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18 Books Everyone Will Be Reading in 2018 - https://medium.com/swlh/18-books-everyone-will-be-reading-in-2018-82e017d166f
* [The Path: One Man's Quest on the Only Path There Is|http://www.crystalclarity.com/kriyananda/Table/table.html] by J. Donald Walters (Swami Kriyananda)
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I would like to hear from you... What is _the_ one book that changed your life ?
* Readings in Information Retrieval (Karen Sparck Jones, editor)
Practice of Meditation
A baby's eyes are riveted on a flower or a butterfly. It keeps looking at the object with unwinking eyes, eyes full of wonder, for minutes together.
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.
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.
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".
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).
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.
Bhaja Govindam
Adhi Shankaracharya wrote a number of vedantic works for imparting knowledge of the self and the universal spirit. He also composed a number of hymns to foster Bhakthi in the hearts of men. One of these hymns is the famous Bhaja govindaM. The way of devotion, is not different from the way of knowledge or gnyana. When intelligence matures and lodges securely in the mind, it becomes wisdom. When wisdom is integrated with life and issues out in action, it becomes bhakthi. Knowledge, when it becomes fully mature is bhakthi. If it doesnot get transformed into bhakthi, such knowledge is [useless tinsel|http://www.carnatic.com/kishore/life/]. To believe that gnyana and bhakthi, knowledge and devotion are different from each other, is ignorance. If Sri Adi Shankara himself who drank the ocean of gnyana as easily as one sip water from the palm of one's hand, sang in his later years, hymns to develop devotion, it is enough to show that gnyana and bhakthi are one and the same. Sri Shankara has packed into the Bhaja govindaM song: the substance of all vedanta, and set the oneness of gnyana and bhakthi to melodious music.
Bhaja govindaM is one of the minor compositions of the spiritual gaint, Adi SHANKARA. It is classified as a Prakarana grantha, a primer to the major works. Though sung as a bhajan, it contains the essence of vedanta and awakens the man to think, "Why am I here in this life ? Why am I amassing wealth, family, but have no peace ? What is the Truth ? What is the purpose of life ?" Man is thus awakened and gets set on a path to the inner road back to God.
Bhaja govindaM has been set to musical tones and sung as prayer songs by children. It is divided into dvaadashapaJNjarikaa and charpaTapaJNjarikaa for this purpose. The former is a set of verses (verses 1,2,5,11,18,20,21,23,27,29,31) while the rest of the verses form charpaTapaJNjarikaa.
Anyone who listens to the music of Bhaja govindaM is attracted to it. However, the significance of the text goes much deeper and contains a well defined philosophy of attaining salvation. Shankara words here seem to be quite piercing and seem to lack his softness and tenderness often found in his other texts. The reason is that this was an extempore recital to an old man. His words can be compared to a knife of a doctor. The doctor's knife cruely removes the tumor with much pain, but removing the tumor ultimately restores good health in the patient. So is Shankara's words, which pierce and point out our ignorance. It is a knife into the heart of worldliness, and by removing this tumor of ignorance, we can attain everlasting bliss with the grace of Govinda.
The stainless One, Pure spirit through and through.
So long as a man is fit and able to support his family, see the affection all those around him show. But no one at home cares to even have a word with him when his body totters due to old age.
When one is alive, his family members enquire kindly about his welfare. But when the soul departs from the body, even his wife runs away in fear of the corpse.
The childhood is lost by attachment to playfulness. Youth is lost by attachment to woman. Old age passes away by thinking over many past things. But there is hardly anyone who wants to be lost in parabrahman.
What good is lust when youth has fled ? What use is a lake which has no water ? Where are the relatives when wealth is gone ? Where is samsara when the Truth is known ?
Do not boast of wealth, friends, and youth. Each one of these are destroyed within a minute. Free yourself from the illusion of the world of Maya and attain the timeless Truth.
Oh mad man ! Why this engrossment in thoughts of wealth ? Is there no one to guide you ? There is only one thing in three worlds that can save you from the ocean from samsara. Get into that boat of satsangha quickly. Stanza attributed to Padmapada.
There are many who go with matted locks, many who have clean shaven heads, many whose hairs have been plucked out; some are clothed in saffron, yet others in various colors --- all just for a livelihood. Seeing truth revealed before them, still the foolish ones see it not. Stanza attributed to Totakacharya.
One may go to gangasagar, observe fasts, and give away riches in charity ! Yet, devoid of jnana, nothing can give mukthi even at the end of a hundred births. Stanza attributed to Sureshwaracharya.
One may take delight in yoga or bhoga, may have attachment or detachment. But only he whose mind steadily delights in Brahman enjoys bliss, no one else. Stanza attributed to Anandagiri.
There is no shortage of clothing for a monk so long as there are rags cast off the road. Freed from vice and virtue, onward he wanders. One who lives in communion with God enjoys bliss, pure and uncontaminated, like a child and as someone intoxicated. Stanza attributed to Nityanatha.
In me, in you and in everything, none but the same Vishnu dwells. Your anger and impatience is meaningless. If you wish to attain the status of Vishnu soon, have samabhava always. Stanza attributed to medhaatithira.
Do not waste your efforts to win the love of or to fight against friend and foe, children and relatives. See yourself in everyone and give up all feelings of duality completely. Stanza attributed to medhaatithira.
Anthony de Mello
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A [One Minute Wisdom] from [Anthony de Mello] : The disciple was a Jew. "What good work shall I do to be acceptable to God?"
[Marysarah Quinn] : A [job] is what we do for [money]; work is what we do for [love].
Immunization
[Anthony de Mello] in [One Minute Wisdom]
To everyone's surprise the Master seemed un-enthusiastic about religious
The University of Hard Knocks
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Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
appreciate the vast amount of altruistic work they have done in
us "stop, look, listen"--Blind man learns with one bump--Going up
ones shake up and the little ones shake down--The barrel of life
school teaching--Loaning the deacon my money--Calling the roll of
alone, but everybody's.
it. How much any one gets out of a lecture depends also upon the
That often explains why one person says a lecture is great, while
growing up from the Finite to the Infinite, and that it is done by
success rule can alone solve the problem. You must average it all
I believe in you because I believe in myself. We are all one
Every bump is a lesson. If we learn the lesson with one bump, we do
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
no running brooks. They'd get wet. And that sermons in stones! They
stones."
For as I learn to listen, I hear every tree speaking, every stone
There comes a vivid memory of one of my early Needless Knocks as I
high-chair throne right up beside the dinner table. The coffee-pot
meddlesome woman I had ever known. I had not tried to do one thing
how I desired that coffee-pot. "One thing thou lackest," a
the most kind and effective way to rear one stubborn boy I know of.
runs on the same plan. The Voice of Wisdom says to each of us,
running brooks and the sermons in the stones all repeat it.
We are lucky if we learn the lesson with one bump. We are unlucky
One time I paid a seeress two dollars to look into my honest palm.
his lesson with one bump, and you have to go bumping into the same
several minutes. But when he sees all the smart young flies of his
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
same way--they can play in the sticky flypaper or let it alone,
never known anyone who had not had more trouble than anyone else.
I should like to know every person in this audience. But the ones
I should most appreciate knowing are the ones who have known the
One day I was up the Missabe road about a hundred miles north of
limestone, charcoal and other textbooks. Then they corked it up and
When it was done roasting they stopped. Have you noticed that they
always stop when anything is done roasting? If we are yet getting
roasted, perhaps we are not done!
fine work!" They paid much money for it now. They paid the most
money for what had been roasted the most.
the price had gone up into thousands of dollars.
same material, say the chemists. But the diamond has gone to The College
One evening when I was trying to lecture in a chautauqua tent in
well-gowned. She lived in one of the finest homes in the city. She
had everything that money could buy. But her money seemed unable to
name might be tarnished. Bereavement might take from you the one
A great conflagration, a cyclone, a railroad wreck, an epidemic or
we get wisdom, understanding, happiness, strength, success and
One day the train stopped at a station to take water. Beside the
was one barrel full of big, red, fat apples. I rushed over and got
All I could figure out was that there was only one layer of the
and windfalls I ever saw in one sack. The things I said about the
ones down underneath?
big ones on top and the little ones down underneath. He does not
pushes the big ones up and the little ones down.
of my pocket and the little ones would rattle down to the bottom.
that the big ones shake up and the little ones shake down. Put some
big ones and some little things of about the same density in a box
thing shake to the place its size determines. A little larger one
shakes a little higher, and a little smaller one a little lower.
you cannot change the place of one of the objects.
If there are sermons in stones, there must be lectures in cans.
and the big walnuts shake up. Not one bean asks, "Which way do I
go?" Not one walnut asks, "Which way do I go?" Each one
automatically goes the right way. The little ones go down and the
big ones go up.
and low down. I never had no chance like them big ones up there.
make them big ones come down. Give every one an equal chance."
So I say, "Yes, sir, Little Bean. Here, you big ones on top, get
But I shake the can, and the big ones go right back to the top with
the same shakes that send the little ones back to the bottom.
There is only one way for those objects to change their place in
Equality of position demands quality of size. Let the little one
grow bigger and he will shake up. Let the big one grow smaller and
The same law that shakes the little ones down and the big ones up
Each person is doing one of three things consciously or
Notice as I bump this jar. Two things happened. The little ones
shook down and the big ones shook up. The bump that was bad luck to
the little ones was good luck to the big ones. The same bump was
The "Lucky" One
"Is not she the limit?" they oft spake one to another. She was. She
same blunder twice. She learned the lesson with one helping to the
And she never "got done." When she had finished her work, the work
to be done, and she would go right on working, contrary to the
The other girls "got done." When they had finished the work they
The "Unlucky" One
He is one of the kindest-hearted men we ever had in the works, but
gone up and down. You may have noticed two brothers start with the
same chance, and presently notice that one is going up and the
I am sorry for the one who says, "I know all there is to know about
I am sorry for the one who struts around saying, "I own the job.
For it is mostly rattle. The live one's "my day" is today and
tomorrow. The dead one's is yesterday.
We can be a pumpkin in one summer, with the accent on the "punk."
ones. I look back over my lyceum life and see that I hindered my
would throw him some money.
But Peter really helped him. "Silver and gold have I none; but such
why I was not sitting upon one of those mahogany seats instead of
minutes, down to the peanut row, for I was only a peanut. Remember,
lands upon the throne.
down, so the little ones will be on the top and the big ones will
the big ones would shake right up to it and the little ones would
himself, is the one who wants to get the most laws passed to fix
There is only one greatness--inside greatness. All outside
We go up from foolishness to wisdom.
great blacksmith shop. It becomes our throne-room!
Come, let us grow greater. There is a throne for each of us.
a few scrambling over the heads of the weaker ones. Sometimes they
are the story of one pig crowding the other pigs out of the trough
mother out electioneering for them.
the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom."
spectacular stride of a thousand steps at one leap. That is why we
We find our kitchen or workshop or office becoming a new throne
It was the sweet girl graduate who at commencement wondered how one
Master cared little what the footings of the money were in the
Every work is drudgery when done selfishly. Every work becomes
golden when done in a golden manner.
floor. But I do know that the one who made the floor--and the one
They are the ones who are "always trying to run things." They are
the happy ones, happy for the larger vision that comes as they go
the tickets and had done all the managing. He was superintendent of
preacher went from one chautauqua town to another, and took his
praised enterprising ones. He stopped young fellows on the streets.
for number one," stipulating in advance every cent he was to get
education our money can buy."
"We are going to give our children the best education our money can buy."
They think they can buy an education--buy wisdom, strength and
the strength we have earned in our arms and the wisdom we have
education my money can buy."
the minute the child could sit up in the cradle and notice things.
export, he sent the boy to one of the greatest universities in the
done and the paint was dry. He was a thing of beauty.
went to one of "them highbrow schools." I am sorry to say I thought
For education is getting wisdom, understanding, strength,
just one series of greater commencements.
court and detention expenses was one of the greatest business
generals of the Keystone state. He could plat great coal empires
take care of me, and when they are gone I'll inherit everything
Father and mother can put money in your pocket, ideas in your head
his house where he could watch it develop. One day he saw a little
junkpile, means little. "One day nearer home" for such a worker
means one day nearer the scrapheap.
One time I put some turkey eggs under the mother hen and waited day
by day for them to hatch. And sure enough, one day the eggs began
Did I help them? I killed them, or stunted them. Not one of the turkeys
was "right" that I helped. They were runts. One of them was a regular
one round of joy, and I ought to pay people for the privilege of
of anyone killing himself by working. But I have known of
This is one species of selfishness.
There are ten literary drunkards to one alcoholic drunkard. There
are a hundred amusement drunkards to one victim of strong drink.
The speaker is perfectly honest. He has no place to put a lecture.
Do you ever get lonely in a city? How few men and women there. A
alone with their empty lives.
ways. Then he arose and went to his father's house. Whenever one
will arise and go to his father's house of wisdom. But there is no
The more you study your muscles, the more you learn that while one
place of great responsibility in a city and ask the one who fills
telephones, centralized schools, automobiles and good roads, there
America have one thing in common with the asylum folks--they can't
Ada, Ohio, one of Ohio's greatest educators, used to say with
for the military department. His school was one surging mass of
when the money endowment comes the spiritual endowment goes in
learning one sentence, "You can't get something for nothing." I
For that sentence utters one of the fundamentals of life that
One day a manufacturer took me thru his factory where he makes
school and go fiddling thru life on this one string!
know the sun as in one glimpse of it with our own eyes.
Yes, I was thirty-four years learning that one sentence. "You can't
I was in the "trimming department" in five minutes. Nobody told me
barrel always shakes all of one size to one place. You notice
that--in a city all of one size get together.
only naturally bright person around the table, hence the only one
under the end shell and bet me money it was under the end shell.
I had saved up my money for weeks to attend the fair. I bet it all
wrapping a ten-dollar bill around one cake and throwing it into the
I could smell them. Only one more assessment, then we will cut the
Why go farther? I am not half done confessing. Each bump only
increased my faith that the next ship would be mine. Good, honest,
buy because I knew the minister was honest and believed in it. He
I was also greatly interested in companies where I put in one
stock. That was doubling and trebling my money over night. An old
money for Tom, the friend of our family. But I see now I need not
happened in St. Louis. It is none of your business!
I have always regarded Tom as one of my great school teachers. I
It is worth eleven hundred dollars every day to know that one
as you described. The saddest part of it is that the money nearly
hundred dollars to tell you this one thing, and you get it for a
one sentence, I see the need of an eternity.
To me that is one of the great arguments for eternal life--how slowly
that life is one infinite succession of commencements and
Number One comes forth and begins:
going to the one book where I might have gotten a sermon--the book
glass. It got so it would run itself. I could have gone to sleep
Then I did another fine thing, I sat down. I wish now I had done
heart, chaperoned by the diaphragm. You cannot sing a song you have
one of the widely known song-writers of this land. As I had the
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
heart and what the struggles were teaching me. No one is more
loneliness, she never would have been able to write the songs that
around me in the affairs of everyday life, that none of us will
things to one person who can give you a practical way to fix them.
But he was one of the most helpless men I have ever seen in
didn't supply the one sentence needed for the occasion. The man was
the Book of Human Experience the "sermons in stones" and the "books
Many audiences are gathered into this one audience. Each person
different burden to carry. Each one of us has more trouble than
ones. You have cried yourselves to sleep, some of you, and walked
of you are going to know the keen sorrow of having the one you
Do you remember the first money you ever earned? I do. I walked
looked bigger than any money I have since handled.
Yet I was years learning it is much easier to make money than to
My third and most important rule was, Get your money!
the time, to save money. I think I had all teaching methods in use.
to yell. Tomorrow I would get my money! I had a speech I had been
Next day I drew my money. I had it all in one joyous wad--$240. I
never got home with the money. Talk about the fool and his money
Deacon K has gone from earth. He has gone to his eternal reward. I
but I paid all the money I got from it--two hundred and forty
thirteen-mile-a-day dollars to learn one thing I could not learn
from the books, that it takes less wisdom to make money, than it
where twenty-one years before I had stood to deliver my graduating oration,
when in impassioned and well modulated tones I had exclaimed,
"Greece is gone and Rome is no more, but fe-e-e-e-ear not,
Then I went back to the little hotel and sat up alone in my room
a picture of the school in that town that had been taken twenty-one
these twenty-one years, for I could not then afford to buy one. The
alone with a picture of your classmates taken twenty-one years
There was one boy in the class who was not naturally bright. It was
not the one you may be thinking of! No, it was Jim Lambert. He had
intellect. He was "conditioned" into the senior class. We all felt
home telephone exchange, and had become absolutely indispensable to
the head of one of the big manufacturing plants of the South, with
that school picture and the twenty-one years. There were fifty-four
Out of that fifty-four, one had gone to a pulpit, one had gone to
Congress and one had gone to the penitentiary. Some had gone to
brilliant success and some had gone down to sad failure. Some had
struck by the one school of fifty-four.
The twenty-one years that followed had not changed their courses.
twenty-one years before.
on trading knives and getting the better of people. Now, twenty-one
forgery. He was now called a bad man, when twenty-one years ago
spotlight, primping and flirting. She outshone all the rest. But it
her. Most of the girls who shone with less social luster became the
a loving father, plenty of money, opportunity and a great career
Twenty-one years afterward as I got off the train in the home town,
at a grave and read on the headstone, "Frank."
alone have that.
seems one futureless round of drudgery. We wonder why. We often
That one is chained to no oar. See what a fine time they all have.
Sooner or later you and I are to learn that Providence makes no
by grim necessity, every honest effort is laid up at compound
interest in the bank account of strength. Sooner or later the time
comes when we need every ounce. Sooner or later our chariot race is
to the place where all of us get sooner or later. The place where
My friends, here is one of the best pictures I can find in nature
You and I sooner or later hear the call, "Go on south." If we
Remember, the Mississippi goes south. If he had gone any other
one victory. Success goes to the head and defeat goes to "de feet."
The one who keeps on going south defies custom and becomes unorthodox.
to do, because they have never gone south far enough to become
are so prone to say, "I am aging rapidly." It pays to advertise. We
always get results. See the one shrivel who goes around
eternal youth. It is the one who stops who "ages rapidly." Each day
are the most valuable, for they have the vision and wisdom of many
The preacher, the teacher--everyone who gets put on the retired
The most wonderful person in the world is the one who has lived
I wish I could have a birthday every minute!
multitudes in his employ. He was an ardent Odd Fellow, and one day
these men and one by one they rose from the bench to return his
But the people said, "Mr. Edison has succeeded." There was one man
rights with other people who would have gone on south with the
other day, and she wrote me that the great inventor showed her one
"I have not succeeded. I am succeeding. All I have done only shows
You are liable to drop off any minute. Here is a pair of slippers.
Moses is eighty-six and the committee 'phones over, "Moses, can you
Elder Berry always stayed for dinner. He was one of the easiest men
at the last donation. We had one of those stretchable tables,
The hungriest one of that assemblage would have to go in the next
was only one piece of chicken left. It was the neck. O, Lord, spare
When all the chicken was gone and he had taken the neck! "My boy,
for joy. Our life is one continual unfolding as we go south.
into a larger one.
ring up the hearse, for you will be a "dead one."
along the street in almost any town and see the dead ones. There
they just sit. They have not gone south an inch the past year.
because they "take money outa town." They do not take any of their
money "outa town." Ringling and Barnum & Bailey get theirs.
become poisoned by bitter memories and bitter regrets. We carry
along such a heart full of the injuries that other people have done
We get so discouraged. We say, "I have gone far enough south."
father and mother--every one who tries to carry on the work of the
we sit down completely discouraged and say, "I'm done. I'm going to
quit. I have done my share. Nobody appreciates what I do. Let
Stop! You are not saying that. The evil one is whispering that into
But because the Mississippi does these things, one day the train I
I thank God that I had gone a little farther southward in my own
O, the problem is not how to get money, but how to get rid of
money with the least injury to the race!
the actor, the author and every other one of attainment.
Do you remember that one musician became deaf before he wrote music
the world will always hear? Do you remember that one author became
humanity. What throne-rooms are some prisons! And what prisons are
some throne-rooms!
great bump that struck me one morning in Los Angeles. It seemed as
dog is wounded he crawls away alone to lick his wounds. I felt like
That is why I climbed Mount Lowe that day. I wanted to get alone.
Every minute a new thrill, and no two thrills alike. Five miles of
rockwall where his life depends upon the honesty of the man who drove
Alpine Tavern. One cannot ride farther upward. This is not the summit,
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
field-glass sweeps one panoramic picture of a hundred miles or more.
one could throw a pebble over into it. How a mountain does reduce
This is one of the workshops of the infinite!
All alone I scrambled up that three-mile trail to the summit. All
alone I stood upon the flat rock at the summit and looked down into
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
know it was one of the greatest blessings of my life. It closed one
showed the way that dark day. There I heard the "sermons in stones."
that it is everyone's business to abolish work and turn this
a smile, and beneath each one is a bit of wisdom it would do us
one of the great stories of the day."
Instruct us to send one of these booklets to your friends. It will
20050114
His Holiness Trichiswami, one of the foremost spiritual leaders of our
savant is an ocean of Divinity, knowledge and wisdom. Being in his
One ashram devotee, a jeweler, told me, "I've been visiting the ashram
He has only one thought and one goal--serving Mother Rajarajeshwari."
swami greets guests, who sit on the cool stone floor as he gives
grounds, taking interest in the minutest detail. Around the ashram has
Tiruchi Mahaswamigal patiently shared his wisdom by answering a barrage
HT: How can one who is not a practicing yogi achieve good concentration
as when a person has a bath, he becomes clean. So, also, by worship one
celebration. One has to celebrate life and not lead a mechanical life.
When one involves in praising the Supreme and does not indulge in
oneself, this celebration becomes unique. A temple provides opportunity
can see it in the ashram, everyone has to work. In earlier days, one
they cannot live on the husband's salary alone?
Swamiji: If we go on increasing our wants, money will be necessary. The
more money is necessary, the feeling that another person will have to
family understand the value of money and the value of happiness, they
Swamiji: Whenever I go abroad, I tell people, "Devotion is mentioned in
all religions, but forcible conversion has never been mentioned
Hinduism is concerned, it is an ocean where one can get all the
bath in one place--that is Hinduism.
life. One aspect of dharma to one person may not be applicable to the
research. It is a waste of money and effort. It increases population.
make a nuisance of themselves. This is one aspect. More important is
Rutger Kortenhorst
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’.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.”
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?
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:
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.
LifeWithoutPrinciple
AT A LYCEUM, not long since, I felt that the lecturer had chosen a theme too foreign to himself, and so failed to interest me as much as he might have done. He described things not in or near to his heart, but toward his extremities and superficies. There was, in this sense, no truly central or centralizing thought in the lecture. I would have had him deal with his privatest experience, as the poet does. The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer. I am surprised, as well as delighted, when this happens, it is such a rare use he would make of me, as if he were acquainted with the tool. Commonly, if men want anything of me, it is only to know how many acres I make of their land- since I am a surveyor- or, at most, what trivial news I have burdened myself with. They never will go to law for my meat; they prefer the shell. A man once came a considerable distance to ask me to lecture on Slavery; but on conversing with him, I found that he and his clique expected seven eighths of the lecture to be theirs, and only one eighth mine; so I declined. I take it for granted, when I am invited to lecture anywhere- for I have had a little experience in that business- that there is a desire to hear what I think on some subject, though I may be the greatest fool in the country- and not that I should say pleasant things merely, or such as the audience will assent to; and I resolve, accordingly, that I will give them a strong dose of myself. They have sent for me, and engaged to pay for me, and I am determined that they shall have me, though I bore them beyond all precedent.
This world is a place of business. What an infinite bustle! I am awaked almost every night by the panting of the locomotive. It interrupts my dreams. There is no sabbath. It would be glorious to see mankind at leisure for once. It is nothing but work, work, work. I cannot easily buy a blank-book to write thoughts in; they are commonly ruled for dollars and cents. An Irishman, seeing me making a minute in the fields, took it for granted that I was calculating my wages. If a man was tossed out of a window when an infant, and so made a cripple for life, or seared out of his wits by the Indians, it is regretted chiefly because he was thus incapacitated for business! I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself, than this incessant business.
There is a coarse and boisterous money-making fellow in the outskirts of our town, who is going to build a bank-wall under the hill along the edge of his meadow. The powers have put this into his head to keep him out of mischief, and he wishes me to spend three weeks digging there with him. The result will be that he will perhaps get some more money to board, and leave for his heirs to spend foolishly. If I do this, most will commend me as an industrious and hard-working man; but if I choose to devote myself to certain labors which yield more real profit, though but little money, they may be inclined to look on me as an idler. Nevertheless, as I do not need the police of meaningless labor to regulate me, and do not see anything absolutely praiseworthy in this fellow's undertaking any more than in many an enterprise of our own or foreign governments, however amusing it may be to him or them, I prefer to finish my education at a different school.
Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now. For instance: just after sunrise, one summer morning, I noticed one of my neighbors walking beside his team, which was slowly drawing a heavy hewn stone swung under the axle, surrounded by an atmosphere of industry- his day's work begun- his brow commenced to sweat- a reproach to all sluggards and idlers- pausing abreast the shoulders of his oxen, and half turning round with a flourish of his merciful whip, while they gained their length on him. And I thought, Such is the labor which the American Congress exists to protect- honest, manly toil- honest as the day is long- that makes his bread taste sweet, and keeps society sweet- which all men respect and have consecrated; one of the sacred band, doing the needful but irksome drudgery. Indeed, I felt a slight reproach, because I observed this from a window, and was not abroad and stirring about a similar business. The day went by, and at evening I passed the yard of another neighbor, who keeps many servants, and spends much money foolishly, while he adds nothing to the common stock, and there I saw the stone of the morning lying beside a whimsical structure intended to adorn this Lord Timothy Dexter's premises, and the dignity forthwith departed from the teamster's labor, in my eyes. In my opinion, the sun was made to light worthier toil than this. I may add that his employer has since run off, in debt to a good part of the town, and, after passing through Chancery, has settled somewhere else, there to become once more a patron of the arts.
The ways by which you may get money almost without exception lead downward. To have done anything by which you earned money merely is to have been truly idle or worse. If the laborer gets no more than the wages which his employer pays him, he is cheated, he cheats himself. If you would get money as a writer or lecturer, you must be popular, which is to go down perpendicularly. Those services which the community will most readily pay for, it is most disagreeable to render. You are paid for being something less than a man. The State does not commonly reward a genius any more wisely. Even the poet laureate would rather not have to celebrate the accidents of royalty. He must be bribed with a pipe of wine; and perhaps another poet is called away from his muse to gauge that very pipe. As for my own business, even that kind of surveying which I could do with most satisfaction my employers do not want. They would prefer that I should do my work coarsely and not too well, ay, not well enough. When I observe that there are different ways of surveying, my employer commonly asks which will give him the most land, not which is most correct. I once invented a rule for measuring cord-wood, and tried to introduce it in Boston; but the measurer there told me that the sellers did not wish to have their wood measured correctly- that he was already too accurate for them, and therefore they commonly got their wood measured in Charlestown before crossing the bridge.
The aim of the laborer should be, not to get his living, to get "a good job," but to perform well a certain work; and, even in a pecuniary sense, it would be economy for a town to pay its laborers so well that they would not feel that they were working for low ends, as for a livelihood merely, but for scientific, or even moral ends. Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.
It is remarkable that there are few men so well employed, so much to their minds, but that a little money or fame would commonly buy them off from their present pursuit. I see advertisements for active young men, as if activity were the whole of a young man's capital. Yet I have been surprised when one has with confidence proposed to me, a grown man, to embark in some enterprise of his, as if I had absolutely nothing to do, my life having been a complete failure hitherto. What a doubtful compliment this to pay me! As if he had met me half-way across the ocean beating up against the wind, but bound nowhere, and proposed to me to go along with him! If I did, what do you think the underwriters would say? No, no! I am not without employment at this stage of the voyage. To tell the truth, I saw an advertisement for able-bodied seamen, when I was a boy, sauntering in my native port, and as soon as I came of age I embarked.
The community has no bribe that will tempt a wise man. You may raise money enough to tunnel a mountain, but you cannot raise money enough to hire a man who is minding his own business. An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community pay him for it or not. The inefficient offer their inefficiency to the highest bidder, and are forever expecting to be put into office. One would suppose that they were rarely disappointed.
As for the comparative demand which men make on life, it is an important difference between two, that the one is satisfied with a level success, that his marks can all be hit by point-blank shots, but the other, however low and unsuccessful his life may be, constantly elevates his aim, though at a very slight angle to the horizon. I should much rather be the last man- though, as the Orientals say, "Greatness doth not approach him who is forever looking down; and all those who are looking high are growing poor."
It is remarkable that there is little or nothing to be remembered written on the subject of getting a living; how to make getting a living not merely holiest and honorable, but altogether inviting and glorious; for if getting a living is not so, then living is not. One would think, from looking at literature, that this question had never disturbed a solitary individual's musings. Is it that men are too much disgusted with their experience to speak of it? The lesson of value which money teaches, which the Author of the Universe has taken so much pains to teach us, we are inclined to skip altogether. As for the means of living, it is wonderful how indifferent men of all classes are about it, even reformers, so called- whether they inherit, or earn, or steal it. I think that Society has done nothing for us in this respect, or at least has undone what she has done. Cold and hunger seem more friendly to my nature than those methods which men have adopted and advise to ward them off.
The title wise is, for the most part, falsely applied. How can one be a wise man, if he does not know any better how to live than other men?- if he is only more cunning and intellectually subtle? Does Wisdom work in a tread-mill? or does she teach how to succeed by her example? Is there any such thing as wisdom not applied to life? Is she merely the miller who grinds the finest logic? It is pertinent to ask if Plato got his living in a better way or more successfully than his contemporaries- or did he succumb to the difficulties of life like other men? Did he seem to prevail over some of them merely by indifference, or by assuming grand airs? or find it easier to live, because his aunt remembered him in her will? The ways in which most men get their living, that is, live, are mere makeshifts, and a shirking of the real business of life- chiefly because they do not know, but partly because they do not mean, any better.
The rush to California, for instance, and the attitude, not merely of merchants, but of philosophers and prophets, so called, in relation to it, reflect the greatest disgrace on mankind. That so many are ready to live by luck, and so get the means of commanding the labor of others less lucky, without contributing any value to society! And that is called enterprise! I know of no more startling development of the immorality of trade, and all the common modes of getting a living. The philosophy and poetry and religion of such a mankind are not worth the dust of a puffball. The hog that gets his living by rooting, stirring up the soil so, would be ashamed of such company. If I could command the wealth of all the worlds by lifting my finger, I would not pay such a price for it. Even Mahomet knew that God did not make this world in jest. It makes God to be a moneyed gentleman who scatters a handful of pennies in order to see mankind scramble for them. The world's raffle! A subsistence in the domains of Nature a thing to be raffled for! What a comment, what a satire, on our institutions! The conclusion will be, that mankind will hang itself upon a tree. And have all the precepts in all the Bibles taught men only this? and is the last and most admirable invention of the human race only an improved muck-rake? Is this the ground on which Orientals and Occidentals meet? Did God direct us so to get our living, digging where we never planted- and He would, perchance, reward us with lumps of gold?
God gave the righteous man a certificate entitling him to food and raiment, but the unrighteous man found a facsimile of the same in God's coffers, and appropriated it, and obtained food and raiment like the former. It is one of the most extensive systems of counterfeiting that the world has seen. I did not know that mankind was suffering for want of old. I have seen a little of it. I know that it is very malleable, but not so malleable as wit. A grain of gold gild a great surface, but not so much as a grain of wisdom.
The gold-digger in the ravines of the mountains is as much a gambler as his fellow in the saloons of San Francisco. What difference does it make whether you shake dirt or shake dice? If you win, society is the loser. The gold-digger is the enemy of the honest laborer, whatever checks and compensations there may be. It is not enough to tell me that you worked hard to get your gold. So does the Devil work hard. The way of transgressors may be hard in many respects. The humblest observer who goes to the mines sees and says that gold-digging is of the character of a lottery; the gold thus obtained is not the same same thing with the wages of honest toil. But, practically, he forgets what he has seen, for he has seen only the fact, not the principle, and goes into trade there, that is, buys a ticket in what commonly proves another lottery, where the fact is not so obvious.
After reading Howitt's account of the Australian gold-diggings one evening, I had in my mind's eye, all night, the numerous valleys, with their streams, all cut up with foul pits, from ten to one hundred feet deep, and half a dozen feet across, as close as they can be dug, and partly filled with water- the locality to which men furiously rush to probe for their fortunes- uncertain where they shall break ground- not knowing but the gold is under their camp itself- sometimes digging one hundred and sixty feet before they strike the vein, or then missing it by a foot- turned into demons, and regardless of each others' rights, in their thirst for riches- whole valleys, for thirty miles, suddenly honeycombed by the pits of the miners, so that even hundreds are drowned in them- standing in water, and covered with mud and clay, they work night and day, dying of exposure and disease. Having read this, and partly forgotten it, I was thinking, accidentally, of my own unsatisfactory life, doing as others do; and with that vision of the diggings still before me, I asked myself why I might not be washing some gold daily, though it were only the finest particles- why I might not sink a shaft down to the gold within me, and work that mine. There is a Ballarat, a Bendigo for you- what though it were a sulky-gully? At any rate, I might pursue some path, however solitary and narrow and crooked, in which I could walk with love and reverence. Wherever a man separates from the multitude, and goes his own way in this mood, there indeed is a fork in the road, though ordinary travellers may see only a gap in the paling. His solitary path across lots will turn out the higher way of the two.
Men rush to California and Australia as if the true gold were to be found in that direction; but that is to go to the very opposite extreme to where it lies. They go prospecting farther and farther away from the true lead, and are most unfortunate when they think themselves most successful. Is not our native soil auriferous? Does not a stream from the golden mountains flow through our native valley? and has not this for more than geologic ages been bringing down the shining particles and forming the nuggets for us? Yet, strange to tell, if a digger steal away, prospecting for this true gold, into the unexplored solitudes around us, there is no danger that any will dog his steps, and endeavor to supplant him. He may claim and undermine the whole valley even, both the cultivated and the uncultivated portions, his whole life long in peace, for no one will ever dispute his claim. They will not mind his cradles or his toms. He is not confined to a claim twelve feet square, as at Ballarat, but may mine anywhere, and wash the whole wide world in his tom.
The last resource of our energy has been the robbing of graveyards on the Isthmus of Darien, an enterprise which appears to be but in its infancy; for, according to late accounts, an act has passed its second reading in the legislature of New Granada, regulating this kind of mining; and a correspondent of the "Tribune" writes: "In the dry season, when the weather will permit of the country being properly prospected, no doubt other rich guacas [that is, graveyards] will be found." To emigrants he says: "do not come before December; take the Isthmus route in preference to the Boca del Toro one; bring no useless baggage, and do not cumber yourself with a tent; but a good pair of blankets will be necessary; a pick, shovel, and axe of good material will be almost all that is required": advice which might have been taken from the "Burker's Guide." And he concludes with this line in Italics and small capitals: "If you are doing well at home, STAY THERE," which may fairly be interpreted to mean, "If you are getting a good living by robbing graveyards at home, stay there."
It is remarkable that among all the preachers there are so few moral teachers. The prophets are employed in excusing the ways of men. Most reverend seniors, the illuminati of the age, tell me, with a gracious, reminiscent smile, betwixt an aspiration and a shudder, not to be too tender about these things- to lump all that, that is, make a lump of gold of it. The highest advice I have heard on these subjects was grovelling. The burden of it was- It is not worth your while to undertake to reform the world in this particular. Do not ask how your bread is buttered; it will make you sick, if you do- and the like. A man had better starve at once than lose his innocence in the process of getting his bread. If within the sophisticated man there is not an unsophisticated one, then he is but one of the devil's angels. As we grow old, we live more coarsely, we relax a little in our disciplines, and, to some extent, cease to obey our finest instincts. But we should be fastidious to the extreme of sanity, disregarding the gibes of those who are more unfortunate than ourselves.
I hardly know an intellectual man, even, who is so broad and truly liberal that you can think aloud in his society. Most with whom you endeavor to talk soon come to a stand against some institution in which they appear to hold stock- that is, some particular, not universal, way of viewing things. They will continually thrust their own low roof, with its narrow skylight, between you and the sky, when it is the unobstructed heavens you would view. Get out of the way with your cobwebs; wash your windows, I say! In some lyceums they tell me that they have voted to exclude the subject of religion. But how do I know what their religion is, and when I am near to or far from it? I have walked into such an arena and done my best to make a clean breast of what religion I have experienced, and the audience never suspected what I was about. The lecture was as harmless as moonshine to them. Whereas, if I had read to them the biography of the greatest scamps in history, they might have thought that I had written the lives of the deacons of their church. Ordinarily, the inquiry is, Where did you come from? or, Where are you going? That was a more pertinent question which I overheard one of my auditors put to another one- "What does he lecture for?" It made me quake in my shoes.
To speak impartially, the best men that I know are not serene, a world in themselves. For the most part, they dwell in forms, and flatter and study effect only more finely than the rest. We select granite for the underpinning of our houses and barns; we build fences of stone; but we do not ourselves rest on an underpinning of granitic truth, the lowest primitive rock. Our sills are rotten. What stuff is the man made of who is not coexistent in our thought with the purest and subtilest truth? I often accuse my finest acquaintances of an immense frivolity; for, while there are manners and compliments we do not meet, we do not teach one another the lessons of honesty and sincerity that the brutes do, or of steadiness and solidity that the rocks do. The fault is commonly mutual, however; for we do not habitually demand any more of each other.
That excitement about Kossuth, consider how characteristic, but superficial, it was!- only another kind of politics or dancing. Men were making speeches to him all over the country, but each expressed only the thought, or the want of thought, of the multitude. No man stood on truth. They were merely banded together, as usual one leaning on another, and all together on nothing; as the Hindoos made the world rest on an elephant, the elephant on a tortoise, and the tortoise on a serpent, and had nothing to put under the serpent. For all fruit of that stir we have the Kossuth hat.
I do not know but it is too much to read one newspaper a week. I have tried it recently, and for so long it seems to me that I have not dwelt in my native region. The sun, the clouds, the snow, the trees say not so much to me. You cannot serve two masters. It requires more than a day's devotion to know and to possess the wealth of a day.
We may well be ashamed to tell what things we have read or heard in our day. I did not know why my news should be so trivial- considering what one's dreams and expectations are, why the developments should be so paltry. The news we hear, for the most part, is not news to our genius. It is the stalest repetition. You are often tempted to ask why such stress is laid on a particular experience which you have had- that, after twenty-five years, you should meet Hobbins, Registrar of Deeds, again on the sidewalk. Have you not budged an inch, then? Such is the daily news. Its facts appear to float in the atmosphere, insignificant as the sporules of fungi, and impinge on some neglected thallus, or surface of our minds, which affords a basis for them, and hence a parasitic growth. We should wash ourselves clean of such news. Of what consequence, though our planet explode, if there is no character involved in the explosion? In health we have not the least curiosity about such events. We do not live for idle amusement. I would not run round a corner to see the world blow up.
By all kinds of traps and signboards, threatening the extreme penalty of the divine law, exclude such trespassers from the only ground which can be sacred to you. It is so hard to forget what it is worse than useless to remember! If I am to be a thoroughfare, I prefer that it be of the mountain brooks, the Parnassian streams, and not the town sewers. There is inspiration, that gossip which comes to the ear of the attentive mind from the courts of heaven. There is the profane and stale revelation of the bar-room and the police court. The same ear is fitted to receive both communications. Only the character of the hearer determines to which it shall be open, and to which closed. I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality. Our very intellect shall be macadamized, as it were- its foundation broken into fragments for the wheels of travel to roll over; and if you would know what will make the most durable pavement, surpassing rolled stones, spruce blocks, and asphaltum, you have only to look into some of our minds which have been subjected to this treatment so long.
Government and legislation! these I thought were respectable professions. We have heard of heaven-born Numas, Lycurguses, and Solons, in the history of the world, whose names at least may stand for ideal legislators; but think of legislating to regulate the breeding of slaves, or the exportation of tobacco! What have divine legislators to do with the exportation or the importation of tobacco? what humane ones with the breeding of slaves? Suppose you were to submit the question to any son of God- and has He no children in the Nineteenth Century? is it a family which is extinct?- in what condition would you get it again? What shall a State like Virginia say for itself at the last day, in which these have been the principal, the staple productions? What ground is there for patriotism in such a State? I derive my facts from statistical tables which the States themselves have published.
A commerce that whitens every sea in quest of nuts and raisins, and makes slaves of its sailors for this purpose! I saw, the other day, a vessel which had been wrecked, and many lives lost, and her cargo of rags, juniper berries, and bitter almonds were strewn along the shore. It seemed hardly worth the while to tempt the dangers of the sea between Leghorn and New York for the sake of a cargo of juniper berries and bitter almonds. America sending to the Old World for her bitters! Is not the sea-brine, is not shipwreck, bitter enough to make the cup of life go down here? Yet such, to a great extent, is our boasted commerce; and there are those who style themselves statesmen and philosophers who are so blind as to think that progress and civilization depend on precisely this kind of interchange and activity- the activity of flies about a molasses- hogshead. Very well, observes one, if men were oysters. And very well, answer I, if men were mosquitoes.
Lieutenant Herndon, whom our government sent to explore the Amazon, and, it is said, to extend the area of slavery, observed that there was wanting there "an industrious and active population, who know what the comforts of life are, and who have artificial wants to draw out the great resources of the country." But what are the "artificial wants" to be encouraged? Not the love of luxuries, like the tobacco and slaves of, I believe, his native Virginia, nor the ice and granite and other material wealth of our native New England; nor are "the great resources of a country" that fertility or barrenness of soil which produces these. The chief want, in every State that I have been into, was a high and earnest purpose in its inhabitants. This alone draws out "the great resources" of Nature, and at last taxes her beyond her resources; for man naturally dies out of her. When we want culture more than potatoes, and illumination more than sugar-plums, then the great resources of a world are taxed and drawn out, and the result, or staple production, is, not slaves, nor operatives, but men- those rare fruits called heroes, saints, poets, philosophers, and redeemers.
In short, as a snow-drift is formed where there is a lull in the wind, so, one would say, where there is a lull of truth, an institution springs up. But the truth blows right on over it, nevertheless, and at length blows it down.
What is called politics is comparatively something so superficial and inhuman, that practically I have never fairly recognized that it concerns me at all. The newspapers, I perceive, devote some of their columns specially to politics or government without charge; and this, one would say, is all that saves it; but as I love literature and to some extent the truth also, I never read those columns at any rate. I do not wish to blunt my sense of right so much. I have not got to answer for having read a single President's Message. A strange age of the world this, when empires, kingdoms, and republics come a-begging to a private man's door, and utter their complaints at his elbow! I cannot take up a newspaper but I find that some wretched government or other, hard pushed and on its last legs, is interceding with me, the reader, to vote for it- more importunate than an Italian beggar; and if I have a mind to look at its certificate, made, perchance, by some benevolent merchant's clerk, or the skipper that brought it over, for it cannot speak a word of English itself, I shall probably read of the eruption of some Vesuvius, or the overflowing of some Po, true or forged, which brought it into this condition. I do not hesitate, in such a case, to suggest work, or the almshouse; or why not keep its castle in silence, as I do commonly? The poor President, what with preserving his popularity and doing his duty, is completely bewildered. The newspapers are the ruling power. Any other government is reduced to a few marines at Fort Independence. If a man neglects to read the Daily Times, government will go down on its knees to him, for this is the only treason in these days.

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