have been only a boy playing on the seashore * * * while the great
The Widow's Mites
The great Teacher pointed to the widow who cast her two mites into
the treasury, and then to the rich men who had cast in much more.
"This poor widow hath cast in more than they all. For all these
have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she
of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had."
Tho the rich men had cast in more, yet it was only a part of their
possessions. The widow cast in less, but it was all she had. The
Master cared little what the footings of the money were in the
treasury. That is not why we give. We give to become great. The
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
Our greatness therefore does not depend upon how much we give or
upon what we do, whether peeling potatoes or ruling a nation, but
upon the percentage of our output to our resources. Upon doing with
cannot get to do. Rejoice in doing the things you can get to do.
The world says some of us have golden gifts and some have copper
gifts. But when we cast them all into the treasury of right
service, there is an alchemy that transmutes every gift into gold.
Every work is drudgery when done selfishly. Every work becomes
golden when done in a golden manner.
Finding the Great People
I do not know who fitted the boards into the floor I stand upon. I
do not know all the great people who may come and stand upon this
floor. But I do know that the one who made the floor--and the one
who sweeps it--is just as great as anybody in the world who may
come and stand upon it, if each be doing his work with the same
We have to look farther than the "Who's Who" and Dun and Bradstreet
to make a roster of the great people of a community. You will find
the community heart in the precious handful who believe that the
service of God is the service of man.
The great people of the community serve and sacrifice for a better
tomorrow. They are the faithful few who get behind the churches,
the schools, the lyceum and chautauqua, and all the other movements
They are the ones who are "always trying to run things." They are
the happy ones, happy for the larger vision that comes as they go
higher by unselfish service. They are discovering that their
sweetest pay comes from doing many things they are not paid for.
They rarely get thanked, for the community does not often think of
thanking them until it comes time to draft the "resolutions of
I had to go to the mouth of a coal-mine in a little Illinois town,
to find the man the bureau had given as lyceum committeeman there.
I wondered what the grimy-faced man from the shaft, wearing the
miner's lamp in his cap, could possibly have to do with the lyceum
the tickets and had done all the managing. He was superintendent of
the Sunday school. He was the storm-center of every altruistic
effort in the town--the greatest man there, because the most
The great people are so busy serving that they have little time to
strut and pose in the show places. Few of them are "prominent
clubmen." You rarely find their names in the society page. They
rarely give "brilliant social functions." Their idle families
I found a great man lecturing at the chautauquas. He preaches in
he founded by his own preaching. He is the mainspring of so many
uplift movements that his name gets into the papers about every day,
under trees or letting the mind become a blank. But this Chicago
preacher went from one chautauqua town to another, and took his
vacation going up and down the streets. He dug into the local
history of each place, and before dinner he knew more about the
place than most of the natives.
"There is a sermon for me," he would exclaim every half-hour. He
the humdrum travel map into a wonderland. He scolded lazy towns and
praised enterprising ones. He stopped young fellows on the streets.
"What are you going to do in life?" Perhaps the young man would
chance," the man on his vacation would reply.
his vacation. He was busy about other people's business. He did not
once ask the price of land, nor where there was a good investment
His friends would sometimes worry about him. They would say, "Why
doesn't the doctor take care of himself, instead of taking care of
everybody else? He wears himself out for other people until he
Sometimes they were right about that.
did not make him great. His books did not make him great. These are
the by-products. His life of service for others makes him
This Chicago man gives his life into the service of humanity, and
it becomes the fuel to make the steam to accomplish the wonderful
for number one," stipulating in advance every cent he was to get
and writing it all down in the contract, most likely Dr. Frank W.
the backwoods of Morrow county, Ohio.
great things. Give it now! Give your dollar now, rather than your
thousands afterwhile. You need to give it now, and the world needs
The Problem of "Preparedness"
THE problem of "preparedness" is the problem of preparing children
for life. All other kinds of "preparedness" fade into
insignificance before this. The history of nations shows that their
strength was not in the size of their armies and in the vastness
of their population and wealth, but in the strength and ideals
of the individual citizens.
As long as the nation was young and growing--as long as the people were
But when the struggle stopped, the strength waned, for the strength
came from the struggle. When the people became materially prosperous
and surrendered to ease and indulgence, they became fat, stall-fed weaklings.
Then they fell a prey to younger, hardier peoples.
Has the American nation reached that period?
All over America are fathers and mothers who have struggled and
have become strong men and women thru their struggles, who are
living for our children. We are going to give them the best
education our money can buy."
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
"We are going to give our children the best education our money can buy."
They think they can buy an education--buy wisdom, strength and
understanding, and give it to them C. O. D! They seem to think they
will buy any brand they see--buy the home brand of education, or
a bucketful or a tankful of education. If they are rich enough,
maybe they will have a private pipeline of education laid to their
home. They are going to force this education into them regularly
until they get them full of education. They are going to get them
Toll the bell! There's going to be a "blow out." Those inflated
Father and mother cannot buy their children education. All they can
do is to buy them some tools, perhaps, and open the gate and say,
"Sic 'em, Tige!" The children must get it themselves.
A father and mother might as well say, "We will buy our children
the strength we have earned in our arms and the wisdom we have
acquired in a life of struggle." As well expect the athlete to give
them his physical development he has earned in years of exercise.
As well expect the musician to give them the technic he has
acquired in years of practice. As well expect the scholar to give
them the ability to think he has developed in years of study. As
well expect Moses to give them his spiritual understanding acquired
They can show the children the way, but each child must make the
The Story of "Gussie"
There was a factory town back East. Not a pretty town, but just a
great, dirty mill and a lot of little dirty houses around the mill.
The hands lived in the little dirty houses and worked six days of
the week in the big mill.
There was a little, old man who went about that mill, often saying,
"I hain't got no book l'arnin' like the rest of you." He was the
man who owned the mill. He had made it with his own genius out of
nothing. He had become rich and honored. Every man in the mill
loved him like a father.
The little old man often said, "I'm going to give that boy the best
education my money can buy."
the minute the child could sit up in the cradle and notice things.
He sent him to the astrologer, the phrenologer and all other
"ologers" they had around there. When Gussie was old enough to
export, he sent the boy to one of the greatest universities in the
land. The fault was not with the university, not with Gussie, who
The fault was with the little old man, who was so wise and great
about everything else, and so foolish about his own boy. In the
The birthright of every child is the opportunity of becoming
You remember, then, that after he matriculates--after he gets the
grand bump, said steer does not have to do another thing. His
and receives it. There is a row of professors with their sleeves
rolled up who give him the degrees. So as Mr. T. Steer of Panhandle
from department to department until he is canned.
They "canned" Gussie. He had a man hired to study for him. He rode
from department to department. They upholstered him, enameled him,
done and the paint was dry. He was a thing of beauty.
the baggage-car. It was checked. The mill shut down on a week day,
the first time in its history. The hands marched down to the depot,
and when the young lord alighted, the factory band played, "See,
the Conquering Hero Comes."
A few years later the mill shut down again on a week day. There was
crape hanging on the office door. Men and women stood weeping in
the streets. The little old man had been translated.
When they next opened up the mill, F. Gustavus Adolphus was at its head.
He had inherited the entire plant. "F. Gustavus Adolphus, President."
fill so great a place. In two years and seven months the mill was
a wreck. The monument of a father's lifetime was wrecked in two
years and seven months by the boy who had all the "advantages."
So the mill was shut down the third time on a week day. It looked
had a new kind of boss. If I were to give the new boss a
would swell up. How fast he grew! He became the most useful man in
the community. People forgot all about Bill's lowly origin. They
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
the wheels go round, and finally got the hungry town back to work.
After that a good many people said it was the college that made a
fool of Gussie. They said Bill succeeded so well because he never
went to one of "them highbrow schools." I am sorry to say I thought
The book and the college suffer at the hands of their friends. They
say to the book and the college, "Give us an education." They cannot
do that. You cannot get an education from the book and the college
any more than you can get to New York by reading a travelers' guide.
You cannot get physical education by reading a book on gymnastics.
The book and the college show you the way, give you instruction and
furnish you finer working tools. But the real education is the
journey you make, the strength you develop, the service you perform
with these instruments and tools.
Gussie was in the position of a man with a very fine equipment of
tools and no experience in using them. Bill was the man with the
poor, homemade, crude tools, but with the energy, vision and
The "Hard Knocks Graduates"
people liberally educated who cannot write their own names. But
they have served and overcome and developed great lives with the
poor, crude tools at their command.
many or any books. Yet they are educated to the degree they have
acquired these elements of greatness in their lives.
They realized how they have been handicapped by their poor mental tools.
That is why they say, "All my life I have been handicapped by lack of
The young person with electrical genius will make an electrical
see how much more he will achieve with the same genius and with
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
school of service and write your education in the only book you
ever can know--the book of your experience.
That is what you know--what the courts will take as evidence when
they put you upon the witness stand.
The Tragedy of Unpreparedness
The story of Gussie and Bill Whackem is being written in every
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
greatness to their children--they can make great places for them in
life and put them into them.
They do all this and the children rattle. They have had no chance
to grow great enough for the places. The child gets the blame for
making the wreck, even as Gussie was blamed for wrecking his
father's plant, when the child is the victim.
A man heard me telling the story of Gussie and Bill Whackem, and he
his boy was not there to hear it. But that good, deluded father now
has his head bowed in shame over the career of his spoiled son.
I rarely tell of it on a platform that at the close of the lecture
For years poor Harry Thaw was front-paged on the newspapers and
gibbeted in the pulpits as the shocking example of youthful
a man. He seems to have been robbed of his birthright from the
cradle. Yet the father of this boy who has cost America millions in
court and detention expenses was one of the greatest business
generals of the Keystone state. He could plat great coal empires
ignorant of the fact that the barrel shakes.
It is the educated, the rich and the worldly wise who blunder most in
the training of their children. Poverty is a better trainer for the rest.
The menace of America lies not in the swollen fortunes, but in the
shrunken souls who inherit them.
But Nature's eliminating process is kind to the race in the barrel
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
and mother love you and give you everything you need. You get to
take care of me, and when they are gone I'll inherit everything
they have. I'm fixed for life."
No, you are unfixed. You are a candidate for trouble. You are going
to rattle. Father and mother can be great and you can be a peanut.
can do for yourself--anybody who gives you regularly what you can
Father and mother can put money in your pocket, ideas in your head
and food in your stomach, but you cannot own it save as you digest
his house where he could watch it develop. One day he saw a little
insect struggling inside the cocoon. It was trying to get out of
the envelope. It seemed in trouble and needed help. He opened the
envelope with a knife and set the struggling insect free. But out
and under-developed wings. He learned that helping the insect was
killing it. He took away from it the very thing it had to have--the
But remember there is little virtue in work unless it is getting us
lie down to sleep, then another day of the same grind, then a year
of it and years following until our machine is worn out and on the
junkpile, means little. "One day nearer home" for such a worker
means one day nearer the scrapheap.
Such a worker is like the packhorse who goes forward to keep ahead
of the whip. Such a worker is the horse we used to have hitched to
the sorghum mill. Round and round that horse went, seeing nothing,
his ears. Such work deadens and stupefies. The masses work about
that way. They regard work as a necessary evil. They are
right--such work is a necessary evil, and they make it such. They
follow their nose. "Dumb, driven cattle."
that is the work that brings the joy and the greatness.
even the packhorse job, because it is our "meal ticket" that
"Helping" the Turkeys
One time I put some turkey eggs under the mother hen and waited day
by day for them to hatch. And sure enough, one day the eggs began
to crack and the little turkeys began to stick their heads out of
the shells. Some of the little turkeys came out from the shells all
right, but some of them stuck in the shells.
But they stuck to the shells.
hand." So I picked the shells off. "Little turkeys, you will never
know how fortunate you are. Ordinary turkeys do not have these
Did I help them? I killed them, or stunted them. Not one of the turkeys
was "right" that I helped. They were runts. One of them was a regular
Harry Thaw turkey. They had too many silk socks. Too many "advantages."
A rich boy can succeed, but he has a poorer chance than a poor boy.
The cards are against him. He must succeed in spite of his "advantages."
character, for the joy of having a larger life. I am pleading with
you to know the joy of overcoming and having the angels come and
Children, I am pleading with you to find happiness. All the world
The happiness is in going up--in developing a greater arm, a
Happiness is the joy of overcoming. It is the delight of an
expanding consciousness. It is the cry of the eagle mounting
upward. It is the proof that we are progressing.
cannot find happiness in our work, we have the wrong job. Find the
work that fits your talents, and stop watching the clock and
Loving friends used to warn me against "breaking down." They scared
found my job in my work, not away from it, and the work refreshed
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
days--and then take a vacation by editing and writing. Thus every
day is jam full of play and vacation and good times. The year is
one round of joy, and I ought to pay people for the privilege of
speaking and writing to them instead of them paying me!
to be "absent from the body and present with the Lord." Thus this
old body behaves just beautifully and wags along like the tail
follows the dog when I forget all about it. The grunter lets the
tail wag the dog.
of anyone killing himself by working. But I have known of
multitudes killing themselves by taking vacations.
The people who think they are overworking are merely overworrying.
This is one species of selfishness.
To work at the things you love, or for those you love, is to turn
The world is trying to find happiness in being amused. The world is
What a sad, empty lot of rattlers! Look over the bills of the movies,
look over the newsstands and see a picture of the popular mind,
for these places keep just what the people want to buy. What a lot
There are ten literary drunkards to one alcoholic drunkard. There
are a hundred amusement drunkards to one victim of strong drink.
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 speaker is perfectly honest. He has no place to put a lecture.
to follow his nose around. Other people generally lead his nose.
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
crowd that finds itself back near the caboose, and as the train of
progress leaves them, they wail, they "never had no chanct." They
want to start a new party to reform the government.
The Lure of the City
Do you ever get lonely in a city? How few men and women there. A
jam of people, most of them imitations--most of them trying to look
like they get more salary. Poor, hungry, doped butterflies of the
bright lights,--hopers, suckers and straphangers! Down the great
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
alone with their empty lives.
The Prodigal Son came to himself afterwhile and thought upon his
ways. Then he arose and went to his father's house. Whenever one
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
works day and night shifts keeping the crowd moving on.
That is why the crowd is not furnishing the strong men and women.
they contract, then they relax. But the muscle that goes on
continually relaxing is degenerating. And the individual, the
community, the nation that goes on relaxing without
The more you study your muscles, the more you learn that while one
muscle is relaxing another is contracting. So you must learn that
over to contracting another set of muscles.
Go to the bank president's office, go to the railroad magnate's
office, go to the great pulpit, to the college chair--go to any
place of great responsibility in a city and ask the one who fills
the place, "Were you born in this city?"
The reply is almost a monotony. "I born in this city? No, I was
ago and went to work at the bottom."
farmside where he struggled as a boy. Personally, I think this
Give us steam heat and push-buttons. There is no virtue in a
log-cabin, save that there the necessity for struggle that brings
strength is most in evidence. There the young person gets the
that young person comes to the city and shakes in the barrel among
the weaklings of the artificial life, he rises above them like the
The cities do not make their own steam. The little minority from
the farms controls the majority. The red blood of redemption flows
from the country year by year into the national arteries, else
these cities would drop off the map.
"Hep" and "Pep" for the Home Town
But so many of the home towns of America are sick. Many are dying.
It is the lure of the city--and the lure-lessness of the country.
The town the young people leave is the town the young people ought
to leave. Somebody says, "The reason so many young people go to
hell is because they have no other place to go."
What is the matter with the small town? Do not blame it all upon
the city mail order house. With rural delivery, daily papers,
telephones, centralized schools, automobiles and good roads, there
are no more delightful places in the world to live than in the
country or in the small town. They have the city advantages plus
sunshine, air and freedom that the crowded cities cannot have.
I asked the keeper who was showing me thru the insane asylum at
people in this institution and only a score of guards to keep them
in. Aren't you in danger? What is to hinder these insane people
from getting together, organizing, overpowering the few guards and
The keeper was not in the least alarmed at the question. He smiled.
"Many people say that. But they don't understand. If these people
could get together they wouldn't be in this asylum. They are
insane. No two of them can agree upon how to get together and how
to break out. So a few of us can hold them."
It would be almost unkind to carry this further, but I have been
thinking ever since that about three-fourths of the small towns of
America have one thing in common with the asylum folks--they can't
get together. They cannot organize for the public good. They break
factions and neutralize each other's efforts.
A lot of struggling churches compete with each other instead of
massing for the common good. And when the churches fight, the devil
stays neutral and furnishes the munitions for both sides.
So the home towns stagnate and the young people with visions go
away to the cities where opportunity seems to beckon. Ninety-nine
out of a hundred of them will jostle with the straphangers all
their lives, mere wheels turning round in a huge machine.
Ninety-nine out of a hundred of them might have had a larger
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
spend its years raising crops of young people for the cities. That
is the worst kind of soil impoverishment--all going out and nothing
coming back. That is the drain that devitalizes the home towns more
than all the city mail order houses.
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!
Dr. Henry Solomon Lehr, founder of the Ohio Northern University at
Ada, Ohio, one of Ohio's greatest educators, used to say with
pride, "Our students come to school; they are not sent."
He encouraged his students to be self-supporting, and most of them
were working their way thru school. He made the school calendar and
courses elastic to accommodate them. He saw the need of combining
the school of books with the school of struggle. He organized his
school into competing groups, so that the student who had no
struggle in his life would at least have to struggle with the
others during his schooling.
debating societies to compete with each other. He arranged contests
for the military department. His school was one surging mass of
contestants. Yet each student felt no compulsion. Rather he felt
that he was initiating an individual or class effort to win. The
literary societies vied with each other in their programs and in
win over the others. They would go miles out on the trains to
intercept new students, even to their homes in other states. Each
old student pledged new students in his home country. The military
companies turned the school into a military camp for weeks each
Those students went out into the world trained to struggle. I do
not believe there is a school in America with a greater alumni roll
I believe the most useful schools today are schools of struggle
work their way thru and to act upon their own initiative.
The old "deestrick" school is passing, and with it the small
teacher, as in the old days of the lyceum in Athens, when the
pupils sat around the philosopher in the groves.
From these schools came the makers and the preservers of the nation.
wonderful equipment. Today we are replacing the many small colleges
universities. We are spending millions upon them in laboratories,
equipment and maintenance. Today we scour the earth for specialists
to sit in the chairs and speak the last word in every department of
O, how the students of the "dark ages" would have rejoiced to see
this day! Many of them never saw a germ!
But each student has the same definite effort to make in
assimilation today as then. Knowing and growing demand the same
personal struggle in the cushions of the "frat" house as back on
the old oak-slab bench with its splintered side up.
I am anxiously awaiting the results. I am hoping that the boys and
girls who come out in case-lots from these huge school plants will
not be rows of lithographed cans on the shelves of life. I am
hoping they will not be shorn of their individuality, but will have
it stimulated and unfettered. I am anxious that they be not
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
endowment, when the fact is that its struggle for existence and the
when the money endowment comes the spiritual endowment goes in
calamities in the financial prosperity that has engulfed them.
Can we keep men before millions, and keep our ideals untainted by
foundations? That is the question the age is asking.
You and I are very much interested in the answer.
The Salvation of a "Sucker"
The Fiddle and the Tuning
HOW long it takes to learn things! I think I was thirty-four years
learning one sentence, "You can't get something for nothing." I
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
neck. That is about all there is either to us or to the fiddle. We
When the human fiddles are about six years old they go into the
primary schools and up thru the grammar grades, and get the first
string--the little E string. The trouble is so many of these human
fiddles think they are an orchestra right away. They want to quit
school and go fiddling thru life on this one string!
We must show these little fiddles they must go back into school and
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
forth with the E, A, D and G strings all in place. Educated now?
lot of discord. The violin is to give music.
So there is much yet to do after getting the strings. All the book
and college can do is to give the strings--the tools. After that
the violin must go into the great tuning school of life. Here the
pegs are turned and the strings are put in tune. The music is the
vitalized, what you have written in the book of experience.
All of us are Christopher Columbuses, discovering the same new-old
continents of Truth. That is the true happiness of
idea of them. We hear the preacher utter truths and we say with
little feeling, "Yes, that is so." We hear the great truths of life
see it with our own eyes. Then there is a thrill. Then the old
truth becomes a new blessing. Then the oldest, driest platitude
consciousness. This joy of discovery is the joy of living.
There is such a difference between reading a thing and knowing a
thing. We could read a thousand descriptions of the sun and not
know the sun as in one glimpse of it with our own eyes.
I used to stand in the row of blessed little rascals in the
"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
Then I had to go around showing the blisters, boring my friends and
the audience knew how little I know, you wouldn't stay.
"You Can't Get Something for Nothing"
Yes, I was thirty-four years learning that one sentence. "You can't
longer than a human being. They are so smart you cannot teach them
with a few bumps. They have to be pulverized.
That sentence takes me back to the days when I was a "hired man" on
the farm. You might not think I had ever been a "hired man" on the
drink from a copper kettle. But I have fed him the fingers of this
of oxen and had said the words. But I have!
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
"suckers"! Did you ever notice where they go? That is where I
went--to the "trimming department."
I was in the "trimming department" in five minutes. Nobody told me
where it was. I didn't need to be told. I gravitated there. The
barrel always shakes all of one size to one place. You notice
that--in a city all of one size get together.
Right at the entrance to the "local Midway" I met a gentleman. I
a little light table he could move quickly. Whenever the climate
were three little shells in a row, and there was a little pea under
the middle shell. I saw it there, being naturally bright. I was the
only naturally bright person around the table, hence the only one
who knew under which shell the little round pea was hidden.
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.
But I needn't have felt bad. I did not rob father. Father cleaned
I went over to the other side of the fairgrounds and sat down. That
was all I had to do now--just go, sit down. I couldn't see the
mermaid now or get into the grandstand.
Sadly I thought it all over, but I did not get the right answer.
I said the thing every fool does say when he gets bumped and fails
to learn the lesson from the bump. I said, "Next time I shall be
I Bought the Soap
Learn? No! Within a month I was on the street a Saturday night when
another gentleman drove into town. He stopped on the public square
and stood up in his buggy. "Let the prominent citizens gather
Immediately all the prominent "suckers" crowded around the buggy.
I am putting these cakes of Wonder Soap in my hat. You see I am
wrapping a ten-dollar bill around one cake and throwing it into the
hat. Now who will give me five dollars for the privilege of taking
And right on top of the pile was the cake with the ten wrapped
around it! I jumped over the rest to shove my five (two weeks' farm
work) in his hands and grab that bill cake. But the bill
disappeared. I never knew where it went. The man whipped up his
and therefore good picking. They began to let me in on the ground
floor. Did anybody ever let you in on the ground floor? I never
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
open that drawer and "view the remains."
I had in that drawer the deed to my Oklahoma corner-lots. Those
lots were going to double next week. But they did not double I
doubled. They still exist on the blueprint and the Oklahoma
metropolis on paper is yet a wide place in the road.
I had there my oil propositions. What a difference, I have learned,
between an oil proposition and an oil well! The learning has been
I used to wonder how I ever could spend my income. I do not wonder now.
I wonder how I will make it.
I had in that drawer my "Everglade" farm. Did you ever hear of the
"Everglades"? I have an alligator ranch there. It is below the
frost-line, also below the water-line. I will sell it by the
silver mines. Nobody knows how much mining stock I have owned.
in green. I used to wonder why they printed it in green--wonder if
they wanted it to harmonize with me! And I would realize I had so
much to live for--the dividends. I have been so near the dividends
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.
Why go farther? I am not half done confessing. Each bump only
increased my faith that the next ship would be mine. Good, honest,
buy because I knew the minister was honest and believed in it. He
was selling it on his reputation. Favorite dodge of the promoter to
get the ministers to sell his shares.
I was also greatly interested in companies where I put in one
stock. That was doubling and trebling my money over night. An old
I pitied his lack of vision. Bankers were such "tightwads." They
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.
savings into the bottom of the sea.
Then I got a confidential letter from a friend of our family I had
never met. His name was Thomas A. Cleage, and he was in the Rialto
Were you ever selected? If you were, then you know the thrill that
He knew me! He was the only man who did know me. So I took the
in with us in the inner circle and get a thousand per cent.
train for St. Louis. I was afraid somebody might beat me there if
money for Tom, the friend of our family. But I see now I need not
have hurried so. They would have waited a month with the
happened in St. Louis. It is none of your business!
dollars to corner the wheat market of the world. That is all I paid
That bump set me to thinking. My fever began to reduce. I got the
I have always regarded Tom as one of my great school teachers. I
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 that we should endow them. How else can we save a sucker? You
cannot tell him anything, because he is naturally bright and knows
It is worth eleven hundred dollars every day to know that one
sentence, You cannot get something for nothing. Life just begins to
fortune right up on this platform and put it down there on the
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!
been selected--" I never read farther than the word "selected."
Meeting is adjourned. I select the waste-basket. Here, get in there
just as quick as you can. I was selected!
O, Absalom, Absalom, my son, my son! Learn it early in life. The
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
look like the biggest sucker on the local landscape.
The other night in a little town of perhaps a thousand, a banker
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
pathetic. It was a picture of what is going on in our own little
I wish you could see the thousands of hard-earned dollars that go
as you described. The saddest part of it is that the money nearly
always goes out of the pockets of the people who can least afford
hundred dollars to tell you this one thing, and you get it for a
Learn that the gambler never owns his winnings. The man who
Even the young person who has large fortune given him does not own
The owning is in the understanding of values.
one sentence, I see the need of an eternity.
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!
The young person says, "By next June I shall have finished my
Bless them all! They will have put another string on their fiddle.
After they "finish" they have a commencement, not an end-ment, as
they think. This is not to sneer, but to cheer. Isn't it glorious
that life is one infinite succession of commencements and
I love to attend commencements. The stage is so beautifully
decorated and the joy of youth is everywhere. There is a row of
geraniums along the front of the stage and a big oleander on the
side. There is a long-whiskered rug in the middle. The graduates
sit in a semicircle upon the stage in their new patent leather. I
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
like them better, because every year I am getting younger. Damsel
Number One comes forth and begins:
"Beyond the Alps (sweep arms forward to the left, left arm leading)
lieth Italy!" (Bring arms down, letting fingers follow the wrist.
How embarrassing at a commencement for the fingers not to follow
the wrist! It is always a shock to the audience when the wrist
sweeps downward and the fingers remain up in the air. So by all
means, let the fingers follow the wrist, just as the elocution
2 stands at the same leadpencil mark on the floor, resplendent in
a filmy creation caught with something or other.
We are laughing the happy laugh at how we have learned these great
You get the most beautiful and sublime truths from Emerson's
essays. (How did they ever have commencements before Emerson?) But
that is not knowing them. You cannot know them until you have lived
them. It is a grand thing to say, "Beyond the Alps lieth Italy,"
but you can never really say that until you know it by struggling
up over Alps of difficulty and seeing the Italy of promise and
but you cannot really say that until you have pulled on the oar.
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
ready for my try-out. I certainly loaded it to the muzzle.
But I made the mistake I am trying to warn you against. Instead of
going to the one book where I might have gotten a sermon--the book
of my experience, I went to the books in my father's library. "As
the poet Shakespeare has so beautifully said," and then I took a
to the poet Tennyson." Come here, Lord Alfred. So I soldered these
fragments from the books together with my own native genius. I
worked that sermon up into the most beautiful splurges and spasms.
fourteen, where I had made a little mark in the margin which meant
"cry here." This was the spilling-point of the wet climax. I was to
cry on the lefthand side of the page.
I committed it all to memory, and then went to a lady who taught
I got the most beautiful gestures nailed into almost every page.
You know about gestures--these things you make with your arms in
the air as you speak. You can notice it on me yet.
a mirror for six weeks, day by day, and said the sermon to the
glass. It got so it would run itself. I could have gone to sleep
Then came the grand day. The boy wonder stood forth and before his
grandly than ever to a mirror. Every gesture went off the bat
according to the blueprint. I cried on page fourteen! I never knew
Then I did another fine thing, I sat down. I wish now I had done
that earlier. I wish now I had sat down before I got up. I was the
last man out of the church--and I hurried. But they beat me
out--all nine of them. When I went out the door, the old sexton
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
that the old man was right. I had wonderful truth in that sermon.
No sermon ever had greater truth, but I had not lived it. The old
"Peeling Potatoes," and you are most likely to hear the applause
Out of every thousand books published, perhaps nine hundred of them
do not sell enough to pay the cost of printing them. As you study
the books that do live, you note that they are the books that have
been lived. Perhaps the books that fail have just as much of truth
in them and they may even be better written, yet they lack the
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
surging and pulsating from the book of his experience.
The best part of our schooling comes not from the books, but from
the men behind the books.
the knowing in the doing.
"There was never a picture painted,
There was never a poem sung,
But the soul of the artist fainted,
And the poet's heart was wrung."
So many young people think because they have a good voice and they have
cultivated it, they are singers. All this cultivation and irritation
and irrigation and gargling of the throat are merely symptoms of
They think the song comes from the diaphragm. But it comes from the
heart, chaperoned by the diaphragm. You cannot sing a song you have
Jessie was singing the other day at a chautauqua. She has a
attended to. She sang that afternoon in the tent, "The Last Rose of
Summer." She sang it with every note so well placed, with the
sweetest little trills and tendrils, with the smile exactly like
her teacher had taught her. Jessie exhibited all the machinery and
trimmings for the song, but she had no steam, no song. She sang the
notes. She might as well have sung, "Pop, Goes the Weasel."
The audience politely endured Jessie. That night a woman sang in
the same tent "The Last Rose of Summer." She had never been to
Berlin, but she had lived that song. She didn't dress the notes
half so beautifully as Jessie did, but she sang it with the
tremendous feeling it demands. The audience went wild. It was a
"this is the best singing lesson you have ever had. Your study is
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
sing that song, for it is the sob of a broken-hearted woman. Learn
to sing the songs you have lived."
Why do singers try to execute songs beyond the horizon of their
lives? That is why they "execute" them.
The Success of a Song-Writer
The guest of honor at a dinner in a Chicago club was a woman who is
one of the widely known song-writers of this land. As I had the
"How did you get your songs known? How did you know what kind of
songs the people want to sing?"
But in the hour she talked with her friends around the table I
found the answer to every question. "Isn't it good to be here?
Isn't it great to have friends and a fine home and money?" she
said. "I have had such a struggle in my life. I have lived on one
meal a day and didn't know where the next meal was coming from. I
know what it is to be left alone in the world upon my own
discouraged and down and out. It was in my little back-room, the
only home I had, that I began to write songs. I wrote them for my
heart and what the struggles were teaching me. No one is more
surprised and grateful that the world seems to love my songs and
asks for more of them."
The woman was Carrie Jacobs-Bond, who wrote "The Perfect Day,"
simple little songs so full of the pathos and philosophy of life
that they tug at your heart and moisten your eyes.
No. Books of theory and harmony and expression only teach us how to
write the words and where to place the notes. These are not the
song, but only the skeleton into which our own life must breathe
the life of the song.
The woman who sat there clad in black, with her sweet, expressive
the University of Hard Knocks. She here became the song philosopher
loneliness, she never would have been able to write the songs that
appeal to the multitudes who have the same battles.
The popular song is the song that best voices what is in the
songs that are trashy and voice the tawdriest human impulses, yet
it is a tribute to the good elements in humanity that the
continue to hold their popularity.
Theory and Practice
My friends, I am not arguing that you and I must drink the dregs of
around me in the affairs of everyday life, that none of us will
success flows from the fullness of our experience just as the songs
came from the life of Carrie Jacobs-Bond.
The world is full of theorists, dreamers, uplifters, reformers, who
have worthy visions but are not able to translate them into
practical realities. They go around with their heads in the clouds,
looking upward, and half the time their feet are in the flower-beds
or trampling upon their fellow men they dream of helping. Their
the anvil of experience.
Many of the most brilliant theorists have been the greatest
There are a thousand who can tell you what is the matter with
things to one person who can give you a practical way to fix them.
anything you could think of was discussed, and perhaps the page. He
Indeed, in my childhood I thought he was the greatest man in the
world.
But he was one of the most helpless men I have ever seen in
himself. He could quote a page of John Locke, but somehow the page
didn't supply the one sentence needed for the occasion. The man was
a misfit on earth. He was liable to put the gravy in his coffee
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
The greatest book is the textbook of the University of Hard Knocks,
the Book of Human Experience the "sermons in stones" and the "books
Note the sweeping, positive statements of the young person.
Note the cautious, specific statements of the person who has lived
long in this world.
Our education is our progress from the sweeping, positive,
wholesale statements we have not proved, to the cautious, specific
Tuning the Strings of Life
Many audiences are gathered into this one audience. Each person
here is a different audience, reading a different page in the Book
different burden to carry. Each one of us has more trouble than
I know there are chapters of heroism in the lives of you older
ones. You have cried yourselves to sleep, some of you, and walked
the floor when you could not sleep. You have learned that "beyond
the Alps lieth Italy."
ago, and the wound has not healed. You think it never will heal.
for a little while. I know there are people in this audience in pain.
Never do this many gather but what there are some with aching hearts.
man talking about? I haven't had these things and I'm not going to
have them, either!"
sleep. You are going to walk the floor when you cannot sleep. Some
of you are going to know the keen sorrow of having the one you
For all lives have about the same elements. Your life is going to
be about like other lives.
And you are going to learn the wonderful lesson thru the years, the
bumps and the tears, that all these things somehow are necessary to
These bumps and hard knocks do not break the fiddle--they turn the pegs.
These bumps and tragedies and Waterloos draw the strings of the
pitch, where the discords fade from our lives and where the music
divine and harmonies celestial come from the same old strings that
had been sending forth the noise and discord.
Thus we know that our education is progressing, as the evil and
Memories of the Price We Pay
father being a country preacher, we had tin spoons. We never had to
tie a red string around our spoons when we loaned them for the
Do you remember the first money you ever earned? I do. I walked
several miles into the country those old reaper days and gathered
sheaves. That night I was proud when that farmer patted me on the
head and said, "You are the best boy to work, I ever saw." Then the
looked bigger than any money I have since handled.
Yet I was years learning it is much easier to make money than to
handle it, hence the tale that follows.
There is hope for green things. I was so tall and awkward then--I
haven't changed much since. I kept still about my age. I was
several dollars the lowest bidder. They said out that way, "Anybody
can teach kids." That is why I was a teacher.
My second, Make, em recite. That is, fill 'em up and then empty 'em.
My third and most important rule was, Get your money!
the time, to save money. I think I had all teaching methods in use.
With the small fry I used a small paddle to win their confidence and
arouse their enthusiasm for an education. With the pupils larger and
more muscular than their teacher I used love and moral suasion.
We ended the school with an "exhibition." Did you ever attend the
old back-country "last day of school exhibition"? The people that
day came from all over the township. They were so glad our school
was closing they all turned out to make it a success. They brought
great baskets of provender and we had a feast. We covered the
school desks with boards, and then covered the boards with piles of
Then we had a "doings." Everybody did a stunt. We executed a lot of
literature that day. Execute is the word that tells what happened
to literature in District No. 1, Jackson Township, that day. I can
shut my eyes and see it yet. I can see my pupils coming forward to
speak their "pieces." I hardly knew them and they hardly knew me,
for we were "dressed up." Many a head showed father had mowed it
with the sheepshears. Mother had been busy with the wash-rag--clear
back of the ears! And into them! So many of them wore collars that
stuck out all stiff like they had pushed their heads on thru their
I can see them speaking their "pieces." I can see "The Soldier of
the Legion lay dying in Algiers." We had him die again that day,
and he had a lingering end as we executed him. I can see "The boy
stood on the burning deck, whence all but he had fled." I can see
"Mary's little lamb" come slipping over the stage. I see the
There came a breathless hush as "teacher" came forward as the last
act on the bill to say farewell. It was customary to cry. I wanted
to yell. Tomorrow I would get my money! I had a speech I had been
saying over and over until it would say itself. But somehow when I
my eyes. Tears rolled down my cheeks until I could hear them
And my pupils wept as their dear teacher said farewell. Parents
them up, but they wept the more.
Next day I drew my money. I had it all in one joyous wad--$240. I
never got home with the money. Talk about the fool and his money
and you get very personal.
For on the way home I met Deacon K, and he borrowed it all. Deacon K
was "such a good man" and a "pillar of the church." I used to wonder,
confidence in the deacon.
Deacon K has gone from earth. He has gone to his eternal reward. I
scarcely know whether to look up or down as I say that. He never
but I paid all the money I got from it--two hundred and forty
thirteen-mile-a-day dollars to learn one thing I could not learn
from the books, that it takes less wisdom to make money, than it
Which is no slap at the church, but at its worst enemies, the foes
Calling the Class-Roll
imagine most lecturers have a hard time lecturing in the home town.
Their schoolmates and playmates are apt to be down there in the
front rows with their families, and maybe all the old scores have
not yet been settled. The boy he fought with may be down there.
Perhaps the girl who gave him the "mitten" is there.
And he has gotten his lecture out of that home town. The heroes and
villains live there within striking distance. Perhaps they have
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
where twenty-one years before I had stood to deliver my graduating oration,
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,
Then I went back to the little hotel and sat up alone in my room
half the night living it over. Time was when I thought anybody who
could live in that hotel was a superior order of being. But the
time had come when I knew the person who could go on living in any
a picture of the school in that town that had been taken twenty-one
years before, just before commencement. I had not seen the picture
these twenty-one years, for I could not then afford to buy one. The
alone with a picture of your classmates taken twenty-one years
charge of the world. They were so glad the world had waited so long
on them. They were so willing to take charge of the world. They
There was one boy in the class who was not naturally bright. It was
not the one you may be thinking of! No, it was Jim Lambert. He had
intellect. He was "conditioned" into the senior class. We all felt
As commencement day approached, the committee of the class
appointed for that purpose took Jim back of the schoolhouse and
broke the news to him that they were going to let him graduate, but
they were not going to let him speak, because he couldn't make a
speech that would do credit to such a brilliant class. They hid Jim
on the stage back of the oleander commencement night.
Shake the barrel!
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
going to Confess was raising the best corn in the county, and his
wife was speaker of the house.
Most of them were doing very well even Jim Lambert. Jim had become
the head of one of the big manufacturing plants of the South, with
a lot of men working for him. The committee that took him out
behind the schoolhouse to inform him he could not speak at
marked, "Mr. Lambert, Private." They would have to send up their
cards, and the watchdog who guards the door would tell them, "Cut
it short, he's busy!" before they could break any news to him
They hung a picture of Mr. Lambert in the high school at the last
alumni meeting. They hung it on the wall near where the oleander
you do not seem to learn like some in your classes can you not get
a bit of cheer from the story of Jim?
that school picture and the twenty-one years. There were fifty-four
young people in that picture. They had been shaken these years in
the barrel, and now as I called the roll on them, most of them that
Out of that fifty-four, one had gone to a pulpit, one had gone 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
almost every note on the keyboard of human possibility had been
struck by the one school of fifty-four.
When that picture was taken the oldest was not more than eighteen,
yet most of them seemed already to have decided their destinies.
The twenty-one years that followed had not changed their courses.
The only changes had come where God had come into a life to uplift
that the foolish dreams of success faded before the natural
unfolding of talents, which is the real success. I saw better that
"the boy is father to the man."
The boy who skimmed over his work in school was skimming over his
work as a man. The boy who went to the bottom of things in school
was going to the bottom of things in manhood. Which had helped him
to go to the top of things!
Jim Lambert had merely followed the call of talents unseen in him
twenty-one years before.
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
on trading knives and getting the better of people. Now, twenty-one
years afterwards, he was doing time in the state penitentiary for
forgery. He was now called a bad man, when twenty-one years ago
when he did the same things on a smaller scale they called him
The "perfectly lovely" boy who didn't mix with the other boys, who
combed, and said, "If you please," used to hurt me. He was the
teacher's model boy. All the mothers of the community used to say
to their own reprobate offspring, "Why can't you be like Harry?
He'll be President of the United States some day, and you'll be in
believe Mr. Webster defines a model as a small imitation of the
because he hadn't the energy to be anything else. It was the boys
who had the hustle and the energy, who occasionally needed
I have said little about the girls of the school. Fact was, at that
age I didn't pay much attention to them. I regarded them as in the
way. But I naturally thought of Clarice, our social pet of the
class--our real pretty girl who won the vase in the home paper
beauty contest. Clarice went right on remaining in the social
spotlight, primping and flirting. She outshone all the rest. But it
popularity for success. The boys voted for her, but did not marry
her. Most of the girls who shone with less social luster became the
happy homemakers of the community.
But as I looked into the face of Jim Lambert in the picture, my
heart warmed at the sight of another great success--a sweet-faced
these years to support a home and care for her family. She had kept
her grace and sweetness thru it all, and the influence of her
The Boy I Had Envied
Frank was the boy I had envied. He had everything--a fine home,
a loving father, plenty of money, opportunity and a great career
Everybody said Frank would make his mark in the world and make
the town proud of him.
I was the janitor of the schoolhouse. Some of my classmates will
never know how their thoughtless jeers and jokes wounded the
sensitive, shabby boy who swept the floors, built the fires and
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,
roll up my sleeves and go to work in the "devil's corner" to earn
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.
How easy it is to see as you look backward. But how hard it is to
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
at a grave and read on the headstone, "Frank."
I had the story of a tragedy--the tragedy of modern unpreparedness.
It was the story of the boy who had every opportunity, but who had
all the struggle taken out of his life. He never followed his
a fortune, broke his father's heart, shocked the community, and
It revived the memory of the story of Ben Hur.
Do you remember it? The Jewish boy is torn from his home in
committed. Ben Hur did not get a fair trial. Nobody can get a fair
trial at the hands of this world. That is why the great Judge has
said, judge not, for you have not the full evidence in the case. I
alone have that.
Then they condemn him. They lead him away to the galleys. They
chain him to the bench and to the oar. There follow the days and
long years when he pulls on the oar under the lash. Day after day
he pulls on the oar. Day after day he writhes under the sting of
the lash. Years of the cruel injustice pass. Ben Hur is the
That seems to be your life and my life. In the kitchen or the
the oar and pulling under the sting of the lash of necessity. Life
seems one futureless round of drudgery. We wonder why. We often
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.
Why must we pull on the oar?
How blind we are! We can only see our own oar. We cannot see that
they, too, pull on the oar and feel the lash. Most likely they are
looking back at us and envying us. For while we envy others, others
But look at the chariot race in Antioch. See the thousands in the
circus. See Messala, the haughty Roman, and see! Ben Hur from the
galleys in the other chariot pitted against him. Down the course
dash these twin thunderbolts. The thousands hold their breath. "Who
will win?" "The man with the stronger forearms," they whisper.
There comes the crucial moment in the race. See the man with the
stronger forearms. They are bands of steel that swell in the
forearms of Ben Hur. They swing those flying Arabians into the
inner ring. Ben Hur wins the race! Where got the Jew those huge
forearms? From the galleys!
Had Ben Hur never pulled on the oar, he never could have won the
Sooner or later you and I are to learn that Providence makes no
mistakes in the bookkeeping. As we pull on the oar, so often lashed
by grim necessity, every honest effort is laid up at compound
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
on--when we win the victory, strike the deciding blow, stand while
those around us fall--and it is won with the forearms earned in the
galleys of life by pulling on the oar.
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,
and for the circumstances that compelled it.
But I am a very grateful pupil in the first reader class of The
The Book in the Running Brook
THERE is a little silvery sheet of water in Minnesota called Lake Itasca.
There is a place where a little stream leaps out from the lake.
"Ole!" you will exclaim, "the lake is leaking. What is the name of
So even the Father of Waters has to begin as a creek. We are at the
cradle where the baby river leaps forth. We all start about alike.
It wabbles around thru the woods of Minnesota. It doesn't know
where it is going, but it is "on the way."
to the place where all of us get sooner or later. The place where
Paul came on the road to Damascus. The place of the "heavenly vision."
It is the place where gravity says, "Little Mississippi, do you
want to grow? Then you will have to go south."
The little Mississippi starts south. He says to the people,
"Goodbye, folks, I am going south." The folks at Itascaville say,
get out of the county." That is a fact, but he is not trying to get
out of the county. The Mississippi is only trying to go south.
The Mississippi knows nothing about the Gulf of Mexico. He does not
He goes a foot south, then another foot south. He goes a mile
goes on south. He picks up another stream and grows some more. Day
My friends, here is one of the best pictures I can find in nature
orations, especially in high school commencements, entitled, "The
Value of a Goal in Life." But the direction is vastly more
important than the goal. Find the way your life should go, and then
We do not have to figure out how far we have to go, nor how many
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
we flow. All of us can start! And then go on south!
not at the end of the journey, for there is no end. Success is
every day in flowing and growing. The Mississippi is a success in
You and I sooner or later hear the call, "Go on south." If we
haven't heard it, let us keep our ear to the receiver and live a
more natural life, so that we can hear the call. We are all called.
It is a divine call--the call of our unfolding talents to be used.
Remember, the Mississippi goes south. If he had gone any other
Three wonderful things develop as the Mississippi goes on south.
3. He blesses the valley, but the valley does not bless him.
You never meet the Mississippi after he starts south, but what he
The Mississippi gets to St. Paul and Minneapolis. He is a great
river now--the most successful river in the state. But he does not
Do you know why the Mississippi goes on south? To continue to be
the Mississippi. If he should stop and stagnate, he would not be
the Mississippi, river. he would become a stagnant, poisonous pond.
As long as people keep on going south, they keep on living. When
they stop and stagnate, they die.
That is why I am making it the slogan of my life--GO ON SOUTH AND
GROW GREATER! I hope I can make you remember that and say it over
each day. I wish I could write it over the pulpits, over the
schoolrooms, over the business houses and homes--GO ON SOUTH AND
GROW GREATER. For this is life, and there is no other. This is
education--and religion. And the only business of life.
You and I start well. We go on south a little ways, and then we
retire. Even young people as they start south and make some little
their press notices. Their friends crowd around them to congratulate
them. "I must congratulate you upon your success. You have arrived."
So many of those young goslings believe that. They quit and get
canned. They think they have gotten to the Gulf of Mexico when they
have not gotten out of the woods of Minnesota. Go on south!
We can protect ourselves fairly well from our enemies, but heaven
Success is so hard to endure. We can endure ten defeats better than
one victory. Success goes to the head and defeat goes to "de feet."
It makes them work harder.
The Plague of Incompetents
The one who keeps on going south defies custom and becomes unorthodox.
But contentment with present achievement is the damnation of the race.
The mass of the human family never go on south far enough to
become good servants, workmen or artists. The young people get a
smattering and squeeze into the bottom position and never go on
south to efficiency and promotion. They wonder why their genius is
not recognized. They do not make it visible.
Nine out of ten stenographers who apply for positions can write a
few shorthand characters and irritate a typewriter keyboard. They
a stenographer. They mangle the language, grammar, spelling,
capitalization and punctuation. Their eyes are on the clock, their
minds on the movies.
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.
Half of our life is spent in getting competents to repair the
No matter how well equipped you are, you are never safe in your job
I could not play so well with such little practice." The poor
fellow did not know how poor a fiddler he really was. Well did
is the opiate that Nature administers to deaden the pains of mediocrity.
are so prone to say, "I am aging rapidly." It pays to advertise. We
always get results. See the one shrivel who goes around
We say, "I've seen my best days." And the undertaker goes and
Go on south! We have not seen our best days. This is the best day
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
eternal youth. It is the one who stops who "ages rapidly." Each day
We have left nothing behind but the husks. I would not trade this
moment for all the years before it. I have their footings at
compound interest! They are dead. This is life.
Yesterday I had a birthday. I looked in the glass and communed with
You children cheer up. Your black hair and auburn hair and the other
Don't worry about gray hair or baldness. Only worry about the location
of your gray hair or baldness. If they get on the inside of the head,
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
have quit going on south and have gotten gray on the inside--or bald.
These same corporations send out Pinkertons and pay any price for
gray-headed men--gray on the outside and green on the inside. They
are the most valuable, for they have the vision and wisdom of many
years and the enthusiasm and "pep" and courage of youth.
The preacher, the teacher--everyone who gets put on the retired
The most wonderful person in the world is the one who has lived
years and years on earth and has perhaps gotten gray on the
outside, but has kept young and fresh on the inside. Put that
person in the pulpit, in the schoolroom, in the office, behind the
ticket-window or on the bench--or under the hod--and you find the
whole world going to that person for direction, advice, vision,
lecture a good while. I am almost ashamed to tell you how long, for
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.
the "limit." I shiver as I think what I was saying then. I want to
go on south shivering about yesterday. These years I have noticed
the people on the platform who were contented with their offerings,
were not trying to improve them, and were lost in admiration of
what they were doing, did not stay long on the platform. I have
watched them come and go, come and go. I have heard their fierce
invectives against the bureaus and ungrateful audiences that were
"prejudiced" against them.
Birthdays are not annual affairs. Birthdays are the days when we
have a new birth. The days when we go on south to larger visions.
From what I can learn of Methuselah, he never grew past copper-toed
The more birthdays we have, the nearer we approach eternal youth!
The spectacle of Sarah Bernhardt, past seventy, thrilling and
gripping audiences with the fire and brilliancy of youth, is
inspiring. No obstacle can daunt her. Losing a leg does not end her
acting, for she remains the "Divine Sarah" with no crippling of her
work. She looks younger than many women of half her years. "The
ninety-two was working as hard and hopefully as any man of the
multitudes in his employ. He was an ardent Odd Fellow, and one day
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 last man on the bench did not rise. He helplessly looked up at
the senator and said, "Senator, you'll have to excuse me from
get up, either."
"That's all right. But, my man, how old are you?"
The senator at ninety-two was younger than the man "past sixty,"
When I was a little boy I saw them bring the first phonograph that
Mr. Edison invented into the meeting at Lakeside, Ohio. The people
cheered when they heard it talk.
But the people said, "Mr. Edison has succeeded." There was one man
south. A million people would have stopped there and said, "I have
arrived." They would have put in their time litigating for their
rights with other people who would have gone on south with the
on south. A young lady succeeded in getting into his laboratory the
other day, and she wrote me that the great inventor showed her one
I doubt if there are ten men in America who could go on south in
the face of seven thousand failures. Today he brings forth a
what he has said to reporters and what he said to the young lady,
"I have not succeeded. I am succeeding. All I have done only shows
me how much there is yet to do."
What a difference between "ed" and "ing"! The difference between
Moses, the great Hebrew law-giver, was eighty years old before he
even get on the back page of the Egyptian newspapers till he was
eighty. He went on south into the extra editions after that!
If Moses had retired to a checkerboard in the grocery store or to
pitching horseshoes up the alley and talking about "ther winter of
fifty-four," he would have become the seventeenth mummy on the
thirty-ninth row in the green pickle-jar!
Imagine Moses living today amidst the din of the high school
orations on "The Age of the Young Man" and the Ostler idea that you
time" when he becomes the leader of the Israelite host.
I would see his scandalized friends gather around him. "Moses! Moses!
what is this we hear? You going to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land?
And keep out of the night air. It is so hard on old folks."
I see Moses at eighty starting for the Wilderness so fast Aaron
can hardly keep up. Moses is eighty-five and busier and more
enthusiastic than ever. The people say, "Isn't Moses dead?" "No."
They appoint a committee to bury Moses. You cannot do anything in
America without a committee. The committee gets out the invitations
and makes all the arrangements for a gorgeous funeral next
Thursday. They get ready the resolutions of respect--
Then I see the committee waiting on Moses. That is what a committee
does--it "waits" on something or other. And this committee goes up
to General Moses' private office. It is his busy day. They have to
stand in line and wait their turn. When they get up to Moses' desk,
the great prophet says, "Boys, what is it? Cut it short, I'm busy."
The committee begins to weep. "General Moses, you are a very old
man. You are eighty-five years old and full of honors. We are the
committee duly authorized to give you gorgeous burial. The funeral
Why, boys, every hour is taken next Thursday. I simply cannot
They cannot bury Moses. He cannot attend. You cannot bury anybody
who is too busy to attend his own funeral! You cannot bury anybody
until he consents. It is bad manners! The committee is so
mortified, for all the invitations are out. It waits.
Moses is eighty-six and the committee 'phones over, "Moses, can you
to hold that funeral until I get this work pushed off so I can
The committee waits. Moses is ninety and rushed more than ever.
himself. But he makes the committee wait.
Moses is ninety-five and burning the candle at both ends.
He is a hundred. And the committee dies!
is a hundred and twenty. Even then I read, "His eye was not dim,
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
us, Go on south to the greater things, and get so enthused and
absorbed in our going that we'll fool the "committee."
All the multitudes of the Children of Israel died in the Wilderness.
They were afraid to go on south. Only two of them went on south--
Joshua and Caleb. They put the giants out of business.
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
and the dodo.
The "Sob Squad"
I am so sorry for the folks who quit, retire, "get on the shelf" or
They generally join the "sob squad."
They generally discover the world is "going to the dogs." They cry
on my shoulder, no matter how good clothes I wear.
They tell me nobody uses them right. The person going on south has
not time to look back and see how anybody uses him.
They say nobody loves them. Which is often a fact. Nobody loves the
They say, "Only a few more days of trouble, only a few more
they do with them when they get them there? They would be dill
pickles in the heavenly preserve-jar.
They say, "I wish I were a child again. I was happy when I was a
child and I'm not happy now. Them was the best days of my life
again is confessing he has lost his memory. Anybody who can remember
the horrors of childhood could not be hired to live it over again.
If there is anybody who does not have a good time, if there is
anybody who gets shortchanged regularly, it is a child. I am so
Waiting till the "Second Table"
I wish I could forget many of my childhood memories. I remember the
palmy days. And the palm!
I often wonder how I ever lived thru my childhood. I would not take
I had advantages. I was born in a parsonage and was reared in the
nurture and admiration of the Lord. I am not just sure I quoted
about all there was to inherit. I cannot remember when I was not
hungry. I used to go around feeling like the Mammoth Cave, never
children going sadly into the next room to "wait till the second
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
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
dinner ready. She would cook up about all the "brethren" brought in
at the last donation. We had one of those stretchable tables,
and mother would stretch it clear across the room and put on two
table-cloths. She would lap them over in the middle, where the hole was.
I would watch her get the big dinner ready. I would look over the
long table and view the "promised land." I would see her set on the
jelly. I don't just remember if they had blue jelly, but if they
had it we had it on that table. All the jelly that ever "jelled"
meeting" day. I would watch the jelly tremble. Did you ever see
I would see mother put on the tallest pile of mashed potatoes you
ever saw. She would make a hollow in the top and fill it with
butter. I would see the butter melt and run down the sides, and I
would say, "Hurry, mother, it is going to spill!" O, how I wanted
And then Elder Berry would sit down at the table, at the end
nearest the fried chicken. The "company" would sit down. I used to
"company" had to come and gobble it up. They would fill the table
and father would sit down in the last seat. There was no place for
me to sit. Father would say, "You go into the next room, my boy,
and wait. There's no room for you at the table."
The hungriest one of that assemblage would have to go in the next
room and hear the big dinner. Did you ever hear a big dinner when
you felt like the Mammoth Cave? I used to think as I would sit in
the next room that heaven would be a place where everybody would
eat at the first table.
I would watch them thru the key-hole. It was going so fast. There
was only one piece of chicken left. It was the neck. O, Lord, spare
the neck! And I would hear them say, "Elder Berry, may we help you
to another piece of the chicken?"
And Elder Berry would take the neck!
Many a time after that, Elder Berry would come into the room where
I was starving. He would say, "Brother Parlette, is this your
boy?" He would come over to the remains of Brother Parlette's boy.
My head was not the place that needed the benediction.
When all the chicken was gone and he had taken the neck! "My boy,
you are seeing the best days of your life right now as a child."
The dear old liar! I was seeing the worst days of my life. If there
is anybody shortchanged--if there is anybody who doesn't have a
and today is the best day of all. Go on south!
days. Of course, you can be happy as a child. A boy can be happy
more like mine like a piece of sandpaper. There are chapters of
A child can be full of happiness and only hold a pint. But
afterwhile the same child will hold a quart.
I think I hold a gallon now. And I see people in the audience who
for joy. Our life is one continual unfolding as we go south.
Afterwhile this old world gets too small for us and we go on south
into a larger one.
So we cannot grow old. Our life never stops. It goes on and on
forever. Anything that does not stop cannot grow old or have age.
will never grow old, for God cannot grow old. You and I will go on
today it is such a relief to look people in the face and say,
think if people in an audience only knew how little I know, they
But some day I shall know! I patiently wait for the answer. Every
day brings the answer to something I could not answer yesterday.
As the Mississippi River goes on south he finds obstacles along the
They have built a great concrete obstacle clear across the path of
the river. It is many feet high, and many, many feet long. The
river cannot go on south. Watch him. He rises higher than the
Over the great power dam at Keokuk sweeps the Mississippi. And then
you see the struggle of overcoming the obstacle develops light and
power to vitalize the valley. A hundred towns and cities radiate
the light and power from the struggle. The great city of St. Louis,
many miles away, throbs with the victory.
So that is why they spent the millions to build the obstacle--to
get the light and the power. The light and the power were latent in
the river, but it took the obstacle and the overcoming to develop
Obstacles are the power stations on our way south!
And where the most obstacles are, there you find the most power to
southward and we see the obstacles in the road. "I am so
unfortunate. I could do these great things, but alas! I have so
many obstacles in the way."
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
ring up the hearse, for you will be a "dead one."
Life is going on south, and overcoming the obstacles. Death is
The fact that we are not buried is no proof that we are alive. Go
along the street in almost any town and see the dead ones. There
they are decorating the hitching-racks and festooning the
storeboxes. There they are blocking traffic at the postoffice and
depot. There they are in the hotel warming the chairs and making
the guests stand up. There they are--rows of retired farmers who
they will never need anything more than burying.
For they are dead from the ears up. They have not thought a new
thought the past month. Sometimes they sit and think, but generally
they just sit. They have not gone south an inch the past year.
Usually the deadest loafer is married to the livest woman. Nature
They block the wheels of progress and get in the way of the people
trying to go on south. They say of the people trying to do things.
They do not join in to promote the churches and schools and big
brother movements. They growl at the lyceum courses and chautauquas,
because they "take money outa town." They do not take any of their
money "outa town." Ringling and Barnum & Bailey get theirs.
I do not smile as I refer to the dead. I weep. I wish I could
squirt some "pep" into them and start them on south.
But all this lecture has been discussing this, so I hurry on to the
last glimpse of the book in the running brook.
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.
The Mississippi blesses the valley every day as he goes on south
and overcomes. But the valley does not bless the river in return.
The valley throws its junk back upon the river. The valley pours
its foul, muddy, poisonous streams back upon the Mississippi to
defile him. The Mississippi makes St. Paul and Minneapolis about
all the prosperity they have, gives them power to turn their mills.
But the Twin Cities merely throw their waste back upon their
The Mississippi does not resign. He does not tell a tale of woe. He
I am not going a step farther south. I am going right back to Lake
Itasca." No, he does not even go to live with his father-in-law.
few miles below the Twin Cities and see how, by some mysterious
alchemy of Nature, the Mississippi has taken over all the poison
and the defilement, he has purified it and clarified it, and has
made it a part of himself. And he is greater and farther south!
He fattens upon bumps. Kick him, and you push him farther south.
Civilization conspires to defeat the Mississippi. Chicago's
drainage canal pollutes him. The flat, lazy Platte, three miles
wide and three inches deep; the peevish, destructive Kaw, and all
those streams that unite to form the treacherous, sinful,
irresponsible lower Missouri; the big, muddy Ohio, the Arkansas,
the Red, the black and the blue floods--all these pour into the
Day by day the Father of Waters goes on south, taking them over and
purifying them and making them a part of himself. Nothing can
discourage, divert nor defile him. No matter how poisonous he
Wonderful the book in the running brook! We let our life stream
become poisoned by bitter memories and bitter regrets. We carry
along such a heart full of the injuries that other people have done
to those around us. We say, "I can forgive, but I cannot forget."
As you go on south and bless your valley, do you notice the valley
does not bless you very much? Have you sadly noted that the people
you help the most often are the least grateful in return?
Don't wait to be thanked. Hurry on to avoid the kick! Do good to
others because that is the way to be happy, but do not wait for a
We get so discouraged. We say, "I have gone far enough south."
There is nobody who does not have that to meet. The preacher, the
teacher, the editor, the man in office, the business man, the
father and mother--every one who tries to carry on the work of the
church, the school, the lyceum and chautauqua, the work that makes
we sit down completely discouraged and say, "I'm done. I'm going to
quit. I have done my share. Nobody appreciates what I do. Let
Stop! You are not saying that. The evil one is whispering that into
successful tool is discouragement, which is a wedge, and if he can
get the sharp edge started into your thought, he is going to drive
You do not go south and overcome your obstacles and bless the
YOU ARE SAVING YOURSELF BY SAVING OTHERS. GO ON SOUTH!
ourselves that we are working to do good, when as we do the good,
us a medal or resolutions, we want to quit. That is why there are
so many disappointed and disgruntled people in the world. They worked
for outside thanks instead of inside thanks. They were trying to
be personal saviours. They say this is an ungrateful world.
O, how easy it is to say these things, and how hard it is to do them!
Reaching the Gulf
But because the Mississippi does these things, one day the train I
I watched them pile the steel train upon a ferry-boat. I watched
the boat crossing a river more than a mile wide. Standing upon the
ferry-boat, I could look down into the lordly river and then far
north perhaps fifteen hundred miles to the little struggling
streamlet starting southward thru the forests of Minnesota, there
writing the first chapter of this wonderful book in the running brook.
I thank God that I had gone a little farther southward in my own
life. Father of Waters, you have fought a good fight. You are
conquering gloriously. You bear upon your bosom the commerce of
you get in the right channel, saw you learn the lessons of your
And may we read it into our own lives. May we get the vision of
which way to go, and then keep on going south--on and on, overcoming,
getting the lessons of the bumps, the strength from the struggle
Where shall we stop going south? At the Gulf of Mexico?
The Mississippi knows nothing about the gulf. He goes on south
until he reaches the gulf. Then he pushes right on into the gulf as
many miles right out into the gulf.
And when he comes to the end of his physical banks, he pushes on
south into the gulf, and goes on south round and round the globe.
south. So we push our physical banks years farther into the gulf.
into the great Gulf of the Beyond, to go on south unfolding thru eternity.
The Defeats that are Victories
HOW often we say, "I wish I had a million!" Perhaps it is a
blessing that we have not the million. Perhaps it would make us
other people to make them lazy, selfish and unhappy.
O, the problem is not how to get money, but how to get rid of
money with the least injury to the race!
Perhaps getting the million would completely spoil us. Look at the
wild cat and then look at the tabby cat. The wild cat supports
itself and the tabby cat has its million. So the tabby cat has to
If the burden were lifted from most of us we would go to wreck.
Necessity is the ballast in our life voyage.
When you hear the orator speak and you note the ease and power of
his work, do you think of the years of struggle he spent in
preparing? Do you ever think of the times that orator tried to
mortified and broken-hearted? Thru it all there came the
When you hear the musician and note the ease and grace of the
performance, do you think of the years of struggle and overcoming
necessary to produce that finish and grace? That is the story of
the actor, the author and every other one of attainment.
Do you note that the tropics, the countries with the balmiest
climates, produce the weakest peoples? Do you note that the
The tropics are the geographical Gussielands.
blessings in disguise. People go to the devil with full pockets;
they turn to God when hunger hits them. "Is not this Babylon that
I have builded?" says the Belshazzar of material prosperity as he
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
to crack their heads before they can think, knock them down before
they can stand, break their hearts before they can sing, and
bankrupt them before they can be rich.
Do you remember that they had to lock John Bunyan in Bedford jail
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?
remembered had he lived the life of luxury planned for him? He had
to be blinded before he could see the way to real success. He had
to be scourged and fettered to become the Apostle to the Gentiles.
humanity. What throne-rooms are some prisons! And what prisons are
some throne-rooms!
Do you not see all around you that success is ever the phoenix
rising from the ashes of defeat?
Then, children, when you stand in the row of graduates on
For that is the only way to say, "Success to you!"
Go Up the Mountain
that you are saving us from ourselves. But O, how most of us must
great bump that struck me one morning in Los Angeles. It seemed as
dog is wounded he crawls away alone to lick his wounds. I felt like
the wounded dog. I wanted to crawl away to lick my wounds.
That is why I climbed Mount Lowe that day. I wanted to get alone.
It is a wonderful experience to climb Mount Lowe. The tourists go
up half a mile into Rubio Canyon, to the engineering miracle, the
triangular car that hoists them out of the hungry chasm thirty-five
hundred feet up the side of a granite cliff, to the top of Echo Mountain.
Here they find that Echo Mountain is but a shelf on the side of
Mount Lowe. Here they take an electric car that winds five miles on
towards the sky. There is hardly a straight rail in the track.
There are places where the tourist wants to grasp his seat and
lift. There is a wooden shelf nailed to the side of the perpendicular
rockwall where his life depends upon the honesty of the man who drove
the nails. He may wonder if the man was working by the day or by the job!
He looks over the edge of the shelf downward, and then turns to the other
side to look at the face of the cliff they are hugging, and discovers
there is no place to resign!
The car is five thousand feet high where it stops on that last shelf,
Alpine Tavern. One cannot ride farther upward. This is not the summit,
but just where science surrenders. There is a little trail that winds
upward from Alpine Tavern to the summit. It is three miles long
To go up that last eleven hundred feet and stand upon the flat rock
at the summit of Mount Lowe is to get a picture so wonderful it
cannot be described with this poor human vocabulary. It must be
lived. On a pure, clear day one looks down this sixty-one hundred
feet, more than a mile, into the orange belt of Southern California.
It spreads out below in one great mosaic of turquoise and amber
and emerald, where the miles seem like inches, and where his
field-glass sweeps one panoramic picture of a hundred miles or more.
Just below is Pasadena and Los Angeles. To the westward perhaps
forty miles is the blue stretch of the Pacific Ocean, on westward
the faint outlines of Catalina Islands. The ocean seems so close
one could throw a pebble over into it. How a mountain does reduce
distances. You throw the pebble and it falls upon your toes!
And Mount Lowe is but a shelf on the side of the higher Sierras.
The granite mountains rise higher to the northward, and to the east
This is one of the workshops of the infinite!
All alone I scrambled up that three-mile trail to the summit. All
alone I stood upon the flat rock at the summit and looked down into
the swimming distances. I did not know why I had struggled up into
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
valley below, and dully watched the clouds spread wider and blacker.
Afterwhile the valley was all hidden by the clouds. I knew rain
must be falling down there. The people must be saying, "The sun
doesn't shine. The sky is all gone." But I saw the truth--the sun
was shining. The sky was in place. A cloud had covered down over
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
could see all this because I had gone above the valley. I could see
above the clouds.
the clouds of trouble today, BUT THE SUN IS SHINING!
I must go on up the mountain to see it.
The years have been passing, the stormclouds have many times hidden
my sun. But I have always found the sun shining above them. No
matter how black and sunless today, when I have struggled on up the
mountain path, I have gotten above the clouds and found the sun
Each day as I go up the mountain I get a larger vision. The miles
that seem so great down in the valley, seem so small as I look down
upon them from higher up. Each day as I look back I see more
clearly the plan of a human life. The rocks, the curves and the
struggles fit into a divine engineering plan to soften the
steepness of the ascent. The bumps are lifts. The things that seem
so important down in the smudgy, stormswept valley, seem so
unimportant as we go higher up the mountain to more important
Today I look back to the bump that sent me up Mount Lowe. I did not
see how I could live past that bump. The years have passed and I now
know it was one of the greatest blessings of my life. It closed one
gate, but it opened another gate to a better pathway up the mountain.
Late that day I was clambering down the side of Mount Lowe. Down in
the valley below me I saw shadows. Then I looked over into the
southwest and I could see the sun going down. I could see him sink
lower and lower until his red lips kissed the cheek of the Pacific.
The glory of the sunset filled sea and sky with flames of gold and
fountains of rainbows. Such a sunset from the mountain-side is a
The shadows of sunset widened over the valley. Presently all the
valley was black with the shadow. It was night down there. The
people were saying, "The sun doesn't shine." But it was not night
where I stood. I was farther up the mountain. I turned and looked
up to the summit. The beams of the setting sun were yet gilding
Mount Lowe's summit. It was night down in the valley, but it was
day on the mountain top!
Child of humanity, are you in the storm? Go on upward. Are you in
the night? Go on upward.
For the peace and the light are always above the storm and the
I am going on upward. Take my hand and let us go together. Mount Lowe
showed the way that dark day. There I heard the "sermons in stones."
material things where the storms have raged.
But I shall be on the mountain top. I shall look down upon the
night, as I am learning to climb and look down upon the storms. I
shall be in the new day of the mountain-top, forever above the night.
I shall find this mountain-top just another shelf on the side of
the Mountain of Infinite Unfolding. I shall have risen perhaps only
the first mile. I shall have millions of miles yet to rise.
This will be another Commencement Day and Master's Degree. Infinite
the number on up. "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have
entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared
for them that love Him."
ANOTHER BEGINNING
The Big Business of Life
This book proves that the real big business is that of getting our
Judge Ben B. Lindsey, the kids' Judge, says:
ought to buy them by the gross and send them to their friends."
Dr. J. G. Crabbe, President of the State Teachers College,
"The Big Business of Life is a real joy to read. It is big and
The Augsberg Teacher, a Magazine for Teachers, says:
"In The Big Business of Life we have the practical philosophy
that it is everyone's business to abolish work and turn this
world into a playground. Who will not confess that many
mortals take their work too seriously, and that to them it is a
find it when we are bending to our duties is to possess the
secret of living to the full. And happiness is to be sought
within, and not among the things that lie at our feet. The
a smile, and beneath each one is a bit of wisdom it would do us
a world of good to learn. It recalls the saying of the wise man
Many who have read The Big Business of Life
write us that they think it is even better than "The
University of Hard Knocks," which, they add, is
The Best is Yet to Come
The Salvation of a Sucker
You Can't Get Something for Nothing
These booklets by Ralph Parlette are short stories adapted from
chapters in "The University of Hard Knocks."
John C. Carroll, President of the Hyde Park State Bank of Chicago,
bought 1000 copies of the booklet "It's Up to You!" and of it he
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
own vice president, and they all want another copy to send to some
friend. I would rather be author of it than president of the bank."
Up to You!" for their workers.
William Jennings Bryan says of the booklet "Go On South": "It is
one of the great stories of the day."
Charles Grilk of Davenport, says: "My two children and I read the
Mississippi River story together and we were thoroly delighted."
Instruct us to send one of these booklets to your friends. It will
delight them more than any small present you can make.
End of Project Gutenberg etext of "The University of Hard Knocks"
Change
[Articles] / [Words] > Change
Mahatma Gandhi: You must be the change you wish to see in the world
http://www.change.org/
http://livingclimatechange.com/
Worldchanging 101: An Anniversary Collection http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/010573.html
CHANGE NOW!
In the Gita, Lord Krishna warns us that lust, anger and greed are
the gateways to hell. And in his Universal Prayer, Gurudev prays
jealousy. And so it is in most religions. These are the sort of
However, perhaps from the point of view of a spiritual teacher,
these types of sins can be secondary to habits and ways of living
progressive enterprise can stand almost anything in a person except
their desire to find a comfort level. The one thing that is most
difficult to fight is inertia-people being satisfied where they
Sometimes spiritual teachers can be confusing in that they preach
against the well-known sins, yet surrounding them they tolerate
people who are not living up to the virtues that they are preaching.
But perhaps those people are not suffering from the worst sin of all
from a spiritual point of view which is inertia. If a person is
willing to change then there is always hope, but if they are self-
satisfied, if they have found a comfort level, if there is inertia,
then even if their normal sins are at a minimum, from a higher point
of view they are hopeless because they are not willing to move. In
addition, they may be suffering from spiritual pride, thinking that
they are better than most others because they are not committing the
Our spiritual teachers, gurus, and the scriptures are calling us to
we want. From their higher point of view, that is the ultimate sin.
The thing that counts is that we be flexible enough to move, that we
surrender ourselves to that one Spirit that is the Indweller of all
Therefore, each one of us must constantly examine our lives. Have we
found a comfort level? Are we no longer willing to change? Have we
lost interest in a new angle of vision? This is the real test of our
level, if inertia has set in, then we can dream as much as we want
willing to change, and that is what all the scriptures and all our
gurus are calling us to. That has always been their central message.
Have another angle of vision. Change now!
Robert Blackwill
personal thoughts about how this country has shaped me
during these past two years.
Notwithstanding my many inadequacies and the
persistence of Maya, the ever-present veil of
the great storyteller, and because I am soon leaving
Shortly after my arrival, I took the train from New
Delhi to Mumbai to see and feel the land and people of
India. You must understand that I love to ride the
rails. Paul Theroux, the glorious American writer who
was my friend in the Peace Corps in Africa more than
the train soothed and comforted me and stimulated my
So let’s quickly take the train around India, pausing
in Delhi before we begin. Learning about the seven
Narayanan in the Rashtrapati Bhawan, hearing my name
read out by an official with the deepest voice on the
planet. I so wished that my mother, Roma from South
there to see her boy, Bobby Dean, on that splendid
I was astonished to find myself there. She would not
Visiting Humayun’s tomb with US Secretary of the
Americans fell behind you Indians very early on in the
Uttaranchal - the heat, the dust, and the glacial
source of the Ganga. Like so much of India, alpha and
omega provide conflicting context. The vale of
told me, was as close to heaven as one could get on
this earth. Ladakh’s high plateau with the Buddhist
prayer flags flapping in the mountain wind. Sugar in
the last two months. I will now treasure that for the
Manali to Leh, listening to jazz all the way. Want to
Think about it. I recall speaking to jawans on the
meaning to the word tough. Listening enraptured to a
male singer accompanied by a harmonium in the Golden
performance, but barely. However, here is a real
offer to join that dance team. I can only conclude
that they could not find my address in India. I could
be wrong, but my guess is that they are still trying
to locate the mysterious long legged whirling dervish
As I speak with you today, perhaps they will see me on
ready to dance, fast or slow. It liberates me. How
about you? As you can hear, I could go on along these
As has been said, the world is divided into two parts
- those who have seen the Taj Mahal, and those who
have not. I am proud to be in the first, still too
exclusive group. The Shatabdi Express transported me
there and back in great comfort. A wonderful train.
All of Rajasthan entrances me. The noble Rajput
favourite, the medieval walled city of Jaisalmer, land
of the Bhatti princes, born of the moon. Parapets into
the sky. On some nights, there must be stars nowhere
else above the planet because they all seem to be over
Jaisalmer. I am surprised some city in northern Europe
has not sued Jaisalmer for stealing all the stars. Be
sure and take your sunglasses along when you go there
— to deal with the starry nights. Standing in
Jaisalmer, close your eyes for a moment and see the
on the street might have said to me, “yes, they came
The Jain Dilwara Temples at Mount Abu. Exquisite
wonders of the world. As has been so often the case
I needed more than two lifetimes there and elsewhere
in this uncommon land. Let me go on following the map
and the train tracks. Inspired by the endurance and
courage of the Gujaratis as they recover from the
breathing pure oxygen. I cannot get enough of it.
expressionism in New York in the 1940’s and 50’s
(Pollack, Kline and the rest). What a special treat.
Exploring the Ajanta and Ellora caves and their wall
paintings of people who felt all of the emotions that
especially the elements of abiding love.
Kerala; world class IT in Bangalore; the game park
near Mysore where I first heard of the Columbia
Kalpana; the blend of Hindu and Islamic architecture
in Chennai; the elephant carvings at Mamallapuram; the
exquisite culture of Kolkata; the flowers and forests
of Sikkim and the border at Nathula with no shortness
of breath; the Northeast, Kaziranga and the
In these places, my omnipresent security detail from
the Indian police - my gunmen as a good friend called
them — who accompanied me everywhere in India, who
kept me safe, and who were ready to give their lives
ever so slightly. The form and function of Indian
wish I owned two dozen of the originals. Or one.
with the classical. The Vedas and the Upanishads.
They mean so much more when I read them here: “It is
the ear of the ear, the mind of the mind, the speech
of speech, the breath of breath, and the eye of the
eye. When freed (from the senses) the wise, on
departing from this world, become immortal.”
day in this country. The living symbolic power in this
ancient civilization, the abiding aura, of — the tree.
Of the circle. Of the triangle. Arranged marriages.
The fourteen hundred years of Islam in India. Friday
prayers. The Indian novel in English. Who is writing
better fiction today than these folks? Mesmerising
and therefore of particular meaning and comfort to me.
The mighty Himalayas. They humble even Blackwill, at
least when he is in sight of them and it isn’t a
cloudy day. Can we move them to the Potomac to give me
more balance and perspective? I would not be the only
one in Washington who would be grateful. Fabulous
cuisines. India is unquestionably the only country in
the world where this Kansas lad raised on beefsteaks
my relatives back on the mid-West farms. Holi.
enveloping colours. The Bengal tigers in the wild at
Ranthambhore. How could they be more in command? I
could use their skills in my new responsibilities back
home, and have sent them an email with a job offer.
The Monsoon that rains life into India. Surely this
happens by God’s grace. The singular smell and sound
as the drops strike the parched earth. Like so much of
any of this, the remembrances of the character of the
with me - of countless individuals over these two
imagination. I could not repay their kindnesses to
Wera and me no matter how many times I was
Before I close these, my final ambassadorial remarks
in India, I want to deal briefly with another subject.
views against terrorism. In these feelings, to a
considerable extent I draw on the white hot
Bush — and on the September 11 attacks on the American
homeland. But on this subject, like so many others,
started to read regularly the Indian press. It was
then that for the first time I encountered the
terrorism mounted as the snow fell and melted in
Terror against India that rose and fell with the
seasons, year after year after year. By the time that
I left the United States for India in the summer of
2001, this very personal death count that I was
keeping had reached hundreds. And, for me, these were
single person — an individual man, woman, child — with
family, loved ones, friends. They each have a name.
Just like us, they each had a life to lead. These are
our mothers, our fathers, our brothers, our sisters,
snuffed out by the killing hand of terror.
No respectable religion could excuse these merciless
acts. No moral framework could sanction these
abominations. No political cause could justify these
murders of innocents. And yet, they go on. But, my
friends, these terrorist outrages against my country
know this from the Ramayana, and many other holy
We will win the war on terrorism, and the United
States and India will win it together - because we
a word about India’s religious beliefs. Someone once
said, “the most sublime purpose of religion is to
teach how to know God.” India has been working on that
these two years to experience, and to profit from,
these profound wellsprings of Indian spirituality.
I will return to India. How could it be otherwise?
Thank you, my friends, for listening to these, my
personal musings. And, thank you India for every
single thing that I have discovered here. Mother India
has changed my life — forever.
Puthucode
Puthucode is a picturesque village situated in idyllic surroundings in the central part of Kerala. It is located almost on the westernmost boundary of Alatur taluk in Palghat district, and is a border village lying between Palghat and Trichur districts. One of the oldest temples dedicäled to Goddess Bhagawathi, known as Puthucode Bhagawathi is situated in this village. The temple is located at the centre of a habitation of great Vedic Scholars, all around which live people of Hindu society serving the temple. In essence, the temple formed the centre of activity for the whole villagers catering to their spiritual, cultural and social needs. Due to several factors, the temple came under the management of Naduvil Madam Devaswoms and little is known of the period earlier to this. It is believed that in the days past, a Sanyasi by name Manjapotta Swamji camped in Puthucode, and the villagers gifted the temple and properties to him, thus establishing that the temple belonged to the villagers.
Most of the inhabitants in the immediate surroundings of the temple are Brahmins, who live in four Agraharams radiating at right angles from the temple. They were mostly Vedic and Sanskrit scholars. Many families were proficient in other fine arts like Carnatic music, and music instruments. This was the situation in the olden days. A few among them went out and acquired modern education becoming teachers, lawyers and judges. Some took up Government jobs. After this, under the onslaught of the changed times, steady migration of old inhabitants to other parts looking for new avenues of life took place. To day very few descendants of the old inhabitants live in the village.
A description about the Temple and the Daily Rituals:
The temple occupies extensive ground. It is difficult to find a temple in Kerala with such large and wide four-squared construction called “Chuttambalam”. It has been built on the principles of Agamasastra. The daily rituals are held according to traditional Kerala customs. Cherumukku Manaikkal Nambudiris hold the right as its head priest. But the daily poojas are done by immigrant Brahmin. The present day poojas are done by Sri Ka3i who is heir to a tradition left behind by his father and grand-father, who like him were also performing the poojas. The temple opens for worship everyday at 5.30 a.m. and closes at 10 a.m. Again it reopens for evening worship at 4.30 p.m. Closing at 9 p.m. The deity is a Prasannatha Moorthy Swaroopini casting spell on worshippers by her radiant smile and charm. It needs thousand eyes to behold the beauty and splendour of the goddess in full decoration in the evenings. Srinivasa lyer’s deft hands who is an adept in sandal paste decoration called “Chandana charthu” contribute a great deal in this transformation (Now his son Kasi).
The temple is open to all belonging to Hindu society. In the mornings the pundits from village recite Devi Mahatmyam and Sundarakandam for the welfare of all. In the evenings recitation of vedas by the learned takes place and particular mention must be made of Varam recitals in the month of November/December which bring to the fore the great erudition, skill, and knowledge of the participants. The younger generation also assembles in evenings for community recital of Shyamaladandakam and Sahasranamam. The Variyam, Nambisan and Marar families carry out the other chores in the temple.
The lands, both agricultural and poromboke and the forests in and around the village belong to th? temple. Those who own Dewaswom lands are bound by covenants to pay annuity to the temple by way of cash, paddy and oil. According to this practice, the temple has an annual income of 7,000 paras (measures) of paddy annually. The temple is administered by the Naduvil Madom Devaswom who have totally eighteen temples under their control. A manager to look after the day to day work of the temple is appointed for each temple. The manager is responsible to collect annuities from those who keep temple lands, pay wages for staff, maintain temple accounts and property and arrange for celebration of temple festivals.
One of the most important festivals of the temple is Navarathri festival which falls in September/October each year. This festival is celebrated by the joint efforts of the villagers and the Devaswom with great gusto. An air of festivity descends on the village for ten days during this time. It is a custom of this temple that, those who come to worship during these ten days are fed free. The deity is therefore called ‘Annapoorneswari.”
A few prominent citizens who took active steps for getting the Agrasala constructed, paving the “Seeveli Panthi” all round the temple with granite and erecting a copper flag mast are Maniyan Pattali, Ambiseshan Rama Pattar, Gopala Warrior, Manjapra Seshamani Iyer and Mannappadam Swaminatha Vadhyar could be mentioned among many others. Another individual who took active interest both in the village and temple affairs is Sri. P.R. Anantha Narayana Vadhyar, who was respected for his organising ability as much as for his knowledge of the rituals, sastras and the Vedas.
The temple Devaswom has encouraged the daily recitation of Devi Mahatmya, Sundarakanda, Sama and Yajur Vedas and Thula Purana for which appropriate provision has been earmarked for payment of Dakshina to the participants.
A special mention must be made here about the Navarathri festival. The festival begins in the first day after the new moon day in the month of Kanni. After the flag hoisting ceremony in the hours following the sun set, which is attended by all the villagers, they are received with traditional honours by the Devaswom Manager in the Agrasala who requests them to CO-operate in the conduct of the Navarathri celebrations. This is followed by the cutting of vegetables by all those present signifying the start of the preparations for the temple feeding of Bhaktas from the following morning.
The next nine days are really memorable. Each of the four villages is assigned particular days on which they will take the responsibility for decorations, lighting of lamps, feeding the Bhaktas, processions and other services both in terms of labour and money. Each villagewise with one another to make their participation more showy and colourful. Thus there is a friendly rivalry between the four villages in the conduct of the festivals.
The distribution of Navarathri festival days is as follows:
On the 6th, 7th and 8th Vilakku, the procession of the caparisoned elephants is taken out to the respective villages both in the morning and evening. The festival is conducted in typical Kerala style with Pánchavadyam, Melam, decorated umbrellas and chamarams held aloft over caparisoned elephants followed by fire works.
It is a feast to the eyes and ears, reminiscent of the Trichur Pooram in a small way. The villages are decorated with buntings and arches. In the evening the whole village is turned in fairly land by coloured electric lighting. The temple is aglow with a million oil lamps around the prakaras. Flower decorations beauty and sanctity to the temple, while the sweet scent pervades the atmosphere. The deity and sanctum sanctorum receive special artistic treatment in the hands of Kasi who turns the Niramala and Niravilakku into something which belongs to Devaloka. The goddess Bhagawathy rediates a special charm and glows like a thousand sun, captivating every one with Her benign smile casting a spell on those who come to worship her. The evening Deeparadhana is a special sight to behold and there is no doubt that the entire atmosphere is transformed into a highly electrifying one. A feeling of intense bhakthi and devotion hithe~rto unknown descends on the devotees giving them a blissful feeling who stand entranced beholding the enchanting form of the deity and pouring out superlatives praising Her many qualities. There is no doubt that the all benevolent Devi responds to their devotion by showering her blessings as can be noticed from the satisfaction and peace descending on the faces of the devotees. After the Deeparadhana, recitation of Shyamaladandaka and Sahasrananla by the younger folks follows. Kelikottu, Thayampaka, Padakam and Chakyar Koothu follow this till late in the night to give mass entertainment. Again at midnight caparisoned elephants are taken out in procession through the village, importance being given to Pandi Melam. Lighted torches called ‘Panthams’ are the lighting media which throw off a reddish radiance. With this that day’s Navarathri festival concludes. The next day’s celebrations start all over again under the charge of the village which is next in the preassigned list.
The three important days of the festival, viz., 6th, 7th and 8th vilakku are conducted in a spirit of friendly rivalry between the three villages who spend lot of money in the celebration.
For feeding of devotees on Navarathri days, several families of the village have bequethed land to the Devaswom in the days gone by. For example the feeding on the 6th day has been traditionally done in the name of “Nanupattar Sadya” whose family has endowed land to the Devaswom for this purpose.
The successive managers of the temple and the trustees appointed by the Naduvilamadam DevaswOm and later by the H.R.E. Board have upheld and encouraged the traditions of the temple. Not only that, they have taken interest to set aside funds for starting new religious activities in the temple, for example when Pakaravur Parameswaran Nambudiri was the manager, orders were passed for assigning 50 measures (para) of paddy annually to Siva temple of the village and a suitable amount was sanctioned for teaching young boys of the village in Sama and Yajur Vedas.
Over the years, many have gifted away to this temple lamps, silver, and gold ornaments. A register is kept enlisting such assets. Justice P.R. Sundara lyer, has gifted gold crown and necklaces. For daily decorations, silver ornaments are used. On special occasions like Navarathri, gold ornaments are specially brought from Bank and the deity is decorated.
The changing times also affected the fortunes of temples all over India but particularly those in Kerala. Puthucode Bhagawathi temple was no exception. After the Government took over Devaswom lands the annuity fixed for the temple was grossly insufficient. Also the income of the temple from the devotees fell because of migration of people from the village. Due to these, the conduct of daily pujas and rituals at the temple were affected and conditions become very precarious to the extent that it had to depend upon the manificenco of the villagers for paddy and oil to conduct daily pujas on a day to day basis.
The difficult times of the temple also affected the fortunes of the villagers. Deprived of the income from lands many villagers became on the verge of starvation and had to emigrate. The younger generation went out taking with them their elders. Thus the village became depleted and the source and sustenance of the temple were affected.
Finding that the allotment of paddy by Devaswom to the temple is not able to meet even one tenth of the minimum required to perform rituals and the oil will not last one hour even on a depleted scale of burning lamps for the poojas the villagers went from house to house and arranged for five measures of rice, quarter kilo oil and twenty five paise for performing daily poojas. Even such individual efforts did not find suitable response from the Devaswom side. As a result of all these developments, SAPCO, Sri Annapoorneswari Pooja Co-ordinators — was established by the villagers in 1982. The immediate aim of SAPCO was resotratjon of the age old traditional daily poojas by collecting funds, which will be outside the Devaswom control. The efforts started by the villagers has gathered momentum and the daily poojas are now being performed without any hitch thanks to the funds collected by SAPCO. Encouraged by the work of SAPCO many villagers came forward to help in understanding renovation and repairs to the temple which were basically required to keep the structure intact was done between 1982—85 and a Kumbhabhishekam was performed in February 1986.
After the Kumbhabhishekam in 1986, the day to day rituals in the temple is being conducted as it was in the olden days with the co-operation and financial support of the Devotees at large.
In the year 1992 SAPCO undertook an extensive effort to new the dilapidated structures of the temple at a cost of Rs. 40.00 lakhs. It was also decided to do a Naveekarana Kalasam and Kumbhabhishekam after the completion of the repairs/renovation.
By Her Grace, and with the active support and participation of Her Devotees, the repairs as well as the Naveekarana Kalasam could be conducted in May 1997.
Puthucode - a quite tranquil village situated in Kerala, India is known for the age old ANNAPORNESWARI TEMPLE and SIVA TEMPLEs and its yearly navaratri festivals celebrated year after year with lots of pomp and show.
Puthucode is located in Palghat district, Kerala, India on the Plaghat - Trichur national high way, 35 KM from Palghat and 5 KM off Vadakkancheri.
This site is still under preperation and intentions are to use this site as a common information ground for all Puthucodians settled all over the world and as a common platform to express their opinions.
Intentions are to develop a large address book of email address and other particulars of all Puthucodians and forward any news letters from SAPCO or other temple related festivals once the site is fully established
Any person interested in submitting any material by way of photographs /images/ text/ or any reading material related to puthucode gramam or SIVA - Bhagawati temples may forward same to captmahesh@yahoo.com.
Please watch out for other articles in this site shortly

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