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____Day one (first day for this Wiki)
Mind -- Friend or Foe?
You talk about no-mind, but how does that work in everyday life?
Osho excerpts on this:
The mind is a beautiful instrument if you know how to be a no-mind too.
The Book of Wisdom, Number 7
You say: "Please say something about mind and action in witnessing." In witnessing, mind remains only as a biocomputer, a mechanism, but separate from you; you are no longer identified with it. When you want any memory you can use the mind just as you can put on your tape recorder. Mind is really a tape recorder. But it is not continuously on, not twenty-four hours on. When needed, the witness, the man of meditation, the man of awareness, is capable of putting the mind on or off. He puts it on when there is some need....
When you are witnessing, the mind remains, but not constantly working. Your identity is broken. You are the watcher; the mind is the watched. It is a beautiful mechanism, one of the most beautiful mechanisms that nature has given to you. So you can use it when needed for factual memory -- for phone numbers, for addresses, for names, for faces.... It is a good tool, but that's all it is. It need not sit upon you continuously twenty-four hours a day. Even while you are sleeping, it is sitting on your chest torturing you, giving you nightmares. All kinds of relevant and irrelevant thoughts
A person can use his mind when working on matter; then logic is a great instrument. And the same person can put aside the mind when he moves into his meditation chamber and moves into the no-mind. Because mind is not you -- it is just an instrument just like my hand, just like my legs. If I want to walk I use my legs, if I don't want to walk I don't use my legs. Exactly in the same way you can use the mind logically if you are trying to know about matter. It is perfectly right, it fits there. And when you are moving inwards, put it aside. Now legs are not needed; thinking is not needed. Now you need a deep silent state of no-thought.
And this can happen in one person. And when I say it, I say it from my own experience. I have been doing both. When it is needed, I can become as logical as any Greek. When it is not needed, I can become as absurd, illogical as any Hindu. So when I say it I mean it, and it is not a hypothesis. I have experienced It that way. The mind can be used and can be put aside. It is an instrument, a very beautiful instrument; no need to be so obsessed with it. No need to be so fixed, fixated with it. Then it becomes a disease. Just think of a man who wants to sit but cannot sit because he says, "I have legs -- how can I sit?" Or, think of a man who wants to keep quiet and silent and cannot keep quiet and silent because he says, "I have a mind." It is the same.
One should become so capable that even the closest instrument of mind can be put aside and can be put off. It can be done, it has been done, but it has not been done on a great scale. But more and more it will be done. This is what I am trying to do here with you.
I have heard you say that knowledge is useless.
No, I have not said that. Knowledge is very useful -- wisdom is useless! Knowledge is needed in the marketplace, in business, in politics. Everywhere knowledge is needed -- in technology, in science -- everywhere knowledge is needed. Knowledge is very useful, utilitarian; wisdom is absolutely useless, but that's its beauty. It is not a commodity, you cannot use it in any way; you cannot sell it, you cannot purchase it. It does not belong to the utilitarian world; it is a flowering....
Remember, the outside world is the world of utility; the inside world is the world of significance, not of utility. The outside world has a totally different dimension -- there it is needed. You need bread, you need butter, you need a house, you need medicine, you need clothes, shelter; you need thousands of things. But the inner world is simply of luxury; it is not a need, it is a joy. It is a sheer rejoicing.
The Goose Is Out , Number 2
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."
His companion said, "But what about worthiness? I don't know who is worthy and who is not worthy. Who have I to bring?"
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?"
Obviously nobody is worthy.
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."
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."
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."
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.
What is wrong with being in a hurry?
[Articles] > What is wrong with being in a hurry?
From some book I remember this sentence: "For the pilgrim to reach his destiny, it's essential to move instantly, but without hurry. It is so urgent that he reaches his destiny, that there is no time to hurry." Could you please comment on this?
You have got caught into a verbiage; otherwise the message is very simple.
First...the situation is every moment urgent for the simple reason that you cannot rely on the next moment; whether it will come or not is not in your hands. So every moment we are living in urgency. If you want to do something, do it now and here, because how can you postpone it?
Secondly, you say, "From some book I remember this sentence: `For the pilgrim to reach his destiny, it is essential to move instantly...'"
Certainly if you want to come to yourself you should not lose a single moment, because there is always a possibility that death may interfere. But you must have got into trouble because the sentence certainly comes from some great mystic... "but without hurry."
Move instantly because it is urgent, but without hurry, because in hurry you are not together, in hurry you are always late, in hurry you forget the essentials, in hurry you need time. Just to be in a hurry you will require time--and there is no time. This moment is all and all, and the situation is urgent.
You have been born without your agreement, without a contract, even without your permission; that was not in your hands. You will die without any advance information, without fixing a date and time--that is not in your hands. Once dead you cannot complain; and not yet born you are nowhere. To whom should existence ask, "Do you want to be born or not?"
So what you have really got in your hands, solid and real, is only this moment, in which you can act intelligently or stupidly; in other words, in which you can act as a meditator or as a mediocre....
But the statement is really beautiful. You got into a puzzle because you cannot think what kind of madness this is. First you say it is urgent, and urgency creates hurry; then you deny that there should be hurry, but the question is so urgent that you should start instantly. You got puzzled into the words. I will tell you how one can get puzzled into beautiful words.
Two men met at a bar and struck up a conversation. After a while one of them said, "You think you have family problems? Listen to my situation. A few years ago I met a young widow with a grown-up daughter and we got married. Later, my father married my stepdaughter. That made my stepdaughter my stepmother, and my father became my stepson. Also, my wife became the mother-in-law of her father-in-law.
"Then the daughter of my wife, my stepmother, had a son. This boy was my half brother because he was my father's son, but he was also the son of my wife's daughter, which made him my wife's grandson. That made me the grandfather of my half brother.
"This was nothing until my wife and I had a son. Now the sister of my son, my mother-in-law, is also my grandmother. This makes my father the brother-in-law of my child, whose stepsister is my father's wife.
"I am my stepmother's brother-in-law; my wife is her own child's aunt, my son is my father's nephew and I am my own grandfather. And you think you have family problems?"
The statement is very clear: the situation is urgent because you have no guarantee for the next second. You have to start instantly because you cannot postpone--the future is not insured--and yet you cannot be in a hurry because hurry takes time.
So silently, peacefully, without hurry, without any tension, without any anguish, move into yourself instantly. It is urgent. Unless meditation becomes urgent to you, it will never happen; you will die before it. Put meditation on your laundry list as the most important, urgent...number one.
But meditation in your life is just at the very end of your laundry list--and the laundry list goes on becoming bigger and bigger. And before you finish your laundry list, you are finished, so the time for meditation never comes.
There is no time for hurry, there is no time for worry; in a single moment what can you do? Only one thing: you can settle within yourself. That will be the great transformation of your being. And certainly it is the most urgent thing--which we have been trying to postpone as long as possible.
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I feel so much anger towards my mother....
Below is Osho's reply to a similar question:
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.
It is just like you are sitting on the bank of a silent lake and you throw a small pebble into the lake. The pebble is so small that it creates a small circle at first, but circle after circle...and they go on spreading to the far ends, as far as the lake can take them. And it was only a small pebble.
Just create a small ripple of right individuality and it will reach to many people -- and certainly to those who are most closely related to you. They will see it first, and they will understand with great awe. They will not believe their eyes because all that they know of religion is the Sunday church, where nothing happens. They have been going every Sunday their whole lives, and they come back home just the same.
In the name of religion they know only the Bible or the Koran or the Gita and they have been reading it and nothing happens, because they don't know one thing -- that you are a living being and a book is dead. And the man in the church who is delivering a sermon is just a professional. He has prepared the sermon from the books, and he goes on repeating the same sermons. Nobody listens, so nobody catches him. He is repeating the same sermon that he delivered two months before. Nobody listened that time, and nobody is listening this time. And you know that that sermon cannot change you because that sermon has not changed the preacher himself. He is just as mundane as you are -- perhaps more. I used to know a Jaina monk who was a very simple man, almost a simpleton. He asked me, "How many lectures do you have?"
I said, "This is a very difficult question. Until I am finished with my life, I will not know."
He said, "I have only three: one is for ten minutes, one is for twenty minutes, one is for thirty minutes, depending on the occasion. Sometimes in a conference you have only ten minutes. I have a ready-made, ten minute lecture. If they give me twenty minutes, I have a twenty minute lecture. If they give me thirty minutes, I have a thirty minute one. More than that is not possible, because nobody is interested in listening too much. People want a short cut."
He said, "Nobody has said anything about it to me, and I have been using these three lectures my whole life. Wherever I go -- to the temples, colleges, and universities where I talk -- I ask, `How many minutes? Ten, twenty, thirty?' Whatever they want, my lecture is ready. And I have repeated the same lecture so many times that now I don't feel nervous. I can repeat the lecture without thinking at all!"
Now do you think listening to such a man is going to transform you? -- or anybody? But every Christian missionary is doing that.
One of the most famous, world-renowned Christian missionaries was Stanley Jones. He was very friendly with me but he became very angry and then the friendship was broken. He was an old man, a friend of Mahatma Gandhi, and Mahatma Gandhi respected him very much. He used to come to the city where I was living and he stayed in the house of one of my friends. He had printed cards -- ten cards or twenty cards for his whole lecture -- and he would put the cards on the table. He would start lecturing, and he would go on changing the cards.
He became very angry with me because I mixed up his cards! So he was saying something and it was not on the card. He almost had a nervous breakdown. He looked at all the cards and it was not there. That card I had taken out. And he said, "Today I am not feeling well. I am feeling sick, so I will not be speaking."
And he asked the host, "Who has done this?"
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.
Practice of Meditation
A mother calls her teenage daughter to go and have lunch, but there is no response. The call is repeated twice, thrice; still there is no response. The girl just does not hear, though her ears are very much open. Nor is she deaf. What could be the reason, then, for her not hearing? Her mind is immersed in a Sherlock Holmes or a Harold Robbins; her eyes are glued to the lines; her face is buried in the book.
In the dilapidated building of an elementary school, the class is on. The teacher explains something and then asks the children, "Did it enter?". There is an instant response from the backmost bench: "Only the tail has not entered yet!". The earnest voice belongs to a boy who has been all along intently watching the struggle of a rat to wriggle out of the class room through a hole in the wall. It has managed to squeeze in its body, but its tail is still not gone in. Perhaps the hole is blocked.
These are everyday examples of concentration. Attention, concentration, meditation-these are different degrees of the same process. It is fixing the mind on a single object or idea to the exclusion of everything else.
In his book, "Concentration and Meditation", holy Master Sivananda presents a most beautiful scene to illustrate what is meant by concentration. In this, Dronacharya tests the power of concentration of his students, the Pandavas. A basin of water is placed on the ground. Above, a clay bird is kept rotating. The archer hat to hit the bird by looking at its reflection in the water.
Drona: "O Yudhishthira, what do you see?"
Yudhishthira: "O Acharya (teacher), I see the bird to be aimed at, the tree on which it is sitting and yourself also."
Sahadeva: "I see the bird to be aimed at, yourself, Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishthira, the horses, carriages, all the onlookers, several cows, etc."
That is concentration. Arjuna's is the power of concentration. Concentration, when developed, becomes meditation.
Yoga is an exact science. Asanas and Pranayama (Yoga postures and breathing exercises) perfect the body. Service and charity expand the heart. Prayer, Japa (repetition of the Lord’s Name), Kirtan (singing devotional songs) and other devotional practices purify the mind and make it more subtle. The aspirant is now fully equipped for the last lap of the journey. It is the toughest part of the pilgrimage to God. It is full of darkness and the aspirant has to pierce this darkness with his purified mind. The purified mind is the most dependable weapon in the armoury of the spiritual aspirant.
The purified mind must be made to concentrate. Concentration is mental focussing. The mind can be focussed on a concrete object or an abstract idea. For a novice, concentration becomes easy if the object of concentration is concrete. Also, the beginner should choose a pleasing object on which to concentrate. Only thus can he prevent the mind from wandering away from the object of concentration. To start with, concentration can be practised on the flame of a candle, the tick-tick sound of a clock, the star in the sky, the picture of OM or the picture of one's lshta Devata (personal God). This should be followed by concentration on a suitable spiritual centre within the body. The Sadhak may concentrate with closed eyes on the space between is the eyebrows or on the tip of the nose. There is nothing which cannot be achieved by concentration.
Concentration should be followed by meditation. Meditation is nothing but protracted or sustained concentration. A scientist has to concentrate on a problem, on a given subject, on a riddle, to bring out the answer, to solve it. He has to think, think and think. Then only the answer flashes forth. Likewise, meditation is intense concentration, concerted concentration on the problem of life, on the problem of the inexplicable triad of God, man and the universe. While concentration becomes essential even to solve small problems in science, what to speak of the problem of life which has baffled humanity since time immemorial? The Sadhak (aspirant) who wants God must meditate, meditate and meditate.
Meditation can be practised on any image of the Lord. This is concrete meditation. After some practice, the aspirant will be able to visualise the form of the image even with closed eyes. Meditation can also be practised on abstract ideas and on various Vedantic formulae such as "I am Eternity", "I am Infinity" and so on.
Reading of profound scriptural texts like the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutras (revealed texts of the Hindus) requires intense concentration. Such reading itself is a mild form of meditation. It should be followed by contemplation on what was read. Repeated meditation on a single idea will bring out a wealth of knowledge on that idea.
While meditating on a particular object or idea, various extraneous thoughts will try to enter the mind of the aspirant and interfere with his meditation. The aspirant should ignore these extraneous thoughts, be indifferent to them and repeatedly try to concentrate on the object of his meditation. Gradually, the frequency of interruption will be reduced and a time will come when meditation will give uninterrupted peace and bliss.
Meditation is digging deep into the mine of truth and wisdom. Swamiji asks the Sadhak to meditate and bring put his own Gita and Upanishads. Says the Master: "There is no knowledge without meditation. An aspirant churns his own soul. Truth becomes manifest".
Meditation confers peace and strength. Sivananda affirms that half an hour's meditation is sufficient to enable the aspirant to smilingly pass through a whole week's life in this world of problems and misery.
Meditation must be regular. Whenever the Sattvic (a state of calmness and purity) mood manifests and divine thought-currents begin to flow, the aspirant must sit down for meditation. Brahmamuhurtha (period between 4 am and 6 am), says the Master, is the ideal time for meditation. Why? He gives the answer:
"There is Sattva in the atmosphere
The atmosphere is calm
And the world is asleep.
The Raga-Dvesha (like-dislike) currents
When you enjoyed bliss without objects;
That real happiness is within.
Only Yogis, Jnanis (wise man) and sages are awake at this time.
Never miss the Brahmamuhurtha even for a day."
It is not possible to meditate the whole day. Without variety, the mind, especially of a beginner, will get tired . It is necessary to guard against this possibility. It is important that the aspirant should be protected from the monotony of one-sided spiritual practice leading to reaction and a return to worldly activity with a vengeance. The beauty of divine life lies in the fact that the seriousness of meditation is tempered with the joy of Kirtan, the happiness and strength of service, the peace of Japa and the understanding of Svadhyaya (reading of scriptures).
In the books of Yoga, the great Rishis (sages) distinguish between Bahiranga Sadhana and Antaranga Sadhana. Bahiranga Sadhana is outer Yoga or spiritual practices designed to perfect the outer instruments of body and Prana (vital- energy). These are the ethical practices and the Yogasana and Pranayama exercises. Once the body is perfected and the Nadis or astral tubes are purified through Pranayama practices, the spiritual seeker attains fitness to start the inner Yoga or Antaranga Sadhana. This includes Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana-sense abstraction, concentration and meditation. The senses and the mind must be withdrawn from the sense objects and the mind must be focussed on the God within. This is inner Yoga. The outer Yoga practices are to prepare the aspirant to gain fitness to practise this inner Yoga.
Where the necessary preparation is inadequate or wanting, meditation cannot succeed. Simply sitting cross-legged and closing the eyes, thinking the same worldly thoughts and building castles in the air, or falling into a semi- sleep is not meditation. A person who wants to meditate must be free from disease and desire, from cares and worries. He must be free from love and hatred, and from like and dislike. He must be soaked in Vairagya (dispassion). He must be able to sit firmly for hours together in the same posture. His breathing must be slow and even. His stomach must be free from constipation, free from gas and very light. when these conditions are not satisfied, meditation will remain just a pipe dream.
While meditation in itself constitutes. a very powerful attack on ignorance, Swami Sivananda suggests that the spiritual aspirant should practise Vichar also. Vichar is enquiry into the real nature of things. Vichara results in Viveka or discrimination between the real and the unreal. It helps the aspirant to sift the true from the false. Swamiji asserts that without cogitation, Truth cannot be known or realised. Vichara sharpens the intellect and leads to the discernment of the Truth that lies behind the phenomenal universe.
How should the aspirant reflect? The Master shows the way: "Who am I? What is Brahman (God)? What is this Samsara (process of worldly life)? What is the goal of life? How to attain the goal? How to attain freedom from births and deaths? What is the Svarupa of Moksha (Essential nature of liberation)? Whence? Where? Whither? Thus should the aspirant of liberation ever enquire, seeking to achieve the purpose of life". The justification for this method of Vichara or enquiry is contained in the saying, "As you think, so you become". By constant reflection on the Reality behind the appearances, the seeker attains oneness with the Reality and becomes that Reality itself.
Enquiry opens the aspirant's eyes to new vistas of knowledge. It leads him steadily to Truth. For instance, if the aspirant starts the "Who am I?" enquiry, he will soon find that he cannot equate himself with any one of his sense organs like the nose, the eyes or the ears, because even without one or more of these, he can live and life can pulsate in his veins. So, he is not the body. Nor is he the mind, because even during the unconscious and the deep sleep states, when the mind ceases to function, he exists and his heart throbs. Then, what is this 'I' in everybody? Swami Sivananda declares that the real 'I' is none, else than Brahman or the Atman who is the motive force behind all existence. It is He who thinks through the mind, sees through the eyes, eats through the mouth, hears through the ears and so on He is the Witnessing Consciousness who dwells in all beings. When a person gets up from deep sleep and says, "I enjoyed a sound dreamless sleep", it is this Witnessing Consciousness which remembers the fact that the body and the mind rested in sound sleep. It cannot be otherwise. The mind which was virtually dead during the deep sleep state could . not itself have consciously enjoyed a sound slumber and remembered it. The enjoyer is the Atman. Swamiji repeatedly advises the spiritual seeker to identify himself with this Atman which is his real Self and not with his perishable body. Constant identification with the Atman or the Witnessing Consciousness in oneself is a shortcut to spiritual success. The aspirant who adopts this technique will soon rise above body consciousness.
The secret of spirituality lies in realising one's essential nature. It is not becoming something outside of oneself. It is not as if man and God are separate and that man should go to a God who is external to him and merge in that God. No. God is already there, everywhere, Within us and outside of us. The body and the mind in which man is encased are mere illusions of an ignorant mind. God only is. All else is not. All else is only appearance. This appearance is made possible by the functioning of the mind. Meditation and enquiry enable the aspirant to feel, to realise that he is, after all, Brahman and not a bundle of body and mind. When divine wisdom dawns, the Sadhak realises his innermost Being. And being is Brahman.
Man himself is God and the entirety of Sadhana (spiritual practices) is meant to enable man to realise his God-nature, to realise that the God he has been searching for is his own Self. Initially, Yoga Sadhana purifies the mind. Later on, the seeker uses this purified mind, to concentrate and meditate on the God within; and at the deepest point of meditation, the purified mind melts in the God within and is itself lost there, destroyed there. And only God remains. Being remains. God-consciousness remains. A telling analogy given in the Yoga texts is the dry twig used in kindling a fire, where the twig itself is ultimately consumed in the fire. The purified mind is like this twig. It helps to kindle the fire of God-consciousness within, and in the process, is itself destroyed in that fire. In Samadhi (superconscious state), the mind melts in Brahman as camphor melts in fire. The separate identity of the individual soul vanishes. Only Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence- Consciousness-Bliss Absolute) prevails.
Occasionally people inquired about the spelling of his name, which differs
is a Tamil spelling of the Sanskrit Subhramunya (not be be confused with
Subramanya). It is formed from subhra meaning, "light; intuition," and muni,
of Hinduism's foremost and globally prominent spiritual teachers, a prolific
author and publisher of Hinduism Today magazine, attained Maha Samadhi,
"Great Union," today at age 74 at his ashram home on the tropical island of
discovered on October 9, soon after he returned from a 30-day pilgrimage to
Europe with 72 devotees, that he had advanced intestinal cancer. The disease
parts of his body. Three medical teams of radiologists and oncologists in
palliative measures. He also made the decision to follow the Indian yogic
nourishment and take water only from that day on. His doctors endorsed and
fully supported his decision. He died on the 32nd day of his self-declared
fast, passing on quietly at 11:54 pm on November 12, 2001, surrounded by his
News of his impending passage was first released to the Hindu world on
tradition, a saint's passing is considered an extremely auspicious and
exalted event, signalling the completion of his mission on Earth and his
to the remote island of Kauai to be nearby during the passage. The
whom Subramuniyaswami, the successor of Lanka's great guru Yogaswami, is
An outpouring of appreciation came from the local Kauai island residents
who, though not Hindus, had over the decades of his residence there
valued his spiritual presence and his generously given guidance and advice
on local island matters.
Before his passing, Subramuniyaswami consoled his sorrowful monks, telling
you all from the inner planes." Bereaved devotees arriving at the island
accordance with his directions, his ashes will be ceremonially interred
ashram's Siva Nataraja temple. His designated successor, Satguru Bodhinatha
As is traditional, the passage of a saint is not accompanied by the Hindu
saint's choosing is regarded as an auspicious event, one to be met with
gratitude for his life and not sorrow for his passage.
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
Himself -- has watered the roots of Hinduism with great zeal, faith,
said, "By his life and by his teaching, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami has
helped make Hinduism an even greater gift to humanity." Swami Agnivesh of
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
affectionate hug and his very kind words."
who had gained prominence over the decades for his practical and
and yoga techniques. He was equally famous as founder and publisher of
Hinduism Today, which evolved over 21 years from a simple newsletter to an
authoritative reporting on Hindu events, institutions, personalities, issues
and controversies around the world. Among his innovative projects are the
Endowment to perpetually fund worthy Hindu institutions and his
promoted Hinduism in the past 25 years. Among his other honors are being
Leaders held at the United Nations in August, 2000. This award was
idea who he was would approach him with reverence, anxious to meet this
inches tall, with deep hazel eyes. He maintained throughout much of his life
the chiseled body he had developed in his youth as an accomplished ballet
dancer. Even in his seventies he would occasionally dance for devotees, who
would be astounded by his strength and grace of movement. He had a keen yet
always impeccably groomed and fashionably dressed. His devotees loved his
sense of fun, maintained even upon his death bed, for when asked by a monk
A Mystic's Life, Decade by Decade
grew up near Lake Tahoe. He was orphaned by age 11 and raised by a family
with deep connections to India. In his teenage years he was trained in
classical Eastern and Western dance and in the disciplines of yoga, becoming
the premier danseur of the San Francisco Ballet by age 19. Increasingly
drawn to a spiritual life, he renounced his career at its height and sailed
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
Realization at just 21 years old, he met his satguru, Sage Yogaswami, in
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,
renunciate monasticism. Yogaswami then ordained the young mystic into his
lineage with a tremendous slap on the back, saying, "This will be heard in
Buddhist elders and founded Saiva Siddhanta Church, the world's first Hindu
Occasionally people inquired about the spelling of his name, which differs
is a Tamil spelling of the Sanskrit Subhramunya (not be be confused with
Subramanya). It is formed from subhra meaning, "light; intuition," and muni,
Sri Lanka, from which he wrote his first book, "Raja Yoga." This profound
masterpiece remains the core of his teachings. Yogaswami had told him not to
first Hindu temple, on Sacramento Street in San Francisco. In 1960 he
initiated his first monastic disciples and opened centers in Reno and
Virginia City, Nevada, and other areas of California. During this time he
welcomed Hindu swamis coming for the first time to America, including Swami
Chinmayananda, whom he extensively assisted in setting up his Chinmaya
Mission in California.
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
craftsmen, Zen and Hindu abbots and yogis. In recent years his Innersearch
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
founded the San Marga Iraivan Temple, and in 1979 he began publishing his
famed Hinduism Today magazine. He developed a large printing facility in
Virginia City, Nevada, and produced tens of thousands of his books and
It was during this decade that large numbers of Hindus began to emigrate
build temples and perpetuate Hinduism in their new countries. Often he would
the start of any project, with instructions to immediately begin His
community. He helped major institutions like the Chinmaya Mission and
Sringeri Peetham to put roots down in America, and lent his monks and legal
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.
Thus were dozens of temples built under his direct guidance or indirect
In the 80s, often as part of his Innersearch programs, he conducted Hindu
renaissance tours, meeting hundreds of thousands of Hindus in India and Sri
heritage. In 1983 he traveled throughout Sri Lanka with a few of his
monastics, visiting hundreds of villages, giving powerful talks in all parts
300,000 Hindus came to his discourses, which called for Hindus to have pride
chanting and offering flower petals beneath his long-striding feet. In
Siddhantin, A. P. C. Veerabhagu, lead Gurudeva and his 50-plus devotees from
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
government had invited him to revive a languishing Hindu faith. "Please come
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.
world's first functional publishing network, amazingly created by Gurudeva's
monastics. He enjoyed the technology and proficiently used it for his work.
This super-efficient system supercharged his prolific outreach through
Subramuniyaswami had come by this time to be well-known throughout the world
the late 1980s and the 1990s, in historic gatherings of spiritual and
parliamentary leaders, he represented Hinduism to discuss mankind's future
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
income for Hindu swamis, temples and orphanages worldwide and created a
stunning 3,000-page illustrated trilogy of sourcebooks on Saivism. The last
volume, titled Living with Siva, Hinduism's Contemporary Culture, arrived
from the printers in Malaysia shortly before his passing.
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
and wisdom. He urges all seekers to live a life of ahimsa, nonhurtfulness
towards nature, people and creatures, an ethic which includes vegetarianism.
From his ashram in Hawaii, Subramuniyaswami continued to follow his own
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
Saiva Siddhanta Yoga Order. This group of 14 initiated swamis with lifetime
converted or adopted Hinduism, Asians and Westerners. Made strong by decades
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
age 59, a disciple for 35 years.
This is an advaitic (non-dualist) Saiva Siddhanta order, a living stream of
the ancient Nandinatha Sampradaya. This lineage is bound by certain common
including reincarnation, karma and dharma, vegetarianism, noninjury toward
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
Throughout his life, Subramuniyaswami sought to establish, stabilize 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
Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, India, said, "All the Hindus of our global
his super compendium of books on Hinduism so carefully compiled, classified,
carefully arranged, edited and published. Today it can be unhesitatingly
proclaimed that he is a genius of Hinduism. He has put millions under a deep
debt of gratitude by his unprecedented literary work."
His trilogy, "Dancing with Siva," "Living with Siva" and "Merging with Siva"
are his foremost books. Each has been through several printings. All three
classes. "Dancing with Siva" is a modern Hindu catechism and resource book
in question and answer format on the basics of Hinduism. Central to "Living
with Siva" are his lengthy explanations of the traditional restraints and
observances of Hinduism and his 365 guidelines for Hindu living, of which
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
terminal illness. Upon hearing his medical prognosis, he meditated upon the
path ahead and considering the severity of his condition decided to fast to
death, a practice called prayopavesa in Sanskrit. He explained this
tradition in his final book, printed just days before his Mahasamadhi,
right consciousness, through the highest possible chakra, is a key to
a reasonable way, especially for the pain-riddled, disabled elderly and the
terminally diseased, to choose a righteous release. What wonderful wisdom.
all the karmic entanglements that inevitably produces. No life-support
dignity. No unbearable anguish. And no sudden or impulsive decision‹instead,
reflection and listening to favorite religious songs, with joyous release,
The third book, "Merging with Siva," is on mystical Hinduism,
Subramuniyaswami's speciality. It is a summation of his yogic and
practices. This master work, which is a kind of handbook for seekers of
light and serious aspirants wishing to follow the path toward illumination
work on Hinduism's favorite God; "Lemurian Scrolls," which explores the
origins of mankind on Earth; "Weaver's Wisdom," the best English translation
an administrative manual on his organization which has served to guide other
Hindu organizations in their efforts to transplant Hinduism on Western soil;
One book in particular, "How to Become a Hindu," published in 2000,
encapsulated one entire aspect of Subramuniyaswami's mission: clear and
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
Become a Better Hindu." The Shankaracharya of Puri, one of Hinduism's
foremost leaders, said it "will provide immense help to those who wish to
book also has greatly assisted with intermarriage of Hindus with those
Subramuniyaswami enjoyed promoting his books, and in the course of his
interested in his teachings an opportunity for a personal encounter with the
readers piled flowers at Gurudeva's feet. His helpers quickly learned that
Subramuniyaswami founded Hinduism Today magazine in 1979 to fulfill six
interested in Hinduism; 3) To dispel myths, illusions and misinformation
about Hinduism; 4) To protect, preserve and promote the sacred Vedas and the
renaissance; 6) To publish a resource for Hindu leaders and educators who
promote Sanatana Dharma. The magazine is supplemented with a daily e-mailed
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
a wide range of issues, people and institutions. Its website, along with
information, is by far the largest resource on Hinduism on the Internet
(start at www.himalayanacademy.com). A unique part of his website is "A
Daily Chronicle of Kauai's Hindu Monstery," at which his answers to
Ma Yoga Shakti, renowned teacher and Hinduism Today's Hindu of the Year for
2000, said, "We are very proud of Hinduism Today. For more than three
of Hinduism with great zeal, faith, enthusiasm and whole-heartedness." Sri
Chinmoy, famed for his peace efforts worldwide, said, "a uniquely powerful
and beautiful international magazine. Gurudeva has energized, inspired and
united Hindus throughout the world with his dynamic approach to an ancient
"Hinduism Today presents Hinduism's new global face. It takes a strategic
illiteracy among the Hindus of their heritage. It is easily the best
shortly after Subramuniyaswami had a powerful vision of God Siva walking on
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
raised, and India's greatest living architect, V. Ganapathi Sthapati, was
State, who so loved Gurudeva's vision of a temple carved in India and
devotees of Gurudeva, Jiva Rajasankara, with his wife and sons, were brought
to Bangalore to supervise the workers. The family oversees even today the
temple; the work is expected to take several more years to complete. At the
sanctum. This is the first all-stone temple ever built in the Western
Hemisphere, and one for which Subramuniyaswami has insisted upon the most
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
simple hammer and an array of chisels. Enshrined in the temple will be a
to represent God Siva in His transcendent state.
Special Issues
methods by other religions in India and other parts of the world. He put his
private. He also raised these controversies at various international
conferences and demanded standards be established for "ethical conversion."
At the moment when Nepal changed from a monarchy to a democracy in 1990, his
would be held back from this needy nation should Nepal declare itself
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
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,
with dozens of schools in India now forbidding corporal punishment, and
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
Within his own tradition of Saiva Siddhanta, Subramuniyaswami worked
throughout his life to create "pure Saivites," as he said shortly before his
passing. He accomplished this both through his publications and through his
personal teaching. Relying upon his own intuition and profound mystical
powers, he clarified and purified all of the Saivite teachings of his
tradition, discarding that which could not be substantiated through his own
inner experience. His staff researched thousands of topics and consulted
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
of disagreement. As a result, spiritual leaders of all traditions embraced
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
Tamils, the Saivites of Mauritius, Malaysia and Fiji and his fellow
land, train swamis and priests, maintain libraries, support pundits,
arbitrate theological issues, give spiritual counseling and teach. They have
the authority to clarify and reinterpret scripture and to revise customary
called upon to settle disputes in the community, to advise politicians, even
By far his greatest efforts and most focused energy went toward the 2.5
million Sri Lankan Tamils, especially after a disastrous civil war struck
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
Amman temple and visited other temple communities in Sweden, Norway, Germany
aadheenams. He helped restore the dignity of this priesthood and encouraged
accurate measure of the well-being of Hinduism in general, and his successor
world. The priests in turn assisted Subramuniyaswami's mission at every
turn, for example, by sending young Sivachariya priests to train his monks
Subramuniyaswami first visited Malaysia in June of 1980 with two of his
swamis, and then again in January, 1981, traveling with 33 devotees for an
country's very first classes in Hinduism, held after-hours at public
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
Malaysia were conducted by his devotees, which inspired all the other Hindu
abolishing corporal punishment in the homes and schools, directing his
parenting and to change school policies regarding corporal punishment of
students. At a national level, the cumulative impact of his work has been a
new life into Hinduism for the Hindus of Malaysia." Today three of
Gurudeva's swamis are from Malaysia.
prominent attorney, offered this summary of Subramuniyaswami's work in the
island nation of Mauritius:
village to village with one of his swamis. Then Gurudeva sent a
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
"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
part of this land has been dedicated to a spiritual park, a present of
in the country. It is now regularly visited by pilgrims from the world over.
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,
retreats and seminars for thousands of youth around the island.
Subramuniyaswami advised his family members to use ayurvedic medicine and
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
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
spirit of ahimsa in all aspects of life. This is the present sadhana of
Louis, he met with religious leaders of all faiths to strengthen the bonds
significant part because of Subramuniyaswami's contribution, Mauritius is
example of peaceful coexistence in a multi-racial, multi-religious nation."
Over his 52 years of ministry, Subramuniyaswami has helped the Hindus of
is probably not a corner of the Hindu world which has not been impacted by
his work.
Even though Subramuniyaswami's Kauai Aadheenam is located outside of India
member of "Vision Kauai," a group of community leaders including
positive future for the island's community. He worked monthly with the mayor
unity to the ethnically diverse island of 55,000 and to offer his vision for
out for advice by community leaders on the important issues facing the
island. Hundreds of residents, well-to-do and not so well-to-do alike,
only remotely aware of his stature in the Hindu world. He was, in fact,
This was recognized in formal ways by the governor of the state, the mayor
from island residents upon his passing was at times as deep and as heartfelt
as for those of his close disciples.
"Just before his passing," said the monastery spokesperson, "He asked
devotees worldwide to carry his work and institutions forward with
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
wisdom and love, are well-prepared to keep his mission potent and effective.
Equally, his family devotees are pure, one-minded and deeply committed.
contributing to our local Kauai community, guiding the future of Hinduism
by [Kishore Balakrishnan]
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[BMW Manufacturing Corp.|http://www.bmwusa.com/contact/manufacturing/manufacturing.html], BMW's first full U.S. manufacturing facility, is the worldwide production home of the entire Z3 model line, the M coupe, M roadster and the upcoming BMW X5, BMW's new Sports Activity Vehicle™. Located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the plant has almost doubled in size since opening in 1994.
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(via [Dave Winer]) [Mark Pilgrim|http://diveintomark.weblogger.com/2001/10/23] : "Welcome to my weblog. I hope you enjoy it. I just got hired for it...I'd call it good karma, except that karma is supposed to manifest itself over many lifetimes. It's not like a crash diet; you're not supposed to see results within 3 weeks. Maybe I'm the exception that proves the rule. Maybe I should just be grateful that I have a job, thank everyone who has supported me in the past few weeks, stop introspecting, and get back to work..."
[The Mayapur Trust|http://www.mayapurtrust.org] is a UK-based registered charity, working to promote sustainable development in rural-village West Bengal and is currently providing funding for safe drinking water, mother and child, ambulance and education projects.
[Rainbow Gathering|http://rainbow.iskconworldwide.com/] : Spritual Food, Mantra Meditation and Bhakti Yoga
[via Mira|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/10/07] : Santoka did not think of yesterday or of tomorrow, but lived each today as it came on him. In Zen every single breath is appreciated to the full. Santoka gave full justice to each breath, each moment, each day, as if it was his last. Each step, each movement, each haiku formed a consummate whole in his life
I bought another book [The Hobbit|http://www.berghuis.co.nz/abiator/unit/hobbit/hindex2.html]
[Nutrition Ecology Workgroup|http://www-ife.uni-giessen.de/hoffmann/Englisch/homepage.html] is useful
A cousin of mine ( my mother's sister's son ) sent me an email yesterday... " I had a peep at your web site for the first time and I must say, it was very different from other juntha web sites that I have seen. The clincher was " To apply Kaizen to all aspects of life"!!!" :-)
[Dave Snowdon|http://www.emptiness.org/dave/] is occupied with interesting subjects...
We went to [Koblenz|http://www.germany-tourism.de/e/dest_cities_koblenz_e.html], which lies at the confluence of two world-famous rivers - the Rhine and the Moselle - and the intersection of four beautiful upland regions. The Kurfürstliches Schloss, Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, Schloss Stolzenfels and the Deutsches Eck (German Corner) with the impressive Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial are all an absolute must for every visitor.
[300 Million Hindus to Convert to Christianity|http://www.gfa.org/revival/] ???
Is life really meaningless?
[Articles] > Is life really meaningless?
MEANING CAN BE understood in two ways. There is meaning that is somewhere far away, you have to reach to it. It is extrinsic.
Life is not meaningful in this first sense. And it is good that life is not meaningful in that sense, because then life becomes only a means to reach to the faraway goal, the faraway star. Then life loses its autonomous beauty. It is just a way; the real thing is tomorrow.
Meaning has another category too: intrinsic. Life is tremendously meaningful in the second sense. Then meaning is not separate, somewhere else; then meaning is in the very living itself.
You don't ask, has love any meaning? You know love is itself meaningful, it is not a means to some end. You do not ask if the beauty of a rose is meaningful. The beauty itself is enough; it does not lead anywhere, it contains its meaning within itself.
In existence everything that is really valuable is always intrinsically meaningful. And life is equivalent to existence. Life has meaning. If you just change the word "life" into "living," you will be able to understand more easily. Living has meaning -- each moment -- because living is not something dead like "life." The word "life" is dead -- all nouns are dead. But the language is created by dead people.
Some day the new man is going to create a language which consists only of verbs, because that will be authentic to existence. In existence there is no noun. Have you seen "life"? Have you met "life" anywhere? All that you meet, experience, is living.
Sipping a cup of tea, going for a morning walk, doing your work -- all these small activities make up your living. And each part, each moment of living, is meaningful. You just have to be there; otherwise, who is going to experience the meaning?
People go on drinking tea, but they never are there; their minds are wandering all over the world. People are making love, but they are not there. It is a very strange world that we have created. In one bedroom there are at least four people. Already the bedrooms are so small, too difficult for two people; and in the bed there are four people, or even more. These two people who are making love are not there: the man is thinking of some Hollywood actress, the woman is thinking of Muhammad Ali. So there are four people. Who is making love to whom? These two people are simply going through the gestures of love -- they are not present -- mechanical gestures of love. And then they ask, "Is there any meaning in life?"
WHEN I WAS A STUDENT, my principal in the high school was continuously troubled by my absence from the school. My family was troubled. I would start going to school, but never reach there. Life was so much, and so many things were happening on the way... and the school was almost one mile away from the house.
I said, "I am always present wherever I am. To be absent is not my style of life. And what can I do? -- this one mile between the school and my house.... A magician was doing his tricks on the street, and I became present there. It was far more interesting than your teachers, and I learned more than I could have learned here -- because whatever your teacher is saying I can read in the book, but I will never meet that magician again. And he did such beautiful tricks that when he was finished I followed him to his tent outside the city.
"He asked me, 'Son, why are you following me?' I said, 'You are getting old. Don't you want your tricks to live on even when you are gone?' He said, 'That seems to be meaningful! -- you can come in. Many people have asked me to teach them the tricks, but not in this way.' So I have been with the magician.
"Life is a bigger school than your school. And I am, each moment, present wherever I am. To be absent is not my style of life, so you please take your words back."
I said, "You can see anybody you like, but remember that my father knows me perfectly well. Just let me be informed when you are coming so I can also be present there. You both will be absent -- because my father is continuously busy with his business, and you are busy with who is absent, who is present. At least let somebody into that meeting who is present!" I told him, "Be honest and sincere and tell me: Are you present right now?"
I said, "You need not be worried, I know where she is. That's the beauty of being present everywhere! I have seen her just by the side of the tent of the magician. Now what do you say: Was it more worthwhile my coming to the class, or finding your lost buffalo? You can go and catch hold of her."
People are not there where they seem to be. This is why they go on missing the meaning of life. Just remain present to any small act you are doing. It does not matter -- you don't have to do great acts, become a world conqueror, go to the moon, or stand on top of Everest; it does not matter what you do.
Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing -- or not doing -- be present, and the meaning of life will start unfolding. It is tremendously blissful.
But don't seek it somewhere else -- in a church, in a temple, in a holy book. You will not find it. Even if you come across God -- who, by the way, does not exist -- but even if you come across God, you will not be present. You may be thinking of your buffalo. It is good that God is not there; otherwise, he would be so embarrassed by all these saints of all the religions, because none of them is present to the moment. They are living a life somewhere else in the tomorrows -- and today goes on slipping by, and the tomorrow never comes. Finally comes death, not tomorrow.
Life is today! Tomorrow is death. So when you come across death, it is a great shock that life has gone by and you have not been able to find any meaning in it. And now there is no tomorrow left, and you are accustomed to search for meaning in the tomorrows. But you have been told about, taught about, prepared for, tomorrows.
If you understand me... I want you always to be present wherever you are. It does not matter where you are; just be totally present, and every small act, by your presence, will become lighted up, and you will know that your whole life becomes just a caravan of lights. That's the meaning. Death comes and goes, but the caravan continues.
The algebra of infinite justice
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".
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.
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.
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.
So everybody is frustrated and angry, and everybody feels he is being cheated, deceived. And in fact nobody is cheating and nobody is deceiving, because what have you got?
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...
When you are sharing your joy, you don't create a prison for anybody. You simply give. You don't even expect gratitude or thankfulness because you are not giving to get anything, not even gratitude. You are giving because you are so full you have to give.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Truth brings bliss,
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.
I often panic, and worry that I might go mad....
The basic thing to be understood is that you are not the mind -- neither the bright one nor the dark one. If you get identified with the beautiful part, then it is impossible to disidentify yourself from the ugly part; they are two sides of the same coin. You can have it whole, or you can throw it away whole, but you cannot divide it.
And the whole anxiety of man is that he wants to choose that which looks beautiful, bright; he wants to choose all the silver linings, leaving the dark cloud behind. But he does not know that silver linings cannot exist without the dark cloud. The dark cloud is the background, absolutely necessary for silver linings to show.
Choosing is anxiety.
Choosing is creating trouble for yourself.
Being choiceless means: the mind is there and it has a dark side and it has a bright side -- so what? What has it to do with you? Why should you be worried about it?
The moment you are not choosing, all worry disappears. A great acceptance arises, that this is how the mind has to be, this is the nature of the mind -- and it is not your problem, because you are not the mind. If you were the mind, there would have been no problem at all. Then who would choose and who would think of transcending? And who would try to accept and understand acceptance?
But you are being an observer who gets identified with anything that he finds pleasant -- and forgets that the unpleasant is coming just behind it as a shadow. You are not troubled by the pleasant side -- you rejoice in it. The trouble comes when the polar opposite asserts -- then you are torn apart.
But you started the whole trouble. Falling from being just a witness, you became identified. The biblical story of the fall is just a fiction. But this is the real fall -- the fall from being a witness into getting identified with something and losing your witnessing.
Just try once in a while: Let the mind be whatever it is. Remember, you are not it. And you are going to have a great surprise. As you are less identified, the mind starts becoming less powerful, because its power comes from your identification; it sucks your blood. But when you start standing aloof and away, the mind starts shrinking.
The day you are completely unidentified with the mind, even for a single moment, there is the revelation: mind simply dies; it is no longer there. Where it was so full, where it was so continuous -- day in, day out, waking, sleeping, it was there -- suddenly it is not there. You look all around and it is emptiness, it is nothingness.
And with the mind disappears the self. Then there is only a certain quality of awareness, with no "I" in it. At the most you can call it something similar to "am-ness," but not "I-ness." To be even more exact, it is "is-ness" because even in am-ness some shadow of the "I" is still there. The moment you know its is-ness, it has become universal.
With the disappearance of the mind disappears the self. And so many things disappear which were so important to you, so troublesome to you. You were trying to solve them and they were becoming more and more complicated; everything was a problem, an anxiety, and there seemed to be no way out.
I remind you of the story The Goose is Out. It is concerned with the mind and your is-ness.
The master tells the disciple to meditate on a koan: A small goose is put into a bottle, fed and nourished. The goose goes on becoming bigger and bigger and bigger, and fills the whole bottle. Now it is too big; it cannot come out of the bottle's mouth -- the mouth is too small. And the koan is that you have to bring the goose out without destroying the bottle, without killing the goose.
Now it is mind-boggling.
What can you do? The goose is too big; you cannot take it out unless you break the bottle, but that is not allowed. Or you can bring it out by killing it; then you don't care whether it comes out alive or dead. That is not allowed either.
Day in, day out, the disciple meditates, finds no way, thinks this way and that way -- but in fact there is no way. Tired, utterly exhausted, a sudden revelation... suddenly he understands that the master cannot be interested in the bottle and the goose; they must represent something else. The bottle is the mind, you are the goose... and with witnessing, it is possible. Without being in the mind, you can become identified with it so much that you start feeling you are in it!
He runs to the master to say that the goose is out. And the master says, "You have understood it. Now keep it out. It has never been in."
If you go on struggling with the goose and the bottle, there is no way for you to solve it. It is the realization that, "It must represent something else; otherwise the master cannot give it to me. And what can it be?" -- because the whole function between the master and the disciple, the whole business is about the mind and awareness.
Awareness is the goose which is not in the bottle of the mind. But you are believing that it is in it and asking everyone how to get it out. And there are idiots who will help you, with techniques, to get out of it. I call them idiots because they have not understood the thing at all.
The goose is out, has never been in, so the question of bringing it out does not arise.
Mind is just a procession of thoughts passing in front of you on the screen of the brain. You are an observer. But you start getting identified with beautiful things -- those are bribes. And once you get caught in the beautiful things you are also caught in the ugly things, because mind cannot exist without duality.
Awareness cannot exist with duality, and mind cannot exist without duality.
Awareness is non-dual, and mind is dual. So just watch. I don't teach you any solutions. I teach you the solution: Just get back a little and watch. Create a distance between you and your mind.
Whether it is good, beautiful, delicious, something that you would like to enjoy closely, or it is ugly -- remain as far away as possible. Look at it just the way you look at a film. But people get identified even with films.
I have seen, when I was young... I have not seen any movie for a long time. But I have seen people weeping, tears coming down -- and nothing is happening! It is good that in a movie house it is dark; it saves them from feeling embarrassed. I used to ask my father, "Did you see? The fellow by your side was crying!"
"But," I said, "there is only a screen and nothing else. Nobody is killed, there is no tragedy happening -- just a projection of a film, just pictures moving on the screen. And people laugh, and people weep, and for three hours they are almost lost. They become part of the movie, they become identified with some character..."
My father said to me, "If you are raising questions about people's reactions then you cannot enjoy the film."
My grandfather had an old barber who was an opium addict. For something which was possible to do in five minutes he would take two hours, and he would talk continuously. But they were old friends from their childhood. I can still see my grandfather sitting in the chair of the old barber... And he was a lovely talker. These opium addicts have a certain quality, a beauty of talking, telling stories about themselves, what is happening day-to-day; it is true.
I said to him one day, "About everything you go on saying, `Yes, right, it is great.' Sometimes he is talking nonsense, simply irrelevant."
He said, "What do you want? That man is an opium addict..."
In India razor blades are not used; things almost like six-inch long knives are used as razor blades. "Now what do you want me to say? -- with that man who has a knife, a sharp knife in his hand, just on my throat. To say no to him... he will kill me! And he knows it. He sometimes tells me, `You never say no. You always say yes, you always say great.' And I have told him, `You should understand that you are always under the influence of opium. It is impossible to talk with you, to discuss with you or to disagree with you. You have a knife on my throat, and you want me to say no to something?'"
I said, "Then why don't you change from this man? There are so many other barbers, and this man takes two hours for a five-minute job. Sometimes he takes half your beard and then he says, `I am coming back, you sit.' And he is gone for an hour, because he gets involved in a discussion with somebody and forgets completely that a customer is sitting in his chair. Then he comes and says, `My God, so you are still sitting here?'"
The barber would say, "I got in such a good argument with somebody that I completely forgot about you. It is good that that man had to go; otherwise you would have been sitting here the whole day. And sometimes I don't even close the shop at night. I simply go home, just forget to close, and once in a while a customer is still sitting in the chair and I am sleeping. Somebody has to say to him, `Now you can go; that man will not be seen again before tomorrow morning. He is fast asleep in his home. He has forgotten to close his shop and he has forgotten about you.'"
And if you were angry... Sometimes new people got into his shop, and became angry. He would say, "Calm down. At the most you need not pay me. I have cut only half of the beard; you can just go. I don't want to argue. You need not pay me; I don't ask even half payment."
But nobody can leave his chair with half the beard shaved -- or half the head shaved! You ask him just to shave the beard and he starts shaving your head, and by the time you notice, he has already done the job. So he asks you, "Now what do you want? -- because almost one-fourth of the work is done. If you want to keep it this way I can leave it; otherwise I can finish it. But I will not charge for it because if you say that you never wanted it to be cut, then it is my fault and I should take the punishment. I will not charge you."
This man was dangerous! But my grandfather used to say, "He is dangerous but he is lovely and I have become so much identified with him that I cannot conceive that if he dies before me I will be able to go to another barber's shop. I cannot conceive... for my whole life he has been my barber. The identity has become so deep that I may stop shaving my beard, but I cannot change my barber."
You get identified with anything. People get identified with persons and then they create misery for themselves. They get identified with things, then they get miserable if that thing is missing.
Identification is the root cause of your misery. And every identification is identification with the mind.
And soon you will be able to see that there is no problem at all -- the goose is out. You don't have to break the bottle, you don't have to kill the goose either.
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.
Meaning is a dance, not a rock. Meaning is music. You will find it only if you create it. Remember it.
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!
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.
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.
Now, if you have a fixed idea, then you are only looking for it, only looking for it.... And because of this narrowness of the mind, all that is available is missed.
Meaning has to be created. And meaning has to be searched for without any conclusions. If you can drop your knowledge, life will suddenly take on color, it will become psychedelic. But you are continuously carrying the load of your scriptures, books, theories, doctrines, philosophies... you are lost in all that. And everything has become mixed, hotchpotch. And you cannot even remember what is what.
Your mind is a mess. Clean it! Make it a blank. The empty mind is the best mind. And those who have been telling you that the empty mind is the Devil's workshop are the Devil's agents. The empty mind is closer to God than anything. The empty mind is not the Devil's workshop. The Devil cannot do without thoughts.
So many thoughts in the mind, mixed up; nothing seems to be clear; you have heard so many things from so many sources -- your mind is a monster. And you are trying to remember, and you have been told to remember: Don't forget! And, naturally, the burden is so much that you cannot remember. Many things you have forgotten. Many things you have imagined and added on your own.
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,
"By Jove, that's ripping," the Englishman thought to himself. "I must remember to use it back home."
"Here's to the happiest moment of my life,
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."
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.
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.
Why is love so painful?
[Articles] > Why is love so painful?
Love is painful because it creates the way for bliss. Love is painful because it transforms; love is mutation. Each transformation is going to be painful because the old has to be left for the new. The old is familiar, secure, safe, the new is absolutely unknown. You will be moving in an uncharted ocean. You cannot use your mind with the new; with the old, the mind is skillful. The mind can function only with the old; with the new, the mind is utterly useless.
Hence, fear arises, and leaving the old, comfortable, safe world, the world of convenience, pain arises. It is the same pain that the child feels when he comes out of the womb of the mother. It is the same pain that the bird feels when he comes out of the egg. It is the same pain that the bird will feel when he will try for the first time to be on the wing.
And because the transformation is going to be from the self towards a state of no-self, agony is very deep. But you Cannot have ecstasy without going through agony. If the gold wants to be purified, it has to pass through fire.
Love is fire.
It is because of the pain of love, millions of people live a loveless life. They too suffer, and their suffering is futile. To suffer in love is not to suffer in vain. To suffer in love is creative; it takes you to higher levels of consciousness. To suffer without love is utterly a waste; it leads you nowhere, it keeps you moving in the same vicious circle.
The man who is without love is narcissistic, he is closed. He knows only himself. And how much can he know himself if he has not known the other, because only the other can function as a mirror? You will never know yourself without knowing the other. Love is very fundamental for self-knowledge too. The person who has not known the other in deep love, in intense passion, in utter ecstasy, will not be able to know who he is, because he will not have the mirror to see his own reflection.
Relationship is a mirror, and the purer the love is, the higher the love is, the better the mirror, the cleaner the mirror. But the higher love needs that you should be open. The higher love needs you to be vulnerable. You have to drop your armor; that is painful. You have not to be constantly on guard. You have to drop the calculating mind. You have to risk. You have to live dangerously. The other can hurt you; that is the fear in being vulnerable. The other can reject you; that is the fear in being in love.
The reflection that you will find in the other of your own self may be ugly; that is the anxiety. Avoid the mirror. But by avoiding the mirror you are not going to become beautiful. By avoiding the situation you are not going to grow either. The challenge has to be taken.
One has to go into love. That is the first step towards God, and it cannot be bypassed. Those who try to bypass the step of love will never reach God. That is absolutely necessary because you become aware of your totality only when you are provoked by the presence of the other, when your presence is enhanced by the presence of the other, when you are brought out of your narcissistic, closed world under the open sky.
Love is an open sky. To be in love is to be on the wing. But certainly, the unbounded sky creates fear.
And to drop the ego is very painful because we have been taught to cultivate the ego. We think the ego is our only treasure. We have been protecting it, we have been decorating it, we have been continuously polishing it, and when love knocks on the door, all that is needed to fall in love is to put aside the ego; certainly it is painful. It is your whole life's work, it is all that you have created -- this ugly ego, this idea that "I am separate from existence. "
This idea is ugly because it is untrue. This idea is illusory, but our society exists, is based on this idea that each person is a person, not a presence.
The truth is that there is no person at all in the world; there is only presence. You are not -- not as an ego, separate from the whole. You are part of the whole. The whole penetrates you, the whole breathes in you, pulsates in you, the whole is your life.
Love gives you the first experience of being in tune with something that is not your ego. Love gives you the first lesson that you can fall into harmony with someone who has never been part of your ego. If you can be in harmony with a woman, if you can be in harmony with a friend, with a man, if you can be in harmony with your child or with your mother, why can't you be in harmony with all human beings? And if to be in harmony with a single person gives such joy, what will be the outcome if you are in harmony with all human beings? And if you can be in harmony with all human beings, why can't you be in harmony with animals and birds and trees? Then one step leads to another.
Love is a ladder. It starts with one person, it ends with the totality. Love is the beginning, God is the end. To be afraid of love, to be afraid of the growing pains of love, is to remain enclosed in a dark cell.
Modern man is living in a dark cell; it is narcissistic. Narcissism is the greatest obsession of the modern mind.
Love creates problems. You can avoid those problems by avoiding love. But those are very essential problems! They have to be faced, encountered; they have to be lived and gone through and gone beyond. And to go beyond, the way is through. Love is the only real thing worth doing. All else is secondary. If it helps love, it is good. All else is just a means, love is the end. So whatsoever the pain, go into love.
If you don't go into love, as many people have decided, then you are stuck with yourself. Then your life is not a pilgrimage, then your life is not a river going to the ocean; your life is a stagnant pool, dirty, and soon there will be nothing but dirt and mud. To keep clean, one needs to keep flowing. A river remains clean because it goes on flowing. Flow is the process of remaining continuously virgin.
A lover remains a virgin. All lovers are virgin. The people who don't love cannot remain virgin; they become dormant, stagnant; they start stinking sooner or later -- and sooner than later -- because they have nowhere to go. Their life is dead.
That's where modern man finds himself, and because of this, all kinds of neuroses, all kinds of madnesses, have become rampant. Psychological illness has taken epidemic proportions. It is no more that a few individuals are psychologically ill; the reality is the whole earth has become a madhouse. The whole of humanity is suffering from a kind of neurosis.
And that neurosis is coming from your narcissistic stagnancy. Everyone is stuck with one's own illusion of having a separate self; then people go mad. And this madness is meaningless, unproductive, uncreative. Or people start committing suicide. Those suicides are also unproductive, uncreative.
You may not commit suicide by taking poison or jumping from a cliff or by shooting yourself, but you can commit a suicide which is a very slow process, and that's what happens. Very few people commit suicide suddenly. Others have decided for a slow suicide; gradually, slowly, slowly they die. But almost, the tendency to be suicidal has become universal.
This is no way to live, and the reason, the fundamental reason, is we have forgotten the language of love. We are no more courageous enough to go into that adventure called love.
Hence people are interested in sex, because sex is not risky. It is momentary, you don't get involved. Love is involvement; it is commitment. It is not momentary. Once it takes roots, it can be forever. It can be a lifelong involvement. Love needs intimacy, and only when you are intimate does the other become a mirror. When you meet sexually with a woman or a man, you have not met at all; in fact, you avoided the soul of the other person. You just used the body and escaped, and the other used your body and escaped. You never became intimate enough to reveal each other's original faces.
Love is the greatest Zen koan.
It is painful, but don't avoid it. If you avoid it you have avoided the greatest opportunity to grow. Go into it, suffer love, because through the suffering comes great ecstasy. Yes, there is agony, but out of the agony, ecstasy is born. Yes, you will have to die as an ego, but if you can die as an ego, you will be born as God, as a Buddha. And love will give you the first tongue-tip-taste of Tao, of Sufism, of Zen. Love will give you the first proof that God is, that life is not meaningless.
The people who say life is meaningless are the people who have not known love. All that they are saying is that their life has missed love.
Let there be pain, let there be suffering. Go through the dark night, and you will reach to a beautiful sunrise. It is only in the womb of the dark night that the sun evolves. It is only through the dark night that the morning comes.
My whole approach here is that of love. I teach only love and only love and nothing else. You can forget about God; that is just an empty word. You can forget about prayers because they are only rituals imposed by others on you. Love is the natural prayer, not imposed by anybody. You are born with it. Love is the true God -- not the God of theologians, but the God of Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, the God of the Sufis. Love is a tariqa, a method, to kill you as a separate individual and to help you become the infinite. Disappear as a dewdrop and become the ocean, but you will have to pass through the door of love.
And certainly when one starts disappearing like a dewdrop, and one has lived long as a dewdrop, it hurts, because one has been thinking, "I am this, and now this is going. I am dying. " You are not dying, but only an illusion is dying. You have become identified with the illusion, true, but the illusion is still an illusion. And only when the illusion is gone will you be able to see who you are. And that revelation brings you to the ultimate peak of joy, bliss, celebration.
Is there a law of karma?
[Articles] > Is there a law of karma?
I have very little to say about it -- but it will still take two and a half hours! The law of karma, in the first place, is not a law. That word gives it an aroma as if it is something scientific, like the law of gravitation. It is merely a hope, not a law at all. It has been hoped for centuries that if you do good you will attain to good results. It is a human hope in existence which is absolutely neutral.
If you look at nature, there are laws -- the whole of science is nothing but discovery of those laws -- but science has not come even close to detecting anything like the law of karma. Yes, it is certain that any action is going to bring certain reactions, but the law of karma is hoping for much more. If you simply say any action is bound to produce some reactions, it is possible to have scientific support for it. But man is hoping for much more. He is asking that a good action inevitably brings a good consequence with it, and the same with a bad action.
Now, there are many things implied in this. First, What is good? Each society defines good according to itself. What is good to a Jew is not good to a Jaina; what is good to a Christian is not good to a Confucian. Not only that, what is good in one culture is bad in another culture. A law has to be universal. For example, if you heat water to one hundred degrees centigrade, it will evaporate -- in Tibet, in Russia, in America, even in Oregon. In Oregon it will be a little puzzled, but all the same at one hundred degrees water will evaporate. Certainly the law of karma is neither a scientific law nor part of any legal system.
Then what kind of law is it? It is a hope. A man wandering in immense darkness, groping his way, clings to anything that gives a little hope, a little light -- because what you observe in life itself is something totally different from the law of karma. A man who is a well-known criminal may succeed and become the president, the prime minister; or vice versa: he was not a criminal before, but when he becomes the president or prime minister of a country he becomes a criminal... So in life this strange situation happens: bad people reach good positions, become respectable or honored, not only in their time but throughout history. It is full of their names. In history, Gautam Buddha, Mahavira, Kanad, Gautam, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu -- people like these you will not find even in the footnotes. And Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Nadirshah, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler -- they make up the major portion of history. In fact, we have to write the whole of history again because all these people have to be completely erased. Even the memory of them should not be carried on, because even their memory may have evil effects on people.
A better humanity will not give these names even a place in the footnotes; there is no need. They were nightmares; it is better they are completely forgotten so they don't follow you like shadows. And we have to discover people who have lived on this earth and made it in every way beautiful; shared their joy, their dance, their music, shared their ecstasies -- but lived anonymously. People have completely forgotten even their names. To me, certainly each action has its result, but not somewhere far away in a future life. The action and the result are continuous, they are part of one process. Do you think sowing the seed and reaping the crop are separate? It is one process. What begins in sowing the seed, grows, and one day the one seed has become thousands of seeds. That's what you call your crop. It is the same seed which has exploded into thousands of seeds. No death is intervening, no afterlife is needed; it is a continuum.
So the one thing to be remembered is: in my vision of life, yes, every action is bound to have some consequences, but they will not be somewhere else, you will have them here and now. Most probably you will get them almost simultaneously. When you are kind to someone, don't you feel a certain joy? A certain peace? A certain meaningfulness? Don't you feel that you are contented with what you have done? There is a kind of deep satisfaction. Have you ever felt that contentment when you are angry, when you are boiling with anger, when you hurt somebody, when you are mad with rage? Have you ever felt a peace, a silence descending in you? No, it is impossible. You will certainly feel something, but it will be a sadness that you again acted like a fool, that again you have done the same stupid thing that you decided again and again not to do. You will feel a tremendous unworthiness in yourself. You will feel that you are not a man but a machine, because you don't respond, you react. A man may have done something, and you reacted. That man had the key in his hands, and you just danced according to his desire; he had power over you. When somebody abuses you and you start fighting, what does it mean? It means that you don't have any capacity not to react.
2005 03 23 - [Mukesh Kishore]
[moksha], [RAQ], [Sandhyavandanam], [Yoga], [The most beautiful place in the world], [What is the purpose of life?], [Satsanga], [Vipassana], [Marriage]
* [Books That Changed My Life]
* [Zen] vt. To figure out something by meditation or by a sudden flash of enlightenment. Originally applied to bugs, but occasionally applied to problems of life in general. "How'd you figure out the buffer allocation problem?" "Oh, I zenned it."
* A picture is worth a thousand words...
* Knowledge is Power
by [Kishore Balakrishnan]
[Ganesha Symbolism]
(via [PaperQuote]) [Ralph Waldo Emerson] : Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting.
[CityDesk] is [here|http://joel.editthispage.com/news/fog0000000311.html] ! Congrats !
[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.
Both Goals are accomplished very well... I installed Fink and later installed [Lynx]... Many websites look funny via Lynx
(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.
[Romy and Lisa]'s [Quotes and Poems|http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Prairie/7454/quotes.html]
[Cicero] : [The Six Mistakes of Man]
[Current Science|http://tejas.serc.iisc.ernet.in/~currsci/] , [Resonance|http://www.iisc.ernet.in/~academy/resonance/]
[Mother Teresa] : The minute you begin to do what you want to do, it's really a different kind of life.
[Cyndi Seidler]'s [Articles on Organising]
[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..."
Today is [Buy Nothing Day]
[Allen Downey]'s [How to Think Like a Computer Scientist]
Gen. [Wayne Downing] is a quiet professional !
(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.
Today is [Sri Skanda Sashti] - [Kanta Shasti Vratam|http://murugan.org/research/senthilwerl2.htm]
[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 !
([via|http://doc.weblogs.com/2001/11/19#andBlogsNeedClay] [Doc Searls]) November 23rd is [Buy Nothing Day] , [Clay Shirky] needs a blog !
[Charles du Bois] : The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.
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.
[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]
Susan Dempsey (responsible for providing users with continued quality service from [HotLinks]) : ...Sadly, all good things must come to an end and this version will be subscription only...
[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 !
[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...
Today is yet another [Deepavali] away from India...
[Satya Viswanathan|http://www.coroflot.com/satyaviswanathan] : [Ho! I went to America|http://www.livejournal.com/users/satyav/day/2001/10/11]
[George Orwell] : [Politics and the English Language]
Attained his Mahasamadhi, Great Union,
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 :-)
[e-gineer].com is interesting... --- [Nathan Wallace]
[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."...
[Eric Margolis] : [ANTHRAX AND ABDUL HAQ: WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND|http://www.bigeye.com/foreignc.htm]
[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...
[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...
Fast Company's [Who's Fast 2002|http://www.fastcompany.com/online/52/wf_intro.html] : ...Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Our fourth-annual Who's Fast issue arrives at a time when our feelings about work, life, business, and purpose need thoughtful recalibration...
[Usha Balakrishnan]'s Birthday
[Doc Searls] is [Diggin'|http://doc.weblogs.com/2001/11/09#digginDurand] [Andre Durand]
[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
[Deepavali] is on 14th November
Try this : add [mama_pendse] to your Yahoo Messenger and send message 'help'
[Mira Art|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/11/01] : ...I never liked it, feeling the hypocrisy...
[Chandramouli Mahadevan] is in Germany. Welcome back !
[Two unpublished letters|http://www.vedantaofboston.org/Vivekananda/newSVLetters.asp] of [Swami Vivekananda]
[Mahesh Shantaram] is an Indian Blogger...
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
by [Daisaku Ikeda]
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.
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.
If you have read thus far... you might be interested in Ramana Maharishi too...
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 Best Things in Life
[Articles] > The Best Things in Life
Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.
Finding the sweater you want is on sale for half price.
A long distance phone call.
Having someone tell you that you're beautiful.
Your first kiss.
Wrapping presents under the Christmas tree while eating cookies and drinking eggnog.
Watching the sunrise.
Getting out of bed every morning and thanking God for another beautiful day.
Albert Einstein
"The life of the individual only has meaning insofar as it aids in
making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful. Life is
sacred, that is to say, it is the supreme value to which all other values
If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for
A new website makes Albert Einstein's scientific and non-scientific manuscripts as well as his professional and personal correspondence, some dating back to his youth, within reach - http://www.alberteinstein.info
Only a Ripe Fruit Falls
Question: Beloved Osho, I feel that through developing an attitude of endurance towards difficulties, I have become resigned to much of life. This resignation feels like a weight pushing against my effort to become more alive in meditation. Does this mean that I have suppressed my ego, and that I must find it again before I can really lose it?
Osho: One of the greatest problems...it will appear very paradoxical, but this is true: before you can lose your ego, you must attain it. Only a ripe fruit falls to the ground.
Ripeness is all. An unripe ego cannot be thrown, cannot be destroyed. And if you struggle with an unripe ego to destroy and dissolve it, the whole effort is going to be a failure. Rather than destroying it, you will find it more strengthened in new subtle ways.
This is something basic to be understood: the ego must come to a peak, it must be strong, it must have attained an integrity -- only then can you dissolve it. A weak ego cannot be dissolved. And this becomes a problem.
In the East, all the religions preach egolessness. So in the East, everybody is against the ego from the very beginning. Because of this anti-attitude, ego never becomes strong, never comes to a point of integration from where it can be thrown. It is never ripe. So in the East it is very difficult to dissolve the ego, almost impossible.
In the West, the whole Western tradition of religion and psychology propounds, preaches, persuades people, to have strong egos -- because unless you have a strong ego, how can you survive? Life is a struggle; if you are egoless, you will be destroyed. Then who will resist? Who will fight? Who will compete? And life is a continuous competition. Western psychology says: Attain to the ego, be strong in it.
But in the West it is very easy to dissolve the ego. So whenever a Western seeker reaches to an understanding that ego is the problem, he can easily dissolve it, more easily than any Eastern seeker.
This is the paradox: in the West ego is taught; in the East egolessness is taught. But in the West it is easy to dissolve the ego; in the East it is very difficult.
This is going to be a hard task for you, first to attain and then to lose -- because you can lose only something which you possess. If you don't possess it, how can you lose it?
Only a rich man can become poor, because you can lose only that which you have. If you have never been rich, how can you be poor? Your poverty will be just on the surface; it can never be in the spirit. On the surface you will be poor, and deep down you will be hankering after riches. Your spirit will hanker towards riches, it will be an ambition, it will be a constant desire to attain riches. Only on the surface will you be poor. And you may even console yourself by saying that poverty is good.
But you cannot be poor -- only a rich man, a really rich man, can be poor. Just to have riches is not enough to be really rich. You may still be poor. If the ambition is still there, you are poor.
What you have is not the point. If you have enough then the desire disappears. When you have enough riches, the desire disappears. Disappearance of the desire is the criterion of enoughness. Then you are rich -- you can drop it, you can become poor, you can become a beggar like Buddha. And then your poverty is rich; then your poverty has a kingdom of its own.
And the same happens with everything. Upanishads or Lao Tzu or Jesus or Buddha -- they all teach that knowledge is useless. Just getting more and more knowledgeable is not much help. Not only is it not much help, it can become a barrier.
Knowledge is not needed, but that doesn't mean you should remain ignorant. Your ignorance will not be real. When you have gathered enough knowledge and you throw it, then ignorance is attained. Then you really become ignorant -- like Socrates who can say: I know only one thing, that I don't know anything.
This knowledge, or this ignorance -- you can call it whatever you like -- is totally different, the quality is different, the dimension has changed.
If you are simply ignorant because you never attained to any knowledge, your ignorance cannot be wise, it cannot be wisdom -- it is simply absence of knowledge. And the hankering will be inside: How to gain more knowledge? How to gain more information?
When you know too much -- you have known the scriptures, you have known the past, the tradition, you have known all that can be known -- then suddenly you become aware of the futility of it all, suddenly you become aware that this is not knowledge. This is borrowed! This is not your own existential experience, this is not what you have come to know. Others may have known it, you have simply gathered it. Your gathering is mechanical. It has not arisen out of you, it is not a growth. It is just rubbish gathered from other doors, borrowed, dead.
Remember, knowing is alive only when you know, when it is your immediate, direct experience. But when you know from others it is just memory, not knowledge. Memory is dead.
When you gather much -- the riches of knowledge, scriptures, all around you, libraries condensed in your mind, and suddenly you become aware that you are just carrying the burden of others, nothing belongs to you, you have not known -- then you can drop it, you can drop all this knowledge. In that dropping a new type of ignorance arises within you. This ignorance is not the ignorance of the ignorant, this is how a wise man is, how wisdom is.
Only a wise man can say: I don't know. But in saying: I don't know, he is not hankering after knowledge, he is simply stating a fact. And when you can say with your total heart: I don't know, in that very moment your eyes become open, the doors of knowing are open. In that very moment when you can say with your totality; I don't know, you have become capable of knowledge.
This ignorance is beautiful, but it is attained through knowledge. It is poverty attained through richness. And the same happens with ego -- you can lose it if you have it.
When Buddha comes down from his throne, becomes a beggar...what is the necessity for Buddha? He was a king, enthroned, at the peak of his ego -- why this extreme, moving down from his palace to the streets, becoming a beggar? But Buddha has a beauty in his begging. The earth has never known such a beautiful beggar, such a rich beggar, such a kingly beggar, such an emperor.
What happened when he stepped down from his throne? He stepped down from his ego. Thrones are nothing but symbols, symbols of the ego, of power, prestige, status. He stepped down and then egolessness happened.
This egolessness is not humbleness; this egolessness is not humility. You may find many humble people, but under their humility, subtle egos are functioning.
It is said that once Diogenes came to visit Socrates. He lived like a beggar; he always wore dirty clothes with many patches and holes. Even if you presented him with a new dress, he would not use it -- first he would make it dirty, old, torn, and then he would use it.
He came to visit Socrates, and he started talking about egolessness. But Socrates' penetrating eyes must have come to realize that this man was not an egoless man. The way he was talking about humility was very egoistic.
Socrates is reported to have said: Through your dirty clothes, through the holes in your clothes, I cannot see anything else but the ego. You talk of humility, but that talk comes from a deep centre of the ego.
This will happen, this is how hypocrisy happens. You have the ego, you hide it through the opposite; you become humble on the surface. This surface humbleness cannot deceive anyone. It may deceive you, but it cannot deceive anyone else. From the holes of the dirty dresses, your ego goes on peeping. It is always there. This is a self-deception and nothing more. Nobody else is deceived. This happens if you start throwing the unripe ego.
What I teach will look contradictory, but it is true to life. Contradiction is inherent in life. I teach you to be egoists so that you can become egoless. I teach you to be perfect egoists. Don't hide it, otherwise hypocrisy will be born. And don't struggle with the unripe phenomenon. Let it ripen -- and help it. Bring it to a peak!
Don't be afraid -- there is nothing to be afraid of. This is how you will come to realize the agony of the ego. When it comes to its peak, then you will not need a Buddha or me to tell you that the ego is hell. You will know it, because the peak of the ego will be the peak of your hellish experiences, it will be a nightmare. And then there is no need for anybody to tell you: Drop it! It will be difficult to carry it on.
One reaches to knowledge only through suffering. You cannot throw anything just by logical argument. You can throw something only when it has become so painful that it cannot be carried any further. Your ego has not become that painful yet -- hence you carry it. It is natural! I cannot persuade you to drop it. Even if you feel persuaded, you will hide it -- that's all.
Nothing unripe can be thrown. Unripe fruit clings to the tree and the tree clings to the unripe fruit. If you force it to separate, a wound is left behind. That scar will continue, the wound will always remain green and you will always feel hurt.
Remember, everything has a time to grow, to be ripe, to fall down into the earth and dissolve. Your ego also has a time. It needs maturity.
So don't be afraid of being egoists. You ARE, otherwise you would have disappeared long ago. This is the mechanism of life: you have to be egoists, you have to fight your way, you have to fight with so many millions of desires around you, you have to struggle, you have to survive.
Ego is a survival measure. If a child is born without the ego, he will die. He cannot survive, it is impossible, because if he feels hunger he will not feel: I am hungry. He will feel there is hunger, but not related to him. The moment hunger is felt, the child feels: I am hungry, he starts crying and making efforts to be fed. The child grows through the growth of his ego.
So to me, ego is part of natural growth. But that doesn't mean that you have to remain with it forever. It is a natural growth, and then there is a second step when it has to be dropped. That too is natural. But the second step can be taken only when the first has come to its crescendo, its climax, when the first has reached its peak. So I teach both -- I teach egoness and I teach egolessness.
First be egoists, perfect egoists, absolute egoists, as if the whole of existence exists for you and you are the center; all the stars revolve around you and the sun rises for you; everything exists for you, just to help you to be here. Be the center, and don't be afraid, because if you are afraid then you will never be ripe. Accept it! It is part of growth. Enjoy it and bring it to a peak.
When it comes to a peak, suddenly you will become aware that you are not the center. This has been a fallacy, this has been a childish attitude. But you were a child, so nothing is wrong in it. Now you have become mature, and now you see that you are not the center.
Really, when you see that you are not the center, you also see there is NO center in existence or everywhere is the center. Either there is no center and existence exists as a totality, a wholeness without any center as a control point or every single atom is a center.
Jakob Boehme has said that the whole world is filled with centers, every atom is a center, and there is no circumference -- centers everywhere and circumference nowhere.
These two are the possibilities. Both mean the same; only the wording is different and contradictory. But first become a center.
It is like this: you are in a dream; if the dream comes to a peak, it will be broken. Always it happens -- whenever a dream comes to a climax, it is broken. And what is the climax of a dream? The climax of a dream is the feeling that this is real. You feel this is real, not a dream, and you go on and on and on and on to a higher peak and the dream becomes ALMOST real. It can never become real; it becomes almost real. It comes so close to reality that now you cannot go further, because one step more and the dream will become real -- and it cannot become real because it is a dream! When it comes so close to reality, sleep is broken, the dream is shattered, you are fully awake.
The same happens with all types of fallacies. Ego is the greatest dream. It has its beauty, its agony. It has its ecstasy, its agony. It has its heavens and hells, both are there. Dreams sometimes are beautiful and sometimes nightmares, but both are dreams.
This is very deep. If YOU drop it, ego has remained inside. WHO will drop it? If you think YOU will drop it, YOU are the ego -- so whatsoever you drop will not be the real thing. The real thing will be preserved and you will have thrown something else.
You cannot make yourself egoless. Who will do it? It happens, it is not a doing. You grow into ego and a point comes when the whole thing becomes so hellish that the dream is broken. Suddenly you see the goose is out -- it has never been in the bottle.
In life everything is necessary. Nothing is unnecessary, nothing can be unnecessary. Whatsoever has happened had to happen. Whatsoever is happening is happening because of certain deep causes. You need it so you can remain in the fallacy. It is just a cocoon that helps you, protects you, helps you to survive. One need not be in the cocoon forever. When you are ready, break the cocoon, come out.
The ego is the shell of the egg, it protects you. But when you are ready, break the shell, come out of the egg. The ego is the shell.
Go to the so-called saints -- they talk of humbleness, humility -- and look into their eyes: you will not find such refined egos anywhere else. Now their egos have taken the garb of religion, Yoga, sainthood, but the ego is there. They may not be collecting riches, they may be collecting followers; the coins have changed and they go on counting how many followers....
They may not be after the things of this world, they are after the things of that world, but this or that, both are worlds. And they may be even more greedy, because they say these temporary things, momentary things of this world, consist of momentary pleasures -- and they want eternal pleasures. Their greed is supreme. They cannot be satisfied by momentary pleasures. They want eternal pleasures. Unless something is eternal they are not gratified. Their greed is deep, their greed is absolute and greed belongs to the ego. Greed is the hunger of the ego.
So it happens sometimes that saints are more egoistic than sinners, and then they are far away from the divine. And sometimes sinners can attain to the god more easily than those so-called saints, because ego is the barrier.
This has been my experience that sinners can drop their egos more easily than saints, because sinners have never been against the ego. They have been feeding it, they have been enjoying it, they have lived with it totally. And saints have always been fighting the ego, so they never allowed it to become ripe.
So this is my attitude: ego HAS to be dropped, but it may take a long waiting; and you can drop it only if you cultivate it.
This is the arduousness of the whole phenomenon, because the mind says: If we have to drop it, then why cultivate it? The mind says: When we have to destroy it, then why create it? If you listen to the mind you will be in trouble. Mind is always logical and life is always illogical, so they never meet.
This is simple logic, ordinary mathematics, that if you are to destroy this house, then why build it? Why this whole trouble? Why this effort and waste of time and energy? The house is not there, so why build it and then destroy it?
The house is not the point really -- YOU are the point. Building the house, you will change, and then destroying the house you will change completely, you will not be the same -- because creating the house, the whole process of it, will prove a growth to you. Then, when the house is ready, you pull it down. That will be a mutation.
Mind is logical and life is dialectical. Mind moves in a simple line, and life moves always jumping from one pole to another, from one thing to the very opposite.
Life is dialectical. Create, and then life says: Destroy. Be born, and then life says: Die! Attain, and then life says: Lose! Be rich, and then life says: Become poor! Be a peak, an Everest of the ego, and then become an abyss of egolessness. Then you have known both -- the illusory and the real, the maya and the Brahma.
Almost every day it happens: somebody comes to be initiated into sannyas, and then his mind starts functioning and he says to me: Wearing orange will make me more egoistic, because then I will feel that I am somebody different, distinct -- I am a sannyasin, one who has renounced. So wearing orange will make me more egoistic he says, and I say to him: Become! Become egoistic, but consciously.
Ego is a disease if you are unconscious about it, if you hide it in the unconscious. Ego is a game if you are conscious about it. You can enjoy it. You can play it. Be conscious, mindful, and play the game! A game is not bad, but when you forget that it is a game and become too serious, then problems arise.
So I say sannyas is not serious; it is a game -- a religious game, of course. It has its own rules, because every game must have rules; without rules no game can be played. Life can be without rules, but games cannot be.
If somebody says: I am not going to follow this rule, then you cannot play the game. You play cards, then you follow rules. And you never say: These rules are just arbitrary, artificial, why can't we change them? You can change them, but then the game will be difficult. And if every individual follows his own rules, then the game is impossible. Life is possible! You can play as you like because life never believes in rules -- it is beyond rules. But games have rules.
Remember: wherever you see rules, know immediately this is a game. This is the criterion: wherever you see rules, immediately know this is a game, because games exist through rules.
So if I say: "Wear orange, have the mala" -- this is a game, obviously. Play it as well as you can and don't be serious about it -- otherwise you miss the point.
Be egoists -- perfect, cultivated, refined. Go on working on your ego and make it a beautiful statue, because before you give it back to the god, it must be something worth giving, it must be a present.
I have heard, a man in an orange robe entered the Vrindavan juice bar, barged up to the front of the line, and demanded tea and cake. He paid with a hundred-rupee note and complained about the cost and the long lineup. After choosing the biggest piece of cake and the biggest cup, he took over an old lady's seat and proceeded to gobble the food. A bystander, puzzled by his behavior, asked the meaning of it.
There is more possibility to misunderstand me than to understand me. And in misunderstanding, you will find much solace, much consolation.
Just the other day, Mulla Nasrudin came to me, and he said, "Enough is enough -- I cannot trust you anymore."
I said, "What happened, Nasrudin? You have been such a long-obedient disciple to me."
He said, "Now it is too much. Just the other day I was at the racetrack. Somebody's change had fallen, so I was picking it up, and there comes a blind, or mad or drunk guy, and he saddles me as if I am a horse."
He said, "What can I do? I have to run -- and I come third in the race! Now this is too much! I cannot trust you anymore!"
There is every possibility to misunderstand me and there is every possibility to find rationalizations. This is how the mind goes on being foolish, the mind goes on playing around, fooling around. It always finds ways to protect itself. If I say drop the ego, you say okay, and you try to drop it; and then the ego becomes your humbleness and you start moving around with your nose up, looking at everybody as if everybody is condemned to hell. And you have that look of "holier than thou" and "I am the most humble man around here." If I say the ego has to become big, only then it bursts, then you say, "Okay. That's what we have been always trying. Now you are also supporting it -- so far so good."
When are you going to understand me? When you listen to me, always remember, your mind is there to corrupt it. Unless you are very, very watchful, your mind will pollute it. And mind is so cunning, it can always find a way out. And it is so clever, it can always make rationalizations look like reasons.
The Ten Marks of a Happy Marriage
'Marriage is nature's way of preventing us fighting with strangers.'
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.
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.
Newsgroups: alt.christnet.christianlife,aus.religion
by [Kishore Balakrishnan]
[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.
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.
* [Philip Greenspun] : [Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing|http://www.arsdigita.com/books/panda/]
* [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/]
* [Mira Art] : [Surprise|http://surprise.editthispage.com]
* I list many more people at [Portal] whom I visit virtually and also contribute to who i am...
Snow has beautifully decorated our balcony :-)
If you want to lose weight, [goto India|http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1668000/1668872.stm] :-)
[Manish Vaidya] : [Layoff] Lessons
[Christopher Ryan] [turns two|http://shanson.editthispage.com/2001/12/27]. We have met him in Amsterdam and have a few pictures. He was cute!
[Peter Koestenbaum] in [After Shock|http://www.fastcompany.com/online/54/aftershock.html] : ...We must resolve to work with greatness and never forget to do so again. Every workday is a concert, a Nobel-prize ceremony, or an Olympic victory...
[Anton Skorucak]'s [Holiday Wish]
[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. :-)
The Rhine ferry " Drusus " connects Germany with France. We were on this today
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."
It is very cold outside !
I have downloaded [GraphicConverter], [OmniWeb] after reading [Wesley Felter]'s [Colophon|http://wmf.editthispage.com/meta/colophon]
[Mira Art] [:|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/12/22] : ...highways with traffic jams as long as 150 km...
Visit our [portfolio|http://www.photo.net/shared/community-member?user_id=119381] at http://www.photo.net
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...
[Year-End Google Zeitgeist|http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html] : Search patterns, trends, and surprises
[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...
[LinkBaton] is interesting...
[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."...
Life’s but a means unto an end; that end
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.
[Jeff Keller] is President of [Attitude is Everything], Inc.
[Ben Brown] and [Ani Moller] are on a three week road trip and will send [super brief updates|http://benbrown.com/is/driving/] using his Nokia's e-mail capabilities.
[Albert Einstein] : A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
[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 !
[Pegasos|http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/] is a literature related resource site
[Sjoerd Visscher] [:|http://w3future.com/weblog/2001/12/12.html] "I got ADSL!" . I hope to say that soon too :-)
[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.
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]
But, [Chris Mitchell] has a powerful message on his home page for all of mankind - WOW !
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]
[Soul Boosters] is inspiring
[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.
[Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan]
[Siva Vaidhyanathan] : [Software Is Free Speech|http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/09/magazine/09SOFTWARE.html] vs [Software] Is [Free Speech]
[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.
[Derk Richardson] : [Eight Things I Learned|http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2001/12/06/derk.DTL] from [George Harrison]
[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...
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]
Visit [1000 words]
Probably [Christian Kwyas] has accumulated lots of [good karma] like [Mark Pilgrim] :-)
Coming from India, I am thinking of tasty [Korma] and Lord Vishnu's [Kurma] Avatar
[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
[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] :-)
[LimeWire] is interesting
[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 ?
[ONLIFE, Online]
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."
[John Patrick] is IBM's Internet Guru and his new book is [Net Attitude]
via [PaperQuote] [Andre Gide] : It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.
[CoolCam] is coolware as well as shareware :-)
[Christopher Alexander]'s [ideas on office furniture and interiors]
[Richard P. Gabriel] : [Worse Is Better]
[Dan Simmons] in [When Mental Growth Outruns Maturity|http://www.erinyes.org/simmons/interview.html] ...Wabash influenced every part of my life because I learned what being an educated human being meant while I was here...
[George Harrison] [dies|http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/entertainment/music/newsid_1492000/1492446.stm]. [Craig Jensen] is [Sad and heart broken|http://booknotes.weblogs.com/2001/11/30]. [All Things Must Pass]
[Weihnachtsmarkt] lists all !
[Andrea Frick] has great pictures from her local [Christmas Market|http://andrea.editthispage.com/weihnachtsmarkt2001]
http://www.chennaionline.com/pongal/ is very useful to know everything about Pongal.
The Sanskrit term "Shankramana" means "to begin to move". The day on which the sun begins to move northwards is called Makara Shankranti. It usually falls in the middle of January.
Among the Tamilians in South India this festival is called the Pongal.
To many people, especially the Tamilians, Makara Shankranti ushers in the New Year. The corn that is newly-harvested is cooked for the first time on that day. Joyous festivities mark the celebration in every home. Servants, farmers and the poor are fed and clothed and given presents of money. On the next day, the cow, which is regarded as the symbol of the Holy Mother, is worshipped. Then there is the feeding of birds and animals.
SALUTATIONS and adorations to the Supreme Lord, the primordial power that divided the year into the four seasons. Salutations to Surya, the Sun-God, who on this great day embarks on his northward journey.
The Sanskrit term "Shankramana" means "to begin to move". The day on which the sun begins to move northwards is called Makara Shankranti. It usually falls in the middle of January.
Among the Tamilians in South India this festival is called the Pongal.
To many people, especially the Tamilians, Makara Shankranti ushers in the New Year. The corn that is newly-harvested is cooked for the first time on that day. Joyous festivities mark the celebration in every home. Servants, farmers and the poor are fed and clothed and given presents of money. On the next day, the cow, which is regarded as the symbol of the Holy Mother, is worshipped. Then there is the feeding of birds and animals.
In this manner the devotee’s heart expands slowly during the course of the celebrations, first embracing with its long arms of love the entire household and neighbours, then the servants and the poor, then the cow, and then all other living creatures. Without even being aware of it, one develops the heart and expands it to such proportions that the whole universe finds a place in it.
As Shankranti is also the beginning of the month, Brahmins offer oblations to departed ancestors. Thus, all the great sacrifices enjoined upon man find their due place in this grand celebration. The worship of the Cosmic Form of the Lord is so well introduced into this, that every man and woman in India is delightfully led to partake of it without even being aware of it.
To the spiritual aspirants this day has a special significance. The six-month period during which the sun travels northwards is highly favourable to them in their march towards the goal of life. It is as though they are flowing easily with the current towards the Lord. Paramahamsa Sannyasins roam about freely during this period, dispelling gloom from the hearts of all. The Devas and Rishis rejoice at the advent of the new season, and readily come to the aid of the aspirant.
The great Bhishma, the grandfather of the Pandavas, was fatally wounded during the war of the Mahabharata, waited on his deathbed of nails for the onset of this season before finally departing from the earth-plane. Let us on this great day pay our homage to him and strive to become men of firm resolve ourselves!
As already mentioned, this is the Pongal festival in South India. It is closely connected with agriculture. To the agriculturalist, it is a day of triumph. He would have by then brought home the fruits of his patient toil. Symbolically, the first harvest is offered to the Almighty—and that is Pongal. To toil was his task, his duty, but the fruit is now offered to Him—that is the spirit of Karma Yoga.
The master is not allowed to grab all the harvest for himself either. Pongal is the festival during which the landlord distributes food, clothes and money among the labourers who work for him. What a noble act!—It is an ideal you should constantly keep before you, not only ceremoniously on the Pongal day, but at all times.
Be charitable. Be generous. Treat your servants as your bosom-friends and brother workers. This is the keynote of the Pongal festival. You will then earn their loyalty and enduring love.
The day prior to the Makara Shankranti is called the Bhogi festival. On this day, old, worn-out and dirty things are discarded and burnt. Homes are cleaned and white-washed. Even the roads are swept clean and lovely designs are drawn with rice-flour. These practices have their own significance from the point of view of health. But, here I remind you that it will not do to attend to these external things alone. Cleaning the mind of its old dirty habits of thought and feeling is more urgently needed. Burn them up, with a wise and firm resolve to tread the path of truth, love and purity from this holy day onwards. This is the significance of Pongal in the life of the spiritual aspirant.
If you do this, then the Makara Shankranti has a special significance for you. The sun, symbolising wisdom, divine knowledge and spiritual light, which receded from you when you revelled in the darkness of ignorance, delusion and sensuality, now joyously turns on its northward course and moves towards you to shed its light and warmth in greater abundance, and to infuse into you more life and energy.
In fact, the sun itself symbolises all that the Pongal festival stands for. The message of the sun is the message of light, the message of unity, of impartiality, of true selflessness, of the perfection of the elements of Karma Yoga. The sun shines on all equally. It is the true benefactor of all beings. Without the sun, life would perish on earth. It is extremely regular and punctual in its duties, and never claims a reward or craves for recognition. If you imbibe these virtues of the sun, what doubt is there that you will shine with equal divine lustre!
He who dwells in the sun, whom the sun does not know, whose body the sun is, and by whose power the sun shines—He is the Supreme Self, the Indweller, the immortal Essence. Tat Twam Asi—“That thou art”. Realise this and be free here and now on this holy Pongal or Makara Shankranti day. This is my humble Pongal prayer to you all.
On the Shankranti day, sweets, puddings and sweet rice are prepared in every home, especially in South India. The pot in which the rice is cooked is beautifully adorned with tumeric leaves and roots, the symbols of auspiciousness. The cooking is done by the women of the household with great faith and devotion, feeling from the bottom of their hearts that it is an offering unto the Lord. When the milk in which the rice is being cooked boils over, the ladies and the children assemble round the pot and shout “Pongalo Pongal!” with great joy and devotion. Special prayers are offered in temples and houses. Then the people of the household gather together and partake of the offerings in an atmosphere of love and festivity.
There is family re-union in all homes. Brothers renew their contacts with their married sisters by giving them presents.
The farmer is lovingly greeted by the landlord and is given presents of grain, clothes and money.
On the next day, the herds of cows are adorned beautifully, fed and worshipped. In some villages the youth demonstrate their valour by taking “the bull by the horn” (and often win their brides thereby!). It is a great day for the cattle.
On the same day, young girls prepare various special dishes—sweet rice, sour rice, rice with coconut—and take them to the bank of a river or tank. They lay some leaves on the ground and place on them balls of the various preparations for the fish, birds, and other creatures. It is an extremely colourful ceremony. The crows come down in large numbers and partake of the food. All the time a valuable lesson is driven into our minds—“Share what you have with all”. The crow will call others before beginning to eat.
Both these days, which are family re-union days, are regarded as being inauspicious for travel. This is to prevent us from going away from home on those days.
When you celebrate the Shankranti or Pongal in this manner, your sense of value changes. You begin to understand that your real wealth is the goodwill and friendship of your relatives, friends, neighbours and servants; that your wealth is the land on which your food grows, the cattle which help you in agriculture, and the cow which gives you milk. You begin to have greater love and respect for them and for all living beings—the crows, the fish and all other creatures.
In Maharashtra and in North India, spiritual aspirants attach much importance to Makara Shankranti. It is the season chosen by the Guru for bestowing his Grace on the disciple. In the South, too, it should be noted that it was about this time that Mahadeva favoured several of the Rishis by blessing them with His beatific vision.
The Masquerade Of Charity
Charity is really self-interest masquerading under the form of
altruism. You say that it is very difficult to accept that there may be
with. There are two types of selfishness. The first type is the one where
call self-centeredness. The second is when I give myself the pleasure of
pleasing others. That would be a more refined kind of selfishness.
The first one is very obvious, but the second one is hid, very hidden, and
really doing it for a selfish reason -your need to be needed -- -and you
they also need you to do this, it's a two-way street.
right. She is saying, "I give something, I get something." She is
beautiful. That's true. That's real. That isn't charity, that's
And you, sir, you point out that the gospel of Jesus is ultimately a gospel
of self-interest. We achieve eternal life by our acts of charity. "Come
say, we see that his acts of charity were acts of ultimate self-interest,
to win souls for eternal life. And you see that as the whole thrust and
meaning of life: the achievement of self-interest by acts of charity.
into this. It's legitimate. It's valid. But how would it be if I deal
with the gospels, with the Bible, with Jesus, toward the END of this
retreat. I will say this much now to complicate it even more. "I was
have known." Isn't that interesting? But YOU know. You know the inner
left hand had no idea what my right hand was doing." You know, a good is
as the great Sufi would say, "A saint is one until he or she knows it."
Some of you object to this. You say, "Isn't the pleasure I receive in
giving, isn't that eternal life right here and now?" I wouldn't know. I
something right at the beginning, that religion is not- -- I repeat: not --
-necessarily connected with spirituality. Please keep religion out of this
him? "Greater love than this no one has." But the Americans don't think
I'm trying to get at a picture of an action where there is not self, where
you're awake and what you do is done through you. Your deed in that case
when YOU do it, I'm searching for the selfishness. Even if it is only
didn't do this. I'd never be able to live with the thought if I ran
say that there never is any act where there is not self. Maybe there
is. We'll have to explore that. A mother saving a child--saving HER
the HERS. It's the soldier dying for his country. Many such deaths bother
Buddhist martyrs, Christian martyrs, they are brainwashed!
They've got an idea in their heads that they must die, that death is a
listen to me properly. I didn't say ALL of them, but I wouldn't exclude
the possibility. Lots of communists get brainwashed (you're ready to
Francis Xavier could be exactly the same process used for producing
terrorists. You can have a man go on a thirty-day retreat and come out all
aflame with the love of Christ, yet without the slightest bit of
saint. I don't mean to slander Francis Xavier, who probably was a great
superior, he really was! Do a historical investigation. Ignatius always
had to step in to undo the harm that this good man was doing by his
wayside. Some critics of Francis Xavier claim exactly that. He used to
dismiss men from our Society and they'd appeal to Ignatius, who would say,
them in again. How much self-awareness was there in this situation? Who
ordinarily everything we do is in our self-interest. Everything. When you
do something for the love of Christ, is that selfishness? Yes. When
you're doing something for the love of anybody, it is in your
to give you a bad feeling? But sometimes it does. And that is because
FEELING. And they call THAT charity. They act out of guilt. That isn't
were two types of selfishness; maybe I should have said three. First, when
ordinary person, but you've got refined tastes. Your taste is good, not
the third type, which is the worst: when you do something good so that you
you think you don't do things this way.
God, I've got to put up with this pain."
I say, "O.K., come on in." I'm going to be happy when this thing is over
loves that workshop, and I'm thinking, "Oh God, when is he going to come to
say, "How's life?" And he answers, "Pretty good." And he adds, "You know,
when someone else is doing the hurting we rejoice in it. But we don't want
to do the hurting ourselves because we'll get hurt! Ah, there it is. If we
THIS IS THE birthday of Lord Krishna, the eighth Divine Incarnation. It falls on the 8th day of the dark half of the month of Bhadrapada (August-September). This is one of the greatest of all Hindu festivals. Lord Krishna was born at midnight. A twenty-four hour fast is observed on this day, which is broken at midnight.
Temples are decorated for the occasion. Kirtans are sung, bells are rung, the conch is blown, and Sanskrit hymns are recited in praise of Lord Krishna. At Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, special spiritual gatherings are organised at this time. Pilgrims from all over India attend these festive gatherings.
The Lord appeared when the moon entered the house of Vrishabha at the constellation of the star Rohini, on Wednesday, the 8th day of the second fortnight of the month of Sravana, which corresponds to the month of Bhadrapada Krishnapaksha according to the Barhaspatyamana, in the year of Visvavasu, 5,172 years ago (from 1945), which means 3227 B.C.
Study the Bhagavatam and the Pancharatras, which are equal to the Upanishads. You will know all about the glory of Lord Krishna, His Lilas and superhuman deeds. The eighth Avatara, Krishna, who has become the Beloved of India and the world at large, had a threefold objective: to destroy the wicked demons, to play the leading role in the great war fought on the battlefield of Kurukshetra (where he delivered His wonderful message of the Gita) and to become the centre of a marvellous development of the Bhakti schools of India.
There is no true science except devotion to Lord Krishna. That man is wealthy indeed who loves Radha and Krishna. There is no sorrow other than lack of devotion to Krishna. He is the foremost of the emancipated who loves Krishna. There is no right course, except the society of Sri Krishna’s devotees. The Name, virtues and Lilas (divine pastimes) of Krishna are the chief things to be remembered. The Lotus Feet of Radha and Krishna are the chief objects of meditation.
Sri Krishna is the ocean of bliss. His soul-stirring Lilas, which are the wonder of wonders, are its waves. The honeyed music of His flute attracts the minds of His devotees from all three regions. His unequalled and unsurpassed wealth of beauty amazes the animate and the inanimate beings. He adorns His friends with His incomparable love.
His palms bear the signs of a lotus and discus, the right sole of His feet of a flag, lotus, thunderbolt, an iron goad, barley seed, and the Swastika. His left sole has the rainbow, triangle, water-pot, crescent, sky, fish, and a cow’s footprint. His Form is composed of condensed universal consciousness and bliss. His Body pervades the entire cosmos.
Devotion is the only means of attaining Lord Krishna. Bhakti kindles love for the Lord. When love is directed towards Krishna, man is freed from the bondage of the world.
Though Lord Krishna appeared in a human body, He had a divine body not composed of the five elements. He did not take any birth here in the usual sense of the term. He did not die. He appeared and disappeared through His Yoga Maya as He has declared in the Gita. This is a secret, known only to His devotees, Yogis and sages.
His enchanting form with flute in hand is worshipped in myriads of homes in India. It is a form to which is poured out devotion and supreme love from the hearts of countless devotees not only in India but also in the West. Millions of spiritual seekers worship Him and repeat His Mantra, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.
Lord Krishna was great in knowledge, great in emotion, great in action, all at once. The scriptures have not recorded any life more full, more intense, more sublime and grander than the life of Sri Krishna.
Krishna has played various roles during His stay in the world. He was Arjuna’s charioteer. He was an excellent statesman. He was a master musician; he gave lessons even to Narada in the art of playing the veena. The music of His flute thrilled the hearts of the Gopis and everyone else. He was a cowherd in Brindavan and Gokul. He exhibited miraculous powers even as a child. He killed many demons. He revealed His Comic Form to His mother, Yasoda. He performed the Rasa Lila, the secret of which can only be understood by devotees like Narada, Gauranga, Radha and the Gopis. He taught the supreme Truth of Yoga, Bhakti and Vedanta to Arjuna and Uddhava. He had mastered every one of the sixty-four fine arts. For all these reasons He is regarded as a full and complete manifestation of God.
Incarnations of God appear for special reasons under special circumstances. Whenever there is much unrighteousness, whenever confusion and disorder set in on account of unrighteousness and baffle the well-ordered progress of mankind, whenever the balance of human society is upset by selfish, ruthless and cruel beings, whenever irreligion and unrighteousness prevail, whenever the foundations of social organisations are undermined, the great Incarnation of God appears in order to re-establish righteousness and to restore peace.
An Incarnation is the descent of God for the ascent of man. A ray from the Cosmic Being in His potential state of manifestation descends on earth with mighty powers to keep up the harmony of the universe. The work done by the Incarnation of God and His teachings produce a benign influence on human beings and help them in their upward divine unfoldment and Self-realisation.
The Incarnation comes to reveal the divine nature of man and makes him rise above the petty materialistic life of passion and egoism.
The greatest manifestations are called Incarnations proper. Rishis, Munis, prophets, sons of God and messengers of God are minor manifestations.
The Incarnations usually come with their particular or favourite groups or companions. Lord Rama came with Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna. Lord Krishna came with Balarama, Devas and Rishis. Sanaka came with Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujata. Some, like Sri Shankara and Ramanuja, come as teachers and spiritual leaders. Some, like Chaitanya, are born to instill devotion in the hearts of people and turn their minds towards God. The Incarnations proper, like Krishna, come only when there is widespread catastrophe in the world.
On the holy Krishna Janmashtami, the ladies in South India decorate their houses beautifully, ready to welcome the Lord. They prepare various sweetmeats and offer them to the Lord. Butter was Krishna’s favourite, and this is also offered. From the doorway to the inner meditation room of the house the floor is marked with a child’s footprints, using some flour mixed with water. This creates the feeling in them that the Lord’s own Feet have made the mark. They treat the day as one of very great rejoicing. There is recitation of the Bhagavatam, singing and praying everywhere.
The Janmashtami is celebrated at the Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, with the following programme of intense spiritual activity:
1. During the preceding eight days, Japa of Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya is done intensely.
2. Those who can, will recite the Bhagavatam during this period. Others will listen to it being recited.
5. A grand havan is performed on that day.
6. There is continuous Satsang from 4a.m. early in the morning till night. Yogis, Sannyasins and learned men discourse upon the glorious life and teachings of the Lord.
9. Towards midnight, there is a grand worship of Lord Krishna. The Lord is bathed with milk while His Name is chanted 108 times.
10. This worship concludes with offerings of flowers, waving of lights (Arati), and reading of that portion of the Bhagavatam which deals with the birth of Krishna. This synchronises with midnight, the hour of the Lord’s birth, at which time the murti of the Lord is rocked in a beautifully decorated cradle. After this item, all the assembled devotees partake of the holy prasad or sacrament, and then retire, filled with the Grace and blessings of Lord Krishna.
“May you realise by My Grace, the knowledge of Myself and what form, qualities and actions I am endowed with.
1. “Before creation I alone existed. There was nothing, neither existence nor non-existence. I am that which remains after dissolution.
2. “Understand that to be Maya or illusion which is devoid of any purpose, which is not to be found in the Self and which is unreal like light and darkness.
4. “The aspirant should, by the method of positive and negative, know that thing which exists always and everywhere.
“Experience this truth through the highest superconscious state so that you will not be disturbed even by illusory objects”.
There is another beautiful verse in the Bhagavatam which you can recite daily: “In days of yore, the Lord, born of Devaki, brought up in the house of Yasoda, killed the wicked Putana of illusive form and lifted the Govardhana hill, killed Kamsa and the sons of the Kuru race, and protected the sons of Kunti. Thus is recited the essence of the ancient Bhagavat Purana consisting of the nectarine stories of the deeds of Lord Krishna”.
May the blessings of Lord Krishna and Sri Radha be upon you all!
SALUTATIONS to Lord Rama, an Incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who is measureless, who is of the nature of pure Consciousness and bliss, who is the consort of Sita, Master of Sri Hanuman, and the Lord of the three worlds, who took His birth at His own will in order to establish righteousness, destroy the wicked and protect His devotees.
Rama was the Lord Hari Himself, incarnate on earth for the destruction of Ravana. He was well accomplished, beautiful and endowed with royal marks. His glory and prowess were unlimited. He was peerless on earth. He was free from malice. He was gentle. He was the protector of all His people. He always addressed them in gentle words. He never used any harsh words even when somebody provoked Him. He held sway over the whole world.
I call this the anti-gossip tonic. When you find that you are wasting your time in gossip, repeat His Name several times. You can make up for the time lost, and the mind will be slowly weaned away from the habit of gossiping.
Sri Rama is also a wish-fulfilling tree. He will bestow upon you whatever you want! Just read what Lord Shiva further says:
“The seat of all good things, the destroyer of all impurities of this age of darkness, purer than purity itself, the food for the journey of aspirants on the path to salvation, their only resting place, the very life-breath of virtuous men, is the Divine Name of Sri Rama. So say the sages”.
On the auspicious Ramnavmi day take a firm resolve that you will repeat Ram-Nam with every breath and that you will endeavour to lead a righteous life.
Ramnavmi is one of the most important festivals of the Vaishnava sect of the Hindus. However, even those who adore Lord Shiva celebrate the occasion. Some observe a strict fast on the day. Temples are decorated and the image of Lord Rama is richly adorned. The holy Ramayana is read in the temples. At Ayodhya, the birthplace of Sri Rama, a big fair is held on this day.
In South India the Sri Ramnavmi Utsavam is celebrated for nine days with great fervour and devotion. Those talented in the art of story-telling narrate the thrilling episodes of the Ramayana. The Kirtanists chant the holy Name of Rama and celebrate the wedding of Rama with Sita on this great day. It is an extremely colourful ceremony, highly inspiring and instructive, too.
At the Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, Ramnavmi is celebrated for nine days as follows:
Those who cannot recite the entire epic may read this single verse which contains in a nutshell the story of the Ramayana: “Formerly, Sri Rama went to the forests, where Rishis did penance, and killed the illusive deer. Sita was carried away and Jatayu was killed. Rama met Sugriva, killed Vali and crossed the ocean. The city of Lanka was burnt by Hanuman. The demons, Ravana and Kumbhakarna, were then killed. Thus is recited the holy Ramayana”.
5. On the final or Ramnavmi day, there is a grand worship of Lord Rama in the gorgeously decorated temple. All the Vedic rituals including Laksharchana are performed.
6. A havan is also performed.
7. From four in the morning to late at night, there is Ram and Ram alone everywhere!
8. Leaflets, booklets and books relating to Lord Rama are distributed.
9. Special meetings are held in the evening at which discourses on the life and teachings of the Lord are delivered.
O beloved seekers! time is fleeting. Know the value of time. Time is most precious. Utilise every second profitably. Do not procrastinate. Abandon all idle gossiping. Forget the past. Live every moment of your life for the realisation of the divine ideal and goal. Unfold your latent faculties. Grow, evolve and become a superhuman or a dynamic Yogi. Struggle hard and reach the goal of life.
May you all attain the final beatitude of life through intense devotion towards Lord Rama! May you live immersed in the ecstasy of divine love! May Sri Rama who is as effulgent as a million suns and who is adored by the gods and devotees, protect you all! May the blessings of Lord Rama be upon you all!
Let Sri Rama be your ideal. Ideals are remembered and adored for the purpose of adopting them in your own life. The Ramnavmi celebration or the Vasanta Navaratri every year is an opportune period for us to saturate ourselves with the spirit of Lord Rama. We love and adore our ideals because we express thereby our yearning to unite with them. In our worship of God it is implied that we should be virtuous, good and perfect even as God is. Hence the wise instruction: “One should become divine in order to be able to worship God”. One cannot be a real worshipper of Lord Rama unless one makes an honest attempt to grow in the virtues that the Lord represents. On the other hand, worship of Lord Rama is itself the surest means to develop such virtues.
One who approaches Sri Rama with love and worshipfulness becomes large-hearted, pure in spirit, good-natured and dispassionate in thought, word and deed. A true devotee of Lord Rama is His representative, with His power and His knowledge.
Lord Rama was the prince of the Ikshvaku race. He was virtuous and of manly strength. He was the Lord of the mind and the senses. Brave and valiant, He was yet gentle and modest. He was a sage in counsel, kind and sweet in speech, and most courteous and handsome in appearance. He was the master of all the divine weapons, and a great warrior. Ever devoted to the good and prosperity of His kingdom and His subjects, He was a defender of the weak and the protector of the righteous. Endowed with numerous wondrous powers of the mind, He was well versed in all sciences—in military science as well as the science of the Self.
Deep and unfathomed like the ocean, firm and steadfast like the Himalayan mountains, valiant like Lord Vishnu, He was the joy of Kaushalya. Though fierce like fire on the battlefield, He was calm like the cool breeze of the Mandara Hills, patient like Mother Earth, bounteous like the god of wealth and righteous like the lord of justice himself. In the pains and the griefs of His people, His heart swiftly sympathised with the sufferers. In the festive scenes which held them in joy, He like a father, shared their joys. By His honour and heroism, as well as by His gentleness and love for His subjects, He greatly endeared Himself to the hearts of His people. Such a great person was the Lord Rama!
Lord Rama was the best of men with a sterling character. He was the very image of love. He was an ideal son, an ideal brother, an ideal husband, an ideal friend and an ideal king. He can be taken to embody all the highest ideals of man. He led the ideal life of a householder to teach the tenets of righteousness to humanity. He ruled His people so well that it came to be known as Ram-Rajya, which meant the rule of righteousness, the rule which bestows happiness and prosperity on all.
The noblest lesson embodied in the Ramayana is the supreme importance of righteousness in the life of every human being. Righteousness is the spiritual spark of life. Cultivation of righteousness is the process of unfoldment of the latent divinity in man. The glorious incarnation of the Supreme Being in the form of Lord Rama has exemplified the path of righteousness. Let mankind follow His footsteps and practise the ideals cherished by Him, for it is only thus that there can be everlasting peace, prosperity and welfare in this world.
None but the righteous can be truly happy. None but he who has the correct sense of duty and the will for its implementation can be said to live worthily. One must be imbued with a definite conviction about the supremacy of moral principles, ethical values and spiritual ideals. These ought to guide one’s day-to-day actions and serve as powerful means for the culture of the human personality. That is the purpose of life. That is the way to Self-realisation. That is the message and the mission of Lord Rama’s fife on earth.
To a devotee, Sri Rama is not simply a good and a great person, but God Himself. Rama was the son of King Dasaratha of Ayodhya, but He is also the divine omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient God. The destruction of the ten-headed Ravana signifies the annihilation of the mind or the ten senses. Worship of Lord Rama is worship of the all-pervading Godhead Himself. Read the prayers offered by Mandothari and Brahma in the Yuddha Kanda of the Ramayana. They refer to Rama as the one Creator of the universe, the God of all, the Ruler of the universe.
Devotion to God is not a simple emotion. It is the result of intense dispassion and purity of heart and attitude. You should strive your utmost to possess the good qualities that are extolled in the Ramayana and exemplified in the life of Lord Rama. Otherwise, emotion may rise up in you temporarily to a kind of ecstasy, but you will not experience divine consciousness thereby. Devotion is a fruit which ripens gradually through the processes of self-restraint and virtue. Without intense dispassion there can be no real Sadhana for Self-realisation. Only after detachment from the world of things, is it possible to attain the Supreme Godhead. Remember this.
Devotion has absolutely nothing to do with age, caste, creed, position or sex. Generally, the worldly-minded people say: “We will practise meditation and devotion when we retire from service.” This is a serious mistake. How can you do serious Sadhana after squeezing out all your energy in working? How will you be able to practise the strict Yogic discipline in your old age? Is there any certainty in life? No, the spiritual seeds of discipline and devotion must be sown in you while you are young, while your heart is tender and untainted. Then only will it strike a deep root, blossom forth and bear fruit when you become old and retire. Only then can you bravely face the god of death and meet him with a smile!
I shall tell you the means of attaining the final release from the great cycle of births and deaths. Devotion to Lord Rama is a great purifier of the heart. From devotion arises knowledge. From knowledge comes the realisation of the pure Self. Knowing this perfectly, one goes to the Supreme Abode and merges in the Supreme Self.
Without first developing devotion to Rama who is the Self, who lives in the hearts of all beings, who is all bliss and who is peerless, how can man cross the ocean of worldly life which has sorrow, pain and misery for its waves?
Do thou therefore worship Lord Rama who is Vishnu and the consort of Sita who is Lakshmi. Abandon all foolishness and enmity. Take to the service of Lord Rama.
The Lord is extremely fond of those who have surrendered themselves to Him. He has given this promise in the Ramayana: “To anyone who once takes shelter under Me and solicits ‘I am Thine’, I bestow fearlessness from all beings. This is My vow”.
Even a great sinner who is full of evil qualities and who is fond of other people’s wealth, is freed from all kinds of faults that pertain to worldly life if only he remembers the Lord always. He attains purity and goes to the supreme abode of the Lord.
The Name of Lord Rama is the greatest purifier of the heart. It wipes away all one’s sins. Not only this, but it wipes away the sinful tendencies as well. The Name is sweeter than the sweetest of objects. It is the haven of peace. It is the very life of pure souls. It is the purifier of all purifying agencies. It quenches the consuming fire of worldly desires. It awakens the knowledge of God. It bathes the aspirant in the, ocean of divine bliss. Glory to Sri Rama and His Name!
O Devotee! recite His Name, sing His glory and serve His Lotus Feet. Enthrone in your heart Lord Rama of dark hue, whose image is reflected in the heart of Lord Shiva. Blessed is the pious soul who uninterruptedly drinks the nectar of Sri Rama’s Name which has been churned out of the ocean of the Vedas, which removes the impurities of the Kali Yuga or the iron age, which lives constantly on the lips of Lord Shiva, which is a sovereign remedy or unfailing specific to cure the disease of worldly existence and which is the life of Mother Sita.
Ram-Nam burns ignorance, passion and sin. With or without knowledge, correctly or incorrectly, when the word “Rama” is pronounced it showers a rain of good upon the devotee. Sri Rama is Brahman who takes one across the ocean of worldly existence. Rama is one in across whom the Yogis sport, that is, the Self within.
Lord Shiva tells His consort Parvati: “This Ram-Nam is equal to the Lord’s thousand Names, or repetition of the Mantra a thousand times”.
Holiday Wish
[Lyrics] > Holiday Wish
and each existence in this beautiful universe of ours,
be cherished and respected.
and wonderfully exciting life for us and for
and make this life journey a little more
>>> http://www.carnatic.com/kishore/neti-neti/ <<<
[Dave Winer] [:|http://scriptingnews.userland.com/backissues/2002/01/14#philosophy] "No locked trunks. Use Radio 8 because it's the best choice. Your choice."
Over the weekend, I spent lot of time learning Radio UserLand 8.0 >>> 0100563 >>> http://www.carnatic.com/kishore/ru/
[What Is a Human Being?]
[Pongal] festival is celebrated on 14th this year. This is the day on which the sun begins to move northwards (also called Makara Shankranti). For Tamilians, Makara Shankranti ushers in the New Year. The corn that is newly-harvested is cooked for the first time on that day. Joyous festivities mark the celebration in every home.
[Mattu Pongal] : "...According to a legend, once Shiva asked his bull, Basava, to go to the earth and ask the mortals to have an oil massage and bath every day and to eat once a month. Inadvertently, Basava announced that everyone should eat daily and have an oil bath once a month. - - - This mistake enraged Shiva who then cursed Basava, banishing him to live on the earth forever. He would have to plough the fields and help people produce more food. Thus the association of this day with cattle. - - - A festival called [Jallikattu] is held in [Madurai], Tiruchirapalli and Tanjavur on this day..."
[Great Virtues of the Dhamma] : "...Amongst the many virtues of the Dhamma, there are six salient characteristics mentioned in the most authoritative texts. Svakkhato Bhagavata Dhammo, Sanditthiko, Akaliko, Ehipassiko, Opanayiko and Paccattam Veditabbo Vinnuhi..."
[Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn] : "If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere [insidious]ly committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart."
From an story by [Anthony de Mello] : "[Holiness] today is a [name] without a
[reality]. It is only [genuine] when it is a reality without a name"
[Lawrence Lee] [:|http://radio.weblogs.com/0001013/2002/01/03.html] "The [Digital Identity Weblog|http://weblog.digital-identity.info/] is a [must-read]."
I think that code generated by radiobadge is not valid HTML... [Lawrence Lee] is analysing the issue...
[Rebecca Blood] [:|http://www.rebeccablood.net/archive/2002/01.html#07e] "I think you may be interested in [viviculture]: it is weblog as an exercise in mindfulness. Kurt's statement of principles especially resonates with me."
[Field Observations] : ...The [Amish], for instance, have succeeded simply by asking one question of any proposed innovation, namely: "What will this do to our community?"...
[Wendell Berry] : [The joy of sales resistance] : ...We live in a time when technologies and ideas (often the same thing) are adopted in response not to need but to advertising, salesmanship, and fashion...
[Derek Powazek] is [looking for work|http://www.powazek.com/resume/]
[Greg Franklin] : [A Fast Food Era Ends|http://flyingchihuahuas.editthispage.com/2002/01/09]
In [Wendell Berry]'s [Community|http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Crisis/Jan2000/Community.html] : "...[Gary Snyder] said the right thing: Stop somewhere, just stop. Finally, this thing we are calling mobility keeps people from learning their lessons. They keep moving away from the problems they’ve caused. Their idea is that you can completely mess up somewhere and then go somewhere else, or you can completely succeed somewhere and go somewhere else. In either case you don’t know what the effects are. Sometimes people cause worse effects by their success than they do by their failure. To go back to the metaphor of marriage. What marriage does is say to you to stay and find out. It doesn’t say what you are going to find out. When you think this is it, we are at a complete dead end here, the marriage says to you: Wait, stay, and find out. Always you find out more..."
[Umberto Eco] : I don't even have an email address. I have reached an age where my main purpose is not to receive messages.
[Joel Spolsky] [:|http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000339.html] "Sometimes I just can't get anything done......Many of my days go like this: (1) get into work (2) check email, read the web, etc. (3) decide that I might as well have lunch
[Life is Beautiful]
[John VanDyk] [:|http://iowa.weblogger.com/2002/01/04] "The writings of [Wendell Berry] seem to be popping up with astonishing frequency of late."
[Ed Iglehart]'s [Reading List and Inspirations|http://www.tipiglen.dircon.co.uk/readinglist.html]
[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._
[Karl-Erik Sveiby] [:|http://www.businessworldindia.com/archive/200306/Strategy2.htm] "You don't need to interview me. Simply read the [Upanishads]. They knew all about it long before I did"
[Russell Lipton] [:|http://static.userland.com/userLandDiscussArchive/msg018410.html] "...There is an inherent degree of [serendipity] in Web-learning that routes around this kind of thing..."
[Cyber Essays] is "your one-stop source for free, high-quality term papers, essays, and reports on all subjects."
[Craig Jensen] [:|http://booknotes.weblogs.com/2001/12/22] "With the tumultous state the world is in I feel uncomfortable, even guilty, being in any kind of festive or celebratory mood. And, in fact, I'm not festive. Nor am I filled with hope from any kind of religious faith. I'm mostly depressed. - - - But I realize that the sphere within which I have the most influence is my family. The most important people to me are my wife, son and daughter and then my extended family. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews. All the quirks and dysfunctionalty set aside, this is the circle where I can find unbounded love and acceptance. It is the place where I can return that love, equally unbounded, without fear of reprisal or rejection. I am lucky. Truly so. I intend to immerse myself in my good fortune. In my own little circle I will enjoy peace and love and joy. - - - My hope and wish is that you will find yourselves enjoying the same. Be safe and well."
The [Literature, Arts, & Medicine Database] is an annotated bibliography of prose, poetry, film, video and art which is being developed as a dynamic, accessible, comprehensive resource in MEDICAL HUMANITIES, for use in health/pre-health and liberal arts settings.
[Mira Art] [:|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2002/01/04] "winter morning - out of bed - it's impossible!"
[Henry Miller] : 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.
[Esther Dyson] : Always make new mistakes!
People are searching for interesting phrases at [Google] like [a way of life that does not consist of taking away from someone else|http://www.google.com/search?q=a+way+of+life+that+does+not+consist+of+taking+away+from+someone+else] and the first hit is [Quotations|http://kishore.editthispage.com/stories/storyReader$5] at my ex-weblog :-)
[Ahimsa] is word of the day
[Mark Kraft] is a [geeth|http://www.livejournal.com/userinfo.bml?user=insomnia] and states "I left a $125,000 a year job to become the "All things business" manager of LiveJournal, which means I oversee a ton of things regarding the strategy, design, and viability of the LiveJournal community / open source project. It's more than just business, especially to me. [Dulce et decorum est]..."
[Brent Simmons] has [many ideas|http://inessential.com/2002/01/02.html] for [Apple]. One of them "[Mac OS X] for x86" is something I would like too :-)
[Howard Rheingold]'s [Tools for Thought] is an exercise in retrospective futurism
[Alan Kay] is enraptured by the potential impact that computing technology can have on the world. He is especially interested in education and hopes that this new technology will create, what he calls, a "skeptical man." He likens the personal computer to the present day book and believes that if everyone had access to a computer, people would be more prone to play "what-if" games with information. He says that "the [information] retrieval systems of the future are not going to retrieve facts but points of view. The weakness of databases is that they let you retrieve facts, while the strength of our culture over the past several hundred years has been our ability to take on multiple points of view. It should be possible for every kid everywhere to test what he or she is being told either against arguments of others or by appeal to computer simulation. The question is: will society nurture that potential or suppress it?"
[Paul Graham] is working on [Arc]
[Novell] in [Why They Lie] : ...Every time we raise the bar, you-know-who stoops to a new level....
To [Dave Winer]: Wishing you lot more [flow|http://radio.weblogs.com/0001184/2002/01/01.html] in the years to come. Where are the list of all your articles like [When to give away the technology] :-)
In the movie [Blast from the Past], Dad advises son to stay away from adult book stores by stating 'It is full of poisonous Gas' - Why do I recall this after the reading Cameron's words ?
To [People] I have come across on the web: I would love to spend my days reading all that you write... But there is not enough time in my days to do that after time invested in occupations to make [Money] flow to my bank account! So I setup a [Portal]
[Dave Winer] : [The Web is generous]
[Stan Krute] [:|http://radio.weblogs.com/0001184/2002/01/01.html] "Dave knows Flow. The Power of Flow. The Beauty of Flow. The Goodness of Flow. The Win-Win-Win-Win-Win of Flow. You flow my way, I flow your way, ya give flow, ya get flow, others see this and join in on the fun, pretty soon, we're all surfing a happy big flowin' wave of our own communitarian making."
[Mira Art] [:|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2002/01/01] ...I rather wish all of us the energy and the desire to create luck, to make it happen.....by understanding one's role in this life...
My ex-weblog [Kishore Balakrishnan's Psychic RAM|http://kishore.editthispage.com/] has attracted [Synergy]'s [favorable attention|http://synergy.editthispage.com/stories/storyReader$11]. Nice :-)
[Áilleacht] is beauty in Irish
[Veronica Lynne]'s [WannaWrite?|http://wannawrite.editthispage.com/] is "A Place for Poetry, Prose and Ponderings"
[Ponderings|http://wannawrite.editthispage.com/questions] : ...Why is it when you are driving at night looking for an address, you instinctively (at least I have) turn down the radio?...
[Tourist Guy|http://www.touristguy.com/] :-)
[The Secret Subversive Purpose|http://www.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/aboutclwg.html] of [Children's Literature Web Guide]: ...If my cunning plan works, you will find yourself tempted away from the Internet, and back to the books themselves! Please remember that the Internet is not the most comprehensive source of information about children's books. Books and Libraries cover the field far better than I can ever hope to. - - - The Internet is a tremendous resource, but it will never compete with a Children's Librarian with a purposeful gleam in the eye!
[Mira Art] : [Water=Life=Alive=Divine|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/12/30]
[Six Ways to Reduce Advertising in Your Life]
Sushma is preparing [Sago Payasam|http://www.indiatastes.com/categories/316.html] for lunch.
[Vikas Kamat] explains [Feedback], [quotes|http://www.kamat.com/vikas/blog.php?date=12/27/2001] [Mahatma Gandhi] : "To make peace with evil in order to avoid conflict, is cowardice."
[Cameron Barrett] : Do yourself a favor and telnet to this address: towel.blinkenlights.nl
mmm... Is anyone researching "What is the average number of days before everyone writes 2002 instead of 2001" !
Wendell Berry
source : http://www.english.eku.edu/SERVICES/KYLIT/BERRY.HTM
(since the above page is only available in [Google]'s cache... I(a Wendell Berry Fan) have copied below)
The farmer, poet, novelist, essayist, and teacher, Wendell Berry, is a lover of the land. His appreciation and love for the land is expressed in both his life and works.
Berry was born at New Castle, Kentucky, in 1934. He grew up in this Henry County locale among "the cycle of the tobacco growing, cultivation, and marketing, so the romance of Kentucky's green gold is a living part of him" (Browning 191). In 1956, Berry graduated form the University of Kentucky with a B.A. degree in English and received his M.A. degree there a year later. During the summer of 1956, Berry studied at Indiana University School of Letters. From 1957 to 1959, he taught at Georgetown College. Later, under a creative writing fellowship, he went to the creative writing Center at Stanford University and taught creative writing for a year. While at Stanford, he wrote his first novel, Nathan Coulter.
In 1963, he taught at New York University. When Berry was offered and accepted a teaching position in the English Department at the University of Kentucky, the Berry's came home to Henry County in Kentucky. He lives on a 125 acre farm where his family has lived since the early 1800's. According to Bryan Wooley, "Berry is the fifth generation of his father's family and the sixth of his mother's to farm in Henry County, in the neighborhood of Port Royal" (8). Although his wife, formerly Tanya Amyx, lived in the city all her life, she and her husband raised their two children, Mary Dee and Pryor (Den) Clifford, on the farm. In the article "Wendell Berry, A Kentucky Writer Tries to Strengthen the Ties Between Man and the Land," Wooley discusses Berry's farm life. Berry did not initially intend to live on this farm but intended to use it as a vacation place. Instead the Berry's renovated the house and moved in around July 4, 1965. "It is a real farm, not a writer-professor's country estate. Its chores include milking cows and currying horses, and mucking out stalls and mending fences and mowing hay and all other time-consuming sometimes back-breaking, labor that family agriculture requires" (10).
Most of his farm was previously neglected, but Berry is fascinated with making this abused land productive. Oddly, he does not have a modern toilet; instead he has a clean white privy in the backyard. The wastes deposited there are made into compost. Tractors are not used to plow his fields, either. Berry uses a team of draft horses in replace of "Exhaust-stinking, engine-roaring, gasoline-guzzling tractors" (11). Berry feels he is doing his part by not harming the environment any further.
Another technology he does not convenience himself with is a computer, which Berry explains in his essay "Why I Am Not Going To Buy a Computer?" He writes his works and then his wife revises and types then on a manual typewriter. Berry gives three main reasons for not buying a computer: (1) He would hate to think that his work could not be done without a direct dependence on strip-mined coal. (2) He does not want to replace the close bond between him and his wife with an expensive unnecessary piece of equipment. (3) He does not want to "fool himself" by owning a computer, a tool that itself does not make his writing any better than the writing he does with a pencil. His first reason is in regard with his awareness of the land being striped to produce the electricity to run the computer. For the same reason, he writes in the daytime without electric lighting (179-171). By not participating in the "rape of nature," he shows his concern for the environment.
In Berry's novel, The Memory of Old Jack, this same appreciation for the earth is portrayed through the main character, Jack Beechum. Within this novel, the love for the land can be seen as a means of fulfillment. Although other prominent relationships are evident in Beechum's life, the most important relationship that he has is that with the soil and land.
Beechum remembers going though "a tormented marriage,... a jaded relationship with a hired black hand, and a tender love affair with a young widow... Through it all, Beechum is sustained by his farm, the paramount love and labor of his life" (Borries 26).
Beechum's marriage failed during courtship as Berry explains on page 54 and 55. His wife, Ruth Beechum, expected and wanted more of a business man instead of the farmer he was. The two, even though they were husband and wife, were strangers to each other. "She remained to him an unknown continent" (58). Beechum spent much of his time in the fields with the land, not with his wife. He could not fail with the land nor disappoint it, and it could not hold any expectations for him. So, he had more of a bond with the land than his wife.
Beechum and Will Wells, his Black hired hand, were originally like brothers, working on and caring for the land together. However, they grew weary in their relationship with the roles they fell into. Wells "was a man laboring for no more than his existence," while Beechum had "an increasing resentment of his dependence and a jealous remembering of the days when he had worked alone...when in his solitary work he had been so free" (81). Beechum had a greater need for the land than his hired hand.
Beechum thought he could restore his happiness through a love affair with Rose McInnis, a young widow. At first it did just that. Nevertheless, "with Rose too he was beginning to feel an incompleteness" (134). He loved McInnis but was married to Ruth Beechum; therefore, it could never lead to anything. Beechum knows the love in his affair with McInnis is dishonorable, whereas the love in his affair with the land is honorable.
Beechum's love for the land can be seen through faithfulness, his death, and his community. He is faithful to the earth, "Promising the return of what has been taken from it" (157). On the other hand, Jack also felt that the land was faithful to him by giving him "exactly what he put into it" (Borries 26). As death is at his door, he sits in a chair in his room, but his last visions are as though he is sitting at the roots of a tree on his farm (Berry 190-192). It is almost like his last request is to be with the wilderness. Moreover, Mat Feltner thought Beechum should have been buried secretly, only known to the ones who loved him best, at the edge of one of his fields so that: "when the last of them who knew its place (Beechum's grave-site) had died, Old Jack's return would be complete. He would be lost to memory there in the field, silently possessed by the earth on which he once established the work of his hands" (Berry 207). Therefore, he grew to love the soil and its natural surroundings greater than all else since his other relationships failed to give him satisfaction.
Another of Berry's works that displays a true love for his homeland is his poem "East Kentucky, 1967" included in his collection entitled Openings. The poem invites two questions concerning the environment. The first six lines challenge the awareness of what industrialization has done to the land. The waste produced by machines in the air and streams are at the expense of the lives all of the earth encompasses. The last six lines challenge the awareness of the future of our children. The next generation holds no hope for the reason they are "helpless." Since the children can only witness what we have shown them in this industrial period, they cannot "vision" and are "blind" to the land when it is beautiful and plentiful.
Wendell Berry expresses in his own life and in his works, a fondness, a love for the land and community. In my opinion and understanding, he wants us to realize our modernization is damaging the earth. It is killing the environment. Berry is not trying to tell us to "Save the World." The difference we make does not have to be large scale but local, individually taking part in preventing further damage. Berry explains in an interview with Bluegrass, "I think that changing yourself by doing the best work you can is of major importance" (27). In other words, if we worry about the part we can do locally, instead of thinking that we cannot do it all, then together we can make a noticeable difference.
- - -. "Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer?" What People Are For? North Point Press: San Francisco, 1990.
The Rise. Lexington, Kentucky: Grave Press, 1968. A book of nonfiction.
To What Listens. Crete, Nebraska: The Best Cellar Press, 1975. A poem.
A Part. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1980. A book of 54 poems.
The Gift of Good Land: Further essays Cultural and Agricultural. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1981. A book of 22 nonfiction essays.
Recollected Essays, 1965-1980. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1981. A book of 10 nonfiction essays.
Standing by Words. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1983. A book of 7 nonfiction essays.
The Collected Poems, 1957-1983. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1985. A book of 203 poems.
The Wild Birds: Six Stories of the Port William Membership. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1986. A book of 6 fiction stories.
Home Economics: Fourteen Essays. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1987. A book of 14 nonfiction essays.
Sabbaths: Poems. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1987. A book of 45 poems.
Remembering. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1988. A book of fiction.
* source : http://www.tipiglen.dircon.co.uk/wendellberrybooks.htm - "I do have an interest in this book, which is for sale. (If you have bought it, dear reader, I thank you. If you have borrowed it, I honor your frugality. If you have stolen it, may it add to your confusion.) Most of the sale price pays the publisher for paper, ink, and other materials, for editorial advice, copyediting, design, advertising (I hope), and marketing. I get between 10 and 15 percent (depending on sales) for arranging the words on the pages.
As I understand it, I am being paid only for my work in arranging the words; my property is that arrangement. The thoughts in this book, on the contrary, are not mine. They came freely to me, and I give them freely away. I have no "intellectual property," and I think that all claimants to such property are thieves."
[Articles] : [Why I am Not Going to Buy a Computer], [The joy of sales resistance]
Life is Beautiful
[Movies] > Life is Beautiful
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."
Unconditional Acceptance
was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human
always smile at everyone and say hello anyway so, I thought this
crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special play time
short gentleman, close to me, he was "smiling". His beautiful sky blue
second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend.
gentleman was his salvation. I held my tears as I stood there with
said, "Coffee is all Miss" because that was all they could afford. (If
man with the blue eyes. That is when I noticed all eyes in the
up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, "Thank you."
I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, "I did not do this for
you. God is here working through me to give you hope." I started to
husband smiled at me and said, "That is why God gave you to me,
college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. I
up at me and said, "Can I share this?"
and that is when I knew that we as human beings and being part of God,
share this need to heal people and be healed. In my own way I had
Read this and learn how to LOVE PEOPLE AND USE THINGS - NOT LOVE
life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.
Vision Creates Great Leaders
[Articles] > Vision Creates Great Leaders
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
take untravelled roads rather than beaten path. This needs
science, in technology, in history, in politics and in industry
and they are the results of first vision of the nation commenced
We were all thrilled when Panditji spoke that the mission was
achieved. On the next day, that is on 16th August 1947, I had
one which has been embedded in my memory is about
In this environment, I would like to quote Sir CV Raman, at the
age of 82, while addressing young graduates. The message is
contradiction that the quality of the Indian mind is equal to the
lack is perhaps courage, what we lack is perhaps driving force
inferiority complex. I think what is needed in India today is the
destruction of that defeatist spirit. We need a spirit of victory, a
civilization, are entitled to a rightful place on this planet. If that
indomitable spirit were to arise, nothing can hold us from
ago. As you all know, Prof Vikram Sarabhai is the visionary of
space programme in the country. He is well known for his
Prof Vikram Sarabhai were looking for a site to establish
great scientists visited a number of places. Thumba in Kerala
atmospheric structure. When Prof Vikram Sarabhai visited
fishermen folk were living in that area. It also had a beautiful
Bishop’s House. Prof Vikram Sarabhai met many politicians
place. He was asked to see the Bishop of Trivandrum, at that
time in 1962, His Excellency Rct Rev Dr Peter Bernard
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
reasoning. In one way, science and spiritualism seek the
children, can we give the God’s abode for a scientific mission?
place in 1962. His Excellency Rct Rev Dr Peter Bernard
Pereira, the Bishop of Trivandrum, took the noble decision to
establishment of the Indian Space Research Organization at
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
When I think of this event, I can see how enlightened spiritual
the human life. New church and new schools were established
Sarabhai is not there, Rev Dr Peter Bernard Pereira is not
path for the nation. What a beautiful message for all generation
of this nation, on integration of minds and universal sense.
With the tradition of this experience of noble leadership,
First Vision for the Nation, Created the Leaders
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Veer Savarkar. The list, if we take
it from each part of the country, will be very big. This National
movement had also brought simultaneously best of scientists
and technologists. Though there was no full-fledged effort at
the British ruled governmental level to bring up Indian science,
Prof S. Chandrasekhar, the famous Astronomy scientist, in his
is a remarkable thing that in the modern era before 1910, there
were no (Indian) scientists of international reputation or
Chandrasekhar himself). I myself have associated this
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
Second vision for the nation
India should become a developed country. This is the second
vision for the nation. How we can prepare ourselves to this
Technology Vision 2020 is a pathway to realize this cherished
mission. The Technology Vision 2020 consisted of 17
for the nation and the well being of our people. "Technology" is
the most vital key for achieving the goals. The vision deals with
power, civil aviation, waterways, engineering industries, life
materials and processing. There is a tremendous link between
life of the people. Similarly, in Tamil Nadu also we have seen
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
the Government departments will be essential to accomplish
the vision.
Concluding Remarks : Inspiring the great mission
they are not afraid of risks. I have seen and worked with
creators of vision and missions. The vision ignites particularly
I have worked with ISRO and DRDO for two decades each.
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
to be built and operationalised, are mission statements, which
component for success is that the organization creates
capable people because the mission triggers capability.
Organization works and nation with a mission will advance
Developed India 2020, second movement, second vision for the
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
best wishes to you all for transforming industrial and
commercial houses into establishments of substance and
Reinhold Niebuhr
Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.
What is the true meaning of life?
[RAQ] > What is the true meaning of life? [source|http://www.indigosun.com/Jan2000/Innocence.htm]
Ah . . . this you better find out for yourself. Don’t ask the meaning from me. It’s like asking me to chew your candy for you. It is not possible. I can put candy in your mouth, but I can’t chew it for you. You have to chew your own candy.
Be with this question. I can tell you one thing, you are very fortunate that this question arises in your mind. One in a million people will get this question. It is a very sincere question. it means you have started your journey toward the light. You stopped just existing and started on to the beautiful path. Be with this question, and don’t be in such a hurry for a ready-made answer from somebody. Go deep into yourself and you will find out.”
The University of Hard Knocks
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Why It Is Printed
the United States and have listened to "The University of Hard
kinds of audiences. Ralph Parlette is kept busy year after year
lecturing, because his lectures deal with universal human
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
lecture took this unconscious colloquial form before audiences. An
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wish I could tell the lecture committees of America how I
appreciate the vast amount of altruistic work they have done in
public, has encouraged the publishers to put more of Mr. Parlette's
lectures into book form, "Big Business" and "Pockets and Paradises"
are now in preparation as this, the third edition of "The
us "stop, look, listen"--Blind man learns with one bump--Going up
us--Our sorrows and disappointments--How the piano was made--How
ones shake up and the little ones shake down--The barrel of life
There is no top--We make ourselves great by service--the
life--Most "advantages" are disadvantages--Buying education for
experience--Theory and practice--Tuning the strings of life
IX. GO ON SOUTH!--The book in the running brook--The Mississippi
just beginning--Bernhardt, Davis, Edison--Moses begins at
principle, not praise--Doing duty for the joy of it--Becoming the
X. GOING UP LIFE'S MOUNTAIN--The defeats that are victories--
Each day we rise to larger vision--Getting above the night into
the eternal day--Going south is going upward
I do not want to be seen in this lecture. I want to be heard. I am
So in this lecture, please do not pay any attention to the delivery
you some of the multiplication table of life--not mine, not yours
audience is just as important as the kind of a lecture. A cold
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
of this audience. You can have all you want of it, but to get it to
That often explains why one person says a lecture is great, while
Here is a great mass of words and sentences and pictures to express
two or three simple little ideas of life, that our education is our
growing up from the Finite to the Infinite, and that it is done by
our own personal overcoming, and that we never finish it.
bound life? Have you noticed that every statement does not quite
cover it? No statement, no library, can tell all about life. No
and struggle up to a higher vision.
discussions of these truths. Here is bulk as well as nutriment.
If you get the feeling that the first personal pronoun is being
overworked, I remind you that this is more a confession than a
I believe all this pride, vanity, selfishness, self-righteousness,
hypocrisy and human frailty are the Outside that must be chipped
about your present. I care much about your future for that is to
THE 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
But if we are "naturally bright," or there is something else the
The tuition in the University of Hard Knocks is not free.
Experience is the dearest teacher in the world. Most of us spend
There are two kinds of people--wise people and fools. The fools are
The playground is all of God's universe.
The yell is "ouch" repeated ad lib.
was a sentence in my grammar that disgusted me. It was by some
foreigner I had never met. His name was Shakespeare. It was this:
And thus our life, exempt from public haunt,
"Tongues in trees," I thought. "Trees can't talk! That man is
University of Adversity. I am happy that I am beginning to listen.
For as I learn to listen, I hear every tree speaking, every stone
Children, I fear you will not be greatly interested in what is to follow.
It is so hard to tell young people anything. They know better. So
As we get bumped and battered on life's pathway, we discover we get
We discover, in other words, that The University of Hard Knocks has
That day they had the little joy and sunshine of the family in his
was within grabbing distance.
Then I discovered a woman beside me, my mother. She was the most
this petticoat tyranny three years, and it is time to stop it!
that this is the way to raise children, but I insist that this was
kind of an insect mother was trying to raise. Mother did know. She
coffee-pot would spill upon me. I cannot remember when I disobeyed
got my blisters. Mother did not inflict them. Mother was not much of an
"Stop, Look, Listen"
runs on the same plan. The Voice of Wisdom says to each of us,
wiser and happier." The tongues in the trees, the books in the
easier and more attractive. It is so easy to go downward. We slide
until we listen.
When we are bumped, we should "stop, look, listen." "Safety first!"
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
"pussyfooted" it along so carefully. He bumped his hand against a
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
that go upward have to be pushed. Going upward is overcoming.
And so with our own lives. Real living is conscious effort to go
upward to larger life.
If you are making no effort in your life, if you are moving in the
line of least resistance, depend upon it you are going downward.
unselfish souls who are carrying the community burdens and pushing
Majorities do not rule. Majorities never have ruled. It is the
drift and be amused and follow false gods that promise something
Human life is the story of the Prodigal Son. We look over the fence
in that unknown realm we fondly imagine is happiness.
fill up with disappointment, their vision becomes dulled. They
bump on the conscience is worse than a bump on the "noodle."
bumped your conscience numb. That is why you have no feelings on
Did you ever watch a fly get his Needless Knocks on the sticky
"Remember, son, to stay away from the sticky flypaper. That is
several minutes. But when he sees all the smart young flies of his
his face in the stickiness. "Ah! how pretty I am! This sticky
stuck a bit. Mother is such a silly old worryer. She means all
right, of course, but she isn't up-to-date. We young set of modern
You see Johnny fly back and forth and have the time of his
naturally bright young life. Afterwhile, tho, he stubs his toe and
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
"Really," says Johnny Fly bowing to his comrades also stuck around
flypaper. It is a fine place to stick around. All his young set of
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
write, "Whereas, it has pleased an all-wise Providence to remove,"
There is a good deal of suicide charged up to Providence.
were bumped. Some of you in this audience are just now wondering
But I am discovering that life only gets good after we have been
killed a few times. Each death is a larger birth.
is--material that needs more Needful Knocks to make it more useful
I should like to know every person in this audience. But the ones
most of these knocks--who have faced the great crises of life and
See the piano on this stage? Good evening, Mr. Piano. I am glad to
see you. You are so shiny, beautiful, valuable and full of music,
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
That is why you were bumped--because you were good! There came a
It is a very sad story. They took you all bumped and bleeding to
They did not bump the little, crooked, dissipated, cigaret-stunted
But shake, Mr. Piano. That is why you are on this stage. You were
One day I was up the Missabe road about a hundred miles north of
"What is it worth?"
Not very long after this, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I saw some
of this same red mud. It had been moved over the Great Lakes and
I watched this red mud matriculate into a great hopper with
school began. They roasted it. It is a great thing to be roasted.
always stop when anything is done roasting? If we are yet getting
promotion exercises. The red mud squirted out into the sand. It was
why do they roast me? O, I'll never get over this!"
it in glass cases. Many people admired it and said, "Isn't that
Every bump is raising our price. Every bump is disclosing a path to
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
Illinois, a crippled woman was wheeled into the tent and brought
said. "I have been in pain most of my life. But I have learned all
that I know sitting in this chair. I have learned to be patient and
They told me this crippled woman was the sweetest-spirited,
"Mr. Lecture Man," she said, "why is everybody interested in my
daughter and nobody interested in me? Why is my daughter happy and
why am I not happy? My daughter is always happy and she hasn't a
you are not happy is that you haven't been bumped enough."
I discover when I am unhappy and selfish and people don't use me
selfishness cripples us more than paralysis.
There is no backward step in life. Whatever experiences come to us
We think this is true of the good things that come to us, but we do
materially very prosperous, so many of us begin to say, "Is not
this Babylon that I have builded?" And about that time there comes
don't want your home to burn, but somebody's home is burning just
name might be tarnished. Bereavement might take from you the one
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
other public disaster brings sympathy, bravery, brotherhood and
There is a silver lining to every hard knocks cloud.
we get wisdom, understanding, happiness, strength, success and
greatness. We go up in life. We become educated. Let me bring you
way, I looked in the sack and discovered there was not a big, red,
to spoil his sign, had reached down under the top layer. He must
Do you? Is there a groceryman in the audience?
need to do it. It does itself. It is the shaking of the barrel that
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
This is a canned lecture. Let the can talk to you awhile.
is too small to stay up. He cannot stand prosperity.
There is only one way for those objects to change their place in
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
of life. That barrel is shaking all the time. Every community is
shaking, every place is shaking. The offices, the shops, the
live or work is shaking. Life is a constant survival of the
in that can is shaking every person to the place he fits in the
barrel of life. It is sending small people down and great people
And do you not see that we are very foolish when we want to be
put down to some little place? We are foolishly trying to overturn
the eternal law of life.
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.
If we wish to change our place, we must first change our size. If
we wish to go down, we must grow smaller and we shall shake down.
If we wish to go up, we must grow greater, and we shall shake up.
Each person is doing one of three things consciously or
1. He is holding his place.
2. He is going down.
3. He is going up.
In order to hold his place he must hold his size. He must fill the
the loss by evaporation. Evaporation is going steadily on in lives
office and say, "Isn't it about time I was getting a raise?" I
would say, "Go shake the jar, Charlie. That is the way you get
raised. As you grow greater you won't need to ask to be promoted.
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
Notice as I bump this jar. Two things happened. The little ones
"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
And she never "got done." When she had finished her work, the work
she had been put at, she would discover something else that ought
faculty the world is bidding for--initiative.
The other girls "got done." When they had finished the work they
The barrel did the rest. Today she is giving orders to all of them,
for she is the office superintendent.
confidence that it was the rankest favoritism ever known. "There
who didn't know. "Is he a human being?"
He is one of the kindest-hearted men we ever had in the works, but
isn't interested, does not learn, doesn't try to learn."
So he had begun to rattle. Nobody can stay where he rattles. It is
Life's Barrel the Leveler
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
do not even get invited. We often become discouraged as we look at
the top-branchers, and we say, "O, if I only had his chance! If I
And afterwhile we are all in the barrel of life, shaken and bumped
enough to fill this place?"
Now life is mainly routine. You and I and everybody must go on
But if we let life become routine, we are shaking down. The very
routine of life must every day flash a new attractiveness. We must
be learning new things and discovering new joys in our daily
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
growing into a greater, wiser merchant to hold his place among his
competitors. The minister must be getting larger visions of the
ministry as he goes back into the same old pulpit to keep on
Unless the place is a grave!
I shiver as I see the pages of school advertisements in the
journals labeled "Finishing Schools," and "A Place to Finish Your
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.
ready to get along without him. That noise you hear is the
death-rattle in his throat.
For it is mostly rattle. The live one's "my day" is today and
tomorrow. The dead one's is yesterday.
We young people come up into life wanting great places. I would not
We often think the way to get a great place is just to go after it
a boy becomes a man by getting into his father's boots. He is in
All life is preparation for greater things.
The world is not greatly impressed by testimonials. The man who has
hands." I heard a Chicago superintendent say to his foreman, "Give
It is dangerous to overboost people, for the higher you boost them
to introduce a stranger. A letter of introduction is useful. A
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
for his vitality.
ones. I look back over my lyceum life and see that I hindered my
progress by reading my press-notices instead of listening to the
verdict of my audiences. I avoided frank criticism. It would hurt
me. Whenever I heard an adverse criticism, I would go and read a
few press-notices. "There, I am all right, for this clipping says
And my vanity bump would again rise.
a home enterprise--not for the sake of the imported attraction but
and your work mercilessly dissected, shake hands with yourself and
rejoice, for the kingdom of success is yours.
There are so many loving, sincere, foolish, cruel uplift movements
in the land. They spring up, fail, wail, disappear, only to be
rattle back, and "the last estate of that man is worse than the
derrick. We must feed the hungry and clothe the naked, but that is
not helping them, that is propping them. The beggar who asks you to
beggar sitting at the gate Beautiful. Every day the beggar had been
they would reply, "you are in a bad fix. Here is help," and they
"helping" to the Jerusalem Beggars' Union and carried his card.
Maybe he paid a commission for such a choice beggars' beat.
as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise
times a day. We need oculists, not opportunities.
Artful Dodger of Section Sixteen. When the whistle would blow--O,
from somebody who rattles where he is.
the hand-car job is just as honorable as the bank job, but as I was
enchanted up into a king. But life's good fairies see to it that
the clodhopper is enchanted into readiness for kingship before he
The only way to rule others is to learn to rule ourself.
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
naturally today, and we see it is because we have grown ready for
Do you not see that "cruel fate" is our own smallness and
Getting up is growing up.
And this blessed old barrel of life is just waiting and anxious to
WE go up as we grow great. That is, we go up as we grow up. But so
There is only one greatness--inside greatness. All outside
greatness is merely an incidental reflection of the inside.
Greatness is not measured in any material terms. It is not measured
Greatness is measured in spiritual terms. It is education. It is
life expansion.
We go up from selfishness to unselfishness.
We go up from little vision to greater vision.
We go up from foolishness to wisdom.
rise above our own obstacles. We learn to see, hear, hold and
We may become very great, very educated, rise very high, and yet
Come, let us grow greater. There is a throne for each of us.
"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 world is in the business of getting--getting great fortunes,
the inside, and wails, "All is vanity. I find no pleasure in them.
Life is a failure." All outside life is a failure. Real life is in
Christ Jesus was a great Teacher. His mission was to educate
There came to him those two disciples who wanted to "get to the
in the new kingdom they imagined he would establish on earth.
you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among
That is we cannot be "born great," nor "have greatness thrust upon"
inside--developing ability to minister and to serve.
We cannot buy a great character. It is earned in great moral
This is the Big Business of life--going up, getting educated,
is little business. Much of it mighty little.
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
become great. It is a great stairway that leads from where our feet
spectacular stride of a thousand steps at one leap. That is why we
fall so hard when we miss our step.
solve and dissolve the difficulties and turn our burdens into
upward currents. And so as our problems disappear and our life
currents set upward, the world is drawn toward us with its
of power. We find the world around us rising up to call us blessed.
greater eyes. We rise above them.
As we grow greater our opportunities grow greater. That is, we
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.
ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." That great ocean is
"This poor widow hath cast in more than they all. For all these
treasury. That is not why we give. We give to become great. The
widow had given all--had completely overcome her selfishness and
Becoming great is overcoming our selfishness and fear. He that
saveth his life shall lose it, but he that loseth his life for the
service, there is an alchemy that transmutes every gift into gold.
Every work is drudgery when done selfishly. Every work becomes
do not know all the great people who may come and stand upon this
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
service of God is the service of man.
the happy ones, happy for the larger vision that comes as they go
higher by unselfish service. They are discovering that their
I had to go to the mouth of a coal-mine in a little Illinois town,
miner's lamp in his cap, could possibly have to do with the lyceum
the Sunday school. He was the storm-center of every altruistic
serviceable, tho he worked every day full time with his pick at his
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
history of each place, and before dinner he knew more about the
"There is a sermon for me," he would exclaim every half-hour. He
were doing nothing. In every town he would discover somebody of
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.
So this Chicago preacher was busy every day, working overtime on
his vacation. He was busy about other people's business. He did not
His friends would sometimes worry about him. They would say, "Why
hasn't strength enough left to lecture and do his own work."
But he that saveth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his
life in loving service finds it returning to him great and
glorious. This man's preaching did not make him great. His college
did not make him great. His books did not make him great. These are
the by-products. His life of service for others makes him
great--makes his preaching, his college and his books great.
This Chicago man gives his life into the service of humanity, and
it becomes the fuel to make the steam to accomplish the wonderful
things he does. Let him stop and "take care of himself," and his
If he had begun life by "taking care of himself" and "looking out
Gunsaulus would have remained a struggling, discouraged preacher in
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
Most "advantages" are disadvantages. Giving a child a chance
generally means getting out of his way. Many an orphan can be
grateful that he was jolted from his life-preserver and cruelly
They think they can buy an education--buy wisdom, strength and
else send off to New York or Paris or to "Sears Roebuck," and get
home. They are going to force this education into them regularly
do is to buy them some tools, perhaps, and open the gate and say,
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.
well expect Moses to give them his spiritual understanding acquired
in a long life of prayer.
Here is a typical case.
man who owned the mill. He had made it with his own genius out of
He began to buy it. He began to polish and sandpaper Gussie from
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
blindness of his love he robbed his boy of his birthright.
The birthright of every child is the opportunity of becoming
receive his education?
grand bump, said steer does not have to do another thing. His
education is all arranged for in advance and he merely rides thru
and receives it. There is a row of professors with their sleeves
goes riding thru on that endless cable from his A-B-C's to his
from department to department until he is canned.
Gussie and Bill Whackem Gussie came back home with his education in
the first time in its history. The hands marched down to the depot,
a wreck. The monument of a father's lifetime was wrecked in two
But now I see that Bill went up in spite of his handicaps. If he
had had Gussie's fine equipment he might have accomplished vastly more.
furnish you finer working tools. But the real education is the
poor, homemade, crude tools, but with the energy, vision and
For education is getting wisdom, understanding, strength,
That is why they say, "All my life I have been handicapped by lack of
proper preparation. Don't make my mistake, children, go to school."
end-ment. You will discover with the passing years that life is
That is what you know--what the courts will take as evidence when
The story of Gussie and Bill Whackem is being written in every
community in tears, failure and heartache. It is peculiarly a
life and put them into them.
They do all this and the children rattle. They have had no chance
making the wreck, even as Gussie was blamed for wrecking his
father's plant, when the child is the victim.
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.
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
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.
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
this nation produces. Steam heat is a fine thing, but do you notice
Children, Learn This Early
they have. I'm fixed for life."
earn for yourself, is robbing you of your birthright.
it--put it into your life.
his house where he could watch it develop. One day he saw a little
struggle. For it was this struggle of breaking its own way out of
But remember there is little virtue in work unless it is getting us
of it and years following until our machine is worn out and on the
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
hearing nothing, his head down, without ambition enough to prick up
his ears. Such work deadens and stupefies. The masses work about
right--such work is a necessary evil, and they make it such. They
But getting a vision of life, and working to grow upward to it,
that is the work that brings the joy and the greatness.
even the packhorse job, because it is our "meal ticket" that
is coming. Shell out!"
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
minister to you.
is seeking happiness, but so many are seeking it by rattling down
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.
a skinny, fretful, nervous wreck into a hearty, happy man. This has
been a great surprise to my friends and a great disappointment to
day is jam full of play and vacation and good times. The year is
to be "absent from the body and present with the Lord." Thus this
old body behaves just beautifully and wags along like the tail
This is one species of selfishness.
To worry is to doubt God.
To work at the things you love, or for those you love, is to turn
When we love our work, it is not work, it is life.
The world is trying to find happiness in being amused. The world is
The speaker is perfectly honest. He has no place to put a lecture.
at what underlies his remark. He does not want to think. He wants
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
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 stop chasing amusements long enough to think upon his ways, he
will arise and go to his father's house of wisdom. But there is no
That is why the crowd is not furnishing the strong men and women.
continually relaxing is degenerating. And the individual, the
contracting--without struggling and overcoming--is degenerating.
muscle is relaxing another is contracting. So you must learn that
the place, "Were you born in this city?"
The reply is almost a monotony. "I born in this city? No, I was
born in Poseyville, Indiana, and I came to this city forty years
farmside where he struggled as a boy. Personally, I think this
Give us steam heat and push-buttons. There is no virtue in a
strength is most in evidence. There the young person gets the
the weaklings of the artificial life, he rises above them like the
If it were not for Poseyville, Indiana, Chicago would disappear.
If it were not for Poseyville, New York would disintegrate
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
hell is because they have no other place to go."
What is the matter with the small town? Do not blame it all upon
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
could get together they wouldn't be in this asylum. They are
It would be almost unkind to carry this further, but I have been
up into little antagonistic social, business and even religious
stays neutral and furnishes the munitions for both sides.
So the home towns stagnate and the young people with visions go
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
America is to be great, not in the greatness of a few crowded
He encouraged his students to be self-supporting, and most of them
the school of books with the school of struggle. He organized his
struggle in his life would at least have to struggle with the
others during his schooling.
for the military department. His school was one surging mass of
old student pledged new students in his home country. The military
not believe there is a school in America with a greater alumni roll
The old "deestrick" school is passing, and with it the small
equipment and maintenance. Today we scour the earth for specialists
this day! Many of them never saw a germ!
not be rows of lithographed cans on the shelves of life. I am
veneered but inspired, not denatured but discovered.
All this school machinery is only machinery. Back of it must be
that each student come in vital touch with great men. We get life
from life, not from laboratories, and we have life more abundantly
A school is vastly more than machinery, methods, microscopes and millions.
Many a small school struggling to live thinks that all it needs is
endowment, when the fact is that its struggle for existence and the
fatty degeneration. Some schools seem to have been visited by
foundations? That is the question the age is asking.
For that sentence utters one of the fundamentals of life that
What is knowing?
One day a manufacturer took me thru his factory where he makes
A violin is only a fiddle with a college education.
I have had the feeling ever since that you and I come into this
neck. That is about all there is either to us or to the fiddle. We
string--the little E string. The trouble is so many of these human
school and go fiddling thru life on this one string!
them the full complement of strings for their life symphonies.
After all this there comes the commencement, and the violin comes
Why is a violin? To wear strings? Gussie got that far and gave a
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
knowing. Learning is tuning.
All of us are Christopher Columbuses, discovering the same new-old
continents of Truth. That is the true happiness of
life--discovering Truth. We read things in a book and have a hazy
little feeling, "Yes, that is so." We hear the great truths of life
over and over and we are not excited. Truth never excites--it is
falsehood that excites--until we discover it in our lives. Until we
see it with our own eyes. Then there is a thrill. Then the old
consciousness. This joy of discovery is the joy of living.
There is such a difference between reading a thing and knowing a
I did not learn it. I wish I had learned by reading it that if I
blisters in order to learn it.
Then I had to go around showing the blisters, boring my friends and
This is not a lecture. It is a confession! It seems to me if you in
get something for nothing." That is, getting it in partial tune. It
me here on this platform in my graceful and cultured manner, and
drink from a copper kettle. But I have fed him the fingers of this
swine department. Everybody goes to his own department. Even the
"suckers"! Did you ever notice where they go? That is where I
You see, this was not gambling, this was a sure thing. (It was!)
When anybody says that he is due for a return date.
and stood up in his buggy. "Let the prominent citizens gather
"Gentlemen, I am introducing this new medicinal soap that cures all
diseases humanity is heir to. Now just to introduce and advertise,
a cake of this wonderful soap from my hat--any cake you want, gentlemen!"
work) in his hands and grab that bill cake. But the bill
disappeared. I never knew where it went. The man whipped up his
horse and also disappeared. I never knew where he went.
doubled. They still exist on the blueprint and the Oklahoma
metropolis on paper is yet a wide place in the road.
"Everglades"? I have an alligator ranch there. It is below the
melon! I have heard that all my life and never got a piece of the rind.
retired ministers would come periodically and sell me stock in some
new enterprise that had millions in it--in its prospectus. I would
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 pitied his lack of vision. Bankers were such "tightwads." They
never met. His name was Thomas A. Cleage, and he was in the Rialto
Building, St. Louis, Missouri. He wrote me in extreme confidence,
rent my manly bosom as I read that letter from this man who said he
train for St. Louis. I was afraid somebody might beat me there if
sheep-shears ready. Lambie, lambie, lambie, come to St. Louis!
I don't get any sympathy from this crowd. You laugh at me. You
happened in St. Louis. It is none of your business!
O, I am so glad I went to St. Louis. Being naturally bright, I
St. Louis to Tom Cleage's bucket-shop and pay him eleven hundred
dollars to corner the wheat market of the world. That is all I paid
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
floor. I will not grasp it. Come away, it is a coffee-pot!
interest I know he is no friend of our family.
Meeting is adjourned. I select the waste-basket. Here, get in there
O, Absalom, Absalom, my son, my son! Learn it early in life. The
law of compensation is never suspended. You only own what you earn.
will have to be "selected." There is no other way for you, because
have been selected to receive this bunch of blisters because you
took me up into his office after the lecture in which I had related
pathetic. It was a picture of what is going on in our own little
community year after year. I wish you could see what I have to see.
I wish you could see the thousands of hard-earned dollars that go
out of our community every year into just such wildcat enterprises
as you described. The saddest part of it is that the money nearly
Absalom, wake up! This is bargain night for you. I paid eleven
hundred dollars to tell you this one thing, and you get it for a
dollar or two. This is no cheap lecture. It cost blood.
Learn that the gambler never owns his winnings. The man who
The owning is in the understanding of values.
This is true physically, mentally, morally. You only own what you
have earned and stored in your life, not merely in your pocket,
To me that is one of the great arguments for eternal life--how slowly
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
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
side. There is a long-whiskered rug in the middle. The graduates
know how it hurts. It is the first time they have worn it.
lieth Italy!" (Bring arms down, letting fingers follow the wrist.
the wrist! It is always a shock to the audience when the wrist
means, let the fingers follow the wrist, just as the elocution
You get the most beautiful and sublime truths from Emerson's
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,"
up over Alps of difficulty and seeing the Italy of promise and
victory beyond. It is fine to say, "We are rowing and not
Did you ever hear him preach his "maiden sermon"? I wish you had heard
been "selected": Maybe this was a local call, not long distance.
But I made the mistake I am trying to warn you against. Instead of
the poet Shakespeare has so beautifully said," and then I took a
chunk of Shakespeare and nailed it on page five of my sermon. "List
worked that sermon up into the most beautiful splurges and spasms.
"cry here." This was the spilling-point of the wet climax. I was to
I got the most beautiful gestures nailed into almost every page.
I am not sneering at expression. Expression is a noble art. All
life is expression. But you have to get something to express. Here
I made my mistake. I got a lot of fine gestures. I got an
Then came the grand day. The boy wonder stood forth and before his
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
Out of every thousand books published, perhaps nine hundred of them
live must come out of his heart. They are his own life. They come
surging and pulsating from the book of his experience.
agriculturist. We must take a hoe and go out and agricult. That is
But the soul of the artist fainted,
cultivated it, they are singers. All this cultivation and irritation
beautiful voice, and she has been away to "Ber-leen" to have it
half so beautifully as Jessie did, but she sang it with the
All this was gall and wormwood to Jessie. "Child," I said to her,
"this is the best singing lesson you have ever had. Your study is
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
lives? That is why they "execute" them.
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
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
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
own relief. I was writing my own life, just what was in my own
heart and what the struggles were teaching me. No one is more
surprised and grateful that the world seems to love my songs and
"Just a Wearyin' for You," "His Lullaby" and many more of those
simple little songs so full of the pathos and philosophy of life
that they tug at your heart and moisten your eyes.
song, but only the skeleton into which our own life must breathe
the life of the song.
she is today. Her defeats were her victories. If Carrie Jacobs-Bond
had never struggled with discouragement, sickness, poverty and
The popular song is the song that best voices what is in the
it is a tribute to the good elements in humanity that the
become wrecks. But I am insisting upon what I see written all
around me in the affairs of everyday life, that none of us will
came from the life of Carrie Jacobs-Bond.
The world is full of theorists, dreamers, uplifters, reformers, who
have worthy visions but are not able to translate them into
ideas must be forged into usefulness available for this day upon
Many of the most brilliant theorists have been the greatest
There are a thousand who can tell you what is the matter with
anything you could think of was discussed, and perhaps the page. He
He could give you almost any date. He could finish almost any quotation.
His conversation was largely made up of classical quotations.
practical life. He seemed to be unable to think and reason for
a misfit on earth. He was liable to put the gravy in his coffee
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,
in running brooks." Most fortunate is he who has learned to read
long in this world.
Our education is our progress from the sweeping, positive,
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
I know there are chapters of heroism in the lives of you older
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.
much interested in this lecture. You are polite and attentive
because this is a polite and attentive neighborhood. But down in
your hearts you are asking, "What is this all about? What is that
trust most betray you. Maybe, betray you with a kiss. You will go
You will see all that seems to make life livable lost out of your
For all lives have about the same elements. Your life is going to
pitch, where the discords fade from our lives and where the music
had been sending forth the noise and discord.
Thus we know that our education is progressing, as the evil and
That is getting in tune.
That is growing up.
I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, altho it is quite
Nobody ever traded with us by mistake.
cheerful old miser put a nickel in my blistered hand. That nickel
Yet I was years learning it is much easier to make money than to
There is hope for green things. I was so tall and awkward then--I
can teach kids." That is why I was a teacher.
My second, Make, em recite. That is, fill 'em up and then empty 'em.
literature that day. Execute is the word that tells what happened
to literature in District No. 1, Jackson Township, that day. I can
never got home with the money. Talk about the fool and his money
tho, why he didn't take a pillow to church. I took his note for $240,
Deacon K has gone from earth. He has gone to his eternal reward. I
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
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
"Greece is gone and Rome is no more, but fe-e-e-e-ear not,
I got a truer perspective of life that night. Did you ever sit
before? It is a memorable experience.
authoresses and scientists and scientist-esses and geniuses and
home telephone exchange, and had become absolutely indispensable to
going to Confess was raising the best corn in the county, and his
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
domineering egotist boy became the domineering egotist man.
didn't whisper, who never got into trouble, who always had his hair
jail." But Model Harry sat around all his life being a model. I
seemed like she was all out-shine and no in-shine. She mistook
irish lass who became an "old maid." She had worked day by day all
white, loving life radiated far.
Everybody said Frank would make his mark in the world and make
How easy it is to see as you look backward. But how hard it is to
I asked, "Where is he?" We went out to the cemetery, where I stood
all the struggle taken out of his life. He never followed his
career, never developed any strength. He disappointed hopes, spent
a fortune, broke his father's heart, shocked the community, and
finally ended his wasted life with a bullet fired by his own hand.
Do you remember it? The Jewish boy is torn from his home in
disgrace. He is haled into court and tried for a crime he never
trial at the hands of this world. That is why the great Judge has
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
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.
will win?" "The man with the stronger forearms," they whisper.
mistakes in the bookkeeping. As we pull on the oar, so often lashed
by grim necessity, every honest effort is laid up at compound
comes when we need every ounce. Sooner or later our chariot race is
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.
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
this little creek?"
"Creek! It bane no creek. It bane Mississippi river."
where it is going, but it is "on the way."
Paul came on the road to Damascus. The place of the "heavenly vision."
It is the place where gravity says, "Little Mississippi, do you
The little Mississippi starts south. He says to the people,
"Why, Mississippi, you are foolish. You hain't got water enough to
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
know that he has to go hundreds of miles south. He is only trying
relative to die and bequeath him some water. That is a beautiful
by day he picks up streamlets, brooklets, rivulets. Business is
My friends, here is one of the best pictures I can find in nature
Value of a Goal in Life." But the direction is vastly more
important than the goal. Find the way your life should go, and then
supplies we will need along the way. All we have to do is to start
Success is not tomorrow or next year. Success is now. Success is
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
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.
2. He overcomes his obstacles and develops his power.
You never meet the Mississippi after he starts south, but what he
is going on south and growing greater. You never meet him but what
The Mississippi gets to St. Paul and Minneapolis. He is a great
retire upon his laurels. He goes on south and grows greater. He
goes on south to St. Louis. He is a wonderful river now. But he
Everywhere you meet him he is going on south and growing greater.
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.
That is why I am making it the slogan of my life--GO ON SOUTH AND
each day. I wish I could write it over the pulpits, over the
GROW GREATER. For this is life, and there is no other. This is
education--and religion. And the only business of life.
Success is so hard to endure. We can endure ten defeats better than
Civilization is mostly a conspiracy to keep us from going very far south.
But contentment with present achievement is the damnation of the race.
become good servants, workmen or artists. The young people get a
south to efficiency and promotion. They wonder why their genius is
not recognized. They do not make it visible.
think that is being a stenographer, when it is merely a symptom of
Nine out of ten workmen cannot be trusted to do what they advertise
efficient. Many a professional man is in the same class.
Half of our life is spent in getting competents to repair the
I used to know a violinist who would say, "If I were not a genius,
Strickland Gillilan, America's great poet-humorist, say, "Egotism
is the opiate that Nature administers to deaden the pains of mediocrity.
This Is Our Best Day
are so prone to say, "I am aging rapidly." It pays to advertise. We
front-paging his age. Age is not years; age is grunts.
greases his buggy. He believes in "preparedness."
Go on south! We have not seen our best days. This is the best day
so far, and tomorrow is going to be better on south.
great fundamental of our life. I hope the oldest in years sees that
understand. Just beginning to know about life."
eternal youth. It is the one who stops who "ages rapidly." Each day
brings us a larger vision. Infinity, Eternity, Omnipotence,
Omniscience are all on south.
We have left nothing behind but the husks. I would not trade this
compound interest! They are dead. This is life.
are the most valuable, for they have the vision and wisdom of many
list, retires himself. He quits going on south.
The most wonderful person in the world is the one who has lived
whole world going to that person for direction, advice, vision,
I am happy today as I look back over my life. I have been trying to
I ought to know more about it by this time. But when anybody says,
I was so dissatisfied with what little I knew. He told me I could
have a new birth. The days when we go on south to larger visions.
I wish I could have a birthday every minute!
Bernhardt, Davis and Edison
gripping audiences with the fire and brilliancy of youth, is
Senator Henry Gassaway Davis, West Virginia's Grand Old Man, at
multitudes in his employ. He was an ardent Odd Fellow, and one day
at ninety-two--just a short time before his passing--he went out to
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
"My boy," laughed Senator Davis, "I was an Odd Fellow before
Mr. Edison invented into the meeting at Lakeside, Ohio. The people
But the people said, "Mr. Edison has succeeded." There was one man
who did not believe that Mr. Edison had succeeded. His name was
Thomas Alva Edison. He had gotten to St. Paul, and he went on
Mr. Edison has said that his genius is mainly his ability to keep
on south. A young lady succeeded in getting into his laboratory the
diamond-pointed phonograph. I am sure if we could bring Mr. Edison
to this platform and ask him, "Have you succeeded?" he would say
me how much there is yet to do."
That is success supreme. Not "succeeded" but "succeeding."
death and life. Are you "ed-ing" or "ing-ing"?
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?
You are liable to drop off any minute. Here is a pair of slippers.
And keep out of the night air. It is so hard on old folks."
Israel, forward, march!"
can hardly keep up. Moses is eighty-five and busier and more
enthusiastic than ever. The people say, "Isn't Moses dead?" "No."
"Well, he ought to be dead, for he is old enough."
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
the great prophet says, "Boys, what is it? Cut it short, I'm busy."
is to be next Thursday. Kindly die."
I see Moses look over his appointments. "Next Thursday?
Why, boys, every hour is taken next Thursday. I simply cannot
who is too busy to attend his own funeral! You cannot bury anybody
until he consents. It is bad manners! The committee is so
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.
He is doing ten men's work and his friends all say he is killing
Moses is ninety-five and burning the candle at both ends.
He is a hundred. And the committee dies!
Moses goes right on shouting, "Onward!" He is a hundred and ten. He
is a hundred and twenty. Even then I read, "His eye was not dim,
nor his natural force abated." He had not time to stop and abate.
So God buried him. The committee was dead. O, friends, this is not
irreverence. It is joyful reverence. It is the message to all of
All the multitudes of the Children of Israel died in the Wilderness.
They generally discover the world is "going to the dogs." They cry
They say nobody loves them. Which is often a fact. Nobody loves the
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
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
sorry for a child. Hurry up and go on south. It is better on south.
I wish I could forget many of my childhood memories. I remember the
meeting day." Elder Berry would stay for dinner. His name was
long table and view the "promised land." I would see her set on the
would say, "Hurry, mother, it is going to spill!" O, how I wanted
I was starving. He would say, "Brother Parlette, is this your
He would often put his hand in benediction upon my head.
you are seeing the best days of your life right now as a child."
The dear old liar! I was seeing the worst days of my life. If there
is anybody shortchanged--if there is anybody who doesn't have a
good time, it's a child. Life has been getting better ever since,
and today is the best day of all. Go on south!
with fuzz on his upper lip, but he'll be happier when his lip feels
happiness undreamed of in his philosophy.
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
So we cannot grow old. Our life never stops. It goes on and on
Material things will grow old. This stage will grow old and stop.
This hall will grow old and stop. This house we live in will grow
old and stop. This flesh and blood house we live in will grow old
and stop. This lecture even will grow old--and stop! But you and I
today it is such a relief to look people in the face and say,
As the Mississippi River goes on south he finds obstacles along the
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
the light and power from the struggle. The great city of St. Louis,
So that is why they spent the millions to build the obstacle--to
That is exactly what happens when you and I overcome our obstacles.
but it is all latent and does no good until we overcome obstacles
obstacles. The presence of the obstacles means that there is a lot
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
Usually the deadest loafer is married to the livest woman. Nature
I do not smile as I refer to the dead. I weep. I wish I could
But all this lecture has been discussing this, so I hurry on to the
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
blessing nor cursing, not for popularity nor for selfish ends, not
The Mississippi blesses the valley every day as he goes on south
its foul, muddy, poisonous streams back upon the Mississippi to
defile him. The Mississippi makes St. Paul and Minneapolis about
The Mississippi does not resign. He does not tell a tale of woe. He
does not say, "I am not appreciated. My genius is not understood.
Itasca." No, he does not even go to live with his father-in-law.
alchemy of Nature, the Mississippi has taken over all the poison
made it a part of himself. And he is greater and farther south!
Civilization conspires to defeat the Mississippi. Chicago's
wide and three inches deep; the peevish, destructive Kaw, and all
irresponsible lower Missouri; the big, muddy Ohio, the Arkansas,
discourage, divert nor defile him. No matter how poisonous he
becomes, he goes a few miles on south and he is all pure again.
Wonderful the book in the running brook! We let our life stream
become poisoned by bitter memories and bitter regrets. We carry
us, that sometimes we are bank to bank full of poison and a menace
Oh, forget it! Drop it all. Purify your life and go on south all
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
for a better community, gets discouraged at times.
we sit down completely discouraged and say, "I'm done. I'm going to
Stop! You are not saying that. The evil one is whispering that into
your heart. His business is to stop you from going south. His most
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
valley for praise or blame, for appreciation or lack of it. You do
Almost everybody is deceived. We work from mixed motives. We fool
if we are not praised or thanked for it, if people do not present
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
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!
But because the Mississippi does these things, one day the train I
was riding stopped in Louisiana. We had come to a river so great
writing the first chapter of this wonderful book in the running brook.
life. Father of Waters, you have fought a good fight. You are
And may we read it into our own lives. May we get the vision of
The Mississippi knows nothing about the gulf. He goes on south
tho nothing had happened. So he pushes his physical banks on south
And when he comes to the end of his physical banks, he pushes on
And when physical banks fail, we go on south beyond this mere husk,
Going Up Life's Mountain
HOW often we say, "I wish I had a million!" Perhaps it is a
lazy, selfish and unhappy. Perhaps we would go around giving it to
other people to make them lazy, selfish and unhappy.
O, the problem is not how to get money, but how to get rid of
be doctored by specialists.
Necessity is the ballast in our life voyage.
his work, do you think of the years of struggle he spent in
speak when he failed and went back to his room in disgrace,
discipline, experience and grim resolve that made him succeed.
necessary to produce that finish and grace? That is the story of
blessings in disguise. People go to the devil with full pockets;
they turn to God when hunger hits them. "Is not this Babylon that
drinks to his gods. Then must come the Needful and Needless Knocks
before he would write his immortal "Pilgrim's Progress"? It may be
blind before writing "Paradise Lost" the world will always read?
remembered had he lived the life of luxury planned for him? He had
He, too, had to be sent to prison to write his immortal messages to
humanity. What throne-rooms are some prisons! And what prisons are
Do you not see all around you that success is ever the phoenix
rising from the ashes of defeat?
For that is the only way to say, "Success to you!"
be bumped to see this!
I know no better way to close this lecture than to tell you of a
tho twelve years of my life had dropped out of it, and had been
dog is wounded he crawls away alone to lick his wounds. I felt like
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
triangular car that hoists them out of the hungry chasm thirty-five
Here they find that Echo Mountain is but a shelf on the side of
towards the sky. There is hardly a straight rail in the track.
winding and squirming, twisting and ducking, dodging and summersaulting.
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
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
and rises eleven hundred feet.
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
It spreads out below in one great mosaic of turquoise and amber
and emerald, where the miles seem like inches, and where his
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
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
rises "Old Baldy," twelve thousand feet high and snow eternally
on his head.
This is one of the workshops of the infinite!
the swimming distances. I did not know why I had struggled up into
doesn't shine. The sky is all gone." But I saw the truth--the sun
could see all this because I had gone above the valley. I could see
the clouds of trouble today, BUT THE SUN IS SHINING!
forever shining and God forever in His heavens.
Each day as I go up the mountain I get a larger vision. The miles
clearly the plan of a human life. The rocks, the curves and the
know it was one of the greatest blessings of my life. It closed one
lower and lower until his red lips kissed the cheek of the Pacific.
fountains of rainbows. Such a sunset from the mountain-side is a
promise of heaven.
Some day my night will come. It will spread over all this valley of
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
We are not growing old. We are going up to Eternal Life.
The Big Business of Life
This book proves that the real big business is that of getting our
"It is a great big boost for everybody who will read it. People
"The Big Business of Life is a real joy to read. It is big and
where. It is truly `A Book of Rejoicing'."
"In The Big Business of Life we have the practical philosophy
that it is everyone's business to abolish work and turn this
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
book before us is wholesome and vivacious. It provokes many
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
says. "Parlette's Beans and Nuts is just as good as the Message to
William Jennings Bryan says of the booklet "Go On South": "It is
Mississippi River story together and we were thoroly delighted."
Living Totally
Those who say, "We are waiting for an opportunity," are being deceptive, and they are not deceiving anybody but themselves. The opportunity is not going to come tomorrow. It has already arrived, it has always been here. It was here even when you were not here.
Existence is an opportunity; to be is the opportunity. Don't say, "Tomorrow I will meditate, tomorrow I will love, tomorrow I will have a dancing relationship with existence." Why tomorrow? Tomorrow never comes. Why not now? Why postpone?
Postponement is a trick of the mind; it keeps you hoping, and meanwhile the opportunity is slipping by. And in the end you will come to the cul-de-sac, death--and there will be no more opportunity left. And this has happened many times in the past.
When Alexander the Great was coming to India, he met one strange man, Diogenes. It was a winter morning, a cool breeze was blowing, and Diogenes was lying on the riverbank, taking a sunbath, naked. He was a beautiful man--when there is a beautiful soul, a beauty arises which is not of this world.
He had nothing, not even a begging-bowl, because one day when he was going toward the river with his begging bowl to get some water to drink, he saw a dog rushing to the river. The dog jumped in the river and drank--Diogenes laughed and he said, "This dog has taught me a lesson. If he can live without a begging bowl, then why can't I?" He threw the begging-bowl, he also jumped like the dog in the river and drank. Since then he had had nothing.
Alexander had never seen such a graceful man, such utter beauty, something from the unknown.... He was in awe and he said, "Sir..." He had never said "Sir" to anybody in his life. He said, "Sir, I am immensely impressed by your being, and I would like to do something for you. Is there something that I can do for you?
Diogenes laughed and he said, "Who is preventing you right now? You can become a Diogenes. Where are you going? For months I have seen armies moving and moving--where are you going? and for what?"
Diogenes laughed again and he said, "You are mad--because I am resting now, and I have not conquered the world. I don't see the necessity of it. Who has told you that before resting, you have to conquer the world? And I tell you: if you don't rest now, then you never will. Something or other will always remain to be conquered... and time is fleeting. You will die in the middle of your journey--everybody dies in the middle of the journey."
And Alexander died in the middle. When he was moving back from India, he died on the way. And that day he remembered Diogenes. Only Diogenes was in his mind--he could never rest in his life, and that man rested.
The breath is the most important thing. With it life starts and with it life ends.
It is the most mysterious thing; without it there is no possibility of life.
Life seems just a shadow of breath. When breath disappears, life disappears. So this
Every child born is not really alive until he breathes. He has just a few moments
left. If he breathes after the birth, in those few moments life enters. If he does
Those first few moments of life are the most important. The doctors, the parents,
all become concerned when a child is born. Will he breathe? Will he cry and start
Adam is born again.
The child cannot breathe on his own. To expect that is impossible because the child
does not know how to breathe, nobody has taught him. This is going to be his first
act, so this cannot be his act.
Let me repeat it: This is going to be his first and the most significant act --
that's why it cannot be his act. If God does it -- okay; if God is not willing --
the parents cannot do anything, the doctors cannot do anything; humanity is
helpless. It is up to the whole.
the child, the child becomes alive, otherwise not.
This first breath is taken by the whole. And if the first breath is taken by the
think you are breathing then you have taken a very wrong step. And because of this
wrong step ego will be created. Ego is accumulated ignorance.
You missed. You have not been breathing, the whole has breathed into you, but you
and all that follows will not be your activity; all that is going to happen after
this first breath till you die, till the last breath, is going to be the activity of
you become aware that the whole is doing everything, you are being possessed by the
the whole, the whole life comes from it -- then you live a life of enlightenment.
This is the only difference between ignorance and enlightenment.
the field of his play, a flute of his songs, a reed, nothing more, an emptiness in
which he flows, moves, lives!" -- then you live a totally different life, a life of
light and bliss.
This is the first act, this breath. Many more things have to be understood about it.
If life starts with breath, and death also, and everything is between these two,
Yoga calls it prana. That word is beautiful. Yoga calls breathing prana. Prana means
It is not just air coming and going through your lungs. Yoga says the air is just
the outer layer of it. Hidden deep in that layer is vitality.
It is like your body is there, and you, your consciousness, is hidden deep down in
your body. The body is a protection, a vehicle. The body is the visible vehicle for
the non-visible you. And the same is the case with every breath. The breath itself
is just the outer layer; hidden deep in it is life itself.
Once you discover that God himself is hidden in breath, you have come to know
yourself. That's why there is so much insistence and so much search in yoga, Tao and
tantra about breathing. If you simply go on breathing and thinking that this is just
is within but yet beyond, that which is hidden in the body but not obstructed by the
In each breath that life has to be discovered.
Yoga calls those methods pranayama. The word pranayama means expansion of life. One
has to expand life to infinity in each breath.
Buddha has called his own methods of discovering the innermost core of breath
Buddha has said no other yoga is needed. If you can deeply watch your own breathing,
and watch so meditatively that anything that is hidden in the breath does not remain
That looks simple, but it is difficult.
Buddha said to his monks: "Sitting, walking, standing, whatsoever you are doing, go
The God is hidden in the temple of the breath. Suddenly one day you become aware
that it is not just air. If for you it is just air, you have a scientific mind but
analyze and come to know how much oxygen is needed, how much hydrogen, how much
breath -- but you missed the innermost real phenomenon.
That's why, if a man is dead, you can give him, pump into him, the right proportion
whole, it is a dead breath. Oxygen will pass through the lungs -- nothing will
Rutger Kortenhorst
[People] > Rutger Kortenhorst is a Sanskrit teacher in John Scottus school in Dublin.
He is also known as Mrutyunjayah. He is an active member of School of Practical Philosophy and Economic Sciences.
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, we are going to spend an hour together looking at the topic ‘Why does my child do Sanskrit in John Scottus?’ My bet is that at the end of the hour you will all have come to the conclusion that your children are indeed fortunate that this extraordinary subject is part of their curriculum.
Firstly, let us look at Why Sanskrit for my child? We are the only school in Ireland doing this language, so this will need some explaining. There are another 8 JSS-type schools around the world that have made the same decision to include Sanskrit in their curriculum (they are all off-shoots from the School of Philosophy).
Secondly, how is Sanskrit taught? You may have noticed your son or daughter singing Sanskrit grammar songs in the back of the car just for the fun of it on the way home from school. I’ll spend some time telling you HOW we approach teaching Sanskrit now since my year in India.
But first of all: WHY Sanskrit? To answer that we need to look at the qualities of Sanskrit. Sanskrit stands out above all other languages for its beauty of sound, precision in pronunciation and reliability as well as thoroughness in every aspect of its structure. This is why it has never fundamentally changed unlike all other languages. It has had no need to change being the most perfect language of Mankind.
If we consider Shakespeare’s English, we realize how different and therefore difficult for us his English language was although it is just English from less than 500 years ago. We struggle with the meaning of Shakespeare’s English or that of the King James Bible. Go back a bit further and we don’t have a clue about the English from the time of Chaucer’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ from around 700 AD. We cannot even call this English anymore and now rightly call it Anglo-Saxon. So English hadn’t even been born! All languages keep changing beyond recognition. They change because they are defective. The changes are in fact corruptions. They are born and die after seven or eight hundred years –about the lifetime of a Giant Redwood Tree- because after so much corruption they have no life left in them. Surprisingly there is one language in the world that does not have this short lifespan. Sanskrit is the only exception. It is a never-dying constant. The reason for the constancy in Sanskrit is that it is completely structured and thought out. There is not a word that has been left out in its grammar or etymology, which means every word can be traced back to where it came from originally. This does not mean there is no room for new words either. Just as in English we use older concepts from Greek and Latin to express modern inventions like a television: ‘tele [far] – vision [seeing]’ or ‘compute –er’. Sanskrit in fact specializes in making up compound words from smaller words and parts. The word ‘Sams - krita’ itself means ‘completely – made’.
So what advantages are there to a fundamentally unchanging language? What is advantageous about an unchanging friend, say? Are they reliable? What happens if you look at a text in Sanskrit from thousands of years ago?
The exceptional features of Sanskrit have been recognised for a few centuries all over the world, so you will find universities from many countries having a Sanskrit faculty. Whether you go to Hawai, Cambridge or Harvard and even Trinity College Dublin has a seat for Sanskrit –although it is vacant at present. May be one of your children will in time fill this position again?
Although India has been its custodian, Sanskrit has had universal appeal for centuries. The wisdom carried by this language appeals to the West as we can see from Yoga and Ayurvedic Medicine as well as meditation techniques, and practical philosophies like Buddhism and most of what we use in the School of Philosophy. It supports, expands and enlightens rather than conflicts withlocal traditions and religions.
The precision of Sanskrit stems from the unparalleled detail on how the actual sounds of the alphabet are structured and defined. The sounds have a particular place in the mouth, nose and throat that can be defined and will never change. This is why in Sanskrit the letters are called the ‘Indestructibles’ [aksharáni]. Sanskrit is the only language that has consciously laid out its sounds from first principles. So the five mouth-positions for all Indestructibles [letters] are defined and with a few clearly described mental and physical efforts all are systematically planned: [point out chart]
After this description, what structure can we find in a, b, c, d, e, f , g...? There isn’t any, except perhaps that it starts with ‘a’, and goes downhill from there ...
Then there is the sheer beauty of the Sanskrit script as we learn it today. [Some examples on the board]
The qualities of Sanskrit will become the qualities of your child- that is the mind and heart of your child will become beautiful, precise and reliable.
Sanskrit automatically teaches your child and anybody else studying it to pay FINE attention due to its uncanny precision. When the precision is there the experience is, that it feels uplifting. It makes you happy. It is not difficult even for a beginner to experience this. All you have to do is fine-tune your attention and like music you are drawn in and uplifted. This precision of attention serves all subjects, areas and activities of life both while in school and for the rest of life. This will give your child a competitive advantage over any other children. They will be able to attend more fully, easily and naturally. Thus in terms of relationships, work, sport– in fact all aspects of life, they will perform better and gain more satisfaction. Whatever you attend to fully, you excel in and you enjoy more.
By studying Sanskrit, other languages can be learnt more easily; this being the language all others borrow from fractionally. The Sanskrit grammar is reflected in part in Irish or Greek, Latin or English. They all have a part of the complete Sanskrit grammar. Some being more developed than others, but always only a part of the Sanskrit grammar, which is complete in itself.
What Sanskrit teaches us that there is a language that is ordered, following laws unfailingly and as they are applied your child gets uplifted, not only when they grow up, but as they are saying it! This means they get an unusual but precise, definite and clear insight into language while they are enjoying themselves.
They learn to speak well, starting from Sanskrit, the mother language of all languages. Those who speak well run the world. Barack Obama makes a difference because he can speak well. Mahatma Gandhi could move huge crowds with well-balanced words. Mother Theresa could express herself with simple words which uplift us even now. The language of the great Master Teachers of mankind from times past is all we have got after centuries and millennia, but they make all the difference. We can enter the remarkable mind of Plato through his words. If your daughter or son can express themselves well through conscious language they will be the leaders of the next generation.
Sanskrit has the most comprehensive writings in the world expressed through the Vedas and the Gítá. The Upanishads –translated by William Butler Yeats have given people from all over the world an insight into universal religious feelings for more than one century now. To know these well expressed simple words of wisdom in the original is better than dealing with copies or translations as copies are always inferior to originals. We really need clear knowledge on universal religion in an age faced with remarkable levels of religious bigotry and terrorism arising from poorly understood and half-baked religious ideas.
You can put a mass of knowledge into the world, but that will not do it much good. There must come some culture into the blood. We all know in modern times of nations which have masses of knowledge, but what of them? They are like tigers; they are like savages, because culture is not there. Knowledge is only skin-deep, as civilization is, and a little scratch brings out the old savage. Such things happen; this is the danger. Teach the masses in the vernaculars, give them ideas; they will get information, but something more is necessary; give them culture.
Sanskrit can help your child to express universal, harmonious and simple truths better. As a result you will really have done your duty as a parent and the world will reap the benefits in a more humane, harmonious and united society. Sanskrit can do this as it is the only language that is based in knowledge all the way. Nothing is left to chance.
Just think for the moment how confusing it is for a child to learn to say ‘rough’ , but ‘dough’. And why does the ‘o’ in ‘woman’ sound like an ‘e’ in ‘women’? How come the ‘ci’ in ‘special’ is different from the ‘ci’ in ‘cinema’? Teachers may well say ‘Just learn it’ as there is no logical explanation, but it only demonstrates to a child that it is all a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. What else does this randomness in the fundamental building-blocks of language teach a child about the world? That it’s just a confusing, random chance-event? How can this give anyone any confidence?
Now go to a language where everything is following rules. Where nothing is left to chance from the humble origin of a letter to the most sophisticated philosophical idea. How will that child meet the world? Surely with confidence, clarity and the ability to express itself?
I have seen myself and others growing in such qualities, because of our contact with Sanskrit. I have just spent a year in India. Though it felt a bit like camping in a tent for a year, it was well worth it. For many years, we taught Sanskrit like zealots i.e. with high levels of enthusiasm and low levels of understanding, to both adults in the School of Philosophy and children in John Scottus School. We did not perhaps inspire a lot of our students and may have put a number of them off the study of Sanskrit. It felt to me like we needed to go to the source. Sanskrit teachers worth their salt need to live with people whose daily means of communication is in Sanskrit. I had already spent three summers near Bangalore doing just that and becoming less of an amateur, but it really needed a more thorough study. So I moved into a traditional gurukulam for the year. This meant living on campus, eating lots of rice and putting up with a few power-cuts and water shortages, but by December 2009, I made up my mind that I would step down as vice-principal of the Senior School and dedicate myself to Sanskrit for the rest of my teaching life. It felt like a promotion to me as quite a few could be vice-principal but right now which other teacher could forge ahead in Sanskrit in Ireland? [Hopefully this will change before I pop off to the next world.] With Sanskrit I’m expecting my mind to improve with age even if my body slows down a little. Sanskrit is often compared to the full-time teacher, who is there for you 24/7 whereas the other languages are more like part-timers. The effects of studying Sanskrit on me have been first and foremost a realistic confidence. Secondly, it meant I had to become more precise and speak weighing my words more carefully. It also taught me to express myself with less waffle and therefore speak more briefly. My power of attention and retention has undoubtedly increased.
Now, let me explain for a few minutes, HOW Sanskrit is taught. To my surprise it is not taught well in most places in India. Pupils have to learn it from when they are around age 9 to 11 and then they give it up, because it is taught so badly! Only a few die-hards stick with it, in time teaching the same old endings endlessly to the next generation. This is partly due to India having adopted a craving to copy the West and their tradition having been systematically rooted out by colonialism.
For learning grammar and the wisdom of the East, I was well-placed in a traditional gurukulam, but for spoken Sanskrit I felt a modern approach was missing.
Then I found a teacher from the International School belonging to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. His name is Narendra. He has developed a novel, inspiring and light method to teach grammar, which doesn’t feel like you do any grammar at all. At the same time it isn’t diluted for beginners so you don’t end up with partial knowledge. I also foolowed a few Sanskrit Conversation camps, which all brought about more familiarity.
Narendra says he owes his method to Sri Aurobindo and his companion ‘the Mother’ who inspired him to come up with the course we now follow in Dublin. This is one of the many things ‘the Mother’ said to inspire him:“Teach logically. Your method should be most natural, efficient and stimulating to the mind. It should carry one forward at a great pace. You need not cling there to any past or present manner of teaching.”
This is how I would summarize the principles for teaching Sanskrit as we carry it out at present:
1. Language learning is not for academics as everyone learns to speak a language from an early age before they can read and write and know what an academic is. So why insist in teaching Sanskrit academically?
2. The writing script is not the most fundamental thing to be taught. A language is firstly made of its sounds, words and spoken sentences. [The script we use -though very beautiful- is only a few hundred years old.]
3. Always go from what is known to what is new.
4. Understanding works better than memorisation in this Age. Learning by heart should only take up 10 % of the mental work, rather than the 90 % rote learning in Sanskrit up to the recent present.
5. Don’t teach words and endings in isolation; teach them in the context of a sentence as the sentence is the smallest meaningful unit in language.
8. The course should be finished in two years by an average student according to Narendra. This may be a little optimistic given that we are a little out of the loop not living in India, which is still Sanskrit’s custodian. At present I would say it is going to be a three-year course.
We have started on this course since September and it has certainly put a smile on our pupils’ faces, which makes a pleasant change. I now feel totally confident that we are providing your children with a thorough, structured and enjoyable course. Our students should be well prepared for the International Sanskrit Cambridge exam by the time they finish –age 14/15- at the end of second year. We will also teach them some of the timeless wisdom enshrined in various verses. At present we are teaching them:
“All that lives is full of the Lord. Claim nothing; enjoy! Do not covet His property”- in the original of course.
The future. Let us look at the 500 – year cycle of a Renaissance. The last European Renaissance developed three subjects: Art, Music and Science to shape the world we live in today. It had its beginning in Florence. The great Humanist Marsilio Ficino made Plato available to the masses by translating it from Greek to Latin. We live in exciting times and may well be at the beginning of a new Renaissance. It also will be based on three new subjects: Some say that these will be Economics, Law and Language.
Language has to become more universal now as we can connect with each other globally within seconds. NASA America’s Space Program is actively looking at Sanskrit in relation to I.T. and artificial intelligence.
It can describe all aspects of human life from the most abstract philosophical to the latest scientific discoveries, hinting at further developments.
Sanskrit and computers are a perfect fit. The precision play of Sanskrit with computer tools will awaken the capacity in human beings to utilize their innate higher mental faculty with a momentum that would inevitably transform the mind. In fact, the mere learning of Sanskrit by large numbers of people in itself represents a quantum leap in consciousness, not to mention the rich endowment it will provide in the arena of future communication. NASA, California
After many thousands of years, Sanskrit still lives with a vitality that can breathe life, restore unity and inspire peace on our tired and troubled planet. It is a sacred gift, an opportunity. The future could be very bright.
You may well have a few questions at this stage after which I would like to introduce you to a plant in the audience. A parent turned into a blazing ball of enthusiasm over Sanskrit grammar: John Doran. I would like him to wrap up.
One thing is certain; Sanskrit will only become the planetary language when it is taught in a way which is exiting and enjoyable. Furthermore it must address individual learning inhibitions with clarity and compassion in a setting which encourages everyone to step forth, take risks, make mistakes and learn.
Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

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